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Ohio in American fiction

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OHIO IN AMERICAN FICTION
A Thesis
Presented to
the Faculty of the Department of English
The University of Southern California
In Partial Fulfillment
of the Requirements for the Degree
Master of Arts
toy
Thelma Herbert Warrender
June 1941
UMI Number: EP44164
All rights reserved
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a note will indicate the deletion.
Disswtatton Publishing
UMI EP44164
Published by ProQuest LLC (2014). Copyright in the Dissertation held by the Author.
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T h is thesis, w r i t t e n by
.....
u n d e r the d i r e c t i o n o f h§¥.. F a c u l t y C o m m i t t e e ,
a n d a p p r o v e d by a l l its m e m b e r s , has been
presented to a n d accepted by the C o u n c i l on
G r a d u a t e S t u d y a n d Research in p a r t i a l f u l f i l l ­
m e n t o f the r e q u ire m e n ts f o r the degree o f
MASTER OF ARTS
Dean'
Secretary
D a te ..
F a c u lty Com m ittee
irm an
TABLE OF CONTENTS
CHAPTER
PAGE
P r e f a c e ........................................
I.
AN INTRODUCTION TO OHIO F I C T I O N
iv
•. .
N o v e l i s t s ..................................
II.
41
Collectors of l e g e n d s .................
56
S u m m a r y ..................................
66
THE INDIAN PERIOD, 1750-1812
68
................................
68
The struggle for the Indians' lands . . . . .
79
Summary
86
.......................
THE PIONEER PERIOD, 1 7 8 7 - 1 8 3 0 .................
88
Distribution of the N o r t h w e s t ...............
88
The Migration W e s t ...................
93
Pioneer l i f e ..........
98
The M o r m o n s ..................................
109
Two legendary characters
110
Johnny Appleseed
...................
'. . . . . ..........
. .
Mike F i n k ...................
The Burr conspiracy
Summary . . . . . . .
IV.
1
Short story writers . . ..............
The Indians
III.
.
1
110
112
.................
114
........................
116
. . .
...............
118
The passing of early pioneer l i f e ...........
118
OHIO FROM 1830 TO 1865
iii
CHAPTER
V.
PAGE
The Anti-Slavery m o v e m e n t ................ . .
129
S u m m a r y ..........
135
THE TRANSITION PERIOD, 1865-1900
Ohio in 1865
VI.
.
136
. . . . . . .................. ,.
The Industrial Expansion
. . . .
The influx of foreigners
.
........... • 139
...............
146
Soci§l of the p e r i o d ...................
149
S u m m a r y ..................................
155
...................
156
THE MODERN ERA, 1900—
Early years of the twentieth century
.....
156
1910-1920
162
Labor conditions following thefirst world war
176
.1920-1930 .................
Towers with i v y ............
The game of politics
179
. .
184
............
188
S u m m a r y ..................................
VII.
136
SUMMARY AND CONCLUSIONS
BIBLIOGRAPHY I
. .
191
.................
192
......................................
200
BIBLIOGRAPHY I I ............
■.........
207
• APPENDIX. Authors of Ohio F i c t i o n ...................
211
PREFACE
"Ohio in American Fiction” is a regional study of the
novels, short stories, and legends about Ohio, from its ear­
liest historical beginning to the present day.
It does not
include that fiction which reveals the Middle West as a section
with no reference to this particular state.
It is concerned
with only those books of fiction which portray definitely the
Buckeye State, either in part or as a whole.
Previous studies
of that larger regionalism, the Middle West, have been made,
as in Ralph Leslie Rusk's, The Literature of the Middle
Western Frontier, and Fred Pattee's A History of American
Literature since 1870.
Except for two magazine articles,1 and
O
a small section in one of the recent histories of Ohio, no at­
tempt has hitherto been made to segregate that part of American
fiction which reflects Ohio, to the exclusion of the other
Middle Western States— Indiana, Illinois, Kentucky, Iowa,
Wisconsin, Michigan and Minnesota.
Though Ohio, characteristically of the Middle Western
region, has many small towns and farming districts, it is also
Ted Robinson, "Claims of the Buckeye," The Saturday
Review.of Literature. 16:3-4, August 7, 1937.
W. L. Phelps, "May I Suggest,” II Rotarian, 53:56-58,
December, 1938.
2 E. H. Roseboom and E. P. Weisenburger, History of
Ohio (New York: Prentice-Hall, 1934), pp. 386-396.
distinctive enough to be set apart from the rest of this area*
This fact has not been neglected by authors in general nor by
those of fiction.
Since this study is concerned with the works and not
the men, a brief comment will be made in Chapter I on each
author and on the literary characteristics of his work.
The
authors’ birthplaces and dates of birth are given in the
Appendix.
Chapters II, III, IV, V, and VI, picture the social
background that is described in the novels, short* stories and
legends with reference to the five periods of Ohio history.
1.
The Indian Period, 1750-1812, covers the struggle
between the white- man and* the Indian tribes of Ohio.
2.
The Pioneer Period is from 1787 to 1830.
Here
there is an overlapping of dates, but this period centers on
the pioneers, who began to come to Ohio before the Indian up­
risings ceased.
3.
A late pioneer period is from 1830 to 1865, a time
of social and economic changes with an added interest in local
and national politics.
4.
This period includes the Civil War years.
The Transition Period, 1865-1900, reveals the in­
troduction of the factory Into Ohio and the effects of the new
industrialism upon the people.
5.
The m o d e m era begins with the Twentieth Century,
which finds Ohio a state of various cultures and industries.
A final chapter summarizes and draws conclusions.
CHAPTER I
AN INTRODUCTION TO OHIO FICTION
Ohio's development from the home of the redskins to
a modern state is an interesting study.
This fact has not
"been neglected "by authors in general nor by those of fiction.
The present investigation includes all the writers who have
written about Ohio regardless of the state of their birth.
Not all of the native Ohioan writers can be identified with
Ohio for many of them have written little or nothing about
their home state.
Some identify themselves with other sections
of the country, while others do not seem to. belong to any one
part of the United States.
Therefore it has been necessary
to select authors on the basis of topic, rather than birth­
place, in order to write only of Ohio.
Since this study is concerned with the works and not
the men, a brief comment will be made here on each author and
on the character of his work.
The authors are presented as
nearly as possible in accordance with the chronology of their
subject matter.
In some cases, books of different themes are
grouped under the author in order to avoid repetition.
Novel­
ists, short story writers, and collectors of legends are con­
sidered separately..
I.
NOVELISTS
The thirty-three novelists who have written about
Ohio, collectively, present a more comprehensive picture of
the development of the Buckeye State than is to he found in
works of the short story writers or collectors of legends.
With the exception of Louis Bromfield, Walter Havighurst,
Minnie Hite Moody and Albion Tourg<§e, the novelists generally
confine themselves to a single period.
Thus, in this study
one naturally turns to the earliest period of Ohio and finds
that Meade Minnigerode, a contemporary novelist, gives the
most significant account.
Born in England, of American an­
cestry, he was educated in both England and America and was
especially interested in the early history of these countries.
Black Forest, his latest historical novel, covers the period of
the struggle between the French, the English, and the Indians
for the possession of the Northwest Territory.
The book opens in 1754, in the forest town of
Kaskaskia, Illinois, on the night when Angus Drumlin becomes
involved in a serious quarrel with two Frenchmen, rescues
Solange Monvel from her drunken foster father, and escapes to
the Ohio territory where he marries Solange.
In the thirty-
three years that follow, the lives of Solange and Angus and
their friends are remotely associated with the events of those
days, and at times these fictional characters are completely
lost in the mass of historical .data used by the author.
Meade Minnigerode cites the actual texts of some of
the contemporary writings, and sets forth opinions and atti-
3
tudes in order to draw a picture of the times and the spirit
of the struggle for this land.
Land, I don’t know who started it* Maybe
the.French did, maybe the Ohio Land Company did. . .
But that1s .the big concern now, Land in the West**Many of his sentences lack real subject and predicate, and there
is an overuse of conjunctions at the beginning of his phrases
and sentences, but not one page is tedious or uninteresting
reading.
Meade Minnigerode recreates the early history of the
Northwest Territory by transforming factual data into a fiction­
al account which is entertaining as well as informative.
This
is the reason that it is first in the discussion of Ohio fiction.
But it is not a good novel on the basis of delineation of
character or plot construction.
The very fact that the author
hardly speaks of the hero and heroine for a number of years
while he emphasizes the struggle for the land illustrates this
point.
Minnigerode does not give enough detailed information
about the habits and feelings of Angus and Solange to distin­
guish them as personalities.
The main source materials for the book are Charles H.
Ambler’s History of Transportation in the Ohio Valley. Arthur
B. Hulbert's Historic Highways of America. Charles A. Hanna’s
1 Meade Minnigerode, Black Forest (New York and
Toronto: Farrar and Rinehart, Inc., 1937), p. p. 49.
The Wilderness Trail, John Omwake's The Conestoga Six Horse
Bell Teams. 1750-1850.
Another contemporary novelist interested in early
American history is Mary Schuman,
She is of Ohio pioneer
stock and, accustomed to hear her elders describe the adven­
tures of the soldiers and settlers, and the plight of the
Indians during and after the Revolutionary War, she decided to
write of them.
In the Introduction to her latest novel, Strife
Before Dawn, she states that the picture she has drawn "coin­
cides \<fith the records and letters of those days,” and "all
the battles, expeditions, and events in the book closely follow
the contemporary history of that period."2
The Pontiac War,
1764-1765, and Dunmore's Revolution, 1774-1782, form the back­
ground .
Sympathy for the Indians is not detrimental to the con­
struction of the novel.
Mary Schuman primarily concerns herself
with developing a good story, without any pretensions to bril­
liance.
Her style is simple and her characters are ordinary
people.
Although they are not subtly drawn, they motivate the
plot with consistency.
She creates no large panorama as Meade
Minnigerode does, but confines herself to the settlement of
Fort Pitt and nearby Indian tribes.
The problems and daily
life of the people at Fort Pitt are realistically treated as
2
Mary Schuman, Strife Before Dawn (New York: The Dial
Press, 1939), p. vii.
are the scenes of Hope's life among the redmen.
The scene of the story is an important frontier settle­
ment on the east hank of the Ohio— Fort Pitt.
The author re­
lates that the Indians raided this fort several times and cap­
tured many of the whites.
In one of the Indian uprisings,
Hope Maitland, the heroine, is captured and, believing that
Keith, her husband,is killed, marries an Indian chief and
bears him a son.
Hope’s capture leads to a discussion of the
social life of the Indians.
Later, during an exchange of
prisoners, Hope and Keith are reunited, but there is a feeling
of resentment on Keith's part on account of her Indian marriage.
Further complications result from the Indian chief's devotion
to Hope and their son.
After Hope's death, her son runs away
to live with the redmen and Keith marries Jacqueline Norris, a
Virginia belle, and finds happiness.
Strife Before Dawn, clearly written in an easy flowing
style, is very entertaining.
Mary Schuman has successfully
woven the various elements of background and plot into a uni­
fied pattern.
The main source books of the novel are, Randall and
Ryan* s History of Ohio. Howe* s Historical Collection of Ohio.
Leland Baldwin’s Pittsburgh. Story of the City, Thwaite's
Early Western Travels and Lord Dunmore's War, and Henry Harvey's
Shawnee Indians.
Scouting was an important business during this period
and Thomas Boyd, of Ohio, exploits the theme in Shadow of the
Long Knives, the better of his two Ohio novels.
The story is
concerned with the struggle between the Americans, the British,
and the Indians for the Ohio Territory in the years 1787 to
1812.
Angus McDermott, the hero, because of his Indian up­
bringing, is of great use to the British in their dealings with
the Ohio Indians.
He had been brought up among the Senecas and could
see with the Indians' own eyes how precious their
hunting ground and rudely cultivated land were to
them.3
While scouting, he rescues a young woman captive from
the redmen, marries her and tries to give her his own attitude
of friendliness toward his foster brothers.
She and their son
never fully share his views and resent his work as peacemaker
and interpreter, but he continues working until the War of 1812
brings his services to a close.
The publisher states that
Thomas Boyd undertook a great deal of research for this novel
and attempted to give an objective view of the situation, but
one notices a distinct sympathy for the natives.
This is re­
vealed frequently in the meditations of Angus regarding the dis­
turbed social life of the Indians.
It was strange, seeing the peaceful Ohio country
overrun with soldiers, the Indian villages deserted
•? Thomas Boyd,- The Shadow of the Long Knives (New York:
Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1928), p . 4.
and the fields trampled and plundered.^
This sympathy is further noted by the author* s re­
ference to the noble Indian chiefs, as Cornstalk, who were al­
ways ready with some sound advice to their tribes.
Many of our great men we have lost to the Long
Knives and to the Bright Coats when we were forced
to come into this country after defeat . . .
Let
us keep our tempers . . . Let us abide our time
and strength and fight only for our homes. Your
chieftain has s p o k e n . 5
Boyd* s other novel, Samuel Drummond, depicts the
social and economic forces of the Civil War Period.
In strong
contrast to Shadow of the Long Knives, it is inferior in style,
but contains a few interesting notes on transportation,
such
as that of the old-fashioned engine of the 1840*s.
The engine with its bulging smoke stack, tiny
wheels, and odd little cabin, dragged four coaches
up to the station.
The engineer was nearly as tall
as the cabin.6
The scene is an Ohio farm at the time of the Civil
War.
Plodding Samuel Drummond and Marthy Jane marry and es­
tablish themselves on a few acres of land, work hard and
prosper until the advent of the war.
Samuel enlists and
during his absence, his wife and a farm hand attempt to manage
4 Ibid., p. 304.
5 Ibid.. p. 135.
fi
Thomas Boyd, Samuel Drummond (New York: Charles
Scribner's Sons, 1925), p. 75.
8
the place.
After the war, he and his wife find themselves
unable to cope with existing economic conditions and finally
are forced to sell and start life anew in a nearby town.
The characters are dull and the plot moves slowly.
Work, hard work, and long hours were their lot in life.
"Idle
hands were the tools of the devil" and a man who made un7
necessary conversation was a fool.'
The book as a whole is
monotonous reading.
Perhaps the author was more interested
in the earlier period, but one should at least take cognizance
of the fact that Samuel Drummond was written three years before
The Shadow of the Long Knives.
Even a physician of Ohio, James Ball Naylor, a writer
of several novels, has acknowledged the dramatic potentialities
of Indian lore.
In The Sign of the Prophet, Dr. Naylor takes
a single incident in the life of an Indian chief, Tecumseh,
and his brother, The Prophet, and builds around it a highly
Imaginery tale.
Sketched in the background is the War of 1812.
The plot holds one's attention throughout.
However, the only
well developed character is The Prophet, and his importance
depends upon a ring, "the sign of the prophet."
He claimed
that it was a gift from an English officer who had obtained it
in the Far East, and it was possessed of great magic power.
La Violette, a French girl, and adopted daughter of the Prophet,
^ Ibid., p. 41.
stole the ring to give to Ross Douglass, a white captive whom
she loved.
The Prophet, shorn of his precious gift, began to
lose prestige and finally lost all power over his people after
the whites won the battle of Tippecanoe.
This is the last important novel which gives a central
place to the Indians.
Zane Grey of Zanesville, Ohio, hunter,
fisherman, explorer, professional baseball player and writer
of Wild West life utilizes the Indian motif in his novels, but
never lets it dominate the picture.
The Spirit of the Border and The Last Trail are his
only stories of Ohio— stories of the scouts on the Ohio fron­
tier, who diligently sought to protect the early settlers from
prowling Indians, renegades, outlaws and horse thieves.
The
characters of these companion novels are the same, the exploits
are similar, and there is much repetition of speech, and
character and nature description.
Grey creates an atmosphere
of goodness and virtue among his characters.
He also glori­
fies the country by frequent spectacular descriptions of the
Ohio River Valley.
The-Ohio, winding in its course, between high,
wooded bluffs, rolled on and on into the wilder­
ness. Beautiful as was the ever-changing scenery,
rugged, gray-faced cliffs on one side, contrasting
with green-clad hills on the other, there hovered
over land and water something more striking than
beauty. Above all hung a still atmosphere of
calmness— of loneliness.8
8 Zane Gray, The Spirit of the Border (Hew York:
A. L. Burt Company, 1909), p. 27.
9a
In
Spirit of the Border, the scouts, Jonathan Zane
and Lewis Wetzel, concentrate their activities upon tracking
down Indians and renegades.
The love story of Jonathan and
Jane, a pioneer woman, is kept in the background.
The scout­
ing adventures of these bordermen are continued in The Last
Trail, where their work is directed toward the outlaws and
horse thieves of the Ohio Valley.
After many years of service
Wetzel is tragically killed and Zane marries the woman he loves.
Both novels have been based in part on the journal of
Golonel Ebenezer Zane, Grey’s ancestor, one of the hunter
pioneers who labored in the settlement of the West.
In the
other novels of Ohio some degree of sympathy for the redmen
is revealed, but Grey's Ohio stories definitely show a hatred
9
toward them.
Edward Everett Hale, nephew of the Revolutionary
figure of the same name, was a poet, a minister, and a story
writer from Boston.
He shifts attention from the large picture
of the Ohio River Valley of Zane Grey to the small town of
Marietta.
An historical picture of the founding of this town
likewise appears in Black Forect,by Minnigerode.
account in East and West is entirely different.
But Hale’s
Minnigerode
tells how the Ohio Land Company of Associates, "New Englanders
9 Ibid., p. 87.
10
mostly,” headed by the Reverend Manasseh Cutler, a chaplain,
secured from Congress a grant of land on the Muskingum, "just
west of the Seventh Range along the Ohio.”
A "surveyor’s
party" of forty-eight men set out for that section of the
Muskingum.
We're building a town there.
It will be the
first.town built by Americans in the Northwest
Territory. Adelphi City of the Brothers, but some
want to call it Castropilis.
It was referred to as "Putnam’s Paradise," "Cutler's Indian
Heaven," and'Cutler’s Place," but the final name chosen was
"Marietta in honor of Queen Marie of France."
On the other hand, East and West is a realistic and
detailed account of the journey West.
It describes the daily
life of a small group of Easterners who ventured forth on the
"ninety-day" journey, in a "ship of the prairie" or covered
wagon which held the necessary supplies for the people and the
horses.
Their food consisted of squirrel and rabbit, with the
"invariable cup of tea," and when wild game became scarce they
had the "inevitable salt pork" and pot of baked beans.
They
arrived safely after their "seven hundred mile trek."1-*- Food
and shelter were the first requisites of these new emigrants.
10 Minnigerode, o p . cit., pp. 334-34-1 •
-1-1 Edward Everett Hale, East and West (New York:
Cassell Publishing Company, 1892), p p . 40-43.
The new cabins had only one room which served as "hall of
entrance, kitchen, sitting-room . . . and bed-room with a
fireplace at one end."12
used as furniture.
"Stools, boxes and barrels"13 were
Their food consisted of prairie hens,
wild turkey, white beans, Indian meal, deer and bear.
One
could hear the howling of wolves at night and frequent news
came of Indian war parties.
And with the "certainty of such
dangers" the early settlers began their winter.1^
The very meagre plot deals with an Eastern society
girl who has become tired of her life and so joins a small
group of people bound for the Ohio Valley.
She meets a young
man, marries, and begins pioneering in this new territory.
The novel's chief value lies in the wealth of detail it pro­
vides and the realistic pictures of the settlement of Marietta,
Ohio.
The same period as is described in East and W e s t ,
appears in The Trees by Conrad Richter, a contemporary American
novelist.
His account is far more significant than Hale's.
The Trees is exceptionally realistic in setting and idiom.
It shows sensitive feeling toward early Ohio life and the
12 Ihid.. p. 214.
13 I M d .. p. 189.
14 Ibid.. p. 224.
problems arising from social isolation.
The plot is not complicated, but it develops normally.
The Lucketts were an illiterate family who lived their roaming
life, pushing westward as the frontier advanced and as new
settlements threatened their isolation.
The father left most
of the burden of raising the children, providing food, clothing
and shelter to his wife.
After her early death, the oldest
daughter, Sayward, undertook the burden of caring for the family.
Unspectacular events are however made vivid by the author's
choice of words and enthusiasm for the subject.
As the
Lucketts migrated from Pennsylvania to Ohio in the "bobbing
springy, gait of a family that followed the woods as some
families follow the a e a , " ^ the author paints many graphic
pictures.
One is especially unforgetable— Jory's death and
funeral.
There was the."small of death" in the house as Jory
lay in her filthy gown.
She had worn this gown for months. . It
was heavy with the old blood from several lung hemorrhages.
The last hemorrhage killed her.
Sayward, the oldest daughter,
attempted to wash the gown, and' comb her mother’s matted hair,
while Morth, the father, built a coffin.
The boards of the
coffin were held together with "oval wooden pins."
He dug
Conrad Richter, The Trees (New York: Brentano's,
1928), p . -4.
a "bury hole” "by "shellbark light."1^
Picturesque phrases and unusual expression of moods
make his characters live.
The father and mother display more
individuality than their children!
Worth was a shiftless
person who would start something but proved incapable of
finishing it without the goading of his wife.
You started a cabin or hain’t you, Worth? . . .
Or, maybe you take us for woodchucks with a hole
.in the ground.17
Worth,
thereupon, laid his rifle away and completed the cabin
with a vengeance.
All day his axe "hacked and slashed, hewed
and chipped in the woods."
Within twenty-four hours they had
a roof over their heads and a bag of meal hanging from the
-I Q
rafters.
Sometimes the Indians stole the meal and often Worth
gave it away.
After a few days of near starvation, Jary again
came to the rescue of her family.
"She took that meal bag and
sat on it, her mouth tight.
By the aid of continual portraiture of this sort,
Richter evolves characters that are intensely realistic and
16 Ibid.. pp. 58-64.
17 Ibid.. p. 27.
18 Ibid.. pp. 28-29.
^
Ibid., p. 34.
.13
outstanding, but the forest is the principal agent in the
book.
The Ohio forest of trees becomes a strong elemental
force in the lives of these pioneers, as some lived by the
forest, others subdued it, while still others were killed by
it.
The author states that he owes his knowledge of the
time to Henry Howe’s work on early Ohio and other now out-ofprint volumes and local histories, and to those neighbors of
old pioneer stock that he ’’knew intimately as boy and man.”2*-1
It is a notable fact that Aaron Burr is the only his­
torical white man to dominate a work of Ohio fiction.
Charles
Felton Pidgin, statesman, inventor and author from Massachusetts,
wrote several novels, but the best known is Blennerhassett,
in which Aaron Burr is idealized.
Blennerhassett is an historical romance founded upon
the life of Aaron Burr, 1756-1836.
This book deals with Burr's
political activities in the G-overnment, the duel with Alexander
Hamilton, the deep friendship between himself and a young
woman which caused much scandal, the plan for a Western Empire
beyond the Allegheny Mountains, and his social and political
disgrace which duly followed.
But only part of the book— that
which centers on the activities of Burr and his accomplice,
Harman Blennerhassett of Ohio, is considered in this thesis.
20 Ibid.. pp.. 302-303.
14
Charles Pidgin1s whole attitude is one of sympathy
toward Burr and his aim has "been to present Aaron Burr in a
"better light" and to "ask that he he judged by the rules and
order of the society then existing."23-
^he author presents
the hero as a man of great charm and virtue who was always
working for the good of the Government.
But he is so intensely
earnest that he defeats the purpose of the novel by making Burr
too perfect and by describing all of his associates, acquain­
tances, and even the general public as evil scoundrels.
The book is valuable because it records the historic
island of Blennerhassett now submerged in the Ohio, and because
there is no other extant account of this island in Ohio fiction.
All the novelists who have written of, the pioneers have
included the subject of religion.
more than others.
Some have emphasized this
The Circuit Rider stresses the activities of
the wandering evangelist.
In this novel, Edward Eggleston,
the author, illustrates the heroic age of the Methodist fron­
tier ministry at the beginning of the nineteenth century t and
deviates from his usual treatment of Indiana life.
The circuit riders, mostly bachelors, traveled around
on horseback in .the Hissawachee settlement in southern Ohio.
They were respected personages in the communities.
The reverence with which a self-denying
PI
Charles Felton Pidgin, Blennerhassett or The Decrees
of Fate (Boston: C. M. Clark Publishing Company, 1901), p. xii.
14a
preacher was regarded by his people was a great
compensation for the poverty and toil that per­
tained to the office. 2
This book is termed a novel, but it really is a series
of incidents in the lives of the early pioneers with the cir­
cuit rider as hero.
The plot is weak, the characters, as
types, are nicely pictured, but the book is noteworthy as a
conveyor of the social customs of the period with emphasis
upon the early religious life of the West.
The author was a circuit rider in
early.years;23
therefore, much of the book is auto-biographical.
He dedi­
cated it to his "comrades of other years."2'**'
Merle Colby, a contemporary American novelist, in
portions of All Ye People, supplements this picture of the
circuit rider's duties with a vivid description of the camp
mass meetings to which "whole families" came for a period of
two or three days.
The monster camp meetings "had more people
in them than any town in the whole of the state."25
A temporary city had been built upon the plain
opposite Greenville Port . . . the biggest town in
Ohio, none excepted. A town of thousands of people
where last week was the unbroken prairie, where to­
morrow morning would remain nothing but marks of
22 Edward Eggleston, The Circuit Rider (New York; J.
B. Ford and Company, 1874), p. 122.
23 Ibid.. p. vi.
24 Ibid.. Fly Leaf.
25 Merle Colby, All Ye People (New York; The Viking
Press, 1931), P. 16.
15
temporary wheels,2®
Wagons and vehicles were placed in rows.
One could
find his conveyance easily as there were temporary streets
named, “Street of Sin, Devil's Trace, Judgment Alley, Satan's
Track, and Mourners' Turnpike,”2?
The pioneers' daily routine was interrupted morning,
noon, and night with the shouting of the preachers and the
wailing of the converts.
Each preacher had “his particular
phrase, his magic chain of words," and the “hard-headed,
practical-minded" people were easily swayed by religion.
One
heard swelling reverberations of "I'm saved’
. Hallelujahl and
Praise God'."
It was the fashion to "lose your identity, to
become part of a mob with one great body and one thousand
yelling throats."2®
All Ye People is also a chronicle of migration, a
story of that picturesque movement to Ohio in 1810.
The story
revolves around a young Vermont minister who sets forth to
spread the gospel in the wilderness.
He meets a girl who has
run away from miserable home conditions, befriends her, and
later on marries her.
The thread of the story is completely
26 Itoid*. pp. 236-23 7 .
27 h o c . cit.
28 H>ld.. p. 239.
15a
lost at times in the mass- of social events described, such as
weddings, corn huskings, cabin raisings and other large
gatherings,
The hero and heroine are phlegmatic characters, easily
forgotten.
All the others, especially the various types mov­
ing West, are described as real people.
Josiah Talmadge had gone, and they said his wife
had left the dishes unwashed in the sink. . . Seth
Tinkham, the only millwright in the township had
forsaken the scene of his labors, and Lemmel Tucker,
. dealer in feed and grain . . . had taken stage to
Pennsylvania. . .29
Merle Colby expressed his indebtedness to Beard’s The
Rise of American Civilization. Gerald Heard's interpretation
of social history as set forth in The Ascent of Humanity, and
"the makers" of numerous and various almanacs, journals, year­
books, historical collections, biographical sketches, statis­
tical catalogues, maps and charts which are available on this
period.^
Merle Colby* s other Ohio novel, Hew Road, describes
the growth of a town.
It shows the author’s understanding of
an entirely different phase of American development.
Lacking
the pyrotechnics of All Ye People, still Hew Road possesses
more lasting values.
The time is the early nineteenth century
29 Ibid.. p. 52.
30 Ibid.. p. 430.
16
and the eighteen years following.
Martin Ward, from an aris­
tocratic Maryland family, and Hagar, a widow of a pioneer
settler,
m e t each other shortly after the death of Hagar*s
husband, married, shared fortune, failure and final achievement.
The main character is keenly analyzed and around him
the plot develops with steady progression.
It has b e e n .a sporting matter— a kind of wager
. with'himself— to make his way alone. . . to that
vague tract known sometimes as Michigan, sometimes
called the Northwest.31
The incentive for his journey was a deed in the familyr-^A
1000 acres to Miguel Ward and his descendants forever.’’^2
His wife is also carefully portrayed.
While Martin
dreamed and planned the destiny of the town, Hagar sympathized
but continued her practical way of life.
Her very flower-garden was a sign of her gaunt
practicality. No flower without use bloomed there.
Pansies for coke-tea, violets for sugar comfit,
mustard for poltice, clavel for caraway and anise,
sunflowers, the seeds of which nourished the c h i c k e n s . 33
Merle Colby’s insight extends beyond individual charac­
terization to the social conditions, which in this case in­
volves the "squatters’
r i g h t s .
"34
3^ Merle Colby, New Road (New York: The Viking Press,
1933), p. 8.
32 Ibid.. p. 4.
33 Ibid.. p. 79.
34 Ibid., p. 80.
17
Martin, having supervised the building of Toward, assumed a
domineering attitude over its
c i t i z e n s . 35
The resulting con­
flict brought about a change in his character and broadened
his sympathies and understanding of others.
Both Ohio novels of Colby display factual knowledge of
this period, but Mew Road is superior as a piece of art because
of its interrelation of plot, characterization and setting.
Born of Mormon parents, Vardis Fisher, knows his people,
the strange beginnings of their sect, their growth, persecution,
heroism and migration across the prairies of the United States,
and has fictionized these accounts in Children of Cod.
The novel
includes two of the historical characters of the Mormon Church,
Joseph Smith and Brigham Young, who first met in Ohio and
formally founded the first Mormon Church at Kirtland, Ohio.
This religious community prospered for a while until the Panic
of 1837, which closed the Bank of Kirtland.
The riotings and
persecutions were so intense that the majority of the group
left Ohio.
Because of constant persecutions, they were forced
to flee from various other states until they finally establish­
ed themselves permanently in Utah.
Many of the intense and
loyal characters of this religion were vulgar and profane,
others pious and devoted, but all were willing to risk many
hardships for what they believed was the true religion.
^
Ibid., p. 66
18
Children of God is a long novel in which the rough
vernacular speech of the characters realistically reflects the
times and the numerous difficulties entertained.
The dramatic
portrayal of the Mormon episode deservedly won Vardis Fisher
the H a r p e r F i c t i o n Prize of |7,500, and its epic proportions
contribute an outstanding work to Ohio fiction.
Johnny Appleseed, the only well-known legendary figure
to he found in Ohio fiction appears in most of the novels.
With Eleanor Atkinson, a present day novelist, chiefly known
for her children's hooks, Johnny Appleseed,
that name, is exalted to the rank of h e m
in the novel of
Jonathan Chapman,
alias Johnny Appleseed, was a New Englander hy hirth who went
to Ohio when the country heyond the Alleghenies was first
opened to settlement.
He was a dreamer, a mystic, and a firm
believer in the maxim that "Heaven is not outside a man hut
within."36
This picturesque figure made it his life work to
plant apple orchards in this new land And to dispense pages of
his Swedenborg Bible to the pioneers.
The author has closely held to the known facts of the
history of Johnny Appleseed, but has added a touch of romance
to the sower's life in his devoted love for Betty, a pioneer
w oman.
36 Eleanor Atkinson, Johnny Appleseed (New York and
London; Harper & Brothers Publishers, 1915), P . 235-
18a
Eleanor Atkinson1s chief fault is her over-emphasis
of Johnny’s gentleness of speech and manners.
She goes to such
an extent that one loses the qualities of courage and sturdy
vigor of this pioneer who devoted his life to the hazardous
task of planting the apple seeds and fostering their growth
so that future generations might reap the benefits.37
Other authors have mentioned this character’s exploits
as a bright strand of color woven into the setting, but Miss
Atkinson humanizes the sower so that he seems actually to have
lived.
Louis Bromfield, novelist, publisher, and journalist
from Ohio introduces a new formula for presenting Ohio social
history in his novel, The Farm.
He uses a descriptive tech­
nique to cover the evolution of a long period of Ohio history.^8
This novel is an American saga dealing with the four generations
of a family living on a large.farm in northern Ohio.
In 1815
the Colonel comes to Ohio from Maryland, buys a large tract of
land and establishes one of the best 'properties in the Western
Reserve.
The novel ends a century later.
The plot is of secondary importance to the farm, which
determines the destiny of the characters— at birth, marriage,
and even death.
The large house was always filled with visit­
ing aunts, uncles and cousins.
There are many descriptive
37 Ibid., p. 140.
38 Louis Bromfield, The Farm (Hew York and London: Harper
& Brothers Publishers, 1933), p . 69.
19
passages of the characters, their hahits, dress and petty
troubles.
All this is made subordinate to the background of
Ohio from the Indian period to the modern era, which makes
the book valuable as a panorama of social history.
The Farm is the most romantic piece of Ohio fiction.
Bromfield has more than one thesis in this novel.
Besides the
influence of "The Farm," he shows the destructive potentialities
in social change through characters unable to adapt themselves
to the present.
Their only sense of reality is derived from a
nostalgic returning to the past.
The author believes that the
preservation of pioneer virtues should not die as they are
necessary in each succeeding social period.
The Farm is a way of living which has largely gone
out of fashion . . . It was and is a good way of life
. . . I t has in it two fundamentals which were once
and may be again intensely American characteristics.
These are integrity and idealism. . , They are tough
qualities needed in time of crisis.39
Minnie Hite
Moody is
passes several periods of
of fiction.
another Ohio novelist who com­
Ohio history.within a single piece _
She has reconstructed, the life of the nineteenth
century and part of the twentieth, using the growth of a
college town as a basis for the novel, Towers with I v y .
The
physical setting of the story coincides in part with that of
an actual village in Ohio.
39
Ibid., pp. v-vi.
Some of the incidents are borrowed
20
from the history of that village, but the people are imaginary
and with the exception of its material scene, "the college is
entirely and intentionally invented.
This novel carefully follows the lives of the Winfield
family from the 1830's to the 1930's, and through them mirrors
the historical and social conditions in which they lived, and
links the whole to a detailed study of the college town.
The
story begins with the plans for the wedding of Josiah Winfield,
founder of the college, and Amarila King.
Amarila*s mother
had died twenty years previously in a covered wagon in which
the King family was heading West.
The novel ends with another
Amarila, the great grand-daughter, who is trying to adjust her­
self to the present day economic situation.
Mrs. Moody relates the growth of the college through
the thoughts, speech and actions of the Winfield family.
There
is so much reminiscing on the part of the older members that
the time element is often confusing to the reader. .
But the
characters are well drawn and their actions are consistent with
their personalities
The chapters dealing with the nineteenth
century are superior to the final ones, which trail off incon­
clusively .
Minnie Hite Moody, Towers with Ivy (New York: Julian
Messner, Inc., 1937), Fly Leaf.
41 Ibid.. pi. .23.
21
Although both Bromfield and Moody have made the idea
of change an Important part of their novels, each has used
it differently.
Bromfield has presented the large, social,
political and economic changes which affected the people in
general.
Moody, on the other hand, has delineated the small
social changes relating to family life, such as dress, amuse­
ments, food, water supply, lighting, and m e n ’s attitude toward
women, with strong emphasis upon the dally- lives of the pro­
fessors themselves and their students.
William Dean Howells, one of the most celebrated native
Ohio writers, restricts his social history to one period.
While
he has written twenty-six novels, only two concern Ohio.
The Leatherwood God is a novel of the pioneer days of 1830
with emphasis upon the religious psychology of the people at
that time.
Religion was their chief interest and they took it
seriously.
The different sects had their different services
. . . their camp meetings; but they gathered as one
Christian people under the roof of the log-built
edifice, thrice the size of their largest dwelling,
which they called the t e m p l e . ^
The story relates the sudden appearance of Joseph
Dylks, alias the Leatherwood God, who claimed to be the Christ.
As he rose in power he caused a great deal of dissention among
Ap
William Dean Howells, The Leatherwood God (New York:
The Century Company, 1916), p.
.
4
21a
the pioneers.
Some believed, some doubted, while others
thoroughly disapproved of his presence among them.
Families
h-z.
were broken up and brothers were not speaking to each other. ^
The whole community was stirred by his.preaching.
"I never
seen the Power in Leatherwood like it was tonight.
. . H e ’s
sent;
. .
After many months he was recognized as an im­
poster and run out of the community.
The historic outline of this story is 'taken from the
narrative of Judge Tarryhill in the Ohio Valley Series.
Dylks,
the imposter, was a real character, a man ’’who came in mystery
and remained in the annals of Leatherwood Greek.”^5
Howells
shows great insight and interpretation in the picturing of
early American thought and feeling which makes The Leatherwood
G-od a valuable literary addition to our social history.
Greater meaning is given to the novel through the
author’s analysis of the emotional quality of the pioneers.
He realized that religion was the chief interest; hence, in
his choice of a plot he utilized the conflict between Dylks
and the townspeople.
The characterizations of Dylks and the
Sheriff are excellent.
43 Ihid.. p. 87.
44 Ibid.. p. 58.
45 Ibid.. p. 3.
The Sheriff’s stamina is. revealed at
22
the trial of Dylks, for he will br ook no injustice.
He says,
In this State every man has a right to worship
what God he pleases . . . With religious fanaticism,
our laws have nothing to do, unless it be pushed so
faras to violate some public ordinance.
This I find
the prisoner has not d o n e .
By means of vivid characterization,
achieves a sense of reality.
then, Howells
He further augments this by the
realistic detail used to record dress, housing, and conventions.
He reports, that in building houses,
"round logs were plastered
and white-washed,” although a few cabins in the more remote
sections of Leatherwood Creek had logs "chinked with
Women dressed in "home-woven
"checked
l i n s e y - w o o l s e y
shirts of the sort called
all,this novel is
clay."47
,"48 men wore
h i c k o r y . "49
Taken all in
one of the finest examples of Ohio
fiction.
It displays a mastery of literary technique, an understanding
of the times, and provides interesting character portraits.
Howells' father traveled over different sections of
Ohio, and from the account of one of his trips, Howells ob­
tained material for his second Ohio novel, Hew Leaf Mill s .
Howells substituted the name of Powell for the family name.
46 I M d .. p. 150.
47 Ibid., p. 3*
48 Ibid., p. 12.
49 Ibid., p. 119.
23
Owen Powell is the democratic visionary in this story
who, after a "business failure in the city, takes his family to
the country where he attempts to found an idealistic community
after the order of Robert Owen.
as social history.
This novel is also valuable
But it cannot pretend to equal The leather­
wood G-od., wherein Joseph Dylks completely dominates and con­
trols the progress of the story.
cohesive feature.
Hew Leaf Mills has no such
Howells himself admits that it is a chronicle
of manners and thoughts of the Middle West of his boyhood.
Another native Ohio novelist is Mary Stanberry Watts,
who was educated at the Sacred Heart Convent in Cincinnati and
has lived there most of her life.
She has used Ohio scenes for
a background but states that her books "are not reminiscent,"
and nothing that she has ever written reflect her own life.50
Ohio is mentioned in all of her books, but only two definitely
portray her native state.
Nathan Burke is a novel of Ohio life in 1840, based
partly upon the autobiography of Nathan Burke, one of the Ohio
generals who served in the Mexican War.
ancestor.
He was also the author's
She quotes frequently from Burke's personal diary
and other family papers that are in her possession.
The novel traces the life of Nathan from boyhood to
cq
^ Grant M. Overton, The Women Who Make our Novels
(New York: Moffat, Yard and Company, 1919), p. 180.
24
his return from the Mexican War.
A man of wealth and prestige,
he has several minor love affairs, hut finally marries Francis,
a childhood sweetheart and daughter of a wealthy land owner
for whom he once worked as chore hoy.
Nathan Burke is a long,
detailed and rather tiresome novel, written in a monotonous
tone.
However, it furnishes a wealth of material on the social,
economic and political conditions of the late pioneer period.
Van Cleve, her other Ohio novel, is a character study
of the genteel folk of old southern stock of the 1840's.
The
name of the novel is taken from Van Cleve, the one man in the
family who had a genius for making money.
The rest of the
family were an "impractical helpless set."51
They really dis­
liked having one of their set in business hut his money helped
them considerably.
Everyone in the family was delicate and
highstrung and would get into states of excitement over matters
no more weighty than dismissing the cook, or laying a new
carpe t .
These people loved to change their place of living.
Something was always wrong with their present living con­
ditions— the tone of the neighborhood had lowered, or there
was a big damp spot in one corner of the yard which would in­
jure their health, or the air, water or the society was not
^ Mary S. Watts, Van Cleve (New York; The Macmillan
Company, 1913), p. 16.
25
right.
They had a dozen reasons for moving elsewhere and all
were "unanswerable.”52
y an cleve understood his family and
usually gave in to them in order to avoid a scene*
There is very little plot' or progress to the novel.
It is mainly a descriptive narrative-of the daily lives of
this family and those of their friends, written in humorous
and interesting style.
It is far more entertaining than
Nathan Burke.
Interest In the problems of slavery are evidence of
Ohio’s progress away from early provincialism.
Without
question the first novelist of note in this connection is
Harriet Beecher Stowe.
She was a writer and humanitarian
from Connecticut, mostly concerned with life in New England
and the South.
Ohio did,however, claim a share In Harriet Beecher
Stowe's fame, for the materials for Uncle Tom's Cabin
were collected during the author’s eighteen years of
residence In Cincinnati, adjacent to the slaveholdliig
Kentucky.
Mrs. Stowe had helped fugitive slaves cross the Ohio
River, and she had obtained a great deal of information from
hearsay, reading, and the actual conversation of slaves then
free in Ohio.
The years 1830-1960 were formative years of
abolitionist controversy, and since Cincinnati was a border
52 Ibid.. P. 148.
E. H. Roseboom and E. P. Weisenburger, History of
Ohio (New York: Prentice-Hall, 1934), p. 391.
26
city, it was a scene'of many conflicts.
Lane Seminary, where
her father-taught, was one of the stations of the underground,
railway.
She many agitations' over the Fugitive Slave Law of
1850 brought about Uncle Tom’s Cabin.
The main background of the story is that of the South
where slave families were broken up by public sale, children
and negro women were at the mercy of their masters, and the
white households were slovenly and extravagant.
The object
of the book was to awaken sympathy and feeling for the negro
race and to show the wrongs and sorrows of the system of
slavery.
Therefore, Mrs. Stowe portrayed her characters and
skillfully arranged her domestic scenes so as to excite public
indignation.
Uncle Tom* s Cabin first appeared in serial form in
The National E r a , an anti-slavery paper.
The same year, 1852,
it was published as a book.
Charles Humphrey Roberts, an Ohio writer, has written
a novel which deals with the negro problems, but only in­
directly.
Down the O-HI-O is primarily a story of the Quakers
of southeastern Ohio.
It follows the fortunes of Kit, an
orphan and stowaway child on an Ohio steamer who is adopted
into a Quaker household.
She finds it difficult at first to
adjust herself to their ways, but finally learns to love them
as people.
When she becomes of age, Kit adopts their religion,
marries the village schoolmaster, and becomes an important
woman in this Quaker community.
The plot furnishes the basis for an interesting study
of the Ohio Quakers— their religion, their thrifty life and
eccentricities, and their kindness toward all down-trodden
people, which caused them to aid the fleeing slaves from across
the Ohio River.
Roberts states iii the preface to his book, that the
scenes are "matter of fact,” but the action is "as uncertain
as fancy."54
Albion W. Tourg^e* s attitude toward the problems of
slavery were very different from those of previous novelists.
Harriet Beecher Stowe was an active propagandist.
Roberts
used the slavery issue to demonstrate the characterization of
the Quakers.
Tourg&e assumes in Figs and Thistles a stoical
acceptance of the situation.
Albion ¥. TourgAe was an Ohio writer whose major
interests soon traveled outside his home state.
Tourg&e's best known novels were the product of his
carpet bag-career in the South after the Civil War
and were largely of apolit i c a l c h a r a c t e r . 55
But Figs and Thistles concerns Ohio, a romance of the
Western Reserve during the years 1850 to 1892.
Tourg^e pre­
^ Charles Humphrey Roberts, Down the Q-HI-Q (Chicago:
A. C. McClury Company, 1891),
55 Roseboom and Weisenburger, ojs. cit., p. 395.
28
faces his hook with a long list of characters portrayed, and
an analysis of the contents, “for the convenience of the critic
and the enlightenment of the reader."
vided into Figs and Thistles.
The characters are di­
The Figs are the .commendable
people, of which there-are only a few.
The Thistles are the
scoundrels, of which there are m a n y .58
The story centers on Mark, a Fig, an orphan and selfmade man, who rose from poverty and ill-treatment in child­
hood, to a person of wealth and importance.
Harper, another good and loyal person.
He marries Lizzie
All his foes are
Thistles and all his difficulties are caused by the large growth
of Thistles in the community.
The-plot and main characters are negligible compared to
the minute and entertaining study of the Western Reserve57
Tourg&e gives the best description of these transplanted Hew
England "straight-laced" -Buritansr.whovendeavored to preserve
their rigid social code in their adopted country during the
Civil War Period.58
The subsequent years are adequately described by
88 Ibid., pp. i-iv.
57 ibid., p. 1 9 .
58 Ibid.. p. 58.
28a
Walter Havighurst in his novel, The Quiet Shore.
A fine piece
of social history-is recorded by Havighurst as Colonel Bradley
returns from the Civil War.
The author uses this episode to
picture the- towns and the people in an area completely free
from the devastation of war.59
Walter Havighurst,
lecturer and writer from Wisconsin,
corporate member of the Edward MacDowell Association, has out­
door interests which have led him to a study of people on
various water fronts, especially the canals and the lakes"of
the East and Middle West.
He uses this interest in The Quiet
Shore, which deals with Colonel Bradley and his family home­
stead established on Lake Erie Just after the Civil War.
This
homestead was divided against itself because of the Colonel's
second marriage and the resulting conflicts between his children.
They never become fully reconciled, even after the Colonel's
death.
The author has developed his plot against a changing
scene--that- of the transformation of northeastern Ohio from
swamp land to farm areas, and then to industrial centers.
The
time span in The Quiet Shore is as comprehensive as The Farm's,
and similarly empahsizes changing social conditions.
there is a notable difference.
However,
Bromfield’s characters do not
59 Walter Havighurst, The Quiet Shore (New York: The
Macmillan Company, 1937), PP. 1-33.
29
keep pace with the times but live in the past.
Havighurst*s
characters become active participants in contemporary events.
There are many good characterizations, especially that of the
old farm hand who passed-the days sitting on the fence check­
ing car license numbers .&0
And pervading the whole novel,
The Quiet Shore, is the romantic awareness of all the characters
of- the eternal peace of the shore of Lake E r i e .^1
The peace of Sod that passes understanding— that
was the water at twilight. That was Lake Erie in
the waning day.
It was so in grandpa’s time. . . when . . .
Petroleum Nasby wrote a.corn-shuck column for the
Toledo Blade. The lake was the same even then, so
slow to. give up the day, so tranquil on an August
evening. And it was unchanged tonight, with the
stacks of Toledo smoking up a dusk somewhere in the
w e s t .62
Jim Tully confines himself to a narrower canvass than
either Bromfield or Havighurst, as his Ohio novel, Shanty
Irish, deals exclusively with the Irish of the Transition
Period.
Jim Tully grew up in an Ohio orphan asylum and ran
away from it to live a life of a hobo for many years.
written several novels which are of only fair quality.
60 Ibid.. p. 251.
61 Ibid.. p. 11.
62 ibid.. p. 1.
He has
Shanty
Irish Is the best and most entertaining one.
It Is an autobiographical novel of the immigrant
Irish.
The ancestors of these families came'to America at
the time of the Irish potato famine in 1846.
There is very
little plot; mostly a string of amusing incidents and realis­
tic pictures of these
I r i s h . ^3
Tully sketches his poor home
conditions and meagre opportunities for Improvement.^
children and women had no social life* except gossiping..
The
The
men- spent most of their time and money drinking whiskey at
shining bars . ^
Tully states that he lived with his grandfather when
he was a boy and that the story is based on true incidents.
Shanty Irish, while depicting his family, is racial in scope.
It is an entertaining book because of the numerous tall stories
which Tully relates about these Irish.
Sherwood Anderson, another well known Ohio novelist
and short story writer wrote of this changing era, but centered
most of his earlier attention upon the effects of industrialism
in the Middle West.
His later novels shift their scene to the
South.
63
fully, Shanty Irish (Garden City, Hew York:
Garden City Publishing Company, 1928), p. 45.
Ibid.. p. 254.
65
Ibid.. p. 112.
31
His Ohio novel, Poor W h i t e , deals with the transition
of Ohio from an agricultural to an. industrial civilization.
Hugh HeVey, the hero, and one of the poor whites of Missouri,
Is an indolent fellow who is aroused out of his lethargy by a
friendly Hew England woman.
He migrates to Bidwell, Ohio, a
small town of a few hundred people in 1870, but after the ad­
vent of the factories, it develops into'a busy manufacturing
town of several thousands.
Hugh develops an inventive strain
and has several farm Implements patented.^6
Hugh is pathological.
The treatment of
The hero becomes a man of position and
wealth but he never finds satisfaction in marriage, friend­
ship or his work.
Anderson frequently drops his characters and the action
of the story to generalize on the oil and gas discoveries, the
rise of the Morgans, G-oulds and Rockefellers, and the growth
of towns,67 and on the sordidness of this phase of industrial
development.
In the fast-growing towns, men who were engaged
in organizing companies representing a capital of
millions lived in houses thrown hurriedly together
66 Sherwood Anderson, Poor White (New York: B. W.
Huebsch, Inc., 1920), p. 103.
67 Xbld.. p. 63.
31a
by carpenters who, before the time of the great
awakening, were engaged in building barns.
It was
a time of hideous architecture, . . . without-beauty
in their lives . . . a whole people full of . . I
energy . . . liyg'l In a, new land, rushed pell-mell
into a new age.®8
It is the author’s belief that the giant of industry stifled
all cultural progress and left the people restless and unhappy.
No Ohioan has reflected so thoroughly in his
writings the background of his native state in
the rapidly changing industrial a g e .69
Poor White is not a pleasant picture with its drabness,
over-emphasis on sex, and frustrated characters, but it is
truthful.
Brand Whitlock has also been successful In picturing
the changing conditions in Ohio during the Transition Period
ad its effects upon the people, especially the older generation.
He was a reform mayor of Toledo, Ohio, and during the World
War had been Ambassador to Belgium.
Son while in Brussells.
Transition Period.
He wrote J . Hardin and
It is a novel of Ohio life during the
He has made his political experiences the
basis of his most Interesting contribution to fiction, The Turn
of the Balance.
In J. Hardin and Son, father and son are protagonists.
The scene of this slow-moving novel Is laid in an Ohio town.
68 Ibid.. p. 1 3 0 .
69 Eoseboom and Weisenburger, op. clt.. p . 38 5.
32
Paul, in the course of the story, grows from childhood to
middle age.
His father., J. Hardin, the. carriage maker, was
the moral leader of the town who conceived life to he solemn,
stern and uncompromising.
He had hated slavery and so had gone into the
Civil War to crush it. This crusade accomplished,
he was without a moral issue to live or die for'®
until he found a ’’practical vehicle for his moral reforms” in
P r o h i bition.^
Paul does not share his father* s religious or moral
enthusiasm and there are many quarrels between them.
life is colorless.
Paul's
He makes money in the oil fields, marries
hut never finds contentment.
In The Turn of the Balance. Whitlock cites a particular
case to illustrate the detailed workings of the machine politics
of the early twentieth century.
A particular night watchman,
coming home from work in the early dark hours of winter, when
there was ice and snow on everything, slipped and caught hi s foot in an open frog and Just then a switch-enging came along
and ran over his leg.
It was agreed that the frog should have
been closed, but the night watchman, even at that, was guilty
of trespassing on railroad property.
Finally, the court agreed
7® Brand Whitlock, J . Hardin and Son (New York and
London: D. Appleton and Company, 1923), p. 107.
71 rbid.. p. 297.
33
that the real cause of the accident was the ice about the frog
on which he slipped.
The ice was considered an "act of God,"
and the railway company was not responsible for ‘’God's acts but
its own acts."72
There was more wrangling about a new trial which
never developed, and finally the family, reduced to dire poverty,
committed suicide.
There are touches of sentimentalise,hut it is a vivid
and effective story, earnestly written.
Whitlock’s sympathies
are for the criminal, especially the first' offenders, and all
those who are so unfortunate as to have dealings with the courts
of law.
He pleads for human justice and improved conditions.
Another author of this period is John Hay, diplomat,
poet, journalist, historian and fiction writer, who Is best
known for Pike County Ballads, ballads of Indians, his home state.
He was private secretary to Lincoln, Secretary of State in 1878,
and one time Ambassador to Great Britain.
orator and statesman- than a writer.
Hay was more of an
His only novel, The
Breadwinners. is a social study of Ohio, written in defense of
capitalism.
The story concerns a wealthy owner of a large factory
who is confronted with a strike.
ing conditions.
He is unable to handle exist­
The workers wreck the plant and destroy part
of his private property.
During the riots he is injured and is
72 Brand Whitlock, The Turn of the Balance (New York:
D. Appleton and Company, 1923T, p . 295.
34
nursed by the daughter of a wealthy family, whom he later
marries.
Finally the state militia is-called out, the employees
are defeated, and the strike ends.
The" Breadwinners was first published anonymously in
The Century Magazine in 1883.
A few months later Harper &
Brothers published it in book'form;
It remained an anonymous
book until Hay's son wrote an explanatory introduction to the
1911 edition, giving the name of the author, and explaining
the origin of the book.
The origin of this novel is found in The Life and
Letters of John Hay by William Roscoe Thayer.
In one of his
letters dated in 1877 Hay writes:
There is a mob In every city ready to join the
strikes . . . and there is no means of enforcing
the law in case of a sudden attack on private pro­
perty.
In another letter he speaks of the politicians whose
"sympathies were all with the laboring men; and none with the
man whose enterprise and capital gave him a living."73
The plot provides a good framework for a description
of the class hatred existing between capitalists and laborers.
Hay's best characterizations are found among the laboring
classes.74
73 John Hay, The Breadwinners (New York and London:
Harper & Brothers Publi shers, 1883 5, p . i.
74 Ibid.. p. 198.
35
Hay has earnestly related the labor conditions in
this era with its strikes and class hatred, but he h a s .defeated
his purpose of defending capitalism by depicting his wealthy
characters as insipid, prudish and into l e r a n t . ^
The reader's
interests and sympathies are with the workers because Hay
pictures them as real and vigorous persons.76
The poorest Ohio novel in every respect is Mabel Turner
by Harry Kemp.
The author, an Ohio novelist and poet, has
tramped over various sections of the United States, and at one
time was a seaman.
He is more of a poet than a novelist.
Mabel Turner, one of his late novels, is a story of Ohio farm
life and small village people in which the life and love affairs
of Mabel Turner hold first place.
gically from birth to marriage.
Kemp treats Mabel patholo­
She hates her mother and is
glad when she dies so that she can be the only woman in the
household, and do as she pleases.
Everyone spoils her from her
father to the neighboring farm hands.
There is a sordid at­
mosphere pervading the book, because of the frequent frank'and
minute discussions on sex relations and houses of prostitution.
It is written in poor literary style, with numerous word in­
ventions, as, ref ting;, bulgent. supposlt, Rr eaten, and pulsant.
Ibid.. p. 79.
Ibid.. p. 166.
35a
Kemp does not even contribute any worthwhile material regard­
ing setting.
The plot is negligible.
Theodore Dreiser of Indiana, novelist, magazine writer
and editor, has chosen Chicago, New York City and other large
cities as the background for most of his novels.
treats of Columbus, Ohio.
However, one
He also gives a sordid atmosphere
to his novel, but his scenic descriptions are made for the pur­
pose of exposing the effect of environment upon character.
Jennie Gerhardt is the tragic story of contrasting
social Ideals.
Jennie is one of the daughters of a poor German
family with rigid ideals.
Mr. Gerhardt was a glass-blower by
trade, but a ch&in of misfortunes had reduced this family to
poverty.
Jennie and her mother were forced to work as maids,
in the largest hotel in Columbus, at one dollar a day.
There
Jennie met the rich and imposing Senator, a person so different
from her own class that she became awed by his attentions.
He
rdally meant to marry her but died of an heart attack in
Washington, D. C., having made no provisions for her before he
left Columbus.
Mrs. Gerhardt tried to ease her husband’s anger, when
he discovered that his eldest daughter, Jennie, was going to
have a baby, but to no avail.
He had inherited the feeling
that the Lutheran Church was a perfect institution and that every­
thing said in the pulpit was true.
"You must walk the straight
and narrow path if you would escape eternal punishment . . .
36
A just God was angry with sinners every day.”77
conviction made him very stern with his children.
T h i s ,deep
He was
against all pleasures and "foibles'..ofyouth.”7^
Mrs. Gerhardt blamed her husband’s strictness for
Jennie's tragedy.
Later Jennie lived with the son of a
wealthy manufacturing man of Cleveland and Cincinnati.
He
refused to marry her because he was sure his family would
object to her lower social level.
Jennie was kept in the
background and never met his family.
Her life was one of al­
most complete isolation and after Lester’s death she devoted
herself to the care of orphan children.
The characters are very lifeless except for the old
German, the heroine’s father.
Jennie’s problems.
Dreiser’s main interest is in
The setting is Important to the novel as
Dreiser makes the conditions of poverty a vital factor in
Jennie’s downfall.
Rollo Walter Brown introduces two new elements in
his Ohio fiction.
He is the only writer who deals with the
coal mining region of southeastern Ohio and the only one
using the trilogy form.
In addition to his Ohio fiction, he
77 Theodore Dreiser, Jennie Gerhardt (New York:
Horace Liveright, 1911), p. 55*
78 Ibid.. p. 56.
36a
has written many magazine articles, biographies, and essays.
He is an Ohioan who was educated at Ohio Northern University
and Harvard.
The trilogy includes The Flremakers. The Hillikln.
and Toward Romance. which are realistic in their presentation
of living conditions of the miners.
According to Brown, the
coal industry created in southeastern Ohio, a region "dull with
smoke and tasting of sulphur," where discouraged and drablooking people lived in "coop-like log houses" and "ugly board
houses of Company
R o w . "79
The coal companies did not provide
adequate protection®^ for the miners or give them sufficient
compensation when hurt.
The women lived in a "state of expecQ •»
tancy," wondering when, or how, the men would return from work.
Each novel has a separate and complete plot, but con­
tinuity is established first of all through the character of
Luke Dabney.
His desire for better surroundings and his idealism
prevent the novels from becoming too depressing.
The other
characters are not individualized and rarely stand apart from
the group.
The Flremakers is the first novel of the trilogy.
It
79 Hollo Walter Brown, The Flremakers (New York: Coward'
McCann, Inc., 1931), PP. 3-4.
80 Ibid.. p. ITT.
81 ibid., p. 18.
37
gives the story of a group of small mining towns in Green
Valley in the 1890's and the struggle of a young miner, Luke
Dabney, to find a way out of the miserable conditions of
these mines.
For a time he follows the trade of a potter, but
misfortune'follows him and he goes back to the mines.
Although
things look hopeless for him he continues to look forward to
better circumstances for his son Giles.
The Hillikln
has more action as it spreads to a manu­
facturing center with its adjoining college campus.
Luke
Dabney's son, Giles; is the principal character, but the author
shows a great deal of sympathy for the old miner as he'persis­
tently struggle along to become a potter.
Although Giles goes
to Harvard, becomes a professor, and a city reformer, his
father makes more progress and is more content in his squalid,
surroundings.
Toward Romance is the third novel of the trilogy.
It
continues the story of Luke and his son, Giles, who is now
married.
Through a series of circumstances, the father becomes
a successful potter, while his son returns to Green Valley as
a miner.
Giles is a sensitive person who continues to dream
of a more romantic world than he finds in the Ohio mining dis­
trict, and eventually he comes to realize the beauty of living
even in sordid surroundings.
Rollo Walter Brown presents a large amount of factual
knowledge regarding these coal mining regions.
He also reveals
37a
an insight into the problems of the lives of the miners.
The
trilogy is strong in setting rather than in individual character
portrayal, with the exception of Luke Dabney.
The use of
realistic detail shows the author’s acquaintance with the
time and locale chosen.
Dawn Powell, a contemporary Ohio novelist of minor im­
portance, is chiefly,interested in women characters.
She has
given us three novels of her native state, The Bride’s House.
Dance N i g h t . and She Walks in Beauty .
The Bride *s House describes farm life i n northern Ohio
in the 1890’s.
It is a story of the Gardiners, the True loves,
the Hamiltons, and the other New England families that had
settled here a hundred years ago.
Their personal affairs were
historical data in the neighborhood.
Sophie, the heroine, was
engaged to be married and her fianc& was building her a house.
It was not a small cottage for two, but a large, solid, square
dwelling for a future family, "the sort of house the Hamiltons
built for their brides.”
All the people from Ashton County
came to see it and remarked: "The Hamiltons are like that.
They
build for their great grand-children."®^
The simple story develops into a melodrama as Sophie
leaves her husband for a more romantic but less realiable man
from the city.
This is‘provocative of-a scandal which the
®^ Dawn Powell, The Bride *s House (Brotano’s Publish­
ing Company, 1929), p. 17$.
38
family can never live down.
Dawn Powell’s emphasis is on characterization-and. set­
ting rather than plot.
Most of the women characters are
realistically p r e s e n t e d , w h i l e the men are mere types or
just names in the hook.
The description o f this peaceful farm-
life in northern Ohio, which is so calm and quiet, appears com­
pletely isolated fromr the Industrial worries of the new cities
of this Transition Period.
Dance Night is a story of a small dirty factory town
in 1910, which develops into a manufacturing center of impor­
tance.
Morry and Jen are a boy and girl who have been in love
since childhood.
They meet on* the" backstairs of the houses
facing the alley and plan their future and dream of better sur­
roundings.
Their love story is pushed in the background as the
author stresses the setting.
Lamptown is pictured as a small,
unprogressive and dreary place.
The chief fora of amusement
is the Thursday night dances led by Harry Fischer, the small
town dancing master who traveled around' the country-side teach­
ing the new steps to the gaudily dressed factory girls and
their escorts.
In the last chapters, Dawn Powell describes the trans­
formation from its dull beginnings to a respectable and clean
83 IMd., p. 99.
38a
manufacturing town.
The scene of Miss Powell’s third Ohio novel* She
Walks in Beauty. is the dirty railroad town of Birchfield.
It
is a story of two young girls, Linda and Dorrie Shirley, who
are brought up in the dubious squalor of their Aunt Jule ’s
boarding house.
Linda is determined to w i n a place in the
provincial society which despises her because of her environ­
ment.
Dorrie has an unconscious sense of beauty which enables
her to be content- with her surroundings.
Jule ’’walked in beauty.”®^
She was always able to see
the good points in everyone, especially the people of her
boarding house who were shabby, hard-working little groups of
troupers.
In this novel, as in the other two, Miss
Powell has
limited herself to a study of women characters and does this
In a realistic manner.
Her descriptive ability Is mediocre.
William Riley Burnett, in contrast to Miss Powell,
does his best portrayals of men.
A contemporary American
writer from Ohio, he has written two novels about his native
state.
Good-bye to the Past centers on an Ohio m a n ’s life, be­
ginning with his old age and going back to the 1870*s, and
showing his relationship with his family, his companions, the
Dawn Powell, She Walks in Beauty (New York: Brentano'
Publishing Company,. 1928), p . 71.
39
building'up of his business and his wild early years in Arizona.
k short chapter at the end of the book subtitled,
"Good-bye
to the Past," describes his death and funeral.
Bill Meadows is a rugged individual, crude and harsh
at times, yet good-hearted, and either very much loved or
greatly hated.
He was truly a town character and a source of
worry to his educated and refined family.
Burnett writes with strong effects in terse, vigorous
prose, and his cut-back style presents tableaux or scenes
from-his character*s life instead of a steady progression of
biographical events.
His other novel, King Cole, is also a character study,
but with more emphasis upon background.
King Cole is a novel
of American politics of to-day, showing what a politician,
even though he is honest and sincere, must do to further his
career.
light.
It is election week and Read Cole is in the lime­
Every move he makes, whether he is with the old crowd
or the new, is severely criticized by the public.
When
finally elected, he realizes the futility of the struggle.
is a poor novel.
It
The plot and characterizations are weak, but
the picture of an Ohio election is vividly presented.
Burnett
states in the preface that the book-is to be read strictly
as a work of fiction and that its characters and events are
entirely imaginary.
Helen Hoven Santmyer, an Ohio writer of the present,
39a
chose Tecumseh, Ohio, as a background for her first novel,
Herbs and Apples.
The story follows the career of Derrick
Thornton from childhood to middle age.
Derrick is interested
in following a literary career and decides to go to New York
to become famous as a writer, but is unsuccessful.
Discouraged,
she gives up striving for fame and returns'to the herbs and
apples which symbolize peace and quiet in her home town.
The novel is slow in action and the characters are
highly conventionalized.
Its greatest value lies in the*minute
descriptions of the living conditions of a town in the years
1910 to 1920.
The subsequent First World War years are treated by
Dan A. Poling in The Furnace.
Dan A. Poling, minister of
religion, leader in civic movements and novelist, was born
in Oregon, but is claimed by Ohio where he first came to
national attention.
The Furnace describes an industrial
situation in an Ohio River Valley town soon after the com­
mencement* of the First World War.
The main character is Malcolm Frank, the son of an
idealistic Finnish immigrant who returns from the war with a
deep feeling for humanity.
history of labor.
It is a critical period in the
Strike agitators upset the friendly re­
lations between the employers and the immigrant workers and a
long strike occurs.
Malcolm is torn between layalty to his
employer and sympathy for the strikers and their families.
39& &
After a serious riot, in which a laborer is killed and the
woman he loves, a social worker of the mill, is hurt, Malcolm
joins the strikers.
The state milltla is called out and the
workers, who are badly organized, are forced to return to work
under the same-miserable condi tions .
This is principally a novel of action and holds one* s
attention throughout.
Individual characterization is negligible,
mass movements predominate.
The author*s belief in righteous­
ness as a solution to social and economic problems is manifested
in his lengthy discussions and the United World Movement which
unsuccessfully attempted to settle the strike.
One can easily
see that the author 's sympathies are with the immigrant’workers.
In his effort to impress his reader, he becomes greatly senti­
mental and paints several pathetic and extravagant pictures of
the existing labor conditions.
The last Important novelist to be considered is Katherine
B. Winans of 8onnecticut
Brush.
who writes under the name of Katherine
She has lived in the East and the Midwest and has
written about both places.
Red Headed Woman, a novel of the present era, is de­
cidedly located in Ohio.
It is the story of Lillian Andrews,
the red headed stenographer from across the tracks, the poor
section of town.
She won a certain distinction in Renwood,
Ohio, by marrying her rich employer after he had divorced his
first wife, but the closed society of this small town ignored
40
her.
This is what you got. You were the red-headed
Andrews girl from Renwood Falls, from the railroad
crossing, and you stole a rich husband and bought
a big house, . . . and tried to crash society— and
this is what you got. Never mind what you hoped
for . . . this was what Society did to make you
understand. You couldn’t crash it in a million
years.8 5
Disgusted, she leaves Renwood and goes to New York City where
she can be appreciated.
The book is packed with feminine observations and
situations which are intensely amusing.
For example, Renwood
is said to have had a ” 3ourney-man butler” who was a ’’window
cleaner by day" and a valuable aid to the host and hostess at
their parties.
Occasionally he could be persuaded to do a
"tap dance" for the guests besides serving refreshments and
shaking cocktails.
cents carfare.
His fee was eighty cents an hour plus ten
And if an extra forty cents could be spared
for laundry expenses, he would wear a "starched white coat.”
Guests never failed to notice which coat he was wearing.
Katherine Brush has successfully pictured the rigid
social customs of this small Ohio town through the actions of
the women characters.
The women who lived near the Country
^ K a t h e r i n e Brush, Red Headed Woman.(New York: Farrar
and Rinehart, Inc., 1931). P- 171.
86 Ibid.. p. 143.
41
Club set all the standards for the town: "You showed your ig­
norance when you inveighed against the customs and credos of
the Hilldale-Avenue dwellers of the world."®?
Under no cir­
cumstances would the people of Renwood proper associate with
the day laborers and workers who lived across the tracks.
Thus, by the use of sparing but significant strokes,
Katherine Brush brings to view all the pettiness and bigotry
that taints the lives of the privileged class of a small town.
Katherine Brush holds a unique place in Ohio fiction.
Unlike
many other authors, she confines herself to a small section of
life and studies it minutely.
She-does not cover great periods
of history, as Minnigerode or Bromfleld, for example.
These
authors and practically all the others discussed, use more
varied material than Miss Brush allows herself.
But within the
scope ©he has chosen, she demonstrates mastery of language,
Insight into feminine psychology and unfailing judgment in
selecting the appropriate phrase and incident.
II.
SHORT STOHY WRITERS
The short story writers of Ohio are few in comparison
with the number of novelists, although some authors have
written both novels and short stories.
James Hall of Pennsylvania,
jurist, banker and magazine
editor, was considered one of the most distinguished short
Ibid.. p. 133-
42
story writers of his day.
He combined fact and fiction in his
portrayal of the people and their times.
His Legends of the West, a collection of short stories
and historical sketches, covers the states of Ohio, Illinois,
Kentucky, and Tennessee.
"The Emigrants" is the only avail­
able story about Ohio from this collection and is found in
Golden Tales of America, edited by Mary L. Becker.
"The.
Emigrants" concerns an English family who migrated West.
At
home Mr. Edgarton had been a prosperous businessman who wished
to exchange "the smoke of London" for the pure air of Ohio.
He had heard "golden accounts" of the pioneer settlements and
persuaded himself to come to the "land of promise" with his
family.
They were cultivated people and intelligent, but were
ignorant of this new country and entirely unsuited to rough •
farming life.
The head of the family finally realized his
Inability to cultivate the soil and went to a neighboring
village "where his talents as a trader renew his prosperity."^2
Hall centers attention upon a type of family which
migrated West in the early pioneer period.
He contrasts the
roughness of the setting with the gentility of the people to
produce an incident of interest.
Walter D. Edmonds, novelist from New York, has written
52 James Hall, "The Emigrants," G-olden Tales of Our
America (New York: Dodd, Mead and Company, 1930), pp. 209-231.
43
Mostly Canallers. a volume of" short stories, most of which
deal with life on the Earie Canal in the New York area.
story, ''Citizens for Ohio," belongs to Ohio fiction.
The
Edmonds
Imagines what these people think about as they journey West.
One is a teamster who has a "short haul" from Utica to Ohio.
The Senate has just passed the Clinton Canal Bill and he is
"wondering if that canal would be an actual fact."
it would "kill freight wagoning."
cides to take up farming.
If so,
As he reaches Ohio, he de­
Another one on the road is a re­
demptions r who is afraid of being recognized, as she has run
away before her time was up.
moving West.
The teamster meets a family
They are also worried as they are not used to
roughing it and are greatly agitated when their wagon gets
stuck in the mud.
"We ain't traveling people.
in Montgomery County and we sold it last week.
We had a farm
We're head­
ing West."-^
The author portrays these characters through their
actions, words and thought, in order to give a flash picture
of the western migration in the early nineteenth century.
Thomas Boyd, the novelist, has written a short story
of the late pioneer pehiod.
The story, "An Ohio Fable," is
Walter D. Edmonds, "Citizens for Ohio,” Mostly
Canallers (Boston: Little, Brown Company, 1934), pp. 60-80.
<r~
44
printed in Scribner* s Magazine.3^
northeastern Ohio.
it concerns the farmers of
A few of these tillers of the soil pros­
pered in this district, but most of them didn*t do so well.
G-eorge G-oodrich, whose crops failed this winter, traveled
several miles to one of the prosperous farmers to borrow some
"seed-corn for planting,” but rich Emmet Lang wouldn't let
him have the seed because he had no cash.
G-eorge then sold
some of his stock so that he could have the money to buy the
necessary seed.
The next day he journeyed to the farm of
Bill Evans who refused him, because he could afford to buy
it.
with.
"There's plenty of folks ain't got the money to buy it
I'm sorry, but I got to give it to them."
Boyd's pathetic figure of a poor struggling farmer
who is refused aid by his prosperous neighbors creates a story
of single effect.
Setting is unimportant.
Mary H. Catherwood was born in Ohio, lived in Illinois,
and spent some time in Canada.
Most of her works are his­
torical romances of French colonization.
One book, The Queen
of the Swamp and Other Plain Americans, is a collection of
stories about the Middlewest— Ohio, Illinois, Indiana and
Kentucky.
The stories were gathered in from Harper *s Bazaar
Harper's Christmas. Atlantic Monthly. The Independent. Chicago
^ Thomas Boyd, "An Ohio Fable," Scribner* s Magazine.
78:653-55, December, 1925.
45
Tribune. Chicago Graphic and Lipplncott' s Magazine.
were printed with slight alterations.
They
The five stories of
Ohio are flashes of life in the Rocky Ford settlement of
northern Ohio, 1 8 4 6 - 1 8 7 5 . ^
In "The Queen of the Swamp," the title refers to the
daughter of a wealthy farmer in the community, hut the story
centers on a party given by this family.
The Macanley Estate
was the wealthiest homestead in the village.
Nearly all the floors were carpeted in home-made
strips, or hit-or-miss, and the best beds reared
back as lofty and imposing as the back of an elephant.
A new-fashioned iron machine called a stove stood be­
side the fireplace, but Mrs. Macanley preferred her old Dutchoven which she always baked in over the coals.
A party was in process at this house.
One of the
guests was a Miss Miller who had attended a select school at
Lancaster.
It was said that she was so fine that she would
cut a bean in two rather than lift the whole of it on the
point of her knife.
The hostess served a new kind of supper,
a "lap supper," where each one balanced his plate upon his
knees.
The young folks, afterward, played games with kissing
penalties.
No such "godless amusement" as dancing was per­
mitted in this settlement.
35 Mary Hartwell Catherwood, The Queen of the Swamp
and Other Plain Americans (Boston and New York: Houghton,
Mifflin and Company, 1899), pp. 1-125.
46
"The Stirring-Off" refers to a sugar camp festival at
this same wealthy estate.
The young people of the community
gathered around the iron kettles which steamed on a pole over
the fire.
When the liquid became waxed, the kettles were
taken from the fire and the syrup was served in saucers and
handed around to the guests.
organized a taffy pull.
Some ate it with a spoon, others
Games were also played at this fes­
tival .
"Time 1855” is concerned with the character of Wilda
Coon, an, old maid who lived in a log cabin with her Invalid
mother.
She was the village seamstress and was allowed to
leave her task early in the evening "because she came to
them with a lantern in the morning."
Lamson Bundle, a
neighbor, had walked every evening for twelve years to visit
her.
"He had courted Hilda twelve years, and he calculated
in time to wear her o u t . " ^
"Serena, i860" centers on a dramatic incident in this
settlement.
Serena, who had run away to marry against her
parents* wish, returned home after several years.
was dying.
Her father
In the parlor were groups of old neighbors, wait­
ing in the hush with which they always accompanied one another
at the brink of death."
There was the smell of camphor as
someone always fainted.
The farmer was given a "populous
36 Itold.. p. 57.
47
funeral” but he looked so unused to his collar and "neckcloth”
and brand new suit.
When the will was read the neighbors were
greatly shocked that Serena's father had not disinherited
her.
"Rose Day, 18751’ is another character sketch.
In
1840, when the town twins were born, flowery names were the
fashion.
Marilla Victoria and Infanta Isabella now lived
alone in the large family house.
Although they had inherited
seventy-five thousand dollars, they made their own soap.
The
soap was boiled in huge iron kettles and nothing was allowed
to interfere with this laborious and important task.
Marilla supervised this task.
Her sister, Infanta,
dedicated herself to the care of roses in the garden, and to
the saving of rose petals.
Marilla named the day, "Rose Day"
as it was more poetic than, "Soap Day."
These stories aim to give the atmosphere of a parti­
cular locality.
Stress is laid upon a detailed account of the
people, their ways of living, their standards of judgment
and their customs.
Mary Catherwood states that they are a
phase of American life which has entirely passed away.
Their honest preservation of Middlewestern ex­
perience makes them . . . seem worthy themselves
of preservation.37
37 ibid., Note i.
48
Honor& Willsie (Mrs. Morrow) of Iowa, centers most
of her attention on historical persons and incidents.
She
has written a number of novels based on the life of Abraham
Lincoln.
Benefits Forgot is a novelette which was dramatized
several years ago in the motion picture,
"Of Human Hearts."
The greater part of the story deals with the boy­
hood of Jason Wilkins,
son of a poor Methodist circuit rider
in Ohio, and a mother who made many sacrifices so that Jason
might receive his medical education.
by neglect.
surgeon.
months,
He repaid her devotion
Later, he entered the Civil War as an army
His mother, hearing nothing from him for many
supposed that he had been killed, and wrote to
President Lincoln for information.
Lincoln had young Wilkins
arrested and brought to Washington, D. C., where he severely
reprimanded him for his ingratitude toward his mother.
The publisher states that this story of Lincoln and
mother love is true in fact.
Honorfe Willsie based her realis­
tic description of the Ohio circuit rider days on true in­
cidents told her by her grandfather who was a wandering man
of the gospel.
The Ohio scenery is romantically treated.
But the author's chief interests are the portrayal of a
m o t h e r ’s love and devotion and the reference to Lincoln*s
ever-present humanitarianism.
Charles W. Chesnutt, negro writer from Ohio, is
"the best known novelist a n d ••short story writer-of his
49
r a c e .”58
The problems of the Negro, especially those of the
Mulatto, are his chief theme, and the most famous of these
stories is "The Wife of His Youth."
The scene of the story
is laid at a hall given hy Mr. Ryder, a mulatto, dean of the
"Blue Veins."
mission.
Character and culture were necessary for ad­
Members were mostly mulattoes.
This Mr. Ryder was
known as a wealthy eligible bachelor and was in love with a
fashionable widow.
As a youth in the South he had contracted
a "slave marriage" which was legally dissolved, because after
the War he did not live with his negro wife.
lar night, twenty-five years later,
peared.
On this particu­
the wife of his youth ap­
The m a n ’s problem was whether or not to recognize his
former slave.wife.
This society of "Blue Veins" decided that
Mr. Ryder should recognize his wife on the premise of "to
thine own self be true."
There is little regionalism in the story.
Chestnutt
is mainly interested in the negro as a race and has written
a story of romantic character and dramatic incident using
the famous society of "Blue Veins" for the setting .39
Benjamin Griffith Brawley, The Negro in Literature
and Art in the United States (New York: Duffield and Company,
1918),pp. 76-8 1 .
39 Charles W. Chesnutt, 'The Wife of His Youth," The
Wife of His Youth (Boston and New York: Houghton, Mifflin and
Company*
Cambridge: The Riverside Press, 1899), pp. 1-24.
50
William Dean Howells* short stories concerning Ohio
were written for juvenile readers and therefore are not in­
cluded in this study.
Sherwood Anderson has written more short stories
than any of the other novelists.
most famous collection.
Ohio small town life.
Wlnesburg, Ohio, is his
It is a group of realistic tales of
Most of the characters are warped by
handicaps from within and from without, ’’whose hidden sources
are revealed by flashes of psychological i n s i g h t . " ^
Wing Biddlebaum was one of these warped characters.
For twenty years he had been the town mystery.
It was his
expressive hands, "piston rods of his machinery of expression,"
which segregated him from his fellow townsmen.
a school teacher in Pennsylvania.
Meyers.
Wing had been
His real name was Adolph
This teacher of youth caressed the shoulders and
heads of his pupils and by this caress with his hands he at­
tempted to carry dreams into young minds.
But one day a
"half-witted boy" told his father about the teacher fondling
him and the father misinterpreted its meaning and ran Wing
out of town one night.
Dr. Reefy was another character,
country practitioner" who pulled teeth.
"an old-fashioned
He was continually
^ Sherwood Anderson, Wlnesburg, Ohio (New York: The
Viking Press, 1931), p. 8.
.51
putting his thoughts down on slips of paper.
These pieces
of paper he stuffed into his pocket, adding to the collection
day by day, until the papers became hard balls and "finally
thumped on the floor."^1
Turk Smollet was "the half-dangerous old wood chopper
whose peculiarities added . . . color to the life of the
village."
One of his antics was wheeling a wheel barrow
filled with boards,
through the main street.
As he exhibited
his skill he talked to himself, "Easy, there Turk!
Steady
now, old boyI"42
The bookkeeper of the First National Bank, lived in
a gloomy house, wore a black alpaca coat at the bank, and
another black alpaca coat at home.
Every evening he pressed
his clothes "between two boards clamped together with screws."
These boards were always kept behind the dining-room doors.
"If they were moved during the day he was speechless with
anger and did not recover his equilibrium for a week."4^
Enoch Robinson was another queer character who
"couldn't understand or be understood."
When a youth, he
used to walk in the middle of the road, reading a book and
41 Ibid.. p. 22.
42 Ibid.. p. 157.
45 Ibid.. p. 214.
52
the drivers had to yell at him in order to pass.
All his life
he wanted to "be an a r t i s t . ^
Winesburg, Ohio, is the scene of the stories, but
Anderson wrote the book in a crowded tenement district in
Chicago.
He selected the characters from his fellow lodgers
in a large rooming house, many of whom never lived in a small
village.
He does not generalize characterization.
tention is directed to the individual,
His at­
the discontented
people who are generally victims of society.
Their religion,
love, friendship and aspirations can find no proper outlet
and as a result they appear silly and dumb to the casual eye,
but tragic to the sympathetic observer.
Anderson states that the origin of Winesburg, Ohio,
is "The Book of the Grotesque," an unpublished book written by
an old man who visioned a long procession of people, and as
they passed by, each snatched at some truth— passion, wealth,
poverty or thrift.
The old man* s idea was that the moment one
of these characters "took one of these truths to himself, call­
ed it his truth, and tried to live by it, he became a grotesque,
and the truth he embraced became a falsehood."4^
44 Ibid.. p. .191.
45 Ibid.. pp. 5-8
53
Brand Whitlock, the novelist, has written a volume
of political stories which he has entitled, The Gold Brick.
Plot is placed above setting in these tales, but one incident
definitely occurs in Ohio.
"Macochee's First Campaign Fund1'
is concerned with Republican Mayor Goddard who was up for reelection for the fifth time.
For some reason he was becoming
unpopular and to remedy the situation he decided a campaign
fund was needed.
great impression.
This fund was new to the town and made a
"The people felt that they had entered
upon a new era in their political life.”
The five hundred dollars raised became a burden to the
campaign managers.
They d i d n ’t know what to do with it, and
they would not allow one of their members out of sight.
They
became so suspicious of each other that when the town trouble
maker, George Halliday, gradually instilled in their minds
that the present Mayor intended using the money to buy votes,
they turned against Mayor Goddard and by some political trick,
the money was turned over to those people who voted for George
Halliday,
the Democratic nominee.
"That is a trick that has been
played once in every town in this free republic— but it can
never be played twice.
^ Brand Whitlock, "Macochee's First Campaign Fund,”
The Gold Brick (Hurst and Company Publishers, 1910), pp. 139-164.
54
Eugene Wood of Ohio pioneer stock has written Back
Home and Folks Back H o m e . a large two-volume edition of short
stories which comprise a series of social studies of the vast
middle class of central Ohio in the 1880*s and 1890's.
The
author presents romantic pictures of their strawberry festivals,
country fairs, lawn fetes, circus days, Sunday School classes,
and picnics, the old swimming hole, and the little old Red
School House where they learned their R ’s.
These people's reactions to the first trolley line,
their first impression of foreigners, their religious and
superstitious beliefs, are all carefully noted.
The social,
economic, political and religious information is given by
means of descriptive narratives, stories of adventure,
character sketches, ghost stories, and dramatic incidents
from the lives of certain of the characters.
Repetition is
noticeable as Wood relates similar incidents in the lives of
different characters.
The authro considers the stories as reflections of
a generation when people
~
. .still knew what it was to be neighborly, who still
would do service for each other and say, when payment
was offered, "Oh that's all right."47-
47 Eugene Wood, Back Home (Garden City, New York:
Doubleday, Doran and Company, Inc., 1935)» p. x i .
£/
55
Katherine Brush, the novelist, has written Other
W o m e n , a series of character sketches of the people of Renwood,
Ohio, the same locale as Red Headed W o m a n .
Katherine Brush
pictures Renwood society as divided into the younger married
set and the older matrons.
The older matrons would rather he
dead in their graves than he like Mrs. Bartlett.
Mrs. Bartlett was the leader of the younger married
set and established the fashions for her group.
Williamson,
Amy
the hlonde widow of the town, earned her living
hy selling gowns.
She lived a blameless life,
therefore
society bought all their gowns from her.
Mary, the daughter of the shoemaker, had refused to
join the church, and later had run away.
to the town and her family.
old maids of Renwood.
She was a disgrace
Georgina Leslie was one of the
She gave large parties, served rich
red steaks, pancakes and other indigestibles.
In fact, she was
the only unmarried girl who was popular with the young married
folk.
But the most dangerous person in Renwood, Ohio, was
Miss Annie Baxter.
She was the owner of the Beauty Shop and
frequently worked in her clients' homes.
know wasn't worth knowing.
gossip at her finger tips.
What she didn't
She had all the choice bits of
The older matrons said she knew
too much about everyone, especially the husbands.
But Annie
Baxter faithfully went to Wednesday Night Prayer Meeting, •
56
rain or shine.
Katherine Brush has made her women characters come to
life in Other W o m e n .
She has individualized her characters,
portraying them through their thoughts, action, and speech,
and linking them together hy the medium of gossip.
III.
GOLLECTORS.OF LEGENDS
Charles H. Mitchener, editor and writer, collected a
number of legends which are printed in his volume, Ohio Annals,
published in 1876.
Ohio Annals is referred to as a “Cen­
tennial History,” which comments on the events of a century,
1761 to 1846, in the Muskingum and Tuscarawas Valleys and
other portions of Ohio.
These comments include "local history, growth of
population, political power, wealth and intelligence" of the
people, numerous explanatory and detailed information, mis­
cellaneous scenes and events, and geological and pre-historic
narratives of O h i o . T h e
book includes comments on railroads
and the newspapers which have "promoted the general welfare
of the people of Ohio."49
^ Charles H. Mitchener, editor, Ohio Annals (Dayton,
Ohio: Thomas V. Odell, 1876),
49 I M d .. p. 358.
57
Interspersed among the historic events are a number
of legends concerned with early Ohio.
"The Legend of the
White Woman” concerns Mary Harris, the white girl who was
captured by the Indians in 1790.
She became fascinated with
their life in the wilderness and later married the Indian
Chief, Eagle Feather.
Mary cared for her husband's head
dress, polished his hatchet and tomahawk, and followed the
men on the buffalo and bear hunts.
Many of the braves came
to her for advice and she became so prominent that their town
was called "The White Woman's Town," and the river nearby was
named "The White Woman's
R i v e r .
"50
"The Legend of the Indian's Heaven" concerns the ad­
vance of the whites upon the Indian territory.
In 1762, an
Indian preacher was traveling in Ohio selling a map which he
said the "Great Spirit had directed him to make."
The map
was made of deerskin and on it was an avenue leading to the
"Indian Heaven."
This road was enclosed in an inside square.
Surrounding this square was a larger one which signified the
Indians' lost hunting and fishing grounds.
To regain their
hunting grounds and the avenue to the "beautiful region be­
yond," the redmen must make many sacrifices, and abstain from
drinking the whiskey which the white men had brought with them.
Then the "Great Spirit" would assist them to drive out their
Ibid., pp. 106-107.
58
enemies so that they could live peacefully among themselves.51
"The Legend of the Slaughter at the Seneca Capitol"
deals with the renewed feud between the Senecas and Wyandots
after their return from Braddock's defeat in 1775-
Agista,
an Indian Chief, suggested that each tribe should pick twenty
warriors who were willing to meet death at single combat.
When all were slain, they were to be buried, hatchets in
hand, in one grave, and henceforth,
the two tribes were
"never again to raise a bloody hand against the other."
After the fight, only one warrior was left and that was
Agista's son.
Agista sacrificed his son so that the blood
compact could be carried out and the hatchet forever buried
between the two tribes.
Later Fort Laurens was erected near
the burial spot of these warriors and there the Wyandots and
the Senecas worshipped at the grave of their ancestors and
relatives.52
"The Legend of the Bloody Valley"53 relates the tale
of the massacre of the'ninety-six Christian Indians at
Q-nadenhutten in 1782.
These Indians were taken by surprise
while they were praying in their temple in the forest.
51 Ibid.. pp. 217-218.
52 ibid.. pp. 208-210.
Ibid.. p. 159.
Jim
59
Girty, the renegade, is blamed for this disastrous event.
It
is said that he encouraged the whites to kill these Moravian
Indians and then united the Indians to avenge the deaths of
their hrothers.54
"The Legend of St. Glair's Defeat" is based on an
historical event of the American Revolution.
This disastrous
defeat was caused by a small band of redmen led by the
treacherous Simon G-irty.
Many harshly blamed St. Clair, but
George Washington realized that the defeat was due to an illtrained group of soldiers who did not understand Indian warfare.55
"The Legend of Three Legs Town" centers on the small
town on the Stillwater River In southern Ohio.
There was an
Indian chief who,because of his three legs, could not go to
war.
River.
Therefore, he was offered a chiefship on the Stillwater
This small place became a rendezvous for old braves
who spent their lives fishing,
smoking and giving advice to
the young l e a d e r s . ^
"The Legend of Louis Philippi" concerns the small
French settlement of Gallipolis.
54 rbid.. P. 165-
55 Ifria.. p. 246.
56 Ibid.. pp. 219-220.
Here Louis and a tavern
60
keeper engaged in an argument.
Louis informed the keeper that
he was heir to the French throne and "would not handy words
with a "backwoodsman.11
The keeper replied by telling him that
"we are all sovereign here" and demonstrated his words by
kicking him out of the p l a c e .
It is an historical fact that several of the French
aristocrats toured the United States in 1796, and if the tavern
keeper did not kick Louis, he kicked "some other
sovereign."57
The editor states that the adventures of the Moravian
missionaries— Post, Heckewelder, and Zeisberger, are the source
material for the legends in the Ohio An n a l s .
The collection
contains a wealth of material which is badly organized, but
valuable as a source book for ..factual, information of Ohio
from 1761 to 1846.
There is much repetition, as the Indian stories are
related as legends and in other sections of the book they are
sketched as facts.
All the legends are of historical impor­
tance .
Charles M. Skinner, editor and author, has collected,
written and edited a large two-volume book called, Myths and
.Legends of Our Own Land, which contains legends from the
various regions of the United States— New England, the South,
the Rocky Mountain Region,
the Pacific and the Central States.
57 Ibid., pp. 257-258.
61
Forty-one legends have "been gathered from the Midwest section
hut only five concern Ohio.
"An Averted* Peril" is an Indian legend.
a trading post in North Bend, Ohio, in 1786.
The scene is
The Shawnees
were on the war path and surrounded the fort.
Colonel George
Rogers Clark invited them inside, where they all smoked the
pipe of peace, hut the Indians were very sullen and refused
to talk.
Finally,
the Indian Chief asked Colonel Clark to
choose between the peace helt and the war helt.
Clark took
up the challenge and flung the war helt among the Indians and
said: "Dogs, you may go."
The Indians believed that the whites "had forces in
the vicinity that they were not prepared to meet," and fear­
ing a trap, they fled.
The Indian peril was averted and
soon after, the treaty was ratified.
The legend, "The Obstinacy of St. Clair" takes place
at Marietta, Ohio, about 1790.
It concerns the love affair
of St. Clair's daughter Louise, and another affair about
Marianna, a guest at the house.
It is poorly written and
the trend of the story is difficult to follow.
The only out­
standing fact is that it gives a personal side to the war
58 Charles M. Skinner, editor, Myths and Legends of
Our Own Land (Philadelphia and London: J. B. Lippincott
Company, 1924), II, 101-112.
situation at this time.
"A Frontier Legend" concerns Bill Quick, a trapper
frontiersman, who lived for the sole purpose of avenging his
father's death at the hands of Indians.
He worked secretly,
killing Indians with knife, "bullet and axe.
After many years
he had collected ninety-nine "grinning skulls" which he ar­
ranged on shelves.
His goal was one hundred, hut Indians
were becoming scarce.
At his death he entrusted his son, Tom,
to add the one hundredth skull.
Tom Quick drank and talked
too much and soon the neighborhood knew of his oath to kill
a redskin.
Not long afterwards a band of Indians was re­
ported near the village.
out.
A shot was heard.
Tom Quick took his rifle and set
The next day the neighbors visited
his cabin to see the coveted skull.
"The
hundredth skull
was there on the shelf, a bullet hole in the forehead, and
the scalp gone.
The head was Quick's."
"The Crime of the Black Swamp" is a ghost story.
Syms
was killed in 1842 by his friend, John Cleves, who buried his
skull under the hearth and hid the rest of his body in the
shouse.
Cleves was arrested on suspicion and sent to prison.
Years later, the Mayor and a friend,
sought shelter in this
haunted house one night, and as theysat before the
Syms' skeleton appeared.
He ordered them
fireplace
to dig up his skull
and then told them the story of his murder.
Then, placing
his skull on his skeleton body,, he said: "Give my bones a
63
decent burial and tell my relatives in Georgia what I have
told you.
I have now found peace."
He vanished.
"The House Accursed" is another ghost
not
as convincing
story but one
as the ghost of the legend, "The Crime of
the Black Swamp."
Herman Deluse of Gallipolis, Ohio, was
found dead in bed in 1896 by his relatives.
The coroner
said that death was due to a "visitation by God."
Years
later a clergyman stopped at Deluse's house during a storm,
and thought that he saw the dead man prowling about.
He
was curious and a few days later, went back to the house with
his son, who fell dead as soon as they entered the door.
board had fallen from the wall and killed him.
A
The post­
mortem revealed that death again was due to a "visitation
by God."
Charles M. Skinner believed there was
era
a legendary
in our history which was important as a record of our
country's progress.
He spent several years collecting folk
material from diverse records, histories, newspapers, maga­
zines and oral narratives, and in each case reconstructed
his material before-editing it.
All the legends are stories of dramatic incident.
Three;*are historical in character.
The other two narratives
are of impossible occurrences.
Carl Carmer, writer and lecturer from New York, is
interested in mingling history, biography,
travelogues and
64
folklore in his studies of various sections of the United
States.
Stars Fell on Alabama, and Listen for a Lonesome
D r u m , are examples of his regional work in the form of semiflction,
But he has written shorter pieces based on legends.
He has requested people to send in folklore about their native
states and as a result he received the following two Ohio
legends.
One concerns Mike Fink, the Ohio boatman of the
pioneer period.
Mike Fink was a tough guy who "wore red-
flannel underwear" and used to shoot the "top-hots off wild
Indians just for fun."
He was a great jumper and made only
one mistake in judging the distance he could leap, and that
was when he tried to jump across the Ohio River.
Mike got
halfway across and realized he wasn't going to reach the
other side, so he just turned around in the air and got back
to the shore, dry, except for a wet left foot which landed
a little behind his right.
The other legend is entitled, "Marietta as a Seaport."
One day Captain Matt set out from Marietta with a cargo of
cotton that he unloaded at New Orleans.
New Orleans gave
him a cargo of hides for Liverpool, England, and that last
port gave him some kind of cargo for Trieste.
When he tried
to leave there, the Italian officials said:
Your boat is confiscated, and y o u ’re under arrest
as a pirate. . . We know there isn’t any such port
in the entire world.
65
Captain Matt asked for a map of the world and with
his finger he traced the course back to New Orleans, up the
Mississippi and Ohio to the Muskingum.
ficers let him go.
The astonished of­
The legend is based on the historical
fact that Marietta once built ships and was a seaport until
President Jefferson passed the Embargo Act of 1807.
These two legends were broadcast over the radio and
later printed in Scholastic
m a g a z i n e . - ^
As nearly as possible
Carmer retains the original words of the person \\rho sent him
the legend, in order to preserve its true regional flavor.
Archer Butler Hulbert, historian and collector of in­
teresting information about the United States, has written
Historic Highways of America, which is an historical and geo­
graphical study of our land in sixteen volumes.
It is widely
illustrated with numerous maps and charts of the important
roads, rivers, valleys and Indian trails.
He includes bits
of legends obtained from various source books.
Volume IX of this series concerns the Ohio River and
its tributaries.
Hublert incorporated in it the story of
Mike Fink which he took verbatim from an old magazine,
The
Western Monthly,^0 and from Cassedy's History of Louisville.61
59 Carl Carmer, "Your Neck o' the Woods’1 series,
Scholastic. 31:17, September 25, 1937.
fZQ
(Glendale,
Archer Butler Hulbert, Historic Highways of America
California: The Arthur H. Clark Company, 19035, IX, 166.
61 Ibid.. p. 171.
66
Mike was captain of his boat and leader of his own
henchmen.
He loved to play practical jokes and could always
depend upon his men to help him out of his scrapes.
It was
difficult to bring him to justice because he was always on
the move.
After he was caught he always insisted on having
his trial held on his own boat, which was dragged ashore on
a specially constructed raft.
When the trial drew to a close
and sentence was about to be pronounced, Mike then signalled
to his men, who, by some ingenuity with the aid of long poles,
pulled his seacraft into the water.
The threat of the poles
in the hands of Mike’s men prevented any remonstrance against
hi s departure.
The above list of legends is fragmentary, but it is
all that is available.
A complete collection of Ohio legends
is to be found in only one place— Ohio— in the combined
libraries of the Western Reserve Historical Society at
Cleveland, the Ohio State University, and The Ohio State
Archaeological and Historical Society at Columbus.
IV.
SUMMARY
"There is no Ohio school of writers distinctively of
the Buckeye s t a t e . W r i t e r s
various places.
of Ohio fiction are from
One is of English birth, but of American
ancestry; some are from Ohio,- others from different states,
^52
Roseboom and Weisenburger, 0£. c i t .. p. 396
"but having a common interest in subject matter.
Ohio fiction as a whole cannot claim great literary
merit.
A few books are noteworthy, but the list is not an
imposing one.
There are a few well developed plots and
several good characterizations, although many of the characters
are negligible or inadequately drawn.
The setting is generally
an important and integral part of the books.
This background
is so full and varied that it furnishes a social history of
Ohio from the Indian Period to the modern era.
CHAPTER II.
THE INDIAN PERIOD 1750-1812
The Indian Period, which covers the story of the
Indian chiefs and the struggle among the French, English and
Americans for the possession of the Old Northwest Territory,
is portrayed by the following historical novels: Meade
Minnigerode's Black Forest. Mary Sehuman's Strife Before D a w n .
Thomas Boyd's The Shadow- of the Long Knives. Zane Grey's The
Spirit of the Border. James Ball Naylor's The Sign of the
Prophet, and by the legends in Charles H. Mitchener*s Ohio
Annals, and in Charles M. Skinner’s Myths and Legends of our
own L ands.
The chapter divisions are:
The Struggle for the Indians* Lands;
I.
(l) The Indians;
(2)
(3) Summary.
THE INDIANS
When the French and English began their struggle for
the control of the Northwest in the middle of the eighteenth
century, they discovered the Ohio territory to be a mighty
expanse of forests, winding rivers and brooks.
"Toby's Run,"
named after an old Delaware chieftain who became drunk one
night and fell into the water and drowned,-1* was one of the
1 Louis Bromfield, The Farm (New York and London:
Harper & Brothers Publishers, 19337, p. 4.
69
many brooks which mirrored in its clear water large clusters
of wild flowers, such as clematis and golden rod.
Scattered
over this land were many Indian mounds, "perfectly symmet­
rical and beautifully molded beneath their blanket of dogwood
and s a s s a f r a s The Ohio formed the southern border of this
wooded territory and wound its way between bluffs that were
covered with "white oak, poplar, and hickory among which a
3
sentinel pine reared . . . its evergreen head."
Ohio was the English way of spelling and pro­
nouncing the name Oyo, "beautiful," which the Indians
had given the river.
The French, who usually trans­
lated Indian names, called the Ohio River "La Belle
Riviere.” Later came the English, and the.Iroquois
name Oyo was enlarged to Ohio.4
This clear Ohio was "friendly and gentle unless the
southwest wind rubbed it the wrong way into a froth of white
caps” ; then it was called, "Ohi-opeehaune, Very White Foaming
River.”
The Senecas named it "Oheeye, Great and Beautiful
River."5
"Sleeping Shawnee Town" and other clustered groups of
wigwams were seen along the banks of the Scioto, Muskingum,
2 L o c . cit.
5 Zane Grey, The Spirit of the Border, Triangle Books
Edition (New York: A. L. Burt Company, 193877 P« 116.
^ Archer Butler Hulbert, Historic Highways of America.
Vol. 9 (Glendale, California: The Arthur H. Clark Company, 1903),
p. 17.
^ Meade Minnigerode, Black Forest (New York and Toronto:
Farrar and Rinehart, Inc., 1937), P . 26.
70
Hocking, Miami, Maumee, Auglaze, Sandusky,
Walhoning, and Olen t ,angy Rivers.
Tuscarawas,
The larger towns and
villages had a council house in the center of the wigwams
where the Indians held their solemn debates, received em­
bassies from other tribes, welcomed their warriors home from
battle, and celebrated their feasts.
Fields of corn and
beans bordered these towns and villages.
In the north, the "council fire" of the Wyandots
burned on the shore of Lake Erle.^
The flame was kept alive by the Wolf family of the
tribe and burned not far from the lake on a knoll which
was surrounded by the Wolf village whose members, con­
sidered the oldest among the eight families that com­
posed the Wyandots, were charged with guarding the
sacred fire.®
The "council fire of the Mingoes”^ was in the south­
eastern section between the Muskingum and the Ohio Rivers.
The
Miamis occupied the valleys of the two rivers named for the
tribe.
Some of the eastern Indians were being driven westward
by the colonists, "relinquishing their hunting grounds for the
bright cloths and trinkets,"'1-0 and as they sought new homes
they found their western neighbors resentful and hostile.
6 Grey, o p . c l t ., p . 85.
7 Thomas Boyd, The Shadow of the Long Knives (Wexv York:
Charles Scribner's Sons, 1928), p.""7>0.
8 Ibid.. p. 128.
9 Ibid.. p. 13.
10 Ibid., p. 12.
71
The Shawanese were one of the tribes caught between
two.fires, the colonists to the East, and the stronger
tribes to the West.
And after leaving Pennsylvania
four generations earlier, they had traveled to the Ohio
country where, on sufferance from the Wyandots, they
were at last permitted to s e t t l e . H
Scattered among these tribes lived fragments of many
others, as the Delawares,
the Ottawas,
the Chippewas, the
Senecas, and the Cherokees.
The Delawares were at that time scattered between the
Miami country and the Wyandots, and between the Wyandot
province eastward, some of them living in the Moravian
Mission far down the Muskingum.12
The Delaware Moravian Mission in the valley of the
Muskingum at Guadenhutten was referred to as the "Village of
Peace."33
The Indians in this community had been Christianized
by the missionaries, had given up their "aboriginal habits, "34and native worship, and had become a peaceful, prosperous and
industrious people.
The place became so famous that redmen
from all of the tribes came flocking to the new colony.
Services
were conducted in the maple grove, "many doubted, some were con­
verted, all listened. "3-5
11 Boyd, l o c . cit.
12 ibid.. p. 138.
13 Grey, 0£. cit. p. 4.
14 Boyd, ojg. cit.. p. 59.
3-5 Grey, on. cit., p. 88.
A feature by no means insignificant in the popu­
larity of the village was the church bell.
The
Indians loved music and this bell charmed them. . . .
Its ringing clang, so strange . . . so solemn break­
ing the vast dead wilderness quiet, haunted the savage
ear as though it were a call from a woodland god.16
Numerous. Jesuit priests converted these redskins as
they wandered in the wilderness.
The Jesuits were friendly
with all the tribeB and there was.a mutual trust between them,
but the government was unsympathetic to their missions and
"fanatics accused them of being centers of intrigue and Indian
plots."17
The Indians as a nation were pagans and worshipped
various spirits.
The older men taught the younger ones that
there was a "Great Spirit" a "Sun Spirit" who became angry
when there was not enough feasting in his honor, and a "Moon
Spirit," and a host of others capable of being influenced for
beneficial effects or against evil spirits.1^
In 1762, an Indian preacher was traveling in the Ohio
valley selling a map which he said the "Great Spirit had
directed him to make."
The map was made of deerskin and on'
it was an avenue leading to the "Indian Heaven."
was enclosed in an Inside square.
16 Ibid.. p. 89.
!7 Bromfield, op. c i t .. p, 8
This road
Surrounding this square
73
was a larger one which signified their lost hunting and fish­
ing grounds.
To regain their hunting grounds and the avenue
to the "beautiful region beyond," they must make many sacri­
fices, and abstain from drinking the whiskey which the white
men had brought with them.
Then the "Great Spirit" would
assist them to drive out their enemies so that they could
19
live peacefully among themselves.
These enemies were the white men, especially the
English and Americans who kept "pushing the wilderness back,"
pA
and kept "pushing the Indians out."
This intrusion into
their lands caused them to become hostile and kill
and capture
many of the traders and early settlers.
Itfe one of two things.
If they d o n ’t like you, they
put you to death . . . But if they do like you . . .
they adopt you into their tribe . . . and you share
their food, their work, their p l a y . 21
Many of the children were taken captive
they had forgotten their native tongue.22
so young that
Some of the older
boys returned to their own people after a period of wild life.
They were kind to me.
I learned their ways.
I
played with the youth of the tribe.
I absorbed their
19 Charles H. Mitchener, editor, Ohio Annals (Dayton
Ohio: Thomas V. Odell, 1876), pp. 217-218.
. cit.. p.
20 Minnigerode, ojd
7.
21 Mary Schuman, Strife Before Dawn (New York: The
Dial Press, 1939), pp. 10-11.
22 Ibid., p. 64.
74
ideas, manners, and customs.23
The girls, if they were able to survive the life in
the wilderness, usually married into the trihe and were not u n ­
happy in their adopted h o m e T h e
men captives were as a rule
severely treated, heing forced to "run the gauntlet"25 and
later slowly burned at the stake.
At times they were saved
from torture by the daughter of some chieftain.
Colonel Zane's
brother married an Indian maiden who had saved his life.
He was a captive among the Wyandots for ten year s .
The chief's daughter, Myeerah, loved him and kept him
from being tortured, and finally saved him from the
stake. . . .
He lives with the tribe. He and Myeerah
are working hard for p e a c e . 26
This peace they were working for was far away.
There
were wars, intermittent periods of peace and numerous treaties
which appeared to be in words only.
The Indians were told that this stretch of forest
south of Lake Erie, and north and west of the Ohio, the
land then owned by England, was to remain for all time
as the hunting grounds of the Miamis, Shawnees, Wyandots,
and Delawares.27
But the Indians were continually forced to-withdraw
farther into the wilderness.
23 James Ball Naylor, The Sign of the Prophet (New
York and Chicago: The Saalfield Publishing Company, 1901), p. 24.
Schuman,
l o c ... cit.
,
2-> Boyd,
o p .c i t .. p. I9 6 .
2^ Grey,
op. cit., p. 78.
Boyd,
op. cit., p. 128.
75
Although there were many cruelties performed by the
Indians,
they produced men who deserve to be called statesmen,
orators, and generals.
various tribes.
These men were the chieftains of the
They realized that they were losing ground
and that there was great need of united action.
Pontiac of
the Ottowas and "one of the most powerful of the Indian chiefs"28
stated:
Treaties are of no avail.
The white men break them
like twigs. . . . But we must learn the lesson of the
white men— all must fight under one direction.29
Pontiac led the Ottawa- Indians as an ally of the French
in
the defeat of Braddock's Army.
After the surrender of the
French possessions in North America in 1763, he united the
Indian tribes of the Northwest in a confederacy which for a
time threatened the extermination of all the settlements in the
West.
Chief Cornstalk,
the celebrated chieftain of the Shawnees,.
was always willing to "light the pipe of peace"'*0 with the white
visitors but he was very cautious of all dealings with them.
"When the white man treats with the dark man it is to the dark
man's destruction."*^1
As the wars continued and the Indian trails became war
28 Schuman, op. c i t .. p. 17.
29 ibid.. pp. 73-74.
3° Boyd, pp. c i t .. 132.
Loc. cit.
76
paths, Cornstalk was always ready with some sound advice to
his tribe:
Many of our great men we have lost to the Long
Knives and the Bright Coats when we were forced to
come into this country after defeat. . . . Let us
keep our tempers. . . . Let us abide our time and
strength and fight only for our h o m e s . Your chief­
tain has spokenT^2
Logan, a Mingo chief was a friend to the whites until
they needlessly massacred his family during his absence.
Logan
then sought revenge.
The fever of fear in the countryside mounted daily
as the toll exacted by Logan and his band grew. . . .
No one knew where Logan would strike next.33
Logan explained his actions and his reasons for revenge
x/l
"
in his celebrated speech to Lord Dunmore.-'
I appeal to any white man to say if he ever en­
tered Logan's cabin and he gave him not meat; if he
ever came cold and naked and he clothed him not.
During the course of the last long and bloody war,
he remained in his cabin, an advocate of peace.
Such
was my love for the whites that my countrymen pointed
as I passed and said, "Logan is the friend of the
white man." I had even thought to have lived with
you but for the injuries of one man who, last spring,
in cold blood and improvoked, murdered all the rela­
tives of Logan.
This called for revenge.
I have sought it.
I
have killed many.
I have fully glutted my vengence.
But do not harbor the thought that mine is the joy
52 Boyd,
cit», p. 135.
53 Schuman, op. cit., p. 209
34 Ibid., p. 246.
77
of fear. Logan never felt fear.
I would not turn
on my heel to save mj life. Who is there to mourn
for Logan? Not one.*-3
Tecumseh was mother powerful Shawnee war chief hut
one not as diplomatic nor as tolerant as the other leaders,
having an intense hatred for the whites.
But a savage whose valor is equaled by his honor,
whose thirst for fame and power is tempered by his
sense of right and justice. He has the good of his
people at heart, he believes their cause is just.36
During General Harrison's campaign against the Indians,37
when the Shawnees were
relentlessly striking at the soldiers,
Tecumseh intervened and saved many of his opponents from tor­
ture .
"Hold*.” Tecumseh thundered, drawing his tomahawk
and facing his half-mad followers.
"The brave who
kills another defenseless prisoner dies by my handl"38
Tecumseh was assisted in his duties as war chieftain
by his brother Elkskuatawa, or Teushwatawa, the Prophet.
Prophet had none of his brother's good qualities.
The
He was a
grotesque figure in his buffalo robe.
The horns
aspect. His
avarice, and
smeared with
surmounted his head and gave him a demoniac
hideous, repellant face— in which shrewdness,
cruelty were reflected— was striped and
black and yellow paints.
From nose and ears
35 ibid.. p. 245.
38 Naylor, op. cit., p. 165.
37 Ibid.. p. 281.
38 rbid.. p. 3 2 2 .
depended large silver crescents, and around his neck
was a string of hears' claws. 39
He claimed to have divine authority and unlimited
power.
On the index finger of his right hand he wore a large
ring— "The Sign of the Prophet."21'0
This ring was a gift from
an English officer, "who had obtained it in the Far East" and
it was possessed of some "magic power."41
The Prophet's Town was a sacred place— the mecca of
his fanatical followers. Here he muttered incantations
and performed miracles; here he blessed.the faithful and
condemned to perdition all unbelievers.42
On the eve of the battle of Tippecanoe,
the Prophet
brewed a special drink for his warriors which was supposed to
immunize them against death.
of
T i p p e c a n o e " 2^
were slain.
But the "paleface won the battle
and many of those who partook of the drink
The savages became suspicious and it was not long
afterwards that he began.to lose prestige.
Then his adopted
daughter LaViolette stole his ring to give to a white captive
whom she loved.
"The Prophet was indeed shorn of his power.
From that day forth, his influence over his people rapidly de­
clined."2*'2^
39 Naylor, 0£. c i t .. p. 81.
21-0 h o c . c i t .
41 hbid.. P. 283.
42 Ihld.. p. 78.
43 Ibid.. p. 96.
44 Ibid., p. 270.
79
II.
THE STRUGGLE FOR THE INDIANS' LANDS
The French explored the wilderness of the Mississippi
Valley in the latter part of the seventeenth century and took
formal possession of all that vast land by "burying a lot of
lead plates . . . w i t h the arms of the King of France upon
them,
and named the newly discovered territory Louisiana
in honor of Louis XIV.
In this way Ohio became a part of
this large western tract which was held together by a chain
of French ports and trading posts from Quebec at the north,
along the St. Lawrence and the Great Lakes, and then down the
Mississippi to the Fort at New Orleans.
"But where there were furs to be had there would be
traders."4^
English traders built storehouses and blockades
and began trading with the Indians at the "Forks of the
Muskingum, on the Miami, on the shores of Lake Erie, right
under the guns of the French forts on the M a u m e e . "47
An
English fort was built on the Ohio River, "but the French
seized that."48
The French began in earnest to drive out the
English traders and soon the struggle began,
45 Minnigerode,
46 Iftid-.. p. 9.
47 Ibid..
p
. 15.
48 Ibid.. p. 3.
o p . cit.. p. 4.
to determine
80
whether France or England should possess the interior of the
continent.
The issue between the rival nations was decided
in a long series, of fighting.
The final conflict, called the
Seven Y e a r s ’ War, 1756-1763, ended with the Treaty of Paris.
About this time the Ohio Land Company of Virginia se­
cured a grant of land from the English king— ”200,000 acres on
the Ohio and 300,000 more if they settled it."
The French were
alarmed at the proposed settlements in the territory claimed
by them.
English surveyors were "running around like rabbits”
all over the Indians’ land.49
This greatly excited the Indians.
"Wampum council belts" passed from village to village, "each
with its message or summons," to strike out the Whites from
80
their hunting grounds.
Both sides sought the Indians as allies.
At first the
Indians were easy prey.
. . . the Indians everywhere would give fortunes in
furs in exchange for baubles and trinkets, for knives,
or guns, or utensils, for brightly colored materials,
for toys for their children, and gaudy stockings fog-,
their women. And drink for themselves, poor souls.
"There was wealth to be had in the Black Forest,”52 and
land, so the English were determined to have it.
49 ibid.. p. 28.
50 Ibid.. p. 2 9 .
51 Ibid.. p. 43.
L o c . cit.
French forts
81
were captured one "by one, and finally the Treaty of Paris was
drawn up between them and signed in 1763.
This treaty removed
the menace of the French power, but there was still the Indian
who was determined to keep his home.
Intermittent Indian uprisings continued'and it became
the main idea of the English to keep the Indian contented.
" Trade at a loss if you have to, but trade."53
In 1768, the Indians finally consented to sell the
"whole disputed area and call the Ohio the Indian boundary."54
But the Land Company agents ignored the boundary and crossed
over into the Indian side.
everywhere.
Then the Indians began tomahawking
But the American Revolution had begun.
Many of
the frontiersmen joined Washington's army which left the
pioneer settlements almost defenseless.
One of the grievances
of the new country was colonial expansion.
The British had
previously upheld the right of the colonies to expand in the
west, but since 1773 they had ceased to do so.
The English
flag over the Northwest was destined to be replaced by the
American flag.
"If England won't let us take up our heritage
maybe an American Congress w l l l . " ^
As the war progressed both the British and the Americans
53 Ibid., p. 100.
54 Ifcld.. p. 138
55 ibid.. p. 158
82
hastened to enlist Indian
a i d .
56
jhe British commander at
Detroit, Sir Henry Hamilton, "Hair Buyer Hamilton," attempted
to unite all the western tribes against the frontier by paying
them for "American scalps."57
But their most valuable aid was
the renegades.
The frontier . . . produced white-men so savage as
to be men in name only.
These outcasts and renegades
lived among the savages, and during thirty years
harassed the border, perpetuating all manner of fiend­
ish cruelties upon the settlers.5o
Lazarus Burgoon59 was a renegade who secretly worked
for the British, but the most famous ones were the Girty
brothers, Simon and Jim and George.
Simon Glrty negotiated with the British, while his
brothers Jim and George, and a friend, McKee,
stayed mostly in
the background doing much of the dirty work.
The English plans
were to have Simon win over the reluctant tribes who favored
the Americans and to accompany them on frontier r a i d s .
In less
than a year he was notorious all over the country— "Girty the
Fiend, the White Savage."^0
The Americans set a price of $800 on his
56 Schuman, op. c i t .. p. 254.
57 Minnigerode, op. cit., p. 179.
58 Q-rey, op. cit., p. 4.
59 Minnigerode, op. c i t .. p. 202.
60 Schuman, o p . cit., p. 285.
61 L o c . cit.
h e a d .
51
83
Despite these British assets, the British lost and the
colonists became Americans and gained the West through the
valuable aid of George Rogers Clark.62
But the Indians were
still a problem if the west was to be the colonists* new home.
Rightfully, the land belonged to the redskins.
land belonged to Congress and the government.
Legally the
There was no
money to pay the soldiers, so the generals demanded the land
as payment.
"The future of America is in the West.
Congress
has got to do one of two things," General Putnam was saying.
"Pay us, and redeem its obligations and promises to the army,
or give us adequate compensation in lands."^^
This distri­
buting of land meant further trouble with the rightful owners.
"Council drums”64 were heard everywhere.
The Indians formed
a confederation for the purpose of driving the "Long K n i v e s " ^
beyond the Ohio.
The TLong Knives"were the Americans, mostly
men from Virginia, who wanted to settle in the Ohio country.
It took three expeditions to defeat the Indians and make the
Ohio valley safe for the settlers.
General Harmar commanded the first expedition, which
moved northward from Fort Washington against the Indians.
62 Minnigerode,
0]D. cit.. p. 294.
63 Ibid.. p. 280.
64 ibid., p. 324.
65 Boyd, o p . cit., p. 202.
But
84
his troops were drawn into an Indian ambuscade, and the sur­
vivors retreated to the Ohio River.66
A second expedition under General St. Clair met with
even greater disaster.
His army was poorly equipped and dis­
ciplined, and badly led.
In spite of Washington’s warning about
Indian surprise attacks, St. Clair fell into an ambush, and
within a few hours nearly all of his men were either dead or
wounded.67
The Indians under Little Turtle68 gained <?ne of
the greatest victories they had ever won over the white men.
The Indians were elated by their successive victories
and it now became a question of defeating them or abandoning
the Northwest Territory.
For the leader of the third ex­
pedition Washington chose Anthony Wayne, "mad Anthony they
called him"69 for his impetuous valor in the American Revolution.
Wayne in his new assignment showed that he was prudent as well
as brave.
He drilled his men before starting and then marched
his army in slow stages, building forts as he went.
One of
these was at G r e e n v i l l e , a n o t h e r at Fort Recovery, on the field
of St. Clair's defeat, and a third was at Fort Defiance.
66 Boyd, o p . c i t .. p. 210.
67 ibid.. p. 214.
68 Iftid.. p. 204.
69 Ibid., 270.
70 Loc. cit.
While
85
building this last fort Wayne remarked: "I defy the English,
the Indians, and all the devils in Hell, part and parcel,
to
take this fort."
He allowed no obstacle to retard or interfere with his
campaign.
One of his men remarked that it was impossible to
cross the swampland in the north because there was no bridge.
To this Wayne replied: "If we can’t cross the swamp without a
bridge, then build one . . ."71
Still pressing northward Wayne finally encountered the
Indians on the west bank of the Maumee River.
The fight, known
as the Battle of Fallen Timbers, broke the power of the Indians
in Ohio.
1812.72
The treaty protected the border settlements until
Then war started again.
. . . an Indian runner . . . brought the news . . .
that war had been declared between the United States and
Great Britain, and that both nations were making pre­
parations for a final struggle for supremacy of the
border.73
Again the Indians were divided.
The Wyandots remained
the friends of the Americans and the Shawnees allied themselves
with the British.7^General William Henry Harrison, the hero of Tippecanoe,
71 Boyd, op. cit., p. 287.
72 Naylor, op. cit., p. 21.
73 Ibid.. p. 245.
74 Ibid.. p. 12.
86
was placed in command of the American
campaign began in earnest.
and the western
Harrison built “Port Meigs . . .
named in honor of the Governor of
River.
a r m i e s 7 5
O h i o , "
76 Upon the Maumee
Here, contrary to orders, one of the generals and his
men pursued Tecuraseh*s warriors into the forest and met with
defeat.
In spite of opposition from both the British and the
Indians the American spirit prevailed and won.
’’But opposition
will not appall us; defeat will not discourage us.
Americans
We are
. . . w e ' r e American patriots— we can stand
a n y t h i n g . " 7 7
The victory of Port Stephenson on the Sandusky River
ended the British invasion of Ohio; and the Battle of Lake Erie,
in which Tecumseh was killed, put an end to the Indian con­
federacy in the Northwest.
III.
SUMMARY
The novels and legends of this period are all histor­
ical In character.
Collectively, they present an adequate and
truthful story of the struggle for the Old Northwest Territory.
Meade Minnigerode's Black Forest is written from the view­
point of an historian.
The causes, main action and results
75 Naylor, o p . c i t .. p. 281.
76 ibid.,
p.
288.
77 ibid., 3 6 1 .
87
of the struggle are the main interests.
Mary Schuman’s
Strife Before D awn relegates the actual fighting to the back­
ground,
Sympathetic emphasis is upon the Indians who occupy
this battlefield.
Thomas Boyd's Shadow of the Long Knives
pictures the struggle through the lives of the British scouts
whose loyalty is with the British, but whose sympathies are
with the Indians.
Zane Grey's Spirit of the Border idealis­
tically describes the Ohio wilderness,
the home of the Indians,
and furnishes a realistic picture of the treaterous renegades
and their part in the struggle.
James Ball Naylor's The Sign
of the Prophet centers its attention upon the Indian Confeder­
acy^ led by Tecumseh and his fanatical brother, The Prophet.
The legends are flashes of Indian life based on their contact
with the Whites during this period.
CHAPTER III
THE PIONEER PERIOD, 1787-1830
The Pioneer. Period, which describes Ohio and its
people from 1787 to 1830, is portrayed by the following
novels: Meade Minnigerode*s Black Forest, Louis Bromfield's
The Farm, Edward Everett Hale’s East and W e s t , Conrad
Richter's The Trees, Zane G-rey’s The Spirit of the Border,
and The Last Trail, Edward Eggleston’s The Circuit Rider,
Merle Colby’s All Ye People, and New Road. Minnie Hite Moody’s
Towers with Ivy, William Dean Howells'
The Leatherwood G o d ,
Vardis Fisher's Children of G o d , Eleanor Atkinson1s .Johnny
Appleseed, Charles.Felton Pidgin's Blennerhassett* or The
Decrees of Fate; the following short stories: Walter D.
Edmonds' "Citizens for Ohio," James Hall's "The Emigrants";
and the legends in Charles H. Mitchener's Ohio Annals, Archer
Butler Hulbert’s Historic Highways of A m e r i c a , Vol. 9, and
Carl Carmer's "Your Neck o' the Woods" series.
divisions are:
Migration West;
(1) Distribution of the Northwest;
(3) Pioneer Life;
Legendary Characters;
I.
The chapter
(4) The Mormons;
(6) The Burr Conspiracy;
(2) The
(5) Two
(7) Summary.
DISTRIBUTION OF THE NORTHWEST
At the close of the Revolutionary War, there was a
long dispute among the states, regarding the ownership of the
89
Northwest Territory as some of the states claimed portions of
this land.1
Finally, Congress took the whole matter "out of
the jurisdiction of the individual states" by requesting that
they cede their claims to the government.
This was done, and
the disputed land became part of the "public domain . . .
freely surrendered for the common good."2
When Virginia ceded her claims to the Northwest,
she
kept back or reserved that part south of Tecumseh, Ohio, a
"wilder and more beautiful country,"
3
which she named the
Virginia Military District.^
Connecticut also reserved a part of the territory
which she claimed.^
New Connecticut or the Western Reserve
was in Northeastern Ohio along the southern shore of Lake
Erie
Americans had learned a lesson from their experience
with Great Britain and were cautious about settling in the
1 Meade Minnigerode, Black Forest (New York and Toronto:
Farrar and Rinehart, Inc., 1937), P . 281.
2 I b i d .. p. 259.
^ Helen Hoven Santmyer, Herbs and Apples (Boston:
Houghton, Mifflin Company.
Cambridge: The Riverside Press, 1925),
p. 47.
4
,
Minnigerode, o p . cit., p. 334.
5 Loc. cit.
6 Albion W. Tourg&e, Figs and Thistles (New York: Fords,
Howard and Hulbert, 1879), P- 18.
nevr lands without a law to safeguard their interests as
"portions of the western territory might at some future time
qualify as to population for admission as states to the Union.
The
provided in
plans for a government for this New Territory was
the Ordinance of 1787, and
by Cutler for the Ohio Association.^
most of it was dictated
It provided for courts,
government, boundaries, and provisions of statehood.
Slavery
was to be prohibited in any form and "fugitive slaves from
other states must be returned.
. . . and here churches and schools shall be estab­
lished, since religion, morality, and knowledge are
necessary to good government and the happiness of
mankind.
This vast domain was distributed among soldiers,
civilians, and land companies.
"in lieu of
Land was given to the soldiers
arrears of pay" on the grounds that the "West be­
longs to the nation, the army made
the
nation."11
"The Colonel* was a man of importance in Pentland.
"Congress had awarded him a sword and the rank of colonel
IP
and a grant of land in the Western Reserve."
7 Minnigerode, o p . cit., p. 284.
8 Ibid.. p. 340.
9 Ibid.. pp. 339-340.
10 I b i d .. p. 340.
11 Ibid., p. 282.
Louis Bromfield, The Farm (New York and London:
Harper & Brothers Publishers, 19335, P« 5.
91
The Ohio territory was surveyed by the government
Into townships of six miles square.
The townships were num­
bered from "The Ohio River northward, and each strip called
a range."
Then the townships were subdivided into thirtyjr
six sections, each one square mile.
Each division was num­
bered so.any tract of land could be easily located.
The
range, township, and section numbers were painted on small
white posts in one corner of a tract.
For example:
R 21
T 4 ,
S 30 13
Several land offices were located throughout the
state where one might buy and obtain a land title.
"Chi11a14
kothe
was one of the towns in southern Ohio where the
pioneers journeyed to inquire about new purchases.
plentiful and cheap in this period.
Land was
One man bought a quarter
of a section and "paid |84.50 for those one hundred and sixty
acres
Various land companies bought large shares of this
popular territory.
The Ohio Company of Associates, an as-
^3 Merle Colby, All Ye People (New York: The Viking
Press, 1931), p. 203.
14 I k Id., p. 203.
15 Walter Havighurst, The Quiet Shore (New York:
The Macmillan Company, 1937) p. 33.
92
sociation of soldiers, "New Englanders mostly," headed by
the Reverend Manasseh Cutler, a chaplain,
secured from Congress
a grant of land on the Muskingum "just west of the Seventh
Range along the Ohio."1 8 ,
This association made many plans for their town be­
fore they left the East.
The central street will be one hundred and fifty
feet wide, and named after General Washington, of
course.
The main streets . . . will be named for
heroes of the army, Warren, Montgomery, Wooster, and
so one.
The streets will all be planted with trees,
and there will be a commons reserved along the
Muski n g u m .17
In the winter of 1787-1788, two advance parties set
out for Ohio.
One was a group of shipbuilders and mechanics
who were going to build their boats at "Sumrell’s Ferry and
go on there by water."
The other group was a "surveyor's
party" including G-eneral Putnam and Manasseh Cutler.
There
were "forty-eight all told."18
We are bound for the Ohio at the Muskingum. We're
building a town there.
It will be the first town
built by Americans in the Northwest Territory.
Adelphi City of the Brothers, but some want to call
it Castropilis.19
18 Minnigerode, Black Forest, pp. 332-333.
17 Ibid.. p. 344.
18 Ibid.. p. 334.
19 Ibid.. p. 343.
93
It was also referred to as "Putnam’s Paradise,"
20
"Cutler's Indian Heaven" and "Cutler's Place,"
but the
final name chosen was "Marietta in honor of Queen Marie of
21
France.
The second important purchase of Ohio lands was made
by John Cleves Symmes and associates of Hew Jersey.
The
Symmes Purchase comprised a "tract of land between the two
Miami Rivers," and. was called Losantiville, a name made up
of Greek and Latin words describing its situation, L for
Licking, OS mouth, ANTI,- Nosite, Vllle.
But Governor St. Clair
renamed it Cincinnati when he made it the capital of the North22
west Territory.
II.
THE MIGRATION WEST
At the time of the settlements of Marietta and Losan­
tiville, the first year of Washington's presidency, 1788, "the
whole scheme of emigration beyond the Alleghenies was held
. . . to be utterly absurd."2-^
The general opinion among the
older people was that it was a "wild adventure" and "only fools
20
Ibid.. p. 341.
21 Ibid.. p. 343.
22 Ihld.. p. 346.
23 Edward Everett Hale, East and West (New York:
Cassell Publishing Company, 1 8 9 2 7 , p. 102.
94
•went to 1H i o ,,24
East about "Hio."
There were also conflicting stories in the
One would either be scalped by Indians
and meet other terrible hardships, or else one would find a
land of plenty, with tall cornfields, flocks of pigeons, and
"turkeys roosting on every tree."^^
But despite the protests of the many, a few ventured
forth on the "ninety day" journey in a "ship of the prairie"
or covered wagon which held the necessary supplies for the
people and the horses.
26
Their food consisted of squirrel,
rabbit, and wild turkey with the "invariable cup of tea" and
when the wild game became scarce they had the "Inevitable
salt pork" and pot of baked beans.
27
AQ
Part of their "seven hundred mile*
trek was made by
boat, a large flat boat" so constructed as to float with the
stream.
Though "slow and unwieldy" it was large, "safe and
roomy, affording space enough for families and merchandise."2^
24 Ibid., p . 78.
25 L q c . cit.
26 Ibid.. p. 40.
2^ Ibid., p . 42.
28 I b i d .. p. 43.
29 James Hall, "The Emigrants," Golden Tales of Our
America (New York: Dodd, Mead and Company, 1930), p. 209.
Occasionally the journey from Pittsburgh and down
the Ohio was made on a raft, a "dozen two-foot logs fastened
together, upon which a rude shack had been erected for
shelter."5°
Some families crossed the Ohio on a "pole ferry."31
There were very few travelers "during the winter months"
because of the bad roads and ice on the river.
Wayne's victory over the Indians in 1795^3 gave hopes
for more peace on the frontier and it meant also an increase
in the number of emigrants to Ohio.
to Ohio was becoming popular.
By 1812 emigration \*est
Everyone was going W e s t . ^
And
everyone seemed to have a different reason for going--"hard
times," that and "something in the blood,"33 "Life is sure"
t h e r e ,
36 the "Ohio's a rich country," there's "plenty of
room,"37 "land is to be had for the price of working it."38
Zane Grey, The Spirit of the Border.
Triangle
Books Edition (Hew York: A. L. Burt Company, 1938), p. 21.
3-1 Conrad Richter,
Knopf, 1940), p. 7.
The Trees (Hew York: Alfred A.
32 Hale, E a s t 'and W e s t , p. 214.
33 Colby, All Ye People, p. 35.
34 Ibid.. p. 52.
33 Ibid.. p. 25.
36 Ibid.. p. 15.
37 ifria.. P. 17.
38 Ibid.. p. 49.
96
It is a ’’Godless W e s t , " ^ and those "Yankees” must have
"preachers just like Christian f o l k . " ^
Many of the older ministers of the East denounced
this migration as madness and openly "named the various de­
linquents ."
Eighty-year old Hulduh Beedy, respected by all,
a widow and a contributor to the church, had up and
sold her cow and started out with her fifteen year
grand son— West.
Josiah Talmadge had gone, and they said his wife
had
left the dishes unwashed in the sink. . . . Seth
Tinkham, the only millwright in the township had for­
saken the scene of his labors, and Lemmel Tucker,
dealer in feed and grain . . . had taken stage to
Pennsylvania and was reported to have said he was
.
going down the Ohio on an ark as far as Marietta. .
"Movers westward were irretrievably damned."^2
But this did not stop the men and women from leaving a sure
Jt-TL
life for an uncertain one.
It was lonely at first on the road as one started out
for Ohioalone on
long."^
foot or horseback, "but it wasn’t lonely
Onemet various types including "redemptioners" who
39 Colby, All Ye
40 Ibid.,
P* 63.
41 Ibid.. p. 52.
42 Ibid.. P* 54.
43 Ibid.. P. 15.
44 Ibid..
P • 170
97
ar
had run away before their allotted time; ^ as well as people
wanted by the lav/.
There were bill posters on the highway
describing these runaways,
46
but,
These mover-folk would pay no attention to bills
posting a fugitive from justice.
Some„of them had
consciences not too clear themselves. ‘
IhfK
Others on the road were “militia men,”
“circuit
r i d e r s , “a blacksmith,“50 "a schoolmaster," “a trader" and
“a money changer."51
Occasionally,
they met a "stylish chaise
on the road among the ox trains and conestoga wagons.
Their route was across New York, through Pennsylvania,
across a corner of Virginia to the Ohio River.
By the time
they reached sight of the promised land their "throats were
caked with dust"53 and they were very tired, but their "faces
brightened “at the sight of the Ohio R i v e r . B u t
it was a
long wait because “the whole population of the states and
45
Walter D. Edmonds, "Citizens for Ohio," Mostly
Canallers (Boston: Little, Brown Company, 1934), p p T 63-64.
46 Colby,
2 R . cit
47 Ibid.. P- 131.
48 Ibid.. P. 2549 Ibid.. P.
50 Ibid..
P.
51 Ibid..
P.
52 Ibid..
P.
33.
137.
138.
141.
53 Ibid., P. 140.
54 Ibid., P. 141.
93
their territories were "aiming to cross the river at this
point."55
This point was the "ugly settlement" at Wheeling,
which "lived off the movers."
Early in the morning a large
sign attracted restless movers:
Movers set up to the
Immygrants Bar
for Fancy Drinks
^
and Choice Liquors of the Right Sort-3
The owner of Jude Damon* s hardware store pulled
down his shutters . . . as.there was no selling them
anything now, these red-faced angry farmers getting
West, "blocked unaccountably by the smooth waters of
the Ohio.57
"Arks, flatboats, keelboats, peroques,
canoes, rafts,
and skiffs"5® were used to ferry the movers across the river
to the Ohio land where groves of trees "distinguished Ohio
prairies from those further West."5^
unbroken "sea of solid tree tops."
These groves formed an
Beneath them the forest
trails were dark, silent, and lonely, brightened only by a few
beams of sunlight.
III.
PIONEER LIFE
Food and shelter were the first requisites •
55 Ibid.. p. 143.
56 Ibid., p. 120.
57 L o g . cit.
5® L o c . cit.
5^ Hale, op. cit., p. 212.
Richter, op. cit., p. 8.
99
of these new emigrants.
"They hacked and slashed, hewed and
chipped," all day in the woods.
Soon they had a roof over
their heads and "a hag of meal hanging from the rafters."
The cabin windows were holes in the walls with a "few
cross sticks."
One pioneer used his marriage certificate for
a window pane.
He
he
considered it a useless thing hut "now that
greased it with b e a r ’s oil, he reckoned it might be of some
account.The
few cabins "looked forlorn" standing there
64 „
in the deep woods.
Away back here the whites were scarce
as birds* teeth and the Indians plenty as
d o g b e r r i e s .
During the dark, cold, rainy winter months when food
was scarce, the Indians often stole the meal.
That's how life was . . . grub and harvest, rain
and clearing,
winter and summer. You had to take
one with the other, for that's the way it ran.67
Soon the population increased and "the little saw
mill on the river was heavily pressed by the s e t t l e r s " ^ as
61 Richter, The Trees, p. 28.
62
P* 29.
63 Ibid.. p. 32.
64 Ibid.. p. 25.
65 Ibid.. p. 33.
^
h o c ♦ cit.
67 Ibid., p. 302.
^
Hale, East and West, p. 213.
100
many new log cabins were being built.
These new cabins had
only one room which served as "hall of entrance, kitchen, sit­
ting-room,
the room.^9
. . . and bedroom" with a fireplace at one end of
"Stools, boxes, and barrels"7^ were used as
furni ture.
Their food consisted of "prairie hens, wild turkey,
white beans, Indian meal ground in hand mills,
salt pork,
71
deer and bear."’
One could hear the howling of wolves at night and
frequent news came of Indian war parties.
In all such rumors there was the certainty behind
that the English troops from Canada supplied the
powder, lead, flints, and guns to the s a v a g e . 72
Hearly a whole company of whites had been killed and
their cabins burned by the redskins.
"And with the certainty
of such dangers," the early settlers began their winter.73
But the settlers were soon to learn that they had a
"right arm of defense" in the bordermen "who made the settle74
ments of the West, a possibility."
These bordermen worked
69 Ibid., p. 214.
70 Ibid.. p. 189.
71 Ibid.. p. 214.
72 Ibid.. p. 231.
75 Ibid.. p. 224.
7^ Gray, The Spirit of the Border, p. 4.
101
silently and were seldom seen "but the pioneers knew them
through their deeds.7®
They were "loved by pioneers," alter­
nately respected and feared by redmen, "and hated by rene­
gades."76
Jonathan Zane and Lewis Wetzel were the two out­
standing bordermen.
Zane considered himself an Indian hunter
and guide, but Wetzel wished to be considered an "Injun killer n77
Both hated the sight of an Indian.7®
No doubt long years of war and bloodshed had
rendered these two great hunters callous.
To them
there could be no discrimination . . . an Indian
is an I n d i a n . ™
O A
They declared "the only good Indian is a dead one."
Wetzel’s hatred came as a result of the disaster his
family met at the hands of Indians in Virginia.
He lived "for
that purpose alone"— to hunt and kill Indians.®^
To the superstitious Indians who called him "Deathward «82
75 Ibid.. P. 24.
76 Ibid., p. 4.
77 Ibid.. P. 24.
78 L o c . cit.
79 Ibid.. P. 87.
80 Ibid.,
P. 64.
81 Ibid.,
P. 73.
82 Ibid..
P. 74.
102
he was a shadow, "a spirit of the border, which breathed
83
menace from the dark forests.”
Whenever "The Wind of Death”8^ "rose from a faint
murmur and swelled’to a deep moan, Um-m-mm-woo-o-o-o1
."
The Indian sentinel stood asif paralyzed an
instant . . . and then, swift as a dash, and as
noiseless, he was gone into the gloomy f o r e s t .
Jim Girty was the one renegade that Wetzel desired
mostly to kill.
Girty was the worst of these men and his
favorite expression to white captives was: "I'll cut your
Q
fT
heart out, chop it up, an' feed it to the buzzards."
Wetzel realized his ambition when he captured this
white savage and nailed him to a tree with his hunting knife,
"there to await his lingering doom."
"The dark birds sat on
the dead branches above the hilltop, as if waiting for their
feast."87
Later when
Valley was full of
the Indian menace was gone and the Ohio
outlaws and horse thieves, the bordermen
83 Gray, The Spirit of the Border, p. 7.
84 I h i d ., p. 47.
85 Ihid., p. 50.
86 Ihid., p. 45.
07 Ihid.. p. 256.
103
OQ
continued to guard the pioneer settlements.
The outlaws and
horse thieves, who drifted from everywhere, usually had a
rendezvous such as Metzar's Inn, a bar-room:
The dingy place reeked with tobacco smoke and
fumes of vile liquor.
It was crowded with men.
The
lawlessness of the time and place was evident.
Gaunt
red-faced frontiersmen reeled to and fro across the
sawdust floor; hunters and fur-traders, raftsmen and
farmers, swelled the motley crowd, young men, honest­
faced, but flushed and wild with drink hung over the
bar.
The black-bearded proprietor dealt out the rum.
Prom beyond the bar-room, through a door entering
upon the back porch, came the rattling of dice.89,
Constant vigilance and persistent efforts gradually
broke the power of these bandits and the pioneers were finally
able to settle down to a more peaceful existence.
f,The West
had been won.'*9^
Living conditions improved.
The log cabins were still
Q1
the homes of the pioneers with their "oiled-paper windows,11^
“puncheon
f l o o r s , ,* 5 2
an& candles for lighting the interior, 5 3
88 Ihid.. p. 2.
89 Ibid.. p. 100.
50 Zane Gray, The Last Trail (New York: A. L. Burt
Company, 1909), p. 297.
51 Colby.-All Ye People, p. I6 3 .
52 William Dean Howells, The Leatherwood God (New York:
'The Century Company, 1916), p. 12.
53 Colby, op. cit., p. 153.
104
but better furniture and utensils were being made.
One end of the cabin was occupied by a bedstead.
Its head and feet were bored for ropes.
Beside two
three-legged stools, there was a splint-bottom chair
and a shovel carved out of ash, and a towel, and
comb case. A birch broom worn to splinters stood in
the corner.94
"Huge black andirons1195 on which swung an iron crane,
were added to the fireplace.
"trundle b e d s " w e r e
"Shuck-bottom
also the fashion.
e h a i r s " 9 6
The "dinner
was used to call the farmers in from the fields.
"dipper fashioned from a long-necked
ary drinking cup of the West.
g o u r d ”9 9
and
h o r n ” 98
And a
was the custom­
Latch-strings were put on the
doors and were the symbol of hospitality.
To say that "the
latch-string was out," was to open your door to a friend;
"to pull it in" was a significant, Inhospitable gesture.100
The pioneers made the most of their world by turning
work into social functions.
"Corn-shuekin"
1 01
and cabin
94 Ibid.. p. 181.
95 Edward Eggleston, The Circuit Rider (New York: J.
B. Ford and Company, 1874), p. 56.
96 Ibid.. p. 63.
97 Minnie Hite Moody, Towers with Ivy (New York:
Julian Messner, Inc., 1937)* p. 15.
98 Howells, og. cit.. p. 63.
99 Ibid.. p. 94.
Eggleston, o p . c i t ., p. 228.
101 Ibid., p. 11.
105
"raising"102 were the two most prominent activities.
The
women turned these festive occasions into further use "bystretching a quilt on the frames" and spending the afternoon
"quilting and gossiping" while the men did the actual work.10^
The crowning part of each event was the food served afterwards
where the men ate "with awkward embarrassment, as frontiers­
men always do in company— even in the company of each other.nl°4
There were two social functions not connected with
work— weddings and camp meetings.
The weddings usually took
place at noon,10-* and the family worked in the fields until
the first of the guests arrived.10®
The men wore hunting
shirts of ^L i n s e y - w o o l s e y w h i l e the women dressed in either
callco-wrappers or gowns of "linsey-woolsey."10^
chewing and drinking were heavily indulged in.
Smoking,
The men chewed
"green leaf tobacco" and smoked "home grown twists."10®
rels of whiskey stood . . .
"Bar­
at convenient intervals between
102 (jpey^ The Spirit of the Border, p. 79.
10^ Eggleston, l o o . cit.
104 Ibid., p. 20.
105 Colby, pp. cit., p. 157.
106 I M d .. p. 1 5 0 .
10? Eggleston, pp. c i t ., p. 11.
10^ Colby, op. c i t .. p. 152.
106
the tables1^
where the wedding feast was served.
Brown Betty, who was an earthenware jug, was
reached down from the shelf and filled with good
West Indies rum, carefully treasured for just such
an occasion . H O
Dancing the "traditional square four,1,111 occupied
the greater part of the afternoon and evening.
The camp meetings had more people gathered in them
than any other town in the whole state.
A temporary city had been built upon the plain
opposite G-reenville fort— the biggest town in Ohio—
a town of thousands of people where last week was the
untrodden prairie, where tomorrow morning would re­
main nothing but marks of wagon wheels.1-1-2
The circuit riders were respected personages in the
pioneer communities.
They were mostly. Methodists who dis­
approved of "dancing, and artificials, and singing songs and
ll'5)
reading novels and all other amusements."
Each minister
was "part of that great wheel called a circuit."1^
He was accustomed to preach twice each weekday
and three times on Sunday after the laborious man­
ner of the Circuit rider of his time.
109 Colby, All Ye People, p. 154.
110 Ibid.. p. 173.
111 Ibid.. p. 163.
112 Ibid.. pp. 236-237.
Eggleston, The Circuit Rider, p. 98.
ll2f Ibid.. p. 110.
1077
John Wesley’s rule was that a preacher should
rise at four o!clock and spend one hour until five
in reading, meditation and p r a y e r . H 5
The reverence with which a self-denying preacher
was regarded by his people was a great compensation
for the pgverty and toil that pertained to the .
office.116
There were several preachers present and each had "his
magic chain of words," such as: "Breathe in the love of God1
.
Breathe out the hate of the Devil’
."117
These people were easily swayed by religion and soon
one heard, "I’m Saved’
.
Hallelujah’
.”11®
Such exclamations were
usually followed by the "shakes,” muscular bodily twitchings
which were highly contagious and spread from a small group to
the "entire gathering of meeters."11^
This emotional character of pioneer religion was de­
finitely seen in the "Valley of Leatherwood Creek"120 where
Joseph C. Dylks, the religious fanatic and "blasphemous im­
postor"121 appeared and made the people believe he was "God
115 Ibid.. p. 116.
116 Ibid.. p. 122.
117 Colby, 0£. cit., p. 239.
11® L o c . cit.
119 Ibid.. p. 242.
120
Howells, The Leatherwood G o d , p. 3.
121 Ibid., p. 83.
108
and the Christ in one."*1*22
stirred hy his preaching.
The whole community was deeply
Some believed,
some doubted, while
others thoroughly disapproved of his presence among them.
Families were broken up and brothers were not speaking to
each other.
123
^
One day the Leatherwood God promised his fol­
lowers a ’’miracle”•I-2^' which did not materialize; a riot im­
mediately took place-1-2^ and from then on his popularity began
to decline, until he was finally run out of town.
Death in these settlements was met in a stoic manner.
The early Methodists had no time for eulogies.
A handful of earth, a few hurried words of tribute,
and the bugle called the battle.
The man who died
was at rest, the men who staid had the more work to
d o .3-2°
The settlers had little time for leisured thought.
They had only a lifetime to accomplish a task
which in old Europe had cost 300 years.
They were
the most self-confident people on earth.
Station,
wealth, refinement meant nothing to them because
these things were of no immediate value. Money was
of little worth in either goods or labor.
It was
as hard for the richest man to build his cabin, break
his soil, raise-his first crop as the poorest.127
122 Ibid.. p. 75.
123 ibid.. p. 87.
124 I b i d .. p. 117.
125 Ibid.. p. 133.
Eggleston, The Circuit Rider, p. 312.
127 Colby, New Town, p. 78.
109
In this busy frontier life one found few books.
Bible was often the only book owned by a family.
The
There were
no printed newspapers, but almost each settlement had an
"oral newspaper"
in the form of the school teacher.
These
teachers "boarded around"12^ at the different cabins, knew
"all the gossip of the settlement," and had a "miscellaneous
and disordered lot Of information" which they freely dispensed
with for the mere
a s k i n g . - 1-
50
"It is a singular fact in the
history of the West, that so large a proportion of the first
schoolmasters were Irishmen of uncertain history.
IV.
THE MORMONS
Kirtland, Ohio, was the scene of the first Mormon
church which was built in this period.
The founder, Josiah .
Smith, received his visions regarding the new religion at
Palmyra, New York,1^
but he and his family were persecuted
to such an extent that they were forced to leave for the
"frontiers of Ohio."153
12^ Eggleston,
0£.
cit.. p., 170
129 Ibid.. p. 82.
150 Ibid.. p. 81.
131 Ibid., p. 65.
■*■52 vardis
Fisher, Children of G-od (New York and London:
Harper & Brothers Publishers^ 19397, PP* 9-16.
135 ibid.. p. 84.
110
It was in Ohio that Joseph Smith and Brigham Young
met and became the chief leaders of this group.
continued.134
Persecutions
Brigham Young was the more forceful leader and
advocated that the people must fight for their right to wor­
ship as they pleased.'5'33
All Joseph Smith wanted was peace.
Brigham Young also persuaded Joseph to establish a
banking institution in Kirtland.
It was Y o u n g ’s belief that
“the church needed money if it was ever to be powerful."3-37
This bank, known as the “Kirtland Safety Society," only lasted
several months.
Doors were closed and there were riots when
the people could not get their money.
138
Soon after the Mormon group left for Missouri, then
Illinois, and other midwestern states, and finally settled per­
manently in Utah.
A few Mormons stayed in Ohio, but they were
a decided minority.
V.
TWO LEGENDARY CHARACTERS
1. Johnny Appleseed
A picturesque character of the pioneer period was
134 Ibid.. p. 98.
135 Ibid.. p. 122.
13b ibid., p. 101.
137 Ibid.. p. 167.
158 Ibid.. p. 169.
Ill
Johnathan Chapman, the legendary Johnny Appleseed of Ohio.
He "crossed the Ohio River with a horse-load of appleseeds"
which he had obtained from a cider mill in Pennsylvania.
In
the Ohio country he planted his seeds wherever he went and
often gave "his seedlings" in exchange for a "coffee bag, or
a sack of cornmeal."
best apples . . .
"Trees raised from seed produce the
a subject I don't permit nobody to dispute
me on."129
This character was gentle of manner and speech, "sym­
pathetic and understanding of other people's troubles,"140
He went "barefoot" and dressed in a coffee sack "in which were
cut holes for his head and arms, wearing for a hat a shining
tin mushpot."141
in winter he wore a cap of rabbit f u r . ^ 2
Most people have heard of m e . . . I'm right well
known in the Ohio country. . . I been footing it in
these parts for years now with my news from Heaven
and my apple trees."143
His "news fresh from Heaven" was the philosophy of
Swedenborg which he carried with him in his travels and shared
with the pioneers.
Oftentimes he would tear out a few pages
129 Colby, All Ye People, p. 1 9 6 .
14° Eleanor Atkinson, Johnny Appleseed (New York and
London: Harper & Brothers Publishers,, 1915), p. 6.
141. Colby, o p . cit., p. 192.
142 Atkinson, l o c . c i t .
Colby, l o c . .cit. ' „
112
and give to anyone who wished to read it.
He handed a score of pages to . . . "Fresh from
Heaven, Mister.
Next time, I pass 1*11.take "back
these pages and give you more.
Swapping around that
way, a single book serves for a whole country."144
Johnny became "a matter of public pride and concern."145
No one in the region ever spoke of him except
with tender reverence.
It was a new miracle that,
defenseless, he had never been in serious danger
from man or beast . . . in the vast wilderness that
bristled with perils.146
His whole being was centered on the dream of Ohio as
a vast apple orchard.
G-od helping him, he would bring these blossoms of his
soul to the good fruits of a thousand orchards in the
wilderness.147
2. Mike Fink
Mike Fink, a legendary character of the Ohio River,
was a boatman in the early days of transportation when freight
and passengers moved down the Ohio on keel-boats by man power.
Mike was the roughest and toughest riverman that ever went
down the Ohio.
He liked to describe himself thus:
"I can outrun, and jump, throw down, drag out, and
lick any man in the country.
I*m a Salt River roarer.
144 Ibid.. p. 194.
145 Atkinson, o p . cit., p. 28.
146
I bid.. p. 159.
147 Ibid.. p. 23.
113
148
I love the wimming and I ’m chock full of fight.”
Mike was "captain of his boat and leader of his own
henchmen."14^
He loved to play practical jokes and could al­
ways depend upon his men to help him out of his scrapes.
One adventure is typical enough to represent the
other ninety-nine episodes.
While he was journeying down the
Ohio, he saw a desirable flock of sheep on the shore and he
determined to'have them.
Instead of stealing them he "rubbed
some snuff” on their faces and noses, and then "sent for the
owner.”
The sheep were racing up and down like mad people and
the owner was frightened.
“What's the matter with my sheep
acting in general as though possessed of devils?”
Mike replied that they had "black murrain," a deadly
disease that was "killing sheep all up the river.”
He offered
to kill the men's sheep and put them out of their misery if
the owner would give him a "couple of gallons of peach brandy.”1"’0
His prank was soon discovered but "such men being
constantly on the move” were hard to locate.
A reward was
offered for his capture and Mike consented to the arrest so
a friend of his could receive the reward.1"’1
But as usual
148 Archer Butler Hulbert, Historic Highways of America
(G-lendale, California: The Arthur H. Clark Company, 190371 IX,
166.
149
r b i a .. p .
175-
150 Ibid.. p. 167.
■*■51 Loc. cit.
114
he was ‘hcquitted for lack of sufficient evidence.nl52
VI.
THE BURR CONSPIRACY
Harman Blennerhassett, "a member of a wealthy Irish
family,"18*^ dwelt with his wife on an island in the Ohio River,
near the shores of both Ohio and Virginia.
He had purchased
one half of this island and had erected the "most beautiful
mansion to be found west of the Allegheny mountains.
was truly a "palace in the
w o o d s "
184
It
when one considers that
men lived mostly in log cabins at this time.
The furniture
was "rich and heavy, conforming to the European fashion of
the day.""*'88
The library walls were covered with shelves of
books, "mostly valuable scientific works.T,157
Mirrors,
"classic pictures," and "artistic treasures" were in the main
1 88
drawing room. ^
To this island came Aaron Burr, formerly Vice-President
of the United States, with his scheme to build a "model State,"
152 Ibid., p. 171.
■3-53 Charles Felton Pidgin, Blennerhas sett or The
Decrees of Fate (Boston: C. M. Clark Publishing Company, 1901),
P. 28.
154 Ibid.. p. 55.
1*00. C i t .
^
ibid.. p. 161.
157 Ibid., p. 185.
158 Ibid., p. 194.
115
"the real Utopia',' in the West.1"^
As he approached the place,
he failed to notice the beauties of the island.
Its strategic value was uppermost in his mind.
What a fine base of operations it would m a k e ’
.160
Yes, this was the ideal place in which to or­
ganize and from which to start on his great ex­
pedition.
His strategic eye had discovered its
availability and fitness, and his military ,-knowledge had confirmed the first impression.
4»
Blennerhassett was easily won over and his wife, am­
bitious for her husband's welfare, was duly impressed.
It seems a grand idea, and one in which you will
find an opportunity to become what nature intended
you should be, a leader and perhaps a ruler of men.-1-®2
Military operations were begun but it was not long be­
fore President Jefferson learned of Burr's plans and sent out
a "special agent of the United States Government"-^3 to inves­
tigate proceedings.
Warrants were issued "to arrest Aaron Burr
for conspiracy and high treason and Harman Blennerhassett as
an accomplice and accessory."164at Marietta and at Frankfort1^
159 Ibid.. P. 219.
160
Ibid.. P. 157.
161
I bid.. p. 141.
162 Ibid.. P. 211.
163 Ibid.. P. 215.
164 Ibid..
P. 245.
165 Ibid.. P. 263.
surr was tried for treason
t»ut was found not guilty because
116
of Insufficient evidence.
The Ohio militia landed on the island to arrest
Blennerhassett hut he had received word of their
coming and had fled with his wife and children.
The soldiers "broke into the wine vault" and one
would have thought the "horrors of the French
Revolution were being enacted again."
The officers
were unable to restrain the men who "acted like
fiends *arnate" smashing and ruining.the whole in­
terior, furniture, mirrors, books, pictures, curtains, and maps.
They then set fire to the place.
Years later, a flood destroyed what was left of the
island.
Blennerhassett was caught and imprisoned for
several weeks and then released.
Both he and his wife were
ruined financially and socially and were embittered the rest
of their lives.
Burr also became a social outcast.
Napoleon Bonaparte was the terror of Europe,
"As
so Aaron Burr
became the terror of America."1^
VII.
The novels,
settlement of Ohio.
SUMMARY
short stories
and legends reveal the early
.1
Emphasis is placed on the migration to
the West, which is best portrayed by Merle Colbyfs All Ye
P eople, and Walter D. Edmonds'
"Citizens for Ohio."
The social
survey of pioneer life is faithfully reconstructed in Louis
166 Ibid.. p. 260.
Ibid,, p. 261.
168 Ibid., p. 273.
Bromfield's The Farm, Edward Eggleston's The Circuit Rider,
and William Dean Howells'
The Leatherwood G o d .
All the
fiction of the period is romantic except the following novels:
Conrad Richter's The Trees, which realistically re-creates
the backwoods' life of the pioneers; Merle Colby's New R o a d ,
which vividly portrays the struggles of one man to build a
town in early Ohio; and Vardis Fisher's Children of God.
which centers the first chapters on the persecutions of Mormons
in their first religious community at Kirtland.
CHAPTER IV
OHIO FROM 1830 TO 1865
This later pioneer period,
in which there is found a
change in social conditions and transportation and an added
interest in politics and national affairs, is portrayed by
the following novels: William Dean Howells' The Leatherwood
God and New Leaf M i l l s : A Chronicle. Mary S. Watts' Nathan
Burke, Albion W. Tourgde's Figs and Thistles. Harriet Beecher
Stowe's Uncle Tom's Cabin, Charles Humphrey Roberts' Down the
Q-HI-0. Thomas Boyd’s Samuel Drummond. Louis Bromfield's The
Farm, Minnie Hite Moody's Towers with Ivy; the following short
stories: Thomas Boyd's An Ohio Fable. Mary H. Catherwood's The
Queen of the Swamp. Honors Morrow Willsie's Benefits Forgot;
and one legend in Charles M. Skinner's Myths and Legends from
our own La n d s .
The
Early Pioneer Life;
I.
chapter divisions are:
(1) The Passing of
(2) The Anti-Slavery Movement; (3) Summary.
THE PASSING OF EARLY PIONEER LIFE
By 1830, there were no Indians left around here ex­
cept a few old ones, or one or two who had forsaken their
race and married among the whites.
Fear and loneliness
were all but vanished from this part of the country; the
frontier was no longer here but westward.!
Minnie Hite Moody, Towers with Ivy (New York: Julian
Messner, Inc., 1937), p. 43.
119
Emigrants had located in considerable numbers in every
section of Ohio except the northwest part which was almost as
wild as the Indians had left it.2
In that area, east of the
Maumee River, was the "Black Swamp," a land of "marshes"3 and
thick brush, which needed draining and clearing before it
could be settled.
The northeastern part, called the Western
Reserve, was a large stretch of plains that was fast becoming
populated.
Settlements were planned like the "squares of a
New England town."^
It was as If the New Englanders had said, "This is the
Western Reserve which belonged to New Englanders and will forever
belong to them."^
The central portion of the state, a section of small
villages, towns and farms was peopled mostly by pioneers from
the older states of Pennsylvania and Maryland.^
Columbus, the
capital, was "a pleasant little town, characterless and im­
mature,"^ with many trees along the streets and wide yards
2 Thomas Boyd. Samuel Drummond (New York: Charles
Scribner's Sons, 19255, p. 82.
3 Walter Havighurst, The Quiet Shore (New York: The
Macmillan Company, 1937), p. 78.
^ Louis Bromfield, The Farm (New York and London:
Harper & Brothers Publishers, 1933), p. 42.
5 Ibid., p. 44.
6 Mary S. Watts, Nathan Burke (New York: The Macmillan
Company, 1910), p. 14.
7 Ibid., p . 26.
■before the homes and public buildings.
In southwestern Ohio, a farming land of broad valleys
and rounded hills, were Germans and Scotch Irish from western
Pennsylvania and people of "Virginia and Maryland stock."
Some of these Virginia and Maryland folk, living on the banks
of the Ohio, were called,"poor white stock," because of their
unfriendliness and hatred of those who were more prosperous
O
than they.
A few circuit riders continued to live among the people
In the scattered areas.
a year.
"Donation parties" were planned once
At these functions the ministers and their families
received "old cast-off clothes, apples and spuds."9 These
10
annual donations were the "black spots"
in the lives of these
circuit men.
There was a Quaker settlement in southeastern Ohio.
A difference of opinion upon points of doctrine had separated
them, religiously and socially, Into two groups, the Orthodox,
the more rigid type, and the "Hicksite," the "more liberal and
less numerous of the society."1'1'
These people had their own
® William Dean Howells, New Leaf M i l l s : A Chronicle
(New York and London: Harper & Brothers Publishers, 1913),
pp. 22-24.
9 Honor 6 Morrow Willsie, Benefits Forgot (New York:
Frederick A. Stokes Company, 1917), P . 19..
10 I k M * , P. 3.
11 Charles H. Roberts, Down the O-HI-0 (Chicago: A. C.
McClury Company, 1891), p.
121
social code and customs and were distinct from other settlers
in Ohio.
Their clothes were'clean, whole, and practical, "but
so utterly devoid of grace and color."12
item far superior to appearance.^
built with an eye for service.
Usefulness was an
Their homes and farms were
The Quaker Meeting-house was
an exceptionally "plain and unadorned edifice" where their cus­
tomary "silent-meetings" were held.1^
"home-woven
linsey-woolseynl5
In the rest of Ohio, the
pioneer fabric was still being
used along with the increasingly popular calico material bought
in stores.
In those days, calico was supposed to make a very
passable dress, and one in which the wealthy were not
ashamed to visit their aristocratic neighbors.16
Some men wore "checked shirts of the sort called
hickory,nl7 butternut trousers or brown jeans, and straw hats
which they made themselves.
Sunday clothes were plaids of
linsey-woolsey, and for men of better circumstances, tall beaver
hats and high collared coats with tight pantaloons often strapped
under their boots.
The well-dressed men from the towns often'
12 Ibid.. p. 95.
15 Ifcld.. p. 88.
^
Ibid.. pp. 97-98.
15 William Dean Howells, The Leatherwood God (New York:
The Century Company, 1916), p. 12.
16 Roberts, op. c i t .. p. 107.
17 Howells, op. cit., p. 119.
122
wore black broadcloth with a long frock coat, white cravat,
a ruffled shirt, high boots with trousers strapped beneath
t h e m .1®
By 1850, the farmers dressed in cowhide boots,
calico
shirts, yarn s o c k s , ^ and homespun suitsi20 wearing "heavy
stoga boots,"21 and coonskin caps in winter.22
.wore
sunbonnets2^
Country women
as they went to the village to buy a "bundle
of calico"2^ for their household sewing.
But the whole family
were "stiff and starched" as they started for church in the
double buggy on Sundays.25
A social difference was becoming noticeable at this
time.
Women of the villages and towns remarked that "those
country-women look exactly alike, all of
them."2^
In the villages and towns more attention was paid to
dress, especially among the younger set.
A young lawyer wore
a "black broadcloth coat and black casslmere pantaloons"
Howells, New Leaf M i l l s : A Chronicle, pp. 10-12.
Watts, Nathan Burke, pp. 4-5.
20 Boyd, Samuel Drummond, p. 62.
21 Howells, pp. cit.. p. 25.
22 Boyd, pp. cit., p. 90.
23 Howells, op. c i t .. p. 91.
24 Boyd., pp. cit., p. 8 3 .
25 Ibid.. p. 57.
26 Watts, pp. c i t ., p. 101.
123
covered to the knees with ""baize leggins," a silk velvet
waistcoat with a gold watch chain, and a "flat oil-cloth cap."2?
All the men of the village wore beards now, for Mr.
Dickens.had visited America in 1842, his face decorated
with the Boz locks a whole nation must Imitate.2°
Some of the young men were so foppishly dressed that
they were nicknamed the "gilded youths."
These young bucks elaborately brushed, scented and
oiled; each one wore a curling lock of hair disposed
carefully in the middle of his forehead and the rest
of it waving down over his high velvet coat-eollar,
glossy, ambrosialI29
The village women wore morning gowns of cotton prints
with an air of "antique nobility."30
At parties and social
functions women wore "flowing white skirts"31 "fluttings,"
rosettes, lace capes, and a dozen "wonderful fal-dals,"^2 and
necklaces, and round brooches of black enamel rimmed with
pearls, wherein "some of the family hair was enshrined after
the pious taste of the times."33
its infancy.
The art of make-up was in
"Women reddened their cheeks with dampened scraps
of cloth which had been boiled in pokeberry juice and alum."3^"
27 Howells, op. c i t .. p. 15.
28 Moody, Towers with Ivy, p. 57.
29 Watts,
od
. c i t ., p. 86.
3° Ibid.. p. 28.
31 Ibid.. p. 85.
32 Ibid.. p. 307.
33 Ibid., p. 208.
34 Moody, o p . c i t ., p . 45.
124
It was the fashion in those days to dress the small
girls in clothes, similar to those of their mothers and elder
sisters, which made them "look like so many small grand­
mother s,M in pantalettes,
shawls and f r i n g e s . ^
In this period, the popular form of amusements for
men were coon-hunting and shooting-matches.
women,
For both men and
spelling bees, candy pullings, and frolics for parch­
ing corn, apple peelings, corn huskings and the earlier
pioneer house raising,
"where neighborly help was given for
neighborly hospitality.”36
By 1850, a small part of the "Ohio region known as
the
S w a m p " 3 7
was occupied by farmers and on the large farms
"sugar camp festivals" were all the
v o g u e .
38
Dancing often
accompanied young peoples’ frolics but in this religious com­
munity in the Black Swamp, there was no such "godless amuse­
ment as dancing," only games with "kissing penalties,
charades,
London Bridge, fist-'ock" and other mild diversions were
allowed.-^
There was a change in architecture during this time.
35 Ibid., p. 3 4 .
Howells, Mew Leaf M i l l s : A Chronicle, p. 22.
37 Mary Hartweil Catherwood, The Queen of the Swamp
and Other Plain Americans (Boston and New York: Houghton,
Mifflin and Company, 1899), p. 7.
38 ibid., pp. 30-3 2 .
39 Ibid.. pp. 16-21.
125
In 1830, there were a few frame and brick dwellings, hut the
greater part of the homes were the earlier pioneer type of log
eahin except that the "round logs were plastered and white­
washed"^0 although a few cabins in the more remote sections
of the country had logs "clinked with clay."41
The newer log cabins in the 1840's and 1850's were
"ax-hewn" and whitewashed.
"Smooth-sawn boards of poplar" re­
placed the old puncheon floors.
Chimneys were of stone
masonry instead of notched sticks of clay.42
houses were becoming more numerous.
Brick and frame
Some of the houses faced
upon a road and had two front doors, one for everyday use, and
one which was "never opened except for weddings or funerals."43
Many of the dwellings were large "square brick
h o u s e s " 4 4
two
stories, and with an "open hearth in each room."4'’ A few were
more "imposing edifices" than others, with windows in "regular
tiers of three across the front,” and narrow strips of glass
along the door which boasted of a "brass d o o r k n o b . "46
Howells, The Leatherwood G-od, p. 3.
41 Watts, Nathan Burke, p. 3.
42 Howells, New Leaf M i l l s : A Chronicle, pp. 17-18.
45 I M d . , p. 23.
44 Boyd, Samuel Drummond, p. 74.
45 Howells, 0£. cit., p. 115.
46 Watts, o p . cit.. p. 24.
126
The interior of the houses acquired such new articles
as cane-seated chairs, flowered carpets, air-tight parlor
s t o v e s , ^ kerosene lamps, and candles in new brass holders;
and a “new-fashioned iron machine called a stove"48 which a
few used instead of the popular Dutch oven type of the day.49
Vehicles of transportation had changed and were chang­
ing.
Short-haul teamster wagons and “freight
w
a
g
o
n
i
n
g
”
50
given way to the canals which provided a market for the Ohio
farms and allowed the farmers a decent price of wheat.
The
canal-boat was a dun, “flat-bottomed scow,” with two small
cabin sheds, carrying mostly freight but stopping occasionally
to take on passengers along its route.5**-
People preferred
the canal-boats to the stagecoach, even though the former had
no "definite
be on time."
schedule"^2
and never made "the least effort to
The stages in summer were hot, dirty and dusty
and in winter the roads were so bad that transportation was
uncertain. ^
^
Howells, New Leaf M i l l s : A Chronicle. p. 27Boyd, o p ♦ cit., pp. 202-203.
49 Catherwood, op. cit., p. 16.
5° Walter D. Edmonds, "Citizens for Ohio,” Mostly
Canallers (Boston: Little, Brown Company, 1934), p. 78.
51 Boyd, pp. c i t .. p. 4.
52 Ibid.. p. 2.
53 Watts, op. cit., pp. 55-56.
127
The steamboats which had replaced the flat-boats on
the Ohio were more expensive vehicles of commerce although
they had increased trade and aided the development of the
West.54
The "Thomas Swann," one of those famous superior
boats, had her own "steam calliope" and played "Nellie Gray. "55
And now the railroads were beginning to traverse Ohio.
"Every­
body's got a kind of rage for hurry, now."56
A train ride was then a novelty.
The engine with its bulging smoke stack, tiny
wheels, and odd little cabin, dragged four coaches
up to the station.
The engineer was nearly as tall
as the c a b i n . 57
And, of course, every family had their own private means of
transportation,
the horse, and the horse and buggy.
"No
rural Ohjoam ever walked a quarter of a mile if he had any
kind of beast or conveyance to carry him."58
Medical practice was scarce in the state then and
women were accustomed to deliverying each other.59
really an era of home remedies and patent medicines.
it was
"Sassa­
fras tea"6° was used to thin the blood in the Spring; "Skunk-
5^ Watts, Nathan Burke. p. 61.
55 Roberts, Down the O-KI-O, p. 27.
56 Watts, o p . c i t .. p. 62.
57 Boyd, pp. cit.. p. 75.
58 Gatherwood, o p . cit., p. 45.
59 Boyd., op. cit., p. 126.
60 Ibid., p. 25.
128
oil1*61 was good for tuberculosis; "hot flaxseed tea"62 ana
nhot whiskey and ginger stew"63 were used as cold cures.
Sul­
phur, asafedita, and gum camphor were served in bags and
fastened around the necks of children.
Due to the cholera and consumptive epidemics of 1843
and 1849, many home remedies were discussed.
A good dose of thoroughwort was the thing, just at
the beginning: it would cure it if taken in time.
After that, the best remedy was an ounce each of gum
camphor, laudanum and red pepper; a quarter ounce
each of cedar, hemlock and spearmint; and twelve
ounces of alcohol.64
But the “dead wagon11 continued to roll through the
streets.65
The patent medicines were highly advertised in the
newspapers.
"Jaynes Vermifuge" was good for
w o r m s .
6*6
"New
London Liver Pills" and Salters1 G-inseng Panacea" had many
testimonials to their credit.67
But the favorite of the day
was " V a n a f i ^ s Vegetable Lithontriptic Mixture" which was
guaranteed to cure "everything from chilblains to cholera."68
61 Bromfield, The Farm, p. 151.
62 Watts, op. cit., p. 105.
63 Catherwood, op. cit.. p. 15.
64 Moody, Towers with Ivy, p. 67.
^
Loc.cit.
66 Watts, pp. cit.. p. 105.
67 ibid., p. 2 0 3 .
68 ibid., p. 22.
129
At the "beginning of* this era the rural population of
"hard working farmers" were remote from the political centers
of the country and were not deeply concerned with political
problems .*>9
But in 1840,
the "Log-Cabin Campaign" aroused a
great deal of enthusiasm because William Henry Harrison was
a popular "soldier-hero candidate" throughout Ohio.
For the
first time large outdoor Whig campaign rallies were held, a
prominent feature of which was a miniature log cabin wheeled
about the streets with shouts of "Tippecanoe and Tyler Too;"
and "Sail Warrior Chieftain of the. W e s t ’
."70
The Democratic party nominated Van Buren,
new Abolitionist party was busily making itself
71
and the
k n o w n . 7 2
These
Abolitionists were called visionaries because of their "im­
practical" idea of abolishing the whole system of slavery in
the South.7^
Many disputes and quarrels developed over the slavery
issue from.now until the end of the Civil War.
II.
THE ANTI-SLAVERY MOVEMENT
This anti-slavery movement was strong in Ohio in both
^
Howells, The Leatherwood God, p. 3.
70 Watts, Nathan Burke, pp. 131-137.
71 Ibid.. p. 119.
72 rbld.. p. 124.
75 r b l d .* P. 129.
130
thought and action.
A great mapy Ohians disapproved of the
institution-of “slavery but they remained silent because they
did not want to antagonize their neighbor slave states.74
” . . . there are great public interests involved,— there is
such a state of public agitation rising that we must put aside
our private feelings.”
The abolitionists were considered, by
the non-conservative people,
to be dangerous mischief-makers
who were sowing seeds of discord between the North and the
South.75
These agitators furthered their cause through their
newspapers.
Many a minister had a copy of "James G-. Birney's
Abolitionist Newspaper”^
in his pocket,
as the pulpits were
denouncing slavery as a crime.
An important aspect of the anti-slavery movement was
the underground railway, an organization that functioned in
Ohio and that utilized various methods in helping the escaped
slaves from the South to the freedom that was assured beyond
the Canadian border.
"Well,
. . . they tell me about four
hundred niggers stepped into Canady this year from the Ohio
shores."77
Usually under cover of darkness,
74 Ibid,, p.. .128.
75 I'bid.. p. 129.
76 Boyd, o p . cit.. p. 57.
77 Ibid.. p. 67.
the fugitive would
131
either swim or he ferried to the north hank of the Ohio River
and then, aided and guarded by sympathi2ers, to routes along
the underground railway, which offered shelter and food to
the weary
N e g r o .
78
In' the winter, runaway slaves would cross the river
on floating cakes of
i c e ;
79
summer many of them swam
across, heing assisted part way hy a raft or
f e r r y .
80
Ohio shore to the fleeing Negro was the land of great promise
and many soon learned of the “secret train” which ran from
"slavery to freedom."81
This railway was not a railroad nor was it under­
ground.
It was a chain of homes, farms, or institutions
Op
where the fleeing hondsmen might find refuge on his way North.
This railway was becoming so successful that the
southerners appealed to Congress for aid and as a result the
Fugitive Slave Law of 1850 was passed to prohibit the citizens
from aiding fugitive slaves.
It was regarded hy some as a
"shameful wicked abominable law" which restricted personal
78 Rober t's,* op .1 c i t . > p . . 3 4.
79 Harriet Beecher Stowe, Uncle Tom* s Cabin (Boston and
New York: Houghton, Mifflin and Company.
Cambridge: The River­
side Press, 1851), p. 70.
80 Roberts, o p . c i t ., p. 32.
81 Ibid.. p. 34.
82 Moody, op. cit., p. 76.
132
freedom.
83
Those who took no active part In the slavery issue
denounced it as either "infernal" or simply ignored it.®'2*' But
those members of the railroad accepted it as a challenge and
continued their w o r k .
This law bred a group of slave hunters who crossed
the Ohio River and went up and down the states looking for
black fugitives.
They were a cruel, hard lot who carried large
"blacksnake" whips in one hand and a "coil of rope" in the
other.®5
These men were often seen in the Quaker Settlement in
southeastern Ohio where this religious set "did not scruple to
set at defiance all laws in conflict with their convictions,
and assist the fugitives on their way."®®
The Quakers made use of an old broom manufacturer who
concealed many a Negro in his pile of brooms in the back part
of the wagon.
Many a Quaker had a "round aperture under the
hearthstone" where he hid the fugitive while the slave hunters
ransacked the house.
Slave hunters were not considered very
respectable people by this Society of Friends.®^
®3 Stowe, o p . c i t .. p. 89.
®4 Howells, New Leaf M i l l s : A Chronicle. p. 1.
®® Roberts, op. c i t .. p. 39.
®® Ibid.. p. 34.
®7 Ibid.. pp. 44-46.
®® Ibid., pp. 64-66.
133
Another popular station along the river was run hy a
former slaveholder from Kentucky.
He had set his slaves free,
come to Ohio and bought a large tract of land in the woods
where he housed the blacks until they could be taken further
North.in
the rainy season, the road to this house was al­
most impassable as the "soft, rich soil of Ohio, is admirably
. suited to the manufacture of mud,— and the road was an Ohio
railroad of the good old times.”
These railroads were constructed of rough logs "ar­
ranged transversely side by side" and covered with earth and
small tree branches and then the "native calleth it a road."9°
The famrs in the northern part of the state also con­
tinued to ignore the new law.
The federal agents had spies
and knew "something strange went on at the Farm" but no one
there was ever caught.
The Negro cooks at the Farm generously
fed the "useless scoundrels out after a bounty with their
ferocious dogs" and while they were gorging food, the farmers
would rout the hiding slaves in the hay lofts and they would
be miles away before the hunters would begin "thrusting pitch
forks viciously into the hay."
"Before the Civil War ended
the railroad" this particular Farm had "helped more than three
89 Roberts, Down the Q-HI-O, p. 97.
90 stowe, o p . cit.. p. 100.
134
hundred Negroes to escape.'^1
When Fort Sumter was fired upon, all who had learned
to think that a war would.never come,' quickly accepted the
situation, the dread of war passed and all were determined to
fight for the right. 92
Except for a very few.of the Ohioans, no matter
what their politics, all were agreed that the South
should he badly beaten, that it was a righteous war
to free slaves, that it was a righteous war to pre­
serve the Union and that the southerners should be
taught a lesson.93
The men enlisted or were drafted, while "some paid a
bounty to get out of it."94
^he country women stayed on the
farms and did the heavy work while those in the city prepared
clothing and bandages for the soldiers.95
During the war years, because of insufficient help,
the women were unable to do the required work and many a
farmer returned from the war to find his farm in such a run­
down condition that he was forced to sell as he was unable to
plough the fields alone and had no money for repairs and neces­
sary equipment.
The towns received many such farmers at
91 Bromfield, The Farm, pp. 54-66.
92 Albion W. Tourg^e, Figs and Thistles (New York:
Fords, Howard and Hulbert, 1879)7 P P • 181-187.
93 Boyd, pp. c i t .. p. 189.
94 ibid.. p. 171.
95 Tourg&e, op. cit., p. 236.
135
the end of the war.
96
III.
The.novels,
SUMMARY
short stories and legends of this Late
Pioneer Period reveal a growing change in the lives of the
people of Ohio.
Mary S. Watts’ Nathan Burke concentrates on
the national and political interests of the .people.
Albion
Winegar Tourg&e’s Figs and Thistles relates the effects of
the change in transportation.
A dominant feature of the novels
is the story of the underground railway which is introduced
in Harriet Beecher Stowe's Uncle T o m ’s Cabin, and adequately
portrayed by Louis Bromfield’s The Farm, and Charles H. Roberts’
Down the Q-HI-O.
William Dean Howells'
The Leatherwood G-od and
gew Leaf Mills present the best social survey of this period.
The fiction is both realistic and romantic.
96 Boyd, Samuel Drummond, pp. 220-223
CHAPTER V
THE TRANSITION PERIOD, 1865-1900
The Transition Period, which emphasizes the indus­
trial changes in the second half of the nineteenth century,
is portrayed by the following novels: Albion W. Tourgde's
Figs and Thistles. Walter Havighurst's The Quiet Shore, Louis
Bromfield's The Farm. Minnie Hite Moody's Towers with Iv y . Jim
Tully* s Shanty Irish. Sherwood Anderson* s Poor W h i t e . Brand
Whitlock's J . Hardin and S o n . John Hay's The Breadwinners.
Rollo Walter Brown's The Firemakers. Harry Kemp's Mabel Turner.
Theodore Dreiser's Jennie Gerhardt. Mary S. Watts' Van Cleve.
Dawn Powell's The Bride's House, William Riley Burnett’s
Good-bye to the Past; and the following short stories:
Sherwood Anderson's Winesbur g . Qhlo. Brand Whitlock's ''Macochee'
First Campaign Fund," Eugene Wood's Back Home and Folks Back
H o m e , Charles M. Chestnutt's "The Wife of his Youth" and one
legend in Charles M, Skinner's Myths and Legends of our own
L ands.
The chapter divisions are:
(1) Ohio in 1865;
Industrial Expansion;
(3) The Influx of Foreigners;
Survey of the Period;
(5) Summary.
I.
(2) The
(4) Social
OHIO IN 1865
The peace of God that passes all understanding—
that was Lake Erie in the waning day.1
On the southern shore of Lake Erie was the Western
Reserve, a "level upland of villages and farms,” that marked
the median line between the "over-flowing East and the ever
beckoning West."
Its chief town, Cleveland, was a "sprawl­
ing” but growing community at the entrance to the canal.-*
These transplanted New England Puritans were "a
cautious but determined people,”^ and very susceptible to
anything undemocratic.
When some unscrupulous politicians
put a few ex-soldiers into office who were not qualified for
their positions, public opinion was expressed in the news­
papers.
The Clarion Bugle wanted to know,"whether it was not
about time that the frenzy of the war should cease to control
nominations."5
There were many level fields in the northwest section
with their "rich black acres,” waiting ,to be tilled.
This
whole land was lake bottom once, but they were putting "drain-
**• Walter Havighurst, The Quiet Shore (New York: The
Macmillan Company, 1937), p. 1.
O
Albion W. Tourgde, Figs and Thistles (New York: Fords,
Howard and Hulbert, 1879), pp. 19-21.
^ Havighurst, op. c i t .. p. 3«
^ Tourg<=>e, op. c i t .. p. 37.
5 Ibid.. p. 473.
138
age ditches” throughout to make It habitable for new settlers.
Roads were ”wagon ruts" through the marshes and forests.
There
were only a few farmers, but "they had a sound belief in their
region."
As ex-soldiers in their "campaign clothes" journeyed
northward to this "newly opened" country, farmers along the
way inquired about the "Wilderness and Appomattox."
Many had
sons in Grant’s army who had not yet come home, while some had
sons who would never return.
The rest of the state was fairly well settled.
Lancaster, in the hills was a thriving town of "Pennsylvania
Dutch" and a few Swiss.
It had a "cotton spinning mill and
a steam flour mill" and two market days each week.
Springs and Delaware had fine orchard lands.
Magnetic
Berlin published
a weekly German newspaper for its German population.
Columbus
with its "big rambling state house" was spread over flat
prairie lands.
Buckeye trees lined the main road on which
there was an endless procession of wagons, horses, mules, and
"long-springed four-horse stages."
There were short rail­
road lines in the north and in the south but no rail con­
nections between Lake Erie and the Ohio River.
Central Ohio
had the canal, but it took a week to get the boat up the Erie
Canal.
There was a "hopeful attitude" among the people as
they discussed the railroads.
"I’ll tell you this country is just beginning."
The Old National Road ran through Licking and Franklin
Counties— "the trail of many migrations."
By the side of the
139
road were forests of beech, hickory and walnut.
Zanesville
was a town of brick buildings and wide streets near the
Licking and Muskingum Rivers.
Nearby stood the "sandstone
hills" and at night one could see the red glow of the burning
brick ovens.
The whole southern section of Ohio was a large farm­
ing district among the numerous "river valleys and the rounded
hills."
"Cincinnati was a city now"^ but Marietta, the very
promising settlement of 1787-1788, was just a quiet and peace­
ful town.^
Although this was still a new country, many were
"leaving for the West where there was more land."®.
II.
THE INDUSTRIAL EXPANSION
This period witnessed an introduction of new inventions,
an enlarging of those started in an earlier period, as "seeds
of change were already present and beginning to grow"^ and the
discovery of natural resources which were changing Ohio from
an agricultural state to one of varied Industries.
6 Minnie Hite Moody, Towers with Ivy (New York: Julian
Messner, Inc., 1937), p. 43.
7 Havighurst, op. c i t .. pp. 1-33.
8 Louis Bromfleld, The Farm (New York and London:
Harper & Brothers Publishers, 1933), p. 44.
9 Ibid., p . 68.
140
Soon after the Civil War many of the short line rail­
roads were being combined into trunk lines which would unite
the Lake with the River,
the W e s t . ^
10
and connect Ohio with the East and
A "Transcontinental Railway" was too big an
enterprise for a private concern, so a "Railroad Construction
Syndicate" was formed which organized companies and sold shares.
The government granted the land and a bill was passed to control
12
the "right of way."
The railroads created and developed cities, yet often
they "destroyed and spurned" many towns, while they "left others
. . . petrified by the first shriek of the locomotive."
also divided villages.
They
One side of the tracks would show the
"relics of the stagecoach era" and the other side would glow
with "life and t h r i f t . M a n y
considered the new trains
rather dangerous and when the cars jumped the track one day,
these doubtful people were assured that horses were more de14
pendable.
The factory systems spread over the state and became
Brand Whitlock, J . Hardin and Son (New York and
London: D. Appleton and Company, 1923 5T P ♦ 197.
Sherwood Anderson, Winesburg, Ohio (New York: The
Viking Press, 1931), p. 4312
Tourg^e, o p . cit., p. 356.
13 Ibid.. pp. 104-105.
Moody, o^. cit., p. 2 3 8 .
141
an important industrial e v e n t . T h r o u g h o u t Ohio a "hopeful
spirit prevailed."1^
Combinations of companies were develop­
ing to replace the "old policy of individual effort."17
Many
small companies considered these trusts or mergers as "hell­
hounds . . . trying to steal the bread out of honest folk's
mouths."
J. Hardin and Son was one of the old-fashioned busi­
ness houses which refused to give in to the new "National Buggy
Company" that could make shining "side-car buggies" with folded
tops and "rubber tires" for only "$75."'*'8
But the old com­
panies could not compete with the large corporations and
finally had to quit business as the "fickle public" had turned
19
to the new models.
"G-ould, Vanderbilt and goodness knows
who else were at the head of unspeakable treacheries."20
New agricultural implements were invented which changed
the methods of agriculture.
There were "machines for cutting
O “I
grain and hay,
a machine for "rooting potatoes out of the
15 Bromfield, pp. cit.. p. 179.
Sherwood Anderson, Poor White (New York: B. W.
Huebseh, Inc., 1920), p. 10.
17 Whitlock, pp. cit., p. 231.
18 rbid.. pp. 238-239.
19 Ibid.. PP. 241-242.
20 Moody, op. c i t .. p. 104.
21 Anderson, op. c i t .. p. 81.
142
ground” and a "plant-setting machine,1,22 gang plows, horsedrawn hayrakes, and a new wheat hinder which "cut twenty-seven
acres of wheat in one day."2^
Soon the McCormick Reaper was
Q Ji
replacing the hand labor on the farm. ^
New ideas on scientific farming began developing
modern
farms with the latest in farming machinery and "rows of
prize cattle which ate prepared food."2^
Science had also aided in the completion of the drain­
age
of farm lands in the Black Swamp which developed into a
p/f
wealthy farming area by 1880.
.
Industry was further expanded through the discovery
of natural gas and petroleum in northwestern Ohio.
The first
center of extensive gas drilling was at Findlay where the
famous "Karg well" belched forth a tremendous flow of gas
which came to the surface with a roar that could be heard for
miles.
All the streets of the city were ablaze "from the
flames that flared from the makeshift iron pipes" night after
night.
No attempt was made to conserve the product which the
people of Findlay considered inexhaustible.
The town grew
22 Anderson, Poor White, p. 103.
23 Havighurst, The Quiet Shore, p. 42.
24 Ibid.. p. 52.
2^ Bromfield, The Farm, p. 324.
2^ Jim Tully, Shanty Irish (Garden City, New York:
Garden City Publishing Company, 1928), p. 35.
143
by 'leaps and bounds" and it was advertised that it would be
the biggest city in Ohio in a decade.
were rapidly rising over the city.
"Ugly oil derricks"
"Striking oil," "oil and
gas," and "lease and land," along with "getting rich suddenly"
were familiar terms.^7
Oil and gas companies were buying the farmers* lands
and getting on the "good side of these poor folk" by describ­
ing to them a future Utopia of "fine houses and fast horses,
of silks, satins, and velvets for the ladies, and suits of
broadcloth for the farmer with bottles of champagne and Havana
cigars."2®
Great monopolies and big businessmen came into exis­
tence.
The Standard Oil Company was one of the greatest mono­
polies under the direction of a Cleveland man "named Rocke­
feller."
"The Morgans, Fricks, Goulds, Carnegies, Vanderbilts"
were familiar names in this era of "glorified" merchants who
controlled "men . . . mines, forests, oil and gas fields,
2Q
factories and railroads." y
As a result of all these discoveries, towns and cities
grew rapidly and all "dreamed of becoming industrial wonders
of the w o r l d . T h i s
growth produced a period of building
2^ Whitlock, J . Hardin and Son, pp. 186-190.
28 Ibid.. pp. 191-192.
Anderson, Poor White, p. 6 3 .
3® Whitlock,
o p . cit., p. 186.
144
and reconstruction.
In the fast-growing towns, men who were engaged in
organizing companies representing a capital of millions
lived in houses thrown hurriedly together hy carpenters
who, before the time of the great awakening, were en­
gaged in building barns.
It was a time of hideous
architecture, . . . without beauty in their lives . . .
a. whole people full of . . . energy . . . lived in a
new land, and rushed pell-mell into a new age.-5
The old brick Court House became a new brick building,
"vast, ugly and monstrous with a cheap tin cupola surmounted
by a figure of Justice."^2
The old log cabin Weiler House was now a "yellow bricK
with an ugly roof and a facade designed and ornamented in the
Byzantine manner" with large plate glass
w i n d o w s . 33
All this increased activity created a demand for cheap
fuel such as coal.
Mining coal became the chief occupation of
the co-unties in southeastern Ohio.
This region had previously
been a farming district with the hills dotted with sheep and
cattle, and carriages of "well-dressed men and women exchang­
ing visits at dignified white stone or brick houses."34
gu t
the rise of the coal industry had changed this pleasing spec­
tacle to a region "dull with smoke and tasting of sulphur,"
^
Anderson, Poor White, p. 130.
32 Bromfield, The Farm, p. 115.
33 i b i d .. p. 116.
34 Rollo Walter Brown, The Firemakers (New York: CowardMcCann, Inc., 1931), p. 12.
where discouraged and drab-looking people lived in "coop-like
log houses" and "ugly board houses of Company Row."35
The miners wore "red flannel shirts"36 with "dirty
diggers" with large heavy patches over "their knees and seats
of their trousers."37
Women started out wearing good clothes but they
couldn't "keep it up" for more than a year.
Whenever they
would count on a new dress, the mine boss would announce that
there would be no work for a few days, or else one of the men
would be seriously hurt.3®
The women lived in a "state of
expectancy," wondering when, or how, the men would return from
w o r k .39
The coal companies did not provide adequate protection
for the miners or give them sufficient compensation when hurt.
Often they would send a "check . . .
to help pay a few bills,"
and then ask the miner to sign a paper which would rid the
company of all responsibility.^1
There were a few who desired to leave these black
35 Ibid.. pp. 3-4.
36 Ibid.. p. 22.
37 Ibid.. p. 4.
38 Ibid.. p. 75.
39 Ibid., p. 18.
40 Ibid.. p. 177.
41 Ibid., p. 42.
146
hills hut they never seemed to he ahle to save enough money
to get away, so "they might as well make the hest of it,"
hut they never gave up the hope that their children might
have a brighter existence.^2
Men with new ideas for the betterment of the workers
were not allowed to he in charge as they would "probably he
a disturbing e l e m e n t . " ^
After several cave-ins, in which many were injured,
the men went on a strike,
44
hut accomplished nothing as the
coal company was too powerful.
the "militia was called."
and defeated faces,
"Strike breakers" came in and
Food was scarce, so with "pinched
they went hack to the mines as that
was the only thing to do.
III.
Ohio
period.
The men
THE
INFLUX OF FOREIGNERS
received an influx of foreigners
in this transition
One group of strangers were people of "alien tongue."
wore "black mustachios" and the women
Brown, The Firemakers. pp. 12-1543 Ibid.. p. 132.
44 Ibid.. p. 190.
45 Ibid.. p. 216.
46 Ibid.. p. 260.
"dozens of petti-
147
■coats and bright shawls.
At first they tilled the soil, but
later worked in the ''swarming factories and mills."47
TheseSilesian and Italian peasants ruined the American
landscape when they farmed, as they cultivated every inch of
the fields and "allowed no clod of earth to go without pro­
ducing."48
The daughters of these peasants replaced the hired
girls of "American stock" on the farms'^
They "spoke little
English and were dirty and dishonest."50
When they became factory workers the town built
"match-box rookeries" for them to live in.
These tenements
became a menace to the public health as the foreigners took
in boarders, too many for decency, much less comfort.
But the
overlords were too busy making money to investigate or worry
about public sanitation.
The regular town people disliked these new people who
worked "half-sullenly . . . striving to make money enough to
take them back to their native lands."82
It was predicted
that "dire calamities" would come to the nation that permitted
4? Bromfield, The Farm, p. 117.
48 Ibid.. p. 76.
49 I b i d .. p . 150.
5° i b i d .. p. 164.
51 Ibid'.. pp. 152-154.
52 Anderson, Poor W h i t e , p. 289.
148
"foreigners to take the jobs away from native-born Americans."
One of the neighbors reported that an Italian had taken a
piece of clothing off the line, and as a result, a general
fear spread over the community.
People fastened their front door when they went to
bed and put a chair against the kitchen door.
They hid
their wheelbarrows and gardening tools.
They even took,
in their washing at nights— -a thing unheard of before.53
The "wave of the immigrant Irish" came with the build­
ing of the r a i l r o a d s T h i s race was more favorably received
than the ones from Southern Europe.
the"Shanty
whiskey
They called themselves
Irish,"55 a jovial, "roisterous" group, fond of
and "violently active and lazy by turns."55
The girls and women worked as hired girls on the
farms ,~*7 and the boys In livery stables,5^ and the men on the
railroads and ditches.59
53 Eugene Wood, Back Home and Folks Back H o m e , 2 vols;
Vol I, Back Home. Vol. II, Folks Back Home (Garden City, New
York: Doubleday, Doran and Company, Inc., 11^0» Vol. II, pp. 25-26.
54 Tully, Shanty Irish, p. 60.
55 Ibid., p. 117.
56 Ibid.. pp. 57-58.
57 Ibid..'P. 59.
58 Ibid.. p. 252.
59 Ibid.. p. 35.
149
As a class these people were generous hut always in
poverty as the men gave their salary to the
s a l o o n s . 6°
They were devout Catholics during mass on Sundays,
although since there were three saloons close to the church,
the men who stayed too long at the har often reached the
sanctuary without reverence in their hearts . ^
Jim Tully . . . there was never anything in his
room hut empty hottles— he'd give you the world when
he had it-?~hut he-never had it l o n g . ° 2
Whether the men worked or loafed, "hy some ingenuity"
they always were "well supplied with liquor."^3
They never
seemed to "lose control" of their senses hut they said it
made them forget "the shovel and the ditch."64Homes were often a "nightmare" and the saloons were
an escape from such home conditions and were the only places
of amusement for the youths of the town.^5
IV.
SOCIAL SURVEY OP THE PERIOD
This was a period when "every stray child was sus-
60 I b i d .. p. 112.
61 Ibid,, p. 45.
62 i h i d .. p. 1 1 3 .
63 I b i d .. p. 115.
64 Ibid.. p. 132.
65 I b i d .. p. 254.
150
pected of being Charley Ross," when ladies wore "pull-backs
and w a te r f a l l s , " ^ tight "trailing skirts,"^7 "high-heeled
boots,"lace
collars fastened with a big cameo pin, and
puffed sleeves with the armholes nearly at the elbows."^9
"Sprigged muslins and lace prints,"70 with "lace mittens"73and "white embroidered parasols,"72 were the vogue in the
summer.
Shawl aj^ "basques, and boots buttoned in scallops"
were very popular. 74When men of fashion were "smooth
s h a v e n " 7 5
or wore
"flowing side wishers, low necked waistcoats and diamond
Mary S.'Watts, Van Cleve (New York: The Macmillan
Company, 1913), p. 15.
67 Theodore Dreiser, Jennie G-erhardt (New York: Horace
Liveright, 1911) p. 2 .
^ J ohn Hay, The Breadwinners (New York and London:
Harper & Brothers Publishers, I8 8 3 ), p . 37.
69 Wood, Back H o m e , p. 262.
70 Havighurst, The Quiet Shore, p. 55.
71 Wood,Joe. cit.
72 Watts, op. c i t ., p. 48.
73 Hay, pp. cit.. p. 10.
74 Minnie Hite Moody, Towers with Ivy (New York:
Julian Messner, Inc., 1937), p. 177.
75 Whitlock, J . Hardin and Son, p. 22.
15:1
shirt
studs"?®
and carried a "gold headed c a n e . " ^
garb with . . . white collar and black tie,
...
"A black
a broad-
brimmed hat,'* and a "forensic air" usually designated one as
7ft
a lawyer.
A provincial youth leaned toward "patent leather
shoes,"79 a "white cravat" and "hair drenched with pomatum."®0
A "flamboyant personage" from a small town might be seen in
"trousers of shepherd plaid" and a "bright red tie."®'1' It
was also a day of "mail order business clothes."®2
There were "large double brick houses with the tall
doors and windows,"8^ "high sharp gables,"®4 and "shingled
roofs."®®
"Stone houses"®® with fireplaces which burned "Ohio
coal," and either "kerosene lamps"®? or "gas"®® were used for
?® Watts, Van Oleve, p. 15.
77 Dreiser, Jennie Gerhardt, p. 7.
7® Whitlock, l o c .;cit.
j
<
79 Wood, Back H o m e , p. 131.
8° Hay, The Breadwinners. p. 45.
®1 Whitlock, l o c . cit.
82 Wood, l o c . c i t .
83 Watts, op. cit., p. 16.
Whitlock, o p . cit., p. 2 4 .
85 I M d .. p. 3.
®® Hay, op. c i t .. p. 8.
®7 Dawn Powell, The Bride* s House (New York: Brentano's
Publishing Company, 1929), p. 64.
152
lighting.
"Black walnut
w h a t n o t s ,
’’"black haircloth"^0 chairs
and sofas, "velvet" cushioned furniture., pictures set in heavy
frames, inlaid tables and heavy draperies^"*" were considered
up-to-date furnishings.
For ornaments there were brackets, crowded with
shells, statuettes, decorative china, porcelain dogs
and cats, bouquets, waxed autumn leaves in vases, and
bunches of dried grasses and heads of grain pinned to
curtains or grouped over a picture.92
This was an era of "iron hitching post," "surreys,
storm carts, and spring wagons,"93 and when a family "kept two
carriages," one knew they belonged to the better class."94
A netted cover for horses' ears, . . . with eight
tassels, was a most useful and necessary contrivance
as gnats, sweat bees and horseflies made the horses
terribly nervous. 95
The rich kept to themselves and were referred to by
the laborers as "rose water snobs of AUgsnquin Ave."96
®9 Powell, op. cit., p. 120.
90 Whitlock, J . Hardin and Son, p. 15.
91 Havighurst, pp. cit., p. 53*
92
Moody, Towers with Ivy, p. 128.
93 Havig^ursvt, op. cit.. p. 162.
94" Anderson, Winesburg, Ohio, p. 162.
95 Moody, pp. cit.. p. 95.
96 Hay, The Breadwinners, p. 79.
Capital
153
and labor problems were the natural result of this new in­
dustrial age as men of "humble position" became "rich and
powerful" so quickly that they lost touch with their own
class in their efforts to keep on rising.9^
It was a day of
strikes^® and discontented workers.99
Saloons were plentiful, and prohibition and politics
were closely allied.
Beer and whiskey were free in saloons
on election day and often the vote, "wet or dry" was a close
one.
An important problem, next to the strikes, was the
negro situation, especially with regard to the mulattoes, or .
the "yellow niggers,"1^1 who, generally speaking, were more
white than black.
1n o
They formed societies with the purpose
of guiding "their people through the social wilderness."1^3
The people of mixed blood are ground between the
upper and the nether millstone.
Our fate lies between
absorjt^.on by the white and extinction in the black
•
•
•
57 Anderson, Poor W h i t e , p. 14.
58 Hay, op. cit., p. 191.
99 Ibid.. p. 247.
100 Whitlock, op. c i t .. p. 297.
101 Ibid.. p. 149.
1{^2 Charles W. Chestnutt, The Wife of His Youth and
Other Stories of the Color Line (Boston and New York: Houghton
Mifflin and Company.
Cambridge: The Riverside Press, 1899),
p. 1.
103 Ibid., p. 2.
104 Ibid., p. 7.
154
Many mulattoes of the South ran away before the Civil
War and established themselves in Ohio.
Previous to this,
they had contracted a "slave marriage!1 which was legally dis­
solved, provided they did not live together after the War.
Often these slave wives came up north to find their husbands
who had educated themselves and become prosperous.
The man's
problem was whether or not to recognize his former negro wife.
One of the largest societies of the time was the "Blue Veins"
and they decided that the man should "acknowledge" his wife
on the premise "to thine own self be
t r u e . " 1 0 ^
But lynching was the larger problem and was considered
an evidence of the "decadence of the t i m e s . T h e
general
opinion among the Ohioans was that if you "give 'em an inch,
they'll take an ell."*^7
If there was a brawl between a white
man and a negro and a knife was drawn, the negro was always
blamed and the people became the law.
Even though he were put
in jail for safekeeping, a large enough mob, with "uplifted
ugly faces," bent on revenge, could break into any cell.
A
minister's words of warning to the group could not sway the
infuriated mob.
"But whatever that deed was, the one you are ready to
1°5 Chestnutt, The Wife of His Youth and Other Stories
of the Color Line, p. 22.
106 Whitlock, oj>. cit., p. 149.
107 rbi d., p. 153.
commit is a greater crime."
In the morning the "body would he swinging to a tree
in a corner of some Court House yard,
"revolving gently with
the twisting and untwisting of the rope."
After the gruesome deed there was usually much
criticism in the newspapers of the neighboring cities where
the moral tone of the editorial page increased to a ratio
equal to the square of the distance from the event discussed.
The lynching was declared "to be a stain on the good name of
the county," and against the peace and dignity of the State
of Ohio."108
V.
SUMMARY
The novels, short stories and legends of this tran­
sition period are mainly realistic in character.
The new
frontier of industrialism which swept the state is best por­
trayed by Sherwood Anderson's Poor White. and Brand Whitlock's
J. Hardin and S o n .
Rollo Walter Brown's The Firemakers pre­
sents a graphic picture of the coal mining regions of Ohio.
Disturbed social conditions of the negro after the World War
is effectively described in Charles M. Chestnutt1s "The Wife
of His Youth," and Brand Whitlock's J. Hardin and S o n .
The
romantic side of this era is depicted in Louis Bromfield's
The Farm, and Walter Havighurst's The Quiet Shore.
108 Ibid., pp. 153-163.
CHAPTER VI
THE MODERN ERA, 1900—
The Modern Era, with its varied conditions of* life,
is portrayed hy the following novels: Louis Bromfield's The
Farm. Brand Whitlock's The Turn of the Balance. Helen H.
Santmyer's Herbs and Apples. Dawn Powell's She Walks in Beaut.v
and Dance Night. Rollo Walter Brown's The Hilllkln and Toward
Romance. Dan Poling's The Furnace. Walter Havighurst's The Quiet
Shore. Katherine Brush's Red Headed Woman. Minnie Hite Moody's
Towers with Ivy, William Riley Burnett's G-oodbye to the Past
and King Cole, and the short stories in Katherine Brush's
Other Women.
The chapter divisions are:
Twentieth Century;
(2) 1910-1920;
ing the First World War;
(6) The Game of Politics;
I.
(l) Early Years of the
(3) Labor Conditions Follow­
(4) 1920-1930;
(5) Towers with Ivy;
(7) Summary.
EARLY YEARS OF THE TWENTIETH CENTURY
"Machine politics" was a characteristic feature of these
years, and an outgrowth of the political *situation of the 1890's,
when several unscrupulous politicians like Cox and Daugherty
and Senator Hanna controlled the cities of Ohio.-1-
The Repub-
^ Louis Bromfield, The Farm. (New York and London: Harper
& Brothers Publishers, 193377 P. 209.
157
licans and the Democrats sought men of "easy-going ways," who
were "willing to compromise," and who voted as they were told
"by men who seldom had any office, but stood in the wings,
prompting and directing the performers,"
When -the candidate
was elected, these men behind the scenes stepped forward and
asked numerous favors in return for their support and money.
It all "was simply a question of business."3
Election times were important in the lives of the
people, and on the eve of elections the children were allowed
to stay up late.
"Every school boy was an apprentice at politics.
By the time he was old enough to vote he knew all the tricks.
There was a close alliance between lawyers, politicians,
gang leaders, and the police.
Clerks in the courthouse crouched
over their ledgers "in the fear that political changes" would
take away their jobs.5
There was a "new school of lawyers" in blue serge suits,
growing up in a day when law was changing "from a profession
to a business" in contrast to the older men in "professional
black of a gravity that frequently concealed a certain pro-
2 Ibid., p. 224.
3 I M d .. p. 225.
^ Ibid.. p. 209.
5 Brand Whitlock, The Turn of the Balance (New York:
Grosset and Dunlap, 1907), p. 118.
158
fligacy."6
In the event of an accident a "dozen lawyers"^ would
call upon the defendant, and each demand a "contingent fee of
one-third or one-half" for their services.
The company or
corporation in question would then refuse to pay the hospital
or doctor’s bill because the Injured man had "brought suit,"®
so wives would take in washing and families would mortgage
their homes in order to pay the necessary bills.^ Months would
10
pass before the trial was called,
and then the company's
lawyer would by some means or other, win the case.
Court trials were discouraging spectacles.
The jurors
were professional men "who would Invariably vote for the
state."
Twelve bearded men sat there discussing their "lum­
bago and palsy" heedless of the testimonies.13' Prisoners were
chained together as they were led to court for "various
felonies."
The majority of the prisoners were what the "laws
define as *indigent,' that is, so poor that they could not
12
employ lawyers."
They were advised to plead guilty.
Judges
6 Ibid..
P. 59.
7 Ibid.. P. 37.
8 Ibid..
P. 88.
9 Ibid.. P. 90.
10 I b i d ..
P. 8.'
11 Ibid.,
P. 446
12 Ibid.,
PP . 53
159
twirled their "gold glasses," lazily looked out the windows,
guessed a number from five to ten, and decided upon number
seven .^
Regardless of the number of years "all sentences to
the penitentiary were sentences for life."1^
These people
"paid such tremendous prices and got so little;
. . . they
learned nothing by experience."1'* Ex-prisoners were often re­
cognized by their clothes which were "shoddy" suits manufac­
tured in prison and "sold to the state at a profit sufficient
to repay . . . and to provide certain officials with a good
income.u1^
Society placed a "barrier" around this class by their
"laissez-faire" attitude.17
So these criminals usually re­
turned to the gang because "they asked no questions and drew
n q
no distinctions."
The gang had their virtues in that they
always stuck together and were willing to help each other.
Usually this willingness took the form of appear­
ing in police court and swearing to an alibi, but
they had done this service so often that the policecourt habitues and officials smiled whenever they ap­
peared.
Their testimonies never convinced the judge;
but they were imperturbable and ever ready to commit
CO
in
15 Ibid.. P.
14 Ibid..
P. 572.
15 Ibid.. P. 103.
16 Ibid.,
P'. 275.
17 Ibid., P. 11718
Ibid.. P. 1 3 0 .
160
perjury for the
c a u s e .
-*-9
The leader of the gang was an important link .in this
chain made up of lawyers,
ticians.
judges, courts., police and poli­
He maintained a "clearing house" for criminals where
suspicious characters could live, and "where balances were ad­
justed with the police."
He never failed to help them.
Sometimes he obtained pardons and commutations for
them for he was naturally influential in politics and
maintained relations with . . . the boss of the city,
that were as close as those he maintained with the
police. He would provide votes for the primaries and
he could do other things.
The police never molested
him, though now and then they threatened to, and then
he was forced to increase the tribute money, already
enormous.20
These conditions were allowed to remain because of
the complete indifference of the "best people"2 -*- and the iso­
lation of the two main classes, the poor and the rich.
Mrs.
Ward, one of the elite, often remarked, "I feel that we old
families understand each other and are sufficient unto our­
selves as it were."22
These "best people" lived a
sofa pillow existence"
23
of social duties, teas, balls, and dinner parties, where they
■*•9 Whitlock, The Turn of the Balance. p. 93.
20 Ibid.. p. 24.
21 Ihld.. p. 84.
22 Ibid., p . 82.
25 Ibid.. p. 160.
161
"talked of a great many unimportant things, but talked of
them as if they were,
in reality, of the utmost importance."2^
Mrs. Ward became depressed and reached for her "cutglass bottle of smelling salts"25 as she drove through the
poor sections of town with its ugly houses huddled closely to­
gether, and the "flapping green doors of small saloons."2^
But
she immediately brightened as she entered Claybourne Avenue,
the aristocratic section with its "big houses,
drivers,
. . . footmen"2?
. , . carriages,
"broughams."2®
The poor people considered the rich safe from legal
entanglement, and the rich, as they looked down upon the poor,
agreed with them.^9
Organized charities were formed to help the more u n ­
fortunate members of society, but they really helped "the rich
to forget the
p o o r
"30 and always appeared to discover some ex­
cuse for not helping them.31
24 Ibid.., p. 13.
2^ Ibid., p. 80.
26 Ibid.. p. 137.
27 Ibid.. p. 28.
28 Ibid.. p. 22.
29 Ibid.. p. 107.
30 Ibid.. p. 411.
31 Ibid.. p. 264.
162
II. 1910-1920
There was a variety of small towns in Ohio in this
period— county seats, railroad towns, factory towns, and manu­
facturing centers, often with a college community near by.
On the outskirts of these towns were numerous small farms with
their traditionally large barns facing the roads.
Tecumseh. Ohio.
Tecumseh is a ’’remote little county
seat” with "brick pavements," a court house set among the
elms and sycamores,^2 and a "dingy s t a t i o n . I t
had a
variety of homes then— "ugly houses of white frame with porches,
towers, and bay w i n d o w s ; " ^ "old yellowish-grey brick," with
two-story "square-pillared porches," white stone steps with
"curved iron railings," and a "mouldy fountain" in the side
yard, guarding a "moss-grown fawn,"-^ a remnant of "Victorian
atrocity” ;^6 "square brick houses with shuttered windows set
back behind low iron fences," their curbs lined with maples,
elms, and here and there a buckeye tree.-^
•'52 Helen Hoven Santmyer, Herbs and Apples (Boston:
Houghton Mifflin Company.
Cambridge: The Riverside Press,
1925), P. 211.
33
Ibid.. p. 2.
34 Ibid.. p. 12.
35 Ibid., p. 3.
36 Ibid..
p. 373.
37 Ibid.. p. 12.
163
The interior of the houses were as varied as the
houses.
There were "high-backed rocking chairs, carved white
marble mantlepieces," with "looped drapery" and "littered”
with colored ornaments, fantastic oil paintings, enlarged
family portraits, upright piano draped like the mantlepiece,
and horse-hair furniture.
Coal-oil lamps were used, but one
particular house was lighted by a coal-oil lamp that "hung on
chains from the c e i l i n g . " ^
The town had its sections Just like a large city.
Negro section was beyond "Nigger
c u r v e ,
The
"59 across the railroad
tracks, and at the foot of the hill where the Negro children
held an "Uncle Tom’s Cabin Parade "4° every year with the help
of the "white ragamuffins” from the "Bottoms."^'
was the "poor white" section down by the creek. 42
The "Bottoms"
Rows of
brick houses set on the edge of the pavement with gardens be­
hind the houses, indicated the "Maryland district," where the
old Maryland families l i v e d . ^
Pennsylvania and Maryland folk
lived in farmhouses of "warm yellow stone" set back in the
38 Ibid..
P.
39 Ibid..
P.
40
Ibid., P41 Ibid..
P*
42 Ibid..
P.
85.
4
.
76.
77.
307.
43 Ibid.. P. 148.
164'
hills.
A few people lived above the livery stables in the
down-town a r e a . ^
There were empty "tumble-down shacks among
the weeds, on the banks of the old, stagnant canal.
The Opera House was an "unbelievably hideous structure
of brick of the late General Grant style of architecture."
the ground floor were the police station and the town jail.
On
47
The Virginia Heel was the only dance allowed, as most
of the people were Presbyterians and M e t h o d i s t s . ^
There were not many automobiles in Tecumseh then,
and you could justify your possession of one only by
proving that it was essential to the success of your
business .4-9
Then the United States entered the First World War^O
and the women busied themselves "knitting and making surgical
dressings,"-’-1- and the young people sang, "It's a Long Way to
Tipperary."^2
44 Ibid..
P. 362.
45 Ibid., P. 50.
46
Ibid.. P. 46.
47 Ibid..
P- 12.
48 Ibid..
P. 86.
49 Ibid.. P. 94.
50 Ibid..
P. 153.
51 Ibid..
P. 142.
52 Ibid.. P. 164.
165:
After the War, Tecumseh experienced a few changes.
Rows of automobiles
stood in the drive of the Country Club,
which was a brick farmhouse remodeled.
There was a Rotary
Club and 11Father and Son” b a n q u e t s ^ held at the churches and
schools.
More modern conveniences were introduced, although
nothing was done to the “Bottoms" because if bathtubs were
put in their houses, "they would put coal in them."58
There
was now a young married set, "a new people, unsure, cheap and
blatant,"57
frequently visited the Country Club.
But through it all the people of Tecumseh retained
the "old idea," that, "if one once lived in New York, he was
snobbish."58
Birchfield, Ohio.
Birchfield was a dirty little rail­
road town where Jule's "huge old square house was painted a
dull charcoal by time and the Baltimore and Ohio."
lace curtains" of the period hung at the windows.
53 Santmyer, Herbs and Apples, p. 225.
5 4 Ibid.. p. 223.
55 ibid., p. 3 8 8 .
56 Ibid.. p. 373.
57 Ibid.. p. 371.
5Q Ibid., p. 370.
"White
In the parlor
166
was a 'bampaign photograph of Theodore Roosevelt."
A log upheld one end of the square grand piano.
Several generations of mice had made their home in
the strings, so that only half a dozen notes sound­
ed.59
There was an."old carpet-seated rocker" in the parlor.
Although styles changed, the homes of Birchfield re­
tained their own "ideal of luxury."
The James family took
pride in their-'"chenille portieres, leather pillow with the
Indian Head painted upon it," another pillow with the in­
scription, "You can fool some of the people all of the time
. . .," and a bronze "Boy with the Cherry."
"A colored headed
fringed dome" hung above the dining room table.
The town was divided by the railroad tracks— on one
side lived "respectable people" such as the Stall family who
were the leaders of the small society set in the town.
The
other side of the track, almost on the tracks, lived the "bad"
fin
sort, such as Jule.
Jule was once a belle.
But today she was a town character, a social out­
cast, as any woman must be who for a period of years
keeps a cheap lodging house for the tangle of drift­
wood washed in by the railroad trains. 2
Her "tangle of driftwood" was a variety of people and
59 Dawn Powell, She Walks in Beauty (New York: Brentano's,
1928), pp. 2-8.
60 Ibid.. p. 170.
61 Ibid.. p. 1.
Ibid., p . 5.
167
not as bad as the respectable side of the tracks thought they
were.
"The Winslows were old troupers"®^ who were too old to,
make the one-night appearances as they used to.
"Marie Parley
was^from Hew York”
and was shocked when she was unable to
65
buy "a chocolate eclair."
The town had never heard the word.
E s.ther Mason had lived on a farm in an isolated farming district, so "Birchfield was like Paris to her."
66
"Shabby, hard-working little groups of troupers” dropped
in frequently on their way to another town, with ”their pink
satins and spangles, plumes and furs,” and always left wads of
gum on the furniture
Jbnelie Bellows, a piano teacher, was helping her brother
through college by teaching piano lessons.
Doll Darling was the "distinguished guest,” as she was
the daughter of Major Darby Darling,” Buffalo Bill’s competitor.®®
Doll was once a brilliant "snake charmer in the Darling circus,
but "a malady which she designated as galloping consumption,
while others said it was delirium tremens, obliged her to give
63 I M d ., p. 27.
64 Ibid., p. 44.
65 Ibid.. p. 47.
66 Ibid.. p. 48.
67 Ibid.. p. 6 5 .
68 Ibid.. p. 150.
168
up her
art."^
Jule's two grandchildren lived with her because their
father refused to support them.
accepted her position in life.
Dorrie,
the youngest, calmly
Lillian rebelled continuously
and never gave up the hope that one day she might attend the
Country Club with the son of the Stall family, who were the
social leaders of the town.
She worked hard at it, accomp­
lished her dream, and even went so far as to marry Courtney,
the son.7^
of it."71
Mrs. Stall was a good sport and "made the best
She even called at J u l e ’s and the town attitude
changed toward the "black house beyond the railroad tracks."72
Lamptown. Ohio.
Lamptown, Ohio, in 1910 was small,
unprogressive, noisy, a factory town with a "Bon Ton Hat Shop,
Bill Delaney’s Saloon with its pianola, Billiard Parlor and
Casino Dance Hall above the Bauer's Chop House."
Back of the
shops were "old garbage cans, a broken-down doll buggy, and a
pile of shipping boxes."7^
When you stepped out of the back door into the
^9 Powell, She Walks in Beauty. p. 15.
70 Ibid.. p. 155.
71 Ibid.. p. 217.
72 Ibid.. p. 75.
73 Dawn Powell, Dance Night (On Murray Hill, New York:
Farrar and Rinehart, Inc., 1930)7 PP. 1-5.
169
alley at night you stomped your feet to scare away
the rats.
For a moment you heard them rushing over
the rotten hoards of hack porches, scuttling over
the ash cans, over the cistern buckets, and into
the weeds.<4
The "rows of grey frame factory hoarding houses'1^
were so closely situated near the tracks that "you could
lean out and almost touch the trains as they went by."*^
When one of the 11fast trains tore hy, the walls . . . shook,
and a chunk of damp plastering fell to the floor."77
The only respectable home in town was that of the
head of the "Works."7®
It was the traditional large brick
home of the period, with "high iron fence . . . arched stone
gateway . . . white pillared porches . . . sun parlors . . .
and &h iron deer in the middle of the shaded
l a w n .
"79
There were only two forms of amusement in this town
besides the poolroom and saloons.
They were the silent movies
which specialized in Clara Kimbal Young's pictures,®0 and the
Thursday .right dances led by Harry Fischer,
74 Ibid..
P. 37.
75 Ibid..
P. 73.
76 Ibid.. P. 168
77 Ibid.. P. 170
78 Ibid.. P. 71.
79 Ibid., P. 45.
80 Ibid., P* 122
the small-town
170
dancing master who traveled around the country-side teaching
the new steps to the people of Birchfield, Columbus, Delaware,
0*1
Mar1o n , and Lamp town.
The largest portion of the townspeople were factory
girls who went to the Thursday night dances
. . . in pink velvets, accordion pleats, lavender
and orange satins, their hair peroxided or natural,
but always elaborately curled, their faces heavily
powdered.®2
Lamptown had the reputation of being the "toughest
town on the Big
F o u r , ”® 3
until the boom came.
The cause of
the boom was the bringing of all the "branches of the Works
Q ^i
into Lamptown.
^
New houses were being built on the empty lots beyond
the town to accommodate the fifteen hundred men needed for the
new enterprise.
The houses were to be all alike, maybe some
with the porch on the left, others 011 the right, but at least
they were new houses and were beyond the railroads.®-’
Times were changing and Lamptown was changing.
Women from good homes in Avon and neighboring vil­
lages began to shop in Lamptown instead of sending to
81 Fowell, D a n c e .Night, p ;"23.
82 Ibid.. p. 18.
83 Ibid.. p. 75.
84 I M d . , p. 217.
85 I b i d .. pp. 179-180.
171
Cleveland or Columbus for their clothes.86
But the "symbol of Lamp town’s sudden rise" was in the
form of a "checkered suit mandolin player" who was an actor
who did a specialty number at the movie theatre.
This strum­
ming player of latest songs "represented all the glamour of
cities and sudden wealth."8^
Lamptown progressed ihlpractically the same manner as
the rest of the towns.
into a country club.
It did not build or remodel an old house
Instead, it built a "Lamptown Works Of-
ficials' Club" for the "Company's officials"
88
and inaugurated
a "Welfare Department" with a nurse in charge who looked after
the health of the workers.89
Lamptown was now an "up and coming" community.9^
Wiggam ’s G-lory. Ohio.
There was a small mining town
in the hills of Wiggam’s Glory9-1- situated near the town of
Centerville where the miners' children trudged to school92
This was in 1910, and yet the professors at Harvard referred
86 m d .. p. 248.
87 Ibid.. p. 211.
88 Ibid.. p. 296.
89 Ibid.. p. 250.
90 Ibid.. p. 211.
9^ Rollo Walter Brown, The Hillikin (New York: CowardMcCann, Inc., 1935), p. 3.
92 Ibid., p. 8.
172
to the "wilds of O h i o " a l t h o u g h they admitted that Ohio
was 'tull of colleges and many of- them excellent ones."94
One of the miners managed to send his son to college
and the contrast between his father's world and the East was
appalling.
The curbstones were made of granite, "a material
used back in Ohio only for
t o m b s t o n e s . " ^
There was .running
water and a bathtub in his room at Harvard and back in the
hills the miners took baths in washtubs in the kitchen or
backyard.96
Yards were yards in Wiggam’s G-lory, but they were
"lawns and gardens" in Cambridge. 97
Giles'
The immediate result of
trip to Vermont was "a great revulsion of feeling"
against his home town in Ohio.98
The community seemed only "one tenth as large as it
had been . . . "
Part of the shrinkage was the result of living
in a different social atmosphere, but part of it was actual as
the coal deposits were being rapidly mined and the coal supply
9 3
ibid.,
p.
10.
94 Ibid.. p. 8.
95 Ibid.. p. 5.
96 ibid..
p.
4.
97 Ibid.. p. 14.
98 ibid.. p. 75.
173
was being exhausted in this
area.
Wiggam’s Glory was becoming a section of ’’over-grown
neglected hills" where only part of the mines were in operation
and many of the
company's houses were abandoned, as there was
not enough work
for everyone.100
One of these miners discovered the clay in neighbor­
ing hills, and "being Interested in pottery" started a "little
one-horse shop" down in the hollow.
When the mines were active
he was a miner, but when work was slack he was a potter.101
He did this for
many years and was finally able "to unite the
business of making a living with his own stunted artistic
as-
p irati ons."102
Steel City, Ohio.
Steel City was a manufacturing
center where "smoke obscured everything within reach of the
eye."10^
The war had made this a prosperous place "where
wrought iron fences enveloped estates."10^
Large mills had re­
placed "smaller peace-time factories .t,l°5
Many of the men had
made so much money that their wives did not have to keep roomers
99 Ibid..
100
Ibid..
101
Ibid..
102
Ibid..
103 Ibid.,
p. 115.
p. 30.
p. 99.
p. 278.
p. 158.
104 Ibid.. p. 242.
105 Ibid.. P. 195.
174
any longer.10^
It was a large town where few people knew
each other.
"While many were rich, many more were poor.
People were living a '•'hideous existence" in poorly constructed
houses with no fuel and little food.
It was a hard winter and
-»
(~)Q
men were sleeping in the entrances of churches.
Anybody who had an idea for improving the conditions
of the working men was considered a "radical .t,109
The head
ones were opposed to new ideas which would only stir up trouble
and make people dissatisfied.
Ideas make workers "ambitious
to get out of where they belong and into things they're no
business with."110
"Opposition plus lethargy was a great com­
bination."111
Giles Dabney from the hills of Wiggam's Glory was the
"man with an idea"11** who was trying to make over Steel City
into a better place.
Finally, public opinion was sufficiently aroused and
the work was started.
The mayor of Steel City arose to speak:
108 Brown, The Hillikin. p . 196.
107 Ibid.. p. 198.
108 Ibid.. pp. 202-204.
109 Ibid., p. 228.
110 Ibid.. p. 229.
111 Ibid.. p. 359.
112 Ibid.. p. 218.
175
It is a momentous hour for us all . . . for this
afternoon marks the ‘beginning of a great realization—
the realization of a dream long cherished by every
forward-looking citizen of Steel C i t y . H 3
Adjoining Steel City was a college campus.
It was
originally a "denominational college" but it broke all church
connections which enabled it "to get on the Carnegie pension
list."^^
The President was very strict and conservative.
Professors were not to swing along so informally with their
hands in their pockets.
Hats were to be worn, the vogue was
the thing, and no one was to upset the routine with new ideas
of beautifying the campus as that would get the students into
a habit of criticizing the college.
Steel City was back of this "academic community" so
nothing must be done to offend the officials of the town.-^S
The campus made a great display over the death of one
of the town's prominent manufacturers of "improved can
openers."
When the faculty assembled at the main brick gate
of the campus to proceed "to the home of the late Mr. Mott, it
seemed that all the funeral clothing In the neighborhood had
been brought to light . . . "
113 Ibid..
p.
389.
114 Ibid..
p.
159.
115 Ibid..
pp.
The faculty assumed that the
160-167.
176
college was to receive "a generous portion1' of the estate., .but
all his wealth went to his "devoted housekeeper."
I l l
l a b o r :c o n d i t i o n s
following
the
first world war
Labor conditions were in a deplorable state in one of
the great steel mills in the Ohio River V a l l e y . T h e
owners
and executives were Americans, while most of the other employees
were of foreign birth.
standings.
There were class hatred and misunder­
The head ones blamed the War.
The pampering, a crowd of those ignorant "hunkies"
got during the war has made them too nice for dirty
Jobs, and we*re going to have some trouble before we
get back to normal again.
These "hunkies" received low wages, lived in poor sur­
roundings, and were very wasteful.
The welfare workers at the
mill told numerous incidents of how "bathtubs were quickly
turned into coal bins and newly papered walls were used as
blackboards."
At the Board of Directors’ meeting they stated that
they were "passing through Ohio's period of reconstruction"
and could not pay "war wages and keep going.
116 Ibid.. p. 170.
Dan Poling, The Furnace (New York: George "h .
Doran Company, 1925), P . 10.
118 Ibid.. p. 81.
119 Ibid.. p. 19.
120 Ibid.. p. 85.
177
Many believed higher wages would not help the
situation as the workers squandered their money so quickly.
They acted as though they had to get rid of the
last nickel before the next pay day. . . After the
first big raise every automobile in the town was
grabbed,up . . . One Pole even bought a second-hand
hearse.121
Labor conditions became worse when a Hungarian worker
was paid "§500 to snope on his fellow workers while working."122
The result was a ’’spectacle of intrigue and espionage."123
W e ’re coming close to evil times— a strike, the
greatest we have ever known, the most serious in
the history of the Gompany is due to break any day
now.124
In the dirt, smoke, heat, and hate of the mill, "un­
mistakable propaganda furthered the efforts of rash and head­
strong leaders who incited men to hasten the break.t,125
These were disturbed social times and the strike was
inevitable.
There were riots in the streets; some of the
workers were seriously injured and a few were killed.^-26
troops were ordered to the scene of action.12?
121 Loc-. ,clt.
122 Itold.. p. 92.
125 I M d .. p. 93.
124 Ibid., p. 101.
125 I M d .. pp. 109-110.
126 Ibid.. pp. 142-144.
127 Ibid.. p. 120.
state
178
At this time the Industrial Bureau of the United World
Movement"1"2^ met to "get the facts about the steel strike"'*'29 and
to publish the report.l3^
<jhis meeting was "a religious,’.but
non-political gathering."
It was composed of representatives
from all the churches, capitalists and socialists.
They were
to discuss: "Christian relationships in industry," and "What
would Jesus do in a strike or lockout?"131
There was a "nation-wide upheaval"**-32 following the
published account of the tragic events "of a previous strike;
therefore a move was made" to dismiss the commission investigat­
ing the steel strike.!,133
was finally decided that,
The conditions in the steel industry, the conditions
represented in the report, are not good for the country,
and are not good for internationalism."13"^
Thus the United World Movement came to an end.
It was created by world needs that the war made
apparent, it grew at the first in a war psychology,
128 Ifria.. P- 159.
129 Ibid.. p. 169.
130 Ibid.. p. 174.
131 Ibid.. p. 168.
132 Ibid.. p. 274.
133 Ibid.. p. 277.
134 Ibid., -t>. 3 0 0 .
179
■but burned out as the war fever.1-^
The final result was that the men lost, due to their
ignorance, and above all to the "power and resources of .the
Company ,n*L^
IV. 1920-1930
Times were still changing, especially here along the
southern shore of Lake Erie, and the northwestern part of the
state which was the last section to develop large farming
lands.
Young men were still "going to the cities."1^
whole
families were not staying on the farm as they used to.
Old "rambling" homesteads with their "long porches"
and "irregular gables" were still standing as sentinels of
another century^-3® although they had the modern conveniences
of running water and electricity.139
Many of these large farms were "worth a fortune until
the bottom fell out of produce prices in 1920."
Times were
hard then and there was little money in the farmers* pockets.
Then "highway engineers" began to survey the land and after
135 Ibid.. p. 272.
136 ibid.. P. 108.
Walter Havighurst, The Quiet Shore (New York: The
Macmillan Company, 1937), p.' 74.
13^ Ibid.. p. 6.
139 Ibid.. p. 76.
180
many protests from the owners, they "acquired the right of
way" and built the road "U.S. No. 20" past barns and through
; ^
140
g r a m fields.
Men from large billboard companies "came bidding for
frontage"14-1- on these fields and were met with stubborn op­
position from old homesteaders.
"Bungalow colonies and beach resorts"
built along the shores of the lake.
142
were being
"This area grew in value
not for wheat fields and dairy pastures, but for bungalow r e ­
servations and pavilion sites, for shore clubs and beach
cononies."
1 it'5!
The shores were now as busy as the lake Itself with
its "schooners" bound for Cleveland, Erie, and Buffalo with
loads of "Wisconsin pine"; and there were "plumes of smoke"
over the water as the "whalebacks" carried their deep cargoes
of coal and iron to Duluth, Superior, Conneant and Ashtabula.144
Natural gas had been accumulating in the Lakewood Area
for over "fifty years" and it was beginning to come up now
into the "orchards and out into the lake."
The "Buckeye Gas
Company" of Cleveland was busy surveying the land and trying
140 Ibid.. p. 82.
141 L o c . -cit.
142 Ibid.. p. 75.
145 Ibid., p. 82.
144 Ibid.. pp. 72*74.
181
to convince the farmers that it was worth developing.
"pipe lines" had been put through in other counties.
Some
The old
farmers realized it was a big expense to run a large farm in
these days when they had to pay a "foreman and four to five
hands all the time."
It wasn't long before the gas company
was in possession of the coveted
l e a s e s . - 5- ^
The new highway was a very busy thoroughfare, and one
very old farm hand passed the days checking on car license
numbers.
Nevada.
He had every one in the United States except
This puzzled him so much that he finally asked a man,
who had been out West, about Nevada.
"Well, what I want to
know is do they have any automobiles in Nevada?"-1- ^
The road was also filled with olive-drab trucks with
canvas hoods carrying "Relief Workers."3.^8
was a ^ay Qf
"P.W.A. projects," bread lines in the large cities, and migrant
workers going from town to town looking for w o r k .
The large cities were monuments of "American idolatry
of stone and steel and conveyor belts and sales executives
and boards of directors* meetings.h150
145 Ibid.. PP . 129-136.
146 Ibid..
PP . 106-107.
147 Ibid.. P. 251.
148 Ibid..
P. 253.
149 Ibid..
P. 2.
150 Ibid..
P. 112.
182
Renwood. Ohio.
And amid this American idolatry is the
small town of Renwood, which included districts of Renwood
Falls and Renwood Heights.
It is a town of rigid social .cus­
toms made by the people who lived on the fashionable avenue of
Hilldale near the Country Club.1^1
"You showed your ignorance
when you inveighed against the customs and credos of the
Hilldale-Avenue dwellers of the world
Mrs. Bartlett Was the leader of the younger married
set and established the fashion for the "wind-blown bob,"
"summer furs," "liquid nail polish," "applejack hi-b a l l s , " a n d
"the swishing of mesh bags."
Instead of heavy food, one now
served "tea and very thin sandwiches" at one’s bridge club.-*-53
When Renwood believed anything, it believed it reli­
giously.
There were no compromises.
For one thing, Renwood
believed deeply "that no good woman lived a l o n e . T h e r e ­
fore If you were a divorcee you must go home and live with
your parents.
For another thing, one's "personal good repu­
tation" was "a vital part" of one's business success.
All the
•*■51 Katherine Brush, Red Headed Woman (On Murray Hill,
Hew York: Farrar and Rinehart, Inc., 1 9 3 1 ) » P P . 3 - 4 .
152 Ibid.. p.
133.
•*•53 Katherine Brush, Other Women (On Murray Hill, New
York: Farrar and Rinehart, Inc., 1 9 2 9 5 , P . 6 0 8 .
^
ibid., p. 32 .
183
fashionable people bought their gowns from Amy because she led
a "blameless life."155
The town's "walking newspaper" was the hairdresser
from the Beauty Shop who went into the clients' homes.
clients' husbands were accustomed to avoid Miss Baxter.
"Her
Miss
i
Baxter said they daren't face her— she knew too much about
them."156
All gossip started with this one, two, three plan:
"Well,"
"I'll tell you,"
"It seems . . ."157 and ended with,
"there's no smoke without fire."158
Renwood had a "journey-man butler" who was a "window
cleaner by day" and a valuable aid to the host and hostess at
their parties.
Occasionally he could be persuaded to do a
"tap dance" for the guests besides serving refreshments and
shaking cocktails.
cents carfare.
His fee was eighty cents an hour plus ten
And if you could afford an extra forty cents
for laundry expenses, he would wear a "starched white coat."
Guests never failed to notice which coat he was wearing.159
155 Ibid.. p. 138.
156 Ibid., p. 131.
15^ I~bld.. p. 84.
158 ifria*. p. 91.
159 Brush, Red Headed Woman, p. 143.
184
The people of Renwood proper never associated with
the day laborers and workers who lived across the tracks in
Renwood Falls.
Irene felt the strictness of Renwood society
when she, a daughter from "across the tracks” married the son
of the wealthy coal company accoslation's owner.
She gave a
reception which was a "flop” and she tried to imitate them,
but to no avail.
All they did was make fun of her.
This is what you got. You were the red-headed
Andrews girl from Renwood Falls, from the railroad
crossing, and you stole a rich husband and bought
a big house, . . . and tried to crash society— and
this is what you got.
Never mind what you hoped for
. . . this was what Society did to make you under­
stand. You couldn't crash it In a million years.160
V.
TOWERS WITH IVY
Towers with Ivy is a university in Ohio more than one
hundred years old.
It stands on the "northermost of the hills
surrounding the
v i l l a g e .
"161
This university was the result
of a d r e a m .
Josiah Winfield, an educated man from the
East, firmly believed that "colleges must be founded in the
wilderness; that education had to creep toward the West or
forever be denied."l63
160 Ibid.. p. 171.
161 Minnie Hite Moody, Towers with Ivy (NewilYorks ?Julian
Messner, Inc., 1937), P. 3.
162 Ibid., p. 8.
165 Ibid.
p. 23.
185
The first college building was a tall frame structure,
"gaunt, grim, and ugly," situated among many trees.
the cattle wandered aimlessly.
Near by
Here forty men enrolled and
began studying the Bible.
The young men sat on long gaunt benches, which
tipped easily and were inordinately harsh to sit
upon.-*-65
They lived in a "co-operative shack" on the campus,
paying one dollar a week for their lodging, and twenty-five
cents for laundry service.-*-66
These students carried buckets
of water from the spring every morning and evening.
They also
had to obtain their fuel from the near by woods "for their
cooking and for heating their rooms.11^ 7
Establishing a college in the wilderness was a diffi­
cult task as many questioned the value of education, while
others considered progressive ideas on higher learning ab­
solutely foolish.1^
But Josiah held to his dream as he saw men coming to
his college on foot, "by stage coach, canal boat and on horse­
back. "169
164 Ibid..
PP . 16-17
165 Ibid.. P. 35.
166 Ibid.. P. 36.
167 Ibid.. P. 154.
168
Ibid.. P. 27.
169 Ibid.. P. 23.
186
There were many difficult years ahead.
’’Van Buraia
e x t r a v a g a n c e ^70 the cholera epidemics of *43 and '49 , ^
the ’’desperate year” of 1857,
and "Cleveland's
a d m i n i s t r a t i o n .
the War years, 1860-65,
1,174
college was so poor
that "the professors were not always paid,"1^
and in "some
years there had "been doubt that it would survive another
year."1*^
But despite dangerous times, "the college stood
serenely on the hill.”**’^
Soon co-education was Introduced, "encouraged by men
like Mathew Vassar.
"
Young ladies from the Seminary pro­
menaded "arm in arm in two's with a lady teacher at the head
and foot of the column."
of too long a walk. *^9
170 Ibid..
P. 32.
171 Ibid.. P. 67.’
172 Ibid..
P. 56.
173 Ibid.,
P. 95.
174 Ibid..
P. 197.
175 Ibid.. P. 123.
176 Ibid.. P. 55.
177 Ibid.. P. 106.
178 Ibid.. P. 107.
179 Ibid..
PP . 116
Often they drooped from the exertion
187
In 1865, the college was forced to expel a professor.
This professor Burke slept with his windows wide open in the
night air and took breathing exercises before them and he even
admitted that "he could not honestly believe every word in the
Bible." 'Slumor said his disgrace was so deep that no insti­
tution would ever dare hire hlm."*^®0
Gradually the curriculum was enlarged from the simple
study of the Bible to the study of classics, debate, oratory,
1ft1
essay competition, °
modern university.
1 ftP
and archaeology. ^
And today it is a
"The dreamer died but the dream survived."
183
Fraternity houses stand in a "row along the west ridge
*1 q
where the president's cows grazed."
Men in shorts practice
running, jumping and other field sports.
women with "bows and arrows."1®^
There are young
The woods are gone except f or
a "narrow fringe of beech" between the university and the white
stadium.1^
180 Moody, Towers with Ivy, p. 109
181 Ibid.. pp. 57-58.
182 Ibid., p . 208.
183 Ibid.. p. 227.
184 Ibid.. p. 258.
185 Ibid.. p. 274.
186 Ibid.. p . 249.
188
The hilltop is covered with "buildings, with towers,
which are laden with ivy.
it
strong.
Some of the "vines are heavy and
187
The first graduating class planted ivy on a corner of
“Winfield Hall""*-88
Since then ivy planting has "become a
tradition as each graduating class plants a sprig of ivy
somewhere on the campus of this old university.189
VI.
THE GAME OF POLITICS
The "Rotunda of the State Capitol" was usually "quiet
and dignified" with its "battered battle flags from the Civil,
Spanish, and First World War."^9^
But' it was election week and
"all the ponderous machinery of an important campaign was in
motion."1^1
"The governor’s office was swamped" with letters,
petitions, telegrams, messenger boys, and clerks, and repor­
ters from all over Ohio.
It was difficult to ascertain whether
it was a war or an election.192
Read Cole was running for third term as governor of
!87 Ibid.. p. 89.
188
- Ibid.. p. 54.
189 Ibid., p. 262.
190 william Riley Burnett, King Cole (New York and
London: Harper & Brothers Publishers, 1934), p. 16.
191 Ibid.. p. 128.
192 I b i d . pp. 195-196.
189
Ohio.
He was something new- in Ohio politics.
that they knew him.
No one felt
The people were used to the "common or
garden variety of provincial politicians, the city careerists."193
"King Cole," as he was sometimes called, was a self-educated
man, having "worked his way up in politics."
He was "really
a nobody" with "little social ease" hut people accepted him
because he was the Republican Governor of Ohio.1^4
This "Ohio Machiavelli" governed quietly, "making
no spectacular mistakes," nor any "conspicuous s u c c e s s e s . " ^
Sullivan, "the smoothest politician in the state," told him
he talked "too much sense and not enough nonsense.”^ 6
y is
greatest fault was his lack of understanding, his dislike,
and his unsympathetic attitude toward foreigners.1^
"Old Eagle Rock, the Democratic nominee was a "radical"
and definitely against the money classes.198
This is the twilight of the rich.
They have, like
the French Aristocrats, outlived their usefulness and
must eventually be liquidated.199
The general condition in Ohio at this time was pre-
193 Ibid.. P* 53.
194 Ibid..
P • 39.
195 Ibid.. P. 4.
196 Ibid..
P. 22.
197 Ibid.. P. 16.
198 Ibid..
P* 20.
199 Ibid.. P.. 76.
190
carious.
There were strikes, riots and bombings.
Many were
out of work.
W e ’ve got an emergency in our state at this
minute.
The worst radicals are taking advantage
of the atmosphere of uncertainty, fear and sus­
picion. . .*=00
Read began campaigning in earnest when he saw the
“radical element” growing so rapidly.201
He decided “to scare
the middle class” and make them believe that the wealth would
202
move out if Eagle Rock was elected.
His opponent and enemies began calling him “Mussolini
of Ohio”^ ^
and “Hitler."20^- The political machinery became
“well oiled” as the rich gave large sums to Cole’s campaign.20^
The Republican newspapers printed,
of Reaction in Ohio."
"Read Cole, the White Hope
On election day it was necessary to
declare martial law and have troops at the polls.
A politician
declared:
I’ve lived in the state all my life and I ’ve
never seen an election like this before.
It!s like
Mexico.
200 Ibid.. PP . 140-141.
•
CO
o
201 Ibid..
P*
202 Ibid..
P. 78.
203 Ibid..
P. 172.
204 Ibid.. P. 27.
205 Ibid.. P. 127.
206 I b i d .. P. 122.
207 Ibid.. P. 256.
191
’’King Cole” was elected /by a large majority, but his
best friend was killed while trying to save the governor’s
life from a foreigner’s bullet.208
Read felt now that the
"game wasn’t worth the .candle."209
The Doric columns . . . of the State capitol,
which were rough, dirty, and weathered, were stand­
ing when Lee surrendered at Appoibattox and the Ohiopin
crowds were cheering for General Grant and Old Abe.
And they still stood after this war-like election.
VII.
SUMMARY
The novels and short stories of this modern era con­
tinue to be valuable social documents of Ohio life with its
varied culture and industries.
The early twentieth century
is best portrayed by Helen Santmyer’s Herbs and Apples and
Brand Whitlock’s The Turn of the Balance.
Dawn Powell’s She
Walks in Beauty and Dance Night, and Katherine Brush’s Red
Headed Woman and Other Women have realistically depicted life
In Ohio’s small towns.
Politics hold first place in William
Riley Burnett's King Cole.
Labor conditions dominate Dan
Poling's The Furnace. and Rollo Walter Brown's The Hillikln,
but Walter Havlghurst’s The Quiet Shore presents the best
economic survey of the period.
208 ILid.. p. 23 9 .
209 Ibid.. p. 257.
210 ILld.. p. 292.
SUMMARY AND CONCLUSION
"Ohio in American Fiction” from the Indian Period to
the modern era has proved to he an interesting study.
It re­
veals that the fiction writers have been aware of the rich
and varied material belonging to the Buckeye State.
Their
stories are from personal experience, oral and written accounts
from ancestors, and source books of a diverse nature.
The fiction of the Indian Period, in origin, content
and flavor, is closely related to the historical development
of the Old Northwest Territory of which Ohio was a part.
Meade
Minnigerode*s Black Forest is an outstanding novel because of
its dramatic presentation of the whole period.
Minnigerode
selects the high points of the struggle between the nations in
order to write a story of high adventure.
The other novels of
the period deal with smaller phases of the situation, and plead
the cause of the ill-treated Indians and their chiefs— Logan,
Cornstalk, Pontiac and Tecumseh.
Closely related to the Indians and the Whites were the
renegades whose treacherous deeds are the central theme of
Zane Grey's novel, The Spirit of the Border.
Jonathan Zane
- and Lewis Wetzel were the outstanding bordermen romantically
described by Grey.
These men were feared by the Indians,
hated by the renegades and loved by the early pioneers who knew
them through their protective deeds.
193
Mary Schuroan’s Strife Before Dawn and Edward Everett
H a l e ’s East and West are the only novels which adequately des­
cribe the very early pioneer settlements of the Indian Period.
Conrad Richter’s The Trees is of this early time, but
the author has concentrated his attention upon the intimate
life of one family and their hardships in the wilderness.
Richter paints a realistic, detailed and convincing picture in
highly expressive language,of the backwoods life with its sounds,
smells, places and noises, and without the usual pioneer hero
&
sentimentality.
Pioneer life in general is popular with the authors.
The large migration West in the early nineteenth century is
colorfully portrayed in Merle Colby's All Ye People.
in debt, laborers out of work, adventurers,
Farmers
individuals,
families, circuit riders, and redemptioners, a host of movers
on foot* horseback, in teams or Conestoga wagons, moved West
to establish new homes in Ohio.
James Hall, a pioneer himself, was the most distinguished
short story writer of his time.
His story, ’’The Emigrants”
describes the migration of one English family and their diffi­
cult attempt to adjust themselves to the crude surroundings.
. Many of the present day writers have generalized the
pioneer conditions as a life of keel-boats and flat-boats on
the Ohio River, schooners on Lake Erie and log cabins with
oiled paper windows, candles, and home-made furniture.
They
194
have also showed a tendency to Idealize this life by des­
cribing settlements of homespun people dressed in linseywoolsey material extending mutual help and always turning co­
operative work into some kind of social gathering.
Johnny
Appleseed was always wandering through the communities,
scattering apple seeds and sowing fennel.
Religion was the pioneer's chief interest and the
circuit rider was a familiar figure in southern Ohio.
Edward
Eggleston's The Circuit Rider presents the fullest account of
these frontier ministers, while William Dean Howells' The
Leatherwood G-od realistically describes the religious psycho­
logy of these people.
Howells also immortalizes the early
Justices of the Peace with their sense of justice and fair
play.
Both his novels, The Leatherwood G-od and Hew Leaf Mills
give a good social survey of the passing of early pioneer life.
People were living in better constructed log cabins and there
were a few frame and brick houses.
More attention was being
paid to dress, even among the men.
Merle Colby's novel New Road deviates from this de­
tailed description- of social conditions by presenting a phase
of American development, the growth of a new town.
Vardis
Fisher's dramatic Children of God devotes one-third of its
space to the first Mormon community in Kirtland, Ohio.
Many of the other novels reveal a mass of information
about this late pioneer period, but in a practical,
tedious
and almost unimaginative style.
They note that there was so
much material from plentiful crops and increased cattle and
sheep raising that an outlet to market was necessary.
Roads
were built but the canals proved a better method of trans­
portation until the advent of the railroads which are fully
described in Albion ¥. Tourg&e's novel Figs and Thistles.
At this time state and national problems were added
to the thoughts of these Ohioans.
The largest social and
political issue was that of slavery, a condition which was the
source of Harriet Beecher Stox^e's Uncle Tom* s Cabin.
It is
the best nationally known book of this period, although it
stands higher in the sphere of reform than in the art of fiction
-The underground railroad which grew out of the slavery
problem is portrayed as a living part of the times in Louis
Bromfield's novel The Farm. and Charles H. Roberts' Down the
Q-HI-0.
There is brief mention of the Civil War and the people's
attitude toward secession, and then Thomas Boyd's novel Samuel
Drummond introduces the theme of post-war depression.
But it •
wasn't long before, the new industrialism swept the state.
This Transition Period is characterized mainly by
realism in Ohio fiction.
It is not a pleasing picture but one
of excess activity, and sordid detail with emphasis upon sex
relations.
Great industrial development and attractive oppor-
196
tunities to get rich altered the lives of the farmers and
small town folk.
Most of the era is portrayed by authors who
experienced this change.
Sherwood Anderson was the outstand­
ing author and the one most widely known.
He describes the
sprawling cities, the drab unpleasant conditions and the rest­
less, weary and discontented lives of these people in his novel
Poor White and in his short stories Winesburg, Ohio.
The negro became a social problem in this period.
Brand Whitlock's novel J . Hardin and Son vividly relates a story
of negro lynching and its moral effect on the people of Ohio.
Charles W. Chesnutt, the best known negro writer of his time,
presents the problem of the mulatto in-his short story, "The
Wife of His Youth."
A few authors have given the more pleasant side of this
Transition Period.
.Dawn Powell* s The Bridefe House romantically
describes the peaceful farm life of northern Ohio.
Eugene Wood's short stories Back Home and Folks Back
Home recreate the homely virtues of the vast middle class of
the 80's and 90's .
The novels and short stories reveal that as Ohio develop­
ed into a modern state, it became part of the nation as a whole,
losing its early local color and its trend toward provincialism.
This was due to the industrial expansion and the three streams
of population which entered Ohio.
The first settlers to the Ohio Valley were of English,
197
Scotch, Irish and German elements from Pennsylvania and the
Virginians from Virginia.
Howells best describes these
southern Ohio people in his two novels previously mentioned.
Mary S. Watts’ novel Van Cleve presents an amusing and charm­
ing character study of the genteel folk of Virginia stock.
The second stream which was from the New England
states, occupied northern Ohio.
Louis Bromfield’s novel The
Farm and Albion W. Tourg^e’s novel Figs and Thistles adequate­
ly described these people of the Western Reserve with their
rigid social customs.
The third stream came from abroad, England, Ireland,
Germany and southern Europe.
Many of the books deal with the
foreigners, but Jim Tully's Shanty Irish gives the best des­
cription of these immigrant Irish who helped build our rail­
roads and drain our swamps.
All these people brought their own ideas and ways of
living which prevented the development of any native culture■
that can be regarded as characteristically Ohioan.
Helen Santmyer* s sentimental novel Herbs and Apples
describes the beginning of the twentieth century as a con­
tinuation of the 1890’s characteristic saloons, hitching posts,
surreys, fancy carriages, brick and frame houses with many
porches and fancy decorations, and iron figures guarding stone
fountains in the front and side lawns.
Brand Whitlock centers his attention on the machine
198
politics of this time with its legal incompetence and in-
.
justice in his humanitarian novel The Turn of the Balance.
Three novelists have viewed the Ohio background with
large vision.
Louis Bromfield’s The Farm. Walter Havlghurst's
The Quiet Shore and Minnie Hite Moody1a Towers of Ivy reveal
that one hundred and ninety years ago Ohio was an Indian
wilderness with scattered trading posts.
One hundred years
ago it was economically an agricultural state of pioneers.
Sixty years ago it developed into an area of growing factories,
railroads and oil and gas industries.
To-day it is an indus­
trial state with small farms and towns.
Katherine Brush’s novel Red Headed Woman and her short
stories in Other Women have captured the atmosphere of these
small towns better than the works of any other writer.
Her
stories are decidedly Ohioan.
William Riley Burnett’s King Cole concentrates on the
Ohio politics of to-day, giving the story a modern touch by
calling the hero-politician a Hitler and a Mussolini.
Writers of Ohio fiction are in many cases relatively
unknown; a few have gained national reputation, as Harriet
Beecher Stowe, William Dean Howells, Sherwood Anderson, Louis
Bromfield, and Vardis Fisher.
Only a few of the novels display the mastery of
writing technique, although some excel in character delineation,
others in plot construction and still others in descriptive
199
facility.
Most of the short stories, as James Hall’s "The
Emigrants,” and Sherwood Anderson's Winesburg, Ohio,are note­
worthy .
The few available legends are reconstructed tales
which writers and editors have collected from various histories,
geographies, letters, travelogues, magazines, biographies, and
oral narratives.
They are more important as a record of the
past than, as literary material.
This emphasis upon background suggests interesting
possibilities for further investigation.
For example: Why are
many of the fiction writers of Ohio more concerned with the
subject matter than literary craftsmanship?
lie in the authors themselves?
Did it lie
Did the inadequacy
in Ohioas a subject,
or, in lack of association with Old World culture?
Provocative as these problems are,
within
the scope of this particular study,
they do not fall
for its aim was to
discover how fiction writers have portrayed Ohio from the
Indian Period to the present.
And this leads to the conclusion
that the novels, short stories and legends of the Buckeye State
are most significant as a source of historical and sociological
information.
BIBLIOGRAPHY-I
PRIMARY SOURCES
Anderson, Sherwood, Poor W h i t e . New York: B. W. Huehseh, Inc.
1920.
371 pp.
Novel.
Re: Industrial Revolution.
Transition Period.
. Winesburg. Ohio. New York: The Viking Press, 1931*
303 P P .
Short stories. Re: Small town life.
Transition Period.
Atkinson, Eleanor, Johnny Appleseed. New York and London:
Harper & Brothers Publishers, 1915. 341 pp.
Novel.
Re: Legendary Characters. Pioneer Period.
Boyd, Thomas, 11An Ohio Fable," Scribner* s Magazine. 78:653-55,
December, 1925Short story. Re: Pioneer Farmer. 1840.
________ , Samuel Drummond. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons,
1925.
308 pp.
Novel.
Re: Farm conditions.
Civil War Period.
________ , The Shadow of the Long Knives. New York: Charles
Scribner* s Sons, 1928. 354 p p .
Novel. Re: History of Old Northwest Territory.
Bromfield, Louis, The Farm. New York and London: Harper &
Brothers Publishers, 1933. 346 pp.
Novel.
Re: Western Reserve.
1815-1915.
Brown, Rollo Walter, The Flremakers.
Inc., 1931. 380 pp.
Novel.
Re: Coal Mining regions.
New York: Coward-McCann
Transition Period,
1865-1900.
________ , The Hlllikin. New York: Coward-McCann, Inc., 1935393 P P .
Novel.
Re: Coal Mining regions. 20th century.
_______ , Toward Romance. New York: Coward-McCann, Inc., 1932
PP*
Novel.
Re: Coal Mining regions. • 20th century.
201
Brush, Katherine, Other Women. New York: Farrar and Rinehart,
Inc., 1929• 307 P P •
. Short stories.
Re: The people of Renwood, Ohio. Contem­
porary Period, 1930________ , Red-Headed W o m a n .
Inc., 1931• 295 P P .
Novel.
Re: Small town.
New York: Farrar and Rinehart,
Contemporary Period.
Burnett, William Riley, Goodbye to the Past. New York and
London: Harper & Brothers Publishers, 1934. 306 pp.
Novel. Re: Character study.
Ohio 1907-1929.
________ , Kins Cole. New York and London: Harper & Brothers
Publishers, 1934. 306 pp.
Novel. Re: Character study and politics.
20th century.
Carmer, Carl,
script on
September
Legends.
.port.
"Your Neck o* the Woods," series. A broadcast
tales and folklore of Ohio.
Scholastic, 31:17,
25, 1937.
Re: Mike Fink, the boatman. Marietta as a sea-
Catherwood, Mary Hartwell, The Queen of the Swamp and Other
Plain Americans. Boston and New York: Houghton, Mifflin
and Company, 1899331 pp.
Short stories. Re: Sketches of life in 1850. •
Chesnutt, Charles
His Youth and
and New York:
The Riverside
Short story.
W , ? "The Wife of His Youth," The Wife of
Other Stories of the Color Line. Boston
Houghton, Mifflin and Company.
Cambridge:
Press, 1899.
Re: Negro problems after the Civil War.
Colby, Merle, All Ye People. New York: The Viking Press, 1931.
429 PP.
Novel.
Re: The Migration West.
1810.
________ , New Road. New York: The Viking Press, 1933.
Novel.
Re: Growth of a town. Pioneer Period.
310 pp.
Dreiser, Theodore, Jennie Gerhardt. New York: Horace Liveright,
1911. 431 PP.
Novel.
Re: Character study and social conditions. 1880-
1910 .
Edmonds, Walter D., "Citizens for Ohio," Mostly Canallers.
Boston: Little, Brown & Company, 1934. Pp. 60-80.
Short story. Re: The Migration West.
1800.
202
Eggleston, Edward, The Circuit Rider. New York: J. B. Ford
and Company, 1874. 332 pp.
Novel. Re: Methodist frontier ministry.
1800.
Fisher, Vardls, Children of G-od. New York and London: Harper
& Brothers Publishers, 1939.
769 pp.
Novel. Re: Mormons.
Early 19th century.
Grey, Zane, The Last Trail. New York: A. L. Burt Company,
1909. 300 pp.
Novel.
Re: Bordermen of Ohio Valley.
1812.
________ , The Spirit of the Border. Triangle Books Edition
New York: A. L. Burt Company, 1938. 274 pp.
N ovel. R e : Bordermen.:of-Ohio Valley.' 1775-1789.
Hale, Edward Everett, East and W e s t . New York: Cassell Pub­
lishing Company, 1&92. 267 pp.
Novel.
Re: Story of new-born Ohio. 1788-1789.
Hall, James, "The Emigrants," Golden Tales of Our America.
New York: Dodd, Mead and Company, 1930.
Pp. 209-231.
Short Story. Re: Early settlers. 1800.
Havighurst, Walter, The Quiet Shore. New York: The Macmillan
Company, 1937. 284 p p .
Novel.
Re: Homestead on Lake Erie.
1865-1930.
Hay, John,The Breadwinners. New
York and London: Harper &
Brothers Publishers, 1883. 319 pp.
Novel. Re: Labor conditions.
1877-1890.
Howells, William Dean, The Leatherwood G o d .
Century Company, 1916.
236 pp.
Novel. Re: Religion in Pioneer Period.
New York: The
1830.
_______, New Leaf Mills: A Chronicle. New York and London:
Harper & Brothers Publishers, 1913. 154 pp.
Novel. Re: Late pioneer days.
1850.
Hulbert, Archer Butler, Historic Highways of America. Vol. 9 .
Glendale, California: The Arthur H. Clark Company, 1903.
Legends.
Re: Legends of the rivermen.
Kemp, Harry, Mabel Turner: An American Primitive. New York:
Lee Furman, Inc., 1936.
352 pp.
Novel. Re: Character study.
Transition Period.
Minnigerode, Meade, Black Forest. New York and Toronto: Farrar
and Rinehart, Inc., 1937. 360 pp.
Novel.
Re: Struggle for the Old Northwest Territory.
17541788.
203
Mitchener, Charles H., editor, Ohio Annals.
Thomas V. Odell, 1876.
358 pp.
Legends. Re: Indian legends.
Dayton, Ohio:
Moody, Minnie Hite, Toilers with I v y . New York: Julian Messner,
Inc., 1937.
314 pp.
Novel. Re: Story of college town.
1820-1930
Naylor, James Ball, The Sign of the Prophet. New York and
Chicago: The Saalfield Publishing Company, 1901. 416 pp.
Novel.
Re:
Tecumseh and the Prophet. 1811-1812.
Pidgin, Charles
Felton, Blennerhassett or The Decrees of Fate.
Boston: C. M. Clark Publishing Company, 1901. 442 pp.
Novel. Re: Aaron Burr’s plans for an empire in the West.
1756-1836.
Poling, Dan, The Furnace.
1925. 311 pp.
Novel.
Re: Industry.
New York: George H. Doran Company,
20th century.
Powell, Dawn, The Bride’s House. New York: Brentano's Pub­
lishing Company, 1929. 296 pp.
Novel. Re:
Farm life after the CivilWar. Northern Ohio.
, Dance Night. New York: Farrar and Rinehart, Inc.,
1930. 298 pp.
Novel.
Re: Small town.
1910.
________ , She Walks in Beauty. New York: Brentano's, 1928.
284 pp.
Novel.
Re: Small town.
1914.
Richter, Conrad, The Trees. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1940.
302 pp. .
Novel.
Re: Family study. Pioneer Period.
Roberts, Charles Humphrey, Down the O-HI-O. Chicago: A. C.
McClury Company, 1891.
Novel. . Re: Quakers, southern Ohio.
1850.
Santmyer, Helen
Mifflin and
397 PP.
Novel.
Re:
Hoven, Herbs and Apples. Boston:Houghton,
Company.
Cambridge: The Riverside Press, 1925.
20th century.
190701927.
Schuman, Mary, Strife Before Dawn. New York: The Dial Press,
1939. 440 pp-;:
”
Novel.
Re: Struggle for Old Northwest Territory.
1764-
1782.
204
Skinner, Charles M., editor, Myths and Legends of Our Own
Lands, 2 vols.: Philadelphia and London: J. B. Lippincott
Company, 1924. Vol. II. II. Pp. 101-112.
Legends. Re: Legends Between 1786 and 1896.
Stowe, Harriet Beecher, Uncle Tom* s Cabin. Boston and New
York: Houghton, Mifflin Company.
Cambridge: The Riverside
Press, 1851. 500 pp.
Tourgfee, Albion W., Figs and Thistles. New York: Fords, Howard
and Hulbert, 1879. 538 pp.
Novel.
Re: Western Reserve.
1850-1872.
Tully, Jim, Shanty Irish. Garden City, New York: Garden City
Publishing Company, 1928. 292 pp.
Novel.
Re: Immigrant Irish in Transition Period.
1870-
1900 .
1
Watts, Mary S., Nathan Burke.
1910. '628 pp.
Novel.
Re: Ohio in 1840.
. Van Cleve.
396pp.
Novel.
New York: The Macmillan Company,
New York: The Macmillan Company, 1913*
Re: Novel of manners of Ohio.
1890.
Whitlock, Brand, J. Hardin and S o n ♦ New York and London: D.
Appleton and Company, 1923. ?57 pp.
Novel.
Re: Social conditions.
Transition Period.
________ , "Macochee’s First Campaign Fund," The Gold Brick.
Short story.
Re: Politics.
1876.
________ , The Turn of the Balance. New York: Grosset and
Dunlap, 1907. ^22 pp.
Novel. Re: Criminal law at the beginning of the 20th
century.
Willsie, Honors Morrow, Benefits Forgot. New York: Frederick
A. Stokes Company, 1917. 50*pp.
Novelette.
Re: Circuit rider.
Civil War Period.
Wood, Eugene, Back Home and Folks Back Home. 2 vol; Vol. I,
Back Home. 286 pp. Vol. II, Folks Back Home. 328 pp.
Garden City, New York: Doubleday, Doran and Company, Inc.,
Short stories.
’9 0 ’s.
Re: Vast middle class of the '80*s and
BIBLIOGRAPHY-1
SECONDARY SOURCES
Adams, Oscar Fay, A Dictionary of American Authors. Boston
and New York: Houghton, Mifflin and Company, 1897.
Baldwin, Charles C., The Men Who Make our Novels. Revised
edition. New York: Dodd,. Mead and Company, 1924. 612 pp.
Brawley, Benjamin Griffith, The Negro in Literature and Art
in the United States.
New York: Duffield and Company,
1918. Pp. 76-81.
Dickinson, Thomas H., The Making of American Literature.
York: The Century Company, 1932. 733 PP.
Dudley, Louise, The Study of Literature.
Houghton, Mifflin and Company, 1926.
New
Boston and New.York:
396 pp.
Hazard, Lucy Lockwood, The Frontier in American Literature.
New York: Thomas T. Crowell Company, 1927.
Henry, Edward H., "Cincinnati as a Literary and Publishing
Center,1' Publisher* s Weekly. Part I, July 3, 1927. Pp. 2224; Part II, July 10, 1937. Pp. 110-112.
Manly, J. M., and Edith Rickert, Contemporary American Literature.
Revised edition. New York: Harcourt, Brace and Company,
1929.
378 pp.
McWilliams, Carey, The New Regionalism in American Literature♦
Seattle, University of Washington Chapbooks, No. 46, 1930.
39 PP.
Overton, Grant M.,' The Women Who Make our Novels.
Moffiat, Yard and Company, 1919.
393 PP.
New York:
Pattee, Fred Lewis, The First Century of American Literature
1770-1870. New York and London: D. Appleton Century
Company, 19-35. 613 pp.
________ , A History of American Literature Since 1870. New
York and London: D. Appleton Century Company, 1915. 449 pp.
Robinson, Ted, "Claims of the Buckeye," Saturday Review of
Literature, 16:3-4, August 7, 1937.
206
Roseboom, E. H., and E. P. Weisenburger, History of Ohi o .
New York: Prentice-Hall, 1934.
545 pp.
Rusk, R. L., The Literature of the Middle Western Frontier.
2 volumes. New York: Columbia University Press, 1905.
554 p p .
Trent, William P., John Erskin, Stuart P. Sherman, Carl Van
Doran, editors, The Cambridge History of American Lit­
erature . Vol. Ill, pp. 69-8 6 . New York: The Macmillan
Company.
Cambridge, England: Cambridge University Press,
1933.
BIBLIOGRAPHY-II
ACCORDING TO PERIODS IN OHIO HISTORY
Indian Period 1750-1812
Boyd, Thomas, The Shadows of the Lon# Knives.
Grey, Zane, The Spirit of the Border.
Minnigerode, Meade, Black Forest.
Mitchener, Charles H., Ohio Annals.
Naylor, James Ball, The Sign of the Prophet.
Sehuman, Mary, Strife Before Dawn.
Skinner, Charles M., Myths and Legends of our own Lands.
Pioneer Period 1788-1830
Atkinson, Eleanor, Johnny Appleseed.
Bromfield, Louis, The Farm.
Carmer, Carl, "Your Neck o ’ the Woods" series.
Colby,
Merle, All Ye People.
____________New R o a d .
Edmonds, Walter D., "Citizens for Ohio."
Eggleston, Edward, The Circuit Rider.
Fisher, Vardis, Children of God.
Grey, Zane, The Last Trail.
________ , The
Spirit of the Border.
Hale, Edward Everett, East and W e s t .
Hall, James, "The Emigrants" from Legends of the W e s t .
208
Howells, William Dean, The Leatherwood God.
Hulbert, Archer Butler, Historic Highways of America.
Vol. 9.
Minnigerode, Meade, Black Forest.
Mitchener, Charles H., Ohio Annals.
Moody, Minnie Hite, Towers with Ivy.
Pidgin, Charles Felton, Blennerhassett.
Richter, Conrad, The Trees.
Period from 1830-1865
Boyd, Thomas, An Ohio Fable.
________ , Samuel Drummond.
Bromfield, Louis, The Farm.
Catherwood, Mary H., The Queen of the Swamp.
Howells, William Dean, New Leaf M i l l s : A Chronicle.
Moody, Minnie Hite, Towers with Ivy.
Roberts, Charles H., Down the O-HI-O.
Stowe, Harriet Beecher, Uncle Tom* s Cabin.
Skinner, Charles M., Myths and Legends of our own Lands.
Tourg&e, Albion W . , Figs and Thistles.
Watts, Mary S ., Nathan Burke.
Willsie, Honord Morrow, Benefits Forgot.
F
The Transition Period 1865-1900
Anderson, Sherwood, Poor White.
________ , Wlnesburg. Ohio.
Bromfield, Louis, The Farm
209
Boyd, Thomas, Samuel Drummond.
Brown, Rollo Walter, The Firemakers.
Burnett, William Riley, Goodbye to the P a s t .
Chesnutt, Charles W., “The Wife of His Youth," in The Wife
of His Youth.
Dreiser, Theodore, Jennie Gerhardt.
Havlghurst, Walter, The Quiet Shore.
Hay, Jobg. The Breadwinners.
Kemp, Harry, Mabel Turner.
Moody, Minnie Hite, Towers with Ivy.
Powell, Dawn, The Bride *s House.
Skinner, Charles M., Myths and Legends of our own Lands.
Tourg&e, Albion ¥., Figs and Thistles.
Tully, Jim, Shanty Irish.
Watts, Mary S., Van Cleve.
Whitlock, Brand, J . Hardin and S o n .
_________, “Macochee’s First Campaign Fund," in The Gold Brick.
Wood, Eugene, Back Home and Folks Back H o m e .
The Modern Era 1900t
Bromfield, Louis, The Farm.
Brown, Rollo Walter, .The Hllllkin.
,
.•Toward Romance.
Brush, Katherine, Other W o m a n .
______ Red-Headed W o m a n .
Burnett, William Riley, Goodbye to the Past.
_________, King Cole.
Havlghurst, Walter, The Cfaiet Shore.
Moody, Minnie Hite, Towers with I v y .
Poling, Dan, The Furnace.
Powell, Dawn, Dance Night.
________ , She Walks in Beauty.
Santmyer, Helen Hoven, Herbs and Apples.
Whitlock, Brand, The Turn of the Balance.
APPENDIX
AUTHORS OF OHIO FICTION
Novelists
Author
Birthplace
Birth and Death
Ander aon, Sherwood
Ohio
1876 — 1941
Atkinson, Eleanor
Indiana
1863
-
Boyd, Thomas
Ohio
1898
-
Bromfield, Louis
Ohio
1896
-
Brown, Rollo Walter
Ohio
1880
-
Brush, Katherine
Connecticut
1902 -
Burnett, William Riley
Ohio
1899
Catherwood, Mary Hartwell Ohio
1847
1935
\
-
1892
Chesnutt, Charles W.
Ohio
1858 -
Colhy, Merle
Wisconsin
1902
Dre1ser, The odore
Indiana
1871 - 1941
Edmonds, Walter
New York
1903
mm'
Eggleston, Edward
Indiana
1837
-
1902
Grey, Zane
Ohio
1872
-
1940
Hale, E . Everett
Massachusetts
1822
-
1909
Hall, James
Pennsylvania
1793 - 1868
Havlghurst, Walter
Wisconsin
1901
-
H a y , John
Indiana
1838
mm
.Howells, William Dean
Ohio
1837 - 1920
Kemp, Harry
Ohio
1883 -
Minnegerode, Meade
England
1887
Moody, Minnie Hite
Ohio
mm
-
1905
Author
Birthplace
Birth and Death
Naylor, James Ball
Ohio
186©
Pidgin, Charles Felton
Massachusetts
1844
Poling, Daniel
Oregon
1884
Powell, Dawn
Ohio
1918
Richter, Conrad M.
Pennsylvania
1923
Roberts, Charles Humphrey Ohio
1858
Santmyer, Helen
Ohio
1895
S chuman, Mary
Ohio
Stowe, Harriet Beecher
Connecticut
1811
1896
Tourg&e, Albion Winegar
Ohio
1838
1905
Tully, Jim
Ohio
1881
Watts, Mary A.
Ohio
1868
Whitlock, Brand
Ohio
1869
Willsie, Honor& Morrow
Iowa
1860
Wood, Eugene
1923
Collectors of Legend
Carmer, Carl
New York
1893
Hulbert, Archer Butler
Vermont
1873
Kitchener, Charles H.
Skinner, Charles M.
1852
1907
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