The main body of Miami county is a rectangle, twelve miles wide from east to west and thirty miles long from
north to south. At the southeast corner of this rectangle, but outside of it, lies Jackson township. It is four
miles in width from east to west and six miles long from north to south, containing an area of twenty four square
miles, or 15,360 acres. On the north it is bounded by Wabash county; on the east by Grant county; on the south
by the county of Howard, and on the west by Harrison township, Miami county. Along the streams the surface is somewhat
rolling, but back from the water courses it is generally level. The soil is a dark loam, fertile and well adapted
to cultivation. In some parts the soil has to be drained in order to secure the best results. hence there are nearly
thirty miles of ditch and tile drain in the township. Before the coming of the white man the entire surface was
covered with a forest growth of valuable timber, in which game abounded and this section was a favorite hunting
round of the red man. Very little of the native timber remains, it having been cleared off to make way for the
farmer or manufactured into lumber.
Like all that part of Miami county lying south of the Wabash river, this township was once a part of the Miami
Indian "Big Reserve." hence it was not settled until after the region north of the Wabash was fairly
well populated. It is known that hunters and trappers visited this part of the county before the land was disposed
of by the Indians, but no attempt was made to form a permanent settlement until about 1842. Then Silas Braffet
and Thomas Creviston built their cabins near the Grant county line, the latter locating in what is now Jackson
township, while the other cabin stood just across the line in Grant county. Later in the same year came John Powell,
Thomas Addington and Thomas Mason. Powell settled in the eastern part of the township; Addington built his cabin
where the town of Converse now stands; and Mason located in the northeast corner, near the Wabash county line.
In January, 1843, Oliver H. P. Macy, an early settler of Grant county, removed across the line and located a tract
of land which now lies within the limits of the town of Converse. John Gates settled about three miles north of
Macy, and before the close of that year a few other hardy pioneers had located claims in Jackson township. During
the next three years quite a number of settlers came into this part of Miami county. Among them were James McKinley,
John Long, James Poulson, William Bowman, Samuel Long, James Que, James Calhoun, David Daniels, Samuel Butler,
Samuel and David Draper, Henry Addington, William and Eli Overman, George Badger, Jonathan Pearson, Nathan Arnold,
Solomon Wright, and perhaps a dozen others. Rev. Abraham See, a Methodist clergyman, settled about a mile northeast
of Converse and was probably the first minister of the Gospel to establish a home in this township
Most of the pioneers located their claims in the southern portion, near the present towns of Amboy and Converse,
or along the Big Pipe creek, which flows in a northwesterly direction farther north. Samuel Butler, who settled
near the northwest corner, afterward became a believer in the doctrines of the Mormon church and went to Utah.
In the summer of 1846 a petition was circulated by Oliver H. P. Macy among the settlers, asking the county commissioners
to organize a new township, which should be known by the name of "Liberty." Nearly every resident within
the territory to be included in the new township signed the petition, two men objecting because they wanted "to
keep law and order out of the country as long as possible." Mr. Macy then walked to Peru and presented the
petition to the county commissioners and on September 2, 1846, the board issued an order for the erection of the
township, with its present boundaries and dimensions, but the name was changed from Liberty to Jackson, in honor
of Andrew Jackson, who commanded the United States forces at the battle of New Orleans and was afterward elected
president of the United States.
The first election was held soon after the township was established, at the house of James Poulson, Rev. Abraham
See acting as inspector. David Daniels was elected justice of the peace and Abraham See, constable. The records
of that election have disappeared, but it is thought that James McKinley and Gabriel Hayes were two of the first
board of township trustees.
Susannah, daughter of James C. and Delilah Poulson, was born in May, 1844, and is believed to have been the first
white child born in Jackson township. The first death was that of an infant child of Thomas and Mary Addington,
which occurred soon after the family settled in Miami county, and this little child was the first to be buried
in the cemetery at Converse. Among the early marriages were Charles Marine to Maria Ballinger; Oscar Addington
to Mary A. North; and David Draper to Elizabeth Ballinger. In the case of the last named couple, the bride lived
in Grant county and Mr. Draper made the mistake of securing his license from the clerk of Miami county. When he
arrived at the house of his intended father-in-law, where the wedding guests were already assembled, the minister
who had been engaged to perform the ceremony informed him that a marriage could not be legally solemnized in Grant
county under a license obtained at Peru. Consternation reigned. It was several miles to Marion and it appeared
that the wedding would have to be postponed. In this emergency some one proposed that, as it was but a short distance
to the county line, the entire company should walk over into Miami county, where the license could be used. The
suggestion was accepted and the procession, headed by the minister, started for the boundary. When satisfied they
were safely within the precincts of Miami county the party halted, the young couple joined hands, and there in
the primeval forest Elizabeth Ballinger became Mrs. David Draper.
As early as 1845 a few Methodists gathered at the cabin of John Powell, where Rev. Abraham See conducted the first
religious services ever held in Jackson township. A little later services were held by the United Brethren at the
home of James C. Poulson, where Rev. George C. Smith addressed the little congregation. Both these denominations
afterward organized churches in the township, and still later the Friends, Christians and some other denominations
founded congregations, accounts of which will be found in the chapter on Church History.
Immediately after the township was organized in 1846, the people began to think of establishing some sort of a
school system. To this end O. H. P. Macy, Samuel Draper and Thomas Mason were elected school directors. By their
direction the first school house was built in 1848 on the farm of Benjamin Davis. David Stanfield, Thomas Reese
and Mason Sharp were some of the pioneer teachers. In 1913 the six brick school houses in the township were estimated
to be worth $10,000; the school building in the town of Amboy was valued at $27,500, and the one at Converse was
valued at $25,000, making a total of $62,500 as the value of all the school property in the township. Four teachers
were employed in the township schools and received in salaries $1,635. The seven teachers at Amboy, three of whom
were employed in the commissioned high school, received $4,100 during the school year of 1912-13, and the ten teachers
at Converse, of whom four were in the commissioned high school, received $5,021.60.
The Pan Handle and Chesapeake & Ohio railroads both enter the township near the southeast corner and run in
a northwesterly direction across its entire width. Amboy and Converse, both incorporated towns, are the only postoffices
in the township. Rural routes from them supply the population with daily mail.