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

No comments:

Post a Comment