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Livingston County History
Celebrating 150 Years, 1821-1981
Published by The Retired Senior Volunteer Program
On August 7, 1837 the Livingston County court, then in session, took the first steps toward establishing the town of Chillicothe and the lots were laid out. Because of the location it was to be the county seat. At this time it was given the name Chilicothe, spelled with one l and was named for Chillicothe Ohio. It later took the present spelling because of an error made by a deputy county clerk who wrote the records. The name Chillicothe is a Shawnee Indian name and means “the big town where we live.”
Chillicothe was first incorporated by the county court August 13, 1851 on a two-thirds petition of the inhabitants. The next incorporation was by an act of the Legislature February 26, 1869 and the town became “the City of Chillicothe.”
The municipal government is a charter form of government with powers to operate vested in a mayor, one councilman-at-large and one councilman from each of the four wards in the city. The municipal government looks after the care of the streets, enforcement of sanitary measures, operation and care of public parks and playgrounds, maintains and operates a police and fire protection department and ambulance service. The care of the trees and shrubbery and upkeep of the Court House Plaza are municipal responsibilities.
Elected officials of the city government besides the mayor and council are the clerk, whose duty it is to be the custodian of the city sea[, keep all records, prepare commissions, file deeds, publish ordinances and annual reports; the City Treasurer handles the finances which includes collecting taxes, general and special licenses and revenues of the city, and keeps an account of all monies received and spent; The City Auditor, who is the accountant and as such receives and preserves all books, vouchers, contracts, and accounts pertaining to the city, purchases city supplies, makes monthly reports and assists the mayor in preparation of the annual budget; the Constable who is appointed by the council to act as chief of police and an Attorney who handles all legal matters.
The members of the Public Utilities Board, Hospital Board, Airport Board, Zoning Board and the Federal Housing Authority are appointed by and operate under the jurisdiction of the council. Besides members of the various Boards the council appoints the City Assessor, the Fire Chief, the City Engineer, Animal Control Officer, Public Health Administrator, and the Street Commissioner.
The city owns the Public Utilities which includes the Light and Water Plant and the Garbage Disposal System. It owns the Hedrick Medical Center, Simpson, Gravesville, Clay Street and East Side Parks, an airport located three miles east of Chillicothe and will own two low rent housing complexes when the Federal loan is retired. In 1978 the city purchased the Robertson building located in South Chillicothe on Highway 65 which is used to house the street department maintenance equipment. An aerial ladder fire truck was purchased in 1979 at a cost $212,000 to supplement the two pump trucks in use; in 1980 one new ambulance was bought which, in addition to two old ones, serves that system. Five police cars are owned by the city. The Coburn building was given to the city by Mr. Richard Coburn to be used for community services.
The city charter contains nine Articles which delegate the duties and powers of the city government. The Articles contain all the code of Ordinances that the charter provides and under which the city receives its power to operate.
Until 1901 city officials were elected to serve one year, but since that time all terms are for two years. The First city hall built in 1869 and all its records were destroyed by fire in 1875. A second City Hall of brick veneer was constructed in 1876-77 at a cost of $20,000 and stood until it too was destroyed by fire on May 18, 1925. Most of the records from that fire were saved and were housed in the Sipple building until on May 6, 1926, when a contract was let at a cost of $72,997 to build the solid brick structure which now stands and was dedicated in 1926.
The mayors and city council members who have served the city since 1875 are on record at the city Hall. We list only the mayors and their terms here: Mayor J. 0. Trumbo, 1875; H. M. Pollard, 1876; F. W. Trent, 1877; W. E. Gunby, 1978; J. T. Johnson, 1879; Henry Hatch, 1880; John W. Butner 1881, 1882 and 1883; Archibald McVey, 1884; Wm. E. Crellin, 1885; James L Buford, 1886; Moses Alexander, 1887; J. L. Schmitz, 1888; David Gordon, 1889; L. J. Broaddus, 1890; Charles F. Stewart, 1891; Frederick H. Hoppe, 1892; John T. Milbank, 1893; W. H. Booth, 1894; W. D. Leeper, 1895; Frank S. Miller, 1896; Isaac Hirsh 1897,1898; Robert S. Hall, 1899; Thomas J. Hoge, 1900; Isaac Hirsh 1901-03; W. W. Edgerton, 1903-05; Isaac Hirsh, 1905-1907; Charles F. Adams, 1907-1909; John H. Taylor, 1909-1911; Chris Boehner, 1911-1913; Stephen Hawkins, 1913-15; and again in 1915-17; L. A. Chapman, 1917-1919; Burdette V. Gill 1919-21; Frank Ashby, 1921-23; A. R. Coburn, 1923-25; William Scruby, 1925-27; Harry H. Pardonner, 1927-29; and 1929-31; John H. Taylor, 1931-33; William A. Rensch, 1933-35; G. C. Carnahan, 1935-37; and 1937-39; Murray N. Windle, 1939-41 and 1941-43; Beal Shaw, 1943-45; Frank Lang, 1945-47; Oscar 0. Cooke, 1947-49; Robert A. Staton, 1949-51; and 1951-53; R. B. Taylor 1953-55 - 1955-57 - 1957-59, 59-61, 61-63; Louis H. Stein, 1963-65; Frank C. Lang 1965-67; Woodrow Kline, 1967-69; 1969-71; Roy Rodebaugh, 1971-73; Ralph L. Moore, 1973-75; Mary E. Smith, 1975-77; Cecil Campbell, 1977-79; J. T. Oliver, 1979-81.Miss Willa Jane Smith is Councilwoman-at-large for the present term of 1979-81, Charles O’Hara is first ward councilman, Richard Garr is second ward councilman, Richard Knouse is third ward councilman, and Darrel Rinehart, Jr. is fourth ward councilman.