History of Middle 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

MIDDLE TOWNSHIP.

Middle township is located in the north tier of townships, being bounded on the north by Boone county, on the east by Brown and Lincoln townships, on. the south by Lincoln, Washington and Center townships and on the west by Center and Union. The township was originally located in what was known as the "black swamps," the greater part of it being deficient in natural drainage. Artificial drainage has, however, largely remedied this defect in the last ten years. The intense growth of deciduous trees, oak, poplar, walnut, maple, ash and many other species, were evidence of a rich virgin soil. There are no large streams; the soil surface is nearly level; wheat and oats and corn are the main crops.

SETTLEMENT.

In the first organization of Hendricks county, Middle township, as it is now, was geographically located in the north central portion of the county and was one of the nine civil divisions. It included not only its present area,. but also all of what was afterward known as Union township. Its location and physical condition had much to do in determining its settlement and progress. Some physical defects in the land above mentioned had the tendency to make settlement here slower than in other parts of Hendricks. The first settlement made in the township was in the year 183o by Lemuel McBee. His cabin and first clearing were in the western part of what is now Pittsboro.

Richard Richardson was next, whose cabin, in section 6, township 16, was on the spot where Miles Hession recently resided. In three years' time other settlements were formed by the following families: The Spicklemires, Samuel Hill, the Hales, Thompsons, Wells, Holtsclaws, Jonas Lipe, Hezekiah Dunick, Philip Waters and Jack Parker. This group of early pioneers erected the first cabins and formed the nucleus of community life. At this time no roads were known except neighborhood trails, marked by blazing the trees, the one leading through the township from Indianapolis to Crawfordsville being the most prominent and bisecting the township. The herculean task of the pioneers was now begun. The rearing of cabins, rolling logs, cutting out highways and constructing bridges was begun. A great percentage of the pioneers came from Mason, Fleming and Bourbon counties, Kentucky, and from Ohio, the Carolinas and Virginia, a splendid stock. The Watsons, Dillons, Weavers, Reynolds, Walters, Philips, Moneys, Smiths, Crabbs, Veaches, Kennedys, Craggs, Touts, Jones, Caywoods, Hughes, Herods in the succeeding decade came and entered or bought land.

The township was organized in 1833 and James Parks was the first justice of the peace.

DEVELOPMENT OF TOWNSHIP.

Since the beginning of the seventies improvements have steadily advanced in Middle township. The sickle, scythe and cradle, used by the pioneers and wielded by muscular power, were relegated to the past when the reaper, mower, binder and other modern implements came into operation. The description of the other townships of the county apply equally well to this township, for the development has been the same. The farms, rich in alluvial soil, are well drained and cleared of stumps and rocks. Miles of wire fencing have taken the place of the old rail fence. Farm houses and barns, many of them spacious and modern, contribute largely to the wealth of the community. Twenty two miles of gravel road and twelve miles of rock road have been constructed in the township and turned over to the county to keep in repair. Seventy five miles of post roads make possible the excellent system of rural free mail delivery.

PITTSBORO.

The town of Pittsboro was originally platted by Simon T. Hadley and William Matlock. It was first called by Mr. Hadley Pittsburg, and afterward changed to the present name in order to have the name of the town and postoffice agree.

Pittsboro's first store was in a small log room and kept by Basil Tout. It was located on the corner lot now owned by the bank. He was succeeded by James Hoadley and James Barker. John Vaughn built a frame building on the lot where the Sawyer block now stands in 1844. He kept a general store, with plenty of Whiskey for sale. Vaughn sold out to John C. Parker, who, early in the fifties, erected a brick store on the corner where the Hayworth block now stands. It burned in 1884. Thomas Hoadley, one of the first physicians, built a two story frame where A. C. Dunn's property is now located.

Aaron Keith was the first man in the town who made furniture Elias Leach and Isaac B. Waters were other early craftsmen.

In 1867 the Big Four railroad was built through Pittsboro and then began a new era of prosperity. Business became better and the town grew. In 1873 Daniel Feely established a stave factory and operated it until 1886. Thousands of cords of oak, elm and ash were brought from the sloughs, cut into staves and shipped to outside markets. Many farmers paid off mortgages by disposing of surplus timber.

THE PRESENT PITTSBORO.

Pittsboro is now a thrifty and well ordered town of about five hundred inhabitants. The social and commercial, as well as religious, tone of the town is excellent. The community is advantageously located on the BenHur interurban line and the Big Four railroad, and consequently much business is transacted with other markets.

The Pittsboro Bank was organized in 1897 by Isaac Palmer, Jesse Smith and Steve Cline, the two latter acting as president and cashier, respectively. The present officers of the bank are: E. W. Sawyer, president; C. G. Olsen, vice president; Glen C. Tolin, cashier; Miss Alcie Ridgway, assistant cashier. The capital stock is $10,000 the deposits amount to $84,000; and the surplus is $4,000. The bank was chartered in the year 1905 under the new banking laws.

Pittsboro Lodge No. 342, Independent Order of Odd Fellows, was organized on January 22, 1870. John N. Shirley, William N. Crabb, Lewis Watts, James Adams, Amos Hoak and J. M. McLean were the charter members. It was the outgrowth of the Brownsburg lodge. The lodge erected its present home in 1874. The lodge is now in good condition, having a membership of over one hundred.

Pittsboro Lodge No. 428, Free and Accepted Masons, was instituted in 1871 by John Burton, deputy grand master. Its home was in the second story of E. A. Parker's store building, then occupied by A. C. Weaver. This lodge did not last long. It became defunct in 1882, when the grand lodge called in its charter. The present lodge, No. 620, was instituted by Jacob Smith with thirteen charter members. Beginning under dispensation in. 1893, it was chartered in due and ancient form May 25, 1899. Its first officers were: Sabert S. Offutt, worshipful master; Chester H. Weaver, senior warden; W. D. Lewis, junior warden; George D. Junken, secretary. Its present membership is seventy one. The stated communications are the first and third Tuesday evenings of each month at their hall in the Sawyer block.

Thomas Ashby Post No. 451, Grand Army of the Republic, was organized in the old school building September 8, 1886, with the following charter members: A. C. Weaver, W. D. Lewis, R. T. Dorman, H. T. Kirk, E. M. Weaver, J. M. Wills, S. S. Wills, W. H. Milam, George W. Tidrick, W. B. McClung, Jacob C. Waters, Lewis Buergelin, Thomas Brooks, Charles P. Cox, Joe Williamson and Samuel James. At eight P. M., April 8, 1886, a delegation of comrades came up from Danville and assisted in the organization. The first officers of the post were: A. C. Weaver, post commander;. William D. Lewis, senior vice commander; Richard T. Droman, junior vice commander; Henry T. Kirk, officer of the day; Ellis M. Weaver, officer of the guard; James M. Wills, adjutant; S. S. Wills, quartermaster; George W. Tisrick, sergeant major; William B. McClung, quartermaster sergeant.

Thomas Ashby Woman's Relief Corps. No. 231 was organized March 25, 1899, with eighteen charter members. Mrs. Marian McVey French was installed first president; Etta Jordan Palmer, treasurer, and Mrs. Eva Lewis,. secretary.


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