History of Perry 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


For the raising of timothy and clover, and wheat and other cereals, there is no better land in Monroe county than that of Perry township. Heavy deposits of silica and alluvium, some of the soil resembling the black corn ground of Illinois, and watered by small streams and numerous springs, gives the land a varied quality, but on an average an excellent one. Clear creek has its source within the borders of this township. These springs, some of them impregnated with sulphur from underground beds, furnished the water supply for the early settlers, and saved them the necessity of digging wells, as their comrades in other townships were compelled to do.


In the year 1820 the General Assembly of Indiana, in pursuance of an act of Congress, chose two congressional townships to be used for maintaining two state seminaries. This was before the founding of the seminary which later became Indiana University. The two districts selected were, one in Gibson county and one in Monroe county, the latter being township 8 north, range 1 west, or, as it was later designated, Perry township. Commissions appointed by the state Legislature made the selections.

In 1822 trustees were appointed to superintend the building of two structures, one as the seminary building, and the other as a place of habitation for the principal. Four sections of land on the north side of the township were reserved for the seminary, and the work was rapidly completed. No settlements by squatters were allowed on this reserved territory of four full sections. and it caused no little trouble and anxiety among the pioneers who came to the county. The soil was excellent and so close to the capital, Bloomington, which city was rapidly growing and had already become the site of the seminary, later the university, that the value of Perry township reservations became high. Notwithstanding. in the early twenties squatters crossed the border of the reserved land and commenced to clear the land of timber, plant crops and erect homes for themselves. The inevitable was a public sale, they knew, but they spent their time and energy improving their homes, without thinking of the possibility of someone else buying them out, part and parcel. They tilled the land and constructed mills as if the land were their legal property. At last, in 1827, the Legislature provided for an appraisement and marketing of the land. Then the squatters became alarmed. They realized that land speculators and capitalists could buy their land, or rather the land they were occupying, and by paying for the improvements which they had made, could literally take it from under their noses. James Borland made the appraisement in June, 1827, and the sales were made, beginning in October. During the year many representative men of the county purchased land there, the minimum price paid being a dollar and a quarter per acre, which was for the poorest, class 3, land. Some of these men who made purchases were: Alexander Kelley, Joseph Piercy, John Armstrong, and John Griffith on section i; James G. Fleener, Granville Ward, Milton McPhetridge, Isaac. Rogers, Aquilla Rogers and Samuel Dunn, section 2; Thomas Smith, section 3; James Borland, Ellis Stone, George Henry, and Hiram Paugh, section 6; Andrew Dodds, Emsley Wilson, Abraham Pauley, Richard Hunter and Alexander Murphy, section 7; John Hight, Samuel Dodds, and Richard Shipp, section 8; William Bilbo, section 9; David Batterton, Zachariah Williams, and Benjamin Rogers, section 10; John Griffith and Jacob Isominger, section 11; Garrett Moore, John A. Wilson and Moses Williams, section 12; Benjamin Rogers, section 14; Josiah Baker and Abed Nego Walden, section 15; William Dunning, Levi Thatcher and William Knatts, section 16; Isaac Pauley, Daniel Davis, Thomas Carter and Absalom Kennedy, section 17; Isaac Pauley, Edward Borland and Samuel Moore, section 18; Simon Adamson, section 19; Jacob Depue, Evan Dallarhide, David Sears and John Mathers, section 2o; Robert D. Alexander. William Davis, John W. Nicholson, William Taylor, Michael Keith, David Findley, section 2I; John Boltinghouse, William Patrick, William Taylor, section 22; Banner Brummet, Solomon Butcher, and James Berryman, section 27; James Alexander, William Taylor, William Alverson, John Musser, Robert Sanderson, Thomas Abbott, and James Brummet, section 28; William Alverson, Carey James, David Sears, William Henry, James Parsons and Charles Brookshire, section 29; Solomon Green, Samuel Rhorer, Absalom Cooper and John Smith, section 30; John Smith, section 31; William Ross and Alexander Miller, section 32; George Short and Moses Grantham, section 33; William Chandler, section 34. This sale went with a rush during the year 1827, but after that fell back, on a par with the other townships. The land was not subject to entry in the usual way, but was under the control of a special commissioner who negotiated the sales and transfers.


Prior to 1830 the township was attached to Bloomington township for election and judicial purposes, but in that year was separated and organized, and named after the noted commodore who defeated the British ships on Lake Erie. The home of Benjamin Kenton was the scene of the first election for two justices of the peace. Mr. Kenton held the position of election inspector, Jesse Davis and George A. Ritter were overseers of the poor, Solomon Butcher' and Finney Courts ey were fence reviewers. This election was held on the 26th day of May, 1830.

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