The Ohio River, which forms the state's southern border, played a significant role in the Underground Railroad, a network of secret routes and safe houses used by African American slaves to escape to freedom in the North before the Civil War.
Holmes County, Ohio, located in the heart of Amish country, has a rich and diverse history dating back to its establishment in 1825. The area was originally inhabited by various Native American tribes, including the Delaware and Wyandot peoples, who lived off the land and used its plentiful resources to sustain their communities. In the late 18th century, European settlers began moving into the region, attracted by the fertile soil and abundant water sources.

Holmes County's early economy was primarily based on agriculture, with settlers clearing the land for farming and raising livestock. The arrival of the Ohio and Erie Canal in the 1830s brought further economic growth to the county, as it provided a means of transporting goods and facilitated trade with other communities. This development spurred the establishment of small towns and villages along the canal, such as Millersburg, which quickly became a hub of commerce and industry.

The mid-19th century marked a period of significant change for Holmes County. The arrival of the railroad in the 1850s brought even greater connectivity and commerce, contributing to the county's economic prosperity. However, the county also became a battleground during the American Civil War, as tensions between abolitionists and supporters of slavery ran high. While Holmes County was predominantly anti-slavery, there were still some who sympathized with the Southern cause, leading to divided loyalties and conflicts within the community.

Throughout the 20th century, Holmes County continued to thrive, with its agriculture and tourism industries serving as major economic drivers. The county's picturesque landscapes, preserved historic villages, and rich cultural heritage have made it a popular tourist destination, attracting visitors from across the nation. Today, Holmes County remains deeply connected to its Amish roots, as the Amish community plays a significant role in shaping the county's unique character, traditions, and way of life.

This timeline provides a concise overview of the key events in the history of Holmes County, Ohio.

  • 1807: Holmes County is established and named after Major Andrew Holmes, who died in the War of 1812.
  • 1832: The Ohio and Erie Canal reaches Holmes County, promoting economic growth.
  • 1830s-1850s: The area experiences a wave of immigration from Germany and Switzerland.
  • 1861-1865: Holmes County residents actively participate in the American Civil War.
  • 1875: The first railroad enters Holmes County, further improving transportation and trade.
  • 1890s: The county's agriculture industry thrives, particularly in dairy farming and cheese production.
  • 1930s: Holmes County is heavily impacted by the Great Depression, leading to economic hardships.
  • Late 20th century: Amish migration to Holmes County increases, bringing a significant cultural influence.
  • 2002: Holmes County is struck by a destructive tornado, causing widespread damage.
  • Present: Holmes County remains a thriving agricultural community with a rich heritage and growing tourist industry.