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This is a transcript of an item written by Howard Sherfick. The "Favored Land" is Lost River Township, Martin County, but all individuals mentioned here have ties to Dubois and Orange Counties. This is of special personal interest to me because the focus of this story, Samuel Jones Green, is my second great grandfather. The name of Thomas Tredway, also a second great grandfather, appears here as well...Charlie Tredway

"A Favored Land"
Howard Sherfick
October 27, 1993

(Additional  notes by Mary Lou Doty 'mld') 

According to family legend, one of our ancestors, Samuel J. Green, my great-grandfather, as a young man was a Forty-Niner in the gold rush to California.  Many colorful stories of that venture have been told;  but if Old Sam kept a journal of his experiences, it has escaped us. 

 By Mom's account, he went out by land and returned by sea to Panama, crossed by land, by sea again to New Orleans, and on home by river and overland.  He returned with a trunk, or chest, as she called it.  He told of the Indians' fascination with moving wagon wheels.  They walked close by, observing the wheels of the moving wagon.  It dawned on the travelers that they had never seen a wheel in motion, and were simply amazed at the wonder of it all.  He didn't strike it rich, but he didn't come home empty-handed either.  That's all, no tales of marauding Indians or animals, burning deserts, killing blizzards, or anything else.

In January of 1848, gold was discovered in the tail race of John Sutter's sawmill on the South Fork of the American River at a place called Sutter's Fort, now Sacramento, California.  The following year, the rush was on.  The California Trail carried the vast majority of the Forty-Niners who went west in search of gold.

 The era was before the railroads spanned the nation.  The first to do so was on May 10, 1869, at a point called Promontory Point in the Promontory Mountains north of the Great Salt Lake in Utah,  when the Union Pacific and the Central Pacific were joined.  It roughly followed the California Trail through Nebraska along the Platte River, on through Wyoming (through South Pass), then Colorado, Utah, Nevada, and on to California.  The Pony Express operated near the same route between April 1860 and October 1861 when the first telegraph was completed from sea to sea in that year, putting the Pony Express out of business. 

 The trip then overland would have been long and arduous, by paddle wheel steamer on major streams and by wagon train from Southern Indiana in 1849, well over two thousand miles.  It was particularly hard over deserts in western Nevada and the Sierra Nevada Mountains just beyond.  The history lesson is free.  Now back to the Greens.

 George Green was my grandfather and the son of Samuel J. Green.  He said Samuel's father was James Green, born in Kentucky 1795 and lived about fifty years. 

 On September 25, 1839, in Deed Record No. 2, page 412, is recorded: Nelson Watson, and Nancy, his wife, to James Green, convey and warrant, September 4, 1839, for the sum of $75.00, the SE 1/4 of the NW 1/4 of Sec. 35, Twp. 2 North, Range 4 West, containing 40 acres.  Deed acknowledged before Monarc Sullivan, J.P. of Martin County, Indiana.  In the land records of Martin County, Indiana, on December 25, 1847, is recorded:  James Green, single, to Samuel Jones Green and David Rice Green, convey and warrant for the sum of $1.00, the same land described above, acknowledged by Thomas Tredway, J.P. of Martin County, Indiana, on December 25, 1847.

 It is also recorded that James Green conveyed land to Samuel Wininger on January 5, 1847, and land again to the same person on January 26, 1847.  Samuel Wininger was a brother of Catherine Wininger whom Samuel, James Green's son, would marry April 14, 1853.  I understand James Green is not listed in the 1850 census.  We assume he died between 1847 and 1850.  We do not know where he is buried.  Kentucky would have been a frontier in 1775; and records, if kept, may have been lost to posterity.  As far as I know, research has not established his lineage beyond this point.

An Irishman of this era by the name of Green should have been Catholic; and indeed he was, according to George Green.  Of James Green's wife we know even less, not even her name, when, or where she was born.  She bore her husband three sons whom she refused to raise in his faith.  She died before December 24, 1847, as noted in James Green's land transaction of that date.  Besides Samuel, they had William G. and David Green.

Grandfather George Green spoke to me of many things and people.  He surely knew his grandfather's name, but I didn't have the presence of mind to ask.  I never heard him speak of his father's trip west.  Odd.   In fact, he spoke little of his father's family,  probably because his mother died when he was six years old,  when he came largely under the care and influence of his mother's family,  the Winingers,  of whom he spoke often and with high regard. 

 Pa,  as we called him,  did relate one incident of his father's life.  During the Civil War, there were secret orders for various purposes.  Just before the election of Lincoln's second term,  one such group seized Samuel Green and others of his political persuasion,  charged them of being Southern sympathizers,  and held them by force in railway boxcars until the polls closed,  then released them.  It was their scheme to deny them their franchise,  Pa claimed. 

 As noted, Samuel J. Green had two brothers, David R. and William G.  The "G" in William's name was for Gollen, which was later corrupted to Golden; so he was "Uncle Golden" to the family.  He owned and operated a store at a place called Sitka near, we think, where the Green Cemetery is.  Before the railroad came through in 1856, he hauled his merchandise from the river (the falls of the Ohio, New Albany/Louisville) by team and wagon a distance of some sixty-five miles.  According to Holt's History of Martin County, there have been over forty post offices in Martin County.  The position of postmaster was often a political plum in the olden days.  July 15, 1869, a post office was established at Sitka, and the first postmaster was William G. Green.  It figures.  "Uncle Golden's" politics were correct as Andrew Johnson was President of the United States.

 The land of the sand hills and the river bottoms at the juncture of the Lost River and the East Fork of White River in Martin County may not flow with milk and honey; but it was, and is, a productive land.  It is rich in our heritage.  On a knoll overlooking White River is the Green Cemetery, the final resting place of Greens, Winingers, Bells, Waggoners, and McNannys.  The Green Schoolhouse stood about one and one-half miles northeast of the cemetery.

 George Waggoner, a great-grandfather of mine, owned land and resided there in the 1840s.  His first and second wives are buried in Green Cemetery, along with four of their young children.  George's father was Phillip Waggoner, an emigrant from Germany about 1770.  George was a millwright, and in the early 1850s built a dam a good ways upstream on Lost River. He constructed and operated a mill that withstood the test of time for sixty years.  The vestiges of that structure remain to this day.  George Waggoner was a community leader; and people valued his counsel, we have been told.  A church and cemetery north of Windom bear his name.  (Waggoner's Chapel - mld)  His third wife and he are buried there.

 George Waggoner's third wife, Kezziah (the daughter of John and Rachel Smith McNanny), was the widow of Frank Abel.  I am descended from this union.  Their youngest daughter, Elzora Z. Waggoner, married George Green, son of the Samuel Green who went to California in the Gold Rush.   Anna Bryan Green, one of their daughters, married  Everett Sherfick; and they were my parents.

 Rachel Smith McNanny's husband, John McNanny, died and was buried in Washington County, Indiana.  Rachel, with at least four young children, moved to Martin County.  She was destitute, it was said.  For instance, she picked and sold blackberries for five cents a gallon.  She is buried in Green Cemetery. 

 Daniel Sherfick, my great-grandfather, lived two miles north of Windom.  He had four sons who married daughters or granddaughters of George Waggoner.  John H. Sherfick married Rachel J. Waggoner, daughter of George Waggoner and Kezziah (McNanny) Abel.  William E. Sherfick married Ora Ellen Waggoner, daughter of Thomas Waggoner who was the son of George Waggoner.  Charles H. Sherfick and Samuel S. Sherfick married sisters, the daughters of Thomas H. Tredway and Sarah Waggoner.  Sarah was a daughter of George Waggoner.  Charles H. Sherfick's first marriage was to Dicy Tredway, and Samuel S. Sherfick's second marriage was to her sister, Becky Ann.  Samuel S. Sherfick's first wife was Susan Wininger, daughter of Samuel Wininger and Mary Ann Bell.  I am descended through their son, Everett Sherfick.

 Samuel Wininger and wife, Mary Ann Bell, were another set of great-grandparents.  They are buried at Green Cemetery.  Samuel served with the Army of the North in the War Between the States from September 1864 to July 1865.  He was farming four hundred acres and had seven children between one and twelve years old.  He joined Sherman at Atlanta and made the trip to Savannah through Georgia.

Mary Ann Bell's parents were John J. Bell and wife, Margaret Noble.  They were great-great-grandparents, also buried in Green Cemetery.  Dad says the Bells were emotional, musically inclined, and given to hospitality.  Anyone, friend, neighbor, or stranger, was welcome to eat at their table or sleep in a bed at their house. 

Catherine and Samuel Wininger were brother and sister.  Samuel and Mary Ann Bell Wininger were parents of Susan Wininger, first wife of Samuel S. Sherfick.  Susan was the mother of Everett Sherfick, my father.  Samuel and Catherine Wininger Green (our ancestors - mld) were the parents of George Green, who was father of my mother.  It's not like I'm my own grandpa, as the song goes.  Samuel and Catherine were brother and sister; George Wininger and Susan (Wininger) Sherfick, later married to James A. Ragsdale, were first cousins; Everett Sherfick and Anna Bryan Green were second cousins. 

I must be a third cousin to me since we have common great-great-grandparents, John Wininger and his wife, Sarah Rutherford Wininger (also our ancestors - mld).  We are short one set of great grandparents.

Samuel Wininger's parents were John Wininger and Sarah Rutherford.  John was born ca. 1805 and died 1847.  He was a large landowner.  He is thought to have drowned fording Lost River during flood.  It is not known where he is buried.  His father was William Wininger of Hawkins County, Tennessee, who moved to Dubois County, Indiana.  William's father was John Alexander Wininger, born ca. 1750 in Alsace, Germany, or Pennsylvania.  The first record of him was in Rockbridge County, Virginia, where he owned land; then to Hawkins County, Tennessee, where he was listed as a landowner.  He then moved to Orange County, Indiana, and is thought to be buried in Cane Creek Cemetery, southwest of French Lick.  John Alexander Wininger was a soldier in the War for American Independence.

Let us not forget the Rutherfords on both sides of White River.  A civil township was named for them in Martin County, and why not?  They owned a large part of it.  Sarah Rutherford, who married John Wininger, had a brother, Ezekiel Rutherford, who married John Wininger's sister, Sarah Wininger.  Brothers and sisters married brothers and sisters.

We wish we had a good story to tell about Samuel's trip to the gold fields.  Since we have but a few facts, we will speculate.  Mother claimed, and we believe, William, "Uncle Golden," made the trip west with his brother for the following reasons:  Sam was only seventeen years old in 1849, a tender age for such adventure alone.  His monicker, "Golden," would give credence to the theory that the precious metal had somehow touched his life.  William had no family commitment.  We don't know when he was married (5-10-1852 to Mary Hendrixson - mld), but we know his first child was born in 1856, making his marriage about 1854, giving him time to make the trip and be back by then; and the name Sitka has a western flavor.

It was exciting times, the populace was on the move.  Martin County had been settled hardly forty years.  Indiana had been a state only thirty-three years, but the new land was being filled up and many folks were becoming restless.  No doubt William and Samuel, being young bucks full of vim and vigor, dreamed of high adventure and wealth in the newly discovered gold fields. 

We will treat this expedition as a joint venture by the two brothers.  Their grubstake was assured from their share of their father's goods.  They wouldn't have to pick blackberries or snare rabbits to eat on the way.  They surely left in early spring in order to cross the Sierra Nevada Mountains before winter set in, usually by late September.  They may have taken a stagecoach to St. Louis, a paddle wheeler up the Missouri River to about where Kansas City now is, joined a wagon train to arrive late fall or early winter.

Did they pan for gold, work underground, or do other work to support the miners?  We don't know.  About fifty thousand crowded the gold fields.  Many were killed by accident or through strife.  Some died from sickness.  Some prospered, and a few became wealthy.  Not a few engaged in riotous living.  The brothers probably accumulated what wealth they could and took care of what came their way.  Whatever the fortunes of the emigrants to the gold fields, most of them stayed, enough for California to become a state in 1850.

Life would have been hard, at best, in the gold fields.  The Green brothers didn't stay long.  Samuel would marry a neighbor girl back home, April 14, 1853,  (Catherine Wininger - mld).  With travel time taking up most of a year, they couldn't have stayed long in California.  At some point, their wanderlust was cured and they realized easy gain of great wealth was in doubt.  Sam owned a patch of ground far away.  Perhaps memories of childhood sweethearts influenced their thinking.  Like the prodigal son of long ago, Uncle Golden and Grandpappy Sam came to their senses, and return they would.  Sam's treasure chest wasn't full, but they wouldn't have to care for swine or eat their fare on the way home.  With their inheritance intact and perhaps a little added, they started home. 

The wash of the waves on the hull, and the slap of the wind in the sails, may have lulled them to sleep as they sang "Home, Home on the Range," but their dreams were of more favored land.  Their father would be dead; but if he had any way of knowing, he would have welcomed them back to the hills and valleys of Martin County, Indiana.

P.S.  William Green may have stayed longer in the gold fields than Samuel.

October 27, 1993 

Transcript Courtesy of Cathy Clark, Also Descended From Samuel Jones Green