Blackford County History
Blackford county is one of Indiana’s eastern central counties
located northeast of Indianapolis. Originally it was part of Jay county,
but was formally organized as one of the smaller counties on February
18, 1839. John Blount was the first settler, in 1835, and in 1836 Abel
Baldwin, of Vermont, after making an exploration of the forests, made an
entry of land for the emigrants from his state. That year the New
Englanders moved into the territory and established the town of
Montpelier on the Salamonie, naming it after the capital of their native
Blackford county covers 168 square miles and is divided into four
townships. There are two incorporated cities: Hartford City, population
6,613, and Montpelier, 1,859. In 1890, the county population was 10,461;
1900, 17,231; 1910, 15,820; 1920, 14,084; 1930, 13,617. The county was
named in honor of Judge Blackford.
It took two separate acts of the legislature before Blackford
county’s organization became effective. Hartford and Montpelier were
rivals for the county seat. Finally the former was chosen in 1840, but
later, at the suggestion of F.L. Shelton, the town’s name was changed to
In the eastern part of the county is the “Godfroy Reserve,” which for
a long time was the residence of the Indian Chief Godfroy, esteemed
highly by the whites as well as the Indians.
Hartford City is located eighteen miles northwest of Muncie and is
served by two railroads. The city’s industries include the Hartford Ice
Company and plants manufacturing window glass, chipped glass, overhead
doors, and paper pulp.
The city has a number of historical and artistic points of interest.
The Public Library has a fine art collection, including a painting by
Homer Gordon Davisson. There is a monument on the lawn of the courthouse
which was presented by the Service Star Legion in 1921 as a World War
Memorial. One of the notable buildings is the William Reed Memorial
School. Within the building is a portrait of William Reed by Marie Goth.
Many of the old residences of Hartford City contain antiques, fine
examples of furniture and native craftsmanship. Among the noteworthy
estates are the Dale residence with its fine gateway and gardens, and
the Robert Henley residence, with its floral gardens. Other features of
the city are Hoover Park, presented to the city in memory of J.L.
Hoover, and the Blackford County Hospital, erected to the memory of Mrs.
The federal census figures for 1935 reported twenty-three
manufacturing establishments in Blackford county. There were 1,418 wage
earners on pay rolls totaling $1,320,144. The total value of the
industrial output was $7,052,884.
The value of the county’s farms was $5,500,991. These 1,089 farms,
averaged 92.4 acres each. A total of 35,215 head of live stock was
The 1936 tax valuation for the county was $16,335,462.