History of Liberty Township, Hendricks County, Indiana
From: History of Hendricks County, Indiana
Hon. John V. Hadley, Editor in Chief.
B. F. Bowen & Co., Inc.
Indianapolis, Indiana 1914


Liberty township is the middle division of the three southern townships, being bounded on the north by Center and Washington townships, on the east by Guilford, on the south by Morgan county and on the west by Franklin and Clay. There are nearly forty nine square miles within the area, in townships 14 and 15 north, range 1 east and 1 west. It is the largest of the twelve townships in the county.

The ground level in the north and east parts is high and rolling, while the southwestern part at one time was low and swamp, but is now made into valuable land by the judicious system of drainage established. West fork of White Lick crosses the northeast corner of the township and Mud creek rises in the north central part and passes out near the southwestern corner, thus affording adequate outlots for successful drainage of the township.


About two miles east of the present town of Belleville, on the West fork of White Lick, in October, 1822, the first settlement was made in the township by William and Thomas Hinton, James Thompson and Robert McCracken. William Pope and his son, James N., who was then sixteen years old, came in the spring of 1823, which year also brought into the township George Matlock, James R. Barlow, Samuel Hopkins, William Brown, William Ballard, David Demoss, John Cook, Moses Crawford, John Hanna, Thomas Cooper, George Coble and Jonathan Pitts. William Hinton was the first teacher in the township and county, in the fall of 1823, in a school house which had been built that fall, one half mile south of Cartersburg. Thomas Hinton was the first justice of the peace and William Pope, a Baptist minister, did the first preaching. He organized the first Baptist church in Hendricks county, in his own home, in the late months of the year 1823.

The first brick dwelling house in the county was built in 183o for Jesse Cook, just south of Belleville, by Joseph V. Pope and William Hinton. The act authorizing the organization of Hendricks county designated the housed of William Ballard, which was on the old Terre Haute trail, south of Belleville, as the place of holding the courts, but William Ballard died before the county was formally organized and George Matlock, who kept tavern on this trail a mile east of Ballard's, laid off a town which he called Hillsboro, and made a strong effort to get the county seat located there. He failed in this and met his death in 1825 as the result of a combat with his brother in law. Consequently, the Hillsboro project was a failure.


Joshua Marshall, one of the earlier settlers of Liberty township, wrote the following prior to his death, of his experience in coming to this new country:

"In the autumn of 1826 my father, William Marshall, of Surrey county, North Carolina, emigrated to Indiana and settled in the south part of Hendricks county, I being then in my nineteenth year. Evan Davis, my brother in law, with his family, came at the same time and settled nearby. At that time most of the land belonged to the government and settlements were scattering. We frequently went as far as five miles to help each other raise our log cabins and stables. A few settlers had preceded us, Edward and Joseph Hobson, William Rushton, John Cook, and sons, Levi. Jesse and Stephen, with their families, Edmond Cooper, Jefferson Matlock, Rev. William Pope, Thomas Irons, Judge Little, William Herron, William Townsend, Joshua Hadley, Bowater Bales and others.

"Not having saw mills, we felled a tall gray ash and cut it into four by six lengths, split out puncheons, dressed the ends to a uniform thickness and then laid them on sleepers. They were jointed with saw and ax and made a good floor. We split out clapboards for roofing and door shutters. We had plenty of elbow room and were anxious for our neighbors to help build our cabins and roll logs so as to get them out of the way, in order to raise a little corn for our bread and to feed our stock. We were mostly poor, yet contented, and looked forward to better days and more conveniences. We were all neighborly and kind to each other.

"Danville had been laid out into lots and a few cabins were being built. David Matlock and others had settled nearby and were opening farms. Religious privileges were scarce, not a church or school house, to my knowledge, being then in the county. The Friends had formed a society and worshipped in a log house near Mooresville, in Morgan county. Rev. Pope, a Baptist minister, then living near where Caftersburg now is, preached frequently in his own house to attentive, though small, audiences; and we were glad thus to meet, hear preaching, and form each other's acquaintance. In the spring of 1829 Joseph Tarkington, a Methodist minister, established a preaching place at the house of Edmond Cooper, then residing on Mud creek, at the crossing of the Indianapolis and Terre Haute road (Terre Haute trail), and there a class was formed of six members, Evan and Rebecca Davis, Mother Cooper and two daughters and Hannah Snodgrass. Shortly after this, in June, 1829, at a two days' meeting held in Putnam county, I joined the church and invited Rev. John Murder to come to Hendricks county and preach at my house. At the appointed time he came, and seven joined the church. Three weeks later he came again, and seven more joined. Thus a society was formed in the settlement where Salem church now stands. In August of the same year Evan Davis, Father Crutchfield, Bowater Bales, myself and others commenced work on a hewed log church, which was raised in the presence of an 'assembled multitude.' About this time Evan Davis built a saw mill on White Lick and there we had our lumber sawed out for flooring and seating. Evan Davis was class leader and I was assistant. By Christmas there were seventy five members. In the summer of 1884 I visited Salem church and found the old log church had been removed and in its stead was a beautiful frame building, nicely painted and finished inside and out. Nearby stood a handsome brick school house. Surely this wilderness has and blossomed like the rose.' "

Could Mr. Marshall view the Liberty township of today, thirty years after his visit, he would learn that this was but the beginning of the prosperity and beauty of the community.


There were thirty nine voters in the general election held in Liberty township on August 2, 1830. The names follow: Evan Davis, Joshua Marshall, Jacob Harper, Abraham Woodward, Lewis Cooper, Samuel Gwin, Thomas Cooper. Edmond Cooper, Cornelius Cooper, George Dawes, William Rushton, George Rushton, John Cook, Jonathan Mills, William Allen, James Hewett, Michael Kirkum, Jesse Allen, William Marshall, William Korhy, Nathan Snodgrass, Joshua Rushton, Joel Wilson, Silas Gregory, Bowater Bales, Cornelius Johnson, Jesse Rushton, Joshua B. Hadley, Robert Cooper, John Mills, Thomas Harper, William Townsend, Nathan Cook, Robert H. Irvin, Silas Rushton, Martin Cooper, Eli Moon and Jesse Whippo.

The Whig and Republican tickets have always been predominant in Liberty township.


On sections 33 and 34, in the northwestern part of Liberty township. the town of Clayton is located. It was platted in the year 1851 by George W. Wills and contains about eleven acres, which tract was purchased from Elizabeth Wills. The first name of the town was Claysville, in honor of Henry Clay, the Kentucky statesman. However, the name was changed to Clayton because there was another town in Indiana having the former name.

The first house in Clayton was constructed by Thomas Potts and the second by Lewis T. Pounds, both of them being frame structures. The first store was opened by Parker & Foote, the second by Richard and James Worrel and the third by Morrison & Thomas, near the year 1852. The first hotel was built by George W. Wills and operated by Ephraim Hartsuck. The first justice of the peace was Amos S. Wills, elected in 1852. The first flouring mill was built in 1852 by John Miles and James Worrel.


The population of Clayton in 1910 was four hundred and ninety seven, which has grown to six hundred since. On March 16, 1909, the town was incorporated as a town. The present town officers are: R. L. Ader, W. A. Coble and S. E. Edmondson, trustees; Alvin Woodward, clerk; Lorenzo D Johnson, treasurer ; Lee H. Smiley, marshal.

Electric service is supplied Clayton by the Danville Light, Heat and Power Company, and includes street and residence lighting. Lorenzo Mabe has control of the water system, under contract whereby under certain conditions the city will get the ownership in a number of years. Fire plugs are placed at advantageous points in the town.

The Dayton of today is a prosperous. progressive and beautiful little city. Trade is excellent among the business houses and the social life of the town is of high standard. Good communication is available by way of the railroad or interurban to the capital city and other towns in the southern part of the county.

The People's Bank and Trust Company was organized in June, 1912, by the citizens of Liberty township. R. A. Edmondson was the first president; C. E. Kelly, secretary; Amos L. Mitchell, vice president; R. A. Edmondson, Amos L. Mitchell, Charles B. Worrell, William Peck, W. F. Martin and Charles West, directors. The present officers are the same. The capital stock is $25,000. The bank was chartered on June II, 1912.

The Clayton State Bank was organized in 1912 by Albert Johnson & Company. Albert Johnson was the first president; J. C. Walker, the first vice president, and L. D. Johnson, the first cashier. The office of vice president at present has no incumbent. The bank was chartered in 1912.

Clayton Lodge No. 463, Free and Accepted Masons, was organized on May 29, 1873, with the following charter members: John Harrison, James H. Rynearson, William E. Howland, Thomas F. Dryden, Nelson Sowder, Amos S. Wills, John N. Wills and W. C. Mitchell. The first officers, appointed by the grand lodge at Indianapolis, were: Amos S. Wills, worshipful master; James H. Rynearson, senior warden, and Thomas F. Dryden, junior warden. The lodge at present is in good condition and has a membership of over a hundred.

Clayton Lodge No. 205, Independent Order of Odd Fellows, was organized in 1859 at Belleville and in recent years moved to this town. The lodge is in good condition and has one hundred and twenty five members.


Next to Danville and Stilesville. Belleville is the oldest town in the county. It was laid out by William H. Hinton, Lazarus B. Wilson and Obadiah Harris in 1829. The construction of the national road through the village, which soon followed, greatly stimulated its growth and it increased rapidly in population. It soon became the social and educational center of the county. But, with the completion of the Indianapolis & Terre Haute railroad, in 1850, passing more than a mile north of the village, the town of Belleville began to retrograde and now is but a very small village of one hundred and fifty people.

The first house was built by William H. Hinton, who also kept the first store.

Belleville Lodge No. 205, Independent Order of Odd Fellows, was organized in April, 1859, by John O. Gilliland, Dr. L. H. Kennedy, James T. McCurdy, Z. S. Reagan and Dr. R. C. Moore. This lodge has since been moved to Clayton, a mile north.


On section 31, in the northeast corner of Liberty township, is situated the village of Cartersburg. The village owes its existence to the Vandalia railroad, the construction of which caused the village to be laid out in 1850 by John Carter, after whom it was named. The first lots were sold on January 1, 1850. Van Matlock and Simon Hornaday started the first store and soon established Cartersburg as a good trading paint for produce. John Biddle later bought land and set up a store. In 1854 William H. Oliver bought land of Biddle, which lay north of the railroad, and laid the tract out in lots, which he offered for sale. He donated certain lots to the Methodist Episcopal church. Land was also bought on the south of the railroad in the John Carter farm and west of gravel road was laid off in lots. This gravel road is now the main street of Cartersburg.

The village of Cartersburg is perhaps one of the most beautiful spots in Hendricks county, due in no small measure to the orderly rows of stately trees which line the streets. Great care was exercised in the sixties to plant these trees and now the village is enjoying the benefits.

Belleville Lodge No. 65, Free and Accepted Masons, has a membership of forty in Cartersburg. Although small, the lodge is in good condition. Cartershurg has a population of about two hundred and fifty.

The Cartersburg magnetic springs supply a large amount of water to the state. It is a mineral water and was first found in 1887 on Dobbin's farm, five miles southeast of Danville.

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