Sunday, May 24, 2009

Early Marietta

Sunday Morning Observer, April 8, 1917

Back in the 1810s, 20s and 30s the list of business men in Marietta was an interesting one and their names are linked with the up-building of the city in such a way as to make them prominent in the history of not only Marietta, but the entire Northwest Territory. There are many of the older residents of today who will remember many of the men mentioned in the following list and will remember them with pride. They are the men who laid the foundation on which Marietta stands today.

Searching old records and prints we are able to find that south of the foot of Front street, over the Ohio river bank, sustained by wooden pillars, was a frame building divided into two store rooms, one occupied by Joseph Holden, the other by Nathaniel Holden. Perhaps it was in the year 1823 that these gentlemen erected what was then considered a large building, where previously had stood the tavern-house of Shepard McIntosh. For many years the Holdens, in separate rooms of that building, sold merchandise. At a later date Mr. Joseph Holden built a storehouse upon the corner of Front and Greene streets, the building latterly remodeled was occupied by the First National Bank. At different periods dry goods, groceries and hardware were sold in that building by Mr. Joseph Holden, Sr., and for many years business was continued there by the father and his three sons, William, Joseph and James. The building formerly mentioned as having been built by Joseph and Nathaniel Holden, was the brick building owned and occupied later years by Mr. Best.

As far back as memory goes, Casper Smith and wife sold goods in a building on Ohio street between Second and Third, where at a later period the business was continued by John Broughy, who married the widow of Casper Smith. It was in the employ of the latter that G. C. Best had his business training, afterward becoming one of the most accurate, honest and honorable of all Marietta dealers.

In two of the frame buildings on Ohio street, between Second and Front, John Mills, father of John and W. W. Mills, and who became the leading business man of Marietta, sold merchandise. Upon the same street, near the corner of Second, a store was kept for many years by Mr. Weston Thomas, who aided much in giving to Marietta business men the reputation for justice and fair dealing. At a later period he was associated with David C. Skinner. They built and occupied as a store-room the large, brick building near the corner of Second and Ohio streets. At a subsequent date, year not remembered, John Mills bought the Lincoln House at the corner of Front and Ohio streets, where now stands the Bellevue Hotel, transformed it into a business house and there sold merchandise, associated successively with Luther Edgerton, Noah L. Wilson, Rufus P. Iams and others, during a portion of that period, probably doing the largest business on this side of the Muskingum.

Dudley Woodbridge first commenced mercantile business as early as 1789, in a store-house long since torn down, standing at the corner of Ohio and Muskingum streets. As early as 1818 he fitted up and occupied as a store-room the building at flat-iron corner, at different periods doing business under the names, Dudley Woodbridge & Co., D. T. Morgan & Co., Morgan & Woodbridge, Woodbridge & Racer. In the year 1835, the building then occupied was torn down and the building which now stands upon the ground was erected.

William F. Curtis for many years was in the mercantile business, occupying a store-room on Front street and his reputation grew far and near and the river trace knew him well and favorably. Robert Crawford also sold goods in a store-room on the Muskingum bank just below the mouth of Tiber Creek. R. J. Meigs and Henry P. Wilcox were for several years engaged in the sale of merchandise in a building at the corner of Front and Putnam.

The tavern-keepers of that day were: Samson Cole, Amos R. Harvey, Isaac Miner, John Broughy, Moses McFarland, Alexander Hill and John Lewis.

The carpenters and house-joiners were: John Gibson, William Knox, Stephen Daniels, Richard Robinson, and Thomas Clogston.

Brick masons were: Oren Newton, father of Mr. Stephen Newton, and grandfather of Charles Newton, Samuel Geren, and Thomas J. Westgate.

Blacksmiths were: Nathaniel Bishop, grandfather of W. G. Way; Count Debonny, J. L. Reckard, father of J. L. Reckard, Jr.; Alvin Reckard, and Joseph Glines, grandfather of Charles Glines.

Shoemakers were: Titus Buck, Daniel Nichol and William Heidrich.

Tanners were: Justus Morse, James Ferguson, T. and G. Vinton, Skinner, Ralston & Co.

Tailors were: John Lewis, John Cunningham and Thomas B. Harsberger.

Lawyers were: David Putnam, John P. Maberlie, William A. Whittlesey, Arius Nye, Melvin Clarke, Davis Greene and C. F. Buell; physicians, John Cotton, Samuel P. Hildreth, George D. Hildreth, Shubel Fuller and Felix Regnier.

These are some of the business and professional men of that early day.

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