History of Polk 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
Soon after the end of President James K. Polk's administration the township of Polk was established, bearing
the name of the President. Topographically, the township is below standard. The soil is rough, sterile, and covered
with precipitous cliffs which render it unfit for even a good growth of timber. There are garden spots, however,
where the land is more rolling, and along the stream valleys there is a good quality of cereals raised. The timber
in the township, where it grows, is a rich variety of walnut, beech, ash, whitewood, oak and other woods. The settlement
of the county was very slow, some of the land not being entered until the last thirty years.
Elijah Elliott entered the first tract of land on section 4. He bought ninety and a fraction acres on December
10, 1821, but made no attempt to improve the land or even reside on it. This was over ten years before the first
white settlement. An old trapper, George Todd, unslung his pack in this township in 1823, five years after the
organization, and bought a tract of eighty acres on section 26, and, with the help of his brothers and a few men,
he constructed rude log buildings, for the comfort of his family. Other structures were for his stock. The meat
supply came from the deer and bears who inhabited the dense timber around his settlement. Three years later Todd
bought eighty more acres on the same section, and also eighty on section 23. In 1831, Andrew Todd purchased eighty
acres on section 15, and John Todd eighty on 14.
Chapel Hill was a village born to die again. David Miller and John Smith conceived the idea of a town in October,
1856, and had the county surveyor lay off twenty seven lots on the northwest quarter of the southeast quarter of
section 31. township 7 north, range r east. The town had no more than got on paper. however, than it expired.
During the forties and fifties there were many lawbreakers, burglars, highwaymen, and counterfeiters who spread
over a large part of the Hoosier state, including the county of Monroe. The hilly country, the impenetrable ravines
and thick morasses afforded ideal haunts for gangsters of all description, and to make a bad matter worse, the
law was inadequate to check their depredations. It came to a point where men of high reputation in the communities
could well join hands with a criminal gang, and either steal something or make counterfeit money, and then come
back to civilization with his ill gained spoils and resume the perfectly "respectful" life he had led
hitherto. A man could not trust his own neighbor in those days. The southeastern part of the county, covering Polk
township, became a notable place for counterfeit coins and government bills. Some of the citizens of this township
were suspected of complicity, but for years no convincing proof could be had The counterfeiters had an underground
system which could not be solved by the authorities, and so their trade went on uninterrupted.