The History of Champaign County
in Story and Pictures

barn_small_shadowChampaign County derives its name from the character of its surface, a French word meaning level or flat. Half its area being level or slightly undulating, one quarter rolling, twenty percent hilly and five percent prairie flat. The population of Champaign County is around 36,000, approximately 20,000 live in the towns and villages, while approximately 16,000 live in the rural areas. The rural population is expanding at a greater rate than the villages and towns.

Champaign County is made up of 432 square miles rich in many ways, its people, soil, history and tradition. It is wealthy in heritage, culture and beauty. Champaign Countians can be proud of their agriculture production, schools, industry, churches, human and public services.

The county is a blend of old and new but has a progressive spirit. Champaign County is the ideal American County, a fine place to work, live and raise a family.

Champaign County became the 18th, of 88 Ohio counties on March 1, 1805. It was carved from Greene and Franklin counties by Legislative action. It stretched north to Lake Erie from the Greene County Line with it seat being in Springfield. It was March 1, 1817 when Champaign County took on its present boundaries when both Logan and Clark counties were formed. An attempted population count in 1800 showed 100 pioneer settlers. This area was considered Shawnee country, though the Miami, Ottawa, Mingo, Delaware and Seneca Indians often passed through this area. Historians say the North American Indians developed from the mound builders. These mounSimon_Kenton_Memorial_b_shadowds people were the first to inhabit this area. Mounds in Champaign county have been found on Pretty Prairie close to Mechanicsburg and 8 miles southeast of Urbana between the north and east fork of Buck Creek.

Between 1600 and 1750 this area was the hunting grounds for parties from the Northern and Southern tribes. The Northern Tribes were victorious in taking possession of the land south to the Ohio River. However no permanent Indian settlements were established. It was at this time that Daniel Boone and Simon Butler Kenton came into this region exploring and setting up settlements. Simon Kenton is now buried in Urbana's Oakdale Cemetery.

Statue_shadowChampaign County sent 3,235 men to fight for the Union in the Civil War. 578 men lost their lives and it is to these men that the statue that stands today in Urbana's town square is dedicated. The statue, referred to as, The Man on the Monument, is a bronze cavalryman, facing the north with head bowed for his fallen comrades.

For information on Champaign County please click on the following link:

Champaign County History