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On January 30, 1808, the State of Ohio authorized the creation of Licking County. Residents named the county after the Licking River, which flows through the region. Licking County was originally part of Fairfield County. Before the arrival of Europeans, Indians lived here. The most notable group of
prehistoric people was the Hopewell Indians, who built elaborate earthworks. Whites destroyed many of these earthworks, as they converted the countryside into farm fields and communities during the nineteenth century. Remnants still remain at the Great Circle Earthworks, Octagon Earthworks, and Wright Earthworks. The Ohio History Connection has preserved these three sites, known collectively as the Newark Earthworks. Other important native sites in Licking County include Blackhand Gorge and Flint Ridge.
Licking County is located in central Ohio. It is predominantly rural, with less than two percent of the county’s 687 square miles consisting of urban areas. The county seat is Newark, with a population of 46,279 people. It was the county’s largest community in 2000. Licking County experienced a significant increase in population, roughly 13.4 percent, between 1990 and 2000, raising the total number of residents to 145,491 people. The county averages 212 people per square mile.