Jefferson county, organized in 1797, is located in eastern Ohio and calls Steubenville
its county seat. The county population on July 1, 1999, was 73,662, a decrease of 6,636 over the 1990 census.
The county was centered around Fort Steuben which was built on a hill overlooking the Ohio River in 1786. The fort's purpose was to protect the government surveyors mapping seven ranges of wilderness land from Indian attack.
The fort was abondoned after it had served its purpose and subsequently burned. The remaining houses in the area called their town "LaBelle", but when the county was officially formed, the name was changed to honor the charred fort.