Cat Nation

List of Ohio county name etymologies

This list of Ohio county name etymologies lists the 88 counties of the U.S. state of Ohio, with the date of their creation. There is significant disagreement among the etymologists who have addressed the origins of many of these names. Where such disagreement exists each proposed etymology is listed. Note that many names are believed to be derived from American Indian names and words, and that some of the etymologists in this area have been unable to determine the particular Indian language which provided the names.

A

Adams County (July 10, 1797):
#For John Adams, President of the United States at the time the county was named
#For President John Quincy Adams
Allen County (1820):
#For Ethan Allen of the Green Mountain Boys during the American Revolutionary War
#For Colonel John Allen, a soldier in the War of 1812
Ashland County (1846):
#For the home of Senator Henry Clay of Kentucky near Lexington
Ashtabula County (1807):
#For the Ashtabula River, Ashtabula being an Indian word for "fish river"
#For the Algonquian word for either "river of many fish" or "there are always enough moving"
#For the Indian word meaning "fish"
#For the Indian word meaning "halfway place"
#For the Indian word meaning "river of many fish"
#For the Indian word meaning "there-are-always-enough moving"
Athens County (1805):
#For Athens, Greece, as the state university was there
Auglaize County (1848):
# For the Auglaize River, "auglaize" being a corruption of the French "eau glaise" or muddy water.
#For the Auglaize River, "auglaize" being an Indian word for "fallen timbers". At the confluence of the Auglaize and Maumee rivers was fought the Battle of Fallen Timbers.
#For the Indian word for "overgrown with brush"
#For the Indian word for "at the lick"

B

Belmont County (September 7, 1801):
#For the French for "beautiful mountain" for the scenery there.
#For the French for "a fine mountain"
Brown County (1818):
#For Major General Jacob Brown, an officer in the War of 1812 who was wounded at the Battle of Lundy's Lane.
Butler County (1803):
#For General Richard Butler, an officer in the American Revolutionary War who was killed by the Indians in 1790.

C

Carroll County (1833):
#For Charles Carroll of Carrollton, the last surviving signer of the Declaration of Independence
Champaign County (1805):
#For the French for "plain" as the land there was very flat.
Clark County (1818):
#For General George Rogers Clark, who served in the Northwest Indian War, but is mainly famous for the conquest of the Illinois Territory in 1778 and 1779.
Clermont County (December 6, 1800):
#For the province of Clermont in France
#For the French for "clear mountain" despite the absence of mountains there
#For Clermont, or Clear Mountain, France
Clinton County (1810):
#For Vice President of the United States George Clinton
Columbiana County (1803):
#For Christopher Columbus
#Also for Queen Anne.
#Howe states "Kilbourn, in his 'Gazeteer,' says: 'Columbiana is a fancy name, taken from the names Columbus and Anna'"

Coshocton County (1810):
#For the Delaware Indian word meaning "union of waters"
#For the Delaware Indian word meaning "black bear town" (cush-og-wenk) or "union of waters" ("coshoc-gung")
#For the Delaware Indian word meaning "black bear town"
#For the Indian word for either "habitation of owls," "union of waters," or "finished small harbor"
#For the Indian word for "where there is a river crossing"
#For the Indian word for "river crossing" or "ferry"
#For the Indian village "Goshachgunk"
Crawford County (1820):
#For United States Secretary of the Treasury William Crawford
#For Colonel William Crawford, an officer in the American Revolutionary War burned at the stake by Indians--this seems more likely
Cuyahoga County (1807):
#For the Cuyahoga River, it being an Indian word meaning "crooked"
#For the Indian word for either "crooked", "lake river", or "news carrier"
#For the Indian word for "the important river"

D

Darke County (1809):
#For General William Darke, an officer in the American Revolutionary War
Defiance County (1845):
#For Fort Defiance, so named by General "Mad" Anthony Wayne because it was near the site of St. Clair's Defeat, the worst defeat ever suffered by the U.S. Army against the Indians, was fought and Wayne wanted to show resolve and dared or "defied" them to attack again.)
Delaware County (1808):
#For the Delaware Indians, who took their name from the proprietors of the state of Delaware, the Lords De La Warr.
#For the Delaware Indians, who took their name from Delaware Bay

E

Erie County (1838):
#For the Erie Indians, whose name was their word for "cat", there being many wildcats in the area.
#For the Erie Indians, whose name was their word for "cat", but who lived in New York State
#For the Indian word for "lake of the cat"
#For the Indian word for "wildcat"
#For the Indian word for "cat"
#For the Indian word for "the Cat nation"

F

Fairfield County (December 9, 1800):
#For the country there.
Fayette County (1810):
#For the Marquis de Lafayette, an officer in the American Revolutionary War
Franklin County (1803):
#For Benjamin Franklin
Fulton County (1850):
#For steamboat pioneer Robert Fulton

G

Gallia County (1803):
#For the Latin word for France, as French settlers lived there
Geauga County (1806):
#For the Indian word meaning "raccoon"
#For the Indian word meaning "raccoon river" or "dogs around the fire"
Greene County (1803):
#For General Nathaniel Greene, an officer in the American Revolutionary War
Guernsey County (1810):
#For the island of Guernsey in the Channel Islands

H

Hamilton County (January 2, 1790):
#For United States Secretary of the Treasury Alexander Hamilton
Hancock County (1820):
#For John Hancock, first signer of the Declaration of Independence
Hardin County (1820):
#For General John Hardin, an officer in the American Revolutionary War, killed in Ohio in 1792 during the Northwest Indian War
Harrison County (1813):
#For General William Henry Harrison, an officer in the War of 1812 and later President of the United States
Henry County (1820):
#For Virginia legislator Patrick Henry
Highland County (1805):
#For the hilly country there
#For the ridge there that divided the Little Miami River and Scioto River's watersheds
Hocking County (1818):
#For the Hocking River
#For the Delaware Indian word for "gourd" or "bottle"
#For the Indian word for "high up there is land"
#For the Indian word for "above-there-is-arable-land"
#For the Delaware Indian word "Hock-hock-ing," meaning "bottle" of the Shawnee Indian word "wea-tha-kagh-qua-sepe" meaning "bottle river"
Holmes County (1824):
#For Major Andrew Holmes, an officer in the War of 1812 killed at Mackinac Island, Michigan
Huron County (1809):
#For the Huron Indians
#For the Huron Indians, whose name is French for a kind of peasant
#For the Indian word for "wild boar"
#For the Indian word for "a rough person"
#For the Indian word for "because of the straight locks, like bristles of a wild boar"
#For the name the French explorers gave to the Wyandot Indians

J

Jackson County (1816):
#For General Andrew Jackson, an officer in the War of 1812 and later President of the United States
Jefferson County (July 29, 1797):
#For Vice President of the United States (and later President) Thomas Jefferson

K

Knox County (1808):
#For General Henry Knox, an officer in the American Revolutionary War and later first Secretary of War

L

Lake County (1840):
#For its position on Lake Erie
Lawrence County (1815):
#For Captain James Lawrence, a Naval officer in the War of 1812 famous for his remark "Don't give up the ship!"
Licking County (1808):
#For salt licks in the area
Logan County (1818):
#For General Benjamin Logan, who fought Indians there
Lorain County (1822):
#For the province of Lorraine in France
Lucas County (1835):
#For Governor Robert Lucas, who called out the militia to defend the area from Michigan, which claimed it as its own.

M

Madison County (1810):
#For James Madison, who was President of the United States at the time.
Mahoning County (1846):
#For an Indian word for "at the salt licks"
#For an Indian word for "salt licks"
#Howe states: "It derived its name from Mahoning river. The name Mahoning is, according to Heckwelder, derived from either the Indian word Mahoni, signifying "a lick," or Mahonink, "at the lick".
Marion County (1820):
#For the "Swamp Fox", General Francis Marion, an officer in the American Revolutionary War
Medina County (1812):
#For Medina, Saudi Arabia
Meigs County (1819):
#For Governor Return J. Meigs, Jr., who was Postmaster General when the county was erected
Mercer County (1820):
#For General Hugh Mercer, an officer in the American Revolutionary War who died at the Battle of Princeton
Miami County (1807):
#For the Ottawa Indian word meaning "mother"
#For the Indian word meaning "very large"
#For the Indian word meaning "people on the peninsula"
#For the Indian word meaning "very large" or "downstream"
Monroe County (1813):
#For United States Secretary of State James Monroe, who was later President of the United States
Montgomery County (May 1, 1803):
#For General Richard Montgomery, an officer in the American Revolutionary War who led the army that captured Montreal
Morgan County (1817):
#For General Daniel Morgan, an officer in the American Revolutionary War
Morrow County (1848):
#Governor Jeremiah Morrow
Muskingum County (1803):
#For the Indian word meaning "by the river side"
#For the Indian word meaning "moose-eye river"
#Howe writes: "The word Muskingum, said Kilbourne's Gazetteer, 'is said to signify in the old Indian language an elk's eye, or the glare of an elk's eye.' Col. John Johnston stated that 'Muskingum is a Delaware word and means a town on the river side. The Shawanese call it Wa-ka-tamo sepe, which has the same signification."

N

Noble County (1851):
#For James Noble, an early settler there.
#For James Noble and Warren P. Noble, early settlers there
#For Warren P. Noble, chairman of the Ohio General Assembly's committee on new counties
#For James Noble, the first settler near Sarahsville, Ohio

O

Ottawa County (1840):
#For an Indian word meaning "trader" (Rydjord)
#For the Ottawa Indians, who lived there
#For an Indian word meaning "trader", citing H. H. Bancroft

P

Paulding County (1820):
#For John Paulding, a captor of spy John André in the American Revolutionary War
Perry County (1818):
#For Oliver Hazard Perry, hero of the War of 1812 Battle of Put-in-Bay. says "Commodore Perry", which is Oliver's brother.)
Pickaway County (1810):
#For variation on the same Indian word that Piqua, Ohio is named for.
#For the Piqua Indians who lived there
#For a variant spelling of Piqua, the Indian's capital
#For the Indian word for "ashes"
Pike County (1815):
#For General Zebulon Pike, an officer in the American Revolutionary War and an explorer of the American West. (could not have been an officer in Revolution--was 4 yrs. old when it ended)
Portage County (1807):
#For the portage between the Cuyahoga and the Tuscarawas River Rivers
#For the portage between the Cuyahoga and Mahoning Rivers
Preble County (1808):
#For Captain Edward Preble, an officer in the American Revolutionary War and in the war against the Barbary Pirates.
Putnam County (1820):
#For General Israel Putnam, an officer in the American Revolutionary War.
#For Rufus Putnam, a soldier in the French and Indian War and the American Revolutionary War

R

Richland County (1808):
#For the fertile soil there
Ross County (August 20, 1798):
#For Senator James Ross of Pennsylvania, a Federalist.

S

Sandusky County (1820):
#For the Indian word meaning "cold water"
#For the Iroquois word "Sandoos-tie", meaning "cold water"
#For the Indian word meaning "at the cold water"
#For the Indian word meaning "there is pure water here"
Scioto County (1803):
#For the Scioto River
#For the Indian word meaning "deer"
#For the Indian word meaning "great legs"
#For the Indian word meaning "good hunting"
#For the Wyandot Indian word meaning "deer"
#For the Wyandot Indian word Sci-on-to, whose meaning is unknown
Seneca County (1820):
#For the Seneca Indians, who had a reservation here
#For Seneca County, New York
#For the Seneca Indians, whose name is from the Dutch "sinnekaas"
#For the Indian word, transliterated into English in the form of the name of the Roman writer Seneca
Shelby County (1819):
#For General Isaac Shelby, an officer in the American Revolutionary War and later Governor of Kentucky.
#For Shelby County, Kentucky
Stark County (1808):
#For General John Stark, an officer in the American Revolutionary War.
Summit County (1840):
#For the highest point on the Ohio and Erie Canal which was located there.

T

Trumbull County (July 10, 1800):
#For Governor Jonathan Trumbull of Connecticut. (This was in the Western Reserve, which was once part of Connecticut.)
Tuscarawas County (1808):
#For the Tuscarawas River, supposedly an Indian word meaning "open mouth".
#For the Indian word meaning "old town" or "open mouth"

U

Union County (1820):
#For its formation from the union of parts of four counties, Delaware, Franklin, Madison, and Logan

V

Van Wert County (1820):
#For Isaac Van Wart, one of the captors of spy John André in the American Revolutionary War--the spelling was changed for the county name
Vinton County (1850):
#For Congressman Samuel Finley Vinton, who also ran for Governor of Ohio as a Whig.

W

Warren County (May 1, 1803):
#For General Joseph Warren, a hero of the American Revolutionary War who was killed at the Battle of Bunker Hill.
#For Warren County, Pennsylvania.
Washington County (July 27, 1788):
#For General George Washington
Wayne County (August 15, 1796):
#For General "Mad" Anthony Wayne
Williams County (1820):
#For David Williams, one of the captors of spy John André in the American Revolutionary War
Wood County (1820):
#For Captain Eleazer D. Wood, the engineer for General William Henry Harrison's army who built Fort Meigs
Wyandot County (1845):
#For the Wyandot Indians, who lived in the area. "Wyandot" supposedly means "around the plains" in their language.
#For the Indian word meaning "calf of the leg" or "tobacco tribe"
#For the Indian word meaning "dwellers on a peninsula"

Analysis of names

Below are categorized the names of counties by their sources. Each county is counted only one in the main entries. Those listed under "plus" appeared in previous categories, e.g. "Washington" is counted under Presidents of the United States, but also listed under Revolutionary War figures for completeness.

Of Ohio's 88 counties:

Count Named for Counties
Primary Plus
7 Presidents Adams, Harrison, Jackson, Jefferson, Madison, Monroe, and Washington  
1 Vice President Clinton Adams and Jefferson
3 Governors of Ohio Lucas, Meigs, and Morrow  
1 Governor of another state Trumbull Clinton, Henry, Jefferson, Monroe, Shelby
2 a member of Congress Ross and Vinton Carroll, Harrison, Jackson, Madison, Monroe
1 cabinet member Hamilton Jefferson, Knox, Madison, Meigs, Monroe
20 American Revolutionary War: soldiers and officers Allen, Butler, Clark, Darke, Fayette, Greene, Knox, Logan, Marion, Mercer, Montgomery, Morgan, Paulding, Preble, Putnam, Shelby, Stark, Van Wert, Warren, and Williams Monroe, Washington
4 American Revolutionary War: figures who did not fight Carroll, Franklin, Henry, Hancock  
3 Indian fighters: Crawford, Hardin and Wayne Clark, Logan
6 officers and soldiers in the War of 1812 Brown, Holmes, Lawrence, Perry, Pike, Wood Harrison and Jackson
6 places elsewhere Ashland, Athens, Clermont, Gallia, Guernsey, Lorain, and Medina  
8 geographic features Belmont, Champaign, Fairfield, Highland, Lake, Portage, Richland, Summit Auglaize
1 U.S. Army fort Defiance  
1 explorer Columbiana Pike
1 inventor Fulton  
1 circumstances of its creation Union  
1 early settler Noble  
1 naval officer Preble Perry
19 Indian words Ashtabula, Auglaize, Coshocton, Cuyahoga, Delaware, Erie, Geauga, Hocking, Huron, Mahoning, Miami, Muskingum, Ottawa, Pickaway, Sandusky, Scioto, Seneca, Tuscarawas, and Wyandot  

References

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