Clinton County Indiana

County History



In the chapters devoted to the several townships will be found the details of their early settlement. In this place only a summary of the early settlers is given. Most of those who came in 1829 or before are named.

The first was William Clark, who came in 1826, and settled on the west end of the twelve-mile prairie, on the farm owned by the heirs of Mr. Hall. About the same time, Nathan Kirk settled on the east end of the same prairie.

In every difficult undertaking the one thing most needful is a resolute, fearless, energetic leader. Messrs. Clark and Kirk having led the way into the uninviting wilds of what was then " Washington Territory," and having demonstrated that it was possible for man to subsist there until a crop could be raised, others were induced to join them — the years 1827-'28 and '29 bringing the following worthy men : David Kilgore (whose wife was the first white woman in the county), Zabina Babcock, Charles Usher, Joseph Hill, John Kilmore, Judge John Ross, David Young, Samuel Olinger, Abner Baker, Aaron H. Southard, Benjamin Abott, William Anderson, Samuel Aughe, John Campbell, Dorsey, Denman, Watts, Josiah Cooper, William Miller, John Starkey, James Gilmore, James Stinson, John Benson, Captain Bracken, George Michaels, Colonel William Douglass, Robert Dunn, John Douglass, Mathew Bunnell, Isaac D. Armstrong, Noah Bunnell, John Pence, J. R. Kelley, Jesse Guttery, John Ferguson, J. B. Douglass, Samuel D. Maxwell, Peter Fudge, William and Nicholas
Ponce, Moses Fudge, John McCrary, Eli Armantrout, Arthur Compton, Solomon Young, Samuel E. Holliday, Mathias Young, Jesse Carter, James Allen, Joseph Steel, Robert Smith, Andrew Kennedy, Henry Fudge, Walter and Anthony Leek, William Hodgen, Mordecai McKinsey, Job Harryman, John Wright, William Wyncoop, Isaac Cook, Hiram Harrison, Ross, William Wagner, Edward Cunningham, James Munnell, John Martin, Manuel Martin, Nicholas Cunningham, Elihu Buntin, Jacob Martin, David Martin, H. Strange, Robert Buntin, Alexander Rogers, Thomas Canby, Samuel Mitchell, James Allen, Elijah Rogers, David Clark, Samuel Allen, Philip Bush, Moses Watkins, Peter Groves, David Reinhart, Charles Campbell, Samuel Anderson, Moses Brockman, Wm. Winship, Samuel McGueren, John and Joseph Allen, Elkanah Timmons, Christian Good, William Harris, Solomon Miller, David Underbill, Mathias Widnor, Arthur, John Cripe, Shadrack Bowen, Aaron Parcel, Esom Scott, William Peters, Andrew Major, Samuel Seawright, Samuel Cripe, Thaddeus Pangburn and Daniel Hunter.

Owing to the fact that much of the land in Clinton is prairie, the pioneer of this county had some advantages over those adjoining, where all was dense woods. It will be observed by reference to the township histories that the early settlers located at the edge of the prairie in the timber. The idea was prevalent among them that no one could stand to live upon the prairie during the winter season. Time, however, exploded this theory.

Through the enterprising spirit of Mr. Underbill a saw-mill with corn-cracker attached was built in 1830, on the Middle Fork of the Wild Cat, in Ross Township. The same year Win Winship built, in Madison Township, a saw-mill with corn-cracker attached. The first regular grist-mill was built by Jacob Anderson, in Washington Township, on what was afterward the Heavilon farm, and known as the "Spring Mills." The building of these mills was received with general rejoicing by the pioneers. Previous to this, it required all the day and part of the night to go to mill, the nearest being on the Wea plains. Now to have their corn ground into meal almost at their own door was indeed no slight cause for rejoicing.


No better class of immigrants ever peopled a new country than those which began the settlement of Clinton County. They were not adventurers, but all came to stay, and were equally interested in the future welfare of their neighborhood; and being bound together by the strong tie of mutual dependence, there grew up among them a fraternity of feeling for each other that has never abated.

Soon after the first settlements in the county, there came upon the whole country the most disastrous monetary crisis which ever afflicted the American people, adding to the hardships and privations necessarily incident to pioneer life, and making hard times in those days a reality.

But undaunted were the pioneers of Clinton County, the subjugates of the wilderness, the builders of fortune and renown; and as year after year, from the sweat of their toil, wealth grew out of the ground, and the little original corn patch widened and grew to broad fields, and to the single cow and calf, new members were added until the herds covered the hills and valleys, so the inconveniences of those early days passed slowly away, and the comforts of the civilized world found room in the enlarged and beautiful homes of the people. With higher aspirations came higher duties and greater cares; with the age of steam came the necessity for high pressure in every business; and rightly may the old pioneer men and women of Clinton County look back on the days of former years, with a pleasure modified by regret, that those days have gone forever.


In nearly every community in our now populous Northwest the old settlers have formed associations for the purpose of holding annual meetings and renewing memories of the past. The Clinton County pioneers were not so prompt in taking this step as those of surrounding counties. At the present writing but eleven reunions have occurred, the first organization having been effected in 1875. No systematic attempt has been made to collect historical memorandum, but many speeches and papers have been recorded in the proceedings of the "union," and on the following pages is given not only a sketch of the society and its doings, but abstracts of the most interesting papers.

It was at the instance of David Young, Abner Baker, A. H. Southard, John R. Kelley, Isaac D. Armstrong, Noah T. Catterlin, John Barner, John Pence, Elihu Buntin, Mercer McKinsey, Noah Reagan and others that a meeting of pioneers was called for July 31, 1875, at the office of John Barner, to make arrangements for a general gathering.

At this preliminary meeting a committee on arrangements was appointed, consisting of Noah T. Catterlin, David Young, John Barner, John R. Kelley, Isaac D. Armstrong, George W. "Wilson, Elibu Bun tin, Abner Baker and Jacob Strong; and of the committee Colonel Catterlin was elected Chairman, John Barner, Secretary, and David Young, Treasurer. Thursday, August 19, 1875, was appointed as the date for the reunion. Provision was made for advertising, and in addition the following were appointed to notify their friends in their townships : W. V. McKinney, Josiab Major, Dr. I. T. Wilds, John Ewing, William Rogers, A. F. Whiteman, Major W. H. Reed, William Burget, Livy Bunnell, Abuer Baker, William V. Johnston and Mercer McKinsey. The Frankfort Military Band was employed to furnish music for the occasion. W. H. Reed and Isaac Cook were appointed marshals to form and march the procession from the public square to the fair grounds.


On the appointed day, August 19, 1875, over fifty old settlers marched on foot behind the band to the fair grounds, while many others went in vehicles. At the grounds there was a large gathering of interested spectators. Colonel N. T. Catterlin was chosen to preside over the exercises of the day. After the opening services the following register.of old settlers, with years of coming to the county, was prepared :

Mrs. David Kilgore, 1826; Jimeson Rogers, 1827; David Young, Isaac D. Armstrong, Mercer McKinsey, Solomon Young, David Clark, Jackson Douglass, William V. Johnson, Aaron Bunnell, B. F. Douglass, 1828; Aaron H. Southard, John R. Kelley, Abner Baker, Philip Harshberger, Elihu Buntin, Hezekiah Strange, Stephen Strange, John Pence, Edward Coruelison, N. T. Catterlin, Franklin Taylor, Jonathan Thompson, John Lipp, Wilson Cohn, Jonathan Cohn, Hezekiah Cohn, John C. Taylor, Daniel Slipher, Mahlon Thompson, Samuel Douglass, M. W.Taylor, Mrs. Lucinda Blin, Adam Blin, James C. Gray, Wilson Seawright, Dr. John A. Barnes, Joseph K. Steele, Richard Carter, J. M. Thompson, Isaac T. Wilds, 1830; John A. Kramer, Edward Kramer, Thomas Kelly, John W. Campbell, W. M. Waters, James Campbell, Robert Mattix, Albert G. Ayers, Samuel Ayers, John Lewis, James Smith, William Jenkins, A. F. Whiteman, 1831 ; George W. Wilson, N. H. Shoemaker, Eliza Purdum, Mrs. R. A. Davids, Mrs. A. Vice, Samuel Anghe, David Lechlitner, Josiah Lewis, John Ewing, Joseph S. Hays, Samuel Paris, John Barner, 1832; Margaret Hays, Zenas L. Rippy, Joseph Hines, W. H. Bradley, F. D. Caldwell, Abraham Hollcraft, Cyrus B. Thompson, Samuel Mattix, Henry Peter, J. A,. Temple, Samuel Shipp, 1833; George Doty, Henry Coleman, Moses Allen, Asahel "W. Thomas, John Allen, Fred Michael, 1834; Thomas Fisher, Pleasant Thompson, G. A. Smith, G. H. Addenson, Lewis Brown, B. N. Legg, David A. Le Fevre, 1835; James G. Frazer, William West, Samuel B. Thompson, John F. Shaw, R. R. Norris, John Thatcher, Samuel Strong, 1836; Cleland Harley, Mrs. Mary E. Clark, Daniel Price, John Fulkerson, Asbury Vice, Darius Utz, Jonas P. Clark, A. S. Stoll, 1837; James Garter, Charles W. Boyle, William R. Alexander, Thomas Amos, 1838; Jesse J. Aughe, William Reeves, J. C. Suit, 1839; John Kirkendall, 1841; S. P. Fisher, Ab. Wainscott, 1842; Moses Jacoby, William M. Boggs, 1843; Andrew Catron, 1844; R. D. Hutchinson, 1847; Daniel D. Dellinger, 1853; Jacob Strong, .

Colonel Catterlin, David Young, I. D. Armstrong and John Pence spoke a few minutes each on the early history of Frankfort, and Aaron H. Southard, W. V. Johnson, John R. Kelly, John Allen and Philip Harshberger also made short addresses, after which the company adjourned for dinner. In the afternoon a paper of reminiscences was read from .the pen of Mrs. Catherine Bunnell, widow of Noah Bunnell, and speeches were made by Wilson Seawright, Rev. Frank Taylor, Thomas Kelly (of Crawfordsville), George Wilson, Dr. Isaac T. Wilds and John Lipp.

It was then deemed advisable to perfect the organization of the society, and the following committee was chosen to prepare a constitution : William Jenkins (Jackson), John Pence (Center), William V. Johnson (Michigan), John Evving (Ross), Oscar Rogers (Perry), David Lechlitner (Madison), Moses Allen (Washington), Abraham Hollcraft (Kirklin), Joseph Hays (Owen), Josiah Bate (Warren), Thomas Amos (Sugar Creek) and John Pruitt (Johnson). The constitution prepared by this committee was adopted , and is as follows : "
I. This organization shall be known as the ' Old Settlers Union of Clinton County.' "
II. The old settlers to meet annually for a reunion and picnic dinner. "
III. The officers shall be a president, vice-president for each township, a secretary and a treasurer, to be selected by the old settlers on the day of their annual reunion.
IV. The officers shall appoint an executive committee of five, who, with the officers, shall set the time for the annual meeting and make all necessary arrangements for holding the same. "
V. The officers to be residents of the county forty years."

The officers chosen for the ensuing year were: President, Colonel N. T. Catterlin ; Vice-Presidents, I. D.Armstrong (Center), Joseph Hays (Owen), Jitnerson Rogers (Jackson), Lewis Sims (Warren), Josiah Bates (Michigan), William Peter (Madison), David Thompson (Washington), Abraham Hollcraft (Kirklin), William Burget (Johnson), W. V. McKinney (Sugar Creek), John Ewing (Ross) and Samuel Anderson (Perry); Secretary, John Earner; Treasurer, John Pence.


The meeting of 1876 was held at the fair grounds on August 17, a procession being formed at the court-house square, as on the first occasion. Among those invited to the stand were three soldiers of the war of 1812: Samuel Douglass, aged eighty -three years; Daniel Myers, aged eighty-six years; George Smith, aged eighty- three years. After the opening exercises a formal address was delivered by Joseph C. Suit. Then [came dinner. At 1:30 p. M. the old settlers formed a singing class, and sang " Sol Fa," led by Cicero Sims. Nineteen old people participated in this quaint performance. Calls were then made successively for those who had lived in the county fifty years, forty-nine years, forty-eight years,
etc. The oldest settlers present had been residents forty-eight years, but a letter was read from Mrs. Elizabeth Kilgore, of Hamilton, who was in the fifty-year class, having come to the county in 1826. Most of the oldest settlers were called upon and gave a short history or anecdote of early times. Secretary Earner announced the deaths during the year of William Johnson, George W. Wilson, William Rogers and Catherine Bunnell. The officers of the society were all re-elected .


A large attendance ushered in the third gathering, August 16, 1877, at the fair ground, whither the procession arrived at 11 A. M. The officers, orator, chaplain, soldiers of 1812 and of the Mexican war were called to the stand, and the usual opening ceremonies gone.through with. Hon. Leander McClurg then'delivered the annnal address. He gave an interesting history of the early pioneers, the statistics and march of improvement in agriculture and agricultural implements, and of the distance from market, contrasting it with our present railroad facilities. The usual dinner was then eaten.

At 2 P. M. a photographer took a likeness of the old settlers gathered in a group. Then Cicero Sims led a singing class, as in 1876. Some forty old gentlemen and ladies sang from that fine old tune-book, the "Missouri Harmony," six pieces — "Bunker Hill," "Liberty," "Montgomery" "New Utopia," "Florida," and "Easter Anthem." This singing was such an effective attraction of the programme that the directors of the County Agricultural Society unanimously requested the " old settlers' choir " to sing on Thursday of fair week. The deaths of the following were then announced: David Young, Clelland Harley, Mahlon Thompson, John Allen, John Gray, Dr. James T. Downard, Gershom Hendricks, Andrew Mclntire, Fanny Purcif'al, Mrs. Boyles, R. Giffin, Joseph Gray, Gideon Johnson, Moses Fudge and Daniel Slipher.
The following letter from the oldest living settler was read: "'
WESTFIELD, INC., Aug. 13, 1877. "

Mr. Barner:
I see by notice your old settlers' meeting is next Thursday. I am sorry to say I cannot be with you. You may say to the friends that I am still the oldest settler now living, I having come to Jefferson, Clinton County (then attached to Tippecanoe), in 1826. Have just celebrated my eightieth birthday, and am enjoying tolerably good health. Hoping you will have an interesting meeting, I remain "
Yours, "

A call was then made for remarks from old settlers. David Miller, of Owen, responded to a residence of fifty years in this county. John R. Kelly came in 1829. He made a short, but interesting speech, and gave some good advice to the youth. W. V. McKinney, of Sugar Creek, came here at an early date, and assisted in cutting the timber out from the first roads in the township. An interesting history of the early clearing up of the farms was given by "Wilson Seawright, Esq. James Campbell, Samuel Douglass, Philip Harsh berger, Samuel Paris and Abner Pence all spoke, giving incidents of the past. Moses Allen came to this county in 1833, and in 1843 bought the first reaper, McCormick's. Mr. Earner then called upon Dr. Irwin P. Maxwell, reminding him of their first meeting each other at Bloomington, Monroe County, in 1828. The Doctor stated that he had been a resident of the Hoosier State over sixty years; came here in 1835, at a time when the roads were, with a little rain, very deep and miry. This he experienced from his long rides through a large territory, visiting patients. He had at one time to send to Michigan City for medicine, and was enabled to forward $3.60. For the ensuing year Colonel N. T. Catterlin was selected as president, John Earner as secretary and John Pence as treasurer. The vice-presidents were all re-elected.


A pleasant day was August 17, 1878, and a goodly assemblage met at the usual place. James N. Sims delivered the annual address, passing a tine eulogy on the pioneers for their industry, enterprise and morality continued from the early times. In the afternoon some twenty persons, from forty-five to eighty years of age, formed the usual singing class under Cicero Sims. Six pieces were sung by note, " fa sol la me," and they also sang the words from the "Missouri Harmony." "Old Fiducia " was the first selection. There was many a moist eye, as old times were called up by that singing. Some lived again the pleasant days of youth, others were thinking of loved ones who once sang those tunes,
whose voices were now long since hushed in the grave, while others again thought of the times when, in primitive church or school-house, the leafy shade of " God's first temples," or in the tented grove, those grand 'old tunes were sung to the praise of God. "Bunker Hill," "Utopia," "Liberty," "Ocean," "Hail Columbia " and " Ninety-fifth " were each sung. With the closing piece Mr. Sims had the different sections of the class to rise as their parts struck in, as was the custom in the old days.

The secretary's report of deaths was then read: "
William A. Brandon came to this country in his infancy with his father, Samuel Brandon, and lived among us an honored citizen; was the sheriff of the county at the time of his death, in October, 1877. "
Hosea Baggs came to this county in 1833, and died October 21, 1877. "
John Kife, one of the oldest settlers and probably the oldest person, a soldier of the war of 1812, who served under Gens. Harrison and Cass, died October 27, 1877. "
William Slayback, a respected old citizen of Madison Township, died October 28, 1877.
Nathan Hendricks and Miller, of Kirklin Township, died the past year.  "
William Blacker, Charles Wolf and Oscar Rogers, old and respected citizens of Perry Township, have died within the last and present year. "
Ellis Squier settled in Jefferson in 1834, and has since resided in Frankfort; was one of the best citizens, and died in 1877. "
Mrs. Sarah Ghere came to the town of Frankfort with her husband, David Ghere, in 1834, and died November 8, 1877, aged seventy-six years. "
John A. Kramer came with his father, Philip Kramer, and settled in Frankfort in the fall of 1831. He was a very useful mechanic and an enterprising citizen, and died September 6, 1877. "
Mrs. Catherine Paris, the wife of Samuel Paris, was among  the first settlers of Michigan Township, a kind and benevolent
Christian, died March 31, 1878, and her son, Richard G. Paris, died July 16, last, from an accident. "
Samuel Price, one of the early pioneers of the county, died the past year. "
Darius Baker Miner, one of the old and respected settlers of Frankfort since 1839, died May 26, 1878. "
Solomon S. Burgess came to Frankfort in his boyhood, and died April 24, last, from a sad railroad accident. "
Thomas E wing, one of the original proprietors of Rossville, came to this country in 1832. He was an energetic citizen of many good qualities, and lost his life while on the steamer Capitol City, that burned at Memphis, Tennessee, July 2, last."
The old settlers were then called for short addresses, commencing with those that came in 1840, running back to 1828. John R. Kelly told how the early pioneers of 1829 kept the blackbirds from destroying the corn crops, and contrasted the " hard times " of that day with the present. Their market was Lafayette. They then paid $8.00 per barrel for salt, and now $1.25; and still the cry of "hard times" was heard. Leander Jacobs related the trouble he and his neighbors had in
1830 with the Indians. The latter stole a pewter basin from Christian Good, and in turn Good took charge of one of the guns of the Indians. War was declared, Jacobs stood guard one night, and the next day the whites drove away the Indians and burned their camp. .
Mrs. Brown had taught eighty terms of school. Captain Sims exhibited the first two volumes of the Congressional proceedings of 1782, and the identical hickory cane owned by General Andrew Jackson in 1832, and read its history. It was
now owned by J. J. Phares.
Mrs. "William Thompson exhibited a pair of spectacles over 200 years old, iron frame, glasses about two inches in diameter. Mrs. Davis exhibited a hyma book of 1782.
C. Sims said: "My father settled in the northeastern part of the county in April, 1836, among the first settlers in the neighborhood. We commenced making a farm in heavy, tall green timber.
The first field we cleared bounded the Indians' land, a circumstance we took advantage of by felling all the trees we could, and hauling many of the old soggy logs across the line. As an evidence of the necessities of the times, I will give one little circumstance that occurs to me. We cleared the land, raised a crop of flax, pulled, rotted, broke, hatcheled, spun and wove into cloth thesame, the first year, ready for next summer's shirts. ''
At that time there was not grain enough raised in that part of the county to furnish bread, and it was a very common circumstance for two or three farmers to splice teams, or parts of teams, and send some one or two twenty-five or thirty miles for bread corn. Our family was hard on corn meal. There were fifteen of us, all told, and we consumed about two bushels per week. Indians, deer, wolves, turkeys, wild cats, wild bees, raccoons, rattle-snakes, mosquitoes and such were staples of the country. My age was fourteen when I came here. It is fifty-six now." Moses Ailenj of Colfax, was elected president for the ensuing year, and the remaining officers were re-elected.


The fifth reunion, held August 21, 1879, was attended by a larger throng than any of the previous gatherings. The oration of the day was delivered by Sam. Vanton, and after the dinner had been disposed of, and the usual singing listened to, Governor J. D. Williams addressed the meeting for about thirty minutes. The necrology for the year was as follows :
Mrs. George Maish, of Center Township, died August 19, 1878, aged seventy-eight.
William W. Taylor died at Frankfort August 21, 1878, aged ninety-two; came to Clinton County in 1830.
Stephen Allen, of Washington Township, died September 4, 1878, aged eighty; came to Clinton County in 1831.
Mary Isgrigg, widow of William Isgrigg, who was in the war of 1812, died October 4, 1878, aged eighty-two; had been a resident of the county forty-three years.
William B. Combs, of Madison Township, died October 12, 1878.
Mrs. Zoan Coleman died November 27, 1878; had resided in the county forty-four years.
George Smith, a soldier of the war of 1812, died December 20, 1878, aged eighty-nine.
Benjamin N. Pegg, Esq., of Washington Township, died in 1878; a county resident forty-three years.
Catherine Kyger, widow of the late David Kyger, died January 3,3879.
Phebe Stoms, of Warren Township, died January 1, 1879; widow of an 1812 soldier.
John Fickle, of Washington Township, died February 12, 1879; forty years a resident.
David Lechlitner, of Madison Township, died February 12, 1879; forty-seven years a resident.
Mrs. Julia A. Hopple died February 12, 1879, aged seventy -one years. She was the eldest sister of Captain Samuel Ayers, and mother of Samuel A. Hopple; had resided in Clinton County over forty -five years.
Daniel Myers, a soldier of the war of 1812, died March 8, 1878, aged eighty-nine. He came to this county from Kentucky in 1833, and during the latter part of his life resided in Boone County.
George W. Boulden, one of the early pioneers of the Twelve Mile Prairie, died December 22, 1878, near Berlin, in Johnson Township.
William West died March 7, 1878, aged ninety-one; was a native of South Carolina, and settled in Clinton County in 1832.
Dr. Z. B. Gentry, an old, respected physician of Frankfort, died April 17, 1879, aged sixty-one; a resident forty years, and a practitioner thirty-five years.
Mrs. Elizabeth Maish, widow of David Maish, Sr., died in April, 1879, aged seventy-nine; for forty-three years a resident.
Mrs. Charlotte Kouthe died at the residence of her son, Major Eonthe, June 7, 1879, aged sixty-one.
Andrew Hamilton, an aged citizen of Madison Township, died May 12, 1879. He served in Captain Ramsey's company, Ohio militia, in the war of 1812.
Mary A. Cox, wife of Dr. T. B. Cox, died June 8, 1879, aged sixty-four.
Henderson Ticen, one of the pioneers of Warren Township, died June 10, 1879, a resident forty-six years.
Lee Wainseott, a resident of Jackson Township for forty years, died June 14, 1879, aged seventy-nine.
Samuel H. Merrick,of Warren Township,died July 8, 1879; was born in Ripley County, Indiana, in 1819, and resided in Clinton
County thirty-three years.
Henry Fewell, resident of the county forty years, died in Owen Township, July 9, 1879, aged seventy.
Alexander Hamilton, died March 4, 1879, aged eighty-two.
Martha Brown, aged seventy-nine, died in 1879, and Mrs. Lu-cinda Whittaker, of Kirklin.


The sixth reunion was held August 24, 1880, and the address of the day was delivered by Judge T. H. Palmer. From it the following is selected: "
It may be well, upon such an occasion as this, to call to your minds a few of the earlier settlers of the county. But few names can be given in an address of this kind, and yet your memories may be somewhat refreshed by their recital. Among the earliest settlers of the county were Nathan Kirk, William Clark, Mordecai McKinsey, Robert Dunn, William flodgen, John Buntin, Moses Brockman, David Clark, Elijah Rogers, Peter Grover, John Ross, David Kilgore, Joseph Hill, Charles Usher, George Michael, John Douglass', Isaac D. Armstrong, Matthew Bunnell, Noah Bunnell, John Allen, Samuel Thompson, John Pence, William Pence, and Christian Good. The county was organized in 1830, and contained at that time 1,423 inhabitants. The population has increased in fifty years to more than 23,000, or more than 1,500 per cent. — more than 30 per cent, per year. "
Improvements of all kinds have fully kept pace with the increase of inhabitants. Instead of the forests and swamps which we had in 1830, we have well-cultivated fields in 1880. Instead of the log cabin, daubed with mud, in 1830, we have excellent brick and frame residences in 1880. Instead of the mere path, winding among the logs and trees, and slashes and ponds, as in 1830, we have good dirt roads, gravel roads and railroads in 1880. Instead of holding your church meetings at neighbors' cabins as in 1830, we now have elegant and commodious churches all over the country.
Instead of the deserted, tumble-down cabin, in which children were schooled in 1830, we have a good brick or frame school-house in every neighborhood in 1880. Instead of the hardships and privations of 1830, we have comfort, luxury and wealth in 1880. How sincerely your children and j'our grandchildren ought to thank you for your great labor, which enables them to live so easily and so luxuriously as they now live in this county. "I came to this county in February, 1844, and Iwell remember how new and wild the country then was. I remember how hard the labor of felling trees, grubbing bushes and saplings, rolling logs and burning them, and breaking and cultivating the lands, tilled with stumps and green roots. I recollect how plainly we all lived, and yet how well we all enjoyed that backwood's life. All were social and friendly. There was no aristocracy then except the aristocracy of honesty. If a man was honest and industrious, he stood in the front rank of good society. The change in this respect has not been for the better. The early settlers of this county were generally a religious people — church members — representing several denominations or branches of the Christian church, and we are greatly indebted to their piety; for the moral character of our inhabitants to-day is largely due to the teaching and character of those good fathers and mothers. It is a fact that cannot be gainsaid, that all that is really good in morals has its foundations in Christianity. When the old settlers of the county look around them and see the vast improvements which they have made, and see their children, their grandchildren, and great-grandchildren surrounding them on every hand, living comfortably, and even luxuriously, they may well exclaim, ' We have not lived in vain. We have labored for our posterity and for our country. We see the fruits of our labor, and are satisfied. We now await the summons that shall call us to a more glorious and eternal home, where we shall rest from all our toil.' "
Clinton County, as first laid out, was twenty-four sections east and west, and seventeen and a-half sections north and south, and contained 420 sections, or 268,800 acres, but in 1859 a portion ofthe northeast part of the county was attached to Howard County, leaving to Clinton just 400 square miles, or 256,000 acres. Nearly every acre of this land is capable of cultivation, and every acre of this land is capable of cultivation, and the connty is not surpassed for fertility by any county in the State, and though improvements have been great in the last fifty years, we may reasonably expect them to continue for the next half century. Those of us who live to see 1930 will see a population of 100,000 in the county, and all things else in proportion. The city of Frankfort will contain 20,000 people, all supported by the products of the county. The old settlers of that day will recollect the county as it is to-day, and speak of its present new and wild appearance as compared with that date. If one of yon who recollects how the county appeared in 1830, could be present at a meeting in 1930, and give your personal experiences, they would not be believed. No one then will believe how wild the country was when in a state of nature. Few people have any just conception of the capabilities of the soil of this county. We have 256,000 acres of land, every acre of which, with proper cultivation and management, will be first-class land. Allowing one-half for timber, towns, buildings, roads and fences, we have 128,000 acres, which may be cultivated for all time. Suppose this sown in wheat, and that it produces twenty bushels, not a large estimate, per acre, we will have 2,560,000 bushels. Counting five bushels of wheat to the barrel of flour, and one pound per day to each person, this will bread our 100,000 inhabitants, give five pecks per acre for seed, and leave 1,487,500 bushels for export. This proves that Clinton Connty is capable of supporting 100,000 people, or 250 to the square mile."
The remainder of Judge Palmer's speech consisted of items of early history, which are given on other pages of this volume in their proper places.


The reunion of 1881 was held September 24, jnst five days after the death of President Garfield, and the first proceeding after the exercises was to adopt suitable resolutions referring to the national bereavement. Hon. James V. Kent then delivered a very able and welcome address to the old pioneers, reminding the citizens of the present day of the toil and endurance of the early fathers and mothers who laid the foundations of our present improvement and prosperity. This address was responded to by Hon. Perry W. Gard, the first mayor of the city of Frankfort. He related some of the early history of the county in a very interesting manner, which was listened to attentively by the orderly assembly. The president then announced that the vice-presidents would be a committee to report officers for the ensuing year, and an adjournment was taken for dinner.
In the afternoon the old settlers' choir, under Cicero Sims, sang "Primrose," "Salvation," and "Easter Anthem." The officers elected for the ensuing year were: President, N. T. Catterlin; Secretary, John Earner; Treasurer, Isaac D. Armstrong; Vice- Presidents, "Wilson Seawright, Aaron H. Southard, Abner Baker, John Young, James P. Clark, John F. Shaw, Moses Allen, Abraham Hollcraft, W. V. McKinsey, John Pruitt, Jimerson Rogers, B. F. Douglass, and Joseph Hayes. The recital of old settlers' experiences came next, and the different years were called, from 1827 to 1833. Abner Baker stated that he bought the first town lot sold in the county and sold the first goods. He exhibited a letter written by his grandfather in 1736, 145 years ago. Solomon Young, the first sheriff of the county, read a short history of his office in olden times when he collected taxes from house to house. As tax collector Mr. Young had to accept coon-skins for county and state revenue. He took them to Logansport or Indianapolis and sold them, thus obtaining the money due for taxes. As sheriff he was sometimes compelled to collect debts by the sale of property. The poor debtor's property was not then exempt to a certain amount, as now, and the result was that sometimes the debtor was sold out completely and the debt yet unpaid, then the debtor went to jail and staid it out at the rate of 75 cents a day. Mr. Young went up > to the Legislature as a lobby member and worked to have a certain amount of property exempt from execution and sale for debt.
Though he entered the land in 1827, John Pence did not move here till 1829. However, he with eight others came and went back in 1828. He told of their adventures while returning. His brother came out in the spring of 1829 and broke ten acres for each of them, put the seed corn in the sod, and when they returned they had a good crop of corn and potatoes. The Indians were around, but they did not steal; all was safe. He sold Jacob Blinn seven acres of land to erect the first tan yard in Frankfort


This was held September 14, 1882, and was not as largely attended as usual. H. Y. Morrison delivered the welcome address, speaking feelingly of the old settlers present and absent. He alluded to what the old pioneers had done for Clinton County, and said that what they haa done, however humble had been their lot in life, was well done and worthy of reward. He was followed by S. O. Bayless in a very appropriate address, recounting the trials of the early pioneers, and of our progress of the fifty years past. Next, Samuel Vanton recited a short poein, " Old Settlers," in histrionic style.
Appropriate resolutions were passed referring to the death of Samuel Anghe, March 7, Samuel Douglass, July 7, John Pence, July 31. and Joseph Aikens and William Burgett (no date given). Other deaths were those of James A. Maxwell, the first attorney of Frankfort, at Covington, Kentucky; John H. Dunn, at Hanover; and Samuel C. Dunn, at Franklin, Indiana.
Aaron H. Southard was present. Before 1830 he started from Cincinnati with a stock of goods, taking them in a pirogue up the Whitewater River, carrying them across the portage to the head waters of the Mississinewa, thence down that stream, with Indian villages on either side, on to the Wabash, then a magnificent stream capable of carrying the commerce of an entire State, to Logansport and thence to Lafayette, whence the goods were taken to Jefferson, and Abner Baker and Mr. Southard erected a log cabin store, with puncheon floor and counter, with an Indian blanket for a door.
There in that log hut they lived and sold goods to the dusky denizens of the forest, who brought them deer, coons, muskrat and beaver skins and exchanged for powder, shot, calicoes, clothes and other necessaries.
For the ensuing year the old officers were re-elected.


In 1883 the pioneers met August 18. The day was fair, and about 1,000 people were gathered on the ground. In the illness of President Catterlin, Vice-President Abraham Hollcraft presided.
The necrology for the year was read:
Cyrus Thompson, of Frankfort, came to this county in 1833, and died October 11, 1882.
Aaron H. Southard, one of the vice-presidents of the organization, died November 9, 1882, at thu age of seventy-nine. He came in 1829, and was one of the pioneer merchants.
Solomon Young came to this county in 1829; was the first sheriff of the county, and died April M, 1883, aged eighty.
Mrs. Sarah Gray, widow of John Gray, died December 15, 1882, at the advanced age of eighty- seven.
William E. Pay died May 4, 1883, and was a well-known and respected pioneer.
Dr. Isaac T. Wilds died May 12, 1883, aged eighty-three, and he was the pioneer physician of the county, to which he came in 1829.
William Harris died June 29, 1883, aged ninety-eight; the oldest citizen of the county. He had resided here for a half a century, and was a soldier in the war of 1812.
Hezekiah Strange, one of the oldest and most respected of the pioneer citizens, died February 19, 1883, aged eighty- two. He came to the county in 1829.
At the afternoon session Joseph Claybaugh delivered a very able and interesting address, giving incidents of pioneer life, and was followed by an address by Colonel John W. Blake, a former citizen of Frankfort, who came with his father and family to this county in 1832, though his father, John Blake, had been here one or two years previous and had erected a ginseng factory or dry house on the William Pence farm, where the early pioneers sold their ginseng for land-office money. This was before the era of deer, and coon skins became a legal tender for all debts.
The pioneers were then called and some of them spoke. The old officers were continued another year.


The tenth annual reunion of the old settlers of Clinton County was hold at the fair grounds, on Saturday, the 13th of September, 1884. By 1 o'clock a large audience had assembled in the amphitheatre.
The hymn "From all that dwell below the skies," was sung, led by Cicero Sims, and Elder U. B. McKinsey offered prayer. Several old tunes and hymns from the "Missouri Harmony '' were sung with melodious voices. C. Sims was assisted by R. Breckeuridge, Mr. Parks, Mrs. Sims. Mrs. Jos. Stelle, D. M. Burns, Mrs. Brown, Mrs. Heckstaff, Miss Haun, of Boone County, and others.
Captain J. N. Sims delivered the annual address, which was a masterly effort and very appropriate, and closed with an exhibition of three ancient books, a German Testament of Mrs. Mary Ghere's, printed in 1545 (Luther's translation), a periodical of prose and poetry, printed in the German language as then used, printed in Bamberg, Bavaria, in 1512; and a history of the Peloponnesus, by Thncjdides, in French and Greek, as used at that date, and printed at Chalons, in France, in 1588. Short addresses were made by the old settlers. John Young had resided here fifty years; L. A. Harding, of Marion County, told a wolf story; Elihu Buntin spoke with emotion as to what the early settlers endured, and said that we were now taxing ourselves too heavy. One of the speakers recommended young men to " go "
West, use energy and industry, and get themselves farms and cultivate the soil."
There were many of the older and first settlers present: Mrs. Blinn, Mrs. Douglass, Abner Baker, Samuel Anderson, Jonas P. Clark, Joseph Hays and wife, Junerson Rogers, Moses Allen and wife, Samuel Paris, Vanarsdel and Gipson, of Boone County, and other pioneers.
J. Earner, secretary, read the record of the last year's reunion. C. Sims read the memorial of the deceased pioneers, as follows:
Henry Pursifull died August 30, 1883, a resident of the county fifty-two years; age, eighty-six years. Served in a Kentucky regiment in the war of 1812.
Colonel Noah T. Catterlin died September 6, 1833, aged near seventy-seven years. Born in Butler Connty, Ohio, September 20, 1806 ; was among the first settlers of the county 1830. Sold the first merchandise in Frankfort; was the second sheriff of the county, and held other official positions; took great interest in all the improvements; a leading member of the Methodist Protestant church; an ardent advocate of temperance, and was the venerable president of this pioneer organization, for which he worked with zeal and interest until his health and strength failed, and peacefully passed over the river.
Adam Smelcer died October 6, 1883, a native of Tennessee; a resident of the State and county over forty years.
Mrs. Thompson, widow of Cyrus Thompson, died December 8, 1883, aged seventy-fonr years; resident fifty years.
Benjamin Fernald died December 21, 1883, aged ninety-one years; served in a Pennsylvania regiment in the war of 1812.
Dr. Irwin B. Maxwell died February 14, 1884, aged seventy- eight years; one among the oldest residents of the State and county, and was a scholar and well skilled in his profession.
Sarah Banghman, wife of Ira S. Banghman, died May 9, 1884, aged sixty-seven years; a resident of the city and county over forty years.
Mary Earner died June 21, 1884, aged seventy-three years; a native of Kentucky; she came with her husband, John Earner, the secretary of this association, to Frankfort the 19th of May, 1832. Leander McClnrg died June 24, 1884, in his fifty-fourth year; a universally respected citizen of the county over forty years. He delivered the third annual address to the old settlers, August 16, 1877. John Hamilton died January 28, 1884; an old resident of Boss Township. George Richardson, one among the oldest residents of Ross Township, died during the past year. John F. Shaw died September 1, 1884. He came to the county from Pennsylvania in 1837; was a good citizen and served several terms as one of our county commissioners, and was one of the venerable vice-presidents of this Pioneer Union. Albert G. Ayers died September 7, 1884, aged seventy-eight years; a native of Butler County, Ohio; was a resident of the county over fifty-three years. Mrs. Dianuah Deihl died September 8, 1884, aged seventy-two years; resided in Frankfort over forty years. " Resolved, That we shall ever cherish the memory of the deceased pioneers, and sympathize with the near and dear relatives and friends, now in the habiliments of mourning, and as a token of respect that this be placed on the record." The report and resolution were adopted and ordered to be recorded. On motion, John Young, of Warren Township , was elected president of the union, and the other officers continued.


August 15, 1885, was a pleasant, cool day, and a large gathering of old settlers was for the eleventh time assembled on the fair grounds. After the opening exercises short addresses were called for. . Rev. Charles Stafford came to the county thirty-two years before this meeting, and spoke of the great improvement made in the east part of the county. There was but one church in all that portion of the county, and now there are over a dozen. He also spoke of the numerous funerals and marriages he had officiated at in the thirty-two years. Isaac Earhart came to the State and settled in Parke County forty-eight years since. He made rails at 40 cents per hundred.
He could then tell a Methodist minister by the cut of his coat. Rev. Franklin Taylor, of Chauncey, Tippecanoe County, came With his parents to Clinton County fifty-five years since. He spoke with emotion of attending the first old settlers' meeting, and of his parents, who lay in the South Cemetery. He gave the yonng people good advice as to how to speak to their parents and aged friends.
Rev. Robert Baker, of Tippecanoe County, came to that county in 1827 with his father's family. His father entered the first land and built the first log cabin in the woods, east of where the town of Dayton is located. Sampson McDole, aged seventy -one, was present. He came to Tippecanoe County in 1830.
After dinner the old settlers' choir sang "Wyndham," "Fairfield," "Utopia," "America" and "Montgomery," and then B. K. Higginbotham delivered the formal address of the day. He was followed by Hon. A. E. Paige, with a very interesting address on the early pioneer days.
Mr. and Mrs. Strain exhibited a pair of linen pillow slips and a tea-towel spun and woven by their ancestors over a century ago.
Prizes were given to the oldest settler and oldest person present —
Mrs. Nancy Byers and Isaac D. Armstrong. The necrology of 1884-'5 was then read.
Mrs. Susan Rogers, widow of Elijah Rogers, died October 12, 1884, aged eighty-five. She was a resident of the county over fifty years, and a member of the Baptist church over sixty years.
Lewis Fewel died January 3, 1885, aged seventy-five; was a member
of the Methodist Episcopal church, in which he was a class- leader thirty-five years. He had resided in the county fifty years.
Mrs. Susannah Clark, wife of Jonas P. Clark, died January 17, 1885, aged eighty-one; was a member of the Methodist Episcopal  church over forty years, and a resident of the county over forty- eight years.
James G. Frazer died February 15, 1885, aged eighty-eight; a resident of Frankfort forty-nine years.
John H. Earner died April 22, 1885, aged fifty-three. He was born in Frankfort.
John Snyder died May 8, 1885, aged eighty-three; a citizen of Frankfort over forty years.
Mrs. Mary Ghere, widow of Andrew Ghere, died May 8, 1885, aged seventy-six; a resident over forty years.
Mrs. Catherine Braden, widow of James Braden, died May 21, 1885, aged sixty-seven; a resident of the county fifty-five years; was present in Frankfort July 12, 1830, the day the town lots were sold at auction.
Cyrus Armanstrout died June 21, 1885 ; was a resident of the county forty -five years.
Purnel K. Thomas died June 22, 1885, aged sixty-seven. Nancy J. Sims, widow of Stephen Sims, died January 20, 1885, aged eighty-six; a resident of the State seventy-five years, and of the county forty-five years. C. R. G. Sims died August 4, 1885, aged sixty-four; was fifty years a resident of Indiana, and forty-one years of Clinton County.
Charles Gniu died August 13, 1885, aged eighty-two; a resident of the county forty-six years.
For the ensuing year John Young was chosen President, John Earner, Secretary, and Isaac D. Armstrong, Treasurer.
The Old Settlers' Union is an organization of the greatest interest, and should not be allowed to die because the first settlers are becoming few in numbers. There will always be old settlers, and the reunions can always be successful as social meetings, and as incentives to the preparation and recording of early history.


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