History of Orangeville Township

As found in Tom McCart's scrapbook, probably from the Progress Examiner

The history of Orangeville township dates back to 1811. Henry Shirley entered 100 acres of land in Section Six which embraces to town of Orangeville. The same year Valentine Shirley entered 480 acres in Section Seven. In 1815, Andrew Wilson, Charles Shirley, Jacob Shirley, Joel Halbert, Adam Miller, Henry Shirley, James Shields and George French entered land. In 1816, Isaac Scott, Moses Mathers and Jacob Shirley. In 1817 and 1818, Robert McCracken, Samuel Wilson, Michael Pipher, John Field and Abraham Osborn entered land.

Jacob Shirley built a saw-mill and corn-mill near the Rise of Lost River about 1820. Previous to the erection of the mill, the lumber for building purposes was whip sawed. August 25th, 1847, Andrew Wilson, Jacob Shirley and Sally Shirley deeded to Samuel Hicks and Harvey Denny the Orangeville mill, price paid one-thousand dollars. In 1847 and 1848, Harvey Denny built a flouring mill. For more than 75 years, this mill served the people of Orange County. In 1925, it was removed to Livonia. The old mill book of Hicks and Denny show an immense business in lumber, meal and flour. Meal was from 25 cents to 50 cents per bushel. Flour two dollars per hundred. No bran was ever sold. Lumber from seventy cents to one dollar per hundred. Hicks and Denny bought of Enos Halbert, June 13th, 1849, a yoke of cattle for thirty-five dollars. Fifty cents per day was the price paid for hired help. Uncle Bob Higgins hauled lumber to Orleans and Paoli from Orangeville for two dollars per day. Uncle John Whitington made the wood-work of a wagon for fifteen dollars. These were tragic days. Men worked from sunrise to sunset and boarded themselves for only enough to keep the wolf from the door.

Orangeville was laid out into town lots June 14th, 1849 by Samuel Hicks, Harvey Denny and Nathaniel B. Wilson. The first flat boat was built in Orangeville by Samuel Dalton and William Malaney in the winter of 1848 and 1849. William Dalton and Robert McCracken built a flat boat in the winter of 1850 and 1851. Hicks and Denny also built a flat boat and loaded it with lumber. A Mr. Fordyce taught the first school in the township at the Shirley place in 1816. The school house was a log cabin, the seats split logs. Several terms were taught east of Orangeville on the hill north of the Joel Halbert farm. All of the schools of the township were subscription schools until 1855. The first public school building was erected in 1854. The first trustees were Alfred Bruner, Dr. John A. Ritter and Robert Higgens. Samuel Dalton, William Harris, W.P. Hobbs, and Dr. Carter were among the early teachers of the township. The lot on which the M.E. church now stands was deeded by Nathaniel B. Wilson, Nov. 4, 1851, to the following trustees: Alfred Bruner, Robert Higgins, Lewis B. Wilson, Harvey Denny and William P. Hobbs. Esquire James McCauly acknowledged the deed. The church was erected in 1851 and 1852. The basement was used for a school-house for several years. Samuel Hicks built the first residence in Orangeville in 1845. Harrison Woods was the first blacksmith. Nicholson Dillinger, Jessie Parmer, Nathan Lee, Asberry Knight, and others followed.

Dr. John A. Ritter, Sr., moved to Orangeville in 1850 and commenced the practice of medicine. In 1856, Dr. Carter formed a partnership with Dr. Ritter and this continued to the date of Dr. Ritter's death in 1891. Dr. Carter practiced until his death in 1897. For more than 40 years, these men responded to the call of Him who said, "Go heal the sick." The roads were never too muddy nor the night too dark for these men to go administer to the suffering. During the Civil War, Dr. Carter rode almost day and night to administer to the afflicted.

From 1850 to 1865, Orangeville did more business than any other town in the county of three times its population. It was the trading point for all of Northwest township, the north part of French Lick township, the west half of Orleans township and a part of Lawrence county laying north of Orangeville. All the territories just mentioned got their mail from Orangeville Post Office.

Orangeville has been highly favored with clever, accommodating merchants, W.P. Hobbs & Co. were the first merchants. They commenced business in 1849 and sold out to Van R. Noblet in 1853. Buskirk & Ritter commenced business in 1850 and continued in business for 18 years. Van R. Noblet ran a store in Orangeville 47 years. G.W. Campbell, Davis & Brown and John A. Campbell were also among the older merchants who engaged in the mercantile business.

Michael Ham started a tan-yard near the town in 1845. This business was carried on by his sons for many years.

Lodge No. 113 of the I.O.O.F. was organized in Orleans June 30th, 1852. In a short time, it moved to Orangeville. For a while it met in the basement of the Methodist church. This brotherhood, with the church, have worked harmoniously together to exemplify the principals of benevolence and charity.

The old Bethel church was built in the early history of the township. For more than a century, it has been a sacred spot for the burial of the dead. The Wesley Chapel church was built by Harvey Denny in 1857. He built the church and delivered the keys to the trustees for $600.00. The early settlers of the Lost River Valley, like the Patriarchs of old--wherever they pitched their tents, they erected an altar to the Lord.

I feel this history would not be complete if I failed to mention some of the early settlers of Orangeville township. The Wilsons, Shirleys, Hams, Higgins, Halberts, Bruners, Stackhouses, McCauleys, Matherers, Monicals, Jenkins, Clevelands, Pinnicks, Hobbs, Wares, Shields, Ritters, Buskirks, Henson, Nobletts, Harrises, Huddelsons, Scotts, Tolivers, Whitingtons, Streets, Daltons, Boltons, Osbornes, Millers, Browns, Hicks, Dennys, McCarts, Shields, Rosses, Bakers, Wadsworths and many others. No county in its early settlement was ever blessed with a nobler higher typed citizenship. Be it said to the honor and credit of Orangeville township, no legalized saloon ever existed in it.

Orangeville can boast of sending out its full share of successful business men. We have furnished more doctors than any other town in the county and I doubt if it can be equaled in the state. The names are as follows: Dr. William Malany, Uncle of Wm. Ross, W.P.Hobbs, Dr. Theophilus Ritter, Dr. Henry Shirley, who practiced in Martin county for 50 years, Dr. J.A. Ritter Jr., Dr. T.B. Ritter, Dr. J.K. Ritter, Dr. Henry Ritter, Dr. E.P. Easley, Dr. J.A. Toliver, Dr. John Gibbons, Dr. Geo. Gibbons, Dr. John McFarland, Dr. Charles McFarland, Dr. Arthur Pickthal. Fifteen doctors for a little town like Orangeville to send out is certainly a fine record.

Orangeville gave Paoli two lawyers; T.B. Buskirk and his brother, John. T.B. Buskirk was honored by the people by being elected Judge of this Judicial district two terms and served 12 years. George Buskirk, born in Orangeville, is now a successful business man in Indianapolis. Peter B. Monical became a lawyer. W.T. Hicks born in Orangeville was elected Clerk of Orange County for two terms, and served the people successfully 8 years. He is now a resident of Bloomington, Ind., and served as financial agent for several years for Bloomington Uniersity. His greatest achievement in the business world was in helping build the first Railroad through Brown county. We know this road as the Abe Martin route from Indianapolis to Bloomington. I think Abe helped Will build the road.

We furnished a democrat wife for a Republican judge in Anderson. Miss Belle Buskirk became the wife of Judge Chipman of Anderson. Orangeville had the distinguished honor of having two of the ablest preachers of Southern Indiana. Samuel Hicks, one of the first preachers of Orleans circuit, whose circuit extended to Washington, Davis County, Indiana and for years lived in Orangeville was a logical reasoner, a great Preacher, and Robert Wadsworth was an orator and a walking encyclopedia. The people never grew tired of hearing these men preach. Rev. T. G. Godwin, his brother, J.S. Godwin, now pastor of Orleans and their sister, Angie all lived near Orangeville and moved to Greencastle and entered the ministry. Robert Easley and James Street became ministers. One preacher was born in Orangeville. The neighbors said he was a born preacher. He cried aloud and spared not. We furnish Paoli an editor who is now pure food inspector for Southern Indiana, W. A. Bruner, formerly editor of the Paoli Republican. We furnished two county superintendents--Theodore Stackhouse and G.W.W. Faucett. Mr. Stackhouse also represented this county in the Legislature. Mr. W. C. Shirley and family were the first to discover that caves were nature's cold storage. Orangeville township furnished the Cashier for West Baden National Bank for 22 years and its president resides near Orangeville now. The Hams have filled important positions in Paoli as bankers and county officials. The Shirleys, Carters, and Mathers for years have been inseperably connected with the Banks and business of Orleans. Orangeville can boast of two men who gave the world increased opportunities for water power and shipping poultry. Samuel Hicks patented the Hick's Submerged Water Wheel and Will Jenkins patented the Poultry Car now universally used by all railroads for shipping poultry.

Orangeville can justly be proud of its school-teachers. I shall mention only a few. I hae already mentioned Samuel Dalton, William Harris, W.P. Hobbs and Dr. Carter as being among the oldest teachers. I now call your attention to others: W.C. Shirley, Charlie Shirley, Nellie Shirley Lewis, Theodore Stackhouse, John Stackhouse, Wallace Stackhouse, Will Jenkins, W. A. Bruner, Ellen Bruner, J.K. Ritter, H. O. Ritter, George A. Carter, Stant Stackhouse and others. The teacher who taught for about ten years in Orangeville and left the greatest impress on the young life of the community was Miss Mary Hardesty of Kentucky, afterwards the wife of Dr. T.P. Carter and mother of George H. Carter, now of Orleans. She being dead yet lives in the life of those she taught more than 60 years ago.

[The left edge of the final column was cut off; where I can't interpret the meaning, it is marked with a ?.]

The flag made by our mothers in the spring of 1862, every stitch of which was made by hand, has an interesting history. W. C. Shirley's mother, Mr. William Pinnick's wife, ? Buskirk, mother of Judge Buskirk, and others conceived the idea of making a flag in honor of their husbands and sons who were then fighting the battles of their country. The ladies met at Mrs. Buskirk's and when the flag was completed, they chose [Mrs.?] Pinnick to present the flag to the citizens of the county as an expression of their loyalty and encouragement to their husbands and sons who wore the blue. Uncle Sammy Hicks had charge of the raising of the pole. When the pole was raised Mrs. Pinnick, in a fitting address presented the flag to Dr. Carter, who accepted it and thanked the mothers for their devotion to their country. The Star Spangled Banner was sung and the flag was run up about 100 feet high and flaunted in the breeze. For several months, Gam Brown lowered and raised the flag each day. Finally it was thought best to store the flag [away?] in the archives of the I.O.O.F. Lodge. After 60 years, it was taken to Bethel and used in a decoration service. We have it here today. At one?-thirty o'clock fitting services will be held in memory of the history of our Flag.

J.A. Campbell has lived continuously in Orangeville 61 years. I think that's longer than any other person who has lived in Orangeville. I think Johnnie has taken as his standard of life the Apostle Paul. Paul was an old bachelor who said, "He that marrieth doeth well; but he that marrieth not doeth better," so Johnnie seems satistfied to do better.

It is fitting for us this day to pay a tribute of respect to the fathers and mothers who have left us a rich hertiage. God bless their memory; may their mantle fall upon their children's children throughout the widening years.

The above history of Orangeville was written and read by Rev. N.F. Denny at the home-coming held at that place Sunday, August 14.