HISTORY OF MARSHALL COUNTY, INDIANA


Before Marshall County was formed, the area was inhabited by the Native Americans.

Marshall County was named in honor of Chief Justice Marshall. It was part of the territory belonging to the Menominee tribe of Potawatomie Indians, and included in the Government purchase under the treaty of Tippecanoe River, made in 1832.

Marshall County, its organization and townships
From: History of Marshall County, Sesquicentennial 1836 - 1986; Copyright 1986 Marshall County Historical Society

Marshall County, Indiana, was formed by Indiana statute on February 7, 1835, and was organized with state action nearly a year later on February 4, 1836, effective April 1 of that year. An election on April 4, 1836 named three county commissioners, Charles OUSTERHAUT, Abraham JOHNSON and Robert BLAIR as its first governing body. Blair served in this capacity until May, 1837, Johnson until September, 1840 and Ousterhaut until July of 1836. It is probably that Ousterhaut, afflicted with gangrene, was not physically able to serve longer.

The preliminary matters of organization were provided for in the organizing act of 1836. This act had named five organizing commissioners, two from laPorte County, two from St. Joseph County and one from Elkhart County to locate the county seat. Three of the five met at the Plymouth Hotel, located at what is now the northwest corner of Michigan and LaPorte Streets, on July 18, 1836 for this purpose. In their report they stated that they had "examined all the sites and considered all the propositions." They accepted the site offered by James BLAIR of Vermillion County, John SERING of Jefferson County and William POLK of Fulton County, the original proprietors of Plymouth. The town plat had previously been filed for record by the three land speculators in St. Joseph County on October 20, 1834.

Offered as inducements by POLK, BLAIR and SERING to have the village named as the county seat was $1,000 in cash and 63 lots to be sold to raise operating funds for the new county. Additionally they set aside from the plat what is now the courthouse square, land for a county seminary, a "burying ground" and an area on Center Street for a "market house".

When the commissioners met in May, 1836, they divided the county into three townships - North, Center and Green. What are now Polk, North and German townships was called North township. West, Center and Bourbon townships originally formed Center township and Union, Green, Walnut and Tippecanoe townships comprised Green township.

Now there are 10 townships within the boundaries of Marshall County. The first to be organized after the original three was Union township, organized May 1, 1838 from Green township, just prior to the removal of the Indians from the county. German township was organized on May 11 of the same year from North township.

In 1853 the western part of Center township was made into a township and called Pierce. However, further action was never taken and the action was cancelled. In March, 1854 the commissioners again took up the matter and this time the organization was carried out. Just when and why it became West township instead of Pierce township after the second action cannot be determined from the records.

Bourbon township was organized from the eastern part of Center township in January, 1840. On March 8, 1842 it was divided in the center - east to west - and the southern half became Tippecanoe township.

Polk township was cut from the original North township and organized March 4, 1845, the day James K. Polk was inaugurated as president, hence the name.

Some of the North township residents thought it would be a good idea to have the name changed to Dallas in honor of Polk's vice-president. A petition to this effect was presented to the commissioners and approved and the name change was made at their March, 1845 meeting. However another petition was presented in June, asking that the name be changed back to North township and the change was duly made.

Concerning Polk township, it is interesting to note, as one looks at a map of the area, that there is a jog at the southeast corner of Polk township. Three pieces of land containing 160 acres each are attached to North township which seem rightfully to belong to Polk township. The story is told that Designey CONGER, owner of the north 160 acres at the time Polk township was taken from North township, refused to "have his land put in a township after James K. Polk". An ardent Whig, he was an influential farmer and stood by his conviction. His land never became a part of Polk township.

Green township was one of the original three townships. It included what are now Union, Green, Walnut and Tippecanoe townships. After Union, Walnut and Tippecanoe townships were organized the remaining area retained its name of Green township.

Walnut township was organized June 9, 1859. Immediately following its organization a petition was presented to the commissioners to consolidate the villages of Sidney and Fremont, located in the new township, into one town, our present day Argos.

Center township, also one of the three original townships, was aptly named for its central location in the county. Composed of what are now West, Center and Bourbon townships, it retained its importance as the site of the county seat, Plymouth.


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