The History of Malta, Ohio


The Village of Malta dates back to the earliest days of the State of Ohio. During the War of 1812, an ex-sailor, Simeon Pool, and his son-in-law, John Bell, settled in this particular area. These gentlemen laid out the first lots of Malta in 1816. Mr. Pool named this new town in commemoration of his visit to the Island of Malta in the Mediterranean Sea. The original plat for Malta contained one hundred and fourteen lots.

Since this beginning, the town has grown through a number of additions made by William B. Young, William B. Young, Jr., William Palmer, Francis A. Barker. In addition, the Malta Real Estate Company added 38 lots to the Village of Malta.

In many respects, Malta will always be linked to the early settlement of the state. One of Malta's most famous sons, James Ball Naylor, is one of the most prolific writers of early Ohio history. Living from 1860 to 1945, Naylor wrote a number of poetry books and historical novels focusing much of his attention upon the main figures involved in the struggles between frontier settlers and Indian tribes in the Ohio territory.

Malta is located in the heart of Morgan County, a county rich in history, particularly in the military arena. Just a short drive from Malta in Southeastern Morgan County, one can discover the site that marked the start of four years of warfare in the Ohio territory between frontier settlers and various Indian tribes.

Named for the broad Muskingum River floodplain, Big Bottom, represents the site of the skirmish between Ohio Company settlers and a party of Delaware and Wyandot Indians on January 2, 1791. Malta and Morgan County also played a very significant role in the Civil War. Although small in population, this area produced three Civil War Generals: Joseph Bailey, Jeremiah Rusk and Otho Strahl.

In order to gain a glimpse of the history of Malta and Morgan County of the 1800s, visitors should view the landmarks around the Malta Town Hall at the intersection of Main Street and 5th Street. Next to the Town Hall, visitors can see the Rock Hollow School that was used from 1877 to 1934 in nearby Ringgold as well as the reconstructed Morgan County Dungeon that was in operation from 1833 to 1839.