Indiana Counties
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Indiana Counties

Indiana is divided into ninety-two counties. The oldest and newest Counties in Indiana are Knox County (created 1790) and Newton County (created 1857).Many Indiana counties are named for the US Founding Fathers and personalities of the American Revolutionary War, the War of 1812 and Battle of Tippecanoe; early leaders of Indiana Territory and Indiana, as well as surrounding states like Michigan and Kentucky; plus Native American tribes and geographical features.

Starke County, Indiana

Starke County Education, Geography, and HistoryStarke County, Indiana Courthouse

Starke County is a county located in the state of Indiana. As of 2010, the population was 23,363. Starke County was created on January 15, 1844. The county seat is Knox. The county is named for General John Stark, hero of the American Revolutionary War.

Etymology - Origin of Starke County Name

Although Starke County is named in honor of Revolutionary War hero John Stark, it is presumed that a flourish at the end of his signature was mistakenly identified as the letter "e" and so, we have Starke County.

Despite being named after General John Stark and originally being known and appearing on maps as Stark County when initially created and organized, an e was added to the county's name fairly early in its history. There does not seem to be any solid evidence to clearly explain this alteration. There are at least three as yet unsubstantiated explanations for the change. It is possible that an early scribe had 'fancy lettering', including a k with a long tail or flourish that appeared to others as ke, the new spelling sticking. It has also been said that General Stark himself used a similar flourish at the end of his signature which became a point of confusion to Indiana officials. This seems most unlikely when one considers that Stark County in Ohio (1808) and Illinois (1839) both preceded Starke County, Indiana and offered clear precedence and guidance on the spelling of the name, not to mention other numerous settlements within the United States named after the General also preceding Starke County. Lastly, and possibly most plausibly, it is thought that the change occurred around 1860 as the result of a clerical error by an official in Indianapolis.


County QuickFacts: CensusBureau Quick Facts

Starke County History

Starke County was organized by an act of Legislature of January 15, 1844, but the organization was not made effective until January 15, 1850. It was named for Gen. John Stark, who commanded New Hampshire troops at the Battle of Bunker Hill in 1775 in the Revolutionary War and defeated the British at the Battle of Bennington in 1777.

Before white settlement, all of the land that forms modern-day Starke County and adjacent La Porte County to the north belonged to the Potawatami Indian nation. These Indians were forcibly removed to Kansas by the United States government in 1838, and many died on what has been called the Trail of Death.

At one time, the La Porte County townships of Cass, Dewey, Hanna and Prairie belonged to Starke County. As residents complained about crossing the Kankakee River to get to the county seat at Knox, the townships were placed in La Porte County. This made the Kankakee River the northwest border of the two counties and gave Starke County it's panhandle shape.

Geography: Land and Water

As reported by the Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 312 square miles (809 km2), of which 309 square miles (801 km2) is land and 3 square miles (8 km2) (0.96%) is water.

 Starke county is located in north Indiana. The northwestern boundary of Starke County is defined by the Kankakee River; the Yellow River, a tributary of the Kankakee, flows through the central part of the county.

Neighboring Counties

Bordering counties are as follows:

  • Northeast: St. Joseph County
  • East: Marshall County
  • Southeast: Fulton County
  • South: Pulaski County
  • Southwest: Jasper County
  • Northwest: Porter County; La Porte County


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