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.

  • Rufus Putnam helps the “Dellaware Woman”
    by David Baker on May 31, 2020 at 11:25 pm

    I came across a curious letter written by Rufus Putnam. It probably the shortest he ever wrote:                                                   […]

  • Amos Harvey’s Tavern-Keeper License
    by David Baker on April 30, 2020 at 6:42 pm

    Marietta resident Amos R. Harvey wanted to renew his liquor/tavernkeeper license in 1811. He figured it would be routine. But there was a glitch. A group of prominent citizens filed a petition recommending that his license not be renewed.He had presumably been in the tavern business for a while. Taverns at that time were an important public […]

  • Epidemics: Disease, Courage, Perseverance in Early Washington County
    by David Baker on April 11, 2020 at 1:37 pm

    We rarely experience serious epidemics today. That’s why the Covid-19 virus pandemic is so unusual - and traumatic. The experience will be etched into our memory and our national psyche for decades to come. The terms social distancing, apex, surge, hot spot, flattening the curve, and shelter-in-place will become part of our […]

  • The French Celeron Plates Expedition
    by David Baker on March 30, 2020 at 2:03 pm

    Perhaps you've heard of the so-called "Celeron Plates." Or, maybe not. It's not headline material for most of us. But it has been endlessly fascinating for history scholars.Pierre Joseph Celeron De Blainville*, a French military leader, led an expedition down the Ohio River Valley in 1749. The expedition buried lead plates at major tributaries, […]

  • The Buckeye Belle Disaster
    by David Baker on February 23, 2020 at 4:51 pm

    The steamboat BUCKEYE BELLE was torn apart in a spectacular boiler explosion on November 12, 1852 at Beverly, Ohio. Wreckage and human remains rained down on the surrounding area. It was a gruesome sight. Witnesses struggled to find words to describe the devastation. Twenty four died, a dozen were injured.The BUCKEYE BELLE was a graceful […]

  • The 1978 Coal Strike: Perseverance and The Wall Street Journal
    by David Baker on January 17, 2020 at 4:58 pm

    It would be a winter to remember. December 1977 started out harmless enough, though very cold. News about a nationwide coal strike by the United Mine Workers which began on December 6, 1977 was lost in the background of holiday busyness.As 1978 began, the coal strike became national news. Without coal being mined and delivered to […]

  • The Royal Visitors
    by David Baker on December 3, 2019 at 8:28 pm

    In July, 1839, King Louis Philippe I of France received an American visitor, a Mr. Hughes, the American charge d’affaires in Stockholm. After introductions, conversation turned to the King’s visit to America in the late 1790’s.King: “Have you ever been at Marietta?”Mr. Hughes responded yes, that he had lived […]

  • Marietta and the Queen
    by David Baker on November 7, 2019 at 8:37 pm

    What do the names Castrapolis, Protepolis, Urania, Tempe, Genesis, and Adelphia have in common? They were discussed as possible names for the new settlement at Marietta. Adelphia was the strongest contender; it was advocated by pioneer leader/lobbyist Manasseh Cutler. In a December 3, 1787 letter to Rufus Putnam, he stated, ”I feel a […]

  • Smallpox, pioneer scourge
    by David Baker on October 21, 2019 at 12:53 pm

    Smallpox. Among the many hardships that the early Washington County pioneers endured was illness, often severe and sometimes fatal. There was bilious fever, scarlet fever, malaria, yellow fever, cholera, and .....smallpox. I read about smallpox often in stories of early settlers. It was only when I saw this photo that the devastation of the […]

  • Rufus Putnam: the early years
    by David Baker on September 3, 2019 at 1:02 pm

    Rufus Putnam, one of Marietta’s founders, a millwright, surveyor, veteran of two wars, pioneer leader, civil servant - faced many hardships in his early life. But those hardships in life and military service formed the foundation for decades of leadership and accomplishment. Note: Words in bold are your author’s emphasis of […]

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