Thus a pioneer town was
Without delay a sketchy document was
drawn up and recorded in Jefferson County Deed Book B, page 253, as
"The town is situated on land donated by
Samuel S. Graham of Jennings County and Zachariah Tannehill of Jefferson County,
state of Indiana, one-half of said town lying in Jennings County and the other
half in Jefferson County, on the land the said donors live on. The town is laid
out east-west, north and south. The main street is sixty-six feet wide, the
cross street sixty feet, the alleys twelve feet wide, the lots sixty-six feet
front and 120 feet back.
"We, the undersigned, Samuel S.
Graham of Jennings County and Zachariah Tannehill of Jefferson County, do hereby
give and grant the above-described land without fee or reward to George
McCaslin, Ebenezer Brandon and Travis Carter of Jennings County, and John
McCrory and Robert Smith of Jefferson County, trustees of said town and to their
successors forever for a village.
"In witness whereof we
have hereto set our Hands and seal this 14th day of September,
/s/ Samuel S.
"Recorded and executed in my office, January
/s/ Rh. C.
The "plat" below shows
little resemblance to the conventional form of plat, yet it serves its
purpose in showing the method in which the lots were numbered,
how the thirty-six lots were lined up the length of Main Street, and the
relation of their positions to each other: i.e., next to, north or south of,
across the street from, etc.
The same map or plat, showing thirty-six
lots and two streets, Main and Cross streets, accompanied the original entries
in the Jefferson and Jennings County deed books
In another couple of years, by
1821, Tannehill and Graham had decided on a name for their town. Presumably,
they were inspired by the same hope as residents of eight other states
(Arkansas, Idaho, Illinois, Kentucky, Missouri, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, and
Texas) in choosing the name of that famous "City of Light" for their own town or
And Samuel S. Graham was ready with his
entry for the Jennings County records, recorded in Deed Book A, page
"Know all men by these presents that I, Samuel S. Graham of Jennings
County and State of Indiana, for and in consideration of the sum of $50 to me in
hand paid, the receipt thereof is hereby acknowledged, and for the further
consideration of having a town or village fixed on the premises, have granted,
bargained, sold and conveyed and by these presents do grant, bargain, sell and
convey to John Bovell, John Vance, George McCaslin, John Fleming, Zachariah
Tannehill, and John McCrory, trustees of the town of Paris and their successors
in office for the convenience, use, furtherance and prosperity to the town of
Paris, situated partly in the County of Jefferson and partly in the County
of Jennings, all that part or parcel of land on which part the said
town of Paris is now laid out and on which are lots 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9,
28, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33, 34, 35, and 36. beginning on the line between Jennings
and Jefferson counties, at the corner of Main and Cross Streets where they
intersect with each other, thence running west 10 rods, thence north 40 rods,
thence east 20 rods, thence south 40 rods, thence west 10 rods to the place of
beginning; the north and south, east and west lines to correspond with the
points of the compass to which the town was laid out and the said tract
containing five acred, being a part of the southeast quarter of Section 33 in
Town 5 north of Range 8 east of the Jeffersonville District, to have and to hold
the above described tract forever.
"And I, the said Samuel S. Graham,
do covenant with the above trustees that I am the lawful owner of the
above-mentioned premises, that I hold them free from all encumberances except by
bond to the trustees above-mentioned and that I will warrant and defend the same
against the unlawful claims or demands of any person whatsoever and I do by
these presents bind myself, my heirs, my executors, administrators, unto the
above-mentioned trustees of Paris and their successors in office forever.
witness, whereof I, the said Samuel S. Graham, and Esther, my wife, in testomony
have hereunto set our hands and seals this 10 day of September,
/s/ Samuel S.
/s/ Esther Graham
"In the presence of William
You will note that Zachariah Tannehill
donated his eighteen lots in Jefferson County "without fee or reward", while
Samuel S. Graham sold his eighteen lots in Jennings County "in
consideration of the sum of $50 to me in hand paid."
his autobiography, Charles K. Laird (Lard) tells of the kindness and generosity
of the Tannehills. His autobiography was included in the material collected by
Eleanor Robertson of Deputy in her interviews with residents of Graham
Township, Jefferson County, who often shared their scrapbooks with
When the Lairds, after their long journey from New
England arrived at Madison on November 20, 1820, the man who agreed
to "haul them out" refused to leave his corn harvest. The Tannehills came
to the rescue.
Laird relates (keep in mind he was always a
little extravagant in his rhetoric), that when his brother, Samuel Laird , went
to "a high-spirited Carolinian: or as I have always delighted to call him,
a Kentuckian, for his wife, a Kentucky woman , and the best woman that ever trod
this earth.... This man was Zachariah Tannehill who had a cart and a yoke of
oxen, was under no obligation to my father..."Just as quick as my brother went
to Major Tannehill, for he was a major and fought under General Jackson at New
Orleans, and told him our situation, he told him he could not start before two
o'clock with his ox cart, but at that hour he would start and be a the ferry
about midnight. Mrs. Tannehill immediately saddled up her mare for my mother and
sister to ride...
"He arrived at our boat about midnight
and brought corn for his wife's mare, and in the morning he encouraged us all he
could. He told us we were founding a great country and it became us not to
notice hardships. He was a scholar and one of Nature's noblest
" We started early in the morning and arrived at
Paris, Major Tannehill's residence, before sundown. Mrs. Tannehill received my
mother just as if she had been her sister and the family as if they were her
own. I looked at her with astonishment to see how she appeared to disregard the
inconvenience to herself and family and tried to make every one of us welcome
By 1828, Founding Father Tannehill was ready
to move on. He sold his Jefferson County property (E-351) and moved to German
Township, Bartholomew County, where he and his sons were very active in real
estate development (maybe he learned about real estate in founding Paris) in and
His three sons were (1) James G. whom
Charles K. Laird remembered as being about his age (Charles K. was born in
1808): (2) Richard S. whose first wife, Sally Ann, died in March 1849 and is
buried in the Tannehill graveyard; he then married Maria D. Hammond in June
1849, daughter of James Hammond of near Paris and cousin of Charles K. Laird;
and (3) Zachariah B. who died in 1873, aged 47 years, and is buried in the
Tannehill graveyard beside his wife Anna who died in 1855, and their two year
old son Willie, who died in 1855.
The Bartholomew County
map issued in 1960 shows the area around the I-65 Interchange as Tannehill Park
and the bridge across Driftwood River a short distance west as Tannehill
Bridge. Since there is no other bridge in the township, it has to be the
two-span covered bridge pictured on page 79 of the Indiana History Bulletin
of June 1960, Vol. 37, No. 6, captioned "This bridge spans the Driftwood near
The old Tannehill graveyard where Zachariah
and his wife, Ursula, are buried is just east of the bridge. The DAR member
who made a record of the tombstones (a copy is in the Indiana Historical
Library) tells that she was driving along looking for the graveyard and didn't
see it. She crossed the bridge and turned around. As she was driving back,
she took one last backward glance and saw tombstones rising above some weeds on
a hilltop. Some stones had fallen and some were almost illegible. Anyone
who has tried to decipher numberals from a corroding stone that has borne the
ravages of the weather for almost 100 years can appreciate
According to Zachariah's stone, he died September
30, 1864, aged 79 years, 10 months, 26 days; hence he was born November 4,
The 1810 Census shows his residence to be
Campbell County, Kentucky, in that year. Presently, the chief city in Campbell
County is Covington, across the Ohio River from
In 1856, he was sitting as a judge on the
Common Pleas Court of Bartholomew County. (W-292).
The Land Office played a major role in the lives of
the early settlers. Things were not so busy that the Commissioner of the
Land Office could not visit with them when they came in, knew some of
them personally, knew more about all of them than anybody else, and could best
advise the Territorial Legislature at Vincennes in appointing the original
county commissioners. The first commissioner of the Land Office at
Jeffersonville was a Graham; first John R. or K., then G. W. around 1835. That
must account the naming of Samuel S. Graham as one of the three original county
commissioners of Jennings County. He was around 35 in 1817; too young to have
had much experience.
The organizational meeting for
Jennings County was held at Vernon on May 17, 1817, at which the Board
of County Commissioners was announced; but they had met previously, on
March 7, 1817, to order a courthouse. To keep in perspective how things were at
the beginning - it is said that in 1816 John Vawter and three to six families
settled there; that would be a cluster of less than ten
The first sale of lots in Vernon was June 17,
1817. The courthouse which the commissioners ordered would not add much
prestige to the cluster of cabins comprising the village. It was : "...the
Commissioners will give $25 each year for three years to the first person who
will build and rent to the county a house of the following size: To be of hewn
logs 24 feet in length by 18 feet in width, one story high, a good tight roof,
and floor above and below laid of loose plank from the saw; one door and shutter
well hung. One 12-light window, chimney and fireplace. The walls to be made
tight before winter comes on and sufficientcy of benches for the
accommodation of judges, commissioners, jurymen, etc." A 12-light window, 12
small panes, would be of average size, not a tiny one, nor an especially large
Col. Hiram Prather, in his "History of Jennings
County" written around 1876, refers to County Commissioner Samuel S. Graham as
"Col. Samuel Graham". If Samuel was, in fact, a colonel, he must have
earned his military rank in the Battle of New Orleans, January 15, 1812, where
Charles K. Laird says Tannehill earned his rank of major. Both might have
been members of the contingent of sharpshooters, who grew up on the frontier
polishing their marksmanship by "barking off squirrels" and who marched from
Kentucky to New Orleans to the aid of General Andrew Jackson in that
battle. Everyone has read how the delicate New Orleans ladies swooned at sight
of the tall, crude Kentuckians in their coonsking caps? The long march down and
back would have given Tannehill and Graham plenty of time to make and nurture a
friendship. They had to have been previously acquainted to have worked so
swiftly in the founding of Paris.
Even though the venture
of founding a town did not bring the quick financial gain they may have hoped
for (Tannehill had left for "greener pastures" within ten years and by the early
1840s Graham had gone or returned to Shelby County, Kentucky, in financial ruin)
they did plant a town that grew into some importance and developed a happy
living environment for many good people for almost 100
In 1832, Esther, the first wife of Samuel S.
Graham, died aged 48 years, and was buried in the original Paris graveyard;
hence she was born in 1784. That gives the best clue to the age of Samuel S. In
those days, couples tended to be of about the same age; though usually the man
was two or three years older. So, the best guess would be that he was born in
the first half of the 1780's. between 1780 and 1785.
the early 1830's, Samuel S. was having grave financial difficulties (C-215,
D-235), in 1834, he gave a deed of trust to a Madison lawyer who handled such
matters for indebtedness totalling $1,192.25, for which he gave Lot #8 and "all
other lots or parts of lots in said town of Paris belonging to me except that on
which the church stands...to be sold when the majority of creditors so
instruct." The fact that lot #8 is listed separately and thus stands out
from "all other lots" leads to the conclusion that Graham may have lived on
that lot. It had never been sold and it was a most desirable
The brick house on Lot#8 could well have been
built by Graham before 1834. Its rather primitive simplicity bears out the
assumption that it was built very early. The house is composed of four rooms,
two downstairs and two upstairs, with no central hall. Each of the downstairs
rooms has a door opening on the street and a window. Its unique feature is the
huge chimney on the outside of the house at the south end which suggests a
kitchen fireplace. The south room downstairs could well have been a
kitchen-dining-sitting room. The north downstairs room could have been a
bedroom-parlor. The bed neatly made during the daytime with one of the charming
woven coverlets housewives were then weaving in their homes, would leave plenty
of space for parlor furniture: the small table bearing the Bible in the center
of the room, the stiff settee, and three or four straight chairs. Upstairs,
there could have been innumerable beds. That may seem crude, but in a day when
many families were living in one-and two-room log cabins, it would be quite
commodious, even elegant.
It is a testimony to how well
and sturdily the house was built that it is still standing in 1991, intact
and appearing solid, after 120 to 160 years. In those days the main part of the
house was built to last, with less soundly-built lean-tos to provide work space
and additional sleeping accommodation, were added as needed. This house looks as
if it had outlived more than one lean-to. (The house is
still being lived in in 2009 and looks much the same as it did when
built, there is a picture of it in the Jennings County Photo Gallery on this
Ellison Dixon bought the house in 1846 and lived in it until his
death in 1888. Seven children grew up in the house; when Ellison bought it, he
had but five children, the oldest 9 years old and the youngest an infant. Things
were still lively in 1880 and Ellison was 70 years and his wife had died. Living
there with him were his son, Bob, whose wife had died in 1873, Bob's two
daughters, aged 8 and 12, Ellison's daughter, Eliza Leech, and her two sons,
aged 7 and 9.
Returning to Samuel S. Graham, by 1842 he
had left Paris for Kentucky and " the majority of creditors had so
instructed" to sell his Paris property. Some lots were sold that year and the
remainder in 1845.
You wonder how Samuel S. could
have accumulated debts totalling more that $1,000 in a day when life-styles in
rural Indiana were so simple, really expensive items were usually not
attainable, and food, including meat, was mostly homegrown and cheap. He could
have built the brick house for from $300 to $400.
There was a James Graham, born in Kentucky in 1800, living in Paris in 1850 who
may have been the son of Samuel S. and Esther. It is true that Esther would have
been only 16 years old in 1800, but in that day it was not too uncommon for
girls to marry in their teens. Aside from the fact that James lived in Paris,
the best argument for the belief that he may have been their son was the naming
of his two oldest children: Samuel and Esther Ann. Were they named for their
grandparents: Or was it just a coincidence?
spent Christmas of 1850 in Paris and he must have had a compelling
reason to do so. If James was indeed his son, he had presented him with four
grandchildren and Esther Ann, James oldest daughter had married George W. Ray in
1845 and she could have providied a great-grandchild by 1850. (in 1850 George W. Ray and Esther Ann were living in Marion
Township and indeed did have two children Elzora and Sarah E., they later
had at least two more children in Indiana, M.E. & Cynthia, and then a
son James who was born about 1859 after their move to
By whatever traveling method Samuel S. used in making the
trip from Shelby County, Kentucky, to Jennings County, Indiana, in winter, it
would have been an arduous ordeal for a man between 65 and 70 years old and
he would have needed a desire stronger than the invonvenience to have
Soon after 1818, Graham had provided land
for more town lots #37-#77, and a third street, parallel and east of Main
Street, named Second Street but called Back Street, had been
A thorough survey was made
of the town in late 1829, as follows: (Book G, page
"This is a map of the town of Paris in the County of
Jennings and State of Indiana and constitutes part of the southeast quarter
of Section 33, Town 5 north of Range 8 east, of the district of lands
offered for sale at Jeffersonville.
beginning corner is designated by a stone planted in the southwest corner of Lot
#9, being 92 poles southwest of the south 84 degrees 45 minutes southeast corner
of the aforesaid southeast quarter of Section 33/ Main Street bears north
one degree east. Main Cross Street bears south 84 degrees 45 minutes west, and
each of them is sixty-six feet wide.
Lot #1 contains 7,633 square
114, 115,116,118,119:::120,121,122,123,124,125 contain 8,712 square feet
Lots 9,46,63,64 contain 8,976 square feet each.
Lot 28 contains
9,914.19 square feet.
Lot 45 contains 11,783 square feet.
contain 10,032 square feet each.
10,11,12,13,14,15,16,17,18,19:::20,21,22,23,24,25,26,27 contain 8,712 square
Lots 17,100,117 contain 7,128 square feet each
are of the whole town plat is near 42 acres and one rod.
"Surveyed on the
27, 28, and 29th days of October, 1829, and the 13th and 14th days of May,
1830, and laid down by a scale of 200 feet to an
By William C.
Surveyor of Jennings County
"N.B. Flower deluce (Fleur de Lis shows the true
meridian variation 5 degrees 67 minutes west."
The Dutton Addition
"Before me, James W. Lanier, Notary Public in and
for said county (Jefferson) personally appeared William Dutton who acknowledged
that all that part of the town of Paris in the County of Jefferson and state
aforesaid, as is known and described on the plat as lots numbered
were laid out by him, the said William Dutton, as an addition to the said town
of Paris on a part of the northeast quarter of Section 4, Town 4 north of Range
8 east and being in the county of Jefferson. That the streets in said addition
with the exception of Water Street which is only 40 feet wide, are a
continuation of those of the original town are of the same width and run in the
same directions and that each of the said lots contains 8,712 square feet and
that said plat commencing with Lot #84 on the west side of Main Street and
ending with Lot #125 as before enumerated and the aforesaid explanation are
made for the purpose of being admitted to record.
testimony whereof I hereunto set my hand and affixed my seal of office at
Madison this 28th day of May in the Year
/s/ J.W. Lanier, Notary Public
"Recorded July 7, 1841, by John Walker,
Recorder, Jennings County"
There were never lots numbered
126 through 139 (maybe they were saving those numbers for lots that might
someday be laid out on the south side of Water Street). For whatever reason,
when the Cobb Addition was laid out around 1841, the lots were numbered 140
The Cobb Addition -
"This is a map of
some additional lots in the town of Paris laid off by John Cobb, lying south
of and adjoining Main Cross Street and west of the town in the northeast
quarter of Section 4, Town 4, north of Range 8, east, of the district of lands
offered for sale at Jeffersonville, beginning at the northwest corner of Dr.
W. B. Goodhue's acre lot. Said Main Cross Street bears north 85 degrees 10
minutes east by the point of the compass, said lots laid off on a right angle
with Main Cross Stree; Lot #140 containing 7,619 square feet; Lots
#141,#142,#143,#144,#145,#146,#147,#148,#149,#150 contain each 8,712 square
feet. Laid down by a scale of 200 feet to the
Surveyor, Jennings County"
William Dutton must
have had an especially keen business nose to have detected the scent of a
new market in Indiana while he was still in Kentucky, almost before it happened.
On September 1, 1828, the year he entered business in Madison, he bought good
business lots near the main intersection in Paris, as well as Tannehill's
property south of Main Cross Street, out of which he immediately carved Dutton's
He died April 15, 1840. A legal advertisement in
connection with his store at the corner of Mulberry and Main Cross Street in
Madison appeared in the "Madison
"WILLIAM DUTTON - Died in this
city on the 15th of April in the 51st year of his age, Mr. William Dutton,
merchant. His desease was consumption. In his death, the numerous family
he has left behind, the church of which he as a member, and the community
in general has sustained a great loss.
was a native of Vermont. In very early life he removed in connection with his
father's family to Chenango County in the State of New York, in which state
he remained until the year 1817, when he came to the West. After spending two
years in Ohio and eight or nine in Kentucky, he removed to Indiana in January
1828 settled at Madison where he continued his residence until the time of
"As a man of business he was distinguished by
his strict personal attention to it and his activity and success in the
prosecution of it. This circumstance, together with the extent of his business,
will cause his death to be extensively felt. His loss will be sensibly felt by
the poor who always found in him a friend and whose wants were often relieved by
his kindness and liberality.
"Four years previous to his
death, Mr. Dutton made a profession of religion by connecting himself with
the Second Presbyterian Church in this city. He was regular and uniform in his
attendance on the ordinances of God's House and remarkably liberal in his
contributions to sustain the institution of religion. On his death bed, however,
he repeatedly expressed deep regret that he had permitted the calls of business
to engorss so much of his attention to the neglect of the higher claims of
religion and the cultivation of his personal piety. A consiousness of his
deficiencies in these respects gave him much uneasiness during his last sickness
and occasioned him much darkness and many doubts respecting his future
prospects. But previous to his departure his mind became comfortable and he was
able to express a decided hope of acceptance through the merits of the Redeemer
in whose atonement and righteousness he reposed all his confidence of pardon and
"His funeral was attended by a very
large concourse of citizens who thereby manifested their deep sympathy with
the bereaved family and their sense of the loss the community had sustained by
this afflictive event."
William Dutton made a lasting contribution to
Paris and the lives of its citizens.
In 1836, a
"Corporation Election" was held. If it was an action in anyway connected with
the incorporation of the town, it was a little premature. Nevertheless, it was
held and recorded in the front of Deed Book
"Corporation Election Returns of Paris"
We, the undersigned President
and Clerk of an election held in the town of Paris on the 21st day of May, 1836,
for the purpose of electing five trustees for said town, do certify that
Dennis Willey of the First Ward got 13 votes and that James S. Smyth got two
votes; and Charles K. Lard of the Second Ward got 13 votes and Brannock Phillips
got two votes; and Buel Eastman got one vote; of the Third Ward, Ephraim Harlan
got 13 votes and Massia Byfield got 7 votes; for the Fourth Ward, Joseph
Harrington got 12 votes and Thomas Rowland got one vote and John Cobb got
two votes; of the Fifth Ward, Lawrence Hollenbeck got 13 votes, Henry Hollenbeck
got one vote and Samuel Weir got one vote.
poll of the above-named Election
/s/Samuel Weir, President
It is interesting to note
that the winning candidate in each ward received 13 votes with one exception,
which in the Fourth Ward, Joseph Harrington received 12
A total of 51 votes was
PROPERTY OWNERS IN
||#142-144, 145 part
||Abrams, Elias |
|Adams, Alexander H. |
||Ammons, Alfred |
||Ammons, Henry |
|#5, #6, #11-#13
#106 part, #107
|Ammons, Thomas |
||Anderson, Francis |
|#11, #106 part, #107 part
|Antle, Mrs. Louisa |
||Arbuckle, Matthew |
||#29, #30 part, #43 part, and #44
||Ashton, Jesse |
|#85 part, #86-88,
Phillips Property part,
|Ayers, Joseph |
||Ayers, Leonidas (son of
||#140, #141, #142 part
||Ayers Mrs. Sarah A. (Mrs Benjamin)|
(incorrect-actual husband John Ayers)
||Bailiff, Phineas |
#71-#73 and #77
#53 part, #54 part, #75
|Bantz, George W. |
||Bantz, George W. with Elias Deputy -Bantz &
||Bantz, John Milton |
|Bantz, William K. |
||Barnes, Hiram |
||Black, Calvin |
|Blake, Lewis H.|
#11, #106 pt., #107 pt
||#28 pt. (liquor license)
||Boyd, Travanion |
||#146, #147 pt.
||Brandon, Bathsheba |
||Brandon, John |
||Brown, Thomas |
||Brown, William W. |
||Campbell, Alexander |
||Chandler, Samuel |
||Childs, Eunice |
|#14, #19-21, #79, #84, #85,
|Cobb & Willey|
(John Cobb & Dennis
|#80, #90, #91
#15, #102 (with Benjamin S.
(Cobb & Gaddy)
||Congdon, Daniel |
||Congdon, John M. |
||#105 pt., 109 pt.
||Davis, Daniel |
||Davis, Daniel |
||Davis, Evan |
#31 pt., (Joseph Davis & Co.)
||Davis, Joshua |
||Davis, Mary |
||Phillips Property, pt.
||Delapp, George |
||Deputy, Soloman |
#147 pt., #148-#150
#140, #141, Phillips Prop.
#29, #30 pt., #43 pt. and #44
||Disciples of Christ (Reform
||Dixon, Calvin, W. R. |
||Dixon, Catherine A. (Mrs. Calvin W.R.) |
||Dixon, Charles L. |
pt., #43 pt. and #44
#147 pt., #148-#150
|Dixon, Henry S.|
|#10 pt., #64-#66
|Dixon, Henry W.|
Dixon, Patrick W.
||#29, #30 pt., #43 pt., and #44
||Dixon, Robert S.|
|#56 (with W.W. Dixon)
#7 pt., #12,
#48, #108, #142, and #143
|Dixon, Samuel M.|
|#29 pt., #30 pt., #43 pt., and #44
#7 pt., #48
|Dixon, Thadeus S.|
#1, #2, #3
#140, #141, #142 pt.
|Dixon, William H.|
||#104, #105 pt.
||Dixon, Williamson O.|
#10 pt. (with Samuel Dixon)
#56 (with Samuel Dixon)
#113-#116, and #121-#125
||Phillips Prop. pt.
||Phillips Prop. pt.
#7 pt., #9
#19-#21, #84, and
#4 pt., #7 Corner, #34, #49,
#46, #51-#54, and 75 pt.
|Eastman, Dr. Hezekiah|
||Farthing, Mrs. Harriet|
|Carding Machine Lot
||Ferris, John L.|
||Files & Shepherd|
||Files, John L.|
|26 pt., #91 pt.
#89, #90 (with Thomas
|Gaddy, Benjamin S.|
||Gaddy, William T.|
||Gardner, Nathan T.|
#30 pt., #31 pt., #42 & #43
#147 pt., and
|Goodhue, Dr. Walter B.|
||#140, #141, #142 pt.
||#5/6 (Tavern) (with Massia Byfield)
||Hagans, Joseph |
#92-#94 (with Joseph Hagen)
|Hagen, William B.|
||#7 Corner, #6 pt., #49
||Harlan, Ephraim and
#11, #105 pt., #106 pt., and
||Harman, James, and Albert Smyth|
#25, #26 pt.
|#1, #2, #3
||#55, #68, #74
||Hews, Dr. Benjamin B.|
||Higgins, Eli H.|
||Hill, Allen Jr.|
|#10,#106 pt.,#107 pt.
|Hill, Daniel M.|
|#11, #105 pt., #106 pt., and #107 pt.
#143, #144, and #145 pt.
|Hill, James A.|
||Hill, Thomas Sr.|
|Hopkins, Johnson &
||Hudson, Boyd W.|
#30 pt., #31 pt., #43 pts.,
||Hudson, Silas M.|
|#4 pt., #53 pt., #54 pt., and #75
||#25, #26 pt.
||Hunt, Sarah Jane|
||#15, #23, and
||Hutchinson, Abraham P.|
||Hutchinson, Parker B.|
||Johnson & Reynolds|
||Johnson, James F.|
|Jones, Constant B.|
||#1, #2, #3
||Jones, Evan, Heirs|
#1, #2, #3
|#6 pt., #7 pt., #48 pt., and # 49 pt.
Atwood, (Mrs. Philip)
|#24 Jefferson County
||Laird, Horatio N.|
||#24, #25, #26
||#24, #25. #26 pt.
||Lawrence, William H.|
||#85 pt., #86-#88 and Phillips Prop., pt.
||Lefebre, James M.|
||#24, #25, #26 pt.
||Lefebre, Daniel L.|
|Lefebre, Rebecca E. (Mrs. James
#25, #26 pt.
|#11, #12, #27 pt., #105 pt., #106 pt., and #107
#28 pt., #45 pt.
#24, #25, #26 pt.
|Lewis, Sarah D. (Mrs. James
||#95, #96, #101
||Lyon, Micajah (with Jacob Kyser)|
||Lowery, Charles L.|
|Masonic Lodge, #221, F & AM|
#7 pt., #48 pt.
||Metcalf, Harrison D.|
||Metcalf, Henry O.|
#52, #53 pt.
||Miller, Hugh R.|
||Morey, Robert G.|
||#7 pt., #48 pt.
||Morey, Sarah M. (Mrs. Robert G., Sr.)|
||Murphy, Thomas J.|
||Nixon, Thomas L.|
||Paine, Thomas L.|
||Phillips & Barnes|
||Prather, Mary Ann (Mrs. Hiram)|
||#85, # 97, #98
||Prentiss, Nathaniel Shepherd|
||#83 Jefferson County
||#4 pt., #7 pt.,
||Ramsey, John F.|
||Rawlings, Henry M.|
#1, #2, #3
||#7 pt., #48 pt.
||Ray, Caroline (Mrs. Daniel L.)|
#29, #30 pt., #43
pt., and #44
#11, #12, #105 pt., #106 pt., #107
||Ray, George W.|
||#104, #105 pt.
||Reynolds, Francis Henry|
|#104, #105 pt.
#9 pt., #46 pt.
|Reynolds, John A.|
||#104, #104 pt.
||Reynolds, Mary A. (Mrs. John A.)|
||#19, #23, #84
||Riggs, George W.|
#16, #99, #100
|Robinson, Simeon M.|
||Rowland, Eliza J. (Mrs. Isaac H.)|
||Rowland, Isaac H.|
|Russell, Dr. Benjamin
||Sampson & Cobb|
||Sampson, Benjamin A.|
|#53 pt., #54 pt., #75 pt
#30 pt., #31 pt., #42,
|Sampson, David A.|
Carding Machine Lot/before
|Sampson & Cobb|
||Sampson, Francis M.|
||Sampson, Martha J. (Mrs. Frank)|
||#140, #141, #142 pt.
||Sampson, Mary R. (Mrs. Elijah)|
||Shepherd, Amos R.|
||#146, #147 pt.
||Shilladeay, Samuel G.|
||Shrewsbury, S. A.|
||Smith H. C.|
||Smyth, Albert and John|
#8, #370#39, #41k
#56, #57, #70-73, and
|Smyth, James S.|
||#28 pt., #45
||Stout, Isaac C.|
|Stratton, James H.|
#28 pt., #45 pt
|Stribling, Silas S.|
|#23, #28 pt.
#27 (with James
|Stribling, Uriah B.|
||#28 pt., #45 pt.
||#25, #26 pt.
||Swincher, James B.|
|Thomas, Evan Jr. |
#140, #141, #142m #143
||Tibbetts, Jane L. (Mrs. Joshua)|
|Tobias, John T.|
#142 pt., #143, #144 and #145 pt.
|Tobias, John M.|
||#28 pt., #45 pt.
||Todd, William (father
of child murdered by George Sage )|
#53 pt., #53 pt., #75
#30 pt., #31 pt., #42 and #43
||Whitson, Benjamin F.|
||Wilkerson, Franklin B.|
#18, #99, #100
#11, #105 pt., #106 pt., and #197
#140, #141, #142
pt., #48 pt.
#78, #79 (with William C. Wilson)
|Wilson, James H.|
||#32 pt., #33
|#113, #119, #120
Some specific aspects of pioneer villiage
In the following section you will find allusions
to MDL, as furnishing background memories to the documented facts. The initials
refer to Minnie Deputy (the third initial was added when she married) who grew
up in Paris in the 1870's. She was born in September 1865, her mother died in
January 1870/1 at which time her father, Solomon Deputy, took her and her infant
sister to live with his parents, the William Deputys, who lived in the brick
house which William Deputy had purchased from John Cobb in 1853. Minnie lived in
this house from 1870 to the mid-1880s. She attended the Paris school,
In pioneer Indiana, an inn was commonly called a
"tavern", however, these early "taverns" were hostelries to provide food and
shelter to the traveler and were in no sense
It is not hard to imagine with what eagerness
and interest the early settlers in Graham Township, Jefferson County, in which
the south part of Paris lay, watched the felling of trees, surveying, and
platting of the new town. What saving of travel time, what convenience, a town
in their midst would bring to the area.
Thomas Ammons who
had entered land in Graham Township in 1815, was born in 1781 near Pittsburg of
Scotch-Irish parentage. He was a man of some Scotch business acumen and in 1825
invested in property in the new town by buying five centrally located lots for
$5.00 (B-91). Included in these five lots were Lots #5 and #6. It was Ammons who
decreed that the site of the future tavern would be on these two lots and thus
determined where the hub of activity of the town would be.
The tavern standing in the 1870's and after was, in size, the equlvalent of four
large rooms, two downstairs and two upstairs. A huge fireplace occupied the
center of the building, emitting warmth to the north and south. Whether there
were partitions...other than the fireplace is immaterial.
Downstairs there were two doors, flanked by windows on each side, opening on the
street allowing exit or entrance from or into the space on either side of the
fireplace. There were six windows across the front upstairs.
Large slabs of stone were laid in front of the building, forming a sidewalk or
uncovered porch, and serving the further purpose of making it impossible
for an entrant to step right out of the mud into the
MDL, remembered the men, perhaps six or seven,
less than ten, sitting in straight chairs in front of the tavern on summer
evenings, leaning their chairs back against a tree or the building. In
winter, they probably held their nightly discussions before the
There is no doubt that the building still standing is
the one of the 1870's, but when it was built is left to conjecture. It could
have been built by Thomas Ammons before 1831. The argument for this is that he
bought the lots in 1825 for about #1.00 each, but he sold them to Dr. Hezekiah
Eastman in 1831 for $300 (B-240); this would cover the cost of a very
substantial frame building.
The 1850 Census lists two
residential guests at the Tavern: Charles M. Mobley, aged 29 years,
teacher/saddler; and William B. McKay, aged 26 years, dentist, who would have
remained long enough to take care of the dental work which had accumulated since
his last visit.
How could they have served food to
the hungry traveler without a kitchen? From a heavy iron kettle containing
meat and potatoes and whatever else was available, suspended from a crane swung
over the fire. The same would be true in summer when the kettle would be
suspended over the fire out of doors. Any pioneer could construct the frame from
which to hang the kettle in a matter of minutes. Bread could be purchased from a
housewife or baked on a stone in front of the fire.
moving of the state capital from Corydon to Indianapolis in 1825 may have
reduced some of the travel through Paris, but there was still the Land Office at
Jeffersonville. There are plenty of accounts describing travel in pioneer days
and of drovers on their way to the market, probably Cincinnati. Paris, too, had
her share of drovers going to Madison. There was even a tale of a drover herding
turkeys through Paris.
Thomas Ammons sold the Tavern to Dr.
Hezakiah Eastman in 1831 (B-240). Ammons may never have lived in Paris; his farm
in Jefferson County was but a few riding minutes distant.
The four-room basic building of the Tavern was not adaptable to a family. There
would have been an attached building containing living quarters for the
tavern-keeper: work-rooms, kitchen, bedrooms and a parlor where marriageable
daughters could receive their suitors. This additional building has long since
Several tried their hand briefly at operating
the Tavern the first few years. One was Hiram Twaddle who was a little more
interesting than most.
Twaddle, who was born April 30,
1809, came to Paris in 1832 from Lexington, Scott County, where he had just
married Charlotte Thompson. Charlotte died after May 17, 1837, and Hiram left
Paris and was settled in Vernon by 1842.
In December, 1842,
he was married by John Vawter to Philena Ann Cook, a widow with two children. He
and Philena Ann had three children, born in 1844, 1846, and 1850. She died in
1854 and is buried, alone, in the Vernon cemetery.
then married Julia Bullock of the same prominent Vernon family as Caroline
Bullock Bantz, wife of William K. Bantz. Julia was born July
17, 1823, 14 years younger than her new husband and she was still
living in 1890.
The Vernon newspaper of April 6, 1864,
announced that "Julia B. Twaddle will operate a millinery store. She will buy in
New York for cash and will not be under sold." Accompanied by their
daughter, Mary, born in 1866, she did go to New York regularly until she sold
her shop in 1870.
Hiram, meanwhile, was ticket agent for the
railroad from which job he retired in 1876 because of ill health. He died
January 30, 1883, and he and Julia share a stone in the Vernon Graveyard: her
death date was never inscribed on the store.
death, she evidently opened up shop again because she and Mary were back in New
York in December, 1884. In 1886, the newspaper notes that Julia B. Twaddle
bought a fine new English piano, and on April 7, 1886, Mary was married to R.
Grant Baughn "at the home of the bride's mother in Vernon."
Beginning in 1837, for over fifty years the Tavern was operated by two
tavern-keepers. It was a family oriented hostelry where children grew up, each
carrying his share of the work-load, and where daughters were married. You may
be sure that during this time there was no drunken rowdiness, nor slovenly
houskeeping. MDL remembered that in the days of flat-irons heated on
wood-burning stoves, in very hot weather, the "girls at the Tavern" arose at
four o'clock in the morning to do the ironing.
The first of
the two tavern-keepers was James Keith who bought the Tavern in 1837 (D-314) and
brought with him seven children of whom the oldest was eleven.
James Keith was born in Maryland in 1791/2. There were good Virginia names in
his and his wife's families, like Mason, and Park (Parke, Parks) which he kept
in rememberance in the naming of his children.
He married Lucy
P. Wilson in Indiana in 1821. She was born in Kentucky in 1795, and died
between 1854 and 1860. Her health may have been a reason for his giving up the
Tavern in 1854. Their daughters had married well while the Tavern was their
home. Sarah, the eldest, married Silas M. Stribling, a prominent merchant of
Madison and Paris: and Frances married a well-to-do farmer of Marion Township,
Daniel Lewis. (more on the Keith and Lewis families by
Jonathan Lopnow at his web site Jennings
In 1855, Phillip
Jones bought the Tavern (T-47) and brought a family of seven children, aged from
infancy to fourteen years.
Jones was born on October 1,
1810, in Ohio, and died February 7, 1899. His wife, Harriet Atwood Jones, was
born in Ohio in 1810, and died in 1903. Both are buried in the New Section
of the Paris graveyard, on a plot purchased by their son, Bill (W.A.) in
WOOLEN MILL and CARDING-MACHINE
The woolen mill and
carding-machine were locally famous in their day. They served an area of at
least a ten-mile radius in all directions.
The purpose of
the carding-machine was to comb out or remove the cockleburrs and such from
the wool. In the olden days of long, cold winters and inadequate
home-heating, wool was the winter fabric for both outer and under garments,
socks and stockings. Each farm raised sheep to provide wool for weaving or
knitting for the family's use. Combing wool for individual farmers would justify
a town's having a carding-machine, but its being used in conjunction with a mill
which manufactured fabric would more than triple its use. Then, too, a mill
would be a market for the farmers' surplus wool, as well as a source of supply
of woolen fabric for farmers whose homes were too small to contain a
Toward the 1850's, when the population had increased
and woolen clothing was still a necessity to get through the cold winters, the
carding-machine and mill brought farmers into Paris from southern Jennings,
southeastern Jackson, northern Scott and northwestern Jefferson counties, and of
course, while they were in town, they would have visited the stores which were
known to carry good merchandise.
At the Jennings County Fair
in 1870, Patrick Dixon of Paris received prizes for "domestic manufacture"
of a pair of wool blankets, ten yards of white flannel, and ten yards of jean
material. These items had to be manufactured in a home, not in a mill, but
they are representative of what the mill produced and Dixon must have attained
his knowledge and skill while working at the mill. As for the jean material, the
dictionary describes it as a "durable, twilled cotten cloth used for
work-clothes." Because it was so durable and cheap, it was the pioneer farmers'
most-used material for clothes worn in the field and around the barn. Indiana
actually had a governor in early days who was well-known for his ignorance and
was called "Old Blue Jeans".
In 1815, Evan Thomas, Sr., the
"Old Revolutioner" of the Hopewell cemetery, entered land in what is now Lovett
Township, a short distance north of Paris. Whether his young son, Evan
Thomas Jr., had worked around a carding-machine before the family crossed the
Alleghennies heading West or whether Travis Carter, a wool-carder and one of the
original trustees of the town of Paris, convinced him of the wisdom of making
the operation of a carding-machine his first business venture for whatever
reason, young Thomas was eager to get started and bought Lot #26 for his
carding-machine operation in June, 1818, three months prior to the official date
of the town plat, September 14, 1818. So, the Paris carding-machine was as old
as the town.
The partnership of (John) Cobb & (Ephraim)
Sampson bought the business from Evan Thomas, Jr., in February, 1832 (B-480).
Five years later, 1837, John Cobb had removed himself from the partnership and
joined Dennis Willey in business, Willey & Cobb.
The following deed book entry discloses that before December, 1837, Sampson
& Cobb had already constructed a "dwelling" house which is still standing at
the south end of Main Street, south side of Water Street, facing north or
northwest. This entry (D-476) reads "...a piece of land on the south side of
Paris, on which a dwelling house and carding-machine, formerly occupied by
Sampson & Cobb, supposed to contain about 1/3 acre..." This sounds
like the carding-machine was operated in the house; later this time (1837) the
mill may have been built, on the north bank of Neil's Creek, a very short
distance from the house.
The mill was built on the
most spectualr spot, where the hill rises perpendicularly from the
creek-the drop from the open mill door to the mill-pond below was literally
breathtaking. The site was chosen because it was convenient to the
carding-machine and the road. The builders ignored the fact that the creek could
never provide the volume of water required to power a manufacturing mill. But
they made do for about fifty years, falling back on horse-powr when needed, and
later on steam-engine power.
With the building of the
railroad it was possible to get easily fine woolens from the big northeastern
mills, with not too much difference in price. And the farmers turned from
raising sheep to raising hogs which were much easier to raise and more
The demise of the wollen mill came in 1887. The
newspaper of March 27, 1887.
woolen factory at this place (Paris), on which Gen. John Morgan demanded a
ransom in his raid through Indiana in 1863, is being torn down."
It is good they gave it a sort of coup de grace and didn't just let it
stand until it collapsed under its own weight into Neil's
So ended an era.
All of the
Sampsons in Paris were descended from one of two Sampsons who came up from
Kentucky, Ephraim and Benjamin A. The temptation is to assume they were
brothers, but knowing the trickery of genealogy and lack of proof, no attempt
will be made to figure out their relationship-if not brothers, they could have
Ephraim, the wool-carder, was born in 1801.
His first wife Martha, died in 1857, aged 57 years, and was buried in the Paris
graveyard. He then married Ellen, widow of James Willey. She died in 1865 and
was buried by the side of her first husband in the Willey family cemetery.
Ephraim was still living in 1884 when he bought property in Sand Creek
Township (Brewersville( to spend his last days near his eldest daughter, Jane
(Mrs. Milo) Higgins and his grandchildren. (Ephraim married
a third time March 6, 1866 to Jane J.
Ephraim Sampson's children were: Jane,
1823-1913, married Milo Higgins, lived at Brewersville; James, born 1827, a
saddler; Rebecca J., born in 1829 (married Oct. 29, 1850,
Evan Tobias); Nancy, born 1834, married Bill (W.A.) Jones and died at
Bedford about 1882; Francis M. (Frank), born 1836, had died before August 7,
1848, in Douglas County, Illinois (married Martha
Day); Mariah, born in 1841, married Hood (James H.)
Benjamin A. Sampson, shoemaker, was born in
1799, died April 29, 1866; all of his children were born in Kentucky,
the last one in 1841; he purchased his first property in Paris, in 1856. His
children were: David A., born about 1826. was a carpenter and did just
about everything, served in the Civil War, (died April 25,
1909) is buried in the Paris graveyard; Isaac, wool-carder, born
1829; Joseph a cooper, born 1830, served in the Civil War, in 1885 his
widow, Nancy A., received $1,000 pension "in arrears"; Betsy, born 1832,
27) 1834-(Dec. 27)1879, buried in the
Paris graveyard; Sarah, born in 1836; William, (Sep.28) 1841-(Oct. 14)1875
(Buried in the Paris graveyard).
1856, Benjamin A. had bought lots #18 and #99, and his widow, Martha continued
to live on them until her death in 1879. MDL remembered she would or did say.
"My names was Patsy Charles (maiden name) and I came from Old Kaintuck." She
survived her husband 13 years. She lived across the street from MDL in the
1870s, and MDL remembered her house was very clean by the standards of the day.
But she had a little hen that came in the house every morning, hopped upon the
bed, and laid an egg between the pillows. MDL, never having seen it, yet
believed it without question.
Her youngest child, Billy, was
married had children, and was living in Vevay. In 1864, he left his family,
returned to Paris and bought Lots #17 and #100, north of his mothers lots #18
and #99. That must have been the year he found he had epilepsy. He died in 1875,
four years before his mother, and is buried in the Paris
Elijah lived on an acerage between Paris and
Neil's Creek, near the mill, and may have worked at the mill. His
widow, Mary R., was still living in 1885; the newspaper notes that her
parents from Cincinnati were visiting her in that year. MDL remembered that
their children were Orville, Ida, Ellsworth, and Eva. Eva married Henry Morey,
in December 1884.
Dave (David A.) Sampson's strongest claim to
fame lay in his wife, Bellsora. Any woman in Paris would have told you that
Belle Sampson was the one indispensable person in town--she had a millinery
In the "founding" days of our state, it
was the custom for the founder of a town to make a benevolent gesture
toward its citizens by donating a town lot for a house of worship. So did
Samuel S. Graham; specifically, providing Lots #35 and #36, at the north
end of Main Street, west side, to the members of the Methodist Episcopal Church
without charge indefinitely. The Methodists constructed a log meeting house at
this site and trudged faithfully from wherever they lived in the town to this
northwest corner every Sunday morning until 1837.
December 1, 1837, (D-479) the trustees (Edward Toner, Lawrence Hollenbeck,
Joseph Herrington, John Gasaway, and Evan Thomas, Jr.) bought from William
Dutton for $1.00 Lot #112, on the east side of Second Street, a short
distance south of Main Cross Street. There, they erected a modest but suitable
frame structure in which they worshiped until the late 1920s (1938) when the building
was struck by lightning and burned. Although the congregation had faithfully
held services there until the destruction of their church, they then disbanded,
thus ending the Methodist public worship in Paris.
years, perhaps from the beginning, the Methodist preacher in Paris was "in
charge of the Paris circuit." All meetings dealing with matters pertaining to
the circuit were held in Paris.
It was the policy of
the Methodist State governing body to appoint new preachers to the
various churches every two years, irrespective of the wishes of the individual
congregations. Admittedly, there were both good and bad features of this policy,
but it was carried out "religiously", nevertheless.
congregation was composed of honest, decent, compassionate members who tried to
lead a truly Christian life and did all the things a loyal congregation was
supposed to do in that day, such as holding a "wood chopping" for the preacher
every fall and occasionally buying him a new suit...and above all, they were
regular in their church attendance.
Until lots #35 and #36 became
the New Section of the Paris cemetery, they were known as the "meeting
house" lots. (Somehow in all my
research I had missed the fact that what is now the cemetery where my family is
buried called the "Gaddy/Wykoff" cemetery, was once the location of the original
Methodist Church and is what is called here the New Section of the Paris
Cemetery. The Old section is what is now called the Cave/Dixon
cemetery. This also shows how over time names of things like cemeteries can
Although they had always had to
provide a dwelling for the preacher, around 1843 they seriously began to look
for a parsonage site. In 1844, Evan Thomas, Jr., made available to the trustees
(John Fish, Thomas Rowland, John Miller, Samuel Weir and Brannock Phillips) Lots
#52, on which stood a good brick cottage, and the south half of
adjoining Lot #53, "the intent of which is to hold the property to be used
as a parsonage." (H-498). It was used as such as long as a parsonage was needed,
then sold, remodelled into an attractive home and is still lived in.
(In 1911 my grandfather
Francis Marion Stewart after having served in the US Navy
purchased what had been the parsonage for his parents, Simeon & Geneva
(Ayers) Stewart. I have the original deed. They lived in that home until
their deaths (Simeon in 1925 and Geneva "Jennie" in 1940). My great grand
uncle Leonidas Ayers is the one who remodeled it. In 2009 the home is
in excellent condition and still lived in.)
North Vernon Sun - March 17, 1938
As for the handful of Baptists who lived in Paris, they had to
drive the four or five miles to worship at the Coffee Creek Baptist Church,
which meant fording Graham Creek before the bridge was built in
Elder Thomas Hill, Sr., was the father of the Coffee Creek
Baptist Church which was "constituted the first Saturday in May, 1822."
Hill's biography, written by his son, Thomas Hill, Jr., appeared in the "Minutes
of the Coffee Creek Baptist Association" for the year 1848, the year the elder
Hill died. A brief resume based on this account follows:
Sr., was born in New Jersey on March 6, 1763. As a child, he moved with his
parents to Virginia. He served three months in the American Revolution when
but 19 years olf. He was converted, baptized and licensed to preach by the
Baptist church in Virginia in 1788/89. He came to Indiana by way of Tennessee
and Kentucky, arriving in Jennings County in March, 1817. He untied with the
Graham Forks Baptist Church and served as its preacher until the Coffee Creek
Baptist Church was orgainized "under his labors." He was its pastor more than 16
years, when he resigned because of old age.
About that time, in 1839
when he was 76 years old, he moved into Paris, into the two-story brick house
which stood on the southwest corner of Main and Main Cross streets. He
lived there until his death in 1848.
Quoting from his son's account,
"...he was still faithful in attending meetings of his own beloved church, even
when unable to walk without being supported and frequently at the
close of a meeting he would lean upon his staff and exhort his brethern and
sisters to faithfulness in duty."
Allen Hill,II (Referred to as
Allen Hill Jr.), son of Thomas Hill, Jr., and nephew of Allen Hill, Sr., was
formally ordained on January 22, 1876. He was engaged in work for the Baptist
cause briefly, then returned in 1878 to serve the Coffee Creek Baptist
Church as preacher for several years, after which he became general agent for
the Indiana State Convention and travelled throughout the
Another bright light of the Coffee Creek Baptist
Church was Joshua C. Tibbits who lived in Paris from 1874 to 1886. He was
secretary of the Coffee Creek Baptist Association for many years and became
famous for the "Minutes" of the Association which he wrote up. They were
eventually published in book form and were treasured by all who were fortunate
enough to own copies. (I have
copy passed down from my great grandmother).
Mr. Tibbetts wrote of himself: "He was a
strong writer, both upon relligous and political topics and a contributor to
several Baptist papers, and many of his productions, secular, poetical and
musical, deserve preservation."
Joshua Tibbetts was born in
Clermont County, Ohio, November 16, 1813. When he was about 15, he moved with
his parents to Cincinnati where for about ten years he was engaged in printing,
while at the same time he attended and was graduated from medical school,
although he never "practiced" medicine.
In 1841, he moved to Jefferson
County, Indiana, where he united with the Coffee Creek Baptist Church. He was a
vigorous worker in the Free Soil political party and assisted in founding
Eleutherian College in Lancaster, Jefferson County, which was very
progressive in that it accepted Negroes and women as students. The college was
formally opened in 1849 by its founder, Thomas Cravens, a Baptist minister from
Tibbetts had a son, Samuel B., who was doing well in
Minneapolis, and in June, 1886, because of ill health, Joshua and his family
moved to Minneapolis where he later died. The Tibbetts family was a very
close family, so when Joshua went to Minnesota, his other son, Milburn ("Mib")
and his family went along.
In 1886/87, the congregation of the
Coffee Creek Baptist Church built a splendid brick edifice in Paris Crossing
which is where they worship today.
DISCIPLES OF CHRIST
Alexander Campbell, who had been laboring for the Baptist cause in Virginia,
began to feel that he was not in sympathy with the Baptists' Calvinistic view of
predestination, so he began developing the principles of his own church in
Virginia and West Virginia. He named it the Deciples of Christ, but it was more
commonly known as the Reform Church (reformed from the
The seeds he was sowing in Virginia were beginning
to reach southern Jennings County in the early 1830s. One of the most ardent
workers in endeavoring to lure Baptists to join the new denominationin southern
Jennings County was John B. New, son of Jethro New, of Vernon.
first their meetings were held in existing Baptist churches on Sunday
afternoons, but when the Baptists finally realized what the true purpose of the
meetings was, they padlocked their church doors after Sunday morning services.
But, too late - the Coffee Creek Christian Church was organized in 1834 by
John B. New with thirteen members who had defected from the Coffee Creek Baptist
Several from Paris, all men of high character, had
been attending the Coffee Chreek Christian Church services and by 1840,
expecting their town to be on the proposed Branch Line running from
North Vernon to Louisville, they felt it was time to consider establishing
a Christian Church in Paris. In 1842. the "trustees of the congregation of the
Desciples of Christ" (Vaton? Smith, Joseph Hagans, Benjamin Randall, James
Nelson, and Buel Eastman (H-57) bought Lot #56 on the east side of Second
Street, near thenorth end of the street. The frame edifice they built was of
great dignity and clearly not for the need of the moment, but for their
projected future when the many people the railroad would attract would need a
choice of worship.
Within little more than ten years they had
found that reality had not fulfilled their hope and for other reasons, such as
there really was no need for their church to fill; the Methodists and two
Coffee Creek churches were well able to satisfy whatever spritual
requirements the community had. So, they wisely gave up and their worthy
edifice was put to a use far more important than that of a purposeless
church - a school!
There are no statistics to prove, one way or
the other, whether any, or how many, children were imbued, by the building
presented, with respect for learning.
When it was no longer
needed as a school, the back room was removed and what was left became a
dwelling, of sorts. While squalid in appearance, the wide front steps continued
to march bravely and graciously up to the front door.
there was not a trace of it. In its place stood a modern
(Corrections in this section from Sharon Seaver who has done extensive research on the Lard/Laird family.)
Rebecca Laird was the first known schoolteacher in Paris.
According to her son, Charles K. Lard (Laird), the family arrived at Madison in
November, 1820. She subsequently taught three months (the length of a
school term at that time) at Vernon, then in her own home one and one half miles
northeast of Paris. The few children living in or near Paris could have attended
that school. It was not uncommon for rural children to walk farther than that
In 1825, James Hammond, her brother,[correction - James was her son-n-law, the husband of her daughter Julia], bought Lot # 26,
the second lot from the southwest corner of the main intersection in Paris
(N-106). As Charles K. put it "She bought a house after separating from her
husband, Samuel Laird." How many years she taught there is unknown: she
would have been 53 years old in 1825.
Rebecca Laird was born in
Maine,[correction - she was born in 1772, Near New Bedford, MA, and baptized at Mattapoisett, Rochester, MA] in 1772, and died in 1855. At the time of the 1850 census, she was living
with her brother,[correction - Julia and James Hammond, her daughter and son-in-law]James Hammond, near Paris. The two [correction - James and Rebecca] are buried in the first
Coffee Creek Baptist graveyard.
In January, 1838, the school
trustees "of the north district" who were D.M. Hill, Lawrence Hollenbeck,
and Buel Eastman, bought from Cobb & Willey a 33 X 40 plot at the South end
of Second Street, on the north side of Water street, opposite Lot # 92 (E-221).
This is were the children of Paris attended school for the next eighteen
In 1850, the teacher must have been Charles Mobley, aged 29
years, residing at the Tavern according to the 1850 census.
1856, the Deciples of Chirst in Paris had disbanded and their solid, frame two
room building was available, so the school trustees "of Montgomery Township" who
that year were Lemuel Wells, Allen Hill and Phillip Jones, bought the
Quite an improvement over the school, probably log, down on
Water Street! This is where MDL attended school from 1871 to 1877. Seventy years
later, she could remember what fun it was to swing out o a huge grapevine
over the ravine back of the school.
About the winter of 1873-4,
her father was "building" a fence for his widowed sister at Mr. Zion,
so MDL had to miss the winter term in Paris, but she took a couple of
readers along to Mt. Zion, and attended the summer term in Paris, the following
summer. "Aunt Lanie" Zenor (Magdaline "Aunt Lanie" Zenor
born 1821 in Jefferson County-was born on the family farm just over the
Jefferson County line on what is now hwy 250 going toward Lancaster,
Magdaline Zenor died in 1905 in St. Clair County, Missouri, she was the
prototype "old maid schoolteacher" as she never married) was her
teacher that summer and she felt that possibly she learned more that summer than
at any other time. Aunt Lanie gave awards of small presents, such as a dish or a
picture, perhaps of Faith, Hope and Charity, for "head marks" (good work). MDL
remembered receiving a dish or so and the picture of a woman's head, encircled
with at wreath of cherries.
She could remember standing with her
spelling book beside Rile (Amos R.) Shepherd's desk; and a Mr. Holmes who had
a large sheet of black paper on which he mounted various kinds of fowl; MDL
especially remembered the guinea.
We know that Eliza J.
Dixon, daughter of Henry S. Dixon, taught a few years in the early 1870's
in Paris. She was born in 1846 and was lame, probably from polio when a very
young child. Her health may have been unstable; she died in 1900, when only 54
years old. Her photograph as a young adult shows a most handsome woman, poised,
regular features and of a pleasing expression.
The North Vernon
papers never did differentiate between Paris and Paris Crossing when it came to
schools. In the 1870's, new schools of higher education were springing up
at Paris Crossing and at Coffee Creek, with impressive names like Select School
of Coffee Creek.
Perhaps the greatest educator of all was
Professor Alpheus W. Blinn, from Cincinnati who was drawn to the area to
teach in some of these "select" schools. James E. Lewis, who lived in the brick
house on the southeast corner of the main intersection, often assisted him. It
was through the Eleutherian College at Lancaster, Jefferson County, that he came
to the area in 1882; he maintained a "high profile", was maybe a little
flamboyant. In 1882, he bought Lots #11, #12 and #13 in Paris and may
have maintained a home there, but it was the custom for the teacher to board
with a family near his school during the winter months. In the winter of
1886 he was living with the Oliver Shepherd family near Paris Crossing. The last
newspaper reference to his teaching in the vicinity was the one of September 23,
1886. The paper of January 17, 1887, states that he had gone to Philadelphia to
However, he made the "grand tour" in the summer
(June to September), 1886. He sent back articles for the newspaper written along
the way, sort of a diary; the series was called "Walks and Talks by the Way",
The first article was entitled, "Cincinnati to Colorado".
returned at the end of September, the North Vernon newspaper reported, "Prof.
Blinn who has been in Colorado for some months will return to this city this
week and will canvass for the sale of a book entitled "My Story of the War" by
Mary A. Livermore, a former hospital and field nurse. It is a fine book and we
predict large sales here."
Prof. Blinn sold his lots in Paris in 1889
and we see his name mentioned no more. He was certainly a scholar of sorts
and the community was certainly better for having been exposed to his erudition
for the several
The topographical situation of Paris provided a
healthful atmosphere in which its citizens lived. Although they were probably
not aware of it, its high elevation was beneficial to their health and longvity.
The town is situated on a high platau that falls sharply to draining streams:
Neil's Creek on the east and south; Graham Creek on the north and west. On the
north this high plateau extends northward two or three miles until the foad
falls sharply to the bed of Graham Creek at the Paris Ford, east of
Much of the population of southern Indiana lived under
near-miasmatic conditions; the land low-lying, poorly drained and heavily
forested. The heavy "night air" was a reality.
Indiana was opened to settlers, health conditions probably slowed immigration.
The Indiana Magazine of History of June 1956 explains that the year 1822 was the
"year of terrible sickness when Governor Jonathan Jennings set aside a day for
prayer and fasting because of the statewide
DR. HEZEKIAH EASTMAN
On October 30, 1830, Dr. Hezekiah
Eastman bought three lots in Paris. He had come first to Vernon, where in 1827
he had bought a lot from Col. John Vawter. But in 1830, he chose Paris as his
place of residence.
Lot #7, south of the Tavern lot, was most
desirable, but it had a flaw described in the deed book entry of September 1828
(A-492) as follows: "...14 feet of pond running bak almost 16 feet out of the
northwest corner." Dr. Eastman viewed the rejected corner with interest. The
location was the best; the 16 X 20 corner composed of pond would be the right
size for an office building. So, he bought the 16 X 20 corner (B-240), had it
filled in some (it may not have been a pond, but a depression where the
water stood most of the time), and had his 15 X 20 office room erected
thereon. This had been accomplished before May 7, 1831. the date of the deed
book entry covering the purchase: "16 feet front, 20 feet back, including the
whole of the office occupied by Hezrkiah Eastman."
On November 1,
1834, Dr. Eastman sold this 16 X 20 corner, with building, to Micajah Lyon and
Jacob Kysar, to be used as a "grocery room". (C-312) This date may mark
the end of Dr. Eastman's medical practice in Paris, when he turned to business
and real estate. He owned the Tavern from 1831 - 1834.
Two of his
children are mentioned: Hezekiah, Jr., and Celo, who was deceased by 1846.
However, Celo had two sons, Celo and Eberly. Eberly fought in the Civil War and
is buried in the Paris graveyard. This indicates that Eberly had married and
remained in the area until the time of the War.
Dr. Eastman died
between August 1 and September 23, 1846; his wife Elizabeth, survived
him. (The following information is from the research
of Judi Mills Boie--Dr.
Hezekiah Eastman Jr. was the son of Rev. Hezekiah Eastman Sr. and
Hannah Porter, he was born about 1782 in Marshall, either New York or
Vermont. He was married twice his first wife was named Mary and his second wife
was named Elizabeth. He was a Surgeon in the War of 1812 and
was captured at the Battle of Queenstown Heights, then exchanged as a
prisoner of war. He had two children with Mary-Buel Eastman and Edward
Darwin Eastman, both of whom died in Texas. With Elizabeth he had two
children Diantha and Dr. Celo Eastman.
As for Dr. Eastmans office on the lot corner, it
exchanged hands several times as a unit until 1849, when it was absorbed in Lot
7, making a full-sized lot
DR. WALTER B. GOODHUE
Dr. Walter B. Goodhue had come to
Paris close on the heels of Dr. Eastman; he bought Lot 27 in September 1832
(D-2). He lived on this lot for four years and may have built the brick house
still standing on the lot.
Dr. Goodhue was born in New Hampshire in
1803; his wife, Ester, was born in Kentucky in 1810: which makes it appear he
married after leaving New England.
In 1834, Dr. Goodhue felt he need
more space, so he bought one square acre adjoining lot #27 on the west (E-453).
This land had never been laid out so it had not lot number, it was simply known
as the "Goodhue Property". When Dr. Goodhue sold it to Brannock Phillips in 1842
(H-76). It became henceforth the "Phillips Property".
educated than most early rural settlers, Dr. Goodhue was named to various
committees and commissions; he served on these while giving diligent attention
to the health needs of the community. He was widely regarded as a man of
integrity and judgment.
Around 1841, John Cobb had laid out the Cobb
Addition, ten lots west of Paris on the south side of the Brownstown Road. The
land gradually rose going west until Lot #150 which was the highest spot. On
this lot around 1850. Dr. Goodhue built his new two-story, commodious, frame
house. In a day of craftsmen, the house had a beautifully paneled double front
Dr. Goodhue did not enjoy his new home long. In 1852, he sold it
to William Deputy and soon thereafter went to Iowa to live with a son or
However, he left at least one descendant in Jennings County.
There was a W.S. Goodhue, who was the manager in 1889 of a creamery that Deputy
& Hudson of Paris Crossing set up at
DR. BENJAMIN B. RUSSELL
Just about the time Dr. Goodhue was
leaving, Dr. Benjamin B. Russell came to Paris. Many years later, he said he
came to Paris around 1845.
Here are some facts of his life from
biographical material he gave the Vernon Banner: He was born in Fayette County,
Kentucky, on February 22, 1810. He spent his early boyhood in Clark County,
Indiana; then returned to Westport Kentucky. He reveived his medical education
under D.E.C. Drane of Newcastle, Kentucky. He took his first Course of Lectures
at the University of Louisville; the Second Course at St. Louis, where he
He bought Lot # 76, on the north edge of Paris, in January
1850 (O-327). On this lot, he built his unique plaster house. A durable plaster
had been developed, being mixed with horse hair. This was no doubt the precursor
of the stucco house of the early 1990's. However, the plaster did not shell off
as the stucco was inclined to do. In any case, Dr. Russell's new house was a
completely new concept and furnished the people of Jennings County with a new
experience in architecture. (Local legend has it that the
house was built in the style it is because Dr. Russell's wife was a
southern lady and he did it to please her. This is another home that is still
standing in Paris and it and its grounds are beautiful to this
In 1852, Dr. Russell bought a 30-foot wide strip along
the west end of Lot #27, 30 X 36 (P-575). This was large enough for a modest
office, a shelter for buggy and horse in bad weather, and it provided grass for
the horse to nibble in the meantime. Dr. Russell sold this strip four years
later, in 1856; maybe he had decided he could operate just as well from his
home. In subsequent years, this property seemed to be favored by druggists and
doctors; Dr. James B. Hudson bought it in 1885 (O-267), maybe about the time he
launched on his medical career, and he owned it four years.
Russell's sister, Ellen or Ella C., who married William Cave as his second wife
in 1842, lived in Paris at the same time until her death in 1869, aged 52
years. William Cave died in 1882, aged 80 years; both are buried in the Paris
graveyard. (Tombstone transcriptions-Ella G. Cave, wife
of William G., died November 16, 1869, 52 yrs 20 days-Wm. G. Cave died January
15, 1882 aged 82 yrs 10 mths 21 days. Again note a difference between this
booklet having her middle initial as C. and tombstone being seen as a G. and
William being either 80 or 82.)
Dr. Russell was a man of many
talents; he didn't limit himself to taking care of the aches and pains of the
community. He even lectured in surrounding towns on such worthy topics as
DR. ANSEL GERRISH
Dr. Ansel Gerrish was born in Maine
in 1804 and was in Montgomery Township, Jennings County, in 1850 according to
the census of that year. While he did not own property in Paris, he no
doubt lived near enough to be considered one of the town's doctors.
According to the 1850 census, Dr. Gerrish had a son, James W.F., 19 born in
Maine, carpenter, his wife Maria, 18, born in Pennsylvania, and a six-month old
infant. So Ansel and Phoebe Gerrish would not have started their westward
treck until after 1831.
James W.F. had two infants buried in the
Willey family graveyard; one died in 1851 amd tje ptjer om 1853. This indicates
that the Gerrishes may have lived east of Paris and were friends and neighbors
of the Willeys.
In 1856, Dr. Gerrish bought lots #17 and #100 in Paris
(W-341), and blacksmith lots #30N, #315, #42. and #43M (V-367), the latter
mabe as a nudge to James W.F. to think seriously about supporting a young
Dr. Ansel Gerrish died between 1857 and 1864. By 1867, his
wife Phoebe, had sold their Paris property, and she and James
W.F. were residents of Seymour, then a town 15 years old. James W.F.
fell into his rightful niche in Seymour, real estate development.
of James W.F.'s sons was Millard F., a physician, who received some good
appointments from the mayor of the young town.
But what Millard and
his wife Violet Gerrish are really remembered for: They were leaders of the
organizational movement that established the First Church of the Nazarene in
Seymour with a faction from the First Methodist Church. The cornerstone of the
Nazarene Church was laid in
DR. JAMES B. HUDSON
Dr. James B. Hudson and Dr. James M.
Lefebre were about the same age, started their medical practice at about
the same time, and both grew up in the vicinity of Paris.
Hudson was born around 1837, the son of Absolom and Mary Fowler Hudson, the
brother of Silas M. It appears he started his medical practice about 1865, when
he would have been about 28 years old. In this year he bought several
pieces of property that indicate they were bought for business reasons. First,
he purchased Dr. Russell's office property on the west end of lot #27, and
secondly he bought three lots, #24, #25 and #26 on Main Street. He probably is
the doctor who built the quaint one-room office in front of his residence on lot
#26. He no doubt thought this would be a more convenient arrangement than using
Dr. Russell's office on the west end lot #27. He sold Dr. Russell's office
which he had bought in 1865, in 1869.
He must have been preparing to
leave Paris, because in 1869 he sold the three lots, #24, #25, and #26, with
office, to Dr. James M. Lefebre. This no doubt marks the beginning of Dr.
Lefebre's practice in Paris.
In 1870, Dr. Hudson's wife Ketturah, 28
years old, died and is buried in the Coffee Creek Christian Cemetery. He
then moved permanently to Columbus, Bartholomew County, and is probably buried
DR. JAMES LEFEBRE
Dr. Lefebre was born around 1832 and
entered the practice of medicine about 1869, when he was 37 years old. In
1869 he bought the three lots in Paris, #24, #25 and #26, with the doctor's
office, from Dr. James B. Hudson. He continued to live on this lot until 1881
when he purchased the brick house immediately south of his home from William
In 1886, his wife, Rebecca, fell on ice in February
and broke her leg. This can have a destablizing impact on a family. In 1888, Dr.
Lefebre sold his Paris residence and showed great indecision as to where he
wanted to locate: he went to Commiskey, then Lexington, Scott County, then to
the town of Lovett which was on the railroad Branch Line, and he may have
remained there the rest of his life. (in 1882 one of the
witnesses of the will of my 3rd great grandmother Sarah Ann (Ward) Ayers was
Lefebres are remembered with respect and perhaps the best-remembered of his
children was Cynthia S., who taught school for many years.
Dental work in the 1800s consisted mostly of tooth
extraction which a physician could take care of.
the time of the 1850 census, we noted that an itinerant dentist was staying at
the Tavern. With the coming of the railroad, however, the people of Jennings
County were not restricted to the local domaain; many went as far as Cincinnati
for special reasons.
In the 1880s, Paris had her own dentist in
the person of John C. Cave. He would have been 25 in 1880.
9, 1876, he married Ora Tibbits, daughter of Joshua Tibbits who lived east of
Paris. MDL remembered that Dr. Cave, the dentist, had his office in the Tibbets'
The Caves were English, Stephen Cave was the patriarch
of the family who emigrated from England. The immigration records outline
his journey to the United States: He was from the County of Leichester, Parish
of Sevenford, England, sailed from Liverpool in April of 1832 and started making
his way westward. He finally arrived in Paris and was naturalized on July 12,
1841. Witnesses for his naturalization were William B. Hagins, a lawyer in
Vernon but with Paris connections, and William Cave, who had already located in
It seemed that almost
everyone at some time or other wanted to try his hand at store-keeping for short
JAMES S. SMYTH
James S. Smyth, who came to
Paris as a blacksmith in 1826, says that he was "engaged in the blacksmith
business for a few years, then became a merchant". Trying to figure
out the year he became a merchant depends on the interpretation of " a
few years". Suffice it to say he had become a merchant in Paris by the
1850s and was in the merchandising business there long enough to be influential
in setting a standard for other merchants to follow. The quality of life in
Paris must have been better because of the quality of merchandise he made
available, and the same merchandise, carefully chosen, enabled
the housewives to develop a sense of taste and discrimination.
1859, he had left Paris, settled in Vernon, and in partnership with a Mr.
McClelland, had established a grocery store. He was also active in the community
affairs of Vernon: He was assistant assessor, a justice of the Peace, and
the postmaster, and had been elected to offices in the Masonic Lodge.
His sons, Albert J. and John A., lived in Vernon, too. Both had served in
the Civil War, and John A. had married a young lady named Leora E.; it appears
Albert J. had not married. John A. died November 11, 1869 when he was 32 years
Albert J. was pursuing his occupation of saddler and in 1867 at
the county fair won awards for the best harness and the best bridles (two
kinds). He also was collector of internal revenue for that county and an
agent for the Phoenix Insurance Company. 1867 was a good year for Albert J. In
that year, he was elected mayor of Vernon, succeeding William B. Hagins, who
also had Paris connections.
In October 1867 the following announcement
appeared in the Vernon Banner: "...the grocery store owned by Smyth &
McClelland has changed hands. The store will continue to sell under the company
name of Smyth & Smyth, Albert Smyth having purchased McClelland's
interest...The post office will continue in the building."
died May 12, 1873, aged 33 years. He and John A. are buried in the
Vernon cemetery. They have similar tombstones and there is space for a
grave between their graves, as though it might be reserved for a later burial.
James S. Smyth's obituary states that his burial was in the Vernon cemetery, but
he has no stone here or elsewhere in the cemetery.
When John A. Smyth
was buried, it appears that his survivors assumed his young widow would remarry,
perhaps raise a family, and be buried beside her second husband. But John A. may
have had at least one child surviving him. This announcement appeared in
the North Vernon newspaper of May 12, 1881: Married by W.W. Snider of
Madison, Dr. Albert Smyth to Miss Norrie Robinson (Robertson), both of this
place (Dupont)...Dr. Smyth had bought Dr. Cave's property and will take
possession at once."
James S. Smyth died February 9, 1886, 87 years
old, soon after moving to North Vernon. The writer of his obituary appearing in
the "Madison Herald" of February 17, 1886, laments the "passing of the
ancient greatness of old Paris...Mr. Smyth was a merchant in that place in the
early days. He had for competitors in business Mr. Dennis Willey, Mr. Silas
Stribling of this city (Madison), Messrs. Williamson and Ellison Dixon, and
Milton Hill...At the same time, Mr. C.K. Lard, now of North Madison, also
engaged in the mercantile business and hog packing...The parties named did an
enormous business and all of them became well-off. There were no railroads then,
yet these gentlemen went to New York and Philadelphia after their
merchandise...they did not buy from drummers, but went there in person to lay in
their stock. (Also see: James S. Smyth, Blacksmith)
D. M. HILL
Daniel Milton Hill, usually referred to by his initials only, was in command of
the best business corner in town, lot # 10. The town pump was also on this
corner, a focal point in its own right. The store-room was flush with the street
on the north and west sides; on the south a house was attached in which the
storekeeper resided. In 1839, two years after Hill bought the lot, he sold a 19
X 33 plot in the center of the lot (63 feet from the northwest corner of the
lot) to Simeon Robertson (F-279) on which Robinson built a stone building,
possibly for good, tight storage. (Simeon Robertson was
one of three husbands of Elizabeth Osborn the other two were 1st - Leven
Malcomb and after the death of Simeon Robertson she married Henry
W. Dixon son of Henry S. & Alcy Dixon) Williamson Dixon bought
this 19 X 30 or 33 plot in 1848 and owned it until 1882 when it passed into the
hands of his son, Harman Dixon.
D.M. was the son of the Elder
Thomas Hill, Sr., founder of the Coffee Creek Baptist Church. He was born
December 31, 1805, in Kentucky, in the course of his parent's migration from
Virginia to Indiana. On April 22, 1824, he married Jane Dixon, born in Kentucky
on September 29, 1801, the daughter of Henry Dixon and sister of Williamson and
Ellison Dixon. Jane died in 1874 (Sept 12, 1874 72 yrs 11mo 13 days) and D.M. in 1883
(b. Dec. 31, 1805 d. Aug. 13,
1883); both are buried in
the Dixon section of the Paris graveyard.
They were the parents
of James A., born in 1825 or 1827, who eventually took over the operation of the
store, although the 1850 Census lists him as a saddler. The 1850 Census also
lists two sons, William B., 21 years old in 1850, and Ellison C., 15, both of
whom clerked in the store. The youngest child was a daughter, Martha Ann, who
married Alonzo Gaddy (Alonzo Gaddy
was the son of Benjamin S. Gaddy and Sarah Cobb).
D.M. was an associate judge in 1837 when he
was around 31 years old. It can be assumed he was a good businessman and did a
brisk business. In 1847, D. M. bought some land from his father, west of Paris,
on the north side of the Brownstown Road. This is where he lived when his son,
James A., had taken over management of the store and was in the house attached
to the store. D.M. had turned his attention to politics and community
affairs; he played the role of spokesman or representative of the town
whenever the occasion arose.
He appears not to have shrunk from being
"different" (or he could have enjoyed it?), such as being a Democrat in a
Republican stronghold, or a Baptist among Methodists.
"Bill Jones' store" was on the east end of lot #10, the
same lot as D.M. Hill's. D.M. Hill owned the building and may have owned the
store and Bill was just the manager. But to the citizens of Paris, it was Bill's
store. The store with post office in the rear was on the first floor of the
building and the Odd Fellows (Knights Templar) hall was on the second
Incidentally, Bill Jones was the brother-in-law of James
A. Hill. Bill's sister, Sarah Jones, born in 1838, had married James A. Hill,
born in 1825 or 1827. She died in 1872 when only 34 years old, and there is no
evidence he remarried.
William A. Jones was born in 1835/36, the
oldest child of Phillip and Harriet Atwood Jones, who owned the Tavern
after 1855. He lived at the south end of Main Street, west side, lots #78, #79,
and #80. (William A. Jones was
married to Nancy "Nan" Sampson born in 1834 and the daughter of Ephraim &
Bill was a model citizen; friendly, accommodating in his business
and a very active worker in the Methodist Church. But, at home, his wife Nan,
because of her obesity couldn't move around, just sat, and had to have help,
especially with food preparation. MDL thought the food was not removed from the
table after meals. But not to worry, in those days, elderly widows actually
didn't have enough to eat. So they would drop in for a chat with Nan, and at the
same time help themselves to a bite or two from the remains on the table. MDL
remembers Granny Lark who lived on the east side of the street, pipe in mouth,
meandering across the street every day shortly after noon. Someone said that
Bill or Nan said "the neighbors ate them out of house and home."
So, in 1880, Bill Jones moved his family to Bedford. The logical move would
have been northward: Vernon and North Vernon, Columbus, or Greensburg, or
Indianapolis. Someone must have had something definite for Bill at
Bill's sister Martha (Matt), had married a man named Jimmy
Cologne, who had come to Paris in the late 1860's. He sold organs and roomed at
the Tavern. MDL remembered that he wore half-moon earrings and sang in a loud,
guavering voice at church services. A newspaper item of 1886 mentions that
"Jimmy Cologne, of Bedford, spent Sunday with relatives in Paris." Maybe he and
Matt were established in Bedford before 1880 and convinced Bill Jones that was
the place to settle.
Bill Jones' sister, Ruth, a seamstress, lived
with them in Bedford. She had epilepsy and in the 1920s or 1930s, MDL saw
in The Indianapolis Star that she'd been the victim of a traffic
Also living in Bedford was Ben Wykoff. The Vernon Banner
of February 26, 1890, stated Ben Wykoff of Bedford was visiting his parents
When Bill Jones left Paris for Bedford in 1880, the move was
not from friends to strangers.
The newspaper article
on a trip to Paris in 1870, mentions another merchant: "T. M. Dixon's
is filled with good, clean stock and customers will find anything they want
including a large assortment of Queensware". (Thomas M.
Dixon was born about 1846 in Paris, Indiana, he married in 1869 Mary
Elizabeth "Mollie" Lard/Laird, daughter of Benjamin Franklin Lard/Laird and
Leather was very "big" in pioneer days: saddles,
horse-collars and harness, upholstery for buggies and carriages, as well as
shoes for humans.
The surrounding farms provided plenty of hides,
but a tanyard in the community would be a great convenience and preclude the
necessity of having to go as far away as Vernon or Madison.
first mention of the Paris tanyard is dated January 1834, Jefferson County
Deed Book I, page 152, and Jennings County Deed Book C, page 183. In both,
the tanyard is described as "an acre, it being part of the half-section 4, Town
4, Range 8 east, deeded to Robert M. Smith...a noted spring".
tanyard requires plenty of water. It is repugnant to think of the clear, pure
water of a "noted spring" in conjunction with an odoriferous, messy
Dennis Willey owned the farm on which the tanyard was
located during most of the time it was in use, but maybe things changed when
Willey sold the form to Williamson Dixon in 1859; mabe Dixon didn't want to be
bothered with it.
The names connected with the operation of
the tanyard are Samuel Weir, Edward Zenor, Abraham Herring, and especially
the Rawlings-Eleazer, Hill, and
SADDLERS OF PARIS
The Striblings, Uriah B. and Silas M., were
always agressive and enterprising businessmen. In 1846, when Uriah B. was only
21 years old, he bought (K-241) the sourthwest corner of James S. Smyth's
yard, Lot # 28, and established a saddlery thereon. He had just married, in
October 1845, Hester Ann Cobb, only 15 years old. (Uriah and Silas Stribling were the sons of Thomas
Tibbets Stribling & Sarah Vawter. Hester Ann is believed to have been
the daughter of John Cobb & Maria Malcomb).
The 825-square-foot area was not quite
sufficient because the next few times this corner plot changed ownership,
the following stipulation appeared on the indenture:"...and the use of six
square feet of ground on said lot #28...for the use of a privy
Within four years, 1850 Census, Stribling was employing
four saddlers, which would indicate a thriving business. They were William
Winchester, 32; James Wilson 18; William Stout, 22; and John L. (Levin) Malcomb, harnessmaker, 16.
Stribling operated this saddlery for nine years, selling out in 1855
Albert J. Smyth, son of James S. Smyth, was born in 1840
and grew from about 6 years old to 15 years old in the nine years the saddlery
was operating on the corner of his home yard. As a child he no doubt hung around
out of boredom or curiosity or just to talk to the men; and he may have done
some chores, and may have even worked as a saddler before it closed.
Anyway, he became a saddler and pursued that occupation in Vernon as an adult.
He obviously was very proficient because at the Jennings County Fair, in 1867,
he received first prize for the best double-harness; also first prize for two
Charles M. Mobley, teacher/saddler, who was living at the
Tavern in 1850, may have helped out at the Stribling
At the same time, beginning in 1840,
six years before Stribling, and continuing many years until old age or ill
health forced him to quit. George W. Bantz was operating a saddlery on lot #4.
Deed book entry (5-525) reveals that the middle initial stands for
There was another individual named George W. Bantz
living in Vernon and North Vernon at the time George Wetzel Bantz was
living in Paris. He was two years older than George Wetzel Bantz was
still living in 1880, while George Wetzel Bantz had died in 1878. The George W.
Bantz of Vernon was one of the original county commissioners in 1817 and a
potrait of him hangs in the second-floor corridor of the Courthouse at
Vernon. There is also Bantz building in North Vernon at the intersection of
Fifth and Buckeye streets, where Highway 50 years right, before proceeding
east. The letters in the name are large and in relief - easily
George Wetzel Bantz was born in Virginia in
1794, and was buying real estate in Madison as early as 1818 and he was
advertising a saddlery on Main Cross Street, in Madison as early as 1826. The
Madison newspaper (DAR compilation) yields quite a few interesting items about
his early life there:
May 3, 1825 - "Mrs. Rhoda Bantz, consort of George
W. Bantz, died." This would have been the mother of William K. Bantz, who was born
in 1819, and maybe Sarah Bantz, wife of Dr. J. W. Kyle, born in 1822, and buried on
William K.'s plot in the Vernon cemetery."
September 7, 1826 - "Married in Gallatin County,
Kentucky, on the 29th ult...George W. Bantz of this place to Grace George of the
former place, by Joseph Oglesby".
George is just as Irish a surname as, say, McCulihy, and maybe Gracie had an
July 18, 1834 - "Grace Bantz has left her husband, G.
W. Bantz." They obviously were soon reconciled and she remained his faithful
companion throughout his Paris years until her death in 1872.
G. W. Bantz had had to know about the new town less than
twenty miles northwest; and maybe someone had just mentioned that they had no
saddler. G.W. did not act hastily. In 1836, he sent his 17-year-old son William K.
to Paris to find out how things really were. William K. had become a saddler himself,
so he bought a strip of lot #4 (D-308) and set up shop. His report must have been
good, because in January 1840. George Wetzel himself moved to Paris, buying
one-quarter acre on the east side of the Vernon road, just north of town. He bought
additional strips of land in 1846 (L-92) and 1848 (K-168)until he owned an area of
15,510 square feet or between one-third and one-half acre. This was his home until
his death; it was within easy walking distance from the stores in the center of town
and was very near his saddlery on lot #4.
According to the 1850 census, he was employing three men in his saddlery:
his two sons, Thomas A., 21, and John M., 17, and William A. Robinson, 17.
He owned other lots in Paris and the number of years he owned them might
indicate the steadiness of his character. He owned lot #97 for 16 years, 1841 (G-422)
to 1857 (U-481) lots #40 and #41 for 20 years, 1845 (J-279) to 1865 (2-335)lot #74
for 36 years, 1843 (H-215) to 1879, sold by his son after his death (20-12); and lot #
39 for 19 years, 1846 (K-170) to 1865 (2-225).
There was a Bantz still making horse collars in Paris, in 1870,
according to the newspaper account.
As to William K. who had come to Paris in 1836, he married Caroline Bullock
of a very prominent Vernon family in 1845. The young couple lived in Paris a few years
on North Second Street, a few lots south of his parents' home. Their first child Sarah,
was born in 1846, while they lived in Paris, but by 1850, they were living in Vernon,
where Caroline was surrounded by family and friends she grew up with. They also had a
son James A., born in 1848.
William K. served in the Civil War.
In 1867, both Caroline and Sarah succumbed to the dread disease, consumption dying
within four months of each other.
In 1876, William K. married Celia Kyle of Hanover and resided there until
his death in 1886; his burial was in the Vernon cemetery.
John Milton Bantz, born in 1833, was 15 years younger than William K.
and was also a saddler. In 1855, he had married Mary E. Dixon, daughter of the
one-time Sheriff Samuel Dixon and sister of the well-known politician, Lincoln Dixon.
She died in 1856 when 23 years old. John M. then left Paris, but when he was back in
1878, disposing of his father's property, he was of "Washington County", (Salem).
BLACKSMITHS OF PARIS
James S. Smyth came to Paris as a blacksmith in 1826. In 1827, he
bought the large corner lot #28 (A-450) which was just over 9,914 square feet in area
as compared to the 8,712 square feet of the 66 X 132 lot. This would give him space
for his residence and smithy. The obviously logical place for his smithy was the
southwest corner of the lot, opening on Main Cross Street, which he sold in 1846 to Uriah B.
Stribling for a saddlery. Did the sale of this corner in 1846 mark Smyth's
change of career from blacksmith to merchant?
(Also see James S. Smyth,
Smyth was born in Wayne County, Virginia, on July 24, 1799.
He states that he was in Madison, Indiana, by 1816. In 1822, he married
Elizabeth Dinwiddie, daughter of Archibald Dinwiddie who entered land in
Jefferson County in 1812. Elizabeth's sister Margaret Dinwiddie married Ellison
Dixon in 1834, and in the same year another sister, Jane, married Charles K.
Elizabeth and James S. were the parents of five children:
Mary E., born in 1829, who married Mr. Hayes and died in 1855 when but 26 years
old; Helena, born in 1831, married James H. Wilson, spent all her life in the
Paris vicinity and ddied in 1875; Benjamin T., born in 1834, and lived his adult
life in Bartholomew County; John A., born in 1837, resided in Vernon and died in
1869; and Albert J., born in 1840 and died in 1873.
Elizabeth died in 1845 amd was buried in the Paris graveyard. By 1859, James S.
had established himself as a grocer in Vernon
The late 1840's saw
a spate of Welsh blacksmiths descend on Paris. In 1849, Daniel Davis
from Wales bought part of Lot #45 (N-238). He evidently owned and operated
a smithy on this partial lot until he sold it; working in his smithy was Hugh
Jones also born in Wales.
In 1847 a family of Welsh blacksmiths
named Davis, consisting of Joseph, age 27 years: Evan 24; Edward, 19; John, 15;
and Thomas 12, bought lots #32, #33 and part of Lot #31 (L-14, M-114, O-130).
They continued here for ten years. Also working in their smithy was John Jacobs,
born in New York in 1815, who first had bought a lot in Paris in 1839 (E-304).
When Joseph Davis sold the lots in 1865, they were already established in
In 1865, Thomas F. Wykoff bought the
Davis blacksmith lots (18-208) and evidently had a blacksmith operation
there for 13 years. He sold his business in 1878 to German born William
Kohle who lived east of Paris. Kohle died soon thereafter but his widow
Christena, owned the property until 1889.
Wykoff had a son Patrick
"Pad", who was indeed a free spirit. He had married Clara Shilledeay, MDL's
cousin, the daughter of Amanda Deputy and John Simpson Shilledeay.
Pad "hosted" a dance New Year's 1884 which was a shocking event because the
churches looked with such disfavor on dancing. According to the newspapers "The
young and some of the old folks enjoyed a nice dance at the residence of Pad
Wykoff in Old Town last Wednesday evening." In 1887 Pad and his family moved to
Pendleton Indiana probably in connection with employment at the penetentiary
there, security or maintenance.
Eli Higgins, born in Massachusetts
in 1787, and listed as blacksmith, was the first of that colorful family to
arrive in Paris. Milo, his son had been born in Ohio in 1828 on the way
By 1849 Eli had arrived in Paris and had bought Lot #17.
In no time at all, in a matter of weeks or a month or so, Milo had married Jane
Sampson in 1849. Although Milo and Jane were soon living in Brewersville, Sand
Creek Township, they kept in close touch with Paris: Milo often held an
elective office in the Paris Masonic Lodge, both Jane and Milo, and their son
Earl and his wife are buried in the Coffee Creek Baptist Cemetery:
Milo died in 1911 and Jane in 1913. (Earl Higgins wife
mentioned above was Emma Vincent, she lived in what had originally been the home
of Ephraim Harlan when I was a little girl).
Files was a well known wagon-maker operating in the North Vernon area in the
late 1860s. At the County Fair in 1867, he won first prizes for the best wagon
and the best spring wagon. He was also expert in using the newspaper for free
advertising. Informing potential customers through its columns where he would be
operating in the upcoming season, often adding a sly offer to make the reader a
wagon "made on the best mechanical principles". After Paris, he was in Hanover
in 1886 and Paris Crossing in 1889.
A similar partnership was
formed by Lewis Antle of Lancaster, Jefferson County, and Matthias Terwillegar,
probably from Madison. A newspaper of 1876 states that "Mr. Antle
of Lancaster had moved his wagon shop to Paris where he and Mr. Terwillegar will
run the blacksmith and the wagon shop.
The Terwillegars purchased
Lot # 13, across the street from the house where MDL lived, in 1877 (18-332) and
the north halves of Lots #106 and #107 (20-378) for business. They had a widowed
daughter, addie who died in 1881 when but 21 years old. She was buried in the
Paris graveyard. Addie played the organ and MDL remembed how the family gathered
around the home organ on Sunday mornings before church and how they
The young Terwillegars were rapidly assimilated in the Paris
citizenry. Anson Terwillegar marred Olive Condry on January 19, 1876; they lived
in Indianapolis. Cora Ellen Terwillegar married Thaddeus Dixon, son of Ellizon
Dixon, on September 26, 1876.
Other wagon-makers in Paris
were: Hiram Barnes who was living in Iowa in 1859 near his
father-in-lae Brannock Phillips; Simeon Hendricks, 1866-1871; and Daniel
The business of providing funeral/burial service was
just emerging and evolving in the 1800s. It was well into the 1900s that, with
the introduction of embalming and expanded service, it became a lucrative
In the early days when the population was sparse,
the amount of funeral business depended on the number of deaths and there were
just not that many of those in a small rural community to warrant full-time
involvement, the necessity for having another source of income in order to
provide for a family. Many will remember when the funeral home was often in
conjunction with a furniture store, and the "funeral parlor" and the
furniture store were under one roof.
The main duties of the
funeral director were the "laying out" of the corpse and providing an attractive
coffin. The coffin was a wooden box which could be obtained from any chairmaker
or cabinetmaker; it was then "decorated" (lined) often by the undertaker's wife.
The funeral director would have had to stock material suitable for this purpose.
MDL remembers that as a child in the early 1870s. when she would see Harriet
(Mrs. Joseph) Ayers hurrying down the street from her house,
scissors swinging from her belt, she knew someone had just
In later years, the funeral director would also have had to
provide a well-kept hearse and a horse of fairly good appearance to transport
the coffin from the church of home to the graveyard. The appearance of hearse
and horse added greatly to the dignity and solemnity of the
Thomas Rowland was to become the town's first
"undertaker". At a very early age. In 1830, he had bought Lot #88 near the south
end of Main Street where he lived for forty years, 1830 to 1870 (H-327,
Jefferson County). In 1834, he purchased Lots #87, and #86, adjoining on the
These three lots would have given him space for the
bare essentials for living in that day: a building for his occupation of
cabinetmaking (according to the 1850 census); a barn for a horse and vehicle,
grain storage, etc., garden space for plenty of potatoes and vegetables,
especially green beans; an apple tree or two, and hopefully a cherry tree;
shelter for a cow, pigs and a chicken pen; in short, space for his occupation,
transportation, and food.
His first wife, Isabelle, had
died before March 1, 1856, and he had married Matilda. He and Isabelle were
the parents of Samantha (Mrs. Lewis Blake): Isaac Holman, born in 1836; and
Malintha (Mrs. Christie Calhoun), born in 1844; and maybe Arvilla, who died
young and is buried on their plot in the original Paris
In 1852, Thomas purchased a 20 X 60 plot on lot
#27, west of the brick house (W-207). This probably marks his entry into the
funeral-burial business. In 1867, he bought a larger plot, the notheast corner
of the Phillips Property, approximately 31 X 128 (8-508).
Rowland evidently kept up with the trends of the then-developing funeral-burial
business and served the community with style and quality for which they bestowed
upon him their highest regard. Considering the financial return for the service,
the funeral director was in a sense extending the community a courtesy and he
did not take his responsibility lightly. It appears that Rowland wanted to
retire (his health may have been a factor), but felt he could not leave until he
had found a successor. This was accomplished in 1870 when he turned his duties
over to Joseph Ayers.
When Thomas Rowland died in 1878, he was living
on "two acres near North Vernon"
Isaac Holman Rowland, son
of Thomas and Isabelle Rowland, was born in 1836 and died in 1905, spent his
entire life in Paris, and being a very solid citizen became almost an
institution. He married Eliza Jane Shillideay. He served in the Civil War, in
enlisting in 1861, being discharged in 1865.
Isaac H. was
a carpenter, and a North Vernon paper in 1886 states he and his son were doing
carpenter work on Eli Wells' house, the stately brick house just west of
A given name like "Isaac Holman" suggests he may have
been named for an individual, a relative or ancestor. There were two Holmans,
Moses and Isaac, buying land from the government in Jackson County in the very
early days. Isaac Holman bought land in 1813, 1822, and 1827, as recorded in the
Jackson County Tract Book.
Isaac Holman and Eliza Jane Rowland are
buried in the original graveyard, although they died after 1900; the plot where
they are buried also has the graves of two children, Arvilla and Celestine, with
Joseph Ayers, who bought Thomas Rowland's residential
and business property in 1870 had never lived in the town, but he had been
around and was aquainted with the citizens. In 1857, he had bought three
well-known plots just north of town on the Vernon road; The Cutbird
Hudson, the John Clemmons plot and the four acres where Ephriam Harlan had
lived, he sold these to Ansel Gerrish in 1859. (The Ayers family had been in the area since between 1840 and
1850. Joseph's father John Ayers who was born in New Jersey, lived near the
Brownstown Road to the east of Paris in Jefferson County. Joseph and his
brothers and sisters were all born in Ohio, John Ayers and his wife Sarah Ann
(Ward) Ayers had lived in Hamilton County Ohio, were they
were married in 1813 after John had served in the War of
1812. Joseph married Dec. 2, 1851 in Jefferson County to Harriet Agnes
Zener daughter of David & Phoebe (Baker) Zener, who had
settled on Neil's Creek around 1820.)
The issue of March 17, 1870, of the North
Vernon Plain Dealer carried this advertisement: "G. W. Harlan and Joseph Ayers
have formed a partnership in the furniture business and have a complete
stock...They have coffins..." G. W. Harlan was himself a chairmaker by
trade; Ayers was primarily a carpenter.
Joseph Ayers was 42
years old in 1870. His mother, Sarah A. Ayers, bought lots #140, #141, and part
of #142, just west of their funeral service business, in 1872 (U-281).
Within a few years, she could not live alone and her unmarried daughter, Mary
Jane of Boone County, came to Paris and took care of her until her death in
1883/4; she had died before December 23, 1884 (12-381). She also had a son
Benjamin S., who lived in Boone County. (The family of John & Sarah Ann Ayers consisted of 6 sons and
1 daughter: Lewis D b. 1814; George W. b. 1820; Milton b. 1821; Benjamin S. b.
1827; Joseph b. 1828; Isaac Newton b. 1831; Mary Jane b. 1837.)
The Ayers (Joseph
& Harriet) are buried in the New Section of
the Paris graveyard. Harriet died in 1900 and Joseph later, but his death date
was not inscribed on their stone. (Joseph lived to be 92 years old and died April 16, 1920 in Paris
at the home of his daughter Geneva and her husband Simeon
The children of Joseph and Harriet
Ayers were Leonidas, Maggie, who was 8 years old at the time of the 1880
census, and MDL said Jennie and Katie. (Their children were Geneva "Jennie", Mathias, Sarah,
Leonidas, Joseph L. and Magdaline.)
perusal of the book, "Revolutionary War Patriots" reveals a Benjamin Ayers
1763-1844), a drummer from Maine. Datewise, this could be the same man who in
1792 bought 200 acres in Hampshire County Virginia ("History of Hampshire
County, Virginia". page 404). He could have been making his way westward; Joseph
was born in Ohio, in 1828, and this Benjamin of the Revolution could have been
the grandfather of Joseph and Benjamin S., sons of Sarah A.
(No proof that this Benjamin is
not a relative but Joseph's father was John Ayers, there is a
Revolutionary War connection as John Ayers was the son of Jedediah Ayers
who was born in 1760 and died in Fulton County, New York in
He enlisted in June or July of 1776 and
served 3 months as a fifer in Captain Albert's Company, Colonel Barnabas Sears
Massachusetts Regiment; He immediately re-enlisted in Captain Fay's Company,
Colonel Davie's or Davidson's Regiment in General Washington's Life Guards. He
was in the battles of White Plains,Monmouth, Morristown and Yorktown and was
discharged in June of 1783. This information is from a letter concerning his
pension application written by Winfield Scott,
Grave offically marked by the
General Richard Montgomery Chapter, Daughters of the American Revolution. Film
No 0973007, Family Hisotry Center Library, Salt Lake City,
From the MASSACHUSETTS SOLDIERS
and SAILORS of the REVOLUTIONARY WAR:
"Ayres, Jedehiah, Belchertown.
Discriptive list of men raised agreeable to order of general court of June 22,
1780; Captain Dwight's company; age, 16 years; stature, 5ft 5in.; complexion,
light; residence, Belchertown; enlistment, 3
Soldiers and Sailors in the War of the Revolution-Ayres, Jedediah, Belchertown.
Private, Capt. Job Alvord's co., Col. S. Murray's (Hampshire Co.) regt.;
enlisted July 19, 1780; service 29 days; enlistment, 3 months; company raised to
reinforce Continental Army; Capt. Oliver Coney's co., Col. Sears's regt.;
enlisted August 12, 1781; discharged 1781; service, 3 mos. 10 days; enlistment,
Ayers, son of Joseph and Harriet, spent all of his very active life
(1860-1940) in Paris. He was well-known and well-liked. He engaged in carpentry
and his most noteworthy achievement was the renovation of the Methodist
parsonage, which he made into such an attractive modern home, yet retaining its
The graveyard Samuel S. Graham bequeathed to the town of
Paris was "an acre of ground laid out in a square form" perched on the high
south bank of Graham Creek as it flows in a southwestwardly course
north of town. The northwest side of the graveyard slopes rather sharply down to
the river - a lovely spot in October.
The graveyard lies
about a quarter of a mile north of the former meeting house lots, #35 and #36.
Before 1837, while the church was still standing on these lots, there would have
been a lane connecting the church and graveyard to be used for
When the church was built in 1837 on Lot #112 on
South Second Street, another means of access to the public graveyard was
required. The solution was by a lane turning west from North Second Street
(the Vernon road) at about opposite Dr. Russell's plaster house. It may have
been alluded to in the deed book entry of 1840, G-21, as being "one rod in
width". A rod is 16 1/2 feet. This lane also ran along the north side of the
house where Ephraim Harlan once lived and must have been the determining
factor in the placement of the Harlan private graveyard, which is snuggled into
the angle formed where the lane enters the town graveyard.
The one story Harlan house was somewhat above average with its double front door
flanked by two windows on either side. A Mrs. Hagins was occupying it in the
1950's, while serving as a fraternity house mother at Franklin College
during the winter months. At Thanksgiving time, in 1955, the house was
destroyed by fire, a mobile home was set up in its place the following spring,
the lane was plowed under and obliterated. Since then, the few visitors to the
old graveyard have had to pick their way over rough, cultivated ground.
(The Mrs. Hagens mentioned above
was actually Mrs. Emma Higgins, wife of Earl Higgins who was the son of Milo
& Jane Sampson Higgins. Emma Higgins maiden name was Vincent. I
remember visiting her as a child and we called her the "Bottle Lady"
because she had an extensive collection of old bottles. My grandparents
Frank & Della Stewart lived in the Harlan house in 1913 it was their
first home after their marriage. The Paris graveyard is today
nearly impossible to access, due there being no lane back to it and
the current owners not encouraging visitors.)
Many of the early settlers were buried in the old
graveyard without tombstones, because of the expense and difficulty of getting
one. However, the grave site was always marked by a sizable field stone; in time
these became moved around and no longer served their purpose.
oldest inscribed tombstone still standing in the graveyard is that of Dr.
Benjamin B. Hews, who died in 1826. He had bought 14 acres adjoining the
east side of Paris in 1825 (A-288), made his last will and testament in October
1826 and died the following November 12. At the time of his death, he also owned
a house and lot in Hanover and his widow evidently returned there. The Madison
newspaper carried his obituary (from DAR compliation): "Died in Paris, Jennings
County, Indiana, Dr. Benjamin Hews, 39 years of age, formerly of Newark, New
Jersey. He leaves a wife and four children".
Among those buried in
this first graveyard was Esther Graham, wife of the co-founder of Paris, who
died in 1832, aged 48 years.
The only burials in this graveyard
after the turn of the century were of those who had spouses or children buried
there years before and the space was being held for the
In the meantime, Henry S. Dixon, who owned
the farmland surrounding the graveyard, began wondering where the numerous
Dixons would be buried, so he donated additional land extending south from the
town graveyard, for members of the Dixon family.
were buried in the Dixon graveyard who do not bear the surname of Dixon.
Their burial in the Dixon graveyard wa by courtesy of Henry S., it was more by
invitation than by
THE NEW SECTION
What was called the "New Section" of the
graveyard at the north end of Main Street was initiated as a burying ground by
Dr. B.F. Russell, in 1864.
George W. Bantz had purchased the two
former meeting house lots, #35 amd #36, in 1852 (Q-364), and he no doubt is the
person who conceived the idea that they would be ideal for the much needed and
accessable town cemetery.
Dr. Russell and his son, Solon, in 1864,
purchased a 40-foot-wide strip extending 30 feet south from the northern
boundary of lot #36, with the specification "for the purpose of a private
burying ground for all time to come" (4-145). Perhaps it was the death of
Dr. Russell's four-year-old grandson that year that reminded them of the
inevitability of death; or it could have been the death of Dr. Russell's son,
David C., in the Civil War conflict in 1862. The son must have been buried
immediately in Tennessee, and brought to Paris and buried in the family plot in
Dr. Russell's wife Adelline, died, died in 1877, and is
buried in this plot, but neither Dr. Russell, nor Solon, has a stone still
standing. Dr. Russell died a few years after him: "While Dr. Russell was
driving to Deputy last week in a spring wagon, he was thrownout at the
Campground and was so seriously hurt that there is doubt of his
recovery". However, he did not succumb at that time and lived two or three
The newspaper of August 4, 1881, reported Solon's
death: "The sad news flashed over the wires last Saturday that Solon Russell of
Charlestown and the son of Dr. B. F. Russelll of Paris, had been run
over by the cars and instantly killed. Mr. Russell's remains were brought
to Paris for interment on Friday".
In 1868, George W. Harlan and
his son-in-law, William H. Dixon, bought a plot extending the Russell 40 wide
strip south by 25 feet (7-333) with the stipulation "in consideration of a
promise to be buried on the following lands".
This 40 foot wide
strip was extended in 1877 by 25 feet, by Phoebe Zenor (17-378) (Phoebe probably purchased this plot as a place to bury her
husband David Zenor/Zener who died January 5, 1877 and whose stone is still
standing in the cemetery, there is a discrepancy as to his actual death date
since the headstone reads January 5th and his will was signed January
8th??)and the same year by Alonzo Gaddy, " of Louisville", by 20 feet
(18-558). (Alonzo Gaddy was the son of Benjamin
S. Gaddy and Sarah "Sally" Cobb. Sarah (Cobb) Gaddy his mother died Dec. 4
of 1877 and is buried in this plot as is a Martha Gaddy who was born in 1811 and
died Sept. 1, 1877)
In 1882, Bill (W.A. Jones) of
Bedford bought a 14 X 27 plot along the west side of the Harlan and Dixon
plot. When Bill had moved from Paris in 1880, his wife, the former Nan Sampson,
had become very obese and was addicted to morphine due to medical
perscription. When he sold property in Paris in 1881 (21-521), she was
deceased or unable to sign her name, and in November, 1885 (27-55), his wife was
named Lucinda. Nan may have died at the time he bought the graveyard plot, or he
may have been thinking, too, of his aging and ailing parents, Philip and Harriet
Atwood Jones, although they did not actually use the space until 1899 and 1903,
By 1882, William H. Dixon of Cincinnati,
evidently decided to go into the graveyard business and bought the remaining
unused space in lots #35 and #36, as well as all of lots #37, and #38 (23-482).
The plots which he sold are not recorded in the deed books but the names on
the stones reveal who bought the plots. (William H. Dixon had a connection to this cemetery prior to that
as his wife Eliza M. Harlan Dixon is buried in the Harlan
after William H. Dixons death, the assignee of his estate, Lincoln Dixon, sold
all remaining space to James E. Wykoff (30-216, 217) and that explains all the
Wykoff stones across the west end of the graveyard.
It is easy to
miss the Morey and Farthing stones; there are about seven of them, in a grove of
saplings north of the Russell plot. (All the trees in the
graveyard have been removed and these stones are now easy to
Government issued stones for Civil War Soldiers buried
in the original Paris graveyard are:
Eastman Dixon's Co., 9th Indiana
J. L. Hunt Co. C, 175th
David H. Sampson Co.
K, 120 Ind. Inf.
J. W. Tate Co.
C. 52nd Ind. Inf.
R. M. Walker
Co. R. Ind. Inf.
In the Dixon Section of the Paris
Robert S. Dixon
Sgt., Co. K, 120 Ind. Vol.
Buried on the Russell plot in the
New Section of the graveyard, is
Russell, Hospital Steward, 17th Regular Kentucky
at Pitsburgh Landing,
Aged - 20 years, 7 months
As MDL remembered tea could
be procured only from the tea salesman who came to town once a year. She thought
it was a Mr. Murphy from Michigan
This would indicate that
tea was an imported article as recently as the 1870's. Imported from
an English tea company. Tetley's by way of Canada. Detroit would be the logical
location for the importer serving the mid western states, so near the Canadian
border and with good rail lines eas and west out of which his salesman or
representatives could fan out over his territory.
This situation was soon changed with the formation of the United States' own tea
companies. the huge Atlantic & Pacific Tea Company, which became the A &
P grocery chain, and the smaller companies such as the Jewel Tea
With adequate storage facilities our country's
tea companies could buy tea in quantity at its source, and then
package it in convenient sizes to be sold at retail
Even without the importation duty, tea was still a
luxury which every pioneer could not afford. Before colas and soft drinks
were thought of, and before the tase for coffee was cultivated, everybody liked
tea, considering it refreshing. (My
mother Frances Stewart Smith remembers her father in the 1930's going out and
digging sasafrass root to make tea when she lived in Paris during the
depression, tea was a luxury as was coffee so they went back to getting their
beverage from a local source. Vernon has a Sasafrass Festival
every Spring and I still have a little bundle of Sasafrass root I purchased
there when I first moved back to Indiana.)
Mrs. Samuel Hall of the Coffee
Creek Baptist Church environs, enjoyed her cup of tea. When she was left a widow
she found her Sunday afternoons, a time she and her husband had enjoyed with
friends, very lonely. She suspected that other aging widows were having the same
experience, so she formed the habit of calling on other widows on Sunday
afternoons. As one such widow confided to MDL, when Mrs. Hall suspected that her
hostess for that afternoon didn't have tea in the house, Mrs. Hall
would take along tea for two. With the hostess providing briskly boiling
water, voila! The two could chat over a cup of freshly brewed
TO THE DOOR SERVICE
"Old Man Terry" who lived up
on Neil's Creek called rather frequently to "fix" and oil clocks. He always
brought his wife and small daughter along because his wife had suicidal
A. Mr. Ranklin drove a notion wagon. That
was the day of straight pins. MDL thought he serviced the retail stores as well
as individuals. His wagon was in the form of a big black box with doors at
the back. He sat on top of the box, toward the front.
ragman "Old Michael" from Madison, came often to make his pick
After supper on
summer evenings, the men would gather in front of the tavern to discuss current
topics; while the youth would gather around the town pump at the northwest
corner of Lot #10.
late summer, Henry Zenor, who lived on a farm just east of town, would come in
with his pockets bulging with apples. Also, the farm boys usually had a horse
they were proud of: ocassionally, they might ride the horse to be admired
by their peers. Often the assembled group was treated to a taste of real
showmanship when Alley Willey, who spent his summers with his grandfather
Williamson Dixon, and Alley's uncle True Dixon, not much older, would sweep
past, standing on their horses backs. This took the utmost cooperation between
horse and rider; the slightest sudden deviation in the horse's rhythm would
result in the standing rider losing his equilibrium!
Occasionally, a traveling show would come to town. MDL remembers one around
Christmastime the winter her mother died. The act which fascinated the little
girl was a tall, thin man unfolding himself from a box.
least once, an organ grinder and his uniformed monkey visited the town. MDL
remembered the organ grinder setting his organ on a stone at the front gate and
grinding out his tune. His and his monkey's livelihood depended on the coins
dropped in the monkey's bag at the close of the tune. A house the size of the
one where MDL lived could be expected to yeild several giggling, curious
children, each eager to drop his coin in the monkey's pouch. You can imagine the
organ-grinder's chagrin when all it produced was one timid little girl, to
scared to go near the monkey.
The 1880's produced the
singing school which held its meetings at night through the winter months.
During these months the different age groups learned songs which they sang at
the concert at the close of the school - which also called for a new
Toward the end of the 1880's. Christmas programs
at the church became very popular; at some they raised money for a worthy cause,
such as a new stove for the church. Oyster suppers were the favorite.
These few biographical sketches are presented with
the hope they will clarify the overall picture of Paris in its early
John Cobb, with Dennis Willey, bought his first Paris property in 1829 (B-63) when he
was but 21 years old. The 1850 census lists him as a "trader". He gives the impression
of a young man hustling around seeking a business relationship of immediate benefit. He
married Maria Malcom, born in Maryland in 1807.
An Eliza J. Dixon a widow, born in 1828 and daughter of John and
Maria Malcom Cobb, died in 1887 (Death Record #549, page 29, first book); she was
buried in Paris. She must have been their oldest child. In the early 1830's, John
was "selling goods" with Charles K. Laird and Samuel Weir. In the mid 1830's, he
was in partnership with Ephraim Sampson in connection with the carding machine. In
1836, he enlarged a partnership with Dennis Willey, possibly in pork-packing. He was
also a skilled carpenter as proven by his building of his own brick residence around
1850, so he may have been one of the carpenters working on the brick residence of Dennis
Willey in 1839/40. His parents may have been Thomas (1781-1853) and Priscilla (1782-1868)
Cobb who bought their first property in 1837 (D-479). In 1847/48 (M-313) they went to
Howard County to live, but both are buried in the First Coffee Creek Baptist
graveyard. The culmination of John Cobb's efforts in Paris was the building of his own
brick residence on town lots #84, #19, #20 and #21 on South Main Street which he sold
to William Deputy in 1853 (R-527). While the structure is not impressive because of
bulk or size, it possessed an unexpected nicey of detail inside. It was not a no frills
house. MDL said "they" said he "went broke" building it. When he sold the house in 1853,
he went to Madison to live and perhaps to recoup his finances in the brisker business
climate Madison had to offer. He was in his mid-forties, not an old man, with three teenage
children at home: Thomas born in 1834, Samuel F., born in 1841, and William, 1842.
William Deputy was born in 1803 in Parkersburg, (what is now) West Virginia.
After their wedding in Deleware, his parents Solomon and Sarah (Sally) Hudson Deputy, gaily
took off in a two-wheel cart to cross the Alleghenny Mountains, the first leg of their
journey westward, They stopped for about five years in Parkersburg to catch their breath
and prepare for the continuation of the journey westward by flatboat down the Ohio River.
This is where and when William was born. At the same time, relatives of Solomon had entered
land at Deputy, Jefferson County, Indiana. Solomon's land grant covered land on Coffee
Creek, west of the present day Christian Church, in what was to be Jennings County.
Solomon and Sarah Deputy came on a flat boat with three other families.
When they raised their log cabin in late 1810, their only neighbors were wild animals
(wild cats and bears) and Indians. It would be six more years before Indiana achieved
statehood and seven years before Jennings County was organized. It is true they had
relatives just a few miles away, but in between was Graham Chreek and uncharted forest.
That would not be much comfort when they were locking their cabin door at night. Their first
year in Indiana, 1811, was indeed a lonely year. Before the Battle of Tippecanoe
in 1812, when the Indians were on their warpath, they did take refuge in the block house
at Deputy, but they had to leave some of their stock and their chickens behind. Whatever
their circumstances, the parents took time to teach their children to read and write. When
a young man William had married Cassandra Gassaway of Charlestown in Clarks Grant, sister of
the first wife of Dennis Willey. William worked hard on his farm and gave farms to his
children as they married. His youngest son Addison Clark Deputy, however, chose to become
a dentist in Indianapolis, perhaps inflluenced by his relative, Merrit Wells, who was among
the first five or six dentists in that city.
It is understandable that William was ready to retire from hard work
when he was about 50 years old. He first bought the Dr. Goodhue house on March 12, 1852,
on Lot #150 in Paris (P-441). In 1853 the John Cobb residence became available so he
sold the Dr. Goodhue property and bought the Cobb property (R-527) where he lived until
1881 when he sold it to Dr. Lefebre. This was comprised of six lots on South Main Street;
he had bought adjacent land to the west of the town lot to make four acres. Now a four acre
farm, orchard, gardens, barns, etc., right in town. There was a small frame house
north of his brick residence where he sold notions, made brooms, and made or repaired
children's shoes, when not attending to his farm. Because of his unique childhood experience,
he was the favorite speaker at the Old Settlers' Meetings in the 1870's. His speeches did
not deal with how many Indians he killed each day, but rather how they coped with the small
unexpected daily challenges. He wrote these speeches with a quill pen in little hand-made
notebooks which are being preserved by the Indiana Historical Society in Indianapolis.
When he died he was buried in the family graveyard on the farm on
Coffee Creek where his father had been buried in a hollowed out log in 1816.
The surname Dixon predominated in Paris. It started with Henry Dixon
(1776 - 1839) who entered land in Graham Township, Jefferson County, in 1818 the year
Paris was laid out. His wife was the former Alcy Wilson (1779 - 1865). Although he was
a farmer, his sons seemed to prefer business. His only daughter, Jane, was born
in Virginia in 1801 and was married to Daniel Milton Hill, son of Elder Thomas
Hill, Sr., the father of the Coffee Creek Baptist Church, on April 22, 1824, by the Elder
John Vawter. Henry's two youngest sons were Ellison, born in Kentucky in 1809 and Williamson
born in 1815. On February 13, 1834, Ellison married Margaret Dinwiddie, sister of the first
Mrs. Charles K. Laird and Mrs. James S. Smyth, both of whom died in mid-life.
(There is an error here, the wife of Charles
K. Laird-Jane J. Dinwiddie, who most of us researching the Lard/Laird family had assumed
died not only did not die but remarried in 1855 to William Wright and after his death
married in 1866 to Ephraim Sampson, she actually died in Illinois after 1880.)
Margaret Dixon lived a long life
span. She died in 1878 and Ellison in 1881. They lived until their deaths in the brick house
on Lot #8 which they had bought in 1846 when the creditors of Samuel S. Graham were
disposing of his property. Although Ellison was sporadically engaged in various business
ventures, often with Williamson, he mainly concentrated his energies onpork packing on
Lot #9, next door to his home lot. Williamson married Nancy Osborn on January 14, 1836,
and was a very successful tailor to the extent of needing an assistant. By 1859, he was
financially able to buy the farm and fine brick residence of Dennis Willey. This
gracious home was the setting for a happy family life which culminated in a gala
Wedding Anniversary celebration in January 1886. But misfortune soon struck. According
to the newspaper of March 24, 1886, "W.W. Dixon, father of Harman Dixon, died at his home
in Paris on last Sunday. A few days ago, Mr. Dixon had one of his fingers badly smashed and
the finger had to be amputated, and on Sunday Mr. Dixon died from the effects of lockjaw."
The obituary mentions that he united with the Coffee Creek Baptist Church when he was 26
years old and for 45 years had proven himself to be a "Christian, a good neighbor, a kind
husband, and a forgiving father. His final sickness was of short duration." Williamson and
Nancy's daughter, Elizabeth, had married Addison Clark Willey, and their son, Alley, spent
his summers with his grandparents to the joy of all.
Harman Dixon, son of Williamson Dixon, was born in 1844. He could not wait
to get into the Civil War and enlisted when he was but 17 years old. When General Lee finally
surrended his sword in April 1865, Harman was only 21 years old. After the war, he chose to
stay in Vernon where Samuel W. Dixon was sheriff. In 1866 he was in the mercantile business
Paris and busy harvesting ice; 1886 was a cold winter. They had a method of cutting slabs of
ice from the river, packing it in sawdust and storing in a specially constructed building.
What a luxury to have ice in summer! Harman bought the John Cobb house ater 1890. His wife
Sara Lou, died in 1906 and was buried in the Vernon Cemetery. Later, Harman married Eva Conway
of Uniontown, 1872 - 1964. She was buried in the Coffee Creek Baptist graveyard. Harman died
in 1933 and was buried at Vernon. Eva continued to live contentedly in the brick house for
more than 30 years after his death.
Henry S. Dixon was the son of Patrick W. Dixon and grandson of the Henry
Dixon who entered land in Jefferson County. Henry S. was born in 1819. As an astute business
man he had no equal and had his finger in just about everything going on in the community.
Over the years he served in many elective and appointive capacities, among them was county
commissioner and township trustee. From about 1856 until his death in 1891 he lived in the
Dr. Goodhue house on Lot #150 in Paris. In 1966 his great grand daughter sold the
house. It was immediately torn down and replaced with a ranch type house.
Samuel W. Dixon was born in 1826 and died in 1869. He served more than
one term as county sheriff, vigorously executing the duties of the office. His wife Belinda
Foster Dixon, was a strong character in her own right and possibly firmed his resolve. (Belinda Foster was the daughter of Hiram Foster and Mary "Polly"
Trumbo early settlers near Deputy, Indiana.)
They were the parents of Lincoln Dixon who resided in North Vernon and was a well known
(in Jennings County) lawyer and politician.
Both Ephrain and George W. Harlan were born in Kentucky, Ephraim in 1810 and
George W. in 1812, both were chairmakers both were in Lexington, Scott County, in the 1820's,
and both came to Paris around 1830. (According to the "History of the Harlan Family" they were
sons of James Harlan born 9/13/1769 in Washington County, Maryland and Mary Ann Wood born
6/25/1772 in Washington County, Maryland.) Ephraim bought Lot #25 in Paris in 1832
(G-33) and on April 2, 1825 married Lucinda Denslow. In 1840 Ephraim and Lucinda bought a four
acre tract north of Paris on the west side of the Vernon Road through which ran the lane to the
public graveyard. The three tombstones in their private iron fence-enclosed graveyard tell their
story: Braxton, born May 13, 1837, died 1839 Leander, born August 29, 1842, died 1843; and Lucinda
died 1844, 28 years old. You can understand why Ephraim wanted to leave his home. By 1846 Ephraim
had married Serelda (Zerelda) Denslow, who was living in the East Lovett Township, which was
only a few miles from Paris. Ephraim died September 30, 1882, just one month after George W. Harlan's
death. He was buried in the Graham Presbyterian graveyard, (East Lovett(and his stone notes that he
was the husband of "L. and Z. Harlan". A line of the verse on his stone may refer to the happy
years he had spent with Lucinda in Paris; "the soul has gone to join the loved of old." George W.
continued living in Paris, an outstanding citizen, serving his townsmen by his "Chairmaking"
which included simple household furniture. He lived for almost 20 years on Lot #27 which he had
bought in 1855 (T-503). His wife died in 1872 and he then lived elsewhere but he did not sell the
Lot #27 porperty until 1879 (19-401).
(The Harlan men
seemed to be fond of the Denslow women in the "History of the Harlan Family" George W. [Wood]
Harlan married Mary Denslow daughter of Chapman Denslow,Judge of the Jennings County Probate
Just before his death he deeded a lot in North Vernon to Sardie P. Harlan,
of East St. Louis, Illinois, unmarried, "for natural love and affection."
(Sardis P. Harlan is listed in the "History of the Harlan Family" as his youngest
son.) George W. died August 29, 1882, a month before Ephraim, and is buried in the New
Section of the Paris graveyard.
Cutbird R. Hudson
The Hudsons around Paris were descendants of Ananias and Magdalene Willey
Hudson who settled in Indiana around 1816. Cutbird R. did not seem to fit in this family, yet
he is doubtless related. A glance through the index to Revolutionary War Patriots published by
the Daughters of The American Revolution, disclosed a Cutbird Hudson born in 1733, a captain from
North Carolina. The exact duplication of the misspelling of the name "Cuthburt" Impelled the
inferenence that the Cutbird R. of Paris had to be the grandson or great-nephew of the Cutbird
of North Carolina. Cutbird R. was one of those who could read and write and that brought him into
the business activities of the town and county. It also played a part in getting him a position
of trust: collecting revenue for the county. However, he did not fulfill this responsibility with
honor. On November 19, 1835 (D-39) Ezra Paybody of Vernon, a county official issued a "within
mortgage" on Cutbird's property with the stipulation that "the said Cutbird R. Hudson shall,
will and duly pay into the treasury of Jennings County the full amount of County revenue for the
year 1834." Without making restitution, Cutbird R. just abandoned his Paris residence and moved
to a higher rung on the ladder of self-esteem by going up to the Zenas area. Columbia Township.
There on March 10, 1836, he was married to Martha Ann Elliott by John B New of Vernon. In those
early days, the importance of the person officiating at a marriage was a clue to the social
standing of the parties getting married. The Elliotts were the kings and queens of the Zenas area.
Then, too, Cutbird probably rubbed elbows almost daily in passing with John B. New when New was
vigorously organizing the Coffee Creek Christian Church prior to 1834 and Cutbird was one of the
few literate citizens in the community. Wondering whatever happened to Cutbird R., the index of
the 1850 Census was consulted. It was revealed a C.R. Hudson in Switzerland County (Vevay) in that
James E. Lewis
James E. Lewis was an educator; he often assisted Professor Blinn in his
secondary school (high school) classes. He and his wife, Sarah D. (MDL said they called her Damsel)
bought the brick house on Lot #27 in 1879 and were still living there in 1890. Sarah D. may have
been a sister of the Reverand William Henry Lawrence, who was born in Clark County. James E. Lewis
was teaching in Clark County in 1887/88. (I show
Sarah Damsel Lawrence as the daughter of John J. Lawrence and Ruth Merrell making it correct that
she was the sister of Rev. William Henry Lawrence. William Henry Lawrence married Lavinia Lewis
daughter of Daniel Lewis and Harriet Rice Keith). William Henry and Lavinia were the parents of George
Franklin Lawrence who married my great grand aunt Sarah Catherine Ayers daughter of Joseph & Harriet
Ayers. George Franklin Lawrence was the Mayor of North Vernon in 1900. James E. was born in 1843
Sarah D. was born in 1846 and died in Redlands, California, in 1938, aged 93 years. A James E. Lewis
served in the Civil War and was shot near Stone River, Tennessee. in 1861. James E. and Sarah D. were
the parents of two children, Grant born in 1869, and Rosella, born in 1872. Grant was attending
at Moore's Hill in 1885 and at Athens Tennessee in 1889. He taught in Seymour, Jackson County, or was
principal of the high school there, in the early 1900's. He lived on the southeast corner of the
intersection of Sixth and Walnut Streets, the house is still standing but the exterior appearance
was changed by a later occupant. (from Jonathan Lopnow James E. Lewis was the son of Ezekial Lewis, who was born in Connecticut in 1799/1800.)
Dennis Willey was born in 1797; he came to Paris from Charlestown, Indiana,
in the late 1820's and he bought his first property in Paris, with John Cobb, in 1829 (D-35).
On July 13, 1826, he married Margaret Gassaway in Charlestown. She was born in 1804 and was
the sister of Mrs. William Deputy who lived on Coffee Creek, west of the Coffee Creek Christian
Church Willey was an ordained Methodist Epispocal minister (he always wrote "MEM" after his name
on the marriage documents although he seems not to have had a pastorate. However, he was a
with young couples getting married as officiating person in charge of the ceremony. He and John
Cobb were in partnership for many years and bought several pieces of property together. By
1839 he was financially able to build the kind of residence he wanted. The main part of the house
contains four large rooms, two upstairs and two downstairs, separated by a room-size hall with
its stately staircase. Back of these rooms were four rooms, two upstairs and two downstairs with
a narrow, steep, enclosed stairway. This makes a total of eight rooms, exclusive of halls.
Margaret Gasaway Willey died January 2, 1841, after having had six children.
Dennis then married Lydia P. Robinson, had five more children and sold his farm and beautiful
house to Williamson Dixon in 1859. He would have been only 62 years old when he left Paris.
The 1830s were a period of exhileration and railroad building in Indiana - until
the Panic of 1837, which had to do with the financial structure of the state. Of course, it eventually
trickled down, but probably the average working man didn't understand it and wasn't aware of
it, so it couldn't dampen his enthusiasm for the railroad and cloud his expectations. The
citizens of Paris were aware of all this. The word had a way of getting around. Madison had a
newspaper which carried news items from as far north as Geneva Township (Scipio) and Vernon.
Being such a short line, it would built in less time than, for instance, a transcontinental line.
The local residents boasted that it was the third railroad completed in the United States. They
were so railroad crazy in their expectations, every little town was looking forward to the
fulfillment of the rumor that the O M would build a branch line from North Vernon to Louisville. The
residents of Paris, which had shown such bright prospects for growth, had every reason to expect that
their town would be on this branch line. Finally in October 1853, the railroad company tentatively
started buying Paris Property for possible future use as rights-of-way through the town. Indentures
stating the terms of the transfer of property were drawn up, and certificates issued to the grantor
in the amount of value of the property. Each indenture carried this provision which added greatly
to the county recorder's work in entering these indentures by long-hand into the deed books!
Here are the provisions; "The said grantor(s) retain the possession and reserve
the right to redeem the aforesaid premises at any time within five years by payment of the said
cost money with interest on the expenses of the company thereon and shall in the meantime pay the
taxes and shall keep the premises in as good rapair as they are at this time, natural wear and tear
excepted; and shall cause the buildings, if over the value of $250, to be insured and kept so to an
amount equal to 2/3 of their value for the benefit of the company, and the grantor(s) shall be
accountable for the rent for any part of said premises which are farming lands. And if the said
part of said premises, grantor(s) fail to cause the buildings to be insured as above required, for
redemption and possession... And should the grantor(s) not redeem the premises at the expiration of
five years, they shall without notice immediately yield to the grantee the quiet and peaceable
possession of the above premises and upon payment of the redemption money the grantee shall
reconvey the premises to the grantors, their heirs, assignees, legal representatives..."
No one had to lose his home because of the tentative sale of his premises to the
Indentures were issued to fifteen grantors, some of whom owned more than one piece of property.
It did not take five years for the railroad company to decide it was not practicable
to lay the track through Paris; It may have been due to the high elevation of the town, and the company
started deeding the property back to the original owners in 1854. All of this was duly recorded in the
This ended a dream. Of course, the citizens of Paris were deeply
disappointed - in some cases, bitter. They felt the railroad had not dealt honestly with them. But they
found that life goes on. The momentum of growth which had been building in the town through the 1830s and
1840s took about that long to run down. They could now relax and enjoy the fruits of their predecessors'
labors. But not for long.
There was a sense of excitement and suspense in the air. Important issues were being
discussed heatedly at the national and local levels. Perhaps no one in Paris had had his life touched by
slavery, but that does not mean they could no have strong convictions on what was right or wrong. The two
brilliant debaters, Lincoln and Douglas, contributed to the interest and zeal. The partisan emotions that
had been kindled by the debates culmninated in the presidential campaign of 1860. Appearing in an April
1860 issue of the Vernon Banner was a letter from a Paris "patriot" pointing out what action had been taken
in Montgomery Township:
"While preparations are being made for the struggle of 1860, the people of Montgomery are
not idle, but met this evening to organize a free discussion society. We were pleased to see so many in
attendance considering the short notice of the meeting, and a goodly number of Democrats. You may be sure
the Montgomery will give a larger majority for the Chicago nominee than was ever polled for any candidate
before." The Chicago nominee, of course, was Abraham Lincoln.
From then on there were numberless pow-wows,gatherings, picnics, parades, speeches, bonfies,
etc. It was a most exciting time(a time to forget the railroad), yet there was that ominous shadow on
the horizen that no one could precisely put his finger on.
Then the shadow erupted into war. Paris, being truly patriotic, gave her share of loved
ones and heroes, and experienced the same anxiety, indignation and heartache as elsewhere.
In 1863, General John Hunt Morgan carried out his famous raid in southern Indiana,
and it was felt he wreaked special vengeance on Paris and vicinity, maybe because the resisted so determinedly.
In 1867, the State had set up the Morgan Raid Commission which held court in various
county seats to hear and pass on claims for damage suffered by indviduals.
In October, 1867, the Vernon Banner carried the following notice:
"For the accomodation of the
citizens of Madison and Montgomery Townships, the Commissioners advertised the sitting of the Commission
three days, Oct. 10, 11, 12, at Paris.
This was followed by an article in the newspaper of October 17,
"A Trip with the Morgan Raid Commissioners"
"On Thursday morning last, bright and early, a merry party ensconced themselves in one of Reilley & Co.'s
commodius hacks and started overland for Paris, the company consisted of Col. McCree, Commissioner;
William F. Browning, Clerk of the Commission; Major Bonedrake, attorney for the State; W.C. Prather, and
your correspondent. Another vehicle contained Col. S. Vawter and J.W. Summerfield, clerk of the Circuit Court.
"After leaving Vernon, crossing the Muscatatuck at the foot of Jackson Street, we struck was is called the
Coffee Creek road, named from a stream that crosses and recorsses it. Leaving Vernon three miles behind, we passed
the town of Centerville, It consists of twelve frame houses, a saw-mill, etc.
"Leaving Certerville, we
travelled on smooth, level road...Here we took a cross road which leads into the old Paris road at the residence of
Col. Malick. The way was uphill and down now until Paris was reached. Our hack drove up to the Jones House where
everything was in readiness to receive us, Col. Vawter having been there a week in advance." Dinner being
called, we sat down to a table groaning with its load of good things. After eating heartily and joking the
Commissioners for their fondness for chicken, we repaired to the Good Templar's Hall over the Post Office were our
jolly old friend D.M. Hill, had all in readiness for the Commissioners. Court convened and thirty claims were
passed on that afternoon. "The citizens were all pleased with the Interest the Commissioners manifested in them
by holding the court at Paris, thereby avoiding the expense of coming to Vernon; and also with Mr. Summerfield for
acting as attorney for them without charge. Court convened at nine o'clock Friday morning and passed sixty claims
through the day. In the evening, Mr. Pell, minister, delivered a lecture at the church on the "G.A.R." which was
"From the Vernon Banner of November 7, 1867:
"We are informed that the meeting
of the Morgan Raid Commission in Ripley County, one of the Commissioners became very much vexed at the looseness
of the citizens in preserving order and finally informed them that they should visit Jennings County, and especially
Paris, and learn to behave like humans."
The report of that visit
appeared in the Vernon Banner of March 17, 1870:
"We took a trip to Paris
via the Branch railroad last week. When the brakeman called out "Paris!" we were surprised to see our
car so nearly emptied of passengers, as about eighteen persons got off. The citizens have not yet succeeded in
having a switch located at that place, but expect one before long. The railroad company receives freight and
passengers, and the Adams Express Co. has an office there with Silas Hudson as agent.
"Henry S. Dixon has built a storeroom at the railroad which is to be occupied by our worthy commissioners.
L.& W. Hudson and our W. R. Davis have formed a partnership to deal in dry goods, etc. The firm of Gore & Lard
has been dissolved and B. F. Lard (Benjamin Franklin Lard/Laird son of Samuel Lard Mary "Polly" Williams Hughes)
has located at Commiskey.
"Mr Samuel Gore (Samuel Gore married Sarah Agnes Landon daughter of Francis
Marion Landon & Malinda Zenor)and Silas Stribling (Silas Stribling was the son of Thomas Tibbetts Stribling &
Sarah Vawter) have the timbers and machinery on the ground near the Paris station for a flouring mill and will
soon be ready to grind all the wheat in that part of the county.
"After taking a bird's-eye-view of the
surroundings at the station, we proceeded to Paris proper.
"The streets of Paris compare very favorably with most small towns at this season of the year, being very
"We found William A. Jones (who, by the way, is our authorized agent to receive subscriptions for
the Banner) with a large stock of goods, well adapted to the wants of the people. He is very accommodating and
clever, and consequently controls his share of the trade.
"The store of T. M. Dixon is filled with good clean stock of goods and customers will find anything they want
including a large assortment of Queensware.
"Our old Democratic friend, James A. Hill, is still on the corner at the town pump, and as good-natured as
ever; he certainly does a thriving business as he is always in a convivial mood.
"The drug store of Drs. Hudson and Lefebre is filled to overflowing; they keep a large stock of medicine
and administer in doses to suit any of the ills that flesh is heir to.
"To keep off the blues, visit the shop of Clark and Bantz where you will find them making collars by the dozen
for the Indianapolis market. These boys have the happy faculty of making people enjoy themselves, whether they want
to or not. They are both unfortunate in one particular - for being old bachelors, and have disregarded for these
many years the captivating manners and good looks of the fair sex that daily surrounds them. Boys, procrastination
is the theif of time.
"G.W. Harlan and Joseph Ayers have formed a partnership in the furniture business and have a complete stock of
everything in their line. They have coffins. If anyone wants to committ suicide..."
"Paris has her share of blacksmith shops, shoe shops, and other business houses. The citizens are all pleasant,
agreeable gentlemen, well-posted in politics and not to be outdone in hospitality and generosity. Paris has always
been a good trading point and business has revivied greatly since the building of the railroad."
By 1870, the Branch Line to Louisville had been built a mile or so northwest
of Paris. (The site of Paris Crossing) The newspaper of January 6, 1870, says:
"Paris how has railroad connection with the balance of the county. Heretofore she was hedged in, as we say, by hill
and mud, but is now delivered from every kind of inconvience..."
More about the railroad from the newspaper of August 25, 1870:
"The officers of the O & M road expressed surprise,we are informed, at so large a number of
getting on the train at Paris the day of the mass meeting at the Fairgrounds. Mr. A. V. Hudson informed us
that there were 97 persons who got on the train at their station. We would not be surprised if Paris would be made
a stopping point and a switch put there before long. Paris certainly deserves a side track."
Notwithstanding all the predictions, Paris never got the switch, although every effort was
bent in that direction. Perhaps it is just as well because before too long the railroad had been replaced
by motorized transportation: busses, trucks and individuals' automobiles, and the much sought for rails which had
been so laboriously laid for the Branch Line from North Vernon to Louisville, had been taken up. They were no longer
By 1890, Paris had long since ceased to function as a town. For one reason and
another, the population had slowly drifted elsewhere. But by the mid-twentieth century some very old houses were still
standing and lived in.
1) On Lots #1 & #2, the asbestos cottage
covers the skeleton of the original sturcture that stood on the same foundation, same spot for many years. The
type and placement of the windows of the present house are completely modern. The original house that stood here was
symetrical, with two floor-to-ceiling windows on each side of the front door; the front door opened onto a delicate
2) On Lots #5 & #6 stands the original structure of the tavern which
Thomas Ammons may have built before 1830. Over the years the building was badly treated but the present owner must
have decided it should be preserved because the building has been encased, windows and doors, with upright boards.
3) South of the tavern, on Lot #8, is the brick two-story home that is still lived in.
Its appearance has changed little. This house may have been built by Samuel S. Graham in the early 1830's.
4) Across the street on Lot # 28 is the one-story brick house which was built by James S. Smyth and was
standing there in 1861. Deed Book entry of December 1861 (Y-361) refers to it: "...beginning at the southwest
corner of the one-story brick house..."
5) On the southwest corner of the main
intersection, Lot #27, stands the two-story brick house Dr. Goodhue may have built between 1832 and 1836.
6) South of this house on the west side of Main Street, is the two story brick
house which John Cobb built around 1850 and sold to William Deputy in 1853.
the south end of Main Street, facing northwest, stands the one-story frame house with four windows across the front
which Sampson and Cobb may have built in the early 1830's.
8) On lot #52 on Second Street
stands the one-story brick cottage which the Methodists purchased in 1844 for a parsonage. In the 1930's or 40's,
Lee Ayers completely remodeled and modernized it and it has been lived in ever since.
The two-story plaster house which Dr. Russell built in 1852 still stands at the north end of Second Street. It was remodeled
complete with striped plastic awnings, in the 1960's.
10) The Dennis Willey two-story brick house
built 1839/40 just east of town was the home and place of an antique dealer in the 1980s.
Dr. Goodhue's two-story frame house which stood on Lot #150 and which was built around 1850, was sold by his
great-grandaughter in 1966. The house was torn down and replaced by a ranch-type house.
So, Paris as a town, has dissappeared but it has several buildings to evoke cherished memories.
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