History of Marion Township
Jennings County, Indiana
by Mrs. Bertha Robinson Barnes
To write a full and complete history of Marion Township whould require more time and greater facilities than a person engaged
as teacher in the common schools had, and enumerating some of the happenings in Marion Township, I beg your indulgence for errors of omission and commission, owing to the lack of information rather than purpose.
Marion Township became a separate or co-operative part of Jennings County, under the Acts of the Legislature of 1852, and at
this time of its lay out, it was composed of 30 sections in town 5 range 7 and part of sections 1-4-5 and 6 of town 4 range 7 being
part lying North of the South fork of the Muscatatuk River which constitutes the line dividing Jennings and Scott Counties, being
in all about 39 & 1/2 sections in civil township which subdivided into school districts. The entire School system being in the keeping
of three trustees, who liscensed and employed the teachers as well. Under this law the school trustee, clerk of his board, and
treasurer were elected on the first Monday in April annually. This law remained in force for several years and during this time
Woodward Barnes, Francis Simmons, Andrew Wilson and Caleb Robbins served as trustees, while John S Shilliday served as clerk
and L.W. Hudson served as treasurer, until the law of 1858 changed the method to one trustee who should report annually to the Board of County Commissioners in October, the term being for one year. L.W. Hudson was the first trustee under the new law for
1859 and 1860. He was followed by J.S. Shilliday for several terms till 1865, when Woodford Barnes served till 1866. He was followed by Thomas Davis for one year and then he was followed by J.S. Shilliday who was succeeded by Lewis King for one year, and he was succeeded by Sylvester Deputy, who resigned in favor of J.S. Shilliday he being succeeded by Joseph Boles in 1872 who resigned in favor of W.B. Lewis who served until 1874. Lewis was followed by J.H. Rogers for six years, up until April of 1880. He was followed by T.J. Staples whose term ended until January of 1884. Staples was succeeded by J.E. Rogers until 1888 when L.W. Deputy was elected but not being eligible resigned and T.S. Lett was appointed and served until November of 1890. When O.M. Coryell was elected. He was followed by Charles E. Boyles who served until February of 1898 when J.H. Rogers served again until 1900. J.E. Rogers was followed by W.S.Lett for four years and was succeeded by John Donnell who served for four years, until 1914, after which O.G. Lewis held the office until succeeded by A.L. Kayser, our present incumbent.
Marion Township originally supported ten schools, namely: Fairview, Slate, Middle Cana, Upper Cana, Lower Cana, Barnes, Center, Mosley, Hopkins, and Staples. Upper and Lower Cana probably being among the first built, were constructed of logs, heated by fireplace, both furnished with flat rails for seats and shelves on the sides of the room on which they used to work out their lessons.
In the year 1872 Lovett Township was made up from portions of Marion, Montgomery and Vernon Townships, wherein six sections on the north were taken from Marion Township and likewise two schools were taken, one to Lovett and one to Spencer Townships.
Prominent among the educators of the County were then the following citizens of Marion Township: William E. McGuire, John Shilliday, E.J. Hughes, James W. Reed, Enoch Layton, Sobiskie Butler, William D. Rainy, T.J. Hudson, T.J. Staples, J.H. Rogers, U.M. McGuire, J.S. McGuire, O.M. Coryell, Charles E. Wells, Arthur Rogers, Grant Stewart and others. Conspicous among those mentioned as prominent in the interest of Educators are W.B. Wells, graduate of Perdue and now engaged in the works of the Armour Institute of Chicago, Illinois. Manfred W. Deputy graduate of Depaw and Post Graduate of Columbia, New York. L.B. Rogers, graduated from Chicago University and also Columbia, New York, is now a professor in the University of Southern California, Los Angeles, California.
Marion Township has contributed to other professions as well, to the ministry of early days, she furnished "the marrying parson"
in the person of Timothy Lewis, also reverend W.B. Lewis; later Rev. H.M. McGuire and J.W. Gruber. To the medical profession
of the pioneer days Dr. Henry Cunard, later Dr. Gaddy, Dr. Coryell, Dr. S.D. Adams and now recently Dr. James Donnell and Dr. J.E. Deputy, now deceased.
That Marion Township has kept well up with the procession is evidenced by the fact that her citizens have been honored with being chosen to fill responsible positions in the county to-wit; for County Commissioner L.W. Hudson for three years, Sidney Butler three years; E.J. Hughes three years; Eli Wells six years; James A. Deputy three years. For County sheriff John Donnell four years;
Clem Bridges four years. For County Superintendent, Manfred Deputy six years; J.M. McGuire four years. To the legal profession,
Seba A. Barnes, and W.S. Mathews.
To most of the inhabitants of Marion Township today the mention of the names of our early settlers is but a matter of history but a few remain who can testify concerning citizens of pioneer days, such as Uncle Harban Rowland, Uncle Marion Wilson, Mr. T.J. Staples, J.H. Rogers and a few others. Some of the names following those of the pioneers are: John D. Jones, George Mosley Wilson, Enos Tobias, Gabriel Scott, Zachariah Deputy, Sr., Henry Cunard, Frank Coryell, John Reed, Thomas Kysar, Samuel Hall, Daniel Lewis, W.B. Lewis, Woodford Barnes, Jacob Foster Sr., David Hughes, Sr., Isaac Rowland, James Deputy, Elias Deputy, Peter Stewart, Eli Wells, Charles Heins, Isaac Tallman, Fielding Lett, Sr., Caleb Wilson, Thomas H. Adams, Harban Rowland, Preston Bridges, Preston Stewart, Henry Willliams, Edwin Coryell and Joseph Polk. The work of the earliest pioneer life was clearing and farming the land as they cleared it was with poor means of doing either. In those days they had log rolling, bean hulling, corn husking, quilting parties, apple peeling or anything that might cause the people to gather together as a sort of pleasure recreation as well as a means of securing workers. For everybody was neighborly and willing to help each other. When timber was cut fallen and ready they got it out of their way with log rolling and burning. Then crops were put in and tended with the hoe and at gathering times carried out in sacks. Their grass and wheat was cut with a reap hook and threshed by tramping out the grain. It was then taken to the old treadmill located within the township and ground into flour.
The first roads were made by the following: the Indian trail, and blazing the trees as they passed through. One of the oldest roads being the Brownstown and Madison road. The mail was first carried from Old Paris to Brownstown on horseback once a week. The first Post Offices were first located on Uncle Sydney Butlets place, just three-quarters of a mile northwest of where Center school now stands, and Andy Wilsons just north of Cana Church about a mile. Later there were three postoffices one at Barnes about one half mile from Gum Lick: Slate Post office about a mile south of Mt. Zion Church, and Cana post office near where upper Cana stands today. The mail was then carried from Paris Crossing to these various Post Offices on horseback, Uncle James Bridges being one of our oldest mail carriers.
The churches were Marion, Mr. Zion and Cana. Marion was built of logs and was possibly the first one to be built. Each church
still occupies its original location. I failed to get their membership.
The business men of our early pioneer life were James N. Rogers farmer and stock raiser. Uncle Fielding Lett dealer of the Norman Horses (which were brought to Marion Township by him) also owner of the celebrated Douglass and Wakeful Jean. He imported not ownly horses but mules and Jersey Cattle. Eli Wells owned and ran a steam saw mill on the old Wells farm, where T.J. Staples lives at present. S.B. Robbins dealer in dry goods, potions, shoes, groceries and hardware, also blacksmith and wagon maker.
Evan J. Hughes stock raiser and farmer, the Barnes post office was located also at his place. Others might be mentioned but for lack of information they can not be, at present.
In the year 1912 a High School was organized in the Mosley school house with Prof. Rust as teacher with an enrollment of about 15 pupils and Shepherd Whitcomb Superintendent. As the school continued the school seemed to grow and was reorganized the following year at the same place by Prof. Rust. He having many battles of education to fight to hold the school together was successful and through cooperation of the citizens a new building was erected at Marion in 1916 where it stands today as a monument of education. Professor Combes and Miss Alice Ratcliff were the first teachers in the new building. They were followed by Prof. Combs and Miss Irene Beaty in 1917. Professor Holmes and Miss Inez Hulsein 1918. The present teachers are Prof. Deputy and Miss Maria Gruber in the term of 1918-1920 we had the honor of graduating the first class of High School on certified basis at Marion High School. They, by the help of frustee and superintendent have lifted the school on a level with our corresponding high school and are looking forward to the time in the near future when Marion High School will be on roll as one of the highest standing in the county.
We have with us to-day five of the successful graduates of the proceeding years who are now sowing their seed in the sands of time to reap the harvest of pioneer days.
Now fellow teachers and fellow citizens the responsibilities and now rests on the shoulders of others. Therefore let us strive to prove ourselves worthy of the undertaking.
"For those who till bravely and strongest
The humble and poor become great
And from these brown-haired children
Shall grow mighty rulers of state"
December 13, 1919