Jasonville Indiana History

:: History Surrounding Jasonville, Indiana ::

I think you will find the history of Jasonville very interesting. The information on these pages were taken from Ben Sinks book, "The Jasonville Story", on local historian Max Griffiths, website. We have taken excerpts from the pages, but would advise you to look over the complete story on Max's site The Jasonville Story. It is very informative reading and gives an understanding as to how Jasonville came about, it's history and how the people lived around here in the 1800's. Max has several old photos on the site, some of which you will see on this site. There is also a history museum, which is located above the old firehouse and can be visited by appointment. Contact Mayor Dorman Clark to visit the museum.

Establishment...Jasonville, IN was established in 1858. The area started as a flat prairie without trees and was covered with prairie grasses. The territory surrounding Jasonville had belonged to the Painkeshaw Indian Tribe, which ceded it by treaty to the Delaware Indians in 1767. The Delaware Indians called what we know as the Eel River "Shakamak", meaning "The Waters of the Long Fish". This is where the name for Shakamak State Park came about, and hence Shakamak School District. Soon after the Battle of Tippecanoe, the Indians began to move West. The last Indians left Greene County in 1819.

Jasonville was once a part of Kentucky. In 1818 Indiana was admitted to the Union. In 1821 legislature was passed to create Greene County. Prior to 1810 no white man resided within the borders of Greene County. Only bands of Indians came to invade the territory on war or hunting expeditions, or just roaming. Crude axes made of stone and arrowheads made of flint can be found to this day in the area. The first white habitation in Greene County was a log cabin built by John Latta in 1816. Hence the name Latta's Creek. John Lewis was the first inhabitant in what is known today as Wright Township, where they built log cabins along East Shanklin St. Road. In February of 1822, the first foreign born person became an American citizen through naturalization. Robert Anderson, a Scottish immigrant, led the way for hundreds of Europeans that made Greene County their home.

The Journey...The journey of the first settlers to Jasonville was not easy. Possesions such as dishes, simple tools, bedding and clothing were carried horseback with children carried in arms. Seed and sprouts of herbs, vegetables and trees were carried for planting when establishing a new home.They rarely turned back despite death from plague etc. Settlers reported deaths of entire families with wolves and vultures leaving little behind except a page in a book or the Bible. Most of the first settlers in Jasonville came from Kentucky and Tennessee.

The Children...Don’t judge our present crop of teenagers too harshly. Sure, they are having it easier then you had it. You, too, are having it much easier than your grandma and grandpa had it. If you see them smoking a cigarette don’t think they are headed straight for perdition. Most of their great grandmothers smoked a stone pipe and a great many of them chewed tobacco. You may not be very proud of some of daughter’s habits. Maybe daughter would not be too proud of great grandmother if she could see her sitting on a stump outside the cabin door, “squirting tobacco juice” at some nearby target on the ground. Do a little soul searching then answer the question. “How many unlawful. indecent or disgraceful things has son and daughter done that I didn’t do at sometime during my youth?” If they took a drink of intoxicants, remember that a jug of whiskey in grandpa’s day was the rule rather than the exception, and he didn’t keep it for ornamental purposes. Guide carefully, and constructive correct, these youngsters. Don’t pronounce them hopeless or helpless and give them up as a bad job. They are the future hope for America and when the time comes for them to assume leadership in the affairs of Jasonville, and of the nation, you will find the vast majority arrayed on the side of decency, justice and morality.

The School...Jasonville's first school house was built around 1900 south of Meridian and Cooke Streets. In 1902 a new school was built and in 1907 an application was filed with the State Board of Education that the school be accredited as a commissioned high school. After an exhaustive survey and inspection, the high school inspector, Prof. W.W. Parsons, of Indiana State, recommended that the application be approved and the school was commissioned. During the 1918- 1919 school year the Flu epidemic was at its worst in the local community. I recall seven bodies were awaiting burial. All schools, churches, lodge and picture shows were closed in an attempt to stem the spread of the dreaded disease. The Red Cross brought in doctors and nurses and the school building was converted into a hospital. Several local citizens passed away in the building. This was the only year, after 1908, that we failed to have a high school graduating class. In 1908 Jasonville had its first high school football team under the management of Oscar R. Shields, principal of the high school, Jerry Ulen, a teacher, was captain. In 1910 the cramped quarters called for additional expansion and the grade, or “ward” building as it was called, was erected that year. Soon increased enrollment made necessary further room and two portable buildings were erected at the site of the grade building on South Park Avenue. The latest addition to the building program was the high school gym in 1924.

The Railroad and Post Office...The Jasonville post office was established the same year that Jasonville was founded in 1858. The first postmaster was Dr. William B. Squires who had purchased a tract of land with Jason Rodgers. This land was what is known as Jasonville's Heritage Block, located between south Meridian Street on the east and Lawton Street on the west, and Main Street on the north and Cooke Street on the south. With the coming of the railroad in 1900 Jasonville was able to receive mail daily. This was the first connection from Jasonville to the outside world except by horseback or horse drawn vehicle.

 

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"I can retire cheerfully with my little family into the boundless woods of America,which are sure to afford freedom and subsistence to any man who can bait a hook or pull a trigger"...Benjamin Franklin

 
 

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