Ohio History Journal

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HAYES and OSU 171

HAYES and OSU                                                   171


the strongest men on the board were opponents of the Governor in


The board as finally approved was a group of men of great talent and

experience in the areas of agriculture, education and public affairs. Eleven

of the nineteen had had some direct connection with agriculture. Six had

had important connections with education in the fields of teaching or ad-

ministration. Thirteen had been members of the United States Congress,

the Ohio General Assembly, or both.10

With the appointment of the board completed, attention was directed

to the business of locating the college, deciding upon the course of in-

struction, and choosing the faculty. Hayes called the first meeting for May

11, 1870. The work of the first board was monumental. Tile members were

almost completely free in determining the future of the new agricultural

college. At the first meeting, the board elected as officers: Valentine B.

Horton, president; Richard C. Anderson, secretary; and Joseph Sullivant,

treasurer. It then set about the main business.

Joseph Sullivant, trustee from Columbus, wrote a letter to the citizens

of Franklin County urging that they raise money to attract the college for

their county. He told them that at least $100,000 in land, buildings, and

cash would be needed.11 Propositions were received from Franklin, Cham-

paign, Clark, and Montgomery counties. Finally, on October 13, 1870, the

Neil farm located north of Columbus on the Worthington Road was se-

lected as the site of the college. One of the attractive features of the site

was a natural spring which could be used as a source of water.12

After the site was chosen, the next step was to decide upon the course

of instruction and determine whether the scope of the institution should

be broad or narrow. Ralph Leete of Ironton, in a letter to Hayes, said the

act of the General Assembly establishing the agricultural college had not

attempted to bind down the trustees very closely and that "in one sense

almost every branch of science has some 'relation to agriculture and the

mechanic arts,' for there is a unity in all science."13 The quotation Leete

used was the only part of the original Morrill Act of 1862 that defined

what the course of instruction of the agricultural colleges should be. Hayes

answered that it was the intention of the law to establish a new type of

educational institution for the laboring classes. He wanted a broad, liberal

course of study available to the students. The plan presented by Joseph

Sullivant, which was eventually adopted by a vote of eight to seven, made

the new college liberal in the way which Hayes had suggested.14

The Governor received letters from men who hoped to become members

of the faculty asking that he use his influence with the board in their

favor.15 He did have some influence with the trustees since he had been

officially invited on September 6, 1870, to meet with the board and partici-

pate in its discussions.16 One appointment that he was actively concerned

with was that of president of the new college. When Edward Orton was

being considered for the post, he was afraid that the people of Ohio might

not want him to lead their state agricultural college because of his radical