Located near the center of a triangle, Formed by Columbus, Cleveland and Wheeling, lies an unspoiled valley, and in the lap of this valley sits the city of Coshocton, Ohio.
The wooded hills surrounding the pleasant valley in which the city of Coshocton nestles comfortably, have an ageless quality. When the haze which surrounds them in the early morning lifts, it would not be surprising to discover the Indian camps of 200 years ago.
The Moundbuilders settled here where the Tuscarawas and Walhonding Rivers met to form the Muskingum River. The hills were an ideal vantage point from which to watch for approaching enemies, and the valley itself was well protected against climatic extremes. But the enemy did come. There were the Delawares, Followed by other Indian tribes, and later the Moravian. Local names still reflect the influence of these Indian tribes which harassed the early pioneers on their trek west.
Colonel Henry Bouguet's famous expedition in 1764 established a camp at Coshocton, and his forces managed to free many white prisoners of the Delawares with whom he later made a treaty establishing permanent peace in the area. A Walt Disney novel, "The Light in the Forest" tells the story.
Taverns were gradually established throughout Coshocton County serving as inns, communication centers and meeting places for the local inhabitants. Plays and lectures were given at these inns, and for many years they were the focal point of all social activities.
Famous men passed through this section. Johnny Appleseed planted some of his orchards here, and Louis Phillippe, Later King of France, supposedly spent some time here.
The town itself was laid out in 1802 and named Tuscarawas. Calder's Country Store was opened, and other merchants soon arrived. In 1811, the name was changed to Coshocton, a derivation of Coshogunk, which is Indian for "black bear".
Originally, agriculture was the main source of income, but by 1834, coal was being mined and when the Ohio and Erie Canal was built, passing through Coshocton, it made the city an important trading and shipping town.
The canal opened up transportation to the area and was mainly responsible for the many new factories which came to the area. A paper mill opened in 1863 followed eight years later by the Coshocton Iron and Steel Works.
With the arrival of the "iron horse", Coshocton was well on its way to becoming a center of industry. Even newcomers will find themselves searching through the Coshocton history and genealogy section at the library to learn more about the rich past of this truly American community.
Some of that rich past might include a look back at the February 1903 edition of the Coshocton Daily Age and it's detailed description of how Coshocton was named.
"Strangers ask how Coshocton gets its name, and the question is easily answered. Here stood the Delaware Indian village Goschachgunk. It is so spelled by DeSchweinitz, the Moravian historian;Coshoching by Heckewelder; Coshecking by Gen. McIntosh in his letter to Gen. Washington, April 27, 1779; Goshocking by Col. Broadhead in a letter to Gen. Washington, August 4, 1779."
"It consisted of sixty or eighty huts built of poles and bark, strung along in two rows with a street between, corresponding with North Second Street. Near the center of the village stood the council house much larger than any of the cabins. Here momentous issues of war or peace were determined."
"At on gathering in 1778, there were as many as 700 warriors. One of the first white men who visited the town was Captain Gist who was exploring in the interest of the Virginia Land Company. His journal has been preserved. From it we learn that there was already an English trader here, and two other white men . . ."
"The first permanent white settler, Charles Williams, located here in 1800, soon followed by the Carpenters, Millers, and Morrisons. the town was called Tuscarawas, Until the organization of county in 1811, when the name Coshocton was adopted. Take notice--the name is not Co-shoc-ton, but Cosh-ec-ton as correctly given in an early edition of Webster, in accordance with the uniform pronunciation by the early settlers."
A look at Coshocton County, also in the Daily Age, offered these reflections:
"The territory settled by these hardy pioneers was then included in Muskingum County, but in 1824, twenty-two of the originally organized townships were set apart for Coshocton County. It is bounded on the north by Holmes, east by Tuscarawas and Guernsey, south by Guernsey and Muskingum, and west by Licking and Knox. The county when originally organized contained not more than 1,500 people while now it boasts of a population of nearly 30,000." (Note that was in 1903.) In 2000, the total population census was 36,665.Â