Statehouse News

COLUMBUS, OHIO – The Capitol Square Review and Advisory Board (CSRAB) and the Capitol Square Foundation today announce the 2015 Great Ohioans. The 2015 honorees were presented by the Capitol Square Foundation and unanimously approved by the twelve-member CSRAB. The two honorees were selected from nominations submitted by individuals and organizations throughout Ohio.


The 2015 Great Ohioans are: Agnes Meyer Driscoll, groundbreaking cryptographer and leader in the field of intelligence and national security, and Rufus Putnam, American Revolutionary War General, surveyor and co-founder of the Ohio Company.


For detailed information about each honoree, see the biographies below.


High resolution images of each of the winners are available at:


“This year we honor two individuals who were pioneers. Rufus Putnam was a veteran of the Revolutionary War and one of the founders of the Ohio Company. Agnes Meyer Driscoll was a trailblazer in the field of cryptology during World War II and helped unite the national cryptologic agencies into the National Security Agency in 1952. Both honorees were public servants who worked for the greater good and have earned the title of Great Ohioan,” said William Carleton CSRAB executive director.


The Great Ohioan Award commemorates Ohioans who have played a significant role in an event or series of events of lasting significance in World, American or Ohio history. To be selected for the Great Ohioan Award, the nominee must have resided in Ohio for a minimum of five years.  In addition, at least 25 years must have passed since the event in which the nominee participated is being commemorated.



Agnes Meyer Driscoll

Agnes Meyer Driscoll's work as a navy cryptanalyst who broke a multitude of Japanese naval systems, as well as a developer of early machine systems, marks her as one of the true "originals" in American cryptology. She was born in 1889, and, in 1911, she received an A.B. degree from Ohio State University and also attended Otterbein University, majoring in mathematics, physics, foreign languages, and music. From her earliest days as a college student, Agnes Meyer pursued technical and scientific studies atypical for a woman of the times.

In June 1918, about one year after America entered World War I, Agnes Meyer enlisted in the United States Navy. Except for a two-year hiatus, when she worked for a private firm, Agnes Meyer Driscoll (she married in 1924) would remain a leading cryptanalyst for the U.S. Navy until 1949.

She was involved in the emerging machine technology of the time, which was being applied both to making and breaking ciphers. In her first days in the Code and Signal section, she co-developed one of the U.S. Navy's cipher machines, the "CM."

In her thirty-year career, Mrs. Driscoll broke Japanese Navy manual codes—the Red Book Code in the 1920s, the Blue Book Code in 1930, and, in 1940, she made critical inroads into JN-25, the Japanese fleet's operational code, which the U.S. Navy exploited after the attack on Pearl Harbor for the rest of the Pacific War. In early 1935, Mrs. Driscoll led the attack on the Japanese M-1 cipher machine (also known to the U.S. as the ORANGE machine), used to encrypt the messages of Japanese naval attaches around the world. At the same time, Agnes sponsored the introduction of early machine support for cryptanalysis against Japanese naval code systems.


Rufus Putnam

Rufus Putnam was born April 9, 1738, in Sutton, Massachusetts. His father died when Putnam was seven and his mother apprenticed him to a millwright. In 1757, he fought for the British in the French and Indian War. When the war was over, Putnam returned home where he became a farmer and a miller.


At the start of the American Revolution, Putnam enlisted in the Continental Army. Early in the conflict, he helped prepare earthworks and other defensive features for the Americans surrounding English soldiers in Boston, Massachusetts. He also assisted George Washington in preparing New York's defenses. He spent the remainder of the war in upstate New York and fought in the Battle of Saratoga. He began the war as a lieutenant colonel and by its conclusion had risen to the rank of brigadier-general.


Following the American Revolution, Putnam engaged in real estate investment. He served as a surveyor for the Confederation Congress and used the knowledge he received while surveying to make land purchases. In 1786, a group of men from Massachusetts, including Putnam and Benjamin Tupper, founded the Ohio Company of Associates. Winthrop Sargent became the secretary of the venture. The company planned to purchase land in the Northwest Territory west of the Seven Ranges. Both Putnam and Tupper had participated in survey expeditions led by Thomas Hutchins and believed that the region had great potential.


Putnam established the first Ohio Company settlement on the banks of the Ohio River. Known originally as Adelphia, the community soon became known as Marietta. To protect the settlement from Native American attacks, the settlers built a fortification known as the Campus Martius. Many of the early settlers of Ohio Company lands came from New England. They tried to establish similar institutions and communities to those they had left in the East. In 1808, the company established Ohio University on the land set aside for that purpose. In its early years the university only offered the equivalent of a high school education and enrollment remained low for a number of years. The population continued to grow in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries.


Putnam emerged as an important political leader in the Northwest Territory. President Washington appointed Putnam to a judgeship in 1790. He also served as a brigadier-general in the United States Army during this same time period. In 1796, Putnam became the surveyor-general of the United States. President Thomas Jefferson removed him from the position. Putnam continued to play an important role in territorial government and participated in the constitutional convention of 1802. Putnam favored the Federalist Party and did succeed in preventing slavery from becoming legal in Ohio. Putnam died on May 4, 1824, in Marietta.




Since 2003, 30 other Great Ohioans have been recognized with the award for the special roles they played in history. The Great Ohioans include: 


2003 Class: Orville and Wilbur Wright, inventors of powered flight; John Glenn, first American to orbit the earth; and Neil Armstrong, first man to walk on the moon;


2008 Class: Jesse Owens, Olympic track and field star; Thomas Edison, inventor; Harriet Beecher Stowe, author; James Thurber, journalist and author; Colonel Charles Young, military leader; Dr. George Crile, founder of the Cleveland Clinic; 


2009 Class: Catherine Nelson Black, health care humanitarian; Salmon P. Chase, Ohio Governor, Secretary of the Treasury and Supreme Court Chief Justice; Paul Laurence Dunbar, poet and author; Charles F. Kettering, inventor; Eddie Rickenbacker, World War I fighter ace; Denton T. “Cy” Young, baseball legend; 


2010 Class: James M. Cox, journalist, member of the United States House of Representatives, Ohio Governor; Florence Ellinwood Allen, first woman Ohio Supreme Court Justice; Bob Feller, baseball legend; and Bill Willis, National Football League hall of famer;


2011 Class: Ulysses S. Grant, Civil War General and U.S. President; William Moore McCulloch, Speaker of the Ohio House of Representatives, U.S. Congressman and civil rights advocate; William Howard Taft, U.S. President and U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice; and Harriet Taylor Upton, women’s rights advocate and author;


2012 Class: Gordon Battelle, philanthropist and researcher; Dominic Salavtore “Don” Gentile, World War II fighter pilot; Washington Gladden, clergyman and social reformer; Albert Belmont Graham, founder of the 4-H program; Albert Sabin, medical researcher best known for the oral polio vaccine; and William T. Sherman, Civil War general;


2013 Class: Paul Brown, legendary football player and coach; James Garfield, U.S. President and Governor of Ohio; and Granville T. Woods, inventor.


2014 Class: Annie Oakley, superstar sharpshooter and educator; Jerri Mock, first woman to fly around the world.


“Through their accomplishments, each Great Ohioan has changed the trajectory of the State of Ohio, the United State and the world. We hope that every Statehouse visitor is inspired by the narrative of each one of the men and women who have been recognized with this honor,” said Capitol Square Foundation Chairman Charles Moses. 


Great Ohioan honorees and their achievements are archived in a permanent Great Ohioan exhibit, which is part of the Ohio Statehouse Museum. While countless Ohioans have performed great actions for their community and beyond, only a select few have been named a “Great Ohioan.” This exhibit allows visitors to have a greater understanding of the recipients of the Great Ohioan award and discover how they affected local, national and world history. The exhibit uses videos, photos, facts and web based technology to explore the life and legacy of each Great Ohioan. 


Opened in 2009, the Ohio Statehouse Museum features high-tech, interactive exhibits that make learning about all three branches of state government immersive. The museum is packed with historical artifacts and images that detail how government works and who has come to serve their fellow citizens. 


The Museum includes 5,000 square feet of exhibit space on the ground floor of the Ohio Statehouse that enriches the experience of school children and visitors. The Museum offers exhibits that encourage visitors to participate in the government process by making choices, expressing their opinions, comparing viewpoints and even becoming a part of an exhibit by giving a State of the State address. The museum’s “deep dive” approach to education enables visitors to better relate to the governing process.


To view this press release and others, visit


About the Capitol Square Review and Advisory Board

The Capitol Square Review and Advisory Board is responsible for maintaining the historic character of the Statehouse and Capitol Square while providing for the health, safety and convenience of those who work in or visit the complex.  The Ohio Statehouse Museum Education Center coordinates tours of Capitol Square and provides information about the buildings, their history and Ohio's government. 

The Ohio Statehouse shines a light on the history of this great edifice, its symbolic meaning and its vital historic and ongoing connections to the daily lives of all Ohioans.


About the Capitol Square Foundation

The Capitol Square Foundation was established in 1987 to increase public awareness of and to involve citizens in the history of the Ohio Statehouse. Its purpose is to raise funds to obtain, restore and maintain artifacts and other items related to the history and enhancement of the grand monument and its adjoining grounds, so that the seat of Ohio's government may reflect the dignity of the state and its citizens.


                                                                                        # # #


Featured Posts


The Capitol Square Review and Advisory Board Announces October Board Meeting

Members of the Capitol Square Review and Advisory Board (CSRAB) will meet Thursday, October 20, 2016 at the Ohio Statehouse in downtown Columbus, OH. The business meeting will be held in the State ...[+] Read More

Cavs Championship Trophy to Visit the Ohio Statehouse

The Capitol Square Review and Advisory Board will host the Larry O’Brien championship trophy Tuesday, October 18, 2016. The Trophy will be on public display from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. in the Rotu...[+] Read More

Nominations sought for 2017 Great Ohioan Award

The Capitol Square Review and Advisory Board and Capitol Square Foundation are seeking nominations for the 2017 class of “Great Ohioans.” The award celebrates Ohioans who have played a ...[+] Read More

Flags at the Ohio Statehouse will fly at half-staff from sunrise until sunset Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Flags at the Ohio Statehouse will fly at half-staff from sunrise until sunset Wedensday, October 5, 2016 in honor of the life and service of former State Representative Charles Brading.

&nb...[+] Read More


Stay Connected

For all the latest news and information about the Ohio Statehouse, follow us on Facebook and Twitter.