Ohio county contains eighty seven square miles, or 55,680 acres of
territory. Of this, 54,750 acres are tillable. The general character
of the land is rolling, and in some parts broken by ranges of hills;
these, however, are not so high or so steep as to prevent cultivation.
Many of these hill, farms rival the bottom lands in fertility; “while
the bottom farms, lying along the courses of the Ohio river, Laughery
or Arnold’s creeks, are fully equal to the far-famed Miami bottoms in
richness.” Some time previous to its settlement by Americans, the soil
of Ohio County was the scene of a terrible massacre that of
Colonel Laughery and his party, which occurred in 1781. Colonel
Laughery, with a party of about one hundred men. was descending the
Ohio, endeavoring to overtake and and re-enforce the celebrated
General G. B. Clark, who was then on an expedition against the western
Indians. He was waylaid and surprised near Laughery creek, where he,
with most of his men, were overpowered and massacred.
In the spring of 1798, Benjamin Chambers, a government officer, first planted his compass and carried his chain over the land on which now stands Rising Sun the county seat of Ohio county. “This, together with several tracts which he surveyed, was granted to him and Lewis Davis by government, the patent bearing date of October twenty first, 1807, and the signatures of Thomas Jefferson, president, and James Madison, secretary of state of the United States. In 1803 he had built a double log house, and moved his family out here the same year. In the same year, John Fulton and his son, with their families, emigrated here from Lancaster county, Pa. They bought land the following year from Benj. Chambers, and Samuel Fulton built a cabin on the river bank, near where the woolen factory now stands, in Rising Sun. The beautiful scenery of green and lofty hills, opening fields, giant forests, and winding river, presented an enchanted picture to his family. He was a pioneer of many excellent qualities, and noted for his daring skill as a hunter, simplicity of manners and integrity of character. He opened his house for the use of the Rev. James Kemper and Rev. David Riske to preach the gospel, from 1804 to 1808.” * In 1799, Benj. Avery located on a tract of land bordering on the river, a half a mile above Rising Sun. In 1802, Thomas Fulton settled on the bank of Arnold’s creek, on what is now known as the Nelson farm. The Indians encamped there often and. held their councils, but they were seldom troublesome. In 1808, the Brown family began to settle in the county. First came Ethan Allen Brown. He and David Brown established the “old Brown homestead.” Roger Brown, Jr., came in 1610, and the rest of the family in 1814. Ethan Allen Brown rose to honorable distinction in the civil service of his country. He became judge of the supreme court, governor of the State of Ohio, commissioner of the land office, senator of the United States, and minister to Brazil
He died. at Indianapolis, February twenty fourth, 1852, aged seventy six years.
The early settlement of Ohio county is as also that of all other counties in the State full of romance. In the winter of 1805, Samuel Fulton made a large party for his neighbors; Benj. Chambers, an invited guest, put his, oxen to a large pirogue (a water craft, or dug-out), and, with all of his family and a few of his neighbors in it, gave them a merry sleigh-ride to the party. This was a common conveyance during the season of sleighing, in those early days of our history.
In 1817, an attempt was made to organize Ohio county, but the measure was not carried into effect until 1843. In December, 1844, the first court was held in Rising Sun the latter place having been selected as the seat of justice for the county.
Rising Sun is situated upon the Ohio river, thirty five miles from Cincinnati, Ohio, upon a high rolling table land; so high there is no possibility of an overflow from any rise in the river. A complete natural drainage is afforded. The city was first laid out in the spring of 1814, in a dense forest, which then covered its present site, by John James. Rising Sun was incorporated as a city by a special charter, in January, 1848, and has long been celebrated for its beautiful location, health, wide and pleasant streets, numerous shade trees, cozy and elegant residences, and congenial and intelligent inhabitants.
The land in Ohio county is very fertile, and well watered by numerous small streams. There are throughout the county numerous mounds, near which interesting relics of the “stone age” have been found.