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Benton County

African American rural settlements documented: 0

Established in 1840, Benton County, located in the northwestern part of Indiana, is one of the state’s largest counties.  It boasted of having the finest and vastly fertile prairie land (VanNatta).  According to the early censuses, there were no African Americans living in Benton County from 1840 through 1870. In 1880, there were 6 people, all single individuals from Kentucky, Indiana and Illinois, whose surnames were Corington, Curtes, Shelby and Wheat. They worked as farm laborers, housekeepers and barbers. Audrey Werle's research on African Americans provided no data for Benton County, and there was no evidence of a rural settlement or community of African Americans.  


Ancestry.com. “U.S. Federal Census 1820-1870.” Accessed June 20, 2014.

Benton County IN Gen Web. "History of Benton County, Indiana, by Maggie VanNatta (circa 1888)." Accessed June 20, 2014.

Audrey C. Werle “Research Notes on Indiana African American History,” M 792, William Henry Smith Memorial Library, Indiana Historical Society, Indianapolis, Indiana

By Dona Stokes-Lucas,  August 1, 2014