Tuesday, September 2, 2014


200 years ago yesterday in Washington County Indiana Territory, John DePauw as the agent for the Town of Salem, Indiana sold lots 29 and 45 to Jacob Nay for $200.
Although DePauw had sold many lots on credit with 25% down payment being required with the balance due in one year, only the lots purchased by Zachariah Nixon and Joseph Nixon had been paid for in full.  Therefore, Jacob Nay was only the third person to fully pay for his purchased lots in the 5 months that Salem lots had been for sale.  Lot 29 was on what was to be South Main Street which was 80’ wide.  As the street had not yet been cleared this was hard for Nay to visualize. This lot is today located at 307 South Main.  Lot 45 was at the other end of the plat and was the northernmost lot of DePauw’s plat on the west side of North Main Street.  This lot is today bears the address of 406 North Main Street.  As the Nixons had only paid a total sum of $107.50 for the 6 lots they had purchased, Nay’s payment of $200 for 2 lots that were not located at any planned intersection was questioned by some.

Jacob Nay and his wife, Esther, had been in the Indiana Territory for a few years prior to their arrival in the Salem area.  Nay had lived in part of Clark County, Indiana during the year of 1809 when he signed a petition expressing disapproval of the actions of Governor William Henry Harrison in sanctioning the introduction of negro slavery in the Indiana Territory.  This petition was one of several that residents of the eastern portion of the Indiana Territory had signed and forwarded to Vincennes, Corydon and Washington DC in opposition to efforts by residents of Knox County, Indiana to have Article VI of the Northwest Ordinance repealed or weakened in its prohibition of slavery. 

Jacob Nay apparently did not have the means to make his purchase of these 2 lots productive.  He sold the lot on South Main Street to John Boling and Francis Blaids of Shelby County, Kentucky on January 6, 1815 for $50.  Almost two years later, he sold the lot on North Main Street to Toms Albertson on December 13, 1816 for $55.  Despite this financial loss, the Nays were able to purchase a small farm of 37 acres from Richard and Mary Hoggatt Lamb on Highland Creek for the sum of $75 on October 3, 1817.  This farm is located today at 2035 North Highland Road is described as a separate tax parcel 197 years after having been parceled out for sale by the Lambs. The Lambs had just received their title to their 160 acre land claim a few months earlier and used the funds from the sale of the 37 acre parcel to apply to the improvement of their remaining acreage.  Richard Lamb was the son of Simeon Lamb who was the only doctor in the Washington County area for several years.  Doctor Lamb treated many a pioneer while running the store at Royse’s Lick and serving as one of the first Judges of the Washington Circuit Court.

The Nays soon acquired an adjoining 17 acres lying to the north.  Thirteen years later, the Nays sold their small holding on Highland Creek to Elias Albertson on October 4, 1830 for $300.  Jacob Nay found himself to be better suited to farming than land speculation.

                                   JACOB NAY LOTS IN SALEM 1814

                                           JACOB NAY FARM HIGHLAND CREEK 1817

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