Sunday, November 16, 2003

Marker placed at Harrison site

By Randy McNutt
The Cincinnati Enquirer

NORTH BEND - The Harrisons are back. The Ohio Bicentennial Commission has placed a historical marker at the corner of Symmes and Washington streets, where President William Henry Harrison's home once stood.

"It was in this historic home, his grandfather's home, that Benjamin Harrison, the 23rd president, was born on Aug. 20, 1833," North Bend historian Marjorie Burress said.

The marker commemorates both presidents.

Until the new sign was erected, the site had been unmarked. An earlier sign, posted by the Three Rivers Historical Society, disappeared several years ago.

"After serving as general of the Army of the West during the War of 1812, Harrison brought his family back to North Bend," she said.

"By then, 1814, they had eight children, two more yet to be born. The log cabin, standing 300 yards from the Ohio, was enlarged, covered with siding and painted white. Travelers passing on steamboats thought it was a mansion. Orchards and gardens were planted. Water was piped to the house from hillside springs. On Indian Creek, Harrison built grist and cider mills. He farmed and laid out the town of Cleves, naming it for his father-in-law. Money was scarce. Sickness and deaths plagued the family."

In 1840, the Whigs chose Harrison as their presidential candidate. He died shortly after being sworn into office.

His wife lived in the house until it burned to the ground on July 25, 1858.

Burress said after the town of North Bend was platted in 1868, the old Harrison barn was razed. Old maps show that the Harrison house stood where Symmes and Washington are today.

• • • 

PIQUA - If you'd like to see the way a rural house looked when Ohio was founded, come to Piqua Dec. 5-6.

From 7-10 p.m., the Ohio Historical Society and the Piqua Historical Area State Memorial will host "Christmas on the Farm" in the John Johnston Farmhouse.

Site Manager Andy Hite said the house will be lighted only by beeswax candles and fireplaces, to give an authentic pioneer appearance. The Johnston Farm Mummers will perform the traditional play St. George and the Dragon in the drawing room. Costumed interpreters will explain the artifacts in each room.

"Visitors' senses will be wrapped up by a home decorated much as it would have been for an early 1800s Christmas," Hite said. "The home will be filled with greenery, herbs and holiday flowers. Since Johnston was a farmer and grew apples, they play a central part in the decorations."

Advance registration is required. Tours start at 7 p.m., 7:30, 8 and 8:30 both nights. Tickets: $8, $4 for children to 12 and under.

The farm is at 9845 North Hardin Road. To register, call (800) 752-2619.

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COLUMBUS-This month, the Ohio Bicentennial Commission is honoring veterans and Ohio's military sites by erecting 10 historical markers.

The markers will commemorate the efforts of veterans, including Capt. Eddie Rickenbacker, a Columbus native who was called the Ace of Aces.

He commanded the 94th Aero Squadron in 1918 in World War One.

Others being honored include:

Rear Adm. Issac Kidd of Cleveland, who died at Pearl Harbor; William T. Sherman, the famed Civil War general from Lancaster; and Gen. Curtis LeMay, a Columbus native who directed the Berlin Airlift at the start of the Cold War.

• • • 

LEBANON-Herbert Woodward Martin, poet-in-residence at the University of Dayton, will discuss "Paul Laurence Dunbar: The Eyes of the Poet" at 7:30 p.m. Nov. 24 at the Warren County Historical Society Museum.

Dunbar's life and career have been celebrated in this bicentennial year, and as a part of Dayton's centennial of flight. He was a contemporary of the Wright Brothers.

Admission is free. Information: 932-1817.


Bicentennial Notebook runs periodically. Send news items to Randy McNutt, The Enquirer, 7700 Service Center Drive, West Chester, OH 45069. 755-4158. Fax: 755-4155. E-mail:

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