Side A: People living in Marietta and along the Muskingum River shared a history of slavery opposition. Manasseh Cutler, from Massachusetts and an Ohio Land Company agent, helped draft the Ordinance of 1787 that prohibited slavery in the Northwest Territory. General Rufus Putnam, Captain Jonathan Stone, and other Ohio Land Company Revolutionary War veterans, founded Marietta at the mouth of the Muskingum River in 1788 bringing with them their anti-slavery sentiments. A proposal to legalize slavery in the proposed state of Ohio was vetoed largely due to the efforts of Marietta’s Ephraim Cutler and General Putnam at the 1802 Ohio Constitutional Convention. These conditions were precursors toward the formation of the Underground Railroad as fugitive slaves crossed the Ohio River seeking freedom. From 1812 through 1861, large numbers of fugitive slaves fleeing toward Canada, were aided by descendants of early settlers who operated Underground Railroad Stations along the Muskingum River. (Continued on other side)
Side B: (Continued from other side) James Davis (1787-1862) was born in Harmar (Marietta) and was the first documented African American born in the Northwest Territory. During his adult life, he became an Underground Railroad activist in Dayton, Ohio. David Putnam, Jr. (1808-1882), a great grandson of General Israel Putnam, was born and raised in Harmar where he later conducted Underground Railroad activities. Francis Dana (Barker) Gage (1808-1884), daughter of Colonel Joseph Barker, was born in Marietta and became a leading figure nationally with the Abolitionist, Temperance, and Women’s Suffrage Movements. Faculty and students from Marietta College became active in the Washington County Anti-slavery Society when it was formed in 1836 at the college. Charlotte Scott, a freed slave living in Marietta at the time of President Abraham Lincoln’s assassination suggested placing the Emancipation Monument in Washington DC to honor Lincoln. She donated the first five dollars to raise funds culminating in an 1872 dedication ceremony.