The Coal Branch of the Chicago, Danville and Vincennes Railroad (the branch also known as the "Pumpkin Vine Railroad") was constructed in 1872 from Bismarck, Illinois, across Warren County, Indiana, across the Wabash River near the river town of Baltimore, to Covington. There it connected with an existing line that carried coal north to Covington from the coal mines at Snoddy's Mill in the Coal Creek area, a few miles to the south. The area was also known as Stringtown because it consisted of a series of small settlements; this name is still used locally.
Sumner Station was located near the intersection of this new line with the existing Wabash Railroad; G. W. Johnson saw an opportunity and established the town of Johnsonville at this intersection, and a post office opened there on December 2, 1875. A fear years later, a riot at Stringtown brought a sudden end to the supply of coal from the mines, and by 1880 trains had stopped running on the "Pumpkin Vine"; the rails were taken up within a few years.
As of 2007, there are still several places where traces of the grade can be seen, and in a few wooded areas small sections of the grade are virtually untouched (though of course grass-covered and with no ties or rails).