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Athens County Ohio Genealogy

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Ohio University at Athens
Ohio University at Athens, Drawn by Henry Howe, 1846

Athens County was formed from Washington County March 1, 1805. The early settlement of this county began just after Wayne’s treaty. During the year 1796 nearly 1,000 flat boats or “broad horns,” as they were then called, passed Marietta laden with emigrants on their way to the more attractive regions of Southwestern Ohio. In the early part of 1797 a considerable number of newly arrived emigrants were assembled in Marietta, eager to obtain lands on the best terms they could and form settlements. The two townships of land appropriated by the Ohio Company for the benefit of a university had been selected in December, 1795. They were townships Nos. 8 and 9 in the fourteenth range, constituting at present Athens and Alexander townships. The township lines were run in 1795, and the sectional surveys made in 1796, under the supervision of General Putnam, the company’s surveyor, who from the first took an ardent interest in the selection of these lands and the founding of the university. His policy (in which he was seconded by the other agents) was to encourage the early settlement of the college lands, make them attractive and productive, and so begin the formation of a fund for the institution.

Encouraged by Gen. Putnam, who wished to introduce permanent settlers as soon as possible, a number of the emigrants who had stopped at Marietta decided to locate on the college lands. Among these were Alvan Bingham, Silas Bingham, Isaac Barker, William Harper, John Wilkins, Robert Linzee, Edmund, William and Barak Dorr, John Chandler and Jonathan Watkins. They made their way down the Ohio and up the Hockhocking in large canoes early in the year 1797. Having ascended as far as the attractive bluff where the town of Athens now stands, they landed and sought their various locations. A few of them fixed on the site of the present town, but most of them scattered up and down the adjacent bottoms.

The pioneers soon opened up several clearings about Athens, and a little corn for corn-bread was put in the first spring. The clearings, however, were irregular and scattered, and no effort was made as yet to lay out a town. Early in 1798 a number of emigrants arrived; among them were Solomon Tuttle, Christopher Stevens, John and Moses Hewit, Cornelius Moore, Joseph Snowden, John Simonton, Robert Ross, the Brooks, and the Hanings. Some of these had families. Some settled in Athens and some in Alexander township. Mrs. Margaret Snowden, wife of Joseph Snowden, was honored by having “Margaret’s creek” named after her, she being the first white woman who reached this central point in the county.

Most of the Athens County Ohio Genealogy collection has been extracted from Walker’s History of Athens County. These consist of numerous biographies, lists of town officers and land records. To this has been added an 1820 census index of Athens County, extracted from the original records by Dennis Partridge.

Athens County Biographies

Athens County Cemetery Records

Athens County 1820 Census Index

The 1820 census real value is in identifying the heads of household within a location, and the number of people residing within that household when the census was taken. The information below contains the names and page number each person was found on the census.

 Athens County Town Officers

Athens County Land Records

Athens County Ohio Genealogy Sources

  1. Walker, Charles Manning. History of Athens County, Ohio, And, Incidentally, of the Ohio Land Company and the First Settlement of the State at Marietta: With Personal and Biographical Sketches of the Early Settlers, Narratives and Pioneer Adventures, Etc. Athens County OH. Robert Clarke & Company, 1869.
  2. 1820 Athens County, Ohio Census Records, Copyright 2001 by Dennis N. Partridge. Web.
  3. WPA Cemetery Database.

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