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Welcome to Oaklandon Monday, May 20 2024 @ 02:57 am EDT

The Ghost of an Oaklandon Murder

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Algonquian IndianSeveral years ago while searching out historical information pertaining to the Town of Oaklandon, I came across a reference to "the murder of an Algonquin in Oaklandon," sometime in the 1830's, (see "More on Germantown") as being the precipitating event which resulted in the exodus† of Oaklandon's Germanic residents, who, moving farther north, established the community of Germantown in the year 1834. †

As referenced in our post "Ask A Librarian", Librarian Andrea Glenn, Indiana Division, Indiana State Library was unable to immediately verify a source for information regarding the supposed murder; she was however, able to find this information recounted in the 2008 book "Ghost Hunterís Guide to Indianapolis" by Lorri Sankowsky and Keri Young.

In Chapter 10, entitled "Indy's Nefarious Neighborhoods," under the section on "Geist Reservoir," the following excerpt (used with permission) does indeed seem to bolster the account:

Ghost Hunter Guide To IndianapolisGermantown was located near what is now the Bridgewater neighborhood. It was established in 1834 as the result of a murder. An Algonquin Indian was murdered in the nearby town of Oaklandon. The German immigrants were so disturbed by the incident that they formed their own community on the northern banks of Fall Creek. The main street of Germantown is now the entrance road to the Geist Sailing Club.

Life was good in the ill-fated town. Residents were content with their diminutive community. There was a general store, post office, shoemaker, furniture factory, church, and grist mill surrounded by small farms. There were also a handful of larger estates, consisting of vast barns, several outbuildings, miles of wooden fences, and nice homes.

The citizens of Germantown were outraged as the water company took over their town, buying what land they could and forcefully taking land from those who resisted. They had no recourse against the water company, and soon their sleepy little town was deconstructed, acre by acre. Helplessly they stood back and watched as the redirected water flooded the valley and engulfed life as they knew it.

While not exactly adding to the known details of that macabre tale of murder in Oaklandon from long ago; Lorri does go on to remind us that "Geist" - the current name of the second-largest man-made lake in Indiana - is also the German word for Ghost!

I find it important to mention here that our friendly Ask-A-Librarian also pointed out that according to History of Indianapolis and Marion County, Indiana, Part 2, by Berry Robinson Sulgrove; "The Sulgrove book listed the date March 1, 1834 for when John, Solomon, and George Beaver platted Germantown. I was able to find that plat recorded in the Marion County Deed Book D, page 427. The Sulgrove history goes on to list June 18, 1849 as the date that John Emery platted Oakland. This makes the story from the Ghost Hunter's Guide contradictory, if Oakland was platted/founded after Germantown."

Upon further investigation I came across an "History of Geist Reservoir and Germantown." This I found on the (now defunct) website, (see Germantown - Our Historic Neighbor) it relays the very same information. I suspect this compiled history may actually be the source for the accounts of the founding of Germantown and its relation to Oaklandon. More research is certainly needed to settle the matter.

It is hoped that in the persuit of facts relating to the storried death of this - as of yet un-named - Algonquin Person, somewhere in the annuls of Oaklandon history, we may continue to be aided in our efforts to keep alive the colorful history of our pleasent little community.


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  • The Ghost of an Oaklandon Murder
  • Authored by:Mike on Tuesday, February 08 2022 @ 03:41 pm EST

A possible source of the "folklore":

Is it possible the tensions arose after the so-called "Pendleton Indian Massacre"? This suggestion by a visitor to our Facebook Page may be worth looking into...

- save the pulp -
Edited on Tuesday, February 08 2022 @ 05:46 pm EST by Mike