Join the Conversation

Join the Conversation.
I invite your comments, suggestions, and additional information about any topic mentioned.

Sunday, February 23, 2020

The Buckeye Belle Disaster

The steamboat BUCKEYE BELLE was torn apart in a spectacular boiler explosion on November 12, 1852 at Beverly, Ohio. Wreckage and human remains rained down on the surrounding area. It was a gruesome sight. Witnesses struggled to find words to describe the devastation. Twenty four died, a dozen were injured.

The BUCKEYE BELLE was a graceful sidewheeler steamboat, one of the largest to ply the Muskingum River. The BELLE was launched from Knox Boatyard in Marietta in May, 1852. She carried passengers, mail, and freight between Marietta and Zanesville, also to ports as distant as Pittsburgh and Keokuk, Iowa. The Pittsburgh Commercial Journal on May 19, 1852 referred to the Buckeye Belle as that “new and splendid sidewheeler.”

The Marietta Intelligencer  newspaper on November 16, 1852 described the accident scene:
“It is impossible to give to our readers any correct idea of the awful character of the steamboat disaster....We do not suppose that in the whole history of steamboat explosions, record can be found of such utter destruction, to the boat and fixtures, as in the case of the Buckeye Belle. The loss of life too is great, perhaps larger in proportion to the number of persons on the boat than was ever before known.”

Marietta Intelligencer Newspaper account November 16, 1952

I was fascinated by several aspects of this tragedy: the sheer destructive force of the explosion, the human toll, and how it was covered by the media.

The Devastation
The devastating impact of the explosion is hard to imagine. The boat was mostly destroyed. A report issued after the accident noted: “All her upper works above the main deck, forward of her wheel house, were literally torn to splinters. The balance of her upper deck was either carried back into her engine room or thrown overboard. All of her beams were broken from stem to stern.”

Accounts from the Marietta Intelligencer provide chilling details:
"A piece of the boiler about five or six feet long was blown to the foot of the High Rock, on the hill. A man was thrown there also."
"A red hot brick was thrown up the hill more than 300 feet and fired the leaves in the woods. A rabbit was killed by the fall of a brick, nearly 400 feet from the boat."
“Of the entire front half of the boat, there are not pieces enough to build a chicken coop six feet square.”

Historical marker near the site of the explosion. 

The Human Toll
Total deaths are reported as 24, 26, and 30 from different sources; there does not appear to be a final definitive number. A coroner's jury report about the accident states that 24 died - 21 in the accident and 3 in the succeeding days. 12 were injured, many with disabling injuries.

Recovery of bodies and human remains must have been traumatic for the citizens who responded to the scene. Yes, ordinary citizens; there were no trained first responders like today. Bodies were strewn about, many mutilated and dismembered. Body parts were found at random. From the Marietta Intelligencer: "...fragments of human bodies - here a piece of an arm, there a leg, and close at hand a liver, were found....and on pieces of the boilers were marks of flesh and blood. Yesterday (a) tongue....was found on the bank, and in another place the head of a man, with the hat on it - and no other remains being near!" 

Among the deaths were 13 persons listed as unidentified. They were interred side by side in the Beverly Cemetery, along with a box containing human body parts. A plaque at the cemetery marks the burial site: “Here lie buried thirteen unknown persons killed by the bursting of the boilers of the Steamer Buckeye Belle on November 12, 1852 near the guard gates of the Beverly Canal.....This monument (see below) is erected to the memory of these unknown dead and also to Capt Harry Stull, the owner of the Steamer, by his grandson, Edward Matthew Ayers."

Beverly, Ohio cemetery plaque, viewed at

Amazingly, there were survivors. Sixteen year old Pius Padgitt was one. He had boarded with other passengers and walked into large main hall when the explosion occurred. "I heard no sound, felt no shock, experienced no pain. When consciousness returned, I found myself away forward on the bow of the boat....." He thought he had died. He finally realized he had been blown about 75 feet and was badly scalded. He remembers hearing "...the most piercing, heart rending cries and groans that ever fell upon mortal ear. Even after the lapse of years I can hear the agonizing screams and expiring groans of those suffering, dying men."

There were several women on board. The cabin where they were located collapsed into the lower deck but luckily the deck above them did not fall on them. Charlotte Stone from McConnelsville kept them calm and restrained them from jumping into the icy water. A wood stove fell over and started a fire; she calmly smothered the flames with a blanket. The women were rescued from the rear of the boat. None were hurt.

News Coverage
News coverage of the disaster was print media only. There was no radio, TV, internet that we take for granted today. The Marietta Intelligencer relied on eyewitness accounts. Beverly businessman Enoch McIntosh wrote eyewitness reports to newspapers, as did a Dr. W. C. Glines. Getting accurate information was a challenge. On November 13, the Intelligencer  stated "we made arrangements for daily reports from the scene of disaster, but the gentlemen from whom we expected them has been constantly employed in rendering services to the suffering, and preparing the dead for interment." But they were able to obtain some information from local citizens who had visited the accident scene. "We have paid no attention from mere rumors, but have given such facts as seemed to us to be well authenticated."

Yet media reporting of that period tended toward opinion and commentary as well as purely factual reporting. The Intelligencer was (properly, in your author's opinion) effusive in crediting citizens of Beverly with heroic efforts to help the injured and removing those who died. Relatives and friends of Buckeye Belle passengers soon swarmed into Beverly. There were "scenes of anguish around the wreck of the boat and, and in the dwellings of the citizens, which no pen can describe." 

Finding accurate information about the cause of the accident was difficult, especially early on before there had been any definitive investigation. The Intelligencer waffled. On November 13, it plainly stated that the  cause of the accident was the "recklessness" of the engineer. Yet a sentence later their account said "We hear a great many reports, as to the cause of the accident, some of which seem to be well authenticated, and others do not seem very reliable." It did not explain further. The Intelligencer  then opined indignantly: "If half that is said of the conduct of the true, such of them that survive the accident should be convicted of murder." 

A Coroner's Jury* was appointed in Beverly to determine the cause of the accident. A report was issued a few weeks later. The body of that report expressed uncertainty of the cause from examining the remnants of the boat. Some observations favored low water in the boiler; others a build-up of excessive steam pressure. "It seems to us, that take whatever view (low boiler water or excessive steam pressure) of this case we may, there are difficulties that cannot be solved even by the scientific." Yet the report concludes with a plain statement: "From the evidence before us, there can be no doubt but the explosion was brought about by the conduct of the second engineer....,by holding down the main valve." That action would have prevented the release of excess steam, allowing the explosive build up of steam pressure.

"During our examination, we are happy to say, that the officers of the boat have been completely exonerated from any blame..."  This implied that the second engineer, Joseph Daniels of Harmar, acted entirely on his own. The reason for his actions were never stated. Daniels was scalded but survived and was apparently not prosecuted or punished for his misdeed.

More of the story
  • Surprisingly, the Buckeye Belle was rebuilt. It was again operating on the Ohio River in the spring of 1854. On November 26, 1857, another boiler explosion, this time with no loss of life, ended its existence.
  • There was a safe on board The BUCKEYE BELLE, rumored to contain a large sum of silver and gold, or cash. Where was it? Searches at the time did not locate the safe. A fisherman found the safe in the river nineteen years later in 1871. It held nothing of value. 
  • Coincidence? The DAN CONVERSE was a sidewheeler steamboat similar to the BUCKEYE BELLE. It had until recently run the same mail pick-up route as the BUCKEYE BELLE on alternating days. The day before the BELLE exploded and at about the same hour, the DAN CONVERSE sank just south of Pittsburgh. R. L. Morris of McConnelsville was a passenger on the DAN CONVERSE. Upon his return, he found the river blocked at Beverly by the BUCKEYE BELLE wreck. He was forced to walk the remaining distance to McConnelsville, arriving in time to serve as a pall bearer for Milton Whissen, a victim of the BUCKEYE BELLE explosion. The DAN CONVERSE was salvaged and continued in service for several more years.
  • Fortunately, other Muskingum River steamboat accidents were few in number and less disastrous than Buckeye Belle explosion. The L.C. McCORMICK suffered a boiler explosion in 1879; one person died. There were a few other boats that burned or sank without loss of life.

*   A Coroner's Jury was usually convened to determine cause of death. In this case, it functioned more as an accident investigation body. Jury members were apparently local residents.

Friday, January 17, 2020

The 1978 Coal Strike: Perseverance and The Wall Street Journal

It would be a winter to remember. December 1977 started out harmless enough, though very cold. News about a nationwide coal strike by the United Mine Workers which began on December 6, 1977 was lost in the background of holiday busyness.

As 1978 began, the coal strike became national news. Without coal being mined and delivered to supply electric power plants, power generation would eventually shut down. The threat of cold homes, dark streets, and shuttered factories loomed.

The second severe winter in a row took hold, adding to the urgency of the coal miners strike. There was heavy snow that winter, the most I remember before or since. Snow accumulated to depths of 2 to 3 feet.  Vehicles were buried for days on end. We had to stand above our mailbox and stoop to retrieve mail. Scraping snow from our patio awning to prevent collapse became a daily chore. There was a initially a sense of wonder at so much snow, but that soon dissolved into annoyance. 

January faded into February with little prospect for a strike settlement. Business and government officials scrambled to establish contingency plans. Public utility regulators in Ohio and West Virginia both imposed voluntary 10% power reductions for industrial and commercial businesses. I was President of the Marietta Area Chamber of Commerce (MACC) that year. That group issued guidelines for conservation which included reduced lighting and hours of operation. Compliance with the guidelines was mixed. MACC executive Ernest J. Hartong stated “Unfortunately we have not received all the cooperation that we would like to have...” Merchant Gabe Zide commented that “some businesses wouldn’t shorten their operating hours come hell or high water.”

A Marietta Times informal survey of area residents showed a mix of concern and cautious optimism. One woman said "I'm hoping we won't (have blackouts) but afraid we will." Many were trying to conserve - doing laundry and dishes by hand, turning off lights and electric blankets. A later article explained home appliances' use of electricity: Minimize the use of electric ranges and ovens, especially the broiler; back off on the clothes dryer and hair dryer; no problem using an electric toothbrush.

I worked at Peoples Bank and recall conservation measures there: Sam the custodian came around and removed some light bulbs from each office. One elevator was taken out of service. External lighting and hours of operation were reduced. Many other businesses did the same:

Locals may remember Rink's, then a discount store similar to Walmart. Today it houses 
"Rinky Dinks" (get it?) flea market. Marietta Times image courtesy of the Washington County Local History and Genealogy Library. CLICK TO ENLARGE

A 30% mandatory power cutback by local provider Monongahela Power was scheduled for February 20. That could have caused several hundred layoffs from companies like Remington Rand (Later Kardex Systems), Broughton Foods (now Dean Foods), Union Carbide (now Eramet), Fenton Art Glass, American Cyanamid, B F. Goodrich (later RJF and now Profusion Industries) and Dravo Corporation if implemented. However, the 30% cut was postponed as local utilities managed to slow coal consumption with purchased power, deliveries of non-union coal, and conservation. 

Marietta Times image courtesy of the Washington County Local History and Genealogy Library

Frustration increased as there were mixed messages from regulators and utilities. Deadlines for drastic mandatory conservation actions were postponed, yet conservation was admonished as though it were mandatory. A tentative pact to settle the strike was rejected by the UMW bargaining council on February 12. Politicians vocalized complaints, chided President Jimmy Carter to do more, and offered endless suggestions. Ohio Governor James Rhodes' comment to President Carter on February 10 was typical: "Bring (the negotiators) into the White House, put them in a room and lock the door, and keep them there until they have the answer.” Nice sounding rhetoric, but real world collective bargaining doesn't work that way.

Marietta Mayor Geoffrey Brunton encouraged conservation. Streetlights were darkened in much of the city. A generator was on standby to power critical emergency operations. Yet, he, like many other officials, expressed confusion over when, how and by whom cutbacks will be ordered. Mayor: “We are having a hard time keeping up with with all that is going on, because hour to hour, day by day, someone issues a different statement.”

Marietta's situation was reported in a February 16 Wall Street Journal front page article: "Marietta, Ohio, Dims Its Lights & Hopes for Early Coal Accord." The lead sentence in the article starkly introduced the crisis situation: "Last night the Marietta City Council met by candlelight - to discuss the power shortage that already is beginning to choke this Ohio River town." The article chronicled the effect of the coal strike on Marietta. It mentioned the efforts of "28-year old Mayor Brunton" to encourage conservation. Some businesses were ignoring the directives. The paper reported that "after chewing out a one local hotel manager for leaving his lights blazing, the young mayor exploded: 'What can I do? I can't fine 'em, I can shoot 'em.' " 

Wall Street Journal article February 16, 1978 image courtesy Marietta College Legacy Library

Other community reactions were noted in the article. Citizens National Bank (Chase Bank today) president James E. Hanna tried to calm a caller, "I was in the infantry years ago and I don't panic." Rinard's Coal Co. was asked to deliver non-union coal to a coal-heated school upriver from Marietta. Movement of non-union coal could trigger threats or violence from striking miners. The school superintendent called a district United Mine Workers official to explain the situation. The official responded menacingly "You're on your own if you buy non-union (coal). We'd rather you closed down..." Mr. Rinard made the delivery anyway without incident.

A Marietta Times article profiled two area striking coal miners. “...we’ll stay out (on strike) as long as it takes,” said Dan Johnson, 27, of Fleming who is married with a 5 year old daughter. He worked at Quarto Mining Co Mine No.7 at Powhatan Point. “If I have to, I’ll borrow money from my parents, sell my truck and my guns. I’ll do anything until we get an acceptable contract.” His greatest concern was about the right to engage in wildcat strikes (impromptu work stoppages to protest a grievance). He said that such strikes are often the only way for miners to protect themselves from unsafe conditions or practices. Dave Clift, 28 years old from Newport, said "I'm just starting to hurt now, too. I have $450 month in bills coming in, but they're stacking up now. Both trusted the UMW bargaining council, "....they won't accept a contract until it's right for us," Clift said.

Marietta Times image courtesy of the Washington County Local History and Genealogy Library CLICK TO ENLARGE

Another tentative settlement was reached in late February. Rank and file coal miners voted 2 to 1 against the pact, despite an advertising campaign which included soft sell messages from country singer Johnny Paycheck of "Take this Job and Shove It" fame. President Carter invoked the Taft-Hartley Act on March 6, legally forcing miners back to work for a 60 day cooling off period. The miners ignored the injunction. 

I chaired the MACC annual dinner on March 13. 750 people ate dinner and listened by flickering candle light. The venue, Ban Johnson Field House at Marietta College, was darkened for electricity conservation. I mentioned that the candles were "courtesy of the United Mine Workers." The line drew a laugh from the audience, but I felt a pang of guilt knowing how 160,000 miners were suffering through the strike.

March 13, 1978 Marietta Area of Chamber of Commerce dinner. Photo includes award recipients, your author (third from right) and comedian Henny Youngman (second from right), master of the one-liner. CLICK TO ENLARGE

Finally, the strike was settled on March 19 after negotiators worked out a compromise on the wildcat strike provision. Creative conservation by users and the utility companies averted major blackouts and layoffs. The last of the record snowfall had finally melted in Marietta. Life would soon be back to normal. Eventually Sam the custodian stopped by my office at Peoples Bank to chat and install the light bulbs which had been removed weeks earlier.

Other observations: 
  • The Wall Street Journal coverage, while generally accurate, cast Marietta (a "peaceful, sleepy town" with a rantworthy 28-year old mayor) in a less than flattering manner. Small towns and rural areas are often portrayed by national media in such stereotypical fashion even today.
  • The industries mentioned in this article employed nearly 3,000 people. Of those businesses, Fenton, Dravo, Sperry (Kardex), American Cyanamid, and Ohio Power are gone. Broughton Foods; Eramet, Solvay, and American Styrenics (formerly part of Union Carbide); and Profusion Industries (B. F. Goodrich) remain but with far fewer jobs. Other businesses have replaced some jobs, but the net industrial employment is far lower today.

Tuesday, December 3, 2019

The Royal Visitors

In July, 1839, King Louis Philippe I of France received an American visitor, a Mr. Hughes, the American charge d’affaires in Stockholm. After introductions, conversation turned to the King’s visit to America in the late 1790’s.

King: “Have you ever been at Marietta?”
Mr. Hughes responded yes, that he had lived there for several years. 
King: “Did you know a French baker there, named Thierry?” Francis Thierry was a French immigrant who arrived in Marietta in 1790 with his wife and two children.
Mr. Hughes answered that indeed he knew Thierry.
King: Explaining with amusement, “Well, I once carried him away from his family,” referring to a decades-earlier incident during Louis Philippe’s visit to Marietta in 1797. More about this episode later. 

Louis Philippe De’Orleans, later King Louis Philippe I, “King of the French” visited the United States in 1796 and 1797. The King often amazed visitors with his memory of minute details of his American tour decades earlier. 

King Louis Philippe I, Getty image -  Portrait by Franz Xaver Winterhalter, 1841

Marietta Connection - Ephraim Cutler
There were two Louis Philippe encounters with a Marietta connection. The first was a chance meeting with pioneer leader Ephraim Cutler who recorded the event in his journal. He met two Frenchmen while boiling salt at the "Salt Works"1 on Salt Creek in Muskingum County, Ohio. He was working there with a friend, Peter Noblaise, a Frenchman who had emigrated to Gallipolis,Ohio.

The two visitors asked to stay with Cutler and Noblaise that night. At the cabin Cutler noted that the three Frenchmen became "quite loquacious in their native language." Noblaise was a good singer and sang the Marseilles hymn and several French airs. Cutler reported that one of the men asked him detailed questions about the Ohio Company, and the settlements at Marietta and Gallipolis. After midnight they retired. Ephraim gave the man his bunk and bear skin. As they left the next day, Louis’ companion explained to Noblaise that the other man was Louis Philippe, Duke of Orleans. He would later be King of France

Louis Philippe was born into royalty in the House of Orleans in 1773. He and his family supported the French Revolution. At age eighteen he was given a command in the French army. He performed well but was forced to flee when he was implicated in an ill-fated attempt to overthrow the French government. He spent the next twenty years in exile from France.

 Young Louis Philippe, Duke of Chartres in 1792 by Léon Cogniet wikipedia. 

Louis Philippe and his two brothers, Antoine Philippe, the Duke de Montpensier,  and Louis Charles, Duke De Beaujolais, toured the United States. Louis Philippe was anxious to see natural wonders, Indians, and the backwoods of the new country. The introduction to Louis Philippe's Diary of My Travels to America, observed: "What is amazing is the breadth of his experiences and the distances he covered when most of the Eastern half of the United States remained unknown and unexplored.“ 

Marietta visit
Louis’ other local visit was a stop at Marietta in December of 1797 toward the end of their American tour. They were on a keelboat trip down the Ohio River, headed  to New Orleans and a return trip to Europe. It was December. River travel was treacherous with the ice, swift currents, and snags. They pressed on anyway. 

At Marietta they stopped for supplies. Louis Philippe wanted fresh bread was directed to the Francis Thierry, the baker whom King Louis Philippe recalled. He had no bread available at that moment and fired up his oven to begin baking. The group obtained their supplies and toured Marietta. They were fascinated by the Indian mound earthworks ("interesting ancient remains") and made a sketch of them. 

As they prepared to leave Marietta, Mr. Thierry rushed the fresh bread to the group's boat on the Muskingum River. But ice on the river was breaking up at that exact moment. The boat lurched away from the shore - with Thierry still on board - to avoid the ice. He was frightened but soon was deposited on dry land by canoe when the ice danger passed. The future King and his party continued down the Ohio River grateful for the fresh bread. He would later amuse listeners, such as Mr. Hughes, in retelling the adventure of "kidnapping" a French baker at Marietta.

The American Tour
Louis Philippe had arrived from Europe in October 1796 at Philadelphia, then the U. S. Capital. He met many prominent people while there and made a good impression. He was described as “modest, amiable, unpretending, cheerful, forgetful of his lost rank." Louis Philippe witnessed the inauguration of John Adams and heard Washington's last speech as President. He reportedly proposed marriage to a young lady. She apparently was willing, but her father was not: "As an exile, destitute of means, you are not a suitable match for my daughter." 

Louis Philippe was not a typical prince in demeanor or lifestyle. He and his brothers had been educated by a governess, Madame De Genlis. They learned by doing through games and role playing. They learned other languages. They spoke only English at lunch; Italian at dinner; German when working with a German gardener. They were toughened by sports, long walks, and sleeping on the floor. He also developed medical skills working with a surgeon. It was an education for adversity as well as for the royal life. Louis Philippe recalled later that his governess "brought us up with ferocity."

Lithograph after the painting by David showing him in Switzerland circa 1793 teaching geography and mathematics under an assumed name at the college at Reichenau during his 21 years of exile from France. (Photo by Universal History Archive/Getty Images). A few years after this he visited America.

His two brothers joined him in America after a long sea voyage in February of 1797. Soon the trio was off to explore. One of the the first stops was Mount Vernon. They visited with George Washington for four days. Washington gave them a recent Abraham Bradley map of the United States and traced a recommended itinerary in red ink. The future king impressed visitors by showing them the "George Washington" map years later.

Abraham Bradley map approx 1796; similar to the map George Washington gave Louis Philippe. Viewed at Tennessee Virtual Archive.  

They next wound their way through Virginia, Tennessee, Kentucky, and southern Ohio. Often they lodged with locals, sleeping on the floor surrounded by the occupants, sounds, and smells of a cramped cabin. They stayed one night with a Captain Chapman in Tennessee who wondered out loud why they would “endure all the fatigues of a hard journey to see wilderness, savages, and other (unworthy things).” 

At Chillicothe, Ohio, Louis Philippe stopped a barroom brawl, rescuing the landlord. They endured bedbugs, coarse manners, indifferent workers, excess drinking by the settlers, and periods of rough travel. Antoine Philippe wrote to his sister in August 1797 after a rugged two weeks in New York State: “We have spent fourteen nights in the woods, devoured by all kinds of insects, soaked to the bone, unable to get dry, eating pork and sometimes a little salt beef and corn-bread.” 

There were also delightful visits and excellent hospitality. They met prominent people in cities like Pittsburgh, Boston, and Philadelphia. There were surprise encounters with emigrants from France. One of these, Chavelier Dubac, ran a sweet shop in Pittsburgh. His pet monkey, Sultan, entertained guests. 

They spent time with Indians to learn more about them. Louis coaxed Cherokees in Tennessee to play a lacrosse-type game. At a Seneca Indian Reservation in New York state, he successfully treated a tribal chief by bleeding him. The chief granted Louis the high honor of sleeping on the family mat - between the grandmother and great aunt. 

The brothers departed the U.S. from New Orleans in August of 1798 bound for Cuba. They finally reached England in February of 1800, after a series of harrowing delays. Louis Philippe eventually ascended the French throne as Louis Philippe I, “King of the French” in 1830. He wrote to  historian François Guizot in 1839: “My three years’ residence in America have had a great influence on my political opinions and on my judgment of the course of human affairs.” 

His reign promised to be middle-of-the-road. He was called “citizen king.” Attempts at reforms were frustrated by political and economic unrest. There were seven assassination attempts on the King's life. He was deposed in the French Revolution of 1848. That ended the monarchy for good. Louis Philippe I was the last King of France. He died in 1850.

  1. The Salt Works was a salt deposit along Salt Creek in Muskingum County. Surrounding communities formed the "Salt Springs Company" to make salt. Volunteers worked long, tedious hours boiling the salt water to produce salt crystals for community needs. They sold the surplus. Ephraim Cutler was among the volunteers working that day.

Abbott, Jacob, Louis Philippe, New York and London, Harper and Brothers Publishers, 1901
Bishop, Morris, “Louis Philippe in America,“ American Heritage Magazine, Volume 20, Issue 3, 1969, viewed at 
Cutler, Julia Perkins, Life and Times of Ephraim Cutler, Cincinnati, Robert Clarke & Co, 1890
“Louis Philippe,” NNDB tracking the entire world, 
“Louis-Philippe Biography,” , editors,
“Louis Philippe I,”
Perley Poore, Ben, Rise and Fall of Louis Philippe, Ex-King of the French, Boston, William D. Ticknor & Company, 1848 
Wright, Rev. G. N.  Life and Times of Louis Philippe, Ex-King of the French,
London, Peter Jackson, Late Fisher, and Son

Thursday, November 7, 2019

Marietta and the Queen

What do the names Castrapolis, Protepolis, Urania, Tempe, Genesis, and Adelphia have in common? They were discussed as possible names for the new settlement at Marietta. Adelphia was the strongest contender; it was advocated by pioneer leader/lobbyist Manasseh Cutler. In a December 3, 1787 letter to Rufus Putnam, he stated, ”I feel a partiality for the name proposed at Boston, and think it preferable to any that has yet been mentioned. I think that Adelphia will, upon the whole, be the most eligible. It strictly means brethren, and I wish it may ever be characteristic of the Ohio Company.”

The city was ultimately named Marietta, in honor of Marie Antoinette, then the flamboyant Queen of France. The French had played an important role in support of the colonies during the Revolutionary War. Many of the pioneers had a personal acquaintance with the French nobleman Marquis de Lafayette who had served with distinction as a soldier, commander, and diplomat for the American side. The Queen herself was said to be an ardent supporter of the colonies. 

This story was brought to mind by a newspaper report on October 16 this year. My wife noticed it and said to me, “Did you know that Marie Antoinette was beheaded on this date in 1793?” I looked up blankly from my iPad. Synapses slowly began to fire; dots were connecting.....Marie Antoinette....Queen of France during the French Revolution....yes! - Marietta’s namesake. Now I had to know more. 

The Ohio Company Directors passed a resolution on July 2, 1788 as follows:  “Resolved, that the City near the confluence of the Muskingum and Ohio (Rivers), be called MARIETTA (and) That the Directors write to his Excellency the Compte Moustiers, informing him of their motives in naming the city and requesting his opinion, whether it will be adviseable to present to her majesty of France, a public square-“ Moustiers was the French ambassador to the United States at the time. 

There was no record of a response from the Queen or French officials to the naming of the city and the offer of land. A report circulated that the Queen had sent a commemorative bell to Marietta which was lost at sea. But that has never been verified. 

Ohio Company Directors designated Square Number 1 (where Mound Cemetery is now) as Marie Antoinette Square. It was leased to Rufus Putnam on March 7, 1791 for a period of ten years for maintenance and beautification.  By that time, the Queen’s name was no longer attached to the square. 

Mound Cemetery, Illustration from Squier and Davis Ancient Monuments of the Mississippi, viewed at This was named Marie Antoinette Square for a period of time before it became a cemetery. 

Queen Marie Antoinette lived a life of extremes: from the pinnacle of royal power and wealth to imprisonment, disgrace, and public execution. She was born an Austrian princess and given in marriage at age 14 to Louis Auguste de Bourbon, heir apparent to the French throne. For her May 1770 wedding, she was escorted to France with an entourage that included 57 carriages, 117 footmen and 376 horses.

Marie Antoinette at age 13 by Joseph Ducreux. Viewed at Wikipedia. This portrait was sent to her future husband in France so he could see what she looked like.

In 1774, the couple became king and queen - he at age 19, she at 18. Early in her reign, she was famous for profligate spending, flamboyant dress, and wild socializing. Tabloid-type gossip exaggerated her public image. She was vilified for shameless opulence while many in France - and the national treasury - were impoverished. Later in her reign, she focused more on her children, political issues, and cultural interests. She is credited with influencing policy leading to French support of the American cause in the Revolutionary War.

This 1787 State Portrait of Marie Antoinette and her three surviving children, Marie Thérèse, Louis Charles (on her lap), and Louis Joseph holding up the drape of an empty bassinet signifying the recent death of Marie's fourth child, Sophie, was meant to improve her reputation by depicting her as a mother in simple, yet stately attire (by Vigée-Lebrun, 1787). From

But the royal couple were resistant to the teeming social and political changes in France. The French Revolution forced her and King Louis VI from power. She was convicted of treason on trumped up charges and publicly beheaded, as her husband had been earlier that year, on October 16, 1793. Her body was placed in an unmarked grave.

Marie Antoinette's execution on 16 October 1793: Sanson, the executioner(left, on platform), shows Marie Antoinette's head to the people (anonymous, 1793). CLICK TO ENLARGE. 

Read  "10 Things You May Not Know About Marie Antoinette" at at this link:
Number 10 on that list says: “A U.S. city is named in honor of Marie Antoinette.” That city is Marietta, Ohio.

Monday, October 21, 2019

Smallpox, pioneer scourge

Smallpox. Among the many hardships that the early Washington County pioneers endured was illness, often severe and sometimes fatal. There was bilious fever, scarlet fever, malaria, yellow fever, cholera, and .....smallpox. I read about smallpox often in stories of early settlers. It was only when I saw this photo that the devastation of the disease sank in. 

Young girl in Bangladesh with smallpox, from Wikipedia.

Smallpox has been around for centuries. The first evidence of the disease was from Egyptian mummies dating from the third century BCE. Smallpox occurred in outbreaks all over the world. An estimated 200 million died in the twentieth century alone; many survivors suffered blindness and severe scarring.

Your author was surprised to learn that immunization techniques for smallpox were developed several centuries ago, likely in Asia. Tissue from smallpox sufferers was rubbed or inserted into a scratch in the skin of the person to be immunized. That person would contract smallpox, usually in a less severe form, and thereafter would be immune. This treatment, referred to as variolization, was imported into Europe around 1720. It was a crude and not always successful form of immunization which preceded more modern vaccination techniques. It was widely used in the 1700’s, including at Marietta. 

Yet smallpox remained a scourge which impacted pioneer settlers. Many contracted the disease. Dozens died. Survivors could be blind or disfigured by scars. Courageous doctors and caregivers risked their lives to treat those infected.

Reverend Manasseh Cutler treated smallpox patients in his native Massachusetts. There was an outbreak of the disease in 1772 at Marblehead, MA. Patients were to be admitted to a hospital at Cat Island where Cutler visited. Local residents panicked fearing that the influx of infected patients would spread the disease. They burned down the hospital. The specter of smallpox appeared again in early 1779. Cutler by then had become a physician after training during the previous year. He inoculated and treated 40 or more patients during that period.

The original work party headed to Marietta in 1788 was slowed by smallpox. A group under Major White struggled west from Massachusetts over rough Pennsylvania terrain. In February 1788 they arrived at Simrill’s Ferry on the Youghiogheny River to build boats for the trip down the Ohio River to Marietta. The boat building was delayed by, among other things, smallpox which afflicted five of the party.

The initial outbreak of smallpox at Marietta began in January, 1790. A boat bound for Kentucky stopped at Marietta with a sick passenger, a Mr. Welch, and his family. He was taken to the home of James and Mary Gardner Owen. His disease was the dreaded smallpox. Residents met and decided to build a “pest house” (a building for quarantine and treatment of contagious disease patients, including smallpox) near where Marietta College is now. Mr. Welch was moved there but died a few days later. Mrs. Owen became ill with the disease but later recovered. 

London Pest House image, from Wikipedia. Pest houses originated for epidemics in Europe, such as bubonic plague. Some buildings were quite large. Burial grounds (the “plague pit” in this image caption) were often near the pest house, away from public areas.

Residents were concerned about contagion because of living in close quarters at Campus Martius. There was a town meeting at the northwest blockhouse at Campus Martius. They decided to build more pest houses and to have everyone “inoculated” (using the variolization technique described above). Several of these houses were built “on the plain,” probably in area where Fifth Street and Marietta College are now. One house held 23 patients; another occupied by Colonel Stacy and his family had 20 people. Of the hundred plus people inoculated, only two died. Six people died who became sick by contagion. Doctors Jabez True and Thomas Farley cared for the sick.

Apparently some pest houses were quite small and the quarters cramped. Master builder Joseph Barker stayed in one for a while. He and his wife Elizabeth Dana Barker moved to Marietta in 1789. When the January 1790 smallpox outbreak occurred, Mrs. Barker moved to Belpre to live with her parents until the danger passed. Joseph Barker remained in Marietta and was inoculated with smallpox and moved into a pest house. He rather cheerily described it in a letter to his wife: “I am living in a little clean log cabin that is six feet wide, seven feet long and four and a half high.” He could sit up but not stand up. “We lodge very well.” He survived the sickness and was reunited with his wife and infant son Joseph Jr. a few weeks later.

Mary Bird Lake provided invaluable assistance in this smallpox outbreak. She was a native of England who married Archibald Lake and emigrated to the colonies. She served as a matron of two hospitals caring for wounded and sick Revolutionary War soldiers, including those with smallpox. She received personal thanks from George Washington for her work. Washington commented in 1777 that smallpox was a potentially greater threat than “the sword....of the enemy.”

The Lakes moved to Marietta in 1789 with their eight children. Williams’ History of Washington County Ohio (hereafter, “William History”): "The spring after their arrival the small pox broke out, and during the terrible pestilence Mrs. Lake served a crucial role as nurse." She was familiar with the inoculation technique and guided the physicians who had no experience with smallpox treatment. 

1793 brought an extensive smallpox outbreak in Washington County. In August, scarlet fever and then smallpox appeared in Marietta at Picketed Point, spread from militia soldiers in Colonel Haskell’s command. The Court of Quarter Sessions met on August 7 and ordered removal of the infected persons to Mixer’s spring. The Court met again August 9 and ordered the sick relocated to Devol’s Island, presumably a more isolated location, on the Muskingum River.

Smallpox broke out in September 1793 at the beleaguered Belpre community, which had endured famine, Indian threats, and scarlet fever in recent times. A scout named Benjamin Patterson brought the disease; he had been inoculated in Marietta. The Belpre community initiated “heroic measures,” knowing of the contagion risk of living in close quarters. They sent for Dr. Jabez True from Marietta to inoculate the entire community at Farmer’s Castle (the fortified enclosure at Belpre), which became “one great hospital.” Dr. Samuel Barnes also cared for smallpox patients at Belpre. 

The immunization effort protected the community from devastation. About a hundred were inoculated. Most survived the resulting mild form of smallpox. Five people died, though, testimony to the imperfect inoculation method. 

The family of Simon Deming moved to Rainbow on a donation tract in 1796. They erected a cabin there and cleared an area for farming. Williams’ History has a curious commentary: “During the following season an epidemic of smallpox spread across the county, and the young men of the neighborhood made the Deming cabin a pest house.” Several families of the Deming clan were “confined within this one cabin, where they were waited on by a physician from Virginia.” Who were the “young men”? Were they providing a needed community service or enforcing a quarantine vigilante style? And were the Demings forced to stay in this cabin?

Early physicians were often called on to minister to smallpox patients, in addition to other illnesses. Dr. Jabez True “was many times exposed to the attacks of the Indians, as he passed up and down the Ohio (River) in his visits to Belpre and still lower on the river, to minister to the sick...., numerous trips were made in a canoe, accompanied, generally, by two men.” 

Settlers in Washington County endured much the first few years. Williams’ History captured the essence of what they suffered: ...the terrible scourge had been prevented from doing its worst. Though sorely tried, (they) were destined to neither succumb to the Indian, to famine, to fever, nor to pestilence.”

In 1796 English surgeon Edward Jenner developed an improved vaccine using cowpox virus. Persons vaccinated could be immunized from smallpox without being sickened by it. Jenner had noticed during his surgeon apprenticeship that milk maids and dairy farmers who had suffered from the less virulent cowpox were immune from smallpox. Dr. Jenner devised a vaccine and inoculated an eight year old boy who proved immune from smallpox. Jenner presented his findings; years of suspicion and controversy followed. Finally, in 1800, his method was widely adopted.

Dr Edward Jenner performing his first vaccination on James Phipps, a boy of age 8. 14 May 1796. Painting by Ernest Board (early 20th century). He noticed that milk maids who had been sick with cowpox were immune from smallpox and developed a vaccination
 process using cowpox.

Millions of people were saved from smallpox, yet millions of the unvaccinated died into the twentieth century. With improved vaccine and wider distribution, smallpox was finally eliminated as a health hazard. The last reported case was in 1977.

Tuesday, September 3, 2019

Rufus Putnam: the early years

Rufus Putnam, one of Marietta’s founders, a millwright, surveyor, veteran of two wars, pioneer leader, civil servant - faced many hardships in his early life. But those hardships in life and military service formed the foundation for decades of leadership and accomplishment. 

Note: Words in bold are your author’s emphasis of Putnam’s traits.

Profile portrait from Wikipedia. Portraits of Rufus Putnam are mostly from middle age or older, and he preferred to be viewed from the left side.

At age seven his father died. Life with his stepfather, Captain John Stadler, after his mother remarried was harsh. He was not allowed to attend school. Stadler believed intellectual pursuits were a waste of time. Biographer Samuel Hildreth noted that Rufus “craved...instruction and would not be appeased without it. He persisted and largely taught himself.  Rufus used scant earnings from waiting tables at Stadler’s public house to buy powder and shot. With that, he shot game birds, sold them for cash, and bought reading and arithmetic books.

As a young adult he took on the obligations of military service. Below are notes from Rufus Putnam’s Journal (quotes are from The Life of Rufus Putnam with Extracts from His Journal unless noted).

The French and Indian War between Great Britain and France, began in 1754. On March 15, 1757, at age nineteen, he enlisted as a “provincial” soldier (volunteer from the American colonies) with the British forces. It was not easy duty.

July 8, 1757: He and two other rangers were sent forward to scout an area near Lake Champlain. They were stranded without adequate clothing or bedding for 2 days when their unit withdrew without them.

July 23: At 8:00 am, Indians attacked his unit near Fort William Henry. There were thirteen dead and one missing. “This was the first sight I had of the Indian butcherings and it was not very agreeable to the feelings of a young soldier.” 

August 3: A French Army laid siege to Fort William Henry; on August 9 the garrison of outnumbered British soldiers surrendered. While Putnam’s group of Provincial soldiers were marching to surrender at Fort Edward, Indians attacked “and a most horrid butchery ensued.”  The terms of surrender allowed the British to leave peacefully. Indians on their own began wantonly attacking British soldiers and civilians, including women and children.

Fort William Henry image. For more detail about the fort, click here.

Engraving of Louis-Joseph de Montcalm trying to stop Native Americans from attacking British 
soldiers and civilians. Viewed at engraving by Alfred Bobbett, ca. 1824-1888 or 9, engraver, based on painting by Felix Octavius Carr Darley, 1822-1888

October 8: Most men in his ranger unit were discharged. He was drafted into a group of carpenters until November 8 to finish building fortifications at Fort Edward. 

November 18: “Three Hundred and Sixty of us were drafted into....winter quarters. This was a great and unexpected disappointment.” They expected to be discharged earlier when the fighting was over.

February 3: His unit’s official enlistment expired, but the commanding officer insisted they remain and threatened them with death if they left. They set out anyway for Fort Hoosac at 3:00 am. Knee deep snow. Their provisions were barely enough for 2-3 days. 

February 4: Snowy, stormy day. Disappointed that they did not reach the fort that evening. 

February 5: Started early expecting to reach the fort by noon. “Noon and night came but no fort...Provisions nearly exhausted...several men froze their feet.”

February 6: Realized they had taken a wrong turn along the river. Changed course. Camped on a mountain top. Snow five feet deep.

February 7: Thirty men breakfasted on a small turkey. Followed a small stream which grew into a river by days end - an encouraging sign. Nothing to eat but beech nuts and a few cranberries. “Night found us very faint and much fatigued,” but hopeful.

February 8: Rough terrain. “Men...feeble and lame with frozen feet.” In their desperate need for food, they killed the dog that had accompanied them and ate it. “It was carefully butchered and divided” so that each man received the same amount.     

February 9: Better conditions for walking. Spirits bolstered by signs of human activity and familiar landmarks. 

February 10: Arrived at the fort by 10 am where they were cared for and fed. Rufus Putnam stated that for the entire march he had carried the pack (in addition to his own) of Ichabod Dexter, who had severe frost bite. 

February 15, 1758: Arrived home at Brookfield, Mass.

April 10, 1758: Rufus re-enlisted:  “Notwithstanding my late sufferings (in the previous campaign), I again engaged for another campaign in the Provincial service.”

June 12: He was assigned to a unit of engineers who were sent to Lake George to build defenses in advance of the army’s campaign to take Fort Ticonderoga (then “Fort Carillon”).

July 5: 17,000 British troops advanced in boats along Lake George towards the fort. On July 6, General George Howe, second-in command of the army and beloved by the troops, was killed in an initial skirmish. This was a major blow to troop morale. 
July 8: Putnam’s regiment was building a breastwork (temporary earthen fortification). There was a constant barrage of cannon and musket fire. In the late afternoon he volunteered to carry ammunition forward to the front lines. The army had retreated to a breastwork. He was shocked to see “so many of our men killed and wounded.”

Fort Ticonderoga ("Fort Carillon" at the time - from, photo by Carl Heilman II

British troops had suffered a humiliating loss at Fort Ticonderoga. Rufus returned to his regiment of Provincial engineers. At midnight they began a march in retreat to Fort William Henry.

Howe’s death prompted a poignant reaction at the time from Rufus, “...I was so panic struck that I remain(ed) with the boat guard (away from the fighting);..... however, I recovered, at least in a measure, (and rejoined) the regiment.” He admitted accepting the risky assignment to carry ammunition to the front lines on July 8 “lest my reputation should suffer” for having shown cowardice after Howe’s death.

His reflection continued: “I have heard that some men say that...they like to fight as well as they like to eat. I never had any such feelings; so far as I am able to judge for myself, it was pride and a wish to excel, ...that influenced me, at that period of life....”

July 22: Putnam’s unit was employed repairing roads from Fort Edward to Albany until October 29 when they were discharged.

November 9, 1758: He returned to Sutton, Mass., his hometown. “Thus I carried through a second campaign, enjoying uninterrupted health, the friendship of my officers, and never charged with any crime. But alas! On my journal I cannot find any acknowledgment to my Divine Benefactor and Preserver.”

April 2, 1759:  He enlisted again: “I this day engaged the Provincial service for the third campaign.”

July 22: A new campaign for taking Fort Ticonderoga was underway. British forces advanced. At 1:00 am on July 27, there was a spectacular explosion which lit up the night. The French had blown up the fort’s munitions and retreated.

August 4: Regular provincial soldiers were discharged. Rufus agreed to continue work building saw mills for a promised dollar a day. 

November 30: After four months of work, he was discharged, but the engineer in charge did not honor the dollar a day agreement. Rufus was paid only 15 cents per day for his hard work. “I was cheated,” his journal notes with exasperation.

December 1: Embarked with eleven others in two bateaux (large boats) to cross Lake George bound for Fort George. Another ordeal lay ahead. Weather good but worsened. Had to stay the night on a small island. Became very windy and cold.

December 2: Too windy to proceed; “it was never colder since my remembrance.”

December 3: Provisions all gone; “...the cold continuing and hunger increasing.” Luckily they found some old provisions left by others and ate a meal of salt pork and flour.

December 4: One of boats leaked. To lighten its load, baggage was transferred to the other boat which became severely over-loaded. With any wave action they would have perished. “But Providence ordained it so there was a perfect calm the whole day.” Arrived at Fort George just after sunset.

March, 1760: Rufus enlisted yet again and was ordered to recruit others into the Provincial service. It was frustrating duty; he found only a handful of recruits.

June 2: Joined his unit of engineers stationed at south outlet of Lake George. They did not participate in the siege and surrender of French forces at Isle au Noix which paved the way for the British to capture Montreal on September 8, 1760. 

The French and Indian War was over. Rufus returned to his primary trade of building mills.

His journal has a curious entry on June 27, 1760: Rufus Putnam reported having a dream that he was attending a wedding in the home of his future father-in-law William Ayers. Rufus then realized he was the one being married. In another dream a short time later he was in a room with his future wife Elizabeth Ayers. 

September 10, 1761: He married Elizabeth Ayers but she died less than a year later. Shortly after that, their infant son was also buried. “Thus was I in less than a year deprived of mother and child, and in them, as I then thought, of all earthly comfort.” He would remarry in 1765.

January 10, 1773: Agreed to help find land in the new Florida Territory for veterans of the French and Indian war. But the promised king’s order authorizing the grants was never approved. The Putnam party’s eight month exploration of the lands was for naught. He was reimbursed for only a fraction of his time and expense.

Rufus enlisted again in 1775 - this time in the Revolutionary War. Hildreth: “He buckled on his sword when the strife began, and he did not lay it down till liberty was secure and peace again smiled upon the land” - nearly six years later.

Image of Fort Putnam at West Point NY built in 1778 by Rufus Putnam and 300 soldiers from the 5th Massachusetts Regiment.

Such was Rufus Putnam’s lifelong sense of duty, commitment, and perseverance that went into whatever endeavor he chose.

Cone, Mary, Life of Rufus Putnam with Extracts from His Journal, Cleveland, William W. Williams, 1886

Dawes, Ephraim Cutler, Journal of Gen. Rufus Putnam Kept in Northern New York During Four Campaigns of the Old French and Indian War 1757-1760,  Albany, NY, Joel Munsell's Sons, 1886

Hildreth, Samuel, Biographical and Historical Memoirs of the Early Pioneer Settlers of Ohio, Cincinnati, H. W. Derby & Co., 1852

Mad Monarchist blog, "Sacrifice at Fort Carillon," November 30, 2017, madmonarchist.

New York State Military Museum, "Fort Putnam," at, "History," references to Fort Edward

"Rufus Putnam," Wikipedia, viewed at

Wednesday, July 17, 2019

L. L. Peddinghaus, The Rambler: When Driving Was a Real Adventure

L. L. “Lew” Peddinghaus operated a Marietta jewelry store in 1905 at 187 Front Street. He must have been successful because he was able to afford new cars every year or so. That was a big deal at the time.

Driving was really an adventure then. Hardly anyone owned an automobile. Cars were not used for everyday transportation but for recreational outings. The auto was kept in a garage or barn when not used. 

Photo of the Lew and Edith Peddinghaus in their 1907 Rambler automobile at the old Marietta Country Club, image from an unknown publication.

Mechanical problems were routine on most trips. There were few creature comforts - passengers were prepared to get wet, muddy, cold, hot, sunburned, windblown. Roads were marginal at best; few were paved. Directional signs were not reliable; getting lost was part of the adventure.

Photo of the Peddinghauses in their 1908 Rambler (on the left) and Mr. and Mrs. Tom Sheets who were having car trouble. Photo from S. Durward Hoag collection, viewed at the Washington County Local History and Genealogy Library. Notice the license plate on the Rambler, "28" with OH monogram but no date. This was the first year that Ohio issued automobile state license plates.
1908 Ohio License Plate image from

The Rambler moniker fit well - it was the name of the automobile that Peddinghaus drove, and it described his wayfaring spirit. The Rambler was an early automobile produced by Thomas B. Jeffrey Company, maker of the Rambler bicycle. The car was manufactured in a former bike factory in Kenosha, Wisconsin. Rambler was a pioneering brand, introducing such features as a steering wheel and spare tire. The advertisement below listed the price at $1400, about $35,000 in today’s dollars.

Print advertisement for the Rambler - early 1900s. Image courtesy of Washington County Local History and Genealogy Library

Restored 1904 Rambler photographed in the London to Brighton Veteran Car Run in 2010, viewed at

Lew Peddinghaus and his wife Edith - were frequent travelers. Lew kept meticulous notes on each trip - usually matter-of-fact even in trying situations, sometimes amusing, always fascinating. Fortunately, his journals were preserved, and now reside at the Washington County Genealogical and Local History Library. Quotes in this article are from Peddinghaus's journal or his notes.

This book was published to record automobile trips. There were meticulous details, from the date and time to the weather, distance, and incidents.

Peddinghaus documented what he called the “Rambler Reign,” the period of 1904-1909 when he owned four Rambler automobiles. Each was described in detail, for example, the 1905 model:
“No. 2 Rambler: (1905-1906) Rambler 5489 Type 3, Weight 2300 lbs, 18 hp Ave. speed 30 MPH. Two cylinder opposed, 5 & 6, single chain drive, Kahki top, olive green, Surrey Model (Without the fringe on top.) Veedometer, Hartford shock arresters.”

Here are records of a few trips from in his journal:

One of the shortest was a problem-plagued trip from his home on Front Street to the Marietta Country Club, then located in Devola.
Date: July 3, 1907
Time of start: 7 pm
Guests: Mrs. Gallagher, Miss Gallagher, her friend Miss Hubbard, Edith
Incidents: picked up passengers. “When got to road near dam, key in left rear wheel worked loose;...could not repair it. (Passengers) walked to streetcar, on the way telephoned Andersons. After waiting an hour and a half, Kale came with Mr. Baxter and Buick. Kale then started after a rope (for towing) and after an hour,...found one. Hitched on and started towing us....the Buick broke down. Worked about an hour, and found one of the valves sticking. Reached home at 11:25 pm.“ No indication of frustration in his journal - just the facts.

There were often multi-day trips covering hundreds of miles. One such trip took them to Cleveland and back over 10 days in September, 1906. Their circuit included Zanesville, Columbus, Dayton, Lima, Sandusky, Cleveland, Wooster, Zanesville, and back to Marietta. Peddinghaus kept incredible details. On that trip, the vehicle operated for 37 hours, 16 minutes covering 624.1 miles, with an average speed of 17.05 miles per hour. There were journal entries for each day of travel. How many times have you recorded these details of your trips?

Here are some of his notes for that trip; each segment was a day's travel:

From Marietta to Zanesville: Average speed 13.2 mph, drove through rain, put on tire chains to navigate the muddy road, “every one wet.,” stopped to repair hub brakes which locked up, “I got into poison ivy.”

From Zanesville to Columbus: Average speed 20.7 mph (very good for the time); stopped to replace a link in broken chain. Peddinghaus often recorded humorous details: for example in Columbus: “George (Alexander, one of his passengers) stuck on girl in drug store, bought everything she offered. Hair tonic etc.”

Columbus to Dayton: a rare problem-free travel day: “Roads...level and fine. Everything working fine, no stops, and no trouble.” 

Dayton to Lima: “Had trouble getting out of Dayton and from here on got lost in every town we went through.” 

Lima to Sandusky: Averaged 22.15 mph. Fair dinner at Tiffin - Peddinghaus often commented on meals or lodging. “Tried to turn out (pull over) for a team of horses; (car) sank into ditch. Got out easily. Teamsters bid us a merry ‘ta-ta.’ Next time they turn out, not me.”

Cleveland to Wooster: Rain in am, cloudy in pm, “crossed ‘Brooklyn Bridge,’ came to toll gate paid 7 cents and had 19 miles of good brick pavement, another toll gate and pay 4 cents fair dirt road all way to Wooster.”

Wooster to Zanesville: “A day of trouble!” Muddy road; tire chain caught on mud guard; clutch failed on long steep hill - recruited 2 boys with horse team to pull them up the hill. “Met team (of horses) on hill; woman claimed her horse would never pass one of ‘them nasty things (automobiles),’ have been lost in every town we passed through. Clutch failed on hill below Dresden. Got dark. Too late for supper at Clarendon in Zanesville. Hardest day and most trouble have ever had.”

Zanesville to Marietta: Another challenging day. Muddy. Averaged only 12.8 mph. Started out but had to return to have high speed clutch tightened. Engine missing badly; bridge out, changed plugs near Malta. Mrs. Alexander visited her uncle in McConnelsville. At Beverly George Alexander saw “a good looking girl leading a horse which (was) frightened (by their) car and took off down a road. George liked this girl’s appearance so well that he chased the horse and finally returned it to the good looking girl.” No comment on Mrs. Alexander’s reaction to the good looking girl incident. Arrived home at 6:45 pm.

In 1908 they drove to New England with a Dr. and Mrs. Howard Smith and their son Lawrence. The trip started on an uncertain note: "Leave Marietta expecting to go to Berkshires...May not get there. Car is heavy (with luggage and passengers) and overloaded." It was a characteristically bold Peddinghaus venture, driving that far in an open vehicle, fully loaded with 5 people, with the constant threat of breakdowns, rough roads, bad weather, and poor road signage. They were gone 23 days. His journal reflects his great satisfaction with a successful trip: "1748.7 miles - one puncture - valves slipped twice - pump leaked - radiator leaked. Never had to stop. Always reached (destinations) on time. Good car - delightful trip." 

Thanks to Lew Peddinghaus's pioneering spirit and journal notes, we have a fascinating glimpse into early auto travel.

Note: The Peddinghaus Jewelry business was sold in 1918 to Walter A. Baker (your author's grandfather) and his cousin Henry Baker. The store became Baker & Baker Jewelers. The business continues today under the ownership of Larry Hall and his family.