Ohio Before 1850 According to Morgan

An interesting article by the above title was posted on Harold Henderson’s genealogical blog Midwestern Microhistory. This particular Harold Henderson is probably not the same one who previously pastored the First Church of the Nazarene. The author of Midwestern Microhistory was a professional journalist turned genealogist . Although pastors could also be journalists, the liberal leaning environment of journalistic sphere would discourage most men and women of the cloth. I should have wrote most ministers of a traditional theological bent would find the modern media establishment frightfully alien.

Henderson’s posting, Ohio Before 1850 According to Morgan, is about a unique database of more than 10,000 “books, pamphlets, and broadsides printed in Ohio, from the earliest in 1796 through 1850. The creative genius of this historical collection was non-other than Richard P. Morgan of Willoughby, Ohio. The index is known as the Morgan Bibliography of Ohio Imprints, which is hosted on line by the Ohio Consortium of College Libraries and the State Library of Ohio” known as OhioLINK.

Of course, the actual books, pamphlets, and broadsides are now scattered in libraries and archives all over. The bibliography lists them on line by title, by author, by subject, and shows their physical location. Also available is a growing every-name index of more than 130,000 names of “Ohio People, Businesses and Institutions.

Being a curious fellow, I clicked on the link to the above index and typed in Xenia to see what would happen. To my amazement, it didn’t blow up or crash my computer or anything other than serve up 159 names of persons, organizations, and businesses. Some interesting businesses were Calvinist Book Concern Board, R. Disney, Office of the Free Press, Richard C. Langdon, Trader and Denny, Torch-Light Printing, and Wadham and Denny. What is unique about this list is that all of them were publishers. I could have listed many more printers.

Some interesting titles printed by Xenia’s publishers included:

Letters Addressed to Major James Galloway, Clerk of the Free Associate Presbytery of Miami, Relating to the Church written by James Morrow. Xenia: Thomas H. Blaker, 1843.

Lives of the Scottish Reformers: Containing the Lives of Knox and Melville, Together with a Memoir of William Veitch, Written by Himself; and Narratives of the Risings at Bothwell and Pentland. By Thomas M’Crie with a Historical Introduction by an American Editor. Xenia: The Board of the Calvinistic Book Concern, 1843.

The Sin and Danger of Following a Multitude in Doing Evil. A Sermon. By Rev. Andrew Herron [i.e., Heron], Pastor of the Associate Presbyterian Church of Caesar Creek. Xenia: J.H. Purdy, 1841.

The Log Cabin and Hard Cider Songster. Xenia: P. Lapham, 1840.

Gunn’s Domestic Medicine, or Poor Man’s Friend, in the Hours of Affliction, Pain and Sickness. Xenia: by J. Perry and J.H. Purdy, 1837.

Letters on Speculative Free Masonry, by John Quincy Adams, Ex-President of the United States. To Edward Livingston. G.G.H.P. of the R.A.C.U.S. and Secretary of State of the United States. In Presenting These Letters. Xenia: Office of the Free Press., 1833.

An Address on the Evil of Intemperance Delivered in Xenia by the Rev. Samuel A. Latta. Published by the Executive Committee, at the Request of the Xenia, Greene County, Temperance Society. Xenia: R. Disney, 1833.

Speech of the Hon. Henry Clay, Late Secretary of State, Delivered, in Reply to a Toast Given at a Public Dinner, got up by the Citizens of Washington City, Out of Respect for His Great Public Service, on the 7th of March, 1830. Xenia: Richard C. Langdon, 1830.

The list consisted of more than just publishers. Among the list were Columbus and Xenia Railroad Co., Knights Templar (i.e., The DaVinci Code Templars?), and Sons of Temperance of North America, Xenia Division. There were numerous individuals listed including many officers of the aforementioned railroad company, many members of the Western Art Union, officers and members of local churches and religious organizations, students of a local seminary and a medical school, and graduates of Miami University.

Henderson points out another index of the Richard P. Morgan collection. This index contains more information on people than in some publications–I think it falls somewhere in between an index and a transcription. There is also a list of which titles are indexed. If you have problems finding people who were living, working, or schooling in Ohio prior to the first full-bore US census in 1850, these sites are a must-visit.

Richard P. Morgan’s pre-1850’s Ohio Historical Collection and Indexes are great resources for those interested in Ohio history and genealogy. However, I seriously doubt that there is any better collection of local and regional genealogy and history than those located at the Greene County Library. Just called me the skeptic.

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