Washington County (named after President George Washington) was formed by the Indiana Legislature in 1813 and it became official on January 17, 1814. The county seat was chosen to be an area of about 174 acres and was named Salem – in remembrance of the settler’s home town of Salem NC.
Washington County has the distinction of participating in one of the only two forays by the Confederate troops into northern territory during the Civil War. The most prominent native son of Washington County is John Milton Hay. He was the private secretary and the biographer of President Abraham Lincoln. He served Presidents William McKinley and Theodore Roosevelt as Secretary of State, being responsible for the open door policy with China and the purchasing of the Panama Canal.
As early as 1802, a man named Frederick Royce lived among the Ox Indians at a place known as the Lick, two miles east of Salem and is probably the settler to inhabit this county. He was a hunter-trader and salt manufacturer.
Based on some of our research, we believe that Garrison Hollow Road could have been named after James Garrison. James Garrison was born on July 8, 1760, and served in the Revolutionary War. He died on February 3, 1859, in Washington county, and was buried in the cemetery at Beech Grove.