Taking a trip back to Ohio’s early days


There are many tales – many truthful, others questionable – about Ohio’s early days and its entrance into the United States in 1803.

I have an extensive collection of books and paper materials about these early years. One of them is the Ohio Gazetteer (Typographical Dictionary) from 1819 by John Kilbourn of Columbus. It has quite an introduction to Ohio as of that date.

The following information is from that edition.

Civil divisions. For civil purposes, the state was divided into 56 counties. At that time, Mahoning and Carrollton counties did not exist, and Columbiana and Trumbull counties occupied where Mahoning County is today.

Columbiana and Jefferson counties covered the area where Carrollton County is today.

In the northwest corner of Ohio was land that had been purchased from the Wyandot and other tribes of Indians. It was called Michigan Territory at that time.

Following the paragraph in Ohio Gazetteer about civil divisions is a list of political and representative listings and numbers. This information takes up four pages of the book.

Towns. The principal towns in those early days were Cincinnati, Chillicothe, Steubenville, Zanesville, Columbus and Marietta.

Besides these cities, there were many others that were rapidly increasing in size and importance.

Also, as in most eastern states, there was no distinction between towns and townships.

Population. The census taken in 1810 revealed that there were 280,100 males and females in Ohio and that there were 10,000 more males than females.

By 1815, the population increased to 324,000, and by 1819, there were more than 500,000 Ohio citizens.

Religion. Religion in Ohio was divided. Presbyterian and Methodist religions were most numerous. In the southwest and other areas, there were a few Shakers and Quakers and Friends. Some denominations were not represented at all.

Factory labor. Several factories were beginning to make considerable quantities of cotton yarn, cloth and some wool goods.

Trade. The principle domestic articles that were traded for foreign commodities included horses, cattle, swine, whiskey and flour.

The lack of grain shipped to Eastern markets is a result of earlier attempts to transport corn in the form of grain.

As it was transported through forests and mountains, it spoiled, so most of it was converted into liquor when it arrived at the markets.

Ohio farmers realized it was a lot easier to transport whiskey than grain. This also eliminated the loss due to the elements and spillage.

Maps, listings. Pages 27-176 of the book are names of towns, townships, creeks, counties and rivers. An unusual item of interest is that a Salem was listed under the townships and towns category.

There is a map from 1819 in the beginning of the book. It shows the counties and their boundaries.


Up-to-date agriculture news in your inbox!