- 1787 (July)
The United States Congress established the Northwest Territory, within which the future Norwood is located. (Some sources give the year as 1784.)
John Cleves Symmes, Congressman from New Jersey, purchased from the government 311,682 acres between the two Miami Rivers in the Northwest Territory. The future city of Norwood was within this acreage.
Symmes began selling off the land to settlers who within the next two years established three separate settlements along the Ohio River: Columbia, Losantiville (Cincinnati), and North Bend. When settlers came to live in the area that was to become Norwood, they often came from the first two of these settlements.
- 1788 (November 18)
The first permanent settlement on the northern side of the Ohio River, was named Columbia. It was located near the mouth of the Little Miami River at Turkey Bottoms (Lunken Airport).
- 1788 (December 28)
The second permanent settlement on the northern side of the Ohio River was started. This settlement was located across from Kentucky's Licking River and was named Losantiville, which was a made-up name meaning "town opposite the Licking." In 1790, Governor St. Clair renamed it "Cincinnati," in honor of the Society of Cincinnatus, a soldiers' organization.
- 1789 (February)
The third settlement started on the northern side of the Ohio River was North Bend. It was located a few miles downstream of Cincinnati.
- 1789 (May)
Losantiville is platted with four lots set aside for school and church purposes.
- 1790 (January)
The Columbia Baptist Church is organized at the settlement of Columbia, to the west of the Little Miami River on the Ohio River. By 1808, the church membership had "permanently" moved to a log cabin church they had built in 1803 overlooking Duck Creek, in what is now Norwood. The name was changed to Duck Creek Baptist Church. After moving to Mt. Lookout, the church is now located in Hyde Park Square.
The settlement of Losantiville was renamed Cincinnati by Governor St. Clair.
- 1790 (October 16)
The Cincinnati-Columbia Presbyterian Church is organized.
- 1791 (October 25)
James Kemper, after visiting in June 1791, returns to become the first minister of the Cincinnati-Columbia Presbyterian Church and the first Presbyterian minister north of the Ohio River. In 1796, after the division of the two branches of the Cincinnati-Columbia church, he remains the minister of the Columbia branch.
- 1791 (November 4)
General St. Clair's troops suffer defeat by Indians.
Possibly the first constructed road through (or near) what was to become Norwood was ordered to be built in 1793. The road would connect the settlements of Columbia with Carthage, only five years after Columbia was first settled. The road (which was likely called "Columbia Road" or "Columbia-Carthage Road") was ordered to be built from Kibby's draw-well, in Columbia, to Crawfish creek, thence to Duck creek, thence to a run in Samuel Bonnell's section, thence to the "great road" (now Lockland avenue, Carthage) thence northeast to White's Station, a distance of six miles from Columbia to White's Station. John Reily was in charge of the construction with William Brown and Aaron Mercer as assistants. (Note: This needs to be verified, since a Columbia Road from Columbia through Pleasant Ridge — Ridge Road from Duck Creek — may actually be this road.
Sharpsburg would have been approximately half-way between Columbia and White's Station. It was probably the first path the settlers would take to get to their properties in the future Sharpsburg/Norwood area. This path would follow Cincinnati-Columbia Road (Kellogg Avenue) to Crawfish Road (Delta Avenue) to Plank Road (Linwood Road) to Sharpsburg Road (Smith Road) to Carthage Road to "the great road" (Lockland Avenue). The northern part of the Plank Road path is now replaced by Erie Avenue, Edwards Road, Edmundson Road and Smith Road — in a slightly different position.
General "Mad" Anthony Wayne conquers Chief Little Turtle at the Battle of Fallen Timbers near Lake Erie, relieving some of the stress for the local pioneers. Settlers could finally farm the land they had purchased, but had not seen.
It has been written that one of the roads General Wayne's troops traveled may have been an old Indian path later called Columbia Road and now traced in Norwood by Edwards Road, Edmondson Road, Smith Road and Carthage Avenue.
It appears that Wayne himself traveled within Millcreek Township and not Columbia Township. There were several "Columbia Roads" in the area. They were so named because they originated or ended at Columbia. Most of them had names that also include the other destination. The one through Sharpsburg may have been the Carthage-Columbia or Columbia-Carthage Road. What is now Ridge Road was another Columbia Road. Wayne had three or four "armies," and all but one went up the Mill Creek. Perhaps the other, lead by one of his subordinates, traveled from Columbia.
Only six years after the first pioneers landed at Columbia, on the Ohio River, a pioneer, named Peter Smith, settled in or near the current location of Norwood. The building of the Columbia-Carthage Road was started the previous year and may have been completed, at least to Duck Creek by 1794. If he wasn't the first settler, he has to be one of the earliest. Even after the recent success of General Wayne and the construction of the road from Columbia, this had to be considered a risky venture. However, this Peter Smith seemed to thrive on the frontier type of danger.
"Peter Smith, preacher, farmer, physician, pioneer and aggressive abolitionist ..."—as stated by J. U. Lloyd in the American Journal of Pharmacy in January, 1898—"... emigrated to Ohio, settling on Duck Creek, near the Columbia Old Baptist Church, now adjacent to Norwood village, and near the limits of Cincinnati, reaching there about 1794. He became, with his family, a member of the Duck Creek congregation, and frequently preached there and at other frontier places, still pursuing the occupation of farming and the practice of medicine. In 1804 he again took to the wilderness with his entire family, then numbering twelve children ... He finally settled on ... Donnel's Creek ..."
Lloyd also said, after talking with the grandson of Peter Smith, who had a copy of Smith's medical book, "...it was learned that the field of Dr. Smith's operations about Cincinnati was near the spot where these lines are penned, the old Duck Creek church, a pioneer monument in the history of the Ohio Baptists in which he officiated, being within a few moments' walk of the home of the writer." In other words, the Duck Creek Baptist Church was within a short walking distance (perhaps a mile or so) from Mr. Lloyd's home on Harris Avenue.
A Mr. Williams purchased a 213-acre parcel from John Cleves Symmes. Years later, at least part of this land was developed into Ivanhoe and other parts of Norwood. Perhaps he considered General Wayne's success an incentive to own land in the "wilderness."
Many years later, thirty-four acres of this property was acquired by Lewis C. Hopkins, a Cincinnati dry-goods merchant, who developed it and other properties in what was to become Norwood.
- 1795 (spring)
Probably the closest station to be established during the Indian hostilities was the McFarland Station near where Pleasant Ridge is now. Colonel John McFarland had purchased 960 acres (all of Section 24 and the east half of Section 30, Columbia Township) that spring. This land was to the northeast of what was to become Sharpsburg and later Norwood. The predecessor to Montgomery Road connected the two future developments and separate roads connected each of the pioneer settlements with the old Columbia settlement. The latter two roads may have joined at what is now Mt. Lookout Square and continued as one to the Cincinnati-Columbia Road along the Ohio River.
- 1795 (September 1)
The Cincinnati-Columbia Presbyterian Church decided that the 1790 contract uniting the two branches could be dissolved by either party.
- 1796 (August)
The Treaty of Greenville ended the Indian war and provided security for the pioneers on the banks of the Ohio River to move north and settle areas that included the future Norwood. At this time, Columbia, which had a larger population than Cincinnati, lost most of its pioneers as they moved to their lands to the north.
- 1796 (October 7)
James Kemper, from Kentucky, resigned as pastor at the Cincinnati branch of the Cincinnati-Columbia Presbyterian Church and the two congregations separated. He remained the minister until 1808.
Immediately the Columbia Church split into two groups. One group moved to near Newtown and "the other group led by Joseph, Daniel and Ralph Reeder, James Lyon, and others, moved five miles north to a spot on Duck Creek near Columbia road ... opposite the present north end of Edward's Road." This could be within the current boundaries of Norwood and would be on I-71. This church building took the name "Duck Creek Presbyterian Church."
However, the church did not stay long, as the entire log building was dismantled and moved one mile north in January, 1800. By 1818, this church had assumed the name of "The Pleasant Ridge Presbyterian Church." Later, the village that grew around the church became known as Pleasant Ridge, also. (From "150 Years of Presbyterianism in the Ohio Valley, 1790-1940," published in 1941.)
The Pleasant Ridge history book gives the location of the Duck Creek church as Lester Farm on Duck Creek.
Abner Mills selects 160 acres of land in the Miami Purchase, one-hundred of which is on the west side of Section 34, Columbia township. This is approximately 1/8 of Section 34 at its northwestern corner. This land is now bordered on the north by Ross Avenue (the line between Sections 34 and 35), on the south by Sherman Avenue (the center of Section 34), by Section Avenue on the west (the line between Section 4 of Millcreek Township and Section 34 of Columbia Township), and Carthage Avenue on the east. The east line ran south beyond Bennett avenue to the bend on the east side of the old Judge Street (now, this would be about at the Surrey Square entrance on east Sherman Avenue). Eventually this property would contain the village and city halls, main fire station, high school and middle (junior high) school), and many retail and manufacturing businesses.