Mt. Pisgah (typically pronounced PISS-key) was a small community north of Portland Mills and south of Russellville, near the Putnam/Parke County Line. The community centered around the Mt. Pisgah Church and Graveyard, and a few nearby schools, including school number 9, also referred to as the Spencer School to the southeast, which operated until 1908. School number 5, sometimes referred to as Russell Central and later the Grimes school, was located a few miles to the northeast. School number 4, also referred to as Swamp College, was located several miles north. About the only thing remaining of this community now is the Mt. Pisgah cemetery.
The Fordice family owned a large portion of land near Mt. Pisgah in 1879, as noted in the attached map from the 1879 Atlas of Putnam County. The Fordice brothers are highlighted in the biographical sketch of prominent Russell Township citizens in that publication, and that information is presented here:
FORDICE, JESSE H., P. O. Russellville, Farmer, Section 18; born March 29, 1820, in Morgan County, Ohio; son of William and Rheuama Fordice; settled in this county in 1878. Was married February 24, 1842, in Montgomery County, to Miss Susan, daughter of Abraham Moore; children's names—Mary, Nellie, Myra, Joseph N., James and Frederick. Mr. Fordice is a Republican, and has one of the largest farms in the county.
FORDICE, ASA O., P. O. Portland Mills, residence in Section 20 ; born February 1, 1816, in Bristol, Morgan Co., Ohio; the sixth son of William and Rheuama Buck-Fordice. Left his home in Ohio when nineteen years of age, and went to Kentucky, where he engaged in the manufacture of fanning-mills. After a residence of five years there, came to Indiana, where he continued the same business until 1848; since then, has devoted his time to farming. He now owns 685 acres of well-improved land. Is a Republican, and was one of the first to advocate the principles of that party in Indiana. He married August 16, 1850, in Carlisle, Sullivan Co., Ind., Mary E., daughter of George W. and Nancy Chambers, natives of Kentucky, who was born September 27, 1824, in Martin County, Ind.; she has had nine children, viz., Charles F., born July 20, 1851 ; Alice J., May 11, 1853; Clara A., November 3, 1854; Francis M., April 8, 1856 (died November 13, 1856), Sarah E., September 18, 1857; Annie E., September 23, 1859; Mary E., June 27, 1861 ; William M., May26, 1864, and Stella May, April 8, 1866 (died November 29, 1811). The family
are members of the Presbyterian Church. Mrs. Fordice's father died in this county October 22, 1864, her mother, who still lives, resides with her.
FORDICE, GEORGE, P. O. Portland Mills, Farmer, Section 20; born May 12, 1814, in Morgan County, Ohio; son of William Fordice, born in Nova Scotia, May 11,1786, died October 2, 1862, and Rheuama Buck-Fordice, born in Vermont, December 9, 1786, died November 28,1876; married March 1, 1806. April 13, 1842, married Mary M., daughter of Starling and Julia Carver, who was born in Boyle County, Ky., June 12, 1845. Children—William Nelson, Samuel J., Rachel D., America E. (deceased), Isabel, James E. (deceased), Lee A., Florence, Jesse F. (deceased), Ella M. and Maria F. Mr. F. is the fifth in a family of thirteen children, nine living. He left his home in Ohio when but sixteen years old, traveled through several States, and finally settled down in this county; had been engaged in the manufacture of fanning-mills for some years, from which he realized sufficient to start him well in farming; is now one of the most prominent farmers of the county, owning 684 acres of well-improved land. In polities, is a Republican. His parents are buried in the grave-yard at Pisgah Church ; both were Methodists.
School photos courtesy 'Schools in Your Hand, A History of Education in Putnam County'