BIOGRAPHY INDEX HOME PAGE MENU / SEARCH

James H. Merit,

farmer, Posey Township, was born in Ballard County, Ky., May 20, 1820. He is a son of Archibald and Mary (Hamilton) Merit, natives of near Cherry Hill in Old Virginia. His father was left an orphan at eighteen months old, and when a small boy, was brought by friends down from Virginia to Lawrenceburgh, Ind., where he was placed in a fort during the Indian troubles about 1796. When about fifteen years of age he located in Boone County, Ky., where he found a home with a Col. Stevens, with whom he resided till his marriage in 1809-10. Soon after this he came into Switzerland County, whre he remained till the fall of 1817, when he moved to Ballard County, Ky. Here he resided two years and then returned to this county, where he purchased a farm and resided eight years on the hills, then moved to Egypt Bottom, where he died May 20, 1841. His widow survived about fifteen years and died in Henry, Marshall Co., Ill. He served as a soldier under Gen. Harrison in 1812, and was always a strong supporter of that statesman and soldier. He was captured by the Indians when about ten years old while out nutting with other boys near Lawrenceburgh, but made his escape by the assistance of an old horse which was kept around the fort at that place. His cousin, John Barton, who was also captured, remained with the tribe in the West, but returned, when grown, to his home, joining the Indians six months later and has not since been heard of. Mr. Merit reared ten children, five living: Mary, John, Columbus D., Isaiah, and our subject. James H. grew up in this township on the farm, and remained with his parents till maturity. He married, in 1844, Miss Huldah Humphrey, a daughter of Arthur and Catharine (Tripp) Humphrey, who were also early settlers of this county. After his marriage Mr. Merit resided about four years on the hills, then purchased 200 acres of his present farm where he still resides. In his younger years, from twelve up to marriage, he was engaged in flat-boating on the river for his father who traded considerable in his time. Since his marriage Mr. Merit has devoted his attention to farming and stock raising, doing quite an extensive business. Has now 550 acres of excellent land, besides 400 acres, which he has turned over to his son, and 200 acres to his daughter. He has been quite successful in his business enterprises, and is reckoned among the most substantial farmers of the township. He has reared three children: Adolphus E., Kate (wife of Harvey Jack), Jennie (wife of D.H. Stapp, Aurora). The family is associated with the Presbyterian Church which was organized in January, 1854, by E.F. Sheldon, in Palmetto Bottom, the first church organized in the bottom, and Sheldon the first preacher. Mr. Merit now has in his possession the Union flag of the Palmetto Sunday school which was organized in 1854 and 1855, and he was a chief actor with Osamor Green in its organization; he has attended the same nearly ever since, and has been many years superintendent of the school.