Ohio History Journal

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The Chillicothe Germans





For nearly a century an element of German culture could be observed in

the community life of Chillicothe, Ohio. Until World War I brought an

abrupt end to the general use of their language, the Germans developed

their own churches, schools, publications, cultural societies, and special

activities on a scale comparable with other Ohio localities. Now, however,

half a century later, the Chillicothe Germans as an ethnic group are little

more than a dim memory.

Reliable information concerning the earliest German immigration to

Chillicothe is scanty.1 By the 1830's the first substantial migration to the

United States began; by 1840 the German immigrant group comprised

perhaps ten percent or more of the total population of Chillicothe; and

by 1850, following the greatly increased migration of the second half of

the 1840's, it constituted nearly a third of the population. In the ensuing

two decades, it became even larger than a third. By 1880, however, the

relative number of Germans began to diminish as the later settlers were