History of Indiana Cities, Counties & Regions

The History of Indiana Cities, Counties & Regions is contained in the many free eBooks and other online resources below. See the right column for more info about this website.

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Northern Indiana

Southern Indiana

Indiana State and County Histories. 78 volumes

Indiana State Library
Indiana Memory Digital Collections Go to Collection

This collection contains published volumes on Indiana history in general and individual county histories published before 1922. Indiana counties that have histories or biographical histories in this collection include:

Allen County, Bartholomew County, Benton County, Blackford County, Boone County, Carroll County, Cass County, Clark County, Clay County, Clinton County, Crawford County, Daviess County, De Kalb County, Dearborn County, Delaware County, Dubois County, Elkhart County, Fountain County, Gibson County, Grant County, Hamilton County, Hancock County, Hendricks County, Henry County, Huntington County, Jackson County, Jasper County, Jay County, Johnson County, Knox County, Kosciusko County, LaGrange County, Lake County, LaPorte County, Lawrence County, Madison County, Marshall County, Miami County, Montgomery County, Newton County, Noble County, Ohio County, Orange County, Owen County, Parke County, Perry County, Pike County, Porter County, Posey County, Putnam County, Spencer County, St. Joseph County, Switzerland County, Tippecanoe County, Tipton County, Vanderburgh County, Vermillion County, Vigo County, Wabash County, Warren County, Warrick County, Washington County, Wayne County, White County, Whitley County.

These were the larger towns and cities in Indiana in the 1840s:
Albion, Alexandria, Allensville, America, Americus, Anderson, Angola, Annapolis, Auburn, Augusta, Aurora, Belmont, Bellville, Benton, Benvonville, Bennington, Bethel, Billingsville, Bloomfield, Blooming Grove, Bloomingsport, Bloomington, Bluffton, Bono, Booneville, Bowling Green, Brookville, Brownsburgh, Brownstown, Cambridge City, Cannelton, Canton, Carlisle, Carthage, Centreville, Celestine, Ceylon, Chambersburgh, Charlestown, Clarksville, Cleaveland, Clinton, Columbia, Columbus, Covington, Crawfordsville, Crown Point, Danville, Delphi, Dover Hill, Edinburgh, Elkhart, Evansville, Connersville, Fort Wayne, Frankfort, Franklin, Fredonia, Goshen, Gosport, Greencastle, Hamilton, Hanover, Hartford, Independence, Indianapolis, Jeffersonville, Knightstown, Kokomo, Lafayette, Lagrange, Lagro, Lamasco, Laporte, Laurel City, Lawrenceburgh, Levenworth, Lexington, Liberty, Logansport, Madison, Marion, Martinsville, Michigan City, Middlebury, Mishawaka, Montezuma, Monticello, Mooresville, Mount Vernon, Muncie, New Albany, Nashville, Newburgh, Newcastle, New Harmony, Newport, Noblesville, Ontario, Oxford, Paoli, Pendleton, Perrysville, Peru, Petersburgh, Plymouth, Portland, Port Mitchell, Richmond, Renssellaer, Rising Sun, Rob Roy, Rochester, Rockford, Rockport, Rockville, Roseville, Rushville, Salem, Shelbyville, South Bend, Spencer, Terre Haute, Tipton, Valonia, Valparaiso, Versailles, Vevay, Vernon, Vincennes, Wabash, Warsaw, Waterford, Williamsport, Wilmington, Winamack, Winchester, Yorktown.

See the list of resources on this website for: Genealogy & Local History Research

local history, county history, Indiana history, biography, genealogy, family history, free online books

Online County and Town Histories Website – Indiana

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This website has links to numerous free online histories and biographical collections published in the late 19th and early 20th century. For Indiana there are 4 state-wide biographical collections, and dozens of histories and biographical collections for counties. For many counties there are several histories.

Some suggested books for genealogy research in Indiana: Genealogy & Local History – Indiana

local history, county history, state history, Indiana history, biography, online books, genealogy, family history, online library

History of Indiana Cities, Counties & Regions

The People’s Guide; a Business, Political and Religious Directory of Bartholomew Co., Ind….

Indianapolis: Cline & McHaffie 1874
Bartholomew Co.

(title continued) “… together with a collection of very important documents and statistics connected with our moral, political and scientific history; also, a Historical sketch of Bartholomew Co., and a brief history of each township”

The People’s Guide county directory contains separate directories for each township, starting with a brief historical sketch, followed by a listing of churches and secret societies, and then a directory of heads-of-household. It differs from most city directories mainly in the amount of information provided for individuals. Here are three sample entries from Rock Creek township:

– M. E. Church, Burnsville; pastor, J. P. Pell; Sabbath school superintendent, J. G. McCormack; average attendance, 50; value of property, $500.

– BROUGHER, A. T.; with Huffman & Brougher; Burnsville. Born in Ind. 1848; settled in B. C. 1868. Rep. Methodist.

– Burns, Daniel; farmer; 1/2 m w Burnsville. Born in Ky. 1832; settled in B. C. 1841. Dem. Christian.

People’s Guides can be found online for several other Indiana counties, all published in 1874.

Boone Co.|Hamilton Co.|Hendricks Co.|Henry Co.


Johnson Co.|Marion Co.|Morgan Co.|Vermillion Co.

Bartholomew county Indiana, Boone county, Hamilton county, Hendricks county, Henry county, Johnson county, Marion county, Morgan county, Vermillion county, Indiana history, resident directory, business directory, county history, church directory, free online books

History of Indiana Cities, Counties & Regions

“Bibliography of Indiana Local History Contained in County Histories, Atlases and Collected Biographies”

Indiana Magazine of History Volume 6, Issue 1, pp 43-54, 1910

Bloomington: Indiana University
Henley, MissGo to Article

About 130 publications are in this list, organized by counties. If a county is covered in a volume about multiple counties, that is so indicated.

county history, atlases, maps, biography, genealogy, family history, Indiana history, bibliography, free ebooks


Grooms & Smith’s Indianapolis Directory, City Guide and Business Mirror, or Indianapolis as it is in 1855

Indianapolis: Grooms & Smith 1855
Go to Book

According to the directory, Indianapolis had a population of 1,600 in 1834, and 16,000 in 1855. The directory is of interest partly for its illustrations of public buildings and businesses, and also for the many advertisements – such as those that show the types of manufacturing done in Indianapolis.

city directory, Indianapolis, business directory, history, 19th century, 1800s, books online

History of Indiana Cities, Counties & Regions

A Historical and Statistical Sketch of the Railroad City…

Indianapolis. Indianapolis Journal 1870
Holloway, W.R.Go to Book

(title continued) “… a Chronicle of its Social, Municipal, Commercial and Manufacturing Progress, with Full Statistical Tables”

This volume contains a wide variety of information about Indianapolis and also reveals a lot about mid-19th century life in Indiana. At least half of it more resembles an encyclopedia than a history or directory. The first 14 chapters make up a ‘history’ which is a lively account of the growth of Indianapolis, including many accounts of incidents and sketches of people, institutions etc. Beginning with chapter 15, the focus is on organizations and economic statistics at the time the book was written, although the authors continued to provide some historical background of the organizations.

There is no table of contents, but a short index at the beginning of the volume provides the topics. Unfortunately, half the pages are missing from the index. Index topics beginning with ‘N’ through ‘R’ are as follows:

-National Road
-Old Settlers
-Odd Fellows (see Secret Societies)
-Progress of the City, General View of
-Plan of the City
-Post Office
-Port Packing
-Prospects of the City
-Ra, Governor James B., Anecdote concerning
-Religious (see Churches)
-Real Estate, Early Prices of
-Railroads, First Charters [each of 13 railroads is dealt with separately]

Indianapolis history, economic history, railroad history, infrastructure, statistics, economic data, ebooks online free

A.C. Howard’s Directory for the City of Indianapolis …

Indianapolis: A. C. Howard 1857
Go to Book

(title continued) “… Containing a Correct List of Citizens’ Names, their residence and place of Business: First Issue 1857”

This is an early example of an Indianapolis directory. In addition to the material mentioned in the title, it contains a history of the city, an 1857 “Report to the Board of Trade on the Manufacturing Advantages, Prospects and Wants of the City of Indianapolis”, a table showing all railroad routes from Indianapolis, a directory of businesses and professional services, some details of churches, lists of public officials, and numerous advertisements.

Indianapolis, American history, city directory, 19th century, 1850s, books online

Making a Capital in the Wilderness

Indianapolis: Hecker 1908
Howe, Daniel Wait Go to Book

This paper provides some of the historical background for the selection of the site of Indianapolis for the state capital, and narrates its founding.

Indianapolis history, Indiana history, frontier history, free books

History of Indiana Cities, Counties & Regions

Early reminiscences of Indianapolis…

Indianapolis. Sentinel 1870
Nowland, John H. B. Go to Book

(title continued) “…with short biographical sketches of its early citizens, and of a few of the prominent business men of the present day”

The author wrote that he was a boy in Indianapolis in its earliest days, and for these sketches of early pioneers he drew heavily upon his own memories and experiences.

Indianapolis history, reminiscences, pioneers, books online

Sketches of Prominent Citizens of 1876 with a Few of the Pioneers of the City and County who have Passed Away…

Indianapolis: Tilford and Carlon 1877
Nowland, John H. B. Go to Book

(title continued) “A sequel to “Early Reminiscences of Indianapolis””

A small part of this book includes more sketches of pioneers, such as those in the author’s previous book (also found on this web page). Most of the book is devoted to biographical sketches of men prominent in the 1870s.

Indianapolis history, pioneers, books online, 19th century, biography

History of Indianapolis and Marion County, Indiana

Philadelphia: L.H. Everts 1884
Sulgrove, Berry R. Go to Book

Chapter headings are:

-Marion County: location, topographical description, geology, Indian occupation.
-Special features of the City of Indianapolis
-First Period: early settlements, organization of county, notable events, opening of roads etc.
-Social Conditions of Early Settlers: amusements, worship, music, diseases, etc.
-Second Period: the Capital in the Woods
-City of Indianapolis: Commercial and mercantile, bench and bar, banks, insurance, press, public buildings, theatres, concerts, literary and other clubs, medical practice.
-Military Organizations in the War of the Rebellion
-Orders, Societies, and Charitable Institutions
-Schools and Libraries
-Manufacturing Interests
-Civil List
-[Separate chapters for each of 9 townships]

Indianapolis, Marion county Indiana, U.S. history, free online library

History of Indiana Cities, Counties & Regions

Northern Indiana

Northwestern Indiana from 1800 to 1900, or, A view of our Region through the Nineteenth Century

Crown Point, IN: Donohue & Henneberry 1900
Ball, Timothy HortonGo to Book

This book covers the history of the Indiana counties of Lake, Porter, LaPorte, Starke, Pulaski, White, Newton and Jasper. Some of the chapter headings are:

-The Indians
-The Early Settlers
-What the Early Settlers Found
-Pioneer Life
-County Organizations
-Our Lakes and Streasm
-Railroad Life
-Political History
-The War Record
-Religious History
-[Towns, Villages and Cities of all the Counties]
-Early Travels
-Public Schools
-Private and Parochial Schools
-Our Industries
-Social Organizations
-Archeological Specimens
-Birth Places of the Pioneers
-Some Statistics
-Weather Record

For memoirs and biographies of life on the frontier in the Old Northwest, see:
Biographies & Memoirs in Ohio History
Biographies & Memoirs in Indiana History;
Biographies & Memoirs in Illinois History;
Biographies & Memoirs in Michigan History;
Biographies & Memoirs in Wisconsin History

history of Indiana, lake county, Porter county, LaPorte county, Starke county, Pulaski county, White county, Newton county, Jasper county, county history, books online

Recollections of the Early Settlement of the Wabash Valley

Lafayette, IN: Courier 1860
Cox, Sandford C.Go to Book

This collection of stories and sketches is partly made up of articles on “Old Settlers” that the author wrote for the Lafayette Daily Courier in 1859, supplemented by a number of other chapters written for this book. They appear to be mainly about Lafayette’s early days.

Old Settlers, pioneers, history of Indiana, articles, books free

The Pictorial History of Fort Wayne, Indiana …

Chicago: Law 1917
Griswold, Bert J. Go to Vol 1|Go to Vol 2

(title continued) “…a review of two centuries of occupation of the region about the head of the Maumee River”

These volumes are illustrated “with halftone engravings and three hundred pen drawings and maps by the author”. Volume 1 contains the history and Volume 2 is devoted to biographical sketches. The illustrations are of some interest, as they include a wide variety of buildings, objects and maps, in addition to the usual collection of portraits. There is also a “Story of the Townships of Allen County” by Mrs. Samuel R. Taylor.

Fort Wayne history, illustrations, Maumee, Allen county IN, 19th century, history, free books online

History of Indiana Cities, Counties & Regions

The Story of Gary, Indiana

Gary: 1908
Harries, Howard HamiltonGo to Book

(title continued) ” … An illustrated story of the building of the most marvelous city on the American continent”

Fort Wayne in 1790

Greenfield, IN: Mitchell 1921
Hay, Henry; ed. By Quaife, M. M. Go to Book

This is a journal of about 60 pages written by Henry Hay, son of a Major Hay who was captured at Vincennes by George Rogers Clark. It presents an intimate view of life at Fort Wayne in the winter of 1789-90. There is an extensive introduction by historian Milo Quaife.

Fort Wayne history, military history, 18th century, history of Indiana, ebooks free

Pioneer Sketches of the Upper Whitewater Valley. Quaker Stronghold of the West

Indianapolis: Indiana Historical Society 1945
Knollenberg, BernhardGo to Book

This book covers the period from the earliest white settlement on the Upper Whitewater to the coming of the railroads in 1853, when larger-scale manufacturing began in the region. The author writes in the Preface that, “probably no other spot in Indiana has a fuller record of its pioneer years than the Upper Whitewater Valley. A large proportion of the early settlers were Quakers; and the Friends, having eschewed the sword, were zealous wielders of the pen. I have told my story as far as possible in the pioneers’ own words. ”

Whitewater Valley, Quakers, settlers, Indiana history, Society of Friends, free ebook

The Frances Slocum Trail

North Manchester, IN: 1933
Winger, OthoGo to Book

This 20-page booklet covers the history of a 30-mile Indian trail between Marion and Peru that once connected trading posts and later provided a convenient route for pioneers. It also contains brief historical sketches of Indian and frontier communities and other sites of interest along the route.

history of roads, Indian trails, history of Indiana, Marion IN, Peru IN, online library

Southern Indiana

The History of Early Terre Haute from 1816 to 1840

NY: A.S. Barnes 1900
Condit, BlackfordGo to Book

Chapter headings are:

-The Wabash River
-Wabash River Craft
-Indian Villages on the Wabash
-The Prairie
-Fort Harrison
-The Founding of the Village
-Post Office
-The First Court House and Jail
-Taverns and Tavern Keepers
-Churches and Ministers
-Schools and School Teachers
-Early Courts, Laws and Lawyers
-Early Physicians
-Newspapers and Editors
-Store Keepers and Port Merchants
-Trades and Tradesmen
-Money, Banks and Bankers
-Fires and Fire Companies
-Canal, National Road and Railroad
-Early Poets and Poetry
-A Paradise for Boys and Girls

Terre Haute history, Wabash, 19th century, 1800s, American history, ebooks online

A History of the City of Vincennes, Indiana, from 1702-1901

Terre Haute: Cauthorn 1902
Cauthorn, Henry S.Go to Book

The Colonial History of Vincennes, Under the French, British and American Governments

Vincennes: Harvey, Mason 1858
Law, JohnGo to Book

(title continued) ” … from its first settlement down to the territorial administration of General William Henry Harrison, being an address delivered by Judge Law before the Vincennes Historical and Antiquarian Society, February 22nd 1839″

The Buffalo Trace

Indianapolis. Indiana Historical Society 1946
Wilson, George R. and Thornbrough, Gayle Go to Book

There was a trail from the Falls of the Ohio to Vincennes in frontier times that may have been originally created and used by the herds of buffalo that once lived in the area. Early travel accounts referred to it as the Vincennes Trace, Louisville Trace, Old Indian Trail, Trace to the Falls, and other names. Local residents of Vincennes referred to it as the “Buffalo Trace”. This long paper examines various accounts of it, and provides several maps.

history of roads, Indian trails, Indiana history, Vincennes, Falls of the Ohio River, books free

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