Historical Collections of Ohio pgs 746-758
Historical Collections of Ohio: Pages 746-758
| Hamilton County OhioHistorical Collections of Ohio index page |

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Hamilton county was the second settled in Ohio.  Washington, the first, has its first settlement at Marietta, April 7, 1788.  The country between the Great and Little Miamis had been the scene of so many fierce conflicts between Kentuckians and Indians in there raids to and fro that it was termed the “Miami Slaughter House,”  In June, 1788 and the period of the Revolutionary war, Captain BYRD, in command of 600 British and Indians with artillery from Detroit, came down the Big Miami and ascended the Licking opposite Cincinnati on his noted expedition into Kentucky, when he destroyed several stations and did great mischief.  And in the August following Gen. Rogers CLARK, with his Kentuckians, took up his line of march from the site of Cincinnati for the Shawnee towns on Little Miami and Mad rivers, which he destroyed.  On this campaign he erected two blockhouses on the north side of the Ohio.  These were the first structured known to have been built on the site of the city.

The beautiful country between the Miamis had been so infested by the Indians, that it was avoided by the whites, and its settlement might have been procrastinated for years, but for the discovery and enterprise of Major Benjamin STITES, a trader from New Jersey.  In the summer of 1786, SITTES happened to be at Washington, just back of Limestone, now Maysville, where he headed a party of Kentuckians in pursuit of some Indians who had stolen some horses.  They followed for some days; the latter escaped, but STITES gained by it a view of the rich valleys of the Great and Little Miami as far up as the site of Xenia.  With this knowledge, and charmed by the beauty of the country, he hurried back to New Jersey, and revealed his discovery to Judge John Cleves SYMMES, of Trenton, at that time  a member or Congress and a man of great influence.  This result was the formation of a company of twenty-four gentlemen of the State, similar to that of the Ohio Company, as proprietors of the proposed purchase.  Among these were General Jonathan DAYTON, Elias BOUDINOT, and Dr. WITHERSPOON, as well as SYMMES and STITES.  SYMMES, in August of next year, 1787, petitioned Congress for a grant of the land, but before the bargain was closed he made arrangements with STITES to sell him 10,000 acres of the best land.

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Under the contract with SYMMES, STITES, with a party of eighteen or twenty, landed on the 18th of November, 1788, and laid out the village of Columbia below the mouth of the Little Miami; it is now within the limits of the city, five miles east of Fountain Square.

The settlers were superior men.  Among them were Col. SPENCER, Major GANO, Judge GOFORTH, Francis DUNLAVY, Major KIBBERY, Rev. John SMITH, Judge FOSTER, Columbus BROWN, Mr. HUBBELL, Capt. FLINN, Jacob WHITE and John RILEY, and for several years the settlement was the most populous and successful.

Two or three blockhouses era first erected for the protection of the women and children, and then log-cabins for the families.  The boats in which they had come from Maysville, then Limestone, where broken up and used from the doors, floors, etc., to these rude buildings.  They had at that time no trouble from the Indians, which arose from the fact that they were then gathered at Fort Harmar to make a treaty with the whites.  Wild game was plenty, but their breadstuffs and salt soon gave out, and as a substitute they occasionally used various roots, taken from native plant, the bear grass especially when the spring of 1789 opened their prospects grew brighter.  The fine bottoms on the Little Miami had long been cultivated by the savages, and were found mellow as ash heaps.  The men worked in divisions, one-half keeping guard with their rifles while the other worked, changing their employments morning and afternoon.

Turkey Bottom, on the Little Miami, one and a half miles above Columbia, was a clearing in area of a square mile, for a long while, and supplied both Columbia and the garrison at Fort Washington at Cincinnati with corn for a season.  From nine acres of Turkey Bottom, the tradition goes, the enormous crop of 963 bushels were gathered the very first season.

Before this the women and children from Columbia early visited Turkey Bottom to scratch up the bulbous roots of the bear grass.  There they boiled, washed, dried on smooth boards, and finally pounded into a species of flour, which served as a tolerable substitute for making various baking operations.  Many of the families subsisted for a time entirely on the roots of the bear grass; and there was great suffering for provisions until they could grow corn.

Settlement of Cincinnati.

The facts connected with the settlement of Cincinnati are these; In the winter of 1787-1788 Matthias DENMAN, of Springfield, New Jersey, purchased of John Clees SYMMES, a tract of land comprising 740 acres, now but a small part of the city, his object being to form a station, lay out a town on the Ohio side opposite the mouth of the Licking river, and establish a ferry, garrison at Detroit here crossed the Ohio, and here was the usual avenue by which savages from the north had invaded Kentucky.  DENMAN paid five shillings per acre in Continental scrip, or about fifteen pence per acre in specie, or less that $125 in specie for the entire plot.

DENMAN the next summer associates with him two gentlemen of Lexington, Ky., each having one-third interest, Col. Robert PATTERSON and John FILSON.  The first was a gallant soldier of the Indian wars, and John FILSON, a school-master and surveyor, and author of various works upon the West, of which he had been an explorer, one of the “the Discover, Settlement and Present State of Kentucky,” published in 1784; also a map of the same.  FILSON was to survey the site and lay it out into lots, thirty in-lots of half an acre and thirty out-lots for four acres to be given thirty settlers of their paying $1.50 for deed and survey.  He called the proposed town Losantiville, a name formed by him from the Latin “os” mouth, the Greek, “anti,” opposite, and the French “ville,” city, from its position opposite the mouth of the Licking river.  And this name is retained until the advent of Gov. ST. CLAIR, January 2, 1790, who, being a member of the old Revolutionary army Society of Cincinnatus, expressed a desire the name should be changed to Cincinnati, when his wish was complied with.

 Preliminary Exploration.—In September, 1788, a large party, embracing SYMMES, STITIES, DENMAN, PATTERSON, FILSON, LUDLOW with others, in all about sixty men, left Limestone to visit the new Miami Purchase of SYMMES.  They landed at the mouth of the Great Miami, and explored the country from some distance back from that and North Bend, at which point SYMMES then decided to make a settlement.  The party surveyed

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the distance between the two Miamis, following the meanders of the Ohio, and returned to Limestone.

On this trip FILSON became separated from his companions while in the rear of North Bend and was never heard of, having doubtless been killed by the Indians, a fate of which he always seemed to have a presentiment.  Israel LUDLOW, who had intended to act as surveyor for SYMMES, now accepted FILSON’S interest, and assumed his duties in laying out Losantiville.

Landing at Cincinnati.—On the 24th of December, 1788 DENMAN and PATTERSON, with twenty-six others, left Limestone in a boat to found Losantiville.  After much difficulty and danger from floating ice in the river, they arrived at the spot on or about the 28th, the exact being in dispute.  The precise spot of their landing was an inlet at the foot of Sycamore street, later known as Yeatman’s Cove.

LUDLOW laid out the town.  On the 7th of January ensuing the settlers by lottery decided on their choice of donation lots, the same being given to each in fee simple on condition: 1. Raising two crops successively, and not less than an acre for each crop. 2. Building within two years a house equal to twenty-five feet square, one and half stories high, with brick, stone or clay chimney, each to stand in front of their lots.  The following is a list of the settlers who so agreed, thirty in number:  Samuel BLACKBORN, Sylvester WHITE, Joseph THRONTON, John VANCE, James DUMONT, --- FULTON, Elijah MARTIN, Isaac VAN METER, Thomas GISSEL, David MCCLEVER, ---  DAVISION, Matthew CAMPBELL, James MONSON, James, MCCONNELL,  Noah BADGELY, James CARPENTER, Samuel MOONEY, James CAMPBELL,  Isaac FREEMAN, Scott TRAVERSE, Benjamin DUMONT,  Jesse STWWART, Henry BECHTLE, Richard STEWARD, Luther KITCHNELL, Ephraim KIBBEY, Henry LIDNSEY, John PORTER, Daniel SHOEMAKER, Joel WILLIAMS.

The thirty in-lots in general terms comprised the space back from the standing between Main street and Broadway, and there was the town began.

The North Bend settlement was the third within the SYMMES Purchase, and was made under the immediate care of Judge SYMMES.  He called it North Bend because it is the most northerly bend on the Ohio west of the Kanawha. The Judge with his party of adventurers left Limestone January 29, 1789, only about a month after that of DENMAN at Cincinnati, and two months after that of STITES at Columbia. The history of this with other connecting historical items we extracted from Burnet’s Notes:

The party, on their passage down the river, were obstructed, delayed and exposed to imminent danger from floating ice, which covered the river. They, however, reached the Bend, the place of their destination, in safety, early in February. The first object of the Judge was to found a city at that place, which had received the name of North Bend, from the fact that it was the most northern bend in the Ohio river below the mouth of the Great Kanawhia.

The water-craft used in descending the Ohio, in those primitive times, were flat-boats mode of green oak plank, fastened by wooden pins to a frame of timber, and caulked with tow, or any other pliant substance that could be procured. Boats similarly con-structed on the northern waters were then called arks, but on the western rivers they were denominated Kentucky boats. The ma-terials of which they were composed were found to be of great utility in the construc-tion of temporary buildings for safety, and for protection from the inclemency of the weather, after they had arrived at their destination.

At the earnest solicitation of the Judge, General HARMAR sent Captain KEARSEY with forty-eight rank and file, to protect the improvements just commencing in the Miami country. This detachment reached Lime-stone in December, 1788, and in a few days after, Captain KEARSEY sent a part of his command in advance, as a guard to protect the pioneers under Major STITES, at the Little Miami, where they arrived soon after. Mr.  SYMMES and his party, accompanied by Cap-tain KEARSEY, landed at Columbia, on their passage down the river, and the detachment previously sent to that place joined their -company. They then proceeded to the Bend, and landed about the first or second of Feb-ruary. When they left Limestone, it was the purpose of Captain KEARSEY to occupy the fort built at the mouth of the Miami, by a detachment of United States troops, who afterwards descended the river to the falls.

That purpose was defeated by the flood in the river, which had spread over the low grounds and tendered it difficult to reach the fort. Captain KEARSEY, however, was anxious to make the attempt, but the Judge would not consent to it; he was, of course, much disappointed, and greatly displeased. When he set out on the expedition, expecting to find a fort ready built to receive him, he did not provide the implements necessary to construct one. Thus disappointed and dis-pleased, he resolved that he would not build a new work, but would leave the Bend and join the garrison at Louisville.

In pursuance of that resolution, he em-barked early in March, and descended the river with his command. The Judge imme-diately wrote to Major WILLIS, commandant of the garrison at the Falls, complaining of the conduct of Captain KEARSEY, representing the exposed situation of the Miami settlement, stating the indications of hostility manifested by the Indians, and requesting a guard to be sent to the Bend. This request

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was promptly granted, and before the close of the month, Ensign LUCE arrived with seventeen or eighteen soldiers, which, for the time, removed the apprehensions of the pioneers at that place. It was not long, however, before the Indians made an attack on them, in which they killed one soldier, and wounded four or five other persons, in-cluding Major J. R. MILLS, an emigrant from Elizabethtown, New Jersey, who was a sur-veyor, and an intelligent and highly respected citizen. Although he recovered from his wounds, he felt their disabling effects to the day of his death.

SYMMES CITY LAID OUT—The surface of the ground where the Judge and his party had landed was above the reach of the water, and sufficiently level to admit of a convenient settlement. He therefore deter-mined, for the immediate accommodation of his party, to lay out a village at that place, and to suspend, for the present, the execution of his purpose, as to the city, of which he had given notice, until satisfactory information could be obtained in regard to the comparative advantages of different places in the vicinity. The determination, however of laying out such a city, was not abandoned, but was executed in the succeeding year on a magnificent scale. It included the village, and extended from the Ohio across the pen-insula to the Miami river. This city, which was certainly a beautiful one, on paper, was
called Symmes, and for a time was a subject of conversation and of criticism but it soon ceased to be remembered—even its name was forgotten, and the settlement continued to be
called North Bend. Since then, that village has been distinguished as the residence and the home of the soldier and statesman, William Henry HARRISON, whose remains now repose in a humble vault on one of its beau-tiful hills.

In conformity with a stipulation made at Limestone, every individual belonging to the party received a donation lot, which he was required to improve, as the condition of
obtaining a title. As the number of these ad-venturers increased in consequence of the protection afforded by the military,  the Judge was induced to lay out another village, six or seven miles higher up the river, which he called South Bend, where he disposed of some donation lots; but that project failed. And in a few years the village was deserted and converted into a farm.

Indian Interviews. —During these transactions, the Judge was visited by a number of Indians from a camp in the neighborhood of Stites’ settlement. One of them, a Shawnee
chief, had many complaints to make of frauds practiced on them by white traders, who for-tunately had no connection with the pioneers. After several conversations, and some small presents, he professed to be satisfied with the
explanation he had received, and gave assur-ances that the Indians would trade with the white men as friends.

In one of their interviews, the Judge told him he had been commissioned and sent out to their country, by the thirteen fires, in the sprit of friendship and kindness and that he was instructed to treat them as friends and brothers. In proof of this he showed them the flag of the Union, with its stars and stripes and also his commission, having the great seal of the United States attached to it exhibiting the American eagle, with the olive branches in one claw, emblematical of peace, and the instrument of war and death in the other. He explained the meaning of those symbols to their satisfaction, though at first the chief seemed to think they were not very striking emblems either of peace or friend-ship but before be departed from the Bend, he gave assurances of the most friendly character. Yet, when they left their camp to return to their towns, they carried off a number of horses belonging to the Columbia settlement, to compensate for the injuries done
them by wandering traders, who had no part or lot with the pioneers. These depredations having been repeated, a party was sent out in pursuit, who followed the trail of the Indians a considerable distance, when they dis-covered fresh signs, and sent Captain FLINN, one of their party, in advance, to reconnoitre.  He had not proceeded far before he was sur-prised, taken prisoner, and carried to the Indian camp. Not liking the movements he saw going on which seemed to indicate per-sonal violence, in regard to himself, and having great confidence in his activity and strength, at a favorable moment he sprang from the camp, made his escape, and joined his party. The Indians, fearing an ambuscade, did not pursue. The party possessed themselves of several horses belonging to the Indians, and returned to Columbia. In a few days, the Indians brought in Captain FLINN’S rifle, and begged Major STITES to re-store their horses—alleging that they were innocent of the depredations laid to their charge. After some further explanations, the matter was amicably settled, and the horses were given up.

The three principal settlements of the Miami country, although they had one gen-eral object, and were threatened by one common danger, yet there existed a strong spirit of rivalry between them—each feeling a pride in the prosperity of the little colony to which be belonged. That spirit produced a strong influence on the feelings of the pioneers of the different villages, and produced an esprit du corps, scarcely to be expected under circumstances so critical and dangerous as those which threatened them. At first it was a matter of doubt which of the rivals, Columbia, Cincinnati or North Bend, would eventually become the chief seat of business.

That, however, lasted but a short time. The garrison having been established at Cin-cinnati made it the headquarters and the depot of the army.  In addition to this, as soon as the county courts of the territory were organized, it was made the seat of jus-tice of Hamilton county. These advantages convinced everybody that it was destined to become the emporium of the Miami country

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Privations of the Settlers.—A large number of the original adventurers to the Miami pur-chase had exhausted their means by paying for their land, and removing their families to the country. Others were wholly destitute of property, and came out as volunteers, un-der the expectation of obtaining, gratuitously, such small tracts of land as might be forfeited by the purchasers, under Judge SYMMES, for not making the improvements required by the conditions stipulated in the terms of sale and settlement of Miami lands, published by the Judge, in 1787. The class of adventurers first named was comparatively numerous, and had come out under an expectation of taking immediate possession of their lands, and of commencing the cultivation of then for sub-sistence. Their situation, therefore, was dis-tressing. To go out into the wilderness to till the soil appeared to be certain death; to remain in the settlements threatened them with starvation. The best provided of the pioneers found it difficult to obtain subsist-ence; and, of course, the class now spoken of were not far from total destitution. They depended on game, fish, and such products of the earth as could be raised on small patches of ground in the immediate vicinity of the settlements.

Occasionally, small lots of provision were brought down the river by emigrants, and sometimes were transported on pack-horses, from Lexington, at a heavy expense, and not without danger. But supplies, thus procured, were beyond the reach of those destitute persons now referred to.

Stations Established.—Having endured these privations as long as they could be borne, the more resolute of them determined to brave the consequences of moving on to their lands. To accomplish the object with the least exposure, those whose lands were in the same neighborhood united as one family; and on that principle, a number of associations were formed, amounting to a dozen or more who went out resolved to maintain their positions.

Each party erected a strong block-house, near to which their cabins were put up, and the whole was enclosed by strong log pickets. This being done, they commenced clearing their lands, and preparing for planting their crops. During the day, while they were at work, one person was placed as a sentinel, to warn them of approaching danger. At sun-set they retired to the block-house and their cabins, taking everything of value within the pickets. In this manner they proceeded front day to day, and week to week, till their improvements were sufficiently extensive to support their families. During this time, they depended for subsistence on wild game, obtained at some hazard, more than on the scanty supplies they were able to procure from the settlements on the river.

In a short time these stations gave pro-tection and food to a large number of destitute families. After they were established, the Indians became less annoying to the settle-ments on the Ohio, as part of their time was employed in watching the stations. The former, however, did not escape, but endured their share of the fruits of savage hostility. In fact, no place or situation was exempt from danger. The safety of the pioneer de-pended on his means of defense, and on per-petual vigilance.

The Indians viewed those stations with great jealousy, as they had the appearance of permanent military establishments, intended to retain possession of their country. In that view they were correct and it was fortunate for the settlers that the Indians wanted either the skill or the means of demolishing them.

The truth of the matter is, their great error consisted in permitting those works to be constructed at all. They might have pre-vented it with great ease, but they appeared not to be aware of the serious consequences which were to result, until it was too late to act with effect. Several attacks were, however, made at different, times, with an apparent determination to destroy them; but they failed in every instance. The assault made on the station erected by Captain Jacob WHITE, a pioneer of much energy and enterprise, at the third crossing of Mill creek from Cincinnati, on the old Hamilton road was resolute and daring but it was gallantly met and successfully repelled. During the attack, which was in the night, Captain WHITE add killed a warrior, who fell so near the block-house, that his companions could not remove his body. The next morn-ing it was brought in, and judging from his stature, as reported by the inmates, he might have claimed descent from a race of giants. On examining the ground in the vicinity of the block-house, the appearances of blood indicated that the assailants had suffered severely.

DUNLAP’S STATION ATTACKED —In the winter of 1790—1, an attack was made, with a strong party, amounting, probably, to four or five hundred, on Dunlap’s station, at Colerain. The block-house at that place was occupied by a small number of United States troops, commanded by Col. KINGSBURY, then a subal-tern in the army. The fort was furnished with a piece of artillery, which was an object of terror to the Indians yet that did not de-ter them from an attempt to effect their pur-pose. Time attack was violent, and for some time the station was in imminent danger.

The savages were led by the notorious Simon GIRTY, and outnumbered the garrison, at least, ten to one. The works were entirely of wood, and the only obstacle between the assailants and the assailed was a picket of logs, that might have been demolished, with a loss not exceeding, probably, twenty or thirty lives. The garrison displayed unusual gallantry—they frequently exposed their persons above the pickets to insult and provoke the assailants; and judging from the facts reported, they conducted with as much folly as bravery.

Col. John WALLACE, of Cincinnati, one of the earliest arid bravest of the pioneers, and

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as amiable as he was brave, was in the fort  when the attack was made. Although the works were completely surrounded by the enemy, the colonel volunteered his services to go to Cincinnati for a reinforcement. The fort stood on the east bank of the Big Miami. Late in the night he was conveyed across the river in a canoe, and landed on the op-posite shore. Having passed down some miles below the fort, he swam the river, and directed his course for Cincinnati. On his way down, the next day, he met a body of men from that place and from Columbia, proceeding to Colerain. They had been in-formed of the attack, by persons hunting in the neighborhood, who were sufficiently near the fort to hear the firing when it began.

He joined the party, and led them to the station by the same route lie had traveled from it; but before they arrived, the Indians had taken their departure.  It was afterwards ascertained that Mr. Abner HUNT a respect-able citizen of New Jersey, who was on a surveying tour in the neighborhood of Colerain, at the time of the attack, was killed before he could reach the fort.  His body was afterward found, shockingly mangled.

The Indians tied HUNT to a sapling, within sight of the garrison, who distinctly heard his screams and built a large fire so near as to scorch him inflicting the most acute pain then, as his flesh, from the action of the fire and the frequent application of live coals, be-came less sensible making deep incisions in his limbs as if to renew his sensibility of
pain; answering his cries for water, to allay the extreme thirst caused by burning, by fresh tortures; and, finally, when, exhausted and fainting, death seemed approaching to release the wretched prisoner, terminating his sufferings by applying flaming brands to his naked bowels.’"


Soon as the settlers of Cincinnati landed (December, 1788) they commenced erecting three or four cabins, the first of which was built on Front, east of and near Main street. The lower table of land was then covered with sycamore and maple trees, and the upper with beech and oak. Through this dense forest the streets were laid out, their corners being marked upon the trees. This survey ex-tended from Eastern row, now Broadway, to Western row, now Central Avenue, and from the river as far north as to Northern row, now Seventh street.

Fort Washington was built in the fall of 1789 by Major DOUGHTY, the com-mander of a body of troops sent by Gen. HARMAR from Fort Harmar with discre-tionary power to locate a fort in the Miami country.  The site selected was a little east of Broadway just outside of the village limits, and where Third street now crosses it. The fort was a solid, substantial fortress of hewn timber about 180 feet square with block-houses at the four angles and two stories high. Fifteen acres were then reserved there by government. It was the most important and extensive military work then in time Territories, and figured largely in the Indian wars of the period. Gen. HARMAR arrived and took command late in December, its garrison then comprising seventy men.

In January, 1790, Gen. Arthur ST. CLAIR , then governor of  the Northwest Territory, arrived at Cincinnati to organize the county of Hamilton. In the succeeding fall Gen. HARMAR marched from Fort Washington on his expedition against the Indians of the Northwest.  In the following year (1791) the unfortunate army of ST CLAIR marched from the same place. On his return, ST. CLAIR gave Major ZEIGLER the command of Fort Washington and repaired to Philadelphia, soon after the latter was succeeded by Col. WILKINSON.  This year Cincinnati had little increase in its population. About one-half of the inhabitants were attached to the army of ST. CLAIR, and many killed in the defeat.

In 1792 about fifty persons were added by immigration to the population of Cincinnati, and a house of worship erected. In the spring following the troops which had been recruited for WAYNE’S army landed at Cincinnati and encamped on the bank of the river, between the village of Cincinnati and Mill creek. To that encampment Wayne gave the name of “Hobson’s Choice,” it being the only suitable place for that object. This was just west of Central avenue. Here he remained several months, constantly drilling his troops, and then moved on to a spot now in Darke county, where he erected Fort Greenville.  In the fall, after the army had left, the small-pox broke out in the garrison at Fort Washington, and spread with so much malignity that nearly one-third of the soldiers and citizens fell victims. In July, 1794, the army left Fort Greenville, and on the


20th of August defeated the enemy at the battle of “the Fallen Timbers,” in what is now Lucas county, a few miles above Toledo. Judge BURNET thus de-scribes Cincinnati, at about this period.

Prior to the treaty of Greenville, which established a permanent peace between the United States and the Indians but few improvements had been made of any description, and scarcely one of a permanent character. In Cincin-nati, Fort Washington was the most remarkable object. That rude but highly interesting structure stood between Third and Fourth streets produced, east of Eastern row, now Broadway, which was then a two-pole alley, and was the eastern boundary of the town, as originally laid out. It was composed of a number of strongly built, hewed-log-cabins, a story and a half high, calculated for soldiers’ barracks. Some of them, more conveniently arranged and better finished, were intended for officers’ quarters. They were so placed as to form a hollow square of about an acre of ground with a strong block-house at each angle.  It was built of large logs, cut from the ground on which it stood, which was a tract of fifteen acres, reserved by Congress in the law of 1792 for the accommodation of the garrison.

The artificers’ yard was and appendage to the fort and stood on the bank of the river immediately in front. It contained about two acres of ground, enclosed by small contiguous buildings, occupied as work-shops and quarters for laborers. Within the enclosure there was a large two-story frame-house, familiarly called the “yellow-house,” built for the accommodation of the quartermaster-general, which was the most commodious and best finished edifice in Cincinnati.

On the north side of Fourth street, immediately behind the fort, Colonel SARGENT, secretary of the territory, had a convenient frame-house and a spacious garden, cultivated with care and taste. On the east side of the fort, Dr. ALLISON, the surgeon-general of the army, had a plain frame dwelling in the centre of a large lot, cultivated as a garden and fruitery, which was called Peach Grove.

The Presbyterian church, an interesting edifice, stood on Main street in front of the spacious brick building now occupied by the first Presbyterian congregation.  It was a substantial frame building about forty feet by thirty, enclosed with c1apboards, but neither lathed, plastered nor ceiled. The floor was of boat plank, resting on wooden blocks. In that humble edifice the pioneers and their families assembled statedly for public worship; and during, the continuance of the war, they always attended with loaded rifles by their sides. That building was after-wards neatly finished, and some years subsequently [1814] was sold and removed to Vine street, where it now [1847] remains the property of Judge BURKE.

On the north side of Fourth street, opposite where St. Paul’s Church now stands, there stood a frame school-house, enclosed, but unfinished, in which the children of the village were instructed. On the north side of the public square there was a strong log-building erected and occupied as a jail. A room in the tavern of George AVERY, near the frog-pond, at the corner of Main and Fifth streets, had been rented for the accommodation of the courts; and as the penitentiary system had not been adopted, and Cincinnati was a seat of justice, it was ornamented with a pillory, stocks and whipping-post, and occasionally with a gallows. These were all the structures of a public character then in the place. Add to these the cabins and other temporary buildings for the shelter of the inhabitants, and it will complete the schedule of the improvements of Cincinnati at the time of the treaty of Greenville. The only vestige of them now remain-ing is the church of the pioneers.  With that exception, and probably two or three frame buildings which have been repaired, improved and preserved, every edifice in the city has been erected since the ratification of that treaty. The sta-tions of defense scattered through the Miami Valley were all temporary, and have long since gone to decay or been demolished.

It may assist the reader in forming something like a correct idea of the appear—


ance of Cincinnati, and of what it actually was at that time, to know that at the intersection of Main and Fifth streets, now the centre of business and tasteful improvement, there was a pond of water full of alder bushes, from which the frogs serenaded the neighborhood during the summer and fall, and which rendered it necessary to construct a causeway of logs to pass it. That morass remained in its natural state with its alders and its frogs, several years after Mr. B. became a resident of the place, the population of which, including the garrison and followers of the army, was about six hundred. The fort was then commanded by William H. HARRISON, a captain in the army, but afterwards President of the United States. In 1797, General WILKINGSON, the commander-in-chief of the army, made it his head-quarters for a few months, but did not apparently interfere with the command of Captain HARRISON, which continued till his resignation in 1798.

During time period now spoken of, the settlements of the territory, including

[The engraving represents the first Presbyterian Church as it appeared in February, 1847. In the following spring it was taken down and the materials used for the construction of several dwellings in the western part of Cincinnati then called Texas. The greater proportion of the timber was found to be perfectly sound. The site was on Vine street just above where now is the Arcade. In 1791 a num-ber of the inhabitants formed themselves into a company to escort the Rev. James KEMPER from beyond the Kentucky river to Cincinnati; and, after his arrival, a subscription was set on foot to build this church, which was erected in 1792. This subscription paper is still in existence, and bears date January 16, 1792. Among its signers were General WILKINSON, Captains FORD, PETERS and SHAYLOR, of the regular service, Dr. ALLISON, surgeon to ST. CLAIR and WAYNE, Winthrop SARGEANT, Captain Robert ELLIOT and others, principally citizens, to the number of 106.]

Cincinnati, contained but few individuals, and still fewer families, who had been accustomed to mingle in the circles of polished society.  That fact put it in the power of the military to give character to the manners and customs of the people. Such a school, it must be admitted, was by no means calculated to make the most favorable impression on the morals and sobriety of any community, as was abundantly proved by the result.

Idleness, drinking and gambling prevailed in the army to a greater extent than it has done at any subsequent period. This may be attributed to the fact that they had been several years in the wilderness, cut off from all society but their own, with but few comforts or conveniences at hand, and no amusements but such as their own ingenuity could invent. Libraries were not to be found—men of literary minds or polished manners were rarely met with; and they had long been deprived of the advantage of modest, accomplished female society, which always produces a salutary influence on the feelings and moral habits of men.


Thus situated, the officers were urged, by an irresistible impulse, to tax their wits for expedients to fill up the chasms of leisure which were left on their hands after a full discharge of their military duties; and, as is too frequently the case, in such circumstances, the bottle, the dice-box and the card-table were among the expedients resorted to, because they were the nearest at hand and the most easily procured.

It is a distressing fact that a very large proportion of the officers under General WAYNE, and subsequently under General WILKINSON, were hard drinkers. HARRISON, CLARK, SHOMBERG, FORD, STRONG and a few others were the only exceptions. Such were the habits of the army when they began to associate with the inhabitants of Cincinnati, and of the western settlements generally, and to give tone to public sentiment.

As a natural consequence the citizens indulged in the same practices and formed the same habits. As a proof of this it may be stated that when Mr. BURNET came to the bar there were nine resident lawyers engaged in the practice, of whom he is and has been for many years the only survivor. They all became confirmed sots, and descended to premature graves, excepting his brother, who was a young man of high promise, but whose life was terminated by a rapid consumption in the summer of 1801. He expired under the shade of a tree, by the side of the road, on the banks of Paint creek, a few miles from Chillicothe.

On the 9th of November, 1793, William MAXWELL established at Cincinnati The Centinel of the Northwestern Territory, with the motto, “Open to all parties -- influenced by none.” It was on a half-sheet, royal quarto size, and was the first newspaper printed north of the Ohio river. In I 796 Edward FREEMAN became the owner of the paper, which he changed to Freeman’s Journal, which he con-tinued until the beginning of 1800, when he removed to Chillicothe. On the 28th of May, 1799, Joseph CARPENTER issued the first number of a weekly paper entitled the Western Spy and Hamilton Gazette. On the 11th of January, 1794, two keel-boats sailed from Cincinnati to Pittsburg, each making a trip once in four weeks. Each boat was so covered as to be protected against rifle- and musket-balls, and had port-holes to fire out at, and was provided with six pieces carrying pound balls, a number of muskets and ammunition, as a protection against the Indians on the banks of the Ohio. In 1801 the first sea-vessel equipped for sea--of 100 tons, built at Marietta--passed down the Ohio, carrying produce, and the banks of the river at Cincinnati were crowed with spectators to witness this novel event. December 19, 1801, the Territorial Legislature passed a bill removing the seat of government from Chillicothe to Cincinnati.

January 2,1802, the Territorial Legislature incorporated the town of Cincinnati, and the following officers were appointed David ZIEGLER, President; Jacob BURNET, Recorder; Wm. RAMSAY, David E. WADE, Chas. AVERY, John REILY, Wm. STANLEY, Samuel DICK, and WM. RUFFNER, Trustees; Jo PRINCE, Assessor; Abram CARY, Collector; and James SMITH, Town Marshal. In 1795 the town contained 94 cabins, 10 frame houses, and about 500 inhabitants. In 1800 the population was estimated at 750, and, in 1810, it was 2,540.

We give on an adjoining page a view of Cincinnati, taken by J. CUTLER, as it appeared about the year 1810. It is from an engraving in “the Topographical Description of Ohio, Indiana Territory, and Louisiana,” by a late officer of the army,” and published at Boston, in 1812.

That work states that Cincinnati contains about 400 dwellings, an elegant court-house, jail, 3 market-houses, and a land-office for the sale of Congress lands, 2 printing-offices, issuing weekly gazettes, 30 mercantile stores, and the various branches of mechanism are carried on with spirit. Industry of every kind being duly encouraged by the citizens, it is likely to become a considerable manufacturing place. It has a bank, issuing notes under the authority of the State, called the Miami Exporting Company. . . .   A considerable trade is carried on between Cincinnati and New Orleans in keel-boats, which return laden with foreign goods. The passage of a boat, of forty tons, down to New Orleans, is computed at about twenty-five, and its return at about sixty-five days.


In 1819 a charter was obtained from the State Legislature, by which Cincinnati was incorporated as a city. This, since repeatedly amended and altered, forms the basis of its present municipal authority.

[From the Original Edition.]

Cincinnati is 116 miles southwest Columbus; 120 southeast Indianapolis, Indiana; 90 north-northwest Lexington, Kentucky;  270 north—northeast Nash-ville, Tennessee; 455 below Pittsburg, Pennsylvania, by the course of the river; 132 above Louisville, Kentucky; 494 above the mouth of the Ohio river, and 1,447 miles above New Orleans by the Mississippi and Ohio rivers; 518 by post-route west of Baltimore ; 617 miles west by south of Philadelphia; 950 from New York by Lake Erie, Erie canal, and Hudson river, and 492 from Washington City. It is in 39 deg.  6 minutes 30 seconds N. lat., and 7 deg. 24 minutes 25 seconds W. long. It is the largest city of the West north of New Orleans, and the fifth in population in the United States, it is situated on the north bank of the Ohio river, opposite the mouth of Licking river, which enters the Ohio between Newport and Covington, Kentucky. The Ohio here has a gradual bend towards the south.

This city is near the eastern extremity of a valley about twelve miles in circumference surrounded by beautiful hills, which rise to the height of 300 feet by gentle and varying slopes, and mostly covered with native forest trees. The summit of these hills presents a beautiful and picturesque view of the city and valley. The city is built on two table-lands, the one elevated from forty to sixty feet above the other. Low-water mark in the river, which is 108 below the upper part of the city, is 432 feet above tide-water at Albany, and 133 feet below the level of Lake Erie. The population in 1800 was 750; in 1810, 2,540; in 1820, 9,602; in 1830, 24,831; in 1840, 43,338; and, in 1847, over 90,000. Employed in commerce in 1840, 2,223; in manufacturing and trades, 10,866 navigating rivers and canals, 1,748; in the learned professions, 377. Covington and Newport, opposite in Kentucky, and Fulton and the adjacent parts of Mill Creek township on the north are, in fact, suburbs of Cincinnati, and if added to the above population would extend it to 105,000. The shore of the Ohio at the landing is substantially paved to low-water mark, and is supplied with floating wharves, adapted to the great rise and kill of river, which renders the landing and shipping of goods at all times convenient.

Cincinnati seems to have been originally laid out on the model of Philadelphia —with great regularity. North of Main street, between the north side of Front street and the bank of the river, is the landing, an open area of 10 acres, with about 1,000 feet front. This area is of great importance to the business of the city, and generally presents a scene of much activity. The corporate limits include about four square miles. The central part is compactly and finely built, with spacious warehouses, large stores, and handsome dwellings; but in its outer parts it is but partially built up and the houses irregularly scattered. Many of them are of stone or brick, but an equal or greater number are of wood, and are gener-ally from two to three stories high. The city contains over 11,000 edifices, public and private; and of those recently erected, the number of brick exceeds those of wood, amid the style of architecture is constantly improving. Many of the streets are, well paved, extensively shaded with trees and the houses ornamented with shrubbery. The climate is more variable than on the Atlantic coast in the same latitude. Snow rarely falls sufficiently deep or lies long enough to furnish sleighing. Few places are more healthy, the average annual mortality being 1 in 40. The inhabitants are from every State in the Union, and from various countries in Europe. Besides natives of Ohio, Pennsylvania and New Jersey have furnished the greatest number; but many are from New York, Virginia,


Maryland and New England. Nearly one—fifth of the adult population are Germans. But England, Ireland, Scotland, France, and Wales have furnished considerable numbers.

The Ohio river at Cincinnati is 1,800 feet, or about one-third of a mile wide and its mean annual range from low to high water is about 50 feet; the extreme range may be about 10 feet more. The greatest depressions are generally in August, September, and October, and time greatest rise in December, March, May, and June.  The upward navigation is generally suspended by floating ice for eight or ten weeks in the winter.  Its current at its mean height is about three miles an hour; when higher and rising, it is more; and, when very low, it does not exceed two miles. The quantity   of rain and snow which falls annually at Cincinnati is near 3 feet 9 inches.  The wettest month is May, and the driest January. The average number of clear and fair days in a year is 146; of variable, 114; of cloudy, 105.  There have been, since 1840, from thirty to thirty eight steamboats annually built, with an average aggregate tonnage of 6,500 tons.

Among the public buildings Cincinnati is the court-house, on Main street it is a spacious building.  The edifice of the Franklin and Lafayette bank, of Cincinnati, on Third street, has a splendid portico of Grecian Doric columns, 4 feet 6 inches in diameter, extending through the entire front, was built after the model of the Parthenon, and is truly classical and beautiful. The First and Second Presbyterian churches are beautiful edifices, and the Unitarian church is singularly neat. There are several churches, built within the last three years, which possess, either internally or externally. But the most impressive building is the Catholic Cathedral, which, at far less cost, surpasses in beauty and picturesque effect the metropolitan edifice at Baltimore. There are many fine blocks of stores on Front, Walnut, Pearl, Main, and Fourth streets, and the eye is arrested by many beautiful habitations.  The most showy quarters are Main street, Broadway, Pearl, and Court street west of its intersection with Main.

There are 76 churches in  Cincinnati, viz:  7 Presbyterian (4 Old and 3 New School);  2 Congregational ; 12 Episcopal Methodist ; 2 Methodist Protestant ; 2 Wesleyan Methodist ; 1 Methodist Episcopal South;1 Bethel ; 1 Associate Reformed; 1 Reformed Presbyterian ; 6 Baptist ; 5 Disciples ; 1 Universalist; 1 Restorationist;  1 Christian; 8 German Lutheran and Reformed; English Lutheran and Reformed, 1 each; 1 United Brethren ; 1 Welsh Calvinistic; 1 Welsh Con-gregational; 1 Unitarian; 2 Friends; 1 New Jerusalem; 8 Catholic, 6 of which are for Germans; 2 Jewish synagogues; 5 Episcopal, and 1 Second Advent.

There are 5 market-houses and 3 theatres, of which 1 is German.

Cincinnati contains many literary and charitable institutions. The Cincinnati College was founded in 1819. The building is in the centre of the city, and is the most beautiful edifice of the kind in the State. It is of the Grecian Doric order, with pilaster fronts and façade of Dayton marble, and cost about $35,000. It has 7 professors or other instructors, about 160 pupils, one-quarter of whom are in the collegiate department. Woodward College, named from its founder who gave a valuable block of ground in the north part of the city, has a president and 5 professors or other instructors, and, including its preparatory department near 200 students. The Catholics have a college called St. Xavier’s, which has about 100 students and near 5,000 volumes in its libraries.  Lane Seminary, a theological institution it at Walnut H ills, two miles from the centre of the city. It went into operation in 1833, has near 100 students, and over 10,000 volumes in its libraries. There is no charge for.  Rooms are provided and furnished at $5 per annum, and the students boarded at 90 and 62 1/2 cents per week.  The Medical College was chartered and placed under trustees in 1825.  It has a large and commodious building, a library of over 2,000 volumes, 7 professors, and about 150 students. The Cincinnati Law School is connected with Cincinnati College, has 3 professors and about 30 students. The Mechanics’ Institute,

chartered in 1828, has a valuable philosophical and chemical apparatus, a library and a reading-room. The common free schools of the city are of a high order, with fine buildings, teachers, and apparatus. In the high schools there are not less than 1,500 pupils; in the common and private, 5,000; and, including the

students in the collegiate institutions, there are 7,000 persons in the various departments of education. In 1831 a college of teachers was established, having for its object the elevation of the profession, and the advancement of the interest of schools in the Mississippi Valley, which holds an animal meeting in Cin-cinnati in October. The Young Men’s Mercantile Library Association has a fine library and

reading-rooms. The library contains over 3,800 volumes, and the institute promises to be an honor and a blessing to the commercial com-munity. The Apprentices’ Library, founded in 1821, contains 2,200 volumes.

The charitable institutions of the city are highly respectable. The Cincinnati orphan asylum is in a building which cost $l8, 000. Attached is a library and well-organized school with a provision even for infants; and it is surrounded by


ample grounds. It has trained up over 300 children for usefulness. The Catholics have one male and female orphan asylum. The commercial hospital and lunatic asylum of Ohio was incorporated 1821.  The edifice, in the north-west part of the city, will accommodate 250 persons; 1,100 have been admitted within a year. A part of the building is used for a poor-house; and there are separate apartments for the insane.

The city is supplied by water raised from the Ohio river, by a steam-engine, forty horse-power, and forced into two reservoirs, on a hill, 700 feet distant; from whence it is carried pipes to the intersection of Broadway and Third streets, and thence distributed through the principle streets in pipes. These works are now owned by the city.

Cincinnati is an extensive manufacturing place. Its natural destitution of water-power is extensively compensated at present by steam-engines, and by the surplus water of the Miami canal, which affords 3000 cubic feet per minute. But the Cincinnati and White Water canal, which extends twenty-five miles and connects with the White Water canal of Indiana, half a mile south of Harrison, on the State line, will furnish a great increase of water-power, equal to ninety runs of millstones. The manufactures of the city, already large, may be expected to greatly increase. By a late enumeration, it appears that the manufactures of Cincinnati of all kinds employ 10,647 persons, a capital of’ $14,541,842, and produce articles of over seventeen millions of dollars value.

The trade of Cincinnati embraces the country from the Ohio to the lakes, north and south; and from the Scioto to the Wabash, east and west. The Ohio river line, in Kentucky, for fifty miles down, and as far up as the Virginia line, make their purchases here. Its manufactures are sent into the upper and lower Mississippi country.

There are six incorporated banks, with aggregate capital of $5,800,000, beside two unincorporated banks. Cincinnati is the greatest pork market in the world. Not far from three millions of dollars worth of pork are annually exported.

Cincinnati enjoys great facilities for communication with the surrounding country. The total length of canals, railroads and turnpikes which centre here, completed and constructed, is 1,125 miles. Those who have made it a matter of investigation predict that Cincinnati will eventually be a city of a. very great population. A writer, J. W. SCOTT, editor of the Toledo Blade, in  Cist’s “Cincinnati  in 1841” in a long article on this subject, commences with the startling  announcement, “Not having before my eyes the fear of men, ‘who—in the lan-guage of Governor MORRIS—with too much  pride to study and too much wit to think, undervalue what they do not understand, and condemn  what they do not comprehend,”  I venture the prediction, that within one hundred years from this time, Cincinnati will be the greatest city in America; and by the year of our Lord 2000 the greatest city in the world.” We have not space here to recap-itulate the arguments on which thus prediction is based. The prediction itself we place on record for future reference. —Old Edition.

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