Early Days in Bartholomew County, Indiana

Early Days in Bartholomew County, Indiana

The following three items provide glimpses of the early history of Bartholomew County, Indiana, and also contain the names of many early settlers.


Settlement of German Township
How the People Worked, Eat, Slept and
Lived, With Names of the Old Settlers.

[Clipping from the Columbus Republican, Bartholomew County, Indiana, April 10, 1886]

I promised some time ago that I would give a short sketch of the settlement of German township and of the old settlers, but I cannot do it justice after so many years, having forgotten much that would be strange and interesting to the present generation.

German is bounded on the east by Flatrock, on the west by Driftwood, had many excellent wells and springs and is therefore abundantly supplied with good water. It is one of the best townships of land in the county and produces abundantly everything that grows in this altitude. It was originally covered with a heavy growth of fine timber consisting principally of oak, poplar, walnut, ash, wild cherry, sugar maple, beech and much of this timber remains yet. The township has three good church buildings and six large brick school houses besides the graded school at Taylorsvile, and many fine and tasty private residences that would be a credit to any community and the whole township has an air of thrift and solid prosperity hard to excel.

The township derives its name from the fact that it was settled principally by Germans and those of German descent.

The younger generation who enjoy all these blessings now can scarely form a picture of the way their forefathers lived fifty or sixty years ago, but I will try to give them an idea of it. Each family had only one small field of corn and we had to watch them every day after the corn and we had to watch them every day after the corn got into the roasting ears to keep the gray squirrels form eating it up, and sometimes they were so bad that we had to gather it in September and dry it to keep it from spoiling. If it were cut and put in the shock coons and squirrels would eat it all. I have known men to hire hands to stand around the fields with a gun and shoot squirrels day after day. They would just shoot them and leave them where they fell. A man could just load and shoot all day and the squirrels would never seem to be any scarcer at night than in the morning. In that early day the land was covered by underbrush as well as large timber. There was also what we called peavine that grew luxuriantly everywhere. It was very useful and stock lived on it principally. Very little grain was to be had, and, after working the horses or oxen all day, they would be turned out at night to graze. Many oxen were used for hauling, which was done chiefly on sleds, and for breaking ground with the wooden plows. Harrow teeth were made of wood, poles with pins in them being used instead of log chains. Wagons were scarce, and if a man had ridden up in a buggy the people would have thought it was Elijah in his chariot.

The people lived in log cabins, with a hole cut out for a door, but seldom any window. Their tables were made by splitting a broad slab out of a log, having the upper side as smooth as possible, and putting legs in it. Table cloths were unknown. Part of the family usually had to wait because there was not room enough nor enough dishes, knives, forks, spoons for all at the same time. Bedsteads were made by boring holes in one side of the cabin and driving forked sticks down further out in the floor and sticks laid across these, throwing over them some clothes and covering them with leaves or straw, and this was the bed. Some would hollow out a place in the corner of the floorless cabin, fill the place with leaves and use it for a bed.

Meal waas made in this way: A block of wood about three feet long was cut from a tree, one end hollowed out by boring and burning until it was smooth and would hold from a peck to a half bushel. This was the mortar block. A pestle wa made by taking a stick of wood and fastening an iron wedge, (such as is used in splitting timber) in the end of it. The corn was poured in the mortar and pounded as fine as possible. It was sifted and the finer portion used for meal and the coarser for hominy. The meal was made into dough spread on a clean board and put up before the fire to bake. This was called "johnny cake." Sometimes the dough was rolled up into a ball or "dodger," placed in the embers and baked when it became "hoecake." The hominy was cooked and seasoned well with coon grease, when it was, "eat and be merry for tomorrow you must beat more meal and hominy." There was abundance of game at that time such as deer, bears, panthers, wolves, catamounts, wild cats, coons, opossums and wild turkeys. It was a good thing too, as game and corn bread was the chief diet. Some few had beds and other articles of convenience they had brought with them; but this was the exception.

The nearest place to get any meal or four was Connersville or Brooklyn, in Wayne county. Old Mr. Barlow put up the first horse mill to grind corn. Each man had to take his own team to run the mill and grind his "grist" and then it was slow work. A couple of years later one Cox put a temporary mill on Flatrock, near what is now called "High Field ford." He felled a tree across the creek where it was swift for a dam, fixed a paddle wheel on it and ground some corn, but it had to be watched closely or the coons would eat it as fast as ground. In 1823 or 1824 John Pence built a mill on Driftwood where the old Tannehill mill now stands and after that there was no trouble in getting grinding done, providing you had anything to grind.

The first ground that was ever cleared in the township was what has always been known as "The Big Field." John Pence in 1817 or 1818 sent some hands from Champaign county, Ohio, who thinned out the timber and built a brush fence around about twenty acres and this was the "Big Field." The first main road that was opened through this county extended from Connersville to Brownstown and ran on the south side of this field. Afterward, there was a small field cleared on the south of this and the road between the two formed the first lane in the county. It was called the "Big Field Lane" and for many years was used as a race track. The people would come from far and near to enjoy the sport of horse racing and many a merry gathering of that kind was held at this place. Jos. Steenbarger and Ab Kyle own this land. It will bring from 20 to 25 bushels of wheat or from 45 to 65 bushels of corn per acre, which shows that the land does not readily wear out. There are many other old fields in the township just as good.

Our mothers and sisters manufactured all the clothes we wore and if the boys and girls of today had to work as we did and wear such clothes it would break their hearts if not their constitutions. They would spin and weave flax and tow for pants and shirts, card the wool by hand, spin and weave wool for their own wear. Made their own buttons for all the clothes, out of wood or thread. I was a large boy before I saw any other kind of button. There were few coats then and men wore "hunting shirts." They were made like other shirts, only open in front, and had from one to three capes on them, from the collar down over the shoulders. They were of all colors and most every material. I shall never forget my first hunting shirt. It was bright red, and when I got it on I felt as big as General Jackson.

About 1824 or 1825 there were two log school houses built in the townships. The floors were made of huge puncheons and the lofts of clapboards five feet long. A log was cut out of one side of the house and greased paper pasted over the opening, this served as a window. For a writing desk we had a large puncheon placed on pins driven in the wall. We had writing paper but little better than ordinary wrapping paper now, ink was made from maple bark and pens from goose quills, such a thing as a lead pencil was unknown. For seats a log would be split open, the flat side turned up, and legs put in it. A large wooden fire-place and chimneys were built at one end and plastered with mud, the mud being mixed with straw or hog's hair to make it stick. The fire place would be filled with logs six feet long, which would burn nearly all day. The pupils would burn their shins and freeze their backs at the same time. There were only two or three months of school in the year and not many attended who were old enough to work. We did not have free schools then, as now, nor any money to hire a teacher. If a man could be found who would teach and take his pay in "truck," sheep, a piece of linen a few bushels of corn, etc., they would hire him and when he had taught the amount would quit. Webster's spelling book was about the only book we had to study. The young folks would meet at each other's houses and have spelling schools and learn a good deal and have much fun. How would our young folks now like this plan of getting an education?

The following is a list of those who settled in this township between 1819 and 1825:

Thos WellsWm Beatty
Jno PenceJohn Steenbarger
Henry SteenbargerJohn Steenbarger
Reuben SteenbargerFred'k Steenbarger, Sr.
John Van NormanJohn Harper
Valentine MillerJos H Van Meter
Wm S. JonesDavid Hall
Benj IrwinJames Blair
Thomas HarkerHenry Bozzell, Sr.
Henry BozzellLegran Bozzell
Soloman SteenbargerIsaiah Steenbarger
Henry MogertJos Swisher, Sr
Levi LoweJos Swisher, Jr
Jacob BarlowJohn Conner
Jerry BarlowEdward Carven
John LaysDavid McCoy
James McCoyNathan Kyle
John WilsonWm Depew
John TaylorWm Record
Laban RecordJas Marr
Henry MogartBenj Pence
Geo PenceJob Pence
John EnsleyJos Taylor
David WebbJno Thomas
Henry PicardDensey Scott
Wm WilliamsJos Norman
David Mogart
Geo Bozzell
Samuel WilliamsJos Lee
Robert McKibbons, SrJeff McKibbons
S. H. SteenbargerJ. S. Steenbarger
Scrauder Bozzell
Francis Hartman
D StonerWm Lunback
Brice SummersHenry McKibbon
Samuel SmithNelson Smith
Gideon SteenbargerHenry Sarvin
Joseph ChambersWilliam Schooler
Wm Lard

The above are all dead now except Jas. H. Van Meter, over 90, now living, in Iowa; Gideon Steenbarger, also in Iowa about 80 years old; S. H. Steenbarger, now of Kansas, 70 years old; J. M. Steenbarger, Eli Pence, and Struder Bozzell, who live here, each 70 years old.

The following is a list of those who are living, and have been in the county fifty years or over:

Levi BozzellThos Bozzell
Jos SteenbargerAlfred Carvin
Cyrenus ChambersB. F. Ensley
R. T. HarrisJ. Hendrickson
John HartmanMike Hartman
N. S. JonesHenry Pickens
B. F. PenceIsaac Sarvins
C. W. SmithEzekiel Bozzell
Frank HartmanJohn Pickens
Frederick HartmanJacob Hartman
Wm CarvinJ. A. Pence

[Note by Richard A. Pence: The preceding is unsigned, but it may have been the same person as the one who wrote the following article, William P. Records. The John Pence mentioned above was my third great grandfather. He moved from Champaign County, Oh., to German Township in the fall of 1820, having bought 42 80-acre parcels from the U.S. Land Office at Brookville, Ind., in October of that year. It was said in Bartholomew County that he could "walk from the Flatrock to the Driftwood without stepping off his land" and a map of his holdings shows this to be true. When the county was organized in 1821 he was elected one of two associate judges and he held the office for three terms. He carried the title of "Judge" the rest of his life.]

E. M. Hardy, Editor and Proprietor.
Terms of Subscription:
The Subscribers living in the County;
per Annum................$ 1.50
To Subscriber living Outside the County,
Per Annum................$ 1.65
Always in Advance
Entered at the Postoffice in Edinburg,
Ind., as Second Class Matter.
The Only All Home Print Weekly
Paper in Johnson County!

An Interesting Sketch of Pioneer Days
by a Venerable Reader of The Courier

The editor has asked me to relate, as I have seen it, the story of "Ye olden time."

I thought I could best do this by giving a sort of connected narrative of my father's and my own experience in primitive Indiana.

My ancestors came originally from Wales, and what is peculiar of them they were all red-headed. Grandfather lived in Delaware during the stormy period of the revolution, and wagoned for the American army seven years. My father was born in Sussex county, that State, in 1760. A few years after grandfather crossed the Chesapeake into Pennsylvania. But he soon became dissatisfied, and, packing up his horses, he with several companions followed the trace of Braddock's memorable march across the Alleghaney to what was called the Laurel Hill. All goods they took with them were carried on horseback, and for this purpose a pack saddle was used. This was made taking two limbs shaped something like the letter V., inverting them and nailing clapboards across them to make the sides. A board nailed at right angles with ends of the limbs, formed a rest for whatever they wished to carry, and the thing was complete. My grandfather and his companions formed a settlement at the foot of Laurel Hill. Here was built the first mill in that part of the country. They were compelled to go ten miles to find a suitable place for the mill. They built it on a little stream known as "Shirtee." My grandfather did the millwright work. Stones for the burrs were procured from the neighboring hills and dressed down by him. An old axe was driven in a stump and on this was forged all the mill irons. At first only corn was ground on this mill, but afterward a bolt was made and flour made from wheat. The surrounding country was very wild and the Indians troublesome. One day my father was sent on an errand. He came to the house of a neighbor which had been attacked by Indians. On entering he found that the whole family, excepting the wife and small child, had been tomahawked and scalped. They carried away the wife and child and when she became so fatigued she could no longer carry it, they caught it by its heels and dashed its brains out against a tree. The mother afterwards escaped and returned to the settlement. Along the little stream "Shirtee" were a great many sugar trees, and one spring several families camped up and down this stream in order to take advantage of the sweet flow and convert the sap into the next year's supply of sugar. The sugar season was nearly over, but there came one night a hard freeze, which started a fresh "run." The man in the camp lowest down the stream wished to borrow a gimlet with which to freshen his trees and started to the camp above him to get it. On arriving at the camp he discovered that the whole family had been tomahawked and scalped by the Indians. He run on to the other camps and found them all in the same condition. It was a horrible sight to look upon. They had been dead several days, and dogs had torn some of the bodies. The man returned to his camp, procured aid and went and buried those who were killed. They were buried without coffins for they had none.

Grandfather remained in this settlement until my father was 18 years old, when he moved to Lexington, Ky. He descended the Ohio by means of a flatboat to the mouth of the Licking, and from thence he proceeded to Lexington by means of packhorses. From here he moved to Washington, a little frontier. Indians here were very bad. They came across the Ohio river and stole the settler's horses and took them back with them. In order to protect themselves from these raids the whites organized a company of horsemen who were always to be on the look out for Indians and ready to give them chase at a moment's notice. In this way they often succeeded in overtaking the Indians before they reached the Ohio, and in getting back their horses. On one of these occasions all but two of the Indians had gotten across the river. One time they went nearly a hundred miles into Ohio, near to what is now Chillicothe. Here they found the camping ground of the Indians, made a raid upon it and recovered many things that had been stolen from them.

While living here my father was married to Elizabeth Elrod, of Virginia. Ten years afterward he moved into what is now Pike county, Ohio. Here I was born in 1801. He built the first mill ever built in that part of the country. He moved twenty-five miles west into an entirely new country, now known as Brown county, Ohio. Here he built another mill. When the settlement had grown he had his mill enlarged and did what was considered a big milling business. He remained here until 1821, when he moved to Bartholomew county, Indiana. He resided here until his death in 1850.

I was about 20 years old, when father came with me into Indiana. It was March, and it either rained or snowed every day of our journey. The roads we had then; were quite different from what we now have. Simply clearing a way through the underbrush and fallen trees, and marking it by "blazing" the trees along the way made them. Such a road was called a "trace" and was given the name of the person who first opened it. We followed these "traces", One of them, called Wetzel's, led past what is now Franklin. We left this "trace"and followed the banks of Flatrock. We crossed the river and camped near what was known as the "big clearing," one mile northeast of the present town of Edinburg. The "big clearing" consisted of 50 acres of ground that had been cleared and fenced with a brush fence." This had been cleared by several, among others George Cutsinger, an uncle of the proprietor of the starch works. Here we bought enough corn to last us a year. The tent in which we staid was an odd one. It was made by driving forked stakes into the ground, laying poles across these and then covering the whole with bed quilts. We raked up leaves for our bed, and with a big fire in front lived with more comfort than might be thought possible. We staid here one week and built a cabin for my brother. When it was finished the remainder of us pushed on farther south, following the range line to what was known as the "Bozell neighborhood," a point a few miles east of what is now Taylorsville. Here we renewed our camp. It was in the spring, and winter still lingered. On the 20th day of April snow fell to the depth of four inches, and it was very cold. As soon as possible we built a cabin to shield us from the rain, snow and cold. This cabin was indeed a primitive affair. It was built of logs; clapboards formed the roof and doors; the windows were holes in the sides of the house made by cutting out a part of a log. This opening was covered with greased paper, and the window was complete. The floor was made by splitting logs and laying them flat side up. For a bed we made benches and laid boards across.

The woods in this section of the country were thick and heavy and were full of wild game, such as wolves, deer, turkeys, coons, etc. Thousands of birds sent forth their sweet strains to cheer the lonely settler. Snakes, also were abundant. Near my father's cabin was a treeless tract of some eight or ten acres, which was known as the prairie. It was covered thickly with grass and my father cut off each year for hay. One year while mowing it 25 black-rattlesnakes and copper-heads were killed. The black-rattlesnake is not found here now. Its average length was two feet. Although small it was much dreaded because of its extremely poisonous fangs.

While living in this settlement I was married to Miss Elcy Harvey. The girl who thus became my wife, and who was to help bear my griefs and share my joys, was born in New York, but had come to Indiana from New Jersey.

Wife and I settled in Bartholomew county. I cleared a farm of 160 acres, built house, barn and stable and planted an orchard. A near neighbor was the venerable Van Meter, who now lives in Iowa. While living here a child of this VanMeter died. In these primitive days no hearse could be had and the coffins were home-made. I made the coffin for this child. For lumber I used plank, my loft. These were cut into something of the shape of the modern coffin and then nailed together. The lid was not fastened on until the body was in position, then it was put on and nailed down. To-day that would be heathenish, but then it was the best that could be done. When the child had been placed in the coffin; the last look had been taken, and the lid fastened down, the father took the box on horseback to the graveyard where it was deposited in the ground there to await the coming of the last day.

The first mill on Flatrock was built in Bartholomew county by one Isaac Rains. This mill would be a curiosity to the present generation. At a certain point the river made a bend in the form of a great horseshoe, the water flowing around a body of land and then returning almost to the point of starting. Across the narrow neck of land thus formed he dug a large ditch, and turned a part of the stream into it. It had considerable fall and flowed with great force. Across this ditch he placed a log into which he had inserted paddles. These paddles reached down into the waters and the force of the current pushed each one on as it dipped into the water. Anyone who has seen the cornstalk flutter mills that boys place in small streams will readily understand how this mill was made. To one end of the log he attached a wheel and his power was complete. With this pair of home-made stones he ground flour enough to feed the settlers. The second mill built on Flatrock was built by Ithamar Drake, near what is now Girton's mill.

I lived in Bartholomew county about 15 years. The county was wet and consequently there was much malarial sickness, so much so, that I concluded to leave for a more healthy locations, and accordingly I moved agin into woods in the southwest corner of Shelby county. Again I set to work to clear away the forests and kept at it until I had the timber cut off of 160 acres. Here I have lived ever since in peace and quietude.

Now a little more as to how we lived and what we enjoyed in these pioneer times. As son as possible we had schools. The school house was built of logs. For a window one log was taken out the full length of the house, and over the opening thus formed greased paper was pasted to keep out the cold. To make the desks pegs were driven into the wall and then boards or puncheons were laid on these. Benches, for seats, were made by splitting a tree through the middle, dressing off the flat side of these pieces, and putting legs into them. These seats, of course, had no backs and at best were very tiresome. With a big fireplace across one end and a desk for the teacher, the house was ready for business. The schoolmaster was not licensed, but taught what we would now call a subscription school. His qualifications needed not be great. If he could successfully teach "readin", "riten" and "rithmetic," he was eligible to the office of schoolmaster. Such were the beginnings of that great system of common schools of which Indiana may well be proud.

The food of those early times was cornbread and meat. We had pork and wild meat, bread was baked in ovens before the fire. Stoves had not been introduced. After a while the settlers began to raise wheat, but the first crop could not be used. It was called "sick wheat," from the fact that when eaten it caused the person eating it to become sick and vomit. On account of the richness of the soil the wheat dried up or blasted before it ripened. Hominy was a daily dish. Potatoes were introduced later. For our clothing we raised wood and flax, and sometimes a little cotton. These were spun and wove into cloth by our wives and mothers. The linen cloth made of the flax was worn in summer, but in winter we wore a heavier cloth known as "linsey," which was made by mixing wool along with the flax. No underclothing was worn, and overcoats were seldom seen. But many had what was called a "hunting shirt," a large, loose sort of a coat, made of "linsey" and worn over the other clothing. For our feet we had shoes our own make. Boots were never heard of. We not only made our shoes but often we tanned the leather. Deerskins were used in making moccasins. I remember seeing a preacher in the pulpit wearing a pair of these deerskins moccasins. Our summer hats were made of straw which we plaited with our hands, but for winter wear we either bought a fur hat from the store or made a cap of coon-skin.

We amused ourselves by jumping, running, wrestling, throwing handspikes, etc. On the 14th of February the young people celebrated St. Valentine's by gathering together and "drawing" valentines. This was done by writing on little slips of paper the names of all the boys and girls in the party. The slips on which the boy's names were written were placed in one hat, and those on which the girls' were written, placed in another, and the two hats passed around. The girls drew from the hat containing the names of the boys, and the boys from the hat containing the names of the girls. The boy who drew one girl's name three +different times must send her a valentine. These valentines were cut from paper, and had written on them some few lines of poetry. Here is a sample, it being merely rhyme:

On the fourteenth of February
It was my lot to be merry.
Lots were cast and one I drew,
kind Fortune says it must be you."

The lot of the pioneer was a hard one. The forests had to be cleared away, and the roots and stumps dug out. The implements we had with which to do this were poor concerns. Our plows had wooden mold-boards, our harness was made of ropes, out food was simple, our clothing scanty, our advantages few, our knowledge limited to the things around us, and yet we were happy.

Wm. P. Records

Columbus, Indiana
Dec. 12, 1924

Wm. G. Irwin, Custodian

Dear W. G.

I have completed a color-scheme map showing the sales of the U. S. Lands of Bartholomew Co., and have sent it to your for your inspection and custody at the hands of Mr. Richard.

You will observe that I have separated the sales into periods of decades.

First, the opening period, 1820 and 1821; - 1822 to 1830; 1831-1840; 1841-1850, and 1851-1854.

The first period was a boom one, when the rich lands of the county were opened on the market by the Federal Government, and shows 563 sales - which includes 363, of them up to Feb. 15, 1821, the date of the organization of the county. The 363 tracts are colored in yellow. To these should be added the 200 sales in 1821, after Feb. 15 of that year, which make 563 sales for the years 1820 and 1821. These included the first choice of the lands, and you will note their location, particularly along the streams of Driftwood, Flatrock, Hawcreek in Columbus township; and a few along Clifty and Nineveh Creek. The first choice also included the "Hawpatch", and the second bottoms of Columbus, Clay, Flatrock, German and Sandcreek. The judgment of those pioneers was wise in their selections, anywise there were but few wild guesses on the quality of lands selected.

For the second period, 1828-1830, embraces the "Hard Times" of the history of the County when money was scarce, due to a panic in 1826, and during the 9 years there were only 202 sales of U. S. land in the county. Under the compact made at Corydon in 1816, with the Federal Government, there was to be no tax levied on lands sold by the Government for five years after the sale. In lieu of this tax the Federal Government agreed to pay to the state three per cent of the gross sales of lands, to be used in the opening and improvemont of public roads.

This would make the lands sold in 1820, and 1821 open for local taxation in 1836, and thus on to 1825 sales due for taxation in 1830. I find but one sale of land, and that in what is now Union township, for delinquent taxes inthat period.

The deed records of the county show that a number of non-resident speculators, who let go of their $1.25 lands at first cost and a few at even less than paid for the, in this period. Even Judge Johm Pence, who had entered 31 eighties" in 1820 and 1821, found himself land-poor, and was borrowing money, as shown in the few mortgages made in this period - only 70 mortgages covering $18,369? up to and including the year 1830. In 1831 he had closed out his holdings in Bartholomew County, and had removed from the state when his last deed was acknowledged in Warren County, Illinois.

Prices of lands sold for 1825, 6 and 7 show an average per acre of $2.48 and $2.52 respectively. In 1848 it was $3.15.

In May 1828 Judge Pence made a big deal with Graham and Rodgers, of Jefferson and Jennings Counties, of some 1200 acres for $4500. They paid him $500 and gave a mortgage on the land for $4000. The buyers, no doubt, got weak-kneed for the deed records show that they reconveyed the lands to the grantor within two months. However in September of that year he sold a greater portion of this same body of land to Zachariah Tannehill for $3000. His deed conveyed the mill and distillery property, a mile west of Taylorsville. While the records do not disclose the terms of the sale, it is known that the payment for the land was to be made in whiskey, and that Maj. Tannehill delivered 700 barrels of whiskey at one time to John M. Gwin, who was agent for Judge Pence, and who flatboated it down the Driftwood and sold it at New Orleans.

Anywise, these large deals brought up the average price of lands for 1828 to $3.13. The follwing two years the average was lowered to $2.47 for 1829 and $2.58 for 1830. The average for the 10 years was $2.98.

The decade, 1831-1840 (colored blue on the map), was a boom year and there 1877 tracts of land sold in the county - or 54 2/10 percent, over one half of the county. This period covered the initial years of the great Internal Improvement System of the state.

In 1836 there were several large land speculators that visited the land offices at Jeffersonville and Indianapolis and bought several thousand acres of land that were open for entry.

Lucien Barbour & Co. (Dutton and Lanier) of Madison) made large purchases in Union, Harrison, Columbus, Clay and Sandcreek townships, while Blanding and Douglass of South Carolina bought largely in Rockcreek. There were 393 sales made in that year.

It will be noticeable that the blue lands are composed, mostly, of the better clay lands of the county, and the slashy lands of Flatrock township. The entries in this decade include the Moravian's settlement of Hawcreek and the early German's in Wayne and Jackson, and of the Ohian's in Ohio township. Harrison appears on the map and they named it for the hero of Tippecanoe. Union, too, made a start in 1836.

The sales of government land in the next decade, 1841-1850, cleared nearly all that was left in the county, and were mostly in the hilly country of Harrison, Jackson, Nineveh, Ohio, Union, and the flats of Whitecreek, showing 626 entries.

Under an act of Congress, Nov. 1850, the Federal Government donated to the State of Indiana a million and a quarter acres of swamp and overflowed lands. These were located in 72 counties of the State. About 1000 acres were "selected," as they called it in the Act, in Bartholomew County, and the General Assembly fixed the price at $1.25 per acre. The lands were mostly in the flats of Wayne, one or two in Ohio, and several in the slashes of Flatrock. The proceeds of the sales of these swamp lands, under a clause in the 1851 Constitution, accrued to the Common School Fund. These, together with the scattering tracts of U. S. land, made a total of 95 tracts which were all disposed of by 1854, thus taking, all told, 3464 tracts contained within the county.

As a suggestion, I might add, the map will make a good showing before the State Tax Commissioners to show the several grades and quality of the lands of the County. The selcetions made by the settlers, or some of them, now more than 100 years, have not changed, and but few slightly in the last 70 years.

I have nearly completed a Doomsday Book of the entire county, which includes all of the first owners of lands of the County, and the original town of the county seat, Columbus.

This I will have ready, I trust, to present to the Bartholomew Co, Hist. Society by Christmas.

Yours Truly,

George Pence.

Wm. G. Irwin
Bartholomew Co. Hist. Soc.
Columbus, Indiana

This letter from the Bartholomew County Historical Society. George Pence was a civil engineer in Columbus and was noted for his interest in and writings about Indiana history. He is not related to the other early Pences in Bartholomew County (the brothers John, Isaac and Benjamin, who went to Bartholomew County about 1820). Instead his descent was from Jacob Pence of Augusta County, Virginia (now Rockingham County) through his son, George, a militia captain during the American Revolution. Capt. George Pence migrated to Sullivan County, Tennessee, and his son Jacob and wife Margaret (Roller) Pence went from there to Bartholomew County by 1830. George, the Columbus engineer, was the son of David Pence, in turn a son of Jacob. Other sons of David were also noted in their own right, with Lafayette, who moved to Colorado and was elected to the U.S. Congress as a "Silver Democrat" in 1892, William David, an engineer, author and professor and Edward Hart Pence, a noted clergyman in the Detroit, Michigan, area.