A membership organization seeking to protect spaces of historic significance in Fountain County, Indiana.

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Attica, IN 47918

History of Fountain County

Fountain County is located in west-central Indiana and is bounded on the north by Warren County, on the east by Tippecanoe and Montgomery Counties, on the south by Parke County and on the west by Vermillion County.  On December 30, 1825 the Indiana State Legislature passed an act forming Fountain County out of Wabash and Montgomery Counties.  The County was officially recognized April 1, 1826 during William Hendricks' term as governor.

The County is named for Major Fountain of Kentucky who was killed October 20, 1790 near Fort Wayne in a battle with the Miami Indians.  Initially, Fountain County consisted of five townships:  Cain, Shawnee, Troy, Wabash and Richland.  In the following years six other townships - Jackson, Millcreek, Logan, Davis, Van Buren and Fulton - were formed.

Prior to white settlement this area was controlled by the Potawatomi and Miami Indians.  The land was ceded to the United States government by tow treaties signed at St. Mary's, Ohio.  Included in the treaties was the creation of two Indian reserves located partially in Fountain County.  The first was the Burnett Reserve in the northwest tip of the county and the second was the Longlois Reserve located approximately three-and-one-half-miles northeast of Newton.

When the white settlers arrived in Fountain County they found rich and diverse natural environment.  The combination of forest and prairie offered a varied topography ranging from flat, prime farmland scattered throughout the county to the sandstone cliffs and rock formations along Bear Creek.  The Wabash River created a natural border on the north and west sides of the county.  Its tributaries provided water power for mills and routes for early transportation as well.

In the years preceding Fountain County's formation, many settlers, primarily from the eastern states, came to the area.  One of the county's earliest settlers, John Tarred, landed his canoe on the banks of Coal Creek in 1820.  The first land entry in Fountain County was by Eber Jenne in 1821 at the Federal land Office in Terre Haute.  In the spring of 1823, Peter Weaver convinced several War of 1812 veterans to invest their bonus land warrants and settle the area.  In 1824 a group of Shakers from the West Union community in Warren County, Ohio attempted to build a Utopian settlement in northeastern Fountain County but it only lasted a decade.

Three of Fountain County's early towns were laid out during the mid-1820's, all along the Wabash River.  Isaac Coleman, a veteran of the War of 1812, platted Covington in 1826 giving every fourth lot to the county government to ensure that Covington would be the county seat.  fountain County constructed its log courthouse in Covington in 1827.  Attica was platted in 1825 by George Hollingsworth.  Rob Roy was founded in 1826 and soon was the largest town in the county.  However, the prosperity was short lived for when the Wabash and Erie Canal reached Attica in 1847 most of Rob Roy moved to Attica.

In 1846 the Canal reached Covington and by 1847 was completed through Fountain County.  The Wabash And Erie Canal Company bought a 60-foot wide tract of land paralleling the Wabash River and placed the canal on the outer edge of the river's flood plain.  The actual canal was 40 feet wide, 26 feet deep with an 18-foot tow path on one side and a five-foot berm on the other, both serving as retaining walls.  Remnants of the canal can still be seen in Davis, Logan, Shawnee, Troy, Wabash and Fulton Townships.

The canal brought the county wealth and prosperity as well as death and discord.  A cholera epidemic occurred during construction and wiped out the whole town of Maysville, along with many others working and living around the area.  Maysville Cemetery and Riverside Cemetery are the sites of many of these burials.

The canal company sold out in the 1870's about the time Veedersburg started to prosper.  Veedersburg was laid out in 1871 by Franklin Yerkes, Christopher Keeling and Peter Veeder, although Veeder never lived in the town that carried his name.  Veedersburg was incorporated in 1872 and made an unsuccessful bid for the county seat that same year.  Veedersburg owed its prosperity to three major railroads that ran through the town.  Railroads contributed to the growth of other towns in the county including Covington, Hillsboro, Riverside, Stone Bluff, Aylesworth, Mellott, Stringtown, Vicksburg, Kingman, Cates and Yeddo.  Attica was the home of the Chicago, Attica and Southern Railroad and during the canal days the town declined another offer by a railroad company to be on the Chicago and Indianapolis route.  The railroad relocated to nearby Lafayette making it the major city in northwestern Indiana.

Fountain County was home for many brickyards including the Poston Brick Company in Attica, the Veedersburg Paver Company and Wabash Clay Company in Veedersburg.  The Poston Brick Company shipped over one-half billion bricks across the United States between 1907 and 1964.  Over 25 academic buildings at Purdue University were constructed with Poston Brick between 1927 and 1960.  The Veedersburg Paver Company supplied bricks for streets in Veedersburg and Attica, as well as renowned places such as the Chicago Loop and the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, commonly known as the "Brick Yard".

Fountain County today is tied economically with agriculture.  Remnants of the canal and railroad glory days remain in the architecture and landscape.  Many of the old canal and railroad beds may be seen throughout the county along with the architectural styles ranging from the Greek and Gothic Revival styles of the mid 19th century to the Art Modern and Deco styles of the 1930's.