Population (2000) - 1,382
This was the first Bristol in the US we managed to visit. In October 2000, Patty and I visited a friend in Chicago, on the way back to Terre Haute we stopped off to visit the town. We spent a very pleasant day wandering around the town and chatting to the Elkhart County Historical Museum staff. I'd like to thank Tina Mellott - the Museum Director, Gary and especially Diana Zornow the Museum Assistant Director and Archivist who helped with my research.
Map of northern Indiana
The following history was taken from mostly from two books, "Once Upon A Time In Bristol, Indiana" by the Rev. Bruce Mosier and "History of Bristol, Indiana" by Mrs Emma Bennett Kelly. A third "Borderline Indiana" by Wendell Trogdon was also used.
The first inhabitants of the area were the Miami Indians who were later replaced by the peacefull Pottawattami Indians. The first white explorers were the French, and it is supposed that Robert Cavelier, Sieur de La Salle, who was born in France in 1643 passed through the area on his travels. A few years later iron ore was discovered along Sheep Creek, just west of Bristol. This was used in the manufacture of stoves, and it is thought that the last survivor of which is in the Elkhart County Historical Museum.
When Bristol was founded is not known for certain, but it was sometime in the 1830's. Washington Township, to the south of Bristol, was named after General George Washington and settled in 1830. The first doctor there was Dr Henry H Fowler who arrived in 1834 and who joined the community of fifteen families. Dr Fowler laid out a town on the west side of the Goshen-Bristol Road (Division Street). He named it Sydneyham after his birthplace in England. In 1834, Samuel P Judson, a merchant from Buffalo, New York, though his family originally came from Bristol, England, arrived and along with Hiram Doolittle set up a town, Bristol, on the east side of the road. The two townships eventually merged and were known as Bristol.
Welcome to Bristol, Indiana
A Bristol Pirate
The Town Clock
Bristol Opera House
When I first wrote this page I could hardly find any websites about Bristol, Indiana, there are now quite a few, a selection of which can be found below:-
Elkhart County Historical Museum
Hometown USA, Bristol, Indiana
This page created 31st October 2000, last modified 16th August 2005