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Welcome to Williams County OHGenWeb.

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A Little About Williams County and Bryan, the County Seat

In 1840 the population of Williams County (which included part of what is now known as Defiance County) was about 300, mostly around Pulaski, which at that time was known as Fayette. The land was a swampy wilderness owned by the American Land Company of New York.

John A. BRYAN, State Auditor of Ohio and an agent for the land company, suggested that the county seat be moved from Defiance to an area closer to the center of the county. In June 1840 the establishment of a new county seat was approved. Miller ARROWSMITH completed a survey of the site in July, recorded it September 14th., 1840 and named it Bryan.

The 1860 census of Williams County shows 16,538 inhabitants with Bryan's population at 1,079. 1864 maps of Williams County show the town of Edon as Weston and a now nonexistant town called New Berlin north of Edon. Williams Center is shown as Centre and Montpelier is divided into Montpelier and South Montpelier.

The first school house was built in 1841 and was a "private" school taught by Miss Harriet POWELL. Later it became a public school taught by A. J. TRESSLER. At first Bryan water was abundant due to subterranean springs and the town came to be known as the Fountain City. However, as more wells were dug the water supply fell and now all the "fountains" are history.