Genealogy and History
to Free Genealogy
From "Simp" Osborn,
the old Mexican soldier, and his brother Jesse, I learn that John
Abbott, their grandfather, was raised near Chesapeake Bay, in
Maryland. They don't know where or under whom he served in the
Revolution, but very likely he was a member of the "Maryland"
line. By courtesy of Frank Pate, in showing me his abstracts of
land titles, I learn that he bought of James Warrick, Sr., on
September 13, 1834, the eighty acres of land which comprises the
Bloomfield cemetery. He gave the first ground for the purpose of
burial there and was one of the early ones himself to be laid
there to rest. Mr. Abbott was a good citizen, and was commonly
known over the county as "Jack" Abbott. I heard the name often in
my childhood. I knew his sons, Alumby and George. The former lived
many years near where Joe Leavitt now lives. George was a soldier
of the War of 1812. "Markers" have been placed to their graves.
Many of the descendants are in this county. A large number of the
Osborns, part of the Skinners and "Abe" Spainhower's children in
Worthington are among the number. Three of "Simp" Osborn's sons
all lay dead at once in his house many years ago.
- By W. D.
- Of the
Revolutioners that resided in Greene county I give the
following reminiscences, with such other facts as are
lived in the
neighborhood of Scotland, and very likely died there. We know no
more about him than that he was a soldier of the Revolution.
Blevins was one of the fourteen I saw march on the Fourth of July
in the long ago. He was a large man physically.
the father of Morris
R. Burnett, now deceased, late of Taylor township, who lived and
died in the same township, was a native of New Jersey. He had a
conspicuous natural "mark" that covered one of his temples, but
did not injure his looks. He had bear a man of very fine physical
structure—neither too much nor too little flesh; nice, manly,
rugged proportions and appearance. He lived nearly a hundred years
and was buried in old Plummer (now Taylor) township. We know
nothing about his sendees in the war, save that he was an honored
soldier in it.
was a South
Carolinian, and when a boy his father took him to see Lord
Cornwallis when he raised the "royal standard"- in South Carolina
under which to swear the people to allegiance to the British
crown, the "royal standard" being the great national ensign of
England, a flag a hundred feet long. Mr. Chaney's father had gone
to see the general for a purpose I have forgotten. Cornwallis
persuaded the boy to enter the British army. He said he was
extremely ignorant of the cause of the war and would have done so
in a minute, but he was under age and his father would not let
him. Cornwallis gave them each a bottle of wine. On their way home
they drank the wine and threw the bottles away. Afterwards General
Sumpter (after whom Fort Sumpter was named) sat on a log all day
and explained to him so that he enlisted in our army. He was in
the siege of Ninety-six, battle of Eutaw Springs and elsewhere. He
was a blacksmith by trade and worked in the shop with Francis
Marion in that ever to be remembered making of swords out of mill
saws. At Eutaw Springs he saw the use of his own swords when a
battery was playing on the "Maryland Line." So highly was that
body of men prized that great exert as were made to save them.
There was one thing about these old veterans that can never be
told—the heartfelt reverence the people had for them wherever they
were seen. A man in Greene county sued Mr. Chaney for twelve and
one-half cents (that was before the day of dimes), and on trial
Mr. Chaney proved that he had already paid it twice. This was then
supposed to be the meanest trick in the world.
When a little boy I was passing a sugar camp in company with a man
driving a wagon in which Mr. Chaney was riding. He said he wanted
one more good drink of sugar water before he died.
man who drove the wagon and myself got over the fence and brought
a trough of sugar water to the wagon so he could drink out of it.
As we were climbing the fence with the trough, a difficult task,
the man said with an earnestness I never heard equaled, "I do love
to wait on the old man."
Chaney was a good workman and he had helped to make anvils and
many other articles of the highest usefulness. One of his
specialties was the making of cowbells. He knew how to "tune" his
bells. No bell of any kind can sound at its best without being in
tune. He was very intelligent in regard to the chemistry of
metals, tempering, brazing and soldering, as well as making the
combination of chemicals for the purpose he understood well. He
was buried near the old Olley mill on Richland creek.
the father of "Alec"
Clenny, who lived and died north of Bloomfield, was a Virginian
and fought in the Revolution with the highest and best
leaders—both Washington and Greene. . Washington* always said if
he was lost he wanted Greene put in his place .
Clenny was at the closing scene of Yorktown. He remembered well
the names of the French officers who served there, and to hear him
pronounce them as he did was a rich literary treat to any one. He
was an excellent citizen all his long life and made his own living
by patient, useful labor, tanned his own leather, made his own and
family's shoes, raised wool, cotton and flax, of which their
clothes were made, and made his hand-mill on which was ground
their breadstuff. He had an almost matchless figure, showing an
exquisite model of perfect manhood, rugged and stalwart. In his
last years he was entirely blind. His dust lies in the Bloomfield
was a native of South
Carolina. When a little boy he was kidnapped on the seashore and
taken to Cuba and kept there three years, then brought back. While
there he picked grapes. He said the pickers were allowed to eat at
the first. and last pickings, but at no other. When making tree
sugar the children were allowed to eat at the first and last
makings, but at none else. He was a natural mechanic and made his
own pocketknives; would use no other. He made excellent rifles,
locks, triggers and all. The only lock of those days was the
flintlock, much more complex than any lock of the present.
Conway's locks had to be double-bridled inside and out and have a
"fly" on the tumbler—all these of the best type ; then the
shooting of his gun must be so good that, to use his own words, he
could hit a twenty-five cent piece a hundred yards.
served eight years in the army of the Revolution. He helped bury
so many of his comrades that he said, when he was at the age of
eighty-six, he wanted to be buried soldier fashion; that is, to be
wrapped in whatever he died on, like the soldier in his blanket,
and laid in the grave, and yet he had made a great many coffins
for others, for which lie never would take a cent of pay. Whether
the wish was complied with at his burial I do not know. He never
took a cent of pension. His reasons were that he considered the
risking of life in war to be above money.
was in good health all the time during the war. was never wounded,
and thought the service to be but the debt that the able, capable
men owed to their country— that he was as able to make a living as
anybody, and was willing to do it. He was a pioneer frontiersman,
a hunter, farmer and general mechanic. He put his time to making
articles of the highest usefulness—the axe, plow and all other
tools used in that day. He could build a cabin in all its parts,
then make everything that was used in and about it.
made everything used in making clothing spinning wheels, looms,
etc. To name all would include things that people of the present
(many of them) could not understand. He was low of stature, a
little stooped in the shoulders, quick in action, united the
quietest mind to the most dauntless courage.
the wilderness of Kentucky, where Mr. Conway would push out alone
to hunt a new home, he was calm, though surrounded by ravenous
beasts and savage men. His health was perfect, even when sleeping
on the ground in all kinds of weather. He did an incredible'
amount of work with the uttermost patience and method. He died at
the age of eighty-eight years. When alone in the wilderness of
Kentucky, here is a supper from Mr. Conway's own cook book : Stick
a piece of fat bear meat before the fire on a stick to broil. Just
under it a piece of fish on another stick. As the bear meat broils
the grease drops on the fish; then stick the hunter's knife in the
fish, work it around to let the grease down in. Pewter dishes,
plates and spoons, as well as the moulds they were run in, were
among the articles of his production. He was buried at Ocley's
mill on Richland creek.
lived near Eel river,
in Smith township. The place of his nativity we do not know. He
was one of those who marched in the squad of fourteen on July 4th
in Bloomfield in the long ago. He was a very large man. Big "Jim"
Harvey, the famous flatboat pilot of old Point Commerce, was his
son; also Anderson Harvey, another great pilot of the olden
flatboat times, was a farmer.
grandfather of "Dick"
Huffman, was a native of Washington county, Pennsylvania, and
served in the French and Indian war, which lasted from 1754 to
1763. It is not known at what time, where or under whom he served
—whether under Bracklock or Forbes or whom, or whether lie served
in company with Washington or not.
Living where he did, it is very likely he served against Fort Du
Quesne, now Pittsburg. If so, he served with Washington, for
Washington was in the two expeditions against that place, the
first under Braddock and the next under Forbes. He afterwards,
like Washington, served through the Revolution, in company with
Mr. Shryer, named in this sketch. They were from the same
neighborhood. In 1819 he, in company with Mr. Shryer, moved to
Indiana, Daviess county—that part of it which is now Greene
county, Taylor township—and lived near Mr. Shryer a short time,
then returned farther east and lived about two years in Ohio,
dying in that state, and was buried near Lawrenceburg, Indiana,
which town is just at the state line*.
far as I know Mr. Huffman outranks for length of service as a
soldier any man who ever lived in this county, having fought
through both these long and bloody wars. Other branches of the
Huffman family live in Washington and Daviess counties. He was a
woodturner, wheelwright and chairmaker by trade.
was a Marylander, a
member of the honored famous "Maryland Line," one of the most
notable bodies of men that served in the Revolution. He was in the
siege of Ninety-six and saw a woman shot who had come out of the
fort to a spring- to get water. The sentinel at the spring allowed
her to go away with one bucket of water, but warned her not to
come again. She came again carrying a babe at her breast. The
sentinel ordered her away, telling her he was compelled to shoot
her if she got water again. She filled her bucket and started to
the fort, and the sentinel shot her dead, but Mr. Land and Mr.
Chaney—(they were both there and saw it) differed about the
babe—one said it was killed, the other that it was not.
Lang was in the battle of Eutaw Springs when the British battery
played on the "Maryland Line." Such was the feeling of the
partisan troops held by regulars that Mr. Lang always thought
there never was such a man as Francis Marion.
Chaney's answer to this, "Sure as there is a Francis Lang, there
was a Francis Marion," for, as we have seen in our article on Mr.
Chaney, he (Chaney) had worked in the blacksmith shop with Marion
himself, making swords of mill saws. Mr. Lang owned land, lived
many years, died and was buried near old. Jerry Workman's.
knew him well and he was a good citizen. Our old soldier and poet
friend, J. R. Corbley, says the road is cutting and wearing into
his grave and that of his wife. By the way, the wife (Susana) was
the last person who drew Revolutionary pension in all this county.
was a Virginian and
was with Washington himself in the War of the Revolution. He lived
in Taylor township, Greene county, and was the father of the noted
Nancy Hatfield, the grandfather of Captain Fielding Hatfield. Mr.
Oakley was a large man physically.
last time I was at his house he told his wife she cheated him in
her age when she married him—told her, she was forty years old
then. She disputed his word. He then said she was thirty-nine
years and seven months old at that time, which she did not
dispute. Mrs. Oakley excused herself by saying that young men were
scarce and hard to get at the close of the war; that during the
war a husband was not to be got at all, and that owing to the fact
that she was good to work and make a living, she thought there
w.ls no wrong in using a little strategy, a little policy and
management, to get a husband; said she had cleared land, made
fence, plowed and raised corn, raised flax, pulled it and made it
into cloth had raised wheat, reaped and threshed it. She was a
good spinner and weaver. She lived some time after his death, and
if her gravestone in Bloomfield cemetery tells the truth, for she
and her husband lie there side by side, she was over a hundred
years old at the time of her death. She was a small woman, and one
of good qualities, great energy and industry being part of them.
From her it was that Nancy Hatfield, her daughter, inherited the
capacity by which she acquired two excellent farms by her own
management after she was left a widow.
was bom in Virginia
and remained there until he was fifteen years of age, when the
Revolution began. This places the date of his birth, of which we
have no record, in the year 1760, the war having commenced in
1775. At the outbreak Mr. Storm, tender as was his age, enlisted
in the "Continental" Cavalry under command of Colonel Billy
Washington, as he was familiarly called. The colonel was, I think,
a cousin to the commander-in-chief. In this capacity Mr. Storm
served faithfully and very efficiently through the entire dark and
bloody struggle, growing and hardening up into a most splendid
manhood in the constant handling of the saber, and he became in
that dreadful eight years a very great expert in its use. He must
have fought in many battles, because Washington's cavalry was in
the battles of Guilford Court House, Cowpens, Eutaw Springs and
many others. In the final maneuver which drove the British under
General Stewart to Monk's Corner, then to Charleston, and finally
out of the state, that ubiquitous cavalry had a very active part.
This ended the war in the South. The sudden, tremendous rush, the
clang of steel, "the shout and groan and saber stroke," had all
become familiar occurrences to Mr. Storm.
Some considerable time after the close of the war he was married
to a Miss Parson, very probably of South Carolina, for her people
afterwards lived in the state of Alabama. To this union were bom
Joseph, long called "Joe" Storm, who was for years a citizen of
Bloomfield, in decade of the thirties. He was several times
representative of Greene county, and a militia captain; Leah,
Peter, Mattie, Annie, from whom are obtained all these facts, who
yet lives in Harrodsburg, Monroe county, and who is the mother of
Dr. Lowder, of Bloomfield ; Washington and Susanna.
the year 1815 Mr. Storm moved to what is now Jackson county,
Indian Territory. He there on one occasion, with his neighbors,
had to "fort up" for protection from the Indians, and against the
advice of his friends Mr. Storm would go out and plow his corn. He
was blamed for rashness and called "Indian bait." At one time,
while thus engaged, he heard a sudden rush of footsteps behind
him. "I am 'Indian bait' at last," thought he. "Ah, if that good
blade were in my hand; one lightning flash of steel, and that
uplifted savage arm would be severed, the tomahawk it held flying
to one side, and ere it could touch the earth another quick gleam
and my saber would bury deep in a painted skull," but he was
totally unarmed. "I am outnumbered, too, and all is against me,
but must I run? My children are hidden under the flax in the
stable loft, and must they be burned ? Not till after I am dead."
So with a war whoop he turned, his only weapon (his fist) drawn to
make what show of defense he could. What wonder if in the tone of
that "whoop" there was a touch of despair, for now he was alone
and verging towards sixty years old? The struggle would be short,
his entire family added to the dreary list of Indian massacres.
That voice that rang exultant at Cowpens did its best, and the
aged hero strung his nerves for the last battle. But, old soldier,
you didn't have to fight that day. It was all surprise—it was only
his two big dogs in a dash of play. But laughingly to the end of
life he said that was the biggest and best scare he ever had.
From Jackson county he moved to what is now Greene county and
"entered" the northeast quarter of section 36, in township 7
north, range 3 west, containing 160 acres. This we learn by
courtesy of Mr. Smith, county recorder. He received his "patent"
for this land from the United States October 26, 1816. On this
land, one mile and a half northeast of Hobbieville, just east of
Indian creek, he spent the rest of his days. Even down to old age
he did not forget his loved "sword play." He would have a friend
to take a stick and himself another while lie tried to
"Feel the stern joy that warriors feel At meeting foe man worthy
of their steel."
Storm and his entire family were uncommonly athletic. He was a
converted Christian and member of the Baptist church ; by
occupation a farmer. He lived until if 35. On his own farm, since
called the "Pink East" farm, and later still divided into other
hands, rests his honored dust till the resurrection.
To understand his
character one has but to look back through the ages at the race
from which he sprung. That race is the "Cavalier." The words
cavalry, chivalry, cavalier and chevalier mean very nearly the
same thing. These words express the character of Mr. Storm —open,
above board, hospitable, brave, frank and manly.
New England states were settled by the "round head" from Virginia
and the South by the cavalier. It was but natural for him to go
forth to war in the cavalry. Through the past we may look at the
class of mankind as far as to Leonidas with his three hundred
long-haired men at Thermopylae. Each class—"round-head" and
"cavalier"—had its excellence and defects. One great defect of the
cavalier is laziness. He will fight, but won't work. In many
instances Mr. Storm entirely escaped this defect, for he was by no
means a lazy man, the "excellencies"— all of them—he had.
was a native of North
Carolina. When Francis Marion came to that state to procure
recruits for the patriot cause Mr. Lawrence enlisted under his
command, remained and served with Marion from that time, which was
early in the war up to the time when General Lincoln was
transferred from South Carolina to Virginia.
Lawrence was transferred with him, and was one of his
color-bearers. This brought him, in course of time, to the siege
of Yorktown, which, as all know, resulted in the surrender of the
entire British army. Three years before this General Lincoln had
to surrender Charleston, South Carolina, to Lord Cornwallis.
Washington loved and respected Lincoln, and to soothe his wounded
feelings designated him to receive the sword and surrender of Lord
Cornwallis on exactly the Si. me terms that Cornwallis had exacted
of him at Charleston. On this never to be forgotten occasion Mr.
Lawrence bore his honored "color" with unspeakable pride. There is
much difference in the detail of surrenders.
Gates at Saratoga received Bourgoyne's surrender with great
privacy and delicacy of feeling"; the terms exacted of Lincoln at
Charleston were very humiliating. Lord Cornwallis could, of
course, raise no question as to terms set by himself.
Lawrence, after the lapse of years, moved from North Carolina to
White county, Indiana, and lived there several years, then removed
to Greene county, Center township, bought land in section 19,
township 7 north, range 3 west, as John R. Combs remembers, by
whose kindness we are furnished with all these facts.
Since Mr. Combs told me this, I myself remember Mr. Lawrence very
well. I can see him yet in his good old age, on horseback, wearing
his excellent "camlet" cloak made in the comely style of long ago.
Our honored veteran had the distinction of being a soldier longer
than any person ever lived in Greene county. He was of that size
and vitality the very personification of alertness and activity so
often connected with long life. His age at death was one hundred
and four years. He died in 1840 and was buried one mile and a half
northeast of Sylvina church. By occupation he was a farmer. He
knew himself to be a relative of Captain James Lawrence of the
navy, who commanded the "Chesapeake" in her battle with the
"Shannon" in the War of 181 2, the man who, with his dying breath,
gave the order, while being carried below, "Don't give up the
ship." Here in Bloomfield is a beautiful walking cane, in
possession of Mr. Frank Edwards, which has been in the family now
three generations, which was made from a piece of that renowned
vessel on which Perry fought, and her name, as all know, was the
was bom in Virginia, February 22, 1792, in the same state and on
the same day of the month that produced Washington. Another
coincident in this nation's history was the year 1732, which gave
the world both Washington and Marion. When, in 1814, the British
forces under Admiral Cockburn and General Ross, were operating in
the waters and vicinity of Chesapeake Bay, when the city of
Washington was captured and burned and Baltimore attacked.
was supposed that Norfolk would be captured, it being considered
the "key" of the bay. Of a regiment of infantry that marched to
defend Norfolk, part of them were from Virginia and part from
North Carolina. Mr. Bingham was fife major. In the making up of
that regiment my father heard him play the fife. Father said his
uniform was red as blood and had round, shiny brass buttons on it
the size of musket balls. And the very sight of him, together with
his stirring music, sent a thrill through the people like an
electric shock. No real attack was made on Norfolk, so Mr. Bingham
was in no battle. You all remember that while the British were
fighting to take Baltimore Francis S. Key wrote "Star-"Spangled
After the danger was passed and the war over Mr. Bineham's
regiment was discharged and he returned home. Under the United
States militia law, which continued in force on up to about 1840,
he was still a very active and efficient fifer, both in Virginia
and Indiana. Virginia was his home until about 1830, when he moved
to Indiana, first on White River, then to Center township, Greene
county, of which he was fife major until the militia system
ceased. To all the people of the county, "Frederick, the fifer,"
as he was lovingly called, was well and favorably known.
of the very first things I remember was the big muster days in
Bloomfield, with Frederick for fifer and his little boy, Hiram,
for drummer. That fife's keen notes I shall never forget, even one
of his old tunes I still remember that he played in Bloomfield as
long ago as 1831. While on parade Mr. Bingham carried himself with
spirit and bearing that was inspiring. The very breath of his
nostrils seemed to be patriotism coupled with high resolve. A
militia muster was a "high day" in those times of long ago.
Virginia he was married to Miss Obedience Powell, and to them were
born Hiram; Eliza Ann, now wife of Elsbery Anderson, of Center
township, from whom these facts are obtained ; Alfred and Edmund.
Mr. Bingham owned laud and pursued the occupation of farmer in
section 12, township 7 north, range 4 west. He was an industrious,
honest man, known and read of all men.
took a premium on a hogshead of tobacco at Todd's warehouse in
Louisville, Kentucky, about the year 1836, it being- the best one
there that year. You remember that Mrs. Abraham Lincoln was a
Todd, of Kentucky. The owner of that warehouse was her relative.
Also here in Greene county when a warehouse was established at old
Point Commerce he was appointed tobacco inspector in it, which
office he held for many years. In March, 1859, he went to the
house appointed for all the living and is buried in the Bingham
graveyard in Center township, near Solsberry.
A respected Greene
county citizen and business man, who was financially ruined in the
building of the Bloomfield, Bedford & Switz City Railway, was
he whose biography follows.
William Mason was born in- Guilford county, North Carolina, August
II, 1812, and died November 29, 1894. He came to Greene county,
Indiana, with his father's family November 16, 1821, with whom he
lived to manhood very near the place where he died, this being the
year Greene county was organized. He had a scholarly inclination ;
was clerk for John Inman and school teacher in his early majority.
The history of the county for 1842 says this of him, in regard to
his first appointment as treasurer : "They selected a young man
who had acquired a fair education and gave evident indication of
good business qualifications. This young man was William Mason,
who accepted the appointment and was afterwards re-elected several
times and made one of the most efficient officers we have ever
1842 he was married to Mary Ritter, who died in 1843. Shortly
after this he became part owner and clerk of the steamboat
"Richland," the other owners being Andrew Downing and Captain M.
H. Shryer. For Andrew Downing Mr. Mason did business in the
"flat-boating" way to New Orleans a good many years.
partnership with his brother Henry, and with John B. Stropes,
other trips were made on the Mississippi. In all business
relations—the finances of the steamboat and flatboats, his seven
years as treasurer of the county—the more he was tried the more it
was seen that he was eminently capable, honest and efficient. In
the forties he was married to Malinda Shaw, who bore him three
sons—John C, Henry and Edward. She died in 1864. Within these
years he had become an extensive landowner and stock raiser,
especially of fine cattle. In the building of the narrow-gauge
railway he was so important a factor that it could hardly have
been built without him. In this enterprise his large property was
lost. Since that time he has lived with his son, John C. Mason, in
Illinois and Indiana, and also with his brother Henry, just across
Richland creek in Taylor township, this county.
In 1824 a spot was
selected and surveyed for the county seat of Greene county, and
named Bloomfield. Three years before that, November 15, 182 1,
Henry Mason, with his father's family, came to within two miles of
that place, where a home was made, on which and near that vicinity
all the family lived long- lives and died. Henry was the last one,
who died May 23, 1895. He was born in Guilford county, North
Carolina, September 22, 1820.
boyhood he plowed corn when young panthers "cut their capers" and
played like kittens on the fence. Mr. Mason was married to Mary J.
Quillen, December 15, 1853. To them no children were born. He had
the uncommon strong sense to know when he had enough of this
world's goods and the still higher manly and Christian quality to
covet no more. His oldest brother lost his property in building
the narrow-gauge railway. Henry told him, "While I have anything
it is yours till it is gone." So at his house that brother had a
welcome home until, at past four-score years, all was over with
him on earth.
From Professor J. W.
Walker's history of Beech Creek township, published in Goodspeed's
history of Greene county, we learn that William Wilkerson was bom
in North Carolina, January 5, 1730. He was a soldier of the
Revolution. Particulars of his life in the army are all now lost.
He was the father of Squire Solomon Wilkerson, who laid out and
named Solsberry in honor of himself.
one year he lived in an apartment of his son's house. The day he
was one hundred years old he split one hundred rails on top of the
hill where Dr. Axtell afterwards had his dwelling. He died in
Brown county in the summer of 1842, at the great age of one
hundred and six years, six months and one day. He delighted to
tell of his patriotism during his country's struggle for liberty.
in all wars a soldier,
in peace an honorable, useful citizen, was bom of Scotch-Irish
parents, in Ireland, in the decade of the fifties of the last
century. He emigrated from Cork, Ireland, to Virginia in time of
the Revolutionary war. He was in the springtime of early youth and
he felt as had his fathers for ages the grinding heel of
oppression from the British government. In the long past they had
no chance to help themselves. Now he might strike for God and home
and the common rights of humanity.
enlisted in a Virginia regiment, marched, toiled, suffered and
fought seven weary years against that flag "that for a thousand
years had braved the battle and the breeze."
From the best that can now be learned it seems that he was under
General Wayne. No particulars are known of his long career as a
soldier in the Revolution. We only know he was a gallant,
efficient, useful man in it.
When the blood and darkness had passed he put his hand to useful,
honorable industry. In no act did these matchless heroes more show
their real manhood than when they laid down their arms and walked
the long, lonely journey to their desolate homes, with not even
money to pay for a night's lodging—to beg their way, to work their
way or starve their way, just as they could.
Downing was a home and family man in peace, and in war was a
soldier. To have a home was what great numbers had left all in the
old world for. Just when Mr. Downing married cannot be told. The
Revolution ended early in the eighties of the seventeenth century.
Early in the nineties occurred Harmer's defeat here to the
northwest. He was in that, for as long as he was able, whenever he
had a chance, he was in the army of his adopted country manfully
fighting the old, hated oppressor.
Harmer and St. Clair both having been beaten by the Indians under
British encouragement, Washington appointed Wayne to command in
the northwest. With the stem joy that warriors feel Mr. Downing
marched under his old, trusted, loved commander of the Revolution
—"Mad Anthony," as he was called. All this my father told his
children when Mr. Downing passed his house on his way to his son's
(Andrew Downing) in 1832.
Wayne's signal victory at Fallen Timbers, called also the battle
of Maumee Rapids, he took part in, as a many-times veteran. That
victory, like Wayne's other great victory at Stony Point in the
Revolution, was gained with the bayonet.
Indians were behind the fallen trees blown down by a hurricane,
which gave the name Fallen Timbers. They supposed the whites would
just be good enough to stand and be shot.
quick a charge as possible was ordered. The logs were mounted, the
Indians were very still behind them : there they got the bayonet.
Then some getting up and running took place by the survivors, and
they got the bullet. Forward through that old forest went our
army, and when the foe was driven out of it the victory was
complete. One may imagine how so splendid a veteran as Mr.
Downing, every fiber of soul and body ablaze with battle, would
bear himself through such a bayonet rush as that.
far the dates of all his service are known to all. After this he
is known to have been long a soldier along the frontier on the
Ohio River as well as being, as we are caused to believe, five
years in the regular army, taking' in the War of 1812. Now which
of these took place first we do not know.
Fort Massac, on the Ohio River, in what is now Illinois, below the
mouth of the Tennessee River, he was on duty; how long is not
known. From there he carried the mail afoot and alone through the
wilderness, likely to the falls of the Ohio, now to Louisville.
The lonely, dangerous journey, the slow hours of night as they
passed over the silent man in his solitary bivouac, the writer
never passed Fort Massac without trying to imagine.
Through the War of 1812, from what little we know, it seems he was
in the regular army. Of his service in that war we have no
particulars. It is only known i that he was in it and was still a
soldier up to 1818 ; known that eleven years of his life ere spent
in the tented field, and whether longer is not known. This is the
longest soldierly career in actual war of any man who ever lived
in Greene county. In 1818, on the Kanawha River in West Virginia,
he embarked his family on a flatboat and came to Louisville. From
there he came by land to Washington county, Indiana, where my
father knew him; settled on Walnut Ridge; lived there until 1832,
when he came to Bloomfield ; lived here some years, then went to
Jackson county, where, in 1852, he passed from earth. In that year
a land warrant was issued to him by the government for one hundred
and sixty acres. His children were John Andrew, so long a very
energetic citizen of Bloomfield, having built and operated the
Richland furnace, built the old brick court house and jail and
many other buildings, and was part owner of the steamboat
"Richland"; Paul, the great flatboat pilot; Albert and Gallatin
(twins), and Peggy.
Andrew Downing was the
third son of Michael Downing, the veteran soldier of the
Revolution, of Wayne's victory in 1794, and the War of 1812, as
well as five years' service afterwards in the regular army. On the
Kanawha River in West Virginia, in 1818, he embarked on a flatboat
with his father's family and came to the falls of the Ohio River
at Louisville ; from there by land to Washington county, Indiana,
then to Bloomfield about 1829.
Across the street from Wolf's blacksmith shop he built the first
brick house in Bloomfield. The first I remember of him he was a
shoemaker, made the first little pair of shoes I ever wore that I
can remember, as well as shoes for my two older sisters.
next business he engaged in was handling liquors and groceries,
sugar, coffee, molasses, etc. As early as 183 1 he built and ran
the first flatboat ever sent from Bloomfield.
1832 the cholera first came to America. That year, while on the
river, Mr. Downing became acquainted with the disease. After he
came home Thomas Warnick, clerk of the county, took it. He lived a
mile south of town, where Thomas Patterson now lives. The doctor
gave him nothing but calomel, which was no manner of use in this
case. As soon as Mr. Downing heard of it he went to him as fast as
a horse could carry him. The patient was in the collapsed
stage—the cold sweat of death already on him ; nothing but
mechanical means is quick enough now. A big- kettle of roasting
ears in hot water was soon ready. These wrapped in cloths so as
not to burn were put in the bed all around the body and limbs,
then this heroic man held the patient still and held the covers on
through the agony of reaction. This is dreadful (I myself have
been there). When the blood goes back in the cold feet and legs it
hurts like hot needles. All this is just like a sinking chill. I
have seen both, for I had the cholera in New Orleans in 1849. Mr.
Warnick was saved and lived many years, engaging up Warnick was
saved and lived many years. Up to 1837 Mr. Downing engaged in
merchandising' and flat-boating. Some of the time his place of
business was where the "Old Stand" (tavern) is. At this time the
old brick court house was on contract. The builder drew his first
one thousand dollars and ran away. Mr. Downing was one of his
sureties and had the house to build. In 1839 it was finished.
William Eveligh was brought from Louisville as boss carpenter on
the house. This brought the family, which consisted of three
brothers and two sisters, all fresh from Ireland. The! sisters
were very beautiful.
Downing and Mr. M. H. Shryer were both widowers. The first event
to occur in the fine new court room was a big ball. The first act
of the ball was when all was in magnificent array, prompter and
musicians in their places, as Mr. Downing and Mr. Shryer and the
two Eveligh sisters stood up and were married.
brick block north of the square, built by himself, was where the
largest of his merchandising was done. The discovery of iron in
Richland creek attracted the attention of Mr. Downing, and for
about fifteen years engaged his great energy. The mill, store,
bank, iron, flatboat, canal-boat and steamboat business all had
their part in his affairs. The first brick house in Bloomfield,
the first flatboat, the brick block on the north side of the
square, the old brick court house, the brick jail that stood on
the east side of the square, the house on the hill where Mrs.
Grismore lives, Richland forge and furnace, the large mill that
was burned where French's mill is, the town at the furnace, the
stone bank that was moved to Bloomfield and is here yet.
little stone house used for a "bank" at the furnace was built by
Mr. Davis, a refugee from Kentucky, who came some years before the
war for the Union on account of the trouble and danger then rife
among the people. He was a cousin of Jeff Davis—a tall, typical
Kentuckian, who with tenderness cherished his family. One of his
children, Nettie Davis, was as handsome an object as I ever saw or
expect to see on earth.
the going down of the canal the iron business had to stop. Mr.
Downing went to Texas in 1857, got into the cattle business and
politics, was elected to the legislature from Bosque county. When
the war for the Union came on he was loyal. The "secesh" papers
were killing their enemies until they had more men dead than were
in the whole nation on both sides.
This fact he ventured to point out to them, so he had to leave the
state. At two different times he was over fifty hours in the
saddle, until at Fort Smith, Arkansas, he reached the United
States army and safety. Coming to Bloomfield, he stayed all winter
with Colonel E. H. C. Cavins, and when Bank's army entered Texas
lie went with it, and finally home. He was appointed United States
marshal of Texas; held the office some years, and died in 1872.
His oldest son, John, he set up in merchandising in the old brick
block mentioned heretofore that was burned years ago. In a short
time John died. His other sons, Paul and Andrew, are living- in
was the first clerk of Greene county, and he held the office
for fourteen consecutive years. He was the son of James Warnick,
Sr., who came from North Carolina and entered the land where
Joseph Leavitt lives, taking in the Bloomfield cemetery, March 16,
1818. In 1821 the father was one of the first county
commissioners; in that year the county was organized. His home was
on the knoll just north of Mr. Leavitt's. On the land where the
cemetery is a cabin was built in the thick woods for a residence,
I should think, because it was like a residence cabin and not like
a school house.
1832 the cabin had fallen to decay. Myself and another boy five
years old were out to see it ; looked in and saw that a person had
been buried inside ; no floor in it. Child-like, we ran with all
our might. This was the beginning of the cemetery, others being
buried. near with the consent of the land owners on down to the
forming of a public ground for the purpose. Such a rumor as that
Mr. Warnick, Sr., had kept school in the cabin existed in the long
ago. If he did, it was the first school probably in this vicinity.
I knew old Mr. Warnick very well. He was such a man as might have
kept a school intelligent, capable, trustworthy in office or in
any other way.
April 27, 182 1, Thomas Warnick was commissioned clerk of Greene
county for seven years. June 4th following he was qualified. For
some years he lived with his father, where he was not very far
from Burlington, then the county seat. The first two or three
courts were held at Thomas Bradford's, a mile south of Bloomfield,
at the place where Thomas Patterson lives.
the Revolutionary war a certain boy served in the army until he
was of age and the war over. His name was Gillam. On coming home
in South Carolina he married, went out in the woods to cut logs to
build a house, became so lonesome, being used to the bustle of
camp nearly half of his life, he concluded to run away. Just then
his beautiful young wife came to him with his dinner. This
reconciled him, the logs were cut, house built, and there he
lived, raised a family and died. One son, Edward Gillam, was one
of the very first settlers of Greene county. He lived and died
where Dan M. Bynum lives, two miles east of Bloomfield. April 26,
1824, Thomas Warnick issued his own license to be married to
Lydia. daughter of Mr. Gillam.
When the Warnicks came here there were still a few Indians
wandering about, and frequent were the tragedies which occurred in
the silent forest between them and the white men. Thirty years ago
James Warnick, son of our subject, told me "if that old hill could
talk (the hill where Joseph Leavitt lives) it could tell of some
of the Indians being laid out." When a child I heard a story that
Thomas Warnick met an Indian and they passed each other till fifty
yards apart, when Warnick turned around and shot him.
While serving as county clerk the three years that the county seat
was at Burlington Mr. Warnick made his home with his parents. When
Bloomfield was laid out he built his house where the
Sarget-McGannon residence is—a hewed log, two-story, with an "L"
for a kitchen. This was a very great house for Bloomfield then.
had to have a brick chimney. One of the most active young men was
then working his way through college at Bloomington. He could lay
brick, walked to Bloomfield and got the job of building the
chimney. In after years he never made a speech in our town while
running for congress and governor (he was elected to both) without
speaking of his brick chimney. He was Governor Joseph A. Wright,
appointed by Lincoln minister to Prussia.
Towards the last of the fourteen years during which Mr. Warick
served as clerk he bought the farm where Thomas Patterson and
Clift Dixon now live and moved to it.
the decade of the forties the upper story of the old residence in
town was used as the Bloomfield high school.
Grammar schools and other select schools were kept there several
years, at night as well as day. "The Comet" was published there by
Alfred Edwards. This was a Whig paper, advocatitng" the election
of William H. Harrison for President. I remember to have seen a
press in the kitchen, so this might have been called a "printing
Under the militia law each county had a colonel. Mr. Warnick for
some of these years was colonel of Greene county. The fashion then
was that officers wore on parade, as part of the uniform, a
Suarrow hat with a plume in the top. This was the most showy hat
ever worn. It was flat from front to rear, stuck out wide at the
corners and high up where the plume was attached; in front a
silver eagle. Wellington wore one at Waterloo, as did Napoleon. No
one bore himself with more pride on parade than Mr. Warnick.
While living on his farm my father sent me, then seven years old,
to ask him to come immediately for some business to town. I was on
a very old horse and he was on foot, but bantered me for a
race—said he could beat me to town, and started to run. All I
could do was to whip up and follow. He laughed at me heartily. The
neat-shaped foot and active form I well remember. Where is the man
now who would like to run a footrace a mile against a horse?
After fourteen years of service, October I, 1835, his successor in
office, Samuel R. Cavins, was qualified.
the old sand hill cemetery at Clift Dixon's and the Gillani
graveyard, two miles east of Bloomfield, the Warnicks and Gillams,
most of them, rest.
C. VAN SLYKE, SR.
Peter Cornelius Van
Slyke, Sr., was not in the Revolution, but he was the first man
who ever bought land intending to live on it in the vicinity of
Four generations of the VanSlykes I have known who had the names
of Peter and Cornelius interchanged, one before the other each
generation, the last one, the oldest son of the Peter VanSlyke,
many of you knew, died in minority.
Cornelius was a common name in Holland, where the VanSlykes came
from. Cornelius May was the first manager of the little
far-trading post in 1623, where New York City now stands. The
Vanderbilts. who are of the same Dutch stock, still keep the name)
Cornelius. In 1657 Cornelius Adrian VanSlyke received a grant of
land on the Hudson River, near Catskill, from the government of
New Amsterdam, when Peter Stuyvesant was governor seven years
before the English took it and named it New York.
century later finds the family on the Mohawk River, in Schenectady
county, New York, where our subject was bom April 5, 1766, on a
fine farm of river bottom and sandy upland similar to the land
entered here, taking in Bloomfield and all the land to the river
in sight from the cemetery mound.
This Mr. Wake Edwards, of Louisiana, now seventy-one years old,
who was raised a neighbor in New York, told me while standing on
the mound down towards the iron bridge known as the VanSlyke
cemetery mound. At maturity he married Margaret Lighthall. Mrs.
Joanna Eveleigh, who was seventy-seven years old in 1897, told me
that her mother told her he was a soldier in the War of 1812. Mrs.
Eveleigh is his grandchild and was the first white female child
born in the vicinity of Bloomfield. His daughter, Mrs. Shaw, Mrs.
Eveleigh's mother, said he was a very fine-looking man with his
regimentals on. His height was six feet and four inches, weight at
his best 250 pounds—just the same in height and weight as George
dressed with the knee breeches, knee buckles, shoe buckles and
stockings in the fashion of the time. The Mohawk Indians were
numerous and he took many of their habits. His buckskin dress with
fringe round the hunting shirt and down the breeches legs were
made like theirs. The Mohawks were among the finest athletes in
came to Indiana in 1816 and bought land, some of which is now the
L. H. Jones farm, to which he sent his son-in-law, John Vanvorst,
in 1817. In 1818 he with his son Cornelius Peter and family moved
by wagon, bringing his own wife and unmarried children.
son Cornelius built a dug-out in the south side of the "burial
mound," where there is yet a little depression which marks the
spot. Mr. Vanvorst had built south of there at the big spring.
old folks built south of Vanvorst's where they lived a few years,
then built not far west of where Col. A. G. Cavins now lives. At
this place he built a horse mill, which was a very important thing
for the people. Here they lived until old age when they went to
their son Cornelius, north of the cemetery mound, to spend their
first piece of money ever coined by this government, a twelve and
a half cent piece, was one of his cherished relics.
This with another silver coin of interesting history, which
history, with that of many others of his relics I have forgotten,
were kept to be placed on his eyelids to hold them shut after
death. This was done. A very small child, I was held up by my
father, who had made his coffin, and saw them on his eyelids
Many rare coins of silver and' gold of many nations were in his
collection. The first one thousand dollar bill issued by the old
National Bank in Philadelphia he had also. This had been at one
time kept so long under the house that it mostly rotted. Afoot he
carried it back to Schenectady, New York, to the man he got it of,
and not his affidavit of the fact, then still afoot went to the
bank in Philadelphia and showed the remains of the bill with his
testimony. The bank gave him a new bill in its place, after which
the long tramp back home was made.
Owning about seven hundred acres of land including part of what is
now Bloomfield, when Burlington was abandoned as a county seat he
bought fifty acres more from Samuel Gwathney, of Jeffersonville,
and gave the original town plat to the county on condition that
the county seat was to be placed on it. This deed was made in
past life has been so full of incident that in his last days he
told my father he thought he would write it out for his friends,
but this was not done.
September 25, 1834, at the home of his son, Cornelius P., he
passed to eternity; was buried on the mound by his wife, who was
laid there only a few days before, where to this day no stone
marks the spot where the "dust" of the man who left many thousands
of dollars in money and hundreds of acres of land is resting in
the long sleep of death. Since then a stone was set there,
furnished by the war department, in recognition of his services as
a soldier. My father was one of the men appointed by the executors
to count the money. I went with him to the house of death and saw
it. The silver and gold, or may be only the silver, made their
fingers black like they had been handling lead—when it was hauled
to John Inman's up in town, who lived on the corner lately burnt
out, where the postoffice was.
this money, land and all was "entailed" by will to the third
"Peter," then a minor, for the name's sake, Inman trustee and
guardian. On coming of age "Peter" sued Inman for the whole
amount; swept it all from him; left him in old age with no where
to lay his head. Unfaithfulness in duty—not giving it over at the
proper time was the cause of the entire misfortune.
of Greene County, Ind. B.F. Bowen Co 1908
Source: FHL 1351156
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