When I asked Mr. Walker to let me write the story of this trip for the Saltsburg Press, little did I realize how very little time there would be for writing. I thought the mountains would be my great inspiration. Alas! They just put me to sleep when evening comes. I want to tell you what I can of the rest of our journey from Canton, on to Knoxville, though the information I give you will be pitifully meager. We took the route through Cambridge because of its beautiful scenery. We learned that we need not go to Switzerland for our Swiss cheese. There are many factories in the southeastern part of Ohio. Funny signs dot the highway. A certain shaving cream is extensively advertised; for example: "Now in this vale of toil and sin, Man's head grows bald, but not his chin." The school boy with his slate had a funny one that day: "even the stork has carrying charges."
We branched off at Caldwell to visit a dear friend in Pennsville; spent the night there and a good share of the next day, enticed by a charming hostess and two dear boys with a pony and cart. We went to Marietta by way of McConnellsville, for the drive along the quiet, tree-bordered Muskingum river is something to be remembered. Marietta, as you know, is built at the junction of the Muskingum and Ohio rivers. The man in charge of the tourist camp there told me that a certain visitor who claimed to have traveled all over the United States, said Marietta is the most beautiful city he has seen. I am quite willing to believe him. Someone had the vision to plant trees along each street leading almost into the heart of the city. Such beautiful, symmetrical trees I think I never saw. Just on the outskirts of the city, northward, is the famous Rathbone elm, said to be the largest elm in the United States. Had it not been on the lawn of a private home, I would have taken my tape measure to find its girth. A boy on the lawn said "410 inches." He could be right, though I should guess about 24 feet. The streets of Marietta are unusually well-marked, with special signs pointing to special places of interest. I saw no neglected lawns or anything that would indicate lack of pride on the part of any citizen of Marietta. It is the oldest city, west of the original thirteen colonies. It is rich in historical meaning. In 1788 General Rufus Putnam and a band of brave men came down the Ohio river in a flat boat to claim the land granted them by George Washington as a reward for their great service in the Revolutionary War. They built a stockade as a defense against the Indians. It was called Campus Martius. They built a land office near by. That office still stands, as the oldest building still standing west of the Alleghenies. A tiny, musty shack; you would little dream that thousands of acres of land were sold and granted there. Although most of the historic relics have been moved across the street to the fine new museum, built two years ago around the Rufus Putnam house, there still remain the plow-share that turned over the first soil in that new settlement; the goat-skin trunk brought in by the first bride - on horse back - a gun used as protection against the Indians; a powder horn; the desk or table used for surveyors' maps and business transactions; and Rufus Putnam's chair, settee, and pewter coffee-pot.
Florence B. Taylor
Next - August 17, 1933 - Motor Travel Sketches - #3 Bryson City, N.C.