History of Belpre, Washington Co., Ohio
By C. E. Dickinson, D. D.
Formerly Pastor of Congregational Church
Author of the History of First Congregational Church
Published for the Author by
Globe Printing & Binding Company
Parkersburg, West Virginia
CHAPTER XVIII -
THE WOMANS READING CLUB
A considerable number
of Belpre ladies met at the home of Mrs. William
Armstrong, October 18, 1904 for the purpose of organizing
a Ladies Literary Club. Mrs. F. L. Haas was made
temporary moderator and after a statement by Mrs.
Armstrong of the object of the meeting, Madames L. H.
Brown, George Gadsby and William
Armstrong were appointed a nominating Committee who re
ported a board of officers as follows:
President ............. Mrs. Charles L.
Vice-President ...... Mrs. W. L. McMorris
Secretary .............. Mrs. F. J. Prunty
Treasurer .............. Mrs. J. B. Waterman
Constitution and By-Laws were adopted:
This Society shall be
known as the Woman's Reading Club.
The officers shall be
a President, two Vice-Presidents, Secretary, Treasurer, and two
Directors. These shall constitute an Executive Board or
Board of Managers whose duties shall be to assume general
direction of the Club.
Each member is under
obligation to perform, to the best of her ability, any work
assigned her by the Board of Managers, unless satisfactory
reason is given.
The Club shall meet
every two weeks at 2:30 p. m. beginning in October and
continuing until April.
The dues shall be one
dollar per year for each member.
Five members shall
constitute a quorum to transact business
The last meeting of
the year shall be for the re-enrollment of members and the
enrollment of new members.
The first meeting in
October and the first meeting in January shall be for the
enrollment of members.
A membership committee
shall receive the names of new members, and present them to the
At this meeting it was decided to study Longfellow and
contemporaneous authors for a period of three months.
This Club now has a membership of about twenty and is
in a flourishing condition. The officers for the current year
(1918) are as follows:
....................................... Mrs. F. J. Prunty
First Vice-President ....................... Mrs. H. F. Clark
Second Vice-President .................. Mrs. Chas. L. McNeal
Recording Secretary ...................... Mrs. Andrew Hall
Corresponding Secretary ............... Mrs. R. R. Cutler
Treasurer ...................................... Mrs. H. H.
Auditor ......................................... Miss Josie
At the close of the
last year the funds remaining in the treasury were donated to
the Red Cross Society. The subject for study for the
present year is “Changing America.” This Club has had an
instructive and increasingly interesting career during the years
of its existence. Its exercises have been well sustained
and it is accomplishing an important work for the rising
generation. Early writers speak of the pioneer ladies of
Belpre as among the most enterprising and intelligent of any
community in the coun-
try and the success of this Club demonstrates the fact that the
present ladies are worthy successors of the pioneers.
Daily Newspaper, the Telephone, the abundant supply of
magazines, supplementing the High School and College, give to
the ladies of the present much greater privileges than were
possessed by the pioneers, and the success of this Club, with
many other things in the literary and social activities of the
community, are conclusive evidence that the ladies of the
present day are improving their opportunities. For several
years this Literary Club has held one meeting each year to which
the public are invited and this meeting is considered by the
people as one of the most important and profitable literary
event of the community.
ROCKLAND READING CLUB
About the year
1898, at the suggestion of Dr. F. P. Ames, a few
neighbors in Rockland met occasionally to read and discuss the
book entitled “Looking Backward by Edward Bellany,"
which book was then attracting considerable attention.
These meetings were continued with much interest and a
considerable number of current topics were considered.
After a few months the matter was systematized and for some time
the subject of general history was considered, and the Rockland
Reading Club was organized.
A little later the study of Poets and poetry was taken
up under the lead of Mrs. George Howe.
Under the leadership of this gifted teacher the meetings of the
Club were very much enjoyed and reading and study by the members
were greatly increased. The death of Mrs. Howe
was a great loss to the Society and the community but meetings
were continued until 1914. This Club furnishes evidence of
the intelligence and desire for social and intellectual
improvement in the different portions of the town. At
Center Belpre the former pupils of the school formed an
association several years ago and have had an annual banquet
with literary exercises which has been largely attended and has
strengthened the attachment of the people to each other and to
THE BELPRE HISTORICAL SOCIETY
At the annual meeting
of the Alumni of Belpre High School in 1908 the matter of
interesting the people in the early history of the town and of
marking historic localities with permanent monuments was
suggested and a committee was appointed to consider the matter.
That committee met August 18th, 1908 at the home of Elmer L.
Brown where it was decided to form a permanent organization
and a committee was appointed consisting of Rev. C. E.
Dickinson, Dr. F. P. Ames and C. W. Dressell who
should present a name and prepare constitution and by-laws for
such an organization.
This same committee met again August 28th, heard and
approved a draft of Constitution and By-Laws and resolved to
call a meeting at the parlors of the Congregational Church for
the purpose of organizing a society.
A public meeting was held at the place designated and
the following Constitution and By-Laws were adopted.
inaugurated by the action of the Alumni Association of Belpre
High School, shall be called The Belpre Historical Society.
The objects of this
Society shall be to substantially mark historic localities,
encourage historic research, collect and preserve documents and
relics, provide essays and addresses, and in all practical ways
interest the people of Belpre Township in local and other
Any person may become
a member, on the recommendation of the Executive Committee, by a
vote of the Society, all members are expected to pay an annual
fee of fifty cents, any person may become a life member by the
payment of five dollars.
The officers of this
Society shall be President, Vice President, Secretary and
Treasurer, and Curator, and an Executive Committee of five,
consisting of the President, Vice-President, Secretary and
Treasurer, and two others. 198
Vice-President, and Secretary and Treasurer, shall perform the
duties usually devolving on such officers. The Curator shall
have charge of the documents and relics deposited with the
Society. The Executive Committee shall call special and public
meetings and arrange programs for the same, devise plans for
raising money and attend to all matters not otherwise provided
The annual meeting for
the election of officers and the transaction of other business
shall be held on the third Thursday in September.
(VII—Term of Office)
All officers except
those elected to fill vacancies shall hold office for one year
or until their successors are chosen.
Seven members shall
constitute a quorum for the transaction of business.
( 1 )
As soon as practicable
the Society shall make provision to suitably mark the sites of
Farmer's Castle, Stone's Fort, Goodale's Fort, the first log
meeting house, and other sites which may be agreed upon.
( 2 )
As soon as the Society
can secure a room, (in the school building if possible) with
suitable cases, we will invite our citizens to deposit historic
documents and relics.
( 3 )
Committee shall, if possible, arrange for at least two public
meetings each year with addresses, essays, music, and such other
exercises as may be provided. As far as possible these meetings
shall be held in different parts of the township.
( 4 )
Committee may call special business meetings.
( 5 )
At each annual meeting
an auditing committee shall be appointed to audit the books of
the Secretary and Treasurer.
( 6 )
The Constitution and
By-Laws may be altered or amended by the vote of two-thirds of
the members present at any business meeting.
At this meeting twenty-seven persons became members of
Since the organization of the Society the Directors
have resorted to lectures and other entertainments, banquets,
for which the good ladies have donated provisions, and
individual gifts. These have so far supplemented the
annual dues that three substantial granite monuments have been
placed to mark important historic sites.
The first marks the site of Farmers Castle and stands
by the side of the public highway near the southwest corner of
the farm of F. E. Gilbert, Esq., This monument has
the following inscription: “South on river bank stood Farmers
Castle, Home of Pioneer families during Indian War 1791-1794.
Erected by Belpre Historical Society, 1910.
This monument was unveiled on November 3rd, 1910 by
Miss Persis Putnam Howe a lineal
descendant of Gen. Rufus Putnam. A
large number were present who then repaired to the home of
Dr. F. P. Ames where appropriate services were held, and a
A second Monument stands by the highway nearly in front
of the house erected by Col. Jonathan Stone
in 1799 and still occupied by his descendants.
The inscription on this monument is as follows: “South
on river bank stood Stone’s Fort. Built in 1793. Including four
blockhouses, a school room and several cabins. Here dwelt
Captain Jonathan Stone and four other
families during the remainder of the Indian War.”
October 5, 1911, in the presence of a large concourse
of people, Miss Cornelia McGee, a
descendant of Capt. Stone, gracefully lifted the
American flag which had cov-
ered the monument. Following this were very appropriate services
consisting of addresses and music.
In another part of this history we have an account of
the kidnapping of Major Nathan Goodale by the Indians,
and the third monument erected by this Society commemorates that
event. It stands on the lot of the Porterfield (Center
Belpre) Congregational Church with the following inscription:
“In memory of Major
Nathan Goodale, native of Massachusetts, Revolutionary
Officer, arrived in Ohio, August 19, 1788. First
Commandant in Farmers Castle. Kidnapped by Indians on this
farm March 1, 1793. Never returned. Erected by Belpre
Historical Society, 1914.”
On August 19th, 1914
the one hundred and twenty-sixth anniversary of the arrival of
Major Goodale and family in Ohio the Belpre Historical
Society held a Field Day in front of this monument, which was
unveiled by Miss Willia Cotton a representative of the
Daughters of the Revolution. W. M. Straus, Esq., of
Parkersburg made a very able address which was afterwards
published in the Marietta Register-Leader. Several other
appropriate addresses were made and the ladies of the Center
Belpre Congregational Church provided a bountiful banquet for
In 1915 this Society asked for and received a Charter
of incorporation from the Department of State with the following
|Rev. Cornelius E. Dickinson
Carrie Carpenter McNeal
Amos W. Shinn
A. Tupper Stone
Dr. Herbert S. Curtis
Nannie Porterfield Armstrong
enables the Society to hold property and it is expected that
they will secure deeds of the land on which the several
monuments are located.
At the time of the erection of this Porterfield
Monument Hon. James Kilbourne, Mrs. Andrew Crotte, Mrs.
Wm. G. Deshler and Miss Alice K. Potter of
Ohio, descendants of Maj. Goodale, made
generous gifts to the funds of the Society and they were
made Honorary members of the Society.
Although this Society has erected these three important
monuments, it is hoped that its work is only well commenced.
There are several other important sites to be marked and
such a Society is needed to keep alive in the minds of the
people of Belpre an interest in later as well as the early
facts in their history. A few relics, documents, and
books have already been secured and it is to be hoped that
some former resident of Belpre or the descendants of such
residents, may make it possible to erect a fire-proof
library and relic building which shall help make the coming
generations like those of the past among the most
enterprising, progressive and intelligent people in the
[ END OF CHAPTER XVIII ]