|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
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
|Townships & Census
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.
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
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
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
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.
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
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.
| 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
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
Here lie the remains of four
maiden sisters, instantly killed by lightning, as stated on an
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.
Henry and Elizabeth
Who died May 30,
Aged 27 years, 3 months,
and 26 days.
Henry and Elizabeth
Aged 35 years, 6 months,
Henry and Elizabeth
Who died May 30,
Aged 38 years, 2 months,
and 28 days.
Henry and Elizabeth
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.
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
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
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."
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
|"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
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
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
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
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
To Page 752 >