Thursday, March 20, 2014

If this is Thursday it must be postcards, 134

Return J. Meigs, Jr. home, Marietta, Ohio

One of the things I have enjoyed doing on trips to Marietta, Ohio is looking for the historical markers placed in front of some of the buildings and homes.  This postcard published by Richardson Printing Corporation of Marietta, shows the home of the fourth governor (1810-1814) of Ohio, Return Jonathan Meigs, Jr., and was built in 1802 overlooking the Muskingum River.  The pictures below show the house as it looks today complete with the historical marker.  There are a few minor changes since the postcard was printed such as the removal of window shutters and the balcony railing above the front door.

Return J. Meigs, Jr. was born in Middletown, Connecticut in 1764 a descendant of early Puritan settlers in Massachusetts.  After graduating from Yale University in 1785 where he studied law he was admitted to the Connecticut bar association.  He moved to Marietta, Ohio around 1788 joining his father who was among some of the first settlers in the Northwest Territory. 

Meigs was also the 5th United States Postmaster General from 1814 to 1823 serving under two Presidents, James Madison and James Monroe.  He served as a United States Senator during the years 1808-1810 when he finished out the term of John Smith then resigned when he was elected governor of Ohio in 1810.   In addition to serving in all these public offices he was a lawyer, storekeeper, and farmer. 

In 1788 Meigs married Sophia Wright and they had one daughter.  Although he did not have a direct male heir, two of his brothers each named a son Return Jonathan Meigs.  Return J. Meigs III passed the Kentucky bar and practiced law in Tennessee later becoming prominent in Tennessee state affairs before the Civil War.  He moved to New York when Tennessee seceded from the Union in 1861.  Return J. Meigs IV married Jennie Ross a daughter of the Cherokee chief John Ross and followed the Trail of Tears to Oklahoma.  

Return J. Meigs, Jr. resigned from the Post Office in 1823 due to ill health.  He died in 1825 and is buried in the Mound Cemetery where his grave is marked by this large monument shown in the pictures below.  We stopped at the cemetery on a recent trip to Marietta to get a few pictures.  It took a long time for us to find the grave even though the stone is quite large.  The grave is located in the front left quadrant of the cemetery and is marked on the diagram found in front of the Conus mound and seen in the photo above.  There is engraving on one side of the stone only.  Most of the large stones have the family name prominently displayed but on this one his name is just incorporated into the text.  It was easier to find the nearby graves of Col. Ichabod Nye, Salah Bosworth, and Dudley Woodbridge who were Revolutionary War veterans and had flags by their headstones.  The text is hard to read but I copied it out and include it below the photos.

"Here lies the body of his excellency Return Jonathan Meigs who was born at Middletown, Connecticut Nov. 1766 and died at Marietta March 29, 1825.  For many years his time and talents were devoted to the service of his country.

"He successfully filled the distinguished places of judge of territory, Northwest of the Ohio.  Judge of the Supreme Court of the State of Ohio.  Senator in the Congress of the United States, Governor of the State of Ohio and Postmaster General of the United States.  

"To the honored and revered memory of

An ardent patriot
A practical Statesman
An enlightened scholar
A dutiful son
An indulgent father
An affectionate husband

"This monument is erected by his mourning widow Sophia Meigs."

For more information about Return J. Meigs, please see:,_Jr.

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