(This is an archived column originally penned some 20 years ago with tongue planted firmly in cheek).
The seemingly prevailing attitude by Vernon Township residents is that we often get short-sheeted, left with the dirty end of the stick, and generally neglected by the residents of larger communities of the county. I suppose this perception, if it is accurate, comes about because of this community’s location in the far southeastern reaches of Jackson County.
While lamenting this perceived attitude awhile back with some friends from Jennings and Washington Counties (while we were sitting in flat bottom boat teaching worms to swim and enjoying our favorite adult beverage), I discovered that this attitude dysfunction is not limited to Jackson County.
It seems my friends from Marion Township just east of us in Jennings County and Gibson Township southwest of us in neighboring Washington County have experienced the same illegitimate step-child treatment from their larger community neighbors. And even from their county government, they say.
So, after considerable contemplation and an abundance of our favorite beverages, I made the following proposal to them.
Let the townships of Marion, Vernon and Gibson secede from their respective counties. If we are treated with such disdain by our respective county peers, if we are on the bottom of the pecking order, ye verily, let us leave this place where we feel treated so shabbily and form our own county.
Since the meandering Muscatatuck River flows and floods through all three townships, this 93rd Hoosier County should be named after the Indian word for ‘land of winding waters’: Muscatatuck County.
The township threesome could form it’s own county government for self regulation. And, since Crothersville is prominently located in the approximate geographic middle of the proposed County of Muscatatuck, it would be the appropriate and logical choice for the county seat. The vacant lot at the stop light corner could house the new Muscatatuck County Courthouse. (We could move the town Christmas tree).
The local school could serve as the educational hub of the county and students from Marion and Gibson Townships would be closer to attend classes than the facilities which presently serve them.
The township trustees of the three townships could serve as intermediary county commissioners and council until an officially elected government was elected.
Since funding would be a concern, one of the first actions of this new government of this proposed County of Muscatatuck would be to consider Riverboat Gambling. It is a logical fit. The Muscatatuck flows through all three townships, scenic excursions during the day and night would take recreational risk takers up and down the flatlands of the area. When the back water is out the riverboats could serve double duty as shuttles for drivers inconvenienced by Mother Nature’s floodwaters.
My two fishing friends thought the idea admirable and in an effort to get the Muscatatuck County Riverboat Gambling Company off on a solid, profitable foot, they volunteered their jon boats, card tables and double six-pack coolers until a more appropriate floating vessel could be acquired.
My Jennings County friend, noting that if Crothersville was the industrial, educational and governmental hub of Muscatatuck County, then Marion Township could be the agricultural center and the scenic hills and woodlands of Gibson Township could serve as the tourism attraction of the state’s 93rd county.
We all agreed, sitting on that lake draining the last of our beverages, that we had exhibited the kind of cooperative spirit that was essential and productive for quality governmental function and wholesome neighborliness.
The plan could work, we philosophized.
And, just think, with places like Slate Ford, Twin Bridges, Low Water, and Tobias Ford we could make a promotion movie of the new area: it could be called “The Bridges of Muscatatuck County”.