EARLY SETTLEMENT AND ORGANIZATION
Information taken from the book
 "History of Hendricks County Indiana"
by J.V. Hadley published 1914


        The history of the early settlement of Hendricks county would be worthy of treatment in a separate volume were the records and other sources of information in regard to those
days in existence. At that time the importance of keeping such things was not realized, and consequently few can be obtained. The settlement of Hendricks county occurred early
in 1820, within six years of one hundred years ago. Many of the people in the county today remember of bearing their fathers and mothers recount the thrilling tales of pioneer life
in the early period of log rollings, husking bees, barbecues, cabin raisings, hunts and the thousand and one other incidents which were a part of the early life. Settlements were
miles apart and social intercourse was difficult, so these entertainment's afforded the only opportunities f or the people to congregate, and these periods were generally months
apart. So the pioneer lived alone with his family in the silent and mighty forest sallying out before dawn to shoot the game or to cast a line in the stream nearby for the days food
supply. The meat of the wild game and the rough cereals raised in the patch of cleared ground provided the principal sustenance for the family; the clothes were manufactured
by the women, who sat for days before the loom; linsey-woolsey and homespun, adorned with the skins of small animals, were the popular weaves. The good mother was the
teacher of the children also; meager teaching it was, but thorough.
        Relative to the early settlement, it is well to quote a few paragraphs from the writings of Logan Esarey, an authority on Indiana history. He writes:
“The attempt to better their economic condition was no doubt the cause that led a great majority of the immigrants to come to Indiana in the early period of its statehood. They were
encouraged and many of them grossly deceived by the advertisements in the Indiana papers. The Western Sun and the Sentinel of Vincennes, the Indiana Republican of Madison,
the Intelligencer and the Ledger of Richmond, from which the following data has been cob leeched, are full of the most glowing accounts of the prosperity of this western world. Judged from these papers, there was bustle and activity everywhere. Cotton gins, ox mills, grist mills, salt wells, rich mines of silver and gold, steam saw mills, card mills, breweries were in need of laborers everywhere. Dozens of towns, each sure to be a metropolis, were springing up and in which lots could be bought for a trifle and on credit. A steamer one hundred and sixty-six feet long was on the ways at Jeffersonville. Another would soon be launched at Bono to ply on the branches of White river. Indiana seemed to be a bee-hive of industry, glowing with opportunity for the poor and industrious.
        “The period from 1816 to 1825, while the capital was at Corydon, was one of unprecedented immigration into Indiana. The settlers crowded up the waterways beyond the middle of the state. The number of counties in the state rose from thirteen to fifty-two. Almost all of the territory south of White river was organized and the line of settlement was pushed well to
the north of the National road The latter had not yet been opened and practically all of the settlers came by way of or across the Ohio river.”
        The long, weary journey in a covered wagon, over rough hills, through tangled valleys, fording streams. slow, tortuous miles traveled, made the final stopping point inviting to the settler, even if it consisted of but a convenient nook in the forest or a sequestered spot on the banks of a stream, for it meant home wherever it was. The first nights were spent under the wagon canopy or in a lean-to hastily erected of branches and grasses. The pioneer immediately began the erection of his cabin, hewing the logs and notching them into place.
A fireplace was constructed in one end of the small hut, made of sticks and mud, and the fire therein afterward served the purpose of light, heat and as a cook stove. The furniture
of the interior was as rough as the cabin itself; three legged stools, puncheon floor, a bed built against the wall, and a small table generally comprised the interior of the shack.
The walls, through which numerous breezes penetrated, were hung on the inside with animal skins, that is, if such skins were procurable. However crude these homes might have
been, the health and sturdiness of the occupants was mighty, and many of those who live today in luxury and idleness would swap their all for this strength of body and mind.
        A great part of the land in central Indiana in those days was swampy. Sloughs were scattered through the forests and were far from healthy. Ague among the settlers was an
established illness and the best remedy was quinine and whiskey, the latter in quantities. Fevers, the intermittent kind which attend malaria, were frequent too. The people believed
many peculiar things about these ailments and the fear of miasma and germ laden atmosphere was wholesome.

ORGANIZATION OF HENDRICKS COUNTY

    The act organizing the county of Hendricks was approved on December .29, 1823. The county was named in honor of William Hendricks, then governor of the state of Indiana.   The act follows:
"Section 1. Be it enacted by the General Assembly of the State of Indiana, That from and after the first day of April next, all that part of the county of Wabash included in the following boundary, viz.: Beginning at the southeast corner of section 20, in township 14 north, of range 2 east, thence west twenty miles to the east line of Putnam county, thence north with said line twenty miles, to the northwest corner of section 18, in township 17, in range 2 west, thence east twenty miles, to the northwest corner of Marion county, thence south twenty miles with said county line, to the place of beginning, shall form and constitute a new county, to be known and designated by the name and style of the county of Hendricks.

"Sec. 2. The said new county of Hendricks shall, from and after the first day of April next, enjoy all the rights, privileges and jurisdiction which to separate and independent counties do, or may properly belong and appertain.

"Sec. 3. That William Templeton, of Lawrence county, William McCulloch, of Monroe county, Calvin Fletcher, of Marion county, Abel Cole, of Shelby county, and John Smiley, of Johnson county, be, and they are hereby appointed commissioners, agreeably to an act entitled, 'An act for fixing the seats of justice in all new counties hereafter to be laid off.' The commissioners above named shall meet at the house of the late William Ballard, in said county of Hendricks, on the second Monday of July next, and shall immediately proceed to discharge the duties assigned them by laws. It is hereby made the duty of the sheriff of Morgan county to notify the said commissioners, either in person or by written notification, of their appointment, on or before the first day of June next; and the said sheriff of Morgan county shall receive from the said county of Hendricks so much for his services as the county commissioners, who are hereby authorized to allow the same, shall deem reasonable, to be paid out of any moneys in the treasury of said county, in the same manner that all other moneys are paid.

"Sec. 4. The circuit courts and all other courts of the county of Hendricks shall meet an be holden at the house of the late William Ballard in said county of Hendricks, until suitable accommodations can be had at the seat of justice in said county, when they shall adjourn the circuit courts thereto; after which time all the courts of the county of Hendricks shall be holden at the county seat of Hendricks county, established by law. Provided, however, that the circuit court shall have authority to remove the court from the said house of the late William Ballard to any other place in the said county of Hendricks previous to the completion of the public buildings, should the said court deem it expedient.

"Sec. 5. The board of commissioners for the said county of Hendricks shall within twelve months after the seat of justice shall have been selected, proceed to erect the necessary public buildings thereon. They shall also hold a special session on the first Monday in May next, for the purpose of appointing an assessor and transacting such other business as may be necessary.

"Sec. 6. The said new county of Hendricks shall form a part of the counties of Montgomery and Putnam, for the purpose of electing senators and representatives to the General Assembly, until otherwise directed by law.

"Sec. 7. The same powers, privileges and authorities that are granted to the qualified voters of the county of Dubois and other counties named in the act entitled, 'An act incorporating a county library in the counties therein named approved January 28, 1818, to organize, conduct and support a county library, are hereby granted to the qualified voters of the county of Hendricks, and the same power and authority therein granted to, and the same duties therein required of the several officers, and the person or persons elected by the qualified voters of Dubois county, and other counties named in the said act, for carrying into effect the provisions of the act entitled, 'An act incorporating a county library in the county of Dubois, and other counties therein named  according to the true intent and meaning thereof, are hereby extended to and required of the officers and other persons elected by the qualified voters of the county of Hendricks.

"This act to take effect and be in force from and after its passage."

SELECTION  OF   COUNTY   SEAT

    According to the provisions of this act, the men selected began to investigate several claims made for the location of the county seat.    Many localities were at work striving for the honor, among them the community near George Mattock's tavern, two miles east of Belleville, where a town had been laid out named Hillsboro. This site was discarded in favor of a location as near as possible to the geographical center of the county, and on the second Monday in July, 1824, the site of Danville was chosen. Four men, Daniel Beals, George Matlock, Robert Wilson and James Downard, being the owners of land in four sections having a common corner, each donated twenty acres touching the common corner for the benefit of the county seat, all of which was laid out into public square and town lots.
Thomas Hinton was appointed agent of the county, and on October 20, 1824, he placed on file a plat of the town of Danville. The lots were immediately put up at a public sale, and this continued for three days. An order was made by the commissioners for fifteen gallons of whiskey to assist the purchasers in making their selection. Samuel Herriman, the coroner, was the distributor on this occasion. The price paid for the lots ranged from three to -one hundred and fifteen dollars. The latter price was given by Mr. Hulse for the lot on the northeast corner of Main and Washington streets. The lot on the southwest corner brought the next highest price.
    The court house was completed and the first term of court held in Danville in April of the year 1826. The building was constructed of peeled "hickory logs and cost one hundred and forty seven dollars. The jail was of the same material.
The first county commissioners were Thomas Lockhart, Gideon Wilson and Littlebury Blakely. They divided the county into nine townships, of nearly equal area, and there was sufficient population in but four of the townships at that time to give them a civil organization. The first representative of the county in the General Assembly was Lewis Mastin.



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