The history of Ohio townships | News, Sports, Jobs
Every resident of Ohio today lives in a township—an area determined by census in the 18th and early 19th centuries.
This research was conducted as the United States expanded westward, beginning with the Land Act of 1785 and the formation of the Northwest Territory. According to the Ohio History Connection, surveyors like a young George Washington swarmed the area north and west of the Ohio River to survey these creatures. The territory was eventually divided into five states – Ohio, Indiana, Wisconsin, Illinois and Michigan.
Townships, which surveyors wanted surveyors to survey as 6-mile squares, helped sell land to the federal government and helped establish local governments.
Each completed 36-mile square was divided into numbered 1-square-mile sections of 640 acres each. In later Ohio, Section 16 of each ward was reserved for public school use. Certain sections were also reserved for veterans of the American Revolution as payment for their service during the war. The remaining intercepts were auctioned at a minimum price of $1 per acre.
In eastern Ohio counties, many of the existing townships actually predate the state itself. Belmont County, for example, originally consisted of four townships, founded in 1801—two years before Ohio became a state. By 1804 the elected officials of a parish consisted of three trustees, one clerk, two overseers of the poor, wardens of the streets, magistrates of the peace, and constables.
According to the Belmont County Recorder’s Office website, Belmont County’s four original townships—Kirkwood, Pultney, York, and Salem—were essentially strips of land running east-west from the Ohio River to the county’s western border. The western parts of them were ceded in 1810 to form Guernsey County; All of Salem’s southernmost community helped form Monroe County.
Harrison County has 15 townships: Archer, Athens, Cadiz, Franklin, Freeport, German, Green, Monroe, Moorefield, North, Nottingham, Rumley, Short Creek, Stock and Washington.
Monroe County’s 18 townships include: Adams, Benton, Bethel, Center, Franklin, Green, Jackson, Lee, Malaga, Ohio, Perry, Salem, Seneca, Summit, Sunsbury, Switzerland, Washington and Wayne.
There are 14 in Jefferson County: Brush Creek, Cross Creek, Island Creek, Knox, Mount, Pleasant, Ross, Salem, Saline, Smithfield, Springfield, Steubenville, Warren, Wayne, and Wells.