James Lankford settled in the Rockport area in 1808, moving his wife and daughter into a cave under the bluff overlooking the Ohio River. Other settlers moved into the lowland that became downtown Rockport (originally dubbed Hanging Rock). By 1818 Rockport was named the Spencer County seat, and many families had moved to the top of the 200 foot bluffs to avoid the yearly floods. Downtown remained home to merchants, offices and saloons where gambling was a favorite activity. By 1856 the town had 1,000 residents, many manufacturers, pork packers, mills and breweries which relied on Rockport's busy Ohio River port, which also shipped tobacco down-river to Owensboro, Kentucky.
When the railroad connected Rockport to Jasper in 1874, more trade routes were opened. In the 1930's Rockport's sidewalks were laid by the Works Progress Administration (WPA) Franklin D. Roosevelt's Depression era organization.
By the Way:
Some folks say you can see the image of Martha Washington among the rock formations under the Rockport Bluff.
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Under the famous Rockport bluff lays the Ohio River. It was from here in 1828 that a young merchant, Abraham Lincoln, boarded a flatboat for his first river trip to transport produce to New Orleans.
Travel to River Road at the east end of main Street in Rockport and you can stand on the same riverbank and sense the excitement of young Abe Lincoln anticipating his first trip so far away from home.