There is considerable obscurity surrounding the career of John Conner, the founder of the city which bears his name. As far as is known, there is no contemporary account of his career, the best account being that of O. H. Smith in his "Early Indiana Trials and Sketches." Smith knew Conner personally and what he has to say about him may he taken as the words of a man who knew him intimately, and for that reason his narrative possesses more value than any of the other accounts of the old pioneer.

In 1916 Mrs. Sarah Conner Christian, of Indianapolis, a granddaughter of John Conner, prepared a sketch of the pioneer's life which is given in the succeeding pages. Her biography, as she explains, was written from information handed down by members of the family and for this reason is particularly interesting to the readers of Fayette county.

Probably the best living authority on the life of John Conner is J. L. Heinemann, of Connersville, who has been collecting historical data concerning Conner and the early history of Fayette county for a number of years. In the course of his investigations he has unearthed the diary of David Zeisberger, a Moravian missionary, who was acquainted with the Conner family while they lived in Ohio, and after they reached Detroit, following their capture by Indians. Such parts of this diary as pertain particularly to the Conner family have been translated and preserved by Mr. Heinemann, who also has added the result of some of his investigations in the life of Connersville's founder.

Still another view of John Conner is presented by Baynard K. Hall in his interesting volume, "The New Purchase, or Seven and a Half Years in the Far West."


It is not known whether John Conner married his Indian wife in Ohio or Indiana, nor is the date of their marriage known. It is certain, however, that Conner married his Indian wife before he became of age. She died in 1814, leaving two sons, John and James. John seems to have been enamored of Indian life and after his mother's death was reared by the Delaware Indians and when they were taken to Missouri he went with them. He communicated with his half-brother, William Winship Conner, in 1862 from Missouri. where he was then living. At that time he was a wealthy landowner. with a large estate along the Missouri river. He died sometime during the sixties. James Conner, the other son of John Conner by his Indian wife, remained with his father, who often remarked that James was the best boy he ever saw. The boy died of typhoid fever while still a youth.

After the death of his Indian wife, John Conner married Lavinia Winship, a daughter of Judge Winship of Franklin county. There were three children by the second marriage, two sons and a daughter, the latter dying in early childhood. The two sons were Henry I. and William Winship. Henrv Conner became a lawyer and formed a partnership with James B. Kay for the practice of his profession, but died while still a young man. The career of William Winship Conner, the father of Sarah Conner Christian, is related elsewhere in this volume.

It is not generally known that John Conner was one of the best educated men of his day, but such is a fact. He was a great student and had a fine library in his home. He was the right-hand man of Governor Harrison for many years and was invaluable to the governor because of his ability to speak twenty-two different Indian dialects. He could also speak and write in the French language. In his service in the state Legislature, as a member of the commission to select the site of the present State Capital, and as an interpreter at the signing of various Indian treaties, John Conner proved himself to be a man of unusual ability.

(Early Indiana Trials and Sketches. page 174)

John Conner, the proprietor of Connersville, was one of nature's strong men. Taken by the Shawnee Indians when a mere youth, he was raised and educated in Indian life, language, and manners. When dressed in their costume, and painted it was difficult to distinguish him from a real savage. On one occasion, as he told me, he came to Andersontown, then the lodge of a large band of Indians under Chief Anderson. He was dressed and painted as a Shawnee, and pretended to be a representative of Tecumseh. As is usual with the Indians, he took his seat on a log barely in sight of the Indian encampment, quietly smoked his pipe, waiting the action of Anderson and his chiefs. After an hour he saw approaching the old chief himself, in full dress, smoking his pipe. I give his language: "As the old chief walked up to me I rose from my seat, looked him in the eyes; we exchanged pipes, and walked down to the lodge smoking, without a word. I was pointed to a bearskin, took my seat. with my back to the chiefs. A few minutes after, I noticed an Indian by the name of Gillaway, who knew me well, eyeing me closely. I tried to evade his glances, when he bawled out in the Indian language, at the top of his voice (interpreted) 'You great Shawnee Indian, you John Conner.' The next moment the camp was in a perfect roar of laughter. Chief Anderson ran up to me, throwing off his dignity. 'You great representative of Tecumseh,' and burst out in a loud laugh." Mr. Conner was an active, prominent, honest man, represented his county in the Senate, and gave the casting vote in favor of the ballot system of voting. He was father of William W. Conner, of Hamilton county. He long since departed this life.


I deem it a very great honor to have the privilege of preparing this brief sketch of my grandfather, the man who founded the city of Connersville. What I shall have to say has very little of the traditionary in it. I shall give the plain facts gleaned from historical accounts and records, or related by my father, who was but six years old at the time of the death of his father, John Conner. In his (my father's) childhood memories were many pleasing incidents, but his mother who lived until he was twenty-one years of age was his reliable informant. I shall not endeavor to go back of Richard Conner, the father of the subject of this sketch, but shall begin with his sojourn at Lancaster, Pennsylvania, where he was engaged in fur trading. In this capacity he often came into contact with the Indians, among whom he met Margarita Bovoir, a French girl, who at the time of the massacre of her family, was stolen by the Indians, she being about six years old at the time. She was sixteen years of age when Richard Conner married her.

A couple of years later, Richard Conner pushed his way westward into Ohio. The Reverend Simpson in his history says that Richard Conner came to Coshocton county, Ohio, about 1770, bringing with him a small colony of friends for the purpose of engaging, with him in the fur trade. They built their cabins close together and the little group was known as Connertown. James, the eldest of the three sons born there, was, according to the Reverend Simpson, the first white child born in what is now the state of Ohio. William was born in 1775 at the same place, and in 1786 or 1787, John Conner, the founder of Connersville, Indiana, first opened his eyes upon this world at Connertown, Coshocton county, Ohio, in what was known as Wyoming Valley.

In 1789 occurred the massacre from which the Williams family escaped, while the Conners were taken into captivity by a band of Delaware Indians under the leadership of Simon Girty, a renegade, and one Elliott, also a renegade. The Conners were taken to Detroit, making the journey on foot. Upon arriving there they were thoroughly exhausted and almost dead. They were held for ransom by the Indians under the British. Their ransom was accomplished by Rev. James Heckwelder, a man of noble birth and a devoted Moravian missionary at Detroit. The ransom price paid for the Conners was four hundred dollars in cash, two kegs of powder, fifty pounds of lead and one keg of brandy. The Elliott who assisted in their capture was also instrumental in procuring their release.

The family, with two exceptions, settled at Detroit, where some of their posterity still reside, but the older members are sleeping in the cemetery at Mt. Clemens, Michigan, where the cross above their resting place attest the faith that was their anchor throughout their tragic and romantic career. At the time of the massacre John Conner was between two and three years of age, with blue eyes and light hair. It was the custom of the Indians to kill the light-haired children, and the mother, knowing this, procured a piece of lead and rubbed little John's head and eyebrows. When morning came he was the black-headed one of the family.

As the captors journeyed on, footsore and weary, William, who was about fourteen years of age, took little John from his mother's arms to rest her. No sooner was this done than one of the Indians snatched the boys up, put them on a horse, and galloped through the forest to central Indiana, the hunting ground of the Delawares. The father and mother gave the children up for dead, supposing the Indians would kill them.

I have no record of how William cared for little John, holding his hand while his delicate feet stumbled over the ground, how he quieted his cries, relieved his hunger, or protected him from the cold and rain, who made his moccasins or provided them with clothing to keep them warm. Perhaps the squaws of the tribe gave them the help they required.

When John was old enough the boys made the trip to Detroit on horseback in quest of their people. They were fortunate enough to find them in that city, and it is understood that their father, Richard, put the boys in a Moravian mission school, where they acquired what education they received. The boys returned to Indiana some time before 1800 for the purpose of carrying on fur trading and establishing trading posts. They were among the first, if not the very first white traders in the White Water valley.

John Conner had a supply store and trading post at Cedar Grove, in Franklin county, as early as 1804 and he was not more than seventeen years of age at the time. This post, in his absence, was carried on by a Frenchman in his employ known as Pilkey. In 1808 John Conner made his first appearance on the present site of Connersville, and there is little doubt that the trading post he established here that year was the first white man's cabin in Connersville.

Connersville was platted March 4, 1813. He is on record as having entered the northwest quarter of section 27 (range 12, east, township 13, north). In 1808 he became of age and as he came to Connersville in that year, it is natural to suppose that the entry was where he built the post. [This varies slightly from the county record of entries, for which see page 333.---Editor.] Fayette county at that time was a part of Franklin county, not being organized until January 1, 1819. In the first Legislature that met at Corydon (after the state was admitted to the Union in 1816) there were only ten members of the Senate and John Conner was one of the ten, being a member from Franklin county, and he was still a member of the Senate when Fayette county was organized in 1819. It is said that he cast the deciding vote for the ballot system of voting.

John Conner was married on March 13, 1813, to Louisa Winship, a daughter of Jabez Winship, of Cedar Grove. It is unnecessary for me to speak of his life at Connersville for of that you know more than I do. The evidence of his labors and ambition is here. The site of one of the first mills in the White Water valley is here, and it was John Conner who built it.

My father, William Winship Conner, was born at Connersville, May 27, 1820. In 1822 John Conner moved to Hamilton county, Indiana, where he purchased one thousand acres of land on the west fork of White river about two miles south of the present site of Noblesville. There was a small mill site on the river on his land. and he at once built a large flouring mill and woolen factory at the same place. He built a large and comfortable residence there and lived in it until the day of his death. He died in 1826 at the age of forty.

Throughout his life he was the trusted friend of the Indians, never defrauding nor betraying their interests. At the outbreak of the Indian war in Indiana (War of 1812) he used all of his influence to avert trouble between the Indians and whites; always telling his Indian friends that in case of trouble he would stand by the United States government and the settlers.

Early in 1808 Governor Harrison addressed a speech to the chief of the Shawnees. This speech was delivered by John Conner, the messenger and interpreter, before an assemblage of Shawnee chiefs. The Prophet dictated an answer which Conner put in writing and delivered to Governor Harrison. The reply was a denial of the charges, and affirmed good will and faith toward the whites. The growing dissatisfaction of the Indians and their increasing hostility began to alarm the people, and John Connor was chosen, as being the most influential man, to bear the governor's message to the Indians, assuring them of the friendship of the United State, and to use his influence to promote harmony and peace.

On November 25, 1812, Governor Harrison placed Colonel Campbell in command of a detachment of six hundred men, and in giving him instructions, said: "Inform yourself from Conner of the locality of the place and situation of the Indians." John and William Conner acted as guides to Colonel Campbell's expedition to the Mississinewa (Grant county, Indiana). They knew the country well and were conversant with Indian methods of warfare. Both brothers could speak twenty-two different Indian dialects.

John and William were two of the commissioners appointed by the General Assembly to locate the capital of the state. The commissioners were instructed by Governor Jennings to meet May 22, 1820, at the home of William Conner, on the west fork of White river (in what is now Hamilton county).

John Conner was a scout and carried the dispatches from Ft. Washington, now Cincinnati, to Ft. Wayne. He was a member of the state militia and fought under Governor Harrison at Tippecanoe. He was a non-commissioned aide to Harrison in that battle.

Oliver H. Smith, in his "Early Indiana Trials and Sketches" in speaking of John Conner, said: "John Conner, the founder of Connersville, was one of nature's strong men, active in the interest of the people, prominent in affairs of state, a man of integrity and honor, of dauntless courage and indomitable energy."

John Conner now sleeps in Greenlawn cemetery at Indianapolis, and the Indian trail, the pack horse and canoe are replaced by the nation's race tracks, automobiles, locomotives and interurbans. The dear old mill that gladdened the settlers has given way to the high-class manufactories that help to make your city. When I see the magnificent residences, the extensive factories, the schools and churches - when I see the faith the people of Connersville have in their city and their ambition for it, I know that the spirit of John Conner is marching on.

On John Conner's gravestone is the following inscription: "Blessed are the dead from henceforth : yea, saith the spirit, that they may rest from their labours: and their works do follow them." Originally there were other lines on the stone, but exposure to the elements has effaced them, the above lines being preserved through the fact that for many years they were covered with soil.


The article of Mrs. Christian was submitted to Mr. Heinemann in order for him to compare the facts stated therein with the result of his investigations. He does not hesitate to pronounce her sketch a good statement of the Conner family traditions; however, Mr. Heinemann is of the opinion that additional light on the life of Conner can be gleaned from the diary of David Zeisberger, who kept a day-by-day account from 1781 to 1798. As has been stated, Zeisberger was acquainted with the Conners in Ohio, knew of their capture by the Indians and was evidently well acquainted with them after the family lived in Detroit. Mr. Heinemann's extracts from the diary of the Moravian missionary, together with his comments on the diary, are given in the succeeding paragraphs.


June 14, 1782- Today and for several days all sorts of rumors have been flying about; and many preparations made for war. In the ship "Sandusky," the Conners came here [Detroit] with their children. They had to come on account of the unrest caused by war.

July 11, 1782- We did not fail to give our Indian brethren news of us, as often as we have had a chance, and a week before, by some white prisoners who went there we had again sent them word, and yesterday Conner also was dispatched there on business by the commandant.

April 25, 1783- Brother Conner arrived [at Clinton river] from the fort [Detroit] to build himself a house, and soon to bring his family. For the sake of his maintenance he has had to stay there till now.

April 28, 1783- (Clinton River.) We got back home again, having been much hindered in the lake by head winds, and having had much trouble to row against them. But the Indians had to lie still. Both of their canoes were filled by the waves. We brought us in our boat Brother Conner and his wife, with provisions which now they get as we do, but which before they did not draw, so long as they were in Detroit.

July 22, 1783- Brother Conner came back from Detroit, where he got supplies, when we last got provisions there, and he at the same time went with us. Colonel De Peyster refused to let him have them longer, and so he had to provide himself with them by buying them.

April 2, 1786- . . . none of us remained behind, save Conner's family, who himself knew not whither to go, or what to do. In the evening we camped at the mouth of the River Huron. . . It is just four years today that we landed in Detroit and in truth we could not do otherwise than give the Savior to recognize our thankful hearts for all the kindnesses He had shown us and that He has done everything so well with us. . . . We left Conners' family behind.

August 14, 1788- Four Chippewas came visiting here [Canada], remaining a couple of days. One of them was from the Huron river, and told us, for he spoke very good Delaware, that he lived in Brother Zeisberger's house, that the houses were all occupied by Chippewas; and that no white people lived there except Conner, to whom they had given leave [to stay there].

Mr. Heinemann's comments on the above excerpts from the Zeisberger diary follow:

It will be seen from these entries that the Moravians, with whom the original Conner family was in touch, moved from American territory into Canada in 1786; consequently that there was no opportunity for Richard Conner to put his son John into Moravian mission schools at Detroit.

That John Conner had the benefit of school training is evident from his career-- his public services have left many evidences of it- but there are several good reasons for holding that his education was in fact received in the school attached to the old Catholic church built by the French in 1701, which school, about the time in question, was rejuvenated by the new church authorities from Baltimore. This was just after the War of Independence, the Baltimore priests superseding the French and English priests from Quebec.

A large chapter of Detroit history, partly of an educational character, was inaugurated in 1798 with the arrival of Father Gabriel Richard for the purpose stated above. Even Ann Arbor owes its origin largely to this man's interest in school work. He was one-of the founders of the University of Michigan in 1817, vice-president, and in the beginning was professor of six of the thirteen departments composing its curriculum.

This remarkable man began his career in Detroit in 1798 as parish priest of old St. Ann's, the church of the days of French occupation, and in giving his first attention to the restoration of the ruin wrought by sieges and wars, he left an imperishable monument in a career notable in many ways. His life was closed as a victim of the cholera scourge of 1832. So active were his resourceful efforts in the beginning, that within three years, between 1798 and 1802, he built a second church for the neighborhood and opened six primary schools and two academies.

This is the period to which the youth of John Conner belongs, and it would be passing strange, indeed, if any other source be ever found and proven as the fountain whence were taken the rudiments of knowledge and the fair penmanship belonging to Connersville's founder.


An interesting and delightful picture of John Conner in his home at Connersville is given by Baynard Rush Hall in his book entitled "The New Purchase." Hall was the first professor of the seminary at Bloomington, which was later to become Indiana College and still later Indiana University. Hall was also a Presbyterian clergyman and it was while on a ministerial trip that he paid a visit to Connersville and partook of the hospitality of the trader. It should be said, however, that as a matter of historical accuracy, there is some doubt that Hall was actually ever at Connersville. But the fact remains that he left the state before the end of the twenties and that he must have either been at Conner's house or else well acquainted with some one who knew that Conner disported the silver plate which seems to have made such a marked impression on the eye of the preacher. It is well known that Conner collected a large quantity of silver and sent it East to be made into dishes.

As much of the volume as deals with Hall's sojourn with Conner is here reproduced verbatim. It may be found on pages 247-249 of the centennial edition of Hall's "New Purchase" edited by James Albert Woodburn, professor of history in Indiana University.

Hall calls Conner "Redwhite," while himself he designates as "Carlton." It must be admitted that the author gets out of the region of facts into the field of fiction when he attempts to discuss the domestic life of Conner, although it is certain that Conner did have an Indian wife. The extract follows: Today the evening service was in the neighborhood of Mr. Redwhite, for many years a trader among the Indians. He being present insisted on our passing the night at his house. We consented. For forty years he has lived among the aborigines, and was master of five or six Indian languages; having adopted also many of their opinions on political and religious points, and believing with the natives themselves and not a few civilized folks, that the Indians have had abundant provocations for most of their misdeeds. Hence, Mr. Redwhite and Mr. Carlton soon became 'powerful thick ' - i. e. very intimate friends.

The most interesting thing in Mr. Redwhite's establishment was his Christian or white wife. She, in infancy, had escaped the tomahawk at the massacre of Wyoming, and afterwards had been adopted as a child of the Indian tribe. Our friend's heathen or red wife was a full-blooded savages (the belle and the savage); and had deserted her husband to live with her exiled people; and so Redwhite, poor fellow, was a widower with one wife – viz, this Miss Wyoming. Mucd of this lady's life was passed among the Canadian French! and she was, therefore, mistress of the Indian, the French, and the English; and also of the most elegant cookery, either as regards substantial dishes or nicnacry. And of this you may judge, when we set on supper.

But first be it said, our host was rich, not only for that country, but for this, and though he lived in a cabin, or rather a dozen cabins, he owned tracts of very valuable land presented to him by his red lady's tribe - territory enough in fact to form a darling little state of his own, nearly as small as Rhode Island or Delaware. Beside, he owned more rea1 silver - silver done into plate, and some elaborately and tastefully graved and chased, than could be found in a pet bank when dear old uncle Sam sent some of his cronies to look for it.

Well, now the eatables and drinkables. We had tea, black and green, and coffee- all first chop and superbly made, regaling with fragrance, and their delicacy aided by the just admixture of appropriate sugars, together with richest cream- the additamenta being handed on it silver waiter and in silver bowls and cups. The decoctions and infusions themselves were poured from silver spouts curving gracefully from massive silver pots and urns. Wheat bread of choice flour raised with yeast, formed some into 1oaves and some into rolls, was present to be spread with delicious butter rising in unctuous pyramids, fretted from base to apex into a kind of butyrial shell work -this resting on silver and to be cut with silver. Corn too, figured in pone and pudding, and vapoured away in little clouds of steam; while at judicious intervals were handed silver plates of rich and warm flannel or blanket cakes, with so soft and melting an expression as to win our most tender regards. There stood a p1ate of planked venison, there one of dried beef, while at becoming distances were large china dishes partly hidden under steaks of ham and venison done on gridirons, and sending forth most fragrant odors - so that the very hounds, wild mastiffs and wolf dogs of the colony were enticed to the door of our supper cabin by the witchery of the floating essence !

But time would fail to tell of the bunns- and jumbles- and sponge cake—and fruit ditto- and pound also --and silver baskets-- and all these on cloth as white as snow!

Reader! Was ever such a contrast as between the untutored world around and the array, and splendor, and richness of our sumptuous banquet? And all this in an Indian country and prepared by almost a sole survivor from a massacre that extinguished a whole Christian village! How like a dream this!

And thou wast saved at Wyoming ! Do I look on thee? upon whose innocent face of infancy years ago pushed the warm blood of the mother falling with her babe locked to her bosom! Didst thou really hear the fiendish yells of that night? When the flames of a father's house revealed the forms of infuriate ones dancing in triumph among the mangled corpses of their victims! Who washed the congealed gore from thy cheeks? And what barbarian nurse gave strange nourishment from a breast so responsive to the bloody ca1l of the warwhoop that made thee motherless?- and now so tenderly melting at the crys of the orphan! And she tied the to a barken cradle and bore thee far, far away to her dark forest haunts!- and there swinging thee to the bending branches bade the wild winds rock thee!- and she became the mother and there was thy home! Oh ! what different destiny thine in the meet village of thy birth- but for that night !

And yet, reader, this hostess was not so wholly Indian and Canadian that when she talked of Wyoming it was without emotion!- while I was repressing tears! Alas! she had not one faint desire to see the land of her ancestors! Could this be Campbell's Gertrude?"


Mrs. Sarah Conner Christian, granddaughter of John Conner, has a letter written by James Backhouse to her grandfather, bearing the date of Ju1y 25, 1824. The letter was written from "Beach Near Brookville," but just where this place was is not definitely known. It is certain, however, that Conner had a store at Cedar Grove, south of Brookville, and another store either at or in the immediate vicinity of Brookville. The letter is written in a fairly legible hand although there are some words in it which are not readily deciphered. The whole purport of the letter is to the effect that Backhouse was engaged in transporting merchandise for Conner and that one of the loads was lost, or partly so, in crossing Taylor's creek. The letter with its lack of punctuation, excessive capitalization and misspelled words is here reproduced verbatim.

Beach Near Brookville
Mr. John Conner I set down to try to inform you of the most Singular Circumstance or more properly speaking the Act of God on Saturday morning the seventeenth day of July my Wagon Started from Venton's Old Stand beyond Miame Town Early in ordere to Cross the River before it would Rise as there was an Appearance of Heavy Rain they went on Will Crost Taylors Creek twiste which had not Raised or Swolon any Came opposide to Jacob's Old Stand Storehouse 1/2 or ¾ of a mile below Orys Mill the Water by that Time began to Swell very fast as it Raind in Torrents but my Oldest Son very Cautious for fear of any accident Took out one of the Horses and Rode Through in Presents of four Persons besides my other Son, and finding the Water not more than Belly deep he rode back claped [?] in the horse and went on Well within a very small distance of dry land and it appeared as though the water Riss over the wagon and Horses in an Instant swep of the Body through out Some of the goods and with the most exertions Imaginable Saved the waggon and claned it fast there is Some of the goods Lost I have had a very Considerable deal of Trouble with the goods and find them Less Injured then I expected I wish you not be displeased with my Conduct Nor be ay ways Prejudiced until1 you See or hear from them that was Present and no ways Interested I want to see you here and there is no doubt but you and myself can make things right if not; I am disposed to do everything that is right I have it not in my power to Say what is Lost as they have given my boys no memorandum of thy Load but no doubt there is an Invoice in the Letters this I will Say if my boys had not had poles as big as needfool all would havte been Lost but that here after if you have any losding to this place and disposed to send it by them do so and it will be Remembrd by yours &

James Backhouse

John Connor Esqr
July 25th 1824

The above letter is written on "fool's-cap" folio paper and covers the first and half of the second page of the same. The mark of the original fold would indicate that the letter had become wet in transit, suggesting that the bearer may have been caught in a drenching rain. It later had been refolded, in a more convenient shape for pigeon-holing or file preservation, and the page on which the address, "Mr. John Connor, Indianapolis," is written bears the indorsement, in another hand (probably that of Mr. Conner) and in different ink: Backhouse business." It is worthy of note that Conner's name is spelled throughout "Connor."

"History of Fayette Counties, Indiana"
published by B. F. Bowen & Co. Indianapolis, IN 1917

The preceding pages, in a general way, give a summary of the conditions up to 1830, and before returning to the beginning of the decade, when it may be said that Connersville began to grow, the point may be made that its first step towards development and prosperity, which have followed it for almost a century, was coincident with its selection as the county seat. A brief reference to some of the men who pioneered the development, is worthy of record, among them were Joshua Harlan, Arthur Dixon, Newton Claypool, John Sample, Jonathan McCarty, James M. Ray, Oliver H. Smith, William W. Wick, Jonathan John, Samuel C. Sample, George Frybarger, A. B. Conwell, and later, Mark Crume, Martin M. Ray, Samuel W. Parker, Caleb B. Smith and Daniel Hankins - future legislators, judges, members of Congress, a United States senator, a cabinet officer. and business men of great capacity. In the hands of such men it is no wonder that the village became progressive and interesting. In anecdote will serve to illustrate the peculiar talents of the taverns heretofore referred to. An old Englishman by the name of John Knipe was asked by a traveler who kept the best hotel. "We'el, hif thee wants good grub, go to Samples; hif thee wants thy 'oss well cared, go to Claypol's, and hif thee wants gude whisky, thee will better stop at 'Arlan's."

It will not be amiss here to chronicle a few particulars of the early men who figured conspicuously in the greater business interests of Connersville, and whose advent into her business circles marked an era in her history. Of the men referred to, Newton Claypool was native of Virginia. where he was born in 1795, though at an early day with his father removed to Ohio, and in 1817 settled in Connersville. In 1818 he returned temporarily to Ohio and was married to Mary Kerns, of Ross county. Claypool was a tavernkeeper until 1836, when he purchased and removed to the farm just north of the city limits, where his son, Austin B. Claypool, later resided. Newton Claypool was elected to the Legislature first in 1825, and to the Senate first in 1828, and subsequently served a number of years in each branch. Oliver H. Smith writes of him in this connection: "He was one of the most efficient men in the Legislature for many years. His greatest forte was in his practical knowledge applied to the subject by his strong common sense. For many years he was closely identified with the banking business of this community." Another writer thus alludes to him: "Luck was not one of Newton Claypool's words; it was not in his lexicon. He did but little on faith, either had his own philosophy, both of church and state. He fought all of his enemies with the same weapon. He was a consistent enemy of the Democratic party, through a life longer than is usually allotted to a man. It can be said of him that he was eminently successful as a financier, in earlier life as an economist and producer, and in after life as a banker. In this latter capacity his reputation was brilliant and enviable throughout the state." Claypool died at Indianapolis on May 14, 1866.

"History of Fayette Counties, Indiana"
published by B. F. Bowen & Co. Indianapolis, IN 1917

George Frybarger came to Connersville from Dayton, Ohio, in 1821 and opened a dry-goods store. A writer speaks of him thus: "Like most of the early settlers he was fearless and self-reliant, and entered upon the duties of his calling with decided purposes of usefulness and accumulation. His industry and energy gave him success, and for many years he ranked among the foremost merchants and traders of the White Water valley. It has been said that, perhaps, there never was a man in Connersville who knew the business as well as Frybarger, none at least who did so much business as he. There can be no doubt but the ruling trait and the carefully guarded ambition of George Frybarger was honesty. Even to the minutest details of ever raging trade throughout a long life of successful mercantile pursuits, he adhered in theory and practice to his passion - honesty. The charity of Frybarger was in business, that is, he was charitable to those that deserved it. He loaned to the unfortunate honest; he gave, too, and encouraged with his advice and credit and means, stimulating them to all the demands of success. He had an unbounded credit at home and abroad. He always kept safely stored in his vaults coin to put against his credit. He is said to have been the first man in the West in a crisis, well remembered in the commercial world, to promptly pay his Eastern debts with coin stored for the purpose of adversity." An inscription on his tombstone indicates that he was born in 1797 and died in 1853.

"History of Fayette Counties, Indiana"
published by B. F. Bowen & Co. Indianapolis, IN 1917

A. B. Conwell was born in Delaware in 1796, and at the age of fifteen was apprenticed to a tanner, with whom he served five years. In 1817 he, with a brother, walked from Washington, D. C., to Pittsburgh, where they separated, A. B. going to Kentucky, and in 1821 he located in Connersville, and began his successful career on an acre of ground which he purchased of John Conner. Here he put in operation a tannery, which business he subsequently abandoned and engaged in mercantile pursuits. For many years he was engaged in the milling business, and erected and carried on one of the most extensive flouring-mills in this section of the state. The large mill on what is now north Eastern avenue, was a monument to his enterprise. Porkpacking for a number of years claimed his attention, and this business he successfully conducted on a large scale. He was a man of much natural intellect and judgment, and had ever been known for his wise forecast of events, as well as for his sustained success in his business ventures and speculations.

"History of Fayette Counties, Indiana"
published by B. F. Bowen & Co. Indianapolis, IN 1917

Daniel Hankins settled in Connersville in 1827 - six years later than Frybarger and Conwell, yet he figured in the latter years of that decade. Colonel Hankins, as for some unexplained reason he was known, was a native of New Jersey state, born in 1795 and died in 1860. He began as a dry-goods merchant in Connersville and so continued throughout his business career. He was possessed of great activity and energy. A writer has given as his chief qualities, "untiring industry, coupled with worthy ambition; a restless, eager spirit, he was a fretful business man. Dull times only conquered him." He engaged extensively in speculation, pork and grain receiving his attention in large investments. His influence is said to have been great, because his trade was great. In 1830 he, with Marks Crume, represented the county in the Legislature. In writing of his death the Connersville Times said: "He accumulated a vast property; he had a farm of fourteen hundred acres north of Connersville, which he superintended, though his attention was largely engrossed with the extensive mercantile trade and speculations in pork and flour. Perhaps no man of one county has ever managed as much business, and managed it as correctly and successfully, as has Colonel Hankins."

"History of Fayette Counties, Indiana"
published by B. F. Bowen & Co. Indianapolis, IN 1917

Oliver H. Smith, a resident of Connersville from 1820 to 1839, will go down in history as one of Indiana’s great men. He was a member of the state Legislature, a member of Congress, a member of the United States Senate and always a statesman of the highest rank. His talents were diversified; as a lawyer he ranks with the best in the state; as a financier and practical business man he attained a position among the leaders in the state; as an author he left one volume which throws the best light on many phases of early Indiana history that has ever appeared in the state. This volume, entitled "Early Indiana Trials and Sketches," appeared in 1857. It would be easy to write a volume upon the life of Oliver H. Smith, but it is not possible to cover his life in detail in this connection.

Oliver H. Smith was born on October 23, 1794, on a small island near Trenton, New Jersey, and came to Indiana in 1817. He first located at Rising Sun, but a short time afterward moved to Lawrenceburg, where he commenced the study of law. In March, 1819, he was admitted to the bar and then located in Versailles, in Ripley county. He remained there only a short time, removing to Connersville in May, 1820.

Two years later Smith was elected to the Legislature from Fayette county. He was appointed prosecutor of the third judicial circuit in 1824, but resigned on August 1, 1826, to become a candidate for Congress and was elected by over fifteen hundred majority. After the close of his first term in Congress he returned to Connersville and devoted all of his time and attention to the practice of his profession until 1836, when he was elected to the United States Senate. He served with distinction for six years in the Senate, but was defeated for re-election in 1842 by E. A. Hannegan and never again asked for political preferment.

The last sixteen years of his life (1843-59) were largely devoted to railroad matters, and Indianapolis and the state of Indiana are mainly indebted to him for building the railroad, now known as the Big Four, to Indianapolis. At different times he was president of two railroads and he exercised the same ability in railroad matters that characterized his work as a lawyer.

Smith died in Indianapolis on March 19, 1859, and the Indianapolis Journal two days later, in commenting upon his death, said: "There is not a corner in the state in which the melancholy announcement of the death of Hon. Oliver H. Smith, which we make this morning, will not wake feelings of deep and sincere sorrow. He died as he lived, a sincere Christian. His eminent career, his great service to the cause of internal improvements, and his unspotted private life, make him a place in the public regard that few have filled more worthily."

"History of Fayette Counties, Indiana"
published by B. F. Bowen & Co. Indianapolis, IN 1917

Caleb B. Smith, a resident of Connersville from 1837 to 1851, a member of Congress for three terms and secretary of the interior under Lincoln, was one of the most distinguished men Indiana has ever produced. He served his state in the legislature and the nation in Congress and as a member of President Lincoln's Civil War cabinet. At the opening of the Civil War an enumeration of a dozen of the nation's greatest men would have found the name of Caleb B. Smith one of the number.

Caleb B. Smith was born in Boston, April 16, 1808, and when six years of age located with his parents in Cincinnati. After completing the course of studies given in the University of Cincinnati he entered Miami University at Oxford, Ohio, where he was graduated in 1827. He had read law while in college and continued his study during the summer of 1827, and in the fall of that year located in Connersville, where he resumed his legal studies under the tutelage of Oliver H. Smith.

No better description of Caleb B. Smith has ever been written than that prepared by his mentor, Oliver H. Smith. It is here given as it appeared in his "Early Indiana Trials and Sketches."

One day I was sitting in my office at Connersville, when there entered a small youth about five feet, eight inches high, large head, thin brown hair, light blue eyes, high, capacious forehead, and good features, and introduced himself as Caleb B. Smith, of Cincinnati. He stated his business in a lisping tone. He had come to read law with me if I would receive him. I assented to his wishes and he remained with me until he was admitted to practice. and commenced his professional, as well as his political, career at Connersville. He rose rapidly at the bar, was remarkably fluent, rapid and eloquent before a jury, never at a loss for ideas or words to express them; if he had a fault as an advocate, it was that he suffered his nature to press forward his ideas for utterance faster than the minds of the jurors were prepared to receive them. Still, he was very successful before the court and jury.

Caleb B. Smith completed. his studies under O. H. Smith and was admitted to the bar in 1828, although he was not yet of age. In 1831, being only twenty-three years of age at the time, he made the race for the Legislature, but was defeated by a narrow margin. In June of the following year he associated himself with M. R. Hull in the establishment of a newspaper known as the Indiana Sentinel. He made a second race for the Legislature in 1833, was elected and was re-elected for the three following sessions, serving as speaker of the House in the sessions of 1835 and 1836. In 1840 he was elected to the Legislature for the fifth time and in that same year was chosen as one of the Presidential electors on the Harrison ticket.

Mr. Smith was first elected to Congress in 1843 and was re-elected in 1845 and again in 1847, serving six years in all. During his three terms in Congress he was the leader of the Indiana delegation and at the close of his last tern was probably not only the most prominent man in national affairs from Indiana, but also one of the most prominent men who has ever represented the state in either branch of Congress.

In the early fifties Caleb B. Smith became interested in railroads and in 1851 was made president of the Cincinnati & Chicago Railroad Company, with headquarters at Cincinnati. The railroad proved a losing venture and the company soon became bankrupt, Smith himself losing a considerable portion of his fortune. In 1856 he was a presidential elector from Ohio on the Fremont ticket. He had been a resident of Cincinnati since 1851, and made his home in that city for eight years.

In 1859 Mr. Smith removed from Cincinnati to Indianapolis in order to devote all his time to his law practice. He was chairman of the Indiana delegation at the Republican national convention at Chicago in 1860 and was no small factor in bringing about the nomination of Lincoln. Such were his services in the campaign of 1860 in behalf of Lincoln that the President recognized him by making him a member of his cabinet. He served as secretary of the interior from the beginning of the administration, March 4, 1861, until December 25, 1862, when he resigned to accept the judgeship of the United States court for the district of Indiana. He took this office on the first of the following year, and died about a year later, January 17, 1864. He died in the court building at Indianapolis as a result of a hemorrhage.

As an orator, Caleb B. Smith had few equals, particularly excelling in "stump" speaking. He had a singularly clear, sonorous and penetrating voice, which made it easy for him to address large crowds. His language was copious and musical, often striking and always clear. At his death President Lincoln sent a telegram to Indianapolis ordering that the postoffice be draped in mourning for fourteen days in honor of him "as a prudent and loyal counselor and faithful and effective coadjutor of the administration in an hour of public difficulty and peril."

Smith was married July 8, 1831, to Elizabeth B. Watton, of Connersville. They had several children, all of whom are now deceased. His widow survived him several years.

"History of Fayette Counties, Indiana"
published by B. F. Bowen & Co. Indianapolis, IN 1917

Samuel W. Parker, a member of Congress from 1851 to 1855 and a resident of Connersville from 1828 until his death in 1859, was born on September 9, 1805, in Watertown, New York. When ten years of age he removed with his family to Cincinnati, and three years later the family located at Oxford, where young Parker completed his education at Miami University, graduating at the head of his class in 1828.

Shortly after his graduation, Samuel W. Parker located in Connersville, and in November, 1828, opened a private school in the village, which he taught for several terms. He was principal of the county seminary when it opened, and maintained his connection with that institution until April, 1830, when he resigned to engage in newspaper work in the village. The newspaper chapter elsewhere in this volume sets forth his connection with the press at Connersville.

While teaching and later while engaged in newspaper work, Mr. Parker devoted his spare moments to the study of law in the office of O. H. Smith. He was admitted to the bar in August, 1831, and from that time until his death he was engaged in the active practice of his profession, with the exception of the time he spent in Congress. He served in both branches of the General Assembly of the state and also served by appointment as prosecuting attorney. His first election to Congress was in 1850 and by re-election he served from March 4, 1851, to March 4, 1855. He could easily have been elected for the third term had he so chosen, but he declined to accept the renomination. As soon as he had left the halls of Congress he returned to his home in Connersville and from that time until his death divided his attention between the practice of law and the direction of the various railroad interests with which he was identified. He was president of the Junction Railroad Company at the time of his death, February 1, 1859, and had for several years previous been president of the White Water Canal Company.

Parker was the leader of the Whig party in Indiana for twenty years and his services as a campaign speaker were, in constant demand throughout the country. He was married on July 16, 1833, to Susannah Watton, of Connersville, who survived him many years.

"History of Fayette Counties, Indiana"
published by B. F. Bowen & Co. Indianapolis, IN 1917

William W. Wick, the first lawyer in Connersville and a resident of Fayette county until 1822, was born at Cannonsburg, Pennsylvania, February 23, 1796. When he was four years of age he removed with his parents to the Western Reserve of Ohio, where he grew to manhood. During the two years following 1814 he taught school in Washington county, Pennsylvania, and in the spring of 1816 went to Cincinnati. There he taught school and began the study of medicine, but later decided to forsake the medical profession and engage in the practice of law. About 1818 he began the study of law at Lebanon, Ohio, and sometime during the following year was admitted to the bar in that state. Having been admitted to the bar, the next question was where to locate. He heard of the newly-organized county of Fayette in Indiana and finally decided to cast his lot with its county seat. Accordingly in December, 1819, he located in Connersville, the first lawyer to settle in the county. In December, 1820, he was chosen clerk of the Indiana House of Representatives and served through two sessions in that capacity. The Legislature elected him president judge of the fifth judicial circuit, February 7, 1822, and with his election to that office he severed his connection with Connersville forever, and located in Indianapolis.

There is probably not a man in Indiana who filled more official positions than William W. Wick. The different official positions he held covered practically the whole period from 1822 to 1857, his official positions following: President judge, 1822-25; secretary of state, 1825-29; quartermaster general, 1826; prosecuting attorney, 1829-33; president judge, 1834-39; congress, 1839-41 and 1845-49; president and circuit judge, 1849-53; postmaster of Indianapolis, 1853-57.

Wick was first married in 1821 to Laura Finch, a sister of Fabius M. Finch, one of Indiana's best lawyers. After the death of his first wife in 1832, Wick was married, in, 1839, to Isabella Barbee, who died in 1875. He spent his declining years at the home of his daughter at Franklin, Indiana, where he died on May 19, 1868.

"History of Fayette Counties, Indiana"
published by B. F. Bowen & Co. Indianapolis, IN 1917

Jonathan McCarty, one of the famous distinguished residents of Fayette county, although not born in the county, was nevertheless prominently identified with its early history. He was born in Virginia, August 3, 1795, removed with his parents to Franklin county, Indiana, in 1804, was reared in sight of Brookville, and lived in that county until Fayette county was organized in 1819. He served as deputy clerk of Franklin county under his brother, Enoch, spent his spare moments reading law and was eventually admitted to the bar. He early began to interest himself in politics, was elected to the legislature from Franklin county and introduced the bill which provided for the organization of Fayette county. Upon the organization of the county on January I, 1819, he removed to Connersville and was elected as the first clerk of the circuit court, serving also as recorder.

Mr. McCarty filled the office until 1828, when he resigned, having been notified of his impending appointment as receiver of the land office to be established at Ft. Wayne, Indiana. He took charge of the land office in 1829 and the following year made the race for Congress against John Test.

In the course of the campaign he made the following statement in one of his speeches:
I have resided for more than twenty-five years in the territorial limits of what now forms this congressional district; first in the county of Dearborn [this was before Franklin was organized in 1811], then in Franklin, then in Fayette, my present residence. * * * * * * Having been reared and educated in the western county, accustomed to its policy and laws, I necessarily imbibed, at an early period, those republican principles so repeatedly and practically illustrated in the Western states - and have always been proud of the name and title of a Republican.

While McCarty called himself a Republican, it must be understood that it was not the party that it is today, in fact he was a follower of Jackson, really a Democrat. His opponent, John Test, was a National Republican.

Though McCarty was defeated in his race for Congress in 1828, he was successful two years later, defeating his former competitor, Test, and Oliver H. Smith. In the course of the campaign, Samuel W. Parker, then editor of the Political Clarion at Connersville, and a violent fighter against McCarty, referred to the latter in the following manner:

General McCarty for four or five years had particular notoriety as a heated partisan of President Jackson. As a man he is possessed of natural abilities which rate considerable above mediocrity; abilities which could not but have rendered him truly and justly conspicuous, had they been properly disciplined and directed. From village to national politics, he is shrewd, calculating, artful and indefatigable, and in his demeanor he is affable, courteous and interesting.

This statement from a political adversary, as will be noticed, recognized the ability of the man. Another, and probably a truer estimate of the man, is recorded by O. H. Smith in his "Early Indiana Trials and Sketches." In speaking of McCarthy , Smith said: He was one of the most talented men in the state. He was defective in education, but had great native powers; represented his district in Congress for several years [he served from 1831 to 1837] with ability. As a stump speaker he was ardent and effective; his person was above the medium size; his head and face of fine mould; his voice strong and clear, and his actions good.

In 1848 or 1849 McCarty left Indiana and located in Keokuk, Iowa, for the practice of law, but had only fairly established himself in that city when his death occurred. He died in Keokuk in 1852 and his remains rest there.

"History of Fayette Counties, Indiana"
published by B. F. Bowen & Co. Indianapolis, IN 1917

Minor Meeker, a farmer of Harrison township, was a man of unusual ability. Born in Orange county, New York, July 5, 1795, he was left an orphan at the age of two years, fought in the War of 1812 in a New York regiment, and then learned the tanner's trade in Steuben county, in his native state. In 1819 he started for the West in company with Minor Thomas and others, the party going down the Ohio river and stopping off at a point about five miles above Cincinnati. From that point they made their way overland to Fayette county, Indiana. Meeker settled in Connersville and at once engaged in the tanning business.

In January, of the following year, he married Rachel Thomas, the daughter of Minor Thomas, the leader of the party to this county. After his marriage he moved onto his father-in-law's farm and subsequently bought a farm in Harrison township. He built a log cabin on his farm, moved into it before it was completed, began clearing his land, and there on that farm he lived the remainder of his days. Before his death he was one of the largest landowners of the township.

Minor Meeker divided his attention between farming, tanning and shoe- and boot-making, distilling and the pork-packing business. He was also one of the directors in the White Water Canal Company and always took an active part in urging public improvements of all kinds. Successful as he was as a farmer and business man, it is his record as a public official which insures him a place in the hall of Fayette county's distinguished men. It is said of him that so popular was he in the county that he was never defeated for any office to which he aspired. He was first elected as representative to the Legislature in 1841, serving in the twenty-sixth and twenty-seventh sessions, and again in 1845, serving in the thirtieth and thirty-first sessions. In 1852 he was elected to the state Senate and served in the thirty-seventh and thirty-eighth sessions. An examination of the House and Senate journals shows that he was a prominent figure in both houses of the Legislature, and active in shaping legislation.

Meeker died on May 10, 1865, and his widow died on March 1, 1885. They had two children, Marcella, born on October 23, 1823, and Chester C., July 27, 1828.

"History of Fayette Counties, Indiana"
published by B. F. Bowen & Co. Indianapolis, IN 1917

James C. McIntosh, one of the leading lawyers of Connersville for many years, was born on January 13, 1827, in Connersville. His parents, Joshua and Nancy McIntosh, natives of Virginia and Maryland, respectively, settled in Connersville in 1824. The elder McIntosh was a local preacher in the Methodist church and for many years one of the associate judges of Fayette county. The son was educated in the schools of Connersville and then entered Asbury (now DePauw) University, at Greencastle, Indiana, and graduated at the head of his class in 1849, completing the regular four-year course in three years.

For a short time after graduating Mr. McIntosh taught school in Lagrange, Indiana, but in 1850 he commenced the study of law, his preceptor being Samuel W. Parker, of Connersville. In 1851 he was admitted to the bar, and from that date until his death, August 27, 1878, he devoted himself to the practice of his profession. He never cared to mingle in politics and frequently declined to make the race for office. In commenting on the life of this distinguished lawyer, a local biographer thus characterized his life:

From the beginning he worked his way upward in his profession until he made a reputation as a lawyer surpassed by a very few. And be it noted that the public prominence he attained was as a lawyer - politics had nothing to do with it. He never asked for office; in fact, he refused to allow his .name to be used in that connection, and while many of his associates in the state have left their names to be tossed about on the billows of politics, he quietly toiled on in his profession, leaving a work that will last as long as jurisprudence has a place in the state he loved.

His devotion to his legal studies and duties, however, had no effect in diminishing his religious interest, nor did it then, or ever, interfere in the slightest degree with his faithful performance of his church duties. Always calm and dignified, never demonstrative, his entire Christian life was a steady, persistent, elevated plea for the truth of Christian doctrines, and the purity and elevation of Christian character. He did not flash with the fitful and momentary glare of the brilliant meteor, but glowed with the steady light of the planet that keeps the track of its orbit.

James C. McIntosh was married April 28, 1851, to Elizabeth W. Martindale, and at his death left his widow and five children.

"History of Fayette Counties, Indiana"
published by B. F. Bowen & Co. Indianapolis, IN 1917

Col. James C. Rea. a veteran of the War of 1812, a resident of Fayette county from 1818 until his death in 1876, a successful farmer, school teacher, justice of peace for nearly a quarter of a century and holder of other public offices, was born in Rockbridge county, Virginia, June 16, 1789. He served in the War of 1812 with a company of Virginia militia, and in 1818 was appointed lieutenant of the Thirteenth Brigade, Thirteenth Regiment Virginia Militia.

Colonel Rea's connection with Fayette county, Indiana, began in the summer of 1818, in which year he and his brother Daniel came to the county and settled in Harrison township. He took a prominent part in the militia of the county and before the system was abolished in 1846 he had reached the rank of colonel. He lived on the farm in Harrison township, where he first settled, until his death, September 25, 1876.

Colonel Rea was married, April 20, 1823, to Mary Stockdale. They were the parents of a large family of children, nine of whom became successful teachers in the county, a record which has never been approached during the whole history of the county. The names of the children follow: Elizabeth M., Hetty J., Rheuamy, John, Robert, James C., Joseph B., Nancy H., Sarah A., and India B. The mother of these children died on November 10, 1846.

Colonel Rea was looked upon as one of the leaders in the county for half a century. He taught school for a number of years, even being found in the school room when he: reached the age of seventy-eight years. He served on the board of tax commissioners in 1833, filled the office of justice of peace in his township from 1834 until 1857, and was appointed in 1851 to appraise the real estate of Waterloo, Harrison and Posey townships. He was a Jackson Democrat, an "old school" Presbyterian; and a man of firm and resolute character in every respect; a fine type of the sterling pioneers of the county, who reared large families to lives of usefulness and honor, took an active part in the life of their respective communities, and in every way worked for the good of the county honored by their residence.

"History of Fayette Counties, Indiana"
published by B. F. Bowen & Co. Indianapolis, IN 1917

Abram B. Conwell, for years the most prominent merchant of Connersville, and identified with the history of the city from 1819 until 1886, was born in Lewiston, Delaware, August 15, 1796. He was apprenticed to a tanner at the age of fifteen and served an apprenticeship of five years. In 1818 he and his brother, James, left their native town for the West, and on arriving at Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, James secured a position in a shipyard, leaving Abram to continue his journey westward alone. He went on down the Ohio river and stopped in Kentucky, but a year later he left that state and came to Fayette county, Indiana, and located at Connersville, where he lived until the day of his death, November 1, 1886, being in his ninetieth year.

In the fall of 1818 three of the Conwell brothers, James, William and Isaac, made a prospecting trip throughout the Northwest looking for a suitable location. James, a Methodist preacher, located at Laurel, Franklin county; William settled at Cambridge City, Wayne county; Isaac chose Liberty, Union county; while Abram finally decided to cast his lot with Connersville. All of the brothers became successful merchants in their respective communities, Abram achieving the most pronounced financial success.

Having learned the trade of a tanner it was but natural that Conwell should start a tannery as soon as he got located in Connersville. He bought one acre from John Conner, the founder of the town, and proceeded to build a fine residence on the same, the building still being in an excellent state of preservation. He was married February 22, 1821, to Elizabeth Sparks, a daughter of Matthew Sparks, one of the earliest settlers of Franklin county. They were the parents of three children. Lafayette, who was associated with his father in business until his death; Anna K., who became the wife of William Merrell, a banker and merchant of Connersville. and Charles K., who died in 1876.

To tell the business career of Abram B. Conwell, extending as it did over three-quarters of a century, would transcend the limits of this article. He was financially interested in a large number of projects in the city and county, and nearly all of them were successful. Primarily he was a merchant - a store keeper, he called himself - and it was in trading that he made his greatest success. He gradually branched out into other lines of activity and such was his versatility that he was capable of handling his many diverse interests in a way to make them successful. He bought a mill in the village and later built a new one, installing the latest and most improved machinery. Still later he became interested in the pork-packing business and it is said that during some years he sold more than six hundred thousand dollars worth of pork. In the meantime he was buying up land in the county and at one time he owned about fifteen hundred acres. Thus he had four enterprises in hand at the same time-his store, flourmill, pork-packing establishment and finally his hundreds of acres of farming land.

When the question of completing the White Water canal through Connersville was being agitated in 1839 and 1840, Mr. Conwell became one of the leading promoters of the new company, which finally secured the right to complete the canal, and he was one of the heaviest stockholders. Likewise, when the proposition of building the present Cincinnati, Indianapolis & Western Railroad was broached, he took a prominent part in raising the money to build the branch, connecting Dayton and Rushville. He invested sixty thousand dollars in the project and got no other returns except such as came indirectly through the improvement of the city.

Mr. Conwell was one of the charter members of the first Masonic lodge established in Connersville. In politics he was a life-long Democrat, but never during his long career would he consent to become a candidate for a public office. His life work was in the business world, and with an indomitable will, ceaseless energy, unquestioned integrity and well-directed effort he built up a truly remarkable business for his day and generation. During all of his life he took a hearty interest in the welfare of the community and contributed generously of his means to all worthy causes. His life spanned four score and ten years and with his death in 1886 there passed away the greatest merchant Fayette county has ever produced.

"History of Fayette Counties, Indiana"
published by B. F. Bowen & Co. Indianapolis, IN 1917

Francis M. Roots, for many years one of the leading business men of Connersville, was born at Oxford, Ohio, October 28, 1824. His parents, natives of Vermont, had located at that place in 1816, his father, Alanson Roots, at once establishing a woolen factory at Oxford. Alanson Roots' three elder sons assisted in the factory and in this way learned all the details of the business. Francis M. entered Miami University, located in Oxford, when he was sixteen years of age, and was graduated from the scientific course.

When he was twenty-one years of age, Francis M. Roots and his brother, Philander H., decided to come to Connersville and establish a woolen-mill. At that time (1845) the White Water canal was just being opened through the town and this fact, together with the opportunity of utilizing water power for their factory, offered such an attractive inducement to the two brothers that they decided to establish a large woolen-mill here.

The Roots brothers at once erected a five-story building, one hundred by forty feet, and when operated at full capacity, as they did during the Civil War period. employed at least one hundred men. This building was in constant operation from the time it was opened for manufacturing until it was destroyed by fire in 1875.

Before the woolen factory burned the Roots brothers had become interested in another manufacturing enterprise of even greater magnitude. In 1860 they succeeded in getting patented what became known as Roots' rotary blower. This machine was awarded first premiums at three international expositions: Paris, 1867; Vienna. 1873; Philadelphia, 1875. It sold extensively not only in this country, but in Europe as well. By 1885 no fewer than five thousand had been sold in England alone, while as many more had been sold on the continent.

Francis M. Roots became interested in banking in Connersville in 1873, and was president of the First National Bank from 1879 until his death, October 25, 1889. An extended sketch of his life, which covers his business career in detail, is given in the biographical section of this volume.

"History of Fayette Counties, Indiana"
published by B. F. Bowen & Co. Indianapolis, IN 1917

Samuel J. Shipley, a resident of Fayette county from 1819 until his death in 1897, a member of the first class to graduate from the United States Naval Academy, at Annapolis. a participant in the Civil War and one of the best beloved men of a past generation in the county, was born in Wilmington, Delaware, December 24, 1813, the son of Joseph and Mary H. (Test) Shipley. He came with his mother to Fayette county when he was six years of age, his father having died leaving his wife with four small children.

It was the childish ambition of Shipley to become a sailor, and when he was nineteen years of age Jonathan McCarty, then congressman from this district, secured an appointment for him as midshipman in the navy. This was before there was a naval academy and it was not until 1839 that Congress established such an institution, the first one being located at Philadelphia. Shipley was enrolled as a student at the time of its inception and when the academy was removed to Annapolis the following year, he became a member of the first class, graduating in the spring of 1840.

Shipley continued his career at sea year after year, being advanced to a lieutenancy in 1847 at the close of the Mexican War. At the opening of the Civil War he was stationed at Fortress Monroe as commander of the "Brandywine," but his health became impaired and he was compelled to retire from his command in 1863. He at once returned to his home in Fayette county and settled down on his farm in Harrison township, which he had purchased in 1837. There he continued to reside with his daughter until a few years before his death, when he moved to Connersville where he died on July 11, 1897.

Lieutenant Shipley was married on November 14, 1841, to Martha Holden, but his wife died two years later, leaving a daughter, Jennie, who is still living in Connersville.

"History of Fayette Counties, Indiana"
published by B. F. Bowen & Co. Indianapolis, IN 1917

Louis T. Michener, attorney-general of Indiana from 1886 to 1890, was born near Connersville, Indiana, December 21, 1848, a son of William and Mary Michener. After receiving a common-school education he spent one year in Brookville College and then began the study of law with James C. McIntosh, at Connersville. He was admitted to the bar in 1871 and located in Brookville for the practice of his profession. The same year he was appointed deputy common pleas attorney for his district and served in that capacity for two years. In 1873 he moved to Winfield, Kansas, but a year later returned to Indiana and located at Shelbyville, where he formed a partnership with Thomas B. Adams. He continued to practice in Shelbyville until he was elected attorney-general of Indiana, serving by re-election from 1886 to 1890. After retiring from the office he went to Washington, D. C., where he has been practicing several years.

Mr. Michener took an active part in politics in former years. He was a delegate to the Republican national convention at Chicago in 1884 and was political manager for Gen. Benjamin Harrison from 1884 to 1892. From 1884 to 1886 he was secretary of the Republican state committee of Indiana, and during 188990 was chairman of the state committee. He was married on May 30, 1872, to Mary E. Adams, of Brookville. Indiana.

"History of Fayette Counties, Indiana"
published by B. F. Bowen & Co. Indianapolis, IN 1917

THE MARGUERITE THIEBAUD SCHOLARSHIP. The history of the Connersville schools would not be complete without mention of the Marguerite Thiebaud scholarship in Earlham College. Miss Thiebaud was born in Connersville, was graduated from the local high school in 1908, from Earlham College in 1912, and died at Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania, in March, 1914, while in her second year of post-graduate studies in Bryn Mawr College. In her honor her parents, B.. E. and Alice Thiebaud, established a scholarship in Earlham College, carrying an honorarium of three hundred dollars annually. Hanging on the wall of the high school auditorium is a framed announcement of this scholarship, and such of it as pertains to the scholarship proper is here given.

I. Marguerite Thiebaud was born in Connersville in 1890. She was graduated from the Connersville high school in 1908, and from Earlham College with the class of 1912. She died in Bryn Mawr in March, 1914, while in her second year of post-graduate studis. Marguerite Thiebaud possessed and cultivated the finer qualities, both of mind and character. She represented well the modest, earnest, high-minded type of young Christian womanhood. She cared for the better things. She set a good example.
II. In October, 1915, her parents, Benjamin F. and Alice Thiebaud, founded a scholarship in Earlham College as a memorial to their daughter. This scholarship is open to graduates of the Connersville high school, young men and young women, who have been residents of Fayette county for at least two years previous to graduation.
The candidate shall meet these requirements:
(a) He shall be able to enter the college without conditions.
(b) He shall be worthy morally.
(c) He sha11 rank well in scholarship and ordinarily shall be selected from the group standing highest fourth in the class, i. e. in a class of forty he shall be one of the highest ten in point of scholarship record.
(d) He shall by ability, industry, variety of interests, and qualities of leadership and character, give promise of usefulness in life.
III. The scholarship is awarded as follows:
The superintendent of schools of the school city of Connersville, the principal of the high school and the assistant principal constitute a committee to determine the method of selection of the beneficiaries and to make or to approve the selection, which when certified to the college by the superintendent of schools is final, subject only to the approval of the college.

The first award of this scholarship was made in the spring of 1916 and Grace Edwards, a graduate of the class of 1916, was selected as the first one to receive the benefits of the scholarship. She is now attending Earlham College, where she is making an enviable record.

"History of Fayette Counties, Indiana"
published by B. F. Bowen & Co. Indianapolis, IN 1917

Edward L. Rickert, superintendent of the Connersville city schools, was born in Columbiana county, Ohio, November 12, 1874. He was graduated from the Columbiana high school and received the degree of Bachelor of Arts from the College of Wooster in 1901. Subsequently he did post-graduate work in the University of California and in Harvard University and in 1911 received his degree of Master of Arts from Columbia University. Superintendent Rickert's teaching experience began in 1893, and for two years he taught in the rural schools of his home county. From 1895 to 1897 he taught in the North Lima, Ohio, schools. Following his graduation from Wooster in 1901, he became principal of the Lowellville, Ohio, schools, and remained there until 1905. The two following years he was principal of the elementary school at Youngstown, Ohio. In the fall of 1907 he took charge of the schools at Maquoketa, Iowa, as superintendent, and continued there until 1912, when he became superintendent of the schools of Connersville.

Mr. Rickert was married on July 31, 1912, to Grace Weimer, of Beach City, Ohio. They are the parents of two sons, Edward W. and George A.

"History of Fayette Counties, Indiana"
published by B. F. Bowen & Co. Indianapolis, IN 1917

No history, however concise, of the upbuilding of Connersville could be deemed just to the future unless it told of the life and the business career of the late James Harvey Tatman. Most of his life was spent in Connersville. Few more active members of the business circles of their day and no more rugged and strong-principled Christian gentleman ever added to the city's growth.

Born in Kentucky, Mr. Tatman came with his patents to Franklin county, Indiana, when he was still a little child. About the year 1858 he came to Connersville and the remainder of his life was lived within the city. He died on September 9, 1905 in his eightieth year.

In the course of his life in Connersville Mr. Tatman was a photographer, which art he mastered and prospered in. At one time, during the war, he employed three assistants constantly. He was later associated with A. C. Cooley in the furniture manufacturing business; he was a partner with L. T. Bower in a saw-mill industry; at one time he was interested with Henry Moyer in the retail furniture business; he platted a large tract of ground in the western district of the city which, is known as Tatman's addition; he operated the largest apiary in Fayette county and was engaged in an active way, but on a smaller scale, in other enterprises.

, Mr. Tatman was president of the Times News Company for many years and upon it, as upon everything he touched, he left the imprint of a character of strong and admirable angles. His eagerness in the conduct of business exceeded his strength of body. His ardor as a believer in Methodism exceeded both and his death took from the City a man who died as he had lived; and whose memory is revered today. The widow, Mrs. Josephine B. Tatman, who in her young womanhood was a contributor of verse to early day periodicals, still resides in the beautiful family home at the southwest corner of Grand avenue and Ninth street.

"History of Fayette Counties, Indiana"
published by B. F. Bowen & Co. Indianapolis, IN 1917

Edwin Wright Tatman, although a comparatively young man, has nevertheless been classed for a number of years among the city's forward rank of business spirits. He is president and general manager of the Times News Company. His public activities in the Commercial Club, which he served as vice-president and treasurer, his identity with all public spirited and philanthropic movements, and his labors in behalf of the industrial development of Connersville are predominate characteristics. Cementing all this he has a wide acquaintance and a salient penchant for being on the advance side of issues, questions and movements.

Mr. Tatman was born in Connersville in a house that occupies the same original lot on which his own house now stands, on July 21, 1878. His business career is a rather remarkable one. His connection with the Evening News, of which he is now the publisher and principal owner, began in his tenth year and has lasted, without interruption, until the present. He began as a newsboy and continued to be a newsboy until the day of his graduation from the Connersville high school . He was then in his eighteenth year. The Monday following he took up his duties as bookkeeper for the company. About a year later the company, theretofore in charge of William F. Downs and J. W. Hull, underwent a change, Mr. Tatman's father acquiring a half interest in the establishment. At the time of this transaction young Mr. Tatman was made business manager. He was peculiarly fitted for that position, having grown up from the humblest duties of the establishment to the position which he still holds, of the person who knows more about the business, in and out, than any other person connected with it. The years since he began as a newsboy have given him a business education not to be found in any college.

While on the surface of Connersville's affairs, Mr. Tatman and the Times-News are all but synonyms, the president and general manager is active otherwise, being interested in local banking and manufacturing enterprises and having valuable realty holdings. He is a member of the board of directors of the Farmers and Merchants Trust Company, of Connersville.

"History of Fayette Counties, Indiana"
published by B. F. Bowen & Co. Indianapolis, IN 1917

D. E. Trusler, the editor of the Daily Examiner, was born near Connersville on February 11, 1888. He was educated in the rural schools and in the Connersville high school. When only seventeen years of age he enlisted in the United States navy and remained in the service four years, 1905-09, serving first on the "Charleston" and later on the "'West Virginia." He was on board the "Charlestown" when Secretary of State, Elihu Root, made his famous trip around South America in that vessel. For three years he was stationed on the west coast of the United States and during that time visited all the important ports in the South Sea, Australia, China, Japan and other parts of Asia. He has been in practically every port in the world, having crossed the equator, no less than twenty-eight times in the course of his travels.

After being mustered out of the Navy in 1909, Mr. Trusler was employed by the Rex Buggy Company until 1912, when he became a reporter on the Connersville News. He became editor of the Daily Examiner in September, 1915, and has succeeded in trebling the subscription of the paper since he took charge of it. Mr. Trusler was married on January 29, 1910, to Eva Caldwell.

"History of Fayette Counties, Indiana"
published by B. F. Bowen & Co. Indianapolis, IN 1917

Deb Murray