Preble County History
Preble County was settled in 1798 by John Leslie and was established as a county in March 1808, five years after Ohio was admitted to the Union as the seventeenth state of the United States of America. The county was named for Commodore Edward Preble who served as the Commander of the American Naval Fleet in the Mediterranean during the Tripolitan War, as well as in the Revolutionary War and the War of 1812.
Eaton (the county seat) was named for William Eaton, the U.S. Consul at Tunis during the Tripolitan War. This war influenced not only the naming of the county and its only city, but the names of many streets and communities throughout the county as well.
In addition to the city of Eaton, there are several villages located in the county: Camden, College Corner, Eldorado, Gratis, Lewisburg, New Paris, Verona, West Alexandria, West Elkton, and West Manchester, and there are 12 townships: Dixon, Gasper, Gratis, Harrison, Israel, Jackson, Jefferson, Lanier, Monroe, Somers, Twin and Washington. These communities are connected to each other and elsewhere by a network of roadways including I-70, U.S. 127, U.S. 35, U.S. 40, and 10 state routes.
There are 18 public schools in the county’s five school districts, which provide primary and secondary education to nearly 8,000 children. Preble County has a new branch campus of Edison State Community College as of January 2019 and several colleges and universities located in nearby counties also provide higher education, including Miami University, Wright State University, Earlham College, University of Dayton and Sinclair Community College.
Nearly three quarters of Preble County is farmland and it consistently ranks in the top ten in hog and corn production for the state of Ohio. Most of the county’s communities remain small and the atmosphere is pleasantly rural. Annual festivals and events draw visitors and participants from all over the state and beyond.