The history of Vanderburgh County traces back to the late 1700s, when the Northwest Ordinance of 1787 opened land for settlement north and west of the Ohio River that was ceded to the United States by Great Britain at the end of the Revolutionary War.
Originally encompassing lines refined from those laid out by Thomas Jefferson, the lands between the Allegheny Mountains and the Mississippi River would be divided into 14 new states, with Evansville, Vincennes, Tell City, and New Albany, Indiana, and Louisville, Lexington, and Henderson, Kentucky, all belonging in a state called “Pelisipia.”
Vanderburgh County was officially established as part of the Indiana territory on January 7, 1818, by U.S. congressional surveyors John Broathitt, Daniel Sullivan, and Jacob Fowler. It was founded from parts of the surrounding Gibson, Posey, and Warrick counties. The county’s eight political townships — Armstrong, Center, German, Knight, Perry, Pigeon, Scott, and Union — were established by the County Commissioners between 1818 and 1845.
The county is named after Captain Henry Vanderburgh, who was a veteran of the Revolutionary War and a judge for the Indiana territory.
Though it is the smallest geographical county in southwestern Indiana, Vanderburgh County is the seventh largest county in the state in terms of population: It’s home to 181,451 of Indiana’s 6.7 million residents, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.
There are 29 unincorporated towns in the county, including McCutchanville, Kratzville, Red Bank, Nisbet, Melody Hill, Highland and Hillsdale. Evansville and Darmstadt are the only incorporated municipalities in Vanderburgh County, with Evansville serving as the county seat.