Claibourne Township was formed from a portion of Jackson Township between 1833 and 1834. Originally this land area was a part of Leesburg Township. Claibourne Township can be considered either the tenth or the eleventh township organized in Union County. The county was peitioned for the organization and surveying of Claibourne Township in March of 1833. However, no action was taken until the following year.
First Settled: prior to 1825
Cyprian Lee, who was heir to 1/3 of the Buller Claibourne survey, is credited with being the first settler in the area that was eventually encompassed in Claibourne Township.
Surveyed: The earliest surveys in this area were made in 1811.
Recorded: March 5, 1834
Name Origin: Claibourne Township was named for the Buller Claiborne survey, made in 1811. This survey was the largest in the county and contained nearly all of the land now in Claibourne Township.
Past and Present Towns and Places of Habitation:
Past and Present US Post Offices:
One-Room Schools: Cahill, Stoney Point, Claibourne, Sunnyside, Richwood High School, Richwood Grade School, Big Swale, East Boundary, Adams, Tawa, Bigelow, Wiley, and Deadwood.
Bigelow Corners - This community was located at the present day location of Richwood Meats at the intersection of SR 4 and SR 37.
Claibourne - Claibourne was first established as a stop on the New York, Pennsylvania, and Ohio Railroad in 1880-81, through the efforts of G. M. Warner. In 1879 a US post office was established at the train stop. The first postmaster was G. M. Warner. The village was formally surveyed on March 14, 1881 by Frederick J. Sagerand William Joliff, Jr. It originally contained 39 lots on 10 3/4 acres of land. The first houses were by 1881. A Methodist Protestant Church was built in this budding little village in 1880. Today all that remains of the village are two churches and a handful of houses. This village is located at the present day corner of Claibourne Road and Bethlehem-Claibourne Road. In the early 1880s a brick schoolhouse was built in this village.
Graham Settlement -
Leesburg - This was a settlement at the site of Cyprian Lee's cabin. It was approximately 2 miles south of present day Richwood on the south bank of Fulton Creek. The first school was held in the village in 1834 in a vacant log cabin. By 1850 a permanent frame school was built to house the Richwood School. Around 1861 a larger, three-room, frame school was built. By 1867, the Richwood School District withdrew from the Claibourne Township School System. Around 1875 a large, eight-room, brick school was built to house the growing district. This school house would later be the elementary building for the Claibourne District. The Claibourne Rural School District, an early precursor to the eventual North Union School District, was located in Richwood. The grade school was ereceted in 1875. It was chartered in 1903 and 1928. A separate highschool building was erected for this district in 1916.
Richwood - Richwood was surveyed between August 8-10, 1832 by Thomas G. Plummer, Special Deputy Surveyor. This survey was recorded in the county office on August 20, 1832. The town was platted on land owned by Philip Plummer. Dr. John P Brookins built the first cabin in the village in late 1832. He also served as the first post master of the village. The first store opened in the village in August of 1833. It was owned by Hezekiah Burdick and John Calloway, and remained open for barely two years.
The Richwood Methodist Episcopal Church was orgainzed on October 17, 1835, with Reverend Warren Frazell serving as the first pastor. This congregation ereceted a church structure in 1837, which is said to be the first church structure in Claibourne Township. Today this church is known as the Richwood First United Methodist Church. The Richwood Protestant Methodist Church was organized in the village in September of 1836 with John B. Lucas serving as the first pastor. This congregation built a small log church building in the early 1840s. This church is currently known as the Richwood Central United Methodist Church. Between 1850 and 1852, the Church of Disciples built a small log church in the village. The exact history of this congregation is uncertain, but it is believed that the congregation dates to around the mid 1830s. On June 20, 1874 the Presbyterian Church of Richwood was organized, with Reverend H. Shedd serving as the first pastor.
The village was incorporated on March 6, 1855. Charles Rosette was elected the first mayor in the same year, winning reelection in 1856 and 1857. The village government was inactive for a period of time after that. The village government was reestablished by 1868, and it has remain active since that time.
The first bank of this town was founded in 1866 by J. M. Davids and G. Allen, however it was only in existence for approximately a year. The Bank of Richwood was organized in 1867. The Richwood Gazette was established on August 16, 1872 by J. H. Vaughan and W. H. Nicholson. Mr. Vaughan served as the first editor of this newspaper. The Richwood Fire Department was incorpoorated in 1875. W. W. Kile served as the first chief of the fire department. A second newspaper made its debut in Richwood in 1882. It was called the Richwood Reporter.
Wynegar Neighborhood - This was once the location of a small Methodist Episcopal Congregation.
Claibourne - The Claibourne post office was established at the Claibourne station on August 5, 1879. G. M. Warner served as the first post master. This post office closed on June 15, 1947.
Richwood - Dr. J. P. Brookins served as this town's first postmaster.