MARIETTA - When Ichabod Nye and his family arrived from Massachusetts by boat in Marietta in August 1788, most of their fellow passengers opted to spend the night on board.
Not Nye, who disembarked with his wife, Minerva, and two young children, put everyone on horses and traveled a forest path to the Ohio Company's fort called Campus Martius, about three fourths of a mile from the boat.
"(Minerva) was only 24 and Ichabod was also very young. ...They didn't know what was ahead of them," said Scott Britton, executive director of The Castle and local historian.
Photo by Sharon Bopp
Josh Yost, 8, of Barlow and brother Caleb, 3, visit the grave of Colonel Ichabod Nye, who served in the Revolutionary War, moved to the Northwest Territory with his family in 1788 and operated the territory’s first tannery.
"I think it took a lot of courage going to a wilderness and not knowing what the future was going to hold," he added.
The Nyes were to remain in Marietta from then on, with Ichabod Nye passing on Nov. 27, 1840 and being interred at Marietta's Mound Cemetery. His original tombstone is at the Campus Martius Museum.
As a 17-year-old, Nye served as a private in the Revolutionary War in the Massachusetts line.
Young Nye was at several important war sites including Sarasota, Mohawk River, Stony Point and Fishkill.
"He was on the grounds where (British) General Burgoyne made surrender to General Gates on Oct. 17, 1777," said Jean Yost, president of the Marietta chapter of the Sons of the American Revolution.
Nye opened the first tannery in the Northwest Territory in 1791 without a whit of experience.
In his journal, Nye wrote: "No one in the settlement knew more than myself but a tannery yard I was determined on at all hazards. I must do something or starve."
The tannery was located at the end of modern day Fourth Street, below the hill where Marietta Memorial Hospital now sits, Yost said.
"He was just out in the wilderness," he added.
Nye's journal gives a glimpse into his crude tannery: "It was a hole in the ground, some saplings for poles, a piece of old tent for cover and hides of elk and buffalo for stock."
Buffalo were "still being seen 10 miles out of town in the early 1800s," Yost said.
Minerva Nye is said to be the first white mother to live in Campus Martius.
"She never complained of the hardships and went on to raise a family of 12. She lived her entire life on the property that's now Campus Martius Museum," Britton said.
The Nyes purchased Marietta founding father Rufus Putnam's section of Campus Martius after Putnam's death.
"The Nyes held ownership until the Marietta chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution worked with the state to (have Campus Martius) be a permanent museum piece in 1917," said Yost.
Nye, who served as chair of Marietta's city council (a position similar to today's mayor) for two terms, and Minerva's children also experienced success in Marietta.
Their son, Arius Nye, served in Ohio's House of Representatives and the Ohio Senate, and was a prosecuting attorney and presiding judge in Washington County.
Anselm Tupper Nye built the first foundry in Marietta in 1828. The business, called A.T. Nye and Son Company, built stoves.
Edward White Nye owned the Marietta Gazette and The Castle.