Thursday, August 22, 2013

Harrison County, Ohio - Anniversarys




Harrison County Courthouse
Today is an important family anniversary with tons of good memories of a wedding 4 years ago on the glorious California coast -- and this week is another family gathering for a wedding across the country on Florida's east coast -- we are a bicoastal family -- American more than we are Californian, or Floridian, or Ohioan! This blog started with our Robb family and Harrison County a year ago (one year!). During the year I reread Conrad Richter and it seems this is the area the Luckett family walked into from Pennsylvania. No wonder the books rang true for me.  I need further research, but our Karscadden (Skadden) and Moore families probably arrived pretty much as did the characters in The Trees.  The Robb family arrived in the mid-1800s from Northern Ireland during a period of settlement and growth that evokes The Fields.
The county abounded with game and fish. It was hilly, rugged and beautiful. There were natural resources, such as coal, to be discovered. And, if you could wrest the land from the trees there was rich soil for crops and the raising of sheep. There was hope and promise.

Reading the reality of today is a little sad. This is Appalachia. Virgin forests were cut. Coal mining
Appalachian Ohio in green
took over rich farmland. The area lost population after the land was mined and stripped for its coal.  The unemployment and poverty levels are higher than average. That being said there is so much of value and so much promise. There are ample wilderness areas for hunting deer and wild turkey (I’m a proponent of hunting with a camera, but if you need game for food the animals are plentiful.) There are three large lakes behind dams in Harrison County making it a recreational jewel. I can imagine the fishing and boating are rather fabulous.  



Gen. George Armstrong Custer

Like many of the Ohio counties, Harrison has a strong abolitionist past. There are some quirky and eclectic famous sons. This place produced Clark Gable, who can forget that famous line - "Frankly, my dear, I don't give a damn.", and General George Armstrong Custer who died with his men at the Little Big Horn. Edwin Stanton, President Abraham Lincoln’s Secretary of War, hailed from the area; in fact there seemed to be a strong Harrison County presence around the embattled Civil War president. This wasn’t just a rural area filled with country folk. Franklin College turned out educators, ministers and attorneys ready to spread the doctrine of abolition. “Graduates of this small institution included eight United States Senators, nine Members of Congress, several governors, and twenty state legislators.”*  Franklin also produced the first African American college graduate in Ohio.**

What would I do if I had a chance to go to Harrison County?  I’d spend a few days exploring nature, boating, fishing and relaxing – maybe even find a 4 wheeler. I’d spend a few days more visiting villages, museums, and looking at cottage crafts.  Then I’d get serious about genealogy – courthouse, cemeteries, plat maps, and local experts – I’d have field day! 

Happy Anniversary!

*Harrison County Community Improvement Corp. - http://www.harrisoncountyohio.org/index.htm
**Wikipedia - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Franklin_College_(New_Athens,_Ohio)
Photos: Wikipedia Commons

 

2 comments:

  1. Dan Lee Riggin likes this.

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  2. Thanks, Dan. I'm pretty sure you'd love Harrison County, Ohio! Did you click on the link where it said "4-wheeler." It's a bit long but watching part of it gives you an idea of what it is like there.

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