OCTOBER 8, 1813
201 years ago today, President James Madison issued 6 deeds through Edward Tiffin as the Commissioner of the General Land Office to settlers of Washington Township of Harrison County, Indiana. Within 5 months these pioneers became residents of Washington County, Indiana Territory when the new county was created by act of the territorial legislature. These 6 frontiersmen were: Solomon Bower, Jacob Copple, Elisha Denney, Thomas Evans, Philip Hoggatt and Jacob Motsinger. Solomon Bower and the Quaker family that bought his 1812 tract are the subjects of this posting.
Solomon Bower and his wife the former Jemima Parr came to the Indiana Territory from Rowan County NC. The 160 acre tract for which title was granted to them on this date was the southwest quarter of Section 19, T2N, R5E. This tract was southeast of Spurgeon Hill which was believed to be the highest point in the county. Bower’s father in law, Arthur Parr, and his brother in law, Enoch Parr, soon purchased land in this neighborhood also. This land is situated today atop the hill east of the Harristown railroad crossing on the north side of State Road 160. This purchase by the Bowers was the second of five land claims for which they would complete the payment of $2 per acre. The fifth land purchased by Solomon Bower was for speculation purposes as it was located in Monroe County, Indiana southeast of Louden Ridge.
The first Bower land claim was registered in March of 1811 and deeded on February 15, 1812. It was located in the northeast quarter of Section 2, T2N, R4E, and was about 3 miles northeast of Doctor Simeon Lamb’s trading post at Royse’s Lick. The trail that led from the winter encampment of Old Ox at the salt lick to his summer encampment on the Muscatatuck at the base of the Knobs on the northwest wed of Elk Creek Valley was on the northwest edge of Solomon Bower’s first claim. This first tract must have been substantially improved by Bower as he sold it to Joshua Trueblood on July 21, 1815 for the sum of $1,300. This must have been the market price for an improved quarter section near to Royse’s Fork of Blue River as this was the same price paid to Benjamin and Catherine Brewer for the quarter section by John DePauw for the land that became the original plat of Salem.
Joshua and Mary Henley Trueblood were part of the Quaker emigration from Pasquotank and Perquimans Counties in North Carolina to the Indiana Territory.
These two counties were located in the northeast corner of North Carolina and were in the coastal plain between the Albemarle Sound and the Dismal Swamp.
Quaker settlers had the habit of bringing evergreens from North Carolina with them for replanting around their new homes in the developing Northwest Territory.
Joshua Trueblood planted a bald cypress by the house that Solomon Bower had built and planted at least 6 Virginia pines near the barn. When Joshua Trueblood died in 1853, one of his sons, William Penn Trueblood, acquired this farm. William Penn Trueblood and his neighbor James Thompson were reputed to be the Quakers most prominently involved in the Underground Railroad. The Bower farm purchased by the Truebloods sheltered fugitive slaves on their journey to freedom. The limestone spring house foundation that Solomon Bower built along a tributary of Royse’s Fork of Blue River on this farm is still in place where fugitive slaves would have been refreshed with cool spring water. The cypress tree and 3 of the Virginia pines planted by Joshua Trueblood still stand witness today to this Quaker heritage.
Solomon and Jemima Parr Bower moved to the farm that they purchased in October, 1813 after the sale of the 1812 purchase. When Bower’s brother in law, Eli Wright, died in the cholera epidemic of 1833, he became the guardian of his 2 nephews and 1 niece who lived on the lower reach of Royse’s Fork about 3 miles southwest of Salem with their mother, Elizabeth Bower Wright. As guardian, Bower managed the grist mill that Eli Wright had operated for Johnathon Lyon until he purchased it the year before he died. The foundation stones of the dam for this mill are still visible in the riverbed today. Solomon Bower was my 2d great grand uncle and Eli Wright was my great great grandfather.
BALD CYPRESS TREE PLANTED BY JOSHUA TRUEBLOOD IN 1815
SPRING HOUSE FOUNDATION BUILT BY SOLOMON BOWER
ON JOSHUA/WILLIAM PENN TRUEBLOOD FARM
DAM FOUNDATION AT ELI WRIGHT GRIST MILL
BUILT BY WILLIAM LINDLEY BEFORE 1820