The Ohio River Valley was home to several Native American cultures before European settlement, including the Adena and Hopewell cultures. These cultures left behind many burial mounds and other archaeological sites that are now protected and preserved by the state of Ohio.
Ross County, Ohio, located in the south-central part of the state, has a rich history dating back to the earliest Native American settlements. The area was originally inhabited by various tribes, including the Shawnee and Delaware, before European settlers arrived in the late 18th century. The county was named after James Ross, an early U.S. Senator from Pennsylvania.

The land that would become Ross County was a crucial region during the Revolutionary War, serving as a hub for military and supply lines. Chillicothe, the county seat and first capital of Ohio, was established in 1796 and became a major center of activity. In fact, it was in Chillicothe that the first General Assembly of Ohio convened. The county played a vital role in Ohio's early political development and was home to many influential figures, including Thomas Worthington, a key founder of both Chillicothe and the state of Ohio.

Throughout the 19th century, Ross County experienced significant growth and development. The construction of the Ohio and Erie Canal in the 1830s brought increased trade and transportation opportunities to the region. Additionally, the arrival of the railroad in the mid-19th century further spurred economic prosperity. Agriculture and manufacturing industries thrived during this time, making Ross County one of Ohio's leading counties.

In the 20th century, Ross County continued to evolve. The county became known for its strong military presence, hosting Camp Sherman during World War I and later serving as the site of a major Air Force base. Economic diversification brought new industries to the area, including retail, healthcare, and education. Today, Ross County remains an important cultural and economic center in Ohio, offering a rich history, natural beauty, and a strong community spirit.

This timeline provides a condensed summary of the historical journey of Ross County, Ohio.

  • 1803: Ross County is officially established by the Ohio State Legislature.
  • 1804: Chillicothe becomes the first capital of Ohio.
  • 1812: The Scioto River floods, causing significant damage to the county.
  • 1825: The Ohio and Erie Canal is completed, bringing economic opportunities to the county.
  • 1840: Ross County's population reaches over 30,000, making it one of the largest counties in Ohio.
  • 1850: The Chillicothe Baking Company opens, becoming one of the county's iconic businesses.
  • 1861-1865: Many Ross County residents serve in the Civil War.
  • 1903: The Dreamland amusement park opens, attracting visitors from across Ohio.
  • 1918: Ross County is hit hard by the Spanish Flu pandemic, resulting in numerous deaths.
  • 1942: Camp Sherman, a World War II training camp, is established in Ross County.
  • 1955: The Ross County Historical Society is founded to preserve the county's heritage.
  • 1998: The Hopewell Culture National Historic Park is designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site.