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History and Facts of Indiana Counties

Today’s Indiana counties did not always exist in the present form. They went through many different changes in the space of a few short years.

The Northwest Territory was created on June 20, 1790 with 2 original counties, Knox and St Clair counties.

The Indiana Territory existed from May 7, 1800, until December 11, 1816. There were originally 5 Indiana counties when it was first organized as the Indiana Territory in 1800.

The oldest counties are generally in the south near the Ohio River, whereas newer ones were in the north in territory acquired later. 

The State of Indiana entered the union as the 19th state on December 11, 1816.

Indiana is currently divided into 92 counties. States bordering Indiana are MichiganIllinoisOhio and Kentucky.

Each county serves as the local level of government within its borders. County government in Indiana consists of two bodies, the county council and the commissioners.

County government in Indiana consists of two bodies, the county council and the commissioners.

Fun Facts about Indiana Counties

Counties by Name

Many Indiana counties are named for

The average land area is 396 square miles. According to the Constitution of Indiana, no county may be created of less than 400 square miles, nor may any county smaller than this be further reduced in size, which precludes any new counties

Counties by Year

  • Knox County Counties was the first created on June 6, 1790.
  • Newton County was the last county created on December 8, 1859.

County Size Facts

  • Allen County (657 sq mi) is the largest county in Indiana.
  • Ohio County (86 sq mi) is the smallest county in Indiana.

County Population Facts

Average population of Indiana counties 70,476

  • Ohio County (6,128) is the least populated county in Indiana.
  • Marion County (903,393) is the most populated county in Indiana.
  1. 54 counties that have 30,000 or more people;
  2. 17 counties have populations exceeding 100,000
  3. 5 counties exceed 250,000
  4. 4 counties have fewer than 10,000 people

Indiana City Facts

Indiana’s 10  largest cities (2016 est.) are:

  1. Indianapolis (863,002) is in Marion County
  2. Fort Wayne (265,904) is in Allen County
  3. Evansville (118,930) is in Vanderburgh County
  4. South Bend (102,245) is in St. Joseph County
  5. Carmel (92,198) is in Hamilton County
  6. Fishers (91,832) is in Hamilton County
  7. Bloomington (85,071) is in Monroe County
  8. Hammond (76,618) is in Lake County
  9. Gary (76,008) is in Lake County
  10. Lafayette (72,390) is in Tippecanoe County

Boundary Changes of Indiana Counties from 1758 to 1932

This Interactive Map of Indiana Counties show the historical boundaries, names, organization, and attachments of every county, extinct county and unsuccessful county proposal from the creation of Indiana in 1758-1932.

List of Indiana Counties

List of Old Former / Extinct Indiana Counties

Indiana contains some counties that no longer exist because they were discontinued, renamed or merged with another county. These are important for genealogy research purposes.

The below Indiana counties no longer exist:

Delaware New Purchase

Created on January 20, 1820 from Unorganized land, not fully organized, attached to Fayette, Franklin, Jackson, Jennings, Randolph, Ripley and Wayne counties for administrative and judicial purposes. 

Portions were set apart as the entire counties of Allen, Bartholomew, Hamilton, Henry, Johnson, Marion, Rush, and Shelby Counties.

The Delaware New Purchase was renamed Adams New Purchase on January 26, 1827.  Some of the records may exist in Fayette, Franklin, Jackson, Jennings, Randolph, Ripley, Wayne and Bartholomew Counties. 

Adams New Purchase

Created on January 26, 1827 from Delaware New Purchase.

Adams New Purchase eliminated on January 15, 1844, remaining territory used to create Tipton County.

Newton County (Old), Indiana

Created onFebruary 7, 1835 from Unorganized land, not fully organized, attached to St. Joseph, Cass and White counties for administrative and judicial purposes.

Newton County merged Jasper County on June 3, 1839. On December 8, 1859, Newton County re-created from part of Jasper County with different boundaries from those of original Newton County.

Randolph County (Old), Northwest Territory

Created on October 5, 1795 from the southern half of what was St. Clair County. On July 4, 1800, it became a part of Indiana Territory.

Randolph County became part of Illinois Territory on March 1, 1809 and was eliminated from Indiana Territory.

Richardville County, Indiana

Created on January 15, 1844  from Unorganized land, not fully organized, attached to Carroll, Cass and Miami counties for administrative and judicial purposes.  It was name honored Jean Baptiste Richardville, a chief of the Miami.

Richardville County fully organized, detached from Carroll, Cass and Miami counties on May 1, 1844

Richardville County was renamed to Howard County on December 28, 1846, in honor of Gen. Tilghman Howard, U.S. Representative from Indiana, who died in 1844.

St Clair County, Northwest Territory

Created on June 20, 1790  from Unorganized land by Northwest Territory as one of 2 original counties. St Clair County became part of the Indiana Territory in July 4, 1800.

St Clair County became part of Illinois Territory on March 1, 1809 and was eliminated from Indiana Territory.

Wabash New Purchase, Indiana

Created on January 20, 1820  from Unorganized land, not fully organized, attached to Monroe, Owen and Vigo counties for administrative and judicial purposes.

Wabash New Purchase abolished on February 7, 1835, remaining territory lost to the creatrion of Jasper County. Some early records may be found in Monroe, Owen, Vigo and Parke Counties

Wayne County (Old), Northwest Territory

Created on August 15, 1796  from Unorganized land, included parts of present Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Ohio, and Wisconsin.

Wayne County (Old), Northwest Territory, was eliminated when the Indiana Territory was created from Northwest Territory on July 4, 1800.

Wayne County (Old), Indiana Territory

Created on March 1, 1803  from territorial Knox and St.Clair Counties as well as Unorganized Land which included parts of modern Illinois, Indiana, Wisconsin and most of Michigan.

Wayne County (Old), Indiana Territory, was eliminated when the Michigan Territory was created from Indiana Territory on June 30, 1805.