News

Nicholas Longworth

Nicholas Longworth

Nicholas Longworth was born in Cincinnati, Ohio, on 5th November, 1869. He was educated at Harvard University and Cincinnati Law School and was admitted to the bar in 1894.

A member of the Republican Party, Longworth was elected to Congress in 1902. Four years later he married Alice Roosevelt, the daughter of Theodore Roosevelt.

Longworth was majority leader (68th Congress) and Speaker of the House of Representatives (69th-71st Congress). Nicholas Longworth died on 9th April, 1931.

I used to go to the debates a lot, especially during the early days of the League of Nations. We were against the League because we hated Wilson, who was a Family Horror. He couldn't do any good in our eyes because he had beaten Father. We felt that my father had advocated the idea of the League of Nations in his Nobel prize acceptance speech. And then Taft had come up with his League to Enforce Peace and we had squabbled about that. We didn't like other people's Leagues muscling in on our own. It was entirely personal politics designed purely to annoy. As far as I was concerned anyway. All that nonsense about my killing the League with a bunch of diehard cronies is ridiculous. It is true that I took a great interest in the debates but I don't think I influenced matters one way or another. Wilson could have had his League any time. All he had to do was to take the reservations. But he had a slowness which verged on stupidity. We were not irreconcilable but we were against the League in that form.

There were a number of really able members of the Senate in the twenties, Jim Reed, Oscar Underwood, John Sharp Williams, and Bill Borah among them. Jim Reed was a fantastic orator with a saturnine voice. We were driving around near Wilson's house the night after he died and there were a lot of people there weeping and on their knees. "Like fleas who have lost their dog," he said with his distinctive snarl.

Borah was a great friend. Like Reed, he was a great speaker. He had never been abroad. He had nearly drowned as a child apparently and he was afraid of crossing water. He came from a remote area of Illinois known as Little Egypt because of its flat delta land. He had a great leonine head and was a fascinating conversationalist. He could hold one spellbound for hours with tales of labor disputes in Illinois at the turn of the century. Unusual subjects like that. But there was a withdrawn, rather secretive quality about him, which seemed to hold him back. He was a most intriguing person.

Both John Lewis, who was another close friend, and Borah were remarkably similar in looks and also, to some extent, in temperament. They had the same large, shaggy heads and they both alternated between being very stimulating or very taciturn. They were never boring. Humor was the great bond between us.

Someone should do a study on charm in politics. People like my father, like Franklin, like Jack Kennedy were very engaging to begin with. When you add to that the glamor attached just to being in the White House, they become almost irresistible. The particular charm of the Kennedys was that they had a good deal of fun and often had their tongues in their cheeks at the same time. The Nixons didn't.

The Kennedys reminded me of all those Irish who came over in the 1840s. They seemed to have a rather special quality. There were all these marvelous-looking kitchen maids and policemen, who might easily be Sargent Shriver. I'm not being snobbish. It's just that rare quality which the Irish and no other nation seem to have. I never had much time for old Joe Kennedy but I've always thought Rose Kennedy is an extraordinary woman and it was fun to see her delightful offspring enjoying themselves.

The Kennedys were a fascinating, incredible outfit. There hasn't been anything like them since the Bonapartes. I had great fun with them, especially Jack. He loved to tease and he could be very amusing. He also had a real feeling for learning. Both he and Bobby were eager to supplement their education by learning more. They really wanted to know.


Nicholas Longworth

Nicholas "Nick" Longworth III (November 5, 1869 – April 9, 1931) was an American politician who became Speaker of the United States House of Representatives. He was a Republican.

A lawyer by training, he was elected to the Ohio Senate, where he initiated the successful Longworth Act of 1902, regulating the issuance of municipal bonds. As congressman for Ohio's 1st congressional district, he soon became a popular social figure of Washington, and married President Theodore Roosevelt's daughter Alice Lee Roosevelt. But their relationship cooled when he opposed her father in the Republican Party split of 1912. Longworth became Majority Leader of the House in 1923, and Speaker from 1925 to 1931. In this post, he exercised powerful leadership, tempered by charm and tact.


Nicholas Longworth - History

Starting with the blue box on the left, you can see the name Grandin and the road of the same name to the right. Grandin Road is named for Phillip Grandin:

Moving directly to the right, the purple box had the name, J. Edwards. Jonathan Edwards was a Spencer Township pioneer from the early 1800's and the namesake for Edwards Road.
Stettinius Home - Oatfield Hamilton County Auditor 1999-2003
Above J. Edwards in the green box is J.L. Stettinius. John Longworth Stettinius was the son of John and Mary (Longworth) Stettinius and the grandson of the wealthy Cincinnatian, Nicholas Longworth. The Stettinius home, called Oatfield, still stands at 3264 Stettinius Avenue. John L. Stettinius' grandson, John Longworth Stettinuis II, was a lawyer and one of the founders of the firm, Taft, Stettinius & Hollister.

In the white box on the north side of present day Observatory Avenue, is R. Shaw, for whom Shaw Avenue is named. Robert Shaw was a doctor who immigrated from near Belfast, Ireland. He died in 1884 and is buried in Spring Grove Cemetery.

The orange and yellow boxes are related, as the came from the original parcel owned by Henry Morten, namesake of Morten Avenue. In the orange is John Morten and Thomas H. Morten, sons of Henry. In the yellow is C.B. Cryer, for Charlotte B. Morten Cryer, daughter of John and is how Cryer Avenue received its name.

Charlotte Morten was born in 1827 and married Thomas Cryer, who served in the Civil War. Thomas died before 1870, leaving Charlotte to raise their four children. She lived in her home at 2891 Observatory Avenue until her death, sometime after 1910. Her home is no longer standing.

Lastly, in the red box, is a name well-known to those in Hyde Park, John Kilgour, namesake of the street and the school.


Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the Longworth Hall Office Complex and Design Center was originally the Baltimore and Ohio Freight Terminal. Longworth Hall's sister building is Camden Yards in Baltimore. Longworth Hall rests on ground originally owned by Nicholas Longworth. In fact, some lease payments are still made to relatives of Nicholas Longworth for land leased into perpetuity. Longworth Hall remains one of the longest buildings in the country, and is over one quarter mile in length.

80,000 feet of piling were driven to support the foundations, which are built of concrete, 4,000 cubic yards were used. The piers between the doors on the first floor are made of Bedford stone (Bedford, Indiana). 4,250,000 bricks were used in the walls. The floor loads are carried on steel girders and these in turn are carried on steel columns, 1,200 tons of steel required. Floors, joists, roof beams, etc., are frame requiring 2,500.000 feet of lumber. 1,277 feet in length, 5 stories high, and divided into 6 sections by heavy fire walls. All floors are double, being 1 3/8" maple on top of 1 3/4 yellow pine. Each floor will carry 400 pounds to the sq. foot.

The lower floor is designed as the inbound freight house with the upper 4 floors for storage warehouse. The inbound Freight House (Longworth Hall) — delivery of freight on the 2nd St. side. On the North side of the building the inbound tracks had a capacity of 65 cars. The facilities also consisted of an Outbound frt. house, transfer shed (1,250 feet long), a receiving yard [on the North side of the outbound House - 45' wide and 1,100' long paved with brick.

All in all the total facility trackage had the capacity of 125 cars. There was also a boiler house and a 6 stall roundhouse a coal tipple, with other locomotive services. The roundhouse was used primarily for passenger locomotives. Besides the space devoted to the storage of miscellaneous goods, there was a United States Customs Bonded Warehouse, for the care of imported goods. It was stated that some of those goods remained stored up to 3 years until the proper duty was paid.

Special thanks to Dan Finfrock for help with research on Longworth Hall.


The Father of American Sparkling Wine

When you think of American sparkling wine today, you think of wines such as the ones recommended below, high quality bottlings that rival the world's best bubbly, including those from Champagne. These American sparklers are most often from California and other major U.S. wine regions and are made from European Vitis vinifera grapes such as Pinot Noir and Chardonnay.

It is unlikely that you would think of sparkling Catawba. But this sweet, zingy wine was America's first sparkler and, for many years, one of the country's best wines and the flagship wine of Ohio, once the biggest wine-producing state in the country. And it is even more unlikely that you would think of Nicholas Longworth, the diminutive lawyer who created the first sparkling Catawba and triggered Ohio's wine boom. So to celebrate America's Independence Day and the evolution of American sparkling wine over the past two centuries, we pay tribute to Longworth and his fizzy creation.

Longworth moved to Cincinnati from New Jersey in 1803, the same year Ohio officially became a state. The 21-year-old began studying law and soon after started his own law firm, which became wildly successful. Less than two decades later, Longworth was the wealthiest man in the state.

At the time, the beverage of choice in the heartland frontier was whiskey. Aside from its more obvious effects, hard liquor was actually one of the safest things to drink in 19th century Ohio. "If you didn't have a well, there was a good chance the water would make you sick," said Paul Lukacs, author of American Vintage: The Rise of American Wine (Houghton Mifflin Co.). "If you didn't own a cow or goat you couldn't drink milk. So there wasn't much else to drink besides whiskey."

A supporter of the Temperance Movement, Longworth was appalled at his fellow citizens' jug habits and wanted to give Ohio an alternative beverage, something safe, with a long shelf-life, but less punch than 80-proof liquor. "Longworth wasn't a great wine lover, nor did he know much about wine, but he wanted to make Cincinnati -- and later Ohio and the rest of the country -- a healthier place," Lukacs said.

In 1813, Longworth planted his first vineyards, near the Ohio River and tried his hand at his new hobby, but with limited success. He dabbled with native varieties and imported French Vitis vinifera vines, which quickly died due to the European vines' vulnerability to disease and parasites, such as the devastating phylloxera.

But in 1825, Longworth found his grape. He had heard about a hybrid called Catawba, a crossing of native Labrusca and vinifera vines grown by a fellow Ohioan, Major James Adlum. He planted a vineyard with the new crossing as tried his first Catawba wines three years later. They were musky, as were other native varietals, but showed potential.

Thinking the wine's musky flavor might be caused by the skins, Longworth decided to remove the skins from the grape juice before fermentation. The result was a sweet, light-bodied pink wine, similar to white Zinfandel.

Catawba's popularity quickly spread across the Ohio Valley (especially among German immigrants, whom it reminded of their homeland tipple), and Longworth quit his law practice and devoted all of his time (and much of his fortune) to making wine. During the 1830s, Longworth planted more vineyards and increased production as his business grew. But it wasn't until 1842, after some wine was unintentionally fermented a second time, that Longworth had his next breakthrough.

The accidental bubbly was best wine he had produced yet, but Longworth didn't know how to properly control the winemaking process. He hired French vignerons to teach him the méthode champenoise , but the process was still not perfect, and Longworth lost about a third of his production to bottles exploding from the pressure. Regardless, demand soared for this intriguing wine, even among wealthy wine drinkers who had previously drunk nothing but authentic French Champagne.

By 1859, Ohio was America's biggest wine producer, bottling more than 570,000 gallons of wine a year, twice as much as California. Longworth and his Catawba wine were king and scepter of the industry, with a production of more than 100,000 bottles a year and distribution across the country and even in Europe.

The wines even impressed the famous Ohio poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, who praised Longworth's flagship grape in the Ode to Catawba Wine , which begins: "Very good in its way/ Is the Verzenay,/ Or the Sillery soft and creamy/ But Catawba wine/ Has a taste more divine,/ More dulcet, delicious and dreamy."

But just as Ohio's wine fame was peaking, the industry came tumbling down. In 1860, vineyards across the state were plagued with black rot and Oidium , or powdery mildew, which destroyed more than 10,000 vines in southwestern Ohio.

Longworth was also past his prime, and when he died in 1863, the remains of his wine empire were split up among his heirs. But "Old Nick" is remembered as an important figure in America's wine history.

"Longworth was really the first person to make wine in America that was commercially successful," Lukacs said. "He was also the first to make wine that was sold on a large scale. You could make a strong case that he is the father of American wine."

These American sparklers show how far we've come from the days of Catawba, and are perfect for popping on the Fourth of July (or any celebration):


Ohio: The Birthplace of American Winemaking?

Image from a pamphlet advertising Nicholas Longworth's wines, 1866.

Welcome to Vintage America, our new column on the history — and future — of American wine. Every week Talia Baiocchi, author of the Decanted column on Eater NY, will take a look at winemaking from Virginia to Texas to California, to uncover the people, events, and trends that have made America one of the most dynamic countries in the world of wine.

  • Image from a pamphlet advertising Nicholas Longworth's wines, 1866.
  • Ohio's E & K Wine Co. Catawba label, mid 1800s. (Source: E & K Wine Company).
  • Old Nick Longworth, father of American winemaking.
  • Mt. Adams, mid 1800s. Nicholas Longworth owned all of Mt. Adams, where he cultivated Catawba grapes used in making his famous "champagne" known as Golden Wedding. For a brief period Mt. Adams was at the vortex of American winemaking. (Source: Ci
  • Aerial View of Lake Erie's Isle St. George, home to wine growing since the 1800s and current home of Firelands Winery.
  • Longworth's pink Catawba a precursor to this? I'm sure he'd be proud.
  • Arnie Esterer of Markko Vineyard, one of the fixtures of modern Ohio winemaking and a pioneer (with the help of famed Finger Lakes viticulturalist Dr. Konstantin Frank) of the use of Vinifera varieties along the shores of Lake Erie.
  • The Golden Eagle Winery on Middle Bass Island, Lake Erie, Ohio. Golden Eagle - complete with caves dug out of the island's limestone bedrock and a dance hall - was America's largest winery by 1875. (Source: California Digital Library).
  • Present day Catawba grapes.
  • 1800s Ohio Wine List featuring Longworth's Sparkling Catawba. A bargain at $2.00/bottle.
  • Prohibition all but destroyed the American wine business. Those that managed to stay afloat did so by producing sacramental wines, de-alcoholized wines, and fresh grape juice.

Ohio: home of the Rubber Capital of the World, the Great Serpent Mound, the buckeye tree, Arby's and ? the birthplace of American winemaking?

Those who hail from outside the Buckeye State likely have no idea that wine is even produced in Ohio. General reactions range from fear to disbelief to—in one case—tears. Not only is wine produced in Ohio, but—brace yourself—Ohio was once the most important winemaking state in the U.S.

As detailed in last week's introductory column, wine growing in this country dates all the way back to the mid 1500s, when the French Huguenots first cultivated vines in Jacksonville, Florida. From that moment on, wine growing would not cease, despite the fact that its pioneers enjoyed very limited commercial success. The European settlers, reared on wines produced from their native Vinifera vines, found that the American Labrusca vine stock yielded wines that were more reminiscent of farm animals than fruit. But their solution to import European rootstock failed miserably. Turns out that the Vinifera species of vine is not immune to phylloxera, the rapacious native American vineyard pest that would later hitchhike its way to Europe and destroy nearly all of the continent's vineyards. But the fits and starts characteristic of nearly every attempt at commercial winemaking in this country were not enough to convince an eccentric little giant from New Jersey that he couldn't make history in Ohio.

Nicholas Longworth came to Cincinnati, Ohio from Newark, New Jersey in 1803 when he was 21-years-old. In less than one year he studied law, set up a successful practice, and made a fortune. He stood 5'1", bore a striking resemblance to Steve Buscemi, and dressed like a 19th Century version of Andy Warhol. He was described by the townspeople as a shrewd businessman and a generous philanthropist, but no mention of "Old Nick" was replete without talk of his many idiosyncrasies.

It's no wonder then, that when he decided to plant vines outside of the city, many simply dismissed his project as yet another byproduct of his eccentricity. But Longworth paid little attention and began experimenting with plantings on the banks of the Ohio River as early as 1813. Despite low-level successes with the Alexander and Isabella grapes over the next 15 years, Longworth didn't find mass appeal for his wines until 1830, when his work with the native red Catawba grape—first introduced in the early 1800s by pioneering viticulturist John Adlum—found favor with Cincinnatians.

Franzia Before The Box?

Catawba, a native American variety with a "foxy" odor, still posed a bit of a problem for Longworth. But by crushing the grapes and removing the skins, he found that he could avoid the off odors. The resulting wine was semi-sweet (as was most American wine was at the time) and pink—a sort of godmother to the Franzia White Zinfandel many of us shot-gunned in college. The wine was an instant hit. However, less than 15 years later, an accident would change Longworth's production methods entirely.

American Bubbly

In the spring of 1842, a batch of pink Catawba wine accidentally underwent a second fermentation, producing America's very first sparkling wine. Longworth's imagination was captured. He loved it so much that he hired an expensive team of Frenchman from Champagne to oversee his production. Though they dealt with significant setbacks and financial losses, Longworth would not back down.

In the years to come his sparkling Catawba wine proved even more popular than his previous wines, receiving critical acclaim from California to France and inspiring a whole new crop of Ohioan winemakers. By 1860 the state of Ohio was supplying one-third of the nation's wine Longworth alone had 2,000 acres under vine and was producing more than 100,000 bottles annually. By all accounts, Ohio was the epicenter of American winemaking.

However, by the late 1800s the wine culture that Longworth spent 50 years fashioning had begun to unravel. Advocates of temperance came to favor abolishment over moderation, and by 1920 the bustling Ohio wine industry was reduced to the production of table grapes and sacramental wine. It would be decades before the industry would recover.

The Modern Era

Now, 77 years after the repeal of Prohibition, Ohio boasts 143 wineries, five shiny AVAs (designated American Viticultural Areas), and a growing amount of international recognition.

Of the state's five AVAs, the Ohio River Valley in Southwestern Ohio and the Grand River Valley in the North have emerged as the state's top two growing regions. The Ohio River Valley, Longworth's former stomping ground, stretches along the banks of the Ohio River, creating a dividing line between the humid sub-tropical climate of the South and the humid continental climate of the North. As a result, warm and cool climate varieties—in this case a motley crew of French-American hybrids like Marechal Foch, Baco Noir, Seyval and Vidal Blanc, Catawba, and Chambourcin—can thrive here.

The Lake Effect

But Ohio's great potential seems to lie in the cool-climate growing region of the Grand River Valley, along the shores of Lake Erie. What makes this particular area special is that Erie—being the shallowest and thus the warmest of the Great Lakes—supplies a "lake effect" that elongates the growing season, allowing the grapes greater ripeness without compromising the brisk acidity characteristic of cool climate winemaking. Up here the most successful wines tend to be white, with Riesling, Pinot Gris, and Gewurztraminer acting as standouts and hybrid grapes like Vidal Blanc and Traminette as understudies.

Longworth's Legacy

Ohio may never regain its place as the epicenter of American wine production. It will probably never produce wines that rival California, Oregon, or Washington, but its present virtue lies not in its ability to compete with the best wines in America, but in its wines being something of a living history. To this day, the native American varieties that grew wild in the state are still cultivated and Catawba à la Longworth remains a staple at many of the state's wineries. It's a rare thing to drink American wine and think beyond the last three decades, but perhaps that is, and always will be, Ohio's invaluable contribution to American wine culture.

For richest and best
Is the wine of the West,
That grows by the Beautiful River
Whose sweet perfume
Fills all the room
With a benison on the giver.

"Ode to Catawba Wine" – Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Wineries of note:

Markko Vineyard
Perhaps Ohio's finest white wine producer. Founded by Arnie Esterer in 1968 under the mentorship of Dr. Konstantin Frank, the famed Finger Lakes winemaker and viticulturalist. With Dr. Frank's guidance, Markko has pioneered the successful cultivation of Vinifera varieties. The estate's Riesling bottlings are not to be missed. Surprisingly mineral-driven and ageworthy.

Ferrante
Originally founded in 1937 near Cleveland (the winery is now in Geneva, near Lake Erie), Ferrante is known for their white wines vinified from both native American and European varieties. The Signature Series Grand River Valley Riesling is the most notable among them,

Firelands
Firelands is currently the largest winery in Ohio, producing wines on Lake Erie's Isle St. George. Riesling, Gewurztraminer, and Pinot Gris top the list of the estate's best wines.


Nicholas Longworth - History

&ldquoNestled along the riverbank and spreading over the Tusculum hills in eastern Cincinnati is the community of Columbia Tusculum. The roots of this charming neighborhood spread out over a two hundred year span. Its history is traced to Columbia, the second permanent white settlement in the Northwest Territory:&rdquo

From the booklet, &ldquoColumbia Tusculum: 1788-1988,&rdquo produced with the help of many friends and neighbors in celebration of our bicentennial year, 1988.

Columbia Tusculum: A series of firsts:

Cincinnati&rsquos Oldest Neighborhood Founded as the settlement of &ldquoColumbia&rdquo by Benjamin Stites, with 26 settlers from New Jersey, in November 1788. It predated Losantiville (later, Cincinnati) by a month. Its annexation by Cincinnati (1873), qualifies this community as its first settlers.

First Protestant Congregation in Northwest Territory: Organized in 1790, Columbia Baptist Church&rsquos first pastor, Rev. John Smith of Pennsylvania, later became one of Ohio&rsquos first US senators. Today&rsquos Columbia Baptist Church, built in 1865, is still active at 3718 Eastern Avenue.

First School in Hamilton County: Opened by John Reilly in 1790.

Oldest Continuously Inhabited Home in Hamilton County: Thought to have been built in 1804, the Morris house (3644 Eastern Avenue) was believed to have been the home of James Morris, a tanner and one of the area&rsquos first manufacturers.

Initially sited on the low Ohio River flood plain, repeated flooding hindered the community&rsquos ability to prosper. Hence, in 1815, the settlement moved to its present location at the foot of Tusculum Hill. Two homes from this period still survive &ndash the Kellogg house (3811 Eastern Avenue), and the Stites house (315 Stites Avenue), both built in the 1830&rsquos.

Today, this area is designated as the Columbia Tusculum Historic District. Many of the homes and buildings are listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Columbia&rsquos founder, Benjamin Stites, is said to have explored the area by accident. * While on a trading expedition in Kentucky, Stites led a party in pursuit of a band of Indian horse thieves. The Indians built a raft and crossed the Ohio River near the mouth of the Little Miami River. Stites and his men did likewise. Although the Indians were pursued up the Little Miami Valley to the area of present-day Xenia, the horses were never recovered. Stites may have returned empty-handed, but he had a dream. The land he had explored appeared to be the ideal location to settle.

Stites closed his trading post and quickly returned to his family in Pennsylvania. From there he journeyed to New Jersey where he found a sympathetic member of Congress, John Cleves Symmes. Symmes made a large purchase of land and agreed to sell Stites a parcel of 20,000 acres located near the junction of the Ohio and Little Miami Rivers in the newly formed Northwest Territory. The price was quite a bargain at less than a dollar an acre.

He gathered a party of 26 settlers from New Jersey, including three married women, two girls and two young boys. They traveled down the Ohio River and stopped in Limestone, Kentucky (now Maysville) to prepare for settlement. Being familiar with the dangers of attempting to settle in Indian Territory, Stites knew that the group had to be prepared to establish their settlement quickly. A fort was planned and lumber prepared so that construction could begin immediately. Stites and his son Benjamin are said to have even prepared doors with hinges attached.

They left Limestone on November 16, 1788, and floated down the Ohio until they were just upriver from the Little Miami. The party waited there so that they could time their arrival for sunrise. Inasmuch as they had heard rumors of a party of 500 Indians awaiting their landing, they sent a canoe of five volunteers across the river to scout. At the all clear signal, the rest crossed over and landed at the first high bank (about 1/2 mile below the Little Miami) on the morning of November 18, 1788.

An early history of Cincinnati describes the landing:

&ldquoImmediately on landing, sentinels were posted, and a clearing made in a thicket of paw-paws, women and children sat down, the men standing, doubtless with their guns in their hands. A hymn was sung under the leadership of Thomas Wade, and then a prayer of thanksgiving was offered. After the close of these services, work was begun on a blockhouse which was completed about November 24.&rdquo **

Three additional blockhouses were immediately built and joined by palisades forming a kind of fort which was called Fort Miami. For a short time, the settlement enjoyed the protection of a guard of regular soldiers (1 sergeant and 18 privates) but it was soon withdrawn and the settlers were left to protect themselves.

They called their settlement &ldquoColumbia,&rdquo and since the area in which they established their homesteads and farms is now within the Cincinnati city limits, the Stites party is entitled to the distinction of being the pioneer settlers.

The Indians were initially friendly and made frequent visits to the blockhouses at Columbia. The first Christmas was a time of celebration. Unexpectedly warm weather permitted the settlers to bring their tables outdoors and invite the Indians to join them in their festivities. The arrival of the other invited guests, the soldiers, nearly caused a disaster. The Indians were finally persuaded to stay and the dinner was a memorable event for all who attended.

The uneasy calm lasted for several months. However, during 1789, several settlers were killed and others captured by Indians. Early maps have been found which attest to the severity of the Indian/Settler conflict in the settlement&rsquos first years. The gory name &ldquoSlaughterhouse&rdquo marks the location of Columbia.

A cabin built in 1789 was described by one of its inhabitants:

&ldquoIts narrow doors of thick oak plank, turning on stout wooden hinges, and secured with strong bars braced with timber from the floor, formed a safe barrier to the entrance below while above, on every side, were port-holes, or small embrasures, from which we might see and fire upon the enemy. Of windows we had but two, containing only four panes of glass each, in openings so small, that any attempt to enter them, by force, must have proved fatal to an assailant.&rdquo ***

This was typical of the first homes built in Columbia, and indicates that security against Indians was of utmost importance.

The state of semi-siege did not prevent all social events from taking place. After the garrison was built at Fort Washington, the officers gave balls, and the Fourth of July was usually celebrated magnificently considering the means of the soldiers and the settlers. Winter amusements included riding, visiting, and dancing.

Religion and education were not neglected during these times. In the first group were several Baptist families who gathered for worship services in the blockhouse in 1789. On January 20, 1790, the Columbia Baptist Church, the first protestant congregation in the Northwest Territory was organized.

The first pastor was the Rev. John Smith of Pennsylvania, who, in addition to his ministerial duties, owned a store and small farm. Smith went on to become one of the first senators to represent Ohio in the United States Senate. His friendship with Aaron Burr led to his being charged with treason and his ultimate resignation from the senate.

The first school in Hamilton County was opened in Columbia on June 21, 1790, by John Reilly. His English school was expanded by the addition of Francis Dunlevy who headed a classical department the following year. Mr. Reilly&rsquos journal indicates that the system of &ldquoboarding round&rdquo must have existed in his time of teaching in Columbia. Entries talk of boarding with various members of the community.

The settlers had at first built on a low plain whose rich soil made it an ideal location for cultivating corn. Throughout the early settlement years they supplied the needs of both the settlements of Columbia and Losantiville. The first mill which ground the corn had an unusual method of deriving power. Two flatboats were anchored side by side with a large paddle wheel fastened in between. The Little Miami&rsquos current turned the wheel which operated the millstones.

By the end of 1790, there were 50 cabins, a mill and a school in the settlement. The Ohio River served this area, like many other river communities, as a primary artery for trade. Yet Columbia, primarily because of its flooding problem, never prospered into a major commercial center.

After the hardships of those early settlement years, life in Columbia was greatly improved. The flooding of the town continued and in 1815 the settlement moved to the base of Tusculum hill. Only the Pioneer Cemetery remains to mark the earlier location. Records indicate that it was originally part of the grounds of the Columbia Baptist Church.

The last blockhouse collapsed in 1838 when an unusually large wake created by two passing steamboats washed out the base of the bank which supported it.

The houses built in the early nineteenth century reflect a greater sense of prosperity and a lessened need to merely provide a method of survival. Although few buildings remain from the early 1800&rsquos, the oldest continuously occupied home in the county still stands on Eastern Avenue. Reportedly built in 1804, the building has been covered several times with clapboards. In a recent restoration, owners uncovered four large stone fireplaces. Known as the Morris house, it was reputed to have been the home of James Morris, a tanner and one of the area&rsquos first manufacturers.

Two other houses of prominent families remain from the early 1800&rsquos. The Kellogg house was built in 1835 by Samuel Knicely and passed to his daughter, Sarah, who married Ensign Kellogg. The home remained in the Kellogg family until the death of the last family member in 1977.

The other home still standing is the Stites house. Built by Hezekiah Stites, Jr. in the 1830&rsquos, the eighteen inch thick masonry walls attest to the builder&rsquos intent to have his home stand a long time.

Compared to earlier years, life in Columbia was fairly prosperous. Residents there made it clear that their community was no place for a freeloader to visit. Early histories of the area talk of boarding paupers at farm houses. The person would be put up for auction and would go to the lowest bidder. Other documents forbid certain families who were known indigents from entering the town.

Residents of Columbia enjoyed the bounty produced by the fertile land. Agriculture and the accompanying occupations provided the mainstay for the community. Several manufacturers and river tradesmen also called Columbia home.

From the earliest days of Columbia, the river has played an important role in the development of the community. Early settlers arrived by flatboat, and simple boats and canoes continued to transport new arrivals and to convey goods to markets in other communities. With the development of the steamboat, the river took on increased importance. Many boats were built in the area and docks up and down the river gave the town a prominent position in river trade.

By 1910, steamboat traffic on the Ohio River was being replaced by the railroad as a means of transportation. Those boats already on the river continued to operate, but when they became too old for service, they were not replaced. The Ohio continued on its periodic rampages, with major floods in 1913, 1918, and 1924, but the most spectacular river disaster was the &ldquoice gorge&rdquo of 1918. The Ohio froze over in January, and as late as March it was still possible to walk across the river. Steamboats were imprisoned in the ice, and with the thaw, were crushed by the shifting ice. After that, the steam boat became more a memory than a mode of transportation.

Transportation played an important role in the growth of Columbia. Because Columbia was the gateway to the eastern sections of Hamilton County, the area evolved into a primary transportation corridor. As early as 1795, a road was surveyed from Cincinnati to Columbia, and by 1835, the Anderson Turnpike passed through Columbia on its route to Chillicothe. As the population grew, the network of roads connecting towns increased. With the development of the automobile, more people moved out to the suburbs and began to commute to the city for trade and work. In 1938, Columbia Avenue was upgraded to a parkway to assist in the flow of traffic from the outlaying areas into the city.

In 1836, the Little Miami Railroad was incorporated and by 1841, it connected Cincinnati, Columbia, and the village of Milford. In 1870, it was absorbed by the Pennsylvania Railroad. In 1917, the tracks were elevated to allow for more speed and safety. Until 1970, the line was among the busiest in Ohio all passenger traffic to and from Cincinnati on to Pennsylvania passed through Columbia.

In 1877 the narrow gauge Cincinnati, Georgetown, and Portsmouth steam railroad inaugurated service between downtown Cincinnati and Clermont County. Around 1917, the steam engines were replaced by electric trains.

Transportation advances were not limited to ways of getting out of Columbia some aided in moving around town. The streetcar system helped residents within the city limits. In 1866, the Cincinnati and Columbia Street Railway Company began operation of steam &ldquodummies&rdquo, and in the 1890&rsquos the line was modernized with cable cars. The &ldquodummy&rdquo provided a means of getting to Mt. Lookout from Columbia and proved to be very popular. It was so popular that when it ceased operation, a funeral service was held, the cars were cremated, and they were buried along Delta Avenue.

Another important transportation feature is Lunken Airport. The airport started as a barnstorming airfield shortly after World War I. In 1925, the Army Air Corps moved to the present Lunken field. Embry and Riddle formed a team that same year and in 1927 began carrying airmail from Chicago to Cincinnati. The Embry-Riddle Company was taken over by American Airlines making Cincinnati the birthplace of that large aviation company.

In 1925, E. H. Lunkenheimer donated 204 acres of ground to the city of Cincinnati to be used as an airport on the condition that it be called Lunken airport. In the course of preparing the land for the airport, several Indian items were unearthed. The area had previously been an Indian burial ground and contained numerous items of Indian lore such as arrowheads, tomahawks, and pottery. During the time of the Indians, the area was home to turkeys and bore the name Turkey Bottoms. The rich soil provided for a bountiful corn crop for the Indians and later the settlers. In addition to the Indian remains, an old stone from one of the early grist mills on the site was uncovered. The stone is currently located near the entrance to the airport building.

The city added additional acreage to the Lunkenheimer gift. About the middle of 1928, Lunken became a municipal airport. In the early 1930&rsquos, it was known as one of the largest and finest municipal airports in the world. The opening of Greater Cincinnati Airport brought about the end of commercial service at Lunken. It is now one of the most important general aviation fields in the state.

After many years of little growth, the transportation boom caused many changes in Columbia. The village grew and was officially incorporated in 1868. As the growth continued, many residents wanted to take advantage of the amenities of the city. In 1873, Columbia was annexed by the city of Cincinnati.

Most of the buildings seen today were begun in conjunction with the development of transportation in this area. The ease of access to Cincinnati and other communities encouraged people to build their homes here. Many large estates were subdivided and sold for building lots.

The largest landowner in the area was Nicholas Longworth, Cincinnati&rsquos first millionaire. Longworth&rsquos vineyards covered the area from what is now Eden Park to the current Alms Park. His sparkling Catawba wine was popular all over the country. The combination of black rot and the loss of laborers due to the Civil War led to the demise of the grapevines. Following his death in 1863, the land was subdivided and the area became know as Longworth&rsquos Tusculum.

In 1890, a newspaper notice advertised in glowing terms a new subdivision, Columbia Heights, across Delta Avenue from Tusculum Heights. It was touted for its riverviews, proximity to the fine estates of Larz Anderson, and accessibility from downtown. The area was not as successfully developed as had been expected, and, consequently, retained a country aura. The presence of numerous animals inspired the residents to refer to their locale as &ldquonanny goat hill.&rdquo

As the number of residents in the area increased, the business district, particularly along Eastern Avenue, experienced a period of growth. Many businesses, such as hotels, sprang up to service the passengers and workers from the railroad. However, most businesses were community oriented.

Several older residents have been quoted as saying that by the turn-of-the-century, the business district supplied the total needs of the community. The frequent runs of the streetcar and the steam dummy provided easy access tot he shopping district for residents outside the immediate area. The section of Eastern Avenue from Davis Lane (Airport Road) to Delta Avenue boasted at least five groceries, two hotels, three hardware stores, four saloons, three barbers, two banks, a theater, four shoe stores, a restaurant, four dry goods stores, three confectioners, three drug stores, a jeweler, a plumber, and a tailor. In addition to the stores, there were doctors, a lawyer, an architect, and several undertakers. A major employer was the Boldt Glass Company on Davis Lane. The police station was located on Eastern Avenue near Tennyson. The paddy wagon and horses were kept at the police patrol at the corner of Columbia and Delta.

Unlike businesses today, the shopkeepers lived either above or near their place of business. The sense of community was very strong.

Life in the community was quite different from that of today. The community was described as being very close-knit. There were many wealthy residents and they were known to &ldquolook out&rdquo for the poor. As everyone lived and worked in the area, there was a strong sense of pride in the community.

Even the policemen lived in the neighborhood and knew all the residents. As he walked his beat every night, a policeman would check every resident&rsquos property and would tap his stick on the porch to let the occupants know he had been there.

Most deliveries were made in hose-drawn wagons. Ice was home delivered until about 1920. The steep hillside streets made such deliveries difficult. Several of the steeper streets were paved with cobblestones to give the horses better footholds.

Transportation for the residents within the community was also via horse. Several residents owned their own horse and carriage, while others rented them as they were needed. Many horses were kept in the undertaker&rsquos stables, since the undertaker had horses of his own.

When the women in the community finished shopping, they would usually stop to call on a friend. If the friend were not at home, she would leave her calling card with a servant or under a special spring on the outside of the mailbox. The recipient of the card would then telephone the caller and invite her to tea.

The women were well-know for their ability to organize various social events. Parades were held regularly to benefit numerous causes. School children vied for the honor of helping carry a large flag. The flag was carried flat and the spectators would throw money on it as the children marched by.

One of the most memorable benefits was held during World War I. Americans were concerned about the plight of the Belgian babies. Local women organized a festival in their behalf. A large circus tent was set up on Donham, near Eastern Avenue. Many &ldquowild animals&rdquo were housed there. Actually, the animals were prominent local citizens in costume. The event lasted for a week and ended with a chariot race followed by a parade down Eastern Avenue.

Spare time activities for young people included music lessons and going to the library. Several older residents recall that the library was the meeting place before going on to other activities. The favorite wintertime sport was sledding town the Tusculum hill. The more adventurous would start at what is now the road that leads to Alms Park and end on Eastern Avenue

A favorite place for the enterprising young boys was the Carrel Street Railroad Station. The C G & P line there. Passengers would walk from that narrow gauge line to the streetcar. Boys would offer to bus their baggage for five or ten cents.

Another highly popular gathering place for the boys in the community was the YMCA. Originally located on Eastern Avenue, the Y was a popular spot where a boy or a young man could find plenty of friends and good times. The first director, &ldquoDoc&rdquo Owens, was a well-known figure in the community. He is credited with organizing many of the clubs which helped to guide the boys into wholesome activities. The sports teams sponsored by the Y were among the more popular activities. The &ldquoEast End Y Marines&rdquo was a youth group which provided invaluable service in assisting with rescue efforts on the Ohio River during the 1937 flood. The YMCA is currently located at Delta and Columbia and has continued to offer aid in times of need.

While the Ohio River has provided a major means of transportation for Columbia, it also has been a source of difficulty. The early settlement was forced to move further inland to avoid the frequent floods. Today the community is protected by a series of dams upriver and on the various streams which feed the Ohio. This was not the case as recently as 1937 &ndash the year which cannot be forgotten by those who lived through it.

January 1937 was the date of the greatest flood in recorded history. The river reached a final crest of 80 feet and much of the community was under water.

Just as it had done throughout the history of Columbia, the area around Lunken Airport was among the first locations to be inundated. All air traffic to and from Cincinnati ceased. Shortly thereafter the rails became flooded and train traffic was also halted.

Soon the area was isolated and, like the rest of the city, was without electricity and water services. The indomitable spirit of the residents pushed them into action. The &ldquoY Marines&rdquo as well as many local residents joined in the effort to rescue those who were left stranded by the rising waters.

As the flood waters receded, the residents rose to the challenge. The retreating waters left behind much damage, but not enough to defeat the hard working people of Columbia Tusculum. The spirit of community helped to pull everyone together. Even though the flood was a dreadful ordeal, it is also remembered by everyone as a time of great community involvement.

Beginning in the World War II era, the area experienced many changes. As the young men returned from war, they began to move to the suburbs where everything was &ldquonew and modern&rdquo. As the parents of these men grew older, the buildings and businesses in the community also began to show their age and started to deteriorate. Like many other urban areas, Columbia Tusculum experienced a decline.

Beginning in the 1940&rsquos and continuing through the 70&rsquos, many people migrated from eastern Kentucky to the Cincinnati area. Cincinnati appealed to these migrants because it offered the opportunity for jobs and the chance to improve their standard of living. The vacancies created by the &ldquoflight to the suburbs&rdquo left homes and apartments available for the new wave of residents. As these residents improved their standard of living and moved on to other locations, new migrants continued to take their places.

With the late 1970&rsquos and into the 80&rsquos, a new migration began. The combination of the oil crisis and the revival of interest in Victorian architecture prompted young people to return to the city. Many of the homes are being restored to the glory of their earlier days.

A restoration of the spirit which characterized the earlier community has accompanied the restoration of the buildings. Residents are encouraged to participate in the community council projects and share their concerns with other members of the community. The sense of community pride that was prevalent in the early days of Columbia is once again evident in Columbia Tusculum. Everyone is invited to join in to make this community one of the best the city has to offer.

The Columbia Tusculum Community Council has produced this booklet with the help of a grant from the Neighborhood Support Program. We wish to thank the following people for their assistance in providing historical information and/or photographs (all photographs depict area residents and events &ndash Note from the webmaster: these pictures are not yet available on the website):

Gladys Morris BumillerYork McDonnell

The Columbia JournalOhio Historic Preservation Office

Betty EasleyRichard Pardini

Lunken AirportLouise Warrington

* Some believe this story to be charming but not quite accurate. The tendency of the area to flood suggests that it was chosen from a map rather than in person. (return to text)

** The story appears in several early history books. The actual quote is from a page torn out of an unknown history book recently found in a local home. (return to text)

*** The source of this quote is also a page torn from an unknown early history book. (return to text)

Engeleken, Ruth, &ldquoThe Old Stites House&rdquo, The Cincinnati Enquirer magazine, August 16, 1970

Ford, Henry A. and Kate B., History of Hamilton County Ohio, L. A. Williams and Company, 1881

Heidler, Robert, &ldquoEast End-Tusculum&rdquo, Cincinnati Times-Star, August 12, 1950

Howe, Henry, Historical Collections of Ohio, The Laning Company, Norwalk, Ohio, 1898

&ldquoMeet OBC&rsquos Oldest Churches&rdquo, The American Baptist, Ohio News Section, February 1976

Morsbach, Mabel, We live in Cincinnati, Cincinnati Public Schools, 1961

&ldquo200 years of Cincinnati&rdquo, Cincinnati Historical Society

Williams, Harriet Langdon, Memory Pictures, 1908

Wilson, Steven Douglas, &ldquoThe Adjustment Process of Southern Appalachian Whites in Cincinnati&rdquo, University of Kentucky, 1983


Nicholas Longworth and the Cincinnati Region

The defrauded settlers at Gallipolis, the nameless Frenchman making wine at Marietta, Rapp's Germans at Economy, Dufour's Swiss at Vevay, and all the other earliest winemaking settlers along the banks of the Ohio, from Pittsburgh almost to the junction with the Mississippi, were vindicated at last by the success of Nicholas Longworth at Cincinnati. As the main highway from east to west during the period of early settlement, the Ohio had inevitably seen repeated trials of viticulture, suggested by the combination of southward-facing slopes and broad waters. Dufour, as early as 1801, had assured Congress that the Ohio would rival the Rhine it has never done so, but it was the scene of the first considerable wine production in this country, flourishing around Cincinnati from the early 1830s till after the Civil War, and unashamedly flaunting the naive slogan "The Rhineland of America." [1] An account of what lay behind this too-ready formula is instructive as to the chances and changes of commercial winegrowing in the era when useful native varieties had been found but before effective controls against diseases had been discovered.

The first person to plant a vineyard on the site now occupied by Cincinnati, on the great double curve of the Ohio, was a Frenchman named Francis Menissier, a political refugee who had once sat in the French parlement . At the end of the eighteenth century he laid out a small vineyard of vinifera on a slope of the new town (now the corner of Main and Third). [2] There he had success enough—or claimed that he had—to petition Congress in 1806 for a grant of land for vine growing on

the strength of his experiments. [3] The petition was denied, but Menissier's example was not lost.

In 1804 a young man named Nicholas Longworth (1782-1863) arrived in Cincinnati from Newark, New Jersey, to make his fortune in this new and burgeoning town, soon to be a city. [4] Longworth had already discovered a consuming interest in horticulture, but he put that aside while he studied law and began a successful practice. He soon found himself doing even better in land than in the law, and in no very long time he was recognized as having the true Midas touch: property that he bought for a song became worth millions, and Longworth joined John Jacob Astor as one of the two largest taxpayers in the United States. Longworth was a little man, and eccentric in dress, speech, and manner. But he was also strong-willed and successful, so that he could afford to do as he wished. By 1828 he was able to quit a regular business life and devote himself to his horticultural interests. These were fairly wide—he helped to establish the scientific culture of the strawberry, for ex-ample-but his first and most enduring love was the grape.

His attention was caught by the work of the Swiss at Vevay, and as early as 1813 Longworth had begun to experiment with grape growing in a backyard way—this was even before the return of Dufour from his long European sojourn. [5] His first commercial beginnings, in 1823, [6] were with the grape grown at Vevay, that is, the Cape or Alexander, which Longworth set out on a four-acre vineyard in Delhi township under the care of a German named Amen or Ammen. Longworth had the idea—a good one—that by making a white rather than a red wine from the Alexander he might get an article superior to that which the Swiss were selling along the Ohio. What he got, according to his own recollection, was a tolerable imitation of madeira, a white wine that required amelioration with added sugar and fortification with brandy. [7]

That was not what he wanted. The next step—again, as in the case of so many other pioneers, we recapitulate in miniature the general history of vine growing in America—was to try European varieties. He planted these by the thousands, from all sources, over a period of thirty years, and did not publicly repudiate the possibility of using vinifera until 1849. [8] He saw, however, that the development of good native varieties was the most important job to be done. He never faltered in that conviction, and even after his success with the wines of the Catawba, he continued to offer a $500 reward for a variety that would surpass that grape for winemaking. [9] He received and made trial of native vines from all over the United States, but did not succeed in finding a new variety to eclipse the Catawba.

Longworth's primary object was the production of an attractive dry table wine from the native grape, both in the name of "temperance" (already a rallying-cry among the moralists of the United States) and because such wine is the necessary basis of any sound winemaking industry in any country. The American idea of wine was, in Longworth's judgment, thoroughly corrupt: the wine favored by a public without a native winegrowing tradition, and long accustomed to rum and

38
Nicholas Longworth (1782-1863), the man who made Cincinnati and the
banks of the Ohio the "Rhineland of America," at the height of his
reputation as the leading American winemaker. The Catawba grapes on
the table and the vineyards in the background are the emblems of
Longworth's achievement. (Portrait by Robert S. Duncanson, 1858
Cincinnati Art Museum)

whiskey, generally contained 25 percent alcohol, and, Longworth added, "I have seen it contain forty percent." [10] After his unsatisfactory trials with the Alexander and with imported vinifera, Longworth got his chance when Major Adlum provided him with cuttings of the Catawba in 1825. Why Longworth should have been so slow to respond to this possibility I do not know: he must have known of the new grape as early as 1823, when Adlum began to publicize it. In any case, 1825 is the date of record. [11] Precisely when he got his first wines from the Catawba, is not clear. But by 1828, the year in which he retired to devote himself to wine-

growing, he was already well embarked on the plan with which he persisted through the rest of his life. Young Thomas Trollope, the brother of the novelist, who had accompanied his family to Cincinnati in 1828 on its hare-brained scheme for a frontier emporium selling exotic bijoux, made Longworth's acquaintance then and remembered him as "extremely willing to talk exclusively on schemes for the introduction of the vine into the Western States." [12] Young Trollope's mother, the redoubtable Frances, was quite unflattering about the wine of Cincinnati. A note to her Domestic Manners of the Americans (1832) provides what may be the first published judgment on Longworth's wines. It is not encouraging:

During my residence in America, I repeatedly tasted native wine from vineyards carefully cultivated, and on the fabrication of which a considerable degree of imported science had been bestowed but the very best of it was miserable stuff. It should seem that Nature herself requires some centuries of schooling before she becomes perfectly accomplished in ministering to the luxuries of man, and, perhaps as there is no lack of sunshine, the champagne and Bordeaux of the Union may appear simultaneously with a Shakspeare, a Raphael, and a Mozart. [13]

The basis of Longworth's plan for viticulture was to make use of—or exploit—the labor of the German immigrants flowing into the Cincinnati region and giving it that German flavor that it still retains. When Trollope knew him, Longworth was employing Germans to cultivate vineyards on his own estate at a wage of a shilling a day (Trollope's figure) and food—a peonage advantageous to Longworth and perhaps tolerable to the new immigrants. [14] The Germans were in fact doubly necessary: they not only grew and made the wine, they drank it as well. The dry white catawba that Longworth succeeded in making was unappreciated by Americans used to sweeter and more potent confections Longworth used to tell about how even the choicest Rheingaus were mistaken by American tasters for cider or even vinegar. The Germans, however, were better instructed, and for many years, Longworth wrote, "all the wine made at my vineyards, has been sold at our German coffee-houses, and drank in our city." [15]

Like all American winegrowers before him and afterwards, Longworth was troubled by the tendency of Americans to prefer wines with European names to those that were honestly, but too adventurously, given names that meant nothing to an uninstructed consumer: "catawba" was dubious at best "hock" meant familiarity and security. So, at some time in the 1830s, he wickedly put counterfeit labels on his bottles of catawba: Ganz Vorzuglicher (Entirely Superior) Berg Tusculum (Mount Tusculum, after the actual name of one of his vineyard sites) and Versichert (Guaranteed). [16] He did not actually put these labels on the market, but they helped to make his point—still a familiar one—that there were many who could not abide native wine under its own label but who acclaimed it under a foreign one.

Longworth continued, as he had begun, with his system of using German labor, though the terms became more liberal than those described by Trollope in 1828. Typically, Longworth sought to settle a German Weinbauer on a small

39
Members of the Cincinnati Horticultural Society, founded in 1843. At least three of these men—
Dr. J. A. Warder, Robert Buchanan, and Nicholas Longworth—were leading wine-growers in
Cincinnati. Note the grapes prominent among the fruits displayed on the table. (Cincinnati
Historical Society)

patch—four acres at most—and to leave him to himself to plant and cultivate. When a crop came in, Longworth would buy the grapes or the must or the vane, and split the profits with his tenant. [17] As the business developed, more and more of the processing went on under Longworth's own control, but the growing continued to be the business of the Germans, who had, as he said, been "bred from their infancy to the cultivation of the vine."

Longworth's earliest public account of his work in winegrowing appears to be an essay he contributed to a local compendium of agricultural advice published in Cincinnati in 1830, in which he urged that silk culture, the perennial rival of viticulture in the American dream, ought to be postponed in favor of the grape, and gave his own experience as his reason for thinking so. [18] In succeeding years the increasing number, frequency, and prominence of his contributions to the press on winegrowing provide an approximate measure of his growing success and recognition. His writings remained irregular and scattered, usually taking the form of letters addressed to particular topics, but they helped to make him the best-known and most frequently consulted expert on the subject of wine in his generation.

Longworth's scale of operations remained small through the 1830s in 1833, for example, when he took the County Fair prize for his "pure Catawba," the produce of the nine scattered vineyards on which he had tenants was only fifty barrels, or about 3,000 gallons. [19] The development of viticulture in the ensuing ten years is witnessed by the establishment of the Cincinnati Horticultural Society in 1843 it at once took an interest in winegrowing, and made its first report on the subject in the year of its founding. [20]

The explosive expansion of the industry occurred after 1842, when Longworth, quite by accident, produced a sparkling catawba (as it was always called: never "champagne"). [21] Even if he did not know how to make one, Longworth decided that a sparkling wine would be his means of opening a market beyond the Weinstuben of Cincinnati. After trying and failing to duplicate his first accidental success, he sent for a Frenchman in 1845. Unluckily, the poor man drowned in the Ohio before he could apply the secrets of his knowledge. Longworth found a successor, who commenced his work in 1847. Though the winemaker was French, Longworth was quite firm about his intent to develop a native wine. "I shall not attempt to imitate any of the sparkling wines of Europe," he wrote in 1849 instead, he aimed to provide "a pure article having the peculiar flavor of our native grape." [22]

By 1848 Longworth had built a 40' x 50' cellar expressly for the production and storage of sparkling catawba by 1850 he was turning out 60,000 bottles a year and had plans for national distribution of his wine. This he began in 1852, by which year he had two cellars devoted to his sparkling wine, and a production of around 75,000 bottles. [23] The wine was made by the traditional méthode champenoise , in which, after a dose of sugar was added to the wine following its first fermentation, a second fermentation was carried out in the bottles, and the resulting sediment cleared by the tedious process of hand riddling. Losses from bottles bursting under the intense pressure of fermentation were sometimes catastrophically high: when 42,000 of 50,000 bottles were thus lost in a season, Longworth naturally wondered whether it was worth continuing. [24] Something, however, was saved from these losses by distilling the spilled wine into catawba brandy, as a brochure put out by Longworth's firm innocently admits. [25]

A third cellar manager, one Fournier, from Rheims, arrived in 1851 and did better. [26] The troubles and losses of the first years were rewarded if Americans had been put off by the tart, dry taste of still catawba, they knew without instruction how to be pleased by bubbles. Suddenly, Cincinnati's winegrowers, and Longworth in particular, had a national winner, a widely advertised and widely enjoyed proof that the United States could produce an acceptable wine.

Longworth thoroughly understood the value of advertising. His letters to the press were progress reports on the promising development of his enterprise. He sent his wine to editors and to the competitions of horticultural and state agricultural societies: as early as 1846 he was exhibiting samples of catawba at the annual fair of the American Institute in New York City. [27] In common with a number of other Cincinnati producers, he sent samples of his wine to the Great Exhibition of

1851 in London, the original ancestor of and the model for all subsequent international exhibitions and fairs. The produce of native American grapes was, of course, powerfully strange to British palates as the official Catalogue of the Exhibition politely remarked, "With many persons the taste for [catawba] is very soon acquired, with others it requires considerable time." [28] The publicity was bound to be helpful back in the United States. One of the great sensations of the Exhibition, the demurely naked Greek Slave of the American sculptor Hiram Powers, was the source of immense national pride in the United States when it was known that the British admired the piece. Powers, as it happened, was a Cincinnati boy whose first patron had been Longworth, another well-publicized fact that helped put Longworth in an attractive light—was he not domesticating both Bacchus and the Muses? [29]

Longworth also sent samples of his wine to eminent men as a way of promoting it. Powers, in Italy, was a useful agent in presenting catawba to politely interested Italians. Perhaps it was during his years in Italy that the poet Robert Browning heard of catawba wine. He knew of it, at any rate, for it is referred to in his curious poem "Mr. Sludge, the Medium" (1864). [30] Longworth made a lucky hit with the poet Longfellow, who responded to a gift of sparkling catawba with some hasty verses (injudiciously included in his collected poems) that have often been reprinted since. A very few lines are enough to show such merit as the poem possesses:

Very good in its way
Is the Verzenay
Or the Sillery soft and creamy
But Catawba wine
Has a taste more divine,
More dulcet, delicious, and dreamy.

There grows no vine
By the haunted Rhine
By Danube or Guadalquivir,
Nor on island or cape
That bears such a grape
As grows by the Beautiful River. [31]

In 1855 Longworth was able to boast that he had sent a few cases of his wine to London, where it had been successfully sold in the regular way of trade. [32] By this time, Longworth, his large house called Belmont, on Pike Street, adorned with the work of Powers, and his vineyards on a hill (now part of Eden Park) had long beer established as premier attractions among the sights of Cincinnati, to be exhibited to all the many interested travellers who made their way to the Queen City of the Ohio before the Civil War. [33] Longworth was a national figure, celebrated for his wealth, his wine, and, most of all, for being a "character," shabbily dressed, la—conic, unpredictable, and—according to the press at any rate—prodigal of charity. The English journalist Charles Mackay, travelling through the United States as the correspondent of the Illustrated London News in 1858, will do to represent many

40
Longworth's vineyards recorded in 1858, perhaps more after the fashion of European models than as
unadorned documentary truth. The steamboat and the train represent American progress, but the style
of the vendangeurs and vendangeuses is distinctly Old World, as is the single-stake training of the vines,
like that practiced on the Moselle and the Rhine. (From Harper's Weekly . 24 July 1858)

others. Cincinnati did not impress him as quite so enlightened a place as its inhabitants liked to think as they had been to Mrs. Trollope thirty years earlier, pigs were too much in evidence for Mackay's taste, those pigs that, barreled as pickled pork and shipped up and down the river, gave Cincinnati the name of Porkopolis and made it wealthy. Longworth and his wine moved Mackay's unreserved admiration, however dry catawba, he reported to the English, was better than any hock, and sparkling catawba better than anything coming from Rheims. When prose seemed inadequate to his rapture, Mackay (a facile song writer) broke forth into verse:

Ohio's green hilltops
Grow bright in the sun
And yield us more treasure
Than Rhine or Garonne
They give us Catawba,
The pure and the true,
As radiant as sunlight,
As soft as the dew. [34]

Not everyone was so well pleased by Cincinnati's wines: the native character of the Catawba, its labrusca foxiness, was a shock to any uninitiated taste, and some visitors were candid enough to say so. When the Englishwoman Isabella

41
A menu from the Gibson House, Cincinnati, dated 15 November 1856.
Sparkling Catawba from the local vineyards is listed on the same terms
as some distinguished grandes marques from Champagne so, too,
among the "Hocks," one finds "Buchanan's Catawba" listed along
with Marcobrunner and Rudesheimer. (California State University,
Fresno, Library)

Trotter and her husband visited Cincinnati in 1858, almost at the same time as the well-disposed Mackay had been entertained there, they were regaled by their hosts with "most copious supplies of their beloved Catawba champagne, which we do not love, for it tastes, to our uninitiated palates, little better than cider. It was served in a large red punch-bowl of Bohemian glass in the form of Catawba cobbler, which I thought improved it." [35] To balance the record, one may quote a more enthusiastic description of catawba cobbler, provided by the Cincinnati wine-grower W. J. Flagg. The wine, he says, should be young, and sugar and ice added

to it help to temper the heat of an Ohio valley summer: "A cobbler of new wine, grown in the valley of the Ohio, or Missouri, where the Catawba ripens almost to blackness, drunk when the dog-star rages, lingers in memory for life." [36]

Longworth was always the leading name in Cincinnati winemaking, and sparkling catawba was always the glamorous item. But they could not have long stood alone, and in fact a supporting industry developed quickly. Longworth's part of the whole diminished in proportion as others set up and began to develop their vineyards and wineries. In 1848 there were 300 acres planted, of which 100 were Longworth's in 1852, there were 1,200, distributed among nearly 300 proprietors and tenants. In 1859, perhaps the peak year in the history of Cincinnati wine-growing, some 2,000 acres produced 568,000 gallons of wine, putting Ohio at the head of the nation's wine production. [37] Almost all of this was white, and almost all from the Catawba, which was now indisputably confirmed as the grape of the region. But it did not quite exclude all its rivals. In 1854, at the New York Exhibition of that year, it was Longworth's sparkling Isabella that took the highest award among American wines. [38]

Among the early growers who followed Longworth into viticulture were Robert Buchanan, John Mottier, William Pesor, C.W. Elliott, A. H. Ernst, and a string of doctors: Stephen Mosher, Louis Rehfuss, and John Aston Warder, the last-named becoming later one of the country's most distinguished horticulturists. Not all of them were actual Cincinnatians at least, not all of them confined their activity to Cincinnati proper. Dr. Mosher, for example, lived and grew his grapes on the Kentucky side of the river, as did others, including the actor Edwin Forrest. [39] Other vineyards in Ohio lay outside Hamilton County, in which Cincinnati stands vineyards flourished in Brown and Clermont counties, and extended down the river well into Indiana at least in a minor way, and sometimes in more than a minor way. Clark County, Indiana, across the river from Louisville, had 200 acres of Catawba by 1850, and the calculations of the production along the Ohio included the grapes of Kentucky and Indiana as significant additions to those of the immediate Cincinnati region. [40]

Like Longworth, most of the Ohio River proprietors seem to have relied upon tenants, German by choice, to perform the labor in the vineyards (and then it was usually the woman rather than the man who did the work, as Longworth was fond of pointing out). [41] At this uncertain stage, only a man who had other resources could sustain the vicissitudes of such a pioneering enterprise. The actual wine-making was carried out on the tenanted properties in the early days, with predictably uneven results. As production rose, and the reputation of the wine began to be established, winemaking came increasingly under the control of commercial houses whose business it was to perform the vinification, storage, and distribution of the wine. By 1854 Longworth had two such houses over his main cellars he had built a sort of barracks, four stories high, where poor laborers and their families might live. They showed their gratitude by frequently breaking into the wine vaults below and stealing their landlord's choicest wine, or so it was reported. [42]

42
A winery on the Kentucky side of the Ohio River, in the region of Cincinnati. The vintage
scene in this picture is described thus: "The grapes, when fully ripe, are gathered in baskets
containing about a bushel, as well as in a sort of 'pannier' of wood, made very light and strong,
and which is supported by straps or thongs of willow, on the back of the picker . . . they are
brought from the vineyard in this manner and thrown upon the picking tables, where they are
carefully assorted." (Western Horticultural Review I [1850])

Other négociants , as the French would call them, were G. and P. Bogen, Zimmerman and Co. (associated with Longworth), Dr. Louis Rehfuss, and, in Latonia, Ken—tucky, the firm of Messrs. Corneau and Son at their Cornucopia Vineyard, some four miles south of Covington, across the river from Cincinnati. The figures for 1853, a good year, give some idea of the scale of production. The commercia! houses bottled 245,000 bottles of sparkling wine in that year, and 205,000 of stil wine, the value of the whole being estimated at $400,000 at prices ranging from $1.50 a bottle for the finest sparkling wine to 40 cents a gallon for the lowest quality table wine. [43]

The accounts of winemaking methods in Cincinnati show that the general practice in the 1850s was excellent. Longworth himself was emphatic about the necessity of making "natural" wines and confident of his ability to do so. He set a good example. Grapes were picked at full maturity, and all green or unsound berries were removed from the bunches by hand. The grapes were then stemmed

43
Michael Werk, an Alsatian who prospered by making soap and candles in Cincinnati,
joined the growing number of Cincinnati vineyardists in 1847. In less than a decade he
was taking prizes for his wines. Later, when disease threatened to extinguish the Cincinnati
vineyards, Werk developed large vineyards on the Lake Erie shore and then on Middle
Bass Island in Lake Erie. (Cozzens ' Wine Press , 20 August 1856 California State University,
Fresno, Library)

and crushed, and the juice fermented without the addition of sugar whenever possible. The French technique of rubbing the bunches over wooden grids in order to remove the stems was introduced by 1850. [44] The hydrometer was a standard tool, so that the winemaker knew whether he had sufficient sugar to insure a sound fermentation if not, then the addition of sugar before fermentation was allowed. "allowed" by local agreement as to its utility, that is we are talking about an in-

dustry in its Innocent Age, wholly unregulated and subject only to its own sweet will. Modern producers and dealers may try to imagine what that condition is like. The juice was fermented at low temperatures, under water seal, and quickly racked from its lees, without undue oxidation, and then stored in clean casks in cool cellars. [45] Modern technology could not prescribe better methods, so far as they went. One irregularity Longworth did, it was whispered, allow himself. He was convinced that Americans were partial to the "muscadine" flavor of rotundifolia grapes. In order to get it he bought large quantities of Scuppernong juice in the Pamlico and Albemarle regions of North Carolina and added that to flavor his Ohio catawba. [46] In the spring the wine may have undergone a malo-lactic fermentation, and then was ready for bottling. There was then, as there is now, some disagreement as to the proper length of aging for white wine. Longworth favored a long time in the wood, keeping his superior wines for four or five years. Others thought that a year in cask was enough: "There are many who think the Catawba wine is better at this period than ever afterwards" is how the writer in the U.S. Patent Office Report for 1850 puts it. [47]

Cincinnati wine may be said to have come of age at the beginning of the 1850s. The commercial wine houses, insuring the stability and distribution of the region's produce, were founded then. In 1851 the growers met in Cincinnati and organized the grandly named American Wine Growers' Association of Cincinnati. Its objects were to publish information useful to growers through its journal, the Western Horticultural Review , and to promote the interest of the industry generally, especially by insuring that only pure, natural wine was sent to the market. [48] The association sponsored a "Longworth Cup," awarded annually to the producer of that year's best catawba, [49] and was the first such organization concerned with wines and vines in this country that is entitled to be called an industry organization. [50]

At the Great Exhibition in London, to which, as has already been mentioned, the growers of Cincinnati made a respectable contribution, the official Catalogue explained that Cincinnati was now the "chief seat of wine manufacture in the United States" and that though yet in its infancy, the trade was "attracting much attention, and growing in importance in America." [51] In vindication of the claim, five producers besides Longworth exhibited specimens of catawba wine: Buchanan, Corneau and Son, Thomas H. Yeatman, C. A. Schumann, and H. Duhme. Yeatman, who took a prize for his wine in London, made visits to the vineyards and wine estates of France, Germany, and Switzerland in 1851 and 1852 in order to study European methods. [52] Longworth sent both catawba and unspecified "other wines" to the Exhibition—a reminder that he never ceased experimenting with alternatives to the Catawba grape in hopes of finding a variety without its defects. In the year following the Exhibition, Longworth began the promotion of his wine on a countrywide basis, [53] and with that event the wine of the Rhineland of America may be said to have arrived.

Cincinnati wine had only a very fragile tenure, however, more fragile than was yet recognized, though of course sensible men understood that the obstacles to be

44
The label of T. H. Yeatman, from he year in which his wine took a prize
at the Great Exhibition, London. (Western Horticultural Review 1 [1851])

surmounted were considerable. Robert Buchanan, for example, a successful Cincinnati merchant who began growing grapes in 1843, and who, with Longworth, was a founder of the Cincinnati Horticultural Society and a scientific student of viticulture and winemaking, took a modest view of what he and his fellows had accomplished. In his little Treatise on Grape Culture in Vineyards, in the Vicinity of Cincinnati (1850), the best practical handbook that had yet appeared on the subject in the United States, he wrote simply that "we have much to learn yet in the art of making wines." [54] But, as we have seen, the general principles of production at Cincinnati were in fact quite sound. The real—and soon fatal—weakness in the industry lay in the vine growing rather than in the winemaking. The Catawba did not always ripen well, and the average production was not very large it seems to have run around one and a half tons per acre, though production as high as four tons was known, and ten was claimed.

Most ominous was the damage done by diseases, powdery mildew and black rot chief among them. In the first years of Catawba growing, these diseases were

45
Robert Buchanan's little book, first published anonymously, is one of the earliest and
best accounts of winegrowing around Cincinnati. Buchanan, a Cincinnati merchant,
had had a vineyard since 1843. His book, which went through seven editions in the
next ten years, was unlike any of its American predecessors in being based on the
practices of an established industry. No writer in this country before Buchanan had
had that advantage. (California State University, Fresno, Library)

only a minor problem in the Cincinnati region, so that the early confident assurances of the unchecked profits to be made by viticulture seemed perfectly justified. But the growth of planting and the passage of years saw mildew and black rot increasingly more frequent, as they had a homogeneous and extensive population of grapes to work upon. The record of each successive year's vintage, so far as this can be reconstructed, shows alarming ups and downs according to the lightness or the heaviness with which the infestations, especially black rot, struck the vineyards in a given year. [55] Even before 1850 black rot and mildew were evident, and the growers were unable to take any action against them. The fungous character of the rot was not generally understood—some attributed the disease to worms, some to cultivating methods, others to the atmosphere or to a wrongly chosen soil [56] —and so when the Catawba, a variety peculiarly susceptible, was touched by the blight, all that men could do was to resign themselves to their loss and speculate on the causes and cures.

Among the other diseases that attacked Ohio grapes, powdery mildew was the most important after black rot. This disease, native to the United States, first attracted serious attention not in its native place but after it had been exported to the Old World. In the 1850s Madeira saw its vines, upon which nearly the whole population depended, ravaged by powdery mildew (generally called oidium in Europe). The people of the island, driven to starvation, were forced to abandon their homes and to emigrate in large numbers. The island's wine trade has never fully recovered from the catastrophe—made more bitter still by the fact that it came from the country where Madeira's wines were held in esteem beyond all others. But Madeira was only the worst-afflicted among many: Portugal, Spain, France, and Italy suffered too. In Italy, the appearance of the disease coincided with that of the first railroads. Peasants, putting these things together, blocked new construction and tore up miles of rails already laid in order to fight the disease. [57]

The control of powdery mildew by sulfur dusting was now successfully tested and developed in Europe, but it did little for the growers of Cincinnati. Native vines, unlike vinifera, are sometimes injured by sulfur, so the cure in this case might not have been much preferable to the disease. Against black rot, even the most perfect application of sulfur would have had no effect. For that disease the effective treatment is a compound of copper sulphate and lime called bordeaux mixture, and that was not developed until 1885, much too late to be of use to the growers of Cincinnati.

Throughout the 1850s rot and mildew were increasingly present in the vineyards of Cincinnati. In that decade, only three good years—1853, 1858, and 1859—were granted to the growers by weather conditions inhibiting the rot. [58] By the end of the decade it was clear that the very existence of the industry was now problematical, for who could endure such helplessness and such uncertainty? Some efforts were made to introduce different and more resistant varieties—the Delaware, for example, seemed at one time to promise a better basis for viticulture, but it did not fulfill the promise. Ives' Seedling, a local introduction that had gained the premium

offered by Longworth's Wine House for the "best wine grape for the United States," also had some vogue, but was not good enough for wine or resistant enough to disease to provide a new basis for the trade. [59] The outbreak of the Civil War reinforced and accelerated the process begun by diseases. Though shortages brought high prices for wine, the vineyards were neglected, and new plantings ceased. A visitor to Cincinnati in 1867 reported that "the wine culture" was "somewhat out of favor at present among the farmers of Ohio." [60] By 1870 the vineyards, though still occupying a substantial acreage, were largely moribund. In that year, the brief flourishing of the Rhineland of America came to a symbolic close when Longworth's wine-bottling warehouse was taken over by an oil refinery. [61]

Longworth himself lived long enough to see the end coming, but refused to admit its certainty. As W.J. Flagg, his son-in-law and the manager of his wine business, wrote of Longworth at the end: "It was well enough he should pass away without knowing how nearly had failed the great work of his life. Among his last words before losing consciousness was an inquiry if [Flagg] had arrived: he wanted to tell him, he said, of a new vine he had found which would neither mildew nor rot. He never found it in this world." [62] The extinction of viticulture around Cincinnati was complete, and so powerful was the effect of the failure that even when, later, it became possible to control the diseases that had overwhelmed the vineyards, no one came forward to take the opportunity. Only in very recent years have tentative efforts been made to revive the industry there: more than a century has been needlessly lost in the interval.

Yet there had , after all, been a flourishing winemaking industry in Cincinnati: to show the possibility of such a thing was the historical importance of Longworth and his fellow growers. After many years of loss, Longworth had, before the end, even made money from winegrowing, and the possibility of doing so again waited only upon better cultivars and effective fungicides.

Meantime, the Cincinnati region had generated a sort of colonial extension of itself upon the shores and islands of Lake Erie, two hundred miles to the north. As early as 1830 a gentleman named H. O. Coit was growing vines and making wine in Cleveland, and he prophesied then that the shores of Lake Erie would someday be famous for their vineyards. [63] The success of viticulture along the Ohio River stimulated experiment with Catawba and other varieties along the lake shore in the 1830s. But it was not until late in the 1840s that anything like a commercial scale of viticulture was approached in this region. Northern Ohio had two centers of grape growing, from Cleveland eastward to the Pennsylvania border on one side of the state, and around Sandusky and the Lake Erie Islands on the other. It was in the second of these that winemaking particularly flourished. Here it was discovered that an ideal matching of variety and site had been stumbled upon: the limestone soil of lake shore and islands is classic grape-growing soil the delayed springs and protracted autumns that the moderating effect of the lake brings to the islands just suited the Catawba there, too, the diseases that destroyed the Catawba along the Ohio River did not pursue it with the same destructive effects. There has been an

46
Not all Ohio winegrowing was confined to Cincinnati or to the Lake Erie shores this undated
(c, 1850) trade circular offers altar wine from Martin's Ferry in far southeastern Ohio, just across
the river from Wheeling, West Virginia. Noah Zane, the founder of Wheeling, is credited with
having introduced grape culture to the region. (California State University, Fresno, Library)

uninterrupted history of Catawba growing on Kelley's Island and the Bass Islands since the first vineyards were set out, a record of continuity unmatched in the erratic history of American viticulture. [64]

So long as the Cincinnati region prospered, development along Lake Erie was not notably rapid. The boom commenced as the Cincinnati industry declined: large plantings began just before 1860, and the years 1860-70 were remembered as the era of "grape fever." [65] Seven thousand acres had been planted by 1867, and though growth inevitably slowed, there were 33,000 acres in Ohio by 1889, most of it in the Lake Erie counties. The growers, as at Cincinnati, were largely Germans indeed, some of them were Cincinnati Germans looking for alternatives to the disease-ridden banks of the Ohio. [66]

The Missouri Germans

Cincinnati had sent out its influences in another direction too—down the Ohio to the Mississippi, up that river to St. Louis, and thence upstream along the Missouri to the German settlement of Hermann. Winegrowing of one kind or another was already a venerable activity in the central Mississippi basin. We remember the Jesuits of Kaskaskia, the reputation of whose vineyards Dufour had heard of in Philadelphia before the end of the eighteenth century. The early dominance of the French in the Mississippi Valley meant that many experiments by small communities and by individuals of that vinophile race—clerical as well as lay—were certainly made with both native and imported grapes. In the 1770s the French settlers at Vincennes on the Wabash made red wine of native grapes for their own consumption that gained a good report. [67] Dufour recorded that vines were growing well in the gardens of St. Genevieve, Missouri, below St. Louis. [68] Cahokia, another old French settlement, also made wine before the coming of the British. But these were strictly domestic efforts. The statement is repeatedly made that the French government in the eighteenth century forbade viticulture in its American territories for fear of injury to the home industry. [69] I have not found proof of this if it is true, it expresses a fear for which, so far as the record shows, there was very little ground in fact. In Missouri, as in Ohio, a winegrowing industry waited upon the appearance of the Germans.

The flow of German emigration that reached Cincinnati in the 1820s moved through and beyond it to St. Louis and the Missouri Valley in the next decade. A large part of it had been attracted there by the idealized, romantic description of the region published in 1829 by Gottfried Duden, a wealthy German who was convinced of the evils of overpopulation in the Old World and sought a new beginning in the American West. [70] He bought a farm along the Missouri River in Warren County in the new state of Missouri and wrote of the rich pastoral beauties of the land in order to draw new settlers. They came in large numbers, hastened along by the repressive politics of the reaction to the revolutionary outbreaks on the Conti-

nent in 1830. When they arrived, they found a wilderness not exactly like the smiling land of overflowing plenty that Duden had led them to expect, but neither did they fare badly. St. Louis and the lands along the Missouri for many miles to the west soon took on a distinctly German character. [71]

It was this fact that caught the attention of the directors of the Philadelphia Settlement Society (Deutsche Ansiedlungs-Gesellschaft zu Philadelphia ). This organization was formed in 1836 to carry out an ideal of German cultural nationalism by founding a colony in the remote West that should be German through and through in every particular. [72] The society sent an agent to the Missouri lands, and there, in the angle formed by the junction of the Gasconade and Missouri rivers, he bought some 11,000 acres for the society, which in turn sold the land to its stockholders. Settlement began in late 1837, and within two years Hermann, as the new town was called (after the German national hero Arminius who defeated the armies of Caesar Augustus), had a population of 450 souls: it was laid out with ambitious amplitude, its Market Street being deliberately made wider than Philadelphia's splendid Market Street by its visionary designers. They also included a "Weinstrasse" in the plan of the city's streets. [73] The difficulties of administering a frontier settlement from Philadelphia quickly led to a new arrangement, by which the Philadelphia Society's assets were transferred to the corporation of Hermann and the society dissolved. The aim of fostering a center of distinctively German culture was not abandoned. Hermann was substantially all German throughout the nineteenth century and was a center from which German settlement spread through east-central Missouri in Augusta, Washington, Morrison, and other towns.

The character of the immigrants was far higher than ordinary: most were men of education, and some were of high professional standing. Their distinction is crudely recognized in their local nickname of Lateinische Bauern —"Latin Peasants"—that is, farmers who could read the learned languages. Earlier, organized German settlements associated with winegrowing in this country were typically religious, on the model of the Pietists of Germantown in the time of William Penn, or of the Rappites in Indiana and Pennsylvania. The Hermannites, however, were thoroughly secular, inclining even, here and there, towards free thought. They cared more for literature, music, theater, and public festivals than for church. In Hermann, stores remained open on the Sabbath, and the early settlers did not trouble themselves to put up a church building, though they were quick to establish a theatrical society and to build a music hall. [74] It is perhaps no cause for wonder that a community so disposed should take to winegrowing and succeed at it as no one yet had succeeded.

The first settlers of Hermann had ventured west with the idea that they would become farmers on the wide prairies, but they found that the land their agent had bought was in broken, hilly, stony country, unfit for the agriculture they had in mind. [75] Viticulture was an experiment obviously worth trying, and though the long history of failure in this country was cause for skepticism, they had the current example of Longworth and his early successes as a hopeful sign to guide them.

47
The Poeschel Winery building, erected about 1850, near Hermann, Missouri, by the first
winemaker in the region. Even in the beginning the Germans built solidly. (From Charles
Van Ravenswaay, The Arts and Architecture of Germans in Missouri [1977])

Inevitably—almost as a ritual gesture it seems—some vinifera vines were tried before the end of the 1830s. [76] But the Hermannites were quick to accept the implication of Longworth's work and turned to the native varieties, using cuttings obtained from Cincinnati. [77] The first cultivated grape to produce at Hermann was an Isabella vine planted by Jacob Fugger that fruited in 1845. The first wine, from Isabella grapes, was made in 1846 by Michael Poeschel [78] there were already 150,000 vines set out in Hermann then, and the economic promise was such that the town established a nursery for vines and offered land for vineyards on extravagantly easy terms. [79] The responses were immediate and strong: six hundred "wine lots" were snapped up, and by 1848 Hermann commenced its era of commercial winemaking with a modest but symbolically important production of 1,000 gallons of wine. The occasion was marked in good German style by a Weinfest that fall. The town cannon was fired in honor of Bacchus, and a steamboat-load of ladies and gentlemen from St. Louis came to join the festivities: [80] the rumor of wine spread instantly through that region, proof of the eagerness with which it was

hoped for. One of the St. Louis gentlemen, a lawyer named Alexander Kayser, was inspired to offer three premiums of $100 for the best specimens of Missouri wine, the first of which was gained in 1850 by a catawba of vintage 1849 from the vineyards of Hermann. [81]

Though the Isabella was the first variety to be used, it satisfied no one. Other varieties were soon tried: the first Catawba crop was produced in 1848 the Norton began to be cultivated around 1850, the Concord in 1855. [82] When mildew and rot began to devastate the Catawba vineyards, as they quickly did, the Germans along the Missouri, unlike their compatriots along the Ohio, had acceptable alternatives to turn to. The Concord, thanks to its tough, productive nature, was not long in occupying the largest share of the acreage in vines, but Hermann would never have established a reputation for wine if it had had only the Concord. The variety for quality was the Norton, a seedling grown by Dr. D. N. Norton, of Richmond, Virginia, before 1830. It had been tried without much enthusiasm in various places, including the vineyards of Cincinnati, where Longworth pronounced that it was good for nothing as a wine grape. [83] The growers at Hermann, however, could venture to disregard the great Longworth's judgment, for their need was desperate. Thus when a Herr Wiedersprecher brought Norton cuttings from Cincinnati, they gave them a trial. To Jacob Rommel belongs the honor of producing the first wine from Norton at Hermann. [84] Thus the Norton caught on in Missouri at a time when the Catawba crop had already been repeatedly damaged by the diseases to which it is vulnerable and the growers were casting about for something to take its place. [85]

A black grape, the Norton yields a dark and astringent wine without foxiness, capable of developing into a sound and well-balanced table wine. Yet the early practice at Hermann was apparently to ferment on the skins for only one or two days and thus to produce wine more pink than red. [86] This was reportedly done to avoid excess astringency. By 1867 the Missourians had learned enough about handling the Norton to please at least one discriminating critic. The philanthropist and writer Charles Loring Brace, reporting on his disappointment with the wines of California that he had sampled on a tour of that state, concluded that "no red wine has ever been produced in America equal to that made by the Germans of Missouri from [the Norton]." [87]

The prominence of the Norton at Hermann links the region with Virginia and the South rather than with Ohio and the northern tradition of white winemaking in the eastern United States. For white wine, the winemakers of Hermann also used a southern grape, the Lenoir. The Catawba persisted, too, but subject to the same wild ups and downs in annual yield, the effect of disease, that plagued the variety at Cincinnati. [88]

By 1855 Hermann was surrounded by 500 acres of vineyards and was producing enough beyond local demand to be able to send wine up the Ohio River to the wine houses of Cincinnati, where Missouri catawba was added to the wine of Cincinnati. [89] By 1861 the volume was great enough to justify the establishment of a large-scale winery at Hermann, built by Michael Poeschel, Hermann's first wine-

48
The Norton grape, originally found in Virginia, came into its own in the vineyards
of Missouri in the years just before the Civil War. It is that rare thing, a native grape
from which an acceptable red wine can be made. (Painting by C. L. Fleischman, 1867
National Agricultural Library)

maker, and his partner, John Scherer. [90] This firm, which grew to be the largest winery outside of California, operated until Prohibition, and has, since 1965, been put back into the production of native wines.

The Civil War slowed agricultural development at Hermann, as it did along the Ohio. Nevertheless, the winegrowing industry continued a modest expansion. The Hermann vineyardists exhibited thirty-five varieties of grapes at the Gasconade County Fair in 1862—the only fair held in Missouri that year. [91] The war did brush the town, for the wine in George Husmann's cellar was all drunk by General Sterling Price's Confederates when they raided the town in October 1864. At the end of the war, Hermann had about a thousand acres of vines, more than

half of which were not yet in bearing. The preceding season had yielded 42,000 gallons of wine. And the demand for cuttings from the nurseries of Hermann exceeded their capacity: some two million went out that year. Winegrowing was now spread far beyond Hermann, touching almost every corner of the state, and moving into Illinois and Kansas, the states flanking Missouri on east and west. Augusta in nearby St. Charles County, another center of German settlement, was producing a significant quantity of wine in the 1860s [92] (after many years of dormancy, wine production has been resumed at Augusta). After the war, then, winemaking around Hermann was ready to enter on a steady prosperity that lasted down to Prohibition.

One may ask why Hermann, on river lands not much different from those around Cincinnati, should have succeeded in setting up an industry that long outlasted the one created by Longworth at about the same time? The most obvious, and perhaps most important, reason is that the Germans did not invest everything in the Catawba and so could survive its failure. They had tried other varieties with success that came before they could grow disheartened, as the Germans of Cincinnati had been disheartened. Another reason, less apparent, and much more difficult to demonstrate, lies in the character of the Missouri Germans. They were not tenant farmers but independent proprietors, prepared to take an experimental and scientific interest in viticulture. Perhaps it is significant that many of the pioneers were not Rhinelanders or South Germans like Rapp's Württembergers, but Hessians and Prussians, without experience of winegrowing in Europe. Hermann's first winemaker, Michael Poeschel, for example, was a north German who had no knowledge of grape culture on the other hand, those who briefly and futilely tried vinifera at Hermann were Rhinelanders, another instance of Old World experience as a handicap in the new. [93]

As for the Missouri Germans' scientific disposition, that is shown in the work of developing new varieties and in the quantity of technical writing devoted to viticulture for which Missouri was remarkable in the nineteenth century. The philanthropic and literary farmer Friedrich Muench, of Washington, Warren County, a man trained to the Lutheran ministry in the University of Giessen and one of the original emigrants attracted by the blandishment of Gottfried Duden's description of the Missouri country, published the earliest treatise that I have found issuing from the Missouri German community. [94] His "Anleitung zum Weinbau in Nordamerika" ("Directions for Winegrowing in North America") appeared in the Mississippi Handelszeitung in 1859 a later version in book form appeared at St. Louis in 1864 as Amerikanische Weinbauschule this went through three editions, and was translated in 1865 as School jar American Grape Culture: Brief but Thorough and Practical Guide to the Laying Out of Vineyards, the Treatment of Vines, and the Production of Wine in North America . Muench, or "old Father Muench" as he grew to be called, had been growing grapes since 1846 and continued to do so until 1881, "when he was found dead among his beloved vines, one fine winter's morning of that year, with the pruning shears still in his hand, in his 84th year." [95] Something of Muench's high-minded style may be had from this passage in his School for American Grape Culture :

49
Friedrich Muench (1798?—1881), trained as a Lutheran minister in Germany, typified the
enthusiastic style of the German winegrowers of Missouri. "With the growth of the grape,"
he wrote, "every nation elevates itself to a higher degree of civilization." The winery he
founded in Augusta, Missouri, is in operation today. (State Historical Society of Missouri)

If it prove but moderately remunerative, the vine-dresser, free, lord of his own possessions, in daily intercourse with peaceful nature, is a happier and more contented man than thousands of those who, in our large cities, driven about by the thronging crowd, rarely attain true peace and serenity of mind. With the growth of the grape every nation elevates itself to a higher grade of civilization—brutality must vanish, and human nature progresses. (P. 11)

Before Muench's book appeared, another essay on viticulture was published at Hermann by a second and more important writer, George Husmann, whose An

50
George Husmann (1827—1902), a pioneer winegrower at Hermann, Missouri,
was one of the most devoted proselytizers in the cause of the grape in the
nineteenth century. A viticulturist, winemaker, nurseryman, writer, and professor
of horticulture in Missouri, he ended his days as a winegrower in California's
Napa Valley. (State Historical Society of Missouri)

Essay on the Culture of the Grape in the Great West came out in 1863. [96] Husmann, whose father had been a shareholder in the society that founded Hermann, was a north German like Poeschel and Muench, not a Rhinelander. [97] He thus inherited no tradition of Old World winemaking, but had to learn his craft under native frontier conditions. His next publication was The Cultivation of the Native Grape, and Manufacture of American Wines , published in New York in 1866. This book, written as the Civil War was ending, is filled with a kind of visionary excitement over the prospects of a new viticulture in a newly united country, which may in part help to account for its success. In successive editions and under various new titles, it became one of the standard works on the subject, remaining in print well into this century.

The special emphasis of Husmann was on the power of the winemaker to control his work precisely. He explains the use of both the saccharometer and the

acidimeter, by which the winemaker can know exactly how much sugar and how much acid, the two key ingredients in the raw material of wine, he has to work with. Husmann is also frankly on the side of the winemakers who make no bones about adding sugar to a deficient juice and water to an over-acid juice. The object is to reach an ideal balance of sugar and acid with the help of analytic instruments, Husmann argued, no winemaker need ever be at the mercy of a bad season. His instructions lean heavily on the work of the German chemist Dr. Ludwig Gall, whose "Practical Guide" had been translated in 1860 for publication in the U.S. Patent Office Report, the forerunner of the reports of the Department of Agriculture. There is no doubt that Husmann exaggerates the quality of the wine produced by his methods he was writing more as a chemist than as a traditional winemaker, and he did not go uncriticized. But, as he very sensibly maintained, since the eastern grower more often than not was compelled to work with fruit low in sugar and high in acid, the choice was simply between making a "natural" wine unfit to drink and an "artificial" wine that was quite palatable—and profitable. [98]

In 1869 Husmann founded a monthly journal called The Grape Culturist at St. Louis, the first to be devoted to the subject in this country. Though it expired in 1871, that it could have been born at all and then have survived for three years is some measure of the status of winegrowing in the Mississippi Valley. It was also evidence of the literary and technical culture of the Germans. The publisher of the magazine was Conrad Witter, a St. Louis German who advertised that he kept a "large assortment of books treating of the culture of grapes and manufacture of wines." [99] It is hard to imagine any other region in the United States at this date in which such a stock of books might have been offered in the hope of sale.

The Missouri Germans were soon at work developing new grapes for western conditions indeed, they were among the very first in America to carry on sustained trials in grape breeding. Jacob Rommel, who was taken by his parents to Hermann in the year of its founding, began work with native seedlings around 1860 and produced a number of varieties that had some recognition in their day. [100] He was looking for vines that had hardiness against the continental winters of the Midwest, resistance to the endemic fungus diseases, and productiveness enough to be profitable, and he sought these qualities in a series of seedlings derived from a riparia-labrusca ancestor. One at least of Rommel's seedlings, the Elvira, a white grape yielding a neutral white wine favored for blending, is still grown commercially in eastern vineyards, mostly in New York and Missouri. In Canada it had a great success, and it was still the most widely grown variety in the vineyards of Ontario as late as 1979. [101] It is, or was, occasionally met with as a varietal, but more often anonymously as part of a sparkling wine blend. Nicholas Grein, called Papa Grein by the younger generation of Hermannites, also introduced a number of riparia-labrusca seedlings, the best known of which is the Missouri Riesling, still cultivated to some extent in the state of its origin (and often confused with Elvira). [102] It has a strong resistance to black rot for an American variety.

By far the most distinguished scientific contribution to viticultural knowledge

51
Dr. George Engelmann (1809—84) was the leading physician in St. Louis, and,
at the same time, a botanist of international distinction Engelmann was the most
expert of American ampelographers in the nineteenth century. His career illustrates
the high achievement of the Missouri German community. (State Historical Society
of Missouri)

made by the Missouri German community came from Dr. George Engelmann (1809-84), an M.D. from the University of Würzburg whose passion was botany. [103] He came to the United States in 1832 as agent for his uncles, who wanted to find investments in the Mississippi Valley. Settling in St. Louis, he became the most sought-after physician in the city, yet still found time to keep up his original work in botany, to carry out observations in biology, meteorology, and geology, and to found the St. Louis Academy of Science. Only a fraction of his work was devoted to grapes, but that is nevertheless an important fraction. He published a number of

52
The 1875 edition of the catalogue of Bush & Son & Meissner it later grew
to include a "grape grower's manual," was translated into French and Italian,
and was used as a textbook in American agricultural schools. (National
Library of Agriculture)

brief articles on the classification of native varieties, beginning with "Notes on the Grape Vines of Missouri" in 1860 and ending with an essay on "The True Grape Vines of the United States" in 1875. This appeared as part of the encyclopaedic and learned catalogue of Bush and Son and Meissner, a leading Missouri nursery founded in 1865 by Isidor Bush (not a Missouri German but a Prague-born Austrian). [104] The catalogue passed through numerous editions and was used rather as a text book than as a commercial list it was even translated into French and Italian. Engelmann's description and classification of the native vines was the scientific standard for his time: on his death it could be said that "nearly all that we know

scientifically of our species and forms of Vitis is directly due to Dr. Engelmann's investigations." [105]

When Engelmann first came to the United States, he made his way to a settlement of Germans on the Illinois side of the Mississippi, about twenty miles east of St. Louis. Here he had some connections, and here he made his base of operations while he explored and botanized before settling down to his medical practice. This was the region of the old French settlements, where grape growing had long been familiar, so familiar that even the American settlers readily took it up. Gustave Koerner, another German immigrant, a friend of Engelmann's, and later a distinguished lawyer, and a friend and political supporter of Lincoln's, recalled what he, Engelmann, and their friends found as they travelled for the first time to Belleville in 1833. Stopping at a farm, they were pleased to find Isabella grapes growing on the trellised house even better, the farmer offered them a drink of his wild grape wine. "It was really very good," Koerner remembered, though sweetened a bit by added sugar, "the American having no liking for wine unless it is sweet." [106] The Germans themselves, when a group of them settled around Belleville, began at once to grow vines, and long continued to do so. Years later Koerner remembered giving a visiting German poet, who had said disparaging things about American wines, some "old, well-seasoned Norton Virginia Seedling" from the vineyard of a neighbor:

He drank it with great gusto, remarking that it was a very fine wine he supposed, he said, it was Burgundy. When I laughingly told him it was St. Clair County wine, he would hardly believe me. . . . I must do him the justice, however, of saying that good Norton has really the body of Burgundy, and can never be taken for Bordeaux. [107]

One of the most prominent men among the Belleville Germans was Theodore Hilgard, who had been a lawyer, judge, and man of letters in Zweibrucken and who, after emigrating to Illinois, produced a wine there that he fondly called "Hilgardsberger." [108] More important for this history, Hilgard's son, Eugene, became professor of agriculture at the University of California, director of the Experiment Stations, and dean of the College of Agriculture, positions in which he made contributions of the first importance to the winegrowing of California. [109] He is thus another claim to the historical importance of the Latin Peasants settled in the region of which St. Louis is the center.

St. Louis itself—including St. Louis County—with its layers of French and German history, has been a scene of winemaking since very early times, as these things are measured in American history. The first St. Louis wine on record was made for church use by the Jesuits of St. Stanislaus Seminary at Florissant, north of the city, in 1823 they later developed commercial production as well, and continued the business down to 1960. [110] The earliest purely commercial winery in St. Louis was the firm called the Missouri Wine Company, founded in 1853. It constructed underground cellars for storage (they still survive in downtown St. Louis) and went into business not only in Missouri wines but in wines from Ohio. [111] The

well-known Cincinnati vineyardist Robert Buchanan, for example, sold his vintages of 1855 and 1856 in bulk to the Missouri Wine Company. [112] So the traffic in wine between Missouri and Ohio was a two-way street we have seen that Hermann sent some of its wine up the Ohio to Longworth in Cincinnati, while Buchanan was shipping downstream to St. Louis. The Missouri Wine Company was advertising its sparkling catawba in the St. Louis papers in 1857, and the probability is that this was Ohio wine. Another interesting, but indistinct, St. Louis enterprise was carried out by Isidor Bush's partner, Gustave Edward Meissner, who planted 600 acres of vines on Meissner's Island, below the city. [113] These may have been intended as a nursery planting in any case, no wine production is recorded from Meissner's Island.

The main claim of St. Louis to a place in the history of wine in America rests with the American Wine Company, which took over the Missouri Wine Company in 1859 and, through many changes of fortune, persisted up to the early years of World War II. The president was a Chicago hotelkeeper and politician named Isaac Cook, who, despite the struggles of political faction in Illinois, still managed to take an interest in wine as both a connoisseur and a producer. In 1861 he left Chicago for St. Louis, and built up the American Wine Company to a leading place in the American trade. [114] The main stock in trade was called Cook's Imperial Champagne, a label still in use, though it has passed through various hands and been applied to wines of various origins in its more than a hundred years of currency. Under Cook, the American Wine Company bought vineyards in the Sandusky region of Ohio, and though the finishing of the wine was carried out in St. Louis (in the cellars originally built for the Missouri Wine Company), the history of the business belongs perhaps more to Ohio than to Missouri. The American Wine Company also dealt in such wines as Missouri catawba and Norton.

Missouri is the farthest western reach of winegrowing at this stage of American history (excluding for the moment California and the regions of Spanish-American cultivation in the Southwest). After recounting all the early trials and modest successes in Missouri we may glance briefly, by way of reminder, at the obstacles that the pioneers had to face, and that their successors still face. They cultivated a region at the heart of a continent, untempered by any great body of water. The winter cold there sweeps down from the arctic regions of Canada, or off the high mountains and high plains that form the western, windward, edge of the Missouri basin. Even the hardiest grapes may expect to be killed to the ground from time to time in the freezes that flow from these sources. Phylloxera is at home here. Not too far to the south and east is the home of Pierce's Disease. Mildews, both powdery and downy, are alternately favored by heat and by damp black rot is always present. If the early growers had known all this, would they have ventured at all? In any case, they did not know, and they did venture. The reviving efforts to establish a significant viticulture in Missouri today have an honorable pioneer tradition behind them of successful struggle against very tough odds.

The Development of Winegrowing in New York State

New York presents four different viticultural regions, running from east to west across the state, whose development is roughly parallel to the westward movement of population. The first is around New York City, especially on Long Island next is the Hudson Valley then the Finger Lakes of the central part of the state and last the so-called Chautauqua region, an extension into western New York of the shorelands along Lake Erie.

The gardeners of Long Island, having a large concentrated market just beyond their doorsteps in the city, were naturally interested in seeing if they could succeed in growing wine for it. Not surprisingly, one of the first was a Frenchman, a merchant named Alphonse Loubat, who came originally from the south of France. At a date unrecorded but probably in the 1820s, he set out a vineyard of some forty acres—a notably ambitious effort—at New Utrecht, as it was then known it is now a part of the Brooklyn waterfront, where the idea of any growing crop is impossible to conceive. Loubat's vines were vinifera, as a Frenchman's would be. Black rot and powdery mildew descended upon him, and he set himself to struggle against them. In the process he is said to have invented the practice of bagging the clusters against their depredations. But at last he was compelled to admit that they were too much for human effort to overcome. [115]

Loubat left a permanent memorial in the shape of a curious little book with the same title as Dufour's, The American Vine-Dresser's Guide , and published just a year later than Dufour's, in 1827, in New York. The book, in French and English on facing pages, opens with a delightful dedication "To the Shade of Franklin"—"À L'Ombre de Franklin." The great man's ghost is invoked to "Protect my feeble essay" and to "protect my vine, and cause it so to thrive that I shall soon be able to pour forth upon thy tomb libations of perfumed Muscatel and generous Malmsey." [116] At the time that he published his Guide , Loubat seems to have had no suspicion at all that his vinifera were doomed, or that the failure of winegrowing in the United States was owing to anything but the inexplicable neglect of a splendid opportunity. The instruction conveyed in his Guide is without any reference to American conditions, and assumes that French practices can be taken over unaltered. He soon had reason to think otherwise, and in 1835 the enterprise that he strove to establish along the banks of the East River came to a rude end when the vineyard property was sold for building lots. [117]

Still, before the end, his work had attracted some attention. Longworth's early trials in Ohio of vinifera were made with vines that he got from Loubat. [118] Another Long Islander, Alden Spooner, the editor of the Brooklyn Long Island City Star and one of the leading citizens of that pastoral community, had watched Loubat's struggles with sympathetic interest, and around 1827 began, in imitation, to plant vinifera grapes in his Brooklyn vineyard, now a part of Prospect Park. [119] Unlike Loubat, however, Spooner soon concluded that the native vines were the only safe bet. He planted the Isabella grape instead, and with this he had success enough to

53
Alphonse Loubat, a New York merchant born in France, planted a large
vineyard of vinifera vines in Brooklyn in the 1820s and published a book,
in both French and English, called The American Vine-Dresser's Guide
(1827). Interesting chiefly as a late memorial to the futile belief that vinifera
would do well in the American East after two hundred years of unbroken
failure, it was, for some inexplicable reason, reprinted in 1872, when its views
had long been discredited. (From Loubat, The American Vine-Dresser's
Guide
[New York, 1872])

lead him to publish a book (he commanded a press and a bookstore, as well as a newspaper). Spooner's The Cultivation of American Grape Fines and Making of Wine (1846) is a scissors-and-paste job, of the sort that journalists know so well how to do, but it preserves some authentic anecdotes and is useful evidence of the interest in grape growing around New York City at that time.

The most important by far of the early Long Island grape growers was William Robert Prince, the son, grandson, and great-grandson of nurserymen. [120] The Princes operated the elegantly named Linnaean Botanic Garden at Flushing, Long Island, where, among other horticultural specialities, they kept a large collec-

54
A member of the fourth generation of a family of Long Island nurserymen,
William Robert Prince (1795—1869) made a special study of the grape and
published the first comprehensive book on the subject in this country, A
Treatise on the Vine (1830). Prince introduced one of the most successful
of the early hybrids, the Isabella grape. (From U. P. Hedrick, Manual of
American Grape Growing
[1924])

tion of grapes, both native and foreign, for sale: their catalogue for 1830 lists 513 varieties. [121] The youngest Prince, as his father had before him, took a special interest in viticulture and became one of the recognized experts on the subject in the first part of the century, writing frequently for the horticultural magazines and developing the section devoted to vines in his nursery catalogue into a substantial essay on the subject. In 1830 he published a separate work called A Treatise on the Vine , an ambitious and expansive discourse that undertakes, in the easy and inconsequent style of those prespecialized days, to provide a history of the vine from

Noah downwards, a description of two hundred and eighty varieties of grape, and instruction on the "establishment, culture, and management of vineyards." The work is dedicated to Henry Clay in recognition of his part in founding the Kentucky Vineyard Society many years before.

Compared to anything else on viticulture by American writers, the Treatise was a work of an entirely different and higher order—"the first good book on grapes," as Hedrick says. [122] Prince made a serious effort at straightening out the tangle of names used to identify native grapes, and, in his description of native varieties, organized a great deal of local historical information his prominence as the proprietor of America's best-known nursery made it possible for him to obtain information that no one else could have. Prince promised to publish a second part of his Treatise , to include a "topographical account of all the known vineyards throughout the world, and including those of the United States" [123] for whatever reason, this never appeared, and we can only regret what would have been an unparalleled description of early nineteenth-century viticulture in the United States. He did, at least, print a list of his correspondents and sources, which includes some familiar names: Bolling, whose "Sketch" had been given to Prince Thomas McCall of Georgia, "who has presented me with a detailed manuscript of his experiments and success in making wines" and Herbemont, Eichelberger, and Spooner. [124]

Since Prince was able to grow vinifera vines successfully under nursery conditions, he was slow to give up faith in them. A large part of his book is devoted to foreign grapes, which he was confident would grow well in this country. He particularly recommended the Alicante. And no matter what the variety of vinifera, its failure, he thought, could in every case be explained by bad management. [125] An equally large part of Prince's Treatise is devoted to descriptions of some eighty native varieties, far and away the most comprehensive account of the subject that had yet appeared. His own experience showed him the need for improved American varieties, and he was himself one of the earliest of the country's hybridizers, though he does not seem to have introduced any grape of his own breeding. The variety with which Prince's name is associated is the Isabella, which his father obtained in 1816 from Colonel George Gibbs of Long Island, an amateur grower, and named after Gibbs's wife. The grape itself is of disputed origin, but it is generally supposed to be from South Carolina. [126] The Princes did not promote the Isabella at once, but, after Adlum's success in creating notoriety for the Catawba, they began to put forward the Isabella as a superior rival. [127] Unlike Adlum, William Robert Prince was under no illusion as to the value of his labrusca seedling compared to the standard vinifera still, he wrote of the Isabella, "I have made wine from it of excellent quality, and which has met with the approbation of some of the most accurate judges in our country." [128]

Prince has little to say about mildew and black rot, the diseases that were the bane of native hybrids throughout the East there is plenty of evidence that these afflictions plagued grape growers around New York when Prince was writing, but he gives them no particular emphasis in his discussion of grape culture. One no-

55
An advertisement for vines from the Croton Point Vineyards of Dr. Robert Underhill (1802-71).
Note the offer to send a vine dresser to take care of the vines "when they commence bearing."
After a generation of successful grape growing along the Hudson, Underhill was himself just
beginning to make wine for the New York City market. ( The Cultivator , December 1855)

table thing he does do, however, is to call attention to the efficacy of spraying with a mixture of lime and sulfur against mildew. He was the first to do so in this country. [129]

Long Island may be imagined in the early part of the nineteenth century as a rural spot where grape growing for ornament and home use was widespread—local patriotism favored the Isabella, which "soon became the cherished ornament and pride of every garden and door-yard." [130] There, Colonel Gibbs, from whose garden the Isabella came, amused himself with a vineyard, as did Colonel Spooner there, poor Loubat struggled and failed to compel vinifera to grow on a commercial scale and there the learned Prince poured out, through his catalogues and monographs, information to the country at large from his base in the Linnaean Botanic Garden. Grapes did grow in Brooklyn (and there are wineries there today that is a different story). One should also mention the famous nursery and botanic garden founded on twenty sterile, rocky acres at the junction of Jamaica and Flat-bush Avenues in 1825 by the Belgian emigré André Parmentier. This quickly became a flourishing garden, complete with rustic observation tower. Parmentier collected and distributed an unprecedentedly comprehensive variety of imported and native plants, including grapes. [131] All of his grapes were, unluckily, imported, and so his work in that line was more enterprising than fruitful. Also unfulfilled was Parmentier's intention to publish an "Essay on the Cultivation of the Vine," left unfinished at his untimely death in 1830. [132] Long Island thus presented the spectacle of much hopeful activity, but did not get beyond the promise of interesting beginnings.

North from Manhattan, along the Hudson, a landowner named Robert Under-hill, using vinifera vines from Parmentier, laid out a vineyard at Croton Point sometime before 1827—probably just a year or so earlier. By 1827 the failure of the vines was clear to him, and he replaced them with Catawba and Isabella. [133] These grew, and their fresh fruit found a ready and profitable market in New York City. Underhill died in 1829, but his two sons, Robert, a doctor who gave up his practice for vine growing, and William, continued the vineyard at Croton Point in separate holdings by 1843 the Underhills had twenty-seven acres of vineyard ultimately, they had seventy-five acres in vines. [134] The scale and the long life of their vineyards give them a claim to be the real founders of the winegrowing industry in New York. But they were not, at first, winegrowers, merely grape growers. Then Robert Underhill, while continuing to sell grapes, began to make wine for himself, and, at last, in 1859, he began to send Isabella and catawba wine to the New York market. [135] Croton Point wines, sold from the "Pure Wine and Grape Depot" in New York City, were advertised as "the pure product of the grape, neither drugged, liquored, nor watered, recommended by leading physicians in all cases where a stimulant of bracing character is required." [136] One notes the emphasis upon therapeutic value, forgivable perhaps in the case of wine produced by a physician, but almost always a sign of the puritanical suspicion of simple sensuous gratification. Dr. Underhill, it may be mentioned, was the first sponsor in the

56
Dr. Robert Underhill died in 1871, a little more than a decade after he began making wine
at his Croton Point Vineyards. This advertisement offers the wines left after his death,
all manufactured in the years 1860-71. (Huntington Library)

United States of the so-called grape cure, one of the many regimens designed to clean out the overfed systems of prosperous Victorians, and then fashionable in Europe. Since the cure consisted in eating five or six pounds of grapes daily, Underhill obviously had an interested motive in sponsoring it. [137]

The Underhills made another contribution to New York viticulture in the form of William's son Stephen, who, between 1860 and 1870, introduced a number of hybrid varieties of his creation and sold them through his nursery. The three generations of Underhills working at Croton Point are a first dynasty in American viticulture (their property is now a county park). [138]

A few miles north of Croton Point, a Frenchman named Thomas Gimbrede was experimenting with native vines at West Point, where he taught drawing to the cadets. Starting about 1820, Gimbrede had collected every variety that he found growing wild in the woods and transplanted them to his garden, "manuring, stimulating and pruning them with great care, in the hope of changing and ameliorating their character." After fifteen years of such experiment, Gimbrede was candid enough to admit that he had had no luck whatever: the natives remained obstinately unimproved by their pampering. [139] But perhaps this barren result may have helped put an end to the notion, so long and fondly entertained, that the "wild" grape could be "tamed" by so simple a process of cultivation in which, as one writer has said, the experimenter acts as a sociologist instead of a geneticist. [140] One hears little of the "taming" idea afterwards.

The first successful commercial winery in New York was founded by a Frenchman named Jean Jaques in 1839, at Washingtonville, on the west bank of the Hudson. Under the name of Blooming Grove, the winery business did well enough to be continued by his sons. In the 1870s the surviving son sold the winery to a firm of New York wine merchants who also dealt in the wines from the original Brotherhood Winery in Brocton, New York. The name of the Washingtonville winery was then changed to Brotherhood, for though the Brocton firm no longer existed, its name continued to have market value. Grapes are no longer grown on the Washingtonville property, and the firm has passed through many transformations, but it survived Prohibition by making sacramental wine and is still going. The winery may fairly claim to be the oldest such enterprise in continuous operation in this country and helps to bolster New York's claim to a central place in the commercial history of wine in America. [141]

One hundred and fifty miles west of the Hudson Valley lie the long, narrow, deep strips of water whose arrangement on the map like the outstretched fingers of a hand has given them their name of Finger Lakes. As Philip Wagner has written, "their beauty is famous and their geology fascinating." [142] But for Wagner and for us, their main interest is in their status as a winegrowing region. The lakes, with their adjacent highlands, keep the climate of the valleys much more equable than in the nearby regions, producing warmer winters and cooler summers and so favoring the grape. [143]

57
The first vineyards in the Finger Lakes region were planted on this
spot along the west bank of Keuka Lake (then called Crooked
Lake) beginning in 1836. (From Goldsmith Denniston, Grape Culture
in Steuben County
[1865])

The Finger Lakes district is, and has long been, the main source of fine table wine, including sparkling wine, in the eastern United States. Its rise to this eminence was not particularly early or rapid, however the history of the region's development largely belongs to the period after the Civil War, as is also the case in Ohio and Missouri. But, as in those states too, the beginnings at least were clearly made before the war. According to the received account, the first cultivated grapes in the Finger Lakes district were set out about 1830 (the date is disputed) by the Reverend William Bostwick, rector of the newly founded Episcopal Church in

58
The viticultural region of Keuka Lake (Crooked Lake) as it developed after 1836.
The Pleasant Valley subregion lies at the far lower left corner of the map, behind
the town of Hammondsport. It was here that the large-scale winemaking enterprises
of the valley developed. (From Goldsmith Denniston, Grape Culture in Steuben County [1865])

Hammondsport, at the south end of Keuka Lake (or Crooked Lake, as it was then called). [144] There is no record that Bostwick ever made wine from his grapes—he had only a few vines of Catawba and Isabella--but it is pleasant to have his example to show that the ancient tradition linking wine and the church included, in this country, not only the Catholic, the Huguenot, and the German Protestant, but the Anglican communion as well.

Bostwick's example was followed by his neighbors, perhaps with the greatest enthusiasm by J. W. Prentiss, who beginning in 1836 developed a three-acre vine-

yard on the shores of Keuka in the township of Pulteney with vines from Bostwick's garden. [145] Another significant event in the district was the arrival, after 1848, of experienced German vineyardists, refugees from the political revolutions of the Continent. One of these, Andrew Reisenger, after observing Prentiss's success with his small vineyard, set out two or three acres of his own in the same region of the western lake shore, at Harmony, in 1853. [146] The excellent results of Reisenger's professional practices—unknown until then in the neighborhood—showed what crops and profits might be made from viticulture. Local men of substance soon followed Reisenger's lead: planting began in 1855 on the land south of Hammondsport, a shallow valley once a part of the lake and now called Pleasant Valley. [147] The presence of the new German immigrants gave the region an advantage by providing a ready source of experienced labor. By 1859, Hedrick estimates, there were four or five hundred acres of grapes around Keuka Lake. [148] Planting had extended not only south to Pleasant Valley but north into Yates County and to the eastern shore of the lake around Wayne. It included all the established native varieties: Catawba, Isabella, Delaware, Diana, Iona for white wine Concord, Norton, Ives, and Clinton for red. The market—at first mostly for fresh fruit—was so good that local enthusiasts proclaimed that "a bearing vineyard was as good as a gold mine." [149]

To take advantage of this considerable source, the first winery at Hammondsport, which has been from that time the center of the Finger Lakes industry, was founded in 1860 as the Hammondsport and Pleasant Valley Wine Company, incorporated for the purpose of producing wine, brandy, and champagne. [150] The head of this enterprise was Charles Champlin, one of the gentlemen growing grapes in Pleasant Valley, who was joined in the founding of the company by other Pleasant Valley growers. The handsome stone building that Champlin and his associates put up on the slope looking over Pleasant Valley still stands there. The first winemaker was a German named Weber, [151] but the winery aimed at a French style. The plan to produce a sparkling wine meant that a champagne maker would have to be imported: Longworth had already established that pattern in Cincinnati, and so had the Sainsevains in California. To make the French claim even plainer, the winery obtained the post office address of Rheims, and long continued to use it. The first champagne master was Joseph Masson, who was followed by a brother, Jules, and Jules by his son, Victor. [152] Both of the Masson brothers, originally from France, had come to this country to make sparkling wine in Cincinnati. [153] Thus did the production of sparkling wine in the East, after the decline of the vineyards along the Ohio, reappear and prosper under a succession of Frenchmen. But if the winemaking was French, one must remember that the vine growing owed much to the Germans.

The Pleasant Valley Wine Company shipped its first wine in 1862, and by 1864 its production had risen to around 30,000 gallons. [154] In 1867, at a banquet in Boston, its fame was made. That was a time when the literati of Boston were the tastemakers of the country, and they not merely approved of Champlin's sparkling

59
The first winery erected in the Finger Lakes Region, the Pleasant Valley winery
building still stands and is still an operating winery. ( Harper's Weekly , 11 May 1872)

wine, they gave it a name. From the point of view of Boston—the Hub, as they would have said—Pleasant Valley wine came from the remote reaches of the great West: it should be known, therefore, as "Great Western" sparkling wine, and so it has been since. [155] The name of the firm remains Pleasant Valley, but the name on its labels is always "Great Western."

Over the ridge to the west and north of Hammondsport the next valley is that of Canandaigua Lake, where grape growing on a commercial scale was begun in 1854 by a lawyer named Edward McKay, who planted Isabella vines on an acre of ground. [156] In a few years he had an excellent crop, and so his friends and neighbors began to plant vines too. The first winery was put up in 1861 at Naples, on Canandaigua Lake, by the town banker, Hiram Maxfield. [157] After the war a considerable migration of Germans and Swiss to the region took place, and the continued development of winegrowing in the Naples Valley was largely their work. Other sites along the Finger Lakes were being developed as vineyards in the 1850s and 1860s:

60
Jules Masson, who succeeded his brother Joseph as champagne master at the Pleasant
Valley Wine Company in the 1860s. They founded the manufacture of sparkling wine in
New York State. (Harper's Weekly , 11 May 1872)

Union Springs, on Cayuga Lake, was one center [158] the hillsides of Seneca, largest of the Finger Lakes, began to be planted in 1862. [159] Winemaking, however, stayed close to Keuka and Canandaigua lakes, where it has mostly remained ever since.

Central New York, since the time of its first prosperity through the Erie Canal, has had an honorable place in the history of American horticulture. Generations of orchardists, vineyardists, nurserymen, and, latterly, plant scientists, have introduced and experimented with a great variety of fruits, and have especially attended to the grape. The great monument to this activity in the nineteenth century is the magisterial tome—it can hardly be called a mere book—entitled The Grapes of New

York , produced by the New York Agricultural Experiment Station at Geneva (also in the Finger Lakes region) in 1908. This work, of some 564 large quarto pages, lavishly illustrated with color plates, was published at the expense of the state under the supervision of the plant scientist U. P. Hedrick, and covers a far wider range than the title indicates. It is in fact an encyclopedia of the history of grape growing in the eastern United States to the time of its publication it makes clear how large and important a part the work of growers, hybridizers, and scientists in upstate New York has had in that history. No doubt mere historical accident had something to do with all this: while others sought out chance seedlings, as Adlum did in Maryland, or undertook the expensive and frustrating labor of developing sound winemaking practices in unfamiliar conditions, as Longworth did in Cincinnati, the horticulturists of New York were not at all in the forefront of winemaking. When their moment came, however, they were ready, and since the early years of experiment along the Hudson, the state of New York has counted in eastern viticulture and winemaking as no other state has. This need not be a permanent condition of things, but the fact deserves to be recognized here.

The fourth and westernmost region of New York viticulture is along the shores of Lake Erie. The lake shore, which stretches over Ohio, Pennsylvania, and New York, provides the largest developed grape growing belt in the United States outside California. Planting began around Cleveland in the 1830s and around Sandusky in the next decade, though commercial development did not go very far before the 1860s. The pattern was pretty much the same in the New York section of the shoreline, which lies mostly in Chautauqua County, famous for the Chautauqua Institution as well as for its grapes—an ironic combination, given the prohibitionist character of the Chautauqua movement (the Woman's Christian Temperance Union was conceived at Chautauqua Lake in 1874).

The "grape belt" of western New York, as it has been called since the nineteenth century, occupies a narrow terrace between the waters of the lake and the high ground called the Allegheny Escarpment the belt extends on one side to Erie, Pennsylvania, and on the other into Erie County, New York, south of Buffalo. The soil is thin, gravelly, and well drained, and though not sufficiently fertile for general farming it is well suited for grapes. More important than soil is climate: excellent air drainage retards fungus diseases, and helps to prevent frost. The combined effect of the lake and of the escarpment makes the growing season notably longer', the winters milder, the summers warmer than in the surrounding hills and valleys. The annual rainfall is less than that of the neighboring lands, to the advantage of the grape. Tradition says that the first grapevines planted in far western New York were cuttings from Massachusetts set out in 1818 on his farm in Brocton by Elijah Fay, a transplanted Yankee among the early settlers of the region. When these vines failed to do well, Fay obtained some plants of Catawba and Isabella from the Long Island nursery of William Prince and planted those in 1824. [160] From that beginning the Chautauqua region began its slow development into what became., later in the century, a virtual monoculture economy of the grape.

Elijah Fay began making wine for himself in 1830 and continued to do so until

61
Deacon Elijah Fay (1781-1860). A Massachusetts Yankee who migrated
to the shores of Lake Erie in 1811, Fay is credited with planting the first
grapes in the Grape Belt of New York State. He began winemaking in 1830,
in part to supply sacramental wine to the First Baptist Church of Brocton,
of which he was an early deacon. (From John B. Downs, History of Chautauqua
County
[1921])

his death in 1860. He was a deacon of the Baptist Church at Brocton, and so maintains the tradition of church and vine. His example does not seem to have inspired many imitators, but here and there small plantings were made, and Fay's family carried on the work. Joseph Fay, son of Elijah, planted the first commercial vineyard of the region in 1851 [161] Lincoln Fay, a nephew, was responsible for introducing the Concord grape in the late 1850s. [162] That was a decisive step, for in the Chautauqua grape belt the Concord quickly succeeded in driving out the Catawba and the Isabella, and has ever since remained the overwhelmingly dominant grape. This fact has served to distinguish the eastern, or New York, end of the Lake Erie shore from its western, or Ohio, end, where the Catawba held out against the Concord. In consequence, the Ohio end has always maintained its identity as a wine-growing region, while the New York end has for many years been the great national source of grape juice. That, however, was a late nineteenth-century turn of affairs.

The sudden expansion of the industry in Chautauqua County dates from the

end of the 1850s, as it does also in the Finger Lakes and along the Ohio shore of Lake Erie. In 1859, when there were but a scant forty acres of vines in the county, the first winery, the Brocton Wine Cellars, was founded by three men, one of whom was a son and another the grandson of Elijah Fay, the original vineyardist of the region. The winery produced a modest 2,000 gallons in its first season, from which beginning it grew into a large and profitable business. In 1865 the winery had an inventory of 37,000 gallons, and the forty acres of vines around Brocton had jumped to four hundred: the rapid establishment of a "grape belt" was under way. [163] Western New York thus joined the pattern that was clearly developing in the northern states just before and during the Civil War, a pattern in which the long, intermittent, and frustrating preparations for a winemaking industry were at last completed and the basis laid for the production of wine in significant quantities from native grapes. Despite the years lost to the Civil War in the first half of the decade, the 1860s were the years of a "grape boom," years in which the acreage of vines in New York, Ohio, and Missouri increased at geometrical rates, when wineries were opened to take advantage of the new production, when new varieties were introduced almost daily to an eager public caught up in what the papers called the "grape mania." Some other elements that helped to generate the mania are taken up in the next chapter.


‘Mr. Speaker:’ Nicholas Longworth of Ohio

If Nicholas Longworth is remembered at all today, it’s usually because of his marriage to Alice Roosevelt, the tart-tongued daughter of President Theodore Roosevelt. Alice Roosevelt was anything but conventional and while their marriage started out with much promise, it grew somewhat cold. The only child born during their union, a child Nick Longworth doted upon, was not his own.

Nick Longworth was a man of many talents, not the least of which was his musical ability. Longworth was by all accounts a remarkably talented violinist and had a genuine love of music. Longworth’s delight in classical music was not shared by his bride. His other passions were alcohol and women. Longworth was quite popular with his colleagues, most of whom knew about the Speaker’s interests.

There is an oft-repeated tale of a blustery Congressman approaching a sitting Longworth and rubbing his hand over the Speaker’s bald head. The Congressman said, “Why, it feels just like my wife’s backside!”

Longworth slowly reached up and rubbed his head.

“Well, damned if it doesn’t,” he said, to much laughter amongst those present.

The blustery Congressman was said to have slunk out of the room.

Nicholas Longworth, III was born into wealth and privilege on November 5, 1869. His grandfather, the original Nicholas Longworth, had been a very successful winemaker. Some believe the first Nicholas Longworth was the father of wine making in America. Nick father, Nicholas, II, earned a law degree and practice law, eventually rising to serve on the Ohio State Supreme Court. Justice Longworth resigned from the bench and ceased to practice law at all, apparently distraught when his father died.

The Longworths were both socially and politically prominent. Unlike most urban areas, Cincinnati was dominated by the Republican Party. In turn, the Republican Party in Cincinnati was dominated by George B. Cox, who was the GOP “boss” in Hamilton County.

Nick was very well educated himself, attending an exclusive school for boys before going to Harvard University. While most everyone agreed Nick Longworth possessed a fine mind, the trick seemed to be getting him to use it, as he rarely applied himself to his studies. Nick did well enough to get into Harvard Law School, but he remained only a year before transferring to the Cincinnati School of Law.

Nick Longworth practiced law, but was deeply interested in politics. He soon found a mentor in Boss Cox and he was elected to the Cincinnati Board of Education in 1898. A promotion to the Ohio House of Representatives came next. In 1900, Longworth was promoted yet again, winning election to the State Senate. By 1902, Nick Longworth had won election to Congress. He was to remain there, save for one two year interval, for the rest of his life.

Arriving in Washington in 1903 (along with another future Speaker and Longworth’s successor, John Nance Garner of Texas), Nick Longworth was a thirty-something, wealthy, charming, and one of the most sought after bachelor’s in the city. A fair singer, who also played the piano, Nick Longworth was always a welcome guest at Washington parties. Despite being fourteen years older than Alice Roosevelt, he managed to captivate that contrary young lady and they were married at the White House in 1906.

The two had met and became more acquainted when they were members of a large diplomatic delegation journeying to the Far East. In a time before air travel, the delegation, consisting of seven members of the United States Senate, twenty-three congressmen, Alice Roosevelt and Secretary of War William Howard Taft, slowly made its way through Hawaii, the Philippines Japan, Korea, and China. The press closely followed the activities of the delegation, but especially Alice Roosevelt. Miss Roosevelt was the gleeful recipient of a number of lavish gifts and apparently she received enough beautiful silk material to have gorgeous dresses made for her for the rest of her life. Alice also received a strand of magnificent pearls from the Cuban government that she wore around her neck until her death decades later. At least one newspaper sourly described the trip as “Alice in Plunderland”.

With Secretary Taft serving as something of a chaperone, a budding romance blossomed between Congressman Longworth and Alice Roosevelt. The wedding at the White House was the social event of the year in Washington, D. C. society. The wedding accommodated more than a thousand guests, while thousands more stood lining the streets, hoping to get a glimpse of the bride. Anything but conventional, Alice wore a blue wedding gown, as she had made a particular shade of blue her own and it was commonly referred to as “Alice blue”. The bride and groom used a borrowed sword to slice the wedding cake and after a honeymoon in Cuba and a tour of the European continent, they settled into a comfortable and large home at 2009 Massachusetts Avenue, along trendy Embassy Row.

The Longworths would hold numerous soirees in their parlor and Alice’s dinners were well known and many who attended claimed the she-crab soup served at meals was exquisite.

Nick Longworth also helped to strip tyrannical Speaker of the House Joseph G. Cannon of his dictatorial powers. It was the birth of the modern speakership in the House of Representatives. A pitched battle between insurgent Republicans, allied with Democrats, against reactionary Republicans who supported the one-man rule of Cannon brought about the fall of “Uncle Joe”.

Although he had been an indifferent student, Longworth was a hardworking congressman. Ironically, his one political defeat centered around his wife’s family, most specifically, Theodore Roosevelt. The youngest man ever to become president at that time, Roosevelt had served most of William McKinley’s second term after McKinley had been assassinated and was elected to another in his own right in 1904. Just after winning reelection, Roosevelt had blurted out he would never run for a third term. TR’s wife, Edith, blanched when he said it and Roosevelt himself later admitted he would give up his right arm if he could take the statement back.

Theodore Roosevelt had hand-picked his successor, William Howard Taft, who had been his Secretary of War. The two had enjoyed a very warm personal friendship, yet TR had been disappointed by Taft’s administration. It is impossible to say, but much of Roosevelt’s disappointment may well have been motivated by personal ambition, as TR certainly desperately wanted to be president yet again.

Nobody was more avid for TR’s triumphant return to the White House than his daughter, Alice Roosevelt Longworth. Nick Longworth was in a somewhat more difficult and precarious position. William Howard Taft hailed from Ohio in fact, he was from Cincinnati. Taft’s brother, Charley, owned a media empire in Cincinnati (he also owned both the Philadelphia Phillies and the Chicago Cubs at one time). Roosevelt and Taft fought a bitter battle for the Republican presidential nomination in 1912 and TR humiliated the president in preferential primary, including Ohio. Yet most of Longworth’s family were strongly in favor of William Howard Taft. Theodore Roosevelt, realizing his son-in-law’s uncomfortable, if not impossible, predicament, told Longworth it was perfectly understandable for him to be for Taft. When Taft won the nomination only narrowly, an angry Roosevelt bolted and accepted the nomination of the Progressive or “Bull Moose” party.

Nick Longworth was horrified when he faced not only a Democrat in the 1912 general election, but a Progressive candidate as well. The Progressive siphoned off just enough votes to elect the Democrat, Stanley Bowdle by 105 votes. Longworth was crushed.

Alice Roosevelt Longworth was mortified when she had to leave Washington, D. C. to take up residence in Cincinnati. Despite living at the family estate, Alice was miserable while Nick worked hard to reestablish himself in his home city and prepare for the 1914 congressional campaign. Alice Longworth’s exile from the nation’s Capitol ended when Nick Longworth was reelected, reversing his narrow defeat two years earlier.

Even though Longworth had lost his seniority in the House, he quickly climbed the ladder, winning election as Majority Leader in 1923. When Speaker Frederick Gillette of Massachusetts opted to run for the United States Senate in 1924, Longworth became the favorite to succeed him. In 1925, the Republican majority in the House of Representatives elected Nicholas Longworth Speaker.

The decade of the twenties was a high point for the Republican Party. Warren G. Harding had been elected by a huge majority over James Cox in 1920 the election had been as much a referendum on the ailing Woodrow Wilson and American entry into the League of Nations. Harding’s call for a return to “normalcy” had resonated with millions of Americans. After Harding’s death, Calvin Coolidge succeeded to the presidency and the flinty man from Massachusetts had said little, but presided over a booming economy. With Coolidge’s announcement that he “did not choose” to run again in 1928, Herbert hoover, who had been Secretary of Commerce throughout the Harding and Coolidge administrations, won the GOP presidential nomination. Despite never having been elected to any office, Hoover won a thumping victory over New York governor Al Smith, perhaps in large measure due to Smith’s Catholicism and “wet” politics.

Speaker Longworth immediately established his authority in the House and set out to teach those “progressive” Republicans who had refused to back President Coolidge in the 1924 election. The thirteen congressmen who had refused to support Coolidge were ejected from the House Republican Caucus. Worse, the Speaker stripped them of their seniority, which included some who chaired standing House committees. As one of the progressives who had led the fight to strip Speaker Joe Cannon of much of his authority, Nick Longworth demonstrated he understood both the House and its rules furthermore, he understood the use of power. The new Speaker stacked the powerful Rules Committee with members loyal to him and assumed control over the Committee on Committees, which made committee assignments, as well as the Steering Committee of the House.

Longworth quickly established the authority of his office and remained as Speaker for the rest of his life.

Alice Roosevelt Longworth managed to shock Washington society yet again when she announced she was pregnant at age forty in 1924. Mrs. Longworth gave birth to a child, Paulina, and her diaries confirm the child was not that of Speaker Longworth. Paulina was indeed a daughter of a political notable, just not that of Nick Longworth. Rather, Paulina was, so Alice recorded in her own diary, the result of an affair she had with Senator William E. Borah of Idaho. Indeed, Paulina looked astonishingly like Borah. Alice’s secret was hardly a secret in Washington. Some speculated upon the close relationship between Borah and Alice Longworth and some wags referred to Paulina as “Aurora Borah Alice”. Another wag suggested a better name for the child would have been “De-Borah”.

Whether or not Nick Longworth knew Paulina was not his daughter is unknown what is known is that he adored her and she him. Paulina would never truly recover from her father’s death.

The presidency of Herbert Hoover was especially trying for Longworth and while the Speaker had resisted enlarging the role of government, with the onset of the Great Depression, things began to change. Longworth disagreed with the president over legislation designed to pay veterans a bonus. Congress passed the bill, only to see President Hoover veto it.

The 1930 elections were a disaster for the Republicans.

Prior to the 1930 election, the GOP enjoyed a 270 – 164 majority in the House. After the 1930 election, Democrats had gained fifty-two seats, giving the Republicans control by a very slender thread of 218 seats to 216 seats for the Democrats. That slender thread was cut by the death of several Republican congressmen and the special elections gave the Democrats a bare majority of 218 when the new Congress opened on march 4, 1931 to 217 seats for the Republicans. Nick Longworth was replaced as Speaker of the House by John N. Garner of Texas.

The Speaker, in spite of his fondness for alcohol, was very well liked by his colleagues, both Republicans and Democrats. Longworth dressed quite well and was occasionally seen wearing spats.

Having lost the Speakership to John Nance Garner of Texas, Nick Longworth found himself ailing and decided he needed a vacation. Longworth did not invite Alice to join him, but left for Aiken, South Carolina and the estate of his warm friend Dwight T. Davis (founder of the Davis cup). There the former Speaker’s health worsened and pneumonia set in. Alarmed, Alice was notified and she hurried to South Carolina, but did not reach her husband’s side before death claimed him.

Alice brought Nick Longworth’s body back to Cincinnati where he was buried. Neither Alice or his beloved Paulina rested beside him. Paulina Longworth’s life was both tragic and short. She lost her husband when he was only twenty-eight and although they, too, had a daughter, Paulina suffered from alcohol, which had also plagued her father, as well as depression. Paulina died from an overdose of sleeping pills at age thirty-one.

A friendly, debonair and charming man, Nicholas Longworth reached the political heights, yet his family life was unhappy and his legacy soured.

‘Mr. Speaker:’ Nicholas Longworth of Ohio added by design on October 5, 2014
View all posts by design &rarr


21 Significant Speakers Of The House In American History

With the election of Paul Ryan as the new Speaker of the House of Representatives this week, it makes one focus on the 54 House Speakers in American history, and recognition of the fact that twenty one of them were quite significant figures in the American past.

Probably the most prominent of all was one of the earliest Speakers, Henry Clay of Kentucky, who became Speaker as a freshman in 1811, and served three different times as House Speaker, from 1811-1814, 1815-1820, and 1823-1825. a total of more than six and a half years, as Congress did not meet back then for many months in any years, but sixth longest serving. Clay is considered the most famous Congressional figure in American history in both houses of Congress, and was an unsuccessful Presidential nominee three times, in 1824, 1832, and 1844. He was a giant figure in American political history and American politics.

John Bell was Speaker in 1834-1835, and was also a Presidential candidate of the Constitutional Union party in the Presidential Election of 1860, trying to prevent the Civil War by running as an alternative to the three other candidates that year—Abraham Lincoln, Stephen Douglas, and John C. Breckinridge. He won three states and 39 electoral votes, carrying Virginia, Kentucky, and Tennessee in the Electoral College.

James K. Polk became the only Speaker so far to become President of the United States, in the Presidential Election of 1844, after having served as House Speaker from 1835-1839. He is considered the most successful one term President, deciding due to ill health to refuse to run f0r reelection in 1848, but gaining the whole American Southwest in war with Mexico, and arranging the peaceful acquisition of the Pacific Northwest by treaty with Great Britain. His retirement from the Presidency was the shortest in American history, only 105 days.

Robert M. T. Hunter was the youngest Speaker of the House at the age of 30, serving from 1839-1841, and later as Confederate Secretary of State in 1861-1862 during the Civil War.

Howell Cobb served as Speaker from 1849-1851, being 34 when elected, and served as one of the founders of the Confederate States of America in 1861.

Schuyler Colfax served as Speaker from 1863-1869, and as Vice President in the first term of President Ulysses S. Grant from 1869-1873, being the first of two Speakers to serve in the Vice Presidency, the other being John Nance Garner under Franklin D. Roosevelt.

James G. Blaine served as Speaker from 1869-1875, 10th longest serving with a little over five years, and later was the Republican nominee for President in the Presidential Election of 1884. He also served as Secretary of State under James A. Garfield, Chester Alan Arthur, and Benjamin Harrison, and was present at the site of the Garfield assassination in 1881.

Thomas B. Reed served as Speaker from 1889-1891 and 1895-1899, and was nicknamed “Czar Reed”, because he wielded great power in the Speakership, which added to the stature and influence of the Speakers after him.

Joseph Cannon served as House Speaker from 1903-1911, added the most power to the Speakership, more than Reed, but then saw a “revolution” of progressive Republicans led by George Norris of Nebraska, which stripped him and future Speakers of the absolute power that Reed and Cannon had waged, and was pushed out of the Speakership when the opposition Democrats won control of the House of Representatives in the midterm elections of 1910. He was eighth longest serving Speaker, nearly six years, and had a House office building named after him despite his fall from power in 1910.

His successor, Champ Clark, served as House Speaker from 1911-1919, fifth longest serving at seven years, and nearly won the 1912 Democratic Presidential nomination, but lost to Woodrow Wilson.

Nicholas Longworth served as Speaker from 1925-1931, punished progressive Republicans and restored much of the power of the Speaker under Joseph Cannon, and was married to Theodore Roosevelt’s daughter, Alice. Later, a House office building would be named after him.

John Nance Garner served 15 months as House Speaker from 1931-1933, and then became Vice President under Franklin D. Roosevelt, and served two terms in that office. He became famous for his statement that the Vice Presidency was not worth “a bucket of warm piss!” He opposed much of the New Deal, and tried to win the nomination against his boss when FDR sought a third term in 1940. On his 95th birthday, President John F. Kennedy wished him “Happy Birthday” just hours before his assassination on November 22, 1963. Garner died at age 98 in 1967, the longest lived Vice President or President, and just 15 days before his 99th birthday!

Sam Rayburn was the most prominent, and longest serving Speaker of the House in American history, serving a total of 17 years in three rounds as Speaker, from 1941=1947, 1949-1953, and from 1955 to near the end of 1961, when he died in office. A House Office Building is named after him, and only he and Henry Clay served three separate terms as Speaker. He was one of the most prominent members in the entire history of the House of Representatives, engendering great respect and admiration, and served under Franklin D. Roosevelt, Harry Truman, Dwight D. Eisenhower, and John F. Kennedy.

John W. McCormack was the third longest serving House Speaker, a total of nine years from 1962-1971, and served as House Majority Leader all of the years that Sam Rayburn was Speaker. He presided over the New Frontier and Great Society legislative package under Presidents John F. Kennedy and Lyndon B. Johnson.

Carl Albert served as Speaker from 1971-1977, seventh longest serving in the office, and a heartbeat away when Spiro Agnew resigned as Vice President in 1973, until Gerald Ford was confirmed as Vice President under the 25th Amendment in 1973, and again when Ford became President in 1974 until Nelson Rockefeller was confirmed as Vice President at the end of that year.

Thomas “Tip” O’Neill was the second longest serving House Speaker, a total of ten years from 1977-1987, serving under Presidents Jimmy Carter and Ronald Reagan. He served the longest consecutive years as Speaker, and was an unabashed liberal, but negotiated a Social Security compromise agreement with Ronald Reagan in 1983, which became the mark of bipartisanship.

Thomas Foley served six years as Speaker from 1989-1995, and became the first Speaker since 1862 to be defeated for his House seat in 1994, retiring him from the House of Representatives, but he served as Ambassador to Japan for President Bill Clinton from 1997-2001. He was ninth longest serving Speaker.

Newt Gingrich served as Speaker for four years from 1995-1999, having been the leader of the “Republican Revolution”, where the GOP took back control of the House of Representatives after 40 years in “the wilderness”. Highly controversial and combative, Gingrich led the fight against President Bill Clinton, and moved for his impeachment in 1998, but then was forced out by an internal rebellion in his own party at the end of 1998. He sought the Presidency in 2012, but fell short of the nomination, and remains an outspoken active commentator on politics.

Dennis Hastert became the longest serving Republican Speaker in American history, serving eight years from 1999-2007, fourth longest serving, seen as non controversial after Gingrich, and being Speaker under Bill Clinton and George W. Bush. He became involved in a sex and financial scandal dating back to before he was in Congress, and faces prison time as this article is being written, having pleaded guilty.

Nancy Pelosi became the first woman Speaker, serving four years from 2007-2011, and remains Minority Leader today, and her two Congresses under George W. Bush and Barack Obama accomplished more legislation, particularly under Obama, than any Congress since the 1960s.

John Boehner served almost five years as Speaker from 2011 until this past week, facing highly contentious opponents in his own party, the Tea Party Movement, now known as the Freedom or Liberty Caucus, a group of about 40 Republicans, who made his life miserable, and finally, he resigned, and has handed over authority to Paul Ryan, who was Vice Presidential running mate of Mitt Romney in the Presidential Election of 2012, and had been Chair of the House Budget Committee and House Ways and Means Committee, before becoming Speaker this week.


Watch the video: Horacio the handsnake - Nicholas Longworth III (October 2021).