History of Barton Township, Gibson County, Indiana
From: History of Gibson County, Indiana
BY Gil R. Stormont
B. F. Bowen & Co., Inc.
Indianapolis, Indiana 1914


Barton township is located in the southeast corner of Gibson county. It is bounded on the north by Center and Columbia townships, east by Pike and Warrick counties, south by Warrick county, west by Johnson and Patoka townships, This township was organized in August, 1843, but afterward the boundary lines then fixed were changed, The township was formed by request of many of its later citizens who drew up a petition,

The land surface of this township is typical of the county, undulating and hilly in places and in others, low and rich, Smith's fork. Pigeon creek and their tributaries drain and water the soil, McCullough's pond is also located in the southwestern part.


John Miller is accredited with being the first settler in Barton township, He came in the autumn of 1814 and located on section 8, township 3, range 9, builded himself a rude cabin of logs and housed his family there during the following winter, He was a native of Kentucky, and traveled here on foot and with a pack horse. Elisha Strickland came in the summer of 1815, and also Jacob Skelton, In 1818 came William McCleary, The first settler in the southeastern part of the township was John Kilpatrick, who came in 1821. William Barrett, Andrew McGregor, James Breedlove and Eli J. Oliver were other early residents.

Perhaps the first marriage of the township was that of John Skelton, Sr, They rode to the minister's home on horseback, the bride mounted on the pillion. Stephen Strickland, Jacob Bouty and John Kell were the earliest ministers here. Providence church, a log house, was the first house of worship. The first water mill for grinding corn was erected by Jacob Bouty, on Smith's fork of Pigeon creek. Dr. George Austin was the first physician of the township.

Coal digging began in this township about 1833, on section 5, township 3, range 8. 1880, was the year that a destructive cyclone passed over the township, demolishing homes and killing animals.

After the organization of this territory into Barton township the first election was held at the house of Blueford H, Griswell, September 30, 1843. Jacob Skelton was appointed first overseer of the poor.

The history of the early day schools will be found in the chapter on Education, The churches are also mentioned in the Church chapter.

The first child born in this township was John Miller in 1815. he being the son of the first settler. It is believed that the first death was that of Seth Adkinson in 1817.


In the early days at a log rolling an incident occurred which would now be called a great crime. An Indian came to where a party of settlers had assembled at a log rolling, on which occasion it was always the custom for the host to supply a plentiful supply of liquors as well as good meals at meal time. Some of the crowd had become in a measure intoxicated, particularly a man named Wheeler, and when the Indian above mentioned had imbibed quite freely of the liquor he became boastful of his former exploits, relating a circumstance of how he went to the house of a white family when they were at dinner and compelled them to eat until they were gorged. after which he offered other indignities, This so enraged Wheeler that he attacked the Indian. striking him over the head with a handspike, crushing his skull and killing him instantly. As the victim was only an Indian but little attention was given to this cowardly crime by the settlers.

Barton township has two postoffices. each a hamlet. Somerville and Buckskin. The latter is in the southern part of the township and Somerville in the more northerly portion and on the railroad.


This was formerly known as Summittville and was laid out by J. E. Smith in 1853. The town site being located on an elevated piece of ground, Mr. Smith chose the name "Summittville." The first house there was erected by Van Nada and Baldwin and was used by them as a general store. The first postmaster was George Van Nada. In 1853 Jackson Taylor built a blacksmith shop, the first industry of the sort in that neighborhood. Other persons who have been connected with this village are C. T. Shanner & Son, Robert Moore, S. G. Barrett, J. W. Skelton, John Walker, William Helm, J. S. McCoy, A. Woodruff and Thomas Moore.

In 1910 Somerville had a population of two hundred. It had several small stores and shops, etc., vet it has always served well the convenience of the farming community which makes up the general population of Barton township, Since the building of the railroad the markets seem nearer the farm than in early days when far removed from the outside world.

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