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Genealogy of Prominent Pioneers who Found Homes in Henry County

T. L. Dickerson
New Castle Democrat

      Between the year 1809 and 1825, quite a number of emigrants from the Carolinas, Pennsylvania, Virginia, New Jersey, Tennessee and Kentucky founded homes in Indiana.
      Many of the first settlers were blessed with large families. And as health and pure water are considered preferable to all other advantages, our great-grandfathers with this object in view, first located along the valleys and tributaries of the east and west branches of the Whitewater that runs through Wayne, Randolph, Henry, Union, Fayette and Franklin Counties.
      They generally erected their log cabins on lands where springs were numerous and dry land visible at all seasons of the year. Where as in the swampy uplands that are now fair to gaze upon, in fact where the fine farmland is located at present writing, eighty years ago was one vast frog pond, inhabited in many locations by beaver and otter.
      The music of the frogs never ceased during the milder months of the year. The swamp land and forest seemed almost impossible to drain and clear, the roads to use a common expression, were bottomless, to say nothing of the flattering (?) prospect of entertaining chills and fever from the use of "swamp water."
      If any of the younger readers of this article have never experienced the demoralizing effects of the pioneer "shakes" as ague was called, they should be thankful they materialized at a later period of civilization.
      The splendid farming land to be found in portions of Henry and Wayne counties, and as far north as Union City, Indiana, formerly was one immense swamp, hence it was not only policy but actual necessity that compelled the pioneer fathers to seek soil and locations that was partially self drained, for bear in mind the invention of tile for the under-draining was then unknown, and the country being one vast wilderness, they made a dernier resort to secure homes at the least experience of clearing and draining.
      Among the early emigrants who founded homes in Henry county was Alexander, a son of Christopher Painter, a native of Rockingham county, Virginia, who came west with his wife and ten children, and in the year1830 settled in Henry county. He bought at first an 80 acre tract of land Fall Creek township of Joseph VanMatre, who had some land cleared and a log cabin built. If remember right there was a truck patch containing about three acres cleared, and the balance of the tract was a dense woods. The price paid for the 80 acres was $300. With this humble beginning Alexander and his numerous family commenced life in the big woods. In time he succeeded in entering enough land adjoining to make 320 acres.
      In the year 1832 a brother of Alexander named Absalom Painter, was induced to come to Indiana and found a home. He bought 320 acres of land adjoining, now known as a part of the Dick Wisehart farm, where he moved with his wife, four sons and a daughter.
      A few tears afterward another brother, named Abraham, hearing of the wonderful resources of the Hoosier state, moved his family and belongings from Virginia, which embraced his wife, three daughters and what could be hauled in a wagon of household goods.
      It appears there remained in Virginia a brother named Phillip and two married sisters whose names were Catherine Miller and Martha Miller. Of their history but little is known by their numerous nephews and nieces who reside in Henry county.
      Martha died in Ohio, and after years Catherine moved to Indiana. She was the mother of two sons named John P. and Jacob P. Miller. Both are deceased and of their descendants deponent sayeth not.
      Phillip Painter (the brother of Alexander, Absalom, Abraham, Catherine and Martha Painter) had one son Henry who never came west.
      It seems from the foregoing genealogy that the great-grandparents of the Painter generation, now living, were Christian and Elizabeth (Daily) Painter, who must have lived and died in Virginia. It is said they came of Holland ancestry, and originally the Dutch way of spelling and pronouncing the name was Bainter.
      If we do not get bewildered, we will now try to trace the branches of this now numerous name, which according to "old style" was prolific in children.
      Alexander must have ventured into uncertainties of matrimony at an early age, as he and his wife, Mary (Thompson) Painter, were the parents of David, Christopher, George W., Betsy, Nancy, Epperson, Mary and Margaret and Sarah, who were twins. William was the youngest and tenth child, and the first of the Painter name to die. His remains were placed in the "Painter" cemetery, being the first grave made at this noted city of the dead.
      Continuing the history of Alexander Painter's family: we will state briefly, that David, the oldest son, married Jane Hatton. Christopher's wife was Rebecca Rinker.
      George W. Painter the third son, united fortunes with Kizziah Marsh. Epperson became the husband and protector of Susan Williams. William died when a youth and was not married.
      Betsy was wooed and won and became the wife of Milton Carter. Nancy changed her family name and took Zadock Tomlinson for a husband Mary was persuaded to cook the meals and be business partner of Abner Heath.
      Margaret formed a life alliance with Joseph McDonald; Sarah, her twin sister, was the better half of Wilson Thompson.
      The next few years after these sons and daughters had founded homes of their own and left their parental roof. There must have been "squally" times from the fact that David's family answered the roll call as follows: William A., Flemmon, W., Mary M., Elizabeth, Berryman H., and Joseph A. Painter.
      Christopher Painter (the brother of David) was the father of George, Amos, Mary, Josiah, Alexander Jr., Thomas and William. A total of six sons and one daughter.
      George W. Painter boasted of being the happy parent of the following sons and daughters: Samuel D., Silas P., George A., James A., William B., Alfred M., Louis M., Mary C., Sarah M., Noah W., Paren P. and Margaret J. Painter. Making an even dozen young people to feed clothe and educate. It took a large kettle of mush to go round and hog killing time took all day.
      Epperson Painter, the fourth son of Alexander and Mary Painter, risked matrimony on two ventures, and the results of these unions proved that he begat Paulina, Eliza Ann, Elizabeth and Sarah. His sons were Sanford and David.
      Betsy Carter nee Painter, (daughter of the aforesaid Alexander and Mary) was the mother of William, Jane, Wesley, Mary Ann, Joseph and Malinda Carter. Their home was formally in Fulton county, Indiana.
      Nancy Painter, of this numerous relationship and the wife of Zadoc Tomlinson, was the mother of Mary J., Louisa, Sarah A., and Nathan Tomlinson.
      The twin sisters of this big family, Margaret ad Sarah, experienced but little difficulty in finding kind husbands of their choice, the best in the market.
      Margaret Painter McDonald was the mother of Mary Jane, Sarah, Catherine, Martha, Almina and Ellen, she had plenty of help in the household duties.
      Sarah, after her marriage to Wilson Thompson, moved to Jasper county, Iowa. Their family was one son, Samuel Alexander Thompson.
      We cannot give the lineage of this prominent and highly respected name much farther, but will mention that Alexander and Absalom Painter were not only brothers but also brothers-in-law, they married sisters. Hence their children were double cousins.
      The children begat by Absolom were Martha, Samuel D., Abraham, Lydia, Amanda, Sarah, David, Absalom jr. and Jane, making a total of nine.
      Martha, the first daughter of Abbsolom's branch of the Painter line, married Allen Wayne. Their oldest offspring was Harry, next Abraham, and last Sarah Ann White.
      Samuel D. Painter formed a trust with a lady named Julia Ann Radar, which resulted in the births of John R., Mary, David M., Sanford M., Julia A., Amanda M., Almed and Horace Greeley Painter.
      Abrahan, the third in rotation of Abraham's family tree, married Rhoda Saunders, who was a true helpmate. The children who blessed this union were Delilah J., John J., William F., Sarah C., Mary E., Absolom D., Louisa E. George E. and Martha L., besides those dying in infancy, demonstrating to their neighbors and kinsmen that schools would be liberally supportef where they lived.
      Lydia Painter Heath moved with her husband to Minnesota almost a half century ago. She was the mother of four children, Charles, Sylvester, Albert and Emma.
      Amanda, the fifth child of Absolom and wife, died in childhood.
      Sarah Painter Sanders the sixth child was the mother of five daughters and three sons, whose names were, Walter, Amanda, Martha, Gillean, Ida, Amelia, William and Charles Sanders.
      David, the seventh in line of Absolom and his wife Sarah was the father of Florence E., Oliver P. and Henry W. Their mothers maiden name was Gillean.
      Absolom jr. the eight child of Absolom and Sarah, died before attaining his majority and left no heirs.
      Jane, the ninth child and youngest, married Shem Bowers of Springport, and was the mother of a numerous family. Our informants could not give their names.
      I will digress in this historical sketch by stating that Abraham Painter, the brother of Alexander, Absolom and Phillip, married a lady in Virginia, the daughter of a prominent and old historic family. Her maiden name was Magdalena Carnes. She died at the home of the late Absolom Painter. Lineage of tis pioneer family were Rachael, Elizabeth, and Mary. Rachael, the eldest daughter, married Christian Blazier. Elizabeth and Mary, her sister, both died young.
      To William A. Painter of Fall Creek township, a few miles from Middletown, Ind., are we indebted for the outline history of the Painter pedigree. He gave it from memory and a more pleasant and genial entertainer will be hard to find. Mr. Painter demonstrated his excellent judgment by persuading Miss Naomi VanMatre, a daughter of David and Maria VanMatre, deceased, to forsake her pleasant home and pass her life in "Painter's Den" on a farm that raised this year one hundred bushels of corn to the acre.
      William A. Painter is a son of David, grandson of Alexander and great-grandson of Christian Painter. He is the father of James O., Charles C. and Joseph V. Painter. Both father and son have traveled the dangerous road leading to Jericho, but found a friendly "Samaritan" who bound up their wounds and took them to an inn, like a true brother.
      James O. Painter, married Florence Franklin and they are the parents of one son, Carl, who is a crack shot with a gun. Joseph V. Painter contemplates matrimony to the sweet bye and bye when he finds his Ruth.
      Charles C. Painter and Margaret Rinker decided they could be more happy and contented by traveling in matrimonial harness. They have one son living whose name is Elsden Painter.
      West and southwest of Springport a couple of miles is as fine an agricultural country as ever a crow flew over. This land is farmed up to date and about 1,200 acres is owned by George, Josiah, Mary, Alexander, Thomas and William Painter and sons whose father was Christian Painter. The Garden of Eden it is said was discovered not far from this spot, but the tourist would be satisfied to own a farm any old place in the Painter community.
      The original pioneer Painters were members in good standing of the M. E. church faith, but their children and grandchildren have been members of the Dunkard, Baptist, Christian, Friends, Lutheran, Presbyterian and United Brethren.
      Politically they were old whigs, republicans and democrats. As citizens they ranked high, as soldiers they were patriotic. Many have filled responsible positions.
      Dr. H. B. Painter of Middletown, Dr. Lester Painter of Cowan, the Painters of Alexander and David Painter, of New Castle, are descendants of George Washington Painter, the patriarch who was the father of twelve children.

T. L. Dickerson

2001 UEB

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