History of Washington Township, Tippecanoe County, Indiana
From: Past and Present of Tippecanoe County, Indiana
General R. P. DeHart, Editor in Chief
B. F. Bowen & Company, Publishers
Indianapolis, Indiana 1909

WASHINGTON TOWNSHIP.

This subdivision of the county is situated in the extreme northeastern portion. On its east is Carroll county; on the south is Perry and Fairfield townships, the Wabash river forming the boundary line from the northeast to the southwest. The surface of this township is principally low and level along the banks of the river, the soil being of the richest formation and produces corn and wheat in great abundance. From north to southwest the surface is characterized by hills that slope gently toward the center of the township, forming beautiful farm lands.

Concerning the pioneer settlement of this part of Tippecanoe it may be stated that the first white man to reside there was Jesse Jackson, who came in 1826, and settled on the farm later owned by John Stair. Later in that year came John Martin, John Burgett and Barney De Will.

In 1827 came John Fisher, James Anderson. John Blackburn and Thomas Hoyt.

In 1828 the settlers who entered this portion of the county were David Lyon, Jesse Large and Jonathan Tullis, who, in 1829, were followed in their settlement by John Stair, John Stanfield. Sr., William Cox and James Schoolcraft.

During 1830-31 the settlement was increased by the coming of permanent settlers in the persons of Henry Stair, George Snodgrass, John Burley, Emanuel Thouse, Robert Williams and David Randle. The greatest number of these settlers were located between Sugar creek and Buck creek. To the east and farther up Buck creek another settlement was effected by the following families: John Isley, William Hilt, Emery Harris, John Richardson, Joseph Miller and James Bulger.

In the year 1831 others settled at various points, and they included the following persons: John Cunningham, James Willison, John Elliott, Alexander Johnson, George Walton and Henry Swank. Besides this list of pioneers within this township were also Lewis Rogers, Philip Stair, David Gish, Silas Burgett, David Kuhns. John Bowman, John Leonard and Martin May.

Contrary to the general rule of settlement in Tippecanoe county, the first settlers here made their improvements on heavily timbered lands which they cut the forest kings off of and then subdued the lands by the hardest manner of work.

Among the early improvements in Washington township may be mentioned the building of a saw mill by Philip Stair in 1831, near the Sugar creek culvert. A blacksmith's shop was added in that year by John Gray, the same being located on what was subsequently known as the Albert Stair farm.

A tannery was built in 1832, near the grist mill later owned by Bates but operated by John D. Miller.

FIRST EVENTS.

In addition to some of the important events additional to those already mentioned may be named these: The first physician in the township to practice medicine was Dr. Anthony Garrett, who established himself in practice in 1833.

The earliest marriage union recorded is that of Abraham Bush and Miss Polly Tullis, in 1830. The next was that of Daniel Fisher and Miss Mary A. Chapman, which was soon followed by the union of Daniel Kessler and Miss Rachel Fisher, in 1831.

The first death in the township was in the month of August, 1828 it being Henry Anderson, who was buried in Union cemetery. His son died a month later and his wife the year following. David Lyon died in September, 1830, and Barney De Witt and Eliza Schoolcraft at about the same date.

The first election in this part of Tippecanoe county was held at Philip Stair's mill, in April, 1832. John Cunningham was elected justice of the peace and James Fisher constable.

The first religious services were held at the home of John Fisher, the preachers usually being of the Methodist Episcopal denomination. At the village of Americus the first church of the township was erected about 1843. The next place of worship was built in 1854 by the Methodist and United Brethren denominations on Union Hill, near Jewettsport.

TOWNS AND VILLAGES.

Americus was platted in 1832 by William Digby, who was the founder also of the city of Lafayette. At this time Americus was the terminus of the Erie canal and had bright prospects of becoming the largest place within Tippecanoe county. The plan was to make it the county seat; real estate took on fabulous prices and mercantile pursuits were lively at that point, but as the canal was extended on by way of Lafayette the trade was diverted and Americus lapsed into a mere hamlet with hopes forever blighted per force of circumstances. At present the population is placed at about forty people.

Colburn, originally Chapmanville, is situated on the line of the Wabash railway, on sections 13 and 24. It was laid out by Jacob Chapman in 1858, and incorporated under the name of Chapmanville, later changed to Colburn. In 1886 there were a number of mills and small factories in Colburn, and at present the business interests consist of general stores, postoffice, a few minor shops and has a population of about three hundred souls. A Masonic lodge was instituted there by John M. Kerpen, July 1, 1874, with twelve members, the officers being George Z. Ychacoll, master; Joseph H. Anderson, senior warden, and Henry Kneale, junior warden.

Transitville was laid out on section 33, in 1856, by Samuel Miller. For a few years it was the center of a fair trading territory. A Masonic lodge was instituted there - No. 425, Free and Accepted Masons, in 1870. As a town it never materialized to any considerable extent. Its name was changed to Buck Creek and now has a population of about two hundred and fifty.


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