Carpentersville

If one lived in north central Putnam County prior to 1880, he or she would get their mail at either Ashby’s Mill or Carpentersville. Ashby’s Mill was about one mile north of present day Roachdale and straddled the Montgomery/Putnam county line. Carpentersville was about three miles south of Roachdale and was the largest community in that area. In 1880, the census listed two hundred eighteen residents for Carpentersville and only eighty-six for Roachdale, which was just starting to be settled and populated.

The founder of Carpentersville was Philip Carpenter, who was born in North Carolina August 13, 1805 and settled at Greencastle in 1827. A very detailed history of the Carpenter family is included in the book “Carpenters A Plenty” by Robert C. Carpenter, published 1982 (thank you Bonnie). In this book, it is suggested that Hans Zimmerman possibly was the patriarch of the Carpenter family. He may have migrated from Berne, Switzerland to Pennsylvania in the early 1700’s, then to North Carolina. It was further suggested that zimmer was the German word for room, thus a Zimmerman was one who built rooms, or simply put, a carpenter. At some point it is possible Hans Zimmerman was requested to take a more Angelicin name to pledge fidelity with the United States and chose the name John Carpenter.

About 1831 Phillip Carpenter moved from the Greencastle area to Franklin township where he operated a tannery and harness factory for several years. In 1840 he platted out Carpentersville on that land. The location became even more desirable when the Louisville, New Albany and Chicago railroad, which later became to be known as the Monon, came through in 1854. The 1966 Journey Through Putnam County History indicated that the first merchant in Carpentersville was Logan Sutherlin and a Mr. Bradford was believed to be the first blacksmith. Dr. Cross was the first physician and William King taught the first school. The Business Directory of 1864 listed two doctors, J. B. Cross and W. C. Harries; three general stores, P. Carpenter and Son, the J. W. Smalley store, And the J. H. Graham store; J. W. Bennifield’s Grocery and Drug Store; J. Z. Hutcheson, carpenter and joiner, and A. M. Goodbar, trader. By 1879 there was a second blacksmith shop, a shoemaker's shop, a wagon shop, and one hotel.

If you visit Carpentersville, you may find it odd that there was never a cemetery nearby. The families of Phillip Carpenter, Levi Darnall, Vashni Catherwood and many other area residents are buried about two miles south at what is commonly referred to as the Pearcy Cemetery, or sometimes the Poplar Spring Cemetery.

Other than a few scattered homes, all that is left of Carpentersville is the memory of the thriving community it once was.

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Putnam County Museum • 1105 North Jackson Street • Greencastle Indiana 46135 • 765.653.8419

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