Paoli, Indiana

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Paoli is a town in Paoli Township, Orange County, Indiana, United States. The population was 3,844 at the 2000 census. The city is the county seat of Orange County[3].



The town of Paoli purchased part of the land for the county seat from Jonathan Lindley (see The Lindley House) for $800 and part from Thomas Hopper for $500. Mrs. Rebecca Hopper, who probably opposed selling the land, is said to have submitted gracefully to the signing of the deed after she was paid $5.

Paoli was given its name just as Indiana became a state. It was derived from Pasquale Paoli Ash, the 12-year-old son of North Carolina’s governor at the time, and shortly thereafter chosen as the seat of justice for the county. This name also refers to Pasquale Paoli, political leader of the island of Corsica, the first democratic republic of the modern age, in the 18th century.

During the Civil War, Paoli was briefly entered by a Confederate scouting party under the command of Captain Thomas Hines. Hines' men briefly captured some Home Guards in Paoli, and then quickly left.

Orange County was formed from parts of Knox, Gibson and Washington Counties in 1816. The County Seat is at Paoli.

The early settlers were mostly Quakers fleeing the institution of slavery in Orange County, North Carolina. Jonathan Lindley brought his group of Quakers from North Carolina to the area in 1811. Under Lindley’s leadership, they were the first to build a religious structure, the Lick Creek Meeting House in 1813. It was from this group that Orange County got its name.

(See List of Indiana county name etymologies. The name Orange derives from the Dutch Protestant House of Orange, which acquired the English throne with the accession of King William III in 1689, following the Glorious Revolution.

In the early 19th century when the Quakers came from North Carolina to settle in Orange County, Indiana, they came to escape slavery. They brought with them a number of freed slaves. These free men were deeded 200 acres (0.81 km2) of land in the heart of a dense forest. Word of mouth soon spread the news, and this land became part of the "underground railroad" for runaway slaves.

For many years, the freed slaves in this area farmed, traded, and sold their labor to others while living in this settlement. A church was built and a cemetery was provided for their loved ones.

All that remains today is the cemetery. Some of the stones were broken or vandalized over the years. Several years ago, a troop of Boy Scouts came in and restored the cemetery, replacing the lost or broken stones with wooden crosses designating a grave. The name of "Little Africa" came about because of the black settlement, but "Paddy's Garden" was the name those early residents called it.

In November 2010, a fire destroyed several buildings in Paoli's town square. The fire, which probably began in the Old Orange County Bank Building, burned six buildings.[4] Most of the buildings on the square are over 100 years old.


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