Welcome to the Monroe County History and Genealogy Website

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CDs of important Monroe County record books are now available.  Each page of dozens of Monroe County record books have been photographed and made into CDs.  For a current list of available CDs click here.






A study of history seldom provides insight into the daily life of the common man of the period. Recorded history is frequently the compilation of facts and events that have occurred. However, these facts and events frequently are the things that guide and bound the lives of the people of the period. Having knowledge of the history of an area and a period provides a stage on which we can better view and understand the people.

The time-line that follows is an attempt to provide the stage for viewing our ancestors and their lives over the past 250 or so years. Use it as a 'yardstick' of time to understand what important historical events were taking place.

Pre-Ice Age - Evidence of the existence of man in Ohio prior to the glacial period is abundant. Earthworks built by the "Mound Building Indians" are found in many parts of Ohio. These earthworks are remnants of three early mound building groups: (1) the Fort Ancients, (2) the Adenas and (3) the Hopewells. Serpent Mound in Adams County; Fort Ancient in Warren County; Fort Hill in Highland County; and the Newark Earthworks in Licking County are major examples of these mound builder's existence. The largest mound in the State, at Miamisburg, is 68 feet in height and 800 feet in circumference.

The mound builders had vanished long before European traders entered the territory. The Indians claiming the land had no knowledge of the mound builders or their culture.

1492 - Columbus >discovered the Americas= by landing in the Caribbean Islands.

1502 - First African slaves arrive in Americas (in the Caribbean Islands)

1570 - Shakespeare began to write

1590 - First microscope built

About 1600 - The principal Ohio Indian Tribes were: the Miami, the Shawnee, the Delaware, the Wyandot (Huron), the Ottawa of the Algonquin tribe, and the Mingo (Seneca) of the Iroquois Nation. The Miami tribe was the first of these tribes to actually reside in Ohio, coming in the late 1660's.

The Indians' claim to Ohio lands rested upon conquest and possession. They did not claim ownership of the land, as the white men did. Rather, they claimed the right to use the land for various purposes. Therefore, different boundaries existed for hunting, fishing, farming and villages. These overlaps of claims often led to wars among the various tribes.

1608 - First successful French settlement by Samuel de Champlain at Quebec

1619 - First African slaves arrive in Virginia

1620 - Pilgrims landed near Cape Cod.

1621 - First Thanksgiving Day

1624 - Dutch found New Amsterdam (now New York City) and buy Manhattan Island

1633 - Galileo, an Italian professor and scientist claimed that the Earth and planets circled around the Sun. He was sentenced by the Catholic Church to imprisonment for life for his beliefs.

1633 - A mass trial of witches in Lancashire, England

1670 - The first exploration by Europeans, in what is now Ohio, was made by the French. Robert Cavelier, Sieur de La Salle, explored the lake area in late 1669 or early 1670, thus claiming all of Ohio for France.

1691 - Witchcraft trials take place in Salem, Massachusetts.

1763 - The French assigned the "Great West" to the English on February 10, 1763 at the Treaty of Paris, was the result of the French losing the French and Indian War, 1755-1763.

1778 - A Congressional Committee proposed that states cede its Western lands to the New Central Government. The states of Virginia, New York, Connecticut and Massachusetts all claimed portions of the territory northwest of the Ohio River, based upon charters granted by the kings of England. After much controversy and compromise, these states relinquished their claims. The dates of these cessions were: New York, 1781;Virginia, 1784; Massachusetts, 1785; and Connecticut, 1786 and 1800.

1783 - Great Britain formally relinquished its right and interest in the Northwest Territory by the Treaty of Paris, September 3, 1783.

1785 - Title to land claimed by the various Indian tribes was extinguished or conveyed by treaty. The Treaty of Fort McIntosh, January 21, 1785, between the Sachems and warriors of the Wyandot, Delaware, Chippewa and Ottawa nations and the United States, gave the United States title to Ohio lands except the northern quarter.

1788 - The Ohio Company (a land company) established the first permanent settlement in Ohio on April 7, 1788.

1789 - French Revolution

1790 - Philip Witten bought 220 acres of land in 1790 in what is now Jackson Township, Monroe County, Ohio. Other settlers followed: Earl Sproat bought 690 acres; Robert McEldowney settled Buckhill Bottom around 1794; James Henthorn and Charles Atkinson around 1798; and Jacob Ollom and Samuel McBride in 1800.

1795 - The Treaty of Fort McIntosh was not kept by the Indians, but was reaffirmed by the Treaty of Greenville in 1795.

1796 - On May 17, 1796, Colonel Zane began construction of a trail that would be called Zane Trace that began across the river from Wheeling, Virginia (now West Virginia) and travel to Limestone (now Maysville), Kentucky. The trail was completed in the fall of 1797.

1803 - On March 1, 1803 Ohio became the 17th state in the Union with the capitol located at Chillicothe, Ohio (1803 - 1810). Edward Tiffin was elected the first Governor of Ohio on January 11, 1803, and took the oath of office March 3, 1803. The first legislature met on March 1, 1803.

1804 - Ohio University was established February 18, 1804 and became the recipient of a Federal Land Grant. The university was opened in 1809. The first class, consisting of John Hunter and Thomas Ewing, graduated in 1815.

1804 - Napoleon became emperor

1809 - Miami University was established on February 17, 1809. The legislature named the town Oxford in 1810, and directed that it be platted. The academy opened in 1818, became a college in 1824, and graduated the first class in 1826.

1810 - Ohio capitol was moved from Chillicothe to Zanesville (1810 - 1812)

1810 - Ohio capitol was moved from Zanesville to Chillicothe (1812 - Oct. 1816)

1812 - War of 1812 between the United States and England

1813 - Napoleon defeated.

1813 - Monroe County, Ohio was organized in 1813 and in 1814 Woodsfield, Ohio was selected as the county seat.

1815 - The first Quakers arrived in Monroe County

1815 - Benjamin Lundy of Belmont County formed the first anti-slavery society called the Union Humane Society

1816 - Ohio capitol was moved to Columbus, Ohio. When Columbus was designated the permanent State Capitol on February 14, 1812 the area was still a wilderness.

1817 - The earliest record of a slave escaping across the Ohio River to freedom.

1819 - The migration of Swiss settlers to Monroe County, Ohio began.

1825 - Begun on July 4, 1825, the Ohio Canal System ultimately consisted of over 795 miles of canals and feeders, five reservoirs (32,903 acres); 29 stream dams, 294 lift locks, and 44 aqueducts, which cost the state $15,967,652. Cost of maintenance and operations to November 15, 1901, was $12,464,130. Gross receipts from 1827 to 1901 were $17,556,722.

Ohio=s major canals and their length in miles were: Ohio Canal (309); Walhonding Canal (25); Hocking Canal (56); Sandy and Beaver Canal (6); Muskingum Improvement (91); Miami and Erie Canal (248); Wabash and Erie Canal (18), and eight feeders (42 miles).

1826 - The Aiding Abolition Society was formed in Monroe County, Ohio.

1839 - Abolitionists organized the town of Stafford and it became an important site on the Underground Railroad.

1845 - Irish potato famine.

1851 - Noble County, Ohio was organized. The townships of Elk, Enoch, Union, Stock and parts of Seneca and Franklin were detached from Monroe County to create Noble. A strip of territory two miles wide and thirteen miles long (26 sections) were taken from Washington County and added to Monroe.

1861 - American Civil War (1861 - 1865)

1869 - The Suez Canal was opened.1873 - The Ohio Agricultural and Mechanical College opened for students in 1873. The first class graduated in 1878, the year the university changed its name to Ohio State University.

1914 - World War I

1939 - World War II

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CDs of important Monroe County record books are now available.  Each page of dozens of Monroe County record books have been photographed and made into CDs.  For a current list of available CDs click here.