If you ask residents in Hamblen Township and most of Brown County if they know where Gatesville is they will say yes. But there were other settlements that came before Gatesville so how did this settlement survive? Perhaps it is because it is where roads come together. Roads that today have the names Gatesville, Salt Creek, Hoover and Sweetwater Trail. Today people travel Hoover and Salt Creek Roads to get to state highways 135 and 46 but Gatesville was decades before those highways were built.
Gatesville area is named after Bill Gates, one of the early settlers who moved here from his home in Nashville, but he was not the first to settle here. James Taggart came before him to create the Taggart settlement with two churches, a school and eventually a dance hall. Elections of township officers were held at Taggart and James Taggart was elected assessor and Justice of the Peace from time to time.
So much history surrounds these small communities all across our nation. Brown County is no different. The settlers came and then various things happened, just simply because people brought new ideas and desires for things they left behind. Churches were gathering places for weddings, funerals, picnics and other social gatherings.
William Hamblen's family was involved in the start of the Methodist Church that began in this area. Large meetings were held here with pastors sent out all over Indiana as Circuit Riders to bring the Methodist views to the outreaches of the southern Indiana countryside. The township was named after Job Hamblen, a Revolutionary War Veteran buried in Hamblen Cemetery just north of Gatesville.
The settlers needed churches, schools, cemeteries, entertainment of some form and they also needed stores. Bill Gates as an early settler realized this and started a huckster route covering a large part of Hamblen Township. He used a wagon to sell and trade dry goods for items such as fresh fruits, vegetables, butter, chickens, and eggs. He and his wife, Alice Robinson ran the store out of their home until they built a store in 1915-18.
Perhaps the longevity of a settlement rests in a grocery store. Today we know the store has had many owners, a fire, was rebuilt and Gatesville Store is still in operation. Today you can pan for gold, have lunch or rest by the creek or make arrangements to camp and you will get acquainted with Gatesville. It doesn't look much like it did in settler's days. There was a two room school in use until the 1950's; the churches are gone but the Taggart Cemetery and Hamblen Cemetery are close by, resting places for veterans from the Revolutionary, Civil and other wars.
Self Guided Tour Stop # 8
Direction to Brown County State Park Stop # 9