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History of Flinn Township
(Source: History of Lawrence and Monroe Counties, Indiana; their people, industries and institutions.  Publ. Indianapolis, Ind. - B. F. Bowen & Co., 1914)

     Flinn township is situated on the eastern border of the county near the center, and was called after the Flinn family, whose history is written above.  The early settlers were classed as squatters, or, in other words, men who lived on the land without any title.  Not until the year 1817 was there a land entry made in the township, and then they followed in rapid succession.  Some of these are:  R. Huston, 1820; M. Wooley, 1820; Noah Wright, 1819; Thomas Hodges, 1817; Israel Hind, 1819; John Parr, 1819; H. Nichols, 1820; James Ellison, 1820; Enoch Parr, 1817; T. Carr, 1820; Arthur Parr, 1819; Martin Flinn, 1820; Patrick Welch, 1817; Noah Wright, 1820; William White, 1820; D. Flinn, 1820; James Taggart, 1820; John Guthrie, 1820; Thomas Flinn, 1820; Benjamin Drake; 1818; William Flinn, 1820; J. Allen, !820, Hugh Guthrie, 1820; Robert Flinn, 1819; Benjamin Newkirk, 1820, George Stell, John Speer, Ephraim D. Lux, John Trespey, Abraham Sutherland, David White, Alfred Alexander, Jacob Weaver, Moses Flinn, William Smith, Elijah Curry, Micajah Poole, and Gamaliel Millgar, were early residents around Leesville.
     Perhaps the most important feature of the early settlement of Flinn township was with the grist mills.  A "stump" mill, at the place where Leesville now stands, was owned by John Speer, and was the first mill in the township.  The next was the Forgey mill, on Guthrie creek, a half mile from Leesville.  The first mill built here was constructed by William Flinn about the year 1817.  This structure descended to his son, Robert Flinn, whose successor was Andrew Forgey.  The mill bore the name of the last owner, and was in operation for many years; in the year 1840 it was run by horsepower, the tread-mill method, although in a great many cases a steer was used in place of the horse.  Hiram Guthrie owned the mill for a time, and then it passed into the hands of the Hollands.  The latter owners supplied the mill with steam motive power, and three sets of buhrs, two for wheat and one for corn.  John C. Voyles was the last owner, and after he discarded the plant it remained abandoned.
     A Mr. Phillips owned a horse mill at Pin Hook about 1830, and on Back creek, northwest of Leesville, a water mill known as the McGlemery mill was built about the same time.  Edward Montgomery possessed a water mill on Back creek in 1840, operated by a turbine water wheel.  This mill was the last in the township, failing in 1872 while under the ownership of Matterson Broiles.
Distilleries were also operated in this part of the country during the early days.  A great many of the settlers were from Virginia and Kentucky, where "stills" were a common feature, so it is not surprising that they should continue the practice here.  Also it is a well known fact that corn was the principal produce of the pioneer region, and the facilities for conveying the crop to market were very poor.  Consequently, the corn was brewed into whiskey, which commodity was easier handled and yielded a better profit than the grain itself.


     Leesville is the namesake for Lee county, Virginia, from whence the first settlers came to thsi locality.  The town was laid out in June, 1818, and is next to the oldest town recorded in Lawrence county, Bono leading.  John Speer was the first merchant, and he owned a small huckster shop about 1817.  George Still began the same trade in 1819, and was followed by merchants whose names became well known in the entire county.  A few of them were:  Turner J. Holland, William Turpen, William McNealy, William and John Holland, Norman Benton, John Ferguson, W. C. Richards and John Hunter.  In 1831, Leesville decided to incorporate by election, and accordingly did so.  However, the incorporation did not last very long.  The population is now one hundred and twenty-five.


     The two Carolinas and Virginia supplied the first settlers of Marion township.  The township was named after Gen. Francis Marion, the famous Southern commander in the Revolutionary War.  The township is about sixty six square miles in area, about eight miles square.  The northern boundary is the east branch of White river, the south is Orange county, the east Bono township, and on the west Spice Valley township.
     In the early fall of the year 1815, Lewis Phillips built himself a cabin at John Tolliver's upper spring, near the meridian line, on the southwest quarter of the northwest quarter of section 31, town 4 north, range 1 east.  The cabin was made of round poles and was primitive  in every respect.  The last of the family was Mary Ann White, who died near Juliet in 1883;  there are now no descendants of the Phillips family living.
     In November, 1815, when the first drear signs of approaching winter were seen in the seared leaves and gray skies. Samuel G. Hoskins, who had broken through the rough country from South Carolina, pitched his quarters on Rock Lick creek, on the southeast quarter of section 19, town 4 north, range 1 east.  At this spot Hoskins built a cabin of hewn logs, and prepared to brave the winter through.  This occurred when Phillips family was the only other family in the township.  The winter passed quietly enough; Indians passed by, and frequently stopped, but not one lived in the township.  Hoskins afterwards became prominent in the affairs of the county.  He was a justice of the peace, and captain of the first military company organized in this county south of White river.  He was a member of the first grand jury, was a surveyor and a teacher.  In the spring of 1816 many new settlers began to come in from North and South Carolina, among them being George Sheeks, William Erwin, John Finger, Joseph Pless, Elijah Murray, Thomas Rowark, John Sutton, James Boswell, and Joseph Boswell.  All of these men followed farming as an occupation, except Rowark, who was a blacksmith.
     In 1817 many families came into the township from the South, and built their cabins along the banks of White river, and in the valleys of Rock Lick and Mill creek.  Robert Hall erected his home on the George Field place.  Squire Hoskins built a hewn-log house on the old Erwin place, and there the first election was held the first Monday in August.  There were thirteen voters, ten Federalists and three Republicans.  The former were Samuel G. Hoskins, William Ervin, Joseph Pless, James Boswell, Joseph Boswell, Elijah Murray, James Mathis, Robert Erwin, Thomas Rowark, and Arthur Dycus.  The Republicans were George Sheeks, John Finger and Joseph Culbertson.  The voting place was afterward changed to Hoskins' new home on the Terre Haute and Louisville road until 1842, then the precinct was moved to Redding, thence to Woodville, and in 1856 to Mitchell.
     A rifle company was organized in Marion township in 1817, and some thirty men enlisted, a few from Bono.  The men armed themselves and were clad in blue hunting shirts, trimmed with red, and cap with a feather.
     Some time previous to 1815, Sam Jackson - not Samuel - had entered the southwest quarter of Section 32; the entry antedates the Lawrence county records.  This Jackson was a Canadian, and had seen service in the war of 1812 along the Canadian border.  For his services he was given a land warrant, which accounts for the taking up of his land.  On the tract is a noted Hamer's cave and the picturesque valley in which the old stone mill stands.  During the period of Jackson's ownership there was a corn mill erected there, close to where the mill stood, built of logs, and the water was carried from the cave by poplar logs hewn into troughs.  William Wright of Orange county, was the miller.  In September, 1816, Jackson sold the land to Thomas Bullett and Cuthbert Buillett, and in the spring of 1817 the stone was quarried for the stone mill.  In 1818 the mill was finished and was a model for the day.  The Bulletts sold the mill in 1823 to the two Montgomery brothers, who improved the property and started a distillery.  There had been one distillery previous to this one, owned by William Mallett and Dennis Frost, on Rock Lick, below Tomlinson's lime kiln.  In 1825 Hugh Hamar bought the property of the Montgomery boys, paying seven thousand dollars in seven annual payments.  The new owner re-established the distillery, started a store gathered many laboring men about him, hauled produce to Louisville, built flatboats at the boat yards on White river, and shipped flour, whiskey, pork, etc., to New Orleans by water.  In 1826 the first postoffice was established at Mill Springs, and Hugh Hamar, who in turn sold it to Jonathan Turley.
     Isaac Flight built a mill, with overshot wheel, at Shawnee cave in 1819.  This mill passed into the hands of Shelton and William Smith, and they erected a distillery in connection in 1831.  Fulton had a distillery at the end of Fulton's creek about 1825, and ground his grain on a treadmill.  James Beasley also had a distillery afterwards at Lindsey's Spring.
    The early hand entries of Marion township are as follows:  Cuthbert and Thomas Bullitt.  1820; Tetlow, Hughes and Geiger, 1820; Moses Gray, 1816; R. Hall, 1820; Abraham Hatman, 1818; Sanuel Jackson, 1816; Ambrose Carlton, 1816; Robert Lewis, 1817 and 1816; Samuel Brown, 1820; John Carlton, 1816; Robert Lewis, 1817 and 1816; Samuel Brown, 1820; John Edwards, 1820; John Maxwell, 1819; William Terrill, 1816; William Tolliver, 1818; Robert McLean, 1817; William McLean, 1816; Zachariah Sparling, 1818; John Workman, 1817; William Baldwin, 1817; Theophilus Baldwin, 1819; Jesse Hill, 1817; Martin Hardin, 1817; William Maxwell, 1819; Charles Tolliver, 1817; William Connerly, 1817; William Denny, 1818; Alfred Maden, and John Hays, 1818; John Lowrey, 1817; William Blair, 1817; John McLean, 1817; James Fulton, 1816; Lewis Byram, 1817; Henry Speed, 1816; William Trueblood, 1816; Jonathan Lindley, 1816; G. Eli, 1817; Joshua Taylor, 1817; Robert Fields, 1817; William Connelly, 1818; George Hinton, Jr., Arthur Henrie and Benjamin Drake, 1818; Ezekiel Blackwell, 1818; John Finger, 1817; Joseph Culbertson, 1818; William Erwin, 1818; Isom Maden, 1816; William Carmichael, 1818; Joel Conley, 1817; Josiah Trueblood, 1818; William Connelly, 1817; Aaron Davis, 1819; Lewis Phillips, 1817; Zebedee Wood, 1820; Michael Dunihue, 1817; David Harris, 1817; John Sutton, 1817; Robert Hollowell, 1816; Robert Fields, 1816; Jacob Piles and Jonathan Williams, 1815.
Hunting was a great diversion and pastime in the early days of Marion township.  There were many interesting incidents which happened in connection with these sports, the first of which occurred in the fall of 1816.  Thomas Rowark killed a panther near his cabin on Rock Lick creek.  Rowark espied the animal in a three and shot it.  Everyone went to see the beast, and all pronounced it the largest ever seen in the township.  The animal measured three yards in length.  Many bears have been killed in the township.  Neddy Edwards chased to bear into a cave in Allen C. Burton's orchard and, calling assistance, smoked Mr. Bruin out and killed him.  In the same year, 1820, a party of hunters killed a large bear in a cave on John L. Dodson's farm, just west of the Solomon Bass residence.  The last bear killed in the township was shot from a tree by William Edwards, in 1821.  An interesting and amusing incident occurred in 1825, in which the chief actors were John Sutton and a very credulous bear.  Sutton was searching for his hogs in the woods north of Mitchell, when he discovered fresh bear tracks in the snow.  He urged his horse on and took up the trail.  He had not gone far when bruin loomed up before him.  Sutton's horse cavorted and beat a retreat, leaving his rider lying in the snow and within arm's length of the bear.  Sutton was too much frightened to move, so he lay still.  The bear lowered himself and smelled of the prostrate man, then unexpectedly walked away.  Sutton, once sure of his solitude, arose and made off in the direction the horse had gone.  The many caverns and caves of Marion township were ideal homes for packs of timber wolves, and up until 1832 it was next to impossible to raise sheep, for the nightly raids of the packs were common.  The sport of wolf baiting became very popular, among the most skilled being Hugh Harmar and Benjamin Turley, and it was not long until the animals were exterminated.  Deer and Turkey and numerous other small game were plentiful, and constituted the chief meat supply.  The present population of this township is 6,482.


     Mitchell, Marion township, was named in honor of Gen. O. M. Mitchell, an officer in the Federal army, who died at Huntsville, Alabama, in 1862.  The location of the town is on the south half of section 36, town 4 north, range 1 west, and on the north half of section 1, town 3 north, range 1 west, and was platted on September 29, 1853, by G. W. Cochran and John Sheeks.  Good railroad facilities are afforded the people of this town, the Baltimore & Ohio and the Chicago, Indianapolis & Louisville, or the Monon, passing through the town at present.  West Mitchell, an addition, was laid out January 17, 1859, by Jonas Finger, and on November 26, 1865, there was another addition by D. Kelley & Company.  Since that time other additions have been made and now the town covers quite an extent of territory.  Some earlier merchants were Silas Moore & Son, John R. Nugent and Robert Barnard.  J. T. Biggs and G. W. Dodson were early druggists.  Sam Cook was the premier blacksmith, and J. T. Biggs was the hotel keeper.  In 1860 the town contained six hundred and twelve people, and in 1880, one thousand, four hundred and forty-three.


     On December 23, 1864, Mitchell was incorporated as a town.  Joshua Budd, R. Barnard and Z. L. Warren were named as the first trustees, and A. T. McCoy, the first clerk.  McCoy resigned later in favor of H. S. Manington.  The same officers served in 1865.  In 1866, S. Moore, J. D. McCoy and F. M. Lemon were elected trustees, and H. S. Manington, clerk.  In 1867, the trustees were S. Moore, J. D. McCoy, and William A. Burton.  In 1868, S. Moore, J. D. McCoy and Z. L. Warren.  The following list gives the successive trustees, with the year of their entrance into office, from 1869 until the time of incorporation as a city; 1869, W. V. T. Murphy, A. L. Munson, Samuel Cook; 1870, same officers; 1872, Allen Edwards, J. P. Tapp, William A. Burton; 1873, Isaac B. Faulkner, Isaac H. Crim, James A. Head; 1875, Allen Edwards, Dennis Coleman, Jacob J. Bates; 1876, James D. Moore, A. A. Pearson, David L. Fergurson; 1877, John Mead, I. H. Crim, Milton N. Moore; 1878, John O'Donnell, James Richardson, Jacob Bixler; 1879, John O'Donnell, James Richardson, Jacob Bixler; 1880, George Z. Wood, James D. Moore, George W. Burton; 1881, Thomas Richardson, Wilton N. Moore, William J. Humston; 1882, Milton N. Moore, William H. Edwards, Thomas Richardson; 1883, Milton N. Moore, Charles W. Campbell, William H. Edwards; 1884, John Mead, M. N. Moore, Thomas Welsh; 1885, A. Edwards, F. J. Wolfe, H. H. Crawford; 1886, M. N. Moore, H. A. Trendley; 1887, Abbott C. Robertson; 1888, H. A. Trendley, 1889, Allen Edwards, Gus Levy; 1890, Cam Cook, F. R. Blackwell; 1891, Allen C. Burton; 1892, James D. Moore, F. R. Blackwell; 1893, Milton N. Moore; 1894, William Newby, John Mead; 1895, J. L. Holmes, Sr., Ralph Prosser; 1896, Charles Coleman, Ralph Prosser; 1897, M. N. Moore; 1898, Thomas W. Welsh, Fred R. Blackwell; 1899, same; 1900, David Kelly, M. N. Moore, James F. Mitchell; 1901, David Kelly, Henry Scott, James F. Mitchell; 1902, G. W. Walls, Lewis Barlow; 1903, George W. Walls, Henry S. Scheibe, Lewis Barlow; 1904, M. N. Moore, H. Scheibe, Henry Chapple; 1905, H. S. Scheibe, Harry Chapple, and Noble L. Moore; 1906, Harry Chapple, John L. Murphy, and N. L. Moore; and in 1907, Chapple, N. L. Moore and John T. Murphy.


     On July 29, 1907, an election was held in Mitchell to determine whether or not the town should be incorporated as a city, under the statutes of Indiana.  The result was a majority of four hundred and nine in favor of incorporating.  The town was divided into three wards, and an election ordered for August 23, 1907, to elect the mayor, clerk, treasurer, and five councilmen, one for each ward, and two at large.  The result was as follows:  Mayor, William L. Brown; treasurer, Harry V. Shepherd; clerk, Clyde A. Burton; councilmen, Thomas W. Welsh, William H. Dings, John L. Holmes, John B. Sims and John A. Dalton.  E. Massman later too the place of Dalton. Frank L. Dale was appointed chief of police, Dr. James D. Byrnes, health officer, and Sam S. Doman, city attorney.  The first regular meeting of the common council was held on September 2, 1907.
     Mayor Brown resigned on January 30, 1909, and Clyde A. Burton took the office, Perry M. McBride succeeding as clerk.  Burton, in turn, which on June 11, 1909, and William H. Dings was appointed mayor pro tem, which office he held two weeks.  William Stipp was elected by the council on June 25, 1909.  At the regular election on November 2, 1909, the following city officers were chosen, and are at present active: Mayor Joseph T. Dilley; clerk, Kenley E. Harn; treasurer, Edward M. Keane; councilmen, Will D. Ewing, Joseph A. Munger, Frank Collier, Albert Morris and Walter C. Sherwood.
The city of Mitchell has had a wonderful growth during the last ten years.  The population by the census of 1900 was 1,772, and in 1910 the startling increase was made to 3,438.  In 1910 the total assessed valuation, less mortgage exemptions, was $953,505.  In the city clerk's report for 1910, the city bonds outstanding amounted to $15,500, which has since been reduced to $13,700.  The gross debt then was $27,702, but this has been lowered to less than 23,000.  The cash in the City treasury at present amounts to $4,563.  The electric light plant of Mitchell was established in February, 1907, with a one-thousand-light dynamo.  Seven thousand dollars in bonds were authorized by the council when the subject of a light plant was first forwarded, and accordingly the money was borrowed.  The plant in 1910 embraced thirty-six arc lights, and twenty-six hundred incandescents.  The Central Union Telephone Company was granted a twenty-five year franchise on July 16, 1897.