Bicentennial Township Tour continues
Published in Times Mail newspaper Dec. 5, 2018, by Becky Buher, Guest columnist
Pleasant Run and Spice Valley Townships
We complete the Museum Corner 2018 county bicentennial tour with Pleasant Run and Spice Valley Townships. Both are among the five original townships.
Pleasant Run Township was established in 1818 and named for Pleasant Run Creek. Grist mills and distilleries were the chief vocations during its early days. Leatherwood Creek rises in the southeastern part of the township.
B. F. Bowen & Company’s 1914 history of the township recorded Pleasant Run as having the fewest settlers with just twenty-three early land entries: In 1816—Joseph Dayton, David McKinney, James Mundell; In 1817—John N. Nichols, Vana Wilson; In 1818—William J. Anderson, Arnold Helton, Rene Julin; In 1820—William Clark, R. Brooks, Cuthbert and Thomas Bullitt, Edmund Garrison, Jesse Gilstrap, Samuel Gwathney, Adam Helton, Abraham Martin’s heirs, John McClellan, Edward Moore, E. Parr, F. Terrill, Edward Tewell, Joseph Trimble, and Jacob Woolery.
Heltonville was platted in 1845 with twenty-seven lots. The town was named for its founder, Andrew Helton, who opened a store there before 1839. A post office was established in 1846.
Samuel J. Bartlett platted the town of Bartlettsvillein 1860, and the town was named in his honor. A post office existed from 1886 to 1905.
Zelma was platted in 1889 by Stephen and James Fountain. The community’s name honors Zelma Fountain, daughter of a settler.
Spice Valley Township is another of the county’s original five townships established in 1818. By 1820, thirty-four settlers had purchased land. The township had no Revolutionary soldiers settle there, but at least two Mexican war veterans, Joseph Bosler and George Brinkworth lived there.
Bryantsville was platted in 1835. Before that time the community was known as Paris, and its first settler was Henry Connelly. The town’s name was changed to honor another settler, Robert Bryant. A post office was established at Bryantsville in 1846, and remained until 1905.
The Georgia community was platted in 1853. The community was named for the state of Georgia. A Post Office was established at Georgia in 1857 and remained in operation until 1917.
Huron was once called Fenter. The Hoard family laid out the town of Huron in 1859 and had such a large family that for a time, the town was known as Hoard.
Thomas Jones settled east of Huron in the 1820s. He eventually amassed a farm encompassing 1,200 acres. His grandson, George W. Jones, and friend, Jesse Connerly, are credited with helping the families of Civil War soldiers while they were fighting away from home. Knowing their families would be taken care of enabled more men to volunteer and serve.Patriotic Spice Valley citizens volunteered to help preserve the union and met their quota without resorting to a draft.
One of the outstanding families in the community was a branch of the Burton family. Eli Maxwell Burton was one of the township’s many Civil War soldiers—Co. H., 24th and 67th Indiana Infantry. Hardin Burton was a Baptist preacher and farmer. Two of his sons, John W. and George W., were doctors, and two other sons, Isom and Hardin (Jr.) taught school. Jackson Burton, grandson of Hardin (Sr.) was a prosperous merchant.
Moorestownis the other unincorporated township community.
The largest Spice Valley town is Williams, which was platted in 1889. It was named for early settler, Isaac Williams. The Williams post office was established in 1876. Byrd E. Williams was an early postmaster.
The Williams Covered Bridge was listed in the National Register of Historic Places in 1981. Joseph J. Daniels was the bridge builder. The double-span Howe-truss structure has a length of 376 feet, or 402 feet including the 13-foot overhang at each end, with a portal clearance 16 feet wide by 12 feet 6 inches high. It was the perfect place to experience a bicentennial dinner event earlier this fall.
Williams Dam and the former electrical plant there was once the source of much of the county’s electricity. The area has a public fishing area, but DNR (Indiana Department of Natural Resources) is phasing out the campground.
Also in Spice Valley is Bluespring Caverns Park, which is a karst and river cave that is open to the public and hosts visitors from near and far. And for recreation, a section of the Milwaukee recreational biking and walking trail is located near the east fork of White River.
Source: “History of Lawrence and Monroe Counties, Indiana, 1914,” B.F. Bowen & Co. Inc. Indianapolis Indiana, museum records.