Early History of Ohio
Darrell E. Hamilton
Before the settlement of Ohio in the late 1700's, about 95 per cent of Ohio was covered with a dense forest. This was not unlike Ashtabula. Ohio, just like Ashtabula, received her name from a river. The Ohio River was named by the Iroquois Indians which in Iroquois means great and/or beautiful river.
Ohio received her nickname from the many buck-
eye trees that grew within the Ohio boundaries when
the first settlers arrived in Ohio. Some of the trees were a variety of horse chestnut in which the early settlers built many log cabins from the trees across
Ohio had been a part of the Northwest Territory
in which consisted of Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Michi-
gan, Wisconsin and the eastern part of Minnesota.
This area was ceded by Britain to the United Sates in
1783. On the basis of early charters Virginia, New York, Massachusetts and Connecticut claimed the
greater part of the Northwest Territory. However, the
other states refused to recognize the claims of those states and insisted that the territory should belong to
the country as a whole. The states finally ceded their claims with Connecticut being the last state to cede
her claims in 1786. The states did however, reserve
certain lands from cession. Virginia reserved much of
southern Ohio which was known as the Virginia Mili-tary District. Connecticut reserved much of Northern
Ohio which was know as the Connecticut Western Re-
On March 1, 1784, Thomas Jefferson, then a member
of the Continental Congress, proposed to Congress a
temporary plan of government. The plan was not ac-
cepted until the Northwest Ordinance of 1787. It pro-vided the formation of not less than three states nor more than five states. It also defined the bound-aries of the states, forbade slavery in the territory and set sixty thousand as the number of free inhabit- ants as the population requirements for statehood.
Marietta, settled in 1788, was the first permanent
settlement in Ohio. It was named after Queen Marie Antoinette of France in recognition of French aid to the United States during the American Revolution.
Marietta was also the first capital of the Northwest
In March of 1803, Ohio became the seventeenth
state and "the first fruits of the Ordinance of 1787".
Chillicothe became the first state capital followed by
Zanesville. After considerable political jockeying, it was decided that the capital should be located at the
center of the state. Thus, in 1816, the newly platted Columbus became the state capital,