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Cummins Families of Henry/Madison County, Indiana

A News article appearing in the Anderson Sunday Herald
Dated May 7, 1966, page 22, is as follows:

by Claire Mowrey ( dau. of Amanda Cummins Prigg)

    The late Henderson and Caroline Cummins, who were very prominent in making the history of Madison County, were brought to our state by their parents from Virginia at age six and seven in the year 1833. Their parents were endowed with the courage and stability to endure the hardships that were encountered by all pioneers. So it was that Henderson Cummins and Caroline Trout grew up as playmates and the age of 21 and 22 were married by Rev Horn of the Methodist Church; and at once began housekeeping in a one-room log cabin on rented land. This one room served them as living room, bedroom, kitchen and dining room. Soon, however, they were able to buy the tract of eighty acres of land on which they had gone to housekeeping. From that very humble start in the log cabin, they later became the largest land owners in the community, just buying one small tract after another until they owned and operated over a thousand acres of Madison County's good earth.
    Thrift and true companionship was ever exemplified by this faithful couple. Mr. and Mrs. Cummins were the parents of eight children, 5 girls and 3 boys. As their family and acres increased, they increased the size of the log cabin by adding a second story for the boys. My mother (Amanda Cummins Prigg) and older sister, at a very young age, took over full management of the house and cooking, leaving their mother free to always work hand in hand with her husband, whether it be indoors or out.
    Drifting down memories' lane (sic) back four score years and more, my mother painted a typical picture of pioneer living in the large family room of the old log cabin on the hills of Sly Fork of Madison County. After the evening meal was finished, the children tucked away in beds and trundle-beds, the devoted couple, ever working together, made a true living picture of faithfulness, perseverance, thrift and integrity. By the sweat of the brow they had acquired all the necessary equipment for creating all the clothing for their large family.
    The large, old fashioned fireplace took up the larger portion of one side of the room. One side was a complete outfit for making shoes and all the required materials. On the opposite side was the old spinning wheel and weaving looms. This mother prepared all the goods, whether wool, cotton or flax. She even made the dye from certain barks of the trees in the woods.
    In the left far corner was the most prized piece of furniture; really a luxury very few had in those days, a sewing machine. The good father, by the light of the candle operated it. After these materials were cut out by the wife, the father fashioned them into suits, dresses and what nots. Since our grandfather was noted for punctuality, at eleven o'clock sharp, the sewing ceased, the materials were carefully put in the proper chests by the mother. Everything was made ready to be used the next morning at 4 o'clock, such as rolling a large log into the fireplace, placing a small bundle of kindling and a small can of kerosene near by. In this ever-active household the spiritual life was ever a part of daily living. Sunday was a sacred day. As Henderson Cummins was never know to be late, at a stated time every Sunday morning he was waiting in his three seated surrey drawn by two well cared for horses. Not just part of the family found their allotted seats, but all of them, were off to the old Bristol Church three miles away.
    Most probably, many present today could tell us very many interesting beginnings of their pioneer grandparents of Madison County. These real pioneers helped blaze the trail and helped to build the bridges on which we as free citizens stand today. Surely we can be justly proud of the sheer courage of our pioneer grandparents propagated, by honest toil, the "wherewith" that created (in my opinion) the grandest stake of our USA, proving without any hesitation the true value of private enterprise. I am happy today to own the first tract of land on the hills of Sly Fork in Madison County that my grandfather homesteaded many years ago. I am quite sure if he had a notice from Washington, D. C. just how many acres of corn, wheat or whatnot he could plant, the notice, no doubt, would go unheeded. Regardless of what hardships our grandparents were confronted with, they did have a lawful right to plant what they wanted, where they wanted it. Today, we can look back with pride that they, by the sweat of their brow, proved that private enterprise could be a real success.

Biographical Memoirs of Henry co. Indiana 1901 by Bowen; page 256-57

    Henderson Cummins, one of the oldest residents of Fall Creek Twp., Henry Co., Indiana was born in Monroe county, Virginia, ( now West Virginia), May 7, 1827, and was but six years of age when brought to Henry County, Indiana by his parents, Woodson and Nancy (Ellison) Cummins, who settled in Fall Creek, a half mile above Middletown. Three years later, they sold the land and bought a farm a mile and a half northwest of Middletown, and on this Woodson Cummins passed the remainder of his life, dying at the age of forty three, having first developed a small farm. He had a large family, five sons and three daughters who were to be cared for and educated by his widow. At this juncture Henderson and his elder brother, Overton, assumed charge of the place and cared for the mother. Later she removed to Kansas whither two of her daughters had preceded her and where she died at the age of sixty-five years.
    Soon after attaining his majority Henderson Cummins married Miss Caroline Trout, daughter of Levi and Margaret (Thompson) Trout, who lived on an adjoining farm. The Trout family came from Rockingham county, Virginia, where Caroline was born and she was ten years of age when her parents came to Henry county, where she and Henderson grew up as playmates, Caroline being also about twenty-one years old at the time of her marriage. The young couple started housekeeping on rented land, but Mr. Cummins had a half interest in a tract elsewhere and this he sold a year later and purchased the eighty acres on which he began housekeeping. A year or two later, he sold this tract and purchased one hundred and sixty acres on Sly Fork, in Madison Co., three miles west of Middletown, Henry county., about twenty acres of which land had been cleared up, but upon which there was no dwelling. He erected a hewed-log cabin, went in debt about four hundred dollars and added an eighty acre tract on which there was a good farmhouse. He next added one hundred and sixty acres adjoining and that was the homestead until he retired to Middletown about seven years ago. He still owns the farm, however, and had it then cleared off almost entirely, selling a great deal of wood in Middletown at three dollars per cord, and realizing good prices for walnut and beech. He raised considerable stock and one season, with another bought and shipped exclusively.
    Mr. Cummins has given over six hundred acres of land to his children,besides considerable cash in order to equalize their respective fortunes. He was an original stockholder in the first gas company that developed the wells in Henry county. In politics, Mr. Cummins was raised a Democrat, but in local affairs votes for the candidate best qualified to fill the office sought. The family are members of the Christian church at Middletown, of which Mr. Cummins is a trustee and fraternally he has been a Mason for about forty years; he and his wife are charter members of Eastern Star Lodge No.110, in which Mrs. Cummins usually holds some official position. To Mr. and Mrs. Cummins have been born eight children, in the following order: Sanford, who lives in Madison county; Sylvester, who passed his life on the home farm and died at the age of twenty two years, a few days prior his marriage; Walter, farming in the highlands of Tennessee on account of his health, Eleanor, the wife of L. A. Pickering, who is engaged in farming and dairying in Fall Creek township, Henry county, Indiana; Amanda, wife of John Prigg, also of Fall Creek; Elizabeth, married to Henry Hardy, a merchant of Franklinville; Cora, wife of Lincoln Summers of Fall Creek Twp. and Mary, wife of Simon Thornburg, of New Castle, Indiana.

source - Becky Brown Prince

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