OCTOBER 3, 1814
200 years ago today in Washington County, Indiana Territory it was becoming apparent that the pace of settlement had picked up once the fear of reprisal and violence inflicted by Native Americans had subsided after the death of Tecumseh at the Battle of Thames near Chatham, Ontario on October 5, 1813. The defeat of the British and Indian allies at this battle was a crucial victory for the Americans in the War of 1812. William Henry Harrison who had served as the first territorial governor of Indiana was the commanding officer of the United States forces. Harrison was aided by Kentucky troops commanded by Isaac Shelby who was the governor of Kentucky at the time. The death of Tecumseh broke the morale of the various Indian tribes who were attempting to unite into a large confederation to stem the flow of European settlement into the Northwest Territory. The Indiana frontier was safe for settlement from this time on. Government Land Office records indicate that 63,200 acres were purchased in the Indiana Territory in 1813. In 1814 823,00 acres were purchased in the Indiana Territory by settlers. The fact that ten different families obtained titles to newly settled land in Washington County on October 3, 1814 is evidence of this developing sense of security.
These new land holders in Washington County were; Robert Catlin; Ephraim Goss; William Hitchcock; James Murphey; John Pettit; Leonard Shoemaker; Edmund Taylor; Caleb Trueblood; Amos Wright and Daniel Zink.
Robert Catlin obtained his land patent to the northwest quarter of Section 12, T1N, R3E, in present day Posey Township. This tract was north of the Vincennes Road and was located on Blue River upstream from Fredericksburg one bend north of where Licking Creek flows into it. It is now bounded on the north by Strickland Road and on the east by Palmyra Road. Catlin was born in Surrey Co NC in 1772. His first wife died in Kentucky in 1804. He was then remarried to Mariann Cranch who settled with him and his children along Blue River. Catlin served as an election judge in the 1809 territorial election. He must have been literate and officious as he was one of the first Justices of the Peace in Washington County.
Ephraim Goss was one of the subjects of my post of June 8, 1814. He was the son of Frederick Goss and Isabella Rickard/Reichart who lived in Rowan County, NC. Ephraim married Anna Workman and they came to the Indiana Territory in 1812 with their seven children. Three more children were born after they settled in Indiana. Three of Ephraim’s siblings David, George and John settled in Indiana also. The land claimed by the Gosses was the northeast quarter of Section 1, T1S, R4E. The farm was on the road that went from Royse’s Lick to the Falls of the Ohio. It is located today north of Martinsburg between State Highway 339 and Bush Road. Ephraim and Anna Goss moved north to the west fork of White River in 1821 where he founded the town of Gosport.
William Hitchcock and his wife, Hannah Coffin Hitchcock, came to the Indiana Territory from Guilford County, NC. They were part of the large contingent of Friends that came to the former Northwest Territory to live away from the slave labor system of North Carolina. The Hitchcocks settled in the northeast quarter of Section 9, T1N, R4E. This land was located on the middle fork of Blue River immediately south of the quarter section purchased by his father in law, Matthew Coffin in the fall of 1811. Matthew Coffin is the subject of my post of September 14, 1814. Today this property is found on the east side of Blue River Church Road just south of the bridge below the Old Blue River Church.
James Murphey made his home in the northeast quarter of Section 8, T1N, R2E. This land is today in Orange County, Indiana on the Washington County line. His first neighbors were William Rigney, George Hinton/Henton, Joseph Wells and Adam Wible. A James Murphey was residing in the Indiana Territory by 1808 while the area was part of Knox County, Indiana. When he registered his land claim the tract was located within Harrison County. Within a seven year span he may have lived in four different counties of the growing Indiana Territory although he never moved.
John Pettit and Catherine Covert Pettit received their deed on this date for land located in the northeast quarter of Section 34, T3N, R5E, in the Elk Creek watershed. This real estate is today located in the Knobs in Gibson Township southwest of Garriott Lake along Old State Road 56. The Pettits lived in Clark County, Indiana on acreage overlooking the Ohio River near Bethlehem, Indiana. Few pioneers took out land patents in the Knobs themselves as the steep and timbered ridges and hollows were not suitable for crops or grazing. The Pettits may have been interested solely in the timber resources available although any logs could not be transported to a sawmill until roads were available to serve the area. Catherine Covert Pettit’s father had come to Clark County, Indiana Territory from New Jersey. He was a soldier and gunsmith in the Continental Army. Family tradition says that the Battle of Monmouth was fought near his farm in New Jersey.
Leonard Claiborne Shoemaker/Shewmaker and Eunice Ritchie Shoemaker were born in Virginia in the 1750s. They were married in Botetourt County, Va. in 1787. They lived for a short time on Duck River in Tennessee and then were in Kentucky where their daughter was married in 1806. They came to Washington County, Indiana Territory in 1814 and immediately paid the set sum of $320 for the 160 acres of the southeast quarter of Section 12, T4N, R3E. This land was on the east side of the Driftwood Fork of White River southeast of where Medora is now located. It became part of Jackson County when it was created by the territorial legislature in January of 1816. The Shoemaker tract is on the border of the consolidated sand dunes which were windblown deposits from the glacial outwash plain of the Illinoian Glacier created about 140,000 years ago. This is the prime melon growing area today in Jackson County, Indiana.
Edmund H. Taylor bought out two different persons who had registered land claims at the Jeffersonville federal land office. One claim was purchased by Taylor from Benjamin Shepherd. This claim was for the southeast quarter of Section 11, T1S, R2E. Shepherd had registered three different land claims in Washington County and sold all of them before paying in full. The other claim was purchased by Taylor from William Welch for the northeast quarter of Section 14, T1S, R2E. This land lays south of US Highway 150 along State Road 66 southeast of Hardinsburg. Jacob Doan would have been one of Taylor’s pioneer neighbors. Taylor’s farm laid along the Sinking Creek system which begins at Cravens Spring northwest of Hardinsburg; goes underground just northeast of the US 150/SR 66 intersection and then emerges at Radcliffe Springs near Blue River.
Caleb Trueblood purchased his land for the US government at the relatively young age of 24. His chosen tract was the northwest quarter of Section 1, T2N, R4E. This land is found today south of the intersection of Marrs Road and East Quaker Road along one of the northernmost tributaries of Royse’s Fork of Blue River. Trueblood’s purchase was at the northeast edge of the area of settlement for the Blue River Friends community. Caleb Trueblood and his brother, William, came to the Indiana Territory from Pasquotank County, NC as did many of his fellow Quakers. As a young man of prospects with title to 160 acres, Caleb was married to Mary Lindley Pyle in 1816. They raised seven children on their farm until her death in 1845. Caleb then married Rhoda Coffin Stanley and died in 1857. One of his descendants was Eugene Trueblood who served many effective terms as Washington County Treasurer and Washington County Assessor.
Amos and Margaret Davis Wright came to the Indiana Territory from Wayne County, Kentucky. Wright was born in Rowan County, NC and is one of the five sons of Richard Wright, Sr. who settled in the Indiana Territory before Washington County was established. The tract that Amos Wright received title to on this date was the southwest quarter of Section 4, T1N, R4E. The land that he received by deed dated October 3, 1814 was the second of four land patents that Wright purchased before 1820. His first tract was where Fort Hill was located and is the subject of my post for May 21, 1814. The second tract was on the Middle Fork of Blue River northwest of the land claimed by William Hitchcock. This land today lies west of Blue River Church Road and north of the river. On this land, Wright built the first church house in Washington County in 1809 as Amos and several of his sons were preachers. The biography of one of his sons, John Wright, says that his father was influenced by Quakers and that his mother was a Dunkard. This mixture of the inner light and German Pietism led the Wrights to be nondenominational preachers of the Gospel. His first wife, Elizabeth Lowe, was from a German Dunkard family. She died in 1805 leaving her husband with eight children surviving. Amos married Margaret Davis in 1807 and they moved to Indiana soon thereafter. Six children were born in Washington County, Indiana of this second marriage. Amos and Margaret are buried in the Old Mill Creek Cemetery near to the church that one of his sons founded.
Daniel Zink received his deed from the Commissioner of the General Land Office on this date as the assignee of Evans Rawley. Rawley was attracted to the expanding frontier of the former Northwest territory and moved to Jackson County, Vigo County and then to Clay County, Illinois. The land purchased by Zink was the southeast quarter of Section 23, T2N, R3E. This was a rolling upland on the west bank of Royse’s Fork of Blue River just southwest of the plat of Salem. It is now located along the east side of Orchard Road and south of the Hanson Quarry.Daniel Zink was born in Frederick County, Virginian of German descent. His wife, Elizabeth Shelley, was born in Guilford County, NC. They began their marriage in Washington County, Virginia which was near Cumberland Gap. Elizabeth died in 1817 and Daniel moved on to Edgar County, Illinois. Daniel Zink was the brother in law of George Brock. One of his sons, Peter Zink, lived his entire adult life in Washington County and died at the age of ninety. Almost all of the Zinks in Washington County today descend from Peter and Sarah Wright Zink.
BATTLE OF THE THAMES IN WAR OF 1812