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Blackford County History

Blackford county is one of Indiana’s eastern central counties located northeast of Indianapolis. Originally it was part of Jay county, but was formally organized as one of the smaller counties on February 18, 1839. John Blount was the first settler, in 1835, and in 1836 Abel Baldwin, of Vermont, after making an exploration of the forests, made an entry of land for the emigrants from his state. That year the New Englanders moved into the territory and established the town of Montpelier on the Salamonie, naming it after the capital of their native state.

Blackford county covers 168 square miles and is divided into four townships. There are two incorporated cities: Hartford City, population 6,613, and Montpelier, 1,859. In 1890, the county population was 10,461; 1900, 17,231; 1910, 15,820; 1920, 14,084; 1930, 13,617. The county was named in honor of Judge Blackford.

It took two separate acts of the legislature before Blackford county’s organization became effective. Hartford and Montpelier were rivals for the county seat. Finally the former was chosen in 1840, but later, at the suggestion of F.L. Shelton, the town’s name was changed to Hartford City.

In the eastern part of the county is the “Godfroy Reserve,” which for a long time was the residence of the Indian Chief Godfroy, esteemed highly by the whites as well as the Indians.

Hartford City is located eighteen miles northwest of Muncie and is served by two railroads. The city’s industries include the Hartford Ice Company and plants manufacturing window glass, chipped glass, overhead doors, and paper pulp.

The city has a number of historical and artistic points of interest. The Public Library has a fine art collection, including a painting by Homer Gordon Davisson. There is a monument on the lawn of the courthouse which was presented by the Service Star Legion in 1921 as a World War Memorial. One of the notable buildings is the William Reed Memorial School. Within the building is a portrait of William Reed by Marie Goth.

Many of the old residences of Hartford City contain antiques, fine examples of furniture and native craftsmanship. Among the noteworthy estates are the Dale residence with its fine gateway and gardens, and the Robert Henley residence, with its floral gardens. Other features of the city are Hoover Park, presented to the city in memory of J.L. Hoover, and the Blackford County Hospital, erected to the memory of Mrs. Ella Smith.

The federal census figures for 1935 reported twenty-three manufacturing establishments in Blackford county. There were 1,418 wage earners on pay rolls totaling $1,320,144. The total value of the industrial output was $7,052,884.

The value of the county’s farms was $5,500,991. These 1,089 farms, averaged 92.4 acres each. A total of 35,215 head of live stock was reported.

The 1936 tax valuation for the county was $16,335,462.


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