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Title: The First White Settlement
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Of course, after what has been already recorded concerning the French Canadian, Zachariah Cicott, it will not be disputed that he became the first white settler within the borders of what is now Warren county, he having been here as a permanent settler and erected his large log house in 1817, after having been here as a trader among the Indians many years prior to that date. It is not known that another settler came in until 1822, when a few made their entrance into the county. The first entries of land were made in the county as follows: December 16, 1820, the west half of the southeast quarter of section 2, township 21, range 8, by William and Jonas Seaman; September 11, 1822, the northeast quarter of the southeast quarter of section 14, township 23, range 7, by John Blind; September 15, 1822, the east half of the southeast quarter of section 29, township 22, range 8, by Benjamin Landon; November 15, 1822, the east quarter of the northeast quarter of section 33, township 20, range 9, by James Barnes; John Black, Thomas Cunningham, Thomas Wright, Samuel Watkins, Samuel Green, William Newell, Silas Hooker, James McCune, Lewis Collyer, Lewis Evans and Enoch Farmer all entered lands before December 31, 1824, in townships 20, 22, 23, and 24, of ranges 7, 8, 9, and 10.

In 1825 the following made entries of land: Thomas Bowyer, township 23, range 6; William H. Mace, same location; James Bidwell, John S. Reid, John Cox, John McCord, Jonathan Cox, Samuel B. Clark, Nancy Maudlin, Henry Coons, Thomas Lewis, Lewis Evans, Benedict Morris, and possibly a few others.

In 1826 the following entered land in the county, at various locations: Issac Shelby, John Stanley, Jeremiah Davis, Samuel B. Clark, John Rhodes, David White, William Kendall, William Worthington, Henry Wetchell, Levi Osborn, Abel Oxford, Joseph Thomas, William Henderson, Joseph Foster, William White.

After this beginning, the settlement was much more frequent and rapid, some coming in from neighboring counties and others direct from Ohio, Pennsylvania and other states. Four reasons are assigned for the pioneers settling in the timbered portion of this county: First, because all had been reared in a timbered country, and hence knew nothing of a prairie country, and thought the soil too poor for the production of large crops, arguing that because this land did not grow timber that it must of necessity be poor land. Secondly, they thought it impossible to survive the cold winters in such an exposed situation. Thirdly, they preferred to remain where wood was abundant. Fourthly, they concluded to locate near some water course, which was then a great commercial highway-an outlet to markets and the outside world. Hence it was that early settlers in Warren county sought out the timbered lands in which to make homes for themselves; locations where firewood and springs abounded; where they might ere long have a mill near home to saw lumber and grind grain. But some of the first band of settlers who developed the county had already been apprised of the fertility of the prairie soil, and bravely pushed out onto the treeless lands, with the determination of getting rid of stones and stumps. Many of those who first came to the county had to raise a crop before they could pay the entry fee on their lands; others had barely enough for this, but not a dollar left to run on till a crop could be harvested. There were, however, a few who had abundant means with which to purchase land and improve the same-these were fortunate mortals. The saddest ones were those who came in with a family and after a year or so were compelled to return to the East, from whence they had emigrated, not having been favored by a good crop and perhaps having sickness in the home; hence, wearily they wended their way homeward, not giving any too good an account of the "land of promise" which to them had proven a dismal failure.

The comparative demand and supply regulated the prices of everything. A yard of calico was worth so many pounds of butter or dozen of eggs; a deer skin was worth so many pounds of tea or coffee; an axe was worth so many bushels of potatoes. Tanneriessupplied leather for the family to have made into boots and shoes. Sheep were early introduced into Warren county, and those that escaped the hungry wolves were made to supply the wool, which was frequently taken by the backwoods mother, and washed and cleaned, rolled, carded, spun and then woven into cloth with which the family were clothed in winter time. Everywhere the ox team was seen. Young men went courting with oxen; many a couple went off gay and happy in an ox-team wagon to the favorite justice, "the Squire," to get married, driving a fast young yoke of oxen. If fortunate in owning a horse, both would mount the animal and away they would canter, followed by old shoes and horseshoes and sometimes rice. The first marriage in the county was after this fashion. ti occurred January 1, 1828, between Noble Owens and Catherine Coons, Nathaniel Clarke, Lemuel Boyd, justice of the peace. Dances were usually had on such occasions and it was indeed a sight to behold the gay dancers whirling about in the rude log cabin. "As the fiddler touched the string, some youngster cut the pigeon wing." The new country had no "stuck-ups;" there was no such thing as caste, all being on an equality, if respectable and moral. Hospitality was the one prevailing rule-the latch string was ever hanging out and the total stranger was a welcome guest. The only question was, "Can you put up with our fare?" The answer was always, "Certainly and be only happy to do so."

[Page 211-213.]

Date: 1/1/1913
Origin: Past and Present of Fountain and Warren Counties Indiana
Author: Thomas A. Clifton
Record ID: 00001527
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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