Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Happy 246th Birthday Edward Tiffin*


Ohio's First Governor
Most Ohioans have no idea who Dr. Edward Tiffin is. I wouldn't either except that I visited Tiffin OH for one of my kids gymnastic meets and as usual I got to do a little geocaching and studied up on the history as well.

The small NW Ohio college town of Tiffin was named after the English born man who served as the first Governor of the Buckeye State from 1803-1807 and was one of the biggest players in early Ohio politics. Ed also did something pretty important in the War of 1812 but not as a soldier. You wouldn't know any of this if you walked around Tiffin OH. I didn't see one statue of this man or anything informational about him at all. I did see a buttery looking statue of Josiah Hedges (below) who founded the town in 1820. Maybe they have a statue or a sign hidden somewhere for Edward Tiffin but I didn't see any. Don't get me wrong, Tiffin OH has some other nice history that is featured but I would have thought they would have honored their namesake a little more prominently.

Edward Tiffin was born in England on June 19th, 1766. His family emigrated to Virginia in 1789 where he then married Mary Worthington, the sister of Thomas Worthington who another future Governor of OH and known as the Father of Ohio Statehood.

I Can't Believe It's Not Tiffin!
Tiffin's family eventually moved to the Northwest Territory in 1798 and settled in Chillicothe OH where Edward Tiffin, a trained medical doctor also became involved in the Democratic-Republican Party along with his brother-in-law Thomas Worthington.  The Democratic-Republican Party was at odds with the Federalist Party of whom Arthur St. Clair, the Governor of the NW Territory, was a member. St. Clair opposed Ohio Statehood on the grounds that his own party would lose power in the US Senate if this was allowed to occur. President Thomas Jefferson, another Democratic-Republican Party member dismissed St. Clair which cleared OH for Statehood thus tipping the balance of power. Tiffin was elected without opposition. He was later elected to the US Senate representing his adopted home state and also served in other various political positions for the State of Ohio. Tiffin was also responsible for removing important Federal records from Washington DC prior to it being burned and sacked by the British in 1814 during the War of 1812.

Tiffin served out his final years as the US Surveyor General until his death in 1829 at the age of 63 never stepping foot in the town that bears his name.

You may be wondering, why does Ohio's 6th Governor, Thomas Worthington a peer of Tiffin's, get to be known as "the Father of Ohio Statehood" and Tiffin gets squat?
*Why is Tiffin just an asterisk in Ohio history?
Location, location, location. It seems that Tiffin's home in Chillicothe no longer exists while Worthington's Adena Mansion stands to this day as an historic tourist attraction that happens to be where the first mound of a previously unknown culture of Native Americans was discovered in 1901. This 800 BC to AD 100 AD period was named the Adena Culture after the name of Worthington's estate. I guess if you are going to be remembered, have a nice house in a good part of town and name it something memorable. It will help if you build it on something undiscovered too.

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