History of Pierce Township

What is now known as the state of Ohio, was originally part of the Northwest Territory, which encompassed an area that eventually became the states of Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Michigan, Wisconsin and part of Minnesota.

The area was initially occupied by the French in the 1600s, and then coveted by the British in Canada and the American colonies in the 1700s.  Eventually, the British prevailed in the French and Indian Wars (1689-1763), resulting in British control of Canada and the Northwest Territory

With the end of the American Revolution, the Northwest Territory became a U.S. territory in 1783.  Initially claimed by the states of Virginia, Massachusetts, New York, and Connecticut, control of the territory was eventually assumed by the young U.S, government.  The Ordinance of 1785 established the Township System for surveying and set up the framework for the organization of territories and the admission of states.

Early Pierce Township

Clermont was established as the eighth county in the Northwest Territory on December 9, 1800, three years before Ohio became a state in 1803.  Pierce Township was formed from Ohio Township in 1852 and named for President Elect Franklin Pierce.  Amelia is the only incorporated village in Pierce Township.  Historic hamlets, most of which no longer exist, include Locust Corner (formerly called Pleasant Hill), Palestine (also known as New Palestine), Span, Nineveh (also called Pleasant Valley), and Blairville.[1]

Early settlers were from New Jersey, Massachusetts, and Germany, and early industries were sawmills and brickmaking.  Early settlements, or hamlets, were Spann, Nineveh (aka Pleasant Valley), Palestine, Locust Corner (formerly Pleasant Hill), and Blairville.  Amelia was the only incorporated village in the Township, established on December 20, 1900, until it was dissolved in 2019.

Historical township maps are an important source of historical and genealogical information as they often outline which settlers took ownership of specific areas.  The 1870 map of Pierce Township, was published in “Clermont County 1870” by C. O. Titus, and is reproduced here under a limited use license from Historical Map Works (www.historicmapworks.com).

Governance & Legislation

After being created by the Board of County Commissioners on December 8, 1852[1], the first Pierce Township Trustees were elected on April 4, 1853.  They were William Fitzpatrick, Moses Bennet and William Gaskins.  Less than two months after being elected, the new Trustees passed their first legislation on May 28, 1853.

“… to prohibit tippling, intemperance, and the vending or selling of spirituous or any kinds of intoxicating liquor in less quantities than one barrel, under penalty of a fine from $5 to $50, or imprisonment in the county jail, or both, at the discretion of the court.”

Events in Pierce Township History

[1] “Northwest Territory.” The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.. 2015. Encyclopedia.com. 16 Jan. 2016 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

[2] “The Northwest Territory 1787”, The Robinson Library, 16 Jan. 2016, <http://robinsonlibrary.com/america/unitedstates/1783/1783/graphics/1787map.gif>

[3] “Historic Clermont County – An Illustrated History,” Edited by Ron Hill and Patsy Shively, 2010, Published by Historical Publishing Network, San Antonio, Texas.

[1] “Clermont County, Ohio – Bicentennial 1800-2000”,