JULY 11, 1814
200 years ago today in Washington County, Indiana Territory, Thomas Lindley and Samuel Chambers were ready to file their road viewing report with the Washington Circuit Court. George Henton, William Holliday and other citizens had filed a petition with the court in April asking that that a public road be established “from the Knox County line at either Section 7 or 18 in T1E, R1N thence running by William Holliday, George Henton and then to Salem town”. Henton and Holliday had settled in the western part of Washington County which is part of Orange County today. They had only a crude trail that eventually led to Royse’s Lick to travel on to reach the new county seat when it became built up. The court appointed Thomas Lindley, Joseph Wells and Samuel Chambers or any two of them to recommend the most convenient route.
As Wells was unable to participate in the project, Lindley and Chambers proposed that the road be laid out as follows:
1. Beginning at Section 7, T1N. R1E on the Knox County Line….
This is south southeast of where Paoli is today. The Washington-Knox County line was immediately east of were Paoli was established in 1815.
2. to the land of William Holliday….
William Holliday had received his land title on February 23, 1813 for the northeast quarter of Section 9, T1N, R1E which is southeast of present day Paoli. William and Jane Andrew Holliday were both born in Chester County, Pa in the 1750s and were part of the Lick Creek Friends community. William Holliday didn’t get to use the road for very long as he died in 1818.
3. to the land of George Henton….
George and Mary Rigney Henton were Virginians. George was from Shenandoah County, Va and was a soldier in the American Revolution. Mary was from Pittsylvania County, Va. They owned land in the area near present day Millersburg.
4. to the land of Joseph Wells….
Joseph Wells had registered a land claim in the southwest quarter of Section 4, T1N, R2E. This located just southwest of where Livonia is no located. Wells sold his claim to Stephen Smith who obtained the land patent in 1818.
5. then through the woods to the Poplar Cabin….
Lindley and Chambers were coursing the road around the hills where the Crawford Upland abuts on the western edge of the Mitchell Karst Plain. Obviously the area around Livonia in 1814 had not yet been cleared of the old growth forest present in the area. The Poplar Cabin was the residence of Abraham Rife who operated a small store in his home. This location is in the wetlands northeast of Livonia. Rife/Reiff was of German heritage having been born in Rockingham County, Virgina. His first wife Anna Henigan died in 1814 and he was remarried in 1819 to Polly Collier. Polly was the daughter of John and Cassandra Crook Collier who had settled where the West Washington School is now located. Abraham Rife later relocated to Clay County, Illinois which was a popular place of resettlement for Washington County pioneers.
6. then through the Barrens…
The Barrens consisted of interconnected treeless prairie like areas in the karst plain that transverses the western half of Washington County. The Barrens were found mostly south and west of Beck’s Mill but extended north into present day Vernon Township where there are no surface streams.
7. along the main road to the Walkers through the woods to intersect the new road…
Obadiah Walker lived in the northeast quarter of Section 27, T2N, 3E for which he had registered his land claim. This is located on the east slope of Mill Creek just north of the Mill Creek Cemetery and SR 56. Walker sold his claim to William Lee and then moved north of Millport where he obtained a land patent north of the Muscatatuck along the road that led from the old ford to Vallonia. The main road referred to may have been one of the road that radiated out from Beck’s Mill.
8. thence along the road to the Rocky Branch….
Rocky Branch has to be the branch that runs southeast out of Spring Meadow Subdivision under SR 56 then under Quarry Road and then west of the quarry to Royse’s Fork of Blue River.
9. then the nearest way to Highland Camp….
This is one of the few [only?] references in the public records of Washington County to a specific location where Indians lived at the time of settlement. Highland was a Lenni Lenape [Delaware] leader of a band of Indians that lived along Highland Creek. The camp is near where West Market Street crosses Highland Creek probably near the spring that became the quarry.
10. then by James Harbison….
James and Nancy Ann Glazebrook Harbison owned the quarter section immediately west of the Benjamin and Catherine Brewer land purchased by John DePauw to lay out Salem. This is the area west of Shelby Street along and east of Tarr Avenue. James Harbison died in the 1820s and his wife moved to Henderson County, Illinois with some of her grown children.
11. thence to the west end of the main street in the town of Salem….
This would be where Market Street and Shelby Street intersect.
This road was officially established by the Washington Circuit Court on July 11, 1814. It was altered on the west end soon after Paoli was platted in 1815. Today’s West Market Street out to the “Cozy Corner/Eagles Lodge” intersection of SR 56 certainly follows its end part. Some of SR 56 between Salem and Banks Corner follows it today.