2011 Friends Fall Picnic

Somerset-2 The Annual Fall Picnic was held on September 24th from noon to 5pm in Somerset, Ohio. The gathering was at the Jacob Miller Tavern on US Rt 22 in the town of Somerset.

The Jacob Miller Tavern is an original log tavern built on the Zane’s Trace in 1808 and served as the boyhood home of Civil War General Phillip Sheridan. Somerset is a German settlement with a classic Pennsylvania diamond square in the downtown with one of Ohio’s very few equestrian statues at its center. The buildings in the downtown area are attached to each other similar to the way they exist in Fredericksburg and Chambersburg in southeastern Pennsylvania where the settlers of Somerset originated.

Tom Johnson, Mayor of Somerset gave our group an update of some of the fascinating urban archaeology projects and the tree ring dating of log and timber frame building surveys underway. He also shared with the group an ongoing effort to preserve open land in and around the village for the development of a park system and an emerald necklace as well as efforts to preserve land adjacent to a nearby Native American earthwork. The nearby Glenford Fort is a 25 acre hilltop enclosure surrounded by a stone wall and encompassing an interior 15 foot high stone mound.

Picnic attendees had an opportunity to walk two blocks from the Jacob Miller Tavern, across Pigsfoot Square to visit the original Perry County Courthouse and County Jail, the oldest continually used government building in the former Northwest Territory. A Lutheran pioneer cemetery & the site of the first Lutheran Synod in Ohio with locally carved stones, some in German, is a half block from the courthouse.

We also arranged a tour of the Poorman barn, a German bank barn with forebay built in 1819. This unique barn has double timber framing throughout, incorporates scribe rule construction along with some dovetail joinery.

Early arrivals visited nearby historic St. Joseph’s church, cemetery and working farm. St. Joseph’s was the first Catholic Church west of the Allegheny’s. A seminary and dormitory, once part of the complex housed many of the clergy buried nearby. A very interesting spot seven to ten minutes from the Somerset square.

The picnic lunch included locally raised meat which was provided by Friends of Ohio Barns.


Early Post card of Somerset Town Square with Gen. Sheridan Monument, old Perry County Courthouse (1829) and commercial buildings; all still in use. From TOG collection.



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