Jeremiah Morrow: Frontier Politician
Jeremiah Morrow was born near Gettysburg, Pa., on October 6, 1771. At age 24, Morrow set off into the Northwest Territory to find rich land for farming. He settled in 1774 in Warren County.
Morrow married Mary Parkhill, a cousin, in February 1799. The following year he was elected to serve in the territorial legislature. In 1802 he returned to Chillicothe to help write Ohio’s constitution, joining Lebanon teacher Francis Dunlavy in both pursuits.
Morrow as elected to the State Senate in 1803 and, once Ohio was admitted as a state, became its only representative in Congress, a position he held for ten years until being appointed to the U.S. Senate. Morrow was chairman of House and Senate committees on public lands and was instrumental in the passage of the Federal Land Act of 1820, which decreased the minimum price of land and allowed the sale of tracts as small as 80 acres.
After serving a six-year term in the Senate, Morrow left Washington in 1819 to oversee the state canal system as commissioner and eventually to run for governor.
Morrow defeated incumbent Allen Trimble in 1822 to become Ohio’s ninth governor. During his two terms, Ohio recovered from economic depression, a rebound fueled by the completion of the Erie Canal, the extension of the National Road into the state, and the onset of canal building in Ohio. Morrow also signed legislation establishing a system of state-supported schools and a method of valuation and taxation of property.
Morrow again joined the State Senate in 1827, and served in the Ohio General Assembly in 1829 and 1835. On July 4, 1839 he officiated the laying of the cornerstone of the Statehouse in Columbus.
Morrow then returned to Congress, succeeding the newly elected Gov. Thomas Corwin as representative of the Southwest Ohio district from October 13, 1840 to March 3, 1843.
From 1837 to 1845, Morrow was president of the Little Miami Railroad Co., which built the first railroad out of Cincinnati.
Finished with politics, Morrow returned to his farm at Twenty-mile Stand, near Lebanon, where he died on March 22, 1852. The Ohio county and Warren County town bear Morrow's name, as does the Jeremiah Morrow Bridge carrying drivers along I-71 over the Little Miami River north of Lebanon.
His grandson, Josiah Morrow left his own mark Lebanon as a writer and historian. Much of what is known about early life in Warren County comes from Josiah’s History of Warren County, Ohio.