Marion County Bicentennial

Marion County, Ohio is celebrating the bicentennial of its founding with a year-long series of events and projects to be held throughout 2020. This page is a resource for sharing information about the various events as we celebrate 200 years.

Marion 200 Speakers Series : Who we were, who we are: Stories of the last 200 years

Marion County’s Bicentennial Celebration kicks off on Thursday, January 16 with the first Marion200 Speaker Series program. Dr. Brad Lepper, Curator of Archaeology at the Ohio History Connection, will present “Before It Was Marion County.” Dr. Lepper will share the history of how what is now Ohio developed before the first inhabitants came to the area and later to Marion County. He will also include an overview of the pre-contact history of American Indians in Ohio with a special focus on Marion County.

Dr. Lepper has conducted extensive research on Ohio’s mounds and earthworks. He is the author of “Ohio Archaeology: An Illustrated Chronicle of Ohio’s Ancient American Indian Cultures” and numerous other publications. He publishes a monthly column on archaeology for the Columbus Dispatch.

In addition to Dr. Lepper’s presentation, several supplemental exhibits and resource persons will be available including information on Marion County’s Indian Trails, early Marion County maps and surveys, the Sandusky Plains prairie, “hands-on” American Indian items, and a collection of Marion County native animal furs.

The program will be held in the Auditorium at Tri-Rivers Career Center beginning at 7:00 PM. There is no charge for admission.

To see all the events scheduled during the Bicentennial Celebration Year, click here.

Proclamation Issued

Marion County Commissioners issued a proclamation on January 2 supporting the 200th Anniversary of the founding of Marion County and all of the Bicentennial activities and celebrations planned throughout 2020. Pictured are steering committee members with county commissioners: Ellen Messenger, Commissioner Andy Appelfeller, Randy Winland, Commissioner Kerr Murray, Mark Holbrook, and Commissioner Ken Stiverson. Additional steering committee members include: Sherry Hall, Shannon Morris, Brandi Wilson, Vicky Branson, Tara Dyer, Brett McCrery and Mike Brewer.

Historic Notes

The area that is now Marion County has been part of seven different counties beginning in 1788: Washington, Hamilton, Wayne, Ross, Franklin, Delaware, and Marion. Marion County was created by the Ohio Legislature in 1820. Its boundary was changed in 1845 when land was transferred from several of the northern townships to Wyandot County as part of its formation. In 1848, five townships in Marion County were switched to Morrow and Wyandot Counties with the areas that are now Prospect and Waldo townships changed from Delaware County to Marion County.

Among the early visitors and later inhabitants of what is now Marion County were American Indians who passed through the area on a series of trails originally created by wildlife such as bison, deer, and elk.  These trails were first utilized by the Indians for access to hunting and foraging as well as travel between settlements and to trading areas. Among the trails were the Scioto, Owl Creek, Moccasin, Pluggy, Tymochtee, and Winnemac. Many of these eventually evolved into highways that are still in use today.

Artist's concept drawing of Wyatt's Tavern and Fort Morrow, one of the first recorded locations in what is now Marion County.

Artist’s concept drawing of Wyatt’s Tavern and Fort Morrow, one of the first recorded locations in what is now Marion County. 

One of the first recorded locations in what is now Marion County was once the site of a tavern and also a fort. Nathaniel Brundige and Nathaniel Wyatt, along with their families, arrived in Marlboro Township in Delaware County in 1806. In 1809, Wyatt built a tavern on an old settler’s road below the Greenville Treaty Line near the Olentangy River north and east of what is today the crossroads of Norton. Soldiers under the command of Captain Taylor built a fort around the tavern for use as a depot for supplies and then traveling north. It was named it Fort Morrow in honor of Jeremiah Morrow, Ohio’s Governor at the time.

The historical marker at the site of Jacob's Well on Delaware Avenue in Marion.

The historical marker at the site of Jacob’s Well on Delaware Avenue in Marion. 

Troops during the War of 1812 passed through what would one day become Marion City and County on a “military road” that ran from Lake Erie to the Greenville Treaty Line. The road had been created by a treaty with the American Indians. One of the first sites in Marion County to appear on early maps was the result of the efforts of a surveyor named Jacob Foos who was passing through what is now the area adjoining Marion Towers on Delaware Avenue. Foos camped in the area and dug a “well” to find a source of fresh water. The site eventually became known as “Jacob’s Well” and was a stopping point for troops passing through the area.

For additional Historic Facts like us on Facebook @MarionCountyOHBicentennial2020 and see our daily “Moments and Memories” post.

Official Website for Marion County, Ohio History