From Time to Thyme
By Paula Dunn
Another month, another township in the Bicentennial spotlight!
Wayne Township is being featured in August. That means it’s time for the Wayne Township quiz.
1. Who were Wayne Township’s first white settlers?
2. Is the township’s largest creek “Stoney Creek” or “Stony Creek?”
3. What was Clarksville’s original name?
4. Which Clarksville structure has a historical marker?
5. Ruoff Home Mortgage Music Center has gone by several other names. Can you list them?
6. Who was the first person to perform at the venue in question No. 5?
7. How did Durbin get its name?
8. Wayne Township’s eastern boundary is State Road 13 /Atlantic Road, also known as the Madison County line. What roads form the other three boundaries?
9. True or False — Wayne Township is the only township in Hamilton County without a park.
And the answers:
1. John Finch, his son, Israel, and their families. They were among the first Horseshoe Prairie settlers, but John Conner bought that land out from under them, so in 1823 the Finches moved again to what is today the area south of State Road 38 and west of Boden Road. (They made sure their claim to THAT land was recorded before someone else beat them to it!)
2. There doesn’t seem to be an authoritative source for this, so you may see both spellings. However, if you do a search in Newspapers.com, you’ll get almost 13,000 hits on “Stony Creek” (1869 to 2008,) and only about 4,000 on “Stoney Creek” (1875 to 2008.) That’s why I go with “Stony.”
3. Nicholsonviille. It was named for Abraham Nicholson, who laid it out in 1849.
Nicholsonville had a post office in 1850, then from 1850 to 1902 the post office was called “Clarksville.” I’ve never found anything that explains the reason for the name change, but my guess is, they probably learned there was already a Nicholsonville post office in Indiana.
(I don’t know why “Clarksville” was chosen to replace “Nicholsonville,” or how they got away with it, given that the Clarksville on the Ohio River was larger and considerably older. I would have thought that town had a stronger claim to the name.)
4. The old Masonic Hall on the corner of State Road 38 and Mason Street. The marker reads: “In 1851 Wayne Township and Freemasons of the new Clarksville Lodge No. 118, F. & A.M., combining resources, erected frame building for their common use with Lodge quarters on second floor. Edifice used as school until 1898.”
5. When it opened in 1989 it was Deer Creek Music Center. It became Verizon Wireless Music Center in 2001, then KIipsch Music Center in 2013. It’s been Ruoff Home Mortgage Music Center since 2017.
6. Gospel singer Sandi Patty. (She lived in Anderson then.)
7. Although tiny today, Durbin was once a shipping point on the railroad line best known as the Midland. That attracted a fair amount of commerce.
According to Tom Heller, the principal of Durbin School from 1974 to 2002, sometime around 1900 the locals felt they deserved a post office. They thought they’d have a better chance of getting one if they named the community for Winfield T. Durbin, an Anderson businessman who served as Indiana’s governor from 1901 to 1905.
(Apparently it worked. Durbin had a post office from 1890 to 1905.)
8. The northern boundary is 216th Street, the western boundary is a line that follows Summer Road (the road doesn’t go straight through) and the southern boundary is 146th Street.
9. False. It used to be the only township in the county without a park, but that changed in 2020 when Finch Creek, a Noblesville city park, opened on the land where the Finch family settled. (See question No.1.)