Local historian David Simmons will present a PowerPoint program based on a transcription of “The Ledger of Nathan Dustin, 1815-1831” during the Big Walnut Area Historical Society meeting at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 10, in the Myers Inn Museum meeting room.
Nathan Dustin was an early settler in Zoar, the village of Galena’s original name. In 1834 the village of Zoar was asked to change its name to avoid confusion with another Zoar in Ohio. Men put their choices for names in a hat and the winner was Galena, the name submitted by Nathan Dustin.
The Dustin Inn was a brick stagecoach inn facing Galena Square. Today, that building houses Kenneth Molner’s law office.
Myers Inn Museum curator Polly Horn said most of the other Galena settlers, like the pioneers that settled Sunbury, came from Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, but Dustin came from New Jersey.
“Nathan Dustin and his partner, Benjamin Carpenter, began operating a sawmill in 1814 on a man-dug race connecting Big Walnut Creek and Little Walnut Creek,” Horn said. “There are frequent accounts of the sawmill’s operation in Dustin’s ledger.”
Horn said Simmons’ presentation would explore the construction and operation a sawmill from the pioneer era, including examples of similar historic mills in Ohio. Also included will be videos of a functioning reconstructed sawmill in Massachusetts of this same period.
“This presentation sheds light on Ohio’s frontier economy and the variety of items necessary for life, such as foodstuffs, clothing and furniture, many of which Dustin bartered for through his sawmill operations,” Horn said. “A progression of the tradesmen who lived and worked in Galena during these early years, and with whom Dustin interacted, will also be featured.”
Horn said Simmons’ presentation, open to the public, would be the final Big Walnut Area Historical Society program for 2015.
“The historical society does not meet in December, but we encourage everyone to stop in the Myers Inn Museum during Christmas on the Square on Saturday, Dec. 5,” Horn said.
The Myers Inn Museum is located at 45 S. Columbus St. in Sunbury.
For more information about the Big Walnut Area Historical Society and the Myers Inn Museum, go to BigWalnutHistory.org.
Reporter Lenny C. Lepola can be reached at 614-266-6093