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


Wayne civil township is the second from the north line of Montgomery county, and is on the western border of the county, south from Coal Creek township west of Union and north of Ripley. It is six miles square, hence contains thirty six sections. Originally there was great forests throughout this township, but decade after decade they have largely disappeared and the township is now given largely to successful farming.

Among the first to settle this part of the county was Abram Heath and his sister, Mrs. David Rusk, who arrived in 1823. The next to come in with a view of making a permanent settlement were Silas Moore, J. Donahoe, Nathan Small. John Earl. Basil Tracy, all of who contributed to the development of the township and helped to make the fertile fields produce an abundant harvest where once stood the stately trees and underbrush. Their hands felled the timber and erected the logs into rude. yet quite comfortable homes in which to reside until such times as they could provide better accommodations. They cleared up a patch of land and on this raised corn with which to get meal for food, and feed for stock. They had excellent gardens and lived on wild game and meat of deer and like animals, native to the country, but now entirely extinct.

The township in 1910. according to the United States census, had one thousand seven hundred and nineteen inhabitants. including the town of Waynetown, which then had a population of seven hundred and thirty four.

According to records left by the few surviving pioneers living in the early eighties it appears that the hardships endured by the first men and women of this township were little less than those of Puritan days in New England. The earthly remains of most of these people have long since been entombed in the same soil where they used to fell trees, build cabins and fence land on which they remained the remainder of their lives. Three quarters and more of a century have made great changes in the wilderness they saw and conquered from a wild state. We love best the man who dares to do. The moral hero stalwart thro' and thro', Who treads the untried path, evades the rut; Who braves the virgin forest, builds a hut, Removes the tares encumbering the soil, And founds an empire based on thought and toil.

An account of the early settlement given by E. H. Edwards states that the early settlers came in as follows: William Heath, 1823, was born in Maryland in 1794 and died 1874 was the father of Abram Heath and Mary Heath; Mary married David Rusk, son of David Rusk. David Rusk's first wife was the mother of all of his children, was the daughter of Dennis Ball.

In 1824 came Philip Moore, a native of Tennessee. David Rusk came in 1825, or earlier. Dennis Ball came in 1826, and he was from Pennsylvania. John Earl came in 1827; he was born in New Jersey, 1798 and died in 1895. Abraham Switzer located here in 1828, and was a native of Pennsylvania. Nathan Small came in not later than 1830, and was a native of South Carolina. N. B. Hoff came the same year and was from New Jersey. Basil Tracy, it is believed, came to this township as early as 1826: he was a native of Kentucky.

In 1910 there was published in the Crawfordsville Journal the following concerning the early days and development of this town and township. It was written by pioneer Dennis Rusk. then over eighty years of age:

"I can say what no other man can say in Wayne township. I was born eighty years ago the seventh of last September, in a log cabin just north of Coal Creek, on the piece of land now owned by Vint Charters. I have spent my entire life within two miles of the public square. I witnessed the first signs of life in old Middletown (now Waynetown) when there was not a frame building within the present incorporation. People lived in log cabins and drank from a gourd. I saw Middletown with her log buildings develop into Waynetown with every business house a frame. I helped to construct the old I., B. & W. railroad and saw the mills and depot and grain elevators built; also the churches and schools assume shape. Then I saw the frame buildings give way to the brick ones and the board walks replaced by cement ones, with many of Poston blocks. I remember when we hid what money we had in nail kegs, but now we have banks in which to safely deposit the money we have. I have always been proud of our town and I believe it will keep abreast of the times. Sixty years ago I enjoyed riding to church in a two horse wagon and now experience as much by riding in an automobile going at the rate of twenty miles an hour."


There are only two towns or villages within Wayne township - Waynetown and Wesley. Waynetown, the first place west of Crawfordsville on the old Illinois, Bloomington & Western railroad. was platted July 28, 1830 by Samuel Mann on section 14, township 19. range 6. In 1880 the town boasted of the following improvements: Nine stores, a flour mill. wagon shop, planing mill, two saw mills, a newspaper. The Banner: five physicians, two lawyers, three churches - Baptist. Christian and Methodist Episcopaian Odd Fellows and Masonic lodge, and a frame school building.

In 1910 the population was seven hundred and forty seven. Its schools and churches are mentioned in other chapters. A fire in October, 1893, destroyed a large part of the business houses. Its present standing is as follows:

Bakery, E. C. Hamilton:
banks, Waynetown State Bank. Farmers' and Merchants' Bank:
blacksmiths. Lee Schlosser. D. F. Shuler: barbers, A. C. Summer. C. K. Krug:
clothing. P. M. Brown:
dry goods. Darnell Brothers. George W. Fords, C. B. Munns: drugs. S. M. Davis, Alonzo White:
dentist, J. H. Lowed. D. D. S.:
garaged and machine shop. Grenard Brothers:
groceries. Small & Parker: groceries and meats. Tames T. Cooper:
furniture. S. R. Schuler & Son:
hardware. Darnell & Beddle. C. A. Snyder:
harness. H. W. Bowers:
hotel, Wayne Hotel. Mrs. Jennie Parker:
jeweler. E. C. Hamilton: meat market. Durgins & Sons:
livery stable. John Ehire: millinery. Mrs. M. T. Kelly:
newspaper. The Despatch. J. W. Small, proprietor:
poultry and produce. Fountain Produce Co.:
plumber. J. F. Zuck: tailor. C. H. Ellis:
undertaker, Shuler & Birdcell restaurant. H. E. Applegate:
flour mill, Boldt & Son:
saw mill. V. C. Charters:
lumber dealer, Greer-Wilkinson Lumber Co.:
Waynetown Electric Light Co.. Thomas Lewellen, manager:
physicians. Drs. A. N. Hamilton. W. J. Hurt. H. M. Bounnell:
lodges. Masonic, Odd Fellows. Knights of Pythias. Red Men, all have halls:
churches, Baptist. Christian. Methodist, Wesleyan Methodist. Snyder chapel of the United Brethren society. two miles northeast of town, and the Christian Union three miles and a half southeast of town.

The township officers are: J. J. Birdcall, president board of trustees: R. D. Biddle, Fred Darnell, R. L. Kline. Alonzo White: E. H. Edwards. town clerk and treasurer: marshal. F. M. Hank.

The township commissioned high school is superintended by W. C. Gerichs. A $35,000 building will be erected in 1913.

The village of Wesley is located on section 29, township 19, range 6, and is a flag station on the Big Four railroad. The old Wesley Academy, mentioned elsewhere, w as in its day, a good educational institution and many now long since departed were educated for life's work and duties there. It went down soon after the Civil war.

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