Chillicothe Taverns were landmarks in the community and The Green Tree, which was established in 1799 was one of the first. The original Green Tree Tavern was located along the canal near the corner of Water and Paint Street in Chillicothe, Ohio.
“Kept by the subscriber, who respectfully informs his friends and travelers, that he has opened a house of entertainment at the sign of the Green Tree, near the center of said town, where travelers and others may be supplied with everything necessary for their accommodation, and supplies for their journeys through the wilderness.” Thomas Gragg
The Green Tree had its place in early Chillicothe History:
Congress in 1800 divided the Northwest Territory, which was comprised of all the land west of the Allegheny Mountains. north of the Ohio River and east of the Mississippi, into two parts. The region west of Ohio’s present boundary became the Indiana Territory and the area that is now Ohio and part of Michigan retained the name Northwest Territory.
The territorial legislature meeting in Chillicothe in December 1801 passed the Division Act which divided the Northwest Territory into two entities with the Scioto River as the dividing line. Cincinnati was made the capital of the western division and Marietta the capital of the region to the east. The legislation was supported by Governor Arthur St. Clair and Federalist lawmakers who were opposed to statehood for any part of the territory. The division made it impossible to meet the requisite population of 60,000 for statehood. The Federalists were also intent on reducing the influence of the Jeffersonian Republicans under the leadership of Thomas Worthington, Edward Tiffin, Nathaniel Massie and Michael Baldwin, whom they labeled the “Chillicothe Junta”.
Chillicothe reacted violently to the passage of the act. On the night of December 23, Michael Baldwin, the town’s leading rabble-rouser as well as a prominent political leader, lead a mob through the streets in condemnation of the act and of the governor. They burned St. Clair in effigy in front of the Green Tree Tavern where he was boarding. Thomas Worthington, who lived a block away on Second Street, heard the confusion and went over to see what was taking place. When the rioters attempted to enter the tavern, Worthington, armed with a brace of pistols, stopped them. He threatened to use them if they made any overt movements against the governor. The rioters dispersed. The rioting resumed the following evening – Christmas Eve – and the unruly crowd gained entrance to the tavern. Worthington and St. Clair both confronted the crowd and together they restored order.
Distressed over local law enforcement’s inability to maintain law and order and the refusal of the courts to try the offenders, the legislators passed the Division Act and removed the seat of government to Cincinnati. They left Chillicothe believing they would never return. For many, that did not prove to the the case.
During the following months, Congress repealed the Division act and passed the Enabling Act which allowed the citizens of the Ohio country to prepare for statehood. Instead of a legislative session meeting at Cincinnati in November 1802, a constitutional convention was convened at Chillicothe to write a plan of government for the new state.