POMEROY — A Civil War themed dinner, followed by “Township Tales and Tidbits”, was a well-received kickoff for the Meigs County Bicentennial Celebration last Friday evening at Meigs High School.
The annual banquet, hosted by the Chester Shade Historical Association, was a tribute to the 12 townships that make up Meigs County. CSHA President Dan Will opened the evening by welcoming guests, including Bicentennial Ambassadors Cooper Schagel, Mattison Finlaw, Brielle Newland, and Grant Adams, then lead the Pledge of Allegiance and offered a prayer before dinner.
The evening’s atmosphere was enhanced by Civil War reenactors and CSHA members in period attire interspersed with guests and speakers.
Meigs County Commissioner Randy Smith introduced the program by saying, “What makes each township unique, whether the geography or the people who settled there, is what makes our county strong.”
Smith invited listeners to imagine what it was like for our ancestors, and to value and acknowledge their contributions.
“With the telling of ‘Township Tales and Tidbits’, you will hear pieces of history from each, that together make up stories of a county rich in natural resources, and a people who came west to an undeveloped wilderness. Despite the odds, these early pioneers survived, clearing land to build roads, homes, churches, schools, and communities. They encountered wild animals, river flooding, disease, and often hostile indigenous people to form communities and establish farms and businesses. What they lacked in ‘modern convinces’, was compensated by hard work and dedication.”
He said that while the county has struggles, it has much to be proud of and residents should not allow themselves to become apathetic or negative, instead, “As we celebrate our Bicentennial, let us move forward with a renewed sense of purpose built on the accomplishments of those who went before.”
Speakers then took the stage, giving brief histories of their township, along with some interesting stories and personal recollections.
Alan Holter spoke of the life of a farmer in the early 1800’s; Bob Beegle recounted stories of Racine’s early days; Opal Grueser focused on Rock Springs’ strategic importance in the settlement of the county; Lorna Hart presented several theories and legends on the name Letart; Donna Jenkins emphasized Rutland’s contributions to education; James Stanley and Brielle Newland read history and interesting facts about Olive and Orange respectively; Jordan Pickens subject was Lebanon, rich in Civil War history, and the site of the Buffington Island Memorial; Ray Midkiff entertained with several stories of the Salem water system; Kim Romine illustrated Bedford’s history through its many post offices; and Mary Wingo stressed the importance of coal mining in Columbia.
The evening wrapped up with the drawing of raffle and door prizes winners, and a cannon salute by the Civil War reactors.
Katie Daily, an Eastern student from the Meigs High School Audio-Video Productions program filmed the evening, and a video will be available later this summer.
More on the Bicentennial Weekend Celebration will appear in upcoming editions of The Daily Sentinel.
Editor’s Note: The “Township Tales and Tidbits” from Friday’s celebration will be expanded in articles by Lorna Hart and published in the The Daily Sentinel each Wednesday beginning May 8.
Lorna Hart is a freelance writer for The Daily Sentinel.