MARIETTA - Ohio during the War of 1812 will be the subject of the annual Pioneer Day Dinner and presentation Saturday.
Though the deadline to purchase tickets to the dinner has passed, the after-dinner presentation to follow at 8 p.m. is free and open to the public in the Lafayette Hotel Banquet Room.
Performer and educator Hank Arbaugh will present his program, "The War of 1812 and Ohio Frontier Life," immediately following the annual dinner, held each April 7 - Marietta's birthday.
A volunteer at the Henry Fearing House Museum points to a collection that was part of an exhibit of kitchen equipment from the 1920s and 1930s. As part of Marietta’s 224th birthday celebration, the historic home and museum will be open to the public from 1 to 4 p.m. Saturday.
"A lot of historians refer to it as the 'forgotten war,'" said Ken Finkel, president of the Washington County Historical Society, which is holding the event, along with The Ohio Humanities Council. "I refer to it as the second war of independence."
According to Finkel, the area during 1812 was beginning to take shape.
"In 1812, Marietta was growing at a rapid rate and Beverly and Belpre were growing at quite a pace as well. There was a huge influx of people at this time, even though it was still remote farm land," he said.
What: Pioneer Day Dinner to celebrate Marietta's 224th birthday, sponsored by the Washington County Historical Society and The Ohio Humanities Council. Guest speaker Hank Arbaugh will present "The War of 1812 and Ohio Frontier Life."
When: Presentation begins at 8 p.m. Saturday. Doors open to the public at 7:30 p.m.
Where: The Lafayette Hotel Banquet Room.
Cost: Presentation is free and open to the public; the organization asks that people call ahead to ensure a seat at 373-1788 or 373-0359.
There were a few volunteers from the area who joined up in the ongoing battle against British oppression. The British empire enlisted the help of several American Indian tribes, including the Shawnee, Iroquois, Ottowa and Miami tribes, which were prevalent in Ohio.
Arbaugh, 72, is part of the Speakers Bureau program through the Ohio Humanities Council. He holds a master's degree in English/folk studies from The Ohio State University. He has been a teacher, has recorded music and spent years as a researcher. According to Arbaugh, he was part of the growing folk music scene in the early 1960s, when he was a student at Ohio University and later at Ohio State, where he met Phil Ochs, also an OSU student.
"Tom Ewing - who later was (bluegrass legend) Bill Monroe's last guitarist - and I would go down to the Sacred Mushroom (a popular coffeehouse hangout in Columbus)," said Arbaugh, who was in a trio that was influenced by the music of the day. "It seems like every dorm and every fraternity at that time had a group, but we were just three people who wanted to be musicians."
Many of Arbaugh's friends and acquaintances have also gone on to have successful musical careers.
This will be the third trip to Marietta for Arbaugh - whose version of "The Storms are on the Ocean" plays in rotation at Campus Martius - and this time around he will be bringing two guitars and a mandolin to entertain the crowd with songs like "The Star Spangled Banner," "The Hunters of Kentucky" and William Henry Harrison's campaign song. Arbaugh said he will also read about Oliver Hazard Perry's victory and the poem "Old Ironsides" by Oliver Wendell Holmes.
If there is time in the program, which will last roughly 45 minutes, Arbaugh said he will let the audience choose some ballads of Ohio frontier life, including "Girls of Ohio," a song by Mrs. Frank C. Rea, which was performed at Marietta's centennial celebration in 1888.
The Pioneer Day Dinner is held each year in honor of Marietta's founding in 1788.