Morgan County courthouse in Martinsville
Location within the U.S. state of Indiana
Indiana's location within the U.S.
|Founded||15 February 1822 (authorized)|
December 1822 (organized)
|Named for||Gen. Daniel Morgan|
|• Total||409.43 sq mi (1,060.4 km2)|
|• Land||403.97 sq mi (1,046.3 km2)|
|• Water||5.46 sq mi (14.1 km2) 1.33%%|
| • Estimate |
|• Density||173.6/sq mi (67.0/km2)|
|Time zone||UTC−5 (Eastern)|
|• Summer (DST)||UTC−4 (EDT)|
|Congressional districts||4th, 9th|
|Indiana county number 55|
Morgan County is between Indianapolis, in Marion County, and Bloomington in Monroe County. It is included in the Indianapolis-Carmel-Anderson, IN Metropolitan Statistical Area. Two major highways, Interstate 69 and Indiana State Road 67, carry large numbers of daily commuters between the two larger communities. The county has 14 townships which provide local services.
The future state of Indiana was first regulated by passage of the Northwest Ordinance in 1787. The governing structure created by this act was superposed over an area that was still largely contested with the country's natives, although these were being gradually pushed out of the area. In 1818, a series of treaties was concluded, resulting in the confinement of the Miami tribe to the reserve area and the removal of the Delaware tribe, who had dominated central and east central Indiana, to west of the Mississippi River by 1820, clearing the way for colonization. The area was called the Delaware New Purchase until it was divided into Wabash County in the northwest and Delaware County in the southeast on 2 January 1820. Those counties were soon after dissolved, and the areas came to be called the "Wabash New Purchase" and "Delaware New Purchase" (renamed the "Adams New Purchase" in 1827). Subsequently, 35 new counties (including Morgan, authorized on 15 February 1822) were carved out of the original area. It was named for Gen. Daniel Morgan, who defeated the British at the Battle of Cowpens in the Revolutionary War.
The first settlers arrived in Morgan County in 1822. They came mostly from southern states. The Mooresville area and surrounding communities received large numbers of southern Quakers, driven to migrate because of their opposition to slavery. Paul Hadley, a Mooresville resident, was the designer of the current Indiana flag, as well as a locally prominent water color artist in the early twentieth century.
In the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, mineral springs in Martinsville gave rise to several spas, and the nickname of the Martinsville High School athletic teams has subsequently been the Artesians.
County government took several steps forward in the 2000s, creating a new Plan Commission, re-instituting a county economic development organization, and establishing the county's first Park and Recreation Board between 2000 and 2004. Morgan County also was the first county in the metropolitan Indianapolis region to establish a smoking ban ordinance for restaurants, taking that step in 2004. Other communities in the region soon followed Morgan County's lead.
The first building used for Morgan County courts was the log house of a pioneer. Work began in 1823 to build the first courthouse, a two-story log house. A brick courthouse replaced it in 1833.
The Morgan County courthouse was designed by Isaac Hodgson in the Italianate style. It was built from 1857 to 1859 by Perry M. Blankenship of Martinsville at a cost of $32,000. It was almost identical to Hodgson's Jennings County courthouse in Vernon, which was also begun in 1857, but the Martinsville building received an addition in the 1970s; the original section was also remodeled and renovated at that time. The building is of red brick with white stone quoins and has tall windows with round arches, arranged in pairs. It is one of the few remaining pre-Civil War courthouses.
Morgan County is where the glaciers stopped their southward advance during the last ice age. As a result, the area has both flat areas and rolling hills, with the most diverse soil of any county in the United States. The extensive woodlands of the eighteenth century have been cleared on the county's flat areas, with agricultural or urban uses dominating. The county is significantly carved with wooded drainages, leading to the southwest-flowing White River. According to radar telemetry gathered by the US Shuttle Radar Topographic Mission, Morgan County terrain ranges from 604 feet/184 meters to 1010 feet/308 meters ASL.
According to the 2010 census, the county has a total area of 409.43 square miles (1,060.4 km2), of which 403.97 square miles (1,046.3 km2) (or 98.67%) is land and 5.46 square miles (14.1 km2) (or 1.33%) is water. Morgan County is bisected by the White River Valley; the community has taken an interest in recent years in protecting the river as an asset, seeking to develop parks and greenways along the White River and initiating an annual river cleanup day in the spring.
The county also is home to large areas of land that were not glaciated during the last ice age. The river valley and contributing watersheds, along with the non-glaciated hills, results in a topography unlike the rest of the metropolitan Indianapolis area. County residents are proud of the scenic terrain, and in recent years have established a county park system and a bike/pedestrian trail system plan to provide protection and access to the amenities. An annual five mile (8 km) run is held as a fundraiser for the path system endowment.
City and towns
- Beech Grove
- Browns Crossing
- Bunker Hill
- Camby (part)
- Center Valley
- Champlin Meadows
- Crestview Heights
- Crown Center
- Fewell Rhoades
- Five Points
- Fox Hill
- Lake Hart
- Little Point
- Mount Zion Corner
- Painted Hills (census-designated place)
- Potato Mound
- Stines Mill Corner
- Taggart Crossing
- Turkey Track
- Waverly Woods
- Willowbrook Estates
Climate and weather
|Climate chart (explanation)|
In recent years, average temperatures in Martinsville have ranged from a low of 18 °F (−8 °C) in January to a high of 85 °F (29 °C) in July, although a record low of −35 °F (−37 °C) was recorded in January 1994 and a record high of 105 °F (41 °C) was recorded in July 1954. Average monthly precipitation ranged from 2.44 inches (62 mm) in February to 4.73 inches (120 mm) in May.
The county government is a constitutional body granted specific powers by the Constitution of Indiana and the Indiana Code. The county council is the fiscal branch of the county government and controls spending and revenue collection. Four Council members are elected from county districts, and three are elected at-large by the entire county electorate. The council members serve four-year terms and are responsible for setting salaries, the annual budget and special spending. The council has limited authority to impose local taxes, in the form of optional income taxes and the property tax levy that is subject to state level approval, excise taxes and service taxes.
The executive body of the county; commissioners are elected county-wide to staggered four-year terms. One commissioner serves as president. The commissioners execute acts legislated by the council, collect revenue and manage the county government.
The county maintains a small claims court that handles civil cases. The judge on the court is elected to a term of four years and must be a member of the Indiana Bar Association. The judge is assisted by a constable who is elected to a four-year term. In some cases, court decisions can be appealed to the state level circuit court.
The county has other elected offices, including sheriff, coroner, auditor, treasurer, recorder, surveyor and circuit court clerk. These officers are elected to four-year terms. Members elected to county government positions are required to declare party affiliations and be residents of the county.
Each township has a trustee who administers rural fire protection and ambulance service, provides poor relief and manages cemetery care, among other duties. The trustee is assisted in these duties by a three-member township board. The trustees and board members are elected to four-year terms.
|US Decennial Census|
As of the 2010 United States Census, there were 68,894 people, 25,765 households, and 19,355 families in the county. The population density was 170.5 inhabitants per square mile (65.8/km2). There were 27,754 housing units at an average density of 68.7 per square mile (26.5/km2). The racial makeup of the county was 97.7% white, 0.4% Asian, 0.3% American Indian, 0.3% black or African American, 0.3% from other races, and 1.0% from two or more races. Those of Hispanic or Latino origin made up 1.2% of the population. In terms of ancestry, 46% of people in Morgan County were of English ancestry, 22.1% were of German ancestry, and 10.3% were of Irish ancestry. Of the 25,765 households, 35.8% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 59.8% were married couples living together, 10.1% had a female householder with no husband present, 24.9% were non-families, and 20.3% of all households were made up of individuals. The average household size was 2.65 and the average family size was 3.04. The median age was 39.9 years.
The median income for a household in the county was $47,697 and the median income for a family was $62,507. Males had a median income of $48,457 versus $34,831 for females. The per capita income for the county was $23,972. About 7.2% of families and 10.1% of the population were below the poverty line, including 14.9% of those under age 18 and 6.8% of those age 65 or over.
Morgan County is served by the Morgan County Public Library, which operates six branches.
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- 20" Races to Run in 2020 (Visit Morgan County - accessed 6 August 2020)
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- "Homepage". Morgan County Public Library. Retrieved 10 March 2018.