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2009 Patriots & Pioneers History and Genealogy Conference
List of Speakers and Their Background

Scott Britton has taught a number of individual Learning and Retirement classes at Marietta College concerning the Civil War and has given frequent speeches throughout the Mid-Ohio Valley concerning various aspects of local soldiers and their actions in the during the Civil War. He is a Past President of the WCHS, Past Commander of the General Benjamin D. Fearing Camp, SUVCW and is currently Secretary and Historian of the Marietta Chapter Sons of the American Revolution. For 3 years, he has served as the Ohio Department SUV’s Buffington Island Representative. He was a member of the 2003 Ohio Bicentennial Committee in Washington County and has performed many living history programs on local Civil War and Revolutionary War Soldiers at local schools, civic and veteran organizations, as well as public events since 2000. He has written several historical articles for the Marietta Register newspaper as well as the WCHS and New Matamoras Historical Society newsletters.


Henry Burke has studied African-American genealogy and Underground Railroad history for over 50 years. He has received a number of awards for his work on the Underground Railroad research, is active in many local historical and genealogical groups and was a board member of the Ohio State

Bicentennial Commission in 2003. He wrote a weekly newspaper column for nearly 10 years and has written four books on the Underground Railroad and slavery: Escape of Jane, Mason Dixon Line, The River Jordan and Washington County Underground Railroad. For more information on his life and historical research background, visit http://henryburke1010.tripod.com.


Wes Clarke has been working as an archaeologist for over thirty years. His focus has been in the American Midwest, mainland Southeast Asia, and includes field work throughout Ohio and at some of the major earthwork sites at Chillicothe. He is currently employed by the Ohio Department of Transportation, Marietta office, as an environmental planner with a focus on cultural resource management issues. Wesley has worked on the Indian Acres archeology dig in Marietta for a number of years and has examined sites around Washington County involving local Native-American cultures.


Phil Craneis a retired Marietta Middle School history teacher and a 46 year researcher of family and local history. Phil is a member of the Lower Muskingum Historical Society and compiler of the society’s data base. Crane is a graduate of Marietta College, BA in 1971 and Ohio University, M.Ed. in 1984. Phil and his wife Teresa, (his computer guide) live at Waterford and enjoy the search to their pioneer past.


Harley Dakin and his wife Marianne, of Newcomerstown Ohio are owners of Appalachian Ancestry, a company founded specifically for research of Appalachian Heritages. Mr. Dakin is Administrator and Webmaster of two surname websites and Administrator for two Y-Dna surname projects. He is editor of the “Cline Times” newsletter and avid Genealogy researcher for over 30 years. He is an affiliate of the International Society of Genetic Genealogy and speaks throughout Ohio and Western West Virginia on the subject of DNA research used in Genealogy. He completed a course in the study of Genealogy given by West Virginia University and is a member of the Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War, the Ohio Genealogical Society and four County Genealogical Societies in Ohio and one society in West Virginia. He is the founder and chair of the Newcomerstown Genealogy Roundtable. Among others, he has authored books on the Cline and Dakin surnames.


Ken Finkel is currently President of the Washington County Historical Society. He is an avid genealogist and a life member of the Lower Muskingum Historical Society in Beverly.Ken joined the Mt. Moriah Masonic Lodge # 37 in Beverly, Ohio in 1983, progressing through the officer line and became Master of that lodge in 1988. He served as presiding officer in Rufus Putnam Chapter # 108 Royal Arch Masons in Beverly, Marietta Council # 78 Royal and Select Masons of Marietta and Marietta Commandery # 50 Knights Templar. He was elected and received as a Knight York Cross of Honor in 1999 and served three years as a District Deputy Grand High Priest for the Grand Chapter of Royal Arch Masons of Ohio. He belongs to the Scottish Rite as a 32 degree mason and several other appellant Masonic bodies.


Millie (Covey) Fry is a graduate of the Kent State University School of Library and Information and a retired librarian with over 38 years of service in libraries in Ohio, Kentucky and Tennessee. She developed Library Leadership 2000, a week-long leadership conference for young librarians in Ohio who work with nationally recognized librarians serving as their mentors. Millie was named Librarian of the Year in 1995 by the Ohio Library Council, received the national ASCLA Award for Leadership Excellence in 1996 and the KSU School of Library and Information Science named her the 1998 Alumni of the Year. She appears in Who’s Who of American Women. Millie is the author of The Charles Snodgrass Family: Frontier Life in the Monongahela Valley; Women on the Ohio Frontier (winner of the 1978 Ohio American Revolution Bicentennial Commission essay contest); German-American Communities, Churches, Cemeteries, and Records in Washington County and Adjoining Townships in Noble and Monroe Counties, Ohio; Tecumseh’s Unrequited Love; James Galloway and Tecumseh: The Pact of Peace and Friendship; At the Monument: Standing Where They Fell (with Debra Ice); and Kin-nections. Millie began researching her family in 1969 and enrolled in genealogy classes taught by Joy Moulton, a nationally recognized genealogist and author, in Columbus, Ohio in the early 1970s and participated in a week-long family research conference in Salt Lake City in 1980. Millie is a member of First Families of Washington County, First Families of Ohio, Washington County OGS and Marietta Chapter, DAR where she helped establish their research library. She lives in Columbus area where she is the owner of a family research business.

Dick McAllister, born in Indianapolis, he spent most of his business life living and working around the world in the Chemical & Plastics business. He eventually settled in Parkersburg while working for Marbon Chemical (Borg-Warner) as Vice-President of the Specialty Chemical Division and later President of Kemron Environmental Services in Marietta, Ohio. Subsequently, he and his wife Peggy founded Arts & Letters bookstore and gift shop and Marietta Computer on Putnam Street. His family moved to New England and Delaware where he became a Registered Investment Advisor. After several very successful years, the McAllister’s moved back to Parkersburg to be close to their children and his ancestors. His Patriot ancestor lies at rest in Mound Cemetery and his great grandfather was born in Marietta and fought in L Co. of the Ohio Calvary in the Civil War. He is active in the Marietta Chapter, SAR as color guard commander and Vice President. He has given numerous historical presentations.

John McClure was born in Marietta and attended Marietta City Schools. He has a bachelor’s degree from Marietta College and master’s and doctorate degrees from Ohio University. He taught in Marietta City Schools and was engaged in research and technology activities for the Republic Steel Corporation and West Virginia state government. He has been using computers for about 40 years and has done a substantial amount of genealogical research. One of his areas of study is the families who migrated from the Kusel, Rhineland-Palatinate, region of Germany to Washington County. Although he uses a variety of hard-copy sources for his research, he spends a great deal of his research time using the Internet. He reviewed the family of Hezekiah Sanford Bundy, a Marietta native and U.S. congressman, for the Washington County Chapter of the Ohio Genealogical Society in 2007.

Jim Miracle is a Retired US Navy Hospital Corpsman and Substitute Teacher in the Wood County School System. He has been the Chairman of the Wood County Historic Landmarks Commission, WV since 2001, President of the West Augusta ( Wood County, West Virginia) Historical and Genealogical Society since 1997, is a member of the Wood County Historical and Preservation Society, a Past Senior-Vice Commander & Junior Vice Commander of the General Benjamin D. Fearing Camp, SUVCW and serves as Secretary. He performs many living history presentations on the Civil War Soldier and Civil War Medicine at local schools and public events. He has authored History of the Miracle Family of Ohio; John Andrew Miracle and Co. D, 63rd O.V.I.; Central Station, Doddridge County, West Virginia: Railroad Center to Obscurity, the Demise of a Small Town; and Beechwood, The Saga of a Steel Community on the Ohio River.


Debbie Noland Nitsche is a local historian and researcher. A native of Marietta, now living in Bensalem, Pa., she is a descendant of many early pioneers of Washington County, Ohio including Major Asa Coburn, an officer of the American Revolution, and his son in-law, William Bion Mason, one of the first 48 settlers who came with Gen. Rufus Putnam and made the first permanent settlement in the Northwest Territory at Marietta. For the past 10 years, Debbie has researched and compiled several family histories and assisted many children and adults across the United States with their genealogy research.  She is the editor/publisher of a free e-mail Newsletter that features many items that relate to the history of Washington County, Ohio.  She has written several stories & transcribed hundreds of old newspaper articles, records and documents that are now online.  She has several websites that relate to the history & genealogy of Washington County that contains hundreds of old photos of people, places, and old head stones.  Her website " Washington County, Historical & Genealogy Links" <www.washogs.org> has been proven to be very helpful for researchers across the country, as well as with many libraries, colleges, universities, teachers and school children.


R. W. “Dick” Phillips has lectured and authored articles on marketing and other subjects during his 30 years as head of three public relations agencies in his native Cleveland, and in Phoenix and Scottsdale, Az.  He began as communications manager and publications editor for a Fortune 500 industrial.  After 25 years in Arizona he and his wife Mary returned to St. Clairsville, Ohio to be nearer his family.  Dick still takes on media initiative projects for clients and is also a self-described storyteller and history buff. His recent interest started with curiosity about his city’s namesake, Arthur St. Clair, which has also led to research and published articles about St. Clair and other 18 th century patriots who impacted the Ohio Valley and the National Road.  While he has written about other historical figures, it is the story of Arthur St. Clair to which he devotes the most attention, placing newspaper and magazine articles and speaking about a man he has come to regard as “The Unappreciated Patriot.”


William “Bill” Reynolds has written numerous articles and has been a researcher of the early Northwest Territorial settlement for over 30 years. Bill has a BA in Art History and Elementary Art Education from Kent State University in 1970. He has been an employee of a local area history museum and been a speaker at frequent venues regarding General Rufus Putnam, aspects of the Revolutionary War and Ohio’s pioneer settlers. He was a member of the Brigade of the American Revolution living history association where he conducted educational seminars and demonstrations and served as a historical consultant to the award-winning PBS documentary film, Opening the Door West.


Eric Richendollar of Marietta is a 1988 Ohio University (BA) graduate. Erichas been conducting genealogical research since 1982, having published a number of articles in genealogical and historical society newsletters and local history books. He has been an employee at the Washington County Public Library since 1999 and a Library Assistant in the Local History & Genealogy Department since 2001.


Beverly (Cochran) Schumacher began tracing her various family branches in 1979 and was a founder of the Athens County Chapter of the OGS in 1980 and has served as President for the first three years and many years since. She is a member of the DAR and served many local and state chairmanships including the Nabby Lee Ames Registrar and Regent and the Ohio State District Director. She serves on the Board of the Athens County Historical Society and Museum and for about 25 years served as Editor of their newsletter, The Bulletin. She organized First Families of Athens County and is a member of Colonial Dames of the Seventeenth Century and has served two chapters including delegate to their National Conference. She is the Ohio State Registrar for Daughters of Founders and Patriots of America. She is a National Volunteer Genealogist for DAR and Colonial Dames receiving her training and certificates by attending classes in Washington D. C. at their National headquarters. In the last three years, Ms. Schumacher has completed more than 60 applications for the Marietta and Ewing Chapters of the SAR and none have been rejected. Beverly has compiled, authored, edited, co-wrote or helped with about 40 genealogical publications used for mostly Athens County research. Currently, she is cataloging the genealogy/history library for the Athens County Historical Society & Museum in Athens.


Linda Showalter is the Special Collections Associate at the Marietta College Library, where she assists researchers in accessing rare books, manuscripts, photographs, and other historical materials. She recently served as project archivist in preparing the Manuscripts and Documents of the Ohio Company of Associates for preservation and digitization, a project funded in part by a Save America’s Treasures grant. She is the author of History Goes to School, a manual for small museum educators, and the former editor of The Magic Lantern, a local history publication for elementary students, and of The Tallow Light, the journal of the WCHS. Linda has developed and presented numerous programs for school groups, genealogists and historians over the past twenty-six years.

Doug Thompson has worked with computers since he was 26. First as owner/operator of The Computer Store of Marietta & New Martinsville (1992-2003), Doug is now the hands-on owner of Bestone Computers, LLC at 5th and Washington Streets in Marietta. There he enjoys using his 23 years of computer experience to repair and assist people through the computer challenge. Doug served in the USAR 463rd Eng. Bn., Combat heavy, (79'-89'). He is also an EMT Firefighter since 1992 and served with the Oak Grove Vol. Fire Dept. (1992-2005). He is a member of Marietta Chamber of Commerce, National Computer Assoc. of America, is A+ Certified with Computing Technology Industry Association and attended training schools with Epson, Hewlett-Packard, Compaq, Apple, and Microsoft.

Richard Walker:  Historical works authored by Walker include: “Where Is the Legendary Silverheels?,” Stockport, Ohio:  A Compendium of Historical Information;  “ Wolf  Creek and the Muskingum:  Notes on the Settlement of Southeastern Ohio,” and Who Was Caleb Swan?”   Walker also authored a major non-historical work: “Essentialism:  A Hierarchical Theory of Epistemology.” Walker, now a resident of Springfield, Illinois, was born and raised in Stockport, Ohio, a graduate of Belpre High School, 1967, a B.A. graduate from Marietta College, 1972, and a M.S. and Ph.D. graduate of Purdue University, 1976. His career included sociology professor, 1976-1985; senior policy analyst, Illinois Department of Nuclear Safety, 1985-1989; and science assessment consultant, Illinois State Board of Education, 1989-2007, to retirement in June 2007.

Gary S. Williams is a lifelong resident of Ohio. A native of Tuscarawas County, his first job was on the archaeological excavation of Fort Laurens, Ohio's only Revolutionary War fort. He has a B.A. in History from Marietta College, a Masters of Library Science from Kent State University, and 25 years experience as a librarian. He lives near Caldwell, Ohio. His is the author of four books: Historic Tours of Ohio;, Spies, Scoundrels and Rogues of the Ohio Frontier; Gliding to a Better Place: Profiles From Ohio's Territorial Era and The Forts of Ohio: A Guide to Military Stockades.


Kyle Yoho began Civil War Reenacting at the age of 15 in 2004. He planned his first reenactment at the age of 16, the Woodsfield Civil War Encampment, the first reenactment to ever be held in Monroe County. This year he is planning the fourth Woodsfield Civil War Encampment for June 13 and 14. Last year's reenactment received a grant from the Ohio Humanities Council. Kyle is a Freshman History Major at Marietta College with a goal to become a Civil War Historian. He is a member of the Monroe County Historical Society and the 91st Ohio Volunteer Infantry, Company B.


Jean Yost is a graduate of Ohio University and lifelong resident Barlow area. He is the current President of the Marietta Chapter, SAR and is the Coordinator of the Marietta Chapter’s Patriots and Pioneers Project. From 1995 to 2000 he was the Donor and Volunteer Coordinator for major renovation of the Floral Hall (T-Building) and other buildings on the Historic Barlow Fairgrounds. In 2000 and 2003, as a member of the Western Washington County Historical Society, he served on the White Oak Bicentennial Committee and the Ohio Bicentennial Project at the Barlow Fairgrounds. He currently serves on the Board of the Muskingum Valley Chamber of Commerce and is a U.S. Marine Corps Veteran of Vietnam and member of American Legion Post 64.


DAR – Daughters of the American Revolution
PBS – Public Broadcasting System
OGS-Ohio Genealogical Society
SAR-Sons of the American Revolution
SUVCW-Sons of the Union Veterans of the Civil War
WCH&G Washington County Public Library, History & Genealogy Department
WCHS-Washington County Historical Society


Last updated
March 11, 2009

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