In the year 1824
the population of
the county was estimated to be one thousand people, settled mostly in
the regions in the southeast, with a few settlers near the present site
of Danville, Nathan Kirk and Jere Stiles in the southwest
corner, and Noah Bateman and a
few others along Eel river. The portion of the county now occupied by
Union, Middle, Brown and Lincoln townships was then a mosquito infested
swamp, and no settler had the boldness to risk his health by settling
there. As late as 1830 there were not. more than thirty settlers within
this locality. The more rapid and thicker settlement of the other
portions of the county was due in a large measure to the better
drainage facilities. The northeastern portion of the county was also
settled slowly. The building of the Cumberland or National road through
the south part of the county in 1830 gave a great advantage to the
southern part, this road being a highway for the tide of immigration to
the far West. Many of these transcontinental travelers found reason to
stop in this locality and remained and became permanent residents.
Practically every farmer kept open house; every home was a hotel, and
many of the settlers became moderately wealthy by their hospitality.
The first mill
constructed in the
county was a horse mill on East fork of White Lick. It was built and
owned by James Tomlinson.
The first water mill was built by John P. Benson on Rock branch in Eel
River township in 1826.
The first merchandise was sold in
Danville by James L. Given.
The first resident attorneys were Judge Marvin and Colonel Nave, the latter locating in
Danville in 1832, where he was engaged in the practice of law for more
than fifty years, until his death, in 1884. In the summer of 1823 the
two first school houses were built in the county, one in Liberty
township, below Cartersburg, and the other on Thomas Lockhart’s land in Guilford
township, and in them W. H. Hinton
and Abijab Pierson taught the
first schools in the county. In this paragraph it is well to mention
that the first birth in the county was that of Silas J. Bryant, who was born in
Guilford township in 1820, the son of
J. W. Bryant.
The first marriage
license issued by
the county clerk was for the marriage of James Reynolds and Rachel Demoss on November 17, 1824. Samuel Jessup, the first justice of
the peace, performed the ceremony. In this same month Charles Merritt and Jemimie Leaman were married by Aaron Homan a justice of the peace.
The first land deed was made on November 3, 1825, between Samuel Woodward and his wife, Abigail. The first will recorded in
the county was that of Uriah Hults,
At this time the country now comprising the state of
Indiana was held
by the Miami confederacy of Indians, the Miamis proper,
originally the Twightwees, being the eastern and most powerful tribe.
were few and scattering. These Indian settlements were occasionally
visited by Christian missionaries, fur traders and adventurers, but no
permanent settlement was risked by the whites. The Five Nations
farther to the east, in the New England states, comprised the Mohawks,
Oneidas, Cayugas, Onondagas and Senecas. In 1677 the number of warriors
in this confederation was two thousand one hundred and fifty. About
1711 the Tuscaroras retired from Carolina and joined the Iroquois, and
the organization then became known as the Six Nations. In 1689
hostilities broke out between the Indian tribes and the French
colonists of Canada, and the following series of wars served to check
the purpose of Louis XIV and to retard the planting of French colonies
in the Mississippi valley. Missionary efforts, however, continued with
more failure than success, the Jesuits allying themselves with the
Indians in habits and customs, even encouraging inter-marriage between
them and their white followers.
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