As the Ohio Territory became populated, it was only natural that the surveyed townships should become the basic unit of local government. In the early years, township government cared for the poor, maintained the roads, preserved the peace, registered brands and fulfilled the needs of local government generally.
Muskingum Township and all other Ohio townships are a political subdivision of the state of Ohio. As such, townships have only those powers granted to it by the state legislature and perform functions defined by the state. To keep pace with the demands of changing times, the functions, duties and obligations of the township have changed over the years.
Demands for increased or different services have prompted the state legislature to grant Ohio's 1,309 townships the authority to fulfill many of the changing demands.
Township administration in all Ohio townships is governed by three trustees and a fiscal officer, each elected for a four-year term. Officially they fill their offices on a part-time basis, but they are always ready to meet their responsibilities and put in many hours of work to serve their constituents. Their accessibility to the township residents and their intimate knowledge of their community, its needs, and its citizens enables them to offer more personal service than any other unit of government.