From Ohio History Central
During the late 1810s, Governor Thomas Worthington and Governor 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. Canals would also hopefully open up new markets for Ohio goods.
In 1820, Brown convinced the Ohio legislature to establish the Ohio Canal Commission. Its purpose was to hire an engineer to survey a route for a canal that would connect Lake Erie with the Ohio River. The formation of the board was conditioned on the United States government either donating or selling land to the Ohio government for the canal. The United States government refused, and the Ohio Canal Commission did not complete a survey.