Saturday, March 1, 2003

Ohio Moments

Worthington led territory to statehood


On March 1, 1803, the new General Assembly conducted the state's first business. Lawmakers met in the two-story stone building designed by Thomas Worthington in Chillicothe, Ohio's first capital. The first statehouse was where the constitution was written in 1802 and served as the capitol from 1803 to 1810 and again from 1812 to 1816.

It was razed in 1852.

Worthington was called the father of Ohio's statehood. A native Virginian, he freed his slaves and moved to Chillicothe. He became a political leader in the Northwest Territory. He served in the territorial legislature and opposed Gov. Arthur St. Clair, a Federalist, who wanted the Ohio territory to be admitted as two states. Worthington, a Democratic-Republican, was interested in keeping Ohio intact because he feared a party imbalance in Washington.

In 1802, President Jefferson, also a Democratic-Republican, signed the Enabling Act - calling on the people of Ohio to form a constitution, enabling them to form a single state. Worthington served as one of Ohio's first two U.S. senators and was the sixth governor. In 1807, he built a grand home in the style of a Southern plantation manor house, called Adena. The mansion is one of the most important standing structures in Ohio history.

Rebecca Goodman

Ohio Moments will appear here daily during 2003. Have a suggestion? Contact Rebecca Goodman at or 768-8361.

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