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Sullivan County is a county located in the U.S.marker state of Indianamarker, and determined by the U.S. Census Bureau to include the mean center of U.S. population in 1940. As of 2000, the population was 21,751. The county seat is Sullivanmarker. Sullivan County is included in the Terre Hautemarker, Indianamarker, Metropolitan Statistical Area.


On 25 February 1779 Col. George Rogers Clark captured Fort Sackville at Vincennesmarker from the British. About six miles (10 km) west at Pointe Coupee on the Wabash River on 2 March 1779, Capt. Leonard Helm commanding three boats and 50 volunteers from Vincennes captured a reinforcement fleet of seven boats carrying 40 soldiers and valuable supplies and Indian trade goods. This small naval battle completed the destruction of British military strength in the Wabash Valley.

The county's first settlement occurred between 1808 and 1812, by a religious society of celibates known as Shakers. The 400 members of this communal group occupied , seven miles (11 km) west of Carlislemarker.

General William Henry Harrison’s army made its last camp in Sullivan County at Big Springs on September 29, 1811. Harrison used Benjamin Truman’s fort as his headquarters. With spring water available, it was an ideal location for 1000 men, including 160 dragoons and 60 mounted riflemen. A Kentuckymarker soldier killed a fellow Kentuckian, Clark, either accidentally or in a grudge fight. The deceased was buried at the top of a hill that became the Mann Truman Cemetery. General Harrison and his troops continued north on the Wea Indiana Trail to build Fort Harrison and then proceeded to the Battle of Tippecanoe.

A War of 1812 military action occurred in September, 1812, three miles (5 km) west/southwest of Sullivan County. While escorting supplies from Fort Knoxmarker near Vincennes to Fort Harrison at Terre Hautemarker, Sergeant Nathan Fairbanks and approximately a dozen soldiers were ambushed - and most killed - by Indians.

In 1815, Carlislemarker was founded.

Sullivan County was formed in 1817. It was named for Daniel Sullivan, said by some sources to have been a Revolutionary War general killed by Native Americans while carrying a dispatch between Fort Vincennesmarker and Louisvillemarker.

A log courthouse in Merommarker served as Sullivan County's first county seat from 1819-1842. Merom was an important river port and a stop on the stage route known as The Old Harrison Trail. William Henry Harrison's troops camped near here on their 1811 march to the Battle of Tippecanoe.

Pioneer heroine of abdominal surgery Jane Todd is buried in Sullivan County. Born in Virginiamarker in 1763, she and her husband, Thomas Crawford, moved to Green Countymarker, Kentuckymarker, in 1805. Suffering from a huge abdominal tumor, she rode to Danville, Kentuckymarker, to submit to an operation never before performed. On December 25, 1809, Dr. Ephraim McDowell performed this, the first ovariotomy, in his home. The ordeal lasted 25 minutes. There was no anesthesia. Mrs. Crawford recovered completely and years later came to Graysvillemarker to live with her son, Thomas, a Presbyterian minister. She died in 1842 at age 78. The restored McDowell homemarker in Danville, Kentucky is a surgical shrine.

Sullivanmarker was founded in 1853 and became the county seat.

Dedicated in 1862, Union Christian College served as a preparatory school and college until 1924. In 1936 it became Merom Institute—a rural enrichment center. Now owned by the United Church of Christ, it serves as a camp, conference, and retreat center.

Numerous violent conflicts erupted in Sullivan County during the American Civil War over differing war sentiments. On July 14, 1864, anti-war Democrat John Drake was fatally shot at a community picnic near here.

Organized nationally to bring culture to rural communities, Merom'smarker 10-day religious and educational Chautauqua event featured concerts, debates, plays, and lectures. Carrie Nation, William Jennings Bryan, William Howard Taft, Warren G. Harding, and Billy Sunday were among the speakers here. ‎

In 1905, the Sullivan Daily Times was founded by Paul Poynter, patriarch of the most famous newspaper families in the country. Eleanor Poynter Jamison operated it, while her brother, Nelson Poynter, went on to operate the St. Petersburg Times. Today it is still family owned and operated, one of only 200 daily papers of its kind.

In 1968 Sullivan County Park and Lake was founded. It contains a reservoir in 1968 for swimming, boating and fishing. The lake is stocked with crappie and hybrid saugeye, as well as bass, bluegill and channel catfish. Water skiing is also very popular. Sullivan County Park and Lake has of land for camping as well as a 9-hole golf course. The campground offers sites ranging from primitive camping to space for modern motor homes.

There is a movement in the county and among its neighbors to switch to the Central Time Zone in the future. [14397]


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 county council is the legislative branch of the county government and controls all the spending and revenue collection in the county. Representatives are elected from county districts. The council members serve four year terms. They 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.

Board of Commissioners: 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, the collection of revenue, and managing the day-to-day functions of the county government.

Court: The county maintains a small claims court that can handle some civil cases. The judge on the court is elected to a term of four years and must be a member of the Indiana Bar Association. The judge is assisted by a constable who is also elected to terms of four years. In some cases, court decisions can be appealed to the state level circuit court.

County Officials: The county has several other elected offices, including sheriff, coroner, auditor, treasurer, recorder, surveyor, and circuit court clerk. Each of these elected officers serve terms of four years and oversee different parts of the county government. Members elected to any county government position are required to declare a party affiliation and be a resident of the county.


Peabody Energy Corporation recently announced that they will start production in the second half of 2010 from Bear Run Mine located in Sullivan County. The Bear Run mine is the largest surface mine in the eastern U.S. and is expected to produce 8 million tons of coal per year. The mine is expected to employ 350. [14398]


According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 454 square miles (1,176 km²), of which 447 square miles (1,158 km²) is land and 7 square miles (18 km²) (1.51%) is water.

Cities and towns



Adjacent counties

Major highways


As of the census of 2000, there were 21,751 people, 7,819 households, and 5,574 families residing in the county. The population density was 49 people per square mile (19/km²). There were 8,804 housing units at an average density of 20 per square mile (8/km²). The racial makeup of the county was 94.11% White, 4.27% Black or African American, 0.31% Native American, 0.13% Asian, 0.02% Pacific Islander, 0.33% from other races, and 0.84% from two or more races. 0.82% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race. 25.4% were of Americanmarker, 18.1% German, 16.8% English and 9.7% Irish ancestry according to Census 2000.

There were 7,819 households out of which 31.90% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 58.10% were married couples living together, 9.30% had a female householder with no husband present, and 28.70% were non-families. 25.30% of all households were made up of individuals and 13.10% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.49 and the average family size was 2.96.

In the county the population was spread out with 22.60% under the age of 18, 9.40% from 18 to 24, 30.50% from 25 to 44, 23.50% from 45 to 64, and 14.10% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 37 years. For every 100 females there were 115.20 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 116.30 males.

The median income for a household in the county was $32,976, and the median income for a family was $39,290. Males had a median income of $30,207 versus $20,790 for females. The per capita income for the county was $16,234. About 8.50% of families and 10.90% of the population were below the poverty line, including 13.40% of those under age 18 and 9.00% of those age 65 or over.
Sullivan County

Population by year

2000 21,751

1990 18,993

1980 21,107

1970 19,889

1960 21,721

1950 23,667

1940 27,014

1930 28,133

1920 31,630

1910 32,439

1900 26,005

1890 21,877

1880 20,336

1870 18,453

1860 15,064

1850 10,141

1840 8,315

1830 4,630

1820 3,498

Image:Turtcrk2new.png|Turtle Creek Reservoir

Image:Boating.jpg|Sullivan County Park & LakeImage:Farm300.jpg|Sullivan County FarmImage:Y2q4mtvjoguwnzringjhngu3mgiwmtkwy2m4yzjlzgrkyji4njrjnq==-picture 328.jpg|Merom Power StationImage:DSCN1354.JPG.jpg|Sullivan Corn Festival ParadeImage:Library 52102.jpg|Sullivan Public Library

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