The Wabash River, which flows through western Indiana, was the inspiration for the state song, "On the Banks of the Wabash, Far Away," written by Paul Dresser in 1897. It became one of the most popular songs of its time and has since become a symbol of the state's heritage.

Jay County, Indiana, located in the northeastern part of the state, has a rich and diverse history. The area was originally home to several indigenous tribes, including the Miami, Shawnee, and Delaware nations. European settlers began arriving in the early 1800s, and the county was officially established in 1836.

The county was named after John Jay, the first Chief Justice of the United States Supreme Court and a prominent figure during the American Revolution. The early settlers faced many challenges, including harsh weather conditions and conflicts with Native American tribes. However, the fertile soil and abundant natural resources attracted more settlers to the area, and agriculture quickly became the dominant industry.

Throughout the 19th and early 20th centuries, Jay County experienced rapid growth and development. The arrival of the railroad in the late 1800s facilitated transportation and trade, leading to the establishment of more businesses and industries. The county became known for its manufacturing sector, with products such as glassware, furniture, and automobiles being produced in large quantities.

Jay County also played a significant role in the Underground Railroad, a network of secret routes and safe houses that helped enslaved people escape to freedom. Several prominent abolitionists, such as Levi and Catherine Coffin, are associated with the county.

Today, Jay County continues to value and preserve its history while embracing modern developments. The county hosts various historical sites, museums, and events that showcase its heritage. The strong agricultural tradition and manufacturing legacy continue to shape the county's economy, making it a dynamic and vibrant community in Indiana.

  • 1795 - Native American tribes cede their lands to the United States government in the Treaty of Greenville, opening up the area that would become Jay County.
  • 1836 - Jay County is officially established by the Indiana General Assembly.
  • 1837 - The first county courthouse is built in Portland, the county seat of Jay County.
  • 1853 - The first railroad, the Bellefontaine and Indiana Railroad, reaches Jay County, boosting the local economy.
  • 1861-1865 - Jay County residents actively participate in the American Civil War.
  • 1877 - The courthouse in Portland is destroyed by a fire and later rebuilt.
  • 1897 - The town of Bryant is destroyed by a tornado, resulting in the deaths of 36 people.
  • 1922 - The Pennville Pump Company, later known as Wayne Water Systems, is founded in Pennville, becoming a leading manufacturer of water systems.
  • 1936 - The Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) establishes a camp near Dunkirk, providing employment and natural resource conservation projects during the Great Depression.
  • 1961 - The Jay County Historical Society is founded to preserve and promote the county's history and heritage.
  • 1970s - Jay County experiences a decline in manufacturing jobs and struggles with economic challenges.
  • 2007 - John Jay Center for Learning is established in Portland, offering educational opportunities and job training for residents.
  • Present - Jay County continues to be a rural community with a rich agricultural heritage and a focus on small-town values.