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History of Terre Haute, Vigo Co., IN - 1880 - page seven


Another who was intimately associated with the business circles of Terre Haute was LEVI G. WARREN. He was born in Jefferson county, New York, January 31, 1816. He came to Terre Haute with his father�s family when only four years of age. He died suddenly June 29, 1865. He was a younger brother of Chauncey WARREN, under whose guidance he began his business life. He was remarkably successful in business affairs, and eminent for his sagacity and prudence in financial affairs, in the prosecution of which he accumulated a handsome fortune. At the time of his death he was president of the branch of the bank of the state at Terre Haute.

In June, 1868, CHAUNCEY WARREN followed his brother Levi to his long home. Mr. WARREN was born in Cheshire county, New Hampshire, January 29, 1800. While a child his parents removed to Jefferson county, New York. Here he grew to manhood, receiving such education as the common schools of the state afforded. In 1820 his father removed to this state, and while searching for a place to locate left his family temporarily at the house of Mr. TUTTLE, in this vicinity. During the same year the father died, leaving him, at the age of twenty, the care of the entire family, and but small means for support. Shortly after his father�s death he removed to Roseville and procured employment. He remained here five years, laboring hard and earning the esteem and confidence of all who knew him. In 1826 he removed to this town, and first entered upon mercantile life as a clerk in the store of Chauncey ROSE. At the expiration of three years he became a partner with Mr. ROSE, and this arrangement continued three years longer, when he became sole owner of the business. In 1832 he was married, in this city, to the daughter of Dr. C.B. MODESITT. This is the lady who as a child of four years made the journey from Virginia to Terre Haute on horseback. His prosperous career as a merchant closed in 1837, when, in consequence of a disease of the eyes, he was compelled to retire from active labor.

Judge RANDOLPH H. WEDDING was another of the notable men of this country. He was born in Maryland in 1798. His life has been remarkable for the sterling traits of character he exhibited, and for the stirring scenes in which he was a prominent actor. He came here in 1817, and died December 10, 1866.

Another early and influential settler was Judge DEMAS DEMING. He was born in Berlin, Connecticut, in the year 1788, and at the time of his death was seventy-seven years old. He died March 3, 1865. In the war of 1812 he entered the military service of the United States as a lieutenant in the regular army. During the continuance of the war Lieut. DEMING was always found at his post. The close of the war found him stationed in Fort Griswold, in Connecticut. On the return of peace he resigned his commission and spent a short time in Baltimore. In 1818 Judge DEMING came to Terre Haute, where he has since resided. He was one of that distinguished band of citizens who, by their business habits and character, have aided to build up this now flourishing city. He acquired a large fortune by his enterprise and industry.

Of the prominent physicians in Terre Haute previous to 1840 we can name, in addition to those previously mentioned, Drs. SEPTER PATRICK, EDWARD V. BALL, EBENEZER DANIELS, Dr. SHULER and AZEL HOLMES.

Dr. PATRICK was originally from New York, and practiced his profession many years. He was very eccentric, but enjoyed the confidence and respect of the entire community. He went to California during the gold excitement, and died there.

Dr. HOLMES was eminent in his profession. He also died in California, whither he had gone in 1850.

In the spring of 1825 Dr. SHULER removed from Vincennes to Terre Haute, and soon after, at his request, Dr. BALL followed him. Here they entered into partnership, and continued together until the death of Dr. SHULER in 1828, at which time Dr. BALL purchased his library, medicines and instruments, and opened an office in the town on his own account. In January, 1828, he was married to Sarah E. RICHARDSON, of York, Illinois, who still survives him, and continues to reside on the same lot to which they removed about 1835. In 1841 Dr. BALL and family started in a carriage on a journey to New Jersey over the National Road. They followed this road as far as Washington, Pennsylvania, where they left it. This journey occupied just a month � from May 29 to June 29.

1840 TO 1850

As has been previously stated, Terre Haute suffered as little from the "hard times of '37" as any locality. Her business men had established themselves on a sound basis, and were, as a class, shrewd and cautious, of indomitable energy and pluck. As a consequence, we find that up to this period there was a steady growth, and that growth was continued through the decade we are about to consider. It is true that in 1840 the entire country was suffering the difficulties of a wide spread financial distress. Real estate, both in city and country, was as near valueless as possible, and all fictitious values had been wiped out. And yet the business men of Terre Haute did not lose heart or confidence in the future of their town, or hesitate to take hold of new enterprises that were considered sound and beneficial. We shall find that times gradually improved, the population increased, and that when 1850 arrived a very decided and flattering advance had been made. Renewed efforts were made to push the canal and National Road to completion, and many local improvements were actually made. Late in 1841 the "Courier" was sold to Conrad and Harris by the owner, John DOWLING, his brother Thomas having disposed of his interest three months previously. Mr. Thomas DOWLING then established the "Wabash Express." The first number of the "Express" was issued December 28, 1841, and was an ardent advocate of whig measures and policy. The office was established in the Linton building, fronting on the public square. The publication of the first number was delayed two weeks in consequence of the material being "river bound" at the "Rapids of the Wabash" during that time.

The first article printed was the message of President TYLER. In 1841 Henry Ward BEECHER, pastor of the Congregational church in Indianapolis, preached in Terre Haute during a succession of several weeks; large numbers were added to the church as the result of his efforts. Many of the older citizens speak with enthusiasm of that period.

The "Express" was selected by the department of state as one of the three Indiana papers authorized to publish the laws of the twenty-seventh congress.

E.M. HUNTINGTON, late commissioner of the general land office, appointed judge of the United States district court for Indiana, was confirmed by the United States senate May 2, 1842.

In June, 1842, the Indiana state bank and branches resumed specie payments.

The "Wabash Courier" was printed on an old-fashioned Smith press. The press-work was done by J.C.D. HANNA, who learned his business in that office in 1835.

One of the important questions of the day was the northwestern boundary. About this time, also, "Millerism" began to receive much attention. And this last item reminds the writer of a statement that he read. In speaking of the "toleration" exercised by the people of this town, and the respect and kindness with which they always listened to preachers of all denominations, it says: "Some time in 1834 and 1835 Joe SMITH and Sidney RIGDON held forth in defense of Mormonism, at the court-house and nearly everyone went to hear these new exponents of a new religion and a new creed. There was no disturbance, and, what was equally honorable to young Terre Haute, there were no converts. The 'prophets' came, had their say, and departed in peace for new fields of labor, thoroughly satisfied, no doubt, that the early training of this people did not give hope for the spread of the new "revelation.'"

The Terre Haute Seminary advertises under the charge of G.W. JEWETT.

A bit of history is here given. The project of the Wabash and Erie canal was first suggested in 1817, and a grant of land was made by congress to the State of Indiana in aid of this work. Gov. JENNINGS, first governor of the State of Indiana, was most active in obtaining this grant, and in the incipient arrangements for beginning the work. Gov. CLINTON, of New York, was also an active friend of the project. In August, 1842, boats first passed, at the Toledo side-cut, into Lake Erie, thus practically opening the canal from Lafayette to the lake, a distance of 230 miles. The Wabash and Erie canal was but one of the links of a vast system of inland water communication, of more than 3,000 miles in extent. This system was designed to connect the waters of the great lakes with those of the Mississippi on the west and the Atlantic ocean on the east.

As illustrative of the progress of the times and the great changes in values � especially newspaper values � we copy a statement from the "Express" of November 9, 1842, in reference to the New York "Herald": "J.G. BENNETT offers the 'Herald' for sale; the printing materials, valued at $25,000, the building at $30,000, and his subscription list amounts to 30,000 weekly." The ground alone upon which the "Herald" office now stands cost $450,000.

November 8, 1842, Demas DEMING was elected president, and Nathaniel PRESTON cashier, of the Terre Haute branch bank.

In 1842 the postmaster-general recommended a new rate of postage � on single letters sent by mail any distance less than thirty miles, five cents; over thirty miles and less than 100, ten cents; over 100 and less than 220, fifteen cents; over 220 and less than 400, twenty cents; over 400 miles, twenty-five cents.

The citizens of Terre Haute did not seem to be exempt from fear of the great comet of 1843. A contributor regarded it as a "judgment," and that the earth would be destroyed through its influence. The extremely cold and backward spring of 1843 was attributed to the fact that this comet absorbed the sun�s heat.

Taxables for 1844 in Harrison township: Number of acres, 13,465; value of personal property, $316,842; valuation of land, $227,594; valuation of improvements, $6,633; value of land improvements, $295,137; number of polls, 688. Total value, $1,250,387.

In December, 1844, a fire destroyed the buildings standing on the west side of the public square. The buildings destroyed belonged to C. ROSE, J.F. CRUFT and Mrs. WILSON. The goods destroyed belonged to H. & J. ROSS and A. CAULDWELL.

In February, 1845, Mr. DOWLING�s connection with the "Express" ceased, he having sold the entire establishment to David S. DANALDSON, who then became editor.

The great political questions now looming up before the country were the "annexation of Texas," the "Oregon bill," and in fact all the questions growing out of the slavery agitation.

In February, 1845, an important memorial was presented to the county court of Vigo county in reference to completing the "cross-cut" canal, by taxing the property for ten years, or, in other words, for the county to take stock in the enterprise to the amount of $50,000. A wide interest was manifested in the proposed measure, and a great deal of discussion was had on the subject. The great desideratum with Terre Haute people was the establishing of a water-power at this place.

Daguerreotype pictures were just coming into notice, and the artist offers to "ladies and gentlemen an opportunity which may not occur again soon."

The Vigo county jail was burned February 5, 1845, and totally destroyed. Loss to the county between $1,000 and $2,000. A new brick jail was built the next fall.

A terrible storm of wind passed over the city early in this year, doing much damage to trees, fences and outhouses. The number of voters in Harrison township was 660.

A Wabash and Erie canal convention met in Terre Haute in May, to consider the best means attainable to complete the canal. A grant of lands in the Vincennes land district had been made by congress in aid of this project, and a committee was appointed to bring the matter before the next legislature.

In consequence of the very general desire existing in western Indiana an elaborate bill for the completion of the canal passed both houses of the Indiana legislature in January, 1846. In order to understand this action we must remember that congress, in making the grants of land to the state before spoken of, had, at the same time, turned the whole subject over to the state for their further action in completing the canal. In view of the high expectations entertained, founded upon the prospect of the early completion of the canal � a prospect that was soon to be realized � the editor of the "Express" thus "booms" in his issue of February 4, 1846:

"Terre Haute will shortly present attractions to the enterprising immigrant which will not be found in many of the western states. Situated as it is on the Wabash river, at the crossing of the National Road, and on the great canal that is to connect the northern lakes with the Ohio river, and where an immense water power may be used for manufacturing purposes, together with the finest agricultural country all around it, and an enterprising and energetic population daily coming into the country, these things must make this a point which will be sought after by those who wish to make a profitable investment of their money, or seek a residence where they may even sit still and see their outlays increase. Real estate and rents will go up, while we hope to see a corresponding increase of business in every department of the mechanic arts, as well as the products of the soil. This is the best time that may ever be offered for the purchase of property in Vigo county; for when operations are commenced on the canal, � which is anticipated by July, � it will not be difficult for sellers to find purchasers for any property they may now have in market. The city of Indiana (Lafayette) as now boasted by some, will have moved some seventy miles south; the smoke of our manufacturing establishments will be seen darkening the heavens; the busy water-wheel will ply its ceaseless rounds; the shrill scream of the steamboat on the Wabash will be heard; the daily arrival of the canal-boat, freighted from New York or Ohio will be seen; while the 'Express' office may thrown off a daily sheet, with the latest news from the four quarters of the globe. When we shall have a bridge over the Wabash, metal on the National Road, through to St. Louis, with daily stages arriving and departing; a canal and an improved river, by which produce may go south; a canal opening to the lakes, and to the city of New York, with possibly a railroad ending here from the west; we ask, what shall keep pace with this country? What town on the Wabash shall call ours a village? Are these vain speculations? We already have a fair prospect for a canal. The friends of the National Road in congress are urging appropriations for its completion; our citizens are daily taking stock in the Wabash bridge, and surely we may base a reasonable expectation on all of these things. We do not often indulge in the visionary, and in soberness and truth we think much of what we have alluded to will be upon us in a few short years; and all may be realized about the next whig presidency."

Truly the editor saw with a prophet�s eye! Let us see how his predictions were fulfilled. The National Road was never really an accomplished fact, for the simple reason that the needs of the country outran its limited ability to supply. The canal was finished, but was suffered to go to decay because more expeditious transportation was provided, and the canal did not pay. For the same reason the days of steamboating on the Wabash were already numbered; the daily stage with the daily mail was supplanted by the "lightning train," with two or more daily mails over many routes. The rush of immigration was realized in a much greater degree than the most sanguine imagination conceived possible. The "bridge over the Wabash" was soon completed, and not only one, but two, magnificent iron bridges now span its sparkling waters. The "city of Indiana" has indeed moved south. That very "Express" office now publishes its morning daily, throwing it off from a powerful power press, serving to its patrons with their breakfast the "latest news." Lines of railroads connecting Terre Haute with the farthest points east, west, north and south; and the smoke of her manufactories is seen darkening the heavens. And all this when? � within fifty years? Nay! Even before the "next whig presidency" has expired.

As an instance of the extraordinary rapidity with which goods were transported after the opening of the canal, it is stated that "Goods were shipped to John D. EARLY by lake and canal from New York, in twenty days. Charges for freight $1.45 per 100 pounds."

In November, 1848, the "Express" was enlarged to an eight-column paper.

January 1, 1849, the steam lard establishment of Cruft & Chamberlain was burned. This was a new enterprise, and the loss was a severe one. The "Prairie House," after being closed a number of years, was again opened in May, 1849.

A destructive fire occurred March 3, 1849, on the corner of Market street and National Road (Third and Main). The buildings were of wood and occupied principally by business firms.

Mention is made of the Hoosier Engine Fire Company in May, 1849. A permanent fire department, however, was not in operation till 1854. It seems, however, that a small engine and some hose had already been procured, and this apparatus was turned over to the Hoosier company.

Up to this time, 1849, but little had been done toward a general grading of the streets. Ohio and Wabash, and some portions of Third and Fourth streets, had been commenced.

In October of this year lots 71 and 72, corner of Wabash and Fourth streets, were sold for $7000.

To be continued...


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HISTORY OF VIGO AND PARKE COUNTIES, Together With Historic Notes on the Wabash Valley
H.W. Beckwith - 1880
Terre Haute, pp. 97-104

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View the Biographical Sketches associated with this township
Additional sketches: Page 2; Page 3; Page 4; Page 5; Page 6; Page 7; Page 8; Page 9; Page 10; Page 11; Page 12; Page 13; Page 14; Page 15; Page 16; Page 17; Page 18; Page 19
Terre Haute & Harrison Twp. biographies.

Submitted by Charles Lewis
Data entry by Kim Holly & Elsie Simpson - used with permission.

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