Transcription contributed by Martie Callihan 11 February 2005
|The History of Warren County Ohio
Part III. The History of Warren County by Josiah Morrow
Chapter X. Historical Notes and Collections.
(Chicago, IL: W. H. Beers Co, 1882; reprint, Mt. Vernon, IN: Windmill Publications, 1992)
The subject of most interest to the people of Ohio in 1825 was the inauguration of work upon the two great canals which were to unite the waters of the Ohio and the lakes. Gov. De Witt Clinton, of New York, the projector of the Erie Canal, and a statesman of national reputation, was invited to assist the Governor of Ohio in the ceremonies of inaugurating work upon the two canals. Gov. Clinton was received with enthusiasm by the people of Ohio. Ground was broken for the Ohio Canal at the Licking Summit, July 4, 1825, by Gov. Clinton and Gov. Morrow, in the presence of great crowds. A newspaper report says that "the two Governors each took a spade and removed the first sod upon a work which will be admired when the pyramids of Egypt shall be effaced: at this interesting moment, the simultaneous voices of thousands rent the skies." The ceremony of beginning work upon the Miami Canal, which toot place two weeks later, near Middletown, was an event of great interest to the people of Warren County. Already had the Warren County Canal been projected. The visit of Gov. Clinton to Lebanon was an interesting event. At the banquet, given in his honor at Lebanon, several men, distinguished in the history of the nation, were present, and a large number of men prominent in the history of the county participated in the ceremonies.
Some days before the celebration at Middletown, a committee of the citizens of Warren County was appointed at a public meeting held at the court house to make arrangements for the reception of Gov. Clinton, and to provide
|a public dinner for the occasion. The committee consisted
of John Bigger, George
Corwin, Michael H.
Johnson, William Lowry, Phineas Ross and George
J. Smith. This committee visited Middletown on the day of the canal
inauguration. George J. Smith,
in behalf of the citizens of Warren County, addressed Gov. Clinton and invited
him to attend a public dinner the next day at Lebanon, to which the distinguished
gentleman replied in a very handsome and dignified manner, accepting the
On the afternoon of the same day (Thursday), July 21,1825, Gov. Clinton; Jeremiah Morrow, Governor of Ohio; Gen. William Henry Harrison, United States Senator; ex-Gov. Ethan Allen Brown, and Gen. N. Beasly, one of the State Canal Commissioners, started on their journey from Middletown to Lebanon. Henry Clay, then Secretary of State in the cabinet of President John Q. Adams, was already in Lebanon, where he had arrived on his journey to Washington, and was detained by the sickness of his daughter. As the distinguished guests approached the town, a signal gun on the hill west was fired. The visitors were welcomed to the town by a salute from Capt. Mix's artillery, and the cheers of a large body of delighted citizens. The next day, at 12 o'clock, a procession of citizens was formed on Main street under the command of Maj. George Kesling, and marched to the Presbyterian Church, where an address to Gov. Clinton was delivered by A. H. Dunlevy. To this address, the Governor made a short but beautiful and elegant reply. The procession then moved back to Main street and was dismissed. The distinguished visitors, including Henry Clay and his son-in-law, Mr. Irwin, with a large number of citzens [sic] of Warren County, sat down to dinner, which had been provided by William Ferguson. After the repast, twenty toasts were drunk. The first toast was "The President of the United States; " the second, "The Vice President;" the third, "The Memory of Washington:" the fourth, "The Government of the United States; " the fifth was as follows:
Our distinguished guest, His Excellency De Witt Clinton—While the fame of other men lives only in the perishable pages of history, his is deeply engraven in the soil of his native State.
This sentiment was received with loud and reiterated applause. Gov. Clinton rose, and, in a felicitous manner, expressed his acknowledgements for the kind attentions paid him by the citizens of Warren County. It is said, by A. H. Dunlevy, that Gov. Clinton never made extemporaneous addresses, and that both his remarks at the church and at the dinner on this occasion, were written out and read from the manuscripts. Before he sat down, he prososed [sic] the following:
GOV. CLINTON'S TOAST.
The County of Warren and its worthy citizens—The dispensations of Providence have been so liberal that nothing but their own exertions are necessary to conduct them to a distinguished elevation of prosperity.
The following sentiment was read:
Gov. Morrow—An able civilian—whether in the Gubernatorial chair or the legislative hall, he reflects credit upon his State.
This was received with loud cheers, and Gov. Morrow rose and addressed the company in appropriate remarks. Before sitting down, he gave as his toast, "The Ohio and Miami Canals."
GEORGE J. SMITH'S TOAST:
The Hon. Henry Clay, Secretary of State—An enlightened and independent statesman and incorruptible patriot; his past life has been identified with the interest and happiness of his country—a sure guarantee that his future days will be devoted to her glory.
Mr. Clay then rose and addressed the audience for a
short time in an eloquent manner and gave the following:
HENRY CLAY'S TOAST:
Gen. Bolivar—He has exhibited more than Roman patriotism in his desire of voluntary exile to perpetuate that liberty which he has established.
Ex-Gov. Brown, having been toasted by C. D. Morris as "The Projector of the Ohio Canal," addressed the meeting. Gen. Beasly, having been toasted by J. D. Miller, Esq., also made some remarks
A. H. DUNLEVY'S TOAST:
Our guest, Gen. William Henry Harrison—During the late war defended our Northern and Western frontiers from the ravages of a savage foe; but his services can be properly appreciated only by those who witnessed the obstacles he surmounted.
Gen, Harrison then addressed the company in an eloquent manner and proposed the following:
GEN. WILLIAM H. HARRISON'S TOAST:
Glen. Anthony Wayne—The man without fear and without reproach.
THOMAS E. ROSS' TOAST:
Gen. Andrew Jackson.—The distinguished citizen and soldier; may the freemen of the United States never forget his past eminent services, the surest pledge of his future usefulness.
The next day, Gov. Clinton, accompanied by Gov Brown and Judge Kesling, left Lebanon for Hillsboro, where arrangements had been made for another public reception.
Henry Clay, who had carried the State of Ohio at the Presidential election the preceding year, arrived at the residence of Judge Lowe, on the 14th of July, 1825, on his journey to Washington City. The next day, he came to Lebanon and stopped at Ferguson's Hotel, and called a physician to see his sick daughter, aged twelve years. Although Mr. Clay declined to attend any meeting designed to honor him, he found the next day, on his return from a visit to Union Village, that about forty persons had assembled to dine with him at the hotel, all anxious to offer some testimony of their high regard for the distinguished statesman. After the dinner, Mr. Clay was called on to address the company, which he did briefly, but in a manner that displayed some of the powers of his matchless oratory. He was detained at Lebanon for several weeks by the illness of his daughter, who died on the 11th of August Mr. Clay was accompanied by his wife and other members of his family.
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