Union township embraces all of T. 15, R. 6 W. of
the 2d P.M., and is six miles square. Union is one of
the eastern tier of townships, and is bounded on the north by
Greene township, on the west by Adams, on the south by
Jackson, and on the east by Putnam county. The Big
Raccoon creek enters the township in the northeast corner of
Section 1, and running southwest, with many bends in its bed,
passes into Jackson township near the southeast corner of
Section 32. The township is further watered by the
affluents of the Big Raccoon, the principal of which are
Troutman's Run, rising in the southern part of Greene and
running south, emptying into the Big Raccoon in the northeast
part of Sec. 28. Bain's branch has its source in the
east, and flowing westward joins the larger stream in Sec. 10.
Limestone branch flows from the eastern part, and taking
southwestern course unites with the Big Raccoon in the
southern part of Sec. 28. Besides these branches,
there are Sutherlin's branch and Rocky fork meandering
across the southeastern part of the township, uniting in Sec.
35 and flowing thence as one southward; and Stranger's branch,
taking its rise in the southwest, and passing out into Adams
township at the northwest corner of Sec. 31. In summer these
streams, with the exception of the Big Raccoon, can be crossed
by footmen by stepping from stone to stone that lie along
their beds. In many places their beds are solid stone, either
sand or lime, hence bridging is unnecessary. The Big Raccoon
covers a very wide bed in places, and the water is said to
have risen much higher in freshet season in earlier times than
now. The current, on account of the great fall of bed, is very
swift. Along the banks sandstone and limestone crop out,
sometimes rising perpendicularly or projecting in crags many
feet. This stone affords material for building, and is
quarried for local use.
A curiosity is the natural bridge situate on the west
side of the creek on the B. A. Martin place, and
spanning a gully. It is solid stone, averaging from twenty to
twenty-four inches through the center in thickness, having
about forty feet span, with about twenty feet track. One can
walk erect under this bridge, and at one time it was much
higher from floor to ceiling, the soil having in late years
washed in from above.
In a state of nature was the
country which now constitutes Union township when John
Martin purchased at the Terre Haute land office, in 1820,
1/2 of Sec. 33, and such he left it, but to return the
following year, 1821, with his family. It is true that
companies of hunters and fishers had before penetrated these
forest depths and camped on the banks of the Big Raccoon, but
they came not as settlers. Mr. Martin came with his
wife and family of eleven children. The Martins
migrated from South Carolina in a four-horse wagon and a
two-horse wagon, a distance of 600 miles, and were over six
weeks on the way. They camped out and slept in their wagons.
The ways were often so densely covered with timber that the
axe was obliged to be brought into frequent use. Arrived at
their possessions they built them the log hut of those times.
Here they labored, monarchs of all around them for miles in
extent. Their log house stood on the hill near the present
dwelling of Wm. B. At the foot of the hill a spring
furnished them cold water. The Indian trail from Terre Haute
through Mansfield and along the Big Raccoon to Cornstalk
passed close by. This trail-crossed and recrossed the creek
several times, and it is said is still visible on the B. A.
Martin place. The elder Martin was a blacksmith,
but more especially a gunsmith, as well as farmer, and kept a
shop on his farm. Here he did repairs for those calling for
his labor. The Indians passed up and down their trail and
frequently? camped on the Martin land near the creek.
These consisting of Delawares and Miamis, furnished the
gunsmith with considerable work in repairing their
fowling-pieces. For this work they generally paid cash. Mrs.
Martin made clothes for the children out of buckskin,
while they also had plenty of venison for the table.
Wm. B. relates that the Indians would occasionally drink
heavily, all becoming beastly drunk except one. One always
remained sober to care for the rest. They would often quarrel
severely among themselves, but never molested the whites, and
always paid for what they got from settlers. There are said to
be two or three Indian graves on the Martin farm,
but they buried their dead mostly at Cornstalk. Many
implements, such as arrow heads, pieces of peculiarly wrought
stone, stone axes, and other curiosities, have been picked up
along the creek and on the farms adjacent. other whites moved
in the red men moved out. The elder Martin continued
his business till 1827, when he died and was buried on farm.
He had served at the age of sixteen as a substitute for father
under Washington in the revolution; had experienced hardships
of war, so was well fitted for pioneer life. The family began
to separate and divide the farm, and move and buy, and raise
families of their own, until now they are many more than they
who entered Parke county in the spring of 1821.
In the same year that John Martin bought
land came Thomas Woolverton from Ohio, who
purchased land in Sees. 29 and 30. H then went to Virginia and
stayed five years, when he returned, built a house, dug a well
and made some other improvements; then went to Ohio. While in
Indiana he aided in raising Dixon's Mills, which Indians also
assisted. In March 1, 1827, he married Rebecca
Crawford, of Franklin county, Indiana, then sixteen years
of On April 18 following their marriage, having ridden
horseback the way, they arrived at the farm and took
possession of the little cot which forms a part of the house
still occupied by Mrs. Woolverton and her maiden
daughter Eleanor. Mr. Woolverton died
about 1848, leaving a wife and family; six of the children are
dead, while four, James, Eleanor, Ann (Aydelott),
and Elizabeth (Neal), survives and are well
situated in Union township. Aunt Becky is now in
her seventieth year and has a remarkable memory, giving
facts and dates in a clear, forcible manner. James
Woolverton possesses the old flint-lock rifle with which
his father brought down the game.
In 1821 John Miller entered land in Secs.
29 and 30. He built his cabin and began farming, when his
parents came from Union county and bought his place. He then
entered what is now the George Mater place, and
in 1838 built the large brick dwelling which still stands on
the place. Besides these two farms he bought the Joseph
Neal place. He was married in 1823 to Margaret
Crooks. They had fourteen children, six of whom are
living, one in Raccoon township, one in Texas and four in
Union township. He died in 1875. in his seventy-fourth year.
Perhaps no one has done more than he toward improving and
building up the township, having improved three different
farms. He was prominent as a citizen and as a member of the
In 1821 also Wm. Sutherlin arrived from
Virginia and bought land in both Putnam and Parke counties for
his sons. In 1822 he moved his family, consisting of his wife
and nine children. They settled near the eastern line. Mr.
Sutherlin died at the age of sixty-six, and Lyda.
his wife, at the very advanced age of ninety-six. All the
children are dead but John and Madison.
Isaac Norman helped survey the county
about 1820, and selected his land, but did not settle for some
time. John Duncan entered land in 1822 or 1823,
and Thomas Carmichael could not have been
non-resident far from this date. In 1822 also the Troutmans,
Stephens and Kays made their advent. The
Troutmans entered the land now owned by Harvey
Johnson. The branch running through this place received
their name. On Troutman's Run they had a tannery for
several years. About this time the Jameses and
Nathan Plunket were here, and Lemuel
Norman lived on the Big Raccoon. In 1823 Thomas C.
Burton entered land in the New Discovery, east and
northeast of where Bellemore now stands. Mr. Burton
has lived on this land ever since. It is now farmed and partly
owned by his son and Evan Stokes. The old
gentleman now makes his home with Mr. Stokes. He
has taken an active part in the affairs of the township, and
has seen its development. The year 1823 also found James
and E. McDanold in these parts, called New
Discovery. There is some dispute as to the circumstances
giving rise to the name of this section west of the Big
Raccoon. Thomas Woolverton is said to have taken
special notice of this piece of country while looking for a
stray horse and to have called it by this name, while some
claim the honor for some one else. We cannot assert facts as
to the origin or time of this appellation. Gideon
Bristow, with his two sons, George and Nathan,
settled and improved a farm near the eastern line, and were
highly respected people.
Other early settlers were John Blake with
a large family, John McGilvery, John
Noble, Robert Broaddus, Samuel
Harlan. All of these were here prior to 1830. Among the
many who came during the decade 1830-40 John Collins,
John and William Bulion, the Akers, the
Mershons and Cyrus Goss are prominent.
Within the few years that center around 1840 the
Wimmers, Connellys, Samuel Blacketer,
Samuel Scott, Zebulon Collings,
the Johnsons, and later still the Thomases
settled, and Union township began to appear alive with
cultivated fields and habitations of civilization. The large
estates have been divided among heirs, so that the names of
forty or fifty years ago are the names of today.
In the infantine days of Union the
settlers were obliged to carry their grain on horseback to
Dixon's, and a little later to Portland mills. This was
exceedingly toilsome and necessity demanded mills nearer home.
In 1829 was built the Noble mill on the Big Raccoon, south of
the present site of Hollandsburgh. John McGilvery
hauled the burrs from Vigo county. Soon after this
Sapinfield erected a mill, so also did John and Ira
McGilvery. These mills did the sawing and grinding for
many years. Later, Moore and Snow built their
steam flour and saw mills at Bellemore, which received most of
the patronage up to 1878 or 1879, when they were removed. The
grain is now carried to Portland or Piattsville. The Plain
mills, on the Big Raccoon, owned by a firm in Greencastle, are
sawing an immense amount of lumber, and the best timber is
being felled for the purpose.
As the township became populated
mechanics came into demand, and blacksmiths seem to have been
first needed. Somewhere about 1830 Wm. Aydelott
settled one half mile north of where Bellemore now is. There
he started a blacksmith shop, and did the work for a large
scope of country. This was the first shop in New Discovery,
but Martin's shop must have been the first in the
township. In those days a round rod of iron was seldom seen in
these parts, so Aydelott kept a forge and he and his
boys forged their own iron. In 1846 the Guisingers
moved to the township. They started a shop north of the state
road, and afterward another on the present site of John
Seybold's residence. Long prior to this the Baldwins
owned a tract of this land, and had built a little cabin. They
sold to William Alexander, who probably enlarged
the house and put out his shingle, taking in wayfarers of all
kinds, whom he fed and lodged. This was the first
boarding-house in the township, and stood on the rise of
ground where Jacob Palmer lives, and might be
said to be the germ of Bellemore. A few cabins were put up
around the Guisinger shops, and John Bulion
Sr., having come from the east, suggested that the
cluster north of the state road be called Northampton, after a
town of that name in Massachusetts, and that south of the road
be called Southampton. The shop at the latter place was soon
abandoned, so the town was known as Northampton. John
Aydelott built a blacksmith shop, which was owned by
Thomas Hughes in 1855. John M. Turner rented
the back room for a wagon shop, while Hughes occupied
the front room. In 1856 Turner built a wagon shop, the
first in the township, and carried on quite an extensive
business in that line. Samuel Sharp owns the
building and uses it for a paint and wagon shop, while the
Masons utilize the. upper story as a lodge-room.
About 1839 Wm. Thornton built the first
store-room in what is now Bellemore. In 1850 Isaac
Wimmer bought the Alexander property, and in 1853
or 1854 he sold to Moore and Snow, who built the
steam flouring and saw mills, put up a store building and also
a dwelling each. The hamlet began to be the center of trade,
and the people wanted a post-office. Accordingly a petition
was circulated praying for the same and asking that the office
be named Northampton. The petition for the office was granted,
but there being already a Northampton in Indiana, the office
was named Bellemore. This name is said to have arisen from the
following circumstance : Mr. Moore, at that time
a resident of the hamlet, had some daughters whom Gen. Steele,
a guest of Mr. Moore's, admired. The general one
day said to his host, "This town ought to be called Bellemore
(Belle-Moore) in honor of your daughters! " Hence the origin
of the name. Mr. Snow was the first postmaster
if the memories of some are correct. Later Mr. Cole
bought out Moore and Snow, and carried on
milling and merchandising for some time, and George
Cole kept post-office. Since that time Mrs.
Whitford, Jesse Partlow and James
Brackenridge have filled the office. On April 11, 1874,
Richard L. Smith was appointed postmaster, and has held
the position since. The office has increased in business
during his term, paying in 1874 about $60, and now about $125.
The mail is carried three times per week to and from
Rockville, by stage. For many years past Dr. Paxton
lived and practiced here. Prior to him doctors from adjoining
country were called.
The cornet band furnishes open-air music. It was
organized in 1878. Its membership is twelve, and its officers
are: Perry Reid, president; leader, John
Thompson, J. H. Reid, and treasurer, Aaron
Harlan. Bellemore is situated on Sees. 7 and 8.
The second village of the township is Hollandsburg.
About 1855 John Collings built a hewed log house
on the spot, and Abraham Collings afterward
built a store 16x24, and sold goods, carrying a stock of
perhaps $400. The building stood just east of the present
store of Wright & Stout. Thus started the town.
The Collingses gave it the name it bears, in honor of a
Baptist minister in Kentucky whose name was Holland. The first
store building is now used as a carpenter shop. Harvey
Connelly early built a blacksmith shop, in which he
worked for some years. It is now occupied by James
Stout as a dwelling. L. D. McGilvery erected a
dwelling. Others, as Jesse Collings, Lemuel McClain, Robert
Daniels (wagon-maker), and Wm. Brackall
(shoe-maker), were added to the hamlet. About 1860 John
McGilvery built quite a large house, which he now
occupies. In 1859 the Baptist church was erected, and since
that time the store building used by Wright & Stout
was built by L. D. McGilvery. The town now has a
blacksmith, wagon and carriage shop, two carpenter shops, one
store and one church.
L. .D McGilvery was the first postmaster. The
mail line was suspended for a time. The post-office is now
kept by John D. Wright. Hollandsburg is situated on
Bellemore and Hollandsburg are the only villages in the
township. They neither have a village organization, but are
merely small trading places with post-offices. The township
has no railroad. Most of the grain is hauled to Rockville for
The roads of this section have been difficult of
construction. For many years the settlers blazed the trees and
chopped out the brush. The first road doubtless was that from
Mansfield to Crawfordsville, passing through the township and
cutting off the southeast part. Wm. B. Martin carried the
chain when this was surveyed. Thomas C. Burton, the
McDanolds, and John Troutman blazed a road
from the Burton place to Rockville in 1823. They aimed to
finish and get to town to vote, but accomplished neither.
About 1826 a road was blazed from Portland to Rockville.
John McGilvery ordered the men out to clear this
road. The Indianapolis and Danville state road was surveyed in
1834. This road runs through the middle of the second row of
sections, from the north line. A large oak stood east of
Bellemore which marked fifty-one miles to Indianapolis. This
road is graveled from Rockville to Bellemore, and an effort is
making to finish it to the Putnam line. There is also another
gravel road from Rockville extending parallel with the last
named as far east as Bellemore. This is to be finished to
Bellemore. Albert Thomas and Wm. Carmichael
have been prominent among the officers of the Bellemore and
Rockville road. On account of the extremely broken surface, it
has been necessary to make these roads very irregular in their
The early elections prior to 1830
were held at the house of Mr. Marts, who settled
the place now owned by O. G. Harlan. After Samuel
Harlan bought the property elections continued to be
held there. Samuel Duree is said to have been
the first justice of the peace in the township, and to have
filled the office long and well. Alexander and James
McDanold were among the very early comers, and were at
different times justices of the peace. James filled
that office for many years till 1842. John McGilvery
was constable in early days. Few escaped the supervisorship.
Mr. White was very prominent wherever known, and
was engaged in the state surveys. He located roads and
disbursed the state moneys to road employes. The township is
republican, but there are democrats enough to make political
elections very warm. Daniel Thomas has been
foremost in the republican party for many years. He has
represented the district in the state legislature two terms.
In the course of events, the
township has not been free from accidents. A man by the name
of Shaw having felled a tree, and the tree having
fallen against another, attempted to move it from its
position, when it fell on him, breaking his back. This was
very early, and the neighbors, being few, took turns in
waiting on him till he died. Charles Nugent's
son, Louis, nicknamed "Bose," served his time in
the army, came home, and being a boasted swimmer, entered the
water with a party. After being in awhile he disappeared, and
it is said was never found. It is said that a young man, whose
name is unknown, rode up to the well on the Darnel
farm, and dismounted to get a drink. When stooping to drink
his revolver fell from his pocket and discharged accidentally,
killing the man. The report was heard by some one near, and
Dr. Hamilton called, who pronounced death
accidental. It afterward became known that he had stolen the
horse and saddle, and was then trying to escape. About 1838 a
terrible accident occurred while raising a United Brethren
church near the eastern line of Union township. One side was
raised and set in the mortises. The workmen wished to brace
it, fearing it might fall, but the contractor thought this
unnecessary, considering it perfectly safe. Unexpectedly,
however, it fell, killing Isaac Bell, wounding
Sampson Sutherlin so badly that he died in a
short time, and also severely wounding a third. But very few
years ago Garret Hamilton was mortally injured
in the abdomen by a large piece of bark thrown from a log by
the force of the saw. Mortification setting in, he lived but a
short time. The Van Faughsen tragedy occurred
not far from Joseph Noble's. It is still fresh
in the minds of the people, yet very conflicting are the
accounts. Whisky seems to have exceedingly magnified some
grudge which resulted in the death of Van Faughsen.
The malaria and exposure have not
been tardy in their deadly mission. The white tombstone points
out the resting-place of nearly all the oldest pioneers. Those
who do still live were but the children or young of 1821. The
people seem to have desired even the dead as near them as
possible. They have buried their loved ones beneath nature's
green carpet upon which they had been wont to play or toil,
consequently cemeteries are not large but many. The Martin
graveyard, appropriately situated on an elevation of
the Martin homestead, folds many of Union's flock.
John Martin, the hero of Union, lies in these
grounds, and round him rest those who shared his toils, and
others who have sympathized. The Nobles, the Kalleys,
the Colemans, the Harneys, the Coopers
and others fill its graves. The Blake graveyard
contains William Blake, who has slept the
longest sleep of any here, having died in 1828. Many of his
family and his children's families lie near him. Here, too,
are buried the Normans, the Millers, the
Mitchells, the Woolvertons, the Davises, the
Maters and the Aydelotts. This necropolis is
pleasantly situated on a rise of ground on the Blake
farm. Mount Moriah has spread green turf over
the tombs of the Harlans, the Thomases, the
Collingses, the Connellys, the Johnsons, and
many others, whose names on the stones at their heads speak of
"homes here and yonder." The family burying-ground and the
single grave we cannot mention but to say they are many and
sacred. All dead sleep in one common bosom.
From earliest times
the gospel has been read and preached throughout Union
township. Ere even the log school-house or
"meeting-house" gave welcome to worshipers, old and young
communed, read and listened in the lowly but cherished log
cabin. Now they gathered at Thomas C. Burton's,
now at Brother Bristow's, next at John McGilvery's
or Charles Beache's or other private houses. One
of the Baldwins used to preach some. George
Bristow was a Baptist minister.
The first church built was a Baptist "meeting-house"
called Providence, built out of the raw material of the
forest, with but little hewing. This house of worship
stood on the Johnson place, in the southwest corner,
and here, too, was a graveyard. In this house
Ben Lambert, Jerre Baldwin, Samuel Medley and others
exhorted. To this place of praise the Troutmans
belonged. In the "churchyard" Moses Baldwin was
the first to go to rest. The log house was finally
abandoned, and the Mount Moriah church was built across the
line in Greene township, and will receive special attention in
the history of Greene. The Missionary Baptist sect was
quite strong in the township and adjoining territory, and it
was thought well to organize into a body for work; and October
2, 1858, A. L. Thomas, Harriet Thomas, Jeremiah Rush,
Lucinda Rush, John M. Galey, Margaret Galey, W. M. Jerome,
Mariah Jerome, Martha Thomas, Margaret Thomas, JOhn Moler
and Mariah Pratt met at the house of James and Rhoda
Stout. These representatives from New Discovery,
Freedom and Bridgeton societies. These fourteen
organized by electing P. T. Palmer moderator, and J.
N. Stout clerk. P. T. Palmer was the first
preacher and elder R. Davis assistant. The
society, in the glow of newness, moved on, and at a meeting
held February 5, 1859, it was voted to build a church 40 x 50
feet, and on August 6 the new house was dedicated. P.
T. Palmer was elder, A. L. Thomas, clerk, and L.
D. McGilvery, A. L. Thomas and Jeremiah Rush were
trustees. The church has been very prospeous.
Large accessions have been made, especially in the yeasr
1859-60-63-65-66-73-74-76-80. The present membership is
seventy-two. S. K. Fuson has been pastor for the
last nine years. The church is pleasantly situated in
Hollandsburg. The United Brethren in Christ became well
represented throughout the township. They frequently met
at James Bulion's or John McGilvery's Moses Hill's
or Charles Beache's. In 1849 the denomination
built a church 31 x 36, on Sec. 20, calling it Otterbein.
The church grew, and in the winter of 1873-4 there were
forty-one additions. Rev. Low had charge of the
church at the time, but Rev. A. Wimsett, an
evangelist, conducted the meetings. Elija Cook,
John Eckels, John Fetterhoff and
John Dunham were primitive preachers of this
charge. A. M. Snyder now officiates. In 1866
about forty of the same denomination met at the Martin
school-house to organize a class, which was accomplished by
electing Joseph McCrary leader and D.
S. Kalley steward. In March, 1867, they held a revival,
and thirty-one united with the church. They concluded to build
immediately, and a church 30x40 was erected. The dedication
services took place November 10, 1867, the society numbering
forty-five. James A. Smith was pastor in charge. The
present membership is about seventy.
The first Methodist class-meeting was probably held at
Thomas C. Burton's very early. Much later than this,
about 1846, Canaan church was built. This region was part of
the Rockville circuit for some time, but came to be known as
the Bellemore circuit. Among the more prominent members may be
mentioned the Maters, the Burtons, Isaac
Wimmer, Mr. Moore, the McDanalds,
Evan Stokes, the Aydelotts, R. L. Smith,
etc. In 1868 the society built a new church at Bellemore. It
is large and commodious, and was dedicated September 27 of the
same year by Bishop Bowman of Greencastle.
Rev. T. C. Webster is now presiding for the second year.
The church is in good condition. A Sunday-school is sustained
during the year.
January 10, 1849, a large number of the Christian denomination
desiring union in the work of religion, fifty-seven persons
met at New Discovery and organized a church. In the following
year a house was erected at New Discovery, where the church
became quite large. In 1867-8 a new building was erected at
Bellemore, using all of the available materials in the old one
at New Discovery in its construction. In this Abner D.
Darley was the first preacher. The present membership is
An informal meeting
was called at the store of James Brackenridge,
November 7, 1874, for the purpose of considering the
expediency of organizing a Masonic lodge. December 26, 1874,
thirteen persons met for this purpose. J. M. Jerome was
elected W. M.; A. B. Collings, S.W.; James
Brackenridge, J. W.; W. P. Blake, treasurer; J.
D. Wright, secretary; W. Jerome, S. D. ; P. L.
Reid, J. D.; Albert Beach, tyler. The present lodge
numbers eighteen, and meets on the Saturday night on or before
the full moon, in their hall in Bellemore. This is the only
secret society in the township.
Probably the first
school-house in the township was the small log structure which
stood for many years on the Burton farm, just
east of Bellemore. There was also an educational institution
built in a very early day in the Noble district. Here
the Nobles and probably the Martins said their
letters. The Burton school-house was four-cornered, but
the latter had five corners. One corner was used for a
fire-place, and from this ascended a stone chimney. The floor
was "ready-made." Lumber was too scarce, so the "fathers"
thought the ground would do. The window was an opening
provided by leaving a log out of the side of the house, and
covering it with greased paper. The roof was of clapboards,
fastened down by means of a binder, as one would make safe a
load of hay on a wagon. The seats were halves of linden logs,
with flat sides up and wooden pins for legs ; the backs the
children carried with them. There were no desks. Along the
side of the house and below the window, that there might be as
much light as possible, was an eighteen-inch plank, used as a
writing desk. Big and little reached up and bent down that
they might learn to write. The desk didn't exactly fit all. If
there were any other fixtures besides the benches and
writing-desk they were in keeping with the style of the house.
Such was the primitive school building. Thomas
Nugent is said to have been the first teacher in the
township, but other memories may differ. It is said and
confirmed that Mr. Nugent was extremely sleepy
in the school-room. He would sit and doze and nod, and
actually fall asleep. This, of course, tickled the boy of that
period quite as much as it would the boy of to-day. The "spellin'-book"
and the " rethmetic " were stand-bys. The pupils recited each
in his turn. The teacher, with an educator three or four feet
long in his hand, would occasionally cause a young idea to
shoot in a very lively manner. And thus the subscription
school (for they had no free school then) hastened to its
close but to "take ip" again in about nine months from "last
day." However, after awhile these rude and unhewn log huts
were displaced by more modern buildings of hewn timbers, and
these again by frame edifices that stand to-day. The teacher
of them long since died, and His system died with him.
In 1838 the board of trustees, Wm. Stephens,
Wm. Aydelott and Charles Beach,
laid off that part of the township west of the Big Raccoon
creek in four districts. In the same year, at a meeting of the
citizens, it was resolved to build a frame house on Sec. 4,
20x21 feet, and to support a three-months school per year.
Three months were also voted for school in district 6. A brick
school building was put up in quite an early day in the
southern part of the township. Cyrus Goss
taught the first school in the new frame school building on
the Burton place in 1839, and continued teaching it for some
years. Other teachers like Mr. Goss came from
the more eastern states better prepared to impart instruction.
But not till comparatively late years did the schools begin to
approach their present standard. Union township now has nine
school buildings and ten teachers. The Bellemore graded school
has two departments. There are now four highest grade teachers
among the ten licensed in the township. John D. Wright
is school trustee.
School section 16 has been frequently alluded to in our
writing, and some have asked as to the manner of its disposal.
Prior to 1828 the Tippins lived on part of this land
belonging to the schools of the township. In 1828 the board of
trustees, Alex. McDanold, clerk, Thomas C.
Burton and Nathaniel Bristow, gave over
all books and property of the township into the hands of the
new board, John McGilvery, Samuel
Davis and Thomas C. Burton. At a meeting of March
20, 1830, they leased the school section 16 to John
Wright, said Wright agreeing to clear twenty acres,
five in each year for four years, with liberty to clear ten
acres more; further agreeing to fence a part and sow three
acres to grass, build a house 24x18 and a stable 18 x 12;
certain forfeits to be made in case he failed to fill the
contract. The farm continued to be rented till 1840. The rents
were expended for school purposes. In 1840 a petition signed
by ninety voters was presented to the trustees, Wm.
Aydelott, Samuel Davis and Charles
Beach, praying for the sale of school section 16, which
petition was handed to the Parke county school commissioners
on January 11, 1840. The land was sold all but the improved
160 acres. This was rented to N. M. Mershon for one
year, when it was sold. The following named persons purchased
parts of this land at the sale of 1840: the the N. 1/2 N. W.
1/4 of Sec. 16, L. D. McGilvery; the S. W. 1/4 N. W.
1/4, Wesley Norman; the S. E. 1/4 N. W. 1/4, William
Gassaway; the W. 1/2 S. W. 1/4, James Callaway; the
E. 1/4 S. W. 1/4, Archibald Collings; the N. W. 1/4 S.
E. 1/4, William Gassaway; the S. E. 1/4 S. E. 1/4 Ab.
Sapinfield; the N. E. 1/4 S. E. 1/4 and S. W. 1/4 S. E.
1/4 James Mershon. In 1841 the improved
farm, N. E. 1/4, was sold to Stephen and Robert
McCorkle. The proceeds were used for school
purposes. The land is now some of the best in the township.
Much of it has changed hands.