The Village of Middleport was founded on Ohio Co. land in 1798 by hearty New Englanders and Revolutionary veterans. They came down river by flatboat from Marietta and settled at the mouth of Leading Creek. The old Pioneer Cemetery is nearby. Originally called the Leading Creek Settlement the village eventually encompassed settlements called Vinton, Sheffield, Tarker’s Landing and Coalport. The combination gave the village an interesting street layout. Its location made Middleport a thriving stop on the Ohio River.
The New Englanders were followed by waves of German immigrants. German furniture factories and businesses developed. German language newspapers were common and store clerks had to be bi-lingual until World War I, when the County Commissioners made it illegal to speak German for propaganda purposes.
Prior to the Civil War, Meigs County’s busiest Underground Railroad route started in Middleport running up Leading Creek. The route saw raids, jail breaks and an important Ohio Supreme Court case. You can still follow the path along the creek. After the Civil War, the village had many interesting incidences as it struggled to come to grips with what freedom and civil rights really meant.
Middleport has a rich military history starting with a famous pioneer Indian fighter Hamilton Kerr. In a skirmish on Middleport Hill, citizens stopped John Morgan’s Confederate raiders from entering the town. Middleport’s sons and daughters have always been ready to defend their country. The village boasts three Medal of Honor winners. The first shot fired by an American in World War II was by command from a man from Middleport. During the Cold War NORAD was commanded by a native son. Another was in command of much of the Navy’s nuclear program.
If you are a railroad buff, check out the history of the Hobson Railroad Yard, roundhouse and repair facility. There is also the town’s streetcar line.
We could go on. Want history? Middleport has it!