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History of Harrison Pickaway Township

Township History


Following Great Britain’s defeat in the American Revolution, the newly independent American states controlled what is now Ohio. The Confederation Congress and, then, the United States government arranged for the surveying and sale of land. Tensions between new settlers and Native Americans quickly erupted as more and more settlers entered the region. Relatively quickly, the federal government, through warfare and treaties, secured the land. By 1803, a sufficient number of settlers lived in what is now Ohio for the region to become a state.

Much of the land in Harrison Township was acquired into private ownership by settlers as early as 1798 through the purchase of what were known as Congress Lands. The American government surveyed and sold the land, using some of the proceeds to pay off debt from the American Revolution. The Congress Lands, like many of the other land grants, were often occupied by Native Americans during the early years of settlement. 

Harrison Township was established on June 15, 1810. It is bounded on the north by Franklin County, east by Madison Township, south by Walnut Township, and west by Scioto Township. Originally part of Franklin County, the Harrison Township lands became part of Pickaway County when the State Legislature formed the new county upon assembling in Chillicothe on January 12, 1810. The first township election was held at the house of Hugh Creighton on Saturday, June 23, 1810. The first justices of the peace were James Denny and Hugh Creighton. Meetings were held in South Bloomfield.

The  namesake of Harrison Township is William Henry Harrison, ninth President of the United States. Before becoming President, Harrison was Secretary of the Northwest Territory and then became the Representative of the NW Territory to the US Congress where he helped establish the Land Act of 1800 that allowed working-class Americans to acquire government land on credit. Later, while Governor of the Indiana Territory and Superintendent for Indian Affairs of the American Northwest, Harrison convinced many Native Americans to relinquish millions of acres of land. Many, like the Shawnee, were not willing to forsake their claims. In 1811, Harrison marched against the Shawnee whose leader was Tecumseh, destroying their major village and hindered success of the native alliances. In October 1813, Harrison led the Army of the Northwest against a combined British and Native American force led by General Henry Proctor and Tecumseh. Known as the Battle of the Thames, the newly-settled Americans emerged victorious. The English ran from the battlefield, leaving the Native Americans to fight on alone. The new Americans defeated the Native Americans, killing Tecumseh. 

President Harrison took office in 1841. He served the shortest time in office of any man elected to the presidency. He died from pneumonia on April 4, 1841, one month after taking office.


***Compiled from Amy Cromley Nickerson, History of Harrison Township and Villages, Pickaway Quarterly, Fall 1983 and William H. Harrison, Ohio History Central,***