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Ohio History: 8 Events That Shaped the State

By    |   Monday, 09 March 2015 10:05 AM

Ohio history includes being an industrial leader in the nation for more than a century, although it has had its economic ups and downs.

Here are eight events that helped shape the state of Ohio:

1. The British took control of the Ohio area after the French and Indian War in 1754, but ceded the territory to the U.S. following the American Revolution. According to History.com, Ohio became part of the Northwest Territory before becoming a state in 1803. However, it wasn't formally declared a state until 1953 by President Dwight Eisenhower, who signed the official document, making it retroactive to 1803.

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2. The first permanent settlement in Ohio stemmed from a reward for Revolutionary War soldiers. The veterans received land warrants for their military service to set up homes in the historic town of Marietta in 1788.

3. Ohio is the birthplace of seven American presidents. They include Ulysses S. Grant, Rutherford B. Hayes, James Garfield, Benjamin Harrison, William McKinley, William H. Taft and Warren G. Harding, according to History.com.

4. Presbyterian minister John Rankin moved to Ripley in 1823 and aided hundreds of escaped slaves from the South through the Ripley line of the Underground Railroad. Rankin's home was considered one of the first stations on the road to freedom for fleeing slaves.

5. The Ohio canal system was built between 1825 and 1841, connecting the Ohio River and Lake Erie for a passageway through New York's Erie Canal to the Atlantic. The system along with extensive road building raised state land values from $16 million to $100 million in 15 years.

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6. A convention of union leaders in Columbus founded the American Federation of Labor (AFL) in 1886. The initial group under the first AFL president, Samuel Gompers, included 25 labor groups with about 150,000 members.

7. Beginning in the 1870s, Ohio history made its mark with dramatic industrial growth. John D. Rockefeller of Cleveland founded the Standard Oil Co. and B.F. Goodrich began producing rubber products in Akron, which would eventually make Akron the "rubber capital of the world."

8. Ohio was the site of tragic anti-Vietnam War events on the campus of Kent State University on May 4, 1970. After days of protests, National Guard troops fired on the demonstrators, killing four students and wounding 29. Two of the dead students were not involved in the protests. Controversy as to why it happened followed for years. Eight guardsmen were acquitted of charges four years later, according to History.com.

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Ohio history includes being an industrial leader in the nation for more than a century, although it has had its economic ups and downs.
Ohio History, Underground Railroad, Akron
Monday, 09 March 2015 10:05 AM
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