210 Ohio Arch. and Hist. Society Publications.
Presbyterianism on Walnut Hills, have all aided to make the
Church History of the Ohio Valley the record of its civilization
and progress. And not alone in Cincinnati but throughout the
Western Country this influence was felt.
"Upon the Bible's sacred page,
The gathered beams of ages shine;
And, as it hastens, every age
But makes its brightness more divine.
More glorious still as ages roll,
New regions blessed, new powers unfurled,
Expanding with th' expanding soul,
Its radiance shall o'erflow the world."
LOCATION OF SITE OF OHIO CAPITAL.
BY E. O. RANDALL.
[Prepared for and read by title at the Annual Meeting of the Ohio
Valley Historical Association, Columbus, October 21, 1915.]
On the 13th of July, 1787, Congress, then assembled in New
York, by a unanimous vote of the eight states present and the
entire vote of the individual members, except Yates of New
York, who opposed the measure, adopted the famous "Ordinance
of 1787" establishing a government for the Northwest Territory.
On July 27, 1787,- two weeks later - Congress passed the
ordinance of purchase - authorizing the Federal Government to
sell to the Ohio Company a tract of land in the Northwest Terri-
tory by which, as Dr. Manasseh Cutler put it in his diary for
that day, "We obtained the grant of near five millions of land,
amounting to three millions and a half of dollars, one million
and a half acres for the Ohio Company and the remainder for a
private speculation, in which many of the prominent characters
of America are concerned; without connecting this speculation,
similar terms and advantages could not have been obtained for
the Ohio Company."
The designation of the boundaries of this purchase is not
pertinent to our purpose.
Pursuant to the above purchase by the Ohio Company, on
April 7th, (1788) the forty-seven - (usually stated forty-eight)
Annual Meeting Ohio Valley Historical Association. 211
but Col. J. R. Meigs did not arrive until the 12th (April) - male
members of the band of plucky pioneers from New England,
directed by General Rufus Putnam, embarked from the Ohio
Mayflower and landed at the mouth of the Muskingum river and
on the banks, opposite the site of Ft. Harmar, erected by the
Federal Government in November, 1785, were greeted by the
friendly band of Wyandot Indians under Captain Pipe. Here
the sturdy adventurers established the first settlement in the
Northwest Territory. They called the town "Marietta."
On the 5th of October, 1787, before a single emigrant had
set out from the East for the Ohio country, Arthur St. Clair
was chosen by the Continental Congress as Governor of the new
territory. He arrived at Ft. Harmar July 9, 1788, remaining at
the Fort until the 15th, when he was formally received at Marietta
and delivered an address to which response was made in behalf
of the colony by General Rufus Putnam. This was the initial
scene of the establishment of civil government in Ohio.
By provision of the Ordinance of 1787 no legislature for
the new territory could be chosen until the territory should con-
tain five thousand male inhabitants. Meanwhile it was the duty
of the Governor (St. Clair) and the three appointed judges,-
James M. Varnum, Samuel H. Parsons and John Cleves Symmes,
who was appointed in place of James Armstrong, first chosen
but declining to serve, with their secretary, Winthrop Sargent, -
to provide such laws as might be required.
These officials created a militia, the needed courts and
decreed laws for the punishment of crimes.
On July 27th (1788) the Governor established by proclama-
tion the county of Washington, bounded south by the Ohio river,
east by Virginia and Pennsylvania, north by Lake Erie, west by
the Cuyahoga and Tuscarawas rivers as far south as Ft. Laurens,
-built in the late fall of 1778 on the Tuscarawas near the mouth
of Sandy Creek, a short distance from the present site of Bolivar,
-thence west to the headwaters of the Scioto river, which from
that point to its mouth was the western line of the new county.
The boundaries of this initial county included the territory
now constituting the entire eastern half of Ohio and the eastern
half of what was later Franklin county. The seat of govern-
212 Ohio Arch. and Hist. Society Publications.
ment for this, Washington county, as well as for the whole
Northwest Territory, was at Marietta, and here the Governor
and Judges officially resided and here on September 2, 1788, with
fitting ceremonies the first Court in the territory was opened by
the newly appointed common pleas judges, Rufus Putnam, Ben-
jamin Tupper and Archibald Crory.
Thus the first settlement and the first territorial capital in
the Ohio country.
In October, 1787, John Cleves Symmes, formerly member
of Congress (1785-6) from New Jersey and one of the terri-
torial judges, having become familiar with the opportunities of
Western realty investments, secured from the Continental Con-
gress a contract of purchase for a million acres, fronting on the
Ohio river, between the Little and Big Miami rivers.
Pursuant to this purchase Major Benjamin Stites, the fore-
runner and advance agent of Symmes, with an adventurous troop
of twenty-six colonists from the East, landed on November 18,
1788, just (one-half mile) below the little Miami, "on a low line
plain exceedingly fertile, a portion of which was known as Tur-
key Bottom." In a few days Stites erected thereon some huts
and a blockhouse and gave this second settlement in the North-
west Territory the name of "Columbia",-- it is now within the
present corporate limits of Cincinnati.
This second attempt at settlement in the Ohio country was
directly followed by a third some four miles further down the
river on the Ohio side immediately opposite the mouth of the
Licking river. Its protagonists were Matthias Denman, Robert
Patterson, and John Filson. The location was upon land pur-
chased from Symmes and the landing and initial platting of the
town was on December 28, 1780, some five weeks subsequent to
the Columbia layout. Filson, a poet and classic scholar, dubbed
the place "Losantiville", - meaning opposite the Licking River.
Ten months later a detachment of troops from Ft. Harmar un-
der Major John Doughty built within the precincts of Losan-
tiville a formidable blockhouse, to which was given the name
Fort Washington. It was visited in January, 1790, by the terri-
torial governor, St. Clair, who, on approaching the settlement-
so the story runs - stood on the roof of his boat and looking at
Annual Meeting Ohio Valley Historical Association. 213
the cluster of cabins on the river bank, asked: "What in hell is
the name of this town anyhow?" On being told it was "Losan-
tiville" he promptly rechristened the baby burg "Cincinnati",
which ever since it has been.
St. Clair at the same time (January 2, 1790) proclaimed the
Symmes purchase, namely, the district between the two Miamis
from the Ohio to the headwaters of the Little Miami, Hamilton
County, and made Cincinnati the county seat. The site of Col-
umbia was fated as a settlement, and was later incorporated into
the precincts of the "Queen City" as Cincinnati was later
The first settlement in the Virginia Military District - the
section lying between the Little Miami and the Scioto from the
sources of these two rivers to the Ohio-was established at
Manchester, on the Ohio, in 1791 by Col. Nathaniel Massie, one
of the influential leaders of the Virginia and Kentucky migration
to the country north of the Ohio. In the prosecution of his
work as surveyor and land-acquirer, Colonel Massie explored the
Scioto and in the spring of 1796 laid out the town of Chillicothe.
Two years later, in August, 1798, St. Clair issued a proclamation
creating Ross County, of which Chillicothe was made the seat
The collateral chain of events transpiring meanwhile in the
Northwest Territory needs no recital here. We refer to the Ohio
Indian War; the futile expedition against the hostile Indians by
General Josiah Harmar in September, 1790; the disastrous ex-
pedition of General St. Clair a year later in September, 1791,
and the victorious campaign of General Anthony Wayne, begin-
ning in October, 1793, and closing in the resultful battle of
Fallen Timbers in August, 1794. This brilliant campaign of
Wayne tranquilized the entire frontier from the Lakes to Flor-
ida, and culminated in the famous treaty of Greenville, August,
1795. It was this same month that Jay's treaty, calling among
other articles for the evacuation of the border American Forts,
still occupied by the British, was made public by Washington.
The following year was a memorable one in the annals of the
Northwest. It saw the fulfillment of the provisions of the Jay
treaty and the tide of emigration from the east and south to the
214 Ohio Arch. and Hist. Society Publications.
trans-Alleghany, and trans-Ohio territory, set in with renewed
Some six or seven counties had been established. The ac-
quisition of the Western Reserve from Connecticut had been
inaugurated and a settlement established by Moses Cleveland at
the mouth of the Cuyahoga river, and other settlements rapidly
followed along the valleys of the Miami, the Scioto, the Mus-
kingum and the Mahoning.
In 1790 the white population of the territory within the
present area of Ohio had reached about three thousand; by 1798
it fulfilled the prerequisite of five thousand free male inhabitants
of full age fixed by the Ordinance of 1787 for the choice of a
territorial general assembly.
There were now the counties of Washington, Hamilton, St.
Clair, Knox, Randolph, Wayne, Adams, Jefferson and Ross. Governor
St. Clair ordered an election of territorial representatives to take place
on the third Monday of December, 1798. The representatives must be
free-holders, owning not less than two hundred acres each, and should be
chosen by free-holders, owning not less than fifty acres each. The elected
representatives, chosen from the nine counties convened at Cincinnati,
February 4, 1799. It was their first duty to nominate ten residents of
the territory, each possessing a free-hold of not less than five hundred
acres, from whom a legislative council of five members-corresponding
to the state senate-could be chosen by Congress. These appointments
being made-by President Adams as Congress was not then in session-
the first session-of the House of Representatives only-adjourned,
without other transactions of importance, until September 16, 1798. The
members of the First Council selected by President Adams from the
legislative nominations were, Robert Oliver, of Washington County;
Jacob Burnett and James Findlay, of Hamilton; David Vance, of Jeffer-
son; and Henry Vandenburg, of Knox.
The Representatives in the general assembly were: Joseph Darling-
ton, Nathaniel Massie, Adams county; William Goforth, William Mc-
Millan, John Smith, John Ludlow, Robert Benham, Aaron Caldwell,
Isaac Martin, Hamilton county; James Pritchard, Jefferson county; John
Small, Knox county; John Edgar, Randolph county; Thomas Worthing-
ton, Elias Langham, Samuel Findlay, Edward Tiffin, Ross county; Shad-
rack Bond, St. Clair county; Return Jonathan Meigs, Paul Fearing,
Washington county; Solomon Sibley, Jacob Visgar, Charles F. Chabart
de Joncaire, Wayne county.
Annual Meeting Ohio Valley Historical Association. 215
The first general assembly - as such completely organized
-of the Northwest Territory, comprising the Governor, the
Council of Five, and twenty representatives, convened at Cincin-
nati September 16, 1799, and adjourned from day to day for lack
of a quorum until September 23d, when Henry Vandenburg of
Knox was elected President of the Council and Edward Tiffin,
of Ross, Speaker of the House. On October 3d, the two Houses
met in joint session and elected William Henry Harrison to
represent the territory as delegate in Congress. This general
assembly passed some thirty public acts, eleven of which Gov-
ernor St. Clair vetoed. He by authority vested in him on De-
cember 19, 1799, prorogued the assembly to the first Monday
of January, 1800.
Agitation for a division of the territory and admission of
the eastern portion as a state had already begun and Harrison,
delegate to Congress, urged the matter in that body. Congress
finally determined the issue by an act passed May 7, 1800, mak-
ing a division upon a line drawn from the mouth of the Ken-
tucky river to Ft. Recovery and thence northwestward to the
Canadian boundary. From the region west of that line the
territory of Indiana was created and William Henry Harrison
appointed Governor. The so-called Northwest Territory was
now limited to the area east of the dividing line just noted and
its seat of government was fixed at Chillicothe. The county of
Knox falling wholly within the new territory of Indiana, Henry
Vandenburg, who resided in that county, ceased to be a member
of the legislative council for the Northwest Territory and was
succeeded by Solomon Sibley of Detroit, Wayne County.
The first Territorial General Assembly held its second ses-
sion at Chillicothe, beginning November 3d and ending Decem-
ber 9, 1800. It elected William McMillan of Cincinnati Terri-
torial Delegate to Congress, in lieu of Mr. Harrison. The ses-
sion was prorogued by Governor St. Clair. At the third and
last session, which began November 24, 1801, which was a long
and stormy session, acts were passed to incorporate the towns
of Cincinnati, Chillicothe and Detroit, and to remove the seat of
government from Chillicothe to Cincinnati. The removal of the
216 Ohio Arch. and Hist. Society Publications.
capital aroused so much feeling in Chillicothe that for a time the
members who voted for it were threatened with mob violence.
On January 23, 1802, the territorial general assembly ad-
journed to meet on the fourth Monday in November, 1802, but it
The acrimonious agitation for the establishment of the state
was now on in full force. This proposition of statehood was
favored and opposed by the respective prevailing parties. State-
hood, according to the boundaries of the territory already es-
tablished, was favored by the Republicans (Democrats) led by
Thomas Worthington, Nathaniel Massie and Edward Tiffin.
They were opposed by the Federalists (Republicans) led by St.
Clair, Jacob Burnett, Rufus Putnam and Benjamin Stites. The
Republicans were successful.
The Ordinance of 1787 required as a condition to the ad-
mission of the territory as a state that it should contain sixty
thousand free inhabitants. According to the census of 1800, it
actually contained 45,365. This difficulty was removed by Con-
gress which passed an act April 30, 1802, enabling the people
of the eastern district of the aforesaid Northwest Territory to
frame a constitution and organize a state government. This it
was hoped would add another state to the Republican phalanx.
In furtherance of this enabling act a constitutional conven-
tion assembled at Chillicothe, November 1, 1802. It accom-
plished its work in twenty-five days. A speech of Governor
St. Clair early in the proceedings of the convention created a
political storm. It was in opposition to the formation of the new
state and St. Clair criticised the administration of Thomas Jef-
ferson. The Governor's removal from office by the President
followed immediately. It took effect November 22, 1802, and
Charles W. Byrd, then secretary of the territory, was appointed
Governor to serve until the proposed state could be created.
The Constitution of 1802 defined the boundaries of the state,
provisionally, and established the seat of government at Chilli-
cothe until 1808. (Article VII, Section 4.) This Constitution
was never submitted for popular acceptance or rejection at the
polls. Congress affirmed it by act of February 19, 1803.
But the territorial government continued to and including
Annual Meeting Ohio Valley Historical Association. 217
February 28th, as determined by act of Congress (Laws of U.
S. Vol. 4, pg 4). On March 1, 1803, the Legislature assembled
at Chillicothe and Ohio on that day became a member of the
sisterhood of states.
Now we retrace our steps to catch the thread of our narra-
Virginia authorized her soldiers of the Revolution to ap-
point a surveyor of the lands known as the "Ohio-Virginia Mili-
tary District", which she had reserved from her Northwest ces-
sions to the national government. They chose as such surveyor
Col. Robert C. Anderson, a distinguished veteran officer of the
Revolution, father of Major Robert Anderson, defender of Fort
Sumter, and of Charles Anderson, Governor of Ohio. On July
20, 1784, Anderson opened an office for the survey of the Vir-
ginia bounty-land, on the present site of Louisville, Ky. Among
the deputy surveyors whom he named were Nathaniel Massie,
Duncan McArthur, John O'Bannon, Arthur Fox, John Beasley,
and Lucas Sullivant.
Lucas Sullivant, a native of Virginia, an emigrant to Ken-
tucky, was assigned to the northern portion of the Virginia Mili-
tary District as the field of his surveying services. He began
his operations in the spring of 1795. His experiences, as related
in the Sullivant family memoirs, form one of the most romantic
and thrilling stories of western pioneer adventure and achieve-
ment. In the course of his exploring meanderings and surveying
expeditions Sullivant came upon what was then known to sur-
veyors and map makers as the "Forks of the Scioto", the juncture
of the Scioto and Whetstone, as it was then known, now the
Olentangy. It was in the midst of the Ohio wilderness, and for
decades a favorite locality for Indian villages, especially of the
Mingo and Wyandot tribes - the great Mingo orator, Logan,
had here at times resided among his Cayuga warriors.
While engaged in his surveying tours Sullivant, with the
Anglo-Saxon landgrabbing instinct, selected choice tracts of
land and located them in his own right. Indeed, so extensive
became his real estate acquisitions that he was often spoken of
as "Monarch of all he surveyed." His trained eye and prophetic
vision particularly drew him to the region of the Scioto forks.
218 Ohio Arch. and Hist. Society Publications.
The fertility of the soil, the luxuriance of the forests, the cen-
trality of location as to the Ohio rivers, the advantage of its
location on the waterway route from the Sandusky and Scioto,
connecting by the short portage Lake Erie on the north and the
Ohio on the south.
Here in the midsummer of 1797 Lucas Sullivant laid out
the town of Franklinton on the west bank of the Scioto, just
south of the mouth of the Whetstone. He platted a considerable
sized town and the sale of lots was announced for a certain day;
but before the appointed time an inundation of all the low lands
took place, an overflow of such an extent that it has since been
known as the "great flood of 1798."
The real estate speculator then wisely extended his town
plat to the high ground, a little farther west of the river and
there, on the site of the present state hospital, Sullivant erected
the first brick dwelling in the county, and established his perma-
nent home, in which he resided at the time of his death.
Settlements rapidly followed, of emigrants from Kentucky,
Virginia, Maryland and Pennsylvania.
In August, 1798, the territorial county of Ross was pro-
claimed by Governor St. Clair. It embraced the field of opera-
tion of Sullivant, as just noted. From the northern part of this
Ross county, Franklin county was set off by act of the first gen-
eral assembly of Ohio, passed March 20th, to take effect April
Franklinton lay within the boundaries of the new county
and was made the county seat, and a county jail-usually the
first requisite of the initiative of a Christian civilization-an
edifice of hewn logs - was erected by Lucas Sullivant, at a cost
of $80. In 1808 a brick court house was erected from the clay
of one of the ancient mounds in the neighborhood.
We cannot follow the career, conspicuous as it was, of
Franklinton, which during the war of 1812 was for some time
the headquarters of William Henry Harrison, and was the scene
(June 21, 1813) of an important treaty between the general on
the part of the United States, and the Wyandot Chief, Tarhe,
who pledged the loyalty of his tribe to the American cause.
As we have already noted, the Ohio constitution of 1802,
Annual Meeting Ohio Valley Historical Association. 219
fixed the seat of government at Chillicothe and decreed it should
there remain until 1808, and the same document expressly for-
bade any expenditures for public buildings for legislative pur-
poses until 1809.
The first general assembly, therefore, met in the Ross county
court house, within which the territorial legislature had held its
last session, and in which also the constitutional convention of
the state had met. This building was a two-story stone edifice,
the interior of which was inadequate for the housing of the leg-
islature; it only accommodated the house of representatives, and
the senate was provided for by a brick annex connected with the
court house by a covered passage.
That the permanent seat of state government should be lo-
cated at a point nearer the center of the state than Chillicothe
was generally anticipated, and in that expectation every settle-
ment in the state, even remotely eligible to win the prize, took
timely steps to secure it. Franklinton, Delaware, Worthington,
Zanesville, Lancaster, and Newark were the earliest and most
insistent of these claimants. Other towns, and even uninhabited
localities, later joined the list of proposed sites.
Pressed for proper accommodations and the importunities of
the advocates of competing localities, the general assembly, at
Chillicothe, passed an act February 20, 1810, providing for a
commission of five members, to be selected by joint ballot of
both houses to hear arguments, inspect localities and recommend
a site for the permanent seat of government. The act read as
AN ACT to provide for the permanent seat of government. Passed
February 20, 1810. Ohio Laws, Volume 8 * * *
Sections 1 and 2 provide for the appointment of five commission-
ers by joint ballot of both houses of the general assembly, a majority of
the board to be necessary for the recommendation of any particular site.
"SEC. 3. That after the commissioners shall have taken an oath or
affirmation faithfully to discharge the duties enjoined on them by this
act, they shall proceed to examine and select the most eligible spot, which
in their opinion will be most central, taking into view the natural ad-
vantages of the state; Provided: It shall not be more than forty miles
from what may be deemed the common centre of the state, to be ascer-
tained by Mansfield's map thereof.
220 Ohio Arch. and Hist. Society Publications.
"SEC. 4. That after the commissioners shall have fixed on the most
eligible spot, they shall make up a report of their proceedings and sign
the same, seal it up and direct it to the speaker of the Senate, and forward
the same to the senate, within ten days after the commencement of the
next session of the general assembly; and if it shall appear to the satis-
faction of the next general assembly, that the place fixed on is the most
eligible place, they shall confirm the report of the commissioners, and
proceed to take such further order thereon as to them shall appear most
advantageous and proper.
"SEC. 5. That the commissioners shall meet at Franklinton on the
first day of September next, to proceed to discharge the duties enjoined
to them by this act, and shall each receive three dollars per day.
"This act to take effect from and after the commencement passage
Speaker of the house of representatives.
Speaker of the senate."
In pursuance of this act, Senators James Findlay, W. Silli-
man, Joseph Darlington, Resin Beall and William McFarland
were appointed commissioners. They visited Franklinton, but
discarded its pretensions, condemning it because of its low situa-
tion, its subjection to inundation, and the unsuitableness of its
plan of streets.
The commissioners then inspected various other localities
with like result, and finally agreed to report: "That they have
diligently examined a number of different places within the circle
prescribed (forty miles from the common centre) and a ma-
jority of said commissioners are of the opinion that a tract of
land owned by John and Peter Sells, situated on the west bank
of the Scioto river, four miles and three-quarters west of the
town of Worthington, in the county of Franklin, and on which
said Sells now resides, appears to them most eligible." This was
the site of the subsequent and present village of Dublin. This
report, dated at Newark, September 12, (1810) and signed by
all the Commissioners, was delivered to the general assembly on
December 11, 1810.
The general assembly at the time of the reception of this
report was in session at Zanesville, where a building for its es-
pecial accommodation had been provided. Here the sessions of
Annual Meeting Ohio Valley Historical Association. 221
1810-11 and 1811-12 were held, and various additional proposals
for the location of the capital as well as the report of the legis-
lative committee were received.
No definite action was taken by the legislature in the session
of 1810-11. Meanwhile the rival applicants pushed their re-
spective claims upon the members of the general assembly, with
all the ardor and boldness of undaunted lobbyists. Some of the
original contestants subsided or withdrew from the field, while
new parties made their appearance.
The original joint commission of five members having ceased
to exist with the expiration of the session of the 9th General
Assembly, the succeeding (10th) legislature, in its session of
1811-12, resumed the subject of a permanent capital site. The
senate appointed a new committee of its members, consisting of
Senators J. P. R. Bureau, J. Pritchard, David Purviance, George
Tod and Samuel Evans.
On January 18, 1812, as the printed proceedings testify,
Senator Evans in behalf of the committee to whom were re-
ferred so much of the unfinished business of the last (9th) ses-
sion, relating to the fixing of the permanent seat of government,
and who were directed to receive donations therefor, beg leave
to report that they had received proposals for the following
places, viz.: "Delaware, Sells Place [now Dublin], Thomas
Backus's land (four miles from Franklinton, seven miles below
Sells Place), High Bank opposite Franklinton, High Bank, Pick-
away Plains and Circleville, Pickaway county." The prospective
advantages of location and details of each proposed offer were
briefly recited by Mr. Evans, as reported in the Senate Journal
for that day.
The locality known as the "High Bank", nearly opposite to
Franklinton, was offered by Messrs. Lyne Starling, John Kerr,
A. McLaughlin and James Johnston.
The elevation there was reasonably good, and the opportu-
nity for platting a town without hindrance from buildings, pre-
arranged streets, or even clearings, was unlimited. The lands
on the plateau had been patented as early as 1802 to John Hal-
stead, Martha Walker, Benjamin Thompson, Seth Harding and
James Price, all refugees of the War of Independence. The
222 Ohio Arch. and Hist. Society Publications.
original patentees had disposed of their titles, and these, after
intermediate transmissions, had come into the hands of Lyne
Starling, John Kerr, Alexander McLaughlin and James John-
ston. Combining their interests, these four proprietors laid off
a tract of about twelve hundred acres on the plateau, platted it,
provisionally, into streets and squares, and submitted proposals.
for the location of the seat of government thereon to the Gen-
eral Assembly at Zanesville. A copy of the plat accompanied
their propositions, the full text of which was as follows:
ORIGINAL PROPOSALS OF THE PROPRIETORS OF
To the Honorable the Legislature of the State of Ohio:
We the subscribers do offer the following as our proposals provided
the legislature at their present session shall fix and establish the permanent
seat of Government for said State on the East bank of the Scioto river
nearly opposite to the town of Franklinton on half sections Nos. 9, 25
& 26, and parts of half sections Nos. 10 & 11, all in Township 5 of Range
22 of the Refugee lands and commence their session there on the first
Monday of December, 1817:
1st. To lay out a Town on the lands aforesaid on or before the
first day of July next agreeably to the plans presented by us to the
2d. To convey to the State, by general warranty deed in fee simple
such square in said town of the contents of ten acres or near it for the
public buildings and such lot of ten acres for Penitentiary and depend-
encies, as a director of such person or persons as the legislature will
appoint or may select.
3. To erect and complete a State House, offices & Penitentiary &
such other buildings as shall be directed by the Legislature, to be built
of stone and Brick or of either, the work to be done in a workman like
manner and of such size and dimensions as the Legislature shall think
fit, the Penitentiary & dependencies to be complete on or before the
first day of January, 1815, the Statehouse and offices on or before the
first Monday of December, 1817.
When the buildings shall be completed the Legislature and the
subscribers reciprocally shall appoint workmen to examine and value
the whole buildings, which valuation shall be binding, and if it does
not amount to Fifty thousand dollars we shall make up the deficiency in
such further buildings as shall be directed by law, but if it exceeds the
sum of Fifty thousand dollars the Legislature will by law remunerate
us in such way as they may think just and equitable.
Annual Meeting Ohio Valley Historical Association. 223
The legislature may by themselves or agent alter the width of the
streets and alleys of said Town previous to its being laid out by us if they
may think proper to do so.
LYNE STARLING. (seal.)
JOHN KERR. (seal.)
A. MCLAUGHLIN. (seal.)
JAMES JOHNSTON. (seal.)
These propositions were accompanied by the following
KNOW ALL MEN BY THESE PRESENTS that we, James Johnson, of
Washington County, Lyne Starling, of Franklin County, Alexander Mc-
Laughlin, of Muskingum County, & John Kerr, of Ross County, all of
the State of Ohio, our heirs, executors, administrators or assigns do
promise to pay to William McFarland, treasurer of said State, or his suc-
cessors in office, for the use of the State of Ohio, the sum of One Hun-
dred Thousand Dollars for the payment of which we do bind ourselves
firmly by these presents, which are sealed with our seals and dated the
10th day of February, in the year of our Lord, 1812.
The condition of the above obligation is such that if the above
bounden James Johnston, Lyne Starling, Alexander McLaughlin, & John
Kerr, their heirs, executors, administrators or assigns, shall truly and
faithfully comply with their proposals to the State of Ohio by erecting
the public buildings and conveying to the said State grounds for the State
House, offices and penitentiary they have proposed to do, then this obliga-
tion to be null and void, otherwise to be and continue in full force and
virtue. JAMES JOHNSTON. (seal.)
LYNE STARLING. (seal.)
A. MCLAUGHLIN. (seal.)
In presence of JOHN KERR. (seal.)
The absolute permanence of location on which the foregoing
scheme was conditioned appearing to jeopardize its acceptance,
the following supplementary proposals were submitted:
To the Honorable the Legislature of the State of Ohio:
We the subscribers do agree to comply with the terms of our Bond
now in possession of the Senate of the State aforesaid, in case they
will fix the seat of government of this State on the lands designated in
their proposals now with the Senate, on the east bank of the Scioto
224 Ohio Arch. and Hist. Society Publications.
River, nearly opposite to Franklinton, and commence their sessions there
at or before the first Monday of December, 1817, and continue the same
in the town to be laid off by us until the year 1840.
The conditional proposals are offered by us for the acceptance of
the Legislature of Ohio provided they may be considered more eligible
than those previously put in.
JOHN KERR. (seal.)
JAMES JOHNSTON. (seal.)
A. MCLAUGHLIN. (seal.)
Witness LYNE STARLING. (seal.)
February 11, 1812.
Mr. Evans closed his report by saying that "Your commit-
tee beg leave to recommend to the consideration of the Senate
the following resolution:
"Resolved, That a committee, to consist of * * *members, be
appointed to bring in a bill for fixing the permanent seat of government,
on the lands of Moses Bixby and Henry Baldwin, agreeable to the first
number of their written proposals."-this was the Delaware site.
Mr. Evans himself dissented from the choice of the com-
mittee, though not otherwise expressing his preference.
The committee report was committed to a committee of the
On January 20 the matter was taken up by the senate as a
committee of the whole. The parties submitting the "High
Bank opposite Franklinton" were permitted to withdraw their
proposals, evidently merely for the purpose of some change in
the conditions of their offer, for they were shortly thereafter be-
fore the Senate for further consideration.
February 4th, Mr. Evans made an additional report of some
alterations in the Sells Brothers offer and also presented a re-
newal by James Kilbourn of the site of the town of Worthing-
ton, and an amended proposition from the Starling & Company
people, as follows:
"The committee to whom were referred the proposals for
fixing the permanent seat of government, begs leave to report.
They have examined the proposals made since their first report,
and find them as follows:
Annual Meeting Ohio Valley Historical Association. 225
"Messrs. John and Peter Sells offers to lay out a town on their
land, on such plan as the legislature will point out, and out of the same
they will convey as much ground as may be necessary for a state house,
offices & penitentiary, and moreover to build a state house, and such other
houses as commissioners, to be appointed by the legislature, shall direct,
provided that the same does not exceed twenty thousand dollars; which
donation is to be made, if the legislature establishes the permanent seat of
government on their lands, within three years.
"Messrs. Starling, Kerr, M'Laughlin and Johnston, offers to lay out
a town on the east bank of Scioto river, nearly opposite the town of
Franklinton; out of said town they will convey to the state, a square of
ten acres for public buildings. They will, besides, build a good and
commodious brick-house, for the use of the legislature, the same to be
seventy by fifty feet, two stories high, with two wings, also two stories
high, twenty by thirty-two feet. Also they will erect a penitentiary, equal
in extent and accommodations, as the one in Frankfort, Kentucky; or
they will erect one, one hundred feet in length, and twenty feet wide, two
stories high. From said buildings shall extend walls twelve feet high at
right angles, one hundred and sixty-feet, which shall be connected by a
wall parallel to the penitentiary-the whole occupying a space of one
hundred, by one hundred and sixty feet. To the penitentiary shall be
appropriated ten acres of ground, for gardens.
All the buildings to be completed on or before the first Monday of
December, eighteen hundred and eighteen. All which donations shall be
given, on condition that the legislature will commence their sessions in
said contemplated town, on the said first Monday of December, eighteen
hundred and eighteen, and there thenceforward do continue.
Or in lieu of the foregoing offers, they the said Starling, Kerr,
M'Laughlin and Johnston, will (if the legislature prefers it) erect in the
town mentioned in their first proposals, such public buildings, not exceed-
ing fifty thousand dollars, as the legislature will direct; they will have
the buildings completed on or before the first Monday of December,
eighteen hundred and seventeen. They will let the legislature choose the
ground for the public square and the penitentiary, and direct the width of
the streets and alleys.
(Senate Journal, 1812-February 4-p. 102)
The Senate committee on the seat of government asked for
February 5th. The Senate as a committee of the whole con-
tinued its consideration of the site question. Mr. Purviance re-
ported his committee had agreed to the following resolution:
"Resolved, That a committee of three members (of the senate) be
appointed to prepare and bring in a bill to fix and establish the permanent
226 Ohio Arch. and Hist. Society Publications.
seat of government, at * * *, agreeably to the propositions of * * *;
and that from and after the 1st day of May next, Lancaster shall be the
temporary seat of government until otherwise directed by law."
Senator Joseph Foos, of Franklin, moved to fill the first
blank- (of the site) -with these words: "the High Bank on
the East side of the Scioto river, opposite the town of Franklin-
Mr. Bureau moved that the blank read: "The town of
Mr. Bigger moved it be filled with "the farm of Peter and
Mr. Caldwell moved "the town of Worthington."
Mr. Evans, representing Ross county, was in favor of "The
High Bank in the Pickaway Plains."
Mr. Bureau was for "the land of Moses Bixby and Henry
Mr. Pritchard proposed "New Lancaster."
The question was first put on filling said blank with these
words: "The High Bank on the east side of the Scioto river
opposite the town of Franklinton." The vote was decided in
the affirmative;- fifteen yeas and nine nays.
The said resolution was further amended and then read as
Resolved by the Senate and House of Representatives, That a com-
mittee of three members be appointed on the part of the Senate to pre-
pare and bring in a bill, to fix and establish the permanent seat of gov-
ernment, at the High Bank of the east side of the Scioto River, opposite
the town of Franklinton, agreeably to the proposition of Messrs. Starling,
Kerr, M'Laughlin and Johnston; and that from and after the first day
of May next, Lancaster shall be the temporary seat of government, until
otherwise directed by law. By vote the Senate agreed to the resolution,
yeas 17, nays 7.
This action was on February 5th. The resolution imme-
diately went to the house of representatives, which on the same
day, proceeded, in a committee of the whole, to consider the
same. The senate resolution was agreed to with the exception
that the house, on motion of Mr. Morris, by a vote of twenty-
Annual Meeting Ohio Valley Historical Association. 227
five yeas to twenty nays substituted "Chillicothe" in the place of
"Lancaster" as the temporary seat of government.
The resolution thus amended was returned next day (Feb-
ruary 6th) to the Senate, which on motion to retain Lancaster
stood tie, twelve yeas to twelve nays. On the following day an-
other attempt was made to restore Lancaster, which was lost by
a vote of ten yeas to thirteen nays, so "Chillicothe" stood undis-
turbed in the house bill. In pursuance of said resolution a com-
mittee was accordingly appointed, of Senators David Purviance,
J. P. R. Bureau and John Bigger, to act in conference with a
similar committee to be appointed by the house. On the 8th, the
house by resolution appointed as its committee to act jointly
with the senate, Messrs. David Morris, Samuel Huntington and
William Sterrett. On the same day an attempt by the House to
substitute the Delaware site for the Scioto High Bank was lost
by vote of twenty yeas to twenty-five nays.
February 8th. Mr. Purviance, from the Senate committee,
reported a bill, the matter having now passed the resolution
stage, and taken the formal status of an enactment, "Fixing and
establishing the permanent and temporary seat of government",
which bill was received, read the first time and ordered to pass
on to the second reading.
February 10th. The senate in committee of the whole took
up the bill for further consideration, receiving further changes
in the proposals of Messrs. Starling, Kerr, McLaughlin and
February 12th. The bill was reported out of the committee
of the whole to the senate for action. The bill as it now stood
was for the East Bank of the Scioto opposite Franklinton for
the permanent capital and Chillicothe for the temporary capital.
It was the final struggle for the friends of the bill and the allies,
representing other sites, in opposition. An attempt to substitute
Delaware for the "East High Bank on Scioto" was defeated by
ten yeas to fourteen nays. The day was mainly consumed by
the filibustering field; riders, substitutes, strike outs, insertions,
amendments and postponements -indeed all the arts of parlia-
mentary tactics and obstructions were futile, and after the third
reading the bill passed by the vote of thirteen yeas (including
228 Ohio Arch. and Hist. Society Publications.
the speaker) to eleven nays. It was not a wide margin, but it
The bill was messaged to the house the same day, and
though not mentioned in that day's journal, as in the original
publication of the proceedings, it must have been read for the
first time, as on the following day the house went into a com-
mittee of the whole, read for the second time and debated the
bill. Efforts were made to insert Franklinton for Chillicothe
as the temporary seat of government; but without avail. The
foes to the site proposed and thus far selected, rallied in full
force and the sparring was vigorous and skilful. It was another
field day, as the House Journal amply testifies, and the adherents
of the bill would neither yield nor compromise and on the ques-
tion, "Shall the bill pass?" which stood as it came from the senate
without alteration, the roll was called and stood yeas twenty-
seven (including Speaker Corwin) - nays nineteen. And so the
hill passed, and on February 14th, the "East High Bank, opposite
the town of Franklinton," became the legislative Valentine to the
state of Ohio. The bill as it became a law was as follows:
SECT. 1. Be it enacted by the General Assembly of the state of Ohio,
That the proposals made to this legislature by Alexander Mc-
Laughlin, John Kerr, Lyne Starling and James Johnston, (to lay out a
town on their lands, situate on the east bank of the Scioto river, opposite
Franklinton, in the county of Franklin, and pants of half sections number
nine, ten, eleven, twenty-five and twenty-six, for the purpose of having
the permanent seat of government thereon established; also, to convey
to this state a square of ten acres and a lot of ten acres, and to erect a
state house, such offices, and a penitentiary, as shall be directed by the
legislature,) are hereby accepted, and the same and their penal bond
annexed thereto, dated the tenth of February, one thousand eight hundred
and twelve, conditioned for their faithful performances of said proposals,
shall be valid to all intents and purposes, and shall remain in the office
of the treasurer of state, there to be kept for the use of this state.
SECT. 2. Be it further enacted, That the seat of government of
this state be, and the same is hereby fixed and permanently established
on the land aforesaid, and the legislature shall commence their sessions
thereat on the first Monday of December, one thousand eight hundred
and seventeen, and there continue until the first day of May, one thou-
sand eight hundred and forty, and from thence until otherwise provided
SECT. 3. Be it further enacted, That there shall be appointed by
Annual Meeting Ohio Valley Historical Association. 229
a joint resolution of this general assembly, a director, who shall, within
thirty days after his appointment, take and subscribe an oath faithfully
and impartially to discharge the duties enjoined on him by law, and shall
hold his office to the end of the session of the next legislature: Pro-
vided, That in case the office of the director aforesaid shall by death,
resignation, or in any other wise become vacant during the recess of
the legislature, the governor shall fill such vacancy.
SECT. 4. Be it further enacted, That the aforesaid director shall
view and examine the lands above mentioned and superintend the survey-
ing and laying out of the town aforesaid and direct the width of streets
and alleys therein; also, to select the square for public buildings and
the lot for the penitentiary and dependencies according to the proposals
aforesaid; and he shall make a report thereof to the next legislature; he
shall moreover perform such other duties as will be required of him
SECT. 5. Be it further enacted, That said McLaughlin, Kerr,
Starling, and Johnston, shall, on or before the first day of July next
ensuing, at their own expense, cause the town aforesaid to be laid out,
and a plat of the same recorded in the recorder's office of Franklin
county, distinguishing therein the square and lot to be by them conveyed
to this state; and they shall moreover transmit a certified copy thereof
to the next legislature for their inspection.
SECT. 6. And be it further enacted, That from and after the
first day of May next, Chillicothe shall be the temporary seat of govern-
ment until otherwise provided by law.
Speaker of the House of Representatives.
Speaker of the Senate.
February 14, 1812.
(Laws of Ohio, Vol. 10 (1812) p. 92.)
(Passed in the first session of the Tenth general assembly.)
In the Senate on February 20, (1812), the Journal states:
Mr. Evans submitted to the consideration of the Senate the
Resolved by the General Assembly of the State of Ohio, that the
seat of government, in this state, shall be known and distinguished by
the name of * * *
The same was ordered to lie for consideration.
This resolution was at once sent to the House, which on
the same day gave it consideration. The name "Ohio City" was
230 Ohio Arch. and Hist. Society Publications.
proposed, but on vote was defeated by yeas nineteen, nays
twenty-two, and the subject was left for future action.
February 21st. The senate took up the resolution, giving
name to the permanent seat of government, which was offered
the day before by Mr. Evans. The said resolution was amended
and agreed to as follows:
Resolved by the General Assembly of the State of Ohio, that the
town to be laid out at the High Bank, on the east side of the Scioto
river, opposite the town of Franklinton, for the permanent seat of
government of this state, shall be known and distinguished by the
name of Columbus.
This name was proposed by Mr. Joseph Foos, Senator from
Franklin county, the same Senator who had so valiantly cham-
pioned the Scioto High Bank site. On the passage of this reso-
lution by the senate, naming the site, it was sent to the house
with a request for its concurrence. The house on motion that it
do agree to the resolution, concurred by a vote of 24 yeas to
10 nays. And so the seat of government of the state of Ohio
found its local habitation and its name.
The General Assembly, (February 20) by Joint Resolution
appointed Joel Wright, of Warren county, as director, to "view
and examine" the lands proffered and lay out and survey "the
town aforesaid." Joseph Vance, of Franklin county, was selected
to assist him.
The refugee lands, upon which our state capital was located,
comprised a narrow tract four miles and a half wide, from
north to south, and extending forty-eight miles eastwardly from
the Scioto river. It took its name from the fact that it was
appropriated by Congress for the benefit of persons from Canada
and Novia Scotia, who in our Revolutionary War, espoused the
cause of the revolted colonies. The lands in this tract were
originally surveyed in 1799, under the authority of the general
government, and divided, as other public lands, into sections of
six hundred and forty acres each. But in 1801 they were di-
vided into half-sections, and numbered as such. Patents were
issued for half-sections, designating them by their numbers.
On the recorded plat of the town, the streets and alleys
crossed each other at right angles, bearing twelve degrees west
Annual Meeting Ohio Valley Historical Association. 231
of north, and twelve degrees north of east. High street, run-
ning north and south, was one hundred feet wide; and Broad, an
east and west street, was one hundred and twenty feet in width.
The other streets were eighty-two and a half feet wide, and
the alleys generally thirty-three feet. The inlots were sixty-
two and a half feet front, and one hundred and eighty-seven and
a half feet deep. The outlots east of the town plat, each con-
tained about three acres.
On the 18th of June, 1812, the same day on which the
United States declared war against Great Britain, the first pub-
lic sale of lots took place. It had been extensively advertised.
The terms of sale were extremely liberal. Only one-fifth of the
purchase money was to be paid in hand; the residue in four equal
annual installments, without interest, unless default was made in
prompt payment. The lots sold were principally on High and
Broad streets, and brought prices varying from two hundred to
one thousand dollars each.
At the time of the public sale of lots, the prospects of the
site of the proposed capital were by no means enticing. The
streets and alleys marked on the plat had to be traced through
a dense forest. In site and immediate surroundings presented
but few evidences of the former presence of civilized man. The
only cleared land then on or contiguous to the town plat was a
small spot on Front, a little south of State street; another small
field and a cabin on the bank of the river at the western ter-
minus of Rich Street; and a cabin and garden spot in front of
where the penitentiary now stands.
But as it was decreed that this was to become the capital
city of the state, immigrants sought homes within its borders
from all sections of the country. Improvements and general
business went forward with the increase of population.
In pursuance of their contract with the state, the proprietors
of Columbus set to work with characteristic energy, and in 1813
excavated the ground on the southwest corner of the public
square for the foundation of the state house. The building
was erected the following year. It was a plain brick structure,
seventy-five by fifty feet, and two stories high. It is interesting
to note, in this connection, that the brick used in the construc-
232 Ohio Arch. and Hist. Society Publications.
tion of this state house were made from the earth appropriated
from and by the demolition of a beautiful prehistoric mound
that once stood at the corner of High and Mound streets, and
from which mound, during its destruction, many human bones
of a past race were taken. This incident furnished the subject
of a poem by one of the settlers of Columbus, shortly after the
construction of its first buildings.
"Oh Town! consecrated before
The white man's foot e'er trod our shore,
To battle's strife and valour's grave,
Spare! oh spare the buried brave.
"A thousand winters passed away,
And yet demolished not the clay,
Which on yon hillock held in trust
The quiet of the warrior's dust.
"The Indian came and went again;
He hunted through the lengthened plain;
And from the Mound he oft beheld
The present silent battle field.
"But did the Indian e'er presume,
To violate that ancient tomb?
Ah, no! he had the soldier grace
Which spares the soldier's resting place.
"It is alone for Christian hand
To sever that sepulchral band,
Which ever to the view is spread,
To bind the living to the dead."
While we are in a poetical mood, it is worthy of note that
the original brick state house, the erection of which has just
been recorded, had a stone above its main entrance, upon which
was inscribed the following lines from Barlow's Columbiad:
"The equality of right is nature's plan,
And following nature is the march of man;
Based on its rock of right your empire lies,
On walls of wisdom let the fabric rise.
Preserve your principles, their force unfold,
Let nations prove them, and let kings behold,
Equality your first firm grounded stand,
Annual Meeting Ohio Valley Historical Association. 233
Then free elections, then your union band;
This holy triad should forever shine,
The great conpendium of all rights divine.
Creed of all schools, whence youths by millions draw,
Their theme of right, their decalogue of law,
Till man shall wonder (in these schools inured)
How wars were made, how tyrants were endured."
Following the erection of the state house, there was built
in 1815, a two-story brick building, one hundred and fifty feet
in length, by twenty-five in width, fronting on High street, fifty
or sixty feet north of the state house, for the purposes of state
The public square on which these buildings stood, was, in
1815 or 1816, cleared of the native timber and underbrush by
Jarvis Pike, generally known as Judge Pike, who enclosed the lot
with a rough rail fence, and farmed the ground three or four
years, raising upon it wheat, corn, etc. The fence having got
out of order, and not being repaired, was at length destroyed,
and the square lay in common for a dozen or more years.
On the 10th of February, 1816, the town was incorporated
as the "borough of Columbus" and on the 1st Monday in May,
following, Robert W. McCoy, John Cutler, Robert Armstrong,
Henry Brown, Caleb Houston, Michael Patton, Jeremiah Arm-
strong, Jarvis Pike (who was the first Mayor) and John Kerr
were elected the first board of councilmen.
Another local poet at that time, inspired by the incident of
the incorporation, perpetrated the following doggerel verse, con-
cerning the incorporators and their occupations.
I sell buckram and tape, . . . ... . McCoy.
I sell crocks and leather, . . . ... . Cutler.
I am the gentleman's ape, . . . . . . J. Armstrong.
I am all that together, . . . . . . .Brown.
I build houses and barns, . . . . . . . Houston.
I do the public carving . . . . . . Patton.
I sell cakes and beer, .... J.Armstrong
I am almost starving, . . . .. . . Pike.
I sell lots and the like,
And dabble in speculation, . ... Kerr.
We and his Majesty Pike
Make a splendid corporation.
234 Ohio Arch. and Hist. Society Publications.
In the fall of 1816 the state offices were removed from
Chillicothe to Columbus, and on the first Monday of December,
of the same year, the legislature began its first session in the
then new state house in Columbus. The proprietors having
finished the public buildings and deeded the two ten acre lots
to the state, agreeably to their proposals, at this session they
presented their account for the erection of the public buildings:
and by an act passed January 29, 1817, the Governor was au-
thorized to settle and adjust the account, and the Auditor re-
quired to draw on the treasurer for the balance found due after
deducting the $50,000 which the proprietors were by their pro-
posal bound to give.
In the settlement, after deducting from the charge for car-
penter work some six or seven per cent., and the $50,000, there
was found a balance due the proprietors of about $33,000, which
was paid by the state, and thus was closed the political and finan-
cial enterprise of fixing the permanent capital for the state of
Concerning this matter of the location of the capital, The
Supporter-a Chillicothe weekly of the date Saturday morning,
February 29, 1812-in its leading editorial spoke as follows:
"The law fixing the permanent seat of government will be seen
in this week's paper-a town to be laid out on the east bank of the
Scioto river, opposite Franklinton, and is, we understand, to be named
Columbus. We believe a more eligible site for a town is not to be found
and it must afford considerable gratification that this long contested sub-
ject has at last been settled. The legislature has appointed Joel Wright,
of Warren county, director."
THE CENTENNIAL CHURCHES OF THE MIAMI VALLEY.
J. E. BRADFORD, MIAMI UNIVERSITY, OXFORD.
The aim of this study is to trace the course and note some
of the main features of ecclesiastical development in the Miami
Valley to the close of the year 1815. By the Miami Valley we
mean the whole area drained by the two Miamis including the
Whitewater which is one of its tributaries entering the Great
Miami near its mouth. Let it be borne in mind that what is
here offered is but a hasty preliminary survey of a very inter-