Indiana: Sullivan County

Sullivan County (pop. 21,475) is west of Greene County, across the Wabash River from Illinois. It reached its peak population of 32,439 in 1910.

It’s one of six Sullivan counties, which are named for three different Sullivans. This one was named for Daniel Sullivan (1754-1790), a scout and spy in the Revolutionary War.

The county seat of Sullivan County is the city of Sullivan (pop. 4,249).

Sullivan County Courthouse (1928)

The sports teams at Sullivan High School are known as the Golden Arrows.

The town of Merom (pop. 228) was the home of Union Christian College from 1859 to 1924. It was one of the first coeducational colleges to allow women to take any class that men could take.

Now a church conference center

The town of Farmersburg (pop. 1,118) is the home of a tiny church called the Taylor Prayer Chapel.

Just off the highway

Peabody Energy’s Bear Run Mine, south of the town of Dugger, is the largest surface mine in the eastern U.S. It employs more than 500 persons.

The coal is hauled out by truck.

Shakamak State Park, partly in Clay and Greene counties, is known for its fishing.

Established in 1929

NEXT: KNOX COUNTY

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Indiana: Wells County

Wells County (pop. 27,636) is west of Adams County. The only other Wells County is in North Dakota.

The county was named for Capt. William A. Wells (1770-1812), who was captured and adopted by the Miami Indians in Indiana. When he was killed in the War of 1812, Potawatomi Indians cut out his heart and ate it, in honor of his bravery.

He had three wives – 2 Native Americans and an Army officer’s daughter.

The county seat of Wells County is the city of Bluffton (pop. 9,897), on the bluffs of the Wabash River.

Wells County Courthouse

Bluffton was historically known as “The Parlor City” because its paved streets (at a time when many streets were not paved) made the city “as clean as your parlor.”

Binghamton has the same nickname.

The Wells County Historical Museum is in the historic Stewart-Studabaker House.

Built in 1882

U.S. Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan (1927-2003), from New York City, spent most of his childhood summers on his grandfather’s farm near Bluffton.

Former Northern Illinois quarterback Chandler Harnish was born in Bluffton. He was “Mr. Irrelevant” of the 2012 NFL draft – the last person picked, at 253rd overall.

Drafted by the Colts

Ouabache (pronounced “Wabash”) State Park, on the Wabash River, is east of Bluffton.

Fire tower

NEXT: JAY COUNTY

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Indiana: Miami County

Miami County (pop. 36,903) is east of Cass County. It’s one of three Miami counties – the others are in Kansas and Ohio.

Miami County in 1895

The county seat of Miami County is the city of Peru (pop. 11,417), on the Wabash River. Peru reached its peak population of 14,453 in 1960.

Miami County Courthouse (1910)

Peru was the hometown of Cole Porter (1891-1964), composer of Broadway shows such as “Anything Goes” and “Kiss Me Kate.” He is buried in Mount Hope Cemetery in Peru.

Peru has an annual Cole Porter Festival.

Porter’s childhood home is now both a museum and the Cole Porter Inn, with guest rooms called the Cole Porter Suite, the Anything Goes Suite, and the Night and Day Suite.

He lived there for his first 10 years.

The Miami County Museum has exhibits on Cole Porter, early pioneers, and Native Americans, as well as a large military collection.

Porter’s 1955 Fleetwood Cadillac

For many years (ending in 1941), Peru was the winter home of several circuses, including the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey. Today, the former winter quarters is the home of the International Circus Hall of Fame.

Peru, and much of Indiana, suffered devastating damage in the Wabash River flood of March 1913.

This circus elephant was one of the fatalities.

Grissom Air Reserve Base, southwest of Peru, is the home of the Grissom Air Museum, with a collection of 28 aircraft.

Established in 1982

The 37-mile Nickel Plate Trail is a bike trail on the former right-of-way of the New York, Chicago, and St. Louis Railroad (Nickel Plate Road). It runs through Miami County, going from Fulton County in the north to Howard County in the south.

NEXT: WABASH COUNTY

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