Marshall receives the 2023 Mattox Award

John S. Marshall received the 2023 Mattox “Tourism Champion of the Year” Award from the Belmont County Tourism Council. Pictured: Tourism Executive Director Jackee Pugh, the late John Mattox’s daughter Suzanne Evans, John Marshall, and John Mattox, Jr.

John S. Marshall received the 2023 Mattox “Tourism Champion of the Year” Award from the Belmont County Tourism Council at its annual Christmas party on December 11 for his efforts to preserve the history of the National Road in Belmont County.

In 2019, the Belmont County Tourism Council implemented the Mattox Award, named in honor of the late John S. Mattox, who was curator and co-founder of the Underground Railroad Museum, he was one of the Ohio Valley’s most renowned historians, a community leader and advocate. Dr. Mattox’s legacy and impact will forever be felt in Belmont County.

The Mattox Award is given annually to the Belmont County “Tourism Champion of the Year.” The award is designed to honor an individual or organization who has made significant and long-term contributions to the economic health of Belmont County through their involvement in the field of tourism. Past recipients include Ann Rattine, schoolmarm of the Great Western Schoolhouse, Emery Stewart, past president of the Belmont County Historical Society and Victorian Mansion Museum, and the Great Stone Viaduct Historical Education Society.

“John is a leader in our community and has been integral in the preservation of the Historic National Road. He is a board member of the Ohio National Road Association and has represented Belmont County in preserving and promoting it for almost a decade,” said Belmont County Tourism Director Jackee Pugh.

John’s interest began when his father was involved in creating a slideshow about his travels along the National Road. John attended an interpretive sign dedication for the Calvary Presbyterian Church in St. Clairsville and his interest in the road was noticed. It was then that he was asked to join the Ohio National Road Association by the late Dr. John Mattox.

“John’s dedication embodies the mission to preserve, promote, and enhance the Historic National Road in Ohio for present and future generations. He has led efforts with Bridgeport Schools to bring middle school students on field trips to the Blaine Hill S Bridge for the past two years and educate them on a piece of history right in their backyard,” Pugh said.

“He volunteered his time this past spring at the Belmont County Heritage Museum giving tours to Barnesville elementary students. I had the privilege to witness him engaging with our local students and igniting a spark of curiosity about Belmont County’s history. I even learned a thing or two myself! It’s a testament to his dedication and ability to make the past relevant and exciting, ensuring that knowledge is passed on to the next generation.”