Places to go and things to see by Gypsy Bev

Archive for October, 2013

The Marietta Mound Cemetery Burial Ground for Heroes of War and Peace

Marietta Mound Cemetery in Marietta, Ohio

Marietta Mound Cemetery in Marietta, Ohio

Since the prehistoric Moundbuilders came to the Ohio Valley and Marietta, sometime between 800 BC and 700 AD, those early ancients remain quite mysterious. It is thought the Adena culture built The Great Mound, where Marietta Mound Cemetery is today located. The Hopewell, descendents of the Adena culture, are responsible for a portion of the mounds in the Marietta complex.

Sacra Via, The Sacred Way

Sacra Via – The Sacred Way

From the Muskingum River to what is now 2nd Street, a roadway called Sacra Via, meaning Sacred Way, was constructed of white crushed mussel shells, which made a solid pavement. The reflective light from the moon on the mussel shells almost made it seem like a lighted path when the ships would dock on the Ohio and Muskingum RIvers. Today that Sacred Way is maintained as a public park where the Ohio Land Company members are honored.

Large Pyramid Mound in Marietta Mound Complex

Large Pyramid Mound in Marietta Mound Complex

Sacra Via continued to what is now called the Marietta Earthworks. This archeological complex included a large square enclosure surrounding four flat-topped pyramidal mounds, another smaller square and the conical shaped mound in the cemetery. Brick walls enclosed the Sacred Way from the Muskingum River to the Quadranaou, the largest flat topped earthen pyramid. The walls of the enclosure were aligned with the winter solstice since astrology played a major role in celebrations and rituals of those early cultures. The bricks were removed in 1843 to use as home foundations.

Great Mound, Conus

Great Mound – Conus

The roadway ended at the largest mound, called Great Mound or Conus, where city developers created a cemetery, Marietta Mound Cemetery, in 1801.  More Revolutionary War officers are buried in this county than at any other place in the United States. General Rufus Putnam and General Benjamin Tupper, both founders of the Ohio Land Company, are buried here. Serving originally as the burial place for chieftains, 30′ tall Conus is the Adena culture’s largest conical, ringed mound still visible today.

Rock covering capsule at top of the Great Mound

Rock covering capsule at top of the Great Mound

To keep the mound from being destroyed, original pioneers in Marietta had the cemetery fenced in back in 1837. When a slight excavation of the site occurred, bones of an adult Adena Indian and some of his possessions were discovered buried in a horizontal position and covered with a large stone. Once it was discovered this was a burial site, further excavation was halted. The mound was sowed with grass, and stone steps were built to the top. Those same steps can be climbed today with the addition of a handrail for easier climbing.

Ditch and embankment surrounding The Great Mound

Ditch and embankment surrounding Conus

After climbing 45 steps, the top of the tree covered mound has benches for resting and viewing the city of Marietta,   A cool breeze was welcome after the strenuous climb but it lasted only a minute.  From the top you can see the 15′ wide ditch and  4′ deep embankment that surround Conus.  An interesting stone at the top of Conus states: Beneath this stone is a time capsule placed here in commemoration of the bicentennial celebration of the United States of America. Junior Bicentennial Commission, July 3, 1976 to be opened July 4, 2076.

Here in this cemetery, seen from high on the mound, are buried a Moundbuilder chief, veterans of the French and Indian War, the Revolutionary War, the War of 1812, the Mexican, Civil and Spanish American Wars plus many heroes of peace. The spirits of those who helped build this nation live on.

Marietta Mound Cemetery is located in Marietta, Ohio off I-77. Take Exit 1 along the beautiful Ohio River following Route 7 West. The cemetery is located at the intersection of 5th Street and Scammel Street. From Route 7, turn right on Greene Street / 7th Street, then right onto 4th Street and another right onto Scammel Street. The Cemetery will be directly in front of you. You can’t miss it!

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Discover Local History at Guernsey County Historical Museum

Guernsey County Historical Museum

Guernsey County Historical Museum

Located in the oldest frame house in Cambridge, the Guernsey County Historical Museum, expanding since 1963, presents a vast array of memorabilia from by-gone years. The new curator, Judy Clay, gave a very knowledgeable tour of the museum from top to bottom, and is constantly reorganizing displays.

Built in 1823, what is known as the McCracken – McFarland House sat on the corner of Steubenville Avenue and 8th Street.  Then in 1915, the house was moved down the block and turned on its foundation. The red stained glass in the front door is original, having been moved without damage.  Outside the house the yard has some interesting features. There is a 4′ tall National Trail mileage marker, and the original steps from the 1823 house. Since the house is so old, you might think there would be spirits wandering its halls, but not so say those who work there. It is the quietest old house imaginable and nothing unusual happens there…at least not yet!

Bridge crossing Wills Creek

Bridge crossing Wills Creek – today replaced by the viaduct.

An interesting sidenote is that this house was actually part of the Underground Railroad and the McCracken family was active in helping the slaves move to safety. Today you will find a replica of the wooden, covered, two-lane bridge that crossed Wills Creek stored in the basement, where most likely slaves were hidden years ago.

At that time, homes had two sitting rooms.  One was for family use, while the other was a formal parlor used only when special guests arrived. A beautiful marbletop table that had belonged to the McFarland family has a place of honor in the formal parlor. Pieces of Cambridge Glass and Universal Pottery are scattered throughout the house, as these were two important means of earning a living during those early years in Guernsey County..

Guernsey County Hall of Fame Wall

Guernsey County Hall of Fame.

Ice Bicycle

Ice Bicycle

The beautiful family sitting room felt cozy in its time, as this was the first house in Cambridge to be heated with gas; however, candle light was still used for reading. The walls in the hallway are covered with pictures of people who have made a difference in the area…the Guernsey County Hall of Fame.

The Tool Room contained an old mail cart and an ice bike. The mail cart was actually used by the Cambridge Post Office to pick up mail from the Cambridge Train Station. Among other items was a cigar press from the Quaker City Company that made cigars.

Every room upstairs had a special theme. The Military Room contained items from Civil War days to WWII. A small sewing room held a spinning wheel and a weasel, which when it got filled with thread – went pop! That was the basis of the song, “Pop Goes the Weasel”. A dentist’s office, Dickens’ room, and rooms packed with antique ladies clothes finished off the top floor.

Old One-room school

Old One-room school

The One-Room School display contained traditional desks, teacher’s desk, blackboard, and some of those old books that were used long ago. On special occassions, retired teachers will describe basic lessons and activities in a one room school.

Bountiful treasures reside inside this old frame house. Perhaps you would like to roam the halls and revive some old memories. If you have any pieces of history you would care to share, please contact the museum. Every small town should take pride in having a special place to keep the history of their area alive for future generations.

Guernsey County Museum is located in Cambridge, Ohio near the crossroads of I-70 and I-77. The easiest route is from I-70, Exit 178, which is State Route 209 West. Follow 209 straight to the Court House. Make a left hand turn and a quick right turn on 8th Street right beside the Court House. After one block, make a right hand turn and a quick left turn on 8th Street again. The Museum is located just a few doors down on the right hand side at 218 N. 8th Street. 

Fort Henry Days Celebrated Oglebay Park, West Virginia

For Henry Days Encampment at Oglebay Park

Fort Henry Days Encampment at Oglebay Park

After driving the scenic, winding, mountain roads of Oglebay Park, the scene changed to one resembling a Revolutionary War Camp. We had arrived at Fort Henry Days celebrating life as it was on the frontier in the late 1700’s. Fort Henry was built as protection from the Indians during Dunmore’s War and also used during the Revolutionary War. Originally it was called Fort Fincastle in honor of Viscount Fincastle, Lord Dunmore, Royal Governor of Virginia. Later the name was changed to Fort Henry, to honor Patrick Henry, the Revolutionary Governor of Virginia.

Young settler makes a stem for his pipe.

Young settler makes a stem for his pipe.

A stroll through the grounds indicated there would be a variety of ideas to explore with people who were very knowledgeable regarding the war as well as life during that time. Everyone was camped in tents using only supplies and equpment that would have been available during the late 1700’s.  One family told of seeing deer grazing nearby and even having a red fox and her cub come into their tent.

Near the center of the encampment, benches had been placed to face a platform made of bales of straw covered with sheets of plywood. This was the spot for today’s presentations. Dan Cutler, dressed in Indian garb with a headdress made of antlers, portrayed Chief John Logan. This mild-mannered chief extended a wampum belt of friendship to the white man. His kindness shone through when he made a pair of beaded deerskin moccasins for a barefoot, little girl of the settlers.

Chief Logan displays a Christian peace offering.

Chief Logan displays a Christian peace offering.

Chief Logan told of the Indians’ struggles with the settlers at Yellow Creek after they had killed his brother and other female relatives.  Chief Logan, who by Indian custom had the right to retaliate for their murders, then raised a hatchet that had long been buried. His hatchet handle contained fourscore notches – one for each scalp taken in their subsequent attacks on settlers.

Later in the afternoon, Dan Cutler also portrayed Chief Cornstalk and told tales of the chief’s adventures at Fort Randolph on the Scioto River, where they floated quietly on rafts of driftwood to surprise the settlers. Having the standing of warrior was very important, but some felt it important for the young men to get an education. When the educated returned to their tribe, they were considered “good for nothing” …no longer warriors.

Chief Cornstalk told of the Ohio Company promising the land to the Indians, but then supporting the British and pushing the Indians off their promised land. He vividly remembered the first surveyor of the Ohio Company, George Washington, who didn’t even know how to read and write…according to Chief Cornstalk..

Alan Fitzpatrick, author of Indian legends

Alan Fitzpatrick, author of Indian legends

The grounds at Oglebay Park were filled with battle re-enactors, people depicting life of the times, and vendors selling wares. Under the pavilion were located Sons of the American Revolution, Daughters of the American Revolution, Wheeling Area Historical Society, and authors selling their books. One of these authors was Alan Fitzpatrick, author of Wilderness War on the Ohio and In Their Own Words. His tales of life at that time are based on written records he has found. Anyone in that era who could read and write was very highly sought after with quill, ink, and tablet. There was also beautiful handmade Native American jewelry for sale…my Fort Henry Days’ remembrance – a thunderbird necklace!

Gallowglass musical entertainment

Gallowglass provides musical entertainment.

Member of the Wayward Companions plays a jawbone.

Member of the Wayward Companions plays a jawbon

Musical entertainment was provided by Gallowglass, a lively group playing and singing period music as well as old Irish tunes. There seemed to be a lot of drinking ballads in the mix.This group has been performing at Fort Henry Days for several years and their performance contained not only songs but humorous stories as well. Included in their performance were: Welcome Home, Nancy Whiskey, and several reels. A member of the Wayward Companions joined in on many of their songs by playing a bovine jawbone with a period bone toothbrush that he had brought from Gettysburg.

Dr. Jessica Fisher, dentist

Dr. Jessica Fisher, dentist

An interesting frontier dentist informed those gathered at her office about dental practices of that time.  Arsenic was one favorite remedy for a toothache. Their favorite mouthwash was a combination of mint or rosemary in orange water or rose water mixed with alcohol, of course. When someone died or was killed, their teeth were removed to replace those lost by the living. ..an early concept of “tooth implants”?

Indian Village for Reenactment

Indian Village for Reenactment

The culmination of the day was a Battle Re-enactment, unlike any I had ever seen before. This recreation told a true story, which was narrated over a loudspeaker. This event occurred back in 1782 at Sandusky, Ohio where the frontiersmen were attacking an Indian village. The natives were doing their normal chores with children playing in the cornfields. An Indian warning call was the sign for everyone to run for cover. They even set the cornfield on fire! Many were captured but some fled to freedom.

Fort Henry Memorial Wall

Fort Henry Memorial Wall

Not much is left of the old Fort Henry, but locals are trying to keep alive the memories. There is a granite Fort Henry marker in the parking lot on the right hand side just past Capitol Theater. A list has been started, but not complete by any means, of those who were in Wheeling at the time of the American Revolution. All these names have been placed on a wall, which is being displayed throughout the Ohio Valley. Should your family name be there?

Fort Henry Days are held the first weekend of September annually. Celebration is held in Oglebay Park at Wheeling, WV. Once you get to the park, signs will direct you to the activities. If you know of any names that need to be added to the wall or wish to display the Fort Henry Wall, contact the Fort Henry Living History board by email at don@feenerty.com.

Remains of Civil War Veteran Rededicated at Sarahsville, Ohio

Funeral Procession arrives at Village View Cemetery.

Funeral Procession arrives at Village View Cemetery.

Village View Cemetery in Sarahsville, Ohio was the scene of the rededication of the remains of Pvt. Absalom (Abner) Robinson, Civil War veteran.  2013 was the 120th anniversary of Abner’s death and the 150th anniversary of President Lincoln’s well-known Gettysburg Address.

Robinson brothers arrived ready to help at original burial site.

Robinson brothers arrived ready to help at original burial site.

Actual preparation for the ceremony began earlier in the week when three great-great-grandsons of Pvt. Abner Robinson met on top a hill in East Union with township trustees and the local funeral home. They knew exactly where Abner Robinson had been buried as the tombstone was still on the hill. Seems that in 1893, Abner died after being struck in the eye by a rusty nail while helping with work on a barn. At that time they were not certain of the actual cause of death or what illness might be involved, so decided to bury Abner on top of a far away hill so he wouldn’t spread his possible disease, most likely tetanus, to anyone else.

Hardware from 1893 casket

Hardware from 1893 casket

Knowing the story, the family decided they would like Abner Robinson’s remains to be moved to their family plot. After digging by the tombstone, they found no sign of any remains. But when one of the relatives suggesting digging closer to the cedar tree, they made some exciting discoveries.   Not only did they find the original cedar casket, which was squashed to about eight inches, but inside they found several bones, part of the skull, and teeth. There were also hinges that still worked on the lid as well as other pieces of rusted metal.

The local funeral home, McVay-Perkins of Caldwell, took those body parts found in the 1893 casket, and put them in a pouch to be placed inside the new casket, which was made of cherry wood.

Hearse with Sons of Union Civil War Veterans and Governor Dollison

Hearse with Sons of Union Civil War Veterans and Governor Dollison

When approaching a distinguished gentleman in a top hat before the ceremony, I asked him if he would be so kind as to let me take his picture with the Sons of Union Veterans that were present. His answer surprised me, “You are speaking to Governor Dennison, the 23rd Governor of Ohio. Next thing you know women like you will be asking for the right to vote.” When asked about the Civil War, he freely expressed his opinion, “That was a war of southern rebellion, there was nothing civil about it.”

Two black Perchenon horses prepare for the procession.

Two black Percheron horses prepare for the procession.

The funeral hearse drawn by twin black Percheron horses and provided by Robert Baird of Troy, Ohio, started their route at the Sarahsville Center Free Methodist Church.  What a procession it was! Following the horse-drawn funeral carriage bearing Pvt. Robinson’s cherry casket, members of Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War marched to the cadance of the fife and drum corps. Many descendents of Abner also walked the half mile road to Village View Cemetery in Sarahsville.

Abner Robinson (1836-1893) served as a Private in Company G, 62nd Ohio Volunteer Infantry during the Civil war. Three of his brother, William, George, and John, were also members of the Union forces.  Abner’s unit saw active service in places such as Shenandoah Valley, Peninsula Campaign, Beaufort, Morris Island and Fair Oaks.

Many speakers participated in the graveside service, which lasted about an hour, before the casket covered with a 34 star flag, which was later given to the family. Family members presented a wreath in honor of all Union soldiers in the Civil War conflict

Governor Dennison rededicated Pvt. Robinson's remains.

Governor Dennison rededicated Pvt. Robinson’s remains.

One of the highlights was the speech by Robert W. Davis, portraying Governor William F Dennison. His main purpose was to rededicate the remains of Abner Robinson to their new resting place. However, Gov. Dennison also portrayed his role during the  Civil War by saying, “I will defend any slaves that come to Ohio with a bayonet.” His boldness was clearly expressed when he exclaimed, “All rebels should be hung.” When President Lincoln told the governor he needed 10,000 men, Gov. Dennison replied that he only had 18,000 men total, but within the week he had over 13,000 men marching into Columbus headquarters ready to fight.  He proclaimed, “We will keep this United States together until our last breath.”

21 gun salute ends the ceremony.

A three round rifle salute ends the ceremony.

The ceremony was brought to an end with a three round rifle salute by the color guard. A traditional fife rendition of Taps and a prayer concluded the events.

Abner’s life must have been a difficult one from his Civil War battles to the farm in McCleary, Ohio (now East Union). When he died, the copy of Probate Court papers declared that his amount of personal property would be about $2.00 and his real estate about $15.00. Have to imagine that the rededication of his remains was more expensive than anything he could possibly have imagined.

This ceremony held extra interest for this Gypsy since Pvt. Abner Robinson was the great-great-grandfather of my cousin’s husband, Jerry Robinson. Jerry is one of those pictured at the original grave site and helped with discovering the remains.

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