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Gibson County, Indiana

Gibson County is a county located in the southwestern part of the U.S. state of Indiana. As of 2000, the population was 32,500. The 2005 Annual update puts it at 36,908. Gibson County's Alphanumeric County Number is 26. The county seat is Princeton. Gibson County is in the northern part of the Evansville, IN-KY Metropolitan Statistical Area.

Gibson County Officials

Office Official(s)
Sheriff R. Allen Harmon
Prosecutor Robert Krieg
County Commisioners Sherrell Marginet, Bob Townsend, Don Whitehead
County Council Cecil Allen Jr., W. W. George, William McConnell, Tom Memmer, Jeremy Overton, D. Craig Pflug, Tony Wolfe
Treasurer Jim Kolb
Auditor Mary Key
Assessor Juanita Beadle
Clerk Rebecca Woodburn


The first white settler of Gibson County was John Severns. He was a native of Wales and came with his parents to America several years before the Revolutionary War. He settled in Gibson County in 1789-90 on the south bank of the Patoka river at a place now known as Severns bridge. One of the first settlers of Gibson County was William Hargrove, who came from Kentucky by pack mule in 1803. Capt. William Hargrove commanded a company of militia from Gibson County at the Battle of Tippecanoe in 1811.

The Rev. Joseph Milburn, along with his son, Robert Milburn, also arrived in 1803. They settled near Princeton, between the Patoka and White Rivers. The Milburns were from around Washington County, Kentucky. Rev. Milburn, a Baptist, established the first church, while his son, Robert, established the first distillery in Indiana.

In 1805, Jacob Warrick arrived, along with his father-in-law, Thomas Montgomery. They burned out the last Indian village in 1807, chasing the inhabitants into the Illinois Territory. Capt. Jacob Warrick was killed at the Battle of Tippecanoe in 1811.

Gibson County was organized in 1813 out of Knox County. The County was named for John Gibson, an officer in the French and Indian War and the Revolutionary War. Gibson was Secretary of the Indiana Territory, serving as acting Governor on two occasions. Warrick County was organized out of Gibson County almost a month later, the two counties separated by Rector's Base Line. When organized on April 1, 1813, Gibson County occupied everything from the Paoli Base Line to the Wabash River and from the White River to the Ohio River. Rector's Base Line separated the southern half of the county to form Warrick County which was organized on April 30, 1813. Warrick, Orange, Perry, Spencer, Posey, Pike, Dubois, Crawford, and Vanderburgh Counties and part of Lawrence County all came from the roughly area occupied the original Gibson County.

When the county was organized, Patoka was initially intended to be the county seat. However, Patoka's low-lying location along the Patoka River gave rise to a malaria epidemic; to avoid this, the commissioners chose to establish a new town, eventually known as Princeton on higher ground approximately four miles south. However, although Princeton contends that it was the only county seat, some contend that county records indicate that Owensville was a temporary county seat since Princeton was not even laid out until late 1814, at least a year after Gibson County's organization.


The county government is a constitutional body, and is granted specific powers by the Constitution of Indiana, and by the Indiana Code.

County Council: The county council is the legislative branch of the county government and controls all the spending and revenue collection in the county. Representatives are elected from county districts. The council members serve four year terms. They are responsible for setting salaries, the annual budget, and special spending. The council also has limited authority to impose local taxes, in the form of an income and property tax that is subject to state level approval, excise taxes, and service taxes.

Board of Commissioners: The executive body of the county is made of a board of commissioners. The commissioners are elected county-wide, in staggered terms, and each serves a four year term. One of the commissioners, typically the most senior, serves as president. The commissioners are charged with executing the acts legislated by the council, the collection of revenue, and managing the day-to-day functions of the county government.

Court: The county maintains a small claims court that can handle some civil cases. The judge on the court is elected to a term of four years and must be a member of the Indiana Bar Association. The judge is assisted by a constable who is also elected to terms of four years. In some cases, court decisions can be appealed to the state level circuit court.

County Officials: The county has several other elected offices, including sheriff, coroner, auditor, treasurer, recorder, surveyor, and circuit court clerk. Each of these elected officers serve terms of four years and oversee different parts of the county government. Members elected to any county government position are required to declare a party affiliation and be a resident of the county.

Recent Weather Disasters

Late 2004 Snowstorm

In the Holiday Season of 2004, a crippling snowstorm struck. The event was well forecast, but was not forecast to be as heavy. The storm dumped over twice the usual annual snowfall in only three days. The total accumulations from this storm were averaging 20 inches in Gibson County with snow drifts reaching over in spots and some spots of Gibson County receiving as much as . This resulted in a very chaotic situation as towns were literally cut off form one another and even basic public services were unable to function. The snowstorm was so intense that Interstate 64 was closed down. The Indiana National Guard was dispatched and many local farmers who knew the area and had vehicles that were not hampered by the snow were also recruited to assist in emergency services for the stranded motorists. This snow storm was so intense that it apparently snowed in Galveston, Texas.

Flood of Early January 2005

The snowstorm ended just about as fast as it started. By the end of December, 2004, temperatures were above 50 to 60 degrees and the snow that fell began to melt very quickly. The White River at Hazleton got as high as 31 feet (almost high enough to overtake US 41), while the Wabash River at Mount Carmel, Illinois got as high as 33.95 feet. Extreme flooding occurred throughout the county and hundreds of local high school students from many counties assisted the Indiana National Guard in shoring up levees and sandbagging towns. Hazleton was evacuated because its levee was showing signs of fatigue. The effort given by those who participated was enough to for all of the levees to hold. By the end of January, 2005 the rivers had receded enough to allow people to return to their homes. Overall, over 100 homes were lost in the flood, considered the second-worst flood in the area's history after the Flood of 1913.

Flood of June 2008

Another major flood occurred in June, 2008. Four elements made this flood very much different from the 2008 Flood. First, unlike the previous flood, this was caused by intense rainfall as opposed to intense snowfall. Secondly the source of the 2008 flood was entirely upstream rather in the area . Third and one of the major difference between the 2008 and 2005 floods is that both the Wabash and White Rivers were severely flooded, whereas the 2005 flood was predominately from the White River. The fourth was that unlike the 2005 flood, nearly all of Gibson County's levees held the flood back while many levees upstream were failing, this was due once again to the Indiana National Guard.


'''Gibson County
Population by year
2007 38,974
2000 32,580
1990 30,159
1980 29,233
1970 28,799
1960 28,567
1950 27,777
1940 23,926
1930 19,666
1920 18,061
1910 13,661
1900 11,227
1890 11,156
1880 8,282
1870 7,939
1860 7,855
1850 6,403
1840 6,280
1830 6,192
As of the census of 2000, there were 32,500 people, 12,847 households, and 9,095 families residing in the county. The population density was 66 people per square mile (26/km²). There were 14,125 housing units at an average density of 29 per square mile (11/km²). The racial makeup of the county was 96.46% White, 1.91% Black or African American, 0.19% Native American, 0.52% Asian, 0.22% from other races, and 0.69% from two or more races. 0.70% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race. 35.4% were of German, 21.9% American, 11.9% English and 10.2% Irish ancestry according to Census 2000.

There were 12,847 households out of which 32.10% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 58.10% were married couples living together, 9.20% had a female householder with no husband present, and 29.20% were non-families. 25.70% of all households were made up of individuals and 12.10% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.48 and the average family size was 2.98.

In the county the population was spread out with 24.80% under the age of 18, 8.40% from 18 to 24, 28.20% from 25 to 44, 23.10% from 45 to 64, and 15.50% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 38 years. For every 100 females there were 95.90 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 93.40 males.

The median income for a household in the county was $37,515, and the median income for a family was $44,839. Males had a median income of $35,511 versus $21,284 for females. The per capita income for the county was $18,169. About 6.60% of families and 8.20% of the population were below the poverty line, including 10.40% of those under age 18 and 7.20% of those age 65 or over.

While the housing markets around the area have been down as much 18% in 2007, Gibson County's home sales were up almost 11% in 2007. Areas that showed the most increases were in the southern part of the county, particularly around Haubstadt and Fort Branch. Owensville and Princeton also have recently seen increases in home sales and/or restorations, but on a somewhat smaller scale, despite the weak housing market.


County roads

Gibson County has over of county roads, one of the largest amount of county-maintained roads outside of an urban county. Like most Indiana counties, Gibson County uses the Indiana county road system to identify its roads. U.S. Route 41 (a north-south road) and State Road 64 (an east-west road) are near the meridian and division lines for the county, respectively.

Major highways

In addition to its county roads, Gibson County is intersected by these highways:

*Construction is currently underway.

Interstate 69 - A highway underway

Interstate 69's Very controversial, probably very heated groundbreaking occurred on July 16 at the Centre in Evansville. As of July 15, a section of Indiana State Road 68 has been closed to through traffic. This will be the first of a series of Gibson County Highways closed in the next five years as the highway moves toward Pike County on its way to Indianapolis. Other Gibson County highways to be closed in the future include Indiana State Road 57, Indiana State Road 168 ,and Indiana State Road 64. Environmentalists have sworn to do everything possible to stop its construction. Especially active is a group called Roadblock Earth First which has been responsible for a number of incidents in Oakland City and at a Haubstadt asphalt yard given the contract for the first segment.


Three railroad lines pass through the county: a north-south line operated by CSX Transportation, and an east-west line operated by Norfolk Southern Railway. They intersect in Princeton. Another north-south line operated by Indiana Southern Railroad interects with the east-west line operated by Norfolk Southern Railway at Oakland City


According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of . of it is land and of it (2.06%) is water.

Cities and towns

Incorporated Towns (ZIP code)

Unincorporated Towns

  • Baldwin Heights *
  • Buena Vista (Giro)
  • Crawleyville
  • Calamity
  • Dongola
  • Douglas
  • Durham
  • East Mount Carmel
  • Gray Junction
  • Gudgel
  • Hickory Ridge (Hickory)
  • Johnson

Unincorporated Towns (Con't)

  • Kings Station (Kings)
  • Lyles Station
  • Mount Olympus
  • Mounts
  • Northbrook Hills *
  • Oak Hill
  • Port Gibson
  • Saint James
  • Skelton
  • Snake Run
  • Warrenton
  • Wheeling (Kirkville)

* Baldwin Heights exists within the city limits of Princeton. Northbrook Hills is currently resisting annexation but is adjacent to Princeton's north side.


Gibson County consists of ten townships:

2 of these, Wabash and Washington contain no incorporated towns.

Adjacent counties

National protected area


Gibson County's three municipal school districts

East Gibson School Corporation - Oakland City:

North Gibson School Corporation - Princeton:

South Gibson School Corporation - Fort Branch:

Private Education

Gibson County's Private Education consists of four Catholic Schools run by the Roman Catholic Diocese of Evansville and one non-Catholic Christian school. Holy Cross and St. James field basketball teams. Enrollment and Grades are in the 1st parenthesis. Mascot (I/A) is in 2nd parenthesis.

  • Bethel Christian School - Princeton (K-6:112)
  • Holy Cross Catholic School - Fort Branch (K-5:111) (Crusaders)
  • St. James Catholic School - St. James/Haubstadt (K-8:185) (Cougars)
  • St. Joseph Catholic School - Princeton (K-5:185)
  • St.s Peter & Paul Catholic School - Haubstadt (K-5:200)

Higher education

Proposed Higher Education

  • Ivy Tech Campus possibly to be located immediately south of Princeton.
  • Vincennes University is looking for a site in the Fort Branch area for an advanced manufacturing campus.



  • Gibson Generating Station (Coal), Owensville (across IN-64 from East Mount Carmel)
  • Toyota Motor Manufacturing Indiana, Princeton (located almost exactly halfway between Princeton and Fort Branch)
  • Hansen Corporation, Princeton (located on the south side)
  • TISA (Total Interior Systems of America), Princeton (located in the north end of the Industrial Park)
  • Millennium Steel, Princeton (Located Immediately north of Toyota).
  • Vuteq, Princeton (Also located immediately north of Toyota)
  • Gibson County Quality Assurance, Princeton (Located at the south end of the Industrial Park)

Proposed Industry or Industry under construction

  • Toyota Tsusha, Princeton (to be located in the north end of the Industrial Park)
  • Vectren Energy Fort Branch Peaking Station (Nat. Gas), Fort Branch (to be located to the southeast of the Toyota Plant.

Broadcast media



  • Azalea Path Arboretum and Botanical Gardens (Located South of Mt Olympus on the Gibson/Pike County Line)
  • Oakland City New Lake - Oakland City
  • Lafayette Park - Princeton
  • Gil Hodges Field - Princeton
  • Camp Carson YMCA Campground - Princeton
  • Haubstadt Old School Park and Old Gym - Haubstadt
  • Tri-State Speedway - Haubstadt
  • Weather Rock Campground - Warrenton
  • Montgomery Park - Owensville
  • REH Center (Old Owensville Gym) - Owensville
  • Gibson Lake - Owensville
  • Marlette Park - Fort Branch
  • Old Gym - Fort Branch
  • City Park of Fort Branch
  • Gibson Southern High School Grounds - Fort Branch
  • Patoka River National Wildlife Refuge and Management Area - Francisco and Oakland City

External links



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