Photo courtesy of Kathy J. Hensel

Meetings are the 2nd Tuesday of each month @ 7:00pm - Contact @ 740-499-3219

Marseilles the Biggest Little Town in the World

The bragging words "The biggest little town in the world" were coined by a local business man in the early 1940's. Harold Caves owned a mini supermarket which carried about anything anyone wanted to buy. The store stocked meats, groceries, tires, shoes,and as a sideline, the store even had a small ice cream parlor which served old fashioned sodas. Cave's words exemplified the history of the village of Marseilles. At one time Marseilles was the largest town between Cincinnati and Detroit.


First settled in 1821, Marseilles was located on an old Indian trail which was later improved by William Henry Harrison and his troops. The trail gave easy access through the state of Ohio. Early historical accounts show that early in our countries history fur traders were in the area trading with the Indians. Logic attributes the French traders and missionaries with naming the town Marseilles. A listing of businesses in 1826 included three large mills. The flour mill was a five story tall building. Flour was hauled regularly by wagon to Cincinnati. The round trip took 4 to 6 weeks depending on the weather. The mill burned and its history was gone. In the early 1930's, the Tymochtee River was dredged and two of the old burr wheels were retrieved. Those wheels can be seen today in Harrison Smith Park as part of the D.A.R. monument. Another flourishing mill was the hoop mill which turned out 14,00 hoops daily and employed 20 men. The stave mill which was close by produced 30,00 staves per day. All three mills used power from the river which nearly circles the village.


In 1872 plans were made to run a railroad through Marseilles. The state granted permission, local landowners signed their intent to turn over land to the railroad,and bonds were sold for the building of the road. It was a good plan but it didn't get any farther than the planning stage and the idea was scrapped.


Marseilles also holds the distinction of having one of the two gauntlet grounds utilized by the Indians. The grounds were located near the north edge of the village. When Simon Kenton was captured by the Indians, he was forced to run the gauntlet at Marseilles. Later in his life he returned and pointed out the spot. Allen Eckert refers to Kenton's ordeal in his book, THE FRONTIERSMAN.


In 2004,Leigh Allan,a reporter for the DAYTON DAILY NEWS was writing a series of articles titled "Around the world in Ohio." Of course, Marseilles was on the list. He was most impressed with the fact that Carrie Phillips was a resident there when she became involved with Warren Harding. Stories have been passed down through families about his visits with her. The love affair became a source of embarrassment when he ran for president.


Once a bustling village, Marseilles can now boast of only one operating business,a restaurant called ANGLE BACK JUST ONE MORE, a great place to meet and eat. The Killdeer Wildlife Sanctuary abuts the outer limits of the village. The area is an active hunting and fishing area as well as a pleasure spot for bird watchers. A variety of birds can be found at different times of the year. Time has changed the look of the village but not the spirit of the people. The village still has two active churches which continue to provide the spiritual needs of the people. An active Community Club works to maintain the Community Park and to remember those proud words spoken so many years ago, "Marseilles the biggest little town in the world."


Officials of the Village of Marseilles


  • Mayor - Rick Arnold
  • Clerk/Treasurer - Barb Arnold
  • Council:
    • Kurtis Clark
    • Charlotte Leeth
    • Henry Hensel