Washington Township, Parke County Indiana
"From the History of Vigo and Parke Counties, together with Historic Notes on the Wabash Valley, Gleaned from early authors, old maps and manuscripts, private and official correspondence, and other authentic, though for the most part, out-of-the-way sources. By H. W. Beckwith, of the Danville Bar; Corresponding Member of the Historical Societies of Wisconsin and Chicago. Chicago: H. H. Hill and N. Iddings, Publishers. 1880." (Pages 401 - 405)
Washington township is situated in the east center of the county, its boundaries being Ho ward, Green, Adams and Penn townships on the north, east, south and west respectively. It comprises part of T. 15 and 16 N., R. 6 and 7 W. of 2d P. M., and contains thirty-six sections of rich and beautiful land, and also has numerous extensive coal deposits in paying quantities, its coal mines being one of the leading features. The primitive log structures in which the pioneers resided during the early years of their settlement have now disappeared, having been succeeded by handsome and costly farm residences, large barns, and other farm buildings, which appear on every hand, emblems of the wealth and prosperity of the people. Numerous streams take their rise in, and flow through, this township. Roaring creek, which rises in the northeast corner of the township, and runs through the northern tier of sections, leaving on the northwest corner of Sec. 6. Leatherwood creek originates on Sec. 16, and flows west through the township, while Sand and Williams creeks, and other smaller streams, also take their rise within its limits, and take a southward course, emptying into Little Raccoon creek, which runs across the southeast corner of the town, entering on Sec. 24 and leaving on Sec. 35. In 1872 the Terre Haute & Logansport railroad was constructed across the southeast corner of the town, and a station opened on Sec. 24, which has been named Judson. On Sec. 35 is Nyesville, a colliery village, having a branch of the above mentioned railroad extended to the coal shafts.
The first settler in Washington township was Alexander Buchanan, who arrived in 1821 and located on Sec. 24, near Little Raccoon creek, on the farm where he now resides, at which time this part of the county was covered with a heavy growth of timber. His only neighbors were the Indians, who still occupied this territory, they being members of the Miami, Delaware, and Pottawatomie tribes, and whose villages and graveyards were numerous in the vicinity. The first to follow Mr. Buchanan into the wilderness was David Bruen, who settled at the point afterward known as Bruen's cross-roads, where the first post-office was established, with Mr. Bruen as postmaster. In the fall of 1822 there were twelve families in this settlement: The Buchanans, Bruens, David Todd, who was afterward elected the first justice of the peace; Durlin, Ambrose Lambert, Charles Abbott, his mother and brother, two families named Harlan, a Dutch family named Shmok, and the families of McMillan and Garrison, the two latter having settled just across the line in Adams township. In the following year came Fleming, and James Long, and shortly afterward the McMurtrie family arrived. After this the immigrants poured in thick and fast, eager to obtain some of the valuable land in this township, the value of which had been discerned by the first settlers.
In the Roaring creek or Poplar Grove settlement, in the north end of the township, the first to arrive was John Maris, in the fall of 1826, and who settled on the S.E. 1/4 of Sec. 5, on the Indian trail, at which time there were still a few of the aborigines in the county. After coming here he cleared ten acres, which the following spring he planted in corn, having obtained his seed and corn for bread from the Cook family, in the settlement west of him, at ten cents per bushel. The next arrival was Joshua Newlin, who was accompanied by son John, and his daughter Sarah and her husband, James Underwood, they having been married before leaving the bounds of civilization, but had not "gone to housekeeping." They reached here in the fall of 1827, and located on the N.E. 1/4 of Sec. 4, at once erecting a shed, in which they resided for three weeks, at the end of which time they had their cabin built, with the exception of the stick and clay chimney, which was duly put up a day or two afterward. The following winter was occupied clearing ten acres of land, which when spring arrived was planted in corn, they subsisting in the meantime on bread made from that cereal, which they purchased from Samuel Brown, on the prairie, for ten cents per bushel. Having brought with him some peach seeds, he planted them, and in three years had plenty of that fruit, and at the same time he set out an orchard of apple trees, which bore in seven years. His son John entered the E.1/2 of S.W.1/4 of Sec. 4, where he cleared five acres, and the following spring, 1828, settled upon it. The same spring his son-in-law, James Underwood, settled upon the S.W. 1/4 of Sec. 3, and went to housekeeping. Nathan Hockett next came to this neighborhood, in the spring of 1828, and went to work on the W. 1/4 of S.W. 1/4 of Sec. 4. He owned the first cow in this settlement, having brought her with him from North Carolina, and also brought a quantity of garden seeds, which were quite an acquisition, and which he divided with his neighbors. In the following fall William and Jesse Hobson immigrated and pitched their tent on the S.E. 1/4 of Sec. 9. In the fall of 1829 the Teaghe family came, their location being on Sec. 8, and who were shortly followed by Aaron Rawlings, Aaron D. Huff, Gabriel Wilson, Eli Bundy, Jonathan Trublood and family, W. Hill. Elias Trublood, Jesse Kemp, David Newlin, Joshua and John Engle, and the McCampbell family.
The educational interests of the rising generation were early looked to and provided for. The first school-house was built in what was known as the "lost quarter," a strip of territory on Sec. 26, its first session being presided over by John McBride, a native of the Emerald Isle. The first school in the Roaring Creek settlement was begun in February 1833, by Enoch Kersey, who received as wages $6 per scholar per annum.
The first meeting-house in the township, and probably in the county, was built in 1823 in the Buchanan neighborhood, near where Mr. Welch now resides, and was a hewed log structure. It belonged to the Presbyterian denomination, the congregation having been instituted by Rev. Samuel T. Scott, of Vincennes. The first regular preacher in charge at this point after the organization was Rev. Charles Clinton Beattie, son of old Maj. Beattie, who had laid off the town of Clinton and named his son after it.
The Methodists held meetings here at an early date, among their pioneer preachers being the Rev. Cravens (who called himself The Almighty's Bull-dog), Rev. Armstrong, and Richard Hargraves.
Bethany Presbyterian church was instituted about 1831, the first meetings being held by Rev. John Thompson. In 1834 a log meetinghouse was built, which continued in use until 1849, when the present building was erected, costing about $1,000. The membership is now about 100.
Goshen Missionary Baptist church, on Sec. 14, was organized about 1834 or 1835, the congregation worshiping in the school-house until 1846, when they erected the meeting-house which they now occupy. Rev. Mr. Fuston is the present minister of this congregation, which is very strong in number.
Providence church, of the United Brethren denomination, was built about 1851, and formerly had quite a large membership. At present there is no organization at this point.
Pleasant Grove Baptist church, on Sec. 20, was built in 1850, the congregation having been instituted some years earlier. The Rev. Isaac Denman and the Rev. Mr. Goban were among the early ministers to preach at this church. Rev. Joseph Skeeters, of Montezuma, is the present pastor.
Roaring Creek United Brethren church is situated on the southwest corner of Sec. 6, and was organized about 1840, the pioneer preachers of this denomination who preached in this neighborhood being Isaac Pickard, John Ephlin, John Dunham, James Griffith, Jacob Connoy, and John Hoober. The congregation now numbers seventy members.
The first meeting of Poplar Grove Society of Friends was held in a log cabin on John Newlin's farm, on 2d month, 23d, 1832, the committee .appointed by the monthly meeting to attend the opening being Nathaniel Newlin. Joseph Hall, Abraham Holiday, Solomon Alien,. and William Morrison. The same season a meeting-house was erected on the northeast corner of John Maris' farm. The grant for a preparative meeting was made by the Bloomfield monthly meeting 12th month, 11th, 1833, and was to have been formally established 1st month, 6th, 1834. On the part of the men's meeting, William Coates, Isaac Harvey and John Woody were appointed to attend the opening, but owing to some misunderstanding with the women's meeting, as to the time, they did not attend until 2d month, 5th, 1834. The first wedding which took place in this house was that of Enoch Kersey, the school teacher, to Sarah Curl, the date of which event was 10th month, 2d. 1834, being celebrated according to the rules of the Society of Friends before a crowd of curious spectators.
Among the first deaths in the settlement was that of Samuel Teaghe. who was drowned July 4, 1834.
The mills to which the early settlers of this township had access were, first, that at Roseville, the next, Beard's mill, on Sugar creek, which was erected in 1822. In 1825 Samuel Steele built a mill at Portland, in Greene township, and the following year Salmon Lusk's mill, The Narrows, was constructed; then in 1827 Rubottom's mill, on Leatherwood creek, was put up, so that this settlement was well supplied with grinding accommodations.
Extensive coal works are in operation at Neyesville, on Sees. 33 and 34, the colliery village of that name which adjoins the works being quite a large place, the population varying constantly, according to the demand for work at the mines. The works are owned by the Parke County Coal Mining Company, and large quantities of this mineral are annually shipped from here over a branch railroad connecting the mines with the main line of the Terre Haute & Logansport railroad.
The village of Judson was laid out in 1872, when the railroad was completed, on the southwest part of Sec. 24, the first store being opened by Glover & Milligan. The business establishments now in operation in town are: Barnes & Snider's large steam flouring-mill: Barnes & Buchanan's grocery and dry-goods store; Joseph Milligan & Co’s dry-goods and grocery establishment; W. N. Endsley's grocery store; and E. St. Clair's drug store. Another of the leading businessmen in town is Mr. J. C. Buchanan, son of Mr. Alexander Buchanan, whose enterprise and talents have made him one of the most popular men in the neighborhood. The postmaster is Edward Barnes. There is one church building in town, known as the Union meeting-house having been erected in 1873 by the Presbyterian and Methodist societies, and is used by both. The building is 40x50 feet, and cost $1,800, the trustees being Alexander Buchanan, Mr. Welch, and Henry Connelly. The Presbyterian congregation was instituted about the time the town was laid out, by an order from the presbytery, three ministers taking part in the organizing ceremonies, Rev. Messrs. Torrence, Hawks and Dickerson. The membership here is now thirty, their present minister being Rev. W. J. Alien.
The Methodist society was organized in 1872 or 1873, by the Rev. James C. Stemor, and the congregation, which is yet small, is now in charge of Rev. Mr. Webster.
A branch of the I.O.O.F., known as Judson Lodge, No. 446, is here located. It was organized April 9, 1874, the charter being issued May 21, 1874. The first officers and charter members were: N.G., F. H. Adamson; V.G., T. H. Murray; Sec., A. U. Long; Treas., G. A. Buchanan; Benjamin Michels, James Lambert, and Thomas M. Buchanan. The lodge, which now numbers nineteen members, is in splendid working order, and has a large and comfortably furnished hall, fitted up with a handsome set of emblems and regalia. The present officers are: N.G., J. N McCampbell; V.G., T. C. Mann; Sec., G. A. Buchanan; and Treas., F. H. Adamson.
Judson Lodge, No. 518, A. F. and A. M., was organized at this place about six years ago, but at the time of going to press we have no other particulars than that the lodge has been quite prosperous, and embraces within its membership some of the most substantial citizens of Judson and vicinity.
If you have any information you would like to add, please send it to my attention. Thank you. James D. VanDerMark