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Belle Union

As we previously discussed, after “Grinner Bob” McCammack (not to be confused with his younger cousin “Muley Bob” McCammack) was unsuccessful in permanently locating Belle Union near his store one mile south of its present location, he was made the first postmaster of Belle Union. Here is additional information on Belle Union as noted in A Journey Through Putnam County History, 1966:

The original village [of Belle Union] was in the eastern part of section 12. By 1879 there were two additions, Hills and the Scott and McAnich, the part in section 13. The east and west street was called Washington. The three north and south streets were Jefferson, Franklin and Mill Street.

Two items in the GREENCASTLE BANNER are worth quoting: In January of 1880 "we have now two dry-goods stores, one blacksmith shop, one grist-mill, two drug stores, one physician, and a fine business house to rent to some enterprising man. Population about one hundred. A. Meek and R. Finney are our millers. V. B. Hill has a fine bird in his cage. We have a good school… G. Ridpath is teaching a good school here, considering surrounding disadvantages.”

The other item was one in a November issue of the same year about the burning of the Dorsett Drug Store, the post office and Newton Cliff 's Shoe Store.

The oldest business in Belle Union today [1966] is the Haines Grocery and restaurant. The grocery started in 1924 and for many years was under the management of Mr. Haines. When he died in 1942, the widow, Mrs. Alphie Haines added the restaurant.

 

Grinner Bob McCammack apparently began calling his crossroad Belle Union, which is located one mile south of the present-day Belle Union, but by about 1873 a new settlement was being populated one mile north of there, which was being called Needmore. This community was platted by Andrew J. Hill, who also called it Belle Union. Hill was first married to McCammack’s younger sister Emalissa, who died in 1852.

 

At one point in time the area around Grinner Bob McCammack’s home and store was called South Belle Union, while the town platted one mile north by Andrew Hill was called North Belle Union. Some had suggested that in order to keep the names of these two communities straight, they should be called Hogwaller and Dogwaller.  

 

In 1874 M. B. Scott and George McAninch platted an addition to the town of Belle Union, which was still sometimes being referred to as North Belle Union.

 

Grinner Bob McCammack was appointed the first postmaster of Belle Union on April 6, 1870, apparently running the Belle Union post office from his home and store at what was being called South Belle Union. His term was due to end in June of 1874 and some contention arose as to where the Belle Union post office should thence be located. Due to the fact McCammack apparently did not plat out the area near his home in what was being called South Belle Union, and the fact the now platted Belle Union one mile north of there was actively growing, the post office appears to have been moved to North Belle Union with the appointment of Milton B. Scott as postmaster on June 8, 1874. It is likely he began running the post office out of his store there. The post office thereafter operated in Belle Union, the “North” having by now been dropped. After that time, the former South Belle Union was referred to as Bob Town, Bob’s Town, Bobtown or Bob’s Corner. By 1879 McCammack had moved his store one mile north to Belle Union and it appears by that time the location of Belle Union had been resolved.

 

Some of this information was provided by local resident Jordan Vaughn, who is a wealth of information for the history in this part of the county. If you see him, thank him for his help with this.

 

An outstanding history of the founding of Belle Union was prepared by Patrick Pearsey in 2013. This is a great read for anyone interested in the history of Belle Union. It can be found at “You know you are from Belle Union if you remember” and possibly other places.