the unknown

Within the challenges of writing a neighborhood history there are many unknowns. One particular  “unknown” has recently caught my attention via a new online tool, the THINK GIS. This is the Jefferson County, Indiana, map system which helps to identify areas and individual properties within that area. This makes the beginning of a search a lot easier because you can get the current owner/property information online. A place to start is sometimes only the beginning of discovery.

In perusing the THINK GIS online map I discovered there is a property in the John Marsh Add to Fulton that is currently listed as an unknown property with an unknown owner. Not sure what that means for the person who actually might own it or wish to own it. Most people would not look at every property in a neighborhood, and I have really just begun looking, but it is really no surprise I have already discovered something unusual. I have a tendency to see things most people don’t.

In looking at the John Marsh Add to Fulton plat I tried to figure out where the addition ends, without the assistance of a survey…just eyeballing it.

location of the unknown property

The plat shows that the street that runs north and south at the end of Fulton is just to the west of the last two properties in the addition. Thus, just north of State Route 56 at E. Fulton Street  one would find the west boundary of a property that is listed as unknown. The property to the east of the unknown property, the last one in the addition, is curiously listed under the name of someone who is deceased. I have to wonder if there are any heirs and if they are aware of this. I will try to find out at a later date. For now, this is just a mention of what I found in looking at the last two properties.

Who really owns these two properties?

Who really owns these two properties?

The property on the left, the “unknown” property (shown in yellow) corresponds to the more western of the two properties. The most eastern property is highlighted in pink, showing the owner, Wilbur H. Heitz, is deceased (01-07-2013). The area east of the John Marsh Add to Fulton was once known as the Bachmann Lands, for Alois Bachmann. Just when you thought that was all…I discovered there was yet one more unknown, that being a rear lot to the lot west of the two aforementioned lots. Let me show you.

another unknown

another unknown

With so many “unknowns” in just a few minutes of studying a map, I have the promise of more challenges to my patience in research.


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Posted by on May 2, 2013 in Uncategorized


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The Board of Health closed the Fulton School

When I first started my research on the Ferry to Fulton area of Madison, Indiana I had no idea why the building known as the Fulton School (now the Pilgrim Holiness Church) at the corner of Ferry and Park Avenue had closed. I was also surprised there had been another school, known as the Fulton School, which seemed to have been ignored by other historians. It’s a good thing I did the research. The earlier Fulton School was on the next street south, in the next block on what was once High Street, now E. First Street.

From the 25th Annual Report of the State Board of Health of Indiana for the year 1906 (published in 1907 by J. N. Hurty) comes the reason why the (then) Fulton School was closed, citing the reason for the condemnation of the building for school purposes as follows:

PG 79 Hurtypage 80 b o h

As you can see, in addition to the condemnation of the Fulton School, two other schoolhouses were closed after survey, the Upper Seminary School and the Walnut Street Schoolhouse.

On the Ferry to Fulton blog are posts which tell a little about both Fulton school buildings. Though both buildings were not actually within the Town of Fulton’s boundaries, they were both named Fulton School. The one most people know about at 1004 Park Avenue is posted as is information about the older school, another building which still stands at 1011 E. First Street. You might also be interested in Theadore’s Brick.

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Posted by on April 19, 2013 in Uncategorized


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a teensy bit of background

I’ve been doing neighborhood research on the area east of Ferry Street in Madison, Indiana on a blog, called Madison, east of Ferry, Neighborhood History from Madison, Indiana’s Ferry to Fulton area. In addition to my exploration of that section of town I am trying to map out the Town of Fulton (not Fulton county) in Madison, Indiana. There is less information available on Fulton than there is/was on the area east of Ferry to the town of Fulton, or that which people have referred to as Fulton in the few mentions I have found. This is going to take a while. Remember, this is what I’d call a progression blog…you’re reading wherever I am in the progression of my research.

A few years ago, I started this research because of plans to put a new bridge through the neighborhood in which I live. At that point, I realized that anything east of Ferry Street, my neighborhood, was a forgotten part of history. I tried to do more research, but I was new at it, and when the courthouse caught fire and then all the records were sent out for cleaning and repair, my research was put on hold. Fortunately, the bridge was replaced on old piers through a fortuitous Tiger grant and my research could wait for another day.fultondescriptpage-small-150x150

I was not reading much about Fulton in the history books, just a few mentions from first-hand accounts that it was on Madison’s east side, or that it was an addition to Madison. Even in reading that the first settlers to the area were in what later came to be the Town of Fulton, that the first cemetery was in the “Fulton” area, or the many other neighborhood facts somehow didn’t matter to most people; but it mattered to me. I was excited with my first real find…the hand-drawn Town town of fulton described-1846of Fulton map. It was a hand-written copy found in the Jefferson County Historical Society‘s  MP-0034 collection of the Early Subdivision Plat Maps for Jefferson County. When I first saw it I remember musing about how the drawing of the Ohio River was colored blue. It gave me hope that I had a legitimate place to start my research. I at least knew an original existed someplace.

Original Fulton ADD

The Town of Fulton addition to the city of Madison (as previously mentioned) is back at the courthouse after a fire and restoration. Because the plat books were gone awhile  I moved on to other things for a while as well. It was nice to finally view and photograph the original. Just as the copy showed, the original shows that on the south side of what was then Lawrenceburg[h] Road, now State Road 56, there are 4 streets that run north/south within ten sections or blocks. The area south of State Route 56 was officially surveyed for John McIntire in 1844, and the Town of Fulton Addition to the city of Madison was recorded on September 4th, 1846.Two actual pieces of paper said the same thing.

The “corporation line” shown (on all of the maps I have seen) is marked where the road’s name changes from Park Avenue to State Road 56 just east of the property on which I live. I have seen instances of the road named as the Madison & Brooksburgh Turnpike, the Lawrenceburg[h] Road, and on census sheets, as E. Second. Since I started my research I have seen lots of reasons to be confused about which road is which, so it is all a matter of comparison. An acquaintance read my blog, in preparation for a book she wrote, and unfortunately, she still confused a few facts and I later found that (the incorrect information) included in her book. Fortunately, it was not a history book.

Throughout the research I have done to date, I looked at map after map, and though I said the words, for some reason it did not dawn on me that if the Town of Fulton had been added to the city of Madison, certainly the maps should be showing the addition now within the city limits. All those maps, some 160 years of drawings have continued to show the city corporation line, or city limits, at a line previous to said addition. If property was added or annexed, why was there no change on the maps?

1854 Section 12 Map

The map I had referred to most often in my other blog (regarding the Ferry to Fulton area) was the 1854 map (above) that I first saw on the wall of the Madison Jefferson County Public Library, and subsequently I had a portion of the map enlarged and copied through the Jefferson County Historical Society. Unfortunately, even that map showed the corporation line still west of the Town of Fulton addition. In 1854, there was not a lot shown on the 1854 map just east of that corporation line, but the word FULTON is there and homes and lot lines are shown on the south side of Lawrenceburgh Road..

Original John marsh ADD to Fulton

I felt as though I would have to draw a map with whatever found through deed research because anything on the south side of the riverfront road (shown as Fulton Street) between Ferry and the end of Fulton has been wiped off that map. Only a few buildings shown on the 1854 map between what was then Lawrenceburg[h] Road and Fulton Street still exist. Photos of the 1937 are a treasure and will take a while to decipher, but they will be invaluable in identifying the location of homes previously in the area.

On the north side of State Road 56 are the lands known as the John Marsh Add East to Madison and the John Marsh Add to Fulton.Fulton starts with a split lot

Whatever was added to “Fulton” certainly would then be part of Madison as well, right? I continue my research. On the O’Brien survey, the property shown as lot #1 (north of the road) is split; the western part is in the “city” while the eastern part is “county”, as the neighbor puts it. One day the homeowner for lot #1 (north side) was outside cutting back trees and bushes from the rock wall on the property and told me she was surprised to find out her property was taxed as two separate plots. My neighbor, Dave, showed me his survey work, referred to as the Guerich survey (which referred to Barnard Warren property)obrien engineering image from dave and told me the properties were “all part of one, but as the individual lots sold the split occurred”. I saw the words “stone located” and a description, and decided that made for a nice beginning. After that, I have to work backwards a little.

By starting at the westernmost boundary of what is specifically in the John Marsh Add to Fulton, I found what I believe to be the notched stone notched stonein the woods and from there was able to verify the stone wall on the western side of the property I presently inhabit on the south side of Park Avenue as the reference point mentioned in the 1975 survey for the first few lots on the north side of Park Avenue at the line where it becomes State Route 56, previously known as Lawrenceburgh Road.

The last Park Avenue address on the north side is 1035 Park Avenue, or I should say the numbers on the house show that, but the other addresses heading east have since been changed to State Route 56. This occurred when the 911 system went in. A building on the Brushfield property (that property being mentioned in the legal description of the survey), located on lot 3 of the Brushfield addition, has been written throughout history as being the eastern boundary marker for Madison, Indiana. That brick building (1034 Park Avenue) dates at least to the 1854 map, since it is shown there, but no one can yet say exactly (yet) when it was built. The Brushfield property shows up as the east boundary for the city as well as a boundary for other additions to the city. I have found a deed and maps showing the Brushfield Subdivision, as well as the Fulton Addition.

Though my neighbor’s survey shows he is occupying lots 2, 3 and 4 in the John Marsh Addition to Fulton, one still needs to compare newer versions with older maps to know if this is actually considered property within the city of Madison or county land.

I stopped my research for a couple of years due to health issues, thus I have no elaboration yet on my neighbor’s property. I re-started my research after the post office decided that due to traffic danger they would not be able to continue home delivery on Park Avenue, and provided a cluster box for the neighborhood mail a block away. Since the entire neighborhood would have to traverse the same road and one where there were no sidewalks, to get our mail, I asked the city to negotiate delivery on Park Avenue. The negotiation put us where the post office wanted us all along, with curb delivery. When decisions about where to place posts brought up the city/county line I decided it was time to look into this again, and found the original plat at the courthouse. Meanwhile, regarding mail delivery, the mailman told me that the last house was neither on the county’s list for delivery or the city’s list. Well, even though no one lives there, a mailbox now exists for them at the curb.

When I found the original plat for the addition to the city of Madison, I went to visit the 911 director to ask about coverage for this area. He told me it was covered under the county’s emergency services, not the city. I explained to him my issue with the maps. He said he would be the one to change or correct a map but that would have to go through the city. I walked him to the courthouse, had them print out a copy of the addition to Madison, and decided to follow up on my own.

Stay tuned for history as I write it.

outlined fulton

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Posted by on April 16, 2013 in Uncategorized


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a photo found

johnwolfe37floodpicI found this photo from the 1937 flood at the Cincinnati Public Library. It shows one reason why people don’t know much about Fulton, an eastern addition to the city of Madison, Indiana. This photo appears to have been taken behind my house, after the 1937 Ohio River flood. Although the flood took out a lot of homes in the area, the neighborhood is still there, with many homes intact. I do not yet know whose houses are shown in this photo, but I will work on it now that I know the photo exists to point me in the right direction.

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Posted by on April 5, 2013 in Uncategorized


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