Center township was first organized at the May term of the board of county commissioners in 1831. It then included a narrow strip of territory two miles north and south by seven miles east and west and was described as follows: Commencing one mile south of the township line dividing 15 and 16 at the line dividing sections 2 and 3; thence north to the said township line; thence east one mile; thence north one mile; thence two miles west of the range line dividing 6 and 7; thence south two miles; thence east to the place of beginning.
At the January term, 1836, its boundary lines were changed as follows: Commencing at the northwest corner of section 35, township 16 north, range 6 east; thence east seven miles to the northeast corner of section 35; thence south three miles to the southwest corner of section 11, township 15 north; range 7 east; thence west seven miles to the southwest corner of section 11; thence north to the place of beginning.
Other changes have been made. For a number of years the greater part of what is now the north end of the township was included in the townships of Union and Harrison. Since 1853 the township has had its present boundaries.
Its surface is level, except along Sugar creek and Brandywine creek, where it is rolling. Its natural drainage is towards the south and consists of the two streams above mentioned. Sugar creek flows in a southerly direction across the northwest corner of the township, while Brandywine enters at its northeast corner and flows in a southerly direction through its eastern part. Several large open drains have been constructed leading from different parts of the township to these creeks. With the exception of a portion of the bottom lands of Brandywine creek the township is well drained and under cultivation. A large portion of the Brandywine bottom is still marshy and is incapable of being drained until the bed of Brandywine has been lowered by dredging. If this creek can be successfully dredged, as was Buck creek a quarter of a century ago, then there are still hundreds of acres of the garden land of the township to be reclaimed for cultivation.
The first settlers reached the southeastern part of the township within a year or so after Blue River township was settled, or about 1819 or 1820. The first land entry was made on September 12, 1821. On that date Platt Montgomery entered the east half of the southeast quarter of section 9 township 15, range 7. The entry book in the county recorder’s office contains a number of names among those who entered land in Center township that are still familiar in the county. Among them are Harry Pierson, Leonard W. Bartlett, Isaac Willett, Amos Wright, William Pierson, Thomas Wright, Henry M. Wright, John L. Smith, Ephraim Wright, Morris Pierson, John Foster, George Smith, Sidney Smith, George Anderson, John Wingfield, James B. Stephen, George Tague, Robert M. Swope, James B. Reynolds, William Alexander, Levi Leary, Elijah Leary, Jeptha Meek, Milton A. Craft, Barnabas Gray, Samuel Hamilton, William Sebastian, Lewis Sebastian, Joseph T. Wallace, Elijah Lineback, John Myers, George Leonard, Samuel Martin, John C. Wilson, David Kauble, Eder Chittenden, William Hamilton, Owen Jarrett, Logan Alford, Andrew P. Jackson, William C. Ross, John Carr, George Kingery, Andrew Jarrett, James Reeves, Thomas Alexander, Richard Willett, James Gillespie, Pine Rigdon, James Barnett, James Barrett, George D. Wiggins, David S. Gooding, John Brees, Thomas Willett, John Robins, Donovan Groves, Moses Dunn, George Reeves, Ovid Pierson, Charles Willett, Hiram Rockfellow, John Hunt, David Brees, Hezekiah Hunt, James Rigdon, Cornwell Meek, Nathan Crawford, Almond Moore, Alexander Geary, Constant B. Jones, John H. Martin, Thomas J. Leary, William Wilson, James Pherson, Stephen Wallace, Christopher Johnson, John Johnson, Robert Wood, Abraham Rhue, Jesse Bridges, Thomas Baldwin, Davis Riley, James Carr, Harmon Warrum, Eli Reeves, William Curry, John Bussell, James Curry, William Justice, Micajah Martin, Isaih Curry, William Simmons, John Porter, Benjamin E. Pilkenton, Young Y. Brizendine, Samuel Alleyu, Adam Swope, Elihu Morris, Washington Magruder, Moses Braddock, William Martin, John Simmons, William Martindale, Lucius Brown, James Brooks, Basil Meek, Josiah Sutton, Adam Hawk, Brooks Brizendine, William Winn, Thomas Carr, James Hinchman, William Kingen, Levi Johnson, Rebecca Snodgrass, Joseph Bridges, Isaac Martindale, Jacob Tague, John Davis, Abner Bell and Samuel Martin.
Among the mills in Center township that were well known in its early history were those of William Pierson, William Curry and Isaac Willett. William Pierson’s grist-mill was built about 1825 and was located on Sugar creek, in the east half of the northeast quarter of section 14, township 16, range 6. The grist-mill of William Curry was built in 1835 and was located on Brandywine creek, about the middle of the north half of section 10, township 16, range 7. Isaac Willett’s grist-mill was built in 1838 and was located on Sugar creek, probably on the southwest quarter of the northeast quarter of section 16, township 16, range 6. These mills were all run by water power.
Several saw-mills have been constructed in different parts of the township; the greater number, however, were located in Greenfield and will be considered in the local history of Greenfield. Among the later mills and factories that were established outside of Greenfield are the following: A saw-mill erected by George Newhall about three miles east of Greenfield on the north side of the railroad. It stood at the southeast corner of section 35, township 16, range 7, just below the present location of Tree’s shop. At that time the railroad had a switch there and also stopped certain accommodation trains for passengers. The mill burned after a few years, but was rebuilt and operated until about 1875. A saw-mill, constructed by Curtis & Brother, in 1869, located along the east side of the east half of the southeast quarter of section 35, township 16, range 7, at the point where the road turns to the northwest. In 1872 this mill was moved to a point on the west side of the Greenfield and Pendleton pike, three and one-half miles north of Greenfield. It was operated there until sometime during the latter eighties. A saw-mill was constructed by Thomas Little during the latter seventies on the northwest corner of the east half of the northeast quarter of section 23, township 16, range 6. It was removed about 1880. A saw-mill was moved from Gem, in 1902, to the northwest quarter of the northeast quarter of section 4, township 16, range 7, by James F. Webb, where it was operated by Mr. Webb for several years.
A saw-mill was established at Maxwell by Richard Hagen & Curtis, and later owned by W. S. Gant, Coffin & Company, F. J. Wickers and Fremont Gant. The boiler in this mill exploded on the afternoon of September 15, 1902, instantly killing Thomas Sitton and William Bailey, and severely injuring Walter Cooper, Roy Sitton and Fremont Gant. The force of the explosion was terrific and produced a shock that was felt for miles around the mill. The mill at first stood north of town, but was later moved west of town and north of the tracks, where the explosion occurred.
A tile factory was established at Maxwell by Keller & Evans, in 1885. It was bought by Fred Wicker in 1891 and operated until the fall of 1914.
United Chain Works, established at Maxwell in 1902, through S. R. Wells and operated until about 1911.
A grain elevator was erected at Maxwell in 1897 by Thomas H. and Andrew J. New. It burned a year later and was rebuilt. It was then blown down in the storm of 1902 and rebuilt again. It was later owned by New & Brandenburg, and is owned at present by Brandenburg & Carlton.
The first school houses in Center township were probably located within the present site of the city of Greenfield and are discussed in connection with the local history of Greenfield.
The Independence school house has the honor of having been the meeting place for the organization of the first county teachers’ association, on February 16, 1860. The proceedings of that day, with the first constitution adopted by the teachers of the county, are fully set out in the chapter on education. In a notice that appeared in the local papers, at that time the school is named "Forest Academy." No one in the neighborhood seems to remember the location of such a school, hence the inference may be drawn, that for the purpose of making it attractive to the teachers of the county, the local teachers gave it the euphonious name, "Forest Academy."
Sixteen single-room district schools were maintained for many yeas prior to 1883. In that year a two-room building was constructed at Maxwell by Robert D. Cooper. Those two rooms now form the middle portion of the building at Maxwell. Trueblood & Popink erected it for two thousand seven hundred and forty dollars and it was dedicated with elaborate ceremonies on November 24, 1883. The house was filled with people and speeches were made by the trustee, R. D. Cooper; William Fries, G. W. Love, N. H. Curtis, George W. Duncan, Dr. Hervey, James Reynolds and Alpheus Reynolds. Two additions have been made since the first two rooms were constructed, so that it now has six rooms.
On May 17, 1884, the first township commencement was held at Maxwell. The pupils gave a program and the Greenfield city band furnished the music.
The two-room school house at Mohawk was constructed in 1886 by John L. Fry, trustee of Center township, and Aquilla Grist, trustee of Buck Creek township. The building was located on the Center township side of the road, but was to be a joint building. It was used jointly for several years, since which time it has been maintained by Center township alone, the trustee of Buck Creek township paying transfer fees for pupils attending from that township.
The Maxwell school house was condemned by the state board of health in the spring of 1914. Trustee Abram Frost at once took steps for the construction of a new house. Plans and specifications were prepared and the contract for the new building let. When the township trustee offered the bonds for sale an injunction suit was instituted by a number of taxpayers to prevent their sale. The suit made it impossible to sell the bonds since no one cared to accept them as long as their legality was in question. The injunction suit was determined in favor of the township in the circuit court. The contractor then brought an action for mandamus to compel the trustee to offer the bonds for sale. The mandate was granted, but an appeal was taken from the decision of the lower court, which is now pending in the higher court. In the meantime purchasers refuse to accept the bonds because their legality is still questioned.
During the summer of 1914 the contractor built the walls as high as the second floor, and also laid the joists for the first two floors. Being unable to proceed because of the lack of funds, the building has stood in its unfinished condition since late in the fall of 1914.
A high school was organized at Maxwell in the fall of 1898 with fifteen students. Under the act of 1907, although non-commissioned, it became a certified high school with a four-years course. Following are the principals who have had charge of it since its organization: William M. Coffield, 1898-99; John Q. McGrail, 1899-1902; Miss Leo Chambers, 1902-04; Miss Kate Griffin, 1904-5; Miss Mary Paxton, 1905-6; John Q. McGrail, 1906-9; John T. Rash, 1909-10; John T. Sullivan, 1910-11; W. E. Bussell, 1911-13; William Lemmon, 1913.14; A. M. Brown, 1914.
Since the enactment of the township trustee law, in 1859, the following men have filled the trustee’s office in Center township: John Foster, 1859; John H. White, 1861; William Frost, 1862; Robert Bar, 1863; J. W. Walker, 1864; William F. Pratt, 1868; S. T. Dickerson, 1870; James McClarnon, 1874; William Potts, 1878; Robert D. Cooper, 1880-82; Columbus N. Jackson, 1884; John L. Fry, 1886-88; William H. Thompson, 1890; John K. Henby, 1894; Eli Hagans, 1900; William Elsbury, 1904; Abram Frost, 1908; Rufus Temple, 1914.
The population of Center township, including the city of Greenfield, is 6,400, as shown by the census of 1910. The township had an enumeration of 435 pupils, not including Greenfield, in the spring of 1915. Of these, 355 were enrolled in the schools, 258 were in the grades and 24 in the high school.
The total amount paid the teachers in the elementary grades during the year 1914-15 was $5,382. The total cost of maintaining the grade schools was $9,023.54. It cost the township $2,396 to maintain its high school. The estimated value of its school property was $17,100, as reported by the township trustee on August 1, 1915. The total assessment of taxables as reported by the assessor in 11914 was $2,337,520.
For many years Harrison township included a large portion of what is now the northern part of Center township. During the existence of this township its local courts were presided over by the following men: Isaiah Curry, 1831; William Martindale, 1831; John Martin, 1835; William Martindale, 1835; John Martin, 1840; J. D. Conway, 1843; John Martin, 1845; J. D. Conway, 1848; John Martin, 1850; W. C. Walker, 1850; E. B. Chittenden, 1851.
From 1838 to 1853 a part of what is now Center township was included in Union township. The local courts of Union township were presided over by James, Reeves, 12840; David W. O’Delt, 1841; William B. Martin, 11845; Levi Leary, 1846;1851; R. N. Dun, 1853.
As may be seen by referring to the chapter on county government, the boundary lines of Center township were changed a number of times. The township has been of all sizes, from a narrow strip two miles north and south and seven miles east and west to its present dimensions. Its local courts through all of these variations have been presided over by the following men: Joseph Chapman, ---; W. O. Neff, 1831; Jonathan Dunbar, 1834; George Tague, 1834; William Justice, 1836; W. A. Franklin, 1841; William Sebastian, 1842;William Cushman, 1842; Harry Pierson, 1846; Thomas H. Fry, 1847; C. Y. Atkison, 1848; Erastus Church, 1848; John Rardin, 1848; Joseph Anderson, 1849; Johathan Tague, 1850; Leonard Hines, 1850; Joseph Matthews, 1851; James B. Rawlins, 1854; John Rardin, 1854-58; William Foster, 1860; W. P. Cragan, 1860; George Barnett, 1862-70; John Rardin, 1862-66; Isaac Mullen, 1870-74; W. C. Walker, 1870-74; John W. Walker, 1874-78; James H. Thompson 1878; George Barnett, 1874-1880-84-88-92; James W. Wilson, 1880; Reuben A. Riley, 1883; William Anderson, 1884; William Roberts, 1886; Richard Hagans, 1888; Enos Gery, 1888-92; Vard Finnell, 1892; Newton R. Spencer, 1894; Ambrose J. Herron, 1894-1900; William H. Alger, 1894; Foster S. Franklin, 1896; Lewis Cooper, 1898; Vinton A. Smith, 1897-1906; James W. Barrett, 1901; Washington O. Slifer, 1902; Elijah B. Grose, 1906; Henry Snow, 1906; Daniel C. Gimason, 1906-10-14; Joseph Garrett, 1910; Pympton R. Reed, 1914; Jesse M. Reedy, 1914; John F. Eagan, 1915.
Center township, including the city of Greenfield, has furnished a great many of the men who have been charged with the responsibility of administering the affairs of the county. Lewis Tyner, who was the first clerk of the circuit court, and who for several years also performed the duties of the county auditor and county recorder in connection with the clerk’s office, was a resident of Greenfield. Among other names that are prominent in the very early history of the township are those of John Foster, the first sheriff, also the first trustee of Center township and the first representative from Hancock county in the state Legislature: John Templin, who is prominent as an early merchant and who was also the first auditor of Hancock county; Meridith Gosney, whose name is prominent as county surveyor and school commissioner. The following list will give a good idea of the officers who have been selected from Center township, including Greenfield:
Representatives—John Foster, Joseph Chapman, David S. Gooding, George Y. Atkison, Morgan Chandler, William H. H. Rock, Leonard Bardwell, Joseph Mathers, John Alley, Charles G. Offutt, John H. White, Harry G. Strickland, Thomas D. Walpole, Reuben A. Riley, George Tague, A. C. Handy, Montgomery Marsh, Robert F. Reeves.
Senators—Thomas D. Walpole, William R. Hough, David S. Gooding, Morgan Chandler, James L. Mason.
County Commissioners—Benjamin Spillman, Abram Rhue, Hiram Tyner, M. L. Paullus, George W. Gordon, Isaac Willett, William Curry, Jacob Slifer, George Crider, Horace Wickard, Nathaniel Henry, Jacob Tague, John Hinchman, William Marsh.
County Surveyors—Jared Chapman, W. S. Fries, G. C. Winslow, Meredith Gosney, Frank Lewark, Morris Pierson, James A. Cleary.
Clerks of the Circuit Court—Lewis Tyner, William Sebastian, John T. Sebastian, Charles Downing, Moses Wood, Joseph Chapman, James Rutherford, Morgan Chandler, R. A. Black, Horace E. Wilson, John Hager, George Y. Atkison, Henry A. Swope, William A. Service. All of the clerks of the circuit court, except Marsh, Sample, Hall and William A. Wood have been elected from Center township.
Auditors—John Templin, A. C. Handy, William I. Garriott, Lysander Sparks, James L. Mitchell, Harvey Rhue, Jonathan Tague, Lawrence Wood.
Treasurers—Nathan Crawford, John Foster, James A. Flippo, Morris Pierson, Nelson Bradley, Allen cooper, Andrew T. Hart, Isaiah Curry.
Sheriffs—John Foster, Jonathan Dunbar, Morgan Chandler, Lewis N. Larrabee, Samuel C. Duncan, John Osborn, William H. Pauley, John Cartlton, Basil Meek, William H. Curry, Noah Spegal, Jesse Cox.
Recorders—Joshua Meek, William West, Nathaniel H. Roberts, James Thomas, John Milroy, William Mitchell, John W. Ryon, Raleigh Sitton, Lemuel Gooding, Levi Leary, Henry Snow, William R. White.
County Assessors—John H. Reeves, Eli A. Parish.
Following are the property opwners who paid taxes in sums exceeding one hundred dollars in 1915: George Allen, $104.45; Joseph L. Alford, $162.18; Mary C. Ashcraft, $248.07; Sophia Boots, $267.26; Franklin Boots, $334.15; Walter K. Boyd, $239.14; Freeman Braddock and children, $173.61; Charles Burton, $134.69; William A. Barnard, $100.17; Samuel S. Boots, $538.39; Margaret J. Brohard, $587.93; Mary E. Boyd, $208.89; Isom J. Baity, $128.57; Malinda B. Biddle, $103.23; William M. Brizendine, $145.65; Charlotte Coffield, $247.45; John W. Caraway, $132.81; Jacob Catt (estate), $ 425.95; James Carlton, $187.81; Elmer E. Clark, $ 247.25; Marshall T. Duncan, $ 307.02; James M. Deer, $ 254.59; William Elsbury, $100.98; Luther Frost, $227.71; Leander Fuller, $212.16; Isaac A. Goble and wife, $118.53; Edward E. and Florence Gant, $102.81; John S. Henry, $170.98; Nathan Hunt, $266.22; Elijah A. Henby, $256.02; Willard Hutchinson, $260.47; Madison Hinchman, $114.45; Charles M. Hill, $160.95; Charles M. Hill, Administrator, $104.45; Thomas B. Leary, $200.99; Eli Lilly & Co., $677.28; Joshua Moore, $220.93; Edward Martin, $109.35; Emma Hall Morris, $280.93; John McBee, $102.21; Edwin L. McIntire, $132.44; Marshall V. Pratt, $186.05; John T. Parish, $160.95; Joshua J. Pratt, $171.57; George W. Reeves, heirs, $105.47; Nancy E. Reedy, $128.72; John A. Rhue, $117.57; Benjamin F. Shelby, $115.26; Mary J. Sipe heirs, $163.20; Thomas Seaman, $112.05; John S. Thomas, $146.07; Charles S. Townsend, $133.87; Manford L. Wright, $202.37; Eliza M. Wilson, $220.72; Lewis J. Weber, $126.89; David L. Wickard, $166.67; James F. Webb, $154.71; Samuel A. Wray, #357.61; Frederick J. Wickers, $263.97; Mary A. Williams, $110.37; William E. Crossley, $105.31; James M. Duncan, $214.61; William C. Dudding, $180.95; Rosanna C. Elsbury, $297.03; Sarah M. Frost, $254.79; John S. Gibbs, $100.77; Greenfield Fruit Jar and Bottle Company, $776.43; Thomas Holland (estate), $252.75; Joseph M. Henry, $194.20; Martha Howard (estate), $ 225.81; Richard Hagan, $205.63; Floyd Hutchinson, $283.35; Maggie L. Halsall, $317.63; James V. Herr, $202.98; William L. Harn, $109.53; Vernia I. Kerr and Roscoe M. Moore, $132.18; Frank Larrabee and wife, $102.00; J. K. P. Martindale, $234.39; Caleb W. Moncrief, $213.18; Eliza J. McClarnon, $134.03; Charles W. McKinzie, $157.13; Pearl Jacobs McDonald, $100.98; Henry W. Pope, $115.67; George W. Potts, $109.95; Emery F. Pratt, $125.11; Thomas Roberts, $1,141.00; William H. Reese, $152.19; John M. Smith, $675.30; William R. Shipley, $134.44; Julian Strahl, $144.49; Justice W. Sharick, $116.67; William F. Thomas, $277.26; Oscar L. Wright, $174.63; Isaac M. Willett, $144.37; James E. Wilson, $117.91; John C. Weber, $309.67; Horace F. Wickard, $136.68; L. P. and L. A. Wiggins, $121.17; Riley H. White, $117.55; Porter Wiggins, $107.91; Clarence and Estella Walker, $131.23; Sarah M. Zell, $130.27.
The town of Mohawk lies partly in Center and partly in Buck Creek township. Its history has been given under Buck Creek township.
The original survey of the town of Maxwell was made on August 20, 1881, when nineteen lots were laid out by Massa Apple. It was first known as "junction," but as soon as a few houses were built the town was named Maxwell, in honor of a man connected with the construction of the railroad. The following additions have been made to the town:
Apple’s Addition, platted September 7, 1881, by John J. Apple, and contains nine lots.
Holland’s First Addition, platted August 10, 1883, by Thomas J. Holland, and contains eight lots.
Holland’s Second Addition, platted October 21, 1882, by Thomas J. Holland, and contains nine lots.
Reynold’s Addition, platted October 28, 1882, by James H. Reynolds, and contains fourteen lots.
Holland’s Third Addition, platted April 30, 1889, by Thomas J. Holland, and contains six lots.
Holland’s Fourth Addition, platted March 31, 1892, by Thomas J. Holland, and contains two lots.
Holland’s Fifth Addition, platted Mary 3, 1902, by Thomas J. Holland, and contains twenty-five lots.
Maxwell has never been incorporated as a town.. Its mills and factories have been discussed above.
A Knights of Pythias lodge was organized on June 28, 1884, with eighteen charter members. On account of its proximity to Greenfield it was difficult for the lodge to keep up its membership. People preferred to come to Greenfield, and, after struggling along for several years it gave up its charter.
Among the grocers, merchants, etc., who have been located at Maxwell are C. F. W. Brandt, "Millus" Jackson, J. M. Jacobs, E. L. Cooper, J. F. Gant and Burt Burk, the latter three being engaged in business now. Phemister & Carlton had a drug store for a time, and Chamberlain a restaurant. Frank Weber also operated a blacksmith shop for a number of years. The present blacksmiths are Guy Dobbins, Robert Bussell and Charles Chambers. Jacob Sutton is the tonsorial artist of the town.
The Progressive Reading Club was organized during the last week of February, 1916, at the home of Mrs. E. L. Cooper, by the ladies of Maxwell and vicinity. The purpose of the club is indicated by the caption. The officers elected for the first year were: Mrs. Martin Welsh, president; Mrs. Eakin, vice-president; Mrs. Ernest Hiday, secretary, and Mrs. Jennie McCarty, treasurer.
This proposed town was surveyed and laid out by William Curry during the thirties, on the east bluffs of Brandywine, from a quarter to a half mile south of the north line of section 10, township 16, range 7. It adjoined the site of a grist-mill which he was operating at the time. The town was like many others that were laid out on paper in new country and never actually came into existence.
For many years a postoffice was maintained at Leamon’s Corner, in Jackson township. In 1881 this postoffice was removed, and about the same time George Tague, who lived along the west line of the southwest quarter of section 14, township 16, range 7, had a postoffice installed in a little grocery that he was conducting. This postoffice was known as Binwood. Mail was distributed from it until in the latter eighties.
About 1894 or 1895 eight or ten boys in the vicinity of the Independence school organized a band. It played for several years, when the organization was dropped. About 1902 the Independence cornet band was organized under the leadership of Albert Frost. It consisted of the following members: Albert Frost, Rufus Temple, Eugene Short, Vernice Fuller, Ira Fuller, Frank Jones, Charles Shipley, Earle Frost, Raymond Wilson, Ralph Fisk, Joe Bundy, Frank Martindale, Bert Orr, Charles Sipe, Edward Sipe, Von Glascock, Sam Boyd and Earl Martin. The organization was maintained for two or three years, the boys playing through the campaign of 1904. A band room was erected at the northeast corner of section 21, township 16, range 7. After the campaign, however, a number of the boys moved away and the other ceased playing.
A band was organized at Maxwell about 1903, which, with a changing membership, played for six or seven years. The band was at first under the leadership of Lewis Thieman, later under the leadership of Lewis Monroe, and finally under Ed. Duckett. Among the boys who played in the band for a series of years were the following: Charley Shipley, Earl Martin, Earle Frost, Bob Dorman, Fred Gant, Harry Chambers, Tracy Clark, Bynum Jackson, Ed. Duckett, Ben Bachlett, Lewis Thieman, leader; John Burke, Lewis Monroe, Charles Stanton and Earl Duckett.
The Pan Handle Nursery was established in 1874, by J. K. Henby, who at first supplied only the local retail trade. The business has grown until it now has a wholesale output that goes into almost every state in the Union. The nursery produces fruit and ornamental trees, shrubs, vines, roses, evergreens, forest tree seedlings, etc., etc. J. K. Henby retired several years ago, and since that time the business has been conducted by E. A. Henby, under the name of J. K. Henby & Son.
The Lilly biological plant is located one mile west of Greenfield on the National road on a farm of about one hundred and sixty acres. The entire plant is devoted to the production of antitoxins, vaccines, serums and similar preparations employed by physicians in the treatment of diseases, particularly infectious and contagious diseases.
The laboratories and stables form a very attractive group of snow-white, red-roofed buildings of mission architecture, modified. And seen from the railway train or the National highway, these buildings, situated in the midst of a beautiful park, make a sight particularly pleasing to the eye. The frontage of the buildings is about four hundred and fifty feet. Everything is of the most substantial construction and the plant is practically fire-proof. Construction of this plant was begun in 1913, but it was not until the fall and winter of 1914-15 that biological products were placed on the market.
At the present time between thirty and forty horses are employed in the production of antitoxins, serums, etc.; a few sheep are also used in the production of serum. Of smaller animals, such as rabbits, guinea pigs, etc., there are many hundreds.
Those who have had opportunity to see the best laboratories of this kind in both America and Europe have pronounced the Lilly plant the finest in existence. It embodies the latest ideas in laboratory construction, and no expense has been spared to provide the best facilities for this class of work.
In addition to the main laboratory there are shops for repair work, a spacious residence for the superintendent and quarters for some of the employees.
In addition to work on biological products, the farm provides facilities for experimental work upon medicinal plants. A large greenhouse is occupied in experimental work and in the propagation of belladonna and henbane and many other medicinal plants indigenous to the Old World. In the spring of 1915 forty-five thousand seedlings were planted on a ten-acre plot and a very fine crop of belladonna, both leaves and roots was harvested in the following fall. This was the first belladonna had been cultivated successfully in the United States on a large commercial scale, the previous source of this drug being Austria-Hungary and Germany. In time it is contemplated to cultivate many more medicinal plants, especially those that have heretofore been supplied from foreign sources.
The Modern Priscilla Club, a sewing and fancy work club, was organized on August 15, 1912. Following are its members: Mesdames Roy Pauley, Price Scott, Frank Sipe, Elmer Richey and J. C. Thomas, and the Misses Luna Elsbury, Ester Newhouse, Marie Newhouse, May McIntire, Rose Kauble, Vera Burton, Beatrice and Garnetta Montrose, Mary Finney and Gladys Hamilton. The membership of this club is composed of ladies from Center, Blue Rive and Brandywine townships. The club meets once each month. It united with the Organized Federation of Country Clubs in the spring of 1915.
The Country Culture Club was organized in Center township, northeast of Greenfield, on June 6, 1906. It remained in existence for a year or two and pursued literary studies. Among the members were Mrs. Mattie Sisson, Cora Orr, Ada O. Frost, Ethel Martindale, Dora Pratt, Myrtle Frost, Mesdames Freeman Smith, Horace Binford, and the Misses Ethel Harlan, Maggie Martin and Bess Bidgood.
Curry’s chapel is located at the southeast corner of the southwest quarter of the northeast quarter of section 15, township 16, range 7. The church was organized in 1840. The leading members at that time were: James H. Curry, Morgan Curry, Austin Curry, Wilson Curry, Madison Curry, William Martindale, James Parks, J. M. Curry, Moses Vangilder and Jacob Tague. At first they had no place in which to hold meetings except in their cabins, but shortly after organizing, James Parks, one of the charter members, built a two-story hewed-log house, and fitted the upstairs to make it suitable for holding meetings. This house stood a short distance southwest of the present church and was used until 1842. In that year the congregation built a hewed-log church, which was called Curry’s chapel because so many of the Currys belonged to it. The house was built on land donated by James Parks and William Bridges. It was used as a place of worship for twenty-five years, or until 1867, when it was torn down and a frame church was erected on the same site. The members at this time were William Taylor, William Brooks, I. A. Curry, William Bridges, Thomas West, Thomas B. Miller, William Winn, the Martindales, Tagues, Stuarts and Martins. This church was dedicated by James Mc Mullin and was used as a place of worship for thirty-three years, or until the year 1900, when it was torn down and the present brick church was erected at a cost of about four thousand five hundred dollars. The board of trustees at that time was composed of Richard Frost, Carson Alexander, Edward Martin, Robert Briles and J. K. P. Martindale. These men also composed the building committee. The church was dedicated by Rev. Lamport. It has now been seventy-four years since this society was organized, and it is said that there never has been a year in all this time that the church has not had a regular pastor. It now has a membership of about one hundred and twenty. The average attendance at services for the past several years has been about seventy-five.
A Sunday school was organized at the time of the organization of the church. Some of the members did not believe in Sunday schools, but Harvey Curry organized a class that met under a large oak tree during the first summer. Later, of course, it became an auxiliary of the church and has steadily kept pace with the parent institution. It now has six classes, with an average attendance of about fifty. Among its superintendents have been, Harvey Curry, William Bridges, Capt. I. A. Curry, William Taylor, C. T. Fowler, Joseph Fisk, Cora Fisk, Rosa Taylor, James Bussell, Albert Frost, C. Bert Orr and C. F. Brooks.
The various circuits to which the church has belonged have owned three parsonages, one at Eden and one at Maxwell.
Two auxiliary societies have been organized, one, a Ladies’ Aid Society, organized about 1900; the other, the Willing Workers, organized about 1907. The latter organization is still active and has a membership of about twenty-five.
The Cedar Grove Methodist Protestant church stood on the west line of the east half of the northeast quarter of section 26, township 16, range 6, at the present elbow made by the road, about thirty rods north of the south line of said east half. It was one of the very early churches of the township. The people of the community, including the Shelbys, Pyles, Robbins and others, at first worshipped at the White school house that stood on the spot above described, or very near there. A church was built by the congregation about 1868 or ’69. Services ceased to be conducted in the latter seventies or early eighties.
Among the charter members of this congregation were James Gant, Jeremiah Gant, John Alexander, Hiram Hunt, Robert Wilson and Thomas Smith. They likely had held services for some time previously, but in 1839 they bought one acre of ground from Richar Hutson for twenty-five dollars, on which to build a church. This was located on the east bluffs of Sugar creek, near the southeast quarter of the northwest quarter of the northeast quarter of section 23, township 16, range 6. The church was about thirty by thirty-eight feet and was furnished with slab seats. The class was organized and held meetings in this building in 1840. Their first pastor was a man named Richmond, from Pendleton, Ind. Among the very early ministers were John Burt, George Havens, John Millender and G. W. Bowers.
The first board of trustees was composed of Robert Smith, John Alexander and Hiram Hunt. Services with preaching were held every four weeks at 10:30 A. M. In 1849 Eli Rammel was pastor of the charge. The church then had a membership of probably twenty. A great revival was held in the church in 1849, in which eighty or more were converted and joined church. Preaching services were then held every four weeks at 3:00 o’clock P. M.
Sunday school was held every Sunday morning at 9:00 A.M., with an attendance of about fifty. Class meetings were held at 10:00 A.M. James Gant was class leader and Sunday school superintendent for a number of years about this time.
The membership of the church was divided, some living on the west side of Sugar creek, the others on the east side of the creek. Those on the west side withdrew about 1850 and attended church in a school house on the west side of the creek. During the Civil War the membership swindled down to a very few. A number of the members at that time also joined the Cedar Grove church.
In 1871 the members of the congregation took a subscription for the construction of a new church house. Money was subscribed, and in the fall of 1872 the contract for the new church house was let to John S. Orr for one thousand and fifty dollars. The church was dedicated on August 3, 1873. About 1874 it was made a part of the Philadelphia circuit and has had the same pastors that are given under the Philadelphia charge. The congregation has its regular services with its Sunday school meeting every Sunday.
The Mt. Carmel Methodist Episcopal church was organized about 1838 in a log school house where the present house now stands, on the east bluff of Sugar creek, in the northeast quarter of section 1, township 16, range 6. Among its charter members were Owen Jarrett, Andrew Jarrett, William Jones and wife, John Alley, Martha Swope, Riley Taylor, John Lewis and wife, Samuel Henry and wife and Martha Chapman. The Rev. Eli Rammel, who conducted such a successful revival at the Sugar Creek Methodist Episcopal church in 1849, conducted a similar revival in this church, at which over one hundred persons were added to the membership of the church.
In 1853 it erected a new frame church, at a cost of eight hundred dollars. Services were held until about the beginning of the present century.
The Mt. Gilead Baptist church was organized on August 19, 1827, at the home of Samuel Jackson, with the Baptist ministers and other members of the faith from Blue River township and from the Bethel church present. The congregation was first known as Brandywine church and retained that name until about the middle of August, 1838, when the members changed the name to Mt. Gilead. Among the charter members were Samuel Jackson and wife, Benjamin Spillman and wife, and James Reeves and wife.
Services were held in the church until about 1909-10. The church building is still standing and is located on the west side of the angling road in the southwest corner of the northeast quarter of the northeast quarter of section 13, township 16, range 6.
This congregation was probably organized through the efforts of Rev. Abbott, from Indianapolis, about the time of the Civil War, or a little later. A neat frame church was built at the northeast corner of the southeast quarter of section 27, township 16, range 7. It took its name from the Bethel school house which then stood about thirty rods north of the church. No records of the church have been found, but among the families who worshipped there, whether they were members or not, were William Fries and family, A. C. handy and family, James P. Galbreath and family, J. Foster and family, Jason Myers and family,----Johnson and family. A. C. Handy preached many sermons in this church and James P. Galbreath was a very active member. The families became scattered and services were discontinued during the latter seventies or early eighties.
The Maxwell Methodist Episcopal church was organized at Maxwell and the church was built in 1886. The charter members were Zacister Dorman, Minerva Dorman, Ivan Curtis, Martha Curtis, Martha Howard, Thomas Holland, Azberine Holland, John T. Henry, Louisa J. Henry, Frank Boots, Mrs. Boots and Lucretia Welch. Its present membership numbers fifty-five.
Following are a few of the pastors who have served the congregation: Hosie Woolpert, William Peck, D. H. Guild, ---Rhinehart, J. L. Ramsey, A. A. Pittinger and S. F. Harter.
A Sunday school was organized soon after the erection of the church in 1886. Its superintendents have been James A. Reynolds, Thomas Holland, Joseph Dorman, Henry Shepler, Mrs. Alice Hutton, Philip Schenk and E. H. Tresner. The average attendance of the Sunday school is about sixty. Six classes are organized, representing the primary, intermediate and adult departments.
The Maxwell circuit owns a parsonage, located at the south end of Maxwell. It was purchased by Rev. A. J. Rhodes, who was then the pastor in charge. The church has a flourishing Epworth League, which was organized by the present pastor, A. J. Duryee, in 1913, with forty charter members. W. A. Kimball was the first president of the league. At present it has a membership of one hundred and sixteen. S. B. Lininger is now president.
The present board of trustees consists of John T. Henry, S. B. Lininger, E. H. Trusner and J. F. Gant. The board of stewards is composed of S. B. Lininger and wife, Ed. Prather and wife and Mrs. Ethel Robinson.
The first persons to embrace the faith of the Seventh-Day Adventists in the vicinity of Maxwell were George W. Hopkins, Henrietta Hopkins, his wife, and Leonard V. Hopkins, in the winter of 1884. During the summer of 1888 Elders William Covert and F. M. Roberts pitched a tent at Maxwell and conducted meetings, which resulted in the erection of the church at Maxwell. A congregation of about thirty members was organized, including the families of George W. Hopkins, A. E. Hopkins, Leonard V. Hopkins, Nathan Hunt, A. C. Alford, Charles Anderson, A. J. Johnson, C. C. Slater, John J. Hopkins and Frank M. Archer. On the night of August 18, 1890, the church burned, but a new house was built in the same fall. Services were then held for a period of ten or twelve years, after which many members having moved away, the church building was sold to the Friends congregation. The Friends bought the house in 1902 and kept it until 1913, when it was bought by Leonard V. Hopkins, who now holds it for the Seventh-Day Adventist church.
In February, 1915, the congregation was reorganized and now consists of twenty-one members, including the families of Nathan Hunt, Irvin Hunt, Raymond Potts, Roy White, Elizabeth Anderson, Mrs. A. E. Hopkins, Lloyd Dickerson, Abe Cottrell, Jesse Wilson and L. V. Hopkins.
A school with ten pupils is also conducted in connection with the church by Miss Irene Presnall, of Indianapolis, for the purpose of giving the children instruction in religious matters.
The Maxwell Friends church was organized December 19, 1888, with the following charter members: Daniel Apple, Elizabeth J. Apple, Susan H. Barnard, Hiram Chapple, Franklin Boots, John Crossly, Isaiah Chappel, Henry W. Chadric, Zachary Dorman, Marion Forgey, Susan Forgey, John S. McCune, Elizabeth McCune, John T. Harlan, Adaline Harlan, Joseph Gray, Mary Gray, James M. Walker, Effie Walker, James A. Jacobs, Amanda A. Jacobs, Thomas H. Shepherd, Martha S. Shepherd, William West and Samuel Wiggins. The first trustees of the church were Franklin Boots, Marion Forgey and Joshua J. Pratt.
Not long after organizing, their first church was erected on the north side of the railroad. This building was destroyed by the storm on June 25, 1902. The congregation then bought the Seventh-Day Adventist church in the fall of 1902. Services were held for some time in this church, after which the membership was transferred to the Friends church at Greenfield on September 24, 1904. In 1913 the Friends sold the church building to Leonard V. Hopkins, who now holds it for the use of the Seventh-Day Adventist congregation.
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 577-594.
Submitted by Sylvia (Rose) Duda, Laingsburg, MI December 12, 2001.
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