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THE CITY OF COLUMBUS.
Pages 505 - 597
The existence of a city proves that the human species belongs in natural history, to the class of animals known as gregarious. Perhaps a Darwinian might say that men come honestly by this characteristic; since the apes, their putative ancestors, lived together in flocks, long before men lived at all.
But the gregariousness of man, strikingly typified as it is by that of many of the lower species, yet contains elements of which no trace or shadow can be found in the habits of any other animals. The city of modern times is an outgrowth of the instinct of self-improvement, which is a peculiar characteristic of the human race. No other animals manifest the least disposition to improve upon the condition of their progenitors. Some of the feathered tribes, probably, approach nearest to man in their gregarious habits—especially in their modes of architecture. The swallows, for instance, build their nests in large numbers contiguous to one another, for society and protection—each nest accommodating but a single family. The construction of their dwellings exhibits skill and forethought; and the instinct which guides them in their operations is, in many respects, hardly distinguishable from human reason. But they do not manifest the least tendency to improve, or even to change. As far back as our knowledge of the species extends, they have built their nests in precisely the same fashion; and there is no reason to suppose that they will ever build them in any other.
It is true that the nests of nearly, if not quite, all species of birds, are built solely for the convenience of propagation; and even when new ones are not constructed every year, the old ones are occupied but temporarily, from year to year. The remarks made above, however, apply with equal force to those animals, whether gregarious or solitary, which construct permanent dwellings for shelter and protection. Their mod or architecture is neither taught by one generation to another, nor has it ever undergone, so far as can be ascertained, the least change since the art, by whatever means, was first communicated to the species.
The abodes of civilized men, on the other hand, are built only by those who have been carefully taught the art of building; and their modes of architecture are constantly changing. Whether or not barbarism was the primal condition of the race, or a deterioration from a better and happier state, it is certain that what we now call civilization is the result of gradual improvements upon a state of barbarism.
Neither state, the barbarous nor the civilized, can properly be predicated of brute animals; since both alike presuppose a capacity for self-improvement, in which brutes (as we have said) are obviously deficient. The habits of brute animals (like those of plants) may be changed by domestication, which results from an external force brought to bear upon them by the dominant race—a change which, when left to themselves, they have no power to perpetuate and transmit to their descendants. But civilization is the result of internal moral and spiritual forces, of whose influence brutes are no more susceptible than plants themselves. When, therefore, Sir Charles Lubbock speaks of "the present state of civilization among ants," unless his language is intentionally humorous, it must be regarded as absurd and preposterous.
A modern dwelling—especially a suburban villa, with "all the modern improvements"—is an epitome of modern civilization. The highest achievements of human skill and ingenuity in the practical sciences, in the mechanical and decorative arts, are embodied in its erection and ornamentation, and in filling it with all the appliances of comfort and convenience, of elegance and beauty. Its grounds, under the magic hand of that double artist, the landscape gardener, become a work of art-in-nature, where the essential elements of picture and sculpture blend in a wonderful harmony. The science of architecture which gives it beauty of form and durability of structure, is one of the sublimest [sic.] outgrowths of man's desire for immortality. To the same and kindred desires, which mark man as a spiritual being, are to be attributed all the attractions of painting and statuary, of
music and literature, with which its interior abounds. The parental authority and the filial obedience which obtain within its precincts, are the germs of all human government and loyalty. And the virtues—and, alas! the vices, too—which spring up in those precincts, become when multiplied by millions of other homes, and modified by contact with the various forms of social life, the characteristics of the country and of the age.
It is obvious that the history of such a dwelling, and all that legitimately belongs to it, would fill many volumes, and occupy the mind and pen of the readiest historian through the longest lifetime. What, then, shall we say of the history of a city like Columbus, which contains thousands of dwellings properly ranking with the one we have briefly described, and a much larger number of an inferior and descending rank, terminating in the cabin of extreme poverty? In the history of a city, it is obvious that very little can be said of its individual and domestic life. It is only where these come in contact, or become coincident, with some of its organized forms of public life—in pecuniary, industrial, political, military, benevolent, religious, educational, or social affairs—that they can be mentioned at all. These various interests must, for the most part, furnish the material of which our history is to be composed. But when we reflect how ramified each of these interests has become, and over how great a length of time the history of nearly all its branches extends, we shall perceive that the difficulty will not be to find material for our work, but to select judiciously from the super[a]budndant material which will be offered to our hands.
Take the religious interest, as and example. This is represented by some forty-three church organizations, several of which have been in existence over half a century. A full history of every one of these bodies, such as its minister might prepare to be preserved by his parishioners, would fill a large volume. The same may be said of the State institutions located here. A complete history of each, with the legislative, and other documents pertaining thereto, would occupy more space in our work than we can possibly spare for the entire city history.
But while the bulk of our history, compared with the mass of material accessible, must necessarily be parvum e multo, we trust that the number of interesting facts recorded, and the amount of useful information presented, will justly entitle it to be called multum in parvo.
FRANKLINTON—THE PREDECESSOR AND ONE OF THE COMPONENTS OF COLUMBUS.
In writing the biography of a celebrated man, it is common to begin with an account of his ancestry. And so, in writing a history of Columbus, it is proper to commence with that of Franklinton; not only because its early founders were mostly Franklintonians, but because the older town has become part and parcel of the younger. Saturn, it is said, had the bad habit of devouring his own progeny. Columbus, on the other hand, without seeming to be aware that it was a very bad thing to do, has swallowed up its progenitor.
Franklinton was the first settlement in the territory now composing the county of Franklin, and was laid out six years before said county was set off from that of Ross—i. e., in the month of August, 1797. Its founder and proprietor was Lucas Sullivant, a nitive of Kentucky, who came to this region about a year previous to the date just mentioned, being engaged in surveying land and locating land warrants. To stimulate the growth of his town, he set apart the lots on "Gift street" as donations to actual settlers. The new town grew apace. The following names are recorded as among those of the first settlers: Joseph Dixon, George Skidmore, John Brickell, Robert Armstrong, Jeremiah Armstrong, William Domigan, James Marshall, the Deardurffs, the McElvains, the Sells, John Lisle and family, William Fleming, Robert Balentine, Jacob Grubb, Benjamin White, Jacob Overdier, Arthur O'Harra, Joseph Foos, John Blair, and John Dill, the latter from York county, Pennsylvania.
Mr. Sullivant married, about the year 1801, and became himself a settler and householder in this new town. Soon after him, Lyne Starling and Robert Russell came, and, about the same time, Robert Culbertson arrived from Shippensburg, Pennsylvania, with a numerous family of sons and daughters, some of them single, and others married and bringing their families. Biographical sketches of these settlers, so far as their history is known, will be given elsewhere.
The rude simplicity in which these first settlers lived, may be learned, not only from the fact that they were compelled to make Indian corn their principal diet, but also from the expedients to which they had to resort in order to reduce it to an edible condition. "The people," says Martin, "constructed a kind of hand-mill, upon which they generally ground their corn. A horse-mill was then resorted to and kept up for some time. Some pounded their corn, or boiled it; and occasionally a trip was made to the Chillicothe mill,"—a trip of nearly fifty miles, on horseback, through the wilderness.