A Chapter of the Ohio Genealogical Society Est. 1973
The Formation of Geauga County
The Connecticut Land Company sent surveyors to this area in 1796. The mission was to divide the 3.3 million acres of land into townships, each measuring 5 square miles. The territory was originally named “New Connecticut”, but that name was later changed to the “Western Reserve”. The mission to settle the Western Reserve was led by General Moses Cleaveland. His team also founded the city of Cleveland, which became the largest city in the region. In 1831, a printer of a local newspaper changed the spelling of Moses Cleaveland’s name by dropping the first “a” in order to fit the General’s entire name upon the newspaper’s masthead. Since then, the misspelled name stuck and has been spelled “Cleveland” ever since.
Trumbull County, named after Jonathan Trumbull, Governor of Connecticut, consisted of the entire area of the Western Reserve before being divided into smaller counties. By the end of the year there were 32 settlements in the Western Reserve. Three families from Connecticut settled in Burton in 1796. Other pioneers came into the area settling Youngstown in 1796, Warren in 1798, Hudson in 1799, Ashtabula in 1803, and Stow in 1804.
The Ohio General Assembly named Geauga County and the area extended all the way to Lake Erie. Geauga is derived from the Native American word “Sheauga” meaning Raccoon.
March 1, 1806
Geauga County was originally part of Trumbull County and in 1806 it officially became the second county in Ohio.
Geauga County government was established with the first meeting of the County Commissioners was held. Courts were held in a town called “New Market,” which was located between Painesville and Fairport. They lost the county seat to Chardon and Chardon received a tract of land donated by Peter Chardon Brooks the next year.
Geauga County was reduced in size because of the creation of Ashtabula and Cuyahoga Counties.
The first courthouse located in Chardon was a log cabin built in 1813 and was called The King Courthouse after Samuel King. It was located behind the Randal Block near Water Street.
Lake County was established giving Geauga County its present-day boundaries.