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

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