: This image is a reproduction of a print depicting the courthouse and jail in Marietta, built in 1798. The structure was built at the southeast corner of today's Second and Putnam Streets. (Original print is in "American Pioneer," opposite page 163, call number V 977.05 Am35 v. 1.) The caption reads: "Court House and Jail at Marietta, Ohio, Built in 1798."
The two-story structure is surrounded by a fence. Three human figures are standing near the fence; a fourth figure and a horse and wagon are visible in the street. In the distance, several hills form a backdrop for other buildings.
Originally known as Adelphia, meaning "brotherhood," Marietta was the first permanent settlement of the United States of America in the territory north and west of the Ohio River. It also was the first settlement founded by the Ohio Company of Associates in the Northwest Territory in 1788. The company's investors renamed the community after Queen Marie Antoinette of France, in honor of France's contributions to the U.S. victory in the American Revolution. The first settlers were led by Rufus Putnam, who was one of the Ohio Company's early investors. He chose a site along the Ohio River at its junction with the Muskingum River, not far from Fort Harmar. Originally, settlers from New England made up the population of Marietta. People from Virginia and Kentucky later moved to the area as well.
On July 9, 1788, the Northwest Territory's first governor, Arthur St. Clair, came to Marietta. The territory was officially established, as was Washington County; Marietta became the county seat. As the population of the Northwest Territory grew, the people of Marietta hoped that their community would become the capital of the future state. They supported St. Clair's plan to divide the territory in a different way than the Northwest Ordinance had originally planned. They believed that the governor's plans would make Marietta more prominent. But in the end, St. Clair's plan was not accepted by Congress.
Because of its location along the Ohio River, Marietta became a major trading center in the Northwest Territory and later in the state of Ohio. The community became one of the earliest settlements in Ohio to have a state-chartered bank in 1808. In addition to agriculture and trade with the East, Marietta was also known for its shipbuilding industry. Ships, barges and flatboats moved from Marietta down the Ohio River to the Mississippi River and then to New Orleans and to ports in the East. In spite of its early growth, Marietta was surpassed by other towns as other forms of transportation came to Ohio. Canals, the National Road, and the railroads made all parts of the state accessible.
View on Ohio Memory.
: AL05767 Subjects
: Ohio History--State and Local Government; Marietta (Ohio); Courthouses--Ohio--History Places
: Marietta (Ohio); Washington County (Ohio)