INGenWeb.org

   COORDINATORS:



390 - History of Vermillion County Biographical and Historical Record of
Vermillion County, Indiana
when she was a child, her father dying here a few years ago. Her mother is still living, aged eighty-four years. To Mr. and Mrs. Harrison eleven children have been born as follows: Mrs. Olive Wood, of Clinton Township Douglas died March 20, 1885, aged twenty-two years; Bruce; Colman; Annie, who died in childhood; Charles, Frank, Thomas, Arabella, Nellie and Callie. In politics Mr. Harrison is a Republican, and is a strong adherent to the principles of that party.



MICHAEL HELT, deceased, who was prominently identified with the early history of the county, was born in Pennsylvania, January 22, 1788, a son of John Helt, who was of German descent. He was reared to agricultural pursuits, which he followed through life. He was married August 31, 1815, to Elizabeth Aye, a native of Maryland, and a daughter of Jacob Aye, who was of German and English descent. To them were born seven children, four still living -- Mrs. Celina Mitchell, Catherine, Charles B. and Nancy. Catherine was the second white child born in Vermillion County, the date of her birth being March 23, 1819, and is the oldest living native born citizen in the county. She has never married and is living with her maiden sister on a part of the old homestead. The names of the deceased children are John, Hiram and Irena. Shortly after his marriage Michael Helt, with his wife, his two brothers, Daniel and George, his sister Elizabeth, with her husband Augustus Ford, his father, and John Skidmore and family, started in a flat-boat at Columbus, Ohio, for Indiana, floating down the Scioto Riber to the Ohio, and from there to the mouth of the Wabash River, then poled it to Vincennes, Indiana, where the little colony lived about three years. In 1818 they came to vermillion County, settling on and around the prairie which was subsequently named Helt's Prairie at a settler's meeting, in honor of John Helt and his three sons. John Helt died aged seventy years, more than fifty years ago. When they settled here the country was nothing but a wilderness, wild animals roamed through the forest, and Indians were the only inhabitants, but were not trouble-some. Their nearest trading point was Terre Haute, and their milling was done sixty miles from their home. They worked hard to make a home out of the forests for their family, and by persevering industry and strict economy in the pioneer days, their efforts were crowned with success. Mr. Helt died at his home in Helt Township, August 5, 1864, and his wife died September 13, 1867. Both were earnest Christians, and consistent members of the Methodist Episcopal church for many years.



JOHN CLARK, a worthy representative of one of the old and respected pioneer families of Vermillion County, is a native of Butler County, Ohio, born September 3 1829, and was but three years of age when his parents, Ezra and Nancy (Fullwider) Clark, settled in Vermillion Township, this county, near Newport. His father was born in Butler County, Ohio, and is now living in Helt Township, Vermillion County, a hale old man, eighty-seven years of age. The mother of our subject was born in North Carolina, and was of German ancestry. She died in 1864, afer having reared five children to maturity. Two beside the subject of this sketch are yet living, named Mrs. Martha Sears and Mrs. Mary E. Betson, both resi-


Biographical Sketches - 391
dents of Vermillion Township. The father was again married to Miss Abbie Pierson, and by his second marriage has reared a family of four children. John Clark, the subject of this sketch, was reared to agricultural pursuits on the home farm, and has always followed the avocation of a farmer, in which he has met with good success.  He was united in marriage, August 16, 1853, to Miss Rachel Smith, who was born in Clinton Township, Vermillion County. Her father, James Smith, died when she was three years old. They commenced housekeeping on a tract of eighty acres deeded him by his father, located in Vermillion Township. Three years later they removed to Clinton Township, and settled on the farm where they have since made their home. This property is very finely located on the Hazel Bluff gravel road, two miles west of Clinton. Mrs. Clark died on this farm, November 29, 1879, in her forty-eighth year. July 25, 1880, Mr. Clark was married a second time to Mrs. Charity (Bruce) Downs, a native of Edgar County, Illinois, born March 8, 1843. Her parents, James and Nancy (Carney) Bruce, were born in the State of Virginia, but married in Kentucky, and moved to Illinois from that State. Mrs. Clark was about four years of age when her father died. Her mother died some twenty-two years ago. Mrs. Claark was first married to Abram Downs, September 29, 1868, and they resided in Edgar County, Illinois, until his death, which occurred February 27, 1871, at the age of twenty-seven years. Mr. Clark has 193 acres of choice land in his homestead, and also owns forty acres of improved land on section 16, Clinton Township. He has a neat, comfortable residence, good farm buildings, and the entire surroundings indicate the care and thrift of the owner. In politics he has always voted the Democratic ticket. He is an active and enterprising citizen, and every movement calculated to promote the welfare of his township or county has his encouragement and support.



SMITH H. SAMUELS, manufacturer and dealer in brick at Cayuga, is a native of Ohio, born in Pickaway County December 25, 1841, a son of Peter and Eleanor (Vinson) Samuels, both of whom are deceased. The subject of this sketch was brought up on a farm, receiving his education principally at Bloomingdale Academy, Parke County, Indiana, and during the year 1869 he taught school for one term. On the 6th day of July 1861,he enlisted in the Union army, in Company H, Twenty-first Indiana Infantry, serving in this company two years. Immediately after the surrender of New Orleans his regiment made an expedition into Western Louisiana, and at Bayou Boeuf captured a battery of three guns, which was subsequently used by detail from his regiment, and with such efficiency that General B. F. Butler converted the entire regiment into heavy artillery, with two additional companies, and when fully recruited the organization numbered 1,900 men. Mr. Samuels served four years and two months, and participated in the battles of Baton Rouge, Donaldsonville, Franklin, siege of Port Hudson (forty-seven days and nights), Fort Morgan, Spanish Fort, Forts Huger and Tracy, and Fort Blakely. At the last named place the battery to which our subject belonged alone, with two thirty-pounder Parrott rifles, whipped the Huntsville and Nashville Confederate, wooden, and the Morgan iron-clad gunboats. This occcurred April 8, 1865, on the extreme right of Fort Blakely, and was really the last battle of the war. Mr. Samuels was appointed Bugler at Mobile, Alabama, and was mustered out as such, and