Biographies & Memoirs in Ohio History


The works below are biographies & memoirs in Ohio history. See the right column for more info about this website.

Go Down to Collective Biographies

Early Years on the Western Reserve: With Extracts from Letters of Ephraim Brown and Family, 1805-1845

Cleveland: Clark 1916
Wing, George C.Go to Book

Ephraim Brown was apparently a wealthy and well-educated man who bought a large plot of land in Trumbull County in the Western Reserve in 1814; moving his family there in the following year from New Hampshire. This book is a biography making use of extended quotes from Brown’s correspondence. That correspondence doesn’t contain many details or description of Dayton, or even of the material aspects of the Browns’ lives. The correspondence instead contains commentary on the political issues of the day, advice from father to children on career, education and other subjects, and in general provides a window into the mental perspectives and preoccupations of people of that class and era.

Also see histories of Cleveland and the Western Reserve in: History of Ohio Cities, Counties & Regions

Brown, Ephraim (1775-1845)

Johnny Appleseed, a Voice in the Wilderness: The Story of the Pioneer John Chapman. Centennial Tribute

Paterson, N.J: Swedenborg Press. 1945
Hatcher, Harlan, and Marshall, LeslieGo to Book

John Chapman (1774-1845), often called Johnny Appleseed, was an American pioneer nurseryman who introduced apple trees to large parts of Pennsylvania, Ohio, Indiana, and Illinois, as well as the northern counties of present day West Virginia. He became an American legend while still alive, due to his kind, generous ways, his leadership in conservation, and the symbolic importance he attributed to apples. He was also a missionary for The New Church (Swedenborgian) and the inspiration for many museums and historical sites such as the Johnny Appleseed Museum in Urbana, Ohio and the Johnny Appleseed Heritage Center in between Lucas, Ohio and Mifflin, Ohio.
-Wikipedia entry “Johnny Appleseed”

Chapman, John (1774-1845)

The Life of Philander Chase: First Bishop of Ohio and Illinois, Founder of Kenyon and Jubilee Colleges

NY: Dutton. 1903
Smith, Laura C.Go to Book

Philander Chase (1775-1852) grew up in New Hampshire and graduated from Dartmouth. He worked as a missionary in western New York, had a church post in New Orleans, and then was rector of Christ’s Church in Hartford, Conn. He went to Ohio in 1817 to build up the Episcopal church, becoming Bishop of the church there in 1819. In 1824 he founded and became the president of Kenyon College and Bexley Hall seminary in Gambier, OH. In his last years he founded Jubilee College in Peoria, IL.

Chase, Philander (1775-1852)

Salmon Portland Chase

Boston: Houghton, Mifflin. 1889
Hart, Albert H. Go to Book

Salmon Portland Chase (1808-1873) was an American politician and jurist who served as U.S. Senator from Ohio and the 23rd Governor of Ohio; as U.S. Treasury Secretary under President Abraham Lincoln; and as the sixth Chief Justice of the United States.

“It is not the purpose of this volume to give a detailed account of Mr. Chase’s private life, nor even to describe fully his long, eventful, and varied public career, but rather to present him as the central figure in three episodes which are of great historic importance, – the Western political anti-slavery movement, the financial measures of the Civil War, and the process of judicial reconstruction.”
-author’s Preface

Chase, Salmon Portland (1808-1873)

Biographies & Memoirs in Ohio History

“The Original Diary of Mrs. Laura (Downs) Clark, of Wakeman, Ohio; from June 21 to October 26, 1818”

The Firelands Pioneer XXI 1920 2308-2326

Norwalk, OH: Firelands Historical Society
Clark, Laura (Downs)Go to Article

Mrs. Clark and her husband Dr. Hermon Clark were the second or third family to settle in Wakeman, arriving June 19, 1818, where they lived in a log cabin. In this diary she recorded her daily activities as well as her unhappiness with the isolation of the frontier.

Clark, Laura Downs (1798-1863)

Reminiscences of Levi Coffin, the Reputed President of the Underground Railroad …

Cincinnati: Western Tract Society. 1876
Coffin, LeviGo to Book

(title continued) “… being a brief history of the labors of a lifetime in behalf of the slave, with the stories of numerous fugitives, who gained their freedom through his instrumentality, and many other incidents”

Levi Coffin (1798-1877) was a Quaker who, with his wife Catharine, sheltered over a hundred escaping slaves per year while living in Fountain City (then Newport) in Wayne County, IN from 1826 to 1847. Their home was known as ‘Grand Central Station’ on the Underground Railroad because of the scale of their work. He then moved to Cincinnati, OH where he continued to be very active in the Underground Railroad. One of the slaves they helped was immortalized as Eliza, the heroine of Harriet Beecher Stowe’s classic novel Uncle Tom’s Cabin.
– From Indiana Historical Society

Also see: Anti-Slavery before the Civil War

For biographies of people in the American abolition movement, see:
– Swift, Lindsay, William Lloyd Garrison in Century Past Biographies: G & H
;
Stowe, Harriet Beecher, Life of Harriet Beecher Stowe in Biographies & Memoirs in Ohio History;
Washington, Booker Taliaferro, Frederick Douglass in Century Past Biographies: D, E & F;
Haviland, Laura S. , A Woman’s Life-Work in Biographies & Memoirs in Michigan History

Coffin, Levi (1798-1877)

The Life, Journals, and Correspondence of Manasseh Cutler, LL.D.

Cincinnati: Clarke 1888
Cutler, William Parker, and Cutler, Julia Perkins, eds.Go to Book

Manasseh Cutler (1742-1823) was a Massachusetts clergyman when he became a founding member of the Ohio Company of Associates and played a role in the adoption of the Northwest Ordinance of 1787. He negotiated with Congress for the Ohio company to purchase 1.5 million acres of land in Ohio for 8 cents per acre, then led the first group of settlers to Ohio. In 1888 the group established Marietta. In the following year Cutler returned to Massachusetts, where he was involved in state government for the next two decades.

Cutler, Manasseh (1742-1823)

“Dr. Daniel Drake’s Memoir of the Miami Country, 1779-1794”

Historical and Philosophical Society of Ohio, Quarterly Publications XVIII (April-Sep 1923) 45-94

City, Publisher
Drake, Daniel. edited by B. W. BondGo to Article

This link takes you to a list of journals, not directly to the article. Click on “Quarterly Publication of the HPSO 1906-1923” and go to volume 18, no.2-3.

This is an historical account of the early history of Cincinnati and its region.

For more works by Dr. Daniel Drake, see the Ohio Social History page of this website. For more information about Dr. Drake, see Daniel Drake and his Followers, by Otto Juettner on this page, and also see the biographical sketch “Dr. Daniel Drake, the Franklin of Cincinnati”, p. 299 in Beginnings of Literary Culture in the Ohio Valley, by W. H. Venable, on the Ohio Cultural History: Education, Recreation, the Arts page of this website.

Drake, Daniel (1785-1852)

Daniel Drake and his Followers: Historical and Biographical Sketches, 1785-1909

Cincinnati: Harvey. 1909
Juettner, OttoGo to Book

Daniel Drake (1785-1852) was a physician and writer who established a medical practice in Cincinnati in 1807. He helped organize the Medical College of Ohio in Cincinnati in 1819, and in 1827 founded the Western Journal of the Medical and Physical Sciences, which he edited until 1848.

This volume is a history of the medical profession and medical colleges in Cincinnati and Ohio that also contains numerous brief biographical sketches. Chapter headings are:

-Daniel Drake’s Childhood
-Drake as a Medical Student
-Early Medical Annals of Cincinnati
-Drake as a Physician and Public Man
-Drake as a Medical Teacher
-Drake as a Medical Author
-Medical Cincinnati After 1800
-The Medical College of Ohio
-The Medical College of Ohio (Second Decade)
-The Medical Department of the Cincinnati College (Drake’s School)
-The Medical College of Ohio (Third and Fourth Decades)
-The Medical College of Ohio (1860-1909)
-The Cincinnati College of Medicine and Surgery (Baker’s College)
-The Miami Medical College (1852-1857)
-The Cincinnati Eclectic Medical Institute
-The Pulte Medical College
-The Resurrectionists
-Hospitals
-Medical Organizations 20
-Medical Authors and Journalists (also contains a long list of medical books prepared, written or published in Cincinnati)

Also see:
– Dittrick, Howard, “The Equipment, Instruments and Drugs of Pioneer Physicians of Ohio” in Ohio Economic History
;
Kemper, G. W. H., A Medical History of the State of Indiana in Indiana Economic History;
Zeuch, Lucius H., M.D., compiled, History of Medical Practice in Illinois in Illinois Economic History;
Michigan State Medical Society, Medical History of Michigan (Volume 1) in Michigan Economic History
Frank, Louis Frederick (Dr.), The Medical History of Milwaukee: 1834-1914 in Wisconsin Economic History

Drake, Daniel (1785-1852)

Biographies & Memoirs in Ohio History

The Ohio Hunter; or, A Brief Sketch of the Frontier life of Samuel E. Edwards, the Great Bear and Deer Hunter of the State of Ohio

Battle Creek, MI: Review and Herald 1893
Edwards, Samuel E. Go to Book

Edwards, Samuel E. (1810- ?)

Mike Fink; A Legend of the Ohio

Cincinnati: James 1853
Bennett, EmersonGo to Book

Fink (1770/1780 – c. 1823) “called “king of the keelboaters”, was a semi-legendary brawler and river boatman who exemplified the tough and hard-drinking men who ran keelboats up and down the Ohio and Mississippi Rivers.”
– Wikipedia entry

Fink, Mike (1770/1780 – c. 1823)

Timothy Flint, Pioneer, Missionary, Author, Editor, 178O-1840: …

Cleveland: Clark 1911
Kirkpatrick, John ErvinGo to Book

(title continued) “… the story of his life among the pioneers and frontiersmen in the Ohio and Mississippi Valley and in New England and the South”

Timothy Flint (1780-1840) was one of the most significant literary figures in the early history of the Old Northwest. He was a minister and graduate of Harvard who went west in 1815 to carry out missionary work. For the next ten years he traveled in the Mississippi Valley, publishing in 1826 a memoir called Recollections of the Last Ten Years. In 1833 he published Biographical Memoir of Daniel Boone, which did much to develop the Boone legend. He also founded and edited the Western Monthly, a literary magazine in Cincinnati from 1827-1830.

“Timothy Flint was a conspicuous man at the end of the eighteenth and in the early decades of the nineteenth centuries. He was preacher, pioneer, editor, and novelist, and contributed to the London ‘Athenaeum’ the first sketch of American literary history. What drew the attention of the religious world of the day to this versatile genius was the fact that his chemical studies led his parishioners to think that he was counterfeit, just as Pope Sylvester II, for somewhat similar reason, was accused of being in league with the devil.
… It throws considerable light on the history of our country, its literature, and its press in the period between 1780 and 1840, particularly as regards the pioneer and frontiersmen in the Ohio and Mississippi valley, in New England and Virginia.”
– The Book Review Digest

You can find books that Flint authored on this website, on these pages: Ohio Novels and Historical Fiction, Great Lakes Novels and Historical Fiction, Native Americans in the History of the Great Lakes, and Great Lakes General History

Flint, Timothy (1780-1840)

Reminiscences of James A. Garfield

Cincinnati: Standard 1887
Fuller, Corydon E. Go to Book

(title continued) ” … with notes preliminary and collateral”

Garfield, James A., U.S. President (1831-1881)

Personal Memoirs of U. S. Grant

Century 1909
Grant, F. D., ed. Go to Vol 1|Go to Vol 2

DDC: Biography

“Grant’s simple record of his own life is a true classic. Covers his life to the close of the Civil War.”
— A.L.A. Catalog 1926
When one considers that the writer was a man of action, altogether without experience in literary work, one is surprised at the remarkable skill with which the narrative is written. The sentences often have the same pithy directness and brevity that marked his despatches from the field of battle. As a general he mastered details but was not overwhelmed by them: so here, he sees the whole field and leads the reader easily along from one principal event to another. The native simplicity and lack of affectation so characteristic of the author are noticeable features of the work.”
– Standard Catalog for Public Libraries : Biography Section (1927)

For books on U.S. history in the late 19th century, see on this site: Section 973.8 Reconstruction Period on U.S. History; 1865 to 1920

Grant, Ulysses Simpson, U. S. President (1822-1885)

“The Life of Charles Hammond. The First Great Journalist of the Old Northwest.”

Ohio History XLIII (1934) 337- 427.

Columbus: Ohio Historical Society
Weisenburger, F. P. Go to Article

Charles Hammond (1779-1840) was a politician, attorney and journalist. Raised and educated in Virginia, he moved to Ohio in 1803 and began practicing law. He served in the state legislature from 1813 to 1822, and from 1823 to 1838 served as the reporter of the Ohio Supreme Court. He practiced law throughout this time. He also edited the Ohio Federalist from 1812 to 1818, and the Cincinnati Gazette from 1826 to 1840.

Hammond, Charles (1779-1840)

Warren G. Harding – The Man

Boston: Chapple 1920
Chapple, Joe MitchellGo to Book

Harding, Warren G., U.S. President (1865-1923)

The Life of Rutherford Birchard Hayes

Boston: Houghton Mifflin 1914
Williams, Charles RichardGo to Vol 1|Go to Vol 2

(title continued) ” … Nineteenth President of the United States”

Hayes, Rutherford Birchard, U.S. President (1822-1893)

Biographies & Memoirs in Ohio History

Recollections of Life in Ohio, from 1813-1840

Cincinnati. 1895
Howells, William CooperGo to Book

This is a narrative of William Cooper Howell’s life to age 37 and a portrait of life in early eastern Ohio, written at the end of his life and completed by his son, the literary figure William Dean Howells. William C. Howells immigrated to the U.S. with his parents from Wales as a boy, and the family eventually made its way to a farm in Ohio. Much of this book is about life as a farmer, but also includes the author’s various attempts at making a living as a teacher, printer, and editor. An unusually literate and reflective memoir of rural life.

Howells, William Cooper (1807-1894)

My Year in a Log Cabin

NY: 1893
Howells, William DeanGo to Book

William Dean Howells (1837-1920) was an American realist author and literary critic. Nicknamed “The Dean of American Letters”, he was particularly known for his tenure as editor of the Atlantic Monthly as well as his own prolific writings, including the Christmas story “Christmas Every Day” and the novel The Rise of Silas Lapham.
Wikipedia entry for “William Dean Howells”

This short book is a recollection of when, in 1850, his father moved the family to a new town where they lived in an old log cabin. It is filled with anecdotes about small-town and rural life in Ohio. Also of interest is the autobiography of Howells’ father, William Cooper Howells, found on this web page.

Howells, William Dean (1837-1920)

Years of my Youth

NY: Harper and Brothers 1916
Howells, William DeanGo to Book

William Dean Howells (1837-1920) was possibly Ohio’s greatest literary figure. His father migrated to Ohio by flatboat and keelboat, and moved about within Ohio often as he followed his trade of printer and editor. William Dean was born at Martin’s Ferry on the Ohio River, and lived at Hamilton, Dayton, Columbus and Jefferson. He published over 100 books in his lifetime and served as editor of Atlantic and Harpers; probably the most significant literary magazines in the U.S. at the time. See the books by William Dean Howells and his father, William Cooper Howells, on this page.

See also: Howells, William Dean, Stories of Ohio in Ohio Novels and Historical Fiction

“This volume of reminiscences has Ohio for its scene. It begins with his childhood, but the incidents that made up “A boy’s town” are passed over lightly. Youth with Its ambitions and dreams are dealt with more fully and we see the author setting type, writing sketches for the Ohio Farmer and poems for the Atlantic Monthly, rejoicing equally over an acceptance by either. During the critical years preceding the civil war he was serving on the staff of the Ohio State Journal and taking a part in vital events. The autobiography is carried only to the time when Mr. Howells went abroad as consul at Venice, this step marking his departure from his native state.”
– The Book Review Digest

Howells, William Dean (1837-1920)

“Samuel Huntington: A Connecticut Aristocrat on the Ohio Frontier”

Ohio History 89 (Autumn 1980): 419—38.

Columbus: Ohio Historical Society
Brown, Jeffrey PaulGo to Article

This article traces Huntington’s career, and provides information about early Ohio state politics, during the period 1800-1812. “Born to one of Connecticut’s most prominent families, [Huntington] moved to frontier Ohio, became one of the leading figures in Great Lakes politics, and headed the coalition of conservative Republicans and Federalists that broke the liberal Republican hold in the state. An aristocratic leader in a democratic society, Huntington’s career illustrates the ease with which a prominent easterner could win high office in the sparsely settled West.” p. 419

Huntington, Samuel (1731-1796)

“Logan, The Mingo Chief 1710-1780”

Ohio History XX, April 1911/Number 2, 137-75.

Columbus: Ohio Historical Society
Thwaites, Reuben GoldGo to Article

Logan (1723? -1780) was a war leader born in the Cayuga nation in the Iroquois Confederacy. He moved to the Ohio Country in the 1760s, and his revenge for the massacre of members of his family by American frontiersman in 1774 sparked a period of Indian wars along the border. “Logan’s Lament” was a speech supposedly made by him later that year, which became very well-known in American history.

This biography is from the collection of Lyman Draper manuscripts at the Wisconsin Historical Society.

Also see: Native Americans in the History of the Great Lakes and Ohio Indians – Native Americans in Ohio History

For more about prominent Native American leaders in the Old Northwest, see:
– Various books and articles on Tecumseh, The Prophet, Logan, Cornstalk, Bluejacket and Joseph Brant in Biographies & Memoirs in Great Lakes History
;
Cole, Cyrenus, I am a Man: the Indian Black Hawk in Biographies & Memoirs in Illinois History;
Quaife, Milo Milton, ed., The Life of Black Hawk; Ma-Ka-Tai-Me-She-Kia-Kiak in Biographies & Memoirs in Illinois History;
Ellis, Edward S., The Life of Pontiac, the Conspirator, Chief of the Ottawas in Native Americans in the History of the Great Lakes;
Turner, F. N. (Dr.), “Chief Okemos” in Native Americans in Michigan History;
Matson, Nehemiah, “Sketch of Shau-be-na, a Pottawattamie Chief” in Native Americans in Wisconsin History

Logan the Orator (1723?-1780)

The Life of William McKinley

Houghton 1916
Olcott, Charles Sumner Go to Vol 1|Go to Vol 2

DDC: Biography

Ohio politician and governor who was U.S. President from 1897 until his assassination in September 1901.
“The official biography based on correspondence and memoranda, devoted primarily to his political career.”
— A.L.A. Catalog 1926
Chapter headings are:

Volume I
1. Ancestry and Environment
2. Boyhood Days
3. The Volunteer
4. The Lawyer
5. Courtship and Marriage
6. Early Political Campaigns
7. The Tariff
8. The Protectionist
9. The McKinley Bill
10. The Currency
11. Sectionalism
12. Other Congressional Affairs
13. A National Figure
14. Governor of Ohio
15. The Presidential Campaign
16. Choosing the Cabinet
17. The Inauguration
18. The Dingley Tariff
19. The Currency
20. Civil-Service Reform
21. The Isthmian Canal
22. Hawaii
23. Cuba

Volume II
24. Intervention
25. The Spanish-American War
26. The End of the War
27. A Wave of Criticism
28. The Peace Negotiations
29. The Making of the Philippines
30. The New Government in the Antilles
31. China
32. Renomination and Reelection
33. Looking Forward
34. The Tragedy at Buffalo
35. Conclusion
Appendix

For background histories, see also on this site: U.S. History; 1865 to 1920

McKinley, William, U. S. President (1843-1901)

Sketches of the Life and Adventures of Jacob Parkhurst: …

Knightown, Ind: Knightown Home Journal Print 1842
Parkhurst, JacobGo to Book

(title continued) “… Written with His Own Hand When About Three Score and Ten Years of Age, Not for Speculation or Honor, but for the Benefit of the Rising Generation, Particularly of His Own Descendants: Adding a Few Facts to the Many Recorded Instances of the Sufferings of the Early Pioneers Along the Ohio River”

As a child, Parkhurst lived with family in Washington county, PA (not far from Wheeling, WV), where they were under repeated threat of Indian attack until the end of the Revolutionary War. When he was old enough to leave home he migrated to Ohio. This short book contains many anecdotes and descriptions of hardscrabble frontier life.

Parkhurst, Jacob (1772-1863)

Biographies & Memoirs in Ohio History

Memoirs of the Life of Mrs. Sarah Peter. Two volumes

Cincinnati: Clarke 1889
King, Margaret RiversGo to Vol 1|Go to Vol 2

Mrs. Sarah Peters (1800-1877) was an Ohio Christian philanthropist. This biography was written by her daughter-in-law.

For works about leading American women of the 19th century, see:
– Adams, Elmer Cleveland and Foster, Warren Dunham, Heroines of modern progress in Century Past Collective Biography A – F
;
Parkman, Mary Rosetta, Heroines of service in Century Past Collective Biography G – P;
Worthington & Co. , Our Famous Women in Century Past Collective Biography Q – Z

Peters, Sarah (1800-1877)

Life of Rufus Putnam, with extracts from his journal and an account of the first settlement in Ohio

Cleveland: Williams 1886
Cone, MaryGo to Book

See the entry for The Memoirs of Rufus Putnam, compiled by Rowena Buell, on this page.

Putnam, Rufus, (1738-1824)

Biographies & Memoirs in Ohio History

The Memoirs of Rufus Putnam and Certain Official Papers and Correspondence by Rufus Putnam

Boston: Houghton, Mifflin 1903
Buell, Rowena. comp.Go to Book

“Rufus Putnam (1738-1824) was a colonial military officer during the French and Indian War, and a general in the Continental Army during the American Revolutionary War. As an organizer of the Ohio Company, he was instrumental in the initial settling of the Northwest Territory in present-day Ohio following the war. In 1788 Putnam led a group of Revolutionary veterans to settle the land in what became Ohio. These pioneers arrived at the confluence of the Ohio and Muskingum rivers on April 7, 1788, where they established Marietta, Ohio as the first permanent United States settlement in the Northwest Territory.”
-Wikipedia entry for “Rufus Putnam”

See also the biography of Rufus Putnam by Mary Cone, on this page

Putnam, Rufus, (1738-1824)

Biographies & Memoirs in Ohio History

Eddie Rickenbacker

NY: Macmillan 1946
Adamson, Hans ChristianGo to Book

Rickenbacker, Eddie (1890-1973)

“Reminiscences of a Pioneer”

Ohio History XIX, January-April 1910, Numbers 1 & 2, 190-227.

Columbus: Ohio Historical Society
Rogers, Thomas, ed. by C. L. MartzolffGo to Article

The author of this 35-page memoir was Thomas Rogers, a Highland County, OH pioneer who had lived for a time in Kentucky before moving his family in 1795 to Paint Creek, near Chillicothe. He wrote this account in old age. Footnotes with background information were added by a local historian.

Rogers, Thomas (1782- ?)

Biographies & Memoirs in Ohio History

Personal Memoirs

Appleton 1886
Sherman, William TecumsehGo to Vol 1|Go to Vol 2

DDC: Biography

Admirably clear and direct. Free use of his letters, orders and reports gives great interest and value. Closes with great review in Washington, but concluding chapter on military lessons of the war full of knowledge, wisdom and sound sense.
— A.L.A. Catalog 1904

Sherman, William Tecumseh (1820-1891)

St. Clair Papers: The Life and Public Services of Arthur St. Clair

Cincinnati: Robert Clarke & Co. 1882
St Clair, Arthur and Smith, William H., ed. Go to Vol 1|Go to Vol 2

Arthur St. Clair served as a British Officer in the French and Indian War, rose to the rank of Major General in the Continental Army during the Revolution, was a Pennsylvania delegate to the Confederation Congress in the mid-1780s, and was appointed the first governor of the Northwest Territory. When the territory was divided in 1800, he became the governor of Ohio Territory.

See histories of Ohio at: Ohio General History

For U.S. histories of this period, see: U.S. History; Constitutional Period to 1845

For biographies and memoirs of early 19th century governors in the Great Lakes states, see:
– Edwards, Ninian Wirt, History of Illinois, from 1778 to 1833; and Life and Times of Ninian Edwards in Illinois History Politics & Government;
Esarey, Logan, ed., Messages and Letters of William Henry Harrison in Biographies & Memoirs in Indiana History;
Alvord, Clarence W. ed., Governor Edward Coles in Biographies & Memoirs in Illinois History;
Reynolds, John, My Own Times, Embracing also the History of my Life in Biographies & Memoirs in Illinois History;
Hemans, Lawton Thomas, Life and Times of Stevens Thomson Mason in Biographies & Memoirs in Michigan History;
McLauglin, Andrew C., Lewis Cass in Biographies & Memoirs in Michigan History

St. Clair, Arthur (1737-1818)

Life of Harriet Beecher Stowe: compiled from her letters and journals

Boston: 1889
Stowe, Harriet BeecherGo to Book

Harriet Elizabeth Beecher Stowe (1812-1896) was born in Litchfield, Connecticut; the daughter of Dr. Lyman Beecher, a distinguished clergyman. The family moved in 1833 to Cincinnati. In 1836 Harriet married Rev. Calvin Stowe, who later became a professor at Bowdoin College in Maine. The couple was living in Maine in 1851 when she began publishing “Uncle Tom’s Cabin” in weekly installments. This depiction of life for African Americans under slavery was then published as a book in 1852. It was enormously popular, selling an unprecedented 300,000 copies in the U.S. in its first year. It was also widely dramatized on stage. The story energized anti-slavery forces in the North and had a powerful impact on the growing rift between north and south in the 1850s.

During her years in Cincinnati she wrote stories for the Cincinnati “Gazette” and other periodicals. A number of these were collected and published in a volume entitled “The Mayflower“.

Also see: Anti-Slavery before the Civil War

See also: Books about 19th Century American Women Authors

For biographies of people in the American abolition movement, see:
Swift, Lindsay, William Lloyd Garrison in Century Past Biographies: G & H
;
Coffin, Levi, Reminiscences of Levi Coffin, the Reputed President of the Underground Railroad in Biographies & Memoirs in Indiana History;
Washington, Booker Taliaferro, Frederick Douglass in Century Past Biographies: D, E & F; and
Haviland, Laura S. , A Woman’s Life-Work in Biographies & Memoirs in Michigan History

Stowe, Harriet Elizabeth Beecher (1812-1896)

William Howard Taft

NY: Minton, Balch 1930
Duffy, Herbert S.Go to Book

Taft, William Howard, U.S. President (1857-1930)

Biographies & Memoirs in Ohio History

Reminiscences of the Last Sixty Five Years, Commencing with the Battle of Lexington. Also Sketches of His Own Life and Times. Two Volumes

Hartford, Conn: 1840
Thomas, E. S.Go to Vol 1|Go to Vol 2

Ebenezer Smith Thomas (1775-1845) was raised in Cambridge, MA and then lived in Charleston, SC for 20 years, working as a bookseller and newspaper editor. From 1816 to 1828 he farmed in Baltimore, MD and served in the MD legislature. In 1828, after losing a fortune in real estate transactions, he moved his family to Cincinnati, OH, where he was the proprietor of the Commercial Daily Advertiser, and later the Cincinnati Evening Post.
-biographical details from the website of the Edgar Allan Poe Society of Baltimore

Thomas, Ebenezer Smith (1775-1845)

Life of Edward Tiffin, First Governor of Ohio

Chillicothe, OH: Horney 1897
Gilmore, William EdwardGo to Book

Tiffin, Edward (1766-1829)

Experiences of Pioneer Life in the Early Settlements and Cities of the West

Chicago: Sumner 1881
Walker, James B.Go to Book

James Barr Walker (1805-1887) was born in Philadelphia and went west as a young man. He started out professionally as a printer, spent four years studying at Western Reserve College, worked in the mercantile business, and then entered the ministry in 1841. He was pastor of the Congregational Church in Mansfield, OH for many years, where he established an orphanage, and was later a lecturer at theological seminaries in Oberlin and Chicago, IL. He published a number of theological or philosophical works and a volume of poetry, in addition to this memoir.

Walker, James Barr (1805-1887)

Biographies & Memoirs in Ohio History

Forty Years of It

NY: Appleton 1914
Whitlock, BrandGo to Book

Brand Whitlock (1869-1934) was the son of a Methodist minister who moved from town to town in Ohio. Brand started as a newspaper reporter and became a celebrated lawyer. He served four terms as mayor of Toledo (1906-1914) and then was appointed U.S. Minister to Belgium during WWI. Throughout his career he published many works, both non-fiction and fiction. This autobiography tracks his life and career from his childhood through his last term as Toledo mayor.

“Brand Whitlock was born in 1869. The incident described in the first chapter of this book occurred in his tenth year, so it follows that the book itself is an autobiography of the author from the age of ten up to the present, but it is more than that, a history of the progress of democracy in the middle west from 1879 to 1914. Urbana, the first election of Cleveland, Chicago, the hanging of the anarchists, the World’s fair, the nomination of Bryan, Eugene V. Debs, Cleveland, Toledo, Tom Johnson, Golden-rule Jones, are some of the places, events, and people who figure in Mr. Whitlock’s narrative. The last chapters are devoted to his own experience as mayor of Toledo and to a discussion of the problems of city government.
“From cover to cover ‘Forty years of it’ will be found an intensely graphic portrayal of American life and its social upheavals as viewed by a sturdy man who is not afraid to speak and to write as he thinks.”
– The Book Review Digest

See the entry for the Toledo’s Attic website in History of Ohio Cities, Counties & Regions

For U.S. history during this period, see also: Haworth, Paul Leland, The United States in our Own Times 1865-1920 in Section 973.8 on U.S. History; 1865 to 1920

Whitlock, Brand (1869-1934)

The Wright Brothers

NY: Harcourt, Brace 1943
Kelly, Fred C. Go to Book

(title continued) ” … a biography authorized by Orville Wright”

Wright, Wilbur (1867-1912) Wright, Orville (1871-1948)


Collective Biographies

American Life Histories: Manuscripts from the Federal Writers’ Project, 1936 to 1940

Washington, D.C.: Library of Congress
Go to Collection

This collection of life histories consists of approximately 2,900 documents, compiled and transcribed by more than 300 writers from 24 states, working on the Folklore Project of the Federal Writers’ Project, a New Deal jobs program that was part of the U.S. Works Progress (later Work Projects) Administration (WPA) from 1936 to 1940. Typically 2,000-15,000 words in length, the documents vary in form from narratives to dialogues to reports to case histories. They chronicle vivid life stories of Americans who lived at the turn of the century and include tales of meeting Billy the Kid, surviving the 1871 Chicago fire, pioneer journeys out West, grueling factory work, and the immigrant experience.
– From the Collection’s Website.

Social life and customs, Economic conditions, Anecdotes

Online County and Town Histories Website

Go to Collection

This website has links to numerous free online histories and biographical collections published in the late 19th and early 20th century. When the site opens you will see “New Hampshire”. Scroll down to
“Ohio”. There are 5 state-wide biographical collections, 4 regional collections, and histories, with biographies, of the all the counties listed below. For some counties there are several histories.

Allen County, Ashland County, Ashtabula County, Athens County, Auglaize County, Belmont County, Butler County, Carroll County, Champaign County, Clark County, Clinton County County, Columbiana County, Coshocton County, Crawford County, Cuyahoga County, Darke County, Defiance County, Delaware County, Erie County, Fairfield County, Fayette County, Franklin County, Fulton County, Geauga County, Greene County, Guernsey County, Hamilton County, Hancock County, Hardin County, Harrison County, Henry County, Highland County, Hocking County, Holmes County, Huron County, Jackson County, Jefferson County, Knox County, Lake County, Licking County, Logan County, Lorraine County, Lucas County, Madison County, Mahoning County, Marion County, Medina County, Meigs County, Mercer County, Miami County, Monroe County, Montgomery County, Morrow County, Muskingum County, Noble County, Ottawa County, Perry County, Pickaway County, Pike County, Portage County, Preble County, Putnam County, Richland County, Ross County, Sandusky County, Scioto County, Seneca County, Shelby County, Stark County, Summit County, Trumbull County, Tuscarawas County, Union County, Van Wert County, Vinton County, Warren County, Washington County, Wayne County, Williams County, Wood County, Wyandot County.

See histories of Ohio at: Ohio General History

For histories of the Ohio region before it became Ohio Territory, see: Great Lakes General History

Biography, Ohio History

Biographical and Historical Memoirs of the Early Pioneer Settlers of Ohio with Narratives of Incidents and Occurrences in 1775

Cincinnati: Derby 1852
Hildreth, S. P., M.D.Go to Book

Chapter headings are:

-Introduction
-Rufus Putnam
-Abraham Whipple
-James Mitchell Varnum
-Samuel Holden Parsons
-Benjamin Tupper
-Ebenezer Sproat
-Jonathan Devol
-Return Jonathan Meigs
-Griffin Greene
-Paul Fearing
-Joseph and Rebecca Gilman
-Benjamin Ives and Hannah Gilman
-Mary Lake
-Daniel Story
-Jabez True
-William Dana
-Nathaniel Cushing
-Jonathan Haskell
-Ebenezer Battelle
-Israel Putnam
-Nathan Goodale
-Robert Bradford
-Aaron Waldo Putnam
-Jonathan Stone
-Robert Oliver
-Haffield White
-Dean Tyler
-William Gray
-William Stacey
-The First Settlement of Athens County, Ohio
-Jervis Cutler
-A History of the First Settlement of Amestown, in Athens County, Ohio
-Benjamin Brown
-Joseph Barker
-Hamilton Kerr
-Isaac and Rebecca Williams
-Harman and Margaret Blennerhassett
-Appendix

See histories of Ohio at: Ohio General History

Pioneers, Rufus Putnam, James Mitchell Varnum, Samuel Holden Parsons, Benjamin Tupper, Israel Putnam, Jabez True, Return Jonathan Meigs, Ebenezer Sproat, Harman Blennerhassett, Ohio biography

A Biographical Cyclopedia and Portrait Gallery of Distinguished Men …

Cincinnati: Yorston 1879
Brennan, J. Fletcher, ed.Go to Vol 1|Go to Vol 2

(title continued) “… with an Historical Sketch, of the State of Ohio. Illustrated with portraits on steel by the best American and English artists”

A two-volume collection of biographies of over 700 Ohio notables, a majority of whom were still living at the time of publication in 1880. This also contains over 200 high-quality portraits. Due to the layout and print size, the size of this work is much greater than its 700 pages would indicate. Even the shorter entries contain an unusual level of detail about lives and careers.

See the list of resources on this website for: Genealogy & Local History Research

online biography

Ohio Authors and Their Books. Biographical Data and Selective Bibliographies for Ohio Authors, Native and Resident, 1796-1950

Cleveland: World 1962
Coyle, William, ed., Go to Book

This mid-20th century reference work has 700 pages of biographical sketches of Ohio authors.

For more works on Ohio writers, see: Ohio Cultural History: Education, Recreation, the Arts

See also: Books about 19th Century American Women Authors

American literature, bibliography, Ohio authors

Progressive Men of Northern Ohio

Cleveland: Plain Dealer 1906
Plain DealerGo to Book

Brief biographical sketches, with portraits, of over 1,000 living men.


We also have hundreds of biographies of Americans and famous people worldwide on our Century Past Free Online Library. Visit the Biography Index.


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