Origins of Vinton County Place Names

This information comes from various sources. I can only assume that they are correct since many of these explainations of place name origins are now dependent on histories and tradition. Any original documents that may have supported many of these stories, either never existed or are long gone.

Vinton County:

The county was named after Samuel Finley Vinton of Gallipolis, an Ohio statesman and a United States Representative for 20 years. The county was named after him because he was a respected person in the area.

Township Names:

According to one source it was named after the surname Brown, which was the most common surname in the United States (at that time). This township came from Hocking County.

Named after a distinguished American, George Clinton, the first governor of New York, a general and Vice President of the United States. This township came from Jackson County.

It was named for the bird. This township came from Ross County.

The township was named for the herd of elk that roamed the county, especially around Elk Fork Church located one mile north of McArthur. This township came from Athens County.

It was named for President William Henry Harrison. This township came from Jackson County.

It was named after President Andrew Jackson. This township came from Hocking County.

It was named after Henry Knox, a Revolutionary War general and the Secretary of War under President Washington. This township came from Athens County.

It was named after President James Madison. This township came from Athens County.

It was named for the rich and abundant natural resources in the area. This township came from Jackson County.

It was named for the bird. This township came from Hocking County.

It was named after the same Samuel Vinton that the county was named for. This township came from Athens County.

It was named after Captain Wilkes, an industrialist, who lived in the township. This township came from Gallia County.

Town and City Names:

Founded by Henry Cozad in 1837, it was named in honor of William Allen, a United States senator from Ohio and later Governor of Ohio.

Apparently named for a person or family with the surname of Arbaugh.

Bolin's Mills:
William Bolen established mills here in 1845.

Some say that it was originally called Karns City and Karns Grove when it was laid out in 1830 and started in the 1860s by Cornelius Karns of Greenbriar, Virginia. Mrs. Doretta Steele suggested naming it for the Creole Indians, since the Post Office was getting confused by the two names.

It was settled by Scottish immigrants. Dundas is supposed to mean "town" in a Scottish dialect. The mining industry in the 1870's was probably responsible for the towns existence.

Eagle Mills:
Started as a mill in Eagle Township.

Elk Fork:
It was named for the elk herds in the area. Founded on Elk Fork Creek in Elk Fork Township.

Hawk or Hawks:
Named after an early settler in the area, Wes Hawk.

Speculation says it may refer to the colorful fall scenery on the hills of the area.

Named for General Duncan McArthur of the War of 1812. He was also a large land owner in southern Ohio. The town was laid out in 1815 and was originally called McArthurstown. I have seen Mc spelled as Mac sometimes. The town name was changed to McArthur and the town was incorporated on February 7, 1851 by an act of the legislature.

It was never a platted town. It just sprang up around 1880 due to the coming of the Hocking Valley Railroad. Coal mining at the community account for its name.

New Plymouth:
It sprang up around 1838. It was named for Plymouth, Massachusetts by early settlers from New England.

No longer a town. The Acme Cement plant was located there in more recent years (1950s).

Named for the ore industry here.

Potters Ridge:
This area or community in Jackson Township was named for all the pottery manufacturers in the area because of the fine pottery clay found there.

A Massachusetts native and Revolutionary War veteran, Ephriam Pratt, is believed to be the patriarch of the family that owned the land where this community was established.

Probably named for Jonathan Radcliff, who arrived here in 1826 or 1827..

It is thought to be named for John Ratcliff, who settled in the township between 1812 and 1820. Judy Schoch, email:, provides the following: "Ratcliffsburg was laid out by Timothy Ratcliff about 1850. He was hoping that the railroad would be built following Route 50. A Ratcliff researcher who lives in Columbus told me this several years ago. So far I have not found deeds to support this, but I do know that he bought land in section 11 of Harrison Twp, Vinton Co., Ohio, in 1815." Ratcliffsburg is at the corner where sections 10, 11, 14 and 15 meet.

This town straddles the county line between Jackson and Vinton Counties. I'm not sure which county it really belongs in. Maybe both. It was originally called Raysville and was named after Moses Ray who started the town in 1854. Descendents of the Ray family still live there.

There was never a platted town here. The community takes its name from the rich land of the area as does the township name.

Vale's Mills:
Probably named for J. Q. A. Vale, the nephew of pioneer Samuel Vale. J. Vale owned and operated a mill near here for many years.

Like the village in Gallia County, it was named for Samuel Finley Vinton.

It was named after Captain Wilkes, an industrialist, who lived in the township and owned land where the town is located. The town was laid out in 1810 by Henry Due, the agent of Mr. Wilkes.

Named for Peter Zaleski, a native of Poland and a Parisian banker who laid out the town in 1856 on the land of his Zaleski Mining Company. It was incorporated in 1880.

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