The book is History of Coffee Creek Baptist Association, (Southern Indiana), An Account Of, Present Churches and Biographical Sketches of its Ministers, by J.C. Tibbets. Believe it or not that is the entire title. It was published in 1883 in Cincinnati, Ohio.
COFFEE CREEK ASSOCIATION
PART I Chapter I
Description of Country When First Settled
Coffee Creek Association, at the present time (1883), is composed of seventeen churches, embracing the western part of Jefferson County, the southern part of Jennings, and the eastern part of Scott, in Indiana, and covers an area of about 350 square miles. The few persons now living who were here prior to the organization of the Association, in 1827, know what the condition of Southern Indiana was at the time better than it can be told them; but for the younger portion of the present generation it may be well to briefly outline the general appearance and situation of the country, the character of the pioneer immigrants, and the trials and hardships and dangers encountered by them in those early days.
The State of Virginia, which claimed the whole territory north of the Ohio River and east of the Mississippi, confirmed, in 1783, the bargain made by Gov. Henry, of Virginia, with Gen. George Rogers Clark, granting to him, and to his followers, 149,000 acres of land, in compensation for military services rendered in the successful campaign of 1778-79. This grant, located in what was then Illinois Country (now Clark), was deeded by the Continental Congress to Gen. Clark in 1786--Virginia having previously ceded the whole territory to the general government--and was the first point settled in Southern Indiana.
Prior to the ordinance of 1787, a few families had located at the head of the falls of the Ohio River, at a place they named Clarksville (now Jeffersonville). Aside from this, not a trace of the white man could be seen in all this region, except, perhaps, at a few trading points established by the French settlement at Kaskaskia, Illinois, and a similar one on the east bank of the Wabash River, at Vincennes. The whole of this vast territory, embracing more than one hundred million acres of fertile lands, was in the undisputed possession of the Indians, who made every possible exertion to prevent the encroachments of the whites.
The reports carried back to the States by the few exploring parties which had been out, of the remarkable productiveness of the soil, the salubrity of the climate, and the wonderful beauty and grandure of the scenery, induced immigration. In a few years thousands of hardy pioneers were locating homes in the new country. They were met and opposed by the natives at every point, but the indomitable will and perseverance of the whites enabled them to drive the red man back, step by step, and finally force them west of the Mississippi. This result, however, was attained only after years of deadly struggle, and a great sacrifice of life; and it was not until after the battle of the Thames, October 5, 1813, when the British and Indians, under the command of Gen. Proctor and the renowned chieftain, Tecumseh, were totally defeated by the American troups, under Gen. Harrison, that any degree of security could be felt by the settlers.
It is not the present intention, however, to write a history of the Northwest Territory, but to briefly sketch the settlement and development of that small portion of it embraced in the bounds, and immediate vicinity, of Coffee Creek Association, with particular reference to the progress of the Baptist denomination.
Between the years 1790 and 1795, a few settlements were made along the northwest bank of the Ohio River, above Clarksville. These gradually increased from year to year, but it was not until about the time of the organization of a separate territorial government for Indiana, in 1809, that any considerable number of these were extended into the interior. This act greatly stimulated immigration, and several of the States, particularly Kentucky, North Carolina and Virginia, soon furnished recruits to come over and take possession of the land.
In that year (1809) a few families from North Carolina and Kentucky settled about ten miles north from the Ohio River, and about the same distance west from where now is the city of Madison, on White River. In 1810 a single family from Virginia (Solomon Deputy) located on Coffee Creek, in the southern part of Jennings County. About the same time a small settlement was made on Lewis' Creek, Jefferson County, some four or five miles south from Coffee Creek; and a little later, a company from Kentucky, attracted by the fertile valley of the Muscatatack, where Vernon now stands, made that point their future home. Other families came in from time to time, selecting lands, and thus settlements were made through the wilderness, generally from three to five, often from ten to twelve miles distant from each other. The ratio of increase advanced each year, and, after the battle of the Thames, before mentioned, so rapidly was the country developed, that, in 1816, Indiana was admitted a State into the Union.
At the time of the first settlements, this whole section of country was a dense, unbroken forest. Hill and valley, high land and low, were alike covered with a heavy growth of timber. Not a tree had been cut down; not a road opened; not even a foot-path marked out, except the Indian trails leading from the Ohio River back to their villages on the Wabash and other streams.
These were all deceased at the time when the book was written (1883)
These were all living at the writing (1883)
Transcribed by Sheila Kell