The earliest settlers used the rivers the way we use highways and freeways today. The Ohio River and the Scioto River were the direct routes to Dublin.
Many early settlers came from Pennsylvania. From interior Pennsylvania, people found their way to the Youghighany River in the southwestern part of the state. This river flows northwest to Pittsburgh and into the Ohio River. Once on the Ohio, settlers poled their flatboats with all their worldly possessions and, maybe their family, too, to the mouth of the Scioto River. There, they turned north and poled the boat upstream to Franklinton (we know it as Columbus) and as far as they could toward Dublin. Once they could no longer continue by boat, they off-loaded their possessions and walked the rest of the way.
Family histories give us some information of how their ancestors came to America and to Dublin. Here are some examples:
- Lester Leppert’s ancestors came from Germany by sailing ship, a 72-day passage to America.
- Nancy and Basil Brown came west about 1820 from Maryland with their three children and two horses. Adults walked most of the way, letting their children ride the horses.
- George Michael Karrer was born in 1833 in Hoffenheim, Province of Baden in southern Germany. In 1854 with his brother Johanas (John), he sailed in a wooden sailing ship from Germany to New York City, U.S.A., then up the Hudson River by river boat to Albany, N.Y., then by canal boat on the Erie Canal to Buffalo, N.Y., then by boat on Lake Erie to Cleveland, Ohio, and then by horse-drawn canal boat to Columbus, Ohio, where they were met by an Uncle Jacob Horch, who lived near Dublin, Ohio. (from the Karrer family, “Memories”, Dublin Historical Society, 1997)
- Jeremiah Dominy came from Beckmantown, New York, in 1812, in a wagon, with his father-in-law, James Norton.
- Lillian Skeele, writes of her great, great grandfather Robert Kilpatrick in “Memories”. He was born in County Antrim, Ireland, 1785, and was a “red-haired, raw-boned Irishman from Belfast.” He had come to America with the Holland Company or had bought land from the Holland Company and settled in Western Pennsylvania just after the Revolution. He married Jane McKibben and they lived in Meadville, Pennsylvania, before moving to Dublin in 1817.
Zane’s Trace: Another route to the interior of Ohio was Zane’s Trace. It would not have been a direct route to Dublin, but would have lead some settlers into the Ohio Territory from the Wheeling area. In 1796, Ebenezer Zane obtained a commission from Congress to blaze a trail through Ohio to Kentucky. Zane’s Trace began in Wheeling and terminated in Limestone (now Maysville), Kentucky. The Trace followed the present path of U.S. Route 40 from Wheeling to Zanesville then turned southwest toward Lancaster. It connected Chillicothe, then the state capital, Lancaster, Zanesville, and Wheeling, to Maysville. At first it was little more than a trail through the woods, then it was improved to a walking path then a horse path that was slowly improved to a wagon road. Some settlers were able to connect to this road from Pittsburgh to Wheeling, then take this road to the Lancaster area. Zane’s Trace curved southward through Lancaster and did not go through Columbus. Once in the Lancaster area settlers would have to use other trails to Columbus. They could have followed the Hocking River north for part of the way. In 1803 the new Ohio state legislature provided funds to widen and upgrade the Trace.
The National Road, which became U.S. Route 40, did not play much of a role in Dublin’s early development. The Road did not start in Ohio until 1825. It reached Zanesville in 1830, Columbus in 1833, and Springfield in 1838. The eastern stretches of the road coincided with Zane’s Trace, but the roads diverged in the vicinity of Zanesville. This was a road that was being built as they cleared the way, very different from how things are done today.