Samuel Harden.

Early life and times in Boone County, Indiana, giving an account of the early settlement of each locality, church histories, county and township officers from the first down to 1886 ... Biographical sketches of some of the prominent men and women ... online

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Online LibrarySamuel HardenEarly life and times in Boone County, Indiana, giving an account of the early settlement of each locality, church histories, county and township officers from the first down to 1886 ... Biographical sketches of some of the prominent men and women ... → online text (page 10 of 38)
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to work in the green timber to make a field, for it was root
hog or die. He accumulated means very rapidly and was soon
able to own a large tract of land, notwithstanding he raised a
large family, five daughters and nine sons. All lived to be
grown but one son. I herewith insert a copy of the old fam-
ily register, just as it was written by my father, and only wish
that I could give a/ac simile of the writing:

THE FAMILY KECORD OF THOMAS LANE.

Thomas Lane was born June o, 1763.
Thomas Lane died August IS, 1835.
Anna Lane was born January 25, 1782.
Anna Lane died May 24, 184S.
Isaac Lane was born October 17, 1800.
Sarah Lane was born January 30, 1802.
Craven Lane was born November 9, 1803.



112 EARLY LIFE AND TIMES IN

Malinda Lane was born June 13, 1^05.
William E. Lane was born July 3, 1807.
Linna Lane was born October 10, 1809.
Fielding W. Lane was born July 1, 1811.
Eliza E. Lane was born March 3, 1814.
Ellis Lane was born July 11, 18J6.
John A. Lane was born July 1, 1817.
Pleasant G. Lane was born July 3, 1819.
Anna A. Lane was born November 19, 1820.
Darii W. Lane was born September 24, 1823.
Nelson Lane was born January 8, 1827.
Ellis E. Lane died August 22, 1816.
Liuna White died September 1, 1837.
John A. Lane died September 7, 1843.
Nelson Lane died July 13, 1851.
Davis W. Lane died March 27, 1852.
Isaac Lane died June 23, 1875.
Pleasant G. Lane di-;d August, 1876.
Craven Lane died September 4, 1873.
Sarah Keller died December 12, 1863.
Malinda Barnett died October, 1858.
Eliza E. Barnett died September 15, 1868.
Anna Gresham died February 11, 1881.
Fielding W. Lane died January 11, 1883,

Thomas Lane, Anna Lane and seven of their children^
to wit: Ellis E. Lane, Linna White, Nelson Lane, John A.
Lane, Davis Lane, Sarah Keller and Craven Lane, were bur-
ied on Cedar Ridge on father's own farm, near Lane's Landing
on the Ohio River, Harrison County, Ind. Malinda Barnett
was buried in a Presbyterian cemetery near Reesville, Put-
nam County, Ind. Eliza E. Barnett was buried in a Baptist
cemetery near Reelsville, Ind. Pleasant G. Lane was buried
in a country cemetery near Shoals, Martin County^ Ind. Isaac
Lane was buried at Shellsburg, Benton County, Iowa. Field-
ing W. Lane was buried at Brookly, Iowa. This is the fam-
ily record of my father, which carries all the family to their
graves but myself.

In August, 1828, I came to Boone County and entered the
tract of land that I now live on. I then went back to Harri-
son County, and was married to Elizabeth Simpson on the -Ith










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ELI SMITH.



BOONE COUNTY, INDIANA. 113

day of February, 1830. Her father, Thomas Simpson, v.'as a
man of more than ordinary intellect, was of foreign birth —
born in Scotland Jane 27, 1757. He, with his parents, came
to Virginia in his boyhood days, and remained there until the
beginning of the Revolutionary War; he then volunteered for
a soldier, and went to the army as a private under General
Washington. He was in the army for seven long years. Al-
though he started as a private, he soon honored the First
Sergeant's rank; but long before the war closed he bore the
commission of Second Lieutenant. He, like many others,
suffered many privations during the war. On one occasion,
when camping for the night, he kicked the snow from a brush
heap, spread his blanket and slept for the night, as they were
in the enemy's country and no fire was allowed. He served
his time in the army and when discharged went back to Vir-
ginia to farming, and married Abigail Moore (the exact day and
month we can not give, the paper being so old, and very pale
ink, that it could not be read) in 1784. That coming February
he went to Jefferson County (now Nelson County), Kentucky,
and laid a v/arrant for a patent containing live hundred acres.
He remained there the following summer and deadened the
green timber on a parcel of ground, giving a desirable loca-
tion for a house and field. The whole summer he was com-
pelled to sleep on the bare ground to prevent the savage In-
dians from scalping him, each night sleeping in a difl'erent
place, with his old " killing iron " by his side.

He worked all summer on this piece of land, then returned
to his native home and found his wife enjoying the sweet hum
of her spinning-wheel. He then rented a farm of George
Washington, and was to have the use of the horses and slaves
on the farm. Simpson was to provide for the negroes and sell
Washington's corn at "two shillings and six pence per bushel,
hay at tlie same price." This quotation is taken from the
original contract made between Simpson and Washington,
dated December 21, 1785. While engaged in deadening the



114 EARLY LIFE AND TIMES IN

green timber on his Kentucky land, the Indians stole his
horse, which left him with nothing but his ax and gun (old
killing iron) to fight his way with those savage wretches.
This compelled him to walk from Bloomfield, Kentucky (nick-
named Gandertown), to his old home place on the jNIononga-
hela River, Marion County, West Virginia (then Virginia),
a distance of over five hundred miles. He arrived on the
Virginia home in good health, vigorously pushed the work on
the Washington farm until 1790, when he, with his wife and
two little children, went to his own home near Gandertown,
Kentucky. He spent the remainder of his life on that farm,
in the noble pursuit of a farmer's life, in the steadfast faith of
a Presbyterian. His only brother, John Simpson, M-as the
father of President U. S. Grant's mother. He was a member
of the noble order Free and Accepted Masons, and died in good
standing, a member of the Bardstown lodg-e. He died from
a bullet wound received from a British soldier while struggling
for our nation's liberty. The bullet went through his right
lung and rested against the shoulder-blade, producing a run-
ning sore, which brought his worthy life to a peaceful close
about twelve o'clock, August 10, 1825. His wife, Abigail,
died of dropsy of the heart on the 12th of February, 1825.
They were both buried on the old farm on Simpson's Creek,
near Bardstown, Kentucky.

THOMAS SIMPSON'S FAMILY RECORD.

Thomas Simpson was born June 27, 1757.
Abigail Simpson was born July 6, 1761.
Mary Simpson was born May 15, 1786.
J. Moore Simpson was bora November 2, 1787.
Tamer Simpson was born January 15, 1789.
Samuel Simpson was born December 5, 1789.
Nancy Simpson was born August 4, 1793.
Nelly Simpson was born .January 29, 1795.
John Simpson was born October 27, 1796.
Gilbert Simpson was born January 23, 1799.
Elizabeth Simpson was born .January 19, 1801.
Haoaah Simpson was born June 18, 1804.



BOONE COUNTY, INDIANA. 115

The Simpson family was scattered all over the oountry in
different states until I lost sight of them, and do not know
where all of them died ; but all the family is gone, not one is
left to tell the sad story.

My wife and I arrived in Boone County, on our wooded
home, on the 31st day of December, 1830. That winter I
cut trees to build a cabin; the next spring I got a few of the
old settlers and we erected a cabin 18 x 23 feet; we covered it
with clapboards that I had split out of a large red oak tree.
They were made four feet long and laid down loosely and
weighted down with heavy poles; the lower one, or eave-
bearer, had a large pin through it to prevent it from slipping
off.

We moved into our cabin without any shutter to the door,
when there were plenty of rattlesnakes, wolves and bear in the
country, and worse to be dreaded of all was the wild boar.
There were no mills near us, and millins: was a g-reat item. On
one occassion when it became necessary for me to get corn
ground (for that was nearly all the kind of bread we used) I
took a sack of corn and put it on a horse and started to mill
to be gone over night, my wife remaining at home to do as
best she could. In the early part of the night our large sav-
age dog began baying at something. Betsy (as I called her)
got up and built a fire, and stepped to the door and raised the
blanket that hung up for a shutter; she hissed the dog so as
to drive away the intruder, but the coarse growl from a bear
frightened her very badly. She stepped to the fire, took a
burning stick in her hand to singe him if he came in. Sud-
denly thedog was boxed into the middle of the room, but rose
instantly and fought so hard that the bear was driven away.
On another occasion when I had been away from home to do
a day's work, I returned by the light of the stars, ate my sup-
per, and went to doing my chores; and as corn was always
scarce in the fall we fed pumpkins until they would freeze.
This time I took my pumpkin stick, went to the field, got my
load and came to the house to feed my horse and cow. Sud-



lie / EAKLY LIFE AND TIMES IX

denly I heard a rustling behind me, and I pitched ray load off
of rav shoulder, turned around and saw a verv larfre wild boar
just ready to jump at me. I jumped the little yard fence, went
into the house and got my gun and came out and "settled''
Avith him.

We iTad a very hard time in the wilderness, as it might be
called. Coming away from a locality where everything was
plenty and market near. Th.e nearest dry goods store or gro-
cery was at Indianapolis, fifteen miles away. About tiiree
years after we came to this county, William ]\Iiller put up a
few dry goods in an old cabin in old Eagle A'illage about two
miles away.

We struggled on in life, striving to raise our family, which
had to be clothed by our home production, which was flax and
tow linen for summer, and jeans colored with walnut bark for
winter. Wool was carded by hand and spun on a little spin-
ning Avheel.

We had eleven children born to us — eight sons and three
daughters — six sons and two -ilaughters still living. But my
devoted companion bid adieu to earthly friends and went to
her heavenly home on the morning of !March 28, 1879; but
ere long I too will have gone to meet her, for I am now sev-
enty-nine years old, having been born July 3, 1807, and my
companion, Elizabeth Simpson, January 19, 1801.

William E. Lane.

COMMUXICATIOX FROM GEO. B. RICHARDSOX.

The subject of this sketch was born August 24, 1828, in
Decatur County, Indiana, eight or nine miles north of Greens-
burg, consequently a Hoosier by birth. At the age of nine
years my father moved to the State of Boone, being the fall of
1837. This carries us back half a century, when this country
was almost an unbroken wilderness, and to the time when
there were but few residents in Marion Township, and from
the best information that I can gather, the man that my father



BOONE COUNTY, INDIANA. 117

«

bought out was probably the fii'i^t white inati that ever settled
in Marion Township. His name was Isaac Srite. He moved
on north where it was not so thickly settled. There were but
few families, to my knowledge. I will name the most of them.
They were Jacob Parr, Sr., John Parr, \Vm. Parr, John Holl-
ingback, Caleb Richardson, Moody Gilliam, T. J.Linsy, John
F. Johnson, Jonathan Scott and my father Jonathan Richard-
son, and James Richardson. This, so far as I know, was
about the number of citizens of Clarion Township. This may
suffice for the names of the early pioneers. Probably it would
be more interesting to refer to the condition that things were
in fifty years ago. Then our county was almost an unbroken
wilderness. Game was abundant, such as deer, turkey, wolves,
wild cats, and there was said to be some bear and panthers,
though I never saw any of the last two named ; and as to
small game, such as squirrels, pheasants, coon and oppossum,
I suppose Boone could have taken in as many to the square
mile as any county in the state. And then there were some
bad snakes, such as the black rattlesnake, the red belly, the
water moccasin, the chicken or cow snake, and a number of
other different kinds. Some were said to be very jioisonous.
One thing I know, I was always a little afraid of a big snake ;
I did not like his looks, especially when he was reaching for
fight. But about the most daufrerous thino; we had to contend
with were the wild hogs. Some of them, old he fellows, with
tusks four or five inches long, were formidable foes, and the
i>est way you could manage was to shoot them down or to
keep entirely away from them. They could kill a dog too
quick. There were but few dogs that had any business to
tackle him in those days. They were troublesome in leading
the tame ones off. Some had their hogs belled so they could
find them in the woods. I have known hogs to live out all
winter without a grain of corn, and it was no uncommon thing
for us to kill our meat off the most fat and nice without feed-
ing them one ear of corn, which was a good thing for most of
lie earlv settlers. It it had to have been fattened on corn we



118 EARLY LIFE AND TIMES IN

would have had some very thin meat. And as to all the hard-
ships and privations through which my father and all the early
settlers had to pass, I am perfectly familiar with. Our houses
were generally built of round logs, about 18x20 feet, pole
joists, clapboard loft and roof, with the boards held on the
house with poles called weight poles, and a puncheon flour, a
fire-place in one end of the house, six or seven feet long, back
and jam made of dirt, the chimney was sticks and clay, the
door or doors were made of long boards and hung on wooden
hinges, a wooden tack or a pin to hold it shut. The windows
were generally one or two logs cut out and paper pasted over
it and greased, so as to let the light shine through the paper.
Now, when you get the house chinked and daubed, you have
the house ready to move into. You move into your new house
with six or seven children, and this has to serve as parlor, bed
room and kitchen, and sometimes as shoe shop and cooper
shop. Then comes your cooking vessels, which were about
this: a skillet and lead teakettle, stewkettle and a frying pan.
Your water shelf was made by boring two holes in the. house
and driving pins in them, and then putting a load on the pins.
Your cupboard, or dresser for your dishes, was gotten up
much on the same style. Your table was either made of split
boards or a slab split out of a big log and holes bored in each
corner and legs drove in tliem I have riot yet said anything
about the bed and bedstead. Some few had bedsteads with
turned posts, or fancy post bedsteads, as they were called in
those days. The most of them were made by splitting out
the posts and dressing them up with a draw knife and boring
holes for the rails. But then there was a cheaper class of bed
than this, which was constructed on this plan, by putting two
poles in the cracks of the house and one leg with holes bored
in it to fasten the other end of the poles in. This was called
a one-leiTEred bedstead. I have had manv a u'ood nioht's rest
on the last kind spoken of that I know of.

If a man had a good axe, an auger, draw-knife and hand-
saw he could make anvthing he wanted. The tools above



BOONE COUxNTY, INDIANA. 119

named be bad to buy, but wbeu he got them he then had a
complete outfit. The next thing was to knock the brush
away, fence in your yard and clear up a garden patch. Then
came the heavier work ; then all our clearing had to be done
in the green ; the grubbing was no small item, but when it
came to taking the green timber down, trimming and peeling
the brush, chopping the logs so they could be rolled, and roll-
ing and burning them, was something that the present gener-
ation knows nothing about. And then the next thing is to
get your little patch broke. The roots and stumps are so
thick that you can hardly get your plow into the ground until
it would .strike a root or stump. The fact is, it took a mighty
good Christian man to plow in those days. We raised a little
corn, but we had to watch it mighty close, both spring and
fall. The squirrels would dig it up in the spring if you did
not keep them out or feed them ; we have caught hundreds of
them. Then they were ready for the corn just as soon as it
was in roasting ear, and then there were black birds by the
thousand ; so you see we had a great many things to contend
with. I have even seen the gnats and raosquitos so bad that
you would have to build up a fire, to make a smoke, to milk
the cows. They would almost blind a person ; and, as I said,
we raised but little corn and no wheat for a few years, so our
biscuits were all corn dodger or Johnny cake.

It will not do to narrate or detail hardly anything that
comes up in my mind ; but to return to the subject. In those
days we had no roads except paths blazed or hacked out from
house to house ; and when you started to go to your neigh-
bors living some distance away, you would take the path that
would lead to one neighbor's house, and then take the path
from his house to the next, and so on until you would reach
the desired point ; and you would hardly ever see a man going
from place to place without his gun on his shoulder. It was
no uncommon thing for a man to take in a deer or a turkey ;
as to squirrels and pheasants, they would not waste their am-
munition for. I might say something more about our roads.



120 EARLY LIFE AND TIMES IN

if there had been any to speak of. The next thing I shall
notice is the schools and school houses. It was some time
after we came to Boone County before I heard anything said
about a school district. The citizens generally lived in set-
tlements, so they would select some central point to erect a
school house ; then they would set a day to meet, clear off the
ground, cut the logs, haul them in, and probably the next day
they would rear the structure. Now it would just do you
good to see one of tliose model colleges. I will give you a
description of the first school house that was erected in this
section of country. It was about eighteen by twenty or
twenty-two feet, ol' round logs and very rough at that, and
each log about from eight to sixteen inches too long, leaving
very rough and ragged corners; cabined off and covered with
clapboards, which were held on the house with poles. The
door was cut out in one corner; the shutter was made out of
long boards and hung on wooden hinges, the fireplace was
cut out in the end, and it came very near taking the wliole
end of the house out, some six or seven feet at least. The fire-
})lace was made of dirt, the chimney of sticks and clay, with a
good bunch of mud on the top piece on each corner of the
chimney to hold them from blowing off. The floor was
punciieons split and hewed and laid down green, and when
they seasoned there were some fearful cracks. The seats, or
benches, were made by splitting slabs twelve or fourteen feet
Jong, then boring four holes in them and driving legs in.
The writing tables were made by boring holes in the logs,
driving pins in and plank or slabs on them. The windows
were constructed in this wise : by cutting and taking out the
half of two logs, one above the otlier, then pasting paper over
the space and greasing it so as to let the light shine through.
There was not a pane of glass nor a })ouud of nails about the
whole house.

Well, the next thing was to get some one to teach a school,
as the house was built and furnished and ready for business.
They would go at it in this wise: They found some one that



BOONE COUNTY, INDIANA. 12L.

could spell, read, write a pretty good hand, and if he was
good in arithmetic and would lick the scholars if they did not
keep order, were all the qualifications necessary for a teacher.
They would draw up an article of agreement something like
this: I, George B. Kichardson, propose to teach — naming the
branches, generally spelling, reading, writing, and arithmetic.
That was as far as they would go. We had no use for gram-
mar in those days; and they would teach so many days for so
much per scholar, to be paid at the expiration of said school.
So this was the way we got our education in those days, and
this was the way it generally turned out : when you started to
school if you was large enough to do much work in the clear-
ing would go to school all the bad days and stay at home and
work all the nice weather. I haye giyen you a description of
our school house ; it Nvas not only a school house, but a church
also. I have seen as great revivals carried on in that old
log house as I have ever seen since, and I have always be-
lieved that those old men and women knew just what they
were talking about, and I don't think the preachers then
preached for the money alone, for there was not much money
in it fifty years ago. It would do some of the folks good to
hear some of the old-time preachers; but the most of our up-
starts would call them old fogies and likely make sport of
them. Well, I might say something of the markets: In the
first place, we had very little to sell, but what little we had,
must be hauled to the river — Madison, Lawrenceburg or Cin-
cinnati. I have known ray father to haul wheat from h.ei-e to
Lawrenceburg;, and he gone nine or ten davs, and then could
get only forty cents casii or forty-five cents in goods per bushel ;
not only him, but all the neighbors. Sometimes four or five
would go together, take their provisions and horse feed, and
camp out every night, and would have a happy, good time of
it. Some years thcreafrer a wheat market oj)ened up at Lafay-
ette. Then they thought that v.-e iiad a market right at liome
and cuuld go there and \\a(:k in four or five days. My mind
has been somewhat drawn out in thinking of the past, and to



122 EARLY LIFE AND TIMES IN

the youths of the present day I have no doubt that what I
have written will seem incredible, but those of my age can
testify whether the things I have written are correct or not»
I will now compare the present with the past, or speak of a
few of the changes that have taken place within my recollec-
tion, which will carry me through a period of about fifty-six
years, as I am now near sixty.

Fifty years ago this was a wilderness or a dense forest with
scarcely any inhabitants. I doubt whether there were over
three or four towns in the county, and I do not suppose there
were a dozen houses in the city of Lebanon, and it was well
enough, for it was hard to get there and a harder matter to
find the place when you got there. And if it should be at a
wet and gloomy season of the year, you would conclude of all
the places on earth Lebanon was the most disagreeable, espe-
cially in the spring of the year, for about six weeks you could
hear nothing day or night but about ten thousand frogs all
yelping at once. This was music to the sinner's ear, but not
much joy or peace about it. There were no roads, either to-
the city or away from it. Now Ijebanon is a desirable place to
live in, with her hundreds of nice, comfortable dwellings, and
it is nicely situated. If it could have been so that a person
could have foreseen fifty years ago and pictured out what it is-
to-day, he would have been thought to l)e a fit subject for the
insane asylum, if there liad been any such place. Then gravel
roads were not thought of in this country, let alone the idea
or thought of railroads running all through the country, bring-
ing our markets riofht to our doors. The former we needed
fifty years ago ; l)ut you could not have broken a man or com-
pany up quicker than to have given him a railroad and com-
pelled him to run it with wiuit money he would have gotten
out of it. In the first place there was no travel to amount to
anything; the pioneers had neither time nor money to spend
in that way ; and as to freight, there would not have been
more than six or eight carloads in the whole county outside
of what few hogs that could be gathered up, and they were



BOONE COUNTY, INDIANA. J 23

generally in good shape for traveling. As to our improve-
ments, we just simply had none to amount to anything; true,
what little we did have was highly prized. Our mills were
very unhandy, and such mills as they were at that, all water
mills, and too much water would wash out the dam, and of a
dry time you could not grind, or perchance it might he frozen
up in the winter season. Our nearest mill, about four miles
distant, belonged to a man by the name of John Koontz, and
if the mill was in good running order it would grind from two
to four bushels per hour, and as there were but few wagons in
the country milling was done on horseback. A wagon-load
would almost have been a week's work. When the water be-
gan to fail they would grind an hour or two in morning and



Online LibrarySamuel HardenEarly life and times in Boone County, Indiana, giving an account of the early settlement of each locality, church histories, county and township officers from the first down to 1886 ... Biographical sketches of some of the prominent men and women ... → online text (page 10 of 38)