|A Year of Indiana History - 2016|
On January 20, 1820, the Indiana General Assembly, meeting at Corydon, had selected ten men to serve as commissioners to search for a new capital for the state. These ten men were:
George Hunt - Wayne County
John Conner - Fayette County
Stephen Ludlow - Dearborn County
John Galleland - Switzerland County
Joseph Bartholomew - Clark County
Jesse B. Durham - Jackson County
John Tipton - Harrison County
Frederick Rapp - Posey County
William Prince - Gibson County
Thomas Emmerson - Knox County
William Prince had refused to serve on the committee, thus in late May, 1820 nine men set out from their various locations and traveled to William Conner's trading post on the White River in central Indiana. By May 28, all the men had arrived at Conner's and held a meeting. They chose John McCormick, a local man who had arrived at the site in February 1820. He and his brothers James and Samuel had built a double log cabin near the site the committee had chosen.
Choosing the Site
After the meeting, they began their survey of a favorable site. The survey would take ten days to complete. On June 7, 1820, the men met at McCormick's cabin to choose a site. From John Tipton's trip journal, we read his report of this location:
"Township 15 of Range 3 East at Sections 1 &12 East and West Fractions 2 East Fraction 11 and as much on the East side of West Fraction 3 as by a line Beginning on the South side of said Fraction and running North or parrellel with West line of said Fraction will make 4 Complete Sections in quantity."
First Arrivals in the New Capital
After adjourning, the men returned to their camp to eat their lunch while McCormick completed his report. Lunch done, they returned to McCormick's cabin to sign the document. The site was now the official seat of government of the State of Indiana. Just after the men signed it, a boat arrived on the banks of the river carrying a family intent on settling in the area. Thus, they became the first settlers in the new state capital. The next day, the men broke camp and returned to their respective homes.
A Year of Indiana History - 2016
© Paul Wonning