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Some Benton County History

This county was named in honor of Thomas H. Benton, a Missouri senator.
The surface of the county may he described by saying, that it is one grand continuous prairie, being an extension of the grand Illinois prairie. The soil is exceedingly fertile. Many parts were originally very wet but a system of drainage has been adopted which will ultimately result in bringing nearly all the surface into cultivation. Pine creek is the only stream worthy of mention. It runs southerly, and empties its waters into the Wabash river.
The northern portion of the county is watered by tributaries of the Iroquois river. Stock raising is one of the principal industries of the county.
The county is excellently adapted to grazing, and some of the finest droves of cattle produced in the west are annually shipped from this county to the eastern markets.
Oxford, formerly the county seat, is situated in the southeastern part of the county, and on a high prominence overlooking the surrounding country. Although not a very large town, it is rapidly developing, and will soon become an important commercial center. Its schools are well provided with suitable buildings and efficient teachers, and are in a state of prosperity. The schools of the county, for the most part, are equal to the average. Oxford has good railroad outlets, being situated on the LaFayette, Muncie and Bloomington railroad, and is within two miles of the junction of this road with the C. L & 0. Railroad, for Chicago and Cincinnati.
Fowler, the present county seat, was first laid out in February, 1872 by Moses Fowler and Adams Earl, Esqrs., of LaFayette. Originally covering a plat one-half mile square, it has since been increased to one mile square. It is situated exactly in the center of the county, and on the Cincinnati, LaFayette and Chicago railroad, or what is popularly called the Kankakee Route. The county seat was removed from Oxford and located here in 1874, after a bitter legal litigation with the former place.
The first court was held in December, 1874, in the new and elegant court house, mainly built by private means and enterprise. The town is improving rapidly, and already possesses a number of prominent business firms, a bank doing a thriving business, a fine hotel a newspaper office, a large and commodious graded school building, and two church edifices.
Earl Park, located northwest of Fowler, on the same road, is another fast growing town. This town was laid out by Adams Earl and A. D. Raub, Esqrs., and bids fair to take rank with the foremost towns of this section of the State The streets are beautifully hid out and graded; they are eighty feet wide, and have a row of line shade trees bordering on each side and through the center, a feature rarely met with in the west, and which will ultimately render these streets beautiful and pleasant beyond description.

Benton County is divided into 11 Civil Townships as follows:
Bolivar, Center, Gilboa, Grant, Hickory Grove, Oak Grove, Parish Grove, Pine, Richland, Union and York.

Benton County was organized February 18, 1840.Fowler has not always been the County Seat. May of 1843 that a County Seat was selected and called Milroy in honor of one of the first commissioners, but Indiana already had a town of that name, so the County Seat was renamed Oxford which was first settled in 1847 by H. T. Howard. In 1871, the town of Fowler was laid out and on March 20, 1873, the Courthouse at Oxford was condemned, precipitating a battle between the two towns.
On July 10, 1874, the County Seat was moved to Fowler, which has held the distinction ever since.

Here Are some Places To Look When Researching in Benton County

Benton County Public Library
102 N Van Buren Avenue
Fowler, IN 47944 
Phone: (765) 884-1720
>For Marriage or Divorce Records
Clerk of Circuit Court:
706 E 5th Street, Room 37
Fowler, IN 47944

For Land Records
County Recorder
706 E 5th Street, Room 24
Fowler, IN 47944
Phone: 765-884-1630

For Birth and Death Records from 1882
Benton County Health Department
706 East 5th Street, Suite 15
Fowler, IN 47944-1556
Phone: 765-884-1728

Adjacent counties
Newton County (north)
Jasper County (northeast)
White County (east)
Tippecanoe County (southeast)
Warren County (south)
Vermilion County, Illinois (southwest)
Iroquois County, Illinois (west)


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