Township History

Under the Constitution, land not included within the boundaries of the original thirteen states became public domain, owned and administered by the national government. Congress provided for surveying and selling public lands in the Land Ordinance of 1785. This law established the rectangular system of survey, which divided land into townships six miles square, with sections a mile square containing 640 acres, and quarter sections of 160 acres.

A unit of government found primarily in the northeast and north central United States; townships are a subdivision of a county ranging in size from 6 to 54 square miles with 36 square miles being the normal.

Each township is identified by name, such as Westfield Washington Township.  The responsibilities and the form of the township government are specific by the state legislature, and many have a trustee and an elected board.  The most common responsibilities are things such as helping the indigent, fire protection, cemetery maintenance, weed control and other duties.

Municipalities such as cities may incorporate or annex land in the township, which is then generally removed from the township government.  Indiana is the only state where every portion of the state is part of a township government, regardless of other municipalities.

Westfield Washington Township History

Westfield Washington Township was founded in 1834 by Asa Bales, Ambrose Osborne and Simon Moon, Quakers from North Carolina protesting human slavery in the South. The township served as an important home station to the Underground Railroad. Shortly after black emancipation, residents rallied to promote racial equality and harmonious living, helping to end the influence of the Ku Klux Klan. Van Camp Company, once the area’s largest local employer, provided pork and beans for thousands of troops entrenched in World War I, and the community’s strong agricultural tradition sustained the town through the Great Depression.

Click HERE to learn more about the Township Office History

Click HERE to learn more about MacGregor Park History