Paperwork: Cincinnati History

Driving into Cincinnati from south of the Ohio River on I-75 is breathtaking—if the traffic is light enough to take in the view. A city on a river. A city with a history of being part of the Northwest Territory, a “gift” from England after we won the Revolutionary War.

bill of ladingAs settlers streamed westward by boat or by buggy, the river’s bend offered sanctuary and hope for a new life in America. Most Cincinnatians know the story of John Cleves Symmes, the New Jersey congressman who purchased land between the Ohio and Little Miami rivers that is today basically Hamilton, Butler and Warren counties. But did you know that his men made survey errors that resulted in Symmes selling land he didn’t own, and some land that he did own, he sold more than once!

Even with shaky paperwork beginnings, the village that grew along the Ohio River became the Cincinnati we know and love today. A city of solid, upstanding citizens with midwestern values and a healthy respect for business. How could we not? Our namesake, Lucius Quinctius Cincinnatus, was a Roman statesman known as a model of civic virtue.

As a Cincinnati business focused on receipts and numbers, we highly recommend a free exhibit now showing at the downtown Library; it explores a piece of our city’s history never before shared with its citizens.

Bills of Lading: Viewing Cincinnati Through its River Trade
Step back into the age of steamboats to view life in Cincinnati through the boats, goods and people which passed through the city’s port as captured on boat receipts, known as bills of lading.

On view now through November 15 in the Cincinnati Main Library, 800 Vine Street, Joseph S. Stern, Jr. Cincinnati Room, 3rd Floor. Check it out »