The 111-miles-long Muskingum River was once an important commerce route in the 19th century. Marietta, OH, at the confluence of the Muskingum and Ohio Rivers, was founded as early as 1788, Zanesville up the river in 1799. The once for rivert raffic so important lock and dam system today is one of the few remaining hand-operated lock systems in the US, serving pleasure boats up and down the river.
In early 1824, the RUFUS PUTNAM was the first steamboat up the Muskingum River from Marietta to Zanesville, OH. In 1827 the first steamer, the SPEEDWELL, arrived from Pittsburgh, PA, which should be the most important trade on the Muskingum River – the Zanesville – Pittsburgh trade. Goods transported on the Muskingum River steamboats varied from four and wheat, tobacco, wool and livestock. Also, salt was very important in this region.
- Steamboats on the Muskingum, J. Mack Gamble