Mill Creek Township
Before we move onto the communities in Jefferson Township, why don’t we clarify the events surrounding the addition of the former Mill Creek Township in to Putnam County?
Many thanks to local resident Jordan Vaughn, who supplied valuable information regarding the Jefferson Township area. Please check out his posts:
You know you are from Belle Union if…
The Vaughn’s of Belle Union
The McCammack’s of Belle Union
What was once Mill Creek Township was formerly a part of Morgan County. The residents of that place probably got tired of sloughing across Mill Creek and travelling the thirty plus miles to the Morgan County seat of Martinsville to pay their taxes and petitioned to become a part of Putnam County. As noted in the March 29, 1860 edition of the Greencastle Banner: “Judge Cowgill decided at the recent session of the Common Pleas Court in this place, that the petition of a portion of the citizens of Morgan county praying to be, hereafter, a part and parcel of “old Putnam” should he granted. Therefore, all that portion of Morgan lying North of Mill Creek is, for all legal purposes and interests, considered a portion of Putnam county.”
This apparently did not go over very well and legal challenges ensued. An article in the February 21, 1861 edition of the Greencastle Banner noted: “Mill Creek Township— We learn that in a recent session of the Supreme Court of the State, it was decided that the County Commissioners acted illegally in annexing a portion of Morgan county on petition of the inhabitants of the territory annexed to Putnam County. Mill Creek, therefore, reverts back to Morgan and is no longer a part and parcel of “Old Putnam.”
The Indiana General Assembly became involved in this dispute in the spring session of 1861 settled the matter to the satisfaction of Putnam County, as noted in the March 14, 1861 edition of the Greencastle Banner: “Before the adjournment of the Legislature on Monday last, an act was passed defining the boundary between Morgan and Putnam counties. This, we believe, is understood to have reference to the little strip of territory called Mill Creek, about which there has been some legal question whether the Commissioners had authority to attach it to Putnam. The Legislature, if we understand it, have attempted to legalize the act of the Commissioners in the premises, thus making “Mill Creek a part of Putnam County beyond dispute.”
For about three quarters of a century Mill Creek enjoyed the status of being an independent township, referred to as township number 14 of Putnam County.
The township enjoyed the same legal protections of other townships. The Daily Banner March 27, 1940 noted: “At the time the justices of the peace of Putnam county filed their bonds with the clerk of the county, to be recorded, a lifetime ago, the constables who worked out of the justices’ courts also registered their bonds. The record of these registrations is among the archives of the clerk of the circuit court. It has more interest than the register of the justices because the township in which the constables resided were named. It is said, there is no constable in Putnam county now. Usually there was at least one constable for each justice of the peace court, but some townships, especially Greencastle, appeared to have had more than that number. A constable’s bond was one thousand dollars. Their bondsmen were local men, for instance those for Jesse Richardson as constable in the year 1876 were J. C. Albin, W. W. Dunnngton and James McD. Hays.
Mill Creek Township has had the following constables:
1878 - Hiram C. Cox;
1880 - Levi H. Measil;
1882 – Joel N. Blue;
1891 – William H. Dobbs”
In the early 1930’s it became apparent that Mill Creek Township was too sparsely populated to continue to fully function as a township in its own right and was absorbed into Jefferson Township. But this transition was gradual, and it took some years for Mill Creek to be fully become accepted into Jefferson. For instance, the November 1, 1934 edition of the Times-News, a consolidation of the Putnam Times and the Roachdale News, the voting places for Jefferson Township are listed as:
Mill Creek Precinct at Clem Douglas residence.
East Precinct at Belle Union School House.
West Precinct at Mt Meridian. Butler restaurant.
In a May 17, 1934 article of the Times-News, a consolidation of the Putnam Times and the Roachdale News, the total indebtedness for road bonds was detailed. This article still considered Mill Creek to be a separate township, sort of.
“The fourteen townships (including Mill Creek) secured the issuing of a grand total of road bonds from that early date to the present of $2,745,240, to which should be added the bond Issues for the five county unit roads amounting to $365,120, making the complete bond issues of the county for road work, $3,110,360.
The present Indebtedness of the county and townships for that purpose is approximately one-fifth of the total mentioned above, but there are several bond issues which will run until the year 1947, this including the costly county road bonds. Also, some twenty new road petitions are now awaiting action.
Total for each Township.
The grand aggregate of expenditures for road construction in Putnam county since 1900 should be apportioned as follows:
County unit roads, $365,120.
Floyd township, $157,132.
Russell township, $175,029.
Franklin township, $225,730.
Jackson township. $141,650
Mill Creek township, $32,600.
Washington township, $253,070.
Jefferson township, $156,165.
Warren township, $118,250.
Marion township, $217,987.
Madison township, $139,388.
Cloverdale township, $211,520.
Greencastle township, $605,722.
Clinton township, $127,457.
Monroe township, $148,877.”
The July 10, 1937 edition of the Greencastle Daily Banner contains the following, in part:
“Putnam County contains 309,120 acres, according to an official statement from the state department, and that number of acres means an area of 483 square miles.
Washington Township is the largest of the fourteen townships listed, it having 33,920 acres or 53 square miles. Mill Creek Township is listed as a separate unit although now it is combined with Jefferson. Mill Creek is credited with 7,680 acres, or but 12 square miles.”