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Gibson County, Indiana

Gibson County, Indiana
The southern face of the current Gibson County Courthouse in Princeton, built in 1884
Map of Indiana highlighting Gibson County
Location in the state of Indiana
Map of the United States highlighting Indiana
Indiana's location in the U.S.
Founded April 1, 1813
Named for John Gibson
Seat Princeton
Largest city Princeton
 • Total 499.16 sq mi (1,293 km2)
 • Land 487.49 sq mi (1,263 km2)
 • Water 11.68 sq mi (30 km2), 2.34%
Population (est.)
 • (2014) 33,759
 • Density 69/sq mi (26.46/km²)
Congressional district 8th
Time zone Central: UTC-6/-5
Website .org.gibsoncountyinwww


  • Indiana county number 26
  • Seventh largest county in Indiana
  • Seventh oldest county in Indiana

Gibson County is a county located in the southwestern part of the U.S. state of Indiana. As of 2010, the population was 33,503.[1] The county seat is Princeton.[2]

Gibson County is included in the Evansville, IndianaKentucky Metropolitan Statistical Area.


  • Geography 1
    • Adjacent counties 1.1
    • Cities 1.2
    • Towns 1.3
    • Unincorporated communities 1.4
    • Townships 1.5
  • Climate and weather 2
  • Government 3
  • History 4
  • Recent Disasters 5
    • Late 2004 Snowstorm 5.1
    • Flood of Early January 2005 5.2
    • April 2008 Earthquake 5.3
      • List of Impacts form the Earthquake 5.3.1
    • Flood of June 2008 5.4
  • Demographics 6
  • Transportation 7
    • County roads 7.1
    • Major highways 7.2
    • Interstate 69 7.3
    • Railroads 7.4
  • Sports 8
    • State and Runner-Up Titles 8.1
    • Gibson County Toyota Teamwork Classic 8.2
    • The Alan Hopewell Class Invitational 8.3
      • 2009 Hopewell Class Invitational Participating Schools 8.3.1
  • Education 9
    • Gibson County's three municipal school districts 9.1
    • Private Education 9.2
    • Higher education 9.3
  • Businesses 10
  • Recreation 11
  • See also 12
  • Notes 13
  • External links 14
  • References 15


Wabash Erie Canal near Francisco
Wheeling Covered Bridge

Gibson County is the northern third of the Evansville, IndianaKentucky Metropolitan Statistical Area. Nearly 90% of the county exists within the Ohio River Valley American Viticultural Area along with all of neighboring Posey, Vanderburgh and Warrick counties and a portion of Pike County.[3] Despite being close to Evansville and experiencing a large growth of population in the central areas, Gibson County still remains a largely rural county with half of the ten townships having populations less than 2,000. Less than 7 percent of the county's 500 square miles (1,300 km2) lies within incorporated settlements, or 10 percent if subdivisions are included.

The western part of the county consists largely of spread-out flood-prone farms with spotty marshes along the Wabash and White Rivers. There are rolling hills around Owensville, and large forest and marshland tracts lie near the Gibson Generating Station and the three river settlements of Crawleyville, East Mount Carmel, and Skelton. The northern part is near the White River and is more given to hills and forest. The eastern part contains many hills and is also dotted with strip pits and active coal mines. The southern part is more given to valley and marshland, drained by the Pigeon Creek which flows south through Evansville.

Even without Interstate 69, the county is within a day's drive of Chicago, Cincinnati, Chattanooga, Columbus, Indianapolis, Louisville, Memphis, Nashville, Springfield, St. Louis, even South Bend, and Fort Wayne despite the lack of freeway connection. There are two major intersections in the southern extremes of the county. One is the intersection of Interstate 64 and US 41. The other is between Interstate 64 and Interstate 69, which will eventually link the county and Evansville to Indianapolis and Memphis and make a day trip to even Detroit possible.

The western half of the Patoka River National Wildlife Refuge and Management Area lies within Gibson County.

According to the 2010 census, the county has a total area of 499.16 square miles (1,292.8 km2), of which 487.49 square miles (1,262.6 km2) (or 97.66%) is land and 11.68 square miles (30.3 km2) (or 2.34%) is water.[4]

Adjacent counties



The Townships of Gibson County

Unincorporated communities

* Baldwin Heights and Northbrook Hills are within the city limits of Princeton.


Gibson County consists of ten townships:

Two townships, Wabash and Washington, contain no incorporated towns.

Climate and weather

Princeton, Indiana
Climate chart ()
Average max. and min. temperatures in °F
Precipitation totals in inches
Source: The Weather Channel[5]

In recent years, average temperatures in Princeton have ranged from a low of 21 °F (−6 °C) in January to a high of 88 °F (31 °C) in July, although a record low of −19 °F (−28 °C) was recorded in January 1985 and a record high of 113 °F (45 °C) was recorded in July 1936. Average monthly precipitation ranged from 2.90 inches (74 mm) in January to 5.11 inches (130 mm) in May.[5]


Gibson County
Sheriff's Department
Agency overview
Legal personality Governmental: Government agency
Jurisdictional structure
Operations jurisdiction* County (US) of Gibson in the state of Indiana, United States
Size 499 sq mi
Legal jurisdiction As per operations jurisdiction.
General nature
Operational structure
Agency executive Timothy Bottoms (R), Sheriff
Stations 1
Jails 1
Cars 24
* Divisional agency: Division of the country, over which the agency has usual operational jurisdiction.

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

The county council is the fiscal 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, including income and property taxes (which are subject to state-level approval), excise taxes, and service taxes. The Council Members are, George Ankenbrand, Bill McConnell,Tony Wolfe, LeAnn Smith, Craig Pflug, and Jeremy Overton.[6][7]

The Board of Commissioners is the legislative and executive body of the county government. The commissioners are elected county-wide, in staggered four-year terms. One of the commissioners—typically the most senior—serves as president. The commissioners are charged with executing the acts legislated by the council, collecting revenue, and managing the day-to-day functions of the county government. The Commissioners are Steve Bottoms, Gerald Bledsoe, and Alan Douglas.[6][7]

The county maintains two court systems, Circuit Court, with Judge Jeff Mead, presiding and Superior Court, with Judge Earl Penrod, presiding. The judges on the court are elected to a term of six years and must be a member of the Indiana Bar Association. In some cases, court decisions can be appealed to the state level circuit court.[7]

The county has several other elected offices, including Sheriff, George A. Ballard; Coroner, Barrett Doyle; Auditor, Sherri Smith; Treasurer, Mary Key; Recorder, Debbie Wethington; Surveyor, Michael Stevenson; Assessor, Juanita Beadle; and Circuit Court Clerk, Becky Woodburn. Each of these elected officers serves a term of four years and oversees a different part of county government. Members elected to county government positions are required to declare party affiliations and to be residents of the county.[7]

Gibson County is part of Indiana's 8th congressional district; Indiana Senate districts 48 and 49;[8] and Indiana House of Representatives districts 64, 75 and 76.[9]


From 1790 to 1813, this area was part of Knox County, Indiana (before that, the area was inhabited by Native Americans and unincorporated by white settlers). The first white settler of what became 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. Another early Gibson County settler was William Hargrove, who came from Kentucky by pack mule in 1803; Captain Hargrove commanded a company of militia from Gibson County at the Battle of Tippecanoe in 1811.

Indiana Map of Counties on April 1, 1813.

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 the area of Washington County, Kentucky. Rev. Milburn, a Baptist, established the first church; 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 Native American village in 1807, chasing the inhabitants into the Illinois Territory. Captain Warrick was killed at the Battle of Tippecanoe in 1811.

Gibson and Warrick County, which covered the area from the 2d Principal Meridian west to the Wabash River and down the Wabash River and with meanders up the Ohio River back to the 2d Principal Meridian (which had previously separated Knox County from Harrison County, Indiana Territory). Orange County, Spencer County, Pike County, Dubois County, and Crawford County all came from the roughly 2,000-square-mile (5,200 km2) area occupied by the original Gibson County, as well as small portions of Lawrence County, Perry County, Posey County, Warrick County, and Vanderburgh 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 4 miles (6 km) 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.

All of this was prior to Indiana becoming a state of the Union in 1816.

Recent Disasters

Late 2004 Snowstorm

In the holiday season of 2004, a crippling snowstorm struck. The event was well forecast, but was not forecasted to be as heavy. The storm dumped over twice the usual annual snowfall in only three days. The total accumulations from this storm averaged 20 inches in Gibson County, with snow drifts reaching over 4 feet (1.2 m) in spots and some spots of Gibson County receiving as much as 32 inches (0.81 m).[12] This resulted in a very chaotic situation, as travel between towns was impossible 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 with knowledge of the area and vehicles that were not hampered by the snow were also recruited to assist in emergency services for the stranded motorists. This snowstorm was so intense that it apparently snowed in Galveston, Texas, which typically experiences very mild winters.

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 (9.4 m) (almost high enough to overtake US 41),[13] while the Wabash River at Mount Carmel, Illinois rose to 33.95 feet (10.35 m).[14] 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, which was considered the second-worst flood in the area's history (after the Great Flood of 1913).[14]

April 2008 Earthquake

The 2008 Illinois earthquake was one of the largest earthquakes ever recorded in the state of Illinois, measuring a magnitude of 5.2. It occurred at 4:37:00 a.m. CDT (9:37:00 UTC) on April 18 within the Wabash Valley Seismic Zone at a depth of 11.6 km. It was centered near West Salem, Illinois and Mount Carmel, Illinois, specifically at 38.450° N, 87.890° W. Because of its proximity, Gibson County was impacted in less than one second after the initial quake.

List of Impacts form the Earthquake

  • In Princeton, Indiana, a woman was cut when a crystal figurine was knocked from a shelf in her home.[15]
  • Unit 4 at Duke Energy's Gibson Generating Station automatically shut down after the earthquake due to its vibration sensors.[16]
  • A coal mine was also evacuated after the earthquake, but miners returned to work shortly afterwards.[17]
  • The county's 9-1-1 system experienced a short outage due to a flood of calls resulting from the earthquake, but after about 15 minutes service was restored.[17]

Flood of June 2008

Another major flood occurred in June 2008. Four elements made this flood very different from the 2005 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.[18] 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.[19]


As of the 2010 United States Census, there were 33,503 people, 13,255 households, and 9,168 families residing in the county.[25] The population density was 68.7 inhabitants per square mile (26.5/km2). There were 14,645 housing units at an average density of 30.0 per square mile (11.6/km2).[4] The racial makeup of the county was 95.5% white, 1.8% black or African American, 0.5% Asian, 0.2% American Indian, 0.5% from other races, and 1.6% from two or more races. Those of Hispanic or Latino origin made up 1.3% of the population.[25] In terms of ancestry, 28.3% were German, 24.3% were American, 13.1% were Irish, and 11.7% were English.[26]

Of the 13,255 households, 32.3% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 55.0% were married couples living together, 9.7% had a female householder with no husband present, 30.8% were non-families, and 26.5% of all households were made up of individuals. The average household size was 2.47 and the average family size was 2.98. The median age was 39.9 years.[25]

The median income for a household in the county was $47,697 and the median income for a family was $61,652. Males had a median income of $43,271 versus $28,424 for females. The per capita income for the county was $22,542. About 7.6% of families and 12.2% of the population were below the poverty line, including 16.1% of those under age 18 and 9.8% of those age 65 or over.[27]


County roads

Gibson County has over 1,700 miles (2,700 km) of county roads, one of the largest amounts 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

Gibson County's Infrastructure
Little Bridge near east Mount Carmel at the western terminus of Indiana 64. It is also known as "The Little Monster" because of the large amount of accidents that occur here. Like the main bridge, this bridge was built to the width standards of the 1930s. It will be replaced by a new bridge expected to be completed in the fall of 2010.

Interstate 69

A section of Interstate 69's construction groundbreaking occurred on July 16, 2008, at the Centre in Evansville. This project has its controversy, highlighted by a group of protesters in attendance.

As of July 15, a section of State Road 168 has been temporarily closed to through traffic in order to install an interchange. This will be the first in a series of Gibson County Highways temporarily closed in order to construct interchanges as the highway expands northward, toward Pike County on its way to Indianapolis. Other temporary closures will include State Road 168 and State Road 64.

A portion of the first segment opened in late September 2009. It is about 1 mile (2 km) long, stretching from the I-64/I-164/SR57 intersection to SR 68, which has reopened, but remains under construction to complete the interchange that will continue the road project northward. [28][29]

On November 15, 2012, the I-69 construction left Gibson County, opening up a 67-mile stetch up to Greene County.


Three railroad lines pass through the county. CSX Transportation operates a north-south line, and Norfolk Southern Railway operates an east-west line; they intersect in Princeton. A north-south Indiana Southern Railroad line intersects the Norfolk Southern line at Oakland City.[30]


Gibson County's association with baseball is far-reaching with known Major League Baseball players and announcers such as Gary Denbo, Dave Niehaus, Eric Campbell, and most notably MLB hall of famer Edd Roush and MLB legend Gil Hodges, the namesake of Gil Hodges Field, a little league field in Princeton.

Gibson County has recently made its mark on the High School scene with two softball titles by Gibson Southern and a double overtime Boys Basketball State Title by Princeton in 2009, completing a 29-0 season. In addition there are three State Runner-Up Titles. All of these titles have been acquired since Gibson Southern's Softball Runner-Up Title in 2001.

State and Runner-Up Titles

Gibson Southern State Titles - AAA Softball (2003, 2005) State Runner-Up Titles - AA Softball (2001), AAA Girls Basketball (2002)

Princeton Community State Title - AAA Boys Basketball (2009)

Wood Memorial State Runner-Up - A Girls Basketball (2007)

Gibson County Toyota Teamwork Classic

Since 2000 Eight Gibson County schools and Oakland City University have hosted the Gibson County Toyota Teamwork Classic an 8-team playoff basketball classic tourney in December, sponsored by Toyota Motor Manufacturing Indiana.

The Alan Hopewell Class Invitational

Another even larger sports gathering is the Alan Hopewell Class Invitational. Started by Gibson Southern Coach and Washington, Indiana native Alan Hopewell in 1981 as the Gibson Southern Cross Country Class Invitational, its name was changed in 2008 in his honor. Hopewell, who was very active in the invitational for 28 years until 2008 when he was battling cancer, had to let others run the invitational, Alan Hopwell died a week later in September, 2008. The 2009 Invitational featured 20 Cross Country Teams out of the expected 22 Teams and is the largest Cross Country meet in Southern Indiana, drawing cross-country teams from six of the ten Evansville Schools as well as teams from Illinois and for the first time, Kentucky.[31][32]

2009 Hopewell Class Invitational Participating Schools

(NS) - No Show


Gibson County's three school districts in their HS primary colors.
East Gibson in Green
North Gibson in Red
South Gibson in Maroon

Gibson County's three municipal school districts

East Gibson School Corporation - Oakland City:

Francisco Elem. School 2010

North Gibson School Corporation - Princeton:

South Gibson School Corporation - Fort Branch:

The eastern wall of Gibson Southern High School, near Fort Branch, Indiana as it looked before 2008. Gibson Southern, which services several nearby towns, underwent extensive renovation from 2008 to 2010.

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, St. James, and Bethel field basketball teams. Enrollment and Grades are in the 1st parentheses.[33] Mascot (I/A) is in 2nd parentheses.

  • Bethel Christian School - Princeton (K3-8:112) (Crusaders)
  • 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


Toyota Motor Manufacturing Indiana is Princeton's largest employer as well as the Largest employer in the Evansville Area.
Duke Energy's Gibson Generating Station. Although it is the largest coal power plant in the USA, GGS is often still referred to by locals as PSI, in reference to its original and long time owner, Public Service Indiana.


  • Gibson Generating Station (Coal), Owensville (across IN-64 from East Mount Carmel and across the Wabash River from Mount Carmel, Illinois, 7 miles northwest of Owensville and 10 miles west of Princeton).
  • Toyota Motor Manufacturing Indiana (TMMI), Princeton (located almost exactly halfway between Princeton and Fort Branch and largely in Union Township but addressed to Princeton.)
  • Hansen Corporation, Princeton (located on the south side)
  • Millennium Steel, Princeton (Located Immediately north of Toyota). Visited by President Barack Obama on October 3, 2014.
  • Vuteq, Princeton (Located at north east corner of Toyota Plant Complex).
  • Gibson County Quality Assurance, Princeton (Located in Gibson County Warehousing Complex— 1 mile (2 km) north of the Toyota Plant). Also has a warehouse complex southeast of the Toyota Plant.
  • Toyota Tsusho, Princeton (Located in Gibson County Warehousing complex— 1 mile (2 km) north of Toyota Plant).
  • Toyota Boshoku Indiana (TBIN), formerly TISA (Total Interior Systems of America), Princeton (Located at north end of the Industrial Park on Gach Road).
  • Peabody Energy, Francisco Mine (Formerly Black Beauty Coal Co.) (Located north of Francisco, IN).
  • Gibson County Coal, Operates a large mine northwest of Princeton, a service mine 7 miles west of Princeton, and is constructing a mine north of Owensville.
  • Norfolk Southern Railway
  • CSX Transportation

Proposed Industry or Industry under construction
Gibson County Coal Mine under construction north of Owensville.
Broadcast media



  • Gibson County Now


  • Gibson County Fairgrounds - Princeton - site of Indiana's oldest county fair, started in 1852.[36]
  • 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
  • Hemmer Woods State Nature Preserve - Southeast of Mackey

See also


  1. ^ a b "Gibson County QuickFacts".  
  2. ^ "Find a County". National Association of Counties. Retrieved 2011-06-07. 
  3. ^
  4. ^ a b "Population, Housing Units, Area, and Density: 2010 - County".  
  5. ^ a b "Monthly Averages for Princeton, Indiana". The Weather Channel. Retrieved 2011-01-27. 
  6. ^ a b  
  7. ^ a b c d  
  8. ^ "Indiana Senate Districts". State of Indiana. Retrieved 2011-01-23. 
  9. ^ "Indiana House Districts". State of Indiana. Retrieved 2011-01-23. 
  10. ^ Gannett, Henry (1905). The Origin of Certain Place Names in the United States. Govt. Print. Off. p. 137. 
  11. ^ De Witt Clinton Goodrich & Charles Richard Tuttle (1875). An Illustrated History of the State of Indiana. Indiana: R. S. Peale & co. p. 558. 
  12. ^ NWS Paducah, KY
  13. ^ Advanced Hydrologic Prediction Service: Indianapolis: White River at Hazleton
  14. ^ a b Advanced Hydrologic Prediction Service: Indianapolis: Wabash River at Mount Carmel
  15. ^ "Update: Aftershocks rattle Tri-State Friday". 14 WFIE News. Retrieved 2008-04-19. 
  16. ^
  17. ^ a b "Significant Earthquake Rumbles Early Friday". WRAY Radio. Retrieved 2008-04-19. 
  18. ^, Precipitation Analysis Pages.
  19. ^
  20. ^ "Annual Estimates of the Resident Population for Incorporated Places: April 1, 2010 to July 1, 2014". Retrieved June 4, 2015. 
  21. ^ "U.S. Decennial Census". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved July 10, 2014. 
  22. ^ "Historical Census Browser". University of Virginia Library. Retrieved July 10, 2014. 
  23. ^ "Population of Counties by Decennial Census: 1900 to 1990". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved July 10, 2014. 
  24. ^ "Census 2000 PHC-T-4. Ranking Tables for Counties: 1990 and 2000" (PDF). United States Census Bureau. Retrieved July 10, 2014. 
  25. ^ a b c "DP-1 Profile of General Population and Housing Characteristics: 2010 Demographic Profile Data".  
  26. ^ "DP02 SELECTED SOCIAL CHARACTERISTICS IN THE UNITED STATES – 2006-2010 American Community Survey 5-Year Estimates".  
  27. ^ "DP03 SELECTED ECONOMIC CHARACTERISTICS – 2006-2010 American Community Survey 5-Year Estimates".  
  28. ^ Invitation-only groundbreaking set for I-69 segment : Local News : Evansville Courier Press
  29. ^ Long-awaited I-69 begins : Local News : Evansville Courier Press
  30. ^ "Indiana Railroad Map" (PDF). Indiana Department of Transportation. 2006. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2007-09-26. Retrieved 2007-10-14. 
  31. ^ Hopewell Class Invitational draws area's largest field
  32. ^
  33. ^ Gibson County Private Schools
  34. ^
  35. ^
  36. ^ The first Indiana State Fair Queen Pageant was held in 1958 when Carol Parks of Montgomery County was crowned

External links

  • Gibson County Indiana at DMOZ


  • Stormont, Gil R. (1914). History of Gibson County, Indiana. 

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