History of York 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


York township must have received the name on account of the number of English who came into the township from Yorkshire, in England. The tone and character of the entire township was in its early history dominated by these thrifty, high class citizens. Guilford, at the forks of Tanners creek, and Yorkville. three miles out the ridge, between the two creeks, by their names indicate their English origin.

The township was laid out at the January session of the county commissioners in 1841. It was created out of parts of Manchester, Kelso and Miller townships, and while not very large in area is perhaps as populous to the square mile, or more so than any township in the county with no city within its borders.

Being an interior township, its lands were not taken up from the government at quite as early a date as those nearer the river or father down the larger creeks. However, it is found that in 1810 Isaac Ferris, assignee for a Canadian volunteer, entered a part of section 23, in township 6, range 2 west; in 1813 Samuel Dowden entered a part of section 19, in township 6, range 1; and in 1814 Nathaniel Tucker and Micajah Dunn entered a part of the same section.

The township remains with pretty much the same territory it had when created with the exception of an addition of several sections added from Manchester township about 1896.

The Micajah Dunn mentioned as entering a part of section 19, township 6, range 1, is credited with being the first actual settler in the township. His father, Capt. Hugh Dunn, was one of the first settlers at Columbia, just above where the city of Cincinnati now stands, in 1788. His name appears among the list of those that landed there with the first colony. The Captain afterwards moved down the river to Fort Hill, and was with the little band that lived here during the perilous times of St. flair's campaign and Wayne's victory at the Goose Pond stockade, with Joseph Hayes, the Millers and Guards. The family lived here until after Wayne's treaty when they moved to where the town of Elizabethtown, Ohio, now stands. This would be about 1796. Here Captain Dunn remained for a time and his son Micajah married and he then removed to the vicinity of Guilford, afterwards entering the land in section 19. Some ten years later, imbued with the genuine pioneer spirit, he moved to what is now Manchester township, and it is claimed was the first settler in that neighborhood.

Section to is the land on which the town of Guilford is laid out and it was taken up by Samuel H. Dowden, Nathaniel Tucker and Micajah Dunn: and in 1817 Joseph Hall took up the remainder.

George W. Lane says of the stockade near Guilford: "In the spring of 1812 the first steamboat of one hundred tons built at Pittsburgh, by Robert Fulton, made its first trip to New. Orleans in fourteen days. The name of the boat was "Orleans." The Indian hostilities now began in earnest. William Crist had been wounded while discharging his duties as a mail carrier. The militia was organized under James Dill, colonel; Enoch Smith, lieutenant-colonel; Decker Crozier, major of the third regiment. James McGuire was captain of the first company, and Frederick Schultz was captain of the second company of rangers. These companies erected three blockhouses, one on Laughery creek about fifteen miles from Lawrenceburg, one on Tanners creek above Guilford, and one on the headwaters of Blue creek. In each of these blockhouses were stationed ten men. The two companies of mounted men patrolled the wilderness from blockhouse to blockhouse until the close of the war."

Mr. Lane says that the first settlers in York township were two families by the name of Payne and Bean respectively. John Ewbank took up a part of section 18 in 1815, and the same year Jane Bonte and Rucliff Bogent took up a portion of section 3, in the next range of townships; also the same year Aaron Payne entered a part of section II, of the second range of townships, and David Perine and John Borel entered a part of section 10, in the second row of townships. The English emigration commenced about 1818, and in time had taken tip much of the land of the township, purchasing from others where government land was not to be found.

It is possible that the Aaron Payne mentioned as entering a part of section II is the same Payne spoken of by George W. Lane as being one of the first two to settle in the township. Many of the early immigrants waited a number of years before entering land.


Hugh McMullen and family emigrated from Pennsylvania, settling first on Wilson creek, and in 1818 moved to York Ridge, as the ridge between the forks of Tanners creek is called. The family is said to have remained on York ridge only one year, removing to Manchester township, where it is claimed he erected the first cabin on Pleasant View Ridge. He lived during the year near the present site of the village of Yorkville and had for neigh. bors a family by the name of Bonte and another by the name of Davison, both of whom had entered lands there. The Davisons soon after sold out to John Gidney. Land changed hands or owners in those days much more rapidly than now and a family by the name of Cherry at one time a little later is said to have been large landowners about Yorkville at an early date.

Among others who located along York ridge and in the township were the Rows, Philip and family; Richard and Leonard Spicknall, the Smiths, Bennetts, Thompsons, Snelis, Halls. The two latter settling along the west fork of Tanners creek.

Most of the early settlers entering lands were from the vicinity of New York City. Among them were the Van Horns, Angevines, Snells and Wards. In 1818 James Angevine located in the township, coming from New York City, where he was born in 1777. Mr. Angevine was long lived, dying in 1874, at the good old age of ninety six years. The remarkable coincidence is that his son, James Angevine, died December 22, 1909, in his ninety sixth year. The second James Angevine was born in New York City in 1814.

In 1822 William Ward and family settled in the township. They came from York state, locating at first in the northern part of the township, living on the lands of Peter Bonte, who about this time with his family removed to Cincinnati. It is claimed that Mr. Ward erected the first frame house on the ridge, it being an addition to the log house. John Smith came to the county in 1818. settling on the east branch of Tanners creek, entering land from the government at one dollar and twenty five cents per acre. He was the father of ten children, many of whose descendants yet reside within the township and are well known citizens. The Van Horn family came to this county a year earlier than the Smiths, in 1817. Cornelius Van Horn entered a part of section 11, where his descendants continued to reside until recent years.

It was not until some fifteen years later that the German emigration commenced. Adam Broom and John Heimburger were credited with being the advance guard of the Teutons that have since taken over a considerable per cent. of the lands of the township.

In 1858 Judge Cotton says this concerning Mrs. Perine, her husband, David B. Perinea, being then deceased: "When she first settled here in the forest some forty or fifty years ago, not only were there howling beasts of prey, but Indians too were numerous, and would often enter into her cabin at night, strike up a fire, treat themselves unceremoniously to anything and everything they could find, enjoy themselves thus for hours and then retire without offering her or hers any personal molestation or violence. And a Mr. Smith (I think that was his name), who raised the first cabin on the ridge, had it partly covered when he chanced to see two big Indians lurking about. Supposing them to be there for mischief he stole upon them and with a deadly aim made one of them 'bite the dust.' The other precipitately fled, paused at the distance of Dome forty rods and then turned back, unwilling to leave or forsake his friend. Meantime Smith had kept his eyes upon him and reloaded his gun, and when the Indian had come within shooting distance, he too was made to 'bite the dust' and share the fate of his friend. Smith dug a grave, put them both in and buried them right here within gunshot of the church."


One mile east of Yorkville is located a public cemetery donated for that purpose by Philip Row, who then owned the land about it. It is said that the oldest grave in the cemetery that bears an inscription is dated 1838. Of the older persons buried there: Andrew Scott died in 1839, aged seventy three; Robert Keightly died in 1866, aged eighty eight; Philip Row died in 1838, aged seventy two; Mary, wife of Philip Row, died in 1838, aged seventy three; David C. Perinea died in 185o, aged seventy six; Catherine, wife of David Perinea, died in 1863, aged seventy three.

Charles R. Allen, K. and Josiah Campbell laid out the village of Guilford, in May 29, 1850. The surveying was done by an engineer by the name of William Rock. An addition was made in 1859 by Joel F. Richard & Son, and another in 1870 by Jonathan L. Blasdel. The place has grown in a business way and in population in the last two decades, and now has a post office with two rural routes, three stores and a blacksmith shop. Quite a good deal of country produce such as hay, corn and wheat is shipped from this point over the Big Four Railway Company's line, which has been a factor of the life of the place for many years past. The population of Guilford in 1910 was given at two hundred and fifty.

The village of Yorkville was laid out by David C. Perine, March 24, 1841. The engineer that surveyed and platted the village was S. W. Math. It is a point of some business and had a population in 1910 of one hundred and fifty.

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