History of Johnson County, Indiana

VOLUME I

All life and achievement is evolution; present wisdom comes from past experience, and present commercial prosperity has come only from past exertion and suffering. The deeds and motives of the men that have gone before have been instrumental in shaping the destinies of later communities and states. The development of a new country was at once a task and a privilege. It required great courage, sacrifice and privation. Compare the present conditions of the people of Johnson county, Indiana, with what they were one hundred years ago. From a trackless wilderness and virgin land, it has come to be a center of prosperity and civilization, with millions of wealth, systems of railways, grand educational institutions, splendid industries and immense agricultural productions. Can any thinking person be insensible to the fascination of the study which discloses the aspirations and efforts of the early pioneers who so strongly laid the foundation upon which has been reared the magnificent prosperity of later days? To perpetuate the story of these people and to trace and record the social, political and industrial progress of the community from its first inception is the function of the local historian. A sincere purpose to preserve facts and personal memoirs that are deserving of perpetuation, and which unite the present to the past, is the motive for the present publication. A specially valuable and interesting department is that one devoted to the sketches of representative citizens of this county whose records deserve preservation because of their worth, effort and accomplishment. The publishers desire to extend their thanks to the gentlemen who have so faithfully labored to this end. Thanks are also due to the citizens of Johnson county for the uniform kindness with which they have regarded this undertaking and for their many services rendered in the gaining of necessary information.

In placing the "History of Johnson County, Indiana," before the citizens, the publishers can conscientiously claim that they have carried out the plan as outlined in the prospectus. Every biographical sketch in the work has been submitted to the party interested, for correction, and therefore any error of fact, if there be any, is solely due to the person for whom the sketch was prepared. Confident that our effort to please will fully meet the approbation of the public.

 

Table of Contents

CHAPTER I INDIANA HISTORY A FOREWORD 26
CHAPTER II ORGANIZATION OF COUNTY GEOGRAPHY AND TOPOGRAPHY 34
CHAPTER III TOWNSHIPS AND THEIR OFFICERS 55
CHAPTER IV COUNTY BUILDINGS AND GROUNDS 65
CHAPTER V COUNTY OFFICERS 86
CHAPTER VI BENCH AND BAR 125
CHAPTER VII EARLY SETTLERS AND INCIDENTS 162
CHAPTER VIII EARLY LIFE AND CUSTOMS 199
CHAPTER IX EDUCATIONAL INTERESTS 215
CHAPTER X CHURCHES AND RELIGIOUS HISTORY 304
CHAPTER XI LODGES AND FRATERNAL ORDERS 381
CHAPTER XII BANKS AND BANKING 393
CHAPTER XIII JOURNALISM IN JOHNSON COUNTY 411
CHAPTER XIV JOHNSON COUNTY AND THE CIVIL WAR 420
CHAPTER XV PHYSICIANS AND MEDICAL PRACTICE 486
CHAPTER XVI HIGHWAYS AND TRANSPORTATION 517
CHAPTER XVII CITIES AND TOWNS 524
APPENDIX 534
BIOGRAPHICAL 559

 

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VOLUME II

 

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When Indiana was admitted into the Union in 1816, the white settlers occupied only a small section of the southern part of the state. The boundary line separating their territory from the Indian lands ran from a point on the Wabash river nearly due west of Rockville in Parke county, in a southeasterly direction to a point on White river about half way between Seymour and Brownstown, then northeast to the southeast corner of Decatur county, then east of north to Fort Recovery, in Mercer county, Ohio. If another line be drawn from the place of beginning to Fort Recovery, the triangle thus formed would embrace the tract of land then claimed by the Delaware tribe.

On the 3rd day of October, 1818, a treaty was concluded with the Delawares at the St. Mary's Falls in Ohio, by Jonathan Jennings, then governor of Indiana, General Cass and Benjamin Parke, acting under appointment of President Monroe, and the Delaware lands were ceded to the United States. The new territory acquired the name of the "New Purchase " a name frequently used in the early records to identify land descriptions. The Indians were granted the right to occupy their lands for three years, but in 1820 large numbers of them left for the Arkansas country and in the following year all were removed. The New Purchase became the mecca of home-seekers from the East and South, and the Indians had scarcely signed the convention until the white settler invaded his domain.

Into that part of the New Purchase later formed into Johnson county, three trails or traces became the highways of travel into our county. The first one marked and traveled by white men was that known as "Whetzel's Trace, " laid out by Jacob Whetzel in 1818. It crossed Sugar creek near 'The Red Mill " about one mile north of Boggstown, and ran west almost upon the present line of the Worthsville road to the bluffs at White river. The story of its making, told by Judge Banta in his "Historical Sketch of Johnson County "(1881), is worth preserving in this form.