250th anniversary gift

As a historian, I wish to note today is an important one in the life of our community. It is the 248th anniversary of the birth (in Carlisle, England) of our city’s namesake, Dr. Edward Tiffin.

When Josiah Hedges named his new village on the east bank of the Sandusky River after Edward Tiffin, he chose extremely well. Today, numerous local agencies and businesses bear the Tiffin name. Yet, despite this seeming familiarity with “Tiffin,” I suspect many residents know very little about what lies behind the name.

Simply put, Tiffin ranks as a great American and a great Ohioan. He came to America in 1783 as a young doctor who practiced medicine his entire life, meanwhile engaging in many other pursuits.

He settled in the Northwest Territory at Chillicothe, where he played an active role in politics and the eventual creation of the state of Ohio. He held high positions in all three levels of government: executive, legislative and judicial.

He began as chief clerk of the Northwest Territory’s court of common pleas and continued as the first speaker of the legislature. Next, he presided over the Constitutional Convention of 1802, which created the state of Ohio. He was Ohio’s first governor and an early U.S senator. Subsequently, he was elected to the Ohio House of Representatives and, again, selected as speaker. Later, in 1812, President James Madison appointed him commissioner of the U.S. General Land Office. Tiffin ended his career as surveyor general of the Northwest. He died Aug. 9, 1829. The gravesite is marked by a modest obelisk overlooking Chillicothe from Grand View Cemetery.

Although Tiffin never visited this area, I believe he deserves some recognition in our city today. What should it be? A simple monument or a plaque? Perhaps Edward Tiffin Festival Day? The closest to his birthdate of June 19 is a great time of year. If the future justice center should end up in the former East Junior High School, maybe “East Tower” could be renamed “Tiffin Tower.” The 250th anniversary is only two years from now, enough time to plan some action.


Kenneth Davison,