May 25, 1814
200 years ago today, William Lindley was operating a saw mill on Royse's Fork of Blue River downstream from that part of his 1813 land patent sold to John DePauw for the development of Salem as the seat of government of Washington County, Indiana Territory. He had hopes that the development of Salem would increase the demand for sawed lumber from his mill. Between the years of 1812 through 1818 William and Mary Pitts Lindley received title to 7 different quarter sections in the vicinity of this fork of Blue River. They were one of several Quaker families of entrepreneurial bent who had come from North Carolina to the Indiana Territory. They were also among many of these Quakers who willingly participated in the civic development of Washington County in its first years.
The saw mill just west of Lindley's home which hosted the Washington Circuit Court for over a year was the first of 3 mills that William Lindley developed on Blue River before 1818. This first mill was sold to William Rodman in 1824 who then made it a saw mill also. Lindley developed a second mill on Blue River downstream from Fort Hill. The rights to this registered land claim were assigned to Joseph Thornburg who actually took title to the site from the United States in June of 1817. Thornburgh eventually sold the mill to merchant Jonathan Lyon in 1822 who then sold it to Eli Wright in 1832. Eli Wright died from cholera on June 14, 1833 as did several of his neighbors along this reach of Royse's Fork. Guardians Solomon Bower and Samuel Hinds arranged for the continued operation of this grist mill for several years for the benefit of Wrights children. The third mill associated with William Lindley was located on Blue River between the other two. Adam Cauble bought the mill and 160 acres on October 21, 1820 for $2,300. This mill was operated for over 50 years by 3 generations of Caubles as a grist and saw mill before it became a steam powered mill that made wagon spokes.
William and Mary Lindley followed the opening of the frontier in the State of Illinois and took out 4 land patents in Tazewell County near the newly established county seat of Pekin, Illinois. Mill races and dam foundation stones remaining from the Blue River mills of this Washington County Quaker pioneer are still visible in Bluer River today.