History focus of Marietta cemetery tour
MARIETTA — The Mid-Ohio Valley is rich with history. Although so much has been lost over the years, there are diaries, letters, family bibles and many other historical records that have survived.
While there is a lot of history in the area, not everyone is privy to the complete area knowledge that has been collected. Without those accounts a cemetery is just that, a cemetery, full of headstones that have worn with the weather.
Yet, there is so much to learn about the area from each of those buried in local cemeteries, such as Mound Cemetery in Marietta.
Scott Britton, executive director of The Castle, guided a tour through Mound Cemetery Saturday morning.
The tour started off with an overall introduction to the cemetery, including the fun fact that according to historians, Mound Cemetery has the most officers of any Revolutionary War cemetery in the United States.
There are a suspected 37 Revolutionary War veterans buried in Mound Cemetery, specifically 19 of which were officers, and many more throughout Washington County as a whole.
Many of those buried at Mound Cemetery played key, pivotal roles in events that established American independence in addition to rebellious battle, according to Britton, ranging from presence at the Boston Tea Party to the crossing of the Delaware River with Gen. George Washington.
A few gravesites were visited for the tour, and the stories of those resting there shared.
While back in the 1800’s, Marietta, Belpre, and Parkersburg were all much further travels than they are today, (with groups catching trains to travel to each area), the cities helped each other out even then.
Multiple of the sites discussed Saturday had ties back to the civil war, and Britton took the time to share a recorded historical event, where Parkersburg reached out to Marietta for help, because there was a possible threat from the Confederate Army at that time.
Britton said that at that time students at the college were armed in case an attack did happen, and some of those students were sent to aid.
Those students were people like George Butler Turner, a Marietta College Valedictorian, who is famous for serving in the civil war in the 92nd Ohio Volunteer Infantry following his schooling.
He wrote home to his family prior to a battle (The battle of Chattanooga) in which he passed away, and that letter, among others he wrote are still around today to tell his story.
His last letter home was read aloud at the tour.
Other gravesites that the tour stopped at included: Samuel Hildreth, Luther Bingham and Sherrill Cleland.
According to Britton, in 1830, the Reverend Bingham established the Institute for Education. Bingham was a pastor in the Congregationalist Church and sought to educate others in his church’s beliefs. Unfortunately for Bingham, his school failed financially in 1832. Local citizens in Marietta then created the Marietta Collegiate Institute and Western Teachers’ Seminary, a non-denominational institution. In 1835, this college became known simply as Marietta College.
Cleland was Marietta College’s 14th President, and a WWII Veteran. Britton shared some of the written accounts from Cleland’s time in service, as well as information on his time within the community.
Britton spent around 15 minutes at each site telling funny stories and history that still ties to the area today. Whether it was about founding the college itself, positions or classes and even establishing the ‘Etta Express.
Each year and tour, The Castle chooses different people to talk about, sharing how their accomplishments and ideas have and continue to shape the community.
Madeline Scarborough can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org