Founded in 1821, Bartholomew County is located in the southeastern part of the state with Columbus serving as the county seat. The county was named for Lt. Col. Joseph Bartholomew, wounded at the Battle of Tippecanoe. He was a distinguished soldier of the Indian wars, and commanded a battalion of Indiana militia in the battle of Tippecanoe, where he was severely wounded. In 1819, when the treaty by which the lands in Bartholomew county were ceded to the United States by the natives, there were no white settlers in the county, yet such was the inviting character of the country that. it was rapidly settled by an intelligent and enterprising population. .At the first election after the organization of the county, there were three hundred and fifty five votes cast, indicating nearly two thousand inhabitants.
Bartholomew County covers 409 square miles, it lies mostly in the level areas surrounding the East Fork of the White River and its tributaries. The county is intersected by Interstate Highway 65 and U.S. Highway 31 which provides transportation for its commerce along with one rail line that moves millions of tons of freight through the county annually. Agriculture, manufacturing, and tourism make up the majority of the county's economy.
The site of the county seat was chosen on February 15, 1821.
The current Bartholomew County courthouse was built from 1870 to 1874 by
McCormack and Sweeney of Columbus at a cost of $225,000.
It was designed by architect Isaac Hodgson, who was born in Belfast, Ireland in 1826 and immigrated to the United States in 1848; he designed six Indiana courthouses, including the one in Henry County.
The courthouse is built largely of brick and has mansard roofs typical of the
Second Empire French style. Its asymmetrical "L" shape allows it to face two
major streets in Columbus. The inscription indicating the commissioners,
architect and date is high up on the east facade.