Conneaut Lake’s name is derived from the word “Konneyaut” which meant “snow place” to the Seneca Indians who first inhabited the area. As the lake thawed, the snow on the ground surrounding the perimeter of the lake would melt more slowly than in those areas further from the lake, making this prime terrain for hunting and tracking in the spring months. In addition, the biodiverse wetlands of the Geneva Marsh to the south of the lake all attracted early Native American settlements to this area.

As European settlers began to move into this region in the 18th century, their settlement was resisted by the Natives and was the cause of a fair amount of conflict. As a refuge, the Europeans built Fort Franklin in 1790, and, in 1795, the Greenville Treaty was signed by General Anthony Wayne and the people of the Northwest Territory, securing the Pennsylvania frontier. The last recorded Native American activity in the area was documented in 1804.