Prior to 1820 the migration routes into the Northeast Ohio region were limited.
During this early stage the major route overland was the Seneca Road which began in Buffalo and went as far as current day Cleveland. Two major trails moved back to the east coast traveling through the New England states. The southern route was the National Pike that came through the mid section, but during this time period there was no real extension up to the Northeast.
The roads during this time period were extensions of paths that had been created by the American Indians and had been used by them for centuries to travel between tribes. At this time they were not designed for wagon travel and many of the early settlers were forced to widen the roads as they traveled. Some of the early expansion of these roads occurred by the soldiers that were fighting during the War of 1812. Travel none the less was a long and difficult journey. Northeastern Ohio became a common stopping area on people's migration trails west.
Navigation of Lake Erie was also taking place during these early stages. The cities of Ashtabula, Conneaut, Geneva and Cleveland became common areas for port arrival. Food also was transported out of these ports in very small quantities. Water travel was by far the easiest, but as of yet had not developed enough to become a major factor. The Erie Canal out east was also just in the early stages of development and would become a driving force in migration after 1820.