Belmont County was formed on September 7, 1801 from Washington and Jefferson Counties. When the county was organized in November 1801, it was originally composed of four townships – Kirkwood, Pultney, York, and Salem. These extended in mostly straight lines from the Ohio River to the western boundary of the county. The western six miles of the county were ceded for the formation of Guernsey County on January 31, 1810. Additionally, the southern 15 miles of the county (Salem Twp) were ceded for the creation of Monroe County, forming our present boundaries. Below is a brief listing of each township, its date of formation, name origin, and sources to learn more information. This information is provided by the Recorder’s Office merely for historic value.
Kirkwood Twp — November 25, 1801 – original township – named in honor of Capt. Robert Kirkwood (1756-1791) who was one of the first men to build a cabin in present-day Belmont County. Kirkwood was a Revolutionary War veteran and hero who died at Ft. Recovery (St. Clair’s Defeat). Likely named by Judge Jacob Repshire.
Pultney Twp — November 25, 1801 – original township – named by Judge Daniel McElherren for the town of Pultney (present-day Avondale area) – first court of justice and site of Belmont County’s first courthouse. Pultney was named for his hometown in England. McElherren was paid 2,200 acres for his service as a goverment surveyor.
York Twp — November 25, 1801 – original township – named likely derived from York, Pennsylvania or York, England.
Salem Twp — November 25, 1801 – original township – located south of York Twp. Lands ceded to Monroe County in its formation on January 29, 1813.
Richland Twp — February 24, 1802 – formed from Kirkwood Twp – Boundary extended south into Pultney Twp on May 26, 1802 and again on March 7, 1809 – named for its rich, limestone soil.
Pease Twp — August 15, 1804 – formed from Richland Twp – named for Judge Calvin Pease (1776-1839) who at the time was president-judge of the Court of Common Pleas of the Third Circuit (eastern Ohio). Pease would later serve as an Ohio Supreme Court Justice from 1816-1830.
Union Twp — August 15, 1804 – formed from Kirkwood Twp – original boundary extended north to the county line. Twelve sections to its south was added on March 11, 1805 – later ceded to Goshen Twp
Warren Twp — June 10, 1807 – formed from Kirkwood Twp – original boundaries additionally included the lower 24 sections of Goshen Twp. Township named in honor of General Joseph Warren (1741-1775) who was killed at the Battle of Bunker Hill.
Colerain Twp — January 14, 1808 – formed from Richland & Pease Twps – named for Coleraine in County Londonderry (Northern Ireland) where many of its early Scotch-Irish settlers originated.
Wheeling Twp — January 14, 1808 – formed from Richland Twp. 6 sections added from Union Twp on March 14, 1817 – named for Wheeling Creek. George Washington referenced the creek in his journal during his journey down the Ohio River in October 1770 calling it Indian Wheeling Creek.
Goshen Twp — September 6, 1809 – formed from Warren & Union Twps – named by Jesse White for Goshen Township, Chester County, Pennsylvania. Biblical reference.
Wayne Twp — March 5, 1811 – formed from York Twp – named in honor of Major General “Mad” Anthony Wayne (1745-1796).
Mead Twp — January 3, 1815 – formed from Pultney & York Twps – named by Col. David Lockwood, associate judge, after his mother’s maiden name.
Flushing Twp — March 14, 1817 – formed from Kirkwood & Union Twps, 18 sections and 12 sections, respectively – named after Village of Flushing, platted in 1813, which took its name from the English form of the Dutch town Vlissingen; likely named after Flushing, New York.
Smith Twp — January 2, 1819 – formed from Richland & York Twps, 30 sections and 6 sections, respectively – named for William Smith who settled the area in 1805 and built the first log gristmill in the township near present-day Warnock.
Somerset Twp — March 16, 1819 – formed from Wayne Twp – likely derives its name from early settlers who came from Somersetshire, England, also home to Somerton.
Washington Twp — 1831 – formed from Wayne & York Twps, 12 sections and 24 sections, respectively – named in honor of President George Washington.
Centennial History of Belmont County, Ohio, and Representative Citizens, A. T. McKelvey, editor, Biographical Publishing Company, Chicago, IL, 1903.
History of Belmont and Jefferson Counties, Ohio, J. A. Caldwell, author, J. H. Newton, editor, The Historical Publishing Company, Wheeling, WV, 1880
Study of the Origins of Place Names of Belmont County, Ohio with some Early History, A, Emma E. Laughlin, Barnesville, December 1, 1941.