by on July 24, 2023

A well-attended meeting heard a presentation by Mr. Steve Barnett, Marion County Historian with the Indiana Historical Society/Indiana Historical Bureau, who also is Executive Director of the Irvington Historical Society and a Genealogical Society of Marion County board member. Mr. Barnett’s topic was “First Families of Marion County, Indiana.”

Mr. Barnett began by stating that Marion County was established 200 years ago on April 1, 1822. He wondered if April Fool’s Day had any significance on that decision.

There is evidence that woodland people had built mounds in the area as early as 160 B.C. Flint tools have been found in the Glenns Valley and Fort Harrison locations. American Indians of the Miami tribe were south of Lake Michigan with the Delaware tribe around Fall Creek and White River.
Ute Perkins, a basket maker, shows up in an 1820 census. Also, the names of George Pogue and John McCormick are listed. In 1826, a site was plotted for a state capital with surrounding lots for sale. 1822 saw Nathaniel Bolton start a newspaper, “The Indianapolis Gazette.”

A courthouse was built in 1823-24 but torn down in 1870. The existing city of Connersville was the stepping off point for settlers coming west. Alexander Ralston laid out the street grid for Indianapolis to be similar to Washington DC, as he had been the personal assistant for Pierre L’Enfant and had helped plan the pattern there.

Mr. Barnett is connected to the Bona Thompson Center of the Irvington Historical Society, which has a large collection of historical information and much International Harvester manufacturing memorabilia. The Center is open on Saturdays and Sundays from 1:00 to 4:00 PM.

Submitted by Lamont Cranston (AKA ???)

(Click here to view Mr. Barnett's presentation slides.)