Licking County

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Licking County map.jpg

On January 30, 1808, the State of Ohio authorized the creation of Licking County. Residents named the county after the Licking River, which flows through the region. Licking County was originally part of Fairfield County. Before the arrival of Europeans, Indians lived here. The most notable group of prehistoric people was the Hopewell Indians, who built elaborate earthworks. Whites destroyed many of these earthworks, as they converted the countryside into farm fields and communities during the nineteenth century. Remnants still remain at the Great Circle Earthworks, Octagon Earthworks, and Wright Earthworks. The Ohio Historical Society has preserved these three sites, known collectively as the Newark Earthworks. Other important native sites in Licking County include Blackhand Gorge and Flint Ridge.

Licking County is located in central Ohio. It is predominantly rural, with less than two percent of the county’s 687 square miles consisting of urban areas. The county seat is Newark, with a population of 46,279 people. It was the county’s largest community in 2000. Licking County experienced a significant increase in population, roughly 13.4 percent, between 1990 and 2000, raising the total number of residents to 145,491 people. The county averages 212 people per square mile.

Retail positions and service industries are Licking County’s two largest employers, with manufacturing businesses and government a distant third and fourth. Farming ranks fifth. Some of the counties larger employers include Denison University, The Ohio State University at Newark, Kaiser Aluminum, Owens-Corning, and State Farm Insurance. The county was once home to the Heisey Glass Company and the American Bottle Company, which was the world’s largest beer bottle manufacturer during the early part of the twentieth century. In 1999, the per capita income in the county was 26,891 dollars. Just over nine percent of the people in the county were living in poverty.

American Civil War soldier Johnny Clem, also known as John Joseph Klem and as the “Drummer Boy of Shiloh,” is among the county's more prominent residents.

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