Marion Twp. Cities

Past & Present

Pike County,


Dillon Hill Fidelity Hartwell Junction Little Kentucky Noxid
Survant Sweet Sulpher Springs ***** Velpen White Oak










Dillon Hill                                   

Dillon Hill is located on Highway No. 257 in Marion Township, Pike County, Indiana and is the highest hill between Velpen and Otwell, Indiana. It is named after James Dillon who settled on the hill around 1850. James was born in Pictou, Nova Scotia on March 1, 1821 and went to sea as a cabin boy at age eleven. He sailed the seas for about fifteen years and retired as a first mate to New Bedford, Massachusetts. He stayed in that state a short time and moved on to Indiana. He worked as a millwright designing and erecting mills in southern Indiana. He married Catherine Haynes, the daughter of James Haynes, an early settler near St. Wendel, Indiana, on August 11, 1852 in Posey County, Indiana and looked for a place to settle and make his permanent home. He scoured southern Indiana looking for the highest land he could find upon which to build his home. He had been at sea for many years and was accustomed to being able to see for miles in all directions and wanted to purchase land on a high elevation that would allow him to see far around the countryside in all directions. He found the highest point available on dirt road between Otwell and Velpen, Indiana upon which he built his home. James Dillon lived on the hill that became known as Dillon Hill the rest of his life. He raised six children by Catherine Haynes one of which was Judge Thomas H. Dillon, Circuit Judge of Pike County. Thomas H. Dillon was a school teacher, prosecuting attorney, circuit judge, and candidate for Governor from Pike County. James’ first wife died in childbirth and he remarried, marrying Martha Jane Galbreath of Pike County to which eleven more children were born. In his elder years, James sat under a large oak tree near the road stopping those who passed and engaging them discussions of politics. James lived atop the hill until he died on October 17, 1906 and during his reign, the hill became known as Dillon Hill.

This article was written by Carrol Dillon. Our thanks to Carrol for allowing its use on this Web Page.    









Fidelity                            No History at this time. Future Project









Hartwell Junction                 No History at this time. Future Project 









Little Kentucky                   No History at this time. Future Project









Noxid                              No History at this time. Future Project









Survant / Iron Bridge          No History at this time. Future Project









Sweet Sulpher Springs            No History at this time. Future Project


















     Velpen was one of the last towns to be established in Pike County and is located in Marion Township not far from the Pike and DuBois county line. The land on which the town rests was originally owned by  James Risley, who was a native of Pike County.
       The Risley family came to Pike County from Virginia in 1810 and James Risley was born in the area where Petersburg would later be founded.
       Credit for the building of the town of Velpen is given to Dr. Henry Pagin and Herman Hollenberg. Henry Pagin was a   doctor who traveled throughout the  southeaster section of Pike County and the surrounding area. He utilized the train which ran through the area as transportation for his business.
       Henry Hollenberg was a native of Germany who, with his brother, ran a timber business and used the railroad for shipping. When the Louisville-St. Louis Division of the Air Line Railroad was being built through the area the company opened a commissary for the construction workers. Many of the local residents also used the store due to its convenient location. From these beginnings sprang the idea for a town.
       Hollenberg  and Pagin pooled their efforts and purchased 33 acres of land from Risley and had a town platted in 1881. Velpen was named for the town in Bavaria where Hollenburg was born.
       Velpen was laid out on a natural ridge which ran through the township and intersects with the railroad. When the town was originally platted, Third Street was the street on the top of the ridge. Third Street later became the main street of the town where the highway crosses the railroad tracks.
       Some of the lots in town are triangular in shape because the railroad tracks do not run at a right angle to the ridge. The town streets were laid out between 50 and 60 feet wide, except those which ran along the edges of  town on the south, east and west sides which were 34 feet wide.
        DR. Pagin continued his medical practice until his death in 1899. His was the first burial in the IOOF Cemetery in town.
       Hollenberg continued to branch out his timber business and at one time had several sawmills, some as far away as Missouri. The timber business was a booming one because of the building of the railroad. He built several businesses and houses in the new town. He owned a livery stable on Walnut Street, a cigar factory on Second Street and a general merchandise store on Third Street near the tracks.
       Velpen has had several businesses and at one time was thriving community. J.W. Chambers was appointed Postmaster of Velpen in 1898. He started selling goods out of the Post Office and by 1900 had outgrown the building.
       He then purchased  a building across from Hollenberg. He sold out in 1905 but repurchased it in 1906. At one point he had the largest stock of general merchandise in Pike County. He sold everything a family needed for its home and farm. Chambers even sold threshing machines.
       Louis G. Arnold ran a barber shop and a picture gallery. Louis Hochmaster worked for Hollenberg as a cigar maker. Lyman B. Cook operated a drugstore at the corner of Third and Walnut Streets. W.C. Beadles was the Postmaster in Fidelity and operated a general store there. He moved his home and business to Velpen. He built the first brick building in town, two-stories high with the living quarters above and the business below. The building housed several different businesses over the years. It was destroyed by fire in 1962.
       George Cockriel had a two-story building next to the railroad station and a two-story house next to it. The lower level of the building housed his general store  and the lower level of the house was a hotel/rooming house. The second floors of the two buildings were connected and were used as the living quarters of his family.
       After the hotel closed, Cockriel moved his family downstairs into the house and the upstairs was secretly used as a gambling house by the locals.
       Other doctors in town were Dr. Danil E. Traylor and Dr. L.R. Broadwell. Dr. Broadwell's daughter, Clara Lindsey, ran a restaurant in town.
        Mosses Henning was a carpenter and plasterer. He also sold plaster goods to others. His wife ran a ladies hat shop and furniture store next to their home. Robert Corn was a barber and also ran a restaurant. Another hotel in town was owned by Frank Geddes. Benjamin F. Cline was the blacksmith in the area. Jonas Kemp operated a grist mill and sorghum plant.
       William Stall had a small furniture making business. He made the seats for the St. Paul Lutheran Church at Holland. The building was later converted into a furniture factory employing up to 30 people at a time. The railroad had a livestock shipping yard which was used by the local farmers.
       Many of the early businesses were destroyed by fire when a whole block burnt in 1910.
       The Odd Fellows Lodge built a large two-story building in town. They used the upstairs as their meeting room and at one time the lower level was utilized as the basketball court for the Velpen High School.
       The first Velpen school was built about 1885. It was the largest school in the township. The two-story school had three rooms downstairs which were used by the primary grades. The upper level was used for high school. The school  was destroyed in 1917 by fire. It was rebuilt  and used as a grade school until the mid-1960's when it was consolidated with Otwell.
       Velpen, once a thriving community, was effected by the depression. People had to move elsewhere to find work and businesses closed as the population decreased.

         This article was written by Sandy McBeth of the Pike County Historical Society for the Pike County Press-Dispatch. This piece of History appeared in the September 24, 1998 newspaper. Our thanks to Sandy and Frank Heuring, Editor of the Press-Dispatch for allowing its use on this Web Page.    









White Oak                           No History at this time. Future Project