From Ohio History Central
Ashtabula County formed on February 10, 1807. It was the first county created in the Western Reserve. The county is named for an Indian word for fish. In 1796, Moses Cleaveland traveled through Ashtabula County on his way to establish the city of Cleveland for the Connecticut Land Company. Five of Cleaveland's traveling companions, James Kingsbury and his wife and three children, remained behind in what would become Ashtabula County. Mrs. Kingsbury gave birth to the first known white child in the Connecticut Western Reserve during the winter of 1796-1797.
Ashtabula County is located in the northeastern corner of Ohio and covers almost 703 square miles. The county has experienced a small decline in population, losing 2.9 percent of its 102,360 residents between 1995 and 2000. Ashtabula is the largest community in the county, with almost twenty-one thousand residents in 2000. The county seat of Jefferson ranks a distant fourth in size, with just over 3,300 residents in 2002. The county averages 146 residents per square mile. It also has more covered bridges than any other Ohio county.