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History & Genealogy

(Source:  History of Vigo & Parke County, Indiana - Chicago: H. H. Hill & N. Iddings, 1880, 1310 pgs.
(Transcribed by Sharon Wick)

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    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, was celebrated Indian missionary, had his home in the same neighborhood.  A few years later Aaron Hand, also from Ohio, joined this colony.  In teh 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 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 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 hungers 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 who would not be overbid, as to be quite out of the reach of men who had lately gone.  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, 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 of 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 is 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 vast area into bearing fields.
     Here were men and women with little children, and often large 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 experiences for 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 half a mile apart, and as she was returning she strolled along gathering nuts buried in the leaves on the groud, 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 noticed that the dog that accompanied her had disappeared.  She searched wildly about for the path, shouting every few steps and then pausing for an 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 still she 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 Wayne county, Ohio, in 1825, and settled at New Discovery; James Ward and his son, Greenberry, in 1826, and Nathaniel Page, about the same time, and 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 the 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 the northeast corner of the court-house yard.  The rattlesnakes which infested this locality, as nearly the whole country, in prodigious numbers, were the objects of a relentless and exterminating warfare, are entitled to their full share of historic mention.  Concerted snake 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 was 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 of 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 county, 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 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 county 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 an Meter succeeded Smith as county agent.  It is at the second sale of town lots that the first casualty - nearly a fatal one - occurs.  Polly, a 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 have since been made to the town.  Howard & Bryant bought eighty acres from Hand, and aid 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 he emigrated to Illinois and settled near Canton, in Fulton county.
     The first persons to locate in Rockville after it reached townhood 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.  Mr. McCall was a lawyer and surveyor, 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 went 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, county seat 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 which Patterson and McCall were doing very soon attracted others into merchandising; though 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, none 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 hose 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, 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 court-house.  This is an historic family (referring to the limits of this work), which should have 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 SwearingenDr. 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 state, prior to 1830, and studied law.  When James Whitcomb was elected 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 log.  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. RiceDoctors Peter Q. Stryker and Stephen Roach set up here probably about 1825.  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 1846, 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 practice 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, ahs undergone repairs, to be continued in use as a dwelling.  James Pyles was an early blacksmith.  In 1832 he was keeping a 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. Norris 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 & RobinsonLevi 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 th Houghman sisters, Mary and Ellen.  These latter were in business over twenty years.  In 1830 Gabriel Houghman came from Butler county, Ohio, and settled a half 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.  As 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 a tinning business.  This was the second establishment of the kind in the place.  The first had been started by Dioocletian Cox, 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 while 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 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, Indian, when a boy, and worked at farming and clearing land summers and teaching school winters.  He built a mill at Brighton, 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 & Nichols.  In a few years Mr. Innis retired, and Silliman & Nichols purchased a 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 40x80 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-mil.  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 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. R. 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 Bank from its organization; he was now elected president of the First National, and continued to be annually reelected 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. McCune, directors.  The association owns a three story brick building, 48x75 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 in 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 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. Vance Edward Beadle Joseph Craft
William Painter Jefferson Bishop William P. Smith
Lewis Hayes Calvin Richey William Greene, Sr.
John Pike ____ Bryant Nelson V. W. Burns
James S. Bowman Thomas Bowman David Boston


     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; 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 the 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 lode, 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, adn 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. V.; John T. Price, G. M. S. V.; M. G. Wilkison, G. M. F. V.  A charter was issued by the officersof 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. V.; J. M. T. Bright, G. M. S. V.; J. H. Davy, G. M. F.  V.; 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, R. A. C.; Samuel Strouse, G. M. T. V.; Wm. H. Hargrave, G. M. S. V.; G. W. Overpeck, G. M. F. V.; 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 Nov. 9, 1849, by Taylor W. Webster, D. D. G. M., of Ladoga - assisted by Joshua Ridge, Samuel Noel, William Dromer, 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 Jan. 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, V. G.; O. 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 Nov. 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 in $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 yeas, $1,000.  The twenty-fifth anniversary of the institution of the lodge was celebrated publicly Nov. 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 Sept. 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 Jan. 25, 1876, by C. P. Tuley, grand chancellor of the Grand Lodge of Indiana, and teh charter members were as follows:  William R. Fry, M. J. Cochran, William P. Strain, Z. Byers, W. N. McCampbell, O. 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 offices were D. A. Roach, P. C.; William H. Gillum, C. C.; William P. Strain, V. C.; J. S. Hunnell, Prel.; M. J. Cochrane, K. of R. and S.; S. C. Pruett, M. of F.; W. D. Sill, M. of E.; O. 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. C.; David Strouse, C. C.; J. F. Cross, V. 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 sanding have a cordial invitation to attend.
     Rockville Lodge, No. 21, A. O. U. W., was chartered by the Grand Lodge of Indiana, Feb. 28, 1877.  The first officers were S. C. Pruett, 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.; 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, Apr. 30, 1880.  This company has secured the second story of the woollen 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, 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 of the occasion.  The first officers were W. W. McCune, P. C.; James T. Johnson, S. V. C.; Joseph Ohaver, J. V. 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. V. C.; A. F. White, J. V. C.; George F. Myers, Q. M.; Wm. 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 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 out from Sand Creek station to the mines.  The coal annually taken out since the opening of these has varied from 30 to 150 men is kept always employed.  During the panic of 1873 the employes 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 Feb. 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 lectures 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 band, 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 hand 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 corner-stone of the new court-house.
     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.

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* Rockville Tribune



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