By Stephen Jackson | For The Times-Post
It was 1840 when the U.S. government returned to the area known as the Miami Reserve — an area that included parts of Boone Township and off limits to al but the Miami Indians — seeking the rest of their land not ceded by treaty in 1820.
The Miami reluctantly agreed to leave after five years and live west of the Mississippi River.
However, five years later they were still there, not willing to leave.
On Oct. 5, 1846, a federal government roundup of the Miami began when they were collected and put on canal boats at Peru, forced to leave against their will.
In Madison County, settlement immediately south of the southern boundary line of the Reserve had taken place during the 1830s.
Land was platted, purchased and duly recorded.
However, all property lines ended at the Miami Reserve boundary line.
It wasn’t until after the treaty of 1840 that land was sold within the former Miami Reserve.
Boone Township was not formally organized until 1843, and Duck Creek Township on March 6, 1851, a direct result of the presence of the Miami Indians living on the Great Miami Reserve in Madison County.
And what about that odd property line in Boone Township?
It is a small section of the former southern boundary line of the Reserve and reflects the original platting of property there as influenced by the presence of the Great Miami Reserve in our county.
But, is there any more evidence?
Yes. North of Elwood on State Road 13 is a fence line dividing two properties that is clearly another Miami Reserve boundary line holdover.
A short distance to the northeast of this line in Boone Township is a large rock in a farm lot with the letters G.R.B. (meaning Government Reserve Boundary) chiseled into it by unknown hands.
The rock was moved a few hundred yards from its original location some years ago and was undoubtedly located originally at the southeast corner.
It is believed the stone was placed there sometime after the original survey to be a more lasting marker, as there is similar stone in Tipton County.
In 1834 and 1838, the Miami signed treaties and sold lands in the reserve to the State of Indiana.
In 1840, all Indian title to the Miami Reserve was relinquished in the Treaty of the Forks of the Wabash, and by 1848 the federal government removed most of the Indians to Kansas.
With the treaties in place, settlement was now possible.
The first election in the township took place in September 1843, which was the first official recognition of the existence of Boone Township, Madison County’s 12th township in the order of formation.
The first community in the township was named for the Rev. John W. Forest, who arrived in 1847.
The Forestville site was selected by him and laid out into lots on July 24, 1850.
Although it no longer exists, Forestville was located in Section 21 near the center of the township where County Road 1650 North intersects County Road 350 West.
Several dwellings and a church were erected.
A general store was opened and a post office established.
They have all disappeared, and the site of the town is now used for agricultural purposes. Only the Forestville Cemetery remains.
Forestville can be found on county maps dating from 1853 through 1876.
Not found on any maps is Clarktown.
This small village was laid out by Benjamin Clark and was situated near Van Buren Township on or near today’s County Road 1750 North.
A small general store was its only business enterprise.
A community named California Crossing was in this same area around 1881.
All that is known is that it was about three miles west of Summitville, which would place it about where County Road 1600 North crosses County Road 100 West.
Rigdon is located on State Road 37 and County Road 1900 North on the line between Boone and Duck Creek townships and also on the line dividing Madison and Grant counties.
Because of its unique location, it is part of four different townships, two in Madison County and two in Grant County; it’s the only town in Indiana divided this way.
Originally known as Independence, the name was changed to Rigdon during the Civil War.
The name honored Dr. Prior Rigdon, an old and highly respected physician who resided there.
Since it was considered sufficiently important in the early-day scheme of things, a pike was cut through the woods to it from Munseetown and called, appropriately, the Independence Pike.
Boone Township did not enjoy the usual amenities that caused people to settle, such as canals and railroads found in other townships.
But, one place in Boone Township prospered for an entirely different reason, one that became a factor in several other rural areas in Madison County: the church.
There is a perfect example of this in the area around the intersection of County Road 1500 North and County Road 100 West.
It has been known by several names: Dead Dog, Tomlinson and Union.
Today, standing just south of the intersection on the east side of CR 100W is Union Chapel Community Church.
First known as Mt. Tabor Methodist Episcopal Church, it had its beginnings in 1838 when it was located in Monroe Township.
In 1874, the church members made a bold decision to not only relocate the congregation, but to literally pick up the building and move it to a new location using horse-drawn wagons to accomplish the task.
The presence of the church brought people, which necessitated a school.
Since then, the church has remained open and is today the only active congregation in Boone Township.
Dead Dog was the name given to the Boone Township District School No. 7, located on the southwest corner of the intersection, supposedly because of a deceased canine found under the school’s porch during construction.
The school was built in 1878 at a cost of $775.
The name Tomlinson was after John Tomlinson, who owned the 160 acres on which the school was located.
However, for reasons unknown, Union was the name given to the little community that developed around the intersection that withstood the test of time.
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, 2022, and run through Nov. 5, 2023.