The Little Picture with the Long Story
Courtesy of Carolyn Howard, great granddaughter of Amanda Evaline King Carroll Painter, from Orange County, IN



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The Little Picture with the Long Story
By: Fred Dillard, circa 1971


This picture brings to mind a story of 94 years duration that begins with the marriage of Jacob Painter and Sarah Jane Carroll, who were about 20 years of age at that time. They were deeded 80 acres [by Sarah Jane Carroll Painter's father, Benjamin Carroll.]

This is the story of the lives of two families: The Painter family of ten children born in the period from 1876 to 1898 and the Dillard family of six children born in the period of 1920 to 1938. It is a story of the joys and sorrows suffered by most families of those periods - a time of fond memories and pleasant recollections...

...A rider brought mail west from New Albany one week and back the next week, east from Vincennes. It took 2 weeks to hear from friends. It was necessary to ford rivers in the spring to get the mail. Most people lived an isolated life as concerned the outside world.

Here with one horse, [Jacob and Sarah Jane Painter] cleared a field of 4 acres and made a living. Some of the older children were born there. My file of tax receipts show low taxes paid at Leavenworth, IN, in 1871 and after.

About 1884 a trail was laid out from Wickliffe to Elon, and Jacob built house #2 on the hill, one-quarter mile east of the present house. Old dishes and rocks may be found in this field. (Also all Indian artifacts showing this hill was an Indian Encampment.) Here they lived until 1898 when the house in the picture* was built when a road had been made from Wickliffe to Elon.

[*Unfortunately, the picture of the house was not included in the papers I have.]

In these homes, ten children were born and lived to maturity - John, Sarah, Minnie, Charles (Bert), Sam, May, Duke, Anna, Ruth and Opal. Minnie and Opal are living.

When [I married Ruth] in 1919, we lived one year with my family and in the next year, July 28, 1920, we took over the Painter farm, due to the Painter family moving to French Lick. Here our first children were born beginning September 14, 1920. We purchased the farm in 1925 [from the Painter family,] and on this farm, six children were born to us: Max, Edward, Charles, Evelyn, Robert and Roberta (twins), and Deloris. Our lives were saddened by the loss of Max, who was a Navy Pilot in WW2. Five other children are living.

On March 22, 1932, there was a severe tornado, and it blew the house into the position you see it. Before the house are the roots of a large tree. Mother [my wife Ruth] and Evelyn were in the house, and I was at the barn at 6pm.
We took the material in the house and built the present home.

The attached* School Fund Mortgage made by Jacob and Sarah Jane Painter tells a most interesting story. Every date and stipulation in it are pertinent. It was for the sum of $300 for a period of 5 years, borrowed on September 4, 1915 at 6% interest. You will note that it was not paid for 10 years August 17, 1925. Also read the harsh terms even if the interest for the first year was not paid, namely if the principle would become due along with the interest, also 2% damages, costs and the premises could be sold by the auditor. For security, they had to mortgage 100 acres of land on which a clear title had to be proven by an abstract at their cost.

[*Not attached.]

For interesting information how the State of Indiana acquired this fund see any History of Indiana. For one thing, the 16th section of every Congressional Township was sold and given to the School Fund. When Benjamin Carroll acquired this land in 1957, he probably paid $1.25 an acre for it to the United States.*
[* In John Carroll's book, "Forty-Seven Years with the Gospel Plow," it is stated that Benjamin Carroll purchased the land for 12.5-cents per acre.]

Notice that the land was valued at $800 or $8 per acre and that became the surety for a loan of $300. No wonder the mortgage caused many restless nights for land owners in the early days. A good yellow seed corn had the name of "mortgage lifter." Many of the farms on Hall Ridge were lost by the small landowners on account of failure to pay. These lands remained in the hands of the State for many years before being redeemed at a loss to the State by lumber companies. These lands were appraised each year by county assessors and for a long time, there were no buyers even if the prices were low.

In the abstract notice that Ben Carroll obtained 80 acres where the house is on Painter Place from the US in 1837. The price and other information can be obtained from title books. The pages are enumerated in the last column. Then he (Ben Carroll) sold this tract to James Carroll in 1867. Then 3 years later in 1870 James Carroll sold it to Harrison Ferguson. Then 3 years later Harrison sold it back to Ben Carroll. (Now I knew one James Carroll, or as we called him "Jim Bob Carroll," and the 3-year transfers lead me to think that the land was deeded back because of failure to pay as often happened in that day.)

Then Ben Carroll deeded it to his daughter that would have been 20 years old when she married Jacob Painter in 1876. This 80 acres stayed in their names until in 1925 they sold it to me (Fred Dillard) and my wife, Ruth.
The 40 acres around the road was bought from John Wesley Sinclair in 1884 and I don't understand the names in this transfer unless it was to transfer all the land to Jacob Painter's name.

The 20 acres down in the bottom was the East one-half of 40 acres obtained by Joseph Carroll in 1854 from the US. He must have been Ben's brother, for Ben had a son named Joe, and he was called "Little Joe." On this 20 acres also are two graves of small children that died of diphtheria. In 1864 (Civil War), Joe sold the 40 acres to Solomon (Sadie Dewitt) and in 1893, he deeded it to David Murray. Then David deeded the East one-half or 20 acres to Jacob Painter. The 40 acres over South was a part of the Sinclair farm and was sold to my wife and me in 1920 for $800 in cash.

When Ruth and I purchased the remaining 140 acres in August, 1925, we paid $3500 for them. We paid $1000 down and the remainder with 5 five-hundred dollar notes one to be paid each year on August 25 with interest at 5%, which we did. I might mention that on the day we paid the first $1000, Mr. Painter gave $300 of it in full payment of the mortgage and had it released. This $300 was borrowed in 1915 to buy a good team and cows. For this team and another horse and some cattle, we paid $550, and he sold other cattle while we lived on the farm from 1920 to 1925, giving him half of the farm income. I hope I have given the reader an insight into how lands and property were acquired in that day even at low price.

Jacob and Sarah Painter purchased a home in French Lick for $1750, and a house and 3 lots for $1000. Sarah passed away in 1925, and later Jacob married Eva Carroll, his sister-in-law, the wife of Hickman Carroll.*

Jacob passed away in 1932. The depression took its toll but did not wholly wipe out the estate. The two houses sold for $850 (one for $750 and the other for $100.) The personal property was appraised at $24 and was taken by the widow, Eva Carroll, for her part. After doctor and funeral expenses were paid, $672 was left and distributed as shown by the attached Report of Distribution. (Which is not attached to my copy.)
In that day, the first wife could only hold one-third of the estate and the second only a life estate for one-third of it.

"Transcribed by Carolyn Howard 19 Jun 2012 from a different transcription of the original. The transcription I worked with contained many spelling and punctuation errors, which I have corrected. The transcription copy did not have any attachments, save for the picture above, that I redrew using MS Publisher. This land is now under water, having been used to make Patoka Lake, IN."
Copyright Carolyn Howard. May not be copied and republished in any media or other website with the express written permission of Carolyn Howard.