CLINTON COUNTY, INDIANA
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.
OF THE PIONEERS.
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 subjugators 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
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
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: "'
INC., Aug. 13, 1877. "
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 "
ELIZABETH KILGORE. "
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
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,
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,
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
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
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
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
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
George Smith, a soldier of the war of
1812, died December 20, 1878,
Benjamin N. Pegg, Esq., of Washington
Township, died in 1878; a
county resident forty-three
Catherine Kyger, widow of the late
David Kyger, died January 3,3879.
Phebe Stoms, of Warren Township, died
January 1, 1879; widow of an
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
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
Lee Wainseott, a resident of Jackson
Township for forty years, died
June 14, 1879, aged
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
1880, and the address of the
day was delivered by Judge T. H.
Palmer. From it the following is
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
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
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
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
This was held September 14,
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
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,
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
In 1883 the pioneers met
The day was fair, and about
1,000 people were gathered on
the ground. In the illness of 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
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
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
The pioneers were then called and
some of them spoke. The old officers
were continued another year.
The tenth annual reunion of
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
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,
Jiinerson Rogers, Moses Allen and wife, Samuel Paris, Vanarsdel and
Gipson, of Boone County, and other
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
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
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. " Sesolved,
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. A fter the openingexercises 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 oyer forty- eight years.
James G. Frazer died February 15,
1885, aged eighty-eight; a resident
of Frankfort forty-nine
John H. Earner died April 22, 1885,
aged fifty-three. He was born
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
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 connty 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.
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