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Welcome to
Muskingum County, Ohio
History & Genealogy

who, under command of General Rufus Putnam
landed at the mouth of the Muskingum River
on the

Seventh of April, 1788
and commenced the First White Settlement in
the North West Territory

Robert Clarke & Co.

For another Biographical Index, CLICK HERE

By J. Hope Sutor together with
of many of its Leading and Prominent Citizens and Illustrious Dead.
Published Chicago: The S. J. Clarke Publishing Co.

In the preparation of these sketches the author has freely used the excellent historical works of Dr. S. P. Hildreth, "Pioneer History: and "Lives of the Early Settlers of Ohio."  Some facts were obtained from the "History of Washington County, Ohio,"  some from the "History of Danvers, Massachusetts," and many from unpublished manuscripts.

(The Founders of Ohio landed from their boat, the Mayflower, at Marietta, April 7, 1788, and established the first English settlement in North-western Territory.  Oyo was the Indian name for Ohio.)

The footsteps of a hundred years
Have echoed, sine o'er Braddock's Raod,
Bold Putnam and the Pioneers
Led History the way they strode

On wild Monongahela's stream
They launched the Mayflower of the West,
A perfect State their civic dream,
A new New World their pilgrim quest.

When April robed the Buckeye trees
Muskingum's bosky shore they trod;
They pitched their tent, and to the breeze
Flung freedom's star-flag, thanking God.

As glides the Oyo's solemn flood
Their generation feeted on;
Our veins are thrilling with their blood,
But they, the Pioneers, are gone.

Though storied tombs may not enshrine
The dust of our illustrious sires,
Behold, where monumental shine
Proud Marietta's votive spires.

Ohio carves and consecrates
In her own heart their every name;
The Founders of majestic States -
Their epitaph - immortal fame.

- W. H. Venable.


Barlow, James

Bushnell, Daniel
Coburn, Phineas
Cooper, Ezekiel
Corey, Ebenezer
Cushing, Samuel
Cutler, Jervis
Danton, Israel
Davis, Daniel
Davis, Jonas
Devol, Allen
Devol, Gilbert Jr.
Devol, Jonathan
Dodge, Isaac
Dodge, Oliver
Felshaw, Samuel
Flint, Hezekiah
Flint, Hezekiah, Jr.
Foster, Peregrine
Gardner, John
Gray, William
Griswold, Benjamin
Kirtland, Elizur
Learned, Theophilus
Lincoln, Joseph
Martin, Simeon
Mason, William
Mathews, John
Maxon, Henry
Meigs, Return Jonathan
Miller, William
Moulton, Edmund
Moulton, William
Munro, Josiah
Porter, Amos
Putnam, Allen
Putnam, Jethro
Putnam, Rufus
Shaw, Benjamin
Sproat, Earl
Sproat, Ebenezer
Tupper, Anselm
Wallis, David
Wells, Joseph
White, Haffield,
White, Josiah
White, Peletiah
Whitridge, Josiah


     A FLEET of boats  arrived at the mouth of the Muskingum April 7, 1788, "consisting of the Union Galley, of forty five tons burden, designed to pass and repass between this (Muskingum) and Buffalo, or Short Creek, to bring down settlers; the Adelphi ferry boat, burden three tons, for the use of the settlers at the Post; and three log canoes of different sizes." *  The fleet was under the command of General Rufus Putnam, and conveyed to this point the brave and energetic band of pioneers, forty-eight in number, whose mission it was to plant a Christian civilization in the midst of a savage wilderness, where they expected to make their homes.  The directors of the Ohio Company, under whose auspices they came out, had purchased of Congress a million and a half acres of land, and proposed to begin the occupancy of their territory by planting a city at the mouth of the Muskingum.  To effect this purpose a body of picked men was engaged.  The first detachment of these left Danvers, Massachusetts, December 3, 1787; the second went from Hartford, Connecticut, January 1, 1788.  They were to meet at Sumrell's ferry, on the Youghiogheny river and then proceed by water to their destination.
     Many of these first adventurers were share-holders in the Ohio Company, and wisely desired to see the country before removing with their families into a region so far in advance of population, and where danger might well be apprehended.  Great care was taken to admit none but respectable characters, who would make valuable members of the community about to be established.  In a memorandum book of Dr. Manasseh Cutler, one of the directors of the Ohio Company, is a list of thirty-seven men engaged "to go into the Ohio Country, if wanted."  Twenty of those who came were selected from this list; among them, three carpenters and two blacksmiths, a class of men best calculated to build up the projected city, and without whom no civilized community could long exist.  Dr. Cutler writes to Major Sargent, on September 29, 1787: "More than one hundred and fifty have applied to me to go this autumn on the terms we agreed on at the last meeting.  They have almost refused to take a denial.  The men I have engaged are equal to any I would have chosen.
     The winter of 1787-8 was one of the uncommon severity, and the snow on the mountains they were obliged to traverse was of such unusual depth that the men who left Danvers in charge of Major Haffield White had to abandon their wagons and construct sledges to transport their tools and baggage over the Alleghanies, and it was near the last of January, after a most fatiguing march, that they arrived at Sumrell's ferry.  The party from Hartford, conducted by Colonel Ebenezer Sproat, found the mountain roads incumbered by a recent heavy fall of snow, three feet deep.  They also left their wagons, and with their horses in single file, attached to stout sleds, preceded by the men on foot to break a track for the teams, passed the mountain ranges after two weeks of incessant labor and a march which for hardy endurance and heroic fortitude has not been often equaled.  They reached the Youghiogheny on the 14th of February.  General Putnam found of the first party a number ill with small-pox, and the saw-mills frozen up.  It was six weeks before the flotilla we completed that was to carry them to the Muskingum.
     Who were these men who made their way across the mountains through the pathless snow in midwinter, and found themselves, without a room to shelter them, that April morning one hundred years ago on the spot where Marietta now stands?  Are not their very names forgotten by the present generation?  And yet the records of the past give evidence that many of them are worthy of being held in lasting remembrance.  The following items, gleaned from authentic sources, give an epitome of the personal history of the forty-eight as far as the careful investigation of historical records at hand will afford.  Doubtless other interesting facts may be added.
     General Rufus Putnam, the leader of this band of pioneers, was appointed by the directors of the Ohio Company November 23, 1787, "Superintendent of all the business relating to the settlement of their lands in the Territory North-west of the Ohio."  His military record is thus given by the Massachusetts Society of the Cincinnati, of which he was a member.  "Rufus Putnam.  Born Sutton, Massachusetts, April 9, 1738; died Marietta, Ohio, May 4, 1824; a mill-wright; a private soldier in the campaigns 1757-60, in Canada; then settled in New Braintree, Massachusetts; Lieutenant-Colonel in Brewer's Regiment, May, 1775; employed as an engineer in constructing the siege works around Boston; chief engineer of the defenses of New York, in 1776; Colonel August 5, 1776, and commanded the 5th Regiment until commissioned Brigadier-General January 7, 1783; distinguished himself at Saratoga; aide to General Lincoln in quelling Shay's Rebellion; one of the founders of Marietta, Ohio, in 1788; appointed a judge in the North-western Territory, 1789; re-appointed Brigadier-General May 4, 1792;  United States Surveyor-General 1793-1803; Member of the Ohio Constitutional Convention, 1802."  His military record, his services as a Judge and Surveyor-General of the United States, his bravery, good judgment, and unquestioned integrity are too well known to require comment.  He was a director of the Ohio Company, in which he owned five shares of land.  He laid the foundations at Marietta, where he spent the remainder of his life honored and beloved.  In his eighty-seventy year he was called to his reward, and his remains were reverently laid to rest in the Mound Cemetery.  He left numerous and worthy descendants.  The Live of  Rufus Putnam, prepared by Mary Cone was published in 1886.


* Letter of Gen. Putnam to Dr. Cutler.

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