OHIO GENEALOGY EXPRESS

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WARREN COUNTY, OHIO

History & Genealogy

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HISTORY
Source: 
Historical Collections
Published 1902
Pg. 740

Page 1 - 2 - 3

WARREN COUNTY was formed from Hamilton, May 1, 1803, and named in honor of Gen. Joseph Warren, who fell at the battle of Bunker Hill.
     The surface is generally undulating, but Harlan township embraces a part of an extensive region formerly known as "The Swamps,"  now drained and cultivated.  The greater portion of the county is drained by the Little Miami river.  The soil is nearly all productive, much of it being famed for its wonderful strength and fertility.
     Area, about 400 square miles.  In 1887 the acres cultivated were 136,739; in pasture, 32,696; woodland, 30,282; lying waste, 5,724; produced in wheat, 394,588 bushels; rye, 715; buckwheat, 193; oats, 304,601; barley, 1,306; corn, 1,453,744; broom corn, 7,550 lbs. brush; meadow hay, 16,042 tons; clover hay, 2,871; flaxseed, 64 bushels; potatoes, 25,599; tobacco, 246,863 bs.; butter, 524,454; sorghum, 925 gallons; maple syrup, 5,689; honey, 1,946 lbs.; eggs, 373,189 dozen; grapes, 9,400 lbs.; wine, 50 gallons; sweet potatoes, 3,886 bushels; apples, 3,940; peaches, 70; pears, 1,682; wool, 83,761 lbs.; milch cows owned, 5,587.  School census, 1888, 7,611; teachers, 168.  Miles of railroad track, 100.
 
Townships & Census 1840 1880
Clear Creek 2,821 2,782
Deerfield, 1,875 2,011
Franklin, 2,455 4,148
Hamilton, 1,718 2,523
Harlan,   2,242
Massie,   1,431
Townships & Census 1840 1880
Salem, 2,955 2,052
Turtle Creek, 4,951 5,799
Union, 1,617 1,110
Washington, 1,306 1,390
Wayne, 3,392 2,904

     Population of Warren in 1820 was 17,838; 1830, 21,474; 1840, 23,073; 1860, 26,92; 1880, 28,392; of whom 23,256 were born in Ohio; 643 Virginia; 573 Pennsylvania; 539 Kentucky; 364 Indians; 188 New York; 574 German Empire; 520 Ireland; 180 England and Wales; 32 Scotland; 24 France; 24 British America, and 4 Norway and Sweden.
     Census, 1890, 25,468
     On September 21, 1795, William Bedle, from New Jersey, set out from one of the settlements near Cincinnati with a wagon, tools and provisions, to make a new settlement in the Third or Military Range.  This was about one month after the fact had become known that Wayne had made a treaty of peace with the Indians.  He travelled with a surveying party under Capt. John Dunlap, following Harmar's trace to his lands, where he left the party and built a block-house as a protection against the Indians, who might not respect the treaty of peace.
     Bedel's Station was a well-known place in the early history of the county, and was five miles west of Lebanon and nearly two miles south of Union Village.  Here several families lived in much simplicity, the clothing of the children being made chiefly out of dressed deerskin, some of the larger girls being clad in buckskin petticoats and short gowns.  Bedle's Station has generally been regarded as the first settlement in the county.  About the time of its settlement, however, or not long after, William Mounts and five others established Mounts' Station, on a broad and fertile bottom on the south side of the Little Miami, about three miles below the mouth of Todd's Fork, building their cabins in a circle around a spring as a protection against the Indians.
     Deerfield, now South Lebanon, is probably the oldest town in the county.  Its proprietors gave a number of lots to those who would erect house on them and became residents of the place.  On Jan. Jan. 25, 1796, the proprietors advertised in the Centinel of the Northwest Territory that all the lots they proposed to donate had been taken, and that twenty-five houses and cabins had been erected.  Benjamin Stites, Sr., Benjamin Stites, Jr., and John Stites Gano were the proprietors.  The senior Stites owned nearly ten thousand acres between Lebanon and Deerfield.  Andrew Lytle, Nathan Kelly and Gen. David Sutton were among the early settlers at Deerfield.  The pioneer and soldier, Capt. Ephraim Kibbey, died here in 1809, aged 55 years.
     In the spring of 1796 settlements were made in various parts of the county.  The settlements at Deerfield, Franklin and the vicinities of Lebanon and Waynesville, all date from the spring of 1796.  It is probable that a few cabins were erected at Deerfield and Franklin in the autumn of 1795, but it is not probable that any families were settled at either place until the next spring.
     Among the earliest white men who made their homes in the county were those who settled on the forfeitures in Deerfield township.  They were poor men, wholly destitute of means to purchase land, and were willing to brave dangers form savage foes, and to endure the privations of a lonely life in the wilderness to receive gratuitously the tract of 1/6-2/3 acres forfeited by each purchase of a section of land who did not commence improvements within two years after the date of his purchase.  In a large number of the section below the third range there was a forfeited one-sixth part, and a number of hardy adventurers had established themselves on the northeast corner of the section.  Some of these adventurers were single men, living solitary and alone in little huts, and supporting themselves chiefly with their rifles.  Others had their families with them at an early period.

THE PERILOUS ADVENTURE OF CAPT. BENHAM.

     Captain Robert Benham, the subject of the most romantic stories in the history of the Ohio valley, died on a farm about a mile southwest of Lebanon, in 1809, aged 59 years.  He is said to have built, in 1789, the first hewed log-house in Cincinnati, and established a ferry at Cincinnati over the Ohio, Feb. 18, 1792.  He was a member of the first Territorial Legislature, and of the first board of county commissioners of Warren county.  He was a native of Pennsylvania and a man of great muscular strength of activity.  He was one of a part of seventy men who were attacked by Indians near the Ohio, opposite Cincinnati, in the war of the Rebellion, the circumstances of which here follow from a published source.

     In the autumn of 1779, a number of keel boats were ascending the Ohio under the command of Maj. Rodgers, and had advanced as far as the mouth of Licking without accident.  Here, however, they observed a few Indians standing upon the southern a few Indians standing upon the southern extremity of a sandbar, while a canoe, rowed by three others, was in the act of putting off from the Kentucky shore, as if for the purpose of taking them aboard.  Rodgers immediately ordered the boats to be made fast on the Kentucky shore, as if for the purpose of taking them aboard.  Rodgers immediately ordered the boats to be made fast on the Kentucky shore, while the crew, to the number of seventy men, well armed, cautiously advanced in such a manner as to encircle the spot where the enemy had been seen to land.  Only five or six Indians had been seen, and no one dreamed of encountering more than fifteen or twenty enemies.  When Rodgers, however, had, as he supposed, completely surrounded the enemy, and was preparing to rush upon them from several quarters at once, he was thunderstruck at beholding several hundred savages suddenly spring up in front, rear, and upon both flanks.  They instantly poured in a close discharge of rifles, and then throwing down their guns, fell upon the survivors with the tomahawk.  The panic was complete, and the slaughter prodigious.  Maj. Rodgers, together with forty-five others of his men, were quickly destroyed.  The survivors made an effort to regain their boats, but the five men who had been left in charge of them had immediately put off from shore in the hindmost boat, and the enemy had already gained possession of the others.  Disappointed in the attempt, they turned furiously upon the enemy and aided by the approach of darkness, forced their way through their lines, and with the loss of several severely wounded, at length effected their escape to Harrodsburgh.
     Among the wounded was Capt. Robert Benham.  Shortly after breaking through the enemy's line he was shot through both hips, and the bones being shattered, he fell to the ground.  Fortunately, a large tree had lately fallen near the spot where he lay, and with great pain he dragged himself into the top, and lay concealed among the branches.  The Indians, eager in pursuit of the others, passed him without notice, and by midnight all was quiet.  On the following day the Indians returned to the battle-ground, in order to strip the dead and take care of the boats.  Benham, although in danger of famishing, permitted them to pass without making known his condition, very correctly supposing that his crippled legs would only induce them to tomahawk him upon the spot in order to avoid the trouble of carrying him to their town.  He lay close, therefore, until the evening of the second day, when perceiving a raccoon descending a tree near him, he shot it, hoping to devise some means of reaching it, when he could kindle a fire and make a meal.  Scarcely had his gun cracked, however, when he heard a human cry, apparently not more than fifty years off.  Supposing it to be an Indian, he hastily reloaded his gun and remained silent, expecting the approach of an enemy.
    Presently the same voice was heard again, but much nearer.  Still Benham made no reply, but cocked his gun and sat ready to fire as soon  as an object appeared.  A third halloo was quickly heard, followed by an exclamation of impatience and distress, which convinced Benham that the unknown must be a Kentuckian.  As soon, therefore, as he heard the expression,
  "Whoever you are, for God's sake answer me!" he replied with readiness, and the parties were soon together.  Benham, as we have already observed, was shot through both legs.  The man who now appeared had escaped from the same battle with both arms broken!  Thus each was enabled to supply what the other wanted.  Benham, having the perfect use of his arms, could load his gun and kill game with great readiness, while his friend having the use of his legs, could kick the game to the spot where Benham sat, who was thus enabled to cook it.  When no wood was near them, his companion would rake up brush with his feet, and gradually roll it within reach of Benham's hands, who constantly fed his companion and dressed his wounds as well as his own, tearing up both of their shirts for that purpose.  They found some difficulty in procuring water at first, but Benham at length took his own hat, and placing the rim between the teeth of his companion, directed him to wade into the Licking, up to his neck, and dip the hat into the water by sinking his own head.  The man who could walk was thus enabled to bring water, by means of his teeth, which Benham could afterwards dispose of as was necessary.
    In a few days they had killed all the squirrels and birds within reach, and the man with the broken arms was sent out to drive game within gunshot of the spot to which Benham was confined.  Fortunately, wild turkeys were abundant in those woods,  and his companion would walk around and drive them towards Benham, who seldom failed to kill two or three of each flock.  In this manner they supported themselves for several weeks, until their wounds had healed so as to enable them to travel.  They then shifted their quarters, and put up a small shed at the mouth of the Licking, where they encamped until late in November, anxiously expecting the arrival of some boat, which should convey them to the falls of Ohio.
     On the 27th of November they observed a flat boat moving leisurely down the river.  Benham joisted his hat upon a stick and hallooed loudly for help.  The crew, however, supposing them to be Indians - at least suspecting them of an intention to decoy them ashore - paid no attention to their signals of the distress, but instantly put over to the opposite side of the river, and manning every oar, endeavored to pass them as rapidly as possible.  Benham beheld them pass him with a sensation bordering on despair, for the place was much frequented y Indians, and the approach of winter threatened them with destruction, unless speedily relieved.  At length, after the boat had passed him nearly half a mile, he saw a canoe put off from its stern, and cautiously approached the Kentucky shore, evidently reconnoitring them with great suspicion.  He called loudly upon them for assistance, mentioned his name, and made known his condition.  After a long parley, and many evidences of reluctance on the part of the crew, the canoe at length touched the shore, and Benham and his friend were taken on board.  Their appearance excited much suspicion.  They were almost entirely naked, and their faces were garnished with six weeks' growth of beard.  The one was barely able to hobble upon crutches, and the other could manage to feed himself with one of his hands.  They were taken to Louisville, where their clothes (which had been carried off in the boat which deserted them) were restored to them, and after a few weeks confinement, both were perfectly restored.
     Benham afterwards served in the Northwest, throughout the whole of the Indian war - accompanied the expeditions of Harmar and Wilkinson - shared in the disaster of St. Clair and afterwards in the triumph of Wayne.
     Lebanon, the county-seat is pleasantly located in the beautiful Turtle creek valley.  The first one hundred lots of the town were surveyed in September, 1802 by Ichabod B. Halsey on the lands of Ichabod Corwin, Ephraim Hathaway, Silas Hurin and Samuel Manning.  On the organization of the county, six months later, it was made the seat of justice.
     The town was laid out in a forest of lofty trees and a thick undergrowth of spice-bushes.  At the time of the survey of the streets, it is believed that there were abut two houses on the town-plat.  The one first erected was a hewed log house, built by Ichabod Corwin in the spring of 1800.  It stood near the centre of the town-plat, on the east of Broadway, between Mulberry and Silver streets, and, having been purchased by Ephraim Hathaway with about ten acres surrounding it, became the first tavern in the place.  The courts were held in it during the yeas 1803 and 1804.  This long house was a substantial one, and stood until about 1826.  The town did not grow rapidly the first year.  Isaiah Morris, after of Wilmington, came to the town in June, 1803, three months after it had been made the temporary seat of justice.  He says; "The population then consisted of Ephraim Hathaway, the tavern keeper; Collin Campbell, Joshua Collett and myself."  This statement, of course, must be understood as referring to the inhabitants of the town-plat only.  There were several families residing in the near vicinity, and the Turtle creek valley throughout was perhaps at this time more thickly settled than any other region in the county.  The log-house of Ephraim Hathaway was not only the first tavern, under the sign of the black horse, and the first place of holding courts, but Isaiah Morris claims that in it he, as clerk for his uncle, John Huston, sold the first goods which were sold in Lebanon.  Ephraim Hathaway's tavern had, for a time at least, the sign of a Black Horse.  At an early day the proprietor erected the large brick building still standing at the northeast corner of Mulberry and Broadway, where he continued the business.  This building was afterward known as the Hardy House.
     Samuel Manning, about 1795, purchased from Benjamin Stites the west half of the section on which the court-house now stands, at one dollar per acre.  Henry Taylor built the first mill near Lebanon, on Turtle creek, in 1799.
     The first school-house was a low, rought log-cabin, put up by the neighbors in a few hours, with no tool but the axe.  It stood on the north bank of Turtle creek, not far from where the west boundary of Lebanon now crosses Main street.  The first teacher was Francis Dunlevy, and he opened the first school in the spring of 1798.  Some of the boys who attended his school walked a distance of four or five miles.  Among the pupils of Francis Dunlevy were Gov. Thomas Corwin, Judge George Kesling, Hon. Moses B. Corwin, A. H. Dunlevy, William Taylor (afterward of Hamilton, Ohio), Matthias Corwin (afterward clerk of court), Daniel Voorhis, John Sellers and Jacob Sellers.
     The first lawyer was Joshua Collett, afterward Judge of the Supreme Court of Ohio, who came to Lebanon in June, 1803.  The first newspaper was started in 1806 by John McLean, afterward Justice of the U. S. Supreme Court.  The first court-house was a two story brick building on Broadway, thirty-six feet square, erected in 1805, at a cost of $1,450.  The lower story was the court-room, and was paved with brick twelve inches square and four inches thick.  The proceeds of each alternate lot in the original town-plat were donated to aid in the erection of this courthouse.  In this quaint old building Corwin and McLean made their earliest efforts at the bar, and Francis Dunlevy, Joshua Collett and Geo. J. Smith sat as president judges under the first Constitution of Ohio.  (It was destroyed by fire September 1, 1874.)  The Lebanon Academy was built in 1844.
     Lebanon in 1846.  - Lebanon, the county-seat, is twenty-eight miles northeast of Cincinnati, eighty southwest of Columbus, and twenty-two south of DAyton, in a beautiful and fertile country.  Turnpikes connect it with Cincinnati, Dayton and Columbus.  It is also connected with Middletown, nineteen miles distant, by the Warren County Canal, which, commencing here, unites there with the Miami Canal.  The Little Miami Railroad runs four miles east of Lebanon, to which it is contemplated to construct a branch.  The Warren County Canal is supplied by a reservoir of Thirty or forty acres north of the town.  Lebanon is regularly laid out in squares and compactly built.  It contains 1 Presbyterian, 1 Cumberland Presbyterian, 2 Baptist, 1 Episcopal Methodist and 1 Protestant Methodist church, 2 printing-offices, 9 dry goods and 6 grocery stores, 1 grist and 2 saw mills, 1 woolen manufactory, a classical academy for both sexes, and had, in 1840, 1,327 inhabitants. - Old Edison.

Central View, Lebanon, Warren Co., Ohio

Central View 1886 - Lebanon, Warren Co., Ohio

     LEBANON, county-seat of Warren, about seventy miles southeast of Columbus, twenty-nine miles northeast from Cincinnati, on the P. C. & St. L. R. R.  It is the seat of the National Normal University.
     County Officers, 1888: Auditor, Alfred H. Graham; Clerk, Geo. L. Schenck; Commissioners, Nehemiah McKinsey, Wm. J. Collett, James M. Keever; Coroner, George W. Carey; Infirmary Directors, Henry J. Greathouse, Peter D. Hatfield, Henry K. Cain; Probate Judge, Frank M. Cunningham; Prosecuting Attorney, Albert Anderson; Recorder, Charles H. Eulass; Sheriff, Al. Brant; Surveyor, Frank A. Bone; Treasurer, Charles F. Coleman.  City officers, 1888: I. N. Walker, Mayor; S. A. Chamberlin, Clerk; John Bowers, Marshal; J. M. Oglesby, Treasurer.  Newspapers: Gazette, Republican, R. W. Smith, editor and publisher; Patriot, Democratic, T. M. Proctor, editor and publisher; Western Star, Republican, William C. McClintock, editor and publisher.  Churches: 3 Baptist, 2 Presbyterian, 1 Catholic, 1 Methodist Episcopal, 1 African Methodist Episcopal, 1 German Lutheran.  Bank: Lebanon National, John M. Haynor, president, Jos. M. Oglesby, cashier.  Has no manufactures.  Population, 1880, 2,703.  School census, 1888, 853; J. F. Lukens, school superintendent.
     Census, 1890, 3,174.
     The National Normal University, of Lebanon, Ohio, Alfred Holbrook, president, is an educational institution that has met with a large measure of success.  It is conducted as an independent institution, without aid form church or State.  It is well equipped with suitable buildings, a fine large library, and an efficient corps of teachers, thirty-five in number.  In 1889 the University had 1,940 male and 1,069 female students, and since its founding in 1855 has educated at a very small cost thousands who are now engaged as teachers in professions and in business in all parts of the country.
     During the trial at Lebanon, in 1871, of McGehan, who was accused of the murder of a man from Hamilton named Myers, the Hon. Clement L. Vallandigham, who had been retained by the defence, accidentally shot himself.  The accident occurred on the evening of June 16, in one of the rooms of the Lebanon House.  Mr. Vallandigham, with pistol in hand, was showing Gov. McBurney how Myers might have shot himself, when the pistol was discharged, the ball entering the right side of the abdomen, between the ribs.  Mr. Vallandigham lived through the night and expired the next morning at ten o'clock.
     In an old graveyard west of Lebanon were buried many early pioneers.  Here are the graves of Judge Francis Dunlevy, Elder Daniel Clark, Judge Joshua Collett, Judge Matthias Corwin (the father of Gov. Corwin), and Keziah Corwin (grandmother of the governor).  In this yard was buried a daughter of Henry Clay, the inscription upon whose tombstone is as follows: "In memory of Eliza H. Clay, daughter of Henry and Lucretia Clay, who died on the 11th day of August, 1825, aged twelve years, during a journey from their residence at Lexington, in Kentucky, to Washington City.  Cut off in the bloom of a promising life, her parents have erected this monument, consoling themselves with the belief that she now abides in heaven."
     Here lie the remains of four maiden sisters, instantly killed by lightning, as stated on an adjoining page.
     Mary Ann Lingling, who bequeathed $35,000 to establish the Orphans' Home, one mile west of town, was buried here, and her request no tombstone marks her grave.  In the Lebanon Cemetery, northwest of the town, are the graves of Gov. Corwin and Gen. Durbin Ward.
     Lebanon is proud as having been the home of Thomas Corwin.  The mansion in which he lived is on its western edge on the banks of a small stream, Turtle creek, some two rods wide, now the residence of Judge Sage, of the U. S. District Court, his son-in-law.
In
Memory of
ANN,
Daughter of
Henry and Elizabeth
HARNER
Who died May 30,
1841
Aged 27 years, 3 months,
and 26 days.
In
Memory of
ELIZABETH,
Daughter of
Henry and Elizabeth
HARNER,
Who died May 30,
1841,
Aged 35  years, 6 months,
and 18 days.
In
Memory of
MARY,
Daughter of
Henry and Elizabeth
HARNER,
Who died May 30,
1841,
Aged 38 years, 2 months,
and 28 days.
In
Memory of
SARAH,
Daughter of
Henry and Elizabeth
HARNER,
Who died May 30,
1841,
Aged 40 years, 7 months,
and 14 days.
MONUMENTS IN MEMORY OF FOUR MAIDEN SISTERS KILLED BY LIGHTNING.
     They stand side by side in the old burial ground west of Lebanon.  They lived in a log-house of four rooms, half a mile west of the town, and each was in a separate room at the time of the destructive bolt, and all instantly killed.
The Corwin Mansion Thomas Corwin Corwin Door Knocker
[Pg. 748]

     As I approached the spot not a soul was in sight.  I came to the broad door of the mansion, and there faced me a huge brass knocker, on which was engraved THOMAS CORWIN.  A quarter of a century has passed, and of all those who have come since and grasped that knocker not one has inquired for Thomas Corwin.  The heart of every one has answered as he read- "dead!"  The sight affects as a funeral crape; nay more.  It is not only an emotion of melancholy that comes with the sight of that name, but one of sublimity in the comprehension of the character that appears to the vision.
     Corwin was the one single, great brave soul who, on the floor of Congress dared to warn his countrymen, in words of solemn eloquence, from pursuing "a flagrant, desolating war of conquest" against a half-civilized, feeble race.  He implored them "to stay the march of misery."  No glory was to be attained by such a war.  "Each chapter," said he, "we write in Mexican blood may close the volume of our history as a free people."
     To the plea that the war must be continued because we wanted more room, more territory for our increasing population, he replied: "The Senator from Michigan (Mr. Cass) says we will be two hundred millions in a few years, and we want room.  If I were a Mexican, I would tell you, 'Have you not room in your own country to bury your dead men?  If you come into mine, we will greet you with bloody hands, and welcome you to hospitable graves.'"
     Then he warned them of the inevitable consequences of the war; the acquisition of new Territories; a fratricidal war between the forces of Slavery and the forces of Freedom for the right to enter and possess the land.  His closing words were as follows:

     Should we prosecute this war another moment, or expend one dollar more for the purchase or conquest of a single acre of Mexican land, the North and the South are brought into collision on a point where neither will yield.  Who cam foresee or foretell the result?  Who so bold or reckless as to look such a conflict in the face unmoved?  I do not envy the heart of him who can realize the possibility of such a conflict without emotions too painful to be endured.  Why then shall we, the representatives of the sovereign States of this Union - the chosen guardians of this confederated Republic - why should we precipitate this fearful struggle, by continuing a war the results of which must be to force us at once upon it?
     Sir, rightly considered, THIS is treason; treason to the Union; treason to the dearest interests, the loftiest aspirations, the most cherished hopes of our constituents.  It is a crime to risk the possibility of such a contest.  It is a crime of such infernal hue that every other in the catalogue of iniquity, when compared with it, whitens into virtue.
     Oh, Mr. President, it does seem to me, if hell itself could yawn and vomit up the fiends that inhabit its penal abodes, commissioned to disturb the harmony of the world, and dash the fairest prospect of happiness that ever allured the hopes of men, the first step in the consummation of this diabolical purpose would be, to light up the fires of internal war, and plunge the sister States of this
Union into the bottomless gulf of civil strife!
     We stand by this day on the crumbling brink of that gulf - we see its bloody eddies wheeling and boiling before us.  Shall we not pause before it be too late?  How plain again is here the path, I may add, the only way of duty, of prudence, of true patriotism.  Let us abandon all idea of acquiring further territory, and by consequence cease at once to prosecute this war.
     Let us call home our armies, and bring them at once within our acknowledged limits.  Show Mexico that you are sincere when you say that you desire nothing by conquest.  She has learned that she cannot encounter you in war, and if she had not, she is too weak to disturb you here.  Tender her peace, and, my life on it, she will then accept it.  But whether she shall or not, you will have peace without her consent.  It is your invasion that has made war; your retreat will restore peace.
     Let us then close forever the approaches of internal feud, and so return to the ancient concord, and the old way of national prosperity and permanent glory.  Let us here, in this temple consecrated to the Union, perform a solemn lustration; let us wash Mexican blood from our hands, and on these altars, in the presence of that image of the Father of this country that looks down upon us, swear to preserve honorable peace with all the world, and eternal brotherhood with each other.
 This great solemn appeal of Corwin fell upon dulled sensibilities.  The greed of conquest had possession; the popular cry was, "Our country, right or wrong." 

[Pg. 749]
It brought down upon him a torrent of execration from every low gathering of the unthinking, careless multitude.  "To show their hate," to use his own words, uttered years later, he was "burned in effigy often, but not burned up."  He lived on too high a plane of statesmanship for their moral comprehension.  All he predicted came to pass.  It was as a prophecy of great woe.  The woe ensued.  Half a million of young men, the flower of the land, perished; and the Mexican war only ended with the surrender at Appomattox.  Thenceforeward could the old bell on Independence Hall, for the first time, truly ring forth, "Liberty throughout all the and."  No thanks to those who brought the woe; glory to those who fought for the bright end.
     Mr. Corwin was a great man every way; heavy, strong in person, with a large benevolent, kindly spirit, and an intellect that illustrated genius.  He was his own complete master; never lost himself in the crevices of his own ideas, but could at will summon every quality of his creative brain, and bring each to bear as the occasion seemed to demand.  Like Lincoln, a great humorist, he was at heart a sad man; and his jokes and witticisms were but used as a by-play, to relieve a mind filled with the sublimities and awe-inspiring questions that ever face humanity.
     As his old age approached he thought his life had been a failure.  financially, existence had become a struggle; his aspirations for a theatre for the exercise of a benevolent statesmanship had been denied, and he wrongfully ascribed his failure to his love of humor.  That did not in the case of Lincoln injure him nor Corwin, and it never does where a great brain and a great soul are at the helm.  Then truth often enters through a witticism when it is denied to an argument.
     On an occasion after observing in a then young speaker, Donn Piatt, a disposition to joke with a crowd, he said: "Don't do it, my boy.  You should remember the crowd always looks up to the ringmaster and down on the clown.  It resents that which amuses.  The clown is the more clever fellow of the two, but he is despised.  If you would succeed in life you must be solemn, solemn as an ass.  All the great monuments of earth have been built over solemn asses."
     Corwin did not practice as he preached, was better than his sermon, and when a witticism demanded utterance put on a lugubrious face and out it came.  And then it was a joke and its echo, a double dose bringing laughter with each, the last laugh by the comical by-play of his countenance that invariably succeeded.
     Witticisms are immortal.  They never die; are translated.  Mark Twin's Jumping frog, Daniel Webster, however slow its motion, may by a century hence have digested his shot and hopped so far as to appear in Chinese literature; be a delight to the Pig Tails.
     Indeed, a crying demand exists for humor.  Chauncey Depew represents one of his comic creatings at a public dinner in New York, and the next morning numberless households have it in print at their breakfast tables, to help dispel the gloomy vapors of the night and start the new-born day in cheerfulness.  Therefore, if anybody has anything extra good to say, it is their solemn duty to say it, irrespective of their fears of dire disaster to themselves for the saying.
     It was once my god fortune to hear Corwin speak in an open field to an assemblage of his neighbors and friends, largely Warren county farmers; and a jolly, happy set of listeners they were.  All knew him, and, it was evident, idolized him.  Many had taken part in the old Whig campaign of '40, had helped to make him Governor, had sung:

"Tom Corwin, our true hearts love you;
Ohio has no nobler son,
In worth there's none above you.

     And now had come the troubles connected with the introduction of slavery into Kansas, and it was these he was discussing.

 

     In one place he made a comical appeal for the exercise of charity in our feelings toward our Southern brethren, that we should not cherish bitterness toward them because of slavery.  "They were born into it; never knew anything else.  Think of that?  Grown up with the black people, many had taken in their earliest nourishment from dusky fountains, kicking their little legs while about it, and it seemed to have quite agreed with them.  Then as children they had played together and had their child quarrels; sometimes it was young massa on top and at others pickaninny on top.  Then they must remember the climate down there was dreadfully hot and enervating.  Nobody loves to work there.  Even some of  you fellows up here in old Warren, I am sorry to say, seem to shirk work at every chance, and then you hang around the street corners and groan 'hard times.'  This is what makes it so handy to have some other fellows around to do it for them - people of about my color."  Corwin was of a dark, swarthy complexion, and it was common for him to allude to himself as a black man, and then to pause, stroke his face.  And look around upon the crow with a comical expression that brought forth roars of laughter.
     "Yes, people around of about my complexion; when you want anything done, all you have to do is to yell, 'Ho! Sambo,' and 'Sambo' answers, 'Commin' Massa,' and he comes grinning and does what you order.  It may be you've dropped down on a lounge for an after-dinner nap, on a hot summer afternoon, your face all oozing a sticky sweat from the close, horrid heat, and the flies are bothering you, and one particularly persistent old fly
has lit on your nose, has travelled from its starting-place at the top and finding the bridge a free bridge crossed it without paying any toll and is in the opening of the act of tickling your nostrils, gives a sudden jab - when it strings; gracious me!  Oh! how it stings!  It is under that infliction after using, I fear, some swear words, that you have yelled, 'Ho! Sambo, ho!'  And then Sambo comes and he stands and waves over you, gently waves, a long-handled brush of peacock feathers.  It acts like a benigh spirit of the air with its fanning wings.  The flies vanish, the sweat dries, the locomotive starts slow - when! whew!  whew! - then quick and away you go.  You enter an elysium.  Oh, it is very comfortable. 
     "No wonder our brethren down there love that sort of thing.  Their ministers quote Scripture and say it is all right.  Paul comes along and seams to help them out.  Then the owning gives the owner consequence; it is a sort of title of nobility.  If to own a fine horse puffs up one of you folks up hear, think how big you would feel to own a man, a cash article always at hand when one's hard up - a pickaninny $250, an old aunty $500, and a Sambo $1,000, that is if the preliminary examination of Sambo's teeth and gums shows he has not aged too much.  And now the question arises about allowing these Southern brethren of ours to take along to the new lands which their arms have helped to obtain, their Sambos, old black nurses and pickaninnies, so as to keep up the old style of family arrangements.  It is a very troublesome question to discuss, but we must do it in all charity.
     These were not his words nor illustrations, but about their spirit, as in my memory - the by-play of an earnest, judicial talk upon the great trouble that was setting the people North and South at loggersheads "befo' de wah."

*     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *

     When I lifted the old brass knocker, "Thomas Corwin," I felt it an honor;

[Pg. 751]
it did its duty nobly.  Its echo had scarce come to me when the door opened and there stood a judge in the land, and he bade me welcome.  Judge Sage is genial.
     The mansion was built, I think, about 1818, is venerable in its appearance and appointments.  The judge took me into the "historic room,"  which is about twenty feet square and elegant for its day.  The mantelpiece is of wood, painted white and elaborately carved by hand.  Family portraits from the long ago hang from the walls, and among them, side by side, those of Mr. and Mrs. Corwin.  "There," said the judge, "in front of their portraits is the spot where they stood when married."  A few moments later he added, "In the room over this George Hunt Pendleton (Gentleman George) passed several days when an infant."
     Of the many eminent characters in the palmy days of Mr. Corwin, as William Henry Harrison, Henry Clay, Thomas Ewing, Judge Burnet, Bellamy Storer, Senator Crittenden, etc., who have enlivened this room by their presence no one now can tell, but socially  with such a host it must have been a bright enjoyable spot in the town of Lebanon.  The old-time people are gone.  The place is silent.  But as of yore the creek, Turtle creek, runs under the window, and in the seasons of hte spring freshets, "the voice of the Turtle is still heard in the land," while the waters run to the sea.
     Union Village, four miles west of Lebanon, is a settlement of Shakers, or, as they call themselves, "the United Society of Believers."  They came here about

Shakers Dancing

the year 1805, and now (1846) number near 400 souls.  The village extends about a mile on one street.  The houses and shops are very large, many of them brick, and all in a high degree neat and substantial.  They are noted for the cleanliness and strict propriety of conduct characteristic of the sect elsewhere, and take no part in politics or military affairs, keeping themselves completely aloof from the world, only so far as is necessary to dispose of their garden seeds and other products of agriculture and articles of mechanical skill.  They own here about 3,000 acres of land, and hold all their property in common.
     The community is divided into five families, each family laving an eating-room and kitchen.  A traveller thus describes their ceremonies at the table:
     "Two long tables were covered on each side of the room, behind the tables
 

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