Spencer County courthouse in Rockport
Location within the U.S. state of Indiana
Indiana's location within the U.S.
|Founded||January 10, 1818|
|Named for||Spier Spencer|
|Largest town||Santa Claus|
|• Total||401.43 sq mi (1,039.7 km2)|
|• Land||396.74 sq mi (1,027.6 km2)|
|• Water||4.68 sq mi (12.1 km2) 1.17%%|
| • Estimate |
|• Density||53/sq mi (20.29/km2)|
|Time zone||UTC−6 (Central)|
|• Summer (DST)||UTC−5 (CDT)|
|Indiana county number 74|
Spencer County was formed in 1818 from parts of Warrick County and Perry County. It was named for Captain Spier Spencer, killed at the Battle of Tippecanoe in 1811. He was also the namesake for Spencer, Indiana, the county seat of Owen County.
Abraham Lincoln lived in Spencer County from 1816 to 1830, between the ages of seven and twenty-one. Originally, the area his family settled in was in Perry County with Spencer County being formed almost two years later. His family moved to Illinois in 1830. The Lincoln Boyhood National Memorial is located at the site of the Lincoln family farm. In addition, the graves of his mother Nancy Lincoln and sister Sarah Lincoln Grigsby are located in Spencer County.
On December 16, 1900, two African-American men, Bud Rowlands and Jim Henderson, were lynched by the county courthouse in Rockport after being arrested as suspects in the brutal robbery and killing of a white barber at 2 am the night before. A mob estimated at 1,500 broke open the jail and took them out, hanging them from a tree by the courthouse, and shooting their bodies numerous times. John Rolla was accused by Rowlands as a suspect and also lynched. This was the second-highest number of lynchings in the state, though it pales in comparison to lynchings in Southern states.
The current Spencer County courthouse was built in 1921. It is the fifth courthouse to serve the county.
Saint Meinrad Archabbey is located at the northeastern corner of Spencer County.
According to the 2010 census, the county has a total area of 401.43 square miles (1,039.7 km2), of which 396.74 square miles (1,027.6 km2) (or 98.83%) is land and 4.68 square miles (12.1 km2) (or 1.17%) is water.
Cities and towns
ZIP Codes are in parentheses.
- Chrisney (47611)
- Dale (47523)
- Gentryville (47537)
- Grandview (47615)
- Richland (47634)
- Rockport (47635)
- Santa Claus (47579)
- St. Meinrad (47577)
Other unincorporated places
- Clay City
- Evanston (47531)
- Fulda (47531)
- Hatfield (47617)
- Lamar (47550)
- Lincoln City (47552)
- Mariah Hill (47556)
- New Boston
- Rock Hill
- Rockport Junction
- Sand Ridge
- Santa Fe
- Dubois County, Indiana (north/ET Boundary)
- Daviess County, Kentucky (south)
- Perry County, Indiana (east)
- Hancock County, Kentucky (southeast)
- Warrick County, Indiana (west)
- Interstate 64
- U.S. Route 231
- Indiana State Road 62
- Indiana State Road 66
- Indiana State Road 68
- Indiana State Road 70
- Indiana State Road 161
- Indiana State Road 162
- Indiana State Road 245
- Indiana State Road 545
National protected area
Climate and weather
|Climate chart (explanation)|
In recent years, average temperatures in Rockport have ranged from a low of 24 °F (−4 °C) in January to a high of 91 °F (33 °C) in July, although a record low of −23 °F (−31 °C) was recorded in January 1994 and a record high of 107 °F (42 °C) was recorded in June 1944. Average monthly precipitation ranged from 3.01 inches (76 mm) in October to 4.78 inches (121 mm) in May.
County Council: The county council is the legislative branch of the county government and controls all the spending and revenue collection in the county. Representatives are elected from county districts. The council members serve four-year terms. They are responsible for setting salaries, the annual budget, and special spending. The council also 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.
Board of Commissioners: The executive body of the county is made of a board of commissioners. The commissioners are elected county-wide, in staggered terms, and each serves a four-year term. One of the commissioners, typically the most senior, serves as president. The commissioners are charged with executing the acts legislated by the council, collecting revenue, and managing the day-to-day functions of the county government.
Court: The county maintains a small claims court that can handle some 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 also elected to a four-year term. In some cases, court decisions can be appealed to the state level circuit court.
County Officials: The county has several other elected offices, including sheriff, coroner, auditor, treasurer, recorder, surveyor, and circuit court clerk. Each of these elected officers serves a term of four years and oversees a different part of county government. Members elected to county government positions are required to declare party affiliations and to be residents of the county.
|U.S. Decennial Census|
As of the 2010 United States Census, there were 20,952 people, 8,082 households, and 5,907 families residing in the county. The population density was 52.8 inhabitants per square mile (20.4/km2). There were 8,872 housing units at an average density of 22.4 per square mile (8.6/km2). The racial makeup of the county was 96.9% White, 0.5% Black or African American, 0.3% Asian, 0.2% American Indian, 1.3% from other races, and 0.8% from two or more races. Those of Hispanic or Latino origin made up 2.5% of the population. In terms of ancestry, 47.0% were German, 16.4% were Irish, 12.6% were English, and 11.1% were American.
Of the 8,082 households, 33.5% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 60.8% were married couples living together, 8.1% had a female householder with no husband present, 26.9% were non-families, and 23.2% of all households were made up of individuals. The average household size was 2.55 and the average family size was 3.00. The median age was 41.9 years.
The median income for a household in the county was $47,697 and the median income for a family was $61,365. Males had a median income of $44,526 versus $30,466 for females. The per capita income for the county was $23,609. About 6.8% of families and 12.1% of the population were below the poverty line, including 18.0% of those under age 18 and 12.8% of those age 65 or over.
- List of public art in Spencer County, Indiana
- National Register of Historic Places listings in Spencer County, Indiana
- "Spencer County QuickFacts". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2011-09-25.
- "Find a County". National Association of Counties. Retrieved 2011-06-07.
- De Witt Clinton Goodrich & Charles Richard Tuttle (1875). An Illustrated History of the State of Indiana. Indiana: R. S. Peale & co. pp. 572.
- Butte Weekly Miner, 20 December 1900; accessed 31 May 2018
- Dawn Mitchell and Maureen C. Gilmer, "Last-known lynching in Indiana included in National Memorial for Peace and Justice", Indy Star, 30 April 2018; accessed 31 May 2018
- "Lynching in America; Supplement: Lynching by County, 3rd edition, 2017, Montgomery, Alabama: Equal Justice Initiative, p. 5" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2017-10-23. Retrieved 2018-05-31.
- Wissing, Douglas (Mar 1, 2001). Indiana. Globe Pequot. p. 24. ISBN 9781560449065. Retrieved 16 October 2013.
- "Population, Housing Units, Area, and Density: 2010 - County". United States Census Bureau. Archived from the original on 2020-02-12. Retrieved 2015-07-10.
- "Monthly Averages for Rockport, Indiana". The Weather Channel. Retrieved 2011-01-27.
- Indiana Code. "Title 36, Article 2, Section 3". IN.gov. Retrieved 2008-09-16.
- Indiana Code. "Title 2, Article 10, Section 2" (PDF). IN.gov. Retrieved 2008-09-16.
- Leip, David. "Dave Leip's Atlas of U.S. Presidential Elections". uselectionatlas.org. Retrieved 2018-05-20.
- "Population and Housing Unit Estimates". Retrieved July 26, 2019.
- "U.S. Decennial Census". United States 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". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved July 10, 2014.
- "Census 2000 PHC-T-4. Ranking Tables for Counties: 1990 and 2000" (PDF). United States Census Bureau. Retrieved July 10, 2014.
- "DP-1 Profile of General Population and Housing Characteristics: 2010 Demographic Profile Data". United States Census Bureau. Archived from the original on 2020-02-13. Retrieved 2015-07-10.
- "DP02 SELECTED SOCIAL CHARACTERISTICS IN THE UNITED STATES – 2006-2010 American Community Survey 5-Year Estimates". United States Census Bureau. Archived from the original on 2020-02-14. Retrieved 2015-07-10.
- "DP03 SELECTED ECONOMIC CHARACTERISTICS – 2006-2010 American Community Survey 5-Year Estimates". United States Census Bureau. Archived from the original on 2020-02-14. Retrieved 2015-07-10.