History of Clay Township, Hendricks County, Indiana
From: History of Hendricks County, Indiana
Hon. John V. Hadley, Editor in Chief.
B. F. Bowen & Co., Inc.
Indianapolis, Indiana 1914


The land surface of Clay township is in most respects similar to the rest of the county. The township is one of the smaller ones and is drained by the three forks of Mill creek. The land is practically level, with slight valleys made by the streams, and the drainage, now aided by artificial means, is adequate. The quality of the land in this township is good. The farmers have managed, by skillful cultivation and intelligent study, to derive large profits from the soil and are to be commended, especially for this work and progress. The St. Louis division of the Big Four railroad, the Vandalise, and the Terre Haute, Indianapolis & Eastern interurban line traverse the township and, supplemented with an excellent system of gravel and macadam roads, make the township strictly a modern one and a pleasurable location in which to live.


The township was formed by separating from the north end of Franklin township three tiers of sections of land and taking three sections off the southeast corner of Marion township, thereby giving Clay township an area of twenty four square miles. This organization was executed by the board of county commissioners in the year 1845.

The poll book of the first election, held at Springfield, in Clay township, August 3, 1846, gives the names of one hundred and one voters. They were Peter Long, Wesley Hardwick, Joshua F. Huckings, Mordecai Samuels, Abraham West, Benjamin Pickett, Caleb Hunt, Thomas J. Hadley, Erasmus Nichols, Milton Asher, Phineas Moon, Eli Hodson, Job Hadley, Henry Bland, Robert Harvey, Mencher Coe. John Candiff, John Harlan, John Gambold, Phineas Tomilson, Ransom Estes, Edward B. Estes, John Johnson, Maihias Alaster, Carver Benboel, Timothy Swain, Clark Hill, David Mastin, Henry Coats, James Wright, William Talbot, Hiram D. Jones, Elijah Anderson, Isaac Miracle, William H. Dalton, Harvey Stanley, Samuel Stanley, Francis Huckings, Edward Tomilson, Miles T. Richardson, Allen Pearson, James Pearson, George Tincher, Henry B. Goolman, Winson Yates, Jesse Turbeville, Jonathan Mendenhall, Hugh McKee, Harvey Richardson, Tandy Scott, Elijah Wright, Solomon Rushton, Benjamin Gaeres, Joel Haggins, Eleazer Hunt, Jabez Watson, John Wright, Thomas C. Parker, Milton White, John Stanley, William S. Benhow, Charles Green, Robert Walker, Edward Newham, Jacob Workrider, Jesse Watson, Albert Hunt, John Newham, William Mann, A. Edwards, Jesse M. Hackett, James Acres, Alfred Hunt, Ellis King, Henry Wise, Asahel Mann, William Tancher, Alexander Adams, Robert B. Stanley, Nathan Harvey, Blake Swain, William Hayworth, John Harrison, Silas Dixon, William Benbow, Nathaniel Hadley, Jeremiah Smith, Eli Phillips, John Edwards, Samuel Phillips, Joseph Morris, Wesley Pearson, Elihu Dixon, Elam Benbow, Price F. Hall, James Hayworth, John Hancock, William Cosner, Joel W. Hodson and William Beechardson.


The first settlement in Clay township was made near the year 1825. The exact identity of the first settler is not known, but among the families which came prior to 1832 were those of Obadiah, George and John Tineher, John Hadley, Joel and Jesse Hodson, William Benbow, Doctor Kersey, Newbry Hunt, Abraham West, Nicholas Osburn and George Hancock.


The village of Pecksburg was named in honor of the first president of the Vandalia railroad. The village is located near the east line of Clay township on section 31. The plat of Pecksburg was officially recorded on May 24, 1853. Some of the earliest settlers in the neighborhood of Pecksburg were David Wreitzel, John Sheerer and Daniel Wreitzel. They settled two miles south of the present village in a very early day and constructed a log church of the Lutheran denomination. This afterwards was abandoned and a frame built in Pecksburg, which still stands, about sixty years old. It is not used at present, however. Abraham West had a grist mill near here in the early days, but sold out to John Sheerer. When the Vandalia was built, through the village, Sheerer opened the first store, having a general assortment of goods.

The village at present is very small, comprising but one general store, in charge of Mr. Wreitzel, a descendant of David and Daniel Wreitzel, and a few houses. The Terre Haute, Indianapolis & Eastern interurban line, Brazil division, and the Vandalia railroad pass through here.


Two miles west of Pecksburg, on sections 2, 3, 34 and 35, is the town of Amo, one of the voting places of the township. This village was laid out in 1850 by Joseph Morris and was originally Morristown. The first house in this village was constructed by William Tomlinson. The present town has a population of about three hundred people and is incorporated, this having been voted in 1913. The board of trustees is composed of G. G. Hunter, J. S. Carter, H. C. Summers; C. C. Burch is clerk and W. A. Barker is marshal. The town of Amo bears the appearance of prosperity and will in all probabilities have a marked growth in the next few years. The incorporation has been a good thing for the town and the business men have planned to make the most of it.

The First National Bath, of Amo, was organized on January 20, 1906, by John Kendall and others. J. N. Phillips was the first president of the bank; H. C. Summers, the first vice president; John Kendall, cashier; W. H. White and E. B. Owen, second and third vice presidents. The capital stock is $25,000, the deposits amounted to $88,168 and the surplus is $5,000. The present officers are as follows: E. B. Owen, president; George W. Christie, vice president; J. N. Phillips, cashier; Milber Kendall, assistant cashier. This bank opened for business on July 23, 1906.

Amo Lodge No. 701, Independent Order of Odd Fellows, has a present membership of over one hundred. The lodge was instituted in 1899. Amo Tribe No. 503, Improved Order of Red Men, has seventy five members.


Reno is a small village located in Clay township on section 30. The village originated with the building of the Indiana & St. Louis railroad, now the Big Four, in 1870. The official plat of the village was recorded on December 10, 1870. The town in 1914 is exceedingly small and with no industrial activity.


The village of Hadley, in Clay township, is a railroad station on section 23. The official plat was recorded March 28, 1872.


It is unfortunate that more of the early history of the town of Coatesville is not obtainable. Even the official plat of the town has been lost. The town, however, was orginated sometime in the late sixties and quickly became a prosperous community. The town, by the census of 1910, had a population of four hundred and seventy two people, but this is conceded to have grown to nearly six hundred in 1914.

The town was incorporated in the year 1909 and the present officers are: Trustees, Marvin Hunt, R. C. Knight and James Davidson; clerk, Clarence Shortridge; marshal, O. E. McCammick. The town is supplied with electricity from the Terre Haute, Indianapolis & Eastern Traction Company.

The business houses and residences of the town of Coatesville are attractive and orderly, in fact, to the visitor the town presents an aspect of civic pride and a progressive community. Everything is modern, the streets are well cared for and trade is excellent. The citizens claim that there is not a poor merchant in the town. A new high school was constructed in 1911 and is a model of its kind.

The Coatesville Bank was organized in May, 1902, by Messrs. Beck, Moffet and Reeds. It was reorganized in 1906 as the First National Bank, commencing business on January 1, 1907. The first officers were: W. T. Beck, president; F. P. Moffett, vice president and James M. Reeds, cashier. The first capital stock was $6,000, the present capital is $25,000, with $125,000 in deposits and $8,500 surplus. W. T. Beck is the president in 1914; Jesse Masten, vice president, and C. D. Knight. cashier. The bank was chartered in 1906.

Coatesville Lodge No. 357, Independent Order of Odd Fellows, was organized November 27, 1870, with the following first members: Joel T. Tinder, Wallace Snowden, William Lakin, William Newkirk, Alva W. Sanders. There are now one hundred and twenty five members.

Coatesville Lodge No. 391, Knights of Pythias, has one hundred and twenty members.

Coatesville Lodge No. 695, Free and Accepted Masons, has fifty three members.

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