Indiana AHGP
Part of the American History and Genealogy Project


Features of the History of Parke County, Indiana

By Maurice Murphy, Rockville, Indiana

Parke County, possibly because its history possesses no intensely dramatic phases, has never figured prominently in the writing of Indiana history. Its settlers were attracted principally by the opportunity to be found in territory newly opened to settlers, and somewhat by the facilities for trade and communication offered by the Wabash River, Sugar and Caccoon creeks. Its history is simply that of the transition of a mighty forest into a prosperous agricultural region, full of interest, but almost entirely devoid of thrills or sensation. Only one complete history of the county has been written, that of the late John H. Beadle, published in 1880. It is a scholarly, well written book, though now somewhat out of date. Gen. W. H. H. Beadle and Capt. John T. Campbell, of Rockville, have contributed to newspapers many valuable articles dealing with various subjects of Parke county history; and the writer has drawn frequently from material used in articles he himself has written, published in the Rockville Tribune. This material was gathered almost exclusively from interviews with old settlers. Some of the material which they furnished him is here used for the first time.

Parke County is primarily an agricultural county. The broad Wabash valley and the valleys of Sugar creek, Big Raccoon and their tributaries contain land of great fertility, and splendid grazing facilities are offered by the parts of the county still timbered. Coal is the only mineral resource of the county. Its Indian inhabitants were the Wea, Miami and Piankeshaw tribes, while some French pioneers, principally coureurs de bois, settled along the Wabash and along Sugar creek. In the Jesuit Relations for 1718 appears an account of the visit of a young Frenchman to a village on Pun-ge-se-co-ne, (Sugar creek, literally translated Water of many sugar trees.) These early French settlers acquired a prosperous trade from the abundance of fur-bearing animals in the county, and many of them married squaws. The "ten o'clock line" south of which, according to treaty, the whites should be allowed to settle, ran from the mouth of Big Raccoon, along the line of the ten o'clock sun, to the corner of the old reservation on White river. More Indian troubles followed, and the battle of Tippecanoe followed, November 5, 1811.

Harrison's army marched through what is now Parke County. It crossed Big Raccoon where the town of Armiesburg now stands, and the Wabash at the present site of Montezuma. No settlements were made in the county until about 1817, and none that resulted in the formation of a town until the settlement of Roseville in 1819. Chauncey Rose was the most prominent citizen of this town. Its industries were three, a store, a grist-mill, and a distillery. Within six years, four other towns had been established, Armiesburg (1820), Portland Mills (1825), both on Big Raccoon, Montezuma (1823), on the Wabash River, and Rockville (1822), the county seat, on the high land in the center of the county.

As the spread of cotton culture and the plantation system in Kentucky, Virginia and the Carolinas about 1820-30, forced many of the smaller planters and non-slaveholding whites to seek new homes, the majority of the Parke County pioneers can thus be accounted for. However, many came from Ohio and Pennsylvania along with the westward movement of population. Most of the southerners came by way of the Charlestown, Bloomington and Greencastle trail. The settlers from the east came later by the National Road and through the woods to their new homes. Parke County was incorporated as a county in 1824, being named after Benjamin Parke.

The early settlers entered large claims at the Crawfordsville land office. Settlement at first followed the streams, and practically the whole county was settled by 1845. John H. Beadle records that the last time an Indian was ever seen wild in Parke County was in 1856.

Though they naturally suffered hardships, the Parke county pioneers never suffered from cold or hunger. Game abounded in the county and the abundance of fur-bearing animals and wood made any suffering from the cold unnecessary. The pioneers raised chiefly corn, and this they took on horseback, in ox carts or row boats to the most convenient grist-mill. They lived far apart, but came together at social or religious meetings.

Rattlesnakes and sickness were the chief woes in early times. The former were exterminated when the thickets were cleared, but the latter continued till recent years. Parke County is very rough and broken, and in pioneer times contained many stagnant ponds and swamps. "By following the windings of the low-land in some seasons," says John H. Beadle, "a goose could swim across a township." Malaria, chills and fever were common, and six doctors were kept busy during the malaria season in one small community. Travelers of eighty years ago tell of going along Big Raccoon for miles, and not finding a family free from sickness. Dr. B. E. Hudson, of Montezuma, who has been practicing medicine there for fifty-seven years, recalls very vividly his experiences. "A man was not a good citizen in those days," he says, "who did not have the chills and fever. I have come home from a hard day's work among people afflicted with it only to find my wife and daughter afflicted with it also."

The old theory was that a kind of poisonous gas was exhaled from the first turning up of the virgin soil, which contaminated the air. Not until about forty years ago was the trouble located in the swamps and ponds, and when these were drained, the annual epidemics almost entirely disappeared.

The Wabash River and its tributaries were the earliest means of communication and commercial intercourse between Parke County and other sections. Pioneers hauled wheat to Chicago, Lafayette, Cincinnati or Louisville, sold it for 60 cents a bushel, and hauled back merchandise. Flatboats were sent to New Orleans loaded with farm products. Pork packing was probably the chief industry of the pioneer river towns, and later of the canal towns. Prices were quite different eighty years ago from now. "About 1830, Patterson, Silliman and Company established a store at Armiesburg, and on the original price list we find salt $7 per barrel and calico 35 to 40 cents per yard. But pork was sold for $1.50 a hundred, and two sleek, appetizing 200-pound porkers might be purchased for $6."

With the building of the Wabash and Erie Canal, 1844-47, and the building of the old east and west plank road about the same time, business in the county took a boom. The canal went through Lodi (Waterman), Montezuma and Armiesburg, and Howard, West Union and Clinton Lock (Lyford) grew up on its banks. All did a thriving business in packing, shipping and importing. Most of the goods for Putnam, as well as Parke County, came to these towns. Passenger boats, as well as freight boats, were run on the canal, and much traveling was done in this way. Various social gatherings, especially dances, were given on canal boats, as they went up and down the canal. It began to decline about 1855, when it failed to meet the competition of the railroads. Most of the canal bed and the remains of the aqueducts across Big Raccoon and Sugar creek are still visible, and a section of the old tow path forms part of the gravel road between Montezuma and West Union.

The first railroad ever built through Parke County was the old Evansville, Terre Haute and Rockville, in 1856. The line was built to Crawfordsville in 1873, and later to Logansport and South Bend, and is now a part of the Vandalia system. The Indianapolis, Danville and Southwestern was surveyed through the county in 1853, though when the road was built, in 1873, a different route was followed.

About forty years ago coal companies were organized and the industry was well on its feet in a few years. The town of Nyesville, northeast of Rockville, has grown up entirely through coal mining, though it was formerly much larger than now. This is also true of the once flourishing town of Minshall, in Raccoon Township. Among active mining towns of the county are Rosedale, Roseville and Lyford, in Florida township, Mecca, in Wabash Township, and Diamond, in Raccoon Township. The Parke County Coal Company was incorporated at Rosedale about twenty years ago, and has developed the coal industry in Florida Township and in Otter Creek Township, Vigo County. This company has operated twelve mines in all and the man to whom chief credit for its success is due is the late Joseph Martin, of Rosedale, for years its president and largest stockholder.

Factories in the county have never been numerous, and such as have existed have not been of gigantic proportions. A woolen mill was run from 1864 to 1875 in Rockville by J. M. Nichols and W. M. Thompson, a stave factory from 1870 to 1872 by William Ten Brook, and a carding mill in the days before the war. A series of disastrous fires consumed the stave factory and most of the business houses of Rockville in the years 1870-74, but the town long ago recovered from the loss. However, the financial stringency following these fires had much to do with keeping away factories. The abundance of wheat and timber in Parke county support a large number of flouring and saw mills, and several grain elevators. A large factory for the manufacture of pottery, established at Annapolis more than forty years ago, is run today by R. G. Atcheson, son of its founder. McCune and Batman had a woolen mill at Mecca in the antebellum days, and at one time paid 90 cents a pound for wool. Among later industries are the Marion Brick and Tile works, near Montezuma, the Dee clay works at Mecca, the glass factory near Roseville, the canning factory at Bloomingdale, and the tile factory of R. R. Lee at Bellmore.

Catholic missionaries visited Parke County in the days of the French regime. The first Protestant preacher was Rev. Isaac McCoy, who founded an Indian school, but met strong opposition from the Catholic half-breeds of the county. The first organized church in the county was old Shiloh (Presbyterian) about four miles north-east of Rockville. This church was founded in 1822 by Rev. Charles Beatty, and grew so rapidly that in 1832 there were enough members living in Rockville to form a church, so they withdrew in that year. The church they founded at Rockville still exists, though separated into two congregations from 1839 to 1869 on account of doctrinal differences. Revs. William Cravens and William Smith preached Methodism in the county from the earliest times, and a church was organized at Rockville about 1826. The Indiana conference met in Rockville in 1838 presided over by Bishop Soule. Over one hundred preachers came, by river, stage or on horseback, ministers and horses being cared for free of charge during their stay. Lorenzo Dow and Robert R. Roberts were among the eminent Methodist preachers who visited pioneer Rockville. In later years Dr. Lyman Abbott, then a pastor at Terre Haute frequently preached at the Presbyterian Church.

The Friends settled in the northwestern part of the county and established a church at Bloomingdale in 1826. The Baptists also appeared at an early day and built a brick church in Rockville. Some smaller sects took root in the county, such as Associate Presbyterians (Seceders), Christians, United Brethren, Cumberland Presbyterians and Lutherans. Among pioneer preachers of these sects, Doctor Dixon, of the Seceders, and Doctor Rudisill, of the Lutherans, were noted over Indiana for their learning. The Roman Catholics founded a church at Rockville in 1854, where Bishop H. J. Alerding, of Fort Wayne, was one-time parish priest.

The Parke county pioneers were usually religious, and revivals, camp meetings, and meetings for doctrinal debates were very common. In spite of the high degree of fervor aroused, these services seldom witnessed any abnormal religious manifestations.

Log schools were established in the county in the earliest times, and a brick school house was built in Rockville about 1830. The teachers knew the rudiments of the three R's and nothing more. School government was an athletocracy. The school code was as complex as the law of contracts and as rigid as that of Draco. An unsuccessful effort was made to get Asbury College (now DePauw University) located at Rockville in 1837. Though this resulted in failure it caused an educational awakening in Rockville. For the next twenty years many select schools and a female seminary flourished. The Parke county seminary was founded in 1839. This became Rockville high school in 1872 and was commissioned a few years ago. The Friends were zealous for education, and founded the Western Manual Labor Institute at Bloomingdale in 1846; it soon became Bloomingdale academy and still exists in a prosperous condition. It was famous under the superintendency of the late Barnabas C. Hobbs, who also did much to develop the common schools of the county by his normal training classes.

Few counties in Indiana experienced more stormy times during the Civil War than did Parke. The Peace Democrats were very strong and at times menacing. They were led by Hon. John C. Davis and other men of marked ability. Many trivial events gave rise to shooting affrays, and in the northern part of the county, civil war was threatened. Even today we hear of the "Battle of McCoy's Bluffs," or the "charge on Thompson's hen-roosts." One company from Parke County was sent out under the first call for troops, serving in the 11th Indiana. Parke County furnished the first company to the first three year regiments sent out from the state, Company A, 14th Indiana. The county also furnished companies to the 31st, 21st, 43rd and 85th Infantry, the 6th and 11th Cavalry and the 9th Battery, of the three year service; and to five short term regiments, the 78th, 115th, 133rd, 137th, and 149th. The county sent out about 2,000 soldiers in all, about one-eighth of the entire population of a county in which a large portion of the inhabitants were actively or passively opposed to the subjugation of the South. Ladies' Aid societies existed in every township, and regularly furnished their contributions to the soldiers.

Parke County has produced a number of noted people, among them Gen. Tilghman A. Howard, congressman and minister to Texas ; E. W. McGaughey, lawyer and statesman; Joseph A. Wright, U. S. senator and minister to Germany; Thomas H. Nelson, minister to Mexico and Chile; Barnabas C. Hobbs, churchman and educator; Robert L. Kelly, now president of Earlham; John H. Beadle, author and journalist; W. H. H. Beadle, educator; Juliet V. Strauss, writer; Horace G. Burt, railroad magnate; James Harlan, U. S. senator and cabinet officer; James T. Johnson, congressman; and Joseph G. Cannon, ex-speaker of the national house of representatives.

Parke county was created by act of the legislature, approved January 9, 1821, and the governor appointed the following officers to serve until an election could be held: Captain Andrew Brooks, sheriff; James Blair, coroner; Wallace Rea, clerk and recorder; Dempsey Seybold and Joseph Ralston, justices, and Stephen Collett, surveyor. The election was held the first Monday in August, 1821, the poll being at the home of Richard Henry, just north of the Vigo county line. The Jackson men cast a majority of the votes, of which there were seventy; drinking and a fight between two of the election officials followed. It was then considered dishonorable to complain of a man and have him fined for fighting on Election Day or muster day; so all the accumulated quarrels of a year or two were then and there settled, and the books squared.

In its early period, Parke County, like most frontier localities of that day, was strong for Andrew Jackson and his faction. Most of the few Clay men in the county were settlers from Pennsylvania and New England. However, about 1826-'30 came a great migration of Quakers and small plantation owners from the Carolinas, most of whom were Whigs. This addition to the Whig vote gave them a fair majority over the Democrats, and Parke county most of the time since has returned Whig or Republican majorities. The strength of parties in various localities of the county is very much as it was in pioneer days. Liberty and Penn townships have always returned great Whig and Republican majorities. Only once, in 1906, did a Democrat carry Penn Township. Reserve and Jackson townships, largely settled by Kentuckians and Virginians, who favored low tariff and opposed the United States bank, have been strongly Democratic from earliest times. The early Whig and Republican domination was so strong that no Democratic newspaper ever succeeded in the county until after the Civil War, though the Rockville Republican, under various names, has been in existence since 1827. After the war the Montezuma Era was founded and became the Democratic organ, but gave way to the Rockville Tribune a few years later, now the only Democratic paper published in the county.

As originally constituted, Parke county contained eleven townships, Adams, Washington, Sugar Creek, Liberty, Reserve, Wabash, Florida, Raccoon, Jackson, Union and Greene. Scott Township was formed from parts of Liberty, Sugar Creek and Reserve Townships in 1854, but its name was changed shortly to Penn Township. Sugar Creek Township was divided in 1855, and the eastern portion was called Howard Township. These thirteen townships compose the county as it is at present.

The county seat was finally established at Rockville in 1824, but not until after court had been held at Roseville, Armiesburg and Montezuma. The regular circuit judge usually presided part of the time at court and the rest of the time court was in charge of associate judges, who generally were respected men of the community, but who usually knew little of the law. Few of the county officials prior to 1850 were men of education. For years it was the custom to elect a coroner from among the stalwart blacksmiths of the county, and Randall H. Burks, Solomon Pinegar and Johnson S. White were among the pioneer blacksmiths to hold this office. The office of sheriff was considered very desirable, and among antebellum political leaders and men of ability who served as sheriff we find William T. Noel, Austin M. (Montana) Puett, James W. Beadle, and David Kirkpatrick. The first cases tried in the county were for petit larceny, gambling and selling liquor without a license. No famous trial occurred until that of Noah Beauchamp for murder in 1841. Beauchamp was a blacksmith of Vigo County, a good citizen, but a man of hot temper and a family pride that was almost a mania. As a result of a charge that his daughter had stolen some goods from a neighbor's family, Beauchamp became almost insanely angry, and the result was a quarrel and a murder. The case was venued to Parke County, and a memorable trial followed, in which "Ned" McGaughey prosecuted and Tilghman A. Howard represented Beauchamp, and the result was conviction with a death penalty. An appeal to the Supreme Court and even to the governor failed, and Beauchamp was hanged in November, 1841, on a hillside about a mile east of Rockville. Only one other man has ever been hanged in the county, "Buck" Stout, who committed a murder in Montgomery County in 1884, and whose case was venued to Parke County.

Parke was originally paired with Vigo County in the election of a representative, but in 1826 was created an independent district. This continued until this present year, when Parke and Fountain counties were paired. The county early was joined with Vermillion as a member of the 47th judicial circuit of Indiana, and this continued until the present year, when, by act of legislature, the counties were given separate circuits.

From 1825-50 was an age of extensive internal improvements all over the county, and Parke County became involved in the general plan. When the national road was surveyed in 1827, one set of surveyors reported a route across Parke County, crossing the Wabash at Clinton. However, Terre Haute had a representative in Congress, and he succeeded in having the route built through the Prairie City. As early as 1825 the Wabash and Erie Canal was a local issue in the county, and in that year Joseph M. Hayes, of Montezuma, announced himself for the legislature, making the canal his chief issue. It continued a vital issue in the county until it was finally built. The county was well enough settled to feel the effects of the panic of 1837, and from thenceforward national issues are most prominent in campaigns of the county. The Whigs used their "log cabin and hard cider" propaganda with complete success, so far as Parke County was concerned, in the campaign of 1840.

The campaign of 1844 was one of the most bitter and strenuous ever waged in the county. Political activity began in 1843 with the gubernatorial and senatorial elections. E. W. McGaughey, Whig, and Joseph A. Wright, Democrat, both of Rockville, were the opposing candidates for congress, and both made stump speeches at almost every town, cross roads and school house in the county. The Olive Branch, the Whig organ, was a typical pioneer political "sheet," more noted for calumny and rabid partisanship than for news sense and correct use of the King's English. During the campaign it abounded in such expressions as these: "Infidel dog, who thus dares to open his God-defying lips," "locofoco," "sneak," "wily Joe (Joseph A. Wright)" and "tricky Austin (Austin M. Puett)". The Whigs carried Parke County, but the State went Democratic, and Wright carried the district by just three votes, this was especially humiliating to the Parke County Whigs, as "Little Ned" ran far below his ticket in the county. (He was elected two years later.) The editor of the Olive Branch offered excuses, and announced: "No paper will be issued from this office for three or four weeks, as the editor must go out and collect what is due him." Clay clubs sprang up all over the county early in 1844, the Democrats soon manifested similar activity, and by fall politics had transcended business in importance. Citizens of Rockville remember a wagon and team of oxen coming to town from the northern part of the county, the wagon and horns of the oxen being adorned with polk berries. Polk-stalks and roosters were Democratic, and 'coon skins and poplar boughs Republican emblems. "Argument was completely abandoned. In its stead was abuse of the opposing party, vile caricatures of its candidates, obscene and foolish song, with sarcasm, clamor and confusion."

Campaigns continued to be heated, but the issue gradually changed from "finance" to "slavery," and on this issue the Whigs maintained a strong plurality in the county. The "underground railroad" ran through Parke County, and a "station" was established in a barn about a mile east of Annapolis.

Many of the Carolina settlers of Parke County were Democrats and many of them carried the southern viewpoint with them to the north. Other Democrats believed that the war was wrong on principle, and that it was wrong to subdue the South. These two refractory elements of population, quite numerous for a county the size of Parke were always threatening and at times turbulent until the end of the war. The bitter feeling engendered by this conflict figured strongly in the political campaigns of the next twenty-five years, and has not died out entirely even today. The Knights of the Golden Circle, later called the Sons of Liberty, had a very large organization in Rockville, at the head of which were Hon. John G. Davis and Dr. H. J. Rice. Both were speakers of ability, and made many speeches denouncing this "unholy, fratricidal strife." Mr. Davis spoke in all parts of the county in behalf of the Peace Democracy. The Parke County Republican viciously attacked him; its editor, Madison Keeney, was a man of undoubted courage, much ability and zealous patriotism, but his attacks were as vicious as they were fearless. His aptitude for strong language and acrid repartee especially angered the Peace Democracy. Mr. Davis called the Republican a "smut machine," and Mr. Keeney replied: "Smut machines has two definitions, agricultural, a machine for separating the grains of wheat from the dirt, the chaff and the cheat; political, a paper for separating the good and true men from ditto. We accept the designation." The editor's life and property were threatened, but he refused to retract anything he had said, "even though all the people of Parke County were against him." Local speakers, notably Thomas N. Rice, a prominent attorney, spoke vigorously against the Peace Democracy upon various occasions, and in August, 1861, Governor Morton spoke in Rockville. Contemporary estimates of the crowd that heard him, doubtless greatly exaggerated, place it at 5,000 people. He discussed the issues of the war and then turned to the "Copperheads:"

"Let them beware, vigilant men watch them, and the moment they transgress the limits of the law, they will be summarily punished." This warning became perverted, as was to be expected in such strenuous times, and John G. Davis, in subsequent speeches, spoke of the "sneaking administration that sets a vigilance committee secretly to watch men who merely express their honest convictions."

John G. Davis, once one of the most popular and esteemed men in Rockville, became the most hated, at least so far as the Union people were concerned. Things continued in this state for many months, and a Union mass meeting was called. The meeting unanimously decided that John G. Davis should be killed, but one man, a little more far-sighted than the others, asked, "Whom shall we appoint to kill him?" Thereupon the meeting got "cold feet." No one wanted the task, and Mr. Davis continued to live and make speeches. Daniel W. Voorhees spoke several times in Rockville during the war; the Peace Democracy considered his speeches examples of almost infallible logic, while the succeeding issues of the Republican gave him a severe grilling.

The smoldering hatred of the two factions resulted in a shooting affray in Rockville in the summer of 1862. The Puetts were a family prominent among the Peace Democracy, having been natives of North Carolina, and an apparently harmless remark made by one of them about Marshal James K. Meacham, a loyal Union man, was enlarged upon and carried to Mr. Meacham in the form of a challenge. The result was that the marshal and his supposed challenger started a fight with pistols on the public square of Rockville, and were joined by others, so that the affair became a miniature battle. However, the heat of the conflict was in inverse proportion to the accuracy of the firing, for no one was killed or seriously wounded.

The anti-war party was successful in the elections of 1862, but was defeated in those of 1863. Accordingly, while affairs were comparatively quiet during 1863, trouble was started again in 1864. The Butternut building, referred to elsewhere, became an object of strong suspicion, and it was said with more or less truth that the Peace Democrats were drilling in this building. All kinds of insurrection rumors were afloat, and some Union men even went so far as to threaten Dr. Rice's life and property in case of open violence. The Republican became full of talk about "traitors," "suspicious looking characters," "secret drillings," "hundreds of desperate, villainous looking strangers" and the like. "It was a wearisome task," says John H. Beadle, "to recount all the rumors of trouble, the neighborhood quarrels, the fist fights, threats and recriminations." Only in Sugar Creek and Howard townships, however, was there any organized attempt at violence. These townships contain many hills and hollows and were still in the rude, pioneer state at the outbreak of the war. Sentiment was about evenly divided on the question of the Union.

A general raid was made, late in 1864, on the Union men of Howard Township, with the intention of disarming them. George Lay, an aged engineer who had served on the Baltimore & Ohio thirty years before and who later settled on a farm in Howard Township, proved the La Tour d'Auvergne of the locality. When about thirty anti-war men raided his home at night, he rose and met them undauntedly with a corn cutter. He wounded two of them, one mortally, and his wife blew a blast on the dinner horn to arouse the neighbors, and the raiders fled, one accidently shooting himself fatally while climbing a fence in haste. Mr. Lay himself was wounded, but not seriously. The home guards, consisting of a company from nearly every township in the county, all under the command of Col. Caspar Budd, of Howard, was called out, and the hills and vales of Sugar Creek and Howard townships were raided. Much excitement was aroused, but the Peace Democracy had subsided, and no fighting occurred.

A great sensation was aroused in Rockville the same summer by what may be called the Beaubien incident. Rev. J. C. B. Beaubien was pastor of the First, or Old School, Presbyterian Church of Rockville, at the time, and made an apparently professional visit to Indianapolis. After his return a letter was found, purporting to be from prominent Knights of the Golden Circle in Rockville to their brethren in Indianapolis. The missive gave instructions for the sending of arms and ammunition to the Rockville branch of the order, in care of Mr. Beaubien. The letter was printed in the Parke County Republican, and made the subject of long and venomous editorial comment in several issues. Whether or not the letter was authentic, it was taken at full value in Rockville; Mr. Beaubien, though known previously as a man of high character and considerable ability, found himself deserted in wrath by most of his congregation, and publicly denounced by men who had been his most active members. He professed no connection with the K. G. C, and avowed his loyalty to the Union, but the people refused to believe in his sincerity, and he finally resigned in November, 1864.

By the campaign of 1864, the Republicans and War Democrats had been fused into the Union party, and carried Parke County that year by a large majority. Candidates for the Union nomination for office were numerous, and there were no less than nine for sheriff. The convention nominated principally ex-Union soldiers, and the War Democrats were greatly peeved over the nomination of a young Union soldier for commissioner, over Judge Walter Danaldson, one of the most prominent citizens of Montezuma. They had the following notice published in the Republican, and carried it out, though without success and against the protest of Judge Danaldson himself: "We, the War Democrats of Parke county, intend to run Judge Danaldson as our candidate for county commissioner, whether he is willing or not."

One unfortunate class living in Rockville during the Civil War was the class of people who came from the South, and who, although they believed in the righteousness of the Union cause, were too devoted "to the home of their childhood and the traditions of their people" to support it actively. Their practical neutrality was regarded as an evidence of treason, and they were called "traitors" and "Copperheads" by the radical Unionists, and socially ostracized. Notable among these people was the Rev. Samuel H. McNutt, a Presbyterian minister of talent and most lovable character. Some Virginia and Carolina families were looked upon with suspicion be-cause of their Southern origin, even though their sons fought with gallantry in the Union army.

The antipathy for the men who opposed the war or actually sympathized with the South remained very bitter for years after the war, and has not yet completely subsided. "Copperhead," "traitor," "rebel," "Knight of the Golden Circle," were employed for years by the Republicans in campaigns. This was especially true in the bitter campaign of 1876. As a typical incident, a highly respected Reserve township Democrat had been selected as the party's choice for representative, and his prospects were seriously hurt by a communication to the Republican to the effect that during the war he had refused a Union soldier refreshment. According to the communication, he said that he cared nothing for the soldiers or the cause for which they were fighting. He replied with a communication, professing esteem for the soldiers of the Union, and speaking of various relatives who had served in the Civil War. However, as he and several brothers were of military age during the war, and none served in the army, the first communication was generally believed, and the candidate failed of election. In the deadlock following the election of 1876, feeling was exceedingly tense. Democratic meetings denounced in severest terms Senator Morton, as well as "Republican treachery," and "narrow, unreasonable war prejudices."


Source: Indiana Magazine of History, Vol. XII March, Some Features of the History of Parke County, by Maurice Murphy, 1916

Index ~ State Page

Indiana AHGP


Adjoining States
Illinois AHGP ~ Illinois ALHN ~ Illinois USGenWeb
Kentucky AHGP ~ Kentucky ALHN ~ Kentucky USGenWeb
Ohio AHGP ~ Ohio ALHN ~ Ohio USGenWeb
Michigan AHGP ~ Michigan ALHN ~ Michigan USGenWeb

Please Come Back Again!!


Back to AHGP

Copyright August @2011 - 2024 AHGP - Judy White Copyright ©2000-2006  
For the exclusive use and benefit of The American History and Genealogy Project. All rights reserved.