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, and so on.” This article would imply that Canby was between Brick Chapel and Morton.

Mrs. Catherine Farrow wrote an article in the March 26, 1885 edition of the Greencastle Banner about a traveling man who accidentally shot himself dead near Canby in Monroe Township (this is a lengthy article, you can find it online at the Hoosier State Chronicles). The article noted that the dead man, who was never identified, was taken to Col. A. S. Farrow’s home and later buried at the Brick Chapel Cemetery. Newspaper articles in the Greencastle Banner and the Greencastle Star Press during the 1880’s and early 1890’s refer to a place called Canby. Names mentioned in these articles were Charley Darnall, J. H. C. Nelson, Mrs. O. M. Nelson, James Nelson, Willie Whitted, Finis Whitted, Jim Nelson, Luke Gardner, Ot. Nelson, Mrs. James Nelson, 1890 Mrs. Tom Nelson, Miss Ida Darnell, Minnie Nelson, Andy Nelson (25th birthday in 1890), Sam Nelson, Sylvester Whitted, Joe Collins, Mrs. James Nelson, Mrs. Thos. Nelson, Phillip Gaines and others, as well as School No. 2. A review of the 1879 Atlas, cross referenced to the names in the 1880 census for the west half of Monroe township, and other information indicate these people lived at or near Hanna’s Crossing, which was nine miles north of Greencastle and four miles west of Bainbridge, in northwestern Monroe Township.

Newspaper articles in the 1920’s refer to this area as Hanna’s Crossing, Hanna Crossing and George Hanna Crossroad at the (then) intersection of Highway 43 and the Ocean-to-Ocean Highway, which became U. S. 231 and U. S. 36, respectively. Bet you didn’t know U. S. 36 was formerly the Ocean-to-Ocean Highway, sometimes referred to as the Interocean Highway.

According to the obituary of George Washington Hanna, published in the Daily Banner on January 14, 1929, paraphrased somewhat: “George Hanna was born in Waveland on December 3, 1844. He lived on a farm in Montgomery county until he was 15 years of age. He offered his services to his country at the outbreak of the Civil War but was refused on account of his age. He was married on December 5, 1865 to Mary F. Nelson, who preceded him in death by four days. In 1866, George Hanna located to a farm near Morton where he spent six years. He then engaged in the mercantile business at Morton for 15 years and then purchased a farm at what is known as the Hanna Crossing, ten miles north of the city at the intersection of State Road 43 and the Ocean-to-Ocean Highway [which would be about 1887]. About 1909, Mr. and Mrs. Hanna moved to their home on west Walnut street in Greencastle, where Mr. Hanna was living when he succumbed to a lengthy illness. George Hanna was a well-respected citizen, serving at various times as Clinton Township Trustee, Monroe Township Advisory Board and President of the Putnam County Civic Union. He was also elected to serve in the Indiana Legislature.”

According to the publication “Postmasters 1832 to 1971” the only postmaster at Samuelsburg was Samuel Darnall, who was appointed on March 28, 1840. The post office was discontinued on October 4, 1842. When postal routes for the State of Indiana were advertised for bid in the Wabash Courier on March 5, 1842, Samuelsburg was listed as being between Bainbridge and Portland Mills. Since Samuel Darnall owned land in the area of Hanna’s Crossing, this post office was quite possibly at or near there.

Farrowtown also had only one postmaster. Alex S. Farrow was appointed postmaster March 7, 1840, and this post office was discontinued on April 17, 1840. We know that Col. Farrow lived at the northwest corner of Hanna’s Crossing and is buried in the family cemetery bearing his name there. If Samuelsburg and Farrowtown were both at or near Hanna’s crossing, there would have been a bit of overlap between the two post offices.

So, it looks like the area we today commonly refer to as nine-mile (because it is nine miles north of Greencastle) was the general location of the Farrowtown and Samuelsburg post offices in the early 1840’s, and the Canby post office in the 1870’s. This community was being referred to as Canby in the newspaper articles in the latter part of the 1800’s, then Hanna’s Crossing during the 1920’s.

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