History of Versailles
The history of the Village passed through several name changes;
from Jacksonville (1819- 1837) to Versailles (1837-1854); then add
North Jacksonville (1842-1854) to the incorporated Village of
Versailles in 1855 to the present day.
Attraction to the fertile soil of the upper Miami Valley was
noticed by the soldiers of Wayne's Army and by the Militia of the
War of 1812, as they marched over the local terrain. After the
peace treaties were signed in 1795 and 1812, it was believed to be
safe for settlement in the areas by 1819.
Jacksonville, containing 20 lots, was platted in the
NE1/4S19/T10/R4 in Wayne Township, Darke County, Ohio on August 28,
1819 by Silas Atchison. The Village was platted on the south side
of Swamp Creek. The outer perimeter of the Village remained the
same for the next 18 years.
James C. Woods added the first addition to the original town
plat of Jacksonville on August 14, 1837. The first addition joined
the original town site and increased the number of lots from 20 to
51. Parts of lots 26 and 27 were donated to the town to be used for
a market square which later became the site of Fountain Square.
Jacksonville was named after Andrew Jackson when it was founded,
but for various reasons, the citizens wished to change the name of
the Village. In 1837, residents of Jacksonville, after much
discussion, presented a petition to Mr. Hiram Bell, who was the
state representative for Darke County, Ohio, to change the name of
Jacksonville to that of Versailles. This petition was presented by
Mr. Bell to the 38th Ohio General Assembly of the State of Ohio;
that the name of Jacksonville of the County of Darke hereby be
changed and shall hereafter be known as designated by the name of
Versailles, dated Thursday, December 28, 1837.
The town of North Jacksonville was laid out in the SE corner of
the SW 1/4 S18, T10, R4E, north to Swamp Creek. The town of North
Jacksonville was platted by Joseph Brandon on March 25, 1842, and
functioned as an independent village for 13 years before it joined
The coming of the railroad resulted in a quick expansion of the
Village. Residents of both sides of the tracks filed for
incorporation papers on March 7, 1855. It was granted by the County
Commissioners on June 5, 1855 for Versailles to become an
incorporated village. Village government was set up under
Mayor-Council form, Village Clerk, Village Treasurer, Police, and a
Recorder. Revisions were made from time-to-time creating new
offices or deleting offices of village government.
The members of the Versailles Village Council and the Wayne
Township Trustees held a special meeting on June 26, 1875 to
discuss the possibility of building a joint town hall and township
house on the northeast corner of Market Square. The draft plans of
the building committee were approved by both groups on August 2,
1875. The Village Hall is still in use today, and on June 22, 1980,
it was placed on the National Register of Historical Places.
On July 6, 1901, a disastrous fire occurred in the Village. The
fire started about 2:00 p.m. in the Old Scheffel Mill, which is now
known as the Buckeye Overall Building, and rampaged eastward down
Main Street to East Street; destroying businesses, buildings,
residences and household goods. The town was rebuilt a year later,
and once again became the busy, thriving business center of the
Versailles has grown from the plat in 1819, with many additions
to the original site, and has developed into an industrious and
prosperous community. Its growth from a small village into a town
in the last 180 years has evolved from the progressive spirit of
its founders. Even though the boundary lines have changed, and will
probably continue to change, the cordial friendliness of its
citizens will never change, but continue on with pride and progress
to form a stronger and better community.