Appendix III Home Old Settlers' Meeting
Appendix IV. – Personal Notices, and Various Summary, Relating to Early Times in Eastern Indiana.
Under this head, I shall hastily throw together, in a rather miscellaneous manner, sundry topics and points which I am not now allowed time to extend, methodize, or comment upon, but which are yet, I think, of sufficient interest to claim some notice in this connection.
Judge Hoover refers to George Holman and two or three others as having preceded himself about a year in coming to this country. The following sketch of Mr. Holman, which I find in the “Ladies’ Repository” (Cincinnati), for October, 1849, will perhaps be read with interest. The time of his birth, however, I am assured is mis-stated, and that he is now probably about ninety-six years of age.
“George Holman was born in Maryland, in 1768. His father emigrated to Kentucky when he was a boy. At the age of fifteen, while out with some wagons conveying provisions to the fort – which was then an indispensable appendage to every settlement – he was, in company with several others, taken prisoner by the Indians, who for the first day hurried them off in a trot. Simon Girty, whose name figures so conspicuously in our border history, was with the Indians, and instructed our hero how to run the gauntlet without receiving injury. From his facility in conforming to their mode of life, they took a liking to him, and he was adopted into an Indian family; and during a residence of three years and a half among them, became familiarized with their language and manners – traversed with them in various expeditions the greater part of the (now) States of Ohio and Indiana – beholding – we may presume – all the lights and shades of forest life. During this time, he witnessed the horrid spectacle of the burning and torture of a captive white man. He finally made his escape to the settlements in Kentucky; but I am not apprized of the particulars of it.
“For many years he has resided near Richmond, Indiana.
For a long while after his settlement there, his brothers and relatives,
by adoption, among the Indians, were accustomed to visit him occasionally, and
talk over old times with him in their native tongue. But their visits have long been discontinued to the Far West.
The old pioneer himself, however, still survives; and the visitor to the
beautiful young city of Richmond, who is curious in regard to the early history
of the West, would be richly repaid for the trouble of searching out his abode.
At an advanced age, he is more active and vigorous than many young men;
and in his manners and demeanor, the agility of his movements, and the symmetry
of his form, the curious observer may trace the influence of his early training
among the rudely-graceful children of the forest, who have long since been
expelled from the home of their hearts, and the graves of their forefathers.”
Richard Rue, Esq., was one of Mr. Holman’s companions in captivity. The courts of the county, it will have been noticed, were for a time held at his house. He also did a large business in tying people together matrimonially, before there was any record of this sort of proceeding. *
With Jeremiah Cox, Joseph Holman and Hugh Cull were the Wayne county delegates to the first Constitutional Convention. Messrs. Cox and Holman were, I believe, also, at one time, members of the Legislature, while Patrick Beard and Isaac Julian were among those sent at an early day from the west side of the county. ** Hugh Cull came to the south part of this State before there were any white settlers in this part of it. He is yet living, and is almost a century old.
Col. George Hunt, the first clerk of this county, appears to have been a man of superior business qualifications for that day. I am not posted as to his history. His brother, Smith Hunt, died a year or two since.
Among our earliest attorneys, who practiced at Salisbury, were Judge Stevens, now of Madison, the late James Rariden, and others. They began their careers in this county.
Of noted parsons of those days, besides D. Purviance, Newlight, already mentioned, I will name Jonathan Kidwell, Universalist, and James Havens, Methodist, both backwoods theologians and original characters of the first water. The latter is still living.
Other members of the early Peace and Anti-Slavery Societies, already mentioned, were Abel Thornburg, Henry Hoover, Samuel Boyd and John Scott, of the vicinity of Jacksonburg.
There were some noted fighters and bullies in those days. A family named Brocas, in particular, were quite a terror and nuisance in that capacity for several years. Hereby hang some good anecdotes, which I have not time to record.
In the proceedings of the Wayne County Commissioners’ Court, for the year 1817, a credit of $7 50 is allowed John Turner, sheriff of said county, on his account, for the services of Burriss H. Butler, in “guarding Crist.” This was one Henry Crist, who lived near Waterloo, and was hung at Salisbury for the murder of his son-in-law, a Mr. Chambers. He was guarded by the military to the place of execution. A vast crowd gathered to witness the scene. It was a very aggravated case of murder. A pamphlet of doggerel rhyme on the subject was published by Wm. M’Kimmey, a Quaker bard of those days.
The only other execution that has taken place in Wayne county, was that of a Negro, for the murder of another, which transpired not long after, at Centreville.
It appears from the Commissioner’s records, that Richmond became an incorporated town in September, 1818, and that at an election held “at the house of Thomas & Justice,” on the 14th of said month, Ezra Boswell, Thomas Swain, Robert Morrisson, John McLane, and Peter Johnson, were chosen trustees of the town.
At the February term of said court, 1820, the following entry appears:
“The list of persons conscientiously scrupulous of bearing arms, as returned by the board of officers, was laid before the board of Commissioners by the Clerk. But the board not being in possession of the law on the subject, the same was thereupon postponed.”
The list above referred to, I presume, is the same which, I have seen it stated, was recently found at the old governor’s house, Indianapolis, and which, it was said, would be published ; but if it has been, I have not seen it.
The first printing-office established in Wayne county was conducted by John Scott, first at Richmond, about the year 1820, and afterward in Centreville. He was at one time Probate Judge. At Centreville he published a Gazetteer of Indiana, Barlow’s Vision of Columbus, and Pilgrim’s Progress, done into rhyme by Burder. Dr. Strattan, who worked in the office at the time, relates that the Pilgrim’s Progress was published at the instance of Jonathan Platts, once Probate Judge also, who lived near Hagerstown. He had the only copy in the country, and unfortunately the corners of several of the last leaves were torn off, so as to mutilate the matter. After various suggestions as to how to remedy the difficulty, Judge Platts finally concluded that he would try his hand at eking out the torn verses, so as to make them jingle, at least. He accordingly did so, and the edition was printed from Bunyan and Burder, as thus improved. A novel literary emendation! Scott afterward hung himself, at Logansport.
The game and wild “varmints” of this region consisted of bears, wolves, deer, turkeys, etc., with quite a “sprinkling” of rattlesnakes thrown in.
* The first marriage license on record in Wayne County was issued March 7th,
** The Legislature did not meet at Indianapolis until after the session
of 1822, which was held at Corydon.
Appendix III Home Old Settlers' Meeting