IN February, 1834, Columbus was incorporated as a city; and in the spring of the same year it contained the following official, professional and business men and houses, to wit:
UNITED STATES OFFICERS.
Wm. Miner, Clerk of Unsted States Courts.
John Patterson, Marshal for the District of Ohio.
Noah Swayne, District Attorney.
Bela Latham, Postmaster.
Henry Brewerton, Superintendent of the National Road.
David Scott, Engineer and Inspector of National Road.
John McElvain, Indian Agent.
Benjamin Hinkson, Secretary of State.
Henry Brown, Treasurer of State.
John A. Bryan, Auditor of State.
Timothy Griffith, Chief Clerk in Auditor's Office.
Wm. W. Gault, Keeper of the Ohio Penitentiary.
N. Medbury, Superintendent of new Penitentiary.
Zachariah Mills, State Librarian.
Samuel C. Andrews, Adjutant General.
Christopher Niswanger [Sic.], Quarter-Master General.
William Preston, Episcopalian.
L. B. Gurley, Methodist — stationed.
Russell Bigelow, Methodist. Agent for Temp. Society.
Thomas Asbury, Methodist. Local.
Jesse F. Wiscom, Methodist. Local.
George Jeffries, Baptist.
Edward Davis, Baptist.
There were several other trading establishments that might perhaps have been included under this head
with propriety, such as leather stores, hat factories, comb factory, and some small groceries.
Nathional Hotel, by John Noble.
In the fall of 1835, the first theater was erected in Columbus. It was a large frame building, on the west side of High street, between Broad and Gay; and in the winter following it opened with a corps of dramatic performers, under the management of Messrs. Dean & McKinney, and it was occupied during the winter seasons, under different managers, until about the year 1841, when it finally closed. In 1843, the building was purchased by M. J. Gilbert, Esq., who had it
*This was not the stand lately known as the Franklin House, but was situated at the corner of High and Town streets, where the Deshler building now stands.
remodeled, and for a time it was kept and known as the "City Hall." It was then cut in two, and part removed, and the whole converted into private dwellings.
January 26, 1838, the Legislature passed an act providing for the erection of a new State House on the public square in Columbus, which was the occasion of a grand illumination of the city. Col. Noble, who kept the National Hotel, where the Neil House now stands, had the candles in his front windows so arranged as to form letters and spell NEW STATE HOUSE. In pursuance of said act, Joseph Ridgway, jr., of Columbus, Wm. A> Adams, of Zanesville, and Wm. B. Van Hook, of Butler County, were, by joint resolution, appointed the commissioners for carrying the law into effect. They were required to give notice in certain newspapers, and offer a premium of five hundred dollars fro the best plan, to be approved by the Legislature, upon which said house should be erected. A number of plans were furnished by various competitors for the premium, and Henry Walters of Cincinnati, received the premium, though his plan was not adopted; but from the various plans furnished, the commissioners formed and adopted one somewhat different from any of the plans presented.
In the spring of 1839, the commissioners appointed Wm. B. Van Hook [Wm. B. Lloyd?], one of their own body, superintendent of the work. The high board fence was put up, and a good work shop erected on the square, and other preparations made for working the convicts within the enclosure, in the cutting of stone, etc., a vast quantity of which, obtained at Sullivant's limestone quarry, had been delivered on the ground during the preceding year. And on the fourth of July, 1839, at a suitable celebration, the corner stone of the new edifice was laid, and the foundation subsequently raised to a level with the earth, when the inclemency of the weather stopped the work, as was supposed, until the succeeding spring. But during the session of 1839-40, after the Legislature's investigation of certain charges against Wm. B. Lloyd, a member from Cuyahoga County, for forgery in altering certain accounts and papers, a friend of Mr. Lloyd's drew up the following statement of confidence, etc., in said Lloyd:
"Columbus, Feb. 13, 1840.
"Dear Sir—The undersigned, convinced beyond doubt, that the charge lately circulated against yourself is totally unsustained by the testimony relating to the matter; and the act charged, one of which it is impossible you should be guilty, beg leave, respectfully, to
assure you of our undiminished confidence in the integrity of your character, and to express to you our sincerest wishes for your future happiness and prosperity."
Which was signed by sixty-three citizens, principally young men of Columbus, as papers of the kind are generally signed, more through compliance to the wishes of the individual who presents the paper, than anything else. And this note, unexpectedly, to many, at least, of the signers, appeared in the Ohio State Journal of the 17th of February, with the signers' names appended. This publication gave offense to many members of the Legislature, who had voted to censure Lloyd, and under this excited feeling, on the 18th of February, Mr. Flood , member from Licking, introduced a bill into the lower House, to repeal the act providing for the erection of the new State House, which was finally passed, and became a law on the 10th of March, 1840. The whole cost, as far as the preparations and work had progressed, appears to have been $41,585.22. This amount of the public money,a majority of the savans were willing to throw to the wind, in order to gratify a spirit of personal resentment towards a few citizens of Columbus.
Immediately after the passage of this repealing act, the removal of the seat of government from Columbus was mooted, and the committee of the Legislature
appointed on the subject, made a majority and a monority report—both elaborate productions. The minority report concluded with the following resolutions:
"Resolved by the General Assembly of the State of Ohio, That the Governor be requested to issue his proclamation, setting forth that the time has arrived for the permanent establishment of the seat of government, that all portions of the State may have an opportunity of offering such inducements as they may deem proper for its permanent location at such point as may be designated.
"Resolved, That all propositions for the permanent establishment of the seat of government, at any point in the State, be sealed, and directed by the persons making the same, to the Governor, by the first day of August next, who shall open and communicate the same to the next General Assembly."
These resolutions were, on the 6th of March, 1843, agreed to in the Senate, by a vote of eighteen to sixteen. But were, on the next day, rejected in the lower House, by a vote of thirty-six to twenty-nine.
At the session of 1847-8, a law was again passed providing for the erection of a new State House.*
*The present Constitution establishes the seat of government at Columbus, until otherwise directed by law.
In the spring of 1848, W. A. Adams, of Zanesville, and Joseph Ridgway, jr., and Samuel Medary, of Columbus, were appointed Commissioners to direct and control the work, and Russell West was by them appointed architect. In 1852, Edwin Smith, S. H. Webb, and E. P. Stickney, were appointed Commissioners—West continued as architect. In 1852, the Board of Commissioners were, Stickney, Smith, and James Faran, in place of Webb—N. B. Kelly appointed architect in place of R. West, resigned. In the spring of 1856, a new Board of Commissioners was appointed, consisting of Wm. A. Platt, of Columbus, Jas. T. Worthington, of Ross County, and L. G. Harkness, of Huron County.
The commissioners, it appears, did not employ a regular clerk prior to 1850; but Mr. Ridgway, on of the Board, had acted as secretary and clerk, until the appointment of Mr. Jas. K. Linnel, in the spring of 1850; and Mr. Linnel continued as clerk of the Board until the spring of 1856, when Robert Hume, Esq., was appointed.
The first session of the Legislature in the new State House (which was, however, but an adjourned session,) nominally, commenced on Monday, the 5th of January, 1857. But the evening of the 7th of the same month having been determined upon for the great State House
Festival, the halls could not be used for legislative purposes until that was over.
From about the year 1830 until 1836 or 1837, while the general speculation excitement prevailed, Columbus prospered—by increase of population, improvements and business generally. About 1837 might be considered the culminating point, from whence embarrassments began to be felt by the trading community generally; business became dull, and the prices of real estate and the productions of the country began to decline. And from 1840 to 1843 or '44, was a period of unusually dull times in Columbus. Then gradual improvement followed, and from 1846 or '47, to 1853, the old career of wild speculation was acted over again, with the addition of various enterprises not before entered upon. During this time, the railroad fever prevailed, and a vast amount of capital was invested in that way—perhaps beneficially for the country at large—but not so generally to the individual stockholders. It will be seen, also, that nearly all the turnpikes and plank roads of this county were made, or commenced during this period, and that the same remark is generally applicable to them, as well as to the railroads.
From 1849 to 1853, notwithstanding the prevalence of the epidemic that prevailed during that period, there were more good improvements made in Columbus than
at any previous period of the same length; amongst which were the new market house, the Gwynne Block, and many other improvements in that neighborhood; numerous good buildings oh Hight street, north of Broad, and the fine residences on the east end of Town; and the increase of population was in proportion with the improvements.
The county seat having been removed from Franklinton to Columbus, in 1824, the courts were held in the United States Court House, from that time until 1840, and the county offices were kept in various hired rooms for some four or five years, and then in a building contiguous to the court house, erected by the county for that purpose. In the summer of 1840, the courts and the county offices were removed to the then new court house and jail, but the offices were too contracted; the cost of which appears to have been about $41,000, exclusive of the ground. The two lots upon which the building stands having been bought by contributions of the citizens of the south end of the town, were donated to the county, in the spring of 1838. Four years after, in 1842, the County Commissioners purchased the third lot, so that the county might own the entire block.
On the 4th of July, 1842, was the first balloon ascension
from Columbus. Mr. Clayton, a celebrated aëronaut, then of Cincinnati, Ohio, made a beautiful ascent from the State House yard, where a vast concourse of people had assembled to witness the spectacle. He arose, it was supposed, to the height of from one to two miles. The balloon at first bore southward, then about due east, and landed safely about five miles east of Newark, and he returned to Columbus about two o'clock, on the second day.
The State Journal of the next day says: "Too much praise cannot be given to Mr.Kinney and Mr. Wise For their services in catering to the public taste in this most interesting and beautiful exhibition."
The second balloon ascension, was by a celebrated aëronaut, Mr. Wise, of Pennsylvania. On the 4th of July, 1851, pursuant to an engagement with Mr. Kinney, he made his ascent from an enclosure prepared for the occasion, and other amusements of the day, at the corner of Broad and Seventh streets. There was a very large concourse of spectators, and the ascension as fine as could have been wished. He landed safe and sound about six miles from his starting point, and returned to the city the same evening.
The third balloon ascension from Columbus, was by a Monsieur Godard, on the 29th of October, 1857, from the enclosure of the Capital City Fair Grounds, a short
distance southeasterly from the Lunatic Asylum. This ascension was also made pursuant to an engagement by Mr. John M. Kinney. Mons. Godard is a Frenchman, and was engaged to come from the city of Philadelphia, to make an ascension on horseback. This ascension was only intended as a preliminary one to the great horseback ascension, which was to come off two days after; but which, owing to a disappointment in obtaining gas, did not come off at all. But this ascension was a grand one. Mons. Godard, his brother, Mr. Huntington, of the Exchange Bank, and Robert H. Thompson , of the post office department, all ascended—three of them in the car, and one of the Godards suspended by his feet to a rope some fifteen or twenty feet long, hanging below the car with his head downward, and in the that position, waving a flag as he was carried through the air. They all landed safely, near Taylor's Station, some eight or nine miles east of Columbus.
In February, 1845, the banking law, to incorporate the State Bank of Ohio, and other banking companies, was passed. Books were immediately opened, and the requisite amount of stock soon subscribed for three new banks—the Exchange Branch and the Franklin Branch of the State Bank; and the City Bank, based upon State stocks.
THE EXCHANGE BANK
Went into operation the 24th of May, 1845, with a capital of $125,000. Charter will expire 1st of May, 1866.
The successive business officers have been—
Wm. B. Hubbard, appointed May 24, 1845—retired June, 1852.
Wm. Dennison, jr., appointed June 22, 1852—retired Jan. 1, 1856.
D. W. Deshler, appointed Jan. 1, 1856—continues, 1858.
H. M. Hubbard, appointed May 24, 1845—retired 1853.
M. L. Neville, appointed June 1, 1853—died Dec. 1855.
C. J. Hardy, appointed Jan. 1, 1856—continues, 1858.
Geo. Hubbard, appointed Jan. 1, 1848—retired 1850.
John Greenwood, appointed Jan. 1, 1850—retired 1855.
R. S. Neil, appointed Jan. 1, 1855—retired 1856
P. W. Huntington, appointed Jan. 1, 1856.
THE FRANKLIN BANK
Went into operation July 1, 1845, with a capital of $175,000. Charter will expire 1st of May, 1856.
The successive business officers have been—
Samuel Parsons, appointed July 1845—retired May 1852.
Thomas Wood, appointed May, 1852—retired July 1853.
D. W. Deshler, appointed July 1853—continues, 1858.
James Espy, appointed July 1845—retired July 1854.
Joseph Hutcheson, appointed July 1854—continues 1858.
Joseph Hutcheson, appointed May, 1852—promoted July, 1854
L. C. Bailey, appointed July, 1854—continues, 1858.
CITY BANK OF COLUMBUS.
This Institution went into operation near the same time as the Exchange and Franklin Branch Banks; under the same law, but a different provision of it; which authorized Independent Banks, secured by the deposit of State stock with the Treasurer of State. This bank was located in the same building as the Columbus Insurance Company, and to a great extent, the stockholders in one of these institutions were also in the other; and so also with the directory of both institutions, which became in their business much mixed up together.
Joel Buttles was the President of the bank until the time of his death, in the summer of 1850. Then Robert W. McCoy was President until the time of his death, January, 1856. Thomas Moodie was Cashier during the whole existence of the Institution.
Finally the bank and Insurance Company both failed; the Insurance Company in 1851, and it was the month of November, 1854, that the bank suspended, and closed its doors. The public lost nothing by the notes, they
being secured, as above stated. But it was ruinous to the holders of stock, which was nearly all sunk. The charter of the bank, however, is still kept alive by the annual election officers—probably with the view of some time commencing business again.
At the legislative session of 1837-8, the Mechanics' Savings Institute, a bank of deposit, etc., was incorporated, and soon after went into operation in Columbus. Wm. B. Hubbard, Esq., President, and for a time Warren Jenkins, the Thomas Moodie, Cashier. It was continued till about the time the City Bank commenced business, when the former was discontinued, or merged in the latter.
THE MONEYED INSTITUTIONS IN COLUMBUS IN 1858,
Are the Exchange Branch and Franklin Branch of the State Bank of Ohio, above named, and three pretty extensive Private Banks, or Brokers' Offices, viz: The association doing business under the name of the "Clinton Bank," "Miller, Donaldson, & Co., Bankers," and "Bartlit & Smith, Bankers." But a few years since there were four regular chartered banks in the city. One has failed, as before stated; the charter of another expired by limitation, and it appears hard to obtain a new bank charter under the present Constitution.
COLUMBUS GAS LIGHT AND COKE COMPANY.
By an act passed the 21st of February, 1846, Joel Buttles, Samuel Medary Charles Scott, James S. Abbott, Dwight Stone, John Miller, James D. Osborn, James Westwater, S. D. Preston, and William Armstrong and their associates were incorporated by the name of the Columbus Gas Light and Coke Company, for the purposes of lighting the streets and building of the city of Columbus. The company to be governed by a Board of not less than five nor more than nine Directors.
On the 6th of December, 1848, the company held their first meeting for the election of five Directors, when John Miller, D. W. Deshler, J. Ridgway, jr., John Lockwood, and Wm. A. Gill were elected. Mr. Miller was chosen President, Mr. Ridgway Secretary, and Mr. Deshler Treasurer. Subsequently Mr. Gill was President of the Board. The buildings and neccessary preparations being made, on the 14th of May, 1850, the City Council passed an ordinance granting the privilege to the Company of using the streets and alleys for the purpose of laying their gas pipes and conveying the gas through the city. And as a consideration for this privilege the Gas Company are to furnish such quantity of gas as may be required by the City Council
for public lamps at two-thirds the price paid by private consumers.
The Company went into operation in 1850, and appear to have succeeded well. They have increased their capital stock to near $100,00. They have increased the number of Directors from five to seven. The office business is principally done by a Secretary. In the spring of 1851, Joseph C. Vance was appointed Secretary. In the spring of 1852, he left the city, and Captain Henry Z. Mills was appointed Secretary in his place.
Henry Z. Mills, Secretary.
G. Douty, Superintendent of works.
Calvin A. Platt , Superintendent of the fitting department and Inspector.
The location and construction of the Railroads also gave a new impetus to improvements, particularly in the north end of the city. The Columbus and Xenia Road was constructed in the years 1848 and 1849, and the
first passenger train passed over it on the 26th of February, 1850. Soon after, an invitation was extended to the Legislature, then in session, and they took a pleasure excursion over the road, to Cincinnati and back.
The depot grounds, amounting to some thirty-six or thirty-seven acres, and the buildings, generally, belong to the Columbus and Xenia, and the Cleveland, Columbus, and Cincinnati Roads, jointly. The Central Road, however, by lease and contract, has certain rights and privileges in the same. The lot where the office is, and the office itself, belong to the Columbus and Xenia Company, exclusively.
By the month of February, 1851, the C., C., & C. Road (i. e., the road from Columbus to Cleveland,) was so far finished as to be in running condition, and pursuant to an arrangement between the Railroad Company and the Cleveland authorities, a grand celebration of the opening of a direct railroad communication from Cincinnati to Cleveland, was to take place at Cleveland, on the 22d of February, and invitations were extended to the Legislature, and to the City authorities of Columbus and Cincinnati, and numerous other citizens to attend the celebration; and on the 21st, the excursion party first passed over the road. The 22d was spent at Cleveland and on the 23d the party returned highly gratified.
In the spring of 1852, the Central Road being finished as far as Zanesville, on an invitation of the Zanesville authorities to the Legislature, the City Council of Columbus, and certain others, a free pleasure excursion was had over the road to Zanesville, where the party was received and hospitably entertained by the citizens of Zanesville, and they returned the same night.
On the Columbus, Piqua and Indiana Road, the first train passed over the road from Columbus to Urbana on the 4th of July, 1853, and in the fall of the same year, the trains ran as far as Piqua.
In 1849, the cholera again made its appearance in Columbus. It broke out in the family of Mr. George B. Smith, in the Jewett block, near where in commenced in 1833. On the 21st of June, Mr. Smith's son, a boy six or seven years old, was taken and died suddenly. The next day Mr. Smith and his wife, and Mrs. Kinney and a Mr. Sanders. The alarm now spread, and the disease also spread all over the town. Many of the citizens left. A Board of Health was immediately appointed, consisting of Messrs. Isaac Dalton, N. W. Smith, Geo. B. Harvey, W. W. Pollard, and James Cherry, who were diligent in the discharge of their duties—procuring medical and other assistance, where it was needed, and made daily reports. The disease
continued until about the middle of September, and the Board reported 162 deaths by cholera, in that time. There doubtless were some omissions, and the true number may have been somewhere between that and 200, beside 116 deaths in the penitentiary, which are noticed in the chapter under that head,—deaths other than by cholera not included in the above.
Many well-known citizens were carried off by the epidemic this season, amongst whom were Dr. B. F. Guard, Dr. Horace Lathrop, Gen. Edgar Gale, Samuel Preston, Abraham Mettles, Wm. Cook and son, Robert Thompson and wife, Dr. Isaac F. Taylor, Christian Karst, Joseph Murray, Esq., Bernard Berk, Christian Hertz, and John Whisker.
In 1850, this terrible disease again prevailed. The first case this year was Mrs. Robert Russell, who died on the 8th of July at the United States Hotel on High street. The disease immediately spread and raged with about the same virulence it had the preceding year, and continued till near the middle of September.
The Board of Health this year consisted of George B. Harvey, Isaac Dalton, and W. W. Pollard, assisted by T. J. McCamish, and others occasionally. They made regular daily reports from the 24th of July to the 4th of September. In that time they reported 209 deaths by cholera and 93 from other diseases, in all 302. And
then the disease had prevailed over two weeks before the commencement of the reports, so that the number of deaths from cholera this year was probably near 225, and from other diseases, according to the classification made by the Board of Health, probably about 100. The population of the city, according to the census taken this year, was 17,871, of whom it is supposed about one fourth had left.
Amongst the well-known citizens who paid their last debt to nature during the epidemic this year, were Elijah Converse, David S. Doeherty, Emanuel Doherty, and Wm. Doherty, John Willard and son, Wm. G. Alexander and wife and two or three children, James B. Griffith's son and three daughters, John Barcus, Joseph Ridgway, jr., Robert Owen, Timothy Griffith, Dr. James B. McGill, Henry Wass, Isaac Taylor, Hinman Hurd, William Henderson, Mrs. Wm. S. Sullivant, Mrs. Geo. B. Harvey, Mrs. Matthew Gooding, Mrs. E. B. Armstrong and Misa Fanny Huston.
In 1851, there was no cholera.
In 1852, it returned again, but was light in comparison with 1849, and 1850. The first case this year was Philip Link, who died on the 16th of June in the southeastern part of the city. Amongst the victims to that fatal disease this year were William English and wife, Nelson Compston, Miss Henrietta E. Gale,
In 1853, there was no cholera.
In 1854, it again appeared. It this year commenced in the fore part of June, at the north end of the town, and did not spread very generally. Amongst the victims were John Leaf, wife and son, Mr. Westwater's two children, Jonathan Ream, and Jonathan Philips and daughter.
No cholera since 1854.
In July, 1851, Captain Walcutt first opened his Museum in Columbus. It then consisted of only six or seven wax figures and a few paintings. It for a time attracted as much attention and patronage as could be expected from so small a collection. He has been since then constantly adding to it, until it now comprises over twenty good wax figures, two or three hundred specimens of beasts, birds, fossils and other curiosities, and about one hundred fine oil paintings, presenting quite a respectable collection. But those of our citizens who saw it or heard of it in its infancy are not aware of its improvements, and do not seem to fully appreciate it.
Of those who removed from a distance and settled in Columbus, the next five years, there are still libing in the city, Messrs. John M. Walcutt, Jonathan Neereamer, Moylen Northrup, D. W. Deshler, William Armstrong, James Harris, Henry Butler, Thomas Wood, Hugh McMaster, Jared Shead, Cyrus Fay, Joseph Leiby, Jas. Cherry, P. B. Wilcox and G. W. Gwynne.
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