JUNE 27, 1814
200 years ago today in Washington County, Indiana Territory, Isaac Newton Blackford who was the County Clerk/Recorder appointed by Governor Thomas Posey in January of 1814 finally had obtained a suitable bound and blank record book in which to transcribe the land transactions occurring with the boundaries of Washington County since its formation out of territory previously located in parts of Clark, Harrison and Knox Counties. Many documents executed in late 1813 by our forbearers had remained unrecorded because the trip to the court house in Corydon was not convenient to make. All of the documents executed by the occupants in Washington County in 1814 had remained unrecorded as the newly organized provisional government of Washington County was not yet fully functional. Isaac Blackford as Recorder had been holding some of these documents for safekeeping until he had a book to record them in. One of the documents held by Blackford was the original plat for Salem completed by John DePauw on April 4, 1814.
The process of recording a deed in 1814 included the complete transcription of the language of the instrument in a single official public record book. Blackford could only transcribe two or three documents each day as accuracy of the record was more important than the convenience to the parties to the documented transaction being memorialized. The first document transcribed for official recording by Mr. Blackford on Monday June 27, 1814 was the plat of Salem prepared by John DePauw as agent for the newly created seat of government for Washington County, Indiana. The redrawing of the plat of Salem and the transcription of the written description of its assumptions and standards must have taken most of that day. Isaac Blackford then spent the rest of the work day transcribing the deed in which Benjamin and Catherine Brewer had conveyed their 160 acre land patent in the southwest quarter of Section 17, T2N, R4E to John DePauw on March 18, 1814 for the sum of $1,300.
The reason that it took Blackford over five months to procure an official book to record the land transactions of the residents of Washington County is unknown. However, as the organization of the collection of tax revenues locally had just been established, it is likely that there were no public funds immediately available to purchase items such as a leather bound record book. This original record is still on file in the Office of the Recorder of Washington County, Indiana although its leather cover became tattered and thin years ago resulting in its rather plain rebinding.