The Dominions of Our Ancestors
I am sending a copy of this article to each of the grandchildren of my father so that each may have a record, of some portion at least, of the lives of some of their ancestors, not only for their own use, but to preserve and hand down to others.
It is becoming more and more desirable to have sources of information of this nature with reference to our ancestors. There are many who, at some time in their lives, are particularly interested in matters of this nature and they will be unable to obtain much information that this article contains if it is not preserved in some form. Merely as illustrating what I have in mind I will say that, much as I need the money for other uses, yet I would gladly pay a hundred dollars merely for a good photograph of your great grandfather Andrews [Note: In 2015 his $100 would be worth more than $1300]. This is only one little item of my ancestry and yet it shows how highly I would prize the information of this article if I had no other sources for such information.
The article is not intended for pleasant reading; much of it may not be at all interesting and may be omitted. But there are certain portions that no doubt will be of interest and that you will, I think, find well worth a careful consideration. Perhaps a few suggestions will clarify my meaning.
As to your grandfather’s character, if all were as he was, we would have no need for police or jailers, and little need for courts. We would have no need for sumptuary laws. The present controversy over the eighteenth amendment would have no place in our lives. Life perhaps would be too easy, too free from troubles to be good for the race, but certainly it would add much to the satisfaction of living.
While it may not have impressed you particularly, yet one of the strongest impressions that I have of your grandfather Andrews is as to his constant employment at something worthwhile. I have often felt, and even now, looking back over a period of sixty years, I still feel that your grandfather was the hardest working man that I have ever known. Not a drudge, not a slave, but always actively carrying out some useful plan. He took delight in his work and for sixty years or more, I presume he averaged at least ten or twelve hours a day, mainly at manual work, not excepting Sundays. While on Sundays he changed his work, more or less, from his vocation to his avocations, yet he was always usefully engaged.
He was always looking to the future, planning and building for that which was to come.
I should like to have you know of these things and to know something of your great grandfather Andrews, particularly some of the facts contained in this article. He was very much like your grandfather.
I am sure there is nothing more stabilizing in our lives than such knowledge as this. Not that any of you need stabilizing particularly, but there often come times in our lives when we need, in order to give to the world the best that is in us, the stabilizing effect that comes from the knowledge of a long line of worthy ancestors. And this I would like you to have.
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|Ernest John Andrews' home in Lombard, Illinois,|
from April 1913 through April 1939. Afterward,
Helen Andrews Hinkley owned this home.
The next morning we drove down to Robinson, the County Seat of Crawford County, where we stopped several hours while I searched the records of the county court and circuit court for deeds, wills, and the like.
[I omitted the table of records that he found; if anyone wants it, let me know!]
Of these parties, Asa Norton was your great great grandfather and Thoda and Reuben Norton were his brothers. Polly Norton as his wife. Her maiden name was Mary Belknap. L.D. Norton was Asa Norton’s son. Benjamin Norton was Asa’s nephew. Beverly Bradley Piper was Asa’s son-in-law (your grandmother’s father). Sally, the wife of Avery Tobey referred to, was Asa Norton’s sister, and Sewell Goodridge was the husband of Asa’s sister Lydia, while William N. Norton was Asa’s son (your grandmother’s uncle).
I was unable to complete my search at Robinson owing to the closing of the offices and a further search should be made to obtain records of the entry of the land of Asa Norton in 1819. Apparently, these entries were not recorded during the period that I searched, but they were undoubtedly recorded later as the law requires such records in order to give good title to the land. Also, copies of more important deeds should be examined for interesting facts. These papers were very voluminous. I expected to be able to complete this work on the return trip but failed to do so.
We left Robinson about noon and went straight east some eight miles to Palestine, where about 1815 a fort was built as a protection against the Indians. Palestine was the old county seat of Crawford County. Then, leaving the southeast corner of Palestine across a bridge, we rode to Heathville, some twelve miles away. Heathville was the town of these Nortons and Pipers in those early days and is now the nearest town of what I have called our Ancestral Dominions of Crawford County. The road to Heathville from Palestine is also the road to Russellville, some eight miles further on, and it was a well travelled road, but neither paved nor well graded, at least during portions of the way. The surrounding country was largely clay soil and poor farm land, much of it being covered with underbrush and used for pasture. It is no such land as is to be found in northern Illinois.
At Heathville we inquired of the only store as to where the Nortons lived. The grandchildren are still living on the old Norton farm that was entered in 1819. I was referred to the neighboring garage with the statement that William N. Norton, whose house we were seeking, drove by not long before to the garage. I inquired at the garage and was directed to the Norton house and was told that William Norton had left but a short time before and that we would probably overtake him. Never having seen Mr. Norton, we carefully scrutinized the cars as we drove along. We overtook none that seemed to be Mr. Norton’s, though we did pass a man who was walking, whom we afterwards found out was Mr. Norton. Owing to the failure of the garage man to tell us that he was then working on Mr. Norton’s car and that Mr. Norton was walking home, we passed him just outside of Heathville and he was obliged to walk over two miles home when we should have been delighted to take him in our car. This merely goes to show how a little clarity smoothes life’s pathway.
We drove about two miles south from Heathville on the Russellville road and then turned west on a dirt road, and a quarter mile further, struck a little bridge and the lane leading to the north up to Mr. Norton’s house. We drove up a very steep hill to the house and met Mrs. Norton, who informed us that the old Asa Norton house was on the other side of the road. So we drove back and up another steep hill just south of the bridge and south of William Norton’s house to the house now occupied by Horace B. Norton, where we met him and his wife.
It was on this hill that Asa Norton built his house over one hundred years ago. This house was burned before 1888 and on the old foundation a new house was built, and it is here that Asa’s grandson Horace now lives. The old barns also were all gone. But the hills still remain. The Norton house was perched high up on a hill because, while on his way to this locality, Asa found the country along the Wabash River flooded and all of the low land covered with water; to avoid such floods he built his house on a high hill.
It was here that your great great grandfather fought his battle with nature as a farmer; it was here also that he was a member of the State Legislature and a Justice of the Peace; and it is here that his descendants have been since. It was in this neighborhood too, that Asa’s daughter Delia Deborah Norton, your great grandmother, married your great grandfather Beverly Bradley Piper, and it was here that she spent substantially all of her life as she was only three years old in 1817 when Asa Norton moved his family from Norwich, New York, finally arriving in Crawford County in 1819.
It was here also that your grandmother Andrews spent some of the most joyful years of her life, and where her grandfather, Asa Piper, also settled on a farm a century ago. His farm and house were just southeast of the corner where we turned from the Russellville road to the Norton place. It was here, too, that your grandmother’s father was raised, and in later years, after he was married to Delia Deborah Norton, their farm adjoined on the west that of her father, Asa Norton. Your grandmother Andrews not only lived there during a part of her childhood days, but in after years she often visited at her grandfather Asa Norton’s place, until the time she and your grandfather moved to Rockford, Illinois, in 1861.
We spent the afternoon with William and Horace Norton and their wives. We went down into the old Asa Norton basement and saw the old walls that were built by him over a hundred years ago. That is all of his handiwork that is left. But in the house is an old clock still going that was saved from the fire. And there is an old life-sized painting of Asa Norton, painted before he left for the west in 1817. He was certainly a fine looking man, and dressed in the frills of those days, he far surpasses any of you so far as elegance in clothes is concerned. The picture was injured by the fire, but was restored.
We went back to William Norton’s house, up on the hill across the road, and went northwest over to the old cemetery on Asa Norton’s farm. Here lie buried Asa Norton and his wife Mary Belknap, his son Wellington Bertolf Norton, his brother Thoda Norton, his son William N. Norton, and his daughter Mirinda Norton Parker, after whom your grandmother, Mirinda Parker’s niece, was named, and many others. Asa Norton’s grave bears no stone. It was his own wish that his grave be unmarked. The place, however, is marked sufficiently for recognition, lying immediately north of his wife’s grave. On her stone is the inscription, “Mary, wife of Asa Norton, died March 18, 1850, age 69 yrs, 6 ms, and 17 dys.” She was born in 1780. Asa Norton was born in 1781 and his wife was born the year before. This, I understand, was a sensitive point for your great great grandfather, to be a year younger than his wife. He was a very dignified man, straight as an arrow, having been a soldier for many years. Presumably it detracted from his idea of dignity to have a wife who was older than himself. A large cedar tree grows over the grave of Mary Norton, a tree perhaps seventy-five years old.
From the cemetery, we went back to the house and drove west on the road about a quarter of a mile to the corner, and then turned north and went by a schoolhouse, where once was located the old log schoolhouse that was also used as the church of the Pipers and the Nortons. The log building is gone now. But it was here that your great grandfather Beverly Bradley Piper gained his secular and religious training and where he was converted and where he preached, probably, for the first time.
It was here too, that Andrew Jackson Norton attended school and church and was converted and preached. Andrew Jackson Norton was a nephew of Asa Norton, and for fifty years he preached as a Predestinarian Baptist all over Illinois and Iowa. I have a copy of his diary in which he tells how he was converted from an aimless, drifting boy to an intense Fundamentalist, and how he spent all of his days preaching the gospel without pay other than as his parishioners produced. His account of his conversion is the most illuminating description of this nature that I have ever seen, probably because it is sincere and he seeks to tell the facts just as he experienced them. His soul was gripped by the horrors of Hell which were as real and vivid to him as is our conception of each coming day. He was an ignorant man, with practically no education except what he obtained at home, but he was sincere and intense and was firmly convinced of the literal truth of the Bible from the first page to the last. Much as we may disagree with the beliefs of such men as this, yet in their days they were needed and we must not only have for them great admiration, but must feel that it is owing much to them that our country is now blessed with the great masses of men and women whose characters can withstand the pressure of modern life.
It was in this schoolhouse also that Andrew Jackson Norton was married in 1839 by the Justice of the Peace, Asa Norton. And it was here that your great grandfather and great grandmother Piper were married in 1833 by the same Justice. So it was that this old log schoolhouse witnessed some of the most important events of our ancestors’ lives.
From the schoolhouse we went a quarter of a mile north and turned at right angles east, where within a half a mile we struck a right angled bend in the road to the north. Just to the right of this bend was an old house built by Sewell Goodridge and his wife, over a hundred years ago. Sewell Goodridge’s wife Lydia was a sister of Asa Norton, and hence, your grandmother’s great aunt. It was in and around this house that many of the happiest hours of your grandmother’s life were spent. The house is now occupied by an old bachelor, and as was to be expected, was in disorder and decay. The building itself is run down and uncared for, and the interior was dreary indeed. But as we entered the north front door, on the opposite wall we saw, in a niche in the wall built for the purpose at the time the house was built, a large cuckoo clock. There, for over one hundred years, this old cuckoo clock has stood, six feet or more high and a foot or more wide, running by weights over pulleys, and still running correctly. But the cuckoo is dead. This clock was a familiar and interesting sight to your grandmother.
To the left of this was the old china closet in which Lydia Goodridge kept many valuable dishes, about which I have often heard your grandmother speak. In the next room, the parlor, was another old clock that is thought to be nearly a hundred years old, standing on the mantle, two or three feet high and a foot or more wide. There were two fireplaces back-to-back in the wall between the two rooms. In the southwest corner of the parlor was another large cabinet, empty now but presumably in those early days containing valuable clothing, dishes, and the like.
Having heard so much about priceless articles and papers found in old buildings such as this, we ventured up into the attic. But the attic was nearly vacant; the floor seemed to be covered an inch thick with dust and old scraps of paper, and there was nothing to indicate any hidden treasures. We left with the thought that poor Aunt Lydia, the aristocrat of the Norton family, would have turned in her grave if she could have known of the condition of her beloved home.
It was in this old house that Andrew Jackson Norton spent his youth. His father, Benjamin Norton, was Asa’s older brother. Benjamin’s wife died in 1819 and he married again in 1823 when Andrew Jackson was five years old. In the meantime Benjamin’s other children were scattered. At the time of his wife’s death, five children were living, four boys and one girl, and seven were dead. Three boys died in accidents—one a knife entered his brain, one drowned, and one was scalded to death. Andrew Jackson went to live with his Aunt Lydia Goodridge who had no children of her own. He lived with this aunt and uncle until of age; he married while living there and afterwards built a house of his own not far away. He married Miss Mary Jeffers on December 19, 1839.
Going on, then, beyond the bend in the road to the north about one hundred rods, we struck the Hagan house where Sally Tobey Hagan and her husband live. Sally Tobey Hagan is the granddaughter of Avery Tobey and his wife, Sally Norton. Sally Norton was Asa Norton’s younger sister, nineteen years younger than he and a year or two younger than their sister, Lydia Goodridge.
The old house built by Avery and Sally Tobey was still standing, but had been moved to the back end of the lot and was a wreck, all ready to fall to pieces. We did not visit the old Tobey graveyard that is on the Tobey farm, as our time was limited, but I shall certainly one of these days visit this cemetery where good old Aunt Lydia and Aunt Sally and other kindred are buried.
Away off to the northeast from this Tobey house we could see the houses that mark the places where Andrew Jackson Norton had built his log cabin when first married, and nearer, where his Uncle Thoda Norton lived, and where his cousin Louis D. Norton lived.
From this old Norton headquarters we drove down the east-west road to the north-south Russellville road and passed the old Asa Piper farm on the east and down to Russellville, about six miles away. Here we stopped at the store of D.T. Beckes. He is the husband of Edna, daughter of Horace B. Norton. Mr. Beckes was not at the store, but we were directed to the Beckes house, which was built by Horace B. Norton and is the finest house in Russellville. Here we met Edna and she showed us the deed of Andrew Jackson, President of the United States, to William Noble Norton, Edna’s grandfather, dated September 1, 1834, conveying the west half of the northeast quarter of Section nineteen, Township five, north of range ten west, Palestine, containing eighty acres. This is the deed of the old farm entered by Asa Norton in 1819.
From Russellville we drove some ten miles southeast to the Wabash River and down the river several miles to the Vincennes bridge where we crossed over to Vincennes, Indiana, and spent the night. In Vincennes the following morning, we passed the location of the old Sackville Fort, later known as Fort Vincennes, and from there we went south to Evansville, Indiana, on the Ohio River. From here we went west some twenty-five miles to Mt. Vernon, Posey County, Indiana.
Then we were in the neighborhood of your grandfather Andrews’ early home. It was in Mt. Vernon that he attended school and his father’s farm was three miles straight north. I went over to the court house and obtained copies of the following records:
“John Quincy Adams, President of the United States of America. To all to whom these presents shall come, greeting.
“Know ye that, John Andrews of New York, having deposited in the general land office a certificate of the Register of the land office at Vincennes in Indiana,
“Whereby, it appears that full payment has been made for the West one-half of the NorthWest quarter of Section Twenty-Nine in Township Six of range Thirteen west, containing eighty acres of land directed to be sold at Vincennes by the act of Congress entitled An Act providing for the sale of the lands of the United States in the Territory Northwest of the Ohio, and above the mouth of the Kentucky River, unto the said John Andrews and his heirs the half of the quarter lot or section of land above described.
“To have and to hold the said half of the quarter lot or section of land, with the appurtenances, unto the said John Andrews, his heirs and assigns forever.
“In testimony whereof, I have caused these letters to be made Patent, and the seal of the general land office to be hereunto affixed. Given under my hand at the City of Washington, the Seventh day of February in the year of our Lord, one thousand, eight hundred and twenty-seven, and of the Independence of the United States of America, the fifty-second.
“By the President (John Quincy Adams)”
“James Monroe to Anson S. Andrews of New York.
“SW ¼, Sec. 20, Twsp. 6, Range 13 W, 160 Acres.
“James Monroe, President of the United States of America.
“To all to whom these presents shall come, greeting.
“Know ye that, Anson S. Andrews of New York, having deposited in the general land office a certificate of the Register of the land office at Vincennes in Indiana,
“Whereby it appears that full payment has been made for the SouthWest quarter of Section Twenty in Township Six, South of Range Thirteen West, containing one hundred and sixty acres of the land directed to be sold at Vincennes by the act of Congress entitled An Act providing for the sale of the lands of the United States, in the Territory Northwest of the Ohio, and above the mouth of the Kentucky River, unto the said Anson S. Andrews and his heirs the quarter lot or section of land above described.
“To have and to hold the said quarter lot or section of land with the appurtenances, unto the said Anson S. Andrews, his heirs and assigns forever.
“In testimony whereof, I have caused these letters to be made Patent, and the seal of the general land office to be hereunto affixed. Given under my hand at the City of Washington, the twenty-fifth day of August in the year of our Lord, one thousand, eight hundred and twenty-three, and of the Independence of the United States of America, the forty-eighth.
“By the President (James Monroe)”
“James Monroe to Anson S. Andrews of New York City.
“E ½, SE ¼, Sec. 19, Twsp. 6, Range 13 W, 80 acres.
“James Monroe, President of the United States of America.
“To all to whom these presents shall come, greeting.
“Know ye that, Anson S. Andrews of New York, having deposited in the general land office a certificate of the Register of the land office at Vincennes in Indiana,
“Whereby it appears that full payment has been made for the East one-half of the SouthEast quarter of Section Nineteen in Township six, Range 13 West, containing eighty acres of the land directed to be sold at Vincennes by the act of Congress entitled An Act providing for the sale of the lands of the United States, in the Territory Northwest of the Ohio, and above the mouth of the Kentucky River, unto the said Anson S. Andrews the quarter lot or section of land above described. “To have and to hold the said quarter lot or section of land with the appurtenances, unto the said Anson S. Andrews, his heirs and assigns forever.
“In testimony whereof, I have caused these letters to be made Patent, and the seal of the general land office to be hereunto affixed. Given under my hand at the City of Washington, the twenty-Fifth day of July in the year of our Lord, one thousand, eight hundred and twenty-three, and of the Independence of the United States of America, the forty-eighth. “By the President (James Monroe)”
W I L L
Recorded in Book T of Deeds
“Anson S. Andrews of Black Township in the County of Posey and State of Indiana, do ordain and appoint this my last will and testament in manner and form following.
“That is to say, on this first day of March in the year of our Lord One Thousand, Eight Hundred and Fifty-two,
“To which I have set my hand and affixed my seal binding my heirs and assigns forever.
“I give a bequeath my farm on which I am now residing together with all the rents, profits and benefits arising therefrom to my beloved wife, Elizabeth Andrews.
“To have, hold and enjoy the same for and during the term of her natural life. I also give and bequeath to her, my said wife, all my farm stock, to wit: my neat cattle, horses, sheep and hogs, farming tools and utensils, farm produce, household goods and furniture, and one thousand ($1000) dollars out of my personal estate and effects; my books and other printed matter to be divided equally share and share alike between my wife and children.
“At the death of my beloved wife, I give and bequeath my said farm together with all the rents and profits thereof to my two dear sons, John and Seth, to be equally divided between them share and share alike, or held jointly as they may elect; to be held and possessed by them and their heirs and assigns forever.
“I give and bequeath to my dear daughter Harriet the piece of land I lately bought of John Vanway and described in the deed from him and his wife to me, to be held and possessed by her and her heirs and assigns forever. I also give and bequeath to her Two Thousand, One Hundred Dollars ($2100) out of my personal estate, this she is to receive in such kind or kinds of property that she shall sustain no loss or damage whatever.
“After my debts and all just demands against my estate are settled and paid, I will and direct that the balance and remainder thereof be equally divided share and share alike between my said children. And I do hereby appoint my said wife Elizabeth my executrix and my friends, Anson S. Osborne and Ebenezer Ellis, my executors of this my last will and testament. And I do hereby direct that fifty ($50) dollars be paid to each of my executors out of my estate as a compensation for their services.
“In witness whereof I have hereunto subscribed my name and affixed my seal the day and date first above written.
“(Anson S. Andrews) (SEAL)
“Signed, sealed, published and delivered by the said Anson S. Andrews as and for his last will and testament, in the presence of us who at the request of said Anson S. Andrews and in the presence of each other have hereunto subscribed our names as witnesses.
“(John W. Bishop)
“(Otis Hinkley) (SEAL)
“Recorded November 4, 1854”
[There followed another table of deeds recorded in Mt. Vernon, Indiana, in Black Township. I will be happy to send the table to anyone who asks.]
Of these parties, Anson S. Andrews is your great grandfather; John Andrews is his father, your great great grandfather. He never came out west but lived at Bethel, Connecticut. The Hinkley referred to Otis Hinkley, Wilmer’s great grandfather, who lived at New Harmony, Indiana, twelve miles north of the Andrews farm, and James Hinkley is his son who married Anson S. Andrews’ daughter Harriet. This is the first connection between Helen and Wilmer Hinkley. Anson Seeley Andrews is the great grandfather of both of them. Anson Seeley Osborne was a nephew of Anson Seeley Andrews and lived with him during much of his youth. Beverly Bradley Piper was your great grandfather who lived also in the Norton neighborhood in Crawford County. Elizabeth Andrews was Anson Andrews’ wife and your great grandmother. The et. al. referred to in the Elizabeth Andrews deed was your grandfather Andrews and his brother Seth and his sister Harriet Hinkley.
The search of records at Mt. Vernon was substantially complete but it would be desirable to obtain copies of more of the deeds. For instance, the deed of Elizabeth Andrews et. al., to Worthington Bois, and the deed of John Andrews et. al., to James Acuff. The former deed conveyed the old Anson S. Andrews farm, and the latter deed conveyed the land on which the old mill stood.
There should be a search made to determine the disposition of the land transferred to Anson S. Andrews by Honduras D. Johnson and John T. McKee. The Vanway farm was willed by Anson S. Andrews to his daughter, Harriet Hinkley.
From Mt. Vernon we drove north fifteen miles to New Harmony. The road ran through Farmersville where the Andrews farm was located. As we drove by, I was able to point out to your mother a large number of landmarks from descriptions given me by your grandfather. For instance, the location of the old farm and the farm house and the store and the mill and the schoolhouse and the Baptist church and the old graveyard and other places. But we did not stop.
We reached New Harmony in the evening and went to the house of Julia E. Dransfield, a daughter of Anson S. Osborne and, hence, second cousin of your grandfather Andrews. She lives in the old Otis Hinkley house where Wilmer’s great grandfather lived.
We stayed at New Harmony and vicinity for two days and had a very pleasant visit with Cousin Julia and her adopted daughter, Mary Donald, and Mary’s husband who is the dentist in New Harmony. I cannot here go into the many interesting features of New Harmony. Although having a population of less than one thousand, it is one of the most noted towns in the world from both a scientific and sociological point of view. I have several pamphlets relating to the various interesting features of this town. But that has nothing to do with our Ancestral Dominions. Suffice it to say that we were much pleased not only with the reception given us by our hosts and others, but also by the various buildings and collections and the like which we visited.
With our hosts, we drove down to Farmersville where for thirty-six years your great grandfather was the principal man of the neighborhood. He established the town of Farmersville, or what for a time was known as the “Corners,” by entering with the United States government a section of land surrounding the Corners, being where two main east/west and north/south roads crossed. Of this land, he entered for his own use 320 acres, and the rest was taken up by friends who settled there with him at about the same time.
On our way to Farmersville from New Harmony, we stopped at the old Moore’s Hill Cemetery, about a mile north of the old Andrews farm, on the same side of the road. Here your great grandfather was buried. After some searching, we found his lot in the northwest corner of the cemetery, in the north tier of lots and one tier next to the west. The stone slab was lying on the ground, and adjacent to it was a little stone. The slab bore the inscription, “Anson S. Andrews, died September 28, 1854, in the 69 year of his age.” Having heard that the slab had fallen, I had brought with me a spade, and I dug down and found the pedestal on which the slab had been originally mounted. This pedestal had sunk in the ground over a foot deep and the slab had been broken off flush with the upper surface of the pedestal. I cleaned the broken pieces out of the groove in the pedestal and restored the slab, then straightened out the little stone nearby that bore the inscription, “Ann, daughter of A.S. and E. Andrews, died July 17, 1832, age 2 yr, 11 ms, 8 dys.”
|The Andrews grave markers in 2001. They have since been|
set into flat concrete frames to preserve them from further decay.
As I stood at my grandfather’s grave that afternoon, I could picture in my mind’s eye the Andrews line, coming over from England in 1633 and slowly drifting westward—from Cambridge, Massachusetts, where Glenn now lives, to Connecticut; from Hartford to Farmington, then to Waterbury, then Danbury; and from there, Anson S. Andrews as a young man went out by himself west to New York state, and thence to Farmersville, Indiana, where his body now lies by the side of his infant daughter. But the line went on, west to southern Illinois, north to northern Illinois and Wisconsin, and with it went his wife who now lies in the old West Side Cemetery in Rockford, Illinois, and beside her lies their son John, your grandfather. And so it goes, from one generation to the next, ever onward, always seeking something better, and usually finding it, leaving many by the wayside in lonely graves.
From the cemetery we went south to the old Corners, and then a quarter of a mile west past the location of the old schoolhouse where your grandfather first went to school and where he first met your grandmother, to the location of the old Baptist church where your great grandfather Piper preached from 1850 to 1853 and where your grandmother attended church and Sunday school as a girl of ten to thirteen. I cannot say that your grandfather and great grandfather attended this church. Your great grandmother Andrews attended church about half a mile west of this on the same side of the east/west road in what was known as the Christian or Campbellite church. But your great grandfather was not a member of any church. Undoubtedly, he and the children more or less attended his wife’s church, and perhaps the Baptist church. But neither he nor his son John, your grandfather, nor his daughter Harriet, nor her husband James Hinkley, nor his father, were orthodox. Seth, the second son of A.S. Andrews, in time joined the church and was one of the staunch members until he died. The present church was built in 1896 on the foundation of the old church of a century ago.
Just across the road north from the church we drove into the lane to the Andrews farmyard and to where the old house had stood. Your grandfather had told me that the house and barns were all burned, he believed, as well as the store and the mill. However, I was delighted to find the old red brick barn still standing. This is a large barn, two stories and a basement, about 60 feet long and 30 feet wide, a magnificent monument to your great grandfather. A photograph of the rear of the barn is attached. The barn was built in 1844 of red bricks made from the clay of the old farm, the brick kiln being located near the barn. Your great grandfather made bricks at that time, which he sold to others, and he built this barn, and an addition to his house, and a sidewalk leading from the house towards the barn, and he lined a dug well with the bricks. The old brick foundation of the house and the sidewalk and the well still remain, but the addition itself has disappeared. Also, the old shop and other sheds and another large barn which were there in the early days have all disappeared, being replaced by other buildings.
|Rear view, taken in October 1927, of red brick
barn at Farmersville, Indiana, |
built in 1844 for Anson Seeley Andrews with bricks made on his farm.
The barn is located about 200 feet west of where the old Andrews’ house is located.
The farm is now owned by Ensley Trafford and his wife. His wife is a great granddaughter of Elisha Phillips, who was one of the settlers there with your great grandfather and who took an eighty acre piece of the original section taken up by your great grandfather. In a talk with Mrs. Trafford, she suggested that I would be interested in calling on John Dave Ellis, who lived half a mile straight south, as he was one of the oldest settlers and would no doubt remember much of interest. We drove over to Mr. Ellis’s house and found him at home and had a very pleasant and interesting conversation with him. He is a typical old farmer of 87 years of age, old enough to be much interested in those early times. Upon meeting him, I asked if he remembered Anson Seeley Andrews. He said that he certainly did and he remembered John Andrews and Mirinda Piper and that John had married Mirinda. When I told him that they were my parents he was much interested and shook my hand warmly and went on to tell about the old times.
Among other things, he said that Anson Andrews was one of the finest men that was ever known in those parts, and he cited several instances of things your great grandfather had done to help establish and develop the neighborhood and to assist others in getting a start. One instance was that Mr. Andrews told a neighbor that he ought to buy a certain farm and the neighbor said that he knew it but didn’t have the money. Your great grandfather said that he had the money and would let his neighbor have it and would charge no interest and wouldn’t ask him for payment. I presume, however, that he knew the man well enough to know that the money would be repaid whether he asked for it or not. Also, I think that John Dave Ellis was inclined to exaggerate a little. Among other things, he stated that Anson Andrews was a very loud talker; that he was pretty deaf during the later years of his life and talked loud enough apparently to hear himself. John Dave’s house was nearly half a mile away from the Andrews house, and yet, John Dave said that he often heard Mr. Andrews talking to his men around the barn when John himself was at home. But in spite of any tendency to exaggerate, it was pleasant to hear these statements made by a neighbor who knew your great grandfather in his lifetime and undoubtedly had heard much about him from other neighbors since his death. John Dave was only fourteen years old when your great grandfather died, so much of his knowledge must have come from older friends and neighbors.
Another thing that John Dave said was that the old Baptist church, located about midway between his house and the old Andrews house, had been cut in two in 1896, when the new one was built, and all of it had been moved onto the Andrews farm; one half of it immediately across the road, and the other half moved onto the old Andrews house foundation and still stood there. This was very interesting news as this was another joining of the Piper and Andrews families; the old church from which your great grandfather Piper so often preached had been moved to the Andrews farm and a portion of it had replaced the old Andrews house.
|Front view, taken in October 1927, of the house
then standing at Farmersville, |
Indiana, on the foundation of the house built by Anson Seeley Andrews about 1830.
In view of this, we drove back to the Andrews house and found that, as he had said, the front part of the old church was on the old foundation. This was clearly indicated by the building itself, the rear portion of the house showing evident signs of having been the front of an old church. The attached picture shows the front wall of the house, built in 1896. While we were there examining the house, the lady living in it called my attention to the old well immediately north of the house, and to the old brick foundation, and to the sidewalk, and we also gave some further consideration to the old brick barn.
This brick barn has a charm for me. It seems to be typical of your great grandfather Andrews. It is typical of the solid basis upon which he always seemed to build. In his younger days he broke away from a rather worn-out New England and went to New York state, and some years later, moved further west to establish himself in a new community. He was laying a foundation for the future; not drifting along as so many do, but planning years ahead; not shirking and taking the easy path, but seeking to mold nature to the benefit of himself, his family, his neighbors, and those who were to come. Many of the glimpses that I have obtained of him by my researches and by talks with his son and others who knew him in life lead me to believe that this was strongly typical of the man, a determination to live his life in a way that would be a benefit to himself and others, building a solid foundation for his life work and for each step in that work. He established a community for himself and for others. He developed a brick kiln and a store and a mill for himself and others, all much needed in that wild western country, and he laid a mental foundation for his children and for those of his neighbors. A school building was the first building that was built at the Corners; he and others sought to establish a seminary there too, which was finally located three miles away at Mt. Vernon. As John Dave Ellis said, he provided money not only for himself, but for others. I have his books showing thousands of dollars loaned out to others. In fact, he did substantially a banking business for the community, the basis for it all carved out of the soil.
A solid basis for life is typical, in general, of the Andrews line. I have gone back some three hundred years and have carefully studied the line and find no exceptions to this. All were solid, substantial, sane men and women. They all built for the future, not for the next world of which they knew nothing, but for this world, doing the best they could to get the most out of the only life of which they could know.
We then drove down to Mt. Vernon and called on two of the granddaughters of Anson Seeley Osborne. They were Rosamond and Esther Osborne, daughters of Lemuel T. Osborne. Esther, now Mrs. Lyman Strack, gave me the deed drawn by your great grandfather and signed by him and your great grandmother, the print of which is attached.
“This indenture made the twentieth day of August in the year of our Lord eighteen hundred and forty five between Anson S. Andrews and Elizabeth Andrews his wife of the township of Black in Posey County and State of Indiana of the first part and Anson S. Osborn of the same place of the second part witnesseth that the said parties of the first part for and in consideration of the sum of three hundred dollars to them duly paid have sold and by these presents do re—i.e., release and forever quit claim unto the said Anson S. Osborn all rights, title, interest, claim and demand whatever which we the releasers have or ought to have in or to one tract of land described and dessignated [sic] as the West half of the North West quarter of Section Number twenty nine of Township Number Six South and Range number thirteen west and lying in the county of Posey and State of Indiana aforesaid — To have and to hold the premises with all their appurtenances unto the said releaser his heirs and assigns forever so that neither we the said releasers nor our heirs nor any other person under us or them shall hereafter have any claim, right or title in or to the premises or any part thereof—but thereupon we and they are by these presents forever bared [sic] and secluded.
“In Witness whereof we have hereunto set our hands and seals the day and date above written
“Signed, Seald and delivered
“In presence of Anson S. Andrews (SEAL)
Elizabeth Andrews (SEAL)”
We also saw Lemuel T. Osborne, the father, for a few moments, and called on Matthew Nelson who lived a block away and who knew much of the early life of your ancestors. His opinion of your great grandfather was much like that of John Dave Ellis, and as he was born after your great grandfather’s death, this opinion was derived entirely from friends and neighbors, and particularly from his father. His father, Turner Nelson, was something of a politician and for many years was the County Recorder of Mt. Vernon. Also, he owned a large farm in the early days adjacent to Farmersville, and of this he sold some sixty acres to your great grandfather Piper, and was the nearest neighbor to Mr. Piper when he was there.
While in Mt. Vernon, we looked up the old seminary where your grandfather Andrews went to school. The building was built in 1841 and is still used for the same general purpose. It is a very substantial-looking brick building and must have been the pride of the town in those early days. Your grandfather started school in Mt. Vernon in an old one-room building “packed full with scholars,” but the new “Seminary” was then being built and as soon as it was finished, your grandfather entered it.
The next day we started towards home but stopped in Lawrenceville, the county seat of Lawrence County, Illinois, where I found records of deeds relating to various Norton relatives . . .
[If anyone wants the table of these deeds for Lawrence County, leave me a note and I will send them.]
From Lawrenceville we went again to Vincennes, Indiana. I looked for records of early deeds there but found only the following: “Grantor Asa Norton; Grantee Barrois Francois; Book DD; Page 327; Comments: Dated February 11, 1826. ¼ of lot 64 in Borough of Vincennes. $45. Sam'l Dillworth, recorder. Vige St.”
From Vincennes we drove to Paris, Illinois, and stayed all night again at the Cherry Croft house, and the next morning, Saturday, October 15, 1927, we arrived home.
Ernest John Andrews
Chicago, November 21, 1927