Friday, June 20, 2014

JUNE 20, 1814

200 years ago today, John DePauw sold his second set of lots to Joseph Nixon. Nixon bought 2 lots in Salem for the sum of $27.  The lots purchased were 49 and 92.  Lot 49 is located at the southeast corner of North Main and Hackberry Streets.  This is the northwest part of the CVS Pharmacy lot today.   Lot 92 is located at what is today 305 South High Street.  Although, DePauw began selling lots on April 4, 1814, only 2 buyers had paid their purchase amounts in full during the ensuing 77 days.

As Joseph Nixon was the 20 year old son of Zachariah and Martha Toms Nixon, the Nixon family was increasing its stake in the nascent county seat of Washington County, Indiana Territory.  Zachariah and Joseph Nixon now owned 5 lots near to the north line of DePauw’s plat near one of the family’s land patents on the edge on the emerging community of Salem.  The other lot that Joseph Nixon purchased must have been some expression of youthful rebellion as it was at the other end of the plat from his father’s lots and near to the lot that Town Trustee Thomas Beesley had made a down payment on to build his tavern.  The elder Nixon accepted this show of independence as any lot purchased in Salem was likely to make his land on Brock Creek abutting DePauw’s plat on the north more valuable.

Now that Joseph Nixon had some land, his engagement to Ruth Lindley was soon to result in their marriage.  Ruth was the 15 year old daughter of Samuel and Mary Braxton Lindley.  As both families were part of the Quaker settlement in Washington County, the marriage had the blessing of both families.  Between his father’s large land holdings and his future father in law’s successful horse mill operating on the wagon road near Royse’s Lick, Joseph Nixon assumed that his prospects were good on the frontier of the Indiana Territory.

Joseph and Ruth Lindley Nixon began raising a large family quickly as 9 children were born in the next 12 years.  Tragically, Joseph died on May 18, 1828 at the age of 34.  Ruth’s extended family of parents, siblings and inlaws helped her raise the children for the next 5 years.  On January 31, 1833, Ruth married a young widower, Enoch Parr, whose family had come to Indiana from Rowan County NC.   Parr’s first wife, Nancy Carr, died in 1830 with several children surviving her.  They had been part of the Baptist Sharon Church congregation. The blending of Ruth’s 9 children with Enoch’s 6 must not have been a great challenge as they proceed to have another 7 children of their own.
Raising such a large family must have agreed with her as Ruth lived to the age of 90 and died near Harristown, In on June 17, 1889.

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