History of Madison Township
Source: History of St. Joseph County, Indiana
Hon. John V. Hadley, Editor in Chief.
Chas. C. Chapman & Co.,
Madison township is situated in the southwestern part of St. Joseph county, and is bounded on the north by Penn township, on the east by Elkhart county, on the south by Marshall county, and. on the west by Union and Centre townships.
This was one of the latest settled townships of St. Joseph county, the settiment of which did not begin until about 1840; and it is probable that today there are fewer old settlers living in the township from whom a complete history of its early settlement ought to be obtained than in any other township in the county. And it is likewise probable that at the time of its early settlement it was the poorest township of farming land in the county; and this accounts for the fact that it was not settled simultaneously with the surrounding townships.
Today the greater part of the land is marsh and covered with heavy timber; however, by means of ditches, and clearing off the timbered land and making use of the logs at the numerous sawmills, great improvements and progress have been made within the last 20 years by the industrious class of citizens who are now residents. And one would naturally suppose from first glance, did he not take cognizance of the fact that he was in Northern Indiana, surrounded by the oldest settled and most beautiful tract of country in the whole State, that he was in the midst of some Western country where the process of " clearing up " had just begun, or that he had been transported back a half century when the work of settlement had just commenced by our forefathers of old. As indicative of this fact, numerous saw mills which maintain many families are found here and there in the midst of the tall timber throughout this township and county.
Probably the earliest settlers of this township were Mr. Cline, who settled on section 19, and Mr. Bennett, who settled on section 18. About the same time, during the year 1840, came Christian Helminger; in the year 1841 came Godfried Enders; in 1842 came Mr. Palmer; Peter Kline, in 1846; Adam Kieffer, in 1847; William Border, Thomas Crakes and Jonathan Gilman, in 1848; in 1850 the following, besides many others, made this township their home: Christian Grose, John Schaffer, Philip Berger, Adam Rader, and Michael Kettring. From this time on the townships settled very rapidly. In 1852 came Amos and D. B. Jewell; in 1853 came Hiram Locker, Jacob Wetzel, John Kelley and Jacob Marker. During the year 1854 a number of others settled here; the following are a few: Jacob Conrad, David Newcomer, A. J. Strope, Daniel Homes, Adam Mochel, John and Charles Kelley, Henry Flory, Harrison Pentecost and John Hawkins. In 1855 Samuel Shearer removed to this township; in 1856 the following: Jacob Loucks, A. C. Hiner and John Shenefield; John Barkey, in 1858; George Friedman, in. 1859; Jacob Birk, Jacob Futler and Henry Fox, in 1860.
A considerable portion of the southern part of the township is known as the "Yellow river country," from the fact that the Yellow river flows through it. Some of the early settlers of this region, whose names have not yet been mentioned, are the following: George Zimmer, Jacob Helminger, Nicholas Hummel, John Zigler, Joseph Zeiger, Christian Eslinger, Philip Manges, Michael Smith, Jacob, George and Philip Kline, John Meyers, Philip Berger, Michael Fagler and Mr. Sweisberger. And besides the many already mentioned, there are still a few more who came some time prior to 1851: Hugh McLoughlin, James Belford, Joseph Jewell, Amos Wilson, J. Pittman, Edward and Jonathan Buck, Philip Fries, T. Longley, Henry Aliwood, Mr. Clugston and Mr. Crow.