History of Harrison Township, Fayette County Indiana
From: History of Fayette County, Indiana
Her People, Industries and Institutions
By: Frederick Irving Barrows
B. F. Bowen & Company, Inc.
Indianapolis, Indiana 1917


Harrison township, one of the five townships organized by the commissioners in 1819, at first included all of its present territory, all of Posey township, the northern two thirds of Fairview township and that part of Waterloo township between White Water and the range line dividing sections 32, 5. 8 and 17 and sections 33, 4, 9 and 16. It was reduced in size at the time Waterloo township was organized. February 12, 1821, at which time all that part of Harrison east of White Water became a part of Waterloo township. Harrison was next decreased when Posey township was organized. February, 1823, the new township of Posey being given its present limits. The third and last change in the boundary of Harrison township was result of the organization of Fairview township. December, 1851.

Harrison township lies within the twelve mile purchase with the exception of about five sections along the western side of the township. It was practically all entered at the time the county was organized, all or a part of every section having been sold before 1819.

A complete list of the land entries is shown in the following schedule:

Township 15 North, Range 12 East.
Section 31 - Sold in 1821 and 1822 to William Dickey, Hugh Dickey, Minor Meeker, John Dailey, Ebenezer W. Finey and Collen Smith.
Section 32 - Sold in 1814, 1821 and 1822 to William Baker. Minor Thomas, Thomas Shipley and Ira Starn.
Section 33 - Sold in 1811 to John Tyner, Joseph Caldwell, Richard Tyner.
Section 34 - Sold in 1811, 1812 and 1813 to John Phillips, Train Caldwell, Solomon Hornly and Isaac Willson.
Section 35 - Sold in 1812. 1813 and 1814 to Reason Davis. Charles Davis, William Willson and John Ward.
Section 36 - Sold in 181 to Larkin Sims. Thomas Carter and Isaac Willson.

Township 15 North. Range 13 East.
Section 31 - Sold in 1811 and 1812 to John Beard. John Hardin and E. Harding.

Township 14 North. Range 13 East.
Section 6 - Sold in 1811, 1812 and 1816 to John Grewell. Andrew Thorp and Edward Webb.
Section 7 - Sold in 1811 and 1812 to Silas Gregg, Edward Webb. Zadock Smith.
Section 18 - Sold in 1811 to Ebenezer Heaton and Archibald Reed.

Township 14 North, Range 12 East.
Section 1 - Sold in 1811 and 1813 to George Geage, Jacob Shreller and Charles Roysdon.
Section 2 - Sold in 1811 and 1815 to James Daugherty, John White and Wier Cassady.
Section 3 - Sold in 1811, 1813 and 1814 to James Caldwell, Jesse Webb, and Isaac Hackleman.
Section 4 - Sold in 1811, 1813 and 1814 to Alexander Dale. William Henderson, Joseph Caldwell and Joseph Dale.
Section 5 - Sold in 1811 and 1820 ( fractional) to William McCarty, John McCarty, William Jeffrey and John I. Morrison.
Section 6 - Sold in 1820 and 1821 to William Birch. John I. Johnson. Hugh Dickey, David Anderson, Ira Starr and M. Meeker.
Section 7 - Sold in 1820 and 1822 to John Hawkins, Matthew Hawkins. William Dickey, John I. Johnson and Francis Ellinwood.
Section 8 - Sold in 1813 and 1820 to William Dickey (fractional). Section 9 - Sold in 1812 and 1814 to James Job, Alexander Dale, John Murphy and John Linder.
Section 10 - Sold in 1814 to Isaac Seward, John Peawell, Eli Scotten, William Bell and Richard Tyner.
Section 11 - Sold in 1812 and 1813 to Samuel DeHaven, John Bradburn and William Henderson.
Section 12 - Sold in 1811, 1812 and 1813 to William Webb, James Nichols, Archibald Johnson and George Hollingsworth.
Section 13 - Sold in 1811, 1812 and 1813 to John Perkins, Robert McCormick and John McCormick.
Section 14 - Sold in 1811, 1812 and 1813 to Joel Dickens, Lewis Johnson, Asa Stone and Forest Webb.
Section 15 - Sold in 1811 and 1815 to Forest Webb, Lewis Johnson and James Smith.
Section 16 - Reserved for school purposes.
Section 17 - Sold in 1813 to John Orr and Matthew Hawkins (fractional).
Section 18 - Sold in 1820, 1821 and 1829 to John Darter, John Hawkins, William Saxon, William Philpott, Stephen Philpott and John Philpott.

Among the earliest settlers of the township were the Caldwells, who first emigrated from North Carolina to Preble county, Ohio, and in 1811 removed to what is now the present township. There were four brothers, all of whom had families. Upon the approach of the War of 1812 they all returned to Ohio, but in 18t4 returned to their possessions. In order to be secure a block house was built on section 34. The block house was of the. usual style. being picketed by an outer fence.

A year after the coming of the Caldwells, came Patrick McCarty and John C. Smith. Smith was a soldier of the War of 1812. His son, William M., long identified with the history of the county, was born in a blockhouse some miles west of Brookville in the fall of 1812.

John Tyner and wife, natives of North Carolina, first settled in Franklin county, and in t913 relocated in what became Fayette county. Tyner became one of the first board of commissioners and died in 1822. William McCarty was one of the early settlers and was one of the chain carriers of the surveying party which in 1817 surveyed the lands of the "New Purchase."

Joseph and Alexander Dale, emigrating from Kentucky, settled in the township in 1813. Mrs. Eliza Florea, daughter of Joseph Dale, was born in the township in 1815. She used to relate the story of how the Indians used to come to trade with her father and that on one occasion nearly three hundred came from the purpose, bringing with them all kinds of wild meats.

The year 1815 marked a period of great immigration to this township and among the number were Daniel Campbell, John Savage, Jacob Nelson, Henry Welch and James, Robert and William Dickey.

From 1819 to 1822 a number of families coming from the New England states settled mostly in the "New Purchase" in the northwestern part of the township, and founded what was known as Yankeetown. Among these were Elder Minor Thomas, Joshua Wightsman, Elder Minor Meeker, Eleazer Carver, Francis Ellinwood, Collen Smith, Stephen Ellis and likely several others.

The widow of Joseph B. Shipley and the mother of Samuel J., of this township, settled in the county in 1819, bringing with her several children from the state of Delaware. In the same year Samuel B. Ludlow, of New York, walked to the county of Fayette and entered land at the land office at Brookville. Another early settler of about the same time was William Monteith.

Among others who came into the township at various times from 1819 to 1826 were Moses Ellis. who was made the first postmaster of the Yankeetown settlement, the name of the office being Plumb Orchard, John Groendyke, James C. Rea, John Thomas. the Trowbridges. David Gordon, Jesse Ferguson, Capt. Robert Broaddus, Lewis Robertson, Zenas Powell, David Wolf. Jonathan Clifford and Jesse Shaw. Shaw was for a time the miller at the old Goodlander mill.


The grist mill owned by Jacob Goodlander, located in section 7 on the west fork of White Water river, was built prior to 1823 and is supposed to have been the first in the township. Thomas Campbell was the miller for a number of years. About 1840. James Troxell built a saw and grist mill about two miles above the Goodlander mill, both of which have long since ceased to operate.

The first saw mill in the township stood in section 34, on Lick creek. Minor Meeker was later one of the owners and then it passed into the hands of Lewis Florea and continued under the Florea management until its operation ceased. On the same stream and about a mile below was a saw mill built in 1839, owned and operated by Captain Broaddus.

In the early days the eastern part of the township was quite a commercial center. Along Williams creek alone there were six mills within an area of four miles. One factory which was rather uncommon was that for the manufacture of wooden bowls, This institution was under the management of Anson King and Joshua Wightsman.

The first one of the six mills referred to was on section 6 and was owned by the Kings: It was a grist mill and ground corn only. Another one of the grist mills which ground both wheat and corn was built by Thomas Moffett and was in the southwestern part of the township. The other four were saw mills, the oldest of which was located in section 6 and built by Levi Trowbridge about 1830. Moses Ellis thought the community needed.another mill and built one on section 31. The mill was in later years replaced by a larger one in which was a turning lathe and machinery for the manufacture of shingles. The plant was finally moved to Bentonville by Lewis Ellis, a son. A few years subsequent to the construction of the Ellis mill another saw mill was built in the northern part of section 31 by John Finney. The fourth one was built by John Campbell in section 7 about 1842. Most of these mills have long since ceased to operate.

The copper stills in this township were operated by Joseph Dale and Tharpe & Gorden, both prior to 1839. A carding machine was in existence operated by a man named Stockdale. about 1827. Minor Meeker, Jr., was the proprietor of a tan yard on his farm about 1835.

Tile manufacture was carried on in the northwestern part of the township for many years by Ellis & Williams and later by John Payne, ex-county auditor.


The historian is indebted to E. N. Taylor, of Harrison township, for a vivid account of the early industries of Harrison township. He enumerates no less than twelve mills in the township, besides a number of blacksmith shops and other industries, all of which had ceased operation before the Civil War, with the possible exception of the Ellis mill.

In about 1830 there was a saw mill owned and operated by a man of the name of Phinney on the farm of Omer Moniker. A half mile south of the Phinney mill was another built by Moses Ellis. After the death of Ellis his son, Lewis, operated the mill until about 1858 or 1859, when it was moved to Bentonville and made over into a steam mill. Prior to this time it had been operated by water power from Big Williams creek. While the saw mill was still being run by water power. there was a tannery near by, which was owned and operated by Minor Meeker. Meeker was also a shoemaker and employed the winter months in turning out shoes and boots from the leather he tanned during the summer. Another shoemaker of the township was Louis Robinson.

About half a mile below the Ellis mill on the same creek was the grist mill of King & Wightman. They ground only corn. In connection with their grinding this firm had a lathe attached to the water wheel and turned out large wooden bowls. A distance of another half mile down the creek brought the early pioneer to the mill of a man of the name of Trowbridge, and a short distance lower down was found the saw mill of Moffitt & Perine. This latter mill was in operation until about 1570.

Continuing down Williams creek was to be found the mill of Joshua Wallace. and still farther down, the grist mill of Thomas Moffitt. The saw mill of Stephen Bilby was On a small stream tributary to Williams creek.

On Little Williams creek. on the farm now owned by Henry Mourer. was a woolen mill which manufactured a large amount of yarn. About a mile west of Harrisburg was a nursery owned by Henry Sater, who also made wagons and plows for the farmers of the vicinity.

In the village of Harrisburg there were two blacksmith shops and one wagon shop. The latter was operated by Wilson T. Dale, who later moved it to Connersville and established it across the street north of the Connersville Lumber Company's office. There was even a foundry at Harrisburg early in its history.

Louis Florea had a saw mill on Lick creek, one mile north of Harrisburg. on the farm now owned by Charles Bell. Near the present residence of F. S. Broaddus. his grandfather had a saw mill. A blacksmith shop was ran in the north central part of the township by Ira Kendall. He was known as the axe maker, but he also made all other kinds of edge tools. He even made sausage grinders.


The early settlers seemed to be wide awake to the importance of an education and as early as 1818 a school was being taught by William McKemmey in a log house that stood on the land owned by John Tyner. Manlove Caldwell and a man by the name of Banks were also early teachers. but after the time of McKemmey.

The next school house ill the township was built between 1818 and 1822 in the northwest corner of section 6. William W. Thomas was probably the first teacher. In the summer of 1823 a summer school was taught here by Myriam Swisher.

As the township became more thickly populated the necessity for more. schools became evident. The next log school house was built in the southern part of section t2. or the northern part of section 13. The first teacher is not known, but among the early ones were William Nelson, Lunsford Broaddus and a man by the name of Clark. The next house for this neighborhood was built one mile north.

Several years after the beginning of the Tyner school a building was erected at Harrisburg and among the first teachers were Nelson Penwell and William Thomas.

Another of the early school houses of the township was built on the site of the Second Williams Creek Baptist church. Just when the house was constructed is not known, but sometime before 1837, a man by the name of Isaac Scare was teaching here at that time. Other teachers in the same building were Jasper Davis and Harriet Thomas.

Two more school buildings were built soon after 1838, one being about one and a half miles north of the one at the Second Williams Creek church, and the other a mile south of the church. Among those teaching in the north house were Hiram Dale. C. M. Stone. Harriet Thomas; Ann Ellis and Edwin Trowbridge.


Harrisburg at one time was the commercial center of Harrison township. Perhaps the earliest merchants were Nathaniel McClure and Lyman Thomas, who, in 1828, were granted a license by the county commissioners to keep a grocery and sell spirituous liquors. The firm of Lackey & McClure secured a license from the commissioners in July, 1827, to vend merchandise, for which they paid twelve dollars and fifty cents. In 1828 a general business was conducted under the name of McClure & Dickson, and in 1829 a similar business was conducted by Nathaniel McClure and John Murphy.

A postoffice was established at this point, March 17, 1828, with Nathaniel McClure as postmaster. Following is a complete list of the postmasters who have held the office, along with their dates of service:

Nathaniel McClure, 1828-1846; Anthony Watt, 1846-1847; Jacob Newkirk, 1847-1848; Anthony Watt. 1848-1853; Robert McWatson. 1853-1857; Oliver Caldwell, 1857-1860:. Anthony Watt. 1860-1870; Edgar F. Thomas, 1870-1873; David E. Shallsmith, 1873-1875; John- W. Foster, 1875-1879; Frank T. Williams, 1879-1904, when the office was discontinued. The village is now served by a rural route from Connersville. T. W. Fisher conducts the only store in the village.

Tradition declares that the people of Harrisburg cherished the fond hope of securing the county seat in 1819. But they did not take into consideration that Connersville was nearer the center of the county, and, also the influence of John Conner.


Hawkins, located in the southwestern part of Harrison township, was for a time a postoffice, getting its name from. the store of M. P. Hawkins, and, as far as known, the only industry ever located here is a blacksmith shop now operated by Albert McConnell.


Ancient Pompeii was lost to the world from 79 A. D. until the middle cf the eighteenth century, but, when it was accidentally discovered by a man digging a well, it was but a short time until the full identity of the ancient city was fully established. The traveler who goes to Italy today may see practically the whole city as it appeared on the day it was covered by the cinders and lava from Mt. Vesuvius.

And what has Pompeii to do with the history of Fayette county, Indiana, U. S. A. Fayette county, like ancient Italy, has an ancient city, but unlike Pompeii, it has not been lost to history because of a volcanic upheaval. No evidence is left of this village of ancient Fayette; it has disappeared from the face of the earth. The historians have heard vague and indefinite hints of a once flourishing village on the banks of Williams creek in the southeastern corner of Harrison township, but when it came to getting definite facts about it they were completely baffled. Its name was even shrouded in obscurity; it was variously known as Redville, Redtown and Stumptown, according to the person trying to recall something about it.

But fortunately one person was filially found who had exact information on this urban mystery. From H. L. Ludlow, of Glenwood, the historians have been able to get what is believed to be an accurate description of this ancient village. His account is substantially as follows:

About 1825 William Philpott located in the southwestern corner of Harrison township, along Williams creek, and built a rude log cabin. This same structure is now (1917) a part of Lydia Hall's residence: His father, John Philpott, built another house on the site now occupied by the residence of Bunyan Martin: later. John Philpott built three other houses. These houses, together with all the outbuildings, he painted venetian red. Travelers and drovers passing this way christened the collection of houses Redville, or Redtown, and the name became universally used throughout this part of the state. It was on the road frequently used by men driving hogs to Cincinnati and was always referred to in this manner. Where the name Stumptown originated is not known, but it does not seem to have had wide usage at any time in the village's brief career.

John Ludlow had a blacksmith shop in the midst of the embryonic urban center - and there were other important industrial establishments located here. William Philpott operated a chair factory; John Philpott, probably the most extensive manufacturer, was a wagon maker, shoemaker, cooper and blacksmith. William Philpott disposed of his chair factory to James Molden a short time later. John Philpott built the first grist mill and subsequently sold it to Thomas Moffett. While all of these industrial changes were going on in the village, Hampton Stewart opened a tailor establishment; William Hawkins launched out as a shoemaker, shortly followed by a competitor, Thomas Schasick. The latter was a full blooded Indian, but his reputation as a maker of good shoes has been handed down through three generations.

The village was booming by the early forties and gave promise of being something more than a mere crossroads hamlet. In 1842 John Philpott sought to foster the religious feelings of the increasing population by erecting a building for church purposes. Accordingly he built a frame structure and presented it to the members of the Christian church - and this building is now used by Bunyan Martin as a corncrib. Thus has this once sacred edifice descended to a secular use. In the meantime there was a demand for a postoffice; in fact, William Philpott succeeded in getting the United States government to appoint him postmaster as early as December 15, 1832, and in his honor the office was duly designated as Philpott's Mills. Five year later the location was changed to a place about a mile west, Ross Smiley becoming the postmaster on April 24, 1837. At the same time the name of the office was changed to Longwood - just why that name; is not known. Smiley remained postmaster until July 31, 1861, when Thomas Moffett took charge.

But with the disappearance of the postoffice from the vicinity of Philpott's mills and the abandonment of the mill, the hope of the inhabitants for further growth was doomed to disappointment. Soon the few red painted houses became faded, the few inhabitants scattered, and by the time of the Civil War there was little to indicate where the once hopeful village of Redville raised its sanguinary head. Its story was told; its race was run. And in 1917 only a very few of the oldest inhabitants of the county recall the name of the village that was well known to every person in the forties and fifties.

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