History of Allen Township, Miami County, Indiana
From: History of Miami County, Indiana
Edited by: Mr. Arthur L. Bodurtha
The Lewis Publishing Company
Chicago and New York 1914


This township occupies the northwest corner of the county. It is bounded on the north by Fulton county; on the east by Perry township; on the south by Union township, and on the west by the county of Fulton. Its area is about 14,600 acres, or nearly twenty three square miles. The surface is generally level, though in the southern and southeastern portions there are some irregular undulations. When the first white men came to this part of the county they found a dense forest of beech, ash, walnut, poplar, maple, several species of oak, elm and maple trees. Much of the land was then so swampy that it was unfit for cultivation, but a thorough system of artificial drainage was completed in time, and now some of the best crops in the northern part of the county are raised in Allen township. Among the early settlers the marshes were allowed to grow up in cranberries and whortleberries, but since the land has been reclaimed by drainage these crops have given way to others yielding greater profit. Agriculture and stock raising are the principal occupations. Wheat, oats, corn, hay and potatoes are the leading agricultural products.

John Horton is credited with being the first actual white settler in Allen township. Late in the year 1834 he selected a claim in the northwestern part of the township, where he built a cabin and began the work of clearing a patch of ground for a crop the next year. With him came T. J. Holcomb and T. N. Wheatley, who located their claims just over the line, in Fulton county. In March, 1835, Mr. Horton brought his family to the new home in the wilderness and for a whole year was the only resident in the township. In 1836 George Neece settled about half a mile north of the present town of Macy and his brother William came a little later and settled about a mile farther north. The former remained only a short time, when he sold his claim and removed to one of the western states. The same year Jonathan Williams located about two and a half miles north of the present town of Macy. His brother, Isaac Williams, purchased the Neece place and became a resident of the township.

The records of the land office show that the first entry of land within the limits of Allen township was made by Charles W. Cathcart in 1835, when he obtained a patent for the north half of the southwest quarter of Section 4, in the northeast corner of the township, and soon afterward Alexander B. Morrison entered a tract near by.

During the year 1836 there was a large immigration to the township and a number of land entries were recorded. Among those who came in this year were David and Samuel Hoover, Asa and Nathaniel Leonard, William Smith, Samuel A. Mann, Alexander Wilson, James and Newberry Wheeldon, John G. Gibson, Elias Beard, David and Samuel Harp, George Harkins, William Cannon, Jeremiah E. Cary, Eli Pugh, Joseph Cary and Jesse Yost. The entries made by these men and a few others covered practically every portion of the township.

In 1837 a number of inhabitants were added to the population. John Wilkinson and his four sons - George, Anderson, James and Baldwin - came from Jefferson township, where they had settled in 1835, when the family first came. from Ohio. The father and sons entered land in the immediate vicinity of Macy, George Wilkinson taking up the tract upon which the town was afterward laid out. John Reiker entered a tract in the eastern part of the township; David Kinder located on Section 6, near the Fulton county line; Alexander Jameson, Gartin Calaway, W. T. Squires and T. J. Holcomb entered Section 7 directly south of Kinder; A. M. Campbell and Peter Harshman settled on Section 9; Daniel Mendenhall, Thomas Clemens and Sullivan Waite on Section 17, about a mile east of Macy. Others who came in this year were Andrew Highland, Ebenezer Fenimore, Stephen Brewer, Elias Bills, Charles Lowe, Townsend Evans and Daniel Lee. William R. Mowbray entered land, but did not remain long in the township.

By 1842 all the government land in the township, with the exception of a few small tracts, was taken up, by far the larger part of it by actual settlers, who were rapidly converting the wilderness into a land of husbandry. Among those who settled in the township between the years 1837 and 1842 were George Hakins, John McCree, Nathaniel and George Bryant, Samuel Carr, Frederick Poor, William Boggs, Henry Studebaker, Richard and Joseph Endsley, the Baileys and the Carveys.

Allen township remained a part of Union until September 6, 1859, when the board of county commissioners ordered the erection of a new township from the northern part of Union, to be named in honor of United States Senator William Allen, of Ohio. A few weeks after this order was issued, an election for township officers was held at the house of Anderson Wilkinson, who acted as inspector of the election. At that time Frederick Huffman was elected justice of the peace and James Wilkinson was elected township trustee. At the next regular election William Fenimore was chosen trustee, but before the expiration of his term he resigned to enter the Union army at the beginning of the Civil war and Anderson Wilkinson was appointed to serve for the remainder of the term

The first white child born in the township was probably Delilah Hatch, daughter of William and Margaret Hatch, who was born in December, 1838. John Wilkinson died on December 24, 1838, and his death was the first in the township The first marriage is believed to have been that of Elijah Ogle and Catharine Wilkinson, which was solemnized in 1838, short time before the death of the bride's father.

The first school in Allen township was taught by Miss Sarah Bryant in 1839, in a cabin that had been built for a residence on the farm of Matthias Carvey. The next year Miss Betty Bailey taught a term in the same place, and in that year the first schoolhouse was erected upon the farm that had been entered by George Neece in 1836. Here the first school was taught by George Wilkinson in the fall and winter of 1840. The next year two schoolhouses were erected - one in the eastern part of the township and the other at the old village of Five Corners, near the southwest corner. In 1913 there were five schoolhouses in the township, two of which were brick and the other three were frame. The estimated value of these buildings was $7,200. During the school year of 1912-13 there were 292 pupils enrolled in the public schools and ten teachers were employed, two of whom were in the high school at Macy. The amount paid for teachers' salaries during the year was $4,390.

One of the earliest industries was the "ashery" started by William Squires in 1840. For a number of years this concern supplied much of the soda used by the pioneers of Allen township. In 1842 Stewart Bailey began the manufacture of brick on the Sullivan Waite farm, but the first brick house in the township was not built until 1856, when George Harkins erected a brick dwelling. In that year Runkle & Woodring began the operation of a steam saw mill, with a run of small corn buhrs attached. This was a great accommodation to the settlers and proved a good investment for the proprietors. After a successful career of about three years the boiler of this mill exploded and killed three men - a Mr. Hart and his son William and a man named Whipple.

As early as 1838 Rev. George Pope, a Baptist minister, visited the pioneer settlements in what is now Allen township and held services at the dwellings of some of the settlers. The following year another Baptist preacher by the name of Kendall visited this part of the county. About the same time Rev. William Williams, Methodist minister, began holding meetings at the home of Anderson Wilkinson, where the first regular religious society of that faith was organized in 1840. The Pleasant Hill Methodist church, about three and a half miles northeast of Macy, was organized at an early date. A Methodist church was established at Five Corners in 1860 and the Christian church at Macy was founded in 1868. (See Chapter XVII for a full account of the churches of the county.)

Much of the land in Allen township is of such a character that artificial drainage is necessary to bring it to a high state of cultivation. Prior to 1895 some twenty two miles of ditch had been opened in the township at a cost of nearly $30,000. Since then several of the early ditches have been deepened and a number of new ones constructed. Among these are the Mill creek, or Taylor ditch, which begins near Macy and runs from there into Perry township and then to Mill creek in Fulton county. It is about twelve miles in length and its total cost, when completed, will be about $12,000. The Weaver & Davis ditch begins near Wagoner and runs into Fulton county; the Weesau ditch starts in Perry township, runs through part of Allen and then into Union; the Whitmore ditch begins near Birmingham and runs to Mud lake, and the Huffman ditch runs west from Macy. By the opening of these drains the land has been greatly improved in character and the crops of the Allen township farmers have been correspondingly increased in value. The township has only about seven miles of improved highway, but petitions are pending for the construction of nearly twenty miles of gravel road in January, 1914.

Macy, located a little southwest of the center of the township, is the principal town. Near the southern border is the little village of Birmingham, and in the northwest corner is the village of Wagoner. These three places are stations on the Lake Erie & Western Railroad, which traverses the township in a northwesterly direction and affords fairly good transportation facilities to the people of the township. The old village of Five Corners. near the western border, was once a prosperous trading center, but it has disappeared from the map.

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