Tuesday, August 6, 2013

It's Always Somebody's Family History

Tonight we are in Chillicothe, Ohio, and our mission starting tomorrow is to find out where Charles Reeder came from.  This has been a dead end for many years, and any clues we find will be significant.

Today we traveled - from Pittsburgh southwest and across West Virginia.  Of course, West Virginia is only 13.6 miles wide here, but we managed to spent some time there.  I used the GPS to check on antique stores, and Wheeling had a bunch.  In fact the part of Wheeling we explored was wonderful.

Market Street was lined with little shops full of old stuff.  Much to my dismay these shops displaying the pottery I love were closed until noon, too late for us to linger.  Probably a good thing.

The old farmer's market buildings now contain shops and eateries and food markets.  The fish monger family has been there for 100 years.  All history is somebody's family history.

We did find two antique shops open and I managed to find something to buy in each one.  You gotta' support the local businesses, especially when they supply you with a fun break from freeway driving.
Back in the car we pressed on, got sorta' lost in Zanesville, finally found our route and lunch, and continued on halfway across Ohio to Chillicothe, county seat of Ross county, and the place where we might find Reeder family records.

We arrived too late for any research, but not too late to follow some of the brown signs for National Historic Sites.

In this case the family history is very dead ended, but in reverse.
 The Native Americans who built these earthworks - mounds and geometric outline walls - did so 2000 years ago, and are not related to the later Indian Nations who lived here when Europeans arrived.   They are referred to as the Hopewell, taken from the name of the farmer who owned the field.

 The mounds are carefully crafted and multilayered and must have taken many years to build.  Many have been excavated looking for artifacts and then rebuilt.  Many more in the general area of the Scioto River Basin have simply been plowed away or built over and are gone.  They were not homes, and probably had ceremonial purposes.

 The Scioto River borders the Mound City Earthworks.
 There are many more earthworks in the area, and with aeriel imaging many have been discovered even though they are no longer visible.
We drove over to the Hopeton Site, but there is just a mowed outline in a hay field.

There was also a member of a plant family I wanted to know about.  As a gardener I am always attuned to roadside plants and especially flowers. We have seen a lot of Brown-eyed Susan's, sold at home in nurseries as Rudbeckia, and Joe Pye weed, also a commercial plant in the northwest.  But then I saw something much more purple.  I saw them again at the mound site.

When I got to the hotel and got set up, I googled "tall purple flowered weed in Ohio", and found my answer.  It is Tall Ironweed, Vernonia giganta, a member of the aster family.

My sister Ilene, who lives in Vernonia, Oregon, will love this.
Everything is part of some family.


  1. great tour so far. Love those purple flowers.

  2. We have the Cahokia Mounds in Illinois which we really enjoyed going to see. These mounds are really a lot of fun to see. That town looks like something from a movie. It's got so much character. I do love going into those antique stores too.

  3. And isn't it fun to look up and find the names to those wildflowers you find on trips?

  4. that's so true someone's family history...never seen mounds before but heard of them. fascinating!

  5. I can see the aster family resemblance. I am enjoying the trip across this part of the country, Linda.

  6. I love the look of a revitalized town. It is so neat when old buildings get a face lift and "down towns" continue to prosper in this day of flashy modern malls.
    Those mounds were interesting.

  7. Fascinating stuff! I'm loving vacationing vicariously through your posts!


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