Friday, July 4, 2014

JULY 4, 2014

Today is the first Saturday in July.  200 years ago, the first Saturday in July was July 2, 1814.  On that date in Washington County, Indiana Territory, the Sharon Baptist Church met for its regular monthly meeting as it had since October 1810.  The congregation began its meetings at the house of John and Jemima Shipman Dunlap who had registered a land claim just north of Pigeon Roost.  This tract is located today at the southeast corner of the intersection of Boatman and Collins Roads in Scott County, Indiana.  During these years Amos Thornburgh was the moderator and Jesse Spurgeon was the clerk.  Given the location of the Dunlaps house below the Knobs, Jesse Spurgeon often recorded that no one attended some of the monthly meetings.  Spurgeon also recorded that it had been determined not to meet during the months of October through December of 1812 “by reason of the hostilities of the Indians”.  The Pigeon Roost massacre had occurred on September 3, 1812 in the neighborhood immediately east of the Dunlap home.  The Indians that had committed this atrocity had undoubtedly travelled the same trail through the Old Trace Gap to reach the Pigeon Roost settlement that the church members would take to get to the Dunlaps.

In spite of these early difficulties, the congregation grew quickly.  Many of the settlers located on the upper reaches of the Harristown Branch of Royse’s Fork of Blue River and the Middle Fork of Blue River were members of the Sharon Baptist Church.  While the Quakers were predominant in the area around Brock Creek and the Canton Branch of Royse’s Fork of Blue River and the Free Will Baptists led by Amos and John Wright were predominant in the area around the lower parts of Royse’s Fork and the Middle Fork of Blue River, the Sharon Baptist Church was predominant in the area between.

This increase of membership led the congregation to change its place of meeting in September of 1813 from the Dunlap house to the house of Isaiah and Susannah Spurgeon.   The Spurgeons had  bought out Dr. Simeon Lamb’s land claim just east of Royse’s Lick and had taken title to the land in February 1813.  Isaiah Spurgeon’s brother, Jesse, who was the clerk of this congregation was reputedly the first person of European descent to settle his family in the central part of what became Washington County.  On October 1, 1814, the congregation decided to build a church house 25’ by 30’ in the northwest corner of the Spurgeon land.  A subscription was sought from the membership to pay the builder and could be paid in “corn, work, wheat, pork, marketing or cash”. It took 1 year for sufficient funds to be raised.  In October 1815, Archibald Johnson and David Denney were appointed Trustees to supervise the construction.  David Denney and Jesse Spurgeon who was a Justice of the Peace were appointed to stake out the site and write the deed for Isaiah and Susannah Spurgeon to sign.  The deed was presented to the congregation on December 2, 1815.  The church was completed and the first service held on June 1, 1816.

The first meeting in the new building was eventful.  Jesse Spurgeon acknowledged himself guilty of drinking intoxicating liquors and offered concession. Brother Spurgeon was then reproved and admonished by Rev. James McCoy of the Silver Creek Baptist Church and then “peace abounded”.  The membership during these early years included the following:

ANTHONY HINKLE
LUCRETIA HINKLE
MARY PARR
ELIZABETH RODMAN
JESSE SPURGEON
LYDIA SPURGEON
AMOS THORNBURGH
RACHEL THORNBURGH
JOHN DUNLAP
JEMIMA DUNLAP
MARY SHIPMAN
ELISHA DENNEY
POLLY DENNEY
ARCHIBALD JOHNSON
MARY JOHNSON
ISAIAH SPURGEON
ROBERT SELLERS
SARAH SELLERS
JOHN DEPAUW
ELIZABETH DEPAUW
JOSIAH SPURGEON
ELIZABETH SPURGEON
DAVID DENNEY
JOHN W COFFEY
JAMES GREGORY
LEAH ALDERSON
ROBERT DENNEY
PATSY BLANKENBAKER
ELDER JOHN WILSON
GODLOVE KAMP
DOLLY HURST
WILLIAM WRIGHT
BENJAMIN SIMMONS
MARY HARBUT ?
WILLIAM PRESTON
ISAAC JONES
RACHEL WATSON
BARBARA SCOTT
ELIZABETH WOOD
JAMES MCCOY
JOHN SKELTON
ELIZABETH SKELTON
SAMUEL BLANKENBAKER
ELINOR SHRUM
RICHARDSON HENSLEY
AMOS LITTLE
ENOCH PARR
THOMAS HODGES
REBECKA HARTLEY
MOSES SELLERS
GEORGE CAMPBELL
ISAAC WARRELL
JAMES DAVIS
PRISCILLY DAVIS
HANNAH RODGERS
JANE WARRELL
MARGARET RODMAN
DAVID FOUTS
APOLLAS HESS
MATTHIAS WELLER
WILLIAM GRAY
ISAAC VAUGHN
WILLIAM DENNEY
HENRY GARRIOTT
MORGAN PARR
POLLY MAHONEY
PATSY FOUTS
ELINOR GARRIOTT
SUSANNAH WRIGHT
ANN WALKER
PHEBE SPURGEON
SALLY WRIGHT
MARY HOLE
ELIZABETH HODGES
JOHN JACKSON
THOMAS BROADSTREET
LEURANA BROADSTRET
WILLIAM SHARP
ANN PIERSON
LORETTA THOMAS
SIMON CARESS
ELIZABETH CARESS
MOSES DUNLAP


As seen above, John and Elizabeth Baptiste DePauw were among the early members of the Sharon Baptist Church. The minutes show that upon a few occasions, a deputation of the congregation was sent to the DePauws to encourage and confirm their attendance and support.   In spite of their sporadic attendance, John DePauw was selected to attend regional meetings of the Baptist Association on the Indiana frontier.  It is also worthy of note that DePauw turned to one of his fellow congregants, Amos Thornburgh, to be one the sureties on his $5,000 fidelity bond as agent for the sale of lots for Salem.

                                          GOOGLE EARTH VIEW OF SALEM, ROYSE'S LICK, ISAIAH                 SPURGEON TRACT AND JOHN DUNLAP TRACT



                                         PIGEON ROOST KNOB FROM JOHN DUNLAP TRACT


                                         PIGEON ROOST CREEK VALLEY HEADING WEST TO OLD TRACE GAP THROUGH KNOBS

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