Early Marietta: A blog by Dave Baker – local historian and Campus Martius & Ohio River Museum volunteer – that offers facts, photos, opinions, and commentary about life in the Marietta area over the years.

  • A Few Things I Learned About Johnny Appleseed
    by David Baker on January 23, 2023 at 11:49 pm

    The question caught me off guard. A lady passenger on the river cruise boat AMERICAN QUEEN asked me about Johnny Appleseed, the frontier-era itinerant apple tree planter. Had I researched him and his activity in Washington County, Ohio? No, I told her, believing that he spent no time here. She said emphatically that he and his family had close […]

  • The French Historical Plaque and Celoron Lead Plate
    by David Baker on September 3, 2022 at 11:39 am

     French Historical Plaque and Celeron Lead PlateBackground: The government of France donated a plaque now located at the intersection of Virginia and Gilman Streets in Marietta, Ohio, in appreciation of the Marietta College Ambulance Unit which served in France during World War I. The Ambulance Corps was organized at Marietta College early in […]

  • Becky Thatcher and the Dreamers
    by David Baker on August 18, 2022 at 12:39 am

    Becky Thatcher and the DreamersSounds like a Sixties rock and roll group. But we’re talking about the steamboat BECKY THATCHER and the dreamers who kept her active for over 80 years. Thirty of those years were in Marietta. She had two phases of her long (for a steamboat) life: the Public Servant and the Entertainer.Dreamer: one who has ideas or […]

  • The Bell
    by David Baker on July 7, 2022 at 1:52 pm

    The bell - if only it could talk. It hangs quietly at Campus Martius Museum in Marietta, Ohio, next to the Rufus Putnam House. I’ve passed it dozens of times giving tours of the house. A few visitors ask about it; most pass by unaware of its presence.Photo by authorStories have circulated about the bell and how it got here. Marie Antoinette, […]

  • Ohio Statehood: Spirited Debate and….Mob Violence
    by David Baker on June 6, 2022 at 11:17 am

    The path to Ohio statehood was marred by bitter politics and…..mob violence. Such were the passions inflamed by stark differences of political opinion. Civic leaders from Marietta and Washington County were in the thick of it.Discussion of statehood began in the late 1790’s. What is now Ohio was then part of the larger Northwest Territory […]

  • Future Ohio Governor Survives Indian Attack
    by David Baker on March 5, 2022 at 2:41 pm

    In June, 1792, future Governor of Ohio Return Jonathan Meigs, Jr. encountered a large snake as he was walking near Marietta. He shot it but didn’t reload his rifle - a careless oversight that nearly cost him his life. Meigs was twenty-something at the time, a Yale College graduate and lawyer who had followed his father to the new settlement at […]

  • Pickleball: The Marietta Connection
    by David Baker on December 25, 2021 at 11:42 pm

    Pickleball is now a popular paddle ball net game. It has a Marietta, Ohio connection I was unaware of. It’s history is also a fascinating case study in how differing recollections can make finding the truth a challenge, and sometimes amusing.I recall my first encounter with pickleball. It was early one morning in the 2000’s while hiking in the […]

  • Rudolph’s Creation Story
    by David Baker on December 21, 2021 at 1:47 pm

    My wife likes on-line trivia questions. Recently she asked me this question: Rudolph the Red-nosed reindeer was created for which department store? The choices were Macy’s, Bloomingdale’s, Neiman Marcus, or Montgomery Ward. My first reaction was shock that Rudolph was a marketing creation and, well, not real. He is so ingrained in Christmas […]

  • Two Gems
    by David Baker on November 15, 2021 at 7:35 pm

    Valley Gem..... the name has a nice ring to it, especially since Marietta, Ohio is nestled in two valleys. Today’s VALLEY GEM sternwheeler cruise boat has been operated at Marietta for nearly fifty years by the Sands family. That boat’s namesake was a Muskingum River steamboat, also named VALLEY GEM.    Captain J. J. Sands explained that […]

  • George Washington and the Ohio River Valley
    by David Baker on July 14, 2021 at 1:41 pm

    The George Washington we know was an accomplished person in so many ways - surveyor, military and civic leader in Virginia, Commander-in-Chief in the Revolutionary War, and first President of the United States. He was also an astute businessman who owned large amounts of land, including tracts in the Ohio River valley, some within 20 miles of […]

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