In 1775, Netawatwees was Chief of the Turtle tribe of the Delaware nation. He and a grand council of the Delaware decided to move to the forks of the Tuscarawas and Walhonding Rivers founding the town of Goschachunk, capital of the Delaware nation. The village extended from the river to Third Street. The village was burned by General Brodhead in 1780. The city of Coshocton was built upon the site of this Indian village.
The town of Coshocton was laid out in April, 1802, by John Mathews and Ebenezer Buckingham, Jr. The town was christened Tuscarawa. Three squares, of four acres each, were donated to the public; one for school purposes and two for public use. One of these is now occupied by the court house. Charles Williams is regarded as the first settler. However, Mary Harris is considered the first white person in the county. As early as 1750, Mary Harris lived along the Walhonding River at Whitewoman’s Town. She had been captured at an early age from one of the colonies.
January 22, 1811. An act for the organization of the county of Coshockton.
Sect. 1. Be it enacted by the general assembly of the state of Ohio, That the county of Coshockton be, and the same is hereby organized into a separate county. This act shall take effect and be in force from and after the first day of April next. Thus, the county of Coshocton was legally organized. It was not until 1833 that the city of Coshocton received its articles of incorporation.
Also, in 1811, a Methodist Church, the first of any kind in the entire area was constructed on Mordecai Chalfant’s section in Washington Township.
On August 21, 1830, the first visiting canal boat, the Monticello, arrived from Cleveland. The canal was not completed but this was the beginning of new growth for the county. The first canal boat launched in the county was called the Renfrew, in honor of merchant James Renfrew. It was built by Thomas Lewis.
Agriculture, manufacturing and industry flourished. Coshocton became famous for specialty advertising thanks to Jasper Meek, who first placed advertisement on a school bag. The Beach Company, Tuscarora, Meek, Standard, Novelty, American Art Works and others manufactured products sent all over the world. Pope-Gosser China Company made award winning china. Coshocton Glove Company made gloves worn by thousands. West Lafayette became the “enamel capital of the world.”
Tragedy has also struck Coshocton County by way of fires, the great flood of 1913 and accidents such as the September 11, 1950, troop train wreck at West Lafayette. Thirty-three were killed and fifty injured when the Spirit of St. Louis plunged into the troop train.
One of Coshocton’s greatest assets is its people. Many have become world renown as doctors, scientists, inventors, entertainers, artists, athletes, a national labor leader, a U.S. Supreme Court Judge, educators, legislators and military leaders. Cooperation, support and immense generosity describe the people of Coshocton County.
No matter how you spell it, no matter how you pronounce it, no other place in the world has the name Coshocton.
(Article contributed by Margaret Lowe)