History of Floyd County and Floyds Knobs, In
Floyd County is a county located in the U.S. state of Indiana. As of 2000, the population was 70,823. The county seat is New Albany. Floyd County is the county with the second smallest land area in the entire state. It was formed in the year 1819 from neighboring counties Clark County, Indiana, and Harrison County, Indiana.
Floyd County is part of the Louisville/Jefferson County, KY–IN Metropolitan Statistical Area.
Floyd County, originally the Shawnee Indians hunting ground, was conquered for the United States by George Rogers Clark during the American Revolutionary War from the British. For his services he was awarded with large tracts of land in Indiana including almost all of present day Floyd County. After the war Clark sold off parcels of land to settlers who quickly began entering the region as soon as peace returned.
In 1818 New Albany was a large enough city to become a county seat and form a new county, local leaders sent Nathaniel Scribner and John K. Graham to the then capital Corydon, Indiana to petition the Indiana General Assembly. Floyd County was approved on January 2, 1819 by the General Assembly and formally became Floyd County on February 1, 1819. There are two possibilities to the origin of the name of Floyd County. According to the Indiana State Library the county was named for John Floyd, who was a leading Jefferson County, Kentucky pioneer and uncle of Davis Floyd. John died in 1783 when his group was attacked by Indians near present day Bullitt County, Kentucky. It is debated by some that the county was named for Davis who was convicted of aiding Aaron Burr in the treason of 1809. Davis was a local politician of the area, the county’s first circuit court judge.
In 1814 New Albany was platted and was established as the county seat on March 4, 1819 where it has since remained. There was an attempt in 1823 to move the county seat but the motion failed. Floyd County would have the largest city in the state for much of the early 19th century, eventually being overtaken by Indianapolis during the Civil War.
Between 1800 and 1860 Floyd County experienced a huge boom in population doubling many times over. A survey in the 1850s found that over half of Indiana’s population that made more than $100,000 dollars (USD) a year lived in Floyd County, establishing it as having the richest population in the state.
The Duncan Tunnel, the longest in Indiana, was built in Floyd County in 1881 between New Albany and Edwardsville. The railroad was unable to find a suitable route over the Floyds Knobs so they decided to tunnel through them. The project was originally began by the Air Line but was completed by Southern Railway. It took five years to bore at a cost of $1 million dollars (USD) in 1881. The Tunnel is 4,311 feet (1,314 m) long.