From Time to Thyme

By Paula Dunn

Washington Township Quiz

As I noted a couple of weeks ago, the Hamilton County Bicentennial Commission is featuring Washington Township this month.

Are you ready to test your knowledge of Washington Township history?

1. Who were Washington Township’s first settlers?

2. During World War I, Westfield’s George Van Camp and Sons canning factory shipped great quantities of this overseas to feed American troops. What was it?

3. Lamong has an odd nickname. What is it?

4. Which Washington Township community was known for hosting most of this county’s Old Settlers Meetings?

5. Who was Jolietville’s most famous resident?

6. Which is correct — Hortonville or Horton?

7. What Washington Township physical feature — which has long since disappeared — played a role in the Underground Railroad?

8. What former Washington Township resident was once third in line to succeed the President of the United States?

9. Famous abolitionist Levi Coffin, who’s been called the “President of the Underground Railroad,” had a family connection to Westfield. What was it?

10. When did Grand Park open?

And the answers:

1. Quaker Harmon Cox and his family are considered to be the township’s first residents of European descent. They came here from North Carolina in late 1831 or early 1832 and settled on a tract of land in the southeastern part of the township, around 146th Street and Greyhound Pass.

2. Pork and beans. Although the Westfield factory closed in the 1920s, the brand name itself has survived. You can still buy Van Camp’s Pork and Beans, now produced by food giant ConAgra.

3. Nipintuck (or Nip & Tuck, or Nip and Tuck, depending on the source.)  Apparently, that was what Lamong was originally called. I still haven’t uncovered the story behind it, though, or why the name was changed to “Lamong.”

4. Eagletown. Although other county towns occasionally sponsored reunions of the area’s early pioneers, the largest and longest running Old Settlers Meeting was at Eagletown. Gatherings were held there annually for nearly 60 years.

5. Journalist/historian/author/politician/diplomat Claude G. Bowers. Bowers was born in Westfield, but the family moved to Jolietville shortly after that. Although they left the county when Bowers was just two or three years-old, Bowers spent time each summer on his grandfather’s farm near the Boone/Hamilton County line when he was a boy, and he remembered Jolietville well in later years.

6. Actually, both names have been used. When the Monon railroad reached Hamilton County in the early 1880s, local citizens voted to call their community “Horton” after Hubert Horton who’d been instrumental in convincing the railroad to place a depot there.

Around that same time, they also acquired a post office, but the post office was called “Hortonville” to avoid confusion with another Indiana town, Holton.

Now that both the railroad and post office are gone, “Hortonville” seems to have become the preferred name.

7. Dismal Swamp. Stretching diagonally from Deming to Hortonville, the swamp helped a number of runaway slaves to escape slave hunters. Among them were the Rhodes family, who famously “spilled through the cracks” of a wagon bed into the swamp as they were being transported to Westfield.

In the 1880s, Dismal Swamp was drained and turned into productive farmland.

8. Joseph G. “Uncle Joe” Cannon. Cannon, the Speaker of the United States House of Representatives from 1903 to 1911, lived at Tile Factory Corner for about four years when he was a boy.

(Tile Factory Corner was the area around the intersection of State Road 38 and Anthony Road.)

9. Coffin’s wife, Catharine White Coffin, was the aunt of Westfield’s Mordicai, Lilburn and Micajah White, all of whom were active in the Underground Railroad.

10. The official opening was June 21, 2014. (Has it really been that long?)

– Paula Dunn’s From Time to Thyme column appears on Wednesdays in The Times. Contact her at [email protected]