Monday, May 18, 2015

MAY 9, 1815

200 years ago today EDWARD LINTHICUM and ELIZABETH HEPNER were married in Madison Township, Washington County, Indiana Territory.  The nuptials were solemnized by neighbor Robert Catlin who was a Justice of the Peace. This connubiation is the first marriage presently recorded in the public records of Washington County, Indiana.  The first page of Marriage Book A is missing from the rebound volume that is now two centuries old.  This means that the first four to six marriages filed with the Clerk of the Washington Circuit Court in 1814 and 1815 are now lost to history.

Marriages in the southern uplands of the Indiana Territory were usually rather informal affairs.  There were few established church congregations and ever fewer church houses.  Therefore, most early marriages were conducted by Justices of the Peace.  If the Justice of the Peace was a considerable distance away from the court house, the record of the marriage may not have ever been filed with the County Clerk.  Public notice of marriages in the early days of the Indiana Territory were sometimes posted in three public places and that may have been their only public record.   At the time Justice of the Peace Robert Catlin took the marriage vows of Edward Linthicum and Elizabeth Hepner, there was no Court House yet completed in which to file marriage records.  The original marriage records maintained  by Clerks Isaac Blackford and Basil Prather were transferred to the Washington County Court House when it was opened for public matters in May of 1816.

After his marriage, Edward Linthicum registered a land claim for the east half of the northwest quarter of Section 19, T1S, R3E, in Blue River Township, Harrison  County, Indiana Territory. This tract was riparian land on Blue River located on the north coursing part of the large bend the river downstream from Fredericksburg and immediately south of Lambert Hill.  Its north line is coincidental to the boundary line between Harrison and Washington Counties. Edward Linthicum died sometime before March 25, 1825 as the United States General Land Office issued the deed for this land patent to “the heirs and representatives of Edward Linthicum”. 

Elizabeth Hepner was probably the daughter of George and Mary Hepner who either registered or paid off three different land patents in Washington County between the dates of August 1, 1816 through October 4, 1825.  The first Hepner homestead was in the northeast quarter of Section 15, T1S R3E.  This tract was advantageously located where the Vincennes Road was near a bend in Blue River. The value of this location was apparent when the Hepners sold it on March 21, 1817 to John Gregg for $1,000. The Hepners next acquired the rights to a land claim registered by Joseph Shaw.  This 160 acres was the southeast quarter of Section 14, T1S, R2E.  This land contained a large spring the was the outlet for the sinking creek karst system flowing southeast from the edge of the Crawford Upland to Blue River.  The Hepners sold this tract to Benjamin Radcliff on January 22, 1820. Radcliff built a mill there and ran a distillery from this spate of cave water.  The Hepners had registered a third  land claim at the Jeffersonville Land Office for the west half of the southwest quarter of Section 13, T1S, R2E, but sold it to David Radcliff who then obtained his title on October 4, 1825. This tract was immediately east of the land where the Benjamin Radcliff mill and distillery were operating.

                                                         COLLEEN ALICE RIDLEN

                                                            RADCLIFFE SPRINGS

                                         GOOGLE EARTH VIEW OF RADCLIFFE SPRINGS
                                                              AND BLUE RIVER

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