Clark County Indiana History

  • Clark County has more than 200 years of history with the military, beginning in 1785 with the erection of Fort Clark at Clarksville and ending with the closing of Indiana Army Ammunition Plant.
  • Clark County was the second county formed in Indiana Territory, in 1801. It was the territorial capital from 1813-1814, when Governor Thomas Posey lived in Jeffersonville.
  • Clark County was the home of General George Rogers Clark and his younger brother, Capt. William Clark, and was the starting point for the Lewis and Clark Expedition in 1803.
  • The first Indiana State Prison was built at Jeffersonville in 1820.
  • Springville, near Charlestown, was the locus of the Convention of 1807, which produced a petition to Congress that developed the Doctrine of Squatter Sovereignty and guaranteed that Indiana would be admitted to the Union as a "Free" state.
  • By 1830, Jeffersonville was the first and largest Underground Railroad route for fugitives crossing the Ohio River at Louisville. Hundreds of freedom seekers made their way north to Canada through Clark County.
  • During the Civil War, Jeffersonville became a hub for the Union Army because of our strategic location on the Ohio River, the fact that steamboats were built here, and because we were the southern terminus of northern railroads. Huge warehouses on the river bank stored military items for the Army.
  • The Army built Jefferson General Hospital in Port Fulton in 1864, the third largest hospital in the United States, in the shape of a wagon wheel.
  • The first state forest in Indiana was created at Henryville in 1902.
  • American Commercial Lines is the largest inland ship builder in the U. S.
  • Indiana's first state governor, abolitionist, Jonathan Jennings, is buried at Charlestown.
  • Two of the most famous advertising faces in the world were born and raised in Clark County: Colonel Harland Sanders (KFC) and John Schnatter (Papa John's).
  • Admiral Jonas Howard Ingram, commander of the Atlantic Fleet in WWII, was born in Jeffersonville, as was his brother, "Navy" Bill Ingram, famous football coach at Navy.
  • Utica, Indiana was famous for its lime burning industry which provided agricultural lime throughout the Midwest.
  • The Reuben Wells, the first steam engine capable of climbing steep grades, was designed and built at the Jeffersonville, Madison, and Indianapolis shops in Jeffersonville in 1868.

For a more detailed history of Clark County find This Place We Call Home, A History of Clark County Indiana online or at local bookstores. 

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