A history of Adams Township, Part 2


By Stephen Jackson | For The Times-Post

Part 2 of a two-part column.

East of Ovid and located in the valley created by Fall Creek is an old mill race that stretches for several hundred yards between the Gilmore Road and CR 600S.

No doubt it was dug to carry water from the creek to power one of the mills located near the town.

Today, what remains can be found behind the Morris Gilmore house.

On the Gilmore Road stands the Morris Gilmore house built in 1838.

Like Adams, Gilmore selected the site primarily because of the fresh water springs nearby.

It was the first house built with bricks in the township.

Occupied continuously by members of the Gilmore family for many years, the house was eventually sold to the present owner who is faithfully caring for the historic structure.

Nearby is the Gilmore Cemetery containing many members of the family, including Morris, as well as other notable people in Adams Township’s history.

Officially, it was the Adams Township District School No. 3, but everyone, beginning in the 1890s knew it by its rather odd nickname, the Dead Dog School.

While it shared the same unflattering name as another school in Boone Township, the origin of this name is totally different.

However, that was not its initial nickname.

It was also known as the Dunkard School because of the nearby German Baptist, aka Dunker/Dunkard, population.

The school appears on an Adams Township plat map dated 1876 in the same location as the school-converted-to-a-private residence does today on CR 500S a short distance east of the New Columbus Road.

There is unsubstantiated information that states that at one time the area named Dead Dog encompassed everything along CR 500S from Old Columbus to Alliance, a distance of roughly one-half mile.

The folklore origin of the Dead Dog name stems from a tragic incident involving a mother-to-be dog that was killed by a train at near-by Alliance.

Alliance was a station on the southern extension Cincinnati, Wabash and Michigan Railway.

It is situated about two and a-half miles northeast of Ovid and is one of three places in the township at which trains once stopped regularly.

Alliance is another example of the U.S. Post Office stepping in and causing a name change.

In 1854, Michael Stohler and his family moved to Madison County and purchased 200 acres of land in Adams Township.

Upon his death, his son, Henry, inherited part of the land and in 1890, he granted the C., W. & M. Railroad a right-of-way for construction of the railroad.

In 1891, Henry platted what became Alliance and granted the railroad additional property for the erection of a railroad station and depot.

The property was located on the west side of the tracks and south of Main Street (CR 500S) and given the name Alliance Station.

“A rail siding went to a saw mill on the west side of the tracks south of CR 500S and a rail car was positioned on the siding to act as a station as the station was never built.

The first white building on the north side of CR 500S east of the tracks was the original store and post office.

Cement slab from mill on Markle property.”

Information related on Sept. 12, 2017, by Faith Burmiester and sister Grace Markle. Grace lives where the saw mill was located.

The Alliance Post Office also began operating sometime in 1891, and was located across the railroad track on the north side of Main Street in a building that doubled for a store and post office operated by John Stohler.

Since there was an Alliance Post Office already existing in Marion County, the name was changed to “Stohler”.

It began operating under that name on July 22, 1891, and continued until January 31, 1894.

Like the Emporia office, it probably was closed when the rural free mail delivery came about.

Before the railroad decided on the route which took it through Alliance, there was speculation that it would pass through Old Columbus bringing with it a new level of prosperity.

The railroad would also give the German Baptist-based community a decided advantage over the Primitive Baptists at New Columbus.

But, the project to route the railroad directly through Old Columbus never got off the ground.

When the railroad chose the route through Alliance, the Old Columbus area failed to prosper and slowly withered away.

As no known explanation exists for the origin of the name Alliance, it may have involved a reconciliation of sorts between the residents Old Columbus and Alliance.

With the coming of the railroad, perhaps the name ‘Alliance’ was conceived to reflect the coming together of the two neighbors.

If that was the plan it was short lived as only Alliance remains today.

If you travel far enough east on CR 500S the road comes to a heavily wooded area at the intersection with CR450E.

This area, for obvious reasons, has been known as “Lost Woods”.

Just east of this intersection and nestled into the wooded area on the north side of CR 500S is a brick residence.

At one time it was the Adams Township District School No. 1 known as “Lost Woods”, and also called “Possum Glory,” undoubtedly for the heavily wooded area that provided welcome shelter to all sorts of critters.

Poley Walk was the 1872 name given to a thickly settled locality in the southwest corner of Adams Township on account of the roads and “walks” being constructed of poles.

These early-day corduroy roads were necessary in many portions of the county, but with the draining of the country and the building of pikes they disappeared.

This particular locality was noted for its many social gatherings, especially dances.

Big Lick, a well-known hunting ground in the early settlement of the county, is located in the southeast corner of Adams Township at the source of Lick Creek.

It was a favorite Native American hunting ground.

Deer and other animals would come to this spot in great numbers to lick the ground which was heavily impregnated with salt.

The hunter had little difficulty in supplying his family with an abundance of meat.

Markleville was laid out in 1852 by John Markle, from whom it derived its name.

When the C., W. & M. Railway was completed through the town in 1890, Markleville became a station of considerable importance for the southern part of the county.

By 1910, the population had increased to 225 and some of the citizens began to advocate the incorporation of the town.

Two years passed before anything definite was done, but on Aug. 10, 1912, a petition to incorporate the town of Markleville, signed by more than one-third of the resident qualified voters, was presented to the board of county commissioners.

An election was ordered for Aug. 27, 1912, with 67 votes cast, 52 in favor and 15 opposed.

The board “ordered and ordained that said town is legally and lawfully incorporated under and by the name Markleville.”

Madison County Historian Stephen Jackson is leading a series of “First Sunday” presentations covering the History of Madison County townships. The talks are set for 2 p.m. on the first Sunday each month in the Bowman Room at Museum of Madison County History, 11 W. 11th St., Anderson. The talks began Sept. 4 and run through Nov. 5, 2023. The information he prepares for those presentations form the basis of this series of columns in The Times-Post.


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