Rio student, faculty publish book on Meigs County

March 10, 2014

RIO GRANDE, Ohio – Arcadia Publishing’s popular Images of America series has released its latest book, “Meigs County,” authored by a student-teacher tandem from the University of Rio Grande.

The book brings the rich history of Meigs County to life through more than 200 vintage images and captions. The work features a historical overview of the five incorporated villages within the county with four primary focuses – economic pursuits, pillars of the community, transportation and natural disasters.

“I transferred to Rio Grande because of the outstanding Education program, but I never imagined I’d be a published author before I earned my cap and gown,” said Jordan Pickens, an Integrated Social Studies Education senior at Rio Grande who plans to graduate this spring.

Pickens, a 2009 Southern High School graduate, said his family has been rooted in Meigs County for at least six generation. The extensive family history created a strong starting point with numerous built-in networking opportunities that gave the project a personal touch.

The idea, however, spawned from a fall 2012 Ohio History course with Professor Ivan Tribe, who earned faculty emeritus status in 2007.

“Jordan was one student in class who had an idea,” Tribe said of Pickens. “He told me he wanted to do it, and asked if I would be interested in working on it with him. It was quite gratifying. I’ve taught for 31 years at Rio Grande, and then six years before that at the high school level in Meigs County. Having the privilege to work with students on such projects is quite rewarding.”

Tribe has authored seven previous books and numerous published articles. One of his previous publications, “Rio Grande: From Baptists and Bevo to the Bell Tower, 1876-2001,” also was co-authored by a Rio student, Abby Gail Goodnite.

Tribe is already working on other projects, and he said, “one book usually begets another one” regarding Pickens.

Pickens admits the idea has already been discussed. With the publication of “Meigs County” coinciding with the county’s 195th anniversary, he is thinking about a second book for the 200th anniversary. As of now, only the general idea has been discussed.

But the shear wealth of material generated through the research for “Meigs County” was inspirational for Pickens.

“There were just so many different, and fascinating things that I learned,” he said. “The racial issues in this area really turned my head. … Just the buildings that were around in the 1800s and are still here. It’s amazing that these buildings are so old, and we use them every day, especially in Pomeroy. … The people that came from here who had an impact not only on Meigs County but the entire country, is amazing. … Meigs County has several Congressional Medial of Honor recipients.”

Pickens proudly boasts on and on, sharing stories ranging from the invention of the towboat to the first published African American poet. But each story always comes back to the same theme: the people of Meigs County.

“A lot of people go all over the world and still call Meigs County home,” Pickens said. “Like we said in the front of the book, we dedicate this book to anyone that has ever called Meigs County home.”

The choice to go with Arcadia Publishing was simple. As the leading publisher of local and regional history in the United States, Pickens simply reached out with an idea. Told to submit 10 images with captions for review, the idea was accepted and the project was on.

“Meigs County” retails for $21.99. It is available at various locations throughout Meigs County and online, through and, among others.