Some of Vernon Township’s rich history remains

In November, Rebecca Crowe and Phyllis Kingen gave an excellent presentation about the history of Vernon Township at the Hancock County Historical Society’s round table. They shared with the group many interesting points.

For instance, did you know that the history of the Fortville Methodist Church dates back to the 1840s with an original log church building? The church and cemetery were first called Staats Chapel and Cemetery. A revival was held in Peter Staats’ barn in 1856, and those converted organized themselves into the Fortville Methodist Episcopal Church.

At that point, the 36 converts moved into a log building, and then to the loft of the Noel Building and Hudson’s Grocery. A frame church was built in 1859 and dedicated in 1865. It sat in the back of the current Methodist Church parking lot. The current church was dedicated in 1902.

Some interesting facts on the current structure are: The bell was donated by the Union Traction Company (Interurban); the marble steps came from the Bates House in Indianapolis, which were walked on by Abraham Lincoln; also, the west stained glass window in the church was paid for by the Grand Army of the Republic, Fortville Post and was dedicated to fallen soldiers and veterans of the Civil War. If you have time, go and see it.

Did you ever hear of Denney’s Corner? Denney’s Corner is south of State Road 234 at Fortville Pike and 700 North. It was the home of the Dunkard (German Baptist) Church, Denney’s School and the A.H. Denney Farms. The church is now gone, but the other buildings remain. The school was converted into a residence in 1946. When the Dunkard Church property was sold, the Denny’s were re-interred at Gravel Lawn. The Denney barn is now called Barn Sign Works.

Also in Vernon Township are two round barns. One has served as a bed and breakfast, and the other is the Frank Littleton Round Barn, which is where Phyllis Kingen and her family farm. This round barn was built in 1903. I do believe it is Indiana’s largest round barn.

Thanks to Rebecca and Phyllis. They are two excellent historians.

Enough. I have told you everything I know and some things I don’t. Talk to me.

Joe Skvarenina is an expert on local history and author of several books on Hancock County’s past. He can be reached at jskvarenina @hotmail.com or in care of the Daily Reporter at 22 W. New Road, Greenfield, IN, 46140.