Clark County, Ohio

History and Genealogy



Organization of Counties


From 20th Century History of Springfield and Clark County, Ohio by Hon. William A. Rockel
Chicago: Biographical Publishing Co., 1908


"Before the state was admitted into the union counties were formed by proclamation of the governor. In this manner there were ten counties organized, to-wit, Washington in 1788, Hamilton 1790, Wayne 1796, Adams and Jefferson in 1797, Ross 1798, Trumbull, Clermont and Fairfield 1800, and Belmont 1801. Which one of these ten counties included our county remains somewhat of a question, resulting chiefly from the fact that the old boundary lines have in time passed away. It is interesting to know that the county of Washington originally included almost all of eastern Ohio. It began on the bank of the Ohio River, where the western boundary line of Pennsylvania crosses it, and running with that line to Lake Erie; thence along the southern shore of said lake to the mouth of Cuyahoga River; thence up said river to the portage between it and the Tuscarawas branch of the Muskingum; thence down that branch to the forks at the crossing place above Ft. Lawrence; thence with a line to be drawn westerly to the portage on that branch of the Big Miami on which the fort stood that was taken by the French in 1752, until it meets the road from the lower Shawnees town to Sandusky; thence south to the Scioto River; thence with that river to the mouth; thence up the Ohio River to the place of beginning."

The Ft. Lawrence referred to above was a fort built near the north line of what is now Tuscarawas County and not far from the village of Bolivar. It was an important point in Lord Dunmore's war. The correct spelling of the name of this fort is "Laurens," as it was named after General Henry Laurens, who was then, in 1778, president of Congress.

The "fort that was taken from the French in 1752," referred to in the description of Washington County, was at the village of Pickawillany; and the "Lower Shawnees town" no doubt referred to the towns of the Shawnees on the Scioto River, in contra-distinction to those on the Miamis and Mad River, and this would then make the Scioto River the western boundary line of Washington County and therefore would not include Clark County.

When Hamilton County was organized it was described as "beginning on the bank of the Ohio River at the confluence of the Little Miami and down said Ohio River to the mouth of the Big Miami, and up said Miami to the standing stone forks or branch of said river, and thence with a line to be drawn due east to the Little Miami and down said Little Miami to the place of beginning."

Where this "standing stone forks" was upon the Big Miami I am unable to say, from the fact, however, that the Little Miami hardly assumed the dignity of a river within the present boundaries of Clark County. It is not likely that the original boundaries of Hamilton County included much of this county. However, when Wayne County was organized it followed the lines of Washington County up to the point where it turned south to meet and follow the Scioto River, to-wit, where the line drawn from Ft. Laurens to Pickawillany crossed the road to Sandusky, and this point is referred to in the establishment of Wayne County as the eastern boundary of Hamilton, so it seems that, if not by proclamation, yet by a general assumption, that Hamilton County was made to include all west of the western boundary of Washington County and south of the southern boundary of Wayne County, thus including Clark County, and that the entire state of Ohio was at that time, to-wit, 1796, covered by the three counties, Washington, Hamilton and Wayne.

In 1798 Ross County was formed, and took its territory from the counties of Washington and Hamilton. It had its western boundary in a line drawn due north from the mouth of Elk River or Eagle Creek; there was a ford there across the Ohio River. This creek or river empties into the Ohio in Brown County, and if a line be drawn due north you will find it included the half or more of Clark County in the formation of Greene County.

When Greene County was formed, in 1803, it was taken from Hamilton and Ross. The territory now in Greene County was described as follows: "Beginning at the southeast corner of the county of Montgomery, running thence east to the Ross County line, in the same course continued eight miles into the said county of Ross: thence north to the State line (State line here referred to, I presume means the south boundary line of the Greenville Treaty): thence westernly with the same to the east line of Montgomery County: thence with the said boundary line of Montgomery to the beginning."

The upper part of this territory was in turn taken to form Champaign County, which took all of Greene County now included in Clark County, together with a strip six miles on the east off Madison, Franklin County having been originally taken from Ross, and Madison from Franklin.







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