The earliest settlers of Scott Co. came mainly from VA, North Carolinaand Kentucky. The two main routes for these settlers were the overland routethrough the Cumberland Gap and over the Wilderness Road through Kentuckyor down the Ohio River from Pennsylvania on flat boats.
Many, if not most of the early settlers of Scott County were "squatters".In other words they lived on the land without legal ownership. This wasnot unusual for most of those who came West in those days. A person couldpick out his land, clear the trees, build a cabin and plant crops. Whenhe had accumulated enough money for a downpayment, he would saddle his horse,go to the United States Land Office and enter his land. The government waslenient and the land was cheap. Payments could be made over a four yearperiod. When it was paid up, the government issued a patent, signed by thePresident of the United States.
According to Carl Bogardus M.D. in "The Early History of Scott County,Indiana 1820 - 1870", the first white man to attempt a settlement wasJames Harrod, Jr. He selected a spot about a mile east of present day Lexingtonand built a cabin there in 1796. However, John Kimberlin (along with sonsDaniel and Isaac) who came down the Ohio on a flat boat from Green Co.,PA in 1805 is generally credited with being Scott County's first settler."Kimberlin, a Revolutionary War veteran, was the first person to purcahseland in what is now Scott County. In 1804 he bought Tract 264 of land grantto soldiers of George Rogers Clark. His family settled in 1805 in a wellbuilt cabin northwest of here, cleared land, built fences, and farmed. Heand his wife are buried in the cemetery southwest of here. (The John Kimberlin Farm Historical Marker, 5765 South Westport Road, Nabb, IN)
After Pigeon Roost Massacre in September 1812, his cabin was converted to afortified blockhouse and sheltered area settlers. Nearly 600 mountedvolunteers from Kentucky and Indiana Territory came to protect the area,encamped on his land, and used his supplies. He petitioned the U.S.Congress in 1832 for payment and received $150 in 1834."
Also in 1805, Jesse Henley of North Carolina came to what became Scott Co.and built a tavern for the benefit of travelers and to use as a base fortrading with the Delaware and Shawnee. His was the first land entry to bemade in what is now Scott Co. His patent was dated June 20, 1809.
In 1809 a group of twelve pioneers and their families led by WilliamE. Collings, came from Nelson Co., Kentucky and established the ill-fatedPigeon Roost settlement which was destroyed by the Shawnee in Septemberof 1812. Collings patent, however, is not dated until 1816.
Many of the men who filed for patents in Scott Co. were veterans of theAmerican Revolution. Most entered their land at least four years beforethe date of their patents so we can be fairly sure they were squatters evenearlier. Approximately 900 patents for land were issued in Scott Co. between1809 and 1820 when Scott became a county. Some of those patents were issuedto the following: James Anderson, William E. Collings (1816), Matthias Mount(1816),Spencer Hougland, Moses Hougland, Jesse Henley, John Wingate, James Harrod,David Clark, Zebulon Foster, Walter Spencer, Sr., James Hougland, IsaacEstill, Willliam Harrod, John B. Pittman, John Clinkinbeard, Solomon Beach(1820),Samuel Beach (1820) Thomas Broady, Thomas Collings, Francis Snowden andWilliam E. Collings(1820).
Note: Information from "The Early History of Scott County, Indiana1820-1870 by Carl R. Bogardus, Sr., M.D., published by The Scott CountyHistorical Society, 1970.