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 7 of 38)
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ital of Boone County, and called it " Lebanon." The site was
not very promising for a town, but through the energy of the
people and the natural growth of the country, it has attained
to its present condition, a little city of four thousand inhabi-
tants. As the country became settled up by hardy frontiers-
men, and the dense forest gave way to the woodman's ox,
improvements in im[)lement3 advanced. Our harvesting was
first done by the sickle, then the cradle, next the McCormack
horse-power, and now we have the various self-binders. The
many social gatherings, such as husking parties, flax-pullings,
chopping-frolics, log-rollings and house-raisings are things of
the past. The flax and wool wheels have no place in our
farm-liouse, and the loom is used only for rag carpets. In the
loss of these social gatherings much of genuine friendship is
lost. I believe that selfishness is growing and caste in society
is on the increase. In v;riting this imperfect sketch I havc^
lived over some of my juvenile days.




The writer of this sketch was born in Liberty, Union
County, Ind., on March 29, 1837. AVhile thinking of the
past our mind runs back into the forties, and we remember of
hearing grandfather and grandmother Dunbar tell of their
trip to Boone County to sec the country. They came on
horseback to Jackson Township, which was at that time an
almost unbroken wilderness. There were no roads and they
rode through the woods the best they could and camped at
night, using their saddles for pillows. They had to keep a
fire burning to keep the wolves away. There were only two
houses (both log) between Jamestown and Lebanon, one at
the farm then owned by Strodder Wall, now owned by M. M.
Henry, the other at the farm of Meiken Plurt, now owned by
J. M. Martin. In February, 1837, grandfather entered the
land we now live on with several other pieces. He gave ray
father this and the land now owned by Wash Emmert.
Father made regular trips to Boone to pay his taxes. It
required two weeks, and we children were always anxious for
his return to hear him tell about the West. A& we grew up
we had an anxiety to see some of the world. In August,
1860, we packed our carpet bag, walked sixteen miles to the
nearest station, and for the first time we boarded the cars for
a ride. In due time we arrived at Crawfordsville, and for a
week took in the sights of the mighty West in that vicinity.
Again taking our carpet bag in hand, wo started on foot for
the long heard of land of ponds and frogs, with a few chills
mixed in. We followed the state road to' Fredericksburg,
thence to Beekville, and just one-half mile east of the latter place
we struck the "promised land " O, Lord! we thought if this
is Boone, we don't want any more of it. The farther we got
into the country the harder it looked. From Shiloh church
west it was almost a wilderness, or at least we thought so, but


here and there we saw a cabin with a small clearing around it.
As we passed along the children would perch upon the rude
fence to get a good look at us, while the mother looked from
the inside of the door. The hazel brush came up to the road
on either side. As we were passing up the road west of Shi-
loh we were startled by some one saying: "Good morning,
stranger,. come out and get some blackberries to eat." He
was a tall, raw boned man, with an ax on his shoulder. Wo
sized him and thought it was no use to run. We soon found
he was from old Union. His name was Shelley, and he did
his part in building up the country in which he lived. After
resting we trudged on and for the first time saw Jackson
Township. We staid a week svith uncle Geo. Sering on the
farm that Shiloh church stands on, now owned by Bud Jones.
Our uncle came out from Union County in 1849, and has lived
in Boone nearly all the time since. We believe he has done
as much hard work to build up the country as any other man.
He and his wife are still living in Lebanon at the ripe age of
seventy-five years.

One day we went south to where Advance now stands.
There was not even a house — nothing but a rail pen inhabited
by a man and woman. We thought the place ought to have a
name, so we put up a board with the name Osceola on it, and
it was known by that name until the postoffice w'as established.
We passed on to Raccoon, then east to the farm of John M.
Shelley, who came from Union in 1859. His farm was like
the rest and he lived in a little cabin. On east to the town
ship line it was the same, the only signs of civilization we saw
was an old church. It stood a little to the northeast of the
farm owned by Geo. Bush. After spending a few days there
I went home ; and, as a trip to Boone was then equal to a trip
to California now, I had to answer a good many questions.
That winter my father gave me forty acres of this half quarter
if I would buy the other at five hundred dollars. The trade
was made; that was easy enough, but I had no money. But
where there is a will there is a way. In the winter I cut


wood at forty cents a cord, and in the summer worked for
thirteen dollars a month, and kept it up till the land was paid
for. Then I began to look around for a ^wife, for I always
said I would not marry until I had a home for her, let it be
ever so humble. To make a long story short, I found a wufe.
Iler name was Mary J. Demoret, of Butler County, Ohio.
We were married October 3, 1867 ; afterwards came to the
farm we now live on. We will pass over eighteen years.
Every man that has cleared a farm in Boone knows that it
takes courage and hard work. To-day as I look over the same
country I did twenty-seven years ago, a finer country and bet-
ter improved would be hard to find. The log churches have
been replaced by good franue ones ; we see brick school houses
every little way ; but we must hasten on. Here we are at J.
M. Shelley's, our old friend and pioneer, but we look in vain
for the cabin. In j)lace of it we see three nice frame dwell-
ings, occupied by himself and sons. With the cabin has dis-
appeared the logs, brush and ponds, and a finer farm you will
not see on the Ladoga gravel road. Just above us you can
see the farm of Wm. Mangers, an old Virginian. He came
to Boone in 1857. As you pass along take a look at his farm :
call in and see the old folks — you will always find the latch
string out. On we go ; and what's this? Why, that is Ward,
a new town only three years old. It has one store, postoffice,
school house, church and saw mill. The church was built by
the Disciples in 1882, through the perseverance of Elders
Smith aiul Heekathorn, who never gave up the good work till
they got the house finished, and now they numl)er some sixty
members. The store was put up by Elder Bennington, who
also worked for and got the postoffice established. I believe
it w'as about the winter 1884. He staid one year and then sold
out to G. W. Dodd. In a few months he sold out to T. J.
Burress, who n(;w koej)3 the store and postoffice. Geo. Jack-
son, who is a native Boone County boy, runs the saw mill.
Jas. H. Fink is principal of the school, which numbers about
sixty-five scholars. Ward is on the Lebanon and Ladoga


gravel road, seven miles soutlnvest of Lebanon. The road
was built in the year 1884. It is thirteen miles long and cost
twenty-one thousand dollars. Land can not be bought for
less than fifty or sixty dollars per acre.


In writing a reminiscence in relation to pioneer life in
Boone County, it requires a person of better memory and edu-
cation than I am in possession of to do the subject justice.
But iiaving lived here longer than any voter in Jackson
Township, and on account of my pioneer life, by request, I am
induced to add sometliing to the old settler's history (there
being no correct rule for such writing and as many others that
write on the same subject labor underthe same ill-convenience),
if my homily is not as scholastic as others, or my aphorism is at
fault. My parents were natives of North Carolina. My mother,
at the age of sixteen years, made the journey on foot to Ken-
tucky, having the idea that as the sun rises in the Oriental
• country and makes the journey to the Occidental lands, where
it is hidden by the shades of night, the people learned to travel
in like direction until lost in obscurity by the shades of death.
After wandering around in the mountainous regions and form-
ing some acquaintances she met a man, and after traveling four
miles up the rocky branch, over the mountains and down the
creek, in a lonely ravine hard by a spring that gushed from
among the stones of a mountain which, with its sparkling,
cooling looks, gave inducement to the wearied wanderers to
quaff a portion and satiate their thirst, they rested. The sweet
songs of the many-hued birds, and the breeze that played upon
the boughs of the cedar and pine trees, awakened that feeling in
them that was created in Adam when God said, " It is not good
for man to be alone, ^^ and made woman for him. They sat
down on a log far away from any inhabitants, and in old
pioneer style talked business. They came to the conclu-
sion as neither of them were incumbered with worldly goods




they had better form a co-partnership. While in that mood
an old man came along, and in conversation with him they
were pnt in the possession of the agreeable news that he was a
justice of the peace, and he was asked if he could unite them iu
marriage. He replied that if they wished it he could, and the
ceremony was soon said, when th(y went on their way rejoic-
ing. After struggling together, barely having a competency
on which to subsist, and being the parents of five children,
they held a consultation and decided that twelve years was
long enough to sojourn in this out of the way mountainous
country, where a wagon could get no nearer than five miles to
their habitation, and where those who owned slaves were the
only persons of worth or fit associates. They were firm iu tlie
faith that God directs the acts of mer nd kingdoms as well as
the channels of the great waters. At that time no wagon roads
were open to emigrants from their place of abode, so gathering
up their worldly possessions and placing them in skin sacks,
each secured to a horse on which was a pack-saddle, and being
provided with a tent for camping out, father, mother and five
children mounted the horses and drove before them twelve
head of cattle. We journeyed 350 miles over hills and moun-
tains, through valleys and swamps, and through a wilderness
the greater part of the distance, grazing our animals, we sub-
sisting on game. It took us four weeks to make the trip,
being frequently lost from the trace. Reader, I opine that the
use of a small amount of superfluity, not pertinent to the
epistle, will not be amiss. The augmentation is to show that
there can be no new faculties made in a person — only a change
can be wrought.

When I made my debut in the Hoosier State I was a
comely looking lad of about four years of age, and of light
^veight. I had an old mare called " High-flyer." The leather
f^ack of pot-ware was lashed to her and I was the monitor on
the sack. My raiment consisted of copperas colored muslin
pants, tow-linen shirt, butternut wammus, and a striped cotton


bonnet. The first few days of the trip everything went off
lovely, until the day we were passing over the Eough-aud-
Tough Mountain, when Highflyer cast her pedestals into a
hornet's nest and, ha%'ing no hair where the hair ought to
grow, could not switch off her tormentors. Here trouble be-
gan, for she sought relief in a thicket, and rid herself of
hornets, pot-ware, leather bag and pack-saddle, putting the
monitor's head in juxtapoiitiou with a stone, and from the
demoralization and injury or some other cause, it has never
since been just right. My father only skirmished on the picket,
having a brother of mine not three years old, who was im-
ported on the rear department of the horse that he rode. My
mother did not fare so well, having an infant three mouths old,
which she carried in her arms the whole distance, and in the
trouble had to cast anchor with him, but coming in contact
with a soft spot of earth prevented serious damage from being
done. That evening we bagged a fine wild turkey, which as
a viand was quite recuperating. We roosted high that night.
Next morning we pursued our journey with great anticipa-

As poor wanderers seeking a home,

Traveling among savages, with their tribe alone;

Longing to see the western, vine-clad hills,

The rich lands and bright, gushing rills.

With her forests and valleys so fair,

With her flowers that scent the morning air.

I am almost persuaded to desist writing any more for fear
my rough manuscript, being void of excellency, will be a mar-
a-uatha to the reader.

While on the trace there was a circumstance which gave
me much uneasiness about how I was to meet emergencies,
and the pressure on my young mind marred my peace during
the remainder of the journey. The occurrence took place on
Indiana soil hard by Blue River. The night that we were on
bivouac to keep our cattle and horses from straying away,
change of country, atmosphere and water, and being the mon-
itor of the pot-ware, had brought about an unhealthy condition


in my internal department. Every mother knew how to ad-
minister to the ills of her children, for there were no regular
physicians where we lived, and after depositing the litter in
the tent she thought the immersion of my copperas in Blue
River would result beneficially, so she gave them many dips
and hung them on a spice brush near unto the camp-fire to
have them dry and healthy next morning. The recollection
yet torments me. When I made a dive in the morning for
my pants. I found that purification had been entirely effectual,
for the camp-fire had consumed them. I wept, and refused to
be comforted ; but I had a long tow linen undergarment,
wammus and bonnet, and made the remainder of the journey
with as much comfort as could be expected under the circum-
stances. The next pair of pants that I was heir to was after
we were domiciled in Indiana. Father killed a deer, dressed
its skin, and mother made me a pair from the skin. Shawnee
prairie was the intended place for our future home, but after
pitching our tent here we came to the conclusion that we would
remain, thinking the winters wire too cold in a prairie coun-
try where there was no fuel.

In 1828 John Gibson entered the land where Jamestown
is now situated, which was entirely in the wilderness. We
lived in a tent until a small loo; cabin was erected. The sheen-
skin certificate of entry was signed by President Jackson.
Not a nail was used in putting up and finishing the edifice.
In the midst of a dense, untamed forest, no neighbors were
near, the chief inhabitants being wolves, bears, panthers, rac-
coons and tribes of the ^liami and Pottawattami Indians.
Quite a number of wigwams were on the land where James-
town now stands. Eel River took its name from the tribe that
occupied the lands along the creek; Straps-brauck from a
chief by the name of Strap, Raccoon irom the Raccoon tribe.
While referring to Indians in this narrative, it brings up inci-
dents very vivid to the mind of the author of the many sleej)-
less nights and fearful days that were worn away in expectati(m
of loosing a scalp by it being snatched off by those savage

84 i:arly life and times in

Indians. My fear of Indians was greater at that time than it
was when serving an enlistment in the regular army forty
years ago in the Rocky Mountain country, having many
encracrements and mv comrades at various times beincj scalped
in plain view and no way of giving them succor.

I was then bordering on five years old and my raiment
consisted of a tow linen shirt, dressed buckskin pants, one
large pewter button at waist, home made hog skin moccasins,
butternut wammus, and the only thing that was bought to
make me a full dress was an imported seal skin cap. I was
as well dressed as any of the inhabitants.

You can readily see the proverbs that are wrote,
From a 'reacherous UK-morj I had to quote;
In my writing all these acts,
I am not certain that all are facts.

Nearly all the pioneers were Kentuckians and Tirginians,
who had settled where water could be had without digging
wells, coming from a country where there could be no wells
dug on account of the rocks. They knew nothing of wells,
and pumps did not come in use here for many years after a
portion of the country was peopled.

There seems to be a mistake made by those who have given
a treatise heretofore, for the person's names given as the old-
est settlers are not those that came here first. The Davises,
Calhouns, Mallets, Hughes, Scammerhorns, Turners, Smiths,
Walterases, Johnses, Lewises, Penuingtons, Coveys, Trotters,
Taulbees, Youngs and several families of the Gibsons were
those that made the first settlement in this immediate neigh-
borhood. At that time, and for several years after, there was
not a church, school house, mill of any kind, wagon shop, or
any improvement of that kind nearer than Danville, in Hen-
dricks County. My father soon started a tannery in a large
trough for sole leather, and dressed skins for uppers, and with
a leather whang made the moccasins. Without going into
detail for years, what we used was gotten like unto the pro-



Auction and utilization of leather. Being a neophyte in writ-
ing history, and not in possession of a neologist, what I might
indite would be monotonous, therefore, I leave the subject of
what we wore and how procured.

At that time there were scarcely any 'cereals produced,
Crawfordsville, sixteen miles distant, then contained about
fifty souls, who dwelt in cabins. This was the nearest point
at which a grist mill and bread stuff could be found. I ho])e
that the ladies of to-day will not think it incredible when I
tell them that it was a common thing in that day for a married
woman to go several miles into the woods (for neither stables
nor pastures had an existence), hunt a horse, bring him in,
lash a pack-saddle on him, mount him, travel the trace to
Crawfordsville and return the same day with a half barrel of
meal. Many a trip have I made with my mother to Craw-
fordsville for meal, each having a horse, and at times having
to wait for our turn, we would be out until midnight in the
dense forest, while thunder and lightning, the war-whoop of
the savages, the howling of wolves and screaming of cata-
mounts, panthers and other wild animals was anything but
agreeable. Few to-day would like to go through the ordeal,
but many have, in times of yore, traveled the same trace. I
oau not, on paper, dissemble all their acts, but from v/hat is
written the reader can judge other acts. Our nearest posioffice
was Danville, Hendricks County. It then took thirty days
to get new.s from Washington City ; twenty-five cents was the
postage on a letter. The territory that now composes Boone
County belonged to Hendricks, and all our county business
was transacted there until an act of the legislature to organize
Boone County was passed in 1829. In 1830 the county was
organized, and in 1S32 Jamestown was laid off by James Mat-
lock and John Gibson. The first inn was run by John Gib-
son ; Jacob Tipton was the first blacksmith ; Sayres & Burk
engaged first in the dry goods business; E}ihraim Rudisille,
eight years later, was the first physician, and was also ^a Luth-
eran preac.'her. By tlie sale of lots and other means my father


bought the first wagon he ever owned. We then had a State
Road, town and mail route, and procured the establishment
of a postoffice here. Samuel Hughs and .Jacob Tipton were
both wanting the honor of being appointed postmaster. They
agreed that the legal voters interested should decide by a vote
who should be the one. A vote was taken, M-hich resulted in
a tie. I, then being quite a big, good-looking boy, beginning
to notice, they agreed that they would impose the onerous task
on me to settle the matter. Tipton, with evil intent, put
about my person a beautiful six-pence handkerchief of many
colors, which -was enticing, and I voted for him. Perhaps it
was the first vote" sold in Boone County, but there was no
trouble made about it, and very little has been made since for
selling votes, for I verily believe that when the votes of the
parties are nearly evenly balanced votes are bought yet.

The following Sabbath, a mile distant, over the way, on
the creek, was a small cabin that had been evacuated by a
family, who, for fear Black Hawk and his warriors would
pounce upon them and relieve them of that portion of their
normal inheritance where the hair took root, had skedaddled
for old Virginia. The divine who was to preach talked on
the subject of " Simon Peter, feed my sheep." The chorus of
the hymn that was sung was "Fare you well, my dear broth-
ers; fare you well, my dear sisters — though I go, I will come
again," and then there was shaking of hands. It is easy to
tell what were their tenets of faith, I was very anxious for
the time to arrive, and when it came around, I had soap used
on me, my new tow-linen shirt, cottonade pants, with buck-
skin suspenders and a straw hat, all of which were made at
home — not any store goods to complete my dress, except ray
handkerchief of many bright colors, for which I sold my vote.
When I hid one half of it in my cottonades and left the other
portion floating in the breeze, I came to the conclusion that I
was dressed to my e-itire satisfaction and had a better outfit
than any boy in the country, and I looked in the mirror and
found it so. At the proper time, off I went to the first meet-


ing house that I ever was at, with all the boys following, to
behold that lovely annex beyond what was common to the
dress in those days. The dignity in my strut excelled and
cast a penumbraical shadow on all former displays. Going
into the church, I walked directly to the center, elevating my
important self upon the log seat, taking my hat off, standing
erect in order to make a display, so every person could see my
handsome rig. I remained in that position until the preacher
arose to take his text, and he said aloud: "The young man
standing on the seat will please sit down, then the people's
attention will be directed to what the preacher says, and not
to him." The ordeal wilted me.

Oh, the contraction that it worked in my frame!

All my elongation never made me the same ;

My outcome was as Zachariah that climbed the tree

To get above the multitude his Savior to see.

But it is not thought to be becoming for one of ray age,

In telling such stories for me to engage;

Still there are many who love to hear us tell

Of the time we came to this country to dwell —

Their journey on horseback many a mile,

Traveling the lonely trace like Indians in single file.

Perhaps it will not be out of place to treat of the knowl-
edge that some of our officials had at that time of jurispru-
dence, and what I may say is without malice to any and with
the most cordial feelings to all. About fifty-four years ago, at
a gathering of the people here, two men had a fight, and the
old justice of the peace, being prepared for the emergency,
had brought his docket with him. There being no constable,
he made the arrest. He preached the doctrine, what is to be
will come to pass, so he aided in making the violation of law
a terror to evil-doers. Near by was a rail pen, which was
utilized as a pound after the milk cow had been brought in at
night, to have her safe until morning. There was where he
held court. It was the first court I was ever in, and, after
hearing the evidence, he found them guilty and assessed a fine
of fifty cents against each, and ruled that they should remain


in his custody until satisfaction be rendered. Tiien sallied
forth to the lady, who was a physician at times, engaged in
the sale of ginger-cakes and matheglem. This beverage was
a decoction of wild honey and rain water, made in the old
cedar churn, and she carried the churn, full of the fluid, with
one arm, and the cakes in her apron with the other, to get to
the place of rendezvous. The price of a cake and a gourd full

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 7 of 38)