By act of the Ohio Legislature, Van
Wert County, Ohio was erected on 12 February 1820. The same act
attached the county to Darke County, and was subsequently
detached in October 1837.
The county is bounded on the north by Paulding, east
by Allen, south by Auglaize and Mercer counties, and west by the
State of Indiana. The county is divided into 12 townships.
A sea captain, James Riley, bought property in
and was the first white man to move into Van Wert County in 1821.
He moved his family onto a plot of land, and laid the remainder
out for a town that became Willshire, the first county seat of
Van Wert County. When the population of the town of Van Wert
outgrew Willshire, in 1839 the county seat was moved to Van Wert.
There are several versions of how records were moved from
Willshire to Van Wert, one being that a county official carried
them in his coat pocket.
Isaac Van Wart
| Isaac Van Wart was one of
three soldiers who captured Major John Andre, a British spy. In
1820, the state legislature named the county Van Wert in
his honor. He resided near Tarrytown, NY, and at the time of his
death in 1828 was 68 years of age. The change in spelling of his
name is attributed to a clerical error. Putnam and Williams
Counties were also named in honor of the other two
The county sold 100 and forty lots to
the town of Van Wert, "in order to fill out and make square in
form the original surveyed and recorded plat of the town of Van
Wert, and that the same be known as the County's addition to the
town of Van Wert . . ." (Source: Commissioner's Journal, Van
Wert County, Ohio, Volume A, pages 11-12.)
This page prepared and maintained by Donald L. Kear.
updated:Wednesday, 29-Jun-2005 10:47:49 MDT