History of Sugar Creek Township, Montgomery
From: History of Montgomery County, Indiana
Published By: A. W. Bowen & Co., Inc.
Indianapolis, Indiana 1913
SUGAR CREEK TOWNSHIP.
The northeastern township in Montgomery county is called Sugar Creek. It comprises township 20 of range 3 west, by government survey. It is bounded on the north by Tippecanoe county, on the east by Clinton and Boone counties, on the south by Franklin, on the west by Madison township of this county. It has thirty three sections of land; originally it had thirty six. Its surface is varied. It is broken on the south, though not considered hilly. One of its finest portions is what is known as Potato Creek prairie, one of the finest of the farming sections, and for many years was held in large tracts by a few men. Potato creek flows southwest over the prairie, affording fine drainage. Where Sugar creek now flows, at an early day, it was little more than a large slough overgrown with tall grass, high enough to hide froth view a man on horseback. Teams seldom tried to cross the stream, if indeed it might be so called. The prairie and creek alike, took their names from the wild potatoes then found growing in the bed of the slough. On these vegetables. it is related, wild hogs thrived and fattened into good "porkers." In bunches, these potatoes resembled wild artichokes. As the country settled up both the wild hog and the food he liked so well disappeared from the country. The prairie section of this township has a deep black soil, most excellent for corn, but no good for the small grains. In the south and east parts the small grains and grasses thrive in luxuriance. The hest forests of this township are seen in the central part. As early as 1880 it was estimated that fully three fourths of this township was under good state of cultivation. When first seen by white men this township had only small trees in its forests, and for this reason the cabin homes could he seen for miles around, but as the fires were kept out of the timber lands the trees became larger and soon hid from view many of the farm houses.
INDIANS IN THE TOWNSHIP.
The Indians had not yet left the county when this township was first entered by white men. The tribes represented
were mostly the Pottawatomie and Miami, the former tribe was war like, while the latter was more friendly to the
white race. The Miami made many warn friends among the pioneers. Each autumn they would return to hunt the wild
turkey and deer. This continued up to 1833. These red men had their own peculiarities. They would not consign their
dead to the cold, damp earth. William Corns, an old time settler, relates how a papoose was buried in the trunk
of a fallen tree. First a hole was cut in the side of the trunk, a piece split out, which later was fitted in as
a lid or covering for the casket. They then hollowed out the trunk sufficiently deep to receive the form of the
deceased papoose, which they then tucked carefully away, covering it with the outside chip or covering above named.
It was about 1828 when settlers commenced to come into this part of Montgomery county to effect permanent settlement.
John Clouser was the first known to have settled here. He arrived in 1828. and erected a mill in which the early
settlers had grists ground, but not fine, for the appliances and machinery were not built that way. It was made
of round logs, with neither chinking nor mortar daubing, as was the usual custom. His son, Daniel. once remarked
that "You might have thrown your hat through it anywhere. The burrs were made of rough nigger head stones.
but nature had made them of granite. For a few years this mill made only meal but later a new one was built on
the opposite side of the stream, and it continued to run until 1850, when another mill was erected on the same
mill site by the Clouser brothers, sons Of the first settler.
By 1830 Sugar Creek township began to be sparsely settled, but from that year on immigration was made very rapid for a number of years. Ohio and Virginia sent forth her sons and daughters in large colonies. The pioneers who chanced to reside here in the never to be forgotten winters of 1830-31-22 suffered untold hardships. Those who settled in the timber, however, soon had comfortable homes, large "clearings" made in the woods and everything took on a more homelike and prosperous look. Money they did not possess, and luxuries were not to be dreamed of, but because they owned their own homes they felt happy and contented. They were a very hospitable people, as are their sons and daughters three generations removed.
Until about 1840 this part of the country had no markets nearer than Louisville and Chicago. It took two weeks
to make the rotund trip to either city. Stock was bought and driven on to Ohio. Then the cattle and swine were
not of the fancy, well kept and fat breeds of today, hence could stand this long trip quite well. Hogs seldom ever
saw corn until caught and placed in the pen where they were fed it a few weeks and killed. At the opening of the
canal to Lafayette produce could be exchanged either for money or goods and that at fair prices. It was then that
the homes of these Sugar Creek settlers begun to look up and take on an air of real comfortably living. The rude
log but was torn down and a better house provided. Cotton goods took the place of the heavy hard tow linen used
before that date. From then on coffee and tea and New Orleans sugar might have been seen upon their tables opened
up another outlet. The present Vandalia system traverses a portion of the township. making its exit at the northeastern
corner. Abner 'Bowers gave the land on which stands the depot at the village hearing his name. It is situated on
sections 23 and 26. and affords a good shipping point.
FIRST AND OTHER EVENTS.
Gleaning from various sources the author has been able to obtain numerous interesting events of early day affairs.
which will he grouped under the above caption: