Rush County, Indiana
Genealogy and History
a small part of the INGENWEB and USGENWEB Projects
Centennial history of Rush County, Indiana
City of Publication: Indianapolis
Publisher: Historical Pub. Co.
Transcribed for the Rush Co. INGenWeb Project by Mark S. Mount
This township, in the southern part of the county, was one of the first sections of the country to secure the overflow of immigration which began to come this way after the admission of the state to the Union in 1816 and at the time the county became a separate civic entity in 1821 had a considerable pioneer settlement. The township is at the southeern border of the county, bounded by Rushville township on the north, Richland on the east, Decatur county on the south and Orange township on the west.
The town of Milroy, situated at almost the exact geographical center of the township, is the center of the township's commercial and social activities and the people are energetic and progressive. Milroy, however, was not laid out as a town until about ten years after the county had been organized and in the meantime and even prior to county organization local business had been carried on in other pioneer trading centers nearby , the first of these, according to an older chronicle, having been a small store which was opened by William Brown in a building he put up adjacent to Miller's mill, at a point about a mile south of the present town of Milroy, this mill having been the first grist mill erected in that section of the county, a convenience for the pioneers thereabout for some years before the organization of the county in 1821. It also is said that John Julian, who was afterward a member of Rush county's first board of county commissioners and an influential factor in the early doings of the county, had carried on a considerable "huckster" business thereabout. There also was another neighborhood store, this having been operated by Wilson Stewart in a little log house at a point a mile west of the present town of Milroy. Nathan Tompkins presently erected as tavern on Little Flat Rock adjacent to a mill which Gossett & Miller had set up there, and Nathan Julian opened a store at the same point, this industrial center becoming a nucleus around which other settlers gathered, and in 1830 the town of Milroy was formally platted and officially placed "on the map." In 1832 Thomas J. Larimore put up a mill at that point, thus giving the place two mills, and Anderson township thus early became widely recognized as a busy and "going" community.
Williamstown was a small village on the Decatur county line in this township. Upon the advent of the V. G., & R. railroad, one-half mile east, this town began its decline, and is now but a memory. Earl City was platted along the new railroad and the postoffice was moved to the new town, retaining the name "Williamstown."
Among the pioneer settlers of Anderson township the names of the following have been preserved by the older chronicles: Jesse Winship, James Tyler, Beverly Ward, Jacob Hackleman, James Fordyce, John Cooper, William Earlywine, Eli J. Elstun, Joseph Sprugeon, James Thompson, William Julian, Michael Miller, James Logan, Adam and Daniel Conde, Lawrence Vanausdale, William Beal, William Bell, John Enos, James W. Stewart, Hugh Stewart, Daniel Thomas, William Hill, Nathan Tompkins, Jacob Hooten, William Minton, Alexander Innis, Richard Harcourt, John and William J. Brown, John Julian, Andrew Seright, Adam Richey, Jacob Whiteman, Ithamar P. Root, John Mann, Aquilla Humes, Leonard Burton, David Witters, Capt. William Rice, Capt. John Boyd, John Bell, Robert Bowles, William Thomas, John Aldridge, William Duncan, George Somerville and Nathan Harlan.
Milroy - It was on November 3, 1830, that Nathan Tompkins and Nathan Julian, as noted above, filed the plat of the town of Milroy, thus officially identifying the village which was growing up around the tavern of the former and the store of the latter. Other stores were beginning to start up, the early merchants of the town being noted as having been John Corbin, Harvey Hedrick, Seneca E. Smith, Richard Robbins, Samuel Green, George B. Elstun, Reuben Johnson, John L. Robinson, Aaron VanKirk, James Cox, Alexander & Thorne, Wesley Morrow, Alonzo and Frank F. Swain, Joel F. Smith, John Barton and William Burton & Son, Hugh C. Smith, who came from Cincinnati, was one of the early tavern keepers. Robert Scott was Milroy's first doctor, and among other early physicians in the place are mentioned: Doctors Barber, Reynolds, Sharp, Robb, Bracken, Day, Bussell, Tompkins, Innis, Thomas, Pollitt, Riley and Rogers. When the railroad reached Milroy in 1881, the village took "a new lease on life," and has since enjoyed a steady and substantial growth, it various commercial and industrial interests being well established. When natural gas was "struck" in the county Milroy secured an ample supply and still enjoys the use of this convenient fuel.
The first newspaper in Milroy was the Advertiser, established in 1882 by Charles F. Pollitt, who presently changed the name of the paper to the Times, and continued to carry on his newspaper business until 1887, when he sold the paper to George W. Rowe, who changed the name to the News, under which name it continued until bought by F. C. Green, who gave it the name of the Press, which it still bears, now under the capable editorial direction of Dewey Hagan, the present owner of the paper. Mr. Hagan also published the Laurel Review, which he owns, and in addition to getting out these papers prints several school publications. Milroy has an excellent school building, built about 1907, as a consolidated township high school, in which a commissioned high school course is taught, George J. Bugbee, principal. There are three churches, the United Presbyterians, the Methodist Episcopalians and the Christians being represented, and there are four lodges of secret societies, the Masons, Odd Fellow, Knights of Pythias and Modern Woodmen being represented, each owning their own buildings. A local post of the Grand Army of the Republic was actively maintained for many years, but the dwindling number of the comrades of late years has all but extinguished the post. To take the place of this venerated patriotic body, however, there is a vigorous young post of the American Legion, which will be prepared to take the lead in patriotic activities formerly taken by the elder soldiers. The town has three physicians; Dr. Will T. Lampton, Dr. E. L. Hume and Dr. C. S. Houghland; two dentists, Dr. H. F. Thomas and Dr. A. C. Ross, and a veterinarian, Dr. J. S. Francis. The First National Bank and the Milroy Bank offer admirable exchange facilities to the community. The flour mill, operated by the Milroy Milling Company, has a capacity of better than two hundred barrels a day, and the grain elevator operated by W. M. Bosley, offers a local market for grain. A transmission line of wires from the I. & C. Traction Company's power house at Rushville, carries electricity for lighting purposes. There is a hotel, the Milroy Hotel. Schlosser Bros. conduct a local cream station; the Allen A. Wilkinson Lumber Co. operates a lumber yard, and the Milroy Stock Co. offers a market for live stock. Other business in the town is represented as follows: General store, W. S. Mansfield; hardware, W. S. Mercer, W. L. McKee & Son; grocers, C. H. Harton, Tompkins Bros., W. A. Aldridge; drugs, Norman Harcourt, Sheppard's drug store; jewelry, E. F. Starks; millinery, Betty Wilson; automobiles, Milroy Motor Sales Co.; garages, F. O. Hillis, Goldia H. Carr; harness shop, Charles Stewart; poolroom and barber shop, Harry Richey; blacksmiths, Francis, Turner & Brooks and Marian Tague. Milroy has ever since along the the '80s make much of its annual Chautauqua meetings and the presence of a flourishing Chautauqua circle, which has done much in the way of social and cultural promotion in that community, the influence of which has been relected throughout that whole region.