When gazing at the city's impressive skyline, we too often forget the notable individuals who built these grand and glittering buildings, as well as the nearby museums, parks and neighborhoods we also treasure. Reflected in the character, reputation and even design of our city, the legacy of the early settlers continues on today. Through their efforts, almost always imbued with a civic entrepreneurial spirit, they stamped their mark on our burgeoning regional reputation, while also allowing current leaders to bolster and broaden our national reputation. From its very beginnings, Cincinnati offered an enticing combination of personable welcome and worldly sophistication. At one point, Cincinnati had more native-born residents than any other American city, a testament to the values that attracted and retained its citizens. In Founders and Famous Families of Cincinnati, author Wendy Hart Beckman brings to life the founding families' histories, sharing these intertwined and fascinating tales with readers near and far. A charming history of lives lived large truly the Who's Who (as well as the When and Where) of Cincinnati that when considered together, made the Queen City the great place to live and work that it is today.
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CHAPTER 1: They Built Cincinnati
MANY OF THE EARLY PEOPLE WHO LIVED in this area are known to us now as Mound Builders. By the end of the seventeenth century, however, those of the Mound Builder culture had disappeared from this area of southwest Ohio. (The work of the Mound Builders closest to Cincinnati, of the Fort Ancient Culture, can best be seen at Serpent Mound in Adams County.) About 100 years went by with no other groups filling the void. Previously farmed fields lay fallow. So at the beginning of the 1700s, southwest Ohio was sparsely populated.
Then, having been driven out of New York, the Iroquois entered Ohio and spread quickly throughout the state, fighting other tribes and completely wiping out some, like the Erie, along the way. In their attempts to claim so much land, however, the Iroquois spread themselves too thin and thus left themselves vulnerable to attack from many sides by others.
The Miami tribes came in from the west and established a stronghold on that side of the state, eventually giving their name to many landmarks that still exist today, such as Miami University. Three rivers, in fact, bear variations of the Miami name: the Great Miami to the west of Cincinnati, the Little Miami to the east, and the Maumee to the north.
From the Great Lakes came the Wyandot Hurons, Ottawas, Potawatomies, and Chippewas (Ojibwes). The Shawnee traveled along the Scioto River from the east, as did the Delaware tribe, who came from Pennsylvania and settled in central Ohio. Fort Ancient itself, in Warren County just northeast of Cincinnati, had become home to other tribes. No one tribe of native people had a clear hold on Southwestern Ohio.
At the same time that these Native American forces were fighting each other for the land, the British and French had also discovered Ohio and battled for control of the region. As of July 4, 1776, all this was taking place in a country that we now think of as the United States of America. But back then this area was better described as being an utter state of chaos.
In 1780, an expedition of soldiers was launched against the Native Americans. George Rogers Clark led a contingent of more than a thousand men with the goal of driving the Indians back and teaching them a lesson for recent attacks on settlers in Kentucky and Ohio. Official Ohio statistics papers published by the Secretary of State in the late 1800s contain a description, written by a Mr. Isaac Smucker, of the construction of two blockhouses directly across from the mouth of the Licking River on August 1, 1780. By Clark’s command, these blockhouses were to be guarded for 14 days until his return and then abandoned. Eventually, they were destroyed with no evidence left of their exact location.
Table of ContentsCHAPTER 1: They Built Cincinnati
CHAPTER 2: Law and Order
CHAPTER 3: Going Places
CHAPTER 4: Raising Our Spirits
CHAPTER 5: To Your Health
CHAPTER 6: We’ve Got the Goods
CHAPTER 7: Start the Presses!
CHAPTER 8: Trailblazers
CHAPTER 9: Leading Ladies
CHAPTER 10: Music to Our Ears
APPENDIX A: Henry Wadsworth Longfellow’s “Catawba Wine”
APPENDIX B Presenting Hizzoner, er, Her Honor, the Mayor!
APPENDIX C: A Select Representation of Samuel Hannaford’s Life’s Work
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