The Story Begins
Native American tribes originally inhabited the Whitewater Valley. In about 1805, settlers began to come to what is now Fayette County. The county was formed in 1819 alongside the establishment of the county government. Connersville was platted in 1813 by a trader, explorer, and statesman John Conner.
The first settlements were on the banks of the Whitewater River and soon spread to other areas. The first settlers were primarily farmers. Log cabins were the first homes for most early settlers. This cradle was hand made in the Carolinas about 1790 and was brought here by the family about 1810.
The first settlers were somewhat isolated. Most cabins were roughly 12′ x 16′ and contained what the family needed to be self sufficient.
Tools and Trades
Agriculture was the principal occupation of early settlers. The first tools were usually handmade. Later, machines came into use that made the work easier.
The building of the Whitewater Canal made it possible to bring in people and products, as well as allowing the exportation of local goods. The canal was replaced by the railroad, expanding the areas that could be easily reached.
The Country Store
Trading posts and general stores sprang up, and people could barter for or buy necessities. These places often also served as post offices.
Once villages and businesses sprang up, Connersville, the county seat, became a city of industries. Following the booming of local sectors, Connersville had attracted notable manufacturers of horse-drawn vehicles, followed by automobiles which earned the town its nickname “Little Detroit”.
As with all communities, Fayette County needed a center of government. The present courthouse is built around this structure which was built in 1849.
Today, the area continues to have a strong agricultural base, as well as a thriving manufacturing industry. Additionally, there is an abundance of historical sites, as well as cultural and recreational opportunities. As one of the earliest settled parts of Indiana, our history offers unique experiences and a wealth of information to researchers and genealogists interested in the region. Our county is conveniently located only an hour away from Indianapolis, Dayton, and Cincinnati. We cordially invite you to come for a visit and explore the diverse offerings of the area!