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Get To Know

Each week on Facebook and Instagram we feature a different person, place or event that you should "get to know". On this page you can learn more about the people, places, and events that make Belmont County unique. These are just some of the stories of local and national history you can learn by visiting the Belmont County Heritage Musem.

Get to Know . . . Betty Zane

Born: 1766 Berkeley County, WV

Died: 1831 (buried in Walnut Grove Cemetery, Martins Ferry, Ohio)

Why You Should Know Betty Zane: According to legend, she was the heroine of Fort Henry for her brave action of dashing 50 yards (each way) to retrieve gun powder during a battle with the British and Native Americans in 1782.

Fun Tidbit: Fortune favors the bold. Betty's actions at Fort Henry have earned her a place in history, however, it was not the first time the young woman took matters into her own hands. She was sent to live with her brother in the first place because, at the age of 13 (and small for her age), she stole horses from British troops and gave them to General George Washington's army. Fearing for her safety if the British soldiers ever figured out they had been out-witted by a 13-year-old girl, her family gave her permission to go to Fort Henry.

Learn more about Betty and the Zane family at the Belmont County Heritage Museum.

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Get to know . . . William Boyd

Born: June 5, 1895 in Hendrysburg, Ohio

Died: Sept. 12, 1972

Why you should know William Boyd: As cowboy star "Hopalong Cassidy", Boyd starred in over 60 motion pictures. Never in Hollywood history had one man played the same character in as many features. Boyd bought the rights to the movies and syndicated them for TV. The merchandising of over 2,400 "Hoppy" items from wallpaper to milk cartons made Boyd famous.

Fun tidbit: Legend has it that Boyd helped another Ohio native get his first break. Clark Gable got his first role in the "talkies" (The Painted Desert) with help from Boyd

Get to Know . . . Judge Isaac Parker

Born: October 15, 1838, Barnesville, OH

Died: November 17, 1896, Fort Smith, AR

Nickname: Hanging Judge

Why you should know Isaac Parker: Known as the hanging judge, he was Ironically opposed to capital punishment.

He was appointed by Ulysses S. Grant to Fort Smith in 1875. Parker tried 13,490 cases with 9,954 of them resulting in convictions. Despite thousands of convictions, he only sentenced 160 people to death which included four women. Of those, 79 men were executed on the gallows. His jurisdiction included the entire Indian territory, over 74,00 miles.

Fun tidbit: The University of Arkansas School of Journalism recently made a documentary about Parker called “Indians, Outlaws, Marshals and the Hanging Judge”.

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Get to Know . . . Ruth Brant Maguire

Born: May 3, 1900

Died: March 6, 1986

Why you should know Ruth Maguire: In 1925, Ruth organized the Martins Ferry Hospital School of Nursing, which was later named in her honor. The school graduated more than 500 nurses before its doors closed in 1965.

Fun tidbit: Items from the school once housed in the basement of EORH are now on display at the Heritage Museum.

Get to know . . . Benjamin Lundy

Born - Jan.4, 1789

Died -Aug. 22, 1839

Why you should know Benjamin Lundy- Quaker Benjamin Lundy was one of the first Abolitionists in the country. His advocacy began in Wheeling upon witnessing a slave auction. He moved to St. Clairsville where in 1815 he, along with five others, established an anti-slavery association called the Union Humane Society. In a short amount of time the society grew to 500 members that included prominent people of that time period: Charles Hammond, James Wilson (grandfather to President Woodrow Wilson), and Joseph Howells.

Fun tidbit - Lundy would eventually travel around the country setting up groups and giving lectures. He is said to have logged tens of thousands of miles on foot. #strongrootsbrightfutures #abolitionist #stclairsvillehistory #localhistory #gettoknow

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Get to Know . . . The Legend of Lady Bend Hill

Why you should know The Legend of Lady Bend Hill - Local lore has it that in 1833 a young lady from a wealthy Wheeling family, who had been courting a younger man of lesser means from Fairview, stole away in the night from her parents’ home in a coach with a particularly energetic horse. She headed for the Guernsey County town on what was known at the time as Zane's Trace to steal away with her lover. On the third bend from the top of this hill west of Morristown, a sudden bolt of lightning spooked the horse, forcing the coach to slide and ejecting the young lady from it and breaking her neck. Afterward, the horse ran aimlessly around for three days until it was finally corralled. Like many legends and ghost stories, the details vary. It is said that even today on very stormy nights, the apparition of a headless young lady astride a spirited steed can be seen riding recklessly up and down the hill. Even in the daytime there is something spooky about this stretch of road.

Fun Tidbit - This is just one legend associated with Egypt Valley. Hear the Legend of Lady Bend Hill and the tragic tale of the murder of Louiza Fox at "Spooky Tales of Local History" on Saturday, Oct. 10 at the Heritage Museum.

Get to Know . . . Joseph Warren Yost

Born - 1847 in Clarington, OH

Died - Nov. 2, 1923 in Avalon, PA

Why You Should Know J.W. Yost: A noted architect, he designed the Belmont County Sheriff's Residence (now the Belmont County Heritage Museum) in the Victorian Richardson Romanesque architectural style. It matches the style of the attached jail and the adjacent Belmont County Courthouse, both of which he also designed. He also designed the Belmont County Children’s Home and the Guernsey County Courthouse. Yost was from Clarington and started his own architectural firm in Bellaire, later moving it to Columbus.  Fun tidbit - He was instrumental in organizing the Association of Ohio Architects in 1885 (still operating today) and had the distinction of being named a Fellow of the American Institute of Architects in 1889. He moved to New York City in 1900. A number of his works are listed for their architecture in the U.S. National Register of Historic Places.

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Get to Know . . . Kathryn Crumbley

Born - March 8, 1946 in Bellaire

Died - June 5, 2011

Why You Should Know Kathy Crumbley - In 1976 she was elected Belmont County Sheriff on a contested ballot after being nominated by a political party. Because of  her stature (she was over 6 feet tall and weighed 275 pounds) and  personality, Crumbley became a "pop culture icon" appearing on The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson three times, the Mike Douglas Show, and Hee Haw. Crumbley was not the first female sheriff of Belmont County. That was Mary K. Dunfee who served out her husband's term from 1926-1927 when he was killed in the line of duty (as was customary). Nor was she the first to be elected in the state, however, at the time that person (Vinton County's Maude Collins) had been largely forgotten outside of that county and Crumbley was lauded for her accomplishment.

Fun tidbit - A song, "The Lady Sheriff of Belmont County" was written and recorded about her and a TV Show was proposed (for which she was hired as a consultant) tentatively called "Walking Broad".

Get to Know . . . Gov. Wilson Shannon

Born - Feb. 24, 1802 near Barnesville

Died - Aug. 30, 1877

Why You Should Know Wilson Shannon - He served as the 14th and 16th Governor of Ohio, and was the first governor of Ohio born in the state. Shannon was the second governor of the Kansas Territory and the only man in U.S. history to be governor of two states.

Fun tidbit -  Before running for governor, Shannon participated in the California Gold Rush. His elder brother, Thomas Shannon, served a partial term in the United States House of Representatives from 1826–1827. His oldest brother, George Shannon, was the youngest member of the Lewis and Clark Expedition. His nephew, Isaac Parker, gained fame as the "hanging judge" of the old west. (See above).

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Get to Know . . . Harley Warrick

Born -Oct. 5, 1924 in Londonderry, OH

Died - Nov. 24, 2000 in Belmont, OH

Why You Should Know Harley Warrick- This American barn painter is  best known for his work painting Mail Pouch tobacco advertising on barns across 13 states in the Midwest and Appalachian states. Over his 55-year career, Warrick painted or retouched over 20,000 Mail Pouch signs.

Fun tidbit -  When he retired, he was the last of the Mail Pouch sign painters in America. The Mail Pouch signs have become iconic and some of Warrick's work has been exhibited by the Smithsonian Institution.

Get to Know . . . The Great Stone Viaduct

Completed in 1871

Why You Should Know The Great Stone Viaduct -  Jointly constructed by the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad and the Central Ohio Railroad as part of the longest railroad bridge in America, its sandstone piers rise in varying heights 10 to 20 feet above the streets, from which are placed 43 stone arches supported by 37 ring stones (18 on each side of a keystone) intended to symbolize a united Union consisting of 37 states.

Fun tidbit -  It was featured in the 2010 film Unstoppable starring Denzel Washington and was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1976. The Great Stone Viaduct Historical Society is currently working to construct walkways and observation posts on abandoned portions of the viaduct. Learn more at

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Get to Know . . . The Blaine S Bridge

Constructed - 1828 

Rededicated - 2005

Why You Should Know The Blaine S Bridge- The Roman-style stone bridge is 345 feet long, and rises at a 6.3% incline going east to west, to a 500-foot climb to the top of the hill. Its arches are 25 feet, 35 feet, and 45 feet in length, and were originally earthen-filled. The “s” shape was designed for structural strength over the strong currents of Wheeling Creek.

Fun tidbit -  Located on an original section of the National Road, it is Ohio’s official Bicentennial Bridge and Ohio’s oldest bridge and longest “S” bridge. 

Get to Know . . . Jacob, Eliza and the "House that Jack Built"

Born - (Jacob) March 7, 1814 in Durham, England & (Eliza) Feb. 7, 1817

Died - (Jacob) June 15, 1904 and May 5, 1896 (Eliza) in Bellaire

Why You Should Know The Heatheringtons - A coalminer since the age of 6, Jacob and his wife Eliza, who worked as a cook in a tavern from a young age, worked together with a trusty mule named "Jack" to earn a living. They eventually became wealthy and built a mansion (now gone), bringing an architect from England to design it.

Fun tidbit -  According to legend, upon completion of  the mansion, Jacob took "Jack" through each room and showed him the house that he helped build. A carved stone mule head that once adorned the house is on display at the Bellaire Public Library. Jack was given a proper burial underneath a tree on the property. Eliza's headstone, a statue of  her with a Bible in her lap, still looks down upon Bellaire from Greenwood Cemetery.

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Get to Know . . .The Blackhorse Inn

Built in 1807 by Duncan Morrison (for whom Morristown is named)

Why You Should Know The Blackhorse Inn- Originally known as the Horner House, it is the oldest building in Morristown. In 1836, William Swaney built the brick edifice onto Morrison's original brick frame. Also known throughout its history as the Wright Hotel, Lippencott Hotel, and Union Hotel, it was an important stage coach stop. Restoration efforts are ongoing.

Fun tidbit -  On the National Register of Historic Places, the inn served as a recruitment station for the War of 1812 and was reputed to have been a stop on the Underground Railroad.

Get to Know . . . The Imperial Glass Company

Founded  in 1901 by Edward Muhleman

Closed in 1984

Why You Should Know The Imperial Glass Company - The handmade glassware was sold worldwide and was usually made of pressed glass patterns. The factory, located at 29th Street in Bellaire, was one of the largest glass factories under one roof. The company's most famous product is their "Candlewick" series, which even has a street named for it in Bellaire.

Fun tidbit -  The National Imperial Glass Museum, located at 3200 Belmont St. in Bellaire, is dedicated to the memory of the Imperial Glass factory, its employees and the beautiful glassware they created. The Museum offers an excellent opportunity to learn about Imperial and view extensive displays of Imperial glassware. The gift shop is currently open by appointment.

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Get to Know . . . The Watt Car & Wheel Co.

Founded in 1862

Closed in 1996

Why You Should Know The Watt Car & Wheel Co.- Founded as the Joseph Watt and Son foundry, the Barnesville business progressed from the molding of small cast irons and heat stoves to inventing the self-oiling coal car wheel. The company grew from a staff of the four Watt brothers to more than 135 employees by 1901. In 1891, Ohio gubernatorial candidate, and later U.S. president, William McKinley, dedicated the buildings of the 27-acre complex.

Fun Tidbit - The Watt Center For History & The Arts preserves the company's legacy in the historic office building and features displays on local history such as native Elisha Gray who invented a version of the telephone, among his many other patents. They also host events and art classes. Visit their Facebook Page for more information.

Get to Know . . .The Great Western Schoolhouse

Built in 1870

Why You Should Know The Great Western Schoolhouse - The Great Western School, located just west of St. Clairsville  on Ohio University’ Eastern Campus, was built  by the Clark Construction Company using  bricks hand-kilned from clay taken from the banks of the farm pond located at the bottom of the hill from the school.  It was the last active one-room school in Richland Township. It was closed in 1952 due to declining enrollment and the district’s consolidation program. After being restored in 1976, the schoolhouse welcomes visitors including local elementary school students, to hear the history and numerous stories of this one-room school and experience what it would have been like to be a student there.

Fun Tidbit - A 150th (+2) anniversary celebration will be Sat., June 18 from 1-4pm in OHIO Eastern Shannon Hall and on the ground of the schoolhouse. 

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Get to Know . . . The Underground Railroad Museum in Flushing

Founded in 1993 by the late Dr. John and Rosalind Mattox

Why You Should Know The Underground Railroad Museum - The Underground Railroad Museum features an extensive collection of publications, books, memorabilia and other articles. The exhibits portray what is known about slavery and the Underground Railroad in Ohio, and presents an understanding of the culture in the 1800’s.

Fun tidbit -  Mattox and the museum were accepted to the National Underground Railroad Network to Freedom Program. The museum was honored by Heritage Ohio in 2017. In 2019, Belmont County Tourism Council named an award in John's honor that is given yearly to a person or entity that goes above and beyond to promote tourism in Belmont County.

Get to Know . . . The Shaeffer Campbell Covered Bridge

Why You Should Know The Shaeffer Campbell Covered Bridge - The bridge stands east of the Ohio University Eastern Campus, I-70 Exit 213, overlooking a pond. It was originally built in 1875 in Fairfield County in the multiple kingpost truss style and rescued from destruction in the late 1960’s.  It was reconstructed on the present site in 1975.

Fun tidbit - The railings of the approaches to the bridge are designed to mirror railings found on the home of famous American writer Mark Twain. The flat wooden floor of the bridge was built to support loads of wagons and horses, but has not been reinforced for automobile usage, leaving it closed to vehicular traffic but open to pedestrians.

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Get to Know . . . The Concord Quaker Meeting House

Built in 1813

Why You Should Know The Concord Quaker Meeting House - The first Quaker Meeting in the Northwest Territory, it was built in 1813 and remodeled in 1863 and 1898. A group of descendants has restored the building which includes three bricks-thick walls, and the original wooden pegged benches. The building is on both the Ohio and National Historical Registers.

Fun tidbit -  Quaker Josiah Fox, Father of U.S. Navy is buried in the adjoining cemetery. He helped design the SS Constitution (“Old Ironsides”) and her sister ships the United States, Constellation, Congress, and President. The U.S. Navy placed a bronze plaque listing the ships he designed on his grave in 1976.

Get to Know . . . The Tri-State Military Veterans Museum

Why You Should Know The Tri-State MVM - Located in Belmont, the museum is the home of artifacts and history pertaining to the service provided by veterans. The purpose of the museum is to honor those who have served our country and to educate future generations that the price of freedom is not free.

Fun tidbit - The unmarked graves of Joseph Wright (founder of Wrightstown later changed to Belmont) and other founders of the first Quaker church in town are behind the building. Prior to construction of the frame structure of the current building, there was a log Quaker meeting house on this site. 

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Get to Know . . . Josiah Fox

Born - 1763 in Falmouth, Cornwall

Died- 1847

Why You Should Know Josiah Fox - Born in Great Britain, Quaker Josiah Fox, known as the Father of U.S. Navy, settled later in life in Colerain, Ohio. He is buried in the adjoining cemetery at the Concord Quaker Meetinghouse, the first Quaker Meeting in the Northwest Territory (See above). He helped design the SS Constitution (“Old Ironsides”) and her sister ships the United States, Constellation, Congress, and President. The U.S. Navy placed a bronze plaque listing the ships he designed on his grave in 1976.

Fun tidbit -  Fox was disowned from his Quaker Meeting for his involvement in the construction of warships, but was reinstated after the War of 1812.

Get to Know . . . Elisha Gray

Born - 1835 in Barnesville

Died - 1901 in Newtonville, Mass. 

Why You Should Know Elisha Gray-Gray is believed by many to have invented the telephone before Alexander Graham Bell. Gray co-founded the Western Electric Manufacturing Company. He is best known for the development of a telephone prototype in 1876, but also is considered to be the father of the modern music synthesizer and was granted over 70 patents for his inventions. A display on Gray and his inventions can be found at the Watt Center for History and the Arts in Barnesville. 

Fun tidbit - Gray invented and demonstrated  what he called an "Electric Telegraph for Transmitting Musical Tones" - one of the earliest electrical musical instruments. 

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Get to Know . . . James Wright

Born - 1927 in Martins Ferry

Died - 1950 in New York, NY 

Why You Should Know James Wright- Poet James Wright was frequently referred to as one of America's finest contemporary poets. He was admired by critics and fellow poets alike for his willingness and ability to experiment with language and style, as well as for his thematic concerns. Wright won a Pulitzer Prize in 1972 for his Collected Poems. One of his most famous poems is "Autumn Begins in Martins Ferry, Ohio".

Fun tidbit - For many years he was honored at the James Wright Poetry Festival in Martins Ferry. A biography on Wright was published in 2017. Wright and his son, the late Franz Wright, were the only father and son to have both won a Pulitzer for poetry.

Get to Know . . . Silent Movie Actress Mary Maurice

Born - Nov. 15, 1884 in Morristown

Died - April 30, 1918 in Port Carbon, PA

Why You Should Know Mary Maurice- The "Grand Old Lady" of early silent films, veteran touring company actress Mary Maurice, spent nearly her entire 1910-1918 screen career with the New York-based Vitagraph company where, on and off the screen, she "mothered" everyone from the Taldmadge sisters to Jean, "the Vitagraph Dog." She was especially effective as James Morrison's mother in the studio's great preparedness film The Battle Cry for Peace. 

Fun tidbit - She appeared in 139 films between 1909 and 1918. Beginning her acting career on the stage, she did not appear in films until in her 60s and became one of the best loved "movie mothers".


Get to Know . . . Author William Dean Howells

Born - March 1, 1837 in Martinsville (Martins Ferry)

Died - May 11, 1920 in Manhattan, NY

Why You Should Know William Dean Howells-In 1865, he became an assistant editor with The Atlantic Monthly and became the editor-in-chief of the journal in 1871. Howells remained with The Atlantic Monthly until 1881. Howells became a well-known novelist during the late nineteenth century. He published his first novel, Their Wedding Journey, in 1872. He authored 35 novels over the next 50 years. One of those books, The Leatherwood God, was written about a mysterious, but real historical figure in Salesville, Ohio. He also published numerous short stories, plays, and poems.

Fun tidbits -  In 1860, the Republican Party selected Howells to write a biography of their presidential candidate, Abraham Lincoln. Lincoln won the election of 1860 and rewarded Howells by appointing him the United States Consul to Venice, Italy. Howells remained in this position until 1865. Howells had a lifelong friendship with Mark Twain whom he met in 1869. In 1904 he was one of the first seven people chosen for membership in the American Academy of Arts and Letters, of which he became president.

Get to Know . . . Kenneth Donovan "Ken" Clark

Born - June 4, 1927 in Neffs, Ohio

Died - June 1, 2009 in Rome, Italy

Why You Should Know Ken Clark

Born in Neffs, Clark was an American B-movie actor. He appeared in movies in the United States and Europe, including the Secret Agent 077 trilogy. Originally contracted to 20th Century Fox, Clark's most prominent role in American film was Stewpot in South Pacific (1958), in which Clark figures importantly in two musical sequences, "There Is Nothing Like a Dame" and an amateur Thanksgiving show in which he presents a strongman act.

Clark made many guest star appearances on a variety of American TV shows, including four appearances on Alfred Hitchcock Presents. In 1959, he made an unsold private investigator TC pilot Brock Callahan. During this period Clark had the lead in Attack of the Giant Leeches (1959) and 12 to the Moon (1960).

Fun tidbit -During the 1960s like many other American actors Clark went to Italy appearing in several sword and sandal films, spaghetti westerns and Europsy films beginning with Re Manfredi (1961).

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Get to Know . . . Artist Frank Ver Beck

Born - June 1, 1858 in Richland Twp., Belmont County

Died - July 13, 1933 in Essex

Why You Should Know Frank Ver Beck- William Francis "Frank" Ver Beck  was an American illustrator known for his comedic drawings of animals. He illustrated over 20 books, including Frank L. Baums’ “A New Wonderland” published in 1900.

Ver Beck was born in Richland Township in Belmont County, the son of a shoemaker. He studied art and woodcarving under Mansfield, Ohio artist Robert R. "Railroad" Smith and worked as a wood engraver.

Fun tidbit - In 1881 or 1882, Ver Beck moved to New York City. There he studied art and became a freelance illustrator for magazines including Scribner's, The Ladies Home Journal, and Collier's.

Get to Know . . . The B & O Railroad Depot

Opened in 1916

Location: 300 E. Church St., Barnesville

Why You Should Know The B & O Depot - Constructed in the Federal Style with Spanish Mission elements, the Barnesville Baltimore & Ohio Railroad Depot lies between Mulberry and Railroad streets in Barnesville, Ohio. It is the last remaining train station on the Baltimore and Ohio’s Pittsburgh Columbus main line in Belmont County. The building was placed on the National Register of Historic Places on August 8, 1985.

Fun tidbit - A museum is located inside and open for special events. A caboose and the Roby Cigar Museum building are located on the grounds. 

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Get to Know . . . Epworth Park Cottages

Established in 1870

Why You Should Know Epworth Park Cottages- Epworth Park, or the “Garden of Oaks” was established in 1870 as a Methodist Camp Ground and a place for spiritual fellowship, instruction, and renewal. The park continues to instill the peace and serenity which offers an escape from the fast-paced lifestyle that we know today. Nestled among the grove of majestic oak trees are 61 privately owned, Victorian cottages that invite you to walk in the footsteps for our ancestors and to experience the happiness of days gone by.

Fun tidbit - The park and the cottages are the center of the annual Epworth Park Chautauqua Days  & Bethesda Festival.

The 2022 event is scheduled for July  9-10.

Get to Know . . . Walnut Grove Cemetery

Dating from 1795

Location: Martins Ferry

Why You Should Know Walnut Grove Cemetery- The cemetery is Martins Ferry’s oldest pioneer landmark. It is the resting place of the Zane and Martin families, as well as veterans dating from the Revolutionary War. A veteran of the Mexican War is buried there, with the date on this stone being 1849.

Fun tidbit - The Betty Zane statue, at the entrance of the cemetery, is a reminder of the heroine of the last battle of Fort Henry. She was named the foremost American heroine by President Theodore Roosevelt for her famous run for gunpowder to save Fort Henry. The monument was financed by Martins Ferry school children and dedicated in 1928, a century after her death.

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Get to Know . . . Stillwater Meetinghouse

Constructed in 1878

Location: 61830 Sandy Ridge Rd., Barnesville

Why You Should Know Stillwater Meeting House- The plain federal style brick building seats 1,500 and was built to house the Ohio Yearly Meeting of Conservative Friends. Meetings for worship have been regularly held in this spot from 1804 (prior to the construction of this building) to the present. The name “Stillwater” was probably chosen because the earliest Friends settled near the headwaters of that stream, and the present meetinghouse is on high ground just beyond these headwaters.

Fun tidbit - Like most old meeting houses, it is divided into two identical parts, one side for the women, and one side for the men. The building, on the National Register of Historic Places, contains a Quaker Heritage Museum.

Get to Know . . . The Stratton Flour Mill

Construction began in 1877

Location: 110 Mill Rd., Flushing

Why You Should Know The Stratton Flour Mill- The Stratton Flour Mill served the Ohio Valley for more than 85 years, producing the finest bread and pastry flours and one of the first self-rising pancake flours, for which the Mill became famous.

Fun tidbit - Today, the Mill is being restored to its appearance in 1902, and to the power source introduced in 1937 -- a 50 horsepower Buckeye diesel engine.

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Get to Know . . .  Dr. Arthur G. James

Born - March 14, 1912

Died - October 22, 2001

Why You Should Know Dr. Arthur G. James:

Surgeon and cancer hospital founder Dr. Arthur G. James was born Arthur Giangiacomo in 1912 in the former mining town of Rhodesdale, northeast of St. Clairsville. He was the son of a coal miner and the third of eight children of Italian immigrants. Rhodesdale no longer exists, but his family owned a grocery store and restaurant in the St. Clairsville area.

James's first education was in a one-room schoolhouse. He later attended a larger two-room school in Uniontown for third to eighth grades.  He was co-valedictorian of the St. Clairsville High School Class of 1930, and enrolled at Ohio State on a scholarship that covered registration and incidental fees. To cover his meals, he worked in the cafeteria and shared an attic room with two other students while excelling at his studies.

He earned his MD, along with an MMSc, in 1937. From there he completed a medical internship at the University of Chicago and a surgical internship at Duke University in North Carolina. He returned to Ohio State for a three-year surgical residency.

James served as chief resident in 1941–1942.

After serving in the Army Medical Corps during World War II, James returned to Ohio State University in 1947 as an assistant professor in the Department of Surgery. He remained at OSU for the rest of his career, working his way up to full professor and chief of the Division of Surgical Oncology. James was also the first physician to hold the Lucius A. Wing Chair of Cancer Research and Therapy. He is the namesake of the OSU James Cancer Institute, which opened in 1990.

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