History of Franklin 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


In the extreme southwest corner of the county is located Franklin township, containing parts of township 14 north, ranges 1 and 2 west. It is bounded on the north by Clay township, on the east by Liberty, on the south by Morgan and Putnam counties, and on the west by Putnam county. The soil level is comparatively flat in.the northwestern and southeastern portions. but in the central part it assumes a rolling character. Mill creek and its tributaries drain the township in the central and west and Mud creek drains the southeastern part. These streams are small but of great value to the land. For cultivation the soil of Franklin township is unsurpassed in Hendricks county, especially for corn. It has a rich, alluvial quality, free from sand and alkali, and is of high productiveness.


Judge Nathan Kirk was the first settler in the township of Franklin. In 1820 he located on Mill creek, where it was crossed by the old Terre Haute trail, and in this place he kept a sort of tavern, a resting place for the weary traveler. Jeremiah Stiles, the founder of Stilesville, was the next settler of whom there is any account. He came in 1823. He was followed shortly by the following: John Swart, John and Isaac Wilcox, John Eslinger, David Orsborn and Jacob Reese.

The date of the organization of the township is in doubt, but it is certain that it was very shortly after the organization of the county. Jere Stiles was the first justice of the peace. Samuel Wicks was the first merchant in the township, in Stilesville, which had been laid off in 1830, and Doctor Mahan was the first physician.


At Stilesville, on August 1, 1831, was held the first general election of the township. Forty voters were registered on the poll books. Their names:follow: William Shipley, Jonathan Sparks, Joseph Petty, Jacob Reese, Jeremiah Stiles, James Kelly, John Brown, George H. Keller, George Morris, 'George Hancock, Henry Reese, William Thomas, Peter Pearson, Thomas Wood, Edward Shipley, Samuel Wick, Daniel Austin, Lorenzo D. Cleghorn, James Walls, Isaac Odle, William Scott, Charles Smith, Silas Rustin, William Wilcox, Absalom Snoddy, Samuel Gerber, Monroe Cleghorn. Joseph Leghorn, William Snoddy, James Pritchett, Eli Lee, Frederick Cosner; William Becknell, Joshua Rustin, James Bray, James Wiece, John Hancock, Silas Bryant, Nicholas Osborn and Garry Morris.

The vote at this election was counted by James Walls and Silas Bryant, as judges, with Thomas Wood and John Hancock as clerks, and Jeremiah Stiles as inspector.

Until the election of 1856 Franklin township was very strongly Whig in sentiment, then became Republican. The Democrats have recently become the strongest party in the township.


To give a proper description of the present Franklin township would require much more space than is available here. In a word, the township has become one of the best in the county and her institutions, schools, churches, commercial activities, etc., have grown rapidly in the past twenty years or so. Railroad facilities are poor in this township and the chief town, Stilesville, is entirely removed from the steel lines of transit. Nothwithstanding this deficiency, the excellent roads and the automobile have enabled the farmer and business man to maintain adequate communication with the rest of the county. And, too, the telephone, both local and long distance. have been a great factor in the growth of Franklin township.


Stilesville was laid off as a village in 1828 and a small settlement started. The opening of the national road through this county, in 1830, passing directly through Stilesville, made the town of some importance in the early day, but now the place has been forced to the rear by the absence of either railroad or interurban line. Passengers are transferred to Amo, four miles northeast, in order to reach the steel lines.

At first, Stilesville was a stopping place for emigrants bound for the West and it became quite popular. The town has since kept pace with modern progress and now presents a neat and attractive appearance. It is not an incorporated town. Among the new features of the town is the new high school building, constructed in 1912 at a cost of twenty thousand dollars. Good accommodations may be secured in Stilesville; in fact, in most respect it has overcome the handicap of being without railroad facilities.

The Citizens State Bank was organized in the year 1913 by a stock company. It succeeded the bank owned by E. R Robards. The first officers were John E. Hicks, president; B. W. Anderson, vice president; Chester G. Pike, cashier. These officers are the same now, except the office of vice president, which is filled by Charles W. Robards. The bank was chartered May 27, 1913. The capital stock is $25,000; the deposits, $65,000 and surplus, $2,200.

Larabee Lodge No. 131, Free and Accepted Masons, was organized at Stilesville in May, 1852. This lodge is still in existence and has good support, having sixty five members.

Stilesville Lodge No. 538, Independent Order of Odd Fellows, was organized fifteen years ago, and now has one hundred and twenty five members.

Enoch Alexander Post No. 265, Grand Army of the Republic, at Stilesville, was mustered in the fall of 1833 with thirteen charter members. This post is not active at the present time, many of the comrades having passed away.

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