History of Sparta Township, Dearborn County, Indiana
From: History of Dearborn County, Indiana
Her People, Industries and Institutions
Archibald Shaw, Editor
Published By: B. F. Bowen & Co., Inc.
Indianapolis, Indiana 1915


The county records contain no reference to any townships previous to 1826, when the court house was burned, but in the entries a short time after that date is found this description of the township of Sparta. Commencing on the old Indian boundary line, on the township line between 6 and 7, range 3 west, thence eastwardly following the meanders of North Hogan creek to where the same strikes the line running north and south between sections 8 and 9, township 5, range 2 west; thence east with said line one mile; thence south to the southeast corner of section 21, township 5, range 2; thence west one mile; thence south to the southeast corner of section 5, township 4, range 2; thence west to the old Indian boundary line; thence northwardly with said line to the place of beginning. As herewith described it included some three and one half sections that were afterwards set off to Hogan township, and the northwest tier of sections that were added to Clay township when it was created. The township is practically bounded on the north by Manchester, on the east by Hogan, on the south by Clay and on the west by Ripley county.

The lands of this township as entered from the government, with the year the transaction was done, is herewith appended: Township 5, range 2 west, A portion of section 18, in 1816, to Christian Hershey; in 1817 to John H. Musgrove, Jonathan Vail and Riley Truitt. A portion of section 19, in 1816, to Christian Hershey; in 1817 to S. B. and David Kerr. A portion of section 30, in 1817, to Phineas L. King and Theodore Thompson; in 1839 to Jonathan Parks; in 1832 to Anon Foulk and Joseph Carpenter; in 1836 to Percy Wheeler, Wilson Wheeler and Thompson Dean; in 1837 to George Cornelius, Wilson L. Wheeler and John Christey. A portion of section 31, in 1817, to William and Thomas Olcott and Claybourn Allen; in 1831 to Michael Flake; in 1833 to Lorenzo Wright. A portion of section 32, in 1817, to James Lindsay and John Jones; in 1831 to John Columbia; in 1832 to James Lindsay; in 1837 to Peter Rough. A portion of section 1 (part in Manchester), in 1817, to Amor Bruce, Stephen Wood and Benjamin Johnson; in 1829 to Stephen J. Paine; in 1833 to Samuel McKinstry; in 1836 to Samuel McKinstry and Thomas Lambertson; in 1837 to George H. Johnson.

The earliest entries were made about the period following the advent of peace in 1815. From that date until 182o much of the lands of Sparta township were taken up from the government. Squatters may have looked the ground over, as they generally did before the genuine settler with his family located on the soil, but no entries from the government were made previous or during the War of 1812, in Sparta township.

James Duncan emigrated from Maryland and settled in Sparta in 1812. Moses Musgrove emigrated from Virginia in 1816. Mr. Musgrove is said to have killed the last panther that was ever seen in Dearborn county. It was in the year 1817 and the animal is said to have weighed two hundred pounds and measured nine feet from the end of the nose to the tip of his tail. Mr. Musgrove died ir. 1819. Samuel and Demoss Moss emigrated from Massachusetts in 1816, but removed from the county. Riley Truitt emigrated from Maryland in 1817 and died in 1818.

Benjamin Johnson emigrated from Maryland and located in Sparta township in 1817. He was said to be a man of very positive opinions and a strong character. He was the father of Hon. John D. Johnson, who was elected to the Legislature in 1846, re-elected in 1848, and was also a member of the constitutional convention in 1851. He was also the father of Samuel J. Johnson, who was a doorkeeper in the House of Representatives at Washington. Frank M. Johnson and Pern Johnson, of California, were his grandsons.

Samuel B. and Winslow Wood emigrated from New York state in 1817. Jonathan Vail emigrated from New York state in 1817, and died in 1847. Stephen Inman came from the state of Maine in 1817. Nathaniel Richman came from the state of New York in 1818, and died in 1859. Gilbert Givan came from Maryland in 1818, and died in 1868. Adam Moore and family came from Maryland in 1818, and settled on the site of the town of Moores Hill. John C. Moore, his son, who was born in Maryland in 1810, died in 1871. Samuel Marshall was born in London, England, and was married in New York City and in 1818 settled in Sparta township.

Abraham Eversole was born in Virginia in 1791, served in the War of 1812-15, married in 1818, and in 1819 located in Sparta township. Among his early friends were Adam Moore, Charles Dashiell, Morton Justis, John Brumblay, Ezekiel Maston, John Dashiell, Ranna C. Stevens and Spencer Davis. The residence first erected by Mr. Eversole was a log one. The above named friends were present to assist in the log rolling and them construction of the cabin. The clapboards and the roof were made and put on the same day. Noah Davis emigrated from Maryland and settled in the township in 1818. and died in 1880, aged seventy eight years.


In the fall of 1818 a wagon road was cut through the woods from what is now Aurora to Moores Hill and to the Ripley county line. The first natural death is thought to have occurred in the township was that of Riley Truitt. which occurred in the year 1818. Adam Moore erected a grist mill soon after he settled. It was a tread wheel worked by animal power. A saw mill was erected on North Hogan in 1830, by Lyman Smith. In 1828 James Hayes erected a grist mill on South Hogan, in the wester part of the township, which he operated for about fifteen years, when in an attempt to cut the ice from the water wheel he fell and was crushed to death. The mill was afterwards operated by Joseph Bossong and Jacob Zapp. One of the first steam mills in the county was erected by Phineas King in the year 1839, and was run together with a woolen factory, which had previously been run by a tread wheel. It was situated on King's ridge near Chesterville, After King's death the machinery was removed to Milan. William B, Miller, in the year 1839, erected the mills known as "Miller's Mills," in the southern part of the township on South Hogan. The first tan yard was started in 1817 by Samuel and Winslow Wood.

A half barrel a day distillery was built and operated in 1831. by Steven Payne, in the northeastern part of the township. It is said that this was the first and last enterprise of the kind in the township.

Sparta township was settled largely by people from Maryland. Later on there came quite a number Of settlers from the north of Ireland, and in still more recent years there has come into the township a number of German settlers. As it has been all over Dearborn county, so it is with Sparta township; the first settlers have passed away and their children have moved to other fields. Many of the descendants of the pioneers have sought homes in the West and have prospered. Filled with the same spirit that lured their forefathers from their homes in the East and over the ocean, they have sought out places where they could accumulate sufficient for their families and lay something by for the rainy day.


The village of Moores Hill is the seat of the college by that name, and is finely located in the northwestern part of Sparta township and close to the Indian boundary line that separates Dearborn county from Ripley. It is on the Baltimore & Ohio Southwestern railroad and is an active wide awake college town, with a population in 1910, of four hundred and twenty four. It has a successfully operated creamery and several stores and a prosperous bank.

F. C. Holliday in his "Indiana Methodism," tells of the early history of this neat little town. "Methodism was early planted at Moores Hill, Dearborn county. The early settlers in that neighborhood included a number of excellent Methodist families from the state of Delaware and the eastern shore of Maryland, among whom were Adam Moore, a local preacher, after whom the village was named; John Dashiell, who was also for many years a local preacher; Charles Dashiell, and Ranna Stevens. These men and their families gave a moral impression to the society of that part of the country that is permanent and valuable. No part of our state maintains a higher standard of morals, and no community has been less cursed with intemperance and its kindred vices. John Strange once held a glorious campnieeting on the ground now occupied by the flourishing town of Moores Hill. The blessings of a covenant keeping God rests upon the descendants of these early Christian families. Moores Hill College is a monument to the intelligence and Christian liberality of John C. Moore, one of the sons of Rev. Adam Moore, the original proprietor of the town, and although he has been gathered with his father to his heavenly home, his works remain, and the college that was founded chiefly through, his instrumentality, it is hoped, will continue to bless the world through the ages to come. The village of Moores Hill, now noted for the moral and literary tone of its society and for the college of which it is justly proud, owes its name to the following blunder. Mr. Moore had erected a mill that was driven by horse power, as water power could not be commanded in that locality, and as the early settlers from a considerable distance brought their corn to be ground, it occurred to someone that it would be a good idea to have a postoffice established in the vicinity of the mill; and accordingly a petition was sent to Washington praying for the establishment of a postoffice at Moores Mill. The postmaster general mistaking the M for an H located the postoffice at Moores Hill, and that gave the name to the village that subsequently sprang tip, and to the college that has been founded chiefly through the exertions and liberality of one of the sons of the original proprietor of Moores Mill."

Nine lots were originally laid out in the vicinity of what is commonly called Moores Hill, which were acknowledged by Spencer Davis, John Dashiell, and a Mr. Ablamoung, trustees of Wesley meeting house at Moores Hill, March to, 1838. The original plat is said to have been laid out by Adam Moore and Andrew Stevens. The record shows that in March, 1839, lots were surveyed on the west half of section to, town 6, range 3 west, on the land of Adam Moore and Andrew Stevens, by Nathaniel L. Squibb. Additions have been filed since.

About the first merchant in the place was a man by the name of Samuel Hearn or Herron. It is claimed he sold goods here as early as 1828. Another early merchant was Samuel Newton, who kept a store prior to 1838. Obid Bailey, David Brooks, John C. Moore and Moore Brooks were among the merchants during the early history of the village. William McCreary and John C. Moore were among the early postmasters. Charles Dashiell was an early hotel keeper, and a cooperage business was carried on by a Mr. Darby. Morton Justis and his brother carried on a tan yard, and with it a boot and shoe making business. In those days when fine oak timber was plentiful, coopering was carried on extensively. John C. Moore established a cooperage factory in 1839, and it was a prosperous business for more than fifteen years.

The town is incorporated and is governed by three trustees and has a town marshal, a clerk and treasurer.


The village of Sparta is situated on the pike leading from Moores Hill to Aurora and contains a store, a blacksmith shop, two well kept church buildings and several neatly kept residence places.

Cold Springs is a station on the Baltimore & Ohio railroad that is a convenience to the people thereabout as a shipping point. It has several houses and a general store. A mile or so from Cold Springs on the hill to the north is the little village of Chesterville, comprising perhaps a dozen families, a church and a Knights of Pythias hall.

Sparta township is one of the best in the county. Its people are industrious and intelligent, law abiding and thrifty. The township has furnished a number of prominent men to the county and to the state.

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