Columbia Township was the first settlement west of the Cuyahoga River. The land was a section of the Western Reserve owned by the Connecticut Land Company. Previously, it had been inhabited by the Native Americans, who fished along the banks of the nearby Rocky River and utilized other rich resources such as chestnuts, deer, and beaver. In 1805, two years after Ohio became a state, the Connecticut Land Company made a treaty with the Indian Nation and began to survey the land west of the Cuyahoga River, which it then structured into townships. Each township was designed in blocks of five square miles, with 100 lots of 160 acres.
Residents of Columbia Township are often referred to as "gamblers" because they acquired their land in a lottery system by which all Lorain, Medina, and Huron Count) acreage was sold. The Bronson and Hoadley families of Waterbury, Connecticut formed the Waterbury Land Company, made their purchase of $20,087 on April 4, 1807, and then drew a piece of paper to see which township would be theirs. Township 5, N. Range 15 W became their new home. Among the township's first settlers were Bela and Sally Bronson and their baby, Sherlock. The Bronsons and the rest of their party set out from Connecticut in September 1807. While a large portion of the group spent the winter in Cleveland, the Bronsons, Hoadleys, and eight additional men forged ahead to the infant settlement. Sally, the chief cook and bottle washer during the long trip, made the journey on an oxen-pulled sled with her baby. Until their cabin was completed. Sally and her family lived under a sled propped against a tree. As the township grew, Sally and her husband became the first schoolteachers. Bela Bronson was the township's first clerk. Sally’s contributions to the settlement earned her the right to name it. She called it Columbia, in honor of her Connecticut hometown.