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Early Black Settlements by County

Popular understanding of Indiana black history focuses on post-Civil War African-American migration to cities in the north, such as Evansville, Fort Wayne, Gary, Indianapolis and South Bend. This generalized thinking situates Indiana’s African-Americans as part of a national story, but fails to reveal the stories of free blacks and formerly enslaved people who settled the state much earlier. These untold stories have the potential to evoke pride and add a level of complexity to our understanding of black heritage and Hoosier history. With a mounting interest in history related to Indiana’s Bicentennial, now is an opportune time to uncover and share untold parts of Indiana’s history.

Despite a rich history, little is known about the African-American experience from the state’s founding to the Civil War era. With the exception of a handful of monographs, graduate papers and journal articles, few publications have been written that focus on this history. Over the past 30 years, various research projects related to early black settlements have been completed by independent researchers, college professors and students, IHS, Indiana Humanities, Ball State University, Conner Prairie and Indiana Landmarks.

A planning grant from Lilly Endowment Inc. allowed IHS to convene interested organizations to guide a team of researchers to gather available research on early black settlements. These organizations include Southern Indiana Minority Enterprise Initiative, Indiana Landmarks, Indiana Historical Bureau, Indiana Tourism, Indiana Humanities, Indiana State Library, Indiana State Archives and the Indiana State Museum and Historic Sites.

Adams County

African American rural settlements documented: 0

The black population of Adams County was minimal in the nineteenth century. There were no African Americans in the county recorded in the United States Census prior to 1840 when 17 persons of color were enumerated.

William Lewis owned a mill near Monmouth in the 1830s–early 1840s. His family accounted for 9 of 10 African Americans recorded in Root Township in the 1840 census. Records indicate that Lewis made the first of several land purchases on February 6, 1837. Lewis died in 1844. His holdings were sold and his surviving family was escorted to “Dallas,” a location that has not been identified. (It may have been in the state of Ohio.)

The other family enumerated in the 1840 census resided in Blue Creek Township. William Hill’s household included six people. Hill and his wife, Anna, were born in Virginia. By 1850 Blue Creek Township’s African American population increased by two for a total of eight persons. (Dick Heller lists eleven individuals by name in a history of the county.) Of the three children living with William and Anna, at least two were born in Ohio. An adult son, William Hill, Jr., born in Virginia, was living nearby with his Ohio-born wife and four children. William Hill, Sr. died in 1858.

The 1860 census reports a total of seven African Americans and by 1870 there are zero persons of color listed in Adams County.  Adams County has had a reputation as a “sundown location,” and Heller reports that the county newspapers were “violently anti-Negro.” As Adams County adjoins Ohio, perhaps African Americans made the choice to cross the state line to escape what was becoming an inhospitable environment.

Bibliography

Heller, Dick D.  “Blacks in Adams County” in 1979 History of Adams County. Decatur, Ind.:  Adams County Historical Society, 1980.

U.S. Bureau of the Census. “Aggregate Amount of Each Description of Persons within District of Indiana,” 1: 346. Sixth Census of the United States, 1840. Washington, D.C.: U.S. Census Office, 1841.

U.S. Bureau of the Census. “Population of Civil Divisions Less Than Counties; Table III—State of Indiana,” 1: 122. Ninth Census of the United States, 1870. Washington, D.C.: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1872.

by Georgia Cravey, June 21, 2014

Allen County

African American rural settlements documented: 0

Though it does not appear that Allen County had an antebellum African American rural population cluster, there was an urban settlement in Fort Wayne.  Located in the Hanna Addition, this settlement, as noted by J. Randolph Kirby, would have been the first African American community in Allen County.  It comprised as many as 30 families in the 1850 census.  An African Methodist Episcopal Church was established in the area around 1847. Township population censuses confirm that only scant numbers of blacks lived outside the city of Fort Wayne during this time period.

The Hanna Addition’s major family names were Canada, Elliot (originally from North Carolina), and Fisher (originally from Ohio). Three men from these families were also the trustees for the African Methodist Episcopal Church. The church purchased a lot in Hanna’s First Addition, which became the location of the first African American church in Fort Wayne. This property was located on the south side of Jefferson Street. Hanna Addition residents had several occupations including barbers, coopers, plasterers, cooks, laborers, and domestics.

Between the 1850 and 1860 census Allen County reported a 35% drop in African American population. Fort Wayne and Allen County’s significant population drop was likely due to increasing racial polarization during the late 1850s. This number continued to decline, dropping to less than 50 African Americans by the 1870 census. The county’s population surged to 169 in 1880 and has since trended upward, enumerating 41,618 African Americans in the 2010 census.

Bibliography

Kirby, J. Randolph. “Notes on the Emergence of a Black Community in Fort Wayne, Indiana between 1820 and 1850.” Old Fort News 54: 1-12.

Kirby, J. Randolph. “The Appearance of Blacks in Fort Wayne before 1820.” Old Fort News 48: 1-15.

Afro-Americans in Fort Wayne and the Surrounding Area. s.l.: s.n. 19–. 105p. (Manuscript)

Quinn, Angela M. The Underground Railroad and the Antislavery Movement in Fort Wayne and Allen County, Indiana. Fort Wayne, IN: ARCH, Inc., 2001.

Stith, Hana L. Illuminating an Ignored Legacy, African American History, Fort Wayne, Indiana. Fort Wayne, Ind.: African & African American Society Museum, 2005.

U.S. Bureau of the Census. “Aggregate Amount of Each Description of Persons within District of Indiana,” 1: 352. Sixth Census of the United States, 1840. Washington, D.C.: U.S. Census Office, 1841.

U.S. Bureau of the Census. Population of Civil Divisions Less Than Counties; Table III State of Indiana,” 1:124 Seventh Census of the United States, 1850 Washington, D.C.: U.S. Census Office, 1852

U.S. Bureau of the Census. Population of Civil Divisions Less Than Counties; Table III State of Indiana,” 1:124 Eighth Census of the United States, 1860.  Washington, D.C.: U.S. Census Office, 1862

U.S. Bureau of the Census. “Population of Civil Divisions Less Than Counties; Table III—State of Indiana,” 1: 124. Ninth Census of the United States, 1870. Washington, D.C.: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1872.

By Andrea Sowle, July 2, 2014

 

 

 

 

Bartholomew County

African American rural settlements documented: 1

Bartholomew County’s one known settlement sometimes called “Africa,” “Smokey Hill,” or “Nigger Hill” was located in Columbus Township. Bartholomew County was formed in 1821. According to federal censuses, the total number of blacks and mulattos was 6 in 1830 (including the Nancy Tyler and James Minor families), 34 in 1840, 82 in 1850, 6 in 1860, and 42 in 1870.

The significant decrease from 1850 to 1860 may be attributed to the negative racial atmosphere and/or better economic opportunities in other areas (Handley and Robbins, 33). It wasn’t until 1880 that the city of Columbus saw a substantial increase in its black population.The majority of these residents lived in Columbus Township and the city of Columbus. Some of their surnames were: Jones, Oxendine, Galbreath, Mitchell, Simmons and Newby. (Newby and Hill were names that were associated with the Beech Settlement in nearby Rush County.) These early settlers came from North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia and Indiana.

Many of the families that were in the 1850 census are also listed in the Register of Negroes and Mulattoes for Bartholomew County. (Robbins, Indiana Negro Registers 1852-1865)
Researcher Xenia E. Cord talks about an unidentified Bartholomew County settlement in her essay, “Black Rural Settlements in Indiana before 1860” (Gibbs, 104-105). On July 31, 1927, historian George Pence presented a paper before a joint meeting of the Bartholomew County Historical Society and the State House Literary Club (Paulette Roberts Collection). In the paper, Pence states: “Along in the early fifties quite a large number of Negroes, some fifty souls, all told, had settled in the south part of Columbus, and the settlement was locally known as Africa.

In later years after the emigration of the colored people the locality was changed to a more modern name that of Smokey Row. It appears the community called “Africa” and “Smokey Row” was referred to as “Nigger Hill” in the late 1870s. An African Methodist Episcopal Church Congregation in Columbus was identified as being a part of the Salem Circuit with 4 members in 1841 (Minutes, Indiana Annual Conference, AME Church). In 1850 there were three “negro” property owners with real estate valued at $520 (Heller, 303).

Bibliography

Ancestry.com. “U.S. Federal Census 1820-1870.” Accessed June 20, 2014.

Gibbs, Wilma L, ed. Indiana’s African-American Heritage: Essays from Black History News and Notes. Indianapolis: Indiana Historical Society, 1993.

Handley, Shirley S. and Coy D. Robbins. “Early African American Heritage in Bartholomew County,” Indiana Ebony Lines, Fall/Winter, 1992.

Heller, Herbert Lynn. “Negro Education in Indiana from 1816 to 1860.” PhD diss., Indiana University, 1951.

Jefferson, Audrey. Bartholomew County African American School Curriculum. Indianapolis: Historic Landmarks Foundation of Indiana, 1999.

“The Nigger Hill” Exodus and Feud Told By Local Historian” (Undated newspaper article; has an Editor’s Note- “This paper was read by George Pence before a joint meeting of the Bartholomew County Historical Society and the House Literary Club held in his honor at Donner Park, July 31 1927.”)

“Early Records of African Americans in Bartholomew County, Indiana.” [Some of these materials copied for Bartholomew County EAASHI project files, Summer 2014]

Robbins, Coy D., ed. Black Pioneers in Indiana. Bloomington: Ind.: African American Historical and Genealogical Society, 1990.

Robbins, Coy D.  “Black Settlements in Indiana Affiliated with the African Methodist Episcopal Church 1840-1845,” as published in the African Methodist Episcopal Church Magazine, George Hogarth, ed.  (Compiled from Minutes, Indiana Annual Conference, African Methodist Church, 1840-1845.)

Robbins, Coy D. Indiana Negro Registers 1852-1865. Bowie, Maryland: Heritage Books, 1994.

Vincent, Stephen A. Southern Seed, Northern Soil: African American Farm Communities in the Midwest, 1765-1900. Bloomington: Indiana University, 1999.

By Dona Stokes-Lucas, June 20, 2014

Benton County

African American rural settlements documented: 0

Established in 1840, Benton County, located in the northwestern part of Indiana, is one of the state’s largest counties.  It boasted of having the finest and vastly fertile prairie land (VanNatta).  According to the early censuses, there were no African Americans living in Benton County from 1840 through 1870. In 1880, there were 6 people, all single individuals from Kentucky, Indiana and Illinois, whose surnames were Corington, Curtes, Shelby and Wheat. They worked as farm laborers, housekeepers and barbers. Audrey Werle’s research on African Americans provided no data for Benton County, and there was no evidence of a rural settlement or community of African Americans.

Bibliography

Ancestry.com. “U.S. Federal Census 1820-1870.” Accessed June 20, 2014.

Benton County IN Gen Web. “History of Benton County, Indiana, by Maggie VanNatta (circa 1888).” Accessed June 20, 2014.

Audrey C. Werle “Research Notes on Indiana African American History,” M 792, William Henry Smith Memorial Library, Indiana Historical Society, Indianapolis, Indiana

By Dona Stokes-Lucas,  August 1, 2014

 

 

 

Blackford County

African American rural settlements documented: 0

The nineteenth century African American population in Blackford County was minimal.  In 1840 the federal census indicated a total of thirteen free people of color residing in the county distributed as follows: Washington Township, population 2; Licking Township, population 1; and Harrison Township, population 10. The ten individuals in Harrison Township lived in a single household headed by Jefferson Hill. The household included 2 males under 10; 3 males 10 to 23; 1 male 36-52; 2 females 10 to 23; 1 female 24 to 35; and 1 female 55 to 99.

In 1850 the overall black population in the county dropped to eleven with seven people residing in Licking Township and four people residing in Harrison Township. The Jefferson Hill household was gone from Blackford County. It would appear they relocated east across the county line to neighboring Jay County, Penn Township.  By 1850 Jefferson Hill, a Virginia native was a 56-year-old farmer. The rest of the household included Delilah Hill, age 40, born in Ohio, three Hill children born in Indiana (Henderson, age 9; Eliza, age 6; and Lydia, age 3). The other members of the household were Sally Hill, age 24, born in Virginia; James Hill, age 19, born in Ohio; and Sibba Hill, age 83, born in Virginia.

In 1860 the Hill family was still living in Penn Township, Jay County, in a somewhat different configuration. Jefferson Hill was still farming, and Sibby (Sibba) Hill was still alive at 102! This was about a twenty-year age difference from the previous census.

In 1870 there are a total of 14 African Americans in Blackford County all residing in Licking Township. Audrey Werle’s 1870 Index of Heads of Households lists the following names: Larenzo Brooks, a 34 year old barber; Green Rodgers, 34; and James E. Frazier, 36, the latter two whom work on the railroad.

In the coming decades, there was evidence of racial isolation in the county. First, in the 1920s the Ku Klux Klan established a strong presence in the county. Masked and robed participants took part in large public rallies. Second, upon the 1940 death of the well respected executive and chief engineer at a corrugated paper company, George Stevens, residents of Hartford City were “numb with shock” to learn that the respected member of their community was not white.

Bibliography

“The Man Who Chose Loneliness,” Ebony Magazine, 13, no 7 (May 1. 1958): 101-110.

Blackford County Interim Report. Indianapolis, Ind.: Historic Landmarks Foundation of Indiana, 2005.

Jay County Interim Report. Indianapolis: Historic Landmarks Foundation of Indiana, 1985.

Jay County, Indiana 1982: A Collection of Historical Sketches and Family Histories. Portland, Indiana: Jay County Historical Society, 1982.

Montgomery, M.W.  History of Jay County. Evansville, Indiana: Unigraphic, 1969. [1864 reprint]

Thornbrough, Emma Lou. The Negro in Indiana before 1900: a Study of a Minority. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1993.

U.S. Bureau of the Census. “Aggregate Amount of Each Description of Persons within District of Indiana,” 1: 352. Sixth Census of the United States, 1840. Washington, D.C.: U.S. Census Office, 1841.

U.S. Bureau of the Census. “Population of Civil Divisions Less Than Counties; Table III—State of Indiana,” 1: 124. Ninth Census of the United States, 1870. Washington, D.C.: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1872.

By Georgia Cravey, July 18, 2014

 

 

Boone County

African American rural settlements documented: 1

When Boone County was formed in 1830, it had 2 free persons of color, according to its 1830 census. One of the known early settlers was Woody (or Moody) Gilliam (Gillum) who came from Virginia.  Gilliam purchased a total of 160 acres of land two miles north of Big Springs in Marion Township in about 1836, after a brief stay in Rush County, Indiana. The Gilliam surname is also associated with the historic Roberts Settlement in nearby Hamilton County.

Boone County’s population of free colored people increased through the 1800s. The 1840 census lists 19 people and in 1850 there were 20, with the population increasing to 90 in 1860. By 1870, the first census after the end of the Civil War identified 240 people. The majority of these families lived in Sugar Creek Township and Thorntown, though there were also considerable numbers in Center Township and Lebanon. The surnames associated with these settlements include: Balenger, Brooks, Chandler, Derexon, Shad, Stuart, Anderson, Cummings/Cummings and Derickson/Dickerson. They came from North Carolina, Kentucky, Tennessee and Indiana. Audrey C. Werle’s research identifies a settlement in Sugar Creek Township with Elizaville as its post office address.  A 1976 article in Boone Your County Magazine says that a colored school and an African Methodist Episcopal Church were built in Thorntown in 1866, and that a Negro Masonic Lodge was organized in 1868. Today all that remains of the settlement is a black cemetery on the west side of County Road 825 West, one half mile north of State Road 47. It was established in 1869.

Bibliography:

Ancestry.com. “U.S. Federal Census 1820-1870,” accessed June 20, 2014.

Bureau of Land Management. “Federal Land Patents,” accessed June 20, 2014, http://www.glorecords.blm.gov

Boyd, Gregory A. Family Maps of Boone County, Indiana. Deluxe Edition. Norman, Oklahoma: Arphax Publishing Co., 2007.

“Moody Gilliam: The First Colored Man in Boone County.” Boone Your County Magazine, April 1977.

Stark, Ralph W. “Thorntown’s Colored Cemetery Remembered.” Boone Your County Magazine, September 1976.

Mathews, Mary Ann, comp. “Black History of Thorntown, Indiana.” (Several undated articles located at the Thorntown Public Library- Genealogy Collection, Information File)

Walker, Marilyn S. Boone County, Indiana Cemeteries, Volume II. Lebanon, Indiana: self-published, 2004.

Audrey C. Werle, “Research Notes on Indiana African American History,” M 792, William Henry Smith Memorial Library, Indiana Historical Society, Indianapolis, Indiana.

By Dona Stokes-Lucas, June 20, 2014

Brown County

African American rural settlements documented: 0

Brown County was formed in 1836.  Free people of color first appeared in Brown County in the 1840 census, with 23 persons living in Johnson Township. The majority of the surnames of these 23 residents have not yet been identified.

In the 1850 census, there were two settlers and their families – Ephraim Manuel (born 1795) and James Warrick (born 1780), both from North Carolina, whose families made up the total black population in 1850 Washington Township.  Manuel went on to purchase 40 acres of land in 1852 and 80 acres in 1854 (Federal Land Patents website).

By the 1860 census, there were no people of color in the county, and in the 1870 census, there was only one. This drop in the black population could be attributed to harsh racial attitudes (black laws) that hampered the liberty of free persons and also to better opportunities elsewhere, as theorized in the article “Early African American Heritage in Bartholomew County.”  No information found during this search would indicate the presence of a community or settlement, as the population of free persons of color decreased every decade.

Bibliography

Ancestry.com. “U.S. Federal Census 1820-1870”, accessed June 20, 2014.

Hamblen, John W. Hamblen.  Federal Land Entries for Brown County, Indiana. Nashville, Ind.: Brown County Genealogical Society, 1994.

Bureau of Land Management. “Federal Land Patents,” accessed June 20, 2014.

Handley, Shirley S. and Coy D. Robbins. “Early African American Heritage in Bartholomew County.” Indiana Ebony Line, Fall-Winter, 1992.

By Dona Stokes-Lucas, June 20, 2014

Carroll County

African American rural settlements documented: 0

Although established in 1828, the first blacks did not appear in Carroll County until the 1840 census, when there were 6. By 1850, there were 33 people of color, the majority of which were living in Deer Creek Township. Surnames included Adams, Jones, Chavis, Callaway and Spanger, coming from Pennsylvania, North Carolina, Alabama and Virginia. Heller’s list of Negro landowners in 1850 shows Carroll County had 3, with real estate valued at $300. By the 1860 census, the black population had declined to just 13. The Beatle/Beetle family from Pennsylvania appears to comprise the county’s entire black population that year.  (They would remain in the county until well into the 1900s.)  Although the population had rebounded to 24 by the 1870 census, it would remain sparse in the decades that followed.

Bibliography

Ancestry.com. “U.S. Federal Census 1820-1870,” accessed June 20, 2014.

Carroll County Historical Society & Museum. “Genealogy Databases.” Accessed June 20, 2014.

Heller, Herbert Lynn. “Negro Education in Indiana from 1816 to 1860.” PhD diss., Indiana University, 1951.

Audrey C. Werle “Research Notes on Indiana African American History,” M 792, William Henry Smith Memorial Library, Indiana Historical Society, Indianapolis, Indiana.

By Dona Stokes-Lucas, July 18, 2014

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cass County

African American rural settlements documented: 0

Despite a heavy population of African Americans, no rural settlements were found in Cass County.  Federal population census data identifies the following numbers for blacks: 23 in 1830, 40 in 1840, 61 in 1850, 65 in 1860, and 111 in 1870. The high census numbers are a result of a high concentration of African-Americans in the city of Logansport, which constitutes almost all of Eel Township.

A county history book names a “Black Ben” as being the first African American resident of Logansport. Benjamin Talbert first appears in the 1830 census, and remains in Logansport until 1855 when he moved to Michigan.

There is a significant increase in the black population from the 1860 to 1870 census. The cause of this, as Thornbrough notes, may have been that after the Civil War many of the residents of the black rural settlements in Howard County moved to both Kokomo and Logansport. It is also interesting that the city of Logansport was the only place where blacks settled within the county. A railroad town founded on both the Eel and Wabash Rivers, Logansport had a thriving community, and the employment opportunities that existed there would have been a draw for migrating African American families. The African American community in Logansport established the Bethel African Methodist Episcopal Church around 1867, and finished building their church in 1870. The church is still standing.

Bibliography

Helm, Thomas B.  History of Cass County, Indiana. Chicago: Kingman Bros, 1878.

Powell, Jehu Z.  History of Cass County, Indiana From Its Earliest Settlement to the Present Time : with Biographical Sketches and Reference to Biographies Previously Compiled. Chicago: Lewis Publishing Company, 1913.

David Rumsey Map Collection.  A.T. Andreas, Map of Cass County, 1876 and A.T. Andreas Plan of Logansport, Cass County, 1876.

Thornbrough, Emma Lou. The Negro in Indiana Before 1900: A Study of a Minority. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1993.

U.S. Census, 1840: Population Schedules of the Sixth Census of the United States.  Accessed: 7/30/14.

U.S. Census, 1850: Population Schedules of the Seventh Census of the United States.  Accessed: 7/30/14.

U.S. Census, 1860: Population Schedules of the Eighth Census of the United States. Accessed: 7/30/14.

U.S. Census, 1870: Population Schedules of the Ninth Census of the United States.  Accessed: 7/30/14.

By Andrea Sowle, July 31, 2014

 

Clark County

African American rural settlements documented: 2

Clark County had a large African American population prior to the Civil War. At least two black rural settlements were established by 1870. One settlement, known as Africa, was associated with the village of Memphis in Union Township. The other rural settlement, name unknown, was associated with the village of Watson in Utica Township.

As a whole, the 19th century African American population of Clark County was significant and rather widely distributed throughout the county. Carl Kramer’s description of the county as “a major black population center” (p 120) provides insight into the challenges of the research process. As in the case of Marion County, issues include trying to frame and define the standard of rural and urban settlement and the challenges of gathering scant bits of information on the African American presence from varied sources. Clark County, one of the earliest sites of European settlement in Indiana, presents a particular challenge in defining an independent rural settlement as opposed to a neighborhood, suburb, or community within a larger context.

In 1810, Clark County’s population included 40 free people of color and 81 slaves (Kramer p 72). In these early days of the region, slave owners circumvented the prohibition against slavery by indentures. Emma Lou Thornbrough documents 32 such indentures involving 36 individuals, the majority of whom were from Kentucky. Although there was a strong practice of slave holding among white settlers in Clark County, there was also forceful opposition, including Underground Railroad activity.

In the ensuing decades, Clark County continued to have one of the largest black populations in the state. With a count of 138 African Americans in 1820, Clark ranked second only to Knox County in black population. Although population in the county continued to increase steadily (with the exception of a small drop in the 1860 census), Clark’s black population was superseded by rapid growth in counties where there was a strong Quaker presence. Clark County’s black population increased from 520 in 1860 to 1,970 in 1870, an increase of 278.8 percent. Growth slowed in the next decade rising to 2,536 (28.7 percent). Clark County ranked as the third largest black population of Indiana’s counties exceeded only by Marion & Vanderburgh Counties (Kramer p 174).

In contrast to other counties with large African American populations, black residents of Clark County ranked relatively low in terms of land ownership. Herbert Heller examined black land holdings for the year 1850. Of the top nine counties, Clark ranked last with 24 African American property owners. Holdings were valued at $10,240 in 1850 (Thornbrough p140). The number of opportunities for employment in industrial enterprises may have been a factor in the lower numbers of black landowners.

Data extracted from the 1870 census indicates that most African American men found employment as farm laborers or general laborers. There are far fewer black or mulatto farmers. Other occupations reported include barber, plasterer, painter, carpenter, teamster, stone mason, railroad worker, boat steward, boat porter, wood cutter, and butcher.  Black female heads of households are most often listed as “keeping house” with a significant number of women listing their employment as washerwomen. (Hannah Toliver, 44 years old in the 1870 census, is enumerated as a washerwoman. Her anti-slavery activities are commemorated with an historic marker in Jeffersonville.)

The majority of heads of black households give Kentucky as place of nativity with Indiana nativity as strong second. Other states of origin include Ohio, the Carolinas, Virginia, Tennessee, Georgia, Maryland, Alabama, and Mississippi. William Washington, a 25 year old mulatto farmer, gives Canada as his place of birth. Family names include Thornton, Mitchum/Michum, Washington, Smith, McCoy, Bland, Tandy, Wilson, Hardin, Russell, Henson, Gill, Slaughter, Clemens, Bibb, Taylor, Kiphart and Hampton.

Union Township, Africa

The African American settlement associated with the village of Memphis was known as Africa. Memphis was laid out in 1852 at the crossing of Blue Lick Road and the railroad tracks. A contemporary informant stated that historically major components of commerce in the town included mills, cooperages and the manufacture of staves. It was indicated that African Americans were not employed in those industries but worked instead as farm laborers. Unfortunately the microfilm for Union Township is almost illegible. making it difficult to extract much information given limitations of time. The index to the 1870 census lists 20 households headed by African Americans and 1 white household with African American members. Occupations are almost exclusively laborer or farm laborer. The nativity of black residents conforms to that of Clark County in general. Kentucky leads as place of birth with Indiana a close second. Other states include Virginia, North Carolina, Tennessee, Mississippi, Alabama and Texas. Family names include Scott, Montgomery, Hansberry, Helm, Tyler, Blakemore, Adams Bibb, Jefferson, Ball and Blakey.

Memphis maintained two schools—one for white students and one for “colored” students. Of the approximately 100 students, about a quarter of them were black.  Black Methodists and black Baptists held joint services in their school-house. A cemetery was begun about 1840 in a “private yard” belonging to a Mr. Weir. African Americans buried their dead in a half acre area “alongside” the Weir yard. It was reported to be “handsomely situated and neatly fenced.”

Utica Township, Watson

The unnamed African American settlement associated with the village of Watson was located along the Utica-Sellersburg Road. The village of Watson itself had its origins with the relocation of a cement mill to a spot near the Ohio and Mississippi Railroad. Watson was formally platted in 1876 with the objective of providing housing for workers at the mill. While a number of small towns in Utica Township were hostile to African Americans (e.g. the towns of Utica with sunset laws), Watson was described in a newspaper account as “a harboring place for them [African Americans] in considerable numbers.”

Many of the residents of the Watson settlement were farm laborers or ordinary laborers. Of the 33 black heads of households in the township, there was only a single black farmer: Lowry Straws, a 43 year old man from Kentucky. Straws is enumerated with property valued at just over $1000. The index to the 1870 census lists 15 white heads of households whose households included black members. The County Historian related that a number of African Americans worked at the Fry settlement, a farm owned by white people about 2 miles from the village of Watson on the Utica-Sellersburg Road. One of the farm hands, Reuben Johnson, was arrested in the 1850s for aiding people fleeing slavery and later served with the 108th Colored Infantry of Kentucky. Family names include Mitchem, Hawkins, Kiphart, Carter, Straws, Johnson, Hampton, Steers, Haydon/Hayden, Mattox, and Dorsey.

Although Watson was a small municipality, there was a white school and a “colored” school.  About forty students attended the colored school. Watson also had two Sunday schools—“white and colored”, as well as an African Methodist Church. Briar Hill Cemetery has been identified as an African American burial place. The Clark County historian stated that a tombstone for a Civil War veteran named McCormick was found at Briar Hill. African American residents also chartered an Odd Fellows’ lodge.

The following township descriptions illustrate where else in Clark County African Americans settled. Many of these places appear to be neighborhoods in towns or cities prior to 1870.

Jeffersonville Township

The large majority of Clark County’s black residents lived in Jeffersonville Township either in Jeffersonville proper or in towns, communities and neighborhoods associated with Jeffersonville and Clarksville as well as smaller nearby municipalities.

Jeffersonville (Town)

The black population of Jeffersonville was large enough to result in the development of institutions such as the First Colored Baptist Church organized about 1861 by Philip Simcoe (located on Illinois Street between Seventh and Eighth Streets). Simcoe also organized Second Colored Baptist (located at the intersection of Indiana Avenue and Sixth Street) about 1865 following a split from First Baptist. Wesleyan Methodists began worship in Jeffersonville following the Civil War eventually moving from a modest frame building to a new structure in 1876 south of the community of Claysburg on Watt Street. Educational aspirations were fulfilled at Jeffersonville Colored High School established as early as 1872; renamed Taylor High School in 1924 to honor a beloved principal. In 1878 Prince Hall Masons chartered North Star Lodge No. 3. at 801 Spring Street.

Other Communities in Jefferson Communities

Although other writers often use the word “settlement” in reference to a range of communities/neighborhoods, without more detailed study and documentation, I hesitate to classify these communities as such.  A list of black and/or racially mixed communities with descriptions follows.

Guinea Bottom or Guinea Bottoms

Located near the western edge of Clarksville; adjoins the B&O railroad.

As early as 1802 or 1803 “influential pioneer families” quartered their slaves in this low, swampy area. Jeffersonville newspapers in the 19th century reported that General George Rogers Clark “brought the first colored family to Indiana, Uncle Tom and Aunt Esther, with twelve children, whom he settled in a spot called Guinea Bottom.” General Clark’s farm on outlot 127 encompassed a portion of Guinea Bottom.  News accounts also mention “the Goodwins brought the second colored family as slaves and settled them in Guinea Bottom” The article continues with the dubious claim “ …and so formed the first Negro settlement” [in Indiana]; then, hedging, they make a possible exception for Vincennes.

Ben and Venus McGee are better documented as being among the first residents of Guinea Bottom. Records exist showing that Ben McGee was “once enslaved by the Clark family” (Brown p34). Documents in the Kentucky Archives record Ben McGee’s manumission on December 10, 1802, and his subsequent indenture papers signed one day later. Rob Loy/Lloyd, a free man of color, was another early resident.

In 1905, the town of Clarksburg, in an “…effort to create a pure white city…” attempted to expel its black residents by “…de-annexing Guinea Bottoms where most lived.” By 1940, Clarksville was “devoid” of African Americans (Kramer p257).

Jeanne Burke, Clark County Historian, is of the opinion that a strong case could be made for classifying Guinea Bottom as a rural settlement for a part of its existence. Clearly, this is an important subject that needs additional research.

Claysburg

Platted in 1856 by Dr. Nathaniel Field (a noted white abolitionist), William Riddle and Edward Schon.

Named for Cassius M. Clay, a Kentucky abolitionist.

Walter K. Kiser uses the terms “surburb [sic] of Jeffersonville” and “a separate section from Jeffersonville” and states that “Claysburg is largely a colored settlement.”  Eventually became Jeffersonville’s “largest black neighborhood” (Kramer p139).

Many of the African Americans residing in Claysburg found employment with the railroad company and other nearby industries.

Residents established Bethel AME Church as early as 1842. Other African American churches included Trinity Baptist (15th and Spring Streets), Gilt Edge Baptist (Green Street), Indiana Baptist and Walnut Ridge Baptist.

Claysburg schools were segregated with separate white and “colored” schools. A park, U.S. Negro Enterprise Association Park, also known as Beech Grove Park, was established. Other institutions were segregated as well including the Dixie Theater and a separate grocery store. Many restaurants and other public accommodations refused service to African Americans. Claysburg was eventually annexed to the city of Jeffersonville in 1948.

Lick Skillet

Lick Skillet was the colloquial name for the Lattimer & Savage Subdivision of the town of Port Fulton. Victor Neff laid out Port Fulton in 1835 about a mile and a half upstream from Jeffersonville’s Spring Street (Kramer p100-101). “Leap frog growth became a characteristic pattern of development in Jeffersonville and Clark Co” (Kramer p 100). Port Fulton was bounded by the river, Jackson Street, Division Street. The town attracted ship builders and others associated with maritime industries. Saloons were plentiful. Lick Skillet itself was prone to flooding. During the 1960s Port Fulton was the subject of large scale urban renewal projects.

Other Communities in Jeffersonville Township/Jeffersonville (Town)

Bucktown: an area west of Jeffersonville, needs further documentation.

Cementville: village six miles north of Jeffersonville developed around cement industry; needs further documentation.

Gibsonville: a “small settlement east of Downtown Jeffersonville” (Kramer, p311). According to Clark County historian it was a disparaging name for Claysburg’s Watt Street intended to convey exaggerated status. Mentioned in Jeffersonville newspaper accounts as early as 1873; has news brief in 1887 on topic of church rally held by Pastor E. Miller.

Prison Hill: a “predominately black neighborhood” in Jeffersonville and notable victim of I-65 development c. 1956” (Kramer p 412). County historian locates the neighborhood east of the Colgate Palmolive building and considered the area racially mixed.

Sand Hill: Rural area east of Port Fulton along 8th Street/Middle Road. Small farms with sandy soil. Family names from 20th century include James, Lee and Lindsay. Sand Hill was considered an integrated area.

Sassiegamus (also spelled Sassygamus): associated with Jeffersonville Springs founded in 1819 by Swiss immigrant John Fischli. Many patrons of the springs were attracted by opportunities to gamble (Kramer p 144-115). It is assumed that this neighborhood housed the black employees of the resort.

Slabtown: located “below the bridge fill”; also known as West End and Egypt. Clark County historian places it west of Jeffersonville and east of the Colgate Palmolive building. She indicated that it was a racially mixed neighborhood and the name Egypt derived from darker skin tones in the population.

Charlestown Township, Charlestown (Town)

In analyzing population trends of Indiana’s 19th century “nonrural communities,” Emma Lou Thornbrough includes the town of Charlestown as one of eight towns in the state designated as nonrural with the largest black population.  In 1860, Charlestown’s African American population was tallied at 198 persons, an increase from the 1850 count of 154 persons. Further, Thornbrough notes that these figures represent 6 percent of the total population of the city. It is interesting to note that in 1860 New Albany ranked first both in black population and in percentage of total population with 627 African American residents making up 7.5 percent of the town. Indianapolis, which had the 2nd largest black population (498 persons), was only 2.6 percent black (Thornbrough 141). It is also worth noting that in a decade where the black population of Clark County as a whole decreased, the population of the town of Charleston increased. By 1870, the population of Charleston more than doubled to a count of 410.

In addition to labor, various censuses also inventory an interesting range of skilled trades among the black residents of Charlestown that included blacksmith, miller, plasterer, carpenter, cabinet maker, shoemaker, brick molder, tailor, teamster, river pilot, boatman, wagon maker, miniature painter and weaver. Kentucky and Indiana are the primary places of birth.

Despite it’s significant numbers, Charlestown’s African American residents were mostly restricted to a neighborhood with the unfortunate name of Nigger Hill, a name still in common use to this day. The neighborhood is located on the southwest edge of Charlestown. Black students attended a segregated school. The Charlestown Public Library has a catalog with a roster of students in the “colored department” as well as a photograph of students outside the Carver Hill School, a one-room school house.

Bethel AME Church began before 1857 as the Charlestown Meeting House. Reverend W.A. Mitchem was one of the first ministers to preach. Tradition has it that preachers also served as school teachers. The church built a second structure in 1857. County histories indicate that the cemetery in Charlestown has “subdivisions” for “strangers, suicides and colored people.” The John Brown Post 585 of the GAR, an African American chapter, was organized in 1890. Although short-lived, Charlestown even had a newspaper with an African American perspective. Begun in May 1859, William Greenlee’s effort ceased publication shortly after it began (Kramer 156).

Bibliography

Abby, Margaret. “Taylor High: Their School is Gone but Not Their Spirit.” Jeffersonville Evening News, January 24, 2002.

“Back in the Early Days.” Jeffersonville Daily Evening News, August 27, 1889, p2.

Baird, Lewis C. Baird’s History of Clark County, Indiana. Indianapolis: B.F. Bowen, 1909.

“Bethel A.M.E. Church, Charlestown, Indiana, 1857-1964, Church History”. [1964?] Photocopy. (Collection of Charlestown-Clark County Public Library.)

“Bethel A.M.E. Church, Charlestown, Indiana. 125th Church Anniversary, March 28, 1982”. [1982?] Photocopy. (Collection of Charlestown-Clark County Public Library.)

Biographical and historical souvenir for the counties of Clark, Crawford, Harrison, Floyd, Jefferson, Jennings, Scott, and Washington, Indiana. Chicago: Chicago Printing Co., 1889.

“Briar Hill Cemetery Burials.” United States Genealogy Network. Accessed October 24, 2014.

Brown, Maxine. “The Trail: Chronicling Indiana’s African American History and Heritage.” Traces of Indiana and Midwestern History. Fall 2011: 34-39.

Burke, Jeanne M. “We Need to Save Clark’s History.” [Clark Co, In] News and Tribune, September 30, 2009. Accessed October 25, 2014.

Burke, Jeanne M. “Priceless County History Destroyed.” [Clark Co., IN] News and Tribune, November 9, 2007. Accessed October 25, 2014.

Burke, Jeanne M., Clark County Historian. Telephone interviews and email with Georgia Cravey, October, 2014.

Clark County, Indiana Register of Negroes and Mulattos, 1805-1810. Southern Indiana Minority Enterprises, Inc. 2007.

Clark-Floyd Counties Indiana Platbook.  LaPorte, IN: Town & Country Publishing Co. Inc., 1978.

Coon, Diane Perrine. Southeastern Indiana’s Underground Railroad Routes and Operations. Louisville, KY: Perrine Enterprises, 2001.

“Delay Now Hinders the Pigeon Roost Highway.” Jeffersonville Star, July 25, 1921, p 1.

“Fire in Port Fulton.” Jeffersonville Evening News, June 12, 1873, p 1.

“Hannah Tolliver.” Indiana Historical Bureau. Accessed October 25, 2014.

Hickman, Mrs. Lydia Langley. “Church History of Bethel A.M.E. Church, Charlestown, Ind.” [n.d.] Typescript. (Collection of Charlestown-Clark County Public Library.)

Clark County Interim Report. Indianapolis: Historic Landmarks Foundation of Indiana, 1988.

History of the Ohio Falls Cities and their Counties, vol 2. Cleveland, OH: L.A. Williams & Co, 1882.

Kiser, Walter H., comp. “Claysburg, 1842-1978.” Typescript at Jeffersonville Public Library [date stamped September 18, 1979]

Kramer, Carl E. “Jeffersonville Population Followed U.S. Census over the Years.” [Jeffersonville, IN] Evening News. June 15, 1989.

Kramer, Carl E. This Place We Call Home: A History of Clark County, Indiana. Bloomington, IN: Indiana University Press, 2007.

Lowry, Kyle. “Event Focuses on Black History in Clark County.” [Clark Co., Jeffersonville, IN] News and Tribune. February 26, 2006.

Nichols, Jim. “Taylor-Made: Alumni Remember Their All-Black School with Pride.” Jeffersonville Evening News [undated, from Jeffersonville Public Library clipping files].

Nokes, Garry J. Jeffersonville, Indiana. Chicago: Arcadia Publishing, 2002.

“Old County Records of Slavery Days in Indiana Territory: Guinea Bottom.” Jeffersonville Clark County Journal, July 28, 1921, p 4.

Peters, Pamela R. The Underground Railroad in Floyd County, Indiana. Jefferson, NC: McFarland, 2001.

“Port Fulton Annexed by Unanimous Vote of Council Last Night.” Jeffersonville Evening News, March 6, 1925. (Collection of Jeffersonville Public Library).

“Port Fulton Comes in to Corporate Limits by Ordinance Tonight.” Jeffersonville Evening News, March 5, 1925. (Collection of Jeffersonville Public Library).

“Press Excursion: What the Editors Say about Jeffersonville.” Jeffersonville Evening News, June 20, 1873, p3.

Reiter, Jon. “Jeff Native Working on Book Highlighting African-American Influence on City’s History.” Jeffersonville Evening News, January 24, 2002.

Sarles, Jane. Clarksville, Indiana. Chicago: Arcadia Publishing, 2001.

Schneider. Grace. “Old Taylor School is Lesson in Both Love, Intolerance.” Louisville Courier Journal, October 27, 1993.

“Serious Charges: the West End and Egypt All Agog.” Jeffersonville Daily Evening News, September 13, 1886, p 4.

Steurt, Raeone, ed. Indiana 1870 Census Index. Bountiful, UT: Heritage Press, 1999.

Thornbrough, Emma Lou. The Negro in Indiana before 1900: a Study of a Minority. Bloomington, IN: Indiana University Press, 1993.

“To Clear Borders of the Negro Population.” Jeffersonville Evening News, January 19, 1905, p 1.

Trustees. First Annual Catalogue of the Graded School and Normal Institute of Charlestown, Clark County, Indiana, for the Scholastic Years 1883-4. Collection of Charlestown-Clark County Public Library).

U.S. Bureau of the Census. “Aggregate Amount of Each Description of Persons within District of Indiana,” 1: 352. Sixth Census of the United States, 1840. Washington, D.C., 1841.

U.S. Bureau of the Census. “Population of Civil Divisions Less Than Counties; Table III—State of Indiana,” 1: 124. Ninth Census of the United States, 1870. Washington, D.C., 1872.

“Utica Township Schools Teachers” [n.a., n.d.,] Typescript. (Collection of Charlestown-Clark County Public Library).

“Weir Cemetery Burials.” United States Genealogy Network. Accessed October 21, 2014.

Audrey C. Werle “Research Notes on Indiana African American History,” M 792, William Henry Smith Memorial Library, Indiana Historical Society, Indianapolis, Indiana.

By Georgia Cravey, October 21, 2014         

Clay County

African American rural settlements documented: 0

Clay County was formed in 1825.  There was one free person of color named Cannan Gowens (age range 55-100), listed in the 1830 census. Gowens may have had ties with the Gowens/Goins family that came to Indiana in the 1820s–1830s from North Carolina.  By the 1840 census, there were 3 people of color. There were slight increases in the black population records:18 in the 1850 census, 22 in the 1860 census and 26 in the 1870 census, with most of the residents living in Brazil Township. Surnames of some of these early settlers were Emanuel, Minor, Hill and Jones.  Their  birthplaces included North Carolina, Florida, Tennessee and Indiana.

No settlements have been identified in Clay County prior to 1870, but in the 1880 census, the black population had increased to 298. An issue of the Brazil Register from 1883 reports a baptism that took place at the colored settlement in Cloverdale.

The earliest mention of a church with a black congregation in the county is listed in Coy Robbins’ compilation of black settlements in Indiana affiliated with the African Methodist Episcopal (AME) Church,1840-1845. There is a discrepancy about when the AME church or congregation was established. The History of Clay County (Travis) places the founding as 1898. The Baptist Church was organized about 1873 in a small village called Otter Creek, north of Brazil. The Otter Creek Cemetery which is located north on Highway 59 may be affiliated with the church.  In 1881, this Baptist church moved into the city of Brazil where it still operates.

Bibliography

Ancestry.com. “U.S. Federal Census 1820-1870,” accessed June 20, 2014.

“Cloverland,” The Brazil Register, May 17, 1883.

Lu, Marlene K. Walkin’ The Wabash: An Exploration into the Underground Railroad in West Central Indiana. Indianapolis, Ind.: Division of Historic Preservation and Archaeology, 2001.

“Survey of County Black History Information,” 1987.  Vertical Files, William Henry Smith Memorial Library, Indiana Historical Society, Indianapolis, Indiana.

Robbins, Coy D., compiler. “African Methodist Episcopal Churches Located In Indiana Black Communities,” 1990.

Travis, William. History of Clay County, Volume I & II. New York: Lewis Publishing Co., 1909.

Audrey C. Werle “Research Notes on Indiana African American History,” M 792, William Henry Smith Memorial Library, Indiana Historical Society, Indianapolis, Indiana.Audrey C. Werle “Research Notes on Indiana African American History,” M 792, William Henry Smith Memorial Library, Indiana Historical Society, Indianapolis, Indiana.

By Dona Stokes-Lucas, August 1, 2014                                                                       

 

 

 

 

 

Clinton County

African American rural settlements documented: 0

In Clinton County, there was no substantial black population until after the 1870s, with an African Methodist Episcopal Church established about 1890.

The county was formed in 1830. According to the 1830 census, there was one free person of color that year; by the 1840 census that number had increased to 9.  As of 1850, however, there was only one black landowner, whose real estate was valued at $200. Some of the early settlers included the Adams and Bria families from Pennsylvania and the Copleys from North Carolina, who moved on to Cass County, Michigan by 1860. According to the 1870 census, the Lewis family from Virginia, the Carter family from Alabama and the Cambridge family from Kentucky had settled within the county.

Bibliography

Ancestry.com. “U.S. Federal Census 1820-1870,” accessed June 20, 2014.

Crenshaw, Gwen compiler. “Indiana African American Survey of Historic Sites and Structures,”  Library Collection, Indiana Landmarks State Headquarters, Indianapolis, 1994.

Heller, Herbert Lynn. “Negro Education in Indiana from 1816 to 1860.” PhD dissertation, Indiana University, 1951.

Audrey C. Werle “Research Notes on Indiana African American History, M 792, William Henry Smith Memorial Library, Indiana Historical Society, Indianapolis, Indiana.

By Dona Stokes-Lucas, July 18, 2014       

 

 

 

 

Crawford County

African American rural settlements documented: 0

Crawford County was established in 1818.  From the time of the first federal census taken for the county in 1820 through 1870, there were less than 15 African Americans recorded in the county.

Bibliography

U.S. Bureau of the Census. “Aggregate Amount of Each Description of Persons within District of Indiana,” 1: 352. Sixth Census of the United States, 1840. Washington, D.C.: U.S. Census Office, 1841.

U.S. Bureau of the Census. Population of Civil Divisions Less Than Counties; Table III State of Indiana,” 1:124 Seventh Census of the United States, 1850 Washington, D.C.: U.S. Census Office, 1852

U.S. Bureau of the Census. Population of Civil Divisions Less Than Counties; Table III—State of Indiana,” 1:124 Eighth Census of the United States, 1860.  Washington, D.C.: U.S. Census Office, 1862

U.S. Bureau of the Census. “Population of Civil Divisions Less Than Counties; Table III—State of Indiana,” 1: 124. Ninth Census of the United States, 1870. Washington, D.C.: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1872.

Audrey C. Werle “Research Notes on Indiana African American History,” M 792, William Henry Smith Memorial Library, Indiana Historical Society, Indianapolis, Indiana.

By William Gillispie, July 20, 2014

 

 

 

 

 

 

Daviess County

African American rural settlements documented: 1

From 1840 through 1900, the African American population in Daviess County trended upward in the federal decennial census.  The only exception was from 1880 through 1890 when it fell by about 10%.  County census population numbers register as follows:  1840, 25; 1850, 44; 1860, 74; 1870, 129; 1880, 307; 1890, 271; and 1900, 379.

There is a black school listed on an 1888 plat map in Washington Township section 160 (near the White River).  There is also a black cemetery near this school site. Reviewing Audrey Werle’s research and the names from the Hawkins Cemetery (colored), one can see that the following African Americans owned land; Andrea Naylor, Taylor Lyons, Charner Hawkins, Harriet Howard, and Phillip Hardcasel.  In the History of Knox and Daviess County, Indiana, Charner Hawkins is described as an “African.”  The research done for this project found an unnamed settlement of farmers, in Washington Township. In Barbara Sims Waggoner’s compilation of “Cemeteries of Daviess County, Indiana,” she lists the names of about 350 people buried in the Hawkins’ Cemetery (colored), a well preserved burial ground. Some of these names show up owning large tracks of land in the 1888 atlas near the city of Washington in Daviess County.

The History of Knox and Daviess County, Indiana, discusses Eli Hawkins, a white slave owner bringing enslaved people from South Carolina to Indiana in 1806.  Two of the people, Isaac and Jake, were passed on to Catherine Hawkins as her inheritance. Later, through the efforts of attorney Amory C. Kinney, the men were legally set free.  It appears that they kept the last name Hawkins and stayed in the area.  There is more to the story that needs investigation.

There was another group of enslaved people brought to Reeve Township in Daviess County.   Many of these people were buried in the Ballow Cemetery. Though this project’s research did not bear evidence, legend says that slave cabins were destroyed, and that the people were released from bondage, and stayed in the area farming.

Bibliography

Fulkerson, Alva Otis. History of Daviess County, Indiana: Its people, industries and institutions … with biographical sketches of representative citizens and genealogical records of many of the old families. Indianapolis, Ind.: B. F. Bowen, 1915.

Griffing, B N. Atlas of Daviess County, Indiana. Philadelphia: Griffing, Dixon & Co., 1888.

History of Knox and Daviess Counties. Chicago: The Goodspeed Publishing Co., 1886, pp. 383, 742, 768-771,

Waggoner, Barbara Sims. “Cemeteries of Daviess County, Indiana.” compiled 1990-1992 Volume V, p. 201-215 (In binders, located at the Daviess County Historical Society.)

Audrey C. Werle “Research Notes on Indiana African American History,” M 792, William Henry Smith Memorial Library, Indiana Historical Society, Indianapolis, Indiana.

By Lishawna Taylor, July 18, 2014     

DeKalb County

African American rural settlements documented: 0

Federal population census data identifies the following number of blacks in DeKalb County: 7 in 1840, 10 in 1850, 15 in 1860, and 4 in 1870.

Additional research pertaining to blacks in the county may be done at Willennar Genealogy Center in Auburn, Indiana. Currently, the private collection of the late county historian John Martin Smith is being digitized and cataloged by Willennar staff, and it includes some items pertaining to African Americans in DeKalb County, after 1870.

Bibliography

U.S. Census, 1840: Population Schedules of the Sixth Census of the United States. Accessed: 6/30/14.

U.S. Census, 1850: Population Schedules of the Seventh Census of the United States. Accessed: 6/30/14.

U.S. Census, 1860: Population Schedules of the Eighth Census of the United States.  Accessed: 6/30/14.

U.S. Census, 1870: Population Schedules of the Ninth Census of the United States. Accessed: 6/30/14.

By Andrea Sowle, June 30, 2014

 

Dearborn County

African American rural settlements documented:  0

Blacks settled in Dearborn County prior to statehood.  Although the county’s black population numbers (as recorded on the federal decennial census from 1820–1870) were comparatively large for the state, no settlements were documented.  It  appears that African Americans were scattered throughout the county,  with the largest number living in Lawrenceburg and Manchester townships.

Records show that slavery also existed in this county.  An early ledger believed to be from the Dunn and Ludlow store located in Lawrenceburg included the following entries:

“Nancy went to live with Arthur Henry for two years in 1814 at $30 a year.”

“Peter came to live with me September 2, 1815.”

In the 1820 census, some of Dearborn County’s founding fathers – James Dill, Jesse Holman, Isaac Dunn, and Thomas Kyle had slaves listed as living with them.  A man named Thomas Megruder was a slave of the James Noble family and remained in the county until Noble’s widow died.  At that time, Noah Noble, who later became an Indiana governor, gave Megruder his freedom.  One of Megruder’s sons, Moses, was among those who founded the AME church on Lake Street in Lawrenceburg during the early 1850s.

By 1820 a number of free blacks were living in Dearborn County.  A man named Spencer Curtis had a large family and owned a prosperous farm in Manchester Township.  His children intermarried with families named David and Curtis.  Court records also show that free African Americans lived in Dearborn County quite early.  An 1829 court case was filed by Thomas Record, who sued Zerah Tousey of Boone County, Kentucky, and William Record of Dearborn County, alleging that they had kidnapped him in 1812 and taken him to Kentucky, where he was held as a slave for many years.  He sued for $15,000.  Later Thomas Record purportedly immigrated to Liberia.  And, although there is no record showing that he actually went to Liberia, there is a letter that was written to the federal government by Jesse Holman requesting that Record and his family receive help to make the journey. In addition, at about the time that he was to have left the country, he disappears from the census.

Another family named Wells lived in Dearborn County for most of the nineteenth century.  Samuel Wells died in 1830, leaving a widow and several children.  The widow, Patsy, was a member of the Ebenezer Baptist Church.  William Wells, when only 16 years of age, enlisted in the Civil War and served in the Navy aboard the Prairie Bird on the Ohio and Mississippi Rivers.  In 1884, another Wells named Ben, applied to have his children attend the Worley School that was located on State Road 148 near Aurora, but was turned down.

Civil War veterans from Dearborn County include Pap Early, William Wells, George Willis, William Hobbs, and Nancy Jones served as a cook for the Union Army.  One of the most notable African Americans to live in the county was Elijah Anderson, a blacksmith and Underground Railroad conductor.  He lived in Lawrenceburg from about 1850-1854, when he moved to Ohio for his safety.

In 1857, he was arrested aboard a riverboat on the Ohio River and was sentenced to the Kentucky Penitentiary for “slave stealing.”  He died in Frankfort, Kentucky in 1861.  It has been reported that Anderson assisted at least 1,000 enslaved persons to freedom after the 1850 federal Fugitive Slave Law.  Many of these individuals passed through Lawrenceburg.

Churches:  Union Valley Baptist Church

Bibliography

Dunn, Isaac. “Dunn’s Ledger,” ca. 1810–1820. (Dearborn County Historical Society).

McHenry, Chris. Paper presented for Martin Luther King Celebration at the Union Valley Baptist Church, January 19, 2010

U.S. Bureau of the Census. “Aggregate Amount of Each Description of Persons within District of Indiana,” 1: 352. Sixth Census of the United States, 1840. Washington, D.C.: U.S. Census Office, 1841.

U.S. Bureau of the Census. Population of Civil Divisions Less Than Counties; Table III State of Indiana,” 1:124 Seventh Census of the United States, 1850 Washington, D.C.: U.S. Census Office, 1852

U.S. Bureau of the Census. Population of Civil Divisions Less Than Counties; Table III State      of Indiana,” 1:124 Eighth Census of the United States, 1860.  Washington, D.C.: U.S. Census Office, 1862

U.S. Bureau of the Census. “Population of Civil Divisions Less Than Counties; Table III—State of Indiana,” 1: 124. Ninth Census of the United States, 1870. Washington, D.C.: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1872.

Audrey C. Werle “Research Notes on Indiana African American History,” M 792, William Henry Smith Memorial Library, Indiana Historical Society, Indianapolis, Indiana.

By Maxine Brown,  October 20, 2014

 

Decatur County

African American rural settlements documented: 1

Decatur County was organized in 1822 and about the same time, a free black man from Kentucky named Joseph Snelling purchased 56 acres of land in Fugit Township located in the northeastern corner of Decatur County.  Fugit Township was the area in the county that was settled earliest. This area became the beginning of a large free black community known as the Snelling Settlement.  Joseph Snelling is listed in the 1830 census as a head of household with seven children between the ages of 10 and 24; however, no other adult was included.

Another early black settler was Allison Snelling, Joseph Snelling’s son. He bought 80 acres of land for $168.78 in 1830.  By the 1850 census, he owned land in Fugit Township valued at $1,200, the largest amount of land owned by an African American.  Public records in Decatur County list “a Negro named Stephan” who was emancipated from slavery.  In 1834, Andrew Robinson of Fugit Township is recorded as providing care and support for a certain 16-year-old colored boy named William Jackson for five years.  Another public record states that a man named Marshall Key posted a $500 bond for a “colored woman named Ruth.”

These early black settlers were farmers or laborers.  The census of 1850 lists 151 persons in 22 different households.  Three blacks were living in Greensburg at that time and a young girl was living in Salt Creek Township.  Although the Snelling community established its own African Methodist Episcopal church in 1843, in 1849, land was given by African American, James Gilmore, for the building of an AME church.  A Black cemetery was also dedicated in the northeast corner of Fugit Township and cemetery records show that at least twelve persons were buried there.  Blacks were also buried in Kingston Cemetery.  A truer picture of the African American population in Decatur County must also be combined with a black community across the county line in Franklin County.  The combined population of Blacks in this bi-county community was about 270.  The settlement existed from about 1823 until the exodus of the entire community around 1856.  In 1860, U.S. Census records show that Allison Snelling and his family, along with several other black families, had moved to Cass County, Michigan.

A section of African American farms that were near one another and formed a corridor going north along the eastern boundary of Decatur County had a settlement of white abolitionists in the middle of the area that was known as the village of Kingston.  An historical occurrence in 1847 happened here that was known as “the escape of Caroline.” Luther Donnell, a white, Decatur County abolitionist, was indicted in the 1847 case.  His conviction was overturned by the Indiana Supreme Court.

Cemeteries:  One unnamed cemetery with about 30 or more graves.

Bibliography

Robbins, Coy, compiler. “Black Settlements in Indiana Affiliated with the African Methodist Church, 1840-1845” Minutes of the Indiana Annual Conference, 1840-1845. African Methodist Episcopal Church Magazine, 1988.

Bureau of the Census, United States Government, 1830, Fugit Twp. Decatur County, Indiana.

U.S. Bureau of the Census. “Aggregate Amount of Each Description of Persons within District of Indiana,” 1: 352. Sixth Census of the United States, 1840. Washington, D.C.: U.S. Census Office, 1841.

U.S. Bureau of the Census. Population of Civil Divisions Less Than Counties; Table III State of Indiana,” 1:124 Seventh Census of the United States, 1850 Washington, D.C.: U.S. Census Office, 1852

U.S. Bureau of the Census. Population of Civil Divisions Less Than Counties; Table III State      of Indiana,” 1:124 Eighth Census of the United States, 1860.  Washington, D.C.: U.S. Census Office, 1862

U.S. Bureau of the Census. “Population of Civil Divisions Less Than Counties; Table III—State of Indiana,” 1: 124. Ninth Census of the United States, 1870. Washington, D.C.: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1872.

U.S. Bureau of the Census. Population of Civil Divisions Less Than Counties; Table III State      of Indiana,” 1:124 Eighth Census of the United States, 1860.  Washington, D.C.: U.S. Census Office, 1862

Decatur County Record Book R, page 197, Deed dated January, 1844, from Alison Snelling to James P. Gilmore, 51 acres.  James P. Gilmore donated land for $1.00 for an AME church. [Recorder’s Office, Decatur County Courthouse]

Decatur County Tract Book, page 284, 1824 land purchased by Joseph Snelling.  [Recorder’s Office, Decatur County Courthouse] Decatur County Deed Record Book B, page 446.  [Recorder’s Office, Decatur County Courthouse]

The revised laws of Indiana, in which are comprised all such acts of a general nature as are in force in said state; adopted and enacted by the General Assembly at their fifteenth session…… Chapter LXVI Indianapolis: Douglass and Maguire (printers), 1831.

Harding, Lewis, History of Decatur County, Indiana. Indianapolis: B.F. Bowen and Co., 1915.

Delaware County

African American rural settlements documented: 0

The principle African American population first attracted by economic opportunity to Delaware County was located in the city of Muncie.  The most significant increase in population occurred in conjunction with the natural gas boom that began in the mid 1880s.

The nineteenth century African American population in Delaware County was very small even within the city limits of Muncie. In the decades between 1840 and 1870, seven of Delaware County’s twelve townships enumerated no African Americans on the decennial censuses. Four of those townships recorded their first African American residents on the 1870 census as follows: Union, 1; Delaware, 1; Perry, 1; and Mount Pleasant, 3. Muncie’s black population increased from 4 persons in 1840, to 16 persons in 1860, to 48 persons in 1870.

According to Hurley Goodall, the earliest records of African Americans in Muncie are found in accounts of paupers. In 1839 the overseer of the poor bound out “three poor colored children by the name of Clark” (p 1). On the other end of the spectrum was Edward Scott, a barber born in Virginia, who moved to Muncie with his North Carolina born wife, Mary, via Henry County. They are Muncie’s only African American family until Silas Shoecraft arrives in 1850.

The African American population increases slowly following the Civil War. In 1880 there are 187 individuals living in Muncie. Among the forty households there are surnames such as Evans, Booker, Collins, Poindexter, Williams, Roberts, Stokes, Baxter, Artist/Artis, Morin, Jones and Ferguson. Goodall reports that in 1880 some thirty to forty black children attended public schools including four pupils in high school. The black community was concentrated on the near east side of town.

In 1868 a small group met to organize a church. By 1872 they were able to acquire property. Men built a log church known as Bethel African Methodist Episcopal.  By 1896 the church was in a new building that remains part of the present structure at Jackson and Beacon Streets.

Muncie’s black Baptists organized in 1872 as Second Baptist Church and were meeting in a frame building in 1881. By 1903 the congregation finished construction on a new brick building and took its current name, Calvary Baptist Church.

As the twentieth century opened, the black population continued to grow. Goodall observes that the influx of African Americans during this time period originated from smaller communities within Indiana and eastern Ohio. By 1920 Muncie’s black population totaled 2,054 or 5.6% of the total population. African Americans began to move into the Whitely neighborhood which Goodall describes as “quite rural” at the time.

As in several other Indiana cities in the 1920s, the Ku Klux Klan ascended to a position of power in Muncie. Goodall says, “Racial matters took a backward step” and “color became a greater dividing line.” Despite the climate of terror Muncie remained free of collective violence. The black community of Muncie developed a rich social life and a thriving community.

Bibliography

Blocker, J.S. Jr. “Black Migration to Muncie, 1860-1930.”  Indiana Magazine of History. 1996: 4: 297-320.

“Celebrating Local African American History.” Ball State University. Accessed July 31, 2014.

Goodall, Hurley. A History of Negroes in Muncie. Muncie, Indiana: Ball State University, 1976.

Helm, Thomas B.   History of Delaware County, Indiana. Chicago: Kingman Brothers, 1881.

Delaware County Interim Report. Indianapolis, Ind.: Historic Landmarks Foundation, 1985.

“The History of Bethel AME Church” Accessed July 31, 2014.

Kemper, G.W.H., Ed. A Twentieth Century History of Delaware County, Indiana. 1908. Reprint, Evansville, Indiana: Whippoorwill Publications, 1983

Spurgeon, Wiley W. Muncie & Delaware County, an Illustrated Retrospective. Woodland Hills, California: Windsor Publications, 1984.

U.S. Bureau of the Census. “Aggregate Amount of Each Description of Persons within District of Indiana,” 1: 352. Sixth Census of the United States, 1840. Washington, D.C.: U.S. Census Office, 1841.

U.S. Bureau of the Census. “Population of Civil Divisions Less Than Counties; Table III—State of Indiana,” 1: 124. Ninth Census of the United States, 1870. Washington, D.C.: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1872.

By Georgia Cravey, July 31,  2014

Dubois County

African American rural settlements documented: 1

In the census for Patoka Township, Dubois County, there were 13 black people in 1850, 12 in 1860, and 30 in 1870.  Though there are currently 12 townships in Dubois County, there were only 6 townships in 1800.  Audrey Werle, in her Head of Household Index, lists five African American families.  All of these families were located in the Pinkston Settlement.  Three of the families were surnamed Pinkston.  The other two were Martin and Adams.  The Pinkstons owned the land with the most value.  In total, the value of their property in 1870 was $1,400.  Other family names included: Allen, Davenport, David, Deadwiler, Hagen, Huston, Payne, Seward, Thompson, and Williams.

The Emanuel Pinkston family settled in Dubois County in Patoka Township in present day Ferdinand and Cass Townships.  Pinkston was born in Georgia.  The 1850 census includes Manuel Pinkston (Emanuel), Permelia and six children.  There are records of Emanuel buying land in May 1857.  He purchased 40 acres in the SE-NE in section 14-3S-5W for $365.  He also bought land in 1870 and 1871.  He set aside land for a church and a school in 1875.

In 1874, Ben Hagen is noted as having land next to the Pinkston farm. Tobacco and watermelon were, reportedly, raised on the farm. Hagen was a minister at the Missionary Baptist Church.  Ida (Hagen) Whitaker became deputy postmaster for the city of Ferdinand and later became a pharmacist.  Ben Hagen and Larkin Pinkston were said to have been the last farmers at the settlement.  Ben Hagen passed on November 30, 1939.  Though the provenance is unknown, there is a house from the time period extant at the location of the settlement.

Bibliography

Tretter, Kathy. “May They Now Rest in Peace.” Ferdinand News [Ferdinand, Indiana] February 26, 2014.

U.S. Bureau of the Census. Population of Civil Divisions Less Than Counties; Table III State of Indiana,” 1:124 Seventh Census of the United States, 1850 Washington D.C., 1852.

U.S. Bureau of the Census. Population of Civil Divisions Less Than Counties; Table III State of Indiana,” 1:124 Eighth Census of the United States, 1860 Washington D.C., 1862.

U.S. Bureau of the Census. Population of Civil Divisions Less Than Counties; Table III State of Indiana,” 1:124 Ninth Census of the United States, 1870 Washington D.C., 1872.

Audrey C. Werle “Research Notes on Indiana African American History,” M0792.  William Henry Smith Library, Indiana Historical Society, Indianapolis, Indiana.

By Lishawna Taylor, July 27, 2014

Elkhart County

African American rural settlements documented: 0

Prior to the 1870 federal census that listed 35 African Americans, there were 20 or less black people recorded on all previous censuses in Elkhart County. There is evidence of three black families residing in the city of Elkhart in 1860. Two of these families lived within a few blocks of each other, in the center of what was developing into downtown Elkhart. George Dean, originally from Maryland and his 5 family members, along with various apprentices, was listed at approximately the same location in three city directories from 1860 to 1885. Thomas Montgomery, originally from Canada, is listed as a barber in the 1870 census, but later, as often was the case with the earlier barbers, he became a physician toward the turn of the century. He initially was “boarding” at Jefferson St. and then Michigan St. (from the 1885 city directory), all within walking distance of the Dean residence.

The Elkhart Historical Society and Museum in Bristol, Indiana has a vertical file committed to these and other later African American families in Elkhart County.

Bibliography

Higgins, Belden & Company. An illustrated historical atlas of Elkhart Co., Indiana. Chicago: The Company, 1874.

Directory of Elkhart and Goshen. Elkhart, Indiana: J.F. Funk & Bro., 1874-1875.

Loomis & Talbott’s Goshen directory and business mirror. Detroit: George W. Hawes, 1860-1861.

U.S. Census, 1850: Population Schedules of the Seventh Census of the United States. Accessed: 6-10-14.

U.S. Census, 1860: Population Schedules of the Eighth Census of the United States. Accessed: 6-10-14.

U.S. Census, 1870: Population Schedules of the Ninth Census of the United States.  Accessed 6-10-14.

Audrey C. Werle “Research Notes on Indiana African American History,” M 792, William Henry Smith Memorial Library, Indiana Historical Society, Indianapolis, Indiana.

By Andrea Sowle, July 2, 2014   

Fayette County

African American rural settlements documented: 0

The 19th century African American population of Fayette County was small but increased steadily through the decades. In 1820 there were a total of nine persons of color. In 1830 the count rose to thirty-one increasing to 53 in 1840, seventy-two in 1850; 87 in 1860 and 92 in 1870. The majority of persons resided in Connersville Township. Of that township population cohort, the majority lived in the town of Connersville rather than living in a rural environment. Three of Fayette County’s nine townships (Columbia, Fairview and Waterloo) reported no African American population in any of the decennial censuses 1850 through 1870. The population of the remaining five townships might be described as intermittent. Figures are as follows: Harrison, 1850 – 14, 1860 – 0, 1870 – 1; Jackson, 1850 – 0, 1860 – 7, 1870 -0; Jennings, 1850 – 2, 1860 – 0, 1870 -1; Orange 1850 – 0, 1860 – 17, 1870 – 1; and Posey, 1850 – 12, 1860 – 1; 1870 – 3.

William Trail was a notable early presence in the area that became Fayette County. In 1814, Trail ran away from slavery in South Carolina and arrived in the Whitewater River Valley area before Indiana statehood. Trail fought off slave catchers both physically and in the courts and arranged to purchase his freedom. He married a free woman of color, Sarah Wadkins, who had migrated from Virginia to the Beech settlement in Rush County. They lived on a 25-acre farm located east of Connersville for a few years before relocating with their growing family to Henry County where they had purchased 160 acres of land.

Another notable African American farmer in Fayette County was James/John Van Horn. Van Horn escaped slavery in Kentucky (c. 1826) and took refuge in Rush County eventually relocating to Fayette County. Working as a teamster he was able to save enough money to purchase his freedom. In 1840 he entered 160 acres of land in Blackford County. Van Horn married Nancy Foster of Ohio in 1842. After experiencing racial hostility in Blackford County he traded the tract for eighty acres in Fayette County and returned to the area in 1854. In time he added to his holdings accumulating 121 acres on Alquina Road east of Connersville. He constructed a substantial farmstead that stands today (637 E Alquina Road). The Van Horns are buried in the nearby cemetery that surrounds the Village Creek Church (CR 150 S). [This church is identified in the Fayette County Interim Report.]

The black population of Connersville and environs was large enough to support multiple church congregations.  Black Methodists began meeting c. 1844-1845 eventually erecting a small frame church that was in use until 1872.  Subsequently a brick building was purchased (described as “property of the regular Methodists”) from the Christian congregation in Connersville (Barrows, p448). An AME church was also organized with worship at a structure on Water Street. Rev. Daniel Winslow was among its first ministers. Wesley Chapel is mentioned as well in connection with the “colored Methodists” of Connersville (Barrows, p 405). Black Baptists organized Mt. Zion Baptist (colored) in 1888 meeting in the city hall before constructing a building in 1891. A roster of the charter members of Connersville Christian Church, a white congregation, includes Elijah West, “a colored servant of the Holtons.”

Connersville had two barbers, both African American: Henry Holland, born in Ohio; and Andrew Turner, born in Indiana. Many of Fayette County’s African Americans had their origins in either Indiana or Kentucky. Others came from Ohio, the Carolinas and Virginia. Additional surnames included Foster, Scott, Hickelson, and Munford.

Although outside the time frame of this project, an important migration occurred between the 1880’s and the 1900’s. Over a period many African American families left Boone County, Kentucky, and settled in Connersville. Manufacturing and other industries offered the prospect of steady employment. Schools in Connersville offered educational opportunities that were superior to segregated schools in Kentucky.

Bibliography

Barrows, Frederic Irving, ed. History of Fayette County: Her People, Industries and Institutions. Indianapolis: Bowen, 1917.

“Hanson Heights Farm” [former Van Horn farmstead]. Google Maps. Accessed October 25, 2014.

Fayette County Interim Report. Indianapolis; Historic Foundation of Indiana, 1981.

History of Fayette County, Indiana. Chicago: Warner, Beers and Co., 1885.

Hubbard, Charles and Georgia Cravey. “The Trials of William Trail.” Traces of Indiana and Midwestern History, Winter 2013.

Illustrated Historical Atlas of Fayette County, Indiana. Chicago: Higgins, Belden & Co., 1875.

“Out of Kentucky: the Connersville Migration.” Boone County [KY] Public Library. Accessed October 25, 2014.

Thornbrough, Emma Lou. The Negro in Indiana before 1900: a Study of a Minority. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1993.

Terborg-Penn, Rosalyn. “The James Van Horn Kindred: a Black Indiana Family.” Black History News and Notes, February, 1985.

Terborg-Penn, Rosalyn. “The Spirit Keeps the Memory of the Ancestors Alive”. pp 64-70. In Wade-Gayles, Gloria. My Soul is a Witness. Boston: Beacon, 2002.

U.S. Bureau of the Census. “Aggregate Amount of Each Description of Persons within District of Indiana,” 1: 352. Sixth Census of the United States, 1840. Washington, D.C., 1841.

U.S. Bureau of the Census. “Population of Civil Divisions Less Than Counties; Table III—State of Indiana,” 1: 124. Ninth Census of the United States, 1870. Washington, D.C., 1872.

“Village Creek Cemetery” [Van Horn burial site]. Find-a-Grave. Accessed October 25, 2014.

Audrey C. Werle “Research Notes on Indiana African American History,” M 792, William Henry Smith Memorial Library, Indiana Historical Society, Indianapolis, Indiana.

By Georgia Cravey,  October 21, 2014                                                                                           

 

 

 

 

Floyd County

African American rural settlements documented:  3

Though often remembered for its prolific Underground Railroad activity, Floyd County has a historic pedigree that pre-dates the Revolutionary War victories of George Rogers Clark, who received the land in return for his successes. Immediately after the war, he sold parcels to settlers flooding into the region. The county grew rapidly during the 1800s—attracting newcomers of French, German, Irish and African American descent.

Early census records confirm a definite black presence of farmers, laborers, river workers and household workers living in town and country settlements.  There was also an entrepreneurial class that, although comparatively small in number, enjoyed a degree of success for two or three generations. All resulted in what appears to be several settlements in Floyd County, most largely forgotten today. During their lifespan, the hamlets were home to a large free black population that would exert its spirit of independence long after slavery ended.

Some of the surnames associated with Floyd County’s African American settlements include Boyd, Burch, Carter, Clark, Cook, Edwards, Finley, Finney, Fulton, Hagan, La-Force, Locklayer, Martin, Melton, Ross, Stinson, Turner, Walker, and Weaver. Though more research will probably solidify the identification of specific black rural settlements, occupations, population numbers, and known descendants make it clear that there was at least one rural community in the following townships: Franklin, Lafayette, and New Albany.

Cemeteries where blacks were buried:

Franklin Township: Finley Cemetery

Lafayette Township: Stinson Cemetery

New Albany Township: Thomas Henson Cemetery, Fairmeade Cemetery, Ross Cemetery, McClasson Cemetery, Freedomland Cemetery, Bailey Cemetery, Dawson (Flint) Cemetery, Slave and Indian Cemetery.

Bibliography

Bureau of the United States Census, National Archives & Records. Indiana Federal Population Census Schedules, Volume: Reel 0013 – 1820.  Clark, Dearborn, Floyd, Franklin, Gibson, Jackson, Jefferson, Pike, Posey, and Randolph Counties. Accessed on August 22, 2014.

Bureau of the United States Census, National Archives & Records, Indiana Federal Population Census Schedules, and Volume: Reel 0028 – 1830. Clark, Jefferson, Spencer, Marion, Crawford, Warrick, Delaware, Perry, Floyd, Shelby Counties. Accessed on August 22, 2014.

Bureau of the United States Census, National Archives & Records, Indiana Federal Population Census Schedules, and Volume: Reel 0079 – 1840. Fayette, Floyd, Elkhart Counties. Accessed on August 23, 2014.

Bureau of the United States Census, National Archives & Records, Indiana Federal Population Census Schedules, and Volume: Reel 00145 – 1850. Floyd, Fountain Counties. Accessed on August 22, 2014.

Bureau of the United States Census, National Archives & Records, Indiana Federal Population Census Schedules, and Volume: Reel 00257 – 1860. Floyd, Fountain Counties. Accessed on August 22, 2014.

Bureau of the United States Census, National Archives & Records, Indiana Federal Population Census Schedules, and Volume: Reel 00145 – 1870. Floyd, Fountain Counties. Accessed on August 22, 2014.

Bureau of the United States Census, National Archives & Records, Indiana Federal Population Census Schedules, and Volume: Reel 00145 – 1880. Floyd, Fountain Counties. Accessed on August 22, 2014.

Deed Transfers of Property from Noah and Elizabeth Beauchamp to Cesar Finley (Franklin Township, Book D page 453, September 8, 1831) and to Joseph Finley and His Heir Josiah Finley, (Book T, pages 453-454, first entered on May 15, 1847–finalized April 18, 1848).  Available at the Floyd County Recorder Office, New Albany, Ind.

Deed Transfers of Property from Henry Collins and Elizabeth Beauchamp to Cesar Finley (Lafayette Township, Book O, page 186, September 1, 1840). Available at the Floyd County Recorder Office, New Albany, Ind.

Gresham, John M. Biographical and Historical Souvenir for the Counties of  Clark, Crawford, Harrison, Floyd, Jefferson, Jennings, Scott, and Washington, Indiana. Chicago: Chicago Printing Co., 1889.

“Group clears Black Family’s 19th Century Cemetery,” Courier Journal, Sunday, October 17, 1999. Section B, page 1.

Kleber, John E. The Encyclopedia of Louisville. Frankfort, Ky.: University of Kentucky Press, 2000.

Peters, Pam. The Underground Railroad in Floyd County, Indiana.  Jefferson, North Carolina: McFarland & Company, Inc. 2001.

Peters, Pam. A History of the Enslaved Fugitive and the Underground Railroad as it Relates to New Albany-Floyd County, Indiana. New Albany, Ind.: Pam Peters, 1999.

Southern Indiana Genealogical Society, Floyd County Cemeteries: Alphabetic by Site Name. 2000. Accessed June 14, 2014.

Audrey C. Werle “Research Notes on Indiana African American History,” M 792, William Henry Smith Memorial Library, Indiana Historical Society, Indianapolis, Indiana.

Wolf, Shirley.  “Privately Owned African American Cemeteries,” Paper presented by Shirley Wolf.  (No date). Available at the Floyd County/ New Albany Township Public Library in New Albany, Indiana.

By Martina Nichols Kunnecke, July 30, 2014

 

Fountain County

African American rural settlements documented: 0

Fountain County was formed in 1825; its 1830 census included James Adams, a free man of color from Delaware and his family. This could be the same James Adams that purchased 80 acres of federal land in Fountain County in November 1830. According to the federal censuses, there were 33 free blacks in the county in 1840, 52 in 1850, 73 in 1860 and 47 in 1870, split almost equally between Logan Township and Covington Township. In Logan Township, where a black settlement was said to have existed, there were only 8 persons of color in the 1840 census, 17 in the 1850 census, 16 in the 1860 census and 27 in the 1870 census. These are much smaller numbers than the hundreds said to have lived in the settlement.

Werle’s research on African Americans in Fountain County indicates that the black population was very sparse in Logan Township.  Black residents in the county were from Kentucky, Virginia, North Carolina and Indiana. Their surnames included Johnson, Howard, Cox, Cross, Jones and a Trudo from South America who married a black woman from Indiana. Several articles that appeared in the Covington newspaper reported on the Shawnee Prairie Colonization Society, a local chapter of the Back to Africa Movement. In 1850, two families from Covington– William Findlay (formerly of Tippecanoe County) and Henry Fry sailed to Liberia.

Oral history and early recollections in county histories point to a possible black settlement in Fountain County. The settlement is said to have been in the area of Logan Township, near Bethel Church, which was settled by Quakers in the early 1820s. Bethel Church and its graveyard were added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1995 the significance being the architectural design, serving an African American community during the 1800s and being the burial site of two known black soldiers (Indiana Landmarks). The Indiana Junior Historian’s 1993 publication “Black Settlers in Indiana” added Bethel to Xenia E. Cord’s map of rural settlements (Indiana Historical Bureau). Whicker’s history of the Underground Railroad suggests that Quakers came up with the idea of using the swamps in the woods as a station, hiding hundreds of fugitive blacks in the brush and ponds from about 1826 until the Civil War. At one time, it was reported that as many as one hundred of formerly enslaved people lived in the woods, and according to Whicker’s 1911 account, some of them had continued to live there until the 1880s. However, more research is necessary to confirm the location of a settlement.

Bibliography

Ancestry.com. “U.S. Federal Census 1820-1870,” accessed June 20, 2014.

“Black Settlers in Indiana.” The Indiana Junior Historian  February 1993.

Bureau of Land Management, “Federal Land Patents,” accessed June 20, 2014,

Crenshaw, Gwen, Bethel Church Cemetery and Swamp District, Indiana Landmarks, Fountain County Folder, 1994.

“Colonization Society.” Covington People’s Friends Newspaper, November 25, 1848.

“Fountain County Colonization Society.” Covington People’s Friends Newspaper, June 10, 1848.

“Indiana Emigrants to Liberia.” The Indiana Historian, March 2000.

“Indiana African American Survey of Historic Sites and Structures,” Library Collection, Indiana Landmarks State Headquarters, Indianapolis

Lu, Marlene K. “Walkin’ The Wabash: An Exploration into the Underground Railroad in West Central Indiana.” Indiana Department of Natural Resources, June 2001.

“Meeting of the Shawnee Colonization Society,” Covington People’s Friends Newspaper, September 10, 1848.

Audrey C. Werle “Research Notes on Indiana African American History,” M 792, William Henry Smith Memorial Library, Indiana Historical Society, Indianapolis, Indiana.

Whicker, Wesley J. “Centennial Sketches of the Early History of the Valley of the Wabash.” Attica Ledger, July 12, 1911.

Whicker, Wesley J. “Historical Sketches of the Wabash Valley,” reprinted from the Attica Ledger, 1916.

By Dona Stokes-Lucas, August 1, 2014

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Franklin County

African American Settlements Documented: 1    

When Franklin County became official in 1811, people of African descent were already living along the Whitewater River.  Their exact origin and number is unknown; but their riverside presence was reminiscent of the encampments favored by the French during their occupation. Ready access to waterways for hunting and transport contributed greatly to the success of the fur trade.   But the 19th century pioneers that followed aspired to homesteads, rather than trade outposts.  The steep and rocky terrain dominating the county was not conducive to farming.   Consequently, these latter-day pioneers coveted the river more for its flatlands and rich soil.

When freedman William Trail arrived in Brookville Township in 1814, the black river dwellers had been driven onto the hillside—where those of lesser means, black or white, worked low yielding land that most could not afford to buy.   Many pursued employment on the larger wealthier farms.  Trail took a job clearing land in nearby Union County, eventually earning enough money to purchase property in Fayette County, which he later sold to buy more acreage in Henry County. There, he and his family became respected community members with significant ties to the Beech Settlement in Rush County, Indiana.

Sometime before 1849, James Hays, a North Carolina freedman acquired land in Posey Township, where he, his wife and children lived.  While working for a wealthy farmer, he also cultivated his own marginal farm into profitability.  This was significant in a region where few were able to do so and landownership remained unusual, 30 years after Trail had briefly resided there.

Soon after the Indiana Colonization Society was established in Indianapolis in 1829, Franklin became one of the first counties to form its own chapter. In 1850, as its black population peaked, anti-black legislation on a national and statewide level advanced—the latter with broad-based public support.

By 1850, more than half of Franklin County’s recorded black population lived in Salt Creek Township. One large rural settlement in the township extended into Posey Township, Franklin County and Fugit Township in Decatur County.  Many of these people had migrated from North and South Carolina. There was a major disruption to the settlement, causing the majority of the people to leave.  It is unclear if this was due to an event or an escalation of events. (See Decatur County Historical Sketch from this project.) The 122 people recorded in the federal census for Salt Creek Township in 1850 had dwindled to 14 by 1860.  A total of eleven blacks were listed in all three townships in the 1870 census.

As for Hays, violence and a series of newsworthy court battles drove him out of Franklin Co. by 1860.  And, as the figures below suggest, like the Whitewater River hamlet decades before, Franklin’s mid century black settlements soon disappeared as well.

U.S. Census Estimates of African American Residents in Franklin County (1820-1900)

Census Year 1820 1830 1840 1850 1860 1870 1880 1890 1900
No. of Inhabitants 65 91 82 209 103 24 12 6 7

 

Because of their possible ties to settlements prior to the Northwest Territory expansion and earliest settlement days, Whitewater and Brooksville townships may be areas for further investigation.

Bibliogrpahy

Atlas of Franklin County, Indiana. Chicago: J. H. Beers & Co., 1882

Bigham, Darrell E. On Jordan’s Banks: Emancipation and its Aftermath in the Ohio River Valley.  Lexington, KY: University Press. 2005.

Bigelow, Bruce. “The Cultural Geography of African Americans in Antebellum Indiana” Black History News & Notes. May, 2009.

Bureau of the United States Census, National Archives & Records, Indiana Federal Population Census Schedules, Volume Reel 0013 – 1820.  Clark, Dearborn, Floyd, Franklin, Gibson, Jackson, Jefferson, Pike, Posey, and Randolph Counties. Accessed on August 22, 2014.

Bureau of the United States Census, National Archives & Records, Indiana Federal Population Census Schedules, Volume Reel 0027 – 1830.  Cass, Johnson, Dubois, Harrison, Jennings, Dear-born, Franklin Counties. Accessed on August 22, 2014.

Bureau of the United States Census, National Archives & Records, Indiana Federal Population Census Schedules, Volume Reel 0080 – 1840.  Fountain, Franklin, Fulton Counties.  Volume: Reel 0013 – 1820.  Accessed on August 23, 2014.

Bureau of the United States Census, National Archives & Records, Indiana Federal Population Census Schedules, Volume Reel 00146 – 1850. Franklin, Fulton Counties. Accessed on August 22, 2014.

Bureau of the United States Census, National Archives & Records, Indiana Federal Population Census Schedules, Volume Reel 00259 – 1860. Franklin County. Accessed on August 22, 2014.

Bureau of the United States Census, National Archives & Records, Indiana Federal Population Census Schedules, Volume Reel 00315 – 1870. Franklin County.  Accessed on August 22, 2014.

Bureau of the United States Census, National Archives & Records, Indiana Federal Population Census Schedules, Volume Reel 00259 – 1880. Franklin County. Accessed on August 22, 2014.

Moore, Wilma.  “The Trail Brothers and Their Civil War Service in the 28th USCT.” Indiana Historical Bureau. Accessed June 20, 2014.

Nation, Richard, “Violence and the Rights of African Americans in Civil War Era Indiana: The Case of  James Hayes.” Indiana Magazine of History, Sept 2004.

Reifel, August J.  History of Franklin County. Indianapolis, IN: B. F. Bowen, 1915.

Thornbrough, Emma L. The Negro in Indiana: A Study of a Minority. Indianapolis, IN: Indiana Historical Bureau, 1957.

Werle, Audrey. “Thomas Malston: Indiana Pioneer, 1771–1867,” Black History News & Notes,  November, 1988.

Fulton County

African American rural settlements documented: 0

Population data identified the following numbers of blacks in the federal decennial censuses in Fulton County: 1 in 1840, 2 in 1850, 6 in 1860, and 15 in 1870.

Two years after the first documented white settler, William Polke, came to survey the Michigan Road (Old 31), he brought his family and the black family of Mose Burdine from Knox County, Indiana to settle 4 miles north of what is presently Rochester, Fulton County, in 1832. The Burdine family built a cabin by the creek east of the Polke home, and continued to work for the Polke family for many years. The Burdine family in Fulton County had connections with the Burdines that settled in LaPorte and Porter County. Though the connection is there, the sources are scant and fractured. Various sources cite that a Priscilla Burdine (who later married Emanuel Brown) was brought north by William Polke, and lived in LaPorte.  Manual and Priscilla’s son, Alfred Burdine, was a pioneer of the Clear Lake Settlement in Porter County.

While no permanent settlement was found, the presence of Underground Railroad heritage in Fulton County is documented, including the participation of one of Fulton County’s few black residents, Jerry Barbour in Rochester.

 

Bibliography

“First Colored Persons of La Porte County.” Charles Cochran Papers, La Porte County Historical Society Archives.

Harrison, Wendy. “Wendy Harrison’s Family Page.”Ancestry.com- Family Tree Guide. Accessed July 10, 2014.

Manuel Brown and Priscilla Burdine’s original marriage license, February, 9, 1843, Book A, La Porte County, Indiana County Clerk’s Office, Courthouse.

 

U.S. Census, 1840: Population Schedules of the Sixth Census of the United States. Accessed July 24, 2014.

U.S. Census, 1850: Population Schedules of the Seventh Census of the United States. Accessed July 24, 2014.

U.S. Census, 1860: Population Schedules of the Eighth Census of the United States. Accessed July 24, 2014.

U.S. Census, 1870: Population Schedules of the Ninth Census of the United States. Accessed July 24, 2014.

By Andrea Sowle, July 30, 2014

 

 

Gibson County

African American rural settlements documented:  4

The four best known African American rural communities in Gibson County include one unnamed settlement in Montgomery Township and Lyles Station, Roundtree, and Sand Hill in Patoka Township.  Each of these settlements appears to have a building that served as its church/school.  Surnames associated with county African Americans include Anderson, Banister, Bass, Cantrel, Chaves, Cliff, Cole, Grier, Hardimen, Liggens, Lyles, McDaniel, Morland, Nolcox, Roundtree, Switch, Walden, and Williams.

Montgomery Township

The arrival of African Americans into Gibson County seems to have begun with Charles Grier.  He bought 40 acres in 1815 in what became Montgomery Township.  He came to Indiana from Virginia. He and his wife, Keziah, eventually acquired 260 acres of land.  He appears to be the nucleus of an unnamed settlement in the township.  Although Grier’s home is a distance from the African American settlers of Patoka Township, he funded an African Methodist Episcopal Church in Sand Hill.  In addition to his homestead he owned land near the present day Lyles Station.  Grier (died in 1872) and other family members are buried in a Montgomery Township cemetery.

The ending date of this settlement is unknown.  The Montgomery Township census lists 11 blacks in 1850, 24 in 1860, and 33 in 1870.  Audrey Werle’s index lists Grier, along with five other African American heads of household from the 1870 census.  Four of these people, including Grier, are identified as farmers.  When Grier died, his children continued to own land in Montgomery Township.

Patoka Township

Within Patoka Township, there were a large number of African American pioneers.  The Gibson County census lists 45 free blacks in 1820, 53 in 1830, and 137 in 1840.  In succeeding federal decennial censuses for Patoka Township black residents are listed as follows: 171 in 1850, 209 in 1860, and 312 in 1870.

Roundtree Settlement was located by the Patoka River.  James Roundtree is the name most associated with this community. He and others built the Black Bridge.  Later when it needed to be repaired, he fought and won a case that went to the Indiana Supreme Court.

The settlement of Sand Hill was located below Lyles Station.  The Hardiman and Nolcox families are two early pioneers associated with this black rural community.  Both families are still farming in Gibson County.

Arlene Blanks Polk, a descendant of Joshua Lyles provides a brief summary of Lyles, the namesake of Lyles Station.  In this recent Traces of Indiana and Midwestern History article, she corrects the century-old myth that Lyles was a slave that was freed by a benevolent, white master. Through court records and other documents, she demonstrates that he belonged to a family of free African Americans from Virginia.  The family moved to Tennessee and then to Indiana where Llesis listed on the 1840 Patoka Township, Gibson County census.  Many of the African American heads of household that are listed with him lived near him in Tennessee. In the Agricultural Schedule for 1850, Joshua Lyles owns 320 acres of land with a farm value of $500. He provided land for the subscription school in1864, and in 1870 he donated land to the Airline Railroad. It was after this time that the area took on the name Lyles Station.  Joshua Lyles died around 1885, leaving a very rich legacy.

Research in Gibson County has uncovered other early African American settlement names including: Algerville Hill, Switch, and Walden.  More investigation needs to be done to discover if they were independent communities or how they relate to the better known settlements in Montgomery and Patoka townships.

The present day African American farmers in Gibson County have their roots in these historical settlements.  Many still farm grain and raise cattle.  More work needs to be done to connect these names with the census, locate the land of the early pioneers on the plats and track their migration.  Lyles Station will serve as an antebellum African American rural settlement prototype for the National Museum of African American History and Culture (NMAAHC).  This Smithsonian museum is slated to open on the National Mall in 2016.

Bibliography

Cox, Anna-Lisa. “200 Years of Freedom: Charles Grier and the History of African American Settlement in Gibson County, Indiana,” Traces of Indiana and Midwestern History, Winter, 2013.

Polk, Arlene Blank.  “The truth about Joshua Lyles A Free African American Settler of Lyles Station,” Traces of Indiana and Midwestern History.

U.S. Bureau of the Census. “Aggregate Amount of Each Description of Persons within District of Indiana,” 1: 352. Sixth Census of the United States, 1840. Washington, D.C.: U.S. Census Office, 1841.

U.S. Bureau of the Census. Population of Civil Divisions Less Than Counties; Table III State of Indiana,” 1:124 Seventh Census of the United States, 1850 Washington, D.C.: U.S. Census Office, 1852

U.S. Bureau of the Census. Population of Civil Divisions Less Than Counties; Table III State      of Indiana,” 1:124 Eighth Census of the United States, 1860.  Washington, D.C.: U.S. Census Office, 1862

U.S. Bureau of the Census. “Population of Civil Divisions Less Than Counties; Table III—State of Indiana,” 1: 124. Ninth Census of the United States, 1870. Washington, D.C.: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1872.

S. Wangersheim. An illustrated standard atlas of Gibson County, Indiana. Boonville, Ind.: Hammond & Tillman Pub. Co., [1899?].

Audrey C. Werle “Research Notes on Indiana African American History,” M 792, William Henry Smith Memorial Library, Indiana Historical Society, Indianapolis, Indiana.

By Lishawna Taylor, July 27, 2014                                                              

 

 

 

 

 

 

Grant County

African American rural settlements documented: 2

Five original African American settlers came to Grant County from North Carolina and South Carolina in the 1840s. Aided by Aaron Betts, a white Quaker from Ohio, Billy Clark (free), John Wright (free), Robert Smith, Robert Brazelton and Robert Brown established the first homesteads in Liberty Township south of Marion at the “Crossroads” (later known as Weaver). More African American families followed—some coming from Chillicothe, Ohio and Modoc in Randolph County, Indiana. Some chose to live in a settlement in Mill Township near Jonesboro dubbed Telltale. Sources report many of these families worked for David Jay, a white man.

The Weaver settlement grew with a steady stream of new arrivals. Two families prominent in the community arrived during the 1840s: the eponymous Weavers, free people from Orange County, North Carolina; and the Pettifoot/Pettiford family, also free people. By 1849 Weaver had its first church, Hill’s Chapel A.M.E.  In 1854 the Baptists built a church as well followed by a Wesleyan church during the 1860s.

During the Civil war years, freed and escaped slaves came to Weaver. After the war formal schools were built and businesses such as general stores and blacksmith shops developed. According to news articles, Weaver flourished in the 1870s and 1880s with the population reaching nearly 2,000. Avenues for an active social life were available including lodges, a Grange, camp meetings, and other activities.

Grant County experienced a natural gas boom in the 1880s and many country citizens moved away from their farms enticed by employment opportunities. Despite the exodus, Weaver was still thriving with more than 100 black families in the early 1920s. Local sources describe the gas boom as a factor that changed the character of the general population of Grant County. Racial tensions heightened culminating in an infamous lynching of two African American men in August 1930.

Bibliography

Artis, Asenath Peters. “The Negro in Grant County,” in Centennial History of Grant County, 1812-1912, by Roland L. Whitson. Chicago: Lewis Publishing Co., 1914.

Boyd, Gregory, A. Family Maps of Grant County, Indiana. Norman, OK: Arphax, 2010.

Grant County Interim Report. Indianapolis: Historic Landmarks Foundation of Indiana, 1993.

Hoenig, Henry. “Council Has History to Share,” Marion (IN) Chronicle-Tribune, March 22, 1997.

Howland, Chick, “Pettifords Are Proud of Their Family History,” Marion (IN) Chronicle-Tribune, September 2, 1984, sec. B, p. 1.

“Indiana’s African American Settlements” Allen County Public Library Genealogy Center. Accessed June 20, 2014.

Kingman Brothers, comp. Combination Atlas Map of Grant County. [Chicago]: Kingman Brothers, 1877.

Miller, Jerry, “People of Color: Grant County’s Black Heritage,” Marion (IN) Chronicle-Tribune Magazine, July 9, 1978, pp 6-13.

Munn, Bill, “Young Black Settler Recounts Coming to Free State of Indiana” The Chronicle-Tribune.com Written April, 25, 2001. Accessed April 25, 2001.URL no longer active.

Neher, Leslie I, Field Notes, 1989. [Collected for Indiana Historical Society Archivist.] Also numerous compilations of similar notes available at Marion, IN, Public Library bound under titles such as Jonesboro, Indiana: a Collection of Historical Facts. Gas City, IN:  L.I. Neher, 1988.

Neal, William, and A.C. Overman. Map of Grant County, Indiana. Cincinnati, Ohio: Middleton, Strobridge Co., 1860.

Stevenson, Barbara J., comp. An Oral History of African Americans in Grant County. Charleston, SC: Arcadia, 2000.

Thornbrough, Emma Lou. The Negro in Indiana before 1900: a Study of a Minority. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1993.

U.S. Bureau of the Census. “Aggregate Amount of Each Description of Persons within District of Indiana,” 1: 352. Sixth Census of the United States, 1840. Washington, D.C.: U.S. Census Office, 1841.

U.S. Bureau of the Census. “Population of Civil Divisions Less Than Counties; Table III—State of Indiana,” 1: 124. Ninth Census of the United States, 1870. Washington, D.C.: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1872.

“Way Back When,” Marion (IN) Chronicle-Tribune, September 9, 1990. [Photo of blacksmith shop, Weaver, Indiana]

Weaver, Thomas P. “Life and Works.”  Free African Americans (Nineteenth Century Photos, Part 4: The Weaver Settlement). Accessed June 20, 2014.

“Weaver Cemetery, Grant County Indiana.” Allen County Public Library Genealogy Center.

“Weaver Town: Interesting History of Its Origins,” Marion (IN) Tribune, 10 July 1901, p. 4.

Weintraut, Linda, “A Glimpse of the Past: Lyles and Weaver Settlements, 1850-1860,” Black History News & Notes, August, 1999.

By Georgia Cravey, June 22, 2014         

 

Greene County

African American rural settlements documented: 0

In Highland Township, there is a possibility of a settlement, but more work needs to be done to identify it.  According to county records a “colored” family was brought into the area by Epheran Corvan.  In 1864, family members were freed and given land by Corvan.  The family kept his surname.  African American first names that were associated with the surname are Sarah Jane, Beckey, and Nelson.

After 1870, there was a black rural settlement in Washington Township. Using an 1879 plat map, one can find the Wiggentons, an African American family, with 50 acres of land.  Next to them, the McDonald family also owned land.  Viewing 1971 plat maps, it appears that the McDonald family owned several acres.  Harold McDonald and his wife, Mary, did not have any children.  The land is in section 10 and 15 below the city of Lyons.  The Prairie Chapel Cemetery has both blacks and whites.  Other names in the county records that could have been part of a settlement in Washington Township include Allen Granville and Chester Clasby.

According to county records, Charley McDonald came to the county in 1872 and bought 40 acres. The McDonald family story within the county was kept alive after Harold passed by his wife who would host annual barbecues.

Bibliography

Griffing, B. N. An Atlas of Greene County, Indiana. Philadelphia, Penn.: D.J. Lake & Co., 1879.

U.S. Bureau of the Census. Population of Civil Divisions Less Than Counties; Table III State of Indiana,” 1:124 Eighth Census of the United States, 1860 Washington D.C., 1862.

U.S. Bureau of the Census. Population of Civil Divisions Less Than Counties; Table III State of Indiana,” 1:124 Ninth Census of the United States, 1870 Washington D.C., 1872

U.S. Bureau of the Census. Population of Civil Divisions Less Than Counties; Table III State of Indiana,” 1:124 Seventh Census of the United States, 1850 Washington D.C., 1852

Werle, Audrey C. “Research Notes on Indiana African American History,” M 792, William Henry Smith Memorial Library, Indiana Historical Society, Indianapolis, Indiana.

Winkelmann, Joe. History of Greene County Indiana 1885-1989. Bloomfield, Ind.: Greene County Indiana Historical Society, 1990.

By Lishawna Taylor, July 24, 2014                                                             

 

Hamilton County

African American rural settlements documented: 1

Although there were small populations of African Americans in the western parts of Hamilton County, the Roberts Settlement was the only rural settlement documented for this project. The book, Southern Seed, Northern Soil by Stephen Vincent exhaustively documents the community. The website Roberts Settlement http://www.robertssettlement.org/ gives a good overview of the community’s origins:

“In July 1835, African-American pioneers Hansel Roberts, Elijah Roberts, and Micajah Walden journeyed to the federal government’s land office in Indianapolis to purchase homesteads in northern Hamilton County, thirty miles to the north. Their claims had been intentionally chosen to be within several miles of Quakers, a group known to be accepting and supportive of free blacks. In October 1835, the men brought their families to their wilderness claims and settled permanently, thereby establishing a farm community later known as Roberts Settlement. By 1840 the neighborhood included about 10 families and 900 acres of land.”

The Roberts kindred were a group of mixed race people with free status who initially emigrated from eastern North Carolina to “The Beech,” a community in Rush County, Indiana.

The 1840s and 1850s were the “golden era” of the settlement. By the 1870s, the community was thriving with some three hundred residents distributed over almost 2,000 acres. By 1900, however, Roberts Settlement was subject to the same pressures that affected Indiana’s other rural communities–decreasing opportunities on the farm and increasing opportunities for education and employment in towns and cities. Vincent notes that “less than half a dozen families remained by the mid 1920s .  The legacy of Roberts Settlement is alive in a strong family association that organizes an annual homecoming on July 4. The church is the focus of the event. Author Vincent and Roberts descendants have produced a short documentary and are attempting to expand the film to reach broader audiences.

Hamilton County Historian, David Heighway noted the early presence in the county of a fur trader of African descent. Pete Smith frequented an area known as Horseshoe Prairie and provided assistance to pioneer settlers as early as 1819. Heighway confirmed that settlement of African Americans in Hamilton County was concentrated in the western townships in association with Quakers and other residents who held strong anti-slavery views including white settlements like Baker’s Corner and Boxley, as well as significant African American populations in towns like Westfield and Noblesville. In addition to the Roberts surname, other family names include Gilliam, Holbert, McDuffey, Tootle, Watkins, Walden, Hurley, Winburn, Sweat and McCowan.

Bibliography

“Indiana’s African American Settlements” Allen County Public Library Genealogy Center. Accessed June 20, 2014.

Boyd, Gregory, A., Family Maps of Hamilton County, Indiana. Norman, OK: Arphax, 2009.

Hamilton County Interim Report. Indianapolis: Historic Landmarks Foundation of Indiana, 1992.

Roberts Settlement. Accessed June 20, 2014.

Thornbrough, Emma Lou. The Negro in Indiana before 1900: a Study of a Minority. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1993.

U.S. Bureau of the Census. “Aggregate Amount of Each Description of Persons within District of Indiana,” 1: 352. Sixth Census of the United States, 1840. Washington, D.C.: U.S. Census Office, 1841.

U.S. Bureau of the Census. “Population of Civil Divisions Less Than Counties; Table III—State of Indiana,” 1: 124. Ninth Census of the United States, 1870. Washington, D.C.: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1872.

Vincent, Stephen A.  Southern Seed, Northern Soil. Bloomington, IN: Indiana University Press, 1999.

By Georgia Cravey, June 21, 2014     

 

Hancock County

African American rural settlements documented: 1

There was one small unnamed settlement in Sugar Creek Township of Hancock County. John Delaney, born in Virginia about 1788, appears to be the nucleus of this community. An enterprising man, he purchased 140 acres of land in Hancock County in 1833. He established a tavern on the Old Brookville Road (SR 52) a mile west of present day New Palestine. The tavern would be located advantageously at a midway point between Indianapolis and Rush County, home to both the Beech settlement and the town of Carthage. His wife, Maryland native, Sarah Delaney, had a reputation as a good cook. The building is currently a private home still standing at 5714 W US Highway 52; Palestine.

Listed in the 1850 census as a farmer, Delaney is also identified as an early grocer in the county. Both John and Sarah are enumerated as mulatto. It is interesting that accounts of the Delaneys in the standard county histories do not mention race. They are buried in the small cemetery west of New Palestine situated near the site of their former tavern. Other burials in the Delaney Cemetery record the names Cambridge, Malson and Burns. Genealogy forums discuss much intermarriage among these families. Other names encountered nearby include Butler, Chavis/Chevis, Custor, Griffin, Locklear, Roberts, and Washington.

Although it bears more investigation, this settlement seems to have an interesting racial composition. Some of the households in this area appear to be headed by white men who have married “mulatto” women and raised large families. (E.g. the 1850 census lists Francis Malson, a farmer, 36 years old, white, married to Jane Malson, a 33 year old mulatto woman born in Kentucky with five mulatto children in the household.)

Joe Skvarenina, Hancock County Historian, considers racial identity in this area as fluid at the time.

In another example of racial fluidity (and again, more careful research is needed) it would seem that John H. Cambridge (farmer, born in Maryland) and Matilda Malson Cambridge, (possibly born in Ohio), residents in the Sugar Creek vicinity, were the parents of several children. In 1850 the entire household is enumerated as mulatto. However, some sources indicate that their son Edwin later served in the 2nd regiment, Indiana Calvary, a “white” unit, rather than in a unit of the United States Colored Troops.

George Richman relates an incident that illustrates the nature of second class citizenship that people of color experienced in the area.  “About 1853-1854 several families came from Cincinnati…they seemed to be progressive and set about soliciting donations… for a more modern school…A mulatto…Lafe Cambridge had subscribed and paid his money…When he sent his children, objections were raised because they were colored…The children were not permitted to attend.”

Two of Hancock County’s nine townships did not have any African American population between 1840 and 1870. The numbers are sparse for the other townships with Sugar Creek having the largest black population. In 1840, there is a population of 16. In 1850, there are 41 people. 1860 is the peak year with a population of 48. By 1870 the numbers decline to 11.

The only township to experience an increase in its black population in the 1870 census is Center Township where the county seat of Greenfield is located. The count grows from 9 in 1850, to 17 in 1860, to 31 in 1870.

In his autobiography, George Knox gives a unique look at life in Greenfield. Knox, a one time barber, successful businessman, owner and publisher of an influential black newspaper, was born a slave in Tennessee. In 1863 he crossed into Union troop lines eventually making his way to Indiana. In 1865 Knox opened a barbershop in Greenfield, a town which Knox himself described as a place where “prejudice was very high.” Nevertheless, Knox and fellow black citizens created fulfilling lives establishing such organizations as a literary club, a debate society, a church and a school. Camp meetings in the countryside drew large crowds of both races.

Race relations come to a head in the decades following the Civil War. When groups of African Americans made attempts to settle in Hancock County warnings were posted, barns burned and livestock killed (Thornbrough, p 222-223). In 1875 a notorious lynching occurred. Armed and masked vigilantes from three counties broke into a jail and took their victim to the county fairgrounds where they hung him. Knox, described as an “accommodationist”, was able to withstand the pressures and controversy. However in 1884, no doubt recognizing his vulnerability as a black man, he ultimately relocated to Indianapolis.

Bibliography

Binford, J. H. History of Hancock County, Indiana. Greenfield, Indiana: King & Binford Publishing, 1882.

“The Civil War.” National Parks Service. Accessed July 17, 2014.

“Delaney Cemetery.”  “Edwin R. Cambridge.” Find A Grave. Accessed July 17, 2014.

“41st Indiana Regiment / 2nd Indiana Cavalry in the American Civil War.” Civil War Index. Accessed July 17, 2014.

“Indiana’s African American Settlements.” Allen County Public Library Genealogy Center. Accessed July 10, 2014.

Knox, George. Slave and Freeman: The Autobiography of George L. Knox. Lexington: University Press of Kentucky, 1979.

Richman, George J. History of Hancock County, Indiana. Greenfield, Indiana: Mitchell Printing, 1916.

Skvarenina, Joseph. Also Great: Stories of the Famous and the Not-So-Famous of Hancock County. Greenfield, Indiana: Mitchell-Fleming Printing, 2000.

Thornbrough, Emma Lou. The Negro in Indiana before 1900: a Study of a Minority. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1993.

U.S. Bureau of the Census. “Aggregate Amount of Each Description of Persons within District of Indiana,” 1: 352. Sixth Census of the United States, 1840. Washington, D.C.: U.S. Census Office, 1841.

U.S. Bureau of the Census. “Population of Civil Divisions Less Than Counties; Table III—State of Indiana,” 1: 124. Ninth Census of the United States, 1870. Washington, D.C.: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1872.

Audrey C. Werle “Research Notes on Indiana African American History,” M 792, William Henry Smith Memorial Library, Indiana Historical Society, Indianapolis, Indiana.

By Georgia Cravey, July18, 2014

 

 

 

 

 

Harrison County

African American Settlements Documented: 1

Harrison County has been home to African Americans from as early as Indiana’s territorial period.  The county was established in 1808.  Corydon was Indiana’s territorial capital from 1813-1816 .  It served as the state’s first capital from 1816-1825.  Indiana was a part of the Northwest Territory and although slavery was prohibited in the Northwest Ordinance of 1787, it was tolerated.  Many of Indiana’s earliest white settlers, largely from the slave states of Virginia, North Carolina, and Kentucky,  brought enslaved people to Indiana.  Indentured servitude was used to circumvent anti slavery laws.  Thus, the status of free African Americans in Indiana and in Harrison County was tenuous.  In her book, The Negro in Indiana Before 1900, Emma Lou Thornbrough cites the 1810 census in Harrison County as listing 21 slaves and 12 free persons of color.

A few years after this early census, ca. 1814, a large enclave of about 100 African Americans migrated into Harrison County with an elderly white couple, Paul and Susannah Mitchem, who eventually freed them.  Their story is very unusual since the freedom seekers comprised such a large group and were accompanied by their benefactors who settled among them.  Most of those who came into Harrison County with the Mitchems took the name Mitchem.  Other family names included Finley, Carter, and Cousins.  These new agrarian settlers became land owners, business owners, and one, Littleton Mitchem, was a physician.  Also, there is no evidence to suggest the settlers were coerced into signing indentures.  Due to the size of the Mitchem Settlement, the families fanned out throughout the county, but most stayed in or around Corydon.  The townships where the African American population was located include Harrison, Boone, Webster, and Heth.

Perhaps, the most notable among the Mitchems was a man who came to free territory with this enclave but ended up settling in St. Louis, Missouri.  His name was John Berry Mitchem and according to a first person account, he purchased his freedom from Paul Mitchem and then earned enough money to walk 700 miles to Virginia and 700 miles back to Kentucky to purchase his father’s freedom.  After marrying an enslaved woman from Kentucky, he followed her to St. Louis after her master took her there.  John Berry Mitchem is listed as one of the early settlers of St. Louis who contributed to the state of Missouri’s development.  He distinguished himself as the minister of a large Baptist Church in St. Louis and as the founder of a freedom school that was conducted on a Mississippi River vessel since it was illegal for African Americans to attend school in Missouri.

After the Civil War, another in-migration of African Americans relocated to Harrison County, most of who came from Meade County, Kentucky, which is the closest Kentucky county to Harrison.  These families settled in various areas of the county, but most eventually migrated into Corydon, where a downtown church/school combination had been built about 1851.  Other churches, Collins Chapel, which was also a church/school, one unnamed on the South Hill, and St. Paul African Methodist Episcopal (organized about 1882) drew the African American population into Corydon.  Today St. Paul AME has more white members than African American. Collins Chapel, founded in 1868 in Boone Township, no longer exists.

In 1891, the Corydon Colored School , a public school for African American elementary and high school students was built by the Corydon Schools.  The high school was discontinued in 1925 due to a lack of high school age students; however the elementary school was continued until 1950.  It closed because there were not enough elementary-age students to constitute having a teacher unit.  Now called the Leora Brown School, the building was rehabilitated over twenty years ago as an historic site and educational and cultural center.

Most of the Mitchem Settlement members were buried in Corydon in Cedar Hill, the historic town cemetery that was begun in 1808. Many of the early settlers’ graves are at the front of the cemetery. The cemetery is not segregated.  In addition, there are three small Mitchem family cemeteries.

Bibliography

Brown, Maxine. “Mitchem Family and Settlement, Free Men of Color in Harrison County, Early 1800’s.” Traces of Indiana and Midwestern History, Spring, 2009

Bulleit, F. A. Illustrated Atlas and History of Harrison County, Indiana.  Corydon, IN F. A. Bulleit (1909)

Griffin, Frederick P. “Black Families Residing in the Four Corners South of Corydon – Southeast
Harrison Twp., Southwest Webster Twp., Northwest Heth Twp., Northwest Boone Twp.” [An annotated map reflecting successive generations and presumably descendants of Mitchem migration living where four townships meet. (ca. 1882-1906)].  Frederick Porter Griffin Center for Genealogy and Local History, Corydon, Indiana.

Griffin, Frederick P. Cedar Hill. An annotated map reflecting African American property owners of long standing in Harrison County, Harrison Twp., west of the Cedar Hill Cemetery (ca. early 20th century). Frederick Porter Griffin Center for Genealogy and Local History, n.p.

Mitchem Property Record.  U. S. Census 1850 for District 45 Harrison County, Indiana.  NARA Roll:  M432__149, pg. 440A  Image 564.

Saulman, Earl O. Blacks in Harrison County, a compendium of information about Harrison County’s Black population (1999, revised 2002). Frederick P. Griffin Center for Genealogy and Local History.  Corydon, IN.

Thornbrough, Emma Lou, The Negro in Indiana Before 1900: A Study of a Minority. Bloomington and Indianapolis: Indiana University Press, 1993.

Bureau of the United States Census, National Archives & Records, Indiana Federal Population Census Schedules, Vol.: Reel 0014-1820.  Crawford, Delaware, Dubois, Harrison, Jennings, Knox, Lawrence, Martin, Monroe, Orange, Owen, Perry, Scott, Switzerland, Vanderburgh, Vigo, Wabash, Washington.  Accessed on Aug. 22, 2014.

Bureau of the United States Census, National Archives & Records, Indiana Federal Population Census Schedules, Volume: Reel 0027- 1830.  Cass, Johnson Dubois, Harrison, Jennings, Dearborn,
Franklin Counties. Accessed Aug. 22, 2014.

Bureau of the United States Census, National Archives & Records, Indiana Federal Population Census Schedules, Volume: Reel 0082 – 1840.  Hamilton, Hancock, Harrison, Counties. Accessed on August 22, 2014.

Bureau of the United States Census, National Archives & Records, Indiana Federal Population Census Schedules, Volume: Reel 00149 – 1850.  Harrison, Hancock Counties. Accessed on August 22, 2014.

Bureau of the United States, National Archives & Records, Indiana Federal Population Census Schedules, Volume: Reel 00264 – 1860.  Harrison County.  Accessed on August 23, 2014.

Bureau of the United States Census, National Archives & Records, Indiana Federal Population Census Schedules, Volume: Reel 00321 – 1870.  Harrison County. Accessed on August 23, 2014.

Bureau of the United States Census, National Archives and Records, Indiana Federal Population Census Schedules, V volume:  Reel 00264 – 1880.  Harrison County. Accessed on August 23, 2014.

By Maxine Brown, October 4, 2014

Hendricks County

African American rural settlements documented: 1

Hendricks County has one known unnamed settlement in Guildford County. Family names of those in the settlement include Moss, Pierson, Sparks/Spinks, Goens/Gowen, and Hampton.

Hendricks County was formed in 1823. As shown through its censuses, its population of blacks and mulattos increased every decade: 5 in 1830, 17 in 1840, 36 in 1850, 45 in 1860, 182 in 1870 and 402 in 1880. The majority of these residents lived in Guilford Township. One known unnamed settlement in this township included surnames such as Hampton, Sparks/Spinks, Goens/Gowen, Moss, Pierson/ Pearson and Outland, with Virginia, North Carolina, Kentucky and Indiana as their birthplaces. The Moss and Pierson families appear in the county’s Negro Register in 1853 and 1854.

An oral history of the African Methodist Episcopal Church dates its origin in the county to 1867. Several black families living in the area between Plainfield and Mooresville established a non-denominational church along White Lick Creek, as well as a colored school before 1870. They are included on an 1878 plat map of Guilford Township.  Several entries in volume IV of The Diary of Calvin Fletcher tell the story of Danville resident Daniel Pearson/ Pierson. Notably Saturday, December 29, 1849 and Wednesday, December 25, 1850. Pearson is raising money to purchase his four children out of slavery in Kentucky. Fletcher notes, “he has already raised $500 and he needs to redeem them by New Year of 1851.”  Hendricks County had few black landowners before 1870-1880, so Fletcher’s diary is helpful showing the lives of its residents and their communities.

Bibliography

Ancestry.com. “U.S. Federal Census 1820-1870,” accessed June 20, 2014,

Fletcher, Calvin. The Diary of Calvin Fletcher, Volume IV: 1848-1852. Indianapolis: Indiana Historical Society, 1975.

Heller, Herbert Lynn. “Negro Education in Indiana from 1816 To 1860.” PhD diss., Indiana University, 1951.

Hendricks County Government. “Illustrated Historical Atlas of Hendricks County, Indiana.” Accessed June 20, 2014.

Robbins, Coy D. Indiana Negro Registers 1852-1865. Bowie, Maryland: Heritage Books, 1994.

Swarn, Cassie. “The Black Community of Plainfield, Indiana.” Transcribed speech from 1976, accessed in the Archives of Plainfield-Guilford Township Public Library.

“Tiny church reflects on its place in history: Bethel AME has been vital refuge since 1867.” Indianapolis Star, June 14, 2002.

By Dona Stokes-Lucas, June 20, 2014                                                                         

 

Henry County

African American rural settlements documented: 1

Like neighboring counties Wayne and Randolph, Henry County was populated by significant numbers of Quakers from North Carolina. Henry County’s African American population was widely distributed across the county with the highest concentration in Greensboro Township.

Greensboro Township was the location of Trail’s Grove, the large farm holdings of William and Sarah Trail, and the only documented black settlement in the county. William Trail and his father-in-law, Archibald McCowan/McGowan/McCown/McKown, a resident of Rush County’s Beech settlement, purchased adjacent 160 acre tracts near present day Shirley, Indiana. Trail was born in Maryland but came to Indiana in 1812 having escaped slavery in South Carolina. His wife was born in Virginia. In 1832 Trail and his family removed from their small holdings in Fayette County (formerly part of Franklin County) to begin clearing land for a farm that was the nucleus of community life. A school was organized for Trail’s own children as well as neighboring children. Eventually one or more of the Trail sons attended Union Literary Institute in Randolph County and returned to teach in Greensboro Township. Rush County histories show one of Trail’s sons as a school teacher in the Beech.  His son, Benjamin, marries Ethalinda Wadkins/Watkins who is from a large, prominent Rush County family.

The 1850s reflect the largest population in Trail’s Grove as families grew in size and newcomers settled in the area. The population decreased slightly in 1860 with small increases in other areas of the county. Four of William Trail’s sons served in the Civil War and following the war the two surviving veterans along with Trail’s younger offspring continued farming and lives of active civic engagement. A small untended cemetery still marks the site of Trails Grove. Family names associated with Trails Grove settlement include Trail, McCowan/McCown/McGowan/McKown, Fears, Dempsey, Freeman, Johnson, Gapin and Fix.

Peter Winslow, born in North Carolina, was another prominent Henry County individual. He was the first known African American landowner in Henry County purchasing eighty acres in Dudley Township in 1827. In 1844 Winslow and his wife deeded land for an AME church near the village of Staughn. One of their sons, Reverend Daniel Winslow was a circuit rider who started preaching in Beech (Rush County) in 1840 and went on to help organize AME churches in Wayne County/Dublin, Fayette County/Connersville, and Randolph County communities of Greenville, Snow Hill and Cabin Creek. Willis Revels was a close associate also preaching at Staughn. Records show that Winslow was also involved with Freemasonry, organizing lodges in Dublin and Richmond, Wayne County.

In 1870, although still substantial, African American population declined somewhat. Members of farm families gravitated to towns and villages such as Cadiz, Greenville, Knightstown, Spiceland and New Castle. Special note should be made of Spiceland, home to a Quaker academy and Greensboro where an historic marker commemorates abolitionist Seth Hinshaw’s Underground Railroad Station and Liberty Hall, site of fiery antislavery meetings.

Bibliography

1857 Atlas, Henry County, Indiana: Reprinted from Map of Henry County, Indiana.Knightstown, IN.: The Bookmark, 1984 [i.e. 1994].

“Black History of Henry County.” Henry County Genealogical Services. Accessed June 20, 2014.

Boyd, Gregory, A., Family Maps of Henry County, Indiana. Norman, OK: Arphax, 2010.

Heller, Herbert L. Historic Henry County. New Castle, IN: Courier Times, Inc., 1981-1982.

Henry County Interim Report. Indianapolis: Historic Landmarks Foundation of Indiana, 1993.

Higgins, Belden and Company. An Illustrated Historical Atlas of Henry County, Indiana. Chicago: Higgins, Belden, 1875.

Hubbard, Charles and Georgia Cravey. “The Trials of William Trail.” Traces Magazine, (Winter 2013).

Mayhill, R. Thomas. Land Entry Atlas of Henry County, Indiana, 1821-1849. Knightstown, Ind.: Bookmark, 1974.

Rerick Brothers. The County of Henry, Indiana: Topography, History, Art Folio: including Chronological Chart of General, National, State, and County History. [Richmond, IN]: Rerick Brothers, 1893.

Thornbrough, Emma Lou. The Negro in Indiana before 1900: a Study of a Minority. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1985.

[William Trail, Jr.?] Story of a Slave [n.p, n.d.] Available from Indiana Historical Society and Henry County, IN, Public Library.

U.S. Bureau of the Census. “Aggregate Amount of Each Description of Persons within District of Indiana,” 1: 352. Sixth Census of the United States, 1840. Washington, D.C.: U.S. Census Office, 1841.

U.S. Bureau of the Census. “Population of Civil Divisions Less Than Counties; Table III—State of Indiana,” 1: 124. Ninth Census of the United States, 1870. Washington, D.C.: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1872.

By Georgia Cravey, June 22, 2014

Howard County

African American rural settlements documented: 2

Howard County was established in 1844.  The county had a healthy African American population that grew steadily from its first federal decennial population census taken in 1850; it registered 105 black people that year.  It enumerated 165 blacks in 1860 and 304 in 1870.  In both 1860 and 1870 about a third of the black population in the county lived in Ervin Township.  There were also large population numbers in Clay and Monroe Townships and the city of Kokomo (Centre Township).

Around 1840, the Rush Settlement was formed in Ervin and bordering Clay townships.  The settlement had a school and a Methodist church.  In the 1870 census, men surnamed Hardiman and Rush are listed as farmers.  Wm. Hardiman had land valued at $2,600.  The school, church and cemetery (located at 450 N.) were on Hardiman’s land. Although there were less than 25 blacks counted in all other Howard County townships, the 1850 Clay Township census enumerated 63. Prior to the establishment of the Bassett Settlement, Ervin Township listed only 16 African Americans in 1850.

During the 1850s, the Bassett, Artis and Ellis families left Parke County, Indiana, and established a settlement in Ervin Township. (The Bassett and Artis families were free African Americans who came to Indiana from North Carolina.)  At least 11 families lived in this area that became a small farming community of blacks sometime known as the Bassett Settlement or the Bassett and Ellis Settlement.  They had a school, church, cemetery (located at 950 W.), general store, blacksmith shop and a post office.  Some of the other surnames associated with the settlement include Canady, Griggs, Jones, Kirby, Mosely, and Wilson.

Zachariah and Richard Bassett served as ministers at the Free Union Baptist Church in Howard County.  The 1870 census list Bassetts, Artis, and Ellis as farmers.  Richard had land valued at $8,400 and Morrison Artis’s land was valued at $2,800.  In 1892, Richard Bassett became the third black person to be elected to the Indiana state legislature.

According to Emma Lou Thornbrough, the Bassett and Rush settlements were located near the Poplar Grove Friends Meeting and both communities disbursed after the Civil War, with most residents moving to Kokomo (Howard County) or Logansport (Cass County).

Further research needs to be done on a possible black settlement in Monroe Township.  Ishmael Roberts came into the county around 1850.  The 1860 census lists John and Thomas Roberts.  They appeared to have lived outside of New London in Monroe Township.

Bibliography

Combination Atlas Map of Howard County, Indiana: Compiled, drawn and published from personal examinations and surveys, 1877. Knightstown, IN: Bookmark, 1976.

Gall, Morris. The Negro in Howard County. Kokomo, IN: Kokomo Chamber of Commerce, 1970.

Hackett, Brian L. “Hoosier Freemen: Harboring Negroes in Antebellum Parke County.” Indiana Trace of Indiana and Midwestern History, Summer, 2009.

Slater-Putt, Dawne. “The People of Bassett-Ellis and Rush African-American Settlements Ervin and Clay Townships Howard County, Indiana, 1840-1920.” (Manuscript at the Kokomo Public Library, Kokomo, IN)

Snell, Ronald David. “Indiana’s Black Representatives: The Rhetoric of the Black Republican Legislators from 1880 to 1896.” Ph.D dissertation, Indiana University, 1972.

Tetrick, Ron. “Artis, Bassett, Colbert, Hall and Rush Pioneer African American Families of Howard County, Indiana,” 2008. (Manuscript at the Kokomo Public Library, Kokomo, IN)

Thornbrough, Emma Lou. The Negro in Indiana before 1900: A Study of a Minority. Bloomington and Indianapolis: Indiana University Press, 1993.

U.S. Bureau of the Census. “Aggregate Amount of Each Description of Persons within District of Indiana,” 1: 352. Sixth Census of the United States, 1840. Washington, D.C.: U.S. Census Office, 1841.

U.S. Bureau of the Census. Population of Civil Divisions Less Than Counties; Table III State of Indiana,” 1:124 Seventh Census of the United States, 1850 Washington, D.C.: U.S. Census Office, 1852

U.S. Bureau of the Census. Population of Civil Divisions Less Than Counties; Table III State of Indiana,” 1:124 Eighth Census of the United States, 1860.  Washington, D.C.: U.S. Census Office, 1862

U.S. Bureau of the Census. “Population of Civil Divisions Less Than Counties; Table III—State of Indiana,” 1: 124. Ninth Census of the United States, 1870. Washington, D.C.: U.S.

Government Printing Office, 1872.

Audrey C. Werle “Research Notes on Indiana African American History,” M 792, William Henry Smith Memorial Library, Indiana Historical Society, Indianapolis, Indiana.

By Lishawna Taylor, July 30, 2014           

 

Huntington County

African American rural settlements documented: 0

Huntington County was established in 1832.  From the time of the first federal census taken for the county in 1840 through 1870, there were less than 15 African Americans recorded.

Bibliography

U.S. Census, 1840: Population Schedules of the Sixth Census of the United States. Accessed July 3, 2014.

U.S. Census, 1850: Population Schedules of the Seventh Census of the United States.  Accessed July 3, 2014.

U.S. Census, 1860: Population Schedules of the Eighth Census of the United States. Accessed July 3, 2014.

U.S. Census, 1870: Population Schedules of the Ninth Census of the United States. Accessed July 3, 2014.

By Andrea Sowle,  July 3, 2014

 

 

Jackson County

African American rural settlements documented: 1

Jackson County was established in 1816.  From the first federal decennial census for the county in 1820 to 1870, the African American population increased from 36 to 164 people.  Like so many other Indiana counties, the black population census numbers fell between 1850 (214) and 1860 (187).  It dropped again in 1870 and rallied in 1880. Most blacks that came to Jackson County by 1870 were from North Carolina, Virginia, Illinois, and other Indiana counties.

Jackson County U.S. Census Numbers, 1820-1900

Census Year 1820 1830 1840 1850 1860 1870 1880 1890 1900
No. of African Americans 36 120 190 214 187 164 344 270 228

 

The county had at least one black pre Civil War rural community located in Jackson Township. Surnames included Bishop, Christy, Goens/Goins, Mitchell, Newby, Parke, and Parks.  By the 1870s, there was a church and a school.

Bibliography

Thornbrough, Emma. The Negro in Indiana before 1900: A Study of a Minority. Bloomington and Indianapolis: Indiana University Press, 1993.

U.S. Bureau of the Census. “Aggregate Amount of Each Description of Persons within District of Indiana,” 1: 352. Sixth Census of the United States, 1840. Washington, D.C.: U.S. Census Office, 1841.

U.S. Bureau of the Census. Population of Civil Divisions Less Than Counties; Table III State of Indiana,” 1:124 Seventh Census of the United States, 1850 Washington, D.C.: U.S. Census Office, 1852

U.S. Bureau of the Census. Population of Civil Divisions Less Than Counties; Table III State of Indiana,” 1:124 Eighth Census of the United States, 1860.  Washington, D.C.: U.S. Census Office, 1862

U.S. Bureau of the Census. “Population of Civil Divisions Less Than Counties; Table III—State of Indiana,” 1: 124. Ninth Census of the United States, 1870. Washington, D.C.: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1872.

Audrey C. Werle “Research Notes on Indiana African American History,” M 792. William Henry Smith Memorial Library, Indiana Historical Society, Indianapolis, Indiana.

By Wilma L. Moore, October 31 2014 

Jasper County

African American rural settlements documented: 0

Jasper County was formed in 1835. The federal decennial population census for the county from 1840 to 1870 recorded five or less African Americans.

Bibliography

U.S. Census, 1840: Population Schedules of the Sixth Census of the United States. Accessed July 24, 2014.

U.S. Census, 1850: Population Schedules of the Seventh Census of the United States. Accessed July 24, 2014.

U.S. Census, 1860: Population Schedules of the Eighth Census of the United States. Accessed July 24, 2014.

U.S. Census, 1870: Population Schedules of the Ninth Census of the United States. Accessed July 24, 2014.

By Andrea Sowle, July 30, 2014

 

 

Jay County

African American rural settlements documented: 0

The 19th century African American population in Jay County was minimal.

In 1840 the census shows a total of eleven free people of color residing in the county. (The enumeration is not available by township for 1840.)

In 1850 only three townships in the northwest corner of the county have African Americans living in them: Penn, 11 persons; Jackson, 17 persons; and Greene, 2 persons. (See Blackford County sketch for details on the Jefferson Hill household, Penn Township, who migrate from Blackford to Jay County by 1860.)

By the 1860 census Penn Township’s African American population increases to twenty, while Jackson and Greene Townships lose all their African American residents. Wayne Township, with the county seat Portland, has one African American.

In 1870, Penn Township has ten African Americans. Wayne Township has a population of eleven African Americans. All the other townships are exclusively white.

The 1870 Index of Heads of Households lists the following names in Penn Township: Edith Hall, black female, keeping house, age 55, born in North Carolina; and Josiah Locust, age 55, mulatto male, farmer, born in North Carolina. The other households are from Wayne Township as follows: Hilary Chavions, age 47, mulatto male, turner, born in Virginia; and Jacob Chavions, age 30, mulatto male, teamster, born in Virginia. One other household in Wayne Township includes at least one African American but it is headed by a 43-year-old white male (Nimrod Headington) with substantial household value. (Possibly the non-white household member(s) are hired hands.)

As a note of interest the History of Randolph County profiles a Hilary Chavous, born free in 1829 in Virginia. Chavous is described as a skilled lathe operator, a businessman and an inventor (p 137). According to this account, Chavous/Chavions established a business turning neck yokes in Portland, Indiana, in 1866. This is probably the same individual. The surname Locust shows up in Lick Creek settlement in Orange County.

Jay County had its share of racial prejudice. However, it would seem, that some held more tolerant beliefs than in neighboring Wells and Blackford Counties. Abolitionists such as John P. Shanks were a strong influence and there is considerable evidence of Underground Railroad activity especially in Penn Township. Liber College in Wayne Township was illustrative of aspirations of equality. Liber was founded in 1853 by a Presbyterian missionary. When George Lowe (aka George Hunter), an African American, was proposed as a student, some stockholders objected and withdrew their support for the school. Farmers’ Academy was established as a segregated institution at College Corner, just a short distance down the road from Liber College.

Bibliography

Jay County, Indiana 1982: A Collection of Historical Sketches and Family Histories. Portland, Indiana: Jay County Historical Society 1982.

Jay County Interim Report. Indianapolis: Historic Landmarks Foundation, 1985.

McBride, Michael.  “College Long Gone, But History Still Strong.” Muncie [Indiana] Star Press, n.d.. (IHS clippings file) Montgomery, M.W. History of Jay County. 1864. Reprint, Evansville, Indiana: Unigraphic, 1969.

Thornbrough, Emma Lou. The Negro in Indiana before 1900: a Study of a Minority. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1993.

U.S. Bureau of the Census. “Aggregate Amount of Each Description of Persons within District of Indiana,” 1: 352. Sixth Census of the United States, 1840. Washington, D.C.: U.S. Census Office, 1841.

U.S. Bureau of the Census. “Population of Civil Divisions Less Than Counties; Table III—State of Indiana,” 1: 124. Ninth Census of the United States, 1870. Washington, D.C.: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1872.

By Georgia Cravey, July18, 2014   

 

 

 

 

 

Jefferson County

African American rural settlements documented: 2

Jefferson County was formed in 1811, and recorded early settlement by African Americans, many before statehood.  According to the U.S. Federal Census, in 1820 there were a total of 112
free people of color. The black population continued to rise-240 in 1830, 429 in 1840, 568 in 1850, 512 in 1860 (a slight decrease) and a sharp increase of 1105 in 1870.  One early resident of Jefferson County was William Hood. In 1818, Hood applied for a pension for his Revolutionary War Service. As a sixteen –year –old slave in 1769, he had run away from his owner. By 1800 he was in Rockingham, North Carolina.  He settled in Jefferson County, Indiana, sometime before his marriage to Kitty Debois on August 9, 1812. Hood died in 1829; his descendants were found in Jefferson and Jennings counties by 1830. Some of the early surnames listed in Coy D. Robbins’ Black Pioneers in Indiana 1830, includes Bolin, Evans, Gray, Griffin, Jackson and Stafford. In 1850, there were 46 black landowners whose real estate was collectively valued at $35,480. (Heller)

One of the earliest rural settlements in Jefferson County located about 2–3 miles north of Hanover was Graysville. When an English traveler Edward S. Abdy toured Madison, Indiana in 1834, he met John and Melinda Cosby (Crosby).  Melinda informed Abdy that they had come to the area about 1821, after living across the river in Kentucky- in fear of kidnapers, who had been stealing children of free people and selling them down south. Abdy identifies the settlers as coming from Virginia and Kentucky. Some were liberated slaves, others had bought their freedom and the rest were originally freeman.  There were a total of eleven families, with a population of 129.  John Cosby had two farms consisting of 137 acres. Graysville also had an active church, school, and several cemeteries.

Another known rural settlement was located in Hanover Township.  Beatty and the Hume families from Kentucky are two surnames associated with this community. Matthew Hume’s story is told in the WPA interviews of former slaves living in Indiana. Hume had been born a slave in Kentucky; it was about a year after the Emancipation Proclamation before he knew he was free. On January 1, 1865, he crossed the Ohio River at Madison.  Hume and his family became active members of the Hanover African Methodist Episcopal Church and donated property for the construction of a new school that was completed in 1871. Information concerning the earliest evidence of an AME Church in Hanover is in 1842, taken from Minutes, Indiana Annual Conference, African Methodist Episcopal Church 1840-1845, as published in the African Methodist Episcopal Church Magazine, George Hogarth, editor. The church remains active today. There are several cemeteries associated with this settlement.

Although not considered a rural settlement, the Georgetown District located in Madison, just blocks from the Ohio River is known for its Underground Railroad activities. Georgetown was settled during the 1830s. Georgetown boasts of several churches that served the African American community of Methodist and Baptist faiths, in addition to a school, a fraternal lodge and businesses. Some of the surnames associated with Georgetown includes: Andersons, De Baptiste, Harris, Booth, and Carter.

Bibliography

Abdy, E.S. Journal of a Residence and Tour in The United States of North America from April 1833, to October 1834.  Vol.2 London: John Murray, 1835.

Ancestry.com. “U.S. Federal Census 1820-1870,” accessed August 12, 2014.

Baker, Ronald L. Homeless Friendless, and Penniless: The WPA Interviews with Former Slaves Living in Indiana.  Bloomington: Indiana University Press: 2000.

Bureau of Land Management, “Federal Land Patents,” accessed August 12, 2014,

Coon, Diane Perrine. “Reconstructing the Underground Railroad Crossings at Madison, Indiana” Master Thesis, University of Louisville,1998.

Furnish, Mark A. “A Rosetta Stone on Slavery’s Doorstep: Eleutherian College and the Lost Antislavery History of Jefferson County, Indiana.” Ph.D. diss., Purdue University, 2014.

Heller, Herbert Lynn. “Negro Education In Indiana From 1816 To 1860.” Ph.D. diss., Indiana University, 1951.

Lyda, John W. The Negro In The History Of Indiana. Terre Haute: 1953.

National Park Service Website. “Network to Freedom. Madison, Indiana, Essay.” Accessed 2014.

Putt-Slater, Dawne Research. The Genealogy Center- Allen County Public Library, Fort Wayne, IN

Robbins, Coy D., ed. Black Pioneers in Indiana. Bloomington: Indiana African American Historical and Genealogical Society, 1999.

Robbins, Coy D., ed. Indiana Negro Registers 1852-1865. Maryland: Heritage Book Inc., 1994.

Thornbrough, Emma Lou, The Negro in Indiana Before 1900: A Study of a Minority. Indianapolis: Indiana University Press, 1993.

Audrey C. Werle “Research Notes on Indiana African American History,” M 792, William Henry Smith Memorial Library, Indiana Historical Society, Indianapolis, Indiana.

Wright Richard R., Jr. “Negro Rural Communities In Indiana.” Southern Workman Vol. 34: (March 1908).

Cord, Xenia. “Rural Settlements in Indiana before 1860.” Black History News & Notes, February, 1987.

By Dona Stokes-Lucas, October 31 2014

 

Jennings County

African American rural settlements documented: 1

Established in 1817, Jennings County had early African Americans settlers.  Forty-eight free blacks were enumerated in its first federal decennial census in 1820 census.  The black population continued to rise–58 in 1830; 158 in 1840; 323 in 1850; 151 in 1860 (noticeable decrease); and 422 in 1870.

Xenia E. Cord’s “Black Rural Settlements in Indiana before 1860” indicates that Jennings County, although unnamed, had one antebellum, black rural community. The Historic Black American Sites and Structures in Jennings County published by the Preservation Association indicates that south of the city of Vernon there was a settlement known as Richland or Africa (located in Vernon Township).  Audrey Werle’s research notes also suggest an early settlement in addition to Underground Railroad activity.

Early landowners in this Vernon Township settlement included Dennis Carsey (Kersey) born in Georgia in 1789 and William Hood, the son of the Revolutionary War veteran (same name) from Jefferson County, Indiana. Carsey purchased a total of 80 acres of federal land buying 40 acres in 1834, and again in 1837.  Kersey (Carsey) and his household are listed in the 1850 census for the county, but by 1861 they are recorded in Essex County, Canada West, along with the Thurmans (Terman) another early surname from Jennings County. Hood’s federal land purchases included two transactions in 1841 for a total of 160 acres. In 1850, there were 21 black landowners in Jennings County, whose real estate was collectively valued at $8,140 (Heller).  The Historic Black American Sites and Structures mentions two property records, an1841 deed transaction for a Richland Cemetery and the 1847 deed for a plot of land for the African Methodist Episcopal Church that closed about 1900.  Several of the Jennings County surnames recorded in the Indiana Negro Register1852-1865 include Dennis, Dye, Vickery, and Valentine, with birthplaces listed as South Carolina and Georgia. Aaron Wallace, also enumerated in the 1830 Jennings County census, might be the same person that some Indianapolis history books regard as the city’s first black resident.  (Arriving in the early 1820s, Aaron Wallace was the young servant of General John Tipton, who helped select the city as the second state capital.)  The Richland Settlement land is now part of the Crosley State Fish and Wildlife Area. A cemetery with remnants of a few headstones is all that remains.

Bibliography

Ancestry.com. “U.S. Federal Census 1820-1870,” accessed August 12, 2014.

Bureau of Land Management, “Federal Land Patents,” accessed August 12, 2014,

Cord, Xenia. “Black Rural Settlements in Indiana before 1860.” Black History News & Notes, February 1897.

Heller, Herbert Lynn. “Negro Education in Indiana from 1816 to 1860.” PhD diss., Indiana University, 1951.

Historic Black American Sites and Structures in Jennings County. Vernon, Indiana: Jennings County Preservation Association, Inc., 1998. Accessed October 31, 2014.

Aaron Wallace “Black History Month Hoosier History Makers.” Accessed October 31, 2014.

Robbins, Coy D., ed. Black Pioneers in Indiana. Bloomington: Indiana African American Historical and Genealogical Society, 1999.

Robbins, Coy D., ed. Indiana Negro Registers 1852-1865. Bowie, Maryland: Heritage Book, 1994.

Thornbrough, Emma Lou. The Negro in Indiana before 1900: A Study of a Minority. Indianapolis: Indiana University Press, 1993.

Audrey C. Werle “Research Notes on Indiana African American History,” M 792, William Henry Smith Memorial Library, Indiana Historical Society, Indianapolis, Indiana.

By Dona Stokes-Lucas, October 31, 2014

 

Johnson County

African American rural settlements documented: 0

The nineteenth century African American population of Johnson County was small but does show a substantial increase between 1860 and 1870. Informants mention areas that seem to be more like neighborhoods but further investigation is warranted. The areas are the Stockyards (1859-1870s) on the east side of Franklin; an unnamed area of Franklin centered on West Madison Street (1860s to present); an unnamed, undefined area in Edinburgh; and Idlewilde in Hensley Township which never developed as the platted lots were too small.

In 1830 the census shows a total of six free people of color residing in the county.  Milly Magill heads a household of three minor children in Franklin Township where the town of Franklin is located. The other two enumerated individuals live in Nineveh and Blue River Townships.

In 1840 the population increases to 20 persons, but the 1850 figure declines to 15. Of those 15, 9 are residing in the town of Franklin. The others are distributed in townships as follows: Blue River, 2; Hensley, 1; Pleasant, 2; White River, 1. By the 1860 census the count is 19 African Americans. As in the previous decade the majority, 14 people, live in the town of Franklin.

The racial attitudes of antebellum Johnson County were not particularly warm. An anecdote about the fair of 1860 relates how in a racist manner Richard “Dick” Blakey was prohibited from a foot race competition. During the Civil War Blakey enlisted in the 28th United States Colored Troops.  He was taken prisoner at the Battle of the Crater, and ultimately starves to death in Libby Prison. County histories also relate that sentiments were in favor of “conciliation” and a “willing[ness] to continue slavery” rather than go to war. The counterpoint to these attitudes is the evidence of the county’s Underground Railroad activity.

Following the Civil War, Johnson County experienced a surge in overall population due to an influx of people from the south. The African American population of 1870, although a small percentage, increased significantly to 115 people. The majority of the population is still located in the town of Franklin. The increase is also reflected in Franklin Township’s population of 10 persons exclusive of the town of Franklin. Edinburgh experienced growth as well with a population of 24 (up from the 3 people counted in 1860). Three of the six townships (Hensley, Nineveh, and White River) counted no African Americans. Blue River (exclusive of Edinburgh), Pleasant and Clark Townships each had a single individual and Union Township had two persons enumerated.

An analysis of the 1880 census indicated that the largest number of adults enumerated were from Kentucky (117 persons of the 172 adult total). Other states of origin included North Carolina, Virginia, and Maryland. There were also 25 Indiana-born citizens as well as 5 immigrants from Canada. Adam and Clayton Moore are believed to be the first of the arrivals from Kentucky followed by the Fossett family. Most found worked as farm laborers or sharecroppers.

The story of an individual Greenwood resident, probably the single person of color counted in 1870 in Pleasant Township might be illuminating. Mary Ann Cain, an enslaved person from Natchez, Mississippi, ran away about 1864. She encountered Captain Richard Wishard of Pleasant Township during her flight and continued north with him eventually working in his home as a domestic for eight years. The brief, unattributed article about her life begins “…there have been few, if any, of the colored race living in Greenwood. Not that the inhabitants had anything against the colored people, but it seems that for some reason or other they did not settle here.” In discussion with the librarian at the Johnson County Historical Museum, it was mentioned that property deeds in Greenwood had restrictive racial covenants and that even if an African American resident of Franklin were employed in Greenwood, that person came home to Franklin at night. Mary Ann Cain was apparently the exception.

The town of Franklin seems to have been a somewhat more tolerant environment for African Americans than other parts of the county. Two churches were established: Bethel African Methodist Episcopal Church, Franklin in 1868 and Second Baptist Church of Franklin (Colored) organized in 1871. Rev. Whitton Lankford led the AME congregation whose family names included Hammond, Leonard, Elkins, Blakely and Stark.  Second Baptist’s first three pastors were William Singleton (1871-1872), Thomas Robinson (1872-1874) and E.E. Tyler (1874-1880). The congregation included the following surnames Clark, Beaty, and Blakemore/Blakeman.

Tolerance had limits.  County histories note that “colored children were admitted to free common school privileges by an act of May 13, 1869. So, “for a time thereafter” children were enrolled at the “old school district.” When the school was sold on July 16, 1870, no permanent provisions were made until 1873. At that time lots were purchased and a school house was built. Laura Overbay taught the first school year of 1875-1876 at what was first known as the West School, later renamed for Booker T. Washington. Its graduates were “allowed” to attend Franklin High School.

Newspaper accounts note that unlike many other Indiana cities, Franklin did not practice a hard line on segregation until the 1940s. During World War II, 6,000 members of a black infantry company were stationed at Camp Atterbury.  In response, the restaurants in Franklin banned all blacks, both local and military, from their businesses and a separate USO for the black troops was organized.

The growth of African American population in Edinburgh is reflected in research done for Rest Haven Cemetery. A history of the cemetery notes “The registration of the fifty-eight free Blacks in Bartholomew County in 1853 started the movement of the Blacks north into Johnson County’s Blue River Township during the 1860s.” Names of Edinburg families from the 1870 census include Farley, Larne, Martin, Lewis, Scott, Henry and Atchison.

A church was organized by 1881, Edinburg Baptist (Colored). Led by Rev A. R. [or John?] Miller, the congregation included families with the names Gooden, Canady, Hill, Quinn, Beeler, Johnson, Gooden, and Lee. Rev. Miller was briefly succeeded by Rev. Mr. Walker who was followed by Rev. David Slaughter. In 1888, Slaughter pastored a membership of some 100 people. According to early records special trains ran from Indianapolis for church gatherings held at the fairgrounds.  Edinburgh Baptist persisted into the 1960s when outmigration to Columbus and Franklin gained momentum.

Edinburgh did not build a school for African American students until 1891. Twenty-seven students attended classes. The building still stands and houses the Church of Edinburgh Independent Baptists.

Bibliography

Banta, David. History of Johnson County, Indiana. Chicago: Brandt &Fuller, 1888.

Bergen, David, comp. Atlas of Johnson County, Indiana, 1820 to 1900. Franklin, Indiana: Johnson County Historical Society, 1983-1984.

Branigan, Elba L. History of Johnson County, Indiana. Indianapolis: B.F. Bowen & Co, 1913.

Cranor, Dorothy. “Bethel A.M.E. Church organized here in 1867.” Unsourced news clipping before July 25, 1975, Clippings File, Johnson County Museum.

Rest Haven Cemetery: One Hundred Fifty Years. [n.p.: n. p.], 1977, 2003.

Leadership Johnson County, comp. Follow the Drinking Gourd: History of African-Americans in Early Johnson County. [n.p.: n.p., n.d.], Johnson County Museum of History.

Johnson County Interim Report. Indianapolis, Ind.: Historic Landmarks Foundation of Indiana, 1985.

Redmond, P.D. “Black in Franklin.” Franklin [Indiana] Daily Journal, February 25, 1983.

Ross, Hugh J. Whiteland ’33-’44-’94: Hoosier Schoolday Memories of the Depression and War Years. [n.p.: n.p., n.d.].

U.S. Bureau of the Census. “Aggregate Amount of Each Description of Persons within District of Indiana,” 1: 352. Sixth Census of the United States, 1840. Washington, D.C.: U.S. Census Office, 1841.

U.S. Bureau of the Census. “Population of Civil Divisions Less Than Counties; Table III—State of Indiana,” 1: 124. Ninth Census of the United States, 1870. Washington, D.C.: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1872.

By Georgia Cravey, July 28, 2014                                                                        

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Knox County

African American rural settlements documented: 1

Cherry Grove was a Knox County black settlement located in southern Busseron Township. The settlement was near the Maria Creek African American Methodist (AME) Church.  The church was listed in the minutes of the Indiana Conference of the AME Church during the 1840s. The cemetery was situated near present-day Highway 41 and seven miles north of Vincennes. Caesar Embree bought land in 1827.  An acre of this land, later under the ownership of Nathaniel Newton, was donated for the church in 1842.  There was a black school established around 1880.

Surnames connected to the settlement include Allen, Baird, Barber, Bates, Booker, Butler, Charter, Cox, Embree, Guy, Howard, Hughes, Jones, Knight, Lamount, Newton, Noland, Parker, Sims, Stewart, Taylor, White, Whitfield, and Woodley.

U.S. Census Numbers for Knox County, 1820-1870

Census Year 1820 1830 1840 1850 1860 1870
No. of African Americans 166 447 561 530 449 380

 

There was a possible settlement in Harrison Township, Knox County, near Monroe City. Names to investigate include Aaron Ritchey and Silence. The Silence family may have had land before 1840, but it is believed that they were forced off the land. The children of later generations came back to try to reclaim the land.  An oral account of the family attempting to reclaim the land indicates that there was a gun battle that ensued when they attempted to recover the land.

Bibliography

Day, Richard. “The Cherry Grove Settlement in Knox County, Indiana.” Traces of Indiana and Midwestern History.  Summer, 2011.

U.S. Bureau of the Census. “Aggregate Amount of Each Description of Persons within District of Indiana,” 1: 352. Sixth Census of the United States, 1840. Washington, D.C.: U.S. Census Office, 1841.

U.S. Bureau of the Census. Population of Civil Divisions Less Than Counties; Table III State of Indiana,” 1:124 Seventh Census of the United States, 1850 Washington, D.C.: U.S. Census Office, 1852

U.S. Bureau of the Census. Population of Civil Divisions Less Than Counties; Table III State of Indiana,” 1:124 Eighth Census of the United States, 1860.  Washington, D.C.: U.S. Census Office, 1862

U.S. Bureau of the Census. “Population of Civil Divisions Less Than Counties; Table III—State of Indiana,” 1: 124. Ninth Census of the United States, 1870. Washington, D.C.: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1872.

Audrey C. Werle “Research Notes on Indiana African American History,” M 792, William Henry Smith Memorial Library, Indiana Historical Society, Indianapolis, Indiana.

By Lishawna Taylor, July 30, 2014       

Kosciusko County

African American rural settlements documented: 0

Kosciusko County was founded in 1835.  The decennial federal population census for the county records ten or less blacks from 1840 through 1870. The first recorded lone, black resident of the county was Filda Butt, recorded as a servant for a family in Jefferson Township in the 1850 census.

By the 1870 census, two free African American heads of household can be found, living somewhere in Warsaw, Wayne Township. Joseph Campbell, 24, originally from Alabama worked as a farm laborer. Also listed in Warsaw was James Foster, 30, barber, originally from Ohio.  Nancy Foster (22, female, black, Indiana, keeping house), Harrison Foster (1, male, black, Indiana), and Mary Anderson (26, female, black, Michigan, housekeeper) were included in his house.

Bibliography

Copy of Original 1850 Census, Kosciusko County, Indiana: Schedule I, Free Inhabitants. 2 vols. Warsaw, Indiana: Kosciusko County Historical Society, 198-.

Fawley, Caroline K., comp. 1840 Census of Kosciusko County, Indiana. Index: Head of Household and Alphabetical Index. Pierceton, Indiana: Printed by Author, 198-.

Mayer, Douglas L., comp. An Enumeration of Males above the Age of 21 Years for the Year 1866 Residing in Kosciusko County, Indiana. Warsaw, Indiana: Printed by Author, 1985.

Priser, Marjorie, comp. Enumeration of Voters 1850: Kosciusko County, Indiana. Leesburg, Indiana: Pioneer Publishing, 1987.

Scheuer, Larry, and Cynthia Cochran Scheuer, comp. The Complete 1860 Federal Census of Kosciusko County Indiana. Warsaw, Indiana: Scheuer Publications, 1989.

Scheuer, Larry, and Cynthia Cochran Scheuer, comp. The Complete 1870 Federal Census of Kosciusko County Indiana. Warsaw, Indiana: Scheuer Publications, 1989.

By Andrea Sowle, June 17, 2014

 

 

 

La Porte County

African American rural settlements documented: 2

The Banks and the Henderson Settlements, established in different sections of La Porte County, were interconnected.  The two settlements also had connections with Clear Lake Settlement in Porter County, the Huggart Settlement in Saint Joseph County, and the black community in Cass County, Michigan.

The Banks Settlement in Centre Township was located two miles north of the city of La Porte. African Americans owned property in several sections of the township. Surnames of those residing in the settlement included Armstead, Banks, Destarch, Dogan (Dugan), McClellain, and Medford.  In 1856, Thomas Dugan married Milly Butter, who possibly had a connection to the Nathaniel Butter farm in Berrien County, Michigan. There is also likely a connection with the Clear Lake Settlement in Porter County as a Banks also lived there, and the property borders those living in La Porte County.  The first Banks Settlement property owner was Adam Medford, who came with his family from New Jersey.  He purchased twenty acres on April 15, 1839. The 1840 census lists John Banks living next to the Medford farm (bringing the Banks Settlement population up to nine). The 1850 federal census records and land deeds show that the Medfords had increased their acreage to a value of $1,000 and new neighbors of the Medfords, Berry and Lucinda Banks owned $50 worth of property.  Berry Banks was originally from Virginia and his wife Lucinda was from Kentucky.  They had migrated to Indiana, where their first child, Jemima, was born by 1838. Berry was elected to the trustees of the African Methodist Protestant Meetinghouse in La Porte.

By 1860, the Banks Settlement had reached its peak, when thirty-eight individuals resided in five households, of which, three were land owners. Because of the proximity to the town of La Porte, these farming families most likely would have had social connections to the large population of African Americans living in town. The Banks Settlement’s population had declined by the 1870s. The only new owner of property in the settlement at that time was Jackson McClellain, who came from Mississippi and bought forty acres of land near the Medfords.

The Henderson Settlement, a smaller community consisted of two-square miles of land and was located in Lincoln Township. From 1844, at least three African American families lived on this land.  The Hendersons, Thompsons, and Wanzers (or Warners) came from Virginia. Terry Goldsworthy suggests that these families might have migrated to Indiana in response to the 1831 Nat Turner Rebellion. The settlement reached its population peak in 1860, when seventeen individuals were counted. At this time, Joseph and Debby Wanzer owned property worth $2,200 and the Henderson’s property was valued at $800.  The Thompsons, who did not own land, had their personal estate listed at $50.  By 1870, John Henderson who owned the 80-acre nucleus of the settlement had passed, and the population decreased to 15 people and only two families remained in the area. By 1880, the Thompsons had relocated to the Banks Settlement and only Joseph Wanzer remained at the Henderson Settlement.

There are also other accounts of African Americans living in the county, particularly the town of La Porte before 1870. The first known African American settler in La Porte County was Jean Baptiste Pointe DuSable, who has commonly been called the Founder of Chicago. He was in Indiana before moving on to Michigan, and Illinois.

Goldsworthy estimates that up to 50% of African Americans that lived in the county lived in rural areas, and had farming occupations at these settlements or on farms of nearby whites.  The La Porte County Historical Society has a large collection of primary source materials related to these settlements and other African Americans that were included in the large population numbers of La Porte County.

Bibliography

“African Methodist Protestant Meeting House-Election of Trustees, March 31, 1845.” Recorder Book O, Page 412, March 6, 1845. La Porte County Historical Society Archives.

“At Rest.” La Porte Daily Herald, November 21, 1892, page 3, col. 5.

“First Colored Persons of La Porte County.” Charles Cochran Papers, La Porte County Historical Society Archives.

Eddy-Shultz, Fern. “Early Black History of La Porte County, Indiana” La Porte, Indiana: La Porte County Historical Society, 2014.  (County historian’s presentation file)

“General Index of Deeds #1 Grantee, April 1833–April 1848, La Porte County, Indiana.” Deed Book H, page 442. County Recorder’s Office, LaPorte, Indiana.

“General Index of Deeds #1 Grantee, April 1833-April 1848, La Porte County, Indiana.” Deed Book F, page 179 and 188. County Recorder’s Office, La Porte, Indiana.

Goldsworthy, Terry. “Kankakee & St. Joseph River Valleys of Indiana.” in Underground Rail-road Research in Select Indiana Counties, 89-121. Indianapolis: Division of Historic Preservation and Archaeology, 2003.

Goldsworthy, Terry. “Was Freedom Dead or Only Sleeping?: The pre-1870 African American Rural Communities of the Kankakee River Valley.” Black History News & Notes, November, 1997.

Hickman, Russell and Elvis Oats, “Quaker Meetings and Cemetery in La Porte.” La Porte County Historical Society Archives, Society of Friends [vertical file.]

Higgins, Belden & Company. An Illustrated Historical Atlas of La Porte Co., Indiana. Chicago: The Company, 1874.

History of La Porte County, Indiana: Together with Sketches of Its Cities, Villages, and Townships : Educational, Religious, Civil, Military, and Political History: Portraits of Prominent Persons, and Biographies of Representative Citizens: History of Indiana, Embracing Accounts of the Pre-Historic Races, Aborigines, French, English, and American Conquests, and a General Review of Its Civil, Political, and Military History. Chicago: Chas. C. Chapman & Company, 1880.

Jessen, Julie K. “African-American Culture and History Northwestern Indiana 1850-1940.”  Masters thesis, Ball State University, 1996.

La Porte County Historical Society. Combined Atlases of La Porte County, Indiana, 1874-1892, 1907-1921. Mt. Vernon, IN: Windmill Publications, 1998.

McDougald, Lois C. “Negro Migration into Indiana, 1800-1860.” Masters thesis, Indiana University, 1945. (Allen County Public Library)

Thornbrough, Emma Lou. The Negro in Indiana before 1900: A Study of a Minority. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1993.

U.S. Census, 1840: Population Schedules of the Sixth Census of the United States. Accessed July 10, 2014.

U.S. Census, 1850: Population Schedules of the Seventh Census of the United States. Accessed July 10, 2014.

U.S. Census, 1860: Population Schedules of the Eighth Census of the United States. Accessed July 10, 2014.

U.S. Census, 1870: Population Schedules of the Ninth Census of the United States. Accessed July 10, 2014.

By Andrea Sowle, July 18, 2014                 

 

 

 

 

 

LaGrange County

African American rural settlements documented: 0

LaGrange County was formed in 1832.  From the 1840 through the 1870 decennial federal census, there were 25 or less African Americans in the county. It is interesting to note that during this period that the county had a higher number of African Americans born in the New England states than any other northern Indiana county.

The family of Lucius W. Philips, first appearing in the 1850 census, had a small farm worth $800 and 11 family members living in Clear Spring Township.  Philips appears to be an early rural African American landowner in the county. His land was located around a basin of the Elkhart River in section 24 of the 1874 LaGrange County Atlas. The land is near that belonging to Lucinda’s father, Joseph Todd. The first known record of Philips living in Indiana is his marriage record to Lucinda Todd on March 28, 1845. His family is listed as mulatto in the 1850 census, race not given in the 1860 census, and black in the 1870 census.  Lucius dies in 1870, and is buried in Sloan Cemetery. Lucinda dies soon after, in 1876 and it appears that the family moves away from the farm established by their parents.

An 1882 LaGrange County history book lists two black soldiers serving in the Civil War: Ichabod S. Jones, First Tennessee Artillery and Joseph R. Webster, Forty-fourth U.S. Colored Troops. Also from the county history, John Draper is listed as the first black person arriving in LaGrange County in 1836, when he accompanies William A. Poynter’s family. Draper appears on every census to 1870, where he appears to have established a family, owns real estate, and moved away from the Poynter family.

Bibliography

Andreas & Baskin, Samuel W. Durant, and Pliny A. Durant. An Illustrated Historical Atlas of LaGrange County, Indiana. Chicago: Andreas & Baskin, 1874.

Counties of La Grange and Noble, Indiana: Historical and Biographical. Chicago: Battery & Co, 1882.

Land patent certificate #7369 of Joseph Todd, March 20, 1837, from BLM-GLO database online.

Trowbridge, Geoffrey. “Lucius’s Heritage.” Family Trees.

U.S. Census, 1840: Population Schedules of the Sixth Census of the United States. Accessed July 22, 2014.

U.S. Census, 1850: Population Schedules of the Seventh Census of the United States. Accessed July 22, 2014.

U.S. Census, 1860: Population Schedules of the Eighth Census of the United States. Accessed July 22, 2014.

U.S. Census, 1870: Population Schedules of the Ninth Census of the United States. Accessed July 22, 2014.

By Andrea Sowle, July 22, 2014

Lake County

African American rural settlements documented: 0

The federal decennial population censuses recorded the following blacks in Lake County: 2 in 1840, 1 in 1850, 5 in 1860, and 3 in 1870. In 1850, Catharine Burns was living in North Township.  By 1860 George and Eliza Elliot lived in Hobart Township, John Ball lived in St. John Township, Catherine Burns (spelled different, most likely the same person noted in 1850) lived in St. John Township, and Harvey (with no surname) lived in Eagle Creek Township.

By 1900, there were 54 blacks listed on the Lake County census.  With the establishment of the city of Gary by the United States Steel Corporation in 1906, the next decennial census recorded almost 500 blacks in the county.  Many southern blacks and people from small towns seeking  job and life improvement opportunities moved to the county. Today, Lake has the largest percentage of African Americans in all of Indiana’s 92 counties.

Bibliography

Millender, Dharathula H. Yesterday in Gary: A brief history of the Negro in Gary.  Gary, Ind.: D. Millender, 1967.

Mohl, Raymond A. and Neil Betten.  Steel City: Urban and Ethnic Patterns in Gary, Indiana, 1906-1950. New York: Holmes & Meier, 1986.

Thornbrough, Emma Lou. Indiana Blacks in the Twentieth Century. Bloomington and Indianapolis, 2000.

U.S. Census, 1840: Population Schedules of the Sixth Census of the United States. Accessed June 26, 2014.

U.S. Census, 1850: Population Schedules of the Seventh Census of the United States. Accessed June 26, 2014.

U.S. Census, 1860: Population Schedules of the Eighth Census of the United States. Accessed June 26, 2014.

U.S. Census, 1870: Population Schedules of the Ninth Census of the United States. Accessed June 26, 2014.

By Andrea Sowle, June 30, 2014

Lawrence County

African American rural settlements documented: 1

Lawrence County was established in 1818.  The federal decennial census enumerated 15 blacks in 1820 and 59 in 1830 for the county.  For the next three censuses, the number of blacks hovered around 100, and it escalated to 250 by 1870.  The census also shows 45 black people in Marion Township in 1850 and that number is up to 109 by 1870.  Perry Township has 17 in 1850, 32 in 1860 and it falls to 15 in 1870.  Shawswick Township begins with 21 in 1850 and ends with 66 by 1870.  Spice Valley has 14 in 1860 and 46 by 1870.

By 1870 most of the blacks who reside in Lawrence County claim Indiana, Kentucky, North Carolina, and other southern states as their birthplaces. Family surnames in the county include Finley, Larter, Nelson, Preston, and Terrel.  There appears to be a settlement in Marion Township that includes the following family names of individuals farming: Barnett, Finley, Isom, and Williams. In the county plat books, A. Isom owns land southwest of Mitchell in Marion Township.  Anthony Isom receives a land patent for improving his land in 1841.

Martin Finley is born in Indiana in 1829 and is living in Marion Township when he registers for the draft in 1863.

More research needs to be done to identify other possible settlements of multigenerational African American pioneering families that owned land in other Lawrence County townships including Perry and Spice Valley.  For example, Arthur Larter and his family are in the North Carolina census in 1850 and Perry Township, Lawrence County, Indiana in 1860.  According to the Lawrence County abstract records for Perry Township, the family owned land in 1865. Information gleaned from the Recorder’s office shows the Larter family buying and selling land in 1864.  Jennings Larter’s son, Leason, is born in Indiana in 1856, and Milton Larter’s daughter, Amanda, is born in Indiana in 1853, so it appears the family migrated sometime during the early 1850s.

Bibliography

1879 Atlas of Lawrence County, Indiana, and First Entries in Indiana Creek and Perry Townships. Bedford, IN: D.A.R. Spice Valley Township, 1969.

U.S. Bureau of the Census. “Aggregate Amount of Each Description of Persons within District of Indiana,” 1: 352. Sixth Census of the United States, 1840. Washington, D.C.: U.S. Census Office, 1841.

U.S. Bureau of the Census. Population of Civil Divisions Less Than Counties; Table III State of Indiana,” 1:124 Seventh Census of the United States, 1850 Washington, D.C.: U.S. Census Office, 1852.

U.S. Bureau of the Census. Population of Civil Divisions Less Than Counties; Table III State      of Indiana,” 1:124 Eighth Census of the United States, 1860.  Washington, D.C.: U.S. Census Office, 1862.

U.S. Bureau of the Census. “Population of Civil Divisions Less Than Counties; Table III—State of Indiana,” 1: 124. Ninth Census of the United States, 1870. Washington, D.C.: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1872.

Audrey C. Werle “Research Notes on Indiana African American History,” M0792.  William Henry Smith Memorial Library, Indiana Historical Society, Indianapolis, Indiana.

By Lishawna Taylor, July 28, 2014 

 

Madison County

African American rural settlements documented: 0

The 19th century African American population in Madison County was minimal.

In 1840 the census shows a total of six free people of color residing in the county. (The enumeration is not available by township for 1840.)  In 1850 only three townships have African Americans living in them: Monroe: 2 persons; Van Buren, 1 person; Anderson Township (location of county seat, Anderson [town]: eleven persons.

By the 1860 census, Anderson Township’s African American population increases to fifty-seven.  The only other township with any black population is Lafayette with 2 African Americans.

In 1870, Anderson Township has the largest concentration of African Americans in the county: sixty persons. Six other townships have black population distributed as follows:

Duck Creek, 10; Pipe Creek, 7; Jackson, 5; Lafayette 3; Union, 1; and Fall Creek, 2. Seven Townships have zero African Americans in 1870: Boone, Van Buren, Monroe, Richland, Stony Creek, Green, and Adams.

The 1870 Index of Heads of Households lists two African American farmers in Madison County: Frederic Gowens, Duck Creek Township resident, age 58, mulatto, born in Virginia and Abraham Wolford, Pipe Creek Township resident, age 51, mulatto, born in Ohio. Other surnames on the index include Robinson, Smith, Ford, Walden, Williams, Moore, West, Close, Cursey, Richardson and Covel. Additional nativity includes North Carolina, Kentucky and, Washington DC. The 1870 Index also includes ten white heads of households with one or more African Americans in the household.

According to a paper prepared by Esther Dittlinger, a librarian at Anderson Public Library, the first reference to black presence in Madison County was “An old Negro and his sister [who] moved into the Moravian Indian Village [1806]”. The man’s name was given only as Tom. His daughter had married a Native American.

Dittlinger noted another early person of color, “Mam Tah” who came to Madison County in 1823 with the Tharp Family. Apparently she had been enslaved but remained with the Tharps after they moved to Indiana. She died at age 105 and was buried on the family farm known as the “Old Jackson homestead” located “on the hill between Twelfth and Thirteenth Streets.”

In 1843 Frederick Douglass came to speak in Pendleton as part of a tour of northern states by the American Anti-Slavery Society. Before Douglass could speak he was assaulted by a mob and sustained serious injuries. Sympathetic people came to his aid and Douglass was able to escape to a nearby farm where he was nursed back to health. This incident left “an indelible and unfortunate mark” on the history of Madison County as well as a permanent injury to Douglass.

Madison County historian Steve Jackson was unaware of any 19th century settlements. Quakers were present in small numbers in parts of the county and there was also activity associated with the Underground Railroad. The spike in African American population came decades later as a result of manufacturing, the auto industry in particular. Agents traveled to the South and recruited people to work in factories. Those workers established neighborhoods such as Hazelwood and Jackson Park on the west side of Anderson close to the Delco Remy plant.

Over the decades, social isolation in Madison County surely played a role in the migration by blacks to Anderson from more rural locations in the county. The small black population that lived outside of the city may have shared the experience of such Anderson residents as Daisy Brown who moved to Anderson from Alexandria in 1950 after the death of her mother. “There was nothing to do over there in Alexandria. There was a lot more colored people over in this area so I moved here.”

Bibliography

Bailey, James Warren. A Brief History of the Negro in Anderson. [s.l.: s.n., 1938?]

“Blacks in Madison County.” Journal of the Afro-American Historical and Genealogical Society.  V. 3, no 3, p120.

Dittlinger, Esther. Anderson: a Pictorial History. St Louis, Missouri: G. Bradley Publishing, 1990.

“Douglass Had Brush with Death” Madison County Historical Society. Accessed July 17, 2014.

Forkner, John L. History of Madison County, Indiana.  Chicago: Lewis Publishing, 1914.

Harden, Samuel. History of Madison County, Indiana from 1820 to 1874. Evansville, Indiana: Unigraphic, 1970. (Reprint of 1874 edition.)

“Hazelwood Residents Proud to Call Area Home.” [Anderson] Herald Bulletin, March 20, 1994

Madison County Interim Report. Indianapolis, Ind.: Historic Landmarks Foundation of Indiana, 1984.

Helm, Thomas B. History of Madison County, Indiana, with Illustrations and Biographical Sketches. Chicago: Kingman Brothers, 1880.

Netterville, J.J. Centennial History of Madison County Indiana. Anderson, Indiana: Historians Association, 1925.

“A Stop on the Underground Railroad.” Madison County Historical Society. Accessed July 17.

U.S. Bureau of the Census. “Aggregate Amount of Each Description of Persons within District of Indiana,” 1: 352. Sixth Census of the United States, 1840. Washington, D.C.: U.S. Census Office, 1841.

U.S. Bureau of the Census. “Population of Civil Divisions Less Than Counties; Table III—State of Indiana,” 1: 124. Ninth Census of the United States, 1870. Washington, D.C.: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1872.

Marion County

African American rural settlements documented: 1

Reviewing the data, the one Marion County settlement that appears to fall within the scope of the Early African American Settlement Heritage Initiative (EAASHI) was located in Bridgeport, Wayne Township. Over time it was known as Sunnyside and West Parkview.

Marion County has been a challenging county to research. One difficulty in the process has been trying to frame and define the standard of rural and urban settlement. Another issue has been the challenge of analyzing the most populous county in the state. A final concern is the relatively paltry level of detail available in the written record on the townships of Marion County, especially the record of the African Americans who lived outside of the city limits.

Emma Lou Thornbrough observes that by 1860, Indianapolis had “one of the largest Negro communities in the state” as well as noting “… there were also Negroes in the rural parts of Marion County.” (p52) The 1840 census enumerated 122 African Americans living in Indianapolis and an additional 72 African Americans living in Center Township outside city limits. In 1850 the African American population of the city increased substantially to 405 persons while those living in Center Township exclusive of Indianapolis increased slightly to 144 persons. In 1860 the city population continued to rise (498 persons) as does the population in Center Township (210 persons). The astonishing increase comes in 1870 when the city population reaches 2,931 and Center Township’s population doubles to 433. Total Marion County population leaps from the 1860 count of 825 to 3, 938 (Thornbrough 211).

James Divita summarizes the long view of settlement patterns in Indianapolis.  He notes that Marion County’s African American population was present in the city from the beginnings of the county and finds that in 1830 the largest populations of rural African Americans were in Wayne and Washington Townships.  Perry and Warren had small populations. The lowest numbers were in Lawrence and Franklin Townships.  Divita states that in 1840 “Both Irish and blacks appear to be residents of Ward 5 and in the district west of West Street” (p11).  Divita also notes the construction of Second Baptist Church (colored) in Ward 6 on Missouri Street between Ohio and New York Streets in 1849.

In the 1850s two per cent of Marion County’s population was black. Most of the 835 African Americans (708) lived in Center Township. The remainder of the population was distributed in every township except Lawrence and Pike. African Americans living in the city limits were distributed in every ward, but the highest concentration was in ward 4 (north of Washington Street and west of Mississippi Street (present day Senate Avenue) and in Ward 5 (south of Washington Street and West of Illinois Street). Part of this area was dubbed “Bucktown.”

Audrey Werle’s 1870 Index to heads of households lists 60 households in Center Township outside city limits headed by African Americans.  Farm laborer is a common occupation as is unspecified laborer. The list also includes occupations such as gardener, hod carrier, whitewasher, teamster, carpenter, and ice peddler. Places of birth are varied: Kentucky, North Carolina and Indiana predominate with representation from Maryland, Alabama, Virginia, Tennessee, Georgia, Missouri and New York. A large number of households headed by white persons also include African Americans.  Family names represented include Winslow, Moore, Roberts, Harvey, Williams, Washington, Walden, Wilson, Tolbert and Young. (See 1870 index for complete listing Werle, M0792.)

Marion County offered economic opportunity over the decades and African American arrived seeking employment and community.  For the project’s time period (pre statehood through 1870), Indianapolis lead the state in African American population and a rich cultural life continued to evolve. There are many possibilities for further research.

Unnamed settlement in Bridgeport, Wayne Township:

The Wayne Township village of Bridgeport is situated on the National Road at the west edge of Marion County. It was platted in 1831. Wayne Township reported 34 African Americans in the 1840 Marion County census, second only to Center Township’s count of 72. In 1850, the count was 27 and in 1860, there were 23 African Americans. 1870 saw a significant increase when the population rose sharply to 174.

Further analysis of the 1870 census reveals 34 households in Wayne Township with one or more black persons in the household. Of those households, 24 were headed by an African American. The count included 3 black or mulatto farmers: Joseph T. Fossett/Fawcett, Martin Davis and Isaac Wilson. Twenty-six African American men reported working as farm laborers. Most of the 1870 population had their origins in Kentucky. Other states of origin included North Carolina, Virginia, Indiana and Tennessee.

According to records of the First Baptist Church, Bridgeport (also know as White Lick Creek Colored Baptist Church), the first members of the congregation came to the Bridgeport area in August of 1864. They held their first services in the Friends Church. (It might be assumed that this is the Bridgeport Friends Meeting located ½ mile northwest of Bridgeport (Cline, p 541)). In 1865 the congregation “joined with the second church of Indianapolis” (Second Baptist Church in Indianapolis was pastored by Reverend Moses Broyles). When that association proved “inconvenient”, they held services in a Hendricks County schoolhouse (# 6) where they developed an association with the small African Methodist Episcopal church in Plainfield. The church had a number of locations over the course of its existence before 1891 when the church dedicated the edifice they still occupied in 1925 at 8730 W. Washington Street.  Some members of the White Lick Colored Baptist Church joined with a group from Lick Creek Baptist Church, whih was near Beech Grove, to form a new congregation named Mount Zion Baptist Church in 1869.

In 1884, Wayne Township had two “colored schools” (Sulgrove, p 665). Perry Township was the only other outlying townships to note separate schools.  Two black teachers taught thirty-one black male students and forty-two female students.

A white dentist by the name of Dr. Welsh made his summer home on a twenty acre parcel along Girls School Road, south of the old New York Central Railroad. In the late 1890s he divided his property into four-acre tracts to be sold only to “colored people.” Moses Williams, another white man, owned twenty acres adjoining Sunnyside and decided to follow suit in 1900 naming his area West Parkview.

The first family to build was the Williams family completing their home around 1910. Other families followed and by 1914, the neighborhood was becoming well established. “Old settlers” included the names Coleman, Smith, Walker, Brown, Pettiford, Johnson, Garret, Abernathy, Flemings, Kimble, Cables and Wathen. There were no roads, only paths. Families raised animals for meat and kept gardens. Through the efforts of residents, Sunnyside/West Parkview got electricity in 1941. Another collective effort resulted in the organization of a civic club house. In response to a tragic fire in the 1950s, the community converted the civic club building to a fire station. Pennies were saved to purchase a fire truck.

Bibliography

Atlas of Indianapolis and Marion County, Indiana, 1889 (reprint).  Mt. Vernon, Indiana: Windmill Publications, 2000.

Baker, Lynn and Courtney Campbell. The History of Warren Township. Indianapolis: Warren Central Printing Students, 1976.

Bodenhamer, David J. and Robert G. Barrows, eds. Encyclopedia of Indianapolis. Indianapolis: Indiana University Press, 1994.

Bryant, Ida Webb. Glimpses of the Negro in Indianapolis, 1863-1963. Indianapolis:  n.p., 1963.

Cline and McHaffie. The People’s Guide: a Business, Political and Religious Directory of Marion Co., Indiana. Indianapolis: Indianapolis Printing and Publishing House, 1874.

Compton, Etta. “Reminiscences of Yesteryears of Bridgeport, Indiana,” 29 December 1966 (Wayne Township Historical Society, Indianapolis, Ind.).

Cottman, George S. “Old-Time Slums of Indianapolis.” Indiana Quarterly Magazine of History. Vol. 7 (December 1, 1911), 170-173.

Divita, James. Ethnic Settlement Patterns in Indianapolis. Indianapolis: Marian College (?), 1988.

Dunn, Jacob Piatt. Greater Indianapolis: The History, the Industries, the Institutions, and the People of a City of Homes, 1910. (reprint), Evansville, Indiana: Unigraphic, 1977.

Ferguson Earline Rae. “In Pursuit of the Full Enjoyment of Liberty and Happiness: Blacks in Antebellum  Indianapolis, 1820-1860.” Black History News and Notes, 1988, issue 32.

First Baptist Church (Bridgeport in Indianapolis, Ind.) Collection, 1901-1984, M0719.  William Henry Smith Memorial Library, Indiana Historical Society, Indianapolis, Indiana.

Fletcher, Calvin. The Diary of Calvin Fletcher. Indianapolis: Indiana Historical Society, 1972-1983.

“Forged Through Fire.” Angela Potter. Accessed July 20, 2014.

“Fountain Square.” The Polis Center. Accessed July 31, 2014.

Giffin, Marjorie Gates.  A Walk through Time: the History of Wayne Township. Indianapolis: Metropolitan School District of Wayne Township, 1991.

General African American Photograph Collection, ca. 1890-1989, P 500. “St. Mark African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church (Indianapolis),” image by Patton Studios. William Henry Smith Memorial Library, Indiana Historical Society, Indianapolis, Indiana.

Gulde, William F. Irvington in 1910: A Year in the Life of an Indianapolis Neighborhood. LaVergne, Tennessee: [n.p.], 2010.

Historic Landmarks Foundation of Indiana. Center Township, Marion County Interim Report. Indianapolis: Historic Landmarks Foundation of Indiana, 1991.

Historic Landmarks Foundation of Indiana.  Decatur, Perry and Franklin Townships, Marion County Interim Report. Indianapolis: Historic Landmarks Foundation of Indiana, 1992.

Historic Landmarks Foundation of Indiana. Pike and Lawrence Townships, Marion County Interim Report. Indianapolis: Historic Landmarks Foundation of Indiana, 1994.

Historic Landmarks Foundation of Indiana. Warren Township, Marion County Interim Report. Indianapolis: Historic Landmarks Foundation of Indiana, 1993.

Historic Landmarks Foundation of Indiana. Washington Township, Marion County Interim Report. Indianapolis: Historic Landmarks Foundation of Indiana, 1999.

Historic Landmarks Foundation of Indiana. Wayne Township, Marion County Interim Report. Indianapolis: Historic Landmarks Foundation, 1992.

“History.” Mount Zion Baptist Church—Indianapolis. Accessed July 20, 2014.

“History of Mt. Pleasant.” Mount Pleasant Missionary Baptist Church.  Accessed July 17, 2014.

“Indiana’s African American Settlements” Allen County Public Library Genealogy Center. Accessed June 20, 2014.

Knox, George. Slave and Freeman: The Autobiography of George L. Knox. Lexington: University Press of Kentucky, 1979.

“Pike’s Black Heritage.” Historic Traders Point. Accessed July 20, 2014.

Potter, Evelyn Wilson. Telephone interview with Georgia Cravey. July 30, 2014.

Sulgrove, Berry R. History of Indianapolis and Marion County, Indiana. Philadelphia: L.H. Everts, 1884.

“Sunnyside/ West Parkview Neighborhood.” (Wayne Township Historical Society.)

Thornbrough, Emma Lou. The Negro in Indiana before 1900: a Study of a Minority. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1993.

U.S. Bureau of the Census. “Aggregate Amount of Each Description of Persons within District of Indiana,” 1: 352. Sixth Census of the United States, 1840. Washington, D.C.: U.S. Census Office, 1841.

U.S. Bureau of the Census. “Population of Civil Divisions Less Than Counties; Table III—State of Indiana,” 1: 124. Ninth Census of the United States, 1870. Washington, D.C.: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1872.

“A Village near Indianapolis, Incorporated by Colored People.” Versailles Republican. April 22, 1896, p2.

Audrey C. Werle “Research Notes on Indiana African American History,” M 792.  William Henry Smith Memorial Library, Indiana Historical Society, Indianapolis, Indiana.

“Where Negroes Will Rule.” Indianapolis Sun, April 30, 1896, p 7.

Wood, Clarence. “Clarence Wood Oral History.” Indiana Historical Society. Accessed July 31, 2014.

Wood, Clarence. Interview with Georgia Cravey at various Pike Township locations including Reed Road in Eagle Creek Park. August 1, 2014.

By Georgia Cravey, July 27, 2014   

 

 

Marshall County

African American rural settlements documented: 0

No settlements were found in Marshall County.  Federal census data enumerates 1 in 1840, 0 in 1850, 3 in 1860, and 0 persons in 1870. The names, locations, etc. for these numbers are described below. No outstanding repositories of African American heritage in Marshall County were found, likely because of the low census numbers. The Marshall County Historic Crossroads Center has a research library with local history resources. In addition, marriage records and land records are kept in this research library.

One interesting note is that John, Mary and Zimriah Anderson appear on the 1860 census for Marshall County. Zimriah appears on the 1870 census for Noble County, where his family established a successful business in Kendallville. Local historian, Amanda Blackman has extensively researched the Anderson family, however her notes do not document them living in Marshall County at any point. Evidence points to this being the same family, as the ages recorded in the census data would fit; he is 23 on Marshall County’s Census, and 33 on Kendallville’s census 10 years later.

Bibliography

U.S. Census, 1840: Population Schedules of the Sixth Census of the United States. Accessed July 2, 2014.

U.S. Census, 1850: Population Schedules of the Seventh Census of the United States.  Accessed July 2, 2014.

U.S. Census, 1860: Population Schedules of the Eighth Census of the United States. Accessed July 2, 2014.

U.S. Census, 1870: Population Schedules of the Ninth Census of the United States. Accessed July 2, 2014.

By Andrea Sowle, July 24, 2014

Martin County

African American rural settlements documented: 1

Looking at the 1850, 1860, and 1870 census that breaks down the data by township, two pockets of African Americans become visible. In Halbert Township, near the city of Shoals, there were a number of black farmers. The highest number of blacks in the township was 48 in 1850, with eight of the families all relatively close together (within three pages of the Census data.) None of the blacks in the county lived within the city of Shoals. Audrey Werle’s 1870 Black Heads of Households lists two men, Elias Washington and James Reeves, who were farmers and part of those original eight families on those three census pages, as owning large amounts of land ($6000 and $2000 of property respectively). It is likely an unnamed settlement existed here.

The second pocket of African Americans is a group of 24 people in Mitcheltree Township in 1850. By 1860, however, there are zero African Americans in the township. This is the case in 1870 as well. If a settlement existed, it faded by 1860.  Further research is needed to document it.

Bibliography

U.S. Bureau of the Census. “Population of Civil Divisions Less Than Counties; Table III—State of Indiana,” 1: 124. Ninth Census of the United States, 1870. Washington, D.C.: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1872.

Audrey C. Werle “Research Notes on Indiana African American History,” M 792, William Henry Smith Memorial Library, Indiana Historical Society, Indianapolis, Indiana.

By William Gillispie, July 29, 2014 

 

 

 

 

 

Miami County

African American rural settlements documented: 0

No rural settlements were found in Miami County. The Federal decennial census enumerated the following number of blacks: 4 in 1840, 12 in 1850, 32 in 1860, and 46 in 1870. The high census numbers are a result of a concentration of African Americans in the city of Peru, specifically in Ward 2. The Miami County Historical Society has a collection of vertical files dedicated to the African Americans that lived in the county.

According to local history books, the earliest black settler in Miami County was a young man named Wesley Cossey who worked as an interpreter for Francis Slocum. The first documented account of Cossey in the county is with a September 2, 1839 visit by the brother and sister of Francis Slocum. There is evidence that he could have been there earlier, however no connection has been solidified between Cossey and an earlier account of an interpreter working with John McClure at a trading post southeast of Peru. Other notable African Americans who established a sense of community in the county were the Moss family, who operated a barber shop in Peru. Alexander Moss campaigned for a black school in Peru, was instrumental in establishing an African Methodist Episcopal church, and acquired a significant degree of wealth through his various land holdings.

A transcript of an oral history with a lifetime African American resident of Peru, Alex Taylor, gives several accounts of a white businessman, Daniel Bearss, being an advocate for the rights of African Americans in the county.  A few sources note that Bearss employed many African Americans on his farm when they would pass through Miami County on their way to Michigan or Canada. Taylor’s account notes that Bearss brought an Albert Green from South Carolina to manage his farms.

Bibliography

Crossland, Dorothy. “History of Wayman A.M.E. Peru.” Wayman A.M.E. Centennial Anniversary 1871-1971. Peru, Indiana: Wayman A.M.E. Church, 1971.

Flinn, Adrienne. “Alex Taylor recalls history of early black settlers in Peru.” Peru Tribune, February 11, 1975.

Hunter, D. Eckley. “The Colored School of Peru.” Miami County Sentinel, February 2, 1871.

Taylor, Alex. “Pioneer Negro Citizens of Peru, Indiana.” Miami County Museum (Peru, Indiana), no date.   (oral history)

U.S. Census, 1840: Population Schedules of the Sixth Census of the United States. Accessed July 15, 2014.

U.S. Census, 1850: Population Schedules of the Seventh Census of the United States. Accessed July 15, 2014.

U.S. Census, 1860: Population Schedules of the Eighth Census of the United States.  Accessed July 15, 2014.

U.S. Census, 1870: Population Schedules of the Ninth Census of the United States.  Accessed July 15, 2014.

Monroe County

African American rural settlements documented: 0

Monroe County was formed in 1818. Free people of color were in the county as early as 1820, with 8 settlers listed in the 1820 census. By the 1830 census, there were 70. The 1840 census shows a considerable decline, with just 13 people. This number doubled in the 1850 census, with 27, though Heller’s table of Negro landowners for 1850 does not list any for Monroe County. In the 1860 census, there were 25 people, and by the 1870 census that number had ballooned to 259 –the majority of them had come from Kentucky and resided in Richland Township and Bloomington. This coincided with the forming of some organizations to support this growing community. A Fraternal Lodge of the Good Templar was organized May 24, 1869.  An African Methodist Episcopal Church was established in 1870, and the Second Baptist Church organized in 1872.

The surnames of early black families included Baker, Cornet, Ferguson, Goins, Roberts, Stewart and Woodfork, representing Virginia, North Carolina and Kentucky.  A noted early settler was Andrew Ferguson. He was a veteran of the Revolutionary War who was born in Virginia in 1755. He purchased 80 acres of Monroe County land from the federal government on July 22, 1823 and appears to have stayed until his death circa 1856.

Bibliography

Ancestry.com. “U.S. Federal Census 1820-1870,” accessed June 20, 2014.

Bureau of Land Management. “Federal Land Patents,” accessed June 20, 2014,

Heller, Herbert Lynn. “Negro Education in Indiana from 1816 To 1860.” PhD diss., Indiana University, 1951.

Gilliam, Frances V. Halsell.  A Time to Speak: A Brief History of the Afro-Americans of Bloomington, Indiana 1865-1965. Bloomington, Indiana: Pinus  Strobus Press, 1985.

“A Lodge of Good Templars Organized By Colored Citizens.” Progress, June 16, 1869.

African Methodist Episcopal Church Deed, 1870. Monroe County, Indiana Deed Book 1, page 280, accessed at Monroe County History Center Research Library.

City of Bloomington, Indiana, comp. “African American Walking Tour Brochure.” (undated)

Additional Information

A Monroe County History Center volunteer and the South Central District Manager of the Indiana Genealogical Society was extremely knowledgeable and helpful. We spent hours at the History Center reading over court cases, that I thought involved William Paul Quinn and would shed some light on a possible earlier origin of the AME Church in Monroe County. The City of Bloomington has developed “A Walk Through Bloomington’s African American History” tour which she served as my guide.

The information noted below was abstracted by Randi Richardson from multiple documents associated with the pension application  of Andrew Ferguson, a veteran of the Revolutionary War. Digitized images of the documents were found online at www.fold3.com. There is no evidence that stated Andrew is buried in Monroe County.

On August 16,1838, Andrew Furgison (sic), age 73 as of July 1838, and a resident of Monroe County, Indiana, applied for a pension. According to that application , Furgison was colored and a native of Dinwiddie, Virginia. He noted that he and his father, Andrew Perley (difficult to read) were taken prisoners by the British and whipped with cat-o-nine tail. Subsequently, they ran away and joined the American soldiers. Andrew served as a private between four to five years in the Revolutionary War for Virginia, first under General Green and later under Capt. Harris. During the course of his experience, he was wounded several times. On September 10, 1839, Andrew was granted a pension for his service, No. S 32,243. It was sent to Bloomington, Indiana.

On January 8, 1851, Andrew Ferguson of Monroe County, Indiana, applied for bounty land. At that time he reportedly was 96 years old. He applied again in 1855. William Edmonson and David Smith wrote letters on his behalf. In May 1856, he was sent a certificate  for 160 acres, but by that time he had died, reportedly in the latter part of 1855. His wife had died a week previous to Andrew’s death, and there were no known heirs that survived.

The certificate was returned with a letter of explanation. In that letter it was noted that Mr. and Mrs. Ferguson were paupers living at the expense of the county at the time of their deaths.

By Dona Stokes-Lucas, June 20, 2014                                                                       

 

 

Montgomery County

African American rural settlements documented: 0

Montgomery County was formed in 1822. The 1830 census shows that there were 9 free people of color living there, and an 1834 letter written by a Presbyterian Church missionary in Crawfordsville refers to the “dark race” that she is teaching. The free population continued to increase each decade – 94 (1840), 143 (1850), 150 (1860) and 167 (1870) the population was consistently higher than in surrounding counties. The majority of these early residents lived in the city of Crawfordville or Union Township and came from Virginia, Ohio, Kentucky, Maryland and New York, as well as a Peter Smith, born about 1796 in Africa.  Though no rural settlement was identified, a vibrant community existed in the county during this period.

Church records from 1841 show an African Methodist Episcopal Church with 20 members. Heller’s 1850 landowner lists shows 8 Negroes, with real estate valued at $2,500 total. Montgomery County’s 1853 Negro and Mulatto Register (which is at the Crawfordsville District Public Library and was not included in Coy D. Robbins’ compilation) refers to families with names such as Askins, Fry, Higgins, Johnson, Jones, Kern, Ketchum and Smith. Oral history indicates that the AME church and its neighbor John Speed were both involved in Underground Railroad activities. Indiana Landmarks recognized both the church and Speed’s cabin as being historically significant. The State of Indiana placed a historic marker at the original site of the Speed Cabin in 1995.

Bibliography

Ancestry.com. “U.S. Federal Census 1820-1870,” accessed June 20, 2014.

Beckwith, H.W. History of Montgomery County. Chicago: H.H. Hill and N. Iddings, 1881.

Cantrell, Martha. Article on Speed Log Cabin. Crawfordsville District Public Library, August 2000.

Heller, Herbert Lynn. “Negro Education In Indiana From 1816 To 1860.” PhD diss., Indiana

University, 1951.

“Indiana African American Survey of Historic Sites and Structures,” Library Collection, Indiana Landmarks State Headquarters, Indianapolis.

“Register of Negroes and Mulattoes, Montgomery County, 1853.” Crawfordsville District Public Library, Crawsfordsville, IN.

Riley, Julia Ann. Transcribed Letter of August 15, 1834, Crawfordsville District Public Library.

Robbins, Coy D.  Black Settlements in Indiana Affiliated with the African Methodist Episcopal Church, 1840-1845. Compiled from Minutes, Indiana Annual Conference, African Methodist Church, 1840-1845, as published in the African Methodist Episcopal Church Magazine, George Hogarth, ed.

Audrey C. Werle “Research Notes on Indiana African American History,” M 792, William Henry Smith Memorial Library, Indiana Historical Society, Indianapolis, Indiana.

By Dona Stokes-Lucas, July 18, 2014                                                                         

 

Morgan County

African American rural settlements documented: 1

Morgan County was formed in 1822. Its 1830 census lists 31 persons of color. By the 1840 census, that number had tripled, to 90. In the 1850 census, it was 97, and in 1860, it peaked at 109, most of these African American residents were living in Washington Township. These early settlers represented Virginia, Kentucky, Tennessee, North Carolina, Ohio and Indiana, and their surnames included Griffin, Langford, Moss, Free, Gross, and Stewart. By the 1870 census, the black population had plummeted to 56.

Early black settlers and landowners included John Reed (from Clay County, Kentucky) and John Goss. Reed purchased his first 80 acres in 1822; John Goss lived in the area as early as 1818. Goss’s emancipation papers confirm that he received his freedom on April 18, 1815. Researcher Coy D. Robbins did extensive research on Morgan County’s free people of color. He believed that Morgan County had a loosely-formed rural settlement, which gained strength along with the communities in neighboring counties. Audrey C. Werle’s research also suggests there may have been a pre-Civil War settlement or community within the settlement.  It appears that this early unnamed settlement was in Washington Township.

Bibliography

Ancestry.com. “U.S. Federal Census 1820-1870,” accessed June 20, 2014.

Bureau of Land Management, “Federal Land Patents,” accessed June 20, 2014.

Robbins, Coy D. African Heritage in Morgan County, Indiana.  Bloomington, Indiana: Indiana African American Historical and Genealogical Society, 1991.

Audrey C. Werle “Research Notes on Indiana African American History,” M 792, William Henry Smith Memorial Library, Indiana Historical Society, Indianapolis, Indiana.

By Dona Stokes-Lucas, June 20, 2014         

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Newton County

African American rural settlements documented:  1

Newton, Indiana’s youngest county, yielded evidence of a small, rural African American settlement in McClellan Township. The first evidence of this unnamed settlement is the 1870 census, which shows 19 members with the surnames Morgan and Porteonus living next to one another, as farmers. All of these families were born in Indiana. Later census data shows that the Morgans stayed in this area and various black families joined them.

The 1916 Atlas of Newton County shows George’s wife Emma, owning 90 acres in section 25, which the 1910 Census suggests as having a relatively low land value, estimated at $8,600 (no land deed has been found). This is likely because of the heavy marshes that dominate the land. This section, known as the Willow Marsh area, borders the Indiana-Illinois border line, and today the “Morgan-Tracy” cemetery is the only physical evidence indicating that these families once lived on that land. Many of the residents of this settlement are buried here, including some of the later families that joined the Morgans. Because of the unyielding nature of the land that the Morgan’s owned, it is likely that the family worked on a nearby farm. Marriage records reveal that the brothers James and George Morgan married Elisabeth and Emma Portteus (possible relation to James Porteonus?), who may have been sisters given their matching surnames. Joseph Hiestand’s archaeological report states that this land was part of the, “… shore ines and sand knobs of the marshes.”

While not much else is known about these families, Gerald Born, the director of the Beaver Lake Museum and Two Rivers Reference Library has recalled what he knows about these black families. Born had a personal experience, remembering that one of the Morgan family members lived and worked at his grandfather’s homestead, the Linderholm Farm, during the 1920s and 1930s. He said the individual was treated like a member of the family, as were all of the Morgan family members. He stated that his grandfather had grown up in the Quaker community. Later in life, while Gerald was running an antique store, descendants of the Morgan family, who later moved to Michigan, came back to learn about their family history and he was happy to tell them what he knew. The Morgans lived in this area until 1922, when Emma died and the land was passed on to her daughter Cora (Morgan) Tracy, who was later buried there, along with other members of the Tracy family.

Outside of this cluster of families in McClellan Township, the numbers of African Americans in the county are small.  the threat of hostile Indians and the lack of roadways made settlement in Newton County difficult. The 1840, 1850, and 1860 census show no African Americans living in the county except a Joseph Jones, who in 1850, worked in the home of Jacob Wright. Gerald Born is able to recall his own personal memories of early county history, and the usual slate of genealogy resources can be found at the Morocco Branch Library.

 

Bibliography

Andreas, A. T. Map of Newton County: Map of White County. s.l.: s.n., 1876.

Born, Gerald M. et. al., comp. Cemeteries of Newton County, Indiana, 2 vols. Kentland, Indiana: Newton County Historical Society, 1996.

Hall, Susie and Beth Bassett. “Morgan Tracey Cemetery.” Directory of Cemeteries – Newton County, Indiana. Accessed June 25, 2014.

Hiestand, Joseph E. An Archaeological Report on Newton County, Indiana. Indianapolis: Indiana Historical Bureau, 1951.

Index to Marriage Records, Newton County, Indiana, 1860-1920, Inclusive. Kentland, Indiana: s.n., 1968.

Standard Atlas of Newton County, Indiana: Including a Plat Book of the Villages, Cities and Townships of the County … Patrons Directory, Reference Business Directory. Chicago: Geo. A. Ogle & Co, 1916.

U.S. Census, 1840: Population Schedules of the Sixth Census of the United States. Accessed June 25, 2014.

U.S. Census, 1850: Population Schedules of the Seventh Census of the United States. Accessed June 25, 2014.

U.S. Census, 1860: Population Schedules of the Eighth Census of the United States. Accessed June 25, 2014.

U.S. Census, 1870: Population Schedules of the Ninth Census of the United States. Accessed June 25, 2014.

U.S. Census, 1880: Population Schedules of the Tenth Census of the United States. Accessed June 25, 2014.

Note: The headstones for the Morgan Tracy Cemetery are few, and no marker exists that would indicate the history of this family in the county.

By Andrea Sowle,  July 18, 2014       

 

 

Noble County

African American rural settlements documented: 0

The 1850 federal decennial census records James A. Cannady, Jr. and his family living in Perry Township.  Historian Angie Quinn writes, “The oldest son of James and Elizabeth Cannady, James Cannady Jr., stayed only briefly in Fort Wayne before moving farther north. Prior to 1850 he purchased a farm near Ligonier in Perry Township, Noble County where he and his wife Josephine raised three children.”

The Cannady family was instrumental in the development of an African American community in the Fort Wayne and the Allen County area that included the establishment of an African Methodist Episcopal church.  Quinn speculated that the Cannady family (residing in Washington Township, Allen County in the 1850 census) likely had contact with the Pompey family (early settlers of the Jefferies Settlement in Smith Township, Whitley County).  There was no direct evidence to support this, but with further research, some connections to the Jeffries Settlement may be found. By 1860, the Cannady family had moved to Cass County, Michigan, and census records only identify one mulatto family living in Perry Township (Head of Household: Harvey Williams). There has been no evidence of this family found on any county map or atlas, and they do not appear in the 1870 census.

During the 1860s, three Anderson brothers Zimriah, Jeremiah and Alonzo moved to Kendallville. Local historian Amanda Blackman has done extensive research on this family and their life in Kendallville.  She published a booklet entitled The Anderson Brothers of Kendallville and the Scandalous Cora.
It includes numerous pictures and newspaper articles related to the family that she obtained from their descendents. The three brothers migrated from the Lost Creek settlement in Vigo County to Kendallville at various times during the 1860s. They were prominent members of the Kendallville community, and owned a successful barbershop in the downtown area. This building has been added to the National Register of Historic Places. In 1914 an article appearing in the Fort Wayne Journal Gazette noted that Jerry (Jeremiah) Anderson was “the oldest ‘practicing’ barber in the state,” which speaks to the outstanding reputation he held within the community. Also, in a publication about the Old Cemetery in Noble County, the author H.G. Misselhorn states that, “The Anderson lot contains the graves of two Negro families in Kendallville—well respected—and the wife of one was part Pottawatomi Indian and part Negro. She was a very intelligent and bright woman. Her children were bright and smart and stood well above many of the white students.” The family has an interesting history that includes the story of a daughter, Cora, who openly lived as a man for a large portion of her life.  (Details are chronicled in Blackman’s book.)

Bibliography

2011 Historic Places Tour. Kendallville, Indiana: Kendallville Heritage Association, 2011.

Blackman, Amanda L. The Anderson Brothers of Kendallville and the Scandalous Cora. Kendallville, Indiana: Amanda L. Blackman, 2013.

Cochard, Jean Stiver. Kendallville families and their homes. Fort Wayne, Indiana: Public Library of Fort Wayne and Allen County, 1976.

“Indiana African American Survey of Historic Sites and Structures,” Library Collection, Indiana Landmarks State Headquarters, Indianapolis.

Misselhorn, H.G. The Old Cemetery of Noble County, Indiana. N.p: n.p., nd.

Quinn, Angela M. The Underground Railroad and the Antislavery Movement in Fort Wayne and Allen County, Indiana. Fort Wayne, IN: ARCH, Inc., 2001.

U.S. Census, 1850: Population Schedules of the Seventh Census of the United States. Accessed June 11, 2014.

U.S. Census, 1860: Population Schedules of the Eighth Census of the United States. Accessed June 11, 2014.

U.S. Census, 1870: Population Schedules of the Ninth Census of the United States. Accessed June 11, 2014.

By Andrea Sowle, June 18, 2014             

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ohio County

African American rural settlements documented: 1

Ohio County was founded in 1844.  Separated from Dearborn County, it was one of the last Indiana counties to be established.  In terms of size and population, it is the smallest county within the state.

From the first federal decennial census for the county in 1850 to 1870, the African American population increased from 37 to 189 people.  Like many other Indiana counties, the black population census numbers fell between 1850 (37) and 1860 (23) and zoomed upward in 1870, very much reflecting the end of the Civil War and the political mood of the state.  (See below population census numbers for Ohio County African Americans.)

U.S. Census Numbers for Ohio County

Census Year 1850 1860 1870 1880 1890 1900
No. of African Americans 37 23 189 205 154 144

 

Most of the blacks that came to the county at the end of the war settled in Randolph Township, with the remaining few living in Union Township. The residents were evenly divided between the city and county seat of Rising Sun (93) and the outskirts of the city (91).  Although some of the blacks who lived in the rural environs and clustered in Randolph Township in an unnamed settlement came from Virginia, the majority traveled from Kentucky and other counties within Indiana.  Chapman Harris, a minister who was well-known for his Underground Railroad activities in Jefferson County, came to Rising Sun during the late 1860s and helped found the Shiloh Baptist Church.  Some of the African American surnames in the county included Evans, Morgan, and Simpson.

Bibliography

Diane Perrine Coon. Southeastern Indiana’s Underground Railroad routes and operations : a project of the State of Indiana Department of Natural Resources, Division of Historic Preservation and Archaeology and the U.S. Department of the Interior, National Park Service. Louisville, Ky.: Perrine Enterprises, [2001]

Hillforest Historical Foundation.  History of Dearborn and Ohio counties, Indiana. from their earliest settlement : containing a history of the counties, their cities, townships, towns, villages, schools, and churches; biographies, preliminary chapters on the history of the Northwest territory, the state of Indiana, and the Indians. Mt. Vernon, IN: Windmill Publications, 1993.

Diane Perrine Coon. Southeastern Indiana’s Underground Railroad routes and operations : a project of the State of Indiana Department of Natural Resources, Division of Historic Preservation and Archaeology and the U.S. Department of the Interior, National Park Service. Louisville, Ky.: Perrine Enterprises, [2001]

U.S. Bureau of the Census. Population of Civil Divisions Less Than Counties; Table III State of Indiana,” 1:124 Seventh Census of the United States, 1850 Washington, D.C.: U.S. Census Office, 1852.

U.S. Bureau of the Census. Population of Civil Divisions Less Than Counties; Table III State of Indiana,” 1:124 Eighth Census of the United States, 1860.  Washington, D.C.: U.S. Census Office, 1862.

U.S. Bureau of the Census. “Population of Civil Divisions Less Than Counties; Table III—State of Indiana,” 1: 124. Ninth Census of the United States, 1870. Washington, D.C.: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1872.

Audrey C. Werle “Research Notes on Indiana African American History,” M 792, William Henry Smith Memorial Library, Indiana Historical Society, Indianapolis, Indiana.

By Wilma L. Moore, October 31, 2014          

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Orange County

African American rural settlements documented: 1

Lick Creek Settlement, now located within the boundaries of the Hoosier National Forest, was a very early Indiana African American settlement that was researched and documented by Coy Robbins and others. The Forest Service offers a good summary describing how, led by Jonathan Lindley, eleven families traveled with sympathetic Quakers from North Carolina to establish homes in the Indiana Territory which seemed to offer legal protection from enslavement. According to the U.S. Forest Service, Lindley settled in Orange County in 1811. The 1820 Census enumerated 96 African Americans in Orange County.

Robbins notes the first African American landowners were William Constant and Charles Goin who patented land in Paoli Township near Syria. The largest number of settlers of color however, located south of Chambersburg. He identifies Mathew Thomas as the first to buy land, soon followed by Benjamin Roberts, Elias Roberts, Peter Lindley and David Dugged. By 1855 the settlement, called variously Little Africa, South Africa and Paddy’s Garden, now known as Lick Creek, reached its maximum size of 1,557 acres. The surnames Burnett, Thompson, Locust, Isom, Chavis, Clemens, Chandler are found in addition to the surnames Roberts, Thomas, Lindley and Dugged.

The harsher racial attitudes of the 1850s led to a law which required African Americans to register with their county clerk, and Orange County followed this law, recording 141 African-Americans. The vast majority signed up during a five month period in 1853; however, it is estimated that approximately half the African American population did not register.

In 1860, the African American population of Orange County numbered 260 people. Approximately one third resided in the settlement of Lick Creek in Southeast Township. Methodism had an early presence in the community. In 1837, church met on land owned by Ishmael Roberts. Later, Thomas and Matilda Roberts deeded land for Lick Creek African Methodist Episcopal Church, which operated from 1843 to 1869.

As early as 1862, many African Americans began to leave Lick Creek. In September of that year, seven families sold all their land, a total of 539 acres. At the end of the Civil War, the sharp decline continued. By the early 1900s there were no African Americans remaining. The exodus is still considered somewhat of a mystery. Some possible causes include a boom of industry and employment opportunities in nearby cities, the rise of anti-black organizations, and increasing racial tensions. The last resident of Lick Creek, William Thomas, sold his land in 1902. Churches and cemeteries remain in the area that can offer more clues to researchers.

There are possibilities that other settlements were established, such as Stamper’s Creek, but more research is necessary.

Bibliography

“African American Research in Orange County.” INGenWeb. Accessed June 20, 2014.

Orange County Historic Sites and Structures: An Interim Report. Indianapolis, Ind.: Historic Landmarks Foundation of Indiana, [2006?].

“Field Studies at Lick Creek African American Settlement.”  U.S. Dept of Agriculture, Forest Service. Accessed June 20, 2014.

Indiana State Museum. “Lick Creek African-American Settlement: Investigating the Past trough Archaeology; Lesson Plan.” U.S. Dept of Agriculture, Forest Service. Accessed June 20, 2104.

“Indiana’s African American Settlements” Allen County Public Library Genealogy Center. Accessed June 20, 2014.

“Lick Creek African American Settlement.” U.S. Dept of Agriculture, Forest Service. Accessed June 20, 2014.

“Lick Creek African American Settlement.” U.S. Dept of Agriculture, Forest Service, Hoosier National Forest. August 2012.

“The Lick Creek Settlement: An Indiana Nineteenth Century Biracial Community.” Indiana Dept. of Natural Resources. Accessed June 20, 2014.

Robbins, Coy D. Forgotten Hoosiers. Bowie, Md.: Heritage Press, 1994.

Robbins Coy D. “Lick Creek Settlement: An early Black Community in Orange County (Part I).” Black History News & Notes, February 1982.

Robbins Coy D. “Lick Creek Settlement: An early Black Community in Orange County (Part II).” Black History News & Notes, May 1982.

Sieber, Ellen and Cheryl Ann Munson. Looking at History: Indiana’s Hoosier National Forest Region 1600 to 1950.  [Washington, D.C.?]: U.S. Dept. of Agriculture, Forest Service, 1992.

U.S. Bureau of the Census. “Aggregate Amount of Each Description of Persons within District of Indiana,” 1: 360. Sixth Census of the United States, 1840. Washington, D.C.: U.S. Census Office, 1841.

U.S. Bureau of the Census. “Population of Civil Divisions Less Than Counties; Table III—State of Indiana,” 1: 128. Ninth Census of the United States, 1870. Washington, D.C.: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1872.

By Georgia Cravey, June 22, 2014           

 

 

Owen County

African American rural settlements documented: 2

Established in 1819, Owen County’s first family of color according to the 1820 census was headed by York Jones, with 11 people in his household.  (He moved to Greene County, Indiana, by 1830.) In the 1830 census there were 25 persons of color, a population which jumped considerably in successive years – 148 in 1840, 156 in 1850 – before dipping back to 85 (1860) and 59 (1870). Overall, most of these rural farmers resided in Washington Township and Marion Township; however, in 1840 the majority were in Washington Township, with the rest evenly divided among Lafayette Township, Franklin Township and Marion Township.

Washington Township was one of the original townships, dating back to the county’s formation. The Walden and Roberts families from North Carolina were the first black  settlers in Washington Township, arriving before 1825.  Walden donated land in 1842 for the Negro Cemetery (Peterson).  Other families associated with Washington Township included Powell, Mitchell, Harper, Ridgley, Brody and Boon. They came from North Carolina, Mississippi, Maryland, and Virginia.  In 1842 the African Methodist Episcopal Church congregation was established as part of the Terre Haute Circuit, with 20 members. (Robbins).

Marion Township (which was originally called Grayson) was established in 1836. Early settlers to the area were the Harris and Bass families from North Carolina, purchasing large amounts of land from the federal government. By 1850 Marion Township’s colored population was on the decline, after the Bass, Harris, Russell and Powell families all left for Vigo and St. Joseph counties. (Peterson).

Owen County was not listed in Xenia Cord’s analysis of rural black settlements prior to 1860. Anna-Lisa Cox identifies Washington Township and Marion Township as among those places with African–American landowners before 1860. Coy D. Robbins’ 1995 presentation at the Roberts Chapel Annual Homecoming states that by 1830, five years before the founding of Roberts Settlement, there had been 14 Roberts families living in five scattered counties, one of them being Owen County. According to Herbert Heller’s table of Negroes who owned real estate in 1850, Owen County had more landowners (17) than either Orange County (14) or Gibson County (15).  Roger A. Peterson’s book, African Americans Found in Owen County, Indiana Records, 1819-1880, identifies primary source data and provides context to help discover these unnamed settlements.

Bibliography

Ancestry.com. “U.S. Federal Census 1820-1870,” accessed June 20, 2014.

Audrey C. Werle “Research Notes on Indiana African American History,” M0792. William Henry Smith Memorial Library, Indiana Historical Society, Indianapolis, Indiana.

Bureau of Land Management, “Federal Land Patents,” accessed June 20, 2014,

Indiana Department of Natural Resources. Cemetery Registry #CR-60-86 Owen County.

Gibbs, Wilma L., ed. Indiana’s African-American Heritage Essays from Black History News
and Notes
. Indianapolis: Indiana Historical Society, 1993.

Heinegg, Paul. “Free African Americans of Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Maryland and Delaware.” Accessed June 20, 2014.

Heller, Herbert Lynn. “Negro Education In Indiana From 1816 To 1860.” PhD diss., Indiana University, 1951.

Jennings, Debbie. Sweet Owen and Surrounding Areas. “Townships and Towns,” website. Accessed June 20, 2014.

Peterson, Roger A.  African Americans Found in Owen County, Indiana Records, 1819-1880. Spencer, Ind.: Peterson, 1996.

Peterson, Roger A. “African Americans in Owen County, Indiana 1816-1880.” Article of April 29, 1990.

Robbins, Coy D., ed.  Black Pioneers in Indiana. Bloomington, Indiana: African American Historical and Genealogical Society, 1999.

Robbins, Coy D.  “Black Settlements in Indiana Affiliated with the African Methodist Episcopal Church 1840-1845.” (Compiled from Minutes, Indiana Annual Conference, African Methodist Church, 1840-1845, as published in the African Methodist Episcopal Church Magazine, George Hogarth, ed. V1-12 (Sept 1841- May 1844) Schomburg Center Manuscripts and Archives Call No. SC Rare F 89-56)

By Dona Stokes-Lucas, July 18, 2014

 

Parke County

African American Rural Settlements Documented: 1

Parke County was formed in 1821; by the 1830 census, there were 16 free persons of color. By 1840, that number had nearly quadrupled (to 63), and by 1850, it soared again (to 228). Some of the increase in 1850 may be attributed to a local resident who had inherited some 50 enslaved people after the death of a relative in Alabama. The people were subsequently given their freedom and transported from Alabama to Parke County (Hackett). Also in 1850, there were four black landowners with real estate valued at $2800 (Heller). In the ensuing years, the black population dropped (to 196 by1860, and to 152 by 1870). Most of these African Americans were in and around the town of Rockville, as well as Adams Township and Penn Township. During 1850-1870, Raccoon Township also saw an increase, while Washington Township saw its population decrease.

Some of the early residents were free Africans Americans from North Carolina and Virginia, whose surnames included Artis, Bass/Bassett, Ellis, Hall, and Hartwood. They would move from Parke County to Howard County in the late 1850s (Hackett) and may have had ties with the Lost Creek settlement in Vigo County. Other surnames included Tyler and Harper.

Evidence was uncovered of a rural settlement /community in Parke County called Leatherwood. Additional research is needed to discover who these people were, their dates of entry and their migratory patterns within the county and state. There seems to be discrepancies in the local histories, which dates the arrival of blacks in the county as being after the Civil War, while the census and other data indicate otherwise.  Recent research also found that there were free African Americans living within a group prior to the war (Hackett). Among the vertical files at the Rockville Public Library are John Hartwood’s freedom papers, filed at the Parke County courthouse in 1829, as well as an 1848 deed record where Lewis Artis and others acquired a parcel of land for religious and school purposes for the colored population living in Leatherwood (Penn Township).  Audrey Werle’s research suggests that there were settlements in Adams Township, Penn Township and Raccoon Township.

Bibliography

Ancestry.com. “U.S. Federal Census 1820-1870,” accessed June 20, 2014.

Beckwith, H.W. History of Vigo and Parke Counties. Chicago: H.H. Hill and N. Iddings, 1880.

Hackett, Brian L. “Harboring Negroes: Race, Religion, and Politics in North Carolina and Indiana.” PhD diss., Middle Tennessee State University, 2009.

Hackett, Brian L. “Hoosier Freemen Harboring Negroes in Antebellum Parke County, Indiana.” Traces of Indiana and Midwestern History, Summer 2009.

Heller, Herbert Lynn. “Negro Education in Indiana from 1816 To 1860.” PhD diss., Indiana University, 1951.

Lee, Dale Lynn and Ruth Ann, compilers. Burials of African Americans in the Rockville Cemetery Vols. 1-111. Parke County Public Library, Rockville, IN.

Lu, Marlene K. Walkin’ The Wabash: An Exploration Into The Underground Railroad In West Central Indiana. Indianapolis, Ind.: Indiana Department of Natural Resources, 2001.

Audrey C. Werle “Research Notes on Indiana African American History,” M 792, William Henry Smith Memorial Library, Indiana Historical Society, Indianapolis, Indiana.

By Dona Stokes-Lucas, August 1, 2014

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Perry County

African American rural settlements documented: 0

In the 1870 census, the only substantial population of African Americans in Perry County was in urban Troy Township where there were 112 people in the 1870 census. There was also a small population of 27 reported in Tobin Township. There is not evidence to suggest this was a rural community.  The five decennial censuses prior to 1870 registered 15 or less African Americans in the county.

Using the Audrey Werle 1870 Head of Household census finds no African American farmers owning land in the county. According to this source, most of the African Americans in the county were laborers or worked in the towns. In fact, there was only one African American, John Williams, who owned real estate. It was worth $300, and he was a farm laborer.

The Perry County plat books do not include African American churches or schools outside of the cities and towns. Michael F. Rutherford’s “The Colored School at Cannelton, Indiana” examines a school in Cannelton, Troy Township, erected between 1870 and 1890 for the six black families in the city. The school was used on and off by the black families in the city until 1913, when only one family remained. It was then used by the white school, as enrollment warranted. It was razed during the 1930s.

Bibliography

Rutherford, Michael F. “The Colored School at Cannelton, Indiana,”   Lest We Forget: about Rural Schools of Perry County. [Ind.]: Perry County Retired Teachers’ Associated, 1995.

U.S. Bureau of the Census. “Population of Civil Divisions Less Than Counties; Table III—State of Indiana,” 1: 124. Ninth Census of the United States, 1870. Washington, D.C.: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1872.

Audrey C. Werle “Research Notes on Indiana African American History,” M792.  William Henry Smith Library, Indiana Historical Society, Indianapolis, Indiana.

Pike County

African American rural settlements documented: 0

Pike County was established in 1816.  From the time of the first federal decennial census taken for the county in 1820 through 1870, there were never more than 20 African Americans enumerated.  Most of the black population lived in Monroe or Washington Township.  The 1880 county population census recorded 27 blacks.  The African American population escalated the last two decades of the nineteenth century; the census enumeration was 56 in 1890 and 147 in 1900.

Much of the new black population was associated with the bustling mining industry during the 1880s. Many of the workers lived in Patoka Township.  There is a cemetery that remains from the community. The foundation and the steps to the Mount Hebron church are also still visible.

Bibliography

The Coal Miner’s Cry. Petersburg, Ind.:  Pike Central High School, ca. 1999.

U.S. Bureau of the Census. “Aggregate Amount of Each Description of Persons within District of Indiana,” 1: 352. Sixth Census of the United States, 1840. Washington, D.C.: U.S. Census Office, 1841.

U.S. Bureau of the Census. Population of Civil Divisions Less Than Counties; Table III State of Indiana,” 1:124 Seventh Census of the United States, 1850 Washington, D.C.: U.S. Census Office, 1852

U.S. Bureau of the Census. Population of Civil Divisions Less Than Counties; Table III State of Indiana,” 1:124 Eighth Census of the United States, 1860.  Washington, D.C.: U.S. Census Office, 1862

U.S. Bureau of the Census. “Population of Civil Divisions Less Than Counties; Table III—State of Indiana,” 1: 124. Ninth Census of the United States, 1870. Washington, D.C.: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1872.

Audrey C. Werle “Research Notes on Indiana African American History,” M 792, William Henry Smith Memorial Library, Indiana Historical Society, Indianapolis, Indiana.

By Lishawna Taylor, July 28, 2014       

 

Porter County

African American rural settlements documented: 1

The Clear Lake Settlement comprised of a few families was located in Jackson Township. The surnames of those living in this settlement included Huston, Burdine, and Banks. In addition, four mulatto or black farmers lived in the Huston home with the surnames Griffin, Graham, Bourk, and Wanser. The settlement was established sometime during the 1860s, and none of the residents appeared to be land owners. Given the census records for 1870 and the 1875 Enumeration Record for Porter County, the three black families residing on Clear Lake, likely lived and worked on the land belonging to Mary Dunlap. However, the 1876 Porter County atlas no longer lists Dunlap as the owner of this land, and various evidence points to these black families moving out of Porter County. In the obituary for “Ben Buford Huston,” the writer states that Huston came to Porter County with the Dunlaps, and that the Dunlaps, “were refugees from Kentucky and in what was then almost wilderness they caused to be erected a residence of more than ordi-nary pretensions. Few private houses in the larger cities were more spacious and ornate in decoration, though we believe that financial troubles interned before the planes (sic) were fully consummated.”  Without having access to the exact location of the Dunlap land in section 24 around Clear Lake, it was difficult to find any existing buildings that would have been used by these families. Around the lake, most of the homes appear to be from the twentieth century, and a large storage facility takes up a major portion of the water-front. No historic markers for these families or the settlement were located.

Clear Lake spans Porter and LaPorte County . There are connections between residents of this settlement the two settlements found in La Porte County. Alfred Burdine was born in La Porte County, to Emanuel Brown and Priscilla Burdine, who were both settlers to La Porte County during the 1830s. Emanuel is recorded as being one of the earliest set-tlers of La Porte County, when he came from Lynchburg with Joshua Brown in 1834. Emanuel is remembered as “the only black man in the little town, everyone [knew] his name, and very soon knew he was an ardent Methodist.” He settled near the Clear Lake Quaker community, which could inform why his son, Alfred, settled in the Clear Lake area.

Buford Huston was born around 1840 in Kentucky and his wife Mary was born around the same time in Virginia. The four other laborers in the Huston home were from Mis-souri, Indiana, and Tennessee. All members of the Burdine household were from Indiana. Anderson Banks was from Indiana and his wife Elizabeth was from North Carolina. The life of the settlement was short, evidenced by the 1880 census data, which shows Alfred Burdine in Gypsum Creek, Kansas (where he is also buried), Anderson Banks in Cowley County, Kansas, and Buford Huston in La Porte County, Indiana.  The high population numbers for Porter County only appear in the 1870 census data. Julie Jessen’s research suggests that a lack of paved roads throughout the county made it difficult to transport goods to nearby urban areas, and discouraged investment by major manufacturers. In the few industries that existed, only a few African Americans could find employment. The 1840 census indicates 7 black or mulatto residents, 5 in 1850, 17 in 1860, and 39 in 1870.

Most of the research material about the Porter County settlements was found at the Ge-nealogical Department of the Valparaiso Public Library (VPL) and Indiana Landmarks Northwest Regional office.  Information was also obtained  from the LaPorte County his-torian, Fern Eddy-Shultz. The Recorders office in Porter County has turned over early land records to the Genealogical Department (VPL).

Bibliography

Goldsworthy, Terry. “Was Freedom Dead or Only Sleeping?: The pre-1870 African American Rural Communities of the Kankakee River Valley.” Black History News & Notes, November, 1997.

Hardesty, A. G. Illustrated Historical Atlas of Porter County, Indiana, 1876. Evansville, Ind: Unigraphic, 1979 (reprint).

Harrison, Wendy. “Wendy Harrison’s Family Page.” Ancestry.com- Family Tree Guide.  Accessed July 10, 2014.

“Indiana African American Survey of Historic Sites and Structures,” Library Collection, Indiana Landmarks State Headquarters, Indianapolis

Jessen, Julie K. “African-American Culture and History Northwestern Indiana 1850-1940.” Masters thesis, Ball State Univeristy, 1996.

Obituary—”Ben Buford Huston.” Westville Indicator, July 18, 1907.

Office of the Recorder of Porter County, Indiana. 1875 Enumeration Record Porter County. [In LaPorte County Historian’s folder]

U.S. Census, 1840: Population Schedules of the Sixth Census of the United States.. Accessed July 10, 2014.

U.S. Census, 1850: Population Schedules of the Seventh Census of the United States. Accessed July 10, 2014.

U.S. Census, 1860: Population Schedules of the Eighth Census of the United States. Accessed July 10, 2014.

U.S. Census, 1870: Population Schedules of the Ninth Census of the United States. Accessed July 10, 2014.

U.S. Census, 1880: Population Schedules of the Ninth Census of the United States. Accessed July 10, 2014.

By Andrea Sowle, July 17, 2014

 

Posey County

African American rural settlements documented: 2

Posey County was established in 1814. The black population increased from the time of its first federal decennial census taken in 1820 through the turn of the century.

U.S. Census Numbers for Posey County, 1820-1900

Census Year 1820 1830 1840 1850 1860 1870 1880 1890 1900
No. of African Americans 6 26 41 98 136 564 955 1193 1226

 

Like most of the Indiana counties bordered by the Ohio River, Posey County saw an influx of African Americans after the Civil War.  The two known black rural settlements in the county were located in Black and Point townships.

The  settlement in Point Township was situated around Half Moon Pond.  The community had a school, church, and a cemetery.  The school was located on what is now public land.  Some of the family names associated with the settlement are Carter, Odem, and Spottsville.

The Brewery Hill settlement was located in the hills of Black Township. On a plat map, west of Grafton, one can find G.H Wilson owning 87 acres and Benjamin Wilson owning 85 acres. The county records state that it was started by Benjamin Wilson.  Benjamin is credited with providing the school house and building a grocery store.  Later, his granddaughter Augusta Toren taught at the school.  Other teachers included Lana Wilson, Prohene Harrison, May Napoleon and Mignon Waller.  In the 1870 census, many of the black heads of household in Black Township were farmers.  Several of them have their property valued at or above $1,000.  For example, farmers Davison Parter and Peter McCalister, have real estate worth $1600 and $4500, respectively.  An attempt to get to the location of the former settlement without a four-wheeler proved futile.

Cemetery

Wilson Cemetery

Bibliography

History of Posey County, Indiana : from the earliest time to the present, with biographical sketches, reminiscences, notes, etc. : together with an extended history of the Northwest, the Indiana territory, and the State of Indiana.  Chicago : Goodspeed Pub. Co., 1886.

U.S. Bureau of the Census. “Aggregate Amount of Each Description of Persons within District of Indiana,” 1: 352. Sixth Census of the United States, 1840. Washington, D.C.: U.S. Census Office, 1841.

U.S. Bureau of the Census. Population of Civil Divisions Less Than Counties; Table III State of Indiana,” 1:124 Seventh Census of the United States, 1850 Washington, D.C.: U.S. Census Office, 1852.

U.S. Bureau of the Census. Population of Civil Divisions Less Than Counties; Table III State of Indiana,” 1:124 Eighth Census of the United States, 1860.  Washington, D.C.: U.S. Census Office, 1862.

U.S. Bureau of the Census. “Population of Civil Divisions Less Than Counties; Table III—State of Indiana,” 1: 124. Ninth Census of the United States, 1870. Washington, D.C.: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1872.

Audrey C. Werle “Research Notes on Indiana African American History,” M 792, William Henry Smith Memorial Library, Indiana Historical Society, Indianapolis, Indiana.

By Lishawna Taylor, July 25, 2014    

 

Pulaski County

African American rural settlements documented: 0

Pulaski County was formed in 1839.  No African Americans were recorded in the county’s federal decennial censuses from 1840 to 1870.

Bibliography

U.S. Census, 1840: Population Schedules of the Sixth Census of the United States. Accessed July 2, 2014.

U.S. Census, 1850: Population Schedules of the Seventh Census of the United States.  Accessed July 2, 2014.

U.S. Census, 1860: Population Schedules of the Eighth Census of the United States. Accessed July 2, 2014.

U.S. Census, 1870: Population Schedules of the Ninth Census of the United States. Accessed July 2, 2014.

By Andrea Sowle, July 21, 2014

Putnam County

African American rural settlements documented:  0

A black rural settlement was not identified from 1820-1870, however an urban settlement was later established during the 1879 Exoduster Movement from North Carolina to Greencastle, Indiana and other cities and towns.

Putnam County was formed in 1821. The county’s first census (1830) shows there were six free people of color, which quadrupled by 1840 (27) and 1850 (34) before dwindling by 1860 (19). This early population was distributed among Cloverdale Township and Union Township, as well as the city of Greencastle. From the 1870 census to the 1880 census, the black population jumped from 105 to 576 people.  John W. Lyda’s book, The Negro in the History of Indiana, identifies Greencastle as one of the urban settlements that benefitted from the black migration after the Civil War.

The county’s first black residents were reportedly Luke and Charity Townsend, two emancipated slaves from Kentucky who arrived about 1832. They also organized the first church for blacks about 1872; it would later become an African Methodist Episcopal Church. Heller’s data on landowners lists one Negro landowner in 1850, Thomas Peters, with real estate valued at $300. This family was from Kentucky and was later listed among those Indiana residents who immigrated to Liberia in 1854.

Bibliography

Ancestry.com. “U.S. Federal Census 1820-1870,” accessed June 20, 2014.

Gibbs, Wilma L., ed. Indiana’s African-American Heritage: Essays from Black History News & Notes. Indianapolis: Indiana Historical Society, 1993.

Lyda, John W. The Negro in the History of Indiana. Terre Haute, Ind.: n.p., 1953.

Heller, Herbert Lynn. “Negro Education in Indiana from 1816 to 1860.” PhD diss., Indiana University, 1951.

Audrey C. Werle “Research Notes on Indiana African American History,” M 792, William Henry Smith Memorial Library, Indiana Historical Society, Indianapolis, Indiana.

By Dona Stokes-Lucas, July 18, 2014

Randolph County

African American rural settlements documented:  3

The rural black settlements in Randolph County included Greenville in Greens Fork Township, Cabin Creek in Union Township, and Snow Hill in Washington Township.

According to Richard R. Wright, Jr., the exodus of Quakers from North Carolina was a major factor in the settlement of African Americans in Randolph County. Deborah Rotman updates the research with a detailed study of the settlement of the county. She finds that many of the first black settlers had “strong connections to individual Quakers and Quaker meetings” in their areas of origin (most often North Carolina and Virginia, (p 29)). Further, much of Randolph County’s settlement was mingled with that of Wayne County (p 32). Both enclaves were strongly and actively abolitionist and much movement occurred between the two counties and in the area bordering the Ohio state line.

Rotman describes three main groups of immigrants:

1) Individuals and families with longstanding status as free people (p. 36)

2) Recently manumitted slaves (p. 37)

3) Fugitive slaves (p. 39)

A distinctive feature of life in Randolph County was the level of cooperation between the races. Emblematic of this attitude was the establishment in 1845 of Union Literary Institute.  Founded as an integrated, co-ed, manual training school, the charter forbade discrimination. Students were admitted without regard to “color, rank, or wealth.” In addition to students from the immediate locale, families throughout Indiana and Ohio as well as other states enrolled their children. The school was a great hub for contacts among other Indiana counties such as Henry and Rush as well as students from outside Indiana. Thornbrough considered the school “the most significant and successful experiment in Negro education’ in Indiana (p173).

Also illustrative of progressive racial attitudes, Randolph was also one of only four Indiana counties to vote in opposition to Article XIII of the 1851 State Constitution [Tucker (p 134) Thornbrough (p 68) Rotman, (p52)]. Among other restrictive measures, Article XIII excluded “Negroes” from entering Indiana.

Sources report 1822 as the year that the families in the vanguard begin to arrive in Randolph County often relocating from interim residence in Wayne County, Indiana, and from Ohio. Family groups of Scotts, Alexanders, Outlands, Robbinses, Demorys/Demarys settled on some 1500 acres. Between 1822 and 1838, Wright reports that 2000 acres of land were entered by a dozen black families who migrated chiefly from North Carolina. Additional family names include Chanous (Virginia), Brown (Tennessee), Burden and Cotman (South Carolina), Benson (North Carolina) McKeon/McKown/McCown, Stokes and Tann.

The history of African American settlement in Randolph County is notable for its three large, prosperous communities: Cabin Creek, Snow Hill and Greenville.

Greenville, it should be noted, is part of a community that encompassed land on both sides of the Indiana/Ohio state line. The Darke County, Ohio, portion of the settlement is known as Longtown or simply Long. Greenville was the earliest of the three settlements, the first settler being Thornton Alexander. Alexander entered 300 acres of land in 1822. Born in Culpepper County Virginia, he was freed from slavery at age thirty-six. The Alexander family migrated to Greenville from Warren County, Ohio.

Cabin Creek was established about 1825 by John Demory who came with Lemuel Vestal from North Carolina. Demory is described by E. Tucker as a “free-born, half Frenchman.” He was born in Charleston, South Carolina and married Sarah Robinson in Anson County, North Carolina. The couple would eventually have eleven children and own eighty acres of land in Washington Township as well as a house and lot in the town of Winchester.

Soon after Demory’s arrival in Cabin Creek, Drew Taylor and his family settled on Eight Mile Creek and the Obadiah Anderson family settled in the southwest part of the county. Eventually Cabin Creek was home to “some eighty to one hundred families and several hundred people according to E. Tucker (p. 134). Writing in 1882, Tucker further notes that “the number has materially lessened” with many families “having sold their possessions and moved to locations more suited to their notions.” He reports that “thirty to forty families remain.” Additional family names in Cabin Creek were Scott, Crane, Ward, Terry, Cotman, Wilkerson, Chavis, Woods, Seeny, Outland, Skipworth, Woods, Smothers, Smith, Barber, Ladd, Jennings, Roberts, Barracks, Hill, Stafford, Perkins Sawyer, Hall and Watkins.

Snow Hill’s first settler was Gabriel Moore who arrived about 1838. Other settlers in Snow Hill were Copeland, Winburn, Small, Boon, Lawrence, Winn, Watkins, Culfer, Benson and Bragg. Tucker gives profiles of William and Michael Benson, both were born in slavery in North Carolina and arrived in Randolph County via earlier settlement in Wayne County.

Randolph County had the highest ratio of African Americans in the state in the period before the Civil War. Rotman reports that by the turn of the century the settlements had “virtually disappeared.”  Tucker observes the population “dropping out to Grant County, Paulding County and to Michigan.” He also mentions “promising young men” who either are, or have been teachers who have moved to Kokomo and Noblesville.

Deteriorating race relations, changes in agriculture, land prices, and opportunities for employment, education and social life in more urban areas were major factors in the migration away from the communities that thrived during the 19th century.

Bibliography

A Brief History of Greensfork and Washington twp’s [sic], Randolph County, Indiana. [Lynn, Indiana]: Randolph Southern Historical Society, 1979.

Chace, J. Atlas of Darke County, Ohio, 1857. (Reprint) Philadelphia: S.H. Matthews Publishing, 1976.

Combined Atlas of Randolph County, Indiana: including 1865 wall-map [drawn by C.S. Warner, published] by C.A.O. McClellan & C.S. Warner: 1874 atlas by [D.J. Lake, published by] Griffing, Stevenson & Co. : 1909 plat book published by Northwest Publishing Co. : and historical appendix, information from early gazetteers and old photographs, and the 1876 Indiana atlas. (Reprint of atlases and map issued 1865-1909 by various publishers.) Knightstown, Indiana: Bookmark, 1980.

“Indiana’s African American Settlements.” Allen County Public Library Genealogy Center. Accessed July 10, 2014.

“James & Sophia Clemens Farmstead.” U.S. National Park Service. Accessed July 10, 2014.

Mcintosh, W.H. The History of Darke County, Ohio. Chicago: W.H. Beers & Co., 1880.

Paducah, Kentucky: Turner Publishing, 1991.

Plat Book of Darke County, Ohio: Compiled from County records and Actual Surveys. Des Moines, Iowa: Northwest Publishing Company, 1910.

Randolph County Historical Society, comp. Randolph County, Indiana, 1818-1990.

Randolph County Interim Report. Indianapolis: Historic Landmarks Foundation of Indiana, 1993.

Remembering Freedom: James Clemens and the Longtown Settlement. Produced by Virginia Ball Center for Creative Inquiry. Directed by Kari Wilhems. 25.36 min. [2010?] . DVD.

Rotman, Deborah L. African-American and Quaker famers in East Central Indiana: Social, Political and Economic Aspect of Life in Nineteenth-Century Rural Communities: Randolph County, Indiana. Muncie, IN: Archaeological Resources Management Service, Ball State University, 1998.

Thornbrough, Emma Lou. The Negro in Indiana before 1900: a Study of a Minority. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1985.

Tucker, E. History of Randolph County, Indiana. Chicago: A.L. Kingman, 1882. [Especially Chapter X, “Colored People”.]

Union Literary Institute Board of Managers’ secretary book.  Original book housed at the Indiana Historical Society BV1972 / transcribed by members of the Union Literary Institute Preservation Society, Inc. Union Literary Institute Preservation Society, Inc., 2001.

U.S. Bureau of the Census. “Aggregate Amount of Each Description of Persons within District of Indiana,” 1: 352. Sixth Census of the United States, 1840. Washington, D.C.: U.S. Census Office, 1841.

U.S. Bureau of the Census. “Population of Civil Divisions Less Than Counties; Table III—State of Indiana,” 1: 124. Ninth Census of the United States, 1870. Washington, D.C.: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1872.

Wright, Richard R. Jr.  “The Economic Conditions of Negroes in the North: Negro Rural Communities in Indiana.” Southern Workman 34 (March 1908): 158-172.

By Georgia Cravey, July 18, 2014   

 

 

Ripley County

African American rural settlements documented: 1

Ripley County was founded in 1816.  From the first federal decennial census for the county in 1820 to 1870, the African American population increased from 2 to 103 people.  The black population census numbers fell slightly between 1850 (96) and 1860 (87) before rallying in 1870 and 1880.

U.S. Census Numbers for Ripley County, 1820-1930

Census Year 1820 1830 1840 1850 1860 1870 1880 1890 1900 1910 1920 1930
No. of African Americans 2 8 43 96 87 103 157 74 32 31 7 10

 

Between 1850 and 1870, the majority of the black population lived in Brown and Shelby townships. There appears to have been a black community in Brown Township, near Friendship and Olean.  Diane P. Coon’s research indicates that there was a trail for this community at Raccoon Creek. Family names in the unnamed settlement included Clark, Green,  Lewis, and Rickman.

Bibliography

Diane Perrine Coon. Southeastern Indiana’s Underground Railroad routes and operations: a project of the State of Indiana Department of Natural Resources, Division of Historic Preservation and Archaeology and the U.S. Department of the Interior, National Park Service. Louisville, Ky.: Perrine Enterprises, [2001]

U.S. Bureau of the Census. Population of Civil Divisions Less Than Counties; Table III State of Indiana,” 1:124 Seventh Census of the United States, 1850 Washington, D.C.: U.S. Census Office, 1852.

U.S. Bureau of the Census. Population of Civil Divisions Less Than Counties; Table III State of Indiana,” 1:124 Eighth Census of the United States, 1860.  Washington, D.C.: U.S. Census Office, 1862

U.S. Bureau of the Census. “Population of Civil Divisions Less Than Counties; Table III—State of Indiana,” 1: 124. Ninth Census of the United States, 1870. Washington, D.C.: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1872.

Audrey C. Werle “Research Notes on Indiana African American History,” M 792, William Henry Smith Memorial Library, Indiana Historical Society, Indianapolis, Indiana.

By Wilma L. Moore, October 31, 2014

 

Rush County

African American rural settlements documented: 1

Southern Seed, Northern Soil by Stephen Vincent exhaustively documents the Roberts Settlement in Hamilton County, Indiana. As part of his study, Vincent examines the development and history of Beech settlement, a rural African American community in Rush County.  Economics, shifting racial restrictions, and religious beliefs prompted an exodus from the Old South.

Among these early emigrants were groups of free people of color who moved from Eastern North Carolina (Halifax and North Hampton counties) and Virginia (Greensville County). Seeking a better future in the West, some migrants settled first in Ohio. In time they had opportunity to purchase cheap government land in Rush County, Indiana.

Rush County’s Ripley Township was a Quaker haven that drew these early settlers to the area. The 1830 Census records fourteen black households (ninety-one individuals). After having farmed two seasons, Willis Roberts determined to remain at the Beech and in the fall of 1830 purchased a 160 acre farm. Some six months later Willis Roberts’ cousin, Anthony Roberts, entered a claim for 80 acres. Within the year Ann Jones, Macklin Jeffries, and Walker Jeffries joined the ranks of property owners. Vincent concludes that Beech Settlement was a “bustling rural community” by mid decade with most of the township’s 400 black residents arriving by 1835.

Vincent also reports that other settlers arrived at Beech Settlement from western Ohio between 1830 and 1833 (Watkins, Brooks, Tootle) and southern Indiana (Bobson, Moss). A small number accompanied Quakers migrating from the Old South (Cary, Lassiter, Winslow). Beech Settlement experienced an influx of settlers directly from eastern North Carolina as well. Newcomers faced diminished opportunities to acquire cheap land.  By the 1860s and 1870s, older residents began to retire from farming or died and their lands passed into the hands of other owners. Although the amount of acreage in the hands of black landowners decreased between the years 1870 to 1900, in many cases the original pioneers bequeathed their land to younger generations. In addition to the surnames mentioned above, there are records of names that include Jeffries, Roberts, Archey, Hill, Walden, and Winburn.

The Beech Settlement was a hub of connections to many of the other rural communities. Beech resident Archibald McGowan/McGowan purchased acreage in Randolph County (Greenvville) and Henry County (Trails Grove). Some of his children attended Union Literary Institute in Randolph County. The sons of William Trail of Trails Grove traveled to Beech for social reasons (Benjamin Trail married a Beech resident, Ethainda Wadkins) and for reasons of employment. For example, a Trail son was hired as a school teacher at Beech. As land prices in Ripley Township rose, some residents of Beech Settlement moved on to communities such as the Roberts Settlement in Hamilton County or other destinations.  For example, Hugh Bobson sold his 40-acre Beech homestead and bought 80 acres in Hancock County.  Some free black families began to seek land in other locales such as Hamilton County, Indiana’s Roberts Settlement.

The Rush County Interim Report inventories a number of significant structures in present day Ripley Township including Mt Pleasant Beech Church constructed ca 1840 at CR 725 West and the Walker Jeffries homestead constructed ca 1850 at CR 800 North. Descendants of the settlement host an annual homecoming which includes a church service at the site at the end August.

Bibliography

Boyd, Gregory, A., Family Maps of Rush County, Indiana. Norman, OK: Arphax, 2010.

Carter, Lawrence. Notebooks, F0562. William Henry Smith Memorial Library, Indiana Historical Society, Indianapolis, Indiana. [Collection Guide online]

History of Rush County, Indiana, from the Earliest Time to the Present with Biographical Sketches, Notes, etc.  Chicago: Brant & Fuller, 1888.

“Indiana’s African American Settlements” Allen County Public Library Genealogy Center. Accessed June 20, 2014.

Newby, Thomas. Reminiscences of Thomas T. Newby. Carthage, IN: [n.p.], 1916.

Rush County Interim Report. Indianapolis: Historic Landmarks Foundation of Indiana, 1993.

Thornbrough, Emma Lou. The Negro in Indiana before 1900: a Study of a Minority. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1993.

U.S. Bureau of the Census. “Aggregate Amount of Each Description of Persons within District of Indiana,” 1: 352. Sixth Census of the United States, 1840. Washington, D.C.: U.S. Census Office, 1841.

U.S. Bureau of the Census. “Population of Civil Divisions Less Than Counties; Table III—State of Indiana,” 1: 124. Ninth Census of the United States, 1870. Washington, D.C.: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1872.

Vincent, Stephen A.  Southern Seed, Northern Soil. Bloomington, Ind.: Indiana University Press, 1999.

Weaver, Thomas P.  “Life and Works.”  Free African Americans (Nineteenth Century Photos, Part 4: The Weaver Settlement). Accessed June 20, 2014.

By Georgia Cravey, June 23, 2014   

 

Scott County

African American rural settlements documented: 0

Some of the earliest settlers of Scott County came from the eastern seaboard by flatboat, but most came by foot from Kentucky, Virginia, or North Carolina.  Scott evolved into somewhat of a crossroad for several counties but was too distant from all county seats for practical matters. So, residents successfully petitioned the Indiana Legislature for separate status. (Corydon was the state capitol at the time.) Augmented with portions of Clark, Jackson, Jefferson, Jennings, and Washington counties, Scott was established in 1820.   The census that year recorded 2,334 inhabitants. The number of black people in the county would vary little over the course of the century:

U.S. Census Estimates of African American Residents in Scott County, 1820-1900

 

Census Year 1820 1830 1840 1850 1860 1870 1880 1890 1900
No. of Inhabitants 0 15 15 15 2 5 10 1 1

 

These figures exclude those in bondage.  Census slave schedules for this period reflect approximately 200 enslaved people in Indiana- six in Scott County. Slavery was outlawed; it was openly practiced and tolerated.   Even so, there may have been some under-reporting of numbers. Owners paid a tax for each person they owned; so, some may have chosen to downplay the numbers. Since the census is based on voluntary participation, self-report and enumerator interpretation, it is vulnerable to low compliance, underestimates and inaccurate categorizations.

The above may be an “underestimate”, but whatever the actual number, Scott and many counties had similar counts.  (A 1901 statewide voter audit confirms this and the dramatic drop from mid-century figures. Indianapolis Journal, October 26, 1901.)  Still, the data does challenge the current consensus that African Americans were “not allowed” in Scott County but reveals nothing about the terms and conditions of their habitation. For example, is “Violet Lavinia,” who served the Swope family as a slave in Kentucky, but was “freed” in Scott Co. part of the count?  What was her status as a citizen and worker from 1820 onward?

Note also that the Washington County Negro Register (1853-1865), reflects Scott County as the birthplace for four of five “Jacksons” registering. (The fifth, presumably their mother, reported Bourbon Co. KY as her birthplace.)  There is also evidence that in 1850, of the 15 African Americans Scott County residents, 5 were school-aged children and 4 were attending school. From Coy Robbins Reclaiming Our Black Heritage in Salem Indiana, pg.92: “Table 15: Colored Children in Adjoining Counties Attending Schools in 1850.” Were they attending local white schools or were arrangements made for access to the A.M.E. “day” schools in adjacent Washington County? The famed Rev. Hiram Revels, his brother and other African Methodist Episcopal members had formed at least two schools in Washington County by 1845.

All suggest that African Americans coalesced in some ways as community here that merit further examination. Similarly, with the possible exception of Scott Co.’s first lynching, there is virtually no mention of race in historic documents or local newspapers. Since “color related” news—both the sensational and mundane–was often picked up as filler or commentary in newspapers in other locales (Indianapolis, Louisville, Salem, etc.), future researchers could find substantiation elsewhere.

Bibliography

Bogardus, Carl R. and Langdon, Leland. The Scott County Lynching in 1898.  Reprint of this 1945 article may be read at the Austin, Indiana History website.

Bureau of the United States Census, National Archives & Records, Indiana.  Federal Population Census Schedules and Volume: Reel 0014 – 1820.  Crawford, Delaware, Dubois, Harrison, Jennings, Knox, Lawrence, Martin, Monroe, Orange, Owen, Perry, Scott, Switzerland, Vanderburgh, Vigo, Wabash, Washington. Accessed August 22, 2014.

Bureau of the United States Census, National Archives & Records, Indiana.  Federal Population Census Schedules, Volume: Reel 0030 – 1830. Montgomery, Clinton, Vigo, Hendricks, Monroe, Putnam, Morgan, and Scott Counties. Accessed August 22, 2014.

Bureau of the United States Census, National Archives & Records, Indiana. Federal Population Census Schedules, Volume: Reel 0093 – 1840. Rush, Scott, Shelby, Spencer Counties. Accessed August 22, 2014.

Bureau of the United States Census, National Archives & Records, Indiana. Federal Population Census Schedules, Volume: Reel 00171 – 1850.  Scott, St. Joseph Counties. Accessed August 23, 2014.

Bureau of the United States Census, National Archives & Records, Indiana. Federal Population Census Schedules, Volume: Reel 00294 – 1860.  Rush, Scott Counties. Accessed August 23, 2014.

Bureau of the United States Census, National Archives & Records, Indiana. Federal Population Census Schedules, Volume: Reel 00357 – 1870. Shelby and Scott Counties. Accessed August 23, 2014.

Bureau of the United States Census, National Archives & Records, Indiana. Federal Population Census Schedules, and Volume: Reel 00309 – 1880.  Scott County. Accessed August 23, 2014.

Gresham, John M. Biographical and Historical Souvenir for the Counties of Clark, Crawford, Harrison, Floyd, Jefferson, Jennings, Scott, and Washington, Indiana. Chicago: Chicago Printing Co. 1889.  Print.  (Scott County Library)

LaRoche, Cheryl.  Free Black Communities and the Underground Railroad: The Geography of Resistance.  Urbana-Champaign, IL: University of Illinois Press, 2014.

Thornbrough, Emma. The Negro in Indiana: A Study of a Minority.  Indianapolis: Indiana Historical Bureau, 1957.

State Enumeration of Voters for the Legislative Apportionment for 1903. Indianapolis Journal, Volume 51, Number 299, 26 October 1901, pg. 9.  Accessed June 22, 2014.

By Martina Nichols Kunnecke, August 2014

 

Shelby County

African American rural settlements documented: 0

Though there are no known settlements in Shelby County, there are strong possibilities in need of further research.

In Black History: Shelby County, Paula Karmire mentions some possible settlements. She describes a 6 ½ acre parcel “just south of the [Shelbyville] city limits” settled by five Grissom brothers and a sister known as the Grissom neighborhood or Grissom Lane (p17). Additionally she discusses two “primary areas of settlement”: Harrison Street area to the south of the Jeffersonville, Madison and Indianapolis Railroad and an area along Pike and Venter Streets and Washington Avenue west of Miller Street known as Maplewood (p 26). These two areas are probably within the town of Shelbyville and thus outside the scope of this project. Another area of settlement known as Hoganville was located across Blue River at the north edge of Shelbyville (p 26). Finally Karmire notes “a small community of people” at Norristown by 1900 which falls outside the time frame of this project (p 7).

The 19th century African American population of Shelby County was small, but like neighboring Johnson County, shows a substantial increase between 1860 and 1870.

In 1830 the census shows a total of eight free people of color residing in the county apparently in association with white families. The history of the Fox household is typical of one of the major themes of migration to Indiana. Michael Fox leaves the Quaker stronghold of Randolph County, North Carolina, with his son, Jacob, and three black children: Silas, Isaac and Dilla/Dilly Coleman/Colman. In 1820 the Fox household is enumerated in Wayne County, Indiana, and by 1821 Fox and his household have settled in “Little Marion” in Shelby County.

David Craig describes the Davis household, another white family that included African Americans. Records would indicate that these individuals had connections to a North Carolina farm owned by the Copple family. The Copples were German immigrants who lived previously in Maryland and Virginia. They left Rowan County, North Carolina, with “a few slaves” for Clark County, Indiana, where some of the freed slaves remained with the Copples while others apparently migrated to Shelby County.

The story of the first black landowners in Shelby County presents another interesting scenario of migration. In his 1821 will, Thomas Graffort, a white slave-owner in Bourbon County, Kentucky, provides his fifteen slaves eighty acre-tracts of land that have been entered in Shelby County and Rush County, Indiana. Three men, Hazard, Hedgeman and George Graffort share in the 480 acres purchased in Addison Township. They did not, however, have long tenure as the land seems to have been sold within a few years.

In 1840 the population increases to 20 persons. In 1850 the count declines by 1 person to 19. Of those 19 people, 9 are residing in the town of Shelbyville. The others are distributed in townships as follows: Moral, 7; Hendricks, 2;, Marion, 1.  In the 1860 census the count is 21 African Americans. As in the previous decade, the majority, 14 persons, live in Shelbyville, the county seat.

The Civil War years and the years leading up to the war saw conflict develop between Union and anti-Union/pro-slavery elements. Accusations were made concerning the formation of a chapter of Knights of the Golden Circle. On the other side of the coin, there is evidence of Underground Railroad activity in Shelby County. Ten black men enlisted in the 28th United States Colored Troops (USCT) from Shelby County: Thompson Burrs, Hiram and Madison Estes, Jordan McCrary, William B. McNeal, Daniel W. and John W. Morgan, Harvey Palmer, James Wadkins, and Isaiah Wells. Additional men were represented in other “colored” units.  The 28th USCT was an Indiana regiment.

Although it represented a small percentage of the total county population, the African American population increased significantly to 128 by 1870. The population was still concentrated in the town of Shelbyville and in Addison Township as a whole. In 1860 there were no African Americans counted in Addison Township out of the town of Shelbyville, but by 1870, 58 persons exclusive of the town are residing in the township. The 1870 population outside Addison Township is negligible with 10 of the 13 townships reporting no black population and two townships reporting only a single individual. A majority of the population shares Kentucky nativity with a good representation of North Carolinians, Virginians as well as some Indiana- born persons.

Paula Karmire’s excellent study of Shelby County’s black history provides a detailed picture of African American life in Shelby County after 1870. Settlement patterns begin to change. She notes a “small community of people living at Norristown” by 1900 with kinship ties to a community located near Hope, Indiana, in northeast Bartholomew County (p 7). Family names include Crawley, Bird, Starks, Simms, Hobbs, Johnson, McGee, Wells, Hayes, and Gaither.  Children from these families are evident in early school photographs collected at the Shelby County Library. Another small group of African Americans (Pattersons, Alderbrands and Couchmans) lived for a brief period following the Civil War in small frame houses in Washington Township a mile west of Flat Rock, south of State Road 252. The Couchmans can be traced to Marion County where Henry Couchman was a bell captain at an Indianapolis hotel.

In the decades following the Civil War, certain elements of Shelbyville demonstrated a domestic version of xenophobia. In December 1879, twenty-five immigrants from Goldsboro, North Carolina, arrived without adequate clothing or other means to survive winter in Indiana. Local reaction among white residents was largely negative and suspicions were aroused about other groups of North Carolinians making the migration north in search of opportunity.

In Shelbyville the black community began efforts to organize a school as early as 1868. School #2 at South Harrison and Howard Streets was built in 1870. In 1884 Nelson Grissom successfully sought to have his son Edmund admitted to the Shelbyville High School. Edmund Grissom graduated with the class of 1889.

Efforts to organize a church began as early as 1857 and organized worship by a Baptist congregation began in February 1869. Rev. Richard Bassett headed the church in 1870. Rev Bassett had ties throughout Indiana including Parke and Howard Counties, and the towns of Rising Sun, Madison, New Albany, Indianapolis and Kokomo. Methodist organized more slowly. They obtained their own building in 1879 in the former headquarters of the Shelby County Abolitionist Society.

It seems notable that Shelbyville’s fire department was integrated. Six black men were members of the 1891 hook and ladder squad and are included in a photograph of the crew. Karmire notes, however, that blacks were barred from many aspects of white society and as a consequence developed a rich community life with separate social and benevolent organizations including Masons and Odd Fellows. She sums up: “While there was generally mutual respect…racial lines were clear” (p23). In her book the level of detail is superior.

There is an impressive collection of local history materials at the Shelby County Public Library.  There is a Local History Room, including many photographs.  There are a lot of possibilities for digitization projects.

Bibliography

Atlas of Shelby County. Evansville, Indiana: Unigraphic, 1979. (Reprint of 1880 edition).

Boetcker, Rev. William J.H. Picturesque Shelbyville. Reprint, Evansville, Indiana: Unigraphic, 1978.

Chadwick, Edward H. Chadwick’s History of Shelby County, Indiana. 1909. Reprint, Evansville, Indiana: Unigraphic, 1977.

Craig, David. “Black families Valuable Part of County’s History.” Shelbyville News, March 21, 2001.

Ellis, Mike. “Blacks Leave Mark in Area.” Indianapolis News, June 14, 1989.

Flat Rock and Washington Township: Days-Gone-Bye [sic]. n.p.: n.p. 1987

Holmes, Maurice. Family History. [Local newsletter in files at Shelby County Museum] September 1991, p 45; December 1988, p 28.

Karmire, Paula. Black History: Shelby County, Indiana. Shelbyville, Indiana, P. Karmire, 2006.

Karmire, Paula. Shelby County, Indiana, Civil War Soldiers: A Biographical History. [n.p.:  n. p.], 2010.

McFadden, Marian. Biography of a Town: Shelbyville, Indiana, 1822-1962. Shelbyville, Indiana: Tippecanoe Press, 1968.

Murray, Lucille and Betty Randall. Black Heritage—Shelby County.  Typewritten manuscript Shelby County Public Library.

Oliver, Beverly. Shelbyville: A Pictorial History. St. Louis: G. Bradley Publishing, 1996.

Porter, Albert. A Short History of the Porter Family. 1989. Typewritten manuscript, Shelby County Public Library

Shelby County Historical Society [Shelby County, Indiana]. Shelby County, Indiana, History and Families. Paducah, Kentucky: Turner Publishing, 1992.

Shelby County Interim Report. [Indianapolis?] Historic Landmarks Foundation, 1992.

Shelbyville [Indiana] Young Men’s Pan-American Congress. The City of Shelbyville, Indiana, Illustrated. Chicago: Merritt & Harris, 1895.

Thornbrough, Emma Lou. The Negro in Indiana before 1900: a Study of a Minority. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1993.

U.S. Bureau of the Census. “Aggregate Amount of Each Description of Persons within District of Indiana,” 1: 352. Sixth Census of the United States, 1840. Washington, D.C.: U.S. Census Office, 1841.

U.S. Bureau of the Census. “Population of Civil Divisions Less Than Counties; Table III—State of Indiana,” 1: 124. Ninth Census of the United States, 1870. Washington, D.C.: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1872.

By Georgia Cravey, July 28, 2014                                                                        

 

 

Spencer County

African American rural settlements documented: 1

The African American population enumeration in Spencer County rose from 2 in 1860 to 949 people in the 1870 federal decennial census.

U.S. Census Numbers for Spencer County, 1820-1870

Census Year 1820 1830 1840 1850 1860 1870
No. of African Americans 2 14 27 14 2 949

 

Though most of the blacks who came to Spencer County after the Civil War settled in eight of the ten townships, the majority of them (over 650) located in Ohio Township, south of Rockport, the county seat.  They were in a settlement sometimes known as Africa.  On an 1879 Spencer County atlas (B. N. Griffing), there is a black school located in the in this township.  The settlement was in the lowlands.  The Ohio River still floods in the area.  Historically, houses were built on stilts and the soil was very sandy.

The 1870 census enumerated over 100 blacks in both Hammond and Luce Townships. Additional research needs to be done to determine if there were rural settlements in these areas.

Sandale Cemetery is a black cemetery located at the present intersection of Highway 66 and Highway 161.  This is an area that needs more research as little is known about its origins or the reason for its location.

Bibliography

Griffing, B.N. An Illustrated Historical Atlas of Spencer County, Indiana from Actual Surveys under the Direction of B.N. Griffing. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania: D.J. Lake & Co., 1879.

U.S. Bureau of the Census. “Aggregate Amount of Each Description of Persons within District of Indiana,” 1: 352. Sixth Census of the United States, 1840. Washington, D.C.: U.S. Census Office, 1841.

U.S. Bureau of the Census. Population of Civil Divisions Less Than Counties; Table III State of Indiana,” 1:124 Seventh Census of the United States, 1850 Washington, D.C.: U.S. Census Office, 1852

U.S. Bureau of the Census. Population of Civil Divisions Less Than Counties; Table III State of Indiana,” 1:124 Eighth Census of the United States, 1860.  Washington, D.C.: U.S. Census Office, 1862

U.S. Bureau of the Census. “Population of Civil Divisions Less Than Counties; Table III—State of Indiana,” 1: 124. Ninth Census of the United States, 1870. Washington, D.C.: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1872.

Audrey C. Werle “Research Notes on Indiana African American History,” M 792, William Henry Smith Memorial Library, Indiana Historical Society, Indianapolis, Indiana.

By Lishawna Taylor, July 25, 2014            

 

 

 

 

St. Joseph County

African American rural settlements documented: 1

The Huggart Settlement is regarded as the first rural African American settlement in northern Indiana. Settled by brothers Samuel and Andrew Huggart in late 1834, it was a small, rural hamlet east of Potato Creek State Park. The settlement grew steadily until the early 1890s, when the death of Andrew Huggart and the growth of the nearby city of South Bend led to the decline of this unique community. Family surnames of the settlement included: Huggart (born in Virginia before migrating to Ohio), Bass (born in Guilford County, North Carolina, before migrating to Terre Haute, Indiana), Powell (from South Carolina), Manual (from North Carolina), and Boone (from North Carolina). In 1850, both Huggart brothers and their families appear on the census, and the settlement is comprised of 7 people. In 1860, the number rises to 8, and in 1870, it increases to 18, reaching its peak in 1880 when 28 mulattos are recorded.

The extensive research of Frederick Karst, which included oral histories of community members who personally remembered the settlement, his publication, “A Rural Black Settlement in St. Joseph County, Indiana, before 1900” provides a good overview of the community.  Karst notes that the Huggart Settlement was typical for the pioneer period in Indiana, referencing Thornbrough’s research that early black settlements were, “…rural and that it apparently preceded permanent urban settlement in the county…” (Karst, 266). With as many as 28 residents in the settlement, the families likely shared the work of threshing, butchering, and other farm work. Local resident Charles Bowers remembers that the Huggart farms included two apple orchards amongst the typical raising of livestock and general crop farming. Karst also found evidence that Andrew Huggart was the first black person to seek public office in St. Joseph County, although his extensive research has failed to determine what the office was (Karst, 256). Huggart was also selected as superintendent of a Union Township Sunday School at Olive Branch—a position he held for many years (Karst, 257). Karst argues that these major milestones reflect the esteem their neighbors held for the families of the Huggart Settlement. Bowers remembered that, “… when the last of the Huggarts left Union Township, their friends and neighbors held a sad but festive farewell gathering in their honor, in character with the life they had shared as pioneers” (Karst, 266).

Today, two historic markers solidify the significance of this settlement: one on the former grounds of the Huggart Settlement and one at the Porter (Rea) Cemetery at Potato Creek State Park. While the settlement would have had several buildings, including log homes, barns, a school, and even a sawmill owned by neighboring abolitionist Solomon W. Palmer, today only one of the Huggart houses and one Manual house remains. The nearby cemetery, Porter (Rea), in Liberty Township is the final resting place for many neighboring families, both black and white.

After the Civil War, the number of African Americans living in St. Joseph County surged, with the population living within the cities of South Bend and Mishawaka and otherwise scattered throughout the county.

Bibliography

An Illustrated Historical Atlas of St. Joseph Co., Indiana. Compiled, drawn & published from personal examinations & surveys. Chicago: Higgins, Belden & Co., 1875.

Center for History. “Local African American History.” Local History South Bend.  Accessed June 8, 2014.

Deed, September 6, 1854, Deed Record 72, p. 625, St. Joseph County Land Records.

History of St. Joseph County, Indiana. Chicago: C. C. Chapman & Co., 1880.

“Huggart Settlement, ID No.: 71.1998.1”. (1998). Indiana Historical Bureau. Historical marker, NW corner at junction of SR 4 and Mulberry Road east of Potato Creek State Park, Union Township, St. Joseph County, Indiana.

Karst, Frederick A. “A Rural Black Settlement in St. Joseph County, Indiana, before 1900.” Indiana Magazine of History, September 1978: 252-68.

“Porter (Rea) Cemetery, ID No.: 71.2003.1”. (2003). Indiana Historical Bureau. Historical marker, Cemetery located in Potato Creek State Park, North Liberty, St. Joseph County, Indiana.

“Indiana African American Survey of Historic Sites and Structures,” Library Collection, Indiana Landmarks State Headquarters, Indianapolis

U.S. Census, 1850: Population Schedules of the Seventh Census of the United States. Accessed June 11, 2014.

U.S. Census, 1860: Population Schedules of the Eighth Census of the United States. Accessed June 11, 2014.

U.S. Census, 1870: Population Schedules of the Ninth Census of the United States. Accessed June 11, 2014.

U.S. Census, 1880: Population Schedules of the Tenth Census of the United States. Accessed June 11, 2014.

By Andrea Sowle, July 6, 2014         

 

 

Starke County

African American rural settlements documented: 0

Starke County was established in 1835.  The number of blacks listed in the federal census from 1840 through 1870 was minuscule. The only black person listed on the census during this time period was included in the 1860 census.

Bibliography

U.S. Census, 1840: Population Schedules of the Sixth Census of the United States. Accessed July 1, 2014.

U.S. Census, 1850: Population Schedules of the Seventh Census of the United States. Accessed July 1, 2014.

U.S. Census, 1860: Population Schedules of the Eighth Census of the United States. Accessed July 1, 2014.

U.S. Census, 1870: Population Schedules of the Ninth Census of the United States. Accessed July 1, 2014.

By Andrea Sowle, July 2, 2014

Steuben County

African American rural settlements documented: 0

African American population numbers in Steuben County were very low from 1840 to 1870.  According to the federal decennial census for the county, the number of black residents increased from two to five from 1850 to 1870; the 1840 African American population count was zero.

Bibliography

U.S. Census, 1840: Population Schedules of the Sixth Census of the United States. Accessed July 2, 2014.

U.S. Census, 1850: Population Schedules of the Seventh Census of the United States. Accessed July 2, 2014.

U.S. Census, 1860: Population Schedules of the Eighth Census of the United States. Accessed July 2, 2014.

U.S. Census, 1870: Population Schedules of the Ninth Census of the United States. Accessed July 2, 2014.

By Andrea Sowle, July 21, 2014                                                                                                   

 

 

 

 

 

Sullivan County

African American rural settlements documented: 1

Sullivan County, established in 1816, enumerated over 100 blacks by the 1860 census.

An early black rural settlement was located around the present day Lewis Cemetery (also referred to as the Colored Cemetery) in Haddon Township. Many of the names from the cemetery can be found on an 1899 county atlas.  There is also a black school (that may have doubled as a church) on the atlas. Some of the surnames associated with the settlement are listed as landowners on the atlas. They include Calaway (or Calloway), Lewis and Wells.  These names are also found in Audrey Werle’s 1870 head of household list.

The Calaway family can be found in Sullivan County newspaper articles and death notices, and in the Greene and Sullivan Counties History. Violet’s family arrived in the county in 1806 with Joel Collins, a white minister from Kentucky.  She later married Jim Caloway, one of three Calaway brothers.  Jim fought in the Revolutionary War and supplied one of the Sullivan forts with meat.  There are death notices for John, Jack and James Calaway in Carlisle, Indiana newspapers.

The history of Crawford County, Illinois, records: “A colony of 100 plus Negroes near the Wabash River in the southwest corner of Sullivan County, Indiana.”

Bibliography

History of Crawford County, Illinois, Volume 2. Robinson, Illinois: Crawford County Historical Society, 1980.

History of Greene and Sullivan Counties, Indiana. Chicago: Goodspeed Brothers & Co., 1884.

An Illustrated standard atlas of Sullivan County, Indiana.  [Evansville, Ind.]: Wilson, Fuller & Co., 1899 (?).

Sullivan County, Indiana Cemetery Records, Volume 5. (Prepared by the Sullivan County Historical Society; accessed at the Sullivan County Public Library, Sullivan, Indiana)

U.S. Bureau of the Census. “Aggregate Amount of Each Description of Persons within District of Indiana,” 1: 352. Sixth Census of the United States, 1840. Washington, D.C.: U.S. Census Office, 1841.

U.S. Bureau of the Census. Population of Civil Divisions Less Than Counties; Table III State of Indiana,” 1:124 Seventh Census of the United States, 1850 Washington, D.C.: U.S. Census Office, 1852

U.S. Bureau of the Census. Population of Civil Divisions Less Than Counties; Table III State      of Indiana,” 1:124 Eighth Census of the United States, 1860.  Washington, D.C.: U.S. Census Office, 1862

U.S. Bureau of the Census. “Population of Civil Divisions Less Than Counties; Table III—State of Indiana,” 1: 124. Ninth Census of the United States, 1870. Washington, D.C.: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1872.

Audrey C. Werle “Research Notes on Indiana African American History,” M 792, William Henry Smith Memorial Library, Indiana Historical Society, Indianapolis, Indiana.

By Lishawna Taylor, July 18, 2014

 

Switzerland County

African American Settlements Documented:  0           

In the early 1800s settlers began arriving via flatboats in what would become Switzerland County (1814).  It was a popular destination for people of modest means and of Swiss ancestry. The latter named the county after their native land and introduced vineyards and winemaking in the region. Mentions of African Americans in Switzerland’s historic records are scant and infrequent; however, records suggest blacks and mulattoes were present in the county as early as 1820.   By the 1850s there was a small but measurable presence in almost all townships.  Since 100% compliance with the census or registry laws was rare, especially in comparatively remote areas such as Switzerland County, it is likely the figures below underestimate actual numbers. The definition and recording of “free blacks” varied according to enumerator and census; so it is not always a reliable indicator. It also sometimes included or excluded “mulattoes” of which there were fairly sizable groups in Switzerland County.

African American Residents in Switzerland County, 1820-1900

Census Year 1820 1830  1840 1850 1860 1870 1880 1890 1900
No. of “Free Blacks” 9 13 42 66 42 121 214 135 81

 

Documented references to local blacks (e.g., “Polk’s negro”) suggest some working relationship with white settlers. Slavery was tacitly accepted and indentured servitude common in Indiana. Further research could clarify the labor patterns in the largely agrarian Switzerland Co.

Whether indentured, enslaved, or free, African Americans played a role in the county’s early settlement, river and farming enterprises.  Census records reveal that black farmers, laborers, river workers and household workers lived in both towns and rural settings. However, it most was rural dwellers living with families.  For example, the 1850 U.S. Census reflects numerous multi-member households in almost all townships where 4 members or more are working. The Dicksons family in Cotton Township is just one of numerous examples (i.e., Family #314: Benoni, Eva, Frederick, Elihu, Loyd, Israel, Nancy, William, Margaret, Jonathan and George).

Despite their relatively small numbers, concern about the future of “colored” people was evident in the newspapers of the day.  Colonization programs and articles pertaining to “negro” migration appeared regularly in Vevay newspapers. In an 1883 piece, a prominent resident of Vevay, Levin J Wollen, indicated that the Republican Party was actively encouraging African Americans to move to Vevay to bolster the vote.  Also, he expressed consternation that African American children were attending the white schools in Vevay.  Further research might identify where people of color attended schools and churches and the location of cemeteries in the county.  It could also clarify how isolated clusters of African Americans in Switzerland Co. met those needs.

Bibliography

Bureau of the United States Census, National Archives & Records, 4th Census.  Indiana Federal Population Census Schedules, Volume: Reel 0014 – 1820.  Crawford, Delaware, Dubois, Harrison, Jennings, Knox, Lawrence, Martin, Monroe, Orange, Owen, Perry, Scott, Switzerland, Vanderburgh, Vigo, Wabash, Washington.. Accessed on August 22, 2014.

Bureau of the United States Census, National Archives & Records, 5th Census.  Indiana Federal Population Census Schedules, Volume: Reel 0032 – 1830 Ripley, Switzerland, Parke, Fountain, Warren, Vanderburgh, Union, and Clay Counties. Accessed on August 22, 2014.

U.S. Bureau of the Census. “Aggregate Amount of Each Description of Persons within District of Indiana,” 1: 352. Sixth Census of the United States, 1840. Washington, D.C.: U.S. Census Office, 1841.

U.S. Bureau of the Census. Population of Civil Divisions Less Than Counties; Table III State of Indiana,” 1:124 Seventh Census of the United States, 1850 Washington, D.C.: U.S. Census Office, 1852.

U.S. Bureau of the Census. Population of Civil Divisions Less Than Counties; Table III State of Indiana,” 1:124 Eighth Census of the United States, 1860.  Washington, D.C.: U.S. Census Office, 1862

U.S. Bureau of the Census. “Population of Civil Divisions Less Than Counties; Table III—State of Indiana,” 1: 124. Ninth Census of the United States, 1870. Washington, D.C.: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1872.

Bureau of the United States Census, National Archives & Records, 10th Census.  Indiana Federal Population Census Schedules, Volume: Reel 00313 – 1880 Sullivan, Switzerland, Tippecanoe Counties. Accessed on August 23, 2014.

History of Switzerland County, Indiana from Their Earliest Settlement: Containing a History of the Cities, Townships, Towns, Villages, Schools, and Churches Reminiscences, Extracts, Etc. Local Statistics Portraits of Early Settlers and Prominent Men. Mt. Vernon, In: Windmill Publications, 1993.)

Switzerland County, Indiana Register of Negroes and Mulattoes (1853-1865).  Accessed during June and July 2014.

Wollen, I. J.   Editorial. “The Republicans Must Go!”, Vevay Democrat, October 25, 1883, p. 4.

Weakley, Harraman & Co. History of Dearborn, Ohio and Switzerland Counties, Indiana: From Their Earliest Settlement, Containing a History of the Counties, Their Cities, Townships, Towns, Villages, Schools, and Churches … Biographies … History of the North-West Territory, the State of Indiana, and the Indians. Chicago: Weakley, Harraman Co, 1885.

By Martina Nichols Kunnecke,  August 1, 2014

Tippecanoe County

African American rural settlements documented: 0

A rural settlement was not identified; however a vibrant urban settlement/community existed.

Tippecanoe County was formed in 1826. The 1840 census lists 54 free people of color, many of them in the city of Lafayette.  By1850, there were 161 people recorded in the census.  After a slight decrease in 1860 (to 143), the population rebounded to 172 by 1870. William Findley was among the early settlers, coming from Ohio to Lafayette about 1837.  Samuel Webster (also from Ohio) became Findley’s business partner and they were both leaders in the growing community. Findley would later move to Covington in nearby Fountain County, and he and Webster subsequently immigrated to the country of Liberia during the 1850s. Other early Tippecanoe County residents were named Allison, Brown, Burtch, Miller and Cummings, and they came from Virginia, Maryland, Ohio, New York and Indiana.

The African Methodist Episcopal Church, which was central in the growth of the urban settlement, was organized in 1841. Members of its congregation participated in the Negro Convention Movement and during the Civil War the church held meetings to recruit black soldiers. The community also established a school for black children. Thomas Burgess was listed as a school teacher in the 1860 census (Anthrop).  Several Masonic and fraternal lodges were established as early as the 1850s and a Baptist church was built in 1872.  According to Anthrop, these free citizens of color held a variety of occupations.  In addition to being laborers, Anthrop notes that Tippecanoe County had many black barbers.  The Negro in Indiana (Thornbrough) identifies Lafayette as being a station on the Underground Railroad and having a small, but vibrant community.

Bibliography

Ancestry.com. “U.S. Federal Census 1820-1870,” accessed June 20, 2014.

Anthrop, Mary, Guest Editor. “Indiana Emigrants to Liberia.” The Indiana Historian, March 2000.

Anthrop, Mary E. “The Road Less Traveled: Hoosier African Americans and Liberia.” Traces of Indiana and Midwestern History. Winter, 2007. 12.

Dehart, Richard Patten. Past and Present of Tippecanoe County, Indiana, Volume I. Indianapolis: B.F. Bowen, 1909.

Heller, Herbert Lynn. “Negro Education in Indiana from 1816 to 1860.” PhD diss., Indiana University, 1951.

Thornbrough, Emma Lou. The Negro in Indiana before 1900: A Study of a Minority. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1993.

Audrey C. Werle “Research Notes on Indiana African American History,” M 792, William Henry Smith Memorial Library, Indiana Historical Society, Indianapolis, Indiana.

By Dona Stokes-Lucas, July 18, 2014                                                                     

 

 

Tipton County

African American rural settlements documented: 0

Tipton County was one of the last counties to be organized in Indiana. It was created in 1844 from portions of Hamilton County and the Miami Indian Reserve.

The nineteenth century African American population in Tipton County was small. The majority of the black population was found in Cicero Township (1860, 23 persons; 1870, 37 persons) and in the town of Tipton (1860, 7 persons; 1870, 17 persons). Madison Township reported 7 African Americans in 1850 and 24 in 1870. Liberty Township enumerated 12 African Americans in 1860. Three of the six townships reported zero African Americans.

Tipton County offers an interesting situation with the census and racial designation that may have resulted in undercounting of the African Americans. In just a superficial examination of a few records on Ancestry, it appears that some families enumerated in one decade as white (or at least without the letter W indicating white) and then enumerated as mulatto or black in other decades. Racial identity may have been fluid, or it is possible that the enumerator did not perceive the individuals as non-white. In other cases the census taker may have had poor handwriting and M’s for mulatto were not differentiated from W’s for white. Handwriting may also account for significant variants in the recording of names,

The Richard Goin/Going/Goins household, Madison Township, presents an interesting case. North Carolina born Richard Goin was a farmer. Ancestry links Richard to an 1840 record from the U.S. Land Office documenting the purchase of eighty acres in Tipton County. At the time of the purchase, he was residing in Hendricks County. His Virginia born wife Lakey and eight other individuals are listed as residing in Madison Township for the 1850, 1860 and 1870 census. Most of their children were born in Indiana indicating a significant length of residency in the state. The Goines are enumerated without a racial designation in the 1850 and 1860 census leading to the assumption that they are white. Also in 1860 the African American population of Madison Township drops to zero. In the 1870 census when the black population increases to twenty-four persons, the Goines are enumerated as mulatto rather than white.

In the case of the Tyner/Tanner family, a large family living in Cicero Township, King Tanner, head of household, is reported in the 1860 census as black, born in Virginia. His wife, Sarah is reported as mulatto born in North Carolina. Records indicate that King had married Sarah (nee Lawrence) in Henry County, Indiana. They have ten other individuals in the household, all born in Indiana and classed as mulatto. In 1870 the census taker transcribes the surname to Tyner and the handwriting is such that it is very difficult to differentiate between the letters M and W designating race. In 1870, Ancestry reports, probably in error, that King Tyner is white,. Bolden Tyner, age 28, is in the household in 1870. Ancestry links him to a record for Bolden Tanner who served in the Civil War with the 55th Massachusetts Colored Infantry.

Other African American family surnames in Tipton County include Perkins, Murphy, Nicholson, Linch, Jones and Mulvine. In addition to birthplaces of Virginia, North Carolina, and Indiana, other settlers reported Ohio, and New York.

Tipton County histories scarcely mention African Americans.  However they do report evidence of Southern sympathies at the time of the Civil War. These attitudes were counter balanced with pro-Union sentiment. When a rebel flag was raised from the courthouse in 1861, indignant citizens tore it down and threatened the “butter-nut element” with hanging. In 1863, with patriotism lagging, local chapters of Knights of the Golden Circle were formed. In the 1920s, Tipton County faced a new surge of nativism when the Ku Klux Klan enrolled 1622 members. This represented an astonishing 34.4 per cent of the native-born white male population making the Tipton Klan one of the strongest, most influential Klan units in the state.

Allen Safianow noting the county’s small black population in the 19th century (seventy-eight persons by 1870), reports a mere four African Americans in the 1920 census, and none in the 1930 census. He continues, “The precise reasons for the decline…are unexplained, but racial prejudice was common. Blacks left because of greater economic opportunities in the cities or because of overt hostility and intimidation.” Sources acknowledge that the county’s reputation is one of being “inhospitable” to blacks including unwritten sundown laws. He concludes that “racism was something the Tipton Klan exploited rather than generated.”

Bibliography

Blanchard, Charles. Counties of Howard and Tipton. Chicago: F.A. Battey, 1883.

Century Landowner Atlas of Tipton County, Indiana. 1874. Reprint, Knightstown, Indiana: Bookmark, 1979.

Kemp, Gretchen A. Tipton County: Her Land and Her People. Tipton, Indiana: Tipton County Publishing, 1976.

Pershing, M.W. History of Tipton County, Indiana. Indianapolis: Bowen & Company, 1914.

Safianow, Allen. “The Klan Comes to Tipton.” Indiana Magazine of History. 95 (September 1999) 3: 203-231.

Tipton County Interim Report. [Indianapolis?] Historic Landmarks Foundation, 2010.

U.S. Bureau of the Census. “Aggregate Amount of Each Description of Persons within District of Indiana,” 1: 352. Sixth Census of the United States, 1840. Washington, D.C.: U.S. Census Office, 1841.

U.S. Bureau of the Census. “Population of Civil Divisions Less Than Counties; Table III—State of Indiana,” 1: 124. Ninth Census of the United States, 1870. Washington, D.C.: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1872.

By Georgia Cravey, July 31, 2014 

 

Union County

African American Settlements Documented: 0           

Consuming less than 170 square miles on the Indiana/Ohio border, Union has been a fork in the road for many who eventually ventured elsewhere. Established in 1821, its initial permanent white settlers were first generation South Carolinians of Irish descent, who acquired their land through the Cincinnati Land Office. The earliest federal census for the area (1830) confirms a preponderance of family farms, large family groups living near one another and no slave labor.

Of the roughly 7000 Union County residents during its first census, about 77 “free colored persons” were listed among the general population.  A few were by white farmers and living on their property—as a single or as a small group.   A larger number owned and farmed a small property, where they lived with their families.  Like many of their white counterparts, most reported their occupations as farmers, “keeping house,” and raising cattle, etc.   Some families (e.g., the “colored” Orrs and the Churchmans would retain their property through several decades.)

Union’s population would hover around 7-8, 000 throughout the 19th century and the number of African American population would remain fairly low:

U.S. Census Estimates of African American Residents in Union County, 1820-1900

Census Year 1820 1830 1840 1850 1860 1870 1880 1890 1900
No. of Inhabitants 0 77 61 38 40 112 144 161 128

 

In the early 1840s, Hiram Revels (later the first African American to serve in the United State Senate) attended a Quaker Seminary near Liberty, Indiana. Revels used funds he had earned while working as a young barber’s apprentice to one of his brothers in their native North Carolina.  When this sibling died suddenly, Hiram received a small inheritance.  With these funds, he explored educational opportunities in the North, later attending the Union Literary Institute in Randolph County, Indiana. He and brothers, William and Willis, would eventually receive their credentials as A.M. E. ministers, while living in the Indiana/Ohio area.  Hiram resided for nearly 20 years in Washington County, Indiana.

No black settlement was identified or confirmed in Union County.  It is likely that the families of color reached out to one another in some manner as community; but, this research did not discover the typical manifestations (e.g., church, school, etc.)    Like many of their white counterparts and the Revels brothers, some African Americans used Union County as a segue to a future elsewhere. Others appeared to have lived fairly independently with their cultural focus being their farm and family.

Bibliography

Biographical and Genealogical History of Wayne, Fayette, Franklin and Union Counties.  Volumes I and II.  Chicago: The Lewis Publishing Company, 1899.

Bureau of the United States Census, National Archives & Records, Indiana Federal Population Census Schedules, Volume: Reel 0032 – 1830 Ripley, Switzerland, Parke, Fountain, Warren, Vanderburgh, Union, and Clay Counties) Accessed on August 22, 2014.

U.S. Bureau of the Census. “Aggregate Amount of Each Description of Persons within District of Indiana,” 1: 352. Sixth Census of the United States, 1840. Washington, D.C.: U.S. Census Office, 1841.

U.S. Bureau of the Census. Population of Civil Divisions Less Than Counties; Table III State of Indiana,” 1:124 Seventh Census of the United States, 1850 Washington, D.C.: U.S. Census Office, 1852.

U.S. Bureau of the Census. Population of Civil Divisions Less Than Counties; Table III State of Indiana,” 1:124 Eighth Census of the United States, 1860.  Washington, D.C.: U.S. Census Office, 1862.

U.S. Bureau of the Census. “Population of Civil Divisions Less Than Counties; Table III—State of Indiana,” 1: 124. Ninth Census of the United States, 1870. Washington, D.C.: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1872.

LaRoche, Cheryl.  Free Black Communities and the Underground Railroad: The Geography of Resistance.  Urbana-Champaign, IL: University of Illinois Press, 2014.

Robbins, Coy R.  Reclaiming African Heritage at Salem, Indiana. Bowie, Maryland: Heritage Books, 1995.

Thornbrough, Emma. The Negro in Indiana: A Study of a Minority. Indianapolis: Indiana Historical Bureau, 1957.

By Martina Nichols Kunnecke, September 5, 2014

 

Vanderburgh County

African American rural settlements documented: 1

Vanderburgh County was founded in 1818.  From the first federal decennial census for the county in 1820 to 1870, the recorded African American population increased from 3 to 2,151 people.  By 1840, there were over 100 black residents in the county, but like so many other Indiana counties, the black population census numbers fell between 1850 (227) and 1860 (127) and zoomed upward in 1870 (2151).  These numbers very much reflected the political mood of the state during the 1850s, and the outcome of the Civil War and the state’s close proximity to Kentucky in 1870.  Although there were comparatively large population numbers of African Americans in several townships, the majority (1427) were drawn to the city of Evansville in Centre Township after the war.

Daniel Lyles owned land near present day Burdette Park in Union Township.  The land was surveyed in 1856.  He had large property holdings. An African Methodist Episcopal church was established in 1850.  Trustees included William Bug, Ezekiel Gillespie and Henry Jackson.  The church no longer exists. Alfred Lilies also owned land.  This unnamed settlement appears to be connected to Lyles Station and other black rural communities in Gibson County.  Families in these settlements used variant spellings of the Lyles/Liles surname.

By 1870, there were also large masses of African Americans settled in Knight, Perry, Pigeon, and Scott Townships in Vanderburgh County.

Bibliography

Atlas of Vanderburgh Co.; Plat Book of Vanderburgh and Warrick Counties, Indiana. Evansville: n.p., 1975.

Bigham, Darrel E. We Ask Only a Fair Trail: A History of the Black Community of Evansville, Indiana; Indiana University Press, 1987.

U.S. Bureau of the Census. “Aggregate Amount of Each Description of Persons within District of Indiana,” 1: 352. Sixth Census of the United States, 1840. Washington, D.C.: U.S. Census Office, 1841.

U.S. Bureau of the Census. Population of Civil Divisions Less Than Counties; Table III State of Indiana,” 1:124 Seventh Census of the United States, 1850 Washington, D.C.: U.S. Census Office, 1852.

U.S. Bureau of the Census. Population of Civil Divisions Less Than Counties; Table III State      of Indiana,” 1:124 Eighth Census of the United States, 1860.  Washington, D.C.: U.S. Census Office, 1862.

U.S. Bureau of the Census. “Population of Civil Divisions Less Than Counties; Table III—State of Indiana,” 1: 124. Ninth Census of the United States, 1870. Washington, D.C.: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1872.

Audrey C. Werle “Research Notes on Indiana African American History,” M 792.  William Henry Smith Memorial Library, Indiana Historical Society, Indianapolis, Indiana.

Vermillion County

African American rural settlements documented: 0

Vermillion County was formed in 1824 and its 1830 census recorded the presence of 19 free blacks. This small population continued in successive years, with 23 in the 1840 census, 18 in the 1850 census, 30 in the 1860 census and 48 in the 1870 census.  Most of these residents lived in the town of Clinton.  The surnames of families recorded in the 1850 census included Davis, Musgrave, Richards and Thomas. Their birthplaces included Virginia, North Carolina and Georgia. Surnames of families recorded in the 1870 census included Adams, Banks, Cooper and Taylor from Virginia and Maryland. The first (and perhaps only) African American church was the African Methodist Episcopal Church, which was established in 1876 with six members. One of its pastors, Rev. W.R. Hutchison, was a resident of Lost Creek in Vigo County.

Among the early residents was James Taylor, who lived in Perrysville (in the northern part of the county). He was born into slavery in 1820 in Virginia. Taylor would later escape and join the Union Army during the Civil War, eventually accompanying a white soldier to Indiana.  Taylor’s personal story of his life in slavery, travels to Indiana and the obstacles he encountered is told in a book that he dictated to his daughter in 1867. This rare and obscure book could help provide insights to the challenges faced by African Americans living in a post-Civil War community in Indiana.

Bibliography

Ancestry.com. “U.S. Federal Census 1820-1870,” accessed June 22, 2014

Clinton Public Library. Vertical file provided by Sue Vinyard, July 28, 2014.

Lu, Marlene K. Walkin’ the Wabash: An Exploration into the Underground Railroad in West Central Indiana. Indianapolis: Indiana Department of Natural Resources, 2001.

Taylor, Andrew M. Uncle Jimmie: The True Story Of A Slave Life, As Dictated To His Ten-Year Old Daughter Two Years After The Civil War. Nashville, Tennessee: AME Publishing House, 1909.  (Recounts the life story of James Taylor, who “expresses the thought of a slave, and will serve to illustrate the longing of every human heart for freedom of body, mind and soul.” “Uncle Jimmie said in one place, “I would rather die a free man and starve to death than to die in slavery with plenty to eat.” The original of this work was started in 1867 and completed in 1909.)

Audrey C. Werle “Research Notes on Indiana African American History,” M0792.  William Henry Smith Memorial Library, Indiana Historical Society, Indianapolis, Indiana.

By Dona Stokes-Lucas, August 1, 2014                                                                         

 

 

Vigo County

African American rural settlements documented: 3

Vigo County was formed in 1818, and had early settlement by African Americans; in the 1820 census there were 26 free blacks. The black population continued to rise: 425 in 1840, 748 in 1850, 706 in 1860 (a slight decrease) and 1,099 in 1870.  In 1850, there were 41 black landowners, whose real estate was collectively valued at $37,850.(Heller)  John Lyda’s  The Negro In The History of Indiana describes the early black settlements in Vigo County as being some of the best known.  Black pioneers whose surnames were Roberts, Stewart, Chavis, Trevan, Archer and Anderson from North Carolina purchased large tracts of federal land by the 1830s. Historic accounts indicate that as early as 1832, a cabin was erected for the purpose of worship for Methodists and Baptists. An African Methodist Episcopal (AME) church congregation was established by 1840 and a Baptist church was organized by 1850. Two of the black cemeteries remain – Roberts and Stewart Lawn.  Descendants of these black pioneers still live on the same land, some for over 150 years. Two schools were established, as well as some fraternal lodges. A historic marker at the former site of the AME Church was placed by the community in 1974 to recognize the settlement’s Underground Railroad activities.

Richard Wright’s “Negro Rural Communities in Indiana” identifies Lost Creek near Terre Haute as being a colored settlement, which extended into Nevins and Otter Creek townships.

The Burnett Settlement in Otter Creek (Cord) was established about 1835 and was named after its founder, Stephen Grove Burnett, a white man. Local resident Dorothy Ross described Burnett as flowing into Lost Creek and like Lost Creek, Burnett’s black residents also came from North Carolina. Their surnames included Stewart, Walden, Malone, Chandler and Roberts. Otter Creek Township’s population in 1850 was 80, with Nevins Township 46 and Lost Creek Township 138.

Another known settlement was Underwood in Linton Township. It was settled by John Underwood in1841; the same year the township was formed, and most likely came out of part of adjoining Honey Creek Township. John Underwood was said to have purchased large tracts of fertile land. Early residents of the settlement, like those in Lost Creek, were free blacks who emigrated from North Carolina and Virginia (Lyda). The other names associated with the Underwood settlement include Thomas, Manuel, Roberts, Harris, Russell and Bell. Their citizens provided a subscription school for their children before public schools were opened (Lyda).  By 1850, Linton Township had 50 blacks; by 1870, that number had grown to 102.  Today a cemetery is all that remains of the Underwood Settlement.

Bibliography

Ancestry.com. “U.S. Federal Census 1820-1870,” accessed June 20, 2014.

Anthrop, Mary E. “The Road Less Traveled: Hoosier African Americans and Liberia,” Traces of Indiana and Midwestern History. Winter 2007.

Beckwith, H.W. History of Vigo and Parke Counties. Chicago: H.H. Hill and N. Iddings, 1880.

Bureau of Land Management, “Federal Land Patents,” accessed June 20, 2014.

Cord, Xenia. “Rural Settlements in Indiana before 1860,” Black History News & Notes, No. 27 (1987).

Foulkes, Arthur. “Life in Underwood Settlement.” Terre Haute Tribune-Star, February 13, 2011.

Foulkes, Arthur. “Roberts Cemetery links 1800s Vigo County to today.” Terre Haute Tribune Star, March 31, 2013.

Heller, Herbert Lynn. “Negro Education In Indiana From 1816 To 1860.” PhD diss., Indiana University, 1951.

“Register of Negroes and Mulattos 1853-1854 for Vigo County Indiana.” Indiana State Archives, Indianapolis, Indiana.

Lu, Marlene K.  Walkin’ The Wabash: An Exploration Into The Underground Railroad in west central Indiana. Indianapolis: Indiana Department of Natural Resources, 2001.

Lost Creek Baptist Church Sesquicentennial Anniversary Booklet, 1850-2000. (June 18, 2000)

Lyda, John W. The Negro in the History of Indiana. Terre Haute: John W. Lyda,1953.

Putt-Slater, Dawne, The Genealogy Center- Allen County Public Library, Fort Wayne, Ind. (Knowledgeable concerning Indiana African American surnames)

Robbins, Coy D., ed. Black Pioneers in Indiana. Bloomington: Indiana African American Historical and Genealogical Society, 1999.

Tandy, Kisha. “Roberts Cemetery Association Records 1873-1911,” Black History News and Notes, Vol. 28, Number 1 ( 2006).

Thornbrough, Emma Lou, The Negro in Indiana Before 1900: A Study of a Minority. Indianapolis: Indiana University Press, 1993.

Audrey C. Werle “Research Notes on Indiana African American History,” M 792, William Henry Smith Memorial Library, Indiana Historical Society, Indianapolis, Indiana.

Wright Richard R., Jr. “Negro Rural Communities In Indiana,” Southern Workman Vol. 34 (March 1908).

By Dona Stokes-Lucas, August 1, 2014                                                                        

 

 

Wabash County

African American rural settlements documented: 0

While no black settlements were found in Wabash County, there were African Americans in the county during the antebellum period.  After Wabash became a county in 1838, the federal decennial censuses recorded the following blacks: 10 in 1840; 14 in 1850; 33 in 1860; and 84 in 1870.  The following individuals and/or their families were recorded on the 1840 census: Samuel Tidus, William Henry, and William Gordon. In the 1850 census most blacks lived in Chester and Noble Townships. By 1870, Audrey Werle’s indexing of the federal census indicates that people of color were scattered throughout the county.

While the existence of a rural African American settlement does not seem likely by 1870, there are many well documented instances of Underground Railroad activity in the county.

There is a limited source of records (including a newspaper record without a date) for an African Methodist Episcopal church formed in 1873 and located on E. Sinclair Street.  It was razed during the 1960s.  On February 8, 1868 the Wabash Plain Dealer reported: “Rev. Miles and Richard Bassat (Bassett), colored preachers, preached at the Friends Church at 47 W. Market St. with the design of organizing a church in Wabash for colored fold.” Current Wabash County Historian Ron Woodward indicated me that before the construction of its building, the congregation met in several churches around town, particularly Christian, Baptist and Presbyterian.”   An article in the same newspaper (June 22, 1869) stated that, “Colored folk of Wabash, Peru, Logansport, and Kokomo had a grand picnic at Kellers Station. Music furnished bay [sic.] Joe Roberts Stringed band.” A photo of this can be found in, Life in Wabash County 1865-1869.

Bibliography

Green, Alice P. History of White’s Indiana Manual Labor Institute. Muncie, Indiana: Scott Print, 1929.

Helm, Thomas B. History of Wabash County, Indiana: Containing a History of the County, Its Townships, Towns, Military Record, Portraits of Early Settlers and Prominent Men, Personal Reminiscences, etc. Chicago: John Morris, printer, 1884.

O’Hair, Mary. Slavery, the Underground Railroad Movement and Some History as Related to Wabash County, IN. Wabash, Indiana: Wabash County Historical Society, 1964.

O’Hair, Mary C. Original Plat of Town of Lagro, Indiana: Early History and Land Entries … ; Assessments and List of Taxables [1836-] 1840 Lagro Township, Wabash County, Indiana. Wabash, Indiana: Wabash County Historical Society, 1971.

Paul, Hosea. Atlas of Wabash County, Indiana. Philadelphia, Pa.: H. Paul & Co, 1875.

Record of Interments, Falls Cemetery: Wabash Cemetery Society, Wabash, Indiana, 1838-1971. Fort Wayne, Indiana: Fort Wayne Public Library, 1970.

Underground Railroad Research in Select Indiana Counties. Indianapolis, Ind.: Division of Historic Preservation and Archaeology, 2003.

U.S. Census, 1860: Population Schedules of the Eighth Census of the United States. Accessed June 17, 2014.

Wabash Monthly Meeting History. Wabash, Indiana: no publisher, 1900.

Weesner, Clarkson W. History of Wabash County, Indiana: A Narrative Account of Its Historical Progress, Its People and Its Principal Interests. Chicago: Lewis Pub. Co., 2008.

Woodward, Ronald L. comp. 1840 Census of Wabash County, Indiana: Compiled from U.S. Government Census Records. Wabash, Indiana: Wabash Carnegie Public Library, 1980.

Woodward, Ronald and Helen Bruss and Linda Robertson comp. 1850 Census of Wabash County, Indiana: Abstracted from U.S. Government Census Records. Wabash, Indiana: Wabash Carnegie Public Library, 1982.

Woodward, Ronald L. comp. 1870 Census of Wabash County, Indiana: Compiled from U.S. Government Census Records. 2 vols. Wabash, Indiana: Wabash Carnegie Public Library, 1978.

Woodward, Ronald, Newton Fowler, and Elijah Hackleman. Life in Wabash County, 1865-1869: Annotated Diaries of Newton Fowler and Elijah Hackleman. Wabash, Ind.: Reading Room Books, 2007.

Woodward, Ronald. Patron’s Directory to the Atlas of Wabash County, Indiana. Wabash, Ind: Wabash Carnegie Public Library, 1978. (Published by Hosea Paul, 1875.)

Woodward, Ronald L.  Wabash County Encyclopedia.  Unpublished Manuscript, 2014.

By Andrea Sowle, June 19, 2014           

 

 

 

Warren County

African American rural settlements documented: 0

Warren County was formed in 1827, and the first African Americans in the county were recorded in the 1850 federal decennial census.  By 1860, this number had almost doubled to 17, and to 22 by 1870, mostly living within white households.  This area of the state did not experience the significant influx of black population that many other Indiana counties had realized after the Civil War.  There is no indication that the black population established a school or church, and no landownership was reported in 1850 (Heller).

Bibliography

Ancestry.com. “U.S. Federal Census 1820-1870,” accessed June 20, 2014.

Heller, Herbert Lynn. “Negro Education in Indiana from 1816 to 1860.” PhD diss., Indiana University, 1951.

Warrick County

African American rural settlements documented: 1

The African American population in Warrick County ballooned after the Civil War.  The 1870 federal census recorded the county’s black population as 487; the previous count was 19.  Although there were concerted efforts to drive African Americans from the county immediately after the war, the population continued to increase.  Newspaper accounts, as cited in Thornbrough, reported an instance of Anderson Township citizens pledging to pay an attorney to help prosecute any person who would harbor or hire blacks and a movement of returning Warrick County Union soldiers vowing to forcibly remove African Americans, who did not leave, willingly.

Stephenson Station is the one known black, rural settlement in Warrick County. Most of the settlers, including Casey Jones, worked on farms or were farmers. Evidence suggests the settlement was located in Campbell Township, where farm laborers, William Jones, Naton Harris, Joseph Chesham, and farmers, John Butler, Burd Robinson, and Alfred Hunter resided. It is also possible that the settlement was located on the border between Campbell Township and Ohio Township, where a large African American population resided after the Civil War. The 1860 and 1870 Ohio Township censuses show a dramatic population increase going from 0 in 1860 to 235 in 1870. Campbell Township’s black population increased from 17 in 1860 to 44 in 1870.

Audrey Werle’s analysis of the heads of households in 1870 indicates that there were a large number of black farmers throughout the county, but in particular they were in large number in Ohio Township. More research is necessary to determine whether or not an additional settlement existed in the area.

African Americans also came to Boon Township in large numbers, particularly around the county seat of Boonville, where the population went from 2 in 1860 to 159 in 1870.  Of these, Werle notes that nearly all were farmers or farm laborers; although they are much more spread out in the census data than in Ohio Township.  It is possible that other settlements existed there, and this may be a good subject for further research.

Bibliography

U.S. Bureau of the Census. “Aggregate Amount of Each Description of Persons within District of Indiana,” 1: 352. Sixth Census of the United States, 1840. Washington, D.C.: U.S. Census Office, 1841.

U.S. Bureau of the Census. “Population of Civil Divisions Less Than Counties; Table III—State of Indiana,” 1: 124. Ninth Census of the United States, 1870. Washington, D.C.: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1872.

Thornbrough, Emma Lou. The Negro in Indiana before 1900: A Study of a Minority. Bloomington and Indianapolis: Indiana University Press, 1993.

Audrey C. Werle “Research Notes on Indiana African American History,” M 792, William Henry Smith Memorial Library, Indiana Historical Society, Indianapolis, Indiana.

By William Gillispie, August 7, 2014

 

 

Washington County

African American rural settlements documented: 3

Washington County was established in 1814. As early as 1803 and typical of the time, “squatters” anticipating territorial expansion began migrating to the area. By 1810, roughly 250 people had settled.  It’s unclear how many people of color were among or in addition to this number.  The manner in which one, John Williams, arrived is uncertain. But along the way, he befriended Quakers. They had begun arriving in 1808. The same year, a teen named Harry Mingo entered a 60-year indentured service agreement with slaveholder Henry Twyman.  Thus, Twyman complied with Indiana law, which stipulated all enslaved peoples (including the boy and others Twyman had brought with him from Kentucky) be “freed.” Mingo would periodically take Twyman to court, charging mistreatment. In 1816, fearing a return to Kentucky and enslavement, he enlisted the aid of friends and escaped to Canada. (See Centennial History of Washington County by Steve Warder.)

Negro Registers and census data confirm a growing number of blacks trickling into the county between 1820 and 1850.  Some were lone domestics or farm hands living with the family they served.  Many chose the various African American enclaves that were built close together—often unnamed.  In comparison to the white community, their overall numbers were few but grew dur-ing this period. Ultimately African Americans would reside in over half of this rural county’s 13 townships. For census data, it appears that most lived either in the city of Salem or rural com-munities in Washington, Posey or Howard Townships. County revenue and deed records suggest these three unnamed, black pioneer settlements in Washington County were largely agrarian and robust. Property ownership was common. Entrepreneurs paid taxes, helped build churches and established cemeteries. At the zenith of black residency, Rev. Hiram Revels and his brother, Wil-lis, were active in the local African Methodist Episcopal (AME) community, which built two day schools for black children.  (Sons of free black parents and born in North Carolina, the Revel brothers lived in Washington County for decades before seeking their fortunes elsewhere.  Hiram moved to Mississippi where he became the first African American Senator to serve in the U.S. Congress.)  By any standard of the day, John Williams became wealthy—owning 160 acres of profitable farmland. Businessman Alexander White established a “whites only hotel” in Salem, purchased numerous plats in “Hay’s Addition” and the plot in Howard Township, where an AME church once stood.

As the black community had grown, so had anti-black hostility. White was considered Salem’s “last colored resident” when he was murdered in 1867.  His wealth inexplicably gone, he was doing odd jobs around town.  Though retaining his wealth, Williams died similarly—presumably at the hand of white assailants. [No one was convicted for either crime. William’s murderer(s) were unknown.  White’s murder was witnessed as he and others were leaving church. One assailant fled the town and avoided arrest.  The other was tried but not convicted. See Reclaiming African Heritage in Salem, Indiana by Coy Robbins.]  Washington County enumerated 252 blacks in the 1850 census, but by 1870 the number had dwindled to 18.  For the next century, the county’s population census recorded single digits for black residents.

With threats, violence and aggressive “colonization” campaigns, the 1850s ushered in tremendous pressures on Washington County’s African Americans. The successful crusade to drive African Americans away was followed by decades of erasing away any sign they had ever been there.  What had made the settlement communities—its properties, institutions and cemeteries were consumed, looted or otherwise destroyed.

During the 1980s, the Washington Co. Cemetery Association erected markers recognizing sites where “Negro People” had been buried or there had been an “African American Community.” Thus, black pioneers were honored but remained blanketed in anonymity.  The one exception stands on the site of what was once the Salem African Methodist Episcopal Church and cemetery:  “SITE OF BLACK AFRICAN AMERICAN METHODIST CHURCH John Williams established a fund for the education of Negroes which is still awarding scholarships to Negro students. He died in 1863 and is buried here.”  The Washington County settlements, cemeteries and schools that Williams, White and many others helped establish and those that merit further investigation are listed below.

Cemeteries

African Methodist Episcopal Cemetery (where John Williams is buried)
Salem, Washington, Indiana

African-American Cemetery
Becks Mill, Washington, Indiana

Bibliography

Bureau of the United States Census, National Archives & Records,  Indiana Federal Population Census Schedules, Volume: Reel 0014 – 1820.  Crawford, Delaware, Dubois, Harrison, Jennings, Knox, Lawrence, Martin, Monroe, Orange, Owen, Perry, Scott, Switzerland, Vanderburgh, Vigo, Wabash, Washington. Accessed on August 22, 2014.

Bureau of the United States Census, National Archives & Records, Indiana Federal Population Census Schedules, Volume: Reel 0031 – 1830.  Orange, Henry, Tippecanoe, Greene, Bartholo-mew, Carroll, Knox, Washington, and Daviess Counties) Accessed on August 22, 2014.

Bureau of the United States Census, National Archives & Records, Indiana Federal Population Census Schedules, Volume: Reel 0097 – 1840.  Wabash, Warrick, Warren, Washington. Accessed on August 22, 2014.

Bureau of the United States Census, National Archives & Records, Indiana Federal Population Census Schedules, Volume: Reel 00149 – 1850.  Washington, Warrick Counties. Accessed on August 22, 2014.

Bureau of the United States Census, National Archives & Records, Indiana Federal Population Census Schedules, Volume: Reel 00306 – 1860.  Washington County. Accessed on August 23, 2014.

Bureau of the United States Census, National Archives & Records, Indiana Federal Population Census Schedules, Volume: Reel 00306 – 1870.  Washington County. Accessed on August 23, 2014.

Bureau of the United States Census, National Archives & Records, Indiana Federal Population Census Schedules, Volume: Reel 00306 – 1880.  Washington County. Accessed on August 23, 2014.

Goodspeed, Weston. History of Lawrence, Orange and Washington Counties Indiana. Chicago: Goodspeed Bros. & Co., 1884. Accessed on July 13, 2014.

Gresham, John M. Biographical and Historical Souvenir for the Counties of Clark, Crawford, Harrison, Floyd, Jefferson, Jennings, Scott, and Washington, Indiana. Chicago: Chicago Printing Co. 1889.

Robbins, Coy R. Reclaiming African Heritage at Salem, Indiana. Bowie, Maryland: Heritage Books, Inc., 1995.

Thornbrough, Emma L. The Negro in Indiana: A Study of a Minority. Indianapolis, IN: Indiana Historical Bureau. 1957.

Trueblood, Lillie D. The Story of John Williams, Colored. Indiana Magazine of History, June 1934. Accessed on July 27, 2014.

Warder, Steven W. Centennial History of Washington County, Indiana its people, industries and institutions: with biographical sketches of representative citizens and genealogical records of many of the old families. Indianapolis: B.F. Bowen., 1916.

By Martina Nichols Kunnecke, August 27, 2014

 

 














 


 









 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Wayne County

African American rural settlements
documented: 0

 

The settlement patterns of African Americans in Wayne County are considered to be somewhat unique in that there were no separate and distinct settlements.  Emma Lou Thornbrough notes: “The first Negroes in Wayne County were found in Wayne Township, along the Whitewater River, but in later years they were found scattered throughout the county” (p 49).

Thornbrough found the pattern of settlement “striking” because of the “tendency to settle near communities of Quakers” (p 48). She observed that in 1850 Wayne County had the largest number of African Americans in the state and also had the largest number of Friends churches (p 48). Thornbrough also found that although the black population was the largest of any county, the number of independent farmers was small (p 136). However there were examples of prosperous black farmers like Seth Thomas with property valued at $4000 in Clay Township and Douglas White with property valued at $6000 in Franklin Township (p 136).

African Americans had a presence in Wayne County from the beginning.  As early as July 1813, Spencer, a free man of color, registered for a quarter section of land (Thornbrough, p 133).

In many ways the story of Wayne County is the story of the abolitionists in Indiana. New Garden Township was organized in 1817. Its earliest settlers were Quakers from Guilford County, North Carolina, who named the township for their original meeting house. Newport was widely known for Underground Railroad activity. The Wayne County Interim Report considers it “one of the greatest centers in Indiana for abolitionist principles and ideas.” (p 13) In addition to the large Quaker presence, the Wesleyan Methodists in Newport/Fountain City involved in one of the foremost  antislavery organizations in the country. Levi Coffin settled there in 1826. His home in present day Fountain City is an official State Historic Site. Sometimes dubbed “the Grand Central Station of the Underground Railroad,” it stands as a monument to people who fled slavery. The Wayne County Interim Report describes Newport as a place where African Americans “found a refuge” and were “allowed to engae in business pursuits on an equal basis” (p 14).

Two major thoroughfares ran through Richmond, Wayne County’s largest city: the Quaker Trace which extended north to Fort Wayne (and beyond) and the National Road which connected the county to the rest of the state to the west. By 1870 Richmond’s African American population stood at 470 people. Bishop Paul Quinn founded Bethel AME Church in the city in 1836. The church was a center of education as well as a center for the Underground Railroad in eastern Indiana. The 1857 building located on South 6th Street in Richmond is one of the oldest AME congregations in the Midwest. A district focused on South 7th, 8th and 9th Streets was known as “Little Africa.”

Black settlers with names such as Artis, Bush, Clark, Edwards, Freeman, Jones, Mitchel, Nixon, Outland, Roberts, Shoecraft, Taylor, Thomas, Wadkins/Watkins, White, Wilson, and Woods made their homes in Wayne County. A majority of black residents were born in North Carolina and came to Indiana with Quakers.  Many of the black residents were also born in Indiana, with a smaller number originating from Virginia, Ohio and Tennessee. There is evidence that a number of Wayne County residents move d on to other Indiana counties, Randolph County in particular.

Bibliography

“Bethel African Methodist Episcopal Church, Richmond, Indiana, (1836-    )” BlackPast. Accessed July 31, 2014.

Charles, C.E. “The Economy-Cabin Creek Short Branch and Some of Its Operatives: A Description of One Section,” 1971. Indiana Historical Society,  William Henry Smith Library, Indianapolis (Photocopy).

Coffin, Levi. Reminiscences of Levi Coffin. Cincinnati: Western Tract Society, 1876.

History of Northeastern Wayne County. Evansville, Indiana: Unigraphic, 1976.

History of Wayne County, Indiana. Chicago: Inter-State Publishing Company, 1884

“Indiana’s African American Settlements.” Allen County Public Library Genealogy Center. Accessed July 10, 2014.

Lafever, Carolyn. A Pictorial History of Wayne County, Indiana. Virginia Beach, Virginia: Donning Company, 1998.

“Levin Coffin House.” US National Park Service. Accessed July 31, 2014.

“Levi Coffin House.” Waynet. Accessed July 31, 2014.

A Twentieth Century History of Delaware County, Indiana. 1908. Reprint, Evansville, Indiana: Whippoorwill Publications, 1983. (Reprint of 1908 edition.)

Thornbrough, Emma Lou. The Negro in Indiana before 1900: a Study of a Minority. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1993.

U.S. Bureau of the Census. “Aggregate Amount of Each Description of Persons within District of Indiana,” 1: 352. Sixth Census of the United States, 1840. Washington, D.C.: U.S. Census Office, 1841.

U.S. Bureau of the Census. “Population of Civil Divisions Less Than Counties; Table III—State of Indiana,” 1: 124. Ninth Census of the United States, 1870. Washington, D.C.: U.S.

Government Printing Office, 1872.

Young, Andrew. History of Wayne County, Indiana. Cincinnati: R. Clarke & Company, 1872.

By Georgia Cravey, July 29, 2014                                                                        

 

Wells County

African American rural settlements documented:  0

The 19th century African American population in Wells County was minimal. In 1840 the census shows a total of twelve free people of color residing in the county (The enumeration for Wells County is not available by township for 1840). Of these individuals, all but one was in the Robert Green household.

By 1850, there is more information available about the Green household.  Robert, age 63, was born in Virginia; his wife, Malinda Green, age 49, was also from Virgina. It appears they had nine children, Nancy, Susannah, Silkey, Abigal, Patience, Matilda, Heskiah, Benjamin and Mathew. Plat maps,  deed books and tax records show various land transactions during the decades but by 1860 the Green household is gone from the Wells County census. The census for 1860 has only a single African American enumerated living in Harrison Township (and that entry appears to be in error).

By 1860 the Green household apparently relocates to neighboring Grant County. In a family with so many female members, the parents may have decided to move to find eligible mates for their children in Weaver, a thriving black settlement. An index to Grant County marriages shows Matilda Green marrying John W. Winslow 15 December 1869; Nancy E. Green marrying George W Trout 18 September 1861; Patience Green marrying Osborn Mitchell 23 April 1869, and Silka and Sitka Green (may be Silkey) marrying Robert Fleming on 17 March1855 and William Gulliford on 27 November 1862, respectively.

County histories note the prevalence of racial prejudice. Copperhead Democrats were a force especially in Bluffton. Secret societies on both sides of the issue paraded in the streets and Lincoln was burned in effigy. Emma Lou Thornbrough states that “…no Negroes settled [in Wells County] for twenty years after the Civil War” (p 227). By 1880, three African Americans (two barbers and a cook), were residing in Bluffton, the county seat. Thornbrough reports that each received written notice that they must leave. The sheriff and the hotel owner that employed the cook also received warnings to “get rid of the Negroes.” The county historian also characterized Wells County as a “sundown” area. A helpful librarian at the Wells County Public Library explained that modern day Bluffton is making efforts to overcome its past. She suggested that visitors notice city signage that welcomes people to Bluffton as an “inclusive town.”

A curious artifact stands in Liberty Township: “Africa” School constructed ca. 1910. The Wells County Library has a photocopy of a news article reproducing a class photograph of the school. Although it would be difficult to say absolutely, all the students appear to be white. I was unable to learn anything about the origin of the school’s name.

Bibliography

Grant County, Indiana, Marriage Records, 1831-1882. Ruth Slevin, comp. 1974.

“Houch Got Contract.” Bluffton Chronicle, March 2, 1930. p. 4, col. 5.

Rose, Dorothy. History of Wells County, Indiana, 1776-1976. Bluffton, Indiana: Wells County Bicentennial Historical Publication Committee, 1975.

U.S. Bureau of the Census. “Aggregate Amount of Each Description of Persons within District of Indiana,” 1: 352. Sixth Census of the United States, 1840. Washington, D.C.: U.S. Census Office, 1841.

U.S. Bureau of the Census. “Population of Civil Divisions Less Than Counties; Table III—State of Indiana,” 1: 124. Ninth Census of the United States, 1870. Washington, D.C.: U.S.

Government Printing Office, 1872.

Wells County, Indiana, Deed Books A-N, 1837-1868. Bluffton, Indiana: Wells County Genealogical Society, 2011.

Wells County Interim Report. Fort Wayne, Indiana: ARCH, 2010.

Wells County: Towns and Townships: A Pictorial History. Virginia Beach, Virginia: Donning Company, 1999.

White County

African American rural settlements documented: 0

While no black settlements were found in White County, there were African Americans in the county during the antebellum period.  The federal decennial censuses recorded the following blacks: 2 in 1840; 9 in 1850; 21 in 1860; and 3 in 1870. In The History of White County, author W.H. Hamelle reports that in 1833 “only two residents were able to escape the onslaught of chills and fevers that griped the lowlands of Big Creek Township— Calvin C. Spencer and ‘a small, tough negro boy.’  Another account of an early appearance of African Americans in the county is in a February 1923 Monticello Herald story, where Mrs. Bell Tilton recalls that her parents and infant son with a colored maid came from Virginia in 1837. She also notes that her aunt and uncle, “with two adult Negroes had preceded my parents and they, too, were domiciled [into] the log house of and with Mr. George Spencer.”

The census also reveals that there were black families that had a long history in the county. The family of Dennis Bell and their six children, along with a white farmer, first appear in the 1850 census. This family continues to grow, and by the 1860 census, Dennis’s daughter Harriet married a white man named Peter Thomas, and the families were next door neighbors. In 1870, Dennis and his family appear again, this time listed as white. Martin, Dennis’s son, also appears in the 1880 census as a farmer.  The family lived as farmers in White County for at least thirty consecutive years.

Samuel Cooper was another African American with a long and well documented history in the county.  He was a barber who established a shop in Monticello sometime before 1857. Hamelle’s history of the county has two interesting stories about Cooper’s integrity; newspaper articles regarded him as “honest and true.” Cooper lived in the county until his death in 1917.

There are also accounts of two men from White County who joined the 28th United States Colored Troops as recruits in August 1864. Isaac Francher and Abraham Wilson are listed as from White County, although no other documentation has been found about their lives in the county.

The largest storehouse of information on African Americans in White County is located at the White County Historical Society, Museum and Genealogy Research Library.

Bibliography

Hamelle, W. H. A Standard History of White County, Indiana: An Authentic Narrative of the Past, with an Extended Survey of Modern Developments in the Progress of Town and Country. Chicago: Lewis Pub. Co, 1971.

“Local History.” The Monticello Herald, February 1, 1923.

“Samuel Cooper.” The Monticello Spectator, October 5, 1859.

Terrell, William Henry Harrison. Report of the Adjutant General of the State of Indiana. Indianapolis: A.H. Connor State Printer, 1865.

U.S. Census, 1840: Population Schedules of the Sixth Census of the United States. Accessed July 16, 2014.

U.S. Census, 1850: Population Schedules of the Seventh Census of the United States. Accessed July 16, 2014.

U.S. Census, 1860: Population Schedules of the Eighth Census of the United States.  Accessed July 16, 2014.

U.S. Census, 1870: Population Schedules of the Ninth Census of the United States. Accessed July 16, 2014.

By Andrea Sowle, July 18, 2014

Whitley County

African American rural settlements documented: 1

Smith Township of Whitley County was home to a settlement referred to by various local historians as the “Jefferies Settlement” or “Jeffries,” titling it after the cemetery that now exists on the land. The first settlers to what became the Jeffries Settlement in Whitley County were Wyatt Jeffries and his wife, Eliza, who were from Virginia. Other early families to settle around the Jeffries were the Joneses and the Pompeys, also from Virginia. While the numbers were never as large as the Huggart Settlement in St. Joseph County, they did come close, with 98 members at the peak of the settlement. The population drastically changed from 0 recorded in 1840 to 88 in 1850, 90 in 1860 and 94 in 1870.

The settlers of some 400 acres that made up this settlement were of various ethnicities including Native American, French, African American, and others.  From 1850-1870, white, black, and mulatto residents were documented within the settlement. Angela Quinn notes in her work on the Underground Railroad, “No evidence of Quaker assistance in organizing this settlement exists, although there is evidence of family ties connecting this settlement to the Weaver Settlement; scattered Free Black farmers in Eel River and Washington townships in Allen County, and to the urban community at Fort Wayne.” From an 1889 plat map, it appears that the Jefferies settlement was located near the Eel River, and the route carved out as “the Goshen Road” which ran, through the Jefferies Settlement, Ligonier, and Goshen, and northwards to Cass County, Michigan. Land Records and census data indicate that it was possible that the Jefferies settlement crossed at the  Eel River and Washington Townships in Allen County, which would explan the appearance of otherwise seemingly outliers of African Americans in Allen County census records.

Nancy Bruner, a descendent of Mortimer Jeffries, recalled a story of how her ancestor fought and won a court case in Noble county after he had attempted to vote in 1864 and the defendants “with knowledge of all the facts concerning the plaintiff’s pedigree and blood, willfully refused to receive his vote on account of his color.” The case went to the Supreme Court, but eventually was able to prove French and Native American heritage, winning his ability to vote. Brunner believes that he was a strident supporter of Lincoln and that poll workers wanted to restrict him from casting his vote. In another account from Kaler and Marling, the Jeffries and other families were visited by the Smith Township Overseer of the Poor in 1840, “to show cause why they don’t comply with an act concerning free Negroes and mulattoes, servants, and slaves…”

The Jeffries family name is also significant in the Beech (Rush County) and Roberts (Hamilton County) settlements in central Indiana. In Stephen A. Vincent’s work he makes several notes about the fairness of the Jeffries skin, in one case stating that, “A person like Macklin Jeffries, for example, might ‘go for white’ when traveling to towns and cities beyond the immediate Beech vicinity as a means of gaining access to meals, a place to stay, or travel accommodations that would otherwise have been prohibited.” A future researcher may want to confirm connections between the Jeffries family located in the Beech and Roberts settlements and those in Whitley County.

There are certainly an abundance of resources out there to explore regarding this settlement. Many resources will be found in the Genealogy Center at the Allen County Library.

Bibliography

1889 Plat Map Index and Images, Whitley County, Indiana. Accessed June 12, 2014.

Andreas, A T. Illustrated Historical Atlas of the State of Indiana. Chicago: Baskin, Forster, 1876.

Cox, Jim and Penny L. Baughman North. “Jeffries Cemetery, Whitley County, Indiana.” Indiana Resources. Accessed June 12, 2014.

Goodspeed, Weston A, and Charles Blanchard. 1882 History of Noble County, Indiana, Historical and Biographical. Knightstown, Indiana: The Bookmark, 1979.

Gradeless, Donald E. and Nellie R. Raber. Index and Surname Cross-Reference to Nellie Riley Raber’s Whitley County Obituaries, 1858-1910. S.l.: Gradeless, 1979.

Gradeless, Donald E., S. H. Wunderlich, and Winston B. Sparling. Index to Landowners of Whitley County, Indiana, 1862. Racine, Wisconsin: D.E. Gradeless, 1973.

Harter, Stuart and Karen Harter. Original Land Entries of Whitley County, Indiana. Churubusco, Ind. (R.R. 2, Churubusco 46723): S. Harter, 1981.

Harter, Stuart. Whitley County, Indiana Bibliography of Genealogical and Historical References. Churubusco, Indiana: S. A. Harter, 1983.

Heinegg, Paul and Henry B. Hoff. “Free African Americans in Colonial America.” Common Place. Accessed June 12, 2014.

“Horrible Case of Miscegenation.” Plymouth Weekly Democrat, October 15, 1868 (vol.14).

Kaler, Samuel P. and R. H. Maring. History of Whitley County, Indiana. S.l.: B.F. Bowen & Co, 1907.

Quinn, Angela M. The Antebellum History of African Americans in Fort Wayne. Fort Wayne, Ind.: ARCH, Inc., 2001.

Quinn, Angela M.  [Bound—unpublished notes—in UGRR notebook-Angela Quinn—Allen County Public Library]

Quinn, Angela M. The Underground Railroad and the Antislavery Movement in Fort Wayne and Allen County, Indiana. Fort Wayne, Ind.: ARCH, Inc., 2001.

U.S. Census, 1850: Population Schedules of the Seventh Census of the United States. Accessed June 11, 2014.

U.S. Census, 1860: Population Schedules of the Eighth Census of the United States. Accessed June 11, 2014.

U.S. Census, 1870: Population Schedules of the Ninth Census of the United States. Accessed June 11, 2014.

Vincent, Stephen A. Southern Seed, Northern Soil: African-American Farm Communities in the Midwest, 1765-1900. Bloomington, Ind.: Indiana University Press, 1999.

Whitley County and Its Families, 1835-1995. Paducah, Ky.: Turner Pub. Co., 1995.

By Andrea Sowle, June 18, 2014

 

 

 

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