Fountain County, Indiana

Fountain County, Indiana

Fountain County Courthouse
Map of Indiana highlighting Fountain County
Location in the U.S. state of Indiana
Map of the United States highlighting Indiana
Indiana's location in the U.S.
Founded 1826
Named for James Fontaine
Seat Covington
Largest city Attica
  Total 397.88 sq mi (1,031 km2)
  Land 395.66 sq mi (1,025 km2)
  Water 2.22 sq mi (6 km2), 0.56%
  (2010) 17,240
  Density 44/sq mi (16.82/km²)
Congressional district 4th
Time zone Eastern: UTC-5/-4
Footnotes: Indiana county number 23

Fountain County lies in the western part of the U.S. state of Indiana on the east side of the Wabash River. The county was officially established in 1826 and was the 53rd in Indiana. The county seat is Covington.[1]

According to the 2000 census, its population was 17,954;[2] the 2010 population was 17,240.[3] The county has eight incorporated towns with a total population of about 9,700, as well as many small unincorporated communities; it is also divided into eleven townships which provide local services.[4][5] An interstate highway, two U.S. Routes and five Indiana state roads cross the county, as does a major railroad line.[6][7]


The state of Indiana was established in 1816. The first non-indigenous settler in the area that became Fountain County is thought to have been a Mr. Forbes, who arrived here in early 1823 and was soon followed by others.[8] Fountain County was officially created on December 30, 1825, the act taking effect on April 1, 1826; the boundaries of the county have not changed since that time.[9] It was named for Major James Fontaine of Kentucky who was killed at Harmar's Defeat (near modern Fort Wayne, Indiana) on October 22, 1790, during the Northwest Indian War.[10][11]

Map of Fountain County from an 1876 atlas

The first Fountain County courthouse was a two-story frame building constructed in Covington in 1827; Abraham Griffith submitted the winning bid of $335.[n 1] Two years later in 1829 it was decided that a brick building was needed, and plans were made for a new courthouse; but then an act of the legislature called for the county seat to be moved. In the end it was decided that the county seat should remain in Covington, and the brick courthouse was completed in 1833. A third courthouse was commissioned in 1856, and was completed in 1857 at a cost of $33,500.[n 2] The circuit court met for the first time in the new building in January 1860, and the building was largely destroyed by fire the same day. Isaac Hodgson was the architect for the rebuilt courthouse, which was first occupied in January 1861; the total cost, including the reconstruction, totaled $54,624.05.[n 3][13] The current courthouse was built in 1936–37 at a cost of $246,734;[n 4] it replaced the previous building which had been declared unsafe. It was constructed by the Jacobson Brothers of Chicago; the architects were Louis R. Johnson and Walter Scholar of Lafayette. The courthouse walls display many murals painted by Eugene Francis Savage and others from 1937 to 1940; the murals cover over 2,500 square feet (232 m2) of wall space and depict the settlement of western Indiana.[14]

Construction on the Wabash and Erie Canal began in 1832 and worked southwest; it reached Lafayette by 1842. In 1846 it reached Covington, and by 1847 traffic had begun to flow through the county via the canal. Although the coming of the county's first railroad a decade later heralded the end of the canal's usefulness, it wasn't until 1875 that the last canal boat passed through Covington.[15]

The first railroad through the county was the Toledo, Wabash and Western Railway (later the Wabash Railroad) which was built from the east across the northern part of the county and reached Attica in 1856; it continued west through Warren County and reached the Illinois state line the following year. Another line, the Indianapolis, Crawfordsville and Danville Railroad (later the Indiana, Bloomington and Western Railway), was started in 1855, but the general state of the economy halted construction in 1858. It was completed by another owner in 1870, and trains began operating on it in 1871; locally, it ran through Covington, Veedersburg and Hillsboro.[16]


Map of Fountain County, showing townships and settlements

Fountain County's northern and western borders are defined by the Wabash River which flows out of Tippecanoe County to the northeast. Across the river to the northwest lies Warren County, beyond which is the state of Illinois; to the southwest, Vermillion County also shares the river as part of its border. Parke County is directly to the south, and Montgomery County is to the east. The state capital of Indianapolis lies about 60 miles (97 km) to the east.

According to the 2010 census, the county has a total area of 397.88 square miles (1,030.5 km2), of which 395.66 square miles (1,024.8 km2) (or 99.44%) is land and 2.22 square miles (5.7 km2) (or 0.56%) is water.[17] Elevations range from 770 feet (230 m) above sea level in the northeastern part of the county to 465 feet (142 m) in the southwest where the Wabash River leaves the county. The entire county is within the drainage basin of the Wabash River, and gradually slopes to the southwest toward the river. It is covered with loess ranging in thickness from a few inches to more than 7 feet (2.1 m). Approximately 84 percent of the county's land is use for agriculture.[18]

Fountain County contains eight incorporated settlements. The largest is the city of Attica with a population of 3,491. It lies in the north part of the county on the southeastern banks of the Wabash River; U.S. Route 41, State Road 28, and State Road 55 all run through Attica. The county seat of Covington is the second-largest at 2,645; it is also on the Wabash, about 10 miles (16 km) downstream and southwest of Attica on U.S. Route 136, just north of Interstate 74. Third in size is Veedersburg at 2,299; it is near the center of the county where U.S. Route 41, U.S. Route 136, and Interstate 74 intersect.[2]

The remaining towns all have populations under 1,000. Newtown, Mellott, Hillsboro and Wallace all lie along the route of State Road 341 which runs from north to south in the eastern part of the county. Kingman is in the far south part of the county on State Road 234, about 1 mile (1.6 km) west of U.S. Route 41.[2]

Fountain County is divided into 11 townships. Originally, there were only five, established on July 24, 1826: Cain, Richland, Shawnee, Troy and Wabash. Later, six more were created: Davis, Fulton, Jackson, Logan, Millcreek and Van Buren.[19]

In addition to the eight incorporated cities and towns, there are also many small unincorporated settlements. Cates and Silverwood are in Fulton Township in the southwest corner of the county. To the east of Fulton, Mill Creek Township includes Harveysburg, Steam Corner (at the intersection of U.S. Route 41 and State Road 32) and Yeddo (north of Kingman). North of Fulton, Wabash Township has the town of Coal Creek. Van Buren Township, which contains Veedersburg, also includes Stone Bluff; and Shawnee Township to the north of Van Buren holds the hamlets of Fountain (on the banks of the Wabash) and Rob Roy (at the intersection of U.S. Route 41 and State Road 55). The town of Riverside is across the river from Independence in Warren County, and lies in Davis Township.[20]

Stringtown was a mining settlement south of Covington in Wabash Township in the late 19th century, but it no longer exists. There are several coal mines in Fountain County, especially in the southwest.[21]

About 7 miles (11 km) southwest of Attica along the Wabash River lies Portland Arch Nature Preserve and the Miller-Campbell Memorial Tract, a 435-acre (176 ha) preserve managed by the Indiana Department of Natural Resources. It is immediately to the south of the small town of Fountain.[22]

The town of Mellott


Looking across the Wabash River to Fountain County
A 19th-century home in Attica
Attica from the west

Interstate 74 is a four-lane divided highway which passes from east to west through the middle of Fountain County, on its way from Indianapolis in the east to Illinois in the west.[23] U.S. Route 136 is a two-lane road which follows the same general route as I-74 through the county; in the eastern part it runs on the south side of the interstate, but crosses to the north side between Veedersburg and Covington.[24] U.S. Route 41 is a north–south highway which enters from Warren County in the north and passes through Attica, then goes directly south through Veedersburg and on toward Terre Haute.[25]

Three east–west state roads cross the county. State Road 28 enters Attica from Warren County and crosses the north end of the county.[26] State Road 32 enters the middle of the county from Perrysville to the west and passes through Fountain County on its way to Crawfordsville to the east.[27] State Road 234, further to the south, enters from Cayuga to the west and passes east through Kingman.[28] Two north–south state roads also run through the county. State Road 55 passes through Attica and shares the route of U.S. Route 41 as it goes south; at the small town of Rob Roy it branches off to the east, then runs southeast through Newtown.[29] State Road 341 starts at State Road 28 in the north part of the county and runs south, ending at State Road 234.[30]

A Norfolk Southern Railway line runs across the north end of the county on its route between Danville, Illinois and Lafayette;[7] it carries about 45 freight trains each day.[31]

Purdue University Airport is Indiana's second busiest airport and is operated by Purdue University in neighboring Tippecanoe County to the northeast.[32] Indianapolis International Airport is located about 70 miles (110 km) to the east.[33]

Climate and weather

Covington, Indiana
Climate chart (explanation)
Average max. and min. temperatures in °F
Precipitation totals in inches
Source: The Weather Channel[34]

Fountain County is in the humid continental climate region of the United States along with most of Indiana. Its Köppen climate classification is Dfa,[35] meaning that it is cold, has no dry season, and has a hot summer.[36] In recent years, average temperatures in the county seat of Covington have ranged from a low of 15 °F (−9 °C) in January to a high of 85 °F (29 °C) in July, although a record low of −26 °F (−32 °C) was recorded in January 1994 and a record high of 105 °F (41 °C) was recorded in August 1988. Average monthly precipitation ranged from 1.80 inches (46 mm) inches in February to 4.53 inches (115 mm) inches in June.[34]

From 1950 through 2009, six tornadoes were reported in Fountain County; none resulted in any deaths, but the estimated property damage totaled more than $25 million.[37]


Public schools in Fountain County are administered by three bodies. The Attica Consolidated School Corporation, in the northern part of the county, served 964 students during the 2009–2010 school year and includes Attica Elementary School and Attica Junior–Senior High School. The Covington Community School Corporation, in the west, served 1,012 students during the same year and includes Covington Elementary School, Covington Middle School, and Covington High School. In the southeast, the Southeast Fountain School Corporation served 1,279 students and includes Southeast Fountain Elementary School and Fountain Central Junior–Senior High School.[38]

Notable people

Daniel Wolsey Voorhees was born in Ohio, but his family moved to Fountain County when he was an infant. He attended school in Veedersburg, graduated from college in 1849, was admitted to the bar, and began practicing law in Covington; he moved to Terre Haute in 1857. He served as a United States Senator from 1877 to 1897 and was known as "the tall sycamore of the Wabash". He died in Washington in 1897 and is buried in Terre Haute.[39]

John Myers was born in Covington in 1927. He graduated from Covington High School, then from Indiana State University in Terre Haute; he served in the United States Army, and later was elected to the United States House of Representatives and was reelected 14 times, serving from 1967 to 1997.[40]


The county government is a constitutional body granted specific powers by the Constitution of Indiana and the Indiana Code. The county council is the legislative branch of the county government and controls all spending and revenue collection. Representatives are elected from county districts. The council members serve four-year terms and are responsible for setting salaries, the annual budget and special spending. The council also 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.[41][42] In 2010, the county budgeted approximately $9.8 million for the district's schools and $3.2 million for other county operations and services, for a total annual budget of approximately $13 million.[43]

The executive body of the county is made of a board of commissioners. The commissioners are elected county-wide, in staggered terms, and each serves a four-year term. One of the commissioners, typically the most senior, serves as president. The commissioners are charged with executing the acts legislated by the council, collecting revenue and managing day-to-day functions of the county government.[41][42]

The county maintains a circuit court. The judge on the court is elected to a term of six years and must be a lawyer admitted to practice law in Indiana.[42]

The county has several other elected offices, including sheriff, coroner, auditor, treasurer, recorder, and circuit court clerk. Each of these elected officers serves a term of four years and oversees a different part of county government. Members elected to county government positions are required to declare party affiliations and be residents of the county.[42]

Each of the townships has a trustee who administers rural fire protection and ambulance service, provides poor relief and manages cemetery care, among other duties.[5] The trustee is assisted in these duties by a three-member township board. The trustees and board members are elected to four-year terms.[44]

Based on the 2000 census, Fountain County is part of Indiana's 4th congressional district and Indiana's 8th congressional district; Indiana Senate district 23;[45] and Indiana House of Representatives district 42.[46]


Historical population
Census Pop.
Est. 201516,591[47]−3.8%
U.S. Decennial Census[48]
1790-1960[49] 1900-1990[50]
1990-2000[51] 2010-2013[3]

As of the 2010 United States Census, there were 17,240 people, 6,935 households, and 4,787 families residing in the county.[52] The population density was 43.6 inhabitants per square mile (16.8/km2). There were 7,865 housing units at an average density of 19.9 per square mile (7.7/km2).[17] The racial makeup of the county was 97.5% white, 0.2% black or African American, 0.3% Native American, 0.2% Asian, 0.0% Pacific Islander, 0.8% from other races, and 1.0% from two or more races. Those of Hispanic or Latino origin made up 2.2% of the population.[52] In terms of ancestry, 21.6% were German, 14.4% were Irish, 14.3% were American, and 12.5% were English.[53]

Of the 6,935 households, 31.2% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 54.7% were married couples living together, 10.0% had a female householder with no husband present, 31.0% were non-families, and 26.7% of all households were made up of individuals. The average household size was 2.46 and the average family size was 2.95. The median age was 41.6 years.[52]

The median income for a household in the county was $47,697 and the median income for a family was $51,696. Males had a median income of $44,118 versus $28,462 for females. The per capita income for the county was $20,949. About 8.9% of families and 13.2% of the population were below the poverty line, including 18.8% of those under age 18 and 9.5% of those age 65 or over.[54]

See also


  1. A $335 capital expense in 1827 would be roughly equivalent to $200,000 in 2009.[12]
  2. A $33,500 capital expense in 1857 would be roughly equivalent to $10,900,000 in 2009.[12]
  3. A $54,624 capital expense in 1861 would be roughly equivalent to $17,600,000 in 2009.[12]
  4. A $246,734 capital expense in 1936 would be roughly equivalent to $17,300,000 in 2009.[12]


  1. "Find a County – Fountain County, IN". National Association of Counties. Retrieved 2011-01-06.
  2. 1 2 3 U.S. Census Bureau. Census 2000, Summary File 1. "GCT-PH1. Population, Housing Units, Area, and Density: 2000 - County -- Subdivision and Place". American FactFinder. <>. Retrieved 2008-01-31.
  3. 1 2 "Fountain County QuickFacts". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2011-09-17.
  4. "Fountain". Indiana Township Association. Retrieved 2011-02-12.
  5. 1 2 "Duties". United Township Association of Indiana. Retrieved 2011-01-06.
  6. "Indiana Transportation Map 2009–2010" (PDF). Indiana Department of Transportation. 2009. Retrieved 2010-12-16.
  7. 1 2 "State of Indiana 2011 Rail System Map" (PDF). Indiana Department of Transportation. 2011. Retrieved 2011-06-19.
  8. Clifton 1913, p. 47.
  9. Clifton 1913, pp. 57–59.
  10. Gannett, Henry (1905). The Origin of Certain Place Names in the United States. Govt. Print. Off. p. 130.
  11. Goodrich, De Witt Clinton; Tuttle, Charles Richard (1875). An Illustrated History of the State of Indiana. Indianapolis: Richard S. Peale & Company, Publishers. p. 557.
  12. 1 2 3 4 Williamson, Samuel H. (April 2010). Seven Ways to Compute the Relative Value of a U.S. Dollar Amount, 1774 to present. MeasuringWorth. Calculations made using Nominal GDP Per Capita, a measure of capital intensivity, using "the 'average' per-person output of the economy in the prices of the current year." This is a measure of the amount of capital and volume of labor required to reproduce the work over varying production methods, but assuming that money represents a proportion of the economy.
  13. Clifton 1913, pp. 64–67.
  14. Counts, Will; Jon Dilts (1991). The 92 Magnificent Indiana Courthouses. Bloomington, Indiana: Indiana University Press. pp. 52, 53. ISBN 978-0-253-33638-5.
  15. Clifton 1913, pp. 130–131.
  16. Clifton 1913, pp. 131–132.
  17. 1 2 "Population, Housing Units, Area, and Density: 2010 - County". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2015-07-10.
  18. United States Department of Agriculture's Natural Resources Conservation Service (2003). Soil Survey of Fountain County, Indiana (PDF) (Report). U.S. Government Printing Office. Retrieved 2011-02-14.
  19. Clifton 1913, p. 59.
  20. United States Geological Survey. "Geographic Names Information System: Populated places in Fountain County, Indiana". Retrieved 2010-02-15.
  21. "Map Showing Surface Coal Mines in Fountain County, Indiana" (PDF). Indiana Geological Survey. Retrieved 2011-10-22.
  22. "Portland Arch Nature Preserve and the Miller-Campbell Memorial Tract" (PDF). Indiana Department of Natural Resources. Retrieved 2012-01-02.
  23. "Interstate 74". Highway Explorer. Retrieved 2010-09-21.
  24. "U.S. Route 136". Highway Explorer. Retrieved 2010-09-21.
  25. "U.S. Route 41". Highway Explorer. Retrieved 2010-09-21.
  26. "State Road 28". Highway Explorer. Retrieved 2010-09-21.
  27. "State Road 32". Highway Explorer. Retrieved 2010-09-21.
  28. "State Road 234". Highway Explorer. Retrieved 2010-09-21.
  29. "State Road 55". Highway Explorer. Retrieved 2010-09-21.
  30. "State Road 341". Highway Explorer. Retrieved 2010-09-21.
  31. Warren County Local Economic Development Organization. "Warren County Transportation/Utilities". Retrieved 2010-09-12.
  32. "Airport Information". Purdue University. Retrieved 2011-02-08.
  33. "Indiana Public Use Airports". Indiana Department of Transportation. Retrieved 2011-02-01.
  34. 1 2 "Monthly Averages for Covington, Indiana". The Weather Channel. Retrieved 2011-01-27.
  35. "Köppen Climate Classification for the Conterminous United States". Idaho State Climate Services. Retrieved 2011-01-23.
  36. Peel, M. C.; Finlayson, B. L.; McMahon, T. A. (2007). "Updated world map of the Köppen-Geiger climate classification" (PDF). Copernicus Publications. p. 1636. Retrieved 2011-01-23.
  37. "Fountain County Tornadoes, 1950–2009". National Weather Service. Retrieved 2011-10-20.
  38. "Fountain County Public Schools". Indiana Department of Education. Retrieved 2011-02-12.
  39. "Biographical Directory of the United States Congress: Voorhees, Daniel Wolsey". United States Congress. Retrieved 2011-02-12.
  40. "Biographical Directory of the United States Congress: Myers, John Thomas". United States Congress. Retrieved 2011-02-12.
  41. 1 2 Indiana Code. "Title 36, Article 2, Section 3". Government of Indiana. Retrieved 2008-09-16.
  42. 1 2 3 4 Indiana Code. "Title 2, Article 10, Section 2" (PDF). Government of Indiana. Retrieved 2008-09-16.
  43. State of Indiana Department of Local Government Finance. "2010 Budget Order (Fountain County, Indiana)" (PDF). Retrieved 2011-02-12.
  44. "Government". United Township Association of Indiana. Retrieved 2011-01-06.
  45. "Indiana Senate Districts". State of Indiana. Retrieved 2011-01-23.
  46. "Indiana House Districts". State of Indiana. Retrieved 2011-01-23.
  47. "County Totals Dataset: Population, Population Change and Estimated Components of Population Change: April 1, 2010 to July 1, 2015". Retrieved July 2, 2016.
  48. "U.S. Decennial Census". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved July 10, 2014.
  49. "Historical Census Browser". University of Virginia Library. Retrieved July 10, 2014.
  50. "Population of Counties by Decennial Census: 1900 to 1990". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved July 10, 2014.
  51. "Census 2000 PHC-T-4. Ranking Tables for Counties: 1990 and 2000" (PDF). United States Census Bureau. Retrieved July 10, 2014.
  52. 1 2 3 "DP-1 Profile of General Population and Housing Characteristics: 2010 Demographic Profile Data". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2015-07-10.
  53. "DP02 SELECTED SOCIAL CHARACTERISTICS IN THE UNITED STATES – 2006-2010 American Community Survey 5-Year Estimates". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2015-07-10.
  54. "DP03 SELECTED ECONOMIC CHARACTERISTICS – 2006-2010 American Community Survey 5-Year Estimates". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2015-07-10.


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