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Ancient burial mounds and forts throughout the region showed evidence of the Hopewell Indians. In the 1600's, European explorers found the Delaware, Shawnee, Mingo, Wyandot, Miami and other Indian tribes living there. At one time both France and Great Britain both held claims to the Ohio area. After the Northwest Territory was established, and the Treaty of Greenville signed, thousands of settlers came to the Ohio region. Among the early settlers were Revolutionary War soldiers who had been given bounty lands in southeast Ohio for their military service.
To connect with trade to the East, Ohio built a 1,000-mile long canal system of eighty-three locks called the Erie Canal, opening in 1825. This made an outlet for the Ohioan’s farms, forests and mines to conduct trade with the outside communities. The railroad arrived in the mid 1800's, turning Ohio into a crossroads for trade and migration.
Ohioans were instrumental in smuggling freedom seeking slaves to Canada by using the Underground Railroad. This resulted in a scattering of small African American communities serving as temporary safe havens in southeastern Ohio.
The following are important dates in the history of Ohio that affected political boundaries, record keeping, and family movements:
1656: Iroquois Confederacy claimed Ohio lands after defeating the Erie Indians.
1763: The British took possession of the area but discouraged settlers.
1772: Moravian misson at Schoenbrunn
1777: Moravian mission at Coshocton
1772-1824: Moravian Indian land grants, 4,000 acres along the Tuscarawas River in Tuscarawas County.
1787: The United States government established the Northwest Territory with the intent to open the land to Revolutionary War veterans and other settlers.
1788: The first permanent white settlement was established at Marietta.
1794: (August 20,) Battle of Fallen Timbers near Miami River. General Wayne commanding the U.S. forces, this victory ended Indian Wars in the area.
1799: Ohio Territory
1803: (March 1,) Ohio gained statehood.
1805: Land ceded by Ottawa, Wyandot, Chippewa, Potawatomi, Shawnee and Delaware Indians.
1807 & 1808: Land ceded by Chippewa, Ottawa, Wyandot, an Potawatomi
1817: Land ceded by Ottawa, Wyandot, Chippewa, Potawatomi, Shawnee, Delaware, and Seneca
1818: Land ceded by Ottawa, Shawnee, Wyandot and Seneca
1818: Land ceded by Wea
1818: Land ceded by Miami
1810-1840: Many more settlers came by steamboat on the Ohio River and Lake Erie and by new canals, roads, and railroads.
1843: Wyandot removed to Kansas
1861-1865: 310,000 Ohio men served in the Union armed forces during the Civil War.
Several multi-volume histories of Ohio were written between 1890 and 1945. Two examples are:
Howe, Henry. Historical Collections of Ohio. Two Volumes. N.p.: The State of Ohio, 1908, c1888. (Family History Library book 977.1 H2hh 1908; film 1698149 item 5.) The set has been produced by a number of publishers since 1847. Many editions exist. An index to this book is:
Day, Sandra H., comp. Index to Howe's Historical Collections of Ohio. Wintersville, Ohio: S.H. Day, 1987-89. (Family History Library book 977.1 H22d; fiche 6088090.)
Wittke, Carl F., ed. The History of the State of Ohio. Six Volumes. Columbus, Ohio: The Society, 1941-1944. (Family History Library book 977.1 H2wi.)
You may want to study local histories for areas such as the Maumee, Miami, Hocking, Muskingum, Scioto, and Mahoning Valleys.
A bibliography of local histories is:
Adams, Marilyn, comp. Ohio Local and Family History Sources in Print. Clarkston, Georgia: Heritage Research, 1984. (Family History Library book 977.1 H23o.)
For an every-name index to the biographical sections of Ohio county histories, see the Ohio Surname Index, described in the "Biography" section of this outline.
Histories are listed in the Locality Search of the Family History Library Catalog under:
OHIO - HISTORY
OHIO, [COUNTY] - HISTORY
OHIO, [COUNTY], [TOWN] - HISTORY