The school was founded in 1842 by the Western Reserve Free-Will Baptist Society and the first building was constructed in 1843. Its charter prohibited any discrimination based upon race or gender. Early professors at the school included George H. Ball and Ransom Dunn, both Free Baptist clergymen from New England. President James Garfield met his wife Lucretia Garfield (Randolph) while attending Geauga. When the school closed in 1853, most of its assets were acquired by Hillsdale College in Michigan, another Free Will Baptist institution. The Seminary building was demolished in 1927.
Notable people affiliated with Geauga
- George H. Ball, Freewill Baptist pastor and teacher at Geauga Seminary
- George T. Day, principal of Geauga Seminary, writer, professor at Bates College
- Orlando J. Hodge, Speaker of the Ohio House of Representatives
- Ransom Dunn, Freewill Baptist pastor and teacher at Geauga Seminary
- Charles Gordon Ames, Unitarian clergyman, editor and lecturer.
- Robert Vaughn (Australian politician)
- Stephen A. Walker, principal of Geauga Seminary for a year, lawyer, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York
- James Garfield, 20th President of the United States
- Lucretia Garfield, First Lady
- Pioneer and General History of Geauga County: With Sketches of Some of the Pioneers and Prominent Men, (Historical Society of Geauga County, Ohio: 1880) pg. 35 https://books.google.com/books?id=Eu0uAAAAYAAJ
- Gilbert, Arlan K. (1991). Historic Hillsdale College: Pioneer in Higher Education, 1844-1900. Hillsdale, MI: Hillsdale College Press. pp. 30–31. ISBN 0-916308-79-0.
- Michigan Historical Commission - 1907, pg 151 https://books.google.com/books?id=iS0_AQAAMAAJ
- Chester Township: Gateway to Geauga, Nov 8, 2012 by Ty Pilarczyk http://geauganews.com/chester-township-gateway-to-geauga/