Note: In early 2017, 1812Blockhouse published posts looking at the history of Mansfield and Richland County as that history is revealed on maps – maps of the area, county, and nation.
This is Part Two of a series; Part One can be found here.
The first fifty years of Ohio statehood saw the creation of counties and establishment of county boundaries – and then a re-shuffling of those boundaries, often by taking property from one and adding it to another or to an entirely new county.All of the above happened here. One of the most interesting locations online to trace the evolution of today’s Richland County is the Ohio page of the “Atlas of Historical County Boundaries,” a product of The Newberry Library’s Scholl Center for American History and Culture (it can be accessed here).
As the timeline shows, for the first five years Mansfield was located in an a geographical area that did not have county status. That changed in February 1808, when Richland County was established with borders that were quite different than today’s version.
Exactly where this first version of Richland County started and stopped can be ascertained by looking at period maps, such as the “New Map of Ohio” published by Henry S. Tanner in 1836. This map can be accessed here as a part of the David Rumsey Map Collection online.
Clicking on the map, and then using the scroll wheel of your mouse to increase or decrease the size (or pinching on your mobile phone), it is possible to zoom into see details of county boundaries. Interstingly, the primary routes shown on the map are not railroads but rather canals and very early roads.
As the map reveals, Richland County stretched eastward to just east of Loudonville, and included Ashland (then known as Uniontown); to the west, it included modern-day Galion and Crestline. This is also why the original plat of Galion, dating from 1831, can be found in Mansfield, not Bucyrus.
Richland County maintained this shape until April 5, 1845, at which time the westernmost townships of the county were transferred to Crawford County (a 4 by 20 mile strip). The county would be further reduced in size in 1846 when it lost land to the newly-created Ashland County, and in 1848 when Morrow County was created.