- Amish Country
Fort Laurens Revolutionary War Fortification
Fort Laurens located along the Tuscarawas River and north of Dover, was the first and only fort of the Revolutionary War. It was built in 1778 by General Lachlan McIntosh as a defense against British and Native Americans. General Lachlan McIntosh led an expedition from Fort Pitt (Pittsburgh today) into land controlled by the Delaware. He first built a supply fort he named after himself and then traveling about 70 miles he reached the Tuscarawas River. By this time it was already late November and the weather was turning bad. Deciding it was impossible to continue, McIntosh decided to construct a larger fortification capable of standing on its own in hostile country.
The fort was well constructed, but after completing the fort, General McIntosh decided to go back to Fort Pitt, leaving about 170 men, but with few supplies. A few months later in January, Fort Laurens came under attack. A siege against the fort lasted until late March when the British and their Native allies abandoned the attack.
Located in New Philadelphia, Schoenbrunn Village is a reconstruction of an 18th Century Moravian missionary village. The Moravian missionaries braved the Ohio Country to spread God's word to a group of Delaware Indians. This settlement known as Schoenbrunn Village is considered Ohio's first European settlement. Throughout this area there were multiple Moravian missionary settlements. There were several distinctions among these settlements. First the Moravians were able to speak to the Delaware without the need for a translator. Next, the Delaware actually lived in cabins along with the missionaries, meaning they were being exposed to daily structure life-style of the missionaries. This was not without problems.
Not all of the Delaware approved of these missionaries, which caused a split among them that eventually caused unfriendly Americans to blame the Moravian Delaware for something they did not do.
Gnadenhutten was a Moravian missionary village. The Moravian missionaries had constructed the village with the goal of converting Native Americans to Christianity. Another Moravian village, Schoenbrunn, had been successful in this mission, but for some reason Gnadenhutten had not been as successful. Some of the Native Americans living in the village had communicated the unhappiness to some of their friends, which attracted the attention of British troops and Wyandots unhappy with the American efforts to Christianize the Indians.
After attacking and killing a small child in Pennsylvania. On their way back into the Ohio Country the Wyandot / British led group moved into Gnadenhutten. The Wyandots wanted to kill everyone including the missionaries. The British wanted to take the missionaries hostage back to Fort Detroit which they did after first dispersing all of the Native Americans. Once the Wyandots and British along with their hostages departed, the Christians Indians came back to the village in search of food. While doing this, a group of militia from Pennsylvania came upon Gnadenhutten and the Christian Indians. As they began to gather them up, one of the militia found found a piece of clothing belonging to the murdered child. Thinking the Christian Indians were responsible, the rounded them up and locked them into one of the cabins. A small child slipped out during the night and later recounted the events.
During the night the militia began murdering the Christian Indians one by one until none were left alive. It became known as the Gnadenhutten Massacre.
President James Garfield Memorial and Home
He was America's last president born in a log cabin. It was an unusual presidential election year. Republican Rutherford B. Hayes, the incumbent president, had decided not to seek a second term throwing open the primary election to 4 candidates, and one of them, a former president. In June of 1880, the Republican Convention was in Chicago. After 35 ballots the convention was still deadlocked. Having already been asked if he would serve and declined, James Garfield was convinced to enter the race and at this open convention on the very next ballot, James Garfield was almost unanimously chosen by the delegates. The Republican Party finally had a candidate: a House Representative from Ohio. The election that fall would be another one for the books.
They were still counting ballots the day after the election. In the end there were no more than 2,000 popular votes separating the candidates. Garfield received 48.27 percent and his opponent 48.25 percent. The Electoral College would determine the outcome. The extreme northern part of the country went for Garfield, giving him the election with 58 percent of the Electoral College voting for him.
The following March, James Garfield was sworn in as the 20th President of the United States. In September of that same year, President James Garfield would die from an infection caused by an assassins bullet that lodged in his back two and half months earlier. The president's health during that time became a daily concern for all Americans. The entire country became a President Garfield supporter and with his last breath, the nation felt a great loss even though most of the population had only known the man for just over a year.
The outpouring of his death, the sincere grief felt by the country was overwhelming. In contemporary terms, remember how the country felt when President Kennedy was killed. Imagine that same feeling over a hundred years ago. Even Lincoln's death did not have the same widespread sense of loss as it did for James Garfield. This is one reason that the Garfield Memorial in Lake View Cemetery was so opulent and a site that everyone should visit at least once. Less than 20 miles east of Lake View Cemetery is Garfield's home known as Lawnfield.
U.S. President William McKinley Memorial
At the time of William McKinley's death, the nation was united in their love for their slain president. No where was that more evident than in his home state of Ohio. At the state legislature waisted no time. A statue was erected on the west side of the capital grounds. The red carnation McKinley wore almost every day became the official state flower. The flag flying over the Ohio Pavilion at the Pan American Exposition where he was slain, was adopted as the state flag. Schools across the state and the nation changed their names in honor of the president. A mountain in Alaska was named after him, but no where was more attention directed than to 27 acres of land in Canton Ohio that would become the McKinley Memorial site. The selected design was selected from over 60 serious design submissions. The public contributed more than $500,000 towards the construction and purchase of the land.
Ohio-Erie Canal Then and Now
Even though the canal system officially ended in 1913, today, in many areas, parts of the canal have become attractions, not as transportation systems, but as recreational and visitor attractions. Ohio had almost 1000 miles of canals connecting to half of all of Ohio's 88 counties.
This would be a complete surprise for anyone living close to one of Ohio's canals in the 1870s. Those once trumpeted waterways had long become obsolete and were nothing more than open sewers and mosquito breeding grounds. When many of the canals were filled in, a giant sigh of relief was felt throughout the state. Today a number of those canal ways have been restored to their original charm and function. The tow paths are now bikeways or hiking trails through the countryside.
Long before Ohio became a state, it was a fertile ground for religious expression. One of the first religions to reach into the Ohio Country were the Moravian Missionaries. They were unique among missionaries in Ohio. They learned the language of the Native American groups they witnessed to and taught the beliefs of Christianity in a disciplined way. A number of villages were organized in eastern Ohio with the hopes that Christianity would have a lasting impact upon the Delaware. Unfortunately, despite all the attempts to prove otherwise, the Moravian missionaries became pawns in the Revolutionary War. As a result of this war along the western frontier, a tragic event occurred in 1782 that became known as the Gnadenhutten Massacre.
Gnadenhutten was a Moravian Missionary village constructed in the Tuscarawas Valley. Another of those villages was the Schoenbrunn Village which has been reconstructed in detail and is open to the public.
Mormons First Church
As a young boy Joseph Smith received a series of what he believed were divine revelations; from these revelations Joseph Smith developed a religious order that began attracting a variety of converts, but not without some controversy. In time his religious group began attracting the ire of local citizens back in New York and Smith decided to move his flock to Ohio where he settled in Kirtland. Here the community thrived for a while as it did in other areas, but in Kirtland the Mormon Church built its first Temple. Like other areas where the Mormon Church was established, many in the local community had problems accepting the new religion. As a result of this and the economic conditions of the time, Joseph Smith was forced to abandon the community and move it further west. In the 1990s, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints returned to Kirtland to reclaim its abandoned properties and restore a portion of the community to the way it was in the 1830s. Today that site has become a religious pilgrimage site for both Mormons and history buffs.
Quaker Meeting House
Pennsylvania is probably best known as where Quakers were largely gathered. They also had establishments in Virginia, Maryland, the Carolinas and Georgia. One of their guiding principles was opposition to slavery in all forms. In the south during the 1700s, this opposition to slavery drew an equal opposition to the Quakers from local citizens, forcing many of them to relocate elsewhere. One of those locations was first in the Ohio Country and later the state of Ohio. Here isolated communities were established where they could practice their beliefs. They also became strong supporters for slaves escaping bondage in the south. Through a largely hidden network of safe houses, the Quakers were able to secret runaway slaves through Ohio to the safety of Canada.
As the Society of Friends became more established throughout the state, it was decided to establish a Quaker Meeting House west of the Allegheny Mountains. This meeting house would function as an annual gathering place for all Quakers in and around Ohio. Although as transportation improved throughout the state, those improvements bypassed Mount Pleasant. In time the Quaker Meeting House was abandoned for a better accessible site, but the large Meeting House was preserved.
Ohio has the largest Amish / Mennonite settlement in the country. This region is composed of Holmes, Wayne, Tuscarawas, Coshocton, Knox, Ashland, Richland and Stark Counties. All combined, these areas offer a variety of good food, attractions and some of the most beautiful country in the state. The Amish is a loose organization with shared cultural customs that have been preserved in one way or another. Certain Amish areas in the country have developed their own cultural traditions and customs. The Amish men in northeast Ohio are more often than not farmers that have maintained their historical non-mechanized methods of farming. They do not rely on electricity or gasoline powered equipment. Here visitors will more likely see the traditional horse and buggy, updated with lights and other safety devices, sharing the road with modern day modes of transport.
Zoar Village is a preserved settlement from the early 1800s. At that time 200 German emigrants came here for religious freedom. At the time, the Tuscarawas Valley was an isolated area of the state which was exactly what the Society of Separatists were seeking. The restored village contains 10 buildings, each of a unique design, dating back 1817.