~ pg. 812 ~
Thirteen of the Governors of the State have been at some time
of Cincinnati, one of whom only, William DENNISON, was born in the
They were Othniel LOOKER, 1814; Ethan Allen BROWN, 1818-1822; Salmon P.
CHASE, 1856-1860; William DENNISON, 1860-1862; John BROUGH, 1864, 1865;
1865, 1866; Jacob P. COX, 1866-1868; Rutherford B. HAYES, 1868-1872; also 1876, 1877; Edward F. NOYES, 1872-1874; Thomas L. YOUNG, 1887, 1888; Richard M. Bishop, 1878-1880; George M. HOADLEY, 1884-1886; Joseph B. FORAKER, 1888-1890.
We annex slight sketches of those not elsewhere noted:
OTHNIEL LOOKER was born in New York, in 1757; was a private in the war of the Revolution and a man of humble origin and calling, and of whose history but little is known, but, being Speaker in the Ohio Senate, by virtue of that office became acting Governor for eight months when General MEIGS resigned to go into Mr. MADISON’S cabinet, he was later defeated as a candidate for Governor against Thomas WORTHINGTON.
ETHAN ALLEN BROWN was born in Darien, Conn., July 4, 1766; studied law with Alexander HAMILTON; settled in Cincinnati in 1804; from 1810 to 1818 was a Supreme Judge, when he was elected Governor and began agitating the subject of constructing canals. In 1820 was re-elected over Jeremiah MORROW and General WM. Henry HARRISON; in 1822 was elected to the United States Senate; from 1830 to 1834 U. S. Minister to Brazil; later Commissioner of Public Lands; then retired to private life and died in 1852 in Indianapolis after a long and useful career.
THOMAS L. YOUNG was born on the estate of Lord Dufferin, in North
Dec. 14, 1832; came to this country at fifteen years of age; served ten years as a private in the regular army, entering on the last ear of the Mexican war; in 1859 came to Cincinnati graduated at its law school. When the rebellion broke out was assistant superintendent of the House of Refuge, Reform School, and on the 18th of March wrote a letter to Gen. Winfield Scott, whom he personally
knew, offering his services for the coming war, thus, becoming the first volunteer from Hamilton county. He eventually entered the army, was commissioned colonel and for extraordinary gallantry at Resaca was brevetted general. In 1866 he was elected to the legislature; in 1872 served as a Senator, and in 1876 elected Lieut.-Governor and succeeded R. B. HAYES when he became President. As Governor of Ohio during the railroad riots he showed extraordinary pluck. Being asked to call upon the general government for aid from the regular troops he replied tersely “No, not until the last man in Ohio is whipped.” He died July 19, 1888, singularly admired for his thorough manliness.
RICHARD M. BISHOP was born in Fleming county, Kentucky, in 1812, and at the age of thirty-six came to Cincinnati, where for many years he was at the head of a wholesale grocery house; in 1859 was elected Mayor of the city and in 1877 Governor of the State. He has ever been a public-spirited and highly respected citizen and now, in advanced life, is erect as in youth and possesses a fine patriarchal presence, wearing a long flowing beard, as grand we dare say as that Moses had when on Pisgah. From early life he has been one of the most prominent men of the Disciples or Campbellite Baptist Church, the same as that with which President GARDFIELD was identified.
William Henry Harrison was born at Berkley, on James river,
miles from Richmond, Virginia, in 1773.
He was the youngest of three sons of Benjamin HARRISON, who represented Virginia in Congress in 1774-1776 and was chairman of the committee of the whole house, when the declaration of independence agreed to, and was one of its signers. He was elected Governor of Virginia, and was one of the most popular officers that ever filled the executive chair. He died in 1791.
Wm. Henry Harrison entered Hampden Sydney College, which he left at seventeen years of age. He then began the study of medicine, but the death of his father checked his professional aspirations; and the “note of preparation”
which was sounding through the country, for a campaign against the Indians of the West, decided his destiny, and he resolved to enter into the service of his government.
His guardian, the celebrated Robert MORRIS, opposed his wishes; but it was in vain that he placed the enterprise before the enthusiastic youth in all its hardships and priva-tions. General Washington yielded to the importunities of the youth; presented him with an ensign’s commission. With characteristic ardor he departed for Fort Washing-ton, now Cincinnati; where, however, he arrived too late to participate in the unfortu-nate campaign of ST. CLAIR. The fatal 4th of November had passed, and he was only in time to learn the earliest intelligence of the death of BUTLER, and of OLDHAM, and of the unparalleled massacre of the army of ST. CLAIR.
The return of the broken troops had no effect in damping the zeal of young HARRISON. He devoted himself ardently to the study of the theory of the higher tactics; and when, in the succeeding year, WAYNE assumed the command, Ensign HARRISON was selected by him for one of his aids, and distinguished himself in WAYNE’S victory.
After the treaty of Greenville, 1795, he was given command of Fort Washington; and shortly after married the daughter of Judge SYMMES, the proprietor of the Miami purchase.
The idleness and dissipation of a garrison life comported neither with the taste nor active temper of Captain HARRISON. He re-signed his commission, and commenced his civil career, at the age of twenty-four years, as secretary of the Northwestern Territory. He was elected, in 1799, the first delegate in Congress. The first and general object of his attention as a representative was an alteration of the land system of the Territory. He was appointed chairman of the committee on lands, and though meeting with much opposition from speculators, secured the passage of a law for the subdivision of public lands into smaller tracts. To this measure is to be imputed the rapid settlement of the country northwest of the Ohio.
The reputation acquired by the young delegate from his legislative success created a party in his favor, who intimated a desire that he should supersede the venerable governor of the Territory. But Mr. HARRISON checked the development of this feeling as soon as it was made known to him. He cherished too high a veneration for the pure and patriotic ST. CLAIR to oppose him. Shortly after, when Indiana was erected into a separate Territory, he was appointed by Mr. ADAMS the first governor. Previously, how-ever, to quitting Congress, he was present at the discussion of the bill for the settlement of Judge SYMMES’ purchase; and although this gentleman was his father-in-law, He took an active part in favor of those individuals who had purchased from him before he had obtained his patent. This was the impulse of stern duty; for at the moment he felt he was jeoparding a large pecuniary interest of his father-in-law.
In 1801 Governor HARRISON entered upon the duties of his new office, at the old military post of Vincennes. The powers with which he was vested by law have never, since the organization of our government, been conferred upon any other officer, civil or military; and the arduous character of the duties he had to perform can only be appreciated by those who were acquainted with the savage and cunning temper of the northwestern Indians, with the genius of the early pioneers, and the nature of frontier settle-ment. Among his duties was that of com-missioner to treat with the Indians. In this capacity he concluded fifteen treaties, and purchased their title to upwards of seventy million of acres of land.
The whole Territory consisted of three settlements, so widely separated that it was impossible for them to contribute to their mutual defence. The first was CLARKE’S grant at the falls of Ohio; the second, the old French establishment at Vincennes; and the third extended from Kaskaskia to Kahokia, on the Mississippi; the whole comprising a population of about five thousand souls. The Territory, thus defenceless, presented a frontier, assailable almost at every point, on the northeast, north, and northwest bounda-ries. Numerous tribes of warlike Indians were thickly scattered throughout the northern portion of the Territory whose hostile feelings were constantly inflamed by the intrigues of British agents and traders, if not by the immediate influence of the English government itself, and not unfrequently by the uncontrollable outrages of the American hunters themselves. Governor HARRISON applied himself with characteristic energy and skill to his duties. Justice tempered by mildness; conciliation and firmness, accompanied by a never slumbering watchfulness were the means he used. These enabled him to surmount difficulties, under which an ordi-nary capacity must have been prostrated.
During the year 1811, however, the intrigues of British agents operating on the passions of the Indians, brought affairs to a crisis, which tendered hostilities unavoidable. HARRISON called upon Colonel BOYD, of the 4th United States regiment, then at Pittsburg (who immediately joined him), and embodied militia force as strong as the emergency would permit. To these were added a small but gallant hand of chivalrous volunteers from Kentucky consisting of about sixty-five individuals. With these he commenced his march towards the prophet’s town at Tippecanoe. On the 6th of November he arrived in sight of the Indian village, and made several fruitless attempts to negotiate with the savages. Finding it impossible to bring
them to any discussion, he resolved to encamp for the night, under a promise from the chiefs to hold a conference next day. The men reposed upon the spot which each, individually, should occupy, in ease of attack. The event justified the anticipations of the chief. On the morning of the 7th, before daylight, the onset was made with the usual yells and impetuosity. But the army was ready; HARRISON had risen some time before, and had roused the officers near him. The Indians fought with their usual desperation, and maintained their ground for some time with extraordinary courage. Victory declared in favor of discipline, at the expense, how-ever, of some of the most gallant spirits of the age. Among the slain were Colonels DAVIES and OWEN, of Kentucky, and Captain SPENCER, of Indiana. Governor HARRISON re-ceived a bullet through his stock, without touching his neck. The legislature of Ken-tucky, at the next session, while in mourning for her gallant dead, passed the following resolution, viz.:
“Resolved, That Governor William H. HARRISON has behaved like a hero, a patriot and general; and that, for his cool, deliberate, skilful and gallant conduct, in the battle of Tippecanoe, he well deserves the thanks of the nation.’’
Front this period, until after the declara-tion of war against England, Governor HARRISON was unremittingly engaged in negotia-ting with the Indians, and preparing to resist a more extended attack from them. In August, 1812, he received the brevet of major-general in the Kentucky militia, to enable him to command the forces marching to relieve Detroit. The surrender of HULL changed the face of affairs; he was appointed a major-general in the army of the United States, and his duties embraced a larger sphere. Everything was in confusion, and everything was to be done; money, arms, and men were to be raised. It is under circumstances like these that the talents of a great general are developed more powerfully than in conducting a battle. To do justice to this part of the biography of HARRISON requires a volume of itself. Becoming stronger from reverses, collecting munitions of war, and defending Fort Meigs, were the prominent features of his operations, until we find him in pursuit of PROCTOR, on the Canadian shore. On the 5th October, 1813, he brought the British army and their Indian allies, under PROCTOR and TECUMSEH, to action, near the river Thames. The victory achieved by militia over the disciplined troops of England, on this brilliant day, was decisive; and like the battle of the Cowpens, in the war of the revolution, spread joy and animation over the whole Union. For this important action, Congress presented General HARRISON with a gold medal. The success of the day is mainly attributable to the novel expedient of charging through the British lines with mounted infantry. The glory of originating this maneuver belongs exclusively to General HARRISON.
The northwestern frontier being thus relieved, Gen. HARRISON left his troops at Sack-ets Harbor, under the command of Col. SMITH, and departed for Washington by the way of New York, Philadelphia and Baltimore, and on the whole route he was received with enthusiasm.
Owing to a misunderstanding between Mr. Secretary ARMSTRONG and himself, Gen. HARRISON resigned his commission in the spring of 1814; Mr. MADISON sincerely deplored this step, and assured Governor SHELBY, in a letter written immediately after the resignation, “that it would not have been accepted had he been in Washington.” It was re-ceived and accepted by Secretary ARMSTRONG, while the President was absent at the springs.
Gen. HARRISON retired to his farm at North Bend, in Ohio, from which he was successively called by the people, to represent them in the Congress of the United States, and in the legislature of the State. In 1824—5 he was elected to the Senate of the United States; and in 1828 he was appointed minister to Colombia, which station he held until he was recalled by President JACKSON, not for any alleged fault, but in consequence of some difference of views on the Panama question. Gen. HARRISON again returned to the pursuits of agriculture at North Bend. In 1834, on the almost unanimous petition of the citizens of the county, he was appointed prothonorary of the Court of Hamilton county.
In 1840 Gen. HARRISON was called by the people of the United States to preside over the country as its chief magistrate. His election was a triumphant one; of 294 votes for President he received 234. From the time when he was first nominated for the office until his death, he had been rising in public esteem and confidence; he entered upon the duties of his office with an uncommon degree of popularity, and a high expectation was cherished that his administration would be honorable to himself and advantageous to the country. His death, which took place April 4th, 1841, just a month after his inaugura-tion, caused a deep sensation throughout the country. He was the first President of the United States that had died in office.
President HARRISON was distinguished by a generosity and liberality of feeling which was exercised beyond what strict justice to him-self and family should have permitted. With ample opportunity for amassing immense wealth, he ever disdained to profit by his public situation for private emolument. His theory was too rigidly honest to permit him to engage in speculation, and his chivalry was sensitive to permit him to use the time belonging to his country for private benefit. After nearly fifty years devotion to his duties in the highest stations, he left at his death but little more to his family than the inherit-ance of an unsullied reputation.
BENJAMIN HARRISON, son of Senator John Scott HARRISON and grandson of Gen. Wm. Henry HARRISON, was born in North Bend, Ohio, August 20, 1833; graduated at Miami University, Oxford, Ohio, in 1852. While at college he formed an attachment for Caroline
L. SCOTT, daughter of John W. SCOTT, presi-dent of Oxford Female Seminary and they were married October 20, 1853.
He studied law in the office of STORER & GWYNNE, in Cincinnati, and in 1854 removed to Indianapolis, Ind. He was elected re-porter of the State Supreme Court in 1860, and in 1862 entered the army as second lieutenant of the 70th Indiana Volunteers—a regiment which he assisted in raising and of which, when completed, Governor MORTON appointed him colonel.
He was a valuable and efficient officer, greatly beloved by his men, to whom his many acts of kindness and consideration greatly endeared him, and he was by them called “Little Ben.’’ His actions at the battle of Peach Tree Creek greatly pleased Gen. HOOKER, who said of him, “My atten-tion was first attracted to this young officer by the superior excellence of his brigade in discipline and instruction—the result of his labor, skill and devotion. With more fore-sight than I have witnessed in any officer of his experience, he seemed to act upon a principle, that success depended upon the thor-ough preparation in discipline and esprit of his command for conflict more than on any influence that could be excited upon the field itself; and when collision came, his command indicated his wisdom as much as his valor. In all of the achievements of the 20th Corps in that campaign (from Chattanooga to At-lanta), Col. HARRISON bore a conspicuous part. At Resaea and Peach Tree Creek the conduct of himself and command was especially dis-tinguished.’’
He served to the close of the war, and was mustered out in the grand review in Washington June, 1865, with the rank of brevet brigadier general.
Gen. HARRISON had been re-elected, in 1864, while still in the army, to the office of State Supreme Court reporter, and assumed the duties of the office on his return to Indian-apolis. In 1879 he was appointed by Presi-dent HAYES a member of the Mississippi River Commission. At the National Republican Convention of 1880, held in Chicago, he was chairman of the Indiana delegation, and his name was placed in nomination, but he withdrew it. In 1880 he was chosen U. S. Senator, and held that seat until March 3, 1887. In 1884 he was a delegate at large from Indiana to the National Republican Convention; and his name was again men-tioned in connection with the presidency.
In the National Republican Convention, held in Chicago in June, 1883, he was nominated for the presidency on the eighth bal-lot, receiving 514 votes. The Democratic Party renominated Grover CLEVELAND, and the tariff issue became the main question of the campaign. All through the campaign Gen. HARRISON made almost daily speeches to visiting delegations, giving free expression to his views and opinions on almost every question of the day; his remarkably sound judgment and comprehension of all vital questions was signally illustrated in language of unusual simplicity and cleanness. He re-ceived 233 votes in the Electoral college against 168 for Grover CLEVELAND.
“LET us go in; these ladies have some conspiracy together.” Such was a remark playfully made to us in a garden, near sunset, on an August even-ing in the summer of 1845. Two old gentlemen and their wives, two old ladies, were present, beside the writer the ladies were a little one side, looking at the flowers glinting in the de-clining rays, and, true to their sex, busy talking. The speaker was Henry CLAY, and this was his home, Ashland, near Lexington, Ky. He had invited us to tea, and directed through the house but a few moments before, we had found him in his garden. The other was JACOB BURNET, to whom he had introduced us. No man then living had made such an impress as be upon the history of Ohio and the Northwest. He looked every inch the peer of Mr. CLAY, as indeed he was. They were strong friends; but in person and manners antipodal. Mr. CLAY was all geniality, his voice deeply sonorous and musical. Judge BURNET was a trifle less in stature than Mr. CLAY, but
broader. He was then seventy-six years of age; Mr. CLAY several years younger. The Judge was a thorough gentleman of the old school, of Scot descent his complexion very dark, swarthy; eyes black, and general expression forbidding, and manner reserved and dignified. He walked with a cane, his hair in a queue, and we think he wore a ruffled shirt. His residence at this time was in a large old—style mansion, square in shape, with a broad hall running through the centre, on Seventh street, corner Elm, Cincinnati, of which city he was its first citizen.
This eminent man was the son of Dr. William BURNET, surgeon-general of the Revolutionary army, and a member of the Continental Congress; was born at Newark, N.J., in 1770 was educated Princeton, and in 1796, when twenty-six years of age, came to Cincinnati to practise law, then a village of a few log-cabins and 150 inhabitants. The entire territory, now comprising five States and ten millions of people, was mostly wilderness, containing scarcely the semblance of a road, bridge, or ferry. This territory was divided into four counties—Washington, Hamilton, St. Clair, and Knox. The seats of justice were respectively at Marietta, Cincinnati, Kaskaskia and Vincennes, in each of which Courts of Common Pleas and General Quarter Sessions of the Peace were established. From 1796 to 1803 the Bar of Hamilton county occasionally attended the General Court at Marietta and Detroit, and during the whole of that time Mr. ST CLAIR (son of the General), Judge SYMMES, and Judge BURNET never missed a term in either of those counties. These journeys were made with five or six in company and with pack-horses. They were sometimes eight or ten days in the wilderness, “and at all seasons of the year were compelled to swim every water-course in their way which was too deep to be forded.” They had some hair-breadth escapes. One night their horses refused to go any farther, and they were obliged to camp; the next morning they found they had halted on the verge of a precipice.
In 1799 Judge BURNET was selected by the President of time United States as a member of the Legislative Council of the Territorial Government, of which he was the leading mind.
“Thus,’’ said the late Judge
“in less than four years he was at the head of the bar of the West, the
popular, intelligent and of-ficial leader of the Legislature.
an entirely new system of laws was undertaken, and the labor devolved
him. He cheerfully engaged in it and was so clearly convinced of
the necessity of giving himself up to the business of legislating for
Territory that he would not listen to the friends who urged him to be a
delegate to Congress. Thus early and permanently did his mind
its impress upon the legislative history of the country.”
Judge BURNET was the author of the first constitution of Ohio. From 1812 to 1816 was a member of the State Legislature. In 1831he was appointed Judge of the Supreme Court of Ohio, serving until I828, when he resigned to accept the position of United States Senator, to fill the vacancy created by the resignation of General HARRISON. As a senator he was the intimate personal and political friend of WEBSTER. From the notes taken by Senator BURNET in the celebrated discussion between HAYNE and WEBSTER the latter in part framed the reply which stamped WEBSTER as the matchless orator of our country.
He was a life-long friend of General HARRISON, and as a delegate to the Harrisburg Convention secured his nomination for President. He influenced Congress to relieve the settlers of the West and Southwest from much of the indebtedness for their lands, which otherwise would have involved the great mass in irretrievable ruin. Mr. BURNET possessed great public spirit and was eminent for solid integrity and acuteness of intellect. MANSFIELD says such was the construction of his mind that, “it was impossible for BURNET not to have been a partisan.” His likes and dislikes were held with great tenacity. When Aaron BURR was in Cincinnati he was peremptorily refused an interview by Judge BURNET, who sent him word that he would never shake hands with the murderer of his own and his father’s friend.
Originally a Federalist, he became a strong Whig, and in the United States Senate came up to the level of its great leaders, WEBSTER and CLAY. He died in 1853; a firm believer inspiration of the Bible, a Presbyterian in faith but far removed from, sectarian bigotry.
NIXHOLAS LONGWORTH was born in New-ark, N. J in 1782 was for a time a clerk in his brother’s store in South Carolina, came to Cincinnati in 1803 and died in 1863, leaving an estate of many millions from early in-vestment in Cincinnati land. He studied law and practised for a while, and in 1828 began the cultivation of the Catawba grape, and from it manufactured wine of a high marketable value, he had 200 acres of vineyards, a large wine-house, and was favor-ably known by his experiments on the straw-berry. The Catawba grape was cultivated with great success for a number of years, producing about 500 gallons of wine per annum; then it gradually failed. It is thought that the clearing of the forest has changed the climate of Southern Ohio, which is now afflicted with what is regarded as destructive to the grape culture this is heavy fogs, wet atmosphere changes from warm to cold with-out wind—a condition from which the islands and shore of Lake Erie are free, and where the grape culture is so successful.
Mr. LONGWORTH lived in huge stone cot-
The first banker west of the Alleghenies, a successful merchant and most enterprising citizen, was JOHN H. PIATT. He did so much
for Cincinnati in developing its resources that President William H. HARRISON, in his last speech at home before going to his inaugura-tion, gave most of it to an eulogy of Mr. PIATT, saying among other things that a statue should be erected on the river landing to the memory of the man who had done so much for the city. That he has no monument and now scarcely a memory, that the one street named for him had its name changed, does not speak well for Cincinnati.
From Mr. Henry B. TEETOR’S “Past and Present of Mill Creek Valley,’’ we quote, “Mr. PIATT entered with great energy and intrepidity indeed upon business enterprises. He was among the foremost in starting insti-tutions, foundries, banks, launching steam-boats, building houses and imparting a spirit of progress to the young city. He founded in
1817 the first bank west of the mountains. One of the bills of this hank is in the hands of Mr. George H. SCHOENBERGER, and greatly prized by him. His prosperity and success were unequaled—evidenced by the possession of a large estate and a commanding position as a banker and a merchant. His name had gone out over the Northwest Territory; he knew its leading men and was familiar with its resources when the war of 1812 came on.
“In an evil hour for Mr. PIATT he con-tracted with the government to furnish pro-visions to the Northwest army, then under HARRISON. Congress adjourned without making appropriations for a continuance of the war. The consequences to the country at large were disastrous, to John H. PIATT fatal. Rations that he agreed to furnish at twenty cents rose through a depreciated currency to forty-five cents. After six months he had drawn on the government for $210,000, the drafts for which had gone to protest for non-payment.
“During this time about $46,000 had come into Mr. PIATT’S hands as a commissariat fund, resulting from the sales as commissary of the army. He applied this sum to the payment of debts incurred for surplus. This was treated by the department as a violation of law. This was the state of his offering. This condition obtained on the 26th of December, 1814, when Gen. MC ARTHUR made a requisition on him for 800,000 rations to be delivered in thirty days which at existing rates would have cost $360,000 more.
“Unable to meet this requisition and unwilling that the public should suffer PIATT immediately repaired to Washington to lay the matter before the Department, accompanied by the Hon. Justice MC LEAN, then his representative in Congress. They found the war minister of the United States sitting in the ashes of the burned capital, in an agony of despair over a bleeding country and an empty treasury.
‘‘The Secretary appealed to Mr. PIATT’S patriotism for help, and save him verbal assurances, that if he could furnish the supplies called for he should be remunerated and allowed the market price for the rations re-gardless of the original contract.
Upon these assurances John H. PIATT returned home, and put his entire fortune and credit in the service of his country.
When the final settlement came the government refused to allow him the difference between the first contract price of rations and the market value of supplies purchased under the assurances of Secretary MONROE.
We have not the space to follow in detail the heart-breaking struggle of this great patriot for justice at the bands of a government he had so nobly served. For years he haunted in vain the ante-chamber of a department that had once only been too glad to welcome him.
Once thrown into prison by the department for his technical violation of law, he was released only to have his creditors imprison him again.
“At last, heart-broken and bankrupt, he died a prisoner, without enough money to give him a decent burial.
“Sixty years after the Supreme Court of the United States adjudicated the claim and allowed the principal. But to this day the government has not paid the interest.”
The PIATTS are all descended from John PIATT, a
Huguenot, who settled in New Jersey about 1740. Four of his five
sons were soldiers of the American revolu-tion. One, Captain
PIATT, was killed at ST. CLAIR’S defeat; two others emigrated with
SYMMES to North Bend. The family were numerous and of high
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