History of Greene Township, St. Joseph County,
From: History of St. Joseph County, Indiana
Hon. John V. Hadley, Editor in Chief.
Chas. C. Chapman & Co.,
This township consists of various kinds of soil, the marsh, prairie, barrens, and the thick woodland soil. The eastern part is somewhat broken and hilly. The soil here is a sand and clay mixed, and is very productive for any of the cereals. In the southern part the surface is about the same as in the eastern. As the Kankakee river forms the western and northern boundaries of the tp., that part of it for about two miles of the margin is known as marsh land. It consists of a black loam or peat, which has been formed by the decaying of the rich and luxuriant vegetation of the marsh for ages in the past. The land, it is said, is becoming more dry and solid every year, and there is no doubt that in the future this almost worthless tract of land will become one of the richest in the county. At present it is worth nothing, but for the pasture, hay and huckleberries which it produces. South of this and in the central part of the township is Sumption's Prairie. This is a beautiful rolling prairie, several miles in extent, and around it is the land which is known as the barrens. The soil here appears to be a black sand, mixed with gravel. In this part of the township is located some of the best farms in the county, or, we might say without boasting, in the State.
The first settler in this township was George Sumption, after whom the prairie took its name. He lived here
for many years. The family have all left now, but some are still living in the county. Mr. Sumption came here in
April, 1830, and settled on section 32. The second to come into the township was John Rupel, who came from Pennsylvania
to Elkhart county in 1830, and while living there he bought his present farm in sections 30 and 31 of this township,
at the land office, then located in Fort Wayne, paying $1.25 per acre. In March, 1831, Mr. Rupel brought his family
and all his property to this point. There was no house on the place, but he soon procured some clapboards and constructed
what he called a little shanty. Rude as it may have been, it served as a shelter from the spring storms, and made
a home for him and his family. His property consisted of two yoke of oxen, four cows, some young cattle, one horse,
a few hogs, a few chickens, two dogs and about $2 in money. This, together with a large and strong body, plenty
of muscle, a firm and resolute will to conquer and put aside all obstacles, which he had acquired in the mountain
air of Pennsylvania, was the capital he had. A week or two after he came, it began to snow, and continued for a
week. The snow lay a week and was about sixteen inches deep. The only food he had for his stock at this time was
the timber that he cut for them to browse upon. At night the numerous wolves would venture up to the door. His
two dogs would chase them off a little way, when they in turn would turn and chase the dogs. Thus many a night
would be spent and nothing to be heard but the howlings of the wolves and the barking of the dogs.
We often judge of the character of the people of a city or country by its churches, schools and other public
institutions. If we are allowed this rule to judge the people of Greene township, we can but speak highly of their
moral and social character. In talking with the people we discover in every family an inherent love for their church
and schools; and but little wonder when we think that it was almost the first thought that came to the minds of
their fathers, when they first began the settlement of the township, after they had erected their log shanty and
put a crop into the ground for their future subsistence. The first Church organization was effected in 1832, by
the Episcopal Methodists, under the superintendence of Rev. N. B. Griffith, of the Indiana conference. There were
15 members of this first class, of whom Geo. Baker was appointed class leader; he served until 1838, and from that
time to 1879 - over 40 years! - John Rudduck served as class leader. The society held their meetings in a log school
house and in cabins until 1841, when a church building was dedicated by the presiding elder of South Bend district.
That building served until 15 years ago, when the present one was erected. Very few are now living who remember
the labors of Revs. James Armstrong, R. T. Robinson, G. M. Beswick, Richard Hargrave, Warren Griffith and several
others. For the last 30 years the preachers have been: Elias Cook, 1852-'3; Mr. Moore and E. Cook, 1853-'4; J.
S. Donelson, 1854-'6; Hiram Ball, 1856-'7; Thomas Hackney, 1857-'8; Albion Fellows, 1858-'9; P. H. Bradley, 1859-'60;
John Mahon, 1860-'1; George Gnion, 1861-'2; A. Byers, 1862-'3; A. Hayes, 1863-'4; Jesse Hill 1864-'5; J. H. Clypool,
1865-'7; John E. Newhouse, 1867-'9; E. W. Lowhouse, 1867-'71; J. J. Hines, 18'71-'3; J. Robertson and E. Cook,
1873-'4; B. H. Bradberry, 1874-'5; Reuben Saunders, 1875- '8; Francis Cox, 1878-'9; and O. H. Beebe, 1879-'81.
The Baptist Church was first organized on the prairie in a schoolhouse about a mile from where their church
now stands, on the 22d day of February, 1846, under Elders Samuel Miller and Peter Hummer, with 10 members. They
were Peter and Sarah Hummer, Obadiah and Susan Reeves, William and Sarah White, William and Elizabeth Ogle, Mary
Hildreth and Rhoda Crannise. Their elders have been Hummer, McDonald, Hasting, Hitchcock, Miller and Craft. Mr.
Vaughn was ordained here in November, 1865. March 4, 1873, H. J. Finch was ordained minister of the Sumption's
Prairie Church, J. P. Ash acting as moderator. April 24, 1852, three trustees were appointed to hold a meeting
relative to building a church. They were P. Hummer, S. Huggard and C. Curtis. The church was completed in 1855.
The society at one time numbered 60 members. It now has about 17.