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Welcome to Switzerland County, Indiana
History and Genealogy

Switzerland County Courthouse

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Switzerland County was organized formally October 1, 1814. Vevay is the County Seat.

Switzerland County Historical and Descriptive
The first settlement within the limits of Switzerland, of which any definite account can be obtained, was made by Heathcoat Picket, who settle above Plum Creek, about three miles above Vevay, in 1795, where he built a cabin and remained for several years. There being an abundance of game, his family were always supplied with meat. The bread was made from corn ground in a hand mill. The family consisted of the father, mother, two sons and one daughter. They all endured severe privations, and often narrowly escaped the dreaded tomahawk of the treacherous savages. In 1798 the Cotton and Deckason families settled on Indian Creek, about three miles from the Ohio River, some distance from Vevay. In 1799 Robert Gullion settled in the Ohio River bottom above the mouth of Loglick Creek.

In 1796 John James Dufour, a native of Switzerland, Eroupe, explored the country along the Ohio River between Cincinnati and Louisville, seeking a suitable location for the future homes of himself, his son, four brothers, three sisters, and a few of their associates who were desirous of coming to America to introduce the cultivation of the vine. He finally located between Indiana and Plum Creeks, and entered, under a special act of congress, about three thousand acres of land, at two dollars per acre, with interest, on a credit of twelve years - the extended credit being given for the purpose of encouraging the cultivation of the vine and making domestic wine. The colonists, numbering seventeen souls, embarked for the United Sates in January 1801, and land at Norfolk, Virginia, in May of the same year. They began arriving at their destination, New Switzerland - the name give to their new settlement - in 1803, and by 1809 they had built comfortable log houses, cleared considerable land, planted orchards and vineyards, and commenced making considerable quantities of wine, which in the market was always known as "Vevay Wine."

In November 1813, John Francis Dufour and Daniel Dufour laid out the town of Vevay - the lots being sold at public sale. This sale was quite successful, many persons from neighboring settlements being present and purchasing liberally. In the spring of 1814 persons from Ohio, Pennsylvania and New York commenced settling in the new town. The site of the town, for the most part, was lying in a very heavy timbered tract of land, and it required much hard work to clear off the timber and build houses. The county was organized in 1814, and the county seat was located at Vevay.

The hardships of the early settlers of Switzerland County may be imagined, from the fact that from 1803 to 1813 the settlers within the limits of the county were in continual dread of being attacked and massacred by bands of hostile Indians. As a means for better protection against surprise by the Indians, several families would meet at night at the house of one of the number, and while the women and children and part of the men retired to rest, part of the men kept watch with loaded guns. Through these precautions, but few, if any, persons ever met their death at the hands of hostile Indians in that county.

Immediately after the organization of the county it began to increase in population, and from 1816 to 1822 towns were laid out in different parts of the county, and the general scene was that of activity, industry and thrift. In 1815 James McIntire laid out the town of Erin, opposite Carrrollton, Ky., but was unsuccessful in his attempts to attract population at that point. In 1816 Peter Demaree laid out the town of Allensville, which for some time promised to become an important point. It is now a pleasant village. Thus we might name several towns that were laid out in the county in 1816-1817-1818, etc. In short, its progress was fully up to the best counties in the State. The farmers of the county are a very industrious, moral, hard-working people; most of them have gained an independence, and are now enjoying the fruits of their labors, having excellent residences, while their children enjoy the best of schools. Hay is the great staple of the county, and has been exported with great profit. The county is well timbered with the very best quality of wood,and the farmer has all the opportunities and advantages for success. Switzerland County has not increased in population as rapidly as in wealth. Its villages are all established on a firm footing, and its commerce and agriculture are exceedingly prosperous.

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