- Skip Navigation

Note: This message is displayed if (1) your browser is not standards-compliant or (2) you have you disabled CSS. Read our Policies for more information.

  • Business & Agriculture
  • Residents
  • Government
  • Education
  • Taxes & Finance
  • Visiting & Playing
  • Family & Health

Indiana Bicentennial Celebration 2016

Amber Alert
Amber Alert - TEST

Explore County Bicentennial Activities > Knox County Knox County

Knox County Courthouse
Q&A with County Coordinator Mark Hill

What do you consider the key accomplishment(s) of your county’s bicentennial celebration?

  • 1. Representing the whole county and culture of the first county in Indiana including the heritage of John Small the first Sheriff of Indiana.  2. Hosting the first legacy event in the state - Watermelon Drop.  3. Holding our torch relay on Patriots Day 9/11 in front of the historic home of William Henry Harrison and passing many of Indiana's first city's historic sites.

What Legacy Project do you most like to tell people about, and why?

  • The first ever night battle at the Spirit of Vincennes Rendezvous.  The Watermelon Drop was a close second as Perry Hammock the Bicentennial Director pulled the cord at the stroke of midnight to drop 17 watermelons on to the splatform.

Describe a highlight or most memorable moment related to your county's bicentennial celebration.

  • Our leading historian and William Henry Harrison demonstrator Richard Day as the last leg of our Torch Relay lighting the cauldron in front of Grouseland his home and the Indiana Territorial Capital to thousands of onlookers.

How/where are you preserving information and artifacts related to your county's celebration?

  • The Knox County library, which was home to most of our planning meetings will be the site of the ceremonial torch and the repository of information about the year long events.  We have also maintained our facebook page for the bicentennial.

Total number of volunteers who participated.

  • 400.

Estimated total attendance.

  • All events - 30,000.

Estimated dollar amount raised.

  • $10,000.

Estimated dollar amount spent.

  • $8,000.

Knox County Legacy Projects

Photos of Knox County's Bicentennial Activities and Events

Knox County Torch RelayKnox County Bicentennial T-Shirts

Knox County Facts

Knox County was one of two original counties created in the old Northwest Territory in 1790. It was named for Major General Henry Knox, U.S. Secretary of War.

When it was created, Knox County extended to Canada and encompassed all or part of the present states of Indiana, Michigan, Illinois, and Ohio. The county was reduced to its present size in 1817.

The Wabash River, Vincennes Indiana. Photo courtesy of Rene’ Stanley.Vincennes: Pearl City

A little known fact is that during the early 1900s the Wabash and the city of Vincennes in particular was a center of pearling activity. Mussels in the river were gathered in huge quantities to be used in the manufacture of buttons from the shells. Finding pearls in the mussels set off an unprecedented rush of activity. Most were imperfect and of little value but occasionally pearls in the $700 to $4,000 class were found.

This mural shows the formal surrender of Fort Sackville by British Lt. Governor Henry Hamilton to George Rogers Clark on February 25, 1779.In the spring, Vincennes hosts the Rendezvous, sponsored annually by the Spirit of Vincennes, Inc. A Hoosier collaboration: Since the late 1970s, the citizens of Vincennes, IN; the reenactors of the Northwest Territory Alliance; and the employees of the George Rogers Clark National Historical Park have collaborated to present this distinguished 18th century historical gathering. The event’s popularity is such that it attracts 400 to 500 reenactors along with an estimated 35,000 visitors.

The re-creation of Revolutionary War battles takes place upon the French Commons. The commons, quite fittingly, is located adjacent to the George Rogers Clark NHP. This park includes the Clark Memorial, a Greek style monument that stands upon the revered spot at which the British surrendered Fort Sackville.

George Rogers Clark Memorial, Vincennes, Indiana Photo courtesy of Rene’ Stanley.Comedian Red Skelton, who created such characters as Clem Kadiddlehopper, and Freddie the Freeloader, was born in Vincennes.

The Indiana Gazette Indiana’s first newspaper was published in Vincennes in 1804. 

Explorers Lewis and Clark set out from Fort Vincennes on their exploration of the Northwest Territory.

County Seat: Vincennes
Year Organized: 1790
Square Miles: 516.03

Knox County Bicentennial Commission

  • Frank Doughman, Co-Chair
  • Mark Hill, Co-Chair
  • C. James McCormick
  • P.R. Sweeney
  • Dennis Latta
  • Valerie Sweeney
  • Shirley Rose
  • Shyla Beam
  • Duane Chattin
  • Tony Cloyd
  • Rama Sobhani
  • Bob Lechner
  • Joe Heron
  • Emily Bunyan
  • Ann Hecht
  • Lisa Ice-Jones
  • Jill Williams
  • Linda Ruppel
  • David Weaver
  • Judith Kratzner
  • Rick Linenburg
  • Lee Baker
  • Sally Snyder
  • Joy Biggs
  • Diana Garbers
  • Ann Knoll
  • Steve Beaman
  • Mayor Joe Yochum
  • Sandy Stewart
  • Belle Kasting
  • Mayor Thomas Estabrook
  • Marc McNeese