This is one of the western tier of townships in
the county, and is bounded on the north by Reserve
township, on the east by Adams, on the south by Florida, and
on the west by Wabash river. Along the river and in
places running back some considerable distance are the
Wabash bottoms; these are considered the richest land in the
state, although up the river at the northwest corner of the
township the land is higher but not broken, and is therefore
the most valuable in this part of the county; the middle and
northeastern part of the township is quite hilly, the bluffs
in places rising abruptly to a considerable height.
These hills are to quite an extent underlaid with coal; a
fair quality of building stone is also obtained in places;
and iron, too, is said to exist upon Iron creek, in the
northeast part of the township. Raccoon creek, the
only stream of any importance in the township, enters it
from the south and winds northward some little more than
half way through the township, then turns west and runs
almost directly to the river. On this stream Mr.
Abner Cox built the first mill of any note in this part
of the county. To it came the pioneers, some in
row-boats, some with cart and oxen, and some from the more
inaccessible parts of the country, came with grists on
horseback, winding their way over hills and through the
thick forests of timber that were then scarcely broken by
the sturdy settler's axe. This mill was built near
Armiesburg. After the mill came other improvements in
the way of a mill to grind out whisky from rye and corn,
making a home market for farmers' produce. ( It was
discovered a few yeas later that there was a worm in this
still-house that was more venomous than any reptile ever
found in Parke county. ) In about 1830 Patterson,
Silliman & Co. ( Mr. Alexander McCune being the
company and furnished the money ) started a store here,
where pork could be sold for $1,50 per hundred, and salt
could be bought for $7 per barrel, and calico for 35 to 40
cents per yard.
It is known by some now living that the first settlers
had hauled wheat to Chicago, Louisville and Cincinnati,
Ohio, and sold it for 60 cents per bushel and hauled back
Among the early pioneers may be mentioned Isaac
Ghormly and family, Daniel James and Aquilla
Justice, Lucius Kebby and family,
Aquilla Puntenney, Mark and Thomas Cooke, William Hixon,
Azariah Brown, James and Aquilla Laverty. Many of
the descendants of these pioneers are the men of Wabash
township, though some have barely left a representative.
At the time the early settlers came the Indians
were numerous. In this township was one section of
land given by the state to Christmas Dazney, mention
of which is made in another part of this work. The
Indians were peaceable but idle and shiftless.
MILLS AND OTHER IMPROVEMENTS.
at a very early date were made in the most convenient
places, and in some instances, where the early settler found
his last resting place is now producing fields of golden
grain, and the public road passes over the graves of two
young men, early pioneers, who were killed by the Indians;
but for the last forty years this part of humane respect and
religious rite has been more carefully observed. In
about 1836 Leatherwood burying-ground was begun, and in 1849
was deeded by Isaac Silliman to the trustees of the
Society of United Brethren. The ground is fenced, and
a neat little church, 25 x 35 feet, has been erected.
In this place is buried four of Mr. Pittman's
daughters: Rebecca, Mary A., Susan A. and Sarah.
Several years ago Mr. William Hixon deeded
to the trustees a piece of land in Sec. 19, T. 15, for a
burial place for the dead. About the first buried
there was a Mr. Vandiver, but previous to that a
number of the early settlers were buried just west, below
the bluff. The present place is far above the
country's level, on a beautiful hill. On this
eminence, many years ago, stood the Methodist Episcopal
church. In 1868 it was taken down and moved to its
present site on Terre Haute and La Fayette state road, about
two miles south of Armiesburg.
The first school-house was built in 1834, by Mr. A.
McCune, about three-fourths of a mile southeast of
Mecca. It was built of logs, with one log left out.
Over this aperture was pasted greased paper. This
served as a window. For seats they used split logs,
flat side up. The backs of the children brought with
them in the morning, and invariably took them home at night.
Flat-boat building was an industry carried on by some
of the early settlers, as well as boating down the river to
New Orleans. Among some of the most conspicuous in
this business were Mr. A. McCune and Mr. A. D.
Brown, they having made many trips down the river.
Mr. McCune says he went over thirty-five times to New
If any one township in Parke county more than another
can boast of her (unfinished) railroads it is Wabash.
In 1873 Mr. Young, of Chicago, started the
Indiana Division of the Chicago, Danville & Vincennes
railroad. It was graded about half way through the
township from the south side, running through the Raccoon
bottoms. Thus truss bridges were also erected.
In 1854 the Illinois Central and Indiana Central surveyed a
line through the northern part of Wabash township, but never
built the road. In 1874 a company formed to build the
Springfield road. This line passed over the old
survey. On Oct. 15, 1875, the contract was let to
Dolby, Lockie & Co. to build and own the road
from Montezuma to Indianapolis via Rockville. The
grading was begun in the fall of 1875, and in the winter of
1876 they failed and the road was abandoned. Thus the
fond hopes of the Wabash people, as well as those of
Rockville, perished, and like the morning dew flitted away,
and the prospective railroads, like the canal, are "hopes
One of the most extensive land owners in this township,
if not in Parke county, is
Aquilla Laverty. He owns 3,636 acres of land,
two of the best business houses, and the best private
residence in Montezuma.