Welcome, to where the pavement ends...and nature & history begin. Nature and history prevail in Jennings County. The Muscatatuck River meanders lazily past steep stone canyons, beautiful wooded hillsides, and historic towns creating a recreational paradise. Bird watching, fishing, hunting, hiking, rock climbing, and camping are just a few of the outdoor activities. Historic sites, state & national wildlife areas, herb farms, covered bridges, museums, antique & specialty shops, and spectacular festivals are all nestled along our scenic back roads.
Jennings County became a county in 1816. This is the same year Indiana became a state. It was named after Indiana's first governor, Jonathan Jennings. This is the only county in the United States named Jennings.
The county contains ten townships. They are Bigger, Campbell, Columbia, Geneva, Lovett, Marion, Montgomery, Sand Creek, Spencer, and Vernon.
North Vernon is the county's only city, and the town of Vernon serves as county seat. Some of the smaller towns in the area are Brewersville, Butlerville, Commiskey, Hayden, Nebraska, Paris, Paris Crossing, and Scipio.
Jennings County is the only Jennings County in the United States
Two Revolutionary War veterans are buried in the Vernon Cemetery.
The entire town on Vernon is listed on the National Register of Historic Places
Jennings County has the state's only courthouse carillon.
Jennings County was a great contributor to the Underground Railroad with its numerous stops and conductors.
The Muscatatuck River almost surrounds the town of Vernon, making it the state's smallest county seat.
North Vernon was once the third busiest rail crossing in Indiana.
Vernon adopted a charter in 1851 and still operates by that charter.
Jennings County Visitor Center is located at the entrance of Muscatatuck Park in the William Read Home. Our office hours are Monday through Friday 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
William Read was once the owner of the stone cutting mill that was located where the Vinegar Mill shelter house now stands. Mr. Read is said to have had a sour disposition, hence the name Vinegar Mill. He built his home in 1843 on the ridge overlooking the mill. When the state acquired the property in 1921, they created Indiana's fourth state park. They used the home as an inn until 1958. On May 1, 1998, the Jennings County Visitors Center relocated its office in this historic home.
Our friendly staff is here to welcome travelers to Jennings County. We have various brochures and other publications from the area. We also have a bookstore stocked with postcards, books about the area and from local authors, along with some items from the blacksmith. There is also a private collection of Civil War artifacts on display. Susan, Devon, and Ophelia are eager to meet and greet guests, and provide them with information about the area.
Jessamyn West-Famous author of over 20 books. One of her most famous works was Friendly Persuasion, in which a movie of her book was released in 1956. The movie and book centered on Vernon's part in General John Hunt Morgan's raid. She also wrote short stories and poems.
Hannah Milhous Nixon-The mother of Richard Nixon, America's 37th president. She was born in Bigger Township in 1885, and moved to California with her parents in 1897. She was a cousin to Jessamyn West.
Indy 500 Drivers-Three Indianapolis 500 drivers are buried in the Vernon Cemetery.
Wilbur Shaw-the first three time winner of the Indy 500 Pat O'Connor-the only man killed in the only single-file start ever attempted at the Indy 500 in 1956. Jim Hemmings-qualified for the 500 race, but was killed in a crash in a grand prix in the month of May without ever driving in the Indy 500 itself.
Edgar Valority -Governor of Indiana for 8 years. Whitcomb was inaugurated on January 13, 1969. He was born in Hayden and was the author of a book of his experiences in WWII entitled Escape From the Corregidor.
Powell Crosley-Manufacturer of cars and refrigerators and former owner of the Cincinnati Reds. He owned the property that is now Crosley Fish & Wildlife Area.
Professional Baseball Players
T.C. Steele- A noted American impressionist artist in the early 20th century. He spent five summers in Vernon between 1886 and 1894 and painted one of his most famous works here, "On the Muscatatuck"
Skyline Bill- George Willman was a native of Jennings County who was reared in the West. He was a stagecoach driver near Skyline, Montana. He was an animal trainer and showman who came back to Vernon and set up his "Wigwam Hollow" museum. He is buried in a grave on the Crosley Fish & Wildlife Area.
Ovid Butler-Founder of Butler University
Jennings County is the outdoor enthusiast's dream. Enjoy hiking, biking, bouldering, hunting, bird watching, fishing, camping, picnicking, or just pure relaxation in our parks and wildlife areas. If you are into golf, we have two golf courses that are sure to drive you into complete enjoyment.