Brooksburg, Indiana - History


The town was laid out by Fletcher Tevis and Noah Brooks on September 18, 1839. The plat, filed in Jefferson County Deed Book Q page 445, showed 116 lots. There were there three streets running east-west, Bridge, Cross, and Water, and two running north-south, High and Main.

The town and surrounding countryside was populated heavily by settlers from eastern Stokes and neighboring western Rockingham counties in North Carolina, who arrived largely between 1815 and 1833. These include the Brooks, Vernon, Joyce, Bondurant and Larimore families, many of whom had moved into the area from neighboring Virginia in the late 19th century.

The earliest person reported to have settled on the site was James Lochard, a Revolutionary War soldier, who arrived in 1810 and died about 1815. Commerce probably grew up because of the need for a ferry across the Indian-Kentuck Creek near the point it enters the Ohio River. Ferries crossed the river as early as May 20, 1820 when Isaac Canby was licensed for a ferry across the river and another to cross the creek. There had been stores and taverns on the site earlier as in 1829, In May 1827, Daniel Larimore and Wiley Brooks received a license from the county commissioners to sell foreign merchandise (items such as coffee and sugar), while Larimore was licensed to operate a store and tavern in May 1829. It continued to be a small commercial center throughout the 19th century.

The town was not separately enumerated in the 1850, 1860 or 1870 censuses. The 1880 census showed a population of 148, which dropped to 120 in the 1890 census, but bounced back to 149 in the 1900 census year.

An 1889 history that covered several Indiana counties says that in 1878 the town had several stores, a blacksmith shop, a church, school, and a printing office. However, the church must have been either the nearby Morris Chapel or Home Church, both Methodist congregations, because there was no known church within the town boundaries until October 25, 1891, when the Brooksburg Methodist Church was dedicated.

In fact, from 1830 on, the town and surrounding area was served by the Home post office, which was about two miles up the Indian-Kentuck Creek, until the Brooksburg post office opened on Oct. 19, 1880 with Theodore McKay as the first post master. The name was originally spelled as Brooksburgh, but the "H" was dropped from the post office designation in 1893.

A second church, the Brooksburg Baptist Church, was admitted to the Long Run Association with 36 members at an association meeting held August 8 and 9, 1894. The Brooksburg Wesleyan Methodist Church was founded by 1925. Both the Baptist and Methodist Church are still active. The Methodist church owns the cemetery on the northern side of the town. A weekly newspaper, The Brooksburg Sun, was published from August 1886 through September 1906. It was edited by Thomas Wright and published by William Wright.

Telephone service reached Brooksburg and Vevay by Sept. 13, 1883 when that day's issue of the Madison Daily Courier reported that, “The Brooksburg Band has celebrated Vevay by telephone.” The Moorefield Farmers Mutual Telephone Co. was headquartered there in the 1920s.

A state statistical report for the years 1907 and 1908 reported in had 175 residents and three general stores and was served by the Bell telephone system. Its only industry was a creamery, which other records show closed in 1911. A Knights of Pythias building was built in 1899, with parts later used as school classrooms.

No school operates in the town. The oldest surviving school structure was about 1850, while a stone structure on the east side of town was built in 1888. Brooksburg High School, built in 1920, was later razed.

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