JACKSON TOWNSHIP HISTORY
Jackson township occupies the northwest corner of Owen County and embraces twenty four square miles of territory bordering on Putnam county on the north, Jennings township on the east, Morgan township on the south and Clay County on the west. It was formerly part of Montgomery township, and as originally organized it included the present township of Jennings, from which it was separated in 1842 and then reduced to its present size.
The first entries of land within the present limits of Jackson township were made in 1825 by Oliver Cromwell, William Fry and Joseph Cochran, all of whom moved to their claims the same year. The first man settled in the southwest part of the township near Jordan Creek, where he lived until 1842 when he disposed of the land and left the area. He was a man of some note and an advisor of the neighborhood. William Fry secured land in the northwest corner of the township and was identified with this area until about 1850, when he sold out to James Harrison and moved to Iowa. Cochran came from North Carolina and settled near the central part on Jordan Creek. He was a resident of the township until 1859 when he moved to Missouri and was later hanged there by guerillas during the war. His brother, Campbell, came the same year and settled in Section 20 and remained there a good many years. A few years later came David Coffman, entering in the northern part of the township who later sold his land to Valentine Croy in 1836 and moved to Putnam county. Samuel Beaman and his nephew, Levi, came as early as 1829 and located near the Morgan township line. Levi Beaman was a Baptist minister who did much towards introducing Christianity to the settlers of several counties.
Prominent among the early settlers was William Asher, a native of Tennessee, who settled in the central part of the township as early as the year 1830.He was one of the first Justice of the Peace in the township and a man highly respected in the community owing to his intelligence and sterling qualities. James Cook came to the township in 1832 and entered land one year later in the Jordan settlement. Mr. Helm, his father in law, came the same time and entered land in the same area. An early settlement was made on Eel River by John and Evans Harris, both obtaining patents in section 20 in the year 1833. The latter sold his land 10 years later to Capt. John Martin and migrated to Arkansas.
John Coldtharpe, Green Stephens, Henry Stephens and Joseph Coldtharpe became residents of the township as early as 1834. An early settler of special mention was Valentine Croy, a native of Ohio, who came to Indiana in the year 1818 settling near the present city of Terre Haute where he remained a few years before migrating to the North Fork of Eel River. His father, Benjamin Croy, built one of the first mills in Putnam county. Other persons coming to the township in an early day were; James Wiley, P. Wiley, William Hendricks, John Knoll, George Lancet, Norman Holt, Sebastian Job, and Marady Lucas. Entries were made prior to 1838 by William Lafuse, James Townsend, Samuel Coffman, D. A. Franklin, Brantley Stephens, Luke Anderson, George Barnett, Solomon Baker, Ann Baker, Riley Thatcher, William Anderson, Solomon Acres, John Leonard, John Clark and Benjamin Wheeler. The majority of the early pioneers were North Carolinians and men in very moderate circumstances.
William Asher planted the first orchard in the township as early as 1832. The first frame house was erected in the year 1841 by Valentine Croy. Early frame houses were erected by John Knoll, Josiah Neier, and by the first settlers along Jordan Creek. In the year 1834, Oliver Cromwell erected a small corn mill in the southwest corner of the township on Jordan Creek. This site was later purchased by Eli and Levi Stephens who in 1849 erected a saw and grist mil.
Valentine Croy erected a good flouring mill in the year 1838 on the South Fork/Mill Creek in section 28 about one half mile from the Needmore village. This site was well patronized by settlers in Owen, Clay and Putnam counties and from as far away as forty miles, many of them waiting a week or more for their turns.
The first lumber manufactured in the township was made with a whip saw by Joseph Coldtharpe and Samuel Coffman. Croy constructed a saw mill in 1839, and another early industry was a small distillery operated by Joseph Coldtharphe, not far from Needmore village. William and Solomon Asher ran a distillery on a small scale near the central part of the township about the year 1835, supplying mainly to the immediate neighborhood.
The first place of holding elections was at the residence of William Asher. The voting place was afterward changed to Parson Wiley's dwelling and later to a schoolhouse in the central portion of the township.One of the first elections was for the purpose of choosing a Justice of the Peace to fill the vacancy left by the resignation of Absalom Harris, the first person to have filled that office. Oliver Cromwell was the successful candidate.
An early burial place was on the farm of William Asher in the central part of the township where several of his grandchildren were laid to rest soon after the family came to this county. Mr. Asher whose death occurred in an early day was interred there also.
A burying ground was laid out near Eel River in the northern part of the township as early as they year 1835 and was known as the Coffman graveyard. The first burials there were children of Samuel and David Coffman and several members of the Absalom Harris family. The old graves have since disappeared and it is difficult to locate the cemetery.
The Needmore Graveyard was laid out in 1854, Valentine Croy being the first person buried there.
Among the first parties in Jackson township who assumed married life were William B. Asher and Eliza Tabor, Arabian Asher and Nelly Ann Tabor, Joseph Asher and a Miss Martin.
Early births occurred in the Asher and Cochran families. Albert Cochran was born in the year 1829 and is said to be the first white child born in the township.
School were established in a very early day, the first sessions being held in the settlers residences. The first schoolhouse was a small log cabin and stood in the northern part of the township and was first used by Absalom Harris who taught several terms as early as the year 1839. An early teacher in the same place was William Jenkins. A log building was erected in 1846 and was used by John Heath who taught a three months term in the same year. In the Jordan settlement were early schoolhouses all of which were of logs. The first frame schoolhouse stood in the northern part of the township. The township was divided into five districts in the year 1858, at which time the log structures disappeared and were replaced by good frame buildings. In 1884, there were five schools in the township which lasted from four to six months a year. Teachers for the 1882-1883 sessions were: John E. Harrison, B.F. Bolin, John Lockhart, H. M. Bryceland and C.T. Troth.
Needmore Village is a small hamlet of about a dozen homes in the northwestern part of the township in sections 21 and 28 and dates its origin from the year 1870 at which time a store was started by John Knoll & Son, and a post office was established.
The village was never platted and derives its name from a remark made by a traveler to the effect that the place would "need more houses in order to make a good town".
Knoll & Sons sold goods until the year 1881, when they were succeeded by J.F. Nichols, who did business from many years. It is a good trading point, being located about midway between the towns of Poland and Cloverdale and is the source of supplies for a large scope of the country.