Two hundred years ago, Rufus Putnam, leader of the Ohio Company, sent eleven men west into the Ohio Country to found what is now the City of Athens. As one of the oldest communities in Ohio, Athens has a heritage rich in history and lore. Now, as Athens looks ahead to its third century, historian and raconteur Robert L. Daniel provides a timely assessment of the community’s past.
Drawing on reminiscences by Athens residents over the past two centuries, and on newspaper accounts, institutional archives, census records, and a host of historic photographs and drawings, Daniel illustrates how the Athens community grew, how it changed over the years, and what it was like to have lived in Athens in the past, from the times before white settlement to 1920. He identifies the problems the community faced and how it went about resolving them—its efforts to provide local government, the changing ways its people earned a living, the ways they worshipped, their efforts to establish Ohio University, how they coped during times of war, and what they did to amuse themselves.
In a lively style peppered with firsthand accounts by the people who made Athens, Daniel narrates his tale with wry humor and a sharp eye for detail. Always focusing on the people who lived there, he brings Athens to life during its village years.
Robert L. Daniel was Emeritus Professor of American History at Ohio University and worked with Merle Curti on The Making of an American Community. He was a long-time resident of Athens, Ohio.
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