Jackson/Lawrence County, Indiana Genealogy

The goal of this blog is to document my research into the genealogy of southern Indiana, particularly that of Jackson and Lawrence Counties. As I gather original information, I will include it here with images. I would greatly appreciate any images that others may care to share. I will post them here with a grateful acknowledgement. I also love Sudoku puzzles and publish original ones from time to time. The address for the sudoku blog is http://uniqueandfunsudokupuzzles.blogspot.com/

Location: Indiana, United States

Monday, April 24, 2006

Jackson County History--Historical Resume (pages 527-544)

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Although not as large nor as rich in mineral products as some of the other counties of the Hoosier state. Jackson county is one of the most interesting be-cause of its early history and the variety and abundance of many of its agricultural products. It was organized even before the territory was admitted as a state and at the time it became a county it was the northern boundary of that part of the territory then occupied by the white men. The county, as it now stands, includes four hundred acres. The table and bottom lands com-pose three-fourths of the county, and one-fourth of the territory consists of clay lands, which are adapted to the production of wheat, oats, grasses and tomatoes. The rolling sandy lands are devoted to the growing of watermelons and the bottom lands produce very large crops of corn and wheat. About two thousand acres are devoted every year to the cultivation of the famous Jack-son county melons, the product returning to the growers thousands of dollars annually. In the southeastern part of the county is what is known as Chestnut Ridge, about eight miles in width and one mile wide, which is peculiarly adapted to fruitgrowing. The finest of peaches are grown on the more than eighty thousand peach trees on this ridge, and many varieties of small fruits are here produced in great abundance. It is claimed the ridge lands and climate are not surpassed by any place in Europe for grapegrowing. This, in a general way, will give some idea of the character of the soil and the climate, as well as the desirability of this part of Indiana as a place of residence. In the early settlement of Jackson county, many of the newcomers were people of the highest type, and these gave character and stability to the new citizenship. The county is divided into two almost equal parts by the east fork of White river, which enters it near the northeast corner and flows in a southwesterly direction. These two sections are almost entirely different in their physical aspect. The southeastern section consists of rolling sandhills and broad bottoms, except two parts, the Chestnut Ridge, which has an elevation of about one hundred feet, and the Knobs, south of Brownstown, which reach a height of nearly three hundred feet. The northwest section is composed largely of ridges and hills, with an elevation of two hundred and eighty feet. Other streams which flow through the county are the Muscatatuck and Graham’s creek, with a number of smaller streams, thus affording excellent natural drainage.

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The early struggles of the pioneers with poverty, privations, wild beasts and Indians, the latter being numerous and always ready to pillage and murder, added to the lack of comforts and even the necessities of life, made their lot such as could not be envied. Persons who enjoy the privileges and luxuries of the present day can form little idea of the privations and sufferings to which our ancestors were subjected in reclaiming much of this country. The early days of this settlement were marked by Indiana depredations and outrages, and the settlers were compelled to stand ready to fight in defense of their homes as willingly as they would work for the improvement of them. The Indians were warlike at this time, and many lives were lost and frightful tragedies enacted. Forts and blockhouses were built, where families, stock and every thing of value was kept for protection. These settlers deserve much credit for the manner in which they conducted their business, as well as the risk they took in obtaining possession of the country and guarding their interests until fully established and secured.

At the time of the war of 1812 the settlement in Jackson county was the farthest north of any white settlement in the state. It bordered the hunting grounds of the Miami tribe of Indians, who were regarded as the most hostile tribe in the territory. The Delaware and Shawnee tribes professed friendship, but, like most Indians, were treacherous and gave great uneasiness to the settlements. They often caused much anxiety by their incursions into the settled neighborhoods and by carrying away such property as they could lay their hands upon. When the war began there were nearly one hundred families settled within these borders, and of these, about seventy families returned to their former homes, leaving only about twenty families here to protect life and property. These were, indeed, dark days for the few who remained. Among those who had the courage to maintain their foothold n the new settlements were William Graham, Jesse B. Durham, John Griffith, John Berry, Daniel McCoy, Samuel Slade, John Sage, Samuel Burcham, James McGee, Abraham Miller, Daniel Beem, Aquilla Rogers, David Rogers, John Storm, William Taber, Robert Sturgeon, James Hutcheson, Abraham Huff, John Johnson, John Kitchum, William Ruddick and John Parker. Many of these have been familiar family names through all the subsequent years and are known to present-day citizens of Jackson county. Other young men, whose names are not now recalled, came into community to assist in the protection of the forts which were constructed in different parts of the county. A story is told of a young Dutchman, Hockman by name, who came from Harrison county. After remaining at a fort for some time, he became a subject of sport for those with whom he was associated. He had much to say about his bravery, and so they persuaded him to take a hunt. As they suspected his want of courage, they concluded to test him, and, in pursuance of this plan, a party of six persons tied handkerchiefs about their heads and faces to give themselves the appearance of a band of Indians, and went in search of

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the brave hunter, whom they were not long in finding. By dodging behind trees, they came nearer to the young man, who was also forced to take shelter behind trees, and when one of the party showed himself, partly protected by a tree, young Hockman opened fire, knocking bark off the tree. The joke was thus turned and the party was compelled to beat a hasty retreat before they could make an explanation. Hockman’s "Dutch" was greatly aroused, but by dodging behind trees the party reached the fort in safety with no disposition to test the young man’s bravery in the future, as he had proven willing to protect himself with the odds of six to one against him. Perhaps the most noted battle in this section was that of Tipton’s island. This occurred on White river, about two miles from what was later known as Rockford. A party of sixty Indians had been hanging about the community, waiting, it was believed, for an opportunity to plunder the homes of the settlers and murder the occupants. A company of thirty white men, under the command of General Tipton saw the advantage they would have in a contest and so he crossed the river some distance above, making a flank movement. The Indians did not discover the change until the white men began to fire on them. The battle lasted about a half hour, when the Indians retreated, after one of them had been killed and a number wounded.

The territory originally embraced in Jackson county, consists of much more than is within its present borders. It was at first a part of Knox county, but by changes consequent with the formation of other counties it was reduced to its present size. This was one of the latest organizations effected under the territorial government, having been formed by an act of the territorial legislature in December, 1815, and named in honor of General Jackson. According to the best authority, the first settlement was by the French at Vallonia, and at this place the first county business was most probably transacted, and there court was also held (if there was any) until the county buildings were erected at Brownstown. It was at Vallonia, in January, 1816, that the associate judges: Joseph Kitchell and John Ketchum, met and presented their commissions and qualified and took their seats as judges of Jackson county. John Millroy, at this same date, presented his commission as clerk of the court and also became the first recorder of the county. Wickliffe Kitchell was the first sheriff of the county. Vallonia, it is said, came within one vote of being chosen the meeting place of the territorial legislature, as when the legislature adjourned to meet at Jeffersonville two of the five members voted to make Vallonia the next meeting place. Thus we have some idea of its relative importance in the early days, a position which it held until the county buildings were located at Brownstown. According to the last census, the county had a population of 26,633, while the population of Seymour, the only city in the county, was 6,445, and that of Brownstown, the county seat and the second in point of

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size, was 1,685. Taking the figures of these two largest towns, it may be seen the populations of the county is very largely in the rural districts.

No account of the establishment and growth of Seymour would be complete without a review of the part played in this drama by Meedy W. Shields, who was its founder. He was born in Tennessee in 1805, and came with his father, James W. Shields, and family, to Corydon, Harrison county, in 1811. The family removed to Jackson county about 1814, and settled on a farm where Seymour is now located, at which time, it is said, there were only six white families in Jackson county. The grandfather of Meedy W. Shields was a captain in the Revolutionary war. From 1820 to 1832 the enterprising founder of Seymour was engaged in flatboating, from a point near what is known as Rockford to New Orleans, and in the management of his farm. He participated in the Black Hawk war, after which he returned to Jackson county and married Miss Eliza P. Ewing, the daughter of a wealthy farmer. In 1846 he was elected a member of the Indiana legislature and re-elected in 1848. He was elected state senator from Jackson and Scott counties in 1852, and to a similar position from Jackson and Jennings counties in 1856. In November, 1852, he laid out the town of Seymour, and in 1853 opened a general store in the town. He also built eleven miles of the Ohio & Mississippi Railway, now called the Baltimore & Ohio Southwestern. It was mainly through the efforts of Mr. Shields that this railroad was induced to pass through Seymour, instead of some point further north. For some reason not fully explained, the officials of the Jeffersonville, Madison & Indianapolis Railway did not think wise to make Seymour a station, and while trains stopped at Farmington, south of Seymour, and at Rockford, north, they passed through what was to be the largest town of the county without even a halt. When Mr. Shields was a member of the legislature he introduced a bill requiring all trains to stop at railroad crossings, and this opened the way for Seymour to become a station. Mr. Shields was a delegate to the Charlestown convention of 1860, which nominated Stephen A. Douglas for the presidency against Abraham Lincoln. Seymour is not only indebted to Mr. Shields for its beginning, but for much of its rapid growth, it railroads, its extensive manufactories and its public schools. The citizens have fittingly recognized their indebtedness by naming the fine high school in his honor. In his death, which occurred in 1866, the county and city lost a friend of industry, one characterized by energy, perseverance and influence. He left an estate valued at about four hundred thousand dollars.

With the coming of the Jeffersonville, Madison & Indianapolis Railroad, in 1852, and the Ohio & Mississippi, now the Baltimore & Ohio Southwestern, in 1854. Seymour became a stopping place or meeting point for many of the most desperate characters from the four large neighboring cities, Cincinnati, Indianapolis, Louisville and St. Louis. The number of this class of persons greatly increased from 1865 to 1868, and the town and that part of the

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County immediately surrounding it became noted for the deplorable condition resulting from the presence of such characters. The Reno brothers, citizens of the county, played a very prominent part of this period and finally paid the penalty of their misdeeds with their lives, excepting one brother who escaped because at that time he was serving time in Missouri, and another, who was considered and upright citizen and was above suspicion.

At about midnight, on May 22, 1868, at Marshfield, an isolated water station about twenty miles south of Seymour, some half dozen men boarded an engine when it stopped to take water. They surrounded the engineer and one of the number knocked him down and they warned him he would be killed, the fireman being accorded the same treatment. The robbers disconnected the engine and the express car, which were run north some distance and then the express car was looted, the party securing about ninety thousand dollars. Some time in 1866, previous to the Marshfield robbery, an express train on the Ohio & Mississippi Railroad was stopped east of Seymour and the express messenger was knocked senseless, after which one safe was rifled of fifteen thousand dollars and a second was rolled from the train with its contents of at least thirty thousand dollars. The robbers were so closely pressed that this safe was recovered with its contents. The common opinion was that Frank Sparks and John and Simeon Reno were the persons participating in this case. In December, 1867, almost at the same place and under like circumstances, Michael Collarn, then a mere boy, and Walker Hammond boarded an Ohio & Mississippi train and secured eighty thousand dollars. They were recognized and later captured. Previous to his arrest, however, Hammond was decoyed to Rockford and while on the road in the night was robbed of his ill-gotten gain. The fourth and last of the express robberies was planned to take place at the water station near Brownstown. James Flanders, an engineer on the Ohio & Mississippi Railroad, had worked himself into the graces of some of the leaders, and they counted him as one of them. When the plan to rob the train at Brownstown station was matured, they let him into the secret and he was to render all the assistance he could be seeming to be overpowered. He had posted the authorities and they had furnished guards. The plans seemed to work well with the bandits. The gang met the train as agreed, the engineer was overpowered, the engine and express car were uncoupled and, with the robbers on board, the engine was run some miles east of the station. All went well until the engine stopped for the purpose of relieving it of its booty. At this time the guards opened fire, even before the robbers retreated. All made their escape except one. Val Elliott, who was wounded in the shoulder. The engine and express car were run back and attached to the remainder of the train and proceded [sic] on its way to Cincinnati. Soon a party was formed to catch the robbers. Near Rockford, Clifton and Roseberry, two of the party, were captured. Clifton, Elliott and Roseberry were taken to Cincinnati for safe

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keeping and ten days later were placed on a train at Cincinnati to be returned to Brownstown for trial. All went well until after the train passed Seymour, when, but a short distance west of the city, it was stopped by a red light. As soon as the train halted a band of men entered the cars and demanded the men, calling them by name. At the crossing of the county road, near where the train stopped, stood a beech tree. The prisoners were told their time had come, and were granted a few minutes to prepare for death. It is said Clifton declared his innocence to the last and begged for mercy. At the command of the leader, ropes were placed about their necks, and at the second command they were launched into eternity. The work was done so quietly that a German farmer who lived only a short distance from the scene was not disturbed from his slumbers, and on arising the next morning found three men hanging to the tree almost in his dooryard. Very soon after this first hanging, Jerrell, who had escaped to Coles county, Illinois, with Frank Sparks and John Moore, wrote a letter to his sweetheart in Louisville, Kentucky, and she permitted some one else to read it, the reading being overheard by a detective. This resulted in the arrest of the three. On returning, by way of Indianapolis, the train from the north was delayed and failed of connection at Seymour. As there was no place for safe-keeping at Seymour, the prisoners were hurried on the Brownstown by wagon. The direct road to Brownstown led under the fatal tree on which Clifton, Elliott and Roseberry had paid the penalty of their misdeeds, and the prisoners were naturally much disturbed until after they had passed the tree. Their courage had happily revived when, about two hundred years beyond the fatal tree, they were met by a band of two hundred men. The prisoners’ guards were placed in care of a detachment of the vigilance committee, and the driver was ordered to return to the place where their companions in crime had been executed. Here Jerrell, Sparks and Moore met the same fate as their three companions had experienced a short time before. Up to this time the Renos had escaped the vengeance of the mob, but Frank Reno and Charles Anderson had gone to Windsor, Canada. With the solemn assurance of Mr. Seward, the secretary of state, and with the promise of the express company that they should have a fair trial, extradition papers were granted and they were returned to New Albany, where Simeon and William Reno were in jail awaiting a trial for the Marshfield robbery of the express company. Early on the morning of December 12, 1868, they were taken from the jail and hanged to the stairway until dead. By many persons it was hardly though probable that William Reno, who was then only about twenty years old, was guilty of the grave charges under which the other members of the family rested. John Reno, who was next to the oldest of the brothers, had been found guilty of robbing a county treasurer’s office and had been sentenced to imprisonment for a term of twenty-five years, some months before this hanging, and this in all probability saved his life. After serving more than ten years, he was pardoned by B. Gratz Brown, then governor of Missouri. Upon his release he was ar-

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rested at the prison doors and returned to this state. He secured bail and after some delay was released, as it was claimed he and his family had suffered sufficiently. Clinton Reno, another brother, was never considered guilty of any of the crimes in which his brothers had been concerned. He was a farmer from some years in Jackson county, and later removed to Kansas, where he engaged in merchandising, and through all these years he has maintained a good reputation among his fellow citizens. Previous to these executions a variety of crimes were committed, and a number of persons paid the penalty of knowing too much by being shot while passing on the streets at night and some even in daytime. Grant Wilson, who was an important witness against some of the gang, was shot while walking on the streets of Seymour in broad daylight. One Mr. McKinney, who was also a witness against some of the criminals, was called to his door at night and shot dead. These cases will give the reader some idea of what the citizens of Jackson county had to deal with back in the sixties. Whether the remedies used can be justified or not, the results produced were efficacious and now a more quiet and peaceful community can not be found than Jackson county. It is one of the most prosperous counties in Indiana, and Seymour, its largest and most thriving city, is composed of highly cultivated, religious and law-abiding citizens. Seymour has for many years been regarded as one of the most prosperous cities in southern Indiana, and from a commercial standpoint has become quite a business center. Although it has engaged in several contests for the honor of the county seat, by some means the change has never been brought about. The churches of Seymour are the Baptist, Methodist, Presbyterian, the Church of Christ, German Evangelical, Roman Catholic, German Evangelical Lutheran, German Methodist, Episcopal, African Methodist and African Baptist. All these organizations enroll some of the most substantial citizens of the city, and several of the societies are very strong numerically and financially.

The territorial legislature, when in session in Corydon, in 1815, provided for the organization of Jackson county out of territory then belonging to Washington and Jefferson counties. At the same time commissioners were appointed to locate the county seat. Vallonia and a point west of Brownstown and Brownstown itself were the only points of rivalry for the county buildings. The commissioners were very decidedly in favor of locating the county offices as near the center of the county as possible, and hence the selection of the present seat of government. In many respects it is an ideal point, but with the building of the Ohio & Mississippi Railroad the town has been at some disadvantage and has been hindered in its progress in a business way. However, with all its hindrances, it has continued to grow until it is now a town of more than sixteen hundred inhabitants. At the time of the building of the Ohio & Mississippi Railroad there seemed to be a want of enterprise in making an effort to secure the road; the route was somewhat un-

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Favorable and other towns worked to secure the road, all these things working against Brownstown. The near location to some of the richest corn, wheat and melon-producing parts of the county have been of great importance to the town. Its convenience to all parts of the county for the taxpayers has done much to make it a popular point for business. The county business has helped to keep a good representation of the legal and medical professions located at this point, notwithstanding the strong inducements offered at other places. A number of those who have held county office have acquired property interests at Brownstown and continued to live there even after their term of office had expired.

Crothersville is, perhaps, the third center of population for Jackson county, being located on the Louisville division of the Pennsylvania Railway, well to the south end of the county. The town has a population of about seven hundred inhabitants. The surrounding country affords a good local trade, and has become an important shipping point for small fruits. Crothersville is far enough from other commercial points to furnish a good market for all kinds of farm products, and one firm in the town runs the largest stave mill in the state. The fruitgrowers of Chestnut Ridge ship most of their fruits from this station, so that during the fruit season it is a busy, hustling town. Compared with its population, it is, perhaps, the busiest point in the county and a number of the citizens of Crothersville have acquired financial independence. This town is, comparatively, one of the newer places of the county, and was built mainly after the Jeffersonville, Madison & Louisville Railway opened that part of the country.

When the early settlers came to the county the forests were filled with a great variety of wild animals, including bears, deer, panthers, wild hogs, turkeys, wolves and a great many smaller animals, many of which afforded the pleasure of hunting, as well as a bountiful supply of the best meats. The experiences of these pioneers in the woods are exceedingly interesting. A man by the name of Josiah Shewmaker relates an experience of his father, Lewis C. Shewmaker, in the forests of Driftwood township in the winter of 1815. He had but recently come to the county and was preparing to erect his log cabin. On February 1st he went to the woods to score some logs for his cabin, taking with him a dog. While engaged in this work with his companion, John R. Shewmaker, he saw a large bear standing with his forefeet resting on a pole and viewing the work of the pioneer workmen. Mr. Shewmaker said he was so near that the beauty of his great eyes could be plainly seen, they being of a yellow color, with streaks running through them. When Mr. Shewmaker called his companion’s attention to their prospective company, the latter gentleman immediately broke for the shanty without stopping to explain his movements. The dog came to the rescue and Mr. Shewmaker turned him on the bear. This was the beginning of a

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fierce conflict. The dog would attack the bear from the rear and give him a bite and when the wild beast would make a lunge at the attacking dog the latter would retreat with all possible haste. The woodsmen were pressing the bear and when he turned on them the dog would renew the attack, this again changing the plans of the wild bear for the time. This running fight was kept up for half an hour, during which time the pioneers were enabled to get near enough to take several good shots. In one case bruin was hit in the head and brought to the ground. The beast was so stunned that he changed his tactics and when the dog renewed his efforts his enemy simply retreated, dragging the dog after him. The battle was closed, after bruin had been disabled by the dog and gun, by Mr. Shewmaker using his ax to bring him to the ground from a tree against which he stood with fore feet upstretched as though to ascend. The skirmish ended after chasing the bear for three-quarters of a mile. When the animal was dressed he weighed three hundred and ninety-six pounds and made a large supply of the finest meat. There was also an abundance of deer and turkey meat for the early settlers. One of the constant annoyances of the frontiersmen at this period was the wolf, which was not only dangerous to human life, but very destructive to domestic animals, especially sheep. The attacks of the wolves were so common and destructive to sheep that it was almost useless to try to raise them, and it could only be done by guarding them by day and housing them at night. Hogs, which roamed in the forests, were so wild that they would frequently attack persons, and those who traveled through the forests could do so with safety only by carrying the never-failing rifle. On certain occasions a number of neighbors would go together and make a drive of the wild hogs, bringing in sufficient meat for the season. In some cases, hogs that had been grown and fed in pens at home escaped and in a few months or weeks were as wild as those which grew in the forest. On one occasion, about 1819, Elisha Ruddick went out on horseback for a panther hunt in a large thicket on Horse Lick branch, four miles east of Brownstown. He had been out a short time when he discovered two panthers attacking a sow and her brood near a large log. The mother hog was defending her young and while she was attacking one panther the other would rush in and steal a pig. Mr. Ruddick determined to obtain a shot at one of the ferocious animals, which he accomplished by slipping in near a large log and securing a position close enough to give him a sure shot. His aim was at the larger of the two panthers and at the crack of the gun the animal sprang up about eight feet and fell to the ground dead. He measured, from the tip of his nose to the end of his tail, about nine feet.

When the Jeffersonville, Madison & Louisville Railway was first built and trains were running, the landowners at different points were anxious to secure the advantage of the advance in real estate prices. This was manifested especially in the case of Rockford and Seymour. When trains be-

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gan to run as far north as Rockford, through the influence of landowners the management of the road refused to make Seymour a stopping point, and for two years it was not even a station. The town was commonly known as "Mule Crossing." This rivalry was largely between M. W. Shields, a landowner at Seymour, and John J. Kester, who owned a large amount of real estate at and near Rockford. Mr. Shields became a member of the Indiana legislature and introduced a bill requiring all trains to stop at railway crossings, which, of course, included the crossing at Seymour. With the coming of the second railway, the Ohio & Mississippi, it was impossible to prevent the growth of the place, and hence it has outstripped all commercial centers in the county. Much enterprise has been shown by the owners of real estate in and adjoining the town of Seymour, so that it continues to grow, by the increase in territory and by the development of manufacturing establishments and the bringing in of new capital. The factories of Seymour compare quite favorably with cities of much greater population.

The early settlers of Jackson county had many experiences that gave them some idea of the nature of war. In many cases they were attacked by the Indians when wholly unprepared for a defense, and in many instances remained armed for defense while they pursued their daily vocations. However, for almost a half century prior to the war of the Rebellion their hands were occupied with civil pursuits rather than with war. Even the war with Mexico gave little opportunity for cultivating the military disposition of the citizens of Jackson county. Under these conditions the people were little prepared for participating in what was in store for the citizens of this state and country when the announcement was made of the secession of some of the southern states. But the events of the fifties and the many questions that had been considered in congress by leading statesmen gave indications of impending evil. The citizens of Jackson county had been interested in the issues that precipitated the unhappy conditions that confronted the national government in 1860. The election of Abraham Lincoln was accepted as endangering an institution which had long existed with the approval of public sentiment, so that it was soon followed by the secession of the states which defended the institution. For this step the people were generally wholly unprepared. There was no telling what would be the next step. In many parts of the country there was a divided sentiment, not only on the main problem, but the diversity of opinion on the methods of procedure was even greater. Some believed that if certain states wished to withdraw, they had a perfect right so to do. In fact this doctrine had been taught to many citizens of Jackson when, in childhood, they had lived in some of the southern states. It was not an easy matter to throw aside these lessons, although they had changed their abode from that part of the country which most naturally would be benefited by the perpetuation of the system of slavery on which it had so largely been built. Public sentiment was wrought up to

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a very high tension and in many parts of the country public meetings to discuss the situation were held almost daily. However, no meetings were held in Jackson county until after the fall of Fort Sumter.

The news of the attack on Fort Sumter was received at Brownstown and Seymour on the same date, April 15, 1861. This news rapidly spread and calls for meetings to be held in both places on the next day were issued. Hon. John F. Carr presided over the meeting at Brownstown. The Jackson Union, in its next issue, gave an account of the meeting as "a large meeting of the citizens of Jackson county, irrespective of party, held in the court house in Brownstown on Tuesday evening, to take into consideration the present critical condition of the country." The following resolutions were adopted: Resolved, That we will, with all the means in our power, maintain the government of the United States, and protect its flag. Resolved, That we will form a company of volunteers in this county to meet the requisition of the President of the United States upon the governors of the several states. A very large and enthusiastic meeting was held at the same time in Seymour and was presided over by J. L. Ford. On this occasion very strong resolutions were adopted and which are here given, as an indication of the sentiment then prevailing. Whereas, The flag of our Union has been desecrated by those in armed rebellion against the government of the United States; and Whereas, All loyal citizens have been called upon to vindicate the national honor; therefore Resolved, That we, as loyal citizens of Jackson county, without distinction of party, pledge to the support of the government our lives, our fortunes, and our most sacred honor. Resolved, That, sink or swim, live or die, survive or perish, we are for the Union and the constitution, now and forever. Such sentiments speak well for the loyalty of the citizens of Jackson county. In the same issue of the Jackson Union containing the reports of these meetings were the following editorial sentiments: "As we surmised last week, Fort Sumter has been attacked by the southern rebels and is now in their possession. Major Anderson having surrendered after a fierce bombardment of thirty-six hours. The loyal, patriotic American heart has never encountered a keener shock than when the thrilling news flashed across the telegraphic wires, nor has there ever been a time when the spirit which animated the Revolutionary sires of ’76 was more unmistakably or more patriotically manifested by their sons than upon the receipt of this dastardly, cowardly act of domestic traitors." The above resolutions and the editorial quoted give some idea of the general sentiment that then prevailed. Under such conditions, almost immediately the work of enlisting men for the army began. The feelings of the people were wrought to a very high tension, and it was difficult to tell what an hour would bring forth. At first there seemed to be no party lines, but as the conditions became more complicated there was a greater diversity of opinions, and the agitation of the various problems did not attend to unite the sentiment. But few counties of the state surpassed Jackson in its first enthusiasm to support the government. In a week’s time more than one company of volunteers had offered

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their services and a company had been organized and left for Indianapolis. On the eve of the departure of the soldiers great crowds assembled at the railway station and eloquent addresses were made by the patriotic sons. This first company was assigned to the Sixth Regiment for three months’ service, and many of the men reenlisted in other regiments when their term had expired. The same enthusiasm was manifested in Brownstown as at Seymour. The Jackson Home Guards were organized and met frequently for drill. Large meetings were held in various parts of the county and much patriotism and devotion to the Union was manifested. Notwithstanding this manifestation of enthusiasm among the citizens, there was beginning to show itself an under-current of opposition to the war. Some thought the government had exceeded its authority in dealing with the southern states, and they believed that instead of force the rebels ought to be conciliated and a policy of compromise adopted. This was to be expected, to some extent, as many of our people had come from the southern states to Indiana, and especially to this immediate locality. They had been taught the same fallacies as their brethren in the South, and believed them, but it was hard for them to desert the old flag and concede a division of the Union in which they had so long lived in happiness and contentment. A Dr. Ewing, who had at one time lived in this county, but at this time was a citizen of Kentucky, while on a visit to this state was waited upon by a number of people and furnished with a letter which he had written, in which he said he intended to cast in his lot with the Confederates. He was requested to take an oath of allegiance to the Union, but declined to do so. What was almost a mob surrounded him, and under threat of violence, he finally took the oath. This spirit still further manifested itself, and other citizens of the county who were suspected of disloyalty were suggested as proper subjects from who the oath should be required. The better judgment of a few of the cool heads prevailed, and the crowd was dispersed without any violence. This was sufficient warning to those who held views derogatory to the Union cause. In the months of July and August, 1861, two more companies were furnished from this county and mustered into service, these companies being assigned to the Twenty-second and Twenty-fifth Regiments. On the departure of one of these companies, Hon. Jason B. Brown, who was afterwards the participant in some unhappy proceedings, delivered an address and a response was made by the captain of the company. A company was organized at Medora and became a part of the Twenty-fifth Regiment.

With the passing of the summer months in 1861, a strong sentiment against the government began to manifest itself. Democrats in the county advocated the preservation of the Union, but were just as strongly opposed to the party in power, and especially to the methods used in maintaining the Union. Although many individual opinions were strongly against the administration, the Jackson Union, the Democratic organ, came out in the strongest language advocating the upholding of the Union. In a Democratic convention, held in Septem-

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ber, the strongest expressions in support of the Union and condemning the conduct of the war were expressed in the resolutions. They also declared the war had been forced on the country by disunionists of the southern states. The last part of the resolutions were added by request of George W. Carr and Jason B. Brown. The above will give some idea of the sentiment during the summer of 1861. The next company from this county was one for the Eighth Cavalry (Thirty-ninth) Regiment of Indiana. It was composed mostly of men from the vicinity of Seymour who had served in the three-months service. It participated in some hard fighting, saw service in the Sherman campaign, and was discharged at Indianapolis, in July, 1865. In the fall of 1861 four companies were organized in Jackson county for the Fiftieth Regiment. This regiment went from Seymour to New Albany and then across into Kentucky, and after doing some splendid service it was captured at Mumfordsville. On being paroled, it returned to Indianapolis and remained there until exchanged, when it returned to active service. In March, 1864, three hundred and fifty of these men reenlisted as veterans. The Sixty-seventh Regiment of Indiana Volunteers was composed very largely of Jackson county men, four companies from this county joining the regiment. It was organized in response to the call of July, 1862, and went into camp at Madison, Indiana. In response to a published notice sent out on Thursday, one of these companies was completed with an enrollment of one hundred and twenty-five men by the next Saturday night, and that time this was regarded as the most expeditious recruiting that had been done.

The sentiment against the prosecution of the war had been gaining ground and had probably reached its greatest strength in the summer of 1863. Its advocates claimed that it was not a sentiment in favor of the rebellion, but they urged reconciliation, wishing to insure the continuance of slavery. In their opinion, the emancipation proclamation was dangerous and unwarranted. They claimed the government was waging a war for the abolition of slavery, and to such a course they were strenuously opposed, hence they opposed the further prosecution of the war. The Indiana legislature was so much influenced by these sentiments that it passed a resolution declaring in favor of a peace convention, and calling upon the people to send delegates to such a convention. This, of course, gave the different sections of the state opportunity to give expression to their desires. Jackson county held a meeting for this purpose at Brownstown February 19, 1863. After giving expressions of opposition to the administration, and a declaration of their belief in the constitution, the meeting also put on record its disapproval of the course of the southern states in rebelling. They heartily expressed the opinion that the union of the states could never be restored by war. Two days later a meeting in the same place passed resolutions saying, "That the war now being waged against armed rebellion has it foundations in the principles of justice and humanity, that we are unalterably opposed to any armistice or cessa-

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tion of hostilities until those in rebellion against the government of the United States shall manifest an honest desire to return to their allegiance to said government." The different views were simply the expressions of two different political parties, as the meetings, but it stands in evidence of the disturbed condition in which things were at that time. About June, 1863, William Frysinger, who had edited the Jackson Union, and who had been very outspoken in his advocacy of war measures, and who, on this account, had incurred the marked disapproval of some of his patrons, found it advisable to retire from the editorial chair, and in doing so he took the opportunity to express vigorously his belief in the principles advocated by the Jackson Union, and closed by saying he had no regret for pursuing the course he had. Jackson county was also represented in the One Hundred and Twentieth and One Hundred and Forty-fifth Regiments. With very few exceptions, the men from Jackson county proved themselves valiant soldiers and reflected credit upon their county.

When the first draft occurred, in October, 1862, Jackson county was only seventeen short of the number of soldiers required of her, and between the time the call was made and the 6th of October, these seventeen men had been secured and the county escaped the draft. Up to that time Jackson county had furnished 1,607 volunteers, and in response to three calls made up to July 18, 1864, 987 more men were furnished, but 146 were drafted in October, 1864, and the county was expected to furnish 225 more men in answer to the seventh and last call made on December 19, 1864. Of this number 67 were drafted and 180 volunteered. Deducting for the re-enlistments, the county actually furnished 2,521 soldiers. In addition to the soldiers actively engaged in the field, there were organized in a number of the townships companies of militia. These tended to keep alive a growing sentiment in support of the war, and also brought out and developed many good soldiers for subsequent active duty in the field.

Jackson county, like much of southern Indiana, was, perhaps, more agitated when the announcement was made that General John Morgan, with his regiment of cavalry had crossed the Ohio river, than at any time during the Rebellion. At this time Captain M. W. Shields, the commander of the militia, called them together. It was a time of great excitement. Each community considered itself the special object of attack by Morgan. The farmer quickly left his plow, the mechanic his shop, or the merchant his store, and all were determined to drive the invader back to his rightful territory. Companies and regiments were stationed in position to resist the rebels in case they should attempt to move on certain lines, but there was wonderful relief when it was positively learned that they had taken some other course. Many and fearful were the rumors which spread through the country. It was supposed Morgan would make a bee line for the state capital, and therefore it was easy to calculate the exact road he would travel. However, most of the plans laid out for Mr.

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Morgan received little attention from him. He made his own plans, kept his own counsel and changed his routes of travel almost daily. In fact he was as anxious to keep away from the soldiers as they were to have him pass them by. Great relief was manifested when it was known that he had escaped into Ohio. Jackson county’s loyalty was shown in a marked manner in the way provision was made for the families of absent volunteers. The county board made allowances of from two to eight dollars per month for such families, though this was discontinued in 1864. In 1862 a levy of three per cent on each one hundred dollars valuation of real estate or personal property was made for the support of the needy in the families of the absent volunteers, and in 1865 the state legislature apportioned to Jackson county more than thirty-five thousand dollars for the relief of soldiers’ families. All in all, the record of Jackson county during the dark days of the sixties will compare favorably with any county in the state.

Few counties in Indiana give greater evidence of continued and normal growth than does Jackson county. Notwithstanding the long and earnest contest between Brownstown and Seymour, the one to hold the county seat and the other to gain it, both places have made good advancement and are thriving business centers. The town of Brownstown was originally located about one mile from the railway station, but has continued to grow in the direction of the station, until there is now no distinction between Brownstown and Brownstown Station (or Ewing, as it was once called). The county buildings are well located and answer well the purpose for which they were built. The three railroads crossing the county, the Pennsylvania lines, north and south, the Baltimore & Ohio Southwestern, an east and west road where it passes through Jackson, afford such facilities for travel and commercial purposes as to assure the county’s continued development and growth. One point of development of even greater consideration than the railroads is the unusual number of gravel roads and the excellent bridges across the rivers and creeks. As White river crosses the county from northeast to southwest, it cuts the county into two distinct parts, but with eight large bridges spanning the stream within the county, and one connecting Jackson and Washington counties, splendid facilities for travel are furnished. These bridges are located on the free gravel roads, of which there are between four and five hundred miles in the county. A very large part of these have been built of the best river gravel, of which there is a good supply within the bounds of the county. When the buildings of these roads was first proposed, there was much opposition to it on account of the heavy expense, but the citizens have come to realize the value of such improvements and are now more generally in favor of them. Another phase of public improvement of much importance and benefit to Jackson

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county is the large drainage ditches, by which have been gained outlets for the drainage of the low lands lying back from the streams near the hills, and what was once swamps and worthless lands has been transformed into the richest farming lands probably in Indiana. These improvements have been secured at a very heavy expense, but their value can hardly be estimated. The lands thus brought under cultivation will be product of much wealth for many years to come. The county has about one hundred miles of these ditches, and the man who has largely been the leader in promoting this work is George Slagle, civil engineer for the city of Seymour.

From an educational standpoint the progress of the county has been considerable. In 1816 there was not a school house in the county. Now there are one hundred and fourteen buildings, many of which are of brick and of the most modern style of construction, the others being good and substantial frame buildings. The school buildings are located as follows: Driftwood township, six; Brownstown township, fifteen; Jackson township, eight; Vernon township, ten; Carr township, ten; Salt Creek township, sixteen; Grassy Fork township, seven; Washington township, five; Redding township, eight; Hamilton township, eleven; Owen township, twelve; town of Brownstown, one, and city of Seymour, five. Some idea of the educational conditions in Jackson county may be obtained from facts set forth in the report of J. E. Payne, county superintendent of public instruction in September, 1902. The main facts are given without effort to quote the exact words of the report. The enumeration of school age has decreased for a number of years, but the daily average attendance has increased. This is largely owing to the better classification and graduation, better trained teachers and a more stringent enforcement of the compulsory school law. Few new buildings have been created in recent years, as there are already more buildings than are actually required to accommodate the number of pupils in attendance, but all buildings of recent construction are of modern plan. The policy of placing houses at central points and in such position that additions may easily be made when needed has been followed. Four district schools have been converted into graded schools within the past two years, two more are soon to be converted, and four districts will be consolidated into two Trustees and school officers are favorable to consolidation as rapidly as patrons will consent to it. There are nine township high schools, two incorporated town schools and one city high school. The township high schools have a three-years course of six months each year. The courses embrace algebra, literature, composition, general history, civil government, physical geography, plane geometry and Latin. The courses are planned to cover or equal the first two years of the commissioned high school, so that graduates may enter the third year of the commissioned high school and complete the course without a break in their work. The county board requires teachers to be examined in music also. More attention is given to sanitation and decoration than in earlier years. The school houses are fumi-

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gated and kept in better condition, and school officers have become greatly interested in their work. The teachers are studying the beautiful as never before, and the result is buildings are neatly but plainly decorated. Arbor day is generally observed, but on account of neglect during the summer vacation many trees are destroyed. Considerable interest has been taken in the Young People’s Reading Circle, which has resulted in great good to the schools. The minimum wage law has awakened a desire for better scholarship and many teachers attend school some portion of the year. Jackson county needs more funds in order to make possible longer terms of school in some townships. Most townships have a six-months term, but one township with the levy to the full limit can have only a four-months term. This increased fund could only be secured by increasing the state levy. The county superintendent strives to follow the instructions of the state department, and adheres very closely to the course laid down. He is working to create a healthy school sentiment among teachers, patrons and school officers, and to raise the standard of scholarship among the teachers. The above concerning the schools of the county and the reference to the splendid schools of Seymour, given more fully in another place, is the best evidence of the beautiful conditions and possible growth to be expected in the future. Much may be secured with the united support of the citizens. Jackson stands well to the front from an educational point of view. There are also several parochial schools in the county.

As there is but one city in the county, there is but one commissioned high school. The public schools of Seymour, in their growth as well as in their character, have manifested the interest in intelligence of the community in a way that speaks well for the city. In what is now the northwest part of the city, but which was at the woods when the building was first erected, is located the Shields high school, or main building, which bears the honored name of the founder of the town. In 1853, Captain M. W. Shields erected a two-story frame building for school and church purposes. This building was destroyed by fire and a larger brick structure took its place in 1858. In the course of years the school attendance increased to such an extent that other buildings were rented. At a later period the beautiful site where the Shields high school building now stands was leased from the Shields heirs, but finally accepted as a gift from them. A six-room building was first occupied in the fall of 1869. In 1875 a six-room addition was erected. Following this the buildings known as Laurel Street, Park and Third ward schools were added, and later came the accommodations for the colored children on Lynn street. The schools were under the control of the township trustee until the town was incorporated. Among the first members of the school board were S. H. Huffman, P. L. Carter and Asa Carter. Largely through the efforts of Mr. Huffman, who became a member of the town council, bonds were sold for the construction of what is known as the old part of the Shields high school. Among the names of those who have served as members of the school board are the leading citizens of Seymour. They are such as P. L. Carter, Joseph King, F. M. Swope,

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A. P. Charles, Dr. J. W. F. Gerrish, J. H Andrews, C. C. Frey, F. H. Ahlbrand, Charles Leininger, J. C. Hagerty, H. J. Seibenburgen, W. P. Masters, J. W. Conner and Dr. G. G. Graessle. The board as now constituted is William Humes, president; Harry M. Miller, secretary; and C. C. Frey, treasurer. To J. C. Housekeeper belongs the honor of first reducing the work to graded classification. Since he closed his service the administration of the work has been successively under the direction of J. W. Caldwell, W. S. Wood and Henry C. Montgomery, the last named being the president incumbent.

While the population of the county is mostly in the rural districts, and the agricultural products lead every thing else, there has been a good proportion of commercial and manufacturing growth in the centers of population. Seymour, the only city and the largest center in the county, leads all other places in mercantile and manufacturing, and this latter item is a very large contributor to the continued growth. The city is well represented with the usual lines of mercantile business for a city of its size. It also has one large wholesale grocery, with a capital of thirty-five thousand dollars, the John C. Groub Company, that has been conducted successfully for about fifteen years. There are two national banks, each with one hundred thousand dollars capital and a nice surplus, and one trust company with twenty-five thousand dollars capital. In manufacturing Seymour is better developed than the average center in an agricultural county. There are thirteen incorporated manufacturing establishments, a wholesale grocery company, and six firms or individuals engaged in manufacturing. These twenty companies are in the aggregate capitalized at six hundred and four thousand two hundred and fifty dollars. The smallest one has a capital of five thousand dollars and the largest eighty thousand dollars. The names of these companies are the Blish Milling Company, with a capacity of one thousand barrels of flour per day, the woolen mill, that employs more than one hundred hands, the Seymour Manufacturing Company, employing about one hundred and twenty hands; Hygiene Milling Company, Hodapp Hominy Company, Seymour Slack Stave Company, the Reclining Chair Company, Travis Carter Company, planing mill and builders, Ahlbrand Carriage Company, Graessle-Mercer Company, publisher of calendars; Seymour Planing Mill Company, D’Heur and Swain Lumber Company and the Seymour Saddlery Company. The individuals or firs are Seymour Chair Company, Seymour Table Company, L. F. Greeman and Company, manufacturers of furniture, M. A. St. John, lumber, J. F. Shiel, owner of the hide and leather company, and the Hoosier Harness Company. The twenty establishments give employment to a large number of persons whose income is spent in Seymour almost entirely, and the products they furnish the public returns to the community a continual flow of currency. Other towns of the county, such as Brownstown, Crothersville and Medora have considerable manufacturing interests. There are two state banks in Brownstown, one on Crothersville and one in Medora, all popular and prosperous institutions.


Blogger Lizza T said...

Hi Can you tell me how to reach pages 644 & 645

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11:11 PM  

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