burlington mich roadWhat is now known as Burlington Township, of Carroll County, Indiana, was in 1828 a rich, rolling, dense forest covered with a heavy blanket of ancient trees and thick undergrowth which made travel and settlement a cumbersome process.

Indiana had been admitted as the 19th State in the Union on December 11, 1816, and Carroll County was created by act of the State Legislature on April 1, 1828.  Burlington Township was formed in March 1832.  A few of the early settlers were Mahlon Shinn, George Harness and David Ewing who had moved into the Burlington area with their families as early as 1827.  But it was in 1828 that David Stipp, an employee in the Government Land Office at Crawfordsville, laid out the Town of Burlington in 92 lots running south from Wildcat Creek.  Stipp moved onto a quarter section of land near the town plat in 1830.  He donated a small plot of ground for a school house, and died in the area in 1848.

In 1830-1831, Philip Rinker constructed a crude grist mill of undressed logs with two boulders from the creek bed as burrs just northwest of the town plat.  He operated the mill until 1837 when it was sold to John Cromwell, who erected a frame building on the site and continued in business at that location until sometime after 1862.

Also in 1830-1831, Samuel Gwinn, William F. Gerhart, Jacob Brown, William Smith and Edmund Moss entered land near Burlington; however, it wasn’t until 1833 that the first dense timber was cleared in the town plat by John Kelly and Robert Ewing.

Andrew Watts and William Henry purchased a house erected by David Stipp and kept a tavern in about 1834.  William Stockton also opened a tavern about the same time and kept the relay house for the stage horses on the Michigan Road.  (His son John was one of the stage drivers.)  The Michigan Road, which ran through the middle of the town of Burlington, was to become the great thoroughfare between Madison on the Ohio River and Michigan City on the North.  Work on the road was done in the Burlington area in 1830 and 1831 at an average cost of $102.00 per mile.  The road was to be 100 feet in width being grubbed clean 30 feet in the center of the road and with no stumps more than a foot high.  This project was financed by the sale of sections of land along the right-of-way at a fixed price of not less than $1.25 per acre.  It was the opening of the road as well as the sale of the land that provided a means for travel and settlement through the middle of Indiana.

David Foster, who later laid out the Town of Kokomo settled in Burlington in 1834 and engaged in trade with the Indians (mainly alcohol) before moving into what is now Howard County.  After 1835, the arrival of new families began to be a regular occurrence and the town of Burlington grew as new businesses were opened and the surrounding countryside was cleared for farming.

Henry Bolles moved to town in 1837 and opened the first general merchandise trading center and expanded to take in a partner, E.P. Stone, 1846.

In the fall of 1838, Dr. Samuel Anderson became the Town’s first doctor.  Many family names that still remain first came to the Burlington area about this time:  Garrison, Robertson, Barnard, Everman, Hendrix, and Beck, just to name a few.  In 1848, James Harmon constructed a brick kiln and in 1856 or 1857, Mahlon Shinn erected a saw mill on his farm northeast of the town plat.  Shinn was connected with several substantial enterprises. He was proprietor of one of the first hotels, was the first Justice of the Peace, and the first postmaster in 1832.  He operated the mill for several years after which it passed to various parties among whom were Grimes and Viney, who remodeled and converted the building into a flour mill.  About 1872, the mill was destroyed by fire and in 1874 Robertson and Stone erected a new flour mill with a Leffel patent turbine wheel and two runs of burrs.  A saw and planing mill was erected in the south part of town in 1873 by Joseph W. Gwinn and Leroy Barnard, which regularly sawed 7,000 feet of timber per day and employed six men.

In 1871, H. A. Lovell began to manufacture buggies in connection with his blacksmith trade.  His shop, a two-story frame building in the center of town produced 10 top buggies, 2 carriages, one phaeton and 5 spring wagons in 1881.

By 1882, the town had a hotel kept by William Stombough; three general merchandise stores run by W. H. Everman, J.J. Stone and Tapp and Everman, respectively; one drug store, by J. A. Fennell; one meat market by William Taylor.  Dr. Samuel Anderson, Dr. Charles Chittick, Dr. B.F. Landes and Dr. Doane were practicing physicians.  William Beck and George Ewick were the town carpenters; George Hickman the town barber and jeweler; Fullwider and Viney, saddlers and harness makers; John K. Garrison, furniture dealer and undertaker; George Appenzeller, tinner and dealer in hardware, tinware and stoves; H.A. Lovell and B.F. Landes, blacksmiths; Benjamin Bryant, wagon maker; W. H. Reagon and M. Appenzeller, boot and shoe makers.

The town of Burlington from the beginning has been an active, prosperous and good place to live.  The individuals who carved our community from the wilderness set the example and many of their descendants still remain and take pride in our town.