Henry County Historical Society Museum Collection
One hundred years ago the hills and valleys upon which New Castle now spreads her business houses, residences and factories, were covered with forest of gigantic oak, popular and walnut trees through which the sun rarely penetrated. By and by, however straggling hunters and prospecting settlers passed and their attention was attracted by the fertility of the soil. They carried the news to their friends in Kentucky, Ohio and Virginia and in a few years the work of clearing of the timber had began, and the noise of falling trees and the smoke of burning brush and log heaps heralded the conquering white man and proclaimed the passing of the red man.
Yet the first fifth of the century had almost passed away before these settlers came, and it was in 1819 that New Castle had its first settled inhabitant. That man was Ashael Woodward. During the same year Charles Jamison, Alan Shepherd, William and Andrew Shannon, George Hobson and David Gray became Woodward's neighbors.
In July 1822 lots in the new "town" were placed on the market, but their sale was slow and the settlement did not grow very much, and in 1826 contained but twenty families, two stores and a post office. In 1833 there were 150 people here, among them being George B. Rogers, Abraham Elliott, Asahel Woodward, Miles Murphey, Dr. Joel Reed, John Powell, Isaac Bedsaul, Judge Jacob Thornburg, L. D. Meek, Evan B. Hobson, Dr. John Elliott, John R. Coleman, Samuel Hoover, Samuel Hawn, Thomas Ginn, James Carr and Dr. Penny. Then came the cholera epidemic of 1833, sixteen known deaths, one tenth of the population died of this terrible scourge.
New Castle was incorporated in 1830 and the growth of the town was substantial from that time. It was blessed with a number of energetic men and became noted as a business and commercial center. The history from that time on becomes modern to the living generation through personal experiences or the oft repeated tales of the business succession, changes and ravages of time, alarms and realities of war, prosperity and times of depression and panic. Hence that period has passed over here without attempt at even condensed description. As for the present history, the further pages of this Year Book and Souvenir are intended to convey some idea.