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^lilSll.... 3 1833 02138 8241 igf^^'^-^ 

^»^#>@^'Gc: 977.202 M69e 
^^S^^'-^^^^-O^rSAROS, James W. ia5.-j-19 



Reprinted From The Mitchell Tribune 


I Marion Township !!| 


By James W. Edwards ifi 


I t 

I I 

'- I 


COULD one have witnessed all the 
changes which have taken place in this 
community since its first settlement a little 
over one hundred years ago, its former ap- 
pearance would seem as a dream or 
romance. We find it difficult to realize the 
features of the dense wilderness which was 
the abode of our parents and grandparents. 
One hundred years ago my grandparents 
on my father's side left their mountain 
home in North Carolina to make their fut- 
ure home in what was then the territory of 
Indiana. They brought with them my 
father who was then but a small child. 

It is not from personal recollection 
that I shall write these items of local 
history, but from facts and incidents as I 
gathered them from old settlers in years 
long since gone by. Often in my boyhood 
days have I listened to the old pioneers, 
my father and grandfather in particular, 
relate their early experiences and describe 
the condition of the country as they found 
it a century ago; so often that I sometimes 
imagine that I can see conditions as they 
were and the country as it was then. 

Oldest person in Lawrence county and 
perhaps the oldest continuous resident of 
the state. She is nearing her 103th birth- 
day and at this time (June 1916) is quite 
active in both mind and body. 

It should be remembered that at the be- 
ginning of the last century there was not a 
single white inhabitant in what is now Law- 
rence County, and for several years after, 
none in that part of the county embracing 
what is now Marion Township and while 
this part of the county had always belong- 
ed to, or at least claimed, so far as we have 
history to guide us, by various Indian 
tribes, the first settlers found but little ev- 
idence of any of them having lived here. 
This part of the country it seems had been 
claimed by several tribes but permanently 
occupied by none. The early settler found 
no remains of Indian villages, nor was any 
land cleared to indicate that the red man 
had ever lived here. Occasionally the re- 
mains of a wigwam was found and the 
abundance of Indian arrow-heads and In- 
dian axes found would indicate, however, 
that roving bands of Indians had been here 
perhaps, during the hunting seat^ons. And 
while we have but little evidence from 
which to conclude that this community was 
ever permanently occupied by the red man, 
we have still less evidence that it was ever 

inhabited by that prehistoric race called 
Mound builders. So we can but conclude 
that the first settlers were those people 
who came here in the early part of the last 
century to make this their permanent home. 
Previous to the year 1813 there was not a 
permanent settler, so far as I have ever 
heard, in what is now Marion Township. 

The first settler was a man by the name 
of Phillips, who built a cabin in the year 
1813 on the hill above and a few hundred 
yards west of the spring which is the head- 
water of Rock Lick creek. Phillips after- 
ward entered the land where he built his 
cabin and made his home for many years. 
It should be noted that until the year 1813 
all the land, comprising what is now 
Marion 7 ownship, belonged to the govern- 
ment. So the first settler could choose his 
own location. 


Beginning with the year 1815 and for 
several years after, quite a number of home 
seekers arrived in this locality to make 
their home in this unbroken wilderness; a 
country covered with a primeval forest of 

the finest timber; everywhere a heav> 
growth of poplar, oak, ash, walnut, hickory, 
in fact, all kinds of deciduous trees; a 
country in its pristine glory. To destroy 
this fine forest was the first work of the 
pioneer after building his rude cabin. To 
build the cabin I speak of, was the work of 
but very few days. Usually a shack, or as 
they called it those days, a "make shift 
cabin" was built. As your readers have 
perhaps never seen a cabin of this kind I 
shall give a short description of one as I 
remember the way it was described to me. 
A place having been selected which was al- 
ways near a spring of water, a large tree 
was chopped down and a log cut from it to 
make the back part of the cabin. At a 
distance of eight or ten feet from the log 
or back of the cabin two stakes were set in 
the ground a few inches apart and at a dis- 
tance of eight or ten feet from these, two 
more stakes were placed to receive the 
poles which were to form the sides of the 
cabin. The whole slope of the roof was 
from the front to the back. The roof was 
made of rude slabs, or if the building was 




Pioneer citizens of Marion township. They 
were twins and the fathers of Dr. Isom 
Burton and Martin A. Burton, who have 
been two of Mitchells prominent citizens 
and business men. In the above portrait 
Eli wears the white trousers (tow linen) the 
cloth probably woven by his mother. He 
is the father of Dr. Isom Burton. 

done in the Spring, bark peeled from hick 
ory trees was used. The front was left en- 
tirely open. If the weather was cold, a fire 
was built directly in front of the opening; 
the cracks between the poles were filled 
with clay; dry leaves were secured for a 
bed and the cabin was ready to occupy. 
This kind of a domicile was as a rule, re- 
placed by a better one in a short time, 
though some families spent at least one 
winter in this kind of a shack before a bet- 
ter one was built in regular log cabin style. 
As I stated previously a fire was made 
in front of the cabin, or shack in winter to 
keep out the cold. I should have added 
that a fire near the cabin at night was al- 
ways necessary to frighten the wild beast 
away. All species of wild animals are eas- 
ily frightened by fire. If the early pioneer 
had occasion to go very far from his cabin 
at night he always carried a torch for fear 
he would meet one of the wild beasts that 
were then plentiful in this community. 

After building the temporary cabin that 
I have described and having rested a few 

days from the fatigue of his long journey 
from his Virginia or North CaroHna home 
the settler looked around for a location for 
a better cabin where he expected to make 
his permanent home. If the spring and 
surroundings where he built his shack suit- 
ed him, he located there, if not he selected 
a more desirable place in the near neighbor- 
hood. As I have previously said he prac- 
tically had his choice of location; I am 
speaking now of the time when but little of 
the land in this community had bsen enter- 
ed. Having decided upon a place to build 
the house which was perhaps to be his home 
for many years, he proceeded to cut the 
timber and clear the underbrush from a 
spot a few feet in circumference. He also 
cut down any tree that leaned over the 
place where he had decided to build. He 
then cut the logs that formed the walls of 
his cabin and selected a tree four or five 
feet in diameter from which he made boards 
for the roof. The boards were usually four 
feet long and rived with a frow. These 
boards were used without planing or shav- 
ing. Next, puncheons for the floor were 

prepared. This was done by splitting logs 
from trees about twenty inches in diameter 
and hewing the faces of them with a broad- 
ax. After preparing the building material 
described and hauling it on a sled to the 
place he selected, he is now ready for the 
house raising. He invited the few scatter- 
ing neighbors who lived within a radius of 
several miles. When the neighbors assem- 
bled two of them were selected for end men 
whose business it was to notch and saddle 
the logs and put them in their proper place. 
The roof was formed by making the end 
logs shorter until a single log formed the 
comb of the roof. On these logs the boards 
were placed and instead of being nailed, 
they were held in place by long poles as 
weights. The walls were built solid, that 
is they had no openings for a fireplace or 
windows. The doorway, the cabin seldom 
had but one, was made by cutting the logs 
on one side so as to make an opening about 
three feet wide A similar opening, but 
wider, was cut at the end for the chimney 
which was built of logs to the height 
of about five feet and made large so as to 

admit of a back and jambs of stone. The 
remainder of the chimney was built of 
sticks and clay. The door was made of 
slabs that had been split from a tree and 
smoothed with a drawing knife. The only 
nails in the entire building were used in 
making the door. For a window a section 
of a log, four or five feet long, was cut out 
and a piece of greased paper pasted over 
the opening. 

As the early settler brought no furniture 
with him, it was necessary to make it from 
such material as he could find. A table 
was made of a split slab and supported by 
four round legs set in auger holes. Three 
legged stools were made in the same man- 
ner. Bedsteads were made by setting up 
a stout post in a corner of the cabin about 
four and one-half feet from one wall and 
six and one- half feet from the other with 
two large holes bored into the post about 
two feet from the floor; then holes were 
bored into the logs of the walls and poles 
were inserted. On these poles, lengthwise, 
rails were laid and across the rails split 

boards were laid and the bedstead was com- 
plete. On the boards a rough tick, filled 
with dry leaves or corn husks completed 
the bed. 

Cooking utensils consisted of a skillet, a 
baking pot or Dutch oven, as it was called, 
one or two iron pots and a large iron ket- 
tle, gourds being used as cups and dippers. 
Stoves were unknown and all cooking was 
done about the fire of logs in the fireplace. 

The cabin being completed and furnished 
the family moves in. The excitement of 
the long journey from their former home 
and the novelty of plunging into an un- 
known forest being over, what a feeling of 
lonesomeness must have come over these 
pioneers I imagine that the most promi- 
nent feature of these wilderness homes was 
its solitude. 


The solitude of the night was interrupted 
by the hoot of the ill-boding owl, the howl- 
ing of wolves or the frightful scream of the 
murderous panther. Often the growl of 
the bear was heard at the cabin door, or the 
blood -shot eye of the catamount was seen 

peering through the openings of the cabin. 
The days if possible, were more soHtary than 
the nights. The gobbhng of the wild turkey, 
the cawing of the crow, the woodpecker 
tapping the hollow tree, or the drumming 
of the pheasant did not enliven the scene, 
nor was the situation without its dangers. 
The settler as he was going about his work, 
or, while engaged in the hunt, did not know 
at what tread he might be bitten by the 
poisonous copper-head, or rattlesnake; nor 
at what moment he might meet the hungry 
bear. If out at night, he knew not on what 
limb of a tree over his head the blood- 
thirsty panther might be perched ready to 
spring upon him. Exiled as they were from 
society and the comforts of life the situation 
of the settler and his family was perilous. 
The bite of a serpent, a broken limb, or a 
siege of sickness in the wilderness without 
medical skill was not pleasant to contem- 
plate. Such was the situation which con- 
fronted those brave people who built the 
first cabins in this community. 

I deem it proper just here to say that 
there is but one living witness to the early 

conditions that I have described and that 
is Aunt Thursey Way who has lived in this 
community more than one hundred years. 
This aged veteran is plodding feebly by the 
last milestone of life. Eternity will soon 
close around her and then the only know- 
ledge of early times and deeds will be from 
fragmentary sketches of history. Mrs, Way 
is past 103 years. There may be others 
living in Indiana who are as old but per- 
haps not one who has lived as long in the 
place he now lives and who has seen as 
much Hoosier history made as has Mrs. 

The settlement of a new country in the 
immediate vicinity of an old one is not at- 
tended with many difficulties because sup- 
plies can be obtained from the older settled 
community, but the task of making new 
homes in a wilderness, as remote from civil- 
ization as this, was quite different, because 
food, clothing and other necessities were 
obtained with great difficulty, and while 
these pilgrims of the forest could feast their 
imagination with the romantic beauty of 
their new surroundmgs, they had difficulties 
before them which required the bravest 
heart to overcome. 

They were exiles from society, schools and 
church. The clothing they brought with 
them soon became old and ragged. The 
scant supply of meal they had provided un- 
til a field could be cleared and a crop of 
corn raised, was soon exhausted. It was 
not uncommon for a family to be without 
bread for weeks or even months. The lean 
meat of the deer and the white meat of the 
wild turkey were used as a substitute for 
bread. 1 he flesh of the bear and the 
squirrel was the only meat, and that often 
had to be eaten without salt. At the time 
I mention, salt could not be obtained near- 
er than Louisville, Ky. It was sold by the 
bushel and the price was sometimes seven 
dollars for a bushel weighing eighty-four 
pounds. To provide food for the few do- 
mestic animals they brought was also quite 
: problem. Many of these died of actual 
starvation during the first winter. I am 
speaking now of the winter of 1816 and 
181/. We have neither record nor tradi- 
tion of any families having spent the winter 
in this ccmmunity previous to that time. 
Two cabins had been built here before the 

dates mentioned, but it is said the owners 
did not spend the winter here The two 
settlers I refer to were Lewis PhiUips, of 
whom previous mention has been made, and 
Samuel G. Hoskins. who built a cabin in 
1815, on Rock Lick creek near the old 
Crawford homestead. It should be noted 
that Phillips and Hoskins, with their fam- 
ilies, were the only settlers in the territory 
of Marion township at the close of the year 

During the year of 1816 as many as 
twenty five or thirty families arrived here 
and most of them built cabins and made 
this their permanent home. I cannot name 
them all but will give the names of a few 
and tell where they located: Jacob Piles 
built a cabin on the south-west corner of 
the farm now owned by Oscar Gaines. 
George Sheeks located on Rock Lick creek, 
near the Finger cemetery. John Sutton 
and his father-in-law Thomas Rowark, set- 
tled on what is known as the Denton Sheeks 
farm. William Erwin built a cabin on what 
is known as the Widow Dodd farm. My 
grandfather, William Edwards, settled a 

short distance south of what is now tht- 
Edwards cemetery. Neddy Edwards built 
a cabin about one-half mile south of this 
on the farm now o ned by Noble L. Moore. 
Charles Toliver, the father of Aunt Thursey 
Way, located on the south-west corner of 
the farm now owned bv Isom L. Burton, 
near the residence of John Isom. Aunt 
Thursey has lived for nearly a century 
within about a mile of the place where her 
childhood days were spent. John McClean 
a school teacher, located near the residence 
of the late John Murray. About one-half 
mile south of the last named place James 
Fulton built a cabin and a few years later 
a distillery. Zach Spurling built a shack, 
in which he lived for several years, about 
two miles west of where Mitchell now stands. 
Thompson Conley built a cabin not far 
from the Bryantsville and Hamer's Mill 
road and near the Elkin spring. This was 
afterward the home of the Rev. David El- 
kin, who preached Lincoln's mother's fun- 
eral. Joel Conley located on the old Con- 
ley homestead, near the Conley cemetery. 
William Maxwell and William Baldwin lo- 

cated on what is now the Reuben Miller 
farm. There were a number of other fam- 
iUes located here during the year 1816 and 
whose names I cannot give. 

A majority of the settlers entered the 
land where they located within a year or 
two after their arrival, but some of them 
occupied the land for years before acquir- 
ing a title to their homes. Perhaps this 
question is asked. Where were these pion- 
eers from and why did they leave homes of 
plenty to build new homes in the wilder- 
ness? It was the voice of opportunity, the 
lure of land and the ambition to do some- 
thing for their children, were the leading in- 
centives that prompted these hardy people 
to leave their former homes and endure the 
hardships and privations in a new country. 
So strong is the tie of property, especially 
in land, that men will endure almost any 
kind of hardships to secure it. Nearly all 
the families who came here to find homes 
during the years 18 16 and 1817 were from 
Ashe county. North Carolina, or Grayson 
county, Virginia. Tlese two counties, 
although in diffeient states, are separated 

only by an imaginary line. Thus it will be 
seen they were people who had lived under 
the same environments before emigrating 
here where all were necessarily surrounded 
by the same conditions 

What I shall say of the civilization of 
the pioneers will also apply to those who 
followed them for several years afterward. 
It is a prevalent opinion that people who 
are the first inhabitants of a wilderness 
country, such as this community was dur- 
ing the first few decades of its settlement, 
were of the ignorant and lower class. This 
is far from being true. In this electric 
light, automobile and railroad age, the 
early pioneers living or dead, receive but 
little credit for the actual intelligence 
possessed. History must do justice to the 
noble men and women who braved the 
hardships that our foreparents endured. 
In spite of their rude surroundings these 
people were given to hospitality and as 
freely divided their rough fare with a 
stranger as with their neighbor, and would 
have been offended had they been offered 
pay. Other characteristics were industry, 


honesty, candor and steadiness of deport- 
nrient For quite a period of time they 
knew nothing of courts, lawyers, magis- 
trates, sheriffs or constables. They were a 
law unto themselves. Every one was at 
liberty to do whatsoever he thought was 
right in his own eyes. It is the history of all 
sparsely settled communities where all are 
well known to each other, public opinion 
has its full effect, and to some extent, 
answers the purpose of legal government. 
That was especially true of this community. 
The turpitude of vice and the majesty of 
morality were then more apparent than 
now. The crime of theft was almost un- 
known. Our fore-fathers, so far as I have 
ever heard, had a kind of hereditary de- 
testation of a thief. Gambling with cards, 
and such games as progressive euchre and 
five hundred were then unknown. They 
are some of the blessed gifts of modern 


The early settlers usually arrived here 

either in the summer or early fall. Nothing 

could be done in the way of planting a crop 


the first year on account of the lateness of 
the season and also on account of the 
country being covered with timber. The 
pioneer selected and marked off a piece of 
ground that would make a suitable field; 
this selection was usually near his cabin. 
Any of the older men now living will tell 
you that to go into a primeval forest and 
cle&r a field even with the improved tools 
in use at the present day is no small task. 
Our grandparents knew of but two tools to 
use in clearing, the axe and grubbing hoe; 
cross cut saws were not in use then The 
first step in clearing the ground was to cut 
away the under growth. Then a few of the 
straight grained trees were cut down and 
made into rails to make a worm fence 
around the field before planting a crop of 
corn. The remainder of the timber was 
either chopped down or deadened by 
girdling or burnmg. To clear a field of ten 
or twelve acres was the work of the first 

By the next spring the settler was ready 
for his first log-rolling. A day was set for 

the rolling and the neighbors for quite a 
distance were invited On such occasions 
as house- raising and log-roHings, each 
neighbor was expected to do his duty faith- 
fully. If he failed to do so without an 
excuse, when it came his turn to need like 
help from his neighbors he felt the punish- 
ment in their refusal to respond to his call. 
As some of the young people who read this 
perhaps have but little idea of what a log- 
rolling consisted of, I will describe one. 
First, the logs were cut or burned off so 
they were not more than twelve or fourteen 
feet in length. This was done previous to 
the day fixed for the rolling. Each man 
who was to take part in the work armed 
himself with a hand spike made of dog 
wood or sassafras. One of their number 
was selected as captain whose duty it was 
to direct the work. If the logs were very 
thick on the ground the captain would 
direct that four logs be placed side by side, 
then three smaller ones on top of these, 
then two more on top of the last three. A 
single log on the top of these would com- 
plete the pyramid, Usually all the logs in 

an ordinary clearing, as the first fields were 
called, could be piled reaoy for burning in 
a single day, but if more time was required 
it was freely given. Men would go miles 
to help and often worked three or four 
weeks in this kind of work. After the logs 
were piled it required several da\ s to burn 
the log heaps and brush and get the ground 
ready, as we would say, for the plow. But 
the kind of plow then in use. which con- 
sisted of a small piece of steel fastened to a 
wooden mould board, could be but little 
used in a new field. So the preparation of 
the ground for the first crop of corn, as 
well as the cultivation, had to be done 
mostly with the hoe. This was a slow and 
laborious method, but necessity knows no 

When the corn was nearing the roasting 
ear stage a battle royal would begin be- 
tween the farmer and the varmints, as the 
squirrels and raccoons were called, as to 
which was entitled to the corn. These 
animals were very plentiful and both were 
very destructive to growing corn. The 

children, as well as the men and women, 
every day in the week would march around 
tYe field making all the noise possible with 
cow-bells, horns, clap-traps and dogs to 
scare away the squirrels. At night fires were 
built all around the field to frighten the 
raccoons and other animals away. In spite 
of all this much of the corn was destroyed 
before it was ripe enough to gather. As 
has been previously noted, many families 
had been living for some time without 
bread and had become sickly and, as they 
expressed it, tormented with a sense of 
hunger How eagerly these people must 
have watched the growth of the corn. Hew 
delicious must the roasting ears have tasted. 
What a jubilee they must have had when 
the corn had acquired a sufficient hardness 
to be made into Johnny cakes by the aid 
of a tin grater. The question will be asked. 
"What is a grater and how could meal be 
made with it?" A grater is a circular piece 
of tin perforated with a nail or punch from 
the concave side and nailed by its edges 
to a block of wood. The ears of corn were 
rubbed on the rough edges of the holes 

while the meal fell through them on the 
block to which the grater was nailed. This 
was indeed a slow way of making meal, 
but it was the best they could do. When 
the corn was too hard to be ground with 
the grater, the hominy block was used. 
This was made of a large block of wood 
about two feat long with an excavation cut 
or burned in one end, wide at the top and 
narrow at the bottom so that the action of 
the pestle on the bottom threw the corn up 
the sides toward the top of the excavation 
from whence it continually fell down into 
the center. Thus the whole mass of grain 
was equally subjected to the strokes of the 
pestle. In the fall of the > ear while the 
corn was soft the block and pestle did fairly 
well, but this method was very slow when 
the corn became hard. As the mills for 
grinding grain, which were built in this 
part of the country after a few years of its 
early settlement were usually located on 
small streams which, in dry or very cold 
weather, could not run on account of the 
lack of water, the grater and hominy block 
were used at intervals for many years. 
For several years after the first settlement 
the farmers did not attempt to raise wheat, 
so that corn meal was their only de- 
pendence for bread 


Previous to the last sixty years, wheat as 
well as all other small grain, was sown 
broadcast and usually covered over with a 
wooden tooth harrow or with a brush pull- 
ed around by horses or oxen. 

For the first fifteen or twenty years after 
this community was settled, all reaping was 
done with the historic sickle. It seems in- 
credible to think that almost all the im- 
provements that have been made in agri- 
cultural implements, have been made dur- 
ing the last seventy-five or eight\' years. 

Less than eighty years ago the old sickle 
was still used that had been in use in Egypt 
before the pyramids were built; it had been 
in use long before the christian era — in fact 
before authentic history began. For thous- 
ands of years it had been the only reaper. 

The plow that was used here less than a 
hundred >ears ago with its wooden mould 
board, was but little different from the 
plow that was used in the fields of Boaz. 

In the memory of some few persons, yet 
living, wheat was threshed by tramping, 
just as it was in the days of Moses. 

No wonder that agriculture, unaided by 
intelligent inventors, had made no advance- 
ment. It has been little more than half a 
century ago that the scythe and cradle 
came into general use. Farmers then con- 
sidered it a model of usefulness and a great 
labor saver. The scythe and cradle was 
used almost exclusively in reaping in this 
community until about the year 1850 when 
a clumsy reaper called the Kentucky Har- 
vester came into existence and was used 
on some of the larger farms. A few years 
later a machine called the Dropper came 
into use This machine did not bind the 
bundles but dropped them off to be bound 
by hand. Then came the self binder which 
is now in use The first binders used wire 
instead of twine to bind the bundles. It 
was many years after this community was 
first settled that a threshing machine was 
used. In fact threshing machines were not 
used here until about the year 848. Un- 
til then, the grain vvas threshed either with 
a flail or tramped out with horses. The 
first machine used in threshing was called 
the 'Ground-Hog". This machine sepa- 
rated the grain from the straw but did not 
separate the grain and chaff This had to 
be done by running the grain and chaff 
through a fan, which was turned by hand. 

All the lumber used in this community, 
for many years of its early existence, was 
sawed by whip saws, as they were termed. 
The process of making lumber with a whip 
saw, as I have had it described to me, is 
something like this: A frame work for the 
purpose was built on a hill side high enough 
for a man to stand under and work. The 
log that was intenaed to be made into lum- 
ber was rolled upon this frame and the saw- 
ing was carried on by two men, one above 
and one below the log. A long, thin saw 
was pulled up and down through the log 
by these men, much after the fashion of 
the old upright raw that some of the older 
people remember seeing at Hamer's miU a 
half century ago. It would require of two 
men a daj' of hard work to saw as much 
lumber as an ordinary saw mill would saw 
in ten or fifteen minutes. 

It is said that necessity is the parent of 
invention. This was surely true of the 
early pioneers. Money with them was 
very scarce, so it became necessary for them 
not only to do their own tailoring and shoe 
making, but to tan their own leather. A 
tan vat could be seen at nearly every home. 
This was a large trough that had been hewn 

from a poplar log, sunk to its upper edge in 
the ground. A quantity of white oak bark 
was easily obtained in the Spring when the 
clearing was being done. This, after being 
dried, was shaved and pounded on a block 
of wood with a maul or axe. Ashes were 
used instead of lime for taking off the hair. 
The blacking for the leather was made of 
soot and bear grease or lard Leather made 
in this way, while coarse, was good. 

The clothing worn for many years was 
of domestic manufacture. Almost every 
house contained a loom and every woman 
was a weaver. Girls \vere taught how to 
weave and spin at a very early age Lm- 
sey, which was made of flax and wool was 
about the only article of clothing. Every 
family raised a small field of flax. Many 
who read this have never seen a field of flax. 
The seed was sown in April or May and 
covered with a wooden tooth harroA'. In 
August or September it was ready to pull. 
This was a slow process as it had to be 
pulled much as we would pull weeds from a 
garden. After being pulled it was bound 
into bundles like wheat or oats. After a 
few days drying it was taken to the thresh- 
ing floor and by the use of the flail the seed 
was separated from the stem, It was then 

scattered out on the ground in order to rot 
the woody portion, where it remain sd about 
a month. It was then taken to the flax 
brake and the woody part broken into small 
bits then with a large wooden dagger, call- 
ed a singling knife, these bits were separat- 
ed from the flax. The next process was to 
separate the flax from the tow, which was 
done by pulling it through the teeth of the 
hackle. The flax was then ready to be 
wound aiound the distaff and spun into 
thread ready for the Iooti. Flax was al- 
ways spun on what was called the little 
wheel, 1 will not attempt to describe any 
of the tools just mentioned, but suggest 
that someone make a flax brake, a flail, a 
singling knife and hunt up a hackle and a 
little spinning wheel and have them on ex- 
hibition at the centennial celebration, that 
I understand is to be held here sometime 
during the present year. 
As was noted in a previous sketch the 
early settler could make practically his own 
selection as to a place to build a cabin for 
his hf me and to clear fields for a farm. It 
should be understood however that simply 
occupying the land gave no legal claim to 

ownership. While all the land in this 
community prior to the > ear 1 81 5 was 
termed public land, it had to be purchased 
or entered, as it was called, before any 
individual could acquire title ro it. At 
that time there was no preemption law that 
gave one a right or claim before others. To 
properly understand how the title to land 
here in Indiana was acquired it is necessary 
to go back to a period which antedates the 
admission of the State, and eve ^ before its 
formation as a territory. 

At the formation of the government all 
lands not owned by individuals belonged to 
the states within whose limits they were 
situated. The claim of the states however 
was subject to the claim of various Indian 
tribes. At the time I mention, what is now 
Indiana was a part of Virginia. This state, 
a few years later ceded its claim to the 
Federal government and it became a part 
of the North West Territory. A few years 
later a part of thi vast domain was sur- 
veyed and offered for sale to individuals. 
It is curious however to look bark at the 
first awkward attempt at legislation govern- 
ing the sale of public lands. The earliest 
law passed by congress for the sale of 
government lands provided for its disposal 
to purchasers in tracts ol^ not less than four 

thousand acres each, and did not allow the 
selling of a smaller quantity. This law, as 
can readily be seen, prevented persons of 
moderate means from ever requiring free- 
holds and would have enabled a few 
persons of wealth to have been the only 
freeholders. Had this law remained on the 
statute books this country would have been 
like Mexico, a land of landlords and serfs 
The law was unpopular in the extreme 

The first step toward a change in this 
objectionable system of disposing lands was 
made by William H. Harrison when he was 
a territorial delegate m congress. In 1800 
the law referred to was changed so that 
Government lands could be entered in 
tracts as small as forty acres. Before land 
could be sold by the Government it was 
necessary that it be surveyed. This was 
done by surveyors employed by the 
Government. The first work of these sur- 
veyors was to establish a base or starting 
point from which to measure. To do this 
it was necessary that two lines be located. 
One. a meridian line which runs north and 
south; the other, a base line which runs 
east and west. From the point where these 
two lines cross all the land in this part of 
the country was surveyed. The meridian 
line used in the survey of the lands in this 

community is the east boundary of Mitch- 
ell, and the base line is eighteen miles south 
of here. 

The next work of the surveyors was to 
divide the land into units six miles square 
called townships. The townships were 
then divided into thirty-six equal parts 
called sections. The sections are one mile 
square and contained six hundred and forty 
acres. The lines dividing the sections were 
marked through the timber land, such as 
the land here was, bv blazing and cutting 
notches in trees. These were called witness 
trees. When no trees were on the line 
those nearest on both sides were blazed in 
such a way as pom ted to the line the sur- 
veyor had established. If a tree stood at 
the precise spot where a corner was to be 
made, as was sometimes the case, it was 
marked in a pecuUar manner to indicate 
that it was the corner of a section. When 
theie was no tree to mark the corner, a 
large stone with the proper numbers placed 
on it was set to indicate the corner. The 
suryeyor made a record of trees marked 
and stones placed. This record was called 
'field notes. ' The surveyors were also 
required to make a plat or drawing of the 
land surveyed. A copy of this plat and 

field notes was placed on file in the land 
office in the district where the land was 
offered for sale or entry. By noting care- 
fully the marks on the witness trees and 
the numbers on the corner stones, and com 
paring them with the field notes and plat 
at the land office, the early settler had but 
little trouble in locating the land he desired 
to enter. 

The land office, where the early settlers 
from this p rt of the country procured titles 
to their homes, was at Vincennes. Although 
it is but sixty-five mibs from here, yet to 
make the trip at the time I mention was 
quite a difficult task. 1 here was no road, 
simply a trail leading from here to guide 
the pioneers and that was, lor a large por- 
tion of the way, through unbroken forest 
and over a very rough and hilly country. 
As the two branches of white river and a 
number of creeks had to be crossed and as 
there were no ferries or bridges it was quite 
a problem to cross the rivers and creeks 
when making the trip especially when they 
were swollen, which in those days was often 
the case. 

The entry price of land prior to 1820 was 
two dollars per acre. One-fourth to be paid 

when the certificate of purchase was issued, 
the remainder in two annual payments. 
After 1820 the price was one dollar and 
twenty-five cents per acre, all paid at time 
of entry. In every congressional township 
one section number 15 was reserved for the 
benefit of public schools and was called 
school lands. These lands at first were not 
subject to entry, but were leased for a 
number of years. The person leasing them 
was required to make certain improve- 
ments each year, that is, to clear so many 
acres and to plant so many fruit trees. 
These lands were afterward sold and the 
money placed to the credit of the public 
school fund which was the begmning of the 
splendid school system we now have 

Very few of the pioneers had sufficient 
money when arriving here to make full 
payment on land, and were given simply a 
certificate of purchase which secured the 
land to them for a certain length of time, 
when, if they met the other two payments, 
they received a patent, as a government 
deed was called. If thej^ tailed to meet 
either of these payments they forfeited the 
land and the money they had paid, and all 
the hard work in clearing and improving it 
was lost. 

Most of the early immigrants to this 
community were very poor, and, as I have 
stated, had only money to make the first 
payment on the land they had selected for 
a home, depending on making the money 
to meet the deferred payments when they 
became due. This they found to be quite 
a difficult task. It was all they could do 
for a few years lo clear the land and raise 
produce enough for their own use. and if 
they had raised a surplus, there was no 
market for it. The only way they could 
procure money was by selling the skins and 
furs of wild animals. And so it happened 
when the payments became due and de- 
linquent, many of the settlers were on the 
point of losing their homes. Through the 
efforts of William Henry Harrison, who 
was formerly the territorial governor of 
Indiana, but who at the time I mention 
was a member of congress, a system of re- 
lief wa^ devised which, by extending the 
time of payment, enabled most of the 
people to save their homes. General 
Harrison was born and reared in a log 
cabin in the wilderness and knew some- 
thing of the trials and hardships of pioneer 
life. ^ 

After 1820 the credit system was abolish- 
ed, and the price of land, as has been 

stated, was fixed at one dollar and twenty- 
five cents per acre instead of two dollars, 
the former price. 

The immigration to this part of the 
country for the first few years was slow 
and tardy in its movements. Up to the 
year 1820 there had been less than forty 
land entries in what is now Marion town- 
ship, which contains more than sixty-five 
sections of land. This is little more than 
one purchase for each thousand acres em 
braced in the township, and some of the 
persons making these entries aid not live 
here During the :. ear 1820 there were 
but four entries of land made in this 
locality. These entries were made by 
Thomas Bulitt, Aaron Davis, Robert Hall 
and Zebedee Wood Mr. Bulitt, two years 
prior to this, had built the mill long after- 
ward known as Hamer's mill, and the land 
he entered was adjacent to this property. 
Aaron Davis located on White river, near 
where the road leading from here to Bed- 
ford crosses the river, Robert Hall entered 
a part of the land now owned by Clay 
Wright and Mrs. Henry Trueblood and 
built there the fiist house of hewn logs 
that was built in this community. He 
also was the first pioneer to venture away 

from a spring or stream, and it is s&id, dug 
the first well that was dug in this entiie 
vicinity. Zebedee Wood located near 
where Woodville was afterward located. 
Mr. Wood was the first gun-smith to locate 
here, and to his honor be it said, was 
among the first to depart from the custom 
of having whiskey at house-raisings and 

During the twenties quite a change came 
over the community. A number of the 
cabins once so solitary became the nucleus 
of a little settlement. After the settlers 
had secured titles that were undisputed to 
their homes they began to plant orchards 
and make other improvements. 

The year 1826 was especially eventful, for 
in that year more settlers arrived than dur- 
ing any two years previous. Among these 
were the Bass families, the Field families, 
and quite a large number of the Burton 
families. It was also during that year that 
the first postoffice this community ever had 
was established It was located at Hamer s 
mill and called Mill Spring. Hugh Hamer 
was the first postmaster. 

The question has been doubtless asked, 
why have I presented this portrait of the 
hardships, privations and crude manner of 
living of our fathers and forefathers^ If 
so, may I not ask, why are you pleased 
with reading the horrors of war and the 
account of the butchery and carnage of 
battles? Why are you deHghted with the 
fictions of poetry, the novel and rom nee? 
I am attempting to give facts and facts 
only as I understand them. I am en- 
deavoring to depict a state of society and 
manner of living that have long since 
ceased to exist and are fast vanishing from 
the memory of man I hope these sketches 
and descriptions of earl\ times will give 
the young people who mav read them a 
knowledge of the advantage of living in a 
community blessed with all modern im- 
provements, and prevent them from think- 
ing that former times and conditions were 
better than the present. 

It is especially befitting that in this 
centennial year of our State and the 
centennial year of the settling of this 
community we should inquire who the 
men and women were who came here when 
this was a wild and rugged wilderness. 

This IS now a prosperous and progressive 
community, and surelv the people who laid 
the foundation for its development are 
worthy of our study and consideration. 

The history of this community is 
evolution. Present prosperity and present 
conditions have come only from exertion, 
privation and sacrifice. No thmking 
peison can be insensible to the pleasure of 
the study which deals with the aspirations 
and efforts ol those people who, many 
years ago, laid so well the foundation upon 
which has been built the civilization we 
now enjoy. It is eminently proper that 
we should know something of those people 
and trace and record the social, industrial 
and political progress of the community in 
which we live. So far, I have spoken only 
of the hardships and tiials of the early 
settlers. But these conditions were not 
always to exist. As time went on some 
of the settlers built mills, not such as we 
have today, but they filled a much felt 
want. Some of the early mills were run 
by water; others, by horse power Some 
of the old people now living can remember 
when baskets of corn were brought in to 
be shelled by the bright blazing fire-place. 
After supper the entire family would assist 
in shelling the corn from the cob It was 

then placed in a bag and the next day the 
settler placed it on the back of a horse and 
a boy mounted behind it and st&rted to the 
mill which was often quite a distance. 
When he arrived at the mill he would 
probably find others there before him and 
would have to wait sometimes two or three 
days for his turn. 

For many years corn bread was the 
staple food, and it was made in the 
simplest manner. The meal was mixed 
with salt and water and made into a stiff- 
dough which was placed on a clap-board 
two or three feet long and about an inch 
thick This was placed before a hot fire 
in the fire place. When partly baked it 
was turned on the board and the other side 
was placed toward the fire. When baked 
in this manner it was called "Johnny 
Cake." Sometimes the dough was made 
into what was called a pone and baked in 
an oven If baked in this manner it was 
called "corn dodger." 

For several 3^ears of the early settling of 
tHs locality corn was almost the only grain 
raised, and there was but little, if any, 
market for it. Sometime during the early 
twenties a whiskey distillery was built at 

Hamer's cave by a man named Montgomeiy 
who bought considerable corn and distilled 
it into liquor. A year or two later Hugh 
Hamer commenced building flat boats at 
the old boat yard near where Mill Creek- 
empties into White river, and shipped corn 
and other produce to New Orleans. From 
this time on the settlers found a market 
for their corn and other produce Tha 
price, however, was often very low. Some- 
times not more than ten cents per bushel 
was paid for corn. 

It was in the year 1826 that the first 
postoffice was established in the town- 
ship. Previous to that time the pioneers 
of this part of the country had been as 
completely cut off from their old home and 
friends as if an ocean rolled between them 
Although the privations and suffering of 
the early immigrants did not last man\ 
years it was quite a long while before they 
were permitted to enjoy what might be 
termed the luxuries of life. Matches, 
which we consider a necessity, were un- 
known to them. Fire was kept from day 
to day and from year to year by covering 
heaps of coals in the fire place or by setting 
fire to hickory logs and stumps in the 

v/oods and fields near the honne. If the 
fire went out they had to kindle it by the 
use of the flint and steel or go to a neigh- 
bor and borrow. For a number of years 
after the first settlement, the people had 
no candles nor lamps. Their cabins were 
lighted by the blaze from the open fire- 
place or by what they termed the tallow 
dip, which was made by saturating a rag in 
tallow or bear grease and burning it. A 
few years later candle moulds were brought 
into use, and for many years candles were 
used for lights. It was not until some time 
m the fifties that coal-oil lamps were 
brought into use. 


As time went on conditions that I have 
been speaking of changed. By and by 
many of the cabins gave place to hewed 
log houses, some of them with an upper 
room which was reached not by a stair- 
way, but by a ladder on the outside of the 
house. This upper room was called the 
loft. After a fe^v > ears even the little 
cabins in the woods began to look more 
homelike We should bear in mind that 
the people of those early days were much 
like the people of the present time, it was 
the circumbtances and surroundings that 

made them different. Although without 
the means to provide themselves with fine 
clothing and elegant homes, yet they loved 
the beautiful. After a few years the yards 
of their humble homes were made fragrant 
by wild roses, daffodils, sun flowers and 
other old fashioned flowers. Indian-creepers, 
wild mornmg-glories and other bloommg 
vines clambered over the walls of the 
cabins, and Mary m her vine covered 
cabin in those days was as happy as she 
would be in her vme clad cottage today. 

The people who settled here in early days 
had little time, for several years to thmk 
of education. It kept them^ busy to clear 
the ground and provide food and clothing 
for their families. Children assisted in the 
work on the farm and as it was such a 
difficult task to prepare the land for culti- 
vation, that had schools been situated in 
their midst the children, who were old 
enough to do any kind of work, could not 
have been spared to attend school. The 
people of this community, as have been 
previously stated, for several years had 
been completely cut off from communicat- 
ing with the rest of the world and had not, 
perhaps, read a newspaper for years. The 

opportunity for reading and studying at 
home was very limited. In those days a 
family library usually consisted of a Bible, 
a hymn book, Bunyan's Pilgrim's Progress 
and sometimes outlines of Ancient History. 
It is worthy of special note that under 
these difficulties and limitations the Ameri- 
can thirst for education was alive and the 
pioneers of the forest longed for the oppor- 
tunity of educating their children. While 
none of these people had been instructed in 
classic lore, yet, they were as a rule, people 
of ordinary intelligence and some education 
and as soon as the bread and butter issue 
was not a problem, the education of their 
children was first in their mind. At that 
time it was almost impossible to obtain 
books, slates, pencils, pens and paper, and 
for several years their use was limited to 
those who had brought them from their old 
homes. For quite a number of years after 
Indiana become a state there was no pub- 
lic school system and no public funds to 
pay teachers or build school houses. For 
several years the few school houses, that 
were built in this community, were built by 
the men in the locality where they were 
located, and the teachers for a number of 
years, were paid b\' private subscription. 
When the people of a neighborhood decided 

to build a school house, a site would be 
selected as near the center of the neighbor- 
hood as possible. Then a day would be 
agreed upon for the men to meet and buiid 
the little structuie that was to be a neigh- 
borhood or community school house. As 
the country became more densely populat- 
ed, a few school houses were built of hewed 
logs but most ol them were made of round 
logs with clapboard roof and puncheon 
floors. The boards on the roof were fas- 
tened down with wooden poles and wooden 
pegs. Almost h If of one end of the house 
was taken up by a fireplace and stick and 
clay chimney. A section of the log was 
cut a^vay on one side to form a window. 
Over this opening stiff paper was placed 
which had been greased to make it trans- 
parent. For a writing desk split boards 
that had been smoothed with a drawing 
knife were placed on pegs which had been 
inserted in auger holes in a log beneath the 
window. The door was made of slabs and 
hung on wooden hinges. The benches were 
made of logs split into halves and the split 
side smoothed with a broad axe and sup- 
ported by pegs driven in the round side. 
The school house was now complete 
and the people of the neighborhood were 
just as proud of it as we are of our elegant 
school houses of toda\ . 

A school house of this kind was by no 
means a conafor table place for children to 
spend eight or ten hours a day. This was 
especially the case in winter time. The 
wind whistled about the little structure 
and found plenty of open space, or "cracks" 
as they were called, so the scholars, as well 
as the teacher, often suffered with cold in 
spite of the blazing fire in the big fire place. 

It was the custom, in those days, to study 
the lesson aloud, that is, the pupils spelled 
and read their lessons, when studying, in an 
audible tone, and .sometimes, when study- 
ing their spelling lessons, could be heard 
for quite a distance from the school house. 
A school conducted in this way was termed 
a loud school. When a teacher applied for 
a school he was always asked the question: 
whether he wanted to keep a loud or silent 
school. In those days, except in spelling, 
the pupils did not recite in classes, but in- 
dividually. When reciting the spelling les- 
son there was always a head and foot to 
the class and a record was usually kept of 
the one who received the largest number of 
head marks during the term of the school 
and sometimes a prize was given to the 
lucky one. The spelling class recited twice 
each day; just before the noon recess and 
again just before the school was dismissed 

for the day. Every scholar, from the small- 
est to the largest, was required to stand up 
and spell m one of the two or three classes. 
The one who was at the head of the class 
at the close of one recitation went to the 
foot in the next. When one missed a word 
it was passed to the next in line, and the 
one who spelled it correctl> stepped up 
above the first one who had missed. To 
have gone to the head the most times in a 
term of school was considered quite an 

In studying reading, each pupil was per- 
mitted to use any kind of book that he 
happened to have Often the New Testa- 
ment was the only reading book in the 
school room When the weather was warm 
all the pupils, and sometimes the teacher, 
went to school barefooted. In winter time 
the boys wore home-spun and home-woven 
linsey or jeans coats and pants, made after 
the pattern of their fathers, with "gallow- 
ses" that their mothers had knit of home- 
spun yarn, crossed in the back and fastened 
to the pants with wooden buttons. Instead 
of hats they wore coon skin caps. 


Not only did the methods of teaching 
and studying in the early schools differ 

from the methods ot the present day, but 
there vv^as also quite a difference in the 
games played during the schoDl. Such 
games as foot ball and basket ball were 
unheard of then The games in vogue in 
early time? for the large boys were 
"shinny," bull pen and town ball. The 
smaller boys would play hat ball and three 
cornered cat-ball. The large girls would 
skip the rope, or rather the grape vine they 
would Lise for a rope. The little girls 
would play "ring-a round-a-rosey. " If the 
teacher permitted the boys and girls to 
play together, which was not often the 
case, the whole school would join in play- 
ing "ant-ny-over. ' 

On each Friday afternoon the children 
would recite declamations and dialogues. 
One of the most delightful features of the 
early schools was the spelling bee or, the 
spelling match as it was then called. When 
it was announced that there would be a 
spelling match on a given night the people 
came for miles away, not in automobiles or 
carriages, but walked or rode in wagons or 
sleds, drawn sometimes by horses, but 
oftener by slow plodding oxen. The 
manner of conducting a spelling match was 
sometning like this: Two leaders would be 
selected to "choose up,' that is, to divide 

the spellers into two companies who, as 
thev were chosen, took their places en 
opposite sides of the school room, which 
was lighted by tallow candles or by a 
blazing fire in the fire place. The words 
were pronounced from a spelling book by 
the teacher. Those who misspelled a word 
took their seats. This was kept up until 
the last speller on one side was "turned 
down" as it was termed. The way some 
of the pupils could spell in those times 
would be a surpri e to the people of today. 
It often happened that page after page, 
and sometimes the entire spelling book, 
would be learned by heart To be a 
champion speller was considered quite an 
honor. This was a worthy ambition, now 
much fallen into decay. 

Of the qualifications of the early teachers 
not much can be said. In fact, for quite a 
number of years no qualification at all was 
required except that he be able to read 
and write and cipher. He was also re- 
quired to know how to make "quill pens." 
These were made with a sharp knife from 
goose quills, as the long stiff feathers which 
grow on the wings of the goose are called. 
Steel pens were not used for many years. 
Ink was made at home either from ripe 
polk berries or from little balls that grew 

on oak trees called "ink balls." The rules 
that the teacher or Master, as teachers 
were usually called, were very severe. A 
bundle of switches were a necessary part of 
the school furniture. Nor were they 
neglected, but were used upon the least 
provocation without mercy There were 
some "Masters" who made regular rounds 
of the school room and whacked each of 
the larger boys over the shoulders whether 
he deserved it or not. The small, timid 
boys were usually punished by being made 
to sit with the girls. Harsh and even cruel 
as those teachers seem to us at this day to 
have been, most of them had a sincere 
desire to help the children placed in their 
charge, and to inspire in them a desire for 
education and a wish to better their 

As has been stated, for quite a number 
of years after Indiana became a state there 
were no public school funds, and teachers 
were paid altogether by the patrons of the 
school. The pay. however, was very small 
often not more than ten dollars a month. 
Teachers in early days usually "boarded 
around," that is. they boarded among the 
families of the neighborhood; a week here 
and a week there until they had spent a 

week with each family, anci then they 
would begin a second round. While those 
early teachers had but little knowledge fo 
books, andj their methods of discipline and 
instruction were crude, yet most of them 
had what we do not find in all the teachers 
ofto d&y. "common sense, ' which covered 
a multitude of other deficiencies. 


A common practice in almost all the old 
time schools was to "turn the teacher out" 
at Christmas time till he agreed to treat. 
Sometime^ cakes and cider were demanded, 
and occasionally candy could be procured. 
If the teacher could outrun the boys or 
outwit them in any way and gain 
admittance to the school room by some 
strategy, the school would lose the treat. 
This, however, did not often happen, for 
while the boys were chasing the teacher, 
the girls would see that the school house 
door was kept securely barred. 

As time went on the interest in education 
increased among the pioneers. Larger and 
better school houses were built. Until 
some time in the forties all the school 
houses that were built were of logs, but 
they answered the purpose for which they 
were erected, very well. 

In the year 1845 the Legislature of the 
State passed a law establishing a free school 
system with the provision rhat it should 
not be enforced except in such counties as 
adopted it bj' a vote of the people. It seems 
strange to us now that more than half the 
counties of the State voted to reject it. 
.Although this county voted to adopt the 
system it was by no means unanimous. 
Many of the people who lived here then 
had come from states that had no free 
school system, and they were opposed to 
taxing themselves to educate other people's 
children. Previous to the year 1845 all the 
school houses that were located here were 
called neighborhood or community school 
houses as they were built by the people 
living in the community or neighborhood. 
After the public school system referred to 
was adopted they were termed public or 
district school houses, as they were built 
with public funds. 

Until this time each school had been 
conducted just as the teacher and the 
patrons desired. There had been no 
uniformity of text books, bnt each pupil 
had been permitted to use any text book 
he happened to have, and but little qualifi- 
cation had been required of teachers. It 
is true that for several years each township 

had what was called a "board of educa- 
tion,' consisting of three trustees elected 
by the voters, who were supposed to con 
duct examinations and pass on the qualifi- 
cation of teachers. It often happened how- 
ever that no member of the board could 
either read or vvrite, so the examinations 
the teachers underwent were surely very 

In the \ ear 1827 congress gave its con- 
sent to the State to sell the lands that had 
been set apart as school lands, and as soon 
as these lands could be disposed of and the 
mone}^ loaned and interest collected, there 
was a small amount of pubic funds that 
could be used to help pay teachers. This 
added to private subscriptions would, in 
some instances, provide for a three months 
school during the year. This was regarded 
as quite a long term. In the absence of 
records I think I am safe in saying that 
prior to the year 1860 the average school 
term of Marion township did not exceed 
three months. It is surprising that the 
early teachers could have accomplished so 
much For it is true strange as it may 
seem, that out of these old time schools 
came many boys and girls with enough of 
the rudiments of knowledge to enable them 

to beccme useful, intelligent and successful 
men and women in the various walks of 
life. While not intending to criticise the 
present methods of teaching, yet I think 
the teaching in the early schools was more 
practical than the teaching of the present 
day; that is, it better fitted the pupils for 
the duties of the great, busy world in which 
they wt le to live I think it is also true 
that parents in early times took, as a rule, 
more interest in the education of their 
children than at the present time. How 
many parents of today would send their 
children to school where they had to walk 
through the mud and snow two or three 
miles to reach a school house, and make 
the money to pay their tuition the hard 
way the pioneers had to make theirs ? 

As years rolled on geography and 
grammar were taught in some of the 
schools. Later, geography and grammar 
schools were held at night in many of the 
school houses where, seated around the 
open fire in the fire place, the children 
would pore over the mysteries of these 

In a few of the schools debating or 
literary societies were organized. Some 
times two or three schools would unite and 
organize a society with a 'constitution and 

by-laws.' These societies, which always 
met at night, were often kept alive during 
the entire year. Perhaps the most noted 
one of these societies that was established 
in this community was organized and met 
at what was called the "Dave Dobbins" 
school house, which was situated about 
four miles west of Mitchell. Once a week 
after a hard day's work the young people 
of the community, and often the older 
ones, would wend their way to that old 
school house, which was surrounded by 
wood.-, to discuss and to hear discussed the 
important subjects of the day, National 
problems, such as 'Should foreign immigra- 
tion be prohibited?" the slavery question, 
the temperance question, the tariff, and 
other leading topics of that time were 
debated and settled in a masterful manner. 
William H. Edwards and Isom Burton are 
the only persons n jw living, so far as 1 am 
informed, who were members of that 
society and took part in its debates 

Another feature of the early schools that 
1 must not fail to mention is the school 
exhibition that was held on the night of 
the last day of school. This was looked 
upon as a great occasion, and pupils and 
teacher would spend weeks in preparation. 

Perhaps some ola man who reads this will 
recall the time when a boy I e appeared on 
the stage at one of these exhibitions and 
began in a loud and shaky voice "Sink or 
swim, live or die, survive or perish " Some 
imitator of Spartacus would urge his 
Gladiators on to battle, and Patrick Henry 
would demand either liberty or death. The 
Turk then as now — 

,'At midnight in his guarded tent. 

Lay dreaming of the hour 

When Greece her knee in suppiiance bent. 

Should tremble at his power. " 

The small boy who "Liked to see a little 
dog and pat him on the head," and the 
little girl telling of "Mary's lamb with 
fleece as white as s ow,'' were sure to 
appear on the stage. But all this to the 
reader, perhaps, seems like echoes from a 
forgotten world. \es. there were merry 
and happy times in those long gone-by- 
days in spite of the toils and hardships, 
and many a tired man and woman, when 
enfeebled by age, has looked back upon 
them with pleasurable longing. 

"Backward, turn backv/ard 
O time in your flight. 
Make me a child again, 
Just for tonight." 

This community has, from its earhest 
settlement, kept constant and steady step 
in the march of education. Within a very 
few 3'ears after its first settlement the rude 
huts that were to be used for school houses 
were built m several localities. Although 
each of these schools of "ye olden time" 
has its tinge of history, its interesting past, 
yet to trace the origin and history of each 
one would be almost an impossibility, and, 
were it possible the result would scarcely 
justify the extraordinary undertaking that 
such a task would require. I will, how- 
ever, give a short sketch of a few of the 
very early schools and one or two of the 
schools of a later day. As no records were 
kept of the early .schools I necessarily have 
to rely on tradition for the information that 
I shall give. 

The first school that was taught in what 
is now Marion township was taught in a 
little log house which was situated about 
two miles south of Mitchell on the farm 
now owned b-. the Jenkins brothers. The 
first teacher was John McClean, who 
taught a short term in the year 1824. 
What little salary teachers in early times 
received was paid altogether by the patrons 
of the school, and it is said that McLean 
agreed to take the larger part of his salary 

in such provisions as he could use in his 
family. The second teacher was Samuel 
Dalton, a one legged man, who teught two 
or three terms Dalton's successor was a 
man named Evans, whose career as a 
teacher was short, teaching but one short 
term. William Bathay was the third 
teacher. Bathay taught thre^ terms, and 
it was said of him that he was a good man 
and a good teacher. The last pedagogue 
to hold forth in this little log structure was 
a We shman by the name of Watkins, who 
taught four terms. It was said of Watkins 
that he was a good scholar and a teacher 
ot more than ordinary ability. 

In the year 1823 the second school house 
in this community was built near the Elkin 
Spring, about five miles northwest of 
Mitchell. The first teacher to teach there 
was an Irishman named Wood, who taught 
but one short term. Wood was succeeded 
by a young man by the name of William 
Bathay, Jr , who was a son of the teacher 
Bathay previously mentioned. The third 
and last teacher to teach at this little hut 
was a man named Crump, who taught 
three terms, and was regarded a good 
teacher. All the teachers that I have 
mentioned, as well as all the pupils who 
attended their schools, have long since 
passed to the Great Beyond. 

Joe A. Burton has kindly handed me a 
short history of the schools he attended in 
his boyhood days, which I am sure is in- 
teresting: 'The old log school house on 
my father's farm was built in 1839. It 
was a small building about twenty feet 
wide and twenty two feet long. It had two 
windows, one in the north end and one in 
the south ena. On the east side one whole 
log was cut out and a row of glass put in 
to give light. The teachers ^vho taught 
there were: John McClain, a Mr. Weir, 
Jesse Archer, Mr, Bridges and Allen C. 
Burton, who taught the last school that 
was taught in that primitive little school 
house Shortly after, a larger and better 
house was built on the "Bald Knob" which 
is about a half mile south of where the old 
house stood The first to occupy tht- new 
house was William A Burton, the second, 
James Madison Baker, third, William Ken- 
nedy, fourth and last James McConnaha. 
While the last named teacher was teaching, 
the house burned. I remember the teach- 
er, Mr. Weir, as being very harsh and cruel, 
and one day when a boy named Isom Cox 
committed some offense, he gave him an 
unmerciful whipping. I can remember see- 
ing the blood run down his heels after he 
had whipped him The bo\ s father made 

complaint and a meeting of the patrons was 
called. it was agreed that if the teacher 
would leave the country there would be no 
prosecution. Weir left, and I think with 
out his pay. I remember seeing the large 
boys at Christmas time take the teacher. 
Allen C. Burton, to my father's spring to 
duck him if he didn't agree to treat Just 
as they were in the act of putting him in 
the water lie gave them a half dollar with 
which to buy two bu.-hels of apples to treat 
the school. The last day I wore a dress 
was while attending Archer's school " 

All the teachers whose names are men 
tioned here, are long since dead, and the 
pupils who attended their schools that are 
still living are: Joe A. Burton, Zack Bur- 
ton, Riley D. Burton, Nancy Conley and 
William O'Dell 

When the school house burned, which 
was in the early fifties, a frame school house 
was built to take its place a short distance 
east of "Bald Knob'' and has long been 
known as the Burton school house. This 
was, perhaps, not only the fiast frame build- 
ing erected in this township, but was also 
the first one to be built with public funds. 

Another log school house built about this 
time was known as the Woodville, or Sutton 

school. It was in this little log structure 
that the first Sunday 5^chool in Lawrence 
County, south of White river, was organ- 
ized. This Sunday School was kept alive 
ior several years by Harlan Pope and Owen 
Bruner, its Superintendents. These two 
pioneers were intelligent, upright and re- 
ligious men. Both were teachers and did 
much for the educational uplift of the com- 
munity. This little log building was used 
as a school hou.-e until the year 1852. The 
teachers who taught there were: Owen 
Bruner, Arthur Howell, G. W Dodson and 
Harlan Pope, who taught several terms. 
These teachers are all dead and so far as I 
know, there are but thrre of the pupils now 
living, who attended the school, Aaron 
Pless, Mrs A Wood and W. H Edwards. 
The second irame school house built in 
Marion township was located a shoit dis- 
tance west of Mitchell and was known as 
the "Hardin Burton'' school house The 
teachers who taught there were John D. 
Carter, Daniel Watkins, Henry Burton, 
George Miller, Mary F Minter, John Bene 
diet, Joe A. Burton and Monroe Pless 
The different schools taught there were 
largely attended. Two of the teachers, Joe 
A. Burton and Henry Burton, are still liv- 
ing. In 1961 the school district was chang- 

ed and the school house abandoned. Short- 
ly afterward it was moved to Mitchell to be 
used as a residence, where it still stands on 
east Warren street. This is the only one of 
the f chool houses ol the long ago that is still 
standing and if some of the old pupils, who 
are now living, could visit it, they would, 
perhaps, find their names deeply carved on 
its ceiled walls. 

"The old school house, the cradle of youth; 
Thy benches hard, rigid and straight; 
Not less hard was thy teaching and truth 
Which has made great men for the state." 

\ large per cent of the early settlers of 
this communitv were christian men and 
women or at least had been reared in chris- 
tian homes. It is no wonder that they 
regarded it one of their greatest hardships 
that they were for so long a time deprived 
of the privilege of attending religious ser- 
vices. For several years after this com 
munity was first settled there was no public 
religious service of any nature. Sunday 
was considered simply as a day of rest for 
the older people and a day of play for the 


The first minister of the gospel to visit 

this community so far as I have been able 
to learn wad a man named Abram Mitchell 
who held several meetings in the cabins of 
the 5^ettlers as early as 1821. Soon after 
this another itinerant preacher by the name 
of William Noblitt came and held services 
in several homes and also preached a few 
times in the grove. Perhaps no class of 
men in early times was more deserving of 
respect, or accomplished more good than the 
devoted pioneer preachers. Although most 
of them were uneducated and lacked cul 
ture, yet the\ did an almost incredible 
amount of useful work under extremely 
difficult conditions. These men devoted 
their lives to the cause of Christianity. 
They traveled from home to h )me on horse 
back over rough roads, often with no road 
at all except a blazed bridle path to guide 
them As a rule they were kind and sym- 
jiathetic and made themselves pleasant and 
agreeable wherever they went The lonely 
pioneer family considered it quite a treat 
to have a preacher for a guest, and he was 
always welcome. The ministers of early 
times considered it their duty to advise 
and counsel the people in all affairs, either 
religious or secular. They considered them- 
selves servants of the people, and for all 

this they received as pay a bare subsistence. 

The first church to be organized in this 
community was christened the "Spice 
Valley Baptist Church." The church was 
organized in 1822 and has been kept alive 
for almost a century, as it is the oldest 
church organization in the county and, 
perhaps, the oldest country church in the 
State. I shall give a more detailed history 
of it than space will permit me to give of 
the other churches of the community. 

It was about seven years after the church 
was organized before a church building was 
erected. In winter time the people met 
for worship in the homes of the members, 
and in the summer they met either in the 
grove or in William Maxwell's mill shed. 
In 1829 a small log meetin' house," as a 
church house was called in those days, was 
built. This little hut, like most all other 
buildings of that day, was built of round 
legs with a puncheon floor and stick and 
clay chimney. Near this little church a 
small spot of ground was cleared, a rail 
fence built around it, and in this little in- 
^losure they would bury their dead. Once 
a month on the Sabbath day, in winter and 

in summer, the people for miles around, 
dressed in their best homespun clothes, 
wended their way through the woods to 
this little house of worship. They had no 
carriages or buggies m those days, so they 
came either on foot or on horseback. Some- 
times the father and mother would ride the 
same horse, each holding a child before 
them. If evening services were held the 
time would be announced as "early candle 
lightin' " The only lights they had then 
were candles and tallow dips. 

This little church house was surrounded 
by thick spreadmg trees, and in summer 
time the songs of the birds flitting among 
the boughs were just as sweet as the music 
furnished by a modern church choir. They 
had no choirs then and, as many of the 
people had no hymn books, the preacher 
would alwa\'s line the songs to be sung. 
He would also request the audience to sing 
either in the "long metre" or "short metre." 
During the long existence of this church it 
has managed to have services at least once 
a month, except at short intervals All of 
its earlj'^ pastors have long since gone to 
their reward. 

The first pastor to sei ve this little church, 
which is now almost a century old, was 

Abram Mitchell, who began his work in 
1823 and served as pastor several years. 
The second pastor was Thomas Vandiver, 
who continued as pastor eight years. In 
1835, and during Vandiver's pastorate the 
little log church house burned, A man 
named Ballard was teaching school in it 
when it burned. A brick building was 
erected soon after. The third pastor was 
Joseph Odell, who served continuously for 
twelve years. It is said of him that he 
was a man of more than ordinary ability, 
a warm hearted minister, a fine orator, a 
good exhorter or evangelist and a highly 
esteemed pastor. There are a few persons 
yet living who can remember this old 
pioneer preacher as he wojld preach of the 
duty of right living and the importance of 
preparing for the Judgment and Eternity. 
They can. perhaps, recall hearing him 
speak of his toils, his travels his perse- 
cutions and his welcomes. His earnestness 
in presenting gospel truths took deep hold 
on the minds of the people, and during his 
pastorate the great revival of 1842 occurred 
during which seventy-five persons were 
baptized and received in the church. The 
fourth pastor was Hardin Burton. Uncle 
Hardy, as he was familiarly called, was 

VA ell known and highly esteemed, He 
served the church as pastor at different 
times for many years The fifth pastor 
was Jacob Crabbs, who was called in 1853 
and served three years. In 1856 a man 
named Moses Edwards, a graduate of an 
eastern theological college, was called and 
served as pastor one year. Other preachers 
who have served the church as pastor at 
different times are William Baker, R M 
Parks. Volney T. Baker, Nat Williams 
Isaac Carothers, A J Essex, Thomas J 
Swan, Wright Sanders, W. L Green, C. J 
Bunnell, David Blankenship, Walter Pack 
L. S Sanders, E. A Howard, P. B. Shoe 
maker, Warren A. Sanders, H T, Stevens 
J. N Nicholson, and Henry B. Sanders 
who is the present incunnbent. 

The second church house built in Marion 
township was known as Hicks' Chapel or 
Rock Lick Church. This building, which 
was made of hewed logs, was built in 1845. 
Although the buildi.ig and ground was 
owned by the Methodists. > et it was a 
union church building. An old colored 
man. named John Barnett, deeded the 
ground to the Methodists, with the proviso 
that the Baptists could use the building to 
be erected when not in use by the Metho- 

dists. ?o the two denominations organized 
a church, one known as Hicks' Chapel, the 
other as Rock Lick Baptist Church. 
Although both denominations held services 
there for several years, I can give the 
names of but few of the pastors. Rev. 
Samuel Hicks preached for a number of 
years for the Methodists, and Isaac 
Carothers, Thomas Robinson, William 
Baker and David Elkins preached for the 
Baptists. Both churches have long since 
disbanded and the church building torn 

The next building erected for church 
purposes in the community was known as 
the Cross Roads Church. This little church 
house, which was built in 1847, was 
situated at the cross roads a short distance 
south of the present home of C. F Lewis. 
This was owned jointly by the Baptists 
and Presbyterians. The preachers who 
preached at this church during its short 
existence were Elder John Tiffany for the 
Presbyterians, and Rev John Blackwell for 
the Baptists. Mr. Blackwell was the 
father of our townsman, Harrison Black- 
well. In 1849 the church house burned 
and both organizations disbanded. 

The next church in the community was 

known as thr Freedom Baptist church, 
which was organized in 1850 In 1851 a 
substantial frame church building was 
erected about one mile south of Mitchell. 
I cannot give the names of all the pastors 
who served this church during the several 
years of its existence, but will mention the 
fcllowing; Thomas Robinson, R. M. Parks, 
W. L B3«^ton, J B Porter, Albert Ogle, A. 
J. Essex and W. L Green. 

The next was a Presbyterian church or- 
ganized in 1855 in an old log school house 
situated about two miles north of MUchell. 
A fuller history of this church will be given 
in connection with the history of the 
churches of Mitchell 

The next church in the community was 
christened the Liberty Baptist church or- 
ganized in 1870. This has been a prosper- 
ous church from the beginning and in 1873 
erected a good frame building which was 
remodeled and rebuilt in 1914; The church 
has had for pastors. William Baker, V. T. 
Baker, Wright Sanders, Issac Carothers, 
Edker Burton, J. M. Stalker, F. Dame. E. 
H. T' cker Rev. Groves, C. F. Pack W. E. 
Monbeck, W. A. Sanders and Henry B. 
Sanders This is a flourishing church, wide 
awake to its opportunities and has perhaps 

the largest Sunday school attendance of any 
rural chuich in Southern Indiana. In the 
early seventies a Methodist church was or 
ganized and a 'church building erected on 
the Mitchell and Bedford road near Red 
Cross and called Wesley Chapel. This has 
always been, as I am informed, a circuit 
church and I am unable to give the names 
of the ministers who have served as pastors. 
Services are still held there and the church 
has been productive of much good in the 

There have been oiher attempts to build 
churches in the township but no others 
than the ones mentioned have ever been 
built so far as I am informed. In all the 
churches that I have mentioned Sunday 
Schools were organized These early day 
Sunday Schools were attended by both old 
and young. Sunday School lessons then 
were not outlmed with "Golden texts" and 
instructions for studying as they are today. 
This would have been of little use however 
for many who attended Sunday School 
then could read but little and some of them 
not at all. Those who could not read 
brought spelling books with them and for 
them classes were formed and they were 
taught to spell and read Those who could 

read were assigned lessons in the New 
Testament. In addition to the Sunday 
School and churchservice that they had in 
early days the people would often meet at 
the homes where they would read the Bible 
and have song and prayer service. If they 
could have a minister with them they would 
have a sermon. One of the pioneer preach- 
ers of this communit} who spent much of 
his time preaching at the homes of the peo- 
ple was David Elkins. This devoted old 
preacher before emigr ting here was a 
neighbor and friend of the Abraham Lincoln 
family in Kentucky. A biographer of Lin- 
coln says: 

Local History of National Interest. 

"From David Elkiiis. the itiiin'aiit preach- 
er, .Ihraham Liven] ii leai^ned nnicJi, Ids de- 
sire for knon-Jedge orereoming his tii}hi difij." 

Agaii) ill,' sanir aiiilior in si»'uk'iitg of Mrs. 
Lincoln's drolli saiis. "nl llnil iiinr no minis- 
ter nuts nrnr in rnndnei the funeral srrrirr and 
oat nf the depths of his soriuar .Ihrahani 
irrote his frsi li-ticr io Parson Da rid F.I kins 
of Kcnia rkif . i ni jil ni'i n g liini In mine and eon- 
dnei (I memorial serriee ai his m niher' s grave . 
D is recorded ihat ahnut ia-n hundred people 
gathered some weeks later in j>a rtici p'lte in 
Ihe service cnnd acted liij tlie Fev. Elkins who 
had cnine ])}ore than a hundred miles if) solace 

fItU ff'iuh'v In^tirf of <i l)(>ti." If is not geiic.r- 
((II 11 k-iioiru I hut this old minister is buried in- 
a null' iD'OlccI I'd ijrii i-r- ijii rd some five miles 
ivfsi of Milrhi'll . Such however is true his - 
torij and ])<'!' pi II >J out from nmong the aecumu- 
Ir/tion of iveeds. Inishrs and hriiirs in that 
badly ne fleeted ornrr ,/ard is a little nn/rJ.'er 
bearing the i nscri ]ition " Dovid Ellyins :I /•'. C. 
Mil. irirr of /SI J. '• 

y'lie Lincoln famili/ moved from Kentucky 
to Spencer Co.. Indiana in IS 16 fJncoln. 
ivastheu about right years old: about a ijear 
later Mr. Klkins com jil yi n g irith the reijuest 
of the letter set out on horseback for the home 
of Ihe Lincolns. ) oung Lincoln al the same 
time, not hiiri no recei red a rejilij to his letter. 
started to visit Rev. Elkiiis irith a vicir to in- 
ducing him to come to Indiana and pay the 
tribute of respect that he fell iras due the 
memoi']/ of h is mollier. Some udiere on Ihe 
road Ihe Iwo met and KIkins returned irith 
Lincoln and preached the funeral at the Lin- 
coln home, adiich is near Lincoln City in 
Sjieiicer count y. LJIkins. alio iras a sol d i er in 
the irar of IS\J. moved to a farm about four 
miles noj'tha-esi pf .Mitchell some time in ih.e 
forties. He died in ISr,] and is buried in Ihr 
little cemrlrry abore men Honed . II is remein 
bered thai KIkins often spoke of the 10 year- 
old lad irho a-as so dei-oted to his mother. 

David Elkins is well remembered by a 
few people still living here. They are W. 
H. Edwards, Henry J. Tirey, Aunt Phoebe 
Burton and Aunt Hannah Burton. 


The territory embraced in what is now 
Marion township was originally a part of 
Clark and Knox counties. All of that part 
of the township west of the Meridian, which 
is the east boundary of the corporation of 
Mitchell, was a part of Knox county and 
the part which is east of the Meridian line 
was a part of Clark county. 

In 1808 the territory on the east side be- 
came a part of Harrison county and re- 
mained so until 1813, when it became a 
part of Washington county. 

In 1815 Orange county was formed and 
all the territory embraced in what is now 
Marion township became a part of Orange 
county and so remained until January 17, 
1818, when Lawrence county was formed. 
When Lawrence county was organized 
Marion township was constituted a voting 
precinct but was not named as a township 
until 1826, being, until that time, apart of 
Bono township. 

The township was named after General 
Francis Marion, of Revolutionary fame. Iii 
Size, it is one of the largest townships in 
the county and, with the exception of 

Shawswick, is the wealthiest township in 
the county. It is something over eight 
miles square and contains about sixty six 
square miles or sections of land. 

The first election held in the voting pre- 
cinct, which was afterward Marion town- 
ship, was held at the residence of Samuel 
G. Hoskins, on the first Monday i.i August 
1818. At that election thirteen votes were 
cast. The names of the voters were: Ar- 
thur Dycus, Robert Erwin, William Erwin, 
Samuel Hoskins, Joseph Pless, James Bos- 
well, Joseph Bosweli, Elijah Murray, James 
Mathis. George Sheeks. John Finger, Joseph 
Culbertson and Thomas Rowark. At that 
time there were two parties. Republican 
and Federalist. Ten of the votes were cast 
for the Federalist and three for the Repub- 
lican party. The voting place for the town- 
ship continued at Hoskins residence, which 
was then on the meridian road in the ex- 
treme north part of the township, until he 
moved on what is now the Mitchell and 
Bedford road where Jacob Colglazier now 
resides, at which place elections were held 
until 1842 when the voting place was chang- 
ed to Redding thence to Woodville and in 
1856 was moved to Mitchell. There was 

but little interest taken in politics in this 
township until the election in 1836 when 
General Harrison who was the idol of the 
pioneers, was the Whig candidate for Presi- 
dent when quite an interest was taken, and 
again in 1840 the township gave a majority 
for "Tippecanoe and Tyler too". In the 
Presidential election in 1844 it gave a ma- 
jority of Its votes for Henry Clay. In 1848 
Zachariah Ta> lor carried the township. In 
1832 the vote of the township was Pierce 
109 votes, Scott 248 votes. In 1856 James 
Buchanan received 148 votes Willard Fil- 
more 219 and John C. PVemont ]7. Ab 
Gross, east of Mitchell, is the only one of 
these living who voted for Fremont. The 
father of Postmaster J, T. Dilley was large- 
1}' instrumental in persuading Mr. Gross to 
vote for Fremont 

It was during this campaign that the first 
political club called the Lincoln Republican 
Club, was organized in the township. Silas 
Moore was President and W. H. Edwards 
then too >oung to vote, was Secretary. Mr. 
Edwards is the only surviving member of 
this club. 

The result of this election in this town- 
ship was that Lincoln received 217 votes. 

Douglass 167. Breckinridge 37 and Bell 79. 
In 1864 Lincoln received 298 and McClellan 
132 votes. In 1868 the vote was for Grant 
386 and Seynmour 205. In 1872 Grant re- 
ceived 410 and Greely 249 votes. The re- 
sult of the election in 1876 was Hayes 458 
andTilden267 votes. In 1880 Grarfield 
received 459 and Hancock 259 votes. It is 
not necessary that I give the results of later 
elections as records, kept on file in the office 
of the township tiuster, and county clerk, 
are of easy access. 

Of the early industries of the township 
not much can be said. For many years 
agriculture was the principal occupation of 
the people of the township To find a 
market for their surplus corn was quite a 
problem. This was partly solved by the 
erection of a few mills and distilleries. The 
mill erected near the source of Mill creek 
was one of the earliest, as well as one of the 
best mills erected in the county, and the 
people of a a large scope of country were 
its patrons for many years and until as late 
as the year I860.. On the tract of land 
where this old mill has stood for nearly a 
cenlurv, is the famous Homer's cave and 

the beautiful glen known as Hamer's Hol- 
low, As early as the year 1817 a small 
corn mill was erected near where the old 
stone building now stands. This mill was 
run by water conducted from the cave by 
troughs hewn from logs. A man by the 
name of Wright was the first miller. In 
1818 the stone mill mentioned was built and 
equipped with the best machinery known 
in that day, and the mill became the most 
noted place in the township. There were 
other mills built in the township, but they 
were of an inferior kind and of very limited 
capacity. In the early twenties a man by 
the name of Dennis Frost built a small mill 
and distillery at Tomlinson's spring near 
where the Lehigh crusher now stands. A 
small mill with an overshot wheel was built 
in 1824 at Donaldson's cave. A distillery 
and carding machine was built in connect- 
ion with this mill in 1835. The interior of 
this cave shows that at one time gunpowder 
was manufactured there, but of this there 
is neither history or tradition. Within this 
picturesque cavern the roar of a magnificent 
cascade may be heard. In the cave is 
found a well formed hall twelve feet high, 
three hundred feet long and nearly fifty 

feet wide. Other distilleries, grist mills and 
saw mills too numerous to mention have 
existed at different places in the township, 
but they have long since disappeared. 

This township, as has been previously 
stated, was originally heavily timbered with 
almost every variety of timber. The work 
ing of this, after the completion of the rail- 
roads which ran through the township, was 
quite an industry until these fine forests 
were almost destroyed, since when more at 
tention has been given to cultivation and 
fertilization of the soil, and while the im- 
provement in the methods of farming has 
been slow, yet is steady and perceptible. 

Marion township, like all other portions 
of Indiana in early years, was required by 
law to organize its militia and meet at 
least once every three months to drill or 
muster as it was then called. The place 
designated as ' mueter grounds" for this 
township was in a field on the farm now 
belonging to Frai^k Mitchell and just across 
the road from the residence of Jake Col- 
clazier. This militia, which was composed 
of ell able bodied men between the age of 
18 ?.rd 45 years, was organized into 

companies and regiments under the 
command of a captain, colonel or major. 
As no records were kept it is impossible to 
give the names of many of the officers who 
at various times were in command in this 
township. It is known however that John 
Sheeks was a colonel, Alfred Burton a 
major and Henry Miller, Sr. a captain. 
Each man who drilled was required to 
furnish his own gun. but it often happened 
that some of the men had no gun to furnish 
and, as he was required to have something 
with which to go through the manual of 
arms, a broom stick or corn stalk was 
frequently used. At that time the memory 
of the Revolutionary war and the war of 
1812 were fresh in the minds of the people, 
and for several years quite < n interest was 
taken in these drills or musters. As years 
rolled by and these memories began to 
subside, the active interest in the musters 
subsided also, and finally degenerated into 
a mere farce, and the day that had been 
formerly looked upon so proudly degene- 
rated into a day of horse racmg. shooting 
matches and fist-fighting. Sometime in the 
early forties the militia was disbanded, and 
muster day became a thmg of the past 


This township sent a number of soldiers 
to the Mexican war, but I can give only 
the following names: Samuel Brooks, 
George Wright, and three brothers, Charles, 
Henry and Wesley Edwards. 

It was in the war of the Rebellion that 
the township made a record that is excelled 
by no other township in Lawrence county, 
and by but few in the State. It is a 
matter of regret that a complete history of 
the part the township took in that terrible 
struggle cannot be given. Much valuable 
matter such as accounts of meetings held, 
relief committees organized, speeches de- 
livered, disloyalty displayed, war meetings 
called, and a hundred other personal notes 
and observations which are of local value, 
are nearly all lost to history. It is also a 
matter of deep regret that but few of the 
heroic acts of the private soldiers of the 
township can be given. It was the men in 
the trenches who won the battles, and many 
a heroic deed that would thrill the hearts 
of the young people of today was performed 
by men who held no commission and who 
carried the musket and not the sword. 
Space will not permit even the mentioning 

of the names of all the boys who enlisted 
from this township and served either dur- 
ing all or a part of the great conflict. 

It is perhaps the prevailing opinion of 
most people who have no personal recollec- 
tion of the state of affairs that existed in 
this community at the beginning and dur- 
ing the early years of the war, that every- 
body here was loyal to the union cause. 
This, I am sorry to say, was far from the 
case. In Marion township, as well as in 
other parts of the State, public opinion in 
regard to the war was divided. It looks 
peculiar to the people of the present day 
that so many thinking persons during 1860 
and 1861 were in doubt as to what position 
to take. This state of affairs led to ani- 
mated discussions, bitter feelings and some- 
times to personal encounters. An attempt 
was made at night to destroy a Lincoln 
flag pole which had been erected on Main 
street. Things remained in an unsettled 
and gloomy state until the morning of 
April 15. 1861, when the news of the fall of 
Ft. Sumpter reached here and created the 
wildest excitement. Business of all kinds 
was almost entirely suspended. Farmers 
unhitched their horses from the plow and 

hurried to town to learn the details. 
Crowds gathered on the streets and listened 
to talks from such men as Silas Moore, 
Hugh Hamer, Jonath&n Turlcy and other 
political leaders. Arrangements were made 
for a mass meeting to be held the following 
night in Johnson's hall, the hall over the 
City Drug Store. A large crowd gathered 
at the time appointed, and the excitement 
was at a high pitch. Hugh Erwin was ths 
principal speaker and fired the audience 
with such expressions as, "Shall we permit 
this glorious union to be destroyed and 
wiped out by traitois^" *'Will we, as 
loyal men, look quietly on and see the 
American flag insulted and trailed in the 
dust?" "If war is necessary that this 
union, the heritage of our Revolutionary 
fathers, shall be preserved let it come. I 
repeat it. Let it come." Within a very 
few days steps were taken to raise volun- 
teers, and a heavy list was enrolled. As 
many as fort}/ or fifty left their homes here 
within a ^veek aftar the fall of Ft. Sumter, 
most of them going to Indianapolis in the 
hope of gettiiig into service there. Under 
the shadows of the great war which is now 
engaging the attention of the world, the 

boys who fought the battles of our own 
war and who saved the nation, must not 
be forgotten. To them we owe a debt of 
gratitude that can never be paid. It re- 
quired bravery and sacrifice on the part of 
these young men, whose average age was 
but twenty years when the war cloud burst 
forth in cyclones of fire and battle, to put 
away their schocl books, lay down their 
farming tools, leave the work shop, bid 
good bye to home and loved ones and 
rush to their country's rescue. It was no 
holiday affair to exchange a comfortable 
home and the healthful climate of a 
northern state for the hot swampy and un- 
healthful climate of the south land. 

The sacrifice of life from disease alone 
abundantly attest the hardships and peril 
through which they passed. And while we 
honor the living heroes and scatter flowers 
on the graves of the soldiers v^ho are buried 
in our midst, we should not forget to pay 
homage to the memory of those who were 
left on the southern battle field, or who 
starved to death in southern prison pens, 
or died of disease, and who are sleeping in 
deserted and forgotten graves, where the 
moaning pine and the stately magnolia 

sheds their perfume over them, and the 
mocking bird chants the sad requiem of 
death. Although the brave boys are gone 
their memory should be as a precious jewel 
in the bright casket of memory. 

"On fame's eternal camping ground, 

Their silent tents are spread. " 

The exact number of soldiers that Mit- 
chell and Marion township furnished dur- 
ing the Civil War connot be definitely given, 
as quite a number left the country to enter 
companies raised elsewhere, and, for whom 
the township received no credit. The first 
enrollment of the township, which was tak- 
en in 1861 showed that the township con- 
tained three hundred and forty-five men 
between the ages of 18 and 45 years. As 
near as can be ascertained, about three 
hundred of these enlisted some time during 
the war. Although, as has been previously 
stated, quite a number left home immed- 
iately after the fall of Ft.Sumpter, it was 
not until early in June 1861 that any of 
them succeeded in being mustered into ser- 
vice. The first to enter service frcm this 
township were George Hamer, Hugh Hamer, 
John Richards and Irve Tinsley, who en- 
listed in the i5th regiment. 

John Richards was the first man from 
Marion Township to receive a wound while 
on the field of battle. He now lives in Mit- 
chell. Columbus Moore, later known as 
Captain Moore, was perhaps the next to 
enlist from here, enlisting in the 16th regi- 
ment. After serving a few months. Cap- 
tain Moore returned and raised a company 
of one hundred men for the three year ser- 
vice. This company met and organized 
under a spreading beech tree that stood on 
the lot on West Main St, where Joe Chess 
now lives, and John Riley of Mitchell made 
a speech. The officers selected and after- 
ward formally elected and commissioned 
were Columbus Moore, captain; William 
Mannmgton, 1st Lieutenant; Milton N. 
Moore, 2iid Lieutenant. After selecting 
their officers the boys marched proudly 
down Main Street, stopping at the resi- 
dence of Silas iMoore, when Mrs. Moore, 
after giving them some motherly advice, 
presented the company a beautiful flag. 
Captain Moore, in behalf of the Company, 
accepted the flag and pledged that, while 
life remained in a single member of his 
company, the flag should never trail the 
dust As far as 1 can ascertain, the mem- 

bers of this company who were from Mit- 
chell and Marion Township were: 

Marion Beaslej- Satn Erwin 

John Alexander Alex Leach 

George Bass Mole Nugent 

Harrison Blaokwell Gus Nugent 

Jackson Beaslev Tom Paterson 

Dave Blackwell Ed Riddle 

Frank Crawford E!za Smith 

Jesse Cokenhour Abner Stevens 

Henr.y Dodson Ben Blackwell 

Isaiah Dougherty Joe Stroud 

Lee Davis Robert Stroud 

John Davis John VV. Slieeks 

E. P. Eversole David Snow 

Mike Earl John Winegar 

George Flora William Wease 

W. H. Hilton John Webb 

Dave Hixon Joseph Yandell 

William Haraer David Tanksley 

William Eiwin John Daysou 
John Tanksley 

The officers of the company, Captain 
Moore, Milton N. Moore and Wm M n- 
nington were also from Mit'.'heli. Perhaps 
no company from the state participated in 
more hotly contested battles than did this 
company. lu the Battle of Richmond, Ky. 
the company of less than one hundred men 
lost twenty five, either killed or wounded, 

A historian, in writing an account of the 

surrender of Vicksburg, Miss, says, "Capt. 
Moore, a brave officer of the 16th Indiana 
regiment, was 'Officer of the Day' at Vicks- 
burg on the night of the 3rd da\ of July 
1863, and on the memorable morning o ithe 
4th day of July conducted Gen. Bowen and 
Col. Montgomery, Chief of Staff, to Gen- 
eral Pemberton, blindfolded, through our 
lines to the headquarters of Gen Burbridge 
to await an audience with General Grant. 

AH the brave boys whose names I have 
mentioned as belonging to this company 
have fought the last battle of life and 
answered the last roll call except three, 
namely, Harrison Blackwell, William. H. 
Hilton and Ben Blackwell. 

The second company organized at Mit- 
chell was Co, *H' 67th reg. This company 
which was composed almost entirely of bo\ s 
from Mitchell and Marion township was 
organized in August, 1862. The company 
met and elected its officers in the basement 
of the old Baptist church. The officers 
elected were: David Kelly, Captain; Allen 
C. Burton, 1st Lieutenant; Gordon Burton, 
2nd Lieutenant. The company was com- 
posed of one hundred and one young men. 
all from Mitchell and Marion Township, 
except a few from Spice Valley and Bono 
Townships. The following names were en- 
lolled as members oi this company: 
D.ivi.i Kelly Alexander F.dwaids 

Allen C P,urt()ii Gordon Edsvards 

Tliomas Beasley Ben Legg 

John Beasley Frank LaoKey 

William Brown Laniska Loniax 

David G Burton Samuel Lynn 

W. A. Burton Sharp Lynn 

Gordon Burton Solomon Lynn 

Riley D. Burton John Mahan 

Isom Burton Tom Melvin 

Hugh H. Burton Joseph Miller 

Alex Bundy Joseph Morris 

Denton Bundy Abe Murray 

William Cox Wesley Murray 

Richard Cox Elijah Mclntire 

William H. Brewer Hugh McNabh 

William Carpenter Volney Moore 

Robert Cassaday Simpson Pope 

Eli Clark Jacob Sloan 

Josiah Cleveland George Smith 

Sol Con ley Hiram Sperelin 

Frank Conley William Talbott 

Jas. L. Cunningham Henry Tomlinson 

John Dewherst William Tomlinsoi 

Allen Edwards, Jr. Oliver Turner 

Wesley Edwards John T. Williams 

David B. Edwards Temple Wright 

This company left Mitchell for Madison, 
Ind., to be mustered into service August 
12th, 1862, A large crowd gathered at the 
depot to see the boys off. The occasion, 
though enthusiastic, was sonowful and im- 
pressive, and scores wept bitter tears for 
dear ones they never again expected to see. 
It was hard indeed to see them go. There 
were fathers, husbands, sons and brothers 
going away to die, perhaps on a southern 

battlefield or in a rebel prison pen, or re- 
turn witii an empty sleeve or broken con- 
stitutions. The person who has now pass- 
ed middle Hfe, but who was only a small 
child then, cannot forget the scene that 
was stamped upon his memory that day. 
He remembers how, with eager eyes and 
throbbing heart, he saw his father or broth- 
cr enter the car to be taken away, perhaps 
never to return. 

Let not the conditions of life of the old 
veterans prevent us from paying them the 
honor that is justly due them. And while 
on Decoration Day we beautify the graves 
of the dead soldiers with fragrant flowers, 
let us not forget to salute those who are 
still living. 


Company "H. 67 ' regiment left Mitchell 
as has been stated. August 12th, 1862 and 
went directly to Madison, Indiana, where, 
on Augujit 19th, it was mustered into ser- 
vice and the boys became full fledged sol- 
diers. Two days later the company receiv- 
ed orders to strike tents, pack knapsacks 
and prepare to march; just where, none 
but a fey/ of the officers knew. It was soon 

found, howewer, that the destination was 
at some point in Kentucky, which proved 
to be Mumfordvilie where they were or- 
dered in an endeavor to check the Rebel 
army under General Bragg in its march 
toward Louisville. Arriving at Mumford- 
vilie on August 28th the boys realized that 
they were in the enemy's country without 
military drill or dicipline and liable to be 
attacked at any time On September 14th. 
Bragg's army, which was about five times 
greater than the Union forces, made 
its appearance and completely surrounded 
the Union forces After three da\ s of al- 
most continuous fighting against such great 
odds, the entire Union army, at that place, 
was compelled to surrender. 

I cannot give a detailed history of com- 
pany "H" and the regiment of which it 
was a part, but will say that no regiment 
from the state deserves more honor than 
the 67th, and it is a matter of local pride 
to know that tne boys Irom Mitchell and 
Marion township were always at their post. 
After their capture and parole at Mum- 
fordvilie they were permitted to return 
home, remaining until the following Dec 
ember, when they were exchanged and 

with other companies of the regiment were 
ordered first to IndianapoHs and from there 
to Memphis, Tenn. The next battle the 
company was engaged in was at Chicasaw, 
Bayou and Arkansas Post, where two mem- 
bers of the company were killed and others 
wounded. Other battles in which the com 
pany took a part were at Port Gibson, 
Champion Hill, Black River Bridge, siege 
and capture of Vicksburg, Grand Coteau, 
La., where a part of the company was cap- 
tured by the Rebels, Sabine Cross Roads, 
Cane River and Alexandria, The company 
also took part in the movement against 
Fort Margain and Fort Gaines and was in 
the campaign against Mobile. The com- 
pany in its nearly three years of service was 
engaged in seventeen hotly contested battles 
besides many skirmishes, was under fire one 
nundred and forty seven days and traveled 
more than seventeen thousand miles; surely 
an honorable record. In December 1864, 
the ranks of the 67th regiment of which 
company "H" was still a part, had become 
so diminished by Rebel bullets and death 
by disease that it was consolidated with 
the 24th Indiana regiment. At that time 
Captain David Kelley, who had proven 

himself to be a brave and cautious officer, 
was made Major of the new regiment. 
The company was mustered out of service 
July 19th, 1865, lacking just one month of 
serving three \ears. Only thirty-two of 
one hundred stalwart young men who con- 
stituted the company when it enlisted, an- 
swered roll call that day. If the roll of the 
company was called today, only ten would 
answer "here", the other ninety having an- 
swered the roll call "up yonder". The 
members of the company still living, so far 
as I am informed are: Isom Burton, Joe 
A. Burton, William H Edwards, Alexander 
Edwards, Richard Cox, Laniska Lomax, 
William Garyes. Riley D. Burton, Gordon 
Burton and Ab Cross. 

In addition to the two companies, which 
were made up and organized here, quite a 
number of Mitchell and Marion township 
boys enlisted at different times of the war 
and performed gallant service in other reg- 
iments. In addition to the names already 
mentioned of Mitchell and Marion Town- 
ship soldiers 1 will give the following list 
which I fear is not complete: 

I*](l\v;ii'(l Antoiiipsld Samuel ('()nl< 

Asa Dean .Toliu Cook 

William Coleman (ieo. VV. Cook 

Creorge Wood William R. Hamer 

William Edwards Daniel W. Burgess 

Tom Edwards Jol n Burgess 

Isaac Edwards Corbin Flora 

Capt. Hugh Erwin William Flora 

Capt. .loshua I'.idd William Davis 

Capt. Ai). Miller E. Z. J^ogan 

Van B. Kelly Henry Morris 

William Murpljy Ben Morris 

Washington Stroud William Muis 

William Pliipps George Sutton 

Isaiah Bhipps Jordon Sutton 

.lim Spiliei't Dave Ferguson 

Marion Brown Dave Blackvvell 

Henry B>rown George Bass 

William Ard Isom B«.ss 

William Boyd William Hamilton 

Tom l->oyd Joe Toliver 

.Tames Davis J. W. Manington 

Levi Clark William M. Munson 

Robert Dodson Nathan Osborn 

Sol Harris Charley Harnard 

A. W. Jones James Owen 

Bent Jones Tlunnas Jones 

Hugh Tirey Cal Cox 

William H. Tirey Andy Noe 

E, Tirey John Hull 

S. Osborn John Reeves 

AD. Bless Henry Ward 

Anslem Wood Kenhen Haft 

Eingley Wood Cljarley Emiis 

T .]. Toliver Samuel Hosteller 

Harry Walker D.iu Hosteller 

Wesley Walker Henry Isoni 

Henry Walker Fred Haverly 

Elijah Walker Caswell 11 Burton 

William Mcnyhan jj^^g,, ^ ,>„^,f„„ 

John Mead 

William Erwin 
Martin Hall 
Jacob Blaekwell ^- H. Crawford 

Cla> Wright J- VV Chess 

Green Wright David Carbin 

Theie are doubtless puite a number of 
others whose names I fail to recall. Mit- 
chell and Marion Township surely did a 
noble part during the great struggle. Be- 
sides furnishing so large a number of sol 
diers the township contributed five thous- 
and dollars bounty and one thousand dol- 
lars relief fund for soldiers. The ladies of 
the town and township also did noble work. 
They fed the soldiers as they passed through 
on the trains and during the Morgan raid. 
They were in full sympathy with the Chris- 
tian and Soldier's Aid Societies and assist- 
ed them greatly in relieving our brave 
soldiers on the battle field and in the 


iy ITCHELL is, at present, the only 
"— ^^^ town in Marion township, three older 
towns having fallen into decay. These 
towns were Redding, Woodville and Juliet. 
Of these, Redding is the oldest, having 
been laid out in 1842 by John R. Nugent 
and Robert Porter. When it was platted 
it consisted of 84 lots. For many years 
Redding was the principal trading place for 
the people of the county south of White 
river. It was also, for many years, the 
voting place for the voters of Marion town- 
ship. Although the town was christened 
Redding the postoffice established there 
was called "Sinking Springs". John R. 
Nugent was appointed postmaster and 
served until the postoffice was discontinued. 
Mr. Nugent wcs also the principal mer- 
chant of the town. The town and post- 
office both have long since pass*?d into his- 
tory. The second town to be established 
in the township was Woodville, which was 
laid out by Edwin Wood in 1849. A post- 
office was established there and Mr. Wood 
was commissioned postmaster and served 
until the office was moved to Mitchell. 
Woodville consisted of 58 lots, lying on thr 

two sides of what is called Main street 
through which the Monon railroad runs 
The location of the B. & O. railroad sound- 
ed the death knell of Woodville and it has 
long since ceased to exist. Juliet the third 
town was laid out in 1850. For almost two 
years Juliet was the terminal of the Louis- 
ville, New Albany and Chicago Railroad, 
now called the Monon, and was quite a 
business place. Goods were shipped there 
by railroad and hauled from there in wag- 
ons to Bedford, Bloomington and to many 
other towns north. Stage lines were also 
established from there almost to Chicago. 
John D. Thomasson was the principal mer- 
chant of the thriving little burg and was 
also the first postmaster to serve the peo- 
ple there. The completion of the railroad 
north ruined the prosperity of the town 
and early death was its fate. 

The next town established in Marion 
township was Mitchell, which was laid out 
September 29th 1853 by John Sheeks and 
G. W. Cochran. Mitchell was named in 
honor oi O. M. Mitchell, who was the chief 
engineer in the location and construction of 
the Ohio and Mississippi Railway, now the 
B. & O. S. W., and who also surveyed and 

platted the town. The streets of the orig- 
inal town plat running east and west are 
Vine, Baker, Frank, Mississippi Avenue. 
Main, Warren, Brook and Oak. Streets 
running north and south were not named 
but numbered consecutively from one to 
eight. In 1859 West Mitchell was laid out 
by Jonas Fmger. which added one hundred 
and fifteen lots to the original plat. The 
streets of the addition were named Brady, 
Stevens and Finger. Since then quite a 
number of other additions have been made 
until the town now occupies more than a 
section of land. 

Where Mitchell now stands was originally 
a dense forest of large trees. The first of 
these trees to be cut down was in 1849 
when work was commenced on the right of- 
way of what is now called the Monon Rail- 
way. During the same year a little spot 

was cleared and a log cabin built near 
where Bottorff-Simmen's store now stands. 
The first to occupy this log cabin was an 
Irish school teacher named John White. 
Mr. White did not remain here until the 
town was laid out and G. W, Dodson was 
perhaps the first settler of the town proper. 

He was followed by Albert Johnsou, Marion 
Brady, Amzi Munson, Silas Moore and 
John Fitzpatrick. Robert Stroud was the 
first to purchase a lot after the town was 
platted, but did not locate here until sev- 
eral years later, 

Mrs. W. T. Moore and Miss Lillie Brady 
were the first two children born in Mit- 
chell. The first sermon preached here was 
by a Presbyterian minister named Bishop. 
The sermon was preached from a stand 
which was erected near where the Grand 
hotel now stands. Dr. Rariden gave the 
first temperance lecture from a stand on 
the lot where the Arlington hotel once stood. 
The first school taught in Mitchell was in 
the old brick school house now occupied by 
the colored Baptist church. The teacher 
was Miss Jane Sheeks, afterward Mrs. Jane 
Marley. This was a subscription school. 
The first free schcol was taught in the same 
building with Eli Baldwin as the the teach- 
er. The first church built here was the old 
Methodist church building now owned and 
occupied by the Church of Christ. The 
early meichants were Silas Moore and John 
R. Nugent. The first druggist was G. W. 
Dodson- Samuel Cook and Dennis Cole- 

man were the first blacksmiths and J. T. 
Briggs was proprietor of the first hotel. 
Dr. Bulkley, Dr. A. L. Goodwin, Dr. New- 
kirk and Dr. J. T. Biggs were the early 
physicians. Dr. Craig ^vas the first Den- 
tist. Lorenzi Coppersmith was the first 
to practice law here. 

The growth of Mitchell for the first few 
years was slow but steady and in the year 
1860 when the first cerisus was taken it con- 
tained six hundred and twelve people. On 
December 23rd, 1864 Mitchell was incor 
porated as a town and an elsctioa was held 
soon after, for the election of town officers. 
The first officers elected were, for Trustees, 
Joshua Budd, Robert Barnard and Z. L. 
Warren. A. T. McCoy was, at the same 
time, elected Clerk, but resigned at the 
first meeting of the council and Henry 
Manington was appointed to fill the vacancy. 
One of the first acts of the council was to 
purchase grounds for the cemetery, which 
is now one of the most beautiful and well 
kept cemeteries in the state, and is admir- 
ed and favorably commented upon by all 
visitors. The Civic League, an organiza- 
tion of Mitchell ladies, has been a moving 
spirit in beautifying the cemeteiy. 

Mitchell remained an incorporated 
towa for forty-three years. On July 29, 
1907 an election was held to determine 
whether it should remain an incorporated 
town or should be incorporated as a city 
under the statutes of the state. The result 
of the election was a large majority in 
favor of incorporating as a city. The town 
was then divided into three wards and an 
election ordered to be held August 23, 1907 
to elect a mayor, clerk, treasurer and five 
couDcilmeD, one for each ward and two at 
large. The result of this election was for 
mayor, William L. Brown; treasurer, Harry 
V. Shepherd; clerk, Cl\ de Burton; council- 
men, Thos, W Welsh, William H Dings, 
John L. Holmes, John B. Sims and John A. 
Dalton. William L. Brown resigned before 
completing his term and Clyde Burton be- 
came mayor. Mr, Burton resigned in a 
short time and William E. Stipp was ap- 
pointed to fill the unexpired term. 

When Mitchell became a city it had a 
population of more than three thousand 
people. This was quite an increase from 
the time it was incorporated as a town and 
an increase of more than a thousand during 

the five years just previous. 

For many years there was but little 
manufacturing done in Mitchell and con- 
sequently but little demand for labor. In 
fact, previous to the year 1863 there was 
no manufacturing established here at all. 
and there was but little inducement for 
laboring men to locate here, except to work 
on the railroads. 

It should be noted here that railroads 
and their equipments were quite different 
sixty years ago, from what they are today. 
What was called a good railroad when the 
two roads passing through Mitchell were 
built, would be considered quite a bummy 
affair today. This is especially true of the 
Monon. Instead ol heavy steel rails, such 
as are now used, flat iron bars about the 
weight of the tires on a wagon, were spiked 
to wooden stringers braced apart and bound 
together every six feet to v/ooden cross 

Soms of ths older psopls can remember 
the first little wheezy engines used by this 
road with their balloon shaped smoke 
stacks and their canvas covered bow topped 
cabins which were about the size and shape 

oi an ordinal y wagon bed. The first 
freight cars were small and light, having a 
capacity of not more than seven or eight 
tons. A train of ten of these cars, when 
loaded, was considered quite a heavy train. 
For the first year or two of the road's exist- 
ence there were but two regular passenger 
trains on the southern division of the road 
but some of the freight trains had a pas- 
senger coach and were called mixed trains. 
The limit of a passenger train was fifteen 
miles an hour and it usually took all day 
to make the run from here to New Albany. 
As there were no telegraph or telephone 
connecticns at that time, trains were run 
according to a printed schedule. They 
were expected to pass at specific sidings but 
if one reached the sidiiig first, the orders 
were to wait ten minutes and if the other 
train could not be heard or sighted, to pro- 
ceed cautiously to the next siding. When 
this was done a member of the crew was 
sent ahead to be on the lookout for the be- 
lated train. Passenger trains were required 
to stop for passengers whenever and where 
ever flagged. As the engines, u-cd to pull 
the passenger trains, as well as the freight 

engines, burned wood for fuel, frequent 
stops had to be made to load the tender 
with wood. Water for the boilers was pro- 
cured from ponds or creeks near the rail- 
road by carrying it in buckets. The brake- 
men called this "jerking water ', which gave 
the road the nickname "Jerkwater railroad ' 
In the work of procuring ^vood and water 
the passengers would often assist. 

In 1856 and 1857 an apology for a 
telegraph line was constructed along both 
railroads passing through Mitchell. The 
lines consisted of a single strand of common 
wire strung ou black-jack and sassafras 
poles such as are now used by farmers for 
telephone poles. For several years the 
telegraph messages wer?, what was termed, 
sight-written; that is, were compressed on 
a long, narrow white paper ribbon by run- 
ning it through a little dot and dash re 
ceiver and then cutting it out and trans- 
lating it from a code. The early telegraph- 
ers here were Charles Moler, Mr. Hayward 
William and Joe Yandel for the O. & M. 
Wheeler Putnam was perhaps the first to 

serve the Monon and served for quite a 
number of j^ears The first ticket office of 
the Monon was in a room of the old 
Arlington Hotel The road was operated 
for many years before building a depot 
here. Silas Moore was the first agent of 
this road and also the first to serve the 
O. & M. in the same capacity, but seived 
that company but a short time until he re- 
signed and was succeeded by A. M. Mills- 
paw. Other lailroad men who were promi- 
nent in the early history of Mitchell were 
Jo.-hua Budd, Harve Marley, James Mann- 
ing, Mr. Lovejoy, A. T. McCoy, William 
Humston, I. H. Crim and Robert L. 

For many years there was no method 
of turning a locomotive and the engines 
had to run backward while going in one 
direction. Later a turn table was built 
near the Monon depot. Engines were run 
upon this and men then turned them 
around. A little later the "Y ' was dis- 
covered. This discovery is said to have 
been made by a boy playing with his to} s. 

A complete directory of the early mer- 
chants of Mitchell carmot be given. Silas 
Moore was perhaps the first merchant to 
locate here and, in connection with his son, 
the late Milton N. Moore, continued in 
business for many years. Other early mer- 
chants were John R Nugent, Robert Harn- 
ard. Z. L. Warren. G. W. Dodson. J. T. 
Biggs, George Webb and others. As the 
amount of money in circulation, prior to 
1860, was very small, a large percent of the 
business transacted by the merchants was 
by barter, very little money changing 
hands. Farmers would bring in to ex- 
change for goods such articles as butter, 
eggs, wool, home-made Jeans cloth, woolen 
socks and stockings knit by hand, dried 
fruit, feathers and, last but not least, gin- 
seng, which once grew in abundance in this 
community and was always in demand 

In 1870 the following persons and firms 
were ens:aged in b siness here; drygoods 
and groceries, Crim & Burton, Henry Clark. 
Emsley Wood, Sheeks & Monroe, Moore & 
Bro. ; Groceries, Allen Edwards & Henry 
Mannington; Stationers, Anderson & Ham- 
ilton; Boots and Shoes, Wood and Brother; 

Milliners, Mrs. E. A. Brown, Mrs, Tanks- 
ley, Mrs. Moffit, Mrs. Newby and Mrs. 
Gresham; Tinware and Stoves, Hill & 
Owen; Physicians, A. L Goodwin, M. D. 
Grim, J. Trush, E. S. Mclntire, W. A. 
Burton, J. B. Larkin. J. T. Biggs and Isom 
Burton; Dentist, J. H. McPheeters; Under- 
taker and Cabinet Maker, A. P Adams; 
Harness Makers, Rice M. Brown and Wm. 
M. Munson; Shoemakers, M. G. Keane, 
Ghris Vossler, Fred Brown, Amzi Munson; 
Lawyers, Wm. H. Edwards and Gharles G 
Berry; Flour mill, D. Kelly & Co; Druggist. 
G. W Dodson and Burton & Burton; 
Hotel keepers, Jas. Richardson Sarah Day- 
son and I. B. Falkner; Blacksmiths, Hugh 
McNabb, Sam Cook, Dennis Coiemar, 
John Lasweil, James Head and Kin Owen; 
Butchers, Sant McNabb, Dave Ferguson 
and Cole Smart. As we scan ths above 
list we find but two names whose faces are 
familiar to the people of Mitchell today, 
W. H. Edwards and Isom Burton. Span- 
ning a decade and a half a directory of 
Mitchell in 1885 would show the following 
named persons and firms doing business 
here: Dry Goods, A. Wood & Co.; Jas. D 
Moore, iVloore & McPheeters. Malott & 

Glover; Groceries, Edwin Wood, Burton & 
Malott, Jas. H, Brown. E. P. Eversole; 
Drugs, W. A- Burton, Isom Burton, W. H. 
Tapp, G. W. Dodson, J. T. Biggs; Hard- 
ware, Gus Davis, Crawford & Son; Milli- 
ners, Mrs. S. E. Newby, Mrs, Tanksley, 
Mrs. Williams; Stoves and Tinware, Jos- 
Dale; Grist Mill, David Kelly; Saw Mill, 
Charley Lemon; Bank of Mitchell, Milton 
N. and Wm. T. Moore; Sdddler and Har- 
ness, Wm. M, Muneon, Rice M. Brown; 
Stave Factory, Tilson Harlan; Editors- 
Commercial, John V. Smith, Times, Chas. 
L. Yockey; Marble Shop. Ed J. Salyards; 
Book Store, Geo. Wood; Jewelers, S. F. 
Martin, Chas. L, Barton; Lawyers Wm. 
H. Edwards. Chas. G. B^rry; Physicians, 
J. L. W. Yost, J. B. Larkin. G. W." Burton, 
E. S. Mclntire, Jas. C Pearson, A. J. Mc- 
Donald; Lumber Dealers, Viimedge Bros.; 
Shoemakers. Lyman Beebe, Chris Vosler, 
Amzi L. Munson; Ministers, Pastor cf Bap- 
tist Church, Rev. Davis, Presbyterian, 
Rev. iMcKee, Methodist R'^^v. Hutchinson. 

For future reference the following busi- 
ness directory July 10 IS* 1 6 is given; 


The Bank of Mitchell 
The First National 


H. H. Crawford 
Bottorff — Sinimen Co 


Jacob Effron 
Ceoil Murray 


VV. M. Shanks 
J. M. Card well 
J. VV. Howe 
C. E^ Harrison 

Dry Goods 

Braraan's Dept Store 
Harry Chappie 
E. Sharashewsky 
G. Miehael 


I.. B. Mather 

A. R. Ewing & Sons 

J. F. Mathews 


Wm. Morarity 

Sarah Alvey 

Ben Deitendorf 

Holmes Brothei-s 


J. D. Sanders 

W. F. Lagle 

Chas, Coyle 

L. A. Morgan 

S P. Corn well 

J. Hildehrand 

Wni. Sutton 


VV. R. Richardson 
Jesse Godwin 
Carr & Jones 
City Drug Store 


Evans & Gordon 
Lyman Ficklin 
Deputy Restaurant 
Josiah Be vers 


N P. Martin 
Harry Clements 


J. H. Landreth 
E. P. Moore 
T. J. Wood 
Joe Keane 


J. B. Gamhrel 
R. J. Seigmund 

Novelty Stores 
Claude Bryan 
C. D. Nangle 
Wir. . Mantler 
T. J. Wood 

John Clark 
Fred Parrot 
J as. Lcwery 
Pruett Bros. 
Allspaw & Hopper 



Miller & Alexander 

Frank Ghastain 

Mrs. K. B. Miseho 

Earl Trabue 

Mrs Joel White 

Deiseher & Reed 


Mrs. Hubbard 

Mitchell Hardwood 

Lumber Co. 


The Commercial 
The Tribune 

Mite h e 1 1— Hostetler 
Lumber (-o. 

0. F. Thome, Flour, 


Feed, etc. 

•1. H. Edwards 

Van Wray, 

Giles & Doman 

Meat Market 

C. Faris 

The Mitchell Tele- 

Harold Kelley 

phone Co. 

Lehigh Portland Ce- 


ment Company 

J. D. Bvrns 

Heise Bro.-. Ice Plant 

J. C. Kelly 

Sherwood's Livery 

W. 0. Sherwood 

John Schamer, Har- 

J. A. Gibbons 
Geo. Gibbons 


Smith & Smith, Pho- 

J. S. Atehinson 


H. S. Scheibe, Tailor 


Coal Dealers 

A. D. Sanders 

T. W. Welsh 

Sam Gray 
Doane & Routh 

John Rodarmel 
Joe K*^ane 

Pool Rooms 

J. F (^)llier 

Lynn Terrell 

The N( w Putuam 

Jacob Irwin 

The New Grand 

The oldest building in Mitchell now 
used for church services, is the little brick 
building belonging to tne Colored Baptist 
Chinch which was built in the year 1855 
and is located near the cement mills. This 
little structure was originally a school house 
and used for that purpose for many years. 
It was in this school house the first Sabbath 
School in Mitchell was organized, which 
was in the year 1859, This was organized 
on a union basis. Silas Moore Vv^as the 
superintendent and Ollie Owen the first 
secretary. In the latter part of the same 
year a denominational Sunday School was 
organized by the Methodists. William 
Meris was the first superintendent of this 

The oldest church organization is the 
Presbyterian. The history of this church 
begins with the organization of ihe Presby- 
terian church in a little log school house a 
mile and a half north of Mitchell, on the 
24th of Jan. 1855 by Rev. John A. Tiffany 
and Rev. John M, Bishop. Those who 

took part in the organization and became 
members of the new church were John L. 
Dodson and wife, J. H, Crawford and wife, 
G. W. Dodson, Elmira Braxtan, Agnes 
Cook and Mary J. Pless. Mrs. Solomon 
Bass was the ffrst to be received into the 
church by examination and Baptism. Ser- 
vices were held in the rude school house for 
two or three years and a small frame 
church building was started at Woodville 
but was never finished. In 1839 the meet- 
ing place of the church was changed to 
Mitchell and during that year a frame 
building was erected on the lot where the 
present building stands. This building 
was dedicated January 8, 1860. In 1870 
this frame building was moved away and 
a brick structure erected in its place. In 
1875 a steeple was added to the building in 
which a town clock was placed. The same 
building of 1870 with alterations and im- 
provements is still in use. The Presby- 
terian Sunday School, while not large, is 
fully as vigorous as any in Mitchell and 
for several years maintained a rest station 
in Korea for missionaries in foreign fields. 
Rev J. M, Bisphop preached for the 

church as a supply until May 11, 1864 
when Rev. Thomas A. Steele, who had ac- 
cepted a call, began his labors. Mr. Steele 
served the church faithfully and earnestly 
for fourteen years and was respected and 
loved, not only by his own congregation 
but by the people of the town and com- 
munity at large. He is lovingly remem- 
bered by many of the older people here. 
Pastors of the church since then have been 
Rev. Telle 1879 to 1882; Rev. McKee 1883 
to 1884; J. H. Reed 1885 to 5887; W. E. B. 
Harris 1887 to 1890; H. J. Van Dyne 1891 
to 1896; William Hall 1896 to 1898; G. W. 
Applegate 1898 to 1900; H. C. Johnson 
1900 to 1904; E. O Sutherland 1905 to 
1907; S. M. Morton 1907 to 1912; Rev. 
A. F. Davis was called in 1912 and is still 
pastor. Ou Jan. I, 1870 Silas Moore and 
wife made the church a gift of $2,000. The 
late Milton N. Moore also left, by his will, 
a sum for the benefit of the church. This 
bequest is to be kept intact, nothing but 
the interest being expended. 

The Methodist Church of Mitchell was 

organized in the spring of 1856 by Rev. 
G. F. Culmer of the Orangeville circuit. 
The church was organized at the fall con- 
ference the same year. In a grove near 
where the present church stands the first 
quarterly meeting was held in 1856. In 
1858 a frame building was erected, the 
building now used b}^ the Church of Christ. 
In 1874 the present building was completed 
at a cost of $8,000. Of this sum Jacob 
Finger contributed $2,000. On a slab in 
the east wall of the chuich building may 
be seen this inscription "Jacob Finger, 
M, E. Church." Rev. Charles Cross and 
Rev. W. S. Carter preached for the church 
until 1858 when Rev. Francis Walker was 
appointed by conference as pastor, followed 
by J. M. O. Fling in 1860; A. J. Clark in 
1861; J. W. Julian 1862; W. M. Zaring 
1863, J Wharton 1865, I. N. Thompson 
1866, W P. Armstrong 1868. Edward 
Hamer 1870, John Poucher 1871, F. A. 
Friedly 1873. W. R. Halstead 1876, J. H. 
Ketcham 1879. M. S. Heavenridge 1880, 
J. W. Asbury 1881, H. J. Barr 1882, F. A. 
Hutchinson 1883, R. A. Kemp 1884, John 
Speer 1885, S. W. Troyer, Geo. Reed, H. S. 

Headen 1890. A. L Bennett 1895. W. M. 
Zaring 1896, E. C. Jordon 1899, E, H.Tav- 
!or 1S02. W. N. Gaither 1904. M S. 
Heavenridge 1905, D. P Holt 1909. R. R. 
Bryan 1911, W. R Ashby 1913, C. S 
Whitted 1913. Mr. Whitted is the present 

Recently the interior of the church build- 
ing has been redecorated and is one of the 
prettiest church auditoriums in this part of 
the state. The Sunday School is one of 
the most prosperous in the city The work 
of the church is ably supported by a capa 
ble official board and a most efficient 
Ladies' Aid Society. 


On the 30th day of January. 1854 the 
iohowing named prrscns met in the old 
Pre^byterian church building and organized 
the Mitchell Baptist church: John Ed- 
wards, Lucy Edwards. Alien C. Burton, 
Adaline Burton, Rachael Pless. Mary Pless, 
Thomas Giles, Adaline Giles, Maggie Giles, 
Mary Giles, Matilda Dodeon. Ann M. Giles. 
Mary Montonya, Simpson Bui ton, Carrie 
Burton, Sar h Blackwell Hugh McNabb, 

Sarah McNabb and Kate Owens. 

A brick building, known as the Mitchell 
Baptist Semi/iary. had previously been 
erected. It was understood when this 
building was erected that the Baptist church 
should one be organized here, should have 
the use of the second story for church pur- 
poses. The newly organized church at 
once took steps to fit this room for church 
services, and soon after extended a call to 
Rev. Wright Sanders, as pastor. Rev. 
Sanders served four years, being followed 
b' Rev. Albert Ogle in 1868, Rev. A J 
E^sex in 1871. Rev. Noah Harper m 1876 
Rev. W. L. Gtecne in 1879. Rev. G. C 
Shirk m 1881. Rev, B. J. Davis in 1883, 
Rev. A. C. Watkins in 1887. Rev. C. M 
Carter m 1888. Rev D M. Christy in 1891 
Rev. I A. Heily in 1892. Rev. J B Thomas 
in 1894. Rev. J. M. Kimbrough in 18 
Rev. E R. Clevenger in 1901, Rev. G. O. 
Webster in 1905, Rev C L. Merriman in 
1106, Rev. C. A Sigmon in 1S08. Rev. W. 
E. Denham in 1911, Rev. C Bebb in 1912 
Rev. and Creed W. Gawthrop in 19i3. 

On the 15th day of December. 1901. the 
old seminary and church building was de 

stroyed by fire and very soon after, the 
present structure, which is modern in every 
detail, was erected. The new buildiug cost 
about ten thousand dollars, to wnich has 
been added improvements amounting to six 
thousand dollars. 

From its incipiency, except for short in- 
tervals, the church has maintained all time 
preaching and for more than fifty years has 
kept alive a flourishing Sabbath School, 
which now has an enrollment of more than 
three hundred. The membership of the 
church is four hundred and fifty, 


In the month of May, 1906, the First 
Christian Church, of Mitchell, was organ- 
ized. For almost a year the congregation 
met in a hall for worship. In 1907 the 
church completed a building on the corner 
of Frank and Eighth streets at a cost of six 
thousand five hundred dollars Pastors of 
the church have been: Rev. E. S. Lewis in 
1906, Rev. I. Konkle in 1907, Rev. R. J. 
Bennett in 1908, Rev. H. A. Wingard in 
1910 Rev. E. E. Petticord in 1913 and 
Rev, A. J. Cook, the present pastor. 

The growth of the church has been al- 
most phenomenal. Although but ten years 
old it is one of the largest churches, in point 
of number, in the city, and maintains a 
Sabbath School with an average attendance 
of more than three hundred. 

The Catholic church building here was 
erected in 1871 The lot, upon which the 
building stands, was donated by Col. John 
Sheeks. Several years after the church 
was built it was remodeled and enlarged 
and a substantial rectory was built at a 
cost of four thousand dollars. The church 
property is nov/ worth ten thousand dollais. 
The present priest in charge is Father Eise- 

On the 24th day of January, 1874, about 
fifteen persons met in Amos Adam's furni- 
ture store and with the assistance of Rev. 
William B. Chrisler, of Bedford, organized 
the Church of Christ. In November of the 
same year the chuich purchased the old 
Methodist church building on east Main 

street. Since purchasing the building it 
has been remodeled and refurnished. The 
church was organized with but fifteen 
members, but now has a membership of 
more than a hundred and is wide awake to 
its opportunities. 

The Lehigh Chapel church building is 
located in east Mitchell, near the cement 
mills. The erection of this building is due 
to the generous and philanthropic people 
of the Lehigh Portland Cement Company. 
The Salvation Army has its headquarters 
at this building and hold regular services 
there. Much good has been accomplished 
in Mitchell by this organization. 


The Holiness Church is located on the 
corner of Fourth and Frank streets. These 
people have a substantial frame building 
and a large membership. The church is 
said to be in a flourishing condition 


Sometime in 1866, through the influence 
of Rev. Simpson Burton, a church of the 

Baptist denomination was organized here 
composed of colored people These people 
have, for many years owned their own 
house of worship, which is the old brick 
school house on east Main street. 

The colored Methodist people also have 
a church organization here and own a brick 
building on Warren street. 

Both colored churches maintain Sabbath 
Schools. The first sabbath school com- 
posed of colored people, in Lawrence county 
was organized by D. M. Alter and his 
daughter Maggie, in the brick building now 
owned by the colored Baptist people. 


In the fall of 1859 Simpson Burton re 
alizing the need of better educational fac- 
ilities in Mitchell and surrounding com- 
munity organized a private school in a 
dwelling house on the corner of Main and 
9th street. He had for his assistant Miss 
Mary Montonya who taught the primary 
department. In the spring of 1860 Prof. 
Burton with others began organizing a stock 
company to erect a building to be known 
as the Mitchell Baptist Seminary The 

first meeting for this purpose was held in 
the old Freedom Church. Steps were taken 
at this meeting to raise funds to erect a 
substantial brick building which was finished 
in the fall of 1860. This building was de- 
stroyed by fire in 1902. Many were the 
heart aches when it was learned that the 
old Seminary had been destroyed. 

The first session of school in the Sem- 
inary building began in October 1860 Vv'ith 
Simpson Burton as principal, assisted by 
Carrie Graves and Mary Montonya Prof. 
J. K. Howard was afterward added to the 
faculty and for several years the school was 
conducted by and flourished under the 
direction of Burton and Howard Per- 
haps no school in the state did better and 
more thorough work than did the old Semi- 
nary. The war of the rebellion together 
with the public free school system caused 
the attendance to decrease and in 1868 
Burton and Howard gave up the school. 
Two sessions were taught during the fol- 
lowing year by Prof C. L. Donaldson It 
is eminently proper in connection with the 
history of this school to say that too much 

credit cannot be given to Simpson Burton, 
No history of this community could be 
properly written without giving a large 
place to the life and work of this noble man 
In thinking of the educational history of 
Mitchell and community in the memory 
of those who arc no longer young, he stands 
out alone and apart from all others as a 
beuefactor and leader of the community in 
an educational way. In zeal and devotion 
to high ideals inspiring others to make the 
most of themselves he was unsurpassed. 
His career was a short on?, dying at the 
age of thirty-nine, but as a benefactor in 
the town to this da}^ pre-eminent and un 
challenged. He had worked his way by 
reason of great persistency and self sacrifice 
through Franklin College, graduating from 
that institution in I860. Returning home 
he became profoundly impressed with the 
need of better educational facilities for the 
young people Oi the town and cornmunity. 
The common schools with short terms and 
limited courses of study and poorly pre- 
pared teachers afforded the only opportun- 
ity of education here at that time. The 
high school had not come into existence. 
He conceived the idea of establishing at 
Mitchell a school for higher learning. In 
the interest of his undertaking he canvass- 
ed the entire community. Everyone had 

great confidence in him as a man. His 
zeal, his unselhsh devotion to a good cause, 
his untiring energy, his high ideals pro- 
foundly impressed every one with whom he 

came in contact. He went mto the homes 
and talked to parents and children and in- 
spired them to cultivate higher ideals of 
living. As a teacher he was eminently 
successful and will ever be tenderly remem- 
bered by his many pupils. And to this it 
should be added that theie are many that 
are nearing tne close of their earthiv career 
who will say that whatever success has 
come to them sn this life they are greatly 
indebted to the teacher of their youth. 
Were I asked the question, "Wiiat man h.^s 
performed the greatest service in this com- 
munity", the answer would be, without a 
moment's hesit tion, "Simpson Burton." 

In the spring of 1865 a school was organ- 
ized by the Prr.-bylerian Church congre- 
gation aud was called the "Mitchell Select 
School." A bUiaW frame building was 
erected on the back of the lot where the 
Presbyterian Church now sta:id«. The 
teachers for the first year were Miss Anna 
Balantine and Miss Mary Alter (Barton ) 
Subsequent teachers were Miss Maria 
Sheely, Miss Mattie Brown and Mrs. 


Mitchell lost its most valuable asset 
when the Sjuthern Indiana Normal College 
buildi g was destroyed in August 1900. An 
effort was made to laise funds to rebuild 
and $14,000 were in sight, but the m.atter 
was there dropped. 

Students cams from many states to at- 
tend the Normal, and the entire commun- 
ity was raised to a much higher moral and 
intellectual plane than it has since occupied. 
There is still a great demand and a rips 
field for a similar institution in this part of 

The first building stood oii Nineth street 
between Main and Warren, and three cot- 
tages were made from this old frame build- 
ing. The new building, a substantial brick, 
occupied the present site of the south side 
school building 

Prof. W. F. Harper, now of Pomona, 
Cal , contributes tlie following. He was 
the first President of the College: 

"The institution \v,-is rst:in!isliHi] April 6, 18S0, 
lUii] was (Inly in('()fi)(M-Mte(! on June Ttli of tti.-it 
year. J.N. Sell)y wastlie moving- spii'it in the 
esra,Mislinu-ut of the in^tilulion .Mr. St-lhy re 
mail eil hut a lirief I iii;(^ hownvef. and when the 
iii.'<tituti')u was ineorpmated I was eleeted as its 
president. Dr 11 L. Kuiiherlin was pres.(h-ar of 
the Boaid of Tiaisiees. Dr. -i L W^ Yo.>t, viee 

president; .1. Y Bates, treasurer; Dr. (I W. 
Burton, secretary. IV'ilton N. Moore, at that time 
the leading merchant of Mitchell, was the largest 
contributor toward the ei-ection of the building. 
Indeed, except for Mr. Moore's libei-alitj-, it could 
not have been erected. W. G. Anderson, who at 
that time was conducting a wholesale book and 
stationery business, was one of the chief boosters. 
Allen C. Burton, James D. Moore, M. A. Burton, 
Anslem Wood and E. P. Eversole wei-e members 
of the first Board of Trustees. These were all 
devoted and faithful supporters of the new insti- 

Many men of prominence in Southern Indiana 
were our friends from the beginning. I ncnll 
especially. Professors eT. M. Bloss, of Evansville; 
L'ichard Owen, of New Harmony: J. A. Wood, of 
Salem; J. W. 0. Springston. of Leavenworth; and 
R. A. Ogg, of New Albany. Most of these were 
superintendents of selu ols in their respective 
towns and cities. Judges W. R. Gai-d:er, of 
Washington; E. V. Pierson, Bedford; Hon. A. 
Guthrie, Tunnelton ; Col. Louis Brooks, Shoals, 
and many others. There were some choice people 
in the first faculty. Prof. W. E. Lugenbeel was 
our professor of mathematics and natural science. 
He was one of the most thorough instructors I 
have ever known and a man of very high ideals. 

Previous to the year 1869 the only pub- 
lic schools in Mitchell were the schools held 
in a little brick building in east Mitchell 
and a small frame building situated at the 
corner of Ninth and Warren streets. As 
both of these were township district schools 
the length of the terms t ught were very 
short. In 1869 a board of education was 
appointed and steps taken to organize a 
graded school for the town A substantial 
frame building was erected on the lot where 
the little frame school house stood for so 
many years and in October 1869 the fir^-^t 
session of the graded school began. This 
gave Mitchell the honor of being one of the 
first towns in the state to adopt the graded 
school s\ stem The first superintendent 
was Prof. McLaulin. The school has been 
ably conducted from its beginning. In 
1881 it was admitted as a standard high 
school, its graduates being admitted with- 
out examination to all colleges and univer- 
sities of Indiana Ohio, Illinois and Ken- 
tucky. The first to graduate from the 
school was Mrs. Ella Munson Bennett who 
graduated in 1876 The graduates last 
year numbered fifteen. The total number 
of graduates since the school was organized 
is three hundred and forty nine. The city 
now has three substantial brick school 
buildings. Eight teachers are employed 

giving instruction in high school work, sup- 
plemented by an able corps of teachers in 
the grades. More than one hundred fifty 
pupils will be enrolled the coming year in 
the high school alone. Prof. Robt Tirey 
is the present superintendent The city 
also maintains a school for colored children. 


The newspaper, next to the school and 
church, has always been a potent factor in 
advancing the best interest of the town and 
community. The first newspaper estab- 
lished in Mitchell was in 1863 and called 
the Mitchell Republican. J. M. Griffin 
was editor, propiietor and printer. The 
life of this paper was only six months. 
Sometime during the next year the Mitch- 
ell Commercial was established by Wood- 
ard & Rumrill. A year later these gentle- 
men sold out to Professors B'.irton, Howard, 
and King who conducted the paper a little 
over a year when Charles G. Berry took 
charge and was its editor for several years. 
Subsequent editors have been E. S, Mc- 
Intire, W H. Edwards, W. T. Moore. Geo. 
Z. Wood, J. V. Smith, E. L. Lee, Hane & 
Thurston, McShane & Thurston, Wool- 
heater & Chitty, and Howard Chitty, who 
is the present editor and proprietor. The 
Commercial will soon celebrate its fiftieth 
birthday and is the oldest newspaper in 
southern Indiana. In 1876 a paper was 

established here by Charles Yockey and 
J T. Biegs called the Mitchell Times. Dr. 
Biggs later conducted the paper alone, as 
editor and proprietor but in 1884 sold out 
to Charles Yockey who conducted it uutil 
failing health compelled him to give it up. 
July 11 , 1899 the first number of the Trib- 
une madr; its appearance, Moore and Tank- 
sley as proprietors. W. T. Moore was 
editor and T. J. Tanksley did all the work 
except the writing. The paper was first 
printed on a Washington hand press in the 
room now occupied by Will Morarity on 
Main street, Moore and Tanksley retired 
and the paper was owned and edited by 
T. J. Wright Later it was owned by 
Sam Thurston and P, M. McBride. For a 
time A. N. Palmer was associated with Mc- 
Bride as editor. Following this P. M. Mc- 
Bride owned and published the Tribune 
until August 1907. Since which time it 
has been ed'ted and published by W. E. 


Mitchell is justly proud of its factories 
and especially the great lime and cement 
plants located here. The manufacture and 
use of cement in this part of the country is 
of comparatively recent date. Until recent 
years the Amerieaa Portland Cement in- 
dustry was confined to a small locality 

known as the Lehigh Cement District in 
eastern Pennsylvania named after the 
Lehigh Valley in which district the natural 
cement rock of the eastern United States 
was first developed. As cement is a heavy, 
bulky commodity it does not bear distant 
railroad transportation except at prices al- 
most prohibiting its general use. So that 
it was to the mutual interest of both manu- 
facturer and consumer that raw material be 
located and developed in the manufacture 
of cement as near a center of distribution 
and consumption as Vv^ould eliminate as far 
as possible the high freight cost of this use- 
ful article. Recognizing this fact the Le- 
high Portland Cement Company began to 
prospect in many localities for suitable raw 
materials and through the active efforts of 
Noble L. Moore and John H. Edwards, 
were attracted by the enormous beds of 
limestone near Mitchell and the extensive 
beds of shale near here. An investigation 
followed which i-esuUed in locating their 
first western mill at Mitchell in 1901. 
They commenced the manufacture of 
cement at this mill which has a capacity of 
two thousand barrels per day, in August 
1902. The use of cement increased enorm- 
ously and to supply this increasing demand 
the same company built a second plant 
here in [905. This plant has a capacity of 
four thousand barrels per day. The daily 

product of the two plants is over six thou" 
and barrels which makes this one of the 
most important cement producing centers 
west of the Alleghanies. The amount of 
limestone and shale used in the manufact- 
ure of this cement is about 80/^ limestone 
and 20/r shale. This mixture requires a 
thorough grinding to a high degree of fine- 
ness, previous to burning. This and other 
processes necessary in rhe manufacture of 
cement call for the heaviest crushing and 
grinding machinery and a very large ex- 
penditure of power and labor. The amount 
of coal used at the plants here approximates 
sixteen thousand tons per month while the 
amount of limestone and shale used is more 
than two thousand tons per day. The 
operation of the mills and quarries gives 
employment to six hundred or seven hund- 
red m^n at a monthly pay roll of over forty 
thousand dollars. The manufactured pro- 
duct requires the best railroad equipment 
for shipping and with an average of one 
hundred and seventy-five barrels to a car- 
load the daily requirements are thirty or 
forty first-class box cars During the busy 
season of the year the shipments often 
amount to as much as twelve thousand 
barrels per day. Nearly every city, town 
and hamlet in the states of Indiana, Illinois, 
Ohio, Kentucky, southern Michigan and 
southern Wisconsin are familiar with cement 
made at Mitchell. 


These Sketches of Local History be- 
gan when this community was an un- 
broken wilderness, and with Mitchell 
when it was practically a forest. Long 
years have sped away. The unbroken 
wilderness has been transformed into 
beautiful fields, orchards and gardens, 
and where a little over a half century 
ago was a dense forest we now have a 
thriving and beautiful city. On al- 
most the very spot where less than a 
century ago nothing could be seen but 
the thin wreaths of smoke which as- 
cending, marked the spot where the 
pioneer had built his cabin, now huge 
volumes of smoke from our great 
manufacturing plants almost obscure 
the sun, while the ceaseless roar of 
tireless machinery proclaims to us the 
Empire of Mechanical Genius, 

When the history of the community, 
as I attempted to give it, began, the 
hiss of the rattlesnake, the howling of 
wolf, and the scream of the panther 
could be heard, where now patriotic 
songs of Sunday school bands can be 
heard which speak to us of Christian 
civilization. The little cabin which 

was the home of our forefather no 
longer exists The httle field and 
truck patch which gave him a scanty 
supply of bread and vegetables have 
been swallowed up in the extended 
meadow, orchard and grain field. 

We must remember that these great 
changes have not taken place in a 
moment's time; not by the magic 
hand, but by the patient toil of brave 
and sturdy men and women. It was 
these noble men and women who 
swept away the forest and laid so well 
the foundation for the comforts and 
civilization we now enjoy. 

In giving these sketches to the read- 
ers of the Tribune it is my sincere 
hope that they have derived as much 
pleasure from reading as I have in 
writing them. One pleasure, at least, 
results from studying the past history 
of a community which has made as 
many changes as ours has; it lengthens 
the retrospect of lives With me I am 
sure it has had that effect, and did not 
the definite number of my years teach 
me to the contrary would think myself 
much older than I am. The experien- 
ce of those who have been reared in 
large cities or old settled communities, 
where from year to year the same un- 
changing aspect of things presents it- 
self, is said to be quite different. There 

life passes away as an illusion or dream 
not having been presented with any 
striking events or changes to mark its 
different periods and give them an 
imaginary distance from each other. 
With them life ends with a bitter com 
plaint of its shortness. Could one have 
witnessed all the changes in our com- 
munity and city that I have described 
from time to time they would have 
been gradual and scarcely preceptible. 
But the view from one extreme to the 
other is like the experience of crossing 
one of the great lakes, Vv^ith the Cana- 
dian wilds upon one shore and the civ- 
ilization and enlightenment of our own 
country upon the other. To those of 
us who have spent our lives here, as 
we look back over the history of the 
community and realize that not one of 
the early pioneers is now living, we 
cannot avoid the most serious reflect- 
ious. We cannot fail to be reminded 
of an ancient Greek General who, 
when he saw from a high hill, the 
plains covered with his soldiers and the 
sea with his ships he, in the pride of 
his heart, pronounced himself the most 
favored of all mortals. But reflecting 
that in a few short years to come not 
one of the many thousands he then be- 
held would be alive, he burst into 

tears at the brevity of human hfe and 
the instabiHty of all human things. 

If in reading these sketches there has 
been created in the minds of the 
readers a local veneration and respect 
for the memory of the pioneers, who 
by toil and hardship, have made our 
country what it is today, then the 
writing has not been in vain. 

There is a tendency on the part of 
some to depreciate our own city and 
surroundings There should be in- 
stilled in the minds of the boys and 
girls in our schools a love and pride 
for Mitchell and surrounding commun- 
ity and a desire to know more of 
their history and tradition. They 
should be taught that our city can be 
made as beautiful, our orchards as 
productive, our fields as fertile and 
our people as talented as are to be 
found anywhere. To cherish the past 
should be our pleasure, to improve the 
present our aim, and to anticipate 
more glorious changes in the future 
our brightest hope.