SCHS Header
Link to Homepage
Link to About Us page
Link to Staff & Board page
Link to Ross Center page
Link to Exhibits page
Link to Events Calendar page
Link to Archives page
Link to Online Store
Link to Membership page
Link to Volunteer page
Link to Contact Us page
Historical photo show 100 years ago header

100 Years Ago

Black History
Civil War
Gold Rush
Law and Order

The Establishment of Shelby County

Perhaps Shelby County’s most important natural resource was the Great Miami River, which, combined with many creeks, created a very good waterway system. Because of these waterways, settlers were able to successfully penetrate this heavily forested area by boat in their search for a place to live. Many of the initial settlers lived near Loramie Creek and the Great Miami River Basin.

Ohio’s major settlement boom came after the War of 1812, when there was no longer a great fear of the Indians. Prior to this, disgruntled tribes lurked about in defiance of the 1795 Treaty of Greene Ville, causing fear and distrust. During the ‘great migration’ to Ohio, in one 3 month period, over 800 wagons and all types of conveyances, crossed the Ohio River at Wheeling, West Virginia. Each family hoped to prosper on the fertile land of Ohio.

From 1801 until 1808, there were several county boundary changes in Ohio. Shelby County began as part of Hamilton, then Montgomery and finally Miami County. Shelby County separated from Miami County in 1819 and had some modification of its boundaries up until 1883. To reduce confusion, the Shelby County area is referred to by its current name throughout the web site.

While a part of Miami County, Shelby County was organized into four townships instead of the twelve that exist today. These townships were located south of the Greenville Treaty Line because there was no white settlement allowed north of the line. The four townships were: Loramie, (which today includes the areas of Loramie, Cynthian and a little of Washington); Turtle Creek (Turtle Creek, Washington and Clinton), Perry (Perry, Salem and a little of Orange/Green) and Green (Orange and Green).

Limited information is available about Shelby County’s early years and the lives of its immigrants since its first newspaper, "The Western Herald" was not published until 1831. And, like other small town newspapers, it devoted space to regional information and little to the personal lives of local residents. Official records, such as those for marriage, land transactions, taxes, etc., were compiled beginning in 1818. In the years preceding the war of 1812, there were less than 50 families in the Shelby County area.

In 1805, Shelby County’s first settler, James Thatcher, traveled north from Kentucky. Other settlers arrived and lived around the swampy areas of Loramie and Turtle Creek. Most of these families came from Kentucky, with several others coming from Virginia and New Jersey. Although the soil was very rich in the swampy areas, it wasn’t a very pleasant living environment with the swarms of mosquitoes, black flies, turtles, snakes and frogs. Illness was common, widespread and thought to be caused by the stagnant water and poison air from the swamps. At that time, the mosquito as the carrier of malaria was not known.

The original plat for Hardin was filed in October, 1816, in Miami County. It would later serve as a county seat for almost a year until the establishment of Sidney in 1820. In April 1819, the state legislature declared Shelby a new county with a population of 1,500 to 2,000. By 1820, 2,142 people lived there, in 1830, 3,671; 1840, 12,153; 1850, 13,958; 1860, 17,493; 1870, 20,748; 1880, 24,436; 1890, 24,707; 1900, 24,625; 1910, 24,663 and in 1920, 25, 293.   This new county existed in what used to be the northern part of Miami County and also included land in what is now Allen and Auglaize counties. It was named after General Isaac Shelby, a greatly-admired officer in the Revolutionary War and the first governor of Kentucky.

'Immigration' segment written in November, 1997 by David Lodge


[ Back to Immigration Index

Article Footer
SCHS footer Link to Home page Link to About Us Information Link to the Ross Center Information Link to our Events Calendar Information Link to our Archives Information Link to our Online Store / Products Information Link to our Membership Information Link to our Volunteering Information Link to our Contact Information Link to Staff & Board Information Link to our Current & Upcoming Exhibits Information Link to our Donation Information