History of Warren 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


Warren township, comprising the first thirty sections of the congressional township 13, range 4. lies immediately south of Greencastle township, and is bounded on the east by Jefferson, on the south by Cloverdale, and on the west by Washington. The surface of the township is undulating and in parts quite broken. The soil is a clay loam, with some excellent bottom lands along Deer creek. The township was once heavily timbered with oak, poplar, hard maple and beech, with some groves of walnut and hickory, and a plentiful supply of sycamore along the streams. It is drained by Deer creek, together with its tributaries, which traverse the township from northeast to southwest. Along this stream there are numerous never failing limestone springs.

The early settlers of the township, who are deceased, were James Townsend, William Hadden, Samuel Hawn, Benjamin Hawkins, George Pearcy, Thomas Brown, John Henderson, Peter Waynick, Alexander Conley, Arthur Conley, Gilmore Conley, John Baird, John Arnold, John Akin, Judge Deweese, William W. Walden, John Mercer, Jacob Peck, William Duckworth, David Clearwater, John May, Thomas McCarty, Joseph Denny, Thomas Hancock, Daniel Hepler, Dennis 'Williams, John Garren, John C. Sellers, Nathaniel Hawkins, John S. Swift, Archibald Cooper, Robert Woodall, John Woodall, Thomas Moore, Joel Shinn, James Martin, Lozier B. Gammon, David Skelton, Jeremiah Skelton, Luke Davis, John Swarts, Samuel Martin, William Robinson, Robert Robinson, William Vestal, Samuel Steele, Edward Heath, Elder Thomas Oatman (Christian minister), Dr. D. W. Layman, A. G. Layman, A. W. Welker, John W. Jenkin, John Cooper, W. B. Williams, William A. Grigsby, Flower Swift, Calvin Woods, James Ingram, John Hendricks, Joseph Clapsaddle, Rev. Ransom Hawley, Polly Brown, Elizabeth Davis and Samuel Wright.

In an early day there were two potteries in the township, one operated by Boyd & Perry, the other by A. W. Welker.

One of the marked features of the township is an excellent stone quarry one half mile west of Putnamville, on the National road. The ledges of rock in this quarry vary from two inches to five feet in thickness. The following analysis of this stone is given by Professor Cox, state geologist: "Lime, twenty per cent; sand, twenty per cent; gray granite, sixty per cent; almost, if not exactly, like what is called 'English firestone.' He also says, "Granite will last three hundred years, but this stone will last as long as time. For foundation stone, there is probably none superior in America. It is not affected by any change of temperature, and can be quarried in winter just as well as summer."

Putnamville is the only postoffice town in the township. Westland, which was laid out soon after Putnamville, had one store for a short time. but now has no business house of any kind. A few houses in close proximity on either side of the National road are the only indications left to remind the passer by of its former existence.

Putnamville is situated on the National road, and was laid out by James Townsend in 1830 on land purchased from Edward Heath. Townsend also kept the first store in Putnamville. He was soon followed by a Mr. McKane.

At Putnamville the following have served as postmaster: D. W. Layman, December 4, 1832; E. R. Kercheval, May 25, 1836; Amos W. Walker, September 8, 1840; James Nosier, September 2, 1844; Joseph L. Merrill, December 19, 1844; Thomas Morrow, September 13, 1845; William Eaglesfield, November 28, 1845; McCamy Hartley, September 22, 1847; Samuel Milholland, August 21, 1850; William A. Smock, August 4, 1851; Jay T. Wakefield, August 24, 1853; William A. Grigsby, August 14, 1856; James M. Hendrix, April 9, 1859; Joel W. McGrew, February 6, 1860; Thomas J. Bridges, October 11, 1861; A. J. Clarke, April 26, 1862; S. C. Bishop, November 13, 1866; James Stooks, May 25, 1868; S. C. Bishop, March 31, 1869; William H. Holloway, September 28, 1870; S. C. Bishop, January 13, 1879; R. H. Bowen, July 9, 1885; Emma Peck, May 3, 1889; J. J. Bowen, May 10, 1893; William A. McAninch, June 23, 1897.

The first school was taught in the town the same year in which it was founded by Mr. Wakefield, who came from New England.

Archibald Cooper built the first blacksmith shop and carried on the business for several years. John Akin also kept a shop about the same time.

Hugh Thompson carried on the first wagon shop and John Morgan put up the first carding machine.

The first grist mill was erected on Deer creek one half mile southeast of Putnamville, October 16, 1826, by Alexander Conley. Another was built on the same creek, one half mile southwest of the town, in 1834, by Samuel Steele and Dr. D. W. Layman.

During the building of the National road the township improved rapidly and business was quite brisk. In an early day Putnamville also rivaled Greencastle for the location of the county seat, and a little later made a very creditable effort to secure the location of Asbury University. To secure this end, her citizens agreed to give the university a donation of twenty five thousand dollars.

The Methodist Episcopal church of Putnamville was organized in 1829, at the house of John S. Perry. Rev. Thomas J. Brown officiating. John M. Jenkins, John S. Perry, Luke Davis and wife, and John Swarts and wife were among the first members. Soon after the first organization, they erected a neat frame building as a house of worship, which they continued to use until about the year 1860, when they purchased the brick house built by the Presbyterians.

The Presbyterian church was organized at this place November 7, 1830, at the house of James Townsend, by the Rev. Isaac Reed. The following members constituted the first organization: John Robinson. Samuel Moore, Mary Moore, Alexander Conley, Jane Conley, James Townsend, Catharine Townsend. Sarah Shell, Martha Ashbaugh and Julia Ann Merrill, not one of whom remains among the living. James Townsend was the first ruling elder. The first ministers were Rev. Jeremiah Hill (deceased), Rev. Samuel G. Lowery. Rev. James H. Shields, Rev. William W. Woods.

About the year 1834 they erected a neat and commodious brick church, which they occupied until 1849, when the Old and the New School members separated. and the New School built a good frame church, which was dedicated in February, 1850. A few years afterward, the Old School sold the brick church to the Methodists. Some of the members joined the New School and some went to other churches.

The Rev. Ransom Hawley came to Putnamville in the year 1841, and acted as pastor of the Presbyterian church till 1865, a period of twenty four years. The length of his pastorate is ample evidence of the acceptability of his ministry and the uprightness of his life.

The Bethel Methodist Episcopal church, two miles east of Putnamville, on the National road, was organized about the year 1835.

The Christian church was organized by Elder O. P. Badger in 1871. This congregation had a good frame house, erected soon after their organization, in which they still hold services.

Dr. D. W. Layman, who came from Virginia, settled in Putnamville in 1831, being the first medical practitioner in the town or the township. He was so successful in his practice no other physician ever continued long in the attempt to compete with him. For many years he was easily the most prominent and influential citizen in the community. He was a man of upright habits and pleasing manners but of very pronounced political views. He was an ardent Union man during war times and later supported the principles of the Republican party, but he never sought an office or any other political preferment.

A story is told that in the fall of 1864 a number of boisterous Warren township citizens who had been attending a Democratic meeting at Greencastle returning home on horseback after night, passed by Layman's house and, knowing his pronounced Union sentiments, very loudly and repeatedly cheered for Jeff Davis. Being hidden in the darkness on the opposite side of the road, the Doctor was unable to distinguish the riders as they noisily flew by, but his ire was so instantly and completely aroused he picked up a stone and hurled it with all his might in the direction of the noise. A little later a man came riding up to the Doctor's house and asked the latter to accompany him down the road to see a man who was hurt and needed medical attention. "At first," related the Doctor years afterward, "I was a little suspicious, but as I had never failed to answer a call for my professional services I complied at once and set out for the scene of trouble. A short distance down the roadside we came upon a group near the fence, in the centre of which reclined a man who was bleeding profusely from a wound in the head which his companions explained had been caused by a fall from a horse. A light was procured and there by its dim rays I gave the wounded man the medical and surgical attention the case seemed to require. Of course there was some risk, and I kept my eyes peeled all the while, but I pretended to be as innocent as they and so far as I could observe there was not the slightest attempt to molest me. In fact, later, the injured man, still maintaining an air of innocence, came to my office and offered to pay me for my services, but I declined, meanwhile reminding him of the dangerous and inevitable results of cheering for Jeff Davis - a lesson I am sure he never forgot."

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