The Ohio River Valley was home to several Native American cultures before European settlement, including the Adena and Hopewell cultures. These cultures left behind many burial mounds and other archaeological sites that are now protected and preserved by the state of Ohio.
Preble County, OH has a rich and diverse history that dates back to its early settlement. The area that is now Preble County was originally inhabited by Native American tribes, including the Shawnee and Miami, before European settlers arrived. The county was officially established in 1808 and was named after Commodore Edward Preble, a naval officer from the American Revolutionary War.

During the early 19th century, Preble County experienced rapid growth and development. The Miami and Erie Canal, which opened in 1845, played a significant role in the county's economic prosperity, allowing for easy transportation of goods and boosting trade and agriculture. The county became known for its fertile farmland, which attracted many settlers.

Preble County was also active during the Underground Railroad era. Numerous abolitionists and conductors, including Levi Coffin, helped enslaved individuals escape to freedom through the county. Many safe houses and hidden routes were established, making Preble County an important hub in this network of resistance against slavery.

In the 20th century, Preble County faced challenges but continued to evolve. The Great Depression had a significant impact on the county's economy, leading to a decline in population and businesses. However, Preble County rebounded after World War II, and new industries, such as manufacturing and automotive, emerged. Today, Preble County is known for its rural charm, historic downtowns, and agricultural heritage. Its close-knit communities and picturesque landscapes attract both visitors and residents who appreciate its rich history.

This timeline provides a glimpse into the major events and milestones that have shaped the history of Preble County, Ohio.

  • 1808: Preble County is established and named after Commodore Edward Preble, a naval officer in the American Revolutionary War.
  • 1810: The first courthouse is built in Eaton, the county seat.
  • 1822: The Ohio-Erie Canal is completed, bringing economic growth to the county.
  • 1849: The first railroad line is built in Preble County, connecting Eaton to neighboring counties.
  • 1856: The Preble County Fair is established as an agricultural exhibition.
  • 1861-1865: Preble County residents actively participate in the American Civil War.
  • 1879: The Preble County Historical Society is founded to preserve the county's history.
  • 1896: The Preble County Courthouse is destroyed by fire and later rebuilt.
  • 1942-1945: Preble County contributes to the war effort during World War II.
  • 1961: The West Alexandria Twin Valley School District is formed through the merger of several small rural schools.
  • 1995: The Preble County Pork Festival is established, highlighting the county's agricultural heritage.