Cincinnati City Directory 1819: A Blood-drenched History

See full size imageThanks to the generosity of a certain history buff in the membership, the Mercantile has come into possession of a recently adopted and re-bound copy of the City Directory for 1819.  Now I know what you’re thinking: Zzzzzzzzzzz.  Not so!    Not only does this handsomely re-bound volume contain commercial, residential and meteorological data for early Cincinnati, but also the savage, sanguine history of the little town once known as Losantaville (the author explains that John Filson, with reference to its situation opposite the Licking river named it by combining L for Licking, Latin Os, for mouth, Greek anti, and French -ville.  Who knew!)  From there, he embarks on a historical sketch, and If you think our sports franchises have a scalping problem, read on.  One unfortunate Abner Hunt, for example, was part of a company that “fell in with a body of indians”.  Three days later, he was was found “with his legs and arms extended and fastened to the ground–his head scalped, his body mangled, and a blazing fire brand placed in his bowels.”   Subsequent wars with the indians were so fierce that “Cincinnati had little increase in its population.  About one half of its inhabitants were attached to the army and many of them killed.”  Further humiliations at the hands of the “savages” followed.  Also, there was pox.  Finally, under the Command of “Mad Anthony” Wayne, a massive battle ensued along the banks of the Miami.  The army countered the indians’ attempt to turn the left flank of their forces with a pincer move, was victorious, and went on to burn all indian dwellings and corn fields in the area.  The indians, according to the author, had the fear put into them, putting an end to “their unprovoked, protracted, and sanguinary hostilities.”  This gripping account, if you’re interested, is available online on the Cincinnati Public Library’s Virtual Library.  -Ed Scripsi

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Published in: on October 5, 2009 at 11:23 am  Comments (2)  

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2 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. 155 pages of totally fascinating online reading!

  2. Sweet heavens, only 1 comb maker ?
    Given the recent transportation brouhaha with highways, bridges & rail, I liked this from pg 155:
    Some considerable discussion has at various times agitated the public, touching the practicability of bridging the Ohio opposite Cincinnati. Many have ridiculed it as an hypothesis, at once absurd and visionary, whilst others have viewed it in a more serious light. It is now satisfactorily ascertained that a bridge may be permanently constructed, and at an expense vastly inferior to what has generally been supposed. The current of the Ohio here is never more rapid than that of the Susquehannah, Monongahela, and Allegheny sometimes are, where the experiment has been successfully proven. There is little doubt, if we can be allowed to form an opinion from the public enterprise which now distinguishes our inhabitants, that very few years will elapse before a splendid bridge will unite Cincinnati with Newport and Covington.


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