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Union County

A Brief History


Union County is approximately 20  miles northwest of Columbus, Ohio.  This area was once wandered by tribes of Wyandot, Miami, Delaware, and Shawnee and originally belonged to the Miamis.  An adopted captive of the Shawnee's named Jonathan Alder, was probably the first white man to reside in the region.  He lived with the tribe for 15 years until after the Wayne Treaty was signed in 1775.


Most of the land now encompassed in Union County was a part of the Virginia Military District.  The Virginia Military District included land that is now a part of 23 different counties in Ohio.  This land was granted to soldiers who served in the Revolutionary War.  In fact, George Washington was eligible for land in the Virginia Military District, but records show he never applied for a land patent.


Lucas Sullivant, a young surveyor from Kentucky acquired much of the land which is now Darby Township.  He came to inspect this land in 1797 and laid out a town that he named North Liberty which was located near present day Plain City in the southern part of the county.  The first permanent settlers of North Liberty in 1798 were Joshua and James Ewing.  The southern part of the county was settled first along the banks of the streams which proved to be their only means of transportation.  Only a few trails were available through the thick wilderness.


Another surveyor named Nathanial Massie was sent farther north into the wilderness to survey the middle section which is now where Marysville is located.  Samuel W. Culbertson of Zanesville acquired land in the area and picked a spot on Mill Creek.  He then proposed a town plat of 7 acres.  This was done in 1819, and he named the town after his daughter Mary.  Marysville is presently the county seat and largest town in Union County.


The first white child reported born in 1800 in the region was Jesse Mitchell.  The first white girl was Eliza Ewing.  The first female white child born in what is now Ohio, Mary Hawn, is buried in the Mitchell Cemetery.  


On February 25, 1820, Union County was created by an act of state legislature, due largely through the efforts of Colonel James Curry, from lands of Delaware, Franklin, Madison and Logan Counties.  It was first divided into the 3 townships of Darby, Millcreek, and Union and was later divided into the present 14 townships.

Links of Interest

Union County, Ohio Records Center and Archives
Stephen W. Badenhop, Coordinator
Union County, Ohio Historical Society
The History of Union County, Ohio
W. H. Beers & Co., 1883
The Flood of 1913

by Robert W. Parrott

The History of Union County, Ohio:
It's People, Industries, and Institutions

by Colonel W. L. Curry

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