Washington and Hamilton Counties, Ohio

St. Clair was appointed governor of the Territory, October 5, 1787, and arrived at Marietta, July 9, 1788. His first act toward carrying out the provisions of the Ordinance, as to the establishment of local government, was to erect the county of Washington. He issued an order defining its boundaries, July 27, 1788. They were as follows:

First Counties Established in the Northwest Territory

"Beginning 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 Fort Lawrence (Laurens); 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 (Loramie's Store), until it meets the road from the lower Shawnee town to Sandusky; thence south to the Scioto river; thence with that river to the mouth, and thence up the Ohio river to the place of beginning." It will be seen that this county comprised a large part of the eastern and northern portions of what is now the State of Ohio. It received its name in honor of President Washington. St. Clair not only exercised the right to lay off the counties, but to designate the place that the county business should be transacted. He named Marietta as the chief town of Washington County.

Hamilton County

The next county formed by St. Clair was Hamilton. His edict brought it into existence January 2, 1790. Its boundaries were as follows:

''Beginning on the bank of the Ohio River, at the confluence of the Little Miami, and down the 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."

It will be seen that this county at first contained only a small strip between the two Miami Rivers. It was subsequently enlarged, as will be shown farther on. It received its name from Gen. Alexander Hamilton. Its place of holding court was fixed by St. Clair, at Cincinnati.


Online Resources | Ohio AHGP

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




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