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.
GOOGLE EARTH VIEW OF ROYSE LAND PATENTS
MARTHA RAPER COOLEY GRAVESTONE