Researched & Compiled by Debbie Noland Nitsche
Last update Dec. 2008

Debbie Nitsche's notes to readers:

Please refer to this source as a guide in your research. The information below is not perfect and by no means is it 100% complete. It is important that you verify the information. The geographic history of Washington County can become somewhat confusing. However, to understand some of it is very important to the history of our ancestors who either settled or who only stayed for a short time, before migrating further west. I originally compiled the information below for the purpose of assisting with my own research in Washington County, Ohio.

The resources I used are listed at the bottom of the page. It is possible that some of the names are duplicated by being called by another name, and that some townships are not listed at all.

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Athens, Belmont, Gallia, Hamilton, Jefferson, Knox, Meigs, Monroe, Morgan, Muskingum, Noble, Randolph, Ross, St.Clair, Trumbull, and Wayne.
Source: History of Washington County, Ohio : with illustrations and biographical sketches. [Cleveland] : H.Z. Williams, 1881. pg. 109

[Washington County was founded on July 27, 1778 as the 1st county in the Nortwest Territory.


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"The division of WASHINGTON County into townships was not effected until December, 1790, and was done by the court of quarter sessions. MARIETTA, BELPRE and WATERFORD, including respectively the three settlements, were established and contained immense tracts of country.

"MARIETTA township extended from the 7th range to the western boundary of the 9th range (12 miles), and extended south so as to include township No. 2 in the 9th range. BELPRE and WATERFORD were of similar size.

"GALLIPOLIS township was bounded upon the north by a line drawn westward from the north line of township No. 3 in the 11th range, upon the west by the Scioto and on the south by the Ohio River.

"In the northern end of the country [Northwest Territory] extending to the lake [Erie] were two townships: WARREN, adjoining Pennsylvania & MIDDLETON, further west. These townships were taken off by the establishment of JEFFERSON County in 1797.

"In December, 1797, the townships of ADAMS and SALEM were established, the latter extending from the donation tract to the north line of the county, and being five miles in width.

"A new MIDDLETOWN, embracing nearly all of what is now ATHENS County, was established in December, 1798.

"NEWTOWN, formed from the north part of WATERFORD, and extending to the north line of the county, was formed the same year as the above, also NEWPORT.

"There were 9 townships in the county in 1800, of which 6 -MARIETTA, BELPRE, WATERFORD, SALEM, ADAMS, AND NEWPORT, were within its present limits, and three - GALLIPOLIS, MIDDLETOWN, and NEWPORT were outside.

"To conclude; the dates of the establishment of the townships have been as follows:

ADAMS and SALEM, 1792
UNION, 1812
LUDLOW, 1819
DUNHAM, 1856

"Of the foregoing 25 townships, 3 have ceased to exist, viz: ROXBURY, JOLLY, and UNION."


Ames | Blennerhassett | Deerfield | Gallipolis | Harmar | Jolly | Hockhocking | Meigsville | Middletown1 | Middletown2 | Morgan | Newtown/Newton | Olive(r) Green | Plainfield | Pioneer | Rocksbury | Tuskawara | Union | Warren1 | Wooster

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AMES TOWNSHIP - Established in 1802. In 1803 it became part of Athens County, Ohio when it was formed.

BLENNERHASSETT TOWNSHIP - Formed in 1980. Covers the corporation limits of Belpre.

DEERFIELD TOWNSHIP - Established in July of 1812 later was incorporated into Morgan County. (Morgan Co. formed in 1819)

GALLIPOLIS TOWNSHIP - Established March of 1797.The township became part of Gallia County when it was formed in 1803. Now known a Gallia County. Post office: Gallipolis 1794 to 1803. Early French pioneers, who came to Washington County before1797 settled here.

HARMAR VILLAGE Township 1, Range 8. (See Marietta Township) Now part of Marietta Township. West side of Marietta. The Muskingum River divides the east and west side. On March 23, 1837 Harmar was incorporated as a separate town and remained that way until it was annexed back into Marietta in 1890.
OTHER: Some of the street names have changed over the years.

Ohio Street became Fort Street
2nd Street became Gilman Street
Muskingum Road/Street became Gilman Avenue
3rd Street becam Franklin Street
4th Street & Main Street became Harmar Street
North Street became Putnam Avenue
Church Street became Maple Street
Peal Street became Pearl Street

BORDERS: Muskingum River, Ohio River, City of Marietta, & Warren Township

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David Putnam was a well known abolitionist. His home was located at the head o f Maple Street. This house was constructed in 1830 on two acres that extended to the back of the Harmar Congregational Church. The Lydia Hale family were the last occupants of the dwelling. The house was demolished in 1953 to make way for Fort Harmar Drive at the west end of the Washington Street Bridge in Marietta. David Putnam Jr. acquired his antislavery sentiments from growing up across the Ohio River from Wood County, Virginia, then a part of the "Old Dominion" where slavery was not only legitimate, but was also very profitable.

Both the south side (Virginia) and the north side, (Ohio), of the Mid-Ohio River Valley began development around the same time (1780s), with people of opposing political views about slavery, settling directly across the river from each other. In all fairness, it must be noted that the overwhelming majority of the Virginians in "western" Virginia eventually rejected slavery and secession, and in 1863 formed the "free", (loyal to the Union), state of West Virginia. David was born at just the right moment, in just the right place, with the necessary of amount of family prestige, to lead the Underground Railroad in Marietta. The Underground Railroad and David Putnam Jr. literally grew up together. As a young man, David had become personally aquatinted slavery in Wood County, Virginia, and had seen slaves - "sold down the river" - to plantations in the Deep South.

As a teenager he decided to take an active role in the fight to abolish slavery in the United States. When I use the word fight, I mean it literally. David Putnam was a tall muscular fellow who was equally comfortable settling his disputes either by diplomacy or his with bare knuckles. He would let his opponents choose their own poison, but he would never compromise his anti-slavery principles.

In December of 1845, he wrote in a letter to be delivered by one William P. Cutler of Marietta, to one Mr. Guthrie in Columbus, Ohio: " If we cannot catch the kidnappers, the devil will!"; the kidnapers he referred to were bounty hunters in pursuit of fugitive slaves. In 1847, David Putnam Jr. was sued by Virginia plantation owner George Washington Henderson, for the lose of nine slaves, which Henderson claimed Putnam had influenced to run away. The suit, which was filed in the U.S. District Court in Columbus, was dismissed in 1852.

Historic Underground Railroad Law Suit: Henderson vs. Putnam-
Filed in: U.S. CIRCUIT COURT, District of Ohio in Columbus, on June 25, 1849.

Attorneys for the Plaintive: Samuel F. Vinton and Noah H. Swayne.
Attorney for Defense: Salmon P. Chase [G.W. Henderson, Briar Plantation, Wood County, Virginia (Slave Owner) , charged that under provisions of the {1793 U.S. FUGITIVE SLAVE LAW}, David Putnam Jr., Harmar (Marietta), Washington County, Ohio, did illegally entice, conceal and otherwise aid (nine) Negro slaves, the legal property of G.W. Henderson, to run away from their owner, and the State of Virginia at various intervals commencing on or about 15 February, 1846, the last instance occurring on or about 11 February, 1847].

The Plaintive filed two Suits for compensation for lost property.

Suit 1: Asked $5,500 for the value of the slaves.
Suit 2: Asked $10,000 compensation for causing a breech of contract (specified in the provisions of the 1793 Fugitive Slave Law) and for lost labor, and legal fees.

The case was dismissed on October 12, 1852 because of language in the [1850 FUGITIVE SLAVE ACT]. Ref. from: INSUPERABLE BARRIERS - A Case Study of the Henderson vs. Putnam Fugitive Slave Case, by William B. Summers. [The complete manuscript, with notes and bibliography are in the Archives and Special Collections Room, Dawes Memorial Library, Marietta College.]

Luther Penrose, of Cincinnati, Ohio in 1969 and a descendent of David Putnam Jr., recalled stories told to him by his grandmother Hannah Putnam Sleigh, who grew up in the house, that in 1890 was one of two Underground Railroad houses still standing in Marietta. The other Underground Railroad house was the Eells home located at 508 Putnam Street, which was demolished in 1964. That means that there probably are no longer any houses standing in Marietta that were used to hide fugitive slaves on the Underground Railroad.

David Putnam was a good man, and had many supporters in Marietta who came to his defense on several occasions when he was besieged by pro-slavery advocates. He lived to see the collapse of the slavocracy a quarter of a century before died on January 7, 1892. He rests in the Harmar Cemetery located below his former dwelling in Marietta.

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JOLLY TOWNSHIP (See Grandview Twp) Established 1840. Part of it was incorporated into Monroe County in 1851. Then the township was annexed into Grandview Township in 1859.

HOCKHOCKING TOWNSHIP- Established 1802. Now in Meigs County.

MEIGSVILLE TOWNSHIP - Established April 1815. Incorporated into Morgan County when it was formed in 1819.

MIDDLETOWN TOWNSHIP - Laid out in the northern part of Washington County. Became part of Jefferson County in 1797.

MIDDLETOWN / MIDDLETON TOWNSHIP - Established December 1798. This Township was formed after the first Middletown township went to Jefferson Co. It laid in the Western part of Washington County, now part of Athens Township in Athens County.

MORGAN TOWNSHIP - Established in July of 1818. In 1819 was annexed to Morgan County when tht county was formed.

NEWTOWN / NEWTON TOWNSHIP - Established December 1798. Was formed from Waterford. Now apart of Muskingum County. (Muskingum Co., formed in 1804)

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OLIVE(R) GREEN TOWNSHIP (See Waterford Twp.) -
Established June 1817. The opening of the Donation Tract brought many people and the garrison at Fort Frye became too small to accommodate them. This led to the formation of the Olive Green colony a few miles above Beverly. It included Abel SHERMAN, who just before the end of the Indian War, was treacherously killed by the Shawnee Indian, "Silverheels." In 1819 Olive Green became part of Morgan County when formed in 1819. Later became Jackson Township, Noble County.

PLAINFIELD TOWNSHIP - (See Watertown Twp.) - Established December 20, 1790 one of the original three Townships. Later the name was changed to Waterford.

PIONEER TOWNSHIP - (See Marietta Township) The 23rd township. Established June 6, 1967 this is known as the City of Marietta. Marietta City had always been a part of Marietta Township. Because of the change, Marietta, Warren, Muskingum, and Fearing townships were decreased in size.

UNION TOWNSHIP --- Township 3, Range 9. (Also see Wooster, Adams, Muskingum, Warren & Watertown Twps.)
Established 1812. In 1813 part was annexed to Wooster. In 1877, this township was dissolved. Parts went to Adams, Muskingum, Warren and Watertown Townships.

COMMUNITIES & SETTLEMENTS (Includes Ridges, Hills, and Hollows):
Wisemans Bottom / Devola
Rainbow (Now in Muskingum Twp)
Bear Creek
Pinchtown (Now in in Muskingum Twp. Sometime after 1900, the name changed to Unionville because it had once been a part of Union Twp)
Marsh Run Hill

POST OFFICES: Uniontown (Established 1875. Later named Churchtown because when Union Twp was dissolved in 1877 it was annexed to Watertown Twp.)

STREAMS, CREEKS, RIVERS & RUNS: Muskingum River, Rainbow Creek

CEMETERIES: [See Adams, Muskingum, Warren, and Watertown Twps.]

UNDERGROUND RAILROAD: The Rainbow Station - Along the Muskingum River north of Marietta. The Rainbow Station was located 10 miles north Marietta were Rainbow Creek flows into the Muskingum. A staunch Abolitionists named Thomas Ridgeway helped nearly 100 fugitive slaves escape to freedom. Tragically many of Mr. Ridgeway's children and wives died young. Two sons were killed in the American Civil War! (This station would now be located in the present day of Muskingum Township)

ROXBURY TOWNSHIP - (See Palmer Township) - Established in 1806. It was dissolved in 1851 with parts going to Noble County, Morgan County, and Palmer Township.

TUSKARAWA TOWNSHIP - Established 1802. In 1808 it became part of Tuscarawas County. In 1811 part was annexed to Coshocton County.

WARREN TOWNSHIP (The 1st Warren Twp.) - Laid out to the west of the Pennsylvania line. This township was used to establish Jefferson County in 1797.
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WOOSTER TOWNSHIP See Watertown & Union Townships) - The initial settlement was in 1789, but established June 4, 1806, was later renamed Watertown on December 6, 1824. In 1806 it included only the 4th Twp in the 10th Range. The county commissioners later set off of Waterford and attached to Wooster that part of the town lying in the 3rd Twp. of the 11th Range, and some of the 8th Twp. of the 11th Range as lies south of the west branch of Wolf Creek. In Sept. 1813 6 sections (31-36) of Union Twp. was annexed to Wooster.

COMMUNITIES & SETTLEMENTS (Includes Ridges, Hills, and Hollows):
Harmar Hill
West Side (Harmar, Harmar Hill & Fairview Heights)
Some of Mile Run


CEMETERIES: Mound, Harmar, St. Mary's (old & new), Oak Grove, Children's Home

STREAMS, CREEKS, RIVERS & RUNS: Ohio River, Muskingum River, Tiber Creek

STATE ROUTES: 7 (Pike, Greene, 3rd, & Washington Streets); 26 (Greene Street); 60 (Muskingum Drive)

COUNTY ROADS: 351 (Colgate Drive); 375 (Glendale Road)

BORDERS: Williamstown, WV (Ohio River), Also see Marietta Twp.