Jefferson township consists of the first thirty sections of township 13, range 3, and is bounded on the north
by Marion, on the east by Mill creek, on the south by Cloverdale, and on the west by Warren township. It is drained
by Mill creek, and was originally timbered, as the neighboring townships. The soil is a rich loam, suitable for
the production of grass and grain. At one time it formed a part of what was called Deer Creek township, which included
Jefferson, Warren and Cloverdale. In the year 1846, Warren and Jefferson gave off enough to make Cloverdale township,
leaving Jefferson with its present area.
The first settlers, called "squatters," consisted of four families three named Higgins, and one named
Kirk - who made temporary settlements on section 16, in the year 1819. John C. Sherrill made his entry of land
in the autumn of 1822. Jacob Clark, George Hendrick, William Albin, George Hurst, David Hurst, John Gillman, Absalon
Hurst, Abraham Hurst and a Mr. Longwell, all came in that year or the early part of the next.
After this, settlements were made so rapidly that it is almost impossible to note them as they occurred. From 1822
to 1833 the larger portion of the land was taken up by entry, and but few pieces remained unentered after the year
The first marriage was that of William Aldrich and Betsy Higgins in the year 1823. The next was that of Henry Nosier
and Mary Hurst, which was solemnized by David Scott, Esq., in 1824.
The family record of John C. Sherrill shows that his daughter Caroline was born on February 27, 1823, and she was,
probably, the first child born in the township. She became the wife of Elijah McCarty, but is now deceased. Probably
the next was Andrew McMains - named after his father - who was born June 10, 1824, and still lives in the township.
The first mill in the township was built by John Hadden, in 1826; the next in 1829, by John Allee. These were both
horse mills. The first water mill was built on Higgins' creek in 1834 by John Smith. These mills afforded all the
facilities then required for the production of meal and flour.
The first justice of the peace was David Scott, Esq., who continued in office for a period of more than twenty
It appears from the church records, that the Regular Baptists organized Mill Creek church at the house of Rev.
Absalom Hurst in 1828, and in 1830 built a log meeting house near the site of their present one. They have maintained
their organization ever since, and have twice rebuilt.
The date of organization of the Methodist church cannot be given. In 1838 they built a hewed log church, called
Jones' meeting house. The congregation went down in 1856, after which the house was used as a shop.
The Missionary Baptists organized New Providence church at the house of John C. Sherill in 1839, and built a log
house of worship in the succeeding year. They have since rebuilt, and now have a commodious and handsome house.
There are at the present time in the township five houses of public worship.
Rev. Absalom Hurst was the first resident minister in the township, and was considered the founder of Mill Creek
The early vices of this township, as of most new countries, were drunkenness and gambling; but, by the advance
of a better civilization, sober habits and a more elevated moral sentiment prevail. Though drinking spirits was
a common fault in the early history of the township, it is a noteworthy fact that there never was a still house
within the limits of its territory.
The schools of the township were organized in 1834. The books containing the records, kept by John Allee, treasurer
of the township trustees, show that he received from the school fund commissioner of the county the following amounts:
In the year 1834, $116.31 1/4; 1835, $191.93 3/4; 1836, $131.06 1/4; 1837, $152; total for four years, $591.31
There are two villages in the township, Mount Meridian and Belle Union. Mount Meridian was laid out by William
Heavin and Bryce W. Miller, in the year 1833. It was at first called Carthage, but, in order that the town and
postoffice might have the same name, it was given that which it now bears.
At Belle Union the following postmasters have served: Robert McCammack, April 6, 1870; M. B. Scott, June 8, 1874;
James N. Bourne, June 9, 1875; A. J. Hill, December 27, 1875; Thomas N. Sherrill, August 21, 1885; Lemuel Buis,
April 4, 1888; David Cohn, October 2, 1889; J. M. Hurst, June 6, 1893; James H. Larkin, August 7, 1894; Milton
C. McAninch, June 24, 1898; George A. Dobbs, February 29, 1904. The postoffice was discontinued on May 14, 1906.
At Mount Meridian the postmasters have been William Bailey, July 24, 1835; John W. Osborn, October 13, 1842; Asa
Cooper, December 9, 1845; Valentine G. Kemper, June 30, 1851; William S. Bourne. April 9, 1855; D. S. Duckworth,
March 28, 1859; Thomas A. Bryan. September 3, 1861; Joel S. Cooper, November 25, 1861; Washington Brenton, February
13, 1862; Joel S. Cooper, September r, 1863; T. S. Vermilion, September 14, r866; William N. Wood, October 23,
1866; William T. W. Elmore, May 14, 1868; Jesse M. Elmore, August 9, 1869; S. W. McAninch, November 9, 1870; William
N. Wood, December 19, 1871; Jesse M. Elmore, December 15, 1873; Alfred Elmore, March 30, 1876; Martin F. Dorsett,
July 12, 1880; William Hurst, December 20, 1880; Samuel P. Bowen. October 28, 1881; S. S. Bourne, August 31, 1882;
William Hurst. April 24. 1885; J. S. Knight, May 14, 1889; William Hurst, May 27, 1893; John H. Fox, September
16, 1897; discontinued February 28, 1905.