Mary Jo Hutchinson spends a lot of time in the Henry Fearing House museum at 131 Gilman Ave. in Marietta where she volunteers as a docent, giving tours and sharing a bit of local history with visitors to the 19th century home. The volunteer role seems a good fit for Hutchinson who is directly descended from Gen. Rufus Putnam who founded Marietta with the Ohio Company of Associates in 1788.
Question: How did you start volunteering with the Washington County Historical Society?
Answer: I've volunteered with the society since 2007. I had been working on my family's genealogy and became interested in local history which is tangled up with our family history.
SAM SHAWVER The Marietta Times
Volunteer docent Mary Jo Hutchinson, right, shows a photo to Lorraine Howell of Wingett Run during a recent tour of the Henry Fearing House museum in Marietta.
Q: Your ancestors played a founding role in Marietta's history.
A: Yes. We're direct descendants of Gen. Rufus Putnam and Allen Putnam who were both among the original 48 members of the Ohio Company that founded Marietta. Rufus Putnam was my great, great, great, great, great grandfather.
Q: Your late father, Joseph B. Hutchinson. also volunteered with the historical society. Did that have some bearing on your decision to volunteer?
At a glance
Mary Jo Hutchinson:
Occupation: Nursing supervisor at Marietta Memorial Hospital.
Volunteer Work: Volunteers with the Washington County Historical Society.
The Washington County Historical Society welcomes volunteers. The group meets at 7 p.m. on the first Monday of every month at St. Luke's Episcopal Church on Second Street. For information call the society at 373-1788.
A: Yes. My father gave tours of the W.P. Snyder towboat and volunteered at the Ohio River Museum, so I got to know many of the people who worked at the museums. And my grandfather, Joseph F. Hutchinson, knew a lot about our family history here. I wish I had talked with him more. He died when I was 20. But young people don't seem to have much of an interest in history until they're older.
Q: Do you volunteer exclusively at the Henry Fearing House museum?
A: I mostly volunteer at the Fearing House, but I've also helped out as a docent in period costume at the Campus Martius Museum on occasion. I'm also a native of Williamstown and recently joined an historical group for that area.
Q: What do you enjoy most about your volunteer work with the Washington County society?
A: I like sharing stories about the (Fearing) house-like telling visitors that the vice president of the U.S. courted his wife there. They're always surprised at that. And I love it when the school kids come to the house and I get to pass some of this area's history on to them.
Q: Would you encourage others to volunteer with the historical society?
A: Definitely. It's very important for us to preserve history. But you also learn a lot by becoming a volunteer. The Washington County Historical Society can always use more volunteers in a variety of areas, from doing yard work to helping out in the administrative offices.
Sam Shawver conducted this interview.