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Ashtabula is a city in Ashtabula County, Ohio, United States. As of the United States 2000 census, the city had a total population of 20,962. It is the home of media sensation and podcast ninja Tim Henson of Distorted View Daily.


Ashtabula was founded in 1803 and incorporated in 1891. The city contains several former Safe houses on the Underground Railroad which was used to convey African-American slaves to freedom in Canada in the years before the American Civil War. Among the stops is Hubbard House, one of the handful of termination points. Ex-slaves would reside in a basement of the house adjacent to the lake and then leave on the next safe boat to Canada, gaining their freedom once they arrived in Ontario. Its harbor has been a large ore and coal port since the end of the 19th century and continues to be to some extent with a long coal ramp draping across the horizon in the current harbor and the ore shipments unloaded from lakers that is sent down to the steel mills of Pennsylvania.

Many newcomers to Ashtabula in the late 19th century and early 20th century were immigrants from Finland, Sweden, and Italy. Ethnic rivalries among these groups were once a major influence on daily life in Ashtabula. A substantial percentage of the current residents are descended from those immigrants. The population in the City of Ashtabula grew steadily until 1970, since when it has been declining just as steadily.

Notable residents

  • Jarrod Bunch, former NFL 1st round draft choice by the New York Giants
  • Charles E. Burchfield, American watercolor painter
  • John W. Carlson, painter, Erie Art Museum - permanent collection
  • Betsy Mix Cowles, an early Women's rights advocate, Abolitionist and educator
  • Edwin Cowles (1825-1890), born in Austinburg, publisher and editor of the Cleveland Leader and one of the founders of the Republican Party
  • Joshua Reed Giddings and Benjamin Wade, two of the earliest and most powerful Republicans from 1850-1870
  • Matti Valentine Huhta or T-Bone Slim, humorist, poet, songwriter, hobo, and a labor activist in the Industrial Workers of the World
  • Glenn Leggett, President of Grinnell College
  • Jesse Fuller McDonald, 16th governor of Colorado
  • Urban Meyer, head football coach, University of Florida
  • Don Novello or Father Guido Sarducci, writer, film director, producer, actor and comedian
  • Maila Nurmi, Hollywood actress raised in Ashtabula
  • Benjamin T. Rich, third-string punter for the Cleveland Browns in the late 1980s
  • Louis C. Shepard, American Civil War Medal of Honor recipient from Ashtabula County, buried in Lakeview cemetery, Port Clinton, Ottawa County
  • Josh LeCappelain, award winning military photographer and journalist.
  • Platt Rogers Spencer, the inventor of Spencerian Script of writing
  • 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.
  • Connie Schultz, an American Pulitzer Prize author in 2005 for commentary.
  • Don Scott; Anchor for WJZ-TV in Baltimore.
  • John C. Robar, Singer, Songwriter with performances at New York City's Don't Tell Mama's Cabaret (2003), The 2nd Annual Gala Awards Dinner (2002) and The New York City International Music and Film Festival (2004).
  • Charles Campagne, owner of Career Concepts Staffing, was born in Ashtabula.
  • Tim Henson, the host of the internationally acclaimed Distorted View Daily Podcast.
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