Adams Township, Parke County Indiana
"From the History of Vigo and Parke Counties, together with Historic Notes on the Wabash Valley, Gleaned from early authors, old maps and manuscripts, private and official correspondence, and other authentic, though for the most part, out-of-the-way sources. By H. W. Beckwith, of the Danville Bar; Corresponding Member of the Historical Societies of Wisconsin and Chicago. Chicago: H. H. Hill and N. Iddings, Publishers. 1880." (Pages 63 - 101)
Concerning the first settler of Adams township, and the date of settlement, statements are conflicting and unsatisfactory. Walker Adams affirms that his father, James Adams, in 1816 made a home on the Little Raccoon near where he himself now lives; and that the township received its name from him, which might be regarded as a proper recognition of his priority of settlement in case there is no mistake about the fact. We have no account of any others having begun homes here before 1821. In 1817 a colony numbering several families emigrated from Butler county, Ohio, and settled on the Big Raccoon, in the region known as the Bell settlement, near Bridgton. Among these were Abel Bell, Tobias Miller, Solomon Simmons, the Adamses and the Websters. Isaac McCoy, the celebrated Indian missionary, had his home in the same neighborhood. A few years later Aaron Hand, also from Ohio, joined this colony. In the spring of 1821 Solomon Simmons moved and located where his widow still lives, a mile southwest of Rockville, We are informed by Mrs. John Pinegar, who is his daughter, that the nearest neighbor at that time was John Sunderland, who lived a mile east of Catlin. In the autumn Aaron Hand came up from the Bell settlement and located on the present site of Rockville. Greenberry Ward and his father James Ward made a tour of exploration through this region this year and found Cornelius Sunderland living on the present Beadle farm; his cabin stood where the orchard is, in the midst of the forest, with only a small clearing around it, just sufficient for the house to be out of the reach of falling trees. James McGinnis came from East Tennessee in 1822 and settled a mile and a half south of Rockville. Cornelius Sunderland arrived the same or the next year. Andrew Ray came to Rockville early in the spring of 1822, having been here the fall before and located his land. At this period land hunters were numerous and there was great competition for the choice tracts, the bottom lands being first taken. At the first sales at Terre Haute, in the autumn of 1822, the lands were run up to such figures by those who had made claims and would not be overbid, as to be quite out of the reach of men who had lately come. A party consisting of James Glass, John Miller, Jacob Miller, and Thomas Wolverton, who were much disheartened at this condition of things, were on their way to Montgomery county to search out locations when they were directed by a Kentuckian to the divide between the two Raccoons. On examination, being pleased with the country, they decided to settle there, and were joined by Tobias Miller, Reuben Webster, and Lawrence Cox and a few others. So general was the gratification at finding a section exactly suited to their desires, that James Kelsey named the settlement the New Discovery, a designation which it has ever since retained. Within the next six months Abel Bell, John Jessup, Henry Nevins, Silas Harlan, John Blake, Nathan Blake, Charles Wolverton, Cyrus Wolverton, John Burford, Benjamin Walters, Constantine Curry, Clem N. Burton, and many others, had settled in New Discovery; a tremendous rush was made to this region; the land office was soon removed from Terre Haute to Crawfordsville, and the route all the way to the latter place was dotted with habitations of settlers. The rivalry among land buyers waxed exceedingly interesting. For the choice of pieces men swam high streams and rode day and night through drenching rains and fierce storms at great risk of health and life, often exhausting and sometimes killing outright the horses which bore them. Every device which growing fear and excited hope could suggest, and desperate ingenuity invent, was practiced to outwit or distance a competitor.
Having become fixed in their locations, the next thing to engage their attention was the clearing and opening of fields. Then was heard the ringing of axes in the forests, the falling and crashing of giant walnuts and beeches and sugar trees in wild disorder, and the shouts and exclamations of the gangs as they rolled and piled the heavy logs preparatory to burning. Daytime was devoted to labor, and great was the toil of these hardy settlers; but night brought its compensations in the form of the social gathering, when all the neighbors crowded into a narrow cabin to crack jokes and tell stories, while the voiceful catgut gave forth enlivening strains of monie musk and the Devil’s Dream and four and eight-handed reels went round till the break of day. How many of the patriarchal families that occupy the homesteads of their fathers had their origin at these cheerful gatherings no one can say. Only the honored parents, whose furrowed faces and whitened heads tell of the remoteness of their wooings, can enlighten on this point.
The spring and summer of 1822 were exceptionally wet, and the new comers were sad and disheartened with water all around them, and mud everywhere beneath them. They hauled their grain from Fort Harrison, but obtained other necessaries from Roseville. Toward the end of summer the rain clouds dispersed, the sun beamed down brightly for weeks, and gradually both man and nature assumed a gladder mood. A year or two passed, and busy hands had transformed patches of woodland here and there over a vas area into bearing fields.
Here were men and women with little children, and often larch families of them, distant from their native homes and out of reach of every civilized comfort, spreading their beds and boards in a nearly trackless wilderness infested with venomous reptiles and ferocious beasts, voluntarily seeking rough toil, accepting coarse food, and facing famine; yet yielding to nothing but protracted and blighting disease and death. Their experience form a story of trials, privations and sufferings, and a picture of heroism and triumph, which never has been and never will be adequately portrayed, and which too few are willing now to believe.
The following affecting incident is given as illustrating a single phase of life and danger at this period:
Nancy, wife of Cornelius Sunderland, had been to her father’s (Nathaniel Page’s one afternoon late in the autumn of 1821 or 1822, to borrow a reel. The houses were not more than a half a mile apart, and as she was returning she strolled along gathering nuts buried in the leaves on the ground, failing to note the direction and strangely enough oblivious of everything around her, until her attention was arrested by a sudden darkening of the sky and falling snowflakes. On looking up she discovered that she had missed her way, but correcting her course pressed forward with all haste in the supposed direction of home. She had not proceeded far before she was filled with alarm at finding herself in a dense forest and totally ignorant of her whereabouts. The snow was falling fast. The deep gloom and grand silence of the woods added to her painful feelings and situation and her fears grew almost frantic when she notice that the dog that accompanied her had disappeared. She search wildly about for the path, shouting every few steps and then pausing for answer, but hearing no sound but the beating of her own heart. On and on she wandered without a glimpse of a single object she knew to relieve her terrified thoughts. Night came and she still groped about. The boughs were now bending beneath the weight of snow. At length, finding that her traveling and calling were only a vain waste of strength and wet cold faint and overwhelmed with despair she took shelter in a hollow tree where she passed the night. As soon as daylight came she renewed her fruitless endeavor to find a habitation, or to attract help by her cries. As hour by hour went by she continued her wanderings till late in the afternoon, when her strength was gone, and benumbed with cold “she sat down to await help or die” When evening came it was known that she was lost. Her husband, greatly distressed, spread the alarm and the settlers north of the Big Raccoon turned out in a general search. By the middle of the next day all the west part of the county was aroused and had joined the relief party. “About sunset, John Sunderland, while hunting along the bluffs of Raccoon, heard a faint cry – so faint that he could not ascertain the direction till it was several times repeated in answer to his shout. Following the sound he came upon a human being leaning against a tree, whom he confidently believed to be a squaw! He supposed she had been abandoned or lost by her tribe, nor was it till he drew near and actually touched her that he recognized his sister-in-law! Thirty hours of toil and suffering had completely transformed her; her dress was in rags, her voice was almost gone, and she was so chilled she could not climb upon a log, and he had to lift her on the horse and hold her as he would a child. But the constitution of a pioneer woman soon brought health, and she survived to a good age, to be the mother of a large family of vigorous sons and handsome daughters. And it is recorded that, woman like, she had held on to the borrowed reel through all her wanderings.”
Among the early settlers in the township outside of Rockville not already named we are able to mention Joseph Wilkinson, who came from Warren county, Ohio, in 1825, and settled at New Discovery; James Ward and his son Greenbeery, in 1826, and Nathaniel Page, about the same time or near the two latter northwest of Rockville. By 1830 about all the land – certainly all the best – had been taken, and settlers were pretty evenly distributed through the country, and it is said that it was uncommon to find a stretch of two miles without a house, and after that neighborhood circles gradually contracted. The Indians had nearly all departed. In 1825 considerable numbers of Delawares and Pottawatomies lingered behind, but by this year the great body of them had followed the setting sun.
Around the settlement of Rockville centers the chief interest. The first person to locate on the site of this town was Aaron Hand, who came here in the autumn of 1821 and erected a little hut, just large enough for a bed and a table, at the head of the hollow near the grist mill, and close by the once famous sulphur spring. This spring, now buried by the mill pond, it was thought would become a resort of no little consequence; its waters were credited with medical virtues, and Rockville being subject, on account of it, to spasmodic excitements, it was several times seriously proposed to improve the place, but nothing was ever done in the matter. Andrew Ray came in the spring of 1822, in a covered wagon, and brought his family; it rained most of the time, and the country was muddy, dismal and unpromising. After a week spent in looking around, during which their impatience and discouragement decidedly increased, they concluded to return to Fayette county; but when they reached the ford on the Big Raccoon they found it impossible to cross, for the high water, and while waiting were persuaded by Henry Anderson to return and give the country at least a year’s trial. The spot selected by Ray for his buckeye cabin was in the northeast corner of the court house yard. The rattlesnakes which infested this locality, as nearly the whole county, in prodigious numbers, and were the objects of a relentless and exterminating warfare, are entitled to their full share of historic mention. Concerted snakes hunts were undertaken, in which the Caucasian conquerors were each time successful in slaying such numbers of the natural enemy as almost to tax belief. It is declared that at one time seventy of the reptiles were dispatched.
The “Star of Empire” did not long suffer Hand and Ray to occupy their original habitations. Land hunters flocked to this section, and the latter, embracing the opportunity to turn an honest penny, soon gave the place, by his business, the name or Ray’s Tavern. Some time in 1823 the proprietor changed his location and enlarged his accommodations by building, on the northwest corner of the square, on the site of the National Bank, from heavy, hewed logs, a large double house, two stories in height. This was occupied by Mr. Ray until 1842, when he moved out of Rockville to the Little Raccoon, where he passed the remainder of his life, dying wealthy in 1872. The old tavern finally became a shop, and was used until a date not very remote.
Ray donated forty acres of land to the count, on which the square and the adjacent business houses are situated, and Hand gave twenty. Patterson and McCall also gave twenty acres. These two men were in partnership and came from Vincennes; they purchased a quarter of a section and divided it. The McNutt heirs own the McCall half, and the Steele heirs the other. McCall surveyed and platted the town on Secs. 6, 7 and 8 in T. 15, R. 7, 2d Principal Meridian. It was conjectured that on High street would center the business and fashion of the place, and it was given the lion’s share of ground – a width of one hundred feet. The principal part of the building up was at first on the south side. Colonel Smith, one of the late commissioners for locating the county seat, was the count agent who sold the first lots, and in fact most of them. Two public auctions were held, one in June and the other in October, 1824. James Strain Sr. bought the first lot offered – No 1 in the original plat – and still owns it. Joseph VanMeter succeeded Smith as county agent. It is at the second sale of town lots that the first casualty – nearly a fatal one – occurs. Polly, little daughter of Andrew Ray, falls into the well, and when rescued is insensible and apparently lifeless. After long and vigorous exertions she is resuscitated, and with returning consciousness utters piercing screams. Afterward she says that death would have been preferable to the pain suffered in coming to. She is the wife of Edward Fagin, and today is living in Coffey county, Kansas.
Additions has since been made to the town. Howard & Bryant bought eighty acres from Hand, and laid the tract out in lots, which were sold in 1836. This was called the West Addition. As stated, Hand, like Ray, moved to a new locality. He built where Mrs. Kirkpatrick owns, and lived there a number of years, when eh emigrated to Illinois and settled near Canton, in Fulton county.
The first persons to locate in Rockville after it reached town hood were Gen. Arthur Patterson and Judge James B. McCall. They had just arrived and were living here when it was laid out; it will Be remembered that McCall was the surveyor. These men, in company, built the first business house; it was a large, one story frame situated on the southwest corner of the public square where the Presbyterian church stands. Some years afterward it was raised to two stories. Gen. Patterson was a man of polished manners, very energetic and strong willed; he was the life of the place, and its progress was largely the result of his public spirited exertions. He was the father of Judge Patterson of Terre Haute. His wife was an amiable and popular lady. McCall was a lawyer and surveyor, but he gave no attention to either profession while here. He died in Vincennes by his own hand. This firm brought the first house builders – John Marny and William Blackburn, brothers-in-law, both of whom were permanent residents. The place filled up slowly. In 1826 there were about a dozen families settled here; in addition to those mentioned there were John Ashpaw, Jeremiah Ralston, Wallace Rea, the Lockwoods and Drs. Leonard and McDonald. The number was increased by James and Robert McEwen who came in March, and at once went to work to put up their tannery, the first in the place. The first establishment of the kind in the township was started by Caleb Williams, who came in 1821. James Strain Sr., a tanner by trade, came in March, 1824, and sent to work for Williams; but in a few years bought the tannery, and afterward removed it to Rockville. Both finally ran down and were not much used after 1850. Strain left Bedford county, Pennsylvania, in 1822, and with a knapsack on his back traveled on foot to Pittsburgh; from that place he came down the Ohio on a Keel boat to Jeffersonville. He went to Peola, (Paoli) county of Orange county, where he worked in a tannery until he came here.
In a couple of years Rockville began to do considerable business; and the large trade with Patterson and McCall were doing very soon attracted others into merchandising; tough for a long time none could rival them in amount of stock and custom. Before 1830 Duncan Darroch, John R. Marshall, John Sunderland and Persius E. Harris were here selling goods. Harris was a Campbellite preacher. Marshall and Darroch were in business on the south side as early as the winter of 1826-7. Sunderland’s store was on the southwest corner of the square, on the south side of High street. Andrew Foote opened a store soon after and was in trade a long time.
In spite of the fact that the law for the formation of Parke county required the erection of necessary public buildings within twelve months after the location of the permanent seat of justice, non were begun until two years afterward. These, a court house and jail, were finished in June 1826. The first was a large, log structure, built on the south side of the square, and served the double use of a temple of justice and a house of worship, until it was superseded by the brick court house for the one purpose, and the brick school house for the other. It was used till 1858 when it was destroyed by fire, having long outlived an honorable usefulness. The jail, also built of logs, stood on lot 59, just across the railroad and northwest of the old brick jail. Joseph Ralston emigrated with his parents from Tennessee in 1817; in 1819 they settled on the Little Raccoon, ten miles south of Rockville, in Raccoon township. In the autumn of 1823 he came to Rockville, but remained only till 1825 when he left, going all the way to the mouth of White river in a pirogue, thence on foot to Austin’s colony in Texas. On his return he visited Florida and Alabama. In 1827, and again in 1832, he made a short visit to Rockville, and in 1836 returned to reside permanently, having in the meantime taken a wife. In the fall of 1823 Matthew Noel settled in the Morris neighborhood, three and a half miles northwest of Rockville. He lived there a short time and then moved to town, and was elected justice of the peace, and filled the office several years. He was the second postmaster, Wallace Rea having been the first. He was distinguished for integrity and strong character. Scott Noel came in 1826 and has always held some official station; for many years he was postmaster. Lewis Noel, the father of these, was probate judge; and he was one of the county commissioners when the order was passed to build the second courthouse. This is an historic family (referring to the limits of this work), which should have a more extended notice than we are able to give; and our apology for the apparent shortcoming is the domestic affliction which has prevented Squire Noel from responding to our request for reminiscences.
The first physician was Edward Leonard, a New York man, who came here from Orange county, this state, in August 1825. The next year doctors Charles Tooley and Johnson Ferris located in the place. It is generally believed that the latter was the first resident physician; but it was not till 1826 that he left Franklin, Warren county, Ohio and came to Crawfordsville with a family named Swearingen.Dr. McDonald was here also very early; Dr. Slaven brother to Col. Slaven, arrived near the same time from Harrodsburg, Kentucky but went back in two or three years. Another very early doctor was Parris C. Dunning, who was in the profession only a few years. He went from Rockville to the southern part of the sate, prior to 1830 and studied law. When James Whitcomb was elected governor of Indiana he was a candidate on the ticket for lieutenant governor, and succeeded to the governorship when Whitcomb became United States senator. About 1832 doctors Lowe and James L. Allen settled in Rockville and formed a partnership. The former did not remain long. Dr. Allen was a capital surgeon; he came here a young man, and became a conspicuous practitioner. Elsewhere will be found a just tribute to his character and eminent skill by Dr. Rice. Doctors Peter Q. Stryker and Stephen Roach set up here probably about 1835. The latter was the father of Hon. Addison L. Roach, now of Indianapolis, one of the supreme judges of the state. Doctors Weaver and Hayden belong to a somewhat later period. The latter went overland to California with James McEwen in 1852, and died there. Dr. Alvord began practice here about 1845 and is still living in the place. Dr. George P. Daly came from Vermont when quite a young man and in 1838 settled permanently in Parke county. In 1845 he began practice at Mansfield, and in 1861, when elected auditor, moved to Rockville and has since resided here. Dr. Harrison J. Rice settled in Rockville in the autumn of 1856, and read physic in the office of Dr. Allen. He became a partner with Allen, and eventually succeeded to his extensive practice and has been a leading physician of Parke county for many years Dr. Morris, who has been established in the place two or three years, was a student under him. Dr. Thomas, from Kentucky, located here about thirty years ago. The firm of Cross & Gillum have practiced in Rockville the past dozen years.
To return to the business men we find that Jonas Randall came from Ohio, and in 1829 erected the old Hungerford buildings, one of which yet stands on the original site; the other having been moved back the present season, has undergone repairs, to be continued in use as a dwelling. James Pyles was an early blacksmith. In 1832 he was keeping hotel in the brick building on Market street, next south of the Methodist church. In 1827 there were two cabinet shops; of course they were small affairs; a workman in each made and repaired such necessary articles of furniture as were in demand in a new country, and made coffins for the few who died. Not long after 1830 James McCampbell and McMurtry started in business. These men were merchants and pork packers, and carried on a large trade with New Orleans. They at length dissolved, and McCampbell started again with John F. Morris as partner. About the same time, but probably later, Walter C. Donaldson and Erastus M. Benson opened a store. Tyler S. Baldwin, who, with Judge Bryant, had been reared among the Shakers of Kentucky, was a prominent business man, and also began selling goods quite early. George W. Sill and James Depew first clerked for him, but afterward became partners. Mr. Sill came to Rockville early in 1833; he began merchandising in 1836, and continued in business twenty-five years. Depew had a reputation for being a sharp, shrewd man; and while it is admitted that Sill was his peer in these respects, it is charged that "his words were softer than oil," without the imputation of their being drawn swords. In 1836 Jeremiah Ralston was running a store; and also Adamson & Robinson. Levi Sidwell settled here in 1836.
In company with Rosebraugh he opened the first drug store. Robert Allen & McMurtry were in business about the same time. David W. Stark bought the latter's interest and took possession January 1, 1839. Allen died in Texas. John H. Davy became Mr. Stark's partner: they were successful in trade, and both acquired much wealth and influence. The firm of A. M. Houston & Co. was composed of Gen. Alexander M. Houston. William P. Mulhallen and Pembroke S. Cornelius. Houston's partners were young men. He was a noted man in the community. He had been a general of militia, and served under Jackson in some of his Indian campaigns. He was a southern gentleman with southern traits, who had not altogether escaped southern vices. He was very genial, though somewhat aristocratic; had been a gambler in early life and saved a fortune, and lived in elegant leisure. He at length changed his course of life, and uniting with the Presbyterian church, became an elder and truly exemplary man—prominent and greatly respected. He had no taste for books, but his insight into character was very great, and he excelled in reading men. Scott Noel and Robert Gilkeson were in company in 1837. The first regular millinery establishment was started by Mrs. Lucinda Bradley about this time. Her husband was a carpenter. Mrs. Lucy Smith and Mrs. Watson each had shops later; and still later the Houghman sisters, Mary and Ellen. These latter were in business over twenty years. In 1830 Gabriel Houghman came from Butler county, Ohio, and settled half a mile south of Rockville. In 1837 he moved into town and went to merchandising in the firm of Allen, Noel & Co.; he soon bought out Allen, and then the firm was Noel & Houghman. For twelve years from 1840 he held public office; first as deputy sheriff three years; next county assessor two years; then sheriff two terms, and in 1850 was elected to represent his district in the legislature. At the last date he bought the Rockville House, which stood on the northeast corner of the square, now occupied by the Rice block. In 1851 he rented this and bought a house on the northwest corner of the square, where the new hotel is now going up, and there kept the Houghman House twelve years. In 1865 he sold to a man named Williamson. This stand was afterward burned down, and was the property of James W. Beadle at the time of its destruction.
J. M. Nichols settled in Rockville in 1841, and set up in the tinning business. This was the second establishment of the kind in the place. The first had been started by Diocletian Cox, who had left before Mr. Nichols came. Moreland was another in business here at that time. Gen. George K. Steele, who came to the county with his father in an early day, settled in Rockville at a somewhat later period. He did a great amount of business, and was prominent as a banker and politician. He was merchandising awhile with Samuel Hart, but afterward sold out and engaged in the stock trade. Hart was an early pioneer at Portland Mills; about 1836 or 1837 he became sheriff, and after serving two terms was elected treasurer. When he quit office holding he formed a partnership with Steele.
One of the most respectable and honored tradesmen which Rockville ever had was Isaac Jarvis Silliman, a New Englander, related to Prof. Silliman, of Yale College. He emigrated to Sullivan county, Indiana, when a boy, and worked at farming and clearing land summers and teaching school winters. He built a mill at Bridgton, and was in business there awhile, and afterward at Rockville with Persius E. Harris. Disposing of his interest to his partner, he went to Armiesburg, and in company with Gen. Patterson a number of years was engaged in making flour, buying produce, distilling, and boating to New Orleans. Selling out to Patterson, he returned to Rockville and opened a general store. About 1853 or 1854: he united with himself O. J. Innis and J. M. Nichols, under the firm name of Silliman, Innis & Nichols. In a few years Mr. Innis retired, and Silliman & Nichols purchased the grist mill. Early in 1860 William M. Thompson and James H. McEwen bought Silliman's interest in both mill and store, and the firm was Nichols, Thompson & Co. Mr. Silliman died greatly regretted a few years after, when about seventy years of age. He was a man of great energy and activity, and of spotless character, whose life was a savor of good works, and is well summed up in the text from which the Rev. bishop preached his second funeral sermon—the blessing pronounced by Jacob upon Joseph—"A fruitful bough, even a fruitful bough by a well, whose branches run over the wall." He was not a professing Christian; but good deeds made profession for him.
In 1864 Nichols, Thompson & Co. sold the grist mill to Eiglehart & Brothers, of Evansville; and the next year disposed of their store to Sill & McEwen (Wm. B. McEwen), and commenced the erection of the woolen mill. Mr. McEwen (James H.) died in June, 1866, before it was completed, and Nichols & Thompson put in the machinery and ran it till 1875, when the business having ceased to be profitable, they closed it and sold a part of the machinery. During the time that they were operating the factory they were also running a dry goods store; and in 1871 they received William B. McEwen and Howard Bryant into partnership in the last named business. On January 1 Mr. Nichols retired, and the firm is now Thompson, McEwen & Bryant. The factory just mentioned is a three and a half story brick, 40 x 80 feet. The grounds, building, and machinery cost $28,000. It is now idle. The grist mill referred to above was built between 1855 and 1857 by Moore & Siler. It is out of repair and still. It is owned by the National bank. Samuel N. Baker, from Shelbyville, Kentucky, settled on the Leatherwood in 1829, and started a pottery; here he made red ware till 1833, when he removed to Rockville and built another, which he kept in operation until his death in 1860. This was run by his sons, James H., Samuel and Charles, till 1873; then the former started another in the northeast part of the town. This pottery employs three turners and burns from twenty to twenty-four kilns every year, averaging upward of 40,000 gallons of ware. The old one, now owned by the other brothers, produces about 24,000 gallons annually. Both manufacture stoneware, and the former flowerpots and vases. There are two saw and planing mills in Rockville which are kept constantly manufacturing lumber the present season. The one owned by Solon Ferguson was built by Joseph Chance in 1867 and was then only a planing mill; but in 1870 Ferguson put in machinery for sawing. The same year Wm. TenBrook erected a stave factory south of the depot; this was consumed by fire on the night of April 1, 1871, and was shortly after rebuilt, but was not run as a stave factory above a year when it was changed into a planing mill Andrew TenBrook bought the property in 1877, and the mill was idle during the next two years, but in the spring of 1880 Messrs. Hargrave & Lambert leased it on trial and are doing a thriving business. They have added a dryer which holds from 8,000 to 10,000 feet of lumber.
The first banking done in Rockville was by the Rockville Bank, which was organized about 1853. Besides some eastern capitalists, Gen. Steele, Persius Harris, and other residents of the town and country, were stockholders. It was not long before the views of the eastern and the western men were found not in harmony, and the latter sold out to the others and the bank was moved away. Directly a public meeting was held and a preliminary organization of the Parke County Bank effected, to commence business on September 1, 1855, with a capital of $100,000. The first directors were Alexander McCune, I. J. Silliman, John Sunderland, P. E. Harris, G. K. Steele, Erastus M. Benson, Dr. James L. Allen, John Milligan, and Salmon Lusk. In July, 1863, the stockholders resolved to close up the affairs of the bank and apply for a charter under the national banking act. The board of directors was fixed at nine, the capital stock at $125,000, and on September 1 the assets of the old corporation were turned over to the First National Bank, and the latter assumed the liabilities of the former. The first directors were G. K. Steele, P. E. Harris, D. W. Stark, D. K. Stith, D. H. Maxwell, E. M. Benson, I. J. Silliman, B. C. Hobbs, and John Milligan. Gen. Steele had been president of the Parke County Bank from its organization; he was now elected president of the First National, and continued to be annually reflected until 1871. when he declined to hold the office longer. Calvin W. Levings had also been cashier of the old bank from its inception, and he continued in that position in the new. In 1864 the capital was increased to $150,000, and in 1869 to $200,000. In July, 1877, the affairs of the bank were wound up, and the present national bank was organized with a capital of §100,000. The present officers are J. M. Nichols, president; S. L. McCune, cashier since 1874; and J. M. Nichols, D. H. Maxwell, J. J. Daniels, W. B. Overman, and S. L. McCune, directors. The association owns a three story brick building. 45x75 feet, which was erected in 1874 at a cost of $36,000, the value of the lot being reckoned in this sum. The second floor is used for offices, while the National Hall, which seats about 600, occupies the third.
The Parke Banking Company was organized in 1873 by A. K. Stark, D. A. Coulter, and J. H. Tate, to do a private banking business. The same year this company erected their banking house, a building 20x93 feet, two stories and a basement. In 1875 Mr. Coulter retired and moved to Frankfort, Indiana.
The business and industries of Rockville are represented by four general stores, one clothing house, three groceries, two boot, shoe, and harness stores and one harness shop, one provision and feed store, three furniture stores and undertakers, two jewelry stores, three agricultural and hardware stores, two bakeries and restaurants, three grain warehouses, two newspaper and job printing offices, two carriage and two wagon shops, two blacksmith shops, two saw and planing mills, two hotels, two boarding houses, three millinery establishments, two banks, one photograph gallery, four shoemakers' shops, one repair and machine shop, three saloons, two livery stables, two brick yards, one tile factory, two potteries, and several loan, insurance and real estate offices. Other trades and the professions are well represented.
In this ''green encampment of eternity" lie many of the original settlers: and the place is consecrated to patriotic remembrance by the graves of brave and true men. who have gone on in advance to where celestial bugles "shall sound reveille."
Aaron Hand first gave the town an acre of ground for a burial lot: later additions by purchase have increased it to five acres and more. The earliest interments were in 1824 or 1825: the first four were children of Aaron Hand, Thomas Scott, Andrew Ray and Solomon Simmons. The resting place of the fifth is the oldest one designated by a tablet bearing an inscription. This is the grave of Sarah, wife of Caleb Williams, who died June 2, 1826. The sixth was a stranger who came into the neighborhood sick, and died at the house of James Waters, after a week's illness. He gave his name as Lockwood, which was all the information that could be obtained from. him. His appearance was that of a beggar, though he carried in his pocket $175 in coin. Probably there are no fewer than 2,000 graves in this cemetery. In the grounds are several costly and beautiful family monuments; among these is one each to Gen. Steele, Mrs. John H. Lindley, James W. Beadle, Alexander Kirkpatrick, Mrs. Joseph L. Boyd, George Harvey, Andrew S. Alden, Mrs. Isaac G. Coffin, and the wife and daughter of Dr. George P. Daly. The sexton, Mr. John Alexander, has filled this post since April 30, 1843. He has given sepulture to over 900 of the dead in this inclosure, and in this long period of service has been singularly faithful both to dead and living. There are 42 soldiers' graves. One soldier of the revolution lies here — Jesse Duncan, who fought at Guilford Court house. This grave, on the east end of lot No. 147, is unmarked, and all trace of it would long since have disappeared had not Mr. Alexander taken pains to preserve its identity. Prominent among the soldiers buried here are Maj. George Harvey, who was killed at Pittsburgh Landing; Lieut. John Baker, who lost a leg at the battle of Antietam, and came home and died of dropsy; and Jackson W. Whitted, scalded to death on the steamer Eclipse. Following are the names of the nation's defenders sepulchered in this cemetery: Jesse Duncan, Wm. P. Bryant Sr., Henry Slaven, George K. Steele, James McEwen Sr., Andrew Ray, Alexander Kirkpatrick, James H. McEwen, Nathan Adamson, Charles E. Adamson, James Adamson, John Coleman, Richard Irvin, James M. Phelon, Robert E. Craig, Jackson W. Whitted, E. M. Foote, Andrew S. Alden Jr., Levi Alden, Samuel Sidwell, George Harvey, Ezra Reeder, B. W. Jones, Samuel Strain, Hugh Wilson, Samuel Smith, Elisha Baker, Milton H. Yance, Edward Beadle, Joseph Craft, William Painter, Jefferson Bishop, William P. Smith, Lewis Hayes, Calvin Richey, William Greene Sr., John Pike, ———— Bryant, Nelson W. V. Burns, James S. Bowman, Thomas Bowman,
A dispensation was issued to organize Rockville Lodge, A. F. and A. M., May 30, 1844. The first meeting was held on June 25, the following brethren attending: Charles Grant, Jeptha Garrigus, Caleb Williams, Randolph H. Wedding, Vestal W. Coffin, Albert G. Coffin, David L. Hamilton, Henry Slaven and Joseph B. Cornelius. The officers installed were Peter Q. Stryker, W. M.; John Briggs, S.W.; Seba H. Case, J.W.; Joseph B. Cornelius, secretary; Charles Grant, treasurer; Randolph H. Wedding, S. D.; Albert G. Coffin, J. D.; D. L. Hamilton, steward and tyler. Joseph C. Smith, Aaron Griffin and John R. Ten Brook were the first persons elected to take degrees, and in the order named. The Grand Lodge of Indiana granted a charter on May 29, 1845, and at this time the name of the lodge was changed to "Parke Lodge." The offices are now filled by Wm. H. Gillum, W. M.; Shelby C. Puett, S.W.; M. C. Stockbridge, J.W.; W. N. Wirt, S. D.; Lofton M. Teague, J. D.; John Baker, treasurer; Wm. H. Harvey, secretary; Wm. M. Ramsey, tyler. The trustees for the current year are Harrison J. Rice, Wm. H. Hargrave and Shelby C. Puett. Regular communications are held on Monday night on or before the full moon of each month. The lodge occupies a hall on the east side of the square, which it leases for a term of years. The number of members is forty-nine. This lodge has always been in a prosperous condition, and has exercised a good degree of usefulness. The laying of the corner stone of the new court house, under the auspices of Parke Lodge, was a recent notable public act in its history. The ceremony took place in the presence of a fair sized assemblage of citizens, and the lodges from Terre Haute and Judson, and delegations of the fraternity from Annapolis, Bellemore, Mansfield, Roseville, Harveysburg and elsewhere, and was performed by most worshipful Grand Master Robert Van Valzah, assisted by a full corps of Masonic officials. At the conclusion of the ceremonies Dr. Harrison J. Rice, a member of Parke Lodge, delivered an historical address of great interest and highly befitting to the occasion. In the casket deposited in the stone was placed a copy of the oration, and of the charter of the lodge, together with many other articles which it is expected will be of curious interest to the citizens of Rockville centuries hence.
An application for a dispensation for Parke Chapter, No. 37, was made July 11, 1856. At a convocation of Royal Arch Masons held on that day were present Addison L. Roach, M. G. Wilkison, John T. Price, H. Alvord, P. Q. Stryker and L. A. Foote, and an organization was made by appointing Roach to the chair and Foote as secretary. A committee consisting of Wilkison, Price and Foote was appointed to procure a dispensation. On October 7 they reported, and presented a dispensation which they had obtained from William Hacker, most excellent grand high priest of Indiana. The meeting organized with William Hacker, grand high priest, presiding; S. F. Maxwell, K.; P. Q. Stryker, S.; — Sayer, C. H.; L. A. Foote, P. S.; J. S. Dare, R. A. C.; H. Alvord, G. M. T. Y.; John T. Price, G. M. S. V.; M. G. Wilkison, G. M. F. V. A charter was issued by the officers of the Grand Chapter of Indiana May 21, 1857. At this date the membership was twenty-one. The first officers under the charter were: L. A. Roach, H. P.; S. F. Maxwell, K.; P. Q. Stryker, S.; J. T. Price, C. H.; L. A. Foote, P. S.; J. S. Dare, R. A. C.; W. D. Thomas, G. M. T. Y.; J. M. T. Bright, G. M. S. Y.; J. H. Davy, G. M. F. Y.; A. K. Phelon, G. The officers for 1880 are the following: H. J. Rice, H. P.; J. B. Connelly, K.; J. F. Cross, S.; Wm. M. Ramsey, C. H.; David Strouse, P. S.; Clinton Murphy, E. A. C.; Samuel Strouse, G. M. T. Y:; Wm. H. Hargrave, G. M. S. Y.; G. W. Overpeck, G. M. F. Y.; John Baker, treasurer; S. R. Jackman, secretary; Thomas Barnes, G. The membership numbers thirty-five. Convocations are on Tuesday night on or before the full moon of each month, in the same hall used by Parke Lodge, No. 8.
Howard Lodge, No. 71, I.O.O.F., the oldest in Parke county, was instituted at Rockville November 9, 1849, by Taylor W. Webster, D. D. G. M., of Ladoga, assisted by Joshua Ridge, Samuel Noel, William Kromer, Samuel Stover, James Houston and William Detrick. It was named in honor of John Howard, the eminent Christian philanthropist of England. The charter members were F. W. Dinwiddie, Joseph Phillips, Charles W. Stryker, Samuel A. Fisher and William McClure. Of these Dinwiddie and Stryker are still members of the lodge. McClure belonged to Putnam Lodge, No. 45, and simply lent his name and membership for organizing Howard Lodge. The charter bears date January 10, 1850, and is signed by the following prominent members of the Grand Lodge in that early day: Job B. Eldridge, M. W. G. M.; Oliver Dufour, W. D. G. M.; Joseph L. Silcox, W. G. W.; J. B. McChesney, G. T. Laz. Noble, G. S.; Robert Scott, G. C.; W. M. Monroe, G. Con.; H. J. Carriff, G. G.; O. P. Brown, P. G. M.; Schuyler Colfax, D. D. G. M.; George Brown, G. Rep.; W. M. French, Milton Herndon and J. P. Chapman, Past Grands. O. J. Innis and Charles Colvert were initiated and received all the degrees on the night of instituting. The first elective officers were F. W. Dinwiddie, P. G.; Samuel A. Fisher, N. G.; Charles W. Stryker, Y. G.; 0. J. Innis, Rec. and P. Sec., and Joseph Phillips, Treas. The lodge was organized in the Masonic lodge room in the court house, that fraternity kindly granting the use of their hall until Howard Lodge had time to fit up one of her own. The first Odd Fellows lodge room was in a two story building, which is yet standing, and is now used for a blacksmith shop. This lodge started out with six working members, and struggled with but few accessions for a few years, then took a start and grew rapidly until the war broke out, when many of the members enlisted in the army, and the attention of the remaining ones to the cause of their country depleted the lodge, and Odd Fellowship waned. But when peace was restored the lodge received a sudden infusion of prosperity, and its growth has been steady up to this time. Since 1876 the Odd Fellows have built a three story brick building on the north side of the public square, at a cost of $5,000, on the third floor of which is situated the spacious and handsome hall used by the fraternity.
Rockville Encampment, No. 95, was instituted November 9, 1849, and at this time has about twenty members. Within the past three or four years the number has fallen off one half. The charter bears the signatures of W. C. Lumpton, grand patriarch, and E. H. Barry, grand scribe. Eight members have died and left widows and orphans, who have been liberally provided for when in need, receiving money, school books, tuition and clothing. The orphan fund is §1,600, but none of the orphans require its benefits. The general fund approximates $1,200. The lodge has paid large sums in weekly benefits; in 1876 one member who had been disabled by a fall had received, in the course of thirteen years, $1,000. The twenty-fifth anniversary of the institution of the lodge was celebrated publicly November 9, 1874. Over 900, including brethren and invited guests, were furnished with a sumptuous dinner, got up by the ladies, at the National Hall. Schuyler Colfax delivered an able address in his usually happy manner.
Silliman Lodge, No.66, Knights of Pythias, was instituted September 8, 1875, by D.D.G.C. Albert Dickey, of Crawfordsville, assisted by the members of De Bayard Lodge, No. 39, of the same place. The charter was granted January 25, 1876. by C. P. Tuley, grand chancellor of the Grand Lodge of Indiana, and the charter members were as follows: William E. Fry, M. J. Cochran, William P. Strain, Z. Byers, W. N. McCampbell, 0. J. Innis, T. H. Holmes, J. Wise, J. S. Hunnell. William H. Gillum, George B. Chapman, J. B. Connelly, J. E. Woodard. J. D. Carlisle, William Rembolz, R. Christian, Charles H. Bigwood, David A. Roach, E. A. Matson, S. C. Puett, William D. Sill, F. M. Hall, S. D. Puett, A. J. East and John B. Dowd. The first officers were D. A. Roach, P.C.; William H. Gillum, C.C.; William P. Strain, Y.C.; J. S. Hnnnell, Prel.; M. J. Cochrane, K. of R. and S.; S. C. Puett, M. of F.; W. D. Sill, M. of E.; 0. J. Innis, M. at A.; William Rembolz, D.S., and T. H. Holmes, O.G. F. M. Hall, E. A. Matson and William Rembolz were the first trustees. The present officers are William J. White, P.O.; David Strouse, C.C.; J. F. Cross, Y.C.; Z. T. Overman, Prel.; James H. Bigwood, M. of E.; D. H. Webb, M. of F.; William F. Bigwood, K. of R. and S.; J. H. Brown, M. at A.; Charles Stevenson, J.G.; John R. Boyd, O.G. The present trustees are J. B. Connelly, W. N. McCampbell, S. C. Puett. Silliman Lodge has 107 members in good standing, and is in an exceptionally flourishing condition. It has the reputation of being the best working lodge in Indiana. Meetings occur every Wednesday night in Castle Hall, in the third story of Shackleford's Block, on the north side of the square, and members of the order in good standing have a cordial invitation to attend.
Rockville Lodge, No. 21, A.O.U.W., was chartered by the Grand Lodge of Indiana, February 28, 1877. The first officers were S. C. Puett, P. M.W.; John F. Meacham, M.W.; D. M. Carlisle, G.F.; O. P. Fisher, O.; J. A. Carrick, recorder; S. E. Hunt, financier; W. N. McCampbell, receiver; Thomas A. Britton, G.; W. L. Hutchinson, I.W., and Thomas Sneath, O.W. The above and some others were charter members. The present officers are Leonidas McMillin, P.M.W.; John B. Carlisle, M.W.; John H. Lee, G.F.; James A. Hayes, O.; S. L. Good, recorder; W. T. Patton, F.; W. S. Joiner, receiver; W. H. Good, G.; A. P. Noel, I.W.; Thomas Lang, O.W. W. H. Good, C. C. Morris and Thomas Sneath are the present trustees. The lodge has forty-one members and meets every Thursday night in the Odd Fellows' Hall.
The McCune cadets, a volunteer military company organized as state militia was sworn into the service, with forty-eight members, April 30, 1880. This company has secured the second story of the woolen factory for an armory, where they meet for drill every Tuesday and Friday night. On the organization of the company, February 3, a partial set of officers was elected, consisting of Clinton Murphy, captain; Isaac R. Strouse, first lieutenant, and Frank E. Stevenson, sergeant. When mustered in, April 30, the following were elected for the ensuing year: Clinton Murphy, captain; Frank E. Stevenson, first lieutenant; C. E. Lambert, second lieutenant; William L. Mason, orderly sergeant; Lannie L. Ticknor, second sergeant; William D. Stevenson, third sergeant; Frank H. Nichols, fourth sergeant; Tighlman Bryant, fifth sergeant; Isaac Strouse, first corporal; Samuel W. Smith, second corporal; Benjamin Grimes, third corporal, and George S. Cole, fourth corporal. The company has. also the following civil officers: Ed. R. Dinwiddie, president; Benjamin Grimes, vice-president; William J. Kendall, financial secretary ; I. Harris Coffin, company clerk, and Clinton Murphy, treasurer. The cadets have been furnished by the state with breech loading Springfield rifles. They are uniformed with navy blue coats and sky blue trousers and caps. Cost of uniforms, $11.75.
General Steele Post, No. 9, G.A.R., was organized September 3, 1879, with thirty-three members; J. Cummings, adjutant general of Indiana, being present and delivering an address for the occasion. The first officers were W. W. McCune. P.O. ; James T. Johnson, S.Y.C.; Joseph Ohaver, J.Y.C.; W. D. Mull, surgeon; J. A. Mitchell, chaplain; F. M. Howard, adjutant; Clinton Murphy, Q. M.; John F. Meacham, O.D.; and Ashford Hand, O.G. Present officers: James T. Johnston, P.C.; J. F. Meacham, S.Y.C.; A. F. White, J.V.C. ; George F. Myers, Q.M.; Win. D. Mull, surgeon; J. A. Mitchell, chaplain; F. M. Howard, adjutant; John B. Dowd, O.D.; and Thomas Boos, O.G. There are now seventy-three comrades. This post numbers among its members some of the most prominent and influential men in Parke county. Meetings are held on the first and third Tuesdays of each month in the Grand Army's Hall on the third floor of Rice & Co's block.
In 1871 the Sand Creek Coal Company was incorporated with a capital stock of $300,000; paid up stock $120,000. The incorporators were Wm. P. Cutler & Co., Isaac C. Elston, John Lee, Gen. Lew. Wallace, Wm. H. Nye, and Joseph L. Boyd. Nye was the first president; Gen. Wallace, secretary; and Isaac C. Elston, treasurer. The present officers are Capt. John H. Lindley, president; N. W. Cummings, secretary; and Gen. M. D. Manson, treasurer. The corporation owns 600 acres of choice coal land lying in a solid body in sections 28, 33, and 34 in Washington township. A branch track of the Terre Haute and Logansport railroad, a mile and a half long, runs cut from Sand Creek station to the mines. The coal annually taken out since the opening of these has varied from 20,000 to 50,000 tons. A force varying from 30 to 150 men is kept always employed. During the panic of 1873 the employees were paid with the accustomed regularity and promptitude of the corporation.
Robinson Lodge, No. 134, I.O.G.T.. was organized in June, 1875. J. B. Cheadle, F. R. Whipple, John T. Campbell, and several others of the best citizens of Rockville being charter members.
Strain Lodge, No. 729, I.O.G.T., was chartered February 18, 1879, with F. M. Howard, E. C. McMurtry, A. H. Cheney, J. W. Brown. Miss Anna Allen, Miss Ella Coffin, Miss Belle Mason, Mrs. David Strouse, and about forty others. The number of members has not varied much at any time since the organization. The lodge convenes Tuesday evenings in the hall occupied by the Knights of Pythias.
The work of the Rockville Blue Ribbon Club has been carried on with fidelity by those who engaged in it at its organization. About the beginning of the year 1877 Mrs. Russell and others, traveling lecturers and laborers, came to Rockville and began a series of meetings in the court house; they worked up a powerful revival, in the course of which some 2,000 signed the pledge. Numbers have since fallen out of the ranks, but the movement has been adopted by the best men and women of Rockville who have given their sympathy and cordial exertions in its behalf. The work of this club has generally been taken up by the religious societies of the place and made a church reform. Meetings are held once a month. The first officers were J. S. Rogers, president; Henry Daniels, secretary; and Wm. Hargrave, treasurer. B. W. Shackleford was the second president, and has worked untiringly to promote the cause. The present officers are Solon Ferguson, president; Jesse B. Connelly, vice-president; James Glass, 2nd vice-president; Frank Foster, secretary; and William Hargrave, treasurer. The agitation of this reform has brought into existence the Parke County Blue Ribbon Club, which has been organized since August 1879. Its meetings are on the first Saturday of each month in different parts of the county by appointment.
These "organizations" are indicative of a well regulated and social community, and are indispensable to it; but none of the large number which Rockville enjoys are as capable of making themselves heard as the cornet bands, of which there are two. White's band was organized in June, 1873. Following are the members: W. J. White, teacher; George H. Baker, president; Silas L. Good, secretary; Wm. F. Bigwood, treasurer; David Strouse, business manager. I. R. Strouse, Frank White, Charles Rice, D. M. Carlisle, Ed. Good, David Webb, Allen Elliott, and Charles Stevenson. This band has never once lapsed since it came into being; and with the exception of Wallace Baker and John M. Bigwood, who have removed, it has preserved its original membership. White's band furnished the music at the laying of the cornerstone of the new courthouse.
Elliott's Band was organized May 11, 1880, with the following members: Benjamin Grimes, president; E. E. Hendricks, secretary; A. M. Elliott, treasurer; Lincoln Fisher, Nelson Evans, A. M. Carlisle, Howard Aydelotte, Dan. Thomas, S. Comfrait, John Stevens, John Strain and Jack Dison.
The first school in Rockville was taught by John McGinnis, in Andrew Ray's old cabin, on the northeast corner of the square, after Ray had moved into his new house. The next building used for this purpose was a vacant cabin which stood near Mr. Levi Sidwell's. William Noel taught in this. Mrs. John Pinegar, of Rockville, went to school at both these places; she was then about twelve years old, and from her we have obtained these facts. Mrs. Sarah E. Burke, who came into Rockville to live in 1829, and attended school afterward, mentions a schoolhouse which stood on lot 81, original plat; it was probably only an unused dwelling. John Garrigus taught here. Jeremiah Depew and John Hayes were the next teachers. About 1832 there was a school kept by Lucinda Depew in the middle room of the Central House. This building was at that time the property of the Depews. The last term before the brick schoolhouse was occupied was kept by Rev. S. H. McNutt in one end of a double log house which stood on the lot where Mr. John Pinegar lives. A family named Cole lived in the other end of the cabin. Itinerancy in schoolhouses was not long continued; a good substantial brick building was early erected on the east end of lot 1, in the original plat (near the African Baptist church); it was long and low, with doors on both sides, and would accommodate 200 or 300 pupils. John Garrigus, Jesse Lowe and another named Phillips were some of the first teachers; these were followed by Judge Morris, a professional teacher from Ohio, who taught here a good many years; and at the same time, or during a part of the same time, held the office of probate judge. Years ago he removed to Texas. In 1837 an effort was undertaken to secure the location of the Asbury University at Rockville, and the prominent men, including Howard, Wright, Bryant, Slaven and others took the matter in hand and a large subscription was raised; but Greencastle carried off the prize. The public feeling was now warmly enlisted toward increasing the educational privileges of the place, and the movers in this project immediately proposed building the Parke County Seminary, and set about securing the necessary funds by subscription. Leading men throughout the county patronized the movement by taking stock. The house was built in 1839; Charles Spangler and Wm. H. Biggs laid the brick, and school was opened in the fall, though the plastering and seating was not done till a year or two later, the means for which were contributed in mites by the scholars. James Brown, a son-in-law of the Rev. Samuel H. McNutt, was the
first principal, and very popular with the people. Matthew Simpson was his assistant. In 1841 an Irishman named Ryan, a gentleman of fine talents and scholarly attainments, succeeded to the principalship. His history after leaving Rockville is a sad one. He went to Mississippi and started a political paper, and getting into a difficulty, arising from politics, fell in a duel. Of those who taught subsequently, we may mention, without regard to order, a man named Cole ; John Whitford, who taught longer, perhaps, than any other; Prof. Couse, who was particularly competent and efficient; Bonaparte Mack, a one-legged man; George Rhodes, McLaughlin, McArthur, Long and John H. Beadle. The subjoined extract is from Mr. Beadle's interview with Mrs. G. W. Sill, published in the "Tribune:"
"John McGinnis is the first Rockville teacher Mrs. Sill remembers. His 'articles' announced that he would teach reading, writing, and the first part of arithmetic; geography and grammar were then omitted from, the common, course. He was succeeded by another McGinnis for a short time, and he by Samuel McNutt and a Mr. Berkly, who together proposed to organize the Rockville school on a permanent basis. But it was too early, and educational matters soon fell into chaos again. Next, John Garrigus taught awhile: then a Mr. Morris and McNutt, and then our friend got married and lost all run of the schools till her children were old enough to attend. Her daughter's first teacher was Mary Watt, and about the same time Miss Watt's brother Fielding taught a boy's school in Rockville. He was a peculiar genius, and it is to this day an unsettled question which party tormented the other most, he or the boys. He would hold his temper pretty well for a few days, then turn loose with seasoned beech switches and 'lather' the boys till the equilibrium was restored. Mr. John Whitford, who soon succeeded Watt, whipped with more judgment and regularity, and unquestionably did a good work in Rockville. Boys who went to him had to learn. or give a good reason for not doing so. This practice of whipping scholars continued in full force till the coming of Messrs. Couse and Condit in the autumn of 1855. They undertook a complete change of government, but it was entirely too sudden for boys who had been reared under the old system; they did not appreciate mildness, and really tormented Prof. Couse in a way that now seems shameful to look back to. At last he yielded to circumstances, whipped right and left for a while, and then quit in disgust and went back to Pennsylvania. In view of the present system the old seems incredible. This writer has seen a teacher lock the door and darken the windows and whip girls with an oak ruler! We must have been a hard set of children thirty years ago, or the teachers did not understand child-nature; and this writer does not like to say which. During those years several ladies successively taught short terms here; chief among them were Misses Bass and Gregg. Before that Matthew Simpson had attempted to found a permanent ladies' seminary, but there was no system, almost no law of any account, in regard to schools; the matter ran at loose ends, and each successive teacher had his own system, while some had none at all."
Several years ago the Parke County Seminary building proving to be too small, the old Presbyterian church was secured for the white scholars of the primary department, and the old Methodist church for the colored pupils. This arrangement was but a temporary expedient. The subject of building a new house was canvassed in a public meeting, and at length, on August 1, 1872, the school board, consisting of Wm. H. Nye, J. M. Nichols and Win. S. Magill, in obedience to the popular wish, passed an order to erect a schoolhouse; and on October 15 the town board passed an ordinance authorizing an issue of $28,000 in bonds to carry out the object. The bonds were issued and dated January 1, 1873; Tate & Stark, as agents, negotiated them at par, and were allowed two per cent commission. They are in denominations of $500, and were made payable on the first day of January, as follows: Three in 1878, two in 1879, three in 1880. three in 1881, three in 1882, four in 1883, four in 1884, four in 1885, five in 1886, five in 1887, six in 1888, six in 1889, and eight in 1890. Stover & Brown were the architects. The contract was let to Morris & Hinckley November 1, and the edifice was finished in January, 1874, at a total cost, including grounds, of $36,000. The building was occupied as early as the fall of 1873. It is built of brick, three stories and a basement; is heated with Bennett's improved hot-air furnaces, and furnished with the best modern school furniture. The school is divided into the primary, intermediate, grammar, and high school departments; nine teachers and one superintendent are employed, whose salaries aggregate annually $4,620. Wm. M. Craig, the present superintendent, has been in the school five years. The lady teachers are Miss Julia Hughes and Miss Laura J. Henley, high school; Miss Mary Hadley, grammar department; Miss Belle Mason, room No. 5; Miss Jane Rogers, room No. 4; Miss Mary Hutchinson. room No. 3; Miss Lucy Allen, room No. 2; Miss Maggie Kirkpatrick, primary department. John Wilson has charge of the colored school in the seminary building, to which it was transferred from the old Methodist church when the new public schoolhouse was occupied. The white and colored scholars have never been mixed and taught together in the same room, not even in the same building. Misses Gertie Thompson and Susie Lankford, and John Wilson, have been teachers in this department. The number of colored pupils is forty-seven. The new building contains eleven rooms, ample for 500 scholars; the attendance has not been sufficient to bring them all into use, and the large chapel in the upper story has never been occupied. It was believed when the house was erected that the advantages of a graded course and thorough instruction would cause an influx of people to the town; but the hard times broke suddenly upon the country in 1873 and in the universal calamity which befell human calculations of every kind, their expectations were not realized. But this disappointment ought to be only temporary. Twenty four students have graduated since the adoption of the present graded course of study. Adams township, outside of the corporation of Rockville, has eighteen common schools; the houses are frame buildings, fair in size and finish, and in good repair. Two new ones have been built the present season. All are completely furnished with the latest improvements in furniture and the ordinary aids to teaching. The enumeration of all persons of school age for 1880 was 622; but these are not all actual pupils, a fact to be regretted. The rule in this township for the last six or eight years has been to have one term of six months' school each year, beginning about the middle of September, and allowing a week's vacation when the holidays come. This has been found to work well, and it is thought that it secures better results than any other plan yet tried by the authorities. The teachers employed rank as high as any in the state. Several of both sexes are graduates of the state normal school. About §4,200 is the aggregate sum paid to teachers yearly. No distinction is made in wages on account of sex, not far from §42 per month being the average salary received by both males and females, of whom there is generally about an equal number. The township has a library of 150 volumes, kept in the office of the trustee to gather the dust and color of age, concerning whose origin neither the "oldest inhabitant'1 nor the best informed official can give a particle of information. The present trustee, Henry C. Brown, than whom probably no more efficient and successful man has filled the office since its creation, is serving his second term, to which he was elected by a largely increased vote over the first.
RELIGIOUS HISTORY—METHODIST CHURCH
The chastening and hallowed influences of the gospel followed close upon the footsteps of the pioneers; and a settler's cabin was hardly up before an itinerant was there with his bible and hymn-book gathering the family for devotion around the altar in the wilderness. The first settlers were an intensely earnest people; they manifested no half-way religious feeling, but worked for the Lord as they worked for themselves, with loud shouts and heavy blows. An early missionary in these parts, and probably the first of the Methodist faith, was William Cravens, from Virginia, a fearless and remarkable man. He was a mason by trade, and had been dissipated, but was converted and took a singular and solemn vow of abstinence by putting his bottle into, and making it part of, a wall which he was building. He was powerful in frame; a slaveholder, and wealthy. He abandoned his former vices; he liberated his slaves. Taking the pulpit he assailed the great evils of southern society; he declaimed against drinking, gambling, horse-racing and slavery; this provoked dangerous opposition, and mobs threatened his life. But he was bold as a lion. With Christian intrepidity he sent his appointments to those who awaited his coming with vengeance in their hearts, never failing to meet his engagement at the stated hour, nor to utter with unshaken firmness his daring sentiments. He became famous in Virginia as a preacher, and hardly less noted in Indiana. He did his Master's work and counted not the cost. John Strange and another named Armstrong, able and distinguished men who have left flattering and fascinating traditions among the people, planted Methodism in this part of Parke county. Accounts are given of Methodist preaching as early as 1822. In 1824 Grimes was the circuit rider, and meetings were held at John Leinbarger's on the Leatherwood, and at James Strain's on the Big Raccoon. This last place is now called Pleasant Valley. A church was subsequently built there, but it is out of repair and no longer used. After Grimes came Anderson, a brother-in-law to Strange. The latter was a powerful teacher of the Word; it is said that he was the first presiding elder, and was followed by Armstrong and James Thompson. The first building in Rockville occupied for stated religious services was the log court-house: this was used until the brick school-house, of which not a vestige now remains, was built. In 1832 the Methodists, Baptists and Presbyterians were using this building. The new court-house, finished this year, was at once occupied by the different societies. Occasionally there were great awakenings, and in these houses were stirring revivals. The old Presbyterian church, the first house of worship erected in the place, was built in 1833. The Methodists enjoyed the privilege of its frequent use. In 1834 the sainted Bishop Roberts visited Rockville, and by invitation of the Rev. McNutt preached in this house. A little later in the same season Richard Hargrave, a talented young Methodist divine, was passing through the country, and was invited to occupy the Presbyterian pulpit, from which he delivered nine able and convincing discourses, which it is alleged " set the people to thinking on theology." It should be remarked that among the leading men were many skeptics. The Baptist meeting-house, a brick structure which long since wholly disappeared, was reared a little later than the Presbyterian.
"The first event of public importance Mrs. Sill can remember is going to Methodist meeting in the old log court-house, where Rev. Smith, afterward more familiarly known as Old Billy Smith, preached. From that time forward the Methodists had service here with tolerable regularity, and religious pioneering went on evenly with the felling of the forests and clearing out of the snakes and wolves."* Cornelius Sunderland was one of the organizers of this society, which at first consisted of a small membership. Smith was on the circuit in 1826, and laid the foundation of Methodist success. A little later Cornelius Swank and Samuel Brinton preached here, and about this time a good many were received into the church. Swank was a better man than preacher. Samuel Cooper came still later, and was here a couple of years. Holliday was also here later than Swank. Prominent in the church have been Elisha Adamson and his wife. Samuel Noel, John Linkswiler and his wife Rebecca, Samuel Baker, David Reeder, James Justus, Scott Noel and his wife, Gen. John Meacham. Mark Meacham, Dr. Peter Q. Stryker, Johnson S. White and his wife Hannah, Thompson Ward and his wife, Miles Hart and his wife Phebe. Uncle Perry Cummings, Greenberry Ward, Gov. Wright and his wife Louisa, and perhaps others whom it is impossible now to name. The families of most of these were also communicants in the church. Good fathers and mothers in Israel tell us solemnly that the young people devoted themselves then more to the cultivation of spiritual lives than in this degenerate age. Linkswiler was very active as a class leader; Baker was recording steward many years; Dr. Stryker was a pillar in the church and held official relation, and Jacob Stryker, who had been a traveling preacher before he came, was a local preacher here. For several years between 1840 and 1850 the society was divided into three classes; one met at the church right after service, one at Gov. Wright's house, and the other at Dr. Stryker's. An era of great prosperity to the church began about 1833 and lasted till 1850. In the spring of 1855 there was a powerful revival, and many members were added. Mrs. Elisha Adamson was a talented and spiritual woman, very industrious and successful in church work. Mrs. Gov. Wright was an exceedingly pious and indefatigable laborer, who always shouted in meeting. Miss Mary Watt was another earnest, devoted Christian lady. In these three gifted women the spirit of fervent work and consecration were happily blended and sweetly displayed. Any two of them could carry on an interesting meeting. Miss Watt was a school-teacher, and died in 1847.
The society had used successively the log court house, the brick school house and the new court-house, but in 1837 decided to build a church. Their numbers were, indeed, few enough, and their means small enough, for such an undertaking, and the burden came heavily on the few abler ones; but they succeeded in erecting a large house, which is known as the "Old Church," now owned by the African Methodist Episcopal society. We are told that Samuel Noel mortgaged his farm for money to complete it. Perhaps he was not the only one who did so. It cost about $2,500. A parsonage was built two or three years later. Next year the Indiana conference met in Rockville and the sessions of that body were held in this building. It served the congregation twenty-eight years and was then abandoned, the society returning for another year to the old court-house. The Rev. Thomas Meredith held the last service in the old church late in 1865. Next spring the foundation for the present neat edifice was laid, and the house finished that year and dedicated the following winter. Rev. Meredith, as pastor of the congregation, circulated the subscription and collected the funds used. The new church and parsonage stand on lot 30 in the original plat. The oldest existent record begins with the minutes of the quarterly conference of the year 1837-8, commenced January 13, 1838, and held in the Methodist chapel. At this date Henry S. Talbot was the presiding elder, and Charles M. Holliday the preacher-in-charge; William P. Cummings, Milton Garrison and Thomas Moore were the local preachers. In 1838-9 Talbot was P. E. and C. Swank P.C.; 1839-40, E. R. Ames P.E. and A. Johnson P.C.; 1840-1, A. Wiley P.E. and S. Rawson P.C. a few months and then succeeded by Swank; 1841-2, G. M. Beswick P.E. and C. Swank P.C.; 1842-3,G. M. Beswick P.E. and G. "W. Ames P.C.; 1843-4, G. M. Beswick P.E. and Philip May P.O.; 1844-5, G. M. Beswick P.E. and J. Colclager P.O.; 1845-6, William H. Good P. E. and Henry C. Benson P.O.; 1846-8, William H. Good P.E. and William Wilson P.O.; 1848-9, William H. Good P.E. and T. H. Sinex P.O.; 1849-50, Richard Hargrave P.E. and Isaac M. Stagg P.O.; 1850-2, Richard Hargrave P.E. and G. W. Warner P.O.; 1852—4, John H. Bruce P.E. and James L. Thompson P.O.; 1854-6, Aaron Wood P.E. and I. W. Parrott P.O.; 1856-7, Aaron Wood P.E. and H. S. Shaw P.O.; 1857-8, Aaron Wood P.E. and M. Green P.O.; 1858-9, A. G. Chinoweth P.E. and C. S. Burghner P.O.; 1859-61, A. G. Chinoweth P.E. and G. W. Stafford P.C.; 1861-2, A. G. Chinoweth P.E. and L. Nebeker P.C.; 1862-3, I. L. Smith P.E. and L. Nebeker P.C.; 1863-1, I. L. Smith P.E. and L. C. Buckles P.C.; 1864-5, J. C. Reed P.E. and L. C. Buckles P.O.; 1865-6, J. C. Reed P.E. and Thomas Meredith P.O.; 1866-8, J. C. Reed P.E. and J. Foxworthy P.C.; 1868-9, J. H. Hull P.E. and J. J. Stallard P.C.; 1869-70, Richard Hargrave P.E. and J. J. Stallard P.C.; 1870-1, Richard Hargrave P.E. and C. S. Burglmer P.C.; 1871-2, William Graham P.E. and C. S. Burghner P.C.; 1872-3, William Graham P.E. and D. Handley P.C.; 1873-1, James W. Green P.E. and D. Handley P.C.; 1874-5, James W. Green and J. C. Reed P.E. and D. Handley and W. G. Vessels P.C.; 1875-6, James W. Green P.E. and W. G. Vessels P.C.; 1876-7, James W. Green P.E. and James Johnson P.C.; 1877-9, C. A. Brooke P.E. and James Johnson P.C.; 1879-80, C. A. Brooke P.E. and Thomas Meredith P.C.
The prosperity of this church has known little, if ever any, abatement. Full interest in the weekly prayer service has always been maintained, and the Sabbath-school has flourished in equal strength. Mr. Morrison, dead over twenty years ago, is spoken of as having been a useful man in the church and an efficient superintendent for a long time. The average attendance of the school the past six months was 176. John Ohaver is the present superintendent.
The most numerous society in Rockville for some years at first was the Baptists; these comprised many of the best people, among whom may be mentioned, as early members, Judge Lewis Noel, a leading man, who was, as has been said with truth, " nearly everything in the society"; Samuel Noel, the Puetts, Solomon Simmons, the Burfords, Mrs. Bradley, Matthew Noel, Daniel Schenck, John Ashfall, Michael Swim, Harper Dogget, Page and Pitman. Probably the most noted preacher among them was a man named Thomas. Another named French built up the church largely. Pratt, Lakie, Martin, Harlan, Phillips and Riley also broke the word of life to them. About 1834 a brick house of worship was reared on lot 44, original plat, Judge Noel furnishing most of the money. . The church moved on smoothly enough until schismatic views were introduced, when dissensions arose and a division followed. The majority seceded, and thereafter held meetings in Washington township. They were at once known as Missionary Baptists. Those who remained were now called Ironsides. The house was finally taken down and the society*in Rockville passed out of existence.
Mr. J. S. Rogers, congregational clerk of the Presbyterian church in Rockville, had the good judgment to perpetuate the history of his society in the following sketch, which he some time ago took the pains to compile from various sources:
"In the fall of 1822 Rev. Charles C. Beaty, now a doctor of divinity of Steubenville, Ohio, then a young missionary of the Assembly's Board of Domestic Missions, visited Parke county and gathered together a number of Presbyterian families, principally from Mercer county, Kentucky. Among that flock we find the names of Buchanan, Gilkeson, McMillin, Balch, Adams, Garrison, White, Anderson, Mann, Rankin and others, all living on Little Raccoon creek, between where Waveland now stands and the mouth of that stream. After preaching to them for some weeks, sometimes in groves and sometimes in private houses, he organized them into what was known as the Shiloh Presbyterian church. In 1824 they erected a hewed log meeting-house for worship, near Little Raccoon creek, about four miles northeast of the town of Rockville. This was the first built in Parke county. The ruling elders were Amos P. Balch, Wm. McMillin, Jonathan Garrison, James Buchanan and Henry Anderson. It is said that this church, in the year 1830, reported some 100 members to the general assembly. Revs. S. K. Snead, D. C. Proctor, Isaac Reed, Gideon Blackburn, Samuel Taylor, John Young and James Thomson visited the church and preached more or less to it previous to the year 182S, when Rev. Samuel H. McNutt, a young minister from Virginia, became stated supply to that people, and so continued until 1832. That year a large section of the Shiloh congregation, together with a number who had removed from other states to Rockville, resolved to start a new enterprise at that place. Accordingly, on August 11, 1832, after a sermon by the Rev. John Thomson, a church consisting of forty members was organized, with the Rev. S. H. McNutt as pastor. Henry Anderson, James L. Alien and James McCampbell were chosen ruling elders; the two latter were then ordained, and the three installed as ruling elders of the Rockville Presbyterian church. Early in 1833 they erected the old First church.
In 1835 Rev. McNutt, who had served the church as stated supply, became the regular pastor, and officiated as such until 1846, when by mutual consent his pastoral relation to the church was dissolved, and he was followed by the Rev. William Y. Alien. In March, 1839, the church reported 130 members to the general assembly, only nine of whom remained in the bounds of the congregation in 1877, a large number having died, and a still larger number emigrated west. Dr. Beaty is still living and in the enjoyment of sound health. He is the only surviving minister of the Old Shiloh; all the members of the old organization have passed away except John C. Gilkeson and Margaret and Isabella Gilkeson. In 1839 forty-one of the members withdrew and formed a separate organization known as the Second Presbyterian church of Rockville (New School). The First Presbyterian church was now known as Old School. In April, 1842, the First church reported 116 members; in 1843, 134, and in 1845, 144, which last number was the largest ever reported. In 1859 the membership was about 90. The ruling elders have been as follows: Henry Anderson, James McCampbell, Daniel M. Morris, James L. Alien, Gibson Agnew, David Todd, Tighlman A. Howard, Benjamin Alien and John Humphries. The three last were of the number who withdrew and organized the Second Church. After that we find the names of John F. Norris, James McEwen, Amzi Logan, Levi Sidwell, A. M. Houston, Addison Logan, J. C. Gilkeson, as ruling elders; and in January, 1859, John H. Alien and P. S. Cornelius were ordained to the same office. . In 1862 Rev. W. Y. Alien requested the church to unite with him in asking the presbytery to dissolve the pastoral relation existing between him and the church, both which requests were acceded to: and after a pastorate of almost sixteen years Mr. Alien closed his labors in this pulpit. The Rev. S. H. McNutt followed as stated supply one year, and was succeeded in June, 1863, by the Rev. Beaubien in the same capacity. The latter resigned in November, 1864, and moved to Philadelphia. Excepting a few discourses preached by Rev. S. G. Hair after the departure of Baubien, the pulpit was vacant nearly a year. Then Rev. John Mitchell ministered a year and resigned. Rev. Dr. Jewett, a Congregational minister of Terre Haute, came next and supplied the church until the reunion in 1869. In 1866 James R. McArthur, from Alabama, was added to the bench of elders, and in 1868 D. H. Maxwell, T. N. Rice and W. L. McMillin were ordained ruling elders. The three last, with J. C. Gilkeson and Levi Sidwell. constituted the bench of elders at the time of the union. On April 22, 1839, forty-one members withdrew and organized the Second Presbyterian church of Rockville (New School), as before mentioned. James L. Allen and David Todd were chosen ruling elders. Rev. S. G. Lowry, of the presbytery of Crawfordsville, was the stated supply from July 15, 1839, to July 15, 1847. During his pastorate 123 members were received into the church. A house of worship was erected, and on November 22, 1840, was dedicated, the sermon being preached by the Rev. John S. Thomson, of Crawfordsville. T. H. Howard, John Ott, John Humphries and Samuel Cummings had previously been made ruling elders, and the number was still further increased by the election and ordination of R. B. McEwen and William Spillman on December 5, 1843. In 1847 Mr. Lowry was succeeded by Rev. W. M. Cheever, who was the next year regularly installed pastor, and continued as such until the latter part of the year 1849, when he gave way to the Rev. W. D. Rositer. The fruits of Mr. Cheever's ministry was the addition of forty-two members to the communion of the church. Mr. Rositer was stated supply two years, and his labors brought twenty-eight into the church. Rev. George A. Adams preached from 1852 till 1855, and added thirteen to the membership. Rev. John A. Tiffany succeeded Mr. Adams in 1856, and remained as stated supply two years, in which time nine united with the church. In the early part of 1859 Rev. John O. Blythe began his labors, remaining eight months, and receiving two persons into communion. The next stated supply was Rev. John Hawks. ‘whose period of service extended from November 20, 1859, to October 24, 1866. During six years of this time 104 new members were brought into the congregation. On February 3, 1862, I. G. Coffin, previously elected, was ordained a ruling elder. The spring and summer months of 1867 found the pulpit only occasionally supplied, but on October 23 the Rev. John M. Bishop began his ministrations. On June 11, 1869, the elders of this society addressed a communication to the First Presbyterian church of Rockville. proposing a union of the two; and at a congregational meeting of that church, held July 17, the proposition was accepted. Accordingly on December 29 the union was formally consummated at a called meeting of the Greencastle presbytery convened in Terre Haute, the Crawfordsville presbytery, to which the First church belonged, having previously set it off to the other for that purpose. Rev. John M. Bishop was continued pastor of the united church until October 23, 1872, when Rev. Henry L. Dickerson was installed as stated supply. Early in the summer of 1877 the latter resigned his charge and removed to Danville, Indiana. Rev. William H. Hillis has since filled the pulpit as stated supply. The present membership of this church is 141." The present and first board of trustees, consisting of John Ott, James A. Alien, Isaac G. Coffin, David H. Maxwell, Thomas N. Rice and Wm. L. McMillin, were elected June 30, 1877. A flourishing Sabbath-school of 150 scholars is doing good work. Jesse B. Connelly is the superintendent. The fine large brick edifice which the society owns was erected in 1870.
When the two societies united, the bells belonging to their respective houses were taken down and recast into the one which hangs in the tower in rear of the new church. This is a pretty symbol of the perfect union of the two bodies. The old Second church building stands in the west part of the town, serving useful ends as a carriage shop for the Foster Brothers. The First church was sold to John Tate and others, and for a while used by the primary department of the public school; afterward the colored Baptists held services in it, and now it is an implement depot. There lately appeared in the "Rockville Republican" a farewell to this old tabernacle; a touching farewell reminiscence by the venerable William Y. Alien. It forms a fitting conclusion to this subject:
"It is now full of wagons, reapers, etc.—the house where the fathers worshiped the God of Heaven; where McNutt ministered regularly for fourteen years and six months as pastor, and was succeeded by the writer in a ministry as pastor for fifteen years and a half, making the pastorate of two men lasting just thirty years. During these thirty years many were the occasions when the voices of other men were heard in this house, as of Eastman, Taylor, Evans (all dead) and Bacon. And afterward of Jewett, Divine and John Mitchell. The first two elders, McCampbell and Dr. Alien, have passed away. Their successors, Agnew, Anderson, Houston and Benjamin Alien, are dead; Morris and Norris still live, the former in Texas, the latter in Louisville, and Logan in Missouri; Sidwell and Gilkeson are still on the ground. Of the original members, at the organization in 1832, there are probably not more than four still living. Great changes have taken place in this country—in the world—during these forty-eight years. The old house was the first church building in Rockville. Those were brave hearts who in their weakness in numbers and resources undertook to erect such a house. They had wearied of worshiping in a little school-house, and even in the new court-house. Precious seasons have been witnessed in that house, and God's word had free course, and Christians were edified and sinners were converted. Mr. McNutt and the writer each preached nearly one thousand discourses in that same house; many heard the word at our mouth who will never hear it again, and many heard it who gave no heed. Farewell old house; better be a receptacle for wagons than a target for missiles of bad boys."
The Christian church of Rockville was organized in September, 1838, with sixteen members, and the next year a church building 30x40 feet was erected on lot seventy-three of the original plat. Wm. Cooper was the contractor, and Joseph Ralston assisted him with the work. Persius E. Harris, Barzilla Morlan, John W. Tucker, Erastus Rositer, Joseph Boggess, Francis Miller, Wm. P. Watson, and Grandison R. Boswell were some of the leading organizers. Reverends John O'Kane, William Crawford, and Michael Combs were present at the organization, and the latter became the first pastor. Harris and Morlan were the first bishops, and Tucker and Rositer the first deacons. The church continued doing a useful work nearly twenty years, when in 1858, a large body of the membership having relaxed their connection with the church, a reorganization was obtained, thirty-nine of the brethren and sisters placing their names on the record. Quite a large number soon after joined, and by 1862 over eighty were around the communion board. Strong interest was maintained for awhile, but in 1865 the church became completely disorganized and lapsed for a period of ten years, not holding a service during the time. On February 23, 1874, a society of Christians was formed at the Boyd school-house. Both that and the preaching place were called "Whitehall." By the active exertions of Thomas Boardman they were induced, in August 1875, to transfer their place of worship to the Christian chapel in Rockville, and to unite with those of the same faith in the town. This raised the congregation to sixty-four. At the end of four years the attendance had so flagged that not more than a dozen were meeting regularly. Accordingly on November 21, 1879, Thomas Boardman addressed a letter to each of the brethren exhorting them to attend on the 30th and assist in another reorganization. This was responded to by thirty-one persons renewing their membership. Some of the most prominent pastors over the congregation have been Reverends John O'Kane, William Crawford, Michael Combs, Miller, Wm. P. Shockey, Nathan Wright, O. P. Badger, Benjamin Franklin, Taylor, Goodwin, J. M. Matthews Wm. Holt, Jacob Wright and J. G. Burroughs. Thomas Boardman has always stood at the post of duty, constant in faith and diligence. He has acted in the several stations of sexton, clerk, deacon, elder and pastor.
The Catholics have a small, plain house on lot 4 in the west addition to Rockville. Service was held by this people for the first time in this vicinity in 1854, at the house of Martin Ryan, about three miles south of Rockville, near the crossing of the county road and the railroad. Mass was read by Rev. La Lamere, who was parish priest at Terre Haute. Rev. Highland was then appointed; by the bishop to the missions of Rockville, Montezuma, Greencastle, and Bainbridge. He first read mass at James Kinney's, and then removed to the residence of Patrick Riordan, where it was held at different times for seven years. In that time there came Revs. Highland, O'Conner, and Fenton. Service was held for some time at the residence of Morris Sullivan, Father Minerod officiating. A church was then built by Father Minerod; the members of every other church, true to their old generous-heartedness, contributed liberally. Since Father Minerod's time there have been, Rev. Aldering, Rev. Mazetta, Rev. Father John, Rev. McEvoy, Rev. Quinlan, Rev. O. Donohue, and Rev. B. F. Kintrupp. Sometimes service would be held once a month, at other times not for six months. James Bowman gave instructions to the children for a number of; years; after him Mrs. E. J. Hughes instructed them; after her they received no instructions only from their parents. Instruction would be given by the priest at every visit. At present the members of the congregation at Rockville are Martin Ryan, Thomas Barry, John Burk, Maurice 0'Sullivan, John Terney, Darby Ceilings, John Ragged, John Fitzgerald, John Bowman, Richard Bowman, John Elenridge, John Barrett, Bartholomew Foley, Timothy Cashman, and Patrick Riordan. Martin Ryan, Thomas Barry and Patrick.Riordan were among the first Catholic residents of Rockville.
This very complete little sketch of the Catholic society was furnished by Miss Maggie Riordan, of Rockville, a graduate of the high school this year. j
The New Discovery Baptist church is situated five miles from Rockville, on the Rockville and Greencastle road. The society was organized on August 29, 1834, with thirty-seven members. Samuel Medley, Abraham Coleman, George Mater, Jasper Ball, Berryanna James, Sarah Adams and Elizabeth Barnes were a few of the first. The house was built about thirty-five years ago. The society now numbers about seventy. Rev. S. K. Fuson is the pastor, and has officiated the last six years.
The Christian Union church, on the Rockville and Mecca gravel road, two miles from the former place, had at one time a membership of eighty, which is now fallen off nearly or quite one half, principally on account of removals. When organized, meetings were first held in the school-house in the neighborhood. The society comprised a dozen souls. A sufficient sum of money having been raised among the members, a church was erected costing §800. The Rev. William Halt preached first for two or three years, and was followed by Myers, Jacob Wright, Boer, and Nathan Wright.
The New Bethel Presbyterian church, located on the Rockville and Roseville gravel road, two and one half miles from Rockville, was organized in 1859 with twelve members. For a while the society worshiped in the school-house, but by liberal exertions on the part of the members a church was built at a cost of $900. The Rev. John Hawks was the first preacher. At one time there was a congregation of sixty (forty were added at a single revival), but perhaps not more than half that number can now be mustered. The first year the Sabbath-school had 130 scholars, and though not so full at the present time, is still flourishing, and has always maintained a condition of prosperity. Theodore Marshall is the superintendent. Just one half of the original members are living, five women and one man, the latter Mr. Lewis Fisher.
Sand Creek United Brethren church. In 1832 William and James Davis came to Parke county and began holding service in the house of John Mater; this continued to be a preaching point fifteen years, and was the origin of the Mansfield circuit. The organization of this society, under the ministerial charge of the Rev. White, probably took place about 1860. The following were some of the first members, and likely all of them, as it is said in the beginning there were but four or five altogether: David Rowe, William Paul, David Kyle, and Solomon Dixon and his wife. The membership grew to sixty, but has been reduced by removals to twenty-eight. The house in which they worship was first the property of the Methodists, and was purchased from them about. 1864: for $100. It has since undergone repairs which have added $400 to the original sum paid. One of the first ministers was the Rev. Gayer. Revs. Beaucamp, Mast, Sherrill. Shoemaker, Coffman, Snyder, Kelly, Jaggers, Teague, Lowe and Penser have been pastors. Coffman and Shoemaker have conducted revivals and added considerably to the list of communicants. This appointment belonged to the Mansfield circuit until the conference of 1879 made it a mission, and it was taken in with the Rockville and Leatherwood churches. An interesting Sunday-school has been going on the past ten years; the superintendents this year being Caldwell and Samuel Welsh. Rev. W. N. Coffman is now preaching to this congregation, and the Rev. Thomas M. Hamilton is the presiding elder of this district.
There is a United Brethren society in Rockville, under the pastoral care of the Rev. Coffman.
The A. M. E. church of Rockville was organized in 1872 by the Rev. Jesse Bass. Patrick Thomas and Louisa Black began a protracted effort in Rockville on May 15, at Thomas' house, and carrying their meetings from house to house, in five weeks they were able to form a society, composed of the following persons: Patrick Thomas, Louisa Black, William Lewis, Samuel Kirkman, William Brower, Sarah Williams, Jesse Brower, Anthony Brower, Eli Kirkman, Cynthia Kirkman, Ransom Coble, Hannah Coble, John Robinson, George Robinson, George Williams and Jerry Craven. This earnest, spirited little band of colored worshipers, as soon as they had organized, in June, purchased the old Methodist church building for $1,500. The first trustees appointed were Samuel Kirkman, Theodore Johnson, A. Black, Wm. Lewis and Patrick Thomas. The present board is Samuel Kirkman, Patrick Thomas, Robert Wesley, Ransom Coble and George Thomas. The pastors have served in the following order: Nathan Bass, John McSmith, John Hart, John Myers, Johnson Burden and W. S. Lankford. Their church is 44 x 60 feet on the ground, and is a good, substantial, old-style building, which stands on lot 20 in the west division, and has a frontage of 100 feet, and is 160 feet deep. They have repaired and refitted the house, and added a small but comfortable parsonage, the entire property having now cost them §2,000, and being free from debt, save the inconsiderable sum of $40. The society comprises sixty-six members. The present pastor, W. S. Lankford, is one of the best in the state, and has heretofore occupied pulpits in the large cities, with a salary of $3,000. The stewards of the church are Ransom Coble, Thomas B. Chavers, Thomas P. Chavers, Cass Davis, and Henry Chavers. A live Sunday-school of forty-nine scholars assembles every Sabbath for instruction, with Prof. John Wilson as superintendent and Augustus Roberts as secretary.
The Second Baptist (African) church of Rockville was organized July 23, 1870, under the pastoral direction of the Rev. L. Artis. The house of worship belonging to this society is situated on lot 1 of the original plat. The house is 30x40 feet, and worth $1,500. The lot is 50x80 feet. The society was organized with eleven members, and has increased to forty-one. The successors to the pastor above mentioned have been the Rev. I. G. Artis, of Paris, 111.; Rev. W. H. Anderson, of Terre Haute, and Rev. I. Miller, of Crawfordsville. Bright Holmes is moderator, and Burket Artis clerk.
The Colored Free Will Baptist society was organized in May, 1880, with eleven members. They hold meetings every fourth Sunday in the Second Baptist church. Isaac Hill is the pastor.
Let us go back to the early times again and conclude this topic with an extract from Mr. Beadle's interview with Mrs. George W. Sill. The date of the event is 1832; the scene, south of the town in the woods.
"A few years after the noted Lorenzo Dow was announced to preach here, and the word was sent all over the county, awaking great interest. The day came, and with it as motley a congregation as Parke county ever saw. A huge log roughly leveled on top was the pulpit. Near it were a few seats occupied by the women and young children and a few of the most ' subdued' men. Behind them for some distance all sorts and conditions of people sat on logs and stumps, or stood leaning on their long rifles or against the trees. On the outskirts of the crowd were several hunters clad in buckskin, with beaded moccasins, the whole adorned by the handiwork of squaws; and to one side was a small group of Franco-Indian half-breeds, and with them two or three full-blooded Indians. No one had seen the preacher enter the crowd, when most unexpectedly ho bounded on the log, and doffing his wolf-skin cap, glared around in a manner that seemed more like insanity than anything else, giving those near him a decided shock. In a minute the whole audience was hushed; then in a strange, quavering voice, drawing the vowel sounds to great length, Dow recited the lines:
“The day is almost gone. The evening shades appear; 0, may we all remember well The night of death draws near.”
The effect was electric. Every eye in the motley audience was fixed upon the speaker as if by a terrible fascination, and having thus prepared the way, he proceeded to preach in a more natural tone. His illustrations were drawn largely from the common life of his hearers. He spoke of their combats with wolves and serpents, and symbolized the contests of the soul; he touched upon their early trials and ill health, and pointed to the Comforter; he alluded to children already buried in this young settlement, and to the graves of kindred already left behind, and dwelt with great energy upon the promise of reunion in the skies. The few who remember the scene (for this account is made up from various sources) cannot say that any marked or permanent effect was produced. Most of the hearers came from mere curiosity, and were too much interested in the preacher's eccentricities to weigh his words."
Rockville has been terribly scourged by fire; it had not suffered more than an average percentage of loss from this cause until 1871, when three conflagrations in that year burned out three sides of the public square. The first occurred on the night of July 4, on the south side. The buildings were all wooden, and with the exception of the one on the southeast corner, rookeries; but to some the loss was not less severe on this account, though the aggregate was inconsiderable when compared with the later fires, especially the one on the north side. This last took place on the night of September 17; starting in the old hotel on the northwest corner, it swept everything clean to the National Bank. Here was concentrated the greater part of the business, and of course here was the greatest loss. Several of the best brick buildings in the town were in this row. The estimated loss after payment of insurance was about $60,000. The east side was consumed on the night of December 8; seven brick front rooms were destroyed, besides others less valuable. The old hotel on the west side, where the new one is now building, was burned at another time. The south-side fire was thought to have been accidentally caused by a crowd of drunken men; but the others were supposed incendiaries.
The town has never had any adequate fire apparatus; it has a small engine which is more effective in relaxing vigilance and promoting fancied security than otherwise. So far as the appearance of the town is concerned these fires have been an advantage; they made room for large, tasteful and substantial edifices which now cover the ground.
An historical character was Aunt Sukey Gray, who was brought from Kentucky about 1826 by Charlton Britton, to work in the tavern kept by Thomas H. Blackburn. She had been given her freedom, and was remarkable for her extreme age; she remembered Washington and his army, having seen both. She was intelligent and superstitious, and for many years during her later life lived alone in a little house which she owned, and was supported by the people. She was a regular worshiper at the Presbyterian church; she would never associate with any but white people, and was amusingly exact on this as well as on many other points. For forty years she enjoyed the good will and respect of the people of Rockville, and at last ended her days in peace on July 28, 1865, at the age of 110 years.
POPULATION, COLORED PEOPLE, ETC.
The tenth census gives Adams township a population of 3644 and Rockville 1,902. In 1870 there were 3,286 in the township, including 74 colored persons; and in Rockville 1,187, including 55 colored.
In 1866 Alexander Harper, a hatter by trade, was the only colored man living in Rockville; he died and his family moved away. Patrick Thomas arrived this year, and Alexander Black soon afterward. In 1870 Abram Gaston brought his family from North Carolina; he came with Samuel Kirkman, who had been back on a visit; this was the first family from that state. In the colony of forty-nine that followed in 1872 were Joseph Kirkman, Jesse Kirkman, Anthony Brower, Jesse Craven and Ransom Coble. These people have steadily immigrated, coming from North Carolina, Virginia and Tennessee, until their numbers, it is safe to say, exceed two hundred. They form an industrious, enterprising population, and are devoting themselves with much care to their improvement; a few of them have gained some property, and sound policy requires that others do so. Under an act of the legislature passed in 1877, providing for the building of gravel, plank and macadamized roads, Adams township has completed thirty miles of gravel road, called "free turnpike." In addition to this the township has had about ten years' use of thirteen miles of "toll turnpike." The present officers of the town of Rockville are: Trustees—James H. Baker, president; Rufus Dooley, J. R. Darroch, N. W. Cummings, and W. H. Hargrave; marshal, James K. Meacham; clerk, Silas L. Good; town attorney. F. M. Howard. Henry C. Brown is township trustee.
If you have any information you would like to add, please send it to my attention. Thank you. James D. VanDerMark