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Whitaker

  Whitaker, Indiana is located in Section 23 of Ray Township, Morgan County, Indiana. State Road 67, to the south, Arthur Road, (950 W), to the east, and Lingle Road, (975 W), to the west, surround the old settlement.

 

The railroad which runs parallel to the highway, helped the town to prosper in the 1800s. Whitaker Baptist Church is south of the highway on Lingle Road. The nearest town in Morgan County is Paragon, Indiana, which is two and one-half miles east of town. Indiana Ready-Mix Company and the saw-dust pile are landmarks. A smoldering sawdust fire, caused by spontaneous combustion, was the most reported aspect of the quiet rural community in recent years.Whitaker was named for the Whitaker family. John Whitaker built the first store in the town, and Dr. E. D. Whitaker was a Civil War surgeon and prosperous landowner in the area.

The first settlement in Ray Township was southwest of what is now Whitaker. It was one mile north of White River on Butler Creek, near Vickrey Road and south of State Road 67. As early as 1820 or 1821, the families of James McKinney, Solomon Tucker, and Thomas Thompson are recorded as having lived there.

     Abner Alexander bought the first tract of land in the area on February 16th, 1821. It was in the southwest quarter of Section 22, near the county line, west of town. William Anderson bought land, just east Whitaker, in Section 23 on March 9th, 1821.    

In 1853, the New Albany and Salem Company projected the construction of a railroad from Indianapolis, Indiana to Vincennes, Indiana. Work on the line was abandoned before completion. The "1857 Scare," (an economic crisis), may have been the cause. The road had been graded and some of the culverts and bridges were done. New Albany and Salem lost all interests in the railroad during the Civil War.

General Ambrose Burnside was a Civil War General. He was also the namesake of the term "Sideburns". This is a style of beard which is uncut to mid jaw line in front of the ears. General Burnside gained control of the abandoned railroad project and organized the Indianapolis and Vincennes Railroad after the war. He completed the line, which provided passenger and freight services to Whitaker twice a day for many years.

 

 

   On July 11, 1883, Whitaker had a Post Office, sawmill and a general store. The first Postmaster may have been John Whitaker, the storekeeper. By 1888, Henry Haase was postmaster and in 1900 the following was written of Whitaker, Indiana in the I.&V.R.R. audit. Some of the information crosses township lines. Whitakers and Lingles are listed in Ashland Township records.