Rutherford B. Hayes Presidential Library & Museums
Erie County, Ohio Common Pleas
Scope and Content
The records of the Erie County, Ohio Court of Common Pleas were microfilmed by the Center for Archival Collections at Bowling Green State University, Bowling Green, Ohio. The original first ten volumes are located at the Center for Archival Collections as well. The microfilm is located in the Hayes Presidential Center’s Library Reading Room.
Ohio’s county court of common pleas system was established in the state constitution drafted in 1802, and was a continuation of the institution created under Ohio’s territorial act of 1788. The court assigned common law and chancery jurisdiction, including criminal cases, probate cases, testamentary matters and the appointment of guardians. The court also was authorized to appoint a clerk and county prosecuting attorney; in 1851, the state constitution made the office of judge elective for a five-year term. In 1906, the term was increased to six years. In the same year, the court took over jurisdiction of naturalization proceedings.
Scope and Content
The collection, which is not complete, is comprised of five rolls of microfilm containing eleven volumes of Erie County’s common pleas court journals, extending from 1838 to 1869. An index for the first common pleas journal (1838 to 1841) has also been filmed. Additionally, the first volume of Erie County’s chancery court records (1839 to 1843) appears. The chancery court, overseen by the county common pleas court, dealt with divorce, mortgage foreclosures, petitions to sell land, partition suits, and real property disputes until constitutional changes took place in 1851. As a result, some matters involving inheritance and estates of deceased persons were decided by the chancery court.
Index of Erie County, Ohio Common Pleas Court Journals, Volumes I - X, edited by Loretta Stierhoff Gerber and Katharyn Huss Wunderley, and published by the Erie County Chapter of the Ohio Genealogical Society in 1998, provides an everyname index with volume and page number for the first ten volumes of common pleas court journals. The index was created from the original index books. This work is available in the Hayes Presidential Center Library Reading Room.
1. Common Pleas Court Journal, Volume 1: 1838 - March 1841, including Index
Common Pleas Court Journal, Volume 2: June 1841 - 1844
Common Pleas Court Journal, Volume 3: June 1844 - 1846
2. Common Pleas Court Journal, Volume 4: March 1846 - March 1849
Common Pleas Court Journal, Volume 5: February 1849 - 1850
Common Pleas Court Journal, Volume 6: October 1850 - 1852
3. Common Pleas Court Journal, Volume 7: March 1852 - August 1854
Chancery Court Records, Volume 1: June 1839 - 1843
4. Common Pleas Court Journal, Volume 8: 1854 - 1858
Common Pleas Court Journal, Volume 9: 1858 - 1860
5. Common Pleas Court Journal, Volume 10: 1860 - 1865
Common Pleas Court Journal, Volume 11: 1865 - 1869