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History, Hard Work and Harmony

Gibbs MacVeigh recalls the first time he stepped into the barbershop in Williamsburg, Ohio.

Gibbs MacVeighGibbs MacVeigh recalls the first time he stepped into the barbershop in Williamsburg, Ohio.

“There was silence,” he said. “I was a foreigner.”

It didn’t take Gibbs’ wife Marty long to change their “newcomer” status in the close-knit Clermont County community, population 2,400.

Marty joined the Garden Club, chaired the town’s 1996 Bicentennial Celebration and then joined forces with residents to purchase and restore the Harmony Hill property. Harmony Hill is the homestead site of Williamsburg’s founder, Major General William Lytle. The homestead’s dairy house, built in 1800, is the oldest structure in the county.

When Marty passed away in 2003, Gibbs established The Marty MacVeigh Memorial Fund of GCF as a way to honor his wife’s commitment to Harmony Hill.

“The people in Williamsburg were good to her and she was good to them,” he said.

Lucy Snell, who worked with Marty to buy Harmony Hill, says Marty was the inspiration to purchase the property that now includes The Harmony Hill Museum.

“She came in as an outsider and brought class, new ideas, revived enthusiasm,” Lucy said. “I could just go on and on. There are so many things that came about from her encouragement.”

Lucy shared that not only did Marty have the vision to raise the $115,000 needed to purchase Harmony Hill; she helped restore it, even using a chainsaw to clear debris.

She said Marty was very hands-on and did a lot of the manual work during the property’s renovation.

“We were a lot alike,” she says of her friend. “We were not afraid to get dirty and work. Or we could go to the White House and converse.”

Besides seeing The Marty MacVeigh Memorial Fund as a fitting tribute to the friend she misses, Lucy says it gives her peace of mind that their hard work will be enjoyed by generations to come.

“I felt that GCF would help us in the long run,” Lucy said of the fund. “I could the see the future of the museum when GCF came into the picture.”

There is a tree planted in the Williamsburg Square to honor the “newcomer” that endeared herself to this small town. The hope is that the tree, like Harmony Hill, will continue to flourish and honor Marty’s dedication for many years to come.

The Marty MacVeigh Memorial Fund is a designated fund of GCF, exclusively benefiting Harmony Hill, and is affiliated with the Clermont County Family of Funds.

*This story was originally published in GCF’s 2004 Annual Report to the Community.



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