Passing on Marietta’s history

When Glen Wolfe retired from working as a nurse at Marietta Memorial Hospital, he looked to his friends for options to volunteer.

He soon became involved with both the Washington County Historical Society and Campus Martius Museum, fostering his love of history.

Though his main volunteerism is being a docent at the Henry Fearing House, he still enjoys dressing in colonial costume for special events held at Campus Martius.

Question: When did you decide to volunteer at the historical society?

Answer: When I retired from Marietta Memorial Hospital. I was a nurse in critical care, so I had time. My friend Mary Jo Hutchinson’s father was a volunteer on the (W.P.) Snyder and he really enjoyed that, so I thought I might volunteer at Campus Martius. Then I became interested in the historical society and began volunteering at the Fearing House Museum.

Q: What sparked your interest in history?

A: I grew up in Marietta and there was a class on Marietta history. So I’ve always been interested in Marietta history. Mary Jo Hutchinson is a direct descendant of Rufus Putnam; I have an interest in genealogy, including all the settlers (of Marietta). Genealogy is more interesting when you’re studying your ancestors and history…Everything’s related.

Q: What are your duties at the historical society?

A: I’m basically the co-chair of the Henry Fearing House. I do a lot of the displays and that sort of thing there. I’m trying to inventory what’s there and find information about it so we can pass it on. The Fearing House is operated by the historical society. I teach about history and Washington County through the life of Henry Fearing as he lived (here) through the first part of the 1800s…The historical society does put out a magazine, the Tallow Light. I help put that together. It’s quite a process. We need volunteers for that, and we’re looking for volunteers at the Fearing House. We need docents for Friday and Saturday.

Q: Have you ever found anything interesting at the house?

A: Ah, yes. When I first started I was looking through things stuck on a shelf and I did find a mourning picture women would sew when someone died. This was a picture made by Elizabeth Thompson. The mourning picture was probably made as a final exam in the ladies school in Washington, Pa., where she was living with her father-in-law, Col. George Morgan…He had a visitor one night…(who was) Aaron Burr…(The picture) has a lot of local history. It was passed down through the generations daughter to daughter. The last person to own it was the granddaughter of Douglas Putnam who built the Anchorage. It’s really the only mourning picture that I know of in the area.

Q: What is your favorite part?

A: I love passing on what knowledge I have of the history of Marietta, and people who lived here and have made it the city it is.

Q: Does it ever get boring?

A: It’s never boring. Sometimes it’s difficult, just in sometimes it’s hard to say no when you’d rather be going to other things…None of us (volunteers) would be here if we knew how to say no.

Q: So you also volunteer at Campus Martius?

A: I do tours of the Putnam House there. I’m there for special occasions. Both Mary Jo and I like to dress up, so a lot of times when Campus Martius needs people in colonial dress, we help out at those times. We have Victorian clothing we also wear at the Fearing House.

Q: How can someone become a volunteer?

A: If they would like to volunteer at the Fearing House, they can call me. And also if anyone would like special tours, my number would be the one to call. Hours of the Fearing House are Friday to Saturday, 1 to 4 (p.m.). They can also call the archives if they’d like to become members. There’s still a lot of work at the Anchorage that needs to be done. We’re always looking for hands-on volunteers there.

Interview conducted by Amanda Nicholson.