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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 Versailles.

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 farming community.

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.