Origins of Gallia County Place Names

This information comes from various sources. We can only assume that they are correct since many of these explanations of place name origins are now dependent on histories and tradition. Any original documents that may have supported many of these stories, either never existed or are long gone. If you're able to help fill in gaps, please let the county coordinator know so this can be updated.

Gallia County:

The county was named after Gaul, the old Latin name for France because the county was settled by French immigrants (the French Five Hundred) who were ripped off by an Englishman named Playfair. He absconded with the funds that were to be used by the Scioto Company to buy the land from Congress. After the French got here they had no place to settle. The Ohio Company allocated land for them where Gallipolis is now. There were some legal battles for several years and the settlers who stayed in Gallipolis ended up paying the Ohio Company for the land. Some settlers accepted land in the French Grant farther downstream in Scioto County and some returned to France or settled in more civilized areas. There is a good description of this in Hardesty's History of Gallia County.

Township Names:

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Undoubtedly named for the city that it contains.

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Named for the river.

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Town and City Names:

Named for Adam Rickabaugh. It was laid out in 1837 by Adam and William Rickabaugh.

One opipion says it was named for Joseph Addison, the English poet and scholar. Another opinion states it was named after a New England town. It was laid out by Reuben Rothgeb for William Watson, Robert Reynolds, and John Lanks.

Named for an 1892 candidate for President of the U.S., John Bidwell. One source says it was originally called Heatley and changed to Bidwell around 1882.

Named for the Bladen family who lived in it. They are buried in a nearby cemetery.

It was known until 1886 as Sprinkle's Mill after a Mr. Sprinkle. One source says Cadmus is a character in a Greek play. Another source says that after Mr. Sprinkle's death, the citizens wanted to choose a new name. Joe Worthington, manager of the Smith Store, suggested Cadmus for the founder of the Greek city of Thebes.

This community was also called Wales and was a central meeting point for the early Welsh settlers.

Centerville or Centreville:
So named because it is half way between Gallipolis and Jackson. The post office here was named Thurman after George Thurman. The town was settled by the Welsh. Reuben Rambo and John Roof were early settlers. It was laid out by Reuben Rambo and Timothy Jones in 1853 with surveying by William Preston.

John C. Chambers laid it out in 1852.

Named for a county in England or a town in New England.

Clipper Mills:
Charlie Hazlett contributes this information: "My grandfather, Harry Clyde DICKEY, long deceased, told me that his grandfather, Matthew Riley DICKEY, operated a grain mill on a clipper ship in the Ohio River at the present Clipper Mill, and that is how it was named. BTW... it is properly CLIPPER MILL, not CLIPPER MILLS....grandpa had several discussions with the United States Post Office about that, and needless to say, he lost."

Crown City:
Originally known as the Crown, the Point, or Crown Point. Local politicians decided on Crown Point, but the Post Office said that name was in use, so they settled on Crown City. It was laid out by Hiram Rankins and Crown City was incorporated in 1874.

Named for the post office once maintained here by Peola Eno.

Named for the evergreen trees which grew here.

An early pioneer from Bath County Va., Abraham M. Ewing was here in 1810. The site was laid out in 1852 by George Ewing. "One source states that it was named for William Ewing, who was born in Virginia in 1756, became an indian fighter with the militia in Ohio, and died in 1822". Another source says it was named for a Dr. Ewing, who worked out of that area.

Named for the French settlers in the county.

Named for the French Five Hundred settlers. The word means "French City" from the Latin "Gaul" and the Greek "polis" which means city. It was settled in 1790 and its post office opened in 1794.

Glenn Summit:
Named for a family with the surname of Glenn or Glen who operated a general store here.

Possibly named for the Kanawha River which enters the Ohio River opposite the town. Its first name was Fair Haven. It was laid out for the French Five Hundred, who settled four miles downstream in 1790. Its first postmaster, Mr. Pausley, named the town from two indian words "Kanau" from the river's name and "Auga" for the Chickamauga Creek beyond the hills behind the town.

John N. Kerr, who owned 1000 acres here, deeded right-of-way through this place for a narrow gauge railway. The railway was to establish a station at this site. Kerr's son was installed as station agent. In 1875 C. W. Kerr became the first postmaster and held the position until he sold his business to his son R. S. Kerr. Sometimes the place was called Kerr Station.

Named after Kyger Creek on which the town is located. I don't know who Kyger Creek was named after.

Named for its founder Mercer Hall.

Mills Station:
Named for the Mills family who owned land where the railway stop was located. Somtimes it is just called Mills.

Morgan Center:
Some say it is named for Morgan's Raiders. John Hunt Morgan was a confederate general in the Civil War who led a raid through Kentucky, Indiana and southern Ohio in 1863. However, Morgan is also a Welsh name and there were many Welsh settlers in Gallia County. I think it may have gotten its name since it is near the center of Morgan Township and Morgan Township had existed since before 1820, well before Morgan's Raiders.

One source says it was named for the person who laid it out, John S. Northup. Another newspaper source says it was named for its founder, Daniel Northup.

Raccoon Island:
A community at the mouth of Raccoon Creek. "According to the editor of the Gallia County Historical Society Newsletter, an island once stood here, but when the Gallipolis Locks and Dam were built , a reservoir of water was created and covered the island".

Rio Grande:
The first name was Adamsville, which duplicated another name in the state. When the present name was chosen, the Rio Grande River was the site of the Mexican War and the name was in the news regularly. It is said to have been selected by Sylvester Wood, who was unfamiliar with Spanish pronunciation and the town name is pronounced as Rye-o Grand. It was incorporated in 1935.

The following info is provided by Donna Tivener: This town was named for Nicholas THEVENIN, who came to Gallipolis in 1790 among the "French 500". George Washington misspelled the name and called the town THIVENER. The name is also spelled TIVENER, TIVNER, THIVENIR. Many of Nicholas's descendants are members of the First Families of Gallia Co. OH. My husband, William Mahlon Tivener, Sr. is a member, he is the 4th. grt. grandson of Nicholas, thru his son Francis Collin Thevenin, Sr.

Diamond Jubilee 1906-1983, St. Louis Church, Gallipolis, Ohio pg. 17 states: "Nicholas Thevenin the town of Thevenin, (dmt. note: Thivener) named for him, was a Catholic, and had ten children." Nicholas Thevenin---first Sheriff---friend of Marquis de Lafayette in France, when Lafayette arrived in Gallipolis for a visit he was met at the dock by Nicholas.

Named for U. S. Senator Allen Thurman (1813- 1895).

The lake was named after the community of Tycoon that grew up around the Tycoon Mill of William and Sylvester Wood. Sylvester Wood built a house there in 1852. He was the son of William Wood of Virginia. Sylvester's sons, Luther and Elmer, became prominent in Gallia County.

Named for Samuel F. Vinton. The town was laid out in 1832 by General Samuel R. Holcomb and Mr. Vinton. It was incorporated in 1882.
Originally added prior to 2006. Updated 2022.


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