Jul 262011
 

Hendricks County Court House in the Square Today

Hendricks County Court House in the square today in the center of Danville

Interesting bit of history of the beginning of Hendricks County government from the History of Hendricks County by Honorable John V. Hadley written in 1914. The government provided whiskey distributed by the coroner to help people pick out the property to purchase. Not a marketing strategy we can really get away with today…

The act organizing the county of Hendricks was approved on December 29. 1823. The county was named in honor of William Hendricks, then governor of the state of Indiana. According to the provisions of this act, the men selected began to investigate several claims made for the location of the county seat. Many localities were at work striving for the honor, among them the community near George Mattock’s tavern, two miles east of Belleville, where a town had been laid out named Hillsboro.

This site was discarded in favor of a location as near as possible to the geographical center of the county, and on the second Monday in July, 1824, the site of Danville was chosen. Four men, Daniel Beals, George Matlock, Robert Wilson and James Downard, being the owners of land in four sections having a common corner, each donated twenty acres touching the common corner for the benefit of the county seat, all of which was laid out into public square and town lots. Thomas Hinton was appointed agent of the county, and on October 20, 1824, he placed on file a plat of the town of Danville.

The lots were immediately put up at a public sale, and this continued for three days. An order was made by the commissioners for fifteen gallons of whiskey to assist the purchasers in making their selection. Samuel Herriman, the coroner, was the distributor on this occasion. The price paid for the lots ranged from three to one hundred and fifteen dollars. The latter price was given by Mr. Hulse for the lot on the northeast corner of Main and Washington streets. The lot on the southwest corner brought the next highest price.

The court house was completed and the first term of court held in Danville in April of the year 1826. The building was constructed of peeled hickory logs and cost one hundred and forty-seven dollars. The jail was of the same material. The first county commissioners were Thomas Lockhart, Gideon Wilson and Littlebury Blakely. They divided the county into nine townships, of nearly equal area, and there was sufficient population in but four of the townships at that time to give them a civil organization. The first representative of the county in the General Assembly was Lewis Mastin.

And thus the history of our government in Hendricks County was started….

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