History of Indianapolis and Marion County, Indiana
In a history mainly composed of the incidents that indicate the growth of a community, and the direction and character of it, where few are important enough to require an extended narration, and the remainder afford little material, it is not easy to construct a continuous narrative, or to so connect the unrelated points as to prevent the work taking on the aspect of a pretentious directory. To collect in each year the notable events of it is to make an excellent warehouse of historical material; but, however authentic, it would hardly be interesting. Like the country boy's objection to a dictionary, "the subject would change too often." To combine, as far as practicable, the authenticity of an annuary like that of Mr. Ignatius Brown in 1868, which has been freely used, or the compilation of statistical and historical material made by Mr. Joseph T. Long for Holloway's History in 1870, which has furnished valuable help in this work, with some approach to the interest of a connected narrative, it has been thought best to present, first, a general history of the city and the county up to the outbreak of the civil war, throwing together in it all incidents which have a natural association with each other or with some central incident or locality, so as to make a kind of complete affair of that class of incidents. For instance, the first jail is used to gather a group of the conspicuous crimes in the history of the county, the old court-house to note the various uses to which it was put during the city's progress through the nonage of a country town to the maturity of a municipal government. Since the war the history was thought more likely to be made intelligible and capable of retention and reference by abandoning the form of a continuous narrative interjected with groups of related incidents or events, and divide it into departments, and treat each fully enough to cover all the points related to it that could be found in an annuary, or a separation of the events of each year to itself. Thus it has been the purpose to throw into the chapter on schools all that is worth telling of what is known of the early schools, besides what is related of them in the general history, with no special reference to the date of any school, while the history of the public schools is traced almost exclusively by official reports and documents. In manufactures it would have been impossible to present a consecutive account if a chronological order had been followed, for the facts are scattered through fifty years, from 1832 to 1882. By taking the whole subject apart from the events with which its various parts are associated by date, it is possible to group them so as to present a tolerably complete view of the origin and progress of each part and of the whole. The military rosters contain all the names of Marion County soldiers in the civil war who enlisted for three years. The list of civil officers of the county is complete and accurate, and was compiled for this work. It is the first ever published, as is that of the township and city. The entries of land from 1821 to 1825 will be found an interesting feature of the, work, and will recall the name of many an old settler who is almost forgotten now. Mr. Nowland's interesting reminiscences and those of the late Hon. O.H. Smith have been freely used, as well as the memories of some old settlers, as Mr. Robert B. Duncan, Gen. Coburn, William H. Jones, Daniel Noe, and the writer's own occasionally. The histories of the townships have been compiled substantially from the accounts of the oldest and best-known settlers in each.
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Marion County, in which is the city of Indianapolis, the capital of Indiana, occupies a central position in the State (as is mentioned more particularly hereafter), and is bounded on the north by the counties of Boone and Hamilton, on the east by Hancock and Shelby, on the south by Morgan and Johnson, and on the west by Hendricks County. Its shape would be almost an exact square but for an inaccuracy in the government survey, which makes a projection of four miles or sections in length by about three-fourths of a mile in width at the northeast corner into the adjoining county of Hancock, with a recess on the opposite side of equal length, and about one-fourth of the width, occupied by a similar projection from Hendricks County. The civil townships of the county follow the lines of the Congressional townships in direction, except at the division of the townships of Decatur and Perry, which follows the line of White River, taking off a considerable area of the former and adding it to the latter township. The area of the county is about two hundred and sixty thousand acres.