History of Jay County, Indiana

This Book is not written for the present generation. He who reads it without keeping this in view, will be disappointed. Not that it possesses any merit which cannot be appreciated at the present time, but because it narrates those events which grow in interest as they recede into the past. There are two periods in the history of Jay County of great interest to her people, viz: that of its Early Settlement and that during the War against the Rebellion. To preserve for future generations of her citizens a correct narration of these epochs, is the object of the author.


Table of Contents

I. First Family in Jay County... 13
II. The Second Family of Settlers... 26
III. Orman Perring The Hawkins Family, etc... 45
IV. The Fugitive Slaves... 54
V. William Simmons Lost Found... 62
VI. Nancy Hawkins The Oldest Cabin Incidents... 67
VII. The Pioneers of 1830... 73
VIII. Settlers and Incidents... 81
IX. New Settlers and their Experiences... 100
X. "Wild Animals Indians Fire-Hunting First Election Lawsuit Schools... 104
XI. Organization of the County... 119
XII. Courts Officers Attorneys... 128
XIII. Township History... 147
XIV. Rev. I.N. Taylor Limberlost Church... 179
XV. Liber College... 189
XVI. Farmers' Academy General Items... 205
XVII. Jay County and the War... 220


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In 1820 the presence of a white family in the territory now embraced within the limits of Jay County had never been known. The aborigines had ranged its forests uninterrupted in their wild pursuits. In its wilderness they chased their game, they paddled their rough canoes upon its streams, and here and there they kindled camp-tires, built the wigwam, engaged in their savage revelries, or fought their battles. But with the firs', encroachments of civilization upon their hunting grounds, they took their departure. The flint arrow-head, the tomahawk and the stone battle-axe are the only mementos they have left vis. Now, much of their forest is cut away, and civilized men, with all the institutions of society and progress, occupy their places. To delineate the causes and primary agents which have wrought out this noble transformation is the pretension of this little volume.

To gather fresh from the lips of the pioneers, while they still remained, the story of their early trials, was necessary to the completeness of the work. They are fast passing away. While this work has been going through the press, one venerable pioneer Samuel Grissell has departed, and he will never read the pages in which he took so lively an interest. Had the work been delayed a few years, the history of the early settlement of Jay County would have been wrapped in the uncertainties of tradition. One thing has embarrassed the author at every step : Most of the persons named herein are now living, and he who speaks of living men, bares himself to showers of arrows from the quivers of criticism.