Ohio Explorers – Who explored Ohio? – Who explored the Ohio Valley?


Find the Directory for 90+ pages in this collection at History of the Great Lakes States.


Ohio Guidebooks Collection

A number of free online books at the Internet Archive, resulting from a search for books on “Ohio Guidebooks”. Be patient as the page loads.

On the Ohio

Abdy, Harry Bennett
NY: Dodd Mead 1919

A lively and entertaining travel book by a popular writer, describing the 1,000 mile steamboat river cruise that he and his wife took in 1915.

Journals of Charles Beatty, 1762-1769

Beatty, Charles
University Park, PA 1962

This volume contains journals of three trips made by Beatty; two to the British Isles and one through Pennsylvania to the Ohio country in 1766. Throughout the first half of the 18th century many thousands of Scotch-Irish Presbyterians immigrated to America, often arriving in Philadelphia, from where they then advanced west through Pennsylvania in search of land. Many could be found on the very edge of the frontier, which in the 1740s was in central Pennsylvania, but by the 1760s had extended to the western edge of present-day Pennsylvania and along the Ohio River. Reverend Beatty had been active since the outbreak of war in 1756 in providing assistance to frontiersmen on behalf of the Presbyterian church. In 1766 the church sent him to preach for two months on the frontier, to find out what Presbyterian frontiersmen needed from the church, and to get some idea of where they were settling. His journal is a record of his fulfilment of that assignment.

In addition to Beatty’s journal this volume contains an extensive introduction that describes Reverend Beatty’s activities in the 1750s and 1760s, and the efforts of the Presbyterian church to provide services to co-religionists on the frontier.

“A British View of the Ohio Backwoods: The Letters of James Martin, 1821-1836”

Ohio History Journal, Vol 94, pp 139-154

Birch, Brian P., ed.
Ohio History Connection       

James Martin emigrated from London to Philadelphia in 1821, and after some time looking for work there decided to try his hand at farming on the frontier. This collection of letters covers his travel to Ohio, his establishment of a farm in Crawford County, OH, and the subsequent years. His was not a successful story, and throws light on the difficulties experienced by many British emigrants who, despite not being experienced farmers, tried to become farmers in America.

Where to Weekend around Ohio

Bohman, Mary Beth
Fodor’s 2004       

A Fodor’s travel guide, with 25 suggested weekend itineraries around the state.

Also see our collection of articles at Biography Articles

See our Biography Page for free online biographies of many historical figures.

“Touring Ohio in 1811: The Journal of Charity Rotch”

Ohio History Journal, Vol 99, pp 135-165

Conrad, Ethel
Ohio History Connection       

Charity Rotch, the author of the title journal, was born in 1766. She and her husband were Quakers living in Rhode Island when, due to her ill health, they were advised by doctors to relocate. In January 1811 the couple departed on an exploratory trip to Ohio. Charity maintained a journal of the trip until they returned four months later, and that journal, discovered in 1983, is reproduced here. Extensive explanatory notes accompany the text.

Sketches of a Tour to the Western Country through the States of Ohio and Kentucky …

a Voyage down the Ohio and Mississippi Rivers, and a trip through the Mississippi Territory and part of West Florida. Commenced at Philadelphia in the Winter of 1807 and Concluded in 1809

Cuming, Fortescue
Pittsburgh 1810

Little is known about Fortescue Cuming, the author. Editor Reuben G. Thwaites concluded from clues in the account that “he appears to have been an Englishman of culture and refinement, who had travelled extensively in other lands…” Thwaites, who had edited dozens of travel journals, found him an excellent travel reporter. He wrote in his Preface that Cumings had, “…an intelligent, open mind, free from local prejudices, and with trained habits of observation.” “In plain, dispassionate style, he has given us a picture of American life in the West, at the beginning of the 19th century, that for clear-cut outlines and fidelity of presentation has the effect of a series of photographic representations.”

The journals here cover two journeys. The first began in January 1807, and started as a pedestrian tour from Philadelphia to Pittsburg. After a stay of several months in Pittsburgh he continued by boat down the Ohio River to Maysville KY. He then visited Lexington and Frankfurt, crossed the Ohio, and traveled the new state road through Chillicothe, Lancaster and Zanesville to Wheeling. Then he returned to Pittsburgh. The second narrative starts at Maysville in 1808 and describes his voyage down the Ohio and Mississippi to Bayou Pierre, and then a horseback trip in Mississippi Territory.

For several early-19th century descriptions of the Great Lakes states and adjoining areas, see: Settlers’ Guides for the Great Lakes Region

A Journey to Ohio in 1810: As Recorded in the Journal of Margaret Van Horn Dwight

Dwight, Margaret V. H, and Max Farrand
New Haven: Yale University Press 1912

Author Margaret Dwight (1790-1834) was the daughter of a physician and the niece of a President of Yale College. Her father died in 1796 and her mother later remarried, so Margaret lived with other family members. In 1810, at the age of 19, she traveled from New Haven, CT. to Warren, OH. by wagon to live with cousins. She had promised one cousin that that she would keep a journal of her trip, and sent her this account immediately afterward. Margaret Dwight would go on to marry William Bell in 1811 in Ohio. They moved to Pittsburgh and raised a family of thirteen children.

Travels: Comprising a Journey from England to Ohio, Two Years in that State, Travels in America, &c.

To which are added the Foreigner’s protracted journal, letters, &c

Eyre, John
1852       

The title journey apparently began in 1832 and ended in 1835, although, confusingly, the latter part of the book seems to be about travel that the author undertook in the late 1840s. He published this account for the benefit of the many people in Great Britain who were considering emigrating to the U.S., but it is not the kind of ‘marketing’ book one might expect. Instead it is an account of the author’s own experiences and stories that he heard while in America. These experiences showed that, while it was possible for an immigrant to realize his dreams and improve his lot, life in America was often difficult and risky. A colorful – and thoughtful – account.

Books and articles on The History of Ohio

Journal of Captain William Trent from Logstown to Pickawillany, A.D. 1752 …

now published for the first time from a copy in the archives of the Western Reserve Historical Society, Cleveland, Ohio, together with letters of Governor Robert Dinwiddie, an historical notice of the Miami Confederacy of Indians; a sketch of the English post at Pickawillany, with a short biography of Captain Trent, and other papers never before printed

Goodman, Alfred T., ed.
Cincinnati: Clarke 1871

Map and Description of Northeastern Ohio

Heckewelder, John Gottlieb Ernestus
Cleveland: William W. Williams 1884

A reprint of a 1796 publication.

The Diary of Lucy Ann Higbee, 1837

Chiefly from original manuscripts; containing the papers of Col. George Morgan; those of Judge Barker; the diaries of Joseph Buell and John Mathews; the records of the Ohio Company, &c., &c., &c.

Higbee, Lucy Ann
Cleveland: Privately Printed 1924

Lucy Ann Higby and her niece Virginia Higbee traveled to the home of Joseph Higby (Lucy Ann’s brother and Virginia’s father), several miles east of Coshocton, Ohio. The two began from their home in Trenton, NJ, and the author describes their journey by canal boat, steam boat and stage. They went through the Alleghenies to Pittsburgh, and then through Wheeling and Steubenville to Coshocton. After a stay with Lucy Ann’s brother, the two continue on to Cleveland. The crisp, concise account provides a good sense of the hardships and inconveniences of travel, and includes remarks on many of the sites of interest they passed. 57 pages.

Books and articles on Native American tribes in historic Ohio

Pioneer History: Being an Account of the First Examinations of the Ohio Valley, and the Early Settlement of the Northwest Territory …

Chiefly from original manuscripts; containing the papers of Col. George Morgan; those of Judge Barker; the diaries of Joseph Buell and John Mathews; the records of the Ohio Company, &c., &c., &c.

Hildreth, Samuel P.
Cincinnati: 1848

The “Publishers’ Advertisement” at the beginning of the book says that the work was published “under the superintendence” of the Historical Society of Cincinnati, and “contains a full account of all that took place in Washington county, where the first settlement in the present state of Ohio took place, from 1788 to 1803, or during the existence of the Territorial Government.” The author, in his Preface, wrote that he had lived in Ohio more than 40 years and was personally acquainted with a large number of the early pioneers. He drew on the diaries of Joseph Buell and John Mathews (mentioned in the title) for events on the Ohio river before the settlement of the Ohio Company, and a large portion of this history was founded on the notes of Judge Barker.

The Ohio Gazetteer, and Traveller’s Guide

containing a description of the several towns, townships, and counties, with their water-courses, roads, improvements, mineral productions &c, &c.

Jenkins, Warren
Columbus: Whiting 1841       

(title page continued) “Together with an appendix, or general register; embracing tables of roads and distances; of post offices, their location and distance from the capital of the state and of the U.S.; of works of internal improvement; of the several officers of state, their residence, &c; of the colleges and their officers; of banks, their officers and capital, &c. Appendix containing the census of the state for 1840.”

A Pictorial Description of Ohio

comprising a sketch of its physical geography, history, political divisions, resources, government and constitution, antiquities, public lands, etc.

Lossing, Benson John
NY: Ensign & Thayer 1850

Find 14 more subject pages of books and articles about Ohio at the History of the Great Lakes States Directory.

“De Celoron’s Expedition to the Ohio in 1749”

Ohio History XXIX, October 1920, Number 4, 424-50.

Marshall, O. H.
Columbus: Ohio Historical Society

This is sometimes called the “lead plate expedition”. Celeron was a French military officer on an assignment to strengthen France’s claim to the Ohio country. He did so by burying inscribed lead plates in the river at the mouth of principal tributaries, and by affixing lead or copper plates to trees. When the expedition encountered British trading posts along the river, the traders were ordered to leave the region. This expedition marked an escalation in France’s competition with Britain for the Ohio country, as France tried to establish control along waterways from Lake Erie, down the Ohio River to Mississippi, then down to New Orleans. This would, France hoped, stop the spread of the British across North America.

This introductory article and the three accompanying articles all appeared together in the same volume of Ohio History. Two of the accompanying articles are English translations of journals maintained by Celoron and the priest assigned to the expedition, Father Bonnecamps. The editors of both journals included explanatory notes.
 

“The Expedition of Celoron”

Ohio History XXIX, October 1920, Number 4, 331-334

Galbreath, C. B.
Columbus: Ohio Historical Society

 

“Celoron’s Journal”

Ohio History XXIX, October 1920, Number 4, 335-96, 481-483

Lambing, A. A., ed.
Columbus: Ohio Historical Society

 

“Account of the Voyage on the Beautiful River made in 1749, under the Direction of Monsieur De Celoron”

Ohio History Vol 29, October 1920, Number 4, pp 397-423.

Bonnecamps, Father
Columbus: Ohio Historical Society

Please visit our collection of 2,000+ selected online magazine and newspaper articles on 40 subjects, plus online map & vintage photo collections, at Century Past History Resources

Travels to the Westward of the Allegany Mountains, in the States of the Ohio, Kentucky, and Tennessee, in the Year 1802

Michaux, Francois A.
Phillips 1805       

Several chapters are devoted to the author’s 1802 trip down the Ohio River, starting in Pittsburgh, with stops at most of the significant towns.

A Journey through the Indian Country beyond the Ohio, 1785” II

Mississippi Valley Historical Review Vol II, 1915-16, 261-73

Montgomery, Samuel
Cedar Rapids, Iowa: Mississippi Valley Historical Association

This is mainly a travel journal of Samuel Montgomery, one of four government agents who travelled from Pittsburg to the site of a Shawnee village in present-day Logan county, OH to negotiate with the Shawnee.

Back Roads & Buggy Trails: A Visitor’s Guide to Ohio Amish Country

Moore, Lorraine A.
Bluebird 1996       

“In the heart of Ohio exists the largest Amish settlement in the world… The Amish are a religious sect who disdain most of the modern trappings of life… The most noticeable feature about the Amish is their use of horses and buggies for transportation. In addition, most do not have electricity or telephones in their homes.” This tour guide focuses on the area a little to the northeast of the center of Ohio where the Amish live, providing most of the usual tour guide basics: where to shop, lodge, eat, and sightsee.

“The Journey of a Pennsylvania Quaker to Pioneer Ohio”

Cincinnati Historical Society Bulletin Volume 26, No. 1 (January 1968): 2-40

Smith, Dwight L., and S. Winifred Smith, eds.,
Cincinnati: Cincinnati Historical Society

Cleveland Family Fun Guides

441 Great Ideas for Places to Go and Things to Do with Kids of All Ages

Stoffel, Jennifer
Gray 1999       

Organized by type of activity, sites are rated for each of several age groups, with descriptions, costs and other basic info. The sites are indexed five ways; alphabetically, geographically, by type of activity, age group, and map.

“The Travel Notes of Joseph Gibbons, 1804”

Ohio History Journal, Vol 92, pp 96-146

Walker, Joseph E., ed.
Ohio History Connection       

Joseph Gibbons was a young Quaker man making an exploratory trip throughout western Pennsylvania into eastern Ohio, as he considered moving his family to the new frontier lands opened in the wake of the 1794 victory of General Anthony Wayne over the Indians of Ohio. As he traveled he took notes of what he saw as well as what he heard from settlers and other travelers, in an effort to report back honestly to his wife about the pros and cons of resettling on the Ohio frontier.

Particular Places: A Traveler’s Guide to Ohio’s Best Road Trips

Ware, Jane
Orange Frazer 2008       

The book is a guide to 15 smaller towns and scenic areas. “For each place, we have looked for truly distinctive and locally particular places to stay, eat and see, along with good local characters to hear about and sometimes meet.”

Contents: Marietta – Athens – Logan – Adams – Yellow Springs – Lebanon – Granville – Mount Vernon – Coshocton – Amish Country – Sandusky – Lake Erie – Port Clinton – Lake Erie Islands – Maumee River Valley

Washington’s “Tour to the Ohio” and Articles of “the Mississippi Company”

Washington, George and Hulbert, Archer Butler
Ohio Archaeological and Historical Society 1908       

George Washington made several trips to the western frontier in the area of the Ohio River. In this volume, historian Archer Hulbert compiled brief entries from George Washington’s daily journal as well as more comprehensive narratives that he wrote concerning an exploratory trip Washington made in 1770 down the Ohio River from Pittsburgh and up some of the creeks that flowed into it. Hulbert calls this the first accurate travel account of this region that we have. The Articles of the Mississippi Company are also included here. This was a company that Washington helped to found, for the purpose of investing in and settling on wilderness lands along the Ohio River. It was mainly Washington’s interest in land as an investment that led him to undertake this journey. Hulbert’s extensive introduction discusses Washington’s interests, financial and otherwise, in western lands.

Ohio State Parks: A Guide to Ohio’s State Parks

Weber, Art
Glovebox Guidebook 1994       

Information about each of Ohio’s 72 State Parks, including what kinds of activities, accommodations and other facilities are available.

See our book collections on Exploring Africa and Exploring Asia

Insiders’ Guide to Cincinnati

Winternitz, Felix and Bellman, Sacha DeVroomen
Insiders’ Guide 2007       

Contents: How to use this book – Area overview – Getting here, getting around – History – Restaurants – Nightlife – Hotels and motels – Bed-and-Breakfasts – Shopping – Attractions – River fun – Kidstuff – The arts – Annual events – Day trips – Parks and recreation – Golf – Spectator sports – Relocation – Senior services – Health care – Schools and child care – Higher education – Libraries – Media – Worship – Directory of maps

Ohio

Moon Handbooks

Wright, David K.
Avalon 2003       

A volume from the distinctive travel guide series “Moon Handbooks”.

Fun with the Family: Ohio

Hundreds of Ideas for Day Trips with the Kids

Zimmeth, Khristi S.
Insiders’ Guide 2004       

The book is organized into five Ohio regions, and further organized by cities and towns. It seems focused mainly on destinations such as museums, parks and major private-sector attractions, with sizeable descriptions for each. Most are suitable for adults as well as children. “Where to Eat” and “Where to Stay” are included but contain only very basic descriptions.


Most works on exploration and travel in the Great Lakes states in the 1600s, 1700s and early 1800s, and works that cover more than one of our five states, are on the page Explorers and Travelers in Great Lakes History on this website.


Of nearly 250 webpages of books and other resources at Century Past History,

over 90 pages are in the group History of the Great Lakes States.

 


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