I spent part of Sunday visiting cemeteries in southern Gallia County, Ohio, where my ancestors and some of the people I went to high school with are buried.
At the Swan Creek cemetery I ran into a man who asked me about the headstones from the early and middle 1900s that I was interested in. I told him about how some of my river-working ancestors are buried there, and he began talking about how the Pinchen and Taylor families from England were the first to settle the area. He pointed to the river bank, just beyond the farm fields and the line of trees in the distance (the hills in the background are West Virginia).
He said until a flood of about 1885 (I said it might have been in 1884), most houses in the area were built along the top of the bank. After the flood destroyed those houses, people rebuilt on slightly higher ground back away from the river, he said.
He also asked if I knew that at one time people could walk across the river. I said. yes, people used to say the Ohio River was a mile wide in flood season and a foot deep in summer.
We discussed a little more local history before we parted. It was an afternoon when two people with differing interests in local river history swapped a little information.