History of Pipe Creek Township, Part 1


By Stephen Jackson | For The Times-Post

Pipe Creek is without a doubt Madison County’s most uniquely shaped township, with its seven outside corners and three inside corners.

Originally part of Jackson Township, the board of county commissioners during their May 13, 1833, meeting ordered a new township be organized and stricken off from Jackson and be known as Pipe Creek, taking its name from the township’s principal stream.

The newly formed township, the county’s seventh in the order of formation, included almost all of its present size plus small portions of the acreage later assigned to its future neighbors, Lafayette and Boone townships and all of Duck Creek Township.

Two years later further boundary changes were made, including the addition of land taken from Richland Township, giving Pipe Creek an area of 104 square miles, which amounted to the northwestern one-fourth of the county.

As its neighboring townships became organized, land was shifted to them from Pipe Creek to arrive at its present size of 43 square miles, the second largest behind Monroe in our county.

The final physical change occurred in 1851 with the organization of Duck Creek Township.

The first to settle in 1830 was Joseph Shell, who had come from Ohio and settled in Jackson Township on property that in 1833 became part of the newly formed Pipe Creek Township.

Settlement was slow for about two years after Shell’s arrival, but in 1832 several pioneers settled where the future town of Frankton would be located.

Several firsts in the township occurred in this area.

In 1836, there was sufficient population to erect the township’s first school house.

That same year a Methodist church was organized, meeting in the house of a member, and three years later a Christian church was formed.

In 1837, the first store in the township was opened a short distance west of the future Frankton site.

Two years later, a sawmill was erected on Pipe Creek three miles to the north.

Situated on Pipe Creek two miles above the area that later became Frankton goes the honor of the first named-village in the township called New Madison.

It was known by two names in its short existence.

It was laid out by John Chamness on Dec. 3, 1849, but how it got its name is unknown other than it took the name of the county in which it was located and by inserting the name ”New,” eliminated any possible confusion.

The origin of the second name is known.

It was called Chamnesstown after John Chamness.

The name New Madison first appears on an 1853 county map but had disappeared when the next map was issued in 1864.

During the 1850s, other villages began to appear.

One of them was Frankton.

Situated on the south bank of Pipe Creek, it was laid out March 3, 1858, by Alfred Makepeace and Francis Sigler.

The village was named Frankton in honor Francis Sigler, who was later known as the “Father of Frankton.”

The first house erected where Frankton would be established was built in 1848 by John Hardy, and a stock of general merchandise was placed in it by Alfred Makepeace.

The town of Frankton was incorporated in 1871.

Frankton RR Station

Submitted photo

Around 1851, James Hilldrup and a man named Sanders laid out a settlement called Monticello, about two miles northwest of Frankton.

An old county history book states that Hilldrup opened a store there.

According to the same history, Monticello was described as being at the crossroads in the hollow, about a mile and a half northwest of Frankton on what used to be the principal route between Frankton and Elwood.

Down in the hollow, Big Branch Creek cut across, northeast to southwest.

Also described was an old Indian trail running in a northwesterly direction through the nearby dense forest.

It connected the Indian villages near Fort St. Clair in Ohio, with the Delaware on the Flat Rock and White rivers, and the Weas at the junction of the Eel and Wabash rivers.

At its zenith, Monticello had a school, trading post, smithy and seven or eight houses.

In 1852 a log school was built.

It stood on the south side of County Road 900N, a short distance west of the crossroads.

With the growth of its neighbors, Elwood and Frankton, Monticello diminished in size and importance.

Frankton’s growth was enhanced with the coming of Quick City, although it was short-lived.

It is typical of the unfortunate decline after the Gas Boom suffered by many in Indiana’s Gas Belt region.

The former site is located today just north of Frankton across Pipe Creek, on County Road 575W.

It was on the west side of the county road in the area between the road and the road bed of the Pennsylvania RR and between what was then South and Elwood streets to the south and north.

This site was a city whose residents worked for a nearby glass factory.

This factory was owned by a man named Cornelius Quick. Once the gas ran out the city was vacated.

The area is now farmland.

Dundee was a flag station on the LaFayette, Bloomington & Muncie Railroad, about 5 miles east of Elwood.

A raised flag ahead of the station was a signal for the train to stop either for passengers or mail.

If the flag was not raised, the train could proceed on through.

It was originally a village known as Mudsock, the name being conferred on account of the marshy condition of the land where it is situated.

In the early 1850s, Riley Etchison erected a log cabin near the present site of Dundee, where he traded in peltries (animal furs and skins), giving in exchange, when desired, dry goods and groceries.

On Dec. 6, 1883, Etchison platted the land upon which the village is situated and placed it on file in the Recorder’s office.

Etchison’s store was not on any road, but the settlers found their way through the woods and the proprietor did a thriving business.

When the railroad was built past his place in the 1870s, the backwoods settlement grew.

On Dec. 26, 1876, a post office was established there called Dundee.

Why that name was selected is unknown.

Many early communities came to be known for something special and Dundee was no exception.

In its early days, it was a favorite place for shooting matches, which occurred nearly every Saturday.

The old county maps dating 1876 and 1879 locate a place called Mill Switch.

Where it was is unclear because of the map’s design.

However, an 1889 county map clears up the confusion.

It reads: Dundee P.O. or Mill Sw.

If the mapmaker is correct, the post office at Dundee was, in 1889, called Mill Switch.

Located along the same railroad and on the line that separated Pipe Creek and Monroe townships was Waymire’s Crossing also known as “Station” and “Tower.”

It was a revenue point only insofar as there was a switch at the point for shipping gravel from the old Stilwell pit that was located west of County Road 300W and north of County Road 1000N.

An electric locomotive pulled gravel cars around the Stilwell pit and hustled the big road cars from the pit to the traction and Nickel Plate sidings located there which joined the main railroad a few miles to the northwest.

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