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 8 of 38)
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of the drink was a fourpence-hapenny, and the old lady had
heard that two of her neighbors were in duress, which
awakened a feeling of sympathy. She told the old man she
would graciously give him one of her cakes and a gourd of
matheglem if he would release those men. It being the time
of day that men's bread-baskets need filling to prevent con-
traction, he agreed, and quaffed the filling, then stretched forth
his arm and said, " By the authority invested in me by the
acreat state of Indiana, I remit the fine and srive you liberty."
Tearing the leaves out of the docket, all was over.

Many years ago a practicing physician, a justice of the
peace in Jamestown, was an important witness for one of the
parties in the first case brought in his court, and the attorney
convinced him that it was legal to give his evidence to him-
self. He therefore arose, facing his chair, gave the evidenc,
sat down and decided the case on his own evidence. The
attorney for the other party declared it was not necessary to
elect men and pay them to go to the metropolis to enact laws,
for it could be done more expeditiously and cheaper at home.
The 'squire afterwards was nominated and made the race for
representative to the State Legislature. He was a brother of
a man who was elected to congress from one of the most im-
portant districts in the state, and made the race for Governor
afterward. Another 'squire was a theologaster, who having a
note for the payment of money due him, sued in his court,
took judgment for the amount in favor of himself, taxed cost
on case, issued an execution and had the money collected ; in
a few years made the race for representative. About the same
date an aspiring young man who afterward soldiered with me



BOONE COUNTY, INDIANA. 89

during the Mexican War, wearing a grego as I did, was elected
constable, and having to make a levy on a steer thought it
would not be legal unless he laid his hand upon him ; there-
fore he took off his coat, shoes and socks and ran down the
animal to make the matter lawful. He, in after years, was
elected and filled with good capacity one of the most important
offices in Boone County, serving with honor as colonel of one
of the regiments during the late rebellion. If ignorance is
bliss, it is folly to be wise. Imperfections are often hidden
from others eyes. A 'squire and preacher who was among
the first that settled here, not very able in ethics but skilled
with his gun — a good old man and the grandfather of a gen-
tleman who was asking the nomination from the Democratic
party in 1886 to make tlie race for representative — concluded,
as meat was getting low in the trough, he would take his gun
and dog, go into the woods and secure a wild hog. He was
dressed fashionably for this country, wearing a coon-skin cap,
hogskin moccasins, no socks, wammus, flax-shirt, and having
only one large pewter button at the waist which was to do the
substantial business of keeping the pants in their proper place.
The dog was also an annex to that button by being looped
to it by a long leather whang. After scanning the woods for
about two miles distant, he hove in close proximity to a gang
of hogs. He shot and wounded one, ran to it in order to dis-
patch it with his butcher-knife. The other hogs rallied and
were in the act of taking him in. Trees being plenty he
utilized one for safety, but his ascension was not very high
for a time, for his dog was hanging to his pewter button
with hogs cuttinor at his narrative, so that he did not make
much progress in getting up there. Things were becoming
ugly, and for quite a while the 'squire could not decide the
case, whether he would be able to eat the hog or the hogs cat
him and the dog, but to his great relief, he became so much
contracted from fright that the great effort the dog was mak-
ing to get released, he snaked the pants off of the man in the
fork of the tree, making for a log of a fallen tree, which he



90 EARLY LIFE AND TIMES IN

reached in safety, climbing up to where the hogs could not
molest him. Imagine the dog over there tied to those pants,
the 'squire up in a tree surrounded by wild hogs which would
devour him if he came down without his leather trousers. It
being a very cold, snowy day in mid winter it soon caused the
old gentleman to catch an opportunity to make a drive for a
warmer climate, and it soon Avas favorable. He leaped from
the tree as nimble as a catamount, made good time reaching
home, did not check up but ran against the door, breaking it
open and landing in the middle of the floor in the presence of
wife, family and two neighbor women who were visiting there.
Being nearlv exhausted and out of wind his voice was warb-
ling like that of the nightingale when charming the forest
with her tale. The good wife could nC>t comprehend what he
said, but being a lady of large conception she soon clothed
him as Jeff Davis was when taken a prisoner, until his ward-
robe was replenished.

My gossip aoo'it raen is wearisome, I fear ;
I'll give an essay about ladies that were here.
- Ginseng root.s ting Ly women of the land,
Beeswax extracted from wild honey were in demand.

About fifty-five years ago an old man and wife occupied a
lonely cabin four miles from any neighbors. Their estate con-
sisted principally in a numerous offspring, and among the
number were two young ladies aged eighteen and twenty. In
autumn their time was employed digging ginseng, procuring
beeswax and getting their products ready for the market.
Their facility was two bovines of the male kind in a natural
state, having a bodily make up similar to the bison of the
western plains, except the lack of horns. Those girls would
go into the woods, hunt the animals, put halters on their heads
to guide them, ride them home, throw a sack of one hundred
pounds of beeswax and 'sang onto them, mount and ride them
to the store, alight, hitch the transportation train to a tree,
take their exchange, each enter the store with a load and trade
it to the merchant for colorino- materials and cotton yarn to be



BOOXE COUNTY, INDIANA. 91

manufactured into a web of cloth to clothe the family, proceed
home and turn loose their steeds in nature's great pasture until
wanted for use again.

In those days women did not think of voting,

Not politicians belonging to the ring ;

For Paul said many years ago,

It was not right for ladies to do so.

But development has had a wide range,

And in the minds of people wrought a change ;

Fifty years more in the calendar may tell

Of the many changes to those who may dwell.

In 1832 the Black Hawk war was to be right here in a verv
short time. The many accounts given of the success of the
savages produced a big scare among the settlers, for as there was
a greater amount of F. F. V.'s. and Kentucky blood in their
system than patriotism and bravery, caused many to give away
what they had and save themselves by flight to the mountains
of their native state. One man gave eighty acres of good land
for an old horse to carry his pack, he and his wife walking.
A nother gave a good cow for a new wool hat, and many others
did likewise with their property, making the trip, women,.
chiUrcD and all that were able to walk, back to the old coun-
try, tor they verily believed that all who remained here would
be murdered by the Indians. After the war was over the most
of t.hera returned, and many of their children are living here
yet. Fifty-six years ago I have a vivid recollection of a family
that doniiciled near the creek, and in the most frigid winter
weather, when there was ice on the creek, I hav^e known their
boys to be out skating on the ice one mile from fire, with but
little clothing to keep them warm and entirely barefooted.

Ths fir.-it church that I have any recollection of being erected
here v/as bu'lt by the Regular Baptists, and was used by their
flock exeluiively. Shortly after the house was completed a
Methodi-r n.ini.vtc-r, in passing through the country, applied to
those 01 tiie < hurch that had taken the bishopric of the Apos-
tles for the us'j of the house in which to deliver one sermon.
After a consultarion, they informed him that the heresies that



92 EARLY LIFE AND TIME3 IN

he might preach wouhl so adulterate the walls that the people
who were the chosen of God never could do any good by
preaching in it, therefore they refused to let him have their

house.

May no walls be erected in the ■way,

To prevent truth from having its full sway.

On the sine qua non they certainly stood,

And iu preaching the tenets had to be the same to do good.

When talent becomes universal this country will be a good
place to stay in ; but it is not born in all. The first three dis-
tillers who engao^ed in the business of making what is known
now as sod corn whisky, at an early day were all in the manu-
facture about the same time, and leading members of churches
would go to m.eeting on Sunday, and put on their sanctimoni-
ous harness, take a seat near the sanctum sanctorum, and their
reverential appearance excelled that of the meek old Patriarch
Moses ; but during the sickly season — and that was all the
year with some — they would take a few bushels of meal to the
distiller and exchange the meal, one bushel for one gallon of
whisky, take it home, put roots and barks into it, and have fill
the family to exercise their imbibation functions in order to
drive off the noxious and pestilential vapors that might engen-
der disease in the system. More persons, according to the
number that used alcoholic drinks excessively at that time,
died from the effects than at this time. It was a good remedy
for snake bites, and an overdose got up many fights.

The preachers then taught that it was a blessing from Go'i,
Yet the blessing put many under the sod.

Over half a century ago v.-e were very much in dread of
the many large and poisonous snakes that were here, but it
would be too tedious to give a detail of the persons that suf-
fered from their bites. The largest were the yeilow rattle-
snakes, many of them measuring six feet, and when killed and
cut open, inside of them one had a fawn, another a rabbit and
another a grown grey squirrel. A species of 'ne black racer



BOONE COUNTY, INDIANA. 93

were still longer than the former, and would follow cows that
were giving milk and suck them, and the owners of the cows
had to watch them with a gun and kill the snakes to keep
from being robbed of the milk.

I will of necessity have to epitomize my essay and pass by
what transpired in many years and let others tell it or remain
in oblivion. In the presidential campaign of 1844 the issue
between the parties was annexation and war with Mexico
and those who opposed that policy. I then had arrived at
years of majority and was "entitled to give my first vote. I
was zealous in the support of the annexation party, and made
a firm pledge if war was the result to be one that would go
and help fight the Mexicans, to sustain what we thought was
for the best interests of our country. James K. Polk was
elected, and in 1846 a call was made for soldiers to go over
to Mexico, as a war was in progress between the two powers.
In my juvenile days and up to the time I arrived at the age
of twenty-one years I had been energetic and industrious and
had accumulated one thou.<?and dollars, quite a fortune in early
times. I had taken the money and gone to Cincinnati and
invested in dry goods — just had set up in business with bright
prospects; but those persons who were opposed to annexation
began to chide me by saying, " He will not go to Mexico to
fight the Greasers," and many other opprobious epithets,
mingled with reproach, were heaped upon me. Then ray
Kentucky blood became warmed up, developing my patriot-
ism, and I sold my goods on one year's time, only taking
seven dollars in purse (and the debt is on time yet, for the
man to whom I sold failed. and never paid any part of it). I
have expunged the obligation, as I have been in the habit of
doing all my business, at given periods wiping out all that
was not settled, for fear the settlement would be too big in the
great judgmen day. Walking through mud to Indianapolis,
I enlisted in the United States Army to serve as a cavalry
soldier for five years or during the war. The company being
organized at Fort Leavenworth, that being the time the Mor-



94 EARLY LIFE AND TIMES IX

mons were emigratine: to Utah, and a number of the men vol-
unteering to go to Mexico, there was not a sufficient number
of Mormon men left to guard their families across the plains
through the many dangerous tribes of Indians that then oc-
cupied the country, and I was one of the detail to do that
service. It was the most dangerous and hardest soldiering
that I did during the war, for we had many engagements with
the Indians, but in due time got rid of the emigrants. I say
to their credit that a better class of people than the women
"were for charity, virtue and good behavior I have not found
since. Capturing Santa Fe and the most of New Mexico,
after several eno^agements, Gen. Fremont crossed the Rockv
Mountains, went south, subduing the Mexicans and Indians
in all the region of country known as the Eastern Slope of
the Rocky Mountains ; crossed the Rio Grande at El Paso,
marched to the city of Chihuahua, conquering the people of
that state, thence westward through the states of Sonora and
Durango to Lower California.

At that place, after being in many engagements from the
commencement of the war, on the 26th of June, 1848, we
received the news of peace being concluded between the two
countries. If I were writing relative to those states, perhaps
I could give a description that would be interesting, also, of
the customs of the people. Orders with the news of peace
were that we march back to Santa Fe and there be discharged.
After being mustered out of the service, I lost no time in
traveling home, being on the road all the time until a short
time before the presidential election of 1848. Having
received an injury to my breast that caused hemorrhage of
the left lung, and other diseases contracted while in that coun-
try which caused me to be confined to bed nearly an entire
year, I have never enjoyed good health one month since
without being unable to go about. For my meritorious serv-
ice I was commissioned captain, but have never been able to
find any utility in the commission. A pension was granted
me shortly after the close of the war, the number of it a frac-



BOONE COUNTY, INDIANA. 95

tion over 8,000, and that included all that had been pensioned
from the commencement of the government. I am, perhaps,
the oldest pensioner in Boone County, unless there is some
person of the war of 1812 drawing a pension. After recover-
ing somewhat from my broken down condition, I was a cosmo-
polite for several years, very dubious what course to pursue
and ductile, not keeping a vade mecum, therefore could not
give a correct history of affairs.

We tell of traders long time ago, >

With ox teams we guarded to Mexico;

They of toil and danger were not afraid,

While helping build up the Santa Fe trade;

But those large wagons and Santa Fe teams,

And all those mule and ox drivers it seems,

In the history of pioneer life hath passed,

By the introduction of the iron horse are displaced.

A small number of those old veterans still live,

But congress a pension to them would not give;

Its no falta de corage es(a sombre,

Quiero desdoro union comparacion expense.

The vegetation in autumn may wither and fade.

Many pioneers of yore 11 their graves are laid.

But few of the old settlers now live,

The many stories to others to give.

Traveling from here five miles each way along Eel River
there is not one person remaining of the first settlers. Only
one near relative here now. Grandfather and mother Gibson
died at about the age of ninety-five years, after living together
as man and wife seventy-five years. Grandmother, on my
mother's side, died shortly after coming out here. Both my
parents are dead and are all at rest with many others in the
cemetery on the old homestead, donated for a place of rest by
the veteran pioneer who entered the land.

Many pioneers in this neglected spot are laid.

By. their hardships the improvements here were made.

An addenda concludes the injucundity of the writer, and
as has been the case before, and may be again, to know how



96 EARLY LIFE AND TIMES IN

the old settlers acquired any education, there being no facili-
ties for schools in those early times. Many, lii^e myself,
graduated in one of the best institutions of the country, in
which to gain a thorough education. The great North'^vestern
Institute, ^^here hundreds of the most useful persons in the
country graduated, using their functions with practical sense,
looking over the broad surface of the earth at the mountains^
rivers, continents and manner of people, and then guided their
views to the aborial region, contemplating the firmament with
all the luminaries, imbibing ideas from nature's pure fountain
which are correct and utilizing them in a way that will give a
development of correct principles. Oniiisoi it quimalopence.

RECOLLECTIONS OF SAMUEL EVANS.

The only surviving members of our family are one brother
and myself. Evan Evans came here in the spring of 1838.
The next spring I came with my family. Our brother Jona-
than came out in the fall of the same year I came. All looked
new and wild. We had a body of heavy timber to commence
in. We settled on what was known as the wander prairies,
two miles south of Elizaville. They were wet most of the
season unless we had an unusually dry summer. The prairies
afforded pasturage as early as the 1st of March. This was a
great relief to us as we had our farms to make. Our best
plow was the jumping shovel. Our farm implements were few
in number. The prairies furnished a good supply of hay for
winter use. There was a good supply of game, such as deer,
coon, turkeys, and smaller varieties. I never had the patience
required to make a successful hunter. We had two of Ken-
tucky's hunters, Willis West and Grandpa Baker, Our mar-
kets were distant and milling inconvenient. We got our
hand-mills going and soon got up a pot of mush out of new
corn. Buckwheat was easier ground. W"e used bridle-paths
for highways, for sometime if a crossing became muddy we



^^




PHILIP SICKS.



BOONE COUNTY, INDIANA. 97

would soon select another place. The loom and spinning-
wheel which we depended on in those days have disa])peared.
The neighborhood generally came together at raisings and log-
rollings. We were thinly settled for awhile, and I consider
that the most enjoyable time. As population increased pride
began to loom up, consequently other rulings became more
manifested. Several items might be inserted, but as others are
contributing to your book this will be sufficient. Ages are
as follows: E. Evans in eighty-sixth year; I am in my sev-
enty-third year.

COMMUNICATION FllOM WILLIAM H. MILLS.

I was born in Guilford County, N. C, June 9, 1815; was
married to Tobitha Stanbrough, of Wayne County, Ind.,
October 29, 1836. She proved a worthy companion and help-
mate worthy the name of mother and wife. My early boy-
hood days were spent in Carolina and Virginia. At the age
often years I accompanied my father in his trips hauling flour
and bacon to South Carolina to supply the rich slave-holders
and their slaves. At the age of fifteen years, I moved a family
from North Carolina to Wayne County, Ind., remained there
a short time, visiting friends and relatives, when I sold the
wagon and returned to North Carolina with the team, over
the mountains of Virginia and Tennessee. At the age of sev-
enteen I hauled salt from the Ocean Salt Works to Wilming-
ton, a distance of eight miles, making one trip a day, driving
a good team, consisting of five good horses. At eighteen I
hauled tobacco, for a rich old planter, to Petersburgh, Va.
The next year I moved to Wayne County, Ind., where, in due
course of time, I was married, as above stated. After our
marriage, in 1836, we moved to Madison County, Ind., where
we had but few white neighbors, with plenty of Indians at
our side. Here, for seven years, we had a hard struggle for a
start in the world, and where most of our family v/ere born.
7



98 EARLY LIFE AND TIMES IN

In the year 1842 we moved to what ^s'as then called the " State
of Boone," where we have resided ever since. My occupation
has been farming and stock-raising. A portion of the time I
was engaged in threshing grain in Boone and Montgomery
counties, I believe I had among the first, if not the very
first, threshers in the county. Threshing was not, at that
time, done in a few days, but we often worked at it in the
winter time. Six children living, one in Texas, one in Flor-
ida, two in Kansas, two in Indiana, all of whom are doing
well, and I am glad to say I raised them to be temperate and
industrious men and women. My first vote was cast for the
late Solomou Meredith, for sheriff, in 1836 — a noble, good
man, who stood high, not only among his friends, but on his
feet, being full six feet and six inches high. I was an old
^yhig up to the death of that party. I have been acting with
the Kepublican party, but of late have nearly lost confidence
in parties. I want to live to see a good prohibitory law
enacted in our state and nation, as it would, in my opinion,
stop seven-tenths, of the evils of our good county. I am
glad to say I have lived to see our county improve so much.
The "State of Boone" is no more applied to us in ridicule,
but we are fast climbing to the top in the way of advancement
in everything that goes to make up a good county.

I trust you will have good success in your laudable under-
taking of writing up the " Early Life and Times of Boone
County."

Mr. Mills resides three-fourths of a mile west of Thorn-
town.

COMMUXICATIOX FROM JAMES A. RICHARDSON.

I was born in Owen County, Indiana, on March 17, 1827.
My father moved to Boone County on the 31st of February,
1837, and this county has been my home since that time.
There has been a great change in the county since that time.
There were but two roads laid out in the eastern part of the



BOONE COUNTY^ INDIANA. 99

county, viz. : the Michigan and the Lebanon and Noblesville
road. The few settlers that lived in this neighborhood lived
in log cabins, in the woods with a small patch of ground par-
tially cleared. The manner of clearing in those days was to
grub the ,<mall bushes and chop the small trees and logs with
-axes. Piling them up in large heaps they would be left to
dry until th'^y could be burned. After deadening the re-
mainder of the trees the fields then looked more like woods
than cornfields. This, however, was the best we could do, as
to have chopped all the trees in this thick forest with its un-
ditched and overshaded land would hav<?beenan impossibility.
We had no implements but the maul, wedge, Carey plow and
the old-fashioned single shovel plow. The Carey plow was
very scarce then, not being more than one to every half-dozen
settlers. Such a thing as a carriage or bugcrv was never heard
of. We lived on corn bread, hog, hominy, potatoes, pumpkins
and wild game. There was an abundance of small game, such
as deer, wild turkey, pheasants, quails, raccoons, opossums,
grey squirrels and rabbits. There was an old water mill on
Eagle Creek that ground a little corn meal in the rainy part
of the year, but it being very slow was not to be depended
upon. A hungry hound could have eaten the meal as fast as
it was ground. We carried our corn on horseback to Dye's
and Sheets' mills. The distance was eight and eleven miles.
In a few years we raised a little wheat which we had to take
to Indianapolis to get ground for flour. As for market, what
"wheat and hugs we raised we took to Lafayette, on the Wabash,
or to the Ohio River. The price of wlieat in those days was
from forty to fii\y cents ])er bushel. The hogs were sold to
hog merchants, who bought as large droves as they could buy.
The price the settlers received was from 81.50 to $2.50 per
100 pounds. We had to have some things, such as salt, letither
and spun cotton fin- chain for jeans and linsey. Th j-e arti-
cles were indispensable, and if they could not be had any other
way the deer and raccoon skins were resorted to to supply the
"Nvant, The women spun the wool, wove the jeans and made



100 EARLY LIFE AND TIMES IN

by hand all the clothing the men wore in the winter, and spun



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 8 of 38)