Editor’s note: For many years, local historian Jean Wallis provided a feature to The Times-Gazette called “Highland Guideposts.” She is updating and resubmitting some of those articles from time to time, including this one.
The village of Lynchburg was platted July 31, 1830 by proprietors Andrew Smith and Coleman Botts. The village is situated along the banks of the East Fork of the Little Miami River and was named Lynchburg after Andrew Smith’s native home in Virginia.
In 1857, the Bowen distillery owned by Freiburg and Workum of Cincinnati was established in Lynchburg, which brought employment and prosperity to the village for more than half a century.
In 1870, the covered bridge was erected, which spanned the East Fork of the Little Miami River, by John C. Gregg, a well-known bridge builder in Highland County and southern Ohio. The bridge was located in the village of Lynchburg and both Clinton and Highland counties. Today it remains the only covered bridge left in Highland County.
In the Roads Cemetery located in Paint Township is the grave of Barnet Weyer, Sr. (1767-1847), a native of Virginia. In 1804, while out hunting, Weyer discovered a cave in Augusta County, Va., that bears his name. The cave is located some 16 miles north of Staunton, Va., and a short distance west of the Blue Ridge Mountains.
The animal Weyer was chasing disappeared into a cave which he followed, finding a vast underground cave with numerous apartments and slow-growing stalactites and stalagmites. Sometime after 1804, Weyer migrated to Paint Township, Highland County.
First court & divorce
The first court was held in Hillsborough on Nov. 9, 1807, in Joseph Knox’s log tavern located on West Main Street, the present day site of the Parker House.
The first courthouse was built on the public square in Hillsborough and served the citizens of Highland County for 25 years.
The first divorce case in Highland County was filed by Simon Shoemaker against his wife, Elizabeth. Shoemaker married Elizabeth Metsker in 1807. The cause assigned was “the willful absence from the bed and board of the plaintiff by elopement a short time after marriage.”
The first estate filed in Highland County was Oct. 19, 1805, of Alexander Sanderson. He had the misfortune of dying shortly after his arrival in Highland County. A number of his descendants have been inducted into First Families of Highland County, including Alexander.
First church building
The first church building in Hillsborough was the Methodist and was located on the northeast corner of the alley running from present day Governor Trimble Place and West Beech Street. The church was a small frame building erected in 1810.
The first Friends meeting house was located on the site of the small brick building at the corner of old U.S. Route 62 and Bridges Road south of Leesburg, now being restored. This small brick building is the oldest church in Highland County.
When Highland County was established in 1805 it took a small part of Clermont, Adams and a big chunk of Ross County. Many Highland County records can be found in the Ross County Courthouse.
The boundaries of Highland County have changed twice – in 1810, when Clinton and Fayette counties were established, and in 1813 when a portion of Highland County was used to square up the boundary of Clinton County.