Washington Co., IN History

from Biographical Souvenir Illustrated

Washington County lies in the southern part of the State of Indiana and is of rather a rough and broken surface. It is bounded on the north by Jackson county, from which it is seperated by the Muscatatuck river; on the east by Scott and Clark counties; on the south by Harrison and Crawford counties and on the west by Orange and Lawrence. It has about 510 squar miles and by the census of 1880, it had a population of 18,955. Like the adjoining counties its surface partakes of timber land and "barrens" and is underlaid with the cavernous limestone. The barrens comprise nearly an eighth of the entire area if the county. They were originally thickly matted with wild grass and a kind of stunted shrub. the timber comprised the different kinds of oak, white and black walnut, ash, hickory, beech, elm, dogwood, maple, chestnut, sycamore, poplar, gum, wild cherry, sassafras, etc.,etc. In its primitive state the county possessed some as fine walknut, cherry and poplar timber as this section of the county can produce. It is stated that in 1878 a poplar tree was cut on the land of William Brewer, south of Salem, that was eight feet in diameter across the stump and made six saw logs each twelve feet long; that it took fourteen horses to haul the first cut to the mill where it was sawed and that the entire tree made 12,000 feet of lumber. The bottom lands are rich and produce well; the uplands are rolling and the different cereals grow on them profusely. These lands are also well adapted to fruits. The county as a whole is one of the finest stock-raising counties in the State, the large number of running streams of pure water adding much to its adaptability in this branch of industry. Its drainage is through the Muscatatuck and Blue rivers and Buffalo, Elk, Rush, Twin, Clifty and Bear Creeks. In addition to these there are a number of smaller streams fed by springs, which flow in every direction and afford the best drainage.

Settlement. - White people visited Washington County as early as 1800, but no permanent settlement was made until 1807. This settlement was made by a German named George Brock, who came from Virginia and settled in what is now Washington Township. He was a hunter and followed hunting and trapping for a livelihood. After spending a season here thus engaged he returned for his family and the next year (1808) brought them out; his son, George Brock, Jr., and two sons-in-law, Adam Barnett and Frederick Neidiffer accompanying him. Another early settler was Jesse Spurgeon, who came about the time of Brock. Judge Goodlove Kemp settled north of Salem in 1808 and in 1809 Henry Dewalt, Roger Thompson, William Gordon, Andrew Pitts, William Netherton and Benjamin Brewer. The last named gentleman entered the land upon with Salem is located. After the year 1809 the settlement of the county spread rapidly. Among those who came in after that time were William Wright, James Davis, Andrew Little, Isaac Miller, Jacob Miller, John Niediffer, Henry Carter, James Young, Martin Putoff, Caleb Trueblood and Thomas Hodges. The following settlers located between 1812 and 1815: William Grace, C. W. Jones, Josiah Spurgeon, Isaac Overshiner, Samuel Denny, William Spurgeon, Adam Cauble, Peter Zink, Jonathon Lyon, Matthew Coffin, Lewis Woody, Nathan James and Abel Trueblood, Zachary Nixon, Lewis Crow, Mr. Hensley, William Pitts, Thomas Pitts, Alexander Little, Arthur Parr and John Fleenor.


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