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Title: Old Settlers' Association
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With the ushering in of the nation's centennial year-1876-and at the wise, timely suggestion of President U. S. Grant there was a universal movement attempted throughout the country to secure and properly preserve as much of the history of each township within the country as could well be obtained. It was also deemed the part of wisdom for the pioneers of each county so far as possible, to organize themselves into old settlers' associations for the purpose of keeping up the ties of friendship, and this was usually accomplished by the holding of annual reunions. What was styled the Warren County Historical Pioneer Association was organized at Williamsport in July, 1876, at which time the following officers were elected: President, Bolivar Robb; vice-president, Robinson Fletcher; secretary, H. C. Johnson. The first meeting was held at the county seat in August, 1876. Many of the older men and women, who had been in the advance of civilization and cut the first clearings out and pioneered in the county, together with those who had grown up in the county, assembled. The oratoe of the day was Rev. Jewell, of Danville, Illinois. The second meeting was held in 1877, at West Lebanon. Rev. Hargrave was selected as orator for the occasion. Judge Gregory was speaker at the next meeting, which was held at Williamsport. The fourth meeting was held at Pine Village, in 1879, when H. S. Lingual was the orator. In 1880 the meeting was held at Independence, the speaker being Rev. Colbreath Hall. The next meeting, that of Carbondale, was favored by eloquent words from Judge Davidson, of Convington, Indiana. In 1882 the reunion assembled at West Lebanon, the orator being Col. John Lee, of Crawfodsville. President Robb presided at all of these annual gatherings, except one. A former writer says the error made here, as in so many localities, was that the different experiences and stories recited at these gatherings were not recorded as they fell from the lips of the pioneers. This would have settled for all time many questions now hard to arrive at in compiling an authentic account of the early settlement.

These meetings have, of late years, not been sustained, and it is to be greatly regretted, as nothing so builds young men and women up in the belief that they are from a sturdy, honorable stock of pioneers as these annual gatherings, where are eloquently recalled the scenes of hardship endured in the early years. Men really think they have a hard time to work out an existence now, when, as compared to that encountered by their forefathers, they really have little or nothing to complain of. Then, these gatherings call out the best and truest sentiment among the people. Men and women unbend on such occasions and caste is put aside, at least for the day, all meeting on an equality. To listen to the true stories of the thirties, forties and sixties, on through the great Rebellion period, gives the rising young somethingto think about, not found in story papers and yellow-covered novels. Coming from the lips of men and women now far down the journey of life, they come with a force not found in the middle-aged and young. The county fair and old settlers' associations should be revived in every county in the Union, before the beauty and value of such gatherings have become lost treasures of American heritage.

In 1885 this association held its annual gathering at Kickapoo Magnetic Spring, on August 18th. By actual count, there wree eight hundred and sixty-five teams on the grounds and fully five thousand people present. John Canutt, who had then lived in Warren county fifty years, walked from his home to the grounds. Half a century before that day he had split rails on the grounds where the assembly was gathered. He lived in a log cabin at Lebo springs. In 1886 the association held its meeting at Hunter's Springs on August 25th. This was in Liberty township, and was an exceedingly interesting, enjoyable occasion. In 1887 the reunion was held at beautiful Spring Lake, near Independence.

[Page 294-295.]

Date: 1/1/1913
Origin: Past and Present of Fountain and Warren Counties Indiana
Author: Thomas A. Clifton, Editor
Record ID: 00001274
Type: Book
Source Archive: Williamsport-Washington Township Public Library
Date Entered: 8/10/2001
Collection: Williamsport-Washington Township Public Library
Entered By: Leslie J. Rice

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