History of Guilford Township, Hendricks County,
From: History of Hendricks County, Indiana
Hon. John V. Hadley, Editor in Chief.
B. F. Bowen & Co., Inc.
Indianapolis, Indiana 1914
Guilford township is situated in the southeast corner of Hendricks county; is bounded on the north by Washington township, on the east by Marion county, on the south by Morgan county and on the west by Liberty township. White Lick creek flows through the central portion, the East fork thereof and Clark's creek through the east side, and the West fork of White Lick, with a small tributary, across the west side. This network of streams supplies perhaps the best natural drainage system of any township in the county. The water adds greatly to the value of the land also; the uplands are rolling and the stream valleys are fertile and of high productive quality. Walnut, poplar and maple timber was at one time thick over this township, but this has been reduced by the encroachments of agriculture to a very small per cent. of the original.
Guilford township was the first in the county to be entered by white settlers. This was in the year 1820. In that year Samuel Herriman, James Dunn, Bat Ramsey, Harris Bay, John W. Bryant and George Moore settled on White Lick, south of Plainfield, near the Morgan county line. Here they set up their cabins. cleared ground and raised a few small crops of corn and potatoes. In the spring of 1821 Noah Kellum, Thomas Lockhart, Mr. Plummer and Felix Balzer settled on the East fork, and Matthew Lowder, Jesse Hockett and Robert Tomlinson on White Lick, south of Plainfield. In the spring of 1822 Jeremiah Hadley, Jonathan Hadley and David Carter settled on adjoining lands on the hills immediately east of the present town of Plainfield and were the first to locate in that neighborhood. In the same year James Downard settled on the state farm. In 1824 Guilford township contained more people than all the other townships combined. The Friends were the majority of the early settlers and to this day this religious denomination is strong in the township. The civil division was named in honor of Guilford county, North Carolina, by Samuel Jessup, due to the fact, doubtless, that a large number of the emigrants came from that place.
Samuel Jessup was the first justice of the peace in Guilford township and in Hendricks county. He was elected
in the autumn of 1822, under the jurisdiction of Morgan county, to which Hendricks county was attached for two
years for judicial purposes before its organization. Mr. Jessup was elected by the first political campaign in
the county. John and Samuel Jessup, on East fork, were also candidates, and Gideon Wilson, near Shiloh. There were
fifteen voters below and eight in Wilson's vicinity. A caucus was held in the Fairfield neighborhood, and it was
found that there would be no election if all the candidates remained in the field, and as Samuel had the most votes
it was decided that John should withdraw from the race, which he did, and Samuel was chosen.
GUILFORD IN 1914.
Because of the location of Plainfield, the second town in the county, Guilford township is perhaps next to the leading, if not the leading. civil division in the county. It has the advantage in not only having a good population, but in having exceptional land, rich and fertile, and capable of producing record crops. The farmers are of the best class in the state and are all in a prosperous condition. The appearance of the farms, the buildings and the residences is the strongest testimony to this fact. Much attention has been given to the roads of the township. Gravel highways, and many macadamized, form a network over the division. Two railroads and two interurban lines cross the county, all going into Indianapolis.
The town of Plainfield is the second town in the county in size. It was laid out by Elias Hadley and Levi Jessup
in the year of 1839. Thomas Worth built the first frame house in the town and Worth & Brothers were the first
THE PRESENT TOWN.
The town of Plainfield had a population in 1910 of one thousand three hundred and three. The town has the appearance of a much larger city; the residences are commodious and of pleasing architecture and the business section has the air of prosperity and civic excellence. The town is reached by the Vandalia and the Terre Haute, Indianapolis & Eastern lines and much commercial and social intercourse is held with the city of Indianapolis and other towns on the lines.
The Citizens' State Bank of Plainfield was organized in 1889 by George W. Bell. It was chartered in that year
and in 1909 this charter was renewed. The first officers of the bank were: Harlan Hadley, president; John A. Miles,
vice president; George W. Bell, cashier. William Lewis, Ezra H. Cox, T. F. Roberts, David Hadley and John R. Weer
were associated with the institution. The present officers are: John L. Gunn, president; John M. Brown, vice president;
Emil B. Mills, cashier; Ralph B. Hornaday, assistant cashier. The capital stock is $25,000; deposits, $145,000;
surplus and undivided profits, $30,000.
PLAINFIELD PUBLIC LIBRARY.
The Plainfield library is a partial realization of the dreams and desires of some of the women of Plainfield.
Feeling the need of such an institution in the town and believing an honest effort to establish such a means of
directing and cultivating the literary tastes of the young and satisfying the demands of the old would be rewarded
by success, the Woman's Reading Club asked the local Woman's Christian Temperance Union and the Friday Club to
enter into an association for the above purpose. A corporation was formed and a board of trustees appointed. With
these organizations as charter members, the association membership was increased by adding the name of any person
in the township who gave a dollar or more in money or books. Donations in both were solicited, with the result
that in a. short time the library opened with about four hundred volumes and money to buy more.
THE INDIANA BOYS' SCHOOL.
Just a mile from Plainfield is located the Indiana Boys' School. It is a beautiful place, well kept, and an
admirable home for the class of boys sent within its grounds. This school was established by the Legislature of
Indiana in 1867, under the name of "The House of Refuge for Juvenile Offenders." In 1883 this name was
changed to "The Indiana Reform School for Boys," and in 1903 to the present title, "The Indiana
Boys' School." The institution is governed by a bipartisan board of control of four members appointed by the
governor for a term of four years. The present board is: Harry T. Schloss, president; Joseph B. Homan, of Danville,
vice president; Guy H. Humphreys, treasurer, and George Webster, Jr., secretary. Guy C. Hanna is superintendent
of the institution.
The ordinary capacity of the institution is four hundred and twenty six. A new building for housing purposes,
Washington Barracks, is now under construction and will accommodate eighty boys. It will replace an old building.
A new school house is being constructed also, named Charlton school, in honor of Major T. J. Charlton, superintendent
of the school for twenty one years. The institution is supported entirely by direct appropriation from the Legislature.
In 1910 the total maintenance coast was $113,284.74; in 1911. $107,164.81; in 1912, $102,224.63; in 1913, $100,583.66.
The first school taught in the Central Academy at Plainfield was in 1881-2. This school was originated and supported by four quarterly meetings of the Friends' church, Plainfield, Fairfield, White Lick and Danville, until the year 1912, when the support of the school was transferred to the Plainfield quarterly meeting alone. It is a commissioned high school with a four year course, having now thirty pupils and three teachers, including Simon N. Hester, the principal. The old building was burned in 1905 and in the next year a new one was constructed at a cost of ten thousand dollars. The first building was a two story brick, with four rooms above and one below; the new one is the same, with the addition of a basement.