"Oh that canal! Everybody here or 'at comes through here is talking about canals. We had some folks about here 'at went to Cincinnati to get the canal to come here - right up Wayne's Trace 'n straight north to Shane's Crossing of the Saint Marys River. (Present day Rockford.) They could go down that river to Fort Wayne; get the Maumee from there to the Lake-we figured it 'ud bes shorter and cheaper."
"What happened?" asked Houston.
"Well the canal commission said no and for three reasons, they said. one was that Ohio was buildin' this here canal and they couldn't build part of it in Indiana; two, they had to serve the people and towns that were already here and most of them were along the Great Miami River, and then they said we were too flat here-no place to build a lake to supply water for their canal. Ya know, there's some talk here, that if this canal thing works out good, we can build our own canal right down Greenville Creek to the Stillwater and get to Dayton easy. I dunno though, we'll just wait and see."
The business of the day being completed, the three were soon on their way. Their destination, Saint Marys, Mercer County, State of Ohio, United States of America !
Each man had a separate feeling of awe and achievement. Each had a personal pride in every word of their new enterprise. In deep contrast to their trip to Grernville the day before, they were unusually quiet on their return. They had talked yesterday of many things. They had had a keen interest in every landmark. There had been much speculation of the future. There had also been much conversation relating to the past and of each man's own experiences. But now, homeward bound, they were quietly meditative.
Charles Murray's thoughts were on plans to develop more trading and commerce. First we must start with the new settlements that were springing up down river from here. Then as the canal is built, we will have the trade all along that route on which to grow. Indeed the future looked better now than at any time in the past twenty-eight years. He reflected shortly on that day when he *'set up store" in the shack that had been James Girty's. "How times have changed ! " he said to himself, "and times are changing faster now."
William Houston was thinking of the thirty some families now settling in the neighborhood. He had talked with many of these and found that practically all of them were urging relatives and old friends back wherever they came from to join them in this wonderful rich country. There would be lots of people here in years to come. Saint Marys would be their home.
John McCorkle, the storekeeper from Piqua, was now the visionary. While the other two partners were so interested in the prospects of this new town of Saint Marys, McCorkle was looking afar.
At last they broke through into the clearing they had departed from yesterday morning. Wood smoke from many supper fires was curling into the sapphire sky. Horses had been watered and turned into the small pastures to feed. The three riders, without a command but acting as one, spurred their mounts into a gallop. As they sped past each cabin they shouted, "We did it ! we did it! We are now Saint Marys, Mercer County, State of Ohio! "
A DEDICATION FOR THE
To the early settlers and the founders of our town,
To the leading townsmen throughout the city's past,
- Robert N. Sampson