Settlement of the Ohio Country Begins

The United States was anxious to settle these new lands.  The Congress decided to give land  to the veterans of the Revolutionary War as payment for their service. The first to take advantage of this plan was the Ohio Company, led by Gen. Rufus Putnam. Their settlement, Marietta was the first permanent settlement in the Northwest Territory.

Congress gave sections of the Ohio Country  to states like Connecticut and Virginia, who would then award them to Revolutionary War veterans from their state. A big section of land west of the Scioto River which includes the western half of  Ross County was given to the state of Virginia.  This was called the Virginia Military District.

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

Settlement of the Ohio Country Begins-Teacher’s Guide

Marietta, Ohio’s First Permanent Settlement-Marietta was the first of many Ohio towns to be settled by land speculation.  The Ohio Company of Associates, was formed by a group of Massachusetts men with the purpose of land speculation in the Northwest Territory. Many settlers purchased land with their land warrants, still others acquired free land in the Donation Tract.  With the arrival of Territorial Gov. St. Arthur St. Clair, the Territorial Secretary and judges, Marietta became the seat of government in the Northwest Territory.

Migration to the Ohio Country

Benjamin Stone Comes to OhioBenjamin Franklin Stone tells of his family’s trip from Massachusetts to the newly settled Northwest Territory in 1790.    Based on his autobiography “Reminiscence of An Early Ohio Pioneer”                                                                                                                                 

It Was a Scary Time Benjamin Franklin Stone remembers the scary times living on the Ohio frontier after the Big Bottom Massacre of January 1791.

4th Ohio Social Studies Learning Standard-#5 The articles above corresponds with  the Ohio Social Studies Learning Standard for Grade 4

Additional Resources:



This feature length historical documentary is the story of the Ohio Company of Associates, a group of Revolutionary War officers and soldiers, and how, in 1788, they first opened the door for westward expansion of the new United States.  At Marietta, Ohio, they began the first legal, organized American settlement in the old Northwest Territory. Divided into 12 chapters which can be watched individually.  Please contact Julie Lambert for a copy.


Danger Along the OhioDanger Along the Ohio by Patricia Willis                                                  Traveling down the Ohio River in 1793, Amos, Clara, and Jonathan are separated from their father during a brutal Indian attack.  The three children are swept down the river, and must make their way back through the wilderness in the direction of the Marietta settlement, hoping to find their father there.  Their plight becomes still more dramatic  and dangerous when Amos rescues a wounded Indian boy from the river.  Though the boy mistrusts them and his condition slows them down, Amos refuses to leave him behind to die.  Now more than ever, it seems they’ll never make it back to their father and to safety.  Available at



Along the Ohio Trail                                 Join your trail guide Simon for a hike through Ohio’s history! As you read Along the Ohio Trail, you’ll learn about what makes our state different from all the others.  This is in easy to use PDF format.



“Reminiscence of An Early Ohio Pioneer” The Complete and Unabridged Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin Stone, Sr.  1782-1873. Transcribed by Julia Vadakin Lambert.  Available at the Ross County Historical Society

Along the Ohio Trail: A Short History of Ohio Lands




Frontier kid, Simon, guides students through Ohio history.

Audience: 3rd and 4th grade students

A great resource made available by the Ohio State Auditor’s office. Pages can be printed individually and/or viewed via projector from the internet.  This is a free resource, educators are welcome to make copies to share with students

The booklet is available via PDF format at:

Table of Contents:

Ohio Geography

Prehistoric Ohio

Native Americans

Explorers and Traders

Ohio Land Claims 1770-1785

The Northwest Ordinance of 1787

Settling the Ohio Lands 1787-1800

Ohio Statehood 1800-1812

Ohio and the Nation 1800-1900

Ohio’s Lands Today

Origin of Ohio County Names


The Great Fire of 1852



April 1, 1852 started as a pleasant but windy spring day in the city of Chillicothe.  By day’s end, two city blocks of homes and businesses were in ashes.  An uncontrollable inferno quickly spread, devastating to the downtown area.  Although the area around the canal seemed to be rebuilt quickly, it was years before the town’s economy recovered.

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

The Great Fire of 1852 1:2:15

Albert Herrnstein, Wolverine Player-Buckeye Coach









An 1899 graduate of Chillicothe High School, Albert attended the University of Michigan from 1899 to 1903.  At 5’11”, 168 lbs., he played four years of varsity football.  He gained fame as one of the stars of Fielding H. Yost’s, “Point-a-Minute team which outscored their opponents 1,194 – 12 over the 1901 and 1902 seasons.  The 1901 University of Michigan’s “Point-a-Minute team is seen in the photo above.  Albert Herrnstein is on the far right of the first row.

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Albert Herrnstein Wolverine:Buckeye 3:24:18



Camp Sherman * WWI Training Camp

When President Woodrow Wilson declared war, all young men between the ages of 21 and 30 were required to register for the draft.  The United States was unprepared at that time, to fight a major war.  16 training camps were set up across the country to train these men for battle.  Chillicothe was selected as an army camp location because just north of town there was a large area of flat land, pure water, good drainage, and excellent railroad facilities.

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Camp Sherman 

Flu Pandemic of 1918   Camp Sherman suffers many losses due to the Flu pandemic.

  • Want more information on Camp Sherman?

The Rise and Fall of Camp Sherman by G. Richard Peck

You can visit the Ross County Historical Society Museum and Hopewell Culture National Historic Park.

The History Section at has information and pictures.

The Ross County Historical Society has a collection of Camp Sherman photos on their Tumblr site:

Hands On!
CampShermanTrunk CampShermanTrunk2 copy







The Ross County Historical Society has a “suitcase museum” program. If your class is learning about WWI or Camp Sherman, you can borrow this case full of artifacts the students can handle and explore. A lesson plan and photos are included.

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:



The Adena and Hopewell Cultures



Over two hundred years ago, many people from Kentucky, Virginia, and other states in our new United States came to what is now Ross County to settle.  When they arrived, they found thick woods full of bear, deer, turkeys, and other wild animals. Eager to settle, they quickly cleared the land to make room for their homes, and fields for planting. The uncovering of the land led to their discovery  of  unusual  earthworks  which became known as Indian mounds.

These “indian mounds” were left for us by the Adena and later the Hopewell cultures.  Today, many of us pass by the ancient earthworks without a second thought.  Worthington elementary has the Story Mound almost in its back yard.  These earthworks not only have provided a look into our ancient past, but today attract hundreds of visitors to Ross County yearly.

We are so fortunate to have the Hopewell Culture National Historic Park ( nearby as a resource.  The park programs presented by park rangers are available during field trips to the park and also in your classroom. A curriculum guide has been developed for grades 3-8.  The free guide can be picked up at the park or downloaded from the internet at:

The teaching units below have been developed in conjunction with the expert staff at the Hopewell Culture National Historic Park. Each unit is in PDF format.  They include a teacher guide, text with illustrations and worksheet activities.  The unit can be printed or used as an overhead.

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

3rd grade

Discovering the Hopewell Culture – Gr. 3 10:14 copyHopewell booklet 6:18-xbayey

4th grade

Exploring Adena & Hopewell(1:2:16) Teacher Guide History Depot

Exploring Adena & Hopewell(1:2:16) Student Booklet History Depot