Washington County was the first county settled in the old Northwest Territory.  Marietta, Ohio, was settled on 7 April 1788 by the Ohio Company of Associates, a group of Revolutionary War officers who were paid for their services in land.  Like many other places in the United States, it was named for George Washington, and yes, Washington had first-hand knowledge of this area.  His survey party camped at present-day Reno, Ohio, on 26 October 1770.

Washington's opinion of the new settlement in June 1788 was glowing: "No colony in America was ever settled under such favorable auspices as that which has just commenced at the Muskingum.  If I was a young man, just preparing to begin the world, or if advanced in life and had a family to make provision for, I know of no country where I should rather fix my habitation."

The county seat, Marietta, Ohio, was named by the Revolutionary War veterans after Marie Antoinette for her contributions in the American Revolution.   Marietta, Ohio, was a planned community, with the streets and lots drawn up before the Ohio Company land was sold.

Prehistoric earthworks (mounds) have existed in the county since the Hopewell and Adena cultures around 2000 years ago - 100BCE to 500 CE


Maps & Images

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Map of Marietta Mounds
Marietta Earthworks diagram, by Charles Whittlesey,
Ancient Monuments of the Mississippi Valley EG Squier & EH Davis, authors.

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Five graphic images below by David Shelburne, director and writer for Opening the Door West.

Early military fortifications were pentagonal.
Fort Harmar (1785), where the Muskingum River meets the broad Ohio River.
The fort was on the west side of the Muskingum River and established to mitagate illegal settlement in the Ohio Territory prior to the Northwest Ordinance of 1787.
Fort Harmar picture


"Campus Martius" on the east side of the Muskingum River. Construction 1788-1791.
276 perches (276 p x 5.5 yd x 3 ft. or 4554 feet) upstream from the Ohio River.
"Picketed Point" at the confluence of the Ohio and Muskingum Rivers.
This less-fortifed area of Marietta was on the east bank of the Muskingum River across from Fort Harmar.
It became the heart of what is now downtown Marietta.
Picketed Point Graphic


Fort Frye up the Muskingum River,
Fort Frye Graphic


and Farmers' Castle in Belpre.
Farmer's Castle fortified settlement, Belpre, Ohio

Fort Harmar, Campus Martius, Picked Point, Fort Frye, and Farmer's Castle graphic images from "Opening The Door West" a PBS historical documentary about the founding of the first settlement in the Northwest Territory at Marietta, Ohio. Produced by Shelburn Films in association with WOUB TV, Athens, OH. Executive Producer: Mark Brewer, Producer: Ellen Cobb Shelburne, Writer, Director, Graphics: David L. Shelburne. www.openingthedoorwest.com
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Links to Washington County People and Places
Also see Article Links and Book Links

Joel Barlow
Blennerhassett Island
Harman Blennerhassett
Sala Bosworth, artist
Gov. John Brough
General Don Carlos Buell

Camp Putnam
Campus Martius
Celeron de Bienville's Expedition
Ephraim Cutler
Manasseh Cutler

Beman Gates Dawes
Vice-President Charles Gates Dawes
Celeron de Bienville
Donation Tract
William Duer

Fort Harmar
French Grant
Frances Dana Gage, abolitionist and suffragette

Joseph Gilman
Alexander Hill
Lt. Gov. (briefly Gov.) Nancy Putnam Hollister

Marietta and Cincinnati Railroad
Marietta College
Marietta Earthworks
Lydia Moulton
William Moulton
C. William O'Neill

The Ohio Company of Virginia
The Ohio Company of Associates (Northwest Territory)
Samuel Holden Parsons
General Rufus Putnam

Winthrop Sargent
Wyllys Silliman
Charles Sullivan

Treaty of Fort Harmar
Benjamin Tupper
James Varnum

Washington County, Ohio
Washington State Community College, Marietta, Ohio
Gov. George White

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