History of Waterloo 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


Waterloo township came into existence after the creation of Union county, the organization of which by the legislative act of January 5, 1821, resulted in the detachment of several sections from the eastern side of Fayette county, leaving the latter county with its present limits. When the commissioners of Fayette county divided it into townships at their first meeting, February 8, 1919, they organized the northeastern part of the county as Brownsville township. This township, which disappeared with the organization of Waterloo township, was given the following limits: Beginning at the southwest corner of section 16, range 13; thence north four miles to the Wayne county line; thence east to the Indian boundary line of 1795; thence with the said line in a southwesterly direction until it meets the line dividing sections 17 and 20 of township 14, range 14; thence due west to the place of beginning.

As before stated, the creation of Union county brought about the organization of Waterloo township, the new township including all of that part of Brownsville township in Fayette county, to which was added that part of the original Harrison township east of White Water river. This was done at the February, 1821, session of the county commissioners. No change has been made in the limits of the township since the organization.

All of the land in Waterloo township had been entered prior to the organization of the county in 1819 with the exception of part of section 2. A complete list of the land entries of the township follows:

Section 31 - (Fractional) - Sold in 1811 to Samuel Grewell and John Hardin.
Section 32 - Sold in 1811 to John Tharpe, Mathias Dawson. Thomas Sloo, Jr.
Section 33 - Sold in 1813 to Jonathan Higgins, James Parker, Jonathan Coleman and Nathan Roysdon.
Section 34 - Sold in 1814-1816 to Abraham Vanmeter and James Sleeth.
Section 35 - Sold in 1814-1815 to Robert Huffman, Andrew Huffman, Willis P. Miller and John M. Layson.

Township 14 North, Range 13 East.
Section 2 - Sold in 1815, 1818 and 1819 to James N. Chambers, James Montgomery, Uriah Farlow, Robert Holland and Isaac Miliner.
Section 3 - Sold in 1814 to Mordecai Morgan. Josiah Lambert and Abraham Vanmeter.
Section 4 - Sold in 1814 and 1815 to Abraham Vanmeter, George P. Terrence, Lewis Whiteman and Mathias Dawson.
Section 5 - Sold in 1811 and 1815 to James McIntyre and George P. Terrence.
Section 7 - Sold in 1814 to James Sutton. Jr., Anthony Wiley (fractional).
Section 8 - Sold in 1814 and 1816 to Ebenezer Heaton. Samuel Vance, Aaron Haughham.
Section 9 - Sold in 1815 and 1817 to Daniel Heaton. James White and William and John Demstor.
Section 10 - Sold in 1814 and 1815 to Charles Collett, Isaac Dawson, Benjamin Dungan and Garis Haughham.
Section 11 - Sold in 1815 and 1817 to Mathew Nico. John Riters. James Montgomery and Christopher Wamsley.
Section 14 - Sold in 1815 and 1816 to William Heins, Thomas Cooper, James Montgomery and Joshua Simpson.
Section 15 - Sold in 1814 and 1815 to Thomas Dawson, Henry Holland, James Runilley and Aaron Delelon.
Section 16 - Reserved for school purposes.
Section 17 - Sold in 1812, 1814 and 1816 to Samuel Wilson, Archibald Reed, James Sutton and Samuel Vance.
Section 18 - Sold in 1811, 1812 to Archibald Reed and Zadoch Smith (fractional).

The name of Matthias Dawson is perhaps the best known of any in connection with the early history of this township. He was a native of Virginia and, when a small boy, was captured by the Indians. He remained a captive for many years and in the Western trend journeyed to this region when it was yet the unrestricted home of the red race. The story is told that the chief promised Dawson the land which he subsequently had to buy from the government, in the vicinity of Waterloo. After the battle of Fallen Timbers Dawson was released and settled on his possessions, living here for a number of years, finally removing to St. Joseph county, where he died.

The state of Ohio doubtless furnished more settlers in this part of the county than any other. Among those who were early settlers are the following: Jonathan Higgins, 1812; Jonathan Coleman, about the same year Ebenezer and Daniel Heaton settled on their land in 1814. Daniel, after remaining here for many years, removed to Howard county, Indiana; Abraham Vanmeter and James Sutton were also early settlers from Ohio.

From Pennsylvania came some sturdy pioneers among whom were the following: Samuel C. Vance. one of the earliest: Daniel Fiant, 1820: Henry Henry. of Irish descent, but a native of Pennsylvania; Daniel Kline, 1825; William Hart, 1817; John Hubbell, 1817; Daniel Skinner, chosen the first justice of the peace of the township, settled in 1919.

John Tharpe, a native of Kentucky, settled on his land at an early date. He was a brother of Moses Tharpe, who resided west of the west fork of White Water river and in 1813 had a child stolen by the Indians.

One of the early pioneers was Joseph White, who in the very beginning of the century, started out from his home in Maryland and journeyed to Warren county, Ohio, where he made a purchase of sixty acres. This he sold during the War of 1812, in which he was drafted, in order to pay a substitute. In the fall of 1814 he removed his family to what is now Waterloo township.

Nathan Roysdon removed from North Carolina to Indiana Territory in 1808, and not long thereafter settled in the south half of the southwest quarter of section 33. He died in Waterloo township in 1832. The Hardin and Grewell families were very early settlers in the northern part of the township, near the Wayne county line. The Farlows came from North Carolina and settled over the line in Union county. In 1814 Benjamin Dungan and family settled in the township and entered land, and at the same time his brother, Isaac, settled on a part of the same. Another family from Carolina was James Rumbley. He sold his entry to Erwin Boyd. The widow of Erwin Boyd, with several children, settled on the land in 1822.

There were several.who entered land, but whose date of settlement is not known. Among them are the following: Henry Holland, John Sleeth, William Hiers, Abraham Vanmeter.

Other permanent settlers of the township of whom little is known were James Hamilton, William C. Tones, Robert Holland, William McGraw and John Ruby.

At a general election held at the home of Joseph Ruby, on the first Monday in August, 1823, for the purpose of electing a governor and lieutenant governor; one 'senator for the counties of Fayette and Union one representative, clerk, two associate judges, recorder and coroner, the following men appeared and voted: Alfred Coleman. Joseph Dawson. Thomas Williams, Jonathan Williams, Jacob Vanmeter, John Brown. Benjamin Williams, Samuel Dawson. Joseph Camblin. Thomas Dawson, Nathaniel Blackburn. John Swazey, Mathias Dawson, Charles Wandle. Jonathan Coleman, Daniel Skinner. William Port. Isaac Stagg. Francis McGraw. Eli Dawson, Abijah Holland. Steven Wandle, William Robinson, Matthew Robinson, Henry Henry, Joseph White. William McGraw. John Blackburn. James Beeks, Isaac Dungan. Benjamin Dungan. Cornelius Cook. Robert Holland. Elijah Dills. Zachariah Dungan. Aaron Haugham, Nathan Roysdon. Enoch Chambers. Hezekiah Bussey.


The first school in the township was most likely erected in section 16 in the fall of 1815. the first teacher being Elijah Holland. Only a year or two later school was held in.a cabin. in section 17 and it is possible that Absalom Heaton and a man by the name of Taylor were among the first teachers there, as they were among the very first in the township. In the northwestern part of the township, not far from 1821, the people were very much interested in education, and instead of erecting the usual primitive type of school house, a frame building was erected. A man by the name of Gray was one of the pioneer teachers.


The village of Waterloo, located on the east bank of Nolan's Fork. one of the most thriving commercial and social centers in. the county, has gradually faded into history and now nothing remains of the place with the exception of three or four houses. William Port, a merchant and grocer of 1825, appears to have been the first business man in the village; Joseph Flint was a grocer and liquor dealer in 1829, as was also Robert Scott and Louis Beaks the year following; John M. Turner was the keeper of a tavern and a saloon in 1837.

The first physicians of the village were Doctors Chapman and Richardson, who were there in 1839 and for several years after. Doctor Richardson. during the years of his practice, erected a saw mill on Nolan's Fork. The mill was subsequently owned by John Grewell and later by John Troxell. in whose hands it fell into disuse.

The village reached the crest, of its prosperity in the decade preceding the Civil War. During this time_ there were two hotels in the village that had more than a local reputation. One was known as the Turner hotel, of which "Dad" Turner was the proprietor. and the Eagle, of which Joseph Forrey was the owner. The building of the latter hotel is still standing. Robert Watt conducted a dry goods store, and John Gruelle was the owner of a grocery and saloon. Two physicians. whose names were Gillum and Rose, the latter also a dentist. practiced in the period just before the war. The saw mill was owned and operated by John Fawcett and the blacksmith was Jacob Heider. The greatest number of people the village ever had is estimated at seventy five to one hundred.

The village lost its existence much more quickly than it gained it. On the night of May 14, 1883. it was visited by a cyclone and only three buildings in the entire village were left standing, they being at the north end of the one street that the place afforded. Every other building, barn or dwelling, was either unroofed or totally destroyed. About seventy five people were rendered homeless yet, marvelous as it may seem, only one person was injured.

The Waterloo postoffice, established May 4, 1825, was the second one in the county. Following is a list of postmasters with their dates of service and the time the office was discontinued: William Port, 1825-1844; Amos Chapman, - 1844-1845; William Port, 1845-1851; Isaac Forty, 1851-1854; R. Gillam, 1854-1855; Thomas G. Price, 1855-1862; R. Gillam; 1862-1863; John Troxell, 1863-1866; William T. Bolles, 1866-May 18, 1868 (discontinued).

The following poem was written by William Dungan to be read before the Beeson Literary Society about 1887, and is a true picture of the ancient village of Waterloo. The author was born a mile and a half north of Waterloo, September 3, 1842, the son of Joseph and Rebecca (Chambers) Dungan. He lived on the farm until the year before the Civil War and then moved to Harrisburg and lived there about four years. He then moved to Beeson's Station, Wayne county, lived there until 1892. when he moved to Connersville, where he is still living.

The historians are very much indebted to Mr. Dungan for his valued assistance, especially for his help in writing and securing the history of the Baptist churches of the county.

(William Dungan.)
Long before the canal was made,
And the railroad's rails were laid.
Before the news o'er the wires flew,
Was built the town of Waterloo.

It was built on the banks of Nolands Fork,
Almost as old as great New York;
Where once the thistles and briers grew,
Now stands the town of Waterloo.

An inn was kept for the traveler weary
By a man whose name was Forrey;
The Eagle sign was kept in view
To all who stopped in 'Waterloo.

"Dad" Turner in the town did dwell:
He also kept a large hotel:
Thus you see there once were two
Great hotels in Waterloo.

The gushing springs on the great hillside
Once were her glory and her pride.
The Redman's arrows once thickly flew
Where now is standing Waterloo.

The old brown church that stood in town
One Sabbath day was torn down.
This wicked act the people did do
Who lived in the town of Waterloo.

Thus the house where worshipped the great and good
Was scattered abroad for kindling wood.
Go, stand on the hill and take a. view
O'er the mouldering town of Waterloo.

Her glory and grandeur are fading away;
Her eminent structures are on the decay.
Men of renown there are but few
Dwelling today in Waterloo.

Oh, look at the creek with its rock-bound shore,
Where once was heard the cannon's roar.
But the cannon bursted and its fragments flew
All over the town of Waterloo.

The greatest cities of the earth
Have thrived and grown from humble birth.
But will this saying now prove true
About the town of Waterloo?


The village of Springersville, as platted and surveyed July 27, 1840, was located in the southeastern part of Waterloo township. Thomas Simpson was the proprietor of the townsite, which was surveyed by William Dickey. About 1838, Thomas Simpson, Jr., erected the first building in what later became the village and in which he conducted a general store. On May 16, 1840, he became the postmaster of the village and served in this capacity for nine years. James Cullev was another early merchant. What once gave promise of being a thriving village has now dwindled down to a mere collection of about twelve scattered houses, a church and a blacksmith shop.

The postmasters who have had charge of the postoffice include the following: Thomas Simpson, Jr., 1840-1849; Nicholas Remington, April 2, 1849-November 14, 1849 (discontinued); Avarenas Pentecost; November 2, 1849 (re-established) to May 22, 1850 (discontinued); Alvar E. Pentecost, May 11, 1852 (re-established) to May 5, 1853 (discontinued).

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