History of Franklin Township, Putnam County, Indiana
From: Weik's History of Putnam County, Indiana
BY: Jesse W. Weik, A.M.
B. F. Bowen & Company, Publishers
Indianapolis, Indiana 1910


Franklin township, lying in the middle of the north tier of townships in Putnam county, comprises congressional township 16 north, range 4 west, and is bounded on the north by Montgomery county and on the east by Jackson township, on the south by Monroe township, on the west by Russell township. Its surface is rolling, presenting to the view a varied appearance. The township is drained by Raccoon creek in the north, North Ramp creek through the center, and South Ramp creek in the southwest, all of which take a westward course. The soil of the township is very fertile, producing five crops of grain and grass. The township was originally well supplied with timber, consisting principally of poplar, walnut, oak, hickory, beech and ash. The Louisville, New Albany & Chicago railroad crosses the township north and south, running through the eastern tier of the sections, and the Cincinnati, Hamilton & Dayton railroad crosses it east and west. The township has one incorporated town, Roachdale, and two villages, Fincastle and Carpenters.

It is inhabited by an enterprising class of farmers who, improving its natural advantages, have placed it in the front rank of the townships of Putnam.

Franklin township was not settled until 1824, two years after the organization of the county. In that year, James Gordon and William Elrod settled in that part of the county, being the first to make their way thither. They were joined the next year by Garrett Gibson and James Fiddler. In 1826 came David Barnes, Thomas House, David House, Joshua Burnett, William Giddons, John Miller, Samuel Osborn and Thomas Batman. The newcomers for 1827-28 were James Makemson, the LaFolletts, the Henkles, Mr. Brothers and Thomas Grider. During the next year, John Dickerson, A. Osborn, Samuel and Isaac Brown arrived, and were joined in 1830-31 by James Stephens, George Wright, the Catherwoods, Jesse Rymer, James E. Edwards, Philip Carpenter, A. S. Farrow and others.

The first habitation of the white man in the township was erected in the thirty sixth section by the first white inhabitant, James Gordon. The first blacksmith forge that rang its peals in that neighborhood was put up and worked in 1828 by Philip Lemon. The first store was kept by Philip Carpenter, and was located south of the site of Carpentersville in the year of 1831. The first white child born in the township was James Gordon, son of Anderson Gordon. The first school was taught by a man named Elliott in 1839, in the neighborhood of Fincastle. William Elrod was the first justice of the peace. Henry Rogers located here in 1832, and became the first practitioner of medicine in the township.

The first church organization was effected by the Presbyterians, who at an early day held meetings at the house of George Pearcy, in section 1, Monroe township, but soon removed into a church on section 32, in Franklin. This congregation was under the pastoral charge of Rev. James H. Shields. The Presbyterians now have a house of worship and a good membership at Carpentersville. The Christian denomination next organized about the year 1827. Elders Coombs. Haney, Harris and Girder were among their first preachers. Their present church edifice is located at Fincastle. The Regular Baptists were organized in 1829, at James Fiddler's house by Rev. Nathan Keeney. They at present have a fair membership. who worship in a church building in section 21. For some cause the Methodists did not push their organization into Franklin as early as into other townships of the county. Their history is, therefore, more meager than that of other denominations. They have a church at Carpentersville, where they are represented by a good membership. They have, also, a brick church at Fincastle.

Carpentersville, situated near the southeast corner of the township, on the Louisville, New Albany & Chicago railroad, was laid out about the year 1840 by Philip Carpenter. who had been carrying on a tan yard there for several years prior to that time. Logan Sutherlin was the first merchant and a Mr. Bradford the first blacksmith. William King taught the first school and Doctor Cross was the first physician. The Methodist Episcopal church was the first organized. and the Presbyterians followed soon afterward. Both of these denominations now have church edifices in the village.

The postmasters at Carpentersville, with dates of appointment, have been as follows: Ezra Whitney, May 23. 1850; J. B. Cross, October 30, 1851; A. R. Hyde, June 21. 18J3; Philip Carpenter, July 1, 1854; Robert M. Ramsey. April 18, 1861; A. L. Goodbar, March 5, 1863; James Turner, April 5, 1864; Z. T. Moffett. May 29, 1863; Archie Brown. January 17, 1866; George H. McKee. April 3. 1867; Joseph A. Patton. August 21, 1867: John A. Brown, February 13. 1868; John T. Cline. November 19, 1869; James M. Taylor. August 27, 1873; William T. Smith, January 28, 1876: George W. Corwin, February 18. 1879; W. F. Garver, April 2, 1880; William D. Parker. September 14, 1883; B. B. Cline. October 2, 1888; William D. Parker. August 3, 1889; George A. Hutchins, July 9, 1890; B. B. Cline, June 27, 1893; Marcus A. Pickel, May 21, 1897; Nina I. Dawson, May 3, 1909.

Fincastle, located in the western part of this township, was laid out in the year 1838 by John Oberchain. A store was soon opened by Allen Pierson, and a blacksmith shop by the Conner brothers. The school was taught by Wilson Turner, who was also the first resident physician.

The postmasters at Fincastle have been as follows: David Fosher, October 21, 1847; R W. Moss, March 6, 1850; Charles B. Bridger, June 11, 1853; S. J. Ritchey, June 23, 1855; William B. Cunningham, April 3, 1857; Discontinued November 20, 1858; Robert L. Bridges (Re-Est.), February 15, 1877; Thomas L. Grider, April 5, 1881; Jesse B. Fosher, February 16, 1883; Zaccheus Grider, June 18, 1884; James B. Shannon, July 9, 1885; Calvin Harris, January 24, 1889; Thomas L. Grider, January 17, 1890; Ora G. Edwards, May 4, 1893; James F. Edwards, May 25, 1895; H. C. Fosher, October 26, 1895; Thomas L. Grider, September 13, 1897; discontinued January 14, 1905.

The town of Roachdale, located in the northeastern part of the township, is the latest accession to the list of towns in the county. It was incorporated shortly after the completion of the Indianapolis, Decatur & Springfield railroad, March 25, 1882. As the latter road crossed the Louisville, New Albany & Chicago railroad at this point, the town naturally experienced a very rapid growth, and has steadily held its own ever since. Its first town officers consisted of the following: John AV. Hargrave, Sam B. Sweeney, Justice M. Ghormly, trustees; Samuel J. Hermon, clerk, John H. Grantham, treasurer; John Pinnell, marshal.

The present officers are: John H. Jeffries, Judson Lindley, J. W. Sanders, trustees; R. E. Greene, treasurer and clerk; L. C. Cummings, marshal.

There are four churches in the town. Methodist, Christian, Presbyterian and Baptist. A beautiful and commodious school building. with modern conveniences, was built several years ago, containing seven class rooms and provisions for a commissioned high school. The school board consists of C. C. Collins, president; G. W. Irwin, secretary, and C. F. Rice, treasurer.

The following fraternal orders are represented: Masons: Levi S. Worrell, worshipful master; Otto K. Henry, senior warden; Sam W. Dodds. junior warden; O. A. Shepard, treasurer: G. W. Irwin, secretary; Fred L. McAmick, senior deacon; John T. Sutherlin, junior deacon: Willard Gough, J. Ed Crosby, stewards; Scott Wyatt, tyler.

Knights of Pythias: John Sutherlin, chancellor commander; Thomas Sutherlin, vice commander; E. W. Webster, prelate; Oliver Bales. master of work; D. A. Smith, keeper of records and seal; I. E. Weddle, master of finance; Amos Wendling, master of exchequer; Ben Dean, inside guard; John Oakley, outside guard.

Odd Fellows: William Davis, noble grand; Charles McIntyre, vice grand; Ernest Thompson, J. B. Gough, secretaries; B. L. Hall, treasurer; M. A. Eggers, warden; Jesse Young, conductor; William Radford, inside guard; Amos Wendling, outside guard; C. L. Airhart, chaplain.

Modern Woodmen: W. C. Barnes, venerable consul; C. T. Miller, worthy adviser; R. E. Greene, clerk; G. D. Iuppenlatz, banker.

The only bank in the town is called the Roachdale Bank. O. A. Shepard is president; Joseph Cline, cashier, and Margaret Hanna, assistant cashier. The weekly paper is called The Roachdale News and is edited by L. L. Ware and R. E. Greene. The postmaster is Charles McGaughey. There is an electric light plant, two sawmills, a large elevator and the Putnam Veneer & Lumber Company, all doing a profitable and thriving business. In population the town ranks next to Greencastle.

The postmasters at Roachdale, with dates of their appointment, have been as follows: William B. Lewis, February 3, 1880; William B. Lewis, February 24, 188o; F. M. Ghormley. July 6, 1880; George M. Cook, January 23, 1882; Francis M. Ghormley, April to, 1882; John T. Cline, December 11. 1884; George Justice, May 3, 1889; John Dodd, April 5, 1893; George Justice, May 1, 1897; Charles McGaughey, March 21, 1904.

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