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Martin County
Early Hindostan History and Settlers

This information was contributed by Bill DeCoursey

1816 - The following notice appeared 9 March 1816 and 16 March 1816 in the WESTERN SUN: TAKE NOTICE I shall apply at the next, or the succeeding circuit court for the county of Knox, for a ferry across the East fork of White river, at the falls, on section No. 10 in township No. 2 north, and range No. 4 West. - F. SHOLTS - March 8, 1816.

In READINGS IN INDIANA HISTORY, page 236 this appears: "In the days before bridges there were necessarily far more ferries than at present. Every county had licensed ferrymen. On the Louisville-Vincennes stage road there were two well-known ferries, one over Driftwood at Houghton's or Mount Pleasant, the other over White river at Maysville. The ferryman was usually a tavern keeper as well."

1816 - "Practically the first settlement of Martin county, then a part of Daviess county, was at the falls, on the east fork of White river. A few hunters may have built cabins in this territory at an earlier date. Frederick SHOLTS entered the land and sold it to a company. The company made the after payments on most of it, and laid out the town of Hindostan. Captian FELLOWS, one of the company, gave the town its name. Captain FELLOWS had resided in India many years. Things now looked so bright for a fortune, he said, 'let it be Hindostan'." INDIANA MAGAZINE of HISTORY VOL.XVI, NO.4 (December 1920), p.285.

1816 - David THOMAS wrote in his Journal, 4 July 1816, while travelling through Indiana: "As the last gleamings of the day were departing, we arrived at SCHULT's near the Driftwood Branch of White river. This tavern is a recent establishment. The proprietor, formerly from Pennsylvania, but latterly from Seneca county, in New York, has adopted the eastern mode of clearing land, and at once lays it open to the day. ---" INDIANA MAGAZINE of HISTORY VOL.XVI, NO.4 (December 1920), pp.297; INDIANA AS SEEN BY EARLY TRAVELERS (1916), P.62.

1816 - The following appeared in the WESTERN SUN (August 24, 1816): "Vincennes, August 19, 1816 - NOTICE is hereby given, that the late company of United States rangers commanded by Captain Frederick SHOLTS is requested to attend at this place on the 4th day of the month to receive their --?-- year 1814 and 1815. - A. WHITLOCK, Dist. Paymaster."

1817 - Moris BIRKBECK, an English Quaker farmer, in 1817, made a trip through Indiana. He recorded the following: "July 12, 1817. This beautiful country continues as far as Schultz's Tavern, on White river, thirty-six miles east of Vincennes. Most of this hilly district is unentered, and remains open to the public at two dollars an acre. "July 13, 1817. The road from Schultz's Tavern to this place (Vincennes), thirty six miles, is partly across 'barrens,' that is, land of middling quality, thinly set with timber, or covered with long grass and shrubby underwood." INDIANA MAGAZINE of HISTORY VOL.XVI, NO.4 (December 1920), pp.295.

1817 - Frederick SHOLTS entered land in Section 5, Daviess (Martin) County, Indiana, 9 October 1817. That same year he was involved in a number of other transactions (some together with James G. REED) for land that was relinquished in 1729 for non-payment. See Margaret R. Waters, INDIANA LAND ENTRIES (Reprinted 1978), v.2.

1818 - Frederick SHOLTS, together with William JONES, entered 184 acres of land in sec. 10 & 11, twp.1N, R4W, Daveiss Co., Indiana, on 30 April 1818. Fred SHOLTS commenced the building of a Saw mill on White river in the summer of 1818. INDIANA MAGAZINE of HISTORY VOL.XVI, NO.4 (December 1920), pp.285-302.

1818 - The township of Sholts was formed in Martin County (then part of Daviess County), Indiana; a company was formed to develop the land acquired by Fred SHOLTS and his brothers, Mathias and Jacob. The company laid out many lots of small dimensions, and many that contained from five to fifty acres. Many were sold at high prices. The town of Hindostan was established about 1818. The first election was held in the home of Frederick SHOLTS. The population of Hindostan grew to about 500 people. Fred SHOLTS operated a Tavern and Sawmill in the town. Industry developed in the town, and manufacture of the "Hindostan Oil Stone" started there. "Few opened farms, so their supplies had to be brought from Orange and Daviess counties. Bread was especially difficult to get. The woods gave them meat. A large saddle of venison could be had for a trifle. The sugar trees gave them sugar. Heavy articles were brought in keel-boats. The pioneers raised corn and hogs. Corn and bacon and the Hindostan oil stone were taken to market in flat boats." After a few years of prosperity, an epidemic hit the town, and there was much illness. The parents of Frederick and Mathias SHOLTS died in Hindostan. The town folded in 1829. INDIANA MAGAZINE of HISTORY VOL.XVI, NO.4 (December 1920), pp.285-302.

1818 - On 6 November 1872, E. A. P. (MERRIAM) BROWN WISE, who became the wife of Attorney Charles R. BROWN, and after his death the wife of John WISE of Vincennes, wrote to Thomas J. BROOKS, of Martin County, as follows: "We first came to the county in July, 1818, in company with my uncle, Thomas G. PRENTISS' family and Dr. PORTER's from Lexington, Kentucky. We stopped at PORTER's Retreat, three miles from Mt. Pleasant, remained until March 1819, when my father, together with my uncles, James and John M. PRENTISS, came out and purchased a farm at the Falls of White River from Colonel Fred SHOLTS (colonel of a militia company at this place), and laid out the town of Hindostan. --- At the expiration of a year our town numbered five hundred inhabitants; people flocked in from every direction, and many were obliged to occupy their boats for houses, as they came by water. General HARRISON, when on his way to Vincennes, took tea with us, on a dry goods box, and enjoyed as much as if we had been in a palace. At that time a table was a scarce article; we were obliged to send to Liverpool (Washington), twenty-one miles, to get one. I spent that winter at Mr. SAVAGE's in Louisville. The summer following, quite a number of our friends came out from Louisville to spend a few weeks. While there, the sickness commenced, and they were obliged to return. That fall my uncle, Thomas PRENTISS, and wife died, together with John M. PRENTISS, Nat GARDNER, Mr. BOND (a nephew of my father's from Boston), and my uncle's housekeeper, Mrs. CHILDS. But one person, Rufus BROWN, in the town escaped being affected by the dreadful scourge.---" INDIANA MAGAZINE of HISTORY VOL.XVI, NO.4 (December 1920), pp.285-302.

1818 - The readers of the WESTERN SUN, June 6, 1818, were warned of the danger of exposure to smallpox, reported to have been brought west from New York and Philadelphia by emigrants, travelers, etc. who put up at taverns. Perhaps this was the source of the illness that caused the downfall of the town of Hindostan, Indiana and suffering in other surrounding settlements. During 1819 many advertisements and communications appeared giving recipes for the cure of smallpox, cholera morbus, and yellow fever. INDIANA MAGAZINE of HISTORY VOL.XVI, NO.4 (December 1920), pp.285-302.

1819 - In 1818 a company was formed to develop the land acquired by Frederick SHOLTS; and on 3 March 1819, Frederick SHOLTS sold a three-fourths interest in the land on which Hindostan was afterward laid out, and lots twelve and twenty-four in Greenwich, to John MERIAM. Greenwich was the first town laid out at the Falls on White River. INDIANA MAGAZINE of HISTORY VOL.XVI, NO.4 (December 1920), pp.285-302.

1820 - Martin County, Indiana was formed 17 January 1820 out of Daviess and Dubois Counties. The first marriage in Martin County was performed by Wesley SHOLTS.

1820 - Mathias SHOLTS is on a list of those who purchased four hundred or more acre tracts in Martin County, Indiana. Holt, Harry Q., HISTORY OF MARTIN COUNTY, INDIANA (1953), p.31.

1820 - Frederick SHOLTS was appointed associate judge in Martin County on 17 March 1820. He resigned 14 June 1821. Mathias SHOLTS was served as Martin county commissioner 1820-1821. Mathias SHOLTS organized Sholtz township, and built the first jail at Hindustan in 1820. Among the first local roads considered for improvement in Martin County was the road from Hindostan to Capt. Mathias SHOLT's. Holt, Harry Q., HISTORY OF MARTIN COUNTY, INDIANA (1953), p.41,85.

"Frederick SHOLTS, one of the first associate judges, was named as the plaintiff or defendant in numerous early court cases. In October, 1820, he filed a claim asking damages from Rufus BROWN, John M. PRENTISS and Isaac SMITH. SHOLTS, himself, was the chief defendant in July 1822, when the county filed suit for $20,000 against the "Proprietors of Hindostan" for their failure to make good their promise for receiving the county seat of Martin County. Numerous appeals were also carried to the Circuit Court from decisions of Justices of the peace by SHOLTS." Holt, Harry Q., HISTORY OF MARTIN COUNTY, INDIANA (1953), p.165.

1820 - Thomas M. CLARKE of Martin County, Indiana recalled about 1859: "I did not know Col. Frederick SHOLTS till the spring of 1820, but I have heard him often spoke of for there he was one of our few big men. He with the PRINTISSES were making a City of Hindostan and to give it more prominence they must have a new County and their city a county seat all of which Col. SHOLTS effected in the Legislature of 1819 & 20. Being State Senator he had Martin County struck off, commissioners appointed to locate the county seat, and (had) an act passed authorizing the election of County officers all of which was done in March. Col. SHOLTS had put up a large hotel, and the land company erected a grist and saw mill. Houses went up as by magic. The highest wages were given to all who wanted to work, and every article of produce, game, or marketing was in demand. There was a large emigration from the East and among them men and women of the highest attainments and most polished manners. In the summer of 1820 times were prosperous and Hindostan continued to grow. But in the fall there came a fever or pestilence that was more universal in its attacks and more virulent, when seated, than any scourge I ever knew, or, I think, ever occurred in Indiana. Many died, all were sick, debts accumulated, property went down, the company broke and that ended Col. SHOULTS's public career. He (Col. SHOLTS) was a pleasant genial man, cheerful disposition and enjoyed a joke equal to any man. He was not a candidate for any office after his legislative service, and he left here (Martin county) in 1828 or 1829." From the letters of Thomas M. CLARKE, WILLIAM H. ENGLISH COLLECTION, Indiana Historical Society.

1821 - Frederick SHOLTS was a State Senator representing Martin, Knox, Sullivan, and Greene Counties, Indiana from 1821-1825. In the Legislative session of 1823-24, Frederick SHOLTS was listed as being from Daviess County.

Thomas Jefferson BROOKS (1805-1882), a resident of Hindostan, Martin County in 1823, recalled the following in 1873: "Frederick SHOLTS was an active man. His family is not known here now. His brothers, Mathias and Jacob, left children which are yet in this vicinity. --- Fred SHOLTS' father and mother died here." INDIANA MAGAZINE of HISTORY VOL.XVI, NO.4 (December 1920), pp.285-302.

1821 - About 1821 a severe illness (probably Smallpox) hit the town of Hindostan. "The sickness caught the settlers in their log cabins and shanties, and the forest unbroken around them. They were unacclimated. All were sick but Rufus BROWN and many died. The pioneers had built grist mills, an saw mills, but many became disheartened and found ways to leave, so by the year 1824 they were reduced in numbers, until only one-half remained. Much of their energy and means were gone, and they had failed to erect the county building."

1822 - In the WESTERN SUN of November 16, 1822, appears an advertisement for the sale of fifty-six lots in the town of Hindostan, by Lewis R. ROGERS, clerk of Martin County, wherein Charles R. BROWN, one of the administrators of the estate of John M. PRENTISS, deceased, offers these lots for sale. Notices of the proposed sale were also posted at Frederick SHOLTS Tavern and John C. CLARK's tavern. INDIANA MAGAZINE of HISTORY VOL.XVI, NO.4 (December 1920), pp.293.

1824 - "By 1824 the town of Hindostan had several well-built houses, and the county could muster a very good regiment on regimental day, with a variety of arms and costumes." The Martin County Board, in 1824, allowed Frederick SHOLTS $900 for building a jail. He was sued in 1826 for failure to perform on the bond. INDIANA MAGAZINE of HISTORY VOL.XVI, NO.4 (December 1920), pp.285-302.

1824 - In the WESTERN SUN and GENERAL ADVERTISER, on October 9, 1824, is a copy of a tax collector's sale, wherein hundreds of acres of land about Hindostan and Mt. Pleasant, and many lots in the tows of Hindostan, Greenwich and Mt. Pleasant, are offered for sale for taxes due. The sale took place at the house of Frederick SHOLTS, in Hindostan, on Monday, November 15, 1824.

1826 - Frederick SHOLTS was sued in Martin County for failure to perform on a bond in the matter of building a county jail.

1828 - James D. SHOLTS was postmaster at Hindostan on 18 August 1828. The Hindostan postoffice was discontinued 29 December 1830. By that time the town had become mostly deserted following a severe epidemic (of smallpox?) that had hit in the early 1820's. The once prosperous town died and eventually became nothing but farm land. "The land around Hindostan was entered under the old credit policy of the United States; that is, to be paid for on the installment plan. Much of the land was forfeited to the government."

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