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508 - History of Vermillion County Biographical and Historical Record of
Vermillion County, Indiana

dent of this county as early as 1822, when the principal inhabitants were Indians and wild animals. He settled in Helt township when the surrounding country was nothing but a wilderness, and here he made his home until his death engaged in agricultural pursuits. He was married June 9, 1822, to Miss Elizabeth Swank, a daughter of Jacob Swank, and to them were born twelve children, of whom eight are living at the present time -- William, Edmund, Joseph, Collon, Crews, Permelia, Mary and Lydia. Mr. James held the office of justice of the peace for a period of eighteen years, and made a wise and just judge. His death ocurred April 2, 1864, causing universal regret throughout the township where he had made his home for so many years. his widow still survives, living at Summit Grove, in her eighty-third year. She has had sixty-nine grandchildren, and sixty-five great-grandchildren.



WILLIAM F. BALES, farmer and stock-raiser, section 1, Helt Township, was born on the Bales homestead near where he now lives September 12, 1829, a son of Caleb Bales an honored pioneer of Helt Township. He was reared in the wilds of Vermillion County, when the country was infested with Indians and wild animals, and when educational advantages were meager. His early life was spent in helping to clear his father's land and in preparing it for cultivation. He has always given his attention to agricultural pursuits, at which he has been successful and now owns a good farm of 342 acres. He makes a specialty of stock-raising having some of the best grades of cattle and hogs. Mr. Bales was married October 6, 1851, to Nancy Meriwether, daughter of David Meriwether. They have five chldren -- Emily, George, Julia, Frank and Carrie. Emily is the wife of Oliver Staats and George married Jennie Vannest. Mr. Bales is a member of the Masonic fraternity.



WILLIAM B. HOOD, a worthy representative of one of the old pioneer families of Vermillion County, was born in Helt Township, this county, December 17, 1839, a son of Thomas S. Hood, a resident of Dana. he was reared to agricultural pursuits on his father's farm, and received such education as the schools of his neighborhood afforded in his youth. He served four years in the war of the Rebellion, being a member of Company C, Eighteenth Indiana Cavalry, and participated in a number of hard-fourght engagements, including the battle of Pea Ridge, siege of Vicksburg, battles of Champion Hills, Black River Bridge, Winchester, Fisher's Hill and Cedar Creek. He entered the service as a private and was promoted to Second Lieutenant, but was not mustered out as such. At the time of his discharge he held the rank of Captain. He was married in November, 1862, to Miss Sarah E. Payne, a daughter of the late Moses Payne, To this union six children were born, of whom four are yet living, named Nettie, Charles, Mamie and Robert Walters. Mrs. Hood died November 7, 1878, and November 24, 1879, Mr. Hood married Miss Harriet Widner, a daughter of Amos Widner, who is deceased. To this union one child has been born, a daughter named Laura. Mr. Hood is the owner of eighty acres of land on section 30, Helt Township, where he resides, but farms on 320 acres. He also devotes some attention to stock-raising, making a


Biographical Sketches - 509

specialty of Berkshire hogs and short-horn cattle. He is a member of the Methodist Episcopal church. He is a member of the Masonic fraternity, and also belongs to the Grand Army of the Republic.



JOHN SKIDMORE, deceased, was one of the first pioneers of Helt Township, Vermillion County, and during his life was an active and enterprising citizen. He was born in Pennsylvania, August 27, 1783, his father being of English descent, and a soldier during the Revolutionary war. his mother was a native of Germany, coming to America when five years of age. Her parents and the rest of her family died of cholera on shipboard while en route for America. Our subject was taken to Kentucky by his parents in his boyhood, his father dying in that State. The family then removed to Columbus County, Ohio, where the mother died at the advanced age of ninety-six years. Mr. Skidmore came to Indiana with a colony, they building a keel boat at Columbus in which they floated down the Scioto to the Ohio River, thence to the mouth of the Wabash River, and from there to Vincennes, where they remained two years or until the year 1818. In the fall of that year they came to Helt township our subject having preceded them in the spring of 1818 and raised a crop. His house was the farthest north in the county, and no house was between his and old fort Dearborn, now Chicago. Mr. Skidmore was first married May 26, 1807, to Mary Hopper, and of the six children born to this union three are living -- Mrs. Catherine Tweedy, Mrs. Jane Ford, and Mrs. Elizabeth Potter. His son William, who is now deceased, was the first white child born in Vermillion County. Mr. Skidmore married for his second wife Jane Hopper, a sister of his deceased wife, April 2, 1822. Of the seven children born to this marriage three are yet living -- Mrs. Mary Helt, John, of Douglas County, Illinois, and Josiah. On coming to the county Mr. Skidmore entered 160 acres of land on section 22, Helt Township, which he owned until his death. Here he kept a public house for forty years, which was the traveler's stopping place between Vincennes and Fort Wayne or from Chicago. He served as justice of the peace several years, and was quite a prominent man in the early history of the county. He died December 7, 1863, his widow surviving until April 2, 1870. Both were members of the Methodist Episcopal church, and consistent Christians.



JAMES ANDERSON WHITE, farmer and stock-raiser, section 38, Helt Township, was born in Roane County, Tennessee, October 4, 1805, a son of William White, a native of Washington County, Virginia. William White was a soldier in the war of 1812, serving under General Jackson, and after the close of that struggle, in 1815, brought his family to Indiana, and lived a year in Knox County. In 1816 he moved to Sullivan County, and thence in 1822 to Fountain County, where he lived twelve years. He entered 5,920 acres of land, the most of which was in Vermillion County, but he sold the greater part to new comers before it was improved. He came to Vermillion County in 1834 and made his home with his son James. He was also a soldier in the Black Hawk war. He was married four times and had a family of seven children, four of whom are living -- James A., Serena, now Mrs. Coates, of Fountain County; Franklin, of California, and Henry A., of Augusta, Kan-