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                                                                   Henry Arvin
Part 2 - Migration




                                          In your country, like the land of promise, flowing with milk and
                                          honey, a land of brooks of water, of  fountains and depths, that
                                          spring out of  valleys and hills, a land of wheat and barley, and
                                          all kinds of fruit, you shall eat bread without scarceness, and not
                                          lack anything in it.                                       —John Filson, 1784 
                                             The Discovery, Settlement, and Present State of Kentucke    

                                          Ask these Pilgrims what they expect when they git to Kentucky
                                          and the answer is land. Have you any. No, but I expect I can get it.
                                          Have you any thing to pay for land, No. Did you ever see the country.
                                          No but every body says its good land. 
       Moses Austin, 1794
                                                            A Memorandum of M. Austin’s Journey

     “At the close of the War of 1812 the Patuxent region lay in ashen ruins. Few, if any, plantations or towns along the banks had escaped destruction or plunder at the hands of the British. Capital had flown and the infrastructure of social order was in shambles. The little urban life that had once existed had been all but snuffed out. Reconstruction was to be a slow, arduous process, and in many cases outright impossible.”2 
     For 28 year-old Henry Arvin and his family, 1816 would be their last year in Charles County. They had resolved themselves to making the move to “the far West,” where the ground was fresh and where so many families from southern Maryland had already gone. They were going to Kentucky. Their son William was now five years old, and Thomas was three. The twins—Joseph Edward and Mary Ellen—were less than a year old, but still they decided they had to go. Arvin’s Enlargement seemed to be played out. The land was simply worn out from more than a hundred years of abuse. Tobacco, which saps nutrients right out of the earth, was the primary culprit. And erosion was taking its toll. The lush topsoil, which had supported agriculture for so long, was washing away, silting up the creeks and rivers. Now farmers were forced to deal with the less productive clay-mixed subsoil.
     The entire economy of Southern Maryland was in shock from the aftereffects of the War of 1812. Almost all the slaves were gone, either liberated by the British or run away. And without this source of cheap labor, the crops which were farmed in the area—tobacco in particular—could not be planted, tended or harvested at a profit. The British had ransacked Southern Maryland during the war, burning and pillaging many farms and factories, severely damaging the economy of the area. “A large number of the inhabitants, unable to bear the burdens of war, abandoned their homes to the pillagers and moved to the new settlements then opening in the far West.”3 For much if not most of Southern Maryland, the far west meant the fresh new state of Kentucky.
     Some families decided to tough it out and stay put. Census data shows Edward Arvin Jr. and his family still lived in the area through at least 1830, no doubt on Arvin’s Enlargement. But there are no Arvin’s listed in the Maryland censuses of 1840 or 1850. Each year more and more families left, seeking the virgin lands of Kentucky. Henry and Theresa were probably wanted to go as early as 1815, but Theresa’s pregnancy made it a difficult proposition. And as it happened, she had given birth to twins. Joseph Edward and Mary Ellen were born 9 November 1815. Nevertheless, everything was set. Henry’s younger brother, Thomas Padgett Arvin, and several other families probably went with them. Everyone was filled with hope and expectation. 1816 was to be the year of a new beginning.

The Year Without a Summer
    The adventurers usually traveled west in large groups for safety and companionship. The trip was not an easy one, and they needed mutual protection and assistance. Henry and Theresa, with their young children, were especially vulnerable. There were dangers at every turn. And in an especially cruel twist, the weather was adding to the already great burdens of these post-war emigrants. They could not have picked a worse time to go.

    A global cooling—not just a cold spell—was upon the land, and volcanoes are thought to be the root cause. “The period 1812-1817 was one of exceptional volcanic activity, and the sheer volume of volcanic dust pumped into the atmosphere by these volcanic eruptions caused a general, temporary cooling in the earth’s climate around this time.” Trouble began with some volcanic eruptions in the West Indies in 1812 and in the Philippines in 1814. The climax came with the eruption of the Tamboro volcano east of Java in April 1815, believed to be one of the most explosive eruptions of the last 10,000 years. It put more than 150 million tons of dust in the atmosphere. It gradually spread around the globe, acting as a veil reflecting incoming solar radiation back into space and cooling the earth, which in turn caused a change in the world’s, and in particular the northern hemisphere’s, weather patterns. The following year there were disastrous consequences. “In New England the summer of 1816 included some early June snow and cold nights in both July and August….It all led to crop failures and food shortages and helped stimulate a move westwards the following year.”4
     “Those proposing to settle in the State ordinarily came in bands, as well for mutual protection as with the view of after social intercourse in their new homes. As a general thing, the emigrants were agriculturists, but in each distinct company there was ordinarily to be found one or more persons who were familiar with particular mechanical trades, such as blacksmithing, wagon making, carpentering, etc….For many years there was little money in the country, and trade amongst the people was almost exclusively carried on by interchange of commodities.”5 Family tradition holds that Harry was a heavy-set man who had learned the trade of a cooper because he was too “corpulant” to work in the fields. This trade would also have served him well in Kentucky.
     “The emigrants were generally men of limited education and small means, steady and industrious in their habits, and though bold and daring were peaceable in the dispositions. The first thing that seemed to engage their attention after the building of their own habitations was a house of worship.”6  

The Route to Kentucky

      Early on, there were only two practical ways to get to Kentucky. Pioneers could travel the Great Wagon Road down through the Cumberland Valley, then take the Great Wilderness Road up through the Cumberland Gap. This meant walking the entire way. The popular alternative, used by Catholics from Maryland for decades, was to float down the Ohio River. It is not known for certain which route Henry and family took, but it seems more likely that they floated the river. Even then, the Arvin family still would have had to make the first part of their journey on foot, leading a pack horse or two, to get to their embarkation point on the river near Pittsburg, Pennsylvania.
      Ben. J. Carr, a grandson of one of the original immigrants to Kentucky, wrote a comprehensive history of the era, The Centenary of Catholicity in Kentucky, in 1884. He tells us that “emigration to Kentucky assumed great activity at the close of revolutionary war in 1782,” and he describes those early treks. Henry and his family’s journey, although it occurred more than thirty years later, must have been quite similar to Carr’s description. “People of the present day have little conception of the rude simplicity that marked the lives of these pioneers. The outfit of the family of emigrants at the beginning of their journey ordinarily consisted of the clothes they wore, and, possibly, of second suits, or the stuff required for their manufacture ; firearms and ammunition ; a few indispensable tools and agricultural implements ; a limited supply of cooking utensils ; a ‘small’ and sometimes ‘great’ spinning-wheel ; a pair of two of combing cards and a package of seeds. Such as were able to do so, brought with them, of course, the best specimens of their flocks, herds and horses, and the ubiquitous dog trotted beside his master from the beginning of the journey to its end.”7
     At Pittsburg, groups could purchase transportation on a keelboat, or have a flatboat or a barge built for themselves, load all their worldly possessions aboard it, and begin the second leg of their journey. “An average of 3,000 flatboats descended the Ohio each year between 1810 and 1820.”8 In due course the river brought them to Maysville, Kentucky, which was originally considered to be as far as it was safe to go because of the threat of Indian attacks. “Buffalo used to ford the Ohio at this place, beating a broad path into the interior of Kentucky in search of salt. Settlers traveling down the Ohio found a natural harbor at Limestone Creek, and the buffalo trace was a natural path into the bluegrass region, extending all the way to Lexington.
     “In 1788…Maysville was still a rude collection of warehouses and wharves, with few dwellings. In 1795 the conclusion of the Northwest Indian War reduced the likelihood of Indian attacks from across the Ohio and allowed Maysville to begin to flourish. Zane’s Trace, a road from Wheeling, Virginia (now West Virginia), to the bank of the Ohio River opposite Maysville, was completed in 1797 and stimulated ferry traffic across the river. By 1807 Maysville was one of two principal ports in Kentucky, but was still a place that goods and people passed through, having only about sixty dwellings. In 1811 the first steamboat came down the Ohio from Pittsburg, Pennsylvania, passing Maysville on its way to New Orleans. With the coming of the steamboat, both Maysville’s size and population expanded rapidly.”

Stations and Settlements

In the earliest days, protection from Indian attacks was a top priority. Kentucky had been fortified with dozens of “stations,” which were actually forts occupied by settlers. “Arrived at their destination, their first care was to make provision for protection and shelter. For the most part the requisites were only to be secured by residence in one or another of the fortified stations already existing, or by the erection, through the combined action of a number of families, of others of like character. The state of the country from 1774 to 1790, was such as to forbid isolated residence in any part of the country. Hence it was that in every neighborhood there was a block-house, to which was applied, in the language of the country, the term station. Collins enumerates no fewer than two hundred and fifty stations, mostly situated in the central parts of the State.”10
      So, when a new group of settlers finished their float on the Ohio River, “The party marched inland from Maysville and arrived in due time at Goodwin’s station (near the present town of Boston, in Nelson county), which was the nearest fortified post to their prearranged and ultimate destination, the Pottinger’s creek lands. Leaving the women and children under the protection of the fort, the able-bodied men and youths of the party soon set out in quest of their future homes, the sites of which lay some twelve or fifteen miles southeast of the station. The lands being found and identified, the work of clearing them of their forest growth at once began, and this was soon succeeded by that of a dwelling-house construction. Rude enough were the tabernacles our forefathers in the faith set up in the wilderness. They sufficed for shelter, however, and heaven be praised, daintiness was not a characteristic of those who were to dwell in them.”11

Catholics to Kentucky

     “In the beginning it was wholly from Maryland, and principally from the counties of St. Mary, Charles and Prince George….In deciding to give up their ancient homes and to seek others in the wilds of Kentucky, the emigrants were influenced principally, no doubt, by the motive of bettering their worldly prospects. Their Maryland farms, exhausted by unskillful methods of cultivation through a long series of years, had ceased to yield them remunerative crops, and in the then state of the public mind in reference to the boundless fertility of the soil of Kentucky, it is not at all wonderful that they should have been stirred to just such a movement as the one that followed.”12
     This great Catholic migration from Maryland started with just one family, the Coomes family. “William Coomes was originally from Charles county, Maryland, whence he had removed to the south branch of the Potomac river in Virginia.”13 And where William Coomes trailblazed, “Catholic settlers soon followed from Maryland, and in a short time their numbers were greatly increased by an influx of Irish-born immigrants. The latter were probably more numerous at Hardin Creek station than at any other, with the sole exception of the wholly Irish settlement of Lower Cox’s Creek (seven miles north of Bardstown), where the Irish language was almost exclusively spoken.”14   
      “…‘a league’ of sixty families was formed in Maryland—all Catholics, and mostly residents of St. Mary’s county—each one of whom was pledged to emigrate to Kentucky within a specified time. Their purpose was to settle together, as well for mutual protection against the Indians, as with the view of securing to themselves, with the least possible delay, the advantages of a pastorate and a church. They were not all to emigrate at once, but as circumstances permitted. The tradition of this league is sufficiently general among old people, as well in Maryland as in Kentucky, to give it certainty. Of the sixty families subscribing to the compact, twenty-five left Maryland early in 1785, and reached Kentucky before the end of spring the same year. Their journey was prosecuted by land to Pittsburg, and thence in flatboats down the Ohio to Maysville. This landing was chosen for the reason that the country bordering on the river above the Falls of the Ohio was known to be infested by Indians.”15
     In the beginning, almost all the early Catholic settlers homesteaded at Pottinger’s Creek, (located very near the grounds of the present-day Abbey of Gethsemani. (See However, there was a problem. “The selection of Pottinger’s creek as the location of the new Catholic colony was unfortunate. The land was poor and the situation uninviting. Yet, the nucleus of the colony having been formed, these disadvantages were subsequently disregarded, and new Catholic emigrants from Maryland continued to flock to the same neighborhood. They preferred being near their brethren, and enjoying with them the advantages of their holy religion, to all other mere worldly considerations. They could not brook the idea of straggling off in different directions, where, though they might better their earthly conditions, they and their children would in all probability be deprived of the consolations of their religion.”16

     As time progressed, “…few of the emigrants, either during that or the following years, were content to establish themselves for life on Pottinger’s creek. Nominally, the end of their journey was Bardstown, and there they ordinarily remained until they had made selection of lands for permanent residence. With rare exceptions, a single visit to ‘the settlement on the creek,’ as it was then called, was enough to convince them of the undesirableness of the situation. The result was ordinarily as favorable to the worldly prospects of the emigrants themselves as it was to the diffusion among the non-Catholics of the country of less prejudicial views respecting their religion. In 1791, the year before Kentucky was admitted into the confederation of States, there were settled within its borders no fewer than six distinct and large colonies of Catholics, five of which were in the single county of Nelson. These were severally known as The Pottinger’s Creek settlement; The Bardstown, or Poplar Neck settlement; The Cartwright’s Creek settlement; The Hardin’s Creek settlement; Rolling Fork settlement, all in Nelson county….”17 Nelson County, which was established in 1784, originally included the present-day counties of Hardin, Washington and Marion, plus several others. Bardstown, the county seat of Nelson County, was already a prosperous inland village when Kentucky was admitted into the Union of States in 1792.

 Hardin’s Creek Settlement

      “This settlement, situated about ten miles east of that of Pottinger’s creek…had its beginning as early as 1786….There were quite a number of settlers of Irish birth among the early colonists on Hardin’s creek – more, possibly, than were attached to any Catholic settlement in the State, with the single exception of the wholly Irish settlement on lower Cox’s creek, in Nelson county…”18 Many Catholics from Maryland made their new homes at Hardin’s Creek Settlement, and there they kept their culture intact. “The Marylanders brought with them the traditional skills of their region, including tobacco farming, distilling, and preparation of Southern Maryland stuffed ham.”19 Tobacco production, however, declined steadily over the years, replaced by corn and other cash crops. “Prior to 1834, distilleries were erected in almost every part of the county, to make use of surplus grain. The market for the product was Natchez, New Orleans and other points on the Mississippi River. Transportation to that market was by flatboat….Along with whiskey, the surplus bacon flaxseed and other items were sent to market in this manner. Good profits were realized by those who owned the cargo.”20 

     The settlers’ culture was also deeply religious, and they needed priests. “The leading idea of the emigrants was that a priest should accompany them to Kentucky, and there remain with them ; but in this particular point, regarded by them of the utmost importance, they were destined to disappointment. At the time referred to, it is true, the number of Catholics in the whole country was not great ; but there were, comparatively, still fewer priests to serve them.”21 In fact, Kentucky had but a single priest in the entire state at this time, Fr. Stephen Badin. In 1805 he was joined by a missionary priest from Belgium, the famous Fr. Charles Nerinckx, who built a church located on Hardin’s Creek. He named it after his patron saint, St. Charles. The parish, located at its original site, is still active today.22


The buffalo trace which ran southwest from Maysville eventually had become a trail, and the trail eventually became a road. It bisected the state, taking new settlers past Lexington and deep into the interior of the state. Ultimately, it stretched all the way south to Tennessee. “About the year 1800 the United States Government had a common road cut out through Kentucky from the Ohio River at Maysville via Lexington to Nashville, Tenn., which road passed directly through this point and was for many years the principal thoroughfare of the state.”23 “This point” was where the town of Lebanon sprang up, and today the road is known as U.S. Highway 68.
     Because of its superior style and beauty, elegant homes and flourishing businesses, Lebanon had the reputation of being Kentucky’s Philadelphia and was considered for the site of the state capitol. The founding community traces back to the Hardin’s Creek Meeting House, built by Presbyterians from Virginia. It was incorporated as a city on January 28, 1815. A disastrous fire in 1814 destroyed most of the records in the courthouse,24 but a new courthouse was built in 1816. As the region gained more and more settlers, Lebanon prospered. “In 1815, Dr. James A. McElroy built the Lebanon Hotel. During the same year three streets (Main, Mulberry and Water Streets, running East and West) and four or five cross streets were laid off by John Handley, who named Lebanon from the cedars which grew so abundantly upon the neighboring hills….In 1816, a post office was established…mails were received by horse twice per week from Louisville. There was also a mail line from Lexington to Nashville passing through this place….In 1817 a second store and soon after a third store….In 1818 the Independent Bank of Lebanon was established with a capital of $100,000….About 1825 the first Catholic church [Holy Cross] was built….”25  
     The Washington County census total for 1810 was 13,248, and by 1820 the total population was 15,956, including 12,159 white, 3,752 slaves and 52 free blacks.

The Commissioner’s Tax List Books 

      After the War of 1812, Henry’s younger brother, Thomas Padgett Arvin, left the devastation that was Southern Maryland and came to Washington County, Kentucky. This information—and a whole lot more—is contained in the Tax Commissioner’s Books for Washington County. These books are an invaluable source of information about early Kentucky residents.

      Shortly after attaining statehood, the Kentucky General Assembly approved legislation…establishing
      Permanent Revenue. Tax rates were set for land (“whether the land be claimed by patent or by entry only”),
      slaves, horses & mules, covering horses, cattle, coaches & carriages, billiard tables, & retail stores.
      Commissioners were to be appointed to make a “true & perfect account of all persons & of every species
      of property belonging to or in his possession or care, within the district….” The commissioners were required
      to make four alphabetical lists reciting tax information that had been collected; columns identifying the
      number of free males above the age of 21 (within the household)….

          Taxpayers were to list the acreage and county for each tract of land they owned. Additionally, the legislature
      divided the lands into three classes by “quality”: first, second and third-rate. First-rate land was taxed at three
      shillings, second-rate land was taxed at one shilling and six pence, and third-rate land at nine pence per 100
           The form included the name of the property owner, county in which the land was located, watercourse,
      acreage, land rate, amount of tax, and the years in the taxes were paid….
           The Kentucky General Assembly added fields to the commissioner’s form that identified the name of the     
      person(s) who originally entered, surveyed and patented the lands being taxed….The revised tax form also
      added fields to include the number of white males above 16, the number of blacks above 16, and the total

      number of  blacks….
           (Hint: if one taxpayer is paying taxes on land and there are others with the same surname listed immediately
      before or after the taxpayer-and those persons aren’t reporting any land ownership--you probably have a family
      group, i.e. father and sons living on the same property.)26

     From the books we know that Thomas Padgett Arvin, 27 years old and a bachelor, must have arrived in Washington County in the year 1816. As a young man with nothing to his name but a horse and little else, his total assessment for tax purposes that first year was just ten dollars. Here is an abstract of the 1816 Tax List Book entry:

Image of left page        Image of right page

Name                           No. persons         Mares                          Total
                                       over 21                                                 Value
Arvin P Thomas                   1                       1                               $10

    As an aside, note that the name “Thomas Arvin” was becoming increasingly common. Henry’s grandfather, the original Irish immigrant and patriarch of the clan, went by Thomas Sr. One of his sons—Henry’s uncle—went by Thomas Jr. Henry’s younger brother is named Thomas Padgett Arvin. In addition, Henry and Theresa named one of their sons Thomas. And the name would be handed down many more times in the future.


     Historical Note:  The southeast portion of the Indiana Territory
       was granted statehood in November of 1816. The following month,
       Thomas Lincoln relocated with his family—including seven-year old
       Abraham—from their farm located about 20 miles west of the Hardin’s
       Creek settlement to this new State of Indiana. “On three separate
       occasions, defective titles caused him to lose his farm. Discouraged
       by these setbacks, he decided to move his family to Indiana where the
       land ordinance of 1785 ensured that land once purchased and paid for
       was retained. Abraham Lincoln claimed many years later that his father’s
       move from Kentucky to Indiana was ‘partly on account of slavery, but
       chiefly on account of the difficulty of land titles in Kentucky.’”27

1817 Tax List Book  

Although Henry is not listed in the Tax Books for 1816, we know that he and his family also arrived that year, settling in western Washington County. His son, Joseph Arvin, provided this information for a book published in 1889. They were not very close to Fr. Nerinckx and the St. Charles parish, which was upstream on Hardin’s Creek. Instead, they located downstream, northwesterly, about five miles northeast of the present-day town of Loretto, in the Lebanon Township of western Washington County, although the exact location is unknown. Henry’s younger brother Thomas, now 28 years old, had become a landowner. (Or at least he claimed to be; there is no record of a deed in the Land Records for Washington County.) He reported for assessment purposes that he owned seventy-five acres of third-rate land. This was quite an accomplishment, although fraught with risk. It was common knowledge that, “Who buys land in Kentucky, buys a lawsuit.” The state did not supply surveys of its public lands, and surveyors, appointed by the counties, needed no credentials to ply their trade. These circumstances often led to overlapping surveys, conflicting claims on tracts of land, and ultimately to the courthouse for a final decision, where many settlers lost and an equal number won. But in these early times for the Arvins in Kentucky, those concerns were set aside. The good news was that Thomas had plenty of space to share with his older brother. Henry and his family probably lived with Thomas for a time; Henry would certainly have helped Thomas in the fields. And no doubt there was a great deal of assistance from friendly neighbors, eager to help them gain a foothold in this land of milk and honey. Thomas’s land was located in the Hardin’s Creek Settlement, which constituted a collection of farms situated in the basin draining to Hardin’s Creek, an area of perhaps a dozen or so square miles.
     In 1817, Thomas is assessed at $1.00 per acre on his land, and his total assessed value is $85.00. Henry, with no assessable property other than a mare, is listed immediately below Thomas, meaning they lived on the same land. He has a total assessment of $20.00.

Image of left page     Image of right page

    Here is an abstract of the entry, rearranged from the vertical to the horizontal for easier readability. (The correct spelling of  “Hardin” eludes the keeper of this book.)

 Persons Named               Arvin Henry       Arvin P Thomas
Chargeable With

1st Rate Land                           --
2nd Rate                                   --

3rd Rate                                    --                           75

County  in
which the                                                       Washington

Land lies                          

Water Course                                    Harding:Hearbin:Heardin
In whose

Entered, surveyed
White male
over 21                                      1                                       1
Black over 16
Total Black
Horses mares                              1                                      1
Rates of


per season
Whole sale &
retail stores

Tavern License
Billiard Tables
Wheel Carriages
Value of Land per acre                                                     1
total valuation
except stud tacky and
Billiard tables $                           20                                85

     Henry and Theresa’s family continued to grow. They had another son, born sometime in 1817. We will never learn his name, although we know from census data that he was there, growing up alongside his brothers and sisters. He would not survive to adulthood, however, and his life ended when he was only in his teens. More about him later.

     The following year, a baby daughter was born to the Arvins on 18 February 1818. She was named Rosa L. Arvin.

1819 Tax List Book            

Image of left page   Image of right page

    There was no Tax List Book for 1818, although there are a few entries in the 1819 book for the year 1818. Thomas P. Arvin, about 30 years old, still owns his 75 acres. The land is assessed at $2.00 per acre this year, and Thomas’s total assessed value is $215.00.
     By 1819, we find that Henry and his family have moved from Thomas’s land to the Cartwright’s Creek Settlement, which lay to the northeast of Hardin’s Creek Settlement. The family would stay in this same general area of Washington County, north of the Loretto Road (KY Highway 152) and west of the Beech Fork of the Salt River, for the rest of the time they were in Kentucky.
     Henry, 31 years old, now owns two mares, and his total assessed value is $60. The family is now living on a land belonging to a well known pioneer of Washington County, John Grundy. Henry was probably one of Mr. Grundy’s tenants, as was James Austin, whom we see listed above him, and the three men listed below. They probably all rented their land from Mr. Grundy.
     John Grundy was the first sheriff of Washington County.28 He also served in the Kentucky House of Representatives in 1799 and again in 1805.29 He had “made entry” on several tracts on the Cartwright Creek and Beech Fork watercourses in 1782, 1783 and 1784, and one of these tracts was probably the land which Henry rented.30 John Grundy’s older brother Felix Grundy also became quite prominent in Washington County, and later on the national stage. He eventually became Attorney General of the United States. The Grundy Houses Historic District, consisting of 2240 acres of land with 10 buildings dating from before and after Henry’s time (all private property), is located about four miles north of Springfield on Kentucky Highway 55, and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.31

Cartwright’s Creek  Settlement

     This settlement, named after the first pioneer of the area, was also a dispersed collections of farms, and was
centered on the  little town of Springfield, the Washington County seat. But compared to Lebanon, it could hardly be called a town at all. “Records show that in 1800 Springfield had only six houses and 23 people.”32 Author Ben. J. Webb sets the scene for us. “One of the most continuously prosperous Catholic settlements of Kentucky…which was also borne by a small watercourse, a tributary of the Beech Fork of Salt river, on either side of which, stretched out for miles, the bordering lands gave evidence of strong fertility. This settlement, begun in 1787, was situated about twenty miles from Bardstown [in the original Nelson County]….but when the county of Washington was created in the year named, it passed to the jurisdiction of the new organization, its very center being occupied by the county-seat, to which had been given the name of Springfield.”33
     The settlement was almost entirely Catholic, and mass was celebrated as often as possible when a priest was available, in private homes at first. Soon it had its own little log cabin church, St. Ann’s. It was located on a low rising knoll off the Loretto Road, about four miles west of Springfield. The first church building was quite unpretentious. Then, “About the year 1795 the settlement had so much increased in numbers that a more commodious church became necessary. Accordingly a hewed log building twenty-eight feet long by twenty feet wide was erected ….This church, though much superior to the first one was a very rough building. It was partially chinked but not daubed, had a loose plank floor, and some rough framed back benches and one small window over the pulpit.”34
Although this parish was several miles to the north of St. Charles, Fr. Nerinckx tended to the parishioners there in addition to those of his own parish.
     To get to church for services, “All, or nearly all, walked; the women as well as the men plodding along the road in shoeless feet. Some of the former, however, carried in their reticules pairs of coarse cloth slippers, fashioned by themselves, to be put on when they came in sight of the church….”35 It is quite likely that the Arvin family attended services at St. Ann’s in 1817 and 1818, walking as described. However, St. Ann’s was becoming nearly obsolete. An impressive new religious complex—made of brick, no less—was beginning to dominate the area. It would play a central role in the religious life of the Arvin’s from this point on. It was called St. Rose. 

St. Rose Priory and Church

     “The story of Saint Rose Priory begins with Father Edward Dominic Fenwick….His father was a wealthy member of the Maryland Colonial Convention who became a patriot of the American Revolution. Their large house overlooked the Patuxent River in Saint Mary’s County. After the war, the Fenwicks sent their son to Holy Cross College in Bornem, Belgium. There in 1788, he followed in the footsteps of his uncle John Ceslas Fenwick by joining the Order of Fiars Preachers. Many English Catholics had gone to Belgium to escape persecution, but eventually the French Revolution threatened their peace even there.
     “Four friars set out, therefore, to establish a boarding school for boys in Maryland, but the Sulpicians were already in Baltimore and the Jesuits in Georgetown. So, Bishop John Carroll recommended Kentucky. The other three distinguished Dominican priests who joined Fenwick in the venture were: Samuel Thomas Wilson, a Master of Sacred Theology, and Robert Antoninus Angier, a Lectorate in Sacred Theology and Preacher General, and finally William Raymond Tuite, another Lectorate in Sacred Theology….
     Fr. Fenwick came to Kentucky first, but had to return to Maryland to liquidate  his inheritance. Fr. Nerinckx, with no shortage of responsibilities at St. Charles (located about eight miles to the south) and with his many missionary duties, willingly relinquished control of St. Ann’s to Fr. Wilson.
     “In Washington County, the friars found many of the faithful along Cartwright Creek. At first, Father Wilson lived in a log cabin known as St. Ann’s, and soon began teaching. The site today is a hilltop at the junction of three farms, two miles down the road from the present priory, in Cisselville….When Fenwick returned in 1806, he used his inheritance to buy a farm of about 500 acres with a gristmill, sawmill, and a two story brick house from John Waller. Wilson and his pupils, as well as Tuite, then moved to what is now Saint Rose….” They named their priory after the first saint in America belonging to the Dominican Third Order, Saint Rose of Lima.
     “Construction of the priory and church began almost immediately, but on higher ground. The priory was inhabited by December 1806 but not completed until the next year.” (The students split their time between studying and building.) “The Tudor Gothic church was dedicated on Christmas Day 1809. That church is the sanctuary of the present church.” Later, a college for boys was also established, and it was named after St. Thomas Aquinas. Later still, a convent was added.36 The entire complex was located on the Loretto Road, Kentucky 152 Highway.
     The simple old log church, St. Ann’s, had slowly fallen into disuse as the parishioners like the Arvin’s began transferring to the church at the new complex. St. Rose was only about a mile and a half west of Springfield, more convenient for the townspeople, but a little further away for the Arvins, who lived west. St. Ann’s was finally fully abandoned and pulled down in 1819. Today, the
site is said to be merely a collection of stones from the foundation, along with the cemetery.37  It is located on private property, about a half mile northeast of the intersection of Kentucky 152 and Lanham Lane, west of Cisselville. “The church stood on top of a high knoll with the burial ground extending west, for sure, and perhaps in other directions. A beautiful setting.”38 It is irresistible to speculate that this is where Thomas Arvin, Jr., son of Thomas Sr. the original Irish immigrant, is buried. Family tradition says he died here in Washington County in 1816. This leads to further speculation that his direct descendants lived in the area also, and this is why Thomas P. and Henry Arvin settled here.
     The original St. Rose Church was a magnificent structure, the first brick church in Kentucky. It is quite likely that Henry and Theresa attended St. Rose Church regularly, and that many religious events in their lives—baptisms, weddings, funerals—played out there. However, there is no documentation prior to 1830, when the earliest of the surviving records of St. Rose Church, the so-called “First Register,” begin. We do know, however, Henry and Theresa lived in and around this area for the entire time they were in Kentucky, although the exact location of property is difficult to determine.
     St. Rose Church is an active Catholic parish of the Diocese of Louisville yet today, still with a large enrollment of parishioners and its Dominican pastor. “The present church of St. Rose was erected in 1854. Part of the original brick church of 1809 was preserved and is now the Eucharistic Chapel. The
brick was covered with a cement mixture to blend with the limestone of the newer church. The grounds also include one of the original cemeteries in Washington County, Kentucky. Some graves date to the early 1800’s.”39

             Historical Note: In July of 1816, Jefferson Davis,
         the future President of the Confederacy, was sent by
         his parents in Mississippi to the St. Thomas Aquinas
         School, which was run by the Catholic Dominicans
         at the St. Rose Church and Priory. He was the only
         Protestant in the school. He attended  for two years,
         when his parents returned him to Mississippi, where
         he attended the Jefferson Military College.

Tax List Book  – 1820                 Image left page    Image right page
     Henry “Arbin,” age 32, is still renting land. He and Theresa are still neighbors of James Austin. Austin, 55 years old, had been a sergeant in  the Kentucky Detached Militia during the War of 1812.40 He and his wife Ann (“Nancy”) Austin were now farming in Washington County. They had a son, also named James, who was 28.41 Henry is assessed on three mares (the children are now getting old enough to ride), and his assessed value is $60.
     Another baby daughter, Sary Arvin, was born 5 March 1820, but “died in infancy” three weeks later, on March 24th. 

     Thomas P. Arvin, about 31, is still living on his 75 acres, off a few miles to the west,  in the Hardin’s Creek Settlement, Washington County.     Image

1820 – Fourth United States Census    

Henry Harbin, shown living in the Township of Lebanon, Washington County, Kentucky. This census was to be effective the first of June, as would each following federal census until the year 1900.


Free White Males under10:                    4    [William 8, Thomas 7, Joseph 4, unknown c. 3]
Free White Males 10 and under 16:        0
Free White Males 16 and under 26,
including heads of household:                  0
Free White Males 26 and under 45,
including heads of household:                   1    [Henry, age 32]
Free White Females under 10:                 2    [Mary Ellen 4, Rosa L. 2]
Free White Females 10 and under 16:      0
Free White Females 16 and under 26,
including heads of household:                   0
Free White Females 26 and under 45,
including heads of household:                   1    [Theresa, 32]
Number of persons engaged in
agriculture:                                               1
Slaves:                                                     0
Free Colored Persons:                             0

     The Arvins had another daughter, born very late in 1820. Like her older brother, she also would not survive to adulthood, and like her brother, we never learn her name. More about the two of them later.





Text Box: A Frontier Wedding

     Ben. J. Webb describes an impromptu wedding, quickly thrown together one day when the groom arrived unannounced at Cartwright’s Creek. He had migrated with his family from Maryland two years prior, as had the bride with her family, but he settled in another location about a hundred miles from Cartwright’s Creek. The bride to be had been ‘promised’ to the young man, and was told that he might come and claim his wife whenever he could give assurance of his ability to provide for her. Unable to announce his arrival in advance, he simply appeared “at length,” without an attendant, on horseback. “With no greater delay than the time needed by the bride’s mother to prepare the wedding-feast, the twain were made one by Fr. Badin, and the next morning found them mounted for their journey to their future home. The father’s gift to his daughter was a horse, properly caparisoned, and that of the mother was forty yards of linen. From the pommel of the young wife’s saddle swung a canvass bag containing her somewhat extravagant store of extra clothing, and loosely flung across that of her husband, appeared her mother’s gift, the treasured bolt of linen. For the reason that the wedded pair, on this occasion, were enabled to make their journey homeward on separate horses, this was considered by their neighbors a wedding in high life.
     “The extent and character of the bride’s trousseau…: Two suits of underwear of home-made linen ; a wedding dress of cotton, with blue and white stripes ; a yellow and white dress, ‘second best,’ of the same material; another of linen, of butternut color, to serve as a traveling suit; a blue-striped cotton sunbonnet; home-knit gloves of linen thread colored yellow, and white cotton slippers. The parents’ parting gifts to their daughter should not be forgotten: From her father she received a tea-pot of Britannia metal of the capacity of about a pint, and from her mother a blue calico cape that had been brought from Maryland.”<sup>43</sup>

Tax List Book – 1821        Left page    Right Page

     “Henry Arbin,” age 33, and “Thomas P. Arbin,” age 32, are listed living next to each other. The watercourse is Beech Fork. (Hardin Creek is a tributary of the Beech Fork of the Salt River.) The land they live on was originally entered on the public records by a man named Fisher(?) Henry owns three mares, and his assessed value is $60.
    But notice that Thomas, in an ominous note, owns no land. Like nearly half of the early settlers in Kentucky, he may have lost his land in a lawsuit because of a faulty survey or a title irregularity. As quickly as he had accumulated his land, it was gone. This grim possibility was always in the back of the mind of every small landowner. Thomas may now be living with Henry.    
     Theresa gave birth to a son, Joshua O. Arvin, on 23 August 1821. He may well have been baptized at St. Rose, although there is no surviving documentation for the church prior to 1830.


Tax List Book – 1822         Left page    Right page

     Henry and Theresa are now on land considered to be in the Hardin’s Creek watercourse. “Henry Arbin,” age 34, now has an assessed value of $75.
     Although Thomas P. Arvin in not shown, yet another young man named Thomas Arvin makes his appearance. “Thomas (no middle initial) Arbin” is shown for the first time this year, a white male over 21, living on land on Cartwright Creek watercourse. Although he must be a relative, his exact relationship to Henry is unknown. Later census records indicate he was born about 1801. He has no land, and his total assessment is $0.   

Tax List Book – 1823         
Left page    Right page

     Henry Arvin, age 35, owns no land but he has two mares.
     This year Thomas (nmi) Arvin is not listed, but Thomas P. Arvin, age 34, is listed. He owns one mare and no land. The watercourse for both men is listed as “Lathlick” (Catholic.) Total values for both are obscured on the damaged page.   



Text Box: Immigrant’s Remorse

     When I was a boy there was a tradition rife here to the effect that when the old pioneers from
this section used to meet Saturday evenings in Bardstown, as soon as they had shaken hands, 
one would turn his back to the other and beg him for half a dozen kicks under his coat tail, 
and when they were duly administered, the other would turn around and ask his friend for 
his kicking….Not infrequently, half a dozen pairs have been noticed exchanging civilities of 
this nature, in the course of an afternoon. Why was this done, you ask? Why, in order to get 
temporal punishment inflicted, to expiate the grievous sin they had committed in 
abandoning the peaceful shores of Maryland for the wild forests and savage Indians of 
Kentucky. But the plunge had been made, the labor and exposure of going forbade the idea 
of return, and it was a clear case of “root hog or die.”<sup>44</sup>




Tax List Book – 1824         
Left page    Right page

     Henry, now 36 years old, still owns no land, but has four mares. His total assessed value is $200. He is listed as living in Washington County, but the watercourse is obscured.
     Augustine Arvin was born into the Arvin household on 1 February 1824. He, too, may very well have been baptized at St. Rose. 

Text Box:  
      Author Ben. J. Webb gives us a look at home life in early Kentucky:

      The chief employment of the women in those days was spinning and weaving. When the flax was mature in the field, it was, as a general thing, the task of the young girls to “pull” and “spread it to rot.” The process of “breaking” was the only one in connection with the manipulation of the flax fiber that was considered too laborious for the hands of women. Separated by this process from the stalk of which it had been the covering, it was again taken in hand by the girls of the family, assisted, it may be, by their younger brothers, by whom it was “swingled” and “hackled” and made ready for the spinning wheel. The spinning and weaving was equally the work of the mothers and the elder daughter, but it rarely happened that the latter were intrusted with work in either line that required delicacy of manipulation. The elders were always regarded as experts….
     It was a rare circumstance, indeed, to find a young girl of the period clad in other than coarse, unbleached cotton; but I have little doubt that such a one, thus dressed, appeared just as charming in the eyes of her friends, including her male admirers, as does the belle of our own day, clad in silks, in those of her more fastidious devotees.
     “Apple peelings,” “quilting frolics” and “corn shuckings” were in those times terms that severally meant “a good time generally.” On those occasions fathers and mothers accompanied their sons and daughters to the place of entertainment, and if the nominal object of the meeting happened to be the peeling of apples or the husking of corn, all hands were expected to take part in the work. Ordinarily a couple of hours were given to labor, and double the number to the dance that followed…..The young women of 1800…were very generally expert dancers. It is to be doubted, however, if their style of dancing was not more energetic than graceful.
     The use of coffee was so little known in Kentucky at the time of which I am writing, that many persons, born in the State, grew up to be men and women before they ever saw a specimen of the berry or tasted of its infused principle. All, however, had knowledge of the taste of tea, a small store of which was regarded as a necessity by all the elderly women of the settlements….Many young women who had never seen the reflection of their faces in a looking-glass. Tutania tea-pots or plates, rubbed to the point of reflection, served them for mirrors.
     In the year 1800, and for two decades after that, wives and daughters in the Catholic settlements of Nelson and Washington counties had no other resource for pin-money than the labor of their own hands expended in certain privileged industries, over the financial results of which neither husbands nor fathers were supposed to have any control whatever. Among the most important of these industries were the preservation of fruits by sun-drying and the spinning of shoe-thread. Twice a year the accumulation of these products were entrusted to local traders and shipped off, ordinarily by flat-boat conveyances, down the Beech and Rolling Forks of Salt river, and from the mouths of these through the larger streams to the city of New Orleans, were a ready market awaited them at remunerative prices. Thus it was what the matrons of the settlements were enabled, independently of the purses of their husbands, to purchase many small comforts for themselves, and bits of finery with which to trig out the daughters.<sup>45</sup>



Tax List Book – 1825        Left page    Right page

     Henry, 37, owns no land, but now has five mares. His total value for assessment purposes is $250.
     George Washington Arvin was born 26 January 1826. He would come to be known as “Long George,” to distinguish him from his cousin George Washington Arvin, “Short George,” son of Henry’s brother Elias and his wife Catherine, who was born in 1819. Again, this baptism may have taken place at St. Rose Church.

Tax List Book – 1826        Left page    Right page

     Henry, 38, is listed as chargeable with taxes on land for the first time. The watercourse, “Short Creek,” might be the Short Branch, which lies just a few miles to the west. The land was entered, surveyed and patented in the name of G. Marshall. No deed or other transaction record could be located to document a purchase of this land at this time; it may be evidence of an arrangement which will be completed by purchase in the next few years, as we shall see.

Persons Names
  1st 2nd  3rd Rate   County in which   Water Course on     In whose name   White male    Mares         Total
   with tax                                                        the land lies     which the land lies
        entered            above 21                     Valuation

Henry Arvin                  148            Washington      Short Creek      G Marshall         1             6             476
     Thomas (nmi) Arvin is now about 25 years old and owns no land. His tax value for assessment is $50.   

Tax List Book – 1827         
Left page    Right page
     Henry Arvin, now 39 years old, is still shown as being assessed on 148 acres of land, but the “entered in” name is now shown as H Moore. The land is located on Hardin’s Creek watercourse and is valued at $2 per acre for tax assessment purposes. Henry owns five mares, and his total assessment was $446.
     Thomas (nmi) Arvin is 26 and also has no land. His total assessment value was $70.
     Thomas P. Arvin is 38 years old and is shown on “Short Creek” watercourse. He owns no land, and his assessment value was $0.     Image

Burks’ Distillery 

     Back in 1805, Charles Burks brought his family from St. Mary’s County, Maryland, to Kentucky. He settled on a 200-acre plot in the Hardin’s Creek Settlement, 3½ miles southeast of Loretto. He built a grist mill, drawing water from the creek, and established the distillery on part of his farm.46 
     Burks died in 1831, and his heirs continued the operation. It was called Burks Spring Distillery, and the main brands were “Burks Spring” and “Old Happy Hollow.” Prohibition in the twentieth century forced them to shut down and leave. But the compound of ten buildings that they put up in the 1880’s was left intact.
     Then in 1953, T. W. Samuels Sr., a sixth-generation distiller, purchased and restored the distillery. He began making Kentucky bourbon according to a formula he developed, and he named it “Maker’s Mark.” He decided to have each bottle sealed by hand-dipping it in red wax, thus making every bottle unique. The distillery is still in operation and can be toured today ( “It is the oldest continuously operating distillery in America operating at its original site. Maker’s Mark Distillery is a National Historic Landmark and a wonderful tourist attraction for Marion County.”47 The stone wall lining the creek is the original, dating to circa 1805.


Tax List Book – 1828        Left page    Right page

     “Harbin Henry,” 40 years old, is assessed on only 130 acres (compared to 148 acres the year before) on the Hardin’s Creek watercourse in Washington County. The reason for this is unclear. There may be two different parcels of land involved, or it may have to do with his neighbor Ashford Smith being appointed surveyor in the area in 1826, as recorded in the Washington County Court Order Books. This land is valued at $3 per acre. There is one white male over 21 years old. Henry is the owner of four  mares. His total assessed value was $500.
     “Harbin Thomas” (nmi) is about age 27 and owns one mare. His total assessment was $50.
     Kendrick Arvin and James Polding48 Arvin, twins, were born 31 January 1828. Kendrick died just three days later.

Tax List Book – 1829       Left page    Right page

     “Harbin Henry,” 41 years of age, is now again assessed on 148 acres of land on the Beech Fork. (Hardin Creek is a tributary of the Beech Fork branch of the Salt River.) Apparently 76 acres of the land was originally entered under the name Moore.

                                                                                                                                            Value             Total
                                   Land          Watercourse       Entered        Over 21           Mares     per acre      Assessment
Harbin Henry              148          Hardin’s Creek   76 Moore           1                    5              2                  450

     “Harbin Thomas” (nmi) is 29 years old. His assessment value is zero.

830 – Fifth United States Census

Henry Arvin
is shown on 1830 Census as living in Washington County, Kentucky. No townships are listed for them in this census. A large southern portion of Washington County would be separated and set up as a new county in 1834. In this part of the state, Hardin’s Creek would be the dividing line between the two counties. Since Henry Arvin was still listed in the 1840 census as living in Washington County, we know they lived to the northwest of the boundary. But we will soon have a more precise idea of where the family lives.
Image left page    Image right page  

Males under 5:               2      [George W. 4, James P. 2]
Of   5 and under 10:       2      [Joshua 8, Augustine 6]
Of 10 and under 15:       1      [unknown, about 13]
Of 15 and under 20:       3      [William 19, Thomas 17, Joseph 15]
Of 20 and under 30:       0
Of 30 and under 40:       0
Of 40 and under 50:       1      [Henry, 42]
Of 50 and under 60:       0
Females under 5:            0
Of  5 and under 10:        0
Of 10 and under 15:       3      [Mary Ellen 15, Rosa L.12, unknown, 10]
Of 15 and under 20:       0
Of 20 and under 30:       0
Of 40 and under 50:       1      [Theresa 42]
Of 50 and under 60:       0

Total                              13


      Elias Arvin is also listed. Image left page    Image right page    He had married Catherine (nee Finch) in February of 1815, back in Charles County, Maryland. And at some point in time they followed the lead of his two older brothers and came west to Kentucky. They now had a son and three daughters.
     Thomas (nmi) Arvin, now 29 years old, and his wife are also listed as living in Washington County. They have two girls under five years old.
     “Thomas P. Harvin,” 41 years old, is listed living in a separate household with no other members, also in Washington County.
      Edward Arvin [Jr.], another younger brother, is listed back in Charles County with his wife and six children, three older boys and three younger girls. They were the last Arvin family still living on the old Arvin’s Enlargement. Within the next few years, they too would relocate to Washington County.

Tax List Book – 1830         Left page   Right page

     The Tax Commissioner’s Tax Book is typeset for the first time.
     This year Henry starts paying taxes on an additional 130 acres land (perhaps this is the land he listed in 1828). He now lists a total of 278 acres for which he is to be assessed. The additional 130 acres is very likely two tracts of land which he will complete purchase of during the following two years. These purchases, one from the King brothers and one from Nimrod Branham, would not be recorded in the public records of the county until fall of 1831 and 1832 (see below). The sales may not have been completed as of 1830 because Henry was not prepared to pay for the land until after he brought in his crops for 1831 and 1832 and accumulated some cash.
     Harbin, Henry,” 42 years old, is assessed on 278 acres on Hardin Creek. The land was originally entered in the name of Branham. There is one person over 21. Henry owns six mares; the land is valued at $2 per acre. Total assessment value is $800.

Land Surveyor

     According to the Washington County Court Order Books, on 20 November 1830, “Henry Arvin is appointed surveyor of the road in the room [absense] of Ashford Smith and ordered. Dc49 Henry now has the authority to survey land. He took the job over from his former neighbor, Ashford Smith, who had been appointed in 1826. Smith, his wife Mary and their ten children had lived near the Arvin family, but they had moved to Springfield where Ashford pursued the trade of a tanner and currier. Henry now took on the responsibility of the appointment of surveyor in this neighborhood, and with it all the risks. Surveying was a subject taught in school, but Henry had not attended school.
    The job apparently required no special certification or qualifications other than residing in the area and willingness to serve. And this could be problematic, as the quality of these home-spun surveyors’ work—both the precision of the survey and the documents produced from it—often led to lawsuits over land ownership. Thomas Lincoln suffered from poor land titling when he lived in Kentucky. In fact, it caused him to leave his home at Knob Creek Kentucky, about 20 miles to the west of the Hardin’s Creek Settlement, and relocate to Indiana in 1816.

Small farmers like Thomas Lincoln also worried about the titles to their land. Kentucky
never had a United States land survey; it was settled in a random, chaotic fashion, with
settlers fixing their own bounds to the property they claimed: a particular tree here, a rock
there, and so on. Soon the map of the state presented a bewildering overlay of conflicting
land claims, and nobody could be sure who owned what. So uncertain were land titles that
Kentucky became one of the first states to do away with the freehold property qualification
for voting—not so much out of devotion to democratic principles as because even the
wealthy often had trouble proving they owned clear title to their acres. Naturally the courts
filled with litigation, and the lawyers of Kentucky were busy all the time. To a small farmer
like Thomas Lincoln, who was unable to pay the attorneys’ fees, it seemed that they were all
working for the rich, slaveholding planters.
     He had trouble gaining clear title to any of the three farms that he purchased in Kentucky….
Having neither the money nor the inclination to fight his claims in court, he heard with great
interest of the opening of Indiana, territory from which slavery had been excluded by the
Northwest Ordinance. Here the United States government had surveyed the land and offered
purchasers guaranteed titles to their farms.50

Landowner at Last

     Despite the potential dangers, despite what he had seen happen to Thomas P. and many other small landowners, Henry boldly decided to complete the purchase of his own land. As we saw, an agreement to purchase these tracts may have been in the works for years prior this time. Now the transactions were coming to fruition.

21 September 1831: Henry’s purchase of 61 acres for $85.00 is recorded. The sellers are Alfred and Milton King of Cumberland County, Kentucky.


This Indenture made this twenty first day September Eighteen
Kings            Hundred and Thirty One between Alfred King and Milton King
   to                of the State of Kentucky and County of Cumberland piepast (?)
Arvin             area & Henry Arvin of the state afsd and county of Washington of

346                the other part Witnesseth that the said Alfred King and Milton
                      King for and in consideration of the sum of sum of eighty
                      five dollars to him in hand paid by the receipt hereof he doth
                      hereby acknowledge hath granted bargained and sold and
                      by these presents doth grant bargain and convey sell and confirm unto
                      the said Henry Arvin on certain tract or parcel of land lying and
                      being in the county of Washington and the state of
                      Kentucky containing sixty one acres bounded as follows
                      (towit) beginning at B Smiths S.W. corner ash and white
thence SE & 66 poles to dogwood and stumps. Thence S 84 w
                      66 po to two water Birches thence N 19 E 64 po to sugartree
                      and ironwood stand N 52 E 92 po to the Beginning. To have
                      and to hold the said tract or parcel of land together with
                      all its appertenances have the said Henry Arvin &
                      his heirs forever and the said Alfred and Milton King for him
                      self and his heirs doth here by convenant and agree to protect
                      & defend the Right and title of the aforesaid recorded land


                      and devises together with all and every one of the appertinances
                      unto the said Henry Arvin & his heirs forever against the

                      claim of him the said Alfred King by any and all persons

                      whatever .        .           .           .           .        claim or claims          [faded to illegibility]

                        .           .           .           .           .          hereunto set his
                      hand and {seal} this day and date above written.


                        Charles P. Wright                                        Alfred King {seal}
                       Stephen Erven                                              Milton King {seal}

William X Farley

  Examined                      mark

Delivered          Washington County

                                                              I John Hughes clerk of the Court in and

                      for the County aforesaid do certify deeds this      .           .           .
                      proven before me  .    .  office  calls have Examined and

                        .           .           .    witnesses them to be the            .           .           .
                        .           .           deed of Alfred King and there       .           .

                       Milton King his heirs           .           .           .           .           .           .

                       deeded Book K & page 345 & 6

                       Given under my hand this 25 day of September 1831

                                                                                      John Hughes Jr Clerk         


Computer Assisted Drawing


The brothers King were two of the five sons of Major General John Edwards King.
Milton King, born in 1799 in Burkesville, Cumberland County, Kentucky, was assistant clerk of the Cumberland County Court in 1818 and by 1846 was clerk of the Cumberland County and Circuit Courts.
Alfred King was born in Burkesville in 1806. “He first began practicing law when he was about 22 years old and continued this for about 15 years….He organized at his own expense a battalion of infantry for the war with Mexico. His rank was colonel….In his early fifties he stopped the practice of law and became a Baptist minister….Just before the Civil War he moved with his family to Victoria Texas….He purchased a small plantation and took his slaves with him. He was too old to fight in the war and was opposed to secession. All of his sons who were of age fought on the Confederate side….When Gen John E. King died [13 May 1828] Alfred and his brother Milton took as their share of the legacy a string of race horses, grooms trainers, jockeys and other slaves. With these horses they achieved a national reputation, and then one night the stables burned and they lost all their horses.”52


4 October 1832: Henry expanded his holdings the following year with the purchase of another property. (The document was apparently backdated to 1831 for some reason.) We find out later—when Henry sells it—that it adjoins the previous purchase. Also, importantly, we find it is located “on the waters of Station Run.” This phrase locates their residence better than any other documentation we have. Station Run is a small tributary of Hardin’s Creek, draining east-to-west. It lies north of the Loretto Road (Kentucky Highway 152). Johnson Road runs to the east from Manton Road at Hardin’s Creek, up along the southern bank of Station Run, all the way to Lanham Lane (near the site of the old St. Ann’s Church.) Although the exact location of the property is still undetermined, we can surmise that Henry, Theresa and family probably lived somewhere along Johnson Road, “on the waters of Station Run.”    
     This transaction involves 68¾ acres of land, purchased from Nimrod Branham (or Bramham) of Albemarle County, Virginia, for $137.50 “in gold or silver in hand.” Mr. Branham was not present; the transaction was handled by his “attorney in fact,” Morgan Wright Sr.


This Indenture made this 4th day of October in
the Year of Our Lord One Thousand Eight hundred
and thirty two Between Nimrod Branham of           
Albemarle X County & State of Virginia of the       
one part and Henry Arvin of the County
of Washington & state of Kentucky of the other part
Witnesseth that the said Nimrod Branham
for and in consideration of the sum of one
hundred and thirty seven dollars and fifty cents in gold or

silver to him in hand paid by the said Henry
Arvin the receipt whereof I the said Nimrod


Branham doth hereby acknowledge hath granted

bargained and sold and by these presents doth
grant bargain & sell and confirm unto him the said

his heirs and assigns forever a certain tract

or parcel of land lying & being in the County of

Washington and state aforementioned on the waters of Hardin

Creek Containing Sixty Eight & three quarters acres

Being a part of Thomas Marshall’s Survey Bounded

as Follows Tract Beginning at G Marshall’s SW

corner a walnut & ash Thence NthW 80pc to white oak

Stump thence S 84 W 131 pc to white oak & hickory
thence SthE 62 pc to two Beeches thence E 143 pc To

The Beginning To have and to hold this above sold

Land and premises with every privilege and

appertinance thereunto attached or anyway may Belong

ing belonging to said Tract of Land unto him the

said Henry Arvin his heirs & assigns forever and If

the said Nimrod Branham for himself his heirs

Executors or assigns do warrant & defend forever the said

Tract or parcel of land against any claim or claims


               As Witness thereof I hereby set my hand and

Seal this day & Year above Written


                                     Nimrod Branham {seal}

                                                    By Morgan Wright Sr his atty in fact
      Edward Ozborn

      Morgan Wright Jr

                                  Washington County Sct

                                                 I John Hughes Jr clerk of the

County Court for the County afores do hereby certify

that on this day of this date Certify this Indenture

of bargain and sale was produced to me as my office

and proved Morgan Wright Wright Jr and Morgan

Wright Sr to be witt and deed of Mr Wright
att in fact for Nimrod Branham and therefore

a accredited to record in the deed Book L page 330

         Sworn under my hand this 25th day of July 1833
                                                              John Hughes Jr



Computer Assisted Drawing


Nimrod Branham (Bramham), 1769-1845, was a prosperous resident of Charlottesville, Albemarle County, Virginia. “Bramham had operated a store in 1797 where the Turkey Sag Road met Coursey’s Road (present-day Route 20 North) and in 1806 was operating another store on the west side of Court Square.”54 He served in the Virginia House during the 1811/1812 and 1812/1813 sessions.55
     James Monroe, at the time Secretary of State and sometimes resident of Charlottesville, signed a promissory note to Mr. Branham for $300.00 on 11 July 1815.56 Monroe was President of the United States 1817-1825.  
Branham built a fine mansion for himself in Charlottesville, which he named Oak Grove. “Constructed in 1822, the main house is an accomplished example of Jeffersonian Palladianism….the design and construction…are attributed to James Dinsmore, a Scots-Irish master carpenter who worked on Monticello and the University of Virginia after being brought to Charlottesville by Thomas Jefferson,  and is a skillful interpretation of Jefferson’s Classical architectural ideas. After Bramham’s death James Fife, business man, farmer, and Baptist Minister, bought the house and property in 1847 and changed the name from Oak Grove to Oak Lawn. Although lots were sold from the farmland in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, the Fife family retained the house and a core of land. Today only five acres remain with Oak Lawn57 (For additional images, see Search for Nimrod Bramham.)
     These two tracts, the King purchase and the Branham purchase, now constitute a single property containing approximately 130 acres.    Computer Assisted Drawing


Road Improvements

     Henry was among a group of men paid by the county on 22 October 1832 for doing some road work. He was paid $21.25 for “Two days hauling on public road sign boards.”58 Others were paid for similar miscellaneaous projects. There are no other details in the county records. Perhaps these men were taking advantage of the opportunity to make a little extra money.


     In the spring of 1833 a deadly cholera epidemic ravaged Kentucky, and it devastated the little town of Springfield and the surrounding areas. Among its many victims was Fr. William Tuite, of the St. Rose Priory and Church. “A note in the Death Register, July 1st of that year, informs us that 85 parishioners had already died of the disease.”59 The Arvin’s were not spared from loss.

       Cold winters routinely killed the cholera germ, while cholera cases increase as water temperature rises.
       Thus it was surprising to many in Kentucky that the cholera bacteria had survived over the winter and
       reemerged on May 29, 1833, after winter dormancy. Rumors of the first cholera cases in Maysville,
       Kentucky prompted 90 percent of Maysville’s population to flee the city for two weeks. Within twenty-four
       hours, a dozen Maysville residents succumbed to cholera. Those fleeing Maysville unsuspectingly spread
       the disease to towns along the Maysville-Lexington road all the way to the town of Springfield.
            Immediately, the disease spread throughout Springfield, which had a population of 618, and claimed its
       first victim, a female slave, on June 2, 1833. In fact, the disease spread so quickly within the town that on
       the first day it was known to have hit the town three residents were killed. The next day, five died, and on
       the third day, ten died. The epidemic struck rich and poor, white and black. Springfield residents began to
       vacate the town, abandoning construction sites and closing businesses….By the end of the 1833 epidemic,
       more than eighty deaths were recorded in Springfield alone, which meant the town had lost more than
       one-tenth of its population.60     


     The Arvin household was stricken by the epidemic, and it brought with it heartbreak and tragedy for Henry and Theresa. It is likely that they lost two of their children—the son and daughter whose names are unknown—at this time. There was no known treatment for cholera, which causes uncontrollable diarrhea, leading to severe dehydration. This sends the body into shock within hours of infection. Like so many people in the Springfield area and St. Rose Church, these two striken youngsters did not survive. They would not be listed in the census of 1840.

Tax List Book – 1833        Left page    Right page

     There was no Tax List Book for 1831 or 1832. For 1833, we find “Arvin, Henry,” 45 years old, is still assessed on 278 acres in Washington County, located on the Hardin Creek watercourse. The land was originally entered in the name “Jos. E. King.” It was surveyed in the name “Granby.”
     Henry’s first son William, born in 1811 and now over 21, is listed for the first time.
     Other extended family members are living near Henry also: “John Arvin” appears on the Tax List for the first time this year. He most likely is a cousin. From the 1850 census, we learn he was born in Maryland in December of 1811, and is also over 21 this year. Family tradition holds that he is the son of Thomas Arvin Jr., Henry’s uncle, who was born in Maryland and died in 1816 in Washington County, Kentucky. Thomas Arvin Jr. was the older brother of Edward Darnall Arvin, Henry's father.          
                                                                                          Persons              Mares           Per         Total
                                                                                         over 21                                    acre        value
John              (cousin, now 21 years old)                              1                        1                              $ 30  
Henry                                                                                 1                        7                $2            766
William        (son, now 22 years old)                                     1                        3                                60
Elias            (younger brother, 43 years old)                         1                        1                                20
Thomas P.   (younger brother, 44 years old)                         1                        1                                50

     The baptism of John Leonard Arvin, son of Elias and Catherine, at St. Rose Church was recorded on 4 November 1833. His sponsor was Mary Eleanor Arvin. This is the first documentary evidence that the Arvins attended St. Rose Church.61 It’s easy to imagine the entire Arvin clan walking and riding horses east along Johnson Road, south on Lanham Lane, then east along the Loretto Road to St. Rose to attend the ceremony. After so much death that summer, here was new life.

Tax List Book – 1834        
Left page    Right page

     The situation has changed little from last year, except for the fact that the per acre valuation has increased. The nation was undergoing a period of economic expansion, and it was being felt even in frontier Kentucky. 

                                Acres    watercourse      Entered                Over 21     Mares     Per acre           Total
Arvin   Henry            275        Hardin Cr.       H Moore                  1               8             $4                $1300
           Wm                                                                                     1                                                     36
           John                                                                                    1                                                     40 
           Elias                                                                                    1                                                     50
           Thos P.                                                                                1                                                     15

     This expansionist period was a time of high hopes and new beginnings. Echoing the great expectations which his grandfather, Edward Darnall Arvin, had felt after the Revolutionary War when he married Sallie Padgett, 23 year-old William Arvin married Theresa Fields. The ceremony, which was recorded on Monday, September 29th, took place at St. Rose Church. 62

Tax List Book – 1835        

     Most of the 1835 book, including the page for the letter “A,” is too faded to be legible.

     The southern half of Washington County was portioned off into a new county in 1834, with Lebanon the obvious choice as county seat. This new county was named Marion, after the Revolutionary War hero from South Carolina, Francis Marion, the “Swamp Fox.” Henry’s father, Edward Darnall Arvin, had probably been well aware of the exploits of the Swamp Fox first hand, since he served in the Continental Army in South Carolina during that war. They both fought in the Battle of Eutaw Springs. 
     Theresa and Henry get their first grandchild! The baptism of William and Theresa’s first child, Laura Anna Arvin, was recorded at St. Rose Catholic Church on 8 August of 1835. Her sponsor was Mary Arvin.63 Again the whole clan may have rode or walked up Loretto Road to St. Rose Church, and at this time of year, imagine some of the children barefoot.

     There was no tax book for Washington County for the tax year 1836, but we find in the County Order Book for 1836 that in October Henry was once again paid for doing work for the county.   “Henry Arvin 1 day, waggon & 4 horses $2.00”

Tax List Book – 1837        Left page    Right page

                                          Acres           Over 21             Mares            Per acre              Total     
Arvin  Thomas P. Jr(?)       40                  1                                            $6                    $  240
           Henry                     270                 1                         1                  6 ½                    1850
           Wm                                               1                         1                                               65
           John                                              1                         1                                               50
           Joseph                                           1                         1                                               75
           Thomas                                         1                         1                                               55
. . .
Arvin  Edward                                         1                        2                                                75
. . .
. . .
 Arvin  Elias                                             1                        1                                              130

     The baptism of Thomas Elias Arvin, son of Elias and Catherine, at St. Rose Church was recorded on 25 January 1837. His sponsor was Patey Hill.64
     The baptism of Mary Jane Arvin, daughter of twenty-six year old John Arvin and his wife Elizabeth (nee Fields) Arvin, at St. Rose Church was recorded on 21 April 1837. Her sponsor was Mary Arvin.65

     Edward Arvin [Jr.] (born about 1794) and his oldest son, Thomas, (1816) makes their first appearance in the Washington County Tax List Book this year. Edward is another of Henry’s younger brothers, about seven years his junior. As shown on the 1830 United States Census, Edward, his wife Nancy Ann (1788), and their six children were the last Arvins to live on the old Arvin’s Enlargement in Charles County, Maryland. Within the next few years, the family had moved to Washington County, Kentucky, where Edward’s three older brothers and several other kinfolk were already living. By 1836, Edward, about 42 years old, had established himself as a resident of Washington County. In April of that year, he attended an estate sale along with Henry (age 48) and Henry’s son William (24). He made purchase of a large amount of salted pork and a pitch fork. It would appear he and his family were happily transplanted in Washington County.
    But in May of 1836, we begin to get a truer picture of Edward’s situation. He apparently had requested assistance from the state to help him care for two of his children, George H. and Mary Ellen Arvin. To conform to the prescribed state law, a Circuit Court jury was “empaneled and sworn before the Judge of the Washington County Circuit Court in open court to inquire into the State of Mind condition and estate” of the two children. The twelve-member jury (which, by the way, included John Arvin) found that the children “are both idiots & entirely helpless & imbecile, George being seventeen years old & Mary seven. They are under the care of their father, Edward Arvin who is a very poor man & they have no estate of their own.” (Edward’s tax assessment value ranked him in the bottom 10% of the parents in Washington County.) The findings of the jury were given to a committee, which typically would be appointed to oversee the financial care of such children in Kentucky.
    In May of 1837 we find the three-member committee, headed by County Clerk William B. Booker, signing a pledge which binds them in the amount of $1000.00 to uphold Kentucky law in disbursing, on behalf of the children, “the several sums allowed them by law...for their maintenance and support.” (All this paperwork was bundled with other cases and stored by the county. These papers, indexed as “Arvin’s Idiots,” are in bundle 455, dated May of 1836. All “bundles” for all the counties in the state were transferred to the Kentucky Department for Libraries and Archives (KDLA), Public Records Division, located in Frankfort, in 2004.)
     In April of 1839, the Booker Committee reported that it had paid $100.00 “to father for keeping and maintaining the E Arvin children for the year 1838.” Edward signed his acknowledgement. Note that Edward can write his name quite legibly. (This paperwork, “Committee report, George &c,” was placed in bundle 491, dated May of 1839.) Nothing in life came easy for Edward Jr.

A Devastating Lawsuit

     Henry also had troubles in 1836, and some of them were of his own making. He apparently failed to appear as a witness in the Paget trail, and in July of 1836 an order to “attach” him was issued to the Washington County sheriff (George Grundy). He was to be safely kept until the August session of the Circuit Court. His bail was set at $30.00. “Paget” was Henry’s mother’s maiden name, but no other details of this case, including whether Henry actually spent any time in jail, are known. This order was bundled in bundle 464 by the court in August of 1836.
     Even the prospect of jail time was overshadowed, however, by another event which took place in 1836. Like so many of the small landowners in Kentucky, Henry fell victim to faulty surveying, probably his own, and was taken to court in a property dispute. The plaintiff was a well known medical doctor and Springfield resident, Dr. Edward B. Gaither, who was probably acting on behalf of Henry’s former neighbor, Ashford Smith.
     This suit was heard in Chancery Court at the courthouse in Springfield. (The historic courthouse itself is still standing and is open to the public to this day. The jail, a freestanding structure located to the right rear, behind the pine tree, has been demolished.) At the conclusion of the case, all the documents involved, things such as petitions, summonses and subpeonas, replies, depositions, the judgement, etc., were bundled up. Unfortunately, when Washington County transferred its bundles to the KDLA in Frankfort, it listed several bundles as missing, and this particular case, bundle No. 470, was among them. So we may never know the interesting details of the lawsuit. This suit, “Gaither vs. Arvin,” was also bundled in August of 1836. The Chancery Court ruled against Henry and required him to pay an enormous judgement: $232.43. The size of the judgement indicates this lawsuit must have been about land. It was too large an amount of money for Henry to come up with on his own, so in June of 1837 we find him calling on two of his neighbors for help.

2 June 1837: Henry Arvin, without sufficient cash to pay the Washington County Circuit Court judgement against him, turns to Charles Wright and Edward Osbourn to personally guarantee the money to cover the judgement. In return, he signs a deed—which is kept in the Unrecorded Deed Box at the court house—allowing them to sell the property, the “land on which he lives,” if he does not repay the loan promptly.




This indenture made and entered into the
the 2nd day of June 1837 between Henry Arvin
of the county of Washington and state

of Kentucky of the one part and Charles

Wright and Edward Osbourn of the same

County and State of the second part.
Witnesseth that the said Charles Wright and
Edward Osbourne having this day become
the security of the said Henry Arvin in a replevin
bond in the name of Edward B Gaither
or Ashford Smith for the use of E B

Gaither against said Henry Arvin for

the sum of two hundred and thirty

two dollars 43 cents with interest from

this day – said bond being given to

replevy a judgment of the Washington              
Circuit Court. Now the said Arvin                     

to secure the said Wright and Osbourn

harmless and free from damage

on account of said security hath

this day given granted bargained

and sold to the said Wright

and Osbourn all that tract

or parcel of land on which he lives

on waters of Hardin Creek con

=taining 134 acres more or less to have
and hold the same to them



and their heirs forever free from

all claims whatever. But be

it clearly understood that if said

Arvin shall pay off and dis

charge said replevy bond within

three months from this day with

its interest, and such cents, as may

accrue thereon – and redeem said

Wright and Osbourne from all

liability thereon then this deed to
be void. It is also agreed that said
Arvin may sell the land in the

meantime to sell to pay said debt

with the mortgagees consent and

advice – and if he do not pay it

in the specified time they the said
Wright and Osbourne may sell it
themselves to pay said security and
pay to the Arvin the surplus.
In testimony whereof the said

Arvin hath set my first his hand

and seal this day and date aforsaid


                           Henry  X  Arvin

Dr. Edward B. Gaither “was an accomplished and popular medic in Washington County for many years.” He had lived in Springfield since 1804.67 He owned lot 93 on Main Street (present-day address is 216 E. Main St.) and lot 98 which adjoined it from Water (now Ballard) St.68 He was a Mason, and in 1822 held the title “King” of the new chapter in Springfield.69

Ashford Smith, 47, a veteran of the War of 1812, had been a neighbor of the Arvins. He and his wife Mary had a large family of ten children, at least one of whom, Larkin B. Smith, we know was born “four miles from the town of Springfield.” The Smiths lived in Springfield for a few years, where Ashford had been a “tanner and currier,” but in 1835 they moved to Illinois.70 Recall that in 1831 Henry was appointed surveyor in the absense of Ashford Smith, and that Henry’s own land was described as “beginning at B Smiths S.W. corner ash and white oak.” It is entirely possible that Henry may have, intentionally or unintentionally, claimed ownership of land previously claimed by the Smith family. Ashford Smith, now in Illinois, may have joined forces with a local resident whom he knew–the accomplished and popular Dr. Gaither–to file suit against Henry.  

    No doubt all this court activity and its consequences wore heavily on Henry, day after day, for months (just as their lawsuits had for Thomas Lincoln and many other Kentuckians before him). Wearing the mantle of the oldest son, he may have simply been trying, in his own way, to provide farm land for Edward and/or Elias. But this bout with the law must have made him think seriously about relocating to Indiana, a vast new state which lay just across the Ohio River to the north. In Indiana there was enough good flat land for everyone, of the highest quality and readily available at low prices. It was plentiful, ideal for agriculture. Title was guaranteed by the government. Why not move up there and leave all the troubles of Kentucky behind? Many others had already gone, including more than a few friends and neighbors from Washington County....

The Panic of 1837

     To make matters worse for everyone, the United States was about to fall into a financial abyss—a panic—which would result in a period of deflation: falling commodity prices for crops, while debts remaining at a fixed amount. A crisis developed in the nation’s economic system, and it has been described as America’s first depression. “The Panic of 1837 was a panic in the United States built on a speculative fever. The bubble burst on May 10, 1837, in New York City, when every bank stopped payment in specie (gold and silver coinage). The Panic was followed by a five-year depression, with the failure of banks and record high unemployment levels.”71




Tax List Book – 1838           Left page     Right page

     This year Henry lists ownership of less land than he did before the lawsuit. He may have had to give up his claim to some land to the Smith family. We never get a description of the disputed land’s location, although it was probably quite close to the land his still owns.

Names                        Land       Per     Value        White        Horses      Value        No.           Total
                                                 Acre                    over 21                                      voters           value
Arvin   Thomas P.                                                     1                 1           $ 50           1         [page damage]
           Henry              147          5          735            1                 4             150          1         [page damage]

Left page   Right page

Arvin   Joseph                                                           1                 1              65           1                  65
           Thomas Junr                                                  1                 2              75           1                  75
           John                                                               1                 2              65           1                  65
           Edward                                                          1                 2             120          1                 120
           James                                                             1                 2                             1

     The baptism of Mary Elizabeth Arvin, second child of William and Theresa Arvin, was recorded at St. Rose Church on 4 January of 1838.72 No bare feet at this time of the year.
     The economy attempted a recovery in 1838, but the collapse of the cotton crop, the backbone of the mainly agricultural American economy, led to a ferocious downturn in 1839. What recovery there had been faltered and sputtered out. Debtors were to especially vulnerable to this downturn and the deflation it spawned, because deflation makes money more valuable relative to commodities and therefore repayment of debts more difficult. “About the year 1839 began that terrible pressure in financial affairs which will ever be remembered by all who were unfortunate enough to owe anything at that time. The currency of the country was withdrawn while the specie was horded up or buried. Trade of every description ceased necessarily because there was no money to buy with. Property of all kinds depreciated fearfully. Land that had sold for fifty dollars now sold for twelve or fifteen. Horses that were worth $150 now sold for $40. Thousands of families throughout the United States who thought themselves independent were suddenly awakened to the fact that all their property would not half pay their debts. So great was the distress caused by this sudden revulsion in finance and trade, Congress in 1841 passed the bankrupt law which provided that debtors who surrendered all they possessed for the benefit of their creditors were released from all obligations.
     “The merchants of Lebanon, however, with one or two exceptions weathered through this storm with comparative ease and safety. They were cautious and prudent men, they had
begun the world with little or nothing and had risen to independence by slow but steady steps. They did business in their own houses, traded principally on their own capital, lived in houses of their own and most of them owned farms from which they could draw a subsistence when trade failed. Being thusly fortified they had simply to furl their sails and cast anchor and wait until the storm had passed when they were again ready to move on with the first favorable breeze….
     “The reins of Government having now passed into the hands of the [Jacksonian] Democracy, all hope of re-establishing the old United States Bank was abandoned, and local banks chartered by the State legislature began to be established in various points throughout the country. These banks throwing their issues into circulation relieved the extreme stringency of the money market, and trade began to revive.”73

 Tax List Book – 1839            Left page    Right page

                                                  Per        Total     Over                                    Rates per       Total
                                  Acres       acre       land        21        Mares        Value    season         value
Arvin   John                                                             1              2            124                         $  124
           Henry               147         6          $882         1              4            150           2              1032
           Thomas Jr                                                     1              2            130                             130
           James                                                           1
           Wm                                                               1               2           125                             125
           Elias                                                             1               2             85                               85
           Edward                                                         1              2           100                              100
           Joseph                                                          1               1             65                               65
           Thomas P                                                     1               1             45                               45
     The baptism of Martha Anna Arvin, daughter of John and Elizabeth (nee Fields) Arvin, was recorded at St. Rose on 16 February 1839. Her sponsor was Mary Emerson.74  
     William is again listed as a taxpayer living in Washington County, although there is evidence that he may have been in Indiana. Records indicate that 5 July 1839 William purchased a quart of whiskey at a store in Daviess County, Indiana.75 These records are thought to have later been in the possession of his younger brother, Joseph E. Arvin. Joseph operated a store out of his farm home in Daviess County, from which he sold liquor which he distilled himself. More about this in the biographical sketch about Joseph Edward Arvin.
     William Bowles Sr., born 7 January 1751/52 in St. Mary’s County, Maryland, died 17 October 1839 in Washington County. His family, along with a John and Ignatius Bowles, are listed among those in the original twenty-five families of the Maryland League, and lived on Pottinger’s Creek up to 1800.76 In his will, dated 10 December 1838 and probated on 28 October 1839, William Bowles Sr. (86 years old) named “my friend Thomas P. Arvin,” (51 years old),  as his executor.77 Thomas will therefore be responsible for the tax assessment on this land for the next few years. He probably lived on it and farmed it as well.

Tax List Book – 1840          Left page    Right page                                                                                                                                

                                              Land   Water Value of   Over Horses Value  Cattle Jacks  Rates    Children  Total
                                                         course   Tract        21  &Studs                       Bulls pr season   7-17     value
Arvin   Thomas P.                                                            1       3       $  75        3                                           $  75
Thomas as Extr Wm Bowles    33     Hardin   $250                                                                                           250
           James                                                                    1
           Henry                          148  HardinCr   750          1       4         150        9       1          3            4         890                     Thomas                                                                 1                                                                               100
           Joseph                                                                  1                                                                                 75
           John                                                                       1                                                                              150
           William                                                                   1                                                                               100 

     The four young children listed for Henry and Theresa are: Joshua O., Augustine, George W. and the baby, James.

1840 – Sixth United States Census

Henry Arvin
is shown living in Washington County, Kentucky. (Township residency was not stated for Washington or Marion counties.)

Image of left page    Image of right page

Names of the Heads of Families           Henry Arvin
Males Under 5:               0
  5 & Under 10:              0
10 & Under 15:              2  
[George W. 14, James P. 12]
15 & Under 20:              2  
[Joshua 18, Augustine 16]
20 & Under 30:              2  
[William 29, Thomas 27. “Unknown” son, who would have been 23, is not listed.]
30 & Under 40:              0

40 & Under 50:              0

50 & Under 60:              1   [Henry 52]
Females Under 5:           0
  5 & Under 10:              0
10 & Under 15:              0

15 & Under 20:              0
20 & Under 30:              2  
[Mary Ellen 25, Rosa L. 22. “Unknown” daughter, would have been 20, not listed.]
30 & Under 40:              0
40 & Under 50:              0

50 & Under 60:              1   [Theresa 52]  
Free Colored Persons: none

Total                              10
Engaged in Agriculture     2


     Edward Darnall Arvin, father of Henry, Thomas P., Elias and Edward Jr., a veteran of the American Revolutionary War, passed away at the age of 83 in Unison, Virginia, on the 8th of August, 1840.

     William Arvin is still listed as living in the household. However, his wife Theresa and their two daughters are not.
     Although Joseph Edward Arvin, now 25, is shown in the Tax Book for 1840, he is not listed with the family in this census. It is quite possible that Joseph is living in southern Indiana at this time, perhaps as a farm laborer and perhaps scouting out possible home sites, thinking about purchasing land of his own there. “
The people came from far and near to avail themselves of the farm lands that were being sold at unusually low prices.”78  As we shall soon see, most of the Arvin clan is on the verge of relocating to Indiana.

     Edward Arvin, Jr. left no further evidence of himself in the written records, but we will find out later that, just like his father, he probably died this year. We are, however, able to track his two disabled children, George H. and Mary Ellen, for a considerable period of time. Edward’s widow, Nancy, moved to Elizabethtown, Hardin County, about the time Edward died. The two children are listed as “idiots” of Hardin County, Kentucky, in 1845, 1854 and 1866, probably still on state assistance. The United States Census of 1850 (line 7) and 1860 (line 31) shows them in Elizabethtown, Hardin County, Kentucky, living in the household of their mother. By the Census of 1870, Nancy Ann Arvin herself has passed away, and they are living in the household of their brother Edward H. Arvin (line 34). Finally, in 1876, George H. Arvin (57 years old) is listed as a Hardin County “pauper idiot” whose committee now consists of one person: his brother “Edwin.” State assistance is now $6.25 per month. Mary Ellen is not listed.79

     Instead of moving to Indiana, George W. Arvin moved to Hardin County, Kentucky. There, he and Miami “Jemima” Arvin began living together in January of 1848. Jemima was probably the daughter of Edward and Nancy Arvin, and was therefore George W.’s first cousin. They had a son, James Edward Arvin, who was born on 9 December 1848. He was mentally disabled. They had a daughter, Theresa Ann, who was born on 12 June 1850, and she also was mentally disabled. George W. Arvin and Miami Arvin (nee Arvin) moved to Indiana in 1850 to be with the rest of the Arvin clan. They were “legally married” there in October. Because the clan had so many children (five) named Theresa in honor of Henry’s wife, Theresa, they started calling their daughter Nancy Ann.

Henry and Treacy Sell Out

12 June 1841:
Henry and “Treacy” Arvin sell their homestead Joseph Graves. These are the two adjoining tracts of land, 68¾ acres purchased from from Nimrod Branham and the 61 acres purchased from the King brothers. Total size of the two tracts was about 130 acres, and the sale price a handsome $780.00. Note this tract described as being “on the waters of Station Run.”


This Indenture made and entered into this 12th day of June 1841 Between
Arvin &          Henry Arvin & Trecy his Wife of the one part and Joseph Graves of the other part
Wife to           All of the County of Washington and State of Kentucky Witnesseth That
Graves,           for and in consideration of the Sum of Seven Hundred and Eighty dollars
      Deed         to them the Said Henry Arvin & Trecy his wife in hand paid the receipt
                       whereof is hereby acknowledged Have Granted Bargained and sold unto
                       the said Joseph Graves & his heirs forever Two Certain Tracts or Parcels
                       of Land lying and being in the County of Washington & State aforesaid on
                        the waters of Station Run
and one tract a part of Thomas Marshall Survey
                        and the other being part of John Kings original survey and Bounding
                        follows (To Wit)          Beginning at J Marshalls SW Corner a
                        walnut & Ash Tree Thence N. W 80 poles to a white oak stump
                        Thence S.W 130 poles to a white oak & Hickory Tree Thence S1
& E2
                          .    . to the .    .    . A   .    . Thence E 142 poles to the Beginning Containing


550                    68¾ acres be the same more or less also one other tract adjoining Being
                        part of King Survey Beginning at B Smiths S W Corner an ash and white
                        oak Thence N&of20 poles to Red Thornbush & Ironwood Thence S6of58 poles to a
                        dogwood&Ash Stump Thence S84 W161 poles to 2 Water Beeches Thence N19S62poles
                        To Sugar tree & Ironwood Thence N 59 E 92 poles to the Beginning Containing
                        Sixty one acres beg the same more of less To have and to hold the above described
                        Land with and Singular the appertinances thereto belonging or in anyways
                        appertaining to him the said Joseph Graves & his heirs forever and the said Henry
                        Arvin & Trecy his wife doth further covenant and agree with the said Joseph Graves
                        & his heirs that they will warrant and forever defend the above lands & Promise
Examined        against themselves & their heirs and all and every Person or persons Claiming or
and Delivered  to claim in Testamoney hereof they the said Henry Arvin & Treacy his wife
to J Graves       have hereunto set their hands and affixed their seals the day and date first
                         written                                                                                      his
                                                                                                                 Henry X Arvin {seal}
                                                                                                                    her mark               
     pd                                                                                                 Treacy X  Arvin     {seal}
Image                           Washington County Sct
                               I William B Booker clerk of the County Court for the county aforesaid
                           do certify that on the 19th day of July 1841 This Deed from Henry Arvin &
                           Treacy his wife to Joseph Graves was acknowledged before me in my office by the
                           said Henry Arvin to be his act and Deed She the said Treacy Arvin wife of the
                           said Henry being by me examined privately and apart from her husband
                           declared that she did freely and Willingly Seal and Deliver said Writing and
                           Wished not to retract it and acknowledged said writing again shown and
                           Explained to her to be her act and Deed and covenant that the same might
                           be recorded. Whereupon said Deed Together with the foregoing certificate
                           hath been duly admitted to Record in Deed Book P page 549
                                      Given under my hand this 19th day of July 1841__I&95    
                                                                                                                WBBooker  clk

 Joseph Graves was born about 1785 in Kentucky and died in September 1857 in Springfield, Washington Co., Kentucky. He was buried at St. Rose Church.81

28 June 1841: To settle his tab at the James H. Cunningham store in Springfield, Henry sells livestock and furniture to Charles M. Wright for $137.14. (This is the first confirmation we have that Henry traded in Springfield.)


Know all men by these presents that whereas Charles
M Wright is my security on two notes payable to James
H. Cunningham dated this day and due the 1st of March
next one for 57 59/100 Dollars__cents the other for 42
dollars 40 cents and also one note to J H Cunningham
also for 37 Dollars 15 cents bearing date this day and
due the 1st of March next now in order to Secure
the Said Charles M Wright against any Loss on
Liability on account of being Security on the above
named debts I have this day bargained Sold and
Mortgaged to the Said Charles M Wright the following
properties one bay horse about 13 years old one Roam
mare about 4 years one bay Rean mare about 2 years
old one gray mare about 10 years old one Stud horse
(Roan) named Brut and about 8 years old 1 Black pid=
ed cow 1 white cows calf 1 Red cow 2 white cows 2
Red Steers 1 Red Heifer 1 Black yearling Steer all my
stock of hogs about 35 to 40 in number 1 four horse
wagon & gear 5 feather Beds & furniture my house=
hold & kitchen furniture Farming utensils &
distillery the conditions of the above Mortgage is Such
that if I will and Truly pay off and discharge the above
named notes then this Mortgage to be void otherwise
to Remain in full force and Fixture of Law in Witness
whereof I have here unto Set my hand and Seal this
28th June 1841                                         his
                                                       Henry x Arvin  {seal}
State of Kentucky Washington County Sct
                                                         I William BBooker
Clerk of the Count Court for the County oforesaid
do Certify that on the day of the date hereof this Mortgage
from Henry Arvin to Charles M Wright was produced
to me and Acknowledged by the S           .           .           .

James H. Cunningham lived in Springfield on Water (today Ballard) Street. He operated J. H. Cunningham & Co., one of the three “principal merchants” of the town of Springfield.83

Charles M. Wright, born 1801, was the son of Morgan Wright, who migrated from Culpeper County, Virginia, to Bear Wallow, Washington County, Kentucky, “before 1805.” Bear Wallow is about two miles east of Station Run.84 Charles M. Wright was a trustee for the United Baptist Church of Jesus Christ on Hardin’s Creek, constituted in 1826. “The list of constituting members reads like a family roll, for eleven of the fifteen were of the Phillips clan. This was due, of course, to the fact that the Phillips family on Hardin’s Creek in the vicinity of the mouth of Station Run, constituted by far the bulk of the population in that part of Washington County for many years. Three brothers, Thomas Phillips, John Phillips, and Benjamin Phillips, together with their respective families, settled there before the year 1795. They built Phillips Station on Hardin’s Creek at the mouth of Station Run, the stream taking its name from the fact that the station was built on the south side thereof.”85 The station is said to have been located 26 poles (264 feet) upstream on Station Run from its mouth at Hardin’s Creek, on Station Run's south bank. 
Henry Arvin was one of the appraisers of the Inventory of the Estate of Morgan Wright, taken on 25 November 1833. The will was probated on 27 January 1834. Charles M. Wright was the administrator.86
     Henry, William and Edward are all listed as buyers in the sale of the personal estate of John Phillips, recorded on 25 April 1836. (The sale, which included nine slaves, brought in over $6000.00.)87

Distillery: It was quite common for each farm to have its own distillery. As mentioned, Henry’s son Joseph Edward Arvin would later operate a distillery which supplied liquor the store he maintained on his farm in Indiana.

16 July 1841: Henry sells household goods and his crop to Richard Wright. Richard, brother of Charles Wright, had secured Henry in another replevy for $42.00.


                        This Indenture made and Entered Into this 16th day of
 Arvin              July 1841 between Henry Arvin of the County of Washington
   Mortgage      and State of Kentucky of the one part and Richard Wright
to Wright         of the said County and State of the other part Witnesseth
                        that whereas the said Henry Arvin is Justly Indebted
                        to the said Wright in the Sum of forty Two dollars prin=
                        =cipal with Cost and Interest namely as Security for
                        said Arvin on a Replevy bond in favor of George S
                        Conner and when the said Arvin is desirous of
                        Securing the said Wright in good faith in the pay=
                        =ment of the above Sum of forty Two dollars with cost
                        and Interest hath this day granted bargained and
                        Sold and by these presents doth Grant bargain and
                        Convey unto the Said Richard Right the following
                        property viz to one clock 2 wheels one hackel pare of
                        Stilarets to grind stone to one burrow one chest 2 Reap=
                     =hooks to 7 chairs a looking glass to one ox yoke one
                        log chain a parcel of old iron syhte and cradle one gun
                        Two side saddle to one cubard to 3 tables to a set of
                        cupering Tools and the hole of my present crop to
                        have and to hold the above property to him the Said

                        R Wright his heirs Executors Administrators and assigns
                        and against the Claim or Claims of all and every person
Image             or persons whatever and it is fully understood by both
                        parties that the Said Arvin is to Remain in possession
                        of the aforesaid property until Such Time as the said
                        Wright may think proper to Demand it on at which time
                        the Said Arvin firmly binds himself to deliver Said property
                        to Said Wright to be by him disposed of for payment
                        of the above Sum of forty Two dollars  In Testamony
                        whereof I have here unto Set my hand and Seal
                        the day and date above Written
                        Test Thos P Arvin                           his 
                           John Arvin                          Henry X Arvin   {seal}

Richard Wright, born 1798, is the older brother of Charles M. Wright, and presumably also lived in Bear Wallow.84

Tax List Book – 1841          Left page    Right page

     This year Thomas P. Arvin is also shown as a taxpayer and as the Executor for William “Bolds.”
     Henry is assessed on 140 acres of land. This may have been the “land upon which he lives.” Charles Wright must have allowed them to continue living on the property until they made arrangements for the move to Indiana. 

                                  Acres                             Value   Over Mares Value Cattle Value Under the    Children   Total
                                   Land                              Tract      21  Horses                      Equalization Law   7 – 17     Value 
Arvin   Thomas P                                                              1       1    $  45                                                             $  45
Exer Wm Bolds            35           Hardin Cr    $175                                                       $500
Arvin   James                                                                    1
           John                                                                       1       3      125       4                                                      125
           Elias                                                         65         1        1       65        2                                         4             65
           George W                                                              1        1       35                                                                 35
           Henry              140                                  700         1       6      200       8                                         3           900
           Joseph                                                                    1       1        60                                                                 60
           Thomas                                                                  1       1        40                                                                 40

     William Arvin is no longer listed as a taxpayer. His whereabouts is unknown, although his son Richard Harrison  Arvin was shown on a later United States census as being born in Kentucky in 1842.

Tax List Book – 1842             Left page    Right page

                                                                        Value  Over Horses                       Rates per                    Total                                                                            tract      21   Mares Value Studs     Season                      Value
Arvin   Thomas P       25    E of Wm Bolds        $150        1      1        $25                                                  $175
. . .
Arvin   James                                                                   1      1         20                                                       20
. . .
Arvin   John                                                                      1      3       100                                                     100
           Elias                                                                              2         50                                                       50
           Henry         145            Short Creek       580                 4       100       1              3                            680

     Joseph is not listed this year. He may be living and working in Indiana or perhaps Hardin County, Kentucky, where he would meet his future wife, Rose Ann.

Tax List Book – 1843 
          Left page    Right page
                                                                                                     Studs  Rates
                                                 Value    Over     Horses  Value   Jacks,   per         Children               Total 
                                                  tract       21        Mares               Bulls  Season        5-16                  Value
Arvin   Elias                                              1            1       $ 30                                     1                     $   30
           George                                           1            1          25                                                                 25
           Henry                   140     420        1            5         100        1         2                1[James P]        520
           Joseph E                                        1            1          20                                                                 20
           Joshua A                                       1             1          20                                                                 20
           Thomas P                                      1            1           25                                                                 25
same Exer of Wm Bowls  35       105                                                                                                     105
            John                                              1            3          80                                    </span>                             80
            James                                            1            1          15                                                                 15

     Notice the values are decreasing. The United States had undergone a punishing period of deflation.
     Although Elias is listed as a taxpayer here, he may actually have been Daviess County, Indiana, this year. A receipt which is thought to be later in the possession of Joseph Arvin shows that on 6 July, 19 September and 22 October of 1843, a certain “Elis Arvin” bought a pound of tobacco for 14 cents. Perhaps uncle Elias was visiting or working in Indiana.89      

Tax List Book – 1844
        Left page        

Precinct No. 2 
                                       Land             Over 21    Horses, Mares     Value                           Total Value       
Arvin   Thomas H                                     1                                       $ 30                                   $ 30  
           Joshua                                           1                                          30                                      30
           Thomas P                                      1                                          30                                      30
           George                                          1                                          25                                      25
           Elias                                              1                                          30                                      30
           Henry                                            1                                        120                                     120
           Joseph                                           1                                          30                                       30
           John                                               1                                          75                                      75
           James                                             1                                          25                                      25
. . .
Arvin  Elias                                              1                                    
       The column “Horses, Mares” is obscured in the document, but the data is easily borrowed from the “Total Value” column. The important information here is that no one, including Henry, is paying taxes on land. They are about to sever their connections with Kentucky.  

     The preparations of the Arvin clan are now almost complete, and it was time for the actual move itself. On 18 July 1844, second son Thomas H. Arvin, third son Joseph E. Arvin (and probably fourth son, Joshua O. Arvin, also) made a trip to the General Land Office at Vincennes, Indiana. Each son entered their claim for 40 acres of land in Daviess County, Indiana. It is likely that Henry financed these purchases using some of  the money he received from the sales of his land and household goods.
     In the span of the next few years, the Henry Arvin and the Elias Arvin families and those of their sons would all be relocated to Daviess County. Everyone who went was soon settled in eastern Reeve Township, a few miles west of the hamlet of Mount Pleasant, which lay just across the county line in Martin County.

Indiana: Land, Land, Land

     Henry and Theresa, following the lead of their older sons and flush with cash from the sale of their land and household goods, moved to Indiana with the rest of their immediate family in 1845. According to a biographical sketch about their youngest son, James P. Arvin, born in 1828, the move was made when he was seventeen. Lucile Arvin, an extraordinary lady, granddaughter of Augustine Arvin and the grande dame of Arvin genealogy in Indiana, explained to me that, “The Arvins crossed the (Ohio) river somewhere west of Louisville, probably came to Indiana by wagon train.” (During a visit with her and her sister Rosemary in 1977, she gave me this chart which she had painstakingly researched and prepared.) Their presumed route from Springfield would have been north on the Bardstown Road, north on the Louisville Road (present U.S. Highway 150) into Louisville, through the bustling city, across the Ohio River west of town by ferry boat,90 and continuing on the Indiana state road (again Highway 150) up to their new homeland. Many settlers from Kentucky had already made this move.

Congress Lands

     All of Indiana was becoming attractive to settlers, because virgin land was readily available at artificially low prices and with clear title. Clear title was possible because the seller was the federal government. “The United States government bought from the Indians all of the land within the present state of Indiana with the exception of a small tract around Vincennes, which was given by the Indians to the inhabitants of the town about the middle of the eighteenth century. The first purchase of land made in 1795.” Purchase of the Vincennes Treaty Tract was completed in 1804. “As fast as the population would warrant, new counties were established in this New Purchase.”91
     The low price of the land was also possible because the government wanted to sell. “The Federal Government, anxious to sell its public domain for revenue, started surveying tracts acquired from the Indians as soon as possible and the township, range, and section lines were run after the boundaries of the tracts were determined….
     “The first land sales in the area were made under the land act of 1804. The purchaser could not buy less than 160 acres, at a minimum price of $2.00 an acre. Most of the land was sold under the act of 1820. This act reduced the minimum price of land in the public domain to $1.25 per acre and a purchaser could buy as little as eighty acres. The policy of the government toward land purchasers was extremely lenient. Only a small down payment was required, and payment of the balance could be spread out over several years.”92 These lands in the public domain were often referred to as United States lands, or simply as “Congress lands.”

     Joseph E. Arvin had already initiated the purchase of 40 acres of land in Daviess (pronounced almost like “Davis”) County from the federal government.93 His older brother Thomas H. Arvin had initiated the purchase of his 40 acres the same way.94 Both sons “made entry” (e.g., entered their claims) on the same day: 13 July 1844. Joshua O. Arvin also made entry to 40 acres, and although the date of entry is not known, he probably made the trip to Vincennes with his older brothers. All three sons’ Patents are dated by the General Land Office the first day of June, 1845, and are numbered sequentially: 32137, 31238 and 31239.95 They indicate “full payment has been made.” The price per acre was presumably $1.25, and the minimum purchase must have been reduced to 40 acres at this time. For little more than the cost of a good mare, each son now had a respectable tract of land upon which to homestead and farm. They were the first individuals of European descent to own this land. The locations of their tracts are indicated on this plat map (which was drawn up in 1888. By then some properties had changed hands.)

     Although the land was entered in the name of his sons, Henry and his family, along with Elias and his family, must have lived on these farms for the first few years; the exact arrangements are unknown. Meanwhile, there was still a strong Arvin presence back in Washington County, Kentucky.

Kentucky Tax List Book 1845     Left page    Right page

                                                               Horses                                                      Total
                                  Over 21                Mares          Value       Children 5-16      Value
Arvin   Thomas              1                           1                 40                                         40  
           Thomas P           1                           1                 30                                         30
           Thomas H          1                           1                 40                                          40
. . .
. . .
           John                   1                            4                100                    2                  100
           James                 1                            1                 25                                          25
. . .
Arvin   Richard             1                             1                 25                                          25   

     Henry and both Elias Arvins, as well as Joshua, Joseph and George Arvin are no longer listed.
     Thomas P. Arvin, Henry’s younger brother, is no longer managing the William Bowles property. His only taxable property is his horse. This is the last information we have about Thomas Padgett Arvin. It is not known what happened to him from this time on. Apparently he did not relocate to Indiana, although like Henry he also settled his debt with James H Cunningham in 1841.96 The last chapter of his life story was never written. Family tradition holds that he had a daughter, Anna, who married a man named Fields. Their children were left orphans, and they are shown in later census data living with the Henry, Elias and Rosa Arvin families.
     Henry’s second son, Thomas H. Arvin (along with James Arvin and John Arvin), is still listed as a taxpayer in Kentucky, although he now owns land in Indiana. It is not clear whether he was still actually living in Kentucky or not. Was he bringing in one last crop? 
     In 1846, James, John and Thomas Arvin are again present in the Kentucky Tax List Books. But beginning in 1847 John Arvin—and only John Arvin—is shown on the books. Richard Arvin is unidentified, although William and Theresa’s third child, born in Kentucky in 1842, was named Richard Harrison Arvin. Everyone else apparently has moved on. James Arvin must have moved permanently to Indiana in 1847, to be with the rest of his family.

     Thomas Arvin, oldest son of the late Edward Arvin Jr., enlisted as a soldier in the Mexican War. The 4th Regiment of Kentucky Foot Volunteers was organized at Springfield in September of 1847. Thomas joined on 4 October 1847 and served in Company I under Captain Mark Hardin. The following year the unit marched to Louisville (a distance of 60 miles), arriving on 3 October 1847. Thomas mustered out of the Volunteers at Louisville on 25 July 1848.97
     Thomas Arvin died on the 13th of September 1848. On the 22nd of November, John Arvin and Joseph Osborne came before the Washington County court to give testimony. Their visit was a necessary step in “proving” (i.e. probating) his death, in order to settle his estate. John and Joseph told the court “that said Thomas Arvin was never married had no children and left no widow and they believe that his Father is dead and that his mother Nancy Arvin is now living in Hardin County Ky.” Captain Hardin also appeared and testified that Thomas had been a soldier in his unit.98 

     John Arvin, born in Maryland on 22 December 1811, is shown on the Washington County, Kentucky, Census of 1870, the head of a large family. The census was taken in June, but he would be gone only a few months later. “John Arven” died on 1 December 1870 and was buried in Kentucky at the St. Rose Church Cemetery. His wife Elizabeth died in 1877 and is also buried there. A child of “John Arven” was buried at St. Rose on 28 February 1842. A John J. Arvin, son of John and Elizabeth Arvin, was buried at St. Rose on 28 May 1843.99

Complete Transition

     All who would relocate to Indiana have now done so. Everyone was situated in northeastern Daviess County, close to one another in the fertile farming lands which lay west of the eastern branch of the White River. They settled just a few miles west of that little hamlet known as Mount Pleasant, which was on the other side of the Daviess County-Martin County line, on a knoll above the river. The town itself was not very old. Here’s a description from the 1833 edition of the Indiana Gazetteer:

          Mount Pleasant, a post town and seat of justice of Martin county. It was situated on the west bank
          of the east fork of White river, on the state road leading from New Albany to Vincennes. The site is
          elevated about a hundred and fifty feet above the bed of the river. There are several springs of excellent
          water in and near the town, and it is surrounded by an extensive body of good farming land, a part of
          which is of the richest quality. It contains about thirty dwelling houses and one hundred and fifty
          inhabitants. The public buildings are a jail and a spacious brick court house. It has four mercantile
          stores, one tavern, a postoffice, two preachers of the gospel, two physicians, one common school
          with a good teacher, a number of craftsmen of various trades, and a mill propelled by horse power. It is
          about eighty-seven miles southwest of Indianapolis, north latitude 38 35’, west longitude 9 40’. 100 

      On a larger scale, this entire region had originally all been Knox County, formed in 1790. As the population increased and settlements were established, Knox County had been divided in 1817, and Daviess County was established.101 Only three years later, in 1820, Daviess County was divided, and Martin County was established.
     As for Martin County, “The greater per cent of the 1,032 inhabitants of the county in 1820 were ambitious, energetic, and ‘foot free and money light.’ There were only 59 persons 45 years of age and older. The population possessed courage, determination, enthusiasm, self-confidence, and virility, and a firm faith in their ability and knowledge.”102 

     Within Daviess County (shown here), Reeve Township was established. “This township took its name from the first settler in that territory, Joshua Reeve. He came from South Carolina to this part of Daviess County in 1808….Alfordsville, in Reeve township, is the principal village in the southeastern portion of the county. It was laid off, June 3, 1845, by Isaac Harris….Post office established, April 1, 1856.”103 

Catholics in Daviess and Martin Counties

     “The great majority of the Catholic population are those who came from Kentucky or Ireland…..The first settlers were attracted to these counties because of the rich land for sale at a very low price. This ‘land craze,’ as it may be called, gave rise to that of St. Joseph’s, St. Peter’s and St. Mary’s parishes and largely to that of Mt. Pleasant.”104 The Arvin clan naturally began attending the church in their area, Saint Rose. (Was it named after the St. Rose Church in Washington County, Kentucky, where many parishioners had come from?) At this time, Fr. John Guegan was pastor of St. Mary’s Catholic Church, located about seven miles to the north in Barr Township. He also had responsibility for  the Mt. Pleasant “flock,” at St. Rose.
      The St. Rose church building was only partly completed and had long been a work in progress. “The place never had a resident priest, but was visited by perhaps all the priests at St. Mary’s dating to the time of its prosperity. The church was commenced by Father Delaune, but left unfinished; after him came Father Parsett occasionally from [the town of ] Washington;…as late as 1839. Rev. Father John Mougin [pastor 1858-1860] had a brick sanctuary built and some carpenter work done;….A modern steeple was also built…, and thus the church was finished almost twenty years after it had been commenced, only soon to be disused and torn down…. Many of the old settlers are buried in what is known as the Patrick Riley burying ground, but when the church was built at Mt. Pleasant a graveyard was begun there…”105
     In 1848, Fr. Patrick Joseph R. Murphy succeeded Fr. Guegan as pastor of St. Mary’s Church. He kept a careful record of the sacraments which he administered, and it still survives today.106 Several weddings of Henry and Theresa’s children, along with  those of Elias and Catherine’s, and several baptisms of Arvin grandchildren, are all recorded by Fr. Murphy, when he made trips to the St. Rose Church. In it, he tells us “The Mount Pleasant Church and all the stations attached to that congregation have also been regularly attended from St. Mary’s Church. Mass is said every alternate Sunday in St. Mary’s and Mt. Pleasant churches.”

Canal Land

      The Wabash and Erie Canal was a shipping canal that linked the Great Lakes to the Ohio River via a man-made waterway. The canal provided traders with access from the Great Lakes all the way to the Gulf of Mexico. Over 460 miles long, it was the longest canal ever built in North America.107 “The United States Congress provided a land grant on March 2, 1827 for the canal’s construction. On January 5, 1828, the Indiana General Assembly accepted the grant and appointed three commissioners.”108 The land was given to the State of Indiana, which then granted it to The Wabash and Erie Canal.
     To fund operations, some land was sold off as excess, providing revenue for the construction of the canal.
“The canal era dawned slowly over the broad expanse that was the Hoosier state during the 1820s and early 1830s. Other states were already feverishly involved in various internal improvements by this time….When the three-man board of trustees officially assumed control of the canal and its appurtenances in July, 1847, the enterprise was entering its most prosperous period as well as the time of its most virtuous leadership. The bondholder-elected trustees—non resident Charles Butler and resident Thomas H. Blake of Terre Haute—were indefatigable in their labors, scrupulously honest in their dealings, and totally dedicated to making the canal a financial success. High standards were set for all employees, and close attention was paid both to the new contract lettings and land sales on the lower divisions of the property….Income from rents, tolls and land sales was promising during the late 1840s and early 1850s—the peak year for the canal as a whole was in 1852—and slowly but steadily, despite outbreaks of cholera and other epidemics among the canal laborers, the waterway inched its way through the southwestern counties of  Indiana to the Ohio River at Evansville.”109 “The Asiatic cholera, which had been prevalent throughout Ohio, Indiana and Illinois during the years 1849 to 1851, made its appearance in Daviess county in the summer of 1852….Within a few days after the appearance of the disease a number of deaths occurred.”110 The Arvin family must have been acutely aware of the dangers of cholera.


11 July 1848:
Henry made entry on 40 acres of land for himself and Theresa at the Vincennes land office. He received a Patent 906 (a direct grant of land, pending payment in full) on 40 acres (SW-SE 23-2-5) from “Trustees of Wabash and Erie Canal” in June 1849.111 A deed on the land, dated 1 June 1849, would not be recorded with the Daviess County Recorder until 23 November 1858.112

1850 – Seventh United States Census

Henry Arvin shown on 1850 Census as living in “Reeve Township, in the County of Davies, State of Indiana enumerated by me, on the 15th day of November 1850. George A. Walter, Ass’t Marshal.” He and Theresa are surrounded by their sons Thomas, Joseph, Joshua O. and their families.

Image of page 837     page 388  

  [*]         [**]                  Age Sex Color    Profession Occupation or Trade     Value of           Place of          Persons over 20  
                                                                                            of each Male Person over 15       Real Estate          Birth              years of age
                                                                                                      years of age                          owned                               cannot read & write

1515       Thomas Arvin    37    M                        Farmer                       200            Md                 1

               Margaret      "     21    F                                                                               In                  1

               Mary            "      3     "                                                                                 "

               Theresa         "     2     "                                                                                 "  

               Mary Fields        11    "                                                                                 "  
1516       Henry Arvin       63   M                         Farmer                        200            Md                1
               Theresa     "        63   F                                                                                  "                  1
               William      "      39   M                              "                                                  "
               Laura          "      15    F                                                                                Ky
               Mary          "      12    F                                                                                 Ky
               Richard H  "       8    M                                                                                  "
               Thomas Fields   12    "                                                                                   "
1517       Joseph Arvin      35    "                               "                            300             Md
               Rose            "     27     F                                                                               Ky
               William        "     6     M                                                                                In
               Elizabeth      "     3     F                                                                                  "
1518       Joshua  O    "     29    M                             "                             300             Ky
               Caroline       "    29     F                                                                               Ky
               John             "     5     M                                                                                In
               Francis         "     3      "                                                                                  "
               James           "     1      "                                                                                  "
1519       George         "    25     "                              "                             150              Ky
               Jemima        "     26    F                                                                                Md
               James          "       2    M                                                                                 In
1520       James           "      22    "                               "                             100              Ky               1
               Mary           "      20    "                                                                                  In

*    “Families numbered in the order of visitation.”

**  “The Name of every Person whose usual place of abode on the first day of June, 1850, was in this family.”


     Oldest son William is living in Henry and Theresa’s household; Laura, Mary and Richard are his children. His wife Theresa (nee Fields) has died. Probate Records dated April, 1848, indicate William was made heir to their children, and Henry was made their guardian.114 William would marry Martha Ann (nee Ward) at St. Rose in Mount Pleasant on 11 September 1853.115 They would later have a son together, whom they would name William.  
     Notice that, while Henry and Theresa and second son Thomas are listed as illiterate, sons William, Joseph, Joshua and George and their wives are not. Youngest son James P. has not yet learned to read and write, although he would later.

     Elias Arvin is also listed in the 1850 census, living close by in the Perry Township of Martin County, Indiana.


[*]    [**]                          Age Sex Color    Profession Occupation or Trade             Value of         Place of         Persons over 20
                                                                                                    of each Male Person                      Real Estate         Birth               years of age
                                                                                                    over 15 years of age                          owned                                   cannot read &

59      59 Elias   Arvin       60    M                            Farmer                          500              Md                1
               Catharine "         56     F                                                                                      Md                1
               John         "         17    M                                                                                      Ky

               Thomas    "         14     F                                                                                      Ky
               Lucretia Fields   17     F                                                                                       Ky
               Sarah K Fields    6      F                                                                                        Ky

Augustine Arvin (son of Henry, nephew of Elias) and his family also live nearby in the Rutherford Township of Martin County.



8      8    Augustus Arvin    26     M                         Farmer                            150                Ky                  1
              Rebecca      "        22     F                                                                                      Ind                  1    
              Thomas H.  "         2     M                                                                                       "  
              William   R.  "       1/12    M                                                                                       "   


7 May 1851: Elias made entry on 40 acres of land for himself and Catherine in Daviess County (NE-SE 26-2-5). His patent was also from the Trustees of the Wabash and Erie Canal, and was dated in August of 1851. In November of 1854, they deeded this land to their sons John Leonard (age 21) and Thomas (age 17), not  in return for money, but rather for “Support.”117

5 January 1852: Henry made entry on an additional 40 acres of land adjoining his original 40 acres on its west side (SE-SW 23-2-5). He received a Patent on it from the “Trustees of Wabash and Erie Canal” in January 1852.118 Deed to this land, dated March 1852, was recorded with the County Recorder on 19 November 1858.119

Daviess County Tract Book

     The land which most of the Arvin clan homesteaded can be located from the listings in this abstract from a Daviess County Tract Book. The legal descriptions are written in an abbreviated form. For example, the description of Joseph E. Arvin’s land should be read as: “The Southwest quarter of the Northeast quarter of Section 22, Township No. 2 North, Range 5 West.”


Where Recorded                                                        

Part of Section    Acres   Name                    Kind of Land       Date of Entry     Cert      Date of Patent     Vol.  Page

SW-NE   22-2-5   40       Joseph E Arvin          U.S.             July 13, 1844     32139                                     .
NE-NE   23  " "    40       Thomas                     Canal            Feby 7, 1854       9461     Mar 1, 1854          20
SE-NE     "   " "    40       George W                     "                July 30, 1852      4783      Oct 1, 1852           10
SW-NE   "   " "     40       Thomas H                  U.S.             July 13, 1844     32138                                      .
NE-SE    "   " "     40       George W                 Canal            Apr 30,  1850     2166       June 1, 1850           5
SE-SE     "   " "     40       Augustin                      "                Feby 22, 1854     9643       Mar 1, 1854          20
NW-SE   "   " "     40       Thomas                        "                 Mar 27, 1851      3062       May 1, 1851         7
SW-SE    "  "  "     40       Henry                          "                 July 11, 1848       906        June 1, 1849           2
NE-SW   "   " "     40       James                           "                Nov 13, 1850      2424        May 1, 1851          5
SE-SW    "   " "     40       Henry                          "                 Jan  5,  1852       4025        Mar  1, 1852          9
NE-SE   26 " "      40        Elias                            "                May 7, 1851        3208       Aug 1, 1851           7
NW-SE   "  " "     40        George                         "                July 5, 1852         4026        Mar 1, 1852          9

SW-SE    "   " "    40        John                             "                June 6, 1856       12198      July 15, 1856        25


     Exact locations of the highlighted holdings are indicated here, on the plat map. (Remember, the map was published in an atlas in 1888, and some ownership had changed by that time.) Joshua O. Arvin’s land (SE-NW 15-2-5) is not listed in this particular tract book.

Land Entry files were created when a person claimed land under an act of Congress. They first had to fill out an application, and sometimes provide other information (marriage or immigration documents), at the local General Land Office. The Date of Patent was the date the certificate was actually signed in Washington, D.C.121



Text Box:        Dear Unkles 
        Jos E Arvin has entered 40 acres of land and Thomas H Arvin
        has entered 40 acres of land and our land is about 4 to 5 miles
        from Mount Pleasant laze southwest.  
        Jos E Arvin laze about 1 miles from Thomas land West 
        Joshua O Arvin laze one mile from Jos land laze north 
        and we all like our land well for we think our land is first rate land
        and Thos land laze beautiful and level and well timbered no running 
        spring but stock water and my farm and Joshua O Arvin land
        laze beautiful and level and a perrary one part of it well timbered
        no spring on it but stock water a plenty and natures.

        Joseph Padison and Thomas Sumar, and James Horn they gaining their
        land, and Cathlic settlement and 1 church four miles one more in 7 miles
        and our land all laze in davis county 
        and I like first rate all but one thing and that is because I cant see 
        enough money passing
        people all appear to be frenly and you did want to know what became
        of Emla Mitchel she is living at figings and I have seen her and she told
        me she likes her home first rate….
        Henry Arvin says he likes it very well and has a good crop of 
        corn 22 acres and tricy likes the land better in indiana than  
        Kentucky but she likes the people better in Ky than in Ind 
        and I have as good cotton as I ever raise in Ky and I have a better
        garden than I ever had and Mary and Roze say they like it very well
        ….and George say he druther live in Ky and James Arvin say so too.


Bounty Land

     “Bounty land is a grant of free land from a government given to citizens as a reward for service to their country, generally for military-related service. Most bounty-land warrants in the United States were given to veterans or their survivors for wartime military service performed between 1775 and 3 March 1855. This includes veterans who served in the American Revolution, the War of 1812 and the Mexican War.

     “Bounty land warrants weren't automatically issued to every veteran who served. The veteran first had to apply for a warrant and then, if the warrant was granted, he could use the warrant to apply for a land patent. The land patent is the document which granted him ownership of the land. Bounty land warrants could also be transferred or sold to other individuals.”123



7 February 1851: Elias made a trip to Jeffersonville, in Clark County, Indiana (across the Ohio River from Louisville, Kentucky), and applied for a Land Bounty based on his military service in the War of 1812. A new Act of Congress had been passed in September of 1850. He was granted Warrant No. 34722 which entitled him to patent 40 acres of land in the Vincennes Land District. He chose land which is actually across the county line in Martin County  (SW-SE 25-2-5), shown here in this later map of Martin County, stitched alongside the 1888 map of Daviess County. The patent was signed in Washington D.C. by the General Land Office on 1 September 1852. Elias and Catherine later deeded both their farms to sons John and Thomas, in return for “Support and Maintenance.” 


10 April 1851: Henry applied at Mt. Pleasant, Martin County, Indiana, for his own Land Bounty.  


State  of  Indiana}
County of  Martin} ss
                    On this tenth day of April AD one
thousand eight hundred and fifty one, personally
appeared before me, a notary public by author=
ity of law duly commissioned and qualified within
and for the County and State aforesaid, Henry
Arvin, aged sixty three years, a resident of
Daviess County in the State of Indiana, who
being duly sworn according to the law, declares, that
he is the identical Henry Arvin, who was a
private in the Company Commanded by Cap
tain Roby in the              Regiment of the Mary-
land Militia Commanded by Colonel Ashton
in the War with Great Britain declared by the
United States on the 18th day of June 1812,
that he was drafted at Beentown Charles County
Maryland, on  or about the 1st day of
A.D. 1814, for an indefinite period of time as
he remembers and believes, and Continued in
actual service in said War for the term of
as he further remembers and believes
about three months^ and was honorably dis=
Charged at Charles County Maryland, on or
about the 1st day of September A.D. 1814, as
will appear by the Muster Rolls of said Com=
pany, and that he never received any written
discharge from said Service.


The said Henry Arvin further states that
he is the identical Henry Arvin who was a
private in the Company Commanded by
Captain             in the                Regiment
of Maryland Militia Commanded by
Colonel Ashton in the same War, that he
was drafted at Beentown aforesa. . . .about
the         day of May A.D. 1813.  . . . .of ten
days, and Continued in act. . . . . . . . . .said
War at that time for a term of about ten days
and was honorably discharged at Charles County
Maryland on or about the 1st day of June
A.D. 1813, as will appear by the muster
Rolls of said last mentioned Company.
And he further states that he never received
any written Certificate of his discharge at the
time last mentioned.
  He makes this declaration for the purpose
of obtaining the bounty land to which he
may be entitled under the “Act granting
bounty land to Certain officers and
Soldiers Who have been engaged in the
Military Service of the United States” passed
September 28th 1850. He further states that
he was discharged with the understanding the he  must keep
himself ready to be called into the service at any time when
  witness Danl Brooks                    
Henry x Arvin

Sworn and Subscribed before me this day
and Year above written ~ And I hereby Cer=


tify that I believe the said Henry Arvin
to be the identical man who served as afore=
said, and that he is the age above stated

                             In Witness Whereof I Daniel
                              Brooks,   notary   public  as
                              aforesaid, have hereunto set
                               my  hand  and  affixed  my
                        Notarized seal at Mt. Pleasant
                               in  said  County  of  Martin
                              this  said  10th  day  of  April
                              A.D. 1851        
                                           Daniel Brooks
                                             Notary Public


                  Mt. Pleasant, April 17th 1851
Hon I. E. Heath
                  Dear Sir. I herewith send you the
application of Mr. Henry Arvin for bounty land
He is rather an illiterate man and his recollection
as to some things not very clear, but his a very
correct man and I hope enough is stated to
show his Identity. He says he was held
in readiness to be called out to prevent the British
from landing for a considerable time, and is not in con=
sequence sure how long he was considered in service. I make
this explanation at his request.
                          Truly Yours   Wm E Niblack
                                                Atty for Applct   


                                                               92-730 Apr 24/51
cme Arvin
                                                 Md_ Mil_

     Henry’s application was rejected, due to insufficient service. Although he had actually served under four captains in the regiment commanded by Colonel Ashton (Benjamin Fendall, Wilson Smoot, Francis Thompson and Townley Robey), he could only remember Capt. Robey for the declaration.

2 April 1853: Henry, now sixty-five, made another declaration, through his attorney, for the bounty land “by way of an amendment and supplemental to a former application.”


                                    Mt. Pleasant Ind. April 11th 1853

    I herewith send you the Amended or Supplemental
application of Mr. Henry Arvin for bounty land
under the “Act of Sept. 28. 1850” – His first appli=
=cation was made in 1851 I think, but the name
of one of the Captains, that of Capt. Thompson was
was omitted. The applicant not being able at

that time to remember his name.
     I hope the present application will be found suffi=
=cient. Mr. Arvin lived at the time near the seat of
War, and was called out on several short tours the
particulars of all which he cannot now give from
memory.  He was during the intervals required to
keep himself armed and in readiness for service
at any moment. His brother Mr. Elias Arvin
received a land Warrant for service rendered at
the same time and place and under Similar Circum=

                     Yours respectfully      Wm E. Niblack
                                                           Atty. For Applicant.
Comr of Pensions
               Washington City.


        State of Indiana}
      County of Martin} ss
                                On this 2d day of April A.D.
   one thousand eight hundred and fifty three personally
   appeared before me, a notary public of said County
   duly Commissioned and qualified within and for
   the County and State aforesaid Henry Arvin
   aged sixty five Years a resident of Daviess Co.
   in the State of Indiana, who being duly sworn accord=
   ing to law, declares, that he is the Identical Henry
   Arvin, who was a private in the Company or Compa=
   anies Commanded by Captains Roby and Frank
   Thompson alternately in the Regiment of Mary=
   land  Militia Commanded by Gen. Stewart in the War
   with Great Britain declared by the United States
   on the 18th day of June 1812, that he was drafted
   at Beantown in Charles Co. Maryland in the
   Year 1813 for an indefinite period of time as he
   now remembers and believes and continues in actual
   Service in said war at intervals as he was called
   on from time to time during the Years 1813 & 1814
   for the term of about three months as he further remem=
   bers and believes, and was honorably discharged at
   Charles Co. in Maryland on the _____ day of
                  1814  as will appear by the muster roll or rolls
   of said company or companies, that he never received


   any written discharge from said service.
        He makes this declaration for the purpose
   of obtaining the bounty land to which he may
   be entitled under the “Act granting bounty land &c”
   passed September 28th 1850, And by way
   of amendment to a former application made by him for the
   same services made by him in the Year 1851.
        witness                                                      his
James M Niblack                                Henry  x  Arvin
    Danl Brooks                                              mark                 
   Sworn to and Subscribed before me the day and
   Year above written. And I hereby Certify, that I
   believe the said Henry Arvin to be the Identical
   man who served as aforesaid. And that he is of
   the age above stated.

                             In Witness Whereof I have hereunto
                             set my hand and affixed
                             my notarrial Seal this 2d day
                             of April A.D. 1853 in my office
                             in Mt. Pleasant in said County of
                             Martin.                 Daniel Brooks
                                                              Notary Public    



   No. 92730

 3 Aud. Office 24.June 1853
In addition to the service
already reported, Henry
Arvin served under Capt
Francis Thompson from
the 3 to the 22 Augst 1814.

                 R Grave
                   For 3d  Aud

     This application was approved, and Henry was granted a warrant for 43.29 acres, No. 91722, issued 2 October 1854. He patented land which is located off to the east, in Orange County, Indiana (NW-NW 7-2N-2W). Henry sold this land, and the patent was issued as having already having been “assigned to Thomas Graves.”

16 April 1855: Under a new law recently passed by Congress, “Act of March 3d, 1855,” Henry, now sixty-seven years old, applied for 120 acres of bounty land. This time the declaration had to be made before a Justice of the Peace.


State of Indiana   }
County of Martin} ss
                                  On this the sixteenth day of April
A.D. one Thousand Eight hundred and fifty five
personally appeared before me a justice of the Peace
within and for the County and State aforesaid Henry
Arvin aged sixty seven years a resident of Daviess
County in the State of Indiana who being duly sworn
according to law declares that he is the identical Henry
Arvin who was a private in the Company Commanded by
Captains Roby and Frank Thomson in the       Rege

-ment of Maryland Militia Commanded by Colonel
Ashton in the War with Great Britain declared
by the United States on the 18th day of June 1812 That
he was drafted in Charles County in Bean Town in
the State of Maryland in Class No. 2,  for an indefinite
length of time, in the year 1813, and in June or July of 1814
he was called into service and continued in actual
service for at least thirty days and was honorably
discharged, on  Patuxin River in Charles County
aforesaid, sometime in August he thinks, and that
he received no certificate of discharge, as will appear
by the muster rolls of said company; that he obtained
under the Act of September 28th 1850 a Said Warrant
for forty acres of Land for said services which
he sold and which he thinks was located in the
Vincennes Land District, but he does not know the
number of said Warrant. He makes this declaration
for the purpose of obtaining bounty land under the
Act of March3d 1855 never having received but
forty acres of Bounty Land and never having made
previous application under said last mentioned act
Witness                                                  his
James R Bryant                           Henry x  Arvin  
Patrick Larkin                                       mark        

     Henry’s application was approved, and Warrant No. 51977 was issued. The location of the land that was then patented or sold is unknown.124

18 April 1855: Elias, “resident of Martin County,” also applied for and received a warrant for 120 acres of military bounty land, No. 40692. Later, he states it was land “which I sold.”

Late in Life

       Henry and Teresa celebrated their golden wedding anniversary, 50 years of marriage, on the first of January, 1860. Their marriage had now spanned half a century. They had known good times and bad, joy and sorrow.
     Early that summer, in anticipation of his death, Henry had a final
will which was recorded at the Daviess County courthouse on 29 May 1860. His wife’s name is spelled “Terrissa” (sic) in the will.




                                    Henry    Arvins    Will


     In the name of God Amen. I Henry Arvin of Daviess County in the State of In=

diana, being weak in body but of sound and of disposing mind and memory and

understanding, considering the certainty of death and the uncertainty of the time to

come. Thereof and being desirous to settle my worldly affairs and there being the better

prepared to leave this world, where it may please God to call me hence, I do therefore

make and publish this my last will and testament in manner and form this is
to say.
     First and principally I commit my soul in the hands of Almighty God and

my body to the Earth to be decently buried at the discretion of my Executor to be herein

after named., and after my just debts and burial charges are paid.  Secondly I

give and bequeath to my good wife Terrissa all my Real Estate and personal prop=

erty with the exception of a bay horse coult two years old. Thereby I will and

bequeath to my grandson Richard Harrison Arvin the above described two year

old bay coult. I also bequeath that Lorian Harvin shall have a single life living

with my wife Terrisa so long as she behave well, but if she misbehaves, my wife Terrissa

will be at liberty to send her of the place. I Also bequeath that after my wifes death

my daughter Mary Ellen Arvin gets ten dollars in cash out of the property. I

also bequeath after my wifes death that the children of my late daughter Rosa
Patterson the sum of twenty five Dollars to be divided Equally between Mary
Louisa Patterson, Terrissa Ellen Patterson and Martha Patterson. & I also bequeath

after the death of my wife Terrissa that the Children of my son William to wit: Lorian

Arvin Elizabeth Mary Arvin and Richard Harrison Arvin shall each have on half a

share of my property, according To my own children on an Equal division.
     I constitute my sons Joseph & James Arvin the sole executors of my last will

and Testament In Testimony whereof I have hereunto set my name and affixed my seal

this the twenty ninth day of May in year of Our Lord One Thousand Eight hundred

and sixty                                                                                                       his
                                                                                                           Henry  x  Arvin

     Signed sealed and published and declared by Henry Arvin the above named

Testators and for his last will and Testament, in the presence of Each of us have subscribed

Our names as Witnesses Thereto                                                      L. S McClure


                                                                                                                                            James x Gold




Lorian Harvin, Henry and Theresa’s granddaughter Laura Ann, may have had emotional or behavioral problems, and apparently lived a troubled life. Her father William had remarried, moved away and started another family. He died in Petersburg, Indiana, in 188
3. It may have been a struggle for “Lorian’s” grandparents to keep her under their roof. She lived the last seven years of her life at the Martin County Poor Asylum and died a pauper in 1902 at the age of 71. 126

Rosa L. (Arvin) Patterson, Henry and Theresa’s daughter, born in Kentucky in 1818, married Martin Patterson in 1846. They had three daughters: Mary Louisa, Theresa and Martha, who were only 3, 4 and 6 years old when she died on 12 December 1856. Rosa Patterson is buried in the St. Rose cemetery at Mt. Pleasant. Martin died in 1901 and is buried at St. John’s cemetery in Loogootee.


Death of Henry Arvin       

18 June 1860, Henry passed away. He was 72 years old. His funeral was probably held at Saint John Catholic Church in Loogootee, as Mount Pleasant was now largely abandoned as Loogootee began to prosper. But he was buried in the Arvin family plot at the old Saint Rose Church. Henry had lived through a great sweep of historic times, his life stretching from the beginnings of a new nation to the threshold a great Civil War which almost tore it apart. Like so many others, he had migrated west to the fresh new lands of this new nation, twice, and with persistence and determination had made it work for himself and for his family. He enjoyed the good times, endured the bad. He struggled to improve his lot in life and to provide a livelihood for his children and a future for his grandchildren. He succeeded, and his legacy is carried on through them. He may have been rather an illiterate man, but he was a very correct man. He was Henry Arvin.



1860 – Eighth United States Census

    Henry is not shown on this census, which was taken in early July. Theresa, very recently a widow, is shown living in Daviess County, Reeve Township, Alfordsville P.O., with her grandchildren. They live close to Elias (listed incorrectly as “Eliza,” a female) and Catherine.


Dwelling   Name                            Age Sex Color       Profession               Value of            Value of             Place of                 
House                                                                                Occupation             Real Estate          Personal              Birth                                    
                                                                                            or Trade                   Estate                 Estate   
827       George W Arven   42  M                farmer            400               200            Ky
             Mary Ellen   "        45  F                                                                                 Ky
             Rosa Jane     "         8   F                                                                             Indiana
             Treasa  C      "         6   F                                                                             Indiana 
             Henary         "         1   M                                                                            Ind

828       828 Vacant house

829       Eliza Arven            71  F             W farming          400              200          Maryland
             Catharan Arven      65  F             W farming          800              400          Maryland

830       Treacee   Arvein     73  F             W farming          400              200          Maryland
              Loryan  Arvein      26  F                                                                              Maryland
              Richard Arvein     18 M                Farmer                                                 Maryland

831        Hugh  Parkes           57 M                Farmer              800            200           Ireland        
               Briget    "              45 f                                                                                 Ireland
               Maryan  "              3  f                                                                                 Indiana
               Susan    "               1  f                                                                                 Indiana

              Concluded                                 Concluded                                   Concluded    

1870 – Ninth United States Census

     Elias and his family are shown on the 1870 census of Daviess County. Although Elias still calls himself a farmer, we know from his military pension application made the following year that he had retired and moved to Alfordsville. He and Catherine live next door to Richard Arvin, who is now married with two children and perhaps three step-children. Troubled Loryan Arvin is now out of the household.


   *    **                            Age  Sex  Color               Profession             Value of       Value of        Place of          Education              Male Citz
                                                                              Occupation            Real Estate     Personal          Birth              Cannot
                  of U.S. 21
                                                                                    or Trade                                   Estate                                Read Write                 and up
23   21 Arvin, Ellis   80  M   W             Farmer              800         200      Maryland      1     1                       1  
           Catherine   73   F    W       Keeping house                                  Maryland
           Lavina A   35   F    W                                                                   Indiana

  24 22Arvin, Richard  26  M   W            Farmer               200                      Kentucky     1     1                          1            
            Ann           33   F   W       Keeping house                                     Indiana
            Tracey A    1    F   W                                                                     Indiana 
            William H
8/12 M   W                                                                     Indiana                    ♠ Nov 
       Cissel, Elizabeth   13  F   W                                                                    Indiana                                »1
            Marsha       11  F   W                                                                    Indiana                                »1
    Charlotte     8   F   W                                                                                             Indiana                                »1

*    “Dwelling-houses, numbered in the order of visitation.”
** “The Name of every Person whose place of abode on the first day of June, 1870, was in this family.”
  “If born within the year, state month (Jan., Feb., &c.)”
 »  “Attended school within the year.”


     Theresa Arvin is now living with her youngest son James and his family. (James can now read and write.)


14 13 Arvin, James P 42 M W             Farmer       2200          600            Kentucky                              1
Mary          39 F W       Keeping house                                      Indiana            1     1 
— Treacy E    19 F W                                                                     Indiana
            — Thomas H 17 M W                                                                     Indiana
            — Treacy       82  F W                                                                     Maryland        1      1


Military Pensions

     Under an act of 14 February 1871, Congress made pensions available to veterans of the War of 1812 and their widows. If the claim was approved, payment of $8.00 per month accrued from the date of the act. “The 1871 act provided pensions to veterans who had served at least 60 days or to their widows if they had married before 1815.”127 In April, Elias, now 81 years old, signed Articles of Agreement  (reverse) with attorney Alexander Chomel, and Chomel filed a claim for him with the Pension Office of the Department of The Interior in Washington, D.C.

     In April of 1871, a widow’s claim was initiated for Theresa. But she was now 82 years old, in ill health, bedridden and unable to appear in person at Notary Public Thomas Kyle’s office at Washington, Indiana (the Daviess County seat.) So Elias and long time friend Samuel Padgett assisted her in applying. Theresa signed Articles of Agreement, in duplicate, agreeing to pay Mr. Chomel $25.00 if her claim was approved. (reverse, duplicate) Chomel then assisted her in making her Declaration for Pension.
    Elias and Samuel swore an affadavit on her behalf.


     State of Indiana}
County of Daviess} SS:

  On this 11
th day of april 1871, personally
appeared before me Thomas H. Kyle a
Notary public within and for the county
and State aforesaid Elias Arvin and
Samuel Padget, residents of Alfordsville
Daviess County, State of Indiana, persons
well known to me as being respectable
and entitled to credit who being first
by me duly sworn according to law, say
that they are well acquainted with
and the neighbors of Theresa Arvin
who is now about 83 years of age,
that she is very weak and that at the
present time she is in bad health and
confined to her bed that she lives 16
miles from Washington the county seat
of Daviess that she is unable to go or
be carried there. Elias Arvin further
swears that he has known the said
Catherine Theresa for 69 years that she is
the widow of Henry Arvin, that he
knew her before marriage, that Henry
Arvin was his brother, that he and
the said Catherine Theresa were married at
    Charles County, State of Maryland


And the said Padget says that he has
known the said Catherine Theresa Arvin
for 40 years, that she is the widow
of Henry Arvin deceased, that he knew
them before marriage, and both of
said affiants further say that their marriage
was never questioned by any one and
that they have no interest direct or indirect
in the pension sought to be received
by the said Theresa Arvin.
Executed in presence  }              
    James P Arvin          }      Elias x Arvin
   Rosa J Arvin              }         
mark his
            Samuel x Padgett
Sworn to and subscribed before me,
I certify that I have read and explained
the contents of the foregoing affidavits
to these affiants before they signed the
same and that I have no interest
direct or indirect in the prosecution
of this Claim executed with the several
erasures contained in said affidavit
                                   Thomas H Kyle
                                       Notary Public

      James P. Arvin and Elias’s 19 year-old granddaughter, Rosey Jane, were present and witnessed the signatures of Elias and Samuel. Mr. Chomel then sent all these documents to the Pension Office in Washington, where they were received on the 18th of April.

Death of Theresa Arvin

     For Theresa, there was not enough time. She passed away on the 20th day of June, 1871. But she had lived an incredible life. She first met Henry when they were just teenagers back in the old Zachia Manor in Maryland. They married, started their family together, then suffered the devastation of the War of 1812 and migrated to Kentucky. Their family grew and grew; Theresa risked her life in labor at least twelve times, giving Henry at least thirteen children. Four—perhaps more—died young, but nine lived to adulthood and had families of their own. She and Henry managed to keep their clan close around them in a tight knit community in Kentucky, and they managed to transplant that community to Indiana. They had a total of 54 grandchildren, including three named Henry and six named Theresa. Henry and Theresa enjoyed married life for more than fifty years, and she survived him as a widow for more than a decade. She was Theresa Arvin.

     Henry and Theresa are buried side-by-side in the Arvin family plot at the old Saint Rose Catholic Church, which served the town of Mt. Pleasant in the “time of  its prosperity.” The town folded when a railroad line was put through a few miles to the north, giving rise to a new town called Loogootee, but the St. Rose Church cemetery remained in use. Today it stands where it has always been, reposing in quite dignity on a knoll above the White River. But the Church of St. Rose and the town of Mt. Pleasant are no longer. Like Henry and Theresa, we can only try to remember them as they once were. Things changed and the world moved on.

Postscript: The Estate

     On the 30th of December 1871, Henry and Theresa’s children and their husbands or their wives, along with William’s three children, and two “heirs at law,” all met at Thomas Kyle’s office in Washington, Indiana. They each signed a deed, indicating that, for $500.00 in consideration, they were deeding  Henry’s 40 acre farm (SE-SW 23-2-5) to a George W. Arvin. The deed was recorded on the public records in April of the 1872. It is not clear who the purchaser is. He may be another George W. Arvin, separate from “Short” George W. Arvin (son of Elias and Catherine, whose wife is Mary Ellen, daughter of Henry and Theresa, and who signs as “George W. Arvin sen.”) Apparently, for reasons unknown, Henry and Theresa’s son, “Long” George W. Arvin (wife, Jemima), is not involved in this transaction.

page 421   page 422

We William Arvin & Martha A. Arvin his wife, Thomas H Arvin
& Margaret Arvin his wife, Joseph E. Arvin & Rose A. Arvin
his wife, Joshua O Arvin & Caroline B. Arvin his
wife, Augustin Arvin & Rebecca A. Arvin his wife, George
W. Arvin Sen.& Mary E. Arvin his wife, James P. Arvin
& Mary Arvin his wife, Laura A. Arvin, Mary E.
Arvin & Thomas E. Arvin her husband, Richard H
Arvin & Ann M. Arvin his wife, Raphel Burch & Decater
Kelso heirs at law to the Estate of Henry Arvin Dec late of
Daviess County Indiana Quit Claim to George W
Arvin of Davies County Ind for the Sum of Five Hundred
00 dollars the following Real Estate Situate in
Daviess County Indiana to wit: The South East quarter
of the South West quarter of Section Twenty three (23)
in township Two (2) north of Range Five (5) West
containing Forty acres together with all the privileges
and appertenances thereto belonging
 In Witness whereof the Said William Arvin & Martha A
Arvin, Joseph E. Arvin & Rose Arvin Thomas H. Arvin &
Margaret Arvin Joshua O. Arvin & Catherine R. Arvin,
Augustine Arvin & Rebecca A Arvin, George W. Arvin sen&
Mary E. Arvin James P. Arvin & Mary Arvin Laura Arvin
Mary E. Arvin & Thomas E Arvin, Richard H. Arvin &
Ann M. Arvin, Raphael Burch & Decatur Kelso heirs
at law to the Estate of Henry Arvin Dec
d have herun
to Set their hands and Seals this 30
th day of December
his                                            his      
    William x Arvin {seal}          George x W. Arvin Sen{seal}
markher                                     markher
         Martha xA.Arvin{seal}         Mary E x Arvin {seal}
   hismark                                                        mark
   Thomas x H.Arvin{seal}        James P Arvin    {seal}
markher                                                       her    
      Margaret x Arvin {seal}
            Mary x Arvin {seal}
mark                                               hermark
         Joseph E Arvin {seal}      Laura xA.Arvin{seal}
                            her                                                 markher
         Roza Ax Arvin {seal}            Mary xE Arvin{seal}
hismark                                                       mark 
     Joshua x O Arvin  {seal}       Thomas E Arvin  {seal}
  markher                                              his
       Caroline x R Arvin  {seal}   Richard x H Arvin {seal}
       mark                                               her  mark
        Augustin Arvin  {seal}       Ann x M Arvin {seal}
      Rebecca x A. Arvin {seal}     Rapheal Burch  {seal}
       State of Indiana}                  Decatur Kelso   {seal}
       Daviess County}
Before me Thomas H Kyle a Notary Public
   in and for Said County this 30
th day of December 1871 personally
  appeared William Arvin&Martha A Arvin,Thomas H Arvin & Margaret
  Arvin,Joseph E Arvin&Rose A.Arvin Joshua O Arvin & Caroline
  R.Arvin Augustin Arvin & Rebecca A Arvin
  George W. Arvin Sen & Mary E Arvin James P Arvin & Mary
  Arvin, Laura A Arvin Mary E. Arvin &Thomas E. Arvin
  Richard H. Arvin & Ann J. Arvin Raphael Burch &
  Decatur Kelso heirs at law to the Estate of Henry Arvin
  Dec.d And Acknowledged the execution of the foregoing Deed
              Witness my hand and Notorial
{N.P.}                                Thomas H Kyle    {seal}
   {Seal}                            Notary Public
     I hereby certify that the Deed of which the above and
foregoing is a true copy was duly Stamped as provided
by act of congress and recorded on the 16
th day of April 1872
at 1 oclock    P. M.                      A.J.Smiley     R.D.C.

.  .  .
.  .  .

     Henry’s original 40 acres (SW-SE 23-2-5)—the land he had first entered when they moved to Indiana—was deeded in similar fashion to youngest son, James Polding Arvin. He paid $700.00 for this tract, probably because it contained the homestead. As the biographical sketch about him indicates, James does indeed own 150 acres of land at this time. Both transactions are shown on the General Index to Deed Records.

Image left page    right page

     The unknown George W. Arvin, who purchased Henry’s other 40 acres, may in fact be a George W. Arvin Jr., because in this transaction, George W. Arvin Sr. and George W. Arvin Jr. are both sellers of this land to James P. Arvin. Without all the facts, this transaction is somewhat confusing.

The Pension Claims

     All this while, Elias’s claim for a pension had been pending in Washington D.C. It was not until February of 1872 that T.D. Yeager, an examiner for the Pension Office, prepared a folder, requesting a summary of the military service used in granting any land bounties, and sent it to the Bounty Land Division. The Bounty Land Division prepared a folder and made annotations more inside it, then returned it to Yeager. In March, the Pension Office sent a letter to attorney Alexander Chomel, requesting a statement of Elias’s military service. Mr. Chomel responded on 8 June 1872, sending a letter, over Elias’s name, which supplied the information requested.
    In August of 1872, Elias’s claim was rejected. Evidence of only 41 days service could be found. A Brief of Claim for a Survivor’s Pension was sent to Mr. Chomel. (Decades later, in the early twentieth century, all this documentation was placed in an envelope for safekeeping. Note Catherine’s maiden name was apparently misspelled on it. This envelope and its contents are now in the custody of the National Archives and Records Administration.)

    Theresa’s claim was likewise slow in processing at the Pension Office. An examiner prepared a folder in August of 1871. It went back and forth to the Bounty Land Division several times, as the examiner, a Mr. Yeager, noted on the folder. As of September, 1871, little progress had been made. In October, a request was made to the Third Auditor for documentation of Henry’s military service under Captains Frank Thompson and Townley Robey. In January, 1872, some relevant information was returned to Mr. Yaeger.
    Theresa’s claim was rejected on 13 January 1872, due to insufficient service. Documentation of only 32 days’ duty could be found for Henry. A letter and a Brief of the claim were sent to Mr. Chomel. He persisted, however, and responded with a letter of appeal. (It was dated two days after his letter written on behalf of Elias.) This appeal of Theresa’s claim caused the case to be reopened in September of 1872. The Pension Office requested evidence of Henry’s service under Captain Wilson Smoot from the Third Auditor. His response was disappointing. Fifteen more days of military service was documented, but the grand total of 47 days was still short of the required 60. The Third Auditor responded in January, 1873, and the rejection of the claim was reaffirmed. Theresa was never entitled to a Widow’s Pension.

    These precious records, now in the custody of the National Archives and Records Administration in Washington, are the last documentary evidence we have of the amazing lives of Henry and Theresa Arvin.

Deaths of Elias and Catherine

     Elias died on 23 April 1875; Catherine died on 23 August 1877. Their story is quite similar to, and just as amazing as, the story of Henry and Theresa. They are buried at the cemetery of Mount Union Church, also known as Old Union or Sugar Creek Cemetery, located
southwest of Alfordsville on CR 1125 SE (Porterville Road), about ½ mile south of CR 700S, on the west side of the road.

Continued from Henry Arvin     Part 1 – The War of 1812

Researched and written by Robert Joseph Arvin, Jr.
   © Copyright A.D. 2010

Many thanks to my cousin Lavada Scott, who provided much research assistance, images and many family records.

Also, thanks to my friend Dale Flowers for the Computer Assisted Drawings of Henry’s land holdings.


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129.  Official Certified Copy, Daviess County Superior Courts, Vol. U, p 421    


Daniel Boone Escorting Settlers through the Cumberland Gap, 1851-52, George Caleb Bingham, courtesy Wikipedia
Traveling by Flatboat, engraving by Alfred Waud, courtesy Wikipedia Commons.
Pen and pencil drawing (“Hardin’s Creek Settlement”), from The Pictorial Field Book of the War of 1812 by Benson J. Lossing (1869)
Flatboat (foreground) and Keelboat around Pittsburgh, late 18th century, Smaller flatboat, and Maysville on the Ohio, Kentucky (circa 1821), courtesy Wikipedia
Thomas Herring Lincoln (1778-1851) from the Abraham Lincoln Library and Museum at Lincoln Memorial University, Harrogate TN, courtesy Wikipedia
Photo of Jefferson Davis f
orms part of Brady-Handy Photograph Collection (Library of Congress).
Thomas Jefferson by Rembrandt Peale, 1800, courtesy Wikipedia
Image of jail cell interior taken at Fort McHenry in Baltimore’s Outer Harbor.
“US Whig poster showing unemployment in 1837” courtesy Wikipedia
Andrew Jackson, 1824, Thomas Sully, courtesy Wikipedia
View of Main Street, Louisville, in 1846 from History of Kentucky (1874) by Richard H Collins
“Lot owners of the town of Springfield” from Washington County, Kentucky, Bicentennial History (1991), p 15
The Star spangled banner manuscript courtesy of the Library of Congress
Several images taken at the Oscar Getz Museum of Whiskey History and the Old Bardstown Village, which are both in Bardstown, Kentucky.
Image of Henry’s cabin taken at Abraham Lincoln Boyhood Home at Knob Creek, Kentucky.
Images of NARA military and land bounty records courtesy of Shannon D. Combs-Bennett, descendant of Augustin(e) Arvin

Arvin Ancestry Biographical Sketches