Welcome to Greene County Indiana
"Twigs & Branches of Greene county Indiana" is in no way connected with the Greene County Historical Society or the Greene County Genealogical Society.
What's New Beginning August 30, 2011?
A re-vamping of the site - simplified look but trying to retain some of the old look - more data to come.
I am pulling all but the basic pages - till I get it re-organized - sorry for any inconvinence this may cause at the moment - but between back-ups and what is up online is confusing - there is a total need for re-organization, evaluation of data within folders, that is online as well as in back-ups etc. hopefully all can be up and runnig full tilt by Octobe 1st.
Circa 1890's Photo Enhanced by: Robert Manson
|Greene county encompases 522 Square Miles.|
- Greene County was organized effective the first Monday of February 5, 1821. By an enabling Act of the Indiana General Assembly. Prior 1816, the year Indiana was admitted to the Union, all of the territory later designated as Greene county, west of White River was a part of Knox county. In 1816 it became a part of Sullivan county and in 1821 it became a part of Greene county. All that part east of White River was a part of Orange county in 1815; in 1817 it became a part of Daviess county, and in 1821 it became a part of Greene county.
- By an Act of the General Assembly of the State of Indiana in 1821 Greene county was set up with its present boundaries.
- Section 1 of this act, described these boundaries as: Beginning at the northeast corner of Township 8 north, range 3 west of the second principal meridian; thence south to the southeast corner of township 6 north, range 3 west; thence west to the southwest coroner of township 6 north, range 7 west; thence north to the northwest corner of township 8 north, range 7 west; thence east with the south boundary of Owen county to the place of beginning.
- Section 2 gave this county the name of GREENE COUNTY, in memory of General Nathaniel Greene of Revolutionary War fame. It has been said that a few of the early pioneers of this area had served in General Greene’s forces and it was their desire that their county be named for him. General Greene never had been to or resided in Greene county.
- Section 3 named the first commissioners and ordered them to meet at the home of Thomas Bradford on the first Monday in March, 1822
- Section 4 set up a circuit court and ordered the court to be held in the home of Thomas Bradford until a suitable place could be provided.
- Section 5 provided for a "county agent" whose duty it was to see that the county seat was laid out into lots, streets and alleys according to the plan provided, and to sell such lots, preserving 10% of the sale and 10% of all do nations for the use of the county library.
- Section 6 ordered the Board of Commissioners to erect a public building on the seat of justice within twelve months.
- Section 7 granted certain powers to the voters of the county.
- Section 8 provided for the repel of the act establishing the northern boundaries of Daviess county, now the southern boundary line of Greene county.
- There was original five townships as follows: Burlingame, Highland, Plummer, Richland, Stafford
Eel River was added as a township and then petition to be dissolved Indiana
Over the years the five townships were divided and there are now 15 townships in all: Beech Creek, Cass, Center, Fairplay, Grant, Highland, Jackson, Jefferson, Richland, Taylor; Smith, Stafford, Stockton, Washington, Wright
- The first County Seat was located at Burlington. The account is as follows:
On March 10, 1821, the commissioners appointed by the legislature of the State of Indiana convened at the house of Thomas Bradford for the purpose of selecting the permanent seat of justice of the newly established county. After an examination of the various sites presented to them, they selected one and made the following report: "We, the commissioners appointed by the Indiana legislature, convened at the home of Thomas Bradford for the purpose of selecting the permanent seat off justice of Greene county." After "due examination and mature fore thought, they selected a site and called it Burlington, after Burlington, Vermont, and made the following report: "We, the undersigned commissioners at the home of Thomas Bradford esqr. And after being duly sworn agreeable to law, proceeded to examine the situations presented to our view and have selected a place for the seat of justice for said county of Greene in Section 9-7-5 on a bluff which puts in to the west fork of White River on the east side, and we have received 60 acres of land for the use of said county from Thomas Bradford esqr. And forty acres out of Section 10-7-5 adjoining Thomas Bradford esqr. On the east side, 20 acres donation from Frederick Shepherd and 20 acres as a donation from Zebulon Hogue. - - Amos Rogers, Abraham Case, William White State Commissioners. After the county was duly set up, the report of the first election in the county was recorded as follows: "Thomas Bradford as Sheriff Pro Tem held an election as his house as provided by statute on ___ day of ___, 1821 at which time the following men were elected commissioners receiving the number of votes in the order of their naming: Thomas Plummer, David Deem and Peter Herrington. The record states that these men were elected to Execute the public business.
The original county seat was called Burlington and was located just a few miles north of the present seat, Bloomfield. Land was donated by Thomas Bradford, Frederick Shepherd, and Zebulon Hogue for it and the first county courthouse was built in 1822 and cost $250! The land for the present county seat was donated by Peter VanSlyke, after it was determined that Burlington didn't have enough water to supply the growing population.
The "Indiana Gazetteer," published by E. Chamberlain in 1849 states that -
- is thirty miles in length from east to west, and eighteen in width.
- The civil townships are Richland, Plummer, Jackson, Center, Beech Creek, Highland, Eel River, Fairplay, Smith, Wright, Stockton and Washington.
- population in 1830 was 4,253,
- population in 1840 was 8,321,
- population in 1849 was about 11,500.
- It is estimated that one sixth of the county is barrens, one-tenth prairie, one twentieth river bottoms and the balance upland with timber.
- The soil is sandy near the river and very rich, and portions of the west are sandy; the other parts of the county have a clay soil, which varies very much in quality.
- The timber is oak, sugar, walnut, beech, cherry, persimmon, etc.,
- Other products are wheat, corn, pork and tobacco, which are exported to the amount of $100,000 annually.
- There are in the county fifteen stores, besides groceries, which are numerous, ten saw and gristmills,
- five lawyers, ten physicians, eight preachers,
- seven Baptist, Methodist and Presbyterian churches.
- Coal and iron ore are found in great abundance, and of good quality.
- When the canal, which passes through the center of the county, is completed, as it will be in 1851, this part of the country will improve far beyond what it has ever yet done.
The present-day courthouse was built in 1885. Unlike a lot of old courthouses, ours has never been a victim of fire, though it has had some problems with water due to bad repair work on the corners of the building. There is also a very severe space problem in the building, which has reached a point of critical mass. It was remodeled in 1954.
With the recent approval of funding for renovating the old county jail, it's hoped that this problem will be rectified and interest in preserving our historic old courthouse will be renewed.
An addition and Remodeling to the courthouse was began in 2002 but has been put on hold in early 2003 because of structural damage occurring during construction. Construction work was resumed in late 2004 and was completion in 2006/2007.
A number of creeks traverse the county and the west fork of the White River flows entirely across it from north to south. The eastern part of the county is of rough and broken surface, averaging 700 feet above sea level. The highest point in Greene county of Cincinnati, a village in Center township, with a altitude of 880 feet above sea level. Eastern county is drained by a number of creek’s flowing into the West fork: Jack’s Creek, Goose Creek, Doan’s Creek and Richland Creek with its tributary, Plummer Creek. The southeastern corner of the county is traversed by Indian and the western potion of the county Latta’s Creek and Eel River with its tributary, Lemon’s Creek flow into the West Fork. Eel River enters that stream at Worthington. Water from the western marshes is discharged into the West Fork through the medium state ditches. Creek, flows in into the East Fork of White River. While the western is mostly rolling prairie and drained marsh land which is quite fertile.
Underlying the entire western section are extensive coal fields. Coal miningis the principle source of income for the county, with agriculture second. The county is noted for its bituminous coal mines. The mines in Stockton and Wright townships have been among the most productive in Indiana. The annual report of the Division of Mines and Mining of Indiana, for the year ending Jun 30, 1937, ranked Greene County sixth among the coal producing counties of the state, with a total of 632,025 tons. At the beginning of the decade of the 1860’s, the vast Coal deposit at the north end of the marshes in Stafford, Stockton and Wright townships was to be opened for deep shaft mining at Island City South of Linton by the Island City Coal Company in 1892 and soon thereafter two civil war veterans Marion Dugger and H. T. Neal who had held county offices, were to open mines in many areas under the name of Dugger & Neal; partners being: F. M. Dugger & H. T. Neal and following the death of H. T. Neal in 1889 his son Elmer E. Neal would carry on as one coal company and F. M. Dugger as another. Added to these would be the names of: Beazley, Sherwood, and Freeman to name a few. The Lyons Coal Company had sunk a shaft to a depth of 38 feet and were in a layer of dark, hard slate. Two miners were employed and had began work in the upper vein and had would work day and night taking out 300 bushels of lump coal every day. Coal of the fine quality could be supplied by the Lyons Coal Company. In 1902, the Jasonville area of mines were opened Some coal is found in the eastern half, but the chief resources are iron ore and minerals.
Greene county ranks second in Indiana "as to extent and value of its iron ore deposits." About 1841 smelting began at the Richland Furnace. A small steamboat ran on the West Fork carrying pig iron and iron ware. After the completion of the Wabash and Erie Canal there were several boats engaged in transporting iron products to southern markets, principally Louisville for $26 a ton, of which $20 went for transportation. In the 1850’s one of the partner’s, Andrew Downing, founded a bank, - Downing’s Bank of Indiana at Richland Furnace. The bank issued about $25,0000 of wildcat currency. In 1858 the merchants of Worthington refused to accept this currency. The smelting company became involved and about 1859 ceased operation. Several unavailing attempts have been made to revive interest in the iron ores of the county.
The Wabash and Erie canal made possible the operation of boats between Toledo, Ohio and Evansville, Indiana. The Greene county section, containing six locks, admitting barges of sixty tons burden, was built in 1849-50. There were boat excursions to Terre Haute in 1850 and by 1851 boats were operating regularly across Greene county. The canal was abandoned generally about 1859 but was occasionally used as late as 1863.
- In 1832 a linkage with the Wabash & Erie Canal system was established which ground was broke in 1832 and the first boat ran from Toledo, Ohio to Evansville on 29 Jul. 1853
- In Greene county land was set aside on both sides of White River and was finally located on the west side and ran almost parallel with the river. Because of the floods and inadequate financing it was doomed and was abandoned.
- A railroad bed for the Cleveland, Chicago & St. Louis Railroad was built on the tow path of the canal.
- The eastern Canal Land was put on sale and sold through the land office
At least eighteen oil wells have been drilled in Washington Township. "Oil sand" was found and a few oil-producing wells were brought in. But most of the well drilled in Greene county were "dry holes". One gas well burned for years with a flame from ten to fifteen feet high, resisting all efforts to plug the hole.
There are many gravel pits in Greene county. Perhaps the largest was developed by Z. P. East at Worthington, beginning in 1906. The West Fork made a huge S curve near that point. East excavated a new channel 2,200 feet in length. The amount of gravel lying between the old bed and the new was estimated at from 80 to 100 acres. This gravel slows the action of water and ice and is probably a deposit from the ice age.
Notable among Greene County agricultural products is its fruit.
Stage routes followed a definite pattern, the most used known as the old Terre Haute Road from Albany and Louisville, Kentucky entered Greene county near the present village of Hobbieville in Center township and followed the ridge northwest on what is now State Road 54 through Ridgeport. From there it descended to Richland Creek and thence to Worthington and on to Terre Haute. One house is still standing, which was once a tavern on the way, the Enoch Stone house east of Ridgeport.
The county is traversed by five railroads: the Chicago, Milwaukee, St. Paul & Pacific; Monon; Big Four; Pennsylvania; and the Illinois Central. There are a number of bus routes and many trucking services. State roads connect the county with the main highways of the state.
- The Indianapolis & Vincennes Railroad linking Indianapolis and Vincennes was projected before the Civil War but was not completed until 1869. It ran through Worthington, Lyons and Marco, later the Pennsylvania and is now know as the Conrail and is still used toady (2003).
- In 1879 the St. Louis, B. & L. Railroad crossed the county from the Southeast at Owensburg to Bloomfield then to Linton to the county line. Eventually it became a part of the Monon & Illinois Central Railroad.
Brick is produced at Bloomfield. Other manufactures there include furniture, article flowers, and concrete silos.
In 1883 School property within Greene county was valued at $70,700 and consisted of 134 frame schoolhouses and 9 brick schools houses.
In 1884 Godspeeds printed the county history as a part of their series and contained Sullivan & Greene county; it has been reprinted two times since. In 1909 Bowen & co. published the 3 volume set of Biographical Memoirs; a condensed history and with biographies comprising over two-thirds of the set. In 1989 Taylor Publishing Co. printed another condensed history with biographies under the auspices of the Greene County Historical Society. Over the years as the towns celebrated their Centennials they have published small historical booklets on the towns.
In 1895 a real estate firm composed of three men and possibly some silent partners, put out a forty page brochure advertising Greene county as: "county with nearly thirty thousand population an a total value of taxables of over ten million dollars, Its other merits included one hundred miles of railroad, sixty-five miles of gravel roads, nine coal shafts turning out about 800 cars of coal daily of the very best quality. All of the marsh lands had been drained by steam dredges cutting ditches twenty to forty feet wide, from seven to thirteen feet deep, and some were thirteen miles long, which would produce super crops of corn and other grains, vegetable and hay. Land would sell for $40 to $75 per acre. There was no more ague since the swamps had been drained; no cyclones, no drouths and a crop could be raised every year without exception. Eastern Greene county was well adapted to stock raising and the people were prosperous and happy. Bloomfield was lauded as the county seat with a new court house which cost about $100,000; a good school building and a splendid school system. Worthington was the great grain town, buying and selling more grain than any town on the Indianapolis & Vincennes railroad. Linton was the big mining town with a great business activity on account of the coal business. Lyons was young but progressive and might catch up with the older towns on account of being in the center of the most fertile lands in the world. Apparently they had not anticipated the floods of 1897, 1904 and 1913! The 1895 brochure was published, it would appear, in connection with or by an Indianapolis firm; endorsed by the Hon. E. B. Martindale, owner of the Dennison Hotel in Indianapolis, who had bought 1300 acres and brought the first dredge to the county.
- The dredging operation which he introduced in the Four Mile Marsh of 5,000 acres south of Switz City, continued in the Beehunter marsh of 6,000 acres, the 10,000 acres of the Goose Pond, south of Linton and t he Latta’s Creek marsh of 4,000 acres north of Switz City. A source of money at low interest appeared to be through agents in Indianapolis, who were responsible for investments of two large insurance companies. The fine print revealed that the borrower#146;s farm could be quickly repossessed if the mortgage was not paid off in five year’s time. As further testimony, Honorable Martindale went on to say: "I believe I can show by the actual production that the 100 sections of land embracing all of Washington and Stafford and the south half of Stockton, Grant and Fairplay townships in Greene county, are the best one hundred sections of land in America. Such land being free from overflow, it is hard to estimate their future value." Each purchaser was responsible for an abstract of title to his land and the names of twenty-eight attorneys were listed under the heading: "Leading Attorneys of the Bloomfield Bar".
In May 1901 the Bloomfield News put out a sixteen page newspaper of 10,000 copies of a promotional nature of the mercantile and agribusiness in Greene county. Broader in scope, it comprised most every business, Industry or specialized farming operation in Greene county as well as the mining operation, transportation, and banking. Brief sketches of the proprietor’s personnel and business interests and the principal employees of their establishments were given, usually accompanied by a picture of themselves or their business. A short history of the county and churches were included. Other than customary patent medicine ass and railroad Excursions, there was no specific advertising. Rather the inference was anyone’s needs could be supplied through Greene county resources, from the cradle to the grave. The editor under the caption: "One of the Best Counties", said it best: "Nothing that promotes the general good of the county, the happiness or intelligence of the people, has been permitted to dwarf by reason of neglect. So it may well be said, Greene county is one of the best counties in the state." Linton is in the center of the bituminous coal fields and approximately 2.9 miles southwest of the nation's center of population. Jasonville, in the northwest corner of the county, is also located among the coal fields. Worthington is the agricultural center of Greene County.
There are several notable features of Greene County. At Jasonville is located the Shakamak State Park on a beautiful 1,000-acre tract. This park is situated where the county lines of Greene, Clay, and Sullivan meet. In Worthington is the birthplace of the artist, Samuel Richards. Three miles south of this town is a sycamore tree, which is the largest broad-leaved tree in the United States.
According to the 1935 federal census, Greene County had twenty manufacturing establishments employing 425 wage earners on pay rolls totaling $311,856. The value of the products was $1,220,817.
- Greene County had 3,251 farms averaging 91 acres each. These were valued at $8,977,804. A total of 54,053 head of livestock was eported.
- The county's tax valuation for 1936 was $17,642,495
"Indiana Review," published by the State Legislature in 1938 boasted of Greene county:
- the fourth largest county in the state
- has an area of 543 square miles.
- creeks traverse the county and the west fork of the White River flows entirely across it from north to south.
- The terrain of the eastern part of the county is of rough and broken surface,
- The terrain of the western is mostly rolling prairie and drained marsh land which is quite fertile.
- Coal field underlay the entire western section are extensively. Linton is in the center of the bituminous coalfields and Jasonville is also located amidst the coalfield of the Northwestern corner of the county.
- Coal is found in the eastern half, but iron ore and minerals are the chief products.
- Incorporated cities are: Linton, 5,085, and Jasonville, 3,536
- Incorporated towns are: Bloomfield, 2,298; Lyons, 806; Newberry, 366; Worthington, 1,687, and Switz City, 450.
- The population in 1890 was 24,379;
- The population in 1900, 28,530;
- The population in 1910, 36,873;
- The population in 1920, 36,770;
- The population in 1930, 31,481.
- Worthington is the agricultural center of Greene County.
- Near Jasonville is located the Shakamak State Park on a beautiful 1,000-acre tract. This park is situated where the county lines of Greene, Clay, and Sullivan meet.
- Worthington is the birthplace of the artist, Samuel Richards. Three miles south of this town is a sycamore tree, which is the largest broad-leaved tree in the United States.
- According to the 1935 federal census, Greene County had twenty manufacturing establishments employing 425 wage earners on pay rolls totaling $311,856.
- The value of the products was $1,220,817.
- Greene County had 3,251 farms averaging 91 acres each. These were valued at $8,977,804. A total of 54,053 head of livestock was reported.
- The county's tax valuation for 1936 was $17,642,495.
The county population on July 1, 1999, was 33,157 or 33,158, an increase of 2,748 over the 1990 census. Towns: Bloomfield (county seat, 2,542, 181st largest city in the State); Linton (5,774), Jasonville (2,490), Worthington (1,481), Lyons (748), Switz City (311), Newberry (206)
Population in 2006: 32,157
| All Rights Reserved