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History

Before it became known as Highland County, this part of Ohio belonged to the Virginia Military District. In 1781, Congress granted Virginia the land between the Scioto and Miami rivers to pay the state's Revolutionary War veterans. Most of the men who received land sold it shortly after, but some moved into their given areas. One of these few men who moved into the Ohio area, Henry Massie, platted the small town of New Market in 1798, creating the first permanent settlement in the area. Upon state legislature forming Highland County in 1805, New Market was named the county seat. When Hillsboro was platted by Virginian inhabitant, David Hays, in 1807, it took over as the new county seat.

Highland County resides in the southeastern portion of Ohio. It is mainly a rural county, with less than a percent of it is urban. According to the United States Census Bureau, Highland County is approximately 558 square miles: 553 square miles of land and 5 square miles of water. The largest body of water in Highland County is the Rocky Fork Lake. A little known fact about Rocky Fork Lake is that it is not a natural formation, but in fact is a man-made lake.

According to the 2010 census, there are about 43,500 people living in Highland County. Nearly 15 percent of those people live in Hillsboro, which makes it the largest city in the county. Of these, about 97 percent are white, 1.5 percent are African American, and the remaining percentage is composed of a blend of a variety of races. Highland County has a great blend and variety of cultures, making it a very interesting and diverse place to live.

A fair number of famous individuals came from Highland County. Among these famous folks was Eliza Jane Thompson, an early temperance leader from Hillsboro. There are signs in her memory and honor upon entering the city displaying her great deeds. Famous country/western singer, Johnny Paycheck also came from Highland County. Other famous individuals include first Ohio District United States judge and acting governor for the Northwest Territory and one of Ohio's 35 Founding Fathers, Charles Willing Byrd, eighth governor of Ohio, Allen Trimble, cartoonist and comic artist, Milton Caniff, and the list goes on and on.

If the history of Highland County alone isn't enough to entice you to come and visit our great county, then head on over to the Photos section to view some wonderfully beautiful photos of the county. For more information, such as lodging information, check out the Visitors tab. If you have any questions, feel free to visit the Connect section for more information. We look forward to meeting you!

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PLEASE FEEL FREE TO CONTACT US WITH QUESTIONS REGARDING HIGHLAND COUNTY EVENTS OR TOURISM. WE LOOK FORWARD TO YOUR VISIT!