Meet the Author

Larry Tippin has served as County Historian since 2008. His interest in history grew out of extensive research of his family roots and restoration of pioneer cemeteries. A semi-retired CPA, Mr. Tippin has served in a variety of civic and professional organizations.


He was a founding member of the Central Indiana Chapter of the Association of Government Accountants and served as Chapter President and Regional Vice President of the National Association of Government Accountants. He has also served as Treasurer and President of the North Putnam Alumni Association, as a member of the Board of Directors of the local Heritage Preservation Society, Putnam County Museum and the Friends of the Roachdale Library.


Mr. Tippin has also recently written a book on the short life and tragic death of local girl Pearl Bryan, which is due to be published and available by October 2018.


If one lived in north central Putnam County prior to 1880, he or she would get their mail at either Ashby’s Mill or Carpentersville. Ashby’s Mill was about one mile north of present day Roachdale and straddled the Montgomery/Putnam county line. Carpentersville was about three miles south of Roachdale and was the largest community in that area. In 1880, the census listed two hundred eighteen residents for Carpentersville and only eighty-six for Roachdale, which was just starting to be settled and populated. The founder of Carpentersville was Philip Carpenter, who was born in North Carolina August 13, 1805 and settled at Greencastle in 1827. A very detailed history of the Carpenter family is


Vivalia was a collection of homes partly in Putnam and Parke counties in Section 6 in northwestern Madison Township, about two miles north of Brunerstown. This community was never platted and does not show up on very many maps. One of the early prominent citizens of the community was Isaac Brattain. According to an article in the June 26, 1974 edition of the Banner-Graphic, as told by Isaac Brattain’s son Emery: “Isaac Brattain’s father (Millican or Milligan Brattain) established a store, which also dealt in furs, on the Parke county side of the (county line) road in 1870. About 1882 it was said that Isaac Brattain moved the store across the road to Putnam County and operated it until 1918.

Reelsville and Pleasant Garden

The area now known as Reelsville was probably first settled by John and Mary Reel in 1826, where they built their cabin and mill. The Reel’s did not file a plat for the 29 lots of land for what became Reelsville until January 5, 1852. As noted in A Journey Through Putnam County History, 1966, “beginning with the log mill of John Reel in 1826, the Reel family was in the mill business for well over a half of a century. After the mill was washed away in 1875, Daniel, a son of John, built another mill and operated it for some time. More efficient grinding methods forced the mill to be closed. The building was sold to John King, who used the timbers in the construction of a barn on his farm. Acco

Mullinix Murder

Not far from Manhattan lived Greenbury O. Mullinix and his young wife Martha. He was often described as an unruly and largely undisciplined young man, barely twenty-five years of age, with a quick temper. Martha, a lovely lady several years younger than her new husband, was the daughter of Manhattan’s own David Sublett. This young couple had been married not quite one month, when in the early morning hours of April 10, 1857, she was doing her usual household chores and preparing breakfast for her new husband who was outside tending to his livestock. Martha was excited that Friday morning, as she was preparing to be baptized into the church. Greenbury, however, was apparently vigorously again

The History of Putnamville

The history of Putnamville is so vast, I would not be able to do it justice in the small space we have here. Therefore, I will hit the high points and include many photos and newspaper articles. Malcolm Romine plans to prepare a comprehensive history of Putnamville soon, and one can obtain more information at the recently completed Townsend/Layman museum at Putnamville, a restoration of the summer kitchen/freed slaves’ quarters associated with the Whitehall Inn, sometimes called the Townsend Inn. Refer to an article in the Banner-Graphic September 25, 2018 and be sure to attend the historical events in Putnamville scheduled for Saturday afternoon, October 20 at 2:00. Early History The early


As noted in the 1879 Putnam County Atlas, Manhattan is said to be the oldest village in Washington township, having been laid out in the year 1829, on the National Road, by John M. Coleman and Thomas H. Clark. The first merchant there was said to be Wilson Devore. Dr. Lenox N. Knight was the first practicing physician. Mrs. Judge Clark taught the first school. The first Justice of the Peace at that place was Lloyd Harris. There was once a swamp north of the Old National Road, and west of the cemetery, that was said to have been the cause of typhoid and malaria. It seems people would cut ice from this swamp, which was typically shallow in depth, in the winter and store in the ice houses for u


Westland was a small community on the Old National Road located about one mile east of the intersection of the current U. S. 231 and U. S. 40. The town was platted by H. W. West in 1841 and is shown on the old maps, but it never took off like some nearby communities. Two summaries of this town were included in the local newspapers. The Daily Banner on May 29, 1928 described Westland as it once was. Warren township had another hamlet that the grim reaper reaped before it was really ripe for the harvest. That was Westland. Correspondence which frequently appears in this paper is thus headed, even now, but in this day, it refers only to the neighborhood of which Westland was once the center. We

Mount Meridian

Resting in Jefferson and Marion Townships along the Old National Road, Mount Meridian was laid out by William Heavin and Bryce W. Miller, in the year 1833. It was at first called Carthage, but when the post office there was established in 1835, it was discovered that another post office already had that name and the post office was called Mount Meridian. In order that the town and the post office might have the same name, the town began to be referred to as Mount Meridian as well. One of the early business establishments was a tavern/inn called the Half Way House, thus named because it was about half way between Indianapolis and Terre Haute on the Old National Road. It was believed to have b

Canby/Farrowtown/Samuelsburg/Hanna’s Crossing

According to the publication “Postmasters 1832 to 1971” obtained from the National Archives, the only postmaster at Canby was W. P. Bailey, who was appointed on May 5, 1873, and the post office was discontinued on June 25, 1875. An article in the Greencastle Daily Banner on March 15, 1937 reminisced about the early rural mail carriers and stated, in part: “Nate Hollingsworth’s route permitted him to deliver the mail daily to Brick Chapel, Canby, Morton, Portland Mills and Clinton Falls... Hollingsworth’s first town on this route was Brick Chapel. The postmaster at Brick Chapel would open his pouch, take out the mail for the residents between it and Canby, which Hollingsworth would deliver, a

Grubb’s Mill and Alma

Alma is shown on the 1864 Map on the Little Walnut Creek in the southwest quarter of Section 21 of Clinton Township, at the point the creek makes a sharp turn, northwest of Clinton Falls and a little south of the Edna Collins covered bridge. By 1879, Alma is no longer shown on the Clinton Township maps, but Clinton Falls is. Alma was first known as Grubb’s Mill, named for the mill (believed to be a sawmill) of Collingwood C. Grubb. Postmasters at Grubb’s Mill were: Collingwood C. Grubb, February 21, 1850; Isaac Firestone, November 6, 1854; Collingwood C. Grubb, March 12, 1855; Harry S. Crodian, January 20, 1858. The post office was renamed Alma on January 21, 1858, and Harry S. Crodian was a


When I started this project of sharing the information on the old and often forgotten communities in Putnam County, I had some details for a couple dozen or so of these places. Many of these were noted on the older maps such as the 1864 Putnam County Map and the 1879 Putnam County Atlas. Then in my research I located the old record entitled “Postmasters 1832 to 1971” from the postal service. This record listed many communities not on any map, nor were they always described in any previously published histories. Thanks to the Hoosier State Chronicles and a lot of research of other documents, I have been able to determine the location of 49 different post offices that have existed at one time

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