Pomeroy, Ohio

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Pomeroy is the county seat of Meigs County, Ohio. The first settler, probably Nathaniel Clark, arrived in 1816. The town was named for Samuel Wyllis Pomeroy, who was an early resident of the community. Although Meigs County was formed in 1819, Pomeroy did not become the county seat until 1841.

Pomeroy grew quickly. This growth primarily resulted from an abundance of coal in the region. Thousands of people during the 1800s made their living from mining the coal. The first coal mine opened in 1819. By 1846, approximately 1,600 people resided in the town, which contained four churches, one newspaper office, two iron foundries, one machine shop, and ten stores. Pomeroy continued to grow over the next several decades, attaining a population of 5,560 people in 1880. During the 1880s, most residents found employment in salt or coal mining. Two bromine factories existed in the town, as did two newspapers, seventeen churches, and two banks. Due to a declining amount of coal and salt in the region, Pomeroy’s population dropped to 4,726 residents in 1890.

During the twentieth century, Pomeroy’s economic situation deteriorated. Salt and coal mining declined dramatically, forcing many residents to move elsewhere to find employment. With a population of 1,966 people, Pomeroy was the county’s third largest community in 2000, ranking behind Middleport (2,525 residents) and Chester Township (2,332 residents). Meigs County ranks as one of Ohio’s poorest counties. In 1999, the per capita income in the county was 16,436 dollars, with 20.4 percent of the people living in poverty. This is one of the lowest per capita income averages and highest poverty rates in Ohio.

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