Way Back Wednesday's: The County Seat Story

By Audrey Schiesser | Local Happenings

Stories Inspired From "History of Scioto County"




Hello and welcome back to the third edition of Way Back Wednesday’s where we are aiming to highlight the amazing and vast history that is within our county! This week we are taking a look at, “The County Seat Story” courtesy of the “History of Scioto County” by the Portsmouth Area Recognition Society.


Samuel Marshall, Sr. was one of the first white settlers to ever build his home in Scioto County. This was in 1796 and sparked the massive influx of settlers shortly after in what is now known as the area of Alexandria.


Alexandria grew over the years and became the headquarters of government and business in this section of the county. Businesses moved in permanently and this area became a trading center for suppliers.


The town gained a post office on July 1, 1808 and became incorporated March 15, 1815. When floods took over Alexandria, the county seat moved to Portsmouth and so did its settlers. Soon Alexandria was washed away from the river into oblivion.


In 1820 the town was recorded to have 527 residents. Market Street was the center of town. Work was being done on the courthouse. It took three years and approximately a million dollars to build.


Portsmouth soon became the valley’s trading center. Several trading houses opened and commercial advantages of the area were placed under development.


When the canal was completed in 1832 it made Portsmouth the largest distributing port on the Ohio River between Pittsburgh and Cincinnati.


Social, political, and business life in Portsmouth centered around the canal from 1825 to 1860. Between 1825 and 1828, Portsmouth saw sixty-eight different steam boats arrive and depart. In 1828 it saw 804. These boats were magnificent. They featured excellent cuisine, bridal suites, and more.


The foundries of the area made thousands of cannonballs during the Civil War. Shiploads of soldiers and supplies left Portsmouth’s docks to aid in the Union cause.


This area is surrounded by glorious history. It is a privilege to write and share these stories with you. Come back next week as we take a look at the education in Scioto County!

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