Marietta is a city in and the county seat of Washington County, Ohio, United States. During 1788, pioneers to the Ohio Country established Marietta as the first permanent American settlement of the new United States in the Northwest Territory. Marietta is located in southeastern Ohio at the mouth of the Muskingum River at the confluence of the Ohio and Muskingum rivers. The population was 14,085 at the 2010 census. It is the second-largest by population of three principal cities of and included in the Parkersburg-Marietta-Vienna, West Virginia-Ohio (part) Metropolitan Statistical Area.
In 1770, future U.S. president George Washington, then a surveyor, began exploring large tracts of land west of his native Virginia. During the Revolutionary War, Washington told his friend, General Rufus Putnam, of the beauty he had seen in his travels through the Ohio Valley and of his ideas for settling the territory. After the war, the newly formed country found itself with little money but plenty of natural resources, which led the new government to pay men who had served in the revolution not with cash but with warrants for land in the Northwest Territory. There was one problem with these warrants, however. The Federal Government did not own the land it offered until the passage of the Ordinance of 1787 which ceded ownership of the Northwest Territory to the government. The Ohio Company of Associates planned to buy 1.5 million acres (6,100 km²) of land from Congress with provisions it had written in the ordinance which allowed veterans to use their warrants to purchase the land.
On April 7, 1788, 48 men of the Ohio Company of Associates, led by Gen. Putnam, arrived at the confluence of the Muskingum and Ohio rivers. The site was across the Muskingum River from Fort Harmar, a military outpost built three years prior.