Mahalasville, also known as Vansickel, Vansickel Mill and Vansickel Station, was once located on the Jackson-Washington Township line. The map shows Mahalasville in eastern Jackson Township, Section 30, and western Washington Township, Section 25. This is about half-way between Martinsville and Morgantown in Morgan County, Indiana, on Mahalasville Road and Voyles Road.
The railroad, which was key to the health of the town, brought the train, nicknamed "Old Jerk", into town twice a day. By the 1870s the town had grown to a population of 270. The F.F.& M.,(Franklin, Fairland and Martinsville); the C. & M.,(Cincinnati and Martinsville); and the N.Y.C.,(New York Central); are the companies which controlled the line at various times in its history. The schedule of the C. & M. in 1873 was; Martinsville, Indiana to Vansickel, Morgantown, Samaria, Trafalgar, Branch's, Franklin, Urmeyville, Niedham, Baggstown and Fairland, Indiana.
Mahalasville's decline came with the decline of railroad service to the town. The railroad ran on the south side of Old Railroad (450E). In 1922 the mill, which had been built in the 1840s and rebuilt in the 1870s, burned. The mill stood on the southeast corner of the intersection of Old Railroad and Mahalasville Road. The stone foundation blocks are still visible. The fire was reported to have been caused by a steam boiler explosion. The feed store burned in 1936, the Baptist Church was torn down, as was the Methodist Church and by 1978 the site of the blacksmith shop was a garden. All that remains of the old village is the memorial marking the site of the Methodist Church and the cemetery at the top of Voyles Road. Jacob and Mahala Vansickel, the town's namesakes, lie there.
John Webb bought the original 65.24 acres upon which the town of Mahalasville was established from the United States government in 1836. July 21, 1838, John M. Coonfield paid $150.00 for the property and proceeded to build a mill. Jacob Vansickel bought the mill and land for $250.00 on August 18th 1851.
With the arrival of railroad service came the railroad station which was named for Jacob and called Vansickel Station. The post office was opened July 17, 1854 and was named Mahalasville by Jacob Vansickel, the first postmaster, in honor of his wife Mahala. David Haase is reported to have built a distillery in Mahalasville early in its history but moved the operation to Washington Township shortly after the Civil War.
An article in the "Martinsville Republican" in 1870 reported that the town had grown to nearly 200 residents and Jacob and Mahala Vansickel were deceased. Jacob died in 1860 and was followed by Mahala in 1868. The land they owned was split between their children. Most of the homes as well as the Methodist Church and Helton's Store stood on the bluffs of Indian Creek. The residence of Whit Vansickel, (George Whitfield, son of Jacob and Mahala), who was postmaster at that time, was near the creek, on the flats. Mister Rainer, whose first name is not given, reportedly built a "new mansion" nearby. Wright and Calder's Store, Bell's Sawmill, Dodson's Blacksmith and Wagon Shop, Baxter and Helton's Sawmill, and Vansickel and Robertson's Gristmill were in operation at that time. The old mills were water driven and the grist mill produced fine flour but lack of water caused it to be inadequate for the local demand. The article continue
"Mahalasville enjoys a good business location, six miles from competition on either side, and almost an unlimited distance south into Brown and Monroe Counties, the place at once possesses superior advantages as a point of deposit and shipment for lumber, timber, hoop poles, tan bark and county produce. Within hauling distance are almost inexhaustible supplies of the best of the oak, hickory and poplar timber. Ten carloads a week, valued at $65 to $100 each, leave this point for Indianapolis, Indiana or Cincinnati, Ohio. Wright & Calder, merchants, do the principal business in the goods line. One of the best farms near Mahalasvillle is that of E. F. Stimpson."
Eramus F. Stimson, also spelled Stimpson, was the husband of Mercy Ann Vansickel, the daughter of Jacob and Mahala. Mr. Stimson and Mercy left her share of the Vansickel property to be divided among the other siblings in the family.
Vansickel & Lee, (Whit Vansickel and Henry Lee), completed a new sawmill in 1871, and connected the steam engine which powered it to the grist mill. This increased the productivity of both mills because water shortages were no longer a problem. Mr. Lee also owned the local saloon and this was a topic of much discussion.
In 1871 this report appeared in the "Martinsville Republican."
"The Mahalasville Debating Club is a live institution, and is creating a great deal of interest, as it should, among the people in that locality. From a report before us of the debate Wednesday evening, the 18th, we learn that the question discussed was: Resolved: That intemperance has caused more evil to mankind than war. The discussion was participated in by, Mr. Lee, John McGee, George Dodson, I.B. Hobbs, James Rule, Reverend Mr. Mann, and Joseph Fry on the affirmative, while Mr. Campbell, D.S. Dodson, Reverend Mr. Hannah, A.R. Vansickel, Thomas Singleton and John Helton sustained the negative. Squire Norman, as chairman maintained the best of order. These debates are doing much good. Similar ones should be organized in every school district in Morgan County"
Henry Lee closed his saloon in January 1873 and vowed not to sell alcohol, however, by 1874, Edward Wood had opened another saloon.
There were four doctors serving in the community in 1874. They were Dr. Mark Davis, Dr. R.W. Slack, Dr. Taggart, and Dr. Dodson. Enoch Renner and David Dodson both had blacksmith shops.
Henry Renner had become the owner of the saw and grist mills by 1884 and Robert C. Davis was postmaster, railroad agent and storekeeper. The post office in Mahalasville opened and closed several times over the years,. The postmasters were; Vansickel, Dodson, Myrick, Kingsberry, Julian, Davis, William Green, Fry, and Prather. The final closure was November 30, 1928.
d as follows.