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Tipton, Indiana
Tipton County courthouse in Tipton
Tipton County courthouse in Tipton
Location in the state of Indiana
Location in the state of Indiana
Country United States
State Indiana
County Tipton
 • Total 2.50 sq mi (6.47 km2)
 • Land 2.50 sq mi (6.47 km2)
 • Water 0 sq mi (0 km2)  0%
869 ft (265 m)
 • Total 5,106
 • Estimate 
 • Density 2,042.4/sq mi (788.6/km2)
Time zone UTC-5 (EST)
 • Summer (DST) UTC-4 (EDT)
ZIP code
Area code(s) 765
FIPS code 18-75986
GNIS feature ID 444784

Tipton is a city in and the county seat of Tipton County, Indiana, United States. The population was 5,106 at the 2010 census. It is part of the Kokomo, Indiana, Metropolitan Statistical Area. It was named after John Tipton, a politician.


The Tipton County Courthouse and Tipton County Jail and Sheriff's Home were added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1984.

Samuel King founds Kingston

The first white person to settle in the area now known as Tipton was Samuel King, who purchased land between 1835 and 1836. The land was still a part of Hamilton County. He resided in Rush County, but visited the area frequently. Strawtown, Indiana was the closet trading post. King decided to found a town on the land he purchased and he platted the town on April 16, 1839. The town was named Kingston. Despite efforts, King failed to sell any of the plots that he platted. A few Miami Indians resided in the area still.

In January, 1844, Tipton County was founded and a county seat needed to be created. The county seat was originally going to be located in the middle area of the county, however, Miami Indians resided on the land and they were unable to create a town there. The county commissioners put out a call for landowners to propose that the county seat be placed on their land. King offered to donate 100 acres of Kingston. On October 16, 1844, the commissioners accepted his offer.


The commissioners were in charge of also naming the new town. Commissioner John D. Smith, who used to reside in Ohio, proposed to name the town Canton, after Canton, Ohio. The commission accepted the name. After October, it was decided to plat Canton. The area had to be cleared of trees and plants, and John Criswell did the surveying for $2 a day. Sales of the plots began in November. As of March 1845, 34 lots had been sold.

Canton becomes Tipton

In 1845, a post office was going to be established in Canton. However, this did not proceed because it was discovered that there was a town already named Canton in the state, which was founded in 1838. The town was renamed Tipton, after John Tipton, a veteran of the Battle of Tippecanoe and the War of 1812. He was also the leader of the Indiana Rangers. Tipton served as United States Senator for Indiana from 1831 until shortly before his death in 1839. Finally, a post office was founded and John S. Ressler became the first postmaster.

Early Tipton was a mess, with log cabins and poorly built homes riddling the streets and not following the platting. Cows wandered through town and wild game was chased by residents through the streets. It was very rural. There was no telegraph or steam train, so communication with areas outside of the area were rare during this time. Residents lived mainly on hunting. Agriculture was poorly developed. Tipton was also known for flooding and mud, with people having to frequently walk through flood waters and swamp-like areas to get from house to house during wet seasons. By 1850, the population doubled and a physician, Isaac Parker, had founded his practice in the city.

Cholera epidemic

Around August 1, 1845, the city entered into a cholera epidemic. The majority of residents fled the city. Livestock began dying of starvation and dehydration due to being left in their pens due to their owners deaths or fleeing of the city. One resident, Mason Lyons, freed all the animals that were still alive, allowing them to wander into the forest to feed. Stores and businesses closed. There were three doctors in town, including Isaac Parker. Over 20 people died. The epidemic lasted approximately one month.

Late 1800s and incorporation

In 1854, the Tipton Presbyterian Church was founded in the city, after being dissolved in Normanda. A Christian church was founded in Tipton in 1855. Its congregation met at the Methodist Episcopal church until a church was built in 1870. The congregation built a new church, the West Street Christian church, that was completed in 1908. The court house burnt down in 1857. The Methodist church served as the court house for three years until the new courthouse was finished. In 1872, the Jefferson street canal was built, which helped to drain the surface areas of the town. The canal was nonexistent by 1914. The first Catholic church was built in Tipton in 1874. By 1880, Tipton was primarily low-income and had little to no economy. Saloons were the most profitable businesses. Starting in 1880, the town began to rebuild its reputation. An incentive was offered to whomever built the first brick building. The Methodist church outgrew its building and the new church was the first brick building, starting the trend for two story brick buildings in the town. Tipton was incorporated in 1884, becoming the "city" of Tipton. The first city election was held in 1884.

In 1888, the Sisters of St. Joseph arrived in Tipton to settle. A small church was built and they founded St. Joseph Academy, a parochial school. The school closed in 1977. A Baptist church was organized in Tipton in 1898, with a church being built in 1900.


Tipton is located at 40°17′6″N 86°2′25″W / 40.28500°N 86.04028°W / 40.28500; -86.04028 (40.284944, -86.040342). This is 36 miles (58 km.) almost due North of the state Capital, Indianapolis.

According to the 2010 census, Tipton has a total area of 2.5 square miles (6.47 km2), all land.

Natural environment

As of 1849, the city was covered in trees, underbrush, logs, stumps and wild vines and weeds. A large swamp was located on the southeastern part of the town square. On the north side of the square was a slough. Wolves, bull frogs, deer, mosquitos, and wild game were commonplace.


Historical population
Census Pop.
1850 197
1860 513 160.4%
1870 892 73.9%
1880 1,250 40.1%
1890 2,697 115.8%
1900 3,764 39.6%
1910 4,075 8.3%
1920 4,507 10.6%
1930 4,861 7.9%
1940 5,101 4.9%
1950 5,633 10.4%
1960 5,604 −0.5%
1970 5,313 −5.2%
1980 5,004 −5.8%
1990 4,751 −5.1%
2000 5,251 10.5%
2010 5,106 −2.8%
Est. 2015 5,144 0.7%
U.S. Decennial Census

2010 census

As of the census of 2010, there were 5,106 people, 2,218 households, and 1,356 families residing in the city. The population density was 2,042.4 inhabitants per square mile (788.6/km2). There were 2,471 housing units at an average density of 988.4 per square mile (381.6/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 97.1% White, 0.1% Black, 0.2% Native American, 0.6% Asian, 0.7% from other races, and 1.3% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 2.7% of the population.

There were 2,218 households of which 29.9% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 42.3% were married couples living together, 14.1% had a female householder with no husband present, 4.8% had a male householder with no wife present, and 38.9% were non-families. 34.9% of all households were made up of individuals and 17.2% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.28 and the average family size was 2.91.

The median age in the city was 39.9 years. 24.2% of residents were under the age of 18; 8.3% were between the ages of 18 and 24; 24.3% were from 25 to 44; 25.9% were from 45 to 64; and 17.5% were 65 years of age or older. The gender makeup of the city was 46.9% male and 53.1% female.

2000 census

As of the census of 2000, there were 5,251 people, 2,239 households, and 1,415 families residing in the city. The population density was 2,834.9 people per square mile (1,095.9/km²). There were 2,401 housing units at an average density of 1,296.2 per square mile (501.1/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 98.00% White, 0.15% African American, 0.17% Native American, 0.55% Asian, 0.27% from other races, and 0.86% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 1.54% of the population.

Tipton County courthouse.

There were 2,239 households out of which 29.4% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 47.9% were married couples living together, 11.1% had a female householder with no husband present, and 36.8% were non-families. 32.5% of all households were made up of individuals and 15.9% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.30 and the average family size was 2.91. In the city, the population was spread out with 23.7% under the age of 18, 8.1% from 18 to 24, 28.5% from 25 to 44, 22.2% from 45 to 64, and 17.5% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 38 years. For every 100 females there were 88.6 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 83.6 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $34,075, and the median income for a family was $47,083. Males had a median income of $35,805 versus $22,112 for females. The per capita income for the city was $19,489. About 3.8% of families and 7.2% of the population were below the poverty line, including 7.2% of those under age 18 and 9.6% of those age 65 or over.

Arts and culture

The city library was founded in 1900 and built in 1901. It opened in Spring 1901 and over 500 books were donated to the library. In 1915, Andrew Carnegie donated $10,000 to the city with the agreement that city would contribute $1,000 towards library operations annually. The Carnegie Library began construction on October 15, 1902. The library does not stand today. An endowment was founded by a donor, Nannie R. Shirk, who named the endowment after her late husband, E.H. Shirk.

Annual cultural events

Every year, the weekend afterLabor Day the Tipton County Pork Festival takes place. The event features a parade, a queen contest where Miss Pork Cuisine is crowned, food and music.

Parks and recreation

In the early 20th century, 26 aces of land were set aside for a Tipton City Park, with streams and trees. The park was prone to flooding from Cicero Creek, however, during the summer, the park was popular for its honeysuckle plants.

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