History of Jefferson Township, Cass County,
Indiana (Part 2)
From: History of Cass County, Indiana
Edited by: Dr. Jehu Z. Powell
The Lewis Publishing Company
Chicago and New York 1913
Jefferson township, being settled early before churches were organized, and being hilly, making travel difficult, and remote from town, when the grim reaper entered the pioneer cabin, as it frequently did, because the unacclimated settlers were easy victims to the deadly malaria, the early settler was compelled to entomb his dead on a nearby knoll on his own farm, and we find many of the hills of Jefferson dotted with pioneer graves, and we find as many as eighteen different places where the dead sleep the sleep that knows no waking.
PISGAH CHURCH CEMETERY
On April 6, 1852, John Wilson deeded the ground to the trustees of the church for a church site and burial ground,
although interments were made here prior to the above date. Probably the first burial was Elizabeth, daughter of
Alex. E. Gray, in 1852, and a child of William Smith. The oldest inscriptions on the monuments are wife of Richard
Pryor, 1842, and children of Alexander Seawright, February 12 and June 9, 1848.
WINEGARDNER NOW DAVIS CEMETERY
This cemetery is situated two and one half miles west of Lake Cicott in the southwest quarter, section 19, and
the largest and best kept grounds in Cass county, excepting Logansport and Galveston. This land originally belonged
to Mr. Winegardner, and he donated the ground and it was utilized for burial purposes many years before deeds were
made, and not until Winegardner had sold the farm. May 16, 1870, Richard P. Davis, father of Prof. George B. Davis
and Commissioner Frank Davis, deeded one acre of land to the trustees of Winegardner cemetery, and May 30, 1870,
Catharine McDowell, of Carroll county, deeded the same to the trustees, William York, Eli Shaw and Richard P. Davis.
June 8, 1892, Richard P. Davis also deeded one acre in addition to the old part, and again on November 15, 1900,
conveyed one and one half acres more, adjoining the above tract on the west, to the Davis Cemetery Association.
John W. Wimer, as one of the directors of the Davis Cemetery Association, on January 21, 1901, platted this ground.
George Davis, War of 1812; Jeptha York, War of 1812, died 1846; George P. Davis, Mexican war, died 1850; David M. Davis, Mexican war, died 1885; Joshua Gibson, Company C, Forty sixth Indiana; David Brumimer, Company D, Forty sixth Indiana; Martin V. Wiley, Company E, Forty sixth Indiana, died 1862; Robert M. Timmons; John V. Watterberry, Company E, Forty sixth Indiana, died 1863; Thomas Pownell, Company E, Twenty ninth Indiana, died 1885; William Smith, died 1887; George W. Callahan, Company E, Sixty third Indiana, died 1890; Ichather Gardner, died 1886; Curtis Brown, Company F, One Hundred and Twenty eighth Indiana; Henry Sands, Battery D, Twenty first Indiana Artillery; W. W. Barnes, drummer, Forty sixth Indiana, died 1905; O. L. Rizer, Company M, One Hundred and Sixtieth Indiana, Spanish-American war, died 1898.
GERMAN EVANGELICAL CEMETERY
This little burial ground is well located in the northwest corner of the township on the northwest quarter of
section 6. On September 23, 1870, Elizabeth and George Gougle conveyed by deed a lot thirteen rods square in this
section to the trustees of the church. If the ground is platted it is not of record. A church was built and is
still maintained. There are only a few graves in this little churchyard.
Georgetown cemetery is located about a quarter of a mile northwest of Georgetown in Cicott's reserve, on a wooded
hill on land now belonging to W. L. Fernald. No deeds for the burial ground have ever been recorded although old
residents say deeds by Daniel Bell were made when he owned the land in the '30s. This cemetery is very difficult
of access, the hill upon which it is located is very steep, but is finely located, commanding a grand view of the
Wabash valley to the south. There are probably one hundred or more graves on this hill but very few of recent date
and it is practically abandoned for burial purposes.
CROOKED CREEK CHRISTIAN CEMETERY
In the early thirties John Garrett donated the ground, but deeds were not executed until November 14, 1863,
when Joshua Garrett deeded to the trustees of the church a tract of land in the S. E. 1/4 Sec. 3, and November
12, 1863, William Million also conveyed one half acre adjoining the above. May 2, 1866, Andrew Jackson, and December
28, 1893, Wm. Million also deeded lots of land adjoining the above to the trustees. July 1, 1904, Wm. B. Ford,
James W. Gray and Wm. W. Smith, as trustees, plat said grounds.
BURKET PRIVATE BURIAL GROUND
This long since abandoned burial place is situated on a knoll near the center of the S. W. 1/4 Sec. 11, Jefferson
township, formerly owned by Mr. Burket but now the property of C. J. Minniman Here in an early day were entombed
a number of the Lafever, Conn, Vernon, Smith, Burket, Million and other families. Today, 1907, under the shade
of a wild cherry tree in a woodland pasture south of the barn are more than a dozen fallen and broken marble slabs
with inscriptions dating from 1843 to 1864, with many unmarked graves.
LOBAUGH OR WATTSBAUGH PRIVATE CEMETERY
is situated on a sandy knoll, covered with oak bushes, one half mile S. E. of the N. W. corner of Jefferson
township in the N. W. 1% Sec. 6, now the property of John Gougle. In this elevated yet lonely place Mrs. Lobaugh
was laid to rest in 1839. She was the mother of John A. Fuller's first wife. A number of unmarked graves are here
located and the following inscriptions are taken from marble slabs lying under the trees and covered with leaves:
Andrew Cast, son of W. and S. Cast, died 1852; Henry Cast, son of W. and S. Cast, died 1854; Alvin, son of S. and
L. Swartzell, died 1853; Martha, daughter of J. C. and S. Wattsbaugh, died 1854.
McNITT PRIVATE BURIAL PLACE
In the early forties and later were buried on the James McNitt farm, N. W. 14 Sec. 9, Jefferson township, a
child of Samuel Fry, Sarah Benson and three children, Jane, wife of James McNitt in 1855; James McNitt Sr., who
died in 1845 and buried at Concord, was removed here in 1855; Robert McNitt, 1867, and his child in 1859; Win.
McNitt and daughter in 1868.
JOHN WILSON FAMILY BURIAL PLACE
was established on his farm a short distance northwest of Pisgah church in the N. W. 1/4 Sec. 23, before the church was erected or even thought of, in 1852. Samuel Wilson and several others were buried here but no markers were erected and all vestige of this little burial place, once sacred to the memory of the pioneer dead, has passed into desuetude.
PRYOR'S PRIVATE BURIAL PLACE
was located on Richard Pryor's farm in the N. E. ¼ Sec. 14, now the property of his son, Horace Pryor.
Before any public burial grounds were laid out in Jefferson township, death entered Mr. Pryor's pioneer home and
he was compelled to lay his loved ones to rest in the virgin soil under the forest trees on his farm and a few
of the neighbors also buried their dead here. When Pisgah cemetery was established Mrs. Pryor's remains were removed
but others were left to sleep in their original forest home unconscious of the busy world that today ignorantly
tread above them.
HOUK PRIVATE CEMETERY
This burial ground is situated on the N. E. 14 Sec. 15 on the farm formerly owned by Geo. Houk, but now the property of Geo. L. Webster, whose wife was a Honk. Here are now found two marble slabs with the following inscriptions: Levi Edgar, son of S. A. Suter, died 1847; C. A. Theodore, son of S. A. Suter, died 1846; Teter Honk and his daughter Caroline and a few others are buried here in unmarked graves. The wife of Geo. Houk was buried here but was removed to Mt. Hope many years ago.
John Fry, sometime in the thirties, donated ground for burial purposes in the S. W. corner of the N. E. 1/4
Sec. 12, Jefferson township. The surrounding farm has since belonged to William and Henry Cotner and others. No
deeds for this burial ground were found until 1905, when Melvin E. Nethercutt and wife, who was a Cotner, deeds
to Henry Meyer the forty acre tract containing this cemetery, but conveys it subject to this incumbrance.
BERRY AND ROGERS' PRIVATE BURIAL LOT
In the forties and early fifties four children of Wm. Rogers, who owned the land at the time, were buried on
his farm situated in the N. W. 1/4 Sec. 22, about a mile north of Lake Cicott.
Helm's history states that the first schoolhouse in Jefferson township was erected on the Dunham farm in 1836. Mrs. Beaufort Banta, just prior to her death, told the writer that there was a round log schoolhouse built as early as 1836 near the center of section 24, about one half mile east of Pisgah church. This was the typical pioneer cabin with oiled paper windows, puncheon floor, fireplace and clapboard roof. About 1.847 this was replaced by a frame and about the same time a frame schoolhouse was erected near Curveton. About 1868 both these buildings were abandoned and a new schoolhouse erected at Pisgah church. This was torn down in 1892 and the present schoolhouse, No. 5, built one half mile north of. Pisgah church on the southeast corner of section 14.
The first teacher is said to be Alanson Crocker. He was a New Englander, an unusually bright and refined gentleman,
but an eccentric character and when off duty would frequently indulge to excess, and as a consequence he died in
the poorhouse some time in the forties.
TOWNS AND VILLAGES
The Village of Georgetown was laid out in July, 1835, by Daniel Bell, a brother in law of General Tipton, and is one of the oldest settlements in the county. It is situated on the north bank of the Wabash river in George Cicott's reserve and is probably named from Cicott. The original plat shows fifty seven lots and six streets, to wit: Canal, Wabash, Market, Jackson, Washington and Bonaparte; the first two running east and west, the others north and south. It early became a prominent shipping point on the old canal, and during canal days did an immense business and was the chief source of supplies for a large territory. Among the first settlers of the village was Silas Atchison, who came as early as 1830; and about the same time John Myers moved to the village and became the first merchant of the town, opening a general store. He was a large land owner and subsequently sold his store to Simon Elsrath, who with a Mr. Berry carried on the business for some years. Cicott's sawmill, built in 1829, was the first industry and around which the village grew.
THE FIRST TAVERN
in Georgetown was built by William Atchison on lot No. 1, a pretentious building for that day. It was destroyed by fire in 1872. The last owner and proprietor was John T. Wiley, who was also a merchant and the last postmaster.
THE FIRST SHOEMAKER
was Joseph Day, who also ran a small tannery for a few years until he was elected justice of the peace and that lucrative office caused him to relinquish his trade for legal pursuits.
THE FIRST CARPENTER
was William Blackabee and the first stone mason a Mr. Cook. James Thompson was the first tailor, who afterwards moved to Logansport.
was established in the early thirties under the name of "Amsterdam." The office was discontinued in the seventies but reestablished under the name of "Gordon," but was discontinued some years ago and the town is now supplied by Rural Route No. 7 from Logansport. The first physician was Dr. James Gordon, father of Max Gordon, who located here in 1835 and later engaged in mercantile business and erected a large warehouse on the old canal about 1852. He dealt in. all kinds of merchandise, bought and shipped grain on the canal to Toledo and carried on an extensive business, but when the canal. was closed by the building of railroads his trade was entirely killed as was also the town and today there are only a. few dilapidated houses, a small store kept by Albert Kleping, a blacksmith shop by Charles Nethercutt, a small mill operated by Noah Frick and a district schoolhouse. The first schoolhouse at Georgetown was a log structure that stood near the entrance to the bridge, and the first teacher was probably Joseph Day.
During the year 1883, a covered wooden bridge was built across the Wabash at Georgetown and James Gordon was the superintendent of construction. This bridge was carried away by the great ice gorge, March 20, 1912, and during the fall of the same year the present handsome cement arch bridge was constructed and Max Gordon was the superintendent of construction on the part of the people.
is a small station on the state line division of the Pittsburg, Cincinnati & St. Louis railroad, situated
at the east end of Lake Cicott, from which it derives its name. The former name was "Lakeville" and under
this title James Duffy laid out the original town July 9, 1868, and became its first store keeper and postmaster
and later township trustee. At one time there was a large steam sawmill located here that did an extensive business
but want of material caused its suspension. The present postmaster is Albert Good and two rural mail routes, Nos.
31 and 32, deliver daily mail to the farmers in the surrounding country. Free rural mail service was established
is a station on the state line division of the Pennsylvania Railroad and is situated in the northeast corner
of section 26. It is reported that Alexander Seawright laid out a town here soon after the railroad was completed,
about 1860, and that William Seawright was the first postmaster and Abraham Miller the last when the postoffice
was discontinued about 1900.
is a paper town, situated in the southwest corner of the northeast quarter of the northeast quarter of section
3 in township 27, north of range 1, west.
Doctors may be a necessary evil but "the people are inclined to evil and that continually," and history
would not be complete without at least a short reference to the physicians to whom the people usually apply when
they come and go from this world of care.
ROADS AND GENERAL IMPROVEMENTS
Jefferson township heads the county for hills, creeks, and romantic scenery and while its hills. were originally
difficult to travel over, yet they have in recent years been cut down and roadways opened up through all sections
of the township and the abundance of gravel pontained in its hills provide material easy of access to construct
roads and today many of the principal thoroughfares are improved by grading and graveling and a few miles of stone
road have been constructed on the west line of the township.
In early days there were few amusements, hence religious meetings, singing schools and spelling matches were
the chief diversions and always well attended. The pioneer preacher's monthly visits to the log schoolhouse would
attract young and old from the entire settlement and the old singing master reading buckwheat notes and beating
time with tuning fork in hand was as good as a circus to the young people. The spelling school, however, was more
frequently held and in the winter time was the weekly entertainment, where great rivalry was excited between different
school districts and expert spellers were more numerous among the pioneers than are found today.
In early clays prairie fires swept over the western part of Jefferson township nearly every fall and were very destructive and a terror to the pioneers. Fencing, buildings and small growth of timber and everything in its path would be consumed by the terrible and rapid progress of the fire. Joseph W. Barr, son of William Barr, were pioneers and the former, now living in Logansport, relates some exciting experiences in fighting prairie fires. James D. McNitt also states that his mother, Jane McNitt, died from the effects of fighting prairie fires in 1855. These tires would sweep across the prairies. or through forests with a roaring noise that could be heard for miles and was as terrible as an "army with banners."
GAME PRESERVE AND DEER PARK
Wilson Seawright, a prominent farmer of the township, who has a fondness for animals and birds, constructed a park in 1906 on his farm in Jefferson township consisting of seven acres of beautiful ground, enclosing the same with a high woven wire fence and stocked it with elks, raccoons, opossums, squirrels, Russian jack rabbits, golden pheasants, wild geese and alligators. The latter could not resist the cold winters and have died. He has raised a number of elks and sold them to ready buyers. He says he hopes to secure some moose before they become extinct. In 1907 an organization of Jefferson township farmers was formed with Wilson Seawright at its head, representing 4,800 acres of land upon which they expect to maintain a "game preserve," and the state is aiding and encouraging such movements, and is endeavoring to locate such a preserve hi every county, and the state game warden in 1908 sent twenty pairs of Mongolian pheasants to Mr. Seawright's Jefferson township preserve; in 1909 twenty five pairs of Hungarian partridges and in 1910 an additional consignment of twelve pairs, all of which are doing well on this extensive game preserve.
Biographical sketches of the following persons have been written and may be found in Helm's History, published
in 1886, and will not be reproduced here: