History of Bean Blossom Township, Monroe County,
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.
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
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.
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.