Over the next several weeks we will be posting information from some of the small, and often long-gone, communities throughout the county.
These stories will include a brief history of the community, as well as representative samples of contemporaneous newspaper articles and photos, if applicable. Please note that these summaries are not intended to be comprehensive histories of the community, but rather a brief description of their early times. Comprehensive histories can often be found in the various historical records of Putnam County, many of which are contained in the collections of the Putnam County Public Library.
Why don’t we start at the extreme northeastern corner of Putnam County?
Located at the intersections of Sections 1, 2, 11 and 12 of Jackson Township lies the small community of Barnard. Now a collection of about a dozen homes, one church and two cemeteries, this community began as Fort Red and was laid out by William DeMoss in 1876. It received its name from a red schoolhouse, which according to the 1864 Putnam County map, was located at the northwest intersection of what is now U. S. Highway 236 and County Road 825E. The businesses of the community in 1879 included one general store, one drug store, one blacksmith-shop, and a post office. William DeMoss was the first post master. He was succeeded by B. F. Wilson, who was the post master as of 1879. The post office closed in 1912. Henry C. Rodgers, M. D., was an early doctor of the community, and Dr. Y. N. New came to the community in 1894.
The community significantly changed when the Indianapolis, Decatur and Springfield Railroad came right through town in 1880. At about that time, it was determined that this up and coming community needed a new name and Barnard was selected, in honor of Calvin Barnard, the largest land owner of the area at that time.
Why don’t we get to know Calvin Barnard?
Calvin was born April 9, 1807 in Kentucky, or Iowa (census records say Kentucky, but the death certificate of his daughter Mary Elizabeth Barnard Blaydes says Iowa). Calvin’s father Abner Barnard was born April 27, 1764 in Chester, Pennsylvania, according to the records of the New Garden Monthly Meeting, associated with the Philadelphia Yearly Meeting. Abner’s parents were Thomas and Sarah (Miller) Barnard. By 1830 Abner Barnard and his family were in Greene Township, Parke County, according to census records. Abner Barnard took out a land patent for 40 acres in the SW 1/4 of the NW 1/4 of Section 1 of Jackson Township, Putnam County, on September 16, 1835, also part of the east 1/2 of the NE 1/4 of section 11 in Jackson Township, Putnam County, on May 1, 1833 and part of the west 1/2 of the northwest 1/4 of section 12 in Jackson Township, Putnam County, on May 1, 1833. But it appears he remained in Parke County, where he died. His will was dated February 14, 1852 and probated in early 1853 in Parke County. In his will, he named as heirs Polly Barnard, John Barnard, Betsy Rogers, Jason Barnard, Thomas Barnard, Calvin Barnard, Sally Collins, Lydia Combs, and the Heirs of Hannah Wilson, deceased.
Calvin Barnard was in the Fort Red area by the 1850 census, and also in 1860, 1870 and 1880, where is he listed as partially blind. He married two times, first to Malinda Williams (1814-1846) on April 7, 1835 and then to Catharine Booker (1830-1871) on October 22, 1848. Calvin died July 23, 1885 at the age of 78. He and both his wives are buried at the Barnard Cemetery as are at least six of his children. Sadly, Calvin and Malinda had twins on October 6, 1846, who appeared to have died at birth or shortly after, and Malinda died one month later on November 6, 1846, at the age of 32. You can view a listing of the burials in the Barnard Cemetery at putnamindianacemeteries.com
There was once a covered bridge over Big Walnut Creek, about a mile and a half southwest of about a mile and a half southwest of Barnard. This covered bridge was built in 1889 by J. A. Wilkinson or Watkins. This bridge was 112 feet long and 15.5 feet wide, of a Burr Arch truss type construction. It was damaged by a tornado in 1892 and then was damaged beyond repair by the great flood of 1957, which damaged a great number of bridges in the county. There are currently two dead end roads which terminate at Big Walnut Creek, where this bridge was formerly located.Barnard. This covered bridge was built in 1889 by J. A. Wilkinson or Watkins. This bridge was 112 feet long and 15.5 feet wide, of a Burr Arch truss type construction. It was damaged by a tornado in 1892 and then was damaged beyond repair by the great flood of 1957, which damaged a great number of bridges in the county. There are currently two dead end roads which terminate at Big Walnut Creek, where this bridge was formerly located.