Mill Creek Township, Hamilton County, Ohio

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An 1856 map of Hamilton County depicting Millcreek Township at its original size in blue.

Millcreek Township (or Mill Creek Township) is a survey township in south-central Hamilton County, Ohio, that also existed as a civil township from 1810 until 1943. Once the most important township in the county,[1] it was largely absorbed by Cincinnati and its suburbs, nominally remaining as a paper township from 1943 until 1953. It was abolished when the rest of its unincorporated territory, consisting of Wesleyan Cemetery, became part of Cincinnati. As the original survey township covers a large portion of present-day Cincinnati, references to it are frequently encountered by genealogists.[2]


Millcreek Township is named after Mill Creek, which runs through it.[3] Statewide, other Millcreek Townships are located in Coshocton, Union, and Williams counties.


In 1809, residents of Cincinnati Township and Springfield Township successfully petitioned the Hamilton County Board of County Commissioners to form a new township corresponding to fractional range two, township three of the Symmes Purchase, a total of 36 square miles (93 km2). Township trustees were first elected on February 1810.[3][4]

On February 28, 1870, Cincinnati annexed Lick Run and Camp Washington.[5] By 1881, Cincinnati had annexed the village of Cumminsville (now Northside) within the township limits.[3] By 1904, Cincinnati had also annexed the villages of Winton Place (now Spring Grove Village) and Bond Hill. However, there was confusion because no action had been taken to also transfer them from Millcreek Township to Cincinnati Township, which was by then a paper township whose sole purpose was to exclude land from any real township.[6] By 1912, annexations by Cincinnati left Elmwood Place and Wesleyan Cemetery as the only unincorporated portions of the township, prompting an investigation into whether the township should be abolished.[7]

Norwood withdrew from the township around 1938 by forming its own paper township.[8] In 1939 and 1941, Cincinnati attempted to annex the 25-acre (10 ha), unincorporated enclave occupied by the historic Wesleyan Cemetery. However, burial lot owners and relatives of people buried at the cemetery successfully defeated the annexation over fears that the city would run a street through the cemetery.[1][9] In 1943, St. Bernard and Elmwood Place (now a village) withdrew from the township as well, reducing it to only the cemetery and $517.35 in assets.[1][4][10]

Attorney General Thomas J. Herbert issued an opinion that the cemetery enclave should be considered part of Cincinnati and the township should be abolished. However, the matter was not settled: state law required the freeholders within a territory to vote on annexation, but no freeholder remained in the township to vote in favor. The township's one resident of voting age, the cemetery's sexton, did not own the cemetery; conversely, the Wesleyan Cemetery Association's board members did not reside at the cemetery. Meanwhile, the sexton could not simultaneously serve in all three trustee positions that state law requires of a functioning township government. The county also sought to avoid setting up a special polling place for the sexton, which would have required the appointment of six election officers.[10][11]

In 1950, Cincinnati sued the Wesleyan Cemetery Association in Hamilton County Common Pleas Court to determine whether the city has jurisdiction over the cemetery.[4] Despite being in the middle of an urban area, the cemetery had no provisions for police or fire protection. In 1953, a bill introduced by State Representative Robert F. Reckman[8] to consider remnants of townships with no resident freeholders to be part of municipalities as if they had been annexed was approved by the Governor.[12] On October 20, 1953, the Clerk of Council of the City of Cincinnati issued a certificate and plat stating that that part of Wesleyan Cemetery that was a remnant of Mill Creek Township was then part of the City of Cincinnati.[13] Despite this action by the City, news articles refer to the cemetery as constituting nonfunctioning Millcreek Township as late as 1961.[14]

During the 1990s and 2000s, the cemetery passed from one caretaker to another amid controversy about mismanagement. The cemetery grew unkempt and attracted prostitutes and drug dealers. Attorney General Jim Petro stepped in, obtaining a ruling in Common Pleas Court that removed the caretaker and declared Wesleyan a public cemetery. Cincinnati unsuccessfully fought in court to avoid taking over management of the cemetery.[15]


The original territory of Millcreek Township was bounded by Cincinnati Township and Storrs Township to the south, Green Township to the west, Springfield Township to the north, and Columbia Township and Spencer Township to the east.[2][16]

The following villages were at some point located in Millcreek Township:[3][17]


  1. ^ a b c "Township To Be Cemetery Only, Under Plan Of Withdrawal Of Two Cities—Millcreek Unit May Have To Vanish". The Cincinnati Enquirer. June 10, 1942. p. 10 – via
  2. ^ a b "Map of Hamilton County, Ohio : exhibiting the various divisions and sub divisions of land with the name of the owners & number of acres in each tract together with the roads, canals, streams, towns &c. throughout the county".
  3. ^ a b c d Ford & Ford 1881, pp. 333–339.
  4. ^ a b c "Who's Who In Cemetery? City Would Like To Know". The Cincinnati Enquirer. March 4, 1950. p. 12 – via
  5. ^ Maxwell, Sidney D. (1870). The suburbs of Cincinnati: sketches, historical and descriptive. Cincinnati: G.E. Stevens & Co. Preface – via Wikimedia Commons.
  6. ^ "Perplexed: Are County Officials By the Question of Township Locations of Annexed Villages". The Cincinnati Enquirer. April 7, 1904. p. 12 – via
  7. ^ "Ownership of $6,000 Depends on Whether Millcreek Township Has Gone Out of Existence". The Cincinnati Enquirer. February 15, 1912. p. 14 – via
  8. ^ a b "Legal Action Sought On Millcreek Annexation". The Cincinnati Enquirer. January 16, 1953. p. 3 – via
  9. ^ "Reject City's Plans To Annex Two Areas". The Cincinnati Enquirer. October 26, 1939. p. 11 – via
  10. ^ a b "Cemetery Is A Problem For Annexation Experts; Legal Advice Is Sought". The Cincinnati Enquirer. January 4, 1944. p. 5 – via
  11. ^ "Board To Tackle Riddle Of One-Voter Township". The Cincinnati Enquirer. July 31, 1942. p. 16 – via
  12. ^ "To enact supplemental section 503.131 of the Revised Code relative to defunct townships within the boundaries of a municipal corporation." 1953 Ohio Laws 344, File No. 169, Amended House Bill No. 46, passed July 9, 1953, approved July 15, 1953, effective October 14, 1953.
  13. ^ Cincinnati, Ohio. Certificate and plat dated October 20, 1953. Recorded on January 28, 1954, with the Hamilton County, Ohio Recorder, in Plan Book 63, Pages 3 (plan) and 4 (certificate)
  14. ^ Hale, Harry L. (March 26, 1961). "Clifton Heights Is Larger In Fancy Than In Fact". The Cincinnati Enquirer. p. 4D – via
  15. ^ Coolidge, Sharon (February 11, 2007). "The cemetery nobody wants". The Cincinnati Enquirer. pp. B1, B5 – via [1]
  16. ^ LLC., Historic Map Works. "Outline Map, Atlas: Cincinnati and Hamilton County 1869, Ohio Historical Map".
  17. ^ Nelson & Runk 1894, p. 418–427.

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