New Trenton


Manwarring Tavern, c.1810, photo 2003, C. Goodwin





      As European settlers pushed farther into the interior of the infant Indiana Territory, Benjamin McCarty made the first official land entry in the New Trenton area in 1803. Although frontiersman were already living in and trading with the Indians in the Whitewater Valley, the Greenville treaty line was still being honored, and land entries were limited to the east side of this line. McCarty conducted experiments in an effort to extract salt from a nearby spring, but the quantities proved insufficient.

     McCarty was followed by John H. and Samuel Rockafeller in 1805, the latter establishing one of the most popular taverns in the Whitewater Valley. First built as a log structure, it was later replaced with a brick building, said to be the first  in the valley.  

    Situated along the Whitewater River route of the growing expansion, New Trenton's early role was as a resting and information sharing center. Thomas Manwarring was another early resident, he built a brick tavern/hotel which was said to be one of the most popular "meeting houses" in early times.

     It is possible that New Trenton was named after Trenton, New Jersey, the state from which several of the early residents came. Early canal references to the town simply call it "Trenton".

     New Trenton lies in  the southern portion of Whitewater township, a scenic and hilly area where the Whitewater river is fed by several creeks. These streams fluctuate in water, varying with the season and the year, and for this reason, early attempts at mill-dams and milling nearly all ended in failure.

     By 1914, New Trenton had several businesses, 2 general stores, 2 hard-wares, 2 saloons, and a blacksmith. The lumber yard and planing mill owned by Louis Brown had washed away without a trace in the flood of 1913.

    In 1930, the population of New Trenton was 150, most of whom relied on local employment for their livelihood.  The town had two stores, two garages, three service stations and a hotel (rooming house)

    In 2003, several historic buildings still stand in New Trenton, and it is primarily a farming and commuting community.

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