History of Madison 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


Madison township is formed of the congressional township 14, range 5. and lies immediately west of Greencastle. It is bounded on the north by Clinton, on the south by Washington township and on the west by Parke county. It is drained by Little Walnut, along which the township is considerably broken. The timber and the soil of this township are similar to those of the adjoining townships.

The exact date at which the pioneers of this township came can not now be given. The first piece of land entered in the township was by Richard Moore, December 13, 1821; the third was by Benjamin Bell, April 2, 1821; and, in order of time, Isaac Wolverton, April 12, 1821; Isaac Matkins, December 20, 1821. Among those who made entries here in 1822 may be named Frederick Leatherman, Samuel Wright, Isaiah Wright, Benjamin Wright, Jesse Wright, John Dougherty, Jesse Oatman, Jacob Curtis and Henry Williams. In 1823 Joseph Thornburg, Abraham Wooley and George Hansel entered land in this township. Other early settlers of the township were Peter Stoner, Levi Mann, John Anderson, Andrew Frank, Amos Wright, William Torr, John McPheeters and his father, James Swinford, John Swinford, Jesse Latham, William P. King, Mr. Albaugh and Rowley. Some of these may have settled earlier than those whose entries are given above.

The following named were among the oldest settlers living in 1880: John Leatherman, Jesse McPheeters, Joseph Wells, who served on the first grand jury in the county, James Torr, Sr., Joseph Grubbs and Joseph Brubaker.

The first death in Madison township was that of George W. Matkins, son of Isaac and Sophia Matkins; and the first birth was that of John Thomas Matkins, son of the same parents_

The first school was taught by Peter Garr about half a mile north of where Jesse McPheeters formerly lived.

The first mill in the township was built by Benjamin Bell on the Walnut fork of the Eel river. It was sold in a few years to James Townsend, who laid out Putnamville.

The Predestinarian Baptists organized the first church in Madison township about the year 1832. This took place in the woods near where John Leatherman now resides. About a year afterward, this congregation built a log house in which they worshipped for near a score of years, and then built a second log house, which they occupied until about thirty five years ago, when they replaced it with a substantial frame building. Among the early ministers of this church were Benjamin Parks, Aaron Harlan, James Edwards, Reuben Slavens, Abraham Leatherman and John Leatherman.

About the year 1834, a Methodist Episcopal church was organized at the house of Isaac Matkins. This church was organized by Rev. William C, Smith. and the first quarterly meeting was held at the house of Isaac Matkins by Rev. Aaron Wood. The congregation continued to hold services regularly there for two or three years, when they built a log house, which they occupied until about the year 1858, and then built a good frame church to take its place. Among the other early ministers of this church were Revs. De Motte, Beck, Tanzy, Preston, Wright and Fairhurst.

The Christian church was organized about the year of 1840 by Elder Levi Wright, who had been preaching for the congregation for several years before this time and continued to do so for a number of years afterward. They erected a log house in 184.4, which they occupied until 1867. They then built a frame house on the hill west of Ezekiel Wright's. Noah Buchanan. John Harris, Nathan Wright, Lorenzo Dow, Cleghorn and Ezekiel Wright were the early ministers of this church. This church is a very thrifty one, and it has sent out from its fold four or five evangelists who are doing acceptable work in the cause of the Master.

There are three limestone quarries in this township. The depth of the deposit is about forty feet. The thickness of the ledges varies from seven inches to five feet. At the bottom is a bed of flint rock seven feet thick. In the second and third strata above is a thickness of four or four and one half feet of what Professor Cox, state geologist, describes as "fine textured, grayish white limestone, commonly known as lithographic stone." In connection with the quarries are three lime kilns, managed by the same companies. Of the product of these kilns, Professor Cox says, "The lime is remarkably white and pure, and belongs to the class technically called 'fat lime'; that is, it sets quick and is superior for whitewashing and also for purifying coal gas."

In Madison township there have been two postoffices, Brunerstown and Oakalla, both of which have been discontinued. The postmasters who served at Brunerstown were: Isaiah Wright, November 29. 1839; M. F. Wright, October 11, 1849: Coleman P. Wright, February 18. 1850; William Lane, October 7, 1850; Solomon Griffith, April 1, 1851: M. F. Wright, August 4, 1851; Watson Dills. September 7, 1854; John Merrywether, October 11, 1854: M. F. Wright. November 30, 1855; Peter Bird. April 3, 1857; Thomas Ragle. April 27. 1857; Jothum Hasty, January 9, 1858; Samuel H. Witt, April 20, 1858. The postoffice was discontinued August 8, 1859. At Oakalla the following postmasters served: Charles Eppinghousen. June 4, 1872; Daniel Weaver, March 30, 1876; J. F. Burkhart. July 5, 1878; William A. McKee. August 21, 1878: Franklin Harlan. February 15, 1881; James K. Johnston, July 19, 1882; E. B. Early, May 31, 1889: Henry H. Hillis, June 15, 1889; J. D. Torr, September 12, 1891; John W. Stroube, July 14, 1896; Joseph D. Torr, January 22, 1903. Postoffice discontinued November 30, 1903.

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