Throwback Thursday: DeKalb County Histories

Willennar Genealogy Center’s collection is full of Throwback Thursday potential, so let’s get our #TBT on!

As you may know, DeKalb County, Indiana officially came into existence in 1837. That’s almost two centuries of history to keep track of, and you probably won’t find much (if any) of it in your average history textbook.

So if you want to learn more about DeKalb County history, where do you even begin?

1885 HistoryFor starters, I would take a look at the 1885 History of DeKalb County, Indiana, also known as the 1885 History of DeKalb County, Indiana, Together with Sketches of Its Cities, Villages, and Towns, Educational, Religious, Civil, Military, and Political History, Portraits of Prominent Persons, and Biographies of Representative Citizens.

It’s not the first history of DeKalb County, but it’s the first fairly lengthy one. It was originally published by the Inter-State Publishing Co. of Chicago, and cost $12.00. There was an additional charge if you wanted your family information included in the publication.

1914 History

The next history of DeKalb County was published in 1914, entitled History of DeKalb County, Indiana, with Biographical Sketches of Representative Citizens and Genealogical Records of Old Families. Published by B. F. Bowen & Co. of Indianapolis, the history numbers over 1,000 pages and contains both county and biographical information, as well as a few sketches and photographs.

JMS HistoryPerhaps the most comprehensive history to date, however, was written by late county historian John Martin Smith. Compiled into a three-volume set, this history covers the county’s story from 1837-1987, the year of DeKalb County’s sesquicentennial.

All three of these books, as well as other smaller or more specific local history books, are available for reference at the Willennar Genealogy Center. Can’t come in right now? The 1885 and 1914 histories are also available online.

Want to see more local history? Click here to browse our online photo database, or head on over to the Genealogy Center’s official Facebook page.

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About Chelsea

I've been working at Willennar Genealogy Center for over two years now, and I've loved every minute of getting to learn more about the stories of DeKalb County and the surrounding area. I'm interested in all kinds of history, but I'm especially fond of the early film industry, old letters and journals, the DeKalb County Fair, and the Interurban line.
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