History of Bean Blossom Township, Monroe County, Indiana
From: History of Lawrence and Monroe Counties, Indiana
Their People, Industries and Institutions
B. F. Bowen & Co., Inc.
Indianapolis, Indiana 1914

BEAN BLOSSOM TOWNSHIP.

Bean Blossom township is the extreme northwestern sub division of the county of Monroe, and is among the roughest parts of the county, topographically speaking. Its thief stream is Bean Blossom creek, which enters the township from the east side, two miles from the southeast corner, runs in a northerly direction and empties into White river, which stream forms a portion of the northwestern boundary of the county. A stone deposit, known as American marble, abounds in immense quantities and this is the chief resource of the township. No better stone is found in all Indiana. It is. geologically speaking, a part of the Warsaw division of the Lower St. Louis group. In color it is a light gray, with bluish streaks, susceptible of a high polish. Tens of thousands of tons of this and other grades of excellent limestone are quarried from this strata annually. Great blocks are taken out from these invaluable quarries and shipped to distant parts of the country. Steam power and saws are usually employed in getting this stone out for commercial uses. Many local monuments have been made from this product. Perhaps the finest grade of this stone has been quarried at Big Creek quarry, one mile to the west of Stinesville. On section 31 the formation, as noted by state reports, is as follows: Soil, four feet; sandstones and fossils, forty feet: argillaceous layers, ten feet; limestone, Upper St. Louis group, regularly bedded, forty feet, making a total of ninety four feet.

This stone represents largely the wealth producing source of the township, and is enhanced by the ease with which the stone is quarried and worked.

SETTLEMENT.

The first settlement here was effected by men whose names cannot now be given with any degree of certainty as to date of coming, only in an approximate manner. The most of the lands within the township were entered by speculators. who subsequently sold to other persons. Land was thrown open to buyers in 1816. John Fullen purchased all of section 4, during the year last named. Soon after this came Nathaniel Gilbert to section 15, and he was one of the first pioneers within the township. John McCormick, a speculator, purchased lands in several sections in 1816. The same year, or possibly the year following, came Hugh Barnes on section 20, and Abner Evans, who by some it is stated was the first permanent settler in Bean Blossom township. He located on section 20, in 1816. He built a saw mill on Jack's Defeat creek, at a very early day - about 1819 - which he operated for a number of years. Jonathan Gilbert purchased on section 22, also in 1816, and became a prominent citizen. Other settlers in 1816 were Julius Woodward, on section 32, and William Millikan, on section 34. Millikan also built a mill and conducted the same a number of years. Traces of his dam were still visible in the late eighties. William Kelso bought land in 1816, on section 34, and soon became a permanent settler in the township. John Bigger, of section 35, and Jonathan Lindley, of section 35, were here in 1816, while Phineas Stevens entered the township the year following. The settlement was added to by the coming of these gentlemen about to be enumerated, as well as others whose names have been lost with the passing of time: Samuel Jennings, section 36, in 1816; Robert Blair, 1817; F. V. Hall, 1817, on section 17, James Bradley on section 23; William Puett, section 25; Moses Slaughter, section 25; Nathaniel Clark, on section 26; John Keys, section 36. John Burton, in 1819, purchased a tract of land in section 9, and became permanently identified with the township's interests. He was the founder of the old town of Mt. Tabor, where he started the first grist and saw mill in the place

Further settlers were: William Burton, 1821; Francis Evans, Anthony Reese, section 18: John Moore, section 30; Reuben Loving, in 1823; Simon Lindley, 1824; John Lemon of section 3, the same season; L. L. Waldron, section 19, in 1825; John Summit: in 1828; Nicholas Whisenand, Solomon Teague, in 1827; Henry Ritzel, of section 21, in 1826; Alexander Wilson, of section 27, in 1826; W. O. Stansberry, of section 29, in 1824, and George Sharp and Armstead Puett of section 30, the same year. In 1823; Henry Hopewell bought land in section 33, and in 1826 Martin Wampler in section 30; Gilbert Lytton on section 28, in 1828; Samuel Hartsock, of section 16, was among the very earliest to effect permanent settlement in this township. John Blain settled on section 16 in 1830; Henry Wallace on section 9, in 1829; Richard Shirley of section 6, in 1829; Andrew Robinson of section 1, in 1826; Benjamin Utterback, of section 2, in 1830. The above mentioned, and others, came in before 183o.

Wild game and bloodthirsty animals were the common rule in the first decades of the settlement of this township, bears being especially feared by the pioneers. The hunters killed many deer, which animals found ready sale at from twenty five cents to one dollar a hide, the same being largely used for making men's "breeches." The saddles of the deer were usually worth about as much as the hides were.

TOWNS AND VILLAGES.

The first village platted within this township was Mt. Tabor, which was the chief place for trading in Monroe county at an early date. As early as 1820 John Burton erected his mill at this point. He ground corn and cut lumber from the native forest trees. A blacksmith shop was set in operation in 1825 by James Turner and Jefferson Wampler. William Ellett sold the first merchandise there in 1828, from what would now be styled a "saloon," but also carried other goods, as well as a full supply of liquids to refresh the inner man, as was the universal custom in those early days. Mt. Tabor was platted in April. 1828, and sixty six lots were disposed of. The county record still shows the plat and upon its face the paper has the picture of a saw and grist mill there. Park & Hite opened the first respectable stock of merchandise in 1829. There were numerous "saloons," then called "groceries," in which both "wet" and "dry" groceries were carried, doing a thriving business here in the thirties. Ellett & Kirkham started a store there in 1831. Other dealers there were, John S. Barnes, Gideon Walker, the Wamplers, John Bennett, 1835; Shelburn & Dunning, in 1836; A. W. Hill, 1843: W. J. Sparks, 1845; Sparks & Davis, 1847; John C. Mays, 1849; Parks & Egbert, 1849; Sparks & Davis kept the last store in the village of Mt. Tabor, before the Civil war, and Levi Kean conducted the last one there, a little later on. Posey Brothers made many men's hats from fine lamb's wool.

The reader of today may not know anything about the existence of this defunct place, but once it was a lively commercial center. Here large amounts of grain and stock were sold; here tens of thousands of feet of hard wood lumber were cut; here the hum of the saw and flouring mills was heard day in and day out, year 'round. As high as five thousand hogs were slaughtered there in one season in the forties, the pork being shipped down the river. In the spring of the year the water from White river backed up far enough to allow flat boats to be propelled in the very streets of Mt. Tabor.

As many as fifteen boat loads were thus sent out from the village in one season. Dr. W. S. Walker used to relate how he had made nine trips to New Orleans from Mt. Tabor. while Matthias Berry claimed the distinction of having gone to that far away city thirteen trips. Late in the forties steam was introduced in the packing plants at Mt. Tabor, and successfully used in scalding hogs and running, machinery for hoisting the product. A large cooper shop was in operation there many years, and the stave, and, hoop pole business was no small item to the pioneers, who could thus obtain ready money with which to pay taxes, postage, etc.

Mr. Chambers manufactured all kinds of spinning wheels and reels. In 1836 a fanning mill was built at Mt. Tabor and the factory had an extensive business many years. Twenty five men were employed and four men and wagons were kept out on the road selling fanning mills. The village also had a large tannery. The place saw its best days between 1832 and 1852, possibly 1840 was its high tide year for business. At one time in the forties Mt. Tabor had as high as three hundred and fifty population. After the Civil war a few years there was nothing left of this once prosperous village, save the tumble down mills and a few houses. This, in brief, is the history of the first commercial center of Monroe county. It served well its day and generation, a convenience to many a pioneer family, which could hardly have hoped to exist without it. Its only monument is the village plat record at the court house and the word "defunct."

STINESVILLE.

Stinesville, now enjoying a population of about five hundred, was platted as a result of the construction of the New Albany railroad and was laid out by Eusebius Stine in 1855 on the southeast quarter of section 17. At first the place grew slowly, but with the development of the stone industry it took a sudden start and has come to be one of the enterprising towns of the county. The first work on a scientific plan in the quarrying of the American marble at a point near the village, on Big creek, was conducted by the Virginia Company. Samuel Brisco started the first store in the place, and was soon followed by John McHenry & Son. Other early dealers were James Williams, Mr. Matheny and James Shell. Later came in Thomas Riggs, C. C. Dunn, David Miller. William Easton opened the pioneer hotel, and Dr. Mullinix was the earliest to practice medicine. The first postmaster was John McHenry. Before the town had been platted, its founder, Eusebius Stine. had built a saw mill and a small grist mill, and was the first blacksmith of that locality.

Stinesville has a picturesque and interesting record. It is a typical stone town, and the folk of the town are proud of the clean, white stones that are quarried from the hills surrounding the village J. Hoadley Sons' Company and George W. Henley Stone Company quarry and ship most of the limestone that is taken from this place, and the business is conducted on a large scale. Early morning brings scores of brown skinned, stalwart workers through the town, down the hill to work, and throughout the day the hum and crooning of the mills may be heard, until evening, when the workers return, covered with fine, white stone dust. The old timers point with great emphasis to the fact that all of the Indiana oolitic limestone used in the construction of the Soldiers' and Sailors' Monument at Indianapolis was quarried from a hill on the outskirts of the town. This is excepting the last addition, the immense stone groups at the base of the monument, which Was quarried in Lawrence county, owing to the better facilities for the transportation of the monstrous blocks. One old veteran of the stone cutting trade said: "They told me at the city that the stone in the monument came from Bedford, but, sez I, you ain't makin' me mad, cause I can tell yu', standin' right here, every grade of rock from tip to toe, and how deep it was under level."

The commercial life of the town is typical of the villages of this county. The general stores are conducted by J. W. Easton, M. L. Easton and R. A. Dunn, the latter also being the postmaster. Eli Myers & Son and D. E. McHenry have grocery stores; J. O. Van Buskirk has a livery; the O'Haras, of Bloomington. have a branch drug store; J. C. Burgan runs a first - class hotel; A. J. Collier owns the restaurant; Frank Fox conducts a barber shop; and R. G. Edwards deals in live stock. The physician of Stinesville is Dr. W. Rice Holtzman.

The town officers are: Ezra Dunning. marshal; D. C. Pugh. Robert Welch and Frank Whetzel, councilmen, and L. N. Williams, clerk and treasurer.

The Masonic order, the Independent Order of Odd Fellows and the Knights of Pythias are all well represented in Stinesville. The Baptist, the Southern Methodist and the Christian churches make the religious denominations.


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