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Washington County, Ohio
History & Genealogy


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
Marietta, Ohio
Published for the Author by
Globe Printing & Binding Company
Parkersburg, West Virginia


Page 194


     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. McNeal
Vice-President ...... Mrs. W. L. McMorris
Secretary .............. Mrs. F. J. Prunty
Treasurer .............. Mrs. J. B. Waterman

     The following 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.

IV .

     The Club shall meet every two weeks at 2:30 p. m. beginning in October and continuing until April.

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     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 Club.
     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:

President ....................................... 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. Glazier
Auditor ......................................... Miss Josie O’Neil

     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-

[Pg. 196]
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.


     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 neighborhood.

[Pg. 197]


     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.


     This Association, 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 historical study.


     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

[Pg. 198]


     The President, 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 for.

(VI—Annual Meeting)

     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 )

     The Executive 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 )

     The Executive Committee may call special business meetings.

[Pg. 199]

( 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 the Society.
     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 banquet served.
     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-

[Pg. 200]
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 the occasion.
     In 1915 this Society asked for and received a Charter of incorporation from the Department of State with the following incorporators:

Rev. Cornelius E. Dickinson
Carrie Carpenter McNeal
Amos W. Shinn
A. Tupper Stone
Dr. Herbert S. Curtis
Nannie Porterfield Armstrong
John Dana

     This Charter 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 Columbus,

[Pg. 201]
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 State.





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