Russiaville, Indiana

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The French pronunciation of "Ri-shar-ville" led through corruption to the current spelling, maintaining the approximate pronunciation "Roo-sha-ville" throughout its history. Seeming connection through spelling to Russia led to the naming of the town high school mascot "Cossacks" until county consolidation changed Russiaville High School to Western High School in 1949. Some theorize an alternate history, that during the Cold War, residents consciously changed the pronunciation of Russiaville's name in order to disassociate their town from Russia, the leading state of the Soviet Union. A map from the 1840s-1850s hanging in the Quaker Collection of Earlham College in Richmond, Indiana, clearly shows a county named Richardville including the current town of Russiaville with the older spelling. Oral history has suggested "Rouchardville" as the earlier spelling, but Richardville is correct.

Organized in 1844, Howard County itself was first known as Richardville County in honor of Miami Chief Jean Baptiste Richardville, . His Miami name was Pe-che-wa, which translates to Wildcat. The Wildcat Creek watershed contains most of Howard and Clinton Counties. Another chief of the Miami, She-Moc-E-Nish, was granted the Anthony Wayne Flag, also known as the Greenville Treaty Flag. This was passed down to French-Indian descendants of the family name Aveline, who were eventually linked by marriage to one of the earliest Honey Creek Township families. The Evans family is linked to both the Thomases and the Brubakers, all of whom have lands within the Wildcat Creek watershed dating back to the times of the earliest settlements. A history of this flag can be seen at the Indiana Historical Bureau, (**

As stated on the Honey Creek Township entry, "Honey Creek was organized in 1841 as a township in the northeastern corner of neighboring Clinton County. The township's early population tended to be politically Republican, so the Republican party in Howard County and the Democrats in Clinton County collaborated to have Honey Creek Township removed from Clinton and added in 1850 to Howard.[2]"

Russiaville became a Quaker settlement in the years before the Civil War, and a stop on the Underground Railroad could be found in nearby New London, then the location of the Friends Meeting serving the entire area. There is a legend that the stop included a tunnel under the town from a house to a cave in the hollow of Honey Creek very near the location of the Friends Meetinghouse.

Russiaville is the birthplace of Jonathan Dixon Maxwell (Sept. 3, 1864), builder of the Maxwell automobile. He is buried there.[3]

Almost all of the town was destroyed on April 11, 1965, by an F4 tornado that was part of the Palm Sunday Tornado Outbreak.


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