MORGAN COUNTY INDIANA
GREGG TOWNSHIP

THE FIRST WHITE MEN

    This fine tract of country was not settled as soon as those portions along the river. The real influx of pioneers occurred in the thirties, but about six or seven families appeared for permanent residence late in the twenties. The first families were those of Solomon Dunegan, Allen R. Seaton, Charles D. Seaton, Philip A. Foxworthy, Daniel Smith, John Williams and others. Solomon Dunegan was perhaps the first permanent settler in the township. He was a Baptist minister, and came from South Carolina in 1826, and purchased a tract of land since known as the Thomas Wilhite farm. He became a very influential man in the township, was strictly moral and did a great deal for the early churches in his vicinity. Philip Foxworthy came to the township in 1827 or 1828, and entered eighty acres of land upon which he erected a hewed log cabin. This was on the Jeff Wooden farm. He had a rough time clearing his first land, worked day and night, and was assisted by his wife, who burned brush. His nearest neighbors were Solomon Dunegan, the Shipleys and Joseph Moser. In 1829, he had a few hogs of which he thought a great deal. They had cost him hard labor, and he was careful to have them properly marked with " an under half crop in the right ear and a swallow fork in the left." They ran wild in the woods, requiring no feeding other than the rich and abundant mast of nuts, twigs, herbs, etc., which covered the forest ground at all seasons of the year, especially during the fall. So abundant was this mast that hogs feeding exclusively on it often attained a weight of 200 pounds. But they generally were poorer, and when designed for the market or for home consumption were usually fed corn in addition to the mast. Every few weeks they were carefully looked up, especially if they had been missing for a few days. The owners usually fed them a little corn in the morning for the purpose of keeping them at home or in the neighborhood of home. Sometimes the owner did not care to take the trouble either to feed them or watch them. They then wandered off into the depths of the unsettled woods in quest of food, and quite often were lost. Some of them became utterly wild, especially young animals, littered out in the woods, far from any house. They would run like wolves through the brush at the sound of a human voice or the sight of a human being, and it was often necessary to shoot them like any other wild animal in order to get them. When they were looked up to be marked or killed late in the fall, they were often so savage that they were managed with great difficulty and danger. They were usually enticed into some pen, which was then hastily closed, but the process of enticing them was often unaccompanied with favorable results only after the lapse of weeks of gradual advances. The males were extremely savage, with tushes sometimes six inches in length, and when pushed too closely would turn with tigerish ferocity upon man or dog. Then there would be a scattering. All of the prominent early settlers who owned hogs had their individual ear-marks. Solomon Dunegan's mark was " a swallow fork in the left ear, and a slit in the right." His number was 133, showing that 132 had established before him. Mr. Foxworthy, in 1829, had a fine drove of sus scrofa. One night they were attacked by one or more bears where Hall now is, and one or more of them was killed and partly consumed. A bear did not stop long to inquire the name of the owner before falling upon wandering swine and making a merry meal of them. It is even doubted whether they cared seriously who the owner was. They probably thought that " possession was nine points in law," and accordingly took possession without further ceremony. They would rush upon a drove of hogs, seize one by the back of the neck, and begin to tear with teeth and claws regardless of the piercing death cries of the struggling victim. In a few minutes the hog would be torn to pieces, and would then furnish a sweet repast for bruin. Mr. Dunegan had hogs killed by bears, as did many others of the earliest settlers.
    Among the early residents was John Williams, who came to the township in 1830. The first winter, his own and two other families lived in a log cabin 18x18 feet, and, as is humorously stated by an old settler, " had room to spare for another family."    The men worked constantly in the woods. Mr. Seaton came in 1832; his cabin was built of round logs, had a clapboard roof, stick and clay chimney, huge fire-place, dirt hearth and a loft communicated with by a  pole stairway. Here  was  where the children slept. His first stable was built of rails, and his oxen were as proud as could be expected. They were not "stuck up " and aristocratic as cattle are nowadays. They chewed the cud of contentment (that was often all the cud they had), and were honest in all their dealings with their master. The  settlers of Gregg (it was Adams Township then) obtained their mail at' Mooresville. They paid 25 cents for a letter, and the envelope and letter were one and the same piece of paper. Letters were appreciated in those days, and people when they wrote letters  did not cut their friends off with a half dozen lines. They wrote half a dozen pages, and then carefully folded them with a blank page on the outside, upon which the superscription was written.    Philip Foxworthy claims to have planted the first orchard in the township The apples were seedlings, that is, they grew from the seed and not from  grafts Daniel Smith settled in the township in 1833.    During the following winter he cut down seven acres of timber and burned the brush. Early in the spring he spent four consecutive weeks in rolling logs for his neighbors, and in turn had his logs all nicely rolled. While he was away helping his neighbors for five or six miles around, his wife finished burning brush at home, and when he returned of nights he would work until  10 or 11 o'clock at night ' men ding up" the fires which she  had  started. He would also split rails, during the time, to inclose his first little field. Hundreds of such incidents might be narrated.

LATER SETTLEMENT

Among the residents of the township in the thirties were the following men: Joshua Wilhite, John Jones, Joseph Rhodes, Eli Staley, Goldsioby Blunk, William Hinkle, Nathan Ludlow, Jacob and Isaac Cram, William Proitt John R. Robards, R. S. Frederick, W. W. Philips, Anderson Williams, V. W. H. EL King, Joseph Nicholson, Washington Knight, Frederick Brewer, C. Marvin, Harlan Stout, David Shields, Simon Moon, Abijah Bray, Samuel Hackett, John Moots, William Har­vey, S. D. Dooley, Ezekiel Dooley, William Brewer, Archibald Boyd, James W. Ford, Hiram W. Williams, Noah Wilhite, Frank Garrison, Jeremiah Sturgeon, S. C. Yager, Maddox, Harper, Craven, Bartholo­mew, Russell Wilhite, John Caveness, Joel Kivett, Walker Caveness, Iram Hinshaw, James Cummings, Fred Caveness, Benoni Pearce, Zachariah Ford, Jackson Jordan, Ed Shipley, Wilson Moore, Joseph Moore, Aaron Kivett, Tamech Wilhite, Henry Wood, George Brown, John Murphey, Enoch Myers, Tobias Moser, N. B. Brown, John Brown, Andrew Knoy and many others. A few of this list never resided in the township. They owned the land which was afterward conveyed to other parties.

POLL TAX LIST OF 1842

Elijah Allison, Joseph Applegate, John Brown, Coleman Brown, Rice Brown, William Brown, George Brown, Wiles Bradley, Lawrence Bradley, Lancaster Bell, John Baldwin, Frederick Brewer, J. C. Brewer, Francis Cummings, Thomas Callahan, James Cummings, William Dune-gan, Silas D. Dooley, Thomas Edwards, James Fitzgerald, Tobias Fer­guson, William Greenlee, Jonathan Hadley, Jeremiah Hadley, Uriah Hadley, Samuel Harper, William Hinshaw, William Halloway, Jackson Jordan, Joel Kivett, John Long, Clase Marvin. John T. McPherson, Bryson Martin, Daniel McDaniel, William Maddox, John Motto, Hugh Nichols, John Nichols, Thomas S. Philips, Milton Philips, Michael Pruitt, J. H. Philips, James Philips, G. W. Shake, Allen Seaton, Daniel Smith, Harlan Stout, John Scotten, W. M. Wellman, John Whitaker, Hiram Williams, John Williams, Joshua Wilhite, John Wilson, Aaron Wilhite, Oran Williams, Samuel Wilhite and Russell Wilhite.

VILLAGES

    The township of Gregg has three spots that are called villages. Wilbur and Herbemont are of a late origin, and consist of one or two stores, a blacksmith or two, a carpenter, a saw mill, a post office, and from a half dozen to fifteen families. The only village of note is Hall. The first residences there were built long before the town was thought of Philip Foxworthy and Michael Pruitt both erected dwellings there soon after 1830. The town really started about the year 1851 or 1852. A man named Breedlove erected a storehouse, and he and a Mr. Porter, under the partnership name of Porter & Breedlove, placed therein about $1,500 worth of a general assortment of goods. The store soon attracted a few families, and soon a blacksmith, a carpenter and other tradesmen appeared. Mr. Brewer had some interest in the store of Por­ter & Breedlove. John Whitaker opened a store soon afterward. Jacob Stogsdill was connected with him. John Williams and Benjamin Young began selling goods some time afterward. After them, from time to time, in about the order here given, the following merchants were present in the village: Brewer & Mattox, Joshua Wilhite, Col. Hendricks, A. J. McCoy, Sparks & Hendricks, John B. Johnson, Milton Johnson, Frank Philips, Philips & Co., Philips & Brown, and Henry Brown at present. Rader & Wilhite erected a saw mill at Hall in .about the year 1869, which is yet in successful operation. The grist mill was built in 1875 by Long & Wilhite at a cost of about $3,500. It is yet running, and is doing a fair business. Mechanics and artisans have held forth from time to time. The village and vicinity has a brass band which took the second premium at the county seat on the 4th of July, 1883. The villagers are frequently regaled with strains of sweet music. Perhaps, too, the birds of the air, the beasts of the field, and even the trees and shrubs gather around to listen to the divine melody as they did in mythologic time to the music from the harp of Orpheus. Hall was not laid out until the autumn of 1861, at which time John P. Rader, Noah Wilhite, Michael Pruitt and Jefferson H. Woodsmall employed a surveyor and laid out ten blocks, several of them being large and the others small. The village is on Section 21, Township 13 north, Range 1 west, and has had a population as high as 200
.

EDUCATION

    The first school in the township was taught near Hall, but when it was or what the teacher's name was cannot be stated. It was not far from the year 1834. The children of Solomon Dunegan, Philip Foxworthy, Joseph Moser, John Williams, Daniel Smith, Allen Seaton and others attended the school. After a few years, probably about 1838, a log schoolhouse was erected in the northern part of the township, which, for many years, was the principal seat of learning. Schools were started in the eastern and southern portions about 1840, or very soon thereafter. In 1840, if reports are reliable, there were only three established schools in the township, and one of them was not in a house that had been built expressly for school purposes. A dwelling which had been vacated was transformed into a temple of learning. During the forties, several new houses were erected, and by 1850 there were five or six good schools. Now there are seven schoolhouses.

RELIGION

    The Mount Pleasant Christian Church at Hall was organized in the thirties, and about the year 1841 the first church was erected. Among the early members were the families of Richard L. Frederick, Joshua Wilhite, Bryson Martin, Noah Wilhite, John Williams and others. The class is yet in existence, and has its second building. A Methodist class was organized in the schoolhouse near Hall late in the thirties, the leading members being Michael Pruitt, Tamech Wilhite, Thomas Callahan, Hiram Williams, J. S. Phelps, Daniel McDaniel and Thomas Edwards. Their church was built in the forties, on land that had been donated by Michael Pruitt. The Harmony Methodist Church was organized late in the forties, or early in the fifties, and meetings were held at schoolhouses and at the residences of the members. Rev. Dane is said to have organized the class. Among the members were Terrell Hinson, Moses Dooley, Jesse Griffith, Simon Carsley, Abraham Long, Stephen L. Dane, John Faulkner, James Mason, George Kirkham and Marshall E. Dane. The church was built at Wilbur late in the fifties. Several other church organizations have flourished in the township.


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