Acquire, Preserve & Protect the Twenty Mile House a Historic State Landmark
When the great State of Ohio was established in 1803, it immediately began construction of a highway from Cincinnati to connect with other towns in the central and northern parts of the state. Since travel was by horseback and extremely slow, taverns for food and lodging along with a livery for horses were built every four miles from downtown Cincinnati. These respites were called Stands. The point where the highway crossed Columbia Road in Deerfield Township was twenty miles from the city of Cincinnati, so Twenty Mile Stand was located there in 1804. Not only was it a popular respite for travelers, it soon became an important stagecoach stop.
Just east of Twenty Mile Stand the highway cut through the middle of the farm of Jeremiah Morrow who settled in the area in 1799. Morrow was immediately elected to the Ohio Territorial Legislature and when Ohio became a state he was bestowed the honor of being Ohio’s first congressman. Morrow was Ohio’s only congressman for ten years before being elevated to the senate. After riding across the mountains on horseback for sixteen years to represent the State of Ohio, Morrow felt it was time to return to his family and the mills he had built on the Little Miami River after the War of 1812. He immediately was appointed Commissioner of Canals with the goal of linking Lake Erie to the Ohio River. He earned great praise for the successful completion of the Ohio and Erie Canal by using prisoner labor.
In 1822 Jeremiah Morrow was elected Governor of Ohio. Since there was no governor’s mansion, Morrow did most of his business from his home on the Little Miami River just over the hill from Twenty Mile Stand. The volume of mail for Morrow had already become so great as Commissioner of Canals it demanded a nearby post office; so a small one was established at Twenty Mile Stand in 1819. When Morrow became governor in 1822 the volume became so great it demanded a larger post office so a grand new stone building was built to replace the original tavern at Twenty Mile Stand with a larger post office and larger tavern that offered food, drink, and lodging to the governor’s many visitors.
Morrow's record of sixteen years in his service to the country and Congress was elevated to high standards partly because of his journeys to and from Washington, DC. Many times his attendance was asked for in special sessions held in the summer, and he responded diligently. His trips over the mountains were made on horseback along with a complement of necessities. He forded many bridgeless streams, and sometimes swam his horse through the treacherous surges.
His most outstanding work in Congress was related to public lands, in which he served for a long period of time as chairman. Jeremiah Morrow was credited by Judge Joshua Collett (also from Warren County) as a proven land laws expert. He spoke highly of him by writing: "He may, with propriety, be called the father of the land system of the United States. Being chairman of the committee on public lands he originated the land system and drew all the laws on the subject. No man ever possessed the confidence of the national legislature in regard to his public duties in a higher degree."
Henry Clay spoke of Jeremiah Morrow in a speech in the Senate in 1832, with regards to his great service as head of the land committee. He said: "No man in the sphere within which he acted, ever commanded or deserved the implicit confidence of congress more than Jeremiah Morrow.”
After serving as governor for two terms, Morrow directed his efforts to getting the Little Miami Railroad built. It was Cincinnati’s first railroad and there was little support from the city of Cincinnati as many of its wealthy businessmen saw little benefit to them as they resided on the west side of the city. Morrow persevered, knowing the importance of getting the livestock and grain of the farmers and flour and lumber from the many mills along the river to distant markets. He worked tirelessly as its president for ten years without pay to get the railroad up and running and the post office and tavern at Twenty Mile House were essential to Morrow’s success. The building has also been home to a valuable library known as “The Warren Library” and for 11 years the abolitionist newspaper, The Regenerator, was mailed from there.
The Twenty Mile House reflects the history of this area from the time when the former “Ohio Country” was still an infant state of the Union. Not only is it a reminder of a forgotten way of life and the hardships of travel in the 1800’s, but a tribute to the many accomplishments of Jeremiah Morrow because, if had not been for him, there would have been no need for a post office at Twenty Mile Stand and a demand for a grander tavern for food and lodging. This building was the center of the community and library where Morrow left many of his books for neighbors to check out. This historic treasure has been a tavern and stable landmark for 190 years. IT IS A PRECIOUS ASSET THAT CAN NEVER BE REPLACED.