Genealogy Trails


There is a difference of opinion as to who was the first actual settler in Daviess county, but most authorities give this distinction to William Ballow, who settled in the Sugar Creek hills, sixteen miles southeast of the present city of Washington, in 1801. Some claim this distinction for Eli Hawkins, who came from South Carolina, in 1806, and settled near the present site of Maysville. But this can hardly be correct, for Mr. John Thompson, who wrote a series of papers for one of the local publications, several years ago, and who is recognized as good authority on early historic matters, mentions seven others who came to this region before Eli Hawkins arrived. (One of these seven, mentioned by Mr. Thompson, was David Flora. who lived in a big cabin, nearly opposite the present site of the Meredith House, in Washington. According to this authority, David Mora was the second settler, admitting William Ballow to have been the first. The next settler, in order, according to Mr. Thompson, was Thomas Ruggles; followed in succession by Doctor Harris, Richard Palmer, William Hawkins, and finally. Eli Hawkins, mentioned above, in 1806. That Eli Hawkins did arrive in what is now Daviess county as early as 1806, is not a matter of doubt, as the county records contain a copy of the deed made to him on November 8, 1806, by John Rice Jones and Mary Jones, his wife. The land deeded lay in the vicinity of Maysville. Consisting of four hundred acres, for which Mr. Hawkins paid four hundred dollars. This land was a portion of section 6, township 2, range 7. This deed to Eli Hawkins was not, however, the earliest deed made to land in Daviess county, but it was probably the first purchase of land on which an actual settlement was made.


An article compiled by John Wooldridge, A. M., published in a county history about thirty years ago, contains some interesting information regarding early deeds and early settlers of Daviess county. Liberal excerpts are taken from Professor Wooldridge's article in the preparation of this chapter.

In order to give an idea of the rapidity with which settlement was made in Daviess county, after the advent of the adventurous first settlers, a number of the first land entries are given, as shown by the county deed records. This will not only show the location, but also the names of names of the first settlers, the most authentic record that can be obtained.

In 1783 Congress made numerous donations of land to the early French settlers about Vincennes, and in 1807, the Congress made what has since been called French locations. These donations are mostly in Knox county, but a considerable portion are in Daviess county. The boundary lines of the locations run east and west, and north and south, while those of the donations

 run at an angle of nearly forty-live degrees from the true meridian. Eli Hawkins settled on location No, 02, and his brother, William, on location No. 63, recently the property of Joseph M. Taylor. William McIntosh settled on location No. 07; William Morrison, oil location No. 134; David Flora, on No. 150; Touissant Dubois, on No. 300: Knumuel Van Trees, on No. 304; Samuel I laird, on No. 144; Jesse Purcell. on No. 1S5; Elijah Purcell. on No. 192; John Allen, on No. 258; William Flint, on No. 189; William Baker, on No. 193; John Aikman, on No. 192; James Barr, on No. 210; Amable Godalh on No. 202, and John McDonald, the old government surveyor, on No. 242. ft is not easy to determine the exact dates of the above mentioned settlements, but it is sufficient to know that most of them were made prior to the War of 1812.

Others to obtain land titles prior to 1814 were the following; In 1808, Daniel Comer, Richard Steen, Josiah Culbertson, Simon Nicholas, Amos Rogers, William Piallow, John Wallace, Clayton Rogers, Daniel Gregory, Thomas Aikman, William Horrall, Thomas Horrall, Hezekiah Ragsdale, Ebenezer Jones, Vance Jones, John Aikman. There was no land entry in 1812, and only one in 1813, indicating an unsettled, or a disturbed state of society, which made it questionable whether Daviess county was the proper place to locate. The one land entry made in 1813 was made by Jeremiah Lucas.


All of the above named individuals entered lands and settled within the present limits of Washington township, except Clayton Rogers, whose land lay in what is now Veale township. Rogers, therefore, was somewhat isolated from his neighbors.   During the period which elapsed while these entries were being made, additions were constantly coming into the settlement and the population was increasing rapidly. The pioneers were prosperous, making steady progress in clearing up their claims and in improving and adding to the comforts of their homes, until the latter part of 1S1 I, in which year the troubles with the Indians began, inaugurating a period of unrest which continued for a number of years. The Indian troubles and the War of 1812 caused a sudden cessation in the movement of new settlers to Daviess county. This is indicated by the fact that no laud entries were made in and only one in 1813, as has already been noted. The victory of General Harrison's army in the battle of Tippecanoe gave assurance of more peaceful conditions regarding the Indians, and the promise of a settlement of the controversy involved in the War of 1812 gave further assurance of a settled condition in the affairs of the pioneers. As an indication of this, the activities in land entries were resumed, as shown by the records. In 1814 deeds were recorded by the individuals named below, for lands entered in Daviess county: Joseph Case, Thrice Stafford. Robert Mays, John Tranter, John Case and Elias Stone. In 1815 the following persons entered lands: Jonathan Morgan, Daniel Gift. George Gift, William Hallow, William Williams and Jacob Reeder. In 1816: Joseph Hays, Edward Adams, John Davidson, Benjamin Hawkins, George Gregory. Caleb Brock, Henry Foster, William Patterson, Nicholas Hutson, James Montgomery and John Johnson. In 1817: Robert Burris. Alexander Stephenson, James Henry, Dennis Clark, George Keith, Jesse Morgan. Alexander Bruce, Samuel Comer and Thomas Patten.


According to a history of the time compiled by John Wooldridge, A. referred to above, the difficulties experienced by the early settlers with the Indians in Indiana were incidental to the efforts of Governor William Henry Harrison to break up the Indian confederacy, at the head of which was the noted chief, Tecumseh, and his brother, the Shawnee prophet, the headquarters of whom were at Prophetstown, now quite an important village situated in Whiteside county, state of Illinois. The general history of these efforts of Governor Harrison, resulting in the battle of Tippecanoe, November 7, 1811, is so sufficiently detailed in all histories of the United States as not to require recital in this connection. But the incidents with which the early settlers of Daviess county were immediately connected, and in which some of them were personally engaged are, necessarily, here introduced. William McGowen, one of the earliest settlers, lived near the present site of Mt. Pleasant, in Martin county, and kept a farm across the east fork of White river, near his home.

One evening, early in the spring of 1812, just after Mr. McGowen had retired, an Indian put his gun through the opening, about a foot square, in the wall of his log cabin and fired at him as he lay in bed, lodging several buckshot under his left arm, from the effects of which he almost instantly expired. This Indian was not pursued. Not long after this first tragic incident, John and William Smith and a Mr. Perry, while carrying provisions from the "settlement," as Washington was then called, to the men at McGowen's farm, were discovered by three Indians while crossing a small prairie. The Indians waylaid them at what was then called "the narrows" near the farm afterward known as the Houghton farm. They bred upon the white men. lodging two balls in Perry's back, and sending one ball through John Smith's thigh and two through William Smith's hat. After thus emptying their guns they rushed upon the white men, who, by throwing the loads off their shoulders, were enabled to outrun their enemies and escape to the farm without further injury.


The occurrence of such difficulties as these clearly demonstrated to our early pioneers the necessity of devising measures for mutual protection and defense against the common enemy, hence the erection of suitable forts, conveniently located. The entire number of these forts erected in Daviess county was ten, but only live of the number were erected in 1812. These five were as follow, with their location: Hawkins fort, located on the Hawkins farm, on the southeast quarter of section 32, township 3. range 7; Conner fort, on the southeast quarter of section 4. township 2, range 7; Coleman fort, some distance south of Conner; Purcell fort, in the Purcell neighborhood, and Mallow fort, on the northwest quarter of section 9, town-ship 2, range 7. The other five follow: Richard Palmer, David Flora, built across Main street in the town of Washington, from, and almost directly opposite the Meredith House; Ebenezer Jones, about one and one-quarter miles south of Washington: John Aikman. on the southwest quarter of section 10, township 2. range 7, and one on Prairie creek, on the present site of Lettsville.


The following is a list of the heads of families that assembled in each of the first-named five forts : Hawkins fort, Cornelius Bogard, Eli Hawkins and a Mr. Curry, the young men being Charles, Eli, Joseph and William Hawkins: Conner fort. Friend Spears, James and Thomas Aikman, Ebenezer Jones. Alexander Stevens. Chris Gregory, John Stringer, William White, John Wallace, the Widow Wallace and two sons, the Widow Ellis, Vance Jones. Ephraim Thompson, G. Ragsdale, Thrice Stafford and Alexander Stephenson, beside a large number of young men, among them Wiley R. Jones, Jesse Hallem, William Phillips, John and Jacob Stafford, Samuel Aikman. John and Josiah Wallace, John. David and William Ellis, Coleman Morgan and Wesley Wallace. John Ragsdale and John Thompson; Coleman fort, Joshua Reeves, Henry Edwards, Samuel Comer, John Smith, Mr. Terry, Alexander Hays, J. Waters, J. Freeland, Amos Rogers. Simon Nicholas. Abraham Dodamel and Robert Hays, the young men being John, Hugh and three other Edwards boys and William Percy: Purcell fort, Robert Bratton, Andrew Little, Daniel Gregory, Josiah Culbertson, John Fordon, "Obe" and William Flint, Richard Palmer, Henry Mattingly and a Mr. Carland, the young men being John Bratton, John, Joseph, Samuel and Josiah Culbertson, Hallow fort, John, Thomas and William Horrall, Jeremiah Lucas, Charles Sinks, Richard Steen, Thomas Scaler and Nathan Davis, the young men and boys being George Mason, Fleming Ballow, John. James and Samuel Steen and Samuel Sinks. These names comprise a list of nearly, if not quite, all the male inhabitants of Daviess county at the breaking out of troubles with the Indians.


It will now be appropriate to record such other Indian difficulties as occurred within the limits of the country, or in which inhabitants of Daviess county were especially interested by participation. These Indian troubles will, however, be preceded by a brief description of the forts and block-houses, used as places of refuge. The fort was usually about one hundred and fifty feet square. A trench about twenty inches wide and three feet deep was dug. into which were set timbers, twelve feet long, with sharpened tops, sonic round, others split. The earth was then firmly packed on either side of the timbers. Near the middle of the thick wall was a gateway for wagons. Within the enclosure was a hewed log house, twenty-seven by eighteen feet in dimensions. It was a two-story building, the upper story being reached by means of a ladder. At the northeast and southwest corners were block houses, in which lived some of the inhabitants, while others built huts of various sixes and forms, according to their taste and means. The block houses were two stories in height, the lower story being about eighteen feet square, and the upper about twenty feet square, the projection of two feel being on the two outer sides of the fort. If, however, a block house were built independent of a fort, it had a projection on each side. The manner of life in the forts was simple, the food consisting of corn bread, a little meat, a few potatoes, turnips, cabbages, pumpkins and hominy. No wheat was raised at that early day.


Not long after the erection of the earliest forts a serious affair occurred on Steele's prairie. A few families, having built some cabins there, were moving in their household goods. While unloading their second load they were attacked by Indians, and two of them killed, the elder Mr. Hathaway being killed outright, and W. Bogard after a protracted struggle in defense of his life. Old Mr. Sinks was shot in the left shoulder, and Richard Hathaway through the neck. The two latter were in the wagon handing out goods, the younger Hathaway falling unconscious in the wagon when shot. Upon the firing of the guns, with the attendant war cries of the Indians, the four horses attached to the wagon became frightened and ran to the lower end of the prairie. By this time young Hathaway had recovered from his faint, and he and Mr. Sinks, having detached the horses from the wagon by cutting the harness, attempted to ride two of the animals back to the fort, but the rough gait of the horses irritated the wounds of the two men to such a degree dial they were obliged to walk. A Miss Case, who had been left at sonic stables, a short distance from where the killing of Bogard and Hathaway occurred, haltered a two-year-old colt and rode nine miles to the nearest fort to give the alarm. The attack having been made about sun-down, most of her journey was accomplished by night, a feat requiring no small degree of courage. Upon her arrival at Hawkins fort, runners were dispatched to Forts Conner, Purcell and Hallow. As many as could procure horses collected at Hawkins fort and about three o'clock the next morning set out for Steele's prairie, where the murders had been committed. On their way up. the party unknowingly passed the two wounded men. Sinks and Hathaway, who, upon hearing them approach and supposing them to be Indians, retired from the path in order to escape notice. The horsemen having passed on, the two wounded men returned to the trail and proceeded to the fort, arriving there some time before noon. Here they first heard of Miss Case's heroism.

Upon arriving at the place where Bogard and Hathaway lay dead upon the ground, a portion of the little band of settlers made arrangements to carry the bodies back to the fort, and in due time, assisted by those remaining
deposited the mangled corpses in the Maysville cemetery, the first interment to occur in that resting place for the dead. Investigation made at the scene of the murders led to the conclusion that seven Indians had taken part in the attack, ibis conclusion being based on the finding of seven beds, or nests, each evidently having been occupied by one person, so artfully constructed as to conceal its occupant from view. Those of the horsemen who did not return with the two bodies attempted to find the Indian trail, this, however, proving a very difficult task. From what could be discovered, it was concluded that the Indians were making for the mouth of the Eel river. The pursuers, after crossing Smothers creek, skirting along the edge of the river bottom, passing through English Prairie, through the timber and on through Owl prairie and, having lost what feeble traces of a trail they thought they had occasionally discerned, came to a halt at sundown. A portion of the company built camp-fires and the remainder went on a few miles still farther up the country, but failing to find any new traces of the red men's footsteps, they returned to the camp. During the night it was concluded useless to further pursue the Indians, as, from all that could be observed, they bad crossed to the west side of the river, and so made good their escape.   The baffled pursuers, therefore, returned to the forts.


In 1813 another incident occurred, in which, instead of a while man being slain, an Indian lost his life. Palmer fort was built early in the spring of that year. One rainy night three Indians walked around this fort and in the morning their footprints were discovered. A very large dog. owned by a man named Raker, living in the fort scented the Indians and started on the trail. The men. armed and on horseback, immediately followed them to Prairie creek. The Indians bad crossed the creek on a drift opposite the site of the block house, built that spring by Captain Patterson, but at that time abandoned. They evidently had occupied the blockhouse during the latter part of the night, and had baked a johnny-cake on a board before the fire, out of some corn-meal left by Patterson. Mr. Raker's dog and some of the men easily followed the Indians across the creek on the drift, but it was found necessary to swim the animals across, which caused considerable delay. Meanwhile, two Indians came out of a house and darted off at full speed. When the last horse had been swum across, a third and very large Indian came out of the house and followed his companions. The white men, seven in number, and all well mounted, started in full pursuit, preceded by the dog. The country between Prairie creek and Smothers creek then consisted of sandy ridges, covered with oak bushes, marshes and ponds, through which the Indians kept straight on. It was impossible for the mounted men to follow directly, for their horses would have stuck fast in the mire; hence, considerable time was lost by making more or less wide detours. Time also was lost in crossing Smothers creek, which, like Prairie creek, was too high for fording. Upon reaching the upper ground of White river bottom, however, the white men, guided by the dog, discovered that they had so well kept the trail as nearly to have overtaken the Indians, and began firing upon the latter. The large Indian who had, during the entire chase, which was very exciting, kept in the rear, at length received a slight wound in the right knee, whereupon he climbed a large hack-berry tree and made two attempts to shoot his pursuers, but each time the powder flashed in the pan. Being defenseless, he was overpowered and slain, after, however, giving his companions time to escape. This was the only Indian killed here-about during the troublous times.


Some four or five years after the events related above, a number of friendly Indians were collected on what is now called Owl prairie. Hearing of their presence, a number of settlers from Washington and vicinity went up to trade with them, taking along lead, powder, tobacco and whiskey. Among those who went up was Obed Flint, a Mr. Frost and Thomas Eagle. Mr. Eagle, a veritable giant of a man, was desirous of exhibiting his strength and to this end bantered one of the smaller Indians to let him throw him over the lire. With the Indian's consent. Eagle made the attempt and succeeded only in throwing him half way over the fire, the Indian falling upon the coals and being quite severely burned. An Indian named "Big File." observing the occurrence, and not understanding the reason of the attempt by Eagle, rushed upon him and stabbed him to death with a large knife. "Big File" was indicted by the grand jury, but succeeded in escaping the penalty of his crime.

It is related that William Smothers, of Kentucky, whose father had been killed in that state by the Indians, had taken a vow of vengeance, and had come to Indiana for the purpose of executing that sanguinary vow. He had formerly lived near Owensboro, Kentucky, and is said to have taken as much pleasure in hunting Indians as in hunting bears, or other wild animals. Four or live dead Indians are said to have been found on his hunting grounds, two of whom he is said to have confessed to have killed by the accidental discharge of his gun. He saw one fall through a hole cut in the ice to catch fish, went to the place, but could see nothing but blood, which he supposed to have flowed from a wound accidentally indicted upon himself by the Indian with his tomahawk, and that he had fainted, fallen through the ice into deep water, and had thus been drowned. On another occasion his gun was accidentally discharged while lie was passing down the creek, immediately after which be heard a noise in the water. Upon going to see what occasioned the noise he saw a log with blood on it, but no Indian; so supposed the Indian had fallen into the water and, becoming entangled, was unable to extricate himself and was thus drowned. Such "accidents" became altogether too common, and Mr. Smothers left for some other happy hunting ground.

The killing of the four white men, McGowen, Hathaway. Eagle and Rogard, and of the one Indian, comprises the list of casualties within the limits of Daviess county during, and in consequence of the Indian troubles; but. simultaneously with these difficulties, were other causes of excitement which seemed to prevent the inhabitants of the county from entertaining any proper sense of security. On one occasion Fort Harrison, then held by Capt. Zachary Taylor, was besieged by a large body of Indians, and all who could procure horses were required to repair to its relief. This fort was completed in October, 1811, and was located on the east bank of the Wabash, above the present site of Torre Haute. Probably not over twenty men went, but the hurry and bustle of preparation, the mending of bridles and saddles, the gathering together of the horses, the grinding of corn in the little band-mill, the baking of quantities of bread, and other preparations for departure, caused as much anxiety and wakefulness, perhaps, as would the preparation for the march of an entire regiment. After the farewell full of forebodings, bad been bidden, for none knew how many would fail to return alive, nothing was heard of the little band of warriors for sixteen days, at the end of which time news came that all had returned safely to Vincennes, and two days afterward they marched home.


Early in the spring of 1812, when it was confidently anticipated that a war would soon break out between Great Britain and the United Slates, a call was made among the residents of Daviess county for volunteers to fight the Indians. From fifteen to twenty answered the call, none of them heads of families, bill all of mature age. They were to serve for one year, furnish their own horses and horse feed, one good rifle each, with shot-bag, powder-horn and ammunition: one leather belt, one tomahawk, one large butcher knife and a small knife, from four to five inches long; and were to receive as wages one dollar per day. Thus mounted and accounted, they were named "rangers." During the time for which they were enlisted they were called out many times, but reference is here made to only one of these expeditious, mainly to record the killing of two more of the early citizens of Daviess county and, incidentally, to illustrate the superior skill and cunning of the Indian in desultory warfare. In the latter part of September, 1812, General Samuel Hopkins was in Vincennes in command of about two thousand volunteers. The duty assigned to his command was that of breaking up and destroying the settlements of Indians along the Wabash and Illinois rivers. The destruction of one Kickapoo town at the head of Lake Peoria was accomplished, and the mounted forces returned to Vincennes, most of them being discharged on account of refusing to obey their commander. General Hopkins immediately organized another force, chiefly infantry, to operate against the Indians in the vicinity of Prophetstown. Accompanying this expedition was a number of Daviess county rangers. The Winnebago town, lying on Wild Cat creek, one mile from the Wabash river, had been surrounded and found deserted, and General Hopkins's command, to use his own language, was "embarked in the complete destruction of the prophet's town, which had about forty cabins and huts, and the large Kickapoo village adjoining ii on the east side of the river. . . . Seven miles east of us a party of Indians was discovered on Ponce Passu (Wild Cat creek). They had fired on a party of ours on the 21st (September) and killed a man by the name of Dunn, a gallant soldier in Captain Duval's company. On the 22nd upward of sixty horsemen, under command of Lieutenant-Colonels Miller and Wilcox, anxious to bury their comrade, as well as to gain a more complete knowledge of the ground, went on to a point near the Indian encampment, fell into an ambush, and eighteen of the party were killed, wounded and missing."    Two of those killed in this ambuscade, Samuel Culbertson and Jesse Jones, were from the settlement at the forks of the   White   river.    The   former was the son of Josiah Culbertson, a worthy citizen of Daviess county and a soldier of the Revolutionary War, and the latter a son of Ebenezer Jones, who lived in Daviess county from 1811 to 1863.


The country immediately around the encampment, a short distance above the present site of Lafayette. was finely timbered and to all appearances a body of rich land. Some of the men strayed off from the main body for the purpose, as they said, of looking at the country.    While one of these parties, consisting of three, was out some distance from the main body, they were fired on by the Indians and one of their number was killed. His name was Dunn.  Upon the return of the two survivors to camp, sixty men were detailed to bury their dead comrade, and the men from this part of the country were part of this detail. Approaching the spot where the slain man lay, they discovered an Indian mounted on quite a line horse. Dropping their burial tools, they, in a very tumultuous manner, started in pursuit.   The Indian at first kept a northeast course, but gradually inclined to the north until he arrived at the bead of a ravine running directly west to the Wabash river.  He entered the ravine, which was quite steep at the sides, and covered with timber and thick underbrush.   When his pursuers had proceeded about three hundred yards down the hollow, they received a very heavy fire on both banks, which added much to their disorder and confusion.   A general rout ensued, and every man who could, made the best of his way back to camp. Those who effected an escape had to cut their way through the enemy's lines. The next day almost the whole army went out to bury the death who were found much mutilated, and some that were reported missing never were found,


The early settlers of Daviess county were largely from Southern states. It is estimated that about one-half of the first settlers were from South Carolina and one-fourth from Kentucky and Tennessee. The principal inducement that brought these people was that they might obtain cheap lands and establish homes for their families. Finding a desirable location in the primitive prairie or the unbroken forest was the first concern of these pioneers: the next concern, and the most important, was to find means of subsistence for the family. In the accomplishment of this purpose it was necessary to use all the ingenuity and all the means nature had placed within their reach. Timber must be cleared and the prairie lands must be broken and all brought to a state of cultivation. In that period of Daviess county history implements of industry for this kind of work were few, and of a very crude sort. The cabins, which served for domiciles were built of round logs. These logs usually were not hewn. The roof was made of clapboards held in place by poles. The spaces between the logs in the side of the cabin were tilled with sticks .and clay. The fireplace at one end of the cabin was, of course, indispensable, serving both heating and cooking purposes. Square openings for the one door, and probably two windows, were cut in the side of the cabin. Greased paper, instead of glass, was the material used for windows in the primitive cabin, and skins of animals were used for the door openings. Some of the more pretentious cabins had glass windows and doors made of sawed lumber; the doors hanging on hinges of rawhide, with a rawhide latch-string hanging outside. The synonym for genuine hospitality, "the latch-string is out" had its origin from this kind of a door in the pioneer cabin. The floor of the primitive cabin generally was of clay, hard packed, though some cabins had floors made of puncheon, hewn with the broad-axe and laid on sleepers.


The first lumber was made with the whip-saw. This kind of a saw continued in use for some time after saw-mills had been introduced. It is generally conceded that James C. Veale built the first saw-mill in Daviess county, some time between 1808 and 1810. This mill was located on Veale's creek, but did not make enough lumber to supply the demand. Slabs from this mill were in great demand for the flooring of cabins, being more desirable for that purpose than the roughly-hewn puncheon. Veale's mill was carried away by a freshet, in the spring of 1812, and after a considerable time was rebuilt. The second mill of this kind was built, also on Veale's creek, by Eli Chapman, in 1815. It was of greater capacity than Veale's mill, furnished more lumber, and continued in operation for a longer time. The third mill was a different design than either of the two mentioned. The motive power, instead of being water, consisted of two or three yoke of oxen haltered within a tread-mill. This ox-mill was located in the town of Washington, and was erected by William McCormick. The next saw-mill of the pioneer period was erected in Washington by B. Duncan. William and R. Graham, and J. Thompson. This was the first mill to manufacture lumber for export, considerable quantities being shipped down the river to a mountain market. In the course of a few years steam saw-mills began to be erected and superseded, to a large extent, mills operated by other motive power. In the time further back than is within the memory of anyone now living, the lumber business was one of the important industries of Daviess county.


The first mills to grind both corn and wheat were turned by hand. Richard Palmer is credited with having been the pioneer in the erection and operation of a, mill of this kind in Daviess county. His mill was built on Palmers creek, on land afterward owned by William McCluskey. This mill was equipped with a bolting apparatus and other facilities for the manufacture of a fairly good article of flour, for those times. Another mill was built on this same creek, on the Hawkins farm, by William Hawkins. Both of these mills were built, it is said, in 1810. The Palmer mill was built of round logs, without chinking, which made it a rather uncomfortable place in which to do business in cold weather. The Hawkins mill was neatly built of hewed logs and was much more convenient and comfortable. The old-fashioned tub wheel was used in both these mills, the tub wheel embodying substantially the same principle as the turbine wheel of modem times. The capacity of each of these mills was about two and one-half bushels the hour. While they were both equipped for the manufacture of flour and corn-meal, the latter product was most in demand. Very little flour was used by the pioneer families. Wheat bread was regarded as a luxury, only to be indulged in, if at all, on special occasions. Corn-meal was the staff of life; corn bread, the corn-dodger, the hoe-cake, the johnny-cake, as made by the thrifty housewife of those times, being the food that furnished the brawn and muscle for the men who cleared the forest and cultivated the fields in the early days of Daviess county.


The question of securing houses in which to live, and the food necessary to sustain life, was not the most perplexing problem of the pioneers. Mouses easily could be built, sufficiently stable to afford shelter for the family, from material with which the forest abounded. Food for the family was produced with slight labor front the fertile soil, supplemented by the abundance of wild game in the forest, lint the material from which the necessary clothing could be made was not so easily obtained. Flax was the principal dependence at first, and its cultivation and manufacture into fabrics was attended with no little exertion and anxiety. The cultivation of cotton was attempted. As most of the pioneers had come from states where cotton raising was the chief agricultural industry, cotton being then the principal fabric from which clothing was made, they, very naturally, tried the experiment of cotton

 cultivation in their northern homes. But the experiment was a failure. The seasons were too short, the facilities of separating the seed from the cotton were too meager, and this line of industrial effort was abandoned after a few years. Wool was found to be the main dependence for clothing. But the raising of sheep in sufficient numbers to supply the demand: for wool had its difficulties, on account of the abounding wolves, with an inherited appetite for fresh mutton. The protection of sheep, however, was an absolute necessity in order to secure the necessary wool and this protection was afforded. In time a combined warfare on the wolves resulted in a decrease of these pests, and in an increase of the necessary sheep. As the production of wool increased, carding, spinning and weaving, became an almost daily industry in every house. At first all this was done by hand, but, in 1815, Eli Chapman put up a carding machine, in connect with his saw-mill, on Veale's creek, and did a large and profitable business in wool-carding. Deer skins, bear skins, and the skins of other animals were largely used in the manufacture of clothing for the men. Clothing from such material had the quality of being cheap, warm and durable, and especially adapted to the rugged work required of the pioneer.

All the fabric for clothing, from the material from which the fabric was made, was made by the women. Linsey-woolsey, as it was called, was the common chub from which women's dresses were made. The chain of this cloth was of coarse cotton, and the filling of wool. Blue, turkey-red and copperas, were the favorite colors of this rather fantastic cloth. The loom was a necessary article of furniture; as necessary as were the bed and dining table. The loom and the spinning wheel of that day filled the place of the piano and phonograph of the present day.


Another difficulty experienced by the pioneer farmer was in the preparation

 of the ground for seed; as the plow, barrow, and other farm implements. were neither so common nor so perfect as they are at present, Plow-irons hoes, mattocks and similar implements were brought here from their original homes by the settlers, and by (lint of ingenuity and hard work the latter managed to stock them, or furnish the necessary wooden parts to fit them for the uses intended. The wooden parts were made from green timber, worked into the desired shape by the broad-axe and draw knife, the dependable tools of the mechanic of those limes. The implements thus made were unwieldy and unshapely, but service rather than shape was the point aimed at.

The first and only thrashing-machine made in Daviess county, according to an old historical authority, was invented and built by James and William Thompson, in what was known as the McTaggan barn, a building thirty by forty feet in size. Thirty feet of the west end of the barn was used for the horse-power. This horse-power was a large driving-wheel, sixteen feet in diameter, with gearing and belting, by which the thrasher and cleaner were propelled. The cylinder of the thrashing part of this machine was a wooden shaft, three feet long; moving on an iron axle. From each end of this wooden shaft projected eight arms, to the outer ends of winch eight ribs were fastened. The ribs were laced with heavy hoop-iron, and as this cylinder, or reel, revolved, the sheaves of wheal were led into it through rollers, and thus the grain was beaten out of the straw. The grain was separated from the straw by passing into a hopper, through a wire grating, three feet wide and six feet long, fixed in the floor, the straw being passed out of an upper window in the barn. From the hopper, the grain was fed to the cleaner as fast as thrashed. Two horses were required to run this machine, and it required six hands— three men and three boys—to perform the necessary labor. The thrashing of one hundred bushels of wheat was considered a good day's work for this outfit. The first portable thrashing-machine was introduced by a Mr. Parsons. This was a four-horse-power machine, with a center gearing-wheel, driving a shaft which operated an iron cylinder by which the grain was thrashed out. To the center driving-wheel were attached four anus, or shafts; to the outer end of each of these arms one of the four horses was hitched; these horses, moving in a circle, the wheel was made to go around.  A driver stood on a platform over the driving-wheel in the center, and it was his duty to see that the horses kept moving. This machine only thrashed the wheat; the sheaves being fed into the cylinder, the grain, straw and chaff all coming out in a pile together. The man with the rake separated the straw from the wheat and the chaff, as it came from the machine, and the fanning-mill, operated by hand, did the rest. Because of the manner of its operation, this machine was known as the "straw-piler," by the people of that period. Some of the citizens of Daviess county can measure a memory of thrashing-machines from the "straw-piler * age, to that of the "cyclone" thresher, operated by steam power. The improvement in farming implements, farm machinery and methods of farming, has kept pace with the improved facilities in every other industrial vocation, for the past seventy-five years; and the farmers of Daviess county have kept fully abreast of the times.


Knox county, out of which Daviess county was created, as a civic organization

 antedates both the territorial and state governments of Indiana. It was laid off and organized in the spring of 1790. by Winthrop Sargent, secretary of the Northwest Territory, acting under special instructions from Governor Arthur St. Clair, who was then at Kaskaskia, organizing St. Clair county. The county was named in honor of Gen. Henry Knox, then secretary of war of the United States, and originally embraced all the territory now constituting the states of Indiana and .Michigan. Daviess county was created out of territory belonging to Knox by "an act for the formation of a new county out of the county of Knox," approved on December 24. 1816. The measure creating the new county came under the category of special laws, and is ol sufficient value and interest to deserve preservation in these pages.


Section 1. Be it enacted by the General Assembly of the State of Indiana, That from and after the 15th day of February next all that part of the county of Knox which is contained within the following boundary shall constitute and form a new county, viz: Beginning at the forks of White river, running thence with the east fork of White river to the mouth of Lick creek; thence with said creek to the line of Orange county; thence north with the said line to where it strikes the west branch of White river, (hence down the said west fork to the place of beginning.

Section 2: That said new county shall be known and designated by the name and style of the County of Daviess, and shall enjoy all the rights and privileges and jurisdictions which to a separate county do or may properly appertain or belong: Provided, always. That all suits, pleas, plaints, actions and proceedings in law or equity which may have been commenced or instituted before the 15th day of February next, and are now pending within the said county of Knox, shall he prosecuted and determined in the same manner as if this act had not been passed: Provided. That all taxes of whatever nature or kind assessed or which may be assessed previous to the said 15th day of February, or now due, or which may become due before that time within the hounds of the said new county, shall be collected in the same manner and by the same 0Ulcers as if the aforesaid new county had never been enacted.

Section 3: That William Bruce and Henry Ruble, of the county of Knox; David Robh and William Baker, of the county of Gibson, and Thomas Fulton, of the county of Orange, be, and they are hereby appointed commissioners to fix the seat of justice for said county of Daviess; and the several sheriffs of the counties of Knox. Gibson and Orange shall notify the said commissioners of their said appointments; and the said sheriffs shall receive from the said county of Daviess so much as the county court of said county of Daviess shall decree just and reasonable, who arc hereby authorized to allow the same out of any moneys in the county treasury,- not otherwise appropriated; and the said commissioners shall on thy, first Monday of March, next, meet at the house of Alexander Bruce, of said County, and shall immediately proceed to establish the seat of justice for said county of Daviess; and until suitable public buildings be erected, so as to accommodate the courts aforesaid, the said courts shall meet at the house of said Alexander Bruce, and shall then adjourn the said court to the courthouse, after which time the said courts for the county of Daviess shall be holden at the county seat as aforesaid established: Provided, that the agent or person appointed by law to lay off the town and sell the lots at the seat of justice of the county of Daviess, shall reserve ten per centum out of the proceeds of the sale of the town lots, and shall pay the same over to such person as shall be appointed to receive it by law, for the use of the public library for said county, in such installments, and at such times, as shall be prescribed by law.

Section 4.   Refers to Knox county.

Section 5, That the said county of Daviess shall constitute and form a part of the representative and senatorial district for the county of Knox.

Isaac Blackford, Speaker of the House of Representatives. Christopher Harrison, President of the Senate. Approved: December 24, 1816. Jonathan Jennings.


This county was named in honor of Captain Joseph H. Daviess, who was a brave and intrepid soldier. He was killed early on the morning of November 7, 1811, while leading his men in a desperate charge in the battle of Tippecanoe. The state of Illinois also named one of its counties after this pioneer hero-warrior, this latter county appearing on the map as Jo Daviess county.

Daviess county, Indiana, when first formed, contained all of its present territory and also all of Martin county, except that portion lying south of Lick creek; all of Greene county, east of the west fork of White river, and all of Owen county, east of the west fork of White river. At the time of its enaction Daviess county was about fifty-seven miles in length and in its greatest width about thirty-one miles. It is now twenty-eight miles in length, from north to south, and in width eighteen miles.

The organizing sheriff of Daviess county was Obed Flint, who was commissioned by the governor of the state and authorized to call an election

 for the selection of county officials. The sheriff performed his duty by selecting the day and pasting notices for the first election held in this county. On the appointed day, which was in February, 1817, the electors of the county met at their several polling places and elected William.Hallow, John Aikman and Ephraim Thompson, county commissioners; William H. Routt, James G. Read, associate judges; Emaniel VanTrees, clerk of the board of commissioners and ex-officio clerk of the circuit court.

Source: History of Daviess County Indiana by A.O. Fulkerson 1915
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