Martin County History Lesson

Hindostan Dance Hall


In 1922 a new resort was built at Hindostan which included a dance hall and restaurant. Tents where put up to give tourists a place to change in to their bathing suits to take a refreshing swim. The dance hall was locate where the picnic table are today overlooking the falls. Through the years many bands like Holeene O'Pell and the Melody Boys played at the dance hall on the weekends. The dance hall burn down in 1930 and was never rebuilt.

Major William Houghton


William was born on the Houghton Farm south of Loogootee in 1839. his parents being descendants of Puritan colonist. his mother was a sixth generation descendant of the Puritans who came to America on the Mayflower.  William was educated in the private school at Mount Pleasant and later became a teacher in Daviess County. Following the attack on Fort Sumter, William enlisted in the 14th Indiana Volunteers and was choose as First Lieutenant, soon being promoted Captain. He led his men in the battle of Greenbier, Winchester, Antietam and Fredericksburg. he was also involved in the battle at Chancellorsville, the Wilderness, Bloody Angle and Gettysburg. He was wounded three times in Feb of 1863.He was promoted to the rank of Major following the recommendation of General Nathan Kimball.

Following his successful army career, he became a US Internal Revenue Assessor. Later entering the banking business in Martin County. the bank became known as White River Bank, Major Houghton house still stands today at 203 Queen Street in Loogootee.

You can find more information about Major Houghton in the history book Images of Loogootee.


A Bit of History


Trinity Springs Hotel 

In it’s heyday in the early 1900s, Trinity Springs, with its flowing sulphur water, was quite the tourist attraction. The natural habitat kept people returning every summer to bathe in the medicinal, healing mineral waters. At least seven hotels sprung up in Trinity over the course of its popularity. Six trains a day took passengers to the Indian Springs, met by a horse-drawn bus at the prosperous railroad depot. Today the springs can still be seen at the Mustering Elms Park in Trinity. This information is from Harry Holt's book.

Stuckey Pottery


Martin J Stuckey Sr was born in Baden Germany 1750 he move to America 1760, was married him and his wife move to Jefferson Co Kentucky In 1792 where they raised 10 children, Martin J being the youngest of their children born 1797. In 1818 son Martin moved to Indiana at age of 21 purchase land in Mt Pleasant He married Ruth Love they had son together named him Upton born 1822. Who later became a potter.

He kept the land till 18...30 them he sold it and started to purchase the land by little Boggs Creek (Charlie Lyon Farm) in 1832 and 1836. This land had a great source of clay on the property. Martin became a well-known potter and 1st in Martin County, possibly the 1st in the state. Martin and his son Upton start to manufacture pottery together with the help of Uptons two sons Arthur and Newton and half-brother Emanuel and James. 

Martin pottery marked his pottery with a stamp with his name on it “MARTIN STUCKEY” also marked “M STUCKEY” 

Uptons pottery was marked with a stencil that read “Manufacture by Upton Stucky ” an/or bird design used Cobalt Blue coloring when marking his pottery some of his large pots were 2ft tall his pottery was made of stoneware. You may notice Upton didn’t put and “E” in his last name his father had an “E”.

Stuckey pottery was all over southern Indiana large amount were sent to Petersburg and Princeton Indiana to be loaded up on flat boats and sent down the Mississippi river to New Orleans just like other products like Hindostan whetestones , Furs , Martin County lumber, Pork, Poultry, wild game etc.

In 1846, 1848, and 18 52 Upton purchase land north of his father properties Together Upton and his father made and sold pottery for over 50 years, they got out of pottery manufacture by 1892 Martin Pass away in March 17 1891 the age of 94, Upton pass away 5 years later July 22 1896 at the age of 74. 

The Martin County museum has nice display set up about Stuckey pottery. Thanks to the Charlie Lyon family. Written by Rae Greene.

Golden Spike Plaque


The Martin County Historical Society erected a plaque on Main Street downtown Shoals, to mark the event in 1857 that completed the railroad project and connected St Louis to Cincinnati by rail.

The railroad played a big part in Martin County history. The tracks were completed on April 15, 1857, joining St Louis to Cincinnati. Shoals was the location where the tracks of the Ohio and Mississippi railroad company met the tracks of and the Ohio railroad company. To celebrate the completion of the new train route, a golden spike was driven into the track to mark this completion. The railroad would bring alot of growth to our county in the years to follow.

Still today you can see some of the railroads past in Shoals. The pump station still stands on the edge of the river next to the railroad bridge. This pump station was used to pump water to a water storage tank for the steam engines. The train depot in Shoals and Loogootee are no long here. There are still two train tunnels in the county, Indian Springs tunnel built in 1890 and the Willow Valley tunnel built in 1900. 

Several train wrecks had accrued in the county. The one that’s talked about the most is Willow Valley wreck, Sept 17, 1861. Carrying 250 men from the 19th Illinois Regiment, the train bridge collapsed 3 train cars and went in to Beaver Creek killing 40 men and injuring 100 others

Willow Valley Train Wreck


On Sept. 17, 1861, Ohio & Mississippi train carrying about 250 members of the 19th Illinois Regiment were enroute from Cairo, Ill., to Washington, D.C. The train wrecked at Bridge 48, west of Willow Valley in Martin County, after passing bridge east of deep cut pass. The train started to cross the bridge and it collapsed, resulting in the deaths of 40 men and injuring about 105 others. 

A reporter from the Cincinnati Daily Commercial accompanied the rescue train to the wreck.... Describing what he seen upon arrival of the wreck he saw a train car thrown off the track some 20 yards from the bridge; that of another car standing on end. The engine passed the bridge safety; the first car was thrown off the track, about 20 yards beyond the bridge. The second car fell directly into the Beaver Creek, the third car went in to the creek, the fourth and fifth cars ran on top of the third, crushing it flat as a board. In the third car was Company I, where the greatest loss took place. The six and last car, containing the field officers and their attendants, was not injured. 

The railroad company asked the Cincinnati Chamber of Commerce to appoint a committee of mechanics to inspect the bridge and issue an opinion on the cause of the disaster. On Sept. 25, 1861 eight days after the disaster the committee reported that a broken rail near the entrance to the bridge was the cause. 

At the time local resident of Martin County blamed the large group of Knights of the Golden Circle, who were southern sympathizers, and were suspected of loosening the rail.

In 1899 Willow Valley Tunnel was built which by pass the 3 miles of track where this train wreck occurred. The county would later take over the old railroad bed to make it into a county road Deep Cut Lake Road which goes in front of US Gypsum.