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.

  • Life with Joseph at Fort Harmar
    by David Baker on January 18, 2024 at 8:41 pm

    Joseph Buell, Marietta pioneer, future General of the Militia, businessman, and legislator, had a rough start at Fort Harmar: He was court-martialed. He sold liquor “without permission” when he traded a pint of liquor to buy some catfish. Fortuntately, he was acquitted. Joseph Buell was born in Killingsley CT in 1763. He arrived as a sergeant […]

  • Lafayette’s Perilous Journey to Marietta
    by David Baker on November 21, 2023 at 1:27 pm

    The steamboat MECHANIC chugged along at full throttle up the Ohio River below Louisville on the evening of May 8, 1825. The weather was pleasant; it had been a beautiful day. On board was Revolutionary War hero, French nobleman (General) Marquis de Lafayette, who was on a tour of America. The governors of Tennessee and Illinois, distinguished […]

  • Manasseh Cutler, Mac and Cheese Bad Boy
    by David Baker on November 18, 2023 at 1:45 pm

    Manasseh Cutler was served macaroni and cheese at a state dinner hosted by President Thomas Jefferson in 1802. He did not like it and said so publicly. Cutler was a scientist, pastor, and architect of the new territory that enabled the settlement of Marietta and statehood for Ohio. He is considered a co-founder of Ohio University, chartered in […]

  • Oldest Oil Well in America?
    by David Baker on September 15, 2023 at 12:10 am

    Oldest oil well in the America? Texas, Oil City PA, Saudi Arabia (I know, it’s not in America)? But we think of places like these for oil firsts. Oil has been around for thousands of years, but only in the last 160 years have we been seeking it out through drilling. One of those oldest wells is within 25 miles of Marietta. The first Thorla […]

  • Rufus Putnam Ingenuity Ousts British from Boston
    by David Baker on July 30, 2023 at 6:30 pm

    Rufus Putnam is considered the founder of Marietta, Ohio. He had a distinguished Revolutionary War record. His specialty was fortifications. In early March, 1776, George Washington was planning a campaign to force the British army out of Boston. Rather than a risky frontal assault, he and his staff decided upon secretly fortifying Dorchester […]

  • John Miller and George Morgan White Eyes: Two men without a country
    by David Baker on July 20, 2023 at 2:54 pm

    John Miller was bound and left in camp by a Delaware Indian war party. The Delaware, with George Morgan White Eyes (“George”), were headed for Waterford to attack settlers at Fort Frye in March of 1791. John knew he had to escape and warn his friends at Waterford. He had lived with them in the summer of 1790, using his hunting skills to […]

  • Abner’s Rant
    by David Baker on April 17, 2023 at 2:14 pm

    The handwriting was elegant, as though written by a calligrapher. But the inscription dated January 1, 1812 was mottled, making much of it illegible. It came from a family bible1 belonging to early Marietta businessman Abner Lord. I stared at the image. What was the message and who wrote it?As I deciphered the words, strong emotions from over 200 […]

  • 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 Celoron 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 […]

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