Did You Know Clinton County’s First Election Was Held in 1830?

Did you know Clinton County held its first election on May 3, 1830? Voting took place in Mathew Bunnell’s cabin near the Bunnell Cemetery, and the first three county commissioners were chosen: John Douglas, Joseph Hall, and Mordeccai McKinsey, “all good and true men” according to the author of History of Clinton County, Indiana (A.W. Bowen and Company, 1913).

That same year, John Pence was elected treasurer; Beal Dorsey, recorder; and Samuel Maxwell, clerk of the circuit court. Maxwell also served as the county auditor.

Clinton County residents voted in their first presidential election in 1832, when incumbent Andrew Jackson of the Democratic Party ran against the Whig nominee, Henry Clay. Jackson went on to seal the presidency for a second term, thanks in part to a “handsome majority” of Clinton County voters, according to Interstate Publishing’s 1886 History of Clinton County, Indiana.

The Democratic Party, which evolved from Thomas Jefferson’s and James Madison’s Democratic-Republican Party, rose to prominence in the 1830s with Andrew Jackson’s election.  Democrats maintained a stronghold in Clinton County politics over the next several presidential elections, including the 1844 election of Democrat James K. Polk who beat Henry Clay with the largest plurality Clinton County had handed out yet.

In 1860, Clinton County pulled for Republican Abraham Lincoln with 1,454 votes, just 17 more than his closest rival, Northern Democrat Stephen A. Douglas. This was the first time a Democratic ticket failed to carry Clinton County to date, and it was the first time a Republican president was elected to the office. The Republican Party was founded by anti-slavery activists, modernizers, ex-Whigs, and ex-Free Soilers in 1854. Like the Democratic Party, it also was inspired by the same anti-Federalist Democratic-Republican Party of Jefferson and Madison.

Four years later, Clinton County voted against Lincoln, however, favoring instead the Democratic candidate George B. McClellan, although McClellan did not win the presidency. After Lincoln’s assassination in 1865, Andrew Johnson was sworn in as the 17th U.S. President, and then, in 1868, Clinton County, along with the rest of the country, voted in Republican Ulysses S. Grant to be the 18th president of the United States.

In more recent years, the majority of Clinton County typically sides with Republican presidential candidates, including the following results since 2000:

2000

  • Bush 7,141
  • Gore 3,643

2004

  • Bush 8,471
  • Kerry 3,355

2008

  • McCain 6,915
  • Obama 5,306

2012

  • Romney 6,338
  • Obama 3,307
  • Johnson 234

This Tuesday is election day again. Since Clinton County implemented vote centers back in 2015, residents can vote at any of the following polling locations throughout Clinton County between 6 a.m. and 6 p.m.:

  • 4-H Fairgrounds, 1701 S Jackson Street, Frankfort, IN 46041
  • Paul Philippe/Burgen Hall, 401 W Walnut St, Frankfort, IN 46041
  • CSF Education and Administration Center, 2400 E Wabash St, Frankfort, IN 46041
  • Wesley Manor, 1555 North Main Street, Frankfort, IN 46041
  • Michigantown Christian Church, 108 W 2nd Street, Michigantown, IN 46057
  • Kirklin Community Center/Town Hall, 113 North Main Street, Kirklin, IN 46050
  • Mulberry Health & Retirement Community, 502 W Jackson Street, Mulberry, IN 46058
  • Colfax Christian Church, 314 S Clark Street, Colfax, IN 46035
  • Rossville Fire Department, 350 E Main Street, Rossville, IN 46065

Clinton County residents also can take advantage of early voting through November 7 at one of the following locations, many of which have Saturday hours:

  • 265 Courthouse Square, Frankfort, IN 46041
  • 401 West Walnut Street, Frankfort, IN 46041
  • 2400 East Wabash Street, Frankfort, IN 46041
  • 2489 Indiana 29, Michigantown, IN 46057
  • 113 North Main Street, Kirklin, IN 46050
  • 502 West Jackson Street, Mulberry, IN 46058
  • 350 East Main Street, Rossville, IN 46065

Follow this link for more information about your voting options.

Originally published at Clinton County Daily News on November 5, 2016.

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Charity Singleton Craig

Charity Singleton Craig is a writer, author, and speaker, helping readers grow in their faith and experience true hope in the middle of life’s joys and sorrows. She is the author of My Year in Words: what I learned from choosing one word a week for one year and coauthor of On Being a Writer: 12 Simple Habits for a Writing Life That Lasts.