A. The legal formation of Jasper County is a complicated history. By act of the Indiana General Assembly in 1834-1835, several counties in northwestern Indiana were formed, among them Newton and Jasper.
B. Jasper County at that time included all of what is now Benton County and parts of present Newton County.
C. By another act of the Indiana General Assembly, approved on January 29, 1839, commissioners were appointed to consider:
1. The consolidation of Newton and Jasper Counties; and
2. The designation of a place for the County Seat in the event consolidation should be approved.
D. This act provided that should union be found feasible and desired, that the name of the new County be Jasper and the name of the County Seat selected should be Newton.
E. James Van Rensselaer platted the Town of Newton on the easterly side of the Falls of the Iroquois, by plat dated June 11, 1839, and recorded June 12, 1839, in Deed Record 1, pages 90 and 91, in the Office of the Recorder. Said plat designated the present Courthouse Square, and the lots therein are now referred to and described as being in the original plat of the city of Rensselaer.
F. Accordingly, the commissioners met in June of 1839, and approved the union of the two counties into Jasper and the County Seat to be located at the Falls of the Iroquois.
G. In 1840 Benton County was formed, taking its territory from Jasper, and in 1859 Newton County was formed, presumably leaving Jasper in its present form.
H. By act of the Indiana General Assembly approved February 18, 1840, the name of the Town of Newton was changed to the Town of Rensselaer.
I. The newspaper, “Rensselaer Union,” of July 6, 1876, reported on the July 4th celebration and a historic paper read by Horace James, in which he stated:
Rensselaer, the County seat, was founded June 12, 1839, by James Van Rensselaer. The first court session was held here in 1840. A log cabin that formerly stood in the garden belonging to Mr. Raphael J. Hopkins, on Angelica Street, was the first court house. It was afterwards devoted to baser purposes, degenerating into a mule stable and afterwards being converted into an ignoble pig-stye. In 1845 a frame court house was built on Cullen Street, opposite and east of the present brick structure which was erected in 1857, destroyed by fire in 1865, and rebuilt the same year.
J. It should be noted the Jasper County Courthouse has been entered in the National Register of Historic Places on June 16, 1983, as notified by the Indiana Department of Natural Resources. [Code 1988 § 51.01.]