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.

  • 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 […]

  • The Dean of Hollywood
    by David Baker on May 7, 2021 at 11:08 am

    You may not know that a prominent movie star, producer, director and industry leader was born in Marietta. I didn’t until I learned about Hobart VanZandt Bosworth. Few people have heard of him, except maybe historians and long time Hollywood residents. That’s because Hobart was active in stage and silent movies in the early 1900’s. He was […]

  • Black History Month: 3 African American Pioneers
    by David Baker on February 20, 2021 at 1:54 pm

    These are profiles of three African American men from our early history. Each distinguished himself with a life of courage and perseverance. Each had the opportunity to live as a free man in the Northwest Territory or Ohio where foresighted leaders had adopted laws to prohibit slavery.Christopher Malbone aka “Kitt Putnam”Kitt Putnam panicked […]

  • Wood County Pioneer: Alexander Henderson, Jr.
    by David Baker on February 5, 2021 at 2:45 pm

     A duel was fought in Belpre, Ohio on October 8, 1805. That caught my attention. I had never heard of this or any other duel in the Ohio Country. It seemed out of character with practices of that time, though the famous duel between Alexander Hamilton and Aaron Burr had taken place just a year earlier. The duel combatants were Alexander […]

  • What do Rufus Putnam and Ohio State Football Have in Common?
    by David Baker on January 12, 2021 at 8:09 pm

    Never thought I’d see Rufus Putnam, venerable pioneer and founder of Marietta, mentioned in college football playoff hype. The occasion was the build-up to the College Football Playoff  (“CFP”) semi-final game between Ohio State and Clemson on New Years Day, 2021. Ryan McGee, ESPN Sports Network Senior Writer, wrote an article for ESPN […]

  • Rebecca
    by David Baker on December 19, 2020 at 12:44 pm

    Rebecca Williams was a true pioneer. Her full name, Rebecca Tomlinson Martin Williams, tells much about her. She was born in 1754 in Cumberland, MD to Joseph and Rebecca Swearingen Tomlinson. She had six brothers and two sisters. Her brother Joseph II and his son Joseph III were early Wood County WV pioneers. Rebecca married John Martin, an […]

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