|A Year of Indiana History - 2016|
Founded - December 20, 1818
Named for - Toussaint Dubois
Seat - Jasper
Area - 435.33 sq mi
Population - 41,889
Congressional district 9th
Area Code - 812
The original inhabitants of the area of Dubois County were the Piankishaw/Shawnee Indian tribe. The Dubois County area saw its first white settlers around 1801. The first settlement, Fort McDonald, which is south of present day Portersville, became established at around this time.
Most of the early settlements formed along the Buffalo Trace, which was a ten to twenty foot wide clearing used by buffalo to migrate from the Illinois plains to the salt licks of Kentucky. Settlers used the Buffalo Trace, as well as the White and Patoka Rivers, to move into the area. Indiana State Road 56 east of Haysville follows the route of the Trace. The communities of Jasper and Haysville began along the trace soon after Fort McDonald.
On December 20, 1817, The Indiana State Legislature took parts of three counties, Orange, Pike and Perry to fashion Dubois County. The County officially came into existence on February 1, 1818. The county draws its name from Toussaint Dubois.
Toussaint Dubois ( October 8, 1762 - May 10, 1816)
Toussaint Dubois was a Frenchman who saw action in Revolutionary War, the Battle of Tippecanoe and the War of 1812. Dubois resided mainly in Vincennes, Indiana but visited the area frequently, making the first land entry in the county in 1807.
That same year a the county formed a substantial portion of the residents of Dubois County died of milk sickness that is really a poisoning caused by cows eating white snakeroot. White snakeroot contains a toxin called temetrol that passes through the cow in its milk, poisoning those who drink the milk.
The first governmental proceedings occurred in Fort McDonald but Porterville became the first county seat in 1818 because of its location on the White River and its nearness to the Buffalo Trace. In 1830, the Indiana State Legislature caused the county seat move to Jasper, where it remains. A fire destroyed the courthouse in 1839, destroying all county records. A new courthouse replaced the burned one in 1844. The current courthouse replaced that one in 1911.
To learn more about visiting Dubois County, visit:
Dubois County Visitors Center & Tourism Commission
2704 Newton St.
Jasper IN 47546
Indiana possesses a rich history that is fun to read and learn. This Hoosier Dusty Files is in an easy to read “this day in history format” and includes articles from the author's A Year in Indiana History series. Visitors may read the articles as they appear or purchase the book:
A Year of Indiana History - 2016
© Paul Wonning