The Shelbyville Republican
March 2, 1876
Shelbyville, Shelby Co, IN.
From an Old Settler of Jackson Tp.
first visited Shelby county in May, 1824. My father and myself came from Warren county, Ohio, by way of Brookville;
where we left two hundred dollars in silver, to enter 160 acres of the land of Shelby county on our return. We
entered the county somewhere near where St. Paul now stands, and descended the valley of Flat Rock, passing by
a place where Arthur Major kept store; thence down past
Alex Van Pelt's, at the south of Conns Creek, and at night
we lodged at the house of Hiram Drake, at the high banks of Flat Rock. Mr. Drake and his father had built a mill
on Flat Rock, only a part of the mill building being raised. Mr. Drake went out with us in the morning to view
the vacant lands, taking up north to a section corner near where John Higgins
now resides, he directed us to go
down the creek (Lewis) to where an old gentleman named Philip Fix
had settled; however, as it happened, we missed
the place and got down to the cabin of Samuel Drake. --- His father, Lewis Drake, of Warren county, Ohio, had bought
section twenty-two, of town 11, range 6 at the first sale of lands in what was called the New Purchase, and gave
it to his sons Samuel and Joseph. Samuel's wife was a sister of Tom Corwin's, but he did not stay long in Shelby county,
preferring some other way of living to farming. Mr. S. Drake showed us some land near by which we concluded to lay on.
To this place we removed the following December, and
in Jackson township I have resided ever since, over fifty-one years. At that time the population of Jackson township
was very light. Going from Mr. Drake's west toward Edinburg, John Knowlton lived south of the road some little distance; then David Laymon, who followed the tanning business; then
Longstreet Hawey [Harvey]. Just beyond Mr. Hawey's
[Harvey's] the road turned down what was called the Rich Hollow, near Ad Renehart's
present residence; some distance down the Hollow lived George Dawson, a brother of Joseph Dawson, who lived some little distance farther south. Our road
then came to the section line below where there was a cross-road, a blacksmith shop run by old
Parson Gouge, calling himself a Separate Baptist; then the residence of the widow Dupree, and a little distance ahead the farm of George Cutsinger
and the county line. Returning east from Parson Gouges', almost every one had a faculty of living off the road; on the left, first Isaiah Livingston,
then on the right James Records or rather his widow; then on the left Joseph Bishop
and the widow Hageman, all off the road; then Joshua Hill
and Martin Shuey on the present Warner place; then on Lewis Creek old
Mr. Buck. On the road running north from St. George's Lutheran Church towards Marietta and Shelbyville, there were no settlers from Mr. Hawey's to the
Isaac Miller place. From our residence on Lewis Creek we had no regular road to Shelbyville at that time. The Indians who had not entirely disappeared fifty-two years ago, had had a little camping place on Flat Rock, just below the county line, where they had a plum orchard, and as I was informed some apple trees, which, however, they hewed down when they disposed of the soil. From this camp a trail led up through my father's place toward Strawtown, on White River. This trail we had to follow to reach Shelbyville, striking Blue River near Marietta.
On the Blue River bottoms from the county line up, the principal settlers were Martin Cutsinger, Mary McGuire, Moses Pruitt, Henry Barlow, John B. Conover, Jesse Scott and ---- Conover.
We had tolerably good convenience for milling in those days at Drake's old mills, when they were in order, when they were not, which sometimes happened, we had to go ten or twelve miles to other mills, which packing, as we commonly did on horseback, was rather tedious.
Educational privileges were rather rare. School houses
were log cabins. The first school house in the north-east part of Jackson township was built in the year
on a place I then owned, of round logs, 16x18 feet, a puncheon floor below; the upper floor was also of punchoens,
well daubed with mud. The fire place occupied the entire east end; the back-wall of mud, and the flue of sticks
and mud. In this building I taught the first school ever held in that neighborhood. There had been put up some little time previously, a brick building on the burying ground near the present St. Georges' church. This building never was finished, soon cracked to pieces and was taken down.
With respect to churches, there was at that time, the
Lewis' Creek Baptist Church, meeting first at S. Drake's, then at L.
Hawey's [Harvey], afterwards at a meeting house near
what is now called Slabtown; this church became what is called anti-Mission, and was ministered to by Messrs. Newman, Harper and Layman, but has disappeared for some years. Here was also a Methodist Society on the county line below, which exists to this day. Old Parson Gouge used to hold forth on the Big Bottoms, so called, but being somewhat eccentric in his course, did not make any permanent impression. About the year 1830, a Presbyterian church was established at the tumble-down brick school house, but in a few years came to an end. Some time before a Separate Baptist Church was established on Lewis Creek, which remains, in a measure, to this day.
On looking at the past and the present, I find that there are only two men living in Jackson township who were living here as grown men, when I came here, more than fifty-nine years ago: these men are
Alfred Phelps and Abner Connor.
We also have a letter from Alfred Phelps, of Jackson township, who came to that township in
June, 1824, and has been a resident continuously ever since. His letter contains so near the same
items of Mr. Clark, that we omit publishing it. Ed.