Ashtabula County is the northeasternmost county in the state of Ohio. As of 2000, the population was 102,728; its county seat is Jefferson. The county is named for a Native American word meaning "river of many fish".
The county is probably most well known for having 16 covered bridges within the county limits. Grapes are a popular crop and there are several wineries in the region owing to the favorable microclimate created by the nearby lake. During the winter, Ashtabula County receives quite a lot of lake effect snow and is part of the Southeastern Lake Erie Snowbelt.
Ashtabula County is the largest county by area in the state of Ohio. According to the U.S. Census Bureau
, the county has a total area of 1,368 square miles
).702 square miles (1,819 km²) of it is land and 666 square miles (1,725 km²) of it (48.67%) is water.
As of the census
of 2000, there were 102,728 people, 39,397 households, and 27,774 families residing in the county. The population density
was 146 people per square mile (56/km²). There were 43,792 housing units at an average density of 62 per square mile (24/km²). The racial makeup of the county was 94.07% White
, 3.16% Black
or African American
, 0.19% Native American
, 0.34% Asian
, 0.02% Pacific Islander
, 0.85% from other races
, and 1.36% from two or more races. 2.23% of the population were Hispanic
of any race. 19.3% were of German
, 11.6% Italian
, 10.6% English
, 10.5% Irish
and 10.3% American
ancestry according to Census 2000
. 95.2% spoke English
and 2.4% Spanish
as their first language.
There were 39,397 households out of which 32.40% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 54.80% were married couples living together, 11.40% had a female householder with no husband present, and 29.50% were non-families. 24.80% of all households were made up of individuals and 10.70% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.56 and the average family size was 3.05.
In the county the population was spread out with 26.20% under the age of 18, 7.60% from 18 to 24, 28.00% from 25 to 44, 23.60% from 45 to 64, and 14.70% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 38 years. For every 100 females there were 95.10 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 92.10 males.
The median income for a household in the county was $35,607, and the median income for a family was $42,449. Males had a median income of $33,105 versus $22,624 for females. The per capita income for the county was $16,814. About 9.20% of families and 12.10% of the population were below the poverty line, including 17.10% of those under age 18 and 8.60% of those age 65 or over.
Ashtabula County is home to many Finnish Americans
, and an annual FinnFest USA celebration is held in Ashtabula.
Ashtabula County has a large number of covered bridges. See List of Ashtabula County covered bridges.
- Chester H. Aldrich (1862-1924), Governor of Nebraska 1911-1913.
- Brian Anderson, Cleveland Indians Pitcher, originally from Geneva.
- Charles Case (1817-1883), born in Austinburg, United States Congressman from Indiana.
- Tammy Cochran, country music singer from Austinburg. Biggest hit was Angels In Waiting.
- Edwin Cowles, (1825-1890), born in Austinburg, publisher of The Cleveland Leader, Vice-President of the 1884 Republican National Convention
- Francis Joseph Hall, was an American Protestant Episcopal theologian and author.
- Ken Meyer, was head coach of the National Football League's San Francisco 49ers in 1977.
- Urban Meyer, is currently the head football coach at the University of Florida.
- James Montgomery, (1814-1871), born in Ashtabula County, colonel in the American Civil War, raided several towns in Missouri and the American South.
- Ransom Eli Olds, was a pioneer of the American automobile industry, for whom both the Oldsmobile and Reo brands were named.
- Louis C. Shepard, American Civil War Medal of Honor recipient from Ashtabula County, buried in Lakeview cemetery, Port Clinton, Ottawa County, Ohio.
- Decius Wade, was an American attorney, judge, writer, and politician who has been called the "Father of Montana Jurisprudence" for his role in establishing the common law and statutory law of the U.S. state of Montana.