Do You Know Ohio?: The State Seal

Do You Know Ohio?: The State Seal

Editor’s Note: Do you Know Ohio? is a Sunday feature series on the Meigs Independent Press designed to give tidbits of history and facts about Ohio. When possible, connections will be made to our home, Meigs County, as well. 

In this edition of Do You Know Ohio we are going to take a look at the State Seal.

The state of Ohio has had an official seal for more than 200 years. There has been several modifications over the years with the current state seal adopted by the State Legislature in 1967, and most recently updated in 1996.

The Great Seal of the State of Ohio was adopted based on a sketch by Secretary of State William Creighton Jr. in 1803. The layout and details were unregulated until 1967 when a standardized coat of arms based on the original design was introduced. Early versions of the seal included a canal boat, but todays version illustrates Ohio’s diverse geography. In the background the sun is rising over Mount Logan, in Ross County, separating Mount Logan from the rest of the seal is the Scioto River. And in the foreground of the seal there is a freshly harvested wheat field with a wheat bushel, illustrating the important contributations Ohio has made to agriculture. Next to the wheat bushel stands 17 arrows, representing Ohio becoming the 17th state in the Union. The sun has 13 rays protruding outward that represents the 13 original colonies.

According to historical lore, the great seal is based on the eastern view from Adena, the home of Thomas Worthington near Chillicothe. Worthington was one of Ohio’s first two United States senators and served as the sixth governor of the state. The seal sometimes appears with the state motto “With God, all things are possible”.  The seal is used by State government offices, on letterheads, and by the bureau of motor vehicles on drivers license.

Each of Ohio’s 88 counties maintain its own official seal based on the state seal. Meigs County has it’s own version which is somewhat different from the state version, but still echoes it in design.