Wilmington will be celebrating on Saturday, Oct. 19bthe 100-year anniversary of the opening of the Clinton County Courthouse. This occasion serves as an opportunity to consider the history of the founding of Clinton County itself.
When it was formed in 1810, the community was known as the Town of Clinton. A year later the city was renamed Wilmington, and then began Clinton County.
Presently, two states have counties named in honor of George Clinton (1739-1812): Ohio and New York.
Clinton County, New York was formed in 1788. George Clinton was the first governor of New York and served as Vice President (1805-1812) under President Thomas Jefferson.
The states of Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Michigan, Missouri and Pennsylvania have counties named in honor of Dewitt Clinton (1769-1828), George Clinton’s nephew. He was the sixth governor of New York and a U.S. Senator who is credited with getting the Erie Canal built.
The cities of Wilmington, Ohio and Plattsburgh, New York are the county seats. Looking like people’s genealogy, these two cities would be related.
While the 2010 census lists New York’s Clinton County population as 82,128 and Ohio’s at 42,040, these cities have a lot in common. They are agricultural communities, are college towns, have former Air Force bases and numerous churches. Even the high schools share the same school colors of orange and black.
Both cities are also my hometowns — I was born and raised in Plattsburgh and lived there until I left to serve in the U.S. Navy in 1961. After living in over 10 other states I moved to Ohio in February 1989 to work for Airborne Express, and I’m proud to say I’m still here.
I believe Wilmington and Clinton County, Ohio will remain my home now and in the future. Congratulations to Clinton County’s past and present.
Gary De Fayette is a resident of Wilmington.