Wayne County Ohio - History of

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    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 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
    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 1821 R14, T17 & T18
    Prairie 1812 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.

    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.
    • Newspapers tell accounts of unusual happenings in the county.


    The 100th Anniversary of Organizing Wayne County: At Wooster Next Year, Sherman Brigade Reunion, Aug. 15-19, 1894

    • Orrville, O., August 9-- No small city in Ohio ever made more complete arrangements for a gathering of old soldiers than the people of Orrville did this week for the 25th annual reunion of John Sherman's Brigade. The town was never so prettily nor so completed decorated. It is no exaggeration to say that the place is literarily one mass of flags and bunting. There is not a business place, workshop or factory that has not made some attempt at decoration, and many private residences also display the national colors in honor of the heroes of the Rebellion gathered in our stirring and progressive town.

    The Sherman Brigade, was organized early in the war by Hon. John Sherman, of Mansfield, who is the honorary president of the Brigade association. The brigade was composed of the 64th O. V. V. I., 65th O. V. V. I., 6th O. V. V. I. Battery, McLaughlins, Cavalry Squardron, Companies A. and B. It was commanded in the field by Gen. James A. Garfield and Gen. James A. Harker, a graduate of West Point, who was killed at the battle of Kenesaw Mountain, June 27, 1864. The Cavalry was commanded by the gallant Gen. Judson Kilpatrick, in the famous march to the sea. The 15th O. V. V. I., 41st O. V. V. I., 104th O. V. I. and 176th O. V. I. Regiments are also holding their annual reunions here at this time.

    As is the established custom of the Sherman Brigade, the reunion is held in military style, the veterans and their families camping out in tents and preparing there meals as much as possible after the manner in which the boys in blue lived during the war. The encampment is on the Fair Grounds, the camp having been named "Camp McGill." in honor of Henry McGill, deceased, a member of the brigade who was a resident of Orrville. The scene in camp has a military aspect, there being long rows of snowy white tents for sleeping quarters and regimental headquarters for each organization participating. The attendance of veterans is quite good, not fully up to the expectations, but large enough to make the affair a success. It is interesting to stand about the different regimental quarters and listen to the way in which the veterans greet each other. The silent tear is seen to flow unbidden as they tell of this and that comrade who has gone to the real celestial. That the time is not far distance when the last reunion will be held is realized as one gazes on the rapidly thinning ranks and beholds the gray hairs and tottering and weakened forms of the veterans.

    Tuesday, the first day of the reunion, was spent in the reception of comrades and greetings, assignment of quarters and informal organization. Wednesday the day was ushered in with a salute at sunrise followed by a reveille and breakfast call at 6 a.m. At 10 o'clock, the first business meeting was had when the various committees were appointed.

    An incident not on the programme took place in front of headquarters shortly after 10 o'clock, when Miss Nettie Moores, of McZena, O. was wedded to Mr. C. R. Williams, of Crestline, a fireman on the Ft. Wayne road. They were attended by Mr. Sheriey Moores, a brother of the bride, and Miss Aurellia Williams, a sister of the groom. The ceremony was performed by Rev. B. F. Morris, or Shenandoah, O. The bridal party walked on rag carpets laid from "headquarters" to an arch made of maple branches and trimmed with flags. The Orrville Band for a wedding march played "The Belle of Chicago" and while congratulations were being extended made the air lively with quicksteps. the bride and groom were literally covered with rice as they passed from the arch to the tent. Both the children of members of the Sherman Brigade, and will spend their honeymoon in Camp McGill.

    There were probably 2,000 persons in camp Wednesday afternoon, of whom about 500 were old soldiers. Music was provided by the Orrville and Dalton bands and the Buttermore Drum Corps. Mayor Levi Newiwanger, of Orrville, gave a hearty address of welcome which was responded to by Col. L. D. Myers, of Columbus, Miss Daisy Geisinger, of Orrville, recited "Our Soldier Boys," and original poem, in a way that elicited applause. The Bunker Hill Quartette gave a selection, after which Judge N. D. Tibbals, of Akron, gave an address that was received with good attention and frequently applauded Boys in Blue are Turning Gray ," another original poem, was given by Miss Geisinger with good effect. The remainder of the afternoon was put in listening to concerts by the bands and in hand shaking by the veterans.

    A very large crowd, probably the largest that ever attended a campfire in Wayne County, gathered in camp last night. The occasion was an enjoyable one and revived many memories of the tent and field. The principal address was made by Gen. Aquila Wiley of Wooster, W. C. Cook, of Dalton, conducted the campfire in an able way.

    A number of the old regimental battle flags, which are now the precious property of the State, were on exhibition.

    Orrville, O, Aug. 10-- The attendance today on the fourth and last day of the Sherman Brigade reunion was small. Many of the veterans left last night and today. All outgoing trains carried the old solider boys back to their homes. The attendance on Thursday was good, about 3,000 persons being in camp during the day. Many members of regiments not in the Sherman Brigade nor of those holding their reunions during the encampment were present and entered into the pleasures of the day heartily. The excellent music by the Orrville band was a feature that was greatly enjoyed. The business meeting held at 10 a.m. was well attended. Capt. A. P. Baldwin, of Akron, who commanded the 6th Ohio Battery, presided.

    The first business transacted was reading the report of Committee on Permanent Organization, which was adopted as follows: President John Sherman; 1st Vice, B. F. Trescott, Alliance; 2d, I. W. Miler, Gibsonburg, O., 3d John W. Leidic, Mansfield; 4th, L. K. Force, Akron; Secretary, Thos. Everly, Holmesville; Treasurer, E. Moores, McZena; Chaplain, B. F. Morris, Shenandoah; Surgeon, A. C. Mathias, Giboa; Musical Director Thos. Parkison, Mansfield; Marshal S. H. Tucker, Vernon Junction. Executive Committee, T. P. Kent, Wooster; N. Wells, Creston; J. L. Hall, Orrville, B. F. Clark, Akron.

    Committee on Time and Place-- We, your Committee on Time and Place, recommend Wooster, O., as the place and the third Tuesday of Aug. 1895, and continue four days the time. I. N. Thompson J. S. Kope B. F. Trescott T. G. Watkins

    Report of Committee on Obituaries-- We your Committee on Obituaries beg leave to report that the ranks of the old veterans of the Sherman Brigade are annually being fast depleted and the brace old comrades who shrank not in the presence of flying shot and shell are compelled to surrender to the last enemy death, and are fast joining the great majority and peopling the city of the dead.

    Names of comrades who have fallen during the year.

    64th-- Major S. L. Coulter, Parsons, Kan.; Jerry Oberlin, Co. C., Bellville, O.

    65th-- Warren Case, Co. B., Alliance, O.; Morris Taylor, Co. B, Iowa; Samuel Sheehan, Co. B. Auburn, Ind.; Mell Porter, Co. E, Berea, O.

    Squadron-- Major R. Rice, Elida, O.; Solomon Cline, Co. B, Delphos, O.; Moses Willett, Co. B.

    Battery-- Adam Cline, Shelby, O.

    This makes 10 in all and all of whom we trust have passed over the river and gone where the reveille call and the unwelcome hissing and screaming of shot and shell have been exchanged for the songs of redeeming love. I. N. Thompson B. F. Morris A. P. Baldwin

    At the close the following resolution was adopted: "Resolved, That the Sherman Brigade assembled at Camp McGill hereby tender its thanks to all the loyal citizen of Orrville for their generosity in furnishing the beautiful camp ground and all other courtesies so freely extended during its stay in Orrville."

    Adjournment was then taken for dinner.

    An audience that filled all the seats and much of the standing room about the speaker's stand gathered together in the afternoon. Music was furnished by the D'Miller family, of Wooster, the Orrville Quartette and Orrville Band. The principle address was made by Gen. A. C. Voris, of Akron, Hon. A. S. McClure, of Wooster, was present and in response to repeated calls made a speech that was replete with humor and most appropriate to the occasion. Miss Birdie eisinger, of Orrville, gave a recitation entitled "The Starts and Stripes" Mrs. Kirkpatrick, of Smithville favored the audience with a patriotic song. Mast Glenwood Geisinger, a bright youth of Orrville, recited "E. Pluribus Unum"

    Another campfire conducted by Comrade B. F. Clark, of Akron, (recorder of Summit county and once a Republican typo.) was held last night. The attendance was good and many incidents of camp and field were related that vividly recalled the trying days of the Rebellion.

    At 10 o'clock this morning tents were struck and the 25th annual reunion of the Sherman Brigade was at an end.

    The reunions of the 15th O. V. V. I. 41st O. V. V. I., 104th O. V. I. and 176th O. V. I., held during the encampment were poorly attended. The 104th Regiment will reune next year at Salem, the 41st O. V. I. at Port Clinton.

    The Republican's Smithville correspondent notes this pleasing event at the Sherman Brigade reunion Wednesday. Married in Camp McGill. Orrville, O., at 10:15 a.m. standard time, Wednesday, August 8, 1895, Miss Nettle A. Moores, of McZena, Ashland county, O., daughter of Col. E. Moores, of the 65th O. V. I. and C. B. Williams, Crestline, O., son of G. W. Williams, of 64th O. V. I. by Rev. B. F. Morris, Disciple minister of Shenandoah, in the presence of a large assembly of old soldiers and others. [1]


    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.





    Map of Wayne County, Ohio with municipal and township labels

    Many communities are no longer in existance, have merged with larger towns, or have changed names.





    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 prove 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.]


    • History
      • 19 volumes of Township Notebooks
        • Include various newspapers articles about townships and villages
        • Table of contents available for Baughman, Canaan, Chester, Chippewa, Clinton, Congress, East Union, Franklin, Green, Milton, Paint, Plain, Salt Creek, Sugar Creek, Wayne, and Wooster 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


    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.
    • Facebook
      Follow the Wayne County Public Library's Facebook page to see photos from Throw-Back Thursday. Also, there is a Facebook group known as "Wayne County, Ohio...Remembered" that includes photos and information on Wayne County, Ohio.
    1. Wooster Republican, Wooster, Ohio. 1894 Aug 15, p.1.