Sunday, August 31, 2014

AUGUST 31, 1814

200 years ago today, the father of John DePauw died in Louisiana.  Charles Levien DePauw who was previously mentioned in the post of August 4, 2014, was a merchant in Lincoln County, Kentucky and often did business in Louisiana as that was the ultimate market for the agricultural commodities of the Transappalachian settlement of the United States until the advent of rail transportation.  In fact Charles DePauw had been travelling round trip to New Orleans since the late 1780's when he first came to Kentucky.  His role in scouting the Spanish defenses along the Mississippi River for both French and American causes is well documented.  In 1794, the Spanish authorities banished DePauw from the territory and seized some of his business property there because of his ongoing intrigues.  After France had acquired the Louisiana Territory in 1800 and the Americans had completed the Louisiana Purchase in 1803,  DePauw was free to resume tending to his business interests in Louisiana.  After his wife, Rachel Young DePauw, died in about 1806, Charles L. DePauw is reported to have led a wagon train of Kentucky settlers to Louisiana which had recently become a US territory open for settlement. It probably took several weeks for John DePauw to learn of his father's death.  It is unknown what arrangements were made for the burial of Charles Levien DePauw in 1814 but he ultimately was buried in Crown Hill Cemetery in Salem, Indiana.  As this cemetery was not established until 1824, it is of morbid interest to speculate where John DePauw's father was laid to rest in his early posthumous years.

Charles L. DePauw was not the last member of his immediate family to die in Louisiana or the Lower Mississippi Valley.  Napoleon Bonaparte DePauw who was four years older than his brother, John, died in New Orleans, La on June 2, 1837.  One can assume that he was there attending to the family's business or landholdings in Louisiana at the time.  At the time John DePauw was dividing his time overseeing his store in Caledonia in Sullivan County, Indiana and his other property holdings in five different Indiana counties.  He made the final arrangements for his brother who was buried in Crown Hill Cemetery in the DePauw family grave plot.  There is certainly another untold story here.

John DePauw himself died in Grand Gulf, Mississippi on January 25, 1838.  Grand Gulf was at the southern end of the Mississippi Delta cotton growing area.  The town had been incorporated in 1833 and quickly became the largest cotton port in the State of Mississippi. At the end of the harvest of the 1834 cotton crop, 37,770 bales of cotton were shipped from Grand Gulf.  A boom town environment existed and a large hospital, numerous retail stores, a theater and about 1,000 people resided there by the late 1830's. In a typical week, over twenty steamboats would moor at this Mississippi port to trade and to restock.  As the DePauw family had a business reputation in the Lower Mississippi and as John DePauw was know to have experience in laying out and organizing new communities such as Salem, he was at Grand Gulf to assist the community in further expansion.  One thing that plagued communities along rivers in the first half of the 19th century was viral disease that was spread by mosquitoes.  Yellow fever struck frequently along the banks of the Mississippi and John DePauw was one of its victims.  Once again, the DePauw extended family had to retrieve the remains of one of its own from the lower Mississippi Valley for burial at Crown Hill Cemetery in Salem, Indiana.

A similar fate befell John DePauw's daughter in law, Sarah Ellen Malott DePauw.  Sarah was the daughter of Salem merchant Eli and Martha Lumley Malott and married Washington C. DePauw in 1846.  This next generation of the DePauw family had continued its contacts with Louisiana and must have traveled there often as Sarah Ellen DePauw died in Franklin Parrish, Louisiana on the day after Christmas in 1851.  She too was transported for burial to Salem, Indiana and interred in the DePauw family plot. 
John DePauw eventually purchased many of the unsold lots in the Salem plat including a large lot in a second plat he had laid out in November of 1814.  On this large hilltop lot overlooking Brock Creek south of where the Brewer blockhouse had been built during the Tecumseh uprising of 1811, John DePauw built what was called a mansion in the late 1820s. John DePauw's widow, Elizabeth Baptiste DePauw, continued to live in this large home until her death in 1878 when she was almost 93 years old.  Her funeral services and burial were unusual for her family as she was buried in the family plot at Crown Hill Cemetery which was only 950 feet from her home of  fifty years where she had died.

This family plot apparently had some kind of gravitational anomaly for the posthumously prodigal progeny of Charles Levien DePauw.  His namesake son, Charles DePauw II, was married to Peggy Randolph in 1821. They settled in Bartholomew County, Indiana but Charles DePauw II soon died in October of 1823 at a location near the Driftwood Fork of  White River west of the recently established county seat named Columbus, Indiana.  As no burial grounds were yet established in the area, he was buried in a field in an unmarked grave.  His brother, Napoleon B. DePauw, soon purchased a large slab sandstone monument which was placed over the grave incised with a memorial inscription.  The burial site was eventually lost to time and neglect and was rediscovered in April of 1895 when the landowner was clearing a fence row.  The stone slab was found under a foot of soil but its inscription was still legible.  The DePauw family at this time was well known and John DePauw's grandson, W. D. Keyes, of New Albany took charge of the exhumation and reburial. Although the DePauw family was well established in New Albany and elsewhere due to the wealth of Washington C. DePauw, Charles DePauw was reinterred in [you guessed it] Crown Hill Cemetery in Salem, Indiana 72 years after his death.

One might say that the concept of limbo had special meaning for various members of the family of the founding father of Salem, Indiana---John DePauw.

                                          DEPAUW FAMILY PLOT AT CROWN HILL CEMETERY
                                          SALEM, INDIANA

                                         ENGRAVING OF VIEW OF COTTON PORT
                                         GRAND GULF, MISSISSIPPI

                        GRAVE OF GENERAL JOHN DEPAUW

Thursday, August 28, 2014

AUGUST 27, 1814

200 years ago today in Washington County, Indiana Territory, there were ten families marking the anniversary of their receiving land titles from the United States. Five of these families received their deeds on August 27, 1812 and the other five families received their deeds on August 27, 1813.  These ten families are representative of the earliest settlers of our county.

Amos and Margaret Davis Wright took title to the southeast quarter of Section 25, T2N, R3E, on this day in 1812.  Geologically, this land was on the border between the Norman Upland and the Mitchell Plain.  A sharp bend in Royse’s Fork of Blue River with a cave spring was located on the east side of the land.  This claim of the  Wrights became the location of the Fort Hill stockade that was discussed in my post of May 21, 2014. It was on the trail between Beck’s Mill and Royse’s Lick.  This is where the Fort Hill Church of Christ is located today.

Arthur and Mary Morgan Parr become the owners of the southwest quarter of Section 12, T2N, R4E, on this day in 1812.  This tract was located near to and east of Royse’s Lick where Canton is found today.   Like many of the first settlers they came from Rowan County, North Carolina by means of the Cumberland Gap and Wilderness Road.  Arthur Parr was about 51 at the time he came to the Indiana Territory which was an advance age for someone relocating to the Northwest from the Carolina Piedmont.  The Parrs were Baptists and were part of the Sharon church congregation which was the subject of my post of July 4, 2014.

Thomas and Elizabeth Parr Hodges received title to their land claim on this day in 1812.  They settled on the northwest quarter of Section 19, T2N, R5E, on a high elevation between the Canton and Harristown Branches of Royse’s Fork of Blue River.  This location is found today southeast of the intersection of Howell Road and Canton-South Boston Road. They too had come from Rowan County, North Carolina.  Thomas Hodges was a son in law of Arthur Parr and was part of the extended family of the Parrs who helped each other clear their claims of forest, put in crops, and provided mutual protection during the years of 1811 and 1812 when Tecumseh’s uprising threatened the area.

Joshua Thompson also obtained title to his homestead on this day in 1812.  His land was located in the northeast quarter of Section 3, T2N, R4E, along the upper reach of Brock Creek. This farm can be seen today at the northeast corner of the intersection of North Trueblood Road and Bowsman Road.  Roger Thompson was among the earliest of the settlers of what became Washington County when claimed land along the trail that followed the crest of the Knobs from Old Trace Gap to Evans Lick.  However, I can’t place the family connection of Joshua Thompson at present.

Joseph and Mary Cain Scott were conveyed title to their claim on this date in 1812.  They were residents of Jefferson County, Kentucky when they registered their claim which was sited in the southwest quarter of Section 10, T1N, R2E, in present day Madison Township on Wilson Road about a mile south of Livonia.

David and Martha Parr Fouts were issued their title on this day in 1813.  Their land was in the southwest quarter of Section 6, T2N, R5E, in Franklin Township.  The west edge of this homestead was where SR 56 and Old SR 56 cross at Morgan’s Market. David Fouts was another son in law of Arthur Parr who came from Rowan County, North Carolina.  The Fouts family was of German heritage from the Danube Valley in Bavaria.

David and Catherine Crum Sears also gained legal title to their claim on this date in 1813.  The David Sears claim was in the northeast quarter of Section 19, T2N, R4E, on Royse’s Fork of Blue River immediately west of the William Lindley claim part of which became the lower part of John DePauw’s plat of Salem.  The south part of Crown Hill Cemetery came from what was the David Sears land.
David Sears was a son of Christian Sears who was discussed in my post of July 24, 2014. He was also a brother in law of Philbert Wright who had settled in the uplands in the middle Blue River basin. David and Catherin Sears followed the frontier most of their lives and died in Jefferson County, Iowa.

Jacob and Mary Huffstutter Sears obtained title to their 160 acres on the same day as David and Catherine Sears.  David and Jacob were brothers having been born in Rowan County, North Carolina.  They came to the Indiana Territory from their father’s plantation near Pee Wee Valley, Kentucky.  The Jacob Sears tract was located in the southwest quarter of Section 19, T2N, R4E, and shared a corner with the David Sears claim.  This land is today immediately south of the Hanson Quarry.  The problem that Jacob Sears had in acquiring a small tract on Blue River next to this land is described in my post of June 4, 2014.

John and Mary Phillips Bush were issued a deed on this date in 1813 to the southwest quarter of Section 2, T1S, R4E, which was along the upper reach of Dutch Creek. John Bush was part of the neighborhood of German descended families that gave Dutch Creek its name.  Their farm was located just northeast of where Martinsburg is now.

Benjamin and Ruth Munson Van Cleave received their land title on this date in 1813.  Their land was in the northwest quarter of Section 5, T1N, R2E.  In 1814 this land was in Washington County but became part of Orange County in 1815.
It was located on the trail that had been blazed between the Half Moon Springs stockade and Royse’s Lick.  The land today is on SR 56 on the west line of Washington County near Livonia.  Benjamin Van Cleave lived in Shelby County, Kentucky at the time he registered his claim and died there in 1819.  Benjamin Van Cleave was born of Dutch descent in New Jersey.  He and Ruth Munson were married in Rowan County, North Carolina before their settlement in Shelby County, Kentucky.  Although they may never have lived on their Indiana property several members of the Van Cleave family did settle around the Livonia area.

                                                 ROWAN COUNTY, NORTH CAROLINA

                                                 CUMBERLAND GAP

Monday, August 25, 2014

AUGUST 25, 1813

201 years ago today in Washington County, Indiana Territory, Henry Ratts was granted title to the southwest quarter of Section 6, Township 1 North,  Range 4 East in what was then Washington Township in Harrison County, Indiana Territory. This was the second land patent that Ratts had received from the U. S. government with the first one having been granted to him on February 15, 1812. Henry Ratts negotiated an exchange with the federal government and traded the southeast quarter of Section 6, T1N, R4E for the quarter section adjoining on the west.   The 1812 tract was tucked between wooded ridges on a tributary of the Middle Fork of Blue River below its junction with Royse’s Fork.  The 1813 tract was more attractive to Ratts as the Middle Fork of Blue River flowed through it on the northeast corner as well as the southwest corner.  This real estate is located today on the west side of Cauble Road just southwest of the Cauble Bridge in Pierce Township.

Henry T. Ratts/Ratz was born in York County, Pennsylvania in 1770 as one of the children of Gottfried Ratz and Maria Schweisguth who emigrated to the American colonies from the Hesse area of  Germany.  The Ratz family migrated south down the Great Valley Road to Rowan County, NC as did many families of German origin.  Henry Ratts married Barbara Winkler/Winckler in 1790 and resided in Rowan County, NC during the time that their 10 children were born.  Henry and Barbara Winkler Ratts must have been rather prosperous in their North Carolina home as Henry was still a resident of North Carolina when he registered his 1812 and 1813 land claims in the Indiana Territory.  In the days of settlement of the Indiana Territory, the only requirement for obtaining a land patent was that the buyer pay the $2 per acre price for a 160 acre quarter section within 3 years of registration.  Actual occupation and improvement of the land was not required to obtain title.  An extension of another 2 years was often obtained for full payment.   In fact, many settlers were allowed more time than that to make their payments as many of the original settlers mention in Washington County histories did not obtain their land titles for several years after their reported arrival.  In the case of Henry T. Ratts he was able to pay for his land before his family relocated from North Carolina to help him in the clearing of the land and making it arable for cultivation. The fact that none of Ratts’ extended family moved to the Indiana Territory with him makes his prosperous state in North Carolina even more likely.

The immediate neighbors of Henry and Barbara Winkler Ratts were
Richard and Nancy Ann Wright Gilstrap;  Elijah and Margaret Holmes Brewer Wright; and Jacob and  Elizabeth Wright Copple.  Nancy Ann Wright Gilstrap and Elizabeth Wright Copple were sisters and were first cousins of their neighbor Elijah Wright.  They were also nieces or nephews of Amos Wright and Philbert Wright who were early settlers in the central Blue River Basin.  All were descendants of Richard Wright, Sr. of Randolph County, North Carolina as are hundreds of Washington County, Indiana residents today.

Henry T. Ratts died in 1833 and was buried in the Old Blue River Cemetery associated with the Christian Church established by Amos Wright and his sons.
Barbara Winkler Ratts died in 1849 and was buried next to her husband.
Although Henry T. Ratts was the only child of his North Carolina to settle in Indiana, all of his children started their families in either Clark or Washington Counties and married into the following familes: Maley, Goss, Click, Yarborough, Wilson, Wiseman, Fouts, Work, Wright and Voyles.  Among his noted descendants were: Dr. John Edward Rhetts; Charles Edward Rhetts who was a distinguised attorney in Washington DC and Ambassador to Liberia; Frank Elwin Ratts who was an electric utility executive; Charles R. Ratts who was Washington Circuit Court Judge for over 30 years and Harold G. "Slim" Ratts for whom Slimo’s is named.

Henry T. and Barbara Winkler Ratts are yet additional examples of the unseen German heritage of Washington County, Indiana.

                                      HENRY RATTS LAND PATENTS
                                      FROM GOOGLE EARTH

                                   HENRY RATTS GRAVESTONE

                                     BARBARA RATTS GRAVESTONE

Monday, August 18, 2014

AUGUST 18, 1814

200 years ago today in Washington County, Indiana Territory, one of the primary nuisances to its settlers was the wild hog.  Wild hogs were the progeny of stray hogs from various sources.  Some were a few generations away from French settlements along the Wabash such as Vincennes.  Some were descended from escapees from Indians who were adapting to European domestic practices.  Some were the offspring of interbred domestic hogs who were abandoned by squatters and settlers when they left the rigors of life on the frontier.  They were long legged, long bodied and long nosed with short erect ears.  They were quick runners and particularly savage making them a peril to hunters and settlers foraging the woods and bottoms.  When groups hunted them, they rode on horseback and shot at them from a mounted position so as to be able to ride away quickly should a wounded hog charge.

The feral hogs fed on nature’s manna called mast.   Mast was the layer of acorns, beech nuts and hickory nuts that annually fell on the forest floor in autumn.
The meat of wild hogs fattened on mast was oily and sweet but susceptible to shrinkage.  Due to the oily content and shrinkage, the meat from wild hogs did not make good bacon.  The volume of mast varied from year to year due to weather conditions.  Because of the irregularity of this natural nourishment, it would take three to four years for these hogs to grow and fatten to a size making them suitable for hunting and butchering.  During a year when the mast fall was less, the wild hogs would voraciously forage for roots causing much damage to the forest floor and the grasslands of the barrens.  They were called “elm eaters” as their favorite root was from slippery elm saplings.  As other animals, they were also attracted to salt licks where they plowed up the ground with their long snouts.  One can imagine how Royse’s Lick and Evans Lick appeared after a visit from these peripatetic porkers. 

These hogs also ruined many a field of corn which was the grain most commonly raised by the early settlers.  Domestic hogs were the most prevalent livestock of the settlers of Washington County as they could adopt the mast feeding habits of wild hogs.  The settlers cut notches in the ears of their pigs with each owner having a distinctive pattern so as to “brand” his stock for round up.  It would be several decades before cattle could be raised in sufficient numbers to be the main source of meat as grazing lands required the clearing of the native forest.  Groups of settlers would have wild hog hunts in the winter.  Some would contribute the large kettles for scalding, some would provide the draft horses to drag the shot hogs to the community butchering site and some would provide the butchering rigs and knives. The wild pork derived from this processing would be distributed throughout the township on a per capita basis.  These community hunts and harvests eventually eradicated the wild hog by the 1850s.

The risk of hunting wild hogs is best illustrated from a story that appears in Stevens Centennial  History of  Washington  County, Indiana.  Henry Baker came to Washington County, Indiana in about 1819.  He lived on a farmstead in present day Jefferson Township.  He and Thomas Denny were reputed to be two of the largest and strongest men in the county.  The Stevens history describes Baker’s encounter with a wild boar as follows:

“Henry Baker was a great hunter. Upon one occasion he and his son
Isaac went down on White River after deer. They stopped at a cabin where
John Hovington lived, where several men were butchering wild hogs. Sev-
eral of them went out to "rally" the hogs, that was to get them out of cover.
In the bunch there was a huge wild boar that showed fight and killed three
dogs on the spot. There was a Hovington boy in the crowd, about sixteen
years old, upon whom the boar rushed. The boy started for a fallen tree
nearby, but as he was in the act of climbing up a limb the boar thrust his
long tusks into his side and thigh severing an artery. The boar then turned
upon the rest, and Hovington and Henry Baker's guns failed to bring him
down, but a shot from Isaac's killed him instantly. They went to the aid of
the boy, but he died in a few minutes.”

As Washington County, Indiana celebrates its bicentennial, wild hogs have returned to the White River haunts of Henry Baker.  Wild boars were introduced into a private hunting preserve in Indiana which was then abandoned.   Some have also migrated north from similar abandonments in the South.  They are destructive of woodlands, crop lands and pose a risk to domestic livestock because of the  diseases they harbor.

                                       WILD HOGS

                                       WILD HOGS MAST FEEDING

                                   WILD HOG PASTURE DAMAGE

Sunday, August 17, 2014

AUGUST 17, 1814

200 years ago today, there was probably only one Native American resident remaining in Washington County, Indiana Territory.  The Goodspeed History of Lawrence, Orange and Washington Counties published in 1884 says the following:
“Delaney's Creek took its name from an Indian named Delaney, who
remained two or three years after the others of his tribe had gone. He
had a cabin or wigwam on the bank of the creek.”

The Stevens Centennial History of Washington County, Indiana repeated this statement and added that:
          “He had a wigwam on the banks of the creek about a mile from where it empties into the Muscatatuck and subsisted by hunting and fishing.  He was finally persuaded to go West, but the old fellow very reluctantly turned his back upon the scenes he had so long enjoyed—the streams and woodlands that had afforded him so much pleasure in his latter days.”

His true name will never be known as “Delaney” is to our culture a name of Gaelic origin.  I speculated years ago when I created a dramatic character based upon him  that his name derives from the name of his probable tribe which was the Delaware Indians.  The Delaware called themselves Lenni Lenape.  He name may have been a humorous or insulting combination of Delaware and Lenni Lenape—DeLenni-Delaney.  The names of many Native American tribes were derived from what their enemy or rival tribes called them.  These names ascribed by others were usually not complimentary.  Perhaps that is true of names ascribed to individual Native Americans by the early settlers also.  “Old Ox” which was the name of the leader of the band of Indians living near Royse’s Lick at the time of first settlement of Washington County, Indiana Territory is an example of this tendency.

The lower Delaney Creek Valley and the Muscatatuck Bottoms were basically swamp land until they were drained in the last half of the 19th century.  Settlers did not begin to register land claims in this area until the 1830s and it was common public land for hunting, trapping and foraging.  These extensive wetlands would have provided an abundant supply of fish, fowl, game and walnuts for those in the area including Delaney.  The heavily forested Knobs provided opportunities for the harvesting of upland game and fowl in addition to chestnut and hickory mast.  Hickory nuts were harvested by Native Americans who ground them into a paste that could be kept for year round consumption.  Chestnuts were stored for roasting at one’s leisure.  For a skilled woodsman such as Delaney, the lower Delaney Valley would have been an Eden as long as he remained immune to swamp related illnesses.

After the Pigeon Roost Massacre occurred in September of 1812, the bands of Old Ox and Highland left the area as the fear and resentment of some squatters and settlers would certainly have led to violent retaliation upon the nearest Native Americans available.  Delaney probably had good relations with some of his neighbors who had settled on the ridge between the Delaney and Twin Creek Valleys such as William Logan, Jacob Hattabaugh, and Andrew Housh.  Their militia status would have provided Delany with security against indiscriminate violence or harassment. However, various treaties resulted in more and more Indiana land coming under control of the US government so that there was less territory for Native Americans to occupy free of American land claims.  When the Treaty of St. Mary’s was signed on October 3, 1818 by representatives of the Delaware Indians [Lenni Lenape], they released all claims to any land occupied by them in Ohio and Indiana and agreed to move west of the Mississippi.  Those Lenni Lenape signing were:

 Kithteeleland, or Anderson, his x mark,
Lapahnihe, or Big Bear, his x mark,
James Nanticoke, his x mark,
Apacahund, or White Eyes, his x mark,
Captain Killbuck, his x mark,
The Beaver, his x mark,
Netahopuna, his x mark,
Captain Tunis, his x mark,
Captain Ketchum, his x mark,
The Cat, his x mark,
Ben Beaver, his x mark,
The War Mallet, his x mark,
Captain Caghkoo, his x mark,
The Buck, his x mark,
Petchenanalas, his x mark,
John Quake, his x mark,
Quenaghtoothmait, his x mark,

If Delaney had not left his home in Washington County by then, he certainly would have gone north to the White River settlements of his tribe to prepare for the exodus west to the Buffalo Country.  However, local Monroe Township lore says that Delaney died while living in the valley and is buried on the Knob overlooking the confluence of Delaney Creek and the Muscatatuck.  Whether Delaney died or was relocated, the site of his home was not claimed until sometime between 1837 and 1856.  In fact, some of the wetlands where Delaney lived went unclaimed until they were awarded as long deferred Military Land Grants.  One of Washington County’s unnoted historical ironies is that one of these grants was awarded to Illinois Militia Volunteer Daniel R. Boothsby for his service in the Black Hawk Indian War of 1832.

                                  DELANEY WIGWAM AREA

                                           DELANEY PARK SIGN

                                           BLACK HAWK WAR GRANT ON DELANEY CREEK


Thursday, August 14, 2014

AUGUST 14, 2014

200 years ago today the panther was still a prevalent predator in Washington County, Indiana Territory. The panther and the wolf were the most dangerous denizens of the local fauna at the time the county was being settled.  The anatomical configuration of panthers made them unsurpassed leapers as they had the ability to jump as high as 18 feet and as far as 45 feet.  They were also similar in strength to the leopard and could easily climb into trees to await their prey as it passed below.  They also could climb back up a tree with their snared prey and feast on it at leisure.   The panther was particularly fond of attacking deer and elk and would attempt to attack buffalo.  One of their hunting techniques was to lie in wait in a tree near a salt lick where deer and elk would gather.  As the ungulate approached the lick, the panther would spring out of the tree onto the back of its victim.  The panther would then claw, bite and tenaciously cling to the prey until it fell.

Indians were very leery and respectful of panthers and upon occasion fell victim to their stealth and strength.  The name of the noted Shawnee warrior and leader, Tecumseh, meant “panther in the sky”.  This was the Shawnee name for a meteor observed streaking through the nighttime sky.

The Goodspeed history of Washington County, Indiana published in 1884 related an encounter that Isaac Hammersley had with a pair of panthers near White River.
Hammersley was born in Cumberland County Pennsylvania in 1762 and married in Washington County Pennsylvania in 1786.  When the Ohio and Indiana Territories were opened for settlement, he came west down the Ohio River and became a famous hunter in Washington County, In.  He was hunting one day with his dogs and heard a squealing clamor of wild hogs.  “Old Ike” soon saw that the cause of the commotion was a sow and her pigs being circled by two panthers.  Hammersley shot one of the cougars as it leaped his direction.  His dogs kept the other catamount occupied while Old Ike reloaded and then shot the second panther. The largest of the two measured 9 feet from nose to the tip of its tail. Interestingly, the 1886 History of Jackson County, Indiana describes a similar incident except the hunter involved was Elisha Ruddick who had his panther encounter in 1819 on Horse Lick Branch east of present day Brownstown, In.

Panthers were very wide ranging in their habitat and rather impervious to pain. Another published story reports that a hunter in Washington County had set a dagger trap for small game in 1830.  A panther nosed around the trap trying to extricate the bait and caused it to spring.  The dagger pierced through the panther’s ear socket.  The wounded panther was shot the next day in Sullivan County, Indiana with the dagger still in its ear.  That is a 94 mile trip by automobile today.

One of Washington County’s enduring legends is the story about a panther and Napoleonic exiles Count John Jacob Lehmanowsky and Peter Stuart Ney who hunted and trapped in the Twin-Rush Creek Valleys of Washington County.  Lehmanowsky was a Polish officer who fought as a mercenary for France in Napoleon’s military campaigns.  He served under the command of Marshall Michel Ney who was Napoleon’s principal Field Marshall.  When Napoleon was deposed many of his officers were imprisoned or went into exile. Lehmanowsky came to the United States and traveled and lectured as a minor celebrity.  He lived for a time in Knightstown, Indiana and is reported to be buried near Sellersburg as he married Lydia Sieg from Harrison County, In.  French history says that Marshall Ney was executed and buried in Le Cimetier du Pere-Lachaise in Paris in December of 1815.  However, persistent multi- faceted legend on both sides of the Atlantic tells us that Ney’s execution was faked and that he escaped to the United States and became a teacher in North Carolina named Peter Stuart Ney. 

This series of legends believes that Ney and Lehmanowsky made contact with each other in their exile and that Ney would come to Indiana where they would engage in gentlemanly hunting and trapping.  One day they were hunting in the karst upland above and east of Twin Creek.  The pair was probing various cave openings that might be a lair for wild game.   As one of these caves was entered, a panther leaped out of the dark toward the pair who fled to daylight outside of the cave.  The panther pursued and circled the pair.   Although panthers were not supposed to attack a human as long as one continued to face the predator, this one made his attack and was shot by Ney.  The experience so exhilarated Ney that he requested that he be buried in the cave upon his demise.  To this day this cave which is located north of the road to Wonder Valley is called Panther Cave.

Ney died in Cleveland, North Carolina in 1846 and has a brick mausoleum there. 
However, it was reported that his son E. M. C. Neyman appeared and claimed the body.  E.M.C. Neyman was a physician trained in Baltimore, Md. and after the Civil War moved to Saltillo, Indiana where he practiced medicine for many years and became a community icon.  He died in 1909 at the age of 100 years and 10 months.  His death was such a celebration that the Monon train stopped at Saltillo in honor of his passing.  A newspaper article about his death says that Dr. Neyman was to be buried in “panther cave” but his grave and tombstone are in the Saltillo Cemetery.  The brown granite stone bears this inscription:

E. M. C.
February 29, 1808
January 4, 1909
A Native of France
Son of Marshall Ney

If Dr. E. M. C. Neyman was not buried in Panther Cave, did he honor his father’s request to Count Lehmanowsky?  Does Marshall Michel Ney have three graves?

                                  PANTHER (PUMA CONCOLOR)

                                        MARCHEAL MICHEL NEY

                                        EMC NEYMAN GRAVESTONE

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

AUGUST 13, 1814

200 years ago today, five different settlers of Washington County, Indiana Territory were marking the anniversaries of their receipt of title to their lands claimed from the U. S. government.  Jacob Miller, John Royse, William Royse and Edward Cooley received deeds dated August 13, 1812.  William Lewis received a deed dated August 13, 1813.

Jacob Miller was born in North Carolina in 1777.  After settlement in the Indiana Territory, he married Anna Wilcoxson in December of 1812.  She was eighteen years younger than her new husband.  Miller's land was in the southeast quarter of Section 31, T1N, R4E.  The farm was in the large bend of the Mutton Fork of Blue River immediately to the southeast of Big Spring. The Millers sold this land to Ephraim Goss for $500 on August 8, 1813.  They later moved to Greenville in Floyd County, Indiana.  Anna  Miller is believed to have been the daughter of Aaron Wilcoxson who settled on Bear Creek near the trail to the Falls of the Ohio where he built a water powered mill.  Family tradition says that the Wilcoxsons left North Carolina because of their opposition to slavery.  In 1820, there was a black man and a black woman residing in the Wilcoxson household in Washington County, Indiana.  Their status as free persons or indentured servants is unknown.

John and William Royse each took up land along the lower reaches of Blue River.
The land of William and Martha McGuire Royse was in the bottoms of the West Fork of  Blue River just upstream from its confluence with the Mutton Fork of Blue River.  The land of John and Hannah Campbell Royse had originally been claimed by George Beck and was located to the southeast in the bottoms of the Mutton Fork of Blue River just upstream from its junction with the West Fork. John and William were two of the sons of Frederick Royse who operated the trading post and salt works at Royse’s Lick until about 1804.  Frederick Royse had registered a new land claim immediately downstream from his sons and in 1816 laid out a plat for Fredericksburg where the Vincennes Road crossed Blue River.

The tract of William Lewis was located in the northwest quarter of Section 24, T1N, R2E, which is at the south end of Possum Holler.  Lewis sold the land he completed payment for in 1813 to Daniel and Mary Thompson Sherwood. Lewis later registered claims for two different tracts near to the new public road that ran east from the Knox County line just west of the Lick Creek Church to the plat of Salem. 

Edward and Martha Raper Cooley and their family were among the early settlers in what was to become Washington Township, Washington County, Indiana Territory when they registered their land claim for the northwest quarter of Section 28, T2N, R4E.  The land was located along Hoggatt Branch near to where it flowed across the trail between Royse’s Lick and the Falls of the Ohio.  Today, this is where Martinsburg Road crosses Hoggatt Branch at the very east end of Lake Salinda. Edward Cooley’s neighbors included his unmarried son, Thomas Cooley; his son in law John Brewer who was married to Elizabeth Cooley; and Benjamin Brewer who was the father of his son in law.  This was the same Benjamin Brewer who had sold his quarter section to the north to John DePauw for the plat of Salem.

The Cooleys were Methodists with Edward having served in 1797 as a trustee of a Methodist congregation in Stokes County, NC. When the Cooleys came to Harrison County, Indiana Territory directly from North Carolina in about 1809, there were few Methodists in the area.  A Methodist circuit had been established for the Silver Creek area in 1807 with Moses Ashworth as the circuit rider.  The Cooleys were in this circuit and met periodically with the circuit rider in the homes of fellow Methodists.  As more settlers came to the Blue River basin of the uplands above the Silver Hills, the Cooleys believed that a church house and graveyard was of great need.  In 1816, Edward and Martha Cooley donated an acre of land for the Cooley Meeting House. This became the first resident Methodist congregation in Washington County, Indiana.  By the late 19th century, the Methodists were the largest protestant denomination in the State of  Indiana.  The Cooley Cemetery can be found today just off of the Lake Salinda Trail  next to the stone rubble mound of the former foundation of the Cooley Meeting House.  My 4th great grand parents, Benjamin Brewer, Catherine Mellinger Brewer, Edward Cooley and Martha Raper Cooley are buried there.


                                      COOLEY/BREWER CEMETERY

                                MARTHA RAPER COOLEY GRAVESTONE

Monday, August 11, 2014

AUGUST 11, 1814

200 years ago today in Driftwood Township, Washington County, Indiana Territory, Thomas Ewing and John McAfee sold 11 lots in Vallonia to 7 different buyers for the total sum of $347.75.  The deeds were all prepared and witnessed by Cornelius Williamson as Justice of the Peace.  The buyers were:

          Samuel Carr                 lots 42,82,92        $66.25
          Clark McAfee               lot 66                    $47
          William Davenport        lots 48, 59            $55
          John McKarney            lot 65                    $44
          Robert McKarney         lot 68                    $36
          George McKasler          lot 91                    $67
          Thomas Crawford         lots 63,64             $59.50

Although Vallonia was a private plat while Salem was a public plat, Ewing and McAfee (Vallonia) probably considered themselves rivals of John DePauw (Salem) in the development of their respective towns.  Ewing and McAfee let it be known that they had sold more lots in Vallonia in one day than DePauw had sold in Salem since April 4, 1814. 

John DePauw learned of these sales when the deeds were delivered for recording to Isaac Blackford.  Being curious, DePauw inquired about the buyers.  He was wondering why settlers would buy lots in Vallonia which was hoping to become the county seat of new county that would eventually be formed instead of  in Salem which was a present county seat under development.  DePauw soon learned that the Vallonia sales were mostly family related and did not mean that new settlers to the area were avoiding Salem.  Samuel Carr was part of the family of  Thomas Carr (Kerr) who was an early settler of Driftwood and became one of their first county commissioners. Clark McAfee was a son of John McAfee. William Davenport was a son in law of John McAfee.  John McKarney and Thomas Crawford were sons in law of Thomas Ewing.  Robert McKarney was a brother to one of the Ewing sons in law.  The next time that DePauw met Ewing to discuss the purchase of Ewing’s land claim at the old ford of the Muscatatuck, he spoke in jest about the Ewing/McAfee Scotch-Irish commune of Vallonia.

                                DRIFTWOOD VALLEY AND VALLONIA

                                   MUSCATATUCK FORD-MILLPORT

Sunday, August 10, 2014

200 years ago today in Washington County, Indiana Territory, Benjamin Newkirk was clearing timber and brush from his developing farmstead in a valley cut into the knobs by Buffalo Creek which flowed to the northwest to the East Fork of White River.  His land claim was for the northwest quarter of Section 28, T4N, R3E in present day Jefferson Township, Washington County, Indiana.  Newkirk noticed that there was very sandy soil that laid at the north edge of this part of Buffalo Bottoms and the south face of the knobs. This sand was a windblown deposit that was blown in from the White River glacial outwash thousands of years ago. 

Benjamin Newkirk’s father, Peter Newkirk, was of Dutch [not German] descent.  The original spelling of the name was Van Nieuwkercke. Peter Newkirk was from the Dutch community in the Hudson River Valley between Albany and New York City.  He moved to Virginia down the Great Wagon Road and there served in the Revolutionary War.  After the Kentucky Bluegrass was officially opened for settlement after the war, he brought his family to Kentucky.

Benjamin Newkirk married into the Sparks family after the death of his first wife.  Benjamin Newkirk and his brother, Richard Newkirk, and his brothers in law, Richard Sparks and Moses Sparks, came to the Indiana Territory in about 1811 from Bullitt County, Kentucky.  They settled in the very northern part of what was then Harrison County, Indiana at “the Forks” which was just downstream from the confluence of the Driftwood Fork of White River and the Muscatatuck River.  At this location the East Fork of the White River breached the Knobstone Escarpment where the Mt. Carmel fault had displaced the underlying strata by about 200 feet.  This crack in the earth’s crust placed soft Borden Shale next to harder Harrodsburg Limestone.  When the Illinoisan Glacier blocked the northwestern flow of the Kentucky/Teays River about 100,000 years ago, the river flow ponded and then overtopped the Knobs at this weak spot and the East Fork of White River Valley was formed.

This geological configuration resulted in a river ford between a ridge of the Knobs which became an animal and then an Indian Trail.  The Newkirks and Sparks thought this might present an opportunity for access to markets for the crops of the frontier.  Many of Richard Sparks neighbors petitioned the US Congress in 1813 for the making of a land grant to him along White River so that he could build and operate a grist mill as the nearest mill was over 25 miles away [Beck’s Mill].  The petition was not acted upon but Richard Sparks took up land at the ford and then operated a ferry there for many years.  The south branch of the ancient trail that crossed this ford became known as Sparks Ferry Road.

In the early days of the Indiana Territory, this trail brought danger as well as opportunity as Indians, both peaceful and hostile, used the trail to travel from the Wabash Valley to the Ohio Valley. In 1813, Daniel and Jacob Soliday, were earning their rent by clearing land along the Walnut Ridge Trail for Richard Newkirk and Robert Ellison.  Tradition says that one of these Soliday brothers had boasted of killing some of the followers of Tecumseh and The Prophet at the Battle of Tippecanoe.  Word of this had spread northwest to the remnants of various tribes associated with Tecumseh’s alliance.  Some of these warriors followed this trail across White River to Walnut Ridge just as some had the previous fall on their way to the attack of the Pigeon Roost settlement.  The two Soliday brothers were working together that day searching the woods for a mare that had foaled a colt.  On Good Friday 1813, the Soliday brothers were ambushed and killed by these native marauders. They were the last settlers killed by Indians in Washington County.  A search of the records of the Territorial militia does not indicate that either of the Soliday brothers were at the Battle of Tippecanoe.  If they were not, their youthful braggadocio made to neighbors along a native trail cost them their lives. 


                                                SOLIDAY BROTHERS GRAVE

                                                  PIONEER FERRY

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

AUGUST 4, 1814

John DePauw was 29 years old in 1814 when he was a Colonel in the Indiana Militia and the Agent for the establishment of the Town of Salem as the seat of government of Washington County, Indiana Territory.  He and his wife Elizabeth Baptiste DePauw were married in Lincoln County, Ky in 1805 where his family lived near Blue Lick Knob.  They then  moved from Casey County, Kentucky to the Indiana Territory sometime in either 1809 or 1810.  They had registered a claim on land located in the northwest quarter of Section 20, T2N, R4E in Washington Township of (then) Harrison County, Indiana Territory.  This tract was located on rolling land that sloped to the north northwest toward Royse’s Fork of Blue River.  They were among the first to settle in the area.  Their immediate neighbors were:  Edward and Martha Roper Cooley; Thomas and Priscilla May Hight; William and Mary Pitts Lindley; Benjamin and Catherine Mellinger Brewer; and Andrew and Margaret Braxton Pitts. At the time that Washington County was created by the Territorial legislature in December of 1813, the DePauws had 2 young daughters, Ann and Rachel. The family lived in a basic cabin located at the crest of the hill overlooking Pitts Bottoms along Blue River. 

The source of DePauw’s apparent ability and influence came from the background of his father Charles Levien DePauw who was born in Ghent, Flanders in 1753.  He had come to the American Colonies with French soldiers who aided the Continental Congress in the rebellion against Great Britain. He was reputed to be a lifelong friend of Marquis de LaFayette which was the apparent basis for his notoriety.  Charles DePauw settled in Virginia at the end of the Revolutionary War and married Rachel Young in Amelia County, Virginia.  They then crossed the transappalachian frontier and settled in Kentucky by 1785.  Charles DePauw was rumored to have been involved in a planned invasion of Spanish territory in the lower Mississippi Valley that had been planned by the French ambassador Genet.  Secretary of State Thomas Jefferson had written Kentucky governor Isaac Shelby in 1793 admonishing him to intercede in any attempt by Kentuckians under the influence of Genet to engage in such a filibuster.  Shelby could have dissuaded Charles DePauw in such a venture as they were neighbors in Lincoln County, Ky at the time.  There was probably some basis for this story as Charles DePauw led a group of settlers from Kentucky to the Louisiana Territory near New Orleans after the death of his wife in 1806.  In 1814, Charles DePauw was living in Louisiana as part of this settlement.

John DePauw at the time he was engaged in the acquisition, platting and sale of lots in Salem was not well established financially as he had not yet paid off his $320 obligation to the US government for his 160 acres.  With his father having interests in Louisiana, he was probably planning to engage in the New Orleans flat boat trade as he had his eye on a tract of land registered by Thomas Ewing near the old ford of the Muscatatuck.  This location at the base of the knobs where a recently established public road crossed the river could be a good launching point for flat boats carrying produce such as salt pork, venison and corn down the Mississippi to the New Orleans market.

                                         PORTRAIT OF JOHN DEPAUW AT STEVENS MUSEUM

                                             PORTRAIT OF CHARLES LEVIEN DEPAUW

                                                     FLATBOAT ON MISSISSIPPI