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Warren County Local History by Dallas Bogan

Early Travels Through Warren County And Ohio

Dallas Bogan on 13 September 2004
original article by Dallas Bogan
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In 1834, Reverend Mr. Read, a congregational minister from Great Britain, rode in a stage across Ohio from Sandusky to Cincinnati, his route being thru Marion, Delaware, Worthington, Columbus, Jefferson, Springfield, Yellow Springs and Lebanon. The preacher describes the road for much of the way as not only bad but intolerable: the wheels sank up to the axle tree and for the first stages the horses could only walk. There was only one passenger and yet with four horses the coach was seven hours in making the first twenty- three miles, and twenty-eight hours in reaching Columbus, a distance of 110 miles. But the stage line was advertised as a splendid line, equal to any in the states. From Columbus to Cincinnati the preacher traveled in the fast line and the horses were kept on a trot, but the road was shamefully rough and the passengers were badly jolted and tumbled about. The coach stopped an hour in Lebanon and before reaching Cincinnati some good road was found over which the coach made nine miles an hour. The preacher reached Cincinnati after being three days and three nights in traveling 224 miles from Sandusky.

The Ohio Canal line from Cleveland to Portsmouth, which had been in existence for years, eliminated the passenger service in 1843 because of the stagecoaches.
Many classes of people were crowded into a stagecoach. In essence, a dozen men and women, generally men, would be packed together in the inside for an all night ride, those facing each other having their knees more or less interlocking. The fares in the northern states were usually about six cents a mile, in the southern states about ten cents.

The rich man who traveled in his own carriage drawn by his own horses made slow time on a long journey compared with that made by the stage which changed horses every few miles and thus kept up high speed day and night.

This writer has found a mail stagecoach schedule in Ohio. It is dated August 1827. The schedules were to begin the first of the year 1828. I will attempt only to list the immediate geographical location for these stops. The purpose of this is to, more or less, show the difference in the times traveled in the past as compared to the present. (The United States Postmaster General was at this time John McLean of Lebanon, Ohio.)

1. From Lebanon by Ridgeville, and Centreville, to Bellbrook, once a week, 18 miles.
1a. Leave Lebanon every Wednesday at 6 P.M. and arrive at Bellbrook same day by 11 P.M.
2. From Columbus, by Powers, Lawrenceville, Springfield, Fairfield [Fairborn], Dayton, Miamisburg, Franklin, Middletown, Hamilton and Springfield [Springdale], to Cincinnati, three times a week in stages, 130 miles.
2a. Leave Cincinnati every Monday, Wednesday and Friday at 6 A.M., arrive at Dayton same days by 6 P.M. and arrive at Columbus on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday at 6 P.M.
3. From Dayton, by Liberty, New Lexington, Eaton, Richmond, Centreville, and Brandywine to Indianapolis, once a week, 133 miles.
3a. Leave Dayton every Tuesday at 6 A.M. and arrive at Indianapolis every Friday at 11 A.M.
4. From Lebanon, by Springboro, Ridgeville, Franklin, Germantown and Gratis, to Eaton, once a week, 45 miles.
4a. Leave Lebanon every Thursday at 6 A.M. and arrive at Eaton same day by 6 P.M.
5. From Clarksville, by Edwardsville, Goshen and Newburg, to Milford, once a week, 30 miles.
5a. Leave Clarksville every Thursday at 6 A.M. and arrive at Milford same day by 4 P.M.
6. From Chillicothe, by Greenfield, Snow Hill and Clarksville, to Wilmington, once a week.
6a. Leave Wilmington every Saturday at 6 A.M. and arrive at Chillicothe same day by 8 P.M.
7. From Cincinnati, by Reading, Sharonville, Lowes, Lebanon, Waynesville, Xenia, Old Town, Yellow Springs, Springfield, Urbana, Bellfontaine, and Sciota, to Upper Sandusky, once a week, 146 miles, in stages.
Proposals will be received for carrying this mail twice a week with the same expedition.
7a. Leave Cincinnati every Monday at 6 A.M. and arrive at Upper Sandusky on Wednesday by 6 P.M.
8. From Lebanon, by Huntsville, Princeton, Hamilton, Rossville, and Oxford, to Brookville, Indiana, twice a week, 45 miles
8a. Leave Lebanon every Monday and Friday at 6 A.M. and arrive at Brookville same day by 7 P.M.
9. From Lancaster by Royalton, Circleville, Washington, Wilmington, Lebanon, Twenty-Mile Stand, and Montgomery, to Cincinnati, thrice a week, 107 miles, in stages.
9a. Leave Cincinnati every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday, at 6 A.M. and arrive at Lebanon the same day and arrive at Lancaster on Thursday, Saturday and Tuesday by 7 A.M.
10. From Lawrenceville, by London, Charleston, Xenia, Wilmington, Van Metre's, Hillsboro, Scott, New Market and Russelville, to Georgetown, once a week, 100 miles.
10a. Leave Lawrenceville every Monday at noon and arrive at Georgetown on Wednesday at 6 P.M.
11. From Xenia to Fairfield [Fairborn] once a week, 12 miles.
11a. Leave Xenia every Wednesday at 6 A.M., and arrive at Fairfield [Fairborn] same day by 9 A.M.
12. From Chillicothe, by Old Town, Washington [C.H.], Jamestown, and Xenia, to Dayton, once a week, 73 miles.
12a. Leave Dayton every Tuesday at 6 A.M. and arrive at Chillocothe on Wednesday by 4 P.M.
13. From Hamilton, by Rossville, Williams's Store, Darrtown, Oxford, Newcomb, Eaton, New Paris, and New Madison, to Greenville, thence by Fort Jefferson, Lewisburgh, Gratis, Jacksonburgh, and Trenton, to Hamilton, once a week, equal to 80 miles.
13a. Leave Hamilton every Monday at noon and arrive at Greenville next Wednesday by 11 A.M.

Charles Dickens made, in 1842, a stagecoach ride which traversed the State of Ohio. He described the road from Cincinnati to Columbus a very good macadamized road. From Columbus to Tiffin he had a rough way. A good portion of this road was corduroy. On this 120 mile trip from Cincinnati to Columbus, he stopped in Lebanon and dined.

The post office department demanded that good time be made in the delivery of the mail. As early as 1833, before the turnpikes were completed, the Great Western Mail left Cincinnati daily at 2 p.m. and reached Columbus at 1 p.m. on the following day. It left Columbus at 1:30 p.m., and reached Wheeling, West Virginia, at 2:30 the day following, and thence on to Washington in fifty-five hours. This was forty-eight and one-half hours from Cincinnati to Wheeling.

It is interesting in the fact that Warren County was indeed a part of the stagecoach segment.

The Yellow Springs are situated sixty-three miles from Cincinnati, on the great Eastern and Northern post routes, leading from Cincinnati to the northern lakes and eastern cities, The northern and southern and western mails arrive and depart daily. Gentlemen residing in the valleys of the Ohio and Mississippi who may wish to visit the Yellow Springs, or to see the flourishing State of Ohio, on the route to the north and east, are informed that there are three lines of stages daily from Cincinnati to the Yellow Springs. One through the beautiful villages of Hamilton, Middletown, and Dayton, up the valley of the Big Miami, and parallel with the Miami Canal, the others passing through the towns of Reading, Sharon, Lebanon, Waynesville and Xenia. One of the three will leave Cincinnati at sunrise for the special accommodation of those who prefer traveling by water, can proceed by the Canal packets from Cincinnati to Dayton, where coaches will be in attendance to take them to the Yellow Springs; distance sixteen miles. From the Yellow Springs to Sandusky City, and Cleaveland on Lake Erie, there are two lines of post coaches, each measuring the distance in two days. From the Springs to Wheeling (Western), Virginia, through Columbus and Zanesville, passing over the National Road, there is but one daily line, and it performs the distance in two days."

The regular mail coaches, in 1837, were much faster than the regular stagecoaches, which also carried passengers plus the mail. From Wheeling to Columbus, fifteen and one-half hours; from Columbus to Cincinnati, fourteen and one-half hours.

In the 40's restrictions were set on all mail coaches such as; mail was to be kept under lock and key, not to be opened between the post offices. The driver was accompanied by guards which was for the protection of the mails.

One great mail route passed over the National Road and down to Cincinnati. The mail was then forwarded down the Ohio and Mississippi Rivers by way of packet boat.
A very notable man of great stature to travel this area of Warren County was Governor DeWitt Clinton of New York. Governor Clinton was at this time, in 1825, one of America's great men. He, with his own hands, on July 4, 1817, broke ground for the famous Erie Canal. The ceremony of breaking ground for the Miami Canal took place near Middletown, on Thursday, July 21, 1825, and was attended by Governors Clinton and Morrow, Ex- Governor Ethan A. Brown, General William H. Harrison and other distinguished men.

From Middletown Gov. Clinton proceeded to Lebanon where a public dinner was given in his honor the next day, Friday, July 22. As the Governor and his party approached the town on Thursday evening they were welcomed by a salute fired by Captain Mix's artillery and the cheers of the citizens. The dinner at Lebanon was one of the most notable banquets Clinton attended on his tour. There were present DeWitt Clinton, Henry Clay, Gen. Wm. H. Harrison, Gov. Morrow and Ex-Governor E.A. Brown, all of whom made addresses. Henry Clay was at this time detained at Lebanon by the sickness of his daughter. Before the banquet, which was served at Ferguson's hotel on Main Street, the citizens met in the Presbyterian church where addresses were made by A.H. Dunlevy and Gov. Clinton.

Mr. Daniel Webster was a very distinguished visitor to the city of Lebanon on June 19, 1833.

Mr. Webster participated in a public dinner at Cincinnati on Wednesday last. He arrived here last evening and left this morning on his return to the East.
Also on the same day the "Honorable William T. Barry, Postmaster General, past thru this place on Monday on his way to Kentucky." Apparently these two distinguished gentlemen passed through the town of Lebanon, going in opposite directions, in the same week. It is not known for sure, but, these two gentlemen apparently traveled on what is now U.S. 42.

Among other distinguished visitors to Warren County and Lebanon were Ex-Presidents John Quincy Adams and Martin Van Buren. Also visits by William Henry Harrison, Rutherford B. Hayes, William H. Taft, William McKinley, James A. Garfield and Benjamin Harrison graced the county.

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This page created 13 September 2004 and last updated 28 September, 2008
© 2004 Arne H Trelvik  All rights reserved