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


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