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Villages No More

Some of the Little Villages in Henry County, IN That Had High Hopes at One Time.

The following was taken from several local histories of Henry County, IN:
Hazzard's History of Henry County 1822 -1906, George Hazzard, Publisher
Henry County, Ind. Past and Present, Elwood Pleas, Publisher
History of Henry County 1884, Published by Interstate Publishing.
And articles located in the old county newspapers located at the Henry County Historical Society's Museum

ASHLAND
This little village about three miles east of New Castle was founded in 1854, was at one time called Mullin's Station, mainly because of the C. St. L. & P railroad that passed just south of the village. It was the first railroad station for the town of New Castle since the railroad stopped there in 1853, it later was completed into New Castle in 1854 At one time it had a post office and several businesses. The first postmaster was George Evans. The post office was discontinued in 1855. During the later years of the 19th century the village contained Wesley Snodgrass's Dry Goods store, Grain dealer Charles Wilson, a Blacksmith Shop, Steam sawmill, schoolhouse, and a ME church. The population at one time was about 65 people. It was never platted. Today there are about three families in the town proper.

CHICAGO
Founded in 1845, Chicago is located on the New Castle - Hagerstown pike (US-38,) about seven miles east of New Castle. At one time it was an ambitious village, numbering a score or more of houses, one or two stores and two hotels. It is now known as the "Old Chicago Neighborhood." The people who located Chicago were very ambitious and had visions of a great future, therefore they named this place after the then young giant just coming into prominence in Illinois. A post office was established in 1852 and discontinued in 1855. With the railroad locating about a mile north of the village in 1853, the town died off. The Liberty Baptist church was established here in 1827. The old graveyard is all that remains of the early glory days. Today there is a church still there and a couple of homes.

CIRCLEVILLE
Founded sometime around 1850, this little village was located in Stony Creek Township, just north of Mooreland, at the intersection of five different roads going in several directions. It is referred to today as "Five Points" A lot of traffic passed through here at one time. At one time it contained a Christian Friends church, with a graveyard that has since been plowed over. There is one home located there today.

ELIZABETH CITY
Located in the northwest corner of Wayne Township, Henry County, about six miles northwest of Knightstown. Robert Morris Overman who was from Elizabeth City, North Carolina laid it out in 1838. He named it for his old hometown. It is located on the Knightstown and Warrington Pike (IN #109) At one time there were several businesses located here; Wilkerson & Brother dry goods, two blacksmith shops, two wagon shops, a carpenter shop, sawmill, ME Church, schoolhouse and twenty-two families. With the coming of the railroad through the southern part of Henry County in the mid 1850s and the establishment of the towns of Kennard and Shirley, the village of Elizabeth City started fading away. Today there are still several homes located in the area.

FAIRFIELD
This little burg was planned and laid out in 1828 by Henry Lewelling. It was to be located in Dudley Township about five miles east of Lewisville on the National road. With the village of Lewisville, also located on the National road, plans were dropped and it never became a reality.

GRANT CITY
Named after General Ulysses S. Grant, it was laid out in 1868 by Jacob Green in Wayne Township. After his return from the Civil war Jacob decided to build a town and name it after his former commander. It is located on the Knightstown and Middletown pike (Grant City road.) It is located six miles north of Knightstown. At one time it had a post office, two general stores, one drug store, a doctor's office, steam sawmill, two blacksmith shops, one cabinet shop, a Friends church, a ME church and a schoolhouse. After the businesses moved to be closer to the railroads the village faded from glory, done in by the railroads and the National road. Today there are still a few homes located in the vicinity.

LURAY
This little village located in Prairie Township about ten miles due north of New Castle near the county line was laid out in 1836 by Lot Hazelton on the New Castle and Muncie pike. At one time it had quite a few businesses; a fine flowering mill, church, school, physician, blacksmith shop, hotel and a museum. It had a population of 66 citizens. It was the main stop off for the weary travelers on the way north to Muncie. When the town was platted, land was set aside for the Fort Wayne and Southern railroad, which later located about 1 mile west of the village. With the completion of the F. W. M. & C. railroad about a mile and west of the village and the Big Four railroad north of it and rerouting of the New Castle and Muncie pike about a mile west of the village. Business has dried up and closed. Today there are still a few homes and a church located there.

OGDEN
Laid out and platted by Hiram Crum in 1829 and is located in Spiceland Township on the "Old National Road," and about three miles due east of Knightstown. The panhandle railroad was laid about mile north of the village. It was at first named Middletown, but since there was already a town by that name in Henry county, it was changed to Ogden in honor of the engineer who worked on the National road. A post office was established in 1840. At one time in the late 1800s Ogden was a main business center on the National road. Located there were; A dry goods and grocery stores owned by Murphey & Son, Mr. Wright and O. B. Byrket, Eli T. Hodson's drug store, Gillespie & Goble furniture store, Moses Linderwood's Carriage and wagon maker, R. A. Broadbent's Boots & Shoes, James Steal's Blacksmith shop, Doctors E. N. Tull, William Cox, Alfred Reeves and Isaac Ballenger and attorney Robert M. Broadbent. There was a excellent grist and sawmill owned by Murphey & Son and a steam sawmill owned by Gillespie, Goble & Hubbard. Ogden had plasterers, masons, painters, carpenters, a Christian church, a two-story brick schoolhouse and a population of 300. After the National road was moved north about a mile to avoid the dangerous RR crossing at Dunreith, traffic through the town died off and business started dying off. With the opening of Interstate 70 through Henry County, a lot of the businesses along the old National road (US#40) no longer saw the traffic they used to have, that was the last blow, they closed for good. Today it is know as "Antic Alley."

PETERSBURG
Founded about 1845 before any of the railroads were laid through Henry County. There were plans for the Whitewater Canal Company to build its Cambridge City and Hagerstown canal just east of the village. It would have been good location had the plans went through, but the canal company and the State of Indiana went bankrupt and the canal was never finished. There were several businesses located there at one time. After the construction of the Panhandle railroad by-passed them on the west the village died off. Today it is only an intersection of two county roads.

ROGERSVILLE
Located in Stony Creek Township on the old Messick pike. John Rogers and John R. Colburn laid out the town in the year 1837. Like many of the other small villages of the time, it was also laid out before the railroads came to the county. With a population of about seventy in the 1870s it had several businesses; a dry goods store owned by J. W. Lake, Jabish Luellen's grocery store and harness shop, W. T. Wilkonson's shoe store, the Luellen & Fagley blacksmith shop and physician William M. Kerr. A post office was established in 1849 and discontinued in 1901. No railroads ever came close to Rogersville. Today there are three house located in the village that at one time was a thriving little village, has gone the way of others because of the location of the railroads and the State highways.

SHARINGTON
Platted in 1836 by three neighbors in Fall Creek Township, it was planned to be located on US #36 at its intersection with CR 700W about mile east of the schoolhouse. It never got pass the planning stage and plans for the village soon died off.

UNIONTOWN
This village was located on the Old State road, which today is called county line south road, or CR 1000S. William Seward laid it out in 1823 when the old State Road was the main thoroughfare through Henry County. It was just getting started about the time the National road was planned through Henry County and everything moved north to be on the National road. There was a church located there at one time, with the burying ground across the road in Rush County.

WEST LIBERTY
Sometimes mentioned as the former Wild West town of Henry County, it was laid out in 1823 by Samuel Furgason. It was located near the mouth of Montgomery's creek, on the old State Road (County Line Road south) in Wayne Township. The little town prospered for a few years and at one time had about twenty homes, several grocery stores and several dry goods stores. There are several stories in some of the local histories that mention the hard drinking and fistfights that used to happen in this village. The first physician was a Dr. Elliot. Bicknell Cole, the first post master. Aaron Maxwell was the first merchant to locate here. When the National Road came through Henry County it was laid down about a mile north of the village of West Liberty, so most of the residents moved their homes north on log rollers to the National Road. The old cemetery just south across the county line into Rush County, hold the remains of these early citizens of Henry County.

WHEELAND
This village was laid out and platted by Caleb Williams a surveyor, since no one knows where he lived it is impossible to locate the location of this planned village. It consisted of four blocks, with twenty-four lots but did not mention the section, township or range. It never got past the paper stage.

WOODVILLE
This old and now obliterated village was situated in Greensboro and Wayne Township on the section line, half in Greensboro Township and half in Wayne Township was laid out and platted in 1836 by James Atkinson, it contain eight blocks and forty-eight lots. The county pioneers thought enough about the village, that they held their "Old Pioneers" meeting there in 1875. See article at http://www.hcgs.net/woodville002.html

This only mentions the old villages that have disappeared or were nearly abandoned over the years, with only a few people still living in or around the old places. Nearly all of these villages were planned before the decisions were made to build the railroads and Interstate highways that today take the visitor through the county at sixty to seventy mph with out any towns or villages to pass through. The rail roads made many of the towns that survive today, they also caused the demise of the above-mentioned villages. Where does it go from here, after the railroads die off? The little towns along the old National Road (US #40) in southern Henry county were put on notice when the Interstate #70 came through, yet they are hanging in there. Who knows when they will also be called "Villages No More."

2003 UEB
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