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
There is a pretty strong presumption of truth in the statement long maintained that the first permanent settlement in Rush county was effected in that section of the county whicch became organized as Noble township, as now located, the character of the lands lying along the several tributaries of the Little Flat Rock, which has its headwaters in this township, having proved attractive to prospective settlers seeking overflow from the earlier settled counties of Fayette and Franklin on the east. The honor of having been the first settler is thus given to Isaac Williams, who is reported to have put up, in September, 1819, a cabin on what afterward became the Andrew Guffin farm, but Elijah HacklemanŐs reminiscences have it that the first to settle in the Little Flat Rock neighborhood was Enoch Russell, who settled there in March of that same year. The old Williams cabin is still standing, a part of an old barn on the Guffin farm. Early in the spring of the next year William Merryman put up a cabin on the farm, which afterward became the home of Benjamin F. Reeve. These early arrivals of course were "squatters," for the land here was not opened for legal entry until in the fall of 1820. After the first land sale settlement was effected rapidly and Noble township became one of the most populous sections of the county at an early date. Perhaps what may be regarded as the first commercial enterprise carried on in Rush county was the store of Conrad Sailor, in that section which became organized as Noble township. As has been noted heretofore, Sailor was the agent appointed by the legislature to organize Rush county upon the passage of the enabling act in December, 1821. He had represented Franklin county in the first state legislature which met at Corydon, and was active in the public affairs of the pioneer community which began to develop in the new lands west of that county, not only carrying on the business of his little pioneer store and taking an influential part in politics, but being accounted a leader in the work of the Baptist church hereabout.
Noble township is not quite a true "congressional" township, half of sections 3 and 10 being cut off to help form the eastern "jog" in Rushville township, reference to which has been made in an earlier chapter. The township is bounded on the north by Union township, on the east by Fayette country, on the south by Richland township and on the west by Rushville township and section 33 of Anderson township. It is well drained by Little Flat Rock river and the headwater tributaries of the same. There is no railroad in the township and there is but one hamlet, New Salem. The first mill in the township was put up by William Robinson and not long afterward Jehu Perkins put up a mill on Pleasant Run. Jehu Perkins, one of the three original county commissioners of Rush county, was the father of twenty-one children, one of whom, a son, Jehu Perkins, Jr., commonly known as "Boss", is credited with having been the first white child born in the present confines of the county. Benjamin F. Reeve, the pioneer school teacher in Noble township, served this district in both the upper and lower houses of the state legislature and also served for many years as justice of the peace in and for him home township. John P. Thompson organized a Christian church in Noble township in 1830, this church being said to have been the first formal organization of the Disciples of Christ in Indiana.
Among those mentioned as having been the founders of Noble township were the following: John Hawkins, Abraham Hackleman, Conrad Sailors, Henry Lines, Col. John Tyner, Issack Patterson, Edward Patterson, Jacob Sailors, Elder John Blades, Jehu Perkins, Benjamin Sailors, Jesse Winship, Thomas P. Lewis, Doctor Kipper, John Gregg, Isacc Stephens, Jacob Starr, John Pogue, James Logan, Aaron Lines, John Laforge, John Beaver, Peter Looney, Henry Myers, Lewis Smith, George Taylor, Aaron Wellman, Solomon Bowen, Elias Posten, Robert Stewart, John McKee, James Wiley, James J. Armstrong, John P. Tompkins, Stephen Lewis and Joseph J. Amos.
New Salem - This, as has been noted above, is the only hamlet in Noble township, and has a population of around 250. The first settler within the limits of what is now the village was Moses Thompson, who put up a cabiin there in the early '20s, he being followed shortly afterward by Doctor Anthony, who thus became one of the real pioneer physicians of the county. Then came Reuben Runyon, who set up a blacksmith shop, and Israel Knapp with a wagon shop, these essential pioneer industries becoming the nucleus around which gathered the present village. Among the early merchants mention is made of Thomas J. Larimore, Jameson & Stalla, Robinson & Miller, Richardson & Marsh and George and Andrew Guffin. Two mills formerly operated in the village, but one was moved to Rushville and the other was destroyed by a tornado. The town was formally platted by Moses Thompson in February, 1831. Besides the two or three stores essential to the immediate commercial needs of the neighborhood New Salem has a bank, the New Salem Bank, an excellent school and two churches, both the Methodist Episcopal and the Methodist Protestant being represented there, each having substantial church buildings. A grain elevator was erected at New Salem a few years ago by a Brookville grain man in ecpectation of the village becoming a rail shipping point when the right of way through there was secured by the I. & C. Traction Company, but the hope of the villages to have a rail outlet has not yet materialized. In the old days before railroads came to the county New Salem was noted as a stopping point for cattle drovers who would be driving their stock to market at Cincinnati. Its present commercial interests are represented by Jehu Perkins, general store, Roy Murphy & Sons, grocers; Carl W. Dausch, grocer; William Dausch, butcher, and Clarence Maple and Edward Gwinnup, blacksmiths.