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Marietta-Washington County

Marietta-Washington county is a place of bold beginnings and new adventures for travelers of all ages. Established in 1788 Marietta is known as the first settlement in the Northwest Territory. This picturesque river town with European ambiance is conveniently located just off Exit 1 on I-77. Named by the Smithsonian Magazine as the #6 best small town to visit in 2014, Marietta is positioned at the confluence of the Muskingum and Ohio Rivers. Its brick streets are lined with lush hardwood trees and opulent Victorian homes. Our city is always alive with activity, modern yet delightfully old.

Monday, December 21, 2015

Early Marietta: FDR Visits Marietta

Today our post comes from Early Marietta's blog be sure to check his page out at this link:  http://earlymarietta.blogspot.com/

At 10:30 pm in Washington D.C. on July 7, 1938, the President of the United States boarded the "Presidential Special" train bound for Marietta, Ohio. Franklin Delano Roosevelt would speak in Marietta on July 8 to dedicate the "Memorial to the Start Westward of the Nation" marking the 150th anniversary of the establishment of theNorthwest Territory and settlement of Marietta, Ohio. Wow. It was a big deal for a small town.

The Sesquicentennial Celebration, as it was called, had been years in the planning. FDR's visit would be the pinnacle of a series of events from July 8-16, 1938. Those included a reenactment of the voyage of the original settlers from Ipswich, MA to Marietta in 1788, an outdoor drama presentation "Stars in the Flag," an air show at the Marietta Municipal Airport (located then where Walmart is now), monuments in Muskingum Park and on Front Street, parades, speeches, and more. 

Roosevelt's visit was brought to mind by a comment from my uncle, Dan F. Baker, who was there for the FDR speech. The President's train arrived on time at 8:45 am, having traveled to Parkersburg WV, through Harmar, across the Muskingum River on the railroad bridge, and then into Union Station along Second Street. The ten car train included about 20 of the President's aides, his personal physician, and friends. There were 27 reporters and 9 photographers. There were also 6 staffers from NBC and CBS plus 3 telegraph operators. Most of the press party represented print media. The network staffers were radio broadcasters; there was no TV or internet yet.

Just before 9:00 am, FDR emerged on to the rear platform of the coach. A cheer went up from the large crowd gathered there. Roosevelt, who suffered from polio and had braces on legs, was assisted into the Presidential car, a Lincoln V-12 touring car brought to Marietta earlier. The entourage wound its way up Second Street to Washington Street, then to Front Street and finally to Muskingum Park for the speech.

Uncle Dan's narrative gives us the setting:

I was 15, a junior high student at Marietta High School. Students were excused from class that day. FDR's son in military uniform helped his father up a ramp to the lectern. I was very close to the ramp (and)... could see that FDR had metal braces on his legs.  I heard them "clank" as he passed near me. I think my friend Jack Lowe was with me.  (When) FDR dedicated the Gutzon Borglum (he also sculpted the figures on Mount Rushmore) monument, "Memorial to the Start Westward of the Nation",....we all moved down the park near the river to see it more closely.  The speech platform was nearer Front street, as I remember.

                                   President Roosevelt speaks in Muskingum Park, Marietta OH
                                                                                          Photo from allposters.com

It was a pretty memorable day for him and thousands of others.

The President spoke for about 20 minutes. "Two old friends of mine, Bob (Senator Robert) Bulkley and Bob (Congressman Robert) Secrest invited me to come to Marietta in 1938. It seemed a long way off. I told them I'd come if I possibly could. So here I am." FDR's speech honored the pioneer spirit of the original settlers. He also noted the significance of the Northwest Territory expansion of the nation's borders and its forward-looking governance provisions.

               Sesquicentennial reenactors invite President Roosevelt to Marietta; caption below from Library of                                        Congress. Digital file from original negative http://hdl.loc.gov/loc.pnp/hec.47393 


The President used the metaphor of "cooperative self help" to describe the early efforts of self government in the frontier settlement at Marietta. "Under such conditions there was so much to get done, that men could not get done alone, that the frontiersmen naturally reached out - to government - as their greatest instrument of cooperative self help...to get things done.....They looked on government not...as a power over our people but a power of the people."

His speech compared the frontier faced by Marietta's pioneers in 1788 to a "frontier of social problems" that challenged early 20th century America. He also framed the activist New Deal government role of the 1930s as a benevolent version of pioneer cooperative self help. He then recited some of the New Deal programs that he had championed to combat effects the Great Depression of the 1930s. 

The connection of frontier Marietta to the New Deal was a tenuous one, in your author's opinion. However, it was a artful mix of frontier spirit and political spin. It worked because of the occasion and his praise of Marietta's courageous settlers. 

Other observations about the visit:
  • Notable quotes from FDR's presidency included this from his Marietta speech:"Let us not be afraid to help each other - let us never forget that the government is ourselves, not an alien power over us. The ultimate rulers of our democracy are not a president and senators and congressmen and government officials but the voters of this country."
  • Nearly 80 people suffered "heat prostration" because of the extreme hot weather. One man collapsed in front of the speaker's platform. FDR expressed concern about those affected.
  • He complimented the Mayor P. W. Griffith on the crowd control and remarked he had "never had seen it surpassed." The crowd was estimated at 75-100,000 people.
  • FDR complimented the Marietta Garden Club floral decorations on the speaker's platform. "Well, that's beautiful," he noted upon seeing it, "I've never seen anything like that before." 
  • Author James MacGregor Burns tells of "a little old woman" in Marietta who "symbolized much of the popular feeling (about Roosevelt) when she knelt down and reverently patted the dust where he left a footprint." This illustrated often ambivalent feelings towards FDR; many reviled him; others almost worshiped him.
  • The President left Marietta on the train bound for Covington, KY. for a speech at 3:30 that day. His trip continued on to the west coast. It included speech-making stops in several states to promote his programs and endorse liberal democrats.
  • After visiting San Francisco, naval installations, and Yosemite National Park, he boarded the cruiser USS Houston for nearly a month of recreation, traveling down the Mexican coast fishing and sightseeing. I found that curious. It seems unlikely that a President today could enjoy a leisurely vacation on a naval vessel. Highlights of the trip for Roosevelt were landing a 240 poind shark and (FDR's scientist friend) Dr. Waldo Schmitt's discovery of a new palm on Cocos Island, which he named Rooseveltia frankliniana. 
FDR's visit remains a highlight in Marietta's history and a vivid memory to all who were there.

"Start Westward" Monument under construction, circa 1938
Photo from http://www.mariettaoh.net/government/monuments/monuments_2
Courtesy of  Marietta College Legacy Library Special Collections

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Coming soon to a theatre near you...

The Colony Theatre has been an iconic attraction in downtown Marietta since the building was constructed in May of 1911. Since that time it has changed ownership, names and even location, but it always represented quality entertainment in the city of Marietta. During it's past the theatre offered vaudeville acts, Broadway plays, magical acts and silent films accompanied by orchestra.

When it was announced that the theater would be undergoing renovations and that the newly named People's Bank Theatre would be opening in January of 2016, we here at the CVB were so excited for what this meant for the area.

A historic landmark is not only being preserved but restored, and with it will hopefully usher in a new revitalization of our downtown arts district. While it will provide growth for other businesses in downtown Marietta, it will also provide quality entertainment for both residents and travelers.

 The theatre has already booked Cirque-tacular and popular country artist Travis Tritt for the opening weekend, and plans for many other feature performances and artists to come.

We are very excited for visitors to Marietta-Washington County to be able to enjoy a night out on the town filled with dinner, shopping and quality entertainment that will leave them craving more.

For updates regarding other performances at the People's Bank Theater please visit www.peoplesbanktheater.com or give us a call at the CVB at 740-373-5178.

Friday, September 18, 2015

Early Marietta: Liquor on the Frontier

Grab yourself a glass of wine from Marietta Wine Cellars or  Unicorn Wine Guild and a growler from the Marietta Brewing Company and sit back and enjoy this excerpt from Early Marietta's blog on Alcohol during Marietta's Frontier days.   Below is a full link to the original blog. 


Survival was a basic goal of early settlers in Marietta and the Ohio country. The area was a wilderness. Priorities were food, shelter, protection from the elements, eking out a living wage, and....alcohol. Yes, booze in colonial times was considered a basic necessity.

Alcohol was an integral part of life in early America, a fact omitted from our conventional history lessons. You probably did not know that George Washington enjoyed his spirits; his war time expense account for liquor from September 1775 to June 1776 exceeded $6,000, and he was a major distiller of whiskey at Mount Vernon. Or that John Adams started the day with a hard cider eye opener. And that Thomas Jefferson was a wine connoisseur who with guests consumed 1,203 bottles of wine at his Monticello estate in just over two years. 

Attitudes towards alcohol were liberal then by today's standards. There were no prohibitions on the purchase, consumption, or production of alcoholic beverages. Alcohol was part of the diet and tradition from England. Spirits were believed to have health benefits, be safer than often unsanitary water, and be a welcome morale booster in often difficult life situations. 

In the 1790s it was estimated that the average American over fifteen years old each year drank 34 gallons of beer and cider, 5 gallons of distilled spirits, and 1 gallon of wine. All that is reported to be the equivalent of 7 ounces of distilled liquor a day. Even children drank “small beer” with a low alcohol content. But people were not partying and tipsy all the time. Author Corin Hirsch points out that "life expectancy was lower then and life was pretty hard so you can’t judge anyone.”

Scholars of "spiritual" history point out fascinating aspects of drinking and attitudes about it, sometimes in amusing terms:
  • "...most of the founding fathers were buzzed, if not flat-out hammered, when they formulated the ideals....for their new country."  Ethan De Siefe, 2014.
  • "Beer is living proof that God loves us and wants to see us happy." Ben Franklin.
  •  “Americans drank beer, and cider with breakfast; rum and wine with dinner; claret, ratafias, creams, punches and other concoctions in the evening.” Robinson, 2001, as quoted in Tom Jewett's 2007 article.
  •  “Alcohol lubricated such social events as christenings, weddings, funerals, trails, and election-day gatherings, where aspiring candidates tempted voters with free drinks. Craftsmen drank at work, as did hired hands in the fields, shoppers in stores, sailors at sea and soldiers in camp. Then, as now, college students enjoyed malted beverages, which explains why Harvard had its own brewery. In 1639, when the school did not supply sufficient beer, President Nathaniel Eaton lost his job.” Henry Howe, Historical Collections of Ohio Vol II, 1908.
Alcohol was also a staple of life in early Marietta and the Northwest Territory:
  • Liquor rations for the soldiers at Fort Harmar included a gill (4 ounces) of rum daily. Surveyors in the initial group hired by the Ohio Company had a similar ration. Imagine having a job that provides 4 ounces of booze each day.  Nice benefit, eh?
  • Drunkenness was the leading offense of the day - both at Fort Harmar and in the general public. Punishment at Fort Harmar was 100 or more lashes. In Marietta, there was a fine of "5 dimes for the first offense and $1.00 for each offense thereafter."
  • Peach brandy was reportedly made from peaches grown at Fort Harmar and elsewhere. Campus Martius Historian Bill Reynolds observed with a grin that “peaches were not just grown for eating, you know.”
  • Portable liquor cabinets from that period are on display at Campus Martius Museum, one belonging to Rufus Putnam, another to Israel Putnam, Rufus' half brother. It held several bottles in a small wooden box that could be easily transported. These were fairly common during that time.
  • Joseph Buell, a soldier at Fort Harmar, kept a journal which records incidents of liquor consumption.
    • July 4, 1786, "The great day of independence was commemorated by the discharge of 13 guns, after which the soldiers were served with extra rations of liquor and allowed to get as drunk as they pleased." 
    • May 1, 1786: May Day is celebrated with a maypole, dancing, "curious antics, drinking, carousing, and firing guns." 
    • December 3, 1786: provisions were delivered including 20 kegs of flour and 10 kegs of whiskey.
    • September 9, 1787. A group of Indians visited the fort and entertained the locals - and themselves. On this day they..."danced in the hot sun, drinking whisky at the same time, until they were as drunk as they could be and stand on their feet."
  • Colonel John May also kept a journal of his time in Marietta. 
    • Tuesday, May 6, 1788: Near Simmrill's Ferry, Pennsylvania, on his way to Marietta, he procured 4 barrels of finest flour and a barrel (30 gallons) of "whisky." The contents were placed on a ferry, which nearly sank under the weight.
    • May 27, 1788. He reported dining with General Josiah Harmar. The elegant dinner included beef, boiled fish, bear-steaks, roast venison, etc.,.and "wine and grog." Even on the frontier, high ranking military officers ate and drank well.
    • June 8, 1788. Another fabulous dinner with Generals Harmar, Putnam, and Varnum plus others. Libations included spirits, excellent wine, brandy, and beer.
  • The first July 4th celebration at Marietta was quite an event, including a sumptuous feast, an oration by Judge Varnum, and a 14 gun salute. There was celebratory drinking, too, with "a bowl of punch, also wine, grog, etc." May reported that the celebration continued until past midnight after which they "went home and to bed, and slept sound until morning." During the event there were toasts - many toasts. No one, it seems, was left out. They drank to:
  1. United States
  2. Congress
  3. His Most King of Majesty The King of France
  4. The United Netherlands
  5. The Friendly Powers Throughout the World
  6. The New Federal Constitution
  7. George Washington and the Society of Cincinnati
  8. His Excellency Governor St. Clair and the Western Territory
  9. The Memory of Heroes
  10. Patriots
  11. Captain Pipes and a Successful Treaty
  12. Amiable Partners of our Lives
  13. All Mankind
Our early ancestors drank a wide variety of beverages - some conventional, others quite unusual - in content and name. Here are some of the more conventional ones:
  • Beer and cider - these were easy to make using apples for cider and grains for beer.
  • Rum - a staple of the colonies.  In 1770, there were 140 Rum stills in the northeastern colonies producing 4.8 Million gallons of rum.
  • Grog – generally, any drink mixed with water. Originally it was water mixed with rum and lime or lemon juice. The concoction was introduced into the Royal Navy in 1740 by Vice Admiral Edward Vernon, who was nicknamed “Old Grog” after the Grogham cloth coat he wore.
  • Shrub – a fruit liqueur made with rum or brandy mixed with sugar and juice or rinds of citrus fruits.
  • Wine was always popular but more expensive and mostly imported from Europe.
  • Whiskey became more popular in the late 1700's as molasses used for rum became more expensive.
Then there are the mixed drinks, many quite unknown to us today. The quirky names are as interesting as the recipes:
  • Stone Fence. A bracing blend of rum and cider. Ethan Allen and the legendary Green Mountain Boys are reported to have imbibed this for liquid courage before raiding Fort Ticonderoga. 
  • Flip. A blend of beer, rum, molasses, and eggs or cream mixed in a pitcher and whipped into a froth by plunging a hot fire poker (called a flip dog) into the mixture.
  • Syllabub. A mix of wine, cream, and lemon topped with whipped egg whites. Eggs and cream were supposed to make the drink more nutritious. Really, that was the belief.
  • Rattleskull is named after the English slang for a chatty person, and probably for its effect on the drinker. It is a potent blend of 3-4 oz of a rum/brandy mix poured into a pint of stout porter (an ale) tarted up with lime and topped with nutmeg. One colonial drink expert says this "bad-ass drink is a dangerously smooth and stultifying concoction."
  • Calibogus. A mix of dark rum and spruce beer (beer made with the needles or new shoots of a spruce tree). Since spruce shoots have vitamin C, the drink was popular among sailors to ward off scurvy from lack of vitamin C in their diet at sea.
  • Sangaree was a mix of madeira or port wine with lemon juice, sugar, and nutmeg. It was the precursor to the more modern Sangria.
Alcoholic beverages were part of the culture, though some spoke out against the social and health damage from excessive drinking. Few listened. Benjamin Rush was a Philadelphia physician who studied mental illness. He wrote a fascinating paper titledInquiry into the Effects of Ardent Spirits Upon the Human Body and Mind, published in 1785. He presciently classified alcoholism as a disease and addiction. His work would influence the temperance movement which eventually reduced alcohol consumption. But that would be decades in the future. Meanwhile drinking remained America's favorite pastime.

Friday, September 11, 2015

Grip-It & Rip-It

Warm summers and mild winters make for a near year-round golfing experience you will surely love. Hotel packages, championship golf and challenging obstacles make tee time a true pleasure.

With seven 18-hole courses and three nine-hole courses in the immediate vicinity, there is no lack of exciting and scenic places to perfect your swing.  Meandering along rivers and streams or tucked away in the hills, the golf courses of Washington County  provide variety and challenge. Should you choose to venture farther, course connoisseurs will find more than 40 golf courses within 50 miles of Marietta.

Featured Courses:

The Marietta Country Club features an 18-hole golf course with immaculate fairways remarkable water shots, elevated greens, sculpted sand traps, a dual cut rough, and large landing areas. This beautiful course hosted the 1956 Ohio Open won by Jack Nicklaus . For more information, call 740-373-7722 or visit www.mariettacc.org.

Stay and play at the Lakeside Golf & Motel located 17 miles north of Marietta on State Route 60. The challenging 18-hole course, designed by Jack Hart with 21 sand traps  and 14 water hazards, is known for its inspiration design and flawless  beauty. Its quiet, rural location also provides guests the opportunity to hunt or fish on private land. For reservations, call 740-984-4265 or visit www.lakesidegolfcourse.net.

Explore disc golf at the Broughton Nature & Wildlife Education Area one mile north of Marietta on State Route 821. The Big Buckeye is a 27-basket course that is easy for anyone to try, but challenging enough to engage the experts. The new sporting craze  resembles golf. However, if players fly discs or Frisbees at a target basket instead of using a club to drive a ball into a hole. Making the game ever more interesting, some of these baskets are located near the water or in the woods. Special equipment and tee times not required.

Thursday, September 3, 2015

Saddle Up

There are many great ways to experience the abundant forests in  around Washington County. Hiking, biking and all-terrain vehicles are just a few. For a truly unique experience, trail riding on horseback cannot be topped.  The are offers ways for both novices and equestrians to bond with animals and nature at the same time.

The Wayne National Forest, which covers wide portions of the entire southeastern Ohio Region, offers nearly 80 miles of horse trails, available available from April to December every year. The trails also offer locations for camping so riders can take as much time as they like. The trail head for the Kinderhook Trail is located closest to Marietta and offers 12 miles of riding. Other Wayne National Forest horse trails can be found near Athens and Ironton. Permits are required for horses and riders, and can be bought for either one or three days for $12 and $24, respectively.

Those who plan on using the trails repeatedly can purchase a season pass for $45, which are good for all trails all season. Since Wayne National does not offer horses for rent or stables to use, they do provide ample parking for horse trailers.

Those without their own horses also have another option at M & D Horses, located in Graysville. They have a number of horses available for there different trail rides, ranging in cost from $15 to $30.  Through fields and forest, across creeks and bridges and over hills-- riders are encouraged to bring cameras to catch snapshots of the wonderful scenery. If you have never ridden but are interested in trying it, M & D provides beginner lessons  before heading out on the trails. If you are interested in even longer horse treks, contact them for options. Food and drinks are sold at their concession stand. Reservations are not required but strongly recommend.

Friday, August 28, 2015

Casting in a line in Marietta-Washington County

They say the worst day of fishing is better than the best day of work, but why do you have to have  a bad day of fishing? That's why we want you to be prepared for your fishing expedition to Marietta-Washington County. Below is a top 5 list of one mans preferences and experiences for fishing in Marietta-Washington County. By no means are these the only places you will catch fish, but these suggestions have something for everyone.

1. Devola Dam: The swift moving waters of the Devola Lock and Dam in the Muskingum River are home to the likes of channel catfish, walleye, striped bass, smallmouth bass and much more. fishing near the bottom of the river in this swift currents can be done from a boat or along the shore, but one thing is for sure you will catch a TON of fish.

2. Veto Lake: This 160 acre lake is filled with largemouth bass, bluegill, crappie, catfish and even a few walleye. Perfect for bank fishing, kayak fishing or a small bass boat. Just make sure that you aren't using trolling motor as large horsepower motors aren't permitted. The easiest way to find this lake is to turn onto Veto Road off of Route 7 right by where Catfish Paradise is. Follow the road about 8 miles and you will see the lake on your right.

3. The Little Muskingum River: The various portions of this creek hold a wide range of species that include smallmouth bass, spotted bass, sunfish, crappie, alligator gar and even a few muskie make their way up stream on occasion. Portions can be accessed by bank fishing but canoe or kayak is the best way to tackle these waters.

4. Inman Liberty Park: Located on route 550 behind the Warren Township Building, is a large public pond that is stocked with bass, catfish and sunfish. Although to small to provide kayak or boat fishing, all areas of the pond are accessible to bank fish.

5. Buckeye Park: Slightly larger than Inman Liberty Park this pond is located on the outskirts of Marietta on Greene Street. Stocked with catfish, sunfish and bass this large pond is ideal for easy access bank fishing with the family.

Monday, August 17, 2015

Lewis Wetzel Frontier Hero...the Legend and the Dark Side

We wanted to feature an excerpt from the blog Early Marietta which you can find a link to here. Be sure to check out new posts from us and Early Marietta regularly.

The campfire faded as the evening wore on, casting flickering shadows on the trees around the Indians' camp. Two braves guarded the young boys captured from their home two days earlier. Lewis, the oldest at just 13 years of age, comforted his frightened younger brother Jacob while pretending to be asleep himself.  He was barely at teenager, yet Lewis was frontier savvy, alert, and incredibly patient. Though wounded by a gunshot during their capture, he refused to let the Indians see his pain.  He was livid at the Indians' harsh treatment and taunts. They had to escape that night, he reckoned, to avoid death or torture.

For hours he waited, quietly muttering "Courage, courage." At last their guards nodded off into deep slumber, and they slipped out of the camp. Lewis brazenly sneaked back to the camp twice to retrieve moccasins for them to wear and to take back his father's musket and powder horn. They made it back to their family near Wheeling WV after several harrowing days. 

The year was 1777. The oldest boy was Lewis Wetzel, who became a remarkable frontier fighter and scout.  His frontier training began at an early age. Indians were a constant threat to the Lewis settlement on Wheeling Creek. Lewis's father John Wetzel taught frontier skills to all of his seven children - sons and daughters. Lewis became proficient in shooting, use of knife and tomahawk, agility, endurance, and tracking.

The Wetzel legend - Indian killer, larger-than-life frontier fighter
He began a life-long campaign to hunt down and kill Indians. Pioneer families considered him a hero as their defenders against the Indian threat. Others regarded him as a sociopathic killer whose tactics amounted to atrocities against the Indians he hunted. 

Dozens of books and treatises have been written about Lewis Wetzel. He appears as a character (or fictional characters inspired by him) in several books by writers such as Zane Grey, James Fennimore Cooper, and Allan Eckert. Anne Jennings Paris, a descendent of Wetzel, was inspired to write a series of poems about him in Killing George Washington: the American West in Five Voices.

The Zane Grey Frontier Trilogy: Betty Zane, The Last Trail, The Spirit Of The Border[Zane Grey] on Amazon.com. ... They are a virtual narrative history of the Zane family,Lewis Wetzel, and frontier life and indian warfare in the Ohio river valley  ..
Several places are named for Wetzel, including nearby Wetzel County WV. Yet despite the many accounts of his life going back to the mid-1800s, some truths about him remain elusive. Differing story versions, legend, and fictional depictions mingle with the actual facts to create the fascinating Lewis Wetzel historical figure. 

Lewis Wetzel exploits
Stories of his exploits abound. The year after his escape from Indians he helped Forest Frazier rescue his wife Rose who was abducted by Indians. Lewis had skillfully tracked the Indians, found their camp, and waited all night to attack them as they awoke. They returned with Rose and four Indian scalps. The incident was the basis for the novel Forest Rose by Emerson Bennett published in the mid-1800s. 

He was renowned for the ability to reload, prime, and shoot his musket while running at full speed. At age 16, he joined a group of settlers who were chasing Indians who had stolen their horses. The Indians initially fled, allowing the settlers to recover the horses. But the Indians soon reappeared. The settlers promptly abandoned the chase, leaving Lewis on his own. He faked being shot and when the Indians came to get his scalp, he shot one of them. He killed another while being chased and reloading on the run. Lewis returned to Wheeling Creek with two scalps, bragging to all who would listen. 

In 1782, he and Thomas Mills were attacked by Indians while trying to retrieve Mills' horse. Mills was mortally wounded by a volley of Indians' gunfire. Lewis instantly fled at full speed, soon outrunning all but four Indians. One by one, he shot three of them after reloading on the run. One of those Indians had been close enough to grab the end of Lewis's rifle as he tried to fire and pulled him down to the ground. The Indian taunted Lewis: "White man die....hurry up, chiefs, see Wetzel die." This enraged Lewis who managed to thrust the rifle to the Indian's neck and kill him. The fourth gave up the chase, exclaiming "no catch dat man, gun always loaded." 

Illustration of the three Indian chase described above. From http://www.patc.us/history/native/wetzel.html.; content reprinted from History of the Early Settlement and Indian Wars of West Virginia (DeHass), 1851.

Wetzel's personality: eccentric, friendly to some, a dark side.  
He was a loner, living for long periods alone in the woods, often staying in hideouts such as rock outcroppings. One such location is in present day Lancaster, Ohio. Another was near Moss Run in Washington County, Ohio. When not in the woods he played the fiddle in taverns and excelled in shooting competitions. Wetzel was described as being friendly to dogs and children, but often aloof with adults. He never had a home, married, owned land, or held an ordinary job. 

His appearance was distinctive. He is described as about six feet tall, raw boned, with a swarthy appearance, jet black eyes, pock-marked face from small pox, braided hair which reached to his calves when combed out, and pierced ears from which he wore silk tassels. Some said he had the skin color of Indians. 

Imagined portrait of Wetzel from glenbarnesart.com, based on historical descriptions and appearance of descendents.

His dark side was the obsession with hunting and killing Indians, "often for sport", "stalking them like prey", some said. He often tracked small hunting parties for long periods, then attacked - killing them, taking scalps, and fighting his way out if there were survivors. Lewis claimed that he had scalps of 27 Indians that he killed between 1777 and 1788. Other sources put the figure at 100 or more.

Indians called him "Deathwind." He seemed fearless. He and scout Samuel Brady even walked into Indian camps along the Sandusky River disguised as Indians to ascertain their strength. Twice he killed Indian chiefs who were part of peace negotiations. Some historians have described him as "remorseless," "a terrorist," and a "cultural embarrassment."

Marietta area connections
Lewis Wetzel had connections to the Marietta area. He often hunted wild game - and Indians - in the area. According to local lore, he frequented a rock outcropping near Moss Run in Washington County identified as "Wetzel's Cave." 

Lewis was friends with Hamilton Kerr, later a scout and hunter for the Marietta settlement, when he lived in the Wheeling area. They often hunted and trapped together, though Kerr did not share Wetzel’s fanaticism in killing Indians. A Hamilton Kerr decendent was told that Hamilton later avoided the Wetzels because though brave, “they were rash men who subjected themselves and their companions to danger.”

One particular hunting trip brought Kerr, Lewis, and other members of Lewis's family downriver near the Muskingum River in 1784. They camped on the island that would later be Hamilton Kerr's home. They set traps for beaver, posted watches for Indians, and went to sleep. The next morning, the traps were gone. Indians! Sensing danger, they began paddling up the Ohio River to get away. Indians appeared and opened fire near Duck Creek. Lewis's brother George Wetzel and Kerr's dog died. Hamilton Kerr was wounded. One account states that Lewis's father John was also in the party and died. 

Lewis was not wounded (this was typical; his luck or knack for avoiding capture or injury was legendary) and paddled furiously out of danger and stopped near Long Reach. They buried the dead, apparently using only their paddles. Upon returning to Wheeling, Hamilton was nursed back to health by Rebecca Williams, known for her frontier medical skills. Isaac and Rebecca Williams would move to the Virginia shore opposite the Muskingum River, site of the current Williamstown, in 1787.

Lewis Wetzel was in the Marietta area in 1788. Reportedly he served as a hunter to supply wild game for the new settlement and was a part time scout at Fort Harmar. In 1789 (some accounts date the event in 1791) he shot a Seneca Chief named Tegunteh, nicknamed George Washington because of his exemplary character, as he approached Fort Harmar for treaty negotiations being overseen by General Josiah Harmar. 

Fort Harmar near Marietta by Joseph Gilman. Note Treaty house for Indian negotiations at bottom left of image.

Harmar was outraged at this wanton killing and issued a warrant to arrest Wetzel for the murder of Tegunteh. Harmar later wrote to Secretary of War Henry Knox:

This George Washington (Tegunteh) is a trusty confidential Indian…. He is well known to Governor St. Clair, and I believe there is not a better Indian to be found. The villain who wounded him I am informed is one Lewis Whitzell. I am in hopes to be able to apprehend him and deliver him to Judge Parsons to be delt with; but would much rather have it in my power to order such vagabonds hanged up immediately without trial.

The first effort to capture Wetzel at Mingo Bottom was thwarted by armed locals who considered Wetzel a hero as their protector against Indians. The outnumbered soldiers wisely backed off. He was later captured at the home of Hamilton Kerr on Kerr's Island and imprisoned at Fort Harmar.

He brazenly escaped from Fort Harmar by cajoling his guards to give him more freedom to move around inside the Fort. While darting around "for exercise", he leaped over the wall of the Fort before his surprised guards could react. His pursuers assumed he would run as far away as possible. Lewis stymied them by hiding in plain sight - under a log, right along a trail, not far from the Fort. Soldiers and Indians, each hunting for him, moved back and forth over his log, even standing at one point atop the log. After three days, he emerged from the log and crossed the Ohio River, still shackled, to a friend's place in Virginia. A friendly blacksmith removed the shackles, and he was a free spirit once more - for a while.

He was captured a second time after a soldier spotted him in a tavern at present day Maysville, KY. He was taken to Fort Washington near Cincinnati. Once again, armed supporters came to his rescue. More than 200 settlers threatened to free Lewis by force if he was not released. Territorial Judge John Symmes finally released Lewis on a writ of habeas corpus - and never recalled him for trial.

Later years
He left the Ohio Valley area in the 1790s. The Treaty of Greenville in 1795 ended the menace of Indian attacks in the Ohio area. Wetzel's star as an Indian fighting hero faded. Less is known of his later activities. His name is recorded as a resident in Spanish New Orleans. It is reported that he did jail time for counterfeiting, romanced a Spanish official's wife, and joined the Louis and Clark expedition. The latter two activities are not documented. Historian Ray Swick reported a surprising recent discovery about Wetzel in an article authored with Brian D. Hardison. Hardison obtained a document at auction in 2007 which lists Lewis Wetzel as a participant in the ill-fated Aaron Burr expedition. There are no details on his role.

He died in 1808 and was buried near a cousin's home in Mississippi. A researcher found and relocated his remains in 1942. He is now buried next to his older brother Martin Wetzel in McCreary Cemetery near Moundsville, WV, just two miles from the Wetzel family homestead. Though long departed, his reputation lives on.    

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Food & Travel Magazine Editorial Piece

Take a pause from the hustle and bustle of everyday life and head to quaint surroundings where time seems to stand still- if only for the weekend.

A leisurely drive along the Ohio River Scenic Byway highlights easy green meadows and luscious rolling hills dotted with familial quilt barns. Centuries old picturesque farms provide the road map leading to someplace special. When you think it couldn't possibly be any more wondrous, covered bridges bring reminders of what once was.

The sporadic industrial activity along the way gives sense to there being much more than meets the eye among these Appalachian Hills. Even a quick road trip on Interstate 77 shows signs of ambiance, setting the stage for more to come. Before you know it you are at the confluence of the Ohio and Muskingum Rivers and the heart of it all- Marietta, Ohio.

The town was poised to be the starting place of the expansion of the Northwest Territory. In June of 1788, at Mt. Vernon George Washington wrote to inquirer Richard Henderson with regard to western lands. He said, "No colony in America was ever settled under such favorable auspices as that which has just commenced at the Muskingum. Information, property, strength will be its characteristics."

The Pioneers set up town and began to crated what is arguably the most popular historic, charming riverboat town along Ohio's portion of the Ohio River. In addition to being known for their history and heritage, the town is also a popular destination because of its vibrant downtown and outdoor recreation.

Foodies will love the culinary diversity offered by the area's top chefs. Buckley House Restaurant features Mediterranean cuisine in an elegant, fine dining atmosphere. The house itself-built in 1879, is on the historic register. As one diner stated, "its Mediterranean cuisine is expertly crafted and tastefully created by Master Chef Emad Al-Masri."

The welcoming aroma of scintillating southern  Italian food is just a few blocks away in Historic Harmar Village. The 1850's  Odd Fellow's Lodge  is now home to Spagna's which features a beautiful antique bar and quaint patio.

A short walk across the Muskingum River by way of The Historic Harmar Bridge and you reach Front Street. Antique stores and eclectic shopping make up two-square blocks of vibrant downtown. From a winery and microbrewery, to steak and seafood restaurants, as well as pizzerias, you'll find it hard to choose where to dine next.

The only remaining original riverfront structure in Marietta is now the Levee House. The menu consists of traditional American cuisine carefully prepared by Chef David and a charming atmosphere with extraordinary views of the Ohio River. Outdoor riverfront seating is a favored lunch and dinner spot for many.

If you are looking for a fine, genuine culinary experience you will want to give House of Wines a second look, Don't let its humble spot along the Muskingum River fool you. the French-American aromas from the kitchen make this a must-stop culinary experience.

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Local Flavor

Marietta's tavern owners have been pouring drinks and serving hearty meals to hungry travelers since the 18th century. The first liquor license in the Northwest Territory was issued here in 1789, less than a year after the town's founding. We still have it. It's hanging behind the cash register at the Marietta Wine Cellars on Second Street.

We enjoy welcoming people to town with a glass of cheer. Some of our bars are upscale; others are casual. The Marietta Brewing Company and The Galley are in beautifully restored historic buildings in the heart of downtown. If you happen to be on the west side, you can't miss with Spagna's Italian Restaurant or the Harmar Tavern. All are warm and welcoming places and they serve delicious food to go along with your favorite beverages.

What are you in the mood for? Spaghetti and homemade meatballs? Fried chicken and mashed potatoes? How about a beef burrito smothered with cheese? Perfectly grilled scallops? Shish kabob and tabbouleh? No problem. Coming right up!

The Buckley House Restaurant serves Mediterranean cuisine in a lovely Victorian House. The menu is interesting, the food fabulous and the back deck is the most elegant place in town for lunch or dinner.

The Levee House on the banks of the Ohio
River features great food and an unbeatable view. In addition to offering daily lunch and dinner specials, The Levee House is open for Sunday brunch.

daVinci's just across the bridge in friendly Williamstown, WV is a large and very popular restaurant that specializes in Italian and American cuisine. They also offer daily lunch and dinner specials.

If casual and cold beer sounds good, drop in to Over the Moon Pub & Pizza or The Original Pizza Place. Both are in downtown Marietta and offer more than enough choices to please even the pickiest pizza gourmets.

Whatever you're hungry or thirsty for, with our wide variety of eating and drinking options, we've got you deliciously covered.

The Buckley House is one of many wonderful dining experiences located in Marietta-Washington County.

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Wayne National Forest

Loaded with nearly every natural and outdoor recreation sport available, the Wayne National Forest Offers Historic landscapes and structures along its 241,000 acres. The Forest is a patchwork ownership through the Appalachian foothills and features covered bridges, historic Ohio, and Americana. Divided into three units, there are two ranger district offices located in Nelsonville, Ironton, and a field office in Marietta.


Featuring a vast amount of hiking and biking trails, the Marietta Unit hosts West Virginia Mountain Bike Association's The Wayne Ultra. The trails are technical, difficult, beautifully built, and an absolute blast to ride and hike.


The Little Muskingum River runs for miles throughout Washington County and is a spectacular paddle when water levels are right. Paddle from covered bridge to covered bridge for an amazing day in a boat. Marietta Adventure Company offers tours, equipment, shuttles and all the information you will need to have  a great day on the river.


While you are at the Adventure Company, ask about the bouldering opportunities in The Wayne. You can follow the Marietta bouldering scene by visiting the Facebook page "Marietta Bouldering."


The Kinderhook Trails offer about 16 miles of pleasurable riding. The Washington County Ohio Horseman's Council is a good resource for more information on riding in the Wayne and the area in general.


Nestled along the Ohio River, Leith Run is a favorite campground and picnic area (among many). With two viewing decks, one offering a panoramic view of the Ohio River and the other overlooking the backwaters of Leith Run, the beloved camping site boasts several trails ideal for wildlife viewing. For scenic overlooks, be sure to scope out the two climbs to bluffs above the Ohio River-- a place where wildlife, especially birds, seem to congregate.

Thursday, June 4, 2015

"Our Home Away From Home" by Donnie Marie Estep

For the past fifteen years, we have been traveling to Marietta a couple of times a year- embarking on new and unexpected adventures- and enjoying every minute of it!

We stay at the House on Harmar Hill- a beautiful bed and breakfast perched high atop Marietta with a spectacular view of the rivers and downtown below.  Doug and Judy Grize who operate the B&B are like family and we enjoy our visits with them.

For fine dining, we turn to The Galley and Spagna's where we always know we'll have excellent food and service. We absolutely love shopping downtown Marietta, one of our favorites before it closed, was Barking Dog Books and Art.

Initially, we planned an itinerary including museum visits, Valley Gem excursions, carriage rides, July 4th fireworks, ghost walks, and Christmas shopping. These days, we just go with the flow. There is always something interesting happening in Marietta. We check the online calendar for events at Marietta College and the Mid Ohio Valley Players Theatre. But, we reserve plenty of spare time for unexpected discoveries.

In 2005, we happened to be trapped on Harmar Hill when the river flooded. It was a fascination experience, watching the river rise and spill over her banks. We stayed an extra night and had a wonderful and interesting time from our safe and dry vantage point high above it all.

Marietta is our home away from home- partly because of its small town feel, but also because there is something for everyone to do here. We have visited in every season of the year and enjoyed the variety of the atmosphere. Whether we are traveling alone or with another couple, we have found that we stay together and play together the whole time.

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Marietta Trail Systems

As one of the nation's best adventure towns, Marietta is home to six of the most popular hiking trails in Ohio- more than any other place. Whether you prefer a route long or short, easy-going or challenging, the Pioneer City has a path to meet your pace. 

The River Trail: Is a 3 .5 mile, fully accessible, paved, multi-use path on mostly level ground wrapping around Marietta's historic district along the Ohio and Muskingum Rivers, leading from the Lafayette Shopping Center to Indian Acres Park and the Marietta Aquatic Center.

The Marietta Trail Network: is an 18+ mile long system of rugged terrain perfect for hiking or mountain biking. These off-road trails located near Marietta High School are maintained by the River Valley Mountain Bike Association. The Network is open to bicycle and foot traffic only and use during wet or muddy conditions is discouraged. 

There are other ways to get your boots dirty without leaving town. The trails of Kris Mar Woods, North Hills and the North Country Trail are full of adventure.  The Kroger Wetlands Trail, one of the shortest and simplest in town, leads to a nature preserve bursting with activity. 

Washington County

Explore the wilderness of Washington County on one of six marked hiking trails at the 500-acre Broughton Nature and Wildlife Education Area. Or, go further into the woods at the Wayne National Forest. Situated in the hills of southeast Ohio, the forest includes more than 300 miles of trails for hiking, mountain biking or horseback riding.

Friday, May 15, 2015

Churches of Marietta

The characteristic domes of the Basilica of St. Mary of the Assumption rise high above the tree-lined brick streets of ministerial section of old Marietta inviting the faithful to enter and worship.

The first catholic mass was held near this place in 1749- before the country was born- when a French expedition clebrated mass at the confluence of the Muskingum and Ohio Rivers.

Recently, the Vatican elevated St. Mary's Church with the designation of a minor basilica- a merit bestowed on places of historic and cultural significance. This means that Pope Francis has conferred certain privileges on the church.

The Marietta landmark is one of just 80 sites in the United States to have this papal honor.

The Spanish Renaissance style church dedicated in the early 1900s rises from a platform ten feet above the street to a height of more than 100 feet.  The stained glass windows, which are from Munich, Germany, came through the British blockade on continental Europe just before the First World War.

Artworks adorning the immense cathedral include four series of Biblical stories- paintings depicting the life  of Christ, mixed media sculptures of the stations of the cross, and paintings representing the stations of light. The life of the Holy Mother is vividly portrayed in stained glass with the assumption coming to life in sculpture at the focus of the house of worship.

Faith was so important to Marietta's founding fathers that they set aside a portion of town reserved for the support of religion called the ministerial section.  Today this part of historic Marietta still hosts some of the most architecturally significant churches in the state.

 The First Congregational Church at 318 Front Street was built in 1906 to resemble a Boston Church attended by Rufus Putnam . Both of the church buildings featured two "bell cones" or towers, which were visible from the river.

The First Unitarian Universalist Church at 232 Third Street was built in 1856 by John Slocomb. It is one of Marietta's most stunning Gothic structures with bricks handmade from clay taken from the ancient earthworks at Sacra Via. Slocomb was also the architect of St. Lukes Episcopal Church and The Castle.

Ascending toward the heavens, the historic churches of Marietta are high in architectural splendor.

An Ariel view of The Basilica of St. Mary of the Assumption

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Hunting & Fishing

Seek out a wild new adventure...

The wilderness of Southeast Ohio is known for its plentiful game. Hunters from all over the world flock to the state in search of deer, wild turkey, pheasant, and quail that thrive in the hills and valleys of Washington County

Wild Turkey: There are two seasons for hunting wild turkey in Ohio-April and October.

White-tailed Deer: Archery season is late September to February. Gun season is held for one week in late fall.

Ringneck Pheasant: Ohio's pheasant season runs from November to January.

Bobwhite Quail: Hunting season for quail lasts through most of November.

Ducks/Geese: Split season begins in September. Late Season Opportunities are still available after all the lakes and rivers are frozen over up north.

Permission is required to hunt on private property; however thousands of acres are open for public hunting and fishing with a free permit.

Washington County has many peaceful fishing spots tucked away along the waterways. With two rivers, a lake, and many streams, public fi
shing areas abound.

Catfish, white bass, and hybrid stripers can be found in the Muskingum River. Hybrid striped bass and sauger are caught from the shores of the Ohio River. Veto Lake boasts populations of bass, bluegill, sunfish, and catfish.

Broughton's Nature and Wildlife Education Area has two stocked ponds and Leith Run Recreation Area features shoreline fishing along the Ohio River. Great fishing can also be found at Duck Creek, the little Hocking River, and Wolf Creek.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Historic Harmar Village

Just west of downtown Marietta, nestled between the river and the hillside, you'll discover Harmar Village- a charming historic district with shops, museums, restaurants, and a distinctive crossing on the Muskingum River.

Before the Ohio company made their historic trek, the newly formed US government established a fortification here for the purpose of discouraging squatters. As it turned out, Fort Harmar only served to embolden illegal settlers who mistakenly believed the military presence would prevent attacks from Native Americans. Today the site of the fort has been overtaken by the river, yet the district is still called by its name.

Harmar was settled as part of Marietta in 1788, but seceded for a time in the 1900s. The Lewis and Clark Expedition landed here in 1803. During the Civil War, the village was home to abolitionists active in harboring slaves through the Underground Railroad.

More than 200 Harmar buildings are on the National Register of Historic Places. The Children's Toy and Doll Museum and the Henry Fearing House Museum invite visitors to explore the past. The Anchorage crowns Putnam Avenue as one of the area's most significant architectural achievements.

Harmar Village is connected to downtown Marietta via the Harmar Railroad Bridge. Originally a covered bridge, it was built on the existing piers in 1856 with a span that turns by hand to allow for the passage of large riverboats. After it was retired from railroad use, the bridge was transformed into a scenic walkway linking the east and west sides of Marietta.
The Historic Harmar Train Bridge connects Marietta and Harmar Village

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Guided Tours

Guided Tours are available at many of the area's finest attractions to enhance your experience.

Friendly docents stand by to escort you through a journey of Marietta's early history at the Campus Martius Museum or board the WP Snyder, Jr. at the Ohio River Museum. Call the Henry Fearing House Museum, an 1847 Federal style home in Harmar Village, for a taste of middle class life during the Victorian Era.

Epic and full of beauty, The Castle offers an architectural walking tour of Marietta's historic residential district. While the grand Civil War era mansion always offers a guided walk through of the house, seasonal events like Victorian Christmas  tours are full of holiday splendor.

Explore the mysterious and spooky side of Ohio's first settlement with a to
ur of haunted Marietta. Departing from the fountain near the Lafayette Hotel each Friday and Saturday evening, the Ghost Trek walking tour is lead by ghost hunter and author Lynne Sturtevant.

Hop aboard a trolley for a 90- minute ride through Marietta's historic district. A knowledgeable guide will point out the most interesting architectural features and tell the stories behind them.

Visit a pre-Civil War era plantation complete with an incredible collection of original furnishings and artifacts-- a place where the debate over slavery was waged in earnest. Henderson Hall near Williamstown, West Virginia is open year round.

The Trolley Tour is one of the most popular guided tours offered in Marietta-Washington County.

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Wildlife Refuge and Bird Watching

The Mid Ohio Valley is home to an abundance of wildlife and bird watching opportunities-and spectators are always in season!

The Ohio River Islands National Wildlife Refuge facility near Williamstown, West Virginia consists of 3,300 acres-22 islands and three mainland tracks-scattered along 400 miles of beautiful river.

A nature trail offers an amazing view of wildlife and wetlands habitats on Middle Island. You'll find deer, rabbit, fox and groundhogs as well as great blue herons, belted kingfishers, osprey and other species of water loving birds.

Optimal viewing times are early in the morning or at dusk. The refuge is open to the public without admission fees from one hour before sunrise until one hour after sunset.

With many public lands open for wildlife observation, southeastern Ohio is a haven for birdwatchers.

In the middle of Marietta, the Kroger Wetlands is a wooded retreat with a stunning diversity of species. Outside the city limits, the Broughton Nature and wildlife Education Area includes 500 acres of undisturbed land ideal for outdoor enthusiasts.

Newell's Run, near Newport, is a favorite locale for spotting brilliant waterfowl-including majestic bald eagles. Four birding trails along the Lower Muskingum River boast more t han 40 species of song birds and waterfowl. The Wayne National Forest features observation decks designated viewing areas to make the most of your experience.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Mysterious Beginnings

Long before Marietta was settled by pioneers and patriots, a series of earthworks, walls, roads, and mounds were constructed by ancient hands- no one knows exactly when.

Some historians believe the mounds were built by the Hopewell culture during 100 to 500 A.D. for use as a ceremonial center. Others say the earthworks were constructed by the Adenas from 800 to 700 B.C. as part of a mound builder city.

In keeping with the pledge of Marietta's founding fathers to preserve the earthworks, the largest mound became the site of a cemetery and the final resting place of Revolutionary War veterans. An arrangement of paths and pyramid shaped enclosures were set aside as public park space- a Sacra Via, or sacred way, to be explored by generations to come.

As with other great wonders of the ancient world, like the  Sphinx, the pyramids, and Stonehenge, different cultures have their own legends and theories on the origins of the mounds. The name "mound builders" refers not to a particular ethnic group, but to a number of cultures who built earthworks over thousands of years. Their mysterious handiwork has been attributed to Vikings, the Ten Lost Tribes of Israel, Greeks, Africans, Chinese, people from the lost continent of Atlantis, and the hand of God.

Because the remain such an enigma, the earthworks have inspired many hoaxes. The subject of legends and tales, the mounds have also inspired great art.
The Mound Cemetery in Marietta Ohio is one of the largest earthworks in the area.