Blennerhassett Island in Wood County, West Virginia — The American South (Appalachia)
— Blennerhassett Island Historical State Park —
In 1797, Harman Blennerhassett, Sr., and his wife, Margaret Agnew, settled on this island, for eight years making it their home. Here in the wilderness they cultivated the arts, cared for their neighbors, and built a great home which became the wonder of its time.
Erected 2004 by the Dennis and Ruby Farley Charitable Foundation, the BB&T Foundation, and the North Parkersburg Kiwanis Club.
Topics. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Arts, Letters, Music • Settlements & Settlers. A significant historical year for this entry is 1766.
Location. 39° 16.309′ N, 81° 36.047′ W. Marker is in Blennerhassett Island, West Virginia, in Wood County. Marker can be reached by sternwheeler riverboat passenger ferry ($12 round trip) from Point Park Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Parkersburg WV 26101, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Pleasure Garden (a few steps from this marker); Flower Bed (a few steps from this marker); Arbors (within shouting distance of this marker); Paling Fence (within shouting distance of this marker); Blennerhassett Wash House (within shouting distance of this marker); Blennerhassett’s Well (within shouting distance of this marker); Blennerhassett Kitchen Garden (within shouting distance of this marker); Fishpond (within shouting distance of this marker). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Blennerhassett Island.
Regarding Blennerhassett Island. Aaron Burr and the Blenerhassetts fled in great haste as the Wood County militia, under orders from President Thomas Jefferson, were rowing to the island to arrest Burr and Harman Blennerhassett for treason in connection to their “Mexico” scheme. They were eventually caught in Kentucky, stood
Related marker. Click here for another marker that is related to this marker.
Also see . . . Blennerhassett Island Historical State Park. 2020 article by Kristopher Baisden and others published online in Clio: Your Guide to History. Excerpt:
Although Blennerhassett and his wife put in a great deal of hard work and dedication into building such a magnificent home, they fled their home after he became entangled in the Aaron Burr's expedition plans. Blennerhassett opened his island to Burr to hold base there while trying to expand his plan and gave Burr large amounts of money.(Submitted on July 14, 2021.)
In 1806, Harmon Blennerhassett and Aaron Burr were accused of working together and planning a scheme to have the westernmost parts of the United States secede from the Union. However, when rumors crossed the ears of the Federalists, they began to seize Blennerhassett’s estate and property on grounds of treason. Blennerhassett fled to Lexington, Kentucky, but he was arrested, and eventually, released.
1. 1996 Blennerhassett Reinternment
Harman Blennerhassett’s wife Margaret and their son Harman were originally interred
— Submitted July 16, 2021.
2. The Desert Isle
Poem by Margaret Blennerhassett, the first published poet from West Virginia. Published in Montreal, Quebec in 1822 in the collection The Desert Isle and Other Poems. It references her beloved island, no longer hers and now deserted.
Like mournful echo from the silent tomb
That pines away upon the midnight air,
Whilst the pale moon breaks out with fitful gloom,
Fond memory turns, with sad but welcome care
To scenes of desolation and despair,
Once bright with all that beauty could bestow,
That peace could shed, or youthful fancy know.
To the fair Isle reverts the pleasing dream,
Fresh as at first thy blooming graces seem,
Thy groves, thy fields their wonted sweets respite,
Again thou’rt all my heart could c’er desire
Oh! why dear Isle art thou not still my own?
Thy charms could then for all my griefs atone.
The stranger that descends Ohio’s stream,
Charm’d with the beauteous prospects that arise,
Marks the soft Isles that ’neath the glist’ning beam
Dance in the wave and mingle with the skies,
Sees also One that now in ruin lies,
Which erst, like fairy queen tow’red o’er the rest,
In every native charm by culture dress’d
There rose the seat where once, in pride of life
My eye could mark the queen of rivers flow,
In summer’s calmness or in winter’s strife,
Swol’n with the rains or baffling with the snow,
Never again my heart such joy shall know:
Havoc and Ruin and rampant War have past
Over that Isle with their destroying blast.
The black’ning fire has swept throughout her halls
The winds fly, whistling thro’ them, and the wave
No more in spring-flood o’er the sand-beach crawls.
But furious drowns in one o’erwhelming grave
The hallow’d haunts it water’d as a slave:
Drive on destructive flood and ne’er again
On that devoted Isle let man remain.
Too many blissful moments there I’ve known,
Too many hopes
Too many feelings now forever gone
To wish that thou would’st e’er again display
The joyful colouring of thy prime array
Buried with thee let them remain a blot,
With thee their sweets, their bitterness forgot.
And oh! That I could wholly wipe away
The memory of the ills that work’d thy fall
The memory of that all-eventful day
When I return’d and found my own fair hall
Held by the infuriate populace in thrall,
My own fireside blockaded by a band
That once found food and shelter at my hand!
My children (Ah a mother’s pangs forbear,
Nor strike again that arrow thro’ my soul)
Clasping the ruffians in suppliant prayer
To free their mother from unjust controul,
While with false crimes and imputations foul,
The wretches — vilest refuse of the earth
Mock-jurisdiction held around my hearth!
Sweet Isle! Methinks I see thy bosom torn,
Again behold the ruthless rabble throng
That wrought destruction taste must ever mourn
Alas I see thee now — shall see thee long
Yet ne’er shall bitter feeling urge the wrong
That to a mob would give the censure due
To those who arm’d the plunder-greedy crew.
Tyrants of Liberty (name so ador’d
By crowds to lawless demagogues a prey,
Who, cheated by the ever-echoing word,
Feel not their liberties are filch’d
Themselves the tools of base Ambition’s sway,)
’Twas yours to loose “the dogs of war,” and cry
“On — On the Traitors! Strike for Liberty.”
Thy shores are warm’d with bounteous suns in vain,
Columbia! Of spite and envy spring,
To blast the beauty of mild nature’s reign:
The European stranger who would fling
O’er tangled woods refinements’ polishing,
May find (expended every plan of taste)
His works by ruffians render’d doubly waste.
Self-dubb’d philosopher — the mob’s delight!
Thy looming Science like thy mammoth’s bones
From quiet earth shall ne’er be dragg’d to light.
Then pray (if thou canst pray) in humble tones,
That trying Death who no distinction owns
From Freedom’s shore may sweep thy coward name,
And save Columbia such blot of shame!
For thee no patriot lyre shall e’er be strung,
Foul stain of Liberty the rabble’s choice!
Not e’en thy bombast from the chair that rung
Shall live in future generations’ voice,
Thy baleful slang no more make fools rejoice
For who would sound the blessings of thy reign,
Confed’rate vile of Atheists and Tom Paine!
Great shad of laurel’d Washington arise!
Methinks I see thy halo’d frowning brow,
indignant see thee turn thy piercing eyes,
Thy voice exclaims — “Where are the heroes now
Who bled for Freedom, that the
Dare thus uncurb’d, on Freedom’s sacred shore,
Their vengeance on defenceless woman pour.”
Thine was the soul that knew no base intent
By cringing arts to win the mob’s applause;
Thy purpose on thy country's welfare bent,
In arms thou’rt foremost to maintain her cause,
And having freed establish’d her with laws.
How must thou weep illustrious shade — to see
Thy plans perverted by Democracy!
Freedom no more — wild Anarchy restrains,
With jarring interests the levelling throng,
Busy Ambition every effort strains,
The fangs of tyranny to plant among
The very mob by whom his curse is rung.
Spare — spare me from that phantom of equality
That equals men in knavery and brutality!
— Submitted July 19, 2021.
1½ minute video of the historic state park by the Greater Parkersburg Convention and Visitor’s Bureau.
— Submitted July 20, 2021.
Credits. This page was last revised on August 27, 2022. It was originally submitted on July 14, 2021, by J. J. Prats of Powell, Ohio. This page has been viewed 236 times since then and 16 times this year. Photos: 1, 2, 3. submitted on July 14, 2021, by J. J. Prats of Powell, Ohio. 4. submitted on July 19, 2021, by J. J. Prats of Powell, Ohio. 5, 6. submitted on July 16, 2021, by J. J. Prats of Powell, Ohio. 7. submitted on July 19, 2021, by J. J. Prats of Powell, Ohio. 8. submitted on July 14, 2021, by J. J. Prats of Powell, Ohio. 9, 10. submitted on August 21, 2022, by J. J. Prats of Powell, Ohio. 11. submitted on July 15, 2021, by J. J. Prats of Powell, Ohio.