An island in the Ohio river, once home to Harman and Margaret Blennerhassett, and still a popular tourist attraction in the Marietta, OH and Parkersburg, WV area.

Margaret, Harman's wife, was also his niece. Thus, legend has it that their flight to the island was in part because of this incestuous relationship.

Aaron Burr met with Harman Blennerhassett (an exiled Irish aristocrat) on the island, along with James Wilkinson (a General of the US Army). This was the beginning of the Burr conspiracy.

Janice Hofmann wrote a book (historical fiction), Tragedy & Treason that takes place on Blennerhassett Island.

When I was a child in the 50s we lived just across the river from Blennerhassett Island on the West Virginia side. We had a small row boat and made regular forays over. Ancient walnut and pear trees still bore fruit. We would bring home bushel baskets of walnuts that would stain our hand green for weeks and green pears enough to make ourselves sick. Someone still planted "cow" corn there and wild horses ran about. Dad made a putting green on the acres of turnips. The house that is now restored was just a burnt out foundation.

It is wonderful that it has been restored. We had no idea of the history (Aaron Burr and crew) - at the time the island was just our private 3-mile playground.

Huge barges used to travel the Ohio River carrying who knows what. They may have been the precursors of the sternwheelers used to transport visitors to the island now. I think I remember paddle wheels on the barges.

It was a magical place.

Harman and Margaret Blennerhassett, a rich young Irish couple, came to the fledgling United States in 1795. The pair fled their families, who were somewhat upset about the union, as Harman was Margaret's uncle. After visiting in New York and Philadelphia for a while, they decided to head for the edge of civilization on the western frontier.

Although the young couple originally intended to push as far west as their wagon train would take them, when they arrived at Marietta, a small town on the Ohio River, they were so entranced with the country and the people that they determined to stay. The Blennerhassetts purchased a small, drumstick-shaped island, and by 1800 they had erected themselves a stately, luxurious mansion. Harman threw himself into music, science, hunting, and setting up a working plantation, while Margaret kept occupied with running the household, caring for the children, shopping (too much; both the Blennerhassetts were overly fond of luxury) with friends, and writing poetry - much of it dedicated to her lovely island. In fact, the island was so beautiful that friends and neighbors, after attending the many and lavish parties thrown by the Blennerhassetts, began to call it the Enchanted Isle, or Paradise. Their guests included such diverse personages as Johnny Appleseed and a future King of France.

Their luck began to turn sour after Harman befriended Aaron Burr, former Vice President of the United States. Burr convinced Harman to finance his invasion of Mexico and to provide training grounds on the Island for his recruits. When then-President Thomas Jefferson had Burr arrested for treason, Harman was arrested as well, and a few days later, Margaret and the children escaped to the South.

After three months in jail, Burr was acquitted. Harman was also released, and reunited with Margaret in the Mississippi Territory. After a doomed stint at cotton farming, following their too-extravagant lifestyle in Ohio, left them bankrupt, they were forced to back to Ireland to live off the generosity of Margaret's sister. Harman died on the Island of Guernsey in 1831, and Margaret in New York in 1842 while visiting her son. All three of their children who survived to adulthood left no heirs.

The mansion in the Ohio Valley burned down in 1811. It was rebuilt in the late 20th century, and today is open to visitors and archaeologists, eager to sample the island's natural wonders and historical mysteries - which stretch back to well before the time of the Blennerhassetts, into prehistory, when the island was inhabited by various native tribes, of whom little is known but the stone and pottery fragments they left behind.

Blennerhassett Island is located near the modern-day town of Parkersburg, West Virginia.

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