On February 19, 1810, the Ohio government authorized the creation of Fayette County. The county was originally parts of Ross and Highland Counties. Residents named the county in honor of the Marquis de Lafayette, a French officer who aided the Americans during the Revolutionary War.
Fayette County is located in south central Ohio. It is predominantly rural, with less than one percent of the county's 407 square miles consisting of urban areas. The county seat is Washington Court House. With a population of 13,524 people, Washington Court House was the county's largest community in 2000. The next largest urban area, Union township, had only 3,808 residents that same year. Fayette County experienced a slight increase in population -- roughly 3.5 percent -- between 1990 and 2000, raising the total number of residents to 28,433 people. The county averages less than seventy people per square mile.
The largest employers in Fayette County are sales establishments, with manufacturing positions a distant second. Farming, government careers, and service industries, such as health care and communications, are virtually equal, finishing a distant third, fourth, and fifth to sales and manufacturing positions. Interestingly, Fayette County residents are famous for their horse breeding. The county is home to one of the best standard-bred breeding facilities in the United States. Residents also raise Hereford Cattle, among several other types of animals. In 1999, the per capita income in the county was approximately 20,600 dollars, with twelve percent of the people living in poverty.
Most voters in Fayette County claim to be independents, yet in recent years, they have overwhelmingly supported Republican Party candidates at the national level.