On January 7, 1813, the Ohio government authorized the creation of Richland County. Residents named the county after its rich soil. During the early nineteenth century, the county was home to John Chapman (Johnny Appleseed).
Richland County is located in northern Ohio. The county seat is Mansfield, which is the county’s largest population center, with 49,346 residents in 2000. The county experienced a 2.2 percent increase in population between 1990 and 2000, raising the number of residents to 128,852 people. An average of 259 people live in each of Richland County’s 497 square miles.
Richland County is heavily rural, with urban areas comprising just three percent of the county’s land mass. With more than one thousand farms existing in the county, many residents find employment in agriculture, with manufacturing establishments, sales positions, and service industries also employing a large number of residents. Richland County also has a ski industry. It also is home to the Mansfield Correctional Facility. The county’s average income was 22,721 dollars per person in 1999, with 11.5 percent of the population living in poverty.
Most voters in Richland County claim to be independents, yet in recent years, they have overwhelmingly supported Republican Party candidates at the national level.
In addition to Johnny Appleseed, the county also was home to United States Senator John Sherman, who practiced law in the area for a few years. Author and conservationist Louis Bromfield lived just south of Mansfield. His former home, Malabar Farm, is now a state park.