BROWN COUNTY INDIANA
VAN BUREN TOWNSHIP
THE ROCKS, TIMBER, STREAMS, ETC.
In several essential particulars, (;he surface and geology of this portion of Brown County differ from those of any other portion. The northwest part is on High or Central Ridge, just over the line being Weed Patch Knob, the highest point in the State. Two miles southeast of this is the Middle Fork of Salt Creek, flowing across the township in a southwesterly direction. One mile southeast of the creek begins an elevated plateau of a grayish soil, called lacustral loam, and here, with the exception of the usual branch bottoms, is the garden spot of the county. Along the eastern border of the township, this loam has been modified by fresh water deposits, thereby increasing its fertility, and is known as White Creek flats or slashes. On Buffalo Ridge, the wheat crops are habitually large and reliable. On Section 13 is a sandstone quarry, where stone of unusual hardness and durability is readily obtained. It is .homogeneous, evenly bedded and easily quarried. Another quarry on Section 35 also furnishes good stone. Layers four feet thick are found; also bands and concretionary nodules of excellent iron ore. Another valuable quarry has been worked at Wads worth's mill. The bed and bars of Hamilton Creek are covered with scales and small pebbles of silicious iron ore, washed down from the concretionary deposits of the shaly hills. Excellent fruit, such as peaches and apples, is raised in abundance, and is of superior quality. Very large quantities of tobacco are raised annually.
THE SETTLEMENT BY WHITE MEN
White settlers were in this township as early as 1820. and by 1830 the log cabins were scattered in all directions. The bulk of the settlers, however, did not come until the decade of thirties. Natives of the Southern States largely predominated. Many were well bred and all were hospitable, as representatives of the South always are. Many left the South owing to their hatred of the institution of slavery. A sprinkling of Yankees were among them enough to give the Northern spirit to all public undertakings. The Hattens and the Hamptons were among the first in the township. A man named Bozwell was early also. James Taber, Thomas Brown, James Williamson were in the township during the twenties. The Grosses were early also. When a new settler appeared, the residents all turned out to help him raise his cabin. They often went miles to assist, as nearest neighbors were very often four and five miles apart. So glad were the settlers to see new families come in that they were always ready, not only to help them up with their buildings and to become comfortable, but, if necessary, provisions were given them, and their acquaintance was sought and, if deserving, continued. It was customary then to go to a neighbor's to spend the evenings; especially was this true in winter. The visits were always enjoyed. The great fire place, full of blazing logs, threw out its ruddy glow over the room and diffused warmth, light and comfort to all. A pailful of nice hickory nuts or a plate of choice apples would be brought out and would soon disappear under the fresh appetites sharpened with the sauce of neighborly good cheer, and the ride behind oxen over the frozen ground and through the frosty air. All was enjoyed to the best. After all, though the old settlers had many hardships to encounter and trials to undergo, did they not enjoy themselves as well, or better, than the present generations. They were hearty, robust, and full of wild animal spirits, and the novelty of any and all gatherings was not such as we now know it. A person isolated from pleasures for a time was ready to fully appreciate and enjoy a holiday spent in the simplest manner. The appetite for enjoyment was not cloyed. The simplicity of pioneer life brought keenest enjoyment from simple things,, and the freedom from swiftly multiplying cares kept the faces clear of wrinkles, preserved the hair and ruddy face, and retained the springing steps and the upright figure. The pioneers were contented were happy in their lot and as a result have bequeathed to their children sound mental and bodily organisms and good habits.
ORGANIZATION AND OFFICERS
The township was one of the first four created in 1836, and was, of course, named in honor of Martin Van Buren, eighth President of the United States. Daniel Hedrick was the first Assessor of the township. Hiram Mabe and William Rippe were the first Overseers of the Poor. Hiram Mabe was also the first Constable. Hedrick was Assessor again in 1837. In 1838, Daniel Gross and James Williamson were Overseers of the Poor. Joseph Hurley and another were Fence Viewers; Jacob Lawless, Inspector. The first elections those of 1836 and 1837 were held at the house of Cornelius Hurley. In 1839, Asa Hatten and James Williamson, were Overseers of the Poor; Thomas Brown and James Tabor, Fence Viewers ; William Crouch, Inspector. John Hampton assessed the township in 1840, also in 1841. J. D. McKinney was paid $4 by the County Auditor in 1841 for four young wolf scalps. In 1842, John Davis and John Hampton were each paid $1 for seven young wolf scalps. In 1840, John Anderson was Constable ; Asa Hatten and Hiram Baker, Road Supervisors ; Thomas Brown and Job Mulliss, Overseers of the Poor; John Hill and William Bender, Fence Viewers; Hiram Mabe, Inspector. In 1836, there were two road districts established in the township on the Spark's Ferry road, 1, from the Jackson County line to Sections 13 and 14; 2, from Sections 13 and 14 to the boundary of the township (two miles farther north than the present boundary). Alfred Young was Superintendent of No. 1, with the following hands: John Hampton, Edward Ayres, Henry Ayres, Samuel A Enoch Hampton, Ephraim Hatten, James Williamson, Asa Hatten, William Rippe, John Rippe, William Kenworthy and Thomas Polly. Cornelius Hurley was Superintendent of No. 2, with the following hands: -Elias Matley, Stephen Matley, Hiram Mabe, Daniel Goss, Henry Bird,. Thomas Brown, James Rippe. Jr., Arthur Rippe, Hiram Rippe, Levi Noblet, John Sinex and John Kenworthy.
LAND ENTRIESTownship 7 north, Range 3 east,
Section 11- Benjamin Owens, John Hill, 1836;
Section 12—John Wagoner, 1838; W. M. Evans, 1844, Alexander Fisher, 1844; Legrand Bozwell, 1844; Colman White, 1843; David Wagoner, 1840.
Township 8 north, Range 3 east;
Section 11—John Davis, 1839; William Bender, 1836;
Section 13—Stephen Matney. 1837 ; Jacob Byerly, 1839 ;
Section 14—Cornelius Hurley, 1833; James Sullivan, 1833; George Sumner, 1839; W. F. Mabe, 1844; Hiram Mabe, 1833;
Section 15—Ambrose Cobb, 1844; Daniel Goss, 1839 ; Allen Whitehorn, 1844 ;
Section 20—Hiram Rippe,;
Section 21—Fred Goss, 1834 ;
Section 22—Daniel Goss, 1839, Fred Goss, 1830;
Section 25—John Hampton, 1832; J. M. Mabe, 1841;
Section 28—James Rippe, 1836; Arthur Rippe, 1836 ;
Section 29—Levi Noblet, 1839;
Section 32—Martin Tabor, 1844; Henry Hampton, 1844; Isaac Shipley, 1834 ;
Section 33—John Rippe, 1833;
Section 34—Samuel Hatten, 1844; James Williamson, 1836; Alfred Young, 1833; William Rippe, 1834;
Section 35—Asa Hatten, 1834; Jonathan Hampton, 1836;
Section 36—Alexander Arthur, 1838, Joseph Gardner, 1838; Washington Dobson, 1844.
Township 7 north, Range 4 east,
Section 6—James Mullis, 1844, J. M. McCord, 1844;
Section 8—Dennis McMahon, 1844.
Township 8 north, Range 4 east;
Section 5—David Crouch, 1840;
Section 8—Henry Bird, 1837; Joseph Hedrick, 1840, William Crouch, 1840; William Bender, 1840; William Ping, 1844;
Section 17—Thomas A. Brown, 1837;
Section 18—Granville Hedrick, 1841; Jacob Sawles, 1836; Daniel Hedrick, 1834; Ambrose Cobb, 1839; Ephraim Hurley, 1841;
Section 20—Job Ping, 1844; Henry Bird, 1844:
Section 28—W. C. Needham, 1844, John D. Wormack, 1844
POLL-TAX PAYERS OF 1848
John Anderson, Edmund Ayers, I. C. Bender, Thomas Brown. Hiram Baker, Samuel Bird, Byron I. Barker, Legrand Bazwell, Henry Bird, David Crouch, William Crouch, Henry Cross. Asa Clark, Aaron Crouch, Moses Crouch, Ambrose Cobb, Hiram Crouch, Martin Evans, Drury Elkins, Francis Elkins, James George, Elijah Graham, George Grosvenor, J. M. Hurley, Asa Hatten, Enoch Hampton, John Hill, Granville Hedrick, Ephraim Hurley, George Hill, James D. Hurley, Ephraim Hatten, David M. Hurley, John Kenworthy, Ambrose Keelen, Jonathan Lucas, W. G. Lee, Jacob Lawless, James M. Mabe, Richard Mullis, John Mullis, Joshua Matney, Daniel Matney, W. F. Mabe, Joseph Merrit, James Mc-Kinney, Franklin Mullis, George Phillips, William Ping, Thomas Pruitt, Paul Petro, Job Ping, Edmund Phigley, Serenus Ping, Richard Ping, John Ping, Jr., William Reynolds, George Summa, William Smith, Fountain Sutherland, James Tabor, Martin Tabor, John Wagoner, James Williamson, H. C. Weddel, Allen Whitehorn, Coleman White, Nelson White, John D. Womack and Thomas Vance. The highest tax payers were I. C. Bender, $4.92 ; Thomas Brown, $5.82 ; David Crouch, $6.43; William Crouch, $4.37; Frederick Goss, $5.40; Cornelius Hurley, $5.50 ; Asa Hatten, $5.47 ; Jacob Lawless, $8.69 ; total number of polls, 70; acres of land 2,274.77; value of land, $4,211; value of improvements, $5,935; value of personal property, $9,069; total taxables, $19,215; total tax, $228.19; total delinquent tax and interest, $109.65; grand total tax, $337.84.
Christiansburg was founded by Thomas Carmichael about the year 1850. Calvin & Mann opened a large tannery there of about twenty vats. Sylvanus Manville opened a store there, with Lawson Hopper as clerk. In a short time, several families moved there, and a post office was secured. A store has been there the greater portion of the time since. Several churches are there, which are well attended. Pike's Peak was founded about the time of the last war by James Ward, who opened a small store there. A post office was obtained, and a few families went there to live. New Bellsville was founded at a later date by Joseph Campbell. Buffalo started up about thirty years ago. It is said George Harlan had the first store. Butcher & Bennington were there for a time. The village was quite prosperous for a time. The old Goss Saw Mill on Salt Creek, at Mt. Zion, was built during the thirties, and in an early day had a large patronage. William Crouch operated a mill in the township, beginning late in the forties. John Hampton shot a panther in about 1840. He found in the township a half eaten deer, covered with leaves, and, concealing himself, saw the varmint and shot it. William Rogers and Mary Ann Cobb were married by Squire Goss March 30, 1837. This was the first wedding in the township.
SCHOOLS AND CHURCHES
The township has fourteen school districts. The first term taught was in the southwestern part in a log schoolhouse, the Hamptons, Ayres, Browns, Tabors, Noblets, Hollens, Williamsons sending children. The first teacher was an Irishman named Sullivan. He was paid by subscription, and boarded around. The second school was taught near Christiansburg. In 1840, there were four school districts, and in 1850, seven. The old Shiloh Methodist Episcopal Church was organized before 1840, among the first members being the families of Hattons, Williamsons, Browns, Hedricks, Kenworthys, Ayres, Bailses, and others. The log church was built early in the forties, and was used not only for religious purposes, but for school purposes as well. Many an excellent term of school was held there. The Baptists had an early organization, the leading members being the Noblets. Mr. Noblet was a minister of this church. The Campbellites organized a class in the southern part early in the forties. The Bozwells, Benningtons, Phillips, Bridgewaters, Gobies, Pruitts (three or four families) and others belonged. A church was built on the south line of the township. In later years, three or four churches have been erected, so that the township is now well supplied.