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)

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