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Perry Township

Perry Township municipal offices are located at 3420 North 750 East, Lafayette IN 47905; phone: 765-589-3792.

Perry Township is located due east of Lafayette City.

Beginnings [1]

Perry Township was organized in 1829 and was named in honor of Commodore Perry, a hero of the War of 1812. This was appropriate since the township was the site of military action during that war. In October 1812, General Samuel Hopkins led a force of 2,000 militiamen from Vincennes. After wandering in the area, his troops ran out of food and were forced to return to Vincennes. Hopkins reorganized and led another expedition a month later destroying Prophet's Town, which was rebuilt after the Battle of Tippecanoe, and a Kickapoo village below Prophet's Town. A militia detachment of about 60 of his men were trying to recover the body of a soldier slain earlier and were ambushed by Winnebago warriors on the North Fork of Wildcat Creek. Escape was made only by spurring their horses to retreat, giving the name of Spur's Defeat to this minor skirmish.

After the opening of Indiana to settlement, settlers were attracted to Perry Township's rich soil and abundant water supply. Daniel Underwood was the township's first recorded settler in 1823. Many early brick or frame homes were built along the bluffs overlooking the Forks of Wildcat Creek including the Hersey House, constructed in 1840, and the Peters-Hoffman House. The Rayburn House is one of the county's few remaining examples of a log-pen house.

Wildcat Creek was also the location of many of the township's mills including a woolen, flax oil, grist, cider and sawmills. Daniel Peter and later his son-in-law, Horace Hoffman, operated a gristmill and sawmill on the Middle Fork from 1833-1902. Peters' house is located near the former mill site. The Arnold Tannery was located near the Monitor Springs Rest Park.

Perry Township's first religious services were conducted in the home of Daniel Underhill. By 1830 the Presbyterian congregation had built a log church called Oxford. The structure was donated to the Reformed and Lutheran Church who replaced it with the brick Oxford Church in 1871. A Baptist congregation has been using the church since 1928.

The Reverend Joseph Hersey established a United Brethren Church at the Hersey Cemetery. His home, near the cemetery, is listed in the National Register of Historic Places. Another United Brethren Church was the Fairview Church active from 1872 to 1968.

As the township developed, education became more formalized. Of the township's thirteen brick or frame district schools, only the Whistler School, built in 1888, still stands. By 1925 all district schools were closed when high school classes were consolidated at Monitor High School.

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