Trumbull County

At the time of the organization of the Northwest Territory the state of Connecticut had laid claim to that part of it lying north of the forty-first parallel of north latitude. In 1786 the legislature of that state ceded all of this claim to the United States, except a strip 120 miles in length lying next west of the Pennsylvania line. This became known as the Western Reserve of Connecticut, and was often called New Connecticut, as that state continued to enact laws for its government, and exercise jurisdiction within it, as she did at home. In May, 1800, her legislature renounced jurisdiction to this Reserve, and conveyed the same to the United States. It then became in order for St. Clair, the territorial governor, to create a county government for it. Before this, it had been parts of the counties of Jefferson and Wayne. July 10, 1800, St. Clair placed all of the Reserve into the county of Trumbull. The new county embraced all of the territory north of the forty-first parallel, lying within a distance of 120 miles west of the Pennsylvania line. It was named in honor of Governor Trumbull of Connecticut, who was the executive of that state at the time the cession was made. The county seat was located at Warren.

Original Trumbull County

Clermont County

The next county which St. Clair organized was Clermont. The date of his proclamation for the purpose was December 6, 1800. It was taken from the county of Hamilton. The county seat was located at Batavia. The origin of the name of the county has not been preserved, but the presumption is that it was derived from Clermont in France.

Fairfield County

December 9, 1800, but three days after the organization of Clermont County, St. Clair issued a proclamation for the organization of Fairfield County. It was taken from the counties of Washington and Ross, about one-half from each. St. Clair gave it the name of Fairfield, from the beauty of its fair lands. The county seat was located at Lancaster.

Belmont County

Belmont County was formed by St. Clair, September 7, 1801. It was made up of the northern part of Washington and the southern part of Jefferson County. Belmont is derived from two French words signifying a fine mountain. The surface is very hilly and the land very picturesque. St. Clairsville, the county seat, derives its name from Governor St. Clair.

This was the last county to be formed by the proclamation of the territorial governor. Subsequent to this, under the new state government, counties were formed, and their boundaries changed, by act of the state legislature.

State Formed

This completes the evolution of Ohio counties to the time the state was formed. The Convention which met November 1, 1802, to frame the first state constitution was composed of thirty-five members, apportioned to the counties appearing on the above map, as follows: Adams, three Belmont two, Clermont two, Fairfield two, Hamilton ten, Jefferson five, Ross five, Trumbull two, and Washington four. The northwestern part of the state, by the treaty of Greenville, August 3, 1795, had been allotted to the Indian tribes, as a reservation, and was unsettled by the Whites. The seat of government of the county of. Wayne was at Detroit, and when Ohio was being formed, as the greater part of that county would be in the Indian Territory, it was given no representation in the convention.

These counties have been divided and disintegrated, until from the nine organized counties and the Indian reservation that came to the state when formed, the number has grown to eighty-eight. When this article was begun it was the intention to go to the end, and thus evolve the present county map of the state, but the time allotted has been too brief to allow it, and we stop at this convenient point, hoping to be able to present the others in some subsequent report.

Online Resources | Ohio AHGP

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




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