History of Washington 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


Washington. the oldest of the townships, lies in the southwest corner of Putnam county, and is composed of township 13 and the north half of township 12, range 5. It is bounded on the north by Madison township, on the east by Warren and Cloverdale townships, on the south by Clay and Owen counties, and on the west by Clay county. The surface of the country in this township is rough and broken. There is a great deal of excellent bottom land along the streams, finely adapted to the cultivation of corn and other cereals. It was originally covered with the same character of timber as was found throughout the county, consisting principally of white oak, walnut, poplar. beech. hard maple, ash, hickory and sycamore.

Among the early settlers, now deceased, were James Athey, the first settler of the county, John Reel, John Horton, William Roberts, John M. Coleman, Thomas H. Clark, William K. Matkins, Dr. Lenox N. Knight, Abraham Lewis, William Brown, George McIntosh, Randall Hutchinson, John M. Purcell, Samuel Boone, Moses Boone, William Seiner, Samuel Webster, Henry Walden, Adam Neff, Andy Reel, William Reel, Landon Davis, Thomas Frazier, Allen Jones, George Rightsell, William McCullough. Philip Shake. Justice Goodrich, Warren Fellows, Reuben Wright, Luther Webster. James Barnett, Silas Mulinix, Solomon Simpson, Thomas McCullough, Mr. Deweese, John Funican, H. H. Athey, A. D. Hamrick, Daniel Boone, a lineal descendant of Daniel Boone, the pioneer of Kentucky, Volney Smith, Edward Huffman, Christopher Crable, John Friend, William Risler, William McCullough, Daniel Zaring, Sr., David Jones, David Sublett and the Right sells.

The first house in the township, that of James Athey, erected in the winter of 1818-19, stood very near the site of Robert Huffman's residence. The first mill in the township was that of Luther Webster. It stood on Deer creek, about one fourth of a mile south of Manhattan. Lloyd B. Harris kept the first hotel in the township, at Manhattan. Thomas H. Clark was the first postmaster. The first shoemaker was Thomas Lewis. The honor of carrying on the first blacksmith shop belongs to John Hooton. Esquires Busick and Athey were among the first justices of the peace in the township. It is worthy of note that Thomas McCullough was the tallest man that ever lived in the township. He was almost seven feet high, symmetrically proportioned, and of great physical power.

The first church organized in the township was the Predestinarian Baptist, commonly called "Hard Shell Baptist." It was organized at Manhattan, in the year 1828, by Rev. Isaac Denman, who continued to preach for the congregation for a period of two decades. A house of worship was built at an early day, which continued to be occupied by the original owners until the year 1862, when it was sold to the Missionary Baptists. They in turn sold it. in the year 1872. to the Methodists, who formed a congregation there about that time. The Methodists erected a new house on the same lot, but the old one stood until pulled down in the summer of 1878. having served as a place of worship for nearly half a century.

The Christian church was established in Manhattan, in the year 1838. by Elder John Harris. and it has ever since had a congregation at that place.

Manhattan is the oldest village in the township, having been laid out in the year 1829 on the National road, by John M. Coleman and Thomas H. Clark. The first merchant there was Wilson Devore. Dr. Lenox N. Knight was the first practicing physician. Mrs. Judge Clark taught the first school. The first justice of the peace at that place was Lloyd Harris.

At Manhattan the following postmasters have served: Thomas H. Clark, March 13, 1830; John M. Coleman, February 1, 1841; Samuel M. Coleman, May 31, 1841; Abraham Jackson, October 3, 1843; Volney Smith, June 21, 1847; Charles Hawley, June 8, 1849; Volney Smith, December 10, 1849; Jesse Jenkins, September 27, 185o; Samuel B. Gilmore, January 15, 1829; C. F: Knapp. January 13, 1862; William R. Stone, November 3, 1863; Volney Smith, February 21, 1862; Charles D. Smith, April 10, 1871; Volney Smith, October 3, 1884; John Gammie, May 27. 1885; S. S. McCoy, May 3, 1889; A. J. Albright, May 24, 1893; Samuel S. McCoy, November 20, 1897; discontinued October 31, 1902.

Pleasant Garden was laid out in section 21. in the year 1830, by John Matkins, as a rival of Manhattan.

Reelsville was laid out by John Reel, on the Terre Haute & Indianapolis railroad, in the year 1852. It is now quite a flourishing village.

The postmasters at Reelsville have been: William A. L. Reel, May 11, 1852; John Reel, December 8, 1854; John Caltharp, January 20, 1858; William A. L. Reel, March 12, 1859; James L. Athey, April 4, 1859; William L. Lockhart, June 18, 186r; David Barnett, July 16, 1861; William E. D. Barnett, October 20, 1863; John a Cromwell, May 31, 1866; A. L. Witty, February 12, 1867; B. G. Parritt, August 19, 1869; George A. Throop, February 23, 1871; Douglas Huffman, March 31, 1879; George W. Stockwell, October 22, 1886; C. T. Zaring, January 5, 1887; G. L. Elliott, December 16, 1889; James P. Gaskin, January 6, 1890; W. E. Counts, May 9, 1891; A. B. Fox, January 25, 1894; Jennie A. Counts, December 21, 1897; C. R. Knight, April 15, 1898; Henry M. Smith, February 13, 1903. At Hamrick, which was discontinued as a postoffice on October 31, 1902, the postmasters were as follows: William T Elliott, October 11, 1866; Joseph Sears, February 5, 1868; A. D. Hamrick, April 7, 1868; Thomas B. Nees, August io, 1869; Sarah J. Parritt, December 13, 1871; A. D. Hamrick, May 28, 1874; Thomas B. Nees, February 11, 1875; A. D. Hamrick, April 29, 1876; Lewis M. Mercer, July 5, 1878; A. D. Hamrick, April 5, 1881; L. M. Mercer, May 1, 1882; Lewis M. Mercer, November 28, 1882; J. M. Brown, October 11, 1887; Lewis M. Mercer, January 24, 1889; Lewis Mercer, April 5, 1890; Volney Smith, August 20, 1892. Postoffice discontinued October 31, 1902.

The following peculiar incidents are related by some of the old settlers as having attracted considerable comment:

Old Squire Boone, brother to Daniel Boone, in the township, once lived in a house which stood on the ground which is now in the northeast corner of the township. On the 3d day of July, 1837, his house was struck by lightning, by which two of his children were killed. Three years later, his wife presented him with twin boys, whom he named Tip and Tyler. Some time after that in the same house, two of his daughters were married on the same day.

David Sublett, an old settler, it would seem, had more than an ordinary share of domestic trouble, many of his family having suffered violent deaths. About fifty years ago, one of his daughters married Greenberry Mullinix, who murdered her within three weeks thereafter, for which he suffered death on the gallows. Since that time, two of his sons and one son-in-law have been killed by the railroad, and one son has been shot in Effingham, Illinois.

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