March 1st, 1803 – Happy Birthday Ohio

Today-In-History

The name “Ohio” originated from Iroquois word ohi-yo’, meaning “great river” or “large creek”. The state, originally partitioned from the Northwest Territory, was admitted to the Union as the 17th state (and the first under the Northwest Ordinance) on March 1st, 1803. Although there are conflicting narratives regarding the origin of the nickname, Ohio is historically known as the “Buckeye State” (relating to the Ohio buckeye tree) and Ohioans are also known as “Buckeyes”.

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The Ohio Steampunk Society flag

It was on February 19th, 1803, that US President Thomas Jefferson signed an act of Congress that approved Ohio’s boundaries and constitution. However, Congress had never passed a resolution formally admitting Ohio as the 17th state. The current custom of Congress declaring an official date of statehood did not begin until 1812, with Louisiana‘s admission as the 18th state. Although no formal resolution of admission was required, when the oversight was discovered in 1953, Ohio congressman George H. Bender introduced a bill in Congress to admit Ohio to the Union retroactive to March 1st, 1803, the date on which the Ohio General Assembly first convened. At a special session at the old state capital in Chillicothe, the Ohio state legislature approved a new petition for statehood that was delivered to Washington, D.C. on horseback. On August 7th, 1953 (the year of Ohio’s 150th anniversary), President Eisenhower signed a congressional joint resolution that officially declared March 1st, 1803 the date of Ohio’s admittance into the Union.

Ohio has had three capital cities: Chillicothe, Zanesville, and Columbus. Chillicothe was the capital from 1803 to 1810. The capital was then moved to Zanesville for two years, as part of a state legislative compromise, in order to get a bill passed. The capital was then moved back to Chillicothe, which was the capital from 1812 to 1816. Finally, the capital was moved to Columbus, in order to have it near the geographic center of the state, where it would be more accessible to most citizens.

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Grant and Sherman

Ohio’s central position and its population gave it an important place during the Civil War. The Ohio River was a vital artery for troop and supply movements, as were Ohio’s railroads. Ohio contributed more soldiers per-capita than any other state in the Union. In 1862, the state’s morale was badly shaken in the aftermath of the battle of Shiloh, a costly victory in which Ohio forces suffered 2,000 casualties. Later that year, when Confederate troops under the leadership of Stonewall Jackson threatened Washington, D.C., Ohio governor David Tod still could recruit 5,000 volunteers to provide three months of service. Almost 35,000 Ohioans died in the conflict, and thirty thousand were physically wounded. By the end of the Civil War, the Union’s top three generals–Ulysses S. Grant, William Tecumseh Sherman, and Philip Sheridan–were all from Ohio.

Ohio Mother of Presidents

Eight US Presidents hailed from Ohio at the time of their elections, giving rise to its nickname “Mother of Presidents”, a sobriquet it shares with Virginia. It is also termed “Modern Mother of Presidents,” in contrast to Virginia’s status as the origin of presidents earlier in American history. Seven Presidents were born in Ohio, making it second to Virginia’s eight. Virginia-born William Henry Harrison lived most of his life in Ohio and is also buried there. Harrison conducted his political career while living on the family compound, founded by his father-in-law, John Cleves Symmes, in North Bend, Ohio. The seven presidents born in Ohio were Ulysses S. Grant, Rutherford B. Hayes, James A. Garfield, Benjamin Harrison (grandson of William Henry Harrison), William McKinley, William Howard Taft and Warren G. Harding.

“Today in History” on The Pandora Society dot com is primarily focused on Victorian and Edwardian history and does not always have a direct connection to Steampunk, Dieselpunk, or whatever punk; in fact it rarely does, but it is our hope that in sharing these historical events they might serve as some inspiration to the writers in our community to create potential alternative history stories which we look forward to reading 🙂


 

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