NEW ALBANY — Twenty-six Homestead Awards were handed out to long-established families of Floyd County at a luncheon hosted by the county commissioners Thursday.
The luncheon, staged in conjunction with the Floyd County 4-H Fair, was part of a series of events surrounding the county's bicentennial this year.
Floyd County was formed in February 1819 from land that previously had been part of Clark and Harrison counties after many families had settled in Southern Indiana because of the area's abundant agricultural resources.
Melissa Wiseheart from the Floyd County Public Library gave the crowd inside Newlin Hall a brief rundown of the county's history, from its time as a marshland to Native American hunting grounds through the 1800s when the population started to boom. By 1819, the county had 430 families. The following year, the price per acre had dropped to $1.25 from $2, and new landowners were required to purchase tracts of only 80 acres, a quarter of the previous minimum.
By 1830, the population had grown to 6,000, with many of the settlers being French, Irish, German and Swiss. Those who settled near or in New Albany were able to take advantage of the river; those in Georgetown and Galena had access to wide expanses of natural land ripe for growing.
"Agriculture is and has always been the heart of Floyd County," Wiseheart said.
This year's Homestead Award winners, based on how long each family has lived in Floyd County:
200-year Homestead Awards
1804 — William and Katherine Sadler-Sampson — Sadler family
1816 — Gary and Maxine Jacobi and Pamela Crowell — Jacobi family
150-year Homestead Awards
1847 — Jason Uhl — Reisert, Pfalzer and Uhl family
1848 — Matt Uhl — Stein, Reisert, Pfalzer, Bezy and Uhl family
1849 — Anthony and Margaret Becht — Becht family
1849 — Kelly Becht — Becht family
1849 — Christopher and April Becht — Butner-Nalley and Becht Family
1849 — Kathryn Becht — Christopher and April Becht — Becht family
1849 — Jason and Michelle Copperwaite — Becht family
1854 — Jason and Britney Rorrer — Freiberger family
1854 — James and Cheryl Freiberger — Freiberger family
1854 — Evan and Courtney Bardach — Freiberger family
100-year Homestead Awards
1874 — Karen Langdon — Knable family
1888 — Justin and April Geltmaker — Sperzel, Hall, Geltmaker family
1891 — David Jones — Rudy-Jones family
1897 — Brenda Rainbolt — Goss, Rainbolt family
1906 — Larry and Bette Buecheler — Buechler family
50-year Homestead Awards
1934 — Richard Hall — Hall family
1934 — Brandi Hublar — Hall, Hublar family
1944 — Ralph Plaiss — Plaiss family
1948 — Kelly Feiock — Feiock family
1948 — Dennis and Bonnye Feiock — Feiock family
1951 — Janet Applegate – Applegate family
1961 — Brian Dickman — McDaniel, Dickman family
1961 — Eugene McWilliams — McWilliams family
1962 — Gladys DeVore — DeVore family