History of Benton 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


Benton township was organized in 1833, and includes all of congressional township 9 north, range I east, with the exception of the east tier of sections which is a part of Brown county, and includes the whole of township 10 north, range 1 east, south of Bean Blossom creek. The township was named after Thomas H. Benton, of Missouri.

As an agricultural township, Benton is inferior, due to the many high bluffs and rocky ravines. There is much clay in the soil, and in even the lowlands there is material washed from higher altitudes which is a detriment to crop raising. There are spots, however, upon which the best cereals may be cultivated successfully. The nature of the land, the topography and the timber, make the township an excellent grazing section. The stone found in this township is mostly the Keokuk limestone, also there are found many crinoids, geodes and various other kinds of fossils.


On September 17, 1822, Elisha Pollard made the first entry of land, choosing section 34. Thus it will be seen that land was not at a premium in this township, most of the other townships being filled up first. The second entry of land was on section 18 by Henry Kimble in December, 1823. Robert Young was the third, on section 8, in January, 1824. David Barrow was the next, on section 5, in 1830. William Florer purchased on section 8 in 1832; George Richardson on section 21, and George Skevin on Section 31, in the same year. In 1833 the following entries of land were made within the township: Isaac W. Young, on section 6: Abram Young, on section 8; Isaac Cox, on section 18. In 1834 Edward Jackson bought on section 8; Jacob Calor, do section 9; William Richardson. on section 9; David Chitwood, on section 10; Osaac Cox, on section 18; Henry Kimble, on sections 18 and 19. In 1835 Sampson Hensley purchased ground on section 19. 1836 saw the following entries: William. Florer, on section 3; Mary Crawford, on section 3; Jacob Young. on section 3; Rufus Ward, on section 4; Charles Bates, on section 6; David Young and Isaac W. Young, on section 8; James Alexander, Joab Mershon, Hugh McClung and Pleasant Robinson, on section 9; David Chitwood, on section to; Adam Stevens and Joshua Richardson, on section 15; Jacob Mosier, Pleasant Robinson and Isaac W. Young, section 16; Joab Cox, section 17; Sampson Hensley, section 19; Abraham Ealy, section 2o; Jacob Mosier, section 27; William Cox, section 28; Michael Buskirk, section 3o; John M. Sluss, section 31; William Cox, section 33; Jacob Romans and Lewis Rains, section 34. In the year 1837 these entries were made: John W. Riddle, on section 6; Nancy Rains, section 6; Joab Cox, section 7; Thomas Gardner, section 9; William Richardson, section 9; Abraham Young and Joshua Richardson, section 16; James Rader and Jacob Mefford, section 19; Adam Stephens, section 22; John B. Cox and Adam Stephens, section 28; Abraham Ealy, section 29; Thomas R. Stephenson, section 31; Stevenson and Martin Gamble, section 32; Finney Courtney. section 33. In 1838 Hugh McClung purchased on section 9; Nathan Hensley, on section 22; Lewis Mosier, on section 27, and Jacob Romans, on section 34. In 1839 Edward Jackson bought on section 6; Samuel C. Harbison, section 15; Adam Stephens, also section 15; Isaac W/ Young and G. H.+Johnson, section 18; Nathan Hensley, sections 21 and 22; George Richardson, section 21; William Kerr. section 31 Joseph Horton, section 32; James Thompson and Thomas Kelley, section 33. These purchases were all prior to 1840. The settlements came very slowly, a great deal of the land being empty until the fifties. The Young family is credited with being the first family to settle within the borders of Benton township, also the Cox family came in early. Other families which occupied the center of the township were the Chitwoods, Richardsons. Youngs. Stevenses. Robinsons and Alexanders.


The town of Unionville is the only one of any importance ever developed in this township. J. J. Alexander opened a store of general merchandise in 1836, and conducted a very thriving trade. Late in the forties James Carter engaged in business, also C. C. Fleener. In 1852 F. R. Miller started in the mercantile business. The inevitable blacksmith shop, which served as the meeting place, a postoffice. and other small shops featured the town of Unionville.


In September, 1861, occurred a bloody crime in Benton township, which has remained a source of mystery ever since. Neighbors found the family of John B. Cox brutally murdered, their first discovery being Mr. Cox, who was lying unconscious on his front porch, with severe cuts around his head and neck. Mrs. Cox lay upon the bed within the house, with her throat slashed from ear to ear. Upon another bed lay a ten year old girl, terribly mangled about the throat, and on the floor nearby was another girl, younger, with her head almost cut from her body. A trundle bed held two other children, badly wounded, but alive. The baby of the family was found unhurt.

Mr. Cox had trouble with the neighbors and was taken to Bloomington for safe keeping, where he was questioned closely when he arrived there. His story was that several men had attacked the family during the night, knocked him senseless, after which he knew nothing until the following morning. Several men were arrested and tried, but were acquitted from lack of evidence. Others believed that Cox himself, who was subject to fits of insanity, had committed the deed. This was the end of the case, which will probably never be solved.

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