Wayne County, Ohio

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General Overview

Establishment

Wayne County, Ohio was formed in 1808 after being surveyed by John Bever, Joseph H. Larwill, and William Larwill in 1807. It was named for Major General "Mad" Anthony Wayne. Anthony Wayne was born 1 January 1745 in Waynesborough, Chester County, PA. He was an ambitious officer during the American Revolution and revered as a hero by many. He never resided in Wayne County, Ohio. He died in 1796.

In 1808, the boundaries were as follows:

  • On the north — present county line between Medina and Wayne Counties, OH
  • On the east — present county line between Stark and Wayne Counties, OH
  • On the south — the old Greenville Treaty Line, including a strip that is now Holmes Co, OH
  • On the west — part of present day Lake, Mohican, Perry, and Jackson Townships, Ashland County, OH

For judicial and administrative purposes, Wayne County, OH was attached for a short while to Columbiana and Stark Counties, OH until it was officially organized under an Act of Legislature of the State of Ohio dating 4 January 1812. On 11 April 1812, the orginal four townships were: Sugar Creek, Wooster, Mohican, and Prairie.

On 20 January 1824, Wayne County, OH lost part of its southern border to Holmes County, Ohio. Townships that became part of Holmes County, Ohio included Washington, Ripley, Prairie, Salt Creek, and Paint. On 24 February 1846, Wayne County, OH lost part of its western border to Ashland County, Ohio. Townships that became part of Ashland County, OH included Lake, Mohican, Perry, and Jackson.


Historical Townships



Original Townships
Township Date Range, Township
Sugar Creek 11 Apr 1812 R11, T15-T18; R12, T15-T18
Wooster 11 Apr 1812 R13, T14-T17; R14, T18-T21
Mohican 11 Apr 1812 R14, T17-T21; R15, T19-T23
Mohican changed name to Perry 14 Sep 1814 R14, T17-T21; R15, T19-T23
Prairie 11 Apr 1812
  • R11, T14-T15; R12, T14-T15;
  • R13, T13-T14; R14, T17-T18
Townships no longer in existence
Township Date Range, Township
Springfield 5 Jun 1815
N 1/2 Springfield became Plain 1817
S 1/2 Springfield became Pike 1817
Pike (now Clinton) 1817
Townships now part of Holmes County
Township Date Range, Township
Washington R15, T19 & T20
Ripley R14, T17 & T18
Prairie R13, T13 & T14; R6 & R7, T10
part of Salt Creek R12, T14 & T15; R5 & R6, T10
part of Paint R11, T14 & T15; R4 & R5, T10
Townships now part of Ashland County
Township Date Range, Township
Lake 5 Sep 1814 R15, T20
Mohican 11 Apr 1812 R15, T21
Perry 14 Sep 1814 R15, T22
Jackson 1 Feb 1819 R15, T23

Parent County

Holmes County, Ohio

On 20 January 1824, Wayne County, OH lost part of its southern border to Holmes County, OH. Townships that became part of Holmes County, OH included Washington, Ripley, Prairie, Salt Creek, and Paint. On 24 February 1846, Wayne County, OH lost part of its western border to Ashland County, OH. Townships that became part of Ashland County, OH included Lake, Mohican, Perry, and Jackson. Holmes County, OH was fully organized 4 January 1825. Parts of Holmes County were attached to Coshocton, Tuscarawas, and Wayne for administrative and judicial purposes.

Ashland County, Ohio

Ashland County, OH was fully organized 24 February 1846. It was created from Huron, Lorain, Richland, and Wayne counties. Records for “Ashland County” prior to 1846 may be found in any of the records for Huron, Lorain, Richland, or Wayne depending on which part of Ashland County the individual settled. On the following pages, there are charts showing the date of township organization. In addition, various maps showing the changes in Wayne County boundaries are shown.


Adjacent Counties

  • Stark County, East
  • Holmes County, South
  • Ashland County, West
  • Medina County, Northwest and Northcentral
  • Summit County, Northeast


Historical Highlights

There are a few historical items of interest I will highlight. These questions come up on occasion. Much of this information has been extracted from the 1987 Wayne County, OH history book and Ben Douglass’ history book on Wayne County, OH.

  • Wayne County was the 6th county formed in the Northwest Territory. It was the 3rd county formed in Ohio.
  • The area that lies north of the Greenville Treaty line, including all of Wayne County, was prohibited to settlers by the Treaty of 1794. Many times, we have researchers contact our department looking for information on their ancestor who was born in Wayne County, OH in the mid to late 1700s. This is highly unlikely since the area was forbidden to the white man.
  • When the area was purchased from the Indians in 1805, the Northwest Territory opened up for settlement.
  • There were three Indian towns in Wayne County. They included Bever Hat’s town (inhabited by the Delaware and located where Wooster Cemetery now sits), Mohican John’s town (inhabited by the Mohican and located south of Jeromesville), and Killbuck’s town (inhabited by the Delaware and located north of Holmesville). Other tribes in the area included the Wyandots and Shawanese.
  • There were three main Indian trails in Wayne County: the Great Trail from Ft. Pitt to Sandusky (now known as US 250 to Wooster and US 30 west of Wooster), the Cuyahoga War Trail (now known as SR 585), and the Killbuck Trail (now known as US 62 to Holmesville and SR 83 to Wooster). These three trails became the first roads for the white settlers.
  • There was an Indian massacre on Robison’s Hill, just south of present day downtown Wooster. Sixeen Indians met their Maker prematurely. They were buried in a shallow grave where they fell (present day intersection of South Bever St. and Madison Ave.) As a note, Robison’s Hill is also referred to as Madison Hill.
  • According to Ben Douglass, all Indians in the area suddenly disappeared in a single night soon after the War of 1812 was announced.
  • U.S. Surveyor, John Bever with the assistance of Joseph H. and William Larwill, surveyed the area in 1807. Prior to the survey, Baptiste Jerome, Jonathan Grant, Ben Miller, Alex Crawford, and Josiah Crawford were residing in the area.
  • The first train arrived in Wooster in 1852. Articles pertaining to railroads in Wayne County, OH can be found in a notebook labeled “Railroads.” It is shelved under Ohio—Wayne—Trans—Railroad. Additional discussions of the railroad and other modes of transportation are discussed in the 1987 History of Wayne County, Ohio.
  • There were at least two known fires in the courthouse that destroyed some records. The first fire destroyed the courthouse in 1828. The second fire occurred on 20 May 1969 and caused substantial damage to the courthouse. Most of the damage was done by water.
  • Three different courthouses have been erected in Wayne County, OH. The first courthouse was erected in 1819 and was destroyed by fire in 1828. The second courthouse was erected in 1831 and was deemed unsafe in 1877. The third courthouse was erected in 1877. Much of this courthouse still stands and is used today. In 1984, the courthouse was restored.
  • Wooster was not the first county seat. The first Commissioners had selected the town of Madison, located south of the city, to be the first county seat. Much dissatisfaction occurred and Legislature appointed new Commissioners. The newly appointed Commissioners selected Wooster to be the county-seat. The town of Madison was court ordered to vacate in April 1814.

Governance

Elected officials play a vital role in the establishment and development of counties and incorporated places within counties. It is important to recognize these individuals.

Committees

Demographics

Historical

Current

Communities

Map of Wayne County, Ohio with municipal and township labels

Townships

Cities

Villages

Unincorporated communities

Economy

Calamities

Education

Resources

Lateral Files

  • This is a collection of newspaper clippings accumulated over the years. Other documents may be found in these files.

History Books

The following books may proof beneficial when researching early Wayne County, Ohio.

  • Commemorative Biographical Record of Wayne County, Ohio, Containing Biographical Sketches of Prominent and Representative Citizens, and of Many of the Early Settled Families. Chicago: J. H. Beers & Co., 1889.
    • [Note: Often referred to as Beers’ History of Wayne County, OH.]
  • Douglass, Ben. History of Wayne County, Ohio, from the Days of the Pioneers and First Settlers to the Present Time. Indianapolis: Robert Douglass, 1878.
    • [Note: Often referred to as Douglass’ History of Wayne County, OH.]
  • History of Wayne County, Ohio. Indianapolis: B. F. Bowen & Company, 1910.
    • [Note: Often referred to as Bowen’s History of Wayne County, OH. This is a two volume set.]
  • Picturesque Wayne: A History in Text and Engraving. Akron: The Werner Company, abt. 1900.
    • [Located near the maps and atlases.]
  • Poll Book and Tally Sheet 7 November 1899
  • Wayne County History Book Committee. A History of Wayne County, Ohio. Dallas: Taylor Publishing Company, 1987.
    • [Note: Often referred to as the 1987 history of Wayne County, OH.]

Notebooks

  • History
    • 21 volumes of Township Notebooks
      • Include various newspapers articles about townships and villages
      • Table of contents available for Baughman, Canaan, Chester, Chippewa, Clinton, Congress, and East Union Townships
    • Creston Scrapbooks of Edited Newsprint
    • Wayne County’s 175th Anniversary
    • Wooster’s 175th Anniversary
    • Sesquicentennial Celebration 1958 (2 volumes)
    • Barns/Old Wooster
    • Courthouse history
    • Wayne County Fair (2 volumes)
    • Farver (table of contents to each of the 7 sections)
    • 1969 Flood
    • Frank C. Gerlach File
    • Hauenstein and Bushnel
    • Resource Packet for Local History: East Union Township
    • Articles written by Guy Richards (2 volumes)
    • Wooster City Hall, Wooster Chamber of Commerce, and Historical Homes and Buildings
    • Ask Genie articles from 10 Aug 1997 – 6 Oct 2002
    • Five-Generation charts (2 volumes)
    • Five-Generation photos (some 4-generation photos included)
    • Reunions (newspapers clippings; some include much detail)

Photograph Collection

  • Our department does have a small, growing collection of photographs. These are generally donated to our department. Some are labeled and some are not. Many of these photographs will find a future home on the Wayne County (OH) Wiki and on the Wayne County Public Library Digital Collection available through the Ohio Memory Project.
  • In 2006, the department was donated several notebooks of intersection photographs. These are presently stored on the lower level in the Operation Center at 304 N. Market St in Wooster. These are not cataloged.

External links

Historical Interest

  • Wayne County Cemetery Preservation Society
    The goal of the Wayne County Cemetery Preservation Society is to preserve the graves and cemeteries in Wayne County, OH. This website provides additional information on the Society.

Genealogical Interest

  • Wayne County Cemetery Preservation Society
    The goal of the Wayne County Cemetery Preservation Society is to preserve the graves and cemeteries in Wayne County, OH. This website provides additional information on the Society.
  • Wayne County Genealogical Society
    The Society was organized in 1964 by several eager people who wanted to collect and publish the basic birth, marriage, burial, and earliest land ownership records of Wayne county. We now have about 200 members still working on more records and answering queries. The genealogy collection, at the Wayne County Public Library, has some 2820 volumes, 3900 I.G.I. fiche and 661 rolls of microfilm.

Local Government

Military

Local News Media

Local Interests

  • Wayne County Community Events
    Wayne County Events is a centralized resource for the residents of the county to find and learn about upcoming community events in Wayne County, Ohio.