Places to go and things to see by Gypsy Bev

Posts tagged ‘Rufus Putnam’

Ohio Beginnings with Rufus Putnam

Putnam Museum Front

Campus Martius Museum in Marietta contains interesting early Ohio history.

How is The Bunch of Grapes Tavern in Boston, Massachusetts connected to Campus Martius Museum in Marietta, Ohio?

After the Revolutionary War, in March, 1786, a group of men met at The Bunch of Grapes Tavern in Boston to purchase land in the Northwest Territory.  Rufus Putnam, Benjamin Tupper, Samuel Parsons, and Rev. Manasseh Cutler formed the Ohio Company of Associates, also known as The Ohio Company, and purchased what was to become about one-fifth of the state of Ohio.

Putnam Land Office

The Ohio Company Land Office, where Rufus Putnam and his partners worked, is the oldest known building in Ohio. Built in 1788, many hopeful land owners walked the path to its door.

These Revolutionary war soldiers were given land grants in lieu of payment for services rendered during the war. They purchased approximately 1,500,000 acres at roughly eight and a half cents per acre along the Ohio River in southeastern Ohio.

Provisions in this land grant were made for two sections in the center to be set aside for an educational institution. The first land grant college was to be called American Western University, but before opening changed its name to Ohio University.

Putnam Portrait

Rufus Putnam served as a member of the Ohio Company, which laid out the plans for Marietta.

Even though Rufus Putnam. the leader of the Ohio Company, was a self-educated man and did not have any formal schooling after the age of nine, he promoted higher education by serving as a trustee at Ohio University. He also claims a connection to West Point. where he built a fort during the Revolutionary War. Fort Putnam is today being preserved and operated by the United States Army Garrison, West Point.

In his memoirs, which are today at Marietta College, he shared his wish for a better education. One line said, “hence neglecting Spelling and gramer when young I have suffered much through life on that account.” But that didn’t keep him from recording records of all his correspondence, while he also kept a daily journal.

Putnam Sugar

An interesting item on the kitchen table was a cone of sugar wrapped in blue paper from the West Indies, with sugar nippers close by to get the perfect amount of sugar for a cup of coffee or tea. The blue paper had a second use as Persis could use it to dye her spun thread.

Rufus Putnam established the first Ohio Company settlement on the banks of the Ohio River in 1788. This became the first settlement in the Northwest Territory. Adelphia, meaning brotherhood, became its first name, but that was soon changed to Marietta in honor of Queen Marie Antoinette of France.

There the Ohio Company built a fortification to protect themselves from the Indians. They called their stockade, Campus Martius. Rufus Putman’s home was one of a row of plank houses inside this stockade.

A few years later, fortification was no longer needed, so the stockade was disassembled. However, the Putnam house remained at the original site, but with added rooms. He purchased the corner blockhouse for $70 and used its lumber for his house addition.

Putnam Kitchen

This is the original kitchen where the Putnam family prepared and ate their meals.

His wife, Persis and eight children, joined him in Ohio at their new home on the bluff of the Muskingum River. Their home here contained a kitchen, sewing/sitting room and two bedrooms upstairs. Now you can see the need for an addition.

Putnam Spinning Wheel

Mrs. Putnam used the spinning wheel frequently as her seamstress abilities were well known. When Rufus was on his trips for the country, she often had to earn money for essentials by sewing.

Putnam Museum

Treasures of early Ohio can be found inside this building in Marietta.

What’s behind all those windows at Campus Martius Museum in Marietta, Ohio today? Inside is the full size house of Rufus Putnam and it still stands where it was built back in 1788. The museum was built around the house in 1931 after the Daughters of American Revolution with assistance from the state of Ohio saved it from destruction.

Putnam 1931

The house is pictured as it was in 1931 before preservation began.

Rufus Putnam served his country faithfully and was respected by his superiors, especially by his favorite leader, George Washington.  It has been said that so long as the history of his country shall be written and read, the part Rufus Putnam played in that history will be found occupying one of its broadest and brightest pages.

Visit Campus Martius Museum to see where the Putnam family lived and learn more about their new life in Ohio. The museum overflows with Ohio history.

Campus Martius Museum is located at 601 Second Street, Marietta, Ohio, on Ohio State Route 7, and minutes from I-77. Plenty of free parking is available and cost of admission is very reasonable.


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!

Ohio’s Historic Lafayette Hotel – A Haunting Experience

Ohio River at MariettaMay the ghosts be with you while you spend the day or night at the Lafayette Hotel in historic downtown Marietta, Ohio.  Visitors and employees anxiously report stories of paranormal activity in this grand hotel on the banks of the confluence of the Muskingum and Ohio Rivers.

Back in 1882, river traffic was heavier than it is today. The Ohio River provided the freight and passenger routes for much of the eastern part of the United States. Of course, these riverboat travelers needed a place to get meals as well as a place to spend the night. Here at the meeting place of two major rivers, the Bellevue Hotel was built. This quite modern hotel, for the late 1800’s, had a fast running elevator taking guests to 55 rooms, five of which had baths. Rates at the Bellevue were $2.00 a night

lafayette hotel 013After a fire destroyed the Bellevue Hotel, another hotel was constructed on the original foundation. In 1918 the present triangular shaped Lafayette Hotel opened for business. The name was chosen to honor Marquis de Lafayette, French hero of the American Revolution, who was believed to be the first tourist to visit Marietta in 1825. There is even a plaque, near the hotel at the edge of the Ohio River, marking the spot where he came ashore.

A popular meeting room bears the name of Rufus Putnam, who many list as the founder of Ohio.  His leadership established Marietta as the first permanent United States settlement in the Northwest Territory.   In a letter sent to his former home, Rufus Putnam described the land along the Ohio River to his friend as: “a country of most pleasant climate and of the rarest beauty and enduring charm”.

Riverview LoungeThe Riverview Lounge is where the “Lady in White”  often appears hovering over the carpet, while she smoothly moves through the room. The bar happens to occupy the same area where the ladies’ dressing room was located  in the original hotel.

When selecting a room in Marietta’s only downtown hotel, you will probably be given a choice of view – either the Muskingum River or the Ohio River. Here the ghost of Mr. Durward Hoag, former owner of the hotel, watches over guests and staff from both directions. Sometimes guests feel an icy cold draft pass through their well heated room. Evidence of his presence appears in flashing light bulbs, rearranged papers, hidden objects,  and often merely a wisp of light. Maybe Mr. Hoag’s spirit is bored!

When speaking with recent visitors, footsteps were reported outside their door, but no one was in evidence. The elevator, carrying no passengers, left the floor a couple times during the evening and headed to the rooftop. Later that night when they were in bed, another couple felt someone jump in the center of the bed where they were resting. All guaranteed they had not visited the Riverview Lounge.

Gun RoomThe Gun Room is a popular place for lunch. The walls are adorned with photos of great majestic sternwheelers that traveled the Ohio River.  A display of antique long rifles contains one made by J.J. Henry that accompanied the Benedict Arnold expedition to Canada in 1775. Waitresses tell of coming in early to work and seeing a figure leaving the front section of the restaurant. Often the swinging doors to the kitchen open for no reason at all. Some feel that Mr. Hoag is checking on his staff.  On the plus side, these spirits are never harmful.

Enjoy the ambience of this richly historical Lafayette Hotel on the river sometime soon. They have been expecting you for nearly a hundred years!

The Lafayette Hotel is located  at 101 Front Street in Marietta, Ohio. Exit I-77 at Exit 1 and follow Route 7 South, which is also Pine Street.  At the third light, Pine Street continues straight and becomes Green Street. Continue on Green Street until you come to the hotel on the corner of Green Street and Front Street. Parking is available between the hotel and the Ohio River as well as on the other side of the hotel.

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