On the thirteenth day of May 1800, William Henry Harrison was
appointed first governor of the territory northwest of the Ohio River,
commonly known as the territory ceded to the United States, by the state
of Virginia, including what is now the states of Ohio, Indiana,
Michigan, and Illinois, Wisconsin, Iowa, &c. In 1802 what is now the
limits of Ohio was organized into a State Government and the balance
went by the name of Indiana Territory until 1816, when Indiana was
granted a State Government by Congress. The material parts of the
Ordinance of 1787 remained in force, and from after the year 1802, after
the organization of the state of Ohio, was called Indiana Territory and
Vincennes was confirmed as the Seat of Government. It appears from all
the evidence that can be found that there were only four counties in all
this territory, viz: Knox, Randolph, St. Clair and Clark, and one of
these, with a portion of others was without what are now the boundaries
of the State of Indiana.
At an election held for the purpose in 1804, it was determined by the people that they would have a Territorial Government. In accordance thereof Governor Harrison declared that the territory had passed into the "first grade of government," and ordered an election in the sev-
eral counties to choose members of a House of Representatives to
organize a Territorial Legislative Council. Twelve Representatives were
chosen subsequently. President Jefferson then authorized Gov. Harrison
to select five men to act in conjunction with these Representatives in
forming a Council, or Legislature. Mr. Jefferson admonished Gov.
Harrison not to appoint "land jobbers, dishonest men, and those who,
though honest, might suffer themselves to be warped by party
prejudices." On the 30th of June, 1805, the territory of Michigan was
set off, and on the 29th of July, same year, the first Territorial
Legislature met at Vincennes, when Gov. Harrison delivered his first
annual message. By the authority vested in this Legislature, Benjamin
Parke was chosen delegate to Congress.
Between the 1st of February and the 12th of march, 1813, the Territorial Legislature of Indiana passed thirty-two laws, among them one to organize the counties of Warrick (after Capt. Jacob Warrick) and Gibson, and one to remove the Seat of Government from Vincennes to Corydon, in Harrison county.
Warrick County, under this act of the Legislature, including all that territory which lies south of a line commencing at a point on the Wabash River at the southwest corner of Gibson County, and running east to the western line of Harrison County; thence south to the Ohio River. Evansville was fixed upon as the County Seat.
The seat of justice remained at Evansville until the year 1814, when the Territorial Legislature passed an act creating the County of Posey on the west and Perry on the east, and re-locating the seat of justice of Warrick County at Darlington, a point one mile from the Ohio River, and four miles above Newburgh. For three years, until 1817, but little of interest occurred either in the political or commercial affairs of the county. The settlers were industri-
ous and thriving; however, and did everything possible to make their
new homes cheerful and comfortable, and the country prosperous and
In 1814 the Territory was laid off into five Legislative Council districts. The counties of Washington and Knox constituted one district; Gibson and Warrick, one; Harrison and Clark, one; Jefferson and Dearborn, one; Franklin and Wayne, one. Each of these districts was entitled to one member of the Legislative Council.
In 1814 the Territory was also divided into three judicial districts, and Benjamin Parke was appointed judge of the first - composed of the counties of Knox, Gibson, and Warrick, but not deeming the law, or order, making the provision, constitutional, he refused to act.
On the first Monday in December, 1815, the General Assembly of Indiana Territory met at Corydon. At this session a successful effort was made to provide for changing the Territorial Government into a State Government. Accordingly a memorial was prepared and forwarded to Jonathan Jennings, who was Indiana's Delegate in Congress, praying that the boundaries might be fixed and the State admitted into the Union. Mr. Jennings presented the memorial and had no difficulty in getting a bill passed in conformity with the wishes of the memorialists.
In compliance with the provisions of this law an election to choose delegates to a convention to form a State Constitution was held on the 13th of May, 1816, and Daniel Grass was chosen by the people of Warrick County to represent them in this Convention. The Convention met at Corydon on the 10th of June, 1816, and on the 29th of the same month they had completed their labors and adjourned. This Convention made, and the people adopted, that good old Constitution which the inhabitants lived and prospered under from 1816 to 1852.
A provision of this Constitution required the President
of the Convention to order an election for State and County officers
on the first Monday in August following. At this election Jonathan
Jennings was chosen Governor. He received 5,211 votes and his
competitor, Thomas Posey, the late Territorial Governor, received 3,934
votes. At this election Daniel Grass was chosen to represent the
counties of Posey, Perry and Warrick, in the Senate, and Ratliff Boon in
the House of Representatives of the first Legislature of the State of
This first General Assembly met at Corydon on the 4th of November, 1816, and elected James Noble and Walter Taylor Senators in Congress.
Upon an examination of the books and records of the Recorder's office it is found that the first instrument recorded officially, is a title bond for forty acres of land being a part of fractional section 29, township 7, south of range 11 west, in the Vincennes land district. This tract of land lies about six miles from Evansville. The bond was made by Jacob Landers to David Knight, on the 23rd day of May, 1811, and to be fulfilled April 1, 1815, Consideration, $300.00.
Next comes a plat of the town of Darlington, which place was about four miles above Newburgh, one mile from the Ohio River. This instrument was recorded July 26, 1816. A log Court House was built upon it, and the courts held therein until 1818, when the County Seat was removed to Boonville. Although energetic efforts were made by the proprietors of Darlington, and others, to make it the Seat of Justice permanently, other influences prevailed against them, and their flattering speculations failed. After the removal of the County Seat the village -composed of the log Court House and some dozen or so dwellings -ceased to be and the land was converted into an excellent farm, which is now owned by Hiram Horam.
It would be a useless devotion of both time and space to give anything like a complete record of the doings of
any of the county officers, but as a matter of interest we will note
that the third entry on then book of Recorder is a copy of license
granted by Governor Wm. Henry Harrison to Isaac Wiremitler, to establish
and maintain a ferry across the Ohio river, "below Green River and
Henderson Town, and at the Dearmand Island." This instrument is dated at
Vincennes, November 16, 1813, and of the Independence of the United
States the twentieth.
The first official record that appears in the Auditor's office is the acknowledgment of a deed before James Morris, Judge of the C. C. W. C. and attested by W. G. Buckler, Recorder.
A portion of the town of Darlington was owned by the county, having been donated to it by original purchasers, in consideration of the location of the seat of justice thereon. Wm. Briscoe was gent for the county, and the first lot seems to have been sold by him to John sprinkle for the consideration of $30, and recorded Jul 15, 1814.
On page 9 of this book is found recorded a plat of the town of Evansville, as laid out by James M. Jones, Robert M. Evans and Hugh McCary, proprietors. This town was then, and until 1818, in Warrick county, and will be referred to again.
On page 14 (Nov. 15, 1816) the name of Ratliff Boon first makes its appearance. He appears to have been the purchaser of lot No. 42, in the town of Darlington, for the consideration of $42.00. Mr. Wm. Briscoe acting as agent for the county. From books and papers in the Auditor's office the first official proceedings that were had by the Board of County Commissioners was the allowance of $11 to N. Hart, Clerk, for stationery. The Board consisted of Thomas Campbell, David Luce, and Jacob Keel.
It does not appear that the records in any of the offices in the early history of the county, were kept with any great
If you have questions or problems with this site, email the County Coordinator. Please to not ask for specfic research on your family. I am unable to do your personal research. I do not live in Indiana and do not have access to additional records.