History of Harmony, Clay County, Indiana
From: A History of Clay County, Indiana
By: William Travis (of Middlebury)
The Lewis Publishing Company
New York - Chicago 1909


Harmony, the oldest surviving town in the Van Buren township, on the National Road and on the Vandalia Railroad, nineteen miles east of Terre Haute, and three miles east of Brazil, originally laid out by John Graves, in 1839, but owing to the insolvency of his estate the land was sold and the town plat vacated. Some time after the building of the railroad a town site was again platted, by Isaac Marks, which was put to record in 1864. This town was the eastern terminus of the Rapid Transit Electric Railroad line built in 1893-4, afterward purchased by the Terre Haute Electric Company, and still later becoming a part of the Terre Haute, Indianapolis and Eastern Traction Line. There is no reason to be assigned for the naming of this town and of the postoffice, also, other than that of euphony and suggestiveness. The original Harmony, whatever there may have been of it, was on the National Road. Owen Thorpe is said to have done business there before founding Brazil George G. McKinley operated a sawmill on the site of the town in the fifties, perhaps as late as 1857, who was succeeded in this industry by John and Isaac Marks. As a station on the Terre Haute & Indianapolis Railroad, Harmony was preceded by Croy's Creek, a mile or more eastward, where there was a store and a postoffice, kept by Orville S. McGinnis. In 1859, James Robinson bought this stock of general merchandise and moved it, with the postoffice, to Harmony and was the pioneer merchant of the town. During his first year of business, his stock was kept in a very small box like room on the south side of the railroad track and east side of the roadway, where he built, the following year, what was known as the "Red Store House," in which he did business until the latter part of 1864, when he was succeeded by David A. Cox. On the removal of the store and postoffice, Croy's Creek station was discontinued, succeeded by Harmony. At the time of Robinson's doing business, there was on the opposite or northwest corner what was known as Frazier's drug store. Cox was succeeded by his son in law, John L. Stephens, who conducted business on the same corner. Other merchants and dealers in the progress and history of the place, including those now in business, may be enumerated as follows: R. M. Wingate, Zeller & Riddell, Zeller & Sigler, Charles G. Ferguson, John Killion, Shaffer & Son, John D. Walker, The Ferguson Brothers, Smythe & Terry, Joseph Crooks, Shanks & Hillier, Thomas Thomas, Baily O'Neil, John M. Marks, John Thomas, Jacob Pell, Kistler & Finley, George Rohrig.

The postmasters have been James R6binson, David A. Cox, John L. Stephens, Maggie Brown, Sidney Monk, James Boyd, James E. Smythe, Owen Quigley, Robert Hill, William Shanks, Henry C. Dietrick, Sidney Monk (present incumbent). Harmony was made a money order office in July, 1883, under Sidney Monk, who has been postmaster three times.

The physicians have been: John Potts, J. C. Chapman, James O. Siddons, W. S. Crafton, A. F. Tulley, William Orr, G. W. Finley, William Palm, Mel Young.

The pioneer "little red schoolhouse," which stood on the south side of the railroad, west side of the wagon road, was occupied until the year 1868, when Trustee John Steed built a new house of one room in the northeast quarter of the town, succeeded by the two story frame in the central part, built by Trustee John Triplett, in 1873. The present two story brick house, in the southwest part of the town, was built by Trustee Philip Roberts in 1904.

Two churches are maintained at the place - the United Brethren and the Methodist Episcopal. Soon after the erection of the first two story schoolhouse, the United Brethren bought the vacated building in the north part of the town, which was repaired and converted into a house of worship, to which an addition was built about 1893.

In the year 1857, or 1858, an M. E. church was built on the National Road, north side, within a half mile east of the "Harmony Crossing," where the Congregation met for worship for twelve or thirteen years, then moved the house onto the town plat and continued to use it for another period of ten or twelve years.

The present brick structure, in the central part of the town, was built in 1880-81, which bears the name of "McKinley Chapel," in honor and memory of George G. McKinley, a long time member of the society and a very liberal contributor to the building fund, who died on the 12th day of April, 1881, the funeral services held in the new chapel, though not then yet completed, on the 4th day of the month.

Harmony had three attorneys - Esau Preston, John J. Stephenson, A. J. Rodifer.

But few industries have been operated at this place. In 1869, Samuel Brown located here from Center Point and founded a clay plant for the manufacture of pottery, alongside the railroad, and later on another was located and operated on the south side of the town. In 1872, the Brown Brothers, in company with Silas Terry, built the "Eagle" flouring mill, modern in finish and capacity, which began work September 1st and was operated for perhaps twenty five years, but for a part of the time produced only feed.

The fraternal societies maintained here are: Clay Lodge I. O. O. F. No. 368, instituted in 1871, with a charter membership of 9, now numbers 160. The Encampment, instituted on the 17th day of March, 1873, has a membership of 100 or more. Shasta Tribe No. 283, Improved Order of Red Men, instituted April 9, 1898, has a present membership of 329. The Modern Woodmen, instituted in July, 1908, with a membership of 17.

An impetus to the growth and development of Harmony was the location and operation of the Planet furnace, about a mile northeast of the town, planted by the Indianapolis Coal and Iron Company, in 1867, which gave employment to as many as forty or fifty men, many of whom owned or rented homes in the town, expanding its area and population. This iron industry was maintained here five or six years, then suspended and the plant moved elsewhere.

With its 1,500 population, Harmony is the largest unincorporated town in Clay county, and the largest town of its name anywhere in the United States.

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