The bicentennial of Deavertown, the oldest permanent settlement in Morgan County, will be celebrated this weekend.
"This town's going to have a crowd that it has maybe never seen," said Roger Spring, a Belpre resident and descendant of Levi Deaver, for whom the town was named.
Originally called New Market, the community was settled in 1810 by Deaver and his wife, Nancy, and his brother and sister-in-law, Reuben and Mary Deaver, Spring said. New Market was actually located in Muskingum County, but became part of Morgan County when lines were redrawn in 1819. Around 1827, the town's name was changed to Deavertown, in honor of Levi Deaver, because there was already a New Market post office elsewhere in Ohio.
Saturday's events will start at 7 a.m. with the Masonic lodge serving a pancake breakfast. At 9, Miss Queen De Vere (from the European name for the Deavers) will be crowned, as well as Junior Miss De Vere and Princess De Vere at the main stage across the street from the Deavertown Community Center, formerly York High School. The oldest living York Township resident will also be honored as Mrs. Queen De Vere.
A parade will pass through town at 10 a.m. After that, events will return to the community center for the dedication of a marble Bicentennial Monument, honoring the Deaver family and other early pioneers. Commemorative porcelain plates have been sold for the last year to raise money for the monument, which will also honor the founding of the town itself in 1815 and the township in 1819. Levi and Nancy Deaver will be portrayed, describing their journey across the Allegheny Mountains to the area.
The plates and copies of Spring's book will also be available Saturday.
Afternoon activities will include concerts by groups like the Branches, the Savages and other local talent. People can engage in old-fashioned competitions from the 1800s, including a hay bale toss, skillet toss, hog and cow calling, rooster crowing, sack races, a frog leap and turtle races. There will also be a pie-baking contest and quilt show. All entries are required to be in the community building prior to the parade.
The first public viewing of a collection of photographs of World War II veterans from York Township will be held Saturday. There will also be a display by the Morgan County Historical Society and an old-fashioned broom maker. There will also be lectures on "The History of Deavertown," "The Underground Railroad" and "Is the Aunt of Abraham Lincoln Buried in a Deavertown Cemetery?"
Food and ice cream will be served throughout the day by the Heritage Committee and the Deavertown United Methodist Church.
The day will conclude with a 6 p.m. concert by Richard Crabtree and a Deaver family reunion for any descendants of the family. Spring said people are coming in from Michigan, Tennessee, Texas and California for the event.
"They're coming from all over the country," he said.