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History of the Probate Court

Early American probate courts may be traced back to English courts of chancery and ecclesiastical, or religious courts, which had jurisdiction over the probate of wills, administration of estates and guardianships.

The Northwest Ordinance of 1787 provided for the first probate judge and court in the Ohio territory.  Under the first Ohio Constitution written in 1802, the court of common pleas had exclusive jurisdiction of probate matters.  The constitution of 1851 and subsequent amendments removed probate matters from jurisdiction of the common pleas courts and created in each county a separate probate court division of the common pleas court.  Each of Ohio's 88 counties has a probate division of its court of common pleas.

Below is a list of Shelby County Probate Judges.


The Honorable Jeffrey J. Beigel
The Honorable William R. Zimmerman
The Honorable Norman P. Smith
The Honorable Thomas W. Kerrigan
The Honorable Thomas E. Potts
The Honorable Thomas H. Eshman
The Honorable Lieudell E. Bauer
The Honorable Millard E. Hussey
The Honorable Robert A. Eshman
The Honorable Charles M. Wyman
The Honorable E. F. Short
The Honorable H. H. Needles
The Honorable I.A. Eshman
The Honorable E. J. Hoskins
The Honorable J. M. Staley
The Honorable J. M. Staley
The Honorable A. J. Rebstock
The Honorable D. Bowersock
The Honorable William Wyman (circa 1866)