The Vanished Towns of Scott County

 

Throughout Indiana a person can find many instances of towns which sprang into being, then for various reasons died, were deserted and then forgotten over time.  There are three towns in Scott County that have vanished from the face of maps; Albion, New Frankfort and Wooster.  At the time these towns were established, they were all in Jennings Township, but since 1867 have been in Johnson Township.  All three were just about 1 mile apart.

Albion – Albion was platted as a town Dec 12, 1837 by Harper Cochran with the expectation that the county seat would be moved to the new town due to its more central location in the county.  When the state legislature decided to leave the county seat at Lexington for the time being, this new town died before it even had a chance to grow.

New Frankfort – New Frankfort was platted Feb 10, 1838 by Gara Davis.  It was named after the capitol of Kentucky by residents who had emigrated from Kentucky.  It grew fast and became a prosperous little town.  A post office was established there in 1839 with Gara Davis as the first postmaster.  A school was established for the education of the town’s children.  In 1842 the New Frankfort Methodist Church was founded and in 1850 Christian and Baptist churches were established.  Gara Davis built a saw mill and conducted a general store, both of which he later sold.  The town’s first physicians were brothers Drs. David McClure and Dexter McClure who came to New Frankfort from New York in 1839 and began the practice of medicine.  They became very successful in their profession.  Other businesses in New Frankfort were; a pump factory, chair factory, a factory manufacturing primitive threshing machines, cabinet makers, shoe and boot makers, wagon makers, blacksmiths, gunsmiths and other merchants.  However, the town was only in existence about 20 years.  The death of the town being the location of the new Jeffersonville Railroad five miles to the west.  On May 3, 1853, the town of Austin was platted along the railroad by three citizens of New Frankfort.  Within the next few years the town of New Frankfort moved, practically lock, stock and barrel to the new town of Austin.

Wooster – Wooster was platted Jan 23, 1847 by Stephen Rice, Alfred Hays and John Cantwell.  A post office was established in 1861 with Alfred Hays as the first postmaster.  The government renamed the town Woostertown since there was already a post office in Indiana named Wooster.  A school, District School # 6 was formed.  A Methodist Church was organized on Sept 17, 1847 and took over a church building dated from Sept 8, 1834 when Abraham and Delilah Baker deeded one acre to the Trustees of Union Meeting House, “which was to be always free to different denominations of Christian thought.”  Other businesses in Woostertown included; general stores, the VanPelt Hotel, saw mills, chair factory, cabinet factory, wheat fan factory, a silversmith, blacksmiths, boot and shoe makers, gunsmith, carpenters.

An interesting fact about Wooster is that apparently, the founders of the town were “teetotalers” because the early deeds to the lots in town all have the following clause “…provided that the said grantee agrees to never sell nor cause to be sold ardent spirits or intoxicating liquors on said lot as a beverage nor to convert the said lot to a liquor or grog shop for selling liquors, and a violation of this provision forfeits the title and it reverts back to the grantor!”

The construction of the Jeffersonville Railroad six miles to the west and the founding of Austin and the completion of the Ohio & Mississippi Railroad two miles to the east with the founding of the town of Holman (now Blocher) lead to the death of Wooster.  The inhabitants and industries moved away and houses and buildings were deserted.  The post office was discontinued in 1875.  The district school moved to Holman and the Methodist Church ceased to exist.

These are 3 little towns in our area which have just vanished from the face of the earth.

 

If you have questions about Scott County history or Genealogy, feel free to talk to with Wanda S. our Library Genealogist.  You can reach her via email at wandas@scott.lib.in.us.

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