Court House
picture from Wikipedia
Genealogy Trails

DUBOIS COUNTY HISTORY


In fixing the dates of early settlements in any locality there is much liability to err. Especially is this the case where the first settlers came at a time considerably removed into the past. It is generally believed that the earliest settlers came to Dubois County in 1802. There is not much testimony to impeach this general belief, but when it is considered that about one century had elapsed since Vincennes had been settled by white men, it seems almost improbable that none of them should have penetrated so short a distance into the surrounding country. The settlement had continued to grow from the time of its beginning and the population was getting to be numerous in that locality.

One thing is certain, that at the time when what are usually deemed the first settlers came, there was a well-known and frequented route passing along the northern portion of the county, leading from Vincennes to Jeffersonville. It was popularly known through this section as the "Mud hole trace," oh account of some mud holes that were situated near Portersville, and rendered the way almost impassable. White men had been here before 1802, but a doubt exists whether any remained to effect a permanent settlement. In that part of the county where this "trace" was is where the location by white men was made.

It is seldom that the earliest inhabitants of any portion of a new country succeed in perpetuating their names as such. The first comers are nearly always squatters, and many of them remain for a time and then move away. But however many such there may have been in this county, the present work has nothing to do with those things that are based upon supposition alone. Reliable facts will be dealt with and such statements will be made as have strong probability in their favor. What few records could be found have been carefully examined, and where none could be obtained the oldest and most reliable of the early settlers have been interviewed. Among these Mr. Bazil B. Edmonston, who has been a resident of the county since the year 1818, and one of its best known citizens, deserves special mention for his willingness to assist in giving information.

Boone Township has the reputation of being the scene of the first white settlement in Dubois County. This was made by two brothers, John and William McDonald, near the "mud holes." in 1802. John McDonald is said to have built the first house erected by a white man in the county. The time was in the early part of 1802, or more than eighty-three years ago. What a fruitful subject for contemplation is the change that has taken place in our affairs since that time. The United States had not yet be- come owners of any part of what now constitutes Dubois County. The Indians owned and inhabited the whole country in this portion of the State. But most of the county was purchased from the Indians by a treaty made at Fort Wayne on the 7th of June. 1803, and was included in what is known as the Vincennes Tract. The balance of the county was bought in August of the following year at Vincennes. By this it will be seen that all those who settled in the county prior to June, 1803, were living on Indian lands. and after that time, up to 1807, the date of the first land entry. they were upon "Congress" land. As soon as the Government had purchased the land immediate preparations were made for having it surveyed. This was done as follows: Range 3 west, by Levi Barber, and Range 4 by Nahum Bewl, in September 1804; Range 5 by David Sandford and Range 6 by Stubbs & Fowler in October of the same year. Not long after this the land was placed on sale at Vincennes. But the people were not disposed to wait on the owners of the soil for an invitation to locate in any particular locality. Whenever and wherever they wanted to go they went. It was something of this spirit that caused the trouble with the Indians in 1811. A list of those who were the first to purchase land in Boone Township is here given, with the year the land was bought. Of course many of these men had lived in the county some time prior to the time of buying real estate on which to make their future home: James Fenis, 1810; Peleg R.Allen, 1818; Jacob Lemmon, 1814; Samuel Smythe, 1814; Nicholas Harris,1817 ; Thomas Hope, 1818; John Thompson, 1814; Ebenezer Smythe, 1816; David Wease, 1814; John Coley, 1815; Jacob Harbison, 1814; Anthony McElwain, 1817 ; Joseph Stubblefield, 1814; Adam Hope, 1812; Arthur Harbison, 1807; Richard Hope, 1818; Tousaint Dubois. 1807; John Sherritt, 1817; James Harbison, 1816; John and James Niblack, 1817; William Kelso, 1824; Samuel Brown, 1818; William Green and George Armstrong, 1817; Daniel Harris. 1826. These are all the entries made up to the close of 1830. Among other early settlers may be named John DeMotte; James McElwain; John, Solomon, George and Joseph Daffron; Jacob Lincus, Lemuel and Andrew Kelso, Robert D. Dixon, Stephen Dixon, Thomas Anderson, Charles and Raughley Horton, Samuel Kirkland, Hamilton McKain, John Abel and Josiah Reader.

The McDonalds were not long alone, for they had scarcely completed their cabin ere others began to dot the forests. The Indians were troublesome then, and for protection a block-house was built near the "mud holes," to which they all might go in times of unusual danger. These houses were generally built by the united efforts of all the people in a community, and were considered much as common property. Not long after John McDonald came to Dubois County, he was deprived of his life-chosen partner, and his wife's grave was the first to close over a white person in the county. She was buried on the Sherritt farm. By some it is said McDonald's first house was built near this same place, but it is probable that it was built farther north, and on the farm now owned by Louis Weaver. He seems to have built several cabins in this neighborhood. He did build a house — a double log, and most likely his second — near the grave of his wife. This was occupied by him and the family of his brother William, while the Indians took possession of the first cabin. Not Long after that the Indians became hostile, and they were compelled to take their families back to Jeffersonville on pack mules. They returned to take care of their crops. During this time they were beginning to have white neighbors, and a portion would stand on guard during the day while others worked in the fields. White River was constantly watched, for the savages They expected to make an outbreak at any day. After the fear had somewhat subsided and no danger being apprehended, the families were again brought to the forests. Gen. Harrison, a very few years later, came through this section. He changed the"old mud hole trace 1 ' in several places, and it was ever after known as the -'Governor's trace." The house of William McDonald was a usual stopping place for travelers then, and there are several stories still told of incidents connected with Gen. Harrison's stay there. One of these has for its gist the fact that his daughter, who accompanied him, while drinking from a gourd, stood leaning over the water pail, and for this her father reprimanded her and gave her a considerable slap. On another of these trips the future President lost his gold watch, and was unable to find it. Several years later it was found and sent to Indianapolis as a relic. A few years later the Indians again broke out, but this time the settlers concluded not to take their families away, but to defend them. For this purpose they built the fort before spoken of, and which was known as the McDonald Fort for several years.

The man for whom Dubois County was named appeared upon the scene about that time. His full name was Tousaint Dubois, and he had been for some time living at Vincennes. As his name indicates, he was a Frenchman. He bought the land of the Government that the McDonalds had been living upon and partly improved. There was always great strife in the early days for the best land. At nearly the same time Arthur Harbison entered a piece of land in the same vicinity. These two were the first men to buy land in the county, and both were honored by the later settlers. There is some doubt whether Dubois ever lived in the county that now bears his name. It was then Knox County, and continued to be until 1813. In the meantime he earned the special mention of his general in the memorable field of Tippecanoe.

Going a little further north in Boone Township, and in the neighborhood of Portersville, the country was rapidly filling with people. In that section James Ferris was an early settler. On the farm now owned by Thomas Ferris, near Portersville. another block-house was built, and it continued to stand until the trouble with the Indians was entirely removed. Ferris came as early as 1808, and several others came about the same time. The land where Portersville is now located was entered by Jacob Lemmon, in 1814. When the place was chosen for the county seat it was covered with large forest trees. A "deadening" was near the court house, and people from the farther portions of the county would come and camp out there while their causes were being disposed of. Sometimes they would remain for several laws, and during the time they would have a jolly time, and engage in various pastimes common in their day.

Hon. William E. Niblack, at present judge in the Indiana Supreme Court, who was born in Portersville in 1822, has kindly furnished some of the following facts: His father, John Niblack, moved to Dubois County in 1817, only a short time after it had been established. He was a native of Fayette County. Ky. Immediately after coming to Indiana he was appointed agent of Dubois County to complete its organization; he laid out the town of Portersville and conducted the sale of the town lots: be also built the first court house and jail. These were both hewed log structures. The court house was two stories high with a brick chimney at each end. Tho lower story constituted the court room and the upper story was divided into smaller rooms for jury purposes. The jail was also two stories high. The Lower story was constructed with double hewed log walls and was called "the dungeon." being used to confine criminals of the worst class. The upper story had a single wall of hewed logs and was called the "debtor's prison" — imprisonment for an ordinary debt being then allowed by law. The old jail has lone since disappeared, hut the old court house, though in a somewhat dilapidated condition, still stands and is used as a store-house for grain and other farm products. John Niblack was one of the earliest and most active friends of education and other progressive measures of his day, and always look an active part in local public affairs. He never sought an office for himself, being only for a short time a few years before his death an associate judge of his county.

At a late nearly, if not quite, as early as the first settlement in Boone Township, there came to what is now Madison Township, several white families. One of these was that of Josiah Kisley. a man who disputes with John McDonald the priority of settlement in the county. It was a short distance southwest from Ireland, on Section 25 that Risley built his first house. To  some this is thought to have been the first one erected in this county but the probability are in favor of the McDonald house. Madison Township is one of the bast agricultural districts in the county, and it was doubtless this that attracted the early settlers to that region. The record of land entries shows that no other portion of the country was more eagerly sought after by the men then settling the country. Up to the year 1830 the following is a complete list of the purchasers of land of the Government. Edward Wood, 1814; John Stewart, 1816; Richard Wood, 1817; James and Samuel Green, 1810; Jesse Corn, 1810; Edward Green, 1814; George Armstrong, 1817; John Niblack, Jr., 1817; Henry Lacefield, 1814; Hugh Radnian, 1813; John Anderson, 1817; Ashbury Alexander, 1815; Robert Stewart, 1816; John Green and John Cantrell. 1817; Isaac Alexander, 1815; George Hankin, 1818; William Closson, 1819; Edward Mosby, 1825; John McMahon, 1818; John Anderson and Eli Thomas, 1820; Jonathan Walters (probably Walker), 1816; John Payne, 1817; William Hurst, 1816; James Kelly, 1817; James Payne, 1816; William and Thomas Anderson, 1815; T. J. Wethers, 1817; John Walker, 1814; William Shook, 1814; Andrew Anderson, 1817; Jesse Lindsey, 1820; Joseph Kinman, 1818. This is a total of thirty-two entries made by thirty-six persons and nearly all of them were in their teens. None of them came in less than seven years after the first of Boone Township.

In Madison Township no family was more prominent than the Armstrongs, and some of them were long identified with every public affair of this locality. Ashbury Alexander and some of the Greens were also foremost among the early settlers. Many were of Irish descent and hence the name of the town in that township. Lacey and James Ritchey who came very early had been slaveholders in the South and upon coming to Indiana are said to have brought their Negroes with them. This was no uncommon occurrence in the early settlement of southern Indiana, but the vigorous policy of the Territorial and State governments soon rendered the maintenance of human slavery within its borders both impossible and impracticable.

Another thing that attracted settlers to this portion of the county was the facilities afforded by the Patoka. In times of high water it was utilized as a means for transporting whatever produce might be on hand. But the use for which it was most available and most beneficial was as a water-power. Several early mills were erected along its banks and afforded the people milling advantages superior to those of most early settlements. The Risleys kept one of these mills for several years and did a large trade.

One of the prominent characters of the early days was Jonathan Walker. He was one of those large, robust, pugilistic fellows who attract attention in any crowd on account of physical vigor. His righting ability was of the highest order and he lost no opportunity for exhibiting it. In fact he was rather quarrel some and sought opportunities to display himself. He was known from Vincennes to Louisville along the "trace"' that crossed Dubois County. About the year 1840 he was indicted anil tried for the murder of a shoe-maker at Huntingburgh, but was acquitted.

Harbison Township is the middle of the three northern townships, and is bounded mi the north by the east fork of White River and Martin County, on the west by Columbia Township, on the south by Marion and Bainbridge Townships and on the west by Boone Township. It is now inhabited by a considerable number of Germans, indeed there are but few families besides them in the township. It is named for Arthur Harbison, an early settler and the first associate judge of the county. The Vincennes trace passed through this township, and in early times it brought some intercourse with the world. A majority of the first settlers were from North Carolina and brought with them most of the ideas of life that prevailed in that section of the country at the opening of the century. Many of them were poor and found it nearly impossible to flourish in a land where human slavery prevailed. The poor freemen were in a worse condition than the slaves. They determined to abandon their native country and found a home in the great West. Indiana was then upon the very verge of civilization, and hither they flocked in large numbers. The whole southern end of the State was settled by people from the Southern States.

in the very early days a few came with slaves. Up to and including the year 1830, the following is a complete list of the purchasers of land in what is now Harbison Township: B. B. Edmonston, 1818; Moses Kelso, 1818; Edward Givin, 1817; Samuel Nichols, 1822; John Lemon, 1824; Richard Hoper, Sr., 1818; William Edmonston, 1818: Andrew F. Kelso. 1829: Joseph Kelso, 1810; Samuel Kelso. 1817; Reuben Matliias, 1817: Thomas Patton. 1810; Samuel McConnell. 1807; Joseph I. Kelso. 1824; Willis Hays, 1818; James Hope, 1814; Joseph Stubblefield, 1814; Joseph Little. 1817; John Lemon. 1810; James Jackson, 1818. Many of these had been in the county some time before purchasing land. The Kelsos were the most prominent family in the township in early days and they were leaders in all public affairs in this portion of the county. "Willis Hays took an active part in the doings of the earlier days and he was for a time associate judge. For him the village of Haysville was named. During the decade from 1810 to 1820 a man named John Butler kept a small store, about one and a half miles southeast of Haysville. on the farm of Anna Hoffman. These early traders all bought furs of any kind that they could dispose of, and many were the jokes that would be played upon them. It is said that often people would fasten a moon's tail to a possum skin and sell it for askin, which brought a high price. It was near this place that an Indian was killed on account of some threat he had made while partly intoxicated. Butler sold whisky too. and the Indians came here frequently for that article, and would drink and dame in their savage fashion. Between Butler's place and Haysville a blockhouse was built on the farm now owned by John Hebner. The people resorted to that in case of danger, or when any fear was entertained "from the Indians. This house did not long stand after the Indians had been driven from this part of Indiana.

Not far from the line between Boone and Harbison Townships, Arthur Harbison killed an Indian. It is told of him that on account of some relative, said to have been his father, having been killed in Kentucky, he entertained a bitter hatred for the Indian race, and that he lost no opportunity for revenge. These early Indian tragedies were but few in Dubois County. Fousaint Dubois had been employed by Gen. Harrison as a messenger, to the various Indian tribes, and with them he is said to have had great influence for good. It may be that he had something to do with the good feeling that prevailed in this county. It will be remembered that he was remembered as a owner here, and had some personal interest in the spirit manifested between the red men and the whites. The same authority for Harbierson also says that he was accompanied by William Curry, and that each of them killed an Indian. The red men had cut a bee tree and were busy gathering the honey when they were shot. This report is given for what it is worth.


Organization of the County

In 1805, when Indiana was first organized as a Territory, the land now composing Dubois County was a part of Knox. Thus it remained until the formation of Gibson County, in 1813, when most of it was embraced in the new county. In December, 1816, by the formation of Pike County out of Gibson, Knox and Perry Counties, it was included in Pike. It remained as a part of Pike but one year, when it was organized into a separate county. The act of the Legislature creating Dubois County, reads as follows:

An act forming a new county out of the eastern end of Pike County, approved December 20, 1817.

Section 1.— Be it enacted by the General Assembly of the State of Indiana. that from and after the 1st of February next, all that parcel or tract of country lying in the eastern part of the present county of Pike, shall be formed into anew county to be called and known by the name of Dubois County, to wit: Beginning at a point on the bank of the east fork of White River, at which the center line of Range 6 shall intersect said fork of White River; thence running south with said center line until said centerline intersects the present line dividing Warrick and Pike Counties; thence east with said line to the line dividing Perry and Pike Counties; thence with said line dividing Orange and Pike Counties until it shall strike Lick Creek; thence meandering with said creek until it empties itself into the east fork of White River; thence meandering down said river to the place of beginning.

Sec. 2. That Gen. W. Johnson, of Knox County; Thomas Polke, of Perry County; Thomas Montgomery, of Gibson County; Richard Palmer, of Daviess County; and Ephraim Jordan, of Knox County, be, and they are hereby appointed commissioners to meet at the house of William McDaniel, near the "Mud Holes," on the second Monday of February, 1919, and proceed to select a site for the seat of justice for said county under the directions and provisions of an act passed in the year 1813, entitled "an act providing for the permanent fixing of the seats of justice in all new counties hereafter to be established."

Sec 3. That all suits, plaints, actions and proceedings which may before the said 1st day of February next, have been commenced, instituted, and pending the new county of Pike, shall be prosecuted to a final judgment and effect in the same manner as if this act had never passed. And whenever the seat of justice within the county of Dubois shall have been established, the person or persons authorized to dispose of and sell the lots at the seat of justice, shall reserve 10 per centum on the net proceeds of the whole sale, for the use of a county library in said county, which sum or sums of money shall be paid over to such person as may lie authorized to receive the same in such manner and in such installments as shall be authorized by law. And until suitable accommodations can be had in the opinion of the circuit court, at the seat of justice of said new county, all the courts of justice of said county shall be holden at the house of William McDaniel, near the "Mud Hole." in said county. After which time the circuit courts necessary to be held at the county seat, shall be adjourned to the same. And the county commissioners shall within twelve months after the site of the said seat of justice shall have been selected, proceed to erect the necessary buildings thereon.

Sec. 4. This act to take effect from and after the 1st day of February next This was the law authorizing Dubois County. The name was given for Tousaint Dubois, who purchased land in the county in the eastern part of what is now Boone Township, in the year 1807. He engaged in the army of Gen. Harrison to crush out the Indians then forming a powerful confederacy under Tecumseh. At the battle of Tippecanoe he distinguished himself and received the special mention of his general.

It was proper that the county should be named for such a man, one who had been one of the earliest settlers, and who was not afraid to risk his life in defense of the homes of the Indiana frontier.

On the 29th of January, 1818, the Legislature passed another act touching Dubois County. It took away all the land within the following boundaries and annexed it to Perry County : Beginning at the southeast corner of Township 3 south, Range "" west, thence with the said township line to the line dividing B and 4 west; thence north three miles ; thence east through ???ter of said township to the line dividing Ranges 2 and 3 west; thence south with the same to the place of beginning.

On the 17th of January, 1820, Martin County was created out of Daviess and Dubois Counties, thus reducing Dubois to about its present limits, and with but little change has remained ever since. The destruction of the court house on the night of August 17, 1839, and with it all the county records, has rendered the compilation of this work doubly difficult, as that is usually a large source of reliable information that is impossible to supply either from tradition or recollection.

Division into Civil Townships

At the first division of the county into civil townships five were created. Their boundaries were changed but little from the following, as stated in an order of the county board, after the fire, at the June term, 1841 :

Harbison. — Beginning at the southwest corner of Section 10, in Town 1, south of Range 4 west; running east on said line to Patoka River; thence up Patoka to the center line of Range 4 ; thence due north to White River ; thence down White River with the meanders thereof to the center line of Range 6.

Bainbridge. — Commencing at the northwest corner of Section 15; thence running due east to Patoka; thence down Patoka with the meanders thereof to Pike County line ; thence with said line to the place of the beginning.

Columbia. — Commencing on White River on the section line dividing Sections 21 and 22 ; thence south across Patoka to the Township line 1 and 2 south to the south part -of Township 1 ; thence east to the Crawford County line to where it strikes the Orange County line ; thence with said line to the northeast corner of Dubois County ; thence west to White River ; thence down White River with the meanders thereof to the place of beginning.

Hall. — Beginning at the southeast corner of Section 36 on the township line dividing Towns 1 and 2, where the same strikes the Crawford County line; thence west to the center line of Range 4 ; thence south to the Spencer County line ; thence with said line to the Crawford County line ; thence with said line to the place of beginning.

Patoka. — Beginning on the section line, dividing 9 and 10, thence south to the Spencer County line, thence all the territory in Dubois County, west of said line, and south of Patoka.

At the same session of the commissioners, the county was divided into three commissioner districts as follows: First District shall be composed of Harbison Township, and all of Columbia north of Patoka. The Second District shall be composed of Bain- bridge Township, and all the territory west of the old county road in Patoka Township. Third District, Hall Township, and all Patoka Township east of the old county road, and all Patoka Town- ship south of Patoka.

Location of the County Seat

The commissioners appointed to fix the seat of justice, selected the present site of Portersville, in Boone Township. This land was purchased from the Government by Jacob Lemmon, in the year 1814. It is on the bank of the east fork of White Paver, and was no doubt selected partly on that account, as the streams were the main outlets for produce in the Western country at that time. The location was probably obtained through the influence of Arthur Harbison, one of the early associate judges of the county, and Jacob Lemmon, both at that time prominent in the affairs of the county. It is said that John Niblack was the county agent appointed to lay out all the lots of the town. The first sale of lots took place in July 1818, and was largely attended. The lots were sold at a good price, and many of them taken. The survey was made by Hosea Smith, a resident of Pike County. The act of the Legislature creating the county, required the county commissioners to build the necessary public building at the county seat within one year. This they proceeded to do, and during the fall of 1818, a two-story log court house was completed, and a little later the jail was finished. Everything at the new county seat was prospering, and it gave promise of a thriving and enterprising town. There were two elements, however, destined to be its overthrow. The malaria prevalent along the streams of a new and unsettled country is always greater than in later years, when drift and other impediments to the flow of the water are removed. All the towns along the streams in southern Indiana, suffered much from the sickness caused by the sluggish and overflowing water. Some of them were almost depopulated, and especially was this so during the decade from 1820 to 1830. Portersville was no exception to this, and it proved a great drawback to its prospering. Another, and perhaps a more influential cause for the removal of the seat of justice from this place, was its position. It was situated on the extreme northern side of the county, and as the population increased in the southern part a demand was made for a change in the location of the county capital. This demand resulted in the appointment of another commissioner by the State Legislature to change and permanently fix the seat of justice in Dubois County. This was probably done at the session of 1829-30. The men chosen for this purpose were William Hoggett, Adam Shoemaker, Thomas Vandever, Thomas Cesale and Ebenezer Jones. After considering the various places suggested for the new town, the present site of Jasper was selected, on the Patoka River. Thus it seems that one of the reasons for changing the county seat, the heath of people, was ignored in the new choice, for no stream in Indiana is more sluggish, and therefore, more unhealthy, than the Patoka. But other considerations had their influence. The land was donated for the purpose of a county seat as will be seen by the following affidavit made after the fire in 1839, whereby the county records were entirely destroyed.

"Simon Morgan, being duly sworn, says that in the year of our Lord, 1830, Jacob Enlow and Elizabeth Enlow, his wife, donated to William Hoggatt, Adam Shoemaker, Thomas Vandever, Thomas Cesale and Ebenezer Jones, commissioners appointed by the Legislature of the State of Indiana to locate the county seat of Dubois County, and to receive donations therefor, the following tract or parcel of land lying and being in said county of Dubois. State aforesaid, to wit: The west half of the northeast quarter of Section 35, Township 1 south, Range 5 west, containing eighty acres, for and in consideration that the county seat of said county was located at this place where the town of Jasper, in said county is now situated. * * * That afterward to wit: On the night of the 17th of August, 1839, the said deed and the record thereof, were wholly destroyed by fire by the burning of the clerk's and recorder's office in the town of Jasper, in said county." The record then contains a similar statement concerning a tract of six acres off of the west part of the east half of the north- east quarter of the same section, made by Benjamin Enlow and Fanny, his wife, and Jacob Enlow and his wife, Elizabeth: That these deeds were made in the year 1830, and that they were duly recorded by Simon Morgan, then recorder. This affidavit was made by Simon Morgan and sworn to before Elisha Embree, the circuit court judge. In addition to the donation of the land, twelve citizens of the neighborhood bound themselves to erect a court house and jail in the town equally as good as those at Portersville, free of cost to the county. They did so. and the buildings were log, similar to those in the former county seat. The jail was built near the present site of the store of M. A. Sermersheim & Co., but was afterward moved to the public square. No other change occurred until the fire, on the night of August 17, 1839. On the first Monday in September following, the county board met in regular session. The county commissioners were Henry Enlow, Robert Oxley and John Donald. Simon Morgan was county clerk and also auditor. The record shows that the sessions were held at the usual place of holding courts. At the November term the circuit court was ordered to be held at the house of James H. Condict in Jasper. This continued to be the usual place for about one year, when the Cumberland Presbyterian Church was secured for the purpose. This continued to be the court house until the erection of the present building in 1844. In March of that year, Alexander McK. Graves was employed to build the foundation, which was completed by September. In December, a contract was entered into with Rev. Joseph Kundeck to build the court house. George A. Lepper, Jacob Jerger and I. S. Martin were appointed a building committee to superintend the work on behalf of the county. The work went on slowly and trouble arose between the county and the contractor, which was finally determined by litigation in court. In December, 1845, a bell was ordered to cost $50. The county board finally received the building in June, 1847. The public square was to be fenced in, and the court house "to be used for all public meetings such as court houses are usually used for." A. S. Blagrave, M. T. Powers and Elijah Cox were county commissioners. The total cost of the court house was about $6,773.

In March, 1849, Major T. Powers, B. B. Edmonston, and E. Stephenson were appointed to superintend the letting and building of a county jail, to be twenty-two feet long and 20 feet wide. The contract was awarded to M. T. Powers for $1,799.75, and William Bretz appointed superintendent on the part of the county. It was built on the northwest corner of the public square, and finished in due time to the satisfaction of all parties.

The Poor Farm.

In 1858 the question as to the propriety of buying a county farm for the purpose of maintaining the county paupers upon, arose. As a result, the board advertised, in June, 1859, for a farm. But a difference of opinion on the subject caused the purchase to be delayed. At the December term fol- lowing, the county auditor was ordered to correspond with other county auditors on the advantage of poor farms to the county. Nothing further was done until March, 1861, when the board met in special session to purchase a farm. Oat of several offers made to the board, that of E. A. Hochgesang was accepted. The amount paid was $1,400; of this $1,000 was paid down, and the balance in one year, at 6 per cent, interest. A contract for building a poor house was awarded to John Bohart for $408. The building was to be 50x16 feet, and a porch on the south side ten feet wide, and all to be finished by the first Monday in June following. Phillip Sterringer was appointed the first superintendent of the Dubois County Poor Asylum. No other buildings of consequence were erected by the county until 1868.

New County Jail, and Court House Addition.

For several years prior to 1868, the grand jury had often returned a report condemning the county jail. In December of that year preparations were made for building a new one. Lot No. 142, in the town of Jasper, was purchased of Vincent Keller, for $1,200. After the required advertising was complied with, E. A. Hochgesang was awarded the contract for the brick, stone and plaster work, for $2,045, and the wood work to John Miller and George Freidman for $975. Adam Schlessinger was appointed superintendent, with Henry Lang, assistant. The business of the county had grown so rapidly that the old court house was not large enough ; consequently, in March, 1875. the auditor was ordered to advertise the letting of a contract for building an addition to the court house. This was done May 24 following, to E. A. Hochgesang, for $3,685. The addition comprised about two fifths of the present building, and it was finished and completed by the 29th of November, in the same year, and received by the board.

Creation of New Townships

At the December term, is 44, of the county court, the following order was passed: That a township be laid out taking a part of Hall and Patoka Townships, said new township to be called Ferdinand Township, and have the following boundary, to-wit: Commencing at the northeast corner of Section 1, Town 3 south, Range 4 west; running thence west to the dividing line of Ranges 4 and 5 west; thence south along said range line to the southeast corner of Section 13; thence west to the northwest corner of Section 22. Town 3 south, Range 5; thence south to the county line; thence east on the county line to the line between Ranges three and four ; thence north to the place of beginning. This composed parts of what are now Jackson and Cass Townships. In September, 1845, it was ordered that Patoka River be the line between Bainbridge and Patoka Townships, from a point where the section line dividing Sections 2 and 11, Township 2 south, Range 5 west, strikes said river. In September, 1848, it was ordered that the following boundary shall hereafter constitute the line dividing Patoka and Bainbridge Townships, to wit: Commencing at Hall's Creek, where the west line of Hall Township crosses said creek, running north and south ; thence down said creek to the mouth of said creek; thence down said river to the mouth; thence down Patoka River to the Pike County line.

Thus the townships remained until March, 1874, when the county board reorganized the county into twelve civil townships. Hitherto there had been but six. These townships were named and bounded as follows:

Columbia Township.
Commencing at the northeast corner of Section 13, Town 1 north, Range 3 west; thence running west to the northwest corner of Section 18, same township and range; thence running south to the southwest corner of Section 7, Town 1 south, Range 3 west; thence running east to the southeast corner of Section 12 in last named township and range; thence running to the place of beginning.

Harbison Township.
Commencing at the northeast corner of Section 13, Town 1 north, Range 4 west, running thence west along the north line of Sections 13, 14 and 15 until the same intersects White River; thence down said river with the meanders thereof, to the northwest corner of Section 26, Town 1 north, Range 5 west; thence south to the southwest corner of Section 11, Town 1 south, Range 5 west; thence east to the southeast corner of the southwest quarter of Section 8, Town 1 south, Range 4 west ; thence north to the southeast corner of the northwest quarter of Section 8 in same township and range; thence east to the southeast corner of the northwest quarter of Section 12, also in the same township and range ; thence north to the place of beginning.

Boone Township.
Commencing at the point on White River, section line dividing Sections 26 and 27, Town 1 north, Range 5 west, and running thence down said White River with the meanders thereof to the line dividing Pike and Dubois Counties; thence south to the southwest corner of Section 10, Township 1 south. Range 6 west; thence east to the southeast corner of Section 10, Township 1 south. Range 5 west: thence south to the place of beginning.

Madison Township.
Commencing at the northeast corner of Section 17. Town 1 south, Range 5 west, and running thence west to the northwest corner of Section 15, Town 1 south. Range 6 west; thence south to the southwest corner of Section 15, Town 2 south, Range 6 west; thence east to the southeast corner of Section 17, Town 2 south. Range 5 west; thence north to the place of beginning.

Bainbridge Township.
Commencing at the northeast corner of Section 18. Town 1 south. Range 4 west; running thence west to the northwest corner of Section 16, Town 1 south, Range 5 west; thence south to the southwest corner of Section 16, Town 2 south, Range 5 west ; thence east to the southeast corner of Section 18, Town 2 south, Range 4 west: thence north to the place of beginning.

Marion Township.
Commencing at the northeast corner of the southeast quarter of Section 12, Town 1 south, Range 4 west, and running thence west to the northwest corner of the southeast quarter of Section 8, Town 1 south. Range 4 west; thence south to the southwest comer of the southeast quarter of said last named section, township and range; thence west to the northwest corner of Section 17 of the same township and range; thence south to the southwest corner of Section 8, Town 2 south, Range 4 west; thence east to the southeast corner of Section 12, Town 2 south, Range 4 west; thence north to the place of beginning.

Hall Township.
Beginning at the northeast corner of Section 13, Town 1 south, Range 3 west, and running thence west to the northwest corner of Section 18 in said township and range; thence south to the southwest corner of Section 7, Town 2 south. Range 3 west; thence east to the southeast corner of Section 12, Town 2 south, Range 3 west; thence north to the place of beginning.

Ferdinand Township.
Beginning at the northeast coiner of Section 7, Town 3 south, Range 3 west, and running thence west to the north west corner of Section 7, Town 3 south, Range 4 west ; thence south to the southwest corner of Section 7 last named; thence west to the northwest corner of Section 13, Town 3 south, Range 5 west; thence south to the southwest corner of Section 36, Town 3 south, Range 5 west; thence east to the southeast corner of Section 36, Town 3 south, Range 4 west; thence north to the northeast corner of Section 24, Town 3 south, Range 4 west; thence east to the southeast corner of Section 18, Town 3 south, Range 3 west; thence north to the place of beginning.

Jefferson Township
Commencing at the northeast corner of Section 13, Town 2 south, Range 3 west, and running thence west to the northwest corner of Section 17 of said township and range; thence south to the southwest corner of Section 17, Town 3 south, Range 3 west ; thence east to the southeast corner of Section 13, Town 3 south, Range 3 west; thence north to the place of beginning.

Jackson Township
Beginning at the northeast corner of Section 18, Town 2 south, Range 3 west and running thence west to the northwest corner of Section 17, Town 2 south, Range 4 west; thence south to the southwest corner of said Section 17; thence west to the northwest corner of Section 19, Town 2 south, Range 4 west; thence south to the southwest corner of Section 6, Town 3 south, Range 4 west; thence east to the southeast corner of Section 6, Town 3 south, Range 3 west; thence north to the place of beginning.

Patoka Township
Beginning at the northeast corner of Section 24, Town 2 south, Range 5 west, and running thence west to the northwest corner of Section 22, Town 2 south, Range 6 west; thence south to the southwest corner of Section 34, Town 2 south, Range 6 west; thence east to the southeast corner of Section 36 in said township and range ; thence south to the southwest corner of Section 7, Town 3 south, Range 5 west; thence east to the southeast corner of Section 12, Town 3 south, Range 5 west; thence north to the place of beginning.

Cass Township
Beginning at the northeast corner of Section 14 and running thence to the northwest corner of Section 18, all in Town 3 south, Range 5 west; thence north to the northeast corner of Section 1, Town 3 south, Range 6 west; thence west to the northwest corner of Section 3, Town 3 south, Range 6 west ; thence south to the southwest corner of Section 34 of said last named township and range; thence east to the southeast corner of Section 35, Town 3 south. Range 5 west; thence north to the place of beginning.

The order for redistricting the county took effect in September, 1874, and the board appointed officers for all that had none after the change took place.

County Officers.
As near as it is possible to give, the following is a list of the officers of Dubois County from the organization down to the present time.

Clerks
Simon Morgan was the first clerk of Dubois County, and together with the office of recorder, he continued to hold it until the year 1830. At that time Bazil B. Edmonston was elected to both the places, but the election being illegal, Morgan again held the offices for a while until Edmonston was again elected, but only as clerk. In 1840 he was elected to both places and held them until 1852, when the two offices were separated by law. He continued to hold the clerk's office until 1800, when Henry Holthaus was elected. Since then the various clerks with the dates of their election have been as follows: B. B. Edmonston, 1808; P. J. Gossman, 1870; Mr. Green, 1884.

Recorders
Simon Morgan, 1818 to 1840; Bazil B. Edmonston, 1840 to 1852; J. B. Pfaff, 1852; Stephen Jerger, 1850; August Litschgi, 1802; George J. Jutt, 1870; John G. Lemmon, 1878, and Neninan Hoskins, 1882.

Treasurers
The names of the early treasurers are uncertain. Dominick Erny, 1852; Edward Stephenson, 1854; B. R. L. Nichaus, 1858; Theodore Sonderman, 1800; Edward Stephenson, 1803; William Bretz, 1807; Edward Stephenson, 1872, James E. Spurlock, 1874; Ignatz .Eckert, 1878; William H. Bretz, 1882.

Surveyors
Gamaliel Garretson, 1830; Jacob Warndt, 1852; B. R Kemp, 1850; William Sandusky, 1802; Arthur Berry, 1808; W. R. Osborn, 1872; William B. Porkle, 1874; Frank Turtle, 1870; Henry Bugan, 1878 ; Michael Wilson, 1882, and George R Wilson, 1884.

Sheriffs
Adam Hope, 1818; Thomas Hope, ; Joseph Clarkson, — ; William Edmonston, 1824; Daniel Harris, 1828- B. B. Edmonston, 1832; John Hart, 1836; James McDonald, 1837; Thomas Wooldridge, 1841; H. W. Baker. 1843; Robert Herr, 1847 ; William Mabin, 1849 ; John Mehringer, 1852; Jacob Harmon, 1850; John Wiekel, I860; Henry Mauntel, 1864; Tobias Herbig, 1868; John Wiekel, 1872; George Cox, 1876; Frank Joseph, 1880; George Cox, 1884.

Coroners
D. G. Brown. 1*24; John Brittain, 1830; Elijah Kendall, 1832; Abraham Baker, 1839; Joseph Buggs, 1845; Willis Niblack, 1846; Thomas Hurst, 1849; Stephen Stephen- son, 1851; William H. Green. 1852; William Schulterman, 1856; J. W. Taylor, 1860; Charles Kraus, 1861; Harvey Nicholson, 1863; John G. Allen, 1864; Reinhart Rich, 1866; Charles Birkemyer, 1868; George Cox, 1870; Michael Hochgesang, 1876; Anton Kerlin, 1880; Moritz Fritz, 1884.

Associate Judges
B. B. Edmonston, Sr., and Ashbury Alexander, 1824; Edward Wood, 1830; John Niblack, 1831; Daniel Harris, 1835: Henry Bradley and Willis Hays, 1837; Robert Oxley, 1841; William Cavender and Thomas Shoulders, 1845; Conrad Miller, 1850.

Probate Judges
B. B. Edmonston, Sr., 1829; Daniel Harris, 1840; Moses Kelso, 1841; Andrew B. Spicely, 1848.

Auditors
Samuel B. McCrillus, 1852; John Mehringer, 1856; Theodore Sonderman, 1863; Martin Freidman, 1867; August Litschgi, 1870; Michael Deinderfer, 1874; Isidor Schuhmacher, 1878.

Representatives
Richard Daniel and John Johnson, Gibson, and Pike Counties, 1818; William McMahan, Spencer, Perry and Dubois, January, 1825; John Daniel, same, December, 1825; John Johnson, Pike and Dubois, 1826-27; James Ritchie, same, 1828; Thomas C. Stewart, same, 1829-30-31 ; George H. Proffit, same, 1832; William M. Wright, 1883-34; Benjamin Edmonston, same, 1835 ; G. H. Proffit, same, 1836 ; Aaron B. McCrillus, Dubois and Crawford, 1837; George H. Proffit, Pike and Dubois, 1838; Benjamin Edmonston, 1839; Aaron B. McCrillus, Dubois and Pike, 1840; John Poison, Dubois, 1841; Benjamin Edmonston same, 1843; Silas Davis, 1844; George W. Lemonds, 1845-46-47; B. T. Goodman, 1848; B. Edmonston, 1848-49; H. W. Barker, 1849-53; John Abel, 1853; John S. Martin, 1855; Thomas Shoulders, 1857; B. R. Kempf, 1863; B. B. Edmonston, 1867; Leroy Cave, Dubois and Martin, 1869 ; E. C. Stephenson, same, 1871; H. A. Peed, same, 1873; A. J. Gossman, same, 1875-77; Mr. Hart, same, 1879; Samuel Hargrove, Pike and Dubois, 1881; Morman Fisher, same, 1883.

Senators
Isaac Montgomery, for the district composed of Gibson, Pike and Dubois Counties, 1818; Daniel Kobb, same, 1820-21 ; John Daniel, Dubois, Spencer and Perry, 1822; Daniel Grass, same, December, 1822; Daniel Edwards, same, 1823; Daniel Grass, same, 1825; Isaac Montgomery, Gibson, Pike and Dubois, 1826-27; Daniel Kobb, same, 1829-32; Elisha Embree, same, 1833-34; Thomas C. Stewart, same, 1835-37; John Hargrave, same, 1838-40; Smith Miller, same, 1841-44; 1844; Benjamin K. Edmonston, same, 1845-47; Smith Miller. 1848-49; B. T. Goodman, same, 1850; William Hawthorn, same, 1855; John Hargrave, same, 1857-59; Thomas Shoulders, 1861-63; James Barker, same, 1865-67; Aaron Houghton, Pike, Dubois and Martin, 1869; Leroy Cave, Dubois and Martin, 1871; H. A: Peed. Dubois, Martin and Orange, 1875 ; William A. Taylor, same, 1879; William Traylor, Dubois, Martin and Lawrence, 1881.

Railroads
For nearly twenty years the question of railroads has been before the people of Dubois County. The agitation of it began soon after the close of the war, and in 1869, several propositions were on foot for the construction of that indispensable thing to our modern civilization. The most plausible of them all was that of the New Albany & St. Louis Air Line. In September of that year, Patoka Township held an election to determine whether it should aid that road to the extent of $10,780, by a tax of two per centum. The result was 257 votes for, and 20 against the tax. In November of the same year, an election was held throughout the entire county upon the subject of a county tax to the amount of $53,105, in aid of the same road, providing it should run within one-half mile of Jasper. This latter proposition was opposed by the entire southern portion of the county, al- most unanimously. The vote at that election is here given, but it must be remembered that the county then had but six instead of twelve townships.

Source: History of Pike and Dubois counties, Indiana : from the earliest time to the present, with biographical sketches, reminiscences, notes, etc. : together with an extended history of the Northwest, the Indiana Territory, and the state of Indiana (1885) Author: Goodspeed Bros. & Co. 4

More History


THE PIONEER ANDERSONS

AN AMERICAN PROTESTANT FAMILY OF IRISH DESCENT.

The pioneer Anderson family descendants of William Anderson, Sr. of Pennsylvania and Kentucky is such an outstanding family in the early history of the "Irish Settlement" that the writer went to considerable trouble to collect data on its early days here and elsewhere. To the end that this data may be preserved for future use, space is given to it as follows:

Sketch of the pioneer family of William Anderson Sr.

William Anderson Sr., of Ireland, Indiana, was born in Pennsylvania, November 1763, and died at Ireland, Indiana April 22, 1836. He had a brother named Andrew Anderson who remained under the old flag and went to Canada, but he had no sisters. The father's name was Gilbert Anderson and he came from old Ireland. The mother's name was Matilda. It was thought that both Gilbert Anderson and his son William Anderson, Sr were soldiers in the American Revolution. It was claimed that William came originally from Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. Wm anderson, Sr., married Miss Jane Bell, who was said to have lived about thirty miles from Philadelphia. She was born in Pennsylvania, March 29, 1771 and died at Ireland, April 18, 1844. The graves of these two pioneers are in Hillsboro Cemetery. After their marriage these two people lived near the juncton of the Allegheny and Monongahela Rivers, then moved to Mercer Co., Kentucky, where several of their children were born. They had five sons and four daughters. One daughter Matilda died in Kentucky. One son, Thomas Anderson, Sr., (also buried in the Hillsboro Cemetery) enlisted in the War of 1812, in Mercer County, Kentucky. It is said that he was in the battle of Chalmette, generally known as the battle of New orleans, and that he saw the English commander fall. After the war, Thomas walked from New Orleans to Kentucky, then on to Dubois County, Indiana. During the War of 1812, William Anderson Sr. moved his family from Mercer County, Kentucky to the northeast quarter of section 25 southeast of the town of Ireland. In 782 Dubois Couty was a part of Knox County; in 1813 a part of Gibson, then a part of Pike, and in 1817 it became Dubois Couty, so it may be said that William Anderson, Sr. lived in several Indiana counties and never left his farm. He and the younger members of his family reached Dubois County Mary 7, 1815.

The gave of William Anderson, Sr., is in the Hillsboro Cemetery. The inscription on the tombstone reads as follows:

Wiliam Anderson Sr.

Born Nov 21m 1763

Died Apr 22, 1836

Aged 72 years, and 5 mos

Consort

Jane Bell Anderson

Born March 29, 1771

Died April 18, 1844

Aged 73 years, and 20 days.

The revoluntionary War hero, William Anderson Sr., was the grandfather of Miss Elizabeth A. Anderson who was born July 13, 1837 and was living in 1928 at Ireland. From her, and from Miss Lucinda Anderson, through her nephew Forest R. Anderson, much of all this data was obtained.

Miss Lucinda Anderson, of Ireland, was the yougest daughter of William Anderson Sr. Thomas Anderson, Sr., of the War of 1812 was his son. Lucinda Anderson died at Ireland in 1898, at the age of 90 "her mind being vigorous to the last minutes." From Lucinda Anderson came the informatio that her father was a soldier of the American Revolution and that her brother was a soldier of the War of 1812. Unfortunately local war papers were lost in a fire which destroyed Grandmother Anderson's residence, May 23, 1877. This loss caused an extensive historical research on the part of the writer.

Military History:

William Anderson of Dubois County, was a son of Gilbert Anderson, of Lancaster Co., PA. He was born in PA and after the American Revolution moved to Mercer Co., KY. In 1781, they lived in Coleraine Township, Lancaster Co., PA-Gilbert Anderson and his son, Wiliam Anderson. Robert Miller's Fourth Company (Sixth Battalion was recruited in August, 1781, and William Anderson's name appears as a private.)

Since Capt Miller's Company of Col, James Taylor's Regiment was recruited in Anderson's home township, a township having both Gilbert and William Anderson as citizens, it is presumed that this William Anderson is our subject. If this assumtion as to the company and regiment is correct, and there appears nothing whatever to the contrary, the balance of the record is free and clear. William Anderson was seventeen when he enlisted in the summer of 1781. the tradition handed down is that the wheat had been cut but not frailled, and that roasting ears and summer apples were on hand. When William Anderson was mustered out he walked all the way back to his home in Lancaster County carrying his musket. Soldiers were allowed their muskets in order to kill game on their way home.

In reply to an inquiry, Jessica C. Ferguson, genealogist and research librarian, division of Archives, "Pennsylvania State Library and Museum" under the date of March 28, 1928, wrote and among other things said;

"William Anderson, the supposed son of Gilbert Anderson, served in the company of Captain Robert Miller, Fourth Company, Sixth Battalion, August 1781, Lancaster Co. Militia. This Company was recruited in Caleraine Township, Lancaster Co. Gilbert Anderson is said to have died in Lancaster County,but his son removed to Kentucky or Tennesse."

In the Pennsylvania Archives, 5th Series, Vol 7, Page 585, Indiana State Library, William Anderson appears as a soldier of the American Revolution. He was in the 6th Class in class roll of the 4th Company of the 6th Battalion of the Lancaster Co. Militia, commanded by Col. James Taylor

William and Thomas Anderson, both seniors, entered by purchase, 160 acres near their final resting place, Nov 6, 1815., and lived near there until their death. It is the N.E. 1.4 Secton 25, T I S, R 6, and that neighborhood is the second oldest setlement in Dubois County. This was Gibson County when they bought. Here began the 'Irish Settlement".

George R. Wilson's HISTORICAL NOTES ON DUBOIS COUNTY, published 1928.
Contributed by Dale White



Return To The Main Index Page