Brownhelm Township, Lorain County, Ohio

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Brownhelm Township, Lorain County, Ohio
The Mill Hollow House at the Vermilion River Reservation
The Mill Hollow House at the Vermilion River Reservation
Location of Brownhelm Township in Lorain County
Location of Brownhelm Township in Lorain County
Coordinates: 41°24′12″N 82°19′1″W / 41.40333°N 82.31694°W / 41.40333; -82.31694Coordinates: 41°24′12″N 82°19′1″W / 41.40333°N 82.31694°W / 41.40333; -82.31694
CountryUnited States
 • Total20.2 sq mi (52.2 km2)
 • Land20.0 sq mi (51.9 km2)
 • Water0.1 sq mi (0.4 km2)
Elevation653 ft (199 m)
 • Total7,782
 • Density388.7/sq mi (150.1/km2)
Time zoneUTC-5 (Eastern (EST))
 • Summer (DST)UTC-4 (EDT)
ZIP code
Area code(s)440
FIPS code39-09568[2]
GNIS feature ID1086503[1]

Brownhelm Township is one of the eighteen townships of Lorain County, Ohio, United States. The 2000 census found 7,782 people in the township, 1,792 of whom lived in the unincorporated portions of the township.[3] Brownhelm was the first local government of any kind in the United States to elect a black man to public office; on April 2, 1855, John Mercer Langston, a black man from Virginia, became town clerk. He later became a United States Congressman.[4]


Located in northwestern Lorain County along the shores of Lake Erie, it borders the following townships and city:

Parts of the city of Vermilion are located in northern Brownhelm Township.

Name and history[edit]

It is the only Brownhelm Township statewide. Brownhelm Township was 'founded' in 1816, but judicially established in 1818. Some historians assert that the name "Brownhelm" was derived from the word holm,[5] added onto the surname "Brown" — and although the "Brown" indeed refers to Col.Henry Brown, who 'founded' this settlement in 1816 — but Brown was unequivocally also "at the helm" of his settlement, and he deserves direct recognition, as such.[6] The first true pioneer-settlers within present-day Brownhelm Twp., in 1816, were Peter P. Pease (later also being the first settler of Oberlin Ohio), and Daniel T. Baldwin (who shortly later helped to establish the city of Lorain, Ohio); but due to a sole historian's 19th-century attitudes towards single men not meeting the definition of "settlers", these two men were not properly credited as the true first pioneers of 1816.[7] As a result, modern historians have also erroneously attributed the "first pioneer-settlement" of Brownhelm Twp., as being 1817.

Notable person[edit]


The township is governed by a three-member board of trustees, who are elected in November of odd-numbered years to a four-year term beginning on the following January 1. Two are elected in the year after the presidential election and one is elected in the year before it. There is also an elected township fiscal officer,[8] who serves a four-year term beginning on April 1 of the year after the election, which is held in November of the year before the presidential election. Vacancies in the fiscal officership or on the board of trustees are filled by the remaining trustees.


  1. ^ a b "US Board on Geographic Names". United States Geological Survey. 2007-10-25. Retrieved 2008-01-31.
  2. ^ "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Archived from the original on 2013-09-11. Retrieved 2008-01-31.
  3. ^ Lorain County, Ohio — Population by Places Estimates[permanent dead link] Ohio State University, 2007. Accessed 14 May 2007.
  4. ^ Kevin Merida, "The 'Obama before Obama'", The Washington Post, 7 June 2008. Accessed 26 Nov 2008.
  5. ^ Overman, William Daniel (1958). Ohio Town Names. Akron, OH: Atlantic Press. pp. 19–20.
  6. ^ History of Lorain County; Williams Bros., 1878
  7. ^ personal-correspondence of Peter P. Pease; Oberlin College Archives
  8. ^ §503.24, §505.01, and §507.01 of the Ohio Revised Code. Accessed 4/30/2009.

External links[edit]