Thursday, July 28, 2011

what a Symmes hole!

We all know that John Cleves Symmes was a Judge and the surveyor of most of the SW Ohio area between the Great Miami and Little Miami Rivers in the late 1700’s known as the Symmes Purchase...right? There are roads, businesses, schools and a township named for him so you should at least recognize the name. In case you are unaware, his job was to hire folks to measure out the Ohio Valley into property to would be settlers for a low low price so that it could be developed into settlements for the budding US. Well, this isn't about THAT John Cleves Symmes. I'll leave him for a different post...
that's the hollow earth up there

Judge Symmes had a nephew, also named John Cleves Symmes,  who believed the Earth was basically hollow like a shell, we lived on the outside, but the inside had a delicious nougat center. Actually, he thought the inside was a series of nested hollow spheres inhabited by others and he wanted to visit there to prove it.
The idea of a hollow Earth wasn't really that crazy in the early 19th century and had been proposed by ancient philosophers as well as scientists such as British astronomer Edmund Halley of comet fame and the mathematician & physicist Leonhard Euler.
In Hamilton Ohio there is a monument to Symmes and his theory at his grave site. I visited there with my friend and fellow geocacher Mark Fischer (& son) in May of 2010. I likely would have never known about this had it not been for the geocache nearby that brought us here.

Symmes was born in New Jersey in 1779 and named after his famous Uncle. At some point, he added "Jr." to his name to stop the confusion between him and Uncle Symmes. In 1802, Jr began serving in the US Army and rose to the rank of Captian and fought in the War of 1812. After leaving the Army, he developed his Theory of Concentric Spheres and Solar Voids after reading Halley and Euler's ideas. Symmes himself was not a trained "natural philosopher" as scientists were called then, but he read a lot of science books and spent most of his post Army life on the lecture circuit discussing his version of the theory. He even tried to get the US government to finance an expedition to the 1400 mile wide opening or Symmes Hole as it was called, at one of the Earth's poles to reach the delicious center via the giant hole. President John Quincy Adams thought this was a grand idea but incoming President Andrew Jackson said no way. His money was all tied up on some 19th-century style ethnic cleansing of American Indians.**

**this sentence is pure speculation on my behalf, but Jackson did hate American Indians something fierce

plaque added that mirrors faded inscription
Symmes never even wrote a book on his theory (details details) but did publish a very nice pamphlet about his hollows and holes. One of his ardent followers and Hamilton's first Mayor, James McBride wrote a book called Symmes' Theory of Concentric Spheres in 1826.

Americus Symmes' tribute to dear old Dad
Symmes Jr. died at the age of 49 in 1829 still believing his theory and was buried in present-day Hamilton OH in his own Symmes Hole.
A follower named Jeremiah Reynolds finally did help persuade Congress to fund an expedition after Symmes' death and the resulting 1838 US Naval "Wilkes Expedition" ended up discovering a new land mass rather than just ice where Antarctica is. So, in effect, Symmes Hollow Earth theory led to the discovery of our 7th continent. Sorta.

His son Americus Symmes erected this monument in 1873 at his grave site. The inscriptions on the monument have been worn down over the years and plaques have been added that reproduce the words. There was a larger cemetery here at one time but for some reason, many of the people buried in this cemetery were re-interred in a larger place nearby. Symmes Jr still remains in this tiny fenced plot which is surrounded by a city park and playground. I'm sure the kids that playing with their hollow sphere basketball near the monument have no idea what's going on 300 feet from them.

I declare the earth is hollow and habitable within; containing a number of solid concentrick spheres, one within the other, and that it is open at the poles 12 or 16 degrees; I pledge my life in support of this truth, and am ready to explore the hollow, if the world will support and aid me in the undertaking. - John Cleves Symmes Jr., 1818

See more pictures of the monument here

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Leatherlips must die

Chief Leatherlips was actually Chief Shateyaronyah (Sha-tey-ya-ron-yah) of the Wyandots in the present day Columbus/Dublin Ohio area. Leatherlips was the name he was given by the white settlers for always keeping his promises and being trustworthy. This was at a very nervous time for all as a state of war was looming again with the British. Tecumseh and his brother The Prophet were trying to get the pan-Indian tribe confederation going and aligning themselves with the British against the Americans. Everyone was choosing sides again.

Leatherlips, a signer of the 1795 Treaty of Greenville, decided to continue siding and cooperating with the Americans in the early 19th century while Tecumseh was trying to build his confederacy. This did not sit well with Tecumseh and the Prophet, so in May of 1810, a Tecumseh loyal party of Wyandots led by Chief Roundhead (who happened to be Leatherlips brother) traveled from the area of Tippecanoe IN into what is now the Dublin OH area to carry out a trial. The three-hour council trial, mainly about some trumped up witchcraft charges rather than his dealing with the Americans, not surprisingly resulted in him being found guilty and sentenced to death. Local whites settlers who liked the Chief, pleaded with the Indians to spare his life and attempted to bribe the other Wyandots. Failing that they felt they were not able strong enough to resist them physically and feared further retaliation against their settlement if they interfered. The Chief was allowed a final meal, dressed in his finest clothes, painted his face, then did his death chant as he walked calmly to his execution spot and kneeled before his open grave. He was then killed by two tomahawk blows to the head.

William Sells who witnessed the execution wrote an account of the event. This account was preserved and seventy-seven years later read aloud by Colonel Sam Thompson to members of the Wyandot Club, a local fraternal organization. Following the address, the club formed a committee to procure a proper grave marker for the site of Chief Leatherlips’ burial. The one-acre tract of land where the Wyandot Chief was buried was purchased for the site of the monument. The inscription reads “Leatherlips A Chief of the Wyandot tribe of Indians was executed on this spot June 1, 1810. Erected by the Wyandot Club of Columbus, Ohio 1889.”

The Dublin Arts Council, in part, to memorialize the local heritage of Native American's history hired Boston artist Ralph Helmick to create the giant sculpture of the head of the Wyandot Chief Leatherlips and it was dedicated on July 1, 1990, 180 years and one month after his death.  The monument is a twelve-foot high limestone statue, built in Scioto Park facing the Scioto River just down the road from the execution spot and marker.

a memento at the Leatherlips marke- 12/31/2010

For more information about the execution of Leatherlips, click here.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Tillie the Elephant

Tillie was one of the Asian elephants who performed in the Robinson Circus for over 30 years in the late 19th and early 20th century.  John Robinson was a circus owner who purchased his 1855 Terrace Park OH home and property in 1886 as a place to keep the circus animals in the winter months. He also built the opera house in 1872 that once stood across from Cincinnati City Hall at 9th & Plum.

After the Robinson Circus was bought out by another circus around 1916, Tillie and 3 of the other elephants remained in Terrace Park as retirees.

I first learned the story of Tillie in a book called "A Place Called Terrace Park". Tillie and her other Asian elephant's comrades actually roamed the streets of Terrace Park at times and even assisted in installing utility poles, hauling heavy items and other various odd jobs and sometimes would even get into general mischief around town. I am picturing something like the Flintstones here but I don't think she was ever used to vacuum carpets.

When Tillie died at the age of 65 (although the circus claimed the unlikely age of 120), it was a pretty big civic event and everyone came out. Children were even let out of school to attend. It is rumored that her legs were cut off in order to bury her or in order remove the body from the barn or perhaps to fit her in the grave that was not big enough. It is more likely they were removed simply for monetary gain as another story confirms that after the funeral attendees left the scene her legs were removed to be re-used sold for products such as umbrella stands or tables. While she was loved by her community, remember that this was 1932 when things like this were generally acceptable. At one time the Cincinnati Art Museum had one of these umbrella stands but I'm not sure if it is still there.

reenactment of Tillies funeral
I told my kids all about Tillie and how no one knew where her grave was which we thought was kind of a sad and unfitting end for the old girl. So, on one rainy evening last summer we decided to do our own re-enactment of Tillie the Elephant's graveside service that occurred on Jan 17th, 1932. The people of Terrace Park and Tillie's mourners are portrayed here by many wonderful characters. John F. Robinson is portrayed by Sir Paul McCartney. Her legs there in the front have not yet been made into umbrella stands.

In the book, I mentioned previously there was a fuzzy black and white picture that showed some sort of memorial marker for Tillie but it didn't say exactly where it was located but I thought it might be near the house. Since there were some geocaches in the area and other historical items nearby I decided it was worth checking out.  The kids and I mosied over to Circus Place in Terrace Park on August 7th, 2010 to check it all out.

the Tillie Memorial (with her exaggerated age)
Approaching the house, I was immediately surprised. Greeting us between two driveways was a huge stone marker with Tillie's name on it that matched the picture I'd seen. There happened to be a woman outside next door who noticed us looking around. After striking up a conversation with her I would soon learn she is the Secretary of the Terrace Park Historical Society. This was a nice bonus! She was very gracious to take our picture and we had a nice chat about Tillie and other items of interest in Terrace Park. I asked her if she had any ideas where Tillie was buried and she heard that Tillie was buried in an unused cistern and that this marker was moved here from another location in Terrace Park at one point. Another rumor by someone who claims to have seen the burial is that Tillie is buried near the field on Wooster Pike where she gave rides to children but there are homes occupying that spot now. At any rate, Tillie definitely wasn't here with the marker. The neighbor also told me that at the time the circus was here all the surrounding homes were not here and all of them had little odds and ends of reminders of that time when the circus was here. It was a good chat and history lesson but then we were off for some geocaching and other history sightseeing.
If you are ever in Terrace Park, stop by and pay your condolences to Tillie or if you are in the market for a new home, as of this writing the impressive Robinson house is again for sale for a cool $1.2 million.

Robinson House - The T shaped window is for Tillie
Click here and here for more information about Tillie and the Robinson Circus in Terrace Park OH. There are some great old pictures of the circus and the house in that article. Other information about the history of the Robinson House is available at this website.

3/10/2017: Updated some of the dead links in the post

Thursday, July 14, 2011

French Indian(a) Territory and Lincoln's Corpse Train

Gehio is about all history of the Old Northwest and on the weekend of July 9th my family and I went to visit friends in Porter County in northern Indiana which allowed me to do a little geocaching and history sightseeing in Ohio's neighbor to the West.

Part of Porter County was called Indian Island in the 17th and 18th centuries and was a high spot in the Great Kankakee Marsh. The surrounding lands were a forested swamp, which was a great area to obtain food and natural supplies for the Potawatomi (pronounced Poh-tuh-WAH-toh-mee) Indians. The name Potawatomi is derived from the name they had for themselves, Bodewadmi, which like many other Native American Tribe names meant original people in their language.

Tassinong was a French trading post in present-day Porter County near Indiana Route 49. In the front yard of a home there is a marker placed by the Historical Society of Porter County which reads:

Site of Tassinong 
Oldest Village in Northern Indiana
A French mission and Trading Post - 1673
Post Office Established - 1837
John Jones, P.M.
Incorporated as a Village 1852
by Joseph Bartholomew and Jesse Spencer

When the French occupied the area from roughly 1670 until the conclusion of the French and Indian War in 1763, the fortified posts they used were called tassements meaning settlement and Tassinong was an English corruption of this word. This settlement would have been used to trade with the Potawatomi and other tribes living in the area at that time. Tassinong was the northern boundary of the Great Kankakee Marsh.
The Indians and the French at that time seemed to have a good cooperative relationship. The French lived among them, took Indian wives and were accepted as tribe members. The French traders, hunters, and trappers didn't seem to exploit the natural resources or the hospitality of the Indians like the other Europeans that came later. I suppose you could say that the French were the best allies that the American Indian tribes ever had. Don't get me wrong, this was very early in this time period and the French certainly were not maintaining good relations with the Indians out of sheer goodwill, but the Indians wanted European goods and the French wanted their furs which could be sold back in Europe for lots of money. I think if the French had not been trying to dislodge the British from North America, things would have been different but they were seen as allies and at least the French seemed to take a much less hostile approach than the Spanish before them and the British and Americans later. The French eventually lost control of North America, forcing the American Indians to choose allies once again.

Nearby, also in Porter County on U.S. 231 was the site of Huakiki, which was an old Potawatomi village until 1838 when the Indian Removal Act started taking effect which resulted in the Potawatomi Trail of Death and was similar to the more infamous and larger scale Trail of Tears Cherokee removal.

Site of Huakiki
Old "Indian Town" Village
Oldest and largest known village
of Pottawatomies.
This was their winter home.
Disbanded in 1838 when the Indians were moved west.

The wording of the marker makes "moved west" sound fairly benign but 40 human beings, most of them children, died of disease and exposure in this 600 mile forced removal to the Kansas territory.

Placed by the Historical Society of Porter County and also on the property of a private residence, the marker didn't say when the village was founded but the Potawatomi were in the area as far back as 1630 trading with the French. After the French mostly left after the French and Indian War ended in 1763 they mostly sided with the British and later were part of  Tecumseh's Pan Indian Confederation in the War of 1812.

Spencer Cemetery is the resting place many of the first settlers in Porter County. Like many other pioneer cemeteries, it started as a family plot, in this case for the Kautz's (later changed to Kouts) who came here to settle from Pennsylvania and Jesse Spencer who incorporates the old village of Tassinong in 1852. There is a geocache here too.

Another interesting historical spot in this region of the Old Northwest was a place I visited last summer in the town of Wanatah IN to the east in LaPorte County. Wanatah Station of the Monon Railroad once stood here. The Lincoln funeral train made a brief stop at this location on the morning of May 1, 1865. The funeral train traveled 1,700 miles on its journey from Washington, DC to Springfield, Illinois, retracing the route taken by Abraham Lincoln on his original campaign trail to Washington.
Lincoln's Corpse Train...feel free to use that as a band name if you want. Just tell everyone that you read it on Gehio.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Bond, Bond Hill

I pass through a part of town called Bond Hill, a neighborhood in Cincinnati OH, on my work commute and have often wondered about its history. Based on what I see on my drive and on the news it's seen better days and I figured it must have a story to tell...

Settlers first arrived in the late 18th century in what was then prime Shawnee hunting grounds. Since not all of the Shawnee bands signed the Treaty of Greenville in 1795 which ceded most of Ohio north of the Ohio River to the Americans, some still fought on for nearly 2 decades to keep this land free of settlers.

The stream and tributary of the Mill Creek that runs through this community is called Bloody Run and achieved its morbid name long ago due to several deadly skirmishes that ended poorly for the would-be settlers along present-day Route 42/Reading Rd then known as Harmar's Trace, a military road built over an ancient buffalo trail. One incident was the 1792 skirmish with the Shawnee that resulted in the death of Moses Pryor and his daughter who ventured outside the small fortification called White's Station in present-day Carthage. Another deadly incident in 1794 involved several federal postal workers. Successful settlement didn't really occur here until after the death of the Shawnee Chief Tecumseh in the War of 1812 when most Native Americans had moved west to the Indiana Territory.

The odd thing is no one is really sure exactly which "Bond" person this community is named after or who came up with the term which was in use prior to the 1830's. The best theory is that it was named after the lawyer, Congressman and surveyor named William Key Bond who lived in Cincinnati from 1841-1864 who is buried in nearby Spring Grove Cemetery but it is not known if he was the namesake since no one bothered to write it down. There is no record of him or any other Bond owning land in this immediate area but it is likely he helped survey this area before he resided here permanently.

Bond Hill is also definitely not on or very near a hill. Historians speculate that it was called a “hill” as a deception to attract land buyers at a time when settling on higher ground was more desirable for safety against flooding and Indian attacks. The renaming of nearby Mill Creek from its Shawnee name Makateewa is another example of a PR move by the land speculator John Cleves Symmes to attract millers to buy land at 67 cents per acre to this hostile area in the 1790's.

marker for the Miami-Erie canal in nearby St. Bernard

Bond Hill also had the Miami-Erie Canal to the west in the mid-1800's that attracted travelers to the rural and open spaces away from the city to the South. You wouldn't know it now but there were once nice orchards and farms before the city blight. In place of the canal now is Interstate 75 which some residents and some maps still refer to as the Mill Creek Expressway.

The signs in the area show the area was officially established in 1871. Bond Hill was developed then as a railroad town and cooperative by temperance members seeking a spot for affordable housing free of the scourge of alcohol. This group of individuals actually had planned this community in present-day Northside but for unknown reasons chose the Bond Hill area several miles to the East.

Incidentally, in this part of town is Maketewah Country Club established in 1910 and named for the former name of Mill Creek. At one time on their website, they said this was a Mohawk term that meant "land of the mill valley" but this is absolutely false since the mills came with the white settlers and there really were not any Mohawks in this area either. I emailed them about that once and they never responded but I see now that this reference is gone. Makateewa simply meant "it is black" which once referred to the rich dark soil on the bed of this large creek that runs through Cincinnati.

And that is a brief history of Bond Hill.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Tecumseh! - the play

After our short tour of old Chillicothe on June 11th, it was off to the amphitheater on the north side of Chillicothe near the Great Seal State Park. There are no aquatic seals there. The series of hills in the park are in fact the inspiration for the Great Seal of Ohio.
The sign coming into the amphitheater is meant to represent where Tecumseh's name came from which is the anglicized form of the Shawnee name Tecumtha which means "Shooting Star" or "Panther Across The Sky". Tecumseh was born into the Kispoko band of the Shawnee that was represented by a Panther. Supposedly a comet was present at the time of his birth so they chose this for his name. I think the illustration looks more like a Dianetics ad myself.

Great Seal State Park
Since there were no cameras allowed during the performance we paid extra for the pre-show tour where the actors who appear in the play demonstrated the weapons, took us up on the stage area, showed us the prop room, demonstrated a fall, etc. Unfortunately, I was having some battery/camera issues and didn't get to take too many pictures. If you go with young children I recommend taking this tour so they see that there is no real blood or bullets being fired. The blood is actually laundry detergent with food coloring. Easy to clean up!  They also opted for shorter rifles and the smaller cannons from a later time period for the ease of use by the actors. We learned that in case of rain, just like in the old days the gunpowder won't light, so they had small shotguns ready to go for the battle scenes just in case. If you are doing a play about the 1770's to 1813 you need some explosions to keep it real.
A tribute to Chief Arthur Rolette
They also had a small museum with a tribute to Arthur Rolette who came to opening night on June 30, 1973. Arthur Rolette, then principal chief of the Absentee Shawnee of Oklahoma. He was a direct descendant of Tecumseh and passed away in 1977. The playwright Alan Eckert recalled, "Arthur came up to me, threw his arms around me and gave me a big bear hug. When he turned to me, there were tears in his eyes as he said, 'You've brought Tecumseh to life.'

A nicely stocked gift shop that wasn't too terribly tacky awaited us. At least according to the packaging, the novelty arrows, drums and headdresses were made by Cherokee and not from China. I opted for a t-shirt, a fridge magnet and a fine Ohio Indian History map I plan to frame.

stocking up on provisions
The play was fantastic, exciting and as expected over the top and quite incorrect in some historical detail but I was there to be entertained not be educated. They actually spent a good amount of time on the relationship between the Galloways (especially Rebecca) and Tecumseh which I was not expecting. Rebecca was a white woman who taught Tecumseh to read and write when he visited near present-day Xenia and they supposedly had a relationship and nearly married. It is from these visits and access to books that Tecumseh may have learned of some items that his brother The Prophet "predicted" such as the 1806 eclipse that secured his standing among Tecumseh's pan-Indian Confederacy.

They kind of skipped over Tenskwatawa's conversion from alcoholic loudmouth to The Prophet and made it seem that Tecumseh only propped him up knowingly as a ruse and did not mention the vision he experienced while in a coma-like trance when others thought he was dead and they prepared him for a funeral.

Several times throughout the play, Simon Kenton was portrayed as having great respect for the Shawnee and thwarted attempted by his companions to do wanton harm to them. From what I have read, this was quite true with people like Kenton and Daniel Boone who didn't act like hostile rednecks. In the Battle of Thames death scene for Tecumseh, he is shown misidentifying the body purposefully because he knew that his body would be mutilated by the whites and felt he deserved better. The Shawnee story says that the body was retrieved and taken to an undisclosed location and that is what we saw at the end.

Tecumseh and I meet at last!

After the play, there was a meet and greet with the actors. I had expected to get my "Tecumseh!" book signed but while I was in line I realized I didn't really see the point in doing that but I did make sure I got in the line to meet the actor who played Tecumseh and get a picture with him.

Overall it was a great representation of the life of Tecumseh and I would gladly see it again! In fact, I would like to visit Chillicothe again to take in some more of its history, there are several Hopewell Cultural Park there as well as the "Father of Ohio" Thomas Worthington estate. I'll be back.

See the entire photo album here

UPDATE July 2011: I just learned after posting this that Allan W. Eckert, the playwright of the Tecumseh drama and noted author, passed away in California early today at the age of 80. He did a lot to raise awareness of much of this forgotten time period and he will be missed.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

a visit to Chalahgawtha

one of the many fine murals in town
For Christmas, I received from my wife a gift card to see the award winning 30 year running "Tecumseh!" outdoor stage play in Chillicothe OH. The play is based on the Alan Eckert book The Frontiersman. I must admit that I am not a big Eckert fan for his narrative docudrama writing style and I've only read part of his book "A Sorrow in Our Heart: The Life of Tecumseh" for this reason but I was still pretty excited to witness the epic life story of the legendary Shawnee leader as he struggles to defend his sacred homelands in the Ohio country during the late 1700’s.  It just so happened that opening weekend was on my birthday, so on June 11th, Tricia and I ditched the kids and we drove up and over to Chillicothe located along the Scioto River.
We arrived in the afternoon to grab a few geocaches first (it was my birthday after all) and visit the historical section of town where there are several markers and murals showcasing the city history. I like it when my hobbies merge. You can see the photo album here. I was having some battery issues and I didn't take as many pictures as wanted so I'd have some power for later.

1858 Ross County Courthouse
Columbus OH has been the the state capital since 1816 but Chillicothe was the capital of the entire Northwest Territory as well as the first...and third Ohio state capital. Once from1803-1810 until it was moved to Zanesville for two years and  then moved back to Chillicothe from 1812-1816. It seems some political monkey business had a hand in that shuffle in order to wrestle some party control over eastern Ohio from the Federalists to the Democratic-Republican party.
The name Chillicothe is the anglicized version of the Shawnee word Chalahgawtha, meaning "principal town". There were in fact several Shawnee "Chillicothes" since the Shawnee were semi-nomadic and re-used the name as they moved the town from place to place in the region. When a village was called  Chalahgawtha, it meant that it was home to the principal chief so it was also decided to be used for the name of the new state capital of Ohio when it became the 17th US state in 1803. Many people at that time just loved co-opting Indian words while at the same time they seemed to fear, loathe and look down upon them them and want them all gone. It's a strange love/hate paradox in American history.

St Clair and I meet once again in Chillicothe
While grabbing a geocache in the downtown area, my now highly trained eye spotted a plaque attached to a stone across the street. It turns out that my favorite inept gouty frontier general and Old Northwest Territorial governor Arthur St Clair had his headquarters here from 1800-1802 before President Thomas Jefferson fired him. That was the second time a President dismissed poor ol' St Clair. The first time was when George Washington asked him to resign from the Army after handing the US the worst defeat ever at the hands of the Native Americans in 1791 near present day Fort Recovery, OH. 25% of the entire U.S. Army had been wiped out. The disaster known as St Clair's Defeat was even worse than the later more infamous Custer's Last Stand yet many people have never heard of it. I think the site of him and his gout yelling orders from a litter because he couldn't sit on a horse would make a great scene in a movie. I'll bet Arthur never lived that one down at the Society of Cincinnati meetings over brandies and bonbons.

perhaps Tecumseh himself touched this stone
The impressive looking Ross County Courthouse was also nearby where the original Ohio statehouse stood until it was torn down in 1852. In 1807 Tecumseh himself, escorted in by Ohio Senator and future Governor Thomas "Father of Ohio" Worthington, gave a speech in the original building that was meant to ease tensions between the Native Americans and the nervous Ohio populace. The mission was considered a success and tensions did ease for a while. That would soon change.

There is a road named Nancy Wilson Way and I assumed at the time it was named for the rock musician in Heart. I have since learned that it is named for a different Nancy Wilson, a jazz singer who was from Chillicothe.

There is much more to see here such as the Adena State Memorial and the Hopewell Culture National Historical Park so I will have to come back another time. This day had a greater purpose ahead...

Coming up next...Tecumseh! - The Play

Friday, July 1, 2011

chicken wings, petroleum and pacifists

Not William Penn
I've never been to Pennsylvania but it borders Ohio on the East and the first immigrants to Ohio came from Pennsylvania in 1788 to found the first permanent settlement of the Northwest Territory, Marietta OH.
When you think of oil rigs in the US you probably think of Texas right? It was, in fact, Pennsylvania that had the first US oil boom in 1859 led by a man named Edwin Drake who had the radical idea of drilling for oil. People thought he was a madman.

Pennsylvania was founded in the 1680's in part by the Quaker convert William Penn, a man who because of his beliefs worked justly with the Delaware (Lenape) Indians and did not try to convert them to Christianity while other colonists like the Puritans lied and stole from them out of a believed moral superiority. This colony's name, which William disapproved of, actually came via King Charles II after Penn's father and not after William who was a bit embarrassed about the whole thing.

Pennsylvania is known as the Quaker State because of this "The Religious Society of Friends" and it is for these reasons we have Quaker State Oil (now owned by Pennzoil).
Quakers opposed religious ritual, formal religious leaders, taking oaths, violence, war and military service and believed in women's equality at a time when one could be whipped, killed or imprisoned for advocating such radical ideas. People thought Quakers were dangerous heretics.

William Penn
The wings restaurant chain Quaker Steak and Lube is based out of Pennsylvania too. I don't think Penn would have approved of the drinking, fancy hot sauce and idle amusements there. Quakers back then still had a few Puritan-like outlooks despite their progressiveness. It was the 17th century after all.

Daniel Boone was raised as a Quaker in Pennsylvania. Susan B Anthony, Thomas Paine, Annie Oakley, James Dean and surprisingly Richard Nixon were all raised in part as Quakers as well. History can sometimes be a paradox.

Like other historical legends, Penn had his flaws but I can't help but think that we could have used more people like him back then.