Washington township is
situated in the east center of the county, its boundaries
being Howard, Green, Adams and Penn townships on the north,
east, south and west respectively. It comprises part
of T. 15 and 16 N., R. 6 and 7 W. of 2d P.M., and contains
thirty-six sections of rich and beautiful land, and also has
numerous extensive coal deposits in paying quantities, its
coal mines being one of the leading features. The
primitive log structures in which the pioneers resided
during the early years of their settlement have now
disappeared, having been succeeded by handsome and costly
farm residences, large barns, and other farm buildings,
which appear on every hand, emblems of the wealth and
prosperity of the people. Numerous streams take rises
in, and flow through, this township, and runs through the
northern tier of sections, leaving on the northwest corner
of Sec. 6. Leatherwood creek originates on Sec. 16,
and flows west through the township, while Sand and Williams
creeks, and other smaller streams, also take their rise
within its limits, and take a southward course, emptying
into Little Raccoon creek, which runs across the southeast
corner of the town, entering on Sec. 24, and leaving on Sec.
35. In 1872 the Terre Haute & Logansport railroad was
constructed across the southeast corner of the town,
and a station opened on Sec. 24, which has been named
Judson. On Sec. 35 is Nyesville, a colliery village,
having a branch of the above mentioned railroad extended to
the coal shafts.
The first settler in Washington township was
Alexander Buchanan, who arrived in 1821 and
located on Sec.24, near Little Raccoon creek, on the farm
where he now resides, at which time this part of the county
was covered with a heavy growth of timber. His only
neighbors were the Indians, who still occupied this
territory, they being members of the Miami, Delaware, and
Pottawatomie tribes, and whose villages and graveyards were
numerous in the vicinity. The first to follow Mr.
Buchanan into the wilderness was David Bruen, who
settled at the point afterward known as Bruen's
cross-roads, where the first post-office was established,
with Mr. Bruen as postmaster. In the fall of
1822 there were twelve families in this settlement:
The Buchanans, Bruens, David Todd, who was afterward
elected the first justice of the peace; Durlin, Ambrose
Lambert, Charles Abbott, his mother and brother,
two families named Harlan, a Dutch family named
Shmok, and the families of McMillan and
Garrison, the two latter having settled just across the
line in Adams township. In the following year came
Fleming, and James Long, and shortly afterward
the McMurtrie family arrived. After this the
immigrants poured in thick and fast, eager to obtain some of
the valuable land in this township, the value of which had
been discerned by the first settlers.
In the Roaring creek or Poplar Grove settlement, in the
north end of the township, the first to arrive was John
Maris, in eh fall of 1826, and who settled on the S. E.
¼ of Sec. 5, on the Indian
trail, at which time there were still a few of the
aborigines in the county. After coming here he cleared
ten acres, which the following spring he planted in corn,
having obtained his seed and corn for bread from the Cook
family, in the settlement west of him, at ten cents per
bushel. The next arrival was Joshua Newlin, who
was accompanied by son John, and his daughter
Sarah and her husband, James Underwood, they
having been married before leaving the bounds of
civilization, but had not "gone to housekeeping." They
reached here in the fall of 1827, and located on the N. E. ¼
of Sec. 4, at once erecting a shed, in which they resided
for three weeks, at the end of which time they had their
cabin built, with the exception of the stick and clay
chimney, which was duly put up a day or two afterward.
The following winter was occupied clearing ten acres of
land, which when spring arrived was planted in corn, they
subsisting in the meantime on bread made from that cereal,
which they purchased from Samuel Brown, on the
prairie, for ten cents per bushel. Having brought with
him some peach seeds, he planted them, and in three years
had plenty of that fruit, and at the same time he set out an
orchard of apple trees, which bore in seven years. His
son John entered the E. ½ of S. W. ¼ of Sec. 4, where
he cleared five aces, and the following spring, 1828,
settled upon it. The same spring his son-in-law,
James Underwood, settled upon it. The same spring
his son-in-law, James Underwood, settled upon the S.
W. ¼ of Sec. 3, and went to housekeeping. Nathan
Hockett next came to this neighborhood, in the spring of
828, and went to work on the W. ½ of S.W. ¼ of Sec. 4.
He owned the first cow in this settlement, having brought
her with him from North Carolina, and also brought a
quantity of garden seeds, which were quite an acquisition,
and which he divided with his neighbors In the
following fall William and Jesse Hobson immigrated
and pitched their tent on the S. E. ¼ of Sec. 9. In
the fall of 1829 the Teaghe family came, their
location being on Sec. 8, and who were shortly followed by
Aaron Rawlings, Aaron D. Huff, Gabriel Wilson, Eli Bundy,
Jonathan Trublood and family, W. Hill, Elias Trublood, Jesse
Kemp, David Newlin, Joshua and John Engle, and
the McCampbell family.
The educational interests of the rising generation
were early looked to and provided for. The first
school-house was built in what was known as the "lost
quarter," a strip of territory on Sec. 26, its first session
being presided over by John McBride, a native of the
Emerald Isle. The first school in the Roaring Creek
settlement was begun in February 1833, by Enoch Kersey,
who received as wages $6.00 per scholar per annum.
The first meeting-house in the township, and probably
in the county, was built in 1823 in the Buchanan
neighborhood, near where Mr. Welch now resides, and
was a hewed log structure. It belonged to the
Presbyterian denomination, the congregation having been
instituted by Rev. Samuel T. Scott, of Vincennes.
The first regular preacher in charge at this point after the
organization was Rev. Charles Clinton Beattie, son of
old Maj. Beattie, who had laid off the town of
Clinton and named his son after it.
The Methodists held meetings here at an early date,
among their pioneer preachers being the Rev. Cravens
(who called himself The Almighty's Bull-dog), Rev.
Armstrong, and Richard Hargraves.
Bethany Presbyterian church was instituted about
1831, the first meetings being held by Rev. John Thompson.
In 1834 a log meeting-house was built, which continued in
use until 1849, when the present building was erected,
costing about $1,000. The membership is now about 100.
Goshen Missionary Baptist Church, on Sec. 14, was
organized about 1834 or 1835, the congregation worshiping in
the school-house until 1846, when they erected the
meeting-house which they now occupy. Rev. Mr.
Fuston is the present minister of this congregation,
which is very strong in number.
Providence church, of the United Brethren denomination,
was built about 1851, and formerly had quite a large
membership. At present there is no organization at
Pleasant Grove Baptist church, on Sec. 20, was built in
1850, the congregation having been instituted some years
earlier. The Rev. Isaac Denman and the
Rev. Mr. Goban were among the early ministers to preach
at this church. Rev. Joseph Skeeters, of
Montezuma, is the present pastor.
Roaring Creek United Brethren church is situated on the
southwest corner of Sec. 6, and was organized about 1840,
the pioneer preachers of this denomination who preached in
this neighborhood being Isaac Pickard, John Ephlin, John
Dunham, James Griffith, Jacob Connoy and John Hoober.
The congregation now numbers seventy members.
The first meeting of Poplar Grove Society of Friends
was held in a log cabin of John Newlin's farm, on 2d
month, 23d, 1832, the committee appointed by the monthly
meeting to attend the opening being Nathaniel Newlin,
Joseph Hall, Abraham Holiday, Solomon Allen, and
William Morrison. The same season a meeting-house
was erected on the northeast corner of John Maris'
farm. The grant for a preparative meeting was made by
the Bloomfield monthly meeting 12th month, 11th, 1833, and
was to have been formally established 1st month, 6th, 1834.
On the part of the men's meeting, William Coates, Isaac
Harvey and John Woody were appointed to attend
the opening, but owing to some misunderstanding with the
women's meeting, as to the time, they did not attend until
2d month, 5th, 1834. The first wedding which took
place in this house was that of Enoch Kersey, the
school teacher, to Sarah Curl, the date of which
event was 10th month, 2d, 1834, being celebrated according
to the rules of the Society of Friends before a crowd of
Among the first deaths in the settlement was that of
Samuel Teaghe, who was drowned July 4, 1834.
The mills to which the early settlers of this township
had access were, first, that at Roseville, the next, Beard's
mill, on Sugar creek, which was erected in 1822. In
1825 Samuel Steele built a mill at Portland, in
Greene township, and the following year Salmon Lusk's
mill, The Narrows, was constructed; then in 1827
Rubottom's mill, on Leatherwood creek, was put up, so
that this settlement was well supplied with grinding
Extensive coal works are in operation at Neyesville, on
Secs. 33 and 34, the colliery village of that name which
adjoins the works being quite a large place, the population
varying constantly, according to the demand for work at the
mines. The works are owned by the Parke County Coal
Mining Company, and large quantities of this mineral are
annually shipped from here over a branch railroad connecting
the mines with the main line of the Terre Haute & Logansport
The village of Judson was laid out in 1872, when the
railroad was completed, on the southwest part of Sec. 24,
the first store being opened by Glover & Milligan.
The business establishments now in operation in town
are: Barnes & Snider's large steam flouring-mill;
Barnes & Buchanan's grocery and dry-goods store;
Joseph Milligan & Co's dry-goods and grocery
establishment; W. N. Endsley's grocery store; and E.
St. Clair's drug store. Another of the leading
business men in town is Mr. J. C. Buchanan, son of
Mr. Alexander Buchanan, whose enterprise and talents
have made him one of the most popular men in the
neighborhood. The postmaster is Edward Barnes.
There is one church building in town, known as the Union
meeting-house, having been erected in 1873 by the
Presbyterian and Methodist societies, and is used by both.
The building is 40x50 feet, and cost $1,800, the trustees
being Alexander Buchanan, Mr. Welch, and Henry
Connelly. The Presbyterian congregation was
instituted about the time the town was laid out, by an order
from the presbytery, three ministers taking part in the
organizing ceremonies, Rev. Messrs. Torrence, Hawks and
Dickerson. The membership here is now thirty,
their present minister being Rev. W. J. Allen.
The Methodist society was organized in 1872 or 1873
by the Rev. James C. Stemor, and the congregation,
which is yet small, is now in charge of Rev. Mr. Webster.
A branch of the I. O. O. F., known as Judson Lodge,
No. 446, is here located. It was organized Apr. 9,
1874, the charter being issued May 21, 1874. The first
officers and charter members were: N. G., F. H. Adamson;
V. G., T. H. Murray; Sec., A. U. Long; Treas.,
G. A. Buchanan; Benjamin Michels, James Lambert, and
Thomas M. Buchanan. The lodge, which now
numbers nineteen members, is in splendid working order, and
has a large and comfortably furnished hall, fitted up with a
handsome set of emblems and regalia. The present
officers are: N. G., J. N. McCampbell; V. G.,
T. C. Mann; Sec., G. A. Buchanan; and
Treas., F. H. Anderson.
Judson Lodge, No. 518, A. F. and A. M., was
organized at this place about six years ago, but at the time
of going to press we have no other particulars than that the
lodge has been quite prosperous, and embraces within its
membership some of the most substantial citizens of Judson