Home > Our Collections > Reference > Early Black Settlements > Ohio County > Site Search Results

Ohio County

African American rural settlements documented: 1

Ohio County was founded in 1844.  Separated from Dearborn County, it was one of the last Indiana counties to be established.  In terms of size and population, it is the smallest county within the state.

From the first federal decennial census for the county in 1850 to 1870, the African American population increased from 37 to 189 people.  Like many other Indiana counties, the black population census numbers fell between 1850 (37) and 1860 (23) and zoomed upward in 1870, very much reflecting the end of the Civil War and the political mood of the state.  (See below population census numbers for Ohio County African Americans.)

U.S. Census Numbers for Ohio County

Census Year
1850 1860 1870 1880 1890 1900
No. of African Americans
37 23 189 205 154 144

Most of the blacks that came to the county at the end of the war settled in Randolph Township, with the remaining few living in Union Township. The residents were evenly divided between the city and county seat of Rising Sun (93) and the outskirts of the city (91).  Although some of the blacks who lived in the rural environs and clustered in Randolph Township in an unnamed settlement came from Virginia, the majority travelled from Kentucky and other counties within Indiana.  Chapman Harris, a minister who was well-known for his Underground Railroad activities in Jefferson County, came to Rising Sun during the late 1860s and helped found the Shiloh Baptist Church.  Some of the African American surnames in the county included Evans, Morgan, and Simpson. 

Bibliography

Diane Perrine Coon. Southeastern Indiana's Underground Railroad routes and operations : a project of the State of Indiana Department of Natural Resources, Division of Historic Preservation and Archaeology and the U.S. Department of the Interior, National Park Service. Louisville, Ky.: Perrine Enterprises, [2001]

Hillforest Historical Foundation.  History of Dearborn and Ohio counties, Indiana. from their earliest settlement : containing a history of the counties, their cities, townships, towns, villages, schools, and churches; biographies, preliminary chapters on the history of the Northwest territory, the state of Indiana, and the Indians. Mt. Vernon, IN: Windmill Publications, 1993. 

Diane Perrine Coon. Southeastern Indiana's Underground Railroad routes and operations : a project of the State of Indiana Department of Natural Resources, Division of Historic Preservation and Archaeology and the U.S. Department of the Interior, National Park Service. Louisville, Ky.: Perrine Enterprises, [2001]

U.S. Bureau of the Census. Population of Civil Divisions Less Than Counties; Table III State of Indiana,” 1:124 Seventh Census of the United States, 1850 Washington, D.C.: U.S. Census Office, 1852.

U.S. Bureau of the Census. Population of Civil Divisions Less Than Counties; Table III State of Indiana,” 1:124 Eighth Census of the United States, 1860.  Washington, D.C.: U.S. Census Office, 1862.

U.S. Bureau of the Census. “Population of Civil Divisions Less Than Counties; Table III—State of Indiana,” 1: 124. Ninth Census of the United States, 1870. Washington, D.C.: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1872.

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

By Wilma L. Moore, October 31, 2014