Long-time MC professor autographs books during campus signing

Marietta College’s Dr. James H. O’Donnell III, a McCoy Professor of History, graciously greeted fans of his work and autographed copies of his book, “Ohio’s First Peoples,” during a special book signing at the campus bookstore on Wednesday, Dec. 8.

O’Donnell, who started at MC in 1969, signed books for one hour as the event was sponsored by Ohio University Press. He was greeted with a line to start the session and had a steady flow of autograph seekers the remainder of the hour.

“Ohio’s First Peoples,” looks back to a time when Ohio and the country were still maturing. According to the book, Ohio’s plentiful game and fertile farmlands lured Indian tribes such as the Wyandots, Shawnees, and Delawares. By the mid-1840s, however, pressure from the government and settlers’ desire for land pushed the Native Americans Westward and out of Ohio. “We can never in any real sense recover this past, but we can gather the evidence and the stories,” reads “Ohio’s First People.”

The book, which lists for $17.95 in paperback and has 216 pages, depicts the Native Americans of the Buckeye State from the time of the well-known Hopewell peoples to the forced removal of the Wyandots in the 1840s.

O’Donnell presents the stories of the early Ohioans based on the archaeological record. In an accessible narrative style, he provides a detailed overview of the movements of Fort Ancient peoples driven out by economic and political forces in the 17th century.

O’Donnell obtained his Ph.D. in History from Duke University. He is the Andrew U. Thomas Professor of History at MC, and also the director of the MALL (Masters of Arts in Liberal Learning) program. He has taught at Marietta since 1969, and has produced five books to date, one of which is a standard in history courses around the country, “Southern Indians in the American Revolution.