About Jefferson County Indiana


Jefferson County was formed in 1811. It was named for Thomas Jefferson, principal draftsman of the Northwest Ordinance and President of the United States from 1801 through 1809.

Jefferson County was one of Indiana's first counties and many important early Hoosiers hailed from Madison, including William Hendricks. Throughout the early history of the state, Madison was one of the leading cities competing with Vincennes and later New Albany to be the largest city in the state. The county fell into economic decline after the American Civil War as industry began to shift from southern Indiana to the northern part of the state.

On the evening of the May 20, 2009 the county courthouse caught fire. The fire began in the steeple of the courthouse which was under construction for the Madison's bicentennial anniversary. The roof of the dome had just been painted gold. Fire departments from across southern Indiana and northern Kentucky arrived to put out the fire which burned for several hours, destroyed much of the inside of the building and the county records. The fire necessitated the evacuation of the nearby county jail, and effectively shut down the downtown area of the city. It was later determined the fire was accidentally started by workers who were welding on the metal roof dome.


Madison is a city in Jefferson County, along the Ohio River. The population was 12,004 at the 2000 census. The city is the county seat of Jefferson County. In 2006, the majority of Madison's downtown area was designated one of the largest national historic landmarks in the United States; an astounding 133 blocks of the downtown area is on the National Register of Historic Places. On August 25, 2006, a blaze severely damaged two historic downtown buildings, the Madison Elks Lodge and a former city hall building that was occupied by an insurance company.

1805 Treaty

Delaware Indians

In an 1805 treaty, the area that became Jefferson County was ceded by the Delaware, Eel River, Potawatomi, Miami and Wea tribes. Jefferson County became a county on Feb. 1, 1811.

Madison, Indiana, is the county seat of Jefferson County. The city of 12,000 people is governed by a mayor, Damon Welch, and a seven-person city council. City Hall is located at 101 W. Main St., at the intersection of Main and West streets. Telephone: (812) 265-8300.

Jefferson County is governed by a three-person county commission and a seven-person county council. The 2005 estimated population is 32,430. The Courthouse is located at 300 E. Main Street, at the intersection of Main and Jefferson streets. Telephone: (812) 265-8944.