Blakesburg - Putnam

Welcome to
Putnam County,
Go to content


Source: Indianapolis News Thursday 20 Oct 1966 p 33 – by Wayne Guthrie

You will not find Blakesburg on any recent map. In fact, you’d have to go back many years to find one that does show it. Probably the principal reminder of where it once stood is the cemetery that bears its name and that graveyard’s tool house. Nevertheless, that Putnam County village did exist. Sometimes known as Foshers Mills, it stood on the banks of Ramp Creek about a mile west and a mile north of Fincastle. From Mrs. Lewis Bales, Bainbridge, came some interesting notes on that ghost town. A faded newspaper clipping she enclosed which does not reveal its origin says that oft-used designation of Foshers Mills honored its founder, John Fosher, who is believed to have erected the firs those at that place, a log hut, about 1821.  It adds that five years later he erected a dam, set up a sawmill and installed burs to grind corn meal.  That was a welcome and popular step because the nearest other mill was Vincennes about 100 miles distant. It was not long before Blakesburg began to attract new residents and it grew from standpoint of both size and business importance.  Two sons of Fosher were among those who went into business there early. Henry opened a blacksmith shop and Chris a tanyard. James Secrest built a store and became the first postmaster of the town, named Blakesburg, when the office was opened May 26, 1828.  The office did not last long, however, being discontinued Oct 19, 1838 and never was reopened. Just how, why and by whom the town and office was named Blakesburg instead of honoring the founder, John Fosher, remains a mystery. Certainly John had faith in Blakesburg. In 1832 he built a two-story brick home that later served as a hotel. Nearby he simultaneously erected a barn that subsequently became a livery stable. Eight years later he again revealed his faith. He installed a carding mill that brought farmers from miles around to have their wool carded. At the same time he built a water powered flour mill to which folks from near and far brought their wheat to be ground. That mill was popular, for the clipping said the folks had to stand in line to await their turn.  As a result people often were obliged to say over night and await their turn next day. Mrs. Bales said the town also had a chair factory and a still in its heyday. In fact, she added, a chair made in that long-departed industry still exists and is in use. It belongs to Lot and Rose Anne Hinkle. John Fosher did not overlook or neglect the spiritual side of the town as he continued to have faith in its economic growth. One of the first Universalists in Putnam County, he built a church for use free by all denominations. It stood until about 1920 or 1921, said Mrs. Bales, when it was moved a short distance south to house tools used for the cemetery’s upkeep.  One explanation said the creek’s name alluded to the heavy growth of ramp to be found then in the bottoms near it.  It said that vegetation was much like today’s wild onion. The dictionary defines ramp as a sort of cuckoopint or arum.  Nothing seems to give any indication of Blakesburg’s population at any time. Nor does there seem to be any ready answer as to when and why it bit the dust. But, suffice it to say, it is no more!

Back to content