Thursday, November 27, 2014

NOVEMBER 26, 1813

2001 years ago today in Washington County, Indiana Territory, three pioneers  received their land patent deeds from the US General Land Office.  These were Jesse Bogue, James Rodman and Adam Wible. These three settlers were representative of the Quaker, English and German backgrounds of the first residents of Washington County, Indiana.

Jesse Bogue had selected the southeast quarter of Section 34, T3N, R4E, in Washington Township of Harrison County, Indiana Territory as his land claim.  This land was located in the headwaters of the Brock Creek Basin at the northeast edge of the Blue River Friends community.  Today this farm is found on the south side of Broadway Road northeast of Salem.  The owners of adjoining homesteads were Elisha Denny, John Denny, John Fleenor and Joshua Thompson.  Bogue was a Friend from the Sutton Creek Meeting in Perquimans County, NC. He and his brother, Aaron, were part of the large contingent of Quakers who emigrated to the Indiana Territory from the coastal area by the Albemarle Sound in North Carolina. Jesse Bogue was single when he became a landowner in 1813.  In April of 1816 he appeared with Anna White before the Blue River Meeting House congregation and announced their intentions of marriage.  Anna White was the daughter of Caleb White who also had come to Indiana from Perquimans County, NC. The Blue River Friends designated Samuel Nicholson and Jehosaphat Morris to review the proposed marital union.  Upon the recommendation of Nicholson and Morris, the marriage was sanctioned by the congregation and they were married on October 5, 1816.

James Thomas Rodman settled land in the southeast quarter of Section 18, T2N, R5E, in Washington Township, Harrison County, Indiana Territory.  He liked the fact that his claim was in the highest part in the upper part of the waters of Blue River and not too far from the store at Royse’s Lick. His farm adjoined lands of John Robertson, Samuel Herron, Jacob Garriott, Thomas Hodges, Edmund Hensley and a renter of Thomas Carr.  Rodman was born in Northumberland County, Pennsylvania but lived in Shelby County, Kentucky at the time he filed his Indiana land claim.  He married Elizabeth Burton in 1809 while living in Kentucky.  James Rodman built a small stockade on his land in 1812 in response to Governor Harrison’s executive order issued for the protection of settlers during the Tecumseh led uprising of 1811.  He later bought the saw mill and 24 acres from William Lindley that was near the southwest corner of Salem on Royse’s Fork of Blue River.  One the children of James and Elizabeth Burton Rodman was Thomas Jackson Rodman who was a graduate of the United States Military Academy at West Point. Thomas Jackson Rodman invented the Rodman cannon and perforated cake gunpowder which gave the Union army a huge advantage in artillery during the Civil War.

Adam Wible was attracted to the rolling land on the border between the Mitchell Plain and the Crawford Upland.  He purchased the northwest quarter of Section 4, T1N, R2E for the US government. Wible’s homestead is located today just west of Livonia on the south side of SR 56 at the Orange County line. Wible was born in Cumberland County, Pennsylvania of German parents (Weible).  He was married in Nelson County, Kentucky in 1788 to Hanna Harris.  They had six children but only one survived childhood.  After his first wife died, Adam Wible married Jane VanCleave in 1795 in Shelby County Kentucky.  She was a native of Rowan County, NC.  Adam and Jane Wible had thirteen children but several of them died as young children.  In 1820, there were ten members of the Adam Wible household.  Adam Wible and his VanCleave inlaws were among the first to settle in the area of Livonia.

                                     QUAKER HOME IN WHITE FAMILY IN 
                                           PERQUIMANS COUNTY, NC

                                                           RODMAN CANNON

                                   GOOGLE EARTH VIEW OF ADAM WIBLE LAND 1813

NOVEMBER 27, 1814

200 years ago today there was no formal recognition of Thanksgiving as a holiday in the Indiana Territory. November 26 was the date that George Washington had recommended be a national day of "thanksgiving and prayer" in a proclamation issued in 1795.  The text of this proclamation is found at the following link.  Many of the New England colonies had a tradition of a Thanksgiving holiday.  Some of the states followed the lead of President Washington in recognizing a special day for Thanksgiving. The date kept migrating around the early American calendar.  President James Madison declared on November 16, 1814 that the day of Thanksgiving was to be January 12, 1815. Thanksgiving as we celebrate it today was not a national holiday until President Lincoln proclaimed in 1863 that the last Thursday of November should be the holiday.  President Franklin Delano Roosevelt made it the 4th Thursday of November in 1941 although Texas held out for the last Thursday of November until 1956.

200 years ago in Washington County, Indiana Territory, the traditional roles of the Pilgrims and the Indians for the first Thanksgiving were reversed.  History records that the Plymouth Colony had a difficult first year and that the next year's harvest at least met basic levels of sustenance with the aid of the Wampanoag Indians who trained the Pilgrims in various agricultural methods. After the fall harvest, the Pilgrims invited the Wampanoags to a feast of Thanksgiving in recognition of their assistance in assuring the colony's survival.  In November of 1814, Captain James Bigger of the Indiana Militia was stationed near Vincennes.  On November 22 a group of 20 Delaware Indian men led by Negomin came to Vincennes seeking food and supplies as their families were in a state of destitution. Captain Bigger gave them some salt and other necessities from the militia storehouse.  He then ordered them to go to Sand Creek where it joins the Driftwood Fork of White River to await further relief.  The Sand Creek site was where the local militia led by Henry Dawalt had a skirmish with Indians after the Pigeon Roost Massacre which resulted in the death of John Zink. This location was in the extreme northeast corner of Washington County as its boundaries existed in 1814 about 10 miles from Vallonia and remote from any settled land in Washington, Clark and Jefferson Counties.
Captain Bigger who was Clark County settler immediately consulted Judge Benjamin Parke who was a resident of Vincennes and had been active in negotiating Indian treaties for the US government in recent years,  Parke was familiar with Negomin as he was one of the Delaware leaders who had "touched the quill" to indicate his signature on the Greenville Treaty signed on July 22, 1814.  Judge Parke suggested that Captain Bigger immediately send a dispatch by courier to Governor Thomas Posey at his home in Jeffersonville to apprise him of the circumstances of Negomin and his group of Lenni Lenape.  Governor Posey received the dispatch on November 26 and sent a letter to Secretary of War James Monroe for authority to name an agent to assess the needs of the Indians and to then provide them with appropriate assistance.  Toussaint DuBois who was a fur trader and militia member in Vincennes was asked by Posey to assume this duty but he declined as he could not read or write.  He agreed to act jointly with Judge Parke if the latter would do all of the paperwork required for this government commission.

DuBois and Parke visited the Sand Creek encampment and verified the extreme state of need of Negomin and his band.  The Delaware/Lenni Lenape had been friendly to the American incursion into the Indiana Territory.  Consequently, they were not trusted by some other tribes who had allied with the British in the frontier campaign of the War of  1812 while not being entirely trusted by the average American settler either. After the Pigeon Roost massacre of September 1812, Governor Harrison had ordered the Delaware/Lenni Lenape Indians in this area removed to the Indian Agency at Piqua, Ohio for their general safety.  After Tecumseh was killed at the Battle of Thames in October of 1813, the threat of a multi-tribe alliance with the British no longer existed.  The Delaware Indians who had previously lived in the Indiana Territory were released from the Piqua agency and left to fend for themselves with their former trade networks fragmented.  With more and more settlers competing with them for hunting and gathering resources, they quickly fell into an impoverished condition,

Parke and DuBois determined that the immediate need of the Delaware was warm clothing and a gunsmith to repair their dilapidated firearms. Once their firearms were repaired, then the Delaware could hunt more to provide meat, fur and hides for their own needs and to trade for tools, domestic goods and clothing. Parke and DuBois talked to Indiana Militia leaders and several settlers about any safety concerns they may have about arming these Indians and found no general concerns about frontier security,  This was reported to Governor Posey who then wrote again to Secretary of War Monroe seeking authority for the recommended relief.  Governor Posey specifically asked Monroe to review this matter of concern with President Madison.  Monroe eventually authorized the appropriation of funds to provide some limited relief including contracting with gunsmiths to work on the guns of these Delaware encamped in the northeast corner of Washington County, Indiana Territory in the winter of 1814/1815.

One wonders what Delaney [see post of August 17] thought about all of this as he continued to subsist in the Knobs and valley named after him. Whether any of the remnants of the Delaware bands of Old Ox and Highland were part of the Sand Creek encampment is not known. In less than 10 years, the Delaware/Lenni Lenape who had settled in the uplands and glacial till plains north of the Ohio River and had lived off of the abundance provided by the Blue River and the Driftwood/Muscatatuck River basins had become wards of the United States government.

                                         FIRST THANKSGIVING AT PLYMOUTH, MA

                                                INDIANS AT TRADING POST

                            SAND CREEK/DRIFTWOOD ENCAMPMENT NOVEMBER 1814

Sunday, November 23, 2014

NOVEMBER 23, 1814

200 years ago today in Washington County, Indiana Territory, John Campbell McPheeters was resting after a busy previous day.  On November 22, 1814 he went to trial on two separate civil cases in the Washington Circuit Court.  On November 23, 1814, after the verdict was announced at the end of his second trial, he pursued a third legal matter by applying to the court for an assessment of damages for the construction of his second mill.

McPheeters was born in Augusta County, Va. in 1762 of Scotch Irish parentage.  He served as a soldier in the Revolutionary War.  He married Margaret Anderson in Virginia in 1787.  They later moved to Shelby County, Ky. where they were living when their first land claim was made in the Indiana Territory. This first place of settlement in what was to become Washington County, Indiana was in the northeast quarter of Section 14, T1S, R3E, on the Mutton Fork of Blue River.  Horner’s Chapel Road borders on the west side of this acreage today at the Horner’s Chapel Bridge.  John McPheeters built a grist mill here in 1813 just upstream from where the Horner’s Chapel bridge is now located. McPheeters also operated a small distillery at the mill.  A mill operated at this site until the 1880s.

Many of the early settlers had aggressive personalities and the egos of these pioneer entrepreneurs and civic leaders often clashed.  This may be why there were so many slander suits filed in the early days of the Washington Circuit Court.
John McPheeters had filed a complaint for slander against Robert Catlin in the spring of 1814.  McPheeters was a neighbor of Catlin who had settled about a mile and a half northwest of McPheeters on land was in the northwest quarter of Section 12, T1S, R3E.  This is a short distance upstream from the confluence of Royse’s Fork and the Mutton Fork of Blue River.  Catlin was one of the early Justices of the Peace and must have usually been a man of moderate temperament.  The records don’t reveal what McPheeters claimed that Catlin said but, it must have been during one of Catlin’s unguarded moments.

Trials on the 1814 Indiana frontier were short.  Jurors were selected from among those interested citizens whose curiosity drew them to court when it was in session to offer their services for the civic good.  No voir dire could have been conducted as there were several trials each day.  Therefore, the predisposition of the jurors as to the issues or parties in the case at hand was a random factor in frontier justice.
In the McPheeters v. Catlin trial, the jury was William Moore, Wilson Bracken, John Smiley, John Gregg, Joseph Sargeant, Shadrack Luallen, Absalom Fields, Jacob Sears, Isaac Staley, John Wright, Henry Carter, and William Robertson. After the presentation of evidence and argument by the attorneys, the jury deliberated for a short period of time.  Elder John Wright who was the foreman of the jury announced a verdict for McPheeters against Catlin in the amount of $1.

After Judges Holman and Lamb took a brief recess, the slander case of Martin Royse v. John McPheeters was called for trial. Royse was a 27 year old neighbor of McPheeters who had registered a land claim for the northeast quarter of Section  9, T1S, R 3E, next to land claims made on Blue River by Frederick Royse and William Royse who were the father and brother of Martin Royse. As  Royse’s Lick and Royse’s Fork of Blue River were named after this family, they may have had a well-developed sense of territorial imperative that McPheeters’ words may have invaded.  The fact that Robert Catlin and Martin Royse were close neighbors may also have given McPheeters’ two trials a common theme.  The jury that heard this case were:  William Moore, John Smiley, John Gregg, Joseph Sargeant, William Gordon, Joseph Reyman (Wrimann), Alexander Little, Shadrack Luallen, William Rigney, Jacob Sears and Absalom Fields. Seven of these jurors had heard the McPheeters/Catlin case so they already had formed opinions about McPheeters’ as a person.  The case was given to the jury at the end of the day. The jury recessed for the evening and returned the next morning to announce their verdict.  Foreman Alexander Little who was the County Lister delivered a verdict the next day for Martin Royse in the amount of $1. 

Therefore, John McPheeters broke even in his two slander cases which were tried on the same day. Shrugging off his two unrewarding days before the bar, McPheeters then had attorney William Hendricks file a petition for a writ ad quo damnum with the court so that he could be allowed to build another dam for a new mill on Lost River.  The court ordered Sheriff William Hoggatt to obtain a jury who would visit the site of the proposed dam in Lost River on December 3, 1814 for further proceedings.  This proceeding and a similar one initiated by George Beck will be the subject of a future post.

John and Margaret Anderson McPheeters were the parents of eleven children born between the years of 1782 to 1806.  One of their grandsons, Alexander McPheeters, and two of their great grandsons, John S. McPheeters and James H. McPheeters, became physicians.  John McPheeters died on July 10, 1839.  Margaret McPheeters died on Christmas Day 1844.  Both were interred at Horner’s Chapel Cemetery.

                                LOCATION OF FIRST MCPHEETERS MILL

                                                HORNER'S CHAPEL CEMETERY

                                                 JOHN C. MCPHEETERS MONUMENT

Saturday, November 22, 2014

NOVEMBER 22, 1814

200 years ago today in Washington County, Indiana Territory, there were 4 new landowners who received deeds bearing this date issued by Josiah Meigs the Commissioner of the General Land Office.  Meigs had assumed these duties on October 11, 1814 having been appointed by President James Madison.  Meigs was a native of Connecticut who graduated from Yale in 1778 with classmates Noah Webster and Oliver Wolcott.  Meigs had served as the President of the University of Georgia for ten years before his appointment as Surveyor General of the United States in 1812. The freeholders who obtained their titles from Meigs on this date were: William Kennedy, William Nicholson, Arthur Parr and Frederick Waltz.

WILLIAM KENNEDY was a native of Bedford County, Pennsylvania of Irish descent. His wife was Sarah Fordyce who was also born in Pennsylvania.  They were married in Jefferson County, Kentucky in 1798.  They lived in Hardin County, Kentucky until they came to the Indiana Territory in 1810.  They soon registered a land claim in the upper reaches of the Blue River basin in the uplands of Washington Township, Harrison County, Indiana Territory. When Washington County was formed out of Clark, Harrison and Knox Counties in early 1814, Kennedy was a respected settler as he was commissioned as a captain in the Indiana Militia.  He also served on the first grand jury impaneled in Washington County in April of 1814. The Kennedy land was located in the northwest quarter of Section 7, T2N, R5E. Today this pioneer homestead is found in Franklin Township northeast of the intersection of Howell Road and New Philadelphia Road.  The neighboring settlers to the Kennedys were Robert Robertson, Thomas Thompson, Samuel Herron, John Robertson, Thomas Carr and Samuel Milroy. According to the census of 1820, there were eleven members of the Kennedy household.  One of their sons, Norval F. Kennedy, worked with John E. Clark in building the brick wall around the second Washington County Court House at a cost of $408.17.

WILLIAM M. NICHOLSON was born in 1781 in Washington County, Virginia.  His parents were Benjamin F. and Jemima Darnell Nicholson. The Nicholson family travelled through Cumberland Gap to relocate in the Bluegrass Region about the time that Kentucky became a state.  They lived in Jessamine County and then in Henry County, Kentucky. After the Battle of Tippecanoe, William Nicholson resettled in the area of Washington County, Indiana with his brothers, Benjamin F. Nicholson, Jr., and Peter Nicholson and brothers in law, Stephen Akers, Henry Carter and Jesse Hughes. The land purchased by William Nicholson was the southwest quarter of Section 21, T3N, R4E, in the headwaters of Delaney Creek east of SR 135 and north of Spurgeon Road. The Nicholson family patriarch Benjamin F. Nicholson, Sr. died in Henry County, Kentucky in April of 1825.  The settlement of  his estate included decisions about the status of his slaves.  One of them, James, must have come to Indiana with his owner’s children.  On October 20, 1826, the heirs and their spouses signed a document emancipating James.  The document was recorded with the Washington County Recorder.  The 1830 census showed that there was a black member of the Jesse Hughes household in Brown Township. This was undoubtedly James who in his freedom continued to work the lands of his emancipators located in Washington, Monroe and Brown Townships in Washington County, Indiana.

ARTHUR PARR, Jr. who has been mentioned previously in the posts of July 4 and August 27 on this blog bought land from the Government Land Office located in the southeast quarter of Section 6, T2N, R5E. This was about a mile northeast of the tract occupied by William Kennedy and is found today where Morgan’s Market is now located. Parr’s immediate neighbors were his son, Enoch Parr, and his sons in law, David Fouts and Solomon Bower. This was the second land patent that Arthur and Martha Morgan Parr had purchased  as they had acquired their first land patent in Indiana on August 27, 1812.  They would buy one more in Washington County and a fourth one in Lawrence County, Indiana at the headwaters of Leatherwood Creek at the present intersection of US Highway 50 and Brown Station Road a few miles east of Bedford. Arthur Parr’s paternal grandparents came to the Colonies from the North Wessex Downs area of Wiltshire near Salisbury, England.  Ironically, Parr lived near Salisbury, NC when he emigrated to the Indiana Territory.  Arthur Parr Jr's Bible was in the possession of my wife's grandmother, Monta Thompson Hinds, who donated it to the Stevens Museum in Salem where it is in the Family Bible Collection.

FREDERICK WALTZ was the son of Rhinehardt Waltz who came to the Colonies from Germany in 1744.  Frederick Waltz married Maria Magdalena Lingenfelter in Frederick County, Maryland.  They traveled the Great Valley Road and Wilderness Road to relocate to Kentucky by 1800.  He was issued a deed on this date for the southeast quarter of Section 14, T1N, R4E.  This acreage today lies at the intersection of Martinsburg Road and Daisy Lane northwest of Pekin in Pierce Township.  Waltz liked the location of this tract as it was on the trail from Royse’s Lick to the Falls of the Ohio that was being rerouted to be the road from Salem to New Albany.  Its location on the high ridge between the Middle and Mutton Forks of Blue River would never flood and had an adequate spring to provide water for household and livestock.  The neighboring landowners were John Moore and John Duvall who was a land speculator living in Woodford County, Kentucky.  In 1828, Waltz bought out the claim of John Gaskins for the southeast quarter of Section 23, T2N, R3E in the karst plain where Mount Tabor Road crosses Drive In Theater Road west of Western Hills Golf Course. Waltz also was a speculator as he lived in Fayette County, Kentucky and was never a resident of Washington County, Indiana as he could not bring his slaves to the former Northwest Territory.  His son, George B. Waltz, moved to Washington County, Indiana in the late 1830s after he married Mary Smedley.  George B. Waltz sold part of his father’s 1814 land patent to Rev, James B. Hamilton who was my first cousin three times removed.  George Waltz developed political connections with local and federal authorities and became the Postmaster of Pekin in 1851.

                                                                  JOSIAH MEIGS
                                              COMMISSIONER, GENERAL LAND OFFICE

                                                 ARTHUR PARR, JR. GRAVE MONUMENT

                                                     STOP, VAIN MAN, AS YOU PASS BY
                                                     AS YOU ARE NOW, SO ONCE WAS I
                                                     AS I AM NOW, SO YOU MUST BE
                                                    PREPARE FOR DEATH, AND FOLLOW ME


Wednesday, November 19, 2014

NOVEMBER 19, 1814

200 years ago today, John DePauw filed a plat for the first addition to the original plat of the Town of Salem.  This plat consisted of 44 lots and laid to the west of the original plat on both sides of Brock Creek.  20 of the lots were on the east side of Brock Creek.  Mill Street was added as a street by this plat.   19 of these lots east of Brock Creek were located north of Mulberry Street. Lot number 143 was separate from the other lots in this new plat and placed at the southwest corner of South Water Street and West Cherry Street.    The remaining 24 lots were west of Brock Creek and ran from West Small Street to West Mulberry Street.  All of these lots on the west side of Brock Creek were east of present day Posey Street which was created in 1815. Part of this area on both sides of Brock Creek was left unplatted until December of 1883 and would become known as “The Salem Commons”.

This plat indicated that Walnut Street was the connecting street between the east and west banks of Brock Creek.  Presumably this was where the ford across Brock Creek was located that Benjamin Brewer used to get to each side of his homestead before he sold his 160 acres to John DePauw for the development of the Washington County seat of government.  The public road established by the Washington Circuit Court that ran from the Knox County line to Salem connected to the northwest part of this first addition and then crossed at Walnut Street.

DePauw probably assigned Mill Street its name because it connected to the wagon road that coursed along the west side of Blue River to William Lindley’s mill southwest of Salem.  Lindley’s Mill was not very accessible by this route but at least Blue River didn’t have to be crossed when using this route.  DePauw planned for a bridge across Royse’s Fork at the foot of South Main Street when more lots were sold in the Salem Plat. Much of the lumber that was used in the construction of the new Court House and the first houses and buildings in Salem was sawed at this mill.

Although only 6 lots in the original plat of Salem had been sold in the 6 months since the plat was filed and advertised, many persons had made their 25% down payment and were waiting for the streets to be cleared of trees and undergrowth before making their final payment to receive their title.  John DePauw must have been optimistic about the new Washington County seat’s prospects to have platted more lots for sale.  He didn’t plat the area on the slope of the ridge west of Brock Creek as many families and individuals were squatting around the Benjamin Brewer blockhouse which was located west of where West Walnut Street and South Posey Street intersect today.  The area around present day DePauw Park was also left unplatted as a graveyard containing members of the Brewer family and those who met their demise in the Salem area before they had the opportunity to claim land or buy a lot from John DePauw.

Many people asked DePauw why he designed the Court House Square with the main streets entering from the sides of the square rather than at the corners.  DePauw may have obtained his inspiration for this design from Bardstown which was the county seat of Nelson County Kentucky.  DePauw had grown up in nearby Lincoln County Kentucky and undoubtedly had often been to Bardstown before coming to the Indiana Territory.  The type of square in the Salem plat was known as the Lancaster plan.  Lancaster, Pennsylvania was the source of this style of town layout and several settlers or their parents had lived in the area of Lancaster County Pennsylvania before moving south into Virginia, North Carolina and Kentucky.  The style of square selected for Salem by DePauw did not prove to be prevalent as only Paoli (1816) and Jasper (1819) also have a Lancaster plan square in Indiana.  The most popular style of public square in Indiana is the Shelbyville plan named after the layout of Shelbyville, Tennessee. Over 80 county seats have  this design in Indiana.

One can speculate as to whether the local officials of Salem and Washington County, Indiana in the late 20th century and the Indiana Department of Transportation would have perceived the need for a highway bypass around the Salem Public Square if it had been a Shelbyville design instead of a Lancaster design.  Perhaps the State Road 60 truck route around Salem completed in 2012 should be called the John DePauw Memorial Highway.

                                   LOCATION OF DEPAUW FIRST ADDITION 
                                                           TO SALEM

                                                AERIAL VIEW OF SALEM BYPASS
                                                        UNDER CONSTRUCTION

Saturday, November 15, 2014

NOVEMBER 15, 1814

200 years ago in Washington County, Indiana Territory, the toilet habits of its residents were more a matter of practicality rather than of public health.  John DePauw made no plans for a dedicated lot for a public toilet in his plat of Salem as the northern European ancestors of the Washington County settlers had a more private view of bodily functions than did the classical cultures of Rome and Greece and their southern European descendants.  Therefore, each home included an outdoor toilet—outhouse—as part of its curtilage.

There were no building codes on the 19th century American frontier but human experience was a guide as to how toilet appurtenances to a cabin or a more permanent house were constructed.  The first consideration was where the outhouse should be located.  Although pioneer knowledge of public sanitation was not well developed, most freeholders tried to place the outhouse about 70 paces away from any source of water such as a spring, creek or well.  As water tables were higher in Washington County 200 years ago, this was an important protection against contagious disease.  The outhouse should not be under a tree but should be near trees so as to be shaded from the afternoon sun as heat caused more odor to emanate from the toilet vault. The outhouse also needed to be placed northeast of  the cabin if possible so as to be downwind from the odor resulting from the decomposition processes in the privy pit.  The privy also needed to be placed so that the rain runoff from the cabin roof did not flow toward it. Finally, a location that was on the same elevation as the home was also desirable so as to minimize physical exertion in attending to nature’s call and so as to avoid slipping and falling in cold or wet weather.  The woodpile was often placed between the outhouse and the cabin so that each visitor to the latrine could bring firewood into the house while out in the cold winter air.

Once the site for the outhouse had been determined, the pit had to be dug.  The size of the pit depended upon the size of the family.  An outhouse with two holes would obviously require a larger pit than one with one hole.  Typically a dimension of 4 feet by 4 feet was sufficient.  The depth of the hole was usually about 4 feet although limestone was occasionally encountered before that depth was reached.  The flooring, seating and building were made of sawed lumber that was cut from timber harvested from the farm or lot neighborhood.  If the family couldn't afford the services of a sawmill, the structure may have been made out of logs like the main cabin. The door needed to be kept closed to keep out varmints and the sun.  A small rope with a stone counterweight on the other end was run through a wooden pulley and attached to the door. 

Once the outhouse was in use, various domestic strategies were needed to facilitate its function.  The abatement of the odor wafting from the decaying bodily byproducts required continuing attention.  Yeast was used to speed up the decomposition process thereby reducing the odor.  Yeast was produced by saving the parings from fruit and potatoes and placing them in a bowl of water.  The bowl was then set out in the sun for a few days.  This produced a yeast bearing froth which was then poured into the pit about every 6 to 8 weeks.  In addition to olfactory discomfort, raccoons, snakes and wasps were common visitors to outhouses and caused many surprises to those in vulnerable positions.  A long stick or prod was kept by the door of the outhouse for use in discouraging such intruders from seeking shelter inside.  The prod also was used in times of extreme cold to break any ice that might form on the surface of the deposited human detritus thereby slowing the process of decay. 

Finally, the matter of cleaning one’s fundament after alimentary relief had to be managed.  Newspapers were rare on the Indiana frontier and were often passed from person to person for reading until they literally disintegrated.  The popular Sears and Roebuck catalog was not available for end use until the late 1880s. Corn shucks were the most common material available for toilet matters.  After the shucks ran out, the corn cob was next used.  Some dried leaves and grasses were adaptable for personal purposes.  The pawpaw leaf was particularly suited for hygienic application in the outhouse.  Moss was often used also but was harder to gather than leaves and grass. The heads of a mature cattail plants were especially prized for this purpose but were an inconvenience to forage and store. There is no record to indicate that the early settlers of Washington County were familiar with Gargantua and Pantagruel which was a famous comic writing by the French satirist Francois Rabelais.  Therefore, it is unlikely that the necks of dead geese were used in the outhouses of the Washington County, Indiana Territory frontier.

The former locations of outhouses have become unintended archaeological time capsules.  Besides human residue, many broken and discarded household items were thrown or dropped into privy vaults.  When archaeological digs are done of historic sites, privy vaults are selected for excavation as they are often the best location for finding the material culture of the site. My grandfather, William Bruce Wright, died when I was 4 1/2 years old.  I remember his appearance and voice, his walking with a cane and his trips to the outhouse.  My grandparents had indoor plumbing but, I remember Grandpa often used the outhouse anyway.  Years later, I wondered why he continued to use the outhouse.  I've always wanted to dig the site of this outhouse to find what types of things my progenitors may have discarded or lost there. One day in the 1970s, I was visiting my parents who lived in this same house that my grandfather built in 1903 and suddenly realized why my grandfather favored the privy at times.   My father was sitting on the enclosed side porch smoking as my mother no longer wanted him smoking in the house.  Watching him relaxing and enjoying his Winston, an image of my grandfather seated on his outhouse throne smoking flashed from the recesses of my memory.  He went to the outhouse to smoke and have time away from Grandma. 

                                              PIONEER OUTHOUSE

                                                          FRANCOIS RABELAIS


Sunday, November 9, 2014

NOVEMBER 9, 1814

200 years ago today in Washington County, Indiana Territory, the Washington Circuit Court was back in session after an adjournment since July.  Since the court had last been in session, several changes had occurred in the Territorial and County judiciary.  First, the territorial legislature had enacted a law in August of 1814 rearranging the judicial districts.  Previously there had been legal controversy over a prior act of the Territory legislature enacted in January 1814 which was in conflict with an act of the US Congress which established the jurisdiction of federal courts.  Benjamin Parke who would later become a Salem resident pointed this out to Governor Thomas Posey.  The new law corrected this and established three districts with each having a presiding judge for the circuit and two associate judges for each county within the circuit.  All were appointed by Governor Posey.

Samuel Lindley had resigned as the presiding judge of the first Washington Circuit Court after its July session.  Moses Hoggatt then declined to serve further as an associate judge.  Jesse L. Holman of Dearborn County was appointed as the new presiding judge of the Second Circuit which included Washington County.  John M. Coleman was appointed as an associate judge.  Simeon Lamb who had served as an associate judge since January 1814 remained as the third judge for Washington County.  Holman presided over the November session which was held in temporary quarters in or near Salem as the new Washington County Court House was under construction.

The first day of the session was dedicated to the pending criminal cases.  John F. Ross served as the Prosecuting Attorney. These cases were:
US v. Susannah Beem                      Forgery
US v. Frederick Wyman                    Assault and Battery
US v. Matthew McClure                   Assault and Battery
US v. John Ramsay                          Assault and Battery
US v. Matthew Lee                           Assault and Battery

The family of Susannah Beem was among the first to settle north of the Muskatatuck in Driftwood Township.  The records do not reveal what document/s she forged.  The punishment for forgery was three pronged.  First, a fine was imposed equal to double the amount of the fraud the forgery attempted to perpetrate with half to be paid to the party injured.  Second, the guilty forger was disqualified from future testimony, jury service and holding a public office.  Third, three hours of public humiliation were to be endured in a pillory.  Beem’s case was eventually tried and she was found guilty.  Her attorney immediately moved for a new trial and the case was continued for several terms of court and eventually dismissed as witnesses either lost interest or settled elsewhere.  It seems that Susannah Beem was not destined to pilloried on the Salem square.

Frederick Wyman was a 30 year old son of Henry Wyman of Dutch Creek who had recently married Elizabeth Baker but had not yet assumed the conduct moderating duties of parenthood.  At the time of his pending case, he was acting as the superintendent of the construction of that part of the public road from Salem to New Albany that was located between the Mutton Fork of Blue River and the south county line.  Perhaps Wyman’s construction supervision was found to be too aggressive. Assault and Battery was punishable by a fine not to exceed $100 and the court had the authority to place a person convicted of this crime under a surety of the peace for up to one year. 

The second and third days of the November session were dedicated to pending civil cases.  These cases were:
Matthew Royse    v.       John McPheeters                     Slander
John McPheeters v.       John Catlin                              Slander
Daniel Beem         v.       Alexander Craig                      Slander
John Dickinson    v.       Marston G. Clark                    Debt
Henry Dawalt       v.       Fred Niedeffer                        Case
Benjamin Brewer v.       Robert McCain                        Slander
William Wright    v.      William Hoggatt                      Debt
Philip Stucker      v.      Aaron Wilcoxsen                     Slander
Cassady Patterson v.     William Patterson                    Case
Hugh Nance         v.       Thomas Dorsey                       Slander
Howard Purcell    v.      Stephen Sparks                       Assault and Battery
John Fleenor        v.       Elizabeth Fleenor                     Divorce
Adam House        v.       Jacob Hattabaugh                    Case

The designation of “case” probably referred to what is known today as a negligence action. More than half of the cases were for the tort of slander which is spoken defamation.  As damages for slander are difficult to prove, there must have been a lot of perceived self-honor to protect.  Hurt feelings apparently were not left to heal over.  Some degree of self-control of our settlers is also apparent as slanderous comments did not lead to fights as only one civil assault and battery case was on the docket.  Perhaps there was much umbrage taken to unguarded comments as many of the residents of Washington County had not yet developed a sense of community and were often encountering strangers.  Also, many persons in the fledgling county had not yet affiliated with any church congregation so as to practice the settlement of personal disputes as suggested in Matthew 18:15-17.

The two pending debt collection cases are of interest because of the notoriety of the defendants.  Marston G. Clark had been a community leader of influence in Clark County, Indiana Territory before he moved to Washington County.  The Stevens Centennial History of Washington County, Indiana contains an extensive portrait of Clark. Clark had been a part of General Anthony Wayne’s campaign against Little Turtle in the 1790s. Clark had operated a ferry across the Ohio River from Beargrass Creek to the location that became Jeffersonville.   He was one of the settlers that helped lay out Jeffersonville.  He was a Major and Aide de Camp of William Henry Harrison’s staff for the Battle of Tippecanoe and is credited with advising General Harrison as to the location where the battle should occur.  Clark then served as one of the three commissioners who determined in early 1814 where the county seat of Washington County should be located.  His status did not protect him from his creditors from Clark County where he incurred debt for a performance bond he had made for a misfeasing official there. Clark’s financial troubles were short term as his political connections resulted in his being awarded the contract for the construction of the first county jail for the sum of $585.  He then opened the first hotel in Salem on South Main Street.  During the 1820s and 1830s, Marston G. Clark represented Washington County as either a State Senator or a State Representative. In the early 1830s he was the Indian Agent for the Kansa tribe near Ft, Leavenworth.

Washington County Sheriff William Hoggatt was not protected from suit for debt by his creditor and neighbor William Wright.  Hoggatt like Clarke was a man of influence as he had represented Harrison County in the Territorial legislature for a term and was a militia officer. He tried to operate a mill on the Middle Fork of Blue River without success and must have run up some debt.  Hoggatt resigned as sheriff and moved to Orange County as soon as it was organized in 1815 and became its Clerk/Recorder.  Sheriff Hoggatt was later sued by Washington County Treasurer Jonathan Lyon for failing to remit taxes he had collected as sheriff.  He must have been a man of some pretense or a friend of indulgent backers as his financial difficulties and public malfeasance did not prevent him from being a co-founder of Bono and being hired by the Bullitt Brothers to lay out Terre Haute, Indiana in 1816.

                                               MARSTON GREEN CLARK


                                      19TH CENTURY LAWYER IN COURT

Sunday, November 2, 2014

NOVEMBER 2, 1814

200 years ago today in Washington County, Indiana there was no standard time or daylight savings time.   In 1814 there was only local mean time throughout the United States and the rest of the world.  Local mean time was based upon noon when the sum was at the zenith of its daily transit from horizon to horizon.  This means that when Washington County was being settled each locality had its own time.  As an example, noon at Cincinnati, Ohio would have occurred about 6 minutes before it occurred in the developing town of Salem, Indiana.  Similarly, noon would have occurred in Salem about 16 minutes before it occurred at St. Louis, Missouri Territory.  In the days before the development of an extensive transportation infrastructure, these differences in local mean time were of no concern.

In 1814 there were not yet industrial employers that demanded a starting time to a work shift.  There was no stage line in Salem until 1830 so there was no departure time to miss or arrival time to await. Most people awakened at dawn when the roosters crowed. However, local legal and civic affairs were conducted on some type of schedule although there was undoubtedly a considerable degree of latitude as to when events actually commenced.  Persons were summoned to court to appear at a set date with the understanding that one appeared at the start of the day and waited their turn.  The Washington Circuit Court probably had all appearances scheduled for the same implicit time and dealt with each case when all were determined to be present.  At the end of the day if someone did not appear they were then determined to be in default on in violation of their appearance bond.  Each court session in 1814 adjourned until the "next morning" with no beginning time recorded.

The William Lindley home where public business was being conducted until a court house was built must have had a clock of some kind.  In 1814 most clocks were tall casework (grandfather) clocks.  The height of the clock cabinet accommodated the pendulum mechanism which provided the momentum for the mechanical energy that made the clock run.  A longer pendulum kept more accurate time but tall case clocks were expensive as most were made in Massachusetts or Connecticut.  The mechanical parts were made of wood as brass was generally unavailable due to trade restriction of the War of 1812.  The mechanical power for the clocks consisted of iron weights suspended from small cables and pulleys. If a family had a grandfather clock, they probably had been former landowners in Kentucky as settlers immigrating to Indiana directly from Virginia or North Carolina often didn’t use valuable space or load capacity for such a large and delicate item. Wall clocks were available for purchase in Louisville but were not as accurate.  By 1810 smaller shelf clocks were being made and wore more affordable.  They had to be wound daily.  Pocket watches were possessed by some of the pioneer men of the Indiana Territory.  Watches of that era used a cylinder escapement mechanism and were not terribly accurate.  By 1820, pocket watches were being made with a lever escapement which made them more accurate so that they only varied from solar time by a minute a day.

200 years ago, it is not known what clock was maintained by County or Town officials to determine the official local mean time.  One can speculate that Thomas Beasley’s tavern on South High Street had a clock that may have been the unofficial clock as Beasley was also on the first Board of Town Trustees.  Interestingly, the new court house under construction was not to have a clock mounted in its tower or on its exterior.  When the second Washington County Court House was built in 1826, it didn’t have a clock tower either.  It wasn’t until 1888 when the present Court House was built that Salem had its iconic Court House clock tower.  Five years previously, the railroad industry had lobbied for the establishment of standard time so that train schedules could be made uniform and travel and commerce made more efficient.  Therefore, the Court House clock has always been set on Standard or Daylight Savings time and never was set on local solar time.

Imagine this conversation when John DePauw came to town from  his home on the hill southeast of Salem  to collect lot payments and stopped at Beasley's Tavern:

DePauw:    Tom, what time is it?
Beasley:      You mean now?

                                      TALL CASE PENDULUM CLOCK

                                                   TRADITIONAL ALARM CLOCK

                                  WASHINGTON COUNTY COURT HOUSE CLOCK TOWER