Happy Statehood Day Ohio!
But why is today Statehood Day? Why is it not on February 19? On that day in 1803 Thomas Jefferson signed a resolution approving the constitution and the state’s borders. The General Assembly did not meet until March 1st however and that is why that date is set as Statehood Day. Well, yes, and no. That was the first day the assembly met, and that is why it is is Statehood Day. However it was not set in 1803. It was set in 1953. It took 150 to officially set a date .
Before 1812 and the admittance of Louisiana no formal process was established for states entering the union. The first 13 were granted statehood as soon as the country was established. The next few, Ohio included, entered quite fast after the US constitution was approved. Because the formal process was not needed, and it had been 9 years since Ohio had become a state, nobody thought about it. In 1953 when the state was gearing up for it’s Sesquicentennial the error was noticed. George H Bender introduced a bill before the U.S. Congress to admit Ohio as a state. To make sure that everything was legal, and for the pomp, the Ohio General Assembly meet in its first headquarters in Chillicothe and forged a new petition for statehood. This petition , for even more pomp, was delivered to the U.S. Capitol on horseback as it would have been done in 1803. To finally set everything right, and not have Ohio be thought of as the 50th state, the formal date of Ohio’s statehood was set to March 1st, 1803. On August 7th Eisenhower signed the papers and the whole matter was finally finished.
That is why in 1953 Ohio was given statehood in 1803 and today we celebrate that great and powerful statehood.