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Henry County 1817

A Pioneer Letter

New Castle Democrat

      As all incidents of the early history of Indiana are now eagerly sought after, I can give you some reminiscences of occurrences that took place in the spring of 1819, just after the government had made the new purchase of the Indians.
     A party of emigrants, consisting of Solomon Finch and family, Israel Finch, Aaron Finch, Amasa Chapman, James Willison and William Bush and his two sons, started from Connersville on the first day of April, 1817 for what was then known as the "Horseshoe Prairie," on White River, near where Noblesville now stands. They were nineteen days traveling that distance, cutting the roads as they went, and sometimes bridging streams, and I very well remember that it rained or snowed fourteen of the nineteen days we were on the road. When we arrived at the little stream of Flat Rock it was so swollen with heavy rains that we had to wait for it to go down, and stopped in an old Indian wigwam, and called the place Sage Green camp, as that was the Indian's name who owned the wigwam. It had snowed all day, but the next day we got across after some difficulty and delay.
     Our next great trouble was at Blue River, for when we got there the river was very high and no prospect of it falling soon, so our only chance was to bridge it, which we did by falling trees and then covering the trunks with puncheons. I cannot remember how long we were at this place, but I recollect that it rained over night until it wet everything in the wagons and tents.
     Chapman drove the stoak and amused the company by playing the fife. I remember we passed through Andersontown, as it was then called, which was at that time an Indian village, a squaw had her papoose on a large stump, making it dance to the music of the fife, and appeared very much interested in the performance.
     When we arrived at White River, that stream was very high and everything had to be ferried over in an Indian canoe, including the wagons and some sheep. The wagons were taken to pieces and ferried over a few pieces at a time.
     I am now the only survivor of that little party of emigrants who made their home in the wilderness of Central Indiana at that early day.
     I was born in October, 1809.

UEB 2002

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