Vernon township was first organized at the May term of the board of county commissioners, in 1836. It was made to include all that it now comprises, also a strip seven miles east and west and one mile north and south, lying south of the present township line or immediately south of the line dividing township 16 and 17 north. At the September term, in 1838, Union township was made to include three square miles off of Vernon township, being sections 1, 2 and 3, in township 16, which are now included in Center and Buck Creek townships. On March 11, 1853, all that part of Vernon township which lay south of the line dividing congressional townships 16 and 17 north was made a part of Buck Creek township. Since that time it has had its present boundary. Its greatest length is seven miles east and west, and its greatest width, five miles north and south. Eight square miles, or a strip two miles wide off of the west end of the civil township lie in congressional township 17 north, range 5 east; the remaining part of the civil township lies in congressional township 17 north, range 6 east.
The surface of Vernon township, like that of Buck Creek township, is exceedingly level except along the creek in the northwest corner, above Fortville, where it is rolling. Sugar creek crosses the extreme southeast corner of the township. Flat Fork creek rises near the southeast corner and flows in a northwesterly direction south of Fortville. Buck creek rises near the center of the township and flows in a southwesterly direction. Both Buck creek and Flat Fork creek, however, are simply large open ditches. The difficulty of draining Buck Creek has been discussed in the history of Buck Creek township. A Flat Fork drainage company was also organized in 1874 for the purpose of improving the outlet of Flat Fork creek. Many covered ditches have been constructed since that time, and at present the township is well drained.
The first land entry was made by George Crim, who entered the east half of the southwest quarter of section 29, township 17, range 6, on November 16, 1826. The tract book in the recorder's office shows that representatives of a large number of families still residing in the county entered land in Vernon township. Among them were: Robert Hanna, Henry Bolander, John Apple, William McCord, Andrew Bolander, John Cory, David Harper, David Fisher, Joseph Winn, Charles Doty, Charles Snodgrass, Joseph Jenkins, George Prichett, John Vanzant, Joshua Ellingwood, John Warren, William Cauldwell, John Jackson, Alfred Amick, Shadrach Chappel, John Hines, James Thomas, Enoch Olvey, John Denny, John Stringer, John Roney, George Beaver, Daniel Bolander, William Apple, Parmelie Vanlaningham, Daniel Apple, Zimri Vanlaningham, Isom Boyd, Thomas Jenkins, Lawson Fuqua, John Snodgrass, Thomas Cushman, Samuel S. Faussett, Jacob Smith, Thompson Murrer, Charles Evans, Samuel Arnett, Jacob Shultz, Archibald Gardner, Benjamin Jackson, Isaiah Jackson, Henry Manifold, John G. Lewis, Levi Dobbins, Jehu Denny, Samuel Henry, Thomas J. Hanna, Peter Emery, George Pickle, Sarah McCord, Larimer Vanlaningham, John H. Robb, Christopher Apple, Simon Martin, Willis Wisehart, John Rash, Calder Snodgrass, Samuel Wisehart, Martin Fisher, George Davis, James Murrer, Francis Ellingwood, Bazalie Thomas, James B. Fred, William Amick, Lucinda Hines, James Jackson, William Thomas, George Chappell, Isaac Helms, Richard Stokes, Thomas Arnett and David S. Gooding.
On account of the lack of water power, no water mills were ever established in the early history of the township, among which were the following:
Saw-mill, built by Noel & Company, at Fortville, in 1849. Grist-mill, built by Noel & Company, at Fortville, in 1853. Grist-mill, built by Elias H. McCord, at Mc Cordsville, in 1854, and operated until the latter seventies. Grist-and saw-mill, built by Hooker & Son, at Woodbury, in 1854. Grist-mill, established at Fortville by Andrew Hagan, probably during the seventies. It has been owned by several parties and changed to an elevator, now owned and operated by McBane & McBane. Saw-mill, established at McCordsville during the early history of the town by Elias McCord. Another portable mill was established there by William Driffel in the latter seventies. Saw-mill, established at McCordsville about 1880 by Arch Newman; later sold to Ringer and Pressley. Operated for a number of years. Flax factory, established at Fortville in the latter seventies by Andrew Hagan, and operated until during the early eighties. Tile factory, established on the southeast quarter of section 31, township 17, range 6, by Aaron Littleton and operated during the seventies, probably later. Elevator, established at Fortville about 1882 by Andy Moore and Lee Roberts. An elevator has been operated on the site by several parties since that time. A building burned less than two years ago, and in 1915 the present elevator was constructed, now operated by W. D. Springer. The Grasselle chemical factory, established at Fortville in 1894, manufactures silicate of soda and employs about forty men. Grain elevator, established at McCordsville about 1910 and owned since that time by A. B. Cohen & Company.
One of the first school houses in Vernon township was located at the northwest corner of section 36, township 17, range 5, or just one mile south of McCordsville. It was known as school district No. 1. Another was located where Fortville now stands. School No. 9 was located at the northwest corner of the southwest quarter of section 16, township 17, range 6, or just one mile south of Fortville. School No. 11 stood at the northeast corner of the northwest quarter of section 14, township 17, range 6; school No., 5, at the southeast corner of the west half of the northwest quarter of section 23, township 17, range 6; school No. 4 on the east side of the Greenfield and Fortville pike, near the south line of the west half of the southwest quarter of section 26, township 17, range 6; school No. 3, at the southwest corner of the southeast quarter of section 28, township 17, range 6; school No. 2, at the southwest corner of section 29, township 17, range 6; school No. 7, at the southeast corner of section 18, township 17, range 6. All of these schools have been abandoned at this time except school No. 4, known as Denny's, and another school known as Cook's, which stands on the west side of the Greenfield and Fortville pike near the center of section 22, township 17, range 6. The pupils from the other districts now attend either at McCordsville or Fortville.
The first graded school was established at McCordsville in 1874. It was a two-story, four-room brick building, and was used until it burned, on April 14, 1877. After the fire the school term was completed in the Methodist church and at the dwelling of Mark Thomson. The walls of the building had not been damaged very much and were used again in the construction of a similar building. This building was used until 1893, when it was condemned and torn down. A third building was at once constructed, which burned during the winter of 1901-2, the term being finished in the Universalist church and at the residence of Thomas R. Pentecost. In 1902, during the trusteeship of John D. Cory, the present high school building was constructed.
Peter Hinds, one of the teachers of the township, has been teaching in the McCordsville schools since 1892. He was out during the winter of 1902-3, but, with this exception, has now been in the school continuously for twenty-four years.
In 1876 a normal was conducted by Superintendent W. H. Motsinger for the benefit of applicants who wished to write upon the teachers' examinations. Another such normal was conducted by J. W. Jay in 1890. More or less high school work was also done at different periods, but a systematic high school course was not introduced until in the fall of 1889, during the principalship of J. W. Jay. Since that time a regular course has been followed, and in 1896 the school was granted its first commission. The principals who have had charge of the high school since its organization have been: J. W. Jay, 1889; W. B. Stookey, 1895; R. L. Modesitt, 1904; O W. Jackson, 1906; Leonard M. Luce, 1912.
The manual training department was installed in the school in the fall of 1913 and a kitchen for domestic science was fully equipped in the fall of 1914.
Vernon township, including Fortville, has a population of 2,447, as shown by the census of 1910. There were enumerated in the township, not including Fortville, in the spring of 1915, 354 children between the ages of six and twenty-one years; of these, 212 were enrolled in the schools of the township, not including the pupils of Fortville or those of the township who were transferred to Fortville; 26 were in the high school and 186 in the elementary grades. The average daily attendance in the elementary grades was 154; in the high school 25. The total cost of maintaining the elementary schools during the year was $8,245.62; the total cost of maintaining the high school, $3,200.96. The total amount paid teachers for the years was $6,824.08. The estimated value of all school property, as shown by the report of the trustee made August 1, 1915, was $16,000. The total assessment of taxables in the township, as reported by the assessor in 1914, was $1,524,930. The transportation of pupils cost the township $2,498.50 for the term closing in the spring of 1915.
The following men have served the township in the capacity of trustee since the creation of the office in 1859: Perry J. Brinegar, 1859; Levi Thomas, 1861-63; G. W. Stanley, 1863; Andrew Hagan, 1866; Stokes Jackson, 1876; Samuel Arnett, 1880; Calvin Jackson, 1882-84; J. P. McCord, 1886-88; Richard Sample, 1890; J. W. Trittipo, 1894; James P. McCord, 1900; John D. Cory, 1902; Quincy A. Wright, 1904; R. C. M. Smith, 1908; W. C. Vanlaningham, 1914.
During the administration of Calvin Jackson as trustee he deposited the township funds with the Indiana Banking Company, at Indianapolis. On August 9, 1883, this bank failed, while holding on deposit $1,999.70 of the funds of Vernon township. Of this amount $410.70 was later recovered by the trustee, leaving an actual loss of $1,589.00, which was paid to Vernon township by Mr. Jackson from his private funds. While the Legislature of 1885 was in session a large number of the citizens and taxpayers of Vernon township petitioned the general assembly for a special act to relieve Mr. Jackson from said loss. Such a law was approved Aprl 11, 1885, and the trustee of Vernon township was directed to pay to Mr. Jackson the sum of $1,589.00 to reimburse him for the loss he had sustained.
The local courts of the township have been presided over by the following men since the organization of the township in 1836: John S. Apple, 1837-1841; Jehu Denny, 1838; William Caldwell, 1840-1855; Walter Denny, 1845; William R. McCord, 1846; Thomas R. Noel, 1857; Smith McCord, 1860-1868; Solomon Jackson, 1860; William Anderson, 1864; William H. Foley, 1866; Emil Lenz, 1869-78; William G. Scott, 1871; Dennis Tobin, 1872; J. B. Galbreath, 1872-76; Lewis Chappell, 1874; Jacob Denny, 1878; O. P. Hastings, 1878; James W. McCord, 1880; Cicero Vanlaningham, 1880; Oliver P. Hastings, 1883-84-88; Charles P. Thomas, 1884-88; Robert F. Cory, 1884; Thomas R. Noel, 1888; William J. Simmons, 1888; Levi J. Cook, 1888; William Huston, 1890; John Hervey, 1890; Henry Shore, 1892; Monroe Shore, 1895; John R. Smith, 1895-98; Alvin Greer, 1902; Albert H. Kinnaman, 1902; James L. Vail, 1902-06; John J. Sims, 1906-10; Elsworth Stottlemyer, 1906; Nathan Prather, 1910; Ira M. Collins, 1910; Peter A. Kinnaman, 1915.
Among the citizens of Vernon township who have served as county officers are: John Myers and James Mannix, as auditor; Andrew Hagan, county treasurer; U. S. Jackson, sheriff; Ira D. Collins and John T. Rash, county recorder; Amasa Cohee and William E. Chappell, county assessor; Elias McCord, Resin Perry, David Caudell, Andrew Hagan, Robert G. Wilson and William H. Albea, county commissioners; Smith McCord, representative; Simon P. Yancy, senator, and Charles N. Warren, road superintendent.
Among the older families of the township and the town of Fortville are the Apples, Brokaws, Bells, Caldwells, Chappels, Cushmans, Denny, Jeffreys, Ellingwoods, Forts, Cottrells, Crossleys, Kemptons, Ferrells, Hagans, Bolanders, Humes, Herveys, Hidays, Jackson, Kellys, Kingans, Lains, McCords, Merrills, Noels, Rushes, Shores, Shultzes, Stokes, Stottlemeyers, Stuarts, Thomases, Tobins, Trittipos, Vails, Vanlaninghams, Corys and Wiseharts. Following are also the names of those who paid taxes in sums exceeding one hundred dollars in 1915: Samuel B. Apple, $120.56; Jehu C. Apple, $256.46; William H. Albea, $195.98; Madison Brooks (estate), $902.37; Brooks & McCord, $221.56; John Boucher, $171.12; James E. Barrett, $308.34; George W. Bratton, $110.30; Elizabeth J. Brooks, $190.09. William Cook (heirs), $122.08; James M. Cook, $569.86; Maggie Cushman, $277.94; Marion Chappell, $143.44; Thomas E. Crossley, $110.40; Mary Denny, $157.40; Meredith Davis, $133.42; Hiram Dunham, $247.86; John M. Davidson, $380.36; Carl Emery, $148.56; Fred and McCord, $233.48; John P. Finn, $166.12; Amie Giroud, $164.38; Emerson Gentner, $184.10; James H. Helms, $129.28; Peter Hinds, $108.22; Sherman E. Helbert, $113.24; Calvin J. Jackson, $172.00; Leonore F. Jackson, $153.36; W. W. and LaVerne Jackson, $145.62; John Lian, $132.00; James M. Morris, $197.98;Seymour Morrison, $221.70; Elhanon McCord, $139.74; Arabella Mc Cord, 190.10; Charles L. Pope, $150.20; Silas W. Apple, $106.82; Oscar E. Apple, $161.86; Mary A. Bolander, $116.42; Marion Brooks, $173.10; Henry Boucher, Jr., $172.22; Nicolas and Mary A. Brandle, $119.68; Louis A. Browne and wife, $304.65; Jesse P. Cook, $207.10; Harvey Cauldwell, $444.50; John F. Cushman, $224.76; Conrad H. Crossley, $175.92; Enoch H. Dobbins, $253.20; Isom W. Denny, $726.47; Harrison C. Davis, $120.88; Daniel Durick, $224.98; James H. Emery, $128.84; Thomas M. Enoch, $103.12; Charles F. Fred, $122.84; Elizabeth Gaskin, $114.24; Oscar Groves, $229.95; Nelson Gaskins, $119.90; Margaret Humbles, $174.40; Franklin L. Hanna, $186.60; Nellie Hiday, $196.20; Jessie G. Jackson, $152.38; Susanna Jackson, $111.40; William Kelly, $220.40; Samuel Kingen, $139.08; James J. Maroney, $112.92; Charles P. L. Merrill, $137.56; Ratie McCord, $247.86; Henderson McFarland, $131.89; Patrick McMahan and wife, $106.60; Christian F. Pope and wife, $123.60; George W. Shultz, $163.50; Theodore E. Smith, $121.64; Arnos W. Saville, $214.52; Hiram and H. C. Stottlemeyer, $171.34; David J. Thomas, $184.86; The Grasselle Chemical Company, $638,.74; Charles N. Warren, $138.10; Mary Wilson, $273.80; Robert H. Wilson, $120.78; A. B. Ayers and wife, $217.83; Emerson F. Cahen, $167.08; Jesse P. Cook, $160.28; Larkin W. Crouch, $106.53; Amanda Dickey, $104.30; Fortville State Bank, $742.53; John W. Hudson, $156.59; John F. Johnson, $242.46; McComas, $209.56; William R. Rash, $179.05; First National Bank of Fortville, $707.86; W. P. Williams, $107.95; John K. Rash, $102.34; James Shultz, $436.13; Lesley J. Smith, $128.72; Henry C. Shore, $120.78; Charles E. Springer, $156.96; William W. Snider, $116.42; Samuel Cal Trittipo, $181.16; Aaron Vail and wife, $176.38; George L. and Eva M. Vail, $182.23; Robert G. Wilson, $244.38; Henry S. Adams, $312.28; Charles Bargner, $122.74; James M. and Jesse F. Cook, $168.71; E. L. Crouch & Company, $120.84; Edwards Lodge No. 178, Independent Order of Odd Fellows, $100.17; Kasper Herr, $341.87; George McCarty, $364.21; Randall & Randall, $113.20; Henry Shaffer, $312.29; Oliver Voorhis, $1490.78; Andrew J. Whetsel, $182.22.
Vernon township has had to meet some of the difficulties in road construction that were discussed in the history of Buck Creek township, although gravel was more accessible to some parts of Vernon than to Buck Creek township. Vernon township has also taken advantage of the Three-Mile Road law to procure better roads. In 1908-09 eleven roads were constructed, at a cost of $86,580.00. Of this amount, however, $30,480.00 was paid by the township for the construction of the Thomas W. Gardner road, which is the brick street through Fortville. The township has one railroad and one interurban line.
This church was erected in 1863 at the southwest corner of the southeast quarter of section 11, township 17, range 7. The congregation had been organized many years previous. As early as 1837 meetings were held at the home of James Denny and others of the thirteen members who composed the early congregation. Later, services were conducted in a little log church that stood immediately north of Fortville. Among the early pastors were Thomas Jenkins, Morgan McQuery and J. F. Johnson. A later pastor, David Caudell, was for many years one of the best known men in the county. A short address of his is given as a part of the history of the early settlers' meetings.
In 1887 the Baptist church throughout Indiana and Kentucky divided on the question of predestination. This question also divided the Mt. Carmel congregation, and as a result of the division another church was erected on the Greenfield and Fortville pike at the south edge of Fortville. Among the members of this congregation are the Cushmans, Mrs. Bolander, William Denny and wife, Henry Shore and wife, Mr. Jeffries and others. The wing of the church that still worships east of Fortville subscribes to the theory of the absolute predestination of all things from time eternal; the branch worshipping at the church south of Fortville does not take this view of the question. Each of the congregations has a membership of probably twenty or twenty-five.
The church south of Fortville was constructed in 1903. Before the construction of the new church the members worshipped at the school house just across the road from the old Mr. Carmel church, and at the home of Mrs. Cushman.
This congregation was originally organized in 1852. Services were at first conducted in the log school that stood just across the road from the present church. Among the original members were Alfred Denny and wife, William Thomas and wife, Burt Jackson and wife, George Kingery and wife. Among its early pastors were Revs. Caylor, Harmon, Bowman and Hoover. Services were conducted for a number of years in the school house and the membership rose to about fifty or sixty. In 1883 Alfred Denny and his son, Isom, took steps toward the erection of a church edifice. This church stands on the east side of the Greenfield and Fortville pike, where it crosses the south line of section 26, township 17, range 6. The elder Mr. Denny gave the land and he and his son furnished the money to complete the work. Soon after the completion of the church, a Sunday school was organized and was well attended. Isom Denny was superintendent of the Sunday school much of the time and took great interest in the work. Elder John Caylor was its first minister; other elders have been Fadeley and Holsinger. Elder Norris was its last minister. After the erection of the new church the services were always held in English. About six or seven years ago the church doors were closed.
The Mt. Vernon United Brethren church is located in the southern part of Vernon township at the northwest corner of section 33, township 17, range 6. The congregation was definitely organized in 1898 with the following charter members: John N. Dobbins and family, George Witham and family, John Keister and family and Ralph Martin and family.
During the summer of 1898 the Rev. Z. T. Mower, then pastor on the Mohawk circuit, started a movement to erect a church in the neighborhood above described. Services had been held for some time in the Jackson school house, which stands a few rods east of the west line of the southeast quarter of section 28, township 17, range 6. A building site was donated to the church by John M. and Susanna Dobbins, and a committee, composed of Robert G. Wilson and John Thomas, was appointed to superintend the work and raise the necessary funds. Money was subscribed by the people of the neighborhood and many of the farmers donated their time and work to aid in the construction of the church. Work on the new building was begun about August 1, 1898, and in the following October the church was dedicated by Dr. Funk, of Dayton, Ohio, and Rev. Cartridge, of Noblesville.
A Sunday school was organized with Charles W. Hiday as its first superintendent. Since that time Mr. Hiday and William Stansberry have served as superintendents. At present Gilbert Hanna is superintendent. Four classes are maintained in the Sunday school, the adult, young people's, intermediate, and the primary classes, which have a total enrollment of about twenty-two. There are at this time only ten or twelve active members.
The following are the ministers who have served the congregation: Z. C. Mower, 1898; O. F. Lydy, 1898-99; Enos Veal, 1899-1900; W. C. Robbins, 1900-01; J. H. Broughman, 1901-02; O. F. Lydy, 1902-04; James Dawson, 1904-05; M. C. Bartlow, 1905-06; J. C. Wyant, 1906-10; M. Myers, 1910-11; J. Smith, 1913-14; G. Stewart, 1915-16.
This town was originally laid out on December 12, 1857, by Francis Ellingwood, and contained thirty-two lots. No additions have been made thereto. It was laid out following the construction of the Bee-Line railroad, which passes through McCordsville and Fortville. In its early history it was quite a business place, but in later years it has been completely overshadowed by the neighboring towns of McCordsville and Fortville. The railroad maintained a station there for a number of years. A postoffice, store and blacksmith ship were also kept at the same time.
Among the early business men were John William and Joseph Bills, Axel Hooker, Asbury, Taylor and Lockhart, Martindale, Brown, Perry J. Brienegar and George W. Shultz. Its blacksmith shop was operated by Peik, Olvey and Morrow. During later years there has been only a feeble effort at maintaining a store and at present it is closed. It can scarcely be said that any business is conducted at Woodbury at this time.
In the early seventies the Methodists of the community held services in a school house which stood a short distance north of the southeast corner of section 18, township 17, range 6. In 1874 the building that is still standing in the town was erected and dedicated by the Rev. Samuel Lamb. The first trustees were Franklin Dunham, John Sample and John Hooker. A Sunday school was conducted in connection with the church for many years. At present very few of the members are living and services are conducted only at irregular times.
McCordsville was originally laid out on September 11, 1865, by James W. Nagley, and contained thirty-four lots. Since that time the following additions have been made to the town:
Hiday's Addition, laid out by Jacob Hiday, February 11, 1869, and contains twenty-three lots.
Bradley and McCord's Addition, laid out by Nelson Bradley and Elias H. McCord, May 23, 1873, and contains thirty-nine lots.
McCord's Addition, laid out by William McCord, September 4, 1873.
Among the early business men were William Emery, Mr. Littleton and Nelson Bradley, who later became one of the leading bankers at Greenfield. Among the later business men were Harvey Caldwell, H. M Thompson, Hanna & McCord, Israel Fred, T. R. Pentecost, Hall, and Michael Quigley, who for many years has been a leading druggist at Greenfield. Among the early blacksmiths were James M. Wright and Nelson Gaskins. In 1891 R. C. M. Smith came to McCordsville and bought the stock of Israel Fred. In 1896 Charles F. Fred and John S. McCord erected the store in which the are still doing business. In 1880 Aquilla McCord and Jesse Jackson engaged in the general merchandise business in the Harvey Caldwell brick store and in March, 1891, sold their stock to Lewis C. Pickle and Martin Lingle. This firm continued in business until 1904, when they sold their stock to Mr. Johnson, who in turn sold to Solomon Burchill, in 1906. In the fall of 1914 this stock of goods was sold to a party of traders who sold a part of it at auction and moved the rest away. John Bateman thereupon put in a stock of groceries and fresh meats and has been engaged in business since that time. Chappell Brothers opened a general store in the east part of town about 1912 or 1913, which is still conducted by Ernest Chappell. The building and stock of R. C. M. Smith burned in 1906. In 1910 he sold the vacant lots to A. B. Cohen & Company, who have erected a grain elevator thereon.
About 1895, or possibly a year or two earlier, S. Morrison and Thomas Springer established a telephone factory at McCordsvile. A few years later they sold it to the Eureka Electric Company, of Chicago, who operated the plant until 1902 when it was sold to Luther Frost, Seymour Morrison, Frank Martindale and others. The purchasers then incorporated under the name of the Columbia Electric Company, and continued to manufacture telephones until 1905. In that year Luther Frost and others established the Leader automobile factory, at Mc Cordsville, where the first Leader automobiles were assembled. This plant was operated until 1907, when it was moved to Knightstown.
A postoffice has been maintained at McCordsville ever since it has been a town. The office has one rural free delivery route.
The McCordsville cornet band was organized about 1902 and played for two years or a little longer. Among its members were Walter McCord, Charles Fred, Irvin Teal, Loren Helms, George Helms, Harold Helms, Luther F. Frost, Paul Brown, Homer Smith, Fred Haskell, Frank Wood and Will Helms.
The church history of McCordsville dates back to the year 1849, when a class was formed at the Robb school house. Among the first members were J. W. Hervey, Henry N. Thompson and wife, Marcus Thompson, the McCords, Thomases, Littletons,. Crumps, and others
In the year 1854 the class built the first church in McCordsville, at a cost of one thousand and three hundred dollars. It was dedicated by Rev. N. H. Gillum and named Gillum chapel in his honor. Among those who stood on the walls of Zion were the Rev. White, Mershon, J. W. Smith, Samuel Lamb, Thomas Stabler, Maxwell, and C. P. Wright, all of whom served the congregation before 1876. Since that time the following ministers have served the people as their pastors: R. B. Powell, 1876-79; T. J. Elkin, 1879-1881; M. G. Phillips, 1881-84; A. L. Folkner, 1884-85; D. F. Stright, 1885-87; W. C. McCaig, 1887-88; A. E. Sarah, 1888-89; George W. Green, 1889-92. In 1889 a parsonage was built just east of the chapel, at a cost of one thousand ant two hundred dollars. Since then the following pastors have been on the charge: F. A. Fish, 1892-95; J. H. Slack, 1895-98; T. H. C. Beall, 1896-97; W. G. Bogue, 1897-98; John O. Campbell, 1898-1902; Edwin Dickson, 1902-06.
On June 25, 1902, the old chapel was destroyed by the storm which passed through McCordsville, and as the class had no building in which to hold their meetings, the Rev. Edward Dickson, pastor at that time, decided to build a new church, especially since the old one was so close to the Big Four railroad. The class bought lots 4, 5 and 6 in Bradley & McCord's Addition to McCordsville, of Thomas P. Hervey, and erected thereon the present Methodist Episcopal church. In the fall of 1902 it was dedicated by Rev. W. D. Parr. The following pastors have served in the new church: Gilbert E. Martin, 1906-07; Hubert Webster, 1907-09; John C. Wengetz, 1909-10; P. J. Albright, 1910-11; Ernest J. Wickersham, 1911-13 (resigned to enter DePauw University); W. E. Aldred, 1913-14; H. A. Goering, 1914-15.
For many years previous to 1915 McCordsville and Mt. Comfort constituted the McCordsville charge. In the spring of 1915 the McCordsville class asked the annual conference, which convened at Auburn, to make McCordsville a station, which was done and Mr. R. Pierce sent as pastor. The class began the work for the year 1915 with Somerville Light, district superintendent; M. R. Pierce, pastor; T. E. Smith, A. J. Apple, William F. Helms and George T. Vail, church trustees; James L. Vail, William H. Vail and Hiram Dunham, parsonage trustees; T. E. Smith, William F. Helms and William V. Woolman, stewards; John S. Mc Cord, secretary, and Charles F. Fred, treasurer of the board of stewards; T. E. Smith, exhorter; Hiram Dunham and William F. Helms, class leaders; Mrs. Flora A. Robb, president of Epworth League; Mrs. Josie Vail, president of the Ladies' Aid Society.
The officers of the Sunday school are: John S. McCord, superintendent; T. E. Smith, assistant superintendent; Miss Lena Fred, secretary; Miss Helen Phillips, assistant secretary; Hiram Dunham, treasurer; James L. Vail, chorister; Miss Effie McCord, assistant chorister. The average attendance of the Sunday school is one hundred. The church membership is one hundred and twenty.
The Universalist church at McCordsvile was built in the year 1888, and among the ministers who have served the class were I. B. Grandy, Forsher and Beckett. Since 1902 no regular services have been held.
McCordsville Lodge No. 140, Free and Accepted Masons, was organized under dispensation granted in 1852, and received its charter in 1853. Its first meetings were held in an upstairs room in the home of Elias McCord. The first officers were Barzilla G. Jay, worshipful master; Dr. J. W. Hervey, senior warden; Nelson Bradley, junior warden. In the same year in which it received its charter, its place of meeting was moved to Oaklandon, where it became known as Oaklandon Lodge No. 140.
McCordsville Lodge No. 501, Free and Accepted Masons, was organized under a charter granted May 25, 1875. Among the first officers were Thomas P. Hervey, worshipful master; Henry Crossley, senior warden; Ebenezer Steele, junior warden. The lodge has a present membership of seventy-seven.
Chapter No. 44, Royal Arch Masons, was organized at McCordsville on the 23rd of May, 1860. Its present membership is eighty-six.
McCordsville Council No. 52, Royal and Select Masters, was instituted March 8, 1881, by Martin H. Rice and William Hacker, assisted by members from Fall Creek Council No. 43. The council was chartered October 19, 1881, with the following members: L Thomas J. Elkins, Thomas J. Hanna, Jacob Hiday, Jesse S. Jackson, James W. Smith, Moses N. Craig, Aaron Vail, Addison C. Davis, James M. Wright and Ebenezer Steele. Its first officers were: Harvey Cauldwell, illustrious master; Elias McCord, deputy illustrious master; Henry Crossley, captain of the guard; Moses N. Craig, treasurer; James W. Smith, recorder, and Jesse S. Jackson, steward and sentinel. The present membership of the lodge is one hundred and seventy.
Chapter No. 156, Order of the Eastern Star, was instituted on April 25, 1895, and its first officers were John C. Hervey, worthy patron; Miss Mary J. Wilson, worthy matron; Mrs. Sarah A. Stanley, associate matron. The present membership is one hundred and eleven.
McCordsville Lodge No. 338, Independent Order of Odd Fellows, was instituted in the upper room of the Thompson warehouse, November 17, 1869, with the following charter members: Green McCord, noble grand; James H. Thomas, vice-grand; Aaron Vail, secretary; William McCord, treasurer; C. W. Hervey, David Brown, P. A. Raber, J. Bills, James N. Helms, John Dunham, James W. Nagley, Alfred Bills, Israel Fred, William Sapp and Sylvester Gaskins.
The lodge continued to hold its meetings in the original room until an increase of members made it necessary to obtain new quarters. The lodge thereupon purchased a convenient and commodious hall in a brick building owned by Cauldwell & Steele. Here the lodge prospered until their hall was destroyed by the storm of June 25, 1902; then they bought lots of N. E. Day and erected a large two-story building, the upper room of which is their new home. The present membership is ninety-nine.
Lodge No. 444, Daughters of Rebekah, was instituted on February 24, 1894, the charter being granted to James W. McCord, Aaron Vail, George List, William H. Fred, Willliam F. Helms, James L. Vail, James P. McCord, Henry N. Thompson and Thomas B. McCord. The present membership of the lodge is one hundred and eight.
McCordsville Lodge No. 507, Knights of Pythias, was instituted under dispensation of December 9, 1903, and the charter was granted on October 4, 1904. The following were the charter members: John S. McCord, Thomas J. White, Arthur Wolfgang, Ernest F. Warren, William G. Kimberlin, Carle E. Plummer, James F. McCord, Edward F. List, George Wood, Benjamin F. Ringer, John D. Cory, A. H. Pummer, R. G. Wilson, Edward E. McCord, George Jeffers, Nelson Vanzant, Henry C. Fred, Homer A Kimberlin, Carl D. Girt, Charles Williams, Leroy Pickle, O. D. Klepfer, Edward Day, Charles F. Fred, John G. McCord, Shadrach Wilson, William Hamilton, Jackson Pickle, Daniel Nagley, Alta Olvey, L. F. Stanley, William A. Pilkenton, P. O. Apple, Gussie E. Smith, Perry C. Apple, John C. Apple, Bert Springer and Jesse Horton. The first officers were John S. McCord, chancellor commander; Thomas J. White, vice chancellor; A. Wolfgang, prelate; E. F. Warren, master of work; William K. Kimberlin, keeper of records and seal; C. E. Plummer, master of finance; J. F. McCord, master of exchequer; E. F. List, master at arms; George Wood, inner guard; B. F. Ringer, outer guard; N. E. Vanzant, host; John D. Cory, A. H. Plummer and R. G. Wilson, trustees. The present membership of the lodge is about forty-eight.
Union Temple No. 300, Pythian Sisters, was instituted on March 3, 1905, the charter being granted on October 4, 1905. The following were the first officers: Miss Mary J. Wilson, excellent chief; Mrs. Ollie White, excellent senior; Mrs. Jennie Apple, excellent junior; Miss Ada Plummer, manager; Mrs. Docia A. Fred, mistress of records and correspondence; Mrs. Leanna McCord, mistress of finance; Miss Nell Hanna, protector; Mrs. Della List, guard; Mrs. Nellie Apple, past chief. There is at present a membership of fifty active members.
The Methodist Episcopal cemetery of McCordsville was located just west of the Gillum chapel in 1854. Here slumber many of the faithful. The first interment was Oliver Robb, Sr., on May 22, 1854.
The I.O.O.F. cemetery of McCordsville was laid out by the Independent Order of Odd Fellows on the 16th day of March, 1871, with one hundred and fifty lots and streets and alleys. The land was donated by William McCord.
The citizens of Fortville and McCordsville took an active part in the temperance agitation during the seventies. Red Ribbon societies were organized in 1877 and Blue Ribbon societies in 1879. D. B. Ross, a temperance lecturer, who spent a great deal of time in the county in 1879, organized thoroughly the temperance forces. Temperance organizations were maintained for several yeas and for a time following 1879 there was not a licensed saloon in the township. Since the election on March 5, 1909, under the county local option law, Vernon township has been in the "dry" column. Two elections have been held under the township local option, in both of which the "drys" were successful.
The Culture Club was organized in November, 1894, by Mrs. S. Morrison and Mrs. T. R. Pentecost. Their object was to improve the intellectual and social conditions of the community. The club has members in both Hancock and Marion counties, but was originally organized in Hancock county. Mrs. Bertha Morrison, now of Portland, Oregon, was the first president. Only one charter member now remains as an active member; Mrs. S. Morrison, of Indianapolis. The club is limited to a membership of sixteen. It now has four corresponding members.
Meetings are held on Thursday afternoons every two weeks, with two guest evenings in the year. The first years were devoted to the study of American literature, followed by civics, English literature, domestic science, Shakespeare, English travel, and reviews of the latest books. The club now has members in Fortville, McCordsville, Oaklandon and Indianapolis.
While the Germans were digging canals in the early history of the country, the sons of Erin were building railroads. When the branch of the Big Four, then known as the "Bee Line," was constructed through Hancock county in 1850, a number of Irish laborers were of course employed. After the railroad had been completed some of them bought small tracts of land and increased the number of their acres as they were able. Among those who settled in the county at that time, or who came later, and whose names are still familiar in the county, are the Tobins, Kellys, McMahans, Coreys, Lists, Bouchers, McCords, McConnels, McColleys. Duricks, Buseys, Dugans and Callahans. The land was productive and labor was amply rewarded. Many of these names now appear on the list of heavy taxpayers of Vernon township.
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 783-797.
Submitted by Sylvia (Rose) Duda, Laingsburg, MI January 28, 2002.
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