Warrick County Township History
Early Settlement Throughout the County—The Formation of Civil Townships
Catalogues of Early Settlers and Early Land Entries—Life and Customs in the Backwoods
Milling and Other Pioneer Industries—Anecdotes of the Chase—The First Elections—Important Statistics.
Until the formation of Warrick County in 1818, its territory had been
within the boundary of Knox County. Many of the earliest settlers came
before that time, and while Indiana was yet a Territory. During these
first years the hostility of the Indians was an impediment to the
settlement of the new country. Eight years after the first location of
white men in what is now Warrick County, the battle of Tippecanoe was
fought, and the power of the red man in Indiana forever crushed. Up to
that time the settlement of the Territory only advanced as the
population became dense enough to repel the invasions of hostile
Indians. Soon after that event people began to come in greater numbers,
and the demands for a new county became imperative. Scarcely had the
new county been organized ere the increasing population required its
division. Unaccustomed to the usages of the white man and of
civilization the natives retired to the distant solitudes, there hoping
to continue in peace. Within a few years after the Miami Confederacy
under Tecumseh was overthrown, nearly the whole of southern Indiana was
abandoned by the Indians.
The First Settlers .—It's seldom that the first actual settlers of a community are handed down to a distant posterity as such. Nearly every locality has its " first settler." These first settlers are always prominent men in the affairs of their neighborhood after it is more thickly settled. However, if real and actual settlers of those times could be interrogated, quite a change might be necessary in the pages of history. Squatters are the forerunners of civilization and every new country is pregnant with them. No doubt that some of this class come first who are never known in history.
Settlement of Ohio Township.
has the distinction of being the scene of the first white
settlement in what is now Warrick County. This was made by John
Sprinkle, in the spring of 1803, near the present site of the town of
Newburgh. He had been born in Pennsylvania, whence, in the year 1772,
he moved to Kentucky. He came from the latter State to
Warrick County in the year 1803, and remained until his death in 1821.
His family consisted of ten children, of whom some are yet living.
Scarcely had John Sprinkle settled in his new home ere he looked around
upon others who had followed him. In the fall of the same year Felty
Hay and James Lynn moved into this township, and others came in
straggling groups soon after. As the land in Warrick County was not
surveyed until 1805, all settlers before that time were from necessity
squatters, and it was some time even after that before the land was
placed on sale by the Government. Up to the year 1820 the land entries
for what now constitutes Ohio Township were made as follows : Brittain
West, 1816; John Hale, 1816: William Johnson, 1818; Lewis James, 1813;
William Hancock, 1811; William G. Buckler, 1819; Adam Snyder, 1817:
John Alexander, 1818; William Bullitt, 1819; John Miller, 1819; Daniel
James, 1817; Gains H. Roberts, 1817; Alva Pasco, 1819; Richard Vankirk,
1811; Annanias S. Merrit, 1819; Nathaniel Ewing, 1814; Nicholas Boswell
and Fred C. Graff, 1815; Gen. W. Johnson, 1807 ; Felty Hay and Simon
The tract entered by Johnson in 1807 was the first in the county, and comprised 205 acres at the present-location of Newburgh. Some of these persons had been in the county for a considerable time before purchasing land. They had come to their new homes without money, and it required time for them to stem the current and be able to buy a home.
On August 1, 1814, an election was held in Ohio Township for Representative in Congress and members of the Territorial Legislature. Fifty-five votes were cast. Samuel Snyder, Thomas Morton and William Berry were Judges; James G. Jones and William Ross, Clerks at this election. At that time the township was larger than now, and comprised much of what is now Campbell.
Early Elections.—On the 13th of May, 1816, an election was held at the house of William Berry, in this township, for the purpose of choosing a delegate to the Constitutional Convention preparatory to the admission of Indiana into the Union as a State. Thirty-eight votes were cast, of which Daniel Grass received thirty-five, Bailey Anderson two, and James McAllister one. Samuel Snyder was President of the election board, and William Berry, Joab Garrett and Fulkerd Fulkerson were Judges, and the Clerks were Azel W. Dorsey and William Ross. By order of the Board of County Commissioners an election was held on the 4th of August, 1817, for the purpose of electing a member of Congress and a Representative in the State Legislature. The candidates were respectively Thomas Posey and Ratliff Boon, and they received all the votes of Ohio Township to the number of thirty-seven. The election place was at the house of John Wilkerson, and the names of the voters at that time are here given: Josiah Woodruff, John Gunterman, William Jones, William Berry, Jr., John M. Brady, Jesse Tinkler, Willis Snyder, William Berry, Sr., Samuel Hamilton, James Herald, Joab Garrett, James Abshire, Spencer Nanny, Martin Stadiwell, William Ross, John B. Dismer, John Wilkerson, Mason Jones, Samuel Hadley, James Vanzant, John A. Miller, John Langley, William Vest, William Briscoe, Christopher Romine, Joseph Walker, Silas Garrett, James Morton, William Ritchie, John Shales, John Abshire, William Wright, Daniel Grass, Isaac B. Wright, James Nanny, Sr., James Addington and Jonathan Harvey. The last five were Inspector, Judges and Clerks. At this time there were not more than a dozen land-owners in the township, and the number of voters will give some idea of the proportion of squatters then located in the county. Already the rivalry of Daniel Grass and Ratliff Boon bad begun, and on this occasion Grass refused to vote for Boon as Representative in the State Legislature.
Early Mills.—The first settlers for a few years went to Kentucky for most of their milling, but this was too laborious and the distance too great Hand-mills and hominy mortars were early brought into use, and on the coarse product of these the people lived and prospered. The next step in advance of these primitive articles for the manufacture of flour was the horse-mill, and for a time they flourished. The water-mills soon superseded them, and they in time have given place to the large steam grist-mills of the present day.
As early as 1815 the hand-mills had become quite numerous, and one of the earliest was kept by John Hale on the farm now owned by Frank McCool, near Chandler, in the northern part of the township. It was little more than a corn-cracker, yet it did a considerable business for many years and in 1815 was in full operation. About three miles south-east of Millersburg, near the Ohio Township line, John Luce had a horse-mill in 1818, which he continued until his death some years later. A tread-mill was put in operation by Chester Elliott, about one mile south-east of Chandler, in 1825, and it was at once resorted to by a large number of the settlers for their grinding. Prior to this many had gone to Manson's mill, in Vanderburg County.
The first water-mill in the county was built by Solomon Vanada in 1818, on Cypress Creek, not more than a mile from Darlington. This was a very good mill for the times, and was provided with one set of buhrs. Abner Luce built the first steam-mill in the county at Newburgh. ,
Anderson Township. —At the original organization of the county, one of the townships was named Anderson, in honor of Bailey Anderson, its earliest settler.; It is situated in the southeast corner of the county, and bounded on the north by Boon and on the west by Ohio Townships, on the south by the Ohio River and on the east by Pigeon Creek and Spencer County. In area it is the smallest township in the county, containing only about twenty-one square miles. It has been greatly reduced in size since its original formation. In the year 1807 Bailey Anderson came into this township from Kentucky and for the succeeding ten years was one of the leading men of the county. It was at his house that the early courts were held, and he was for some time one of the Associate Judges. About the year 1818 he moved to Texas. In the year 1813 came another man that took a leading part in the early history of the county. This was Solomon Vanada who, it is said, located on Section 4. He was a native of Kentucky. His family consisted of three children, and he served as County Commissioner for some time, besides holding several other important trusts for the county. About the same time, perhaps a little later, came William Briscoe from Kentucky, and settled on some of the land now owned by the heirs of Lewis Taylor. He was County Agent at the time of locating the county seat at Darlington, and was afterward Sheriff for several years. In the year 1814 came Lewis Taylor, who was for many years one of the foremost citizens of the county and at one time held the office of County Commissioner. His family was rather large and some of them are yet living and among the best people of the county. Others came about the same time. John Baker, a native of South Carolina, and a soldier of the Revolution, together with his two sons, Edward and John, located in this township in 1814, but soon after moved to what is now Boon Township. One of the earliest settlers was Joseph Arnold, a County Commissioner prior to 1818, and one of the first Justices of the Peace in the township. Daniel Rhoads came from Kentucky in an early day, and Daniel Bates from Rhode Island in 1815. John Youngblood, a native of South Carolina, came in 1814 with the family of Lewis Taylor, and two years later was married to Anna; Musgrave, whose parents had come in 1814. He remained in the county for many years and was among its best known citizens, and for years was a prominent member of the Methodist Episcopal Church. Other early settlers were Nathan Pyeatt, Hubbard Taylor, Solomon Rhoads, Leonard Bullock, Solomon Day, Jonah Frisbie. James Horton, David Hedges, Martin Kiser and Anthony Kiser. Some of a later date, many of whom are yet living, are J. M. Youngblood, J. W. Boner, S. E. Bates, Orrin Caswell, Amos W. Davis, Joseph Funk, Anthony Fisher, Malon Fay, Hiram Horam, Boney Herr, Felix Haberstroh, Daniel Hartley, Andrew Barnett, Bray ton Johnson, Johnson Selby, Johnson Taylor and Martin Vanada.
Early Land Entries.—Perhaps no part of the county was in better demand than Anderson Township. This is shown by the record of land entries, but why it should be so would be difficult to explain on any other ground than that of being contiguous to the Ohio River, the commercial thoroughfare of early times. The soil is not more fertile and the surface is broken and hilly in a large part of the township. The purchasers of land from the Government up to the year 1820 were as follows: John W. Youngblood, 1819; Solomon Vanada, 1814; John Barker, 1814; Joseph Arnold, 1814; S. R. Carr, 1817; William Boner, 1814; William Snelgrove, 1813; John Vanada, 1812; Nathaniel Ewing, 1814; Henry Hopkins, 1814; John Baker, 1814; Daniel Rhoads, 1810; Eliphalet Ludington, 1816; Lewis Taylor, 1814; Samuel Hall, 1816; Harry Smith, 1819; Alpha Frisbie, 1816; Hiram C. Boon, 1818; William Briscoe, 1814; Benjamin W. Dudley, 1818.
Early Elections.—On the first Monday in August, 1814, an election was held in Anderson Township for a delegate to Congress and for mem-ber of the Territorial Legislature. Forty-eight votes were east in all. As kept in those days the records of an election show how each man voted, and they are sometimes interesting. At this particular election Elisha (Elijah) Sparks and Jonathan Jennings were candidates for Congress. Tnese seven voted for Sparks: Joseph English, Bailey Anderson, Sr., George W. Tevault, John Lout, Lawrence Younce, Josh Anderson and John Gouts. Jennings received forty-one votes, as follows: George Briscoe, Adam Young, William Stone, Paton Thrailkill, Wyatt Anderson, Lewis James, John Young, Daniel Rhoads, Josiah Woodruff, William H. Gillam, Nathaniel Woodruff, Hiram Tevault, Anderson McFadden, Thomas Higgins, Solomon Vanada, Bailey Anderson, David Shelton, John Meeks, Absalom Dover, Jacob Seavor, Henry James, William Vaughan, Daniel James, Athe Meeks, Edward Baker, John Baker, Sr., John Baker, Jr., William Henslee, Jesse Gay, Amos Critchfield, William Briscoe, John Luce, Robert Laton, John Sprinkle, Freedom Gay, John Gardner, James Young, George Knox, John Alexander, David Lawrence, Sr., and David Lawrence, Jr. At this election William Prince, Gervers Hazelton and David Robb were candidates for the Legislative Council, and Ratliff Boon and Hugh McGary were candidates for Representative. Robb received forty-six votes and William Prince one vote. Boon received forty-seven votes and McGary one vote.
This gives a good idea of the number of citizens then occupying Anderson Township; it embraced considerable portions of both Ohio and Boon Townships. Politics seems to have been more one-sided than at the present day.
Boon Township.—Boon Township received its name for its illustrious citizen and early settler, the Hon. Ratliff Boon. It was created in 1816 while the county seat was at Darlington. The County Court ordered that " Anderson Township be subdivided by a line running through the center of Township No. 6, south of the base line, and that portion north of the aforesaid township of Anderson be and the same is hereby ordered to be known as Boon Township; and it is further ordered that the several elections, to-wit: For a delegate to the convention and a member of the Legislature, the former to be holden on the second Monday in May and the latter on the first Monday in August next, be and are hereby ordered held at the house of Joseph English, in the aforesaid township of Boon, and to be conducted by Hezekiah Hargrave, who is hereby appointed to superintend the same. " By many it is supposed that Ratliff Boon was the first settler in this townehip, but of this there is some doubt. Others go so far as to claim that his son Perry was the first white child born in the county; but when it is considered that there were many families settled in the county from three to four years earlier than the date claimed for Boon's settl ement here, the probabilities of Perry's birth being the first will not be very strong.
Early Settlers.—Many names already given in the Anderson Township history figure larger in the first events of Boon Township. Ratliff Boon was a native of Georgia, but while young moved with his parents to Danville, Ky., where he learned the trade of gunsmith. He came to Warrick County not earlier than the year 1809, although it is claimed by some that he came two years earlier than that date. His father-in-law was Bailey Anderson, who had come in 1807, an I by whose solicitation he was induced to locate in the new Territory. From the time of his settlement in Warrick County he was identified with all public enterprises. It is said that he located about three miles west of Boonville and that the house erected by Boon is still standing. At the first election held in Boon Township after its organization, on the 13th of May, 1816, thirty-one votes were cast for delegate to the Constitutional Convention. Twenty-seven were for Bailey Anderson and four for Daniel Grass. Following is a list of the voters: Ratliff Boon, Bailey English, Bailey Anderson, Joshua Anderson, Samuel Hinman, John Lout, Thomas Skelton, Finkney Anderson, John Litner, Joseph Lawrence, John Hale, John Alexander, William Campbell, William Alexander, Thomas Campbell, Daniel Frame, Robert Layton, John Baker, John Luce, Samuel Broshears, John Hargrave, Bailey Anderson, John Gardner, James Hargrave, William Webb, Wilson Bullitt, John Rout, Hezekiah Graynes, (?) Joseph English, George W. Tevault and Robert 0. Tevault. Eneas McAllister was a candidate at this election, but in Boon Township received no votes. The returns were signed by Hezekiah Hargrave, John Keith, G. W. Tevault and Joseph English as Judges, Wilson Bullitt and Robert 0. Tevault, Clerks. This, it must be remembered, was about two years prior to the birth of Boonville, and while the county-seat was located at Darlington.
Boon Township is by far the largest in the county and occupies a central position. It is bounded on the north by Hart and Owen Townships, on the east by Skelton Township and Otter and Little Pigeon Creeks, on the south by Little Pigeon Creek, Anderson and Ohio Townships, on the west by Ohio and Campbell Townships. In agricultural facilities it is unexcelled by any other in the county. This was recognized by the early settlers, and the land entries for this township are larger in proportion than in any other part. The following is a full list, prior to and including the year 1820: James Young, 1818; Samuel Shannon, 1818; Israel Broshears, 1819; William Barker, 1816; John Williams, 1820; Daniel, Andrew and Isaac Rhoads, 1815; Jacob Sever and J. Johnson, 1817; John Williams, 1818; George Williams, 1820; John Davis, 1819; John Campbell, 1820; William Baker, 1817; Isaac Hudson, 1817; John McMillan, Sr., 1817; Francis M. Ashley, 1818; John D. Day, 1819; William Graham, 1818; James Hargrave, 1816; Joseph Weir, 1817; William Webb, 1817; William Campbell, 1816; John Mumford, 1817; Hezekiah Hargrave, 1816; Richard Stephens, 1815; Samuel Broshears, 1815; William Harris, 1818; William Berry, 1817; Joseph English, 1812; Isaac Blackford, 1818; John Gardner, 1814; Ratliff Boon, 1812; John Daugherty, 1816; John Couts, 1813; James W. Battle, 1818; James Wright, 1816; Nathan Nichols, 1817; William M. and Orville A. Tarlton, 1820; Joshua Anderson, 1813; Bartholomew Wood, 1816; Jesse Boon, 1817; Edward Baker, 1817; Joseph Adams, 1818; Henry Hopkins, 1818; Brannock Wilkerson, 1818; Walter Wilson, 1818; Eli Strand, 1817; Samuel Hinman, 1814; Henry Rhoads, 1818; James McCulla, 1819; Romely Perig, 1818; John T. Allen, 1818; W. G. Buckler, 1818; Moses Wood, 1818; Roland Ellis, 1818; James Corwin, 1816; Olney Hines, 1819; Job Matthews, 1818; Daniel Frame, 1815; Solomon Vanada, 1818; Robert Hedges, 1818.
Campbell Township.—Campbell Township lies in the western part of the county, and is bounded on the north by Greer and Hart Townships, on the east by Hart, Boon and Ohio Townships, on the south by Ohio Township and Vanderburg County, and on the west by Vanderburg County. Agriculturally it is one of the best townships in the county and contains about thirty-nim square miles. It is watered by Big Pigeon Creek flowing across from north to south and along most of the southern boundary. Squaw Creek runs along the eastern boundary, and together these two streams drain nearly the whole township, flowing through belts of arable land. The date of the organization of this township is probably as early as any, except the original townships of the county. It was named for Thomas Campbell, an early settler of the county. " He was a native of North Carolina (born in 1785) and removed from Kentucky to Warrick County in Indiana in 1813, and settled in Boon Township, where he resided one year, then removing to what is now Campbell Township, locating on the farm now owned by Thomas Davis. He had a family of four children, * * * was one of the County Commissioners at an early day and a prominent member of the Methodist Church, his house being used as a place of worship for a number of years. He had the reputation of being a great hunter in his day. He died August 29, 1840. When Campbell came to this neighborhood, John Luce was living on the land now owned by John Grant. The first mill of any kind in this part of the county was a horse-mill erected by Luce on this land." In the year 1817, while the Circuit Court was in session at Darlington, then the county seat, James Anthony received permission to erect a dam on Pigeon Creek at the present site of Millersburg. Not long after that a mill was erected there and has been maintained ever since. Phillip Miller was its owner in 1824, and a man named Cox bought it not long after. For many years it was one of the beet in the county and did a large amount of custom grinding.
The land in this township was nearly all covered with heavy timber and required the hard labor of the pioneers to get under cultivation. Their first effort was directed toward clearing off a small patch upon which a few of the necessities of life were raised. Corn was prominent among these early products of the soil and bore an important part in the settler's daily bill of fare.
The county records show a total of only two entries in this township prior to the year 1820. These were by David Lawrence in 1817, and Zabina Lovejoy in 1818. There is evidently a mistake in this, for James Anthony was required to be the owner of the land upon which he requested permission to erect a dam in 1817. Since he was granted that right it is fair to presume he owned the land. There is an old maxim of the law that says, "False in one, false in all," but it would hardly be fair to thus impeach the whole of the county tract book on this slight evidence. However, it might not be unfair to suppose that other mistakes of a like nature existed. It seems a little strange that the good land in Campbell Township should lay so long without an owner when it was being taken so rapidly in Boon Township adjoining. Perhaps the location of the county-seat had something to do with it.
Among the early settlers in this township were John Luce, Isham West, Joseph McDonald, Phillip Miller, Thomas Smith, Elisha House, James Ward, Isaac and Daniel Hudson, Martin Lowe, William Davis, Samuel Bogan, Harper Davis, Levi Iglebart, Moses Condit, H. M. Schrode, Mark Feighly, Robert Brown, A. Holder, John Rowe, W. H. Tevault, Henry Hunt, Fielding Miller, Jesse Keith, Daniel Hunt and Foster Ketcham, besides many others whose names were then familiar through-out the county.
Wild game was then prevalent through all the forest wilderness, and in this Warrick County was abundant. One kind that in early times was not uncommon, were the wild hogs that roved through the woods in quest of forest fruits. There were more of them in Campbell Township than most any other part of the county. This was most likely on account of the Big Pigeon that would deposit many of the nuts along its over-flowed banks and leave them to be easily obtained by animals in search. These hogs were originally of the domestic breed that by long and corntinned roaming at large had become wild and almost ferocious. Whea the earlier settlers came their meat was often derived largely from this source.
Welte is situated in the western part, on the line between Sections 17 and 18. The first merchant here was Fred Lether, who began about the year 1870. He was succeeded at different times by others, none remaining long. The Postmaster was B. F. Morris, about 1880. Joseph Welte is the present merchant and Postmaster and does a moderate trade. A physician is located here, and it is the residence of Rev. C. J. Conrad, the rector of Saint John Evangelist's church at the same place.
Hart Township.—Of the four townships along the northern boundary of the county, the second one from the west is Hart. This township was created in 1826 at September meeting of the County Board, and at the same time Ohio Township was formed. Big Creek flows across the central part of the township from east to west, and Otter Creek has its origin in the southern part. John Hart, Sr., for whom the township was named, was appointed Inspector of Elections, and they were to be held at his house. In January, 1828, David Hart was appointed Inspector instead of John Hart, and the following year Isaac Fleenor received that honor, and the elections were to be held at the house of Tubby Bloyd. In July of that year (1829) Henry Broadwell was declared elected Justice of the Peace in this township. His election was contested before the County Board by James Hinman. After the necessary investigation Broadwell was sustained.
Early Settlers.—It is said that William Rickett was the first settler is this township, but this is doubtful. The date of his coming is placed at 1816. Other early settlers were John Ferguson, Nick Hanks, William and Henry Hopkins, William Julian, Joseph Rice, William Bristow, Solomon Turpin, James Hinman, John Hart, Lane W. Posey, Tubby Bloyd, John McMurtry, Eliza Boyd, Charles Morgan, John Taylor, John James, Ross McCord, Clem Nutter, Isaac E. McSwain, Jonathan Cox, Jeremiah Cash, David Murphy, David Hart, Isaac Fleenor and William Simpson. John Hart was one of the Associate Judges in the Circuit Court. This place he filled for several years. He was a native of Ken-tucky. James Hinman, who came to the county in 1814 and located in this township in 1827, is still living and in his eighty-sixth year.
Land Entries.—In what now constitutes Hart Township the total land purchases from the Government up to the year 1820 were made by Henry Hopkins, 1818; William Hargrave, 1819; Jonathan Latham, 1819; John Hart, 1819; Thomas Archer, 1820; Jonathan and James McCord, 1819; Nancy McCord, 1818; David Hall, 1817; Ross McCord, 1819, and John McCord, 1819. In the meantime many squatters located in this part of the county, and the population was on a steady, although perhaps slow, increase.
The early settlers were a long distance from any grist-mill, and inconsequence they often resorted to the old hominy mortars, known in the early history of every community. These were nothing more than a large stone hollowed out, and in them was placed the corn to be pounded fine instead of being ground. The pestle, or hammer for pounding, was sometimes fastened to the middle of a spring-pole, one end of which was attached to a post, the operator standing at the other.
Greer Township.—As elsewhere stated, Greer Township was organized at the June session of the County Commissioners in the year 1858. It was named in honor of an old, highly-respected citizen of the township. This was Richard Greer, a native of Philadelphia, born in 1780, and Whence, three years later, he moved to North Carolina with his parents. At the age of twenty-five years he located in what is now Orange County, Ind. After living there for several years he came to Warrick County. Like all the earliest settlers, he lived for some time on Congress land. Other of the early settlers here were William Taylor, John Barton, John Hornet, George Taylor, James Keel, Joseph Fields, Seth Thompson, Larkin Burchfield, James Flack, Elijah Barton, Abraham Reed and Enoch Taylor.
Greer Township contains but thirty sections of land. It is watered by Big Creek and Big Pigeon, and contains some of the best farming land in the county. At the organization of the township Eli Loper, David Barnett and R. M. Archer were appointed Township Trustees; David W. Beeson, Township Treasurer, and George W. Haywood, Township Clerk. At first it was divided into two election precincts, but in December, 1854, this was changed—it was made into one.
Up to the year 1820 there were but two land entries in the whole of what now constitutes the township. These were made by Robert Cardwell in 1810, and by Jonathan Harned in 1818. The fact is patent that up to the year 1830 there was but a small portion of the land in Warrick County owned by the people then living in it. About that year, however, an impetus was given in that direction, and it became the ambition of the citizens to own land from which no power could drive them. For twenty years, up to I860, a large amount of land was purchased of the Government, and Warrick County was then receiving its greatest immigration. But even after that date there was yet considerable of the land in the county unsold. Greer Township was taken from the two townships of Hart and Campbell, and since its first formation has never been changed.
Owen Township.—At the December term, 1846, of the County Board, a new township was ordered to be laid off from the north side of Skelton Township and to be known as Owen Township. In addition to its present territory it embraced the townships of Lane and Pigeon, and was at that time one of the largest in the county. The elections were ordered to be held at Taylorville, a town since named Selvin. James Ashby was appointed Inspector. The township was reduced to its present limits in 1859, by the organization of Lane Township out of land until that time belonging to Owen. It was named in honor of Robert Dale Owen, a man well known in more States than one. Its size is exactly twenty-four sections or square miles.
Among the first substantial settlers in this township the Gentry family occupies an important place. Among the first was William Gentry, who came in 1821, and Matthew Gentry in 1822, both from North Carolina. They located on land not far from the village of Folsomville, and were for years prominent in county affairs. The first purchase of land in the township was in 1820, when William Erwin became the owner of eighty acres in Section 33. Before that time David McNeely, Gentry Hodges and Thomas Larkin were citizens of the township. Benjamin Leslie came in 1822 and James Ashby in 1823. Ashby was for several years one of the leading men in the county and was for a while on the County Board. Timothy Ford, Jonathan Floyd, John Shelton, John Leslie, Bluford Bethell, Armor Reed, Isham Kelly, Austin Kelly, William Blackford, John Sturn, John King, John B. Ford and Cloud Bethell were also early settlers in this township.
Shelton Township.—If Skelton was not one of the original townships of the county, it was at least one of the earliest that was organized after the creation of the county. Its name was given in honor of Zachariah Skelton, a leading early settler in the county. He was a native of Georgia. In 1818 he located in Warrick County, near the present site ef Selvin in Pigeon Township, and which was included in Skelton Township at its formation. It originally comprised all the land now contained in Lane, Owen, Pigeon and Skelton Townships, and so remained until the formation of Owen, in 1846. For more than a score of years, Zachariah Skelton was a Judge in the Warrick County Courts. In 1837 he moved to the present Skelton Township. Another of the earliest to locate in this township was John Phillips, who came some time prior to 1818. He took an active interest in all matters pertaining to the public welfare. In 1825 the public records show him to have been Inspector of Elections in Skelton Township. During the same year, Stephen Sally and Levi Lockhart, were Overseers of the Poor. In 1827 James Ashby was appointed Constable of the township, and in that year the County Board ordered an election for a Justice of the Peace, to supply the place of John Phillips, who had resigned. In January following. John Skelton was appointed Inspector of Elections, which were to be held at the house of Joseph Phillips. In 1829 Moses Matthews was granted a license to ferry across Little Pigeon Creek. In 1881 the elections were held at the mill of William Gentry in the township. Concerning the early habits and customs of the settlers, an author of Newburgh wrote as follows: " It will be remembered that when southern Indiana was first settled, pioneers were entirely isolated from the conveniences of manufactories. Bread-stuffs and wearing apparel consisted almost solely of home manufacture. There were no mills in this section, except hand-mills, until the year 1816, at which time horse-mills were introduced. The first horse-mill of which I have any recollection, was owned by Mr. McNeely. situated at Dickeyville, in Owen Township, about one-half mile from where Uncle Mat. Gentry now (1882) lives. Tubby Bloyd had one in Hart Township, and it was situated on the land now owned by J. B. Graham. Another one was situated near where Samuel H. Curtis now lives. Mr. Powers had one in Boon Township, near James Monday's, also another close to Harpole's, near the fairground. These mills were the ones that did the business in my boyhood days."
Up to 1820 there were four land entries made in the bounds of Skelton Township. They were by John Phillips 1817, William L. Hanby, 1819; John Stephenson, 1818, and William Baker 1817.
Pigeon Township.—In September, 1849, the Board of County Commissioners passed an order for the organization of Pigeon Township out of Owen Township. It is the northeastern township of the county, and is bounded on the North by Pike and Dubois Counties, on the East by Spencer County, on the South by Spencer County and Skelton Township, on the West by Owen and Lane Townships. It total area is forty-two square miles or 26,880 acres. Little Pigeon Creek crosses it entirely from North to South, and the township contains much fine farming land.
As elsewhere stated Zachariah Skelton was one of the early pioneers in this portion of the county. He lived in this township until 1837. About the year 1820, and a few years later, Pigeon received many of its prominent early settlers. Among them were George, Nicholas and John Taylor and for them the town of Taylorville was named. In this same part of the township John Greenaway, Samuel Ingram, Jesse Spradlin, Job Spradlin, Frederick Aust, Joseph Greenaway and Bryan Spradlin settled. In the eastern portion of the township B. A. Ward, A. M. Jones, Jesse Isaacs, Morgan Chinn, P. N. Whitinghill, Hiram Bruner, John Beardsley, William Edwards, Jefferson Edwards, C. B. Allen and the Kitchen family were among those who came first and helped to clear away the native forests.
he first elections in the township were to be held at the house of Mitchell Bryant, so said the county Board when ordering the township. The land bought of the Government up to 1820 was by George Taylor 1819, Elijah Scales 1819, Joseph Winkler 1818, Zachariah Skelton 1817, David Winkler 1818 and James Gentry 1818, making one purchase for every seven sections.
Lane Township is the one last organized of any in the county, dating from the December term, 1859, of the County Commissioners' Court. Its area is twenty-four square miles, being six miles from east to west, and four from north to south. On the north it is bounded by Pike County, on the east by Pigeon Township, on the south by Owen Township, and on the west by Hart Township. At the time of its formation it was a part of Owen Township. It was named in honor of Gen. Joseph Lane, one of America's illustrious men, who was at one time a resident of what was formerly Warrick County. Prominent among its early settlers was illiam Scales. Others were Stephen Hanby, David Whittinghill, Daniel nd Hiram Cook, Jasper Hanby, and Stephen Ashby. In the year 1819 James Gentry and Hiram Cook bought land in what now constitutes the township.
First Township Officers.—The first County Court, held at the house of Bailey Anderson, near the mouth of Cypress Creek, in 1813, recommended to the Governor the following persons to be appointed Justices of the Peace : Samuel Snyder, Ohio Township ; Thomas Higgins, Anderson Township; David Brumfield, John Talbot and Thomas E. Casselberry, Pigeon Township, and Joseph Kennedy for Big Creek Township. The following persons were appointed to list all taxable property in the several townships : Samuel Conner, Tobin Township ; Elias Roberson, Ohio Township; Robert Tevault, Anderson Township; Thomas Alsop, Pigeon Township, and Shufle York, Big Creek Township. At a special session of the court, held at the house of Hugh McGary in June following, George Tevault was appointed Lister, in place of Robert Tevault, in Anderson Township. Hugh McGary, Samuel Gill and William Curtis were appointed Inspectors of beef, pork and flour for the entire county, and John Talbot was recommended for County Surveyor. Overseers of the Poor were named for each township, and were as follows : Samuel Conner and James McDonnell, Tobin Township; Ratliff Boon and Wyatt Anderson, in Anderson Township; Thomas Spencer and Jacob Garrett, in Ohio Township; Zeddick McNeal and Jacob Landers, Pigeon Township; Samuel James and James Albright, in Big Creek Township. The ferry atNewburgh, belonging to the heirs of William McFadden, was taxed $4 for the year 1813. For the same period, that of Jacob Winmiller was taxed $4; Jonathan Anthony's, $6; Hugh McGary's, $3, and John Sprinkle's, $1.
Another special session was held at Evansviile, the county seat, on Monday, the 16th day of August, 1813. At that time Nathaniel C. Claypool was licensed to retail merchandise and spirituous liquors until, February 1,1814, in Warrick County. Henry Webster was licensed until the 17th of the same month at the rate of $4 per year.
At the October term of the court iu the same year the places of hold-ing elections and the Inspectors were decided upon as follows: At the house of George Tobin in Tobin Township, James McDonnell, Inspector; Anderson Township, at the house of Freedom Gays, Ratliff Boon, Inspector ; Ohio Township, at Francis Morton's, Daniel Grass, Inspector; Pigeon Township, at William Wagman's, Thomas Casselberry, Inspector; Big Creek Township, at Abraham Duckworth's, James Black, Inspector. The first election was held on the first Monday of November, 1813.
On November 15 the court ordered these sums to be paid from county funds for wolf scalps: David Whitstone, $2; William C. Carson, $3; John Russell, $2; David Lawrence, $6; and Samuel R. Mars, $5. David Lynn was recommended for the office of Justice of the Peace. In those days the election returns were taken to Vincennes, and for that service Peter Gray, of Anderson Township, Thomas Spencer, of Ohio Township, Joseph French, of Big Creek, and Charles Carson, of Pigeon Township, were selected.
In May, 1814, a new township was organized in the northwestern part of the county and called Lynn. At the same term Daniel Grass was recommended to the Governor as a suitable person to be appointed Associate Judge in the place of Bailey Anderson, who had resigned. In December, 1815, the court began its sessions at Darlington and Thomas Higgins was licensed to keep a tavern at that place. In September of the following year he was granted permission to retail merchandise at his house. In this manner were the first affairs of the county conducted and when comparing with the present a great and interesting change is presented. Then, two men were all that the public necessity required for the discharge of the. county business and they at an aggregate salary that would scarcely support in moderate style the family of a deputy of the present day.
Four-fifths of a century have gone by since John Sprinkle, in 1803, first landed in Warrick County in search of a new home among the forest wilds of Indiana. All evidence goes to show that he was the first white man to locate in what now constitutes the county of Warrick. Could he, Van Winkle-like, be aroused from his long slumber, there is little doubt that his surprise would more than equal that of the far-famed sleeper of the Catskill Mountains.
Source: History of Warrick, Spencer and Perry Counties Indiana Goodspeed Bros. Co 1885