History of Marietta


On April 7, 1788, an unusual river craft, the "Adventure Galley" coasted through the early morning mist and landed at a point slightly below the confluence of the Muskingum and Ohio Rivers. Due to the foggy conditions and the huge sycamore trees that obscured the mouth of the Muskingum, the party had inadvertently passed their intended debarkation point (the present site of Marietta) and landed below Fort Harmar. With the aid of the garrison from the fort, the flotilla was towed back up to the Muskingum, making possible the second historic landing of the day. The landing culminated the one-thousand mile journey of a vanguard of forty-eight hardy pioneers. The party, led by General Rufus Putnam, had trekked from Massachusetts in the depth of winter to establish Ohio's first city, Marietta.

The seeds of settlement of the Ohio Country had been sown two years earlier when Gen. Rufus Putnam and Dr. Manasseh Cutler spearheaded a meeting of parties interested in a westward migration. This historic gathering took place March 1, 1786 at the Bunch of Grapes Tavern in Boston. The Ordinance of 1787 opened for settlement the new territories west and north of the Ohio River.

In early December of 1787, the first party of the Ohio Company left Ipswich, Massachusetts for the proposed settlement known as Muskingum. In February 1788, they arrived at Sumrill's Ferry (now West Newton), Pennsylvania on the Youghiogheny River to initiate the construction of the vessels that would later transport the party down river. When the boats were completed in April, the crew of forty-seven, headed by Capt. Jonathan Devol, left West Newton, Pennsylvania. The forty-eighth member, Col. Return Jonathan Meigs, Sr., accompanied the party on horseback. Seven days later, on April 7, the pioneers landed at Marietta and the first permanent settlement in the Northwest Territory was established.