MORGAN TOWNSHIP HISTORY
The original township of Morgan was created February 1821 and had within its limits the present townships of Jefferson and Marion, the southwest corner of Morgan and the western portion of Lafayette. In July of 1825 a new township called Morgan was formed, the township at that time embraced an area of fifty four square miles being nine miles from north to south, and six miles from the eastern to the western limits. Various changes were made in the original boundaries from time to time and it was not until the year 1852 that the township was adjusted to its present area of thirty square miles. The township is six miles long from east to west and five miles from north to south and lies in the western part of the county with the following boundaries; Jackson and Jennings township on the north, Montgomery and Washington township on the east, Lafayette on the south and Marion township and Clay county on the west.
Fish Creek rises near the central part of the township and flows in a southeasterly direction through Sections 28,29,33,34. Jordan Creek flows along the northern boundary. Six Mile Creek heads in Section 25 near the western part of the township.
No other township is better supplied with building stone, there being extensive beds of sandstone and lime rock in the southern part. The leading occupation of Morgan county is agriculture, although considerable attention is given to stock raising. Some of the more prominent early stock farmers were: George Gerrard, Matthew King, John Freeman, Nathan Halley, John Carter, Thomas P. Ford, John W. Lucksey, John S. Speer, John Weaning, David Welty and Frederick Shroer.
Among the first to locate here was John Moore, a North Carolina native who came prior to 1824 settling in the central part of the township. Moore came here from Spencer and married Miss Walker whose parents were early settlers in the northern part of the county. Although he did not enter or purchase land, he made several land improvements on land later entered by others. His first improvement was on land later entered in 1826 by David Bright. Moore sold out to William Wiley in 1850 and moved to Spencer.
Samuel Beaman and his sons, James, Samuel and Alvin came from North Carolina about the year 1824 and entered land in 1830 for a John Carter. The Beamans never owned land in Morgan township, but in later years moved to Jennings township where they all became owners of real estate. In 1825, came Elisha Thomas from Kentucky and located in the western part of the township on the Terre Haute & Bloomington Road. He lived there until about 1853 when he sold to Amos R. Blair and migrated to Illinois.
Reuben Jordan came about the same time as Elisha Thomas and settled in the central part of the township. He sold to Maranda Westfall about 1845 and moved to the east side of the township where he died about 1858. Oliver Cromwell settled on the line of Morgan and Jackson in the northwest corner of the township in an early day and was one of the first pioneers of the northern part of the county. His account can be better found in the Jackson township section. His sons, Thomas, Benjamin & Elkin entered lands in Morgan township in 1827 and 1828.
William Sr. and William Jr, and Benjamin Bolin became residents as early as the year 1825 near the central part of the township. Isaac Beaman came in 1827, entering land near the northern boundary of the township a couple of years later. His sons, Isaac, Laban and Abraham came at the same time and later became prominent citizens of the county.
One of the earliest settlers was William Reynolds although the date cannot be given. He came from North Carolina about 1823 and made a good farm in the northern part. Two brothers, Moses and John Carter came in the year 1829 and settled in the southern part. Moses stayed about ten years and migrated to Missouri where he died in about 1853. John entered a land patent in 1830.
William Trent settled in the northeast corner of the township in 1830. He sold out 5 years later and moved to Iowa. His son, Wilson became a prominent Baptist preacher and assisted in organizing nearly all the early churches of that sect in the county.
Matthew Cummings settled in the southwest part of the township about the year 1831.His son, William came with him and he is one of the pioneers of Morgan township. Marady Lucas came in 1833 and settled on Jordan Creek. Later came, Elijah Creech and his son, William and they located in the western part of the township. William Nichols was an early settler as early as 1835.
The first lumber manufactured in Morgan township was done by hand by William Cummings, Moses Carter and William King and used in the construction of a barn on the farm belonging to John Carter. For several years after the first settlements, the pioneers were compelled to do without mills of any kind. The sparsely settled country did not justify the expenditure required to erect mills even for grinding corn.
The earliest mill patronized by the pioneers of Morgan township was the little water mill on Jordan Creek in Jackson township erected by Oliver Cromwell about the year of 1824 or 1825. Some of the settlers manufactured their own flour and meal with the old fashioned mortar, while others used a common grater made of tin, which served its purpose as long as the corn was not too dry.
The Hurricane Steam Saw Mill was erected in the western part of the township in 1853 by Jacob Fryer who for years did a large and lucrative business. He later sold out to Moffett and Burk after which there were other owners, the last being Elias Dayhuff who moved it to Marion township.
George Hellum was the first man married within the present limits of Morgan township and he chose Miss Elizabeth Beaman, daughter of Samuel for his partner. This ceremony was performed by Esquire Oliver Cromwell as early as 1830. Henry Singleton and Susan Beaman, daughter of Issac were also another early married couple. Also a few others were William Randleman and Malissa Singleton and Morgan Carter to Louisa Singleton.
The first birth in the township is not available. However, among the early ones are Preston Thomas, son of Elisha and Martha in February of 1830 and Moses Carter Jr, son of John Carter also in the same month.
Among the early deaths in the township was Allen Dyar who was laid to rest in the burial place known as Cummings Graveyard. The date of his death however is not certain. Mrs Martha Cummings was also buried in the same cemetery at an early date as were Mrs Hannah Mason and children of several pioneer families of the township. One of the first if not the first to die in Morgan township was Francis Beaman, father of Samuel Beaman and grandfather of Elder James Beaman of Jennings township. He departed life in the year 1827 and was buried on a farm in the northern part of the township. It is stated that at the time of this death there were no undertaker's establishment in the county nor could there be any lumber procured to make the coffin. So, Jacob Hicks manufactured the burial case from a large poplar log, digging out the center and fastening on a lid with wooden pins.
The New Union Graveyard located in the northern part of the township was laid out in an early day on ground owned by Jacob Beaman. This is also reffered to as the Carolina Cemetery. The first interment is that of a child of Benager Randle and the second burial was of a child of Marady Lucas. Mrs Dicey Lucas, wife of Marady was the third person.
A school was organized in the township as early as 1835 although books were limited. This school was taught in a pole cabin which stood in the northern part of the township on land owned by James Miller. The house had previously been used as a dwelling for a squatter and neighbors later fitted it for a school house. It was used by S. B. Bowlin who taught a term during the winter of 1835-1836, it was afterwards abandoned and torn down.
The second house where school was taught was on a farm owned by A. L. Nichols. Among the first teachers were was John L. Higby who taught of six month subscription school about the year 1836 or 1837. Among the pupils were E. Reynolds, Solomon R. Isom, I. S. Lucas, Jacob Beaman, William Lucas, Elijah B. Martin, A. L. Nichols, Randle Hicks, Jacob Jordan, Sarah and Mary Moore, Sarah and Emeline Hicks.
An early school was taught by Marady Lucas in the kitchen of his home and was patronized by the Beaman, Hicks and Haltom families.
A schoolhouse was built near the village of Atkinsonville in an early day and went by the name of the Wallace Schoolhouse. It was used by the following teachers; George L Adams, Wilson Trent, Alexander McBride and William Leech. It was later destoyed by fire.
Another early schoolhouse stood near the central part of the township on the Buckner Dickinson land. It was taught by an old man by the name of Lane.
In 1882-1883 there were seven districts in the township for schools and some of the teachers were: L. O. Hoffman, William Atkin, W.W. Wiley, Callie William, Daniel V. Williams, G. M. Williams and A.J. Hicks.
The little village of Atkinsonville is located in sections 21 and 22 and dates its origin from March 1850. The plat contains a fraction over fifteen acres and is divided into six blocks of eight lots each. The place is a mere hamlet of a few houses and two stores, these were kept in the late 1880's by Chaney & Son and Daniel Quarry. At different times, the following merchants sold goods in the village; William and James Connolly, William G. Gibson, Mr. Schrier and William Lockhart.