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Title: Warren County, a Good Place in Which to Live
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Warren County, Indiana is one of the western tier of Indiana counties. Bounded on the east by the Wabash River and on the west by broad prairies of Illinois, it early formed one of the choice hunting grounds for various tribes of Indians, including such powerful tribes as the Miamas, Kickapoos, and the Pottowatomies. Its broad acres of prairie on the west and the immense forest on the wast and the south furnished ideal grazing ground for countless herds of wild animals, and its sparking streams contained myriads of fish. All of these natural resourses together with the fact that the Wabash River offered and outlet for its borders. Early History: Zachariah Cicot was the first white man to reside permanently within the borders of the county. He probably returned to Warren County for permanent residence about 1803. The exact date when the next settlers appeared is uncertain, but it is probable that Thomas Cunningham and his wife, Eliza, who settled in Mound Townhip in 1820, were among the very first permanent settlers. However, other came rapidly and it was only a few years until flourishing settlements were in existance at Warrenton, Williamsport, West Lebanon, Baltimore Hill and at other places in the county. From that early day when the first settlers appeared, the history of Warren County is but a duplication of the history of many other Middle Western counties. The heroic men and women who braved the perils of the wilderness are all gone. It would be impossible in this short article to mention all of their names. Most of them have left descendants who have carried on the work of developing their county until Warren County stands at the very front of all Indiana counties. Organization fo the County: After the organization of the county in 1827, the voters proceeded to the election of the various county officers. James Cunningham served as the first Clerk, Auditor and Recorder, all of these offices being combined in one. William Beckett was elected sheriff; Enoch Farmer, Treasurer, and Perrin Kent was appointed Surveyor by the Governor. The first Justices of the Peace were Thomas Cunningham, Lemuel Boyd, Edward Mace, and Thomas Kearns. These men acted as the County Board and transacted the county business. The organization of the courts and the county business proceeded at once. Court was the first held at the log house of Enoch Farmer at Warrenton, but dissension arose over the county seat being located so far from the center of the county. William Harrison, proprietor of Williamsport, offered to donate a tract of eighty acres in that town if the court house was located there and as a result the locating Commissioners removed the county seat to Williamsport. The first court was held in July, 1829, in the log house of Wm. Harrison, and it was not until 1834 that the first permanent court house was built at a cost of $2,000.00. This building served the purpose until 1872, when a new court house was erected at the cost of about $50,000.00. This building was located on the hill overlooking the river. It was later torn down and moved to the site of the present court house where it was re-erected. In 1907 this building was destroyed by fire and the present mafnificent court house was then erected. The first jail was built in 1830-1831 by Benjamin Crow at the cost of $560.00. This building was used until 1849 when a new jail was completed at the cost of $2,700.00 by Richard Treadway. At present the county has completely modern jail and sheriff's residence, costing about $20,000.00. From the beginning of the county history, provisions were made for the care ofhte county's poor and unfortunate. At the present time the county owns and operates a large County Farm where a number of poor persons are cared for. County Politics: Political antagonisms developed early in the history of the county. In the early days the political arguments was with the Whig party and afterwares with the present Republican party. It is said that the first Republican party rally ever held in Indiana was held in Williamsport in 1856. So strong was the political feeling in the early days of the county, that the descendants of many of the old families are still as strongly partisan as were their forefathers. Education: Warren County has never lagged in its efforts to further education among its people. Its early schools weere of the subscription type and numbered among their teachers some excellent men. Probably Sanford Cox was the most noted of these early teachers. Not only was he a teacher. but he acted as scrivener and many of the early county records were written by him. After the subscription schools came the establishment of seminaries at Williamsport, Green Hill, State Line City and West Lebanon. Today Warren County boasts of many fine public schools. Excellent High Schools are located at Williamsport, West Lebanon, Judyville, and Pine Village. A history of the public school system of Warren County would not be complete without mentioning Hon. James R. M. Bryant. He was a member of Constitutional Convention of 1850, represented his county four times in the State Legislature, was elected Professor of Law in the State University, was appointed Lieut. Colonel of the Tenth Indiana Infantry, and died as a result of wounds received in the battle of Rich Mountain. Indiana is largely indebted to him for its public shool system. Military History: Warren County has ever been noted for its patriotic support of the Gevernment [Government] in time of war. Within six days after the first call of President Lincoln for volunteers, a company of 177 men had been raised and was on its way to Indianapolis. By the 21st of August, 1862, Warren County had furnished 404 men and dispatched them promptly to the field. During the Civil War the enlistments from Warren Count totaled 2,113 men. Of course some of this number represented re-enlistments, but the showing from the county was truly remarkable. One of the most outstanding men in the county during the war was Benjamin F. Gregory. By his fiery speeches, donations of money, and his indefatigable energy in the cause of the Union Army, Warren County was greatly aided in its efforts to meet every call, either for men or money. The glorious record in Warren County in the Civil War has been an example and an inspiration to the boys amd girls of todaya nd so it occasioned no surprise to find that Warren County sons were so willing to offere themselves in the Spanish American and World Wars as were their forefathers in the Great War of the Rebellion. More than five hundred Warren County boys wore the uniform of their country in the recent war with Germany and whereever the opportunity offered they upheld the traditions of the men in blue who fought at Mission Ridge, Stone River, Vicksburg, Lookout Mountain and in scores fo other famous battles. Agriculture: Today agriculture forms the chief occupation of the citizens of the county. The broad prairies and the rich soil of the timbered sectons of the county furnish unsurpassed opportunities for the production of maximum yields of corn, oats, wheat and hay. Much of the grain raised on the farms is fed to hogs and cattle. Improved methods of farming, better transportion facilities and intelligent methods of marketing are all assisting in making farming a more attractive and desirable profession. Today many Warren County farm homes are equiped with all modern conveniences. The boast of electric lights, radios, automobiles and the most up-to-date and modern farming equipment. Conclusion: In conclusion, I would repeat that 'Warren county is a good place in which to live.' In no other place will you find better schools, better churches, better roads, or finer type of citizenship. her one hundred years of growth, represents a century of steady progess, and Warren County citizens may well be proud of its record of loyalty to the ideals of a Free Government and to its development as a Typical American Community.

Date: 8/24/1927
Origin: Warren County Centennial
Author: Cecil E. Haupt
Record ID: 00003200
Type: Book
Source Archive: Williamsport-Washington Township Public Library
Date Entered: 2/19/2013
Collection: Williamsport-Washington Township Public Library
Entered By: Chris Brown

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