May 20, 1815
200 years ago today in Madison Township, Washington County, Indiana Territory one of the first settlers in Washington County, THOMAS POULSON (1775-1829), finally acquired title to land he had squatted on before the rights to settle in the area had been purchased from various native American tribes by General William Henry Harrison through the Treaty of Grouseland. The land title issued to Poulson on this date was to the southeast quarter of Section 17, T1S, R3E. This location featured Hunter Spring which flows west a short distance to Blue River. This farm was along a sweeping bend of Blue River just downstream from the Vincennes Road. It is today located south of Blice Point, north of Moore Hill and at the west end of Kay Bottom. The south line of this land claim was the boundary line between Washington and Harrison County.
The Stevens Centennial History of Washington County says that Thomas Poulson was the third person to settle in what was to become Washington County. Thomas Hopper squatted on land near present day Hardinsburg in 1803 and Jesse Spurgeon arrived at Royse’s Lick in 1804. Thomas and Susannah Dollins Poulson squatted on the land they eventually purchased in 1805. Several soldiers, Indians, settlers and itinerants stopped at Hunters Spring and the Poulson became accommodating hosts. The Poulson cabin was noted for its hospitality and an extra bed for those travelling between Vincennes and the Falls of the Ohio on the Vincennes Road.
Thomas Poulson was born in Albemarle County, Virginia in 1775. This was where the west edge of the coastal plain met the Appalachian Mountains. It was the home county of Thomas Jefferson and James Monroe. Susannah Dollins was also a native of Virginia. They were married in Albemarle County, Va. in 1798. It is unknown whether Thomas Poulson came to the Indiana Territory alone or whether his family immediately relocated with him. It was not uncommon for the husband to scout out land in the Indiana Territory and establish a cabin and small farmstead before bringing his family from Kentucky, North Carolina or Virginia to settlement on the frontier in the former Northwest Territory. After the Poulsons settled along Blue River, they made a second land claim to the northwest quarter of Section 21, T1S, R3E located in Harrison County. They actually paid off this second claim first and received their deed for this piece of land on May 21, 1814. This second tract shared its northeast corner with the original homestead on Blue River. A third adjoining quarter section was purchased by the Poulsons in 1827.
Thomas Poulson wrote a death bed will on October 15, 1829. He died three days later and was probably buried on his land. The will was witnessed by neighbors Benjamin King and John Royse and his brother in law from Lincoln County, Kentucky, William Dollins. The will named his twenty seven year old son, Shiloh, and his wife as the co-executors. The preface of the will committed his “soul to God and his body to dust”. The will gave “Sukey” Susannah Poulson a life estate to the entire estate. The estate was then divided equally among the seven children, to-wit: Elizabeth Broadwell (plus $10); Shiloh Poulson; Nancy Poulson; John Poulson (plus $20); Rebeckah Poulson; Sarah Poulson; and Thomas Poulson. The wife was given the discretion to advance part of each child’s inheritance upon their marriage.
The estate was liquidated and the family of Thomas and Susannah Poulson moved to different locations in southwestern Indiana. Elizabeth and Henry Broadwell moved to Warrick County, Indiana. Shiloh Poulson married Selah Smith and moved to Dubois County, Indiana. Nancy Poulson married John T. Jones and moved to Dubois County, Indiana. John Poulson became a physician, moved to Dubois County, Indiana and died in 1842. Rebecka Poulson married Dr. Austin Brown and they moved to Warrick County, Indiana. Sarah Poulson married John G. Lee and moved to Daviess County, Indiana. Thomas Poulson moved to Dubois County, Indiana.
TOPOGRAPHIC MAP OF THOMAS POULSON SETTLEMENT 1803
GOOGLE EARTH VIEW OF HUNTER SPRING FROM WEST
DR. JOHN POULSON GRAVESTONE