Genealogy trails


Cities and Towns

Rockport (county Seat)

Rockport visit 1853



Gentryville, in Jackson Township, was laid out by James Gentry, who owned a large tract of land in this vicinity. Mr. Gentry was the first to engage in business in the village, he being engaged in merchandising and stock dealing. Among those who have been engaged in the mercantile business in the village, are William Jones, Smith and Gentry, W. Thompson, Totten and Griffith, W. B. Campbell, J. M. Grigsby Jr., R. D. Grigsby & Son, John Chlnn & Brothers, Kellams & Egnew, and Henry Shafer. Of the blacksmiths, Uriah Hartley was the firsts followed by Blank Weir, S. J, Hubbard. James P. Debruler of Pike County, was the first physician to locate in the village, followed by John A. Stuart, Fred. McKasson, Joel Tillman and Dr. Bryant. Allen Kincheloe is among, if not the first teacher. He taught school in a log building on the site of the present school building. Ihe first church was erected by the Methodists about the year 1852. Ihe building was a brick one, and was burned in 1867, being replaced by a frame building in 1872. George W. Walker was the pioneer minister. The Christian church was erected in 1858. Gentryville is located on the "state road", eighteen miles from Rockport, and 1 1/2 miles from the Rockport and S. W. R.R. The village contains two dry-goods stores, one grocery, two blacksmith shops, one cabinet shop, two churches, one school, one tobacco warehouse, three physicians. Population three hundred and fifty.
Excerpts from the Atlas of Spencer County Indiana D. J. LAKE and CO. 1879


Dale, situated in Carter Township, was laid out Aprl 26th, 1843, by W. K. Jones and James Hammond, contains three churches, three hotels, several stores, and two large tobacco warehouses. It has a population of about five hundred.
Excerpts from the Atlas of Spencer County Indiana D. J. LAKE and CO. 1879

Dale's history

To properly appreciate the manner in which this town got its name we should turn back to that epoch in history when Robert Owen of New Harmony fame and his four sons, Robert Dale, William, Richard and David Dale were in the world's spotlight.
The town of Dale was called Elizabeth in 1843 when it was founded by W.K. Jones and James Hammond. However in 1866 the citizens of Elizabeth petitioned for a postoffice and the post office department in Washington D.C. replied "Change the name of your town first." As a substitute they offered Dale in honor of Robert Dale Owen who had served two years in the Indiana legislature and two years in congress in addition to carving a notable career in other fields of human effort. The postoffice department accepted the name Dale without a murmur.
At the outset the townsite of Dale consisted of 16 lots. Other enlargements have been added from time to time.
The first merchant was James Williams. Other early residents were W. K. Jones, James Hammond. Dr. McKasson, J.W. Stocking and Rev. Mr. Walker.
By J. Roy Strickland
Paper: Evansville Courier and Press (Evansville, Indiana) Page: 3
Monday, July 17, 1911


The town of Grandview was settled in 1807, the second town in size in the county. It is situated on the Ohio River seven miles above Rockport. The town was laid out by Samuel D. Hammond and Alfred Lamar Sept. 26th 1851, the original plat containing 26.56 acres. Several additions have been made to the town since. It contains a population of about one thousand. Its trade is carried on by twelve or fifteen stores and several tobacco warehouses. Large quantities of hay, tobacco and corn all produced in this part of the county the most of which is shipped from this point. The town contains four churches, one graded school, and one newspaper, the "Monitor.
Excerpts from the Atlas of Spencer County Indiana D. J. LAKE and CO. 1879

Sandy Creek Landing

This creek area, known as Sandy Creek Landing in the late 1700's and early 1800's was mostly used by the early settlers of Spencer County. Points east and west were located directly across the river from the Blackford Creek. The settlement on Blackford Creek in Kentucky was known as Fort Blackford. It was located near the Kentucky Trail known as Warrior Trail running from Owensboro to Hardinsburg Ky. Prospective settlers were camped in Lewis-Blackford bottoms waiting for the Delaware Indians and the United States Government to sign a treaty.
In 1804 the treaty was signed and immediately many crossed here to start a new life. The year 1805 saw hundreds of Pioneers following this trail to settle in Hammond, Huff, Ohio, Grass, Carter, Clay and Jackson townships. It is estimated that nine out of ten pioneers settling in Spencer county came using this trail between 1800-1830.
The nearest land office was in Vincennes IN and required a 3 day trip on horseback from Sandy Creek landing area by way of Sandy Creek Landing,- Selvin,- Vincennes trail. Some settlers never requested their claim and built their cabin Knowing that later they would move on.
Documentation doesn't appear of a ferry license until 1866 when Samuel Near was awarded a license to operate such a ferry between Sandy Creek and Blackford creek. It is also recorded that Ruben Grigsby, Jr. operated a ferry in 1829. The early custom was to conduct such a ferry and was by mutual agreement by the landowners on each side of the river.
Source: Historical Marker


Saint Meinrad

This village is situated In Harrison Township, in the north-eastern part of the county, near the waters of Anderson River. The land on which the first buildings were erected was purchased of Henry Deining, by the Catholics, in April, 1853, who established a school for monks and priests, in April, 1854. In the year 1858, the comer stone of a new building was laid, which is still uncompleted.(1879) Wikipedia on St. Meinrad Abby The village proper was laid out and surveyed February 20th, 1861, by Jacob Karoidt, and contains one church and school, aside from the Abbey.
Excerpts from the Atlas of Spencer County Indiana D. J. LAKE and CO. 1879


St. Benedict, of Nursla, a city in Italy, founded in the sixth century, on Mt. Casino, near Naples, a society of men whose duty it was to lead a well ordered life, according to a fixed rule, under a common Superior called Abbot or Father. Their special duty was, dally to solemnly celebrate the Divine service, according to the rite of the Roman Catholic Church; the remainder of their time was to be spent in manual labor, reading, copying books and instructing youth. As the rule of St. Benedict proved salutary for the individual members, and those who followed it rendered great services to the church and to society, the houses in which the rule of St. Benedict was observed were spread over almost the entire Old World. In the Middle Ages, the Order of St. Benedict attained a high degree of Importance, both in regard to its great numbers, as well as by its great work in science, the fine arts, agriculture, and the various branches of industry. St. Meinrad, a descendant of the illustrious house of Hohenzollern, was a member of the famous monastery of Richenaw, situated on an Island of Lake Constance. A holy longing after solitude and a hidden life, induced him to withdraw, with the permlsslon of his Abbot, into a deep forest on Lake Zurich, in Switzerland, where he built himself a hut and a chapel, in which he placed a beautiful picture of the blessed Virgin Mary. Here he dwelt for many years, affording consolation and assistance to the people who came to hlm from all sides. He was finally murdered by two ruffians who had came to rob the poor hermit.
On the very spot of the murder there arose, in the tenth century, a large Monastery, at first called St. Meinrad's Cell, afterward Einsiedeln, which acquired great renown through the pilgrimages that were made to it. The object of these pllgrimages was to venerate that same picture St. Meinrad had honored in his hermitage. The monastery of Einsiedeln, under the directlon of fifty-one Abbots, since the year 934, and especially under the reign of the late Abbot Henry IV, has wrought innumerable blessings for Mankind, as a house that had in view not its own self-interests, but the good of the whole country; and, as the monastery had in the past, sent forth its monks to spread abroad the blessings of Christianity, so also did the late Abbot Henry IV, readily and willingly respond to the entreaties of the Bishop Maurice de St. Palais of Vincennes, that he would send the sons of St. Benedict to Indiana to form a monastery of Benedictines. After the necessary permission for the establishment of such an institution according to the laws of the Catholic church, had been obtained from the Apostolic See of Rome, the monks were sent to Indiana in the year 1852. These were the Rev. F. F, Ulrich, Christen and Bade O'Connor, who came to Ferdinand, Dubois County, in April, 1853, and purchased of Wr. Henry Deining one hundred snd sixty acres of land as a place of settlement. After the arrivial of two more priests (1853) the monastery of St. Helnrad was solemnly opened on the 2l8t of March, 1854, the feast of St. Benedict, and on the 17th of April, a school was begun, whose first pupils were Robert Huntingdon and Mr. Joesph Key Cannelton.
In the year 1858, the Rev. F. Chrysostom Foffa, at that time Prior of the monastery, laid the corner-stone of a church, which still stands near the old monastery buildings, and serves as a church for the Catholic commmunity of St. Meinrad.
It was completed on the 3d of June, 1858. Several of the priests who had labored at St. Meinrad, were obliged, on account of ill-health, to return to their mother-country; but more laborers were sent out from Einsiedeln to carry out the work which had be«n undertaken.
The Rev. Martin Marty was appointed, in 1865, Prior or Superior of the monastery of St. Meinrad. Under his management, the temporal affairs of the monastery were brought into a good condition, and the necessary steps taken to insure permanency to the institution. This, according to the principles of the Benedictine Order, is accompllshed by the elevation of the monastery to the rank of an abbey, i.e., by being empowered with self-goverment, with its own Superiors, who are independant of the mother-house. For this purpose, the Very Rev Prior Martin visited Rome and Einsiedeln, and on September 30th, 1870, St. Meinrad was erected into an independent monastery by Pope Pius IX, and the then Prior chosen Abbot. He received on the 22d of March, 1871, at the hands of the Right Rev. Bishop of Vincennes, the solenm abbatial benediction, and since that time has presided ovnr the monastery, which now numbers actong its members twenty- four priests, nine clerics, twenty-seven lay brothers, and six novices, the priests are engaged some in the affairs of the house, some in teaching in St. Meinrad's College and Theological Seminary; some act as pastors of the various Catholic congregations of Spencer, Dubois and Perry Counties; some as missionary priests in Logan County, Arkansas, and at Standing Rock and Devil's Lake Agency, Dakota. The clerics are those preparing for the priesthood. Ihe lay-brothers, on the other hand, are employed both here and in Arkansas and Dakota, in agricultural pursuits and the various trades. The first substantial building of sandstone was erected on a hill north of the present site of the abbey. It is a chapel dedicated to the Blessed Virgin, similar to the sanctuaries of the Old World known to and visited by many people, under the name of Monte- Cassino. Below it is the quarry from whlch the sandstone for the abbey is being taken. The building of the new monastery was begun on the 2d of May, 1872, and on the 8th of Semptember, 1874, Divine service was held for the first time in the new edifice. The building, as far as completed, consists of an east wing 222 feet in length, 40 feet in breadth, and 54 feet in height. The middle division is 70 feet high, and contains in the basement under a beautiful stone the entrance to the cellar apartments; in the first story, a spacious reception room; a flight of stairs leading to the third story; and in the fourth and uppermost story, a chapel, in which the members of the monastary hold Divine servles. In each story (on either of the central divisions) are to be found the cells for the priests or monks, rooms for the students o£ the Theological Seminary, and for guests. The south corner wing contains, in the first story, the kitchen, above which is a study-hall; and in the third story, a recreation-room, and the residence of the Rt. Rev. Abbott immedlately adjoining this wing is another, 119 feet long, running east and west, which was erected in 1875, and which contains in the basement a large refectory or dining-room; in the first story, a spacious music-hall ; and in the second, a large dormitory. Adjoining this wing on the south is the two-story brick library building, 98 feet long, built In 1874. The library consists at the present of about seven thousand volumes chiefly, theological works. South of the library, and parallel with the south wing of the monastery, was erected in 1876, a two story stone building, which is used as a carpenter shop and a book-bindery. In this building is a steam-englne, the entire monastery being heated by steam. The heating apparatus was put in by the firm Heilman, of Evansvllle, in 1876. The aonastery is situated on an eminence south o£ the town of St. Meinrad. In the year 1880, a new wing from north to south will be erected, which is intended for the use of the college. An imposing church also will be erected as soon as the necessary means are at hand. In the year 1861, the tenth centenary of the death of St. Meinrad, the town of St. Meinrad was founded.
Excerpts from the Atlas of Spencer County Indiana D. J. LAKE and CO. 1879

Santa Claus

The town of Santa Claus was originally laid out as Santa Fee. When they applied for a post office, the post office said they already had a Santa Fe and it would be confusing. It was December and so the town name became Santa Claus. Santa Claus Now home to Holiday World and Christmas Lake village, it is a regional recreational resort as well a sought after postmark.



By John M. Gwaltney
The original village of Midway was located about two miles west of the present site at the Pigeon Bridge. It was laid out by William Scantlin, perhaps as early as 1835. The name indicates a halfway point between, Evansville and Troy between which points the mail route ran. It was carried by two men on horseback, one taking each end of the route and each stopping one-half the time at Midway.
Mr. Scantlin was postmaster and operated a sawmill, grist mill and distillery. There was a store on the west side of the creek at what was call The Red House. George Carey was merchant. Sugar, molasses, coffee and whiskey, which sold at 15 and 20 cents per gallon, represented a large part of the stock of merchandise. Charles Buoy, a brilliant scholar and gentleman from somewhere in the south, was cabinetmaker, and his shop was on the Spencer County side. Quite a few people owned lots on either side of Pigeon Creek and engaged in these industries. The schoolhouse was located about half way between this village and the present Midway. It was called Lemon's schoolhouse.
Flat boats were sometimes built on Pigeon Creek, loaded with hoop-poles and staves and taken to New Orleans, where they were disposed of and a supply of sugar, molasses, and coffee brought back. Before steamboats were on the river the return trip was said to have been made on foot by two pioneers.
When I was ten years old (1848) our community celebrated the Fourth of July by having barbecue and dance at the home of my father, John Gwaltney. some of those who were instrumental in getting it up were, George Rubel, Jack and Bob Richards, Jim and Cal Razor, Nathan and Paul Parr, Esau and Jehue McIntire and Calvin Jones.
Preparations for the great event were made by father building a table of enormous length across the front yard. He then set forks and laid green brush n top for a shade. He dug great pits in which to roast beef and mutton. Mother baked bread. It seemed to me there was a wagon-load of light bread ad corn pone. This was also done in an outdoor oven as there was no cook stoves at that time. Assisting in these preparations were Shed Howell and his wife, Ann, perhaps others. On the morning of the great day they came on horseback or on foot or ox-cart. There was not a wagon or buggy. At this time father was postmaster, hence, I, tho a small boy, knew almost everyone present, among whom besides those mentioned above were John R. Bowers, William Luce, Louis Small, Andrew Humicutt, James Beasley, Jack Crooks, Dave Davis, and Guyan Jones. The last three were newly returned veterans from the Mexican War, and I remember distinctly that Guyan Jones wore strings of Mexican 5 cent pieces down his sleeves and trouser legs as a matter of decoration. I considered these silvery pieces about the prettiest things I had ever seen and followed him around almost hoping he might lose one off.
Ed Cochran and Mr. Truitt of Rockport, who came out to fiddle for the dance were also dressed in fancy calico suits.
The speaker of the day was John Smith of Rockport, and for this important part of the day's program, a place had been cleared in the woods where the United Brethren Church now stands. The grounds had been leveled off nicely and after the speaking there was dancing on the bare ground, but the big dance was at night in father's barn.
John M. Gwaltney.
(Transcribed by J.M.Kell)

Lincoln City