On February 20,1820 the Town of Napoleon Indiana was laid out by William Wilson on 160 acres in Jackson Township along the Old Michigan Road which is now US Highway 421 in the northwestern part of Ripley County. Today there are approximately 250 proud citizens that call Napoleon home.
Napoleon is one of the oldest towns in Ripley County. The bicentennial celebration will be held in 2020 with several events happening throughout that year. Napoleon is also known for their annual Firemen’s Festival which is also one of the oldest, continually held Firemen’s Festival in the State of Indiana. Additionally, there are significant historical sites throughout the town including Central House, which was a stage coach stop, the home of Dr. Hicks which spanned five generations of doctors. One of those doctors is immortalized at the Soldiers & Sailors monument in Indianapolis. The Conwell house is also a significant landmark. It was built for Elias Conwell, the owner of a popular store back in the early days of the town.
Napoleon is also steeped in the history of the underground railroad with periodic walking and driving tours. In the early planning years the railroad was to pass through Napoleon, but due to terrain and road features the rail eventually passed through neighboring Osgood, IN. There was a quote from days gone by . . . “no matter where you were going, you have to go to Napoleon first!”
Today, like so many other Ripley County towns, Napoleon remains a small but significant focal point in the history of Ripley County, Southeastern Indiana and the entire state of Indiana.