A Brief History of Columbus, Ohio
Franklin County Ohio, Genealogy and History

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Submitted by Ruth Ficarra
Email: ruthficarra@mindspring.com
Date: February 10, 2000

A Brief History of Columbus...
Taken from Columbus City Directory 1852

The Legislature during its session in 1810-11, held in Zanesville, in order to establish a more central and permanent seat of government, received proposals from various places offering inducements for the location of the seat of government at the points designated in the proposals. Among the proposals of Lyne Starling, James Johnston, Alexander McLaughlin and John Kerr, the after proprietors of Columbus for establishing it on the high Bank of the Scioto River opposite Franklinville."which site was then covered with its native growth of timber"...

The proposals of Starling and Company were accepted by an act of Legislature passed Feb 14, 1812., and the proprietors , Lyne Starling , James Johnston, Alexander McLaughlin , and John Kerr laid out the town in the spring following. The lots are 621/2 by 1871/3 feet . The streets cross each other at right angles , varying 12 degrees to the right of the cardinal points. High Street running 12 degrees east, crossing Broad Street at the north west corner of the Public Square, (the principal street ) is 100 feet wide and extends from the northern to the southern limits of the city. Broad Stret , which runs east and west 12 degrees south is 120 feet wide, and extends from the bridge on the National Road to the eastern limits of the city, passing the northside of the Public Square. All the other streets were laid out 881/2 feet wide and the alleys 33 feet wide......

On the 18th of June 1812 the first public sale of lots at auction commemenced and continued three days. The lots sold were principally on High and Broad Streets, and were generally struck off at from two hundred to a thousand dollars. The only cleared place at this time, within the limits of town plat , was a small spot on Front Street, a little north of State Street , and a small spot and cabin on the bank of the river about where the Jewett buildings now stand. Some time after laying out the town plat, and eastern out- lots, the proprietors laid out some forty or fifty out-lots north of the town, represented on the record by a separate plat, containing a trifle over two acres each, and from part of two of these lots they conveyed to the town an acre and a half for a grave yard. Immediately after the sale of lots, improvements commenced rapidly-By the erection of small log and frame houses and shops, the frames were generally enclosed with split-clapboards........

For some years but little attention was paid to improving the streets or alleys-gradually however they were cleared by the inhabitants for firewood and building materials. Abouth the year 1816 a subscription of some two hundred dollars was raised by the citizens and apporpriated for the removal of the remaining obstructions out of High Street........

Among the first houses erected, was a brick building( in the fall of 1812) on High Street, on the second lot south of State Street, west side by John Collet. In 1813 it was opened by a John Payne as a tavern. Mr Collet took possession of it , and kept a very nice tavern for a new place, until about year 1818, when he sold it to Robert Russell, who continue to keep it as a tavern until 1847 when the building was fitted for store rooms, and is at present occupied by Sessions and Harris's Dry Goods Store; Oriman's Boot and Shoe Store, and Samuel Buck's Jewelry Store. Other taverns were opened about the same time of Mr. Collet's-One by Daniel Kooser, on the east side of Front Street, corner of Sugar Alley, in a log building. One by Mr. McCollough on the north-west corner of Front and Broad Streets called "The Black Bear" . Another at the northeast corner of High and Rich Streets was kept by a Wm. Day. ,( who had been a boatman) called a "Grocery"-it was the common consort of all boatmen engaged in boating stone, and those who came up the Scioto,( at which time a large amount of the heavy articles such as salt, iron etc. for the supply of the town and surrounding country were brought up the river by boats")and so frequent were the broils between the citizens and boatmen and the boatmen themselves that the House was called "The War Office". On some occasions as many as ten to fifteen men might be seen at one time stripped of all clothing , but pants and a girt around thier waist, preparatory for a regular fight. After the excitement had cooled down the constables, would venture to hunt up the combattants and take them in before Esquire Shields to receive Justice according to law-sometimes agains; the loudly expressed disapprobation of the delinquent receiving it. The Squire, however never suffered the equanimity of his temper to be disturbed by abusive words, but disposed of the business before him by a go aheadative short hand system. He done the principal part of the business belonging to justice of the peace, for the township , and with two constables , was generally known as "Pontius Pilot and his two bull dogs". Mr Shields was a native of Ireland , endowed with a full share of mental and physical abilities. he had become fully Americanized and was a progressive Democrat in politics and equality. As a bricklayer he coulkd do two common days work in one-in surveying and platting he was equally expeditious and although actively engaged during the week in business- he generally appropriated Sunday to preaching in town and country,-his sermons always gratis, and probably discoursed as eloquently(or he was a good speaker) as any of our $1000 clergymen. He was also a poet and frequently wrote his own hymus. He was generous and philanthropic having little of the love of money "for the sake of money"-consequently he never accumulated much beforehand-after a residence of some fourteen years in this place he emigrated to the south and has since deceased...........

Among the first settlers, or as early as 1813 were George McCormick, Geo. H. Harvey, John Shields, Michael patton, Alexander Patton, William Altman, John Collet, William McElvain, Daniel Kooser, Peter Patham, Jacob Hare, Christian Heyl, Jarvis Pike, George Pike, Benjamin Pike, William Long, A. Meneley, Dr. John Edmiston, John Kerr, and Jeremiah and Robert Armstrong.........

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