On April 22, 1822, Rush County was formed from a disorganized Delaware County. The first school was built in 1821, a jail soon after, a post office operation in 1822, and the first courthouse was built in 1823. The railroad, built in 1850, created a frenzy of business openings including factories, mills, grain elevators, and a bank. The railroad was the bustle of the town and essential in the town’s successes.
1838 – Rushville Becomes an Incorporated Town
Rushville officially became a town in 1838 as the records of the county commissioners’ court reveal that on September 4, 1838, Jeptha Woods, John Lewis, John Kelso, John Dixon, Samuel Davis and forty-seven others had petitioned for the incorporation for the Town of Rushville. An election was ordered for September 17 for the purpose of electing a board of five trustees for the town, though the minutes for these early proceedings are no longer in existence.
As the story goes: On the evening of September 11, 1875, two ordinance books, the corporation records of the town, and minutes from the first board meetings were stolen from the justice of the peace’s office. This was done as a means of removing incriminating rulings for violations of the local liquor laws, though these burglars unknowingly stole and eventually burned the only records of the early proceedings of the town board. The opening minutes of the proceedings of the board at the meeting following September 20, 1875, shows that the clerk was ordered to buy a new set of record books for the corporation.
1883 – Rushville Becomes a City
On August 21, 1883, there was an election to decide the question of incorporation of Rushville as a city. The vote was largely in favor of incorporation (Yes 389, No 131). The council was to divide the town into not less than three wards, each having not less than 200 inhabitants. The officers shall be mayor, two councilmen from each ward, city clerk, assessor, treasurer, civil engineer, street commissioner and marshal. One Councilman from each ward shall hold his office one year to be determined by draw, and the other councilman of the ward for two. Annually thereafter one councilman shall be elected in each ward.
Today – Leading the Way in Rural Indiana
The City of Rushville is nestled between the metropolitan centers of Cincinnati and Indianapolis. Rushville’s distance to larger cities is part of its grace and offers the best of all worlds. Three major highways, SR 44, SR 3, and US 52 intersect in the city. The population recorded in the 2010 census was 6,431 residents.
In addition, Rushville provides great educational options for younger students and adults alike. Ivy Tech is located within the City Center and will be offering classes to anyone looking to further their education. Rushville Consolidated High School has been graded an ‘A’ school numerous times and is a great place for students to gain experience for college and the work force.
Industries, large and small, enhance the quality of work and life in Rushville and Rush County. The city has an additional 80 acres of “Prime, Shovel-Ready” space, certified by the State of Indiana, adaptable for development to accommodate the majority of a company’s industrial needs.
The City of Rushville has forty acres of beautifully maintained parks for individual relaxation and recreational enjoyment. The Riverside Park & Amphitheater is a great spot for families to relax and is also a great spot to enjoy the annual ‘Live by the Levee’ summer concert series.
Rushville is a small, friendly community that can offer individualized attention to its residents and visitors.
Rushville operates as a third-class city, a designation given to Indiana cities with a population less than 35,000 people. Rushville is managed by a Mayor, Clerk-Treasurer, City Council (5 Members) and a Board of Works (5 Members).
Notable People & Events
- Knowles Shaw
- Author and Composer – Wrote “Bringing in the Sheathes” and is buried in East Hill Cemetery
- James Watson
- Elected to U.S. House of Representatives (1895-97, 1899-1909), elected to the U.S. Senate (1916-1933), Committee on Woman Suffrage (1919-21) & U.S. Senate Majority Leader 1929 & 1931
- Joe Hogsett
- Born in Rushville, graduated from RCHS, Indiana’s 57th Secretary of State, Chairman of the Indiana Democratic Party (2003-04), United States Attorney for the Southern District of Indiana (2010-14) & Mayor of Indianapolis (2015-Current)
- Tony Stewart
- “The Rushville Rocket” is a racing great who claims Rushville as his racing home.
- Won his first TQ Midget race at the Rush County Fairgrounds, the first driver ever to claim all three of United States Auto Club National championships in a single season (1995), one of only six USAC “Triple Crown Champions,” winner of seven USAC Silver Crown Series titles, Brickyard 400 Winner (2005), only driver to complete the Indianapolis 500 and Coca-Cola 600 in the same day (1,100 miles, 2001, placed in the Top 10 in each race), 2019 NASCAR Hall of Fame inductee
- Wendell L. Willkie
- The City of Rushville was the political home and headquarters for Wendall L. Willkie’s presidential campaign in 1940. Willkie would lose this election to FDR, and he soon after retired from his political career. He would, however, travel to foreign countries at the request of The President to share his political ideologies expressed in his book, “One World.” Wendell Willkie died and was buried in East Hill Cemetery in Rushville, Indiana in 1944.
- William Laughlin
- William Laughlin surveyed and named the county, built the first house, built and taught the first school, the first academy, the first mill, and gave money for the first church in Rushville. He is known as the “First and most prominent citizen of Rushville, Rush County, Indiana.”
- 1976 – Sesquicentennial Celebration
- The city of Rushville celebrated its 150th Anniversary of incorporation with a week of events and a season of festivities. From good-natured pranks by the “Brothers of the Brush” and “Sisters of the Bustle” to a Sesquicentennial Queen and Court contest to a parade to a 300+ person production of “One World,” a tribute to 1940 Presidential Candidate Wendell L. Willkie. Rushville and Rush County pride was abundant as the past was remembered and future longevity was celebrated.
- 2016 – Stellar Designee
- The City of Rushville was recognized as a Stellar Community. This designation was granted based on “comprehensive and collaborative plans for community and economic development.” The program provides resources for transformative quality of place community improvements. At the time, Rushville was one of only 12 communities granted this honor and recognition.