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Steuben County History

Steuben County was named after Baron Frederick von Steuben, a Prussian soldier who served in the Continental Army during the American Revolution, eventually becoming George Washington's chief-of-staff.

The county, which originally was part of LaGrange County to the west, was settled in 1834 in what is now the town of Orland. The town was established as the "Vermont Settlement" because many of the first settlers were from the state of Vermont. Before Orland was settled, the area was a hunting ground for the Potawatomi Indians. The early homes were made of logs and were approximately 14 feet by 14 feet. The living, sleeping and eating quarters were all in one room. All the cooking was done over a log fire.

Angola was platted in 1838 and became the county seat. The town was named after Angola, New York, where many of Angola's first residents came from.

Other locales were settled, including Ashley, Flint, Fremont, Hamilton, Helmer, Hudson, Metz, Nevada Mills, Pleasant Lake, Ray and Salem Center.

Steuben County was a stop on the Underground Railroad during the Civil War (1861-1865.) Many homes in the Orland area were used to hide slaves escaping to Canada.

Another county connection to the Civil War is the Soldier's Monument in downtown Angola. It was built in 1917 at the former site of the town water pump. The monument lists the names of the 1,278 Steuben County men who fought in the war. Per capita, more men from Steuben County enlisted for the war than any other county in Indiana. (The monument underwent a renovation in 1993 and was re-dedicated during Fourth of July ceremonies.)

Other county buildings were constructed, including the Steuben County Courthouse in 1868. It's listed on the National Register of Historic Places, along with the former county jail and Powers Church in rural Angola.

Classes began at Tri-State Normal College in 1884. Its name was later changed to Tri-State University, which has been changed to Trine University.  The Angola university is world-renowned for its engineering programs and in its early days, the college trained thousands of teachers.


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