Clay Township Quiz

By Paula Dunn

Well, we’ve come to the last township to be highlighted during the Bicentennial celebration. It’s time to test your knowledge of Clay Township history!

1. Who was Clay Township’s first settler?

2. Carmel/Clay Township is known for its roundabouts. When was the first roundabout built?

3.  When Home Place was laid out as a new addition to Indianapolis in 1914, it effectively replaced a much older Clay Township community already in that area. What was the older community’s name?

4. What is early Clay Township settler Ezekiel Clampitt’s claim to fame?

5. What was Carmel originally called?

6. True or False — the first Quaker Meeting in Hamilton County was in Clay Township.

7. What was Eldorado?

8. From 1942 to 1989, Purdue University operated an experimental agricultural farm in Clay Township. What was the farm’s name and where was it?

9. Who was the first mayor of Carmel and when was he elected?


And the answers . . .

1. That depends. The first permanent white settler was Francis McShane. McShane erected a cabin in southeast Clay Township in 1825.

HOWEVER, the county histories note that a member of the Delaware tribe, George Ketchum, and his family were already settled on Cool Creek when McShane initially arrived in 1824. Ketchum worked a farm just like his white neighbors until he decided to leave in 1831 to join the rest of his tribe in the west.

2. 1996. It was built by Brenwick Development Inc. as part of the Prairie View subdivision and was located at the intersection of Main Street and River Road.

The first roundabout constructed by the city of Carmel opened the following year at 126th Street and Hazel Dell Road.

3.  Pleasant Grove. Pleasant Grove was a small farming community that dated back to 1825.

4.  In the 1830s, Clampitt was digging a well for water when he accidentally tapped into a pocket of natural gas and nearly blew himself up. It was the first instance of natural gas being found in Hamilton County.

(The first commercial gas well was dug in Noblesville in 1887.)

5.  Bethlehem. Since a Bethlehem post office already existed in Indiana, the town’s post office ended up becoming “Carmel.” Later, the name of the town was changed to Carmel to match the post office.

6. True. In 1830, a group of Friends met at a home a little east of Carmel to organize the county’s first Friends Meeting. At that gathering, they decided that their Meeting would be held in an abandoned log cabin one-half mile north of Carmel and that it would be called the Richland Meeting.

(Did you think Westfield was first? The Westfield Meeting wasn’t organized until 1834.)

7. Eldorado was a small community located at what is today the intersection of 136th Street and Ditch Road. Originally called Sockum, it became known as Eldorado when the residents acquired a post office in 1883. The post office closed in 1896, but the community of Eldorado continued to exist well into the first half of the 20th century.

8. Lynnwood Farm. The 621-acre facility, which had been donated to Purdue by the owner, Charles Lynn, was located in the general area of 126th Street and River Road.

9. Albert Pickett. He was elected in 1975 and served from 1976-1979. Pickett was followed by Jane Reiman (1980-1987,) Dorothy J. Hancock (*1987-1991,) Ted Johnson (1992-1995,) and Jim Brainard (1996-present.)

(*Dorothy Hancock assumed office a month early when Jane Reiman left to head the State Student Assistance Commission of Indiana (SSACI.)

Correction: The floor of Westfield’s Barker cabin isn’t new. I’ve been told the wood was actually salvaged from an older cabin in Paoli, Indiana. The floor just looks new because it’s been stained and sealed well enough to withstand heavy foot traffic.

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