College presents yearlong series ‘Marietta’s Hidden Histories’

At times, it seems the histories of Marietta College and the City of Marietta are intertwined.

This academic year, Marietta College plans to put a twist on this relationship by hosting Marietta’s Hidden Histories — six different presentations touching on the city’s interesting and colorful past.

The series kicks off Monday, Sept. 28, with Dr. David Torbett, Molly C. Putnam Professor of Religion at Marietta College. Each presentation in the series begins at 7 p.m.,  and will be conducted in Thomas 124.

Torbett will present “Traces of the Halcyon Church: A Prophet, an Alternative Religion, and a Mysterious Death in Pioneer, Ohio.” Within the first 15 years of the 19th century, in and around the frontier town of Marietta, a religious movement called the Halcyon Church was born, flourished, faded, and finally disappeared. Torbett’s presentation brings the Halcyon Church back from obscurity as it focuses on its leader, Abel Sarjent, and the controversial and conflicting accounts of the death-by-starvation of one of its members.

Georgene Johnson, Special Collections Assistant at Marietta College, will present “Edward Bosworth Manley: Radio Operator, Airplane Pilot, Explorer Club Member, Marietta College Graduate,” on Monday, Oct. 26. Manley’s thirst for adventure was never satisfied. His journals are filled with description of ice bound lands, shipwrecks, storms, and discoveries of ancient artifacts and challenges to existing maps. While attending Marietta College, Manley served as a radio operator for several Arctic expeditions during his summer breaks. This presentation will describe his expedition aboard the schooner Effie M. Morrissey as radio operator for the Bartlett-Putnam American Museum Expedition of 1926.

Closing out the fall presentations will be Kyle Yoho ’12, Education Director at The Castle, with “The Great Event to be Celebrated: Marietta’s Centennial Celebration,” on Monday, Nov. 23. The city marked its 100-year anniversary in 1888, and the citizens were more than ready to celebrate with fireworks, historical pageants and the formation of a “Committee of One Hundred” to plan it all. Yoho will look at the interesting facts surrounding Marietta’s centennial.

Three more speakers are planned for the spring semester, starting with Randy Modesitt, Director of Henderson Hall. He will speak about “The Henderson Women,” on Monday, Jan. 25. Intelligent, artistic, and sophisticated, the Henderson women made their own mark on local history. This presentation introduces strong and refined women, who were experts in the delicate art of child rearing, farm work, knitting, writing, educating children, and supporting their husbands, fathers, and brothers. Through their diaries, poetic writings and personal letters that we get a personal glimpse of daily life in the mansion known as Henderson Hall.

Glenna Hoff ’74, Education/Program Director for Campus Martius and Ohio River Museums, will talk about “Marietta’s French Connection,” on Monday, Feb. 22. Join in a discussion that will try to clear up some historical mysteries, including the lead plates left by the French Expedition led by Celoron de Blainville, the naming of Marietta in honor of Marie Antoinette, and the gift of the bell in appreciation of the honor.

Wrapping up the Hidden Histories series will be Carl Heinrich ’64, Marietta Vice President for Heinrich Enterprises and Board Member of the Oil and Gas Museum, on Monday, March 28. Heinrich will present “Southeastern Ohio Oil and Gas History as Shown By Vintage Photographs.” The presentation is a tribute to oil pioneers and will illustrate how the development of the industry paralleled Marietta’s change from a rural county seat to a thriving industrial town.