History of Eel River Township, Hendricks County,
From: History of Hendricks County, Indiana
Hon. John V. Hadley, Editor in Chief.
B. F. Bowen & Co., Inc.
Indianapolis, Indiana 1914
EEL RIVER TOWNSHIP:
Eel River township is in the extreme northwest corner of Hendricks county. It is bounded on the north by Boone
county, on the east by Union and Center townships, on the south by Marion township, on the west by Putnam and Montgomery
counties. The natural drainage of the most of this township is excellent; the east and west sides are rather flat
and not adequately drained by the streams, although the farmers have at this time provided artificial means which
remedy this deficiency. In the southwest corner of this township are found many high elevations, some of the hills
below the juncture of Rock Branch and Eel River rising one hundred feet above the bed of the stream and now covered
with a luxuriant second growth of timber. Five good sized streams enter the township near the southwest corner,
merging into Eel river. The picturesqueness of these stream valleys, the rich, wooded banks rising from them and
the well arranged farm lands lying behind, supplies beauty of landscape unequaled in the county. It is the garden
sport of Hendricks. The land in this locality is uniformly good and is well adapted to any kind of cultivation.
In the spring of 1824 the first white settlers came to Eel River township. They were Noah Bateman and Reuben
Claypool and they located a mile south of North Salem. They were followed in the fall of that year by John Claypool
and John S. Woodward. Among the others who located in this township, previous to 1830, were James Trotter, Henry
Bales, J. and Martha Page, John P. Benson, Robert Covey, Enoch Davis and his sons, William, Frank and Jesse, William
Dewitt, Dr. Collins, Andrew Clifton, James Campbell, Mr. Crum and the Penningtons. John Benson built the first
mill in the county on Rock Branch in the year 1826. This structure lasted but a few years when Mr. Crum built a
mill on Eel River, not far from the site of the former mill. About the year 1830 a distillery was started near
Crum's mill. This was the first in the county.
THE BOULDER CLUB.
The citizens of Eel River, at an early date, passed what was known as a "stay law," in defense of their property, which was often taken and sold by the constable. Whenever the constable advertised any property for sale the club would meet on the night before and carry a number of boulders which they piled on the ground as a notice to the constable not to offer the property for sale.
The first general election held in Eel River township was on August 7, 1826. The men who voted at this election were Abel Pennington, Lewis Benson, Jacob Shoemaker, William Turner, Jacob Crum, A. Jones, James Fowler, Jesse Turner, John Warker, Hampton Pennington, Daniel Turner, John Woodward, John Turner, David Evans, Edward Turner, William Hinton, David Claypool, W. Jones, Christian Hartman, John Fowler, Noah Bateman, Y. L. Huggs, John Claypool, Alva Benson, Little Huggs and William Fowler.
THE TOWNSHIP TODAY.
To describe Eel River township of today the same words used in the account of the other civil divisions might be used. The township has no large settlements, but has developed in agricultural lines during the past score of years until now it occupies a marked position in the county. The Cincinnati, Hamilton and Dayton railroad traverses the township, east and west, near the center and the Peoria division of the Big Four and the Ben-Hur interurban line cross near the north part of the township, providing direct intercourse with the chief markets of the state. The schools have grown and become modern in every respect, following the new thought of consolidation. The people of the township have directed a large part of their efforts to the betterment of the roads. The old dirt road, with its sloughs and dangerous holes, has been replaced by excellent gravel and macadam highways. The farms are cultivated according to the latest practices employed over the country and along with care for proper cultivation has become a pride in the appearance of the field, the equipment and the residence. Many a farm home viewed by the traveler in Eel River township is impressive and suitable for the largest cities.
North Salem is the only village in Eel River township. It was laid out in 1835 by John and David Claypool and John S. Woodward. The town has always been a prosperous one, even from the beginning, a new life having been given by the building of the railroad, now the Cincinnati, Hamilton & Dayton railroad. The United States census report for 1910 gives the population of North Salem as five hundred and sixty nine, which number had grown proportionately larger in the past five years.
The place was incorporated as a town in May, 1899, and town officers elected. The offices in 1914 are filled
as follows: Trustees, J. H. Page, Harry Seaton and Harry Dean; clerk, Smith Davis; marshal, Virgil Robbins. About
ten years ago the town installed an acetylene plant, for residence and street lighting. This public utility was
recently improved and enlarged and is now worth four thousand dollars.