HISTORY OF BARTHOLOMEW


        Bartholomew county was organized in 1821, under an act of the general assembly, approved January ninth of that year, and was taken from what was then known as Delaware county. It was named in honor of General Joseph Bartholomew, of Clark county. He was a distinguished soldier of the Indian wars, and commanded a battalion of Indiana militia in the battle of Tippecanoe, where he was severely wounded. In 1819, when the treaty by which the lands in Bartholomew county were ceded to the United States by the natives, there were no white settlers in the county, yet such was the inviting character of the country that. it was rapidly settled by an intelligent and enterprising population. .At the first election after the organization of the county, there were three hundred and fifty five votes cast, indicating nearly two thousand inhabitants.
        The central and. eastern portion of the county is generally level and the soil productive; the western portion is broken and less fertile although there is but little really poor land in the county. The country known as the “Haw Patch,” which is twelve miles in length and six in width, would compare favorably with any portion of the famous “Blue Grass” region of Kentucky. “Between Flatrock and Driftwood,” says the author of the “Indiana Gazetteer,” “there were originally forests for miles, without any undergrowth; and. where the tall and thinly scattered walnut, blue ash and sugar trees no more interfered with travelers on horseback or in carriages, than would open parks, where trees had been planted and trimmed for the purpose.”
        The principal water courses are the Driftwood or East Fork of White river, Flatrock, Big Sand creek, Little Sand creek. Clifty, Blue river, Rock creek, Haw creek, Duck creek, Tough creek, White creek, Bear creek, Denio’s creek, Nineveh creek. Cook’s creek and Pleasant run; Driftwood fork was, by an act of the legislature in 1824, declared a public highway; nearly all these streams afford mill facilities during a greater part of the year, and a never failing supply of water for stock ‘Fish were formerly found in abundance, but of late years the supply has notably diminished, and artificial means have been resorted to, to restore it, with a fair prospect of success.
        Prominent among the early settlers were, John Lindsay, Luke Bousteel, John Prathea, David Deitz, John R Robinson, Williamson Terrell, Francis J. Cramp, Joseph Cox, Tunis Quick, William S. Jones, David Kellar, Ransom Davis, Archibald McEwan, Solomon Stout, Samuel Nelson, Jacob Cook. James Hamner, Joseph McFall, Samuel Beek, and Jessie and William Ruddick. They had mostly emigrated from Kentucky, and were all men of character and force, and contributed largely to the subsequent prosperity of the county. Many of their descendants reside there, and are numbered among the most prominent and influential citizens.
        Columbus is the county seat of Bartholomew. It has been incorporated as a city. Hartsville, Rope, Taylorsville, Azalia, Elizabethtown, Jonesville, Walesboro, Waynesville, Newburn, Mount Healthy, Waymansville, Clifford, Bethany, Kansas, Burnsville, and St. Louis Crossing are incorporated towns, all of them prosperous and thriving. The county seat was selected by William P. Thomasson, of Harrison county, Ebemezer E. Morgan, of Crawford county, John E. Clark, of Washington county, and James Hamilton, of Jackson county, commissioners appointed by the general assembly for that purpose. They met at the house of Tolm Parker, on Haw creek, February twelfth, 1821, and after careful consideration, agreed upon the site. They deeded to call it Tiptona, in honor of General Tipton, who owned lands in the vicinity, but the county commissioners, at their second meeting, in March, 1S21, changed the name to Columbus.
        The first settlers of Columbus were John Lindsay and Luke Bonesteel, who had purchased by entry from the general government in 1820, the ground upon which a considerable portion of the town was located, and which was donated by them for the purpose of securing the location. David Deitz, the oldest settler in Columbus, now living, came there in the spring of 1821. The next in seniority, still residing there, is Francis T. Cramp, president of the First National bank, who came early the following year. William son Terrible came to the place, from Kentucky, in 1821. There were but three houses in it, and so unpromising was its prospects that he left. He returned, however, in 1828, and remained till his death in 1873.
        Bartholomew county has all the elements of greatness, and it naturally invites capital and remunerates abundantly the husbandman.
        In consequence of the donation of a large amount of land, by the Indians, at a treaty for the specified purpose of building a road from the Ohio river to Lake Michigan, the building of this road, and especially as no point on the Ohio river had been designated in the treaty, every place from the mouth of the Miami to the Wabash intrigued for it. For several sessions this was the prize coveted and. contended for.
        Jefferson county was ably represented in the house by Milton Stapp, and in the senate by Joseph G. Marshall, who, by their energy and talents, secured Madison as the starting point from the Ohio river, and as they suspected Philip Seetser, who represented Bartholomew county, of having senatorial aspirations, which would naturally lead him to prefer Jeffersonville as a starting point, they had the road. laid off by the way of Greensburg and. Shelbyville, instead of through Vernon, Columbus and Franklin, as it ought, if it was to become a great thoroughfare.
        This caused the defeat of Sweetser and the election of William Herod the following year, who became our next representative.
        Colonel T. G. Lee, who represented the county in 1835—6, secured charters for railroads from Madison and Jeffersonville through Columbus to Indianapolis, and the people, on learning the fact, assembled and had a time of great rejoicing, bonfires, etc., little suspecting that the very next day, the charter for the Jeffersonville branch railroad had been repealed by the efforts of Marshall and Stapp. Some years after the same charter was again granted, and made only a few years later than the Madison railroad, and is now the more important of the two roads.
        The first train on the latter road reached Columbus on the fourth day of July, 1844, greeted with great joy by the people of the county. Now they are accommodated by two railroads crossing at Columbus and traversing the county in the form of an X; the Jeffersonville road having trains direct without change of cars to the eastern cities. The Madison and Jeffersonville roads unite here and go direct to Indianapolis. What is called the Cambridge City Branch railroad, is the direct route to the Eastern cities.
        Another projected line from Cincinnati, passing through the middle of the county, from east to west, to the famous coal and iron fields in the western portion of the State, will perhaps be built in a few years.
        The county is well improved by turnpikes and other works for the convenience and comfort of the people. During the year 1821, and until July, 1822, the courts occupied the house located on lot No. 119 of the original plat of Columbus, and known as the “Luke Bonesteel House.  John Pence and Ephriam Arnold, associate judges, held the first court March twelfth, and the second court June eleventh, 1821. At the third term, held in October of the same year, Davis Floyd, judge of the second judicial district of the State, presided, with the same two associates previously named. The next court was held in a log house on lot No. 148, north-east corner of  Lindsay and Walnut streets, owned by Wm. V. Snyder, and the youthful Wm W. Wick, presiding judge, with. Pense and Arnold as “side judges.” In 1824, court moved into a house provided by Philip Sweetser.
In 1825, court was held in Newton C. Jones’ house, on the north-east corner of Jackson and Walnut streets. We have been thus minute in the history of the courts, to show the contrast between then and now, as Bartholomew county now has the most elegant temple of justice in the State, outside of Indianapolis.
        The brick court house, built by Giles Mitchell, was occupied by the courts and received by the county commissioners November, 1825. This court house was regarded by the pioneers as “extravagantly costly,” but the rapid progress of the county in wealth and population, and the early decay of the building, caused, in 1838, the board of justices to order “that the old court house be sold, and a new court house built.”
        Columbus has now a population of over five thousand. its school are conducted on the most efficient plan, in commodious buildings. The new court house is an ornament to the city, and a credit to the county. The city is quite prosperous in commerce, education and public improvements.
    The rural districts of the county are nearly all wealthy. The farmers are enjoying the richest fruits of the husband-man’s toil, arid are mostly independent in this world's goods. They had early provided excellent schools for the young, and in every quarter there are noticeable evidences of industry and thrift.


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