History of Rushville, Indiana (Part 2)
From: Centennian History of Rush County, Indiana
Edited by: A. L. Gary and E. B. Thomas
Historical Publishing Company
Indianapolis 1921


In these pages repeated reference has been made to the writer of the above description of Rushville in 1879, and it would seem fitting here to say something in detail regarding this man who in his generation exerted so wide and so wholesome an influence hereabout. Doctor Arnold was the eldest child and only son of John and Mary Ann (Cole) Arnold and was born on Wroxall farm, Isle of Wight, England, January 14, 1815. His father and his father's brothers, Isaac and Richard, having determined to immigrate to America, it was arranged that John and his brother, Richard, who was a bachelor, should go first, select a home, and, after making all the necessary preparations, notify Isaac Arnold, who was to come with his own and his brother John's family. This arrangement was carried out. John Arnold, Sr., embarked for America on May 20, 1820, landed in New York, and then traveled by wagon to Pittsburgh, thence by boat to Cincinnati, and then by wagon to Connersville. The New Purchase, as it was termed, was surveyed but not yet brought into market. The Arnold party explored the most desirable parts and selected land on Ben Davis creek. This was the latter part of August, and the land office did not open until the first Monday in October, 1820, when he bought 160 acres of land, thereafter known as "Arnold's Home." Having built a house, cleared some land, and made other necessary preparations, the next year he sent for his family, met them at Philadelphia and conducted them to their new home, where they arrived October 21, 1821. During the next three years John Arnold, Jr., enjoyed the novel and exciting scene of a new country, and when his father, having decided to leave the farm for a time, removed to Cincinnati, he had an opportunity of attending school a part of the two years and also during the year following, when his father moved to Aurora, Dearborn county, Indiana. His mother having died in 1826, his father returned to his farm in 1827, and in the latter part of 1828, John was sent to Judge Laughlin's academy in Rushville, where he remained one year preparing himself to enter college. Judge Laughlin was a ripe scholar and an efficient teacher, and took great interest in his pupil, who boarded in his family. In May, 1830, he went to Miami University, Oxford, Ohio, where he remained for four years, and then, on account of failing health, returned home. His health being restored, he determined to devote himself to the medical profession, and entered the office of Dr. Jefferson Helm, then living in Vienna (now Glenwood), and in 1836 he received a license to practice. Doctor Arnold was at once taken into partnership with his preceptor, Doctor Helm, thus being initiated into the practice under most favorable auspices. On Christmas day, 1838, he was united in marriage to Sarah Ann Ball, the fifth daughter of Abner and Rhoda P. Ball, of Fayette county. After about four years of practice, his health again broke down, and he decided to revisit his native land. He remained in England one year, and in the spring of 1843 located in Connersville. In 1852 he bought his father's farm and moved there in the autumn of 1853. Here he continued the practice of his profession, at the same time carrying on extensive farming operations. In 1877, on account of his wife's delicate health he moved to Rushville, where he practiced his profession and spent the rest of his life. As a writer Doctor Arnold had more than ordinary talent, and took a deep interest in local history. It is said that in his generation no man in Rush county held a firmer place in the hearts of the people than Pr John Arnold, his kindness and courteous, gentlemanly bearing winning him the respect and unshaken confidence of every good citizen.


The way the story goes, it was on the night of September 11, 1875, that burglars broke into the office of Robert Hinchman, justice of the peace at Rushville, the office in which the board of trustees of the town corporation of Rushville held its meetings and kept its records, and stole the corporation records, two ordinance books and certain other books and carried them away, it being later discovered that the books had been destroyed by fire on a vacant lot in the outskirts of the town, the object of this insensate piece of vandalism being thought to be the destruction of records implicating certain persons at that time under judgment of Squire Hinchman's court, for violations of the local liquor laws. It is supposed that the vandals believed they were getting the records of the justice's court when they took the town records, and in ignorance of the character of the books they took away with them destroyed the only records of the early proceedings of the town board, under the belief that they were destroying the court's judgments against them. The records of the county commissioners' court, however, reveal that on September 4, 1838, Jeptha Woods, John Lewis, John Kelso, John Dixon, Samuel Davis and forty seven others had petitioned the court to grant an order of incorporation for the town of Rushville, and that an election was ordered for September 17 following, for the purpose of electing a board of five trustees for the town corporation. The record of this election, however, seems to be missing and in the absence of the corporation's early records and minutes the personnel of the original town board is now unknown.

The minute book of the town corporation opened following the act of vandalism above noted is introduced with the following notation, signed by W. S. Conde, clerk: "Up to the time of the destruction of the corporation records, the board of trustees had held eleven meetings and all the members of the board with the exception of Mr. Rounds had missed being present at one. The above statement I know to be correct." The opening minute of the proceedings of the board at the meeting following, which was held in the office of the Rushville Republican, September 20, 1875, shows that the clerk was ordered to buy a new set of record books for the corporation. The minute was signed by Dr. John Moffett, president of the board, and attested by W. S. Conde, clerk; present W. C. Mauzy, Oliver Posey and W. A. Pugh, other members of the board. From that time on until the adoption of the city charter in 1883, succeeding Doctor Moffett as president of the board, were John B. Schrichte, John P. Calffin, Edward D. Beher, James D. Glore and John H. Bebout; clerks, following W. S. Conde, Edwin Farrer, Thomas O. Havens, Robert L. Allen and H. P. McGuir. At the special election held on September 4, 1883, for the purpose of electing a city council and officers under the city charter granted in that year, George H. Puntenny was elected mayor; Joseph A. Armstrong, clerk; Samuel G. Vance, marshal; William E. Havens, treasurer; Allen Hinchman, assessor. City councilmen - Leonidas Link, Absalom Pavey, John J. Fouts, John Readle, Martin Bohannon, John B. Reeve. Since then the following have served as mayor of the city: Wilson T. Jackson, H. G. L. S. Hilligoss, Wilson T. Jackson, Joseph A. Armstrong, John M. Fraze, John K Stevens, Frank J. Hall, Harvey M. Cowing, B. A. Black. Clata L. Bebout and A. B. Irvin, the latter of whom died in office in 1920, and was succeeded by Rudolph F. Scudder, the present (1921) incumbent. During this same period the following have served as city clerk: H. P. McGuire, John Kelley, Will G. McVay, John Rutlidge, Harry Lakin, Samuel G. Gregg, Thomas S. Cauley, Carl L. Gunning and Earl E. Osborne (incumbent). The other officials of the city are as follows: Treasurer, George Helm; street commissioner, Will E. Havens; chief of fire department, Joseph A. Williamson; assistant, William H. Moffett; chief of police, Harvey Wilfong; assistant, Samuel Brown, councilmen, Frank Abercrombie, Edward Lee, Albert P. Waggoner, Walter Marion Pearce and Chase P. Mauzy.


Unfortunately the fire which destroyed the Masonic Temple at Rushville in 1913, not only destroyed the records of Phoenix Lodge, Free and Accepted Masons, but destroyed the records of the postoffice, the postoffice then being in the Masonic Temple even as it is now in the restored temple. That was just about two weeks after the present postmaster, Geston P. Hunt, had entered upon his duties as postmaster and he had not sufficiently familiarized himself with the records of the office to have any very distinct recollection of their contents, his knowledge of the history of the postoffice thus being no more complete than that of the average citizen of Rushville of his age. The recollections of old residents carrying back to Civil war days can supply the names of those who served as postmasters since that period, but the names of the earlier postmasters are perhaps lost, as the older chronicles seem to be silent on this subject. The present postoffice is conveniently located in the Masonic Temple on Main street, where it has commodious quarters. The postmaster, as noted above, is Geston P. Hunt; assistant postmaster, Charles H. Brown; clerks, Harvey D. Allen, Clarence W. Cross, Thomas Geraghty and John Worthington; city mail carriers, Howard B. Carmichael, Bert Conde, Ben Sparks, Herman E. Jones and Griffin R. Treadway; rural mail route carriers - Route 1, John Mills; 2, Faud Carr; 3, J. W. Moore; 4, Joel M. Harrold; 5, Chester Dearinger; 6, Russell Dearinger; 7, Wilbur Mahin; 8, Leonidas Kennedy; 9, John J. Finley; 10, W. L. Barlow. Newspaper files supply information regarding the establishment of the rural free delivery and the city free delivery in the Rushville postoffice, it thus being determined that rural free delivery was established here on July 5, 1890, under the administration of Postmaster A. V. Spivey, and city free delivery on October 1, 1900, the service starting out with three carriers and one substitute. A newspaper item, printed early in 1903, says that "it is definitely decided that by next spring the rural mail facilities in Rush county will be greatly extended. At present there are seventeen routes established and in operation in Rush county - six from Rushville; two from Milroy; two from Manilla; two from Arlington; two from Carthage; one from Knightstown; one from Dunreith, and one from Lewisville. With additional new routes there will be a total of thirty one or thirty two," Old residents of the city cherish pleasant recollections of the time when Rushville was served by a postmistress and a little sidelight on that time is reflected by a newspaper item of January 1, 1868, which says that "Mrs. P. A. Hackleman has been appointed postmistress and intends moving the office into the new building on the northwest corner of her lot." It has been noted at an earlier point in this chapter that Charles Veeder was the first man to serve Rushville as postmaster, he having been appointed to distribute such mail as came to the pioneers hereabout by stage from Connersville, but from that time on to the period of recollection of the elders of the present generation the list appears to be lost, inquiry revealing the names of those who have served as postmasters within the recollection of "oldest inhabitants" as follows: Marinus Willett, T. A. Knox, J. S. Campbell, E. H. Wolfe, John R. Carmichael, Henry Dixon, Mrs. P. A. Hackleman (widow of Gen. Pleasant A. Hackleman, the only Indiana general killed in the field during the Civil war), J. M. Ochiltree, Robert Bebout, William Meredith, Adam V. Spivey, Homer Havens, Benjamin McFarlan, Charles A. Frazee and Geston P. Hunt (incumbent).


Rushville's beautiful burial ground is situated on the south side of the Rushville and Glenwood highway just beyond the bridge. It contains something over nineteen acres, and was naturally a beautiful piece of ground, well adapted to the uses to which it is now consecrated. The trustees wisely employed a skillful landscape gardener to lay out the grounds and superintend the work, and the result is that the city has a cemetery beautiful as a whole and tasteful in all its details. It is divided into six sections of unequal size and form by graceful curving avenues. The citizens of Rushville and of the county generally had long recognized the necessity of securing some suitable and sufficient tract of land to make a permanent burial ground, where their loved and lost ones might be laid to rest amid such surroundings as would testify to the tender love and fond remembrances of those left behind This feeling culminated in the call for the public meeting, which was held in the court house on June 18, 1859. At this meeting, a committee of five was appointed to select a suitable location for the cemetery, and to report at the next meeting. This committee consisted of Jefferson Helm, Sr., Daniel Wilson, George Hibben, C. S. Donaldson, and Joseph Winship, who added to their number the name of Joel Wolf. P. A. Hackleman, Leonidas Sexton, and John Carmichael were appointed a committee on organization to report at the next meeting. Pursuant to the adjournment the friends of the cemetery association met at the court house on June 29, Joel Wolf presiding, and John S Campbell acting as secretary. Leonidas Sexton, from the committee appointed, submitted articles of association which were adopted.

The name of this association is the East Hill Cemetery Company of Rushville. The articles of association provide that the business shall be conducted and controlled by five trustees, who shall be elected annually. These articles were signed by forty nine men, and on July 12, 1859, the election resulted in the choice of the following trustees: George Hibben, Jefferson Helm, Sr., Joel Wolf, C. S. Donaldson and Daniel Wilson, who proceeded to carry out the intentions and purposes of the organization. There is a section containing about thirty five lots that was sold to the Catholics, who used it for burial purposes for several years, but, having purchased land on the Smelser Mill road, just north of town, they have a cemetery exclusively their own, and to it removed their dead from their former resting place. A portion in the northeast corner of the cemetery, where paupers are buried, belongs to the county; another portion adjoining this on the west is the "potter's field," where strangers are interred. An unusual number of fine and tasteful monuments are seen, testifying to the pious reverence of the people for their unforgotten and beloved dead. The records of the cemetery association show that from the beginning, more than half a century ago, the various officers, boards of trustees and executive committees have had a deep and active interest in the development of the cemetery on right lines. As a result, East Hill ranks as one of Indiana's most beautiful burial places. The officers of the company, as shown by the records, have been as follows: President - Jefferson Helm, 1859-61; David M. Stewart, 1861-68; John Moffett, 1868-73; Eli Buell, 1873-77; David M. Stewart, 1877-84; John B. Reeve, 1884-1911; Albert B. Dunning, 1911 to date. Treasurer - Daniel Wilson, 1859-65; James S Hibben, 1865-68; William Lannum, 1868-71; Elisha King, 1871-77; A. G. Mauzy, 1877-82; Virgil B. Bodine, 1882-86; B. W. Riley, 1886-1906; Henry P. McGuire, 1906 to date. Secretary - William C _McReynolds, 1859-61; Benjamin F. Tingley, Sr., 1861-73; Joseph H. Oglesby, 1873-76; Benjamin F. Tingley, Sr., 1876-82; James S. Lakin, 1882-86; Zarah E. Mauzy, 1886-1906; Robert W. Cox, 1906-07; Wilbur Stiers, 1907 to date.


Happily there is a fine collection of newspaper files in the office of the county recorder. Some years ago the newspapers of Rushville turned over to the county such broken files as were still preserved in the respective offices and the commissioners ordered that bound files of the papers thereafter should be preserved, the collection now making one of great historical value, some of those old papers dating back into the '50s. Even then, perhaps more than now, there was some growling at the condition of the sidewalks in the town, for a newspaper item of May 13, 1857, noted the re-election of "our old and well tried marshal, Daniel Wilson, re-elected by a handsome majority. We hope Mr. Wilson will go to work with his usual industry and have the streets and sidewalks repaired. They have been sadly neglected of late. We also hope he will stir up the old officials and prevail on them to give an exhibit of their last year's doings."

In July, 1860; publication of statistics relating to the value of real and personal property within the corporate limits of the town of Rushville returned by the assessor showed the value of lots. $61,105; improvements, $102,950; personal, $161,541. Total, $325,596. Total tax for 1860, including poll, $838.49. On that same date it was noted that "our brass band availed itself of an invitation from the railroad company and also from Captain David, of the steamer, 'Pioneer'. to take an excursion trip to Cincinnati by way of Madison, and a pleasant trip was reported." In September, 1869, a vehement protest was published against the presence of geese, chickens and hogs in the streets; also against muddy roads and poor street crossings. An item a few months later noted that there were eight saloons in Rushville. In October, 1870, it was noted that street crossings had been repaired and graveled and new pavements put in along many of the sidewalks. An item in January, 1871, noted the presence on the streets of the first milk wagon started in the town, driven by William M. Martin. In the summer of 1871, complaint was made that Rushville was acquiring an undesirable reputation as an unhealthful place of residence on account of ague induced by the millrace, and that farmers were objecting to moving to town on this account. In October, 1872, the newspapers pointed with pride to the erection of a new hall in Rushville, the same having a seating capacity of 1,000 and "a credit to the city." In March, 1876, prideful reference was made to the fact that "more hothouse plants are sold in Rushville every year than in any other town of its size in the state." On March 30, 1876, it was noted that the Rushville corporation tax was $1 on the $100, while the combined county and state tax was $1 19 An item on the city's finances in the next year showed total receipts of $9,355.10 and expenses of $6,729.54. In May of this latter year (1877) it was noted that Dr. John Moffett had been president of the town board for ten years, "and a good one," and nothing with regret that he had declined to serve further. In the same month the paper called attention to the fact that telephone service from St. Louis Crossing to Flat Rock had proved a success and urged that Rushville should have a telephone exchange.

A leader published in the summer of 1877 set out that "this is not in any sense a manufacturing town. Lying in the midst of a superb agricultural region, Rushville thrives upon its large trade and is enjoying a steady and healthy growth_ Few places in this part of the Union offer so many or such strong inducements as Rushville to persons who are seeking homes among a refined and cultured people. It is distant but a few hours' ride from Cincinnati and Indianapolis. Its church privileges and educational advantages are good. It is a well improved, orderly town, with a friendly and intelligent population; taxes are not oppressive and the surrounding country is beautiful, fertile and rick" And so on and on through the years, the newspaper reviews of the doings of the community, a chronicle of those days even more interesting now through the perspective of the years than then, if possible. It is notable that the paper on which the newspapers of the '50s were printed is of a finer and much more enduring texture than that of the present day newspaper, and suggests the thought that the rag fiber of which those sheets are composed will be good for another seventy years, while the wood fiber of which the modern paper is composed, will have crumbled into dust, rendering valueless the files that now are being preserved.


In many quarters regret is expressed that Rushville has no active commercial club or other such organization designed to take a leading part in the promotion of commercial and industrial activities. In the absence of such an organization the Rotary Club and the Kiwannis Club are doing their part to "boost" the general commercial interest of the city and these two comparatively new organizations give promise of great usefulness, probably more than the Commercial Club of other days, for of the latter there now only is a memory while for the former there seems to be a definite promise of permanency. It was back in 1899 that Rushville had a Commercial Club. It started out with an excellent program and for a while did good work, but apparently apathy struck in before it had gone far and it long since became wholly inactive as a formal organization. Of this old commercial club a contemporary print said: "The Club proposes to brush the cobwebs from the Rushville of yesterday, take an active interest in the Rushville of today and build up the Rushville of tomorrow. That they will succeed is a foregone conclusion. They have started right. They have chosen as their officers men who are hustling, wide awake and progressive, and a spirit of unity and harmony prevails which is bound to be conducive of much good. This Commercial Club does not propose nor expect to accomplish their work in a day nor a week, but they have made a start in the right direction and they extend a most cordial invitation to every factory and every proposed enterprise in the country to communicate with them, no matter how small or how large this industry may be. Let your wants be known to them and they will endeavor to assist you. They also invite correspondence from farmers, stock breeders and home seekers, and those of the latter class are assured of the same degree of consideration that will be extended to the largest manufacturer. Letters addressed to J. L. Stone, president, or R. F. Scudder, secretary, will be answered promptly and information relative to Rushville or Rush county will be cheerfully furnished." The various committees of this Commercial Club of more than twenty years ago were as follows: Rules and City Affairs - C. S. Spritz, George Aultman, W. A. Caldwell, Ed Crosby and F. G. Hackleman. Membership and Public Policy - John P. Huffman, Frank Wilson, C. W. Burt, Dr. C. W. Smith and R. F. Scudder. Manufacturing - William Frazee, W. A. Allen, A. R. Holden, Z. E. Mauzy and U. D. Cole. Legislation - L. D. Guff in, W. J. Henley, B. L. Smith, J. B. Reeve and J. W. Tompkins. Statistics and Information - J. F. Moses, J. A. Armstrong, R. W. Cox, George C. Wyatt and Dr. J. W. Spurrier. Commerce - John P. Frazee, E. A. Payne, C. F. Felton, George W. Young and M. R. Hull. Reception and Entertainment - Fon Riggs, C. Cambern, T. W. Betker, Homer Havens, C. A. Mauzy, J. E. Watson, Dan Murphy, A. B. Irvin and Dr. J. C. Sexton. Insurance and Public Entertainment - Al Denning, A. L. Aldridge, J. A. Titsworth, Dr. D. H. Dean, Will G. McVay, J. B. Schrichte, W. S. Meredith, J. M. Gwima, N. G. Levison, Thomas Sullivan, George Wingerter, J. B. Doll and L. Neutzenhelzer. Advertising - William M Bliss, William E. Havens, F. B. Johnson, L. M. Sexton and Gates Sexton. Executive and Finance - E. D. Pugh, W. M. Bliss, O. L. Carr, Edwin Payne and R. A. Innis. Arbitration - L. Link, Edward Young, J. M. Stevens, B. W. Riley and Thomas M. Green. Real Estate - Edwin Payne, F. G. Hackleman, Charles Hugo, David Graham and W. E. Wallace. Transportation - R. A. Innis, S. L. Innis, J. M. Newhouse, Dr. W. N. Megee and Nathan Weeks. At that time among the "brief facts" quoted to advance Rushville's claim to attention it was noted that the city "has a population of over 5,000; Rush county has the finest court house in the state; the price of property of all descriptions is steadily advancing; Rushville owns its own waterworks and electric light plant, has three large grain elevators and two flouring mills, empty business blocks or residence houses are unknown, three natural, and one artificial. gas companies doing business in the town; the population has nearly doubled since the taking of the last census; the city has fourteen factories, all running full time and doing well; more wheat was raised in Rush county during the past year than in any other county in the state; more commercial travelers `make' Rushville than any town of equal size in Indiana; natural gas is used almost entirely as a fuel and the city is clean and a desirable residence city. The wealth of the county is more evenly distributed here than in any other county in the state; four of the country's leading trunk lines penetrate the city, and give it unequaled railroad facilities; there have been fewer business failures in Rushville during the late depression than in any of her sister cities; Rush county rivals the Blue Grass section of Kentucky for the number and quality of fine horses raised and shipped, and in Rushville one can enjoy the benefit of the telephone at the nominal cost of 80 cents a month." Certainly some very excellent talking points on which to base the Commercial Club's campaign to "sell the city." The names of the committeemen given above and the talking points they evolved to promote the city's interests abroad will be interesting for historical comparison in the next generation, even as the names of the members of the Rotary Club and of the Kiwannis Club, carried elsewhere in this work, will make better than mere "newspaper reading" twenty years from now.

[Rushville history files

Rushville history part 1,

Rushville history part 2,

Rushville Business Directory for 1921

Rushville Township]

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