On December 26, 1817, the Ohio government authorized the creation of Clark County. The county was named in honor of George Rogers Clark, a hero of the American Revolution. It was originally parts of Greene, Champaign, and Madison Counties. The county began to flourish during the 1830s, with the completion of the National Road through Ohio.
Clark County is located in west central Ohio. It is predominantly rural, with less than one percent of the county's four hundred square miles consisting of urban areas. The county seat is Springfield. With a population of 65,358 people, Springfield was the county's largest community in 2000. The next largest urban area, New Carlisle, had only 5,735 residents that same year. Like most of Ohio's predominantly rural counties, Clark County experienced a drop in population -- roughly two percent -- between 1990 and 2000, reducing the total number of residents to 144,742 people. Many residents of Ohio's rural communities are seeking better lives and more opportunities in the state's cities. Clark County averages almost 362 people per square mile.
The largest employer in Clark County is sales positions, followed closely by service industries, such as health care and communications. Manufacturing jobs are a close third, with government positions a distant fourth. Many residents found employment in the printing industry during the 1930s and 1940s, with the Crowell-Collier Publishing Company publishing several national magazines in Springfield. During this same time period, Springfield was the largest grower of rosebushes for sale in the nation. In 1999, the per capita income in the county was almost twenty-five thousand dollars, with 12.5 percent of the people living in poverty.
Most voters in Clark County claim to be independents, yet in recent years, they have supported by very slim margins Democratic Party candidates at the national level. Among Clark County's more prominent residents was A.B. Graham, who founded 4-H Clubs. The county is also home to Wittenberg University. Ohio Governor Asa S. Bushnell was also a resident of Springfield. Backwoodsmen Simon Kenton lived in Springfield for a period of time, and his wife supposedly named the city of Springfield. Simon Kenton is buried in Urbana's Oakdale Cemetery, in nearby Champaign County.