Page images
PDF
EPUB

There are six Colleges within the portion of the State of Ohio to which we have more particularly alluded, and of which the front on the Ohio river is mostly formed by the Ohio Company's tract. First, Ohio University at Athens ; second, Western Reserve College at Hudson; third, Kenyon College at Gambia, Knox County ; fourth, Oberlin, in Lorain County ; fifth, Granville College in Licking County ; sixth, Marietta College, in Washington County.

Ohio University is the oldest institution of learning in the State. Its site is pleasant, picturesque, and healthy. It has trained many young men for the walks of usefulness, numbers of whom have become distinguished throughout the Union. Its support is derived from two townships of land near the centre of Athens County, which were obtained for this purpose by Dr. Cutler, in his negotiation for the Ohio Company's Purchase. The Western Reserve College is a flourishing institution, founded on private benefactions.

Kenyon, Granville, and Oberlin are denominational establishments ; the first founded by Episcopalians, the second by Baptists, the third by Presbyterians friendly to the antislavery cause.

Each of them is said to be prosperous. Marietta College has arisen within a few years. Its first Commencement was in 1838.

From the beginning of the settlement on the Muskingum, under General Putnam, public instruction and the education of the young were prominent objects at Marietta.

This was in accordance with the spirit manifested by the Ohio Company. It is on their records, that, at a meeting of directors and agents, at Rice's Tavern, Providence, Rhode Island, a committee, Messrs. Cutler, J. M. Varnum, and Colonel May, reported on the subject of a public teacher, recommending,

" That the directors be requested to pay as early attention as possible to the education of youth, and the promotion of public worship among the first settlers; and that, for these important purposes, they employ, if practicable, an instructor, eminent for literary accomplishments and the virtue of his character, who shall also superintend the first scholastic institutions, and direct the manner of instruction. And to enable the directors to carry into execution the intentions expressed in this resolution, the proprietors and other liberal minds are VOL. LIII.

- No. 113,

45

requested to contribute by voluntary donation to the forming of a fund to be solely devoted thereto.

“ And the report was accepted and approved."

An Academy was established in Marietta at an early day, and common schools were taught from the first year of the settlement. Popular education (as well as business, improvement, and enterprise), it must be owned, was in a comparatively low estate at the close of the first forty years from the landing of Putnam ; but a sudden revival, in all of them, took place in Marietta about ten years ago. The first movement that led to the founding of Marietta College (without the least view or aim of that sort) was an effort of the Reverend Luther G. Bingham for the cause of school education in its primary stages. It appeared, in the sequel, that the effort was well-timed, and that aims of a higher and more extended character would be well sustained by the community. Mr. Bingham therefore proceeded, step by step, from the establishment of an Infant School to that of a High School, in the management of which he associated himself with Mr. Mansfield French. But the institution was soon found to be beyond the power of individual management, and was, for public benefit, sold out and surrendered to the care of trustees. This board, appointed by the legislature of Ohio, on mature deliberation, became satisfied that their duty required them to aim at the establishment of an institution of the highest character. They appealed for aid to public liberality, and, to a good extent, have received a favorable response. The Faculty is composed of men distinguished for moral worth, as well as for talent and literary and scientific attainment. The course of instruction, and the exhibition of intellectual power and culture in the students and graduates, have probably not been exceeded in any Western institution. It has a respectable philosophical apparatus, a valuable cabinet of minerals, a philological library, procured in Germany by Professor Smith, not excelled, if equalled in the West, and a handsome beginning of a miscellaneous library. The superior pleasantness as well as the healthiness of Marietta, the habits of order, industry, and morality, with the simplicity of living, prevalent among its citizens, and the facilities of access by water, by means of that great thoroughfare, the Ohio river, and of the Muskingum, now improved by slackwater navigation, are circumstances highly favorable to the growth and prosperity of Marietta College.

The cause of female education has, by no means, been overlooked in this region. There is a female seminary of high character at Marietta ; one at Putnam in Muskingum County ; two at Granville, one at Newark, and one at Massillon. Probably there are others which have not come to our knowledge.

A few words of remark on the publications named at the head of this article.

Mr. Atwater's work is not, in fact, a “ History of Ohio." It has many interesting facts, and, as too commonly happens, it bas some details which are not facts. For instance, at page 131, we are told, that “the settlement commenced under the superintendence of General Rufus Putnam, a son of the Revolutionary General Putnam.” At page 154, we read, that “Kerr was killed in a canoe while crossing the mouth of Wolf Creek.” Fronting this statement, on page 155, is a declaration, that the same Kerr was killed at the mouth of Duck Creek. The last statement, we are informed, is nearest the truth. But Mr. Atwater's book will well reward perusal.

The narrative of Judge Burnet, in the “ Transactions of the Ohio Historical Society," is a document of great value. He emigrated to Ohio in the spring of 1796.

"s At this time,' he remarks, the country to which I united myself was literally a wilderness. The entire population between Pennsylvania and the Mississippi, from the Ohio to the Lakes, was estimated at fifteen thousand. [Probably too high an estimate.] Cincinnati was a small village of log cabins, including, perhaps, a dozen coarse frame houses, with stone chimneys, most of them unfinished. Not a brick had been seen in the place where now such elegant edifices present themselves to the eye on every side ; and where [1837] a population is found exceeding, by estimation, thirty-five thousand.* The city stands on a lower bench and an upper bench, the former rising about sixty feet above low-water mark, and

* What a contrast! By the census of 1940, Ohio has 1,519,467 inhabitants ; Cincinnati, 46,382, — more than the town of Boston in 1796. The population of Indiana is 683,314; Ilinois, 474,404; Michigan, 211,705 ; Wisconsin, 30,752; in all, 2,919,642; say, at this present writing, an increase of three millions in forty-five years. And the amount of internal improvement and inland navigation and trade no less astonishing.

[merged small][ocr errors]

extending back about sixty rods; the latter rising about forty feet higher than the former, and extending an average distance of about a mile and a half from the river. The surface at the foot of this [second] bench, being much lower than at the bank of the river, was a swamp or narrow morass, extending the entire length of the town. The exhalation from this morass subjected the inhabitants, every summer and fall, to intermittents and agues.

At the northeast corner of Main and Fifth Streets, now the centre of business and tasteful improvement, — and contiguous to a rough, half-finished frame house, in which our Courts were held, there was a pond, filled with alder bushes, in which the frogs serenaded us, regularly, from spring to fall. This morass extended so far into Main Street, that it was necessary to construct a causeway of logs in order to pass it with convenience. It remained in its natural state, containing its alders and its frogs, three or four years after my residence commenced. The population of the town, including, officers and followers of the army, was about five hundred.'',

The Western army had then its head-quarters at Cincinnati. The manners of the officers are represented, by Judge Burnet, as unusually dissipated, and as giving an unfavorable character " to the manners and habits of the settlement."

“When I came to this place," says Judge Burnet, “there were nine resident lawyers engaged in the practice. I have been, for several years, the only survivor of that group; all of whom became confirmed sots, and have gone to untimely graves, except my brother, whose life was terminated, in 1801, by a rapid consumption. A very large proportion of General Wayne's army were hard drinkers; General Harrison and Governor Clark, then captains in the army, and Colonel Shomberg, and a few others, being the only exceptions."

Judge Burnet had ample opportunities of observing the various and varying aspects of society in the Northwestern Territory, being a practising attorney in all the Courts.* He

[ocr errors]

In 1796, the Northwestern Territory had been divided into five counties;

County Seat. 1. Washington, eastern part,

Marietta. 2. Hamilton,

Cincinnati. 3. Wayne, Michigan Peninsula, &c. Detroit. 4. St. Clair,

Kaskaskias. 5. Knox,

Vincennes.

[ocr errors]

gives many interesting details of his journeys and adventures, while traversing the immense wildernesses between the County Seats.

“In performing these journeys,” he says, “ either in summer or winter, the traveller was compelled to swim every watercourse in his route which could not be forded. The country being destitute of bridges and ferries as well as roads, we had to rely on our horses as the only substitutes ; and it sometimes happened, that, after swimming a stream covered with floating ice, we had to encamp on the ground for the night. This consideration made it common for a person, when purchasing a horse, to ask the question, whether he was a good swimmer ? “ In the fall of 1801, on my return, without company,

from the General Court of Marietta, it rained almost incessantly during the whole journey, which subjected me to the necessity of swimming four or five times on my horse ; once, at Whiteoak, with evident peril of my life. That stream was higher than I have ever seen it before or since. The opposite side was a bluff, having a narrow way cut down to the creek. After estimating the velocity of the current as well as I could by the motion of the drift wood, for the purpose of deciding how far I should enter above the landing-place in order to strike it, I put in with the head of my horse a little up stream ; he, however, chose to steer for himself, and made directly for the landing. Being a fine swimmer, he struck in at the lower point so as to enable me to grasp a bush, by which I was able to extricate both from the threatening danger. I rose to the bank with a light heart, and proceeded on my way to Williamsburg, where I swam the east fork rather than wait for a canoe from the opposite side. The next morning I swam it again near where Batavia now stands, and arrived safely at home.”

We should be pleased to quote Judge Burnet's account of the entertainment given him and the “Judges of the General Court,” at an Indian town on the Auglaize, where the company tarried half a day on their way to Detroit, with his account of an Indian game of football, males against females, which “ was finally decided in favor of the ladies 3 but we have not room.

Judge Burnet was a member of the Legislative Council during the existence of the second form of Territorial Government, from 1798 to 1803, and has since filled some of the highest offices in the State of Ohio. His remarks, therefore, on its legislative history, have a peculiar interest.

[ocr errors]
« ՆախորդըՇարունակել »