209 years ago today, Ohio became the 17th State.
I was not there for the big party, I came to Ohio on the very last day of 1957. I was five years, six months, and six days old. It was a horrid trip. Zola and Al were both car-sick all the way – I never got a window seat, it was too dangerous to be “in the line of fire”, Charlie had just about had it, we were pulling a home made trailer behind a 1957 Chevrolet Bel-Air, Daddy drove the entire way, it was freezing cold, we were leaving our home in Virginia, all our friends, and all of our family…for what? A town we’d never heard of in a state that was UP nawth!
Grandma was not pleased…”Your children will be Yankees, you know.”
But, my memories of Ohio aren’t all terrible that bad. My very first memory is of the Florentine Hotel. Odd, I know, but as we drove by it, the big FISH sign out front flashed “beer and wine”…Mother was outraged!
We stayed at the Nunery’s home the first night we were there. Al had a fever of 3,000 or something like that, was in fits, and Mom was frantic.
He got better – ish.
But, back to Ohio’s birthday…Ohio was part of the Northwest Territory, the state was carved out of a portion of land that was an experiment for the new nation called These United States. Main street in the towns had to run North and South, there was a town plan, most of the city governments and the state governments are the same, stuff like that.
The Northwest Territory played a critical part in the French and Indian War. General Braddock was killed by an Indian attack, buried in the middle of the road. George Washington, his aide-de-camp, buried him there and had the wagons roll over it so that the Indians couldn’t dig him UP and display the body. Thank you Mr. Willie Longman, for that little tid-bit!
After the British/American forces sent the French packing back to Paris, settlers moved in. All they had left to do was wipe out the pesky natives, and boom…town, cities, villages, shopping malls, movie theaters, interstates…progress!
Ohio, Indiana, Michigan, Illinois, Wisconsin, and part of Minnesota came from the NWT. They became a central cog in the progress of the United States, providing goods and food for many other parts of the country. It was a successful experiment. The towns lasted, people moved in, stuff happened.
Like I said, there was a plan. When the number of “free” males reached 5,000, a Territorial legislature was created. Slavery was prohibited, but they got around it with indentured servants. Ohio politicians have always been slick! Once the territorial government was set UP, townships were created. Thomas Jefferson, created the township idea. It was part of the Land Ordinance of 1785. There were square surveys, which became the model for the Midwest. Towns, cities, etc. were planned scientifically. Land was sold in plots or plats, and life moved on.
OHIO became the first state from the NWT. We like being first. Winning is important…Just ask any Ohio State Fan!!
My memories of Ohio and especially Germantown are strong, vivid, and generally humorous.
So, Happy Birthday Ohio, I’m glad you were there for me!