History of the Office

Recording real estate documents is based on law in England which traveled to the New World with the colonists. Registrars were appointed to keep accurate records. Registration was necessary to prove the rights of persons who first made claims to property.

In 1787, the Northwest Territory was formed, encompassing all lands north and west of the Ohio River. A Recorder's office was established in each county. Ohio became a state in 1803 and although the state constitution did not provide for a Recorder's office, the first state legislature mandated that a Recorder be appointed in each county by the Judges of the Court of Common Pleas. In 1829 the Recorder's office became an elective position and in 1936 the term was established at four years.

Today the County Recorder keeps and maintains accurate land records that are current, legible and easily accessible.

An important aspect of the Recorder's work is to index each document so it may be readily located. Accurate indexing makes it possible for persons searching land records to find the documents necessary to establish a "chain of title" and ensures that any debts or encumbrances against the property are evident.

Listed below are the Recorders who have served Wood County to date:

  • Thomas R. McKnight 1820
  • James W. Robinson 1831
  • John Webb 1831
  • Gilbert Beach 1841
  • Pearl Simmons 1841
  • John Webb 1847
  • Jarus Curtice 1850
  • Sylvanus Hatch 1856
  • Stephen Merry 1864
  • John Caubbell 1874
  • Robert Dunn 1875
  • Theodore Alexander 1883
  • Christopher Finkbeiner 1889
  • H. L. Hinkley 1895
  • S. W. Bowman 1901
  • F. P. Clark 1907
  • 0. Adams 1913
  • B. B. Herriff 1917
  • J. F. Wilson 1919
  • C. A. Heater 1923
  • M. Heater 1924
  • Earl Fryman 1927
  • Bert Amos 1933
  • Clyde A. Loomis 1941
  • Paul H. Davis 1960
  • Sue Kinder 1981 to 2009
  • Julie Larabee 2009 to 2020
  • Jim Matuszak 2021 to Present

Through these many years of growth and/or expansion in Wood County, the major responsibilities of the County Recorder have been greatly expanded. The Recorder's office has become an important segment of county government; the description of the official duties in the Ohio Revised Code is but a skeletal outline of the real functions of the Recorder's office.


Thomas Jefferson was involved in the creation of the public land measurement system. Land descriptions that we use today are possible because of this rectangular measurement system.

The measurement system went through a 21-year trial and error period mainly in Ohio. The system was found workable and adopted as the U.S. Land Measurement System in 1805.

Wood County, being part of the Congress Lands, was surveyed by the rectangular measurement system. The System has two main divisions. The townships are divided into 6 miles square; the sections are made from the townships. A section is 1 mile square. The sections are numbered from 1 thru 36. Section 1 is in the NE corner. The numbers follow in order across to the west and then follow back and forth east to west, west to east until number 36 is found in the most SE corner.