History of Madison Township, Montgomery County, Indiana
From: History of Montgomery County, Indiana
Published By: A. W. Bowen & Co., Inc.
Indianapolis, Indiana 1913


Madison township is a north central sub division of Montgomery county, bounded on the north by Tippecanoe county, on the east by Sugar creek, south by Union, and west by Coal creek townships. It now has a population of about one thousand four hundred and twenty eight, including the village of Linden with about six hundred.

The surface of the land here is usually level, a great part originally being prairie, interspersed here and there with a beautiful natural grove of heavy timber, most of which has come into existence since the prairie fires have been kept out of the territory. In many parts of this township there were originally many swamps and marshes, including that known as Lye Creek prairie, embracing several thousand acres which gave the appearance of a large lake. Nine Mile prairie also had numerous swamps, but most of this land has been drained out and is now very valuable as farm lands and pasture. The settlers first took the small area east and northwest, where fewer sloughs prevailed. It was here in 1829 that pioneer William Smith settled and was always known as the first to claim residence in the township. He located in section 29, three miles south of the present site of the village of Linden. Next to find homes in the township were Robert Williams and George Jones, who entered land in section 8, where Linden now stands. On section 17 John Potts, settled, as did also David Vance in section 18. Nearly all of these land entries were secured prior to 183o. The low and marshy character of the lands here greatly retarded the settlement of Madison township. C. W. White was a settler in 1830, coming from Cold creek. The Indians came back for their annual hunt until 1832, then bade farewell to the county. From 1840 to 1852 little can be said concerning the immigration here, other than that it had filled up pretty well with a sensible, industrious people from various eastern and southern states.

For a number of years it was next to impossible to raise good crops on account of the wild animals. Wild hogs, squirrels and wolves were all common and often before the corn could be harvested, it was eaten or mashed down into the mud by these animals. Hence, many had to go forty and more miles to procure corn on which to subsist. By means of home made mortar and pestle they ground out meal for the family. This and this act only saved the settlement from starvation. The principal meat used was that of wild hogs.

But a better day was in store for the children and grandchildren of those hardy, self sacrificing early settlers. Today it stands at the top of the eleven townships, in many ways Acre for acre, the entire county over, expert judges affirm that Madison township excels all others for agricultural purposes. There is, in fact, no waste land - all produces both corn and wheat, the two great crops of this climate. The former swamps have been drained and today no finer, more beautiful and productive land can be found under the shining sun. Land prices range from one hundred to one hundred and forty dollars per acre, with little offered for sale. So, verily, the "stone that the builders rejected has become the head of the corner."

Owing to the original swamps in the township much ague was one of the results, and those who did live there all "lived on quinine." For this it was dubbed the "Quinine Township." But as time went on, men read more and profited by other's experience and a system of ditching was instituted in the swampy part of the township; year by year this was kept up with much hard work and no little expenditure of money. The small valley known as Lye Creek made a natural outlet for the waters of many sections of land. The once impassable highways have come to be good wagon roads. Gravel roads commenced to appear as if by magic and when once the advantage was seen, all hands were in for making more of them. Such work commenced about a third of a century ago, and today nearly all of the main thoroughfares in the township are made of gravel top. The heavy taxes have been felt by landowners at times. but at present no one doubts the investment as being a fine outlay of money. Today the Madison farmer travels upon gravel roads, mail comes to his door each forenoon, parcels from distant towns and cities are also among his weekly or sometimes more frequent deliveries. The telephone has cut a remarkable figure in the business operations of the agriculturist. The automobile, that modern twentieth century blessing. has come to assist the farmer in making his hurry up trips to town and city. Then the improved farm implement has lightened the burden of many. The matter of planting, cultivating and getting into the granary the annual crop has been all changed in the last fifty or less years. To he a landowner in Madison township today is to be numbered among the independent kings of the county. His children are taken to the consolidated school in a hack and brought to his very door each night, without fatigue. The building of two lines of railroad has furnished Madison township with exceptional. good shipping facilities, to either Chicago or Toledo. These lines are the Monon and Clover Leaf routes.


Linden and Kirkpatrick are the two towns of this township Linden, the larger of these, is situated in sections 9 and 10, in the western portion of the township. It was platted in 1851-52 by Hiram Hughes, Joel Lee and Nathan Harwood. The first mentioned opened the first store. Dr. Henry Keeney built the first dwelling. His brother, William, was the first "village blacksmith." From the first of railroad days, early in the fifties. this has been a great grain shipping point for both Madison and Coal Creek townships, being second to none save Crawfordsville. Today the town has a population of five hundred and fifty six as given in the late census returns. It has fourteen brick store rooms; two dry goods houses, two hardware stores, a newspaper, a bank, drug store, etc. Crabbs & Reynolds Company's grain warehouse is an important factor of the place. The chief industry, however, as reported in 1908, was the American Milling Company, located on the north side of the Clover Leaf railroad tracks, near the junction point. This plant produced a new kind of food for horses and cattle. It is termed "Secrete Feed," and it is prepared from oats, corn, molasses and other ingredients. From fifty to one hundred men were constantly employed at these extensive mills and the product went out to all sections of the United States.

About 1909 these works were totally destroyed by fire and have been out of commission ever since. but a new company is organized and new works are being erected at this date - 1913.


Attorney, John Harrigan; barbers Browning & Son, Ed. Nelson; blacksmiths, Charles Stover, Walter Killed; bank, Bank of Linden; cement walks and blocks, Conrad & Son; dry goods, A. K. Rash; drugs, Mr. Martin; grain dealers, Crabb, Reynolds & Co.; groceries, Wright Bros., J. E. Rickey, also handles notions and dry goods; harness, Lester Morrow: hotel, Newton Staley; lumber, Greer-Wilkinson Co.; livery barn. E. M. Cox; millinery. Eunice Baird; newspaper. The Advocate; restaurants, Martin & Johnson, F. D. Thompson; veterinary surgeon. C. Schwindler; wagon shop, Pearson & Sons; also handle automobiles and buggies, etc.; postmaster, O. D. Thomas; physicians, Drs. James O. Rhea and Elliott.

The churches of Linden are the Methodist Episcopal, and the Christian. The lodges are the Masonic, Odd Fellows and Knights of Pythias.

Of the once famous plant above named the Crawfordsville Journal in 1900 had the following to say:

At the big Linden cellulose plant. in 1899-19900, already a hundred thousand dollars had been expended in the work; eleven buildings were erected and ready for the work of forty men, in the production of cellulose for the packing or filling of the coffer dams of great war ships, for many kinds of stock food and poultry food, etc., all coming from the product of cornstalks. It was under government inspection and the newly discovered product was demanded in all parts of the world to a much greater extent than could be supplied by this factory. This lining for the wall spaces in war vessels was the pith, really, of the common corn stalk. This made it an absorbent to take up any water that might leak into the boats and at the same time made it almost impenetrable as against bullets and shells when used in conjunction with the steel armor plates used on such boats. The bi-products were used as above stated for various foods. etc."


Kirkpatrick is situated about the center of section 1 of Madison township, near the northeast corner, and is the first station point touched by the "Clover Leaf" railroad, coming from the northeast. Here one finds two or three stores, a blacksmith shop. a school house, and elevator and a few lesser business interests. It is within a garden spot of a farming country and large amounts of grain are annually shipped to Toledo and other lake points. This hamlet has about one hundred and fifty inhabitants,

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