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Early Front St in Marietta


Recollections of Some Men of Former Years

(A Description of early Front Street)


From unknown Newspaper - unknown date: Family records of Capt. Daniel Greene. Submitted by Frank Hall - The [brackets] note where a guess was made in substitution of illegible or missing words.

-If you readers have patience to follow me, I will write briefly of some of those who lived here long ago.

            Just outside the north corporation line, long years since, there lived Deacon William Rufus Putman, a son of Gen. Rufus Putnam, He cultivated the land now owned by Marietta College. He was a member of the first Constitutional convention and afterward repeatedly honored by his fellow-citizens in being elected to places of trust. He died in the year 1854, leaving an only son to inherit his possessions. This son, William Rufus Putnam, after receiving a liberal [education], settled down upon the [family] farm and by a life of quiet good behavior gained the confidence of his fellow citizens, and soon after the breaking our of the war of 1861, was made commander of the Post of Marietta with the title of Colonel. Whilst he was a n ardent and determined supporter of the Union cause, yet he was a lover of peace rather than of warfare, and his peace-loving disposition was sometimes amusingly apparent during his career as a military officer.

            At the time of Moragn’s raid when it was considered almost certain by the people of Marietta that [Morgan’s] troops would cross the [Muskingum] here, Col. Putnam [ordered] that a large number of [bales] of hay should be placed in the bridge to impede their progress. [Had]  Morgan’s men ever resolved this point they would have doubtless have been rejoiced to find an abundant supply of food for their horses in waiting for them, whilst the waters of the Muskingum were so low that they would have found not the slightest difficulty in crossing anywhere.

            The story had been often told of how Col. David H. Moore, then at Athens, started out, mounted upon a fine horse and carrying a handsome gold watch, to fight Morgan’s men, and of how he returned again a few days on foot and without his watch. A message was sent him from Marietta over the wires, asking him the time of day, and this response was soon received: “How many bales of hay was it that Col Putnam ordered put in the bridge for the use of Morgan’s calvary?”

            Upon another occasion, during the war, the people of Parkersburg, fearing an invasion of the enemy, called upon the people of the surrounding country to aid in their defense. A number of brave and enthusiastic young men from the College here, volunteered their services, but, before the party set out, the writer, who was to have charge of the expedition, was called aside by Col Putnam, who exacted a ____ promise from him that he should have boats in readiness so that if the enemy should really come, all the students might be quickly transferred to this side of the river.  “For,” said he, “their parents would feel dreadfully, and would blame me if anything should happen to them.”

            Leaving the residence of Col. Putnam and coming down Main Street at the corner of that street and Sacra Via, at an early date was the home of Mr. John Newton, a most estimable citizen. Having been successful in the accumulation of property in Cow Run oil district, he had much leisure in the later years of his life and spent many hours each day in caring for and guarding Mound Cemetery. A few rods below on the same street in a large frame house still standing lived Harry Shepman, a most worthy, industrious mechanic, much respected by everybody.

            Recollection brings us next in view of the homes of two of our most honored and will-known citizens, Col. Icabod Nye and Gen, Rufus Putnam, A newspaper article would not allow of my writing of their meritorious lives and extended usefulness. Fortunately an abler pen than mine has recorded much of their history. Passing on down Front Street at the corner of Knox street lived Rev. Parson Cook, who for many years was traveling minister who preached the gospel for the gospel’s sake,

            Still further down the street at the lower west corner of Wooster street was the home of Azariah Pratt, who at a very early date located here, pursuing the following of a gunsmith and locksmith. His son, Elisha Pratt, later occupied the same house and pursued the same business. Both were very worthy men.

            Nearby lived George Dunlevy, who was quite a prominent citizen. For several years he was Clerk of the Courts and an active member of society. On the adjoining lot was the home of the Judge Joseph Wood, who in the last century, moved from Bellville, Virginia, to Marietta, and for many years was registrar of the U. S. Land office for the southern district of Ohio. He lived to a great old age, always social and kindly. His home was a favorite resort for old and young alike and his daughter, Miss Nancy, was in her day quite a belle.

            Passing on down the street, in the house now occupied by Mrs. Hickok, lived Mr. Benjamin Putnam, an accomplished accountant and cashier of the Bank of Marietta. In the square just below in the house now occupied by Judge Follet, lived Gov. R. J. Meigs, of whose life and history much had been written. The dwelling houses next below at that period was the home of Col Ebenezer Sproat. His Father-in-law, Commodore was and inmate of his household. 

            In the same dwelling for many years resided Capt. Daniel Greene, a man of very marked character. His title as Captain was won upon the ocean where he commanded a merchantman for many years. He, like others in the same service encountered not only the danger of the ocean, but of _ratical attacks. On one occasion, when near mid-ocean his vessel was stacked by the crew of a pirate [schooner] and while on deck giving [orders] for defense, Captain Greene [was] shot through both cheeks. I [can see] the marks to the day _____ and they are plainly disg[uisable in] his portrait which now [hangs in] the Relic room.  His fondness for the water was such that in after years for many seasons commanded steamboats upon the Ohio. In the early days of which we write, there was no dwelling-house upon this street below those _______ until we reach Butler street ___ the right of Main street, immediately south of Butler street, ____ Dr. John Cotton, a man of [rare] mental qualities and superior medical education. For years he was the chairman of the Whig Central Committee. At the period of this service the custom was to send out circulars to different parts of the county, and never once was there a misstatement of facts or an unkind attack upon any opposing candidate or upon the party in opposition. He never sought an office, but was repeatedly honored by his fellow-citizens in being selected to dill positions of responsibility.

            On the left hand side of the street passing down, we first encountered the dwelling-place of Capt. Thos. Baker, who probably did ___ Keelboat____ the Ohio and the Muskingum rivers than any man of his day. Although strictly honest and a man of great industry, be became involved in debt chiefly to a business firm in Wheeling. To that firm, Knox and McKee, he deeded about 15 acres of ground. McKee  had it [laid off into lots] which he sold at a small price and unless the writer is mistaken, it was added to the city corporation as McKee’s addition. This part of the city has latterly been known as Texas.

            The next dwelling below on the east side was the home of Jason R. Curtis, a man of various employment and great industry. He was especially prominent during the war of 1812, being upon the stall of Governor Meigs.

            The remaining houses on that side of Main Street were occupied by John Cunningham, Bailus Phillips, Titus Buck, L. Edgerton sr., and John Gisbon. On the west side of the same street was the home of Mr. Nathaniel Holden. Next below lived Joseph Holden and family and if my recollection is correct there was no other dwelling house until you reached the corner of Main and Ohio streets, On the ground where the Bellevue Hotel was the dwelling of Joseph Lincoln, Esq. Not one of the persons named as inhabiting these dwellings at the time of which we write is now living.  – G. M. W.