BUCK CREEK TOWNSHIP


BUCK CREEK TOWNSHIP

Buck Creek township was originally organized at the May term of the board of county commissioners, 1831. It was made to include the entire western portion of the county north of what is now Sugar Creek township. In May, 1836, it was reduced in size to its present dimensions. At the May term of the board of commissioners, 1838, Jones township was organized, which included a strip two miles wide off of the south end of what is now Buck Creek township, and a similar strip off of the north end of Sugar Creek township. On March 11, 1853, the board of commissioners gave all of the townships their present boundary lines and since that time Buck Creek has been six miles square. It occupies the west central part of the county. Twelve square miles, or a strip two miles wide off of the west side of the civil township, is in congressional township 16 north, range 5 east. The remaining portion of the township, consisting of twenty-four square miles, is located in congressional township 16 north, range 6 east. Its surface is very level. There are a few hills along Sugar creek, which passes through its extreme southeast corner, but the remaining part of the township is flat.

The question of drainage was one of the largest problems that confronted the early people of this township. The surface being low and level, and there being no large streams across the township, the question of outlets for drainage became serious. There were smaller streams, such as Buck creek and Indian creek, but they, too, had very little fall and the water in them was sluggish. The largest work of drainage in Buck Creek township, as well as in the county, was the dredging of Buck creek about twenty-five years ago. This stream comes down from Vernon township and crosses the central portion of Buck Creek township, leaving the latter at its southwest corner. During the latter sixties an attempt was made to improve the drainage of the creek by cutting it deeper with a spade. Another effort was made probably ten years later, but both were unsuccessful. In 1885, William Caldwell, of Vernon township, filed his petition asking that Buck creek be made deeper and wider. Franklin Steele and John C. Eastes, with about thirty others, thereupon brought an action to enjoin the petitioners and contractors from constructing the work as petitioned and as had been ordered by the court. They contended that the creek could not be sufficiently deepened and widened without dredging it. After the matter had been in the court for about four years, and after it had been taken to the higher courts of the state, Edwin P. Thayer, Jr., of Greenfield, who had the contract for the work as originally ordered, proposed to dredge the creek for the assessments that had been made. This was satisfactory to all parties concerned and the work was finished in 1889-90. After the filing of the injunction suit above mentioned, William Caldwell withdrew as a petitioner and Thomas Hanna championed the cause that had been begun by Mr. Caldwell.

Other large works of drainage have been accomplished, so that now Buck Creek township is one of the most fertile townships in the county.

LAND ENTRIES

The first land entry was made in the township by George Worthington, who entered the southeast quarter of section 34, township 16, range 6, on January 18, 1822. This land lies in the extreme southeast corner of the township immediately north of the town of Philadelphia. Among others who entered land in the township and whose names are still familiar among the family names of the county are: Brazillia G. Jay, William Philpott, Callimore Plummer, Warner N. Copeland, William Wright, James Parker, James H. Wright, Isaiah Smith, Edward Haines, John Eastes, Jonathan Dunbar, Samuel Steele, Thomas Steele, James Wilson, Moses Dunn, John Jessup, Landon Eastes, Thomas Kennedy, John Parker, Owen Griffith, John Dance, Morris Pierson, Isaac Willett, Edward Thomas, William B. Plummer, George Leonard, James Dunn, Ebenezer Smith, Henry Beechman, William A. Dunn, David W. Snider, Hervey Bates, Hervey Smith, James Cotton, Robert Hanna, Hans Steele, William Alexander, William Mints, Thomas Smith, John Wallace, Shadrach H. Arnett, George W. Willett, Nicholas Hittle, Hiram Crump, Jacob Jones, Ephraim Thomas, George Plummer, John Collins, Joseph Wright, William Collins, William Snyder, Archibald Smith, William Harvey, Arthur Carr, Samuel Shirley, Samuel Dunn, Philip A. Mints, James P. Eastes, Thomas Alexander, William Arnett, Powell M. Scott, Joseph Parker, Adam P. Byers, Washington Scott, Michael Bash, Mahala Eastes, Ovid Pierson.

MILLS, FACTORIES, SHOPS, ETC.

The streams of Buck Creek township, as stated above, were too small to furnish adequate water power. For this reason very few mills were established except steam-power mills. A water-power grist-and hominy-mill, however, was established on Buck creek on the northeast quarter of section 19, township 17, range 6, by Wesley Eastes, in 1854. The water power was found insufficient and the mill was operated but a short time. Other industries of the earlier days were:

A blacksmith shop, established during the forties, and probably earlier, by Ebenezer Scotten, on the east line of the southeast quarter of the southeast quarter of section 21, township 16, range 6, and operated for a number of years. A blacksmith and wagon shop, conducted for a number of years, beginning in the early forties, by John and Robert Wallace, along the north line of the east half of the northwest quarter of section 20, township 16, range 6. A saw-and grist-mill, erected about 1860 on the southeast quarter of section 17, township 16, range 6, by one Corbin. This mill was bought later by McCain & Buroaker. A saw-mill, established about 1863 by one Whitlock, and operated for three or four years in the vicinity of Mt. Comfort. A saw-mill, established by Maulden & Hopkins about 1874, on the northeast corner of section 19, township 16, range 6. A tile factory, established by Ebenezer Steele along the middle of the south line of section 18, township 16, range 6. A saw-mill, established by Ebenezer Steele about 1882, at the southeast corner of the northeast quarter of section 18, township 16, range 6. A saw-mill, erected by Adam F. Wilson, in the later seventies, in section 10, township 16, range 6, near the present west line of Mohawk. A grain elevator, erected by William H. Dunn at Mt. Comfort, about 1890, and later owned by his son, George Dunn. A grain elevator, erected by Barnard & Newman and now owned by Thomas H. New and the Grist heirs. A tile yard, established on the west side of the road at Mt. Comfort in 1884, by Fred Wicker, and operated until 1891.

SOCIAL SPIRIT IN THE TOWNSHIP

From its earliest history there has been a good social spirit among the people of Buck Creek township. This spirit has expressed itself in picnics and other social gatherings at which the citizens of the township have come together. Probably the earliest record of a "grand picnic" in the county is one that tells the story of such a gathering held near Mt. Comfort in 1845. The picnic was held at the north end of the west half of the northeast quarter of section 19, township 16, range 6, or just northwest of the present residence of John C. Eastes. The story of this picnic as it comes down to us from the pen of Dr. J. W. Hervey is full of interest:

"A meeting was called at an old log school house that stood on the banks of Buck creek, in Buck Creek township. The call brought together nearly all the people within five miles around. The idea of having a Fourth of July celebration touched their hearts. Many of the old men who took part in the late Indian war were then alive and the recollection of the struggles of our fathers for independence was fresher then by a half century than now [July 5, 1894]. There was but one opinion on the occasion, and that was that the Fourth should be celebrated in the best way we could do it. We had nothing that modern usage now demands to make the occasion interesting. No flags, no drums, no band of music. Committees were appointed to see what could be done and nothing else was talked about at the homes, in the woods, or at public gatherings. When the time came for the committees to report, the arrangements had been made. Old Mother Eastes had some fine linen sheets, which she had woven years ago, and which had never been used. She had bleached them white as snow. She said there was no use fretting about a flag-to take one of her new sheets, or as many as were needed. Some other lady had red and blue flannel and some other gentlemen agreed to see that the flag, with its proud eagle, its stars and stripes, should be put together and fastened upon a flat staff.

"A few friends in Indianapolis were so much interested in our effort that they furnished us with fife, drum, an old French horn, clarinet, and perhaps other instruments. My brother, Worthington B. Hervey, was to read the Declaration of Independence and I was promoted to the high station of being the ‘orator of the day.’ A grand barbecue was agreed to and Captain Hodges, John Collier, A. J. Sims, Landon Eastes and James Dunn were to get it up. A pit was dug in the ground, three or four feet deep. Into this was thrown wood, which was done the day before it was needed. When the wood was burned into coals the pit was hot and fit for sue. I do not remember the number of oxen, calves, sheep and swine that were cooked, but there was enough for and to spare.

"The people came from every section; every village and every town within reach was represented. Greenfield sent a large delegation, but I not remember all of the names. Colonel Tague, General Milroy, John Foster, Joe Chapman, Andrew Hart, John Templin and John Hager. I do not remember whether D. S. Gooding was there or not, or how many I have not named. Reverend Robinson, an old-time Kentucky Methodist minister, was chaplain. I heard many say at the time and since that they never enjoyed a Fourth of July celebration as they did that one. There was never a more peaceable and well behaved crowd than that was. I have the manuscript of the oration yet. It is a curiosity, the way I estimate it. The spread eagle predominates. It was made to soar onward and upward till all the world was borne to liberty. I would attempt a short description of that wonderful document, but my fancy has grown too tame for such flights as would be required to catch a glimpse of the altitude of that egregious fantasy.

"Many amusing incidents occurred. The most remarkable of them was the run-away of an ox team. Two families had spliced to provide a way of conveying their enormous crop of youngsters to see the Fourth of July. Neither of them had a wagon. One had a horse and the other had a sled and a yoke of oxen. This was the outfit in which the adventure was made. The little ones and their mothers were piled in it. The men walked and drove the oxen. They went along very well until they came to Buck creek bridge, which was a long an shaky structure of poles, rails, slabs and plank. When they had reached the middle of the bridge several young bloods with their girls came up behind the oxen. They had never seen anything like such a turnout before, and they determined that they never would again. The made a lunge and into the swampy stream they plunged. The sled turned over and spilt the youngsters and their mothers into the mud. The children screamed and their mothers cried ’murder.’ The men bounded into the mud, which was almost waist deep, and went to fishing out their respective families. The young riders hastened on to the grounds with the news that a whole family was killed or wounded and to send the doctor post haste. I was furnished a fast horse and in a few minutes was before a scene that would make one laugh irresistibly: Five little fellows, as muddy as mud could make them from top to bottom (their eyes and mouths were all that the mud did not hide), were sitting in a row on the bridge. The two mothers were scraping themselves with splinters to get their faces and hands relieved; the two men were in the mud, and as muddy as they could get, fishing out the unreclaimed children. They got washed off, of partly off, in time to pay their compliments to the barbeque. I have seen many strange groups of human beings, but I never saw any equal that one. Some of these children grew up to fill responsible places in society.

"When I looked upon the display yesterday the contrast between the celebrations brought my mind to the wonderful changes that half a century has wrought in politics, in morals, in religion, in trade, and in customs and usages, as well as in conditions that result from progress, wealth and refinement.

"The old flag made from Mother Eastes’ linen sheet expressed as much as the silk flags they floated from so many homes in this city yesterday."

The incident of the ox team referred to in Doctor Hervey’s statement occurred just east of where the present high school stands. The Buck creek bottom from the west grade of the creek to the southeast corner of section 18 was very low, and soggy and marshy. A corduroy road had been built across part of the bottom and a trestle bridge spanned the rest of it.

On Saturday, August 10, 1861, another great citizens’ meeting was held just across the road from and a little west of the place of the former picnic. It was probably held in a grove at the south end of the east half of the southwest quarter of section 18, township 16, range 6, and was denominated a "grand union picnic and basket dinner." An immense crowd gathered and speeches were made by Reuben A. Riley, David S. Gooding and Dr. J. W. Hervey. The ladies of the township served a dinner "in quantity and quality to satisfy the most fastidious taste." A general program was given. The singing of Mrs. Dr. Collins, of Cumberland, was considered a musical treat, especially her rendition of "Dixie."

On July 4, 1876, another great celebration was held in which the people of the township participated, at the grove of James Collins, at the north end of the southeast quarter of section 14, township 16, range 5. Dinner was again served to all present by the ladies of the township. A general program followed. Henry Wright read the Declaration of Independence, and James L. Mason, Charles G. Offutt and William Fries made addresses.

SCHOOLS

Buck Creek township, like the other townships of the county, began her educational work in log school houses. The first house in district No. 1 was erected at the northeast corner of section 9, township 16, range 6; the house in district No. 4, at the northeast corner of section 14, township 16, range 5; the house in district No. 5, where the present township high school stands, just west of Buck creek in the southeast quarter of section 18, township 16, range 6. It stood about eighteen rods west of the present high school building and was a room about fourteen feet by twenty feet. It had a door, and to admit light one log was taken out on the north side and an eight by ten inch glass put in. For a writing desk, a wide poplar slab was hewed down to the thickness of about three inches, with the top planed smooth; this slab or writing desk was placed under the window by boring two one-inch holes in the log and inserting pins long enough to support it. The seats were made from linn logs about eight inches in diameter, split, each log making two seats about ten feet long. Holes were bored in the round side and wooden pins inserted for legs to raise the seat to the proper height. The first log school house in district No. 6 was located on the south side of the southeast quarter of section 15, township 16, range 6; the first house in district No. 7, at the southwest quarter of section 18, township 16, range 6; the first house in district No. 9, on the Hamilton Welling farm, on the south side of the northeast quarter of section 29, township 16, range 6.

The first frame house in the township was built in 1860, during the trusteeship of Ephraim Thomas. It stood just west of Buck creek along the south side of the southeast quarter of section 18, township 16, range 6. The first brick school house in the township was erected in district No. 6 at the southeast corner of section 15, township 16, range 6, during the trusteeship of John C. Eastes.

The original frame school house erected in 1860 in district No. 5 stood until 1893-4, when it burned, and was replaced by a one-story two-room school house, constructed by Thomas Moxley and Clint Parker during the trusteeship of Andrew Fink. This house also burned during the winter of 1898-9. This was just at the time when the townships of the county were establishing high schools, and such a high school was wanted in Buck Creek township. A number of people felt that the proposed high school building should be located near the town of Mt. Comfort and for this purpose a petition was presented by a number of citizens asking that the location of the house be changed to a point about fifteen rods east of the southwest corner of section 18, township 16, range 6. The petition was signed by S. S. Eastes and thirty-seven others. A strong opposition developed to the removal of the house. A hearing was held by County Superintendent Lee O. Harris, at the small court room at Greenfield, in which the petitioners and those opposed to the removal of the house were ably represented by their attorneys. As a result of the hearing, the county superintendent refused to grant the order for the removal of the house, and the first four-room township high school was erected at the point above described, immediately west of Buck creek. It was constructed in the summer of 1899, during the trusteeship of John W. Griffith and was dedicated on October 28 of that year. There were present on the occasion of the dedication of the house, State Superintendent D. M. Geeting, W. B. Flick, ex-county superintendent of Marion county, and Capt. Lee O. Harris, superintendent of Hancock county, all of whom made addresses.

High school work was begun in 1899 in this building. Following are the names of the teachers who have served as principal of the school: L. M. Luce, 1899; William R. Neff, 1901; J. Q. McGrail, 1902; Harvey Griffey, 1906; Arnold V. Daub, 1909; Eva Hubbard, 1911; C. A. Stevens, 1912; Carey E. Munsey, 1914.

During the winter of 1912-13 questions were raised by some of the patrons in relation to the sanitary condition of the house, and on January 15, 1913, the following petition was drawn, asking the state board of health make a sanitary inspection:

Post Office, Mt. Comfort, Jan. 15, 1913

To the Indiana State Board of Health:

Gentlemen:

We, the undersigned, respectfully petition your honorable board to make sanitary inspection of the school house at Mt. Comfort, known as District No. 5, Township of Buck Creek, County of Hancock, and take such action as seems proper and right.

Name of trustee, Clarence E. Luse
Frank C. Easters, Mt. Comfort, Farmer
Ollie O. Smith, Mt. Comfort, General Merchandise
W. T. Dillman, Mt. Comfort, General Merchandise
J. W. Dillman, Mt. Comfort, Mail Carrier
Manford Jay, Mt. Comfort, Farmer
George Jay, Mt. Comfort, Janitor above school
E. B. Harvey, Mt. Comfort, Farmer and Thresherman
Ed. Hart, Mt. Comfort, Farmer
H. S. Roudebush, Mt. Comfort, Farmer
W. E. Snider, Mt. Comfort, Day Laborer
P. A. Dunham, Mt. Comfort, Farmer
W. E. Whitaker, Mt. Comfort, General Merchandise
John Morrison, Mt. Comfort, Day Laborer
Frank Wood, Mt. Comfort, Blacksmith
J. W. Eakin, Mt. Comfort, Farmer
J. W. Stoner, Mt. Comfort, Day Laborer
James F. Evans, Mt. Comfort, Farmer
Emmett Rasener, Mt. Comfort, Farmer
William G. McCheney, Mt. Comfort, Doctor of Medicine
Robert C. Wilson, Mt. Comfort, Farmer
George O. Dunn, Mt. Comfort, Grain Dealer
S. S. Eastes, Mt. Comfort, Farmer
John Collins, Mt. Comfort, Farmer
Simon Grist, Mt. Comfort, Farmer
Franklin Steele, Mt. Comfort, Farmer
Edward Wastes, Mt. Comfort, Farmer
J. C. Evans (by permission), Mt. Comfort, Retired Farmer.
C. K. Emory, Mt. Comfort, Doctor of Medicine

When it became noised about that such a petition was being circulated a sentiment developed in opposition thereto. The matter became quiet, and it was generally supposed in the township that it had been dropped. The petition had been filed with the state board, however, and during the winter of `1913-14, after an inspection had been made, the house was promptly condemned.

This action of the state board made it necessary either to repair the old house or to erect a new one. The township trustee, Clarence Luse, with his advisory board, employed an architect to examine the old building to give an estimate of the cost of repairing it to make it conform to the requirements of the "Sanitary School House Law" enacted in 1913. Such an estimate was furnished, and, in the opinion of the trustee and his advisory board, it was thought unwise to expend the sum of money necessary to make such repairs as would be required by the above act. It was then decided to construct a new house and the question that had been raised in 1899, with reference to the proper location of the township high school, again came up. A petition was present to the county superintendent asking for an order to change the location of the school house in district No. 5 to a point about fifty rods east of the southwest corner of section 18, township 16, range 6. The time set for hearing the petition was fixed at 10 o’clock A. M., March 25, 1914. The petitioners were again represented by counsel, as were also those opposed to the proposed removal. By way of a counter petition and remonstrance, a second petition, signed by two hundred seventy-three taxpayers, the greater part of them being residents of Buck Creek township, was filed, asking that the present site of the school be retained for the building in the future. When the original petitioners learned of the circulation of the counter petition or remonstrance, they at once started a third petition on which the signatures of one hundred fourteen taxpayers of Buck Creek township were secured. This petition was filed in support of the original petition asking that the location of said house be changed as prayed in said original petition. Several names appeared upon more than one of the petitions filed. At the hearing, evidence was adduced for the purpose of showing the necessity of changing the site of the school house as prayed. Other evidence was adduced for the purpose of showing both the sanitary features and the unsanitary features connected with the present site, as well as those connected with the new or proposed site. The evidence, in the main, presented no difficulty except in so far as it related to the drainage and physical features of both sites. Objections were made because of the proximity of the house to Buck creek. Evidence was conflicting as to whether the water of the creek backed into the basement of the school. There was no conflict, however, in the evidence that water was frequently found in the basement. Objections were also made to the proposed site because of the flatness of the country and the inability to get sufficient fall for proper drainage. Those favoring the removal of the site requested the county superintendent to have a sanitary inspection made of the site of the old building, while those opposed to the removal of the school asked that the state board be requested to inspect the proposed site with its problem of drainage, etc.

The county superintendent complied with both requests and asked the state board of health to make an inspection of both sides. This was done and the board made a finding "that the present schools site must be considered unsanitary in the broad sense of the term as applied to the character and location of school sites in relation to the comfort and welfare of school pupils." The county superintendent thereupon made a finding in favor of the petitioners and ordered the township trustee to proceed to change the site of the school house in district No. 5 as prayed.

The new site was purchased by the township trustee and steps were taken for the erection of the new school house. An architect was employed, plans and specification were prepared for the construction of the school building. Steps were also taken to sell the bonds of the school township. The plans and specifications for the house included not only sufficient school room, but also made provision for the construction of an auditorium, with stage, inclined floors, galleries, etc. in connection with the school. The cost of the building when completed was estimated at about forty thousand dollars. A number of citizens and taxpayers of the township felt that this expenditure was exorbitant and unreasonable, and an action was brought by John Buchfink, Clarence L. Black and George W. Parker, to enjoin the trustee from selling the bonds and the contractor from completing his work. The theory of the injunction suit was that the petition asking for the change of the location of this school house should have been signed by a majority of all of the parents, guardians, heads of families, etc., in the township who had children entitled to high school privileges, instead of being signed by only a majority of the patrons of school district No. 5. The case was venued to Shelby county, where Judge Blair held in favor of the township trustee and refused to enjoin the sale of bonds, etc., as prayed. The case was then appealed to the higher courts, where it is now pending, the point at issue being the sufficiency of the petition addressed to the county superintendent to give him jurisdiction to act in the matter. In the meantime a permit has been obtained from the state board of health to use the old building pending the decision of the case in the appellate court.

In April, 1916, the appellate court of Indiana affirmed the decision of the lower court, holding that all steps taken in the removal of the school house had been legal.

Among the very early teachers in the township should be mentioned Nancy Crump, George W. Stillwell, Mahala Roney, Elisha Millard, Perry Thomas, John B. Herod, Henry R. Clayton, John Caylor, James McCain, Samuel Waters, John Collins and William F. Collins. The later teachers of the township will be found in the general list of the teachers in chapter on education.

MISCELLANEOUS

The population of Buck Creek township, as shown by the census of 1910, is 1,272. In the spring of 1915, 342 children between the ages of six and twenty-one years were enumerated in the township, and 193 children were enrolled in the schools during the school year of 1914-15. Of these, twenty-nine were in the high school and 164 in the elementary grades. The average daily attendance for the year was 145 in the elementary schools, and twenty-two in the high school. The total cost of maintaining the elementary schools during the year was $4,180.30; the cost of maintaining the high school was $1,891.40. The total amount paid teachers for the years was $,4,834.50. The estimated value of the school property of the township as reported by the township trustee on August 1, 1915, was $17,000. The total assessment of taxables as reported by the assessor in 1914 was $1,629,120. Twenty-nine children were transported to school at a cost to the township of $525.50.

TOWNSHIP TRUSTEES

The following men have served the township in the capacity of township trustee since the enactment of the law creating the office, in 1859: Ephraim Thomas, 1859; William L. Harvey, 1863; Henry R. Clayton, 1865; J. W. Shelby, 1867; O. O. Harvey, 1869; William M. Wright, 1876; John C. Eastes, 1880-82; Aquilla Grist, 1884-86; Andrew Fink, 1888-90; John W. Griffith, 1894; Ulysses G. Wilson, 1900; John F. Wallace, 1904; John F. Shelby, 1908; Clarence Luse, 1913; John F. Wallace, 1914; William Humfleet, 1914.

JUSTICES OF THE PEACE

The local courts of the township have been presided over by the following men: Morgan Brinegar, 1831; Owen Jarrett, ---; Wyatt Denny, ---; Esquire Peas, ---; William Arnett, 1841; Barzilla G. Jay, 1841; William Arnett, 1845; John H. Murphy, 1848; John Eastes, 1849; Mordecai Millard, 1852; R. A. Dunn, 1853; J. W. Shelby, 1856; Joseph Wright, 1856; T. J. Hanna, 1860; W. C. Wray, 1864; Joseph Wright 1860; Allen Scotten, 1864; Joseph Wright, 1865, 1869, 1873; James McKean, 1867; George W. Parker, 1872, 1876; Edward Rose, 1878; William McConnell, 1880; Elmer E. Stoner, 1883; James Hoss, 1884; Andrew M. Harvey, 1886; Moses Bates, 1886; F. M. Sanford, 1888; John R. Williams, 1890; James E. Collins, 1890, 1894; Clint Parker, 1900; William C. Whitaker, 1906, 1910,1914.

OLDER FAMILIES AND TAXPAYERS

Among the older families in the township are the Arnetts, Collins, Crumps, Dunns, Duncans, Eastes, Finks, Griffiths, Grists, Harveys, Hannas, Jays, Herrs, Parkers, Shelby, Steeles, Stoners, Smiths, Sanfords, Sniders, Scottons, Thomases, Wallaces and Wrights. Following are the property owners who have paid taxes in sums exceeding one hundred dollars in 1915: William H. Arnett, $322.20; Lucinda Arnett, $378.07; Franklin A. Barnard, $115.86; Clarence L. Black, $117.72; John Buchfink, $191.16; James Byers, $100.68; William Bade, $116.06; Ida S. Barrett, $170.56; Charles H. C. Cook, $122..72; Isaac W. Cahill, $288.05; Sarah C. Cinders, $131.24; Wade Caldwell, $127.50; Henry H. Deerburgh, $644.92; Silas S. Eastes, $189.90; John C. Eastes, $490.66; Edward Eastes, $181.80; C. K. and O. E. Ewing, $288.92; James M. Evans, $138.12; Hester M. Emery, $196.68; Daniel Fisher, $177.64; Walter Fink, $138.32; Charles Fink, $1220.02; Owen Griffith, $212.78; John W. Griffith, $121.68; Robert Hurley, $187.17; George Huntington, $136.03; Frederick Heller, $139.37; Lewis A. Hawkins, $102.54; William Harting, $126.68; William Hartman, $126.04; Jesse P. Keller, $100.46; Henry H. Koch, $132.92; Anton and Christina King, $128.96; Frank L. Littleton, $347.72; W. S. and T. H. Mints, $313.66; John P. Murphy, $118.14; Montgomery Marsh (heirs), $189.08; Conrad Merlau, $198.84; Hohawk Bank, $172.01; Minnie Grist Morris, $252.10; Enoch W. McCord, $172.55; Isaac McCord, $109.61; Conrad Ostermeier, $168.06; James F. McCord, $113.98; William F. Offenbacker, $145.40; Charles Ostermeier, $496.49; George W. Parker, $410.18; C. W. Parker and wife, $276.01; Isabelle Roney, $168.28; Edward S. Parker, $109.62; Benjamin A. and Isabelle Roney, $110.66; Franklin Steele, $3,558.54; Nelson M. Stoner, $126.25; Hans Steele (heirs), $123,55; Augustus E. Smith, $244.62; Charles H. Stoner, $309.26; John F. Shelby, $243.16; Augustus E. Smith, $244.62; Charles Swartz, $109.40; Olive K. Smith, $213.14; William S. Spell, $122.72; Jane Snyder, $181.79; John E. Sellers, $121.48; Francis M. Sanford, $707.18; Isom S. Wright, $438.88; Ira W. Silvey, $104.84; Samuel E. Wallace, $119.41; Thomas Tuttle, $109.61; William E. Whitaker, $181.38; John F. Wallace, $187; John Williams, $125.64; Phoebe E. Whitaker, $115.44; Francis O. Welling, 100.04; Ulysses G. Wilson, $241.08; Worth E. Woodward, $184.30.

COUNTY OFFICERS

Buck Creek township has furnished a number of men who have served as county officers. Among them are, Barzilla G. Jay and Henry Wright, auditors; Mordecai Miller and Joshua W. Shelby, sheriffs; John Collins, Ephraim Thomas, George W. Parker, Aquilla Grist and William T. Spell, county commissioners; Samuel R. Waters, county surveyor, and George W. Parker, county assessor.

PHYSICIANS

The township has not had many resident physicians.

Among those who did reside there during its early history were John H. Sanders, Lyman Carpenter and J. W. Hervey. Physicians from Greenfield, Cumberland, Oaklandon, McCordsville and Fortville have always shared the practice in this territory.

HIGHWAYS, RAILROADS AND INTERURBANS

Because of the low, flat surface of Buck Creek township and the absence of gravel, the public highways were not generally improved until a few years ago. With the passage of the Three-mile Road law, road construction began and during 1908-09 the township expended sixty-six thousand eight hundred and sixty dollars for this purpose. Many miles of improved free gravel and macadamized roads were constructed and more would have been constructed likely had not the indebtedness reached the legal limit. Within the last few months additional petitions have been filed for further road improvement.

AGRICULTURAL EXHIBITS

The products of the fertile soil of Buck Creek township have attracted attention wherever they have been exhibited. Foremost among those who have been making agricultural displays are the Sanfords. Francis M. Sanford was a stockholder in the Hancock County Agricultural Association, and exhibited farm products at the county fair at Greenfield for a number of years. About thirty years ago he made his first exhibit at the state fair, and during the past twenty-five years has exhibited there annually. His son, Lumis, assisted him for a number of years and for the past eight years Lumis Sanford and Ernest, the son of Isaac Sanford, have exhibited their products together.

The exhibits of the Sanfords have consisted of corn, grain in the straw, grasses of all kinds, seeds of all kinds, tobacco. Single entries and displays of everything included in agriculture hall have been made. Premiums awarded them have amounted to as much as four hundred dollars, and the premiums have netted Mr. Sanford about two hundred dollars annually for the past twenty years. When he first began exhibiting a one-horse buggy carried the entire exhibit. During the past several years it has required two wagons with large beds to convey the products to the fair.

Exhibits are also generally made by these people at the local "corn shows," etc., and the announcements in the newspapers indicate that many of the highest awards are given to the products of Buck Creek township.

MOHAWK

The original plat of Mohawk was made on January 25, 1883, by Catherine Wilson and Adam F. Wilson. It was located along the east line of the southeast quarter of section 10, township 16, range 6, and consisted of twelve lots. Since that time two additions have been made. The first was made by William New on March 21, 1887, consisting of nine lots and located just across the road east from the original plat. The next addition was made by Margaret New, on October 1, 1895. It consists of fifteen lots and adjoins William New’s addition. The latter two additions are located in Center township, McConnell street being the section line and also the township line dividing Center and Buck Creek townships. A postoffice has always been maintained at Mohawk. No rural routes have been established.

Quite a number of men have been engaged in business at this point. Among them have been Joseph Hanna, Adam Wilson and Wilford Dobbins, grocers and hardware dealers; James and William Albea, Arthur Kingery and J. O. Dunn, grocers. Martin Breece, A. W. Steele, O. C. Steele, Charles Barnard, Henry Fuller, William Eakins, L. A. Cox and A. M. Maroska have all been engaged in the grocery and drug business at different times. Soon after the railroad was constructed McConnell & Wilson erected an elevator which burned. Later, Newman & Barnard constructed the elevator which is now owned by Thomas H. New and the Grist heirs under the name of the Mohawk Elevator Company. A heading factory was also established for a time by Hill Brothers. This was followed by a saw-mill operated by one Small. Later, Oliver A. Newman took charge of the mill, which is now operated under the name of the Mohawk Lumber Company. George Kerr, Bert Doughty, William Bell, Frank Wood and John McCarty have conducted blacksmith shops, while the health of the people has been cared for by Drs. True, Nicholson and O. A. Collins, the latter being located in the town now. U. G. Wilson and Sam Roney have been known as the horsemen of the locality for a number of years.

MOHAWK BANK

The Mohawk Bank, a private institution, was organized, September 1, 1913, with a capital of twelve thousand dollars, and received its certificate from the auditor of state, December 19, 1913. The bank was promoted and organized by Cecil V. Brooks, the present cashier. He was later assisted by M. S. Wright, James V. Herr, James H. Leary, O. A. Newman and Wilford Dobbins. The first board of directors was composed of Robert L. Mason, M. S. Wright, James V. Herr, F. M. Sanford, Wilford Dobbins, James H. Leary and Cecil V. Brooks. The present officers are Wilford Dobbins, president; M. S. Wright, vice-president, and Cecil V. Brooks, cashier. The bank has had a steady growth since the date of its opening and is patronized by a number of farmers in that part of the county.

LODGES

Lenape Tribe No. 224, Improved Order of Red Men, at Mohawk, was organized on May 9, 1896, with the following charter members; Washington Steele, George W. Rumler, Albert O. Steele, Samuel Keeley, William H. Albea, Benjamin H. Murphy, Samuel Steele, Adam Deshong, Stephen Bolander, Isaac L. Cox, T. H. Jackson, James W. Eakes, George McCrerry, Samuel J. Scott, Robert H. Murphy, John P. Murphy, A. B. C. Doughty and John Price. It now has seventy-nine members and owns its own hall. In memoriam: A. O. Steele, Stephen Bolander, Washington S. Steele, Madison Campbell, John P. Murphy.

MT. COMFORT

A postoffice known as Mt. Comfort has been maintained in Buck Creek township since some time in the forties. Robert Wallace and his brother, John, operated a blacksmith and wagon shop during the early forties along the north line of the east half of the northwest quarter of section 20, township 16, range 6, on the land now owned by Edward Keller. At this shop the first postoffice was maintained known as Mt. Comfort. Mail was delivered by a star carrier who went over the Allisonville state road. Robert Wallace was the first postmaster. The postoffice was maintained at this shop until about 1853, when it was moved to the northeast corner of the northwest quarter of section 19, township 16, range 6, to a store owned by Robert Church. In 1860 John Eastes built a store on the same corner and took the postoffice. Among the early postmasters were James W. Harvey, Robert Church, William J. Woods, John C. Eastes and D. G. Hanna. The store was maintained at this corner until about 1882, when, on the completion of the railroad, the present town of Mt. Comfort was platted. The original plat was made on October 25, 1885, by Silas S. Eastes, and consists of ten lots. No additions have been made thereto.

Among the business men who have been located at the present town of Mt. Comfort were Thomas Dillman, Ollie Smith, Albert Pogue, Isom Wright, William Whitaker, Martin Bringham, George Dunn, the latter three being the present merchants. John Wright is the present owner of a hardware store. John A. Eastes, Frank Woods, Oliver Harvey and William Bell have conducted blacksmith shops at the town. During the early nineties a grain elevator was constructed by William H. Dunn, which is still in operation.

A postoffice is still maintained at Mt. Comfort, with one rural free delivery route, established July 1, 1903. James F. Dillman is the carrier.

PLEASANT GROVE METHODIST CHURCH

The Pleasant Grove Methodist Episcopal church was organized in 1872 with the following charter members: Samuel S. Smith and wife, Jackson Apple and wife, William Horton and wife, William Vest, D. D. Boyd and wife.

A frame church was erected by the congregation in 1874, at the northeast corner of the southeast quarter of section 6, township 16, range 6. It was dedicated in the same year by Rev. Robsion. Among the ministers who served the congregation were Samuel Lamb,---Freeman, John Cain, R. H. Smith, R. B. Powell, T. J. Elkin and G. N. Philip.

The church was attached to the Fortville circuit until 1875, when it was attached to the McCordsville circuit. Services were conducted until in the latter nineties.

MACEDONIA UNITED BRETHREN CHURCH

The Macedonia United Brethren church was organized about 1860. The congregation at first worshipped in the old log school house that stood along the south line of the west half of the southeast quarter of section 15, township 16, range 6. After a few years the school house was purchased by the congregation and moved to the south side of the road, where it was used for worship until during the latter seventies.

A number of the members who lived in the vicinity south of the church organized another class, which worshipped at the school house known as No. 7, located at the southwest corner of section 27, township 16, range 6, until 1882. Among the early members of the church up to that time were John Parker and wife, Isaac Wilson, Thomas Price, James Wilson and wife, William Wilson, Lewis Barnard and wife, James Wallace and wife and Cynthia Barnard. The class was originally organized by the Rev. Thomas Evans.

In May, 1882, the quarterly conference of the Warrington circuit elected John Parker, Calvin F. Crump, George W. Parker, John H. Apple and Wills Parker, trustees of the United Brethren church in Buck Creek township, Hancock county, and issued to them a certificate of their election as such trustees. On May 25, 1882, the board of trustees met at school house No. 7, above referred to, and an organization of the board was effected. The trustees determined to build a new house and for that purpose procured a warranty deed from John H. and Agnes Apple for one-half acre of land, located forty rods east of the northwest corner of section 27, township 16, range 6. Steps were at once taken to collect funds from the members of the church and from the citizens of the neighborhood for the purpose of erecting the new house. A frame church was erected during the summer of 1882 and dedicated on December 3 of that year. Bishop E. B. Gephart, of Iowa, preached the dedicatory sermon. At this service sufficient funds were raised to discharge all indebtedness, and the new church was then and there named

OTTERBEIN UNITED BRETHREN CHURCH

About 1910 the trustees began to consider the advisability of repairing the frame church or of building a new edifice. Nothing was done during that year, but in 1911 the matter was considered further and it was decided to rebuild the church. The following trustees were elected at that time: F. M. Sanford, John F. Shelby, John W. Griffith and Edward Parker. The latter refused to serve and Leonard Land was elected to fill the vacancy. Funds were raised, but no work was done on the church until in the summer of 1912. The building was not entirely completed until in the spring of 1913. It was dedicated on Sunday, June 8, of that year, by Bishop Matthews, of Chicago. J. T. Roberts, presiding elder, and Rev. H. W. Robbins, pastor of the church, were present, and took part in the dedicatory services. It is a beautiful brick building. The congregation now has a membership of one hundred and fifty.

A Sunday school has been conducted ever since it was organized as Macedonia chapel. For the past several years it has had an average attendance of probably forty. A Ladies’ Aid Society and a Young People’s Society are active as auxiliaries of the church.

AMITY UNITED BRETHREN CHURCH

The Amity United Brethren church stands at the southwest corner of section 25, township 16, range 5, on a plot of ground donated to the church by John A. J. Collins. The present house, a neat frame building, was erected in 1901, and dedicated in September of that year by the Rev. C. A. Love. The older members of this congregation at one time worshipped at the old Hopewell church, which stood at the northeast corner of the northwest quarter of the northeast quarter of section 25, township 16, range 5. When this building became dilapidated the people decided to erect a new church called Amity, at the cross-roads above described, which is just two miles south of Mt. Comfort.

There is no record of the charter members of the church. At present it has a membership of seventy. The Rev. C. A. Love was the pastor of the old Hopewell church and was the minister who first planned the building of Amity, which congregation he served for one year. Other ministers have been Reverends Linsvillle, one year; S. R. Irvin, one year; Charles Broughman, one year; Oscar F. Lydy, four years; H. L. Robbins, four years; F. F. Bray, two years, and Charles Small, the present pastor. The average attendance at church services for the past several years has been about sixty; the attendants at Sunday school generally remain for preaching services.

The Sunday school was organized when the new church was built. It has always been well attended and during 1915 its enrollment reached nearly one hundred. The average attendance is from fifty to sixty. Five classes are maintained. The Christian Endeavor Society was organized in 1901 by Mrs. C. A. Love, and has rendered efficient services to the church since that time. The society is now composed of thirty-six active members.

Following are the families who worship at the church: Mrs. And Mrs. Anton Ploenge, Otis Snider and family, Willard and Hettie Snider, Charles Willman and family, Mrs. Martha Cly and family, F. O. Welling and family, Wade Cauldwell and family, Will Dance and family, John A. J. Collins and family, Fred Heller and family, Will Bade and family, Bert Cly and family, Charles Ostermeyer and family, Frank Schieldmeier and family, William Bolen and family, Lewis Hawkins and wife, Henry Hawkins and family, Mr. and Mrs. Pearl Bell, Lewis Sanford and family, Mr. and Mrs. Harvey Andis, Conrad Ostermeyer and wife, Guy Scotten and family, Mrs. Charles Wright and family, Mrs. Maggie Johnston, and Mr. and Mrs. Carl Shelby.

MT. COMFORT METHODIST EPISCOPAL CHURCH

This congregation was originally organized about 1836 and was composed of the following members: Hiram Crump and wife, Obadiah Eastes and wife, Hamilton Welling and wife, Thomas Craig and wife, John Cochanhour and wife, Miles Burris and wife, A. Cooper and wife, and Jeremiah Beach and wife. For several years they worshipped at the residence of Obadiah Eastes, Daniel Skinner and Thomas Craig. In 1840 they built a little log church, which was named

SYCAMORE CHAPEL

This house stood at the northeast corner of the northwest quarter of the northeast quarter of section 25, township 16, range 5. It was used as a house of worship until 1863, when it burned. Among the ministers who preached at the private residences and at Sycamore chapel were the Reverends Edwards, Landy Havens, George Havens, J. B. Birt, Millender and Morrow. After the burning of the log church the congregation worshipped at different places until 1870, when a new frame church was erected on the site of the former one and was named the

HOPEWELL METHODIST EPISCOPAL CHURCH

It was erected at a cost of about one thousand dollars. The building committee was composed of Hamilton Welling, John Dance and Thomas Craig. This house was used until 1888 when the congregation erected a new house at Mt. Comfort, which has since been known as the Mt. Comfort Methodist Episcopal church. The building committee was composed of Hamilton Welling, William W. Eastes and James E. Collins. One acre of ground was donated by S. S. Eastes for a church site, and the new building was erected at a cost of about one thousand five hundred dollars by James Murphy. The purpose of moving the church to Mt. Comfort was to get a more favorable location. The building was completed and dedicated in November, 1888, by the Rev. C. U. Wade. Among the members who came from the Hopewell church to the new church at Mt. Comfort were Hamilton Welling, John Dance, wife and daughter, Carrie; James E. Collins and wife, William W. Eastes and wife, and Albert Vestal and wife. The church at present has a membership of seventy-two.

A Sunday school was organized on January 1, 1889. It now has nine classes, with an average attendance of about sixty-five. Many of the adult members of the church may be found in attendance at Sunday school. The following persons have served as superintendents of the school at various times: J. W. Stoner, David Girt, E. N. Stoner, C. P. Blue, W. E. Scotten and E. G. Castetter. Among the pastors who have served the congregation at Mt. Comfort are the following: A. E. Sarah, 1888, G. W. Green, 1889; F. A. Fish, 1892; J. H. Slack, 1895; T. H. C. Beal, 1896; W. G. Bogue, 1897; J. O. Campbell, 1898; E. Dixon, 1901; G. Martin,. 1905; H. Webster, 1906; P. J. Albright, 1909; J. Wingate, 1910; E. J. Wickersham, 1911; G. Goering, 1913, and A. J. Duryee, 1915.

UNION CHAPEL UNITED BRETHREN CHURCH (MOHAWK)

The Union chapel stood about fifty rods west of the northeast corner of section 9, township 16, range 6. The congregation was originally organized in 1856 and conducted services in the private residence of the members until 1858. In January of that year Washington McConnell, Thomas Preble and Jackson Price were appointed trustees by the quarterly conference to construct the church. Daniel Stoner was presiding elder at the time and Thomas Evans, pastor. The circuit was known as Pleasant View circuit and belonged to the White Water conference. The new house was built on ground donated by John Underwood and the first services were held on Christmas eve, 1858. Following are the elders who presided over the circuit during its early history: A. King, A. Hanway, William Nichols, W. Wit, D. O. Ferrell, Milton Wright, D. Stoner, A. E. Evans, John Vardeman, Halleck Floyd, W. C. Day, M. Cabrich, Thomas Evans, J. Myers, R. B. Beatty, Lewis Crawford, J. Pruner, Alexander Carrol, C. Smith, P. S. Cook, A. E. Evans, Simon D. Irvin, A. B. Dary, Henry K. Muth, William Hall, Monroe Groendike, T. H. Halstead, J. M. Ware and A. Davis. Among the early ministers were William Gossett, Irvin Cox, A. C. Rice, I. Tharpe and Henry Huffman. For many years the church was attached to the Warrington circuit.

A second church was built in 1883 on the original site. In November, 1896, during the pastorate of William Demunbrun, the church was moved to Mohawk, where it now stands, on the Center township side of the line. During the pastorate of O. F. Lydy, in 1902, the church was remodeled. The families who have been closely connected with the church since its removal to Mohawk are those of A. V. Rumler, Harvey True, J. P. Murphy, J. F. Reynolds, James Jarrett, John Price, Ransom Denny, George Herr, Bert Cohee, Arthur Doughty and Oliver Wilson. Among the ladies whose husbands have not been connected with the church are Martha Murphy, Eunice Barnard, Mary Greenwell, Flora Reeves, Rose M. Bills, Myrtle Herr, Ida Williams, Florence Leatherman and Eva Dobbins. Among the later pastors have been O. F. Lydy, who served for five years, and J. H. Wyant, who has served for four years.

A Sunday school is conducted, of which Oliver Wilson has been superintendent for the past eight years. The member ship of the church is small at present. The congregation belongs to the Liberal branch of the United Brethren church.

MOHAWK RADICAL UNITED BRETHREN CHURCH

The United Brethren church on the Buck Creek township side of Mohawk was organized by James Rector in the spring of 1894. The present house was erected during the summer of 1896 and was dedicated on August 9 of that year by A. C. McNew, J. S. Reece being the pastor in charge. The first trustees were William McConnell, William Wilson, Andrew Fuller, James Murphy and Isaac Lane. These men also acted as the building committee. Among the families worshipping here were those of Isaac Lane, William Wilson, O. M. Wilson, Samuel Scott, Mariah Hawkins, David Deshong, Marion Wilson, William McConnell, Dr. True, Riley Breece. T. B. Leary, James Deshong, Amos Deshong, Lydia Newman and Hattie Kingen. Among the ministers who have served for more than one year are Bishop Halleck Floyd, Abraham Rust, J. S. Reece, Robert Harlow and Charles Bray.

A Sunday school was organized in 1896 and has had an average attendance of about forty.

Transcribed from History of Hancock County, Indiana, Its People, Industries and Institutions by George J. Richman, B. L., Federal Publishing Co., Indianapolis, Indiana, 1916. Pages 556-576.

Submitted by Sylvia (Rose) Duda, Laingsburg, MI November 28, 2001.


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