We spent our only full day in Rio Grande, Ohio visiting the exhibits at the Bob Evans farm (after we had our first ever Bob Evans restaurant breakfast at the restaurant located in front of the farm). Then we visited the nearby town of Gallipolis, Ohio. We came here, not because we were highly interested in the farm or the restaurant history, but because it offered us an excuse to find a different way to head south. It turned out to be a very interesting look at success from hard work and principals of corporate management before the greed that has generated our current crop of corporate failures in pursuit of the quick buck.
The restaurant and farm business was started by the son and Uncle of Welsh immigrants, whose focus was to provide a service to the public in a fair way that would also allow them to have reasonable profit. The business grew rapidly over the years with Robert “bob” Evans the visible spokesman and long time president of the company. It remains a success story after wisely resisting an attempted takeover from a large food industry conglomerate.
Reviewing the history of the family and business, you come away with a respect for the way the business has been operated, even if you are not a fan of the product. It is a family business success story and a visit to its home is worth the trip.
Also on the farm is the remaining building of a nearby community that dated from the revolutionary war period –Adamsville. The founder was Adam Rickabaugh, who fought on the revolutionary war and is buried in a cemetery also located on the Evans farm.
We also visited the nearby town of Gallipolis, Ohio, which was founded by a group of 300 to 400 French middle class settlers escaping the results of the French revolution in the late 1700’s. They made a success of the venture and the town today looks like many of the other Ohio River towns except with a distinctive French flare. The town is well known for its many Greek revival buildings. Also of interest is the fact that in the early 1800’s six Welsh Families arrived and seeing the possibilities encouraged other Welsh families to immigrate to the area. Today, there are many families in the area descended from these Welsh immigrants, particularly in the Rio Grande area.
After several weeks of hectic activity, we are underway for our winter trip south and west. We have plans for this to last somewhere between five and seven months. These weeks have included showing the house a surprising number of times, getting the car and motorhome serviced, and getting the last doctor and dental visits out of the way.
In between these items and trying to develop a proper list of things to take along, we did manage to get a few walks in the local parks to enjoy the fall colors and visit the Apple Butter festival in Grand Rapids, Oh. This last, we thought would be a small event and were quite surprised to find ourselves among thousands of people wandering around the crafts and demonstrations in this small river side village.
We knew it was definitely time to leave when we awoke yesterday morning to find our maple tree in the front yard had turned literally over night.
We have taken a different route south to avoid the standard trek down Interstate 75. We have arrived at the Bob Evans historic farm in Rio Grande, Oh via a number of back roads from Toledo. In fact, when we leave here, we will first enter West Virginia before hitting Kentucky.
We will lay over here tomorrow and visit the original Bob Evans restaurant and the family farm.
We cannot let this opportunity go by to share with you a picture of our grandson in his Halloween outfit and wearing the shirt of the victorious Ohio football team.
5-7 October 2007 This past weekend we dry camped in a field in Clyde, Oh with 30 other motorhomes for a weekend of fun and a little bit of history reenacted. Dry camping is simply staying in a location with no outside support services like electric or water. It was a great location with great weather.
We engaged in the usual gathering activities of friendly competition and lots of food. We were also very close to the Rutherford Hayes presidential center and home in Fremont, Ohio. This weekend a reenactment of the Confederate raid into Ohio by General Morgan was being held at the center. There were over 700 re-enactors encamped on the grounds and demonstrating life of soldiers during the Civil War.
We enjoyed talking with a number of these people about their interests and activities along with the history of some of the people they portrayed. There was one lady there who was portraying the volunteer women soldiers who for most of the part were never officially acknowledged. This was a fascinating story which is too long for this journal, but the short version is that they fought alongside the male soldiers either as unpaid women or in many cases as women taking on the identity of men to receive the pay and benefits. This is a topic worthy of further research.
In the afternoon, these “soldiers” re-enacted the skirmish between General Morgan’s Calvary troop of 2400 men and the regular Union troops they encountered. General Morgan had commenced this raid, against the direct orders of his superiors, into Ohio to bring the war to the civilians there, in the hopes of causing pressure on the union to seek a peace with the South. His early encounters with irregulars and civilians had sent the local population into a panic. However, in this encountered, he faced a well trained regular army detachment, lead by Rutherford Hayes, which nearly destroyed his entire cavalry. Morgan’s reputation was in ruins and his mission a failure.