McCullough’s ‘Pioneers’ looks at the Mid-Ohio Valley

Two-time Pulitzer Prize winner and New York Times best-selling author David McCullough turns his historian eye to a place very familiar — the Mid-Ohio Valley and particularly Marietta, in his new book “The Pioneers.”

Focusing on settling the Northwest Territory and the men who did so, McCullough follows Manasseh Cutler, who persuaded Congress to pass the Northwest Ordinance to veterans of the Revolutionary War, his son, Ephriam who had a life of public service in the area, Rufus Putnam, who lead the first band of pioneers and settled Marietta, as well as Dr. Samuel Hildreth, who served as town doctor and is now buried in Mound Cemetery, and Joseph Barker, who was a carpenter turned architect, and whose home is now on the U.S. National Register of Historic Places.

McCullough looks a familiar places as they were when they started — in the middle of a wilderness that flooded, didn’t have a lot of food and had some oft-times hostile relations with the natives.

Not only is Marietta looked at, but the Belpre area as well, and the first settlers who lived there.

The book covers from 1787 to 1863, so Blennerhassett Island and the Burr conspiracy are also visited in the book, as well as the formation of Marietta College.

For those who may have lived around historical markers and never thought much about it, this is the book that will awaken that knowledge of the people that impacted the area and all that they did to survive in the early days. Area history fans will also enjoy and may learn something new. It is a captivating story of some pretty tough leaders.

“Pioneers” is published by Simon and Shuster. It is $30 and 260 pages long.

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