Genealogy Trails

HENRY COUNTY, INDIANA
Township Organization.
Organization of the Several Townships—Population—Assessed Valuation—Taxation—Elections.

At the time of the assembling of the first Commissioners' Court, June 10, 1822, there were no civil townships in existence, within it's jurisdiction, and one of its first cares was to provide a few of these indispensable dependencies, "with a local habitation and a name.'* After describing, in fitting language, the metes and bounds of these "territories/' the Commissioners declared that "from and after the first Saturday in July next"' they should each "enjoy all the rights and privileges and jurisdictions which to separate and independent townships do or may properly belong or appertain."

Whether this idea of an independent and separate existence and jurisdiction smacks of "State rights" or not, the reader must judge. The Commissioners were an authority in the land, in those days, and it is quite safe to conclude that they fully intended to carve out of the territorial limits of Henry County several little republics, which were to be fully competent to manage their domestic institutions in their own way.

The townships thus provided were four in number, viz.: Dudley, Wayne, Henry, and Prairie. Dudley and Wayne composed the First Commissioner's District. Henry, the Second, and Prairie, the Third.

The original boundaries of Henry County were not identical with those of the present day, and, as a consequence, the boundaries of the townships lying on the east and west borders of the county underwent some change when the new boundaries were fixed by the General Assembly in the early 'thirties. A township meeting, notwithstanding the size of the township, must have been a small affair in those times. Three years after, when the population had probably more than doubled, the whole vote for Governor was but 366.

DUDLEY TOWNSHIP.

Dudley, the first township called into being by the fiat of the Commissioners, June 11, 1822, began at "the southeast corner of Henry County, of which it is a part," and running thence west on the county line dividing Henry, Fayette and Rush counties, about nine and one fourth miles from the present east line of the county, and was six miles in width. It consequently contained at least fifty five and one half sections of land, and comprised all of its present limits and about four fifths of the present township of Franklin.

At this date, it is estimated that there were not one hundred and fifty persons residing within the limits of the township. A round of log rollings, house raisings, and similar "bees" occupied much of their time, and in talking with one of these veterans you will very likely be told that they enjoyed themselves and felt as hopeful, contented, and happy as at any period since,

A "Friends' Meeting House," a hewed log edifice, which stood about one mile southeast of the present site of Hopewell Meeting House, was erected in 1823 or 1824 and was probably the first attempt at church architecture in the township or in the county. The congregation had been in the habit of worshiping at the house of William Charles, north of where Hardin's old tavern stand used to be. An ancient orchard still marks the spot.

A Baptist church, a log building about eighteen by twenty feet, was erected about one and one half miles northeast of Daniel Paul's, so near the same time as to render it difficult to determine which is entitled to the claim of seniority. This church was used as a school house for a number of years.

A school house soon followed, with all the elegant appurtenances and appliances of the times for assisting the "young idea to shoot."

Dudley Township was the gateway of the county, as three principal thoroughfares from the east and southeast led through it. It presents, perhaps, less variety of surface than any other township in the county, being almost entirely table land, lying on "the divide" between Flatrock and West River, with perhaps two thirds of its surface finding drainage to the latter. The passerby of early days regarded it as most unpromisingly wet. Although very little of it can be termed rolling, it is now seen to be sufficiently undulating to permit the most complete drainage of almost every acre, and under improved culture the large average crops and general fertility stamp it as one of the best bodies of land in the county.

Dudley is five and a quarter by six miles in extent, and thus contains aoout 19.000 acres. According- to the census of 1870, it was then divided into 191 farms, an average of about 103 acres each: supporting an almost exclusively rural popula-tion of 1.348 souls, about forty three and one half per square mile, divided between 268 families and 267 dwellings.   Of this number but thirteen were foreigners—less than one per cent., while the natives of the "Old North State" numbered 126. or nearly ten per cent, of the whole population.   The value of the lands and improvements for 1870 was $542.120.   The town lots and improvements were valued at $6,300. and the personal property at $249,970. making a total of wealth of $798,390. as shown by the tax duplicate for 1870.   The census of 1900 seems to have been taken only by counties; at least the author has been unable to find any subdivision less than the county that would enable him to set out for com-parisons, all of the items mentioned above, as taken from the census of 1870: and what is true of Dudley, is true of all the other townships following.   The only items of general interest that can be found relating to Dudley and the twelve townships that follow, are those regarding the population, viz.: population, according to the census of 1890, including Straughn. incorporated and New Lisbon not incorporated, 1,395 ! census of 1900, 1,359: a loss of thirty six in ten years.

The tax duplicate for 1904. the township and towns combined, shows the following: value of lands, $637,600; value of improvements, $111,850: total, $749,450: value of lots. $14,410; value of improvements, $27,560; total, $41,970; value of personal property of all kinds, $432,240; value of railroad property, in-cluding steam and electric lines, $370,720; total value of taxables of all kinds, $1,594,380; less mortgage exemptions, $40,090; leaving the net value of taxables for the year named, $1,554,290.

Total taxes levied on the duplicate for the year 1904, township, Straughn, incorporated, and New Lisbon, not incorporated, combined, which taxes are as follows, viz.:—State tax, for benevolent institutions, State debt sinking fund, State school, State educational institutions, free gravel road repairs, County tax, local tuition, special school, road, township, bridge, court house, and corporation, this last being confined to the corporation of Straughn, $20,254.76. Total polls, being a specified head tax on each male person between the ages of twenty one and fifty, 218: tax on each, distributed through different funds, $2.00; total polls in Straughn, 35: tax on each, $2.00.

From the foregoing, it will be seen that the population of Dudley Township has not been subject to much change since the census of 1870. But a comparison between the tax duplicates of 1870 and 1904, exhibits the fact that the taxable property of Dudley has nearly doubled during that period.

Mortgage exemption is allowed under the law which became effective March 4, 1899. Under this law, an exemption for mortgage on real estate, not in excess of the sum of $700 is allowed, and then only provided the real estate is valued for taxation at twice the sum of the mortgage exemption. Therefore, on all real estate valued for taxation at less than $1400, the mortgage exemption could not be in excess of one half the value of the property.

The first election was ordered to be held at the house of Daniel JPaul, on Saturday, July 6th. 1822, for the purpose of electing one Justice of the Peace, and William McKimmey was appointed Inspector. William McKimmey and Garnette Hayden were appointed first Overseers of the Poor for Dudley Township, and Richard Pearson and Robert Thompson ''Fence-viewers." The elections were afterwards held at Benjamin Strattan's for a number of years: about 1840. at Daniel Reynolds: then at New Lisbon. Soon two polls were opened—one at New Lisbon, and the other near Straughn's. Again the polls were united and held at James Macy's. At this time, there are two polls, one at New Lisbon, and the other at Straughn. The vote at the general election, held Tuesday, Novem-ber 8, 1904, based on the returns for the vote cast for Secretary of State, was: New Lisbon precinct, 200; Straughn precinct, 220; total, 420. The vote set out in the twelve townships following, is for the same election and based on the same returns. -

Today, instead of the mere "trace," the "See trail." the blazed bridle path, winding around through the thickets, around or over logs, through "slashes," or high grass and stinging nettles, high as a man's shoulders, so well remembered by the "oldest inhabitant," or over miles and miles of "corduroy road," of which "internal improvements" Dudley could, fifty or sixty years ago, vie with the world, the township has nearly thirty miles of fine turnpike, splendid and well drained farms and farm houses that equal the best.

WAYNE TOWNSHIP.

The second grand division named in order, on the public records, was to be known and designated by the name and style of Wayne Township.   It was originally six miles from north to south, and eleven in length from east to west, including all that territory west of Dudlev. It thus included in its fair domain about 42,000 acres of very valuable land, much of it today the most valuable in the county. Its first boundaries included one fifth of the present township of Franklin, all of Spiceland, and one sixth of Greensboro. Although thrice shorn of a portion of its "independent jurisdiction," its present area is a trifle in excess of thirty three square miles.

Wayne township had, at the elate of its organization, from thirty to forty families, though the very choice lands, fine springs, and abundant water power of Blue River, Buck and Montgomery creeks, marked it for rapid settlement. A village was projected at the mouth of Montgomery Creek, on the county line, as well as "old State road," at once and known as West Liberty. This became the emporium of trade for the region round about, and rejoiced in all the metropolitan splendors of a "one-eyed grocery" and dry goods store kept by Aaron Maxwell. This "Chamber of Commerce/'' in 1822, consisted of a very indifferent log cabin, with a wide fire place, flanked on one side by a rude table, where Mrs. Maxwell compounded "red bread." and on the other by a barrel of whisky and about as many bolts of calico, etc., as could be piled upon a chair.

Raccoon pelts seem to have been the principal circulating medium, and several years afterward, when the stimulus of sharp competition had taxed the energies of the merchant princes of the day. the old ladies were at times under the necessity of sending by the mail boy for a little tea or other luxury, and young ladies in quest of a bridal trousseau would mount their palfreys and make a day's journey to Cormersville for the outfit.

The Methodists had preaching at West Liberty, in a very early day. perhaps as early as 1823, Reverend Constant Bliss Jones officiating. The preaching was held at Mr. Hatton's private house for some time. Tones was succeeded by Reverend Mr. Brown, who seems to have resided at West Liberty. Mrs. Eliza Jones (then Miss Cary.) taught a school, in 1825 and 1826. and was the first female teacher in those parts. She, with Mrs. Peggy Jones, the minister's wife, organized the first Sunday school in the township, perhaps in the county.

At the first meeting of the Board of Commissioners, an election was ordered to be held at the house of Joseph Watts. July 6th, for the purpose of electing the one Justice of the Peace for the township.   Abraham Heaton was appointed Inspector, and seems to have been elected the first Justice.   In August, Elijah McCray and E. Harden were appointed constables of Wayne Township, until the February term, next in course.   In November, Daniel Priddy was also appointed constable.   Ebenezer Goble and Samuel Furgason were appointed Overseers of the Poor, and Daniel Heaton, Shaphat McCray, and Jacob Parkhurst first "Fence-viewers in and for Wayne Township," and Abraham Heaton was also appointed Superintendent of the school sections in Wayne Township.  The elections in this township were afterward held at Prudence Jackson's house, till 1825: changed to Solomon Byrket's, in 1827: then to Jacob Parkhurst's, then to Raysville and Knightstown alternately, and soon afterward fixed permanently at Knightstown.

Abraham Heaton seems to have had, at this early day, a mill erected at the mouth of Buck Creek, a few rods south of what has for manv vears been known as the "White Mill."  John Anderson, afterward "Judge Anderson," then a fresh arrival, dug the 'race and, receiving $100 for the same, walked to Brookville and entered a part of the present site of Raysville.

Immediately after the organization of the township was effected, the Commissioners ordered the location of a road "to commence at the town of New Castle, and from thence the nearest and best way to Abraham Heaton's mills, and from thence to the county line, where sections thirty three and thirty four corner in township sixteen and range nine, on the line dividing fifteen and sixteen." The terminus was West Liberty, and the route selected was the river route from New Castle via Teas' mill, the stone quarry, and Elm Grove. This was the second ordered in the county, the first being from New Castle, via John Baker's and David Thompson's, on Symons Creek, to the county line, on a direct course, to Shook's Mill, in Wayne County, which shows of what importance the opening of the "Cracker line" was to the early settlements. Not to be wondered at either, since "going to mill" required about two to four days out of the month.

In 1870, Wayne was the most populous and wealthy townships of the county, but now Henry Township holds that rank, Wayne being second. According to the census of 1870, its area was divided into 206 farms; an average of about 103 acres each, and had a population of 3.334, or about 100 per square mile. The value of lands and improvements for 1870 was $664,710; of town lots and impromevents, $433,120; while personal property footed up to the snug little sum of $682,540, making a total of $1,780,370. Something more than one half its population was then to be found in Knightstown, Raysville, and Grant and Elizabeth cities, 330 of its 680 families residing in Knightstown alone. Dudley and Wayne, with the townships carved out of them, constitute the First Commissioner's District, as they always have and do now.

The population of Wayne Township, according to the census of 1890, including Knightstown incorporated, Raysville, Grant City, and Elizabeth City, not incorporated, was 3,333; census of 1900, 3.370.

The tax duplicate for 1904, township and towns combined, shows the following: Value of lands, $694,530; value of improvements, $119,560; total, $814,090; value of lots, $172,260; value of improvements $357,570; total, $529,830; value of personal property of all kinds, $824,850; value of railroad property including steam and electric lines, $445,020; total value of taxables of all kinds, $2,613,790; less mortgage exemptions, $27,920; leaving net value of taxables for the year named $2,585,870. A comparison of the census figures above set forth, shows that Wayne like Dudley Township, has had a very steady population since 1870.

Total taxes levied on duplicate for the year 1904, township and Knightstown incorporated and Raysville, Grant City, and Elizabeth City, not incorporated, combined, which taxes are all in items set out in Dudley Township, with the addition of township poor, corporation bond, lighting streets, school library and water works, the last four being confined to Knightstown corporation, $50,879.69. Total polls in Wayne Township, 226; tax on each, $2.25; total polls in Knightstown corporation, 283; tax on each, $2.25

Formerly, there were voting precincts at Knightstown, Raysville, Grant City, Elizabeth City and perhaps at other points in the township, but for the general election, held November 8, 1904, the total vote was cast at six precincts, all in Knightstown. Perhaps one of them was east of Blue River, at Raysville. The vote was, first precinct, 166; second precinct, 134; third precinct, 161; fourth pre-cinct, 154; fifth precinct, 181; sixth precinct, 156; total, 952. HENRY TOWNSHIP. Henry, the third township, in the "order of their going/' upon the records, was also called up Tune, 1822, and was a strip of territory six miles wide, extending quite across the county from east to west, and including what is now Liberty, Henry, three fifths of Harrison, and nearly all of Greensboro township. This constituted the Second Commissioner's District.   It at first contained 118 square miles, or over 75,000 acres.

Henry Township now contains thirty-six square miles, and is nearly the geographical center of the county, and is the only one in the county in which the Congressional is identical with the civil township. Ten years after the organization of the county, this township had not over 500 inhabitants, while in 1870 it numbered over 2.800. nearly one-half of whom lived in the "rural districts." It contained 135 farms of near 160 acres each, and maintained a population of 78 to the square mile. There were 592 families, 67 colored persons, 121 of foreign birth, and 152 natives of old Xorth Carolina, in the township. The population of Henry Township, according to the census of 1890. including New Castle incorporated, was 4.009: census of 1900, 4,682.

Blue River, dividing the township nearly in the center, is too sluggish to furnish good water power for a mill within the limits of the township. Duck Creek skirts through the northwest corner of the township, and Flatrock through the southeast corner. The table lands between these streams are nearly one hundred feet above the bed of Blue River, and, although there is perhaps as much rolling land in this township as any in the county, there is very little so rolling as to merit the term broken, or too much so to admit of culture. Repeated efforts at ditching and straightening the channel of Blue River have completely redeemed to cultivation the marshy bottom lands which are of inexhaustable fertility.

The county seat being located in Henry Township would of itself (even in the absence of natural advantages), have secured to this township an important position in the county, both financially and politically. The value of the real and personal property in the county, by the assessment of 1870. was shown to be: Lands and improvements, $689,350; lots and improvements. $300,870: personal property, $609,400, making a snug total of $1,599,620.

The tax duplicate for 1904. the township and New Castle, incorporated, combined, shows the following: value of lands, $912,810: value of improvements, $230,020: total, $1,142,830; value of lots. S677.040: value of improvements. S611-130: total, $1,288,170: value of personal property of all kinds, $1.182.720: railroad property including steam and electric lines. $403,890: total value of taxables of all kinds, $4,017,610; less mortgage exemptions, S155.340; total. $3,862,270. Total taxes levied on duplicate for the year 1904, township and New Castle, incorporated, combined, which taxes include all items set forth in Dudley Township with the addition of the township poor tax, corporation, corporation bond, lighting streets, streets, school library, and cemetery, all of which, except township poor tax, are confined to New Castle corporation: total, $82,864.85. Total polls in Henry Township, 202; tax, $2.50 each; New- Castle corporation, 912; tax, $2.50 each.

In 1904, the vote of the whole township cast at six precincts, all in New Castle, was as follows: first precinct, 268; second, 287; third, 340; fourth, 200; fifth, 268; sixth, 330; total, 1,693. This total vote indicates a marked increase in the population of Henry Township for 1904 as compared with the census of 1900. In the four years intervening, the population was largely increased by the location of many new manufacturing establishments in New Castle.

The first election was held at the house of Samuel Batson; Charles Jamison, Inspector. Asahel Woodard, Micajah Chamness, and Thomas Watkins were appointed Fence-viewers for Henry Township. William Shannon and Samuel Batson were elected first Justices of Peace.

The fourth of the original townships, included all the territory lying north of Henry, and was eight miles in width and nearly twenty in length, thus giving it an area of nearly 160 square miles or about 105,000 acres. Within its ample limits were all of the present townships of Blue River, Stony Creek, Prairie, Jefferson, Fall Creek, and about two fifths of Harrison.

In spite of the mutations which have since overtaken it, the township re-mains five miles in width by eight in length, thus containing over 25,000 acres, which were divided, according to the census of 1870, into 201 farms, averaging about 122 acres each.

The population of Prairie Township according to the census of 1890, including Luray, Springport, Mount Summit, and Hillsboro, not incorporated, was 1,663; census of 1900, 1,662, thus showing that the township, in ten years, lost one inhabitant.

Prairie contains four villages, viz.: Luray, Springport, Mount Summit and Hillsboro. The value of farms and improvements for the year 1870, was $559,210; of town lots and improvements, $10,610; of personal property $258,650; making a total for the township, of $828,470. The tax duplicate for 1904, the township and towns combined, shows the following value of land. $686,730: value of improvements, $70,090; total, $756,820: value of lots, $6,900; value of improvements, $25,470; total, $32,370; value of personal property of all kinds, 8287,290: yalue of railroad property, no electric lines, $222,320; total value of taxables of all kinds, $1,298,800; less mortgage exemptions, $45,700; leaving net value of tax-ables for the year named, $1,253,100. "Total taxes levied on the tax duplicate for 1904, township and towns combined, which taxes include all items enumerated in Dudley Township, except corporation tax, there being no incorporated town in Prairie, $18,750.44; total polls, 293; tax on each, $2.50.

 This is a remarkable township in many respects. Situated as it is, on the "divide" between White and Blue Rivers, about one half its surface finds drainage to the north and the remainder southward, and although thus situated on the "water shed," nearly one*sixth of its surface consists of low, wet meadows, from fifty to eighty feet below the general level of the table lands. It is from these meadows or prairies that the township takes its name.   These "flowery leas" seem ever to have been coveted, although within the memory of the oldest inhabitant large portions of them were so-flooded with water much of the year as to be chieflv valuable as the resort of waterfowl. Todav, however, under an extensive system of drainage, even the wettest portions of these prairies have been thoroughly redeemed, making farms which for inexhaustible fertility cannot be surpassed.

The first election for Justice of Peace was held July 6, 1822. at the house of Absalom Harvey; William Harvey, Inspector. William Harvey and Abijah Cane were appointed first Overseers of the Poor, and Abraham Harvey, James Massey, and Robert Gordon, Fence-viewers "in and for said township." In 1826, the place of holding elections was changed to Sampson Smith's, afterward to Enoch Dent's, and again to Ezekiel T. Hickman's, where it remained for many years, but, in 1846, was changed to James Harvey's. Later, there were several changes in the voting place, and now there are two voting places, viz.: south precinct, Mount Summit; north precinct, Springport. Vote, 1904, south precinct, 209; north precinct, 232; total, 441.

The first school house in the township was built on Shubal Julian's land, better known of late as the "Shively farm," perhaps in 1824 or 1825. It was a small affair, with split saplings for seats, and a fire-place across the entire end.

The late Dr. Luther W. Hess, of Cadiz, once a State Senator, and ex-County Treasurer, and Emsley Julian, graduated from this school. Milton Wayman, the last Probate Judge for Henry County, was the teacher.

LIBERTY TOWNSHIP.

Liberty was the fifth township organized, this important ceremony bearing date of February 12, 1822. It was a clipping from the east end of Henry Township, and, according to the metes and bounds prescribed, it was at first one mile less in extent from east to west than at present. It is now six miles wide by six and three fourths in length, thus embracing about forty square miles, mostlv table land, and of a very fine quality generally. Flatrock, rising in Blue River Township, enters the township near the middle of its northern boundary, passing out near the southwest corner. The valley of this stream is so slightly depressed as to form nothing worthy to be called bluffs, and, although too sluggish to be of much value for hydraulic purposes, it, with its small tributaries, seems in some way connected with the drainage and fertility of a wide belt of superb farming lands. The two Symons creeks, heretofore mentioned, find their sources in Liberty Township, and now furnish ample drainage to many sections of fine land that, doubtless, in the early days of Henry County, passed- for very wet land.

The aggregate value of the farms and improvements of Liberty Township exceeds that of the farms of any other township of the county, except Henry, and the evidence of thrift and "farming for profit7' are nowhere more generally visible than in Liberty Township. Four villages have been projected in the township— Millville, Ashland, Petersburg, and Chicago, though it is presumed that the proprietors of the two last named, if still living, have long since abandoned the hope of seeing them outstrip their namesakes. Under the old turnpike law, many miles of turnpike sprang into existence, and now the people of this township rejoice in the advantage of traveling to almost any point on good roads.

According to the census of 1870, the population numbered 1.868, being almost exclusively rural. Its 24,000 acres were then divided into 203 farms, an average of about 120 acres each. The population then numbered about 49 to the square mile, being divided between 376 families. There were then 6 persons of color. 19 foreigners. 64 North Carolinians, and 32 Virginians, within the township. The population of Liberty Township, township and towns combined, according to the census of 1890, was 1.538; census of 1900, 1,416; showing a loss in ten years of more than one hundred, which is explained by the purchase and consolidation of small farms into large ones.

The wealth of the township was estimated for the purpose of taxation, in 1870, as follows: farms and improvements. $712,430; town lots and improvements. $5,950; personal property, $325410; total valuation. $1,043,790. The tax duplicate for the year 1904, the township and towns combined, shows the following, viz.: value of lands, $843,720: value of improvements. $104,130; total. $947,850: value of lots. $970: value of improvements, $3,120: total, $4,090: value of personal property of all kinds. $301,607: value of railroad property, no electric lines. $244,100: total value of taxables of all kinds. $1,497.647: less mortgage exemptions. $42,410; leaving net value of taxables for year named, $1,455,237. Total taxes levied on the tax duplicate for the year 1904, the township and towns combined, which taxes include all items enumerated in Dudley Township, except corporation tax, there being no incorporated town in Liberty Township, $20.854.80: total polls. 241; tax on each. S2.

The first election was held at the house of Ezekiel Leavell. on the first Saturday in May. 1823. furture election of two Justices of the Peace. Ezekiel Leavell was Inspector. John Smith was made Supervisor of all the roads in the township. Jacob Thorp and Cyrus Cotton were appointed Overseers of the Poor. In 1825, the elections were ordered to be held at the house of Samuel D. Wells, and continued to be held at his house for a number of years. After the railroad was built through the township and the town of Millville established, the voting place was moved to that town. There are now two voting precincts in Liberty, one at Millville. the other at Ashland. Vote. 1904. East Liberty precinct. Millville. 209; West Liberty precinct. Ashland, 164; total, 373.

STONY CREEK TOWNSHIP.

This township, the next in order of organization, was established November 11, 1828. By its creation Prairie Township lost about one third of its "independent jurisdiction.'' as Stony Creek was bounded on the west by the range line separating ranges ten and eleven, and extended to the eastern boundary of the county, including all north of Liberty Township, which made it a region of no small consequence. It was at first eight miles from north to south, six miles wide on the north, and about six and three fourths on its south line, and had in its ample area about forty nine and one half sections of land. A tier of eight sections has since been re-annexed to Prairie to compensate, no doubt, in a measure, for the loss of more than two townships on the west. Blue River Township has also been carved out of Stony Creek, thus reducing it in size to barely twenty square miles, about two fifths of its primal area, and leaving it the smallest of the townships.

The township is fittingly named from a creek, which, rising near, runs nearly parallel with, its southern border, then runs north across the township and finally into White River. The immense quantities of bowlders or "traveled stones" scattered over some of the highest ridges and points in the township must not only arrest the attention and excite the curiosity of the observer, but at once obviate the necessity of inquiry as to the township's name.

This township presents, perhaps, a greater variety of surface and soil than any other equal area in the county, and while there was every variety of timber to be found in the county, there was a larger proportion of oak here than elsewhere, and less poplar, ash and walnut.

There is a portion of two or more prairies in this township, similar to those in Prairie. The bottom lands are doubtless equal to any in the county, while the higher lands, which the casual observer would perhaps, pronounce thin or poor, not only produce abundant crops of the smaller grains, but Indian corn of more than average size. Blountsville and Rogersville are the only villages. The population, according to the census of 1870, was 934; divided between 197 families. There were then 13 colored persons, 10 foreigners, 21 natives of North Carolina, and 35 Virginians in the township. There were 118 farms, averaging about 109 acres each.

The population of Stony Creek Township, according to the census of 1890. including Blountsville and Rogersville. was 1.088: the census of 1900 shows a less population, the number being 962. Since then, the Chicago. Cincinnati and Louisville Railroad has been built through the township, and now no doubt the township exhibits a marked increase over that of 1900.

The assessed value of farms and improvements for 1870 was $178,940: of town lots. $6,500: and of personal. Si 12.330: making a total of S297.770. The tax duplicate for the .year 1904. township and towns combined, shows the following: value'of lands, $333,010: value of improvements. $43,910: total. $376,920: value of lots, $3,480: value of improvements. S10.140: total, $13,620; value of personal property of all kinds, $141,740: value of railroad property, no electric lines, $30, 140: total value of taxables of all kinds. $562,420: less mortgage exemptions. $25.-180: leaving net value of taxables for the year named. $537,240. Total taxes levied on the duplicate for the year 1904. township and towns combined, which taxes include all items enumerated in Dudley Township except corporation tax. there being no incorporated town in Stony Creek Township. $9.383.63: total polls. 179; tax on each. $2.00.

The first election was held at the house of Thomas Hobson. Jr.. December 20. 1828. for the purpose of electing one Justice of the Peace: William Wyatt. Inspector. There were formerly two voting precincts, but this was in the days of bad roads, and want of suitable and satisfactory conveyances. Now. since the days of free gravel roads and rubber tired buggies, the two precincts have been consolidated into one. at Blountsville.  Vote. 1904. one precinct. Blountsville. 237.

and yet with this ample domain the township could only muster twenty nine votes at an exciting election, in 1830, and of these but three were Whig votes, yet now the township is largely Republican. Since the organization of the township a strip two miles in width has been given to Harrison Township, and two miles on the east of Jefferson, leaving the township six miles in length, from north to south, and five miles in width.

Fall Creek is a well watered and very fertile township, and well improved farms and good buildings indicate that the husbandman is being well repaid for his labors. The creek from which the township takes its name, rising near the northeast corner, and meandering through, leaves the township, near the southwest corner. It once had sufficient fall to furnish valuable water power. Deer Creek, a tributary, rising in Harrison Township, near Cadiz, emptying into Fall Creek, about one and one-half miles north of Mechanicsburg. also furnished fair water power. A "corn cracker" was erected on this stream, about the year 1826. Benjamin Franklin, then a boy, afterward a noted preacher, is said to have dug the race.  This was the first mill in that part of Henry County.

A very rude log school house, with split pole benches and greased paper windows, did service in the Keesling neighborhood near the present site of Mechanicsburg, as late as 1831 or 1832. Robert Price was the first teacher. Lewis Swain was afterwards principal of this institution. Some of the earlier settlers can remember attending, the log rollings every day for weeks together.

Middletown, Mechanicsburg, and Honey Creek, are the towns and villages of the township. The total population of the township, according to the census of 1870, was 2,004, or about 66 to the square mile. Of these 31 were foreigners, 36 North Carolinians, 321 Virginians, and 4 colored persons. There were 197 families living in the town and villages and 209 in the country. The population of Fall Creek Township, according to the census of 1.890, including Middletown, Mechanicsburg and Honey Creek, was 2.320: census of 1900, 3,311. the principal gain arising from the increase of the population of Middletown.

The wealth of the township, in 1870, for the purpose of taxation, was as follows: farms, $522,270; town lots, $72,650: personal property. $412,280: total, $1,007,200.

The tax duplicate for the year 1904, township, town and villages combined, shows the following: value of lands, $659,780; value of improvements, $124,090; total, $783,870; value of lots, $79,600; value of improvements, $127,410: total. $207,010: value of personal property of all kinds, $476,850: value of railroad property including steam and electric lines, incomplete, $171,810: total value of taxables of all kinds, $1,639,540; less mortgage exemptions, $37,410. leaving a net value of taxables for the year named, $1,602,130. Total taxes levied on the duplicate for the year 1904, township, town, and villages combined, which taxes include all items enumerated in Dudley Township with the addition of township poor, corporation, bond, lighting streets, and streets, the last named three, being confined to Middletown, $28,404.57. Total polls, the township, 235; tax, $2.50. each. Total polls, Middletown, 241; tax on each $2.50.

All elections were ordered to be held at the house of Abraham Thomas, but in 1832, it was ordered that they thereafter be held at Middletown. Elections are now held at Middletown, Mechanicsburg, and Henry Creek. Vote, 1904, Middletown, precinct "A," 118; "B," 163; "C" 105; "D,"*i27; Mechanicsburg, 129; Honey Creek, 123; total, 765.

FRANKLIN TOWNSHIP

Franklin Township was organized on January 5, 1830. It was constructed out of Dudley and Wayne townships, and, from the order making it a township, we learn that the west line was about three fourths of a mile west of the village of Ogden, and continued north to the line dividing townships sixteen and seventeen, which would make the northwest corner of Franklin as it then existed, about one mile west of the Masonic Cemetery, which joins Greensboro on the south. From this point the northern boundary ran east eight miles, or within three fourths of a mile of the present eastern limits of the township. This gave it jurisdiction over nearly all its present territory, all of Spiceland. a small fraction of Wayne (just north of the "Stone Quarry Mill"), and three sections now claimed by Greensboro. In the following year, a change was made in the western boundary, which gave Wavne another tier of sections and made the northwest corner of Franklin Township, just about the location of the Masonic Cemetery, and perhaps, within the corporate limits of Greensboro.

All elections were ordered to be held at the house of Joseph Copeland. John Copeland was appointed Inspector, and Joseph Kellum, Lister; and the first election was ordered on the first Saturday in February. 1830. Upon the setting up of Spiceland Township, in 1842, Franklin, which underwent another mutation, was given a slice off of Dudley, and was then contracted to its present limits of five miles in width, from east to west, by six miles in length.

Flatrock "drags its slow length along" near the middle of the township, and. although at two or three points it was compelled to do duty as a mill stream, it never established much of a character for energy. It. however, is the natural drain of a remarkably fertile bodv of land. Buck Creek drains the northwest corner of the township.


The present area of the township is about 17,200 acres, which according to the census of 1870. was then divided into 151 farms, an average of about 114 acres each. Lewisville, the only village in the township, then contained 86 families, while 213 families resided in the country. Of the population in 1870. 42 were foreigners. 13 colored, 124 North Carolinians, and 29 Virginians; total population of township for 1870, 1,696: population according to the census of town and township combined, for 1890, 1.330: census of 1900, 1,137; loss in ten years 193.. How-ever, the recent improvement in Lewisville, must make a gain in the population of the township for 1905. more than equal to the loss as stated. The loss in popula-tion since 1870 must be accounted for in Franklin Township for reasons given in other similar cases, viz.: the consolidation of small farms into large ones.

The wealth of the township. 1870, is reported thus: farms and improvements, $500.750; town lots and improvements, $42,960: personal property. $332.260: total, $875,970

The tax duplicate for the year 1904, township and Lewisville combined, shows the following: value of lands. $591,920: value of improvements. $88,720: total, $680,640; value of lots, $36,400; value of improvements. $29,330; total. 65.730; value of personal property of all kinds, $368,870; value of railroad property, including" steam and electric lines, $325,240; total value of taxables of all kinds, $1,440,480; less mortgage exemptions, $25,290; leaving net value of taxables for the year named, $1,415,190. Total taxes levied on the duplicate for the year 1904, township and Lewisville incorporated, combined, which taxes include all items enumerated in Dudley Township with addition of township poor, and corporation bond tax for Lewisville corporation, $20,626.66- Total polls in township, 136; tax, $1.50 each; total polls in Lewisville, 72; tax, $2.00 each. Formerly there was but one voting precinct in the township. Now there are two, both in Lewisville. Vote for 1904, West Franklin precinct, 172; East Franklin precinct, 162; total, 334.

GREENSBORO TOWNSHIP.

Greensboro Township, so named from an ancient village of North Carolina, was organized September 7, 1831. It was at first described as "all that part of the territory of Henry Township west of the range line dividing nine and ten." This made it seven miles from east to west, and six miles from north to south, which would include nearly all of the present area of the township and three fifths of Harrison. In 1838, one half its territory was given to Harrison, and a small addition —four square miles—was made to it, taken from the townships of Wayne and Franklin. This change removed the township line one mile south from the village of Greensboro, and left the township with an area of twenty five square miles, or about 16,000 acres, divided, according to the census of 1870. into 118 farms; an average of about 135 acres each.

Greensboro and Woodville (now extinct), on the line between Harrison and Greensboro Townships, were the only villages. Of the 315 families in 1870 in the township, 70 lived in Greensboro. The population of the township numbered 1490. Of these six were reported of foreign birth; 81 colored; 221 were North Carolinians ; and 52 were natives of Virginia. Population according to the census of 1890: Greensboro, Kennard, and Shirley, in Henry County, combined. 1,612: census for 1900, 1,658.

The tax duplicate for the year 1904, township and towns combined, shows as follows: value of lands, $514,320; value of improvements, $72,760; total, $587,080; value of lots, $16,610; value of improvements, $65,820; total, S82.430; value of personal property of all kinds, $269,850: value of railroad property, no electric lines, $137,020; total value of taxables of all kinds, $1,076,380; less mortgage exemptions, $32,330; leaving net value of taxables for the year named, $1,044,050.

Greensboro is a well watered and fertile township. Blue River, skirting through the southeast corner, and Duck Creek, running across the eastern end, furnish fine water power. Much of the land along these water courses is quite rolling and there are numerous knolls, supplied with excellent gravel. Montgomery Creek, crossing the township near the middle, and Six-mile Creek rising in, and running across, the western part of the township, made the complete drainage of a large and fertile portion of the township (originally counted as wet), a matter of no great difficulty.

The assessed value of Greensboro Township, tax duplicate of 1870, was: farms, $364,850; town lots, $34,190; personal, $196,330: total, $595,370. Total taxes levied on the duplicate for the year 1904. township and towns combined, which taxes include all items enumerated in Dudley township with the addition of corporation tax. Kennard, Shirley, and Greensboro, and corporation bond, Kennard, and street tax. Shirley; total. $19,259.59. Total polls in township. 154: tax, $3.00 each; Greensboro corporation, 49; tax, $2.50 each: Kennard, 97: tax. $3.00 each; Shirley, 41; tax, S3.50 each.

For many years and until after the building of the Big Four railroad across the northern part of the township, all elections were held in the village of Greensboro. The first election in the township, was held on the fourth Saturday in September, 1831, and Thomas Reagan was made the first .inspector of elections. There are now two voting precincts, viz.: Greensboro, and Kennard. all voters living at Shirley, Henry County, voting at Kennard. Vote for 1904. east precinct. Greensboro. 192: west precinct. Kennard. 302: total, 494.

HARRISON TOWNSHIP.

The large and important township of Harrison was formed out of the north half of Greensboro and two tiers of sections off the south side of Fall Creek. November 7, 1838. and all elections were ordered to be held at Cadiz.


The general aspect of this township, which is five miles from north to south and seven miles from east to west, is that of high gently undulating table land, with considerable portions formerly inclined to be wet, but very fertile under a system of intelligent drainage, now practically complete.   A larger number of small streams find their head waters in this than any other township of the county. A small portion of the northeast corner of the township finds drainage into Bell Creek, and runs north, and near the same spot rises Honey Creek, also running north. Deer Creek, rising near the center of the township, also runs north by west, and empties into Fall Creek near Mechanicsburg. while two other small tributaries of Fall Creek have their source in the north and northwest portions of the township, and in the central and western portions. Sugar Creek takes its rise and runs wrest. while Montgomery Creek rises in the south part and runs south, and the west fork of Duck Creek rising near Cadiz, also runs south, while the principal branch of that creek, with some small tributaries, pretty effectually drains the eastern end of the township.  A little south and west of Cadiz can doubtless be found some of the highest land in the western part of the county.   Cadiz, and a part of Woodville. now extinct, are the only villages of the township.

Harrison Township contains, exclusive of town lots. Cadiz and Woodville. more than 22,000 acres of land, which, according to the census of 1870. was divided into 183 farms, an average of about 122 acres each. The total assessed value of the township, villages included, on the tax duplicate for 1870 was as follows: farms with improvements. $445,010: town lots including improvements. $11, 030; total value of personal property of all kinds. $217,390: grand total. $673.430.

The tax duplicate for the year 1904. township and villages combined, shows the following: value of lands. $761,280; value of improvements. $102,200: total. $863,480; value of lots, $4,250: value of improvements. $14450: total. $18,700: value of personal property of all kinds, $314,560: total value of taxables of all kinds, $1,196,740; less mortgage exemptions. $33.370: leaving net value of taxables for year named, $1,163,370. It will be noted that there is no railroad property, either steam or electric lines included in the above. Harrison township is the only one in the county not touched bv a railroad. The total taxes levied on the tax duplicate for 1904, township and villages combined, which taxes include all items enumerated in Dudley Township, with the addition of corporation bond and street tax for Cadiz. Total, $20,828.12. Total polls in Harrison Township, 246; tax, $1.50 each; Cadiz corporation, 33; tax, $2.00 each.

At the first election, on the first Saturday in December, 1838, William Tucker, inspector, there were thirty two votes cast for Justice of the Peace. According to the census of 1870, Harrison had a population of 1,916, of whom 32 were colored, 15 foreign born, 101 natives of North Carolina, and 109 Virginians. Population, according to the census of 1890, township and Cadiz combined, 1,674; census of 1900, 1,488; loss in ten years, 186; loss from 1870 to 1900, 428. The loss in population can be accounted for by the purchase and consolidation of small farms into large ones, and the exodus of farmers and their sons and daughters from country to town life.

The first church and school house was probably at Clear Springs, in the southeast corner of the township, constructed in 1831-2 while it was a part of Greensboro Township.

All elections have been held at Cadiz, from the organization of the township to the present time. Formerly, there was but one voting precinct. Now there are two. Vote for 1904, South Harrison precinct, 196; North Harrison precinct, 170; total, 366.

SPICELAND TOWNSHIP.

This township, the smallest in the county, except Stony Creek, was organized, June, 1842, at which time, Ogden was the principal village. Room for it was found by taking a slice off Wayne and a four mile slip off the west side of Franklin Township. It is of irregular shape, being six miles in length on the eastern side, with an average length of five miles and width of four and one half miles. Blue River forms the boundary for about three miles on the northwest. Its area is a little short of twenty two square miles, or about 13,000 acres, which, according to the census of 1870, was divided into 173 farms, giving an average of only about 75 acres each, the smallest average in the county.

Buck Creek, running in a southwest course, crosses the southeastern corner of the township into Rush, where it makes a short turn and re-enters Henry County about the middle of the south line of the township and bearing in a northwest course, nearly four miles, passes into Wayne Township and falls into Blue River at the old Heaton or White Mills. Blue River on the northwest, and the classic little stream named Brook Bezor, which rises near the center of the township and runs north two and one-half miles with an average descent of about thirty feet to the mile, constitute the only water courses of note in the township.

Notwithstanding the smallness of Spiceland Township in respect to area, it is by no means insignificant in some other respects, being fourth in point of population in the county, and up to the average in point of wealth, while its farm lands are assessed higher for purposes of taxation than many other townships in the county.   This is doubtless owing in part to its division into smaller farms and consequent thorough tillage, but much is owing to the high average quality of the land for general farming purposes.

The population of Spiceland Township, according to the census of 1870, numbered 2,020, or about 92 per square mile; of these 334 were born in North Carolina, 45 in Virginia, 17 out of the United States, and 65 were colored persons.

Population of Spiceland Township, including Ogden. Spiceland, and Dunreith according to the census of 1890, 1,823: census of 1900, 1.844: the last census showing a total loss as compared with the census of 1870. of 176. This loss of population, between the years above mentioned, is explained by the improved general school system of the county as compared with the most prosperous days of the Spiceland Academy, under Clarkson Davis, as principal, when it outranked every other school in the county and many people moved to Spiceland to educate their children. The school is yet a most excellent one but the improved educational facilities elsewhere in the county, have stopped the migration to Spiceland as the great educational center.

The first election was held at Ogden, August, 1842. A few years afterwards, the poll was divided and elections held at Spiceland and Ogden. There are now three precincts, two at Spiceland and one at Dunreith. Vote for 1904, West Spiceland precinct, 132; East Spiceland precinct, 196: south precinct, Dunreith, 185; total vote, 513.

The assessed value of the tax duplicate for 1870, in farms was $457,460; town lots, $65,870: personal, $296,310; total, $819, 640. The tax duplicate for the year 1904, township and towns combined, shows as follows: value of lands, $453,590; value of improvements, $10,1410: total. $555,000: value of lots, $24,550: value of improvements, $60,830: total, $85,380; total value of personal property of all kinds, $393,160 value of railroad property, steam and electric lines, $393,180; total taxables of all kinds, $1,426,720; less mortgage exemptions. $29,410: leaving net value of taxables for the year named, $1,397,310. Total taxes levied on the duplicate for the year 1904. township and towns combined, which taxes include all items enumerated in Dudley Township, with the addition of township poor, lighting streets, corporation and street tax, the last three for Spiceland corporation, and corporation tax for Dunreith, total $21,988.26. Total polls in township, 159: tax, $2.00 each; Spiceland corporation, 81: tax. $2.50 each: Dunreith corporation, 30: tax, $2.50 each.

JEFFERSON TOWNSHIP. This township was organized September 5, 1843, out °f &c spare territory of Fall Creek and Prairie. The eastern half of it is eight miles in length, while on the west line it is but six miles. It is four miles in width and contains twenty eight square miles, or nearly 18.000 acres, all passably good land, and much of it very fine farming land. Its principal stream is Bell Creek, which with its tributaries traverses nearly the entire length of the township. Honey Creek is in the southwest; and a branch tributarv of Buck Creek, in the northeast corner, carries into White River a portion of its surplus waters.   Sulphur Springs is the only village.

The population of the township, according to the census of 1870, numbered 1,234, divided into 230 families. 172 of whom lived in the agricultural districts. There were 23 foreigners, 12 North Carolinians, and 169 Virginians in the township. The average size of a farm in the township was about 103 acres, and the population numbered about 46 to the square mile.

The farms and improvements on the tax duplicate for 1870 were valued, for the purpose of taxation, at $359,290; town lots, $18,800; personal, $188,050; total, $566,140.

The tax duplicate for the year 1904, townships and town combined, shows the following: value of lands, $543,460; value of improvements, $73,010; total, $616,470; value of lots, $2,310; value of improvements, $19,840; total, $22,150; total value of personal property of all kinds, $214,200; value of railroad property including steam and unfinished electric line, $143,820; total value of taxables of all kinds, $996,640, less mortgage exemptions, $30.470; leaving net value of taxables for the year named, $966,220. Total taxes levied on the tax duplicate for the year 1904, township and town combined, which taxes include all items enumerated in Dudley Township with the addition of corporation and street tax. Sulphur Springs, $13,269.  Total polls in Jefferson Township, 165 ; tax, $2.50: total polls in Sulphur Springs, 49; tax-, $2.25 each.

The elections were first ordered to be held at the house of Michael Swope. on the 2nd day of October, 1843. f°r the purpose of electing a Justice. Since the building of the Panhandle railroad through the township, 1855-56, and the establishment of Sulphur Springs, the elections have been uniformly held at that place. Formerly, there was but one voting place, now there are two. Vote, for 1904, West Jefferson precinct, 140; East Jefferson precinct, 173 : total, 313.

Population, according to the census of 1890, township and town combined, 1,132; census of 1900, 1,144.

BLUE RIVER TOWNSHIP.

This was the last organized, and is one of the smallest townships of the county, and contains a trifle more than twenty two square miles. It was formed from the south half of Stony Creek Township, by act of the Commissioners, on June 6, 1848.

Blue River Township takes its name quite aptly from being the source of both branches of the stream of that name, so intimately connected with the prosperity and history of the county. "Big Blue," as it is often called, rises near the middle of the western portion of the township, and runs nearly north about three and one half miles to within about one half mile of Rogersville, in Stony* Creek Township, where it bears to the west and is soon wending its way amid the prairies of Prairie Township. The slashes or head waters of this branch of the river are known in the Duke neighborhood by the classic name of "Goose Creek." The stream has a fall of perhaps twenty1 feet per mile for the first three and one half or four miles, and, although the volume of water is small, at the ordinary stage there were formerly two pretty valuable mill seats on it before it reached Prairie Township. "Little Blue" rises near the north line and northeast corner of the township, and running in a general southwest direction into Prairie Township, unites with the main branch about two miles north of New Castle.  On this branch of Blue River were formerly situated the flourishing woolen mills of Mowrer and McAfee and later of Ice. Dunn and Company, and the celebrated Hernly Mill, as well as some of the finest farms in the northern part of the'county. Flatrock also rises in the northeastern portion of this township, and takes a southerly direction, while a small branch of Stony Creek, almost interlapping with ''Little Blue," somehow finds its way through the water shed of this part of the county, and runs north into White River, near the western boundary of Randolph County. From the number of streams having their initial point in the township, and running in opposite directions, the conclusion is easily reached that some of the highest lands in the county are to be found here; but being the highest by no means signifies the dryest. Large portions of the township required drainage to make them available to the husbandman, but being reclaimed are of the very best quality.

The woolen mills mentioned in the preceding paragraph were for many years a land mark in Henry County. There is now no sign of this once flourishing industry except the remnants of a fast disappearing mill race. The factory was first best known as Mowrer and McAfee's and later as Ice, Dunn and Company's. From the destruction of the timber and the drainage of the county and the consequent immediate flow of the waters on their way to the sea. Little Blue River as well as all other rivers and streams in the county have been rendered practically useless, so far as power is concerned, for mill and factory purposes. For the same reason, the Hernly Mill, so long another land mark, was put out of business. This mill and factory stood near each other about three miles northeast of New Castle and not far from the old village of Hillsboro.

This little township was exclusively rural, having neither village nor permanent postoffice within its limits until after the construction of the Big Four railroad through the central part of the county, unless a half interest in the old town site of Centerville, on the line between Blue River and Stony Creek townships, for many years extinct, could have been claimed as a village. Since the building of the Big Four Road, the prosperous and beautiful town of Mooreland has been established and the postoffice has been re-established at what is now the village of Messick. formerly a neighborhood cross roads.

The census of 1870 showed a population of 861. the smallest number at that time, of any of the thirteen civil divisions of the county.  Of this population, 13 were colored; 7 foreigners, 25 Virginians: and 70 North Carolinians. The population, according to the census of 1890 including Mooreland. incorporated, and the village of Messick, was 1,032: census of 1900, 1,053.

The farms and improvements on the tax duplicate of 1870. were valued at $269,250, and the personal property at $88,990: total. $358,240. The tax duplicate for the year 1904, township, town, and village combined, shows as follows: value of lands, $458,220: value of improvements, $37,070: total. $495,290; value of lots, $9,160; value of improvements. $32,160: total. $41,320: total value of personal property of all kinds, $190,620; value of railroad property, no electric lines, $98,040; total value of taxables of all kinds. $825,270: less mortgage exemptions, $43,700; leaving net value of taxables for the year named. $781,570. Total taxes levied for the year 1904, township, town and village combined, which taxes include all items enumerated in Dudley Township, with the-addition of corporation bond, and street tax for the town of Mooreland. $13,267.09. Total polls in township 135  tax- $2.50 each: polls in Mooreland. 76; tax. $3.25 each.

At the time the township was established, all elections were ordered to be held at "the home of Philip Moore or at the Meeting House nearby," and they so continued to be held there until after the establishment of Mooreland as above men-tioned, since which time the voting has all been done at Mooreland where there are now two precincts. Vote for 1904, West Blue River precinct, 145; East Blue River precinct, 174; total, 319.

Return To The Main Index Page