Owen County Courthouse in Spencer, Indiana
Location within the U.S. state of Indiana
Indiana's location within the U.S.
|Founded||21 December 1818 (authorized)|
|Named for||Abraham Owen|
|• Total||387.82 sq mi (1,004.4 km2)|
|• Land||385.29 sq mi (997.9 km2)|
|• Water||2.54 sq mi (6.6 km2) 0.65%%|
| • Estimate |
|• Density||54.1/sq mi (20.9/km2)|
|Time zone||UTC−5 (Eastern)|
|• Summer (DST)||UTC−4 (EDT)|
|Website||Owen County Official Website|
|Indiana county number 60|
Owen County is a county in the U.S. state of Indiana. In 1920 the United States Census Bureau calculated the mean center of U.S. population to fall within this county. As of the 2010 United States Census, the population was 21,575. The county seat is Spencer.
In 1787, the fledgling United States defined the Northwest Territory, which included the area of present-day Indiana. In 1800, Congress separated Ohio from the Northwest Territory, designating the rest of the land as the Indiana Territory. President Thomas Jefferson chose William Henry Harrison as the territory's first governor, and Vincennes was established as the territorial capital. After the Michigan Territory was separated and the Illinois Territory was formed, Indiana was reduced to its current size and geography. By December 1816 the Indiana Territory was admitted to the Union as a state.
Starting in 1794, Native American titles to Indiana lands were extinguished by usurpation, purchase, or war and treaty. The United States acquired land from the Native Americans in the 1809 treaty of Fort Wayne, and by the treaty of St. Mary's in 1818 considerably more territory became property of the government. This included the future Owen County. White settlers had been moving into the future Owen County area since 1816.
The area in present-day Owen County was first placed under local jurisdiction in 1790, when Knox County was created. This all-encompassing county was repeatedly subdivided as its lands were occupied − in 1816 a portion was partitioned to create Sullivan County, and on 2 February 1818 another area to the south was partitioned to create Daviess County. That same winter (21 December 1818) the state legislature took portions from northern Daviess and eastern Sullivan to create Owen County; it was named for Abraham Owen, a colonel in the US Army who had died at the Battle of Tippecanoe in 1811. The boundaries of this new county were reduced in 1822 when Putnam and in 1825 when Clay counties were created.
In 1920, the United States Census reported Owen County as the Center of Population for the US at a point 8 miles south-southeast of Spencer, Indiana. The center moved the shortest distance since census data collecting began in 1790 (just under 10 miles) from its previous center in Bloomington, Indiana. When the East experienced high rates of growth, as it did in the decades between 1890 and 1920, the Westward movement of the center slowed.
Owen County's low hills were completely wooded before the nineteenth century. It is still largely tree-covered, but significant portions have been cleared and are dedicated to agriculture or urban use. Its highest point (934 feet/285 meters ASL) is a steep point 2.0 miles (3.2 km) south of Quincy. The White River flows southwestward through the lower central part, entering from Monroe County (its course delineates a portion of the border between Monroe and Owen counties), then continues its journey into Greene County.
According to the 2010 United States Census, the county has a total area of 387.82 square miles (1,004.4 km2), of which 385.29 square miles (997.9 km2) (or 99.35%) is land and 2.54 square miles (6.58 km2) (or 0.65%) is water.
- Cataract Falls State Recreation Area
- McCormick's Creek State Park - the state's first park (1916)
- Owen-Putnam State Forest (part)
- Coal City
- Hancock Corner
- Hickory Corner
- Highets Corner
- Marion Mills
- New Hope
- Wallace Junction (ghost town)
Climate and weather
|Climate chart (explanation)|
In recent years, average temperatures in Spencer have ranged from a low of 15 °F (−9 °C) in January to a high of 84 °F (29 °C) in July, although a record low of −33 °F (−36 °C) was recorded in January 1994 and a record high of 107 °F (42 °C) was recorded in July 1954. Average monthly precipitation ranged from 2.56 inches (65 mm) in January to 4.97 inches (126 mm) in May.
County Council: The fiscal body of the county government, consisting of seven members. Three are elected county-wide (at-large members) and four are elected from districts. District One includes Harrison, Montgomery, Taylor, and Wayne Townships including the Town of Gosport. District Two includes Washington Township including the Town of Spencer. District Three includes Jackson, Jennings, Lafayette, and Morgan Townships. District Four includes Clay, Franklin, Jefferson, and Marion Townships. All council members serve four-year terms with at-large members elected during Presidential election cycles and district members elected during the other election cycles. One council member serves as president and another as vice-president. The council sets salaries, the annual budget, and special spending. The council has limited authority to impose local taxes, in the form of an income and property tax that is subject to state level approval, excise taxes, and service taxes. Several local boards such as the Alcoholic Beverage Board and Library Board have a member or members appointed by the council.
Board of Commissioners: The executive body of the county; its three members are elected county-wide to four-year terms, however each must reside in their respective districts, two of which are elected during Presidential election cycles and the other during the other election cycles. Each serves a four-year term. The District One member must reside in Harrison, Jackson, Jennings, Montgomery, Taylor, or Wayne Townships. The District Two member must reside in Clay, Franklin, or Washington Townships. The District Three member must reside in Jefferson, Lafayette, Marion, or Morgan Townships. One commissioner serves as president and another as vice-president. Commissioners execute acts legislated by the council, collect revenue, and manage the county government.
County Officials: The county has other elected offices, including sheriff, coroner, prosecutor, assessor, auditor, treasurer, recorder, surveyor and clerk of the circuit court. These officers are elected to four-year terms. Members elected to county government positions are required to declare party affiliations and to be residents of the county.
|US Decennial Census|
As of the 2010 United States Census, there were 21,575 people, 8,486 households, and 5,992 families in the county. The population density was 56.0 inhabitants per square mile (21.6/km2). There were 10,091 housing units at an average density of 26.2 per square mile (10.1/km2). The racial makeup of the county was 97.9% white, 0.3% Asian, 0.3% American Indian, 0.3% black or African American, 0.2% from other races, and 0.9% from two or more races. Those of Hispanic or Latino origin made up 0.9% of the population. In terms of ancestry, 28.7% were German, 20.7% were Irish, 8.9% were English, and 8.4% were American.
Of the 8,486 households, 31.0% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 56.1% were married couples living together, 9.2% had a female householder with no husband present, 29.4% were non-families, and 24.0% of all households were made up of individuals. The average household size was 2.52 and the average family size was 2.96. The median age was 42.4 years.
The median income for a household in the county was $47,697 and the median income for a family was $52,343. Males had a median income of $40,668 versus $30,556 for females. The per capita income for the county was $20,581. About 9.2% of families and 12.4% of the population were below the poverty line, including 17.8% of those under age 18 and 8.1% of those age 65 or over.<ref">"Selected Economic Characteristics – 2006-2010 American Community Survey 5-Year Estimates". US Census Bureau. Archived from the original on 14 February 2020. Retrieved 10 July 2015.</ref>
- "Owen County QuickFacts". US Census Bureau. Archived from the original on 7 June 2011. Retrieved 25 September 2011.
- "Find a County". National Association of Counties. Retrieved 7 June 2011.
- "Government at Crossroads: An Indiana chronology". The Herald Bulletin. 5 January 2008. Retrieved 22 July 2009.
- Brill, Marlene Targ (2005). Indiana. Marshall Cavendish. p. 35. ISBN 978-0-7614-2020-0.
- Welcome to Owen County/About (county website, accessed 17 September 2020)
- Indiana Historical Bureau/Owen County Courthouse (accessed 17 September 2020)
- United States Census Center of Population - 1920 "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2 September 2011. Retrieved 3 September 2011.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
- Owen County High Point, Indiana (PeakBagger.com, accessed 17 September 2020)
- Owen County IN (Google Maps, accessed 17 September 2020)
- Cataract Falls State Recreation Area (Google Maps, accessed 17 September 2020)
- "Monthly Averages for Spencer IN". The Weather Channel. Retrieved 27 January 2011.
- Indiana Code. "Title 36, Article 2, Section 3". IN.gov. Retrieved 16 September 2008.
- Indiana Code. "Title 2, Article 10, Section 2" (PDF). IN.gov. Retrieved 16 September 2008.
- Owen County Government, Owen County Council 
- Owen County Government, Circuit Court, "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 20 August 2009. Retrieved 23 August 2009.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
- Leip, David. "Atlas of US Presidential Elections". uselectionatlas.org. Retrieved 10 April 2018.
- "Population and Housing Unit Estimates". Retrieved July 26, 2019.
- "US Decennial Census". US Census Bureau. Retrieved July 10, 2014.
- "Historical Census Browser". University of Virginia Library. Retrieved July 10, 2014.
- "Population of Counties by Decennial Census: 1900 to 1990". US Census Bureau. Retrieved July 10, 2014.
- "Census 2000 PHC-T-4. Ranking Tables for Counties: 1990 and 2000" (PDF). US Census Bureau. Retrieved July 10, 2014.
- "Profile of General Population and Housing Characteristics: 2010 Demographic Profile Data". US Census Bureau. Archived from the original on 13 February 2020. Retrieved 10 July 2015.
- "Population, Housing Units, Area, and Density: 2010 - County". US Census Bureau. Archived from the original on 12 February 2020. Retrieved 10 July 2015.
- "Selected Social Characteristics in the US – 2006-2010 American Community Survey 5-Year Estimates". US Census Bureau. Archived from the original on 14 February 2020. Retrieved 10 July 2015.