All of the “Ghost Towns” are not in the Old West. Many of the original settlements of Marion County exist only in history or the scattered cemeteries in the county. One of these is Sharpsburg, located 3 miles northwest of Monroe City in Marion County. This was once a busy crossroads with 2 stores, blacksmith shop, wagonmaker and church. With the advent of the railroad and establishment of Monroe City, it gradually wasted away and now the church is the only reminder of those early days. Although it was never incorporated as a village, a post office was established there in 1836 under the presidency of Martin Van Buren. The new post office was needed for the new settlers whose nearest post office was either Paris or Palmyra. The first post office was in the home of Richard Sharp and he served as post master until his death in 1850.

The earliest permanent settler in the area was probably Washington See who came from Indiana in 1820 and settled northwest of Sharpsburg on the stream still identified as See’s Creek.

Most of the families came from Kentucky and many of them were kin or former neighbors. John and William Burditt and Daniel Rhodes came in 1828; Tompkins Burditt and Orson Sharp in 1832, and John Rubison, 1835 and Thomas Sharp, 1838. All of these families were from Kentucky. Ellis and Benjamin Green came in 1836 from New Jersey, and William Hickman from North Carolina in 1830.

There was plenty of timber in the area to build log homes and to heat them in the winter. A good source of water was the spring at this location which flowed into North River. Bear, deer turkeys, squirrels and quail were plentiful. Many of the settlers “put down” venison hams and wild turkeys in the fall and hauled them to Palmyra for the Christmas market. Venison hams were $.30 to $.40 per pair and turkeys were $.30 to $.40 each. There was no public school but subscription schools were organized in the neighborhood. Each scholar paid $2.50 per 3 month term.

The Sharpsburg Methodist Episcopal Church served as a center for the new Community. Rev. Richard Sharp, who had been ordained in Virginia in 1831 moved to the community in the 1830’s. He organized a church which met in his home until there was need for a larger building. In 1839, bids were issued for construction of a log structure 18′ x 20′. James A. Burditt and Henry were the successful bidders and were paid $50.00 for their labor to erect the building. Rev. Richard Sharp agreed to furnish the timber, and Burditt and Musgrove were to hew the logs and furnish any other material necessary for its’ completion. Because of the low cost, the congregation was able to occupy their new church with no outstanding debt. The present brick church building was built in 1860, and the bricks were molded and burned on the site. It was part of a church circuit with Rev. Sharp preaching at Sharpsburg the 1st Sunday of the month, Deer Creek, 2nd, Black Creek 3rd, and James Sharp’s home, 4th.

Like many country churches, the membership has dwindled but Sunday services are still conducted. John Burditt and Harold Hills, current members, are gggggrandsons of Tompkins Burditt.