PIPE CREEK TOWNSHIP
Immediately south of the Wabash river, in the western tier, lies Pipe Creek township, which takes its name from
the stream that flows across it in a northwesterly direction. It is bounded on the north by Peru township; on the
east by Washington; on the south by Deer Creek, and on the west by the county of Cass. Its greatest length from
north to south is a little less than seven miles, and it is four miles in width from east to west. Its total area
is about twenty seven square miles.
The surface is diversified and the soil is a black loam mixed with clay in some places and with sand in others.
Pipe creek and its tributaries afford good natural drainage, so that this township has not been compelled to resort
to artificial drainage as much as some of the others of Miami county. A heavy growth of fine timber once covered
this section of the county, but the most valuable trees have long since been converted into lumber.
When the first white settlers came to this township they found an Indian village, known as Squirrel village, situated
on the north bank of Pipe creek, a short distance northwest of the present town of Bunker Hill. The village consisted
of about a dozen log huts and the chief was known as "Old Squirrelly," after whom the village was named.
He was a Pottawatomi who, it is said had formerly lived near Plymouth, but was driven away from there on account
of his cruelty. He then married a Miami squaw and became chief of the village, the other inhabitants of which were
Accounts of the first settlers say that Samuel Durand and John Wilson located in Pipe Creek township in the year
1838, but it is not certain which one of these pioneers came first. Wilson was more of a hunter than a farmer and
after a short residence sold his cabin to a man named Finney, after which he disappeared from Miami county. In
1839 Joel Julian settled on Pipe creek, in the western part; John Betzner in the northeastern part, and Maston
Thomas and his father in the northern part. Jacob Kellar and William Clark came in 1840 and the next year the population
was increased by the arrival of several pioneers with their families. Isaac Vandorn settled near Pipe creek, in
the central part; Jacob Brandt, on section 14, where his father, Martin Brandt, had previously entered a tract
of land; Moses Larimer, on a tract adjacent to the present town of Bunker Hill; Joab Mendenhall, near the line
of Deer Creek township; James A. Lewis, who made the first improvements on the Brandt farm; and James Petty, who
settled in the northern part. Among those who came in 1842 were Jeremiah Shafer and Isaac Marquiss, who settled
on Pipe creek, in the eastern part of the township.
In 1843 John and Peter Reed settled in the central part; Jacob Pottarff, who was one of the pioneer blacksmiths,
farther east; James McGinnis, near Bunker Hill; Robert Jenniss, near Pipe creek; Frederick Keller, in the eastern
part; Henry Crabb and Godfrey Helderly, in the central part; Rev. Samuel Dewese, about a mile west of Bunker Hill;
David Carr, in the northern part; Noah Townsend, in the western part; John and Eli Oliver, near Bunker Hill, and
a number of others in various parts of the township. Jacob, Daniel and William Rife were also among the early settlers.
In the summer of this year (1843) the settlers in this part of the county began to agitate the question of organizing
a new township. The customary petition was circulated and when signed by a sufficient number of citizens it was
presented to the board of county commissioners. On September 6, 1843, the board granted the prayer of the petitioners
by ordering the erection of Pipe Creek township, and that the first election should be held at the house of William
Clark in October. At that election seventeen votes were cast. The election board consisted of William Clark, James
Petty, David Carr, Peter Redd and Jacob Brandt. Thomas Kenworthy was chosen the first justice of the peace; Jacob
Keller, road supervisor; and a constable was also elected, but his name cannot be ascertained
One of the earliest births in Pipe Creek township was that of Nancy J., daughter of Moses and Nancy Larimer, who
was born in 1844. The marriage of James McCrary to Sarah Larimer, in 1843, was probably the first in the township,
and the first death was probably that of an infant child of Noah Townsend.
As early as 1836 a saw mill was built by Frank Godfrey on Pipe creek, near where the Wallick mill was afterward
erected. When John Duckwall came to the township he repaired the double log house in which Chief Squirrelly had
formerly lived, and resided there a number of years. In 1850 Mr. Duckwall built a saw mill and five years later
erected a grist mill Both these mills were burned in 1857, but the saw mill was rebuilt the same year and the grist
mill in 1876. Other early mills were those of Henry Knell, R. T. Jones and Thomas Keuworthy, all of which were
located on Pipe creek. The Wallick grist mill was built in 1856 and the lime kiln near the mill was opened about
ten years later. Another early industry was the distillery of Charles Lewy, in the northern part of the township,
which he conducted with success for about a year, when he sold to some persons who soon afterward discontinued
The first religious services were held at the house of Isaac \random in 1843, by a Methodist minister named Matthew
Curry. Rev. Mr. Pugsley, a minister of the United Brethren church, also held services there at an early date, but
the first church society organized was that of the Baptists, which was organized by Rev. Samuel Dewese, at his
residence near Bunker Hill. Since then churches have been established by the German Baptists, Christians and some
other denominations. There was once a Catholic church at Bunker Hill, but it was abandoned some years ago.
From the best authority available, it is learned that the first school house in the township was built in the year
1843, on the farm of Joel Julian, and the first school was taught there the following winter. The name of the first
teacher has been forgotten, but among the pioneer instructors of this township were Jacob Barnett and Eiza Barnett,
both of whom taught in the Julian school house. Not long after the first school house was built another was erected
on the farm of Rev. Samuel Dewese, who was the first teacher in that district. Another pioneer school house stood
on the farm of Jacob Brandt. In 1913 there were six brick school houses in the township - not including the graded
school building in the town of Bunker Hill - the estimated value of which was $10,000. The nine teachers employed
in these houses during the school year of 1912-13 received in salaries the sum of $3,949.50.
Bunker Hill, an incorporated town, is the only town in Pipe Creek township It is situated in the southeastern part,
at the crossing of the Lake Erie & Western and the Pan Handle railroads, the former of which runs north and
south along the entire eastern border of the township, and the latter crosses the southern portion. These two roads
and the electric line of the Indiana Union Traction Company, which also runs through Bunker Hill, afford ample
transportation facilities to the people of Pipe Creek township. A short distance north of Bunker Hill, on the Lake
Erie & Western Railroad, was once the little village of Leonda, but the advantages of the two railroads at
Bunker Hill were too great to be overcome and Leonda disappeared from the map.