Orange County is located in southern Indiana in the United States. As of 2010, its population was 19,840, an increase of 2.8% from 19,306 in 2000. The county seat is Paoli. The county has four incorporated settlements with a total population of about 8,600, as well as several small unincorporated communities. It is divided into 10 townships which provide local services. One U.S. route and five Indiana state roads pass through or into the county.
Orange County was formed from parts of Knox, Gibson and Washington Counties by an act approved on December 26, 1815; it took effect on February 1, 1816. The same year, the county seat was established at Paoli, which was named after a town in North Carolina.
The first courthouse was a temporary log structure that was built for $25; a more permanent structure of stone was completed in 1819 at a cost of $3,950. In 1847, plans were made for a new larger courthouse, which was completed in 1850 at a cost of $14,000. This building is the second oldest courthouse in the state that has been continuously used since its construction. Like the oldest in Ohio County, it is a Greek Revival building with two stories and a Doric portico supported by fluted columns; it has ornamental iron stairs and a clock tower. In 1970, the clock tower was damaged by fire.
The early settlers were mostly Quakers fleeing the institution of slavery in Orange County, North Carolina. Jonathan Lindley brought his group of Quakers from North Carolina to the area in 1811. Under Lindley’s leadership, they were the first to build a religious structure, the Lick Creek Meeting House in 1813. It was from this group that Orange County got its name. (See List of Indiana county name etymologies). The name Orange derives from the Dutch Protestant House of Orange, which acquired the English throne with the accession of King William III in 1689, following the Glorious Revolution.
In the early 19th century when the Quakers came from North Carolina to settle in Orange County, Indiana, they came to escape slavery. They brought with them a number of freed slaves. These free men were deeded of land in the heart of a dense forest. Word of mouth soon spread the news, and this land became part of the "underground railroad" for runaway slaves.
For many years, the freed slaves in this area farmed, traded, and sold their labor to others while living in this settlement. A church was built and a cemetery was provided for their loved ones.
All that remains today is the cemetery. Some of the stones were broken or vandalized over the years. Several years ago, a troop of Boy Scouts came in and restored the cemetery, replacing the lost or broken stones with wooden crosses designating a grave. The name of "Little Africa" came about because of the black settlement, but "Paddy's Garden" was the name those early residents called it.