Most Magnificent Mansion

Ahoy from Marietta, Ohio!

Welcome aboard mowery, hope you enjoy the ride as a virtual crew member.

Summary of the Week

The crew had an exciting week, cruising four days this week. They enjoyed more flood wall murals in Portsmouth on Monday, probably the best display so far on the Ohio River. Tuesday, they cruised to Huntington, where they celebrated entry into West Virginia waters for the first time. Wednesday, they cruised to Point Pleasant and learned of the rich history in the area, including a visit from George Washington. Thursday, the crew anchored in Buffington Creek and survived a day with basically no cell service in the remote jungles of West Virginia. Then they concluded the week in Marietta, with a mid day stop on Blennerhassett Island to explore the Most Magnificent Mansion in the Ohio River Valley.

To see more detail of each days travel, click on the link: Still Waters II Travel Map and view the Captain’s Log, pictures along the days route, and a short narrative of the day’s observations. The Travel Map also has a feature where you can follow the daily voyage updates. From the Travel Map site, just click on the menu, then click follow, and add your first name and email to the pop up box. You will receive an email each day the crew travels and updates the map.

The voyage of discovery did answer the following questions this week:

  1. How many years are portrayed on the Portsmouth Flood Wall Murals?
  2. What is the total distance the Portsmouth Flood Wall Murals cover?
  3. Who won the 1032 NFL Iron Man game, and what team got shut out in their lose, 19 – 0? (Or, who got beat like a drum?)
  4. What year did the Portsmouth Spartans become the Detroit Lions?
  5. Who is credited for naming Point Pleasant?
  6. Who had the Most Magnificent Mansion built?
  7. What happened to the Mansion?
  8. What cemetery contains the most number of Revolutionary War Veterans?
  9. When was Ohio admitted to the United States? (trick question)


Portsmouth lays claims to many first in their history, some of which are bound to surprise and stump even the best Jeopardy masters. The 2000 year history of the area is depicted on 2,000 feet of Flood Wall, once again painted by Robert Dafford. Along with the murals, Portsmouth has signage along the wall path explaining the back story of many of the murals. They also have an audio tour that you can dial up and listen to as you admire the murals. The following are just some of the murals in Portsmouth (dial 740.621.8031and listen to the history of the murals as you view the pictures. The Audio Stop numbers start with the Indian Mounds.)

First panel, the murals run east to west from this point
Audio Stop 2, Indian Mounds
Audio Stop 3, Shawnee Indians
Audio Stop 5, Alexandria
Audio Stop 6, Only house still standing from Alexandria era
Audio Stop 9, Frontier Life
Audio Stop 12, Local Industry
Audio Stop 13, Ohio and Erie Canal
Audio Stop 15, 3,000 men from Portsmouth fought in Civil War, this battle depicts them at Gettysburg
Audio Stop 17, Nod to Police and Fire Departments
Audio Stop 19, Historical Train Stop
Audio Stop 20, Market Street
Audio Stop 21, Portsmouth in 1903
Audio Tour 31, The 1937 Flood
Detail view of previous mural. Bessie Tomlin handing baby to rescue boat. Bessie was the only death during the flood.
Audio Stop 35, Modern Industry of Steel
Audio Tour 42, More Industry supporting town
Audio Tour 44 War Memorial
Audio Tour 45, Look at the reflection in the hub cap on far right of mural. That is artist Robert Dafford.
Audio Stop 47, view from the point
Audio Stop 50, Grant Bridge

Another Milestone

This week, the crew celebrated another first. They entered the waters of West Virginia for the very first time. With this milestone met, the crew has now cruised in every state east of the Mississippi River. The following picture is a recap of when each state was first entered.

For those who may not recall how they managed such a feat:

2015: they cruised up the east coast, went to Washington D.C., then to Philadelphia, and finally turned around in New Jersey to head back to Florida for the winter.

2016: they cruised America’s Great Loop, taking the Erie Canal and Oswego Canal to Lake Ontario, the St Lawrence River up to Montreal, Ottawa River to Ottawa, historic Rideau Canal and Trent-Severn Canal to Lake Huron, Lake Michigan (both the Michigan and Wisconsin sides) down to Chicago, the Western Rivers to Mobile, and then around the Gulf Shores back to Ft Myers, Florida where they launched in 2015.

2017: They cruised up to Maine, and visited both Nantucket and Martha’s Vineyard. While waiting for hurricanes to pass, they cruised up to Lake Champlain and visited Vermont.

2018: they cruised the Great Loop a second time, but took the western Erie Canal into Lake Erie. Then made way back to Chicago. They then cruised down the Illinois Waterway to the Mississippi River where they turned up stream and went to the end of navigation, just past the Twin Cities.

2019: they completed the Down East Loop where they cruised up Lake Champlain to the St Lawrence River, cruised out and around the Gaspe Peninsula and to New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island, and Nova Scotia. They crossed the Bay of Maine and headed Down East and back to Florida.

2020: they spent the summer cruising the Western Rivers, and went to the end of navigation on the Tennessee River.

2021: In progress to cruise to the end of navigation on the Ohio River, where they have cruised in both Indiana and West Virginia for the very first time.

Point Pleasant

Point Pleasant has flood wall murals, also painted by Robert Dafford. However, these murals are much different than the others that the crew has seen. In these murals, the artist used multiple wall sections to create epic scenes. For example, the wall starts with the Indians and how they lived along this section of the Ohio River. The scene is depicted on 13 different flood wall panels. Each panel is normally 10 feet high and 20 feet long, making the Indian History section 260 feet long.

In another large section of panels he depicts the battle that took place near Point Pleasant between the Indians and the Virginians. The skipper read that there are more than 3,900 warriors shown in the panel which mirrored the size of the armies that fought that day.

Another 5 sections of wall were dedicated to Mad Anne. She was born in England and migrated to the New World and became a heroine on the frontier. (top right of mural) She outlived two husbands shown by the respective grave stones.

She went on to become a scout for the army. At one point she made a daring 200 mile horse back round trip ride to secure ammunition for a fort when it was under siege by the Indians. The ride was a success and led to a Virginia victory. The ride is depicted below.

One mural caught the eye of the skipper because the person depicted resembled George Washington. A young George was responsible for surveying the area back in his early days and is credited for giving the area its name. Legend has it that he claimed the Point had a Pleasant view while he was conducting the original surveys of the Virginia lands.

Then this mural was found on the other side of the flood wall giving a nod to the veterans in the area. It also included a picture of a West Virginia namesake. Nice mural but not the quality of Robert Dafford.

Blennerhassett Island

While cruising on Wednesday, the skipper noticed that there was a McDonald’s dock in the town of Pomeroy. The crew decided to make a mid morning stop and enjoy some fast comfort food. After landing on the dock, they started up the stairs to the parking lot.

They heard a guy shout, “It is about time you brought my boat back.” The crew looked at each other, then looked up to see a guy belly laughing. He was an employee and he thoroughly enjoyed his joke. The crew talked with him for several minutes and then wandered inside to place their orders. They also called in an order to Pizza Hut and walked next door to pick up lunch.

On Thursday, the crew made another mid day stop, this time to visit Blennerhassett Island. The skipper noticed a dock on Active Captain that hinted that the crew might be able to land on a dock and visit the Most Magnificent Mansion on the Ohio River Valley. When the dock did not appear where the Active Captain review suggested it should be, the skipper called the State Park and asked if the dock had been moved. The lady on the other end of the phone claimed that the dock was now on the other side of the island but was reserved for a Stern Wheeler tour boat and that pleasure craft were not to land on the dock.

So much for visiting the Island. But then about another mile up river, a nice big floating dock appeared. Confused, the skipper called the State Park back and asked if he could land on this dock. A different lady told him that the dock was reserved for the Stern Wheeler and not to land on the dock. As the crew was slowly passing by the dock, a truck pulled up and two men got out of the truck and headed down to the dock. One of the men looked to be in a State Park Ranger uniform, so the skipper asked if it would be alright to land on the dock and go visit the mansion.

The skipper did mention that he had already been told twice not to land on the dock because of a Stern Wheeler, but because it was obvious the Stern Wheeler was not on the dock, he thought he would give it one more try. The Ranger gave permission to land on the dock and went on to explain that the Park closed at 1630 and that the Stern Wheeler would land on the dock at 1700. He made it clear that the crew had to be gone by the time the Park closed. The Admiral asked him for his name to use as a reference in case some one challenged the crew being on the dock. He gave his name as Mike, but added, “I will be the guy they call to have you move your boat so you do not have to worry about any thing.” God is good, all the time. And speaking of time what timing was that to meet Mike the Ranger at the dock.

The crew landed on the dock and walked the short distance to join a tour of the Mansion. The mansion was started in the 1798. The family moved into the home in 1800. They lived in the house until a strange set of circumstances entangled Harmon Blennerhassett with Aaron Burr in 1806. By 1807, both were on trial in Richmond, Virginia for Treason. They were found not guilty, but Virginia had seized the property for failure to pay taxes, and the Blennerhassett family would never again live in their mansion. The mansion burned in a fire in 1811. The home was rebuilt by the State of West Virginia to be the center piece of the State Park.


After touring Blennerhassett Island, the crew made an additional 12 miles up the Ohio River to explore the first permanent settlement in the territory north and west of the Ohio River. The Americans were granted all the land: west of Pennsylvania, north of the Ohio River, east of the Mississippi River, and below the Great Lakes in the Treaty of Paris in 1783.

The young US government had two problems after winning the Revolutionary War: how to settle this new land and how to pay the Revolutionary War Veterans. The Congress of the Confederation solved the problems by passage of the Northwest Ordinance in 1787 which allowed for transfer of land to veterans in lieu of money. Forty-eight pioneers (and Revolutionary War Veterans) set out and formed the new town of Marietta in 1788.

The group was led by Rufus Putnam and they established their new town along the Muskingum River mouth with the Ohio River. Each pioneer got a plot of land in the platted town as well as acreage outside of town for farming. The pioneers soon discovered a “Burial Mound” near their location. To preserve the “Burial Mound” they decided to surround the mound with a cemetery

The “Burial Mound”

One interesting outcome of all these Veterans migrating to Marietta, the cemetery now holds the record for most Revolutionary War Veterans. The Veteran graves are all marked with a special Revolutionary medal and an American flag.

Robert Taylor was the first recorded pioneer to be layed to rest in the cemetery.

The Father of Marietta and the leader of the Ohio Company which established the settlement, Rufus Putnam:


The area grew rapidly and on April 30, 1802 the Enabling Act of 1802 was signed into law which called for the admittance of Ohio as a formal state. The Ohio folks drew up a state constitution and submitted it to Congress in 1803. However, in a strange set of political wrangling, the 8th Congress (1803-1805) never actually got around to ratify the Ohio state constitution, a required step for statehood. So technically, Ohio was not really a state in 1803, but remained a territory until 1953. The 83rd Congress retroactively granted Ohio statehood and formally welcomed them to the United States on May 19, 1953 with an admittance date of March 1, 1803.

Boat Name of the Week

In Deep Ship

One of our virtual crew members had this to say about the name of their boat: Kelley seemed to always stir up trouble at work on behalf of his workers. Kelley was told he could never buy pizza again for his workers if they did a good job. So the next time the workers did a good job, he complied and bought them chicken wings.

Next Week

The crew will make the final push to Pittsburg, with expected arrival on Thursday. Well, if they have enough fuel that is. The crew has 172 miles to go, but not enough fuel to make the miles. Oh, and there is no diesel available between Marietta and Pittsburg.

To solve this little problem, the skipper got a 5 gallon jerry can and began making the 1 mile bike ride to the nearest gas station that sold diesel. He then pedaled the fuel back to the boat and added it into the tanks.

Beau the Sherpa

On the fourth trip back from the local gas station, the boaters in front of Still Waters II offered the skipper diesel from their auxiliary tank in the back of their truck, which was parked at the top of the hill. That saved 8 miles on the bicycle toting fuel, but the trip down all the steps would still have to be made. Oh wait, their is more good news for the skipper. The father also offered his son to act as a Sherpa and carry the 5 gallon can down to the boat. The skipper accepted both offers and was quickly able to add another twenty gallons onboard. The skipper thinks he has just enough to make Pittsburg, but the proof will be in the pudding next week. If not, it will be a long drift down river with the current looking for fuel.

Loop On – Where the road ends, the water begins. The water goes on forever, and the adventure never ends.

Eric the Red

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