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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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:
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.
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.
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
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
The order for redistricting the county took effect in September, 1874,
and the board appointed officers for all that had none after the change
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
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.
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.
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,
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.
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
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.
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.
B. B. Edmonston, Sr., 1829; Daniel Harris, 1840; Moses Kelso, 1841;
Andrew B. Spicely, 1848.
Samuel B. McCrillus, 1852; John Mehringer, 1856; Theodore Sonderman,
1863; Martin Freidman, 1867; August Litschgi, 1870; Michael Deinderfer,
1874; Isidor Schuhmacher, 1878.
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.
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.
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
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
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
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.
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
"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
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