Clermont County was established by proclamation on December 9, 1800, before Ohio itself became a state.
The county was named for a French word that described the area in the late 1700s and early 1800s - "clear mountains and hills." Since all of Clermont County is in the Virginia Military District and the French aided the Americans in the final defeat of the British at the siege of Yorktown in 1781, many Virginians who helped settle the county felt it was appropriate to name it in honor of their French allies.
As a territorial county in the early 1800s, Clermont was composed of five townships. Eventually, the five townships were divided into 14. The original county seat was in Williamsburg (originally spelled Williamsburgh), where it remained until 1823. It then moved to New Richmond, along the Ohio River, for one year.
Clermont's first community was Williamsburg, the original county seat, located on the eastern edge of the county. Williamsburg, then known as Lytlestown, was platted in 1796. Early settlements also included Denhamstown, incorporated as Bethel in 1851. Jesse Grant, father of Ulysses S. Grant, was Bethel's first mayor.
Other early settlements included: Withamsville (then called Witham's settlement), Miami Township, Hageman's Mills (later Milford), Stonelick Township, Chilo, Goshen Township, Felicity, Moscow, Point Isabel and Amelia. All date to the early decades after 1800.
The county has grown from 15,820 people in 1820, 36,713 in 1880, and 42,182 in 1950 to about 177,000 in 1998.
Batavia was named for the village, which was named for the previous home of some of the county's first settlers, Batavia, N. Y. It was established in September of 1815, formed from parts of Williamsburg and Ohio townships.
Franklin was named after Benjamin Franklin, one of the United States' founding fathers. It was established in May of 1818, formed from Washington and Lewis (now part of Brown County) townships.
Goshen was named after the some of the community's first settlers, who arrived from Goshen, N. Y. It was established in March of 1819, and formed from Miami Township.
Jackson was named after President of the United States Andrew Jackson. It was established in June of 1834, from Wayne, Stonelick and Williamsburg townships. Jackson was president at the time the township was established.
Miami was named after the Little Miami River and the tribe of Indians who once controlled the area. Originally known as O'Bannon Township - in honor of the county's first surveyor - John O'Bannon, Miami was one of the county's original townships, established in February of 1801.
Monroe was named after President of the United States James Monroe. It was established in June of 1825, and formed from Ohio and Washington townships. Monroe's term of office ended early in the year the township was established.
Ohio was named after the state. It is one of the county's original townships, established in February of 1801.
Pierce was named after President of the United States Franklin Pierce. It was established in December of 1852 and formed from Ohio Township. Pierce was president at the time the township was established.
Stonelick was named for the creek that passes through it. It was established in March of 1812, formed from Miami and Williamsburg townships.
Tate was probably named for the Tate family, who settled in the area in its early days. Many Tates moved to Clermont County from the Tates Creek area of Kentucky, where they were companions of Simon Kenton and Daniel Boone. Tate Township was established in June of 1805, formed from Ohio and Williamsburg Townships.
Union was probably named after the union of the states that formed the United States. It was established in December of 1811, formed from Ohio Township.
Washington was named after President of the United States George Washington, who owned land in Clermont County. It is one of the county's original townships, established in February of 1801.
Wayne was named after Gen. "Mad" Anthony Wayne, who was directly responsible for opening Clermont County and the southern two-thirds of Ohio to legal settlement by citizens of the United States after the signing of the Treaty of Greenville in August, 1795. Wayne Township was established in March of 1819, formed from Stonelick Township.
Williamsburg was named for the village, which was named for its founder, William Lytle, also known as the "Father of Clermont County". It is one of the county's original townships, established in February of 1801.
From: "History of Clermont County, Ohio, 1880 "
Springtime brought work,hard and steady,to the woman of the cabin,spinning and weaving the summer linen.Rising in the morning at four,she built the fires,made up her own beds,awoke and dressed the children,made up the trundle bed,shoved it under the "big bed," put on the tea kettle,and mixed the Indian meal for the johnny cakes and the corn dodgers. This done, she prepared the frugal meal and set the table,after which she blew a merry peal on the tin horn to call the men to breakfast.Next she nursed the baby,but that could be done while she was knitting the the socks and stockings.The men came in,and springing up,she laid the sweet, smiling little baby in the trough cradle,and with one loving kiss she set the victuals on the rude table,and jogged the cradle with her foot each time she passed to keep the baby calm.
Breakfst over,the rustic dishes put away,the children sent to school or out to play,she sprinkled the linen on the grass,and now spinning is resumed. She takes the wheel out on the puncheon floor,takes her darling baby from the cradle,and while her foot is busy with the treadle,it serves as a motion to quiet the little beauty while singing and musing. She can sing right merrily ,too: "Home Sweet Home" - my own home,be it ever so poor,is home.
But, it is time to prepare dinner,and greens must be picked,potatoes washed,meat put on to boil,and venison or bear meat to be broiled or baked;and , if the husband is a good shot,a turkey is swung up before the large fireplace to to broil. Then down to the wheel or into the loom,banging away as she sends the swifty flying shuttle through the double threaded web. The horn is blown again,the victuals taken up,and the meal is eaten with the baby on her lap. The pewterdishes washed and put away,the floors must be scrubbed, for she has no carpet, and the bleaching cloth is watered again.Then back to the wheel til time for supper;which over, she goes to the pasture to milk the cows,puts the children to bed,and takes agin to the ever busy wheel until the husband retires to his couch. She must stop now,for he does not like the buzzing noise,but no bed comes to her relief yet, for the childrenís clothes are to be mended and stockings darned;and thus she toils on until late in the night.
Such was the life led by most of Clermontís pioneer mothers. But few of the grandmothers remain who participated in such a life,and in a few short years,they will have become pioneers to another country,to be followed by a ceaseless stream of emigrants as time rolls its changes in our fleeting world.
Among the common articles of food which the pioneers haad, mush and milk was greatly esteemed,and the methods of eating the same were various. Some would sit around the pot and everyone take therefrom for himself;some would set a table and each have his own tin cup of milk,and with a pewter spoon take just as much mush from the dish or pot, if it was on the table,as he thought would fill his mouth,then lowering it into the milk,would take some to wash it down. This method kept the milk cool,and by frequent repetitions the pioneer would contract the faculty of of correctly estimating the proper amount of each;but others would mix the mush and milk together.
The earliest settlers had no candles,and cared little about them,except for summer use.Sometimes seasoned sticks,then again the bark of the shelly hickory,was used for light,and the common rag dips of cloth in grease and the various like styles were always at hand.
Salt was a luxury, very scarece and at a high price,and sold from three to four dollarsper bushel up to 1808.Whiskey toddy was considered luxury enough for any party,the woods furnished abundance of venison,and corn pone supplied the place of every variety of pastry.
In the early days of pioneer life religion assumed a dramatic form, and the out door meetings were the natural result , both as accessories of scenery and also because " Godís first temples " were the only temples are worthy ancestors were able to secure. Then here and there a rude structure was put up, like the " Old Bethel Meeting House," "Hopewell",and Ten Mile Creek churches,and soon many log houses were erected in the county for the preaching of the Lordís word. Services, too, were often held in the residences of zealousmembers of the church , and very frequently in the woods,where large camp meetings attracted hundreds and thousands from many miles around. It was near fourscore years ago that the "voice on one crying in the wilderness" first began to be heard in Clermont,into which poured preacherson the circuit; and they men who had not graduated with honors of their class at a fashionable divinity school. They were as guiltless as teh original Greek as they claimed it was possible to become of original sin,and they came among an honest, impulsive, uncultured 9 in a collegiate sense) people , knowing how to touch the strings of every heart ; and the work they did was gradual, formative , but enduring in its happy results,as we find in our excellent churches and Christian families the fruits of these first fathersí teachings.
Those who suppose that pioneer life was one of continual hardship - " all work and no play " - are very greatly mistaken. They had their amusements,which, if not as refined as those of modern times,were as exciting and enjoyable. The pursuit of game with the faithful dog and trusty gun relieved the monotony of daily toil,and the forests abounded with squirrels,wild turkeys, and deer. They trapped the rabbits an, quails and other small game;and at night "coon and Žpossum -hunting" were favorite diversions.
There were elements of a pleasing nature in the life of the early settler not found in the dull routine of ordinary work on improved farms. Visions of bear,panther, deer and raccoon hunts,corn huskings,monster log rollings,house raisings,wrestling matches,and fishing parties, and last, but not least in true sport and enjoyment,the ancient fox chase. The recollections of the gay dance and the wild frolic come softly over the aged pioneer memory like the low whisperings of the summer breeze,like the gentle murmuring of the rolling waters as the long swell breaks upon the shore,like the far off sound of church bells mellowed by time,softened by distance,but also hallowed by many a pleasant thought and fond remembrance.
Pleasure was often combined with business, resulting in house raisings,log rollings,and corn huskings,frequent and attended by young and old,especially the latter. In the fall the ears of corn were torn from the stalk unhooked and deposited in a long row upon a plat of grass; and when the company assembled in the evening,captains were chosen who divided the heap as near the middle as possible. They selected their men alternately, and being arrayed under their respective leaders,the contest began.The husks were thrown backward and the ears of corn forward,and the company that finished first was the winner,and had the first swig at the bottle and the chief seats at the royal feast that followed. Oftentimes daylight revealed the fact that unhooked corn was found among the shucks and in the corn heap.
Young people in fall and winter evenings were often assembled at a quilting or apple cutting party. When the quilt was finished, or the apples peeled, quartered and cored,and a sumptuous feast was disposed offal united in a dance or some play. The old pioneer who reads this chapter will remember with what spirit and enthusiasm they marched with their partner and sang .
Seldom were those joyous occasions marred by any unpleasant incidents or by excesses in eating or drinking,but at an early hour in the morning each young man went home with his girl,only to repeat the enjoyment at some other cabin on the next moon lit night.
Horse racing,turkey raffling,and many other kindred sports that obtained in many settlements, found few votaries in Clermont ,whose pioneers were of a type of settlers not addicted to gambling and other vices that beset so many frontier localities.Some twenty years after the settlement of the county a few rough, course, and viscious characters came in - principally as adventurers - but they were soon weeded out, and the county arose rapidly to great numbers in population, owing, in great degree, to the industry and good character of the hardy settlers.
Copyright ©†2007†Tammy Collins - Altman
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