Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Ohio's First Fourth of July

Marietta Times, May 9, 1878

The first celebration of the Fourth of July in Ohio was held in Marietta in 1788. A correspondent of the Chillicothe Advertiser gives the following account of it:

"At daylight thirteen salutes were fired at Fort Harmar and Campus Martius, amidst the sound of martial music. At 10 o'clock A.M. Governor St. Clair and the officers and soldiers of Fort Harmar, with the wives of the officers and several visiting ladies from the East, who had thus early ventured into the wilderness on a brief visit. A fine barge, rowed by twelve oars, brought the company from the Fort up the Muskingum to the opposite bank, from which the appearance of the new pioneer Fort made a grand and imposing appearance. The pioneers on horses met the Governor and company on the landing and escorted them to the new Fort. General Varnum and Colonel Nye served as Marshals. The oration was delivered by Colonel E. Sproat in the long block hall and the declaration was read by Major Ansel Tupper. The dinner was given by the Northwest Pioneer Association. General Rufus Putnam was President and General Benjamin Tupper, Vice president, and Reverend Daniel Story, Chaplain. After dinner, thirteen regular toasts were drank, together with many volunteers, amid the thunders of cannon and the roll of the drums. At 4 o'clock P.M. the procession was formed and marched to the barge. On leaving for Fort Harmar the pioneers gave three loud huzzahs, which was responded to by the Governor and party."
 
 

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Escape of Prisoners

The Marietta Republican, December 6, 1861

About 7 o'clock on the evening of the 12th inst., seven prisoners made their escape from our County jail. They cut off one of the stones of the jail floor with a strip of iron, which they took from the passage way to the upper tier of cells. After getting under the floor they were in a cellar but about four feet deep, and from which they dug through the foundation wall and up through the ground outside of the wall. One of the prisoners was a stonemason and knew the condition of the foundation of the jail. To say the least, the foundation of the jail was poorly constructed and poorly built.

They had been gone about an hour when their escape was known. Active measures were taken to secure their return, and thus far three have been taken and safely lodged in irons in the jail. Henry Elder, indicted for murder, was taken in Lawrence Township, for whose capture and return a reward of $50 was paid. Richard Taylor, indicted for burglary, was taken at his own house in Lawrence Township. And Lafayette Lagrange, also indicted for burglary, was taken in Williamsport, Virginia. For the capture and return of each of the two last prisoners, a reward of $25 was paid.

A reward of $25 each is offered for William Swank and Harvey Fletcher. We learn there is good reason to believe that the missing will soon be caged.

The County Commissioners have ordered the jail to be repaired in a substantial manner, and put the charge of the work in the hands of the Sheriff.


Marietta Intelligencer, December 18, 1861:

Jail Delivery

The prisoners confined in our county jail made their escape on Monday last, the 12th inst.  They had been allowed during the day to remain together in a room on the first floor. Underneath this it has been supposed that there was an excavation of fourteen feet in depth, partly filled with water, while the foundation wall was believed to extend still lower, and to be of solid masonry, four feet thick. Both suppositions are found to be incorrect.

The prisoners, one of whom was a stone-cutter, and is thought to have been employed on the building when it was erected, cut their way through the stone floor and discovered, if they did not already know, that the ground was only four feet below them, and that the foundation was composed of rough stones, rather loosely united and probably not more than two feet thick. They very easily penetrated the wall and then burrowed their way to the surface. They took their leave early in the evening, some time before the hour for locking them in their cells, and had about one hour's start before their absence was discovered.

Our Sheriff, Mr. Winsor, had indeed suspected that something was wrong, but had made an examination which satisfied him that his charge could not have escaped by any ordinary outlet. The route which they actually took being, as above indicated, supposed impracticable. The door to the hall was fastened and Mr. Winsor was waiting for additional help, without which it would have been imprudent to force it, when the news arrived that the birds had flown.

One of their number, a soldier from Camp Tupper, confined for a slight offence, and who says he acted with them on compulsion, immediately reported himself to his officer and made known the particulars of the escape. The opening in the floor was behind the stove and their operations were concealed while in progress by ashes, etc. After the stone had been allowed to fall out, two days and a night before they made their escape, one of the party for a portion of the time at least, who was suffering severely from sores on his hand, had made a bed directly over the opening where he lay while the room was visited.

Two of the prisoners, Elder, a murderer, and another named Taylor, have been taken and some of the others doubtless soon will be. The facilities with which the prisoners made their escape seems to be due to the construction of the jail, and measures will be promptly taken to render it more secure. The names of those still at large are William Swan, indicted for grand larceny; Lafayette La Grange, indicted for burglary; and Henry Fletcher.

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Former Local Man Tells of Swimming Days

Marietta Daily Times, August 2, 1940

John L. Harrison of Washington, D.C., alumnus of Marietta College, class of 1887, former resident of Harmar who holds his contacts with Marietta friends, has written interesting reminiscences of the old days of his boyhood. He was one of the prominent baseball players in his college days, and is remembered by many friends. Until his retirement in recent years, to make his home in Washington, he was engaged in educational work in Topeka, Kansas, and later at Kimball, West Virginia.

The first article in the series of his reminiscences sent to The Times is as follows:

There appeared recently an item in The Times stating that the bathing beaches were opened and life guards provided by the city. To the "old timers" living elsewhere but still interested in the old home town, this must awaken a nostalgic recollection of boyhood days spent so happily along the blue Muskingum and placid Ohio. One always remembers his friends in their kindlier moods, free from anger and fury; and so, with the two rivers, one's mind sees them calm and peaceful as they appeared on those warm summer days so long ago.

In our boyhood days some 50 years ago, we Harmar boys sought out our own bathing places and were our own life guards. We had a monopoly on good swimming places in the Muskingum River and we jealously guarded against any encroachments on our own territory by the "Marietta Rats." The enmity existing between the boys of Harmar and those of Marietta forbade any exchange of courtesies and so swimming by either in the other's territory was taboo.

Our swimming places were five in number. The first was from the railroad draw bridge abutment (the draw span was formerly on the Harmar side). Here the channel was kept dredged and the water was deep. The locks were on the Harmar side and this was another favorite swimming place. From the top of the lock wall down to the water when the lower gates were open was perhaps 12 or 15 feet and high diving was the game there. The apron of the dam was utilized also but only by the expert swimmers.

Strange as it may seem, every Harmar boy knew how to swim. Where he learned, I do not know, for we passed up all the shallow beaches and used only the jumping off places. The most popular place of all was "The Logs," a long, wide raft in front of the old bucket factory, now I believe a unit of the Brickwede Brothers plant.

Here, on a summer evening, 20 or 30 urchins, together with older boys, used to meet, waiting for darkness. As we always bathed a la Sally Rand or Lady Godiva, the Harmar marshal issued this stern edict: "You kids stay out'a there 'til you see three stars or I will throw you in the can." As he was sort of a Jake Dye person, we knew he meant it, so we sat about and waited until some kid would yell "there's one," and then someone else would call "over yonder's another," and then, upon discovery of a third star, a mad scramble ensued to be the first in and to avoid being the last.

The Logs was an ideal bathing place, for each log had been stripped of its bark and sawed lengthwise, so that the surface of the raft was smooth with very narrow chinks in between. Of course every one who bathed there could swim from the youngster's dog fashion efforts to the man-fashion finished performer. The water was eight or more feet deep, and it was a proud kid who could "bring bottom" and fling the gravel among the bathers. We had a spring-board also, and it was a favorite stunt after a long dive to show the various astronomoical bodies such as the stars and moon.

Marietta Daily Times, August 5, 1940:

Tells Friends Marietta Is Beautiful City

John L. Harrison, who left Marietta soon after his graduation from Marietta College in 1887, has held sentiment for his old home town throughout the years, and at intervals expresses his love and loyalty through the public prints. He has been an annual visitor to Marietta in recent years and is always greeted cordially by those who remember the Harrison family of Harmar.

His brother, Walter C. Harrison, Marietta College, class of 1891, who for many years was in an official position with the Westinghouse Electric Company in Pittsburgh, retired last year and made his first visit back to Marietta in many years. The brothers have a home in Washington, D.C., where they are living  in retirement.

In the last section of reminiscenses written to The Times, Mr. Harrison writes:

Beautiful Small City

In speaking of Marietta among my friends and acquaintances, I always refer to it as the most beautiful small city in the country. I honestly think it is. There is a something about the town - a broad peace and quietude born of the stately trees, the reposeful homes, the friendly hills, the shining rivers, that stamp it as unique and individual. One can hardly live in the presence of such attractions, without chameleon-like, absorbing the qualities of his surrounding; hence the citizens are cultured, broad-minded, highly intellectual, lovers of beauty and freed largely of narrow prejudices.

Those of us who were born and raised there can never forget loyalty and affection for the old home town. Its tendrils have woven themselves about our very being.

In my occasional visits back to Marietta, I note with pride the progressive tendency of the city, but how I miss the old personnel. Fifty-three years is a long, long time, and changes are but natural. So, I walk the streets peering hopefully at the passing faces seeking vainly for a familiar one, and when one is encountered, it is bewildering to see the white head and other signs of old age.

Memorial Comes Back

The misty memories of the past come flooding back, bearing a picture of the one before me, full of youthful energy and strength. It is startling for a moment, and then I reflect with amusement, that I must present the same counterfeit presentment to him or her, Ah, well, "thus runs the world away."

There is one unchanged thing in Marietta which I noted with pleasure and which carried me back to those good old days of long ago, and that is as youthful and lusty today as it was back there in the 1880s. That is the voice of the old river - the Muskingum dam. I stood for a full half hour last summer on the railroad bridge and listened to the deep diapason of its musical roar and realized I had at last found an old friend which remained eternally young and sparkling as a spring wild flower, although bearing the weight of millions of years of turbulent existence. Of all things in this old world, water alone is exempt from physical penalties. Time corrodes metals and disintegrates rocks, but water remains unaffected - eternally young.

 

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Cornerville An Early Settlement

The Marietta Register, February 1, 1890

In the fall of 1807, George and William Corner, brothers just at the threshold of manhood, went out from Marietta into the unbroken wilderness and built their settlers' cabins on the banks of the Little Muskingum.

The elder, George, was just on the eve of marriage, and when December's snows fell, his cabin sheltered him and his bride. William Corner married in 1811, and about that time also, the brothers were joined by Mr. James Flagg, whose wife was a sister of the Corner's.

George Corner had purchased his land upon the west side of the stream, while William and Mr. Flagg were upon the east side.

Here lived, labored and grew this little community, occupying a considerable extent of territory, which in accordance with the usage of the times, and with the literal truth was known throughout the neighboring country as the "Corner Settlement."

In the course of time, settlements multiplied round about them, and neighbors were less scarce, though separated in some instances by miles. Friendliness and neighborly kindness were large, and claims upon hospitability were a generously made as acceded to, so that to a certain large class of people the family medicine chest and household knowledge of medicine possessed by George Corner were the free and common source of relief for the ordinary ills of a new community, where there was no physician nearer than Dr. Hildreth. George Corner served as Justice of the Peace for many years; was also a surveyor and as such was in frequent and wide demand.

In the winter of 1829-30 George Corner, with Richard and Stephen Alcock of a neighboring settlement, built a saw and grist mill at the bend of the creek in the midst of the "Corner Settlement." This was patronized very largely, and I might say altogether by the countryside, people coming to it for miles in all directions, down the creek, over the hills, and men from the "valley," farmers in that locality coming down the Ohio and up the Muskingum by boat, while the growing logging business further up the stream found here a place where the bulky raw material could be turned into lumber for transportation to points down the river.

"Corner's Mills" came to be quite a center of business activity.

The school of the place from its early beginning has had its home upon ground that has contributed to the support of the state by taxes levied upon George Corner or his representative unto this day. The church also, which was organized in 1843, later built its house of worship upon a plot of ground which was freely given for the purpose from the Corner homestead farm.

In 1844 George Corner died. Previous to his death the place had been called occasionally "Cornerville." After his death, Mr. Edward Johnson, for many years his miller, out of admiration and respect for his late employer, is said to have permanently fixed the name of "Cornerville," which remains to this day.

 

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Reporter Shown Through Bosworth, Wells & Co.

The Marietta Tri-Weekly Register, March 11, 1890

A leisure half hour favoring, we yesterday dropped into the office of the pioneer wholesale house of Bosworth, Wells & Co., and were shown through all the different departments of their business by the junior member of the firm, and buyer, Mr. W. S. Gracey.

For thirty years their offices have been in the rear of the main building, but last fall, during the absence of the senior partner, handsome offices and salesrooms were fitted up at the front, where, on entering, the customer is greeted with a tastily arranged line of samples of the stock and the welcome aroma of hot coffee which always boils for its friends.

Connected with the salesroom, and having an equal frontage on the street, is their office, where the genial Dr. presides at the books, and Mr. M. P. Wells, the senior partner - and the only survivor of the original firm - attends to the finances. Above his desk were large framed photographs of the different members of the firm running back to 1840.

What a span of business life, with all its cares, responsibilities and anxieties! Fifty years! And yet it is the measure of Mr. Wells' connection with the firm, and he is hale and vigorous yet. But Mr. Gracey is waiting and we pass the office portal and enter . . .

The Main Storeroom, where soaps, canned goods, tobaccos, teas, crackers, and an endless variety of case goods were piled high and deep. Stopping a moment to listen to Al Shiers, the bill clerk, calling off a bill of goods that was all lingo to our untutored ears, we pass on through an alleyway between piles to the old office, which looked strange enough, all shelved and stocked with confectionery and chewing gum, enough to keep the dear girls in business till gray-headed. Then, through tiers of cheese and washboards to . . .

The Warerooms, where endless piles of wooden-ware, sugar, Arbuckle and other roasted coffees, brooms, pork, lard, hams, dried beef, bologna - things we know and things we don't know - but piles everywhere - all "in good order and well conditioned" as the bills of lading say. We were surprised at the magnitude of the stock and pleased with the air of order and neatness that pervaded the building. Mr. Gracey very patiently explained everything and added that without system a stock like this would turn the business into chaos.

We were about to go, thinking we had been "shown through," when we were led up to . . .

The Second Floor, where we were bewildered with the display of household tinware in piles and pyramids - everything from a spoon to a half-barrel dish-pan. This department occupies half the area of that floor. Passing between long counters loaded with bright ware of all kinds, we entered the dry goods and notion department, where tables, side-counters and shelving were packed with a wearying variety of useful and fanciful articles, from a needle and fish-hook to a comic clock and a bolt of pant goods.

We started to turn back when our guide led us through an arch into a large room, saying, "this is our drug and spice department," and the odor of snuff, pepper and toilet soaps verified the name. On long counters were arranged over one thousand cases of paregorics and peppermints for the babies, machine and sweet oils, essences of cinnamon and wintergreen for circus days, Godfrey's cordial and laudanum for days after, rows of boxes of pepper, mustard and spices, barrels of drugs in bulk, cans of harness oils, tiers of toilet soaps - all making an assortment for all conditions of man and beast.

Mr. Stanwood was flying around filling orders from the stock in the last three departments, of which he is in charge.

Asking if this was all, we were led into another room, neatly carpeted, where we were shown a handsome display of scales, from the delicately poised and finely plated counter scales, with sensitive agate bearings, to the large floor scale - all of the Howe Scale Co.'s make - for which the firm are agents.

Finding our way back to the office, we asked, "How trade was?" and were told that it never was better at this time of year; that people had to eat, whether it was muddy or dry - and, turning to his work, Mr. Wells added, that business was done very different from former years. Then the firm cut its pork, sifted beans and traded for all kinds of country produce. Now goods are bought in car lots, lard, meats, sugar, syrups, wooden-ware, &c., and on virtually cash-in-hand terms. By buying in such quantities only - both on account of lower prices and lower freight rates - can a business firm compete with large city competitors who are constantly sending their representatives over the trade.

The firm send their salesmen over five railroads and two rivers, and their reputation and long experience give them decided advantages with the trade both in buying and selling. They are justly proud of having, in no single instance, in all their fifty years of business, allowed an obligation to pass maturity, and no house east or west stands higher in reputation for business integrity.

The active management of the business is in the hands of Col. D. P. Bosworth, who recently returned from the East, and Mr. W. S. Gracey, who has been connected with the business for eight years.