The Ohio River (Seneca: ohi:yó) is the largest tributary, by volume, of the Mississippi River. At the confluence, the Ohio is even bigger than the Mississippi (Ohio at Cairo: 281,500 cu ft/s (7,960 m3/s); Mississippi at Thebes: 208,200 cu ft/s (5,897 m3/s)) and, thus, is hydrologically the main stream of the whole river system, including the Allegheny River further upstream. It is approximately 981 miles (1,579 km) long and is located in the Eastern United States. 
During the 1600s and 1700s, the Ohio River served as the southern border of what later came to be called the Northwest Territory. In several treaties, the river also served as a dividing line between English settlements in Kentucky and Native American communities in the Ohio Country. The English generally remained south of the river, while the Indians continued to live and hunt north of it until the end of the American Revolution. As settlers pushed west across the Appalachian Mountains, many of these people used the Ohio River to transport their families and belongings westward. Several of the first permanent settlements by people from the newly formed United States were founded on the river's banks. These places included the towns of Marietta, Steubenville and Cincinnati.
During the 1800s, the Ohio River became an important commercial route for residents in Ohio, Kentucky, Indiana, and Illinois. Farmers and manufacturers sent their crops and finished products on flatboats and barges downstream to the Mississippi River and eventually on to New Orleans. Upon reaching New Orleans, freight was loaded on ocean-going vessels for delivery to eastern seaboard ports like Philadelphia, New York, and Boston. This water route was much faster and less expensive than taking goods by wagon over the Appalachian Mountains.
Despite the arrival of railroads, improved highways, and air travel, the Ohio River continues to serve as a major artery for transporting bulk items such as coal and grain. The northern bank of the Ohio River also is the southern boundary of Ohio, separating the state from West Virginia and Kentucky.
The French explorer La Salle reportedly reached the Ohio River in 1669, but there was no significant interest in the valley until the French and the British began to struggle for control of the river in the 1750s. An early settlement was established at the forks of the Ohio (modern Pittsburgh) by the Ohio Company of Virginia in 1749, but it was captured by the French in 1754, and the unfinished Fort Prince George was renamed Fort Duquesne; it was recaptured by the British and renamed Fort Pitt in 1758. At the end of the French and Indian Wars, Britain gained control of the river by the treaty of 1763, but settlement of the area was prohibited. Britain ceded the region to the United States at the end of the Revolutionary War (1783), and it was opened to settlement by the Ordinance of 1787, which established the Northwest Territory.
Until the opening of the Erie Canal in 1825, the Ohio River was the main route to the newly opened West and the principal means of market transportation of the region's growing farm output. Traffic declined on the river after the railroads were built in the mid-1800s, although it revived after World War II. Comparatively little traffic remains on the Ohio, despite the new locks, dams, and channel improvements, which were all meant to spur economic activity on the river.
There may be records about the migration in these states:
|Links to West Virginia-related articles (see also Virginia-related articles)|
Boyd County Public Library (Ashland, KY) ·
Clarksburg-Harrison Public Library ·
Historical Society of Western Pennsylvania (Pittsburgh, PA) · Library of Congress
(Washington, DC) · Library of Virginia
(Richmond, VA) ·
Martinsburg-Berkeley County Public Library · Mary Ball Washington Museum and Library
(Lancaster, VA) · Maryland State Archives
(Annapolis, MD) · National Archives I
(Washington, DC) · National Archives II
(College Park, MD) · National Archives at Philadelphia
(PA) · New York Public Library
(New York City, NY) ·
Parkersburg and Wood County Public Library ·
Roman Catholic Diocese of Charleston · Santa Cruz Public Library Downtown
(Santa Cruz, CA) · University of Chicago Library
(Chicago, IL) · Virginia Historical Society
(Richmond, VA) ·
Washington National Records Center (Suitland, MD) · West Virginia Archives and History ·
West Virginia University Wise Library ·
West Virginia Vital Registration Office
|Links to Wisconsin-related articles|
National Archives at Chicago · Wisconsin Historical Society ·
Wisconsin State Genealogical Society ·
Wisconsin State Old Cemetery Society · Area Research Centers: 1. Wisconsin Historical Society, 2. University of Wisconsin-La Crosse, 3. University of Wisconsin-Platteville, 4. University of Wisconsin-Whitewater, 5. University of Wisconsin-Parkside, 6. University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, 7. University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh, 8. University of Wisconsin-Green Bay, 9. University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point, 10. University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire, 11. University of Wisconsin-Stout, 12. University of Wisconsin-River Falls, 13. Superior Public Library, 14. Northern Great Lake Center ·
Beloit Public Library ·
Brown County Library ·
Kenosha Public Library ·
Milwaukee County Historical Society ·
Milwaukee Public Library · Norwegian American Genealogical Center and Naeseth Library ·
Oshkosh Public Library ·
Racine Heritage Museum Research Center ·
University of Wisconsin-Madison Memorial Library · Allen County Public Library · Newberry Library