Long before white settlers appeared on the landscape, the lands, which now comprise our Westchester subdivision, were hunting grounds for the Delaware, Mingo and Wyandot Indians, who inhabited the vicinity. There was a temporary Indian village around the Taggart Road area, which was used as temporary lodging for the Indians roaming this area on their hunting expeditions.
The land later became part of the U.S. Military Lands. The Military Lands (2.5 million acres) were set aside by the U.S. Congress in 1796 to provide for payment of military debts from the American Revolution. Not all veterans were interested in settling in the area and often sold or traded the lands without even seeing them. Speculators and developers subsequently acquired these lands. The Union Company and the Scioto Company (James Kilbourne who settled Worthington) were companies from Connecticut who surveyed, developed and sold lots in the Worthington/Liberty Township area. Westchester was included in the 4000 acres of the 1805 Union Company survey.
David Thomas purchased a good share of the land in our area of the Olentangy River Valley. He came from Connecticut to Ohio on foot in 1801, purchased 100 acres in Franklin County and helped build the first mill in Franklin County. He returned to Connecticut on foot. There, he and his wife Mary (Polly) Holcomb started a family, returning to Ohio in 1806. David Thomas purchased 200 additional acres, this time in Liberty Township. Parts of Westchester Subdivision were included in this purchase. David Thomas settled on the land in 1810. He and his wife ran a stagecoach stop/inn in their log cabin on the west side of the river just south of the present-day Carriage Road. When Thomas died in 1826, he was only 42 years old. His wife Mary (Polly) continued to operate the tavern for a while after his death and lived to the ripe old age of 97. It is said that she smoked her pipe every day!
The Thomas Tavern played an important part in the development of Liberty Township as a stopping place on the trail from Franklinton (now Columbus) to Sandusky. Here the stage horses were changed and weary travelers rested. The tavern also played an important civic role in our community. Liberty Township held meetings in the tavern until 1830 when they were moved to the school house near the Liberty Presbyterian Church. The Liberty Township maps of 1880 still show much of the land that would later be Westchester still in the hands of the Thomas family.