Army Captain Samuel Colville Vance was a surveyor for the United States government living in Cincinnati, Ohio. In 1802 he purchased all the land comprising the original town of "Lawrenceburgh." At that time the land was part of Hamilton County, Ohio. Soon, settlers made their homes near the Ohio River and surrounding creeks. Like many Ohio River towns, Lawrenceburg's economy centered on the Ohio River, and the shipping and related industries it enabled. But some unusual industries thrived. In the 1800s, cigars were made here, and were considered some of the finest in the world. Lawrenceburg had buggy manufacturers as well. An early automobile, the James Model A Roadster was produced here in 1909.
Distilleries were found in the Lawrenceburg area as early as 1809. By the end of 1855, Lawrenceburg was home to Hobbs Distillery, John H. Gaff & Son, N.J. Walsh Distillery, Nicholas Oester, Frederick Rodenburg & Co. and John B. Garnier Brewery. Purchased in 1933 from the Rossville Distillery Company, the Seagram's plant is a reminder of the distillery days of old Lawrenceburg.
Visitors can see Captain Vance's spectacular West High Street home which he built in 1818. Known as the Vance-Tousey House, it is considered one of Indiana's finest examples of Federal architecture, and is listed in the National Register of Historic Places. It is now the home of The Dearborn County Historical Society and open to the public.
By the Way: Captain Vance named the town Lawrenceburgh after his wife's maiden name, Lawrence.