History of Clark Township, Montgomery County,
From: History of Montgomery County, Indiana
Published By: A. W. Bowen & Co., Inc.
Indianapolis, Indiana 1913
This county was at first divided into several townships and soon had eleven, as now constituted. These are Browns,
Sugar Creek, Clark, Franklin, Madison, Ripley, Scott, Union, Wayne, Walnut and Coal Creek. Union is the largest
in the county; its population a few years since, together with the city of Crawfordsville, was about one third
of that contained in the whole county.
It is generally believed that the first white man to locate here was Lucas Baldwin, of Berkley county, Virginia
who stopped in the "Big Woods" of what is now Clark township, in 1826, entering land on which now stands
the town of Ladoga, where he remained for eight years. At that date the Indian trails between Kokomo and the Cornstalk
villages, in Scott township, were still trodden by moccasined feet. Most of the first corners to this township
were from Virginia, North Carolina, Tennessee and Kentucky. Nearly all were young, robust men, bringing small families
with them. These were not all farmers, either, for among them were carpenters, cabinet makers, blacksmiths who
knew how to blow the bellows and swing the sledge upon the face of the ringing anvil. These smiths could handsomely
fashion an ax head and the irons necessary to complete a "Cary" plow. Then there were those who could
build a Virginia schooner (wagon) with beds deep enough to move a whole family with all of the ordinary household
effects which western immigrants took with them to new countries. The boxes of these immense wagons were made tight
enough, with a little calking, now and then, to keep the water out when used in crossing unbridged and angry streams
while moving into the country. Physicians also came along to care for the sick of the colonies. Then there were
preachers of the Word and teachers of the subscription schools. But the majority of these hardy pioneers were tillers
of of the virgin soil. To give a complete list of the early settlers is, at this day, impossible and possibly useless,
but it is of some historic interest and value to give the names of some of the more prominent families, whose descendants
still reside in the county, and whose history was really interwoven with that of early Montgomery county's development.
Among such may be recalled these:
In emigrating from Virginia by means of wagons already described the journey usually consumed about six weeks. Frequently the party would be obliged to halt and with axes cut away the trees and underbrush in order to get through the forest in the direction in which they wanted to go.
EARLY DAY INCIDENTS AND STORIES.
Uncle Drake Brookshire, in his own peculiar North Carolina manner of speech, related once the following incident:
A GREAT SQUIRRLE HUNT.
Gabriel S. Davidson, an early settler, was authority, in his day for an account of a wonderful squirrel hunt. He related how that a weary tramp of twenty miles during all the hours of a long day is now rewarded by the bagging of a few squirrels; but at the time of which this incident was written, game was so abundant that really it was considered a public nuisance. The young and tender growing corn of the pioneers, planted with much pains and toil of the back aching sort, midst stumps on little patches and clearings, had scarcely gotten into the milk stage before the squirrels and coons discoyered that it was good to eat. Hence they came in by thousands upon thousands to partake of the feast. The squirrels by day and the coons by night made the farmer much trouble. Finally a concerted action was organized against these little wild animal pests. For fifteen days all other pursuits were entirely abandoned, and eyery offensiye weapon in Clark township was directed against these foes. The forces were divided into two parties. The one making the largest "bag" was entitled to receive a quart of whisky per capita from the other party, the evidence to be the largest count of coon tails and squirrel scalps. Never was there seen before nor since such wholesale destruction. When the tails came to be counted there were more than three thousand squirrel scalps and nearly fifteen hundred ring tails. The result was a general spree, and later an abundant corn crop.
Another authenticated story is of how Charles Lewis knew of some hunters on his father's land, who killed bear
in this township. His father was a hunter of more than ordinary note, and made sad havoc among the game that was
to be captured on every hand. Wild honey was found in numerous trees. Bee trees were as easily discoyered then
as a lawyer or doctor is now-a-days. The sugar maple also afforded another source of gaining sweetening, and was
greatly appreciated by old and young and the "sugaring off" times were days and nights of merriment,
the memory of which lasted down life's passing years.