History of Knox County

Knox County History

Events of 1800 to 1825

In the year 1800, Ohio’s many new settlers were reaching toward the 60,000 population required for Ohio’s entry as our 17th State, which occurred in March, 1803. Soon the land that would become Knox County was being occupied by individuals and families from Pennsylvania, Maryland, Virginia, and other states. John Chapman, later known as Johnny Appleseed, arrived in time to vote in Mount Vernon’s first election, about 1806.

Our first towns were established at Clinton and Mount Vernon, followed shortly by Fredericktown, Danville, and Houck’s Settlement, near Centerburg. By 1825 there would be 12 post offices within the county. Knox County was established in 1808, being named for General Henry Knox, longtime friend and Secretary of War to George Washington. Mount Vernon became the county seat and as our population grew new roads and businesses were built in and around the county.

Our first and second courthouses were built during this period, and Captain Joseph Walker led a Company of Knox County men into service in the War of 1812. Trouble with Indians was a constant concern at that time, especially in Richland County, which was a part of Knox County until 1813.

Our first weekly newspaper, the Ohio Register, began at Clinton in 1813, and in 1816, the short-lived Owl Creek Bank opened its doors. Daniel Decatur Emmett and Mary Ann Ball (Mother Bickerdyke) were born here during these years, and our first schoolhouse was set up near the Mount Vernon Public Square. Owl Creek Baptist, St. Luke’s Catholic, and Presbyterian churches were established early on, soon followed by many others. By 1825, our population was above 2000, and the county had been divided into nearly all the townships we have today.

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