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A Brief History of Ohio's State Government

The settling of Ohio began in 1788 with the arrival of 48 members of an expedition sponsored by the Ohio Company, who purchased more than one and a half million acres of the Northwest Territory from Congress. The Northwest Territory was made up of land that would eventually become Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Michigan, Wisconsin, and part of Minnesota. The settlers chose what would become the city of Marietta, on the Ohio River, as their first settlement.

By 1798, enough people lived in Ohio to create a territorial legislature. The first meeting of the legislature was in Cincinnati in 1799; the body elected Edward Tiffin as speaker of the House and William Henry Harrison as the territory's representative to Congress.

On April 30, 1802, President Thomas Jefferson signed a law allowing Ohio to draft a state constitution and formally apply for statehood. In late 1802, thirty-five delegates gathered in Chillicothe to draft Ohio's first constitution. In 1803, Ohio was admitted to the Union as the 17th state.

Chillicothe was selected as the first capital of Ohio. The capital was moved to Zanesville as part of a political negotiation in 1810. It returned to Chillicothe from 1812-1816 before moving to its permanent location in Columbus in 1816 during the tenure of Governor Thomas Worthington.

Text on this page from the Ohio Secretary of State, http://www.sos.state.oh.us/sos/profileohio.aspx, and the Ohio History Connection, ohiohistorycentral.org