From Ohio History Central
The Ohio Canal Commission oversaw the construction of canals in the State of Ohio during the early and mid nineteenth century.
During the late 1810s, Ohio governors Thomas Worthington and Ethan Allen Brown both supported internal improvements, especially canals. Both men believed that Ohioans needed quick and easy access to the Ohio River and to Lake Erie if they were to profit financially. Farmers and business owners would be able to transport their products much more easily and cheaply with canals rather than turnpikes. They also hoped that canals would open new markets for Ohio goods.
Despite the rise of railroads in the 1840s and 1850s, the Ohio Canal Commission remained in operation to oversee Ohio's canals until the early 1900s. As canals became abandoned, the Ohio government eventually disbanded the Canal Commission. Today, the Ohio Department of Natural Resources' Division of Water oversees Ohio's former canals.