The seventeenth state of the American Union, admitted on 19 Feb., 1803. It is bounded on the north by Michigan and Lake Erie, on the east by Pennsylvania and West Virginia, on the south by West Virginia and Kentucky, and on the west by Indiana. Its greatest breadth is 215 miles, and its greatest length (north to south) 210 miles; its area is 41,060 square miles. The surface is an undulating plain 450-1500 feet above sea-level. The population (1910) is 4,767,121. The agricultural output in 1908 was valued at $198,502,260; the mineral output at $134,499,335; the value of dairy products was $15,484,849; and the total value of industries $960,811,857. The railroad mileage is 9274 miles, besides 4450 miles of electric railway. Ohio profits commercially by the Ohio River in the south, connecting with the Mississippi, and by Lake Erie on the north. There are also four canals, the Miami and Erie, the Ohio, the Hocking, and the Walhonding.
Ohio was discovered by La Salle about 1670 and formal possession of the territory including the state was taken by the French in 1671. A controversy between France and England was settled by the Treaty of Paris (1763), by which Great Britain obtained all the French dominion in the north, and west as far as the Mississippi River. In 1787 an organization known as the Ohio Company of Associates was formed in New England by a number of those who had served in the American Revolutionary War and under their negotiations a purchase of a large tract of land in the territory northwest of the Ohio River was made from the Government. This was the first public sale of land by the United States. Marietta, the first settlement, was founded on 7 April, 1787.
In 1788 Cincinnati was founded, and thenceforth settlements in the southern portion of the state multiplied rapidly. In 1791 the settlers were harassed by various Indian tribes, who were effectually checked by the victory of General Anthony Wayne at Fallen Timbers on the Maumee River (1794). In the succeeding year the treaty of peace was concluded by which the Indians ceded a great portion of the territory now embraced in the state. About this time Chillicothe was made the capital of the territory and a capitol building erected. In 1802 a constitution was adopted by the eastern division of the territory north-west of the Ohio River, designated by the name "Ohio" and next year the territory was admitted to statehood. From the date of the first settlement down to the year 1842 the nationality of the principal immigration was German. Between 1842 and 1860 the population of Ohio increased very rapidly owing to the great influx of immigrants from both Ireland and Germany. Since 1870 the Slavonic race has been the predominating factor in immigration. In the Civil War, seventy regiments responded to the first call for troops although the state quota was only thirteen. Troops from Ohio were largely responsible for the saving of West Virginia to the Union. A number of the most celebrated officers of the Union Army, as Grant, Sherman, McDowell, Rosecrans, Sheridan, Garfield, were natives of the state. In national elections Ohio was carried by the Democratic Party from 1803 down to 1836. In that year and ever since, with the exception of the years 1848 and 1852 when it cast its electoral vote for Cass and Pierce, it has been Republican.
The first Catholic settlement in Ohio was founded among Huron Indian tribes near Sandusky by Father De la Richardie in 1751. The principal periods of Catholic immigration are from 1822 to 1842, from 1842 to 1865, and from 1865 to the present day. In the first period the German race predominated; in the second, the Irish and German races, with a majority of Irish immigrants; and in the third, members of the Slavonic race. Ohio has one archdiocese and two dioceses. The Archdiocese of Cincinnati (diocese, 19 June, 1821; archdiocese, 19 June, 1850) includes the counties south of the northern line of Mercer, Auglaize, Hardin Counties and west of the eastern line of Marion, Union, Madison Counties and the Scioto River to the Ohio River. The Diocese of Cleveland (erected 23 April, 1847) includes that part of the state north of the southern limits of Columbiana, Stark, Wayne, Ashland, Richland, Crawford, Wyandot, Hancock, Allen, and Van Wert Counties. The Diocese of Columbus (erected 3 March, 1868) comprises that portion of the state south of 40°41" and between the Ohio River on the east and the Scioto River on the west, with Franklin, Delaware and Morrow Counties. The Catholic population is 557,650, including 298 negroes. Among the prominent Catholics may be mentioned General Philip H. Sheridan, General W.S. Rosecrans, General Don Carlos Buell, Generals Hugh and Charles Ewing, Honorable Bellamy Storer, Rubin R. Springer, Colonel Mack Groarty, Doctor Bonner, Frank Herd, and J.A. McGahan, the liberator of Bulgaria.
Besides the Catholics the principal religious denominations are the Methodists numbering 355,444; the Presbyterians, 138,768; and the Lutherans, 132,439.
Besides the Ohio State University, founded in 1870, and attended in 1909 by 3012 students under a faculty of 224 members, Ohio has numerous colleges and universities, Antioch College, Baldwin College, Buchtel College, Case School of Science, Cedarville College, Defiance College, Dennison University, Franklin University, Miami University, Ohio University, Marietta College. The total number is thirty-six. According to the last report of the state commissioner of common schools, the number of public school buildings in Ohio is 10,723, with 24,188 teachers, 656,783 pupils. The expenditure for education during the year 1908-1909 was $25,011,361. By constitutional provision the principal of funds, entrusted to the State for educational and religious purposes, is not to be diminished, and the income is to be applied solely to the objects of the original grant. The General Assembly is empowered to create and maintain an efficient system of common schools in the state. All children between the ages of eight and fourteen years shall attend either a public, private, or parochial school for the full session, of not less that twenty-four weeks each year, unless prohibited by some disability. The course of instruction must extend to reading, spelling, writing, English grammar, geography, and arithmetic. The employment of any child under sixteen years of age during the school session shall be a misdemeanor, punishable by fine, unless the employer shall have first exacted from the child and age and schooling certificate from the proper authorities, showing that the child has successfully completed the studies above enumerated, and if the child is between fourteen and sixteen, that he is able to read and write legibly the English language. If a child be absolutely compelled to work, such relief shall be granted out of the contingent funds of the school district in which he resides as will enable child to attend school in accordance with the requirements of the statute.
The general supervision of all public charitable institutions of the state is vested in a state board of charities. Direct control of each separate state benevolent association is vested in an individual board of trustees. The following charitable institutions are provided for by statute in Ohio: Institution for Deaf and Dumb; Ohio State School for the Blind; Institution for Feeble Minded; Ohio Soldiers and Sailors Home; Ohio Soldiers and Sailors Orphans Home; asylums for the insane at Cleveland, Columbus, Dayton, Athens, Toledo, Massillon, Cincinnati, Lima ; Ohio Hospital for Epileptics; Boys' Industrial School; Girls' Industrial Home; homes for the friendless in the various counties; Ohio State Sanitarium for Consumptives; Ohio Institution for Deformed and Crippled Children; hospitals in the various cities; county and city infirmaries and children's homes. All private and public benevolent or charitable institutions shall be open at all times to the inspection of the county commissioners of the various counties or the board of health of the township or municipality.
It is provided in the Bill of Rights, in the Constitution of Ohio, that no person shall be compelled to support any religion or form of worship against his consent ; no preference shall be given to any religion by law ; no interference with the rights of conscience shall be permitted; no religious qualifications shall be required for the holding of office, and suitable laws shall be enacted to protect every religious denomination in the peaceable enjoyment of its own mode of worship. The arrest of any person for civil purposes on Sunday is prohibited by statute, also hunting, fishing, shooting, theatrical, dramatic, or athletic, performances; common labour or keeping open one's place of business, or requiring any employee to labour on Sunday ; the sale of intoxicating liquors is prohibited on that day.
The prohibition of common labour does not apply to those who conscientiously observe and abstain from labour on Saturday. The basis of the observance of Sunday is not religious; it is a municipal or police regulation. As to oaths, a person may be sworn in any form deemed by him binding on his conscience. Belief in the existence of God seems to be a prerequisite, but not a belief in a future state of reward or punishment.
Oath includes affirmation, which may be substituted. An oath is not regarded as having its foundation in Christianity. Profane cursing of swearing by the name of God, Jesus Christ, or the Holy Ghost is a misdemeanor. No use of prayer is provided for in the legislative sessions. There is no recognition of religious holidays as such. New Year's Day and Christmas Day are secular holidays and holidays for business purposes. Under the head of privileged communication a confession made to a clergyman or priest in his professional character, in the course of discipline enjoined by his Church, shall be held sacred.
Corporations not for profit, which include churches, may be formed by five persons, a majority of whom are citizens of Ohio, who acknowledge in due form the articles of incorporation containing name of corporation, place where same is located, and purpose for which formed. Any person subscribing to the articles of incorporation as set forth in the records of the corporation may become a member thereby. Under the constitution of Ohio houses used exclusively for public worship and institutions for purely charitable purposes are exempt from taxation. The term house includes also the grounds attached thereto and all such buildings necessary for the proper use and enjoyment of such houses. Thus grounds contiguous to churches, schools and priests' houses used in connection therewith or for ornamental or recreation purposes, fall within this classification. Buildings belonging to the Roman Catholic Church and occupied by the bishops, priests, etc., are considered to come within the constitutional phrase "institutions of purely public charity". It has been held that the residence of a minister, or parsonage, is not exempt, because in addition to being used for purposes of public worship, it is also a place of private residence. Public schools are especially exempt from taxation, and private schools established by private donations for public or semi-public purposes are exempt as coming within the purview of the constitutional provision. With reference to institutions of purely public charity, while church and school property are exempt from all ordinary state, county, and city taxes, such property is subject to special assessments for improvements. Priests and clergymen are exempt from jury duty, but, apparently, not from military duty. Members of religious denomination prohibited by articles of faith from serving are absolutely exempt from military duty.
Marriage of first cousins is prohibited. Marriage may be solemnized by a lawfully ordained minister of any religious society, a justice of the peace in his county, or a mayor or an incorporated village in the county where the village lies. A clergyman wishing to perform the ceremony must obtain a licence from the probate court of one of the counties of the state.
The bans of marriage must be published in the presence of the congregation in a place of public worship in the county where the female resides, on two different days previous to the ceremony. The first publication to be at least ten days prior thereto, or the publication of bans may be dispensed with upon the securing of a licence from the probate court of the county where the female resides. Persons applying for a licence are compelled to answer under oath questions touching the age, name, residence, place of birth, etc., of the two parties concerned. Solemnizing marriage without a licence or without the publication of bans is penalized, and any person attempting to perform the ceremony without a certificate from the probate court is guilty of a misdemeanor. The marriage of persons under the statutory age is voidable, but becomes irrevocable by cohabitation or other acts of ratification after the age limit is reached. Common-law marriage, by the weight of authority, is not recognized in Ohio. Grounds for divorce are: previous existing marriage; wilful absence for three years; adultery ; impotency; extreme cruelty; fraudulent contract ; gross neglect; habitual drunkenness for three years; imprisonment in penitentiary (but suit must be filed while party is in prison ); foreign divorce not releasing party in Ohio. The person applying must be a bona fide resident of the county where suit is filed and must have been a resident of the state for a year previous to the commencing of the suit. Service on the defendant may be either personal or by publication. A divorce does not affect the legitimacy of the children.
A yearly tax of $1000 is assessed against every person engaged in the trafficking in spirituous, vinous, malt, or other intoxicating liquors. Local option laws provide for the suppressing of the sale of liquor in townships or municipalities where a majority of the electors of the district vote in favour of closing the saloons. The statutes provide for a jail in each county; for a house of refuge for incorrigible or vicious infants; for workhouses for persons convicted of minor offences; for an Ohio State Reformatory for criminals between the ages of sixteen and thirty; and the Ohio State Penitentiary for persons convicted of a felony. Every will, except nuncupative wills, shall be in writing, either handwritten or typewritten, and signed by the testator or by some other person in his presence and by his expressed direction, and shall be attested and subscribed in the presence of the testator by at least two competent witnesses who saw him sign or heard him acknowledge in. Generally speaking, any mark made at the end of the will by the testator with testamentary intent constitutes a good signing. A spoliated or destroyed will may be proven, and its directions carried out, where it was destroyed or lost subsequent to the death of the testator or to his becoming incapable of making a will by reason of insanity. A verbal will made in the last sickness is valid in respect to personal property if reduced to writing and subscribed by proper number of witnesses within ten days after the speaking of the testamentary words. A devisee under a will may be a witness thereto, but a devise to him fails unless the will can be proven without his testimony. Any bequest for charitable purposes made within one year of the testator's death is void if any issue of the testator is living. The word issue here used means of blood of the deceased. The Ohio courts have held, however, that a bequest to a Roman Catholic priest "for the saying of Masses for the repose of my soul and the soul of my husband" is not within the statute and is good although made within less than a year of the testator's death. Municipal corporations are organized by statue to maintain public cemeteries and burial grounds, and are empowered to appropriate property for cemetery purposes. The cost of lots in such cemeteries is limited to such an amount as will reimburse the corporation for its outlay. Private associations incorporated for cemetery purposes may by statute purchase, appropriate, or otherwise become holders of title of land for cemetery purposes. Burial-lots are exempt from taxation, execution, attachment, or any other claim, lien, or process if used exclusively for burial-purposes, but cemeteries owned by associations are not exempt from assessments for local improvements. Land appropriated for private or individual burying-grounds is not exempt from taxation, execution, etc., if it exceeds $50 in value.
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