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Animal's Artificial Mark Register for Vienna Township

One of the oldest documents related to the founding era of Vienna Township is a small, handwritten journal entitled Animal's Artificial Mark Register for Vienna Township (also called the "Earmark Book"). Begun by the Township's first clerk Dennis Clark Palmer, the register was used from 1806 to 1844, this book represents the system of identification of livestock by assigning a specific cropping shape to all the livestock of an owner. Such a record ensured that owners could, in the case of straying animals or theft, legitimately prove their claims.

A typical entry included the livestock owner's name, a description of the earmark, a drawing of the earmark, and the date the earmark was entered into the book:

The artificial mark of animals recorded for Andrew Mackey of Vienna is a square crop off from the end of the left ear with a slitt [sic] in the end of the same and a Halfpenny the upper disc of the right ear. June 20th, 1806.

Dennis C. Palmer, clerk

Eight township clerks recorded marks in this ledger: the Township's first clerk, Dennis Clark Palmer, followed by Jacob Humason, Moses Scott, Charles Woodruff, Dexter Clinton, John H. Reed, Harry Truesdell, and Perry Squire.[1]


This article is adapted from Carley Cooper O'Neill, "Government," in Vienna, Ohio, "Where We Live and Let Live": Town 4, Range 2 of the Connecticut Western Reserve (Apollo, PA: Closson Press, 1999), p. 100.

[1] "Moses Scott" and "John H. Reed" are corrected spellings of names listed in Vienna, Ohio, "Where We Live and Let Live" and based on research undertaken by Shirley T. Wajda, January 2012.