Thursday, April 3, 2014

If this is Thursday it must be postcards, 136

Picketed Point Stockade, Marietta, Ohio, ca 1791

The postcard above shows another of the forts built in the Marietta, Ohio area by the Ohio Company of Associates as protection for settlers during the Indian Wars of 1791-1795.   The image on this card is one of a series published by David Shelburne-Shelburne Films from an award-winning documentary entitled “Opening the Door West.”  The red building in the forefront of the picture is the “red house tavern” also known as the “Buell and Munsell Hotel.”  Built in 1789 by Joseph Buell and Levi Munsell it was the first frame building in the Northwest Territory. 

Although the fort no longer exists there is a stone marker where it originally stood.  Picketed Point was the last of the fortifications built at Marietta.  It encompassed a space of about four acres with blockhouses and sentry boxes.   The card shows dwelling houses inside the fenced area.  Military quarters were also located within the fort.  The entry gates were wide enough to admit teams such as mules, horses and oxen.  The gates were constructed of thick planks sturdy enough to afford protection for the men on guard.  Like the other forts it also had pickets and palisades as additional protection.

Stone marking the southern boundary of Picketed Point

Note the white barked tree at the front left of the card.  We saw several of these trees on our recent visit to Marietta and did not know what they were.  The lower trunk is a normal brown color while the upper trunk and branches are white or silver colored.  Without leaves it was difficult to guess what these striking trees might be.  We asked at the Campus Martius Museum and found out that they are Silver Maples, a tree that is fast growing and is often found along waterways and wetlands so it is sometimes also called a “water maple.”  It is not found in the northwestern United States but is one of the most common trees in the eastern United States and Canada.

Silver Maple

The magnificent specimen shown above is located in the parkway off Front Street along the Muskingum River in Marietta.  We also saw several of these trees growing along the bank by the Harmar footbridge as well as here and there throughout Marietta.  The original forest surrounding Picketed Point was composed of hardwood trees such as oak, elm, hickory, beech and maple that still grow there although not as abundantly as they did in the 1700s due to early logging and construction.  Most of the evergreen trees we saw were pines and may have been planted by the inhabitants sometime later.  Ohio Buckeye trees can be found almost everywhere also.  They produce a fruit similar to a chestnut in appearance.  The inner nut is said to resemble the eye of a buck, hence the name.  The nuts and shell casings can be found in great numbers on the ground as these native trees were very popular and have been planted along the streets.   Supposedly the first tree felled in the Northwest Territory was a Buckeye. 

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