Town of Clarksville
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TOWN History

Pre-History and History

Statue of Lewis and Clark, Clarksville, IN
Statue of Lewis and Clark on the banks of the Ohio River, Clarksville, IN
The area surrounding Clarksville, Indiana boasts a proud heritage with diverse elements, some dating back 350 million years. This area played a major part in the story of Revolutionary War hero George Rogers Clark and was the gathering point for the Lewis and Clark Expedition of the Louisiana Purchase. Native Americans set up camps near the area that was to become Clarksville because of its proximity to the crossing of the Buffalo Trace across the Ohio River. John James Audubon was one of several naturalists who studied the rich variety of wildlife in the area.

The Falls of the Ohio, a series of rapids along the 350 million-year-old Devonian fossil beds, created a natural stopping point for settlers and commerce moving west along the Ohio River. The rapids also created a natural defense for Gen. George Rogers Clark and the families of the troops he gathered for an assault on the British forces in 1778 and 1779.

Clark's successful campaign against the British in the Northwest Territory was the basis of a continuous connection to the area that would become Clarksville that lasted until his death in 1818.

Immediately after the Revolutionary War, the Virginia legislature rewarded Clark and other veterans for their service with grants of land, including 150,000 acres in the territory north of the Ohio River.