"Old" Paris, Montgomery Township
Jennings Co. Indiana
"A place for idle eyes and ears;
A cobwebbed nook of dreams;
Left by the streams whose waves are years
The Stranded village seems" -
The following are transcriptions of a number of papers copied while visiting with Marie "Billie" McGannon in January of 2007. She has collected them over the years while keeping track of the history of Paris. Marti Blazick took pictures of the documents and was kind enough to send me a copy of the CD she made. It is from this I am doing the transcriptions.
The Jennings County Historical Society met in the M.E. Church in Paris last Saturday afternoon, Honerable Lincoln Dixon was present and acted as chairman. A local program had been arranged. Interesting papers on the Coffee Creek Baptist, Christian and Methodist Churches were read, also one on the town of "Old" Paris.
In the early days Paris was one of the leading towns in Southern Indiana, at one time in legislative councils looking for the state capitol site it received two votes.
Four of the mansions of the days of yore remain standing, around which the night wind sings the requiem of the town's departed glory. Mention was made of the stupendous work and short life of the plank road connecting Paris with Madison over which the packed pork and manufactured products of the thriving berg found an exit to the public.
In the early days the citizens from Paris were pointed out on the streets of Madison, and strange as it may seem today gentlemen from Madison went there (to Paris) to order their new suits of clothes and ladies also to obtain their wearing aparel.
Near the close of the program, Honerable Lincoln Dixon walked to where the venerable Harman Dixon was sitting, calling his name, saying, "We want a speech from you now." The aged gentleman had a paper in his pocket on which were written the names of 49 young men who went as Union Soldiers during the Civil War from the town of "Old" Paris, not counting ones from the County. (The ones from Paris Post Office addresses)
Mr. Harman Dixon, the fiftieth, alone remains of the great number who used to assemble there at the G.A.R. post.
These County Historical Societies are potent factors in keeping alive and preserving to the younger generation incidents of former days and are to be commended.
Elmer Wilson, Deputy, Indiana
from a printed column of an old paper
Courtesy of Helen Ashton Wilkerson
Copied September 1970
Early days at "Old" Paris
The first was Buel Eastman who came here from Kentucky, left here for Texas about 1850. Then came Dr. Goodhue, Dr. Benjamin Russell, Dr. J.M. Tobias, Dr. Berish (Gerish) and son James, Dr. Kyle, Dr. Boyd Hudson, Dr. James LeFeber, Dr. Russell lived here until his death in December 1891. He and his last wife dying within a few hours of each other and buried the same day. Since then there has been no doctor here. At one time there were three drug stores here owned by Dr. Goodhue, Dr. Kyle and Dr. Russell. Dr. James Gerrish (Gerish) was a regimental surgeon in the Civil War.
In early times there was a Cristian Church near the private cement schoolhouse. Also a Presbyterian Church near the private cemeteries but it quit having services and went to Graham Church and later the building was used for school purposes. The present Methodist Church was built in 1833 when the brick was burned for this building , brick was also burned for the home of David Zenor about a mile and a half east of Paris.
When Paris was at its best it was divided into two school districts upper and lower. Mary Fay, Martha Robertson, Lana Zener were some of the teachers. There was a school in each district, the present building was built in the late 1850's or early 1860's. It had two rooms and two teachers for a number of years, as the pupils came from as far west as McGannons and Grahams. This continued until 1875 or 76 when Paris Crossing took its share of the pupils. Just before the war Warren Malcomb and John Davis were the teachers and later some of them were: Freeman Bovard, Andy Jones, Riley Shepherd, James Lewis, Chas. Burdsall, Lana Zener, J.H. McGuire, Abba Deputy, Mary Dixon, Cynthia LeFeber, Ida E. McClanahan, Prof. Blime, Gail Deputy, Grace McGannon, Myra Carlock, Chester Ashton, Chas. Graham, Iva Wilkerson and Lawrence Calloway.
Jack Clemmons had a turning lathe run by horsepower. Two men made hats Evan Thomas and Philip Jones. Williamson Dixon and Samuel Davis were merchants and tailors. The first steam mill was just above the bridge on the land now owned by Milo Ashton did away with this mill about 1850. The slaughter house was run by John Cobb and Dennis Willey killed a great number of hogs and hauled them to Madison. Orlando Chapin was a wagonmaker, also made plows, that is the wood part and put them together.
George Harlan made reels spinning wheels and chairs. Thomas Rowland was a cabinet maker, made tables and coffins.
George Hunt made furniture, George Banta had a saddle and harness shop. James Statton had a cooper shop made different kinds of barrels. The first woolen mill was run by horse power. Just made rools of wool and the people wove their own goods.
The second mill was a steam power, and they wove blankets, jeans yarn and carded rools. It was first run by Ephriam Sampson later by Elijah Sampson, his nephew. It was situated near Neil's Creek and quite business in the 70's. A man by the name of Tannerhill had a tanyard east of town on the farm now owned by Wm. Bogie. Later was run by Henry Rowlings. Benjamin Sampson made shoes. Ephriam Shilliday had a Powder Mill just north of town burned box elder to make the charcoal to make the powder. Joseph Ayers made coffins. Miss Tilda Rowland, Mrs Harriet Ayers and Mrs. Beil Sampson were the milliners. Lewis Autle was the last wagonmaker in the eighties. Blacksmiths: John Tobias, Hendricks, Davis, Thomas Wykoff, Addison Ray, Daniel Ray and Wm. Dixon. Those who had different Tin shops: Burns, Varble, Martin, Hess, Milbern Tibbetts. Will mention this industry (but not that we are proud) of the fact that Mr. Tannerhill had a distillery southeast of town, sold whiskey for twenty five cents a gallon and it retailed at ten cents a quart. At one time there were two hacks that went daily from here to Madison. One was driven by Milo Higgins and brother Walter Higgins. The other by Andrew Hayes and Milton Dixon. The first tavern was run by Mr. Keith father of the late Mrs. Silas Stribbling, then later by Mr. Philip Jones in the house now owned by Fred Dixon, except the north half has been torn down. One of the most exciting times our town had was when George W. Sage attemped to murder the three Todd children. The baby died the two others were badly hurt but lived. This happened in March of 1866. He was convicted of murder and hung in May of 1866 by Sheriff Samuel Dixon at Vernon. Dixon was a resident of our town when elected Sheriff.
First store was owned by John Cobb and Dennis Willey. D.M. Hill, Ellison Dixon, Branock Phillips, Freeman Thomas, Wm. Jones, James A. Hill, Clark Deputy, Mr. Smith, Thos Dixon, Mr. Laird, Samuel Gore, Harman Dixon, J. Brewer, Robert Dixon, A.S. Crandall, Ed Davis, Leslie Marshall last one.
The brick house now owned by Harman Dixon was built by John Cobb. The brick house owned by Wm Bogie was built by Dennis Willey. The frame building owned by the late Geo B. Dixon, Dr. Goodhue had built and was all from seasoned material. The large cement house that Thomas Rowland owns Dr. Russell had built. Joseph Ayers, Whitfield Lett, Milo Higgins, David Sampson were some of the workman. Thomas Dixon was the stone mason, was built about 1852. The town pump has a never failing supply of water. When Morgan's men went through here on their raid, when giving the horses water the waste water ran away down the street but did not run the well dry.
A man by the name of Bussey who clerked in Mr. Hills store was a general in the war, afterwards was assistant secretary of the Interior.
Joshua Deputy was the first white child born in Jennings County, lived here a number of years. Was not born here but near Deputy.
Joshua Tibbetts lived here several years. He wrote the book on the Coffee Creek Baptist Association.
PARIS and the CIVIL WAR
There were one hundred and forty eight men that had Paris for their post-office that went to the war, forty eight that went from this town. Harman Dixon is the only one living that went from here.
There are now 23 houses that can be lived in, 22 of them have someone living in them, number of persons have now is 67.
since I can remember as many as 30 buildings have been torn down or moved away. 2 were burned.
I should not wonder if there had been 26 more before that time that were done away with in some manner.
Very few persons living here now that were born here are over 40 years of age. Mrs. Emma Riggs, Mrs. Lee Ayers, Thomas Rowland, Fred Dixon, Harman Dixon the oldest one is past 82 years.
When I typed this from the paper I typed it word for word-comma for comma which accounts for all the mistakes.
(Provided by courtesy of Marie McGannon, Paris, IN) (Transcribed in the same manner, August 2002).
Joseph Ayers who bought Thomas Rowlands residential and business property in 1870 had never lived in the town but had been around and was aquainted with the citizens. In 1857, he bought three well known plots just north of town on the Vernon road: the Cutbird Hudson plot, the John Clemmons plot and the four acres where Ephriam Harlan had lived. He sold these to Ansel Garrish in 1859.
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. 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 of 1884. She also had a son Benjamin S. who lived in Boone County.
The Ayers 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. (Death date for Joseph is April 16, 1920)
The Children of Joesph and Harriet were Leonidas, Maggie who was 8 years old at the time of the 1880 census and MDL said Jennie and Katie. (Katie was Sarah Catherine Ayers Lawrence, Jennie was Geneva Ayers Stewart. MDL is probably Magdalene Ayers Malcomb and another son Mathias is also missing from this list ).
Leonidas (Lee) Ayers, son of Joseph and Harriet, spent all of his very active life (1860 to 1940) in Paris. He was well known and well liked. He engaged in carpentry and his most noteworthy achievement was the restoration of the Methodist parsonage which he made into such an attractie and modern home, yet retaining its original charm.
The graveyard Samuel Graham bequeathed to the town of Paris was "an acre of land 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 the graveyard to be used for funerals.
Dr. Russell and his son, Solon in 1864 purchased a 40 foot wide strip, extending 30 ft south from the northern boundary of lot #36, with the specification "for the purpose of a private burying ground for all time to come." 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 1864.
Dr. Russell's wife died in 1877, and is buried on this plot, but neither Dr. Russell or Solon has a stone still standing. Dr. Russell died a few years after 1885; the newspaper of July 1, 1885, carried the account of an accident that befell him " While Dr. Russell was driving to Deputy last week in a spring wagon he was thrown out 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 more years.
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. Russell 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 ft. with the stipulation "in consideration of a promise to be buried on the following lands."
This 40 ft. strip was extended in 1877 by 25 by Pheobe Zener and in the same year by Alonzo Gaddy "of Louisville" by 20 ft.
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 she was deceased or unable to sign her name, and in November of 1885 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 Phillip and Harriet Atwood Jones, although they did not actually use the space until 1899 and 1903 respectively.
In 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. The plots which he sold are not recorded on the deed book but the names on the stones reveal who bought the plots.
In 1889 after William H. Dixon's death, the assignee of his estate Lincoln Dixon, sold all the remaining plots to James E. Wykoff and that explains all the Wykoff stones across the west end of the graveyard.
Some Names Listed in the Paris Index
Gasaway, Margaret (Willey)
Goodhue, Walter, Doctor
Garrish, Ansel, Doctor
Garrish, Charles F.
Garrish, James, Doctor
Garrish, Milintha Belle
Graham, James & wife Sally (Shilliday)
Graham, Samuel S.
Graham, William J.
Hagins, Eli H.
Hagins, Horace S.
Hammond, Rebecca Laird (Lard)
Harlan E. (Ephraim)
Harlan, George & Mary
Harrington, Joseph & Wife
Hendricks, William Ray
Hewes, Benjamin, Doctor
Higgins, Earl Mrs.
Hill, Alan Jr.
Hill, Alan Sr.
Hill, Daniel M.
Hill, James A.
Hill, James M.
Hill, James W.
Iness, Thomas E.
Hill, Thomas Sr.
Hudson, Boyd, Doctor
Hudson, Mary (Fowler)
Hudson, James B.
Hudson, James C.
Hudson, John C.
Hurlburt, Lewis, Reverend
Knowlton, Stephen Jr. & Sr.
Lard (Laird), Charles K.
Lard (Laird), Samuel
Lard (Laird), Rebecca
Lakenel, Maria, Barbe Francisco
Lefeber, James Doctor
Legrand, Marjorie McGannon
Lewis, James E.
Lowry, James Madison
Lowry, Samuel Edward
Lowry, Stephen Hamilton
Maupin, School House (Bethel)
Maupin, Reverend William
Miller, Reverend Holmes
McGinnis Jones, Reverend
Pond, Lena & Grif Pond
Brother and Sister story
Presbyterian Church in Indiana
Rogers, John Family
Rogers, Mary (Buckles)
Rowland, Isabella (Wilson)
Rowland, Thomas Mrs.
Rowland, Thomas Jr.
Rowland, Thomas Sr.
Riggs, George W.
Russell, Benjamin Doctor
Russell, Robert S. & William Sr.
Russell, Stephen, John & Samuel
Sage, George Washington
Sampson, Ellen (Walley)
Selman, Thomas Doctor
Shepherd, Amos R.
Shilliday, Elizabeth Ann (Watson)
Shilliday, Ester (Graham)
Shilliday, Sally (Sarah)
Schwin, Martin Reverend
Terrel, Edmund & Mary
Terrel, Jerry and wife
Todd, Bird (Buckles)
Thomas, Evan Sr.
Thomas, Evan Jr.
Thomas, George and wife
Tobias, Jane (Dixon)
Watson, Elizabeth Ann
Watson, Jane (Graham)
Watson, Robert Sr.
Weber, Charles Mrs.
Willey, Dennis Reverend
Willey, Elizabeth Jane
Willey, Margaret (Gassway)
Wykoff, Sarah (Buckles)
Zenor, David Sr.
Zenor, David Jr.
Zenor, Pheobe (Baker)
Zenor, Lydia (Dixon)
Zenor, Harriet (Ayers)
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