Research compiled by The Genoa Township Parks Committee
We observe the changes that are occurring in the Township today without realizing that prior visitors brought alterations even more pronounced. Once, tremendous change occurred without regard for the existing topography. Hills were bulldozed, valleys filled and streams redirected. These changes were the result of glaciation. The effects of glaciers are found everywhere: such as glacial till, various land forms and the soil profile. The glaciers also left behind huge boulders call erratics. These erratics created difficulty for early farmers. Without power equipment they had no means of removing these large boulders from their fields. They could only dig a hole beside the stone, and then hope to roll it in and cover it with soil. Many fine specimens, which are so dissimilar from our native shale and sandstone have been preserved and are on display in township parks and public areas.
13,000 – 7000 B.C.: Paleo Indians
These nomadic hunters arrived in Ohio at the end of the Ice Age. It is believed that they arrived by walking across a land bridge from Asia through Alaska . They left behind flint spear points, many of which have been found throughout the area.
8,000 – 500 B.C.: Archaic Indians
Archaic Indians fished, gathered roots and berries and hunted deer, waterfowl and other game . Some began to till and raise crops as they learned and discovered the techniques of agriculture.
800 B.C. – 1200 A.D.: Woodland Indians
Woodland Indians were known for growing crops and making pottery. Two groups have been identified. Adena Indians, cultivated gardens near their villages in central and southern Ohio and developed as craftsmen, building mounds that are still seen today. Hopewell Indians constructed large and elaborate circular, square and octagonal mounds. The Mound Compel at Newark is considered one of the wonders of the ancient world. It is unknown why the Hopewell culture disappeared from the area.
1650 to 1843
Disease might have forced late prehistoric Indians to leave Ohio during the 1600's, although others eventually moved in. When the French missionaries arrived in the late 1700's they found Delaware , Miami , Mingo, Ottawa , Shawnee and Wyandotte . Then, Indians lost a series of wars and much territory; first allied with the French against the British and later with the British against the Americans. Despite the efforts of leaders such as Little Turtle, Blue Jacket and Tecumseh, they were pushed westward. The last in the state were the Wyandottes and Miami , who were forced out in 1843.
1800 – Present
Although the prehistoric people and the American Indian cultivated crops, there is no evidence that they cleared land to do so. The early settlers removed the driftwood from the bottomlands and cut down the virgin timbers to have space to raise cattle and crops. They diverted the streams to power saw and gristmills.
Nearly 200 years ago when the pioneers first arrived, they named the principal stream in the Township Big Walnut because the banks and bottoms were covered with a dense growth of black walnut trees. Many species of wildlife were common to the area that are no longer there, such as: wolves, bears and wildcats that took a toll on the livestock. Timber rattlesnakes, once common, were eradicated by hogs that were permitted to run loose (hogs were impervious to the snake's venom.)
The portion of Genoa Township that was first settled by pioneers was adjacent to Big Walnut Creek. Much of the land was covered with dense forests; therefore, the waterways became a primary source of identification and transportation. In 1806, Jeremiah Curtiss became the first settler. He built a sawmill, a gristmill and a still along the bank of the Big Walnut.
Marcus Curtiss, Jeremiah's younger brother, built the first brick house. It was a grand structure that served as the post office and an inn. Other Curtiss family members ran inns in the east and southern United States . When Lafayette made his triumphant tour of the nation in 1824 he stayed in the Curtiss Inns . This home has been wonderfully preserved and today is a private residence.
Another grand residence built along the stream was of Diadatus Keeler. This wooden home has also been restored and enlarged to serve as a private residence. Both of these Genoa Township homes and the Spruce Run Earthworks and Mound are listed on the National Register.
The need to get supplies and market products forced the creation of roads. The roads had to cross the streams and three major bridges were built over Big Walnut Creek. The wall mural in the Township office depicts the covered bridge on Yankee Street.
The first school was held in a log cabin donated by Jack Smith, on what is now Old 3C Highway. There were nine one-room brick schoolhouses built, some of which were used until 1928. Two of these schools were torn down, six are privately owned, and one, the Red Bank School, is adjacent to Hoover Reservoir and is owned by the City of Columbus.
There are important elements of the Township that must be understood to be preserved. All places have history and when that history is presented to visitors, spaces become more interesting and meaningful. It is important to remember and understand the people that lived in the Township before us. And, it is our obligation to preserve their heritage, as it is the obligation of future residents to preserve ours.