History of Vernon Township, Hancock County,
From: History of Hancock County, Indiana
Its People, Industries and Institutions
By: George J. Richman, B. L.
Wm. Mitchell Printong Co.
Greenfield, Indiana 1916
Vernon township was first organized at the May term of the board of county commissioners, in 1836. It was made
to include all that it now comprises, also a strip seven miles east and west and one mile north and south, lying
south of the present township line or immediately south of the line dividing townships 16 and 17 north. At the
September term, in 1838, Union township was made to include three square miles off of Vernon township, being sections
1, 2 and 3, in township 16, which are now included in Center and Buck Creek townships. On March ii, 1853, all that
part of Vernon township which lay south of the line dividing congressional townships 16 and 17 north was made a
part of Buck Creek township. 'Since that time it has had its present boundary. Its greatest length is seven miles
east and west, and its greatest width, five miles north and south. Eight square miles, or a strip two miles wide
off of the west end of the civil township lie in congressional township 17 north, range 5 east; the remaining part
of the civil township lies in congressional township 17 north, range 6 east.
MILLS, FACTORIES, SHOPS, ETC.
On account of the lack of water power, no water mills were ever estabesablished in the early history of the
township, among which were the following:
One of the first school houses in Vernon township was located at the northwest corner of section 36, township
17, range 5, or just one mile south of McCordsville. It was known as school district No. 1. Another was located
where Fortville now stands. School No. 9 was located at the northwest corner of the southwest quarter of section
16, township 17, range 6, or just one mile south of Fortville. School No. 11 stood at the northeast corner of the
northwest quarter of section 14, township 17, range 6; school No. 5, at the southeast corner of the west half of
the northwest quarter of section 23, township 17, range 6; school No. 4, on the east side of the Greenfield and
Fortville pike, near the south line of the west half of the southwest quarter of section 26, township 17, range
6; school No. 3, at the southwest corner of the southeast quarter of section 28, township 17, range 6; school No.
2, at the southwest corner of section 29, township 17, range 6; school No. 7, at the southeast corner of section
18, township 17, range 6. All of these schools have been abandoned at this time except school No. 4, known as Denny's,
and another school known as Cook's, which stands on the west side of the Greenfield and Fortville pike near the
center of section 22, township 17, range 6. The pupils from the other districts now attend either at McCordsville
Vernon township, including Fortville, has a population of 2,447, as shown by the census of 1910. There were enumerated in the township, not including Fortville, in the spring of 1915, 354 children between the ages of six and twenty one years; of these, 212 were enrolled in the schools of the township, not including the pupils of Fortville or those of the township who were transferred to Fortville; 26 were in the high school and 186 in the elementary grades. The average daily attendance in the elementary grades was 154; in the high school, 25. The total cost of maintaining the elementary schools during the year was $8,245.62; the total cost of maintaining the high school, $3,200.96. The total amount paid teachers for the year was $6,824.08. The estimated value of all school property, as shown by the report of the trustee made August I, 1915, was $16,000. The total assessment of taxables in the township, as reported by the assessor in 1914, was $1,524,930. The transportation of pupils cost the township $2,498.50 for the term closing in the spring of 1915.
The following men have served the township in the capacity of trustee since the creation of the office in 1859: Perry J. Brinegar, 1859; Levi Thomas, 1861-1863; G. W: Stanley, 1863; Andrew Hagan. 1866; Stokes Jackson, 1876; Samuel Arnett, 1880; Calvin Jackson, 1882-1884; J. P. McCord, 1886-1888; Richard Sample, 1890; J. W. Trittipo, 1894; James P. McCord, 1900; John D. Cory, 1902; Quincy A. Wright, 1904; R. C. M. Smith, 1908; W. C. Vanlaningham, 1914. During the administration of Calvin Jackson as trustee he deposited the township funds with the Indiana Banking Company, at Indianapolis. On August 9, 1883, this bank failed, while holding on deposit $1,999.70 of the funds of Vernon township. Of this amount $410.70 was later recovered by the trustee, leaving an actual loss of $1,589.00, which was paid to Vernon township by Mr. Jackson from his private funds. While the Legislature of 1885 was in session a large number of the citizens and taxpayers of Vernon township petitioned the general assembly for a special act to relieve Mr. Jackson from said loss. Such a law was approved April II, 1885, and the trustee of Vernon township was directed to pay to Mr. Jackson the sum of $1,589.00 to reimburse him for the loss he had sustained.
JUSTICES OF THE PEACE.
The local courts of the township have been presided over by the following men since the organization of the township in 1836: John S. Apple, 1837-1841; Jehu Denny, 1838; William Caldwell, 1840-1855; Walter Denny, 1845; William R. McCord, 1846; Jesse Cook, 1850-69-78; Elias McCord, 1852: Azel Hooker, 1856; Thomas R. Noel, 1857; Smith McCord, 1860-1868; Solomon Jackson, 1860; William Anderson, 1864; William H. Foley, 1866; Emil Lenz, 1869-78; William G. Scott, 1871; Dennis Tobin, 1872; J. B. Galbreath, 1872-76; Lewis Chappell, 1874; Jacob Denny, 1878; O. P. Hastings, 1878; James W. McCord, 1880; Cicero Vanlaningham, 188o; Oliver P. Hastings, 1883-84-88; Charles P. Thomas, 1884-88; Robert F. Cory, 1884; Thomas R. Noel, 1888; William J. Simmons, 1888; Levi J. Cook, 1888; William Huston, 1890; John Hervey, 1890; Henry Shore, 1892; Monroe Shore, 1895; John R. Smith, 1895-98; Alvin Greer, 1902; Albert H. Kinnaman, 1902; James L. Vail, 1902-06; John J. Sims, 1906-10; Elsworth Stottlemyer, 1906; Nathan Prather, 191o; Ira M. Collins, 191o; Peter A. Kinnaman, 1915.
Among the citizens of Vernon township who have served as county officers are: John Myers and James Mannix, as auditor; Andrew Hagan, county treasurers U. S. Jackson, sheriff; Ira D. Collins and John T. Rash, county recorder; Amasa Cohee and William E. Chappell, county assessor; Elias McCord, Resin Perry, David Caudell, Andrew Hagan, Robert G. Wilson and William H. Albea, county commissioners; Smith McCord, representative; Simon P. Yancy, senator, mid Charles N. Warren, road superintendent.
Among the older families of the township and the town of Fortville are the Apples, Brokaws, Bells, Caldwells, Chappels, Cushmans, Dennys. Jeffreys, Ellingwoods, Forts, Cottrells, Crossleys, Kemptons, Ferrells, Hagans, Bolanders, Humes, Herveys, Hidays, Jacksons, Kellys, Kingans, Lains, McCords, Merrills, Noels, Rushes, Shores, Shultzes, Stokes, Stottlemeyers, Stuarts, Thomases, Tobins, Trittipos, Valls, Vanlaninghams, Colt's and Wiseharts. Following are also the names of those who paid taxes in sums exceeding one hundred dollars in 1915: Samuel B. Apple, $120.56; Jehu C. Apple. $256.46; William H. Albea, $195.98; Madison Brooks (estate), $992.37; Brooks & McCord, $221.56; John Boucher, $171.12; James E. Barrett. $308.34; George W. Bratton, $110.30; Elizabeth J. Brooks, $190.98; William Cook (heirs), $122.08; James M. Cook, $569.86; Maggie Cushman, $277.94; Marion Chappell, $143.44; Thomas E. Crossley, $110.40; Mary Denny, $157.40; Meredith Davis, $133.42; Hiram Dunham, $247.86; John M. Davidson, $380.36; Carl Emery, $148.56; Fred and McCord, $233.48; John P. Finn, $166.12; Annie Giroud, $164.38; Emerson Gentner, $184.10; James FL Helms, $129.28; Peter Hinds, $108.22; Sherman E. Helbert, $113.24; Calvin J. Jackson, $172.00; Lenore F. Jackson, $153.36; W. W. and La Verne Jackson, $145.62; John Lain, $132.00; James M. Morris, $197.08; Seymour Morrison, $221.70; Elhanon McCord, $139.74; Arabella McCord, $190.10; Charles L. Pope, $150.20; Silas W. Apple, $106.82; Oscar E. Apple, $161.86; Mary A. Bolander, $116.42; Marion Brooks, $173.10; Henry Boucher, Jr., $172.22; Nicholas and Mary A. Brandle, $119.68; Louis A. Browne and wife, $304.65; Jesse P. Cook, $207.10; Harvey Cauldwell, $444.50; John F. Cushman, $224.76; Conrad H. Crossley, $175.92; Enoch H. Dobbins, $253.20; Isom W. Denny, $726.47; Harrison C. Davis, $120.88; Daniel Durick, $224.98; James H. Emery, $128.84; Thomas M. Enoch, $103.12; Charles F. Fred, $122.84; Elizabeth Gaskin, $114.24; Oscar Groves, $229.95; Nelson Gaskins, $119.90; Margaret Humbles, $174.40; Franklin L. Hanna, $186.60; Nellie Hiday, $196.20; Jessie G. Jackson, $152.38; Susanna Jackson, $111.40; William Kelly, $220.40; Samuel Kingen, $139.08; James J. Maroney, $112.92; Charles P. L. Merrill, $137.56; Ratie McCord, $247.86; Henderson McFarland, $131.89; Patrick McMahan and wife, $106.60; Christian F. Pope and wife, $123.60; George W. Shultz, $163.50; Theodore E. Smith, $121.64; Amos W. Saville, $214.52; Hiram and H. C. Stottlemeyer, $171.34; David J. Thomas, $184.86; The Grasselle Chemical Company, $638.74; Charles N. Warren, $138.10; Mary Wilson, $273.80; Robert H. Wilson, $120.78; A. B. Ayers and wife, $217.83; Emerson F. Cahen, $167.08; Jesse P. Cook, $160.28; Larkin W. Crouch, $106.53; Amanda Dickey, $104.30; Fortville State Bank, $742.53; John W. Hudson, $156.59; John F. Johnson, $242.46; McComas, $209.56; William R. Rash, $179.05; First National Bank of Fortville, $707.86; W. P. Williams, $107.95; John K. Rash, $102.34; James Shultz, $436.13; Lesley J. Smith, $128.72; Henry C. Shore, $120.78; Charles E. Springer, $156.96; William W. Snider, $116.42; Samuel Cal Trittipo, $181.16; Aaron Vail and wife, $176.58; George L. and Eva M. Vail, $182.23; Robert G. Wilson, $244.38; Henry S. Adams, $312.28; Charles Barguer, $122.74; James M. and Jesse F. Cook, $268.71; E. L. Crouch & Company, $120.84; Edwards Lodge No. 178, Independent Order of Odd Fellows, $100.17; Kasper Herr, $341.87; George McCarty, $364.24; Randall & Randall, $113.20; Henry Shaffer, $312.29; Oliver Voorhis, $149.78; Andrew J. Whetsel, $182.22.
HIGHWAYS, RAILWAYS, INTERURBANS.
Vernon township has had to meet some of the difficulties in road construction that were discussed in the history of Buck Creek township, although gravel was more accessible to some parts of Vernon than to Buck Creek township. Vernon township has also taken advantage of the Three Mile Road law to procure better roads. In 1908-09 eleven roads were constructed, at a cost of $86,580.00. Of this amount, however, $30,480.00 was paid by the township for the construction of the Thomas W. Gardner road, which is the brick street through Fortville. The township has one railroad and one interurban line.
MT. CARMEL BAPTIST CHURCH.
This church was erected in 1863 at the southwest corner of the southeast quarter of section II, township 17, range 6. The congregation had been organized many years previous. As early as 1837 meetings were held at the home of James Denny and others of the thirteen members who composed the early congregation. Later, services were conducted in a little log church that stood immediately north of Fortville. Among the early pastors were Thomas Jenkins, Morgan McQuery and J. F. Johnson. A later pastor, David Caudell, was for many years one of the best known men in the county. A short address of his is given as a part of the history of the early settlers' meetings.
In 1887 the Baptist church throughout Indiana and Kentucky divided cn the question of predestination. This question
also divided the Mt. Carmel congregation, and as a result of the division another church was erected on the Greenfield
and Fortville pike at the south edge of Fortville. Among the members of this congregation are the Cushmans, Mrs.
Bolander. William Denny and wife, Henry Shore and wife, Mr. Jeffries and others. The wing of the church that still
worships east of Fortville subscribes to the theory of the absolute predestination of all things from time eternal;
the branch worshipping at the church south of Fortville does not take this view of the question. Each of the congregations
has a membership of probably twenty or twenty five.
GERMAN BAPTIST CHURCH (DUNKARD).
This congregation was Originally organized in 1852. Services were at first conducted in the log school that stood just across the road from the present church. Among the original members were Alfred Denny and wife, William Thomas and wife, Burt Jackson and wife, George Kingery and wife. Among its early pastors were Revs. Caylor, Harmon, Bowman and Hoover. Services were conducted for a number of years in the school house and the membership rose to about fifty or sixty. In 1883 Alfred Denny and his son, Isom, took steps toward the erection of a church edifice. This church stands on the east side of the Greenfield and Fortville pike, where it crosses the south line of section 26, township 17, range 6. The elder Mr. Denny gave the land and he and his son furnished the money to complete the work. Soon after the completion of the church, a Sunday school was organized and was well attended. Isom Denny was superintendent of the Sunday school much of the time and took great interest in the work. Elder John Caylor was its first minister; other elders have been Fadeley and Holsinger. Elder Norris was its last minister. After the erection of the new church the services were always held in English. About six or seven years ago the church doors were closed.
MT. VERNON UNITED BRETHREN CHURCH.
The Mt. Vernon United Brethren church is located in the southern part of Vernon township at the northwest corner
of section 33, township 17. range 6. The congregation was definitely organized in 1898 with the following charter
members: John N. Dobbins and family, George Witham and family, John Keister and family and Ralph Martin and family.
During the summer of 1898 the Rev. Z. T. Mower, then pastor on the Mohawk circuit, started a movement to erect
a church in the neighborhood above described. Services had been held for some time in the Jackson school house,
which stands a few rods east of the west line of the southeast quarter of section 28, township 17, range 6. A building
site was donated to the church by John M. and Susanna Dobbins, and a committee, composed of Robert G. Wilson and
John Thomas, was appointed to superintend the work and raise the necessary funds. Money was subscribed by the people
of the neighborhood and many of the farmers donated their time and work to aid in the construction of the church.
Work on the new building was begun about August 1, 1898, and in the following October the church was dedicated
by Dr. Funk, of Dayton, Ohio, and Rev. Cartridge, of Noblesville.
This town was originally laid out on December 12, 1857, by Francis Ellingwood, and contained thirty two lots.
No additions have been made thereto. It was laid out following the construction of the Bee-Line railroad, which
passes through McCordsville and Fortville. In its early history it was quite a business place, but in later years
it has been completely overshadowed by the neighboring towns of McCordsville and Fortville. The railroad maintained
a station there for a number of years. A postoffice, store and blacksmith shop were also kept at the same time.
WOODBURY METHODIST EPISCOPAL CHURCH.
In the early seventies the Methodists of the community held services in a school house which stood a short distance north of the southeast corner of section 18, township 17, range 6. In 1874 the building that is still standing in the town was erected and was dedicated by the Rev. Samuel Lamb. The first trustees were Franklin Dunham, John Sample and John Hooker. A Sunday school was conducted in connection with the church for many years. At present very few of the members are living and services are conducted only at irregular times.
McCordsville was originally laid out on September 11, 1865, by James W. Nagley, and contained thirty four lots.
Since that time the following additions have been made to the town:
GILLUM CHAPEL METHODIST EPISCOPAL CHURCH.
The church history of McCordsville dates back to the year 1849, when a class was formed at the Robb school house.
Among the first members were J. W. Hervey, Henry N. Thompson and wife, Marcus Thompson, the McCords, Thomases,
Littletons. Crumps, and others.
UNIVERSALIST CHURCH, M'CORDSVILLE.
The Universalist church at McCordsville was built in the year 1888, and among the ministers who have served the class were I. B. Grandy, Forsher and Beckett. Since 1902 no regular services have been held.
McCordsville Lodge No. 140, Free and Accepted Masons, was organized under dispensation granted in 1852, and
received its charter in 1853. Its first meetings were held in an upstairs room in the home of Elias McCord. The
first officers were Barzilla G. Jay, worshipful master; Dr. J. W. Hervey, senior warden; Nelson Bradley, junior
warden. In the same year in which it received its charter, its place of meeting was moved to Oaklandon, where it
became known as Oaklandon Lodge No. 140.
The Methodist Episcopal cemetery of McCordsville was located just west of the Gillum chapel in 1854. Here slumber
many of the faithful. The first interment was Oliver Robb, Sr., on May 22, 1854.
The citizens of Fortville and McCordsville took an active part in the temperance agitation during the seventies. Red Ribbon societies were organized in 1877 and Blue Ribbon societies in 1879. D. B. Ross, a temperance lecturer, who spent a great deal of time in the county in 1879, organized thoroughly the temperance forces. Temperance organizations were maintained for several years and for a time following 1879 there was not a licensed saloon in the township. Since the election on March 5, 1909, under the county local option law, Vernon township has been in the "dry" column. Two elections have been held under the township local option, in both of which the "drys" were successful.
The Culture Club was organized in November, 1894, by Mrs. S. Morrison and Mrs. T. R. Pentecost. Their object
was to improve the intellectual and social conditions of the community. The club has members in both Hancock and
Marion counties, but was originally organized in Hancock county. Mrs. Bertha Morrison, now• of Portland, Oregon,
was the first president. Only one charter member now remains as an active member, Mrs. S. Morrison, of Indianapolis.
The club is limited to a membership of sixteen. It now has four corresponding members.
THE IRISH SETTLEMENT.
While the Germans were digging canals in the early history of the country, the sons of Erin were building railroads. When the branch of the Big Four, then known as the "Bee Line," was constructed through Hancock county in 1850, a number of Irish laborers were of course employed. After the railroad had been completed some of them bought small tracts of land and increased the number of their acres as they were able. Among those Who settled in sthe county at that time, or who came later, and whose names are still familiar in the county, are the Tobins, Kellys, McMahans. Coreys, Lists, Bouchers, McCords, McConnels, McColleys, Duricks, Buseys, Dugans and Callahans. The land was productive and labor was amply rewarded. Many of these names now appear on the list of heavy taxpayers of Vernon township.