Welcome to Vermillion County, Indiana Genealogy
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surface of the county is high and generally level,
except near the streams. The soil is generally
excellent; some of the best farms in the State are
to be found here. The "block coal" of Vermillion
County is among its most substantial resources.
The county has made wonderful progress in
agriculture, mining and commerce. Newport is the
county seat, and is a thriving town.
Named for the Vermillion River, which flows
nearby. The name is spelled in the
French/Commonwealth English style with a double
letter "I", in contract to the American English
spelling of the adjacent Vermillion County,
Illinois. This is one of only a few cases in the
United States in which a county borders a county
with the same name in another state.
The first settlers in the area arrived in 1816,
the same year that the state of Indiana was
established. Vigo County was formed in 1818 and
included the area that later became Parke and
Vermillion counties. In 1821, Parke County was
formed, and on January 2, 1824, the Indiana
General Assembly created Vermillion County out of
Parke County; the act took effect of February 1.
The county seat was established at Newport later
that year, and it has always remained there.
The first courthouse was a frame building. The
contract was awarded in June 1824 for $345 and was
to be completed by the following November; it was
used for county business until a brick building
could be constructed. The brick courthouse was
contracted in 1831; the completed building was
used until January 29, 1844, when the building
caught fire. It was repaired and served until 1868
when a third courthouse was built at a cost of
$30,000; a west wing was added in 1903 at a cost
of $28,000. That building was struck by lightning
early on the morning of May 27, 1923, and was
largely destroyed by fire. Construction on the
fourth (and current) courthouse began that year;
Halbert Fillinger and John Bayard were the
architects. The stone building was constructed by
Jasper Good of Columbus at a cost of $358,707, and
the new courthouse was dedicated on June 11, 1925.
The Newport Hill Climb was first held in 1909. The
event was started and stopped several times over
the years, but the Newport Lions Club now runs the
Newport Antique Auto Hill Climb; it has been held
continuously since the 1960s and involves several
hundred cars each year.
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