History of Manchester Township, Dearborn County, Indiana
From: History of Dearborn County, Indiana
Her People, Industries and Institutions
Archibald Shaw, Editor
Published By: B. F. Bowen & Co., Inc.
Indianapolis, Indiana 1915


Manchester originally included considerable of Jackson township, a small portion of Kelso and the greater part of York. In 1831 twelve sections were taken off and added to Kelso township and in 1841 York township was created, and it again lost territory; and with the creation of Jackson, in 1832, another loss of territory was made; but with all its losses Manchester is the largest township in the county, and it is claimed that it has more square miles than any township in the state. Since York township was organized there has been but little change in its boundaries. In 1896 a small strip was taken off and added to York, which is the only change that the township has undergone since the townships were all created.

Like Sparta township, there was little done in the way of settling the territory until after the War of 1812-15, and all danger from the Indian tribes had disappeared forever. The earliest lands entered from the government were made in the parts nearest to the river and the creeks. In township 5, range 2 west, a portion of section 1 was entered in 1809, by David Blane, and in 1813 another portion of the same section by Amor Bruce. Another part of the same section was entered in 1812 by Elijah Pitts, and another portion of the same section to Ichabod Palmerton in 1814. A portion of section 2, o; the same township, was entered by James Vaughn in 1813, and part of the same section by John Ferris in 1814. Henry Dils entered a part of section 12, in the same township, in 1817, and Hugh McMullen a part of section 8, in 1818.

In township 6, range 2, Abner Tibbetts entered a part of section 33 in 1814, and in 1818 parts of section 32, of the same township. were entered bye Joseph Sylvester and Elijah Rich, and in 1829 by Samuel McMullen. In 1818 portions' of section 31 were entered by David Roberts, Sr. William Barton and Thomas Alleyway. Parts of section 36 were sold to Riley Elliott, James Vaughn and Samuel Wright.

In township 7, range 3 west, John R. Rounds bought a portion of section 35 in 1819, and Joshua Given a part of the same section in 1825.

The history of Manchester township dates back to the year 1815, when Mark McCracken and his brother Robert, with their mother, located on the present site of the village of Manchester. In 1852 Robert McCracken stated over his own signature that he, in 1815, cut the road seven miles, drove the first wagon that ever was on the ridge, and put up the first cabin that ever was in that neighborhood. It is supposed that he cut the road from Cambridge, which was at that time the nearest station where there was a settlement. He also stated that his nearest neighbor was at that time some four or five miles away and that they were all living this side or nearer the river than where he was located. Two years later, in 1817, he sold out to Rev. Daniel Plummer, but his brother, Mark McCracken, retained his portion until his death, and erected the large country mansion owned for so many years by William H. Baker.

During the year 1815 David, George and Joseph Johnston, from Frederick county, Virginia, located on north Hogan, in the township. They had left Virginia in 181o, settling first in Butler county, Ohio, and in 1812 removing to Vincennes, then they came to Louisville, Kentucky, and in 1814 to where Aurora was later built, and a year later to Manchester township.

Lawrence Lozier, the progenitor of the Lozier family, settled in the township the same year, and a year later David and Abner Tibbetts, Simon Alexander and Benjamin Anderson came into the township.


It is said that about this time there was a large emigration from the state of Maine, the citizens of that state having what they called the "Ohio fever." In the fall of 1817 fifteen families, all from the same neighborhood in the state of Governor Kent, seventy eight in all, left Cumberland county, Maine. It excited much curiosity and was spoken of by the papers of the time as "the land fleet." Their route was through the cities of Portland, Albany and New York, thence to the headwaters of the Alleghany at Olean, New York, thence by boats and rafts to Pittsburgh, and on down the Ohio to Lawrenceburg. Most of this hand of emigrants settled on what was for years called Greenbrier ridge, now known as the neat little village of Manchester. They camped down close together until they had their bearings and then proceeded to secure land for themselves.

Robert McCracken, in referring to the coming of Daniel Plummer, said: "In the section where Plummer located there were no less than five families living on one hundred and ninety nine or more acres that was cleared, and on the land I sold Plummer only five acres were cleared. Some twenty families were living within a mile of Mr. Plummer after the Maine colony settled there."


In 1876 George W. Lane nad an article in the Aurora Independent which spoke of the township of Manchester as follows: "Soon after the War of 1812 one of the most important settlements for numbers and charactet was made in Manchester township. They suffered many hardships and, indeed, many privations, but they stood their ground like Christian martyrs and many lived to see tall oaks utilized for other purposes and removed to make room for houses, barns and meadows, and in less than a decade the ridge was under a high state of cultivation for miles, and in the fall rows of teams would be seen on the mad hauling off the surplus of their farms and cooper shops. The latter work was carried on for a number of years, as Manchester was studded over with heavy timber, the tallest and largest trees this side of California, and to work up these great oaks into pork barrels required the labor of Mr. Jaquith and all of his boys, and these boys were as good, jovial fellows as were ever turned loose in any big woods.

"The writer remembers well the first time he ever saw Manchester. He rode out on a horse behind Henry, or as he was better known as "Hank," Jaquith, to attend a party that was on the tapis for that night, and if the party was too large for the house they adjourned to the threshing floor in the great barn; it did not in any wise mar the pleasure of the occasion.

"Joseph Baker was one of the early settlers of Manchester township, a man of fine appearance and easy address. He was the father of William H. Baker and Kirtley Baker, of Aurora, the grandfather of Kirtley Baker, of Lawrenceburg. There was also William Bennett, A. True, M. Darling and A. Oldham, near Tanners creek. Mr. Oldham was a good, honest man and as true a Christian as ever lived this side the gates of Paradise.


"John Palmer resided on the state road. He was elected a probate judge for the county, and for a number of years was a justice of the peace. He was honest and wanted to do right. Judge Palmer was a large farmer and a merchant. Charles W. Wright was the pioneer merchant of Wrights Corners and for many years did a good business. He was a sensible and industrious man. Daniel Plummer was a man worthy of remembrance and entitled to a more extended notice than the writer can indulge in. No friend of other days is called to mind with more pleasing associations. He was not only a goad man but he wanted all others to be good. His example corresponded with his precept. His daily walk was a rebuke to the evil disposed, and his kind words well calculated to encourage them to seek the paths of rectitude. Mr. Plummer took no pains to secure public favor with a view to obtaining office, though well qualified and worthy. His moral and religious training led him into channels of a higher and more useful character, yet the people, without solicitation on his part, elected him to the state Senate in 1834, which office he honored instead of the office honoring him. He discharged the duties of the position honestly, faithfully and acceptably to the people.

"Mark McCracken was a prominent man in his day, and enjoyed the confidence of his fellow citizens. They always knew just where to find him. He was a man of nerve and unyielding when he made up his mind. He seemed to have an intuitive sense of the right, and his scorn of wrong was so positive that like the balance of a watch it regulated all his actions. As an officer of the county he was economy personified. He could say 'no' to pretended or unjust claims against the county with a vim that might be learned to great advantage at the present day. His motto was that he had a right to be liberal or even extravagant with his own, but never with the people's money.

"Daniel Roberts was one of those men whose character furnishes a light to memory's path, that could not be overlooked while casting about Manchester for worthy pioneers deserving special notice. It is said 'that from the overflow of the heart the mouth speaketh.' If this is true then Mr. Roberts must have had a heart as big as a lion, for it has been flowing with love to his neighbors and generous sentiments to his associates for over four score years, and yet the fountain is not exhausted; and even his voice is set to the key of kindness that, like the echo from a mountain cove, rings on the ear long after he ceases to speak. Had he received a thorough education in early life with his other gifts, it would have made him more prominent and highly useful in a much larger sphere. Rev. Daniel Roberts was the father of Judge Omer F. Roberts.

"Oliver Heustis was one who would have been recognized as a man of intelligende in any society. He was a constant reader and it may be said was a student all his life. He was well posted on all political questions and familiar with history. He was a good talker and very much enjoyed pleasant and intelligent conversation, indeed, it might be said that it was his forte, for Mr. Heustis was not a gifted public speaker, but when he did take part on important occasions, what he did say was sensible and to the point. Mr. Heustis was twice elected to the Legislature, in 1832 and in 1844, and as a member was regarded as a practical man with principle that was unyielding.


"James P. Milliken was an intellectual light that could not be hid in a forest home, but was called forth to take elevated positions of trust and honor, that his light might shine forth for the good of others. Mr: Milliken was a man of fair attainments, dignified appearance and unsullied reputation. A wish to do just right was the prominent point in his character; this led him to disregard the popular breeze of the day and induced him to prefer political martyrdom to the abandonment of his honest convictions. Mr. Milliken was in the full sense of the word a temperance man by precept and example, and would that others should be the same. He also had decided opinions on the subject of human slavery, and would not yield them for the sake of friends or party. As a citizen he was industrious and enterprising, and enjoyed the confidence of all who knew him. Mr. Milliken was four times elected to the state Legislature; twice to the House of Representatives, 1841 and 1842; and twice to the Senate, serving six years, 1846 to 1852.

"Luther Plummer was an unassuming man of sterling worth and strict integrity, looking to the welfare of his family and attentive to his own interests. He put on no foolish style or attempts to appear in characters other than his own, but like ornaments made of pure gold that need no varnish or gilding, so with a true hearted man, who is the same at home as abroad, today and tomorrow; who acts well his part without pomp or dazzling parade. To say that Mr. Plummer was an honest man would be no compliment, for like the description we once heard of a certain person 'that he deserved no credit of being a gentleman, he was one naturally,' so with Mr. Plummer, he deserves no credit for being an honest man, he was one naturally.

"Of the early settlers the Congers should not be forgotten. David Conger was a man of influence in his day. He was the father of Edward A. Conger, who was elected sheriff of the county when quite a young man. Edward bade fair to make a man of considerable prominence had his life been spared. Lewis B. Conger was well known in the county. He was elected, in 1841, assessor of real estate for the entire county under the new law. Samuel W. Conger still resides in Upper Manchester, respected as he deserves to be by all his neighbors.

"A history of the township would be imperfect without a reference to Ben Tibbetts who, when the writer first knew him, was one of the most active thorough going, dashing business man in the county. He could haul more hay and load a boat quicker, go to New Orleans and back again sooner than anyone else. His very presence, with his usual fire and life, like a galvanic battery that emits electricity at the slightest touch, gave activity and new life to all around him. At heart Ben Tibbetts was an honest man, of generous impulses, and while he may have wronged himself, he never intentionally wronged a neighbor.


"Alfred J. Cotton found a home in Dearborn county when quite a young man. There were few better and many worse men than Judge Cotton. His moral worth and religious devotion commended him to the respect of all good citizens; but his name and history are recorded in a more reliable shape than we can place them in 'Cotton's Keepsake.' Yet we will add that he served as associate judge for a number of years and probate judge for four years.

"We must not leave Manchester without calling attention to Mrs. Mary Piles, better known as 'Aunt Polly.' She came to the county during the War of 1812, and was married to Mr. Piles in 1813, at Georgetown, in Miller township, and now (1876) at over eighty years is as sprightly and active as a girl of sixteen and can walk five miles without any difficulty. Her memory being good she can narrate stories of pioneer life that are full of interest.

"The Tibbettses came from Maine. The Heustis family came from the state of New York in 1819. William Dils came from West Virginia in 1816. Joseph Baker came from New York in 1817. The Congers came from New Jersey in 1817. The McMullens came from Pennsylvania in 1817. Hugh McMullen was a native of Ireland. They built the first cabin and were the first settlers on what is called Pleasant View.

"The Givans came from Maryland, and settled in the township in 1825. Joshua, the father of Judge Givan, of Lawrenceburg, was a native of Maryland, and on coming to this county interested himself in educational matters, and the first school house erected in the neighborhood in which he settled was built on his land and mainly through his influence. His house was one of the preaching places before the erection of the Baptist church building. His object and aim in life was to benefit his fellow men, to do good in the community in which he lived, honest in all his dealings, charitable in his giving and religious in his everyday life. He died in a ripe old age, honored and respected by all who knew him.

"Judge Cotton came from the state of Maine and settled in the township in 1818. He erected a cabin and all was one vast, unbroken wilderness around him, save here and there a little cabin and a small opening, the labors of the newcomers of the previous year. These were scattered about on what was then called Greenbrier ridge, so called by hunters on account of the prevalence of a brier by that color that abounded in the forests. He says: `My cabin was far removed from any other habitation, solitary and alone at first. I had bushed out a wagon track, as we call it, and had also blazed a footpath, a nearer cut to the settlement. My mind reverts with indescribable emotion to that period of my life. Many is the time and oft, that I have entered this dismal and solitary path, when for a good part of the way it was so dark that I could not see my hand to save me was compelled to feel out the path with my feet, with my heart in my mouth, my hair well nigh erect, and my blood nearly curdled, for the prowling wolves were about my path and had often raised their hideous yells in my very door yard.'

"Rev. Daniel Roberts emigrated from the state of Maine. In 1817 he determined to seek a home in the West, Indiana being his objective point. Using an ox team as his mode of conveyance he started on this long and tedious journey. On reaching a point near the falls of the Genesee river, in the state of New York, his money being exhausted, he was compelled to stop and engage himself as a common laborer in order to replenish his scanty purse. Having obtained a small sum of money he continued his journey until he reached Pittsburgh, arriving there at the beginning of the summer of 1818. He hastily constructed a rude craft, upon which he and his family embarked and proceeded down the river to Cincinnati, where he concluded to stop for a time before continuing to Indiana, his original destination. He remained in Cincinnati nearly two years. During the year 1819, under the ministry of the Rev. I. Smead, a powerful and able preacher, lie joined the Christian church and was immersed in the Ohio river opposite the mouth of the Licking. At the age of thirteen he had joined the Methodist Episcopal church at Durham, Maine, under the preaching of Joshua Soule, afterwards a bishop of the Methodist Episcopal church, South; but the forcible sermons of Smead having satisfied him that the doctrines and polity of the Christian church were more in accord with the teachings of the Bible, he concluded to join that organization. While still in Cincinnati he was ordained an elder by the minister who received him into membership, and soon after entered the itinerant ministry. In 1820 he, with his family, removed to Indiana and located near Manchester, Dearborn county. He resided for two years on Pipe creek, in Franklin county, but with that exception he made Dearborn county his home the rest of his life.


"The Pleasant View Debating Club was one of the institutions of that part of the township. It was a fixture for a number of years, its fortunes ebbing and flowing with the changes in the neighborhood. Among its members who since have had opportunity to argue questions on a broader plane are Noah S. Givan, since a member of the Legislature, both House and Senate; Noah M. Givan, now deceased, but for years one of the leading attorneys of Missouri; Frank R. Dorman, for two terms county sheriff and one term county auditor; Joseph Ripley, judge and senator; Major Slater and his brother, F. M. Slater, the poet; Myron Haynes, one term county auditor; Edward P. Ferris, since a state senator.

"Elias Heustis is authority for our saying that James Vaughn kept the first public house in the township, dug the first well, made the first brick kiln, and had the first peach orchard. Daniel Hummer made the first hay press used in the township, and it is also said that he built the first frame house and frame barn in the township. The house is still standing; the barn was used for church purposes."

These extended accounts of the first settlers show that in the matter of good citizens, strong and virile, intelligent and broad minded, Manchester township was indeed fortunate. Her citizens have filled positions of responsibility and honor both in Indiana and in other states where they have made their home. Many of the families that were prominent in the early settlement of the township have moved to western states, and none are left to continue the name. The township has at present a large per cent. of citizens whose fathers emigrated from Germany. They are a thrifty and industrious class and are rapidly becoming adjusted to the ways of America. By the time another generation comes on the scene the observer will be unable to distinguish the nationality of the people unless guided by the name.

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