Jefferson Township
Holiday City

Visitors Bureau

13918 B County Road M
Holiday City, Ohio 43543-0303
(419) 485-5881

County 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 alignment occurred.

Williams County (Ohio) court house 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 cornerstone was laid April 30, 1889.  The cost was $185,000  The central tower contains a bell and a four faced clock.  The clock is 150 feet above the ground.  The building was completed and ready for occupancy July 2, 1891.

The courthouse has been kept in good repair and many 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 Government
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.
County Statistics
County Area 421 Square miles
County Population 36,956
Highway Mileages County Roads.........399.45 miles
Township Roads.....345.23 miles
State Highways.......185.50  miles
Courthouse Latitude..................41 28'26"
Longitude...............84  33'07"
Elevation................771.59 Feet
County City/Villages
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/Village Year Platted by
City of Bryan 1840 John A. Bryan
Village of West Unity 1842 William Smith, John Rings
Village of Montpelier 1845 Jesse Tucker, J. K. Briner
Village of Pioneer 1853 P. W. Norris
Village of Stryker 1853 John H. Sargent, E. L. Barber, Jesse McArt
Village of Edgerton 1854 Charles Pratt
Village of Edon 1867 A. Sheline, et al
Village of Blakeslee 1880 John Boman
Village of Alvordton 1881 Henry D. Alvordton
Village of Holiday City 1997 Bruce Kidston
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.

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