Making A Neighborhood, by D. D. Banta, 1887 cont'd

The complete record of organization is as follows:
     "October 5th, 1832. A number of persons residing on the waters of Indian Creek, in the county of Johnson, and State of Indiana, being met for public worship and for the purpose of being organized into a Presbyterian church, pursuant to previous appointment at the house of JAMES WILEY, a sermon was delivered by the REV. DAVID MONFORT, who, by request, attended and presided; when the following persons presented regular certificates of their former membership in the Presbyterian church, viz: JESSE YOUNG [SR] and MARGARET (WILEY) YOUNG, his wife, from Strait Creek, Ohio; REBECCA CLARK, from West Union, Ohio; RACHEL TITUS and RACHEL YOUNG, from the same place, and JOHN YOUNG, from Franklin, Indiana. Prayer having been offered to Almighty God for his blessing on the occasion, the above named persons unanimously expressed their desire to be organized into a Presbyterian church, to be placed under the care of the Presbytery of Indianapolis. It was then unanimously resolved to proceed to the election of one Ruling Elder, which was done by ballot; when it appeared that JESSE YOUNG was duly elected. MR. YOUNG having signified his acceptance of the appointment was then set apart to his office in the manner prescribed in the Confession of Faith and Government of the Presbyterian church. On motion it was resolved that this church be called Shiloh. The meeting then closed with prayer.
David Monfort, Moderator and Clerk"

     The church was now organized, but it was nearly two years before a house of worship was provided. From the record it appears there were at least two occasions during that interim, when meetings were held, once in June, 1833, and again in September of the same year. At the first of these meetings JESSE YOUNG'S three youngest children, JONATHAN EDWARDS, THOMAS WILSON and NEWTON WATTS were baptized. At the second meeting JOSEPH YOUNG and his wife [MARY MOORE], and THOMAS TITUS and MARY [YOUNG], his wife, were admitted into the fellowship of the church, and THOMAS TITUS was baptized and also his infant son, JESSE; and JOSIAH [T.], the infant son of JOHN and RACHEL (TITUS) YOUNG and NANCY JANE, RACHEL ELIZA, and WILLIAM MOORE, infant children of JOSEPH and MARY (MOORE) YOUNG, likewise received the same ordinance.
     At what place those meetings were held is not now know. We have seen that the church was organized at the house of JAMES WILEY. It is certain one or more meetings were held at PETER TITUS' barn. THOMAS TITUS, still living, remembers to have arranged seats in the barn for the purpose. There is good evidence that both MONFORT and the REV. JEREMIAH HILL preached at JACOB BANTA'S and that a REV. STRADLING preached at Serrill Winchester's, which two last sermons were preached sometime between the early spring of 1833 and the summer of 1834.
     In 1833, the sixth year after the first settlement, witnessed the advent of three new neighbors, SERRILL WINCHESTER, DANIEL NEWKIRK and PETER D. BANTA. The last named is said to have come in September. He was from Henry county, Kentucky, and located on the Three Notched Line Road on the extreme eastern edge of the neighborhood. His wife was JOANA VORIS, a sister of the PETER VORIS, who is to follow.
     DANIEL NEWKIRK was an Ohioan, and settled on the land on which JESSE Y. [Young] DEMAREE now lives. He was a blacksmith and gunsmith, and the rifles of his manufacture highly esteemed by, the old time-hunters. In 1836 he sold out to GEORGE W. [Whitefield] DEMAREE and moved into Morgan county. He was a Methodist and went to a Methodist neighborhood.
     SERRILL WINCHESTER came in February, from the Nineveh settlement where he had been living a short time. A yoke of oxen and one horse constituted the team that hauled his household stuff to the unfinished cabin in which the family found shelter in the beginning. The mother rode Lark, the horse, and carried HARVEY, the year old baby, in her arms. NANCY and JANE and WILLIAM found seats in the wagon. That February day was a cold and gloomy one, and in lieu of cloaks each of the girls wore one of "father's coats." Tradition has lost sight of JOHN'S whereabouts on that dismal day, but as 'Old Lil', the cow, constituted a part of the cavalcade, it stands to reason that armed with a good stick he kept in the rear with an eye single to the behavior of that cow.
     Let us enter with the family and take an inside view of their new home. The half of the floor next to the fireplace is of puncheons and the other half of native earth. MR. WINCHESTER. has not had time to split and hew the puncheons necessary to cover that other half, but it will be done in good time I'll warrant you. There are two doors to the cabin -- or rather two openings for the doors -- one on the east side and one on the west, but it has been about all MR. WINCHESTER could do to raise and roof his new house, and put in half a floor, and a clapboard loft, and cut out places for the two doors, so he hurriedly nails boards over the west door while his wife hangs up a quilt over the east one. The windows are not yet cut out but when that is done they will be covered with oiled paper. On the clapboard loft overhead, the corn that is to make the bread for the family and furnish an ear now and then for old Lark is stored, and above that, the bacon is hung. There is not much in that new cabin to cheer the hearts of its owners except the children and faith in the future. Ah, this is the day of little things -- when the making and hanging of a cabin door even, brought great joy to an entire family! The forest grew a solid phalanx of trees up to the very door of that cabin, and when the log barn was erected some forty yards distant, it could not be seen from the house. How proud the children were when an avenue was cut through the trees and they could see the barn.
     The WINCHESTERS have an English pedigree. The first of the family to set foot on our Western World, was JOHN WINCHESTER, who, at the age of nineteen embarking in the ship Elizabeth, of London, in 1625, landed in the Province of Massachusetts Bay, and settled at Hingham. In 1650 he moved to Muddy Run, now Brookline in the same Province. One of his grandsons, ANDREW, emigrated to New London, in Connecticut, about the close of the first third of the eighteenth century, where he married and established his branch of the family. About 1795 his grandson, JOHN WINCHESTER, the father of SERRILL, moved to the then new state of Kentucky, and settled in Hardin county, where SERRILL, the oldest of the nineteen children, was born in 1804.
     The year Indiana was admitted in the Union, young SERRILL came with his father to Jefferson county, in this State [Indiana], and settled not far from the Jennings county line. December 9th, 1835, he was married to MARY ANN MILLER, who was a sister of the WILLIAM and WASHINGTON MILLER, who subsequently moved to this neighborhood. The ancestor of the MILLERS came from Ireland to North Carolina in 1767, and in 1816 JOHN MILLER, his son and the father of our Shiloh MILLERS moved to Kentucky, and thence at the end of a year to Jennings county, in this state [Indiana].
     In the year of 1833, WILLIAM YOUNG married to NANCY J. HOBACK, and probably they began housekeeping the same year on the tract of land now owned by MR. JAMES PARIS.
     The next step in the history of Shiloh brings us to the time of the building of the log meeting house, which took place after the crops had been laid by in 1834; but before we take a glimpse at that work, let us see who the builders are to be and consider of their ability to do it.
     All told, there were ten families living within the bounds of the neighborhood at that time, most of whom could be depended on to do their level best when the time came. JESSE YOUNG was heard to say in after years that there were "eight of the early settlers who were ring leaders in the work."
     Shiloh was still in the woods, but the facilities for reaching it were better than when the first two or three families came. The road from Franklin to Martinsville had been cut out, and also the road from Williamsburg (Nineveh) to Mooresville via the village on White River, afterwards known as the JOHN FORSYTH Cross Roads, and running thence west on the half section line on the south side of JACOB BANTA'S land, and also of DANIEL DRAKE'S. This road had been opened in 1831 or 1832, but it was vacated in 1835 or 1836. For many years its print was plainly to be seen, and while passing over a part of it last fall -- fifty years after its vacation -- I still saw evidence of its ancient use.
     The tillable land of the neighborhood in 1834 did not exceed eighty acres, and by reason of the imperfect natural drainage some of that could not be relied on. It is hard for us to realize the physical condition of the country in those days. It appeared different to the eye then from what it does now. Amid rainy seasons the whole country was flooded. Since the bushes have been browsed down and killed off, and the timbered areas reduced to a few acres here and there of open woodland, we see what a beautiful and billowy country Shiloh is. It is a land of alternating ridges knolls and valleys. On these knolls and ridges the most of the Shiloh grain was grown for many years. In the valleys between, the weeds and grass of wet years, (and oh how many wet years there were!) usually pushed the corn to the wall. There was in the early times, as you may readily perceive, little or no dust in Shiloh. I remember that as late as 1840 the dust that accumulated at certain seasons in the public roads of the neighborhood, was an object of considerable curiosity to me.
     How much do you suppose all the property, real and personal, of all the Shiloh settlers would have brought at Public auction in 1834? Unimproved land was selling at "Congress price." A cabin added about $20 to that price. JACOB BANTA paid JOSEPH YOUNG $50 for his cabin and clearing of five or six acres. All the farming implements in the neighborhood would hardly have made a two horse wagon load. All the furniture in the ten cabins of the neighborhood did not cost as much as the furniture in a Shiloh farmer's "best room" does today. Good work horses sold for $25 to $50 each and there were about fifteen good, bad and indifferent in the neighborhood. Milch cows were worth from $5 to $10, and one and two year old cattle from $3 to $5. Hogs, which were mostly running in a half wild state in the woods, when killed and dressed could be sold for about $1.50 per cwt.
     It is plain to be seen the assessor would not have found any considerable sum of taxable property among the Shilohans of 1834.
     And yet these men were going to build a meeting house. How poor in purse and yet how immeasurably rich in faith and hope they were! Here was their home; here their children, born and unborn, were to grow to manhood and womanhood and a meeting house was a necessity to them, more of a necessity than a mill or a store, and there was but one way to get one -- build it! And so the work was begun. Contrary to what so often happens now-a-days there was no controversy over the location of that meeting house nor over the style of architecture to be adopted, nor over the proposed cost. I doubt if there ever was a meeting house built, that occasioned less bickering among the builders or for that matter brought more joy to them when finished than the old Shiloh one. No money was spent for an eligible site. I have heard my mother say that my father selected this beautiful knoll on which this house stands and yonder dead are buried, very soon after arriving at his new home and set it apart for the purposes to which it has since been consecrated. Nor was any money spent for material save the little it took to buy a few pounds of nails, and the glass for the windows. I do not suppose any subscription paper was handed around to raise even that little money. I do not know, but I think it probable, that deer skins and venison saddles were battered for those few pounds of nails and the glass for the windows. The men of Shiloh were skillful with the chopping ax, the broad ax, the maul and wedge, the froe and the whip-saw, and the woods was full of tall and straight bolled beeches, maples and ash trees with a fair sprinkling of straight grained white oaks and poplars. All the men of Shiloh had to do in order to have a meeting house was to go into the forest and cut, hew, split rive, whip-saw and build -- and they did it. They paid the price and the house was theirs. We have no written record of the time when the work was begun. Our fathers were more expert with the hand-spike than with the pen. "It was very warm weather" says one, and "it was after the crops were laid by" says another. The last hoeing had been given to the corn patches and the little wheat fields had been reaped with the sickle and the straw put in the shock and mayhap the grain flailed out before the work was begun. Be this as it may, JESSE YOUNG, SR., SERRILL WINCHESTER, GIDEON DRAKE, JACOB BANTA, JESSE YOUNG JR., JOSEPH YOUNG and perhaps others not now remembered felled the trees and cut and scored the logs. JAMES W. YOUNG, then a lad of sixteen says, "I helped line them." JOSIAH DRAKE, still younger, says "helped pick the trash off the new site." JOHN YOUNG and THOMAS W. TITUS hewed the logs. JOHN HARRELL, then a young man and making his home in the neighborhood says, "I put in five or six days at whatever came handiest."
     When the day for raising the house came round a "general invitation was sent out," and volunteer help came from all quarters, from Indian Creek, Stott's Creek, Hopewell and PETER VANDIVER'S neighborhood. That man was considered a mean one indeed who would refuse muscular aid on such an occasion. SERRILL WINCHESTER carried up the north-east corner, of the new house, JOSEPH YOUNG the north-west THOMAS W. TITUS the southwest and JOHN YOUNG the southeast. This was the first hewed log house erected in the neighborhood and by all odds the most imposing edifice in it, and in addition it was the meeting house and so, extra care was taken in notching down the corners to close fitting joints.
     The clap-board roof was nailed on, which was not a common thing done in Shiloh nor any where else in Central Indiana in those days.
     JESSE YOUNG, JR. and THOMAS W. TITUS ship-sawed the planks used for flooring and ceiling, for the doors and door and window casing and the communion table. Some of lumber I am told has been worked into the floor of house which has taken the place of that log one.
     JOHN YOUNG says, "the log church was about 25 feet wide by 30 feet long, but it seems to me its length must been greater by five feet than that. It was located a little to the south of the one that has taken its place and like it, its greater length was north and south. A double door was in the middle of each side of the pulpit. In the north end was the fire place, with its clay hearth, and clay jambs well beaten in, the whole sure mounted by a mud and stick chimney, the handiwork of SERRILL WINCHESTER.
     The pulpit was a box-like structure standing on four square posts and made of riven oak boards smoothly shaven with the drawing knife. The preacher mounted to his perch in that primitive pulpit on steps made by laYing upon each other in right order, logs that had been sawed out to make places for doors and windows. The seats were rough whip-sawed planks laid on log trestles. The ceiling was made by laying loose planks on the joists. In after years this ceiling was properly done and plain though comfortable seats were made. The communion table, a plain deal table made of whip-sawed lumber when set for sacramental occasions, extended from the pulpit more than half way down the aisle. When used it was covered by a clean white cloth and around it all the communicants were seated. When not in use it stood at the south end of the church on the outside. In a few years its use was discontinued altogether.
     It evidently did not take very long to build that house, for I find from the record that on the 30th day of July the year of the building, "The congregation of Shiloh met pursuant to notice at the meeting house." I think it probable the work was begun after the middle of the month and no doubt the "notice" was given before the roof was on. Doubtless that first meeting was held in a house without chimney, without doors , and windows, with unchinked and undaubed cracks, without pulpit and with an unlaid floor. Be this as it may [DAVID] MONFORT preached and JOSEPH YOUNG was elected to the eldership.
     In 1834 there were no accessions to the neighborhood but in the following year [1835], two families. PETER VORIS' and DAVID DEMAREE'S moved in. The county records show that on the 20th of March of that year JESSE YOUNG, who two years before had made an entry in section 26, conveyed to MR. [PETER] VORIS the eighty acre tract originally patented by him and on which had been erected the first Shiloh cabin. [JESSE] YOUNG moved out to his new home a few days before [PETER] VORIS moved in.
     PETER VORIS was a native of Henry county, Kentucky whence shortly after his marriage to MARTHA LIST, he moved' to this county and lived in the Hopewell neighborhood from the fall of 1832 up to the date of his removal to this place. That occurred in the early spring and the oldest living member of that family remembers with the distinctness of a yesterday, the wild, weird chuck cluck cheruck and peep peep chereep that went up from the wood land marshes the first night of their sojourn in their new home.
     The new comer moved his household stuff and probably a.few farming implements, and possibly a little food for his horses and I have no doubt a supply of bread-stuffs for his family, in a four horse wagon. The mother rode old Fan and carried JOHN, the baby, while the DAUGHTER, who was the eldest and who still remembers the music of the frogs, sat in the rear part of the wagon close up to the end gate by the side of a big earthen jar with her back to the horses so she could "look out and see mother."
     The VORISES are of Dutch blood. In 1660 STEVEN COERTIE and WILLEMPE SUEBRING, husband and wife, with their seven children left their ancestral home near Hees [Holland], a hamlet in Ruinen, and coming to America settled on Long Island. They came from before Hees and hence their original name Van VoorHees.
     ALBERT STEVENSE VOOR-HEES was the sixth of this family of children and in time became quite a Long Island land holder and a noted brewer. On his death his children divided his lands and the son bearing his name left Long Island and went to Hackensack and was the progenitor of numerous descendants. When the great emigration westward of the Dutch families set in, the Hackensack VOORHEESES were represented. Their names appear in the church records of Conewago and when the Dutchmen invaded Kentucky the VOORHEESES as VORISES were in the vanguard.
     Seven years have come and gone since the first family came to the neighborhood and during all that time not a death has occurred in a single Shiloh cabin. The men and women of these cabins have been subjected to all manner of privation and hardship; they have felt that weariness of both body and mind that comes from unremitting toil, but so far, their door lintels have been sprinkled and the angel of death has passed them by. In the providence of God this immunity no longer can be. On the 22nd of July, 1835, a second SON is born to JACOB and SARAH [DEMAREE] BANTA and on the fourth day thereafter the little one is laid in its little grave, the first to be garnered in the new church yard.
     It is only an infant, this first of Shiloh's dead, and men striving to force from reluctant nature here in the wilderness, their daily bread, have no allotted "days of mourning" to give to an Infant's memory. "The Lord giveth and the Lord taketh away, blessed be the name of the Lord," said they in grim earnestness, and the toiling went on. It was the mother here, at it always has been elsewhere, an always will be, who broods in silence and in great sorrow, over the death of the little ones.
     In these busy days, JACOB BANTA, with his four horse team, found ready employment at remunerative wages. HENRY MUSSULMAN, an Indian Creek merchant, was in pressing need of a load of dry, goods, salt, groceries and hardware, from Madison, and there was no one but JACOB BANTA to go. Never had the wagoner found it so hard to leave home before. His young wife clung to him and sobbed as if her heart would break. Doubtless she was thinking of the little mound under the shadow of the oak trees at the new meeting house.
     At the appointed time the teamster returned and he said he was sick, and straightway went to bed. the last days of journey had been days of cold rains and chilling winds. Not many hours passed by ere the news of his sickness reached every cabin in Shiloh, and at once men and women went to see what they could do. Two men, JESSE YOUNG, SR., and GIDEON DRAKE, the two oldest and most experienced men of the neighborhood, became the self-appointed nurses, whilst PETER VORIS, SERRILL WINCHESTER, JOSEPH YOUNG and all the others held themselves in readiness for any service at any moment. DOCTOR McAULY from this side of Franklin, came to see the sick ran, and did all he could according to the learning of the times. He dosed, bled and blistered and blistered, bled and dosed, but all in vain. On Friday morning JOHN HARRELL, the farm hand, went to PETER VORIS'S to thresh wheat. The sick man was not then thought ,it to be dangerously ill. At noon Harrell returned, and a change for th worse had set in. The young wife who had so recently buried her second born and is anxious concerning the fate of her husband, nevertheless remembering her first born and only living child, on HARRELL'S return asks, "Was not David with you?"
     "NO," was his answer.
     The boy had wandered off early in the day, and the mother thought he was with HARRELL. Twenty-eight months old and lost in the woods! Her husband in the gripe of death, but on his feet in spite of the efforts of his two lusty nurses, fighting death with the strength of a Sampson! Think of it and realize, if you can, somewhat of the sufferings the fathers and mothers endured who subdued the wilderness of Shiloh!
     The boy was found the afternoon of the day he was lost and a little later -- just as the September's setting sun illuminated with a halo of glory the leafy crowns of the tallest trees in the surrounding forest, JACOB BANTA'S spirit winged its way to the God who gave it, and there was one Shiloh home less!
     Sad was the day to Shiloh that witnessed the procession of mourners following the dead along the little road that wound in and out amid the beeches an maples and oaks and poplars then growing between yonder ancient cabin site and this church yard.
     At the grave the hands of neighbors and friends reverently laid the dead away. No minister was there to speak words of comfort to the young widow. JESSE YOUNG, the patriarch of the settlement, uttered a brief prayer, and a hymn was sung, after which simple service the mourning friends dispersed to their homes.
     It was a fever -- the malignant typhus -- that cut the man down in the pride of his strength, and oh! how many of Shiloh's men have been swept from the earth in their prime of life! Go into yonder church yard and read the story as told by its tombstones.
JACOB BANTA4 Sep 183525y
ISAAC VANNUYS12 Aug 184440y
PETER D. BANTA1 Sep 184432y
DAVID DEMAREE27 Sep 184640y
PETER VORIS22 Apr 185749y
WILLIAM MILLER11 Jul 185651y

     Immediately succeeding the death of Jacob Banta, his widow [SARAH (DEMAREE)] went to Hopewell, where she was soon joined by her mother, RACHEL DEMAREE, and sister [RACHEL DEMAREE], of the same name, who arrived in this State from Kentucky in the latter part of October that year, 1835, and with them she abode at the house of her brother, PETER DEMAREE, for a period of about two years. At the same time DAVID DEMAREE and his wife [MARGARET] and two children, HARRIET and JOHN, and GEORGE W. DEMAREE, his unmarried brother, immigrated to the State [Indiana]. DAVID with his family moving into the house so lately occupied by JACOB BANTA, and hence forth the DEMAREE name has been intimately linked with the fortunes of this neighborhood.
     The DEMAREES are of French descent. DAVID DES MAREST, the progenitor of the wide spread and numerous family in America of DES MARESTS, DEMARESTS, DEMERESTS, DEMARAYS, DEMAREE, was says DAVID D. DEMAREST, D.D., of New Brunswick, N.J., "a native of Beauchamp, a little village of Picardy, in France, about twenty-two miles west of the City of Amiens," where he was born about 1620. The DES MARESTS were Huguenots in faith, and to escape the fierce persecution waged against his sect, JEAN DES MAREST, the father of DAVID, fled with his family to Holland, which was at the time the Protestant asylum, and settled at Middleburg in the island of Walcheren in the mouth of the Rhine. Here, on the 24th day of July, 1643, DAVID DES MAREST was married to MARIE SOHIER of Nieppe, a town of Hainault. In 1651 he moved to Mannheim, a city up the Rhine, to which the French Protestants were at the time, invited by the elector, CHARLES LEWIS, to come and make their homes. Here he remained for the space of twelve years when the threatenings of the Catholic princes against his protectory induced him to emigrate to America. Descending the Rhine to Amsterdam, there he and his family embarked in the "Bontecoe," i.e. Spotted Cow, and on the 16th of April, 1663, were landed at New Amsterdam, in the New World. After a residence of two years in Staten Island, he [DAVID DES MAREST] moved to New Harlem, the whole of which he purchased, says the REV. THEODORE B. ROMEYN in his "Historical Discourse" relating to the Hackensack "Reformed (Dutch) Church." In 1677 "he bought from the Tappan Indians a large tract of land lying between the Hackensack and Hudson Rivers," to which he moved the following year with his three sons, JOHN, DAVID, and SAMUEL with all their families.
     The DES MAREST family was no less prolific than the Dutch families of its neighborhood. Says DR. ROMEYN, "As far back as 1820, one interested in this family, found by search, seven thousand names connected with it -- branches of the original stock."
     The Des Marests were as conservative as were their more stolid Dutch Neighbors. It seems to have taken them a long time to give up their French pastors and French modes of worship for the Dutch and in the SIX DAVIDS which once upon a time in this very neighborhood, the people were compelled to distinguish in ordinary conversation by such descriptive appellatives as "BIG DAVE," "LITTLE DAVE," "DAVID NELSON," and the like, we have strong proof of the vitality of their veneration for their family.
     When the Hackensack migration to Pennsylvania took place, DES MAREST families were found with the migrants, and when the swarm moved on to Kentucky, as DEMAREES, they went along and became Kentuckians.
     DAVID DEMAREE had visited the neighborhood in the fall of 1834, at which time he had patented 120 acres in section 32 and had begun an improvement by making a "deadening." In the spring of 1837 he purchased JOHN YOUNG'S homestead in the same section at which time, [JOHN] YOUNG, as we have seen, moved to his land on the creek and built a mill, and moved his family to his new homestead.
     His son, JOHN [DEMAREE], who was about four years of age at the time, and is with us here today, remembers to have heard some talk about the new chicken house, but in vain. Spice-bushes and sprouts and saplings stood an impenetrable wall of living green close up to the very door of the cabin itself, shutting off the view in every direction. "Where is the chicken house?" cried JOHN. "Come with me," said the father, and he led him along a little path cut through the bushes to the object of his anxiety. I have myself seen that chicken house long after the surrounding brush and trees were cleared away, and I do not believe it was to exceed 60 feet from the cabin door.
     DAVID DEMAREE'S wife's maiden name was MARGARET LIST, and she was a sister to MARTHA [LIST] VORIS, the wife of PETER VORIS. The two women who long survived their husbands, are remembered by most by the familiar names of "AUNT PEGGY" and "AUNT PATSY".

"Making a Neighborhood", pages 1  2  3