The Historic National Road, now known as U.S. 40, crosses Putnam County, and thousands of settlers moved through, and stayed, as they used it to move west.
In the heart of West Central Indiana, Putnam County lies between Terre Haute and Indianapolis. The Historic National Road crosses the county about five miles south of the county seat, Greencastle. The Indiana portion of the road was completed in 1834, and thousands of settlers used it to move west. Many, upon reaching the gently rolling landscape of Putnam County, decided to end their journey, discovering the area was rich in fertile soil, abundant hardwood timber forests and clear running water over limestone rocky beds.
Descendents of many of these pioneer families still live on the land their ancestors acquired through original land patents from the federal government in the early to mid-1800s. The Putnam County Public Library’s Local History and Genealogy Department collects, preserves and provides access to the county’s historical records. Patron-focused, the staff assists researchers of all abilities, from experienced genealogist to those taking the first steps in family research,