2014-01-06 / Letters to the Editor

History Of The County Seat

Dear Editor,

From the Journal of the Indiana House of Representatives, the fourth session, Wednesday a.m., December 25, 1819: “Mr. Blake from the Committee to whom was referred the petition of F. Fain and others, praying the establishment of a permanent seat of justice for Owen county, reported on a bill, pursuant thereto, which was read, and the rule being dispersed with, was read a second time, and referred to a Committee of the Whole House and made the order of the day for Friday next.”

The bill was read for a third time and passed.

Blanchard’s History of Owen County states that John Dunn carried the petition to organize the county to the legislature meeting in Corydon. Because the Dunn settlement was the most populated area, appointed commissioners chose the site for the county seat to be on his land in the bend of the river, south of the narrows, 100 acres on the west side of the river and 50 on the east. (According to the abstract of my house on East Franklin, the United States granted to John Dunn, September 20, 1816, a total of 450.96 acres).

Through “some difficulty or misunderstanding,” the site had to be changed. Evidently, this concerned the east side land. New commissioners then accepted 132 acres donated by Richard Beem, Isaiah Cooper, Philip Hart and John Bartholomew. A meeting of those commissioners on February 12, 1820 made the county seat “official.” In no time at all, Spencer will be 200 years old.

Dixie Kline Richardson

Indianapolis

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