History

Introduction

Washington Township was organized in March 1838.  The first settlers were John Makemson and his brother Vincent. They built the first house in the township on section 3 in the spring 1835 and the same autumn, Vincent Makemson erected the second house in the township. The first election was held at the house of Martin Braysted in April 1838, and Lewis Keith was elected justice of the peace. The first death was that of a daughter of John and Mrs. Bratt in 1838. Abner McQuigg died the next year and was the first interred in the Ryerson Cemetery, which was donated for such purposes by George W. Ryerson in 1839.

Much money was made in land in early days, in this county, and when a new town sprang up there was always a good chance to sell lots if the town went ahead. Several attempts were made to locate Pierceton before the present site was laid out.  It seems that they did not know just where the railroad would go through.  Westminster was laid out northeast of the present site of town by Christopher Lightfoot for Samuel Eby in May 1837.  This town was to be east of the Sharton Ditch called the headwaters of Eel River.  Westminster never became a town.  Fairview was another such town.  It was laid out southeast of the present site of Pierceton by Henry Sticknell. Forty-five lots were laid out but the whole matter was dropped.
In the winter of 1852-53 John Butler Chapman and Lewis Keith, his father-in-law, employed Otho Means, a big red headed surveyor, to layout a town about a half of a mile north of the present Pierceton.  By the next summer, they found they had missed the railroad and laid out Pierceton as it is located today, christened in honor of President Franklin Pierce.  In March 1853, the plat was entered for taxation.

Pierceton was the leading town of the county outside of Warsaw, for at least thirty-five years.  It was a lively town politically during this time, always sending creditable delegations to the county seat whenever any big political demonstration was being held. Pierceton in those days was full of activity based largely on woodworking industries.  This is now a thing of the past for our supply of wood has sadly diminished.  Logs cut and sent to mills here today would not have been accepted one hundred and sixty years ago.

“A History of Pierceton, Indiana” originally written by George A. Nye 1952 : Paraphrased by Nathan R. Collier 2012