RailsandTrails.com - Texts - 1854 Ohio Railroad Guide
|Worthington to Delaware - Bear Fight|
From Columbus, our route pursues the valley of the Olentangy, an Eastern branch of the Scioto. The railway company here is under a different charter -- that of the Cleveland, Columbus and Cincinnati R. R. Co., but the whole line is worked together, and as to the public convenience and management, is, in reality, but one road.
From Columbus north, we still see the same fertile lands; but less cultivated than between Columbus and Cincinnati. The railway having been constructed but a few years, and departing, (on account of grades and distance,) widely from the public highways, does not pass through the old settled and cultivated lands. The traveler, therefore, will scarcely comprehend, without resorting to a book of statistics, how it is, that this portion of Ohio produces such an enormous quantity of grain, wool, and other valuable products. Without alarming you, my fellow traveler, with the dry bones of statistics, I may as well give you an idea of the production within an average of fifteen miles on each side of this road. Between Columbus and Cleveland, this road passes through some part of the following counties, viz : Franklin, Delaware, Morrow, Richland, Crawford, Huron, Lorain, and Cuyahoga. The general aggregate of agricultural productions in these counties, as ascertained by the last returns, was as follows: two million eight hundred thousand bushels of wheal; five million eight hundred bushels of corn; six million seven hundred thousand pounds of butter; one million three hundred and sixty thousand pounds of cheese; and one million four hundred thousand pounds of wool. This is a very great production for a surface of land not exceeding three thousand square miles. More than half of this production is surplus, which is carried to New England, and Now York, chiefly for consumption. These flits show, that while there is no great display of farms On the immediate line of the road, there is within its reach a very fine agricultural section.
WORTHINGTON, 9 miles from Columbus, is the first considerable town we come to, north of Columbus. It is in sight, and not more than a half a mile from the road. Here the venerable Bishop CHASE commenced his labors in the west, in the service of religion and education; and from the station we may see the buildings where KENYON COLLEGE had its birth. Worthington derives its name from THOMAS WORTHINGTON, One of the earliest settlers, and most distinguished men in the State. He emigrated to Ohio about 1793, from Berkeley county, Virginia. Being extremely averse to slavery, he emancipated his slaves ; but most of them desired to go with him; so that he brought about sixty of those emancipated slaves to this State. Their descendants make up a large part of the colored people at Chillicothe, where he resided. He was an active and most energetic ,man of business; but was very soon carried into public life, which henceforth occupied most of his time. He was a member from Ross county of the Convention which framed the first Constitution. He was one of the two first United States Senators from this State. lie was ten years in the Senate, where he was of great service, in the business of the nation, and much confided in by the administrations of Jefferson and Madison. Subsequently, he was four years Governor of the State; and in his latter days Canal Commissioner. In all his public career, he rendered most useful service, and commanded universal respect.
DELAWARE, 24 miles from Columbus, is the county seat of Delaware county. It is about two miles from the main line, but has a side curve about five miles in length. Delaware was named by the Delaware Indians, one of the principal original tribes in the United States. The name of this once powerful tribe, says Col. John Johnston, is Wa be nugh ka, the people from the East, or sunrising. The tradition among themselves is, that at some remote period, they emigrated from the West, crossed the Mississippi, ascended the Ohio, and fought their way, till they reached the Delaware river, (named from Lord Delaware,) near where Philadelphia now stands, in which region of country they became fixed. They ever regarded the Quakers with respect and affection. They finally removed to the West, and some of them are now in the Indian Territory, west of the Mississippi.
Delaware was laid out by Moses Byxbe and the late Judge Henry Baldwin of Pittsburgh. The first brick house was erected in 1808, and there being no mason, Byxbe's wife laid all the brick on the inside walls. In the early settlement of the West, women had many employments which are now unknown to them-and there was little occasion for Women Rights' Conventions, when woman shared in all the labors, dangers, and glory of the pioneers.
It was not till 1828, that the first church was built; but now, Delaware is a large and flourishing village. By the census, Delaware town has 2,074 inhabitants. It has several churches, a large hotel, a bank, two newspapers, and all the other circumstantials which belong to a pleasant, growing town. Among the notables of the town, are Delaware Springs, and the Wesleyan University. The springs are said to be salutary, being strongly impregnated with sulphur and other mineral substances. The Wesleyan University was founded by the Methodists, and numbers the present year 594 students.
A BEAR FIGHT is very often talked about, but very seldom experienced. One occurred in this neighborhood, which is more remarkable than any I ever heard of. There was a Captain John Minter, among the early settlers, who was originally from Kentucky, and became famous by his great bear fight. Seeing a very large bear, he fired upon him, and the bear fell. Supposing him dead,-after reloading--he touched bruin's nose with his gun, when he instantly sprung up. He fired upon him again, only slightly wounding him. As the bear sprang forward, he threw his tomahawk at him, and finally broke his rifle on his head. All would not do: on came the enraged bear. Too late to escape, he drew his big knife, and made a plunge; but the beast struck it from his hand, and at once folded Minter in his embrace. Fortunately, he was tall, strong muscled and athletic. The bear calculated upon hugging his adversary to death very soon; but Minter contrived to twist his body in such ways, that Mr. Bruin could not crush him. The woods were open, without underbrush, and they rolled over in every direction. Several times, he thought he was gone; but being strong, he choked the bear, when the latter would be obliged to let go a moment to knock off his hands. They struggled in this way for hours, when luckily, they rolled back near where the knife lay, when, after many efforts, he brought bruin near enough to grasp the knife. Then you may depend, he was not long in using it. He stabbed the bear repeatedly till he bled to death-never releasing his hold till life was gone! Not a rag was left on Minter; and his body and limbs were lacerated with the claws of the bear. He was only able to crawl to a log, till rested; and then could only crawl home, with no covering but blood. When his friends came to view the ground next morning, they found the surface torn up for half an acre. His scars and welts always remained-and he gave up hunting forever.