Ireland History

    Ireland is the outgrowth of The Irish Settlement.  For the very first beginnings go to the Ireland Settlement link on this website.  One particular family named Stewart (Stuart) eventually came to America and went to Virginia. In the family was John and Robert Stewart. According to an interview of Elijah Stewart (grandson of John Stewart) John and Robert were born in Ireland. When they became young men they came through the Cumberland Gap into Kentucky and on to Indiana.  The Stewarts married two of Elizabeth Cartmill Green's daughters.  John married Jane Green and Robert married Mary Green.  Other early settlers were the Dillin, Dillon, Green, Armstrong, Anderson, Norman, Kellams, Hardin and Rodman families. John Stewart's military records of the War of 1812 report that he was with the U.S. Mounted Rangers in St. Charles County, Missouri. He was wounded in battle.  He was discharged from service in 1815 and shortly thereafter came back into Indiana.  These particular mounted rangers were once commanded by Daniel M. Boone (Daniel Boone's son). Robert Stewart had a gunshop in the settlement.  Robert was also the first coroner of Dubois County, serving from 1818-1820.  Coroners in those days also had among their normal duties, the responsibility of "fence viewer" and "overseer of the poor".

   Nestled in the northeast part of Madison township, Dubois County, along State Highway 56 lies the town of Ireland Indiana. It is a thriving community with several businesses and a beautiful Ireland Elementary School. There is a strong community feeling among the residents of the town and the surrounding sub-divisions. It is a peaceful town and area, a great place for families.

   John Stewart, a veteran of the War of 1812, had purchased the land from the United States on December 23, 1816, a short time after Indiana became a state.   This was the establishment of Ireland, Indiana as John Stewart built his mansion house on this land. Daniel M. Boone (Daniel Boone's son), who was John Stewarts' power-of-attorney while John was wounded, had a mansion house in Missouri.  It is believed that John built his home like Daniel Morgan Boone had. A mansion house is described as two log cabins, ten feet apart, with one roof covering both homes. All of his life when asked where he was from he would reply, Ireland, at first it meant the country he was from and later it meant the town he established.  John Stewart died in the fall of 1842.  His son James, and four others platted the town.  The map is dated May 20, 1865, but the place had it's beginnings as a village as early as 1816, just prior to Ireland becoming an outgrowth of the "Irish Settlement".  This is when John Stewart and others built their cabins on the land Stewart had purchased and cleared. The Stewart log school was built around 1820.  The first known "stick home" (other than a log cabin) in the village was built by Harvey Green in 1839.  The second home was that of Dr.E.A.Glezen, Ireland's first doctor in 1846.  The home also served as his office for over 50 years.  Ireland was known as the garden spot of Dubois County. By 1870 Ireland's population was 139.   It is recognized that Ireland was settled by the Scotch-Irish, but in and during the middle 1800's many German settlers came into the area.  Now the Ireland area is a mix of many cultures, with German being the largest. 

   In its early days Ireland had many lodges and organizations (none of the following remain today) including, Modern Woodman, Masons, GAR (Grand Army of the Republic), Odd Fellows, Red Men, Pocahontas, Rebeccas, Grand Templars and Womens Christian Temperance Uniion (WCTU).  Temperance of liquor was strongly practiced for many years in the community.  Each time a saloon opened it seemed to catch fire and burn down.  It was not until proprietor Hogan built his saloon next to the doctors office, that a saloon survived.  Thomas Schitter actually obtained the first official license to operate a tavern in 1940.  Tom called the tavern the Shamrock Cafe, the Shamrock has remained on the same location and is still in business today with a new name,  Ihe Rock Bar and Grill.  The Shamrock (Now as of 2016, under new ownership, named only "The Rock") is on the location of the first home built in Ireland, which is mentioned above.  Other businesses included a blacksmith shop, a 4 story flour mill in 1855, two undertakers, a beanery (restraunt), two doctors, again the first doctor was Dr. E.A. Glezen in 1846 and two dry-goods stores. The Dillins (also spelled with an o for the i) had several different businesses iin town.  A township library was also ran by Mrs. William Monroe in the 1850's. There were at least three hotels in Ireland in the 1800's.  The Ferguson Hotel, the Green Hotel and the Hardin Hotel. The Hardin Hotel was operated by William Hardin from 1859-1876. His son Issac ran the hotel for a number of years thereafter. Ireland had a race track and stables south of Ireland in the 1870's.  Horses were bred, raised, trained and raced there.  The operation was named Alder Creek Stables and was owned by Sebestian Anderson.

    The first church in Ireland was the Ireland Methodist Church, which was organized in 1873.  The congregation first met in the vacant schoolhouse on Walnut street and in homes.  The church was then completed in 1878.  The congregation dedicted the church in 1881 when it was debt free. The church has been renovated from time to time and still stands on the same site. The building is now the home of the Ireland Historical Society. The most noted person from the churches membership was Lily Dexter Greene.  She was a missionary to India for over 48 years.  Lily was an 1893 graduate of DePauw University and later gained a PhD from John Hopkins University.  She could speak 6 different Indian languages.  The Womens Society of Christian Services (WSCS), in the 1940's, collected enough money in her honor, to build a church in India.  They also called this church the Ireland Methodist Church. A super-centurian was counted among the members of the Ireland church.  Minnie (Armstrong) Kearby, born on April 14, 1893, passed away in March 2005 at the age of 111 years and 51 weeks. She died on April 7th, 2005.  On April 14, 2005 she would have reached 112 years of age! The Methodist held services in Ireland for 118 years.  In 1986 a movement was started by the congregation to attract new members. The district and state leaders of the United Methodist Church were summoned and were interested.  These leaders personally looked at the area and the Ireland Church, they decided that the way to expand and get new members was to have a new start and location. 10 acres located at the corner of County Road 350 and State Hwy. 56 was selected and purchased.  A minister, who had participated in other new starts, was sent to the area. This minister was Rev. Stephen Seitz. From this beginning sprang the Shiloh United Methodist Church.  The first official services were held in the Jasper Community Arts building, there were 25 original members. In 2004 there are 480 members and 554 regular attendees, as of 2005. The church has a very active Sunday School with classes for all ages.  The church has many bible studies, organizations and ministeries.  In 1996, the Ireland church was closed.  All remaining active members of this congregation became members of Shiloh UMC.  Shiloh UMC has proven to be very successful and a  great addition for the area.

   The Ireland Presbyterian Church was built in 1885.  This church was the outgrowth of the 1817 log church and the 1849 Shiloh Meeting House at Shiloh Cemetery. The Shiloh Meeting House is the only building in the National Register of Historical Places in Madison Township.  Presbyterian Church services were held in Ireland until 1940.  In 1940 the church closed and those who wished to became members of the Jasper Presbyterian Church went there and joined.  The bell from the Ireland Presbyterian Church was also taken to Jasper.  The Jasper area Prebyterians have since built a new church. The bell is now in an outside display at their new location on St. Charles Street.  You may read about the early Cumberland Presbyterians in The Irish Settlement located on  the sidebar of the homepage.

    The St. Mary's Catholic Church was built in 1891.  It was of wooden frame construction.  St. Mary's was founded in 1890 with 37 original members and was a mission church.  St. Mary's was served by priests from St. Joseph's in Jasper and by Jasper College. Father Anthony was the first priest.  In 1904 a new brick church was begun and it was completed in 1905.  The first mass was held on Christmas Day in 1905.  There were 45 families in the parish at that time.  The church has been renovated and remodeled over the years and is in outstanding shape.  As of January 24, 2004 there were 986 families and between 1200 &1300 regular attendees.  The church and the grounds, which include a cemetery and softball field, are always neat.  Also on the grounds are other buildings used by the church, public, individuals and civic organizations.  The church is one of the most active in the diocese. St. Mary's also hosts what is known as the famous Ireland Picnic.  The church also has many active organizations, including the St. Ann's Society, Knights of Columbus and St. Vincent DePaul Society..  The present priest (2013) is Father Gary Kaiser.

   The pioneers of the Ireland area served in the Revolutionary War, War of 1812, the Mexican War and the Spanish American War.  So, as the Civil War was brewing, the Ireland Home Guards were organized May 4, 1861.  The home guards were trained and were ready to do battle.  They mustered into the 58th Regiment on December 17, 1861.  They served in the battles of Corinth, Ft. Bragg, Sherman's March to the Sea, Chickamauga and Murfreesboro.  The soldiers wore the Union Blue in Company "C" and Company "E".  Those in Company E gained the name and reputation as the "Sharpshooters of the Irish Settlement".  Twenty-four men from Company E lost their lives in the Civil War.  Ireland area natives have served their nation well in all the nation's wars since.

    From the Ireland area, John McCausland became the first Dubois County School Commissioner in 1843.  Rev. A.J. Strain also from Ireland, was the second county school administrator.  He served for over 20 years.  It must be mentioned that Rev. Strain, a Presbyterian Circuit Rider, named as such because they rode their horse from church to church and house to house to serve the people.  He did this and also served the schools well. George R. Wilson, while he was the superintendent of schools, had Rev. Strain's picture placed on all the teacher's license of those days to honor the memory of Rev. Strain.

    There have been many one-room school houses in the Ireland area since 1820, including the Stewart Log School in Ireland.  These led to the first frame school house in Ireland being erected in 1862.  The town continued to grow and in 1884, a two story structure was built on the site of the 1862 building.  In 1896, two more rooms were added to the school.  In 1905 the first four year accredited high school began.  In 1915 a new school was built and a high school remained in Ireland until 1970.  Go to the Ireland High School link on this website for further details of the high school.  Madison Township schools were then consolidated into the Greater Jasper School District in 1970.   Grade school continued to be held in Ireland.  In 1989 the old high school building was torn down.  This lead the way for the new state of the art, Ireland Elementary School (K-5) to be built.  It opened it's doors in 1990..  Ireland Elementary School has attained the state's 4-star rating and won the coveted Indiana Blue-Ribbon award for being rated the best 4 star school in Indiana in 1999.  Ireland Elementary was also nominated for the National Blue Ribbon award.  Ray Mehling has been the only principal to date. Enrollment in January of 2004 was 376 students. The school has progressed further and in 2015 had over 500 students. Recently, the school board has voted to expand the school again. It is projected that the school may have over 700 students in the future.  The success of the Ireland Elementary School has greatly contributed to the growth and stature of the Ireland area.  Go to the home page for the schools website.

   The first U.S. Post Office near Ireland was one mile west of town.  It was called Alder Creek, it opened in 1851.  The post office was relocated in Ireland in 1853.  The postmasters that have served  the area total 27.  The Anthony Wigand family held the position for 52 years.  Anthony served 20 years and his wife, Clara served 32 years.  The familiar green Shamrock cancellation insignia was used exclusively by the Ireland, Indiana Post Office on St. Patrick's Day. Permission to use the Shamrock Insignia and also to use green ink was given to Mrs. Wigand through a telegram dated March 15, 1955.  The telegram was sent by the Postmaster General's office in Washington D.C.. The post office is in a green building located on Green Street in Ireland. Many around and near Ireland have a Jasper, Indiana address.  The reason for this is that Ireland never did have a rural mail carrier.  If you wish to have an Ireland, Indiana address, just go see the present postmaster of Ireland.


   Sometime around 1898, the Dubois County Telephone Co. installed telephones in Ireland.  These telephone exchanges were located in homes.  The exchanges were run by "telephone operators".  One such operator, Annie Morgan, worked at that job for 48 years.  One telephone operator, Dora Lee (Meadors) Frank was the last operator to pass away.  The newer dial system was installed in 1954. Since then many changes have developed in the phone services for all areas.

   In 1930 a high power line was run from Petersburg to Ireland.  The citizens thus gained the use of electricity.  In the early 1940's the Rural Electric Administration (REA) brought electricity to the town and the rural areas.  The REA still provides excellent services for all in the areas they service.  You can also get your telephone service through the REA affiliate "Touchstone Energies".

   The early roads in and around Ireland were mostly dirt with very few rock roads.  The eary road through Ireland was called the Jasper/Petersburg road.  The road made a zigzag through town going north then west. From the Jasper/Petersburg road, turn north on Green Street, then west on Main Street, then northwest on Jasper/Petersburg road.  It wasn't until 1933 that the present Hwy 56 was paved and routed straight through town.  This greatly improved traffic flow through Ireland.  In the early days, a portion of the Jasper/Petersburg, just east of the center of town, was fondly called Bill Street.  This was because within 1/4 mile, there were five men by the name of William living along that stretch of the road.

   Ireland  Water Utilities supplies city water to the area.  This utility started in 1966 with 200 customers.  Today it has more than 1200 customers.  A sewage district has been formed, known as The Ireland Conservancy District. The sewage district has much improved the town of Ireland and will allow further progressive development over the years.

   Ireland has an efficient modern fire department & first responders.  Go to the Ireland Fire Department link on this website.

   Semi-pro baseball was played  in and around Ireland for over a hundred years, from the middle 1800's to the early 1970's.  There were at least five known locations where the team played in and around Ireland.  Ireland used other names for the team but the one that lasted the longest was the Ireland Merchants.  The Ireland Merchants got that name from the fact that the merchants of Ireland supplied the uniforms.  The merchants bought the uniforms and placed their ads on the back.  The team played many area towns through the years.  Starting in the 1950's, the Deer-Trail League was formed.  Ireland played in that leauge until it folded in the 1970's.  The games were always played on Sunday afternoons.  Baseball, in this form, left Ireland as the slow-pitch softball leagues came to the county. However, for those of us who played baseball for Ireland, there remains a memory that the years cannot take away.

   During the summer the Ireland Youth Sports, Inc. has a summer recreation program for the youth of the area.  Many citizens of the community volunteer time and effort to make this program a success.  Most activities are held on the grounds of the Ireland Elementary School,  the grounds also includes a great little leauge baseball field. .  Also for the youth, we have the 4-H clubs, Girl and Boy Scouts and other local and county youth functions are also supported by the community.

   In 1982 the first St. Patrick's Day was held.  The idea to have an annual parade was born in the Shamrock Cafe in 1981.  The idea was from Janet Mc'Schitter and Mary Jane O'Keusch. Food stands, bake sales and sporting activities supported the parade.  Many other happenings were seen on St. Patrick's Day.  However, somewhat due to bad weather that time of the year, the parade was discontinued after 20 years in 2002.  Ireland is still the place to come on St. Patrick's week-end However, in 2009, a St. Partick's Committee, Inc.was formed.  Many activites were added, such as: Queen Contest, Pie bake-off and O'Ducky Race to name a few.  The parade was held again. These events will be held again during the month of March. Not content to just celebrate St. Patrick's day-the group coined a fraise "Half-Way to St. Pat's Day".  This is in September when the "Irish Road-Bowling" is held.  Last year more than 240 people enjoyed this game.  Just look up Irish Road Bowling, you will find that the bowling started in County Armaugh.  Most of Ireland's earlier settlers came from that county in the country of Ireland. The St. Patrick's Celebration continues on, see the site on the left hand side of the home page.

   The Ireland Historical Society, Inc. has the "Walls of History" in it's building on Walnut Street.  Go to the Ireland Historical Society link on

   Come to Ireland for fine food.  Spuds, a convience store and grocery, also has sandwiches. Two full course restraunts are in Ireland.  The Shamrock has been in Ireland since 1940, it serves a full menu. This establishment recently changed hands and is now called The Rock Bar and Grill.  The Chicken Place (formerly Leinenbach Cafe starting in 1948) also has a full menu of food.  It's name tells you what the Chicken Place specializes in. Ireland is well known far and wide for it's friendly restraunts. Monte's Pizza is also in town, they make a good pizza.

   Ireland is a thriving place with a variety of businesses in the town. The Bank of Ireland began in the 1960's. This bank was purchased by the German American Bank, which remains in town.  The Old National Bank also had a branch bank here, it ironically closed on March 17 a few years ago.   Ireland is also located only 4 miles from the wood capitol of the world, Jasper. A large regional hospital is also located in Jasper.  This provides many jobs for local residences.  Many new housing subdivisions are being developed around the town and the future of Ireland is very bright.  If you are looking for a place to live or a place to raise a family, look no further. Ireland is the place.  The compiling of this history is ongoing and subject to being updated from time to time.

   Perhaps the songwriter was correct when he wrote, "Sure, a little bit of Heaven fell from out of the sky one day  And nestled on the ocean  in a spot so far away and the angels found it, sure it looked so sweet and fair, they said suppose we leave it, for it looks so peaceful there! So they sprinkled it with star dust, just to make the shamrocks grow, 'Tis the only place you'll find them no matter where you go, then they dotted it with silver to make its lakes so grand and when they had it finished, Sure, they called it Ireland".  Ireland, Indiana that is !!!


    The information above is to the best of the knowledge, handed down information, research and historical writings that the writer has heard and found. Please note that from time to time this history is updated and corrected if needed.  If anyone has any other additional history or remarks, they are welcome.  Go to home page and click on the writers e-mail link to respond. 

to be continued


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