201 years ago today in Washington County, Indiana Territory, Zachariah Lindley and Robert Hollowell each received title to land patents that had registered shortly after their emigration to the Indiana Territory from Orange County, North Carolina. Lindley’s tract was located in the southwest quarter of Section 33, T1N, R2E along the Vincennes Road. It was the second 160 acre tract that Lindley had purchased from the US Government in this area. Hollowell’s tract was located in the northwest quarter of Section 3, T1S, R2E. He received it as assignee of Thomas Hopper who reputed to have been the first squatter in the area that became Washington County, Indiana. This was the first of eighteen land patents that Robert Hollowell would receive between the years of 1813 through 1838 in Washington, Orange and Lawrence Counties.
In 1809, Zachariah Lindley and Robert Hollowell had preceded a group of Quakers that were led to settlement in the Indiana Territory by Zachariah’s father, Jonathan Lindley, in 1811. During that year, he led a wagon train of emigrants from Orange County, North Carolina to the Lick Creek watershed in the southern part of the Territory of Indiana that was then part of Harrison County. At the time his son was settling in Indiana two years earlier, Jonathan Lindley made a prospecting trip to Indiana and had purchased a large tract of land where Terre Haute now stands. The Indian uprising led by Tecumseh and The Prophet in the Wabash region caused the caravan of emigrants to stop in the southern part of the Indiana territory along the Vincennes Road. The trek over the Wilderness Road through the Cumberland Gap and the Kentucky Bluegrass must have been a difficult one for Jonathan Lindley’s wife, Deborah Dicks Lindley, as he died in the Lick Creek settlement on August 10, 1811. In January of 1814 the Lick Creek neighborhood became part of Madison Township of the newly formed Washington County, Indiana Territory.
Jonathan Lindley was a community leader of great ability and influence. In North Carolina he was a successful timber and turpentine dealer. He had served 5 terms in the North Carolina House of Commons and had unsuccessfully introduced legislation to limit the importation of slaves in the Tar Heel State. While in the North Carolina legislature, he refused to vote to ratify the US Constitution until it was amended to include a Bill of Rights. Upon settlement in Indiana he was a founder of the Lick Creek Friends Meeting in 1813. This was the second Quaker meeting house in the Indiana Territory and the first in southern Indiana.
His leadership traits were quickly recognized by Territorial Governor Thomas Posey as Lindley was appointed the Presiding Judge of the first circuit court of Washington County in January 1814. His experience in the North Carolina legislature guided the establishment of civil government in Washington County as the court was the provisional government of Washington County until statehood was achieved in 1816. He was instrumental in getting the territorial legislature to create Orange County, Indiana as of February 1, 1816. When Indiana attained statehood, he was the first representative of Orange County in the General Assembly. As an Indiana legislator, he introduced a bill that provided for a bank at Vincennes. The General Assembly named him to a board that established a State Seminary that later became Indiana University.