Draining Ohio’s Swamps

Today’s post is written by fellow author Bettie Boswell. Welcome to Historical Nibbles, Bettie!

 The stories in the anthology, From the Lake to the River, are all set in Ohio. Ohio is an Iroquois word for the beautiful river that outlines two sides of the state. Ohio also means ‘good morning’ in Japanese. When I designed the cover art for the book I was inspired by both the state symbol, incorporating that good morning sun with golden fields of grain, and a map featuring Lake Erie and the many rivers that cross the great state of Ohio.

My story, Fred’s Gift, is set near a fictional Northwest Ohio farm where many fields of golden grain are harvested every year. The story is contemporary, but before there could be any farming in Northwest Ohio’s Great Black Swamp, settlers had to change the land.

Some of the first settlers in nearby Firelands, Ohio, were people whose homes back east were destroyed by fire during the Revolutionary War. Many soldiers traversed the swamp during the war of 1812 with their horses bogging down in muddy places like Devil’s Hole Road, near Bowling Green, Ohio. They experienced the swampy conditions but also noticed the rich soil, so they returned after the war. They made corduroy roads by laying log after log on the ground to prevent wagons from sinking. Deep ditches were dug to drain the land. They laid drainage tiles under fields so water would drain into the ditches. Those ditches still exist today and prevent major flooding from covering the area.

-Bettie Boswell


Fred’s Gift is a short contemporary romance. When Dawn learns that her father Fred is dying, she hurries to his side full of guilt for neglecting him over the last year. The year has been an adjustment to widowhood and being a single mother. Fred’s parting gift of love and forgiveness may involve more than just an inheritance.


Bettie’s Inspiration

Fred’s Gift was inspired by my father, who did leave me a portion of his farm. My dad was a proud veteran of WW2 and an avid genealogist. His historical records and tales are providing inspiration for future stories. My husband and I met before my father retired. We are enjoying a long marriage and are currently loving having grandchildren, so this story is not biographical.

About Bettie:

Bettie Boswell is an author, illustrator, and composer for both Christian and children’s markets. She holds a B.S. in Church Music from Cincinnati Bible College and a Masters in Elementary Education from East Tennessee State University. She lives in Bowling Green, Ohio.

Her numerous musicals have been performed at schools, churches, and two community theater events. When she isn’t writing, drawing or composing, she keeps busy with her day job teaching elementary music in Sylvania, Ohio.