In 1815, a man named Dr. John Cotton moved to Marietta with his bride Susan. A sharp-witted man of learning, he was astounded that the Ohio Company had chosen such a disagreeable place to settle as Marietta, Ohio. He saw the problems from flooding, the bad agriculture and rampant diseases of the town. However, he decided to stay and moved into a large home on the corner of Butler and Post Street. The building was once located just behind where Twisted Sisters is today and later became the St. James Hotel.
Dr. John Cotton became a mover and shaker of the town and was one of the main people to help found Marietta College. He often lectured there and at the Female Seminary located at the corner of Second and Putnam Street.
Dr. John had 2 sons: John Jr. and Josiah Dexter. Both boys became doctors. However, the family relationship suffered much strain during the Civil War. Dr. John Cotton Jr. married into a Confederate family, with his own wife being arrested for aiding the Confederate Army (in which 5 of her brothers
served). Dr. Josiah Dexter Cotton, however, was a surgeon for the Union Army.
In 1853, a grand white house was erected on Fifth Street. Built by Dr. Josiah Dexter, it has been known as the Cotton House ever since.
At the time, Fifth Street was sparsely populated, with most of the homes near Marietta College. The streets were not yet lined with bricks, and the hills made Fifth Street difficult to reach at times. The house is Greek Revival in style.
Dr. Josiah Dexter Cotton was a well-respected man in