Blue River Township

This township takes its name from Blue River, the principal mill stream in the township. It was organized in 1828, and composed of the entire eastern part of the county, what now constitutes the first commissioners district. In 1831 it was reduced in size to thirty sections, its present limits. It is located in the south-eastern corner of the county, and is bounded by Rush county on the east, Shelby county on the south, Brandy wine and Center townships on the west, and Center and Jackson townships on the north. In extent it measures six miles north and south and five miles east and west. It is all located in township fifteen north and ranges seven and eight east; two tiers of sections on the west are in range seven, and three on the east are in range eight.

The range line dividing the two fractional congressional townships, of which this civil township is composed, extends along the center of the road running north and south by Westland Post Office.


The principal streams are Blue River, Six Mile Creek and Nameless Creek. Blue River cuts off the south-east corner of the township, running through four sections, and receives from the north, in section twenty nine, the waters of Six Mile Creek, and in section thirty the waters of Nameless Creek. Six Mile Creek is found in four sections of the south-eastern part of the county, and Nameless Creek in five sections of the central portion, entering the central northern part and emptying in the central southern part.    These were once all mill streams.


The first mill in the county was a small log structure on Blue River, erected by Joshua Wilson in 1824. It was situated above the old Wolf's mill, now Bacon's mill. The latter is the only water mill now in the township.


Nameless Creek and Six Mile Creek both had at one time small sash saw-mills and corn crackers, all of which have long since been superseded by the modern inventions and improvements.


Jesse Hunt used to run a small saw and grist-mill on Six Mile Creek, near where the Kysers now live. The writer from 1850 to 1855 spent many a day at this mill while his grist of corn was being ground, and there saw the first sawing by water-power of his life.


John Hunnicutt run a small saw-mill on Nameless Creek for a number of years, on what is now the William Brooks farm. There was also another small mill further up the creek, near Westland Post Office.


Blue river was settled at least ten years before the organization of the county.


In 1818 Andrew Evans built the first log cabin in the township.


In 1823 Thomas Philips had a blacksmith shop on Blue River.


In 1823 there was built the first school-house in the township, or county, and Lewis Tyner was the first male teacher.


Elijah Tyner, in 1824, erected the first store of the township, as well as of the county; and he continued to do business at the same place until his death, in 1872. The writer's first pair of boots came from this store- Tyner was not only a merchant, but an extensive farmer, stock raiser, and stock dealer. For a great many years he bought and drove nearly all the stock raised and sold in that part of the county, and even in the adjoining portion of Shelby county. Tyner is also entitled to the credit of setting out the first orchard in the county. He brought the trees with him from the east.


The first fence in the county was built in this township. The builder was a man by the name of McCall. It was a brush fence, made of the branches of the trees which McCall had climbed and trimmed. McCall had previously cleared a little spot by hitching his faithful '-Buck" and " Bright" to the grubs and " pulling them out by the roots."


Among the first settlers of this township were Andrew Evans, John Montgomery. Montgomery McCall, Harmon Warrum, Elijah and Solomon Tyner, John Osborn, Joshua Wilson, George Penwell, the Johnses, Adamses, James and Benajah Binford, Joseph Andrews, John Brown, David Dodge, David Smith, and others, with their families, were among the more prominent pioneers of this section. The Binfords came in 1826.


The township in its native state presented some fine scenery ; especially in the rich bottom lands. The primitive trees were grand and stately, and some of them of enormous size. There is an oak now to be seen on the farm of Penn Binford that measured nine feet in diameter and about seventy feet to the first limb. It fell about the year 1852. It is said, by those who saw it, to have been large enough before the falling off of the bark to have made it possible to have driven an ordinary two horse wagon and team from the butt to the first limb. The red-bud skirting the streams in early spring presented a bright picture among the green and luxuriant foliage. Pea vines spice brush, grape-vines, and nettles, were common everywhere.


The surface in the vicinity of the streams is somewhat hilly and undulating, while on the uplands it is moderately level to gently rolling. The only portion that may be considered strictly level, is in the north-west corner. It is the driest township in the county. It consists of first and second rate land, and is well improved and under good cultivation. Within its limits are many prosperous farmers, with fine residences, large barns, and good fences.


It's educational and church advantages are not surpassed in the county.


It's public schools, it having none other at present, are nine in number, arranged in three tiers of three each, and numbered regularly from one to nine, similar to the numbering of the sections in a congressional township, No. 1 being located in the north-east corner and No. 9 in the south-west corner.

The teachers, for the present, are as follows:
District No. 1, Pleasantview, W. B. Hill;
District No. 2, Temperance Hall, W. E. Scott;
District No. 3, Jessups, James K. Allen;
District No. 4, Hopewell, Bertha Scott;
District No. 5, Westland, Jethro Dennis;
District No. 6, Hardy's Fork, Mattie Coffield ;
District No. 7, Handy's, John M. Winslow ;
District No. 8, Gates' Har­vey New ;
District No. 9, Shiloh, Fanny Davis.


The churches are six in number, named and located as follows, to-wit: Shiloh, Baptist, located in the south-west corner of the township, near Elijah Tyner's old place; Mt. Olivet, Christian Union, in the central portion, near the Newby farm ; Gilboa, M. E. church, in the northern central portion ; Westland, Friends, in the central portion, near Westland school-house, the voting precinct; Pleasantview. Friends, in the northeastern part of the township, adjoining Samuel B. Hill's farm; Western Grove, Friends, in the central western portion, on the pike near Mahlon Season's farm.

The present mills and factories of the township are as follows: Bacon's Flouring Mill, water-power, previously located; Wiley's Saw-Mill, steam power, in the western central portion; Marsh's Tile Factory, one mile west of Westland P. O.; Lust's Tile Factory, in the central northern portion.


The roads in Blue river, like other parts of the county, were once mere paths "blazed out" through the thick timber and underbrush, which presents quite a contrast to its present graded and graveled highways. The township now has eight and one half miles of toll pike in addition to her public unassessed roads, many of which are nearly, in quite, equal to the revenue roads.


The township has no railroad within its borders, but by five miles of the P., C. and St. L., the old "Indiana Central," on its north line.


The entire population, white and black, in 1880 was 1358. The polls in 18S1 were 217, and the scholastic population 350.


The number of acres assessed in the township for 1881 were [8,755, valued at $456,290. The improvements on the same were valued at $63,840. The total value of the personal property was put at $168,455. The total valuation of property, real and personal, was $688,585. The full amount of taxes due from the township for the current year is $6,540.47.

Among the more prominent men of the township  at present, especially in a financial point of view, are the following, each of whom will pay taxes to the amount of $40 and upwards for the year 1881, to be paid in 1882

Atkinson, Lurilda. $ 46.75
Andrews, Robert D 68.80
Anderson, James 67.19
Binford, Wm. P 51.42
Binford, Robert 78.37
Binford, Joseph 79.98
Binford, Wm. L 97.71
Brooks, Wm 77.58
Butler, Joseph 64.92
Billman, Leander 66.38
Brown, Robert 72.36
Coffin, N. D 60.88
Caldwell, J. M 40.65
Catt, Jacob 69.70
Eakins, Levina 44.03
Gates, Dayton H 71.30
Hendren, Jerry 40.22
Hackleman, Lemuel 57.51
Hill, Samuel B 128.70
Hill, Thomas E 44.05
Harold, Lemuel 57.87
Hunt, John 41.35
Hatfield, George II 86.74
Jessup, Levi 47.89
Johns, Robison, sr 43.08
Moore, William 52.93
New, William 115.13
Pitts, Samuel C 42.01
Pusey, Jesse F. heirs 64.47
Reece, John 46.94
Roots, Chas. P 124.80
Tyner, James M 55.97
Tyner, Elbert 52.19
Tyner, Sarah A 85.38
Warrum, Noble 72.89
Wolf, Jacob G 59.18
Pittsburgh, Cincinnati and St. Louis R'y Co. $464.23


At the present time the township has but one justice, Elijah Tyner, and he is not likely to become wealthy from the profits of the office, notwithstanding that he is much of a gentleman; but he is living in a quiet commu­nity of peaceable people, who patronize the courts only in case of necessity, and hence are seldom engaged in petty lawsuits and acrimonious legal contests.

The township has one located physician, in the person of Dr. Oliver Andrews, allopathist, and son of Joseph Andrews, deceased, one of the pioneers. Much of the practice of the township is divided up between the physicians d£ the surrounding town Greenfield, Carthage, Morristown, Charlottesville, and Cleveland. Among the physicians who practiced in the township thirty and forty years ago, were : Drs. Lot Edwards, B. F. Duncan, R. E. Barnett. N. P. Howard, of Greenfield; John Clark, Pat­terson and Stratton, of Carthage : Whiteside and Riddle, of Knightstown; Wolf, of Morristown, and Edmundson, of Blue river. The latter was a one armed man, located on the Joseph Binford farm, where he also kept a small More. A few years later Dr. Newby held forth at Moore's shop, in the eastern part of the township.


B. P. Butler is the post-master, and Thomas E. Hill trustee.

Samuel Heavenridge built the first store, at Westland, in about the year 1852. It was a small log structure. He sold to Levi Reece; Reece to Ambrose Miller and Henry Newby; Miller & Newby to Calvary G. Sample, who run the store for a few years, and then sold out at public auc­tion about the beginning of the civil war. There was no store in the place then until Wm, New opened up. New sold to Lemuel Harold and Levi Cloud; Cloud sold his interest back to Harold, who afterward formed a partnership with James L. Binford ; Binford sold back to Harold, and Harold to Binford Brothers, who were burned out on the 13th of April, 1881, since which time there has been no store in the place. Joel Pusey erected a building in the eastern part of the township in about the year 1855., in which he run a store for a number of years.


In politics, Blue-river is republican by about seventy-five majority, being the only strictly republican township in the county.

The magistrates of the township from its organization to date, as near as we are able to ascertain, were as follows:
John Osborn   Unknown
Samuel A. Hall    1834
Richard Hackleman    1836
Richard Hackleman    1840
Adam Allen     1848
Richard Hackleman    1851
James Sample    1853
Richard Hackleman    1856
John Coffin        1857
John Coffin         1861
Thompson Allen    1865
Thompson Allen    1869
John O. G. Collins    1869
Edward L. Coffin    1872
Walter S. Luse    1877
Elijah Tyner, present justice    1878
The following are the ex-township trustees since 1859, the date at which they were empowered with authority to levy local taxes:
B. P. Butler    1859
N. D. Coffin    1860
James New    1863
Lemuel Hackleman    1865
B. F. Luse    1869
Samuel B. Hill    1873
Lemuel Hackleman    1877
Thomas E. Hill    1880

Of the men who once lived in the township, and now reside elsewhere, are : The News, of Greenfield ; James P. Galbreath, of Kansas; the Binfords, of Iowa; Elias Marsh, editor of the Commercial, Portland, Jay county, Indiana ; Amos Beeson, editor of the Winchester Journal, and one of the trustees of the northern prison; Milton Hodson, a former partner of Beeson's in the Journal Prof. Penn Hunnicutt, of Iowa; Hon. Noble Warrum, Dr. M. M. Adams, and the writer, of Greenfield ; Oliver Butler, attorney, of Richmond; James L. Binford and the Tyners, merchant and traders, of Morristown; Eli Galbreath, attorney, Pittsburgh; Ephraim Bentley, commissioner, now of Brandywine; Prof. Joseph R. Hunt, of Indianapolis; Dr. Handy, of Arkansas; Mrs. R. P. Hill, of Rush county, author of a book of poems; Levi Binford, druggist, Joseph Binford, farmer and banker, John Hunnicutt. carriage maker, and Dr. Nuby, of Carthage.

Of the ex-county officers now residing in the township, we call to mind Ex-Treasurer George W. Hatfield and Ex-County Surveyor Calvary G. Sample.


William New. of Greenfield, was for number of years commissioner from Blue river, and William Handy state representative.


The chief exports of the township are corn, wheat, hogs, cattle, horses, apples, potatoes, and flaxseed.


The value, in the judgment of the writer, of the nine frame school-houses in this township is $4,500; value of apparatus, $400; total value of school property. $4,900.


At the presidential election for 1880, the township was republican by sixty eight majority, the vote standing as follows; Republican vote, 175; Democratic vote, 107; Greenback vote, 18; total vote, 300. Blue river in 18,16 cast 33 votes ; in 1840, 38 ; in 1860, 212.


The population of the township
for 1850 was 936;
for 1860, 1,060;
for 1870, 1,125 ;
for 1880, 1.258;

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