The history of Mooresville began not so very long ago, comparatively, in 1824, when a Quaker gentleman named Samuel Moore settled down in the crook for White Lick Creek’s branches. His religious tenets and basic human sense overrode the mean spirit of the times, which prompted his decision to move his family away from his North Carolina neighbors who practiced slavery.
Moore and his wife Eliza helped bring the first Mooresville church into being, of Methodist denomination. He was only 25 when he planned the town, in four blocks, which area is now listed among the National Historic Districts.
A market stands today on that intersection, inside Hadley Mini-Park, the smallest of Mooresville parks, in the middle of downtown. The geographical area of this small Midwestern town has gone from a few blocks to five square miles. Its recorded population grew from a recorded 200 inhabitants in 1831 to right around 10,000 today.
One of the nicknames for Mooresville is “flag town,” and in 1966 the community adopted the slogan “Home of the State Flag,” to honor resident Paul Hadley, a well known artist who designed the state flag of Indiana.
If you visit one of the main Mooresville attractions, the Mooresville History Museum, you will find the original template of the Indiana flag design among the many artifacts displayed. The Academy Building that contains the Mooresville History Museum is of historic value in and of itself, being one of the first high schools in the environs (including nearby giant Indianapolis). It was a Quaker schoolhouse at the time.
Today, interested parties can go on a “historic home tour” and glean a first-hand glimpse of Mooresville history for themselves. All the historic buildings shown on the tour are less than a mile from downtown Mooresville.
No discussion of Mooresville history would be complete without a mention of John Dillinger, its most infamous resident, a ruthless sociopath who robbed banks and murdered all through Utah and Indiana. His notoriety transformed into popularity during the Great Depression years when he and his gang ran rampant through the poverty-stricken Midwest of the time.