Back in the 1870s a professor named Thomas Dwight Briscoe taught science and astronomy at Marietta College. Briscoe was one of the early individuals in this area who took an interest in a science called photography, and his interest led him down to Front Street where he became friends with a photographer named J.D. Cadwallader. Cadwallader, who was an outstanding photographer had a photographic gallery on the second floor of a building on the northeast corner of Front and Butler streets. The building, which was constructed by George H. Eells, was owned by Eells who had a store where he sold shoes and men's furnishings on the ground floor. Cadwallader's photographic business took up the entire second floor and the third floor was occupied by American Union Lodge No. 1. F&AM.
Professor Biscoe decided to get involved in photography and took his first lesson from Cadwallader on March 15, 1879. In those days a wet plate was used, and Biscoe's first picture showed the back of the buildings on Front Street, along with sections now making up Second, Third, and Fourth streets between Putnam and Butler streets. There is a large trestle used by the Marietta & Pittsburgh Railroad, and at the head of Butler the home of Gen. A.J. Warner, which later became the Dinsmoor home, then Dorothy Webster Hall (a dormitory for women), and is now a dormitory for students of both sexes at the college. Marietta College, seen on the hill, operated in only three buildings, Alumni Hall, Irwin Hall and a building used as a dormitory for men.
The unusual picture shows what was then known as the village swamp, and revealed Tiber Creek (also known as Goose Creek), mostly enclosed in culverts which still empty into the Muskingum River near the railroad bridge (now the Harmar walking bridge.). Not shown was the canal that connected with the Muskingum River above the dam, located in that area back then. The canal, above the dam, supplied water for power to operate the Phoenic Flour Mill, which was adjacent to the railroad bridge. Advertising in 1879 was placed on a roadside fence for the benefit of railroad passengers, inviting them to "SMOKE GAIL & AX'S LITTLE JOKER TOBACCO." The Catholic Church, rectory and school were located in that area, and beyond was the Presbyterian Church and many outstanding homes-homes of the wealthy. The picture shows, what was then a swamp and a garbage dump. Back then, also, the ground was so low that a slight rise in the Muskingum or Ohio rivers caused the entire area to flood. What was swamp and mostly unusable was later filled in and raised, but the picture taken by Professor Biscoe shows the early history of downtown Marietta, the land very low and quite different than that of today. However, whenever Marietta gets hit by a flood, that is the section that fills with water first.
Willia Cotton was Marietta's first librarian, and among the things she accomplished was the first history of Mound Cemetery. She listed the names of the Revolutionary soldiers buried in Marietta cemeteries, and the first on her list were those in Mound Cemetery: (North Side -- East of Tupper St. Walk) Gen. Rufus Putnam, Gen. Benjamin Tupper, Commodore Abraham Whipple, Col. Ebenezer Sproat, Major Anselm Tupper, Major Ezra Putnam, Capt. Robert Taylor, Ephriam Foster, and Andrew McAllister. (North Side - West of Tupper St. Walk) Captain Nathaniel Saltonstall, Col. William Stacy, Lieut. Robert Lincoln, Surgeon Jabez True, Quartermaster Griffin Greene, Ichabod Nye, Nathaniel Dodge, Dudley Woodbridge, Levi Lankton. (South Side) Cap. Josiah Munroe, Capt. Stanton Pentiss, John Green. (Burial Place not Known) Capt. Joseph Rogers, Capt. Enoch Shepard, Matthew Kerr.
Contact Joan Pritchard is a longtime columnist for The Parkersburg News & Sentinel. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org