The first pioneers in the Norwich Township area arrived in 1807 and settled west of the Scioto River and south of Hayden Run. The Norwich Township name is credited to a prominent resident of the area who was a native of Norwich, Connecticut named Thomas Backus.
The Township was established in 1813, however, the present boundary was not defined until 1830. Early settlers were a diverse group and included emancipated slaves from Virginia. The school system, known as Smiley’s Grove in 1814, began as a one-room school and became integrated in 1878. The photo to the right was taken at the corner of Cemetery Road and Lattimer Street in the 1800s.
Fishinger Road & Fishinger Road Bridge
A sawmill and gristmill near a crossing over the Scioto River and the roadway, operated by the Fishinger family, is what began Fishinger Road because of traffic to and from the mill. The first metal bridge at this site was constructed in 1903 and was replaced in 1989. Today residents and visitors will notice railroad tracks, working trains, and the Rails to Trails walking and bike paths.
The Columbus, Piqua, and Indiana railroad opened on July 4, 1853, with John R. Hilliard, a native of Piqua, Ohio. Mr. Hilliard was a prominent member of the railroad’s Board of Directors and purchased land along what he knew would be the right-of-way, then platted and recorded the village on September 1, 1853. Shortly after in 1869, with approximately 280 residents, general stores, churches, schools, and a post office were constructed creating what is now known as the City of Hilliard.
Much of the farming area in the 1800s consisted of swampy land until improvements in drainage. Residents still speak of these areas of the Township as "Mudsock". Yet, in the southeast corner of the Township, along the Scioto River, is one of the largest limestone deposits in the world. It has provided stone for many of the major building projects in central Ohio.
Wesley chapel cemetery
A particularly beautiful area of the Township is the Wesley Chapel Cemetery. Recording its first burial in 1836, the cemetery is filled with an abundance of rich history. In 1832 the cemetery was operated by the Wesley Chapel Methodist Church. The church still stands at the cemetery but is now a private residence.
For more information on the history of Norwich Township and the City of Hilliard, visit the Hilliard Ohio Historical Society, located at 5274 Norwich Street, Hilliard, Ohio 43026.
history of townships
Townships were formed in Ohio according to the basic policy for the survey and sales of public lands established by Congress in the Articles of Confederation in 1785.
After the first Ohio Constitution was adopted, the legislature tended to follow the original survey lines in creating townships.
In Ohio, Townships are unincorporated civil jurisdictions. All land areas not incorporated into municipalities, such as cities and villages, lie within the jurisdiction of a township. The present 1,320 townships in Ohio are divisions of the counties that operate as “statutory local government” exercising only those powers specifically delegated to them by the General Assembly.
Townships most commonly provide services such as road maintenance, cemetery maintenance, police and fire protection, solid waste disposal, and zoning regulations.
*In 1804 Ohio township government was formed to care for the poor, maintained the roadways, and preserved the peace. Today, similar to the 1800s, there are 1,308 townships in Ohio that continue to function as political subdivisions of the state. Governed by three elected trustees serving four-year terms, this board of township trustees is the legislative authority and also fulfills many executive responsibilities. Fiscal Officers are the fourth elected official in township government. Independent of the trustees, the township fiscal officer is responsible for recording township proceedings and keeping township financial accounts.