(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.
A TRIBUTE TO THE MEMORY OF THE FOUNDERS OF OHIO
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
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