OHIO. This state has heretofore been classed among the North-west States of the American Union; but the vast accumulation of territory lying still farther west and north has left Ohio more properly among the Middle States, on the Atlantic side of the continent: indeed, her relative position, considered in regard to the present north-western possessions of the United States, is actually that of one of the Eastern States of this republic. Marietta, the oldest town in the state, was settled, in 1788, by the " New England Ohio Company." The next permanent settlement was at Columbia, in the following year. In 1791, a company of French emigrants founded the town of Gallipolis. Large bodies of New England people, in 1796, settled several towns on Lake Erie. Before the above settlements were undertaken, several of the neighboring states, which, by charter or otherwise, were proprietors of various tracts of unappropriated western lands lying within this territory, had, from time to time, relinquished their claims; and numerous Indian titles were also extinguished by treaty. A territorial government was formed in 1799, in which year the legislature convened for the first time, at Cincinnati, and elected General William H. Harrison as delegate to Congress. A state constitution was formed in 1802, by virtue of which, and under authority of Congress, Ohio became an independent member of the federal Union.
Boundaries and Extent. — Bounded north by the State of Michigan and Lake Erie ; east by the States of Pennsylvania and Virginia, being separated from the latter by the Ohio River; south by said river, which divides it from Kentucky ; and west by the State of Indiana. The Ohio River washes the border of the state, through its numerous meanderings, for a distance of over 430 miles. The state contains 40,000 square miles, and measures 200 miles from north to south, by 220 miles from east to west. It lies between 38° 30' and 42° north latitude, and between 80° 35' and 84° 42' west longitude.
Government. — The constitution provides for the election of a governor biennially; but he cannot be elected for more than three terms in succession. Members of the Senate, 36 in number, are elected for two years, one half chosen annually. The House of Representatives is composed of 72 members, elected for one year. All these elections are by the people. The state secretary, treasurer, and auditor are chosen by the legislature, in joint ballot, for three years. The sessions of the General Assembly commence annually on the first Monday in December, at Columbus, the capital of the state. White males, 21 years of age, residents for one year in the state, and tax-payers, are entitled to the right of suffrage. The constitution has been recently revised and modified ; but its new features do not seem to be essential improvements in principle upon its former provisions.
Judicially. — The judges of the Supreme Court, of the Common Pleas Courts, and of the city courts, are appointed, by concurrent vote of the two houses of the legislature, for seven years. The oldest Supreme Court judge in commission officiates as chief justice. There are four of these judges, two of whom hold a court in each county once a year. The Common Pleas Courts are held in some counties three times in each year, in others only twice, by a president judge and three associates. There are Superior Courts established in Cincinnati and in Cleveland; also a commercial court in the former city.
Education. — On the admission of this state into the Union, it was stipulated, for certain considerations, that one thirty-sixth part of all the territory should be set apart for the maintenance of common schools. This liberal reservation makes ample provision for securing to coming generations the advantages of early instruction; and, thus far, the compact, on the part of the state, lias been faithfully carried out Good schools are diffused all over the land; and all needful attention and aid are given by the people to their support and improvement. There are many thousands of public grammar and primary schools in the state, some hundreds of academies or similar seminaries, and about twenty universities, colleges, and other institutions of a high order. The amount of the school fund owned by the state is above $1,700,000; and nearly $300,000 is annually apportioned to the several counties for school purposes. The number of persons over 20 years of age, who can neither read nor write, is about 35,000.
Finances. —The state revenues are chiefly derived from taxes of various descriptions, viz., on real and personal property, professions, pedlers, foreign insurance agencies, auctioneers, brokers, banks, joint stock companies, &c, also from land sales, canal tolls, dividends on state property, interest on surplus revenue and other investments, &c. The expenditures include appropriations for state government purposes, interest on foreign debt, common schools, repairs on public works, &c. The total amount of the state debt, at the close of the fiscal year of 1849, including nearly $17,000,000 foreign debt, was somewhat over $19,000,000. The difference between the receipts and disbursements for the same year showed a balance in the treasury of $554,000. Upwards of $3,000,000 worth of stock in various public works is owned by the state, which yields liberal dividends. The gross income of these works, in 1849, was over $740,000. The total value of taxable property was about $430,000,000, and the revenue from taxes on real and personal estates amounted to $1,260,000.
Surface, Soil, &tc. — Near the borders of Lake Erie, and for some distance in the interior of the northern part of the state, the surface is generally level, and occasionally somewhat marshy. The section of country in the vicinity of the Ohio River, in the eastern and southeastern quarters, is elevated and broken, although there are no lofty mountains in the state. But the entire region is a table land, reaching to a height of 600 to 1000 feet above the ocean level. The most level and fertile lands are situated in the interior, through which flows the River Scioto. Vast prairies lie near the head waters of that river, of the Muskingum, and the two Miami Rivers, upon which there is no growth of timber, but which yield abundance of coarse grass. The forests, in other parts, produce oaks, walnut, hickory, beech, birch, maple, poplar, sycamore, papaw, cherry, buckeye, and whitewood, in all their varieties. Pines are uncommon, and the whitewood is generally substituted. The staple agricultural product of the state is wheat, of which enormous quantities are annually exported. Rye, oats, buckwheat, Indian corn, and other grains, are raised in great profusion; and nearly every species of garden vegetable is cultivated successfully. It is estimated that nine tenths of the land is adapted to purposes of agriculture, and that three fourths of it is extraordinarily fertile. Fruits of all descriptions known in the same latitude grow luxuriantly in all parts of the state.
Rivers. — Besides the noble Ohio, which washes the south and south-east borders of the state, there are its numerous tributaries, some of which are streams of considerable magnitude, and extensively navigable. The Muskingum, which enters the Ohio at Marietta, affords navigation for boats through an extent of 100 miles. The Scioto, navigable for 130 miles, discharges itself into the Ohio at Portsmouth. The Great Miami, a rapid stream, after a course of 100 miles, joins the Ohio in the south-west corner of the state. The Little Miami, 70 miles in length, falls into the Ohio near Cincinnati. These rivers have many branches and forks, extending in various directions. A number of large streams flow northwardly into Lake Erie; as the Maumee, Huron, Sandusky, Cuyahoga, Vermilion, Ashtabula, Grand, and Black Rivers. These also have many branches.
Internal Improvements. — Many important public works have been undertaken and accomplished in this state. The Ohio Canal, 307 miles in length, extends from Cleveland, on the shore of Lake Erie, to Portsmouth, on the Ohio River; and there are connected with it sundry branches, one of which reaches 50 miles. This work, commenced in 1825 and completed in 1832, cost $5,000,000. The Miami Canal, 178 miles long, extends from Cincinnati, and connects with the Wabash and Erie Canal at Defiance. This is also intersected by several branches. The Mahoning, a branch of the Ohio Canal, commences at Akron, and extends 88 miles, to Beaver River. Two continuous lines of railroad extend across the state, from north to south — one from Cincinnati to Sandusky, the other from Cincinnati to Cleveland, which is also connected by railroad with Pittsburg, Buffalo, Sandusky, and Toledo. There are numerous important lines in progress, extending east and west, and, indeed, in
almost every direction.
Minerals. — Ohio does not present so great a variety of geological formations as are found in most other states. It is found that there are five distinct divisions of rocks, viz., blue limestone, the thickness of which is estimated at from 700 to 1000 feet; black shale, 250 feet; fine-grained sandstone, 350 feet; conglomerate, 200 feet; and coal series, 2000 feet. Indications of all these several formations are found in some counties; while in others those of only one or two of them are discoverable. The great coal region lies on the western bank of the River Ohio, and occupies not far from one fourth part of the whole state. The strata, as usual elsewhere, are interspersed with beds of iron ore; and immense quantities of both these materials are obtained from this quarter of"the state. It is affirmed, in a Cleveland journal of March, 1851, that 1200 square miles in Ohio are underlaid with iron; and that a tract explored in 1838 was found adequate to furnish iron throughout an extent of 61 miles long by 60 wide, one square mile of which would yield 3,000,000 tons of pig iron — so that this district would contain 1,000,000,000 tons. If 400,000 tons were taken from it annually, it would require 2500 years to remove the whole.
Manufactures. — The manufactures of this state are confined principally to articles the raw materials of which are of home growth, as wool, iron, leather, tobacco, flour, sugar, wax, lard, silk, potash, &c. All the usual collateral branches are also carried on to any required extent. Though not strictly connected with this item, it may be proper here to remark that millions of horses, mules, neat cattle, sheep, and swine are raised within the state, and that great numbers of living animals, as well as vast quantities of packed beef and pork, are annually sent to eastern markets.
Population. — The people of Ohio are remarkable for industry, enterprise, and public spirit. They have " increased and multiplied," through accessions from the older states, and from Europe, in an almost incredible ratio. The growth of the population has been without parallel, until, perhaps, the recent thronging towards the golden land in the farthest west. From the time when the first census was taken, a period of only 60 years, the number of inhabitants has been augmented from 3000 to nearly 2,000,000.
Climate. — In general, the climate throughout the state is highly favorable to human health. The summer season, though warm, is regular, with the occasional and somewhat rare exception of a whirlwind or hurricane. The winters are not severely cold, nor subject to violent storms ; and the intermediate seasons are delightfully pleasant. It is true that in some of the marshy localities, giving rise to unwholesome vapors, the inhabitants are subject to those peculiar distempers always prevalent in such districts ; but even there, the range of disorders scarcely extends beyond fevers and agues.
Curiosities. — The remains of ancient Indian villages, mounds, and fortifications, discoverable in many counties of the state, constitute the most remarkable subjects of curious interest. Particular descriptions of these vestiges may be found in Howe's Historical Collections of Ohio, a work of 600 pages, octavo, full of minute detail, published at Cincinnati, in 1850. In the Scioto valley, within a compass of 12 to 15 miles around the city of Chilicothe, these extraordinary monuments are very numerous. A map, showing their respective positions, and an ample and very able account of a series of explorations made in that region, and elsewhere in the valley of the Mississippi, by Messrs. Squier and Davis of Ohio, between 1845 and 1847, may be found in the Transactions of the American Ethnological Society, vol. ii.