Ohio History Journal

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164 Ohio Arch

164       Ohio Arch. and His. Society Publications.  [VOL. 3





When asked but a few hours ago to take part in the exercises

of this forenoon, I gladly consented; for, in my opinion, no inter-

est that has been developed in Gallia county in the first century

of its settlement is more worthy of being brought to remem-

brance and notice than its educational interests, and my connec-

tion for a number of years with Rio Grande college enables me

to set forth briefly its history and present condition. Other

gentlemen, who have given much time and research to the task,

have given an account of the public and other schools of this

city and of the county in general. I will confine my remarks to

the institution just named.

Shortly after the war of 1812, Nehemiah Atwood, a native

of Shenandoah county, Virginia, a man who had done honorable

service as an officer in the American army, settled in this county.

In 1819 he was married to Permelia Ridgeway, daughter of David

Ridgeway, who had come to Gallia county from South Carolina

in 1803. Mr. Atwood and his wife settled upon a farm near

where the present village of Rio Grande stands, and the remain-

der of their long and active lives was spent in the same neighbor-

hood. Without children, with good health, industry, economy,

and more than ordinary business qualifications, they accumulated

in about thirty years an estate of one hundred thousand dollars.

About 1850 a new personal force began to make itself felt

in the vicinity of their home, and we are called to notice a man

who afterward became one of the most useful and honored

citizens that this county has ever had. Rev. I. Z. Haning,

a native of Athens county, and a student of the Ohio University,

came as an evangelist into Huntington and Raccoon townships,

and under his divinely blessed labors a profound and extended

religious reformation took place, the good results of which are

yet visible in many forms.

Mr. and Mrs. Atwood listened to his teaching, were con-

verted to Christ, and from that day forth lived a new life. They

became studious and constant workers in their church and