Tuesday, January 20, 2015

JANUARY 20, 2015

200 years ago today in Washington County, Indiana Territory, John DePauw entered into a contract with John E. Clark of Shelby County, Kentucky to perform the brickwork, plastering and penciling subcontract for the construction of the Washington County Court House. He filed a $3,000 performance bond to secure his completion of the contract according to the plan filed in the Clerk’s office.  The brick work and the forming of the pillars work for the new seat of justice was to be completed by Clark by October 10, 1815.  Clark was to complete the plastering and penciling “as soon as circumstances will admit”.

 DePauw had been the successful bidder for the court house construction contract awarded by the Washington Circuit Court on August 24, 1814.  DePauw’s bid was in the amount of $2,490.  The specifications for this contract were first set out in my post of July 13, 1814.  These specifications were:
A building 45 feet by 30 feet
Arches not less than 8 feet high
Supported by 14 pillars of stone sunk 3 feet deep in the earth unless founded on solid rock
One story above the arches to be 14 feet high built of brick
4 windows of 24 panes each in the court room
2 windows for the jury rooms of the same size
2 outside doors and 2 inside doors in proportion to the building
A fireplace in each of the jury rooms
Walls to be laid in limestone mortar well pointed and pencilled and to be plastered and whitewashed [“Penciling” is the technique of painting narrow, straight white paint stripes on brick, stone or stucco walls to emphasize and visually straighten the mortar joints or to simulate mortar joints as on marbleized stucco. Most Federal Period and Greek Revival brick houses were “penciled.”]
The cornice to be handsomely made of brick moulded for the purpose
The materials to be of the best kind and also the work to be done in a good workmanlike manner

One can see that the brickwork to be performed by Clark was a major component of the construction.  In addition to laying the brick, Clark also had to make the bricks from the clay soil available in the uplands and river terraces adjoining Royse’s Fork of Blue River. The fact that Clark’s performance bond was greater than the total cost of DePauw’s construction contract highlights the importance of the subcontract he was to perform. John DePauw had faced the obstacle of the limited pool of available masons to do the brick work for Salem’s first substantial building. Those in Washington County with some masonry experience were too busy clearing their newly claimed or titled land patents to give up a year in the construction of the court house.  As reported in the post of January 17, 1815, DePauw was banking his reputation on the character and skill of John E. Clark when he induced him to leave Shelby County, Kentucky to be his prime subcontractor. Clark was successful in performing his contract and DePauw was able to complete the court house in substantial compliance with the original plans.  The Washington County Court House was accepted as complete on May 6, 1816.  Its appearance led to the sobriquet “The Stilted Castle of Justice”. At the end of this post are two different depictions of how Washington County’s first court house may have appeared.

Upon completion of his masonry work, John E. Clark was now established and determined to remain in Salem and Washington County, Indiana.  Clark used his earnings from the court house contract to stake his purchase of at least two quarter sections and a lot in Salem.  Clark’s first land purchase was from Jacob Hattabaugh.  He paid Hattabaugh $40 for lot 169 in Salem. Lot 169 is today part of three residences located on the northwest corner of South Mill and West Small Streets. Clark next bought out a land claim from his patron, John DePauw, on April 2, 1818 for the southeast quarter of Section 29, T2N, R4E.  This 160 acres was located north of Hoggatt Branch and is bordered today by SR 135 on the west and Rose Lane on the north.  Clark also purchased the claim of Allen Hodges for the northeast quarter of Section 32, T2N, R4E, on April 10, 1821.  This tract abutted the first tract on the south and today includes the site of the Lake Salinda dam and water treatment plant.

John Ellis and Catherine Hardman Clark through his masonry skills and her inheritance owned several hundred acres in the following years.  Their success fostered affectation.  They changed the spelling of their name to “Clarke”. Risky investment in the Salem and New Albany plank road and milling interests resulted in financial setbacks which precipitated the sale of much of their land holdings. Catherine Hardman Clarke died on July 10, 1849 of cholera.  John Ellis Clarke died on March 1, 1853 at the age of 1967. They were members of the Blue River Christian Church where he was an elder and were buried in the church cemetery on Blue River Church Road.  Their children married into the Morris, Cooper, and Berkey families. Descendants of John E. Clark/Clarke include George Clarke Shanks who owned Shanks Abstract and Title Co.; Hoyt Clarke Hottel who was a professor of chemical engineering at Massachusetts Institute of Technology; and local attorneys, William L. Thompson and Trent Thompson.

                                                              BY M.M JAMES  1976

                                                               BY JOHN SIMPSON

                                                           HOYT CLARKE HOTTEL
                                             PROFESSOR OF CHEMICAL ENGINEERING
                                      MASSACHUSETTS INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY
                                                    GREAT GREAT GRANDSON OF
                                    JOHN ELLIS AND CATHERINE HARDMAN CLARKE

Saturday, January 17, 2015

JANUARY 17, 1815

On this date 200 years ago today, John DePauw and John E. Clark of Shelby County, Kentucky entered into a partnership agreement to operate a store in Salem for a term of one year.  As the land agent for Salem, DePauw had sold a lot on December 23, 1814 located on the northwest quadrant of the Public Square to Madison merchant Jonathan Lyon who intended on opening Salem’s first general store. DePauw must have thought that if an out of town merchant saw a future in Salem then he should benefit from his status as the central figure in the establishment of the new Washington County seat by opening a competing store.  In the Old West there was a saying that if a town was too small to support one lawyer, it could easily support two.  Maybe DePauw believed the same principle applied to general retail as well.  As there were going to be many new buildings under construction and many new households being set up, there surely would be opportunity for two general stores.

The agreement between DePauw and Clark provided that DePauw would furnish goods at a value of $1,745.40 and Clark would furnish goods at a value of $1,943.47. At the end of the year if there is a sufficient stock of goods on hand, the parties were to take out the retail value of what they each put in.  If there was not the value of goods on hand equal to the amount originally put in, then money was to be drawn from the partners in “lieu of deficiency”. One or two clerks were to be hired to be paid out of a joint fund.  All expenses necessarily attending the store were to be paid out of joint stock except for services of DePauw and the rent of a store house. At the end of year a dividend was to be paid from profits, with John DePauw receiving 2/3 of any profit with Clark receiving 1/3. Goods were also purchased on credit from Jonathan P. Brady of Shelby County, Kentucky for the sum of $1,595.  DePauw and Clark each gave their personal notes to Brady to be paid from the joint stock.

John Ellis Clark was a 28 year old native of Henrico County, Virginia born of Welsh descent. He was married to Catherine Hardman in Shelby County, Kentucky in 1810.  Catherine was a native of Shelby County, Kentucky being a daughter of Abraham and Margaret Leatherman Hardman.  The Hardman [Hartmann] family came to the American colonies as part of the wave of migration from the Palatine area of the lower Rhine River in modern day Germany.  John Ellis Clark would eventually benefit greatly from marrying into the Hardman family.  Abraham Hardman who was probably a Dunkard invested widely in Washington and Jackson County, Indiana land.  When he died in March of 1823 in Shelby County, Kentucky, his will was probated.  In addition to providing for his widow, Margaret, and his children, the will also made significant devises of land to his son in law, John. A summary of the Abraham Hardman will which was recorded in Washington County, Indiana in Deed Book H, pages 324-325 reads as follows:

   “Wife Margaret Hardman - to have "land on which I now live (318 acres); also quarter section near White River, Ind., and 3 town lots in Salem, Ind. and slave Simon, all personal property & money."
   Daughters:  Hannah Hostetler, Betsy Hostetler and Catherine Clark - to have 3/4 of my 4 gr. sections of land in Indiana.  In trust for "my daughter Polly Mitchell, after the death of her mother."
   John E. Clark to have 3 remaining gr. sections in Indiana - also tract on which she now lives in Shelby Co., on Gusse's Creek.
   Son:  Daniel Hardman "land which I bought of Knight in Ind."
   Witnesses:  Thomas Jenkins, Jacob Rush”

John Ellis Clark was a brick mason by trade and had little if any experience as a merchant when John DePauw made his partnership agreement with him regarding the Salem store.  Clark’s reputation as a mason must have been substantial as this is the reason that DePauw set him up in Salem in 1815.  As of late August 1814, John DePauw was under contract with the Washington Circuit Court to build a court house for the sum of $2,490.  As both the governmental agent to sell the platted lots in the fledgling town of Salem and the contractor to build the seat of justice for the newly established county, the establishment of a viable town was now almost entirely in the hands of John DePauw. With a shortage of younger men with proven construction skills available on the Indiana frontier, DePauw desperately needed someone with Clark’s masonry skills to fulfill his contract. The next post will describe how DePauw and Clark were able to work together so that the contract for the construction of the first Washington County Court House could be completed.

                                                       PIONEER GENERAL STORE

                                                             PIONEER BRICK YARD


                                          GOOGLE EARTH VIEW OF  GUIST CREEK
                                                   SHELBY COUNTY, KENTUCKY
                                                    HOME OF JOHN ELLIS CLARK

Sunday, January 11, 2015

JANUARY 11, 1815

200 years ago today in Washington County, Indiana Territory, Thomas Saint was holding a deed for recording with Basil Prather--the Recorder of Washington County, Indiana.  Joshua and Chlorinda Redman Thompson had sold their land patent located in the upper reaches of Brock Creek which was described as the northeast quarter of Section 3, T2N, R4E on January 9, 1815 to Thomas Saint for the sum of $500.  Saint had traveled to Silver Creek Township in Clark County, Indiana to close the transaction. The deed was witnessed by Chapman Denslow and certified by Absalom Littell who was a Justice of the Peace in Clark County, Indiana.  Although Joshua Thompson was designated as a resident of Harrison County when he acquired title to this land on August 27, 1812, the Thompsons soon moved to Clark County, Indiana where Chlorinda’s father had a large 500 acre tract to clear, farm and manage.

Joshua Thompson was born in 1785 in North Carolina and died in April 16, 1876.
Chlorinda Redman Thompson was born in Montgomery County, Maryland and died on April 11, 1840.  Both are buried in the New Chapel United Methodist Cemetery near Watson, Clark County, Indiana.  Chlorinda Thompson was the sister in law of the son of Basil Prather who would be receiving the Saint deed for entry.  More significantly, she was the daughter of Benjamin Redman who purchased Clark Grant #69 on Silver Creek from William and Lucy Croghan in 1801.   Lucy Croghan was sister of George Rogers Clark.  The Croghans were wealthy planters who lived at Locust Grove which was their plantation east of Louisville.  Their restored Georgian mansion built in 1790 and grounds on Blankenbaker Lane can be visited today.

The witness to the Thompson to Saint deed, Chapman Denslow, was born in Kent, Connecticut in 1772.  As a young man he moved to Columbia County, New York where he married Sarah Hogeboom who was of Dutch descent.  They then came west with their four children to the new State of Ohio and settled in the Scioto River Valley at Circleville in 1806. Two years later they resettled in Clark County, Indiana.  Being a pair of peripatetic persuasion, the Denslows then moved to Jennings County, Indiana when it was organized in 1817.  Chapman Denslow being a “Connecticut Yankee’ had received more education than the typical frontiersman.  His literacy and experience led to his appointment as one of the first associate judges of the Jennings Circuit Court.

The Justice of the Peace that certified the Thompson to Saint deed, Absalom Littell, was a leading preacher in the Restoration Movement in Indiana.  He was born in Fayette County, Pennsylvania in 1788. In 1799, his family moved to the Clark Grant above the Falls of the Ohio in the Northwest Territory.  As a young man, Absalom Littell, served in the Indiana Militia during the Tecumseh uprising.   In November of 1813 he was baptized into the Silver Creek Baptist church which was the oldest protestant congregation in the Indiana Territory.  He began preaching in 1816 and travelled to many recently formed congregations in his ministry.  During one of his travels along one of the roads in Washington County that led from New Albany to Vincennes he met Achsah Marin while taking a meal at the home of her father, John W. Martin.  They were married in November of 1819.  The frontier Baptists became engaged in the theological debate as to whether the creeds of man were consistent with the text of the Bible.  Absalom Littell left the Silver Creek Baptist Association in 1829 over this issue.  From that point on he preached in the Restoration movement along with Elder John Wright and others.

Thomas Saint was a Quaker born in Perquimans Co, North Carolina who came to the Indiana Territory with the migration of The Society of Friends.  He married Margaret Trueblood at the Lick Creek Meeting House on March 3, 1814.  Margaret was born in Pasquotank County, North Carolina. The Saints sold the land they bought from Joshua and Chlorinda Thompson in four different transactions.  Five acres were sold to Lewis Munden in 1818.  Sixty acres were sold to Levi Munden on February 18, 1823.  A half-acre on the south bank of a small bluff above upper Brock Creek was sold to Nathan Trueblood, Willis McCoy and Elisha Denny as trustees for a private school in 1823 for $5.  This school would have been an ecumenical endeavor as Trueblood was a Quaker while McCoy and Denny were not.  Willis McCoy died the next year and the school was never organized.  A residence was built on the lot and it became a residence for members of the black community that lived in the Blue River Friends neighborhood.  On August 14, 1840, Trueblood and Denny sold the lot and home to Thompson Newby for $102.25.  Newby was one of the members and a trustee of the African Methodist Episcopal Church that had organized in 1836.  His family lived here for twenty four years.  Given its location next to the farms of James Thompson and William Penn Trueblood, I believe it was part of the Underground Railroad network existing in Washington County, Indiana.

The Saints sold their remaining acreage and moved to Milford in Wayne County, Indiana in 1826.  In the 19th century there was a protocol for the acceptance of relocated families into a new church.  The church in which the family had been a member issued a letter to the church in the family’s new community that certified their membership and their character.  The Saints requested the Blue River Monthly Meeting to issue such a letter to the Milford Monthly Meeting.   It read as follows:

To Milford monthly meeting Wayne County

Dear friends,
Thomas Saint and his wife Margaret have removed to settle within the verge of your meeting, requested our certificate to you, for themselves and their children, viz.: William, Joseph, Thomas, Samuel and Daniel; after inquiry we do not find but their outward affairs are settled to satisfaction: there are to certify that they are members of our society; and as such we recommend them to you.

Signed by direction of the Blue River monthly meeting this 2d day of the 12th month of 1826.

John L. Harned
Avis Macy

                                                                 LOCUST GROVE
                                 HOME OF WILLIAM AND LUCY CLARK GROGHAN

                                                            ABSALOM LITTELL
                                                     RESTORATION PREACHER

                                       GOOGLE EARTH VIEW OF THOMAS SAINT FARM
                                                 AND THOMPSON NEWBY HOME
                                                      (LOOKING SOUTHWEST)

Saturday, January 10, 2015

JANUARY 10, 1815

200 years ago today in Salem, Washington Township, Washington County, Indiana Territory, Isaac Moss of Rossville, Butler County, Ohio became the owner of Lot 104 in the DePauw Plat.  Moss paid $40 for this lot located at the northeast corner of South High and East Cherry Street.  This lot is now identified as 108 South High Street.  William Lindley was the original purchaser of this lot.  After making his 25% down payment, Lindley assigned his interest to Moss who completed the purchase.  The deed issued by John DePauw to Moss was witnessed by Robert Hutchinson and John Wolfington.

Moss must have been successful in making a living on the southwest Ohio frontier. Within the same year, Isaac Moss purchased 3 more lots in Salem from John DePauw.  Moss bought out the purchase agreement Thomas Hight had made for Lot 88 on April 17, 1815. This must have been considered a less desirable lot as Moss only paid $16 for it.  This wooded lot was a short distance from the previously purchased Lot 104 on the west side of South High Street between Poplar and Cherry Streets. This lot is now the southeast corner of the Eddie Gilstrap Motors display lot. Moss then bought Lots 143 and 171 from DePauw on December 2, 1815.  He paid $124 for these two lots. Lot 143 was located on South Water Street on the east bank of Brock Creek.  Lot 171 was sited at the northwest corner of West Cherry and South Mill Street near the west bank of Brock Creek.

In the next few years, John DePauw was disappointed that the gentleman from Ohio never moved to Salem or did anything to improve his four lots. Although Moss may have had aspirations for being one of the first lot owners in a new town under development, circumstances prevented him from pursuing life in the Indiana Territory.  The wife of Isaac Moss died shortly after his investment in Salem.  Moss who had been a soldier in the Revolutionary War then became infirm and applied for federal pension in 1818 as an “invalid”. Eleven years after the purchase of his four lots in Salem, Isaac Moss sold them to James H. Ready who was also a Butler County, Ohio resident.  Moss must have been under financial distress as he sold these four lots for a total sum of just $50.

James H. Ready must have taken these lots off of Moss’s hands as a favor as he resold them in a year.  Eli W. Malott bought these lots from Ready on December 6, 1827 for $160.  Ready did make the trip along the Cincinnati Road to Salem to sign his deed in the presence of Justice of the Peace John McMahan.  These four lots that originally sold for a total of $180 in 1815 were worth $20 less twelve years later. Eli W. Malott did finally develop these lots while becoming one of the most successful merchants in Salem during second quarter of the 19th century.  The firm of Malott and McPheeters purchased much of the agricultural produce from local farmers and carted it to Louisville for marketing there and in New Orleans.  Malott and McPheeters also  bought most of the distillery output of Jefferson Township for resale in the South during this time.

Butler County Ohio which was the home of Moss and Ready was settled in April 1801 shortly after the U.S. Government initiated land sales west of the Great Miami River. This area was part of the land purchased from ten Indian Tribes through the Treaty of Greeneville of 1795.  Rossville was platted in 1804 on the west bank of the Miami River several miles northwest of Cincinnati.  Its founders envisioned Rossville as a shipping port for the rapidly growing population of farmers settling west of the Great Miami. The most practical outlet for their farm products was by flatboat down the Great Miami, Ohio, and Mississippi rivers to New Orleans. This became possible on April 30, 1803 when the treaty for the Louisiana Purchase was signed thereby making the Mississippi River a United States possession. 

Now that the War of 1812 was reaching its conclusion, the farmers of southern Ohio and of Indiana looked south to New Orleans as the central market for their meat and crops grown from the bounty of the Ohio River Valley which was now at peace. It appears that Isaac Moss was unable to transfer his modest success from the banks of the Great Miami River of Butler County, Ohio to the banks of a tributary of Blue River in Washington County, Indiana.

                                       GOOGLE EARTH VIEW OF ISAAC MOSS LOTS

                                           ROSSVILLE OHIO HISTORICAL MARKER

                                     LOUISIANA PURCHASE TRANSFER CEREMONY
                                                         BY THUR DE THULSTRUP