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