Washington County
Washington County courthouse in Salem
Washington County courthouse in Salem
Official seal of Washington County
Map of Indiana highlighting Washington County
Location within the U.S. state of Indiana
Map of the United States highlighting Indiana
Indiana's location within the U.S.
Coordinates: 38°36′N 86°07′W / 38.6°N 86.11°W / 38.6; -86.11
Country United States
State Indiana
Founded1814
Named forGeorge Washington
SeatSalem
Largest citySalem
Area
 • Total516.60 sq mi (1,338.0 km2)
 • Land513.72 sq mi (1,330.5 km2)
 • Water2.87 sq mi (7.4 km2)  0.56%%
Population
 • Estimate 
(2018)
27,943
 • Density54.4/sq mi (21.0/km2)
Time zoneUTC−5 (Eastern)
 • Summer (DST)UTC−4 (EDT)
Congressional district9th
Websitewww.washingtoncounty.in.gov
Indiana county number 88

Washington County is a county in the U.S. state of Indiana. As of the 2010 United States Census, the population was 28,262.[1] The county seat (and the county's only incorporated city) is Salem.[2]

Washington County is part of the Louisville metropolitan area.

History

In 1787, the fledgling United States defined the Northwest Territory, which included the area of present-day Indiana. In 1800, Congress separated Ohio from the Northwest Territory, designating the rest of the land as the Indiana Territory.[3] President Thomas Jefferson chose William Henry Harrison as the territory's first governor, and Vincennes was established as the territorial capital.[4] After the Michigan Territory was separated and the Illinois Territory was formed, Indiana was reduced to its current size and geography.[3]

In 1790 Knox County was laid out. In 1801, Clark County was established, and in 1808 Harrison County was laid out, including the territory of the future Washington County.

Starting in 1794, Native American titles to Indiana lands were extinguished by usurpation, purchase, or war and treaty. The United States acquired land from the Native Americans in the Treaty of Grouseland (1805), by which a large portion of the southern Indiana Territory became property of the government. This included the future Washington County. As early as 1802, a man named Frederick Royce lived among the Ox Indians at a place known as the Lick, two miles east of Salem and is probably the first white man to inhabit this county. He was a hunter-trader and salt manufacturer. In 1803, Thomas Hopper settled in this county near Hardinsburg. Washington County was created by act of the Territorial legislature dated 21 December 1813, taking territory from Harrison and Clark counties. Interim commissioners were named and directed to determine the proper choice of the seat of government. Accordingly, they began deliberating in January 1814, and by 2 February had selected an uninhabited site near the center, naming it 'Salem'.[5] In the territorial act creating the county, it was named for U.S. President George Washington,[6] who had died fourteen years earlier.

On 1 September 1814 the original boundary of Washington County was increased, by act of the Territorial legislature, but on 26 December 1815 much of this added territory was partitioned off to create Orange and Jackson counties.[7] In December 1816 the Indiana Territory was admitted to the Union as a state. On 12 January 1820 the state partitioned a further portion of Washington County to create Scott County.[8] In 1842, and again in 1873, the border between Scott and Washington counties was adjusted.

In 1808 the first Black settlers arrived in the area along with white Quakers. In 1815 they established the Blue River Meeting House northeast of Salem.[9][10] By 1850, 252 Black people had settled in the county, mainly living in Posey and Washington townships.[10] The passing into law in 1851 of a new state constitution, in which, Article 13 excluded further settlement of Black and mixed-race persons was indicative of increasing hostility towards this population and saw a decline in Black residents of the county to 187 by 1860.[10] In Posey Township, the population of 90 Black people in 1850 had decreased to zero by 1860.[10]

Whitecapping, the process by which rural citizens used threats or extralegal violence to force Black people out of the region, continued in Washington County during the Civil War. In December of 1864 John Williams, a prosperous Black farmer in the county, was shot dead in the doorway of his home.[10][11] In 1867 Alexander White, an elderly man, was stabbed to death in Salem after repeatedly ignoring the threats of white attendees to quit coming to their church.[10][12][13] These lynchings convinced people the county was not safe and contributed to a continual exodus of Black people from the county.[14][10][15][16] In 1870, 18 Black people remained in the county, and by 1880 only three remained.[10]

Salem, the county seat, had become a sundown town by 1898 at the latest.[17] By the 20th century the entire county was officially sundown.[18] A county history from 1916 declared that, “Washington County has for several decades boasted that no colored man or woman lived within her borders.”[10][19] Sundown signs existed in the county, with one located near Canton, east of Salem.[16] Law enforcement would not allow Black people to stop in Salem, and would escort them to the county line.[20] Washington County remained sundown until 1990 at the latest, when 15 Black people were recorded living in Salem on that year’s census.[20][16]

Geography

The low rolling hills of Washington County were tree-covered before settlement, but have been largely cleared and devoted to agriculture, although drainage areas are still wooded.[21] The north portion of the county is drained by the Muscatatuck River, which forms the eastern portion of the county's north border. The East Fork of the White River joins the Muscatatuck near the center of the county's north line. The south part of the county is drained by the Blue River, which rises in the county and flows southwestward into Harrison County on its way to the Ohio River. The highest point on the terrain (1,050 feet/320 meters ASL) is an isolated rise two miles (3.2 km) NNW from New Philadelphia in the eastern part.[22]

According to the 2010 census, the county has a total area of 516.60 square miles (1,338.0 km2), of which 513.72 square miles (1,330.5 km2) (or 99.44%) is land and 2.87 square miles (7.4 km2) (or 0.56%) is water.[23]

Adjacent counties

Communities

City

Towns

Unincorporated communities

Townships

Major highways

Climate and weather

Salem, Indiana
Climate chart (explanation)
J
F
M
A
M
J
J
A
S
O
N
D
 
 
3.3
 
 
39
21
 
 
3.2
 
 
46
25
 
 
4.3
 
 
56
33
 
 
4.6
 
 
67
42
 
 
4.9
 
 
76
51
 
 
3.9
 
 
84
60
 
 
4.4
 
 
87
64
 
 
4
 
 
86
62
 
 
3.1
 
 
79
55
 
 
2.9
 
 
68
44
 
 
3.9
 
 
55
36
 
 
3.7
 
 
44
26
Average max. and min. temperatures in °F
Precipitation totals in inches
Source: The Weather Channel[24]

In recent years, average temperatures in Salem have ranged from a low of 21 °F (−6 °C) in January to a high of 87 °F (31 °C) in July, although a record low of −32 °F (−36 °C) was recorded in February 1951 and a record high of 105 °F (41 °C) was recorded in July 1954. Average monthly precipitation ranged from 2.87 inches (73 mm) in October to 4.86 inches (123 mm) in May.[24]

Five people were reported killed in Washington County during the tornado outbreak of March 2–3, 2012.[25] Four were found dead in a home on Old Pekin Road according to Washington County officials.[citation needed] The fifth, a 15-month-old from the same family, had been found in a field, and died later in hospital.[26]

Government

United States presidential election results for Washington County, Indiana[27]
Year Republican Democratic Third party
No.  % No.  % No.  %
2020 9,114 75.08% 2,784 22.93% 241 1.99%
2016 8,209 72.12% 2,636 23.16% 537 4.72%
2012 6,533 60.85% 3,909 36.41% 295 2.75%
2008 6,519 57.43% 4,562 40.19% 271 2.39%
2004 6,915 63.56% 3,879 35.65% 86 0.79%
2000 5,868 59.87% 3,675 37.50% 258 2.63%
1996 4,066 44.14% 3,819 41.46% 1,326 14.40%
1992 4,043 40.20% 4,092 40.69% 1,922 19.11%
1988 4,998 59.39% 3,370 40.04% 48 0.57%
1984 5,874 62.62% 3,334 35.54% 172 1.83%
1980 5,234 56.30% 3,663 39.40% 400 4.30%
1976 3,794 45.61% 4,409 53.01% 115 1.38%
1972 4,758 60.06% 3,086 38.95% 78 0.98%
1968 3,891 48.61% 2,936 36.68% 1,177 14.71%
1964 3,598 41.97% 4,943 57.66% 32 0.37%
1960 5,057 56.74% 3,821 42.87% 35 0.39%
1956 4,864 55.66% 3,849 44.04% 26 0.30%
1952 4,849 55.45% 3,844 43.96% 52 0.59%
1948 3,660 47.18% 4,033 51.99% 64 0.83%
1944 4,033 50.32% 3,940 49.16% 42 0.52%
1940 4,216 48.37% 4,471 51.30% 29 0.33%
1936 3,690 43.50% 4,766 56.19% 26 0.31%
1932 3,316 40.53% 4,809 58.78% 56 0.68%
1928 3,835 51.96% 3,518 47.66% 28 0.38%
1924 3,479 46.37% 3,942 52.55% 81 1.08%
1920 3,708 46.86% 4,157 52.53% 48 0.61%
1916 1,871 42.80% 2,414 55.23% 86 1.97%
1912 712 17.00% 2,233 53.31% 1,244 29.70%
1908 1,976 42.58% 2,573 55.44% 92 1.98%
1904 2,094 45.35% 2,364 51.20% 159 3.44%
1900 2,152 43.71% 2,723 55.31% 48 0.98%
1896 2,214 45.52% 2,613 53.72% 37 0.76%
1892 1,833 41.30% 2,322 52.32% 283 6.38%
1888 1,847 43.38% 2,389 56.11% 22 0.52%


The county government is a constitutional body, and is granted specific powers by the Constitution of Indiana, and by the Indiana Code.

County Council: The legislative branch of the county government; controls spending and revenue collection in the county. Representatives are elected to four-year terms from county districts. They set salaries, the annual budget, and special spending. The council has limited authority to impose local taxes, in the form of an income and property tax that is subject to state level approval, excise taxes, and service taxes.[28][29]

Board of Commissioners: The executive body of the county; commissioners are elected county-wide, to staggered four-year terms. One commissioner serves as president. The commissioners execute the acts legislated by the council, collect revenue, and manage the county government.[28][29]

Court: There are two judges in Washington County. The Judge of the Circuit Court is the Hon. Robert L. Bennett (D). The Judge of the Superior Court is the Hon. Frank E. Newkirk, Jr. (R). Case distribution is determined by local court rules. Each judge serves a six-year term.

County Officials: The county has other elected offices, including sheriff, coroner, auditor, treasurer, recorder, surveyor, and circuit court clerk. These officers are elected to four-year terms. Members elected to county government positions are required to declare party affiliations and to be residents of the county.[29]

See also: Government of Indiana

Washington County
Sheriff's Department
Jurisdictional structure
Operations jurisdictionWashington, Indiana, United States
Legal jurisdictionAs per operations jurisdiction
General nature
Operational structure
Agency executive
  • Claude Combs, Sheriff

Washington County is part of Indiana's 9th congressional district and is represented in Congress by Republican Trey Hollingsworth.

Demographics

Historical population
Census Pop.
18209,039
183013,06444.5%
184015,26916.9%
185017,04011.6%
186017,9095.1%
187018,4953.3%
188018,9552.5%
189018,619−1.8%
190019,4094.2%
191017,445−10.1%
192016,645−4.6%
193016,285−2.2%
194017,0084.4%
195016,520−2.9%
196017,8197.9%
197019,2788.2%
198021,93213.8%
199023,7178.1%
200027,22314.8%
201028,2623.8%
202028,182−0.3%
US Decennial Census[30]
1790-1960[31] 1900-1990[32]
1990-2000[33] 2010-2013[1]

2010 census

As of the 2010 United States Census, there were 28,262 people, 10,850 households, and 7,799 families in the county.[34] The population density was 55.0 inhabitants per square mile (21.2/km2). There were 12,220 housing units at an average density of 23.8 per square mile (9.2/km2).[23] The racial makeup of the county was 98.1% white, 0.3% Asian, 0.2% American Indian, 0.2% black or African American, 0.3% from other races, and 0.9% from two or more races. Those of Hispanic or Latino origin made up 1.1% of the population.[34] In terms of ancestry, 25.2% were German, 14.3% were American, 13.7% were Irish, and 9.6% were English.[35]

Of the 10,850 households, 34.7% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 54.8% were married couples living together, 11.1% had a female householder with no husband present, 28.1% were non-families, and 23.7% of all households were made up of individuals. The average household size was 2.58 and the average family size was 3.02. The median age was 39.2 years.[34]

The median income for a household in the county was $47,697 and the median income for a family was $45,500. Males had a median income of $38,100 versus $28,092 for females. The per capita income for the county was $19,278. About 12.2% of families and 16.9% of the population were below the poverty line, including 24.7% of those under age 18 and 14.9% of those age 65 or over.[36]

Education

The county is served by 3 school districts:[37]

East Washington School Corporation (Superintendent:Steve Darnell[38]) includes:[39]

Salem Community Schools (Superintendent:Dr. D. Lynn Reed) includes:[40])

West Washington School Corporation (Superintendent:Gerald Jackson) includes:[41])

See also

References

Specific
  1. ^ a b "Washington County QuickFacts". US Census Bureau. Retrieved September 25, 2011.
  2. ^ "Find a County". National Association of Counties. Retrieved June 7, 2011.
  3. ^ a b "Government at Crossroads: An Indiana chronology". The Herald Bulletin. January 5, 2008. Retrieved July 22, 2009.
  4. ^ Brill, Marlene Targ (2005). Indiana. Marshall Cavendish. p. 35. ISBN 978-0-7614-2020-0.
  5. ^ Stevens (1916). pp. 78, 81
  6. ^ De Witt Clinton Goodrich & Charles Richard Tuttle (1875). An Illustrated History of the State of Indiana. Indiana: R. S. Peale & Co. pp. 575.
  7. ^ Stevens (1916). p. 79
  8. ^ Stevens (1916). p. 80
  9. ^ "The Historic Blue River Quaker Settlement in Salem Indiana". Retrieved April 28, 2022.
  10. ^ a b c d e f g h i Thornbrough, Emma Lou (1957). The Negro in Indiana: A Study of a Minority. Indianapolis: Indiana Historical Bureau.
  11. ^ Trueblood, Lillie D. (1934). "The Story of John Williams, Colored". Indiana Magazine of History. 30 (2): 149–152. ISSN 0019-6673.
  12. ^ "Cold Blooded Murder in Salem". Terre Haute Daily Express. September 24, 1867. Retrieved April 28, 2022.
  13. ^ Stevens (1916). p. 435
  14. ^ "'Pigeon Roost Massacre' Historical Event Told About Family of Mrs. Lewis, DAR Regent". The Victoria Advocate. Victoria, Texas. November 3, 1957. p. 46 – via Newspapers.com. No Negroes were allowed to live in Washington County, but Beezon Baynes brought in a family and established them in a small house on the farm. However, the people in the community forced him to get rid of the family—so he sent them on to Canada.
  15. ^ Campney, Brent M.S. (2019). Hostile Heartland: Racism, Repression, and Resistance in the Midwest. Urbana: University of Illinois. ISBN 978-0252042492.
  16. ^ a b c Loewen, James W. (2005). Sundown Towns: A Hidden Dimension of American Racism. New York: New Press. ISBN 9781565848870.
  17. ^ "Singular Isolation". The Evening Item. Richmond, Indiana. October 24, 1903. p. 6 – via Newspapers.com. She had seen many Indians in the pioneer days, but until she reached this city had never seen any person of African descent, as negroes are not allowed to live in Washington county.
  18. ^ "Removal". Richmond Item. October 24, 1903. p. 10. Retrieved April 28, 2022.
  19. ^ Stevens (1916). p. 282
  20. ^ a b "History & Social Justice: Salem, Indiana". Retrieved April 28, 2022.
  21. ^ Washington County IN (Google Maps, accessed 29 September 2020)
  22. ^ Washington County High Point, Indiana (PeakBagger.com, accessed 29 September 2020)
  23. ^ a b "Population, Housing Units, Area, and Density: 2010 - County". US Census Bureau. Archived from the original on February 12, 2020. Retrieved July 10, 2015.
  24. ^ a b "Monthly Averages for Salem IN". The Weather Channel. Retrieved January 27, 2011.
  25. ^ "Tornado Climatology of Washington County, Indiana". National Weather Service. Retrieved January 25, 2018.
  26. ^ "US Tornadoes: Toddler Found in Field Dies After Coming off Life Support". The Guardian. London. March 5, 2012. Retrieved March 5, 2012.
  27. ^ Leip, David. "Atlas of US Presidential Elections". uselectionatlas.org.
  28. ^ a b Indiana Code. "Title 36, Article 2, Section 3". IN.gov. Retrieved September 16, 2008.
  29. ^ a b c Indiana Code. "Title 2, Article 10, Section 2" (PDF). IN.gov. Retrieved September 16, 2008.
  30. ^ "U.S. Decennial Census". US Census Bureau. Retrieved July 10, 2014.
  31. ^ "Historical Census Browser". University of Virginia Library. Retrieved July 10, 2014.
  32. ^ "Population of Counties by Decennial Census: 1900 to 1990". US Census Bureau. Retrieved July 10, 2014.
  33. ^ "Census 2000 PHC-T-4. Ranking Tables for Counties: 1990 and 2000" (PDF). US Census Bureau. Retrieved July 10, 2014.
  34. ^ a b c "Profile of General Population and Housing Characteristics: 2010 Demographic Profile Data". US Census Bureau. Archived from the original on February 13, 2020. Retrieved July 10, 2015.
  35. ^ "Selected Social Characteristics in the US – 2006-2010 American Community Survey 5-Year Estimates". US Census Bureau. Archived from the original on February 14, 2020. Retrieved July 10, 2015.
  36. ^ "Selected Economic Characteristics – 2006-2010 American Community Survey 5-Year Estimates". US Census Bureau. Archived from the original on February 14, 2020. Retrieved July 10, 2015.
  37. ^ Education, Indiana Department of (2009). "Indiana Public Superintendent Directory 2009" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on May 31, 2009. Retrieved May 28, 2009.
  38. ^ Corporation, East Washington School (2009). "Central Office". Retrieved May 28, 2009.
  39. ^ Corporation, East Washington School (2009). "Welcome to the EWSC". Retrieved May 28, 2009.
  40. ^ Schools, Salem Community (2009). ":: Salem Community Schools ::". Retrieved May 28, 2009.
  41. ^ Corporation, West Washington School. "West Washington School". Archived from the original on March 8, 2008. Retrieved May 28, 2009.
General

Coordinates: 38°36′N 86°07′W / 38.60°N 86.11°W / 38.60; -86.11