Information (Williams County, Ohio)
|Williams County, Ohio is the
northwest most county of the state's 88 counties. Click here to get more information
about Ohio's counties.
History of Williams County
Williams County was formed in 1820 and was named after David Williams
who, with two other men, captured John Andre, a British spy.
Defiance, Ohio was selected as the county seat. Temporary
buildings were used for courtrooms for many years. A new
building, 32" x 22" with 20' walls, was built for $987,000.
This building was occupied in December 1832.
Putnam and Henry counties were carved from Williams County in 1834,
followed by Paulding County in 1839. This took land away on
the south and east sides but about 150 square miles were added on the
north when the Ohio-Michigan dispute was settled.
A petition was introduced into the Ohio legislature in December 1839
and three Commissioners were appointed to determine where the county
seat of Williams County should be located. Bryan, named after
John a. Bryan, Secretary of State, was chosen. The owners had
agreed to donate two acres of land in the center of town, to be plated
for a public square. The order establishing Bryan as the
county seat of Williams County was given in July 1840.
Several reasons, including the dislike of traveling eighteen miles
through the wilderness to the new county seat, delayed beginning
Williams County business in Bryan. Actually, the last session
of court was held in Defiance on February 25, 1841.
In 1845, Defiance County was formed from a part of Williams
County and once again Defiance, Ohio was a county seat. In
1850 Fulton County was formed partly from Williams County.
The remaining 421 square miles has been the size of Williams County to
the present time. The county is divided into twelve
townships. The four which form the top tier of townships are
situated on the area gained from Michigan in 1835. The
southern or lower part of Williams County was surveyed into townships
and sections under the Ohio survey. The northern or upper
part of Williams County was surveyed into townships and sections under
the Michigan survey. Since these two surveys started form
different bases and proceeded toward each other from different
directions, it was natural that section lines would not coincide where
they met at the original Ohio-Michigan line. As a result, the
townships abutting the line have fractional sections and because roads
are generally on section or fractions section lines, an offset in road
The present Williams County Courthouse is the third to be built in
Bryan, Ohio. In 1840, with the reduction in size of Williams
County, the county seat was changed from Defiance to Bryan.
The first temporary courthouse was a 25' by 40' log building.
In 1848, after many problems with faulty construction, a permanent
building was occupied. The bricks for this building were made
on the site.
After much controversy
and a law
suit, the County Commissioners were allowed to enter a contract with E.
O. Fallis, architect and builder, to construct a new courthouse on the
same site on the public square as the old courthouse. The
was laid April 30, 1889. The cost was $185,000 The
contains a bell and a four faced clock. The clock is 150 feet
the ground. The building was completed and ready for
occupancy July 2,
The courthouse has been kept in good repair
changes made as more room was needed. In 1958 an elevator was
installed to not only serve the three occupied floors, but also to give
access to the unfinished fourth floor. In 1959 the fourth
floor was renovated and improved to accommodate several
offices. These offices were occupied in 1960.
This beautiful structure was placed on the National Registry of
Historic Places in 1973.
County affairs are administered by commissioners, while trustees
preside in each township. The courthouse contains both the
Common Pleas and Probate Courts. For more information about
county government visit the Williams County, Ohio website.
||421 Square miles
||County Roads.........399.45 miles
Township Roads.....345.23 miles
State Highways.......185.50 miles
There are 10 cities/villages located within Williams County,
Ohio. They are listed below with the year they were incorporated.
Dates of the original plats of Williams County's Incorporated Areas
|City of Bryan
||John A. Bryan
|Village of West Unity
||William Smith, John Rings
|Village of Montpelier
||Jesse Tucker, J. K. Briner
|Village of Pioneer
||P. W. Norris
|Village of Stryker
||John H. Sargent, E. L. Barber, Jesse McArt
|Village of Edgerton
|Village of Edon
||A. Sheline, et al
|Village of Blakeslee
|Village of Alvordton
||Henry D. Alvordton
|Village of Holiday City
|For additional Williams County information,
please visit the Williams County links found on the links drop down
menu at the top of this page.
|Much of the information on this page (county
history, statistics, plat information) was taken from the 2000 Highway
Map of Williams County, Ohio. Maps are available at the County
Engineer's office located at 12953 County Road G north of Bryan, Ohio.