First Stop- The 1800s

In the 1800s, very few people lived in this area. In 1852, John Reed Hilliard bought 10 acres of farmland knowing that the Columbus, Piqua, and Indiana Railroad would be passing through this land. Then in 1853, the town that John Reed Hilliard designed grew around the railroad route and become known as Hilliard’s Station. This area is what we now know as the city of Hilliard, Ohio. 

In the west part of the area, in Brown Township, Solomon Jackson Wooley founded the Applegate Tile Company. He discovered that the clay near Big Darby Creek was good for making tile.  Around this time, other businesses were opened to help the community’s needs.  These included mills (flour and saw), merchants (groceries, dry goods, and produce), smithies (iron and tin), shoemakers, dressmakers, wheelwrights, coopers, carpenters, plasterers, brick masons, and pump makers. Homes were first made of logs until bricks were available in 1880.


Before John Reed Hilliard, the area was known as Scioto.

In 1814, Samuel Davis moved to Norwich Township. He worked as a spy for Major Simon Kenton, who was a famous frontiersman who fought in the War of 1812.

In 1836, Wesley Chapel in Norwich Township recorded the earliest known burial.

In 1853, the railroad went through Hilliard’s Station. The train ran from Columbus to Pleasant Valley (now Plain City). It cost 28 cents to make the trip. The railroad station was made of three boxcars.

In the 1890s, the train station was replaced with a regular station structure, which was used until the trains stopped service in 1962. 

In 1894, a train station and depot were constructed and the town of Amlin was developed.

Hilliard Station


Early settlers of the area were a sturdy lot. Settlers had to clear the thickly forested land. They lived in cabins made from trees on their land. The cabins usually had dirt floors. Life was not easy for the early settlers. They had many chores. Their day usually began sometime between 4:00 A.M. to 5:00 A.M. The men worked in the fields or hunted. Women cooked, made clothes, and raised the children. The children attended school when possible and had many chores around the cabin, fields, and barn.


In 1850, Frances Watkins (an African-American woman) became the first woman teacher at the Union Seminary of the African Methodist Episcopal Church in Brown Township. She was a writer and an abolitionist.

You can learn more about Frances Watkins and other famous Northwest Franklin County people in the Culture section of the website!


The population of Norwich Township was 770 persons in 1850 and 77 of them lived in the area known as Scioto. Scioto later became known as Hilliard’s Station with the development of the railroad. In 1854, a post office was established in Hilliard’s Station and the word Station was dropped from the town name. In 1869 Hilliard became a village and had a population of 280 people. 

What’s Happening in the US and the World

Civil War

You will find many more stories, pictures and articles on our journey through Northwest Franklin County in the topics across the top of the timeline! All aboard!


Norwich Township & City of Hilliard, 1989 Government Directory
Hilliard Souvenir Book Sesquicentennial, Northwest Franklin County History Historical Society, 2003.
Historical Development Binder
“Early Settlers In Norwich Township Were A Sturdy Lot; They Had To Be”, Hilliard News.
“The good ole’ work days- a list of few daily chores, other work jobs, entertainment & etc. in pioneer days” Northwest Franklin County History Historical Society.
The Quartoquecentennial of a Pride Community-1978 Hilliard, Ohio, Northwest Franklin County History Historical Society, 1978.

Overview Compiled and Edited by Kathy Parker-Jones and Kay Bible

1850 Log Cabin copyright Northwest Franklin County Historical Society Village
Train station, copyright September, 1986; Northwest News