Vigo and Parke Counties,
Together With Historic Notes on the Wabash Valley,
By H. W. Beckwith,
Chicago: H H Hill & N Iddings, 1880

There are a lot of great biographies & sketches in this book.


Vigo County, Indiana

ARMSTRONG, MARY, New Goshen, was born in Virginia, February 26, 1836, and is the daughter of William and Katie (FELLERS) ARMSTRONG, natives of Virginia, who emigrated to the Indian reserve in 1837, then to Tippecanoe county, and then to Terre Haute, Vigo county, Indiana. There Mr. ARMSTRONG followed the carpenter's trade. The subject of this sketch was educated in Vigo county, and received a common education. She was married to John DENAHIE, January 20, 1857. By this union she had three children: William M., Mary E., who died October 7, 1860, and John A. Her second marriage was to Volinie P. HUTCHINSON, November 25, 1862. From the second union she had five children: Clara B., Sarah A., Frank, George L. and Volinie. Her first husband died October 7, 1860, and Mr. HUTCHINSON March 12, 1872. She was left in good circumstances, with a farm of 315 acres, well improved.

BALDING, WILLIAM, was born on November 7, 1822 in Vigo Cty, Indiana, the first son of Isaac BALDING. William's father, Isaac BALDING, and grandfather, Jacob BALDING had come from New York and were among the very first settlers of Otter Creek Township, arriving there sometime in 1816. William was married to Lucy BALDING (daughter of John S. and Achsah (HOLLISTER) BALDING on November 23, 1843. He, like his father and grandfather, was a farmer. Only three of William and Lucy's eight children (all of whom were born in Vigo Cty) survived infancy: Martha Jane BALDING (November 10, 1853); George Albert BALDING (April 14, 1856) and Sarah Alice BADING (November 9, 1858). William lived nearly his entire life in Vigo Cty, having left in 1870 for Belton, Cass Cty, MO and returning after Lucy's death in 1873. On January 30, 1876 he married Martha SPEARS in Vigo Cty. William died October 30, 1888 and is buried in the Woodlawn Cemetery in Terre Haute.
Submitted by
lynette balding

BALL, ISAAC, was a prominent Terre Haute businessman for 60 years. The son of Nelson and Esther (Hull) Ball was born near Elizabethtown, NJ on Aug. 29, 1826. In 1832 the Ball family moved to Ohio, where Isaac attended school, and then to Hagerstown, IN. At age 16, he became an apprentice cabinetmaker in nearby Cambridge City and gained experience fabricating wooden caskets. Seeking a place to establish his own business, Ball resided briefly in Dayton, Indianapolis and Lafayette before "discovering" Terre Haute in 1847. Noting that the town was situated on the Wabash River and the National Road and soon would be served by the Wabash & Erie Canal and the Terre Haute & Richmond Railroad, he decided to relocate.

Though he initially specialized in making furniture of all kinds, Ball soon realized the local need for modern wood caskets. Before the Civil War, caskets usually were made to order. As time permitted Ball began to manufacture ready-made coffins and built a large barn behind his residence on N. Third St., north of Cherry St., for storage.

Eventually he abandoned the cabinet-making business to become an undertaker and to specialize in casket manufacturing. He is credited with introducing horse-drawn hearses to western Indiana. On Sep. 17, 1850, Isaac wed Caroline Taylor, daughter of William Taylor, a resident of Fort Harrison during the War of 1812. The couple had seven children but only two, Mathilda and Frank, survived childhood. The family resided at 220 Swan St.

Early in the civil War Ball interred 11 confederate soldiers - who died while incarcerated at a makeshift prison established in a former Terre Haute pork packing plant - at Woodlawn Cemetery. On Nov. 24, 1864, Ball departed Terre Haute for Chattanooga, TN and Bridgeport, AL, to return the remains of battlefield victims Major John P. Dufficy, William A. Rogers, John Singhurse and John T. Cuppy to their home town. He was accompanied by James Boord, a relative of Dufficy. The pair's poignant and dramatic journey took nearly two months.

By 1880 Ball had earned a statewide reputation and was elected the first president of the Indiana funeral Directors Association. Daughter Mathilda Ball, known as "Tillie", married Emanuel Augustus Hess. Frank wed the former Norma Van Deuser and joined his father in the funeral home business before the turn of the century. Albert Hollingsworth, formerly of Indianapolis, joined the business as an embalmer in 1895. Soon after Isaac's death on Sep. 2, 1907, Frank relocated the Isaac Ball Funeral Home to 331 S. Third St., his former residence, and made Hollingsworth a partner. Caroline Ball passed away on Nov. 20, 1911.
Hollingsworth and Frank Ball continued to manage Ball Funeral Home into the 1930's. In 1952, after W. Francis Porter acquired the business, the name was changed to the Ball-Porter Funeral Home.
Terre Haute Tribune

CLARK, SETH,  farmer, Prairie Creek, was born in Sullivan county, Indiana, in 1831, and is the son of Anson and Sarah (WILKINS) CLARK. His father was a native of New York state, was born in 1797, and came to Terre Haute in a (sic) early day, but having found a location in Sullivan county he remained there for a time. The last twenty-five years of his life he spent in Vigo county, where he died in 1876. Mr. CLARK was joined in marriage to Sarah MYERS, daughter of John F. MYERS, of Pennsylvania, and they had two children, Emanuel and Jesse. Mr. CLARK served one year in the 35th Ind. Vol. Inf., Co. D. He owns 190 acres of fine improved land, which is the fruit of his own labor. In politics he is a radical republican.

COX, JACKSON, farmer, Sec. 14, Macksville, is the son of John and Ruth COX, natives of North Carolina, from which state they moved to Vincennes, where they tarried a short time, and in the fall of 1819 moved to Prairie Creek township, where the subject of this sketch was born April 10, 1820. As soon as he was able to work he assisted his father in the blacksmith shop until he was twenty-one years old. His education is very crude, he having obtained it in the schools of his early boyhood, traveling a distance of two and three miles to school, and then his attendance was only a few days at a time. On August 22, 1842, he married Miss Martha J. MOBLEY, a native of Kentucky. In October of this year he left his father and began a life for himself. He cultivated a part of his father's land one and a half miles from where he was born; there he remained two years. In the autumn of 1844 he purchased a farm one mile east of Prairieton, and in the following spring moved on it. Here his wife died December 6, 1848, leaving him two children. After the death of his wife he quit house-keeping and rented his farm. In the spring of 1849 he went to New Orleans with a flatboat load of corn, where he remained a short time. On January 8, 1850, he married Miss Elizabeth REYNOLDS, at Hudsonville, a native of Crawford county, Illinois. On April 22 following he moved to Prairieton, where he remained until March, 1851, and moved on his farm. In March, 1857, he traded his farm for the one on which he now resides. During the summer of this year he built a ferry-boat and ran a ferry about twelve years. In the spring of 1864 he was elected justice of the peace and served four years. He is now, against his wishes, a candidate for the same office. He served his school district several years as director, and the township as road supervisor. His children are Thomas A., Martha J., Mary C., Lydia, Oyrus H., Annie, Silas E., Charles A. and George E. Mr. COX is a quiet, unassuming gentleman. In religion he is a Quaker, and in politics a national. His farm contains 175 acres.

HEDGES, CARL L., manager of the Indiana Dairy Marketing Association, with executive headquarters in the City of Muncie, judicial and commercial center of Delaware County, was born on the parental home farm in Lipton Township, Vigo County, Indiana, near the City of Terre Haute, and the date of his nativity was January 31, 1884. He is a son of Abner and Emily (Griffin) Hedges, both like-wise natives of Vigo County, where they were reared and educated, where their marriage was solemnized and where they were representatives of sterling pioneer families. Abner Hedges became one of the substantial exponents of farm industry in his native county, and there his death occurred in 1888, when his son Carl L., of this review, was a child of four years. His widow survived him more than a quarter of a century, her death having occurred January 28, 1914, and the remains of both being interred in the Prairie Creek Cemetery of Vigo County, where rest likewise the mortal remains of Wilford Hedges and his wife, parents of Abner. Abner Hedges was, as noted, a son of Wilford Hedges, the latter having come to Indiana from Shelby County, Kentucky, and having, as a pioneer, taken up Government land in Vigo County, where he did his part in civic and industrial progress and where he passed the remainder of his life. Wilford Hedges was a son of Charles Hedges, who was born in Virginia and whose father came from England and became a Colonial settler in the Old Dominion State, where he established his home about forty miles distant from Quantico. Abner Hedges and his wife were earnest members of the Baptist Church. Their only child is Carl L. Carl L. Hedges gained practical experience in connection with the activities of the old home farm in Vigo County in his boyhood, though he was a child at the time of his father’s death, as previously noted. His public-school education reached its maximum in his course in the high school at Pimento. He thereafter attended business college in theCity of Terre Haute, and after leaving that institution he there passed about two years in the employ of the American Hominy Company. During the ensuing ten years he gave his attention to the management of the old home farm on which he was born, and he then became associated with the Model Ice Cream Company of Terre Haute, in the capacity of sales manager and in charge of the purchasing of the requisite raw materials from farms. He was thus engaged four years, and he then, on the 1st of January, 1925, came to Muncie and assumed his present executive office, that of general manager of the Indiana Dairy Marketing Association. In addition to giving a distinctly progressive and productive administration of the affairs of this important organization he has served also since 1927 as general manager of the Indianapolis district of the Dairy Producers Exchange, besides which he further proves his versatility and resourcefulness by having charge of the dairy department of the Indiana State Farm Bureau. Mr. Hedges is a Republican in political adherency, is a member of the Muncie Chamber of Commerce, the local Exchange Club and the Dynamo Club, and he is affiliated with the Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks. From pioneer ancestry in Virginia, Kentucky and Indiana Mr. Hedges may be said to have an inherited predilection for sports field, and he has become specially prominent and influential as an adept in fox hunting, for which ancient and glorious sport he maintains a fine kennel of Walker fox-hounds for the chase and has participated in many representative field meets. Mr. Hedges is not only a progressive business man but is also a loyal and public-spirited citizen who takes lively interest in all that concerns the welfare of his home city and native state. He and his wife have membership in the Methodist Episcopal Church.  At Terre Haute, on the 18th of September, 1904, Mr. Hedges was united in marriage to Miss Nellie D. Kemper, a daughter of George Kemper, who was long a farmer near Terre Haute and who also followed the trade of carpenter, both he and his wife being deceased, and the closing years of their lives having been passed at Martinsville, Illinois. Mrs. Hedges received her education mainly at Martinsville, Illinois, where her discipline included that of the high school, and she has been specially active in various phases of work in connection with the Methodist Episcopal Church, besides being a gracious figure in social and cultural circles. Byron D., only child of Mr. and Mrs. Hedges, completed his high school course in the City of Terre Haute, where he thereafter was a student in the Indiana State Teachers College, as the former normal school in that city is now designated. He is a coadjutor of his father in directing the business of the Indiana Dairy Marketing Association. He married Miss Geraldine Shepherd, of Mooreland, Henry County, and their one child is a winsome daughter, Joy Eloise.

KING, J.W. , dairyman, Harrison township, P.O. Terre Haute, was born in Union county, Penn., in 1859, and is a son of Joseph and Maria KING, who were the parents of seven children. Our subject was reared on a farm, and has carried on agriculture, and raised and handled stock. He came to the West in 1882, and settled in Vigo county. Mr. KING was married in Union county, Penn., in 1880, to Polly E. HOLLENBACH, also a native of Pennsylvania, born in 1862, and they are the parents of five children, as follows: Isaac, Annie, Robert, Irving, and Johnnie. Mr. KING is a man of great industry, and by his own efforts and the assistance of his life companion he has prospered well. He has over one hundred cows-a fine herd of Jerseys, Herefords and Holsteins, some of which are registered. Mr. KING is a member of the F.M.B.A., and in politics he is a Democrat. He is a highly respected citizen.
History of Vigo County, Indiana with Biographical Selections By H.C. Bradsby Page 815
Submitted by Lynn Zimmerman (Bailey7435@aol.com)

LONGHEAD, LEMUEL , farmer, St Mary's, was born in Warren County, VA Feb 7 1829. He is the son of Thomas and Rebecca A (Conrad) Longhead. His father is a native of Delaware and his mother of Virginia. They moved to Paris, Edgar Co, IL and then to Vigo Co, IN in 1835. The youth of Mr Longhead was spent on a farm and going to school. He received a good education and followed teaching from 1850 to 1860. Since then he has followed farming and he now owns a fine farm in Vigo Co of 240 acres and another of 217 in MO. He has been trustee one term. He was married to Sarah Malone Dec 3 1872. The have had one child, Thomas, born Sep 15 1878. His wife is the dauther of Andrew and Sarah (Burnham) Hood. Her father was a native of TN and his mother of KY. In politics Mr Longhead is a democrat.

MCKEE, VERN M., was born in Terre Haute, Indiana Sept 3, 1913 to G.A. MCKEE (Illinois) and Ammie ROLLINGS (of Marshall, Illinois). He was married to Juanita MILHOUSE, b. March, 1916 in Missouri to William MILHOUSE and Adelia LINDER, both of St. Louis, Missouri.
Submitted by Deborah McKee (ddiallo@butler.edu)

MUELLER, JOHN ALBERT, came to the United States of America in 1891 with his Mother Christina "Cecelia" MUELLER WOERNER and his brother and sister and half brothers and sisters. One sister died on the way to America and was buried at sea. Cecelia was the daughter of John and Marie SCHNEIDER who owned and operated J. Schneider & SON, Brass Founders, located 307 N 9 in Terre Haute, Indiana They were from Unter Langendorf, Austria however their boarding place on the Stutgart was Baden, Germany. JOHN MUELLER learned many trades, he fixed and made bicycles from his shop at 608 North 7th Street and 907 College Avenue in Terre Haute and, fixed and made shoes from leather pieces, he made all of my Mother's shoes, he also worked on the railroad for a time. He also had a carpet cleaning business for a while near 13th and Wabash Avenue. He volunteered for the Spanish American War and served his time in Troop E, 15th Calvary in the Phillipine Islands. He met and married Eleanor Virginia Connop on June 26, 1905. One daughter was born to John and Ella, Elsie Marie Mueller. John applied for Citizenship and when it was discovered that he had fought for the USA in the Spanish American War he was granted citizenship with no questions asked. JOHN MUELLER was a democrat, a City Councilman, a member of Lawton Byrum Post VFW and Claude Herbert camp Spanish American War Veterans, Eagles Lodge and a member of Montrose Methodist Church. He died unexpectedly October 18, 1935.
Submitted by

RIPLEY, SYLVANUS Family – Lost Creek Twp., Vigo County, IN
Sylvanus RIPLEY was born about 1794 in MA, the first child of Joshua & Rhoda (COREY) RIPLEY. The family moved to NY when Sylvanus was quite young. They were living in Sodis Township, Ontario County, NY in the 1810 census. It was from there that his father left to serve in the War of 1812. Joshua RIPLEY was discharged from the War of 1812 at Fort George, NY with a land warrent application for property in Ohio.
The family moved to Gallia County, OH around 1816. There, Sylvanus met and married Elizabeth LOVE on 26 NOV 1816. Sylvanus appeared in the 1818 Sutton Township, Gallia County, OH Chattel Tax List where he paid $.30 for a horse and $.10 each for two cattle. That was in the days when a farmer could live on $30 per year so it was a substantial tax.

Sutton Township split from Gallia County in the 1819 formation of Meigs County, OH. The couple first appeared in the Meigs County, OH 1820 census along with their first born son, Joseph. Sylvanus moved his family to Vigo County, IN about 1828. The family then included Sylvanus and his wife along with sons Joseph and George, and two unknown daughters born in Meigs County, OH. Vigo County apparently remained their home for the rest of their days.

Sylvanus first settled in Prairie Creek Township. In 1850 he was in neighboring Lost Creek Township. Whether he moved or Lost Creek Township was newly formed to include his property, I don’t know. Joseph and the two older daughters apparently married in Vigo County before 1840. Children born to Sylvanus and his wife in Vigo County were: Sylvanus (1828-29), Mary (1830-31), William (1833-34), Sylvester (1836-37) and Samuel (1838-39).

It’s not clear if Sylvanus married a second time to a “Mary” or if Elizabeth LOVE’s first or middle name was Mary. My thinking is her legal name was probably Mary Elizabeth Love and she was commonly called by her middle name. Sylvanus & Mary probably died in Vigo County, Indiana in the 1870s to 1880s. There is a Ripley family cemetery in Lost Creek Township where they are most likely buried.

Note: The above was gleaned from census records and published records from Gallia County, OH. Biographies of Joseph RIPLEY and S.S. RIPLEY on the Vigo County GenWeb site also helped. I have consistently used the spelling “Sylvanus” throughout. As you can imagine, it is spelled several different ways in various sources. 
Submitted by Jim Bailey (jdb@icomnet.com)
Kinston, NC 09 MAY 2003

RIPPETOE, JOHN H , farmer, Macksville, was born in Vigo Co, IN January 15, 1837, and is the son of P B and Catharine V (Shewey) Rippetoe, natives of VA, who moved to Putnam Co, IN, in 1835, and then to Vigo Co, IN, in 1836. John H Rippetoe was educated in the common schools of Vigo Co and Greencastle college, where he received a graded education. His youth was spent on a farm and teaching school. He enlisted in the 185h Indiana Battery, July 14, 1862, and was in several battles: Chickamauga, Hoover's Gap, and Wilson's raid through Georgia and Alabama. He was discharged at Indianapolis, July 1, 1865. He was married to Mary J Malcolm, daughter of Peter and Delila (Riggs) Malcolm, September 23, 1858. They had three children, one dead. They are members of the Methodist Episcopal chruch. He commenced poor and now owns a fine farm, well improved. Politically he is a republican.

ROBISON, WILLIAM H, farmer, New Goshen, was born in Vigo Co, IN April 12, 1838, and is the son of John & Martha (Watkins) Robison, natives of VA. His parents emigrated from their native state to Vigo Co, IN in 1835. The youth of Mr Robinson was spent on a farm during the summer months and attending the common schools in the winter seasons, until he was 17 years old, and then he worked out by the month for five years, in the employment of one man. He then returned to school again until he was qualified to teach common schools, and after that taught school and clerked in stores until the late war commenced. He then enlisted first for 3 months, in the 54th Ind Vols, and the second time for six months, in the 115th Ind Vols. The third time was in the 18th Indiana Battery for one year. The voters of Fayete township honored him with the office of trustee two terms. Mr Robison was married to Eliza J Goodman, the daughter of W W and Gemima A (Hopkins) Goodman. His wife was born November 23, 1841, and received a common education. Her grandfather was county judge in an early day, and is a member of the Congregational church. They commenced in limited circumstances, and now own a home of 80 acres of good land, well improved, all underdrained with tiling. In politics he is a national.

SHANK, JACOB H , farmer, New Goshen, was born in Rockingham Co, VA, June 16, 1828. His parents emigrated from VA to Vigo Co in 1834. The subject of this sketch was educated in Vigo Co in one of those old fashioned log school-houses run on the subscription system. He learned the mason's trade under his father, and worked with his father until he died. He then went to work on a farm and has followed that calling ever since. He was honored with the office of trustee two years. He tendered his services to the government in the late war, but was refused on account of being unsound. Mr. Shank was married to Jane M. Petry October 29, 1857. By this union they had five children, three living: Mary E, Bruce L and Emma R. His wife died Jan 5, 1880. They were members of the United Brethren church. Mr. Shank commenced life as a poor boy, and after years of hard toil and close economy he is now the owner of 120 acres of good land, with good substantial buildings and is out of debt. He is politically a democrat.

Transcribed by: Pamela Yates

Together With Historic Notes on the Wabash Valley by H.W. Beckwith - 1880