Among the first mentions of Cleves was noted at the heading of a letter from John Cleves Symmes to his daughter and her husband, Maria and Peyton Short, dated December 26, 1799.
A letter written by Judge Symmes on the 17th of March, 1800, was headed Cleves.
A Kentucky map of 1814 showing the major roads of the place showed "Cleeves" across the river from Boone County.
The Ohio Gazetteer of 1817 lists the place thusly:
"Cleves, a small settlement on the North bend of the Ohio River, 16 miles Westerly from Cincinnati, and 4 miles North-Westerly from the mouth of the Great Miami River."
The first public notice advertising lots for sale in the town of Cleves appeared in the Western Spy, May 30, 1817, and in Liberty Hall & Cincinnati Gazette, June 16, 1817. The following notice was copied from an original newspaper:
"A town to which the name of Cleves has been given has been laid out by the subscriber, William Henry Harrison, near the Great Miami River at the intersection of the State Road, called Anderson’s Road, with that which leads from North Bend to Colerain. This site is about 16 miles from Cincinnati, 1 from the Ohio River, being on the North side of the isthmus formed by the remarkable bend of the Ohio, above mentioned, and a Southern curvature of the Miami. The advantages of the situation must be apparent to all those who are acquainted with the situation of the surrounding country or who will take the trouble to examine a map of the Western part of Ohio. The conducting the water of the Miami by means of a tunnel to the Ohio at this place is not only practicable but supposed to be of such easy execution that a highly respectable Western capitalist offered to purchase it for that purpose; and was so confident in succeeding, that he declared his intention to build the Mills on the Ohio before the canal was completed, so that they might commence their operations on the day the water was let through. Should this project be carried into execution the open canal will pass through the Town Plat and the right to do so reserved. The sale of the lots will take place June 23, 1817; terms liberal.
May 29, 1817, William H. Harrison
N.B. A Plat of the lots is left at the tavern of Mr. Cummins at Cleves."