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Marietta: A Presidential History

Image courtesy Marietta CVB

As we greet another Election Day here in Marietta, it’s interesting to look back at how intermingled the history of Marietta is with America’s political past.

George Washington is closely interwoven into Marietta’s history. As a young man, Washington helped survey much of the lands that comprise Marietta today. He likely camped along the river in what is now Reno. You can learn more about Washington’s time in the Mid-Ohio Valley here.

A Johnson Cook wrote to President Thomas Jefferson from Marietta in 1801. He promises to name his newly born son after the President, but also adds this fascinating little note: “I live in the thicket of your sworn enemies there is rarely a republikan in Marietta.” It’s hard to imagine that a famous President like Thomas was unpopular in his own day, but there you have proof. You can read the whole letter here.

Return J Meigs, Jr., in addition to being one of the first settlers of Marietta and an eventual Ohio governor, also ties Marietta to President James Madison. Madison tapped Meigs to be Postmaster General of the United States, a position in which Meigs excelled.

Both Teddy and Franklin D. Roosevelt visited Marietta at different times. TR came to Muskingum Park in 1912, and FDR visited in 1938 to help celebrate the 150th anniversary of the Northwest Territory founding.

Ronald Reagan spoke at Marietta College in 1980, and Sarah Palin stopped by during her Vice-Presidential Run.

The history of Marietta is an excellent prism through which the history of the United States can be viewed. In this 230th anniversary year of Marietta, it is important to note, as people head to the polls once again, that Marietta has been linked closely to national history from the time of its founding to the present day. That should certainly add some gravity to your trip to the polls.

Posted by: Colby Ferraris on November 6, 2018
Posted in: Uncategorized