The Pioneer Village and John Ketcham

The Pioneer Village that comprises the nucleus of the History Center Campus is named for Colonel John Ketcham (1782-1865). John Ketcham was born in Maryland in 1782. His family moved to northern Kentucky when he was a small child.

Although Ketcham only spent about seven years in the Jackson County area, he was influential in the establishment of Brownstown. In 1811, Ketcham, his wife Elizabeth, and their children built a fortified residence on White River, about five miles northeast of the fort at Vallonia, Indiana, in what is now Brownstown. From 1813-1815, he served with the Indiana Territorial Mounted Rangers, a militia whites organized to defend themselves from Miami, Delaware, Winnebago, and Kickapoo Indians who were being threatened by white settlers moving into the area and encroaching on Native lands.

For his service in the militia, Ketcham was named a Colonel of the militia by Governor (later U.S. President) William Henry Harrison. In 1816 he was appointed a judge. As a judge, he sold his private lands to the government to become the county seat. In 1818 he moved to Monroe County, Indiana, where he served in the State Legislature. Ketcham died in Bloomington, Indiana, in 1865.

The Ketcham Pioneer Village includes the Nentrup Trading Post, the String Fort Replica, a log cabin, and a meeting house. In the center there is a memorial to Revolutionary War soldiers from Jackson County.