The Canal Era in Ross County 1831-1907

Canal St. . .Three Locks Rd. . .old canal warehouses. . . Water St. . . Poland Park . . . all leftovers from a grand era in Chillicothe and Ross County’s history.  The Ohio and Erie Canal brought much prosperity to Chillicothe and Ross County.

*Farmers throughout the area prospered by selling their corn, wheat and livestock.

*Mills sprung up along the canal to grind the farmers grains.

*Merchants were able to provide their customers with a greater variety of merchandise, which in turn created greater profits for them.

*A number of the buildings and grand homes that still line our downtown streets were built by the merchants and business people who profited from the commerce brought to our community by the canal.

*An improving economy also meant jobs for many.

The Canal Era was a great period in our community’s history!

Please click on the read titles to pull up the PDF.

Kids Guide to the Ohio Erie Canal –  Explanation of many aspects of the Ohio & Erie Canal in Chillicothe:

*Economic need for the canal

*Rivers vs Canal

*Canal construction

*Locks, bridges, aqueducts

*Types of boats, cargo

*Economic benefits of the canal

*The Great Fire of 1852

*The Canal path

Kids Guide to Ohio Erie Canal -Teacher Guide Activities/worksheets to accompany the Kids Guide to the Ohio & Erie Canal.

Additional information resources:

The Canal – Its Rise and Fall in Ross County by John Grabb.  Interesting insight into seventy-five years of canal transportation in southern Ohio and its effect on the economy.

The Ohio & Erie Canal 1831-1907: A Guide to the Chillicothe Canal Path by Julia Lambert.  This walking tour of the Ohio & Erie Canal bed in Chillicothe is a concise illustrated guide to easily trace the path of the canal from north to south through the city.

Ohio and Erie Canal Motor Tour, Circleville to Chillicothe by Martha Gerber Rittinger.  Explores what was and still is remaining of the canal bed along Rt. 104.

The Shawnee in Ross County

The Shawnee had a presence in the Ross County area for a period of about 150 years.  There were numerous encampments and several signifigant villages such as Old Town at the site of present day Frankfort.   The most famous of the Shawnee,  Tecumseh, never lived in Ross County, but visited here at least twice.

Please click on the read titles to pull up the PDF.

Ross County, An Indian Crossroads – Indian “Highways” brought Indians of many tribes through Ross County.  Some of those trails are our highways of today. Incliudes map showing location of Ohio Indian tribes, indian trails, modern highways.

The Shawnee Indians in Ross CountyThe Shawnee once called Ross County their home.

Tabitha & the Hungry Indians– Tabitha Thomas Streevey lived most of her seventy-five years in Huntington Township, but her family was one of the first to live in Chillicothe.

Catherine Gouger-Indian Captive

Catrherine Gouger monument copyOn Orr Road (old U.S. Route #23) about nine miles north of Chillicothe there is a monument about 200 ft.east of the highway. This monument marks the final resting place of one of the first white women to live in this section of our state. It is the grave of Catherine Gouger Goodman.

Catherine made two trips to Ohio. The first time she came she was a captive of the Shawnee Indians. Fifty-four years later she again came to live here. This time she came with her son’s family and, strangely enough, settled in the very same place where she had lived as an Indian captive fifty-four years before.

Indian CalendarThe Indians used nature to measure time.

The Story of Tecumseh3/4th grade level overview of Tecumseh.  Includes a map from the book, Tecumseh, Shawnee War Chief -by Jane Fleischer, gives an overall view of where Tecumseh spent most of his life.


Tecumseh, Shawnee War Chief -by Jane Fleischer,  This book, which is available at is a great children’s book about the life of Tecumseh.

Ohio History Central- OHS webesite: