The Pilgrims brought the township form of government from the New England states to America in 1620. Today, this governmental unit is still referred to as the “town.” This form of government spread west as far as the Rocky Mountains. Today, 22 states have the town or township form of local government. In 2000, 16,504 civil townships existed in the United States, primarily states in the Northeast or in the Midwest. Over the course of Ohio’s history, at least 1,340 townships have existed within the state.
Townships in Ohio predate our state government. The size and shape of a township were determined by the congressional acts establishing the various land grants. The Virginia Military Lands are the only lands in Ohio not surveyed under the Range and Township System. All other land grants were surveyed into townships either five or six miles square.
Franklin County was settled in 1797, and just two years later, Mifflin Township was settled. Officially established in 1811 by separating from Liberty Township, it was five square miles, belonging to the division known as the United States Military Lands. Immigrants from Pennsylvania gave the territory the name of their old governor, Mifflin.
Early descriptions of the township say that the Township’s terrain is level to slightly undulating, except along the principal streams of Alum Creek and Walnut Creek, which flow from north to south — Alum in the western and Walnut Creek in the eastern part. The creek beds were deeply sunken and, in many places, had precipitous banks of shale and slate bottoms. The bottom lands of the streams contained the richest soil in the township. The uplands were also fertile and produced a fine wheat crop. Between 1811 and 1848, Mifflin Township abounded in deer and small game.
St. Mary’s of the Springs College, presently Ohio Dominican College, established in 1868, makes a most beautiful setting, comprising the area near the southwest corner of Mifflin Township. The property had natural springs, hence part of the name given to this institution. In addition to cool, clear water springs, iron and sulfur springs flowed and were said to be among the most valuable mineral springs in the state.
Mifflin Township in Franklin County is a type of township is known as a civil township. Typically, a board of township trustees oversees the township. The major issues that a township government addresses are cemetery maintenance, trash collection, road upkeep and snow removal. Sometimes, police and fire services are included. Civil townships are most common in rural areas, but even large cities sometimes expand around townships or parts of townships. Commonly townships are annexed into a municipality as a town or city develops and expands. Over the years, portions of Mifflin Township have been annexed into the city of Columbus or Gahanna as these municipalities have grown.
To learn more about townships in Ohio, visit this link https://ohio.gov/wps/portal/gov/site/government/resources/townships. Download a current map of Mifflin Township here to see existing boundaries.