The Scioto River is a major river in central and southern Ohio. Its headwaters are located in Auglaize County. The river then flows to Columbus, the capital city, and then in a southerly direction to Portsmouth, where it flows into the Ohio River. “Scioto” is an American Indian word meaning “deer.”
Indians and Ohio’s early white settlers used the Scioto River for transportation. Water travel was much quicker and cheaper than land travel during this era. Ohio settlers used the Scioto and the state’s other rivers to transport their crops to market. A portion of the Ohio and Erie Canal also used part of the Scioto River. Both Indians and white people settled along the river due to the fertile farmland in the Scioto’s floodplain. Today, modern ships are too large to navigate the Scioto, and Ohioans primarily use the river for recreation and for drinking water.