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414 - History of Vermillion County Biographical and Historical Record of
Vermillion County, Indiana
and came on foot to Danville, Illinois, where there was one log cabin used as an Indian trading post. He found employment in the salt works fifteen miles west of Danville, where he was engaged two years. He then came to Vermillion County, locating at Springifeld, near the present site of Eugene, and here he helped make the first brick in the county, and built the first brick chimney made in the county, which was placed on the cooper shop where he learned his trade, that of a cooper. He built a cooper shop in Helt Township, and made the barrels in which the first pork of the county was packed. He married Miss Agnes Skidmore, a daughter of John Skidmore, an early settler of the county, and to them were born nine children, seven of whom grew to maturity -- John, Polly, Mrs. Ruth Rogers (deceased), William F., Mrs. Ellen J. Carter, Mrs. Caroline James and Albert Harvey. William Kearns died August 27, 1884, aged seventy-seven years. He was always a hard-working man, and did much toward building up the county. He was a minister in the Methodist Episcopal church for some time, and was an active worker for the cause of Christianity. He came to the county when it was principally inhabited by Indians and wild animals, and made his home right in the woods, where he experienced all the hardships and privations incident to pioneer life, but by persevering industry and good management he made a good home out of the forest, and lived to enjoy the fruits of his years of toil. John S. Kearns, whose name heads this sketch, is a native of Vermillion County, Indiana, born in Helt Township, June 8, 1831. He was reared amid the scenes of pioneer life, and in his boyhood attended school in the rude log cabin schools of that early day with their puncheon floors, clapboard roof, and slab seats, and greased paper for windows, receiving here but a limited education. He was married September 20, 1855, to Rachel Spriggs, a daughter of Henry Spriggs, and to them were born three children, all of whom are deceased. Mrs. Kearns died June 19, 1861, and December 31, 1863, Mr. Kearns was married to Miss Parthena J. Ivie, a daughter of John Ivie, of Harrison County, Missouri. They are the parents of four children named -- Oscar, Ruhama C., U. S. Grant and Ellen J. Both Mr. and Mrs. Kearns are members of the Methodist Episcopal church at Spring Hill.



DANIEL HELT, one of the earliest settlers of Helt Township, was born in Washington County, Pennsylvania, October 22, 1791, a son of John Helt. In 1815 Daniel Helt accompanied his father to Vincennes, Indiana, and in the fall of 1817, they came to Vermillion County, and built a cabin and in the spring of 1818 moved the family into it. The country at that time was inhabited by Indians and wild animals and they had many thrilling adventures, which Mr. Helt never tired of relating, and many are remembered by his family. The Indians were in the habit of coming to the houses of the white settlers for provisions and at one time when the larder was nearly empty Mr. Helt refused to give them anything. At this they became angry and came to his house with the intention of killing him, but he was absent from home and thus avoided a quarrel. At one time an Indian went to the house of his father, John Helt, and demanded either his gun or his pappose (his son George), but Mr. Helt told him he could have neither, but if he did not leave he would gladly give him the contents of the gun. Mr. Helt was a veteran of the war of 1812, and had no fear


Biographical Sketches - 415
of the Indians. They were obliged to go to Vincennes to mill, and were some times three or four weeks in making the trip. Mr. Helt was married June 17, 1819, to Mary M. Ely, daughter of George Ely. To them were born nine children, five of whom are living -- Francis M., Henry E., Phoebe (now Mrs. Jacob Miller), Catherine (now Mrs. Wm. Hammon), and Mary J. (wife D. E. Strain). A daughter, Lucinda, died at the age of two years, and two sons, George and Eli, after they had reached manhood. Eli left a wife and four children. Mr. Helt died March 15, 1879, in the eighty-eighth year of his age, and Mrs. Helt September 30, 1884, in her ninety-first year. They were members of the Methodist Episcopal church.



HENRY AYE, deceased, who was identified with the early history of Helt Township, was born in Maryland in November, 1794, a son of Jacob Aye, who was a Revolutionary soldier of some note. His education was limited, as the schools of those days were of short sessions. At the age of seventeen he volunteered in Lieutenant Devaull's Company of Ohio Militia, and was honorably discharged after peace was declared. An [sic] the age of thirty, he married Mary, daughter of the Rev. Simon Jones, the first settler of the Welch Hills, Licking County, Ohio, and after his marriage settled near Calidonia, Marion County, Ohio. He migrated to Indiana in the fall of 1839, and settled in the woods on section 9, Helt Township, where he cleared the land and built a comfortable home for his family. In politics he was a Whig, and a Republican; in religion he was an old-time Methodist. His house was always open to receive the itinerant, and no stranger was allowed to go away hungry. He died as he lived, an honored citizen and Christian gentleman. His widow still lives on the old homestead with her eldest son, Francis, in the eighty-fourth year of her age. They were the parents of fourteen children -- Francis S., Eliza, Rufus B., Nancy, Jacob, Phoebe A., Rachel, Nathan, Vinal S., Maria, Mary, Electa, Henry H. and Albert. Ten are still living.



WILLIAM RHEUBY is a native of Vermillion County, born in Eugene Township, near Eugene, April 28, 1833. His father, John Rheuby, was born near Perryville, Kentucky, in the year 1800, and during the war of the Rebellion the battle of Perryville was fought on the farm where he was born. John Rheuby was left an orphan at an early age, and in 1812 he immigrated to Washington County, Indiana, with his Uncle Nathaniel Green. He came to Vermillion County, in 1830, and settled in Eugene Township when Indians and wild animals were the principal inhabitants. He was a soldier during the Black Hawk War. He married Rachel Dickerson, and of the four children born to them two are yet living -- William, our subject, and Kinzer who lives in Finney County, Kansas. One son Nathaniel, died in hospital at Madison, Indiana, during the late war. The father died in June, 1875. William Rheuby was reared to agricultural pursuits, and has always followed the vocation of a farmer. He received a common-school education in the schools of this county, and subsequently taught four terms in his home district in the old log cabin school-house. He was married October 12, 1859, to Miss Eliza Sprouls, a daughter of the late James Sprouls. To them have been born ten children, six of whom are living,