Guilford Township, 1856
The first known Guilford Township trustee recorded was Charles Lowder in 1856. Mr. Lowder was a farmer and a dealer in livestock. His duties most likely included superintendent of the schools, caring for the indigent, overseeing fire protection, and resolving fence disputes.
Charles (Chuck) Ellis, a retired Plainfield firefighter, currently resides as the Guilford Township Trustee. He has held this position since 2011. Although the Trustee of Guilford Township no longer oversees fire protection (a fire territory was created in 2010), Mr. Ellis has continued many long-held traditions including a July 4th festival that is free to the community and is held in Hummel Park. He also started new traditions one being a Hometown Holiday event held in December that is free to all who attend. This event has many different holiday and winter-themed activities which frequently include horse-drawn wagon rides, train rides, hot cocoa and cookies, and indoor ice skating.
Mr. Ellis also administers township assistance to those requesting emergency assistance usually in the form of rent or utility assistance.
For a full list of past trustees, see here.
History of Townships in Indiana
Under the United States Constitution, land not included within the boundaries of the original thirteen states became public domain, owned, and administered by the national government. Congress provided for surveying and selling public lands in the Land Ordinance of 1785. This law established the rectangular system of survey, which divided land into townships six miles square, with sections a mile square containing 640 acres, and quarter sections of 160 acres.
A unit of government found primarily in the northeast and north central United States; townships are a subdivision of a county ranging in size from 6 to 54 square miles with 36 square miles being the normal.
Each township is identified by name, such as Guilford Township. The responsibilities and the form of the township government are specific by the Indiana state legislature and have a trustee and an elected board. The most common responsibilities are things such as helping the indigent, fire protection, parks and recreation, cemetery maintenance, weed control and other duties.