American Consequences - June 2019

Clinton replied to Stickney’s letters with equal effusion: “I have found the way to get into Lake Erie,” wrote Clinton, “and you have shown me how to get out of it.” After much political wrangling – involving other canal projects linking Dayton to Cincinnati, Youngstown to Cleveland, Cleveland to Marietta, etc. – the Wabash and Erie Canal, begun in 1832, was completed in 1843. Just in time for railroads to replace canals. The first section of the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad – connecting the port to the river – opened in 1830, powered by the first American-made steam locomotive, the Tom Thumb. By 1850, there were 9,000 miles of railroad tracks in the U.S. (ALMOST) THE ONLY CIVIL WAR EVER Meanwhile, Toledo had been founded in an 1833 merger of various paper towns left over from the Panic of 1819. The city was officially incorporated four years later... just in time for the Panic of 1837. The prospect of a canal from Lake Erie “to get out of it” had caused a second land- buying frenzy. Jesup W. Scott was one of the most frenzied buyers. He called it, “That memorable speculation in wild lands and wild cities,” saying, “The whole Maumee Valley was filled with fortune-hunters... the shores of FOUGHT IN THE UNITED STATES

the river from Fort Wayne to the foot of the Maumee Bay were alive with city-builders... land was all that was considered necessary.” Toledo land was considered so necessary (and the surveying of state borders was so haphazard) that in 1835, Michigan Territory laid claim to Toledo. Ohio mobilized 10,000 militiamen to defend the town but, because of the Great Black Swamp, they couldn’t get there.

And canals are a ridiculous mode of transportation, as a trip to Venice shows. Imagine America crisscrossed by singing gondoliers.

Michigan’s 24-year-old acting territorial “Boy Governor,” Stevens T. Mason (his dad had political connections), mobilized 1,200 Michigan militiamen. There were various forays into Toledo with, according to a contemporary description, “the destruction of many lives of chickens and honey bees, and an occasional turkey.” A Monroe County, Michigan, deputy sheriff attempted to arrest pro-Ohio Two Stickney, the younger son of canal zealot Benjamin Stickney. (Benjamin’s elder son was named One Stickney.) Two Stickney wounded the deputy sheriff slightly with a penknife. There were no other human casualties in the only civil war ever fought in the United States except from 1861 to 1865. The Toledo War ended with a peace negotiated by a commission in Washington, which granted Toledo to Ohio and the Upper

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American Consequences


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