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The following is a list of important events in the history of Gallia County which are arranged in the sequence in which they occurred. Knowing what was going on in the environment around them at any given time should be helpful in both searching for ancestors and in understanding more about their lives. Deciding which events to include was necessarily an arbitrary process and it is understood that other worthy events might have been left out. If you have ideas about other events that should be included, or if you have ideas about further explanations of the events already listed, please email us and your ideas will be considered for inclusion in the Timeline.

A great companion piece to this timeline is the Pictorial History of Gallia County which is a publication offered for sale by the Society. This book features over 500 photographs or sketches of Gallia County, from the earliest times of the French settlement, to 1990 when it was printed for the bicentennial celebration of Gallipolis. Included are chapters on Education, Transportation, Institutions, Early History and on other subjects as well. There is a lengthy introduction detailing the years immediately before the settlement, and what led to the settlement of Gallipolis. This book can be ordered by going to the Publications page.

1534: The French begin exploration of the St. Lawrence River and begin assembling a North American possession known as New France, which at one time ranged from the St. Lawrence Valley west to the Rocky Mountains and south to the Gulf of Mexico.

1749: The French King, Louis XIV, sent an exploration party down the Ohio River. At the mouth of each tributary they deposit lead plates with inscriptions that lay claim to all of the land that that tributary drained. The lead plate left at the mouth of the Great Kanawha across the river from Gallia County can still be seen at Point Pleasant State Park.

1754-1760: Continuing friction between the English and French over land rights in the upper Ohio Valley culminates in the French and Indian War.

1763: The end of the French and Indian War sees the transfer of ownership of the Northwest Territory, which included all of the land that was to become the state of Ohio, from the French to the British.

1770: George Washington and his surveyor, William Crawford, explore the Ohio River downstream from Pittsburgh to as far as the future site of Gallipolis, to evaluate land for possible grants for veterans of the French and Indian War.

1774: Growing Indian unrest brought on by white settlers crossing the Alleghenies into what the Indians perceived as their land, culminates in Lord Dunmore’s War. The war was fought between the English and their colonists against the Indians. Lord Dunmore’s suspected treachery in abandoning General Lewis’ army to fight the Battle of Point Pleasant without his backup leads some historians to list this as the opening battle of the Revolutionary War.

1776-1783: During the years of the Revolutionary War the area is unsafe for white settlers. The garrison built at Point Pleasant is abandoned in 1777 because of its remote location and the focus of the conflict shifts elsewhere.

1785: Ohio River Survey. This was only the second survey done in the United States using the new rectangular system. It included the parts of southeastern Ohio that were not included in the First Seven Ranges Survey and included all of Gallia County.

1786: Formation of the Ohio Company.

July 27, 1787: Congress approves land sale to Ohio Company. This included the land that was to become the eastern portion of Gallia County. The land was then ultimately sold off piecemeal to settlers.

1783-1795: Ohio continues to be subject to Indian unrest. White squatters along the Ohio River are evicted by the government until the surveys of 1787. Battles against the Indians in the interior of Ohio led first by Col. Harmer and then by Gen. St. Clair result in lopsided military defeats. An army led by Gen. "Mad" Anthony Wayne finally defeats the Indians in 1793 and this leads to a peace treaty in 1795 that opens a large part of Ohio to white settlement.

1790: In June a contingent of carpenters employed by the Scioto Company arrive. Col. Robert Safford begins the project of constructing the first buildings in Gallipolis when he fells the first tree immediately after stepping ashore. When the French 500 arrive on Oct 17 there are 80 log cabins waiting. The French settlers discover that the deeds they had obtained from the Scioto Company were worthless because the Scioto Company had never acquired title to the land. Some repurchased the land from the Ohio Company, some moved on to other locations and a few returned to France.

1790-1803: During this time period the land now included in Gallia County was part of Washington County, with the county seat being in Marietta.

June 20, 1794: First Post office in Gallia County established in Gallipolis with Frances De Holcomb as postmaster.

1800: Population--What is now Gallia County was part of Washington County, which was included in the Northwest Territory census, which has become lost. (Possibly destroyed when the British burned much of official Washington D.C. in the War of 1812)

1803: Gallia County was formed as a new county at the same time as Ohio was admitted to the Union as the 17th state.

February 17, 1804: Gallipolis was Incorporated.

1810: Population 4181 (would have included the part of the county that was eventually split off to form Meigs County.)

1811: Gallia Academy High School opened in 1811 at the corner of Second and State.  It burned in 1846. 

October 1811: The first steamboat on the Ohio River, the New Orleans, passed Gallipolis on its maiden voyage from Pittsburgh to New Orleans.

September 9, 1817: James Lane was executed by hanging for the murder of William Dowell. Gallia County’s only public execution.

March 26, 1819: The Gallia Gazette was first published. This was Gallia County’s first newspaper. Since that date there has been continuous newspaper coverage here up to the present time.

April 1, 1819: Meigs County formed from territory of Gallia and Athens counties.

1820: Population 7098

1823: First Gallia County courthouse, located in what is now City Park, was completed.

May 1825: Gallipolis visited by Lafayette.

1830: Population 9733

1840: Population 13,444

1843: Frank Lambert and thirty other freed slaves purchased land in Morgan Township, which became known as the Lambert Land Settlement.

1847: Gallia County’s first courthouse was torn down and replaced by a new building on Locust Street.

July and August 1849: Cholera epidemic in Harrison and Walnut Townships kills 37 people in a two week period.

1850: Population 17,063

1858: Gallia County’s 2nd courthouse falls victim to arson. A new replacement was started in 1859.

1860: Population 22,043

April 1862: Construction started for the U.S.General Hospital in Gallipolis for treatment of soldiers from both sides who were wounded in the war.

November 9, 1862: Trumbull Guards organized in Gallipolis.

March 30, 1863: Jenkins Raid on Point Pleasant. Some Gallia County civilians join in the defense of the city.

July 17 - 19, 1863: Some of Morgan's Raiders pass through Gallia County. The main body of Morgan's troops are defeated at Buffington Island in Meigs County on the 18th, but on the 19th a remnant of Morgan's troops were caught by the Union Army and defeated in Cheshire Township. This is the only Civil War action to actually take place on Gallia County soil.

July 30, 1863: Death of Robert Safford, Gallia’s first settler of European descent.

September 22, 1863: The first annual celebration of Emancipation Proclamation Day. This is the oldest and longest running celebration of its kind in the country.

March 5th, 1866: Fire Department of the City of Gallipolis organized.

1867: The Gallipolis Bulletin began publishing.

July 4, 1867: First baseball game between the Gallia Baseball Club and the Pt. Pleasant Club. Final score Gallia 47 Pt. Pleasant 8.

1870: Population 25,545

June 1875: Mound Hill Cemetery, the county's largest cemetery, dedicated.

September 13, 1876: Rio Grande College first opened for classes.

1877: Gallia County’s third courthouse falls victim to arsonists.

August 1878: A yellow fever outbreak, brought to Gallipolis on the steamer John Porter, claims 66 lives.

1879: The county’s 4th courthouse is completed. It services the county for 102 years before again being destroyed by a fire.

1880: Population 28,124

October 15, 1880: The Ohio and West Virginia Railroad begins service to Gallipolis. A branch line to Pomeroy begins operation in January of 1881.

1882: First telephone company formed.

1884: Major Ohio River flood.

1890: Population 27,005

1892: First electric street cars in Gallipolis.

October 4, 1893: First issue of the Gallia Daily Tribune published.

November 30, 1893: Ohio Hospital for Epileptics opened.

June 1, 1898: First issue of the Gallia Times published.

1900: Population 27,918

Dec. 27, 1902: $12,500 granted by the Carnegie Corporation of New York for the development of a library in Gallipolis.

1910: Population 25,745

1910: Holzer Hospital opened in a small house at 507  Second Avenue. It was dedicated a few years later.

1913: Major Ohio River Flood

November 1917: Holzer Hospital dedicated. This was the first general hospital in southeastern Ohio.

1920: Population 23,311

1923: Electric streetcars in Gallipolis discontinued.

1928: Silver Bridge over the Ohio River between Kanauga and Point Pleasant built.

1930: Population 23,050

1937: Gallipolis locks and dam completed.

1937: Major Ohio River Flood.

February 14, 1938: Death of Gallipolis native and nationally syndicated columnist O. O. McIntyre.

1940: Population 24,930

1948: Bob Evans begins to make sausage on his farm near Rio Grande for his restaurant in Gallipolis.

1950: Population 24,910

1950: In 1950 WJEH Radio station opened as AM. It is today known as Sunny 93.

February 2, 1954: Bevo Francis scores 113 points for Rio Grande College (the all time NCAA record) in a basketball game against Hillsdale College.

1955: Kyger Creek coal fired power plant begins operating near Cheshire.

1960: Population 26,120

December 1967: Silver Bridge Collapses during rush hour traffic, killing 46 people.

December 15, 1969: The Silver Memorial Bridge, built to replace the ill fated Silver Bridge, opens.

1970: Population 25,239

1972: Lambert land in Morgan Township sold for back taxes.

1974: The Gen. James E. Gavin coal fired power plant begins operating just upstream from the Kyger Creek plant.

1980: Population 30,098

January 8, 1981: Gallia County Courthouse burns down.

November 1985: New courthouse opens.

1989: Rio Grand College renamed The University of Rio Grande.

1990: Population 30,230

2000: Population 31,069

2002: Cheshire Village bought out by EPA

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