Dearborn County was formed by proclamation of William Henry Harrison,
governor of Indiana Territory, March 7, 1803, and was named in honor
of Ma j.-Gen. Henry Dearborn, at that time Secretary of War under
President Jefferson. As originally formed, it embraced all the
territory bounded by the Ohio State line on the east, the old Indian
boundary line on the west and north, and the Ohio River on the south,
and included all of Ohio County, nearly all of Switzerland, and
portions of several counties along the State line up to Fort Recovery.
The reader who desires to know the full history of his county, will be interested in knowing the older counties, of which Dearborn and Ohio were a part. From 1790 until 1798 these two counties formed a part of Knox County, with the seat of justice at Vincennes. June 22. 1798. Gov. St. Clair issued a proclamation, changing the western boundary of Hamilton County from the Great Miami River to the Indian boundary line, running from the mouth of the Kentucky River to Fort Recovery; from that date these counties were a part of Hamilton County, with the seat of justice at Cincinnati until April 30, 1802, when Congress established the present western boundary line of Ohio. From April 30,1802, until January 24, 1803, they were under no county organization whatever. From January 24, 1803, to March 7,1803, a part of Clark County, with the seat of justice at Jeffersonville.
But at still earlier dates, this territory had been made a part of political divisions called counties. During the Revolution, this region would have been marked on a map of the North American Colonies as a part of Virginia, whose extensive domain, making her the mother of States as well as of Presidents, reached to the Mississippi. Out of this broad territory vast counties were formed. The county of Kentucky included the whole of the present State of that name. In October, 1778, Virginia, by statute, declared that: "All the citizens of the commonwealth of Vir-ginia, who are already settled or who shall hereafter settle on the west-ern side of the Ohio, shall be included in a distinct county, which shall be called Illinois County." This territory, then, once formed a part of the vast western county of Virginia called Illinois.
But, going back a few years further, we find this region included in a county of still more vast extent. South of the Natural Bridge, between the Blue Ridge and the Alleghanies, and intersected by the James River, is a county of Virginia, with Fincastle as its seat of justice, named Botetourt, in honor of Norborne Berkeley, Lord Botetourt, a conspic-uous actor in American colonial history, and governor of Vir-ginia. That county was established in 1769, and was bounded on the east by the Blue Bidge, on the west by the Mississippi, and com-prised Western Virginia, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Michigan, Wisconsin and Minnesota. Fincastle then, as now, was the county seat.
The following curious provision is found in the act of Virginia, creating Botetourt County:
And whereas, the people situated on the Mississippi, in the said county of Botetourt will be very remote from the court house, and must necessarily become a separate county as soon as their numbers are sufficient—which probably will happen in a short time: Be it therefore enacted by the authority aforesaid (Rouse of Bur-gesses) that the inhabitants of that part of the said county of Botetourt, which lies on the said waters, shall be exempted from the payment of any levies to be laid by the said county court, for the purpose of building a court house and prison for said county.
The boundary between Jefferson and Dearborn Counties, established by act of November 23, 1810, commenced on the Ohio River at the mouth of Log Lick, now in Switzerland County; thence to the old Indian boundary; and thence with said boundary to the northeast corner of the Grousland Purchase.
A portion of the above territory was stricken from Jefferson and attached to Dearborn by act of September 7, 1814, viz.: All that portion of Jefferson County which lies east of the old Indian boundary and north of the line dividing Sections 19 and 30, Town 4, Range 3 west. Also from a point beginning where the line between Townships Nos. 6 and 7 north, Range 13 east, intersects the old Indian boundary; thence with said line west to the corner of Sections 32 and 33, Town 7, Range 12 east; thence north to the northwest corner of Section 21,Town 10,Range 12; thence east on what is now the line between Franklin and Ripley Counties to the old Indian boundary line; thence southwardly with said line to the point of beginning.
The above last described tract was taken from Dearborn to form a part of Ripley County by the act of December 27, 1816.
In 1814 the line between Sections 19 and 30, Town 4, Range 3 west was extended east to the Ohio River and now forms the north boundary of Switzerland County.
By act of January 7, 1845, all that part of Dearborn County which lies south of Laughory Creet was attached to Ohio County,leaving Dear-born with its present boundary lines, viz.: Beginning.at the confluence of Laughery Creek with the Ohio River; thence up said creek with its meanders to the old Indian boundary line; thence with said line north-wardly to the line dividing fractional townships Nos. 8 and 9; thence east to the first principal meridian, being the Ohio State line; thence south to the Ohio River: thence down said river to the place of beginning.
FIRST OFFICERS AND COURTS.
On the same day that Dearborn County was organized. Gov. William Henry Harrison appointed the following named persons justices, to hold the courts of common pleas, thej courts of general quarter sessions of the peace, and the orphan's court under the ordinance and laws for the government of the Territory, viz.: Beajamin Chambers, Jabez Percival, Barnet Hulick, John Brownson, Jeremiah Hunt, Richard Stevens, William Major and James McCarty. Other civil officers appointed at the same time were Samuel C-Vance,clerk of courts.and James Dill.recorder. The commissions of all the officers dated from March 7, 1803.
August 15, 1803, the following persons were appointed officers of the militia of Dearborn Co.inty, viz.: William Hall, Samuel Fulton, Daniel Lynn, Barnet Hulick and Jeremiah Johnston, captains; William Standiford, William Spencer. William Cheek, James Hamilton and William AUensworth, lieutenants; Gersuam Lee, Thomas Fulton, Michael Flake, William Thompson and James Buchanan, ensigns. August 23, 1808, David Lamphere was commissioned sheriff, James Hamilton, recorder, vice James Dill, resigned, and Jonathan White, coroner.
The first session of the court of general quarter sessions of the peace is believed to have commenced on the first Monday of September, 1803. In the proclamation of the governor establishing the county, the courts were directed to be held in the town of Lawrenceburgh, which had been laid out in the spring of 1802. Dr. Jabez Percival, one of the judges, had built a double log-cabin, and in it the first courts were held.
A curious incident, illustrative of the primitive mode of administering justice, is related on the highest authority as having occurred in an early court of this county. An altercation arising between an unmanageable and contemptuous witness and one of the judges, the witness sustained his side of the argument by seizing a clapboard and striking at the judge. The judge fended off the lick which was aimed at his head with his arm. Both clapboard and the judge's arm were broken by the sudden and violent contact of the two. This was considered a contempt of court, and the witness was ordered to jail, but there was no jail, and as the most feasible means of carrying out the sentence of imprisonment, his feet and hands were tied, he was laid along the ground and a section of worm fence was built up over him, the lower rail just touching his neck. In this position he was kept for some hours, by which time it is fair to conclude he was possessed by a realizing sense of the inconvenience attending a disrespectful treatment of the court.
CHARACTER OF THE EARLY COURTS.
Hon. Oliver H. Smith, who practiced extensively in all the counties of southeastern Indiana, beginning in 1820, thus describes the administration of justice:
" The county was new, sparsely settled, and being on the Western frontier, the towns and villages were filled with Indians trading their peltries, wild game and moccasins ornamented with the quills of the porcupine, with the settlers, for calicoes, whisky, powder, lead, beads and such other articles as met their fancy. The population of the country embraced by the circuit was a hardy, fearless and generally honest but more or less reckless people, such as are usually to be found advancing upon the frontiers from more civilized life, and consequently there were more collisions among them, more crimes committed calling for the action of the criminal courts than is common in older settled and more civilized parts of the older States.
"The judiciary system at the time referred to, was, like the country, in its infancy. The circuit court was composed of a presiding judge, elected by the Legistature, who presided in all the courts in the circuit, and two associate judges, elected in each county by the people. These 'side judges,1 as they were then called, made no pretensions to any particular knowledge of the law, but still they had the power to overrule the presiding judge and give the opinion of the court, and sometimes they even 'out-guessed' the president, giving the most preposterous reasons imaginable for their decisions, as, in one instance, that of a writ of scire facias to revive a judgment, would not lie unless it was sued out within a year and a day. The decision of the associates was affirmed in the supreme court, for other reasons, of course. The court houses were either frame or log buildings, arranged to hold the court in one end and the grand jury in the other, the petit jury being accommodated in some neighboring outbuildings. The clerks had very little qualification for their duties; still they were honest, and the most of them could write more legibly than Rufus Choate, United States Senator- The sheriffs were elected by the people as they are now, and seem to have been selected as candidates on account of their tine voices to call the jurors and witnesses from the woods from the doors of the court house, and their ability to run down and catch offenders. The most important personages in the country, however, were the young lawyers, universally called 'squires' by the old and young, male and female. Queues were much in fashion, and nothing was more common than to see one of these young 'squires' with a wilted rorum hat, that had once been stiffened with glue in its better days, upon his head, from the back part of which hung a cue three feet long, tied from head to tip with an eel skin, walking in evident superiority, in his own estimation, among the people in the court yard, sounding the public mind as to his prospects as a candidate for the Legislature. There were no caucuses or conventions then. Everv candidate brought himself out and ran upon his own hook. If he got beat, as the most of them did, he had nobody to blame but himself for becoming a candidate; still, he generally charged it upon his friends for not voting for him, and the next season found him once more upon the track, sounding his own praises.
" The court rooms in those days were prepared and furnished with much simplicity, and yet they seemed to answer all the purposes absolutely necessary to the due administration of justice. The building generally contained two rooms, the court room being the larger, at one end of which there was a platform elevated some three feet for the judges, with a long bench to seat them. These benches were very substantial in general, sufficient to sustain the most weighty judges, yet on one occasion the bench gave way, and down came three fat, aldermanly judges on the floor. One of them, qaite a wag, seeing the 'squires' laughing, remarked: 'Gentlemen, this is a mighty weak bench.' The bar had their benches near the table of the clerk, and the crowd was kept back by a long pole fastened with withes at the ends. The crowds at that day thought the holding of a court a great affair; the people came hundreds of miles to see the judges and hear the lawyers 'plead,' as they called it. On one occasion there came on to be tried before the jury an indictment for an assault and battery against a man for pulling the nose of another who had insulted him. The court room was filled to suffocation, the two associate judges were on the bench; the evidence had been heard and public expectation was on tiptoe. All was silent as death, when the young 'squire,' afterward Judge Charles H. Test, arose and addressed the court: 'If the court please—.' He was here interrupted by Judge Mitchell from the bench, 'Yes, we do please. Go to the bottom of the case, young man; the people have come in to hear the lawyers plead.' The young Squire, encouraged by the kind response of the judge, proceeded to ad-dress the jury some three hours, in excited eloquence, upon the great provocation his client had received to induce his docile nature to bound over all legal barriers and take the prosecutor by the nose. All eyes were upon him, and as he closed Judge Winchall roared out, 'Capital! I did not think it was in him!' The jury returned a verdict ox 'not guilty' amid the rapturous applause of the audience. Court adjourned, and the people returned home to tell their children that they had heard the lawyers 'plead.' ¦
DIVISION OF DEARBORN AND FORMATION OF OHIO COUNTY.
The question of the division of Dearborn County was agitated from an early period. Rising Sun, laid out in 1814, was ambitious to be a countv seat from the tirst, and worked faithfullv and earnestly with that end in view, until success crowned its efforts. As early as 1817, before the State of Indiana was a year old, Col. A. C. Pepper, it is said, went to Corydon, the capital of the State, to obtain an act from the Legislature organizing a new county with Rising Sun its seat of justice, but he was unsuccessful.
Lawrenceburgh was the seat of justice of Dearborn County from the organization of the county, and being situated on the eastern side of the county about midway between the northern and southern boundaries, was unwilling to have the shape of the county changed, lest the county seat should be removed. The friends of a new county, finding they were not strong-enough to effect a division of Dearborn, resorted to strategy and advocated a removal of the county seat to a point nearer the geographical center, and September 26, 1836, Wilmington became the seat of justice. Lawrenceburgh having lost the county seat was now not so much opposed to the formation of a new county, provided the county seat could be brought back to her.
An alliance was formed between the friends of division and the relocation of the county seat, and in 1843 members of the Legislature were chosen from the county favorable to both these projects. As an indication of the unanimity of sentiment on the part of the voters of Randolph Township it may be stated that George P. Buell, the candidate for senator in favor of division and relocation, received in that township 501 votes, while Charles Dashiell, the candidate opposed to these measures, received five votes.
The act organizing Ohio County and removing the seat of justice of Dearborn County from Wilmington to Lawrenceburgh passed the House by a vote of sixty-six to twenty-three, December 81, 1843; it passed the Senate, January 3, 1844, and was approved by the governor January 4, 1844. The act is a long one, but on aecount of its importance we give its most important sections:
AN ACT TO ORGANIZE X NEW COCNTT OCT OF THE COUNTY OF DEARBORN, AND RELOCATE THE COUNTY SEAT THEREOF. APPROVED JANUARY 4, 1844.
Section 1. Be it enacted by the General Assembly of the State of Indiana. That from and after the first day of March next, all that part of Dearborn County, within the following bounds, to-wit: Beginning on the Ohio River on the section line between fractional sections number twenty-five and thirty-six, in Town four, Range one west, thence west with said line to the northwest corner of section number thirty-two: thence south to the north west comer of Section number five. Town three. Range one: thence west to the rauge line between Kange one and Range two: thence south to the line dividing Switzerland and Dearborn Counties: thence with said line east to the Ohio River: thence up said river to the place of beginning, shall constitute the county of Ohio.
Sec. 2. That Martin R. Green, of the county of Switzerland. Joseph Bennet. of the county of Franklin, and James Myers, of the county of Ripley, be and they are hereby constituted and appointed commissioners to permanently locate the seat of justice of said county. The commissioners, or a majority of them, shall convene in the town of Rising Sun. in said countj'of Ohio, ou the second Monday in April next, or as soon thereafter as a majority of them shall agree.
Sec 5. That the circuit and other courts of said county of Ohio shall be held at Rising Sun until suitable buildings can be erected at the county seat, after which the courts shall be held at the county seat of said county.
Sec 13. That from aud after the first day of April next the seat of justice of the county of Dearborn shall be. and the same is. hereby removed and permanently located in the town of Lawrenceburgh. in said county of Dearborn
Sec 15. That all officers whose duty it shall be to keep their said offices at the seat of justice in said county of Dearborn shall be, and are hereby required to remove and keep their said offices at the towu of Lawrenceburgh on or before the said first day of April next; that from and after the said first day of April (1844) all public business, which shall be required by law to be transacted at the seat of justice in said county of Dearborn, shall be performed and transacted at the court liouse in said town of Lawrenceburgh.
Sec 16. It shall be the duty of the corporation of the said town of Lawrenceburgh to give boud with good and sufficient security, to be approved of by the county commissioners of said county, or any one of them, in a penalty of any amount he or they may require, not exceeding, however, the penalty of ten thousand dollars, payable to the Slate of Indiana, conditioned that the corporation of said town of Lawrenceburgh shall, within one year from and after the said first day of April, 1S44, fit up and repair the court house and jail in said town of Lawrenceburgh. and build a clerk's office, recorder's office, and auditor's office in said town, all of which shall be equal in point of convenience and durability to those already erected and built in the town of Wilmington: and that said corporation will furnish suitable rooms for holding said offices in said county at the expense of the same, until said public buildings shall be erected and refitted as aforesaid.
Sec 17. This act to take effect and be in force from and after its passage.
An examination of the first section of the foregoing act will show that the original boundaries of the county were not the same as at present, Ohio County is now the smallest county in Indiana, containing a ' little over eighty-five arid one-half square miles. As originally formed it comprised only a portion of Randolph Township, and contained less than eighteen square miles. Probably a smaller county was never formed in the United States. It remained thus, however, only for one year and three days. January 7, 1845, by act of the Legislature, all of Dearborn County lying south of Laughery Creek was attached to Ohio County, leaving both Dearborn and Ohio Counties with their present boundaries.
The old constitution of Indiana provided that u the General Assembly, when they lay off any new county, shall not reduce the old county or counties from which the same shall be taken to a less extent than 400 square miles." It was thought that Dearborn had been reduced to 400 square miles of territory, and that this would effectually bar any division of the county, but a close survey made at a time of low water in the Ohio showed a surplus. Out of that surplus Ohio County was first formed. It was out of the power of the Legislature in the act creating the new county to have made it any larger. As the constitution did not forbid the changing of the boundaries of counties already established, at the next session Laughery Creek was made the boundary between Ohio and Dearborn.
Thus after a long and hard fought contest, Rising Sun became a seat of justice. The people of that village built the county buildings free of expense to the county. They obligated themselves that if Rising Sun was made the seat of justice of the proposed new count}', the cost of erecting the public buildings should not fall upon the tax payers of the county. The commissioners appointed to locate the seat of justice met at Rising Sun on Monday, April 8, 1844, and selected the site upon which the public buildings now stand, the ground having been donated for that purpose by Col. A. C. Pepper. The occasion was one of public rejoicing, and a dinner was given to the commissioners at which a number of citizens were present.
The first election of county offices in Ohio County was held May 1, 1844, when the following named persons were chosen: Probate judge, Samuel Jelly; associate judges, Samuel Fulton and Thomas H. Gilmore; county clerk, James H. Pepper; recorder. William T. Lambdin; treasurer, John B. Craft; auditor, Samuel F. Covington; commissioners, John Bennett, William H. Powell and Morris Merrill; coroner, Alexander C. Campbell. As the constitution provided for the election of coroner at the regular election held in August and at no other time, Mr. Campbell was not legally elected, nor was he commissioned. Another special election was ordered to be held June 1, for the purpose of choosing an assessor and school commissioner, on which day Martin Stewart was elected assessor, and Nathan R. S^adman, school commissioner. William L an ins had been commissioned sheriff by the governor for the purpose of organizing the county, but in his absence Ohio County was organized by his deputy, Samuel F. Covington. At the annual election, which took place on the first Monday of August, the following officers were chosen: Sheriff, James B. Smith; coroner, Theophilns Jones. The board of commissioners at their first session made the following appointments: County surveyor, Henry James; inspector of elections, Charles W. Mountz.
The first court held in Ohio County was the probate court, which commenced its sitting in the then Old School Presbyterian Church on Second Street, Monday, August 12, 1844. Samuel Jelley was probate judge, and James H. Pepper, clerk.
On the same day a special session of the commissioners was held in the county clerk's office, in a building then standing on the east corner of Main Street and the alley between First and Market Streets.
The first term of the circuit court was held in the church already mentioned on Second Street, beginning on Monday, December 4, 1844, and continuing two days. Miles C. Eggleston was president judge, and Samuel Fulton and Thomas H. Gilmore, associate judges; John Dumont, prosecuting attorney; James H. Pepper, clerk, and James B. Smith, sheriff.
DEARBORN COUNTY BUILDINGS.
First Jail—The first jail of the county, erected in 1804, was built of logs, and was located on the public square. In 1800 William Cook was the jailor, and resided in the jail building.
First Court House.—The first court house stood on the site of the present temple of justice, and was built in 1810. It was a two-story brick building, the court room being on the ground floor, with jury room above. This building was destroyed by fire, March 5, 1826.
Second Court House.—The interior only of the first court house having been consumed by fire, the second building, for the use of the courts, was constructed on the same foundation and with the same walls. In May, 1827, the county commissioners appointed Jesse Hunt, James W. Hunter and George H. Dunn commissioners to superintend the construction of the building, which it appears was not ready for occupancy until the fail or winter of 1828.
Second Jail—The second county prison most have been built at the same time that the second court house was constructed, although there is no separate mention made of it in the commissioners' proceedings. The men named above as commissioners appointed to superintend the erection of the second court house were to superintend the erection of two public buildings. No description of the building is given or mention made of its builders in the records that we were able to find. In the State Gazetteer of 1833 it is referred to as a stone jail. It was two stories high, and occupied a position nearly on the site of the present jail.
Third Court House.—On the removal of the county seat from Law-renceburgh to "Wilmington, in 1835,*the public buildings—a court house and jail—were erected in that village by the citizens thereof and vicinity at a cost of about $4,000. The^court house, still standing, is a two-story brick, in size about 42x48 feet, and is the property of the lodge of Masons of that village.
Third Jail.—The third jail, as stated above, was erected at Wilmington. It was a substantial building, and stood upon the public square: both it and court house were donations, and were accepted by the county commissioners, March 9, 1836. The jail was occupied only a few years when it was destroyed by fire.
Fourth Jail.—In March, 1840, a contract was let, for the erection of the second jail at Wilmington, by the county commissioners to Timothy Kimball for $1,700. At the final settlement made with Mr. Kimball. he was allowed $1,939.77.-
Fifth Jail—The fifth county prison was erected on the public square at Lawrenceburgh in 1848, the contract having been let to Timothy Kimball in December, 1847, for $2,600. In August, 1848, the building was received and accepted by the commissioners, at which time they allowed Mr. Kimball $210 extra " for the building of a wall above the high water mark of 1832."
Sixth Jail and Sheriff's Residence. —The sixth and present jail was built in 1858-59. The sheriff's residence—a two-story brick building— fronts on High Street, with jail to the rear, and stands in the south corner of the public square. The work was let by departments to various persons. and cost in round numbers $8,600.
Fourth Court House.—The order for the erection of the present magnificent court house of Dearborn County was passed by the board of county commissioners, March 16, 1870, and George Kyle, of Vevay, in Switzerland County, Ind., was selected as architect, April 13, 1870, to prepare plans and specifications, and June 15, 1870, the plans were sub-mitted by the architect and adopted by the board. An order was passed for the removal of the old building, and the work of demolition commenced June 16, 1870, the board having accepted the proposition of the common council of the city of Lawrenceburgh, tendering the use of Odd Fellows' Hall free of charge for the use of a court house during the erection of the new building, the same was designated as the place of holding courts.
Proposals for the erection of this building were advertised to be received until July 15, and July 16, 1870, the contract was awarded for the cut stonework to Francis L. Farman, of Indianapolis, and the remainder of the work to T. J. Shannon, of Lawrenceburgh, and July 17, the work of excavation was commenced. The stone used in the construction of the building was quarried at Elliottsville, Monroe Co., Ind., and is a pearl-gray limestone of fine grain, giving forth a distinct, ringing, metallic sound, when struck by by another hard substance. The style of architecture is the Corinthian— having a portico in front of the Corinthian order; the dank and rear are also embelished by projections and pediments upon which the same order is developed. The dimensions are sevonty-three feet three inches fronting on High Street, and running back one hundred and one feet three inches, exclusive of projections. The portico is thirteen feet three inches by forty-six feet eight inches. The perpendicular height from the base line to the comb of the roof is sixty-seven feet. The building was completed at a cost of about §100,000 and stands to-day one of the finest court houses in Indiaua. The corner-stone of the present court house in Lawrenceburgh was laid with imposing ceremonies April, 13, 1871 in the presence of fully 5,000 spectators. The various orders of Masons, Odd Fellows, Druids, Good Templars and other benevolent and religious societies of the county were fully represented. Louis Jordan, Esq., of Indianapolis, was the orator of the occasion. The following is a list of the articles deposited in the corner-stone: Histories of Masonic Lodges—Wilmington Lodge No. 158; Law-renceburgh Chapter; Lawrenceburgh Lodge; Burns Lodge No. 55; Har-rison Lodge No. 17; Aurora Lodge No. 51; Hansellman Commandery, of Cincinnati, Ohio. Histories of Odd Fellows—Advance Lodge; Allemania Lodge No. 334, of Aurora; Teutonia Lodge No. 280, of Lawrenceburgh; Bethlehem Encampment No. 3, of Aurora; Union Lodge No. 8, of Lawrenceburgh; Chosen Friends Lodge No. 13, of Aurora. Histories of Druids—Aurora Grove; Grand Grove of Indiana; Grand Grove of the United States; Columbia and Teutonia Chapters No. 2, of Lawrenceburgh; Order of Harugari No. 223, of Lawrenceburgh. Histories of Religious Societies—American Protestant Association, of Lawrenceburgh; St. Lawrence Roman Catholic Aid Society, of Lawrence-burgh; Presbyterian Church of Lawrenceburgh; LawreDceburgh Baptist Church of Christ; German Evangelical Zion's Church, of Walnut Street. Lawrenceburgh; Aid Society to Indigent Sick of G. E. Z. Church, of Lawrenceburgh.
Histories of Corporations, Associations, etc.— Deutschen Bau Verein, No. 1, of Lawrenceburgh; Lawrenceburgh Liedertafel; City of Aurora; City of Lawrenceburgh; Dearborn County Agricultural Society; Dear-born County; First National Bank, of Lawrenceburgh; Cochran Forum; Dearborn County Medical Society.
Publications — Democratic Register, six copies, including dates of April 7 and 14, 1871; Lawrenceburgh Press, April 13, 1871; Dearborn Independent, April 13, 1871; Rising Sun Recorder, April 8, 1871; Political Beacon, October 7, 1837; Chillicothe Advertiser, 1850; Dearborn Democrat, 1838, and other old papers relating to Dearborn County, contributed by Dr. George Sutton, of Aurora; Milliner's Pamphlet of Fashion Plates, for April, 1871, deposited by Mrs. Margaret Beggs, of Lawrenceburgh.
Miscellaneous—Samples of United States Postage Stamps in use in 1871; 25 cent note of Petersburgh, Ky., Milling Company, 1817; $1 note of second municipality of New Orleans, 1839; One one-ninth of $1 continental currency, issued by the colony of Maryland, 1775; 1 cent coin, 1786; 1 cent coin, 1777; L C. & L. R. R. switch key, deposited by Peter Martenstein; photograph of commission of Azel Fitch, as captain in Colonial Army, dated March 24, 1760, issued by Thomas Fitch, captain general and governor of the colony of Connecticut, deposited by D. W. C. Fitch; samples of copper and silver coins of United States, 1871; biographical sketch of the late J. H. Brower, M. D.
The Asylum for the Poor.—About twelve miles northwest of Lawrenceburgh is located the County Infirmary. The building is in crucial form, 104 feet in width and 150 feet in length, and two-stories high, having sixty-four rooms. The building is neat and substantial, well arranged for the convenience of the inmates, is heated by steam, and makes a pleasant home for the unfortunate of the county. Its kitchen and dining room arrangements, together with the offices and airy sitting rooms, give it a home like appearance and it may be truly said that the county has secured a valuable home for those depending for their support upon the county. The building was completed in the fall of 1882, costing $21,754 The original contract price was $15,840, to which was added $500 for extras. In 1881 the farm comprised about 300 acres of land, the proceeds of which for the year 1880 amounted to about $2,000. The architect of the building was Cap! Alex Pattison, and the contractor and builder was Seth Piatt, both of Dearborn County. At the time of the completion of the building, the asylum and farm were under the management of Thomas Duncan, who had had charge of it for several years. The inmates then numbered forty.
The asylum was first established in 1835, in July of which year the contract was let to William Brown for the carpenter work for $920. The stone and mason work was to cost $650.
About fifty acres of ground had been purchased in the spring of 1833 of Phoebe Pate, lying in Section 10, Township 5, Range 2, for the purpose of erecting an asylum. The amount paid for it was $220. That farm was sold in 1883, for $2,600 and the present farm purchased in the spring of the same year of C. F. Wood for $3,840.
Source: History of Dearborn and Ohio Counties, Indiana : Chicago: F.E. Weakley & Co., 1885.