Hamilton County Extended

The next act in the work of dividing the Territory into counties, was changing the boundaries of the counties of Hamilton, Wayne, and Knox. In 1795, General Wayne had made a treaty with the Indians, at Greenville, by which the line of the lands of the United States had been extended from Loramie's, westward to Fort Recovery, and thence southward to the mouth of the Kentucky River. The boundary of Hamilton County was extended westward, June 22, 1798, to make it correspond with this change in the boundary of the government territory. The line between Hamilton and Knox counties then became:

"The western boundary of the county of Hamilton shall begin at the spot, on the bank of the Ohio River, where the general boundary line of the United States and the Indian tribes, established at Greenville the third day of August, 1795, intersects the bank of that river, and run with that general boundary line to Fort Recovery, and from thence by a line to be drawn due north from Fort Recovery, until it intersects the southern boundary line of the county of Wayne, and from thence to the southern boundary of the county of Wayne, shall also be the eastern boundary of the county of Knox."

Hamilton County in this way got a part of Knox County, and a part of what is now Indiana.

Ross County

Ross next came into the family of Ohio counties. Nathaniel Massie, a surveyor in the employ of Virginia, had laid out the town of Manchester, in 1790, and induced people to emigrate to it. Massie had become a large land owner, and circulated glowing descriptions of the country along the Scioto, with the hope of inducing settlements. Robert J. Finley, and a Presbyterian congregation from Kentucky, were attracted, and a settlement was made at the mouth of Paint creek. Chillicothe was laid out in August, 1796, by Col. Massie. The opening of Zane's Trace, soon afterwards, diverted much of the westward travel, which before this time had been in boats down the Ohio, and brought it overland through this region. Other settlements sprung up, and with the increase in settlers, demands were put forward for a division of Adams County. St., Clair recognized the need of the new county, and, August 20, 1798, issued a proclamation for it, in which the boundaries were fixed as follows:

How Ohio Counties Appeared at the Close of the Eighteenth Century.

''Beginning at the forty-second mile tree, on the line of the original grant of land by the United States to the Ohio company * * * and running from thence west until it shall intersect a line to be drawn due north from the mouth of Elk River (commonly called Eagle creek), and from the point of intersection running north, to the south boundary of the county of Wayne, and from thence easterly with the said boundary of Wayne, until a north line to be drawn from the place of beginning, shall intersect the same; and if it should be found that a north line to be drawn from the place of beginning, will not intersect the said southern boundary of Wayne, then an east line is to be drawn from the eastern termination of the said boundary, until it shall intersect the aforesaid north line to be drawn from the place of beginning."

Among the early settlers in this region were a number from Pennsylvania, among whom were, Dr. Edward Tifftn who afterwards became the first governor of the state, and Mr. Thomas Worthington, who became governor of the state and United States Senator. The county received its name from Hon. James Hoss, of Allegheny County. Pa., who was at that time the unsuccessful candidate of the Federal party for the office of governor of that state. St. Clair was an ardent Federalist, and had been a member of Congress from Pennsylvania. Chillicothe was made the seat of justice. In 1800 it became the capital of the Northwest Territory. The sessions of the territorial legislature were held there, in 1801, and the convention which framed the first constitution of Ohio met there, in 1802. It was the state capital from that time until 1816, except during the years 1810-1812. August 20, 1798, a strip was taken off the east side of Hamilton County, and added to Adams. The west line of Adams was made to commence on the Ohio, at the mouth of Eagle creek, and run due north until it intersected the southern boundary of Ross, instead of following up the river to its head, as in the original boundaries.

Online Resources | Ohio AHGP

Source: Ohio Archaeological and Historical Publications, Volume 5, John L. Trauger, 1898.




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