Early Black Settlements by County

Bloomfield, Ind. Although there were small populations of African Americans in the western parts of Hamilton County, the Roberts Settlement was the only rural settlement documented for this project. Their claims had been intentionally chosen to be within several miles of Quakers, a group known to be accepting and supportive of free blacks. In October , the men brought their families to their wilderness claims and settled permanently, thereby establishing a farm community later known as Roberts Settlement.

By the neighborhood included about 10 families and acres of land. By the s, the community was thriving with some three hundred residents distributed over almost 2, acres. The legacy of Roberts Settlement is alive in a strong family association that organizes an annual homecoming on July 4. The church is the focus of the event. Author Vincent and Roberts descendants have produced a short documentary and are attempting to expand the film to reach broader audiences.

Hamilton County Historian, David Heighway noted the early presence in the county of a fur trader of African descent. Pete Smith frequented an area known as Horseshoe Prairie and provided assistance to pioneer settlers as early as Southern Seed, Northern Soil. John Delaney, born in Virginia about , appears to be the nucleus of this community.

An enterprising man, he purchased acres of land in Hancock County in The tavern would be located advantageously at a midway point between Indianapolis and Rush County, home to both the Beech settlement and the town of Carthage. His wife, Maryland native, Sarah Delaney, had a reputation as a good cook. Listed in the census as a farmer, Delaney is also identified as an early grocer in the county.

Both John and Sarah are enumerated as mulatto. It is interesting that accounts of the Delaneys in the standard county histories do not mention race. They are buried in the small cemetery west of New Palestine situated near the site of their former tavern. Genealogy forums discuss much intermarriage among these families.

Although it bears more investigation, this settlement seems to have an interesting racial composition. Joe Skvarenina, Hancock County Historian, considers racial identity in this area as fluid at the time. In another example of racial fluidity and again, more careful research is needed it would seem that John H. Cambridge farmer, born in Maryland and Matilda Malson Cambridge, possibly born in Ohio , residents in the Sugar Creek vicinity, were the parents of several children.

In the entire household is enumerated as mulatto. George Richman relates an incident that illustrates the nature of second class citizenship that people of color experienced in the area. The numbers are sparse for the other townships with Sugar Creek having the largest black population. In , there is a population of In , there are 41 people.

By the numbers decline to The only township to experience an increase in its black population in the census is Center Township where the county seat of Greenfield is located. The count grows from 9 in , to 17 in , to 31 in In his autobiography, George Knox gives a unique look at life in Greenfield. Knox, a one time barber, successful businessman, owner and publisher of an influential black newspaper, was born a slave in Tennessee.

In he crossed into Union troop lines eventually making his way to Indiana. Camp meetings in the countryside drew large crowds of both races. Race relations come to a head in the decades following the Civil War. When groups of African Americans made attempts to settle in Hancock County warnings were posted, barns burned and livestock killed Thornbrough, p In a notorious lynching occurred. Armed and masked vigilantes from three counties broke into a jail and took their victim to the county fairgrounds where they hung him.

However in , no doubt recognizing his vulnerability as a black man, he ultimately relocated to Indianapolis. Binford, J. History of Hancock County , Indiana. Accessed July 17, Knox, George. Lexington: University Press of Kentucky, Richman, George J. History of Hancock County, Indiana. Greenfield, Indiana: Mitchell Printing, Skvarenina, Joseph. Greenfield, Indiana: Mitchell-Fleming Printing, The county was established in Indiana was a part of the Northwest Territory and although slavery was prohibited in the Northwest Ordinance of , it was tolerated.

Indentured servitude was used to circumvent anti slavery laws. A few years after this early census, ca. Their story is very unusual since the freedom seekers comprised such a large group and were accompanied by their benefactors who settled among them. Most of those who came into Harrison County with the Mitchems took the name Mitchem. Other family names included Finley, Carter, and Cousins. These new agrarian settlers became land owners, business owners, and one, Littleton Mitchem, was a physician. Also, there is no evidence to suggest the settlers were coerced into signing indentures.

Due to the size of the Mitchem Settlement, the families fanned out throughout the county, but most stayed in or around Corydon. Perhaps, the most notable among the Mitchems was a man who came to free territory with this enclave but ended up settling in St. Louis, Missouri. After marrying an enslaved woman from Kentucky, he followed her to St. Louis after her master took her there.

John Berry Mitchem is listed as one of the early settlers of St. He distinguished himself as the minister of a large Baptist Church in St. Louis and as the founder of a freedom school that was conducted on a Mississippi River vessel since it was illegal for African Americans to attend school in Missouri.

Today St. Collins Chapel, founded in in Boone Township, no longer exists. In , the Corydon Colored School , a public school for African American elementary and high school students was built by the Corydon Schools. The high school was discontinued in due to a lack of high school age students; however the elementary school was continued until It closed because there were not enough elementary-age students to constitute having a teacher unit.

Now called the Leora Brown School, the building was rehabilitated over twenty years ago as an historic site and educational and cultural center. Most of the Mitchem Settlement members were buried in Corydon in Cedar Hill, the historic town cemetery that was begun in The cemetery is not segregated. In addition, there are three small Mitchem family cemeteries. Bulleit, F. Corydon, IN F. Bulleit Griffin, Frederick P. Cedar Hill. Mitchem Property Record. Census for District 45 Harrison County, Indiana. Saulman, Earl O.

Frederick P. Griffin Center for Genealogy and Local History. Corydon, IN. Bloomington and Indianapolis: Indiana University Press, Accessed on Aug. Accessed Aug. Hamilton, Hancock, Harrison, Counties. Harrison, Hancock Counties. Harrison County. Hendricks County has one known unnamed settlement in Guildford County.

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Hendricks County was formed in As shown through its censuses, its population of blacks and mulattos increased every decade: 5 in , 17 in , 36 in , 45 in , in and in The majority of these residents lived in Guilford Township. An oral history of the African Methodist Episcopal Church dates its origin in the county to Several black families living in the area between Plainfield and Mooresville established a non-denominational church along White Lick Creek, as well as a colored school before They are included on an plat map of Guilford Township.

Notably Saturday, December 29, and Wednesday, December 25, Pearson is raising money to purchase his four children out of slavery in Kentucky. Fletcher, Calvin. Hendricks County Government. I ndiana Negro Registers Swarn, Cassie. Trail was born in Maryland but came to Indiana in having escaped slavery in South Carolina. His wife was born in Virginia. In Trail and his family removed from their small holdings in Fayette County formerly part of Franklin County to begin clearing land for a farm that was the nucleus of community life.

The population decreased slightly in with small increases in other areas of the county. A small untended cemetery still marks the site of Trails Grove. Willis Revels was a close associate also preaching at Staughn. In , although still substantial, African American population declined somewhat. Members of farm families gravitated to towns and villages such as Cadiz, Greenville, Knightstown, Spiceland and New Castle.

Knightstown, IN. Henry County Interim Report. Higgins, Belden and Company. Chicago: Higgins, Belden, Mayhill, R. Knightstown, Ind. Rerick Brothers. Howard County was established in The county had a healthy African American population that grew steadily from its first federal decennial population census taken in ; it registered black people that year. It enumerated blacks in and in In both and about a third of the black population in the county lived in Ervin Township.

Around , the Rush Settlement was formed in Ervin and bordering Clay townships. The settlement had a school and a Methodist church. In the census, men surnamed Hardiman and Rush are listed as farmers. The school, church and cemetery located at N. Although there were less than 25 blacks counted in all other Howard County townships, the Clay Township census enumerated At least 11 families lived in this area that became a small farming community of blacks sometime known as the Bassett Settlement or the Bassett and Ellis Settlement. They had a school, church, cemetery located at W.

The census list Bassetts, Artis, and Ellis as farmers. In , Richard Bassett became the third black person to be elected to the Indiana state legislature. Further research needs to be done on a possible black settlement in Monroe Township. Ishmael Roberts came into the county around The census lists John and Thomas Roberts. They appeared to have lived outside of New London in Monroe Township.

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Combination Atlas Map of Howard County, Indiana: Compiled , drawn and published from personal examinations and surveys, Knightstown, IN: Bookmark, Hackett, Brian L. Slater-Putt, Dawne. Snell, Ronald David. D dissertation, Indiana University, Tetrick, Ron. Huntington County was established in From the time of the first federal census taken for the county in through , there were less than 15 African Americans recorded.

Accessed July 3, Jackson County was established in From the first federal decennial census for the county in to , the African American population increased from 36 to people. Like so many other Indiana counties, the black population census numbers fell between and It dropped again in and rallied in The county had at least one black pre Civil War rural community located in Jackson Township.

By the s, there was a church and a school. Thornbrough, Emma. Jasper County was formed in The federal decennial population census for the county from to recorded five or less African Americans. In the census shows a total of eleven free people of color residing in the county. The enumeration is not available by township for In only three townships in the northwest corner of the county have African Americans living in them: Penn, 11 persons; Jackson, 17 persons; and Greene, 2 persons. Wayne Township, with the county seat Portland, has one African American.

In , Penn Township has ten African Americans. Wayne Township has a population of eleven African Americans. All the other townships are exclusively white. The other households are from Wayne Township as follows: Hilary Chavions, age 47, mulatto male, turner, born in Virginia; and Jacob Chavions, age 30, mulatto male, teamster, born in Virginia. One other household in Wayne Township includes at least one African American but it is headed by a year-old white male Nimrod Headington with substantial household value. Possibly the non-white household member s are hired hands.

Chavous is described as a skilled lathe operator, a businessman and an inventor p This is probably the same individual. Jay County had its share of racial prejudice. However, it would seem, that some held more tolerant beliefs than in neighboring Wells and Blackford Counties.

Abolitionists such as John P. Shanks were a strong influence and there is considerable evidence of Underground Railroad activity especially in Penn Township. Liber College in Wayne Township was illustrative of aspirations of equality. Liber was founded in by a Presbyterian missionary. When George Lowe aka George Hunter , an African American, was proposed as a student, some stockholders objected and withdrew their support for the school. McBride, Michael. IHS clippings file Montgomery, M. History of Jay County.

Reprint, Evansville, Indiana: Unigraphic, Jefferson County was formed in , and recorded early settlement by African Americans, many before statehood. According to the U. Federal Census, in there were a total of free people of color. The black population continued to rise in , in , in , in a slight decrease and a sharp increase of in One early resident of Jefferson County was William Hood. In , Hood applied for a pension for his Revolutionary War Service. As a sixteen —year —old slave in , he had run away from his owner.


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By he was in Rockingham, North Carolina. Hood died in ; his descendants were found in Jefferson and Jennings counties by Some of the early surnames listed in Coy D. One of the earliest rural settlements in Jefferson County located about 2—3 miles north of Hanover was Graysville. When an English traveler Edward S. Melinda informed Abdy that they had come to the area about , after living across the river in Kentucky- in fear of kidnapers, who had been stealing children of free people and selling them down south. Abdy identifies the settlers as coming from Virginia and Kentucky.

Some were liberated slaves, others had bought their freedom and the rest were originally freeman. There were a total of eleven families, with a population of John Cosby had two farms consisting of acres. Graysville also had an active church, school, and several cemeteries. Another known rural settlement was located in Hanover Township. Beatty and the Hume families from Kentucky are two surnames associated with this community.

Hume had been born a slave in Kentucky; it was about a year after the Emancipation Proclamation before he knew he was free. On January 1, , he crossed the Ohio River at Madison. Hume and his family became active members of the Hanover African Methodist Episcopal Church and donated property for the construction of a new school that was completed in The church remains active today.


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  • There are several cemeteries associated with this settlement. Although not considered a rural settlement, the Georgetown District located in Madison, just blocks from the Ohio River is known for its Underground Railroad activities. Georgetown was settled during the s. Georgetown boasts of several churches that served the African American community of Methodist and Baptist faiths, in addition to a school, a fraternal lodge and businesses. Abdy, E. Baker, Ronald L. Bloomington: Indiana University Press: Furnish, Mark A. National Park Service Website.

    Madison, Indiana, Essay. Maryland: Heritage Book Inc. Indianapolis: Indiana University Press, Wright Richard R. Cord, Xenia. Established in , Jennings County had early African Americans settlers. Forty-eight free blacks were enumerated in its first federal decennial census in census. The black population continued to rise—58 in ; in ; in ; in noticeable decrease ; and in Xenia E.

    Carsey purchased a total of 80 acres of federal land buying 40 acres in , and again in Kersey Carsey and his household are listed in the census for the county, but by they are recorded in Essex County, Canada West, along with the Thurmans Terman another early surname from Jennings County. The Historic Black American Sites and Structures mentions two property records, an deed transaction for a Richland Cemetery and the deed for a plot of land for the African Methodist Episcopal Church that closed about Arriving in the early s, Aaron Wallace was the young servant of General John Tipton, who helped select the city as the second state capital.

    A cemetery with remnants of a few headstones is all that remains. Accessed October 31, Bowie, Maryland: Heritage Book, The nineteenth century African American population of Johnson County was small but does show a substantial increase between and Informants mention areas that seem to be more like neighborhoods but further investigation is warranted. The areas are the Stockyards s on the east side of Franklin; an unnamed area of Franklin centered on West Madison Street s to present ; an unnamed, undefined area in Edinburgh; and Idlewilde in Hensley Township which never developed as the platted lots were too small.

    In the census shows a total of six free people of color residing in the county. Milly Magill heads a household of three minor children in Franklin Township where the town of Franklin is located. The other two enumerated individuals live in Nineveh and Blue River Townships. In the population increases to 20 persons, but the figure declines to Of those 15, 9 are residing in the town of Franklin.

    By the census the count is 19 African Americans. As in the previous decade the majority, 14 people, live in the town of Franklin. The racial attitudes of antebellum Johnson County were not particularly warm. He was taken prisoner at the Battle of the Crater, and ultimately starves to death in Libby Prison. Following the Civil War, Johnson County experienced a surge in overall population due to an influx of people from the south.

    The African American population of , although a small percentage, increased significantly to people. The majority of the population is still located in the town of Franklin. Edinburgh experienced growth as well with a population of 24 up from the 3 people counted in Blue River exclusive of Edinburgh , Pleasant and Clark Townships each had a single individual and Union Township had two persons enumerated. An analysis of the census indicated that the largest number of adults enumerated were from Kentucky persons of the adult total.

    Other states of origin included North Carolina, Virginia, and Maryland. There were also 25 Indiana-born citizens as well as 5 immigrants from Canada. Adam and Clayton Moore are believed to be the first of the arrivals from Kentucky followed by the Fossett family. Most found worked as farm laborers or sharecroppers. The story of an individual Greenwood resident, probably the single person of color counted in in Pleasant Township might be illuminating.

    Mary Ann Cain, an enslaved person from Natchez, Mississippi, ran away about She encountered Captain Richard Wishard of Pleasant Township during her flight and continued north with him eventually working in his home as a domestic for eight years. Not that the inhabitants had anything against the colored people, but it seems that for some reason or other they did not settle here. Mary Ann Cain was apparently the exception. The town of Franklin seems to have been a somewhat more tolerant environment for African Americans than other parts of the county.

    Tyler Tolerance had limits. At that time lots were purchased and a school house was built. Laura Overbay taught the first school year of at what was first known as the West School, later renamed for Booker T. Newspaper accounts note that unlike many other Indiana cities, Franklin did not practice a hard line on segregation until the s. In response, the restaurants in Franklin banned all blacks, both local and military, from their businesses and a separate USO for the black troops was organized.

    A church was organized by , Edinburg Baptist Colored. Led by Rev A. Miller was briefly succeeded by Rev. Walker who was followed by Rev. David Slaughter. In , Slaughter pastored a membership of some people. According to early records special trains ran from Indianapolis for church gatherings held at the fairgrounds. Edinburgh Baptist persisted into the s when outmigration to Columbus and Franklin gained momentum.

    Edinburgh did not build a school for African American students until Twenty-seven students attended classes. The building still stands and houses the Church of Edinburgh Independent Baptists. Bergen, David, comp. Atlas of Johnson County, Indiana, to Branigan, Elba L. History of Johnson County, Indiana. Cranor, Dorothy.

    Church organized here in Leadership Johnson County, comp. Johnson County Interim Report. Ross, Hugh J. The cemetery was situated near present-day Highway 41 and seven miles north of Vincennes. Caesar Embree bought land in An acre of this land, later under the ownership of Nathaniel Newton, was donated for the church in There was a black school established around Names to investigate include Aaron Ritchey and Silence. The Silence family may have had land before , but it is believed that they were forced off the land.

    The children of later generations came back to try to reclaim the land. An oral account of the family attempting to reclaim the land indicates that there was a gun battle that ensued when they attempted to recover the land. Day, Richard. Summer, Kosciusko County was founded in The decennial federal population census for the county records ten or less blacks from through The first recorded lone, black resident of the county was Filda Butt, recorded as a servant for a family in Jefferson Township in the census.

    By the census, two free African American heads of household can be found, living somewhere in Warsaw, Wayne Township. Joseph Campbell, 24, originally from Alabama worked as a farm laborer. Also listed in Warsaw was James Foster, 30, barber, originally from Ohio. Nancy Foster 22, female, black, Indiana, keeping house , Harrison Foster 1, male, black, Indiana , and Mary Anderson 26, female, black, Michigan, housekeeper were included in his house. Fawley, Caroline K. Index: Head of Household and Alphabetical Index. Pierceton, Indiana: Printed by Author, Mayer, Douglas L.

    Farmland For Sale at Auction Floyd County Iowa

    Warsaw, Indiana: Printed by Author, Priser, Marjorie, comp. Enumeration of Voters Kosciusko County, Indiana. Leesburg, Indiana: Pioneer Publishing, Scheuer, Larry, and Cynthia Cochran Scheuer, comp. Warsaw, Indiana: Scheuer Publications, African Americans owned property in several sections of the township. There is also likely a connection with the Clear Lake Settlement in Porter County as a Banks also lived there, and the property borders those living in La Porte County.

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    He purchased twenty acres on April 15, The census lists John Banks living next to the Medford farm bringing the Banks Settlement population up to nine. Berry Banks was originally from Virginia and his wife Lucinda was from Kentucky. They had migrated to Indiana, where their first child, Jemima, was born by By , the Banks Settlement had reached its peak, when thirty-eight individuals resided in five households, of which, three were land owners.

    Because of the proximity to the town of La Porte, these farming families most likely would have had social connections to the large population of African Americans living in town. The only new owner of property in the settlement at that time was Jackson McClellain, who came from Mississippi and bought forty acres of land near the Medfords. The Henderson Settlement, a smaller community consisted of two-square miles of land and was located in Lincoln Township. From , at least three African American families lived on this land. Terry Goldsworthy suggests that these families might have migrated to Indiana in response to the Nat Turner Rebellion.

    The settlement reached its population peak in , when seventeen individuals were counted. By , John Henderson who owned the acre nucleus of the settlement had passed, and the population decreased to 15 people and only two families remained in the area. There are also other accounts of African Americans living in the county, particularly the town of La Porte before He was in Indiana before moving on to Michigan, and Illinois. The La Porte County Historical Society has a large collection of primary source materials related to these settlements and other African Americans that were included in the large population numbers of La Porte County.

    Eddy-Shultz, Fern. Goldsworthy, Terry. Joseph River Valleys of Indiana. Indianapolis: Division of Historic Preservation and Archaeology, For every females there were For every females age 18 and over, there were About 6. Floyd County is divided into twelve townships :. The population ranking of the following table is based on the census of Floyd County.

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    Prior to , Floyd County was strongly Republican in presidential elections. In only four elections from to did a Republican presidential candidate fail to win the county. Starting with the election, the county consistently backed Democratic Party presidential candidates up until the election.

    In the most recent presidential election of , the county swung From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Courthouse in Charles City with Veterans Memorial in front. Location within the U. Presidential election results. Iowa portal. United States Census Bureau.

    Archived from the original on June 7, Retrieved July 17, National Association of Counties. Archived from the original on May 31, Retrieved June 7, February 12, Retrieved April 23, Eliza Ann Montanye Hezekiah Garber Bertram Garber Mattie Garber Max B. Garber ???? Louella Ora Garber This functionality is only available in Javascript supporting browsers.

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