Meigs County Celebrates its Bicentennial

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Meigs County had a weekend packed with events to celebrate its bicentennial, including a parade featuring Governor Mike DeWine as the Grand Marshal.

Governor DeWine shakes hands with a woman during the Bicentennial Parade.

Over 20 floats that represented either Meigs County historical events or current businesses and organizations made their way through Pomeroy and into Middleport. DeWine walked the entire parade route, taking time to stop and talk to people along the way.

After the parade, a time capsule that was buried during the 175th birthday of the county was dug up and its contents were revealed by family members of Roy Holter and Leland Parker, who buried the capsule in 1994. All 42 items will be on display at the Chester Shade Historical Society and the Meigs County Historical Society until August.

A new capsule will be buried in August and anyone can submit items to the Meigs County Historical Society to be placed in it.

The time capsule was dug up and a new one will take its place this August.

Following the revealing of the time capsule was a Civil War battle reenactment by the Meigs County Court House. Meigs County is home to the only Civil War battle in Ohio. However, it took place at Buffington Island in Portland Ohio, not Pomeroy. Despite this, the battle reenacted what took place at Buffington Island, with soldiers shooting cannons on both sides of the Ohio River and the Confederate soldiers surrendering to the Union after 57 of their men were killed, 63 wounded, and 71 were captured.

DeWine said he enjoyed his visit to Pomeroy and talking to people during the parade.

“This is a big deal. It’s important for the governor to be here,” Dewine said. “I love it because I get a chance to meet people and shake hands with people and hear what they have to say. It’s kind of a grassroots opportunity for me.”

DeWine said despite the economic hardships Southeast Ohio faces, a lot of “good” things are happening in the region and that he hopes his “Recovery Ohio” plan will help combat the opioid crisis in Southeast Ohio counties and throughout the state of Ohio.

Although the weekend celebrations are over, Meigs county is celebrating its 200th birthday all year by revealing a new historical marker each month.

The Riverside Mill Company sign is the third historical marker revealed in Meigs County. (photo by Kaitlin Kulich)

By December, all 12 townships throughout the county will have a historic marker to commemorate either a person, business or event that impacted the community. The latest marker was revealed in Letart Township. The Meigs County ambassadors revealed a sign that commemorates the Riverside Mill Company. The great-great-grandson of W.F  Sayer spoke about the history of the mill and how the sign will help keep not only the county’s history alive but his family’s as well.

“We just have so much stuff that is gone that people don’t ever know existed. Whether it’s people, businesses or things that went on,” he said. “I can still hear the souls who worked there, I can see those guys working so hard. This just means so much to me.”

The mill employed around 25 people who built wooden barges and paddlewheel hulls. The mill was forced to close after a 1937 flood but part of the mill remained in operation until the early 1960s. The store building and mill office still stand on the property today.

Grant Adams, a Meigs County Bicentennial Ambassador,  said he hopes the historic markers will help change the stereotypes that are associated with Southern Ohio towns.
“Being from Appalachia there’s a lot of perception of ‘ oh it’s a nothing area and has nothing to offer’ but there’s such a rich history in this area that needs to be celebrated.”

The county will reveal the next marker on May 15th and will be holding a weekend celebration from April 26 to 28 to commemorate its 200th birthday. More info on the weekend celebration can be found on the Meigs County Bicentennial Facebook page.