Land that comprises Putnam County was purchased from Delaware, Potawatomi, Miami, and Eel River Indians through the treaties of 1809 and 1818. In 1820, the land was surveyed and put up for sale. As the population started to increase, steps were taken to form a local government. In December of 1821, the General Assembly approved an act organizing Putnam County. Putnam County was named after the General Israel Putnam of the Revolution. Greencastle was chosen as the county seat, named after Ephraim Dukes, who was from Greencastle, Pennsylvania. The first fair was held in 1837 and became an annual event. Early farmers had one of the first railroads of the state passing through Putnam County in 1852. The first Newspaper was published in 1830, named “The Hoosier”. The “Putnam Republican Banner” was started in 1852, now known as the “Banner Graphic”. Indiana Asbury University, located in Greencastle, was chartered in 1837. It was established under the patronage of the Methodist Episcopal Church so that the church might share in the education of future generations. Indiana Asbury University was one of the first institutions in the West to grant equal privileges to females. It is now known as DePauw University.
Putnam County’s continued advancements in both agriculture and industry maintain a balance, making this 1871 quote still true today: “…Perhaps, no body of land of equal extent in the State is superior to Putnam County, taking into consideration all its advantages of timber, soil, springs of water, quarries of limestone, running streams, and healthy situations.”- George H. Adams, Topographical Atlas & Gasetteer of Indiana.
For a small but ambitious beginning in the dense forest, Putnam County has grown to its current population of over 30,000 and contains 500 square miles of land.