Fountain County Courthouse Murals
Mural Tour (Desktop Version)
East Wall Second Floor

CANAL PERIOD


Pictured at left, the board of appointed Justices met on July 14, 1826, at the home of Robert Hetfield. Ten days later at the home of Isaac Spinning, the board organized the county into five townships, which were named Shawnee, Richland, Troy, Wabash and Cain.

Pictured is the first ‘permanent’ courthouse, a brick structure that replaced the original two-story frame building. To its left, is pictured a traditional wedding party. To the right is a section of the courthouse square, showing the young circuit lawyer Abe Lincoln speaking court here.

Moving right, above the door, is one of the many water-powered mills important in the progress of the county. The flow of water in Coal Creek was harnessed by “corncrackers” that produced the staple of the settlers’ diet.  Sawmills were built to render the abundant timber into planks for homes and for the “Old Plank Road.” The pioneer grist mill located at the south edge of Hillsboro was built in 1824 and continued operation for over a century.

Center is group of settlers bidding farewell to men on a wagon bound for Oregon at the time of the boundary dispute there, encouraged by Covington’s own Edward Hannegan, known for his slogan “54-40 or Fight.”

Scotch and Irish laborers helped complete the Wabash and Erie Canal. Construction of the canal was a boost to county progress.  Immigrants thronged into the Wabash Valley and new towns dotted the canal route. Men employed in the construction of the waterway earned good wages, thus providing an eager market for local goods and produce which spurred an economic growth.

Next, right is the completed canal, showing a passenger packet landing at Covington. The canal was completed to the navigable waters of the Wabash by 1846.  The completion of this new mode of transportation marked an era of marvelous prosperity for this area, with many farmers and merchants relocating to be nearer the canal route. Gone were the days of commerce relying on the rough and treacherous roads or the often-sluggish Wabash River. Hotels were built in Attica and Covington to accommodate the generous influx of canal travelers.  In the background is the Union Hotel, known as “the Old Hiigel House,” the oldest of these hospitality houses.