Lawrence County, Indiana

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Lawrence County, Indiana
Johnson County Courthouse in Franklin from west.jpg
Johnson County Courthouse in Franklin
Map of Indiana highlighting Lawrence County
Location in the state of Indiana
Map of the United States highlighting Indiana
Indiana's location in the U.S.
Founded 1818
Named for James Lawrence
Seat Bedford
Largest city Bedford
 • Total 451.93 sq mi (1,170 km2)
 • Land 449.17 sq mi (1,163 km2)
 • Water 2.76 sq mi (7 km2), 0.61%
 • (2010) 46,134
 • Density 103/sq mi (39.69/km²)
Congressional district 9th
Time zone Eastern: UTC-5/-4
Footnotes: Indiana county number 47

Lawrence County is a county located in the U.S. state of Indiana. As of 2010, the population was 46,134.[1] The county seat is Bedford.[2]


Lawrence County was formed in 1818 from Orange County. It was named for Capt. James Lawrence, who uttered the famous words "Don't give up the ship" after being mortally wounded during the War of 1812.


According to the 2010 census, the county has a total area of 451.93 square miles (1,170.5 km2), of which 449.17 square miles (1,163.3 km2) (or 99.39%) is land and 2.76 square miles (7.1 km2) (or 0.61%) is water.[3]

Adjacent counties[edit]

Major highways[edit]

National protected area[edit]

Cities and towns[edit]




  • East Oolitic (previously known as Spien Kopj)
  • Fort Ritner
  • Leesville
  • Palestine
  • Spring Mill
  • Stemm
  • Stonington


Local sights[edit]


Lawrence County has had several native residents that have become astronauts over the years. They include:

The Virgil I. Gus Grissom Memorial, located just inside of Spring Mill State Park near Mitchell, contains many mementos of Grissom's career, including the space capsule he commanded, "The Molly Brown", from Gemini 3, and the space suit worn during his Mercury Liberty Bell 7 mission.[4]

Climate and weather[edit]

Bedford, Indiana
Climate chart (explanation)
Average max. and min. temperatures in °F
Precipitation totals in inches
Source: The Weather Channel[5]

In recent years, average temperatures in Bedford have ranged from a low of 18 °F (−8 °C) in January to a high of 86 °F (30 °C) in July, although a record low of −29 °F (−34 °C) was recorded in January 1994 and a record high of 111 °F (44 °C) was recorded in July 1930. Average monthly precipitation ranged from 2.70 inches (69 mm) in February to 5.04 inches (128 mm) in May.[5]


The county government is a constitutional body, and is granted specific powers by the Constitution of Indiana, and by the Indiana Code.

County Council: The county council is the legislative branch of the county government and controls all the spending and revenue collection in the county. Representatives are elected from county districts. The council members serve four-year terms. They are responsible for setting salaries, the annual budget, and special spending. The council also has limited authority to impose local taxes, in the form of an income and property tax that is subject to state level approval, excise taxes, and service taxes.[6][7]

Board of Commissioners: The executive body of the county is made of a board of commissioners. The commissioners are elected county-wide, in staggered terms, and each serves a four-year term. One of the commissioners, typically the most senior, serves as president. The commissioners are charged with executing the acts legislated by the council, collecting revenue, and managing the day-to-day functions of the county government.[6][7]

Court: The county maintains a small claims court that can handle some civil cases. The judge on the court is elected to a term of four years and must be a member of the Indiana Bar Association. The judge is assisted by a constable who is also elected to a four-year term. In some cases, court decisions can be appealed to the state level circuit court.[7]

County Officials: The county has several other elected offices, including sheriff, coroner, auditor, treasurer, recorder, surveyor, and circuit court clerk Each of these elected officers serves a term of four years and oversees a different part of county government. Members elected to county government positions are required to declare party affiliations and to be residents of the county.[7]

Lawrence County is part of Indiana's 4th congressional district; Indiana Senate district 44;[8] and Indiana House of Representatives districts 62 and 65.[9]


Historical population
Census Pop.
1820 4,116
1830 9,234 124.3%
1840 11,782 27.6%
1850 12,097 2.7%
1860 13,692 13.2%
1870 14,628 6.8%
1880 18,543 26.8%
1890 19,792 6.7%
1900 25,729 30.0%
1910 30,625 19.0%
1920 28,228 −7.8%
1930 35,583 26.1%
1940 35,045 −1.5%
1950 34,346 −2.0%
1960 36,564 6.5%
1970 38,038 4.0%
1980 42,472 11.7%
1990 42,836 0.9%
2000 45,922 7.2%
2010 46,134 0.5%
Est. 2012 46,078 −0.1%
U.S. Decennial Census[10]
2012 Estimate[11]

As of the census[12] of 2000, there were 45,922 people, 18,535 households, and 13,141 families residing in the county. The population density was 102 people per square mile (40/km²). There were 20,560 housing units at an average density of 46 per square mile (18/km²). The racial makeup of the county was 97.92% White, 0.39% Black or African American, 0.28% Native American, 0.28% Asian, 0.01% Pacific Islander, 0.34% from other races, and 0.78% from two or more races. 0.91% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race. 32.9% were of American, 15.3% German, 14.3% English and 10.9% Irish ancestry according to Census 2000.

There were 18,535 households out of which 31.40% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 58.50% were married couples living together, 9.00% had a female householder with no husband present, and 29.10% were non-families. 25.50% of all households were made up of individuals and 11.50% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.44 and the average family size was 2.91.

In the county the population was spread out with 24.60% under the age of 18, 7.70% from 18 to 24, 28.10% from 25 to 44, 25.00% from 45 to 64, and 14.80% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 38 years. For every 100 females there were 95.10 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 91.50 males.

The median income for a household in the county was $36,280, and the median income for a family was $43,109. Males had a median income of $34,167 versus $21,647 for females. The per capita income for the county was $17,653. About 7.30% of families and 9.80% of the population were below the poverty line, including 11.60% of those under age 18 and 8.50% of those age 65 or over.

Lawrence County is the hometown of several astronauts. Virgil I. "Gus" Grissom was born and raised in Mitchell. Charles "Charlie" Walker was born and raised in Oolitic. Although he was born in Virginia, Kenneth "Kenny" Bowersox considers Bedford to be his hometown since that is where he was raised.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Lawrence County QuickFacts". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2011-09-25. 
  2. ^ "Find a County". National Association of Counties. Retrieved 2011-06-07. 
  3. ^ "Census 2010 U.S. Gazetteer Files: Counties". United States Census. Retrieved 2011-10-10. 
  4. ^ [1], Virgil I. Gus Grissom Memorial
  5. ^ a b "Monthly Averages for Bedford, Indiana". The Weather Channel. Retrieved 2011-01-27. 
  6. ^ a b Indiana Code. "Title 36, Article 2, Section 3". Retrieved 2008-09-16. 
  7. ^ a b c d Indiana Code. "Title 2, Article 10, Section 2" (PDF). Retrieved 2008-09-16. 
  8. ^ "Indiana Senate Districts". State of Indiana. Retrieved 2011-07-14. 
  9. ^ "Indiana House Districts". State of Indiana. Retrieved 2011-07-14. 
  10. ^ "U.S. Decennial Census". Retrieved July 27, 2013. 
  11. ^ "Annual Estimates of the Resident Population: April 1, 2010 to July 1, 2012". Retrieved July 27, 2013. 
  12. ^ "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 

Coordinates: 38°50′N 86°29′W / 38.84°N 86.49°W / 38.84; -86.49