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Volume XXXIV] [Number 1 

Whole Number 89 



Instructor in Economics, Ohio State University 
Sometime University Fellow in Economict, Columbia Univeriity 






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THE following pages are the result of an effort to trace 
the industrial development of a section of the Middle 
West, as it was affected by transportation. It is intended 
to be primarily a study in transportation, and the object 
has been to correlate the development in transportation 
with the industrial development. 

Every effort has been made to avoid the usual errors in 
collecting, recording and organizing the numerous facts 
which have been drawn from many scattered sources. No 
apology is offered for the extensive use of newspapers as 
sources of material for certain parts of the study; for while 
the chief source has been the official documents, yet these 
only state results. In order to discover what the people 
were thinking about various policies of the state and local 
governments and the different phases of their industrial 
and transportation development, no better source of 
information is known to the writer than the newspaper. 
In many cases official reports have been found unsatis- 
factory, and an investigation of the original documents 
has been necessary. 

In the preparation of the study the writer has been 
assisted by the funds of the Carnegie Institute of Wash- 
ington, D. C. Thanks are due to Dr. Edwin R. A. 
Seligman, of Columbia University, and to Dr. M. B. 
Hammond, of Ohio State University, for valuable aid 
and suggestion in the preparation and arrangement of 

the material. 


5] 5 





The importance of natural waterways and topography in determin- 
ing routes of travel and trade in the Middle West How these 
factors and the natural resources of the region caused Ohio to re- 
flect the industrial and transportation development of the Middle 
West Ohio, the transportation valley between the East and 
West and the North and South The Indian Trails Their loca- 
tion, direction and termini as determined by the topography of 
the region and the regional resources Their development into 
the roads and railways of the white man Map of the chief 
Indian Trails 20 


The different sources of immigration into Ohio and the Middle 
West and the regions settled by each Routes and methods used 
in the westward movement of population Importance of the 
Ohio river in the distribution of population The causes of the 
different waves of immigration to the west The rapidity with 
which each of the states of the Northwest Territory was settled 
Migrations from Ohio The economic needs for transportation 
routes to the East 28 



The Ohio river, an unsatisfactory route The pack-horse stage of 

transportation The transfer to the wagon-road The opposition 

and adjustment between the pack-horse men and the wagon men 

The demand for through overland routes Zane's Trace, the 

7] 7 



Cumberland, the Maumee and the Post Roads The location of 
the early roads and their industrial effects The condition of early 
roads in the west Cost of transportation Map of roads in Ohio 
in 1810 43 


The importance of the Ohio river in the transportation of people 
and goods in the West Extent to which land routes were sup- 
plementary to the riverDifficulty and methods used in navigat- 
ing the Ohio river Character of the boats at different periods 
Extent and character of the traffic on the river Chief settlements 
along the rivers Importance of the New Orleans trade The 
state rivers and their importance for settlement and industrial 
purposes Mills, Ferries The causes for the late development of 
the lake navigation Difficulties of ascending the Ohio and 
Mississippi rivers and the cost of river transportation 57 


The first steam-boat on the Ohio river, 1811 Obstacles to its use 
Effect of the Falls at Louisville Industrial effects of the dis- 
pute over the invention of the steam-boat The monopoly of Liv- 
ingston and Fulton on steam-boat navigation in the West 
Effects of the destruction of this monopoly Growth and charac- 
ter of the river trade Effect of the reduction in cost of transpor- 
tation Steam-boats upon the Great Lakes and their effects upon 
industry 69 


The character of the soil and the variety of the mineral resources 
Early industrial products The pre-eminence of agriculture 
Early attempts at coal and iron-ore mining and manufacturing 
Difficulties and costs of transportation as a restriction upon in- 
dustrial development Prices, character and amounts of products 
at different periods Chief exports and imports and methods of 
marketing goods Importing and Exporting Companies Com- 
petition of Eastern and Southern markets Leading industrial 
centers and causes of their growth General status of commerce 
in the west, as affected by transportation The demand for 
national and state aid in constructing means of transportation ... 82 






The early agitation for canals The Indiana and Kentucky attempts 
to construct a canal around the Falls at Louisville The interest 
of other states in this canal National aid for the construction of 
this canal Effects of the Erie Canal upon the West The loss of 
trade by southern markets to the eastern markets The Ohio 
Canals Determining factors in their location Effects upon in- 
dustry and Ohio river traffic Character and amount of their 
traffic at different periods Attempts to protect canals from rail- 
way competition Lease and sale of state canals Causes of their 
loss of traffic Present status of state canals Map of canals in 
Ohio, Indiana and Illinois in 1850 107 


Characteristics of the period The road legislation of the Northwest 
Territory and Ohio previous to 1850 Its success in securing 
roads The origin of the Three-Per Cent. Fund Methods of ap- 
plying this fund The beginning of the period of private turn- 
pikes Character of these roads State and local government aid 
in constructing roads Cause of the withdrawal of state aid The 
activity of local governments The organization and system of 
the transportation business upon the turnpikes Results of the 
decreased cost of transportation on highways Map of Roads in 
Ohio in 1830 129 



State and local government aid versus exclusive private and public 
construction of transportation means Construction by general 
taxation versus special assessment Special versus general incor- 
poration of transportation and industrial companies Exemption 
of transportation and manufacturing companies from taxation 
Results of the past legislative policy towards these companies 
Conflict in interests of different sections of the state The grow- 
ing sentiment for the control of corporations Provisions adopted 
and their effects 148 





The strategic pos ition of Ohio in the movement of east and west 
traffic by rail and water Effects of the topography of the region 
upon east and west and upon north and south trade Early inter- 
est of Ohio in railroads Terms of the first charters and laws 
Character and amount of the early traffic The periods of state 
and local government aid and popular subscription Its amount 
and effect Why consolidation began early in the middle west 
The formation of the through lines The competition of eastern 
cities to secure rail ways to the west Rivalry of industrial centers 
in Ohio to secure railroads Competition of railways with water- 
ways Amount of traffic moving east by rail at different periods 
The rate wars and the discrimination against local traffic 
Effects upon industry in the middle west Increase in mileage 
by decades Effect s of railways upon price Changes in the char- 
acter of the industrial life The beginning of railway regulation 
Causes for the change in popular opinion, regarding railway 
operation and organization The Ohio Commissions of 1867 and 
1906 as types of methods of control The Two-Cent Laws Char- 
acteristics of the different periods of railway development and 
railway legislation The Ohio method of taxing railways The 
relation of railway development to the character and the extent 
of industrial development in the middle west Map of railways in 
Ohio, Indiana, Michigan and Illinois in 1850 Map of Ohio rail- 
ways in 1875 157 


Character and the effects of the various improvements of the Ohio 
river The present plans and their economic justification The 
improvement of state streams The increase in number and 
change in character of bridges, as indicative of industrial devel- 
opmentThe improvement of the Lake Harbors The growth of 
the Lake commerce The extent of national aid to rivers and 
harbors from 1830 to 1905 The relation of improved waterways 
to highways and railways 208 



Characteristics of the period The work of the private turnpike 
and plank road companies Causes of the transfer from private 



to public ownership and construction The confusion in the road 
laws, as a result of the different methods used to secure roads and 
the different road materials in different sections of the state The 
extent to which each of the three methods of improving trans- 
portation has been used in constructing roads Character, cause 
and extent of the present agitation for good roads Highway 
Commissions and their effects Second period of state aid Re- 
lation of good roads to industrial development 220 



Characteristics of the different periods of the development of inter- 
urbans Causes for the formation of systems Economic effects 
of interurbans Effects upon railways, land values and population 
movement Social effects The character of the interurban traffic 
Future development 231 



The limits upon industrial development by the absence of trans- 
portation facilities The effects of the increase of the population 
of the Ohio valley and the settlement of the western states The 
effects of the development of coal mining by the canals and the 
railways Agricultural development The development of manu- 
facturing and the mechanical industries The use of local iron 
ores and their replacement by the Superior ores Causes for the 
change in the character of the industrial life in Ohio Competi- 
tion of the western and eastern states Effects of railway devel- 
opment and railway rates The question of markets Causes and 
effects of the numerous industrial centers in Ohio Growth in 
value of industrial products at different periods Price statistics 
of leading exports and imports from 1800 to 1905, as expressive 
of transportation and industrial development 242 



THE present period is one of widespread interest in 
improved means of transportation. It is differentiated 
from any of the numerous periods of the past by the 
fact that the present agitation is not for any particular 
method of transportation, but for better and more ade- 
quate means of transportation. In the past there was a 
distinct period of agitation for canals and improved 
rivers, for turnpikes and railroads; but the present 
movement has for its object to provide for the reduction 
of the cost of transportation both by land and by water. 
Although more attention seems to be given by the pub- 
lic at large to the improvement of waterways and high- 
ways, this results from the fact that these improvements 
will be made at public expense through the agency of 
government. The railways controlled by private indi- 
viduals are with less attention, but with no less energy, 
continuing that wonderful and difficult task of keeping 
railway transportation abreast of the industrial demands. 
There are doubtless few who fully recognize the real 
merit of the work which has been done by the railroads 
in developing the resources of the country, for it has 
been the widespread practice to emphasize the evils of 
railway management rather than the constructive work 
which they have done. However, when their work is 
dispassionately viewed, and when the extent of the area 
and the diversity of interests of the United States are 
considered, we shall realize that it was the railway, more 
13] 13 


than any other one agency, which made these many 
geographical units within the limits of the present 
United States a common country of a people, united 
in fact as well as in name. Now that the railways are 
no longer able to meet the demands for transporting the 
products of the country, many believe that they were 
wholly responsible for the loss of traffic by the canals 
and rivers and the subsequent disuse of these waterways, 
which are now sought to be made efficient means of 
transportation. As a matter of fact, a careful investiga- 
tion will disclose that the unfair competition of the rail- 
ways has not been the chief cause of the traffic leaving 
the waterways, but rather that the transportation business 
on the waterways was not organized in such a manner as 
to meet the growing industrial demands. 

In spite of the low cost of shipping by water, the 
shipper preferred the railway because it was quicker, 
more certain and, above all, because he could ship at any 
time and in any amounts. The waterways developed 
little systematic organization in their business and gradu- 
ally lost the carrying trade to the railways. Those en- 
thusiastic supporters of canal and river navigation who 
think that cheapness in rates alone will secure freight 
for the improved waterways will- be disappointed, if this 
cheapness is coupled with a haphazard conduct of the 
business. The day has long since passed when a single 
individual can conduct profitably for the public a trans- 
portation business on a railway, a highway, a canal, a 
river, or even a street. It is a business which demands 
systematic organization on a large scale, and it is safe 
to say that centralization rather than decentralization 
will be the order of the future development of the trans- 
portation business, whether on railways, highways or 


There have been few, if any, examples in the history of 
the world, where such an extensive area of land with 
such great natural resources has awaited exploitation by 
man, as that of the United States. It is difficult to 
realize how extensive these resources were as compared 
with the limited population to exploit them. Riches 
awaited all and the inducements to use temporary means 
for their exploitation were very great. There was so much 
to divide and so few to share it, that the good of their suc- 
cessors did not appeal to those who did the pioneer work 
in the industrial conquest of the country. Make-shift 
principles in the transportation and industrial work were 
adopted, for that plan which would yield the greatest re- 
turn in the shortest time was preferred. If canals and 
rivers did not transport products to the markets at any 
time and in any quantities which were desired, and rail- 
ways promised to do this, then the latter were to be 
favored. Would individuals build highways, railways 
and bridges ? If they would not, then the public must, 
for markets must be reached. Would individuals con- 
struct manufacturing plants? If they would not, then 
the state must encourage such construction by exempt- 
ing them from taxation and by paying a bounty for the 
production of such raw products as would be manufac- 
tured in the state. Should one be surprised that evils 
developed in thus forcing transportation and industrial 
enterprises? Or was it to be expected, when such re- 
wards were promised, that any other than a forcing pro- 
cess would be adopted? 

The task of describing accurately the wonderful in- 
dustrial development of the United States is one 
which it is probably too soon to essay; but when 
the economic history of the country is written, it 
will be found that the Middle West has been a 


very large factor in making this history. In these 
states agriculture first secured a large development. 
The abundance of fertile land promised great returns, 
and the need of transportation facilities was very keenly 
felt. The mineral resources were great and awaited ex- 
ploitation. Manufacturing become profitable as soon as 
a larger population was present. It was a region of 
great distances and, although the natural waterways sup- 
plied in part the early demands for transportation, the 
industrial needs soon necessitated something more than 
the highways of nature. Harbors must be improved, 
streams must be dredged, canals must be constructed 
and land routes must be built. In all this region no 
other state reflected so accurately what was occur- 
ring in all the states of the region, as did Ohio. The 
geographical position of this state between the east and 
the west caused her to experience the industrial evolu- 
tion in all its phases. The topography of the region and 
the natural waterways on the north and the south of the 
state made Ohio the transportation valley between the 
east and the west and the north and the south. Popu- 
lation in its western movement passed through Ohio and 
much of it stopped for a time in this state. The center 
of population gradually moved through it; then the cen- 
ter of railway mileage, and, at the present time, the center 
of manufacturing is moving across the state. If statis- 
tics could be collected, it would be found that many 
other centers, illustrating the industrial development of 
the United States, moved, or are moving, through Ohio. 
Such centers for example as the center of improved farm 
area, the center of the packing industry, the center of 
wheat production and the centers of the manufacture of 
vehicles and farm machinery. 

The producers of the state struggled for markets to 


the east and to the south. The people of the state, in 
their efforts to reach markets, constructed at public ex- 
pense canals, railways and highways. They encouraged 
in various ways the development of the manufacturing 
industry. They passed through the period of contest 
between the waterways and the railways for the carrying 
trade and saw the latter usurp this business. The peo- 
ple witnessed the wonderful development of the lake 
commerce. They passed through the various phases of 
highway construction. As a state, they attempted the 
various means of regulating the numerous industrial en- 
terprises. We are probably too little removed from the 
latest phases of this regulation to judge properly of the 
merits of the methods used, but if one can trace the 
efforts made to lessen the friction due to the industrial 
changes of the past, adjustments to future changes may 
be more successfully made. 

It has been with the view, then, of contributing some- 
thing, however small, to a better understanding of the 
economic history of our country and of performing a 
service, however slight, to the people of my native state, 
that this study has been undertaken. 

There is such a widespread interest at the present in 
improved highways and waterways and the regulation of 
industrial corporations that it is hoped that this attempt 
to correlate transportation and industrial development 
will be timely. Ohio has experimented with canals on a 
wide scale and there is now a movement to rehabilitate 
these artificial waterways ; but to suppose that they can 
occupy the same field of usefulness, as they once did, is 
to expect the progress of fifty years of industrial develop- 
ment to be removed. It is believed that in pointing out 
their real field of usefulness in the past, a proper place 
in the transportation business may be indicated for them 
in the future. 


The Ohio river is in process of improvement but it 
can not perform the same service in 1909 that it did in 
1809. There is sufficient traffic for both water and land 
routes but transportation facilities in the future must be 
provided not simply for local needs, as has been largely 
the practice in the past, but also for interstate and inter- 
national needs. 

Markets are now world markets, and the producers of 
the Ohio valley are interested in reaching London, 
Panama, Hong Kong, as well as Pittsburgh, New 
Orleans, New York and Chicago. So intimate and com- 
plex have become the interests of all the people of the 
state, that good roads are demanded for all sections. The 
necessity for economies in production are becoming too 
pressing for transportation to make up such a large 
element in the cost ; but this cost will not be reduced so 
much by the legislative enactment of two-cent rate laws, 
as by developing improved methods of land and water 
transportation. Both the industrial and the transportation 
business have long since become interstate in their opera- 
tion and it is hoped that an account of their develop- 
ment and the attempts at their regulation will be of 
interest to those who are laboring with the difficulties 
involved in their proper control. How to preserve the 
advantages of centralized control of industrial and trans- 
portation corporations for the public at large is a prob- 
lem which is demanding the thought of many serious 
men. If progress in material welfare is to continue 
under our present system of ownership and the fruits of 
this progress are to be shared among its creators, some 
more adequate solution of this problem must be found 
than has yet been advanced. 

We are undoubtedly upon the eve of a period of large 
expenditures by the states for improved highways, the 


rehabilitation of artificial waterways and the inspection 
of industrial plants and industrial products. The ex- 
penditures have already begun in several states. 

The experience of the states in this activity has not 
been encouraging, and partly because of the political 
party system, which made such activities a means of 
furthering party organization. The same party system 
still prevails, and it can hardly be said, notwithstanding 
our recognition that this public work is of such a tech- 
nical character as to require for its proper performance 
trained officials and employees, that we have ceased to 
prostitute this work to base party purposes. There was 
some excuse for the mistakes of the past, for the people 
had no experience to guide them. Such ignorance we 
can not plead. Official records of bankrupt cities and 
states, of repudiated debts and of responsibilities shifted 
to future generations are the mournful reminders of 
overzealous enthusiasm in constructing public works and 
of ignorance and dishonesty in their management. If 
we are to prevent history from repeating itself, as it so 
often does in a democracy, we must see to it, among 
other things, that public work does not mean an oppor- 
tunity for public plunder and political party financiering. 
Ohio has had a sufficiently varied experience in public 
work to give her a wealth of wisdom, which, if her sister 
states are lacking, she may well share with them for the 
benefit of all. If we will but act upon the basis of what 
that experience has been, all may well approve of this 
second period of large expenditures by the states for 
public works. 


THE character and the development of the transporta- 
tion system of Ohio have been so determined by the 
topographical and economic relation of the territory to 
the surrounding regions that, long before the advent of 
the white man, the basis of the system of communica- 
tion had been laid out in harmony with these natural 
conditions. The position of Ohio in relation both to 
the north and the south and to the east and the west 
is a most strategic one, as regards transportation whether 
by land or by water. 

To the north are the Great Lakes, which by their 
proximity to the early settled east served in early times 
as an easy and cheap means of bringing those manufac- 
tured products and other articles that were to be had 
only from a region which had for some time been set- 
tled. In later times, these same Great Lakes afforded a 
way of transporting to the east those abundant raw pro- 
ducts of Ohio which were still exchanged for finished 
goods. In our own times this Great Lakes system 
reaches a more extensive region of raw products, the 
northwestern and central states and although the ex- 
change of products between these regions is now more 
diversified, it is even yet largely what it was in early 
times the exchange of raw products for worked-up 
material. These Great Lakes extend from tide water on 
the St. Lawrence and at New York fourteen hundred 
20 [20 


miles into the heart of the continent through an area 
over which population moves freely eastward and west- 
ward and in which the climatic conditions are favorable 
to a large return for labor and capital. 

The Ohio river with its source far to the east forms 
not only all the southern but also a part of the eastern 
boundary. It afforded to the first settlers an easy means 
of reaching the territory and after settlement an inex- 
pensive method of importing the manufactured articles 
from the long settled regions along the Atlantic sea- 
board. By its position and numerous state tributaries 
the Ohio river supplied to these early settlers a valuable 
transportation route for local purposes, while in the 
west it connected with the Mississippi, the great com- 
mercial waterway of the central fertile valley of the 
United States, and formed a through route to the 
ocean on the south. The numerous large and navigable 
tributaries of the Ohio and Mississippi gave the people 
of Ohio access to many regions, so that as a result of 
the water transportation facilities on the south and 
north, they could come into commercial relations with a 
large part of the United States. 

The water-shed which separates these north and south 
water-ways extends practically east and west across the 
far northern part of the state, thus causing the largest 
rivers to flow to the south and leaving only a few miles 
of portage between the north and south rivers. This 
condition is not so important in recent times with the 
north and south railroads and canals, but in the early 
history of the state it was a fact of great industrial and 
' social importance. So much for the condition of Ohio 
as regards water-transportation. Her position in refer- 
ence to land transportation is scarcely less advantageous. 
The same Great Lakes system which contributes to the 


prestige of Ohio in water transportation also gives her 
an advantage in land transportation, for the southern ex- 
tensions of Lake Michigan and Lake Erie force all east 
and west interstate routes of communication to bend to 
the south and pass through Ohio. The mountainous 
region to the south makes construction, operation and 
maintenance of land routes so difficult and so expensive, 
that all interstate east and west routes tend to swerve to 
the north and pass through Ohio. As a result the 
greater portion of east and west traffic, whether it be 
between the east and middle west or of a transconti- 
nental character, passes through Ohio. Ohio is in- 
deed the transportation valley between the east and west. 
There was then little occasion for dispute over the 
location of the general state transportation routes, for 
natural conditions had marked out their location. 
Routes must be built to connect the two natural water- 
ways on the north and the south, and some assistance must 
be given in constructing through east-and-west routes, 
although these in a large part would be supplied by the 
demands of other states. Lastly, there must be con- 
structed many shorter routes to weave together the 
north and south and the east and west routes. The 
Ohio river was the first extensively used route of the 
region, for here, as in all regions, man first used that 
way which nature had supplied. By means of this stream 
the first settlers reached Ohio, and indeed before the 
coming of the white man, it was extensively used by the 
Indian tribes of the interior, who frequently sent repre- 
sentatives or traders to the English in Virginia and 
Pennsylvania and to the French in Lower Canada and at 
Fort Duquesne. Down this stream came the English 
and French traders and trappers to the mouth of the 
Muskingum, Scioto and Miami rivers and to other trad- 


ing points on the Ohio river, and thence up the state 
streams to the Indian centers of population in the fertile 

Along the Scioto were the Shawnee Indians ; along the 
Muskingum, the Delawares ; along the Miami, the Miamis ; 
and around Lake Erie, the Wyandots, Ottawas and Iro- 
quois. Although the Indian often preferred a water 
route, for most purposes he used a land route, and thus 
the Indian trails originated. The more important of 
these trails ran north and south and followed in a gen- 
eral way the course of the state rivers, although there 
were several important east and west trails. 1 While it is 
probable that these trails were originally made by ani- 
mals, they became through a process of adaptation first 
Indian trails, then roads of the early settlers, and later 
the commercial highways of the state. Although it is 
true that they were valley trails, they were located far 
enough from the streams to reach in most places the 
high ground, and were from this fact properly called 
highways. 2 However, it must not be concluded that the 
highways and railways of the state were located here 
simply because there had been trails. The roads of the 
civilized man were located on these trails because they 
were the natural highways from a topographical and eco- 
nomic point of view. The Indians and animals located 
these paths on the high, dry ground, along the water- 
sheds and streams, through and connecting productive 
areas, and for this reason they were suitable for the basis 
of commercial routes of the white man. It will be 
observed from the map how closely these trails followed 

1 Cf. Ohio Archaeological and Historical Society Publications, vol. 
viii, pp. 264-296, for a detailed description of these trails. 


the water divides and also how their origins at those 
points on the Ohio river which communicated with the 
settled portions of Kentucky, Maryland, Virginia and 
Pennsylvania afforded a convenient and ready route to 
the North-West Territory. 

Pittsburgh, Cincinnati, Marietta and Detroit were the 
earliest points settled in the west and became important 
points of vantage in conquering and settling the terri- 
tory through which the trails passed. It is interesting 
and significant to note that the routes of all the main 
trails are to-day occupied by important railway lines. 
The New York Central and the Lake Shore follow the 
old Lake Shore trail ; the Pennsylvania follows the old 
Mahoning Trail ; the Toledo and Ohio Central, the 
Monongahela Trail ; the Baltimore and Ohio, the Great 
or Big Trail ; another Pennsylvania line, the Moravia- 
Scioto-Beaver Trail ; the Hocking Valley, the Sandusky- 
Richmond Trail ; the Norfolk and Western, the Scioto 
Trail; the Cincinnati-Hamilton and Dayton, the Miami 
Trail; the Lake Erie and Wheeling, the Muskingum 
Trail. It is also worthy of note that these were among 
the first railways constructed in the state and were suited, 
as the trails were, to form the basis of our modern state 
railway systems, since these locations were topographic- 
ally, economically and socially justified. 

After the territory was conquered from the Indians 
and opened for settlement, thousands of people flocked 
into the region. It is probable that the greater number 
of the settlers came over-land, for the Ohio River did 
not become an extensively used route until after 1800. 
This was due chiefly to the difficulty of constructing 
boats to sail or to float down the river, and the snags, 
sand-bars, islands and other impediments which made 
navigation very dangerous. The overland route of the 


Wilderness Road and other semi-roads was preferred. 
The Wilderness Road was laid out in 1775 by Daniel 
Boone upon order of the Transylvania Company. It 
passed through the Cumberland Gap and the Wilds of 
Kentucky to the Ohio river, where it connected with the 
trail which ran through Ohio to Lake Erie. Because 
the Ohio river became later such an important carrier of 
passengers and freight (especially the latter), there is 
danger of error in concluding that it was from the first 
the chief route for travel and traffic. These old trails in 
many cases also determined the location of towns, which 
often grew up at the intersection of trails or where two 
or more trails converged. It will be seen by referring 
to the map that some point near the present Columbus 
was destined to be the site of a city of the white man. 1 
The location of Sandusky, Cincinnati, Marietta, Ports- 
mouth, Pittsburgh and other cities also illustrates the 
same point, since at all these places there were natural 
breaks in transportation. To these points the trapper 
and the trader came to meet the Indians and to estab- 
lish the rude market places of early Ohio. The mission- 
ary and the settler followed, and soon the nucleus of a 
town was started. In some cases stockades were built, 
but more often the settlement depended upon its collec- 
tive force to protect it from the Indians. The first step 
in the improvement of the trails was to widen them. 
Except in a few cases, where trails ran to salt wells or to 
maple-sugar camps, the Indians had no occasion to widen 

1 Later the act which provided for the permanent site of the capital 
required that it should be located within a radius of twenty-five miles of 
the geographical center of the state, and this added to the natural 
causes made Columbus an important transportation center, although its 
real manufacturing history did not begin until the railroads had reached 
the coal regions of the southeast and south. 


them, since upon their long journeys, as in war or hunt- 
ing parties, they traveled single file. By this manner of 
traveling not only was there less effort required to make 
the way, but there was also greater protection to the 
group since only the one in front was continually ex- 
posed to approaching dangers and this one could readily 
warn those in the rear. The desire to travel side by 
side is a demand of civilized man with his developed 
economic and social wants. The process of widening 
these paths was begun by the pack-horse of the early 
settler, whose burden on each side broke off and brushed 
aside the overhanging brush and branches. As these 
important trails became thus widened, other minor ones 
were discontinued and became wholly overgrown by 
bushes and shrubs. Even the military roads, which 
were constructed by Braddock, Washington and Forbes, 
soon became impassable on account of the fallen trees 
and overgrown brush, so that the narrow paths continued 
for many years to be the only routes of travel, and were 
limited to foot-passengers and pack-horses. These pack- 
horses have been well called the industrial agents between 
the East and the West for they were the only means of 
transportation which could be used. In Doddridge's 
Notes we have an insight into the character of the traffic 
when he says : " 

The acquisition of the indispensable articles of salt, iron 
and castings presented great difficulties to the first settlers of 
the western country. Coined money was practically unknown 
and their medium of exchange was fur, ginseng and other 

Joseph Doddridge, Notes on the settlement and Indian Wars of the 
western posts of Virginia and Pennsylvania, together with a view of 
the state of society and manners of the first settlers of the western 


local productions. Each family collected what peltry and 
furs it could obtain throughout the year for the purpose of 
sending them over the mountains for barter ; in the fall of the 
year, after seeding time, each family formed an association 
with some of its neighbors for starting this caravan. The 
horses, with bells and collars around their necks, were further 
fitted out with pack-saddles, to the rear part of which was 
fastened a pair of hobbles made of hickory withes. The bags, 
provided for the conveyance of salt (on the return trip), were 
filled with feed for the horses, and large wallets well filled 
with bread, jerk, boiled ham and cheese, supplied the drivers 
with provisions. Each horse on the return trip carried two 
bushels of alum salt, which weighed 84 pounds to the bushel. 

The foremost horse in each group was led by the 
driver and each successive horse was tied to the saddle 
of the one in front. Bars of iron were often fastened on 
the backs of the horses and then bent around their 
bodies, and barrels and kegs were fastened on the sides 
of each horse. The paths were in many places scarcely 
more than two feet wide and led over hills and through 
valleys. These bridle paths were for years the only 
means of communication with the East, but, when the 
region became more densely settled, the wants of the 
settlers more varied and numerous and their production 
for the market greater, the old bridle paths gave way to 
the improved roads. 



IT is the purpose of this chapter to show how the 
settlement of various regions in the present state of 
Ohio and adjoining states accelerated the development of 
transportation routes in order not only to connect these 
often widely separated settlements, but also to give all 
regions communication with the old settlements in the 
East. If the first settlements had been made near the es- 
tablished ones in Pennsylvania, Virginia, New York and 
Kentucky and then had gradually spread westward and 
north, until the whole territory had been settled, there 
would doubtless have been a better and a more sys- 
tematic development of the transportation routes, since 
the demands for these routes would have been made gradu- 
ally and, consequently, the wealth of the people would 
have been more nearly adequate to supply them. As it 
was, the people of Ohio, as well as those of all the states 
of the Middle West were almost forced to follow the 
" make-shift " principle in building their means of trans- 
portation. As states, they burdened themselves heavily 
in constructing inharmonious and expensive ways of 
communication, which they have been compelled to re- 
construct in part on account of original carelessness or 
developed indifference. 

Through the efforts of Dr. Manasseh Cutler, who was 
the prime mover in the organization and development of 
the Ohio Company, it was decided at a meeting of the 
28 [28 


directors in Boston, November 23, 1787, to send out the 
first settlers to the Ohio country. 1 

This party traveled overland from Ipswich, Massa- 
chusetts, to the Youghiogheny River, at present West 
Newton, Pa., where it was joined by a second party 
which had come overland from Hartford. This second 
party had been four weeks in making the journey, which 
now could be made in less than four days. At this point, 
a " fleet " was constructed which consisted of a " large " 
boat, the Mayflower, forty-five feet long and twelve feet 
wide with sides thick enough to prevent the Indian 
bullets from passing through it, a flatboat and several 
canoes. This fleet sailed down the Ohio and reached the 
mouth of the Muskingum, April 7, 1788. The wonder- 
ful fertility of the West had been widely advertised 
throughout the East and in many parts of Europe. The 
most extravagant reports of the resources of the region 
were current, such as : that grapes from which wine, 
superior to European brands could be made, were abund- 
ant; that cotton, a much desired European product 
could be produced ; that mulberry trees were plentiful ; 
that there was but little poor land and although there 
were hills, yet they were not high and were covered with 
a deep rich soil, which was suitable for the growing of 
wheat, rye, indigo and tobacco. 

This particular location at the mouth of the Muskin- 
gum, first called Adelphia but later changed to Marietta, 
has been much criticised. Even granting that the first 
settlers had an exaggerated idea of the region in general, 
it would seem evident that the upper fertile valley would 
have been preferable for a settlement to the hilly region 
around Marietta. However, there were good reasons 

1 Henry Howe, Historical Collections of Ohio, vol. ii, pp. 777 et seq. 


for selecting the location besides that of fertility of the 
soil. Among these may be mentioned : first, the Marietta 
settlers would have the protection of Fort Harmar, a 
government military post just across the Ohio River ; 
second, no Indian tribe had a fixed habitation here and 
although exposed to the periodic Indian raids, yet the 
danger was much less than if the settlement had been 
made in the distinctive Indian territory; third, it was 
near to the already settled region in Virginia from whose 
considerable population the Marietta settlers could ex- 
pect assistance ; fourth, the Marietta settlers believed 
that the commercial route between Lake Erie and the 
Ohio River would be by way of Cuyahoga and Muskingum 
Rivers and that they were thus securing a favorable loca- 
tion to secure the profits of this trade. In passing, it may 
be remarked that, in this particular, they were in great 
part correct, for this was for many years the chief route of 
traffic between these two water-ways. When the state 
water-ways were made available for commercial purposes 
by the construction of the Ohio canals and the improve- 
ment of the inland rivers, and particularly by the im- 
provement of the Muskingum River by the national 
government, this route was a very important commercial 
way. However, the commerce for many years after the 
settlement of the state did not reach the proportion an- 
ticipated by the Marietta settlers, for the Lake commerce 
was of little importance until after 1825. 

The settlers of Marietta began immediately to provide 
themselves with the necessities of life, and, in the first 
year, one hundred and thirty-five acres of corn were 
planted. Although nature was kind, the first settlers 
soon began to realize the absence of many conveniences 
to which they had been accustomed in the East. There 
were no roads nor bridges for land travel and conse- 


quently they used the waterways as much as possible, 
and especially the Ohio River which by its eastern exten- 
sion brought them some of the products of the East and 
also afforded them an easy means of communication with 
the other settlements to the south and those which were 
later established at lower points on the Ohio River. If 
we view the state as a whole and describe in a general 
way the sources of immigration, the following character- 
ization is sufficiently accurate for our purpose. Between 
the Great and the Little Miami rivers, the Symnes Pur- 
chase, the people of New Jersey predominated; between 
the Little Miami and the Scioto rivers, the Virginia Mili- 
tary District, the people of Virginia predominated ; in 
the Marietta region, the Ohio Company's purchase, the 
people of Connecticut, Massachusetts, and of other New 
England States predominated ; in the Connecticut Re- 
serve, many from Connecticut settled, but, in the upper 
part of the Seven Ranges, the people of Pennsylvania 
predominated. The village of Columbia, now a part of 
Cincinnati, was laid out in 1788, and, soon afterwards, a 
settlement was made at (present) Cincinnati, on land 
purchased from John Cleves Symnes, who, having formed 
a company, had purchased a large tract of land from Con- 
gress. The first settlers of Columbia came from Lime- 
stone, Kentucky, and were given lots on condition that 
they raise two successive crops and build a house within 
two years. 

When Ebenezer Zane opened up a road in 1797 Zane's 
Trace from Wheeling to Limestone, many points in the 
region between these two places were soon settled, since 
the road supplied a means of reaching the region not 
only to the people of the East but also to those of the 
West. Kentucky at this time had a considerable popula- 
tion. Several points along the Ohio had by this time 


been settled for almost a decade. 1 Many prospectors 
came to the backwoods country, for its resources had 
been well advertised throughout the East and a great 
part of Europe. The tide of imigration set in from both 
the East and the South but particularly from the East. 
The richness and fertility of the Ohio country had been 
well advertised in France by the enterprising agents of 
the Scioto Company, and a party of Frenchmen were in- 
duced to buy a tract of land. These French settlers left 
Havre for Alexandria, Virginia, but, when they reached 
this point, they were informed that the Scioto Company 
had forfeited its title to the land through a failure to 
make the required payment. Some of the party returned 
to France, some went to other settlements, but the 
majority of them remained at Alexandria until the 
Scioto Company was compelled by the intervention of 
the national government to aid them in reaching Ohio. 
Wagons were obtained and the party started out on its 
long, rough journey. They passed through the valley of 
Virginia to Washington, thence in a north-westerly 
direction to Brownsville, where they took boat for Gal- 
lipolis, the point of settlement selected by the advance 
party that was sent out under Major Burnham. Gal- 
lipolis was soon one of the most flourishing settlements. 
In an account of a journey to this settlement, by Mon- 
sieur Montelle, we find the following : a 

I descended the river in a flatboat in 1791, which was 
loaded with troops commanded by General St. Clair. To 
migrate from the eastern states to the far west is painful 

1 Weekly mail was established from Wheeling to Limestone, Ken- 
tucky, in 1799. 

3 Report of the Ohio Archaeological Historical Society, vol. iii, 
"The French Settlement and Settlers at Gallipolis." 


enough nowadays, but how much more so must it have been 
for citizens of a large European town. Even the farmers of 
the old countries would find it very hard if not impossible to 
clear land in the wilderness. 

In the spring of 1802, Rev. James Kilbourne left New 
Boston, Connecticut, for the purpose of exploring the 
Ohio country. He traveled by stage to Shippensburg, 
Pennsylvania, at the foot of the Alleghanies, where the 
stage route ended. After reaching Pittsburgh, he con- 
tinued his journey on foot over what was then the prin- 
cipal road in the state Zane's Trace. 1 At this time, the 
chief settlements in the state were Marietta, Cincinnati, 
Chillicothe, Dayton, Steubenville, Zanesville, Lancaster, 
Hamilton, Cleveland, Conneaut, Warren and Gallipolis. 
Kilbourne visited many of these during the summer and 
later formed a company, which purchased a tract of 16,- 
ooo acres on the east branch of the Olentangy River. 
In the spring of 1803 a settlement was made on this 
tract, which was the beginning of that numerous popu- 
lation now found around the capital of the state. The 
settlements were gradually extended up the Miami River 
from Cincinnati and other nearby settled regions. The 
Kentuckians and the Virginians crossed the Ohio and 
pushed up the Scioto, some by boat but more by land. 
Others came into this valley from the southeast, until 
the region from present Columbus to Portsmouth was 
soon settled. 

Greater difficulties are presented in explaining the set- 
tlements of the eastern and northeastern sections of the 
state, for here the settlements were less regularly and 
less systematically made. In eastern Ohio a number of 
settlers drifted over from Pennsylvania, and it is esti- 

1 Cf. American Pioneer, 1843. 


mated that there were, as early as 1788, more settlers in 
eastern Ohio than around Marietta. In the beginning 
some of these early settlers were driven out by the 
Indians and some were forced out by the national gov- 
ernment for occupying this public land without purchas- 
ing it. 1 In 1785 Ensign Armstrong was sent out by 
Colonel Harmar with a detachment of troops into eastern 
Ohio to drive out the settlers who occupied the country 
from the mouth of the Muskingum to Pittsburgh. In 
1785 Congress had published and circulated a proclama- 
tion in the territory against the "disorderly persons who 
have crossed the Ohio and settled upon the unappropri- 
ated lands." The proclamation further warned them to 
depart immediately with their families and effects. 
These squatters had settled chiefly in the counties of 
Columbiana, Jefferson, Belmont, Guernsey and Monroe. 
Congress early provided for the survey and sale of cer- 
tain lands in the Northwest Territory and, although 
some of the squatters purchased land, many others did 
not, and the military expedition tore down the buildings 
of many of them in the efforts to force the squatters to 
leave. For various reasons many large grants of land 
were made in this section, as well as in other sections of 
the state, to soldiers of the Revolutionary War or to 
others. Not infrequently a tract was donated to a sur- 
veyor on condition that he would make certain other 
surveys, and in such cases it was but natural for the sur- 
veyor to lay out for himself large areas of land. The 
abundance of the land and this practice of the surveyors 
justified these eastern squatters, as they thought, in 
occupying the land, and they became very bitter when 
their rights were questioned by the government. 

*W. H. Hunter, Reports of Ohio Archaeological and Historical 
Society, vol. vi, "The Pathfinders of Jefferson County." 


Many of the settlers in eastern Ohio came from Penn- 
sylvania and reached the region in a variety of ways. 
The pack-horse method was a very common one. Upon 
the horses were fastened crates in which were placed the 
bedding, clothes and cooking utensils, the chief and, in 
many cases, the only possessions of the settlers. Many 
of the earlier settlers in eastern Ohio were the Scotch- 
Irish, a people who played no little part in the develop- 
ment and settlement not only of this part of the state 
but also of the West in general. These people drifted 
into the territory quite early, and, although their settle- 
ments were somewhat irregular, they were perhaps justi- 
fied in disputing with the settlers of Marietta the credit 
of making the first settlement of Ohio. It is true that 
the latter was an organized and unified movement, while 
the former was unsystematic and separate, yet the im- 
mediate territory settled by these Scotch-Irish soon had 
more people than the region around Marietta. 

There were, in general, three main entrances into Ohio; 
one from Pittsburgh down the Ohio, one from Virginia 
down the Ohio, and one from Kentucky, Tennessee, the 
Carolinas and the South across the Ohio, when either 
the overland route was continued or the inland state 
rivers were used. From these last named states many 
of the Scotch-Irish had come. They had gone there 
from New York and Pennsylvania. Gist, in his travels 
in 1750, found a number of these people in the Ohio 
territory engaged as fur-traders, some of whom had come 
from Pennsylvania and others from Virginia and the Caro- 
linas. In 1785 we find the settlers at Martins Ferry in- 
formally selecting Justices of the Peace, although the 
settlers were squatters, in that none of the land had been 
surveyed and consequently no legitimate title to it was 
held. In fact, a surprising amount of indifference in re- 


gard to the welfare of the settlers of the west prevailed 
on the part of many in the east. Some of it was studied 
indifference arising from political considerations, for 
there was a fear on the part of some in the east, that the 
west would be so thickly settled from the population of 
the east, that in time the west would become a political 
rival and possibly dominate the public affairs of the 
country. There were some who were not unwilling that 
the Ohio river should be the boundary line, and even 
such men as Dr. Franklin viewed with something at 
times approaching indifference, if not hostility, the settle- 
ment of the west. But the defeat of the Indians by Gen- 
eral Wayne, at Fallen Timbers, in 1794, changed this 
sentiment, for the victory not only broke the Indian 
power, but also destroyed the last hope of the British of 
regaining the territory. Although that portion of the 
state extending from Pennsylvania along Lake Erie to 
Cleveland was settled largely by people from Connecticut 
and Massachusetts, the first settlers were not the zeal- 
ous church and school-loving Puritans, for this class did 
not come till later. They were the soldier class, an ad- 
venturous element with the characteristics of pioneers, 
and, like the vanguard of all wilderness-conquering 
armies, they had little refinement and culture and for 
this very reason they were probably better adapted to 
perform well the work before them. Again, the initial 
material problems were so difficult and pressing that 
little time was left to think of religious and educational 

In the present counties of Tuscarawas, Stark, Wayne 
and Guernsey, many of the Germans from Pennsylvania 
settled. The Welsh from the same states came into the 
Mahoning Valley. In the counties of Belmont and Har- 
rison there was, by 1790, a considerable settlement of 


Quakers from North Carolina. These people like many 
others came through the wilderness on foot and on horse- 
back from North Carolina to which place many had gone 
from the northern states. They were opposed to slavery 
in theory and in practice, and the Ohio country, which 
was free territory by the terms of its organization, offered 
them a place for settlement. As a result of the wide and 
aggressive campaign of advertisement which was carried 
out by various Ohio land companies, population from 
the New England states began to flow into the territory, 
until, in 1791, owing to the severe losses from the Indian 
depredations, it largely ceased. Although the population 
of the Northwest Territory in 1800 was probably less 
than five thousand, yet in 1810 Ohio alone had twenty- 
three thousand and seventy-six inhabitants. The na- 
tional government, in 1800, began to sell land in Ohio 
on credit and this, supplemented by the hard times in 
the East, caused another wave of immigration to start, 
which, by 1803, furnished Ohio with enough people to 
entitle it to be admitted as a state. A period of quies- 
cence then began to prevail, for the European wars had 
caused great prosperity in the East. This, however, was 
interrupted by the Embargo Act of 1807, which caused 
another period of depression in the East and again started 
a movement of the population to the West. The war of 
1812 checked the movement to some extent, but, by 1815, 
it again set in with renewed vigor until it seemed as if 
the East was to be depopulated. The roads to the West 
contained numerous travelers, bound for Ohio as the 
first objective point, with Indiana, Illinois and Michigan 
as the secondary points of settlement. The unfavorable 
weather in 1816 and 1817 caused a failure of the crops in 
the East, which tended to accelerate this movement, for 
the fertile lands of Ohio furnished the discouraged peo- 
ple of the East a welcome relief. 


Goodrich in his Peter Parley s Recollections of a Life 
Time gives a description in the following words of the 
rush to this supposed Canaan : r 

I remember very well the tide of emigration to the west 
during the summer of 1817. Some persons went in covered 
wagons, some on foot and some crowded together under the 
cover of the wagon with kettles, gridirons, feather beds, 
crockery, the Family Bible, Watt's Psalms and Hymns, and 
Webster's Spelling Book. Others started in ox-carts and 
trudged on at the rate of ten miles per day. In several in- 
stances, I saw families on foot the father and boys taking 
turns in dragging along an improvised hand wagon loaded 
with the wreck of the household goods, and occasionally giv- 
ing the mother and baby a ride. Many of these people were 
in a state of poverty and begged their way as they went. 
Even when they arrived at their new homes, along the 
banks of the Scioto or Muskingum, frequently the whole 
family, father, mother and children speedily exchanged the 
fresh complexion and elastic steps of their first abodes for the 
sunken cheek and languid movement which marked the victim 
of intermittent fever. 

A traveler coming down the Ohio in 1817 speaks of the 
great numbers of boats, arks and rafts, all bound for the 
great West, which at this time to a large degree meant 
Ohio, although in a few years this term included Indiana, 
Illinois and Michigan. Many of the emigrants, in fact 
the greater part of them, had no definite location 
selected. They were simply " going out west." Some 
because they had failed " in the East, some because they 
had friends or relatives in the West, and some simply 
through a love of change and a desire for adventure, 
thus exemplifying that restless character of the Anglo- 

1 Samuel Griswold Goodrich, Recollections of a Life Time, p. 67 


Saxon, which has sent him all over the world and car- 
ried his civilization into all climes. 

Immigration from Europe in this period was also very 
large and of a very desirable character. It is estimated 
that, in 1819 alone, there were fifty to sixty thousand 
immigrants from Europe. The greater part of them came 
from England, Ireland, France and Germany. 1 These 
industrious classes settled throughout the West and much 
of its industrial, commercial and educational greatness is 
due to them. When the population of the West was 
being so rapidly augmented by the great numbers from 
the East, the newspapers of the latter section were very 
active in procuring and publishing pessimistic statements 
in regard to the western country, in order that they might 
deter the eastern people from emigrating to the West. It 
was stated, that wheat in the West sold for only 33 cents 
per bushel, whereas in New England it sold for $1.23 
per bushel ! That land was much higher in price than in 
the East ; that the people were rude, rough and wicked, 
and that murders occurred daily ; that the wages were 
low and the cost of living was high. 2 But all this did 
not remove the economic causes of the westward move- 
ment. A resident of Haverhill, N. H., stated that, in one 
day, sixteen wagons passed his residence bound for Indi- 
ana, and that within thirteen days, seventy-three wagons 
had passed through Haverhill bound for the West. 3 In 
the Ohio legislature of 1831 there was not a single 
senator or representative who had been born in the state, 
although the region had been settled for more than 
thirty-three years. By 1820 the population of the state 
had reached nearly a half million and by 1850 it amounted 

1 Niles Register, September 12, 1819. 

J Liberty Hall and Cincinnati Gazette, Nov. 10, 1817. 

3 I6td., Dec. 19, 1817. 


to almost two millions. Indiana had, in 1800, only 5,641 
people and did not increase so rapidly in population as 
did Ohio, which was largely the objective point for the 
advancing army of settlers who were soon again on the 
move, and Indiana more than doubled her population 
between 1820 and 1830. 

Illinois, which was organized from Indiana, had in 
1810 a population of 12,282, and in 1820, 55,211, which 
indicates that the advance into this state was more 
rapid than into Indiana. This was due partly to the 
greater pressure on the population in the rear, partly to 
the Mississippi River on the west and the Great Lakes 
on the north and partly to the character of the soil. 
Michigan, which was made a territory in 1805, had a very 
sparse population in 1810 and 1820. This was due to the 
character of the soil, the climate and the possibility of an 
immediate industrial life. There was at that time no de- 
mand for such mineral wealth as Michigan had, for trans- 
portation means were absent and, so far as agricultural 
products were concerned, other states could produce 
these more economically than could Michigan. After 
1830 Michigan began to increase rapidly in population, 
so that by 1840 this state had 212,267 people. This was 
due partly to the beginning of the Lake commerce, and 
partly to the industrial development in the adjoining 
states. Wisconsin was formed from Michigan and in- 
creased at first more slowly than any of the other states 
of the Northwest Territory. In 1840, this state had only 
30,945 people. In 1830 there was another wave of for- 
eign immigration which came chiefly from Ireland, Ger- 
many and northern Europe. These foreigners settled in 
the west and northwest, especially in Wisconsin and 
along the Mississippi around St. Louis. 1 

1 Cf. chapter xiv, for the later movements of Ohio population to 
the West. 


By the Louisiana Purchase of 1803 there was opened 
for settlement a tract of over one million square miles, 
and the region up to the Mississippi River and fifty miles 
beyond it was rapidly settled. The settlement of these 
regions had a direct bearing upon the development of 
the transportation system of Ohio, in that it made neces- 
sary the construction of means of communication to this 
region, not only from Ohio, but also from the East. For 
reasons already noted these routes must pass through 
Ohio. In this connection, it must also be pointed out 
that the purchase of the Louisiana Territory gave to the 
United States the control of the mouth of the Mississippi, 
as well as of the river itself, a fact which was from a com- 
mercial viewpoint of immense importance. Disputes 
over the commerce of the mouth of the river had greatly 
retarded the development of the territory along the Ohio 
and the Mississippi and, now that the latter was secure 
in the possession of the United States, opportunity was 
given for the industrial development of the regions. 

Not only did this great commercial waterway extend 
through the wide central valley of the country to the 
ocean on the south, but it also had a good market at its 
terminus and a large tributary which extended far to the 
east through a well-settled region. Down the streams of 
the state the people of Ohio, Indiana, Illinois and Ken- 
tucky sent the farm, forest and mill products into the 
Ohio, and thence by way of the Mississippi to New 
Orleans, or, in some cases, up the Ohio to Pittsburgh and 
thence overland to the East. Up the Mississippi and 
the Ohio Rivers from New Orleans or down the Ohio 
River from Pittsburgh came those numerous manufac- 
tured articles and luxuries which had been sent either 
overland to Pittsburgh or by ocean to New Orleans. 
The presence of these two rivers was a fact of great in- 


dustrial and commercial consequence before the era of 
highways and railways. In the northern part of the 
Northwest Territory the population did not increase so 
rapidly and largely because there were no Mississippi and 
Ohio Rivers to connect them with the East and to supply 
them with a market. The northern region must wait for 
its commercial greatness, until the steamboat was in- 
vented, until the Erie canal was constructed and until 
the population and industrial possibilities would warrant 
the people in interesting themselves in the problem of 
lake navigation. 

It is not strange, then, that, as the region became 
densely populated a widespread agitation for the develop- 
ment of transportation routes began. However well the 
Ohio River answered the early needs in this particular, it 
must be remembered that it was on the extreme south 
and that it very imperfectly served the commercial needs 
of a numerous population which extended over a re- 
gion three hundred miles to the north. More extensive 
tranportation means were needed, not only to reach the 
eastern markets, but also to secure an advantageous ex- 
change of products between the various regions of the 
states, in some sections of which the beginnings of 
manufacturing had been made. Not only the economic 
reasons urged a development of routes of travel, but the 
social ones as well, for when the initial difficulties of 
pioneer life had been conquered, the settlers longed for 
the social institutions and intercourse which they had 
had in the East. 

im im iw im iw Tw> wo 

Along the perpendicular line on the left is represented in thousands the 

iw /no W0 

number of population. 



IN Ohio as in nearly all other regions the development 
of the means of transportation succeeded the settlement 
of the country instead of preceding it. There have been 
but few instances where the construction of transporta- 
tion facilities preceded the settlement of a region, and 
these instances have been more apparent than real. Our 
great West with its transcontinental lines would seem to 
be a case in point, but it must be remembered that these 
lines were not built primarily for the purpose of opening 
up the West, but rather to afford means of communica- 
tion between the settled regions along the Pacific coast 
and those of the East. In fact during the first century 
of our national history, the political reasons were re- 
sponsible to a very important degree for whatever aid 
that was extended directly or indirectly in supplying 
means of transportation. So vast is the country, so 
diverse are its national resources and industrial life, that 
nothing short of an extensive system of transportation 
routes would secure that unity of interests which is 
necessary to make the many states one. Whatever the 
cost, and however great the waste in securing this sys- 
tem have been, the results have justified the expenditure. 

In the development of the road system of Ohio, the 
pack-horse stage was succeeded by that of the cart and 
its improved form the wagon although the substitu- 
tion of one method for another took place slowly. The 
43] 43 


transportation of goods by wagons from Philadelphia 
and Baltimore to Pittsburgh had become common by 
1800, so that when Ohio was settled the eastern end of 
the route to the settled regions was already in use. One 
of the first methods of improving the roads was by cor- 
duroying. While this improved the condition for a time 
along most of the way, it had the disadvantage of con- 
tracting the route. Before and even after this improve- 
ment deep ruts were formed, which each succeeding 
wagon made deeper. Thus we read: 

Heavy rains would fill each rut with water and the next 
wagoner would push his horses into this slough, perhaps ex- 
ploring it with a pole to see if a bottom was to be found. 
Often the driver would fill up such places with logs and brush 
and not infrequently he would drive into one of these ruts 
and be compelled to unload his wagon in order to get out. * 

Transportation over such roads was expensive in every 
sense of the word in time, labor and traction power. 
Since that period such miracles of transportation have been 
wrought, that the improvement of these old roads seems 
to the present generation to have been very slow and 
unimportant. Yet the change from a bridle path to a 
wagon road was fraught with enormous consequences 
from an economic, social and political point of view. In 
1794, during the Whiskey Rebellion, the cost of shipping 
goods from Philadelphia to Pittsburgh by wagon ranged 
from $5.00 to $10.00 per 100 Ib. Salt sold in Pitts- 
burgh for $5.00 per bushel and iron and steel from 15 to 
20 cents per Ib. What must have been the price of these 
articles to the inland consumers when it is remembered 
that one horse carried only from 150 to 250 pounds! 

Archer Butler Hulbert, Historic Highways, vol. i, p. 52. 

45] EARLY ROADS IN THE WEST, 1788-1810 45 

The freight wagon represented the growing needs of 
the increasing population of the West, and the advent of 
it and its companion the stage-coach introduced an 
era, as much in advance over the old, as the later rail- 
road was an advance over the stage coach and freight 
wagon. However, just as the stage-coach men in latter 
times resented the introduction of the railroad, so now 
the pack-horse men opposed the introduction of the 
wagon and the stage-coach. These wagon-men gradually 
encroached upon the field of the bridle-men and in time 
replaced them for the extensive carriage of goods. In 
the process of replacement the bridle-men adjusted them- 
selves to the new conditions of transportation by estab- 
lishing routes to converging points to which they carried 
the products from regions as yet inaccessible to the 
wagons. At these points they would exchange their 
products for those of the wagon-man and then carry in 
small lots the goods from the East to the interior regions. 
The wagons and coaches were overturned and the pas- 
sengers ill-treated by the packhorse men. The horses 
were abused and their drivers beaten. When the Cum- 
berland Road was being constructed, the early coaches 
were in danger of attack by the workmen engaged in 
building the road, for many of them were in sympathy 
with the pack-horse men whose employment was being 
destroyed. The pack-horse men argued that the mail 
could not be so rapidly carried in coaches; that the in- 
troduction of the stage-coach would throw hundreds out 
of employment ; that the American horse was not strong 
enough to draw the heavy coach and wagon loads. Most 
of the horses then used were small, but were able to 
carry a few pounds a great distance over the rough and 
rugged roads. When the heavier breeds from the East 
and from Europe were imported to draw the heavy 


wagons and coaches, the owners of these western horses 
did lose in the process of change. 

While the introduction of the freight wagon and stage- 
coach was a powerful argument for the construction of 
more and better roads, yet as a matter of fact there were, 
with the exception of the Cumberland Road, no improved 
roads in Ohio until many years later. Some of the roads 
were widened and graded, yet they remained dirt roads 
for many years after this was done. Harriet Martineau, 
in writing of the American roads of this time, said : z 

There is a variety of roads in America. There are the 
excellent limestone roads of Tennessee and Kentucky. There 
are the rich mud roads of Ohio through whose sloughs the 
stage-coaches go slowing sousing after rains, and gently up- 
setting when the rut on one or the other side proves to be of 
greater depth than was anticipated. There are the corduroy 
roads, happily of rare occurrence, where if the driver is merci- 
ful to his passengers he drives them so as to give them the 
association of being on the way to a funeral, their involuntary 
sobs on each jolt helping the resemblance, or if he be in a 
hurry he shakes them like pills in a box. 

Weld in his Travels reports that the drivers had fre- 
quently to call to the passengers in the stage to lean out 
of the coach, first on one side, then on the other, to pre- 
vent it from overturning in the deep ruts with which the 
road abounded. 2 

Charles Dickens in his American Notes gives a char- 
acteristic description of Ohio roads and condemns in 
strong terms the character of the coach drivers as well 

1 Harriet Martineau, Travels in America, pp. 89 et seq. 
1 Cf. Isaac Weld, Travels through North America and Upper and 
Lower Canada, 1800. 

47] EARLY ROADS IN THE WEST, 1788-1810 ^ 

as the roads. 1 In passing through the state from Cin- 
cinnati to Toledo, Mr. Dickens hired a special coach at 
Columbus. He says : 

To insure us having horses at the proper stations and 
being- incommoded by no strangers, the proprietor sent an 
agent on the box, who was to accompany us all the way 
through. Thus attended we started off at 6 a. m. very much 
delighted to be by ourselves and disposed to enjoy even the 
roughest of journeys. It was well for us that we were in this 
humor, for the road we went over that day was certainly 
enough to have shaken tempers that were not resolutely set 
at Fair down to some inches below Stormy. At one time we 
were all flying together in a heap at the bottom of the coach 
and at another we were crushing our heads against the roof. 
Now the coach was lying on the tails of the two wheelers, and 
now it was rearing up in the air in a frantic state, with all 
four horses standing on the top of an insurmountable eminence 
looking back at it, as though the would say, " Unharness us, 
it can't be done." The drivers of these roads, who certainly 
get over the ground in a manner which is quite miraculous, 
so twist and turn the team about in forcing a passage cork- 
screw fashion through the bogs and swamps that it was quite 
a common circumstance in looking out of the window to see 
the coachman with the ends of a pair of reins in his hands, 
apparently driving nothing, or playing at horse. Never, 
never once that day was the coach in any position, attitude 
or kind of motion to which we are accustomed in coaches. 
Never did it make the smallest approach to one's experience 
of the proceedings of any sort of vehicle that goes on wheels. 

As night came on the track grew narrower until at last it 
so lost itself among the trees that the driver seemed to find his 
way by instinct. We had the comfort of knowing, at least, 
that there was no danger of falling asleep, for every now and 

1 Charles Dickens, American Notes for General Circulation, pp. 167- 
I7i, 1855- 


then the wheel would strike against an unseen stump with 
such a jerk that he was fain to hold on pretty tight and pretty 
quick to keep himself upon the box. 

Nor was there any reason to dread the danger from furious 
driving inasmuch as over that broken ground the horses had 
enough to do to walk and as to shying there was no room for 
that. The trees were so close together that their dry branches 
rattled against the coach on either side and obliged us all to 
keep our hands within. 

These descriptions, although overdrawn in some par- 
ticulars, give an idea of the difficulty of transporting 
goods and passengers over the early roads. On account 
of the danger and difficulty of descending, and the im- 
possibility of ascending the Ohio River for extensive 
commercial transactions, this stream very imperfectly 
answered the demands of the time for commercial and 
emigrant purposes. The demand for better all-land 
routes was made early, and in response Zane's Trace and 
the Cumberland Road were laid out. Provisions were 
also made for the system of state roads from the three 
per cent fund, which will be discussed later. Until the 
close of the eighteenth century, the general route for mail 
and passengers from Cincinnati and other settled places 
above and below this point on the Ohio was over 
Boone's Wilderness Road through Cumberland Gap to 
the various eastern settlements. After Pennsylvania had 
become more densely populated and scattered settlements 
had been made in Ohio, the demands for roads through 
the Ohio country grew more pressing. The first post- 
road in Ohio was Zane's Trace. This was provided by 
an act of Congress, May 17, 1798. It ran from Pittsburgh 
to Limestone. Ebenezer Zane was granted three tracts 
of land, each not to exceed one mile square at points 
where the road crossed the Muskingum, Hocking and 

49] EARLY ROADS IN THE WEST, 1788-1810 49 

Scioto rivers. At these points he was to establish fer- 
ries and to give surety that they would be maintained. 
The road as opened was scarcely more than a blazed 
trail for horsemen, and in many cases Indian trails were 
doubtless used. However, this became an important 
route in time and was later known as the Maysville 
Road. The Court of General Quarter Sessions at its 
meeting in Adamsville, Adams County, December 12, 
1797, adopted a schedule of legal ferriage across the 
Scioto and Ohio rivers. For the Scioto River the 
charge for a man and horse was 12^ cents ; for a wagon 
and team, 75 cents; for horned cattle, 6^ cents each. 
Upon the opening of the road the government estab- 
lished a regular mail route from Wheeling to Lexington. 
A road was already in use from Maysville to Lexington. 
It was in connection with this road that the question of 
internal improvement received a serious temporary de- 
feat by President Jackson's well-known veto. 

The enabling act for the admission of Ohio, in 1802, 
provided that one-twentieth of the net proceeds from 
the sale of lands lying within the state and sold by Con- 
gress should be devoted to the laying-out and building 
of public roads from the navigable streams emptying 
into the Atlantic to Ohio. In 1803 a supplementary act 
was passed which appropriated three of this five per cent 
for state roads. A committee was appointed by the 
President to lay out this Cumberland Road, as it began 
to be called, and after much deliberation a route was 
selected in accordance with the following principles : (a) 
shortness of the route ; (b) that point near the end of 
the route which would most nearly equalize the advan- 
tages of the portages within reach of the road ; (c) that 
point on the Ohio most certain of accomodating river 
navigation with the road accomodation ; (d) and lastly, 


that route which would best diffuse benefit with the 
least distance of the road. The application of these 
principles in selecting a route was no easy matter, for 
competition among towns and communities was very 
strong. It was recognized that the road would place 
the towns along it in a position to share in the profits of 
the trade between the East and the West. Wheeling was 
selected as the point on the Ohio because, as the com- 
missioners said, " the obstructions in the Ohio within 
the limits between Steubenville and Grave-creek lay prin- 
cipally above the town and the mouth of the Wheeling 
(creek)." This point was the favorite one for embark- 
ment and departure in the dry seasons. Wheeling, it 
may be stated, had the powerful influence of Henry Clay, 
who made it his concern to see that the merits of Wheel- 
ing were properly placed before the commission. The 
road \vas begun in 1811 and in 1818 mail coaches were 
running between Washington and Wheeling. As soon 
as the road was completed, immigrants and traffic began 
to move over it, and it soon needed repairs, for in some 
places only one layer of crushed stone had been used. 

In 1822 a bill passed Congress providing for the repair 
of the road and the establishment of toll gates, but 
President Monroe vetoed this bill. However, a bill 
passed in 1824 which appropriated money to repair the 
road in a very thorough manner. The Ohio River had 
become by this time a commercial route of great im- 
portance, and the road in its inception and later extension 
was intended to be supplementary to this water route. 
The numerous population of the Ohio valley was in a 
position to supply the East with vast amounts of raw 
products in exchange for the manufactured goods, but 
up to this time this mutually beneficial exchange was 
limited by the inadequate transportation facilities offered 

5I ] EARLY ROADS IN THE WEST, 1788-1810 5I 

by the Ohio River. An overland route was needed from 
the East to the West to carry to different points in the 
interior regions of the state the eastern products, which 
could be exchanged for the abundant raw products of 
these sections. The Ohio River served fairly well as a 
commercial route for such large points as Pittsburgh, 
Cincinnati, Louisville and New Orleans, but these points 
could not be used as distributing centers for large areas, 
because there were no roads from them to the interior 
points. It was largely due to the fact that the Ohio 
River was on the south of the region that the Cumber- 
land Road ran along a parallel line far to the north, 
where it could reach a region scarcely served by the 
river. Another reason for the northern location was the 
fact that Zane's road ran farther to the south. 

When the question of the constitutionality of the road 
was raised, the people of the West doubted that the 
road would ever be extended from Wheeling. This 
was however provided by the act of 1825. This act 
was in keeping with the prevailing sentiment for inter- 
nal improvements, and was especially due to the fact that 
the Erie Canal had been completed in 1825. It was a 
transportation route which promised to transfer much of 
the trade of the West from Philadelphia and Baltimore to 
New York. The representatives of Pennsylvania and 
Maryland were instrumental in securing the extension of 
the Cumberland Road, for by it Philadelphia and Balti- 
more would be able to retain a part of the trade of the 
West. Before the completion of the Erie Canal, the 
people of the lake section of the state were largely with- 
out market facilities. Hauling overland to Pittsburgh 
was always expensive and oftentimes prohibitive. The 
road was completed to Columbus in 1833 an< ^ was later 
extended to Vandalia, Illinois. However, just as the 


Cumberland Road was of less importance to Indiana and 
Illinois than to Ohio, so it was less necessary to Ohio 
than to Pennsylvania, for by the time it was extended 
through Ohio or even to Columbus, many state roads 
had been built, water transportation on the Ohio and 
state rivers had been improved, canals had been con- 
structed, and railroads had been begun. One must not 
infer that this road was not widely used, nor that it was 
not a great commercial highway, but, if the national 
government had not extended it westward, the state 
would hardly have done so. In any case, it would have 
been only one of the many commercial highways of the 
states through which it passed. The glory of the Na- 
tional Road was gained before 1830, for in the latter 
stages of its construction, ideas of transportation had so 
changed that wagon roads were not so popular. 

The railroad promised an easy solution of the transpor- 
tation problem since, according to popular view, the 
railroads with but little cost for repairs would last inde- 
finitely, after they were once constructed. The railroad 
was to be a permanent road-bed upon which every in- 
dividual would be free to haul his products by paying a 
fixed charge per mile for the use of the way. In 1832 
the Committee on Roads and Canals of the House of 
Representatives discussed the feasibility of various means 
of transportation and in 1836 seriously considered the 
question of converting the Cumberland Road into a rail- 
road. Later in the same year a House bill was passed, 
which provided that the appropriations which were made 
to assist Illinois in building the Cumberland Road should 
be expended in grading and building bridges and not in 
macadamizing. This bill was so amended by the Senate, 
as to provide that a railroad should be constructed west 
from Columbus with all the money appropriated for the 

EARLY ROADS IN THE WEST, 1788-1810 53 

road. A committee was appointed to investigate the 
comparative cost of a railroad and a highway from 
Columbus to the West and in its report favored the rail- 
road, " if time of transportation, expense of repairs and 
political and military advantages were considered." 
However, the amended bill failed and an appropriation of 
$600,000 was made for the road. As fast as the road 
was completed it was turned over to the states, for Pres- 
ident Monroe's veto indicated the unconstitutionality of 
any act which provided for the repair of the road by the 
Federal Government. Repairs must be made, so the 
road was transferred to the states which established toll 
gates with tolls varying, in 1837, from 3 cents for a led 
horse to 25 cents for a coach. Collection of tolls was 
secured by providing that the salary of the keepers of 
the toll-gates should be a percentage of total collections 
and quite naturally many abuses resulted, since the 
keepers had every reason to make the receipts as large 
as possible. The tolls in Ohio from the Cumberland 
Road were for some time large and averaged in the best 
years about $20,000. Much of the traffic moving over 
the road was local, and this was especially true of that 
moving west. The Ohio River at Wheeling offered for 
the through traffic a choice of routes. The river was 
frequently used both on account of the low cost of trans- 
portation on it and because on the overland route there 
were no large points to serve as distributing centers. 

It is quite true that considerable through traffic 
moved over the road, including livestock from the 
interior of the state, and some of the eastern products, 
which came in large amounts to the few larger centers of 
the interior region. Up to 1850 when Ohio began to 
lease out portions of the national road, the state had 
received in tolls nearly $1,250,000. Under the plan of 


lease the state officials inspected the road to see that it 
was kept in good condition, but in 1859 the state was 
compelled to take over the roads, as the leases had 
proven very unprofitable to the holders. In 1876 the 
state authorized the commissioners of the several coun- 
ties through which the road passed to take over and 
keep in repair such parts as were situated in their re- 
spective counties. Later, by consent of Congress and 
the people of the county, the road was made a free turn- 
pike. The road was never a direct financial success, but 
the value of such works should not be judged by finan- 
cial returns alone. It added enormously to the wealth 
of the nation and did much to make the East and the 
West one, just as later the transcontinental railway lines 
made the Pacific states a part of the United States in 
fact as well as in name. 

In June, 1807, we find the following post roads in 
Ohio. 1 (i) From Chillicothe to Franklinton, thence to 
Washington; mail once in two weeks. (2) From Chilli- 
cothe via Brown's Cross-Roads, Williamsburg, Columbia 
to Cincinnati ; mail once a week. (3) From Cincinnati 
via Hamilton, Franklin, Dayton, Stanton, Springfield, 
Xenia, Lebanon, to Cincinnati ; mail once a week. (4) 
From Chillicothe via Wheeling to Alexandria; mail 
once a week. (5) From Cincinnati via Hamilton, Law- 
renceburg, Boone C. H., to Frankfort; mail once a week. 

In addition to these mail routes there were also the 
post roads from Wheeling to Limestone, from Marietta, 
Gallipolis and other points in southeastern Ohio to the 
East. From the political center, Chillicothe, and the in- 
dustrial center, Cincinnati, the leading roads diverged. 
On account of the bad condition of the roads, much 

1 Liberty Hall and Cincinnati Gazette, June 2, 1807. 

EARLY ROADS IN THE WEST, 1788-1810 55 

complaint was heard about the receipt of the mails. 
Postmasters were frequently accused of holding the mail. 
Post riders in crossing swollen streams would sometimes 
lose the mail sacks and, at other times, forget some of 
them, especially if the mails were heavy. However, when 
the mail coach arrived many of the objections ceased, for 
now greater amounts could be carried with greater cer- 
tainty. These passenger and mail-coach routes were 
operated in much the same way as the railroads of our 
present day, in that competition and consolidation were 
prominent elements. Large companies which owned 
many miles of line were formed and the rivalry among 
these operating companies was often very intense. Each 
sought to shorten the time of the journey, to reduce the 
fare, to secure better coaches, better horses, and better 
drivers. The larger companies bought up the smaller 
ones, and extended their lines. Although no such re- 
finements as community of interests, gentlemen's agree- 
ment and present-day makeshifts of ownership were de- 
vised, yet the embryo of all these present-day plans was 

The first passenger coaches were long and awkwardly 
constructed vehicles with the seats running cross- 
wise. The chief source of revenue, however, came 
from the transportation of freight. This was done in 
huge wagons, called freighters, which carried the pro- 
ducts of the eastern mills and factories to the West and 
received in return agricultural products. Time tables 
and tariff schedules, such as our railroads to-day have, 
were published and posted, although there were no com- 
missions to enforce adherence to published schedules, or 
prevent rebates or discriminations. There were, how- 
ever, many laws passed applying to the operation of the 
stage coaches. For example, an act of the legislature re- 


quired lamps to be placed on all coaches used at night, 
and subjected the driver to a fine for not providing or 
not lighting them. 1 Another act required the discharge 
of drivers who had been intoxicated while on duty, and 
still another imposed a fine on any driver who left his 
horses unfastened while they were hitched to a coach. 
Passengers purchased their tickets, including all toll 
charges from the stage company. A way-bill was made 
out and given to the driver. This way-bill was submit- 
ted to each tavern keeper on the route, who signified, on 
the blank space provided, the time of arrival and of de- 
parture, just as is done at present by the local telegraph 
operators of railway companies. 

1 Laws of Ohio, First Session, Seventh General Assembly, 1809. 





WATERWAYS have exerted an important influence in 
civilizing the world, for they are highways of nature 
which afford an easy means of access into new regions. 
Other things being equal, the rapidity with which a new 
country becomes settled is directly proportional to its 
supply of navigable waterways. The fact that the Ohio, 
a large and navigable stream flowed westward was of 
vast importance in the westward spread of population in 
this country. Whatever dispute there may be regarding 
the proportion of early settlers who came to Ohio by 
way of water, there can be no question that this stream 
was the route which was most used in the general ad- 
vance of population from the regions east of the Alle- 
ghanies into the territory between these mountains and 
the Mississippi River. The difficulties which are en- 
countered in traveling to a new region either by land or 
by water are great, but the bars, snags and other impedi- 
ments in the Ohio River were greater obstacles to travel 
than the obstructions and dangers of the overland routes. 
The Indian trails were nothing more than paths and 
many of these were so overgrown with brush that men 
and horses moved over them with difficulty. The mili- 
tary roads had deteriorated through disuse and neglect, 
so that scarcely a vestige of them remained. These 
trails were, however, soon widened and the military 
roads were soon restored by the emigrants who were not 
57] 57 


compelled on the land route to make the extra outlay 
for means of transportation, which was necessary on the 
water route. These well-known land routes led directly 
into the interior regions of the state, and the danger from 
Indians was not much greater than on the Ohio River. 
Until 1800 these land routes were therefore of greater 
importance than the water routes for purposes of settle- 
ment. Even after the difficulties and dangers of navi- 
gating the Ohio River were known, the land routes were 
more frequently used by the immigrants into Ohio. 
Many of these immigrants came from the adjoining 
states and even if they came from the more remote re- 
gions, the river could not be used to reach the interior 
regions. For commercial purposes and for the settle- 
ments along the river and beyond the state, the Ohio 
River was for many years after 1800 extensively used. 

When the prospective settler of the West had reached 
Pittsburgh, Brownsville or Wheeling, he supposed that 
the most difficult part of his journey had been passed. 
Many of them, however, found greater troubles before 
them than they had left behind. To aid these immi- 
grants and other travelers in descending the Ohio, there 
was published in Pittsburgh, in 1801, a hand-book called 
the Navigator, which gave directions for navigating 
the Ohio and the Mississippi Rivers. This hand-book, 
as might be expected from the place of its publication 
and the personal interests of the publishers, describes in 
glowing terms the excellence of the country along the 
Ohio, assuring the reader that it is not extravagant to 
suppose that in a few years the whole margin of the 
stream will form one continuous village. 1 Between Pitts- 
burgh and Cincinnati there were fifty-three islands and 

1 Cf. Navigator, eleventh edition, 1812. 


it required caution and skill to avoid their dangers. 
During the time of low water, the navigation of the Ohio 
from its formation to Old Mingo Town, a point about 
seventy-five miles below, was difficult, but from this 
place to the Mississippi the navigation was good for keel 
boats or barges of one hundred to two hundred tons, 
except at Louisville where the falls formed for many 
years a great obstacle to navigation. 1 During the time 
of high water, boats of four hundred tons had little diffi- 
culty in descending the Ohio, except where the numerous 
islands and the frequent short bends in the river made it 
difficult to manage their unwieldy size. However, by 
1810, boats of this tonnage had descended to New 

As early as 1779, the importance of the Ohio River as 
an agency in developing the interior part of the country 
had been recognized. In this year there was sent to the 
Earl of Hillsborough, the secretary of state for the 
North American Department, an address in which it was 
pointed out that in the development of America no part 
required more careful attention than this stream and its 
contiguous territory. This region could produce naval 
stores, such as corn, flour, beef, hemp, tobacco and 
cotton, all of which could be sent down the Ohio River 
in great quantities to the sea more cheaply than by the 
overland route to the East. 2 It was also shown that the 
Ohio river would offer the cheaper route over which to 
import the manufactured articles of Europe to the Ohio 
country. It was then predicted that the farmers and 
merchants who would settle along the Ohio, would build 

1 Cf. Liberty Hall, September 12, 1815. 

1 As early as 1806 there was a project to construct a canal around the 
Falls at Louisville. 


ships for the purpose of carrying on this trade. This in 
fact they did. As early as 1775 Gibbson and Tinn, two 
soldiers, descended the river from Pittsburgh to New 
Orleans in order to procure military stores for the troops 
stationed at Pittsburgh. After many difficulties they 
succeeded in bringing back one hundred and thirty-six 
kegs of gunpowder in the spring of 1777, although, at 
the Falls of Louisville, they were compelled to unload 
their boats and carry the cargo around the rapids. 1 

In 1794 a line of passenger boats were started from 
Cincinnati. The Sentinel thus describes these boats: 3 

Two boats will travel between Cincinnati and Pittsburgh. 
The first boat leaves Cincinnati at 8 o'clock and returns to 
Cincinnati so as to sail again in four weeks. The proprietor 
of these boats having naturally considered the many incon- 
veniences and dangers incident to the common method hereto 
adopted of navigating the Ohio, and being influenced by the 
love of philanthropy, and desirous of being serviceable to the 
public have taken great pains to render the accomodations on 
board as agreeable and convenient as they can profitably be 
made. No danger need be apprehended from the enemy 
(Indians) as every person on board will be under cover, made 
proof against rifle or musket ball ; convenient port-holes for 
firing will be found on each boat. 

Rules, regulations and time-tables were posted in the 
boats and in the office at Cincinnati and at Pittsburgh. 
There were also insurance offices at these points and at 
Limestone. In 1798 the two sea-going vessels, the 
" President " and " Senator Rose," were built at Pitts- 
burgh, and in the same year the one hundred and twenty 
ton brig, " Commodore Preble " was constructed at 

1 Cf. Howe, op. cit., vol. i. 

* Cf. The Sentinel of Northwest Territory, vol. i, no. i, 1793-1794. 


Marietta. 1 From this time many vessels were built at 
Pittsburgh and other points on the Ohio and Mississippi 
to carry on the traffic of these regions, for production 
was rapidly increasing. 

The first boats which were used for navigating the 
Ohio were the flatboats, arks, keel boats and barges. 
The early boats rarely used sails and received only occa- 
sional aid from their oars but depended almost wholly 
upon the current of the stream to carry them to their 
destination. It usually took a month to go from Pitts- 
burgh to New Orleans; but the return trip, when there 
was one, often occupied four months. The flat boat and 
the ark were used only to descend the streams, while the 
keel boat and barges could with difficulty be propelled 
up stream. The flat boat, which was for many years an 
important means of transportating down-stream traffic, 
was a roughly built boat with strong perpendicular sides 
and a flat bottom. When it reached its destination, it 
was used either to construct buildings of one kind or 
another for the new settlers who had traveled on it, or 
was sold to some other settler for a similar purpose. 

Marietta was early made a clearance port. An amusing 
incident connected with this fact happened in 1806, when 
a ship cleared from this port with a cargo of pork and 
flour. At New Orleans this cargo was exchanged for 
one of cotton and the boat then sailed for St. Petersburg. 
When her clearance papers were examined at this place 
and it was found that they had been made out at the un- 
known port of Marietta, they were declared forgeries and 
the ship was forthwith seized. After minute explana- 
tions and retracing the route on the map in order to 

'James Hall, The West, Its Commerce and Navigation, passim (1848). 
* Hall, op. tit. passim. 


locate Port Marietta, the ship was released. When an 
emigrant to the west reached Pittsburgh, Wheeling or 
Brownsville, the three main points of embarkment, he 
secured a boat, and if it was not flood time, awaited this 
period, unless he chose to incur the dangers of descend- 
ing the Ohio during the time of a freshet. Boat building 
for family and trading purposes early became an import- 
ant industry at the above places. The traders first used 
a canoe to carry their small stock of cider, brandy, 
whiskey, groceries and dry goods, but later arks were 
used. These were usually loaded at Pittsburgh and 
started down the river. The arrival of a traveler at a 
settlement was an occasion of great rejoicing, for he not 
only brought to the settlement the luxuries of the East, 
but he was also the newspaper of these early times. He 
was then even more to the people than his present-day 
prototype the huckster is to the most rural of our 
communities. A family boat was from thirty to forty 
feet long and cost from one dollar to one dollar and 
twenty-five cents per foot, although this sum did not 
include the cost of a cable, a pump and other requisites 
which made the total cost about fifty dollars. Wheeling 
was the safest point from which to embark during the 
low stage of the river, although it did not offer so good 
a market in which to purchase boats and family supplies 
as did Pittsburgh, nor was it as accessible of approach 
from the East until the Cumberland road was built. 
From February to June and from October to December 
were the best seasons for the navigation of the Ohio 
River, although in the former season the floating ice 
often made the trip dangerous. Head winds were 
another frequent source of trouble. The river was so 
crooked that a favorable wind might, within an hour, 
become an unfavorable one, and these contrary winds, 


contending with a strong current were not unlikely to 
drive the boat ashore. Boats sometimes passed from 
Pittsburgh to the mouth of the Ohio in fifteen days, and 
usually ten of these days were used in reaching the falls 
at Louisville. However, it was not unusual for a boat to 
be two weeks in reaching even Limestone, Kentucky. 
Much depended upon the condition of the river and the 
character of the weather which prevailed. Keel boats 
soon came into extensive use, since they were stronger, 
more rapid and drew less water than did the other boats. 
These keel boats made two or three trips up and down 
the Ohio and Mississippi each year, and their crew soon 
acquired such a knowledge of the obstacles to be met in 
navigating the Ohio and such skill in avoiding all dan- 
gers that many families and merchants preferred to en- 
trust themselves and their goods to the crews of these 
keel boats rather than to purchase boats at the up-river 
points. Much loss of life and property resulted in this 
early period through ignorance of the stream and 
through failure properly to load and to sail the boats. 

The first marked improvement in the character of the 
boats was the introduction of the barge. The barge had 
a capacity of fifty to one hundred tons and made annually 
two trips beween New Orleans and Cincinnati or Pitts- 
burgh. The barge usually had two masts, and its chief 
reliance for movement was a large square sail set forward, 
which, when the wind was in the right direction, could be 
used to move the boat. If the weather conditions were 
not favorable, oars were used to facilitate the movement 
of the boat. Even then descending was easy as com- 
pared with the difficulties of ascending the river. Row- 
ing was of little use in going up stream if the current 
was strong, in which case several other methods were 
used. One expedient was the cordelle, which consisted 


of tying one end of a rope to the vessel and placing the 
other end on the banks of the river, along which the 
boatman walked and pulled the boat. Another way was 
by " warping," for tow-paths along the banks were not 
always found. In warping, the yawl was sent out with 
a coil of rope, which was fastened to a tree along the 
shore or a snag in the river, and then the men on board 
pulled the boat up to this point, when another coil was 
fastened to a point further ahead to which the boat was 
drawn, and so on laboriously up the stream. At other 
times setting poles were used. This consisted in placing 
one end of the pole firmly in the bed of the stream, and, 
by leverage the vessel was pushed forward. This was a 
very common method on the Ohio River where the river 
bottom was more solid than on the Mississippi. These 
methods of movement now seem very crude and expen- 
sive, yet they continued in use until the introduction of 
the steam boat on the Ohio and the Mississippi. The 
barges affected almost immeasurably the production of 
the Ohio region, for they reduced the freight charges 
from New Orleans to Cincinnati as much as five to ten 
dollars per hundred pounds. After their introduction 
most of the groceries instead of coming from the East, 
Philadelphia and Baltimore, came from New Orleans, 
since groceries and other related products constituted a 
light return cargo. 1 

Land transportation, especially in the case of railways, 
has received so much attention to the exclusion of in- 
land water-ways, and such excellent systems have been 
developed that the present generation does not attach 
much importance to the smaller inland rivers. In the 
early history of the state, however, when the industrial 

1 Cf. James T. Lloyd, Early Boating on the Ohio, passim. 


life was simple and other transportation facilities were 
lacking, the value of these streams for transportation 
purposes was very great. The Muskingum, Hocking, 
Scioto, Miami and Cuyahoga Rivers were very im- 
portant aids in the early settlement and development 
of the region. They afforded an easy means to the 
settler of reaching the interior regions of the state and, 
after the settlements were made, they served a double 
purpose. They were both an outlet for the raw prod- 
ucts of the settlers and an inlet for the necessaries such 
as groceries and certain manufactured goods, which came 
from the East or South. The Muskingum was navigable 
for large batteaux without serious obstacle for one hun- 
dred and ten miles, and for small boats, a further distance 
of forty-five miles. From the extreme upper navigable 
point of the Muskingum, the Cuyahoga was reached by 
a portage of only one mile, thus practically forming an 
all-water route between the Ohio River and the Great 
Lakes. The early settlers thought that the commerce of 
of the North and the South would be conducted over this 
route, and it behooved all who wished to enjoy the ad- 
vantages of this north-and-south traffic to settle along 
the route. At the mouth of the Muskingum the first 
ferry in Ohio was established in 1790. The boat was 
moved by means of a rope which extended from bank to 
bank. At Marietta there was constructed, in 1798 or 
1799, by Commodore Preble, the first sea-going vessel 
built on western waters. 1 This was a brig of one hun- 
dred and twenty tons which descended the Ohio and the 
Mississippi to New Orleans and thence sailed to Havana 
and, from there, to Philadelphia where it was sold. The 
Hocking River was navigable for small boats for seventy 

1 Hall, op. tit. 


miles and was much used in its lower courses. The 
Scioto was navigable as far as Franklinton (Columbus), 
for keel boats of ten tons, and boats of smaller size went 
many miles further. This stream was much used, for 
this valley early produced large quantities of agricultural 
products. The Miami had a stony bed and rapid waters, 
and for these reasons was not so valuable for transporta- 
tion purposes, although small boats could ascend it for 
seventy-five miles. The Cuyahoga could be navigated 
by boats to the Muskingum portages and was often used, 
not only by the early settlers in reaching this region, but 
also with the Muskingum River in carrying on a state 
and interstate traffic. 

In the settlement and development of the northern and 
eastern sections of the state, Lake Erie played an im- 
portant part, for it afforded, as did the Ohio River on 
the south, an easy means of access to the new region, 
although like the Ohio River it was not without its dan- 
gers. The first settlers who came to the Western Re- 
serve the surveying company of the Connecticut Land 
Company under the leadership of Moses Cleveland 
arrived from Buffalo by open boat. 1 This party laid out 
much of the Western Reserve into townships and also 
plotted Cleveland, which began its history in 1796, 
although this point had been for many years an import- 
ant trading center to which the Indians of the surround- 
ing regions came to meet the fur traders of the Lakes. 
Many other settlements were soon made in this region. 
Some of them exceeded Cleveland in population, but the 
latter continued to be the leading trade center from 
which many goods by pack-horse and other methods 
were carried to the homes of the settlers. An important 

l Cf. Harvey Rice, Pioneers of the Western Reserve, pp. 46-56, 1888. 


trail ran from Buffalo along Lake Erie through Cleveland 
to Detroit. This trail later became the Upper Ridge 
Road and still later the general route of the New York 
Central Railway. Another important trail from the 
Ohio River had its terminus at Cleveland and this trail 
followed what was later the water route formed by the 
Ohio, the Erie Canal and the improved Muskingum 
River, and still later the general route of the Wheeling 
and Lake Erie and Zanesville and Marietta Railroads. 

Cleveland, thus, from a transportation standpoint oc- 
cupied a strategic position. A post-road from Cleveland 
to Pittsburgh was opened in 1801. As early as 1765 
Benjamin Franklin advised the construction of a military 
post at the mouth of the Cuyahoga, and Washington, in 
discussing the question of water routes from the Great 
Lakes to the Chesapeake Bay, pointed out the practica- 
bility of a route from Lake Erie by way of the Cuyahoga, 
Tuscarawas and Muskingum rivers to the Ohio River. 
In 1769 Rev. John Heckwelder also emphasized the ad- 
vantages of this Cuyahoga-Muskingum route and stated 
that the former stream was navigable and had a good 
harbor at its mouth, while the latter had connections 
with the east, west and south. Furthermore, this route, 
he said, would be intersected by the land route from 
Pittsburgh to Detroit. 

Many methods of transportation were used by the 
settlers in reaching the north-eastern section. However 
the greater number of them did not use the lake, but 
came overland on horseback, in carts, wagons or on foot. 
In fact the Lake did not become of any great import- 
ance until the introduction of the steam-boat in 1818, and 
not of commanding significance as a commercial route 
until the opening of the Erie Canal in 1825. 

Such, in brief, is the history of the early water trans- 


portation in Ohio, before the improvement of the naviga- 
ble water-ways. As the population increased and the 
natural resources of the territory were developed, there 
arose a demand for the improvement of the water-ways 
and for the construction of land routes. 



IN 1811 the first steam-boat descended the Ohio 
River from Pittsburgh to New Orleans, a fact that was 
due to the perseverance and courage of Mr. Nicolas J. 
Roosevelt. 1 The success of Robert Fulton's steam-boat 
on the Hudson and other earlier steam-boats on different 
waters of the country did not by any means prove that 
this style of boat would be successful on all inland 
bodies of water, and especially on the Ohio River, which 
had many muddy and whirling currents, dangerous chan- 
nels, snags, islands and rocks. Roosevelt was author- 
ized by Livingston, the capitalist, and Fulton, the in- 
ventor, to make an investigation of the currents and 
conditions of the Ohio and the Mississippi Rivers, and if, 
in his opinion, they were found suited to steam-boat navi- 
gation, these men agreed to supply the capital for the 
construction of the boat. Roosevelt descended the 
rivers in 1810 and stopped at towns and settlements 
along the streams to discuss the project with the settlers 
and rivermen, but from neither class did he receive much 
encouragement. They considered the project decidedly 
visionary on account of the currents and obstacles to 
navigation in these rivers, and were quite certain that 
the falls at Louisville and other numerous obstructions 

1 Cf. J. B. Latrobe, First Steam-boat Voyage on the Western Waters. 
69] 69 


in the Ohio River would prevent the use of the steam- 
boat on this stream. However, so sanguine of success 
was the investigator that he stopped at various points 
along the Ohio River to open coal mines and to pile up 
coal along the banks of the river for the use of the steam- 
boat, which he felt certain would soon descend this 
stream. His report was duly made and readily accepted 
by Livingston and Fulton, who thereupon authorized 
him to go to Pittsburgh and to build a boat. 

This boat was one hundred and sixteen feet long and 
cost about $38,000. The people of Pittsburgh with 
doubts and misgivings watched the boat depart on its 
journey down stream and in the same state of mind was 
Roosevelt received and entertained at various points 
along the rivers. The people could not deny that the 
boat was moving, but this was down stream, and the 
boat did no more than rafts. They felt quite certain 
that it could not go up stream, for had not all 
boats been laboriously pulled or pushed up stream for 
years? At Louisville where Roosevelt was compelled 
to stop a month, to await the rise of the river so that he 
might pass over the falls, he invited a number of citizens 
on board and steamed up to Cincinnati and returned, in 
the hope of dispelling the last doubt of the people. 
Doubtless many of the people thought it really too good 
to be true, for they had been waiting many years for a 
solution of their transportation problem. Although the 
soil had long invited them to large production, they had 
often seen the fruits of their labor go to waste for lack 
of a market, and the promise of this rapid and easy 
means of shipping goods in either low or high water 
seemed to many too unreal. The seemingly unreal did 
in time prove true, yet, so far as the large industrial and 
commercial interests of Ohio were concerned, it was to 


continue for almost a decade an unreality. This was 
due to two facts : first, the falls at Louisville, and second, 
the monopoly of Livingston and Fulton. The falls at 
Louisville made impracticable the use of steam-boats to 
Pittsburgh, until greater traffic between these points had 
developed. This very fact however caused measures to 
be taken for the construction of a canal around these 
falls. Even before the canal was completed, steam- 
boats were plying between Pittsburgh and Louisville and 
other intermediate points. The through-route from 
Pittsburgh to New Orleans was generally divided into 
two routes, viz.: the Pittsburgh to Louisville, and Louis- 
ville to New Orleans routes. It might be supposed 
that, when this method of transportation was introduced, 
the rafts, flat-boats, and barges would cease to be used; 
but the immediate result was just the opposite, for their 
numbers increased. This was a natural consequence of 
the great increase in production which was now made 
possible by the reduced cost in reaching a market. 
Greater quantities of the old products and a rapid in- 
crease of new ones resulted. Large quantities of flour, 
pork, corn, whiskey, cider, potatoes, lumber, coal, iron 
and wheat began to move down the river, and trade be- 
came active for seller and buyer alike. The passenger 
fare from Pittsburgh to New Orleans was sixty dollars 
in 1800, and the freight rate was six dollars and seventy- 
five cents per hundred pounds for general merchandise, 
but were decreased by more than one-half when the 
steam-boat was introduced. 1 However, not all these 
results followed at once the experiment of Roosevelt in 

The first boat had two masts, for the builders expected 

1 Liberty Hall and Cincinnati Gazette, June 24, 1816. 


to use sails. 1 The second boat the Comet was built 
on a plan for which French had obtained a patent in 
1809, but after making a trip to Louisville in 1813, and 
New Orleans in 1814, this boat was taken apart and her 
engine was placed in a cotton factory. This was done 
partly because her machinery had not proved successful 
and partly because of the enterprise of Livingston and 
Fulton in securing and enforcing their monopoly of using 
steamboats on the lower Mississippi. The Vesuvius was 
built by Livingston and Fulton in 1814 and was used on 
the lower Mississippi. The Enterprise was constructed 
in the same year under the patent of French and ascended 
from New Orleans to Louisville in twenty-five days, but, 
as the river was so high that "cut-offs" were used to 
evade the current, the people were not yet convinced 
that steam-boats could be commercially used for the up- 
river traffic. The Washington appeared in 1816 and 
brought about a change in conditions. This boat was 
built under the supervision of Captain Henry Shreve and 
differed from the former boats in several important par- 
ticulars. The Washington had two decks with the cabin 
placed between them and the boilers were on the deck 
instead of in the hold. Instead of upright stationary 
cylinders, as in Fulton's engine, or vibrating cylinders as 
in French's engine, the Washington had her cylinders 
placed in a horizontal position with a vibrating pitman. 
Livingston complimented Shreve very highly but assured 
him that their monopoly would drive him out of busi- 
ness, as in time it did. In 1817 the Washington made 
the trip from Louisville to New Orleans and returned in 
forty-one days. From this date the era of steam-boat 

1 Cf. James T. Lloyd, Steamboat Directory and Disasters on Western 
Waters, passim. 


navigation on the Ohio and Mississippi Rivers really 

Many people thought at first that steam-boats would 
be confined to towing other boats and carrying pas- 
sengers. The people soon realized that flat-boats and 
barges would continue to be used, since they could 
transport on the down-river trip many times the ton- 
nage of the early steam-boats. There was also much 
dispute over the question as to which inventor was en- 
titled to patent-rights on steam-boats. It was uncertain 
whether this honor belonged to Fulton, Fitch or Evans. 
The legislature of Ohio was petitioned in 1816 to pass a 
law which would provide that the state would defend any 
of its citizens against prosecution and would pay all 
costs for damages incurred in using patent rights on 
steam-boats, until the right to the patent was deter- 
mined. x Feeling became very bitter against " any 
quack " who could secure the right to monopolize what 
was almost " a public necessity to the people of a large 
section of the country." 3 Meanwhile notices were pub- 
lished in the newspapers by the different claimants of 
the patent-right which warned all intending builders of 
steam-boats to secure permission from this or that indi- 
vidual, if they did not wish to subject themselves to 
prosecution for infringing these patent rights. The en- 
terprising company of Livingston and Fulton secured 
from the state of Louisiana the exclusive privilege of 
navigating the waters of that state with boats moved by 
steam. The charter provided among other things that 
certain fixed rates for freight and passengers should be 
charged. The situation then was that the owner of a 

1 Liberty Hall and Cincinnati Gazette, March 4, 1816. 
1 Western Spy, March 4, 1816. 


boat must pay a royalty to Livingston and Fulton, if he 
operated a steam-boat on the Mississippi, since if the 
shipper could not reach the only available market New 
Orleans it was useless to place the boat on the river. 
Even if the royalty was paid, he ran the risk of being 
prosecuted by one of the rival claimants. As a result of 
this hindrance and that of the falls at Louisville, Ohio 
received but little value from the steam-boat for a number 
of years. Livingston and Fulton placed on the river the 
number of boats which would bring them the largest net 
return on their investment, and, if others desired to place 
steam-boats on the river, the sheriffs of Louisiana seized 
them, and Livingston and Fulton prosecuted the owners 
of the boats for infringing their state granted privileges. 
The General Assembly of Ohio in 1816, passed a resolution 
which stated that inasmuch as the people of the state of 
Ohio had been deprived of the advantages of steam-boats 
on account of certain disputes, the senators and repre- 
sentatives of Ohio should use their influence to obtain a 
" legal exposition " of these conflicting claims and, 
further, that inquiry be made as to the right of Louisiana 
to grant such exclusive rights as had been given to 
Livingston and Fulton. 1 It was felt that Louisiana by 
her act had greatly injured the commerce of her sister 
states, for she had practically closed the Ohio and Mis- 
sissippi to steam-boat navigation. So many were the 
complaints of alleged injuries which had resulted to the 
people of the Ohio and the Mississippi valleys, and so fre- 
quent had become the official remonstrances, that Louisi- 
ana appointed in 1817 a commission to investigate the 
advisability of revoking the charter of Livingston and 
Fulton. This committee in its report emphasized the 

1 Senate Documents, 1816. 


heavy losses which had been incurred by Livingston and 
Fulton through the wrecking and the burning of the first 
and the second steam-boats placed on the river, the zeal 
of the company in building new boats, the low fares re- 
sulting from the use of these boats, and the fidelity with 
which the company had observed the terms of the 
charter. 1 They further pointed out the advantages to 
the people of Louisiana from having a monopoly of the 
steam-boat carrying trade of the West. They said : 

Have we not every reason to hope, that in a few years 
hence we shall have a sufficient number of them (steamboats) 
to allow us to carry on with the western states a trade which 
cannot fail to be extremely advantageous to us. Nobody can 
entertain a doubt that if the number of steamboats were suffi- 
cient to enable us to supply regularly the countries situated 
on the western streams those countries would soon abandon 
their connections with the Atlantic states and draw all their 
wants exclusively from New Orleans. The specie which the 
people of the western country carry home and send afterwards 
to the northward would remain here. 

Lack of specie in the West was indeed a serious hin- 
drance to commerce and complaints were often made 
when it was sent out of the states, for each section be- 
grudged every other section any specie which it had to 
give up. Since the company was strictly obeying the 
terms of its charter and since nothing but gain was re- 
sulting to the people of Louisiana, there appeared no 
reason for the legislature to repeal the grant, even if the 
advantage to this state was secured at the expense of 
many other regions. The legislature therefore adopted 
the report without a dissenting vote. This called out 

1 Cf. Report of the House of Representatives of Louisiana, June 18, 


from other states along the Mississippi and Ohio rivers 
a protest that this was an arbitrary use of power and an 
infringement of the rights of other states. These states 
denied the right of Louisiana to prohibit them from 
using their natural passageways to the ocean for it 
amounted to this since "the legislature might as well 
have extended the restriction to a total interdict of the 
navigation of the Mississippi within the border of the 
state or shut the port of New Orleans against us." 1 
Since the legislature had thus determined its course of 
action, relief was sought from the courts. The Wash- 
ington was seized by the sheriff upon a warrant from 
Messrs. Livingston and Fulton, and the case was tried 
in the District Court of Louisiana in 1818. This court 
decided that Louisiana had no right to grant such a 
privilege ; but before this case reached the Supreme 
Court, the New York case of Gibbon vs. Ogden had 
been decided in 1824. This case was of such import- 
ance in its effect on transportation that a brief summary 
is given. 2 The legislature of the state of New York 
had also granted to Livingston and Fulton the exclusive 
privilege of navigating all waters within the jurisdiction 
of that state with boats moved by fire or steam. Living- 
ston and Fulton had assigned their rights to Ogden, and 
Gibbon was the possessor of two steam-boats. Ogden 
secured an injunction to prevent Gibbon from using 
the boats, which the latter claimed were licensed under 
the act of Congress, providing for the licensing of ships 
and vessels employed in the coasting trade and fisheries. 
Inasmuch as the Gibbon boats operated between 
Elizabethtown, N. J. and New York City, he claimed 

1 Liberty Hall and Cincinnati Gazette, Nov. 17, 1817. 
1 Ninth Wheaton, p. i. 


the right to use them under the clause of the Federal 
Constitution which gives Congress the right to regulate 
commerce between states. The lower courts all held 
adversely. Connecticut had granted a similar privilege. 
New Jersey by an act provided that, if any citizen of that 
state were restrained by the New York act, he should be 
entitled to an action for damages in New Jersey with 
treble costs against the party who thus restrained him. 
Georgia had made similar grants in 1814, Pennsylvania 
in 1813, New Hampshire in 1816, and Massachusetts in 
1815. In 1822 Ohio passed a retaliatory measure against 
New York. This prohibited any owner of a boat moved 
by steam or fire under patent or ownership of Living- 
ston and Fulton from landing any passenger on the 
shores of Lake Erie except in case of life being endan- 
gered and except, when the privilege of navigating the 
waters of Lake Erie that were in New York state had 
been granted to citizens of Ohio. A fine of one hun- 
dred dollars for each and every passenger on the boat 
was fixed as the penalty for disobeying this act. 

These acts indicate the general confusion which was 
resulting from the conflicting claims and at the same 
time the growing commerce that was made possible by 
the use of steam-boats. The boats were suited to make 
long interstate voyages, but each state wished to reap 
all the advantages of their use. It would seem that it 
was the duty of the national government to investigate 
these claims and seek to protect the people since its pur- 
pose is to secure the protection and promote the general 
welfare of citizens in the United States and not those of 
any particular state. Mr. Webster in his argument for 
the defendant said, that one of the chief powers granted 
to the national government was the regulation of com- 
merce between the several states and foreign nations. 


It was intended that the commerce of the states should 
be a unity and to secure this unity it would be necessary 
for the national government to establish a uniform and 
complete system of regulation. This was being at- 
tempted by the states in question, and again the defend- 
ant was clearly within his rights by the congressional 
act which licensed ships engaged in the coasting trade 
and fisheries. For these two reasons, no act of the 
national government establishing a uniform system of 
regulating commerce was necessary to make the New 
York act null. It was void from the beginning, for it 
could not be assumed that the state had a right to exer- 
cise a power which was granted to the federal govern- 
ment, even if the national government had not yet exer- 
cised its right. The argument of appellant was based 
on the following points : first that the grant was not 
opposed to that clause of the Constitution which author- 
ized Congress to regulate commerce ; second, that it 
was in keeping with that other clause which authorized 
Congress to promote the progress of science and useful 
arts by the granting of patent rights and copyrights ; 
and third, that the state had concurrent powers with the 
national government. Chief Justice Marshall held for 
the court that the laws of New York granting to 
Livingston and Fulton these rights were in collision 
with the acts of Congress regulating commerce and that 
the state law must yield to the supreme law. This deci- 
sion was handed down in 1824, and the steam-boat in- 
dustry began to develop immediately although Livingston 
and Fulton had practically abandoned their monopoly 
on the Mississippi and Ohio in 1820. 

The simple fact that the steam-boats reduced the time 
from New Orleans to Pittsburgh from one hundred to 
thirty days, more than annihilated two-thirds of the 


distance, for it made possible a wider market and a great 
increase in the productions of the regions. Steam-boats 
in 1820 began plying between Pittsburgh and Louisville 
and other intermediate points. 1 Although the steam- 
boats were not very numerous on the Ohio and Missis- 
sippi before 1818, they accelerated the trade and industry 
of that region. The situation in 1815 was expressed as 
follows : 

The improvement of our barges and steamboats insure 
within two years the total supply by the Mississippi and Ohio 
Rivers of many articles, which are now wagoned from Balti- 
more and Philadelphia and our exports will be then commen- 
surate with our imports. Our flour, pork, tobacco and 
whiskey will return in calicoes, hardware, coffee, cotton, 
sugar, bartered for at New Orleans. There was never such a 
prospect for improvement and trade at one time on any por- 
tion of the globe as that which is now exhibited to western 
America. Ohio has acquired celebrity during the war which 
has pushed her forward in wealth and population." 

The commercial and industrial advantages of the Ohio 
country were made known by the general advertisement 
which the region secured during the war, and this pro- 
duced favorable conditions for a period of great com- 
mercial and industrial activity, which immediately suc- 
ceeded. The people of Ohio were urged to improve the 
Ohio River, before the channel of trade was turned in 
another direction, as in a measure it was, after the Erie 
and the state canals were completed. 3 In 1819 there 
were sixty steamboats plying between New Orleans and 
Louisville, for as yet they did not reach Cincinnati and 

1 Cincinnati Gazette, May 17, 1820. 

3 Telegraph [Brownville], Aug. 14, 1815. 

8 Liberty Hall and Cincinnati Gazette, August 21, 1815. 


Pittsburgh except in the few cases when the river was 
in a flood stage and they could pass over the Falls. 1 
Cincinnati began to build steamboats in 1819, and a few 
were constructed at other points along the Ohio. Most 
of the boat-building took place at Pittsburgh on account 
of the iron, lumber and established manufactures which 
gave her the lead in ship-building. 

The following table shows the number of boats built 
in different years on the Ohio. It will be observed that 
the number began to increase after 1818, when the 
monopoly powers of Livingston and Fulton were weak- 
ened. 2 






. 5 








. 13 

















The early losses suffered by fire and sinking were very 
heavy, for previous to 1826 forty-one per cent, of all the 
steamboats constructed had either been lost or destroyed 
and twenty-eight per cent, of these losses was due to 
other causes than fire a sad commentary on the ob- 
structions to navigation in the Ohio and Mississippi 
Rivers. The inland rivers of the state were not naviga- 
ble for steamboats with the exception of the Muskingum, 
which after some improvement was often used by this 
class of boats. Zanesville was a center not only for 
agricultural products, but also for many manufactured 
goods among which iron products were especially im- 

It was not until 1818 that the first steamboat appeared 
in Cleveland, although Cleveland at this time had no 

1 Cincinnati Gazette, March 30, 1819. 
1 Lloyd, op. cit. 


harbor except for very small craft. In 1822 a schooner 
of forty-four tons was built at Cleveland and her first 
cargo was a load of provisions for the garrison at Mack- 
inac. In 1824 the first steamboat was built at an Ohio 
port on Lake Erie. It will be observed how much later 
the trade and industry in the northern section of the 
state developed, for at this time there were on the Ohio 
River hundreds of vessels, including steamboats which 
transported thousands of tons of produce from the south- 
ern and central regions of the state to southern markets. 
The report of the collector of the port of Cleveland 
showed that in 1809, between April and October, the 
months in which most of the trade was carried on, the 
receipts of goods amounted only to fifty dollars. In the 
same year the collector's report from the Maumee Dis- 
trict showed that there were sent out three thousand 
dollars' worth of coon, bear and mink skins. This indi- 
cates the absence of developed industrial life. 1 

When the Erie Canal was completed, the state canals 
and some state highways constructed, and the canal 
around the falls at Louisville built, Ohio began to 
furnish more products for the steamboats than they could 
carry, and the agitation commenced with renewed vigor 
for the improvement of the Ohio River. The improve- 
ment of this river would mean that the improved boats 
which had the great merit of cheapness could be used 
throughout the year. 

1 Cf. Charles Whittlesey, Early History of Cleveland, passim. 



THE present great wealth of Ohio is largely due to the 
amount and variety of her natural resources which, even 
in the early history of the state, tended to make the in- 
dustrial life of the settlers one of varied productions. 
The character of the soil made it possible to grow a 
variety of agricultural products and, since the first set- 
tlers of a region must produce their own food supply, 
the Ohio settlers were in a position not only to do this 
but also to make rapid advances toward the utilization 
of the other great natural resources, such as the wealth 
of the mines, and the forests. One of the earliest com- 
mercial products of the settlers was the ashes which 
were obtained by burning the trees and underbrush from 
the cleared spaces. These ashes, as a by-product ob- 
tained in connection with the main task of making a 
clearing, were bleached and the lye obtained from them 
was boiled into black salts, which were sent back to the 
East to be exchanged for the manufactured goods of 
that section. The sugar which was obtained from the 
maple tree was another early product, although only for 
local consumption except in the northeastern section of 
the state where it was produced in commercial quantities. 
Wheat soon became a product of great value, but at first, 
through absence of mills and transportation facilities, the 
yield was very limited. For many years but little 
machinery was used, and milling entailed such great ex- 
82 [82 


pense that inducements of almost every kind were offered 
by the first settlers to persuade individuals to establish 
flour and corn mills. The wheat was sown by hand, 
reaped with a sickle and threshed with a flail. Corn was 
more easily worked up, for without much expense the 
settler could produce an abundance of lye to convert it 
into hominy, and the hand-grinding of corn, although a 
somewhat tedious and irksome task, was yet done to 
some extent. Moreover corn could be raised in such 
large quantities at such a low cost that it could be 
profitably used to fatten hogs and cattle, which could be 
driven to market and thus solve the problem of trans- 

The flour mills established at Venice on the Sandusky 
River were the first to make a cash market for the wheat 
of the state, although before this time flour mills had 
been established in the southern part of the state. The 
first Ohio flour to reach New York came from the 
Venice mills in 1833 and occasioned much comment. 1 
Previous to 1840 most of the Ohio flour went to market 
by way of the Ohio River or by overland routes to in- 
land centers of population, which by this time consumed 
considerable quantities. In 1836 Oliver Hewberry pur- 
chased in Cincinnati five hundred barrels of flour at 
eight dollars per barrel which he transported by way of 
the Ohio and Mississippi Rivers and the overland route 
to Chicago, then a frontier town, where the flour was 
sold for twenty dollars per barrel. 2 Detroit was another 
early market for limited quantities of Ohio flour and 
wheat. In 1789 the first mill of any kind in Ohio was 
built on Wolf 's Creek. This was a corn mill and a few 

'Howe, Historical Collections, op. cit, vol. i. 

* Annals of the Early Settlers of Cuyahoga County. 


years later a saw mill was located near the same place. * 
In 1791 the settlers at Belfre constructed a floating mill 
which consisted of two boats firmly fastened together with 
the water wheel between them. The wheel was turned by 
the current of the stream and the mill could grind from 
twenty to fifty bushels of corn per day, the amount de- 
pending upon the strength of the current. 

The Hudson Bay Company furnished a market to the 
producers of corn in the northern section of the state, 
but even as late as 1824 corn sold for ten cents per 
bushel and wheat for thirty cents per bushel. When the 
Erie Canal was completed a year later the prices of these 
articles had doubled, for the eastern markets were now 
opened to Ohio. However, the regions which could 
produce large quantities of corn at a low cost, such as 
the Scioto and Miami valleys, were too remote from the 
great centers of consumption, and the cost of transporta- 
tion was so great that the farmers found it more profit- 
able to feed their surplus corn to hogs and cattle. As 
a result the Scioto valley became and continued for many 
years to be the chief center in the West for stock-rais- 
ing. In 1804 the first cattle from Ohio were driven 
over the mountains to Baltimore, and this was the be- 
ginning of a business which grew to large proportions. 
Attention was given at an early period to the improve- 
ment of the breeds of livestock, for many of the settlers 
of the Scioto Valley had come from Kentucky and Vir- 
ginia, the two regions in the United States which had 
been interested for many years in high-grade stock. 
The production of pork was distinctively a domestic in- 
dustry, which required but little capital and easily ad- 
justed itself to changing conditions without great loss 

'Howe, op. tit., vol. ii. 


and hence received much attention from the early set- 
tlers. Many hogs were slaughtered on the farm, and the 
product went into the markets of the country, as smoked 
and cured meats, a form which could not only bear the 
heavy charges for transportation, but which would also 
not suffer from the length of time that was necessary to 
market it. Packing centers were established later, and 
Ohio became the leading source of pork products, until 
the cheaper corn-producing region in and around Illi- 
nois caused the industry to move westward. After 1870 
Chicago instead of Cincinnati was the chief center of this 

Another early product was flax which, together with 
cotton from the regions south of the Ohio and wool 
mixed with some of the finer imported wools, supplied 
the clothing of the people. 1 Tobacco was raised in large 
quantities in the Miami Valley and in the southeastern 
section of the state around St. Clairsville. In many 
other parts it was produced for local consumption. Be- 
fore 1806 most of the salt was brought over the moun- 
tains on pack-horses and sold for six to ten dollars per 
bushel, although in a few places it was obtained from 
boiling the waters of saline springs. The scarcity of this 
article for the use of the household and the domestic 
animals was very keenly felt by the early settlers, and 
certain sections of land where salt wells and springs were 
thought to exist were never sold by the national gov- 
ernment but were ceded to the state. In 1806 the 
salines of the Big Kanawha were opened and these 

1 In 1869 there was produced in Ohio 980,000 Ibs. of flax, the greater 
part of which was worked up in the state; but in 1870, when the tariff 
upon similar imported Indian cloth was removed, the flax mills soon 
disappeared. It must be mentioned, however, that other causes besides 
the tariff contributed to their decay. 


afforded for some time a source of supply for the settlers 
of the southern part of the state. Salt for the northern 
section of the state was at first obtained from the salt 
springs near present Youngstown, and along this route, 
on what was known as the Old Salt Road, many early 
settlers came into the state. Others purchased their salt 
at Pittsburgh and brought it overland. Some purchased 
the salt at Onondaga, New York, and brought it from 
Buffalo by boat and thence by ox teams to Ohio. 1 At 
Onondaga in 1808 there were in operation fourteen fur- 
naces, and salt sold from two dollars and fifty cents to 
three dollars per bushel. As transportation facilities de- 
veloped, the Kanawha and New York regions became 
the chief sources of supply for the state, but later the 
fields of Michigan and north-central Ohio largely re- 
placed them. 

The abundance of wood, which supplied the settlers 
with fuel, and the absence of manufacturing, which could 
not exist until a more numerous population had arrived 
and better transportation facilities had been secured, 
tended to retard the mining of coal, although the exist- 
ence of this mineral was well known. Captain John Fink 
began the mining of coal for commercial purposes in 
1830 at Bellaire. 1 The first load was taken on a flatboat 
to Maysville and this was the first coal to be transported 
any distance on the Ohio. Thus a trade began, which 
has reached such enormous proportions that thousands 
of tons of coal, not only from Ohio but also from Penn- 
sylvania and West Virginia, are annually floated down 
the Ohio and Mississippi Rivers to the industrial centers 

1 Cf. Tracts of the Western Reserve Historical and Arch&ological Soc- 
iety, passim. 

*Cf. Howe, op. cit., vol. i, second edition, 1900. 


between Pittsburgh and the Gulf. The first coal which 
reached New Orleans I came in flat-boats and was sold to 
the sugar refineries. It was soon found that this kind of 
fuel was superior to wood in securing the more equal 
heat, which was necessary to make a good grade of 
sugar. The facilities for handling the coal however were 
very rude, and consequently much time and labor was 
used in loading and unloading the boats. 2 In the north- 
eastern section of the state the mining of coal began 
about the same time as in the southern part. The first 
boat-load arrived at Cleveland in 1828 by way of the 
Cuyahoga River and was used on the Lake steamers. 
In the Mahoning Valley the coal-mining industry began 
in 1845. Although the amount of coal and the thick- 
ness of the veins in the Hocking Valley exceeded that of 
any other region, these mines were not opened until the 
construction of the Ohio Canal, because up to this time 
no market could be reached. Later when the railroad 
reached this section coal mining became and has con- 
tinued to be the chief industry. 3 

In certain sections of the Western Reserve, the dairy 
industry became important quite early, and this region 
has continued to the present as the chief center of dairy- 

1 Cf. Hall, The West, Its Commerce and Navigation. 

*At first coal was wheeled out of the mines in wheel-barrows and 
shipped down the river in barrels. By fastening ropes to each end of 
the barrel the coal was easier to handle, since the barrels could be rolled 
or carried. Each barrel held 2# bushels and sold for $1.50 per barrel. 

3 Liberty Hall ', June 20, 1818. Until 1850 the coal from Pittsburgh 
in most cases was floated down the Ohio in flat-bottomed boats, but 
owing to the competition of the railroads and use of steamboats the tow 
system was introduced. The steamer as well as the towed flatboat was 
built so as to use a very low-water stage. In 1818 a merchant of Cin- 
cinnati estimated the amount of coal used between Pomeroy, Ohio, and 
Louisville, Kentucky, as 116,000 bushels. 


ing in Ohio. The settlers had learned the art of cheese 
and butter-making in their old Connecticut homes, and 
since they settled in a region which had good grazing 
land and many springs, it was but natural for them to 
continue the industry. Cheese and butter were made at 
first for domestic use, but commercial routes were soon 
developed and these products were carried into other 
regions. The dairy industry continued largely a domes- 
tic industry until 1862 when the present creamery system 
effected a revolution in the industry. This permitted 
large-scale production and greatly benefited the section. 
It relieved the families of the drudgery of the former 
system, and at the same time secured for them a wider 
market for the product. 

The northeastern section of the state was a region of 
small farms with a comfortably large population which 
consumed its own products to a large extent and 
hence did not feel so keenly as did the other sections of 
the state the absence of transportation facilities. What 
products they did place on the market were articles of 
little bulk and great value. Contrasted with this sec- 
tion was the southeastern section with its coal, lumber, 
grains and meats, the central part with its grains and 
meats, and the southwestern part with its grains, tobacco 
and manufactured articles. Each of these sections soon 
became aggressive in securing transportation routes. 
When the Erie Canal was opened and the possibilities of 
interstate traffic became apparent to all sections, the 
northeastern sections became equally aggressive. Pre- 
vious to this time, their efforts were largely directed to 
securing local roads. 

Land was so plentiful that in some localities, especially 
in the Virginia Military District, large holdings by single 
individuals became quite common. These doubtless re- 


tarded in some ways the development of the region, for 
the farms were conducted on a semi-plantation system, 
with low grade labor. This system brought in and 
tended to perpetuate an undesirable class in contrast 
with the system of small holdings in other sections. 
Artisans either accompanied or followed close after the 
first settlers, and rude manufacturing was soon begun. 
The French settlers at Gallipolis had among their num- 
bers many skilled workmen. 1 In the southern section, 
boats came down the river with the luxuries and neces- 
sities of the manufacturing and importing East, and it 
may readily be surmised how many of our present-day 
necessities were to these early settlers luxuries. Their 
necessities in addition to the food products generally 
meant the rude articles manufactured in the home. The 
forest directly or indirectly supplied a great part of their 
food, although the supply was supplemented by the few 
products raised on the small cleared areas. If there was 
a surplus of products raised, it was taken to the local 
merchant or river trader and bartered for small amounts 
of the few eastern products which reached the West. A 
list of articles brought down the Ohio River in 1805 
will indicate the kind of goods which were obtainable by 
the early settlers. These goods according to the adver- 
tisement had arrived from Philadelphia and were for sale 
at a private house in Cincinnati. They included the fol- 
lowing : " tea, coffee, chocolate, lump and loaf sugar, 
pepper, cinnamon, cloves, glass and enameled beads, cali- 
coes, blankets, red white and yellow flannels, red baise, 
blue cloths, velvets, swansdown, German linen, stock- 
ings, looking glasses from four dollars to thirty dollars 

1 Cf. Mentelle, Journey from the Upper Waters of the Ohio to the 
Wabash, passim (1792). 


a pair, and many other articles too tedious to mention." 1 
In exchange for these articles the seller would accept 
furs and produce of good quality, since money, as in all 
new settlements, was scarce. The greater part of the 
business of the community was transacted without it and 
advertisements such as the following are very common 
in the early newspapers: "All persons indebted to the 
subscriber in the State of Ohio, and Kentucky in bond, 
note or book account are requested to make payment 
in wheat, pork, whiskey or beef. In every instance of 
failure the delinquent will be under the disagreeable 
necessity of making payments in cash." 2 The editor of 
the Supporter notified his subscribers to pay at once 
their subscriptions in cash, flour, wheat, corn, cornmeal, 
buckwheat, pork, beef, tallow, lard, butter, cheese, 
poultry, honey or sugar, and then added that, if any 
of his delinquent subscribers had none of these articles, 
he had better cease taking a newspaper. 3 

Factories of one kind or another began to start up in 
different sections of the state. Chillicothe had in 1810 
a cotton and woolen factory which used 1800 Ibs. of 
wool weekly and spun 720 dozen cotton yarns. 4 Steuben- 
ville at an early date attained eminence as a woolen-man- 
ufacturing center. A cut-nail factory was started in 
Cincinnati in 1805, and lumber yards and wagon factories 
soon appeared. On account of the great amount of 
timber, its quality and fitness, the cheapness of iron, 
paint and other materials requisite for boat-building 
which were obtained at Pittsburgh, this place became 
the center of boat-building and continued for many years 
to construct more boats than any other three towns in 

1 Liberty Hall, Cincinnati, June, 1805. f Ibid. 

' Supporter (Chillicothe), Nov. 16, 1810. 'Ibid. 


the West. At Pittsburgh in 1803 there were glass 
factories, making window glass, bottles and other glass- 
ware. The expense of securing such articles from Phil- 
adelphia or other eastern points was very great, for many 
pieces were broken on the haul over the long and rough 
mountain roads. 1 Furniture-manufacturing establish- 
ments which worked up the black walnut, wild cherry 
and yellow birch were soon established. The cost of 
transporting goods from Baltimore to Pittsburgh was 
$4.50 per 100 lb., and this made the cost of the heavier 
goods very great for the inland consumer. Cramer's 
Almanac for 1805 states that the value of the articles 
manufactured at Pittsburgh at this time amounted to 
$350,000, and this list included among other things the 
following articles : 

Glassware, bottles, windows, tumblers, etc. $12,500 

Glass cuttings 500 

Tin ware 12,800 

Bar iron, axes, hoes 19,800 

Cutlery, augurs, chisels, etc 1,000 

Cut and hammered nails 16,128 

Guns and rifles 1 ,800 

Scythes and sickles i ,500 

Cut stones and grindstones 2,000 

Wagons and carts 1,500 

Barrels, tubs and buckets 1,150 

Kentucky keel boats, barges 40,000 

Windsor chairs 2,700 

Spinning wheels 1 ,200 

Carpenter works 13,500 

Besides the above, many other articles were either made 
at Pittsburgh or received from the East to be sent down 
the Ohio or overland to the settlers in the West. In 

1 Cf. Thaddeus Mason Harris, Journal of a Tour in the Territories 
Northwest of the Allegheny Mountains in 1803. 


exchange for these articles there was taken a large 
amount of the raw products of the West. As early as 
1805, the extent of these products was as follows : 

Article Amount Value 

Whiskey 2,300 bbl. $37,600 

Linen 28,000 yds. 11,200 

Lindsey woolens 4,000 " 2,000 

Tow linens 9,000 " 2,250 

Twilled bags 3,ooo 

Stripped cotton 3,ooo " 2,400 

Raw cotton from Tennessee 36,000 Ibs. 7, SOD 

Maple sugar 150,000 " 1,800 

Flax, hemp, oats, cheese 5,ooo 

At Pittsburgh in 1808 there were four nail factories 
with an output of two hundred tons, while in 1810 there 
were six. In 1813 a rolling-mill was started. By 1810 
statistics showed that there were produced in Ohio and 
Kentucky 127,894 Ibs. of spun yarn. Hemp at this time 
was said to be enriching Kentucky faster than if the peo- 
ple had discovered a gold mine. The traffic up and 
down Ohio, notwithstanding the poor facilities for 
speedily and safely shipping goods, was constantly in- 
creasing. The following list of goods purchased by one 
commercial house in Pittsburgh from New Orleans indi- 
cates the character and amount of the up-stream traffic : 

Sugar 365,672 Ibs. 

Coffee 19,604 

Cotton 128,793 

Spanish wool 13.244 

Quicksilver 7,000 

Indigo 80 

In Adams County, by 1829, there were three blast fur- 
naces which used the local iron ore and annually made 
more than fifteen hundred tons of castings besides mak- 


ing large amounts of bar iron, nails and other articles. 
The iron works at this place and in Scioto County and 
at Zanesville replaced the Juanita iron products of Penn- 
sylvania and reduced the cost almost one-third on bar 
iron, nails and castings. But whatever there was of in- 
dustrial life, travel and commerce developed in spite of 
wretched transportation facilities. The cost of carrying 
goods from New Orleans to Pittsburgh was $6.75 per 
100 Ibs., but this cost was proportionally lower than on 
the Philadelphia to Pittsburgh route, and efforts were 
made to direct the trade to the South. 1 When the mer- 
chants of the East complained of this attempt, the west- 
ern people advised them to go to New Orleans and to 
invest their capital, for this city was to be the great 
center of trade and supply for the West. It was argued 
that the ships, which came to this southern port to carry 
cotton to Europe, would transport the goods needed for 
inland consumption very cheaply, since these goods 
would furnish ballast. Complaint was made that the 
West had been chained to the East long enough, and 
a declaration of trade independence was issued. 2 The 
newspapers of the time reflect the seriousness of the lack 
of means for transporting goods and mail. Editors are 
continually explaining to their subscribers why they did 
not receive their regular weekly paper. It was often due 
to the fact that the paper on which to print the news 
was not received. The local and national government 
were also criticised for not supplying better roads. The 
Western Spy, after stating that the eastern mails had not 
been received at Cincinnati for a week, reports that a 
note has been received from the postmaster at Chilli- 

h, Brownsville (Ky.), August 26, 1815. 
Liberty Hall, Jan. 10, 1815. 


cothe which informs them that the stage driver forgot 
the mail bags. One driver explains his failure to bring 
the Cincinnati mail by stating that he did not have room 
for the mails of Cincinnati and the intermediate points, 
so he left the former at Chillicothe. 1 Instead of asking, 
as we now do, how many minutes late is the mail, the 
question then was how many days late is it, or in fact, 
will it ever come? But trade was following the lines of 
least resistance and by 1815 was strongly setting in from 
New Orleans. When two vessels arrived in this year at 
Cincinnati direct from Liverpool, it was a subject of con- 
gratulation among the people of Ohio, who flattered 
themselves that conditions were now favorable fora large- 
scale production of western commodities. 2 From New 
Orleans at this time queensware, groceries, sugars, 
coffee and other products were coming, while down the 
river the flour, wheat, tobacco, pork and other products 
went. Swedish iron was sold in Cincinnati in competi- 
tion with Pittsburgh iron. 

On December, 1817, the National Intelligencer, the 
semi-official organ of the government, printed an article 
which advocated an embargo on the export of bread 
stuffs, and at once the West became angry "at this at- 
tempt to bind the Western farmer as a vassal to the 
Eastern states. * * What an act it was to close the harbor 
of New Orleans and our thousands of miles of navigation 
until flour and corn is exactly the price, which the good 
citizens of the East may like." 3 Wheat was then selling 
for $1.00 per bushel, corn at 50 cents per bushel, flour 
from $6.00 to $7.00 per bbl., and pork from 4^ cents 

1 Western Spy (Cincinnati), December 26, 1816. 

*Ibid., December 16, 1816. 

1 National Intelligencer, December 14, 1817. 


to 5 cents per pound.' Although the New Orleans 
market was preferable to that of Philadelphia or Balti- 
more, the southern market was far from satisfactory. 
Produce would be brought into the local shipping points 
along the Ohio River and a wait of weeks was often 
necessary before the river would rise. 3 The rise of the 
river frequently meant the saving of a year's labor, and 
when the flood stage came joy was unbounded. " The 
Ohio River had risen twenty feet " writes an editor, 
"and once more our boats are released." 3 These were 
flat-boats, keel-boats and other crafts which had been 
loaded with flour, pork, lard, whiskey and other Ohio 
products. New Orleans was for fifteen years after the 
settlement of the state in the possession of a foreign 
nation, which was almost continually hostile to the com- 
mercial interests of the Ohio Valley; and even after this 
obstacle to trade was removed in 1803, a quarter of a 
century elapsed before a canal was constructed around 
the falls at Louisville. Even when New Orleans was 
reached, it was often found to be an unsatisfactory 
market, for the hot and humid climate of the lower Mis- 
sissippi caused much of the flour, wheat, corn, pork and 
other perishable products to spoil in transit. Many of 
these products were improperly prepared for carriage 
through a warm area to a distant market, since they had 
to be shipped when boats could be obtained and when 
the river permitted. There was a lack of capital at New 
Orleans and consequently a dearth of elevators, storage 
rooms, commercial houses, and other machinery for 
handling a large trade in domestic and foreign goods. 

1 Liberty Hall and Cincinnati Gazette, 1817. 

*Ibid., February 15, 1820. 

8 Cincinnati Gazette, June 10, 1818. 


Shipping facilities were also wanting, for steamers sailed 
irregularly. In consequence of these drawbacks the New 
Orleans market was alternately glutted and emptied, and 
prices fluctuated violently. Alfred Kelly in his report 
described the condition as follows : 

The damage sustained in consequence of delays in con- 
veying goods to the market is of greatest magnitude. The 
market at New Orleans is so fluctuating, that a delay of a few 
days often occasions a serious diminution in the prices ob- 
tained for a cargo of provisions, since the market is liable to 
be over-stocked. Provisions, if long exposed on their pas- 
sage down the river or in the ware-houses at New Orleans to 
the heat and moisture of that climate are greatly diminished 
in value. The obstructions to navigation prevent the surplus, 
produced in the upper county from being sent to New Orleans 
when the market at that place is best. Although the average 
price of flour in New Orleans is from 25 to 30 per cent, less 
than in the sea-port towns of the Atlantic states, yet it fre- 
quently occurs that New Orleans is supplied with that article 
for home consumption from those places. 1 

Much of the larger part of the surplus production of 
the upper country still descended the Ohio in flat boats, 
although the river was at that time (1829) navigated by 
many steam-boats. These boats could pass the falls at 
Louisville only at exceptional times. The cost of ship- 
ping by steam-boat was also higher. It was in 1824 
one dollar per barrel for flour from Cincinnati to New 
Orleans. Flour which amounted in this year to over 
300,000 barrels, constituted one-fourth of the value of all 
the products which descended the Mississippi. Ohio 

1 Cf. Alfred Kelley, Report of the Acting Commissioner of the Lake 
Erie and Ohio Canal, January 14, 1830. 


alone shipped 200,000 barrels in 1820.' It was estimated 
that 3,000 flat boats annually descended the Ohio River, 
and on account of the impossibility of ascending with 
them, these boats were sold at much less than their 
original cost, which varied from seventy to one hun- 
dred dollars. The city of New Orleans had a system of 
inspection and standards for most of the products. For 
example, pork was classified in three grades, Prime, 
Mess and Cargo, and what part of the animal should 
constitute each class was specified. It was provided 
that barrels must be constructed according to the public 
specifications of the act, and that certain amounts of 
salt and saltpeter with certain specified amounts of meat 
must be used. 2 

The people of Ohio had gladly changed from the ex- 
pensive route from Philadelphia and Baltimore to the 
cheaper one to New Orleans and were very active in 
promoting plans for the improvement of the Ohio River. 
However when the construction of the Erie Canal began 
to be agitated, they encouraged the proposal in every 
possible way. The whole future of the state depended 
upon the development of those transportation facilities 
that would bring the people within the reach of markets, 
and every economic consideration urged them to en- 
courage the construction of the Erie Canal. This route 
would open to them a great consuming center for their 
raw products and at the same time furnish a means of 
securing many manufactured products which were not 
produced in the state. Just as they had forsaken Phila- 
delphia and Baltimore markets for that of New Orleans, 
so now they were prepared to forsake New Orleans for 

1 Cincinnati Gazette, August 26, 1820. 
1 Liberty Hall, August 26, 1830. 

9 8 


[ 9 8 

New York. In 1819 the Ohio legislature was asked to 
charter a company to construct a canal from Lake Erie 
to the Ohio River which would open up another market 
for the products of Ohio as soon as the Erie Canal 
should be completed. The charter was, however, at this 
time, refused. 1 

A selection from the lists of various commodities in 
various markets between 1816 and 1830 together with 
the prices of articles and freight already quoted for the 
years preceding 1816 will give some idea of the commer- 
cial difficulties. It must be stated, however, that the 
price lists as given in the local papers of Ohio were of 
little value to sellers, for prices were largely fixed in 
New Orleans and fluctuated so violently that by the time 
the price list reached Ohio an entirely new one often 
prevailed in New Orleans. 


:8i6 2 

i8i8 3 


i826 5 


Wheat per bushel 






<tc on 

$6 so 

<te on 

<tA en 

$7 Cn 




T C 


Whiskey per gallon 






Cotton per pound 






1 Liberty Hall and Cincinnati Gazette, March 30, 1819. 

*Ibid., March 4, 1816. 

3 New Orleans Chronicle, July 16, 1818. 

* Freight rates from New Orleans to northern cities were as follows: 
general merchandise, 3 to 4 cents per lb.; cotton, i cent per lb.; sugar, 
$7.00 per bbl. 

5 Cincinnati Gazette, June n, 1822. 

*Ibid., January 7, 1826. 


In giving these lists of prices, it is not intended to do 
more than to indicate the selling price of the various 
articles produced by the people of the Middle West or 
sold to them and to indicate how very unstable prices 
were. Demand and supply of course did govern prices, 
but the supply depended largely upon fortuitous circum- 
stances. Prices were often so low that the expense of 
getting the product to the market equaled the original 
selling price. Necessity, and not desire of gain, was the 
prompting motive to production. In 1803 an effort was 
made to solve the problem of securing better prices and 
marketing goods by forming what was called the Miami 
Exporting Company. 1 This idea originated with Mr. 
Jesse Hunt, an experienced merchant of Cincinnati, who 
organized a company composed of merchants and 
farmers. At this time the agriculture and commerce of 
the West were at a very low ebb. The company at first 
was organized to collect raw products of the West and 
to secure the economy of large shipments and large 
sales, but it also became a banking company and as such 
was of great value to the West in supplying a medium 
of exchange. Many of its bank notes were issued and 
these were generally accepted throughout the West. 
When their paper began to depreciate and rumors of the 
failure of the company became rife, the people began to 
wonder how they could secure an equally good medium. 
The company had at different times over $100,000 in 
notes in circulation, and such a sum did much in these 
early times for trade and industry. The company's 
agents would contract for lots of raw products which 
they would collect and ship to New Orleans in large 
quantities. The company prospered for a number of 

1 Cincinnati Mercury, December 23, 1805. 


years but difficulty was experienced in getting the 
farmers to supply the amounts of goods which they had 
agreed to furnish. Jealousy also arose between the 
merchant and agricultural classes, the latter accusing 
the former of securing undue profits. When steam-boat 
traffic and other transportation improvements had been 
secured and the markets were more easily reached by 
the independent producer, and when the trouble arose 
over its paper currency, the company went out of busi- 
ness. Other companies for a similar purpose had been 
formed, such for example as the Commercial Exporting 
Company of Marietta which was organized in 1816.' 
This had for its object, in addition to the exporting 
business, the encouragement of manufacturing, for after 
the close of the second war with England the agitation 
for local manufactures had become very active. Local 
societies in many sections of the state were formed to 
secure subscriptions to the capital stock of manufactur- 
ing companies, and prizes were offered for samples of the 
best locally-manufactured goods. As early as 1808 com- 
plaint was frequently made that many manufactured 
articles were brought over the mountains from the East 
" which helped to drain the country of ready money, 
that might as well be kept in the state by a system of 
local manufacturing." 2 Many of these manufactured 
articles which came from the East had been produced in 
England, and after the war of 1812 the people of the 
West were especially insistent that the policy of sending 
" one-third of their products over the mountains to pur- 
chase British goods be discontinued." Many urged the 
establishment of extensive cotton and woolen mills, and, 
as presumptive evidence of the success of manufacturing, 

l Cf. James R. Albach, Annals of the West (Pittsburgh, 1857). 
2 Cranmer's Almanac, 1808 (Pittsburgh). 


they pointed to the fact that, in 1814, two breweries at 
Cincinnati had used 50,000 bushels of barley and 15,000 
Ibs. of hops, both of which were local products. It was 
pointed out that the balance of trade was heavily against 
the West and in favor of Great Britain. As these argu- 
ments were brought forward during the war with Eng- 
land and immediately afterward when much bitter feeling 
existed, they were of great value in securing aid from the 
national and the state legislatures in the establishment 
of manufactures and the improvement of transportation 
routes. Improved roads and rivers would be necessary 
for such a manufacturing community, not only to get the 
raw produce to the factory, but also to transport the fin- 
ished goods to the scattered consumers. A brief review 
of the general status of trade and industry during the 
period from 1810 to 1830 will disclose the conditions 
that warranted the demand made at this time for im- 
proved roads and waterways. It will also indicate what 
effect the improvements, to be discussed later, had upon 
the industrial Hie of the state. 

The Scioto Valley, as has been stated, became at quite 
an early period a chief source of supply of raw produce, 
and in 1811 the newspapers of this region rejoiced over 
the large amounts of raw produce which had been sent 
out of this valley. At Chillicothe in February, 1811, 
fifty boats were loaded with the products of the surround- 
ing region. " If the rivers were improved so that a 
market could be reached the supply of corn, wheat, cattle, 
hogs and hemp which could be furnished by the region 
would be enormous." 1 To this end the citizens were 
urged to meet and to raise funds for the purpose of 
clearing the Scioto of impediments. By 1813 wholesale 

1 The Republican (Chillicothe), February 28, 1811. 


houses of considerable importance were found in the 
largest cities of the state. Those in Cincinnati were 
especially important, and these houses sold articles re- 
ceived at that time from Philadelphia, Baltimore and 
New Orleans. By 1814 steam mills for grinding wheat 
and corn had been established at different points in the 
state. This fact, together with the better market condi- 
tions made possible by the use of the steamboat, caused 
the price of wheat to rise to seventy-five cents per 
bushel, whereas it had sold for ten to twenty cents per 
bushel six years before. 1 The water mills did not give 
up without a struggle, and continued to be used for 
local purposes. Cotton and woolen mills were found 
around Cincinnati, Chillicothe and Steubenville. Those 
at Chillicothe had a capacity of carding 1800 pounds of 
wool weekly and spinning 720 dozen of cotton yarn. 
Cincinnati had 23 cotton-spinning mules, 3300 spindles, 
71 roving and drawing heads, 91 wool-carding machines 
and spinning machinery carrying 130 spindles. At an 
exhibition of American manufactured products which 
was held in Washington, February 25, 1825, broadcloth, 
cassimers and carpets from Steubenville were exhibited. 
Cincinnati in 1815 was manufacturing among other 
things the following articles : cut and rough nails in 
sufficient quantities to supply the demand of the sur- 
rounding region, stills, kettles, copper vessels, tinware 
and all kinds of fire-arms, saddlery and carriage mount- 
ings, clocks, pottery, glassware, furniture, vehicles, 
cooperage material, steam, saw and flouring mills, fur 
hats, sugar, tobacco, snuff, soap, candles, whiskey, beer 
and wines. 2 The export articles of greatest value were 
pork, bacon, lard, whiskey, brandy, beer, porter, pot and 
pearl ash, cheese, soap, candles, hemp, spun yarn, walnut, 

1 Liberty Hall, December 20, 1814. "Ibid., October 30, 1815. 


cherry and blue-ash boards, cabinet furniture, chairs 
and kiln-dried meal for the West Indies. 1 The imports 
consisted of goods from the East Indies, Europe and the 
Eastern United States. From the Missouri Territory, 
lead and peltry were received ; from Tennessee and Ken- 
tucky, cotton, tobacco, saltpetre and marble ; from Penn- 
sylvania and Virginia, bar, rolled, cast and manufactured 
iron, millstones, coal, salt and glassware. 

Cattle and hogs were driven from some sections of the 
state to the eastern markets. As early as 1810 it was 
estimated that 40,000 head of hogs were driven to east- 
ern markets. 2 When the War of 1812 opened there was 
created a demand at Detroit which was filled in the same 
way. In 1822 there were shipped from Circleville, which 
was but one of the several exporting points for the pro- 
duction of Scioto Valley, 21 boats loaded with 7000 
barrels of miscellaneous freight, 11,000 barrels of pork, 
6500 barrels of flour and 40 kegs of lard. These pro- 
ducts were valued at $36,400, and the total river exports 
of this town for the year 1822 were estimated at $100,- 
ooo. 3 The producers and shippers of this valley stated 
that they could export ten times as much, and they did 
this when the Ohio Canal was completed. Cincinnati 
was then the greatest provision market of the West, and 
to reach this market the people were urged to construct 
roads, bridges and canals. 

For several months, the editor of the Gazette writes, the 
roads have been almost impassable. Much of the produce 
of the country which otherwise might have reached this 
market must necessarily remain on the lands of the farmer to 
be lost or conveyed to town at an unfavorable time. The 

1 Liberty Hall, November 8, 1815. 

*Cf. John Kilbourne, Ohio Gazetteer, fifth edition, 1818. 

* Olive Branch, Circleville, March 18, 1822. 


creeks and streams are usually without bridges and being 
almost always high at this season much produce is lost. 
Markets change with a change in weather. At one time the 
city is flooded with an overwhelming abundance of the 
choicest produce of the earth and at another time it is desti- 
tute of many of the articles of domestic consumption. These 
sudden variations produce the most pernicious effects, they 
discourage the people. Independent of the uncertainty of the 
markets which is produced by bad roads, and high waters, the 
expense attending the intercourse carried on between the city 
and country during winter is a great drawback to trade and 
industry. Double teams, the breakage of wagons, delays and 
loss of goods swell the amount of expense to a sum oftentimes 
greater than the value of the load. Money, in a great meas- 
ure, has ceased to flow in from emigration, and the only 
means of creating and keeping a cash capital among us is 
through the mediums of our exportations. l 

Cincinnati in 1826 was not only the chief point of 
shipment for the produce of the whole Miami Valley and 
parts of Indiana, but it was also the distributing center 
for most of the goods for the region west of the Musk- 
ingum River, for nearly the whole of Indiana and for a 
large part of Kentucky. A large amount of its capital 
was invested in commercial enterprises in order to supply 
the demands of this extensive region. The imports for 
1826 were estimated at $2,528,590, and the exports at 
$1,063,560, although the latter did not include that not 
inconsiderable amount which went direct to market from 
the regions around Cincinnati without inspection at this 
city. 2 

In the northern section of the state while there was no 
extensive manufacturing or commercial enterprises prior 
to 1830, considerable amounts of wheat, butter, cheese 

1 Cincinnati Gazette, January 21, 1823. 

1 Cf. E. Drake, Cincinnati in 1826, p. 77 et seq. 


and pork nevertheless reached the eastern markets. 
When the Erie Canal was completed, and especially after 
the Ohio Canal was opened, this region began to grow 
very rapidly in the variety and the extent of its industrial 
products. The national government was urged to assist 
in supplying the means of transportation for the reason 
that many settlers in Ohio owed the government for 
land. They could not pay for this land until they had a 
market for their goods, and these markets could not be 
reached until transportation facilities were constructed. 
It was pointed out that all the money advanced by the 
federal government would in this manner be returned in 
payment for land. Even the well-drawn political lines 
were broken on this question of transportation, and 
many of the people of the state threw aside their inheri- 
ted political ideas and principles and supported the candi- 
date who favored internal improvements. When the 
Jackson-Clay campaign came on, a great effort was made 
to show that Jackson favored internal improvements, for 
he was popular in the West. His friends were success- 
ful in a large degree, although many continued appre- 
hensive, because Clay's views in respect to internal im- 
provements were well known. The senate of Indiana 
passed a resolution calling upon the governor to write 
to Jackson to ascertain what his views were on this 
question, " in order that the people of this state may 
vote intelligently at the coming election." Intelligent 
voting in this case meant voting for the candidate who 
would give the West internal improvements. 

The arguments for national aid in constructing trans- 
portation routes were generally summed up in three 
statements: (a) they would aid in sending the mail; 
(b) they would facilitate the movement of troops ; (c) 
they would accelerate the sale of public lands. Little 


emphasis was placed upon the purely social develop- 
mental effects of transportation. The people were in- 
terested in securing tangible arguments on which to 
base their claims for aid, for so great was the undertak- 
ing from a financial point of view that no western state 
would have dared to undertake to supply itself with an 
improved transportation system. The agitation before 
1830 was confined to the improvement of water-ways 
and the construction of highways, for, prior to 1827, the 
people of Ohio knew practically nothing about railways. 
In 1827 there appeared in Ohio papers an article de- 
scribing a railroad, and arguments were at once advanced 
to prove that it was a cheaper means of transportation 
than those in use. 1 Doubt, however, was expressed 
whether Pennsylvania could furnish iron enough for con- 
struction purposes at a non-prohibitive price. Questions 
also arose as to whether double or single tracks should 
be used. The greater number favored a single track 
with numerous turn-outs. It was said that the light 
freight would move as fast as ten miles per hour, while 
the heavy traffic would move at least four miles an hour. 
This was during the era of the state construction of 
canals, and at first there was no thought that the railroad 
was to be a great public road which would do much to 
solve for all time the transportation problem. Some 
said that funds for railway building could not be secured 
in sufficiently great amount, and that even if they could, 
" the roads would be built on a niggardly plan calculated 
more for enriching the builders than for benefiting the 
public. 2 Disputes had become so numerous among 
stockholders of turnpike and canal companies, delays in 
construction were so frequent and the troubles of private 
ownership were so numerous, that some thought that the 
only solution for the railway would be public ownership. 
1 Cincinnati Gazette, March 10, 1827. * Ibid., March 24, 1827. 



IT is impossible to state just when the agitation for 
canals began in the state of Ohio, but the subject was 
discussed almost as soon as the territory was settled. 
The attention of the earliest settlers in Ohio was directed 
to the subject by the falls of the Ohio at Louisville, 
which, as has already been shown, seriously interfered 
with the marketing of the products and greatly re- 
tarded the development of the state. These falls not 
only interfered with the use of the early crafts but ex- 
cept at high water they also made impossible the use of 
the steam-boat along the whole course of this river. In 
1817 the first steam-boat from New Orleans reached 
Cincinnati at a time when the river was extremely high 
and this event was made a subject for speculating as to 
the benefits that would accrue to the people of Ohio, if 
such boats could navigate the river at all seasons of the 
year. 1 It was estimated that five thousand flat-boats 
passed over the falls each year and that at least three 
thousand of them required pilots to go safely through 
the rapids. This meant an annual outlay of fifteen 
thousand dollars for this class of boats alone. 3 The 
losses resulting from the falls at Louisville were due to 
the following causes : 

1 Cincinnati Gazette, March 12, 1817. 

* Liberty Hall and Cincinnati Gazette, Jan. 6, 1826. 

107] 107 


(i) Drayage at seventy-five cents per ton. Ships 
were compelled to unload at Louisville and to have their 
cargoes hauled around the falls. This meant two addi- 
tional handlings of the goods. (2) The injury which 
resulted to produce and merchandise from these addi- 
tional handlings. (3) Delays which implied the con- 
tinuous pay of laborers, interest on idle capital and loss 
of time. (4) Irregularity of trade and glutting of the 
market. (5) Loss of perishable goods. (6) Loss of 
flat-boats which could not ascend the river. (7) Loss 
by the detention of boats on bars, for the common way 
of making repairs even in the case of steam- boats was to 
run the boat upon the bar of an island, make the repairs 
and then wait for the river to rise and once more float 
the boat : meanwhile large quantities of goods might have 
been waiting to be carried to the market. (8) Losses 
incurred by original producers in being compelled for 
want of a market to hold their wheat, corn, pork, flour, 
whiskey and other products. 

Many projects were advanced for constructing a canal 
around the falls, and every suggestion was enthusiasti- 
cally received by the people of southern Ohio. Many of 
the early companies which were organized for this pur- 
pose asked for stock subscriptions and these were quickly 
given by the people. The first company of any import- 
ance was the Jeffersonville Canal Company which was 
incorporated by the state of Indiana. Shares of stock 
were issued and committees were appointed in Cincin- 
nati and other cities of the Ohio valley to solicit sub- 
scriptions. There had been from the first much dispute 
as to the respective advantages of the Indiana and Ken- 
tucky sides of the river for a canal and although many 
investigations and several surveys had been made, there 
was no unanimity in the reports on these routes. Some 


favored one side and some the other, according as the 
friends of the one or the other side had been more in- 
fluential in making the appointments. In 1820 a com- 
mission consisting of one representative from each of the 
states of Ohio, Virginia, Kentucky and Pennsylvania 
reported to the legislatures of these states, which unani- 
mously recommended the Kentucky side. 1 Indiana im- 
mediately appropriated ten thousand dollars to complete 
the work on the Jefferson Canal, but Kentucky soon 
appropriated one hundred thousand dollars for the pur- 
pose of constructing a canal the Portland Canal on 
the Kentucky side. The people of Ohio were now urged 
to assist Kentucky, although previously to this they had 
been accusing the people of Kentucky (especially those 
of Louisville) of insincerity in their efforts to secure a 
canal around the falls, since Louisville was enriched to a 
great extent each year by the returns from storage, 
transfer and other gains from the delay and the break in 
the transportation at the falls. 2 Although some sub- 
scriptions had been paid by the people of Ohio to the 
Jeffersonville Canal Company, the greater part had been 
withheld. The charter of the Kentucky Company, how- 
ever, did not meet the approval of the Ohio subscribers 
on account of its specifications as to the kind of a canal 
to be constructed, and the Indiana charter was not 
wholly satisfactory, because it provided a bonus to In- 
diana, as a return for granting the charter. As a result, 
most of the people of Ohio, who were interested in the 
project, concluded that nothing further ought to be done 
until a competent engineer had examined the two loca- 
tions and had reported upon their respective costs. 
They had almost concluded that the cost would be too 

1 Cincinnati Gazette, May 27, 1820. ^fbid., March 25, 1818. 


great for a private undertaking and they now proposed, 
to prove to the national and state governments that 
the work could be executed and then to ask these 
governments to do the work. In the session of the 
Ohio legislature of 1820' the House passed a bill which 
authorized the Governor to employ an engineer to make 
surveys on both the Indiana and the Kentucky sides and 
to furnish an estimate of the cost of each canal. The 
Senate agreed to this bill, but Governor Brown in a later 
message said that he had looked for such an engineer in 
New York " where they were having such services, but 
could not find one." 2 He asked that the authority to 
make the appointment be continued and extended to in- 
clude the surveys and cost of a canal from the Ohio 
River to Lake Erie. Finally by aid of the national 
government a canal was secured around the falls at 
Louisville in 1828. Thus it was forty years after the 
settlement of Ohio before the greatest single obstruction 
to the successful commercial navigation of the Ohio 
River was removed. Before this time the people of Ohio 
had become interested in the state canals. The first 
legislative mention of canals was in 1812 when John 
Mclntire was empowered to build a dam across the 
Muskingum River and to conduct the water by a canal 
to a point below the falls of the Muskingum. This canal 
secured water-power for mills and greatly improved the 
navigation of the stream. 

In reply to a request from the Legislature of New 
York that Ohio aid and cooperate with New York in 
securing a canal from the Hudson River to Lake Erie, 
the Ohio legislature in 1812 passed a resolution which 

1 Laws of Ohio, 1821. 

* Executive Documents, 1822. 


expressed the opinion that Congress ought to build this 
canal : ' 

This means of communication would have the most ex- 
tensive and beneficial effects by facilitating- the intercourses 
between remote parts of the United States, diminishing- the 
expense of transportation and thereby rendering the produce 
of our country more valuable, the price of foreign commodi- 
ties cheaper, and its tendencies would be to encourage agri- 
culture, manufactures, internal commerce, and to strengthen 
the bond of union between the states. 2 

This was no doubt sincerely enacted, for production 
had been so long retarded by the unsatisfactory market 
at New Orleans and the high cost of reaching the ex- 
pensive markets of Philadelphia and Baltimore, that the 
people of Ohio rejoiced at any promise of relief. The 
first official mention of the Ohio-Erie Canals, was made 
in the message of Governor Brown in 1818, although his 
predecessor, Governor Thomas Worthington, had in cor- 
respondence with the Secretary of the Treasury Wil- 
liam H. Crawford pointed out the feasibility and desira- 
bility of a canal between the Ohio River and Lake Erie. 3 
After the receipt of Governor Brown's message the 
matter was taken up in both houses and in December, 
1818, the Senate reported a bill to incorporate a com- 
pany to construct a canal between Lake Erie and the 
Ohio River. This bill was not acceptable to Governor 
Brown and did not become a law. 4 The Senate offered 
a resolution in the same year providing for a joint com- 
mission of both houses to prepare a bill authorizing the 

1 Laws of Ohio, 1812. 

3 Congress had refused to aid New York in constructing the canal. 

8 Journal of Senate , 1817. 

'Ibid., 1818. 


Governor to employ engineers to survey four routes for 
a canal between Lake Erie and the Ohio River. This 
bill also failed to become a law. Although the Governor, 
the Senate, the House, and the people wanted a canal, 
no bill could be passed to authorize the survey of the 
routes. The Governor urged the matter by frequent 
messages to the assembly ; the Senate would pass one 
bill, the House another, and no agreement would be 
reached. Meanwhile the people were complaining on 
account of the lack of transportation facilities. Finally 
after four years of resolutions, messages and committee 
meetings, by a combination of the friends of the canals 
and supporters of an educational measure, a law was 
passed January 31, 1822 which authorized the Governor 
to employ an engineer and to appoint a commision to 
make surveys and furnish estimates of the cost of a 
canal. 1 The Senate of the United States had, however, 
in 1820, reported a bill : 

To appoint a commission to examine the country between 
the Sandusky and the Miami Bays of Lake Erie and the nav- 
igable waters of the Scioto and Great Miami Rivers of Ohio, 
and to ascertain whether and by what routes a canal should 
be laid out, and if practicable, to determine and lay out the 
route of such a canal. 

But much opposition was encountered " to starting im- 
provements in the back woods," and the bill was rejected 
by a vote of 26 to 13. 2 The people of the West said that 
the defeat of this bill was only in keeping with the gen- 
eral practice of preventing the West from deciding how 
any of the public moneys should be spent. 3 The same 

1 Laws of Ohio, 1822. * Senate Documents, 1820. 

3 Cincinnati Gazette, May 17, 1820. 


bill was again introduced in 1821 and after meeting the 
same objection was again defeated. The advantages 
which the people of Ohio thought would result from 
these canals are indicated by the report of the committee 
to which Governor Brown's message of 1822 was re- 
ferred. They pointed out that because Ohio produced 
mainly the great commercial staples, the New York 
market on account of its capital, tonnage, commercial 
situation and climate was preferable to that of New 
Orleans. 1 A trader who arrived in New Orleans in the 
spring with a cargo of flour, wheat, pork and other Ohio 
products usually found the market overstocked. To 
leave his property would mean to loose it, and to wait 
for a higher price would usually involve the loss of the 
greater part of it through spoiling. He was thus forced 
to sell his products at a sacrifice, often receiving only 
enough, or sometimes less than enough, to pay transpor- 
tation charges. During the season of 1818-19 there were 
received and inspected at Cincinnati alone 130,000 barrels 
of flour, which at this time sold in Cincinnati at $3.50 per 
barrel and in New York at $8.00 per barrel. The cost 
of shipping by canal to the latter market would be $1.70, 
thus making a saving of $2.80 a barrel which would 
mean a saving of $375,000 on the total amount sent to 
Cincinnati. Again it was pointed out that while the 
Scioto valley then produced enormous quantities of 
flour, wheat, corn and pork, production would be many 
times increased if better means of transportation could 
be secured. The commissioners argued that most of the 
imported goods and those manufactured goods of the 
eastern states bought for Ohio, Indiana, Kentucky, 
Illinois and Missouri would be purchased in New York 

1 Journal of the House of Representatives, 1822. 



and sent by way of the Ohio Canals. Such practical 
arguments appealed strongly to the people of the regions 
affected, and the enthusiasm engendered by the prospect 
became unbounded. The Erie Canal was nearing its 
completion and this made it possible to secure the ser- 
vices of an excellent engineer Mr. James Geddes to 
work with the commission appointed in 1822. Later 
when other employees were needed, these too came from 
the Erie Canal. 

The commission appointed in 1822 reported in January, 
1823, and found each of the following routes practicable: ' 
(a) the Cuyahoga and Muskingum route; (b) the Black 
and Muskingum ; (c) the Grand and the Mahoning ; 
(d) the Scioto and the Sandusky ; (e) the Maumee and 
the Great Miami. They reported that canals had great 
advantages over any other mode of conveyance ; that the 
agricultural produce of the country would be quadrupled; 
and that other bulky products, such as the gypsum of 
Sandusky, the fisheries of the lake, and coal would be 
transported by the canal; that manufacturing would 
rapidly increase in Ohio since coal, iron, wool and flax 
were either found in abundance or could be produced 
when needed. They pointed out that stone and lime 
for the construction of locks would probably be found 
along each of the proposed routes. The committee 
recommended that funds be secured by applying to Con- 
gress for the right to sell seven hundred thousand acres 
of school and salt lands on the condition that the funds 
from the sale of the school lands should be guaranteed 
by the state to return six per cent for the support of 
the schools of the state. A difficult problem was now 
presented for solution. Every section through which 

1 First Report of Canal Commissioners, 1823. 


a canal could be built demanded that its interest be con- 
sidered in selecting the route. Some compromise was 
necessary, if a canal was to be constructed. Manifestly 
the sections of dense population must be supplied with 
a canal or the project would be defeated by the votes of 
the neglected sections. The canals must be located not 
for the future needs but for the present ones, and not 
chiefly because of their importance as through transpor- 
tation routes, but as local routes. 

The three most natural routes for a canal were ; (a) 
down the Maumee River by way of the Great Miami 
River to Cincinnati ; (b) down the Cuyahoga River by 
way of the Scioto River to Portsmouth ; and (c) down 
the Cuyahoga River by way of the Muskingum River to 
Marietta. The canals then authorized embraced not one 
of these routes, but portions of all of them. At this 
time the three most densely populated sections of the 
state were the northeastern, the central and the south- 
western. At first it was proposed to start the canal in 
the northeastern part of the state, to run it in a south- 
westerly direction and to terminate it at or near Cincin- 
nati. But this route was found impracticable and nothing 
was left save a compromise between the sections. In 
order to satisfy the northeastern and central sections, a 
canal was provided which was to begin at Cleveland, run 
south to the divide, then west to the Scioto and thence 
through the center of the state to the Ohio River at 
Portsmouth. To secure the support of the densely 
populated section of the southwest, a canal was located 
from Cincinnati to Dayton with the promise that it would 
be extended to Toledo. Thus the sectional interests 
were served and at the same time the economic demands 
were in a large way satisfied. It was in some respects 
unfortunate that such an extensive system had to be 


planned then, for if the state could have constructed only 
the one canal from Cleveland to Portsmouth by way of 
Columbus, it would have reached what were the chief 
agricultural sections of population and at the same time 
it would have afforded a transportation route for the 
through Lake Erie and Ohio River traffic. If the 
Muskingum and the Great Miami Rivers had then been 
improved, these three routes would have given to Ohio 
an inland water-transportation system, which would have 
gone far to satisfy the economic needs of the state. It 
was unfortunate for some of the states that New York 
had happily selected a route and constructed a canal, 
which from the first proved such a commercial success. 
This was due to the importance of New York as a 
foreign commercial port, to her manufacturing, and to 
the fact that through this canal she could reach the cen- 
tral states, which produced a great surplus of raw 
products. The people of other states had not learned 
to discriminate between canals. They assumed that 
what had been found true in the case of one canal could 
be predicted of all, and thus was started again the mania 
for canal construction which, before it had run its course, 
had placed a heavy burden on the resources of many 
states, for many of these canals proved financial failures. 
The act providing for the Ohio canals passed the 
legislature in 1825 by a vote of ninety-two to fifteen. 1 
The same year which saw the beginning of the work on 
the canals witnessed the extension of the National Road 
through Ohio. At the same time there began a renewal 
of the agitation for the building of state, county and 
township roads. The national government spent at this 
time $70,000 on the improvement of the Ohio River. 

1 Journal of the Senate, 1825. 


The canal around the falls at Louisville was also in the 
course of construction, and the outlook for the people 
of Ohio was most encouraging. Transportation facilities 
commensurate with the needs and producing ability of 
the region gave promise of being supplied within a few 
years. Yet not a few objections were heard to the canal 
policy of the state. Some were opposed to it, because 
they did not derive any direct advantages from the canals, 
some because they thought that the canals would injure 
their lands ' and subject them to the association and annoy- 
ance of an undesirable class of citizens, just as later when 
the railroad came, many a town lost the railway because 
the " good old influential settlers lived in the past and not 
in the present." Some said the state would be forced 
to borrow so much money that the debt would never be 
paid : that the canal project was a sectional measure : 
some objected to being taxed to pay any part of the sum 
required for the construction of the canals. They de- 
sired that the whole cost be defrayed from the proceeds 
of loans to be paid by the returns from tolls on the 
canals, or that those who were directly benefited by 
them should pay the cost without any general state tax 
being levied. 3 In the northeastern section of the state 
the trade was chiefly with Pittsburgh. The wagons 
from Ohio would haul butter, cheese, pot and pearl 
ashes, bees-wax, feathers and other products to Pitts- 
burgh and return with the manufactured goods of Pitts- 
burgh or the foreign merchandise which had been 
brought there. Pittsburgh was, however, complaining 
in 1825, that she was losing her trade 3 and urged that a 

1 Cincinnati Gazette, March 12, 1825. 

* Western Courier and Western Public Advertiser (Ravenna), March 
22, 1825. 

* Western Courier, Oct. 15, 1825. 


canal be constructed from Pittsburgh through Ohio 
to Lake Erie. By 1826 Pennsylvania had expended 
sixteen million dollars on canals, turnpikes, bridges 
and public work, and at this time plans for additional 
large expenditures were being drawn up in an effort to 
retain a share in the growing western trade which the 
success of the Erie Canal was giving to New York. 1 
The cost of sending goods to Ohio from New York by 
way of Philadelphia and Baltimore was from three to 
four dollars per 100 Ibs., although from New York to 
Sandusky it was only $1.25 per 100 Ibs. 2 The opening 
of the Erie Canal meant a wider market to the people of 
Ohio and this denoted an increased production and 
higher prices for domestic products and greater com- 
forts and conveniences for the people of the state. After 
the two main Ohio canals were provided for, there were 
numerous projects for the construction of minor canals 
of which many were lateral canals to the two main 
routes. In 1833 the two original canals were finished, 
although the canal system of Ohio was not completed 
until 1846 when Ohio had 813 miles of canal and slack- 
water navigation. 3 

In 1835 there was shipped from Ohio 86,000 barrels of 
flour, 98,000 bushels of wheat, 2,500,000 staves and many 
other products to New York by way of the Erie Canal. 4 
This was the first blow to the commerce of the Ohio 
River, for prior to this time all the heavier products had 
x gone down the Ohio and Mississippi, and thence by sea 
to New York and other eastern ports. Even goods 

1 Western Courier, Feb. 4, 1826. 

* Cincinnati Gazette, Sept. 10, 1827. 
3 Cf. map opposite p. 117. 

* Report of the Internal Commerce of the United States, 1888. ' ' Com- 
merce of Ohio and Mississippi Rivers." 


from western New York had found an outlet by this 
river route prior to the completion of the Erie Canal. 
However, the New Orleans trade did not seriously suffer 
from the canal competition of New York and Ohio, for 
during the period of 1825-1850 the river trade showed a 
greater percentage of increase than did the canal trade. 
This was due to the development of the regions of the / 
Middle West. The truth of the matter was that the 
sections reached by the Ohio River and the canal were 
capable of producing enough to utilize to the fullest ex- 
tent the transportation facilities of both routes. The 
canals of Ohio acted as feeders for both main routes, 
although it must be understood that it was for local 
reasons that the Ohio canals were constructed, and it 
was the local trade which sustained them during their 
years of prosperity. The competition between the north 
and south routes was scarcely felt at Cincinnati until 
about 1850 when a new and more powerful competitor 
the railway appeared. At the first appearance of 
railways, many thought they would be used to supply 
connections between points which had no water trans- 
portation, for the people had come to recognize the fact 
that canals could not be built anywhere and everywhere. 
The simple fact that railroads for the first twenty years 
of their history were composed of many short discon- 
nected lines shows that they were looked upon as purely 
local transportation routes. After the canals had been 
opened the great benefits to the counties through which 
they passed began to be realized and this made the peo- 
ple of the counties not thus served more pronounced in 
their opposition to paying for them by the general state 
tax. Partly to pacify these sections the legislature es- 
tablished a permanent Board of Public Works which 
should "from time to time present to the consideration 


of the General Assembly such objects of internal im- 
provement as they shall judge the public interest may 

In pursuance of this direction, the first Board reports: 

That the action of the legislature, authorizing: the construc- 
tion of a variety of works at public expense, is a response to 
public sentiment, and that nothing" short of the extension of 
canal navigation to every considerable district of the state 
will satisfy that public will, which justly claims that benefits 
conferred shall be co-extensive with burdens imposed, and 
that in those counties where canals cannot be made, an ap- 
proximation to equality shall be obtained by the aid in con- 
structing roads. 1 

When it became evident that railways might become 
serious competitors of canals, various means were em- 
ployed to protect the canals. As early as 1838 the 
Board of Public Works was instructed to report 
" whether in their opinion the extension of the Lake 
Erie and Mad River Railroad from Dayton to Cincinnati 
would operate to the injury and interests of the state by 
creating competition with, and diverting business from 
the Miami Canal." 2 

Whereupon this board investigated the matter and re- 
ported that 

the chief products moving- south on this canal were flour, 
pork, whiskey, and that moving- north was merchandise. 
Practically all the pork, and a large proportion of the flour 
and whiskey, are brought to points along the canal to await 
its opening, and all the pork, one-third of the flour and one- 
fifth of the whiskey would move to market by rail. Since 
the canal did not yet afford a revenue sufficient to pay inter- 

1 Report of the Board of Public Works, 1837. 
* Journal of the House of Representatives, 1838. 


est on their investment, it would seem unwise to permit such 
a transportation route to be built. 1 

Notwithstanding this opinion of the Board, which was 
held for many years, there had already been chartered 
more than twenty railroad companies in addition to the 
fifty-five canals and eighty turnpike companies. 2 As 
was to be expected from the character of the work 
which it did, this Board of Public Works was subjected 
to much individual criticism and several legislative inves- 
tigations and in fact the Board was for a time abolished. 
When a public work was to be undertaken, many dis- 
tricts wished to benefit from it and those which did not 
secure the benefits accused the successful sections of 
using improper influence. Party politics often joined 
with these sectional interests to embarrass the work of 
the Board. The Board was always a favorite object of 
attack for the party out of power, and this too often 
made its plans such as would prevent the criticism of 
politicians rather than such as would further the com- 
mercial interests of the state. In 1841, owing to the 
the prevalence of hard times, the Board was asked what 
the effect would be of a discontinuance of the public 
works. Upon an adverse report by the Board, work 
was continued until the next year. The state's financial 
difficulties had then become so great that work was tem- 
porarily suspended. Tolls as first established were based 

1 Report of the Board of Public Works, 1838. It was further argued 
that since the raw products of the southwestern part of the state found 
their market along the Mississippi River, a railroad would be no great 
gain, for when the river was frozen or low these products would be 
stored in Cincinnati instead of at the canals or at the points of pro- 

* Files of the Charters of Incorporated Companies, Office of the Sec- 
retary of State. 


upon the value of the articles, which consisted chiefly of 
raw produce of the farm and certain merchandise for 
local consumption ; but the Board by 1845 was not a t 
all confident that this merchandise could be kept upon 
the canals by the readjustment of charges. 1 The Board 
reported in 1849 that "the toll had been reduced on 
merchandise and all through freight in order to compete 
successfully with the various rival improvements in this 
and other states." 2 The lower tolls which were charged 
on western produce by the Erie Canal tended to draw 
these products to the New York market; so, in 1850, 
xthe Board of Public Works of Ohio reduced tolls thirty 
per cent in an effort to secure the advantages which 
would result from having this western produce move 
through the Ohio canals. The railroads, however, more 
than met this reduction. Whereupon the Board asked 
for power to meet this competition instead of having 
tolls fixed by a general act of the legislature for "other- 
wise a large number of citizens who have in many cases 
invested all they own in boats, stock and business houses 
on the canals will be greatly injured and the revenues 
from the public works will sink into insignificance and 
the work ultimately decay." 2 

Laws had been passed in 1850 to regulate the charge 
on both railways and canals but neither obeyed these 
laws, although the canal interests, which were losing 
traffic, complained much about the violation of these 

1 Report of Board of Public Works, 1845. 

*Ibid., 1849. The opening of the Lake Erie and Mad River Railroad 
offered a more rapid means of transportation between Cincinnati and 
the Lake. The Little Miami Railroad also supplied a route to the Cin- 
cinnati markets, for produce of the southwestern part of the state. In 
other sections railways and highways were freeing producers from their 
dependence on canals. 


laws by the railroads. The Board reports that " both 
railroads and canals are desirable and necessary but there 
should not be and there would not be any conflict be- 
tween the two systems, if the public authorities and 
those who direct the affairs of railroads were at all times 
actuated by a sincere and enlightened desire to promote 
the interests of the people." ' At this time there were 
those who argued that the canals should be sold, but it 
was the opinion of the board that the railroads would 
be the purchaser, and the members of it advised that 
canals should be maintained in order to keep down 
freight rates. This in itself was indicative of the fact 
that canals were becoming secondary transportation 
routes. That the canal officials recognized this is shown 
by the following extract from the report of the Board : 

It was supposed that competition between railways would 
be effective in keeping down rates, but it is not likely to do 
so, for consolidation is the order of the day. The immense 
railway system of Ohio is rapidly becoming: a unit over which 
periodical conventions of railway officials constitute a flexible, 
but most efficient board of control. We have felt it to be our 
duty to resist by all means at our disposal every intrusion by 
railroads upon the canals which impaired the navigation and 
traffic of the latter/ 

By 1855 the Board admitted that, notwithstanding the 
decrease made by them in tolls, the railroads had been 
able to secure their share of the traffic because "as pri- 
vate corporations they could make individual terms, and 
as a result have secured the transportation of much 
freight which naturally should move to market by way 
of the canals." 3 A few years later the situation was 

1 Report of the Board of Public Works, 1850. 



even more apparent, and this led the President of the 
Board of Public Works to report that 

The experience of the past nine years proves that under 
state control the canals cannot retain their business whenever 
they come into competition with railroads. This is due to an 
inflexible tariff of tolls and by a division of freight charges 
into two items, tolls and freight in the control of different 
parties, one of which takes no interest in the business. 1 The 
boat owners meet at every point active and ever watchful 
railroad freight agents with full control of the freight charge 
and ready to contract either for separate lots, for the season's 
business or even for years in advance at such rates as they 
find necessary to receive the business. The railroads have 
actually taken possession of the grain market at points where 
canals and railways compete, and require their agents to pur- 
chase grain for the storage of which they use the empty cars 
on the side-tracks. The canals at these points receive only 
the surplus, which the railways cannot carry. Even in years 
of abundant harvest, such as the present, the increase in the 
canal business is but trifling, and during the past ten years 
the number of boats on the canals have decreased 500 per 
cent. 2 

Politics as ever entered into the question and neither 
party dared to ask the people of the state for sufficient 
money to rebuild the canals, for public sentiment was op- 
posed to them. The people were interested in cheap and 
quick transportation, and if the railway promised this (as 
they thought it did) it was unfortunate, they argued, that 
they had spent so much money on canals. But now that 

1 As a matter of fact this was only a secondary cause of the decrease 
of canal traffic, for, as we shall later learn, the industrial demands had 
grown far in advance of the transportation facilities of the canals and 
the primitive organization of the transportation business on them. 

* Remarks of Abner Backus, President of the Board of Public Works 
in 1860. 


Along the perpendicular line on the left are represented in thousands of 
bushels, pounds and barrels respectively, the amounts of corn, wheat, flour and 
pork received jointly at Portsmouth, Cincinnati, Cleveland, and Toledo. Along 
the perpendicular line on the right is represented in millions of pounds the 
amount of merchandise jointly received at the same points. 


the mistake was known, it would be unwise to spend more 
upon a means of transportation, which had been so pro- 
ductive of scandal and trouble and which was now in- 
adequate. Even if some one could have shown them 
that by thus abandoning the canals instead of enlarging 
them they would pay for their negligence in increased 
rates during the era of railway competition, they doubt- 
less would not have acted differently. In the midst of 
their general disgust with canals, the theory of present 
sacrifices for future blessings would not have appealed 
very strongly to them. The public works had been such 
a field for political discussion that they had come to be 
looked upon as a source of corruption, and every request 
for funds by the Board of Public Works was regarded 
as fraudulent, so that the decrease of an appropriation 
was considered by many as so much saved from corrup- 
tion. Such were the fruits of the numerous accusations 
of dishonesty made against those who had located and 
managed the state's public works. Although the un- 
prejudiced investigator explains most of these charges 
as due to party animosity and sectional jealousy, yet the 
history of the state's work in canal construction and 
management has not been encouraging in either its 
earlier or later periods. 

New York State increased her canals to double their 
former size in order to keep pace with the increased 
industrial demands, but Ohio did nothing and her canals 
decayed. This decay was markedly accelerated when she 
leased them in 1861, although many people rejoiced at 
this event "because the eternal question of the canals 
was for a time solved." When the state resumed their 
operation in 1878, they were even less efficient trans- 
portation agencies. The railroads had secured the bulk 
of the traffic. No important interests in the state de- 


manded their improvement, and they ceased to be in a 
large way even potential competitors of railways. The 
railways had increased not only in mileage but, what was 
of more importance, they had become interstate and had 
developed excellent system and organization in their 
business. Canals could be used only at certain seasons 
of the year; thev were always slow; the boats were small 
as compared with the increased demands for transporta- 
tion. The canal business lacked the energy, economy, 
the close and vigilant management which was the leading 
feature of the railway business. The later years were 
years of progressive decay, until now the canals of Ohio 
are scarcely worthy of the name of good ditches, al- 
though in a few places they do afford some valuable 
water power for industrial purposes, and their reservoirs 
furnish pleasant outing places. 

It is impossible to prove just what effect the canals 
had upon the industrial and social life of the state. One 
can present evidence of the increased wealth of the re- 
gions served, remembering that the canals were but one 
of the causes of this increased wealth, although the most 
important one in the period from 1830 to 1855. The 
population of Ohio in 1830 was 937,903 and in 1860, 
2,339,511. The effect of the canals upon the population 
of particular cities is more clearly seen in the following 
table : ' 

Population of cities 1820 1857 

Cincinnati 2,602 200,000 

Cleveland 400 60,000 

Dayton 1,139 25,000 

Chillicothe 2,416 10,000 

Toledo 500 14,000 

Portsmouth 500 5,000 

Newark 700 4,000 

Akron 700 4,000 

1 Census Reports. 


Another method of indicating the effects of the canals, 
although by no means a conclusive proof, is to exhibit 
the increase in the value of property, as shown by the 
taxation returns. The thirty-seven canal counties show 
an increase in the value of real estate and personal prop- 
erty from $53,000,000 in 1835 to $486,500,000 in 1859, 
while the fifty-one non-canal counties show for the same 
period an increase from $41,000,000 to $390,000,000. x 
The producers were able by means of the canals to reach 
markets for their abundant raw produce, but this was 
considerably limited to the producers near the canals, 
for after all is said in favor of the canals, the fact remains 
that the canals of Ohio and of the Middle West were dis- 
tinctively local transportation routes. The improvement 
in transportation as compared to that of the preceding 
period of mud roads and far distant rivers was a very 
great factor in the industrial progress of the state, and 
although their golden age had ended by 1855, we m ust 
not forget that it was the aid that they furnished to in- 
dustries which gave many of the present industrial enter- 
prises their real foundation, and made their development 
possible. It was this development which necessitated a 
more rapid and adequate means of transportation. They 
found a market for the surplus products of the forest, 
field and mine. 2 They established a commercial connec- 
tion between the eastern seaboard and the western in- 
terior. What was actually accomplished by connecting 

1 Report of Auditor. These figures are somewhat misleading, for the 
counties through which the canals passed were on the whole the nat- 
ural agricultural counties where a greater increase was to be expected. 

'The graph shows in five-year periods the leading products received 
at the different termini. 

The effect of the canals may also be seen by reference to the graphs 
of prices, chap. xiv. 


the Great Lakes and the Atlantic Ocean with the Ohio and 
the Mississippi rivers exceeded all rational expectations 
and prophesies, irrational as they seemed in the pre-canal 
period. Notwithstanding the powerful aid of the state 
legislature, traffic left the canals, and for this result the 
following reasons may be assigned : 

(a) The failure on the part of the canal interests to 
develop a systematic organization of the business to 
keep apace with the industrial demands. 

(b) They served only local districts. 

(c) They were closed a part of the year and were 
much slower than railways in transporting goods. 

(d) Tolls were not adjusted to varying needs and con- 

(e) The people lacked confidence in their utility and 
did not divorce their management from politics. 

(f) The railways discriminated against them. 


IN OHIO, 1810-1850 

DURING the past few years there has been a renewed 
agitation for good roads in the state of Ohio. This is a 
latter-day manifestation of a movement which began as 
soon as the northwest territory was organized. Viewed 
in its larger aspects, this movement is only a local ex- 
pression of a national movement to secure more adequate 
facilities for the transportation of the rapidly increasing 
products of the country, which have already overtaxed 
the capacity of our railway system. Ohio has been more 
fortunate than most other states have been in regard to 
highways, in that she early secured a fund for their con- 
struction and gave considerable attention to the subject 
of devising ways and means to obtain good roads. Her 
road laws, so far as legal enactments were concerned, 
seemed to leave little to be desired. Notwithstanding 
all this, it cannot be said that the results have been 
commensurate with the means and the attention given 
to the subject. This is the more surprising when it 
is remembered that the state as a whole is well sup- 
plied with road-making materials. However easy it may 
be to explain the neglect, there is little excuse for the 
state not having developed a well-improved and modern 
system of state highways. What the provisions of these 
early road laws were, what means were employed and 
129] 129 


what use was made of the funds to secure highways, it 
will be our purpose to indicate briefly. 

Among the laws of the Northwest Territory there was 
one which made provision for the opening and regulat- 
ing of highways by means of a petition to the justices of 
the court of the general quarter sessions, who appointed, 
if necessary, three disinterested parties to condemn and 
appraise the land for road purposes. The law required 
every male citizen over sixteen years of age to work on 
the roads for not more than ten days each year, and for 
each day that he failed to work or " wasted the day in 
idleness or inattention to the duty assigned him, such 
delinquent shall forfeit and pay to the supervisor, who 
warned him to work, fifty cents." J The same law pro- 
vided for defraying the cost of constructing bridges by 
the counties in which they were located. This was the 
first law which directly referred to roads in Ohio, and, al- 
though the provisions have been changed or modified 
from time to time, there is a similarity between its main 
provisions and those of the road laws of Ohio at the pres- 
ent time. Some of the first roads laid out and improved 
were those having their termini at mills, for it was of 
vast importance to the early settlers that mills should be 
accessible. Careful provisions governing the taking of 
toll by the miller was made in these laws. A higher toll 
was permitted when the mill was moved by horses than 
when it was run by water. Another road law was passed 
in 1799, which fixed the age limits at 21 and 50 and re- 
duced the number of days of compulsory work on the 
toads from ten to two. 2 The court of the general quar- 
ter sessions under this act appointed supervisors, and the 
law authorized the county commissioners to levy a road 

1 Laws of the Northwest Territory, 1787. * Ibid., 1799. 


tax not to exceed one-half of the tax levied for defraying 
territorial or county expenses. A curious provision of 
this act was that which fined any workman on the roads 
who asked travelers for money. The law provided that 
the justices of the court of the general quarter sessions, 
or a majority of them, could order any bridge to be 
built, and that its cost must be borne by the general dis- 
trict, when the justices considered the cost of the bridge 
too great for the local district in which it was situated. 
However, little resulted in the way of good roads under 
these territorial laws, and not until the congressional 
act which admitted Ohio as a state was passed, did the 
state secure a fund for the construction of roads. This 
was the famous Three Per Cent Fund. This fund made 
possible a system of roads for early Ohio which, if the 
state had been compelled to depend on her own efforts, 
she certainly would not have secured for many years. 

The act of Congress which authorized the people of 
Ohio to form a state constitution, provided : 

That the Secretary of the Treasury shall from time to time 
and whenever the quarterly accounts of the receiver of public 
monies of the several land offices shall be settled, pay 3 per 
cent, of the net proceeds of the lands of the United States, 
lying within the state of Ohio, which since the soth day of 
June, 1802, have been or hereafter may be sold by the United 
States after deducting all expenses incident to the same, to 
such person or persons as may be authorized by the legisla- 
ture of the said state to receive the same, which sums thus 
paid shall be applied to the laying out, opening and making 
roads within the said state, and to no other purpose whatever. 1 

Thus originated the Three Per Cent Fund, which made 
possible the early state roads. By February, 1804, $17,- 

1 Laws of Congress, ad session, 8th congress. 


ooo was available from this source and the state legisla- 
ture accordingly passed a long act that provided for the 
laying-out and opening of certain roads, which in this 
case numbered seventeen. The act 1 provided for the ap- 
pointment of sixteen road commissioners, who should 
cause the roads to be surveyed and plainly marked, with 
a width of fifty-six feet. The amount of money to be 
spent on each road was specified, and in order that no 
part of a road should receive an inequitable amount, each 
road was divided into sections from five to thirty miles 
each, with an equal amount appropriated for each sec- 
tion. The character of the road is disclosed by the 
further provisions of the act that 

All timber and brush shall be cut and cleared off at least 
20 feet wide, leaving- the stumps not more than one foot in 
height; wet and miry places shall be made passable by a 
causeway 16 feet wide, to be made of timber covered with 
earth; small streams that are difficult to be passed shall be 

If any road had had appropriated to it less than ten dol- 
lars per mile, the commissioner was to use his discretion 
in regard to width and bridging. 

In April, 1803, an act provided for the appointment of 
County Surveyors by the Common Pleas Court, 2 and in 
1804 three County Commissioners were provided. 3 How- 
ever, the duty of the commissioners was not so much to 
care for roads and bridges as it was to supervise the 
adjustment of claims against the county, and to assess 
taxes. Their powers were later extended " to make and 
enforce all orders necessary to open and regulate high- 
ways upon application." Provision was also made for 

1 Laws of Ohio, 1804. a Ibid. * Ibid. 


petitioning the commissioners to open roads, to appoint 
viewers and for boards to assess damages. A compre- 
hensive road law following in its main provisions the 
former act was passed in February, 1804." This provided 
for three days' work by all males between the ages of 
eighteen and fifty and imposed a fine for refusal to work. 
The fine was used by the supervisor in employing other 
workmen on the road. As the money from the Three 
Per Cent Fund was received from the national govern- 
ment, the state legislature provided in detail for its ex- 
penditure, specifying in each case how, when and by 
whom it should be expended. The disposition of this 
Three Per Cent Fund became, from the beginning, a 
source of contention between the two houses of the as- 
sembly, and an occasion of log-rolling among the mem- 
bers, as well as a means of furnishing the small change 
for political party financiering. Few of the bills provid- 
ing for the expenditure of the fund ever became laws, 
until a conference between the two houses had been 
called, and various claims adjusted and interests satisfied. 
Naturally enough each section wanted a state road and 
its representative obstinately contended for it, since his 
re-election then, as to-day, depended somewhat upon 
what he secured for his district. As a result those dis- 
tricts which had no representatives suffered and those 
districts which had the most influential representatives 
secured the lion's share. Each time a bill was passed, 
commissioners were appointed to lay out the roads and 
this afforded an opportunity for the party in power to 
reward its workers. No small part of this fund was 
taken in paying these commissioners for a work which 
might have been done by the commissioners of the 

l Laws of Ohio, 1804. 


counties in which the roads were located. At first all 
the money was expended in laying out roads, but parts 
of it were later used in constructing bridges and improv- 
ing roads which had been previously laid out. In some 
cases county roads were made state roads and improved 
by means of this fund. At various times other sums 
were available so that by 1830 the sum of $342,814-15 
had been expended by the state in laying out and open- 
ing the roads. The distribution of this amount over the 
several years was as follows : 

1804 $17,000.00 1815 $46,000.00 

1806 7,725.00 1817 60,000.00 

1807 15,000.00 1820 50,000.00 

1808 6,000.00 1821 3,093.62 

1809 9,000.00 1823 300.00 

1810 23,000.00 1825 5,576.00 

1811 8,380.00 1826 19,500.00 

1812 41,000.00 1830 22,239.95 

After 1830 the fund diminished rapidly, but by that time 
the state had so increased in wealth that it was better 
able to carry on the work of building roads. 1 

Bridges in early times were few, and, as a result, ferries 
were numerous. So important a part did they play in 
the economic and social life of the people that the legis- 
lature made very minute provisions for their operation. 
Every person who ran a ferry was required to take out 
a license, and such a license was granted only upon peti- 
tion of twelve householders of the township in which 
the ferry was to be located. 2 The operator must keep a 
" good and sufficient boat, sufficient hands to manage it, 
and offer service from daylight until dusk and convey 
mail and public express across it at any hour of the 

1 Cf. map, chap, iii, p. 38. * Laws of Ohio, 1805. 


night." The commissioners of the county fixed the rate 
of ferriage, for this monopoly at a time when the neces- 
sity for passageways was urgent and frequent might 
have been a menace to the welfare of the early settlers. 

In 1806 another general highway act was passed which 
gave the county commissioners power to repair and open 
roads. It required them to hold four special meetings a 
year, which were wholly devoted to matters relating to 
roads. 1 The township trustees were also empowered to 
levy a road tax, which could be discharged by working 
on the roads at the rate of sixty-seven cents per day. 
These sums of fifty to seventy-five cents per day may seem 
small, but they were the ordinary payments for public 
work and owing to the relative higher purchasing power 
of money they were equivalent to the larger payments of 
the present time. Resolutions were frequently passed 
by the state legislature requesting their senators and 
representatives in Congress " to use their best efforts to 
get a bill passed whereby certain state roads" should be 
declared post roads. The people thought that they 
would secure in this way the maintenance of these roads 
by the national government. 2 

In February, 1809, a long act was passed which in- 
corporated the first Turnpike Company. 3 The power of 
the company and its duties to the public were minutely 
set forth. The capital stock of the company was $10,000 
divided into shares of $25 each and subscription to the 
stock must be open to the public. The road must "not 
exceed 60 feet in width and 22 feet must be bedded with 
wood, stone, gravel or other proper and convenient 
material, faced with gravel or stone pounded, or other 
small hard substance, so as to secure a firm and even 

1 Laws of Ohio, 1806. t 7dtd., 1807. 3 Zdid. t 1809. 


surface." The Common Pleas Court must appoint three 
inspectors as soon as eight miles of the road was com- 
pleted, and if the road had been constructed according 
to the specifications, the company was permitted to erect 
toll-gates not less than eight miles apart. The toll 
which the company could charge was fixed at the follow- 
ing rates : 

Two-horse wagon 12^ cents. 

For every additional horse 4 cents. 

Wagon or cart drawn by one yoke of oxen.... 12% cents. 

For every additional ox 6 cents. 

Coaches or other four-wheeled vehicles of 

pleasure 20 cents. 

Sulky chaise chair and other two-wheeled 

vehicle of pleasure 12% cents. 

Sleigh or sled 8 cents. 

Every score of hogs or sheep 10 cents. 

Every head of neat cattle i cent. 

Every horse and rider, or led horse 6 cents. 

" Except that all attending public worship or funerals, 
or jurymen going to or coming from court, armies and 
troops of Ohio and United States and all electors going 
to or coming from any election should pass free." A 
fine of five dollars was imposed upon any one who used 
a by-path around toll gates. If the company neglected 
to keep the road in repair for fifteen days the Justice of 
the Peace appointed three inspectors who examined the 
road as to its condition for transportation. If they re- 
ported adversely no toll could be charged and if the road 
was not repaired, before the next session of the Com- 
mon Pleas Court was held, the officials of the company 
were subject to a fine of twenty to one hundred dollars 
each. A complete and accurate report must be made of 
all expenditures and receipts, and all capital stock must 
be paid in and expended before another issue was per- 


mitted. Dividends must be publicly declared twice a 
year, and every three years a financial report must be 
made to the state legislature. Every ten years a decen- 
nial report was made to the same body, and if the finan- 
cial conditions warranted paying more than ten per cent, 
dividends, the surplus must be used in buying up the 
outstanding stock of the company. When all this stock 
was thus purchased, the road was to become a free turn- 
pike. It will be observed how closely the state super- 
vised and regulated the operation of this early company. 
If our later charters had followed the original in its 
regulative and protective features, it is probable that 
many evils in our later transportation history would have 
been avoided. The act did furnish a model for many of 
the later turnpike charters, but the people of the state 
became so anxious for transportation routes, that when 
more liberal terms were later demanded by the incorpo- 
rators, they were willingly granted by the legislature. 

The construction of improved highways by turnpike 
companies became after 1810 the favorite method in 
Ohio of securing roads, for it must be remembered that 
the Three Per Cent Fund was used in most cases to lay 
out roads. These oftentimes were not improved for 
many years, and the counties in most cases spent very 
little in improving the means of transportation. Ross 
County, which had been the early seat of the capital of 
the state, spent in 1813-14 only $89.70 for roads and 
bridges. 1 Much was done by the collective efforts of 
private individuals to secure and improve means of trans- 
portation, and something was accomplished by the fed- 
eral government, which in 1814 had twenty-five post 

1 Report of Treasurer of Ross County, Supporter (Chillicothe), Sep- 
tember 24, 1814. 


roads in Ohio. The rates of postage which are in a way 
indicative of the transportation facilities were in 1814 as 
follows : 

For any distance of 40 miles or under 12 cents. 

For any distance of 90 miles not exceeding 150. 18^ cents. 
For any distance of 150 miles not exceeding 300. 25^ cents. 
For any distance of 300 miles not exceeding 500. 37/^ cents. 
Any paper if printed in the state for any dis- 
tance not exceeding 100 miles \% cents. 

The basis for the charge was purely a distance one, for 
cost of carriage was almost wholly directly proportional 
to distance. During the period of Turnpike transporta- 
tion the complaints about the delivery of mail were very 
numerous, but this was in a large part due to the rapid 
development of the Middle West. No sooner was a mail 
route laid out, than the settlement of other regions and 
the consequent movement of population, together with 
the changes in weather and the absence of bridges, made 
the delivery of mail very uncertain. 

Governor Worthington in his message to the legisla- 
ture of i8i6 T recommended that the road law be so 
amended as to assess the chief cost of improved roads 
upon the land holders through whose land the road 
passed, since he thought the adjacent owners received 
the chief benefit from improved roads and waterways. 
Although this recommendation was not followed, a new 
road law was passed, which increased the powers of 
supervisors and county commissioners and permitted the 
tax levy for road purposes to be increased. In 1817 the 
governor again urged the necessity of constructing high- 
ways, and recommended the revision of the laws defining 
the duties of supervisors, in as much as the existing 

l Laws of Ohio, 1816. 


laws did not fix responsibility. Governor Worthington 
urged that through roads should be constructed from the 
Lakes to the Ohio River, and from the east to the west, 
instead of using the Three Per Cent. Fund, and such state 
moneys as were appropriated to supplement this, in con- 
structing local roads. 1 He believed that local roads should 
be provided by the local communities, and that what was 
most needed by the state in general was through trans- 
portation routes. In 1821 a state road tax was assessed 
and the proceeds were used to improve the highways 
within the state. The rates were as follows : 

On every 100 acres of first rate land 50 cents. 

On every ico acres of second rate land 37^ cents. 

On every 100 acres of third rate land 25 cents. 

This act sought to place the building of roads in the 
hands of the township trustees and it was provided that 
the county treasurer should ascertain and pay to these 
Trustees the part contributed by the landowners of the 
township. 2 The auditor's report for 1823, shows that 
there were 226,084 acres of what was called first rate 
land, 6,870,920 acres of the second rate land, and 6,585,- 
449 of third rate land. Upon these three classes there 
was assessed a state tax of $141,053.71 of which $47,593.82 
constituted the state road tax. 3 

In 1824 a legislative act fixed the width of state roads 
at 66 feet, county roads at 60 feet, and township roads at 
40 feet. 4 This act for the first time defined the widths 

1 Executive Documents, 1817. 

* Laws of Ohio, 1821. The United States lands were exempt from 
taxation for five years after purchase according to the terms of the 
agreement between the United States and Ohio. 

8 Report of Auditor of State, 1823. 

4 Laws of Ohio, 1824. 


of the various roads and recognized the three classes of 
officials who might construct roads. During the early 
period the question of transportation was one of the 
chief subjects considered by the state legislature, for the 
state's development was retarded by the lack of roads 
and improved waterways. This interest in transporta- 
tion is disclosed by the fact, that forty-four per cent, of 
all the local acts passed by the legislature of Ohio in 
1825 referred to this subject and twenty-two per cent, of 
all the general acts referred directly to transportation. 1 
This record was, however, exceeded by that of 1826 
when fifty-five per cent, of all acts referred to transporta- 
tion. The greater number of these acts had reference to 
roads. 2 By 1826 stage coaches were arriving at Columbus 
three times a week from Cincinnati, Chillicothe and 
Lancaster, and twice a week from Zanesville and Dela- 
ware. The decade of 1820 to 1830 and the one succeed- 
ing mark a period of rapid building of transportation 
routes in Ohio. The governor pointed out in his mes- 
sage to the legislature in 1827 that the location of the 
National Road had been decided, the routes of the state 
canals had been fixed, and the Erie Canal had been com- 
pleted. 3 Everything in a transportation way looked en- 
couraging and the people were urged to lay out a greater 
number of roads in order to make the most of the through 
east and west route, the National Road and the through 
north and south routes, the canals and rivers. 4 

1 Laws of Ohio, 1825. * Ibid., 1826. 

* Journal of the Senate, 1827. 

*Cf. Cincinnati Gazette, Sept. 12, 1837. "A new era in the pros- 
perity of the city would be witnessed had we good roads to Chillicothe, 
Lexington, Indianapolis and Columbus. It is certain that the number 
of travelers between this city and Columbus would be increased ten- 
fold, if there were any adequate provisions for getting from one point 
to the other without risking life. Cincinnati can be reached pleasantly 


It will be recalled that the first private turnpike charter 
was granted in 1809 although it was not until after 1817 
that these companies became numerous. The state roads 
laid out from the Three Per Cent Fund were not im- 
proved roads and did not supply the needs of the rapidly 
growing industrial society either as to number or char- 
acter. These private turnpikes were well constructed, 
and as the terms of the charter usually provided that 
no toll could be collected unless the roads were kept in 
good repair, these were the only good roads in the state 
with the exception of the National and the Maumee 
roads and a few other roads near the large centers of 
population. Private capital could not be expected to 
build such roads unless a fair investment was clearly in- 
dicated, and for this reason improved roads awaited to a 
great extent the settlement and partial development of a 
district. But the people wanted roads to aid in this 
development, and when the question of constructing 
canals at public expense was decided in the affirmative, 
many people, particularly those of districts which did 
not secure a canal, insisted that the state should also aid 
in building highways and railroads. Since the sections 
of the state which secured canals also needed means of 
reaching them quickly and easily, the policy of state aid 
to both railways and highways was entered upon with 
general unanimity. This demand became expressed in 
the law of 1836' which authorized the governor to sub- 
only in one way, and that is by the river. In the winter or in the wet 
and frosty season of the year the city is cut off from communication on 
every side. The farmer thinks the roads should be made by the inhab- 
itants of the towns, for otherwise they would starve and freeze, while 
the inhabitants of the town think the farmer should make them because 
they increase the value of the land." 

1 Laws of Ohio, 1836. 


scribe to the stocks of turnpike companies an amount 
equal to that subscribed by private individuals. Previous 
to this, however, the commissioners of counties had been 
authorized to subscribe to the stock of any turnpike 
company whose road lay within the county certain 
amounts which were usually specified in the special act, 
although sometimes the act authorized "the commis- 
sioners of X County to subscribe to and own any amount 
of stock in X Turnpike Company that they may deem 
proper." ' When the state subscribed to the stock of such 
companies, an annual report was required and subscrip- 
tion was prohibited to the stock of any road which would 
affect the profits of one already constructed. In no case 
was the road to be located within twenty miles of another 
such road, nor was the total annual subscription to ex- 
ceed three million dollars. In 1840 the auditor's report 
showed that the state had subscribed $1,603,700 to such 
companies, and by 1848 this had reached $1,921,675.71." 
The large amount which had been subscribed by 1837 
and the pressing financial difficulties of the state caused 
the auditor to report : 

That the policy of the state in enacting this law (1836) was 
doubtless instigated by sound views and capable of good pur- 
pose: but the extent to which it is pressing the public liabili- 
ties, the abuses which it has engendered, and the present 
condition of the state's finances, would seem to point with an 
unerring finger to its suspension, if not to its final repeal.* 

Some companies had secured the subscription and had 
not built the roads, and, as the state's credit was becom- 
ing impaired, further expenditures were thought unwise, 
until some of the past expenditures for public improve- 

1 Laws of Ohio, 1832. 

* Report of the Auditor, 1848 and 1849. *Ibid,, 1840. 


ments had become more productive. The law was re- 
pealed in 1840 except in certain cases where the road 
had been begun and part of the subscription had been 
paid out. But in 1842 the auditor was directed to sus- 
pend the issuing of warrants to turnpike companies for 
state subscriptions, not only because there were no funds 
for such a purpose but also because some of the out- 
standing warrants were running to protest. In 1844 
the condition of the state treasury had become so ser- 
ious that the board of public works, the treasurer and 
auditor were forbidden to make any contract for the 
extension of any public work. 1 The Three Per Cent 
Fund continued to be a source of revenue for laying out 
roads but this was decreasing in amount. When the 
lands of the north-western part of the state were opened 
for settlement by canals, road and railways the Fund 
increased for a time. It is quite impossible to state 
exactly what sums were subscribed by the local govern- 
ments during the period of aid to turnpike companies, 
since not infrequently their officials were authorized to 
subscribe in any amounts which they deemed wise, 
although such subscriptions could later be made only 
upon vote of the people. After a careful tabulation of 
the specific sums authorized, a very conservative esti- 
mate would place the sum equal to that subscribed by 
the state, that is to say approximately two million dol- 

1 Great difficulty was experienced during the early years in collecting 
the land tax, and in this year the delinquent taxes amounted to one- 
ninth of the total state tax levied. In many cases the return from the 
land was uncertain both on account of the farmer being unable to 
market the produce, and on account of the crops being more subject 
than now to the condition of the weather. Then, too, the state tax 
had become large, and as it was levied for a purpose from which many 
derived little direct benefit, some thought there was further justification 
for indifference as to payment. 


Much litigation and difficulty was experienced by the 
state with the turnpike companies to whose stock it 
had subscribed. The companies not only disregarded 
the toll rates which the legislature had fixed but, in many 
cases, also refused to report either the amount of toll 
which had been collected or the use to which it had been 
put. In some cases the money from the bonds of the 
state issued for construction purposes was used to pay 
other expenses, and the state's share of the tolls was con- 
tinually employed to pay company debts. 1 In an effort 
to secure greater uniformity and obedience to the toll 
laws the auditor recommended that : 

Since the people of Ohio in their sovereign capacity as well 
as individually have expended large sums in the construction 
of Turnpike Roads, a commissioner should be appointed from 
each company which had received state aid, to meet with the 
commissioners of the purely private companies and the Board 
of Public Works to devise as nearly as possible uniform tolls. 8 

This recommendation resulted in the Turnpike Con- 
vention of 1844 which adopted a new schedule of tolls to 
take the place of that fixed by the law of i8i7- 3 As 
these tolls prevailed in general throughout the Turnpike 
period, they are given in the following table: 

1 Cf. Reports of Auditor, 1840 and 1843. A fine of $500.00 was imposed 
in 1840 upon any turnpike official who refused to pay the dividend due 
the state, but when either no report or an incomplete one was filed it 
was impossible to determine what dividend was due. The Supreme 
Court of Hamilton County decided that the tolls belonging to the state 
could be used to pay company debts and the sum could be credited upon 
the drafts due from the state. 

*Ibid., 1843. 

3 However, in some cases certain special schedules had been estab- 
lished for companies at the time of their incorporation. 


For every sheep 2}4 mills 

For every hog 5 mills 

For every head of cattle 6 mo. old and up $0.01 

For every horse, mule or ass 0.03 

For every horse, mule or ass with rider 

For every vehicle of two or four wheels drawn 

by one animal 

For every additional animal to such vehicle . . O.o6# 
For every four-wheeled vehicle, including 
coaches, stages, carriages, barouches, wagons, 

etc., drawn by two animals 0.25 

For every additional animal to such vehicle .. o.o6# 
For every sled or sleigh drawn by one animal, 

For every additional animal 0.05 

For all wagons carrying not less than 5,000 
pounds, with a tire not less than 4 inches 
wide, a reduction of 25 per cent, from above 

rates 0.31 

Additional toll was made for loads of over 5,000 pounds. 1 

As prosperity began to return in the forties and as the 
state had definitely ceased to aid in highway construc- 
tion, the local governments began to construct free 
turnpikes. In 1843 these turnpikes were constructed 
under the act which authorized commissioners to lay 
out the road, receive donations and gifts and collect all 
tax levied on the land within two miles of the road. 
This plan gave the name Two-Mile Turnpikes to high- 
ways constructed under this act. 2 In 1845 tne fi rst gen- 
eral act for laying out and constructing highways was 
passed. Previous to this, special legislation was the 
rule in conferring authority to build a road, a railway, a 
bridge or to form a manufacturing company. 3 In the 
same year plank roads were begun, as they seemed to 

1 Report of the Turnpike Convention, 1844. 

* In 1845 twenty-five such roads were authorized, and in 1846 thirty- 
9 Laws of Ohio, 1845. 


meet the demand for improved highways. These roads 
proved very popular for a time. 1 

It must be remembered that the West in general was 
a debtor class during this period, and although potenti- 
ally wealthy, it needed means of transportation in order 
to realize on the immense natural resources. This fact 
will go far to explain, if not to justify, the enthusiasm of 
the West for state banks of issue, which gave to the peo- 
ple credit and an expanded currency in order to market 
their produce. Wheat was hauled from the north-central 
part of the state to Toledo, but the bulk of the farm 
crops, as compared with their value, limited the distance 
which they could be transported over the poor roads. 
Those districts near the National Road and the few 
other good roads fared better, and the transportation 
system as organized upon these roads was remarkably 
efficient. 2 There were three classes of transportation 
agencies : first, individual owners of six-horse teams who 
hauled freight east and west on contracts made for each 
trip; second, farmers along the line, who, during the 
slack farming season or when the charges were raised 
unduly high, went into the business temporarily; third, 
and by far the most important, large freight and pas- 
senger companies that owned many wagons and coaches. 
The first class had to conform to the regulations and 
charges laid down by the companies, for the "scab" 
wagoner was given treatment no less severe than that 

1 Ohio Cultivator, June 23, 1849. "Plank roads are rapidly finding 
favor in this state. They are constructed without steep grades and 
with numerous turnouts. The cost is about $2,000 per mile, and their 
duration, when hemlock is used, is about seven years. The advantages 
of this road are: (a) they can be used throughout the year; (b) heavier 
loads can be hauled; (c) cost of transportation is low." 

*It was said that the farmer along the way knew the time of day 
from the passage of the coaches of these companies. 


accorded in all trades to the present-day "scab." 
Charges were usually based on the hundred pounds per 
mile, but sometimes a general charge was made for a 
load. There was a certain esprit de corps among the 
regular drivers and transporters. It was a difficult 
matter to secure without influence a position in the 
transportation business on the National Road or the 
early turnpikes. 1 There was intense rivalry among the 
companies, and the particular kind of coach, the excel- 
lence of the horses, the sobriety of the drivers and the 
rapidity of travel were all considered fit subjects for ad- 
vertisement. 2 In time as canals, railways and more 
roads were supplied, these companies ceased to operate 
in Ohio and the stage coach and freighter followed the 
frontier to the West until, pressed by the railway, they 
disappeared and their golden days are now known only 
in the literature descriptive of the period. 

1 Thomas Seabright, The Old Pike. 

* Cf. Cincinnati Gazette, February 6, 1836. The chief companies 
were the Stockton, the Good Intent, the June Bug and the Pioneer. 
The fare in 1836 from Cincinnati to Wheeling via Columbus was $11.50. 
In 1829 the President's message was carried from Washington to 
Columbus in 34 hours and 45 minutes, "a performance unparalleled in 
the annals of traveling in this section." Cf. Ohio State Journal, Dec. 
ii, 1829. In 1846 the President's message was carried by one of these 
companies from Wheeling to Columbus in eight hours and one-half. 
Cf. Ohio Statesman, Dec. n, 1846. 



THE constitution adopted in 1851 made such important 
changes in the policy of the state towards the subject of 
transportation and industry, and the debates upon this 
constitution so well reflected the prevailing views on these 
subjects, that it is worth our attention to consider briefly 
some of these changes and the views as expressed by the 
delegates. Those parts of the debates which concern 
our subject were upon the following points : (a) should 
the state continue its policy of directly aiding railroad 
and turnpike companies by means of stock subscriptions 
and by donations of land ; (b) should transportation and 
industrial corporations be chartered under a general in- 
corporation law or by special acts, as had been the prac- 
tice; (c) what control should be exercised over such 
companies? The state had aided transportation and in- 
dustrial corporations by donating funds and lands, by 
loaning its credit, by bounties and by exempting them 
from taxation. At this time its direct financial aid 
amounted to about $3,000,000, and it had by special laws 
empowered many local governments to subscribe a much 
larger sum to such companies. Much of this money 
had not been productively expended. Some of it had 
not even been expended for the purpose for which it 
had been appropriated, and in most cases there had 
been little direct financial return to the state and the 
148 [148 


local governments. Although this last result was not 
sufficient reason in itself why further aid should not be 
granted, yet this very failure to secure any adequate 
financial return affected considerably the decision of the 
delegates, since this fact and the financial policy which 
resulted from it had influenced unfavorably the fiscal 
legislation of the state. 1 

On the question of further slate and local government 
aid to transportation companies, there were two diver- 
gent views. Each of these was an expression of the 
needs of the regions and interests represented. Those 
delegates who represented the more densely populated 
and wealthier sections were opposed to further state aid, 
inasmuch as by the past generosity of the state, the 
natural resources of their regions and their accumulated 
wealth they had satisfied at least the pressing demands 
for transportation. Quite naturally these delegates ob- 
jected to paying for the transportation routes that were 
to be built in the less developed sections, since the ex- 
pense of such routes would be met by general taxation, 
and, as their taxable property was much greater in value 
than that of the poorer districts, the greater part of the 
cost would fall upon their constituents. Again, they 
reasoned that although they would need more transporta- 
tion facilities, it would be to their interest to leave this 
problem to each locality, since their increased wealth 
would enable them to build such routes. Whatever local 
tax would be raised for such purposes would be locally 
expended. The less populous, which were the less 
wealthy, sections contended that the state should con- 
tinue its aid to transportation companies, since the re- 

1 The financial embarrassments of the state during the forties were be- 
lieved by many to be the fruits of the state's policy in regard to internal 


suits of such expenditures had reflected itself in the in- 
creased wealth of the regions. They had contributed 
according to their ability in supplying these routes to 
other sections, and they now demanded as a matter of 
justice, that the state should aid their districts or in any 
event should permit them as local governments to build 
routes upon a credit system and to subscribe to the stock 
of transportation companies. One of these delegates ex- 
pressed this view when he said: 

The people of Hamilton County (the Cincinnati district) 
have got the benefit of thieving-, and now they want to pre- 
vent anybody else from enjoying the right of making im- 
provements upon their own capital or capital which belongs 
to the state. Now these gentlemen from Cincinnati and all 
other points where they have railways made or where they 
have their roads in full progress and all their avenues of trade 
opened, want to shut the gate and prevent the people living 
in other sections of the state from constructing arms and 
branches to these great roads. 1 

But these districts of small wealth and small population 
were outvoted by the more populous sections. Another 
question which occasioned an animated debate was, 
whether the state could and should tax the holders of 
stocks and bonds issued to secure funds for the internal 
improvements. The original act which provided for the 
issue of these bonds declared that 

the faith of the state is hereby pledged that no tax shall ever 
be levied by the legislature on the stock to be created by 
virtue of this act nor on the interest that may be payable 

1 Report of the Debates and Proceedings of the Convention for the 
Revision of the Constitution of the State of Ohio, 1850-1851. " Re- 
marks of Mr. Brown of Carrol County." 


thereon, and further, that the value of said stock shall in no 
way be impaired by any legislative act of this state. 1 

The object of this very liberal provision was to attract 
funds by which to engage upon these internal improve- 
ments, for in the midst of this period of competition 
among various states for funds, ready capital was not 
easy to obtain. The language of this provision would 
seem to be clear as to the intention of the legislature, 
but the fundamental question now up for consideration 
was, could the legislature of 1825 bind the action of this 
convention, which was the sovereign body assembled 
through its representatives. But if these delegates did 
repudiate these former obligations and tax the stocks 
and bonds, would this be in effect a repudiation of finan- 
cial obligations or debts? This was an act which no 
delegate was willing to admit he favored. Yet many 
wished to tax these bonds, if they could sufficiently re- 
fine the phrase " state repudiation." After a time they 
based their argument on the ground that no former 
legislature had the right to barter away this attribute of 
sovereignty, the right of taxation. In reply to this 
argument numerous court decisions were cited by their 
opponents, which indicated that such taxation would im- 
pair a contract made by the state and would therefore 
be in conflict with the constitution of the United States. 8 
Until 1836 the credit of the state was good and many 
contended that capital was easily secured on account of 

1 Laws of Ohio, 1825. This was the act which provided for the first 
loan to build the canals. 

*Cf. 7 Crunch, 164, State of New Jersey vs. Wilson. 8 Wallace, 430, 
Home of The Friendless vs. Rouse. The Supreme Court of the United 
States denied to states the power of taxing bonds, issued under such 


this exemption. Although the exemption clause had 
not been repeated in most of the acts following the 
original one of 1825, it was doubtless assumed to apply 
both by the borrower and the lender. From 1836 to 
1846 many financial devices were necessary to keep the 
state government in operation, and many of the delegates 
remembering this experience were disposed to prevent 
the state from engaging in internal improvements. In 
the constitutional convention it was stated : 

Every railroad that the people of Ohio have made with 
their own money, everything that tends to render of less value 
any of the improvements of the state might be called impair- 
ing the original value of these bonds, as well as the proposed 
taxation. It is strange that vested rights can only be seen in 
that species of property that finds its sympathies in men's 
pockets. The state of Ohio engaged in speculation in in- 
ternal improvements in 1825. Lobbies of capitalists and 
those interested in the particular improvement secured the 
further aid. The state became the victim of the speculator 
and the capitalist. All the original bondholders sold out at a 
sacrifice. The state has since made up the deficits of this 
period by taxation, or in other words, the generation of the 
present, whose money has been spent by the previous genera- 
tion without its opinion having been asked upon the expendi- 
ture, is now ready to pay a principal and interest, upon the 
debt, asking only that since it was a joint error, that the im- 
plied joint risk be assumed by the bond-holder as well as the 
people. I wish Ohio would pass a law removing her register 
office from New York, depriving the stock market of that city 
of its nourishment. The state of New York has lured her 
sister states by false appearances into egregious financial 
blunders. It is her system of internal improvements, decep- 
tive in appearance, that has done more mischief throughout 
the Union than any system yet devised. New York is the 
door through which the vast produce of the great west must 



pass to reach the commercial world. She stands there as a 
tax-gatherer, levying in direct and undenied violation of the 
Constitution of the United States toll upon the industry, and 
this it is, which has made her system of internal improve- 
ments successful. The false glare of that success deceived her 
weaker sisters, and I hesitate not to say had each never pos- 
sessed a dollar's worth of credit, as intended by the framers 
of the Constitution, their people would have been happier 
and this day possessed better internal improvements than they 
have received under the debt-contracting policy. 1 

We have quoted at length from these remarks because 
they represented the views of a large body of delegates, 
who exerted considerable influence upon the provisions 
which were adopted. The stock of turnpike, bridge and 
manufacturing companies had been exempted from tax- 
ation for a term of years, but the constitution, as adop- 
ted, provided for the taxation of the property of such 
corporations. One delegate expressed the view " that 
capital would soon send the iron horse along the lines 
of every canal and that the too expensive canals would 
soon be useless as transportation routes." 2 This dele- 
gate was however from a county along the Ohio River 
and did not appreciate the difficulties of transportation 
for those who were distant from any routes ; such for 
example as the producers of Wayne County, who hauled 
their wheat seventy miles to Cleveland in order to reach 
a market and to secure such necessities as salt and 
groceries. Complaint was very generally N made in the 
debates concerning the great injury which transportation 
companies inflicted in locating their rights of way. The 

1 Constitutional Debates , op. cit. "Remarks of Mr. Reemelin of 
Hamilton County." 
a Ibid. " Remarks of Mr. Archbold of Monroe County." 


company generally assumed that the benefit from having 
a railway through the land was of greater value than the 
land occupied and damages resulting. The right of way 
was in the early period almost invariably donated, but 
the abuses had become so great that some remedy was 
demanded. A law was later passed which provided for 
an appraisement by disinterested parties. Corporations 
for both transportation and industrial purposes had be- 
come numerous, and since the shortcomings of the rail- 
way and turnpike companies were assigned by some 
delegates to all corporations, some restrictions seemed 
wise. The views of those favoring a liberal treatment 
were well expressed by one who said: 

What have corporations done? They have built your 
churches; they have bridged impassable streams; they have 
erected colleges; they have made roads, railways and tele- 
graph lines. With the little wealth we have in Ohio, there 
would have been no other way of carrying out those great 
objects of public necessity and convenience than by the means 
of corporate associations. 1 

There was a long debate upon the question of general 
versus special incorporation of companies. Notwith- 
standing the unfortunate experience of the people with 
the transportation corporations, there was very little de- 
sire expressed by the delegates to curtail the organiza- 
tion of corporations. In fact one of the arguments 
against a general incorporation law was that it would 
tend to discourage organization, since it was thought 
that no general law could confer the particular privileges 
needed for different kinds of corporations. The major- 

1 Constitutional Debates, op. cit,, "Remarks of Mr. Stanberry of 
Franklin County." 


ity, however, favored a general law for the following- 
reasons : (a) it would economize the time of the legisla- 
ture, which had in many sessions devoted most of its 
time to debating and granting special charters for trans- 
portation and industrial companies; (b) it would prevent 
the granting of undue privileges and powers, which were 
often concealed by innocent titles or hidden in appended 
clauses. Still others thought that under a general act 
corporations would unduly multiply and " railroad com- 
panies would start up like mushrooms and prejudice the 
earnings of other companies and the internal improve- 
ments of the state." ' All agreed that the legislature 
should retain the power of regulating the charge for 
transportation. Some thought that this could be done 
best by fixing a maximum charge, while others held that 
the earnings should be regulated by fixing a maximum 
dividend. As a result of all this discussion the following 
provisions were agreed upon and placed in the new 
constitution : 

(a) The credit of the state shall not in any manner be given 
or loaned to or in aid of any individual association or cor- 
poration whatever; nor shall the state hereafter become a 
joint owner or stockholder in any company or association in 
this state or elsewhere formed for any purpose whatever. 

(b) The General Assembly shall never authorize any county, 
city, town or township by vote of its citizens or otherwise to 
become a stockholder in any joint stock company, corpora- 
tion or association whatever; or to raise money for or loan 
its credit to or in the aid of any such company, corporation or 
association. * 

1 Constitutional Debates, op. tit., " Remarks of Mr. Nash of Ross 

1 This did not in fact prevent the local governments from building 
transportation routes. 


(c) The General Assembly shall pass no special act con- 
ferring corporate powers. 

(d) Laws shall be passed taxing by a uniform rule all 
moneys, credits, investments in bonds, stocks and joint stock 

(e) The property of corporations now existing or hereafter 
created shall forever be subject to taxation, the same as the 
property of individuals. 1 

However, by later decisions of the Supreme Court of 
Ohio the clause in regard to special legislation was prac- 
tically made inoperative, and a mass of legislation, spe- 
cial in application but general in form, was passed until 
by a later reversal of the court a great part of this was 
declared unconstitutional and the general-law clause 
became operative. 

Many of the local governments, as we shall later 
notice, did engage in the building of transportation 
routes. The most extraordinary example was the con- 
struction of an interstate railway by the city of Cincinnati. 

1 Laws of Ohio, 1851. " Constitution of Ohio." 


FROM the time of the earliest settlement and organi- 
zation of Ohio, the people of the region were actively 
interested in internal improvement. Not only was the 
state the gateway between the East and the West but it 
also possessed a fertile soil and a variety of natural re- 
sources. Although the first important settlements were 
along the natural waterways, the fertility and resources 
of the interior region soon attracted settlers, and a de- 
mand for transportation routes was made when the pos- 
sibility of abundant production was realized. The sub- 
ject of transportation thus assuming such importance led 
to a fostering attitude on the part of the state toward 
canals and highways, and finally toward railways. For 
this reason and the additional one that the state would 
gain much from the movement of the traffic of other 
regions through her borders, there was an absence of 
that radicalism which at certain periods characterized the 
railway legislation of other states. The people of the 
state in their sovereign capacity and as individuals sub- 
scribed liberally from their limited means to the stock of 
transportation companies and donated their lands freely 
to such companies. Facility of transportation was the one 
necessary thing to bring wealth to the people of Ohio. 
So rapid was the increase of wealth and population, 
which resulted from the highways and canals already 
constructed, that a spirit of enterprise was developed in 
157] i57 


the people, peculiarly favorable to the adoption of the 
next improved system of transportation, the railroad. 
Although the enthusiasm for means of transportation 
had in no sense abated, yet because the state was under- 
taking- such large financial obligations for canal construc- 
tion and because railways when first suggested were 
regarded as supplementary to canals, they became with- 
out any considerable discussion private enterprises. 

The early interest of the people of Ohio in railroads is 
indicated by the fact that in 1830 a charter was granted 
to the Ohio and Steubenville Railroad Co. At this 
time there had not been opened a railway upon which 
steam was used as a motive power, and the celebrated 
trial of motive power in which George Stephenson's 
Rocket won the prize had been held in England but four 
months earlier. The progress of the Liverpool and Man- 
chester Railway was closely followed in this country, and 
its success was used as an argument for the construction 
of railroads in the United States. Many, however, did 
not think that railroads would be of great value. The 
Pennsylvania Board of Public works reported that : ' 

While the Board avow themselves favorable to railroads, 
when it is impracticable to construct canals or under some 
peculiar circumstances, yet they cannot forbear expressing 
their opinion that the advocates of railways generally have 
greatly overrated their comparative value. It will be found 
that canals are from two to three and a half times better than 
railroads for the purpose required of them by Pennsylvania. 
Railroads can be made to carry the United States mail, pas- 
sengers, and light valuable goods, when time is of more im- 
portance than cost of transportation. 

1 Report of the Pennsylvania Board of Commissioners of Public Works, 
quoted in Ohio State Journal, Jan. 2, 1832. 

I59 ] 


However, many people who thought they would not 
receive any direct benefit from the numerous canals 
which were being constructed by state funds, saw in the 
railroad a means of receiving equal benefits and urged 
the state to subscribe to the stock of railway companies, 
while they prepared at the same time to further the pro- 
ject by private aid. 

The provisions of the first charter which are of especial 
interest were as follows : * 

(a) The power "to transport, take and carry persons and 
property by the power and force of steam, of animals and any 
combination of them." 

(b) The capital stock was limited to $500,000, with the pro- 
vision that no part of the capital stock or the proceeds arising 
therefrom should be used in banking. 

(c) The power was given to take public lands. 

(d) The power " to regulate the time and manner in which 
goods and passengers shall be transported thereon and the 
manner of collecting tolls for such transportation and to erect 
and maintain toll houses and other buildings for the accom- 
modation of their concern." 

(e) The power " to demand and receive from all persons, 
using or traveling upon the railroad the following rates of 
toll, to wit : for every ton weight of goods or freight of any 
description three cents per mile for every mile the same shall 
pass upon the said road and at a ratable proportion for any 
greater or less quantity; for every pleasure carriage or carri- 
ages used for the conveyance of passengers three cents per 
mile in addition to the toll by weight upon the loading." 

(f) All persons who should pay the prescribed toll might 
"with suitable and proper carriages use and travel upon the 
said railroad subject to such rules and regulations as the cor- 
porations are authorized to make." 

1 This was the first charter issued in Ohio and the second one in the 
United States. 


(g) "Any person who willfully injured the railroad, build- 
ings, or machines of the company should pay to the corpora- 
tion three times the amount of the damage sustained." 

This railroad, like many others chartered from 1830 to 
1850, was not constructed, but the charter formed the 
basis for the later ones, that were granted. However, 
the ten charters granted in 1832 introduced some new 
features. Provision was made that the appraisers in 
valuing the damages which resulted from taking the 
land should set off against this the increased value re- 
sulting to the land ; the state was permitted in some 
cases to become a stockholder, and provisions were in- 
serted to regulate tolls in harmony with canal tolls. 
Although at first few supposed that the railroad would 
be a direct competitor of canals, competition did soon, 
appear, and whenever a proposed railway promised to 
compete with canals, the large obligations of the state, 
incurred for canal construction, were used as an argu- 
ment against granting such a charter. This argument 
was not often successfully used, but it did result in a 
submission by some of the railway companies to a pro- 
vision in their charter, whereby they agreed to pay to 
the state " such amounts annually as in the opinion of 
the Board of Public Works would be equivalent to one- 
half the tolls charged by the state at the time upon like 
property transported by canals during the season of 
navigation but for the existence of the railroad." Even 
as late as 1847 ^ ne Cincinnati, Hamilton and Dayton 
Railroad agreed to a provision in its charter that : 

Whenever the revenues derived by the state from the Miami 
Canal shall be diminished by the operation of said road below 

1 Cf. Laws of Ohio, 1830, for the charter in full. 



what it now is, it shall be lawful for the Board of Public 
Works to impose upon all property transported upon said 
road such tolls as will be sufficient to replace the revenues so 
diminished, which tolls so imposed said company shall pay to 
the members of the Board of Public Works. 1 

These provisions were, as will be shown later, observed 
only in part by the railways. At every session of the 
legislature there was a great deal of lobbying for the 
purpose of securing favorable charters, although little 
difficulty was experienced in obtaining any number of 
charters. The following table shows the freedom with 
which companies were incorporated and at the same time 
the difficulty of procuring the means with which to build 
the roads : 2 

Number of companies Number of companies 

incorporated which built their road 
1830-1840 .............. 24 I 

1840-1850 .............. 23 8 

1850-1865 .............. 67 16 

1865-1870 .............. 73 9 

The people were anxious to obtain transportation facil- 
ities, and, while many of these companies were organized 
in good faith by those who thought them warranted by 
the industrial conditions, other companies were organized 
purely for personal gain. Organizers knew that the 
people of the state were enthusiastic over railways and 
would purchase the stock. These speculators were able 

1 Laws of Ohio, 1847. 

1 Files of incorporated companies in the office of Secretary of State. 
The following years are not given because they would be no evidence 
of the increase of transportation routes, since many of the articles of 
incorporation after this date were to combine two or more roads or for 
a large road to acquire a short line. 


for many years to capitalize the zeal of the people, and 
one reason assigned for the establishment of the Railroad 
Commission in 1867 was to "diffuse such information 
as would enable the people to intelligently invest in rail- 
road securities." x Exaggeration of profits to be derived, 
extensive advertising and desire for means of transporta- 
tion led the people to subscribe liberally to the stock of 
the companies. Some of the earlier charters provided 
that when the authorized stock was over-subscribed, the 
directors should reduce the same by striking off from 
the largest number of shares in succession until the sub- 
scription should be reduced to the proper number com- 
posed of subscriptions to one share, and that if there 
should still be an excess, then lots should be drawn to 
determine who were to be excluded. 3 There is no case 
on record when it was necessary to resort to this pro- 
vision, but on the contrary no original subscription as 
applied was sufficient to place the road in operation. 
Railroad conventions during the thirties became very 
numerous, and the first good effects of the canals only 
increased the enthusiasm of those who were receiving 
their benefits and heightened the desire for some adequate 
means of transportation on the part of those who had no 
canals. In the northeastern section of the state there 
was much railway agitation, since this region had bene- 
fited very largely from the Erie and the Ohio canals and 
had early perceived its advantageous position on the 
route of east and west trade. Sandusky was the pioneer 
city of Ohio in actual railroad building, and its enterprise 
was cited by the agitators in the other sections of Ohio 
as worthy of emulation. No other class did more to 
further popular subscriptions to railways than the editors 

l Laws of Ohio, 1867. *Ibid., 1838. 


of newspapers, who incited local pride by describing 
what other sections were doing, by the argument that 
railroads would make work, by holding out the danger 
of the control of the railways by foreign capital and by 
minimizing the accidents upon the early roads. 1 

In the East, stock subscriptions were at first solicited 
from house to house for some of the roads to the West, 
and no hope was held out of a direct return. It was 
expected however that the people of New York, Phila- 
delphia and Baltimore would indirectly derive such 
benefits from the Western trade that all might well con- 
tribute. When individuals subscribed to the stock, 
mortgages on their property were frequently given, as 
is shown by the report of the Bellefontaine and Indiana 
Railroad in 1852, which exhibits a list of town lots and 
farms conveyed to the road. These properties were 
offered as security for a loan of $200,000 and comprised 
213 lots in different towns in several counties and 57 
farms, almost all of which contained less than one hun- 
dred acres. This indicates that it was the small prop- 
erty holder who probably suffered most from this 
method of subscription. The right of way was not only 
usually donated but a subscription was also frequently 
made from which but a small per cent of the donors 
ever realized a dollar on the investment as such. In 
most cases the subscription of each individual was small 
as compared to the total amount subscribed, but it fre- 

1 The newspapers were careful to explain that the accidents were not 
due to the nature of the railroad. Later they did make much of the 
"horrible accident," but this was after railways had become powerful 
and some of their abuses had developed. In fact, the accidents were 
one of the important reasons advanced for a railroad commission in 
1867. In this early period many of the people had strange ideas of 
railroads, for few of them had ever seen a railroad and could be made 
to believe almost anything about it. 


quently represented a large sum from the point of view 
of the subscriber's possessions. It is true that some 
value resulted to the landowners along the way, yet many 
gave without any fair return. Since the original stock 
subscriptions proved inadequate to build the railroads, 
provisions were inserted in the old charters or attached 
to the new ones which gave the companies power to 
borrow money, and to pledge their income and stock for 
its payment. Soon every available method was used to 
increase the capital stock and bonds, although this was 
supposed to be carefully provided for by the charters 
and laws. Only ten per cent of the capital stock was 
required to be paid in before the election of the direct- 
ors, who were then authorized to "borrow money on 
the credit of the corporation not exceeding its author- 
ized capitalization." This capital stock could be then 
increased " to such amounts as may be decided to be 
necessary or required," and bonds could be issued to 
two-thirds of the authorized capitalization. As a result 
of such liberal terms, the inducements to credit railroad 
building were very great and naturally enough " the 
public were deceived by boards of directors who falsified 
their accounts and presented reports which were not 
true. Subscriptions were obtained until the parties 
behind the scenes stepped out, leaving the innocent and 
deluded outsiders suffering to bear the burdens placed 
upon them by dishonest and stupid managers." 1 In 
many cases dividends were paid in stock, for this was an 
easy way to save present cash, if there was any, and 
to capitalize future earnings. Thus nearly all the early 
railroads in Ohio were built on an extended system of 
credit and a temporizing policy. Failure and insolvency 

1 Report of Railroad Commissioner, 1875. 


of some companies resulted before the temporary com- 
pletion of the roads. Insolvent companies were carried 
through financial periods by individual exertions only to 
be swallowed up and overwhelmed by the next crisis, 
and "out of this insolvent condition grew extravagance, 
speculation, gambling and stock jobbing in every depart- 
ment of railroad management." 1 

If the state and local governments and the people, by 
popular subscription, had not come to the aid of the 
companies, some of the most important roads would not 
have been built for may years, and the rapid extension of 
the system would have been delayed. During the decade 
from 1830 to 1840 very little was done in actual con- 
struction, and whatever progress had been made was 
checked by the panic of 1837. 

Partly because popular stock subscriptions could not 
be secured in sufficient amounts, partly because the com- 
panies were not able to borrow enough money without 
having something tangible to offer as security, and partly 
because of the people's impatience to secure railroads, 
the law of 1837 was passed. It authorized a loan of 
credit by the state to railroad companies, and a subscrip- 
tion to the stock of turnpike, canal and slack water navi- 
gation companies. Under this law the following loans 
were made to railway companies : 

To the Mad River and Lake Railroad Company.. $270,000 

To the Little Miami Railroad Company 115,000 

To the Mansfield and Sandusky City Company. .. 33,333 

To the Ohio Railroad Company 249,000 

To the Painesville and Fairport Railroad 6,182 

To the Ashland and Vermillion Railroad 44,000 

Total $717,515 

1 Report of Railroad Commissioner, 1868. 


The legislature thought this a large sum, but it did not 
prove enough to build seventy miles of road, for the cost 
of all the early roads was underestimated, notwithstand- 
ing the fact that they were cheaply built with light rails 
and little or no ballast. This fact of actual overestimated 
cost, with the additional financial difficulties of the periods 
of inflation and depreciation of the currency, led to a de- 
mand for higher rates, and most of the roads openly 
disregarded the charters and laws which limited the 
rates. The loans made by the state to the last three of 
the above companies were entire losses; par was realized 
on the little Miami loan, but most of the amount in the 
remaining cases was lost. 1 Owing to the numerous ac- 
cusations of fraud and extravagance the loan act was 
repealed in 1840. The bank troubles of the forties were 
responsible for a considerable opposition to railroads, for 
they were also corporations against which much criticism 
was made. As a result a law very objectionable to rail- 
roads was passed in 1842, which until its repeal in 1845 
discouraged investments in railway stock. The continual 
attempts of the railroad companies to have damages to 
the land written off by the benefits resulting from the 
existence of the road, led to a law in the same year which 
required a deposit for damages which might occur from 
the construction of the railways. The state debt had 
reached the enormous sum of $18,668,321.61 by 1844, and 
there was little prospect that the state would grant fur- 
ther aid in building railways. Yet the demand for such 

1 When the Board of Public Works was authorized to sell the per- 
sonal property of the Ohio R. R. Co. in 1844 in order to realize some- 
thing from the State's loan, subscription of stock, gift of land and 
labor, which as a total amounted to $557,756, it was reported that this 
property had disappeared at the dissolution sale in 1842, and they were 
able to find only one set of car wheels, one locomotive and one saw-mill. 


roads was none the less pressing, and by 1846, when 
prosperity returned, this demand secured expression in a 
law which permitted the local governments to aid private 
companies in building railroads. Although the state's 
experience had admittedly been a failure, the people 
needed transportation means and felt that public aid in 
some form was necessary to secure them. They also 
believed that the local governments could and would 
protect better the investments of the public money, 
since the local community would directly receive the 
benefit. Although most of the special acts empowering 
such subscriptions by the local governments specified the 
amount to be subscribed, it was not uncommon to find 
an act empowering the county commissioners of X 
county " to subscribe to the stock of any railroad that 
passed through or terminated in the county." Most of 
the subscriptions were made only upon vote of the peo- 
ple. There was practically no opposition to these bills 
in the legislature, for it came to be regarded as largely a 
local question whether such an obligation was to be 
assumed, and, if so, in what amounts. When it became 
fairly evident in 1850 that the new constitutional conven- 
tion would prohibit this power, many such bills were 
introduced. From a careful examination of laws passed 
during this period a total authorized subscription of 
$6,878,000 has been found. This, however, did not by 
any means include the whole sum, since in some cases 
the subscription was not specified, nor does it include 
the subscriptions of the later period. Estimating all 
these subscriptions, a conservative sum for the direct 
subscription by the state and local governments would 
be $40,000,000. The constitution of 1851 prevented the 
state from further loaning its credit to railroad com- 


panics, and the effect as considered by many is expressed 
as follows : x 

Many of the roads are needed at the proposed points of 
termini and along their routes, yet it is found almost impos- 
sible to secure a stock subscription from the citizens sufficient 
to build the road, and in many cases not sufficient to com- 
mence the road. The constitution and laws of the state pro- 
hibit subscription by the counties and municipalities, and the 
liability of every stockholder for an equal amount in addition 
to his stock amounts to so great a barrier as to defeat every 
effort to raise stock subscriptions sufficient to do the grading 
and masonry. In addition to this is the experience of a large 
majority of the companies, and especially of the short lines 
which depend upon local traffic, that the roads will not pay. 
The aid and cooperation of towns and cities to whose growth 
and prosperity the roads so largely contribute should be 
given. In this way can we alone hope to compete with those 
states and territories where liberal subsidies are granted, and 
where municipal and other corporations are authorized to aid 
in the construction of railways by subscribing to the capital 

A summary of the financial condition of the railways 
in Ohio in the year 1868 shows that there were thirty- 
five corporations in the state with 3200 miles of track. 
Of these thirty-five corporations only seven had ever 
paid a dividend and these represented only 540 miles of 
track ; that is to say, less than seventeen per cent of the 
total state mileage had ever paid any dividend. There 
had been paid into these thirty-five companies in stock 
$172,047,542.38; the average amount of stock per mile 

1 Cf. chap, ix for changes made by this constitution in transportation 
and industrial organization. 
1 Report of Commissioner of Railways, 1868. 


was $31,740; the total debt was $41,605,769.61 and the 
average amount of debt and stock per mile was $56,309.23. 

The local desire for railroads led to the act of 1871 
which permitted local governments to aid in railway con- 
struction. The law was however declared unconstitu- 
tional. Yet the willingness to aid in such construction is 
shown by the fact that although the law was in operation 
only six months, $6,000,000 in bonds, as required by the 
act, had been deposited with the treasurer of the state. 
Nothing further was done toward securing government 
aid until 1880 when a law was passed which authorized 
certain local governments to build and operate railroads. 
Under this act four roads were built but none was of 
importance except the Cincinnati Southern Railway. 

The presidents of the early railway companies were 
often men skilled in law or politics, selected with the ex- 
pectation that their social position or personal success in 
other pursuits would go far toward popularizing the 
enterprise and securing the necessary means to carry 
forward the work. High premiums were paid for men 
and means to meet temporary emergencies, without 
knowing or regarding what the future effects would be 
on the interests of the company. Much was also done 
to create a favorable attitude among the people by select- 
ing courteous employees who would care for the com- 
fort of the traveller. 1 The cost of the early railroads was 
greatly underestimated, for in addition to knowing little 
about railroads, the people were anxious to build them 

1 Cleveland Herald, Oct. 7, 1850. A traveler from Sandusky to Cin- 
cinnati in 1850 comments favorably upon "the excellent management 
of the road, the competency and carefulness of the engineers, the atten- 
tion and politeness of the conductors, the freedom from rowdyism and 
the excellent language of subordinates and the frequent distribution of 
cold water through the train." 


with the comparatively small means which they possessed. 
In preparing the road-bed the dirt was usually thrown 
up enough to receive the ties, for most of the roads were 
not ballasted until long after construction, and then at 
first only poorly, since equipment was light. The bridges 
in many cases were substantial as compared with the 
remainder of the way, but in time proved too weak to 
support the heavier locomotives which came in response 
to the demand for a heavier load. They were usually 
built of wood, although stone in some cases was em- 
ployed, and iron came into general use after the civil war. 
In 1868 there were in Ohio 746 wooden, 65 stone, and 
1 8 iron bridges. The contractors for the construction 
work often took stock in part payment, and in fact the 
securing of a contract sometimes hinged on the amount 
of stock which one or the other contractor was willing 
to take. Many of the incorporators had exaggerated 
ideas of what railways would accomplish in the carrying 
business and laid double tracks. The iron rails were 
frequently secured in England. Those for the Cincin- 
nati, Columbus and Cleveland Railway were shipped 
from England via Montreal. 1 A traveler over this road 
complains that the greatest inconvenience " is the lack of 
the T rail on a considerable portion of the road. The 
flat-rail and the rough condition of the track gives a 
motion to the cars at times as unsteady as the bouncing 
of the lumbering stage over the early corduroy roads of 
the West." The Cincinnati, Hamilton and Dayton se- 
cured its rails from England via New Orleans. These 
rails cost fifty dollars per ton at Cincinnati and were T 
rails weighing sixty-five pounds to the yard. By 1870 
steel rails were being used and " the policy of using these 

1 Cleveland Herald, May 21, 1849. *Ibid., Oct. 7, 1850. 


rails in renewals was already showing results in reducing 
the expense of maintenance." I Locomotives were built 
at the Cuyahoga Iron works by 1850 and the first one 
in Ohio is described as " exceeding in power any other 
engine of the same weight and as a specimen of beauty 
and complete finish, surpassing that of any other engine 
that has been constructed in this country or in England."* 
Wood was used as a fuel in all the early engines. Coal 
was not generally used until after 1870 when the great 
coal-fields of the southeastern part of the state were 
reached by railroads. 

In the early period of railroads the passenger business 
was of greater relative importance than freight, for it 
was much easier to attract passengers than freight, and 
moreover the road was not built substantially enough to 
transport large amounts of the latter. It required years 
of continual improvement to make the railways competi- 
tors of the waterways in transporting the bulky products 
long distances. Most of the freight which was carried 
in the early period consisted either of raw products 
originating near the line and carried to canal and river 
points or merchandise distributed from these points. 
The advocates of canals were fond of saying that a rail- 
road occupied a middle ground between a canal and a 
good turnpike, and the fact that a railway could be built 
anywhere was a disadvantage in that it would lead to in- 
security of property values, because as soon as the rail- 
road was built and had proven a success, another com- 
petitor would be built along the side of it. Extensive 
sales of surplus products in 1840 were practically con- 
fined to wheat, corn, flour, pork, whiskey and tobacco, 

^Fourth Report of Cleveland, Columbus and Indianapolis Railroad 
Company, 1871. 
1 Cincinnati Gazette, Oct. 13, 1837. 


and the bulk of this moved to New Orleans via river. 
In October, 1831, the Baltimore and Ohio railroad had 
carried only 593 tons of freight but had carried 81,905 
passengers. The novelty and rapidity of travel by rail- 
road as compared with all other previous methods at- 
tracted many passengers. When the Cincinnati, Hamil- 
ton and Dayton was opened in 1852, only passenger 
trains were operated; but when freight trains were 
placed on the road at the end of the second year, the 
receipts, notwithstanding the fact that this road ran along 
the canal, showed that the following products had been 
carried: flour, 100,000 barrels; apples, eggs and clover 
seed, 21,702 barrels; whiskey, 45,000 barrels; meats, 28,- 
ooo barrels; grain, 500,000 barrels; merchandise, 74,000 
tons. 1 The extent of east and west-bound traffic is seen 
from the Pennsylvania and New York Central reports in 
1859. The east-bound freight on the Pennsylvania was 
353,164 tons and on the New York Central 570,927 tons. 
The west-bound was 190,705 tons on the former and 
263,392 tons on the latter. 

After the Central West had been settled and thus made 
a source of supply of raw products, as well as a market 
for the finished goods of the East, each seaboard city 
endeavored to secure a through route to the West. 
New York sought its route at first by the Erie Canal 
and Great Lakes ; Philadelphia at first by turnpike, later 
by canals and still later by rail ; Baltimore by turnpike, 
canals, and then by rail, while New Orleans had to rely 
upon improvements in the river and boats. All the early 
roads were short lines, and one of a hundred miles was 
decidedly the exception. The task of consolidating 
these required many years and various devices with 

* Report of Cincinnati, Hamilton and Dayton Railroad Company, 


which much complaint and frequent scandal were con- 
nected. The people of Ohio at first favored for obvious 
reasons these consolidations and furthered them by 
enacting favorable legislation. The first important act 
in reference to consolidations was passed in 1851 and 
permitted any two companies to consolidate by filing 
with the secretary of state the agreement. Any stock- 
holder who opposed such consolidation could be paid par 
for his stock. This law also permitted a road to aid any 
other road in construction work with a view to future con- 
solidation, and in this way many lines were undoubtedly 
completed which otherwise would have failed for want 
of funds. Sometimes a more prosperous road would 
take advantage of a poorer road lying in the way of its 
progress to some desired commercial point by a policy 
of exclusion and of non-intercourse, until the income of 
the weaker road was so reduced as to render it valueless 
to stockholders, a burden to its creditors and inefficient 
in its service. This contest for the Ohio railroads soon 
assumed large proportions, the three chief contestants 
being the New York Central, the Erie, and the Pennsyl- 
vania. The Erie attempted to purchase control of the 
Columbus, Chicago and Indiana Railroad, but the Penn- 
sylvania secured it first, and .then in revenge the Erie 
endeavored to get control of the Pittsburgh, Ft. Wayne 
and Chicago R. R., which was closely affiliated with the 
Pennsylvania. The latter company, however, obtained a 
special act from the legislature of Pennsylvania which 
retained in office three-fourths of the Board of Directors 
of the Ft. Wayne Railroad. The Erie with equal success 
used the New York legislature. In 1869 the railroad 
lobby assembled for the first time in the halls of the Ohio 
legislature. Notwithstanding the clause in the Ohio 
constitution that forbade the legislature to pass any act 


conferring special corporate powers, which it was thought 
would be sufficient to save the state from the disgraces 
of Pennsylvania and New York, a host of bills fathered 
by the railroad lobby was introduced. One permitted 
the lease of any Ohio railroad without any of the restric- 
tions of the previous act, while another forbade the lease 
of any Ohio railroad unless such road would file a sworn 
statement with the auditor of the state showing that it 
was solvent, a condition which was prohibitive in many 
cases, and particularly so in the case that it was designed 
to cover. The New York Central R. R. refused to sell 
tickets or send freight over certain roads friendly to the 
Erie. The Erie placed on Lake Erie a line of boats from 
Cleveland to Dunkirk to compete with the New York 
Central. 1 In addition to the above causes of complaint, 
representatives of various roads began to hold conven- 
tions for fixing rates and deciding on what increase of 
rates should be made when the navigation of the river, 
canals and lakes should close. Expressions of opposi- 
tion to consolidations and rate agreements were not 
lacking : 

The tens of thousands of merchants in the country cannot 
enter into a convention and combine against the railroad. 
The contest is unequal, and will lead to results which will 
demand the attention of the public. In the case of railroads 
we are especially opposed to combinations because we know 
that nine-tenths of the stock in these great corporations is not 
held by the original subscribers, but by speculators in stocks 
who have little claim on public sympathy. If four great com- 
panies can agree upon rates, why not all in the country try? 
The last would be more difficult to effect, but more dangerous 
in principle. 2 

1 Cleveland Herald, Aug. 2, 1858. 
1 Cincinnati Gazette, Sept. 23, 1859. 


The truth is that the majority of the directors in our cor- 
porations are dummies. If the history and inside workings 
of corporations could be exposed not only would the world 
come to the conclusion that corporations have no soul, but 
that all the brains lie in one head. Those who hold stock in 
any railroad at all liable to attack, fear to hold shares, the 
value of which may at any time be held at the mercy of a 
gang: of Wall Street sharpers, who rob friend and foe alike 
without pity and without remorse. 1 

Cincinnati, the chief commercial center of Ohio, was 
unfriendly at first to consolidations but when she realized 
that they were to be an accomplished fact and, that the 
great through lines were passing to the north of her, she 
endeavored to secure connection with the routes to the 

Can our trade with the northwest be sustained while the 
railroads to the north of us carry freight cheaper than the 
Cincinnati roads? We need not tell our merchants that the 
trade which existed not many years ago between Cincinnati 
and Pittsburgh has been largely destroyed, and that the trade 
with the west from Cincinnati in manufactures of iron and 
glassware has been entirely diverted from us by competing 
routes. Chicago supplies Pittsburgh with her manufactures. 2 

The New Orleans trade had been a decreasing one as 
compared with New York, but after the extension of the 
Pennsylvania, the New York Central and other lines 
from Ohio into the regions northwest of Cincinnati, this 
city confined herself largely to the cultivation of the 
southern trade in which she had always predominated 

1 Cleveland Herald, June 22, 1867. This complaint was largely due 
to the fact that a law required a certain proportion of the stockholders 
and directors of Ohio railroads to be residents of the state. 

1 Cincinnati Gazette, March 15, 1861. 


and upon which her real greatness has always rested. 
After the consolidation had progressed to some extent, 
fast freight lines were formed. Other causes leading to 
their formation were the Civil War, which closed southern 
ports to the products of the North except at great risk, 
and the growing demand in Europe for American pro- 
ducts, especially breadstuffs. Owing to the high prices 
and the fear that the opening of the Mississippi would 
cause a part of their traffic to move by way of the river, 
the railroad companies hesitated to build the extra cars 
necessary to carry this produce. Notwithstanding the 
evils connected with the operations of these fast freight 
companies, they rendered, at a time when companies were 
numerous, a valuable service by insuring the continuous 
movement and security of goods, as well as the payment 
of damages that were received in transit. Their agents 
stimulated the traffic. They did not wait for business; 
they went after it ; and it was chiefly the anxiety of these 
agents to secure business which led to favoritism in rates 
and the numerous rate wars. They were the real soldiers 
in the battles of railroad versus railroad and railroad versus 
waterways. Express and sleeping car companies de- 
veloped later. Although there are those who argue that 
all this business should have been done by the railroad 
company, the latter had a sufficient problem in securing 
capital for building, operating and maintaining the rail- 
roads and assuming the risks thereof. Whatever the in- 
tention of the legislature was in first encouraging and 
then discouraging consolidation, the fact is that it went 
on in one form or another. The formation of the through 
lines was not wholly a gain to Ohio, for it brought her 
agricultural industry into competition with that of the 
western states with their cheap and fertile land. In the 
second place although the through lines gave her pro- 


ducers better facilities to market their goods, the pro- 
ducers were brought into more direct competition with 
those of the eastern centers of production in supplying 
the central and western population. Pennsylvania coal 
was carried as a return load at cheap rates, and this 
affected the coal mining and manufacturing industries of 
Ohio. The cheap rates made to western producers of 
grain and provisions affected Ohio agriculture, and lastly, 
the cheap transportation of eastern manufactured goods 
to the West at the time when Ohio was trying to manu- 
facture for the western market made it more difficult for 
her to compete with the East. On the whole, with the 
natural resources, Ohio producers could compete more 
easily with the eastern manufacturers, and as a result 
there was a proportionate decrease in the agricultural 
industry and a great increase in manufacturing and the 
mechanical arts. In the following table a list will be 
found of those consolidations for which it was necessary 
to receive official recognition. The list does not include 
those numerous combinations which came about by a 
purchase of the majority of the capital stock or by agree- 
ments for operation. 1 

1 Files of the record of the Incorporated Companies in the Office of the 
Secretary of State of Ohio, 





dations 1 





i84 c ;-i8s;o. . 






















1870-187";. . 


















1800-180"; . . 










These numerous consolidations in one form or another 
made it possible for the overland routes to compete more 
strongly with the water routes. It is to be noticed that 
the waterways not only held the field at the beginning of 
the contest, but also that the natural conditions were 
decidedly favorable for water transportation in the terri- 
tory which was the chief center of the contest. The 
Great Lakes with the St. Lawrence and Erie Canal 
afforded an eastern outlet, the Ohio and Mississippi 
Rivers a southern one. The projectors of the combina- 
tions realized that if the land routes were to be real 
factors in the carrying trade, they must reach these great 
water routes where trade was already established. Local 
trade was disregarded in favor of the through traffic, and 
although Ohio occupied a central position in this move- 
ment of traffic, she was in no position to protect herself 
except as the water routes on the north and south 
secured at certain seasons a lower rate for her through 
trade. The Ohio railroads in the midst of the period of 

1 By consolidation is meant the uniting of two or more companies 
into one by taking out articles of incorporation as one. 



competition were receiving on fourth-class freight, which 
included wheat, corn, pork, whiskey, iron, etc., about 
one cent per ton mile for the through business, while 
the local charges on the same products were about two 
and one-third cents per ton mile. Through rates could 
not be advanced because the water routes stood ready to 
make a lower rate. In many cases the local rates were 
not exorbitant, but only seemed to be so in comparison 
with the abnormally low through rates. The local roads 
could not afford to refuse to carry the through traffic, 
even if it had been possible for them to do so, for the 
local business would not sustain the road. While the 
through rate often did not equal the cost of moving the 
goods, yet since the road-bed and rolling stock existed, 
almost anything was better than nothing in the period 
in which traffic was developing; moreover, this through 
traffic would be a valuable source of revenue when hap- 
pier times came. The reports of the presidents of Ohio 
railroads during this period abound in regrets at the 
necessity of carrying the through freight at such low 
rates, but they emphasize the importance of sharing in 
the through business. There was introduced in the leg- 
islature of New York in 1860 a bill to compel all rail- 
roads to equalize their tariffs of way and through rates, 
and although intended primarily to protect the Erie 
Canal, the West took much interest in it, since it affected 
its through business. Rate cutting had been practiced 
to such an extent that business was becoming unprofit- 
able. Petitions were circulated to have the Ohio legis- 
lature pass a similar bill. It was, however, discovered 
that the pro-rate principle had been inserted in a former 
law which permitted railways to build bridges over 
canals; but this, like many other railroad laws, had not 
been observed. In fact, conditions during this period 


seemed to make it almost impossible to observe many of 
the transportation laws and principles. One president 
reports that " railroads should offer equal facilities to all 
travelers and for all business to pass over any particular 
line, and if the railroad companies do not voluntarily do 
this, the legislature should compel them to do it." x Yet 
a few months later we find this road engaged with another 
road in a fierce rate war, which violated every principle of 
equality and justice. 

The legislature by charter provision and numerous 
laws sought to protect the canals of the state against 
railroad competition, but whenever the railways came 
into competition with the canals the latter gradually 
secured the business. A general law which superseded 
the former acts provided that 

every railroad that extended to any place in the vicinity of, 
or to a point of intersection with any navigable canals of this 
state or other works of internal improvement belonging to 
this state shall establish a tariff of rates for the transportation 
of merchandise, produce and other property consigned to a 
point of intersection, and it shall be illegal for the railroad to 
charge or receive a higher rate for transporting similar mer- 
chandise, produce, or property over a shorter distance of its 
road, than is charged or received according to such fixed 
tariffs for transporting to and from such places of intersection 
as aforesaid. 3 

However, the railroads paid little attention to these laws. 
The surrounding circumstances of the hour regulated the 
rates. 3 The railways built many elevators in Ohio and 
used their cars on the side tracks to receive the grain. 

1 Report of President of the C. H. & D. R. R., 1865. 

1 Laws of Ohio, 1852. 

s Cf. Report of Ohio Railroad Commissioner, 1868. 



Thus by better organization of their business, by con- 
tinued operation throughout the year, and by greater 
rapidity in transportation, together with minor contrib- 
uting causes, they secured the ascendency over canals. 1 
It was much easier for the railways to secure the traffic 
of the canals than that of the Great Lakes and the Ohio 
and Mississippi Rivers. The Great Lakes were not only 
in immediate proximity to a region which produced large 
quantities of bulky raw farm produce, but the large iron- 
ore deposits of the Lake Superior district also supplied 
another product peculiarly suited for water transporta- 
tion. 3 By 1870 the practicability of railroads as carriers 
of western produce was established. The charges at this 
time were at a point that permitted a profit to the rail- 
road. The increase in the movement of traffic by rail as 
compared with that by water is shown by the wheat and 
flour traffic from Chicago to the seaboard : 

In 1863 wheat from Chicago via Lake was 10,646,552 bushels. 

In 1873 " 

In 1863 flour 
i < 

In 1873 " 

When the Pennsylvania Railroad reached Pittsburgh 
it was for some years largely dependent for its prosperity 
upon the condition of navigation on the Ohio River, 
since this was its only western connection. Low water 
did not so much affect the Baltimore and Ohio, since it 

1 Cf. chapter vii for a more detailed statement of railway and canal 

1 In 1867 the average freight rate from Escanoba to Lake Erie was on 
a ton of iron ore $4.25 in 1870; $2.50 in 1806. 

R. R. 




R. R. 

2,902,953 " 


1,207,345 barrels 

R. R. 




R. R. 



reached the river below Pittsburgh, where low water did 
not so quickly affect navigation. The New York Cen- 
tral reached the Great Lakes at Buffalo. It was, there- 
fore, more necessary for the Pennsylvania to secure 
through connections to the western lakes than for any 
other road except the Erie, and thus it was with this 
road that the contest for the control of Ohio roads was 
most active. 

The Civil War also accelerated the movement of the 
through traffic to the trunk line. Not only was the 
market for provisions to the south affected by the war, 
but the dangers incident to the reaching of the markets 
were also so great, that at the close of the war practi- 
cally all the traffic which had gone down the rivers now 
moved east over the railroads or over the lake route. 
Coal and the cotton traffic of the lower Mississippi were 

However, the cities along the Ohio were unwilling to 
have the river cease to be a transportation agent and be- 
gan an agitation for river improvement, which at the 
present time promises considerable results. The total 
annual value of the Ohio River trade was estimated in 
1873 at $694,000,000, but this was probably overesti- 
mated, for most of the statistics were supplied by those 
commercially interested in the traffic to an investigating 
committee whose report would affect the question of 
national aid for the improvement of the river. 1 When 
the Portland Canal around the falls at Louisville was 
completed, the river trade was materially affected, for 
whereas boats had been limited to a maximum tonnage 
of nine hundred tons, they could now carry seventeen 

1 Cf. Report of Senate Committee on Transportation Routes to the 
Seaboard, 43d Congress, vol. i, passim. 


hundred tons. Freight was carried to New Orleans for 
as low as twelve and a half cents per hundred pounds. 
Coal was moving by towed barges, which had taken the 
place of floated barges by 1860, at a cost of less than one 
cent per ton mile. 1 Notwithstanding the numerous ap- 
propriations by the national government for river im- 
provement and despite the activity of the commercial 
interests of the Ohio Valley, the river trade declined in 
favor of the railroad routes. 

The preponderance in influence of railways in matters 
of transportation together with other evils which appeared 
as the railroads grew in mileage, led to a demand for 
some measure of control over their operation and man- 
agement. The first expressions of this sentiment were 
due to the disappointment of the people at the result of 
their aid to railroads, but this sentiment was not strong 
enough to secure expression in legal enactment. The 
auditor of the state in 1851 gave expression to this 
growing sentiment for control by stating "that there 
is another class of corporations which is rapidly grow- 
ing up and will soon control a large amount of property 
and capital. The railroads are deservedly objects of 
popular favor, but this only requires that greater care 
should be exercised in the adoption and enforcement of 
an effective system for their government and taxation. 2 

When consolidation became more frequent, the appre- 
hension of the people was further increased. 

No one can but notice the propensity now raging for the 
organization of great railway companies. It is to be feared 
that our dangerous inclination towards extremes will lead 
legislatures to favor too much the consolidation of railroad 

1 Report of Chamber of Commerce of Cincinnati, 1876. 
1 Report of Auditor of State, 1851 . 


companies so as to ultimately overshadow the country with 
monopolizing and overbearing- corporations. The legislature 
will find that it will commit a grave error if it does not keep 
the several corporations within as narrow compass as possi- 
ble, where they can be easily influenced by public opinion, 
and where the proximity of the people, the rights and feelings 
of the masses, will receive sympathy, and the interests of the 
local districts will be studied. 1 

The above quotation and numerous others which might 
be given show that some of the people foresaw what was 
to happen later, and, at the same time, they further show 
how firmly the idea of competition was adhered to. The 
numerous accidents were also beginning to be noticed, 
for this was a good point at which to attack railways, 
since tangible evidence of their shortcomings could be 
given. The roads were beginning to be less solicitous 
about satisfying local business and were looking more to 
the through trade. It must be understood, however, that 
all these complaints and criticisms were due primarily to 
the industrial changes and adjustments which were tak- 
ing place. The Western states were being settled, and 
industrial life in Ohio was undergoing a change with the 
friction that is always incident to such changes. 

The decade 1850 to 1860 was one of great activity in 
railroad building, and this activity was due in a great 
part to the dazzling effects of the gold discoveries in 
California and the opening of the region west of the 
Mississippi. The number of railroad employees had in- 
creased from 4831 in 1850 to 35,567 in 1860. The mile- 
age center of railways had moved from near Mauch 
Chunk, Pennsylvania, in 1840, to near Williamsport, 
Pennsylvania, in 1850, and in 1860, it was sixty miles 

1 Cleveland Herald, Aug. 10, 1853. 


south of Mansfield Ohio. 1 The expenditure for railways 
in Ohio during this decade was given as $11,896,351.* 
This intense activity was checked by the panic of 1857, 
which many believed the railways had caused, and a dis- 
position was shown to subject them to greater control. 
Governor Chase in his message of 1857 recommended 
the establishment of a railway commission because 

the railway system had grown to its present magnitude with- 
out system, without general organization, and in some im- 
portant respects without due responsibility. The benefits of 
railroads are such and their safety and prosperity are so 
identified with the safety and prosperity of the people that no 
proper protection or support could be withheld from them, 
while the dangers from mismanagement are so great that no 
reasonable precaution against it should be omitted. 3 

This recommendation was not enacted into law, al- 
though in 1 86 1 a law was passed which regulated the 
interchange of freight and passengers. Any agent who 
refused to accept traffic from another road or diverted it 
was subject to a fine of one hundred dollars or imprison- 
ment for not more than thirty days or both. 4 Governor 
Anderson in his message of 1866 again recommended a 
railway commission and urged 

legislation to protect the lives and limbs, property and other 
rights from the encroachment or neglect of these powerful 

x ln 1870 it had traveled away from the direct line to Cincinnati 
toward Chicago. In 1880 it was thirty miles northwest of Logansport, 
Indiana, and in 1890 it was ninety miles northwest of Chicago. 

* Report of Commissioner of Statistics, 1861. 

s Exec. Doc., 1857; New York had established a commission in 1855, 
and this was used as an argument for Ohio to do likewise. 

4 This law was due to the effects of consolidation and through route 


corporations. The subject of railroads has many and intrinsic 
difficulties: the principle of combination; their unsleeping 
vigilance; their great power of seducing all, from the county 
auditor who taxes them, up to the Congress of the United 
States which ought to regulate them. 1 

In obedience to this growing sentiment a committee 
was appointed by the Senate to investigate the manage- 
ment, charges and workings of railroad, telegraph and 
and express companies. 2 

The report was the first systematic inquiry that had 
been made of the railroad problem, and although it was 
by no means a comprehensive investigation, it was quite 
ample enough to show the urgent need of legislation to 
reform abuses, to protect railroad property, and to main- 
tain the rights of the public. There had been constant 
and very wide discriminations, and although both through 
and local tariffs had been published, these were but a 
mere guide. Whenever the obtaining of business seemed 
to require it the tariffs were not observed. The vigor 
of the competition, and the shrewdness and persist- 
ence of the shipper were the dominant factors in de- 
termining rates. In some cases the charges were not 
even sufficient to pay for unloading the goods. Goods 
were often carried from New York to Cincinnati for less 
than from Columbus to Cincinnati. There were at this 
time four trunk lines from Ohio to the seaboard, two 
from the headwaters of the Ohio river region and two 
from the Lake Erie region. South of Ohio there was 

l Exec. Doc., 1866. 

* A law was passed in the same year which forbade an officer or stock- 
holder of an express or freight company to be an officer of a railroad 
company, and provided a fine of sixty dollars a day for any one who 
acted as an agent of any two of the above companies. 


no railroad connecting the Mississippi Valley with the 
Atlantic until the Charleston and Memphis was reached. 
Ohio was thus an isthmus through which the immense 
volume of rail commerce between the East and the West 
moved most conveniently, and economically. These rail- 
roads competed on widely different terms, for some led 
directly from the principal commercial centers of the 
state, such as the Baltimore and Ohio from Cincinnati 
and the New York Central from Cleveland. Some had 
low grades ; some had permanent traffic arrangements 
with local Ohio railroads and received the through busi- 
ness at less expense ; some had to build connecting lines ; 
others came into direct competition with water routes 
and spent large sums in getting the business away from 
these routes. However, dividends were expected to be 
paid, and security in possession of the local trade led to 
indifference toward its claim and interests. At the same 
time the uncertainty of the possession of the through 
trade produced sensitiveness and constant concessions. 
This condition led the committee to report that 

railroads ought not to be used as charities for the benefit of 
shippers remote from the market. It is wrong to give prefer- 
ence to regular over irregular shippers, for it leads to fav- 
oritism and oppression in the hands of weak, passionate or 
corrupt officers, with no rule to protect the officers or guide 
the public except the rule of real or pretended judgment as to 
the interests of the public. The period of competition has 
been a ruinous contest, producing confusion in railroad 
affairs, trickery and empiricism in their management, and a 
confusion and distrust to be found in no other branch of 

The introduction and improvement of the railroad, es- 
1 Report of the Senate Committee on Railroads, 1867. 


pecially as regards speed, had led to a change in the 
methods of conducting the mercantile business in Ohio. 
For now instead of stocking up for long periods, the 
merchant would buy in small quantities and thus have 
the use of his capital, and also take advantage of favor- 
able changes in the market, since he had quick connec- 
tions with the primary markets in New York, Philadel- 
phia and Baltimore. But so many delays in forwarding 
goods, and damages from shipment resulted, for many of 
the so-called through lines were made up of a number of 
different lines with accidental connections, that these 
merchants with other capitalists and some railway offi- 
cials had organized freight companies which, as has been 
shown, were responsible for many of the evils of which 
complaint was made. These companies issued their own 
bills of lading, kept goods moving and collected dam- 
ages. 1 However much the above conditions needed leg- 
islation, the committee but expressed a general desire, 
when it warned the people against doing anything to in- 
terfere with investments in railways. The people were 
still anxious to secure greater railway development and 
had hesitated about attempting any control for fear the 
injury wrought would be greater than the good re- 
ceived. 3 As the result of the investigations the com- 
mittee recommended legislation on the following points : 
(a.) No greater charge should be permitted for a short 
haul than for a longer one; 

1 During the war the government used considerable of the equipment 
of the Baltimore and Ohio and the Pennsylvania Railroads; in this and 
in many other cases these freight companies were of great value. 

* Cf. Senate Report on Railways, op. cit., 1867. "The state ought to 
deal with indulgent liberality with railroad investments, for they have 
been of incalcuable value to the state in developing its resources, aug- 
menting its population and opening a way to markets." 


(b) Every railroad company should publish its tariffs 
and be prevented from rebating; 

(c) Preference, except for live stock, perishable freight 
and certain other commodities should be prohibited, and 
undue advantages of all kinds whether to classes of 
freight or to individuals should be forbidden; 

(d) Private freight companies should be discouraged 
in favor of companies formed by the railways. 

As a result of this report and of agitation for ten years, 
the law of 1867 provided for the appointment by the 
Governor of a railway commissioner whose powers were : 

(a) To investigate upon complaint or otherwise any viola- 
tion of the railroad laws and prosecute all such violations ; 

(b) To examine all defective tracks, bridges and dangerous 
places, and notify the railroad company of their existence, 
and by a later amendment compel them to make the repairs ; 

(c) To collect statistics on railways and telegraph lines and 
issue a report to the governor for the information of the 
legislature. 1 

The first commissioner did much at a very critical time 
to point the way to more intelligent legislation, for legis- 
lation had followed and not anticipated the wants and 
conditions of the railroad business. No careful record 
had been collected and preserved by which the experi- 
ence of one period might be compared with another. 
The greatest need of the law-making power was, what in 
a large way it is even yet, information derived from ex- 
perience upon which legislation might be based. The 
practice and policy of the railroad were then as now to 
conceal from the public the conditions and workings of 
their roads. The first movements toward the building 
of railways were regarded as private enterprises with 

1 Laws of Ohio, 1867. 


which the public had no right to interfere except in so 
far as it was necessary to give the corporation the right 
of appropriating land, crossing highways and water- 
courses. It required a decade or more to determine the 
cost of building and equipping the first railroad, and by 
that time many other companies had been organized and 
were using every means to secure funds to complete their 
roads. As their numbers increased, competition, jeal- 
ousy and opposition, combined with the disappointment 
of the people at the result of their public and private 
subscriptions, gave character to the legislation, although 
such legislation in Ohio was kept somewhat conservative 
by the great gains to the people from having railroads 
to transport not only state, but also interstate products. 
The first commissioner reports : 

It is undoubtedly for the interests of the people that as 
many lines of railroad as will be necessary for our highest 
development and prosperity be built and maintained in the 
state. We should remove from the statute books all unjust 
and impracticable laws. Much needed legislation has been 
prevented by a fear or anxiety lest more evil than good would 
be done or that wholesome and judicial provisions would be 
coupled with others of so doubtful or prejudicial a character 
as to defeat the desired object. 

He also recommended a maximum rate, but one high 
enough fairly to compensate any company in the state. 
This meant, in actual practice, latitude for the rate wars 
to continue, and hence did not touch the real evil, for 
there was not any considerable complaint that rates were 
too high, but that they were irregular and disproportion- 
ate. 1 

1 Report of Commissioner of Railroads, 1868. "The local shipper 
should not complain if his transportation costs him more than the one 
who lives at the competing point. It is simply the misfortune of his 


The influence of this first commissioner did much to 
prevent extremely radical legislation, although the pecu- 
liar interests of the people of Ohio were a larger factor 
in the prevention. Owing to the general prosperity, the 
development of manufacturing, and the opening of coal 
lands on an extensive scale, the mania of the people for 
internal improvements at public expense again broke out 
in 1871 and resulted in the enactment of the Boesel law. 
This permitted counties, cities, incorporated villages, 
and townships to build, lease and operate railroads. 1 It 
was taken advantage of at once but was declared uncon- 
stitutional soon after its enactment. Consolidations 
were proceeding rapidly, but both on this subject and on 
that of rates the various commissioners of the period 
took a conservative position. " The only certain road to 
cheaper rates is through consolidation in some form 
within proper limits and control, and it is as well to at- 
tempt to dam the Mississippi or St. Lawrence as to try 
to prevent by legislation this union of railway interests," 
an expression of the old principle laid down by the first 
great authority on railroads, Stephenson, but one which 
the people have been slow to learn. 2 

location. These principles apply to every class of business and must be 
controlled by supply and demand and the laws of commerce, and not 
by legislation, provided that all companies are held strictly within a 
fair and maximum rate." 

1 Laws of Ohio, 1871. 

7 Report of Railroad Commissioner, 1872. "The impropriety and 
impracticability of fixing unyielding and inflexible rates on transporta- 
tion by general law applicable to all railroads, or by special law to par- 
ticular railroads or classes of railroads, seem too apparent to need com- 
ment." Report of Railroad Commissioner, 1873. The Baltimore and 
Ohio at this time was hauling coke from Connelsville to Columbus and 
Zanesville in competition with the Pennsylvania. The Hocking Valley 
was carrying iron ore instead of empty cars from Toledo to the grow- 
ing industrial centers of the state, and the quoted arguments of the 
Commissioner strongly appealed to the people. 


There were many industrial centers in Ohio by 1873 
which were benefiting from abnormally low rates, and in 
view of their interests and the fact that Ohio had five 
hundred Granges with a membership of twenty thou- 
sand, the commissioner warns the people " against the 
hasty and inconsiderate legislation of Illinois," and urges 
them to investigate the question carefully, and to collect 
data upon which to base intelligent legislation, for the 
depression which began this year was in danger of caus- 
ing extreme opposition to railways. 

During the succeeding years laws were passed to regu- 
late the hours of employment, to require the use of 
safety devices, to regulate rates, to permit certain local 
governments to build railroads and to tax railroads. 
No act of major importance was passed until the two- 
cent rate law and the act providing for a Railway Com- 
mission in 1906 were enacted. 

The act which established a Railway Commission pro- 
vides for a bipartisan board of three members appointed 
by the governor. The chief powers of the commission 
are as follows: 

(a) to compel the railroad to furnish adequate service; 

(b) to require a schedule of rates to be posted and a 
notice of ten days to be given before any change in 
the schedule is made; 

(c) to require the railway to furnish sufficient cars, or, 
in case of an insufficient number, to make an equal dis- 
tribution among the applicants; 

(d) to require a prompt forwarding and interchange 
of traffic ; 

(e) to investigate complaints formally or informally 
made, or on its own initiative ; 

(f) to fix a reasonable rate with the right of appeal 
from the decision to the courts, but no injunction can 


be issued during the time of the trial and the burden of 
proof must rest upon the plaintiff; 

(g) to inquire into the management and business of 
the company with the right to inspect all books ; 

(h) to investigate all accidents and violations of the 
railroad laws of the state; 

(i) to compel the companies to file full statements of 
their business. 

The railroad is made liable for three times the amount 
of the damages sustained for the violation of any of the 
provisions of this act. 

In summarizing the railway legislation of Ohio, we 
may divide it roughly into three periods. The period 
extending to 1848, during which the legislation was based 
upon the hope of what railroads were to accomplish for 
the state. The people were anxious to secure means of 
transportation and were willing to grant almost any 
terms which the builders asked. They aided railways by 
both public and private subscriptions, but their disap- 
pointment at the results which accrued led to the second 
period, extending from 1848 to 1867, in which the state 
ceased to aid railways. The intense desire for trans- 
portation routes induced the people to aid railways 
through their local governments, but some of the evils 
had become so apparent as to lead to enactment of such 
restrictive legislation as would not seriously hinder the 
development of railroads. This culminated in the estab- 
lishment of the weak commission of 1867, which was not 
followed by any marked restrictive legislation until the 
rate wars and discriminations against local business in 
favor of through traffic led to the attempts at further 
control. The industrial development of the state, and 
particularly the variety of its industries, and its position 
as regards the east and west trade still prevented ex- 


tremely radical legislation. For several years after the 
establishment of the commissions, bills were annually 
introduced either to abolish the office or to curtail the 
work of the commissioners, and as late as 1874 the com- 
missioner complained that these continued attacks im- 
paired the efficiency of the office z and recommended that 
either the powers of the commissioner be strengthened 
or the office be abolished. 2 It was supposed that the 
commissioner would be able to make public such in- 
formation as the investor in railroad securities would 
wish ; but as a matter of fact, one of the last places where 
an intelligent investor would seek for such information 
would be in one of these state reports. There were more 
people then than now who argued that a railroad bore 
much the same relation to the public that any other kind 
of a business did, and that the state should confine its 
activity to the exercise of the police power. Yet an in- 
creasing number were adopting the view that the state 
had created these corporations in order to erect great 
public highways to be operated for the benefit of the 
people, in the safest and most economical manner, and 
that the companies, so-called, were individuals in the 
position of trustees, who had voluntarily invested their 
capital in a property designed for, and held to, the pub- 
lic use with the right to receive no more than a reason- 
able compensation. Many of the railroad officials had 
come to consider railroads as instrumentalities to pro- 
duce dividends, regardless of the industrial and social 
effects upon the people served. The bond between the 

1 In 1874 the legislature refused to make any appropriation for the in- 
spector of bridges, the chief officer under the commissioner. 

'In 1880 the commissioner complains that "in no state has the com- 
missioner been furnished with less power and fewer means to execute 
this power than in Ohio." 


people and the railroads was broken when the projectors 
found that they could not depend upon popular sub- 
scriptions to finance the road ; there was thenceforth a 
strong incentive to emphasize the interests of the capi- 
talists. Water routes had ceased to be transportation 
agencies of any great importance except on the Great 
Lakes, and along the coast. Even these were controlled 
in many cases by the railroads. Discriminations and 
consolidations continued and were believed by many to 
be the real source of the power of the trusts. The popu- 
lar agitation for greater control of railroads arose and in 
Ohio expressed itself in the strong railway commission 
of 1906 and the two-cent law of the same year. 

The beginning of the taxation of railroads in Ohio was 
made by an act of the legislature in 1836, which incor- 
porated the Akron and Pennsylvania Railroad and pro- 
vided that when the dividends of the company exceeded 
six per cent, the legislature might impose a tax. 1 In 
1844 an act referring to the Little Miami Railroad classed 
it with banks, insurance and bridge companies as cor- 
porations subject to taxation. In 1848 the legislature 
passed a law reserving the right to tax all railroad 
companies created under its authority. Railroads had 
seemed such an all-desirable asset for the state to secure 
that it was not thought wise to tax them until they could 
pay dividends. An act of 1851 provided that the com- 
panies should report to the auditor of the state their 
financial condition, and if the dividends exceeded the per 
cent fixed by their charters, when such a limit was in- 
serted, the auditor should draw upon the company for 
six per cent of their dividends, and if such a company 
failed to report or pay its assessment the auditor levied 

1 Laws of Ohio, 1836. 


one per cent on the capital stock. This was secured by 
an action of debt. 1 Railroads were not taxed on their 
general property until 1852, when the railway officials 
were directed to report the value of their property to the 
auditor of each county through which the line passed. 
This self- valuation did not work successfully, and in 1862 
the present plan was adopted. 2 This method makes the 
auditors of the county through which the line passes a 
board of valuation. The right of way is valued as per- 
sonal property. Yet this board cannot see the property, 
and if it did see it the motive power and rolling stock 
could not be accurately valued. The state is therefore 
largely dependent upon the valuation of the railway 

The value of railroads as assessed for taxes was as 
follows : 

In 1853 $8,945,571 

In 1873 84,789,794 

In 1880 77,848,180 

In 1885 90,884,010 

In 1890 101 ,662,221 

In 1895 105,824,592 

In 1900 108,228, 120 

In 1905 138,858,945 3 

Such a system of taxation is far from satisfactory, and 
in actual practice there has often been no fair relation 
between the amount of the tax and the value of the 
property. This is indicated by comparing the following 
table with the preceding one : 

1 This radical law as a matter of fact applied only to those railroads 
which were the chief competitors for canal traffic, and is but another 
expression of the feeling of the canal interests which were then suffer- 
ing very much from railway competition. 

*Laws of Ohio, 1862. 

* Reports of Auditor of State. 


Year Number of miles at close of decade 

1840 36 

1850 299 

1860 2,974 

1870 3,374 

1880 5,154 

1890 7,091 

1900 8,691 

1905 8,922 

In the development of the Ohio railway system the 
commercial centers of the Atlantic seaboard played an 
important role, each claiming that it was the natural 
market for the western trade. The West lent a willing 
ear to each claimant in order to secure the benefits of 
the several markets. New York State had in 1837 spent 
ten millions of dollars on her canals, Pennsylvania twenty 
millions, and two millions had been invested in the Balti- 
more and Ohio railway. But the Erie Canal found enough 
business in western New York to justify its construction, 
and when the Ohio canals were opened, traffic on the Erie 
Canal became so congested that other routes to Eastern 
markets for Western produce were needed. Railroads 
were then planned to the West by New York, Philadel- 
phia, and Baltimore. Philadelphia had been so secure in 
her position as a market for the West, that it seemed 
somewhat presumptuous to her for another city to make 
efforts to secure this trade. Thus we read : 

New York has projected and is actually making in addition 
to her great canal a grand railroad, which is to seize the 
Mississippi by one of its fingers and compel it to be friendly 
to New York. No matter if this railroad costs twenty mil- 
lion dollars, no matter if it makes a communication one 
hundred miles longer than by way of Philadelphia, no matter 
if it is obstructed by snow for months, it is, nevertheless, a 
New York railroad, and on its way west will avoid Phila- 


delphia. Baltimore is also striving- hard to extend her rail- 
road to the Ohio River. The western trade will be satisfied 
if it is furnished with cheap and expeditious communication 
to the Atlantic seaboard, and by supplying- such, these cities 
will reap an advantage, as they will encourage the trade to 
flow east instead of passing- down the natural currents of the 
great western rivers to the Gulf of Mexico. 1 

It was recognized that the natural location of the com- 
mercial centers so far as waterways were concerned, 
would be modified by the locomotive, for in the middle 
of the century the improvement of highways and the 
building of railways had lessened the relative superiority 
of those cities, which had been considered the great 
natural depots of commerce. One of the papers stated : 

When Baltimore and Philadelphia shall have locomotive 
connections with the west by the great central railroad, when 
Charleston, Savannah and other southern cities on the Atlantic 
shall have regular railroad connections with the fertile valleys 
of the Mississippi and Ohio, when Boston and Portland have 
their railroad connections with the St. Lawrence River at 
Montreal, and are united with the great west by a continuous 
line, when all these and many other unnatural routes for the 
western trade will be completed, then will new towns and new 
cities and great commercial depots spring into being, and 
then the direction of western traffic will depend more upon 
locomotive velocity, than the natural course of the sluggish 
currents of rivers and canals. 2 

Many of the commercial interests of the West became 
impatient with the attempts of the canal interests to pre- 
serve the traffic on the waterways by legislative enact- 

1 Commercial List and Philadelphia Price Current quoted in Cin- 
cinnati Gazette, March 12, 1836. 
1 Cincinnati Gazette, Oct. 30, 1849. 


ments. In 1844 a resolution of the Ohio legislature ex- 
pressed this situation, when it asked the state of New 
York to repeal the clause of the charter of the Utica and 
Schenectady Railroad which prohibited this road from 
carrying freight. 1 This compelled the products of the 
West to reach New York either through the New York 
canals or by way of the long southern route, and as a 
result transportation ceased early in the autumn and be- 
gan late in the spring. 

This forced the produce business of the west into the hands 
of speculators and large capitalists, who are able to purchase 
in large quantities and keep on hand during the winter season 
the produce of the west, which at the opening of the canals 
was forced into the market. The glut is followed by a reduc- 
tion of prices in western markets. This restriction further 
imposes upon the western merchants the necessity of purchas- 
ing in the autumn large quantities of goods and bringing them 
on before the close of the canal to the great injury not only of 
our merchants, but especially to our consumers, for the reason 
that of a necessity a large amount of capital must remain idle 
during a large part of the winter season. This causes the loss 
to be partly made up by an increase of the prices to the con- 

When the Baltimore and Ohio, the Pennsylvania, the 
New York Central and the Erie Railroads were being built 
to the West, they did not expect to secure all this trade, 
for New Orleans had been since the opening of the valleys 
an important market ; but the spoiling in transit of large 
quantities of produce brought immediately much of the 

1 This provision had been inserted in the charter of this railroad, 
which was a link in the through overland route to the west, in order to 
protect the traffic of the Erie Canal. 

* Laws of Ohio, 1844. Resolutions of the House. 


grain, flour and provision traffic to the railroad. After 
the Civil War produced its disastrous effects on south- 
bound traffic, the railroads found in 1872 that they had 
carried eighty-three per cent of the grain and provisions 
from the West to a market. The railroad agreements of 
the trunk lines in 1858 made a difference between the 
water and the rail and the all-rail route to the East of 
eight cents per hundred pounds on first and second class 
and five cents per hundred pounds on third and fourth 
class freight. On the Cleveland, Columbus, Cincinnati 
and Indianapolis in 1875 the average price received for 
east-bound freight was .757 cent per ton mile and the 
"line is covered with trains and over-burdened with 
traffic, and while it is impossible to obtain actual cost in 
much of the transportation business, yet this low priced 
traffic cannot be abandoned without imperishing the best 
interests of the Railway." 1 The following table shows 
the increase in tonnage and the rates received for trans- 
porting this traffic eastward to the seaboard : 

Tons moving East Average freight 

through Ohio rate per T. Mile. 

1870 1,673,000,000 1.993 cents. 

1871 1,773,000,000 2.215 " 

1872 2,223,000,000 1.569 " 

1874 3,717,000,000 1.344 " 

1876 3,779,000,000 1.117 " 

1878 4,286,000,000 .961 " 

1880 6,665,000,000 .815 " 

1881 7,609,000,000 .895 " 

1891 11,856,000,000 .682 " 

1907 21,385,000,000 .276 " * 

Not only was there competition among the commer- 
cial centers of the East in building routes to the West, 

1 Fifth Report of the Cleveland, Columbus, Cincinnati & Indianapolis 
R. R. Co. * Reports of Railroad Commissioner. 


but there was also considerable rivalry among Ohio cities 
to secure these routes. 1 Sandusky and Cleveland con- 
tested for the primacy in the northern part of the state, 
but because the latter was nearer Buffalo, the terminus 
of the Erie Canal, and had mineral resources nearby, it 
secured the Ohio Canal as well as the terminus of the 
C. C. C. & I. The fact that Cleveland was in direct line 
from Columbus and Cincinnati also aided her in this last 
case. This city soon began to secure results from her 
railways,* and her development excited the jealousy of 
the metropolis of Ohio, Cincinnati. As a result this city 
began as early as 1835 an agitation for a railway to the 
South which, after more than fifty years of agitation and 
an expenditure of about twenty millions, she secured. 3 
The importance of an overland route to the South was 
realized quite early, as the following indicates : 

The most exciting: subject now before the people in this 
city is the proposed railway to Charleston. The execution of 
this will make Cincinnati the rival of New York by giving; 

1 Cf. Cincinnati Gazette, July 26, 1850. In 1850 the cost of traveling 
by water and rail from St. Louis to Fall River was as follows: from St. 
Louis to Louisville, $7.00; from Louisville to Cincinnati, $2.50; from 
Cincinnati to Buffalo, $10.00; from Buffalo to Oswego, $5.00; from 
Oswego to Albany, $4.25; from Albany to New York, $0.75; from New 
York to Fall River, $4.00. Total from St. Louis to Fall River, $33.50. 

1 Cleveland Herald, December 6, 1858. "Our forest city has been 
waked up this spring with renewed energy, zeal and enterprise. We 
feel the effects of our railroads in the activity they have given to trade. 
Railroads create business; they pick it up all along the road. The 
farmer who lives ten miles from Cleveland gets seventy-five cents for 
his wheat, which in the primary markets is selling for eighty cents." 
Cincinnati Commercial, April 7, 1851. "A new trade has sprung up 
in the line of roads through this place to New York, and one which 
bids to be of importance. The four eastern lines of railroad have agreed 
to put wheat in bags or barrels at the same rates as flour." 

1 Report of Trustees of the Sinking Fund of Cincinnati, 1906. 


her the advantage of the climate for the trade of the west. It 
will free us from the dependence of New Orleans and free the 
south from dependence on New York and New England. 
We shall manufacture in the west all that is now manufactured 
in the east. From the Lakes to Charleston there will be a 
continuous and eternal stream of commerce. 1 

This might not have been an exaggerated prophecy if 
the industrial development of the South could have pro- 
ceeded without the interruption and the destruction 
caused by the Civil War. 2 

Louisville opposed the granting of a charter to a com- 
pany to build this road through Kentucky, since it would 
divert some of the river traffic and with it the transfers, 
delay and storage from which she derived considerable 
revenue. Louisville threatened "to reduce Cincinnati to 
a mere grass plot by taking away all her business except 
that of swine slaying." 3 The people of central Kentucky 
however wanted a market and the bill passed. Louis- 
ville also disputed with Cincinnati and Cleveland for the 
trade of the productive Wabash Valley and to this end 
built a railway into the valley. Cleveland reached the 
valley first by a railroad, and when the Baltimore and 

1 The Western Monthly Magazine, June, 1835. 

1 Cf. Ohio State Journal and Columbus Gazette, December 23, 1835. 
The political and social value of such a railroad was not lost sight of, 
for this was soon after the Nullification trouble with South Carolina. 
"What is now the amount of personal intercourse between the millions 
of American citizens of North Carolina, South Carolina and Georgia 
on the one hand, and Ohio, Indiana, Illinois on the other? Do they 
not live and die in ignorance of each other; and, perhaps, with wrong 
opinions and prejudices which the intercourse of a few years would 
annihilate? The people of the two great valleys would meet, exchange 
their opinions, compare their sentiments, blend their feelings, and 
yield up their political and social enmity." 

* Cincinnati Gazette, Jan. 7, 1836. 


Ohio was extended from Cincinnati into this region, 
Cincinnati was able to retain a part of this trade, which 
she had formerly controlled completely. 1 The building 
of the East and West lines to the north of Cincinnati 
into this region excited her protests for "all these lines 
lie north of us and tend to divert trade and travel from 
us." ' Yet her self-assurance began to return when the 
Baltimore and Ohio reached Cincinnati. This sentiment 
was expressed in the following words : 

Seven hundred miles of new railroad that perfects the direct 
route between the central east and the central west and re- 
stores to its ancient channels the stream of trade and travel 
temporarily diverted to the extreme north is this day publicly 
opened after the expenditure of thirty million dollars. We all 
know that long before there was either steamboat or stage 
route along Lake Erie, emigration and traffic was across the 
mountains from Baltimore and Philadelphia to and through 
Cincinnati to the Mississippi. But just as temporary tracks 
or Ws are made to carry the cars around the mountains dur- 
ing the construction of tunnels, so the east and west has 
turned the Alleghenies by the long circuit of the Lakes, while 
the engineers have been leveling the mountains and filling up 
the valleys in the air line between Baltimore and Cincinnati. 8 

The advantage of distance, however, was over-empha- 
sized, and Cincinnati continued to lose her position of 
leadership, although her volume of trade continued to 

1 Cincinnati Gazette, Dec. 18, 1847. The question of the right of the 
national government to undertake improvements for commercial pur- 
poses was occupying a great amount of attention, and a resolution of 
1847 expressing this right was adopted in the lower house by a vote of 
138 to 54. An analysis of this vote shows that the South contributed 
34 of the negative votes, and the Loco Foco members of the west 10. 

% Ibid., June 14, 1850. 

1 Cincinnati Commercial, Sept. 12, 1851. 


Toledo derived but little benefit from railways until 
after the Civil War, when the rich agricultural section of 
the northwestern part of the state began to produce 
largely. The interior cities, especially those on the direct 
lines between the commercial centers, soon benefited 
from railway development. Columbus became a railway 
center, owing to the fact that it was : (a) The capital of 
the state; (b) on almost a direct line from Cleveland 
to Cincinnati, and from Pittsburgh to Indianapolis ; (c) 
in a rich producing center of raw products and near a 
coal supply. A railroad from Xenia reached Columbus 
in 1850, but it was not until the opening of the Hocking 
Valley R. R. that the city had any importance as an 
industrial center. The first through train on this rail- 
road arrived in Columbus, August 17, 1869, and was 
made up of a coal train of fifteen cars destined for 
Chicago. 1 This was the beginning of that coal trade 
from this valley to Chicago and the lake ports 2 which 
formed the basis of the manufacturing industries in many 
centers of the Middle West. 3 

The present railway system of Ohio is made up of 
9121 miles of main track and a total mileage of 16,123 
miles. There are $119,531,084 of preferred stock and 
$240,127,696 of common stock upon which $11,230,164 
was paid in dividends, or a dividend of 3.12 per cent. 
The bonded indebtedness is $465,810,363. In 1907 the 

1 Ohio State Journal, Aug. 18, 1869. 

3 In 1860 it took two weeks to get a boat load of coal from this valley 
to Columbus, but now it could be secured in one day. 

*The road was extended to Athens in 1870, and the earnings of the 
road in 1871 were $549,000, of which coal contributed $298,000, but this 
was exceeded by that of 1872, when of a total earnings of $846,000, coal 
contributed $298,000. Reports of Hocking Valley Railroad Company, 
1871 and 1872. 


Along the perpendicular line on the left the number of miles is represented. The change 
from total track to main line mileage was made because nowhere can the exact number of 
miles of main line before 1880 be found. 


cost of equipment was reported as $79,018,216, and the 
cost of the road at $773.129,037, which made a total cost 
per mile of $93,430.00. The total earnings from all 
sources in 1907 were $153,901,607, an increase over 1906 
of $15,190,037. Passenger earning increased $1,161,728, 
in 1907, which with the lower fare collected under the two- 
cent law then in operation meant a decided increase in 
the number traveling, for it would hardly be reasonable 
to explain this on the ground of an increase in the num- 
ber of trips. Again, statistics show that the amount re- 
ceived per passenger mile in 1907 was the same as in 
1906, while the passenger earnings per mile were $3325, 
an increase per mile of $128.40. The total number of 
passengers transported in 1907 was 37,069,582, as com- 
pared with 36,666,206 in 1966. The average distance 
that each was carried was 34.69 miles, an increase of 7.77 
miles over 1906, but the average amount received from 
each customer was three and one hundredths cents less 
than in 1906. Extreme care should be used, however, 
in making any deductions from the above statistics as to 
the workings of the two-cent law, for these statistics are 
for only one year and a very prosperous year on the 
whole. Nor do they give any reference to the earnings 
of particular lines, where the injustice, if any resulted, 
would appear most clearly. Freight earnings were 77.89 
per cent of the total earnings. The operating expenses 
were $106,294,441 and were divided as follows : 

19.13 per cent, for maintenance of way and structure. 
23.87 per cent, for maintenance of equipment. 
54.30 per cent, for operating expenses. 
2.70 per cent, for general expenses. 

Taxes were paid to the amount of $4,338,510 on general 


property, and $1,539,016 in excise taxes, the total of 
which represented 2.81 per cent of the total earnings of 
the road. The state has collected in excise taxes since 
the law was enacted in 1895, $9>87,352. The following 
table shows how expenditures were divided : 

65.47 P er cent, for operating expenses. 
21.77 P er cent, for fixed charges. 

5.50 per cent, for rents. 

4.45 per cent, for permanent improvements. 

2.81 per cent, for taxes. 

The average distance that freight was hauled was 
105.92 miles, the average number of tons per loaded 
car was 23.43 tons and the average number of tons per 
load train was 401.47 tons. On the following roads the 
passenger receipts in Ohio exceeded $1,000,000: 

Pennsylvania System $4,000,000 l 

Baltimore and Ohio 3,333,ooo 

Lake Shore and Michigan Southern 2,750,000 

Pittsburgh, Cincinnati, Chicago & St. Louis.. 2,500,000 

Cleveland, Cincinnati, Chicago & St. Louis... 2,250,000 

Erie (N. Y. Pan) 1,133,000 

Cincinnati, Hamilton & Dayton 1,166,000 

The table on the following page represents in order 
of importance the characteristics of the freight traffic of 
the leading roads. 3 

1 Figures are given in round numbers. 

'Statistics for these and the preceding tables are from the Report of 
the Railroad Commission, 1907. 







Iron Ore 

B. & O. 1 

Erie. 8 


Penn. 5 


Lake Shore 
&Mich. So. 1 

N. Y., Chi- 
cago & St. 
Louis. 2 

Lake Shore 
& Mich. So.* 

B. & O. 6 

B. &O. 

Penn. 1 

P. C. C. &. 
St. Louis.' 

B. & O. 4 

Lake Shore 
& Mich. So.' 


C. C. C. & 
St. Louis. 1 



Erie. 6 

Lorain & 
(B. &0.). 

P. C. C. & 
St. Louis. 1 

B. & 0.' 

& Ohio 
Central. 4 

Norfolk & 
Western. 6 

Wheeling & 
Lake Erie. 

N. Y., C. & 
St. Louis. 1 

Wheeling & 
Lake Erie. 4 

Lorain & 
(B. &O.). 4 

Norfolk & 
Western. 4 

1 Each of these roads carried over 400,000 tons. 

*Each of these roads carried over 170,000 tons, and one other carried 
as much as 50,000 tons. 

'This road carried three times as much as any other railway. 
4 Each of which carried over 3,500,000 tons. 
'This road carried twice as much as any other railway. 
'Each of these roads carried 1,000,000 tons or over. 


THE improvement of the Ohio River is a subject which 
has been agitated for over a century, although the engi- 
neering difficulties are not great and the work does not 
call for an extraordinary outlay of money. The failure 
of this continued agitation to accomplish its purpose has 
been due largely to the fact that the national govern- 
ment has not, until very recently, had any systematic plans 
for the improvement of rivers and harbors. The hap- 
hazard appropriations which were made for the improve- 
ment of the Ohio River failed to keep the river an effi- 
cient means of transportation, for commercial demands 
made upon it increased rapidly. The river has its head- 
waters in the Appalachian mountains, where the rapid 
melting of the snow, the heavy rainfall and great fall of 
the streams emptying into the Ohio cause very sudden 
rises. Many logs and debris are carried down the stream 
by the swift currents of the flood-stage, and navigation 
at such times is exceedingly dangerous. During the 
period of a thaw, the floating ice is a source of much 
danger, and, during the dry season, the numerous sand- 
bars cause great delay. Thus for a great part of the 
year the Ohio River was not a satisfactory commercial 
waterway. In addition to all these obstacles to naviga- 
tion the falls of the river at Louisville seriously interfered 
with navigation for many years, although this single 
obstacle was not so great as the collective ones of snags, 
208 [208 


logs, rocks, bars and islands. The agitation for the re- 
moval of these obstructions was begun early but it was 
long in securing any results. It was argued that the re- 
moval of the bars should not be attempted, since they 
were the natural dams that prevented an excessive lower- 
ing of the water during the dry season. These bars 
made a series of pools in the Ohio River which were 
navigable for local purposes, however difficult it might 
be to carry on the through river traffic. Those who be- 
lieved in the retention of the bars favored the construc- 
tion of wing dams which, while retaining the water, 
would at the same time make a center channel for 
through river navigation. The bars shifted from season 
to season, and even when removed would often reappear 
after a freshet. Yet another class contended for making 
the river a slack-water stream by the construction of a 
series of locks and dams. Col. Long, an engineer in 
the employment of the national government, reported 
adversely on this plan in the following words : " By the 
introduction of locks and dams the natural navigation 
will be destroyed except during the time of high waters, 
when the boats could pass over the dams." 1 The dams, 
he thought, would destroy the flat boat trade, which at 
that time was very important. The people at large were 
urged to raise funds by subscription for the improve- 
ment of the rivers and then to secure aid through their 
representatives from the state and the national govern- 
ments. The Navigator urged upon Pennsylvania the 
necessity of opening the Ohio to navigation because the 
Cumberland Road would draw the trade to the south of 
Pennsylvania, while on the other hand, the people of 

* Report on Internal Commerce of United States, House of Repre- 
sentatives, 1884. 


New York were agitating the building of roads and 
canals which would tend to direct the trade to the 
north. 1 It was proposed that a turnpike be constructed 
from Harrisburg to Pittsburgh and that the Ohio River 
be improved. Pennsylvania might control by these means 
the great highway to the West and secure the profits of 
the Western trade. In 1820 the Pennsylvania legislature 
did make an appropriation of $15,000 for the improve- 
ment of the Ohio River, but shortly thereafter the Erie 
Canal was completed, and Philadelphia lost in a large 
measure her Western trade to New York. After 1825 
the people of Pennsylvania did not interest themselves 
so much in the improvement of the Ohio River, but 
attempted to recover the trade by building a railway to 
the West. 

At Louisville a portage around the falls of two and a 
half miles to Shippingsport was used, until a canal from 
Louisville to Portland was constructed. The national 
government subscribed $235,000 of the $1,000,000 stock 
for its construction. Congress, at the session of 1824, 
appropriated $75,000 for the removal of sand-bars and 
snags in the Ohio and Mississippi Rivers and at various 
times appropriated other sums for similar purposes; for 
the losses to shipping on account of these obstructions 
to navigation were enormous, amounting, between the 
years 1822 and 1827, to $1,362,500. In 1819 the report 
of a commission appointed by the states bordering on 
the Ohio River to inquire into means of improving the 
navigation of the river was sent to the governors of the 
states, and, while the investigation was not made by 
engineers, the report contained much valuable informa- 
tion as to the state of trade and industry in the Ohio 

1 The Navigator, Pittsburgh, 1812. 


Valley. 1 The depth of water for purposes of navigation 
naturally divided the river into three stages, viz.: New 
Orleans to the mouth of the Ohio, from this point to 
Louisville, and from Louisville to Pittsburgh. The com- 
missioners could not estimate the cost of removing bars, 
snags and rocks, but they thought that this could be 
done between Pittsburgh and Louisville for less than the 
average annual loss to shipping. They marvelled at the 
fact that four states should hesitate to undertake the 
clearing of the Ohio River of obstructions, when New 
York alone was building a canal across the length of the 
state. The commissioners further urged that the James 
and the Ohio Rivers should be connected, and the Kana- 
wha river be improved in order to secure a cheaper supply 
of salt, which, on account of the growing stock industry in 
Kentucky and Ohio, was in greater demand. The loss of 
property due to the obstacles in the Ohio was great; 
vessels were locked up for want of sufficient depth of 
water; many boats were on bars, while the whole region 
had a vast amount of products waiting to be transported 
to market. Notwithstanding all these facts the Ohio 
Senate by resolution declared that it was not expedient 
at that time to make any appropriation for river im- 
provement. 3 The state of Indiana about this time took 
the then common method of raising funds by authorizing 
a lottery for the purpose of building a canal around the 
falls at Louisville. Subscriptions to this lottery were 
freely made by the people 3 of Ohio, until Kentucky 
entered the field a few years later and asked for sub- 
scriptions for the same purpose. Disputes then arose 
as to the respective merits of the two routes. Investi- 

1 Liberty Hall and Cincinnati Gazette, June 24, 1820. 

1 Senate Doc., 1820. 

3 Liberty Hall and Cincinnati Gazette, Oct. 27, 1819. 


gating commissions were appointed ; some reporting in 
favor of one route, some in favor of another, until no 
one felt certain which was the better route. The people 
of Ohio accused the people of Louisville of attempting 
to prevent any canal from being built in order to secure 
profits incident to the delay of shipping and the trans- 
fer of goods around the falls. While the arguments 
and investigations were continuing, shipping in the 
meantime was suffering great loss and delay at Louis- 
ville. Finally the national government gave aid, and the 
Portland Canal was completed in 1828. 

Cincinnati during these years was growing rapidly but 
was suffering greatly from inadequate transportation 
facilities. Projects of many kinds were advanced for the 
relief of the city. A Pittsburgh editor called it the city 
of projects and affirmed that one citizen could not meet 
another on the street without having handed to him a 
pencil and paper with the request that he subscribe to 
the stock of some projected improvement company. By 
1830 the railroad had appeared and it offered such seem- 
ingly superior advantages to water transportation, that 
the thoughts and efforts of the people were directed 
to securing railroads. The interests demanding river 
improvements became less insistent, and it was easy for 
the national government to continue its careless and un- 
systematic plan of expenditures for internal waterways. 
In reference to the improvement of the smaller rivers, the 
state legislature in 1807 authorized a lottery for the im- 
provement of the Cuyahoga and Muskingum Rivers, and 
commissioners were appointed in the same year to raise 
by lottery $12,250 for securing the banks of the Scioto 
River. 1 After the war of 1812 numerous acts of the 

1 Laws of Ohio, 1807. 


legislature were passed which referred to the navigation 
of the state rivers ; for Ohio entered upon a period of 
great prosperity about 1815. Numerous Navigation 
Boards were appointed, which consisted of one repre- 
sentative from each county through which a river flowed. 
These boards were granted large powers by the legisla- 
ture over the improvement and the commerce of the river. 
Among the chief obstacles to the navigation of the rivers 
were the many small dams which had been built for the 
use of the mills. So long as only small boats were used 
on the river, and so long as products were taken to 
market only when the rivers were high, these dams did 
not interfere to any appreciable extent with navigation ; 
but when production became greater a demand arose 
for the removal of these hindrances to the continuous 
navigation of the rivers. These boards could remove any 
artificial obstruction or compel the owner of dams to re- 
move them, or give bond to remove them within a speci- 
fied time. 1 Acts were passed in 1808 requiring the owner 
of any mill dam to construct a lock or slope that would 
permit the safe passage of boats or crafts. 9 The mill 
owners, however, disregarded this act in many cases ; for 
mills were so valuable to a community that, so long as 
they did not seriously interfere with navigation, the 
people did not object. There was thus a conflict of in- 
dustrial and commercial interests, and, when the com- 
mercial needs became more important than the industrial, 
that is to say, when the possible production of the region 
was seriously limited by these commercial obstructions, 
the dams were removed. In the early history of the 
state all the larger rivers and many of the smaller and 
now insignificant streams were declared by the legisla- 

1 Laws of Ohio, 1816. * Ibid., 1808. 


ture navigable, although as the importance of these 
smaller streams declined they were taken out of the class 
of navigable streams. These small streams, however, 
continued to be of great value to the people of the state 
during the time of high waters, and as late as 1816 
the Adventurer, a seventy-five foot keel boat with a 
burden of sixteen tons, sailed down the little Walnut, an 
insignificant stream in the central part of the state, 
thence into the Scioto, down the Ohio, and up the Miss- 
issippi and the Missouri to a point in the present state 
of Missouri.' What occurred in this case happened in 
many other sections of the state, since the rivers in flood 
time afforded an easy and inexpensive means of transport- 
ing goods and persons. Governor Worthington, in his 
message of 1816, pointed out the necessity of improving 
the internal waterways of the state, " for roads and water- 
ways determined the extent of the production of the 
state, since they solved the problem of the disposal of the 
surplus products." 3 The Governor suggested that a 
special tax for the improvement of navigable streams be 
levied on the people of those counties through which the 
streams passed, since he believed that the people along 
the stream derived the principal advantages from the 
rivers. This was largely true at this time, since the 
rivers were used chiefly for the transportation of those 
products which were raised by the people living in the 
valleys. There was no great number of improved high- 
ways, which enabled the distant producer to raise pro- 
ducts for the general market. 

The absence of bridges was a serious hindrance to the 
early producers, and those who undertook the building 

^Intelligencer, May 30, 1816. 
1 Senate Doc., 1816. 


of bridges were considered as the ancient bridge builders 
of Rome, public benefactors. Liberal inducements were 
made to private individuals who would agree to under- 
take this work. The first important bridge in the state 
was one across Will's Creek, in the present county of 
Guernsey; but by 1811 r we find the legislature empower- 
ing private individuals to construct toll bridges across the 
Muskingum, Hocking and Scioto rivers, and by 1816 
Ohio gave her permission to construct a toll bridge 
across the Ohio river at Wheeling. Careful provision 
was always made in these acts for the protection of the 
people ; the toll was fixed for different kinds of travel ; 
rates were ordered posted ; provision was usually made 
for purchase by the county, and the legislature always 
reserved the right to change the rate of toll at the close 
of three or five year periods. Gradually these bridges 
were acquired by the counties and made free. There was 
generally strong competition between the localities for 
the placing of the bridges, but the very fact that they 
were constructed by private individuals was assurance 
that their location would be at the point of greatest 
traffic, since the returns to the builders depended directly 
upon the amount of traffic. 

Little national aid for the improvement of inland 
streams and harbors was extended in the first thirty 
years of the national government. The right of the 
general government to undertake internal improvement 
for purely commercial purposes was denied by many, and 
when appropriations were made, they were justified under 
the military and post-road powers of the national gov- 
ernment. However, the Western states insisted that Con- 
gress had this power, and, when national offices were to 

l Laws of Ohio, 1811. 


be filled, one of the first questions asked concerning a 
candidate was as to his position on the question of inter- 
nal improvement by the national government. As the 
settlement and production of the West became greater, 
the question of transportation facilities became pressing, 
and aid was sought from the national government to 
deepen channels, dredge harbors, construct light-houses, 
breakwaters and piers. The West by 1852 argued that 
the commerce of that region amounted to more than the 
foreign commerce of the country, and it was therefore 
worthy of greater consideration. Thus we read : 

The poor laborer, the industrious mechanic, the farmer 
more especially, are all subjected to a great loss by the un- 
pardonable neglect of the national government to appropriate 
money to improve navigation. The rate of transportation of 
goods to the west is increased, for the more difficult and dan- 
gerous transportation is, the higher are the rates of insurance 
and freights. The losses of the merchants and traders are 
great from delay and disappointment in receiving their orders. 
The improvement of the western rivers and harbors would 
attract capital and develop industries. 1 

The following table shows the amounts appropriated 
by the national government for the various rivers and 
harbors from the beginning of the government until the 
present time. 

1 Cincinnati Commercial, Oct. 3, 1851. 


Ohio River? 

Before 1830 $233,500.00 

1830 to 1840 180,000.00 

1840 to 1850 107,131.01 

1850 to 1860 95,000.00 

1860 to 1870 758,200.00 

1870 to 1880 4,660,609.77 

l88o to 1890 3,737.500.00 

1890 to 1900 6,221,678.82 

1900 to 1907 6,615,796.95 

Total $21,609,416.55 

Cleveland Harbor. 

Before 1830 $28,965.56 

1830 to 1840 100,447.59 

1840 to 1850 , 25,000.00 

1850 to 1860 30,145.00 

1860 to 1870 130,186.00 

1870 to 1880 464,500.00 

1880 to 1890 743,750.00 

1890 to 1900 1 ,424,000.00 

1900 to 1907 i ,805,000.00 

Total $4,851,994.15 


Before 1830 

1830 to 1860 

1860 to 1870 $i 19,700.00 

1870 to 1880 482,000.00 

1880 to 1890 607,500.00 

1890 to 1900 474,250.00 

1900 to 1907 494,250.00 

Total $2,177,700.00 

1 House Doc., vol. 92, 57th congress, 2d session, 1902-03. Also 
U. S. Statutes at Large, 59th congress, 1905-07, vol. 34, pt. i. Ibid., 
58th congress, 1903-05, vol. 33, pt. i. 


All Other Lake Ports. 

Before 1830 $103,584.93 

1830 to 1840 238,264.93 

1840 to 1850 40,000.00 

1850 to 1860 60,852.29 

1860 to 1870 411,312.51 

1870 to 1880 574,900.00 

1880 to 1890 545,250.00 

1890 to 1900 1,305,449.10 

1900101907 2,966,700.00 

Total $6,246,313.76 

Total for rivers and harbors in Ohio since 

1830 $32,394,324.56 

Total Appropriation in Order of Amount front 1826 to 1907 for Ohio 
Rivers and Harbors. 

Ohio River $21,609,416.55 

Cleveland Harbor 4,851,094.15 

Toledo 2,177,700.00 

Muskingum River 1 ,690, 102.94 

Sandusky 1,340,192.00 

Ashtabula 1,281,269.31 

Fairport 951,107.71 

Conneaut 617,697.59 

Huron Harbor 518,773.71 

Vermillion 163,277.55 

Black River and Lorain Harbor 161,000.00 

Port Clinton 102,000.00 

Rocky River 39,000.00 

Cuningham Creek 19,781.12 

Total $35,523,312.63 

The River and Harbor Appropriation Bill was for many 
years a source of accusations of fraud, for no systematic 
plan for the improvement of rivers and harbors was de- 
vised, and hence each congressman attempted to get the 
largest possible appropriation for his district. Those 
congressmen whose districts really needed appropria- 
tions were compelled to support the appropriation for 


other districts which did not need them, in order to get 
the votes of these congressmen, and thus it resulted that 
millions of dollars were appropriated from which very 
little commercial value was derived. 1 Happily a new era 
has arrived, and now there is a systematic plan for the 
improvement of rivers and harbors that promises in 
time to make the commercial facilities of our rivers and 
harbors important factors in the future industrial de- 
velopment of the country. 2 

'In many cases these appropriations were said to form the small 
change of political party financiering. 

1 Cf. Moody 's Magazine, vol. 5, No. i, for a fuller statement, by the 
writer, of this phase of the subject. The leaders of this systematic work 
for the improvement of rivers and harbors have been Congressmen 
Ransdell, of Louisiana, and Burton, of Ohio. 



THE year 1851 marks a dividing point in the develop- 
ment of highways in Ohio. In that year a new consti- 
tution was adopted that established a different relation 
between the state government and the highway construc- 
tion, although before this date the state had ceased 
officially to subscribe to the stock of turnpike companies. 1 
Local governments henceforth became more active in 
road-building, although, for more than twenty-five years 
after 1850, private companies continued to construct 
roads. In accordance with the policy followed for 
several years before 1850 and in harmony with the pro- 
visions of the new constitution, the legislature passed a 
general act for the government of turnpike and plank 
road companies. The chief provisions of this law were 
as follows : 

(a) Any five persons could incorporate such a com- 

(b) the road must be 60 feet wide with 16 feet covered 
with stone, gravel or wood and with no ascent of over 5 ; 

(c) no toll gate could be erected within certain dis- 
tances of incorporated towns and villages ; 

(d) companies must erect mile stones along their road 
and post their rates for public inspection ; 

1 Cf. chap. 9 for the specific changes made by the constitution. 

220 [220 


(e) a fine of twenty-five dollars was fixed for any vio- 
lation of the toll laws. If any company failed for five 
days to keep its road in repair, any person could com- 
plain to the Justice of the Peace, who was required to 
appoint viewers upon whose report it was decided 
whether the right to collect toll between the gates where 
the repairs were needed should be continued. 1 

It will be observed that the above terms tended to 
hasten the transfer of the turnpikes from private to pub- 
lic control, and by 1870 public construction had become 
very common. Many of the toll roads were beginning 
to wear out, and opportunity for complaint was frequent. 
An act of 1853 regulated the public construction of high- 
ways just as the above act governed their private con- 
struction.* This act was comprehensive in its terms and 
provided the manner of laying out, of opening and of 
vacating all public roads, including the township roads, 
which previous to this time had been of little conse- 
quence. The extent of private highways is seen from 
the Auditor's Report of 1853, which for purposes of 
taxation valued turnpikes, plank roads and bridges at 
$919,496. Of this total valuation turnpikes comprised 
$474,240, plank roads $302,939 and bridges $142,317. 
These were distributed among the counties in the fol- 
lowing order of importance : 

l Laws of Ohio, 1852. *Ibid., 1853. 


Plank Roads 





Mu skin gum. 














As might have been expected, roads were most numerous 
in those counties which either had large cities or were 
near centers of growing industrial importance. It will 
also be observed that plank roads were practically con- 
fined to the Lake region ; for it was in Canada that plank 
roads originated, and from this region and from Michi- 
gan a cheap supply of lumber was secured for their 
construction, 1 

In 1854 the state held $1,853,365.21 of stock in turn- 
pike companies. 3 The Sinking Fund Commissioners 
were authorized to sell it, but, as the sale could not then 
be satisfactorily made, these commissioners were author- 
ized in 1865 to sell it for what they deemed its actual 
value. 3 In 1854 county commissioners and township 

1 The general absence of gravel in many sections also helps to explain 
the location of Plank Roads, just as the numerous turnpikes around 
Cincinnati and Columbus are explained by the presence of gravel. 

* Report of Auditor, 1854. 

1 Laws of Ohio, 1854 and 1865. 


trustees were authorized to levy a special tax for a road 
and bridge fund, and in 1857 an act was passed, and 
amended in 1861, which provided an easy method of 
transferring private turnpikes and plank roads to 
county commissioners. This movement to make roads 
free public highways continued, and by 1885 the transfer 
had in most cases been accomplished, although a few toll 
roads are yet found in Ohio. Whereas in 1866 there 
were 2539 miles of toll roads in Ohio, in 1873 there 
were only 1502 miles. Free turnpikes had increased 
from 1897 miles in 1869 to 4327 miles in 1873.' The act 
of 1865 which increased the powers of the local officials to 
acquire and construct highways marks the real beginning 
of free public roads on an extensive scale, just as the act 
of 1817 marked the beginning of the era of private turn- 
pike construction. This act of 1865 was frequently 
amended, as in 1867 when the county commissioners 
were authorized to levy additional assessments on the 
adjoining land until the road was completed, and in 1870 
when the special road and bridge fund levy was increased. 
In general, the legislation was getting away from the 
narrow theory that a highway was to be constructed by 
the abutting property owners and was taking the view 
that the township and county might well be regarded 
as the transportation unit on which costs should be 
assessed. 3 

The long period of private construction which ex- 
tended from 1817 to about 1870 did much to secure 
highways for the people in the only possible way, since 

1 Reports of Auditor, 1869 and 1873. 

'County commissioners were authorized to issue bonds in 1876 to pay 
for the turnpikes purchased from the private companies. These private 
turnpikes were in most cases well constructed, and even to-day are in 
many counties the best roads. 


this policy assessed the cost upon the traveling public 
and the moving freight. With the excellent laws gov- 
erning the operation of private turnpike companies, it 
was doubtless a better way to secure roads than to at- 
tempt to secure them by the general property tax. The 
toll was an ability tax, equitably distributed, and the cost 
of these roads, thus placed on those best able to bear 
the charge, aided in the industrial development of the 
state. This method of securing roads also did much to 
supply bridges which for many years were constructed 
with private capital, sometimes supplied by the turnpike 
company, but often furnished by a separate company. 
If the few bridges which the public were willing and able 
to build in the early period had been a matter for official 
or popular decision, .great difficulty would have been ex- 
perienced in determining their location. When these 
bridges were built by private capital, business considera- 
tions alone entered into the question, and consequently 
the bridges were located at the points of maximum traffic. 
There is no better index of the development of the region 
than that of the change from fords to ferries, from fer- 
ries to wooden bridges and from wooden bridges to iron 
bridges. In colonial North America there was not to be 
found a bridge of any considerable importance. They 
appeared as soon as population increased, and in time 
bridge-building both as a science and as an art was far in 
advance of highway construction. This was due to the fact 
that bridges had to keep pace with the rapid development 
in railway construction and operation. If the progress of 
bridge-building had been measured by that of highways, 
we should to-day still be using the wooden bridge. It is 
to be noted also that in all the early laws, which were 
almost invariably passed to fix the rate of ferriage, no 
mention is made of a charge for wagons; their use as a 


means of transportation was delayed until the regions 
had been settled for some time. 1 Bridges in the West 
were contemporaneous with the privately constructed 
turnpikes, and while the excellent stone bridges of the 
National Road served in a way as models, most of the 
bridges were built for many years of wood. When the 
railways began to use heavier rolling stock, iron bridges 
took the place of the wooden ones, but the latter con- 
tinued in use and are yet found on many of the highways 
of Ohio. 

Since 1870 so much special legislation has been enacted 
empowering this or that board of county commissioners 
or township trustees to purchase a toll road, to levy a 
certain road or bridge tax, to divide the district into 
special road districts, to appoint road superintendents, 
to transfer the care of the roads to the county commis- 
sioners, that at present in many cases no one is quite 
certain even after a careful investigation what the road 
law really is. The legislation of the whole period has 
been based on the theory that each community should be 
permitted to do what it pleased in reference to construct- 
ing and repairing its highways. The year 1892 may be 
taken as marking the beginning of the present period of 
agitation for improved highways. The Governor in his 
message of this year 2 called the attention of the Legisla- 
ture to this subject, and in response to his recommenda- 
tion the Legislature empowered him to appoint a Good 
Roads Commission. 3 In the three ways of improving 
transportation, viz., improvement of the way, improve- 
ment of the motive power, and improvement of the 

1 United States Census Reports. There were in Ohio in 1840 only 
13,321 wagons and carriages reported; in 1850,95,000; in 1860, 270,000, 
and in 1870, 800,000. 

1 Exec. Doc., 1892. * Laws of Ohio, 1892. 


vehicle, little had been done during the preceding fifty 
years to reduce the cost of transportation over highways. 
The vehicle had been improved, but there had been very 
little improvement in the way and practically none in the 
motive power, and the increased cost of labor had in part 
counteracted the improvement made in the vehicle. At 
a cost of twenty-five cents per ton-mile there can be no 
competition with railways except for very short distances, 
and the prevalence of the interurbans has materially re- 
duced this distance. The present agitation for improved 
highways is one for good roads all over the particular 
area and not, as it was in the early period, an agitation 
for great thoroughfares through the state or between 
certain centers. The people of Franklin County, with 
Columbus as the industrial center, do not, in 1908, want, 
as they did in 1820, a road to the Lakes or to the Ohio 
River, but they demand improved roads for all the in- 
habitants of Franklin County. The appointment of the 
Highway Commission in 1892 was followed by many 
state and local Good Roads Meetings 'and resulted in the 
establishment of a State Highway Commission in 1900 
with a commissioner appointed by the Governor. 1 The 
duties of this commissioner are to instruct, assist and co- 
operate in the building and improvement of the public 
roads, under the direction of the highway commissioner, 
in such counties and townships of the state of Ohio as 
shall comply with the provisions of this act. The high- 
way commissioner may make inquiries in regard to 
systems of road-building and management throughout 
the United States, and make investigations and experi- 
ments in regard to the best methods of road-making and 

l The commissioner must be a competent engineer. He is appointed 
for a term of four years. 


the best kinds of road material, and investigate the 
chemical and physical character of road materials. He 
has authority to prepare, publish and distribute bulletins 
and reports on the subject of road improvement. The 
county commissioners or the township trustees may 
apply for state aid in building roads, and, after an investi- 
gation by the state commissioner, the route is mapped 
and the costs estimated under his direction. The county 
commissioners then vote to adopt or to reject the pro- 
posed improvement. The cost is divided as follows : fifty 
per cent upon the state, twenty-five per cent upon the 
county, ten per cent upon the township and fifteen per 
cent upon the land owners along the route. 1 Any turn- 
pike may be reconstructed under this act, but, in all cases, 
a competent engineer must be employed to survey and 
plan the road. This supplies the one requisite, which 
has been absent in most cases in past road-building and 
which has been more responsible than any one other 
thing for bad road building. The roads thus construc- 
ted are called state highways but are to be kept in re- 
pair by the local governments. 

The present roads in Ohio are classified as state, county 
and township roads. State roads are those originally 
built by the state, such as those from the Three Per 
Cent Fund and those of later construction, but in either 
case they are kept in repair by the local governments. 2 

1 Laws of Ohio, 1902, 1904, 1906 and 1908. It will be observed that 
the tendency is to recognize the general benefit of highways, and hence 
to assess a less percentage of the cost upon the abutting property owners. 

1 In addition to the Three Per Cent Fund from the national govern- 
ment, public lands were given in specific cases for the construction of 
roads. The Maumee Road Lands, averaging two miles in width, lay 
on each side of a road extending from the Maumee river at Perrysburg 
to the western limit of the Western Reserve, and included about 60,000 
acres. These lands were originally granted by the Indians in 1808 to 


County toads are those constructed or purchased by the 
county, while township roads are those opened under 
the authority of the township trustees. 

Roads may be also classified as turnpikes, one-mile, 
two-Mile and three-mile assessment pikes and town- 
ship roads. A general tax may be levied upon vote of 
the people by the county commissioners for turnpike 
construction. This plan does not entail any higher as- 
sessment on the abutting property owners whereas the 
construction of one, two and three-mile assessment pikes 
always does. A special levy is made in most townships 
for road purposes but in some cases all the roads are 
under the charge of the county commissioners. It is 
quite impossible to make any general statement that 
will answer the question of the manner in which roads 
in Ohio are kept in repair. That this is so results from 
two facts. In the first place, the state has such a variety 
of soils and materials for road building, and there is such 
a difference in the character of the industrial life in dif- 
ferent sections, that no one law would be satisfactory to 
all sections. In the second place, many different agencies 
constructed the roads, and laws which were enacted to 
suit the work of each agency tended to create confusion. 

To summarize briefly the different periods of highway 
development one finds the following periods: First, the 
period of state construction, either by applying the pro- 
ceeds of the Three Per Cent Fund or by subscribing to 
the stock of private turnpike companies. This period 

the national government, and made over by it to the state government 
in 1823 on the condition that the state would within four years con- 
struct and keep in repair a road between the above points. 

The Turnpike Lands of 31, 360 acres in Seneca, Crawford and Marion 
counties, granted to the state in 1827, were another example of grants 
by the national government for the purpose of state roads. 


extended from 1804 to 1844, although the subscription 
period covered only the last decade of the period; second, 
the period of private turnpikes and plank roads, the 
former beginning in 1817 and extending to 1870, the 
latter beginning in 1850 and extending to 1865 ; third, 
the period of local assessment extending from 1845 to 
1885, although from 1845 to 1851 many local govern- 
ments subscribed to the stock of private turnpike com- 
panies and the practice of assessing abutting property is 
still followed to a limited extent; fourth, the period of 
construction by general assessment, extending from 1870 
to the present, the first fifteen years of the period being 
characterized by a transfer of the private turnpikes to 
the public ; fifth, the period of direct state aid, which be- 
gan in 1900. These periods overlap and, in thus divid- 
ing them, it is intended only to designate the character- 
istics of each period. 

The people of Ohio as well as those of other states 
are beginning to realize the need of good roads. The 
business of the country is becoming too extensive, and 
the establishment of world markets compels it to be 
conducted on too economical a basis for transportation 
to make up such a large part of the cost of production 
as it now does. Little organized and systematic effort 
has been made to master the details of the science of 
road-building, for the work has been considered an art 
which any one might practice. Enough time, effort and 
money have undoubtedly been spent in the state of Ohio 
during the past half century to supply every section of 
the state with the best of roads. Much of the energy 
and money has been unwisely expended, and, even when 
good roads were constructed, proper provision has not 
been made for their care and maintenance. The people 
have been piling up instead of building roads. Stone 


and gravel have been placed on the roads in the late sum- 
mer with no foundation for support, so that when the 
autumn rains and freezes come and the movement of 
crops to the market begins, this wearing surface gradu- 
ally disappears in the mud upon which it has been placed. 
Only recently has there been any real effort made to 
regulate the character of the vehicle and the weight of 
load which might be transported. There has been a 
system of supervision by those who knew little or noth- 
ing of what they supervised. The chief duty of such 
supervisors has been to see that every one worked an 
allotted time on the roads, regardless of when or where 
he worked. As a result the time has been, when it was 
most convenient for the worker, and the place where it 
would benefit the individual worker the most. When 
the improved road is a reality, an improvement in the 
motive power may be considered, but in the present 
state of highways it is useless to think of this. Probably 
within the next half century we shall see the horse dis- 
appear from many of our public highways for purposes 
of freight movement. Large freight companies may be 
formed to operate motor trains along the leading thor- 
oughfares to which point the horse and wagon will haul 
the produce of the farm. 



THE interurban railway has been developed in Ohio as 
in few other sections of the world. The numerous in- 
dustrial centers, the variety of soil and resources and the 
topography of the greater part of the state has seemed 
to warrant this rapid development, which beginning 
about 1890 grew to 2633 miles in 1907.* Prior to 1890 
there were incorporated in Ohio 163 companies for the 
building of street railways, but few of the lines were ever 
built and many of those constructed were only for one 
street. 3 The result was that all the large cities of Ohio 
had for a number of years many companies operating dif- 
ferent lines and various kinds of vehicles for transporting 
the people about the city. Before this year a few short 
lines had been constructed beyond the city limits, but 
these attempts were not very ambitious. By this time, 
however, the feasibility of other lines had been estab- 
lished, for it had been proven that electric cars could be 
operated in all kinds of weather, that a considerable speed 
was possible and that, as a result of the improvement of 

1 Much of the data for this chapter has been secured from an unpub- 
lished paper by C. W. Reeder, Assistant Librarian at the Ohio State 

* Report of the Commissioners of Railways and Telegraphs, 1907. 

* Reports of Secretary of State. Just as Ohio became one of the lead- 
ing states in the early period of railways, so she has become a leader in 
electric traction. 

231] 231 


electrical mechanism, the cost of operation was compara- 
tively low. All of these facts promised to attract capital 
for building interurban railways. 1 The improvements 
already made meant clean car barns instead of filthy 
stables housing thousands of horses and depreciating 
the value of the surrounding property, as well as cleaner 
streets, more comfort and greater speed in traveling 
about the city. About 1890 the movement for roads to 
connect the adjacent towns began, but the next five years 
were on the whole a period of agitation, organization 
and incorporation. The incorporations for these years 
were as follows : 

1891 23 1894 18 

1892 19 1895 30 

1893 20 

Of the twenty-three cities named in the charters of 
1895 all are now connected by interurbans, but the main 
field of construction during this period was around 
Cleveland. 2 In Cincinnati the development had not gone 
beyond the city proper, although the city lines had been 
extended to the many suburbs north and east of the 
city. The next period, extending from 1895 to 1901, 
shows a marked development of lines around the in- 
dustrial centers of Dayton, Youngstown and Toledo. 
This period was one of great progress, for, in addition to 
the roads built around new centers, the lines around the 

1 In 1888 the Newark and Granville Electric Railway Company was 
incorporated, which constructed the interurban railway between these 
places. This was a road seven miles in length, and was the first inter- 
urban in Ohio. 

*The first line to begin building was the Akron, Bedford and Cleve- 
land, which ran through the populous section of the many small towns 
in the Cleveland industrial district. 


large cities of Cleveland and Cincinnati were extended to 
further outlying suburbs and districts. This paved the 
way for connecting the various detached systems and 
the formation of trunk lines. The period from 1900 to 
1907 witnessed a further development along the lines of 
the preceding period, but the interurbans now attracted 
capital more readily. Franchises were easy to secure, 
the rural communities were taking an active interest in 
promoting the construction of lines, the increased speed 
reduced the danger of competition and great improve- 
ments were being made in the motive power. The char- 
acteristic feature of this period was the formation of 
syndicates and combinations of numerous kinds. In 
1901 there were 868 miles of interurbans in Ohio, but in 
1907 there were 2,633 miles divided among sixty-one 
companies. 1 The advantages of consolidation were soon 
realized. The saving in cost of power made by the sub- 
stitution of one power-house for numerous small ones 
and by the use of the best methods of distributing the 
power amounted to almost fifty per cent. 2 Another 
source of saving came from using the common rolling 
stock. Each road had a certain reserve stock represent- 
ing a margin of safety over the demand for cars during 
regular service, and when the roads were consolidated 
this reserve stock became common property to be used 
whenever and wherever it was most needed. This is 
especially important in handling the excursion business 

1 fieport of the Auditor, 1904. The average cost per mile is reported 
as $52,542. The syndicates and combinations formed were so numerous 
and of such short duration that a description of them would not be 
pertinent to our purpose. Failure of companies, receiverships and other 
characteristic features were as frequently present as they were in the 
early railroad period. 

1 Street Railway Journal, 16, 448. 


from which an important part of the passenger receipts 
are secured. The fact that a number of separate roads 
can be operated as a unit rather than as an aggregate is 
a powerful stimulus to traffic. This is especially true in 
securing the through passenger and freight business. 

The process of development has been first, mutual dis- 
trust; second, friendly relations for mutual benefit, and 
third, consolidations for greater traffic and profits. The 
advantage of consolidation shows itself in three import- 
ant ways: (a) economy in fixed charges; (b) economy 
in administration : (c) economy in maintenance and re- 
pair. 1 When a group of roads comes under a consoli- 
dated management, there is greater financial support for 
the enterprise, and funds are generally secured at a 
materially lower rate of interest than in the case of the 
single roads. Many roads were paying from five to six 
per cent on their funded debt before consolidation. 
Money was secured after consolidation for one-half of 
one per cent to one per cent less. Since most of the 
roads are operated upon a small margin of profit, this 
saving of interest on the funded debt is an important 
item. The average investor has a feeling of security in 
a well consolidated system that he seldom had in the 
case of a single road. In the administration of the busi- 
ness there are many savings through consolidation, such 
for example as in superintendence, office expenses and 
clerk hire. Although this may be only one or two per 
cent of the total operating expenses, the saving is pure 
gain. Two other large items of operating expenses, in- 
surance and legal expenses, are also materially reduced. 
Other savings come in the bookkeeping and auditing de- 
partments. A large system can purchase its material on 

1 Street Railway Journal, 16, 823. 


better terms, since it purchases in larger quantities. It 
can also do its repair work in one central shop at a 
lower expense. 

The industrial effects of interurbans may be discussed 
under the heads of effects upon movement of population, 
rents and railways. The presence of a rapid and cheap 
means of transportation, such as the electric interurban, 
permits the widening of the area devoted to residential 
purposes and the concentration of business within a cer- 
tain area. It is to be hoped (and there are some reasons 
for such a hope), that the concentrated area will include 
only the financial concerns, the large wholesale and re- 
tail business, and that the further development of electric 
traction will send the manufacturing plants and shops 
and many of the residences to the outlying districts. 
The development has probably progressed sufficiently 
far to answer the question asked in the early years of 
the traction, as to whether the electric cars would ruralize 
the city or urbanize the country, by the reply that it will 
do neither the one nor the other. What it has made 
possible is that the urban center can be extended over a 
much greater area. The increased speed permits the 
residence of certain classes at a greater distance from 
their work and the location of certain businesses at a 
greater distance from the financial center. The question 
of taxes has urged along this movement, for the heavy 
city tax is avoided both by the wealthy citizens who can 
have their country homes at a distance and by the man 
of moderate means who does not go so far out nor 
build in exclusive areas. The question of health has 
been a powerful influence in the movement to the out- 
lying areas, where the city dweller exchanges the crowded 
space, unwholesome air and noise, for the quiet and 
healthful surroundings of country or semi-country life. 


The claim has been advanced that the electric lines will 
solve the over-crowding in the cities ; that they will 
move the working man from the physical and moral un- 
healthfulness of the congested tenement districts ; but 
neither experience nor present prospects warrant a belief 
that this will be the easy solution of the problem. It is 
questionable whether the tenement class wants to remove 
from the crowded centers, although this desire may re- 
sult from the fact that present industrial conditions and 
organization of business do not permit their removal. 

Another phase of the population movement is the effect 
of the interurban upon the rural town. Much depends 
in this particular upon the size of the the town, its dis- 
tance from the city with which it is connected by the 
interurban, the excellence of the business houses in the 
town and the general character of the rural population 
around it. While there is a tendency for the town citi- 
zen and a small part of the rural dwellers to patronize 
the city stores, the ease of reaching the town by the 
other rural dwellers probably more than compensates 
this loss and if the town store is progressive and caters 
to the changing wants of the people, its lower rents and 
lower costs of labor may retain its volume of trade. 1 
However the city merchant by advertising in town 
papers, by paying the cost of transportation to the city 

1 It is not assumed that all town and rural dwellers have their incomes 
immediately increased by the appearance of the interurban, and that 
from some mysterious source they have more to spend, but that the 
interurban tends to increase their expenditures for comforts and con- 
veniences. They no longer can be sold the left-over and out-of-style 
goods and second-grade products of the primary markets, since through 
the wonderful improvement of country life by the rural free mail de- 
livery, rural telephone and better schools, they know more about con- 
ditions in large centers, and the interurban may afford them the oppor- 
tunity of reaching the center at a low cost. 


in return for a purchase of a definite amount, by sending 
purchases to the interurban station and by other means, 
is bidding strongly for the rural trade. 1 Closely allied to 
the shifting of population is the rise in rentals and in the 
value of real estate near the interurban. The facilities 
for transporting the produce of the land to the city, and 
the demands for such lands as residences have been one 
of the important causes in increasing their value from 
fifty to a hundred dollars per acre, according to their 
distance from the city. 

At first the railroads strongly opposed the inter- 
urbans by attempting to prevent the granting of fran- 
chises to them, by hindering the work of construction 
and by refusing the interurbans permission to cross 
their tracks, but this attitude has greatly changed, 
although there is yet some opposition between them. 
The greatest inroad that the interurban has made upon 
the railroad's earnings is in the short-haul passen- 
ger business; for reduced rates, frequent service and 
direct transportation to the heart of the cities are power- 
ful attractions for this short-haul business. Although 
some of the interurban systems have placed in operation 
limited trains between the larger cities, they have not 
been able as yet to attract much of the through business, 
for there are practically no interurbans that rival the 
steam roads in comfort of traveling. 2 The report of the 
interurban railways in Ohio for 1907 shows that the 
average amount received from each passenger was eleven 
cents, while the passenger earnings per train mile were 
twenty-one cents. In order to meet the competition of 

1 Many of the newspapers in country towns will not accept advertise- 
ments from the city merchants. 

1 Neither the road-bed is as good, nor the coach as comfortable as 
that of the steam road, and in most cases the speed is not as great. 


the interurban the steam roads reduced the fare and 
placed faster and more numerous trains on their lines. 
This kept for them much of the suburban traffic. The 
interurban offered the traveler a clean, if not as comfort- 
able and as quick a journey from a point near his home to 
one near his office. The interurbans have also begun to 
compete with the railways in the express and freight 
business, and this promises to develop into large pro- 
portions on many lines. Statistics of earnings do not 
convey the correct impression of the importance of the 
freight and express traffic, for many of the small centers 
depend almost wholly upon the interurban to supply 
many of their wants. Merchants, grocerymen and shop- 
keepers need no longer carry large stocks, for a demand 
can be supplied within a few hours. 1 The busiest place 
to be seen in many of the interurban centers is the inter- 
urban freight house. However, the total earnings from 
freight were in 1907 only $620,980, while total passenger 
earnings were $10,533,963. Freight cars numbered only 
219, whereas there were 1,578 passenger cars. On some 
roads, however, the freight earnings are as high as sixty 
per cent of the total receipts, but as yet the freight busi- 
ness is largely outgoing, with the important exception of 
the milk trade. Poultry, eggs and fruits supply con- 
siderable traffic to some lines, but in no case has there 
been any considerable development in carrying the bulky 
products of the farm. It is entirely possible that, when 
the interurban is further developed especially if the steam- 
roads are electrified, many side-tracks will be built along 
the farms and at convenient points to which will be 

1 Many of the wholesale houses in the cities have special arrangements 
for filling and delivering these orders for goods which are shipped via 
the interurban. 


brought the raw produce either from the farms direct or 
in large loads over the future improved highways. Ex- 
press companies operate over the interurbans and are, in 
some cases, the well-known companies of the steam roads. 
In other cases the interurban company has made for- 
warding arrangements with the regular express com- 
panies. 1 The latest development in the business is the 
carrying of baggage upon the same terms as those of the 
steam railroads. This practice has materially increased 
the passenger receipts. Still another feature of the inter- 
urban traffic is the transportation of the mails in special 

Not the least of the good results of the interurban is 
its effect upon the social life of the city and the country. 
The desire for recreation grounds has received a partial 
realization through the construction of interurbans, and the 
recreation traffic forms a very large source of revenue. 
The importance of this business is indicated by the fact 
that the sixty-one interurban companies in Ohio reach 
more than fifty recreation grounds, many of which they 
own and maintain. 2 Church societies, Sunday-schools 
and organizations of various kinds charter cars for trips 
to these places. In addition they carry to these grounds 
thousands of other individuals who are seeking recrea- 
tion. The farmer and his family go to the neighboring 
town more frequently, more quickly and more cheaply 
than formerly. The contact with a more thoroughly 
organized town life contributes to the breadth of view 
of the family, to its culture and to its happiness. The 
accessibility to markets and shops improves the table and 

1 Cf. Report of the Railway Commission, 1907. There are 55 express 
cars in operation on the interurbans of Ohio. 
1 Red Book, 1904. 


the dress and increases the comforts of the home. The 
social life and the amusements of the city are made 
possessions of the dweller in the country, who widens his 
circle of acquaintance by his numerous trips to the city and 
forms new ties of friendship. Scarcely less valuable has 
been the interurban to the city dweller by bringing him 
into more frequent social contact with his rural brother 
and with the invigorating rural life. One of the greatest 
social benefits has come to the rural women, who can 
now make numerous calls on their neighbors and fre- 
quent shopping trips to the city, thus enlarging the 
boundary of what had been for many of them a narrow 
world. To many country boys and girls the interurban 
has made possible the advantages of a high school and 
college education without sacrificing the advantages of the 
home life. The interurban with the rural mail delivery, 
the daily newspaper and the telephone have done more 
within the past decade to lessen the isolation of the 
country life than all the other agencies for the past fifty 

Electric traction is yet in the formative period of its 
development, but certain tendencies are somewhat evi- 
dent. There is now a distinction between urban and 
interurban railways in that each is owned, in most cases, 
by different corporations. However, there is some ten- 
dency for these interests to combine, and this tendency 
will be accelerated by a further standardization of way 
and equipment. 1 Although most of the interurbans 
have been constructed along the lines of densest traffic, 
there will undoubtedly be a greater extension into sec- 
tions not immediately served by any railway where, with 

1 It is true that there is considerable opposition on the part of some 
cities to having the heavy interurban cars, especially the freight cars, 
run over the streets of the city. 


a private right of way, great speed and frequent service 
traffic will be developed. The electric roads will act in 
a way as feeders to the steam lines, as collectors and 
distributors of traffic, in addition to their primary func- 
tion of handling the strictly local business. They will 
handle the light-package and short-haul freight but will 
do little of the heavier business for some time at least, 
on account of the greater cost and because of its inter- 
ference with time and speed. In the local and suburban 
business, where distances are short between the frequent 
stops and where there is a steady demand on the central 
power station, electric traction will take the place of 
steam by a partial electrification of the steam roads and 
the construction of wholly electric railways. 1 All in all, 
the application of electricity as a motive power, together 
with the motor engines, promises to increase that great 
contribution to industrial and social progress which trans- 
portation has been wont to supply during the past half 

'There are numerous instances where steam roads for considerable 
distances from the urban center have been made electric roads, but the 
experience extends over too short a time to make any general deduc- 
tions as to the ultimate consequences. The necessary safeguards for 
protecting the movement of heavy trains at short intervals on electri- 
fied trunk lines are at present very expensive and form one of the 
principal handicaps to the widening use of electricity. 




THE agricultural industry in the early history of the 
state, so far as any existed, was one largely for domestic 
consumption. It was not long after the settlement of 
the state before the inhabitants realized that markets 
must be found ; for, while the rapidly increasing immigra- 
sion afforded a limited temporary market, the new set- 
tlers soon became producers, and the pressure of produc- 
tion on consumption became still more pronounced. 
Not only was the distance to market great, but, as New 
Orleans afforded for many years the chief market for the 
agricultural products, the accessibility of the market de- 
pended upon the weather and the condition of the rivers. 
The costs of reaching the market were almost prohibi- 
tive for agricultural products during a greater part of 
the year, and hence, as far as possible, they were reduced 
in bulk by converting the corn into whiskey and hogs, 
and the wheat into flour. The low prices for wheat and 
corn, together with the difficulty of marketing them, gave 
a great impetus to the stock-raising industry. The 
Virginia settlers of the Scioto Valley understood the 
business of fattening cattle and hogs on corn, but they 
had hesitated to engage in it on account of the distance 
from the markets. They thought that the long drive to 
Baltimore and Philadelphia would greatly reduce the 
242 [242 


weight of the stock, and although this was disproved as 
early as 1805, comparatively few entered this industry 
during the following decade. The greater number of 
the hogs were packed in Ohio after 1830, but the cattle 
continued to be driven to Eastern markets until the latter 
half of the century, when the through railway lines took 
over this business. However as late as 1848 it was esti- 
mated that there were driven from the central part of 
the state to Eastern markets more than fifteen hundred 
head of fat cattle, although many cars of livestock were 
soon moving East by rail. 1 Livestock had increased in 
number from five and three-quarter million head in 1840 
to seven and three-quarter million in 1850 and to eight 
and one-quarter million in i86o. 2 This development of 
the livestock industry brought a great improvement in 
the condition of the farmer, in as much as whiskey and 
livestock then competed on an extensive scale for his 
corn. When the railways were extended to the Western 
states, Ohio could no longer raise corn in competition 
with these states for fattening livestock, and the center 
of this industry followed the corn center to the West. 
The most active period of the packing industry in Ohio 
was from 1850 to i86o. 3 

Agriculture as an important commercial industry did 
not date back much farther than the opening of the 
canals, for it was the facility and certainty which these 
transportation routes offered to the agricultural sections 
of the interior which placed the industry on a firm basis. 
More attention was now given to the cultivation of the 

1 Report of the Board of Agriculture, 1848. 

* Report of the Commissioner of Statistics, 1860. 

J Report of the Commissioner of Statistics, 1860. The percentage of 
increase in the exports of animal products during this decade was much 
greater than the percentage of increase in grain exports. 


soil and to agricultural machinery, and the fact that the 
era of great inventions in agricultural machinery was con- 
temporaneous with the canal period is not a mere coin- 
cidence. Land had not been and was not, until many 
years later, cultivated with any great degree of care, since 
its abundance made it comparatively cheap. The prac- 
tice was to secure a maximum of returns from the land 
until it began to show signs of exhaustion, and then to 
sell it and buy other lands in the West or in the less set- 
tled parts of Ohio. Most of the population was hence of 
a migratory type. 1 In 1832 a law was passed which pro- 
vided for the establishment of county agricultural socie- 
ties, and these societies did much under the direction of 
the State Board of Agriculture to encourage the devel- 
opment of agriculture. They held fairs and supplied 
centers for the dissemination of information on improved 
methods of soil culture, stock breeding and the use of 
agricultural machinery. 2 The State Board not only held 
annual fairs at different points in the state to which for 
many years the railroads carried products and stock free, 
and passengers at reduced rates, but it also offered 
bonuses for the invention of agricultural machines and 
prizes for model farms. 3 During the decade from 1850 
to 1860 a change occurred in the agricultural products 
of the different sections of the state ; for the counties of 
the Miami and Scioto valleys now became the most im- 
portant in the production of wheat, instead of the north- 

1 Report of Commissioner of Statistics, 1860. Rotation of crops was 
not practiced on an extensive scale until after 1850. During the decade 
from 1850 to 1860 three million acres of land were improved. 

* As early as 1836 the agitation for the scientific study of agriculture 
in the public schools was begun, which after seventy years was to be- 
come an accomplished fact. 

'These bonuses were awarded after public trials were held which 
always attracted large numbers of farmers. 


eastern counties which centered around Guernsey county. 
Farming throughout the state was becoming more di- 
versified, although the ten counties which led in the pro- 
duction of grain were all in the Scioto and Miami valleys. 
The rank in this particular was as follows, Butler, Ross, 
Pickaway, Franklin, Greene, Warren, Miami, Fairfield, 
Fayette and Licking. 1 Ohio ranked third in wheat pro- 
duction in 1860, with Illinois and Indiana exceeding her, 
whereas in 1850 she was exceeded only by Pennsylvania. 
The position of Ohio in the production of corn during 
these decades also shows the importance of the agricul- 
ture industry. In 1840 Ohio was third in corn produc- 
tion, with Kentucky first and Tennessee second; in 1850 
Ohio was first, and in 1860 she was second with Illinois 
first. It was estimated in 1860 that Ohio had produced 
during the past decade over 200,000,000 bushels of wheat, 
of which over one-half was exported. 2 In 1837 Baltimore 
had imported 50,000 bushels of wheat from Europe, al- 
though at that time much wheat might have been piled 
up in the West waiting for a rise in the river to carry it 
to market. 3 Such an event was not likely to recur after 
1860 when the development of transportation routes had 
freed the West from its dependence on the Ohio and 
the Mississippi rivers for a market. 

Harvesting and threshing machinery was introduced 
in 1831 in the chief grain-growing sections of the state, 
but it met with great opposition from the laborers, who 
could be employed for one dollar per day. 4 Although 
both harvesting and threshing machines were manufac- 

1 Report of the Commissioner of Statistics, 1860. During this decade 
there was an average yield of wheat per acre of 12.5 bushels, and of 
corn 33.9 bushels per acre. 

* Ibid. 3 Cincinnati Gazette, February 20, 1837. 

*In many cases the first machines in a community were destroyed. 


tured at Hamilton by 1846, it was estimated that there 
were not in 1850 in Ohio one hundred harvesting ma- 
chines in use. 1 The Civil War was a very great factor in 
hastening the invention and use of agricultural machin- 
ery ; for, while many laborers had been drawn from the 
farms to the army, they were still consumers of farm 
products, and there was necessarily a large substitution 
of mechanical for muscular power in the agricultural in- 
dustry. The number of patents on agricultural imple- 
ments, exclusive of reapers, hay-forks and rakes increased 
from 350 in 1860 to 502 in 1864. 

Two other phases of the agricultural industry should 
be mentioned in this review of the later industrial devel- 
opment. The dairy industry continued to be centered 
in the Western Reserve until the growth of large cities 
made it profitable to devote the areas immediately sur- 
rounding them to the production of such products. In 
the thirties there were enacted the dog-tax laws, meas- 
ures " to encourage the raising of sheep and the growing 
of wool." * This industry was forced in many ways, and 
in time the tariff policy had no more ardent and consist- 
ent supporters than the wool growers of Ohio, who 
made their influence felt whenever a change was pro- 
posed in the tariff schedule on wool. Resolution after 
resolution was passed by the Ohio legislature, asking 
Congress to enact legislation to protect wool growers 
of Ohio from foreign competition. 3 While most of the 

1 Report of the State Board of Agriculture, 1850. New York led in 
the manufacture of agricultural machinery for many years, for the Gen- 
esee valley was the first great center of a surplus wheat production. 
Gradually the center of manufacture followed the agricultural industry to 
the west. * Laws of Ohio, 1830. 

5 Journal of the Senate, 1886. In 1886 the Legislature instructed the 
Ohio congressmen to oppose the Morrison Tariff Bill for the reason 
that " it will cripple the industry of the country and in a great measure 
destroy the great wool-growing interest of this state." 


wool produced was not made up in the state, woolen 
manufacture did develop to a considerable extent in the 
earlier period. In 1870 Ohio had 230 woolen mills with 
334 sets of machinery, as compared with 173 mills in 
1860, 182 in 1880 and 104 in 1890.* 

To understand properly the change which occurred in 
the character of the industrial life of Ohio about the 
middle of the century, attention must be given to the 
movement of population after 1825. The growth in pop- 
ulation and wealth of the state was very rapid during the 
second quarter of the century, for the state was not only 
a halting place for the wave of Western emigration, but 
by its location and natural resources it became also a 
center of distribution and gradually a center of supply of 
non-agricultural products. It had taken New York 200 
years to reach a population of 2,000,000, but Ohio had 
secured this number within 50 years; it took Illinois 
nearly 40 years to reach 1,000,000, but Ohio only 30 
years. Based upon the census of 1850 the distribution 
of laborers among the different occupations was as 
follows : 

Agriculture 297,398 

Commerce, mechanical arts and mining 156,955 

Common laborers 102,042 

As late as 1850 not less than 140,000 people in Ohio 
were born in the slave states. The great movement 
from Ohio to Iowa, Minnesota, Kansas and other West- 
ern states began in this year, although by 1850 there 
were 215,000 natives of Ohio in the three states to the 
West of it. 2 

1 United States Census Reports. 

* Reports of Commissioner of Statistics and Board of Agriculture t 


A great rage for land speculation set in which was no 
less marked in Ohio than in the states further West. 
When land sold for thirty dollars per acre in Ohio, it 
was often of interest to the Ohio farmer to sell out and 
move to the West or to the less-settled sections of the 
state where land could be purchased for ten dollars per 
acre. Between 1850 to 1860 this process of selling out 
and moving to the West carried 300,000 people out of the 
state, and as a result most of the old agricultural coun- 
ties showed no gain in population, and many showed an 
actual loss. 1 The new agricultural counties of the north- 
western part of the state had increased as rapidly in 
population as the Western states, because they too had 
cheap and fertile land. The Toledo congressional dis- 
trict which comprised the ten northwestern counties of 
the state showed an increase in the decade of 85 per 
cent, and it was in this decade that Toledo began to 
grow as an industrial center. Notwithstanding all these 
losses of agricultural population, the value of industrial 
products increased 98 per cent during the decade, and 
property doubled in value. 2 One of the chief causes of 
this increase was the railways, for Ohio had in 1861 
more miles of railroad than any other state. While they 
had proved of little profit as yet to the stockholders, they 
had added wonderfully to the value of property and prod- 
ucts. Other causes of this increase were the opening 
of coal and iron mines, salt works and the rapidly grow- 
ing lake commerce. 

'The region around Steubenville, which for many years had been the 
chief wheat-producing section, showed an actual loss. The counties of 
the Western Reserve during the decade did increase its population 15 
per cent., but most of this was contributed by industries other than 

1 Report of Commissioner of Statistics, 1861. Cf. the valuation of 
property for purposes of taxation in Auditor's report. 


Along the perpendicular line on the left is represented the state tax in thousands of dollars. Along 
ic perpendicular line on the right is represented the state debt in millions of dollars. The large tax 
aised between the years 1835 and 1865 was used in large part for the construction of internal improve- 
icnts. This expenditure also explains the large debt in 1850. The increase in the debt between the 
ears 1860 and 1870 was chiefly due to the Civil War. There was a deficit from 1826, but as the state 
ras on the eve of large expenditures for canals and other internal improvements, this was not disclosed, 
'he funds of the national government school lands and other public lands were counted as state funds. 

Along the perpendicular line on the left is represented in millions of dollars the amount of 
the tax raised. The great increase from 1860 to 1885 i partly explained by the expenditures for 


However, before there could be any considerable de- 
velopment of manufacturing and the mechanical arts, an 
adequate and certain source of power must be supplied. 
But this was furnished neither by the natural waterways 
nor by the canals nor by the early railroads, for the first 
two were closed a part of the year, either by low water 
or by ice, and the early railways were not constructed 
to carry such heavy commodities as coal even when they 
reached the mines. It is true that considerable quanti- 
ties of coal were sent down the Ohio River at a very low 
cost, but so long as this was the only means of trans- 
porting this commodity, the prices fluctuated violently. 
Even when the railway began to carry coal in competi- 
tion with waterways, the practice of the railway in ab- 
normally increasing rates whenever the waterways were 
not navigable made the use of this kind of power very 
expensive. The geological survey had made known to 
the people by 1840 the coal resources of the state, but 
the sparsity of population and the competition of the 
East prevented any extensive development of coal min- 
ing in Ohio until after the Civil War, when the great 
coal fields of the southeastern part of the state were 
reached by railroads. The industrial development of 
Ohio cities was then made possible, although before this 
time the fact that Cincinnati and the lake cities had ac- 
cess to a limited coal supply, resulted in a respectable 
beginning of manufacturing at these places. 1 The 
natural waterway and canals were among the most im- 

1 Coal lands along the Ohio River had sold for $500 per acre by 1840, 
although much of the school land in the southeastern part of the state, 
which was underlaid with coal, had been sold on the basis of its surface 
value. Coke ovens were built as early as 1836, but the state geologist 
warned the people against erecting coke works, until further trials of 
coking Ohio coal had been made. 


portant causes which contributed to the development of 
manufacturing in Ohio, for they brought the people into 
easy communication with the East, West and South. 
Although railroad building began in 1830 the waterways 
held the predominating influence in whatever there was 
of a manufacturing industry until the latter half of the 
century. The rapid settlement of the state and the char- 
acter of many of the settlers also did much to establish 
manufacturing in the state, for many of the immigrants 
came from the New England states, New York and 
Pennsylvania, where the industry had attained some de- 
velopment. Their mechanical knowledge was soon ap- 
plied in replacing the worn-out tools which they had 
brought with them and in supplying the increasing 
domestic need of tools. The legislature sought to en- 
courage manufacturing by granting liberal charters to 
companies formed for this purpose. By a law of 1823 it 
exempted all such companies from taxation. While 
this general policy was followed for many years, the 
financial embarrassments of the period caused the auditor 
in 1845 to recommend the enactment of a law "to more 
effectually tax money and capital in trade and to provide 
for the incorporation of all manufacturing companies by 
a general law." * The development of manufacturing 
since 1850 is well shown by the following table: 

lf This exemption did not include all kinds of property in each case, 
and it was partly because each company had secured its charter by 
special laws, which often varied in the privileges granted, that the law 
of 1845 was enacted. Nor was this law in response to a demand for a 
relief from any of the evils of the modern trust methods. It was not 
until 1888 that we find an official expression of the disapproval of trust 
methods when the Legislature appointed a committee "to investigate 
combinations commonly called trusts, which have been and are now 
being formed throughout the country with the assumed purpose of 
maintaining inordinately remunerative prices by absorbing or control- 
ling competitive interests." Laws of Ohio, 1888. 




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The rapidity with which artificial routes of transporta- 
tion were developed determined in a large way the rapid- 
ity of the industrial development, although the funda- 
mental conditions which warranted the building of these 
media of transport formed the basis for the industrial 
development. However it must not be forgotten that the 
peculiar position of Ohio with reference to other indus- 
trial regions caused her industrial development to be 
influenced by numerous internal and external factors. 
The valuation of taxable property from 1825 to 1835 had 
increased from forty-five to seventy-five millions, and to 
one hundred and eleven millions in 1845. The auditor 
was on the whole right when he said that " the increase 
has arisen mainly if not exclusively from the unprece- 
dented rapidity of the settlement and the important 
changes effected through the instrumentality of our ad- 
mirable system of internal improvements." 1 Among 
these internal improvements, highways and canals had 
been most important; but by 1851 it was said that rail- 
ways were taking the place of canals for transporting all 
light and valuable goods and were also hauling more of 
the heavy products, such as coal and grains. 2 Notwith- 
standing the early manufacture of steam engines in the 
state, water power was for many years the chief source 
of power for manufacturing purposes, and as late as 1875 
this power was one-quarter of the whole. After the 

1 Report of Auditor of State, 1835. The auditor recommended the 
further encouragement of canals, railroads and roads, and remarks that 
while in the execution of this purpose a diversity of private and local 
interests mingle, yet it is the purpose of government to look to the 
general good. 

"In 1855 the Sault Saint Marie Canal was opened, and the Lake 
Superior iron ore was brought in large quantities to Cleveland and other 
lake ports to meet the Ohio coal and limestone. 

Along the perpendicular line is represented in millions of dollars the total assessed valuation of 
taxable property. There were re-valuations in 1826, 1835, 1841, 1847, 1854. 1861. 1871, 1881, 1891, and 1901. 
The apparent decrease in 1872 results from a new basis of valuation in 1871. 


canals began to decay less water power was used, and in 
1880 steam power made up eighty-five per cent of the 
total. 1 

In 1860 of all the grain products exported from the 
Middle West, sixty per cent moved by rail, and efforts 
were made to prove that the low rates on such products 
enhanced the price of them for the producer. There 
were in Ohio at this time about 3000 miles of railways, 
3000 miles of turnpikes and 6000 miles of common roads. 2 
After the Civil War the development of manufacturing 
and of the mechanical arts progressed rapidly at many 
centers. In fact the wonderfully harmonious industrial 
development of the state has been due to the variety of 
resources and to the keen rivalry of the numerous in- 
dustrial centers. After this general survey it will be of 
value to note the causes of the development of these 
particular industrial centers. 

Cincinnati grew into the metropolis of the West (the 
Queen City of the West, as she was wont to be called) 
because she was located on the Ohio river in a region 
rich in resources, and had a good market to the South. 
In the struggle to maintain her leadership she took part 
in many transportation schemes and furnished capital to 
many transportation projects which promised to aid her 
in retaining the Southern trade. When the national road, 
state roads, canals and railways were constructed, other 
industrial centers began to intrench upon Cincinnati's 
territory, and this led her to hasten the construction 
of the railway to the South. The enterprising merchants 
of Cincinnati had called a commercial convention of 

1 Tenth Census of United States, 1880. Natural gas was for a time 
used in certain sections, but the supply of it decreased rapidly. 
* Report of the Commissioner of Statistics, 1858. 


Southern merchants as early as 1837 at Atlanta "to de- 
vise ways and means of doing away with New York mer- 
chants as middlemen and establishing a direct trade be- 
tween southern cities and Cincinnati." 1 Efforts were 
also made to secure the completion of the Baltimore and 
Ohio Railroad because, by virtue of her position on an 
air line from Baltimore to St. Louis, Cincinnati seemed 
to have a great advantage in the growing East-and-West 
trade. The packing industry began as early as 1810 in 
Cincinnati and in time earned for her the first right to 
the title, Porkopolis. In 1850 eighty per cent of all the 
packing in the state, which then led all other states in 
this industry, was done at Cincinnati. After the period 
of depression from 1874 to 1877, Cincinnati never re- 
covered her former position and the center followed the 
livestock to the corn area of the West. In the first half 
of the century Cincinnati held a commanding position in 
the trade of the West, and it was said in 1841 that 

its commerce is coextensive with the navigation of the west, 
and its interior trade is spread over the whole extent of coun- 
try between the river Ohio and the Lakes north and south, 
and the Scioto and Wabash rivers east and west ; the eastern 
half of Indiana and southern Ohio are the most important 
customers for the foreign goods from this market, and the 
lower Mississippi country for our various manufactured arti- 
cles and the provisions sold through this market. 2 

Into Cincinnati from Ohio, Indiana and Kentucky came 
immense quantities of products from fields and forest, 
which were exchanged for the products of the South, 
such as sugar, molasses, tobacco and cotton, and for the 

1 Cincinnati Gazette, August 30, 1837. 
1 Charles Gist, Cincinnati As It Is. 


manufactures of Cincinnati or other goods brought to 
this place from the East or from foreign lands. Cincinnati 
had become a great store-house of goods, a warehouse of 
grain, a manufacturer of tools, machines and furniture. 1 
For reasons elsewhere described, the industries of Cin- 
cinnati suffered greatly during the war, but she soon re- 
covered her prosperity, although the trade after the war 
tended to flow to the East. 2 New Orleans complained 

Cincinnati not only has the trade that takes the quickest 
transportation by rail, but it is the money center and the mer- 
chandise distributing point. The shipper of flour either along 
the Ohio or Mississippi sells exchange in Cincinnati against it, 
and either he or someone else buys goods in Cincinnati and 
pays for them in values shipped to New Orleans. 3 

Time was becoming a more important element in pro- 
duction, and the city made renewed efforts to complete 
the railway to the South, which upon the recovery of this 
section from the devastations of the war promised "to 
them opportunities of commercial and industrial expan- 
sion only limited by the enterprise which we may use to 
secure it. On the natural line from the south and south- 
west to the east and northeast, this city promises in the 
near future to be on the great national thoroughfare of 

1 Cincinnati Gazette, January 23, 1850. There were in 1850 forty 
wholesale dry-goods establishments in Cincinnati. By 1860 Cincinnati 
claimed as tributary two-thirds of Ohio, Indiana and Illinois, western 
Pennsylvania and Virginia, and all of Kentucky and Tennessee. 

*Cf. chap. 10. 

3 Whereas New Orleans had imported some 260,000 bags of coffee be- 
fore the war, she imported only 78,000 in 1868. Flour was being sent 
to Rio Janeiro for which coffee was sent back as payment by way of the 
eastern cities. 


trade." 1 Not all these expectations have been realized, 
but she is still struggling to retain her position in re- 
spect to Southern trade, and in the agitation for making 
the Ohio river a great commercial waterway Cincinnati 
has taken a very active part. 

The growth of Cleveland as an industrial center was 
due to her position on the lake in the direct line of trade 
from the East to the West, the opening of the Erie Canal 
and later the Ohio canals, the supply of iron and coal to 
the South, the discovery and use of the Lake Superior 
ores and the early railway lines from Cleveland to the 
East and to different points within the state. The first 
real impetus came from the canals, and we find her ex- 
ports growing from 1020 tons in 1830, to 3002 tons in 
1835, to 9504 tons in 1840 and 13,500 in 1846. These 
exports were valued in this year at $5,500,000 and con- 
sisted principally of wheat, flour, corn, coal, pork, 
whiskey, butter, cheese, lard and wool. 3 The opening 
of railroads into the regions to the South and to north- 
ern Indiana greatly increased Cleveland's trade and she 
began to compete successfully with Cincinnati as a market 
from which dealers were supplied with merchandise. 3 
After the opening of the canals and railways Cleveland 
became the second coal market of Ohio, the receipts of 
which increased from 178 tons in 1830, to 6028 tons in 
1840, to 83,000 tons in 1850 and 225,000 tons in 1858. 
However, it was the development of the lake trade which 
made Cleveland a great industrial center, and this trade 

1 Cf. Report of the Chamber of Commerce of Cincinnati, 1878. 

1 Cleveland Herald, July 6, 1847. 

3 The people of Cleveland, when they were contesting with Cincinnati 
for the trade of Indiana, accused the brokers of Cincinnati of holding 
out inducements for this trade by sharp bargaining in Indiana Bank 


increased very rapidly after it was once started. " Trade 
between Cleveland and the Lake Superior region has as- 
sumed such proportions that it must be treated as a dis- 
tinct one in the future. It is but a few years since this 
business was considered of little importance and a few 
broken-down steamers were sufficient to carry on this 
trade. Now this trade has the strongest, largest and 
fastest vessels." 1 In 1858 there were 241 vessels which 
cleared from Cleveland for points to the west and north 
with cargoes valued at $2,000,000, and these vessels 
brought back cargoes valued at $3,000,000. Cleveland 
had at this time rolling mills, furnaces, car-wheel and 
locomotive factories, paper mills and many other manu- 
facturing establishments. 

The industrial development of Columbus has been due 
to its proximity to an abundant coal supply, to its loca- 
tion in a rich agricultural section, to the canals, to the 
numerous railways, which make it a good distributing 
center and in part to its being the capital of the state. 
Previous to the opening of the coal fields to the south- 
east, the manufacturing industry of Columbus was con- 
fined to crude products such as soaps, candles and leather 
goods, but by 1870 her citizens were preparing to make 
more of her opportunities. 3 It was said " that Columbus 
needs a Board of Trade to build up the wholesale trade, 
for agents of foreign houses sell by sample in our stores 
goods which we should distribute." 3 The Columbus 

1 Cleveland Herald, April 29, 1856. 

*The fact that Columbus was the state capital tended to retard the 
development of industries, since undue emphasis was laid upon this 
asset and the citizens were not so aggressive in developing manu- 

* Cf, Ohio State Journal, Dec. 4, 1870. About this time Boards of 
Trade and Chambers of Commerce were being organized in many cities 
to further the trade interest of the city. 


Iron Works were completed in 1870 and " iron was 
relied upon to change the destiny of Columbus from an 
ordinary state capital to that of an important manufac- 
turing center" and this with the aid of coal it did. 1 

The development of Toledo as an industrial center has 
been of more recent date and has been due to her posi- 
tion on the lake, to the opening of the Miami Canal and 
the Wabash Canal of Indiana, to the development of the 
rich agricultural region in the northwestern section of 
the state and to her railway connections with the coal 
fields of the southeastern portion of the state. Toledo 
became early in her history a leading grain center, but 
her manufacturing industry had to wait for its develop- 
ment until the last quarter of the nineteenth century, 
when railway connections had been made with a coal 

The Zanesville district was a more important industrial 
center in the first half of the century than it has been 
since that time. This was due to the neighboring coal 
and iron and to the water power and transportation 
facilities of the Muskingum river. When the canals were 
opened, and especially after railways were built in other 
sections, this point declined as an industrial center. The 
growth of such centers as Dayton, Springfield and Ham- 
ilton was affected largely by the same causes which in- 
fluenced the development of Cincinnati, although the 
Ohio river was of less importance in the case of these 
cities. As early as 1870 there was probably no other 
state, which had more centers of population, varied in- 
dustry, trade and transportation than Ohio. For this 
very reason the undue increase of Cleveland and Cincin- 
nati as great centers was prevented, for unlike Chicago 

1 Cf. Ohio State Journal, op. cit. 


and New York they had no preponderating advan- 
tages over the other centers of the state. The facts that 
the railway system of Ohio was at first largely one for 
east and west trade, that the state had natural commercial 
waterways to the north and south, that the state was for 
the most part level thus making the construction of 
north and south as well as east and west lines of com- 
munication comparatively low in cost, and that the var- 
iety of soil and natural resources warranted this con- 
struction, all these facts prevented any one section from 
abnormally developing to the exclusion of other sections. 
Thus population and wealth became generally distributed 
over the state. The comparative growth in population 
of the four leading industrial centers is shown by the 
following table. 1 

1 Twelfth Census of United States. 




:r cent, of 


*O c 
** rt 
1 I8 5 

fe~ ! 

;r cent, of 


:r cent, of 





24,8311157-S 1 










464.2 * 

17,034 180.6* 





I 222 



I95-7 5 



o e o 



*O D 

*8 (o 

"o v 





C S 

tj rt 

C <u 

& O 





O b 


o u 


















325,902 9.8 



















Tnlprln . 









After this review of the industrial development of Ohio, 
we may briefly characterize her position at the close of 
the nineteenth century. The iron industry was almost 
contemporaneous with the admission of the state into 
the union, and before 1815 the centers around Niles, in 
Adams and Muskingum counties, had developed to some 

1 Miami Canal to Dayton opened. 

1 Railway to Columbus, Cleveland and the East opened. 

'Canals opened. 

4 Railways to East and South opened. 

* Canal and railways opened. 


extent, although the low grade of ore, the difficulty of 
transporting the product and the increasing cost of fuel 
for smelting made many of these early attempts unsuc- 
cessful and limited most of them to production for local 
purposes. 1 In 1825 the comparatively rich ores of the 
Hanging Rock district were discovered, and the chief 
center of the iron industry was transferred hither from 
Niles until the rich Superior ores restored the leadership 
to the Cleveland-Niles district, where it has since re- 
mained. 2 The legislature encouraged the industry by 
exempting iron mills for a time from taxation and by 
fixing low tolls on the canals for the ore and its manu- 
factured products. In 1840 there were sixteen iron fur- 
naces in the state, and while this number had increased 
to fifty-two in 1860, fifty per cent of these had been built 
since 1850. This shows that in the period of canal trans- 
portation the iron industry had but little development. 3 
However, Ohio has always led all other states west of the 
Alleghanies in the manufacture of iron and steel products 
and, since 1870, has ranked second in the United States. 
This has been due to her location with respect to the ore 
and fuel, together with her advantages with respect to 
transporting the products to the regions of consumption. 4 
In the manufacture of foundry and machine-shop pro- 
ducts, Ohio ranks second in the United States, with 
Cleveland and Cincinnati as the chief centers; but these 

1 Charcoal was used for many years for smelting purposes, and the 
attempts in 1836 to use Ohio coal for this purpose were a failure. 

1 Eighty-six iron works were built in the Hanging Rock district, and 
all except seventeen were built before 1855. 

s Report of the Commissioner of Statistics, 1860. Of the ten Bessemer 
Steel establishments in the United States in 1878, Pennsylvania had 
five, New York one, Ohio one and Illinois three. 

* The location of coke has become of late years a factor of increasing 
importance in determining the location of the iron industry. 


products have always been important in Ohio on account 
of the supply of the raw material and the central position 
of the state within the consuming area. 1 Flouring and 
grist mill products rank third in materials manufactured, 
and this is due to the large corn and wheat area within 
and near the state. Closely related to this is the dis- 
tilling industry, which has throughout the history of the 
state been important. .Ohio has always been the largest 
boot and shoe manufacturing state west of the Alle- 
ghanies and, in 1900, ranked fourth in the United States, 
with the chief centers at Cincinnati, Columbus and Ports- 
mouth. 2 Cincinnati also early became a center for the 
manufacture of men's clothing, for the trade of the Ohio 
River brought great numbers of customers to this center. 
Cleveland after 1880 likewise became an important center 
for men and women's clothing. Both centers were 
materially aided in this industry by the immigration of 
the Hebrews to these cities. Ohio ranked first in 1900 
in the manufacture of carriages and wagons, the center 
having gradually moved westward from New York and 
tending to move still farther west with the center of the 
population. In pottery and clay products Ohio is tak- 
ing a high rank and this industry, on account of the great 
supply of clay, is destined to be even more important. 
Ohio in 1900 ranked first in these products and supplied 
28.8 per cent of the total product of the United States. 3 

1 Cincinnati began as early as 1825 to manufacture steam engines, and 
in 1835 its shops had turned out 100 steam engines, 240 cotton gins, 20 
sugar mills and 22 boilers. 

8 Twelfth Census of United States, 1900. 

8 The industry centers around East Liverpool, Roseville and Cin- 
cinnati. At the first named place 87.4 per cent, of all laborers em- 
ployed in the city are engaged in this industry. The leadership of this 
city is due to the abundant clays found near it and to the skilled work- 
men, who were early attracted to this place from England. Of the total 
amount of yellow ware manufactured in the United States 49.1 per cent, 
is produced at East Liverpool. 




She also produces more than 33 per cent of all the sewer 
pipe in the United States. The manufacture of rubber 
goods secured an early beginning at Akron, which pro- 
duced 75 per cent of the total state product in 1900. 
Extensive paper and pulp factories are scattered through- 
out the state, but the chief center is the Miami Valley. 

In 1900 the rank of industries in Cleveland accord- 
ing to value of product were iron and steel products, 
foundry and machine, slaughtering and meat products, 
women's clothing, malt liquors. In Cincinnati the order 
in importance of industrial products was men's clothing, 
foundry and machine products, slaughtering and meat 
products, distilled liquors, boots and shoes. The man- 
ufactured products of Columbus rank third in value, 
Toledo fourth and Dayton fifth. 

Below is given a table of the value of manufactures and 
of the products of mechanical industries, together with 
those of the other leading Ohio industries. 1 




Coal 1 

Ore 3 

Value of the 
Product of 
and mechanical 









































1 Reports of the Commissioner of Statistics. 

1 Bituminous tons. 3 Short tons. 


To accompany this table there is appended in graphic 
form a statement of the prices of two leading export and 
import products for each year since 1830. This chart 
should be studied in connection with the preceding chap- 
ters upon the development of the means of transporta- 
tion, inasmuch as the fluctuation of prices tended to 
decrease as added means of transportation were supplied. 1 

MARKETS FROM 1830 TO 1902 

Year Wheat Corn Sugar Coftee 




















1 These prices are wholesale prices and were taken from the Reports 
of the Commissioner of Statistics and of the Chamber of Commerce of 

The graph for prices during the past fifty years was secured by taking 
ten year annual averages, and thus the general trend of prices is indi- 










i. 06 




i. IS 



1840 . . 


































32 ...... 

































































.10 . 














































I g86 

88,4 . 

























































































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Howe, Henry. Historical Collections of Ohio. Two volumes, Ohio 
Centennial Edition, Columbus, 1900. 

Hosmer, H. S. Early History of the Maumee Valley. Toledo, 1858. 

Jones, A. B. Early Days of Cincinnati. Cincinnati, 1888. 

Knapp, H. S. History of the Maumee Valley, commencing with its 
occupation by the French in 1680. Toledo, 1872. 

Lane, Samuel A. Fifty Years and over of Akron and Summit County. 

McBride, James. Pioneer Biography, Sketches of the lives of some of 
the Early Settlers of Butler County, Ohio. Two volumes, Cin- 
cinnati, 1809 and 1871. 

McConnel, D. T., and Carrod, Frederick. Steubenville, Past and 
Present and Future. Steubenville, 1872. 

Mahoning Valley, Historical Collections of. Youngstown, 1875. 

Martin, William T. History of Franklin County; A collection of 
Reminiscences of the early settlement of the county. Columbus, 

Mentelle, M. On the Location and the Settlement of Gallipolis, Ohio. 

Miller, Francis W. Cincinnati's Beginnings. Missing chapters on the 
Early History of the city and the Miami Purchase, etc. Cincin- 
nati, 1880. 

Mitchener, C. H. Ohio Annals. Historical Events in Tuscarawas 
and Muskingum Valley and in other portions of the State of Ohio. 

Perkins, James H. Annals of the West. Embracing a concise ac- 
count of the Principal Events which have occurred in the Western 
States from the Discovery of the Mississippi Valley to the year 
1846. Cincinnati, 1846. 

Rice, Harvey. Pioneers of the Western Reserve. Second Edition, 
Boston, 1888. 

Smucker, Isaac. History of the Welsh Settlements in Licking County, 
etc. Newark, 1869. 


Studer, Jacob. History of Columbus; its Resources and Progress. 

Steele, Robert W., and Mary Davies. Early Dayton, 1796 to 1896. 

Thurston, George B. Pittsburg as it is, or Facts and Figures exhib- 
iting the past and present of Pittsburg, its advantages, manu- 
factures and commerce. Pittsburg, 1857. 

Walker, Charles W. History of Athens County, Ohio, and Incidentally 
of the Ohio Land Company and the First Settlement of the State 
at Marietta, etc. Cincinnati, 1869. 

Whittlesey, Charles. Fugitive Essays upon Interesting and Useful 
Subjects relating to the Early History of Ohio. Its Geology and 
Agriculture. Hudson, 1852. 

Whittlesey, Charles. Early History of Cleveland. Cleveland, 1867. 

Studies in History, Economics and Public Law 

Edited by the 

Faculty of Political Science of Columbia University 

VOLUME I, 1891-2 2nd. Ed., 1897. 396 pp. Price, $3.00. 

1. The Divorce Problem. A Study In Statistics. 

By WALTER A. WILLCOX, Ph.D. Price, 75 cents. 

3. The History of Tariff Administration In the United States, from 
Colonial Times to the McKlnley Administrative Bill. 

By JOHTN DEAN Goss, Ph.D. Price, gi.oo. 

3. History of Municipal Land Ownership on Manhattan Island. 

By GEORGE ASHTOK BLACK, Ph.D. Price, gi.oo. 

4. Financial History of Massachusetts. 

By CHARLES H. J. DOUGLAS, Ph.D. (Not sold separately.) 

VOLUME II, 1892-93. 503 pp. Price, $3.00. 

1. The Economics of the Russian "Village. 

By ISAAC A. HOURWICH, Ph.D. (Out of print.) 
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By SAMUEL W. DUNSCOMB, Jr., Ph.D. Price, gi.oo. 
3. Special Assessments: A Study In Municipal Finance. 

By VICTOR ROSEWATHR, Ph.D. Second Edition, 1898. Price, $1.00. 

VOLUME III, 1893. 465 pp. Price, $3.00. 

1. 'History of Elections In the American Colonies. 

By CORTLAND F. BISHOP, Ph.D. Price, $1.50. 
8. The Commercial Policy of England toward the American Colonies. 

By GEORGE L. BEER, A.M. (Not sold separately.) 

VOLUME IV, 1893-94. 438 pp. Price, $3.00. 

1. Financial History of Virginia. By WILLIAM Z. RIPLEY, Ph.D. Price, $1.00. 
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3. History of Taxation in "Vermont. 

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VOLUME V, 1895-96. 498 pp. Price, $3.00. 

1. Double Taxation in the United States. 

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VOLUME VI, 1896. 601 pp. Price, $4.00. 

History of Proprietary Government In Pennsylvania. 

By WILLIAM ROBERT SHEPHERD, Ph.D. Price $4.00; bound, $4.50. 

VOLUME VII, 1896. 512 pp. Price, $3.00. 

1. History of the Transition from Provincial to Commonwealth 

Government In Massachusetts. 

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*. Speculation on the Stock and Produce Exchanges of the United 

States. By HENRY CROSBY EMERY, Ph.D. Price, 1.5 

VOLUME VIII, 1896-98. 551pp. Price, $3.50. 

1. The Struggle between President Johnson and Congress over Re* 

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VOLUME IX, 1897-98. 617 pp. Price, $3.50. 

1. 'English Local Government of To-day. A Study of the Relations 

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8. The Centralization of Administration in New York State. 


VOLUME X, 1898-99. 500 pp. Price, $3.00. 

1. Sympathetic Strikes and Sympathetic Lockouts. 

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VOLUME XI, 1899. 495 pp. Price, $3.50. 

The Growth of Cities. By ADNA FERRIN WKBER, Ph.D. 

VOLUME XII, 1899-1900. 586 pp. Price, $3.50. 

1. History and Functions of Central Labor Unions. 

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2. Colonial Immigration Laws. 

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VOLUME Xm, 1901. 570 pp. Price. $3.50. 

1. The Legal Property Relations of Married Parties. 

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3. The Reconstruction of Georgia. 

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VOLUME XIV, 1901-1902. 576 pp. Price, $3.50. 

1. Loyalism In New York during the American Revolution. 


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VOLUME XV, 1902. 427 pp. Price, $3.00. 

Crime In Its Relation.-, to Social Progress. 


VOLUME XVI, 1902-1903. 547 pp. Price, $3.00. 

1. The Past and Present of Commerce In Japan. 

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3. The Centralization of Administration In Ohio. 

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VOLUME XVII, 1903. 635 pp. Price, $3.50. 

1. *Centrallzing Tendencies In the Administration of Indiana. 

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2. Principles of Jnstlce In Taxation. 

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VOLUME XVIII, 1903. 753 pp. Price, $4.00. 

1. The Administration of Iowa. 

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2. Turgot and the Six Edicts. By ROBERT P. SHEPHERD, Ph.D. Price, $1.50. 

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VOLUME XIX, 1903-1905. 588 pp. Price, $3.50. 

1. Joslali Tucker, Economist. By WALTER ERNEST CLARK, Ph.D. Price, gi. 50. 

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VOLUME XX, 1904. 514 pp. Price, $3.00. 

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the United States. By DAVID Y. THOMAS, Ph.D. Price, $2.00. 

VOLUME XXI, 1904. 746 pp. Price, $4.00. 

1. 'Treaties, their Making and En/orcement. 

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2. The Sociology of a New York City Block. 

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VOLUME XXII, 1905. 520 pp. Price, $3.00. 

The Historical Development of the Poor Law of Connecticut. 


VOLUME XXIII, 1905. 594 pp. Price, $3.50. 

1. The Economics of Land Tenure in Georgia. 

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2. Mistake in Contract. A Study in Comparative Jurisprudence. 

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3. Combination In the Mining Industry. 

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VOLUME XXIV, 1905. 521 pp. Price, $3.00. 

1. The Place of Magic in vhe Intellectual History of Europe. 

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2. The Ecclesiastical Edicts of the Theodoslan Code. 

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3. *The International Position of Japan as a Great Power. 

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VOLUME XXV, 1906-07. 600 pp. Price, $4.00- 

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2. The Budget In the American Commonwealths. 

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3. The Finances of Cleveland. By CHARLES C. WILLIAMSON, Ph.D. Price, 52.00. 

VOLUME XXVI, 1907. 559 pp. Price, $3.50. 

1. Trade and Currency In Early Oregon. 

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VOLUME XXVII, 1907. 578 pp. Price, $3.50. 

1. The Economic Policy of Robert Walpole. 

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2. The United States Steel Corporation. 

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3. The Taxation of Corporations In Massachusetts. 

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VOLUME XXVIII, 1907. 564 pp. Price, $3.50. 

1. DeWItt Clinton and the Origin of the Spoils System In New York. 

By HOWARD LEE McBAiN, Ph.D. Price, Ji. 50. 

2. The Development of the Legislature of Colonial Virginia. 

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3. The Distribution of Ownership. 


VOLUME XXIX, 1908. 703 pp. Price, $4.00. 

1. Early New England Towns. By ANNE BUSH MACLEAR, Ph.D. Price, $1.50. 

2. New Hampshire as a Royal Province. 

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VOLUME XXX, 1908. 712 pp. Price, $4.00. 

The Province of New Jersey, 16641738. By EDWIN P. TANNER, Ph.D. 

VOLUME XXXI, 1908. 575 pp. Price, $3.50. 

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2. Ohio before 185O. By ROBERT E. CHADDOCK, Ph.D. Price, $1.50. 

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4. Adolphe Quetelet as Statistician. By FRANK H. HANKINS, Ph.D. Price, 11.25. 

VOLUME XXXII, 1908. 705 pp. Price, $4.00. 

The Enforcement of the Statutes of Laborers. 


VOLUME XXXIII, 1908-1909. 635 pp. Price, $4.00. 

1. Factory Legislation In Maine. By E. STAGG WHITIN, A.B. Price, $1.00. 

2. *Psychologlcal Interpretations of Society. 

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3. *An Introduction to the Sources relating to the Germanic Inva- 

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VOLUME XXXIV, 1909. 628 pp. Price, $4.00. 

1. [89] Transportation and Industrial Development In the Middle 

West. By WILLIAM F. GEPHART, Ph.D Price, $2.00. 

2. [9O] Social Reform and the Reformation. 

by JACOB SALWYN SCHAPIRO, Ph.D. Price, Jr. 25. 

3. [91J Responsibility for Crime. By PHILIP A. PARSONS, PhD. Price, $1.50. 


1. [92] The Conflict over the Judicial Powers In the United States to 

187O. By CHARLES GROVE HAINES, Jt'h.D. Price, $1.50. 

2. [93] A Study of the Population of Manhattan vllle. 

By HOWARD BROWN WOOLSTON, Ph.D. Price, $1.25. 

The price for each volume is for the set of monographs in paper. Each volume, as well as the 
separate monographs marked*, can be supplied in cloth-bound copies, for 50c. additional. 
All prices are net. 

The set of thirty-four volumes, comprising ninety-one monographs, (except that Vol. II can be 
supplied only in unbound nos. 2 and 3) is offered bound for $114. Volumes I, III and IV can 
now be supplied only in connection with complete sets. 

For further information, apply to 

Prof. EDWIN R. A. SELIGMAN, Columbia University, 

or to Messrs. LONGMANS, GREEN & CO., New York. 
London: P. S. KING & SON, Orchard House, Westminster 


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