Ohio History Journal



Archaeological and Historical










When public announcement was made of the ap-

proach of the bicentennial of the birth of George Wash-

ington and the Congress of the United States provided

for an elaborate celebration of this event, many states

appropriated money and appointed commissions in order

that the period designated by the National Government

might be properly observed.

The states in which Washington performed services

or manifested an interest when living seemed naturally

to claim a priority of privilege and patriotic duty to take

a prominent part in this celebration.

The original thirteen states, of course, were honored

with the major part of this observance. Chief interest

centered in the fields where he won fame in the War of

the Revolution and Old Independence Hall where he

presided over the convention that framed the National


To Ohio students of the early history of our country,

the question at once arose, What interest in or contact


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with the territory that afterward became our State did

Washington have or manifest while living? What sites

did he visit? What did he contribute by word or act

that gives Ohio especial claim with the thirteen original

states to take part in this celebration?

Fortunately these questions are all authoritatively

answered in our Publications. In volume seventeen of

the Ohio Archaeological and Historical Society Publica-

tions was published "Washington's Tour to the Ohio,"

with the text of the "Articles of the Mississippi Com-

pany" and an introduction and notes by Archer Butler

Hulbert. In his "Washington's Tour to the Ohio," Hul-

bert included the first complete record from original

manuscripts of Washington's briefer and more elaborate

Journals of his tour to, and voyage on the Ohio River in

1770. This contribution brought to Ohio readers and

to many beyond the limits of our State the first oppor-

tunity to acquaint themselves with a full and authentic

account of this journey on the Ohio in 1770, from Pitts-

burgh to the mouth of the Great Kanawha and return by

boat to Mingo Town.

The issue of the Publications containing Hulbert's

contribution appeared in 1908. At that time there was

no especial interest in George Washington. Of course,

since the French and Indian War, the Revolution and

the establishment of the Constitution, George Washing-

ton has been enshrined in the affectionate regard of the

people of the United States, but this interest, as in the

case of the most distinguished characters of history, had

waned to some extent with the passing of the years.

When attention was drawn to the approach of the

Bicentennial of Washington's birth, there was naturally

Bicentennial Celebration Washington on Ohio River 5

Bicentennial Celebration Washington on Ohio River  5

a great revival of interest in everything that he did in

the years included between his birth and death. As ar-

rangements began for a celebration of the Bicentennial

there was extensive research for accounts of the activi-

ties of his distinguished career. Ohioans who had been

students of the history of their own State gradually re-

called that Washington at one time visited this region

before it passed from the possession of Great Britain,

while as yet it was a portion of the unorganized "West-

ern Country." It was soon demonstrated that only a

few of the citizens of our State had any knowledge,

whatever, of this journey on the Ohio River. At the

opening of the Bicentennial year, set apart in honor of

the memory of Washington, perhaps not more than one

in one thousand of the citizens of the State knew that he

had ever visited this region. History students soon con-

sulted the story of this event as recorded in the publica-

tions of the Ohio State Archaeological and Historical


As early as the year 1931, the suggestion was made

that the states bordering on that portion of the Ohio

River which extended from Pittsburgh to the mouth of

the Great Kanawha should join in a pageant to repro-

duce this journey in the autumn of 1932--one hundred

and sixty-two years after the original journey by Wash-

ington and his party. The Marietta Times was perhaps

the first newspaper that published the suggestion.

On August 19, 1931, under the caption, "Pleasing

Celebration Plan," appeared in that paper the following


The plan made by a Marietta committee to celebrate the 200th

anniversary of the birth of George Washington next year by the

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presentation of a progressive pageant along 250 miles of the upper

Ohio Valley, with other cities and towns joining forces, promises

one of the most interesting features of the general celebration that

will be held throughout the Nation. If the needed cooperation is

secured from the other communities that are directly interested

and connected with Washington's historic trip down the river in

1770, this pageantry should attract national attention. It is taken

for granted that little difficulty will be encountered along this line.

The idea is to reproduce with historic truth the chief incidents

of General Washington's boat trip down the Ohio, accompanied

by a few white men and Indians, in the course of which he camped

along the banks and looked over this western territory. It was

virgin country then, this journey having been made eighteen years

before the first permanent settlement was established at Marietta.

One of the beauties of the plan, aside from its historic in-

terest and the splendid natural setting it will utilize, is that it will

be possible to put it through with historical accuracy. There need

be no guessing, such as often makes such presentations ridiculous

to the informed beholder. General Washington's Diary for that

year, available to the men and women who are organizing the

Ohio Valley celebration, furnishes all the facts needed with

enough detail to make possible the staging of a colorful pageant

for which no one will have to draw much on his imagination.

That should make it doubly interesting.

This plan was later taken up by other papers, by the

Daughters of the American Revolution, and citizens es-

pecially interested in making this the climax of celebra-

tions in Ohio, West Virginia, and Western Pennsyl-


Unfortunately the financial depression, which began

earlier, was making itself felt when the General Assem-

blies of the states interested held their meetings in the

early part of 1931. It was difficult to persuade these leg-

islative bodies to appropriate money for this patriotic

purpose. West Virginia, however, led the van in financial

provision. Ten thousand dollars was appropriated by this

State. Ohio with a population almost four times as

large appropriated only five thousand dollars while

Bicentennial Celebration Washington on Ohio River 7

Bicentennial Celebration Washington on Ohio River  7

Western Pennsylvania failed to raise any money by state

appropriations or otherwise for the reproduction of this

journey down the Ohio. This left the burden of provi-

sion for the event with West Virginia and Ohio. These

two states had appointed commissions to have charge of

all the George Washington Bicentennial celebrations

within their borders. The commissions of these two

states cooperated in the enactment of the Bicentennial

River Pageant.

Following are the members of the


Wm. G. Conley, Governor of West Virginia, ex-officio mem-

ber, Charleston.

M. Z. White, President of State Senate, ex-officio member,


J. Alfred Taylor, Speaker of the House of Delegates, ex-

officio member, Fayetteville.

Clyde B. Johnson, State Senator, Charleston.

W. Edwin Wells, State Senator, Newell.

C. O. Weissenburger, State Senator, Point Pleasant.

McGinnis Hatfield, State Senator, Welch.

A. J. Barnhart, Member of the House of Delegates, Charles-


Fred B. Watkins, Member of the House of Delegates,


George A. Laughlin, Member of the House of Delegates,


Howard Sutherland, Elkins, West Virginia and Washington,

D. C.

Mrs. Clement L. Shaver, Fairmont.

Wm. B. Matthews, Charleston.

W. F. Alexander, Charleston.

Miss Rose McGraw, Grafton.

Judge H. Roy Waugh, Buckhannon.

H. J. Lockhart, Parkersburg.

W. B. Hines, White Sulphur Springs.

The Ohio General Assembly appointed a committee

of the following four members to direct the part of the

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State in this celebration and appropriated five thousand

dollars for their expenses:

Senators: L. L. Marshall and William I. Spangler.

Representatives: Virgil E. Cramer and S. Peyton Baker.

Later Governor White appointed a commission to

operate under the title "Ohio State Commission for the

Celebration of the Two-Hundredth Anniversary of the

Birth of George Washington."

The National Commission had fixed the time limits

of the celebration. They were to cover the period from

February 22nd to Thanksgiving Day of the year 1932.

The Ohio State Commission included the following

officers and members:


Gov. George White, Chairman

Lieut. Gov. Wm. G. Pickrel

Speaker of House of Representatives Arthur Hamilton


Senators: L. L. Marshall, Chairman, Wm. I. Spangler,


Representatives: Virgil E. Cramer, Vice Chairman, S. Pey-

ton Baker, Secretary.


Legislative Committee: B. O. Skinner, F. D. Henderson, C.

B. Galbreath, J. C. Campbell.


C. B. Galbreath, Guy-Harold Smith.


Mrs. Walter F. Tobey, Hamilton

Mrs. Ed. S. Conner, Akron

Mrs. Frank C. Martin, Columbus

Mrs. Bernice Pyke, Cleveland

Mrs. Siegmund Herzog, Cleveland

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Bicentennial Celebration Washington on Ohio River  9


Hon. Atlee Pomerene, Cleveland

Dr. Wm. B. Guitteau, Toledo

Prof. T. M. Hoover, Athens

J. E. Hurst, New Philadelphia

Jackson W. Sparrow, Cincinnati

Supt. J. H. Finley, Paulding

Prof. Wm. T. Utter, Granville

Orton G. Rust, Springfield

Prof. A. H. Upham, Oxford

Rev. Fr. B. P. O'Reilly, Dayton

Andrew Squire, Cleveland

O. K. Reames, Zanesfield

James A. Green, Cincinnati

Wm. O'Neil, Akron

Hon. Chas. W. Dick, Akron

Prof. Geo. C. Dietrich, Piqua

Henry Diesel, Sr., Lima

H. B. Barth, East Liverpool

Ed. M. Hawes, Marietta

Frazier Reams, Toledo

Geo. M. Trautman, Columbus

Hon. Arthur P. Lamneck, Columbus

George Washington had three objects in his "tour"

to and down the Ohio River in 1770:

1. To view tracts of land that Captain Crawford had se-

cured for him in Western Pennsylvania.

2. To view the choice unoccupied tracts of land along the

Ohio River for personal purchase.

3. To make a preliminary examination of lands that might

be available for bounties promised soldiers of his Virginia regi-

ment for services in French and Indian War.

This tour had been in contemplation since the year


Following the publishing of Washington's Journal,

to which reference has already been made, and the issue

of Archer Butler Hulbert's Washington and the West,

popular attention has been directed to this feature of his

life interest.

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Bicentennial Celebration Washington on Ohio River 11

Bicentennial Celebration Washington on Ohio River  11

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He was early attracted to the West. We are told by

one historian that his mother, by counsel, in 1747, sought

to dissuade him from a life at sea where his brother

Lawrence had found a romantic career. She directed

his thought "to those darkling forests that stretched il-

limitably away to the westward of their Virginia home."

In youth he became a thrifty lad and manifested a

desire to become a landed proprietor. At the age of six-

teen years he acquired 550 acres of "wild land" in

Frederick County, Virginia, and paid for it with money

earned as surveyor. Two years later he bought a farm

of 456 acres, and in 1752 purchased another tract of 552

acres. Before he was twenty-one years of age, he had

through his own efforts become the owner of 1,558 acres.

Here is conclusive evidence of his early ambition to be-

come an extensive landowner.

After the close of the French and Indian War, in

which he had his earliest military service, the lands east

of the Mississippi and south of the Great Lakes were

transferred to the British, and Washington at this time

was a loyal British subject. He was interested in the

Ohio Company; he was one of the organizers of the

Mississippi Company which sought to obtain from the

Crown of Great Britain a grant of 2,500,000 acres of

land "on the Mississippi and its waters." Four months

after the organization of his company the British Min-

istry issued a proclamation that put an end to grants of

western lands for purposes of settlement. This annoyed

but did not discourage Washington. He continued to

seek information in regard to lands already granted and

to acquire them as he was able.

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Bicentennial Celebration Washington on Ohio River       13

In his early military service he had traversed the

Monongahela and the Allegheny valleys. He had seen

these two rivers unite to form the "Beautiful Ohio."

But he had not explored its valley to the westward.

On October 5, 1770, Washington set out on his jour-

ney to this valley. At this time the territory northwest

of the Ohio River was an unsettled and unorganized wil-

derness.  This journey was commenced almost four

years and seven months before the opening battles of the

Revolution and five years and nine months before the

Declaration of Independence. British authority was then

supreme in the Colonies and George Washington was a

British subject.

He reached Fort Pitt (Pittsburgh), October 17th.

Here he procured two boats; a large one for himself and

seven companions, and a canoe for two Indians. There

was room    in these also for provisions and encampment

outfit.1 On the 20th of October all was in readiness for

the voyage. The sturdy boatmen plied their oars and

the party moved steadily with the current down the


The party consisted of Washington, Dr. James

Craik, Captain William Crawford,2 Joseph Nicholson,

1 Washington paid Nicholson for his services on this trip £5.8, and

Pheasant and an unnamed warrior £10.13. The party took with them

£10.19.2 of stores which were purchased from the commissary at Fort Pitt.

This is apparently the net outlay required for the expedition in cash. It of

course does not include anything for the game taken on the voyage.

2 William Crawford, born Berkeley County, Virginia, 1732, died in

Wyandotte County, Ohio, June 11, 1782. He was a soldier and surveyor,

a friend and associate of George Washington. He served in Braddock's

campaign and was promoted to the rank of Captain on Washington's

recommendation in 1761. He served in Indian campaigns through the years

1763-'64. When the Revolution broke out he joined Washington and took

part in the Battles of Long Island, Trenton, Princeton. At Washington's

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Robert Bell, William Harrison, Charles Morgan, and

Daniel Reardon, in a large canoe which Washington had

procured and provisioned for the trip. Two Indians, one

called The Pheasant and a young unnamed Indian war-

rior, accompanied the party in a separate canoe. Colonel

George Croghan,3 Lieutenant Robert Hamilton and

Alexander McKee4 accompanied the party through the

request he commanded an expedition against the Wyandotte and Delaware

Indians on Sandusky River. Here he was captured by the Indians and died

at the stake on June 11, 1782.

3 George Croghan, an Indian agent, was born in Ireland; he died in

Passayunk, Pennsylvania, in August, 1782. He was educated in Dublin and

came to this country and settled near Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. He was

an Indian trader as early as 1746; was a captain in Braddock's expedition

in 1755; was appointed deputy Indian agent for the Pennsylvania and Ohio

Indians by Sir William Johnson, who, in 1763, sent him to England to

confer with the British government relative to an Indian boundary line;

was sent in 1765 to pacify the Illinois Indians when he was attacked,

wounded, and taken to Vincennes; was released and after he had pacified

the Indians he returned to Pennsylvania and settled near Fort Pitt. He

was especially successful in peaceful negotiations with the Indians prior to

the Revolution.

4 Alexander McKee was a native of Pennsylvania, who early began

trading with the Indians on the Ohio, and by 1772 was appointed deputy-

agent under Sir William Johnson. In 1771 he was justice of the peace for

Bedford, later for Westmoreland County. At the beginning of the Revolu-

tion he inclined to the Royalist side, and was privately given a commission

by Dunmore as lieutenant-colonel of a battalion to be raised near Fort Pitt.

This enlistment was never accomplished, and he contrived to quiet the sus-

picions of the patriot party so that under parole he was allowed his liberty.

In August, 1777, he was confined at Pittsburgh for a brief time, and an

effort was made to remove him to an Eastern post. This he adroitly evaded,

and March 28, 1778, left for Detroit accompanitd by Matthew Elliot and

Simon Girty. The English authorities made him captain in the Indian

department, and after 1778, deputy agent. He had large pay and consid-

erable honor and authority, and led several expeditions against the Ameri-

can frontier. After the Revolution he became a colonel, and was accused

of continuing to incite the tribesmen against the borderers. Certain it is, that

he encouraged the forces against Wayne, and that the battle of Fallen

Timbers (1794) was fought within sight of his house and store on the

Maumee. After the evacuation of Detroit by the British (1796), McKee

removed to Maiden, Ontario, where he died January 14, 1799, of lockjaw.

Bicentennial Celebration Washington on Ohio River 15

Bicentennial Celebration Washington on Ohio River  15

first day's travel. They reached Logstown, located near

the present site of Economy, Pennsylvania, on the eve-

ning of the first day. From this point on the day follow-

ing, Croghan, Hamilton and McKee returned to Pitts-

burgh. On Sunday, October 21st, the party proceeded

down the river passing the mouth of Big Beaver Creek,

Raccoon Creek and Little Beaver Creek. Three miles

below the mouth of the Little Beaver the party encamped

for the night.

The night of October 21st was dark and stormy. It

began to snow about midnight and continued almost

without interruption until morning. The party was not

able to start down the river until about one-half past

seven o'clock.

Such was the weather condition in 1770, when

Washington came to the Ohio shores in the vicinity of

East Liverpool. In his Journal he does not state on

which side of the river he encamped.

On October 21, 1932, the weather was seasonable

but cloudy. The previous day had been delightful

autumn weather. It would have been most pleasant to

have launched the boats for the reenactment of Wash-

ington's journey down the Ohio River had provision

been made for the performance of that part of the jour-

ney which belonged to Western Pennsylvania. As means

could not be procured for this, however, it had to be


At East Liverpool5 a large crowd had assembled in

5 East Liverpool was the first city on the Ohio River to dedicate a

marker to Washington in the Bicentennial year. On February 24, 1932, the

Daughters of the American Revolution unveiled a bronze tablet set in a

large granite boulder in the presence of the school children and a large

representation of older citizens.

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which school children were numerously represented.

The boat with the party enacting the voyage of Wash-

ington came to the landing in good form as did also the

smaller canoe containing the two Indians. The presence

of several other small craft in the river detracted some-

what from the appearance of the two boats but at the

landing the view was very satisfactory. "A barrel of

biscuit" was taken from the larger boat to the smaller

canoe and rowed to Babb's Island, which evidently was

the island on which Washington had the barrel of biscuit

hidden one hundred and sixty-two years before in order

to lighten the load of the larger boat on the journey down

the river. The party then pitched their tents and en-

camped. Their every movement was closely watched by

the crowds of children who pressed very close to the


On the evening of the 21st a delightful banquet was

held in Memorial Hall, East Liverpool, under the aus-

pices of the Rebecca Griscom chapter members of the

D. A. R., dressed in colonial costumes. The speakers,

introduced by Mrs. R. L. Cawood, Regent, included State

Senators: Earl R. Lewis of St. Clairsville and William

I. Spangler, Tarlton; C. B. Galbreath, Columbus; State

D. A. R. Regent, Mrs. Asa Messenger, Xenia; Director

N. E. District D. A. R., Mrs. Walter Meals, Cleveland;

D. A. R. Chairman of Committee of Marking Historical

Spots, Mrs. O. D. Dailey of Albany; and Mrs. H. E.

McFadden, Regent of the Steubenville chapter.

The voyagers representing George Washington and

his party were present in costume and each in turn was

presented. A beautiful pageant was enacted by children

in colonial costume.

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Bicentennial Celebration Washington on Ohio River  17

Vol. XLII--2

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The Washington Bicentennial Pageant party left its

encampment in East Liverpool on the morning of Oc-

tober 22nd and proceeded down the river. It soon be-

came evident that thousands of people were to witness

the progress of the two boats between the scheduled en-

campments. Children and grown persons came down to

the river's edge from many points, to see the boats pass.

They got excellent views and many pictures were taken.

The river was very generally clear of other craft of all

kinds and cameras were unobstructed.

As the party came opposite the city of Wellsville it

appeared that the entire population had come forth to

witness the passing pageant. Over five thousand people

lined the shores and waved their salutations. Mayor W.

H. Daugherty in behalf of the city sent his message by

boat to meet the voyagers. William Paisley had the

honor of bearing the message which opened with these


We send you greetings from our people--from this spot on

the beautiful, winding, historic Ohio.

After this long stretch of years, the memory of this event

which you celebrate today, will ever be fresh in our hearts as we

think of the magnificent pageant and the event which your jour-

ney symbolizes today.***

George Washington--father of our federated Republic, our

bulwark in war, our guide in peace:

Your achievements will ever survive in our hearts, in the

growing knowledge of our children, in the influence for good

throughout the world. When other monuments of glory shall

pass away, Washington's glory unfaded will still shine and con-

tinue to shine until the love of virtue ceases among mankind.

To you, voyagers, and your representation of the glory of

this bicentennial year, we, the citizens of Wellsville, send greet-


W. H. Daugherty, Mayor of the City of Wellsville.

Bicentennial Celebration Washington on Ohio River 19

Bicentennial Celebration Washington on Ohio River  19

With this message from the Mayor came also a trib-

ute prepared for the occasion, written by Mrs. Luella

Southwick Lones, the wife of Common Pleas Judge

Lones of Columbiana County. It read as follows:



Washington down the Ohio came to make a survey of the land;

There were only few whites in this valley, with Indians on every


In his party of seven were two red-men as guides and interpreters,


He seemed unafraid of the venture as forth on his mission he set.

They floated down stream on a flat-boat. From the log that he

kept it would seem

They only proceeded by day-time, camping nights at the mouth of

some stream.

Far seeing he thought of this valley when under the white man's


Making notes of the land and the timber, the soil, the sub-strata,

the coal.

This trip took them down to Kanawha, where an Indian came over


Many miles, just to see the great soldier and extend him a cordial


Many times he had tried in the battle to kill him, the chieftain

said then;

But he found the Great Spirit protected this wonderful leader of


The dignified chieftains had found him a man of great dignity,


And homage they graciously paid him as one to whom homage

was due.

To his captives he'd always shown kindness--an example to In-

dians set,

And while fiercest of foes are the red-men, a kindness they never


So Washington had an ovation at the end of his journey down


One of greatest surprise and elation--'twas an Indian-summer-

like dream;

For what could be greater achievement? And what, at his jour-

ney's end,

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Could greater prize be to a warrior, than to find here a foe turned

to friend!


At Toronto demonstrations of interests similar to

those at Wellsville greeted the river pageant as it passed.

Citizens including a large representation of school chil-

dren and teachers sought the shore and other points of

vantage to see the boats pass. Even the smallest villages

on either side of the river made response to the little

party of "pioneers" as they passed.

As they reached Steubenville there were increased

manifestations of interest. People came by thousands

to hail the party. Enthusiasm grew until Mingo Junc-

tion two miles below Steubenville with corporate limits

contiguous was reached. Here a great pageant, ap-

propriately celebrating the events of one hundred and

sixty-two years ago was enacted on the very site of the

Indian Mingo Town.

Here George Washington and his party had en-

camped on the evening of October 22, 1770. Here they

met the seventy inhabitants of the Iroquois village and

sixty Iroquois warriors on their way "to the Cherokee

to proceed to war against the Cuttawbas." Here was a

colorful assembly for representation in a historical pa-

geant. Here Washington had been delayed on his voy-

age down the river by a report that two traders had been

killed "at a town called the Grapevine Town, thirty-

eight miles below this," which caused the party to hesi-

tate before proceeding to "wait for further intelligence"

and fears later were allayed when they learned that only

one man had lost his life and that he had accidentally


Bicentennial Celebration Washington on Ohio River 21

Bicentennial Celebration Washington on Ohio River   21

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On the return voyage up the river they reached this

village November 17, 1770, and remained here until

November 20th. On November 18th Washington

agreed with two Delaware Indians to take his boat to

Pittsburgh for six dollars and a quart tin can. Here he

and his party somewhat impatiently waited till the morn-

ing of November 20th, when an Indian that had been

sent for them brought horses to convey the party over-

land to Pittsburgh. On his voyage down and up the

Ohio Washington therefore remained at Mingo Town

about four and one-half days. This gave the manager

of the river pageants and his local assistants abundant

material out of which to construct a wonderful enter-

tainment. These materials were most effectively used.

October 22, 1932, was cloudless. The temperature

was mild. The shores and hills up and down the valley

were arrayed in autumnal colors. It was a typical In-

dian summer day. Under the local leadership of Pro-

fessor Claude Bruner, Superintendent of the Mingo

Junction Schools, and William A. Mills, Manager of the

Steubenville Chamber of Commerce, hurried but ample

preparation had been made for the local celebration. A

wide expanse of ground had been set aside for the event

and paved with slag contributed by a local manufac-

turing concern, the Carnegie Steel Company, until it was

level as a floor. Around it all was stretched an iron

cable beyond which the great crowd began early in the

afternoon to assemble. Inside of the enclosure was a

small platform on which the officers, speakers of the day

and a very limited number of guests were assembled.

Practically all of the protected space was assigned to the

two hundred actors arrayed in colorful and appropriate

Bicentennial Celebration Washington on Ohio River 23

Bicentennial Celebration Washington on Ohio River  23

costumes. The river was cleared of traffic and the boats

with the representatives of George Washington and his

party arrived in impressive form and were welcomed by

the Indians.

The Pittsburgh Press of October 22nd, which gives

its front page to the pageant at this point, says in open-

ing its news-story:

Clear, green waters swirled beneath a fragile canoe as a party

of white men, obviously woodsmen and scouts, paddled their way

to shore.

On the bank waited a horde of Indian braves, some gaudy in

their war-paint. In the background, half hidden by a fringe of

trees, waited the squaws and papooses.

As the canoe prow grounded, a tall, erect, bronzed man in

military cape and cocked hat leaped ashore. He was George

Washington, and he advanced with his party to meet the Indians,

making the signs of friendship and peace.

That was one hundred and sixty-two years ago. Today, to

the accompaniment of the beating of tomtoms and waving toma-

hawks and war clubs, the visit of Washington and his aides to

"Mingo Town" as the Indian village was then known, is being


More than 20,000 people were expected at Mingo Junction,

near here, this afternoon as the visit of Washington to the recon-

structed Six-Nations' town was to be staged as part of the ten-

day river pageant comprising this district's part of the nation-

wide Washington Bicentennial Celebration.

Episodes of Washington's 1770 journey are being reenacted

with as much historical accuracy as possible. Descriptions of the

visit, the people and the country, are contained in Washington's

own diary, used as a guide by O. K. Reames, noted Ohio Indian

historian who is in charge.

The Herald Star of Steubenville, Ohio, October

22nd gives an excellent and detailed account of the cele-

bration at Mingo Junction. In regard to the pageant

enacted there, we quote this statement:

The Indian pageant was written and directed by O. K.

Reames, Zanesfield, Ohio, and he was assisted in its direction by

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four members of the Mingo Junction High School faculty, John

Muth, W. C. Herzog, Margaret Spencer, and Elinor Wilson.

The pageant in two episodes represented Washington's en-

campment at Mingo Town on his journey down the river; the

second his longer visit on his return and his departure overland

to Pittsburgh.

These episodes were presented without a break, and

with some very fine acting, especially by Mr. L. R.

Webb, representing George Washington, and by Mrs.

Claude Bruner who had the part of the Indian sorceress.

At Mingo Junction, State Senator Earl Lewis intro-

duced a number of guests, including Mrs. Asa Messen-

ger, State D. A. R. Regent; Mrs. Walter Meals, Cleve-

land, Northwest District Regent; Mrs. Harry Irons,

Toronto Regent; Mrs. H. E. McFadden, Steubenville

Regent, and Congressman Frank Murphy.

Mrs. O. D. Dailey, of New Albany, Ohio, D. A. R.

Chairman of committee on marking historical sites of

the State, spoke of the significance of Washington's

journey down the Ohio. In the course of her address

she said:

Washington lured a fine type of colonial soldiers to this region

and their sterling citizenship built the foundations for this section

of the country. Today, these highways and industries, these fine

communities stand as a tribute to the vision Washington had,

when he traveled in 1770 that highway, the Ohio River.

Governor George White in his speech spoke of the

present depression and confusion throughout the world

and said:

In the days of prosperity we builded mightily in a material

sense--tallest buildings, most ornate homes, fortunes--but now

we must return to those fundamentals that the great American,

Washington, urged upon his countrymen--the ideals of honesty,

frugality, industry and harmony. We must have that faith in

Bicentennial Celebration Washington on Ohio River 25

Bicentennial Celebration Washington on Ohio River  25

God, that led Washington through the perils of war. We must

have a political stability, too, that would not accept communism

or bolshevism any more than Washington would have accepted

soapbox mouthings.

"washington," he declared, "was a great American

because he was willing to sacrifice himself for constitu-

tional government and liberty."

The Herald-Star of Steubenville, in its issue follow-

ing the celebration at Mingo Junction under the caption

"Pageant Brings Praise," said:

26 Ohio Arch

26        Ohio Arch. and Hist. Society Publications


Praise for the success of the pageant was being sounded to-

day for O. K. Reames, pageant director, and his Mingo Junction

aides, John Muth, W. C. Herzog, Miss Margaret Spencer and

Miss Elinor Wilson. These four drilled the boys and girls in

their dances and games and songs, brightening the pageantry by

a whirling mass of color and sound at every stage of the pro-


Red Men's and Pocahontas lodges of Steubenville and Mingo

Junction also contributed to the pageant.

L. R. Webb, Steubenville, Boy Scout executive, and other

members of the cast who took leading roles gave interesting read-

ing to the lines of the pageant written by Reames. Mrs. Claude

Bruner, who took the role of the sorceress, drew applause with

her dramatic contribution to the speaking parts.

All of the speaking program and sound effects were carried

to every part of the pageant grounds by an amplifying system

set up by Harry McFeely, Steubenville. Not a detail was lost.

Bruner acted as a commentator, explaining the course of the

pageant. News-reel photographers filmed part of the pageant.

Mrs. Goehring, who has just accepted the post of district

chairman for marking historic Revolutionary sites, presided at

brief rites at Potter spring, Commercial street, Mingo, following

the pageant, where a campsite marker was unveiled. The presen-

tation was made by Mrs. Dailey and Mayor G. E. Fithen accepted.

Nearly 3,000 persons lingered to watch those ceremonies.

Arrangements for the vast crowd in attendance

were all that could be desired. Loud speakers carried

every word with remarkable distinctness to the vast au-

dience which surpassed even the generous prediction of

the morning edition of the Pittsburgh Press. In the

opinion of many present at least 30,000 witnessed the

pageant at this point. Not only were the accommoda-

tions all that could be desired, but the order was perfect.

The exercises lasted three hours and presented such a

variety to ear and eye that the big crowd including many

school children who are apt to become restless on such

occasion were orderly, attentive and deeply interested


Bicentennial Celebration Washington on Ohio River 27

Bicentennial Celebration Washington on Ohio River  27

Interesting, beautiful, and touching was the final

episode at this point. After the three days' delay here

on the return trip, the horses brought to convey Wash-

ington and his party overland to Pittsburgh appeared on

the other side of the river. The party bade farewell to the

Indians of Mingo Town, crossed the river, mounted

their horses and disappeared among the fading beauties

of autumn to visit the shores of the Ohio no more.

This episode was enacted most effectively; Mingo Junc-

tion and Steubenville had added a proud and patriotic

chapter to their local history.

The "Bicentennial Ball" is thus described by the

Steubenville Herald-Star of October 23, 1932:

Culminating the all-day celebration of the Washington bicen-

tennial program, a costume ball was held Saturday night from

eight to twelve o'clock in the ballroom of the Masonic temple.

Sponsored by the affiliated bodies of the Masonic Order and

the Steubenville Chapter of the Daughters of the American

Revolution, the ball was a brilliant society event, largely attended;

many of the guests being in handsome gowns belonging to their

families of several generations ago.

Mrs. Foster Walker, charter D. A. R. member, and DeMar

Erskine led the grand march. Music was furnished by Gene

Dolzelt's orchestra. Refreshments were served during the eve-

ning, a long table being resplendent with low mounds of yellow

dahlias and chrysanthemums, autumn leaves and southern smilax,

offset by tall lighted tapers.

Mrs. J. R. Mossgrove was chairman of the D. A. R. com-

mittee and assisting her were Miss Katharine Sinclair, Mrs.

Stanley Miles, Mrs. Carl Goehring, Mrs. Charles Simeral and a

score of other ladies prominent in the social circles of Steubenville.

Washington and his party hesitated to start down

the river on the morning of October 23rd. They were

still considering the disconcerting news they had heard

in regard to the killing of two white trappers near the

mouth of Captina Creek thirty-eight miles further down

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28        Ohio Arch. and Hist. Society Publications

the river. On learning that only one trapper had lost

his life, and that by accidental drowning, and being as-

sured by the Indians that they were in no way respon-

sible for this, the party at two o'clock in the afternoon

left Mingo Town and proceeded to the mouth of Fish-

ing Creek on the Virginia side where they encamped for

the night.

Their journey was uneventful, though Washington,

as in his entire river trip, found abundance of items of

special interest to him in regard to the lands on either

side of the river. In fact, his entire diary is made up

largely with reference to the country and the rich bot-

toms along the river.

The river pageant, therefore, had little of special

historic interest to serve as a background on this day's

journey. After making the trip to the camp site of

Washington by special arrangement they proceeded

down to the city of Wheeling. In regard to their re-

ception here we quote from the Wheeling Register of

October 24th, the day following their arrival:

"George Washington" and seven venturesome companions,

accompanied by two Indian guides, landed at the Wheeling wharf

yesterday afternoon, beached their flatboat and the Indian birch

canoe, erected shelters, built a fire and prepared a meal, a preface

to spending the night here, intending to continue downstream on

the morrow.

Today, instead of a rude frontier settlement grouped about

Fort Henry, "George Washington," portrayed by Roy W. Lewis.

of St. Clairsville, and his companions found the city of Wheeling

and waiting to greet him a crowd estimated at five thousand

gathered from the immediate Wheeling district.***

The little party of "pioneers" presented a picturesque ap-

pearance as it came down the stream and landed just below the

Wheeling wharf. The two Indian guides in savage regalia and

with painted faces led the way, forging swiftly through the water

in their birchbark craft. Then came the flatboat bearing the re-

Bicentennial Celebration Washington on Ohio River 29

Bicentennial Celebration Washington on Ohio River  29


mainder of the party and propelled into shore by means of clumsy

sweeps. George Washington, wearing a blue cloak and tri-cor-

nered colonial hat, stood at the bow, his companions behind him,

several holding their flintlocks alertly to guard against a surprise

attack from concealed savages. At the sides of all swung powder-

horns. They wore coonskin caps and the traditional garb.

Coming ashore, the party erected three shelters and built a

fire, seating themselves around it while they drank coffee provided

for them.

Later they digressed from the historical narrative to move to

the band platform in Riverside Park near by from where George

Washington introduced all his companions by their historical

names after he had been introduced himself by Manager Mayor

T. Y. Beckett.

The brief formal exercises of welcome were concluded with

an address by Attorney Hugo Blumenberg, who assumed the char-

acter of a resident of the pioneer settlement of 1770, the date of

Washington's journey. The speaker referred to Washington's

experience as a soldier and predicted greater things ahead. "We

are all loyal subjects of King George," the speaker said, "but who

can see what the future may bring? Perhaps some day a new

and great nation will arise in North America."

At the conclusion of the speaking program George Washing-

ton and his party returned to their camp where they prepared a

meal over the fire.

In his original journal Washington continues to de-

scribe streams entering the Ohio and rich bottom lands

on either side. He makes especial mention of passing

the mouth of Pipe Creek, "so called," he tells us, "by

the Indians from a stone which is found there out of

which they make pipes."

Three miles below this they came to the mouth of a

stream emptying into the Ohio from the west, called by

some travelers at that time Fox Grape Vine Creek and

by others Captina Creek. About eight miles up this

stream was an Indian village called Grape-Vine Town.

It was at the mouth of this stream that the two white

traders were reported to have been killed. Here Wash-

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Bicentennial Celebration Washington on Ohio River 31

Bicentennial Celebration Washington on Ohio River  31

ington and his party encamped on the evening of Octo-

ber 24, 1770.

Nicholson and an Indian guide proceeded up the

Creek to learn further in regard to the rumor that had

caused the party much concern. On the day following

they returned stating that they found in the village only

two old Indian women. From them they learned that

the men were out hunting and that the trader had not

been killed but had drowned in attempting to ford the


Washington praised very highly the quality of the

land near this encampment. On his return voyage No-

vember 14th he and his party again camped here. About

two or three miles farther down the river he got out of

the boat and walked up on the Ohio side to his encamp-

ment site. He was enthusiastic in his praise of the fine

rich land. He says in part:

"I got on the west side and walked through a neck of as

good land as ever I saw."

It will then be observed that at this point which is

now occupied by the village of Powhatan Point there

was abundant historical material for an interesting

pageant. This was used by Mr. Reames and his local

associates. Powhatan Point is a village of about two

thousand three hundred inhabitants but on the day of

the celebration there were multiples of that number of

persons present as deeply interested spectators. The

schools were very largely represented, school 'busses

coming from every section of Belmont County to this

historic spot. There was speaking by State Senator

Earl R. Lewis, Mr. John W. Bricker, a member of the

32 Ohio Arch

32       Ohio Arch. and Hist. Society Publications

Ohio Public Utilities Commission and since elected at-

torney general of the State, Reverend H. R. Lloyd of

Marietta, and others present.

A memorial was erected at this point by the Daugh-

ters of the American Revolution and dedicated with ap-

propriate ceremony. A pageant was enacted illustrative

of the history of this place one hundred and sixty-two

years ago.

Following the interesting ceremonies at Powhatan

Point the voyagers proceeded to a point midway in the

"long reach" of the Ohio, which is a stretch of eighteen

or twenty miles in which the river runs almost in a di-

rect straight line to the southwest. About half-way

down this reach, Washington tells us in his Journal, his

party encamped for the night of October 25, 1770. This

point was not far from the present very small village of

Fly. On the opposite side of the river is now the city

of Sistersville in West Virginia.

Here the schools of Monroe County made a most

creditable display of their patriotic interest in the event

celebrated in the reenactment of Washington's journey.

Only one act of interest was recorded at this place by

Washington in his Journal. He states that they set a

line for fish in the Ohio the night of their encampment

here and were gratified the next morning to find that

they had caught what seemed to him a very large cat-

fish. He remarked, however, that it was not considered

large for the Ohio River. A number of incidental re-

marks in his Journal indicate that fish and game

abounded in this region. More than three thousand

people assembled at the hamlet of Fly now numbering

only sixty inhabitants, on October 25, 1932. At least

Bicentennial Celebration Washington on Ohio River 33

Bicentennial Celebration Washington on Ohio River  33

one thousand of these were school children many of

them   carrying   American   flags. They    came   from

Barnesville, Clarington, Woodsfield, New Matamoras,

Antioch and from the Jackson consolidated school at

Fly. Addresses were made by Professor E. G. Nelson,

Superintendent of Schools of Monroe County, and

Reverend A. A. Dye. The Washington pageant party

pitched their tents and stated why they were making the

voyage down the river. They were introduced by the

names of the original Washington party. After the

celebration at Fly the party visited Sistersville where

the schools were dismissed to greet them.

On the way from      Wheeling, West Virginia, the

party was greeted by large crowds at Bellaire, Benwood,

Shadyside, and Moundsville.

Opposite the village of Fly on the West Virginia

shore is the city of Sistersville.  In the Daily Review

of that city under date of October 26th is a somewhat

extended account of the Bicentennial party as it ap-

proached and lingered at that place on the previous day,

October 25th. We quote as follows:

The party traveled in a large skiff and a canoe. At 2:30 the

party was sighted up the river and at 3 o'clock the skiff with seven

men in it, pulled slowly down the West Virginia side here, fol-

lowed by two men, dressed as Indians, in a canoe.

As the party neared the wharf-boat, a gravel boat docked

here cut loose with sharp blasts of its whistle and other river craft

nearby also took part in the welcome to the men who were por-

traying the first trip of George Washington down the Ohio river.

In the large skiff was a man dressed in the costume of George

Washington, he and another man stood on a platform in the front

end of the skiff, while the others were standing in the skiff, which

was propelled by men using long poles on which were nailed pieces

of plank supposed to be the means used by Washington's men to

pull the boat. The men in the boat, other than the one portraying

Vol. XLII--3

34 Ohio Arch

34       Ohio Arch. and Hist. Society Publications


George Washington were dressed in clothing of the colonial days.

Some of the men wore coonskin caps, others wore wigs, and still

others were bareheaded.

As the party neared the wharf-boat here the two men in the

canoe started across the river for the Fly landing, while the party

in the skiff pulled down the river past the ferry-boat landing on

this side and then went directly across the river to the Ohio side.

Hundreds of persons lined the river bank here as the voy-

agers passed along.

At St. Mary's about two thousand people cheered the

voyagers as they moved on toward Marietta, in which

a great celebration was planned.

In this city stands the Rufus Putnam house, the sole

remnant of Campus Martius. It bears a bronze tablet

carrying the statement that, in the opinion of the Daugh-

ters of the American Revolution this is the most historic

building in the State of Ohio. The people of Marietta

take much pride in their history. It was known from

the inception of the proposal to celebrate the George

Washington journey on the Ohio, that helpful service

could be expected from this city. The Marietta Times,

so far as the writer is aware, was the very first news-

paper to suggest the reenactment of Washington's Ohio

River journey. This editorial has already been quoted.

At every stage from the original proposal down to the

consummation of the river pageant, the citizens of

Marietta gave it their enthusiastic support. It was ex-

pected that a wonderful celebration would be staged at

this point and this expectation was not disappointed.

Washington in 1770 had camped near the present vil-

lage of Reno at the mouth of the Little Muskingum

River. This is so close to Marietta that the city staged

its celebration at that point. In spite of the threatening

weather on Thursday afternoon, October 26th, a great

Bicentennial Celebration Washington on Ohio River 35

Bicentennial Celebration Washington on Ohio River  35

36 Ohio Arch

36        Ohio Arch. and list. Society Publications

crowd estimated at 20,000 people, came to witness and

take part in the celebration.    Declaring that "one of

the largest crowds in the history of Marietta and Wash-

ington County attended Marietta's George Washington

Bicentennial pageant which was staged at Ohio River

Dam   17," the Marietta Times continued:

The local pageant was a major and outstanding historical

event and was presented by a local cast of two hundred and fifty

people with Forest I. Boone, a local man, the director.

A check of automobiles in the procession en route to the

scene of the pageantry is given as more than 4,000. Thirty-eight

hundred cars passed over Little Muskingum bridge at Reno.

Hundreds of cars came in the opposite direction from points up

the Ohio River. The traffic and parking situation was handled

with efficiency and satisfaction by Sheriff Gay Thorn and Lieut.

C. E. Mills and a force of assistance from Marietta Police Depart-

ment. Threatening rain held back in the skies until after the

spectacular program was over. The people in the pageant and the

audience had time to get to their automobiles in the parking sec-

tions of the government property before the fury of wind and

rain broke.

The area of parked automobiles was by far the largest ever

handled by local traffic officials. Many automobiles were here

from outside Marietta and Washington County.

The Marietta pageant was arranged to fit into the welcoming

of the official George Washington party of the progressive Ohio

River pageantry enacting Washington's farthest trip to the

West on a land-surveying trip down the Ohio River from Pitts-

burgh to the Great Kanawha River during the latter part of

October and early November, 1770. The scene for the pageantry

was arranged to be enacted near the site of where Washington and

his companions encamped over night while en route down the Ohio

on October 26, 1770.

The pageantry opened with the welcoming of the official

Washington party down the Ohio River. The blowing of the

whistle for the operation of the lock gates at Dam 17 was used

effectively in announcing the arrival of the Washington party in

a large boat, manned by men who rowed with the large sweep

oars; and the two Indians in an Indian type canoe. The Ohio

River Washington was a faithful impersonation of the George

Washington of 162 years ago when he was thirty-eight years old.

Bicentennial Celebration Washington on Ohio River 37

Bicentennial Celebration Washington on Ohio River  37

After the welcoming of the party by a band of In-

dians and the smoking of the pipe of peace, the acting

of the seven historical episodes is described in the Mari-

etta Times as follows:

A musical program was given by the Marietta school band

and other bands massed in the foreground near the natural stage-

setting at the head of the esplanade. The trees, trails and grassy

plots were effective in making a stage for the pageantry that was

not touched by artificial background. The seven scenes and epi-

sodes of the historical pageant followed the address on George

Washington presented by Judge D. H. Thomas in colonial cos-

tume. The address which was broadcast gave the main facts of

history that connected George Washington so intimately with

General Rufus Putnam, the Marietta pioneers and the Marietta

settlement, the seat of civil government in the great Northwest


The historical episodes followed in sequence, beginning with

a Washington home scene and garden party at his Mount Vernon

home previous to the Revolutionary War. The pageant scenes

were concluded with the inauguration of General Arthur St. Clair,

intimate friend of General Washington, as governor of the North-

west Territory in what is Muskingum Park on July 15, 1788.

The program was concluded with the singing of the George Wash-

ington favorite song, "Hail Columbia, Happy Land," the music

a part of his inaugural march; and "America," and a grand march

of all the participants in the pageant, with the official George

Washington of the Ohio River pageant and General Rufus Put-

nam, impersonated by Capt. J. A. Pixley, in the lead. Mayor F.

A. Stedman and Reno G. Hoag, president of the Marietta Cham-

ber of Commerce which sponsored the celebration, brought up the

rear of the procession. The Marietta school band played a patri-

otic march.

The details of the different episodes as portrayed in

the local paper are full of interest.    We regret that

space prevents fuller quotation. Reference must be

made, however, to the presence of lateral descendants of

George Washington. We clip the following from the

news story:

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38       Ohio Arch. and Hist. Society Publications

Bicentennial Celebration Washington on Ohio River 39

Bicentennial Celebration Washington on Ohio River  39


Martha Washington who was impersonated beautifully by

Mrs. Betty Washington Oldham, grand-niece of George Washing-

ton, was presented with a rose by one of the guests, Ann Blazier,

impersonating Miss Elizabeth Cresap. The rose was picked from

an original Mount Vernon rose-bush that has grown in a Marietta

garden for the past thirty-two years.

Other relatives also were present and participated in

the local pageant which closed most impressively. More

than 250 participants represented leading families in

Marietta, many of whom may claim descent from Revo-

tionary ancestors. Those who witnessed this parade in

faithful costumes of the period will never forget it. It

will remain with them through life as one of the out-

standing spectacles of this wonderful Bi-centennial


A word must be said in regard to the broadcasting.

The interpretation of the historical episodes by Mr. E.

M. Hawes was well written and very effectively read.

It could be distinctly heard by everyone in the vast

audience and by an unnumbered host of "listeners in"

at a distance.

Scarcely had the exercises of the afternoon con-

cluded when the rain that had been threatening com-

menced and increased to a regular downpour. It took

more than an hour for the automobiles that occupied the

parking space to reach the highways.

The Parkersburg Sentinel of October 27, 1932, gives

a spirited account of the celebration that greeted the

river pageant in this city. We quote in part as follows:

Great crowds were assembled at the "Point" this afternoon

there to witness the reenactment with historical accuracy of the

great sachem Cornstalk's prophecy to Geeorge Washington and

its fulfillment in tableaux. From a great platform overlooking

the Ohio was dramatized one of the incidents connected with

40 Ohio Arch

40        Ohio Arch. and Hist. Society Publications


George Washington's reconnaissance of the lands along the Ohio

in 1770, in the interest of the Virginia soldiers who fought in the

Indian Wars.

With probably such a spectacle never before witnessed in

Parkersburg, hundreds of spectators gathered early at The Point,

there to be first thrilled with the sight of the strange river-craft

proceeding down the Ohio and bearing "George Washington" and

his party of nine. As they approached the Point to land, the

maneuvers of the party provided a spectacle that was cheered en-

thusiastically by the multitudes on the banks. Pathe Newsreel-

men were also on hand to take views of the pageant and other


Between two and 2:30 o'clock, the hour of the pageant, and

while Washington and his party were coming down the river from

Marietta, the pageant moved in parade from Market and Thir-

teenth Streets down Market to the Point. Headed by C. Z. Ruth

and Dr. B. O. Robinson in historical costumes, the pageant cast

likewise costumed, paraded accompanied by Boy Scouts, Girl

Scouts, Girl Reserves, the American Legion Drum and Bugle

Corps, the municipal band, and the High School band. The scene

of these early frontier days with which Parkersburg was most

closely connected was that where Washington met Chief Kiashuta.

The prophecy of Kiashuta is perhaps traditional as

no record authenticating it, has been located. It is fine

material for a pageant, if true. It is reported to have

been found in the personal diary of Dr. James Craik,

who accompanied Washington on this expedition, but no

copy of this diary has, as yet, been located by the writer.

This prophecy was rendered by Gordon Enoch imper-

sonating Washington; by B. B. Leonard impersonating

Chief Kiashuta. It closes with a prediction that "people

yet unborn will hail him (Washington) as the founder

of a mighty empire."

The news story then concludes:

Following the pageant at the Point, the river party and local

officials went to the city park where ground was broken for the

George Washington monument which is being erected by the

Daughters of American Pioneers.

Bicentennial Celebration Washington on Ohio River 41

Bicentennial Celebration Washington on Ohio River  41


Climaxing today's program is the colonial ball at the Masonic

Temple this evening, to be attended by members of the river party

in costume.

From the Marietta Times of October 28th, we have

the following news account of the celebration at Park-


Mayor F. A. Steadman and City Clerk W. S. Eberle were

among Mariettans who attended the George Washington Bicen-

tennial Celebration at Parkersburg on Thursday afternoon. The

celebration was held on the public landing at the mouth of the

Little Kanawha River and was connected with the official landing

of the George Washington company of the progressive Ohio River

pageantry. A crowd estimated at five thousand people attended

the celebration that included a speaking program and presentation

of pageantry including tableaux and the dancing of the minuet.

Rain interfered with the staging of the afternoon celebration,

but the greater part of the crowd weathered the shower and en-

joyed the program.

Mayor Steadman and Clerk W. S. Eberle were guests of

Mayor Allen C. Murdock during their stay in Parkersburg and

were taken to the city park where there was a ceremony held in

connection with the dedication of a monument of stone taken

from the site of the Washington's Bottom acreage which General

George Washington once owned. A colorful ball at Masonic

Temple on Thursday evening concluded the program. The guests

at the colonial ball wore colonial toggery that was worn in the

Marietta pageant the day before.

On October 28th, the river pageant proceeded to the

mouth of the Hockhocking where a celebration in keep-

ing with the historic importance of this point was con-

ducted on the forenoon of that date.

The little village of Hockingport, delightfully located

on elevated ground at the mouth of the Hockhocking

River in Athens County, Ohio, has a historical impor-

tance surpassed by few other villages on the Ohio River.

Not only did this spot claim the attention of Washing-

ton and his party in 1770, but four years later, in the

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42      Ohio Arch. and Hist. Society Publications

Dunmore War it was the scene of military activity and

the declaration of principles in sympathy with the pa-

triotic Americans east of the Alleghany Mountains who

were that early day organizing for the redress of griev-

ances and kindling the fires of resistance and liberty that

were soon to burst forth into the full flame of revolu-


After Lewis had triumphed at Point Pleasant and

Lord Dunmore had concluded a treaty of peace with the

Indians at Camp Charlotte in what is now Pickaway

County, Ohio, the officers of the army led by Lord Dun-

more assembled on the site of what is now Hockingport

but was then a stockade named Fort Gower and passed

the resolutions that openly declared their sympathy with

their brethren east of the mountains in their movements

against British aggression.

This early action on what afterward became Ohio

soil gave this region claim to early sympathy with the

revolutionary cause before at Concord Bridge was "fired

the shot heard round the world."6

In 1770, Washington on October 27th, made fair

progress down the Ohio until he reached the Great Hock-

hocking opposite the mouth of which on his journey

down stream he encamped on what is now the West Vir-

ginia side. On his return voyage he probably encamped

on the Ohio side. He tells us in his Journal that though

called the Great Hockhocking, it "is not a large water,"

that "the Indians say canoes can go up it 40 or 50 miles."

The pageant at Hockingport was under the direction

of Mrs. O. D. Dailey whose interest in the entire river

6 "Unveiling of Tablet at Fort Gower," in Ohio State Archaeological

and Historical Society Publications, xxxiii: 87-94.

Bicentennial Celebration Washington on Ohio River 43

Bicentennial Celebration Washington on Ohio River  43

series from inception to conclusion had been most help-

ful. Largely due to her enthusiastic support many his-

toric sites in Ohio have been appropriately marked.

On the morning of October 28, 1932, the marker at

this point was unveiled. The program here rendered is

described as follows under the caption "Colorful Scene"

in the Athens Messenger of that date:

At 10 o'clock this morning a colorful scene was enacted at

Hockingport when the Washington Ohio River Pageant took

place. The voyagers landed at camp sites of George Washington

and his party, built camp-fires and pitched tents. At Hocking-

port, Fred Reif, bugler, and Paul Lewis, a drummer, of the

Athens High School Band took an active part in the program.

One of the most interesting and inspiring features of the

historic celebration was the dedication by Mrs. John Heaume,

representing the Ohio D. A. R. as vice regent, of the marker

which has been erected and which was unveiled by Alice Rardin,

of Athens, a direct descendant of the Daniel Reardon, who was a

member of the Washington party. Maxine Radcliffe, Albany,

recited the poem "Ohio," written by C. B. Galbreath, secretary

of the Ohio Archaeological Society. Senator L. J. Eberle of Nel-

sonville, and Mrs. Charles Rathburn, Middleport, Southeastern

Ohio Director of the Daughters of the American Revolution, pre-

sided at the celebration. Mrs. O. D. Dailey, who has charge of

the historic sites work of the D. A. R. in Ohio, spoke of the sig-

nificance of the Washington trip to the Ohio country. Members

of the Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts of Athens attended the pageant.

The crowd then proceeded to the landing where the

river pageant was welcomed. They were greeted by

Senator Spangler and others in short addresses.

On the afternoon of October 28th, a most interest-

ing program was successfully rendered at Long Bottom.

Near this spot Washington and his party met Kia-

shuta and his band of peaceful Indians of the Six Na-

tions. Washington had met this Indian chieftain who

went with him on his mission to the French in 1753.

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44        Ohio Arch. and Hist. Society Publications

Kiashuta expressed great satisfaction at meeting his

youthful friend of seventeen years previous and insisted

upon spending the night with his party. Together they

moved down the river and encamped for the night of

October 28th. Some time was spent here on the fol-

lowing day in ceremonials of friendship in 1770.

The good people of Meigs County and West Vir-

ginia in this region manifested much enthusiasm in the

preparation for the meeting of the Bicentennial river

pageant. A beautful spot had been selected for the cere-

monies and the location of the memorials. The Tribune

Telegraph of Pomeroy in describing these ceremonies


Probably the most unique of all the celebrations at the various

camp sites of George Washington and his aides when he made a

tour of the Ohio River territory in 1770 will be the unveiling of

the camp site marker at Shade River (Long Bottom), Friday. The

site is about fifteen miles from Pomeroy by highway and forty by

the Ohio River. This marker preserving the camp site of Wash-

ington's visit to Meigs County will be unveiled by two lateral

descendants of George Washington, both residents of Middleport.

They are Miss Anna Washington Parks, descendant of Samuel

Washington, and Mrs. Nannie Washington Moore, descendant of

Charles Washington.

The location of the camp site to be marked is one of scenic

beauty, a gift from Mr. and Mrs. Ray Pullins. Vine-clad rocks

form a pleasing background for a natural stage and on the rocks

are painted the words: "George Washington and Kiashuta Camp

Site, October 28, 1770, Meigs County." The letters were painted

on the rocks by Hoadley Swisher and L. E. Caruthers, who

donated their services.

On October 28, 1932, a large crowd assembled to

welcome the voyagers of the river pageant and witness

their meeting with Kiashuta and his band. The weather

was clear and delightfully pleasant. The Bottom on the

Ohio side narrowed down the river. It was flanked by

Bicentennial Celebration Washington on Ohio River 45

Bicentennial Celebration Washington on Ohio River  45

steep cliffs which are almost perpendicular at the point

at which the program was rendered. There was ample

space between the river and the cliff for the assembling

of the large and orderly crowd of spectators and the

rendering of the program. No loud speakers were used

--none seemed to be needed. The cliffs back of the

speakers threw the voices forward and aided in making

every word distinctly heard. To test the basis of the

interest of the school children present the writer said

to a lad eight or nine years old standing near the

speakers' platform looking out intently on the pageant

and the river:

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46        Ohio Arch. and Hist. Society Publications

"What brings all these people here this afternoon?

What are they celebrating?" The little lad answered

very promptly:

"They are celebrating the journey of George Wash-

ington down the river."

"George Washington," said the writer, "when was

he here ?"

"It was 162 years ago," replied the lad.

This was simply one of the evidences afforded by

the entire river pageant that its educational value was

very great. While life lasts the children who witnessed

this pageant will treasure it in memory as will, of

course, many of maturer years.

Quoting again from the Pomeroy Tribune of a later


On the spot where Washington, the engineer, and Kiashuta,

the Indian chief, camped on October 28th, 1770, a pageant was

enacted dramatizing the landing of Washington on Ohio and

Meigs County soil.

Kiashuta and warriors journeyed by canoe up the river, met

Washington and his aides and escorted them to the camp site, a

long low bottom just below the mouth of Shade River. A pageant

followed depicting the greeting of Washington and Kiashuta, who

had met before; then the pipe of peace was smoked around the


Following the enactment of the little drama, a program was

rendered in charge of the Return Jonathan Meigs chapter, Daugh-

ters of the American Revolution, dedicating the marker of the

camp site. Mrs. C. F. Rathburn, director of the Daughters of the

American Revolution of South Eastern Ohio, presided and intro-

duced the speakers.

The marker erected by the Meigs County chapter

D. A. R. was unveiled as announced, by the two de-

scendants of the Washington family.

Prof. A. W. McKay addressed the audience on the


Bicentennial Celebration Washington on Ohio River 47

Bicentennial Celebration Washington on Ohio River  47

"Why Washington Made the Trip Down the Ohio

River." Prof. McKay has made a thorough research

for his materials on this topic and is one of the best-

qualified men in the State to speak upon it with author-

ity. His address was prepared to attract the interest of

the school children as well as of the older citizens. It

was remarkably clear and one of the most scholarly

statements on this theme to which it has been our pleas-

ure to listen. It held the closest attention from the first

sentence to its close.

Senator William I. Spangler, State Director of the

Bi-centennial committee, and C. B. Galbreath, Secretary

of the State Archaeological and Historical Society, were

presented and congratulated the audience upon the suc-

cess of the pageant.

Judge C. E. Peoples made some closing remarks that

were well received.

A very pleasant and appropriate feature of the pro-

gram which had not been advertised was the presenta-

tion by Mrs. Rathburn, in behalf of the young people

who participated in the pageant, of a huge bouquet of

wonderful dahlias to Mr. O. K. Reames, the director of

pageants enacted at different points down the river.

This was an evidence of the kindly attitude of the people

that he met and with whom he worked in making the

entire series of pageants such a remarkable success.

Mrs. O. D. Dailey, director in charge of marking

state historic sites for the Daughters of the American

Revolution in Ohio, presented the marker to Return

Jonathan Meigs Chapter, and it was accepted with ap-

propriate remarks by Mrs. Alfred Elberfeld. The

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48        Ohio Arch. and Hist. Society Publications

marker was then unveiled and the words inscribed

thereon were read aloud by Mrs. Rathburn as follows:

George Washington while exploring the lands of the Ohio

country in 1770 reached this point on October 28th and encamped

over night. The impression gained on this trip influenced his en-

tire later life.

A tea was served at Hotel Martin in Pomeroy by

the Daughters of the American Revolution. The dining

room was extensively decorated with autumn flowers

and the national colors. Fronting the long table in the

center was an opening in which was revealed a portrait

of George Washington.

The town of Ravenswood, West Virginia, is located

in the midst of a region with historic background. While

it is not a matter of record that Washington stopped on

his journey of 1770 on the site of this town, he stopped

on his journey down the river and on his return voyage

within a short distance of this place.

The reception of the river party at Ravenswood is

set forth in part in the following extract from the

Ravenswood News:

The celebration of the two hundredth anniversary of the birth

of George Washington which was opened on February 22, 1932,

with a meeting in the high school auditorium, sponsored by the

Ravenswood Chapter, Daughters of the American Revolution, and

participated in by all the fraternal organizations of the town at

which meeting a flag was presented to the high school auditorium

by the D. A. R. Chapter, was fittingly brought to a close, on Sat-

urday afternoon, October 29th, by the unveiling and dedicating of

a monolith of granite erected by the State of West Virginia on

the high school lawn.

In honor of this dedication the pageant which came down the

Ohio river, representing General Washington and his surveying

party and following the exact route traveled by that party one

hundred and sixty-two years ago, stopped in Ravenswood on

Saturday. The members of the National Society of Colonial

Bicentennial Celebration Washington on Ohio River 49

Bicentennial Celebration Washington on Ohio River  49


Dames, resident in West Virginia, had erected a marker here also

to commemorate the bicentennial of Washington and the estab-

lishment of the Episcopal church in this city, and they decided to

dedicate that marker on the same date selected for the dedication

of the state monolith.

The Washington pageant was met on their landing here at

two o'clock by members of both organizations and then proceeded

to the Episcopal church where Hon. C. L. Brown, Ravenswood's

representative on the bicentennial commission, read a most schol-

arly, accurate and brilliant paper on the history of the Washington

grant of land, comprising 2440 acres, which is now the Ravens-

wood Independent school district and on which the town of

Ravenswood is built. Mrs. Frank Woodman of Charleston, presi-

dent of the Colonial Dames of West Virginia, then presented the

marker which had been erected by her society in front of the

Episcopal church, and Monroe Click, Mayor of Ravenswood, re-

ceived it. Mrs. Eunice Proctor Perkins, dressed in colonial

costume, introduced the speakers, and also Rev. Hoskins who

made the opening prayer and pronounced the benediction, and a

quartet who sang, "Hail Columbia."

The audience then repaired to the front of the church where

the marker was unveiled by Mr. Norman Fitzhugh and Mr. Henry

Donally of Charleston, grandson and great-grandson of Henry

and Henrietta Fitzhugh, who inherited the Washington survey

from George Washington's brother, Augustine, and who founded

the town of Ravenswood.

From the church the audience went directly to the high school

grounds. Since Mr. C. L. Brown's main address had been given

in the church, he, as the accredited representative of the Bicenten-

nial Commission, made but a brief talk in presenting the monolith.

Mrs. E. C. Smith, a commissioner of the school board, accepted

the monolith on behalf of the school board, as a citizen of Ravens-

wood and owner of a small part of the survey on which Ravens-

wood is built, and as a descendant of a soldier who fought with

Washington in the Revolution and suffered with Washington at

Valley Forge.

Following this program at the church the band, members of

the River Pageant and audience gathered at the high school to

unveil a marker to George Washington which had been placed by

the State of West Virginia. Hon. C. L. Brown, as the accredited

representative of the State Bicentennial Commission, made a brief

address in presenting the monolith and Mrs. E. C. Smith, a com-

missioner of the school board, accepted the monolith on behalf of

the school board, as a citizen of Ravenswood and owner of a small

part of the survey on which Ravenswood is built and as a de-

Vol. XLII--4

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50       Ohio Arch. and Hist. Society Publications

scendant of a soldier who fought with Washington at Valley


After the conclusion of the program here the visitors were

received in the parlors of the M. E. Church, South, which were

attractively decorated in fall foliage and flowers by the Ravens-

wood Chapter, D. A. R., where a refreshing tea was served.

At Pomeroy on October 30th, the party representing

Washington and his associates had a somewhat amusing

experience. The boat in which two of them rowed out

toward a passing vessel was caught in the waves and

upset in three feet of water. They scrambled to the bank

at Pomeroy and scampered about for a change of cloth-

ing. A great crowd of people, apparently the entire

population of Pomeroy came out to welcome the voy-

agers. Music was furnished by the high school band

and a brief address was delivered by the mayor of the

city. Here they rested until the following day which

was the last scheduled in their voyage.

Pomeroy is located three or four miles down the

river below the point at which Washington and Captain

Crawford disembarked from their boat on the return

voyage on November 5th and walked for about eight

miles on the Virginia side up the river and past the pres-

ent site of Racine. The statement is not very clear in

the Journal of Washington, but after all considerations

pro and con, the conclusion has been reached that this

journey by Washington and Crawford was on the south

side of the river and commenced very close to the pres-

ent site of New Haven, West Virginia, and extended

eight miles up the river. Here they again boarded the

boat and continued their return voyage in 1770.

Point Pleasant, West Virginia, has to its credit a

wealth of pioneer history, much of it antedating the

Bicentennial Celebration Washington on Ohio River 51

Bicentennial Celebration Washington on Ohio River  51

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52        Ohio Arch. and Hist. Society Publications

Revolution. From the voyage down the Ohio by

Celoron, when he deposited the famous leaden plate at

the mouth of the Great Kanawha on August 18, 1749,

to the defeat of Cornstalk and his warriors October 10,

1774 and the part of Western Virginia in the Revolu-

tion, this site witnessed an interesting march of events

on the Ohio River. The region is rich in legend and

story, with an abundance of authentic history from

which to draw materials for colorful pageantry. These

were sources, freely used in preparation for the reenact-

ment of George Washington's expedition to the mouth

of the Great Kanawha in 1770.

The State Gazette, of Point Pleasant, West Vir-

ginia, November 3, 1932, publishes the program of the

reception of the party reenacting the river pageant. We

reproduce the introductory description:

Arriving here shortly after two o'clock Monday afternoon,

October 31st, a canoe bearing two Indian guides, a boat bearing

General George Washington and party, the final scenes of his

visit to the site of this city were reenacted. The journey was

begun at East Liverpool ten days ago and was carried out in

every detail as nearly as possible like the original journey of the

young military chieftain and planter who was shortly to lead the

tattered forces of Revolution in a successful war against the Brit-

ish Empire, then the greatest on earth. The canoe, the boat and

the costumes were replicas of those used by Washington and his

party 162 years ago, when they landed here October 31, 1770.

At the conclusion of the ceremonies here, Washington and his

party and many local folks went to the Shadle farm where a

marker was unveiled to mark lands Washington surveyed and

claimed on his memorable trip.

The ordinary adjectives are hardly sufficient to do the

Pageant justice. It was beautiful, gorgeous, fascinating and in-

spirational. The thousands who had gathered in Tu-Endie-Wei

park to witness the scene stood motionless for two long hours,

except unconsciously to crowd a little closer, as the pomp and

pageantry of the long ago were unfolded. The tribal dance, the

Bicentennial Celebration Washington on Ohio River 53

Bicentennial Celebration Washington on Ohio River  53

Battle of Point Pleasant, October 10, 1774, the murder of Corn-

stalk, Elinipsico and Red Hawk, November 1O, 1777, the Wilder-

ness Dance, all were presented in such a way as to leave a lasting

impression on all who beheld the Pageant.

Mrs. Holly Simmons and Miss Edith Jordan who wrote and

directed the Pageant, deserve unstinted praise, not only for the

high literary merit of their production, but for the faultless man-

ner in which it was directed. The costuming of the characters

was perfect in every detail.

The city itself put on gay airs, bunting and flags being pro-

fusely used throughout the business district. All places of busi-

ness, the schools and offices were closed. Hundreds of visitors

from outside the city were present.

The West Virginia Register of Point Pleasant, West

Virginia, of the same date, summarizes the celebration

as follows:

Point Pleasant, W. Va., Oct. 31.--A  colorful pageant of

Indian braves, squaws, bordermen and colonial dames and gentle-

men at Tu-Endie-Wei park here today marked the end of a ten-

day voyage down the Ohio River, commemorating the trip of

George Washington in 1770.

A large crowd greeted "General Washington," his seven aides

and two Indian braves as they landed after their journey that

began October 21st at East Liverpool, Ohio.

The two-hour pageant recalled that October day one hundred

and sixty-two years ago when Washington landed at the con-

fluence of the Ohio and Kanawha to claim land granted him for

his services in the French and Indian War. The one hundred and

fifty characters also reenacted the Battle of Point Pleasant, mark-

ing the defeat of Cornstalk and his warriors just at the outbreak

of the Revolution.

After the pageant Congressman Robert L. Hogg, of this city,

delivered an address paying tribute to the nation's first president.

Concluding this city's contribution to the Washington Bicen-

tennial celebration, the Daughters of the American Revolution

unveiled a marker on Mount Vernon farm at Beech Hill near here.

The farm was part of those lands that Washington voyaged down

the Ohio to claim.

A colonial ball was held tonight.

The grand ball at Point Pleasant brought to a fitting

close the Ohio River Pageant of the Washington

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54       Ohio Arch. and Hist. Society Publications

journey of 1770. The buffalo-hunt two days later, for

obvious reasons could not well be reproduced. It was

not a part of the pageant plan.

While the participants in the celebrations found en-

joyment in their work, most of which was gratuitously

contributed, in many instances a sigh of relief greeted

its conclusion, mingled with profound satisfaction that,

on the whole, it was a success beyond the most sanguine

expectation. There were delays, necessary and unneces-

sary, that tried the nerves of those genuinely interested

in the project. Up until one month before the opening

of the pageant there was doubt as to whether it would

be undertaken. When word came that Western Penn-

sylvania would have no part in the celebration it brought

great disappointment. The original journey of Wash-

ington had started from Pittsburgh and for months it

had been thought that the pageant would start with big

initial enthusiasm from that city. This news coming as

it did so late in the season, made a break in the plan,

that was difficult to overcome.

A meeting in Columbus at which a survey was made

of the meager resources at command for the large under-

taking was attended by interested parties from East

Liverpool, Steubenville and Mingo Junction. Mr. O. K.

Reames of Zanesfield, Ohio, the successful director of

pageants, and State Senator Earl R. Lewis were also

present. This resulted in a revival of hope and the

resolution to push with all possible speed the preparation

for the pageant.

West Virginia held forth her helping hand at every

stage of the movement. The willingness of Mr. Reames

to direct the pageantry inspired the hope and resolution

Bicentennial Celebration Washington on Ohio River 55

Bicentennial Celebration Washington on Ohio River  55

of all interested in the project, and by action little short

of heroic the river pageant was made a triumph. This

was accomplished while the depression hung like a pall

on every enterprise and in the midst of a presidential

campaign that, in an unusual degree, held the thought

and interest of the entire country.

Success was made possible through the voluntary,

patriotic interest of the citizens of West Virginia and

Ohio, especially those living in counties contiguous to

the river front. The Daughters of the American Revo-

lution rendered heroic assistance. At 'the sacrifice of

time and means and health they worked with a spirit

that would not be denied.

The Sons of the American Revolution made their

helpful influence felt at many points.

The order of the Red Men generously gave a helping

hand and were a prominent feature of the colorful

pageantry at many points.

Something must be said for the young men im-

personating George Washington and his party. At the

beginning of the pageant down stream L. R. Webb

represented Washington from East Liverpool to Mingo

Junction. Here he left the party for business reasons.

The announcement that "George Washington had de-

serted his party" started a ripple of laughter in remote

sections where it was not known that at the very begin-

ning it had been understood that three persons were to

represent Washington in different parts of the voyage.

Most of the service was voluntary and busy men who

were also experienced boatmen could not give half a

month's time to the enterprise. There was some criti-

cism of the use of electric power in propelling the larger

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56      Ohio Arch. and Hist. Society Publications

boat between the camp sites. This was kept out of sight

and the large sweeper oars as well as the boat faithfully

represented, as can be seen from the illustrations, the

flatboat of George Washington's time. Those in charge

are to be congratulated on the choice of boats and crew

of pioneers and Indians. This was abundantly attested

in their reception on the voyage.

The weather was most fortunate for the river pag-

eant. Washington, in 1770, faced stormy weather

throughout the greater part of his voyage. At not a

single point in 1932 did the weather seriously interfere

with the river pageant. The temperature was mild and

the rainfall came at times that did not interfere with the


With the great crowds assembled at different points

along the river, not a single serious accident was re-


The pageant had an educational influence, distinct

and pronounced. Through the schools and the press the

story of Washington's voyage on the river was widely

circulated and read, and its relation to previous and sub-

sequent history extensively studied.