BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCHES OF
EARLY SETTLERS OF
THE JENNINGS COUNTY
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I am including here people who were in the area early and who lived or died in Jennings County. Especially in the southern part of the county where the border changed. The town of Paris was originally in Jefferson County but because some of the local residents where enjoying their alcohol a little too much it was causing the Jefferson County sheriffs deputies to have to ride to Paris frequently. So Jefferson County decided to give the area around Paris to Jennings County. The situation became so bad that the state legislature had to get involved. Since the boundary between the two counties was already set, an act of law was needed to deed over the town. In 1822 the act was approved, this has caused records from the area to be located in either Jennings or Jefferson County so be sure to research both. It is a good idea to look at neighboring counties in any case.
Joseph Ayers born 1828 in Hamilton County, Ohio. His parents John and Sarah Ann Ward Ayers moved with most of their 6 children in about 1842 to Jefferson County, Indiana. Joseph married Harriet Zener, December 2, 1851 in Jefferson County. They moved to Jennings County where they lived most of their married life. Joseph was a carpenter/cabinet maker he made furniture and coffins and helped build the covered bridge over Graham Creek that led to Paris Crossing. In 1861 he was elected first lieutenant in the Indiana Militia, Paris Guards, out of Paris, Jennings County, Indiana. In 2007 the original Ayers home still stands on Hwy. 250 in Paris.
They had 6 children Geneva "Jennie" Ayers born 1852 in Jefferson County, lived most of her life in Jennings, County, She married Patrick Bernard Flood in Vernon, Jennings County after they divorced she married Simeon Stewart. They lived in Paris, Jennings County all their lives and are buried in the Paris Cemetery. Mathias Zener Ayers born 1855 in Jefferson County, moved to California and then Washington state where he is buried. Sarah Catherine Ayers born 1857 in Jefferson County, married George Franklin Lawrence in 1873 in Jennings County, the Lawrences moved to Nashville Tennesse, where they are buried. Leonidas Ayers born 1860 in Jefferson County, lived in Paris, Jennings County all his life, in 1879 he married Martha J. Lett. Leonidas is buried in the Paris, Cemetery. Joseph L. Ayers born September 1, 1866 of whom I have no information, possibly died young. Magdaline L. Ayers born 1868 in Jefferson County, married Wilburn "Wib" Malcomb about 1890 in Jennings County, after his death in 1920 she married Simon Risser, they movedto Liberty Center Indiana. Magdaline is buried beside her first husband in the Coffee Creek Christian Church Cemetery near Paris Crossing. Joseph Ayers died in 1920 and is buried in the upper section of the Paris, Cemetery.
David Zener; born 1797, Harpers Ferry, Virginia. Davids father Mathias Zener was from Germany he was a Hessian Mercenary during the Revolutionary War and was captured at the battle of Yorktown. His mother was Elizabeth Gerringer of Fredrick County, Maryland.
David Zener emigrated to Lexington County, Kentucky in 1799, in 1810 to Clark County, Indiana. During the War of 1812 David served in Captain Ziba Holt's Company of Infantry, 13th Regiment of the Kentucky detatched Militia, Oldham County, Kentucky. He fought in the Battle of New Orleans and in January of 1815 he walked home from there after discharge. During this journey his feet were badly frozen and he was nursed back to health by Indians, with whom he stayed for nearly 3 years. When he returned David married Pheobe Baker of Hagerstown, Maryland in 1818 in Hardinsburg, Kentucky.
In 1819 David and family were living right on the Jennings and Jefferson County line, where they had their home and David had a mill on Neil's Creek, many of the boards for the plank road between Paris and Madison were made at this mill. This farm was later owned by the family of John Ray. Another endeavor the Zener family was involved with was weaving of cloth which Harriet Zener fashioned into clothing. David imported Marino sheep with which Harriet and her daughters made into colorful plaids. They also planted a long row of Mulberry trees and imported silk worms which were used to make silk cloth similar in texture to shantung. Grandmother Zener made this silk cloth for years on her looms for which special metal parts had to be imported. When large silk mills in the east came along it ended this business and over the years a blight destroyed most of the Mulberry trees.
David and Pheobe Zener had 11 children, I will be including sketches on some of them who married local individuals.
David Zener died in 1877 and is buried in the upper section of the Paris Cemetery, Pheobe later moved to St. Clair County, Missouri to live with her son David G. Zener and is buried there.
David G. Zener born in 1837 near Paris, in Jefferson County. His parents were David and Pheobe. He took over running the Mill on Neil's Creek and on June 8, 1862 married Zerilda Gaddy daughter of Benjamin S. and Sarah Cobb Gaddy. Zerilda was born July 11, 1842 in Jennings County. Around 1876 David and Zerilda struck out for the west, with other members of their family, settling in Tiffin, St. Clair County, Missouri. After the death of his father his mother went to live with him. They all lived in Missouri until their deaths and are buried there.
Sarah Zener born April 8, 1826 near Paris, in Jefferson County. Daughter of David and Pheobe Baker Zener. Sarah was the second wife of Charles (Rodney) Kendall Laird, known locally as C.K. Laird. C.K. was born in Vermont and was a merchant and farmer who lived in Paris for a time. He has written an interesting autobiography which gives some fascinating insights as to life in the 1800's. Sarah and C.K. had 5 children Brooke, Flora, Miriamme, Graham Bright and Julia H. Sarah Zener Laird died April 30, 1894 and is buried in Fairmont Cemetery, Madison, Indiana.
Wilbur A. McClanahan was born Nov. 10, 1856 in Jefferson Co., IN, near Deputy. He was the son of Harvey and Martha Hutton McClanahan. On Aug. 29, 1883 Wilbur married Luella Roseberry, daughter of Samuel and Julia Ann Waldsmith Roseberry. Three sons were born to Wilbur and Luella, Arthur, Frederick, and Loren Roseberry McClanahan. Luella died on Jan. 20, 1895 when Loren, the youngest son was only two and a half years old. Wilbur never re-married. He raised his sons with the help of his parents and a cousin, Cora Hammel, who lived with the family and became a surrogate mother to the boys. Wilbur was a school teacher in the Deputy area. He also helped his parents on their farm. Later he became superintendent of schools. After he retired from teaching, he had a grocery store in Paris Crossing. Wilbur died June 10, 1935. At the time of his death he was living in Paris, IN where he had owned a home for several years next door to his older sister, Alice Wells. Alice, known as Allie, was first married to Almond C. Earhart in 1869. They had two sons, William, born 1871, and Harvey Earhart, born 1875. I don’t know if Mr. Earhart died or if he and Alice divorced, but between 1875 and 1879, Alice married Martin Wells. They had one son, Melville Wells, born 1879. I want to thank Ardath Blue for contributing this biography to the Jennings County Site.
William Barber Lewis, Sr., was born around 1783,likely in Marlboro, Ulster County, New York, on the lower Hudson River. He was the son of a Zaoc(k) Lewis, and was a stone mason by trade. He moved to Seneca County, New York, living on the shores of Seneca Lake, where he married a Mrs. Sarah Butler (nee Miller) probably around 1810. They the later moved to Steuben county, New York.
Sarah was a woman of Irish descent and had flaming red hair, according to family tradition. Her father, it is said, was a Martin Miller. It appears Sarah was divorced (between 1805-June 1810) from a Phineas Butler. Sarah already had two sons, Sidney and Lewis, the former of which was prominent in Jennings County. There is speculation that this Butler line was already related to the Lewis family as well.
Herschel Lewis, great-grandson to Daniel Lewis, tells of the migration to Indiana: "William and his family left (Steuben) County, New York, in the fall of 1821, likely in a covered wagon pulled by oxen. They traveled overland some 150 miles to the Allegany river where William either paid for boat transportation or built a raft and then floated downstream to Pittsburg, Penn. The Allegany joined the Monongahela at Pittsburg to form the Ohio River. Some time was spent in Pittsburg building a more elaborate raft for the
trip down the Ohio.
Imagine such an undertaking, it was not an endeavor for the faint of heart. William has a wife who was 8 months pregnant and children ages 1, 2, 5, 7, 8 & 10. Timothy was the 2 year old and my great-grandfather (Daniel) was 8. The trip was completed and the raft tied up a few miles below Madison, Indiana. On April 25, 1822 John M. Lewis (the youngest child of William and Sarah Lewis)
was born on the raft."
Mary Lewis Osterman reports that a family named the "Langdons" came with the Lewis family. It must have been quite an endeavor.
William had come to Indiana to claim land due to his service in the War of 1812. Apparently there was some difficulty obtaining it so he purchased land along Graham Creek. However, he eventually settled along Slate Creek and that is where he and Sarah raised the family. William apparently continued work both as a farmer and as a stone mason. It is said he helped to build at least 2 of his sons' houses; both
of which still stand (the John M. Lewis house in Jackson County and the Daniel Lewis house in Jennings County).
The Lewis line intermarried with many notable names in Jennings County, but the family with which they were most associated was the Samuel Adkins Keith family that had settled down the road a piece (across from what is now called the Keith Cemetery).
William died in May 1864, around the ripe age of 81, and is buried in an unmarked grave, according to family tradition, in the "Old" Coffee Creek Baptist Church cemetery next to his daughter and son-in-law, Elizabeth Lewis Hall and Samuel Hall. Sarah Miller Butler Lewis preceded William in death, having passed on November 26, 1848 at age 67. Thank you, Jonathan Lopnow for this contribution to Biographical Sketches.
Lemuel Wells, son of John Boyd Wells and Margaret (Hawkins) Wells, came to Jefferson County, Indiana with his father and mother, brothers and sisters, about 1816 from Hamilton County, Ohio. He had
been born in Kentucky on 10 Sept. 1801. He was married in Jefferson Co. 16 Sept. 1824 to Mary “Polly” Walton, daughter of Abraham and Mary “Polly” (Hutchinson) Walton. Polly was born in Maine on 1 Feb.
1807, and died 5 July 1881 near Lovett in Jennings Co at the home of her son John. Lemuel died 7 April 1870 in Jennings Co. Both are buried in the Hopewell Methodist Church Cemetery, along with one son. Fletcher, who was born and died the same day in 1837. (The church, originally located about 4 miles north of Paris on Rte. 3, is no longer there.)
Lemuel and Polly came to Jennings County about 1826 and lived on a farm in Montgomery Township which was deeded to them by Polly’s father for “love and affection”. On this farm [West 1/2 of SW quarter
of Section 14, Twn 5 North, Range 8 East] they raised five daughters and five sons, all born in Jennings County except the oldest daughter, Sarah Jane. Two sons became Methodist ministers, and one daughter married a minister.
Lemuel and Polly’s lives centered around their family, their church, and their community. Polly was a handsome woman with dark eyes and dark, wavy hair. Even as an old woman, her pictures show a striking
appearance, with snow white hair They were faithful members for many years of the Hopewell Methodist church. Lemuel is reputed to have had a wonderful voice, and led the singing. They, along with other
members of the Wells and Walton families, were active in abolitionist circles, and took part in the activities of the Neil’s Creek Anti-Slavery Society. It is said that runaway slaves found shelter at Lemuel and Polly’s house, and at the home of Polly’s parents in Jefferson County as well.
A daily dairy kept by Lemuel from 1862 to 1864 details the kinds of crops he raised, and the other activities in which he engaged. He took part in the road work that was required of all able bodied early settlers. Some of the crops raised on his farm were sweet potatoes, peas, beans, beets, parsnips, melons, carrots, radishes, onions,
potatoes, corn, clover, timothy, wheat, and sorghum. In addition, he had an extensive orchard with peach, pear, and apple trees. He grafted trees in the orchard. He made boards from wood he had cut himself from trees on his farm, made grain cradles and fence rails, and made bee hives. Lemuel mended bridles and saddles, gathered elm bark for bottoming chairs, made soap, and even made shoes. He kept hives of bees. This was a very self-sufficient farm, but there was a need for cash money to buy certain things. He satisfied this need by selling corn, potatoes, hay, fruit trees, and by turning his talent for working with wood to profit. He mended wagon wheels, and made and sold ax handles.
Lemuel’s diary also presents a picture of a close family with many visits from brothers, sisters, cousins, children and grandchildren. Sometimes the creek would rise because of a heavy rain, and visitors would suddenly become overnight guests. There was a great deal of community in working a farm, with neighbors and relatives pitching in to help each other at various tiimes.
All but one of Lemuel and Polly’s children lived to adulthood, and raised families of their own. Their children:
1. Sarah Jane, b. 27 Aug. 1825 in Jefferson Co., d. 6 June 1913 in Jennings Co., m. Phineas Buckley Bailiff, son of Edmond P. and Susannah Bailiff, on 5 March 1846. This couple raised their family and lived all their lives near Lovett.
2. Mary Ann, b. 12 April 1827, d. 20 Jan. 1903 Rush Co., m. 28 Feb. 1850 Amos Riley Shepherd, son of Joshua and Nancy (McClelland) Shepherd. This couple lived for some time near Lemuel and Polly and
raised their family here. “Riley” was a teacher. Both are buried at Vernon Cemetery.
3. Dudley, b. 5 May 1829, d. 13 Oct. 1892 in Rush Co., m. 3 Mar. 1859 to Mary Jane James, dau. Enoch and Emily Ann (Shepherd) James. Both are buried in the Methodist Cemetery near Richland. They raised their
family in Jennings Co.
4. Irene Elizabeth, b. 27 Jan. 1831, d. 18 Dec. 1904 in Parsons, Kansas, m. 9 Oct. 1851 in Jennings Co. to Benjamin Franklin Lard, son of Samuel and Mary Williams (Hughes) (Rector) Lard. Irene and Benjamin lived in Jennings Co. until 1871, when they moved to Carroll Co., Missouri. Benjamin tragically died suddenly, and Irene brought her family back to Jennings County. Several of her children moved to Kansas in the 1880’s, and she followed them.
5. Merit, b. 18 January 1833, d. 2 Mar. 1910 in Indianapolis and is buried in Crown Hill Cemetery there, m. 9 Feb. 1864 to Morincie Robertson, dau. of Aquila and Esther (Deputy) Robertson. Merit was a dentist who practiced for 42 years in Indianapolis. He attended Indiana Asbury College (now DePauw) and dental college in Cincinnati.
6. Martin Luther, b. 12 Feb. 1835, d. 19 Feb. 1907 in Los Angeles, California, m. 3 April 1869 to Martha “Mattie” Ghent. Martin is buried in Greendale Cemetery at Lawrenceburg, Indiana. He was a graduate of Indiana Asbury College, and a Methodist minister.
7. Fletcher Wells, b. and d. 30 July 1837, bur. Hopewell Cemetery.
8. Emily Eliza, b. 11 Mar. 1839, d. 15 OCT. 1909 Washington Twp., Boone Co., Indiana, m. 21 July 1859 to Boyd Hudson Shepherd, son of Joshua and Nancy (McClelland) Shepherd. Boyd was the brother of Amos
Riley Shepherd, who m. Emily’s sister Mary Ann. Emily is buried in Center Cemetery, near Lebanon, Indiana.
9. Abraham, b. 9 Oct. 1841, d. 27 April 1923 Cincinnati, Ohio, m. 28 October 1874 to Mary L. Wiseman. Abe was a Methodist minister and graduate of Indiana Asbury College.
10. John Smith, b. 6 March 1844, d. 28 Feb. 1929 Harper, Kansas, m. 4 Dec. 1866 to Mary Catherine Deal, dau. John and Elizabeth Deal. John and family lived for some time in Jennings Co., then migrated to Harper Co., Kansas. Both buried at the Harper Cemetery.
11. Margaret Celesta, b. 25 April 1846, d. 17 May (or Mar.?) 1901 in Illinois, m 7 Nov. 1867 in Greencastle, Indiana to Austin Hugh Reat, a Methodist minister, son of Hugh and Margaret (Whitesel) Reat.
Contributed by Sharon L. Seaver email@example.com March 28, 2007. Corrections, contributions of further information, and inquiries are welcome.
Samuel Lard came to Jennings County from Otsego County, New York about 1813, settling in what is now Montgomery Twp. In 1815 he filed land entry papers for 160 acres in sections 27 and 22. He and his family made their permanent home in the NW quarter of Section 27, on Graham Creek. Samuel was active in the community, serving as a justice of the peace and a commissioner. His first wife, Rebecca Hammond, taught in the earliest schools in the area. She was a published poet, and quite a remarkable woman. [Some of this poetry can be found at <http://www.bsu.edu/ourlandourlit/Literature/Authors/authors_rd3lardr.html>.] Several of his children lived and raised families in Jennings and Jefferson Counties, and became important in the life of the community.Samuel was born in Southwick, Massachusetts in 1771 or 1772. His father and mother, David and ________ (McLaughlin) Lard had come to the Connecticut/Massachusetts area from Ireland before the Revolutionary War. After David was killed at the Battle of Monmouth, Samuel’s mother remarried and moved away. Samuel was raised by a man named Campbell who was kind and gave him a good education. Samuel became a merchant seaman, sailing out of Connecticut ports. He was issued Seaman’s Protection Papers in the New London Customs District on 30 Nov. 1796. In the original register, it is stated that he was 24 years old, born in Southwick, Massachusetts, 5’9” tall, and of dark complexion. [His children always said that Samuel had been born in Connecticut. This confusion might be because of a change of boundary between Southwich and Suffield, Conn. in one particular area.] He subsequently was a founder of the town of Warren, Vermont, where he lived from about 1797 and served as the first town clerk. He also served in several other offices in Warren, including selectman.He married Rebecca Hammond, daughter of Jabez and Priscilla (Delano) Hammond on 12 Feb. 1801 in Woodstock, Vermont. She was born 7 March 1772 near New Bedford, Massachusetts. About 1807 Samuel and Rebecca moved their family to Hancock, Vermont, and from there to Cherry Valley, New York prior to 1810.When Samuel decided to migrate to Indiana, Rebecca declined to join him. Instead, she took her children back to Vermont to be with her own family. Their son, Samuel Adams Lard, went west to join his father in 1817. In 1819, Samuel Jr. returned to Vermont and convinced his mother to bring the family west. Their journey was one familiar to many early western migrants, down the Allegheny River by flatboat to Pittsburg, and on west by way of the Ohio River.Unfortunately, Samuel’s and Rebecca’s marriage did not thrive. In 1828, Samuel was granted a divorce. He remarried to Mary Williams (Hughes) Rector, daughter of Thomas and Elizabeth (Williams) Hughes, and the widow of Hezekiah Rector of Jefferson Co.Samuel died between 2 Feb. and 19 March 1838, by tradition on Feb. 11. Rebecca died 28 September 1855 and is buried in the Old Coffee Creek Cemetery. Mary died 15 June 1879 and is buried in Lancaster Cemetery, Jefferson Co..Children of Samuel and Rebacca (Hammond) Lard:1. Julia Philory Lard, a.k.a Julia Rachel Lard, b.27 March 1802 Warren, Vermont, m. James Hammond 22 March 1821 in Jefferson County. James had come to Jennings Co. before 1820, and remained until his death on 7 Feb. 1853. He is buried in Old Coffee Creek Cemetery. After his death, Julia migrated to Cowley County, Kansas with her sons and their families, and her niece Julia (Lard) Walton. She died there on 4 Sept. 1883, and is buried in the Tannehill Cemetery northwest of Arkansas City.2. Samuel Adams Lard, b. 3 Feb. 1804 Warren, Vermont, m. Margaret Bright, dau. of David G. and Ruth (Graham) Bright in Jefferson County on 13 Sept. 1832. Samuel was engaged in merchant activites and trade on the Ohio and Mississippi Rivers. He lived in Natchez, Tennessee and in Louisiana. He died in the winter of 1846 or spring of 1847, leaving only one living daughter, who was raised and cared for by her father’s siblings.3. Horatio Nelson Lard, b. 24 Jan. 1806 Warren, Vermont, d. Crawford County, Kansas on 23 May 1885. He m. 1) Hannah Stonemetz 1828 or 1829 in New York. She d. between 1834 and 1837 in Indiana. Nelson m.2) Eliza Ann Waldsmith, dau. of Peter and Hannah (Long) Waldsmith on 30 Jan. 1840 in Jefferson Co. Nelson and Eliza moved to Shelby County about 1850, and from there to Crawford Co., Kansas, where both are buried in the Dumbauld Cemetery near McCune.4. Charles Rodney Lard (a.k.a. Charles Kendall Lard or Laird), b. 20 Dec. 1808 Hancock, Vermont, d. 1 Mar. 1893 in Jefferson Co., Indiana. He and his second wife are buried in Fairmount Cemetery in Jefferson Co. He m. 1) Jane Dinwiddie, dau. Archibald and Margaret Dinwiddie in Jennings Co. 30 Oct. 1834. Jane d. between 1850 and 1853. Charles m. 2) Sarah Zenor/Zener, dau. David and Phoebe (Baker) Zenor/Zener, 5 May 1853 in Jefferson Co. Charles was a prominent citizen of Jefferson Co. He was a successful merchant and farmer, and raised a large family of successful children.Children of Samuel and Mary (Hughes) (Rector) Lard [Mary also had children from her marriage to Hezekiah Rector]:5. Benjamin Franklin Lard, b. 7 Jan. 1829 Jennings Co., d. 11 May 1871 Carroll Co., Missouri. He m. Irene Elizabeth Wells.in Jennings Co. 9 Oct. 1851. She was the daughter of Lemuel and Mary “Polly” (Walton) Wells. Benjamin lived and raised his family here, moved to Carroll Co., Missouri in 1871, and died suddenly. Irene brought her family back to Jennings Co. to live until about 1884, when she joined several of her children who had moved to Kansas.6. Joseph Warren Lard, b. 16 Nov. 1831 Jennings Co., d. April 1897 in Jefferson Co., buried Lancaster Cemetery. He m. Emily “Emma” Hays 10 Dec. 1868 in Jefferson Co. Joseph lived in Lancaster Twp., Jefferson Co. He was a farmer and harnessmaker.7. Isaac Williams Lard, b. between 1830 and 1837, Jennings Co., d. there about 1839 or 1840..
Contributed by Sharon L. Seaver. Corrections, additions, and inquiries are welcome.
HISTORY OF THE FAMILY OF HENRY S. AND ALCEY (WILSON) DIXON
Henry was probably born in 1775 since he first appears in the tax rolls in 1791 which would happen when he turned 16. There is conflicting information available that estimates his date of birth closer to 1779. However, this would be too young to show up in the tax rolls and to have fought with Caperton’s Rangers.
Henry is documented as being on the Roster of Captain Caperton’s Rangers from Greenbrier County which was reviewed by Col John Steele on May 27, 1793 at Ft. Lee on the Great Kanawa River, now Charleston, West Virginia. (Per Soldiery of West Virginia by ? Lewis)
The first provable fact we have of Henry and Alcey Dixon is that they were married by Rev. John Alderson on 06 Feb 1794 in the Alderson church. At the time of their marriage, they were living along Little Wolf Creek, Greenbriar County in what is now Monroe County, WV. Henry owned 115 acres of land on the west side of Little Wolf Creek adjoining property of Patrick Dixon who is suspected of being Henry’s father.
Henry and Alcey’s first born, John B. Dixon was born along the Little Wolf Creek on 23 Feb 1795, per the family Bible. Soon after his birth, the family moved to Montgomery County, KY where their second child, Patrick W. Dixon was born on 05 Sep 1796. Although they continued to live in Montgomery county KY as documented by the birth of five more children, they did not sell the land in Greenbriar County until 1810. The land was left in the hands of other Dixon family members. According to records of Greenbrier County (now Monroe County) this land was sold to Joseph Ellis of Monroe County, on August 3, 1810. The selling price was quoted as "five shillings of current money of Virginia". Since they were living in Kentucky, the sale was witnessed by Ebenezer Dixon, Margaret Dixon and William Wilson
Henry, Abraham and Peter Dixon are on the Montgomery County, Kentucky tax list for 1799. In 1800, Ebenezer's name is added to that Tax list. Henry continued on the Tax records in the State Library at Frankford until 1812.
The children born in Montgomery KY were;
Patrick W. Dixon, born 05 Sep 1796
James B Dixon 06 Sep 1798
Jane b Dixon 29 Sep 1801
Samuel W Dixon 21 Nov 1803
Ellison Dixon born 14 Nov 1809
Henry W. Dixon born 29 Oct 1811.
As reported by Alice McClain in her book, "Descendants of Henry Dixon from Greenbrier County, Virginia 1776-1976, by 1813-1814, Henry and Alcey must have heard of more promising land to the north, for they moved into Indiana Territory at that time. Indiana did not become a state until 1816. Again through family stories, we find they entered Indiana in the area of Jefferson County. As they proceeded northward searching for a spot in which to settle, they forded a stream called the Muscatatuck River at a point not very far from the little community of Deputy. The story tells how Henry and Alcey provided shelter for their family under the limbs of a fallen tree just below a hill that rose rather abruptly from the stream. It must have been almost a natural shelter that could be turned into a rustic living area. The family remained there until a cabin was built on higher ground, which later became their farm.
Jefferson County records show in Land Office Book A., Henry's name under the Register of Certificates for 1808-1816. In Book H., Called Applications for Desire to Enter Land, on Page 171 is found, " I wish to enter the Northeast and Northwest quarters of Sec 7-Tw. 4 N. Range 8 East, November 17, 1814" with Henry Dixon's signature. His place of residence was given as Indiana Territory. Another record shows that Certificate 1617 and Certificate 1760 were registered for these two quarters of land, with the final Certificate for each on October 18, 1818. This was no doubt after a final payment. Records in the Jefferson County Court House show that a portion of the farm was owned by the oldest son, John, and later sold to his brother, Henry W. Dixon. The farm was located on the old road between Paris Crossing and Deputy in the house where Charles Hedge lived, next to the concrete bridge where "Dixon Ford" was located.
Four more children were added to the family while living in Jefferson/Jennings County. They are:
Williamson Wilson Dixon born 05 March 1815
Elizabeth D. Dixon born 21 Nov 1816
Jesse M. Dixon born 13 December 1818
Alexander Dixon born 03 November 1820
The first death recorded in the family bible was that of James B. Dixon who died at the age of 20 years 12 March 1818. Their daughter Elizabeth died at the age of fifteen on 07 January 1831. Both children are buried in Weigam Cemetery near deputy, IN, not far from their farm. Henry was buried there in 1839. It is assumed that Alcey is buried in the unmarked gravesite next to Henry. See the transcription of the family bible for more dates of births, deaths and marriages.
Note that George Dixon, born February 17, 1754, suspected brother to Henry Dixon, had a son named Henry who also lived along the Little Wolf Creek in Greenbriar. This branch of the family eventually settled in Warren County, Indiana. The two Henry’s are often confused in the research records. This Henry was born in 1798 so was much younger than our Henry.
Alcey Wilson Dixon was born around 1776 in North Carolina. No record has been found of her family but it is suspected that she is related to the Wilson family that settled in Old Paris, IN.
Family legend says that after she settled in Jennings County, Alcey took her son with her and went back to Virginia or North Carolina to visit her family. Alcey and her baby were riding along when a big Indian came along side and took the baby on his horse. The Indian rode many miles with her. When he finally gave the child back to her he reportedly said, "Heap brave squaw, heap brave squaw." If not true, it makes a great story.
Alcey died in May 1865 at the age of 89 years, as reported in the family Bible. No burial or birth information has been found for Alcey.
Thank you Marti Blazick for your contribution the Biographical Sketches!
700 Barrels of Whisky Was Part Payment for 1,200 Acres of Land In the Pioneer Days of the County
(EDITOR’S NOTE: This is the fourth of a series of articles dealing with the lives of men who had much to do with the early development of Bartholomew county and who came from Jennings county. These sketches were prepared by George Pence, county historian, and read at a meeting of the county historical association held there recently.)
One of the emigrants who gave a tone to the affairs of Bartholomew was Major Zachariah Tannehill. He was a soldier in the war of 1812 of the Kentucky troops that served under General Jackson, and participated in the closing battle of that war under that leader, at the battle of New Orleans. He later studied law in Kentucky, but disliking the profession of law, engaged in the milling business, and removed to Paris, in Jennings county. Here he was appointed postmaster in 1821.
I find in a preserved record of Jennings, that in 1812, at an administrator’s sale of a deceased doctor at Paris, Tannehill purchased five lots in Paris and 14 acres adjoining which with his wife Ursula, he sold to one William Dutton on September 1, 1828. In the Bartholomew records under the same date of September 1, 1828, I find that he purchased from Judge John Pence for $3,000, some 1,200 acres of land, which lies west southwest and northwest of our Taylorsville. This included the mill site and dam which had been erected by Pence. In May, 1828, Judge Pence had sold the same premises to two men, Allen D. Graham, of Jennings, and John Rodgers, of Jefferson county, with a payment of $500, and with a mortgage of $4,000 to secure balance of purchase money.
Apparently these purchasers became weak in the knees for they reconveyed the premises, as the Bartholomew records show, to Judge Pence on July 25, of the same year, and, as mentioned, his second conveyance to Zachariah Tannehill, of the same premises for $3,000, or $1,500 under the first consideration. This was during the hard time decade of this county. Judge Pence had been, by far, the wealthiest land owner in Bartholomew county, having entered 42 eighty-acre tracts at Brookville in 1820, at a cash price of over $4,180. That was paid for in silver specie weighing over 250 pounds. Joseph H. Vanmeter, one of the Brookville sale purchasers, of some 640 acres, once told me that he would have bought more land, but for the fact that silver money was so unhandy to carry.
Part Payment in Whisky.
In the Tannehill deal, it was agreed that part of the purchase money should be paid in whisky. Tannehill distilled and delivered 700 barrels to Judge Pence, which was sold for him down the Mississippi river by John M. Gwin, the active merchant of the time at Columbus. This was loaded on flat boats on Driftwood and floated down the rivers, Driftwood, White, Wabash, Ohio and the Mississippi, and sold in Arkansas.
Tannehill abandoned the distillery after settling with Judge Pence and converted the mill into a factory for carding wool. Judge Pence, who had become land poor, when the five year limit from taxation had expired, was then becoming poorer, and it was but a short time after that he closed out his remaining holdings and his removal to Warren County, Illinois where he sold the last quarter section of his German township land on November 13, 1831, for $500.
As a comparison in values, 1828 and 1925, ninety-seven years, Pence’s 3,360 acres would now be worth over half a million dollars. But that 700 barrels of whiskey, 50 gallons to the barrel, 35,000 gallons or 140,000 quarts, at today’s bootlegging price of $10 for a quart, one million four hundred thousand dollars.
Zachariah Tannehill soon became popular in his new home and in a few years, with his former Jennings county acquaintances which county was for years with Bartholomew as a joint senatorial district, was elected on the democratic ticket as joint senator. In 1850, he was elected with Smith Jones as a delegate from Bartholomew to the constitutional convention.
In 1852 he was selected to fill a vacancy in the office of probate judge, and in the fall of that year was elected Judge of the common pleas court, a new court formed in place of the probate court with an enlarged jurisdiction. He was a man of large influence and through that had a survey of the Madison and Indianapolis railroad made along his mill at the river in 1844. It was not located there on account of the concentrated waters of Sugar, Nineveh and Driftwood.
Two Tragedies in Family.
Two tragic events occurred in the family of the Tannehills. The first was the drowning of his son, Jack, who floated in a skiff over the mill dam during a high water, which settled in an eddy below the dam. It was at night and after several hours’ efforts to extricate him from the whirlpool, he finally succumbed to the exposure from cold.
The second was the death of his daughter, Lovinia, who against the parents’ wishes, married Dr. Samuel C. Simpson. Within a year she died in childbirth. Tannehill laid the blame on the doctor. The doctor became incensed and challenged the father-in-law to a duel. This, of course, was rejected. The doctor then made an attempt to kill Tannehill with a loaded pistol, but with a cry from Tannehill for help, he failed to commit a deed of murder. He was regarded as being distracted in his mind. He soon removed from Taylorsville to Mooresville, Ind., where he made an attempt at suicide.
Before leaving Taylorsville, he placed his carriage upon a brush pile which he set on fire and cremated the vehicle.
Zachariah Tannehill was one of the strong men of this county. He died at his home in German township on September 30, 1864, aged 79 years, 10 months and 26 days.
Thanks to Myrna Oldnam a descendent of Zachariah Tannehill for contributing this article