History of Pendleton, Indiana

Pendleton, Indiana was founded in 1820. Since then the town has served as a county seat, an interurban stop, and a prime location for new industry. In every role and with every change, the town remains fresh and vibrant – just like the people and businesses that call this place home.

Falls Park in Pendleton, Indiana

Pendleton, Indiana’s recorded history begins in December1818 when John Rogers, the first non-native settler to the area, built his home near the falls on Fall Creek. As time passed, more people made their way to the region, always settling near the falls - the community source of water and power.

By 1823, Madison County (where Pendleton is located) had officially been formed by the State of Indiana.

A modest cabin near the falls was the governmental center.

In the following year, one of the saddest chapters in the area’s history took place. A Native American family was murdered by five white men several miles east of Pendleton. Four of the five men were found and brought to justice in Pendleton. Of those, three were sentenced to death and hanged within sight of the falls. It was the first time in the history of the United States that whites received capitol punishment for the murder of Native Americans.

Thomas Pendleton moved to the area in 1825. Five years later, he laid out the town and gave it his name. Since then, the town’s name has remained unchanged (though it was occasionally misspelled as “Pendelton”).

In 1843, noted abolitionist Frederick Douglass spoke in Pendleton. Historical accounts suggest that Douglass’ life was in danger from would-be assassins. Through the compassion and bravery of members of the town, he escaped.

By the early 1900's water was no longer the main source of power in Pendleton. Gas was fast becoming the fuel of choice. During this era several glass and tile manufacturing facilities called Pendleton home.

Through the 20th century Pendleton continued to grow, all the while remaining committed to responsible planning. That foresight made the town the unique place it is today – an ideal home for residents and businesses alike.