Tuesday, December 16, 2014

DECEMBER 16, 1812

202 years ago today in Washington Township, Harrison County, Indiana Territory, three frontiersmen were granted title to land claims that they had made shortly after the land acquired through the Grouseland Treaty was surveyed and opened for settlement.  These men were ROBERT GILCHRIST,  DAVID PARR and JAMES YOUNG.

The land that ROBERT GILCHRIST had selected in the former Northwest Territory was the northeast quarter of Section 33, T3N, R4E.  This farm is now in Washington Township in the upper Brock Creek basin at the southwest corner of the intersection of Delaney Park Road and Glen Miller Road.  This claim was originally registered with Samuel Gwathmey at the Jeffersonville Land Office by James Perkins.  Gilchrist bought out Perkins and made the balance of the $2 per acre payments. Perkins would later payoff a claim registered by Nathaniel Jenkins for the west half of the northwest quarter of Section 25, T3N, R2E which is now in Brown Township in the karst uplands northeast of Campbellsburg.

Robert Gilchrist was born in 1772 either in Scotland  or Virginia.  He was living in Nelson County, Kentucky when he married Margaret Adams in 1791.  They moved to Mercer County, Kentucky where they lived when the Indiana land claim was purchased. Gilchrist’s tenure as an Indiana pioneer was brief as he died on October 23, 1813.  His family being more practical than sentimental buried him on nearby unclaimed land in what was to become the Peugh Cemetery in southern Monroe Township.  His widow moved to Johnson County, Indiana with three of her sons after it was opened for settlement in 1823.  Margaret Adams Gilchrist died on August 18, 1827. Her children made an agreement whereby James Gilchrist and his wife Mary Duncan bought out his brothers and sisters to retain the original 1812 homestead.  The Robert Gilchrist heirs were: Robert, Jr. and Elizabeth King Gilchrist of Johnson County, Indiana; Eli and Charlotte King Gilchrist of Johnson County, Indiana; Joseph and Nancy Gilchrist Young of Johnson County, Indiana; William and Nancy Duncan Gilchrist of Vigo County, Indiana and John and Jemima Gilchrist of Vigo County, Indiana.  Robert Gilchrist must have had a pronounced Gaelic/Appalachian accent and have been of limited literacy as all Washington County land records pertaining to him and his family spelled the family name as either Gilcrease or Gilcrees.

DAVID PARR obtained  his title on this date to the northeast quarter of Section 24, T2N, R4E, at the northeast base of Spurgeon Hill south of the trail from Royse’s Lick to the Old Trace Gap at the Pigeon Roost.  This pioneer homestead is presently located on the east side of Harristown Road at the former site of the Harristown station and post office. Parr was rather young to be a frontier landowner as he was only 23 when he received his deed having been born in Rowan County, North Carolina in 1789.  Parr came directly from the North Carolina Piedmont to the Indiana Territory with his father, Arthur Parr, Jr,; his brothers, Enoch Parr and John Parr; his brothers in law, David Fouts, Solomon Bower and Thomas Hodges; and his future brother in law Noah Wright.  This Carolina cohort was here no later than 1810 as David Parr signed a petition that year in Clark County, Indiana Territory supporting the right to vote for any male resident over the age of 21 with military service.  Parr had the rank of sergeant in the 5th Regiment of the Indiana Militia under the command of Captain Henry Dawalt.  He  probably fought in the skirmish with the Pigeon Roost raiders at Sand Creek that resulted in the death of John Zink.

David Parr was one of the first purchasers to make a down payment on a lot in the plat of Salem.  After making the 25% down payment he transferred his purchase agreement to his younger brother John Parr who completed the $47 purchase of lot 130 on April 18, 1815.  John Parr was only 20 years old when he became the owner of the lot where the lower City parking lot is now found at the southeast corner of West Walnut and North Water Streets.

David Parr died of unreported causes at the age of 27 on January 15, 1816.  As the extended Parr family was part of the Sharon Baptist Church congregation, his bodily remains were probably buried in the cemetery by the Sharon Meeting House about a mile east of Royse’s Lick. His widow was named Elizabeth but there is no record of her name or the date and location of their marriage.  Marriages in the far reaches of Clark and Harrison County that became Washington County in 1814 were not recorded until 1815 when registration with the County Clerk was first required.  When David Parr died, Elizabeth Parr’s dower interest in his 160 acre partially cleared farm was a half interest as they were childless.  If David Parr had left a child surviving him, Elizabeth’s dower would have been a third interest. Only 36 days after her husband died,  Elizabeth Parr sold her dower interest to her eight siblings in law but reserved possession of the home until March 4, 1817.

The United States conveyed title to JAMES YOUNG on this date to the northwest quarter of Section 4, T2N, R4E, in the mid Brock Creek basin.  This land was approximately one mile south from the tract that Robert Gilchrist acquired on this same date.  This land is now located in Washington Township at the southwest corner of Lewellen Road and Jim Day Road.  Young operated a horse mill on this farm for the grinding of corn and grain in the immediate neighborhood.  In addition to his farm, James Young purchased lots 71 and 72 in Salem on September 14, 1815 for the sum of $49.  These adjoining lots were located at the northwest corner of East Mulberry and North High Streets.   The Youngs held these lots for ten years without building on them until they were resold ten years later for $250 to Nathan Albertson.  James Young was a respected citizen as he was appointed  in May of 1816 as one of  the three inspectors to determine if the first Washington County Court House was ready for use and occupancy.  This committee declared that the Court House had been built according to the plans by John DePauw and that his performance bond of five thousand dollars should be released.  Young’s committee also noted that the exterior stairs built to reach the second story entrance to the building were of insubstantial design.   The Court entered an order that new steps be built.  The bid was awarded to Michael Wood for the sum of $99.

Young was living in Clark County, Indiana Territory at the time he registered his claim for this land.  He was born in North Carolina and was married to Elizabeth Davidson in Rowan County, NC in 1784.  James Young was the son of Alexander Young and Anne McWhorter.  Young’s father was from the Banff area of Scotland.  His mother was from a lowland Scottish family that had settled in Northern Ireland before coming to the American colonies. James Young died in late March of 1829 and was buried on his farm.  His son in law, John G. Henderson, and his friend, Andrew Weir, serve as the Coexecutors of his will and estate. One of his sons, Joseph Young, married Nancy Gilchrist who was a daughter of his neighbor Robert Gilchrist.

                                                   ROBERT AND MARGARET GILCHRIST
                                                   GRAVESTONE AT PEUGH CEMETERY

                                            GOOGLE EARTH VIEW OF DAVID PARR
                                                        LAND PATENT OF 1812

                                             HORSE MILL EXAMPLE SUCH AS OPERATED
                                                              BY JAMES YOUNG


  1. I am of the Gilchrist family and found this very informative. Further info. Robert Gilchrist's headstone has a birth date of 1757, not 1772. John married Jemima Pinkston (not mentioned in article).