DECEMBER 18, 1813
201 years ago in that part of Harrison County, Indiana Territory that would soon become Washington County, four tracts of land were transferred from the public domain to private ownership as part of the expansion of the United States into the Northwest Territory. These new landowners were George Henton, Samuel Herron, John Robertson and John Robinson.
GEORGE HENTON was living in Shelby County, Kentucky when he decided to come to Indiana. George Henton first purchased a land patent on Blue River east of the Vincennes Road ford in 1812 before moving northwest to a tract that was in the Mitchell Plain/Crawford Upland transitional terrain. He made land claim at this location in his own name and bought out the adjoining registered claim of his brother in law William Rigney. This 320 acres of land was located in the south half of Section 5, T1N, R2E. Henton’s homestead is seen today in Stampers Creek Township, Orange County, Indiana one half mile south of SR 56 just west of the Washington County line. George Henton was born in Shenandoah County, Virginia in 1759. Henton served in the Virginia Militia in the Revolutionary War rising to the rank of First Lieutenant. He married Mary Rigney in 1785 before crossing the Cumberland divide into Kentucky. George Henton, Evan Henton, James Jeffery Murphy and William Rigney came to Indiana together in about 1810 and were among the very first settlers of the Stampers Creek area. After the location of Salem as the county seat was determined in February of 1814, Henton successfully lobbied to have a public road running from the Lick Creek neighborhood to Salem established on the edge of his intended farm.
SAMUEL HERRON selected for acquisition the northeast quarter of Section 18, T2N, R5E, on the high ridge east of Royse’s Lick. This acreage is presently located in Franklin Township on the west side of Elliot Road a half mile south of the New Philadelphia Road. Richardson Hensley sold this claim to Herron who made the balance of the installment payments to the U. S. government. Samuel Herron was born in Pennsylvania in 1768. He came to Kentucky and married Alice Combs in Nelson County, Ky in 1798. Samuel and Alice Herron never moved from Nelson County, Kentucky even though they had purchased the Indiana tract. Their son, William Herron, came to Indiana and cleared his father’s land. William Herron had married Margaret Huston in 1810. They moved their family onto the Washington County plantation and bought it from Samuel and Alice Herron on September 3, 1817 for the sum of $1,000. Apparently, deeds executed in Kentucky at this time required the witnessing of two justices of the peace. Benjamin Grayson as the Clerk of Nelson County, Kentucky certified on the deed that the two justices of the peace, in fact, held that public capacity. Proctor Ballard was the Judge of Nelson County, Kentucky that certified that Grayson was the Clerk. This type of formality is no longer required for the recording of deeds executed out of state although it is still required to certify out of state court records before they can be used in local legal proceedings.
JOHN ROBERTSON settled on the northwest quarter of Section 18, T2N, R5E, on real estate adjoining the Samuel Herron tract on the west. Daniel Gray registered this claim with Samuel Gwathmey at the Jeffersonville Land Office and then sold it to Robertson. Robertson’s land is now in Franklin Township on the east side of
Howell Road about a half mile south of the New Philadelphia Road. John and Polly Robertson sold their farm to John Mitchell for $1,040 on January 6, 1817. The deed to Mitchell was drafted and witnessed by Justice of the Peace William Kelso. Although Indiana officially became a state on December 11, 1816, Justice of the Peace Kelso did not yet know that 26 days later as he wrote that the deed had been witnessed in Washington County, Indiana Territory (not State). Robertson was one of the first trustees of the Franklin Church when it received donated land for its meeting house and cemetery in 1822. After sale of his first homestead, John Robertson registered a claim for the southwest quarter of Section 9, T2N, R5E. This is where Daniel Gray had squatted in 1810 as one of the early residents of Franklin Township. Robertson died in 1827. The deed from the U.S. General Land Office was issued on August 20, 1827 to the heirs of John Robertson as tenants in common and not as joint tenants.
JOHN ROBINSON obtained his deed from the Commissioner of the General Land Office on this date for the southwest quarter of Section 13, T2N, R4E. William Rodman from Shelby County, Kentucky had made the claim for this site but sold it to Robinson. This homestead is now in Washington Township south of Canton at the northwest corner of Harristown Road and Canton-South Boston Road.
Robinson was born of Scoth-Irish heritage in 1775 with some of his ancestors having lived near Pittcastle, Parthshire, Scotland. He first married Sarah Teague in Guilford County North Carolina. She died after the birth of their sixth child. Robinson then married Sarah Woolem and moved to Surry County North Carolina. Fourteen children were born to Robinson’s second marriage. The Robinson’s sold their Washington County land patent in two tracts in less than a year after receiving title. An area described as100 acres and 80 poles was sold to Samuel Price on August 22, 1814 for $555. The remaining 59 ½ acres was sold to James McCraskey on October 22, 1814 for $200. John and Sarah Robinson moved to Vigo County where they took out a land patent on Honey Creek for land that is now in the southwest glide slope to the Terre Haute airport. The Robinsons continued to follow the opening American frontier and bought land on the southeast edge of St. Joseph, Missouri when it was established in 1843 as the “jumping off place” for the Oregon Trail. John Robinson did not live to enjoy this entrepot to the Wild West as he died there in 1845.
Old public records were often approximate in the spelling of names. In the public records of Washington County, Indiana the names of John Robertson and John Robinson are recorded as Robertson/Robinson/Robison/Robeson. They were two different persons as their grantor deeds listed different spouses. Over the years there have been several John Robertson/Robinson/Robison (s) in Washington County, Indian and in the many counties of Kentucky, Virginian and North Carolina from whence their ancestors originated. This post is a good example of the challenges presented in doing historical research.
GEORGE HENTON GRAVE MONUMENT