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181 - History of Vermillion County Biographical and Historical Record of
Vermillion County, Indiana


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Introductory - 183

 INTRODUCTORY


TOPOGRAPHY

VERMILLION, spelled with two l's, is from the French vermilion, spelled with one l, and signifies, according to Webster, "a bright red sulphuret of mercury, consisting of sixteen parts of sulphur and one hundred parts of mercury." This substance, he remarks, is sometimes found native, of a red or brown color, and is then called cinnabar. Used as a pigment. The word is a literal translation of the Miami Indian word pe-auk-e-shaw, which was given to the Vermillion Rivers on account of the red earth or "keel" found along their banks. This substance was produced by the burning of the shale overlying the outcrops of coal, the latter igniting from the autumnal fires set by the aborigines. From the rivers the county was named.

The position which Vermillion County occupies in the world can best be indicated by describing the geodesic situation of Newport, the county seat, which is near the middle of the county. This point is 39 55' north of the equator of the earth, and therefore the north star appears to the observer here at that angle above the horizon. Newport is also 87 10' west longitude from Greenwich (London, England), and railroad standard time, which is here conformed to that of the ninetieth meridian, is about eleven minutes slower than local, or sun-time. Newport is also about 520 feet above the level of the ocean, and fifty feet above the low-water mark of the Wabash River opposite.

The beautiful, picturesque scenery of Vermillion County, Indiana, is equal to that of any other in the State. The modest meanderings of the classic old Wabash, which ever and anon are hiding their silvery waters away amid the luxurious foliage of the forest trees, give to its eastern border a lineal presentation of romantic beauty such as attracts universal attention while the long range of bench hills which skirt the western border of this garden valley throw along its railroad line a continued display of panoramic rural


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