In early October of 1851, the citizens of Ironton held a meeting, spearheaded by John Campbell, to consider the removal of the county seat from Burlington to Ironton. Campbell, who has been described by some as the founder of Ironton, was involved in nearly every local enterprise including the iron furnaces, banks, mills, foundries, real estate, nail and plow factories.
Later that month, an important election was held that included a full ticket of state officers and an issue of local significance: the removal of the county seat. The local newspaper promised the election would be “unusually animated and exciting.” The results of the election determined by a large majority the new county seat would be Ironton. 1043 voted for removal, 697 stood against it. The Ironton Register newspaper stated, “Even a large portion of those who voted against the removal are not in favor of the county seat remaining at Burlington. The fact is, Ironton is far more central than Burlington in regards to territory, population, business, and trade.”
The transfer would take place as soon as the commissioners could provide Ironton suitable county buildings. The land for said buildings was soon after donated by ironmasters George Kemp and William Lambert.
On March 29, 1851, the Ohio General Assembly officially made Ironton the new county seat.
Nicole Cox is a trustee for the Lawrence County Museum & Historical Society and owner of LawrenceCountyOhio.com. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org