Stormont's History -- Township Formation
To add additional sources relating to
Barton township is located in the southeast corner of Gibson county. It
is bounded on the north by Center and
Warrick counties, south by Warrick county, west by Johnson and Patoka
townships. This township was organized in August, 1843, but afterward
the boundary lines then fixed were changed. The township was formed by
request of many of its later citizens who drew up a petition.
The land surface of this township is typical of the county, undulating
and hilly in places and in others, low and rich. Smith's fork, Pigeon creek
and their tributaries drain and water the soil. McCullough's pond is also
located in the southwestern part.
John Miller is accredited with being the first settler in Barton township.
He came in the autumn of 1814 and located on section 8, township 3, range 9,
builded himself a rude cabin of logs and housed his family there during the
following winter. He was a native of
and with a pack horse. Elisha Strickland came in the summer of 181 5, and
also Jacob Skelton. In 1818 came William McCleary. The first settler in
the southeastern part of the township was John Kilpatrick, who came in
1821. William Barrett, Andrew McGregor, James Breedlove and Eli J.
Oliver were other early residents.
Perhaps the first marriage of the township was that of John Skelton, Sr.
They rode to the minister's home on horseback, the bride mounted on the
pillion. Stephen Strickland, Jacob Bouty and John Kell were the earliest
ship. The first water-mill for grinding corn was erected by Jacob Bouty, on
Smith's fork of Pigeon creek. Dr. George Austin was the first physician of
Coal digging began in this township about 1833, on section 5, township
3, range 8. 1880 was the year that a destructive cyclone passed over the
township, demolishing homes and killing animals
After the organization of this territory into Barton township the first
election was held at the house of Blueford H. Griswell,
Jacob Skelton was appointed first overseer of the poor.
The history of the early-day schools will be found in the chapter on
Education. The churches are also mentioned in the Church chapter.
The first child born in this township was John Miller in 1815, he being
the son of the first settler. It is believed that the first death was that of
Seth Adkinson in 1817.
the History of
Center township is bounded on the north by
by Pike county and
ships and west by Patoka township. The Patoka river and its tributaries,
Lost, Keg and Mud creeks, drain the land. The heavy timber which orig-
inally covered the ground and furnished such excellent hunting grounds, is
all cleared, and farms dot the country in places.
Perhaps the earliest settler of the township was one William Reavis, a
North Carolinian by birth and of Scotch-Irish ancestry. Isam and Daniel
Reavis came in 1818; David Johnson, Thomas Birchfield, Samuel Beasley and
Thomas H. McKedy were other early settlers. The early history of this
township coincides with the other and more important townships, in which
its earlier history is included.
In 1817 William Reavis married Catherine Hensley and soon after this
event they made the long and tedious trip to this county on pack-horses, ar-
riving in the summer of the same year. They settled near the present town
of Francisco, about a mile southwest, in the timber, where they cleared a
tract, erected the usual log cabin, and by industry made them a fine farm
home. One of their children was Alexander, who became a soldier in the
Union army in the Civil war, and died in
died at the old homestead in 1855. His widow survived him about two
years. They were both of the Regular Baptist faith.
Isam and Daniel Reavis, brothers of William, with their families, came
in 1818 and made a settlement not far from their brother's place. They had
both formerly resided in
sisting in raising a log house, one of the logs falling upon him. The Reavis
brothers, for a few years after coming here, occasionally had their milling
done at the then distant Post Vincennes. Charles Reavis later removed to
animals. They all had large families and had numerous descendants, many
of whom are still in this section.
David Johnson was among the early pioneers of this county, having
settled in the southern part in November, 1810, and in the spring of 1817
he located on a tract in the timber, about two miles north of Francisco. He
Thomas Birchfield was among the old settlers of the county, a native of
Larkin Birchfield, who was an old-timer in the county. When Thomas Birch-
field came in Indians were very numerous. He, however, got along with
them in a peaceful manner. His first abode was in a small squatter's cabin.
Meats for his table the first winter consisted of the deer, wild turkey and
other games of the forest. He later bought out the improvements of
James W. Cockrum, where Francisco is now situated.
Samuel Beasley, a native of
mile and a half south of Francisco in 1830. He had a large family. John S.
Meade, though not an old resident here, is a son of one of the earliest settlers.
His father was a native of
Gibson county in 1815. Here he married Mary Pritchett, a daughter of
John Pritchett, an old Revolutionary soldier. The Pritchetts moved from
ship a short distance from Owensville. Stephen Meade married, in 1820,
and located in Johnson township. This couple had fourteen children, twelve
sons and two daughters.
Dr. J. C. Patten, of Francisco, is a descendant of one of the early
descendants of this county. His grandfather, James Patten, was a captain
in the Revolutionary war. After the war ended he moved to
in 1804 settled on Green island,
He raised a large family, among whom was Hugh Patten, who was for many
years a leading physician in
years, in 1876. He was the father of Dr. James C. Patten, who was a resi-
dent of Francisco during the later years of his life.
the History of
At the September term, 1823. the Gibson county board of justices
This township is bounded on the north by the Patoka river, on the east
by Pike county, south by Barton township and west by Center. Coal and stone
are found in various quantities throughout this township. The land is rich and
productive and is drained by the Patoka river and its tributaries, including
Keg and Bear creeks, Bucks, Hurricane, South fork of the Patoka and
The early settlers of
which was then plentiful in the surrounding forest. Bears were very numer-
ous and many of them were killed.
John Farmer, a native of the Old Dominion, was one of the earliest
settlers of the township. He was a farmer and had the distinction of intro-
ducing the first
mon Dill, a Scotch-Irishman from
and his family is still prominent in
Hopkins and family, John Wallace, James M. Steel, William J. Summers,
William Nossett, James W. Cockrum, Samuel Baldwin, Jacob Skelton were
others among the pioneers of this section.
the History of
This is one of the southern sub-divisions of Gibson county. Originally
it took in much more territory than at present, for in 1899 the county com-
missioners created a new township from the southern part of Patoka and the
northern portion of Johnson township, known as
stituted, Johnson township is four by twelve miles in extent, running the
longest way from east to west. The southwestern portion of this township
is drained by Big creek. McGarry's Flat is a strip of rich black land, superior
for its agricultural value. The early forests are nearly all gone and where
the great trees stood a century ago now may be seen well-tilled farms. At
an early day its forests were known for their wild, yet charming scenes, that
changed with the passing of the four seasons. Here was found the oak,
poplar, maple, beech, ash, gum, walnut, sycamore, cottonwood, elm, honey
pawpaw bushes, some of which were almost a foot in diameter. In the
springtime the knolls and hill-tops are plumed with bouquets, brilliant with
red, white and purple promises of fruitage. In the autumn the valleys are
odorous with the fragrance of ripening fruits. The only rocky outputs in
Johnson township are those at or near Haubstadt where the rash coals and
their companion strata lay. These are of no economic importance, as the
great depth at which anything valuable can he found precludes mining.
The first history of Johnson township dates back to 1804, nine years
were indisputably the first pioneers of the township. They came from the
30. Jesse Douglas and family, John Sides, of
man, William Mangrum, Gary Wilkinson, George Holbrook, Allen Ingram,
Berry Jones, Andrew Douglas, Elisha Prettyman, Andrew Robinson were
other first settlers.
In the spring of 1811 the people of the township became alarmed at the
frequent outbreaks among the Indians, and accordingly a stockade of split
logs was erected at the site of the present town of
fort has long since passed from view.
Probably the first schools were taught in this township in 1810 by Will-
iam Woods. The teacher boarded around, of course, and his pay consisted
of a small sum from each family represented by a child in the school. James
Johnson and James Curry were later teachers. Stephen Strickland, the
"Whiskey Baptist," was probably the first man to preach in the township.
Other early settlers were Samuel Adams, James Blythe, Lewis Duncan,
Prettyman Montgomery, Andrew D. Ralston and Joel Yeager, and many
later were Germans, who came here to escape the monarchial oppression of
Among the early settlers of this township, as it was known before the
formation of Union township, as above indicated, were the following : Jesse
Douglas and family of section 20, township 3, in the autumn of 1806. He
left many descendants, who still reside in the county, mostly in
township. During early days this was a prominent family in the south part
of Gibson county.
John .Sides and family, who came from
Sides was a noted hunter and trapper and very fond of the sports of the
chase. He was an industrious, energetic man, and after years of toil ac-
cumulated a handsome fortune.
Hiram Sides was born in Gibson county in 1821, and became a well-to-
do farmer and stock raiser.
Another settler of 1806 was Samuel Spillman from the mountains of
the ban of Southern aristocracy, which looked upon labor by white man as a
disgrace. He sought out the wilds of this county and built him a rude cabin
home near where Haubstadt now stands. Here he toiled many years and
reared a family of seventeen children, all sons but four. After being here a
few years he established a tannery, the first in this portion of the county.
He built the first brick house in Johnson township.
Other early families were those of Mangrums, Wilkinsons, etc.
Wilkinson, wife and family of seven children came in from
the autumn of 1808, settling about three miles southwest of
According to the best memory of Pioneer Wilkinson, sheep were first in-
troduced by some of the settlers in the spring of 1815, but great care had to
be taken that they were not killed by wolves. It was several years before
they could be successfully raised. Cotton was also raised by many of the
farmers in this part of the county between 1815 and 1830. Flax was in-
troduced with the coming of the first settlers, and the fibers of this product
made valuable tow which was woven by the good housewife and her grown
daughters into a rough kind of cloth and found its way into the clothing of
the family. Any boy or girl was counted fortunate if they had two suits of
tow garments in a single year. These garments were made a good deal like a
bag, open at each end, and a drawing string about the neck. This was for
their summer outfit. Thus clad, barefooted and with a cheap hat, the boy or
girl of the pioneer day was ready for school or to go to "meeting," as church
was then always called. One pair of shoes for each member of the house-
hold a year was considered a plenty to have. These generally came about
Christmas time. After sheep became more plentiful, cloth was made of
wool and cotton into what was styled linsey-woolsey (cotton chain and
woolen filling). This was universally woven for many years and formed
the chief clothing material for the settler and his family.
James Blythe came in 1812 from Giles county,
section 11, township 4, range 11, and after coming here married Olivia J.
Another pioneer character whose name must ever be handed down by
each historian of Gibson county, for its true interest and unique qualities,
was Stephen Mead, who came from
and married Mary, daughter of John Pritchett, a Revolutionary soldier, a
ty. This young couple located in what is now Gibson county, in Johnson town-
ship, where they reared a family of twelve sons and two daughters. By
industry and frugality they managed to get on well in the affairs of this
world, and later years made up for the trials and hardships of those early
times. Then, it is related, they had no plates upon which to eat, so they
made a long table of puncheon and on the top surface of these puncheon
they dug out sixteen holes the shape of a bowl, and thus each member of the
family had their own dish out of which to eat — a stationary wooden plate!
At one of the Gibson county fairs this entire family was present and all were
robust, well-cared-for persons and each rode a fine gray horse. John S., one
of these twelve sons, was later county commissioner and had to do with the
building of the present court house, a monument to him so long as it stands.
As has already been observed,
settlers in Johnson township. Among others from that state was Joshua
Sarah L. Logan and they were married in 1821 at old Stringtown, which
hamlet is now embraced within the limits of the city of
after their marriage Mr. Duncan and his young bride moved to Gibson
county and settled in the dense forest about three miles southwest of Fort
Branch and by toil and industry cleared a small patch of ground and by the
aid of his neighbors raised a log cabin. It was made of round logs and with
a mud-and-stick chimney. Mrs. Duncan says that during the first two years
they lived on hominy, corn meal and game. That locality was then infested
with wolves and bears and a few of the small animals of prey. Deer and
wild turkey also abounded in great numbers, which furnished the tables of
pioneers with good meat. The wife of Mr. Duncan was a native of North
perous, rich farmer and for many years was a justice of the peace. A few
years after coming here he built a two-story house which was the best in his
section of the county. It had a shingled roof and was weather boarded with
poplar siding. The floors were of white ash. He also had a large barn and
Esquire Duncan's place was regarded as among the finest in Johnson town-
ship. He died in 1861. His widow survived him and later resided at Prince-
ton with a daughter.
Lewis Duncan and family were also early settlers. He was a brother
of the above and was a member of the Baptist church and occasionally
preached at the settlers' houses. Mrs. Lyda Duncan, a widow, and her
family moved here and located on a timber land tract about five miles west
of Haubstadt in 1818. She was a noted midwife of that section and was
frequently called to minister to the afflicted for miles around. She was an
excellent horsewoman and on her trips generally rode a fleet and powerful
stable horse and while on her missions of mercy to the sick, whether it be
night or day, always carried with her a loaded pistol. Among the old resi-
dents of the township was Stephen Harris, who came with his parents from
Stephen married Polly Emerson and in 1824, with his young wife, settled on
section 8, township 4, range 11, where Mrs. Harris died in 1869. They
reared a large family of children.
Prettyman Montgomery, a descendant of one of the old and historic
families of this county, was born in this county in 1815. He became a well-
to-do farmer and stockman. John N. Mangrum was born in 1827 and was in
after years a county commissioner. Another of the respected families of
this township were the Yeagers, whose ancestor, Joel Yeager, a native of
diana, locating in Posey county, near Cynthiana, and died there. His son,
Absalom, came to Gibson county in 1841 and located in the timber in John-
son township. He was the father of seven children and aniong them was
Henry A. Yeager, an attorney in
From 1838 to 1841 there was a large influx of emmigration from Ger-
many, on account of the tyranny of the ruler of that country, and this town-
ship received her full share of this German element, among whom may be
recalled such noble characters as Dr. V. H. Marchland; John Sipp, who
became county treasurer; Larentz Ziliak and Dr. Peter Ottmann. Many of
them were Roman Catholic in religious faith. Later, they established schools
and churches at Haubstadt and St. James.
Since the creation of Union township, which took much of the original
territory from Johnson, it leaves Johnson with only one town, Haubstadt.
the History of
This township was named for the
pioneers of the locality and one of the most prominent families of the early
days. The real history of the township begins before the organization of
the county, when the settlers were just beginning to lead their wagon trains
through the trackless wilderness and to find homes.
ship was settled early by these heroic travelers. This township is the largest
in the county and one of the largest and best in the state of
in the southwestern part of the county, bounded on the north l)y
township and the
and Posey counties, and west by Posey county and
The soil of
third low-land, the richer soil being made of calcaro-alluvial loam, of high
productive power. There are four or five small lakes located in the north-
western part of the township, emptying into the
cipal streams besides the
branch, Obion creek and
The identity of the first white settler in this township is not known for
certain. Thomas Montgomery, however, was one of the earliest arrivals
here, coming from
his family therein. In the same year, 1805, Jesse Kimball also came up
later owned a water mill in this township. In 1806 Thomas Sharp, William
and Luke Wiley came to within a short distance of Owensville. Mathias
and Smith Mounts came about this time, then Jacob Warrick, John Benson,
Thomas Waters. George and Thomas Sharp, Robert McGary, John Roberts,
John Armstrong of
Knowles, Elisha Marvel, Samuel Barr. Thomas Sharp, Joshua Nichols, Will-
iam Leach and Thomas Stone.
These pioneers cultivated Indian corn in small patches, relying at first
mostly on the game of the surrounding forest. The red man was hostile and
they were compelled to be ever on guard. Old Red Banks, of
corn ground, and their supply of salt came from the saline wells in southern
two dollars and five cents per bushel for the salt. In 1811, when the Indian
trouble appeared at its worst, a stockade was built on Thomas Montgomery's
place south of Owensville, and here the families gathered for protection.
After the battle of
pursuits. About 1812 other settlers began to pour into the township, among
them being Charles Jones, Sr., James Fitzgerald, Roland B. Richards, Alfred
Richards, Samuel Blythe, Absalom Boren, William Rutledge and the Simp-
sons. The first family of Maucks came in 1821, and Samuel Kirkpatrick
in 1821 also.
Kimball, James Montgomery, Thomas Johnson and Jacob Mowry were own-
ers of some of these early mills. Distilling whiskey was another favorite
occupation of the farmer. John Hunter was the first blacksmith ; the earliest
resident physician was Charles Fullerton, and soon after came Willis Smith.
The first school was taught by Joseph Dunlap in 1808. John Wasson, Rob-
ert Frazier, Major James Smith, William McCollum and John Simpson were
others of the first pedagogues
the History of
Patoka township was organized at the first session of the common pleas
court, held at the house of Judge William Harrington, on May l0, 1813, the
house being located in the southwest quarter of section 11, township 2, range
11, a mile and a half southwest of the present court house. Since that time,
however, the boundaries of the township have been repeatedly changed. It
is now bounded on the north by
by Center and Barton, south by
is drained by the Patoka river and its tributaries in the north. Snake run and
Pigeon creek in the southeast, and Central and Muddy creek in the south.
Originally the surface of Patoka township was thickly covered with timber,
but this has been nearly all cleared off and the land made into rich and pro-
ductive farms. The surface is for the most part undulating. but in the north
and east portions, and approaching the stream, the ground becomes very
rugged and knobby.
Two miles north of
of one hundred and thirty feet above the town and two hundred and twenty
feet above the
the rounded top, as there are other evidences of this prehistoric race in this
part of the state. Considerable bottom land ranges through the western part
of the township, and Sand ridge passes through the southwestern part. This
land is very valuable for agriculture.
With the opening of the nineteenth century settlements began to be made
in Gibson county. John Severns had settled near the south bank of the
Patoka river, at Severns' bridge even before the opening of the century.
He was undoubtedly the first man to live in Gibson county. In 1798 John
Johnson, a native of
tucky, accompanied by his family. The old soldier, Capt. William Hargrove,
was the next settler of any note. He was a native of
emigrated to this section in the year 1803. He was afterward an officer in
the battle of
Isaac Montgomery, came 'to this county. The person of Gen. Robert M.
Evans is one of the most prominent of early Gibson history. He was born
including the battles of
many important official positions in this county. His brothers, James, Alex-
ander Lyle and Thomas Jefferson, moved here in 1810. James Wheeler,
William Latham, William Harrington, Robert Archer, Capt. Henry Hop-
kins, Joseph Woods, Daniel Putnam, Rev. Alexander Devin, a Baptist min-
ister, John Braselton, Stephen Strickland, John Clements, Eli Strain,
Chauncey Pierce, John C. Fisher, William Barker were others among the
early settlers, and many of them lived to distinction in the growing com-
Tecumseh's conspiracy created a great amount of excitement in the
county during the time of his depredations. In the summer of 1810 the
Indian forces were being organized at the Prophet's town, and the settlers
were on edge, prepared to fight the hostiles at a moment's notice. Rude forts
or stockades were constructed, three of them in Patoka township. Fort
In November, 1811, Joshua Embree came from
monts and other prominent families arrived in 1812. Mrs. Nancy Stormont,
widow of David Stormont, who emigrated from
Mary Boyd, and a large family. They located about two and one-half miles
families afterward came, and the township has seen a steady growth ever
The first schools were taught about 1810 in small log cabins. Adley
Donald, David Buck, Maj. James Smith, Ira Bostwick and John Kell were
a few of the earliest teachers.
the History of
Union is the last civil township to he formed in Gihson county. Until
1890 it was a part of Johnson and Patoka townships, but at the commis-
sioners' meeting in May, 1890, the separation took place, and since then it has
been a separate sub-division of the county. For a detailed description ofi the
act forming this township, with its boundaries, the reader is referred in to the
Its history from the pioneer settlement to the year 1890 has been treated
and fully covered in the township history of Johnson township, hence will
not here be gone over, at any length. Suffice to say that it contains about
fifty-one sections, with the town of
center. It is surrounded liy the townships of Johnson. Montgomery, Patoka,
Center and Barton.
In 1900 Union township had a population of two thousand one hundred
and forty-nine and in the census taken in 1910 it showed a population of two
thousand five hundred and seven.
Its surface is somewhat broken, but contains the average number of
excellent farms and prosperous agriculturists. The valleys are rich and very
productive and the native timber is still found sufficient for all present needs.
The schools and churches in this portion of Gibson county have already
been noted under separate chapter heads. The only town within the terri-
This shows that the first settlement in this part of Gibson county was ef-
fected in what is now Union township, and its details have been narrated
somewhat in the history of that township which contained a portion of
the History of
In the extreme southwestern portion of Gibson county is found
township, named from the famous, historic river whose waters wash its
entire north and western borders. There are two series of elevations, com-
monly known as the "Upper Hills" and "Lower Hills": there are also in
different parts of this township Indian mounds. The scenery in this town-
ship in many places is indeed charming. In the early days, in the mid-
summer months, when the waters were low, numerous herds of deer and
other animals were attracted hither to feed and the Indians also sought this
locality as among the excellent hunting grounds of the
ing the years between 1800 and 1815 a few of the half-breed trappers from
the post at
set their beaver traps, which animals then abounded in large numbers.
kinds of elm, maple, oak, poplar, linden, walnut, hickory, pecan, wild cherry
and other varieties of forest growth. The farms and clearings made hard
toil on the part of the early pioneer.
There is a large bayou extending diagonally across the township from
northeast to southwest. This forms a basin for the surplus waters of the
lakes or rather ponds here, among which are Goose. Fish, Foot's, Grassy,
Brushy, Grindle and Otter Pond. The larger bayou passing through the
township is known as the "Big Bayou."
forth in a petition and presented to the county commissioners at their Novem-
ber term, 1838. Prior to that date it formed a part of
ship. The first election of the new township was held at the house of Joshua
Jordon, on the first Monday of April, 1839. The election was for the pur-
pose of electing two justices of the peace. The first settler here was Daniel
Williams and family, consisting of wife and nine children. He located here
in the summer of 1813 on a portion of the farm which afterwards was
owned by Moses Lamar. Williams was from
he cleared a small tract of land and built him a small pole shanty. The
locality being infested with Buffalo gnats, which were troublesome, as well
as dangerous to what little live stock he owned, he therefore, after remaining
here a few months, decided to pull up and leave for unknown parts.
The second settlers to arrive were James Barnett and family, who came
in the autumn of 1815. They were Kentuckians. He built the second log
house. It was an improvement over the first cabin, as it possessed a clap-
board door and clay-and-stick chimney. The next settlers were John Thomp-
son and A. J. Cooper and their families. John Thompson was possessed of
more than ordinary enterprise and of some intelligence. He was a justice
of the peace while
the first justice in the territory now embraced in what is
Among other early pioneers were Jacob Carabaugh, R. Jordon, James
improved was made by Jordon. Young Lamar was one of the prominent
early settlers and near his residence was erected a very small log school house,
generally styled as the Lamar school house. It was there William Cash
taught the first school in
the settlement. The first preacher to visit this section was Rev. Peter Sals-
man, who preached at the house of Mr. Lamar in 1820, and occasionally after
that in the school house.
The early physician who resided here was Dr. Jesse Fuget. A murder
was committed at a dance, or a "frolic," as then called, at the home of Pres-
ley Garret, where William Lance, a guest, killed one Watson. The murderer
was convicted and sent to the penitentiary for nine years.
One of the best improvements in the township years ago was the build-
ing of a bridge across the Big Bayou, near the dividing line between the farm
of John W. Robb and William J. Jordon. This bridge was long known in
the western part of the county as the "
red paint. This was well built and was covered its entire length.
If it were not for the floods of the
garden spot of the whole county, for its soil is like that of the
But from early days there have been from two to six floods annually, and this
kept the actual improvement back many decades. But in later years differ-
ent methods have come to obtain and much of the swampy land has been
tile drained and, with proper care and a fair season (not too many rains),
the township produces a hundred bushels of grain per acre.
In 1910 the township had a population of nine hundred and fifty-one,
somewhat of a decrease from the census of 1900. The schools and churches
are mentioned in the chapters on such subjects. There are no towns and
the History of
Tills township was named after the first president of the
and is located in the northeastern part of the county. Originally covered
with dense timber, the land today is very rough and broken. However, the
soil is productive, especially in the bottom lands. White and Patoka rivers,
Yellow, Engine, Pond, Goose, Sand branch and other tributaries afford ex-
cellent drainage. The township is bounded on the north by Pike county and
township 1south, range 9, township 1 south. range 10, and township 1 north,
The Decker brothers, Joseph, Jacob and Luke, first came to this town-
ship in 1800 and built a ferry across
ordered a road opened from Decker's ferry to Severns' ferry on the Patoka
river, this being the first one opened by this court.
One of the next settlers was Nathaniel West, also in 1800. Then came
Abraham Decker from
Milburn, Thomas Gardner of
John Stookey and John I. Neely. The first sermons in the township were
preached by Joseph Milburn, a Baptist minister, and the first church was
built on military donation No. 77, the building made of logs and without any
floor. The first resident physician of
Davidson; Richard Garner was the first blacksmith, and the first justices, in
order, were William Phillips. Jonathan Gulick, Robert Kirk and John Gulick.
The first death was of a man named McCoy, who died on a keel-boat. The
first postoffice in the township was established at
were located at
opened a store at Decker's ferry in 1816. and this was the first in the town-
Until 1824 the territory of what is now
county commissioners laid off the boundaries of
organized the same. Again, in 1837, the boundaries were enlarged by add-
ing a part of
The manufacturing in this township has been very light. Lucian Dunn-
ing had a wagon factory in 1870, and there were several small mills, quarries
and various trades.
The population of this township in 1910 was one thousand five hundred
and forty-six, it having lost, as it is found that in 1900 it had a population of
one thousand nine hundred and four. There are no towns or villages in this
An amusing incident of early days here will be found in the following
lines: "William Phillips was the township's first justice of the peace. Jack
Chambers, a local preacher, had rendered service to the people of the town-
ship, as spiritual adviser, for which he was to have been paid in coon skins
and other peltry, each subscriber agreeing to pay in so many skins. His
parishioners, as he thought, were slow to pay him, and he brought suit before
Esquire Phillips on his subscription list against all, and had service on each
and every delinquent to appear and answer to the demands of the plaintiff,
Jack Chambers. Pursuant to notice, court had convened, the parties, plain-
tiff and defendants were present, the plaintiff claiming satisfaction by means
of judgment on his subscription paper, when one Mulholland, who was acting
as agent or attorney for the defendants, walked into court loaded down with
the stipulated furs' and skins, and, to the surprise of the holy man, made
tender of them in full satisfaction of the plaintiff's claims. The case ended
in a general laugh, and pleasantness prevailed, all being satisfied with the prac-
There was a stone quarry near the Patoka river, where stone had been
taken out and sent by flat-boat down the river from
large flouring-mill, stores, blacksmith shops, post office, etc. It is situated
on section 19, on the northeast branch of the Patoka river. It was located
too far from the Evansville & Terre Haute railroad to help it much, and so
close as to materially injure its chances for success. Its flouring-mill was
burned in time, and from its loss and railroad influences the town has gone
to ruin and decay, nothing of note remaining to mark the spot where once
much business was transacted.
This township is a triangular shaped, though rough edged, territory,
the northeastern point of one of the most irregular counties in all
From the History of
This township is in the northern portion of the county, and when first
organized contained all that part of the county north of the Patoka river.
The present boundaries of the township are ; on the north by
on the east by
ery townships and on the west by the
although broken in places, is very suitable for agriculture, all varieties of
grain being raised in full quantities. The
both drain and water the land throughout. Heavy timber originally covered
the township, but agriculture has compelled the clearing of nearly all of it.
The advantage of river operation caused several grist-mills and saw-
mills to be built here in early times. The logs were floated to these mills
from other parts of the township and county, and the lumber afterward
loaded on flat boats and shipped down to Southern ports. Other mills were
in the interior of the township The water in these rivers was at times very
sluggish, and consequently frequent malarial trouble occurred among the
settlers. In 1813 and 1814 there was a pestilence known as the "black
plague," which resulted disastrously for the people of this portion of the
county. It was equal to the cholera in its fatality. Wild game was plentiful
in this portion and bears, panthers, wolves, wild cats, elk, deer and wild
turkey were all hunted by the frontiersmen. Fish in the streams was a source
of much of the meat supply. Potter's clay was found and was a source of
great profit in early times.
The first grist-mill constructed in
logs and was built by Keen Fields. It was run by horse power and was pro-
vided with one set of burrs. Each customer furnished his own power
during those days and provided his own bolt. The first style of bolt was a
box-shaped invention, with straight handle and wire bottom, and was termed
a "sarch." The ground grist was placed in this sarch and was pushed by hand
back and forth across the top of an open trough, a hollowed log. which held
the flour after being sifted out.
The town of
cemetery. The "Forty-Gallon Baptists" held meetings here in log houses.
John Severns, Sr., was one of the first settlers in this township, and was fol-
lowed by such men as Gervas Hazelton, Keen Fields, Major David Robb,
James Robb, Abraham Spain, B. K. Ashcraft, Joseph Milburn, John Mil-
burn, David Milburn, Robert and William Milburn, Robert Mosely, Abra-
ham Bruner, Patrick Payne, Charles Routt, the Gordons, John Adams, Joseph
Adams, Samuel Adams, James Crow, Sr. and Jr., Andrew Cunningham,
William Price, Eli Hawkins, Jonathan Gulick, John W. Grisam, Simon and
Thomas Key, Thomas H. Martin, Armstead Bennett, William Hardy, Fred-
erick Bruner, John Hyndman, William French, James Sproule, Robert and
William Philips, Robert and
Robinson, James Favis, James Skidmore, Andrew Harvey, William Maxi-
dent, Stephen Lewis, Edmund Hogan.
Severns' ferry on the Patoka river was the first in the township. The
second was on
the Hazelton ferry. The first bridge in
1813 by Edward Hogan and Thomas Neely. It was a toll bridge, built of
Azariah Ayres was the first blacksmith; John and Joseph Adams were
the first merchants. Distilleries were scattered around on most of the farms.
It was an universal custom among the settlers to manufacture apple and peach brandy.
"The portion of the land near Patoka was divided by the general gov-
ernment into Militia Donations, locations and surveys. These surveys were
made between the years 1794 and 1802. Buckingham, a surveyor in 1804,
in his field notes running certain boundaries, states that the blazes and marls
on the trees indicated that the last locations were made about two years pre-
viously. These donations were originally made to a company of one hundred
and twenty-eight militiamen, of a hundred acres each to a man and were laid
off in lots of a hundred acres. These lands were given for services rendered
in the Indian wars. The persons who received the warrants were allowed to
either locate or dispose of the same.
"Patoka being the oldest town in the county, was, as a matter of course,
first in everything pertaining to the needs and requirements of an advancing
civilization, such as schools, churches, mills, etc. The first grist-mill was
erected near Patoka by Keen Fields. The first school house in Gibson county
was built in Patoka in 1815 and for several years was used as a house of
worship. The first minister to preach there was Rev. Thomas Martin, of the
Baptist faith, and it is claimed by one writer that he was the first in the
county. The first two-story log house in this county was built in Patoka by
James Robb. The first merchant was John Smith, in whose honor the tow n
was first known as Smithville. Patoka was incorporated in the early nineties.
"It was David Robb, of Patoka. who organized a company of soldiers
and participated in the famous battle of
prised a number of Patoka merchants."
From the History of