Surveyor’s Journal Entry Six
Franklin County Takes Shape After Reaching to Lake Erie
Franklin County, named in honor of Benjamin Franklin, was established by the new state legislature on April 30, 1803. The first surveys of the region were conducted for the federal government by Deputy Surveyors John Matthews (Rufus Putnam’s nephew) and Ebenezer Buckingham (Rufus Putnam’s future son-in-law) in 1799, and by Elnathan Schofield (John Mathew’s business partner and future Pickaway County Surveyor) in 1801.
The county’s original boundaries, “beginning on the western boundary of Range 20 of townships east of the Scioto River, at the corner of Sections 24 and 25, Township 9, Range 21,” reached from the center of modern-day Pickaway County north to Lake Erie and encompassed all of modern-day Madison, Delaware, Marion, Crawford, Wyandot, Seneca, and Sandusky Counties, as well as portions of Union, Champaign, Clarke, Logan, Hardin, Hancock, and Wood Counties.
For the purpose of electing local Justices of the Peace, the Court of Common Pleas first divided the central part of Franklin County into four townships on May 10, 1803. Franklin and Darby Townships were located west of the Scioto River and Harrison and Liberty Townships were located to the east. Lucas Sullivant served as the Clerk of the Court.
The evolution of Franklin County’s shape and size began with the apportioning of land for the formation of Champaign County in 1805 followed by Delaware County in 1808, Pickaway and Madison Counties in 1810, and Union County in 1820. Land was also added from Fairfield County in 1808, Licking County in 1817, and Fairfield County, including the town of Canal Winchester, in 1851, which was the last major change to the county’s boundaries.
Franklin County, which covers 543.9 square miles, is located between 30° 49’N and 40° 7½’N latitude and 82° 45½’W and 83° 15’W longitude. The northern boundary line lies 20 miles south of the geographical center of Ohio. The highest point, located on the northeast boundary with Licking County, is 1,132 feet above sea level.