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


In the extreme southwestern portion of Gibson county is found Wabash township, named from the famous, historic river whose waters wash its entire north and western borders. There are two series of elevations, commonly known as the "Upper Hills" and "Lower Hills'': there are also in different parts of this township Indian mounds. The scenery in this township in many places is indeed charming. In the early days, in the midsummer months, when the waters were low, numerous herds of deer and other animals were attracted hither to feed and the Indians also sought this locality as among the excellent hunting grounds of the Wabash valley. During the years between t800 and 1815 a few of the half breed trappers from the post at Vincennes resorted to the streams and bayous of this section to set their beaver traps, which animals then abounded in large numbers. Wabash was originally covered with a dense forest, consisting of the several kinds of elm, maple, oak. poplar, linden, walnut, hickory. pecan. wild cherry and other varieties of forest growth. The farms and clearings made hard toil on the part of the early pioneer.

There is a large bayou extending diagonally across the township from northeast to southwest. This forms a basin for the surplus waters of the Wabash river and has its source in that river. There are also several small lakes or rather ponds here, among which are Goose. Fish, Foot's. Grassy, Brushy. Grindle and Otter Pond. The larger bayou passing through the township is known as the "Big Bayou."


Wabash township was formed by the wishes of the inhabitants as set forth in a petition and presented to the county commissioners at their November term, 1838. Prior to that date it formed a part of Montgomery township. The first election of the new township was held at the house of Joshua Jordon, on the first Monday of April. 1839. The election was for the purpose of electing two justices of the peace. The first settler here was Daniel Williams and family, consisting of wife and nine children. He located here in the summer of 1813 on a portion of the farm which afterwards was owned by Moses Lamar. Williams was from North Carolina originally, but moved to Tennessee, and from there to Gibson county. After arriving here he cleared a small tract of land and built him a small pole shanty. The locality being infested with Buffalo gnats, which were troublesome, as well as dangerous to what little live stock he owned. he therefore. after remaining here a few months. decided to pull up and leave for unknown parts.

The second settlers to arrive were James Barnett and family, who came in the autumn of 1815. They were Kentuckians. He built the second log house. It was an improvement over the first cabin. as it possessed a clapboard door and clay and stick chimney. The next settlers were John Thompson and A. J. Cooper and their families. John Thompson was possessed of more than ordinary enterprise and of some intelligence. He was a justice of the peace while Wabash formd a part of Montgomery township, and was the first justice in the territory now embraced in what is Wabash township. Among other early pioneers were Jacob Carabaugh, R. Jordon, James Crowley, J. Tweedle and Thomas Barnett. The first farm to be really well improved was made by Jordon. Young Lamar was one of the prominent early settlers and near his residence was erected a very small log school house, generally styled as the Lamar school house. It was there William Cash taught the first school in Wabash township to about twenty of the children of the settlement. The first preacher to visit this section was Rey. Peter Salsman, who preached at the house of Mr. Lamar in 1820, and occasionally after that in the school house.

The early physician who resided here was Dr. Jesse Fuget. A murder was committed at a dance, or a "frolic," as then called, at the home of Presley Garret, where William Lance, a guest. killed one Watson. The murderer was convicted and sent to the penitentiary for nine years.

One of the best improvements in the township years ago was the building of a bridge across the Big Bayou. near the dividing line between the farm of John W. Robb and William J. Jordon. This bridge was long known in the western part of the county as the "Red Bridge." so called for its coat of red paint. This was well built and was covered its entire length.

If it were not for the floods of the Wabash. this township would be the garden spot of the whole county, for its soil is like that of the Nile itself. But from early days there have been from two to six floods annually, and this kept the actual improvement back many decades. But in later years different methods have come to obtain and much of the swampy land has been tile drained and, with proper care and a fair season (not too many rains), the township produces a hundred bushels of grain per acre.

In 1910 the township had a population of nine hundred and fifty one, somewhat of a decrease from the census of 1900. The schools and churches are mentioned in the chapters on such subjects. There are no towns and villages within Wabash township. Much of the trading is done at Owensville.

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