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Muskingum River: Map


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Map of the Muskingum River watershed.

The Muskingum River is a tributary of the Ohio River, approximately 111 miles (179 km) long, in southeastern Ohiomarker in the United Statesmarker. An important commercial route in the 19th century, it flows generally southward through the eastern hill country of Ohio. Via the Ohio, it is part of the Mississippi River watershed.


The Muskingum is formed at Coshoctonmarker in east-central Ohio by the confluence of the Walhonding and Tuscarawas rivers. It flows in a meandering course southward past Conesvillemarker, Trinwaymarker and Dresdenmarker to Zanesvillemarker, and then southeastward past South Zanesvillemarker, Philomarker, Maltamarker, McConnelsvillemarker, Beverlymarker, Lowellmarker, Stockportmarker and Devolamarker. It joins the Ohio at Mariettamarker.

Along its course the Muskingum collects Wills Creek near Conesville; Wakatomika Creek at Dresden; the Licking River at Zanesville; Moxahala Creek at South Zanesville; and Wolf Creek near Beverly.


The word Muskingum derives from a similarly sounding Delaware (Native American) word, which some claim to translate as 'Eye of the Elk.'

Noted frontier explorer, Christopher Gist, reached the Big Sandy Creek tributary of the river on December 4, 1751. Traveling down the river, he arrived at the large Wyandot town of Muskingum, at present Coshocton, on December 14, where he remained for the following month.

Mariettamarker was founded in 1788 as the first permanent settlement in the Northwest Territory, on the mouth of the Muskingum River along the Ohio River. The Big Bottom Massacremarker occurred along its banks in 1791. Zanesvillemarker was settled in 1799 at the site where Zane's Trace crossed the Muskingum at the mouth of the Licking River. In the mid-19th century the Muskingum was an important commercial shipping route, with dams and locks controlling the water level to allow boats to travel up and down the river. With the decrease in use of water-based transportation in Ohio in the 1920s, the locks fell into disrepair. Since the 1960s the locks have been repaired to enable pleasure craft to travel the entire navigable length of the river. The Muskingum waterway is one of the few remaining systems to use hand-operated river locks in the U.S. The navigation system has been designated a Historic Civil Engineering Landmark. In 2006, it was designated "An Ohio Water Trail;" this designation provides for increased canoe access on the river.

From around 1812 to 1861 the Muskingum River, located north of the Mason-Dixon Linemarker, was a major Underground Railroad route used by fugitive slaves escaping from the South on their journey north to Lake Eriemarker and Canadamarker.

Nonprofit organizations

The [24704] Friends of the Lower Muskingum River is a 501 (c) (3) nonprofit land trust based in Marietta, Ohiomarker, concerned with protection of the Muskingum River and adjacent lands. In addition, the [24705] Muskingum River Conservation District is a quasi-governmental entity concerned with flood control on the river.

Variant names

According to the Geographic Names Information System, the Muskingum River has also been known as:
  • Big Muskingum River
  • Elk River
  • Mouskindom River
  • Mushkingum River
  • Muskingham River
  • Riviere Chiagnez

See also

External links

  • [24706] A history-travel guide on the Ohio and Muskingum Rivers


  1. DeLorme (1991). Ohio Atlas & Gazetteer. Yarmouth, Maine: DeLorme. ISBN 0-89933-233-1
  2. Darlington, Journal of Christopher Gist

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