Clay Twp

Past & Present

Pike County,


Only the Cities & Towns that are blinking, have a History. 

Deffendol Grove Dibery Hill ***** Knott's Ferry Old Butler
Oliphant ***** Ollie Lewis Hill ***** Union












Deffendol Grove                  No History at this time. Future Project












Dibery Hill                         No History at this time. Future Project  













Knott's Ferry                      No History at this time. Future Project













Old Butler                          No History at this time. Future Project













Oliphant                          No History at this time. Future Project













Ollie Lewis Hill                       No History at this time. Future Project













In the northwest corner of Pike County stands a township boasting of one town. The present day one-grocery town of Union, which is located in Clay Township, was once a mini-metropolis.
     The 1881 Pike County Atlas lists the business references for Union as being William P. Hornbrook, physician and surgeon; R.W. Phillips, Physician, surgeon and Postmaster; Sam T. Bartmess, physician and surgeon and Rufus Kime, physician and surgeon with the note "all calls promptly attended to".
     This must have been what our ancestors termed the good old days. A notary public, John Hornbrook, was also listed as the Collector of Claims. A reproduction of an advertisement found in the Pike County Atlas would seem to indicate at least one person had the answer to everyone's problem in or around Union 1n 1881.
     "EUREKA Jas. F. Kime, the leading Merchant, sell more goods, cheaper goods and better goods than any other house in town. See him by all means. Keep constantly in stock everything that man, woman, or child needs to make them comfortable and happy. He has also the popular clerk, Angelo Hillman, to attend the wants of customers and patrons".
     The Pike and Dubois County History of 1885 mentions Union had "three drygoods stores, one drug store, two blacksmith shops,   and one machine shop, one wagon shop, two churches and other businesses".
     In addition to the Cumberland Presbyterian and Methodist Episcopal churches, the town of Union at one time had a hotel, flour mill, lanyard, school and proudly displayed sidewalks.
     One of the first settlements founded in Pike County was in Clay Township but at the time it was actually still part of Knox County.
     According to Ruth Miley McClellan's Pike County History, one of the earliest pioneers to settle in the Union area was Tarleton Boren who purchased land there in 1815.
     Not until 1824 was it attached to Pike County from Gibson, which also had been part of Knox County. Some of the early settlers of Union were Jonathan Conger, One Glass, Joshua Harbin, Peter Frederick, Captain Reedy and the Chambers, Lindys, Kimes, Catts and McAtees.
     According to McClellan, the town of Union was named by James Oliphant in honor of his former home of Uniontown, Pennsylvania.
     The town of Union flourished before the turn of the century and it makes one wonder if the residents of Union could have been inspired by a speech delivered in 1848 by a  gentleman named Lincoln.
     In a letter written in 1915 by William Alexander Oliphant, he told about his army buddy John  Hornbrook of Union. Mr. Oliphant said during the (Civil) War John often told him about the speech made near his fathers store by Abraham Lincoln.
     The Hornbrook store was near a grove, he called the Deffendol Grove, which was just south of Union. Mr. Lincoln and his friends rode to the "speaking" on horseback as there were no buggies in the county at that time.
     Sometime after this speech a new interest in libraries was aroused in the state and locally. Early in 1850, William McClure  of New Harmony, founder of the "library movement" willed a large fortune to found what was known as the Workingmen's Institute. McClure stipulated sums of $500 be used to purchase for the use of "men who earned their bread by the sweat of their brow"
     Two of these institutes were formed in Pike County, one at Union and one at Petersburg. At first only men were privileged to membership in these institutes.
     The library at Union was preserved for many years. The Modern Woodsman's Lodge, usually housed over store buildings, maintained and added  new books to the library collection for several years.
     After the Lodge was disbanded, the books were moved from home to home of interested persons. In the early 1930's, Noah Horn kept the library in his home near Union and later it was placed in the Union School.
     The best books in the collection had been transferred to the Petersburg Public Library by 1940.

    This article was written by June Phillips of the Pike County Historical Society for the Pike County Press-Dispatch. This piece of history appeared in the July, 02, 1998 newspaper. Our thanks to June and Frank Heuring , Editor of the Press-Dispatch for allowing its use on this Web page.