History of Rio Grande
The Village of Rio Grande was established on July 6, 1874. We are just off of U.S. Route 35 in western Gallia County, in beautiful southeastern Ohio. Our town has a population of approximately 830 people as of the last census taken in 2010. Upon entering Rio Grande, you will see the Welsh pride displayed by the Welsh flags that adorn the streets.
The first Welsh people to settle in the counties of Gallia – named after earlier French settlers – and neighboring Jackson, arrived in 1818. But during the 1830s and 1840s a great wave of Welsh people, more than 3,000 immigrants, arrived from the parishes of Pennant, Tregaron, Llangeitho, Trefilan, Llangwyryfon and Llanddeiniol in what was then Cardiganshire, as well as from other parts of Wales. The first Welsh settlers were lead by John Jones of Tirbach, owner of the Ship Inn, Pennant, in the parish of Cilcennin. In Ohio, these families are referred to as the “1818 Welsh”, and they influenced other families from Wales to settle in Jackson and Gallia counties, both by writing home, and through the stories about the economic state of the area carried home by other Welsh people who visited them.
Rio Grande is home to many residents, businesses, and churches, as well as the University of Rio Grande/Rio Grande Community College and the Rio Grande Elementary School.