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 11 of 38)
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shut down and gather a head, and so on.

Time has worked wonders since my recollection, in the
milling business as well as in every thing that you can think
of. There were no sawmills in the country to amount to any-
thing, and to undertake to put up a frame building was an
awful undertaking in this section of country. When the first
frame house was built in this community the logs were hauled
about nine m.iles to get them sawed ; the studding and rafters
were all hewn and the shingles were split and dressed down
with the draw-knife, and good carpenters were hard to find ;
all other material was scarce and hard to get, and money was
very scarce, so the improvements of this kind ])rogr^ssed very
slowly for fifteen or twenty years. I might say something about
our tools and farm implements. Well, the ax, the maul and
wedge and the grubbing-hoe are pretty much as they were
fifty years ago, though considerable improvement has been
made on our ax. Our plows were the old Cary, or bull plow,
as they were called, with iron shares and wooden mouldboard,
and, by the way, I have seen some mighty good results brought
about by the use of this old pioneer, and then there were three
or four two-horse harrows to my knowledge. We generally
sowed our wheat and plowed it in with the shovel-plow. The
next thing I might mention is our implements to take care of


our harvest. To cut our wheat we used the side or reap-
hook, as they were called, and if a farmer had six or eight
acres of wheat he had his hands full during harvest time.

After they would get their wheat cut they would stack it,
and at some leisure time clean off a tramping floor and lay
their wheat down, and then get all the horses and boys they
had to ride them around over the straw till the wheat was all
fihelled out, then take off the straw and put down another
floor full, and so on. This I thought was fun when I was a
boy. Then they would get a fanmill and clean it up. Some-
times you would have a load to haul off, and sometimes
you would not have more than enough for seed and bread.
As to o-rass, we cut that down with a mowing scythe, then
scattered it to cure, then raked it with forks, shocked it, and
then hauled it in and stacked it out. We had no barns to
mow our hay away — nothing but log stables, and the mow
Avould not hold more than two or three loads. Our pitchforks
were all wood, and a good one was thought to be worth taking
care of I have not said anything about the way we generally
«pent our time from the time winter broke till crop time. The
first was to go into the sugar business, which was no little
• business if properly carried on. We used to open from three to
five hundred trees and make from three to six hundred pounds
of sugar and a lot of molasses, which did not go bad with pan-
cakes. Then the next thing was to take the dead timber down
-and get our logs burned down and the trash piled so that the
logs could be rolled. It was no uncommon thing for a man
to put in from ten to twenty days rolling logs, and go as far
as three or four miles to a log rolling or house raising. In
short, there have been no changes in this county for forty-nine
years but have been under my observation, but it has been so
slow and gradual that it is hard to tell when or how it was all
•accomplished. It has been like planting a small tree ; you
will not perceive the one year's growth, but let it stand and
-cultivate it for fifty years and you have a large tree, and it
don't seem possible that it was the same tree you planted fifty


years ago. So has been the growth of our county since I first
came into it. There was not a hay rake, hay fork to unh'>a(.l
hay in the barn, threshing machine of any kind, reaper, binder,
mower, wheat drill, corn planter, double shovel plow, riding
break plow, spring tooth harrow, hay loader nor anything of
the kind in the county, I don't suppose, nor for a good many
years after, let alone what is carried on by steam power, and I
do not think that there were but few steam engines in the state
fifty years ago, let alone Boone County, and now there is
scarcely anything done but what is done by horse or steam
power. Xow we can thre.-h from six hundred to one thousand
bushels per day, although I can recollect when my father beat
it out with a flail and cleaned it up with a sheet. This may
seem strange to the young people of the present day, but what
I have written is not overdrawn. I don't know but that I
ought to say something concerning the manner that parents
trained their children in those days. There were but few drones
and loafers lounging around and doing nothing.

The training of children was very strict. They were not
allowed to swear or make use of any profane or unbecoming
language, and one decisive answer would settle any question
that might be asked. The boys were generally in the clearing
from ^londav morning until Saturdav night, week in and
week out, grubbing, chopping, splitting, hauling and laying
up rails. This was their daily business; and the girls' tuition
was in the kitchen. The girl that did not know how to cook,
wash, iron, spin, weave, dress flax, cut and make any garment
that the family had to wear, was not the girl that the young
men were looking after. You would hear them talk that this
or that girl could spin so many cuts a day, or weave so many
yards of cloth, or dress so many pounds of flax per day,
after doing up their morning's work. Such girls were said to
1)0 worth their weight in gold to anv man that wanted a wife.
It was the grit and get-up that was looked at, and not the old
man's pocket-book, which I fear is the cause of so many
unhappy marriages at the present day. You must not infer


from the above that the old folks were idle. The old women
would sit at their spinning wheels from morning till bed-time,
spinning flax or tow to weave into cloth for our every- day
and Sunday wear; and the old men would have to break out
and dress the flax and get it ready for the hackel. I doubt
whether there is one young man in twenty that would know a
flax break if they were to meet one of them in the road, let
alone knowing how to use one, and but few that would have
any desire to do so if they could, and but few girls that w'ould
know how to rig up a spinning wheel, or could spin one skein
of sewing thread in six months. I would like some one of
them to try their hand and bring it to the county fair and
make a public exhibit of it. Probably I had better say no
more, for fear you may get tired of my scribbling, though I
have only hinted at a few things.

I have not said anything as t(j myself. I stayed at home
with my father till I was twenty-one years old, and helped
him clear a large farm where the village of Big Spring is situ-
ated. Then I began to think it was not best to start out in
the world alone, so I concluded 1 would get some one to make
the trip with me, and my affections had been set on one
Margaret -L. Parr, daughter of William Parr, who was then
living in the neighborhood and one of the early settlers. vShe
was born in Tennessee, in 1831, and moved to this county in
1833. So we agreed to cast our lots together through life, and
were married on jSIarch 7, 1850, and have been living together
thirty-seven years, raising a family of twelve children.
There are eleven living; our oldest son died when twenty-
eight vears old. AYe have seventeen grandchildren living and
six are dead. My political and religious views might not suit
everybody, but they are tlie best that I know anything about,
according to the wav I have looked at thinoiifor the last fortv-
five years. I si^ppose I was a Democrat when I was born, as
my father and mother were. The first presidential canvass
that I can recollect was between Jackson and Clay, in 1832,
and I was a Jackson man when I was but f«ur years oid^ and


I have not yet seen any good reasons for changing my opinion.
My religious views are those of the old Regular Baptists.
This, I know, don't suit everybody, but I can not help that.
And it is of no use to add any more to this, as everybodv
can not see alike. I served four years as justice of the peace,
have lived in Marion Township for forty years. I shall add
no more.



The subject of this sketch Avas born in Wayne County, Ind.,
February 5, 1826 ; born and raised on a farm, only having
the advantages of pioneer life, from which I wish to contrast
the past with the present and let the present generation of
children see the change. In the first place we had no
.school system, therefore the consequences was three months of
school for summer and three months for winter, all subscrip-
tion. The school buildings w( re made of round logs schutched
off and daubed with clav mortar. One end of the building
was about one-third cut into to make way for the chimnev,
which was made of sticks and clay; lighted by a window on
each side; a slab, into which legs were put, for their seats; a
broad board fastened to the wall for writing desks; the books
were no two alike, so there was as many classes as books, ex-
cepting the spelling classes, the big and little spelling as it
was calkd. As time passed there was some improvement in
the books, which made way for classing. The girls when ar-
riving at the age of fifteen or sixteen concluded that their
schooldays were about over, and their minds were directed in
another direction, not to music or teaching school ; it was the
big and little wheel, of which they spun their two hundred
pounds of wool during the summer season; and I must say
that those days were the happiest days of my life. But since
time has passed and the improvements that have taken place
reminds me of that old adage, " When ignorance is bliss it is


folly to be wise." As we had nothing better w'e were perfect-
ly happy, so our days glided along until we were grown up.
In the year 1844, on the 1st dav of December, I was married
to Henry M. Marvin, and on the morning of my nineteeth
birthday we bade adieu to ihe parental roof and started out in
the world to try the realities of life. We came to this place,
where I have lived ever since, with the exception of two
years. I have lived in the same door-yard for forty-two
years, protected and guarded by our Heavenly Father, who
knoweth all things and what is for our good, and finding we
have realized the trials of our ups and downs. Up to the
present time our family consists of nine children, only four
living, the other Cive having gone to try the realities of an-
other world.


In the year 1S34 my husband, William Zion, and I came
to Lebanon and settled in the wilderness among wolves, squir-
rels, snakes and many other pests. Mr. Zion entered v»-hat is
now the William Stephenson larm, cleared the timber off and
built a cabin and a blacksmith shop, he being a blacksmith and
wagon amker. Soon after we had got our shop built, a land
speculator came along on his way from Cincinnati to Chicago ;
when near our place he broke his carriage wheel, and did not
know wdiere to go for repairs. Some one told him of Mr. Zion
being a \vagon maker, and he came to our shop to get a new
wheel made. My husband took a large oak rail from the fence
to make a hub, and a smaller one for the spokes, and with the
assistance of myself to turn the crank, on something similar
to a grindstone, he fixed for the work and made him a new
wheel, and the traveler went on his way, feeling relieved, as a
breakdown in these swamps was a serious matter.

Mr. A. H. I^ongley built the first house in Lebanon on the
site vrhere Peters' dry goods store now is. Pie was the first





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postmaster, and carried the mail in his hat, consequently the
■office was not always in the same place. Abner H. Shepherd
came to Lebanon in 1S36, and the following year, at the age
of fourteen years, carried the mail from Indianapolis to Lafay-
ette, by the way of Piketown, Royaltou, Lebanon, Thorntown,
Frankfort, Jefferson, Prairieville, Iluntsville and Dayton. He
rode on horseback through the wilderness and mud, with noth-
ing to guide him but the blazed road where the trees were
chipped on one side to show the way to go.; Mr. Zion was the
contractor on this route. James Hichey, the father of J. E
Eichey, was the first tailor in the town, and for several years
out and made the garments of our earlier inhabitants. John
Peterson erected his cabin on the ground where Brown's opera
house now stands and engaged in the tavern business. AVil-
liam Smith, familiarly known as "Uncle Billy,'' had a cabin
where the Rose House now is. He was a " tavern keeper,"
too, but carried his more extensively by selling liquor. It was
no uncommon thing to see hunters, with their dogs and guns,
come in on Sabbath day and go in and get a drink. But I am
glad to say he afterwards joined the M. E. Church and lived
a christian life. One of the miracles of his conversion was
that he could neither read nor write until "wisdom from on
higli " taught him, and he soon learned to read the bible and
had a good understanding of the same. David Hoover Avas
the first clerk of the court, and v»-as also recorder, holding both
offices at the same time, and was not always kept employed.
He was not troubled with parties running after him for depu-
tyships. John Forsythe was selling dry goods on the lot
known as " Zion's Corner," south of the square, and in 1855
William Zion bought him out, and continued in business until
1862. The iirst court house stood north of the square, court
being held twice a year, lasting three days. Jacob Tipton, of
Jamestown, was the first elected sheriff of the county, and was
succeeded by William Zion, who held the office four years. I
sometimes acted as turnkey, and one night at the late hour of


12 o'clock^ wont to the jail and let a relative of one of the pl•i:^-
oncrs out. Colonel Hooker was the first attorney and oountv
surveyor. Dr. McCnnneha was the first ))ractieing physician
who located here. Before his coming people had to go to Thuni-
town for a doctor. Even before his arrival sometimes an un-
dertaker was needed. Calomel was the cure for all things
those times, and in one case it was a kill. A woman who had
come here from Kentucky, did not feel well, but was able to
do her house work; she went to a doctor and he prescribed
calomel as being the thing to climate a person coming from
another state, but the dose proved fatal.

The first church organized was the Methodist Episcopal, ii:
the winter of 1835-6, with a membership of seven, as follows:
yjosiah Lane and wife, Addison Lane and wife, Amelia Zion,
Rebecca Bradshaw and Steven Sims. The oro-anization took
place in the log court house. Rev. Thompson, of Crawfords-
ville, being the minister. But previous to this, a man by the
name of Mills was sent out to this uncivilized country to
preach to the heathens as a missionary. The New School
Presbyterian was the second organization, with Rev. Bird as
pastor. Soon after this. Rev. Ferguson, of Thorntown, organ-
ized the Old School Presbyterian Church. The Christian
Church was organized in 1838, at the house of James McCann.
on Main street, with Gilbert F. Harney as pastor, Jame-
McCann and wife, John Shulse and wife, Zachariah Pauhy
and wife, Jane Forsythe and Susan Dale members. Elizabeth
• Shulse is the only one of the charter members now living.
This organization held meetings in the court house for awhile
• and then commenced to build a church on west Main streit.
The roof was on but no weather boarding, when one win<ly
night the whole roof was blown off. Not being satisfied with
the location, as it was on a street, they soon bought mun
ground whore J. C. Brown's residence now stands, and built a
iiouse on the commons, where nothing would disturb them \>v.i
the frogs, as there was a pond full of these musicians close by-
This building was afterwards sold to the Catholics and mo%e<i


on Indianapolis avenue, where it was repaired and called (he
St. Charles Catholic Church. It stands there and is occupied
by that denomination at this time. The Baptists had ])reach-
ing for several years before they organized. The United
Presbyterians had an organization for some time and held their
meetings in the court house. The Christian Union also had
a few members and held their meetings in the old Methodist
Episcopal Church.

The first school teacher was a ]Mr. Kimble, who taught in
the court house. The first school house was the ''Seminary,"
now the Pleasant Grove House, where many of our middle-
aged men and women received their common education. W.
F. W. C. Ensminger taught manv vears and was considered
the best instructor we had ever had. Spelling was the one
principal study, as the whole school would have to spell at the
same time, and a prize was given for the best speller. Joseph
Lewis, then a young man, and Mary Zion, eleven years of
age, were the closing contestants, the latter carrying off the
prize, a book of "Payne's Poems." The seminary was after-
wards converted into a residence, Dr. Perkins living in it for
several years, Chauncy King then bought it and commenced
the hotel business, continuing the same until his death. Mrs.
Bray, then his widow, is yet successfully carrying on the

People had to go two miles below the Quaker Church at
Thorntown f^r their flour and meal, the amount of the former
being limited, however. After some two years Mr. Longley
and Col. Ilocker told the people if they would donate enough
money to buy an engine and boiler they would build a "corn
cracker." That was the first piece of machinery in the town,
and it almost frightened the natives to death. When the steam
was blown olf for the first time they ran for their water
buckets to put out the fire. The mill was a great help to the
people, as the roads to Thorntown were almost impassible in
those days, and even the streets in this town were so the women
had to wear boots or ride on horseback. We had then an


-elegant residence called the "Steamboat." It stood where the
Rat Smith property now is. It was oval shaped, standing
• east and west as thpugh it was ready to start up street through
the mud and water we had then. One time we had a concert
in the court house and everybody must go. It rained and
rained, but go we must. We got all the umbrellas (not many)
we could find, and some of us appropriated our plaid gingham
parasols. The night was as dark, the mud as deep and ib.e
rain as copious as was ever known. On our way home I lost
my parasol, but fortunately the next morning Wilson's boys
looked up Main street, about opposite the Collier residence,
■and there it stood stretched out over the street unharmed,
except the part under mud. We had no sidewalks or ditches
to carry off the water.

Uncle Satumy Strong had the only tannery here for a num-
ber of years, and he accumulated a handsome fortune at the
business. Plis vats were where the elegant residence of ]SIrs.
J. C. Daily now stands.

The 12th of August, 1852, the first train of cars reached
the depot. What a celebration ! Everybody and their children,
old and young, were present. Some were frightened at the
locomotive, and ran back and kept at what they thought would
"be a safe distance. There was a big dinner free to everybody.
Mr. Zion had a long table spread in our yard, with green
bushes for a covering, and fed two hundred for dinner and
supper. After the railroad was completed, ^Ir. Zion donate<i
-to William Jenkins and Moses Hall, Sr., four acres of grou'i'l
south of the railroad, on wh.ich to build a flour mill. In 18^0
this mill was destroyed by fire. Amelia Zion. J

December 18, 1885.



Thirty years ago it was not then known that anfficiont
gravel could be found here to construct a systfeni of gravti
roads in the county. In 1864 a company was organized to


construct a gravel higliAvay from Thorntowu to Darlington, to
connect and extend to Crawfordsville. This was the first
gravel road enterprise in the county. It and the Rosston
gravel road, on the old ^Michigan road, are the only toll col-
lecting highways in the county. In the year 1857 the Leb-
anon and Royalton and the Lebanon and Sugar Creek Gravel
Road companies were organized. At first these two roads
were toll collecting, but in the year 1884 were bought by the
tax-payers living along them and turned over to the county
as a part of the free gravel road system. Under the legislative
act of 1877, petitions for free gravel roads were filed before
the board of commissioners, at a called session held August 6,
1879. The first road ordered constructed under this act was
the Lebanon and New Brunswick, followed in quick succession
by the Lebanon and Dover, Middle Jamestown, Lebanon and
Noblesville, Thorntown and Bethel, Kirk's Mill and Sharon,
Kirk's Mill south to Crawfordsville road, Lebanon and Thorn-
town, east end Noblesville, EHzaville, eleven roads, which
exhausted the limit allowed by law, the limit being one per
centum of taxables of the county. In the construction of these
roads gravel was found in sufficient quantities to build and
maintain them with only one exception. The roads con-
structed were highly satisfactory. The contractors on the
Lebanon and EHzaville found materials of the poorest and in.
smallest quantities. Bad as it was when completed, it is now
by careful management as good as the best. Gravel road
building was started anew by the bond limit being increased
from one to one and a half percentum and the Thorntorn and
Sharon and Whitestown's two roads, and Zionsville's two, the
Lebanon and Fayette, Dover and Shannondale, Lebanon and
Ladoga, Lebanon and Slabtown and Thorntown, Hazelriggand
Lebanon roads were ordered constructed. At this time twenty-
four free gravel roads have been built, aggregating 181 miles,
costing §189,100. The first issue of bonds for this public im-
provement was redeemed by the treasurer in February, 1880,.
and from his report he has ample medns to redeem all that


become due during the present and ensuing years. It will be
seen that where gravel was considered so scarce, with many
other seeming obstacles in the way, our roads have cost on an
average of §1,181 per mile. Much of this can be attributed
to the good management of our county board. Once con-
structed, the keeping of so many miles of road in proper repair
has been no small task. These roads are managed by the
county commissioners as a board of free turnpike directors.
They first organized as such July 15, 1881, being Xnthan
Perrill, William Curry and James Coombs, with Charles L.
Wheeler as clerk. This board meets quarterly. Each com-
missioner has especial charge of all free pikes in his district,
and each road has its superintendent of repairs. Once each
year these superintendents meet with the turnpike board and
receive orders for repairs for the year. The present board ot
directors are W. C. Crump, Ben. C. Booher and Jacob S.
Miller. The expenditures on account of repairs to the several
roads in the county, to the present time aggregates §46,824.71,
which includes the re-building of the Lebanon and Koyalton
and Lebanon and Sugar Creek roads. Including the extensive
repairs to the roads last named, our roads cost us near S60 per
mile each year.

The peculiar location of our county, being situated at or
near the headwaters of numerous streams of central Indiana,
makes the matter of bridging quite light to the tax-payers,
compared to our neighboring counties. Singular as it seems,
prior to 1870 only a few small bridges were erected, and these
were only makeshifts compared with the handsome structures
erected in the past ten years. As the county developed and
products fast came marketable, good roads and easy carriage
to market was demanded; and to have good roads with deej),
dano-erous fords jrreatlv hindered at all seasons of the vear the
carrying of loads such as our farmers now start to market
with. Our county board soon recognized the necessity ot

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 11 of 38)