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 9 of 38)
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flax and tow and wove into linen, which they made into shirts^
and pants for their summer wear. There was but little dress
goods bought in those days. All this work the fair ones had
to do without the aid of machines save the big and little wheels
and hand looms. Tliere was not a cook-stove, sewing machine
nor washing machine for ten or fifteen years after the first
settling of what is known as the Big Spring neighborhood. The
"women had to do their cooking by the fireplace, and one room
was parlor, sitting-room, bedroom, dining-room and kitchen.
I am of the opinion that if the women of to-day had to go
back and endure the privations of that time there would be
some bloody snoots and black shins. We had to cut our wheat
with the sickle and threshed it with the flail or tramped it oft*
on a dirt floor with a horse in the field on the ground. To
separate the wheat from the chatT, we made wind with a sheet
in the hands of men, one at each end to riddle the downs to
them. We cut our meadows with the poorest kind of scythes ;
I think they were all of iron with a crooked stick fastened to
them. We had no steel pitch-forks in those days, but had to
go to the woods, hunt out forked bushes and peel them to
handle our hay with. We did not raise a great amount of
hay. Our stock cows lived most of the winter Avithout hay.
Cattle and sheep M'ere very unhealthy at that time. The cat-
tle died with what was called bloody murain or dry murain;
but it is now thought to have been leeches that were In the-
sloughs and ponds. The sheep died from eating wild parsnips
which grew abundantly in the low, wet land. Hogs did well,
living almost the year round without corn. Just enough was-
given them to keep them from growing wild. There were a
great many wild hogs in the woods at that time. We had no
school houses and no churches. The first school house in this
neighborhood was built on the land of Jonathan Scott, on the-
east bank of Eagle Creek, one quarter of a mile west of the
little village of Big Spring. This house was built about the
year 1838. The first church organization was a class of the-


M. E. Church about the year 1837. In the summer or fall of
that year the class was organized at Caleb Richardson's, and
for a few years most of their meetings were held there and at
John Parr's. Finally their society grew strong enough to
build, which they did about the year 1840. They gave it the
name of Big Spring. This name was given it because of its
nearness to a very large spring of water. This church was a
large and commodious hewed I02: buildincc and served a 2:ood
purpose as a church until the year 1866, when it was super-
ceded by a neat frame building, which stands there to-day.
But where are the old pioneers who broke the first sod, cleared
the brush, felled the large oaks and built the first school
houses and churches? They are all gone except two that I
know of, and those are old Uncle Johnny Parr and old Aunt
Anna Jlichardson.


Statement by Thomas P. Miller, who was born in Dickson
County, Tenn., on the 1st of December, 1812: When I was
about one year old my father, Wm. Miller, moved to Butler
County, Ohio, where he remained long enough to raise one
crop. He then moved to Union County, Indiana, five miles
southeast of Liberty, eight miles west of Oxford and three and
one-half miles southwest of the College Corner, where we re-
mained until April, 1831. Father had sold his farm the win-
ter before and entered eighty acres of land in Boone County,
where he afterwards laid out the town of Eagle Village. In
the meantime he went to Cincinnati and purchased a stock of
dry goods, groceries, hardware, queensware, etc. He hired
ray cousin. James McClelland, to haul his goods from Cin-
cinnati to Boone County. With three yoke of large oxen and
-a. large wagon, James brought the goods from Cincinnati to
our house. With our household goods loaded into a wagon,
we all started together for Boone. We got along tolerably


well until we passed Rushville. It had been raining consid-
erable and finally turned up with a blustering sdow storm,
which compelled us to stop. "We stopped at the farm house
of Rev. James Haven, who kindly gave us the use of a school
house near his residence. The next day, continuing our jour-
ney, we came to the Little Blue River, where we remained all
night on account of high water. The next day we came on
to Big Blue. There we crossed in a ferry boat by making
several trips. Our next drawback was at Big Sugar, where
we were compelled to unload our goods and cross in a largo
canoe. The wagons were taken to pieces and the horses and
cattle allowed to swim across. Crossing Yv'hite River at
Indianapolis in a boat we arrived at Uncle Frank McClclland's
and Uncle Thomas Martin's, seven miles west of Indianapolis.
We were now but fourteen miles from our destination.
Cousin W. B. ^McClelland, brother John and I started ahead
with our axes. From David Hoover's we cut our road
through the thick woods and underbrush, crossing Eagle
Creek to a point about two hundred yards south of the line of
the Michigan Road. We then built a camp, enclosing three
sides. The roof, which extended several feet farther than the
open front, was covered with clap-boards. The next day our
household goods were unloaded in the camp. Our next mis-
sion was to build a store-house. This we built of log?>
scratched inside and out with the broad axe. The size of this
large and commodious store room was about sixteen feet square.
When we were ready for the goods it was not long before we
heard brother Jim hallooing "Mike and Jim; Duke and
Darby," more than a mile away. When he came up tlie re-
marks he made about the new road w'e had cut were not very
flattering. Of course it was not an air line. It was a singular
and lonesome looking place for a dry goods store, but it was
not long before the men commenced to drop in through the
woods, generally with a gun on their shoulder. Our next work
was to build a double losr house for a familv residence, which
was of the same architecture as the store room.



At that time there were a few families about three or four
miles east of us on Williams Creek and McDulfey's run, in
Hamilton County. There were also several families on
Crooked Creek, in Marion County about five miles from us.
There were quite a number of families in Marion County on
Eagle Creek, below the Boone County line, who were our neiii^h-
bors and traded at our store. The rest of our neighbors were
in Boone County, on Eagle Creek above the Marion County
line. I believe I can give the names of nearly all of rheni.
Squire, Jacob Sheets, grown sons, Andrew and George, John
Sheets, Patrick Sullivan, John Sargent, David Hoover, first
clerk of circuit court, sons Jacob and Isaac, Elijah Cross,
Austin Davenport, first sheriff, Jesse Davenport, one of the
first county commissioners, Wesley Smith, first county treas-
urer, James G. Blair, John King, Rev. Benj. Harris, Captain
Frederick Lowe, sons John and George, Wm. E. Lane, Jesse
Lane, Samuel Lane, Elijah Stand ridge, Jacob Johns, John
Robert Johns, Henry Johns, Johns, Renny Johns, Rev.
George Dodson, Elijah Dicker.-, jn, Aaron Phipps, Ruel Dod-
SOD, Thomas Dodson, George Walker, Thomas Walker,
Texes Jackson, Edward Jackson, and perhaps a few oiiiers
whose names I have forgotten. The above were ail, or
nearlv all livino- on Eatjle Creek, above the Marion
County line, a distance of eight miles. There were two or
three families living on Whitelick, near the edge of Hendricks
County — I believe one by the name of Dollerhide and one
Specklerauir. There was another small settlement at James-
town and one at Thorutown, which made up the inhabitants
of Boone County at that time. The next year the emigration
to Boone County increased rapidly. Dozens of families had
settled within three miles of us on the west side of Eagle Creek.
I will give a few of their names : Abram Phillips, Lewis Dale,
Noah Byrket, Jesse Harden, Joshua Foster, James and U.ob-
ert White, Wm. Beelar, and many others. I remember well
of Joshua Foster asking me to hew a set of house logs for him.
I think it was the same year we came to Boone CVuinty tliat


Austin Davenport was electpcl representative to the state legis-
lature from Boone and Hamilton counties and a scope of
territory north and east of Hamilton County, beating William
Conner, of Noblesville. The voting precincts at that time
were from ten to twenty miles apart. On election day I went
to Jamestown to electioneer for Mr. Davenport, bought a quart
of whisky, and in the language of Captain Rice, "gin a treat/'
Mr. Davenport got about all the votes at the precinct. Bro.
Wash went the same day to a precinct at or near the fulls of
Fall Creek and done some electioneering for Mr. Davenport,
which precinct is now a part of Madison County. I believe
at that time there were only three voting precincts in Boone
County; one at David Hoover's, on Eagle Creek, one at
Thorntown and one at Jamestown. The same year Austin
Davenport, James McClelland and I, took a trip to Lafayette
on horseback via Thorntown. We passed through the place
whore the city of Lebanon now stands but did not see a house
from the time we left Eagle Creek till we came to Thorntown.
We saw several deer but no Indians. Between Thorntown and
Lafayette we saw several houses, many gopher hills, prairie
chicken, sand-hill cranes and sod fences. Mr. Davenport
stopped at his brother-in-law's, Samuel Hoover, while James
and I crossed the river, going about four miles in the country
to Uncle Moses Meek's. Jim was riding a pretty fair looking
white horse which he was praising to Uncle. "Yes," said
uncle, " I know that to be a good horse ; I knew him twenty
years ago. He belonged to a man by the name of Harter who
lived near College Corner, in L^nion County. The only objec-
tion any one had to him at that time was that he was a little
too old."

The Michigan road was cut out from Madison, Ind., to
South Bend in the years 1829, 1S30 and 1831. When we
came to our camp in Boone County the road was cut as far as
the top of the hill at White River, five and a half miles from
Indianapolis. About a year later the cutting and grubbing
was finished through Boone County. The road is one hun-


•dred feet wide. Thirty feet of the center the trees were
grubbed out by the roots, leaving thirty-five feet on each side
that was cut oti nearly level with the ground. Thousands of
dollars worth of fine walnut, poplar, oak and other valuable
timber was literally ruined. When one of those fine, large trees
was grubbed out by the roots it would leave a hole as deep as
a man's head. As soon as a tree would fall two men would
jump on it with axes, both on one side, about six or eight feet
from the roots, cutting right and left. As soon as one side was
-cut half through they would turn 1o the other side, cutting in
the same manner the timber in such lengths as suited them to
haul out of the road. Those large tree roots, logs, brush and
rubbish hauled out on each side of the road made it almost
impossible to get either in or out of the road. Thos. ISIartin,
of Marion County, and Jas. Sigreson, of Hendricks County,
had the contract for cutting and grubbing seventeen miles of
the Michigan road, from Indianapolis north, which extended
about four miles into Boone County. As soon as the jSIichi-
gan road was cut out, \Vm. Miller laid out the town of Eagle
Village, which was surveyed by Geo. L. Kinnard, of Marion
County. T. P. Miller, a son of Wm. Miller, carried one end
of the chain to lay off the town, although only eighteen years
old. Wra. Miller, in 1836, sold his farm, including all unsold
lots in Eagle Village, to Daniel M. Larimore, who afterwards
laid off an addition to the village. Wm. Miller was the first
postmaster, Fielden Utterback the second postmaster, Thos.
P. Miller was third postmaster. He was then serving as jus-
tice of the peace, holding that office ten years and the office of
postmaster nearly nine years. Jos. F. Daugherty was fourth
postmaster, Nathan Crosby the fifth and last postmaster, the
oflBce having been abolished. As soon as the cutting and
grubbing of the Michigan road was finished, the contracts for
grading were let to the lowest bidder. The sale took place at
Indianapolis. Austin Morris was the auctioneer and Robt.
B. Duncan clerk. J. C. Walker got most of the contracts on
this part of the road. When tiie grading was finished and the


holes where the large roots had been taken out filled up, the
contract for brido-inQ: the streams was let. The brids:es when
finished were very rough but substantial. The road was now
ready for the four-horse coaches which were soon carrying the
daily mail from Indianapolis to Logansport.

For months at a time while I was postmaster, I had to get
up at three o'clock in the morning and change the mail.
When the roads were bad they had to use what they called
mud wagons. "When we first settled in Boone County the
woods were covered with pea vine, which afforded excellent
pasture for cattle. There were a good many black and yellow
rattlesnakes. Just west of Squire Sheets place there was a
little mill, or corucracker, which had been built by the neigh-
bors for their convenience. Jesse Davenport said when it was
in use it was a faithful little mill. Just as soon as it would
finish one grain of corn it would jump right on to another.
At that time there was no regular miller, each person doing
his own grinding. One of the neighbors took a little sack of
corn to the mill, put it in the hopper, started the mill and
went home, to return when his grist should be ground. Hav-
ing accidently shut his dog in the mill, he returned to find the
meal eaten out of the chest as fast as it had been ground in.
The county seat of Boone was located about 1832, and named
Lebanon. The board of county commissioners were called to
meet and let the contracts for building a court house and jail.
The court house was a hewed log house, about 16x24 feetf
two stories high, and was built on a lot on the north side of
the public square. The first jail was built east of the public
square and was made of hewed logs about a foot square. After
the contracts were let for the building of the court house and
jail, Jesse Davenport, who was one of the county commission-
ers, returned home. Several of the neighbors called to learn
the result of the first meeting of the board at the new caj»itol.
In answer to- the question regarding the size of the court
house, Mr. Davenport said: "It is to be ten feet square and
ten rails hisrh." There were some mud and several log =han-


ties scattered around in different parts of the town. There
was one log shanty on Main street, near the southwest corner
of the public square, that seemed to attract as much of the
crowd as the court, which was then in session. There was a
man in that log house who was retailing whisky by the drink.
The floor of the cabin was laid with round poles about four
inches in diameter, and in walking over these they would
spring down into the mud and water until it was a perfect lob-
lolly. At that time I believe there was no license required
for selling svhisky, which retailed at twenty-five cents a gallon.
At the first court in Lebanon there were not many cases on
the docket. Nearly half the cases were called hog cases, ])er-
sons indited for stealing hogs. At a subsequent court held in
the same court house, Mr. Thos. Kersey, a respectable farmer,
and three or four other gentlemen who had been summoned
on the jury, were sitting in a room in the hotel. Col. C. C.
Nave, a prominent attorney of Hendricks County, was walk-
ing back and forth across the room with his thumbs stuck in
the armholes of his vest. Suddenly facing those jurors he
said : " I am hell on a hog case." Mr. Kersey said he sup-
posed the colonel took them all to be hog thieves.

The auditor's, treasurer's and recorder's offices were all
destroyed by fire in October, 1856. The auditor, James A.
Nunn, succeeded in saving one book, which was of but little
value. The treasurer, John C. Daily, got the tax duplicate
for that year, which was of more value to the county than any
other book in the office. There was nothing saved in the
recorder's office. Thomas P. Miller was not at the fire, but
could not have saved anything if he had been there, as the
recorder's books were all at the back part of the room, the
most remote from the head of the stairs. The three offiees
were in the same room, in the second story. The entire bl<>ck
was consumed by fire. In the recorder's office there wer(.' at
least one thousand deeds burned, that had been recorded and
not taken out, which made it necessary to get a proof record
and also a record of deeds heretofore recorded, which made


much trouble, expense and some litigation. The two first
brick dwellings built in Lebanon were built by Sanuiel S.
Brown and William Zion. Thomas P. Miller had the first
brick business house, which was built for William Bowers,
the saddler, and was built of brick out of the old court house.
William F. Boyd was the bricklayer, Frank Williams the car-
penter, and George James and Allen Coombs the tin roofers.
When the house was finished a scuttle-hole was made in the
Toof and Billy Bowers constructed a rope ladder, so as to have
easy ascent to the roof in case of fire. That house stands on
the south side of the public square, and is joined on the east
by Dr. James Evans' building, the second brick building
erected in Lebanon. Lebanon's second jail was built on the
same lot that the first log court house was built, and was of
hewed logs a foot sqiiare. The third jail was built on the
same lot. It was of brick, stone and iron. It was about the
size of a hen-coop and a perfect nuisance. The fourth jail,
which stands near the northeast corner of the public square,
can be seen with the naked eye. The third court house can
-tilso be seen without a spy-glass. The names of the four
county officers who were in office at the time the court house
was built were cut in a stone and placed over the north door
of the court house, viz. : W. C. Kise, clerk ; J. A. Xunn,
auditor; J. C. Daily, treasurer; and T. P. Miller, recorder,
Thomas P. Miller is the only one now living, although the
eldest of the four, Hugh O'Xeal, a prominent attorney of
Indianapolis, who practiced in Boone County at an early day,
said he thought Boone would be a very good county some day,
but it would have to be jerked up about three feet. The
man that did the first surveying in Boone County (before it
was a county) was Col. Thomas Brown, of Union County,
Ind. I was a small boy, but remember when he surveyed
the new purchase, as it was called. Brown's Wonder took its
name from a remark he made while surveying near that creek.
Setting his jacob-stafP down and looking all around, he said,
■**I wonder where Ave are?" In his field-notes he said the


undergrowth consisted principally of hazel brush, prickle-ash
and black rattlesnakes. Austin Davenport built the first
brick house in Boone County, which is on the ]Michigan road^
a half mile north of Eagle Village. T. P. Miller built the
second house in Eagle Village, a hewed log house, one story,
sixteen by eighteen feet, and a brick chimney, the first in the
neighborhood. W. "\Y. Miller built the first house in Eagle
Village, which was a cabinet shop, sixteen by tweenty-four
feet, hewed logs. The first dry goods establishment in Eagle
Village, after the town was located, was the firm of Williams,
Conner & Russell. At one time Eagle Village had two hotels",
four or five dry goods stores, two groceries, two tan-yards, two
saddle shops, two blacksmith shops, cabinet shop, tin shop,
chair shop, and a half dozen carpenters. The Indianapolis
and Lafayette State road was surveyed in 1829. James
McFalin was the commissioner; Col. George L. Kinnard, sur-
veyor; Robert Martin, the bush-whacker; James McClelland
and William W. Miller, chain-carriers. The first survey made
from Indianapolis missed Lafayette two miles, but when there,
the colonel knew where Indianapolis was, and had no trouble
in correcting back. When they arrived at the point where
Lebanon now stands. Col, Kinnard turned to the chain-carriers
and asked how many pins they had. When told, he stuck his
Jacob-staff down and said : " Here is the center of Boone
County " It was not long after that till Gen. James P. Drake
and Col. George L. Kinnard were the owners of the land that
the original plat of Lebanon was laid out on. Rose, Harris"
and Longley made the first addition. Spencer and McLaugh-
lin made the second addition.


ZioNsviLLE, Ind., Oct. 18, 1<
Messrs. Harden & Spahr, Lebanon, Ind. :

Dear Sirs — Inclosed find a short sketch of my life, my
parents and grand parents.


My grand parents, Lambert Laue and Nancy Anderson,
were emigrants from England. They were both young when
their parents arrived in this country. Their parents settled
on the Su.rquehanna River in Pennsylvania about fifteen miles
north of its mouth, in the wild woods and amongst the Indians.
While living there my grand parents became acquainted and
were married in the quaint old style. My grandfather wore
a blue cloth coat cut "claw hammer" style, with no lapels,
ornamented with large brass buttons which closely buttoned
up his coat; his pantaloons were white linen, buckled with a
large silver buckle just below the knees to a pair of white silk
stockings. His shoes were leather, fastened with another pair
of silver buckles. Grandmother wore a white cambric dress,
with nice hand embroidery on the skirt. In a few years they
moved to Virginia and lived there about four years; then
they moved to Tennessee on the Holston River and remained
there for a few years, after which they moved to Shelby
County, Kentucky, about five miles from Shelbyville. AMiile
living there my father, Thomas Lane, became acquainted with
Anna Ellis, and was married to her on the 11th day of April,
1799. They lived together thirty-six years, when my father
took pneumonia and was sick for six weeks. His disease be-
came chronic and he died August 18, 1835. My mother
Dever married again, but lived to raise her family. She died
of remittent fever May 24, 1848. My father served as a
Revolutionary soldier for seven years; he was a private fjr
three years, when he was commissioned as an officer, which he
held to the close of his soldiery. He underwent many trials
and privations, but was never sick a day while in the army,
save from the wounds he received. He was wounded four
times, once seriously while guarding the ]Moccasiu Gap. He
was surrounded by the Indians and would have lost his life if
providence had not favored the occa-ion with a very severe
rain storm, which wet the powder in the Indians' old flint-lock
guns, and prevented them from firing. He put spurs to his
gallant horse and was hastily making his escape, when a sturdy


warrior seized his bridle rein and brought his horse to a sud-
den halt. Father used his sabre and cut one Indian's arm off,
hacked another on the head till he fell to the ground. He
then forced his horse through their ranks, but received a
severe cut in his right side which lasted him several weeks.

He was sent home then and remained there about three
months, when he was called back to resume his place in the
army. He always obeyed his superiors, and was never pun-
ished during his terra of soldiery. He served his time out in
the army and came home without a dollar in his pocket ; but the
•Government allowed him to bring his horse, sword and pistol
home, with the assurance that he should be paid for the whole
seven years' service and receive a land bounty, but too sad to
think of, neither got money nor land; yet he came home in
good health and good spirits, hoping that a large yield of his
tillage might make prospects brighter. He soon made money
enough to enter a quarter section of land.

He remained on that farm (Shelby County, Ky.) until the
spring of 1811, when he with his family came to the Indiana
Territory and settled on the Ohio River in what is now Har-
rison County. He entered land there, built a cabin and went

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 9 of 38)