History of Monroe 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


This township was one of the first settled and is one of the best in the county. It is congressional township 15, range 4. and is bounded on the north by Franklin, on the east by Floyd, on the south by Greencastle, and on the west by Clinton townships. The surface is mostly level in the north part, but more rolling in the south. The soil is a rich black loam, superimposed upon a yellow clay subsoil. Like the rest of the county, Monroe was originally covered with a splendid growth of valuable timber, most of which has been cut and sold. The streams of the township consist of a few branches of Big and Little Walnut, the latter just cutting the southeast corner in section 36. The township is well improved. It has many gravel and macadamized roads; one of the most important runs north from Greencastle, and another west from Bainbridge. Along these roads lies some of the finest country in Putnam county; and the farms are well improved, presenting the evidence of care and skill on the part of their owners.

The first settlers were Jesse and Rollin James, Elias Gibson and John Powell, who built their cabins in 1821, in the western part of the township, not far from where Brick Chapel now stands. In 1822 came Isaiah Vermillion, Thomas Heady, Barnabas Frakes, George W. Howlett and Philip Ford. During the next two years, Levi Stewart, John, Abner and O. Goodwin and George Pearcy became citizens. Within the years 1825 and 1826 they were joined by William Randall, James W. Hillis, Joseph Logan, Mr. McCorkle, William H. Thornburg, Andy Sigler, Captain Tumbrick, Jonathan, Aaron and Henry Myres, Mr. Glover, John and George Jackson, Mr. Baileys, Thomas Benge, William Moss. Reuben Slavens, Edward Parish, Andrew Byerly, Joseph Heath, Philip Slater, Hudson and Eli Brackney, Robert N. Allen, Thomas Starks, Mr. Busey. John Allen, Mr. Penny, Abraham Leatherman and Luke Gardner. The years 1827 and 1828 mark the arrival of Robert C. Brown. Addison and Josiah Lane Samuel Job, Elswick Risk, George Gibson, John Frakes, J. and P. Clement and W. Hansel. There was a large increase of population in the following two year, among whom were James Montgomery. Daniel Chadd, James Fisk, Phelan and Corbin Priest, James O'Hair, John Brown, Henry Foster. Alexander Tan, Peter Graves, John Gilkey, Hiram B. Slavens, Alexander Farrow, Thomas Tinsley. William Garrett, Sharp Spencer, Mrs. Brothers and her son. Robert Brothers, and Mr. Dale. Among these who came soon afterward may be named the Darnalls, the Starrs, the Thorntons and the Fyffes.

Among the other old settlers were William Randall, Mathew McCorkle, Elizabeth Howlett, James O'Hair, John Frakes, James Fisk, Corbin Priest. Robert Brothers, John Slavens, Charles B. Bridges, James Gordon. John Starr, Samuel Darnall. Mr. Thornton, Andrew Byerly, Alexander Tolin and Josiah Lane.

The marriage of George Johnson and Susannah Tomlinson was the first in the township.

The first blacksmith was John Jackson. who built a shop in section 32. on the farm now owned by Sylvester O'Hair. Thomas Heady was the first justice of the peace. Then came Reuben Slavens and Alexander Tolin as his successors in office. The first person who died in the township was a man named Lane. He was buried on the farm of George W. Howlett. The Brick Chapel grave yard is one of the oldest in the township, and has a beautiful location. There is a grave yard near the home of William Randall, called Randall's grave yard, which is one of the oldest burying places in Monroe township. The first school was taught by George Pearcy in section I, north of Bainbridge. About the year 1826. Addison Lane taught a school near the site of Brick Chapel, which was the first in that neighborhood. He was followed by Joseph Farley Hiram B. Slavens and John Slavens. The Christians held the first meetings in the township at the house of George W. Howlett in 1823. Gilbert Harney preached and conducted the services. This house was used as a place of worship for several years by several different denominations. Rev. Benjamin Jones, a Methodist minister, held services also at the house of Mr. Howlett, shortly after the Christian meetings at the same place, and here the Methodist church was organized by Daniel Anderson and Benjamin C. Stevenson. This must have taken place in the conference year 1826-27, as Anderson and Stevenson were then pastors of the Eel River circuit. Meetings were also held in a log school house that stood where Brick Chapel now stands. The first church building was erected by the Methodists on the present site of the Montgomery Chapel. It was a small brick building afterward replaced by the present commodious edifice.

Bainbridge is a flourishing town on the Louisville, New Albany & Chicago railroad, in the northeastern corner of the township, occupying a part of sections 1, 2, 11 and 12. It was laid out by Levi A. Pearcy March 5, 1831, on land owned by Allen Pearcy, John Elrod, Thomas Gordon and Mason Catherwood. The town has since been considerably enlarged. The first and second additions were made by Mr. Cooper. J. E. and D. A. Ouin made the next addition, and then came Corwin and Thornton's first, second and third additions.

Adam Feather was the first blacksmith in the place; Joshua Lucas the first tanner; John Cunningham the first merchant; James D. Carter the first saddler. William O. Darnall was also among the first merchants. D. C. Donnehue put up the first carding machine in the town, and was also the first justice of the peace there.

The first church organization was effected by the Presbyterians. The Methodist church was established there in 1844, and the present house of worship was built in the year 1846. The founding of the Christian church was a little later than that of the Methodist. The Baptists have a congregation there, but no church edifice. The Catholics also have an organization, and a place of worship.

In 1847 Bainbridge was incorporated as a town. The name was suggested by the late Col. John Osborn, who then lived nearby and who later moved to Clay county, in honor of the gallant Commodore Bainbridge of the United States Navy. The present officers of the corporation are Jesse O. Coffman, A. F. Ford and Sherman Murphy, trustees; Orlando R. Turney, clerk and treasurer. In the early fifties Bainbridge took on new life and for a time enjoyed quite a boom on account of the building of the Louisville, New Albany & Salem railroad, now the "Monon Route," which passed through the town. It was at that time one of Bainbridge's citizens conceived and carried to a successful termination the idea of building a mammoth gristmill. It was one of the largest concerns of its kind in this part of the state, but the enterprise ended in a financial failure, its collapse involving a number of the leading citizens of the village. It finally passed into the ownership of a Chicago man, who operated it for several years, shipping the greater part of its output to Liverpool and other European ports. It was the only mill that ever shipped direct to Europe flour made from wheat grown in Putnam county. The mill is still standing, though its capacity is much reduced. and supplies the wants of the local trade.

Bainbridge has a new brick school building erected last year. It contains all the modern conveniences and is both a beautiful and useful addition to the town's attractions. Six teachers are employed who teach all the common and high school grades. There are also five churches representing as many different religious denominations: Catholic, Presbyterian, Methodist, Christian and Christian Union. A Masonic lodge was organized years ago in Bainbridge, of which Milton Brown is worshipful master and James L. McKee secretary; also a lodge of the Knights of Pythias, of which William Brown is chancellor commander, and Fred Steele is keeper of records and seal; a camp of Modern Woodmen, of which M. F. Parks is venerable consul, and Samuel Ratcliff is clerk, and a post - No. 463 - Grand Army of the Republic, of which John Wilkinson is commander, and George W. Starr is adjutant.

The town has one newspaper, The Bainbridge News, published weekly, of which George W. Grames is the editor and proprietor, and one bank, called the Bainbridge Bank, of which T. P. Moffett is president; J. M. Reed, vice president, and Charles M. Moffett cashier. There are also the following manufacturing enterprises: Glove and mitten factory, owned by Horace Pherson; planing mill and lumber yard, operated by Lockridge & Ashby; sawmill, by L. C. Priest, and two factories for the manufacture of cement blocks and castings operated by Allee & Welch and Albert Hubbard & Son, respectively.

Bainbridge has a population of about five hundred. About two years ago a commercial club was organized to attract capital and new people to the place and to that end a tract of land was bought, platted and annexed to the town. Several lots have been sold and a number of houses are being built. The intention is to donate suitable ground for factory sites, etc. The officers are Milton F. Darnall, president, and Charles M. Moffett, secretary.

The following have served as postmaster at Bainbridge: Joshua H. Lucas, February 13, 1835; D. C. Donnohue, February 13, 1841; Abiathar Crane, December 10, 1851; A. J. Darnall, November I. 1853; William W Gill, January 31, 1855; Charles M. Nye, June 23, 1855; John W. Cooper, February 6, 1856; William B. Walls, November 27, 1856; Thomas L. Ellis, August 4, 1860; Amos K: Payne, April 15, 1861; Mary E. Darnall, January 5, 1864; B. F. Duncan, May 31, 1866; Mary E. Darnall, June 12. 1866; Mary Ellis, February 25, 1868; Mary E. Darnall, March 25, 1869; Carleton McDaniel, July 18, 1882; George W. Hansel, May 25. 1885; C. C. Coffman, May 3, 1889; Milroy Gordon, June 20. 1893 Thomas J. Gordon, July 3, 1894; Anna M. Gordon, December 8, 1900, James F. Smith, September it, 1903; Glen D. Lemberger, February 13, 19o9. At Brick Chapel, which was discontinued as a postoffice on February 28, 1905, the following named served as postmasters: L. L. Maxwell, April 28, 1873; F. G. Albin. January 5, 1874; Willis P. Wood, July 14, 1874; discontinued November 5, 1875: re-established May 8, 1876; William M. Smith, May 8, 1876; R. M. Baker. November 10, 1876; William N. Scobee, July 9, 1877; R. F. Oakley. September 16, 1879; James L. Fisk, January 16. 1883; John Slavens, March 9, 1883: George S. Frank, July 28, 1885; J. W. S. Wyatt, February 17, 1887; William T. Overbey, June 15, 1889; Robert S. Harbison, April 18, 1890; Michael Rising, January 10, 1896.

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