merchants...were cautious and prudent, 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. —J. F. McElroy
History of Lebanon [Kentucky]
Arvin and his twin sister Mary Ellen Arvin were born on 9 November 1815, in
Charles County, Maryland. They had two older brothers: William, born in June of
1811, and Thomas, born in May of 1813. All were born on the family compound known
as Arvin’s Enlargement, land
originally established by Joseph’s great grandfather prior to the Revolutionary
War. Their parents were Henry Arvin and
Theresa (nee Montgomery).
The economy of Southern Maryland had been devastated by the War of 1812, and in the post-war
years, the family migrated to Kentucky, following the well-established lead of
many Catholic families from St. Mary’s and Charles Counties. Joseph and Mary
Ellen were just infants when their family made the move (imagine!) and probably
had no memory of any of it. The family settled in western Washington County, Kentucky,
in the Hardin’s Creek Settlement. For a time they lived with Joseph’s uncle,
Thomas P. Arvin, who had probably accompanied them.
Henry and Theresa’s family expanded
rapidly. A younger brother (whose name is unknown) was born in 1817, the year after
the family arrived in Kentucky. A sister, Rosa L. Arvin, was born in February
of 1818. Another sister, Sary Arvin, was born in March 1820, but “died in
infancy” three weeks later. Yet another younger sister (name unknown) was born
in very late 1820. Brothers were born thereafter: Joshua O. Arvin in August
1821, Augustine Arvin in February 1824. George Washington Arvin was born in
January 1826. Another set of twins, Kendrick
Arvin and James P. Arvin, were born in January 1828. Kendrick died just three
Life in Washington County
Within two or
three years, the Arvins moved away from Thomas P’s farm and onto a succession
of rented farms, but they remained in the same general area of western
Washington County. In 1831, Henry completed the purchase of his own farm, two
tracts totaling about 130 acres, which were located “on the waters of Station
Run,” a small creek which today parallels Johnson Road. (The exact location of
the farm is unknown.) The family was Catholic, and they lived just a few miles
west of the St. Rose religious complex, which they attended. The complex itself
is about two miles west of Springfield, the county seat of Washington County, Kentucky.
Elizabeth Wells was a Catholic nun living at the St. Rose complex. She often
wrote letters to her brother, John Close, a contractor’s agent for the United States Army post
at Opelousas, Alabama. Her letters mention people living in Washington County
at this time, some of whom were familiar to the Arvins. Dr. Edward B. Gaither was the man who would be a party in a lawsuit against Henry Arvin in 1836.
Elizabeth’s avocation at St.
Rose was housekeeping. In 1828, she feared her job would be eliminated when a
new Superior took over, and she wrote to John about
her plans were she forced to leave St. Rose.
a prompt response from John, and it included a payment of one hundred dollars to
help her with her expenses. However, after that—despite repeated letters to him—she
heard nothing further. Therefore, she never put her plan to travel to Opelousas
into action. (Actually, she may never have had to leave St. Rose at all.) However,
with each unanswered letter, she grew increasingly apprehensive about John’s
fate, eventually writing that she feared he was dead. Though she got no
response, she persevered in her letter writing. For four long years, it was
always a one-sided conversation.
In January of 1833 (when the twins Joseph
and Mary Ellen Arvin were seventeen years old), Elizabeth wrote to John about a
new flare up of a very dangerous disease, which was often fatal and for which
there was no known cure. She writes, “I hope your country has escaped the
Cholera, with us it followed the [Ohio] river.”
In the spring of 1833, Elizabeth had
the opportunity to travel to the Deep South with a contingent from Washington
County, and perhaps visit John. However, unsure of whether he was still alive,
she did not make the journey. Then in April of 1833, she unexpectedly received
a letter from him. She immediately responded, and in her letter, she mentions another
Springfield resident, James H. Cunningham, the proprietor of the store where the Arvins traded when they went to town for supplies.
alt="Text Box: Washington County
St. Rose near Springfield
I received your kind affectionate letter Apr. 27, 1833. It gave me great joy as I had not
heard from you since about 4 years ago & did not know whether you were living during
which time & I wrote 6 letters to you. I received your letter & the hundred Dollars but I
cannot tell in whose name & sent also to Mr. More informing him that I had received the
$100. Dr Gaither of Springfield engaged Mr. Cunningham, a Springfield merchant, to
receive the money at Louisville & Mr. Cunningham delivered it to me about 4 years ago.
I have been much confined this winter & springs. One of our Priests [illegible], Rev’d
Samuel Montgomery, & 3 of our neighbours are now exploring Texas & have promised
to call upon you as they return through Opelousas. They took Shipping at N. Orleans
If I had known you were living I should certainly have gone with them & been with you
& if they settle in Texas I intend to go with them & call on you for I shall only recover
my health in that warm climate. I shall write every 15 days till receive an answer from you.
Be so kind as to tell me where to land from the river & how to travel to you.
What pleasure will it give me to see you my Dear Brother.
Write to me soon.
Your loving Sister, Mary Elizabeth R. Wells
May 6th, 1833
This time John
did answer Elizabeth, and his letter soon reached her at St. Rose. However, in
the time it took the letters to travel back and forth, Washington County had gone
through a period of large-scale sickness, panic and death. Elizabeth writes to John
just as the area was beginning to wrench itself free from the throes of a
household lost two children in this epidemic: a thirteen-year-old son and the ten-year-old
daughter whose names are now unknown. It must have been a terrible summer for
everyone in Washington County. St. Rose Church lost its pastor, the Very Rev.
In December of 1833, Elizabeth wrote
to John, and in her letter, we get a summary of the toll taken by that “fatal
monster.” She again had not heard from him, and again feared the worst.
Henry, as the
oldest brother, was the de facto
leader of his little Arvin clan. Thomas P. Arvin may have been a bachelor and
lived on his own—we don’t know for sure—but other
extended family members apparently lived on Henry’s land, with his approval. Another
brother, Elias Arvin, had migrated to Washington County with his wife Catherine
and their family and was living there, perhaps in a home of their own. John
Arvin, a cousin, also lived nearby. As everyone’s family grew, the need for more
and more land increased. The tipping point came in 1835 or 1836, when Henry’s
brother Edward arrived from Maryland with his wife Nancy Ann and their six
children. They were poverty-stricken and much of need of help. In addition, two
of their children were mentally handicapped and needed special attention. All
the brothers and John Arvin probably aided them considerably in getting situated, but things were getting crowded. To deal
with this tough situation, Henry may have tried to claim land abandoned by a
neighbor who had moved to Illinois. Henry was the local surveyor, and this may
have emboldened him to enlarge his holdings to include the neighbor’s vacated
land. It may have been done with the best of
intentions, but the results were a disaster.
When the old neighbor, Ashford Smith, learned what
Henry had done, he joined forces with Dr. E. B. Gaither, the same man mentioned
by Elizabeth Wells, and brought suit against Henry in Washington County Circuit
Court. (Dr. Gaither would have had enough ready cash to put up the bond
required by the court.) In 1836, the case was heard at
the courthouse in Springfield. The court
handed down a large judgement against Henry. In 1837, he was
forced to seek financial aid from two sympathetic neighbors to pay the
judgement, and he had to give up the disputed land. As a result, the Arvin clan
fell back into subsistence farming on what little land they still could use:
barely 130 acres of hilly, ravine-gutted land. Times were tough. Joseph and
Mary Ellen were in their early twenties when these events played out.
To make matters worse, the United
States was falling into an economic depression, from which it would not recover
for several years. Deflation was upon the land, and it resulted in commodity prices
gradually losing their value in the marketplace. The situation, taken in total,
probably led to the entire clan developing an interest in relocation to
Indiana. They knew of many friends and neighbors who had struggled with similar
land disputes; many had already gone north to the new State. One famous example
was Thomas Lincoln, who moved his family to Indiana in 1816 after a lawsuit
involving land ownership was decided against him.2
Joseph was becoming a young man, and
he got out on his own in the next few years.
1840: (age 24) He appears in the Washington
County, Kentucky, Tax List Book. He is
over 21, owns one mare, and has a tax assessment value of $75.00. However, he is not listed in the 1840 Census records for Washington
County. He may be working as a farm laborer somewhere out of the county at the
time the census was taken (June).
1841: (age 25) Joseph is listed
in the Washington County, Tax List Book,
living on his father’s land. He is over 21, and owns one mare. His assessment
value for tax purposes is $60.00.
1842: (age 26) He is not listed in the Tax List Book.
He may be working as a farm laborer in southern Indiana, or—perhaps more likely—he
is working over in Hardin County, Kentucky. This may be the summer when he
meets a young lady who lives there. Her name is Rose Ann,
and she is only seventeen years old.
1843: (age 27) He is back in the Washington County Tax
List Book this year, again listed as being over 21 years old and
owning one mare. His tax assessment value is only $20.00—the United States was still ensnared in a period of deflation.
1844: (age 28) He is listed in the Washington
County Tax List Book. He is over 21, owns
one mare, and his tax assessment value is $30.00.
By the late 1830s, members of the
Arvin family were probably exploring places to live in Indiana, visiting
friends there or working as farm laborers through the summer. We know almost
nothing about these early sojourns, but one written indication of the family’s
interest in the new State is a receipt for a purchase, which Joseph’s older
brother, William, made in 1839. He paid 18 and ¾ cents for a quart of whisky on
July 5th of that year. Somehow, this
receipt came into Joseph’s possession. Joseph was destined to later operate a
store out of his home in Indiana, and a large number of
receipts and other documents were preserved by his descendants. Many
years later, a reporter for the Washington
Daily Times of Daviess County, Indiana, wrote an article about them for the newspaper.3
The documents give us lots of information about Joseph’s early life in Indiana.
For convenience sake, we can simply call them the “Joseph Arvin papers.” More about these papers later.
Henry Arvin, again acting as the family’s
chief strategist, orchestrated a migration to Indiana in the early 1840s. After
the clan decided exactly where they wanted to locate, he plotted out their moves.
Documents from Washington County, Kentucky, show that Henry and his brother
Thomas P. Arvin settled their debts with James H. Cunningham, their merchant in
Springfield, in 1841. Henry and Theresa then sold their land, their livestock
and most of their household goods. What they had left was packed
onto a wagon or two, and, when everything was ready, they made their way to
Indiana by wagon train. Elias and his family may have moved somewhat later.
Not everyone left Kentucky, however.
Cousin John Arvin and his family continued to farm in Washington County and to attend
the St. Rose Church. John and his wife Theresa both died in Washington County and
were buried in the church cemetery in the 1870s.
Although we have no details, we know
that Edward Arvin, Jr. (whose life always seemed to be more difficult) died in
1840. He left his wife Nancy Ann and their children, two of them mentally
handicapped, in poverty. Either Edward moved his family to Elizabethtown, in
Hardin County, just prior to his death, or Nancy moved there
after he died.
Thomas P. Arvin also may never have
made it to Indiana. Apparently, he also died around
this time. We have no record of his activities and no knowledge of exactly what
happened to him, although family tradition holds that his daughter Nancy
married a man named Fields, and they had several children. The children were
orphaned, and they were later taken in by Henry and Elias.4
Despite all the tragedy and
turmoil, Henry and his family did relocate according to plan. Henry financed
the purchase of tracts of land in Indiana by three of his sons, using some of the
proceeds from the sale of his own land and property in Kentucky. Second son
Thomas H., third son Joseph E. and fourth son Joshua O. each “made entry” on
forty acres of high quality farmland at the land office in Vincennes, Indiana,
in July of 1844. The tracts they purchased, directly from the United States
government, are indicated on this plat map of Daviess
County, Indiana. (Keep in mind that the atlas was not published until 1888. Some ownership had changed by then.) The purchase price for their land
was probably $1.25 per acre.
Thomas Joseph Joshua
tracts gave the family enough land to survive on during their first year in
Indiana, and eventually each son would be able to support his own family
independently later on. Now, with a total of 150 acres, the Arvin family owned more
land than they had owned in Washington County, and it offered far more
potential. These young men—Thomas,
Joseph and Joshua—were the
first individuals of European descent to own this property. The legal
description of the land which Joseph Arvin purchased
is SW-NE 22-2-5. That is, “the southwest
quarter of the northeast quarter of Section 22, Township 2 [North], Range 5
One of the “Joseph Arvin papers,” although undated and unsigned, helps paint a picture of those early days in Indiana:
As we saw, Joseph Arvin may
have spent some time working in Hardin County as a farm laborer, particularly
in 1842, and become acquainted with Rose Ann. Things began to get serious
between them, a courtship began, and by the time the Arvin family moved to
Indiana, he couldn’t wait to tell her what he had done. Perhaps they were already engaged.
Rose Ann was a Hayden, a member of a
renowned English family with a line stretching back to Norman times. The
Haydens had lived on a large estate twenty miles north of London in Watford,
Hertfordshire.7 Rose Ann’s great uncle, Basil
Hayden, was one of the leaders of the “Maryland League,” which first colonized
Kentucky beginning in 1785. He had secured a 5,000-acre tract of land there,
and he allowed Catholic settlers to purchase and subdivide it as they
immigrated. He donated the land for Holy Cross Church, built near Loretto,
Kentucky, in 1792.8 Rose Ann’s father, William Hayden—the seventh male
descendant to bear that name—was born in Kentucky on 16 April 1791. Over in Washington County, Rose Ann’s cousin once
removed, Basil Hayden Jr., died in July of 1833, during the cholera epidemic
there. Rose Ann’s
mother, Nancy Ann (nee Hardin), was born
15 July 1799, also in Kentucky.9 Nancy Hardin was
herself a member of the famous family for which Hardin County was named.
and Nancy married in 1818
and settled into a life of farming in rural Hardin County somewhere along the
Rhude’s Creek basin, downstream from Rineyville. They were among the first Catholics to settle there. (Rhude’s Creek is now silted in at this point.) They were parishoners of Saint John the Baptist Catholic
Church. “The church of St. John, on
Rude’s Creek, a small structure of logs, was built by Fr. Nerinckx somewhere
about the year 1812. The first Catholic residents are said to have been:
Charles Cissel, William Hayden, Barton Roby, William Norris, Samuel Durbin,
Silvester and John P. Riney, Henry Alvey and Elias Drury.”10 St. John the
Baptist Catholic Church is today a parish in the Diocese of Louisville. The
current structure, the third on this site, was built
in 1899. The brick veneer was laid in 1967.11
The Haydens had a large family:
Susan (born 5 April 1820), Robert (9 May 1821), Elizabeth (12 February 1823, this
may be her tombstone), Rose Ann (21 February 1825) and Benjamin (30
November 1827). Years later, Joseph made some notes on his wife’s family (with other business on the back), and placed it in the Arvin family bible.
The Hayden family appears in the 1830 census of
William and Nancy Ann had three more
children: Wilfred (born 25 February
1830), Mary (born 17 April 1832) and William (11 February 1834). Nancy Ann
Hayden died on 26 July 1834, just after her 34th birthday. Nancy is buried in the St. John the Baptist Church cemetery. William, 44, was left a widower with eight children. Rose Ann was only
eight years old at the time she lost her mother.
Somehow, William carried on, and
five years later, he married Helen (nee
Montgomery) on Christmas Day of 1839. Here is how the family appears on the
1840 census of Hardin County:
William Hayden died in
December of 1878 and is also buried in the St. John
Cemetery. (This may be the family plot. Note the two recently replaced
stones for two Haydens who were Confederate soldiers.)
A Frontier Wedding
Joseph and Rose Ann Hayden married on
Thursday, 6 November 1844. The wedding took place in Hardin County, Kentucky,
and was most likely held at St. John the Baptist Catholic Church on Rhude’s
Creek, about three miles west of Elizabethtown. (Elizabethtown had no Catholic church
at this time.) The father of the bride gave his consent on the back of the marriage license. Joseph’s younger
brother, Joshua O. Arvin, along with Rose Ann’s younger brother, Benjamin
Hayden, had signed the marriage bond the previous day. Joshua and Joseph, perhaps
accompanied by a large contingent of the Arvin clan, rode back to Hardin County
from Daviess County, Indiana, for the ceremony, and may have stayed for several
days after the wedding. Joseph’s aunt, Nancy Ann Arvin, widow of his uncle
Edward Arvin, lived in Elizabethtown at this time, and also
may have attended, along with her children.
The ceremony was officiated by “...the
venerable Father Charles I. Coomes, who died in 1878, after forty years of
zealous labor on the most difficult missions of Kentucky.”12 The highly respected Fr. Coomes, who signed
the license as an RCP (Roman Catholic
Priest), was the grandson of a legendary pioneer from Maryland, William Coomes,
who was the leader of the first Catholic movement to Kentucky. Father Charles
I. Coomes was pastor of Saint Clare Catholic Church in Colesburg, Kentucky, but
his duties were not limited to St. Clare parish. Missionary priests on the
frontier were always traveling, serving the needs of the faithful over large geographic
territories. “In 1834, Father Coomes was transferred from St.
Joseph’s college [Bardstown] to
missionary work, in the county of Daviess [Kentucky],
and from that time till he was incapable longer of attending to the exacting
calls of priestly duty on a missionary circuit that extended over hundreds of
square miles of territory – a period of just forty years – he served the
scattered congregations of Hardin, Daviess, Breckenridge, Meade, Grayson,
Edmonson and other contiguous counties, and he did this with a promptness and
earnestness that won for him the esteem of the people committed to his charge.”13
And, of course, after the wedding
came the celebration.
When courtship resulted in marriage,
the whole community prepared to celebrate, for frontier
generally accompanied by as much ritual, pomp, and ceremony as a royal
The bridegroom’s friends gathered at
his father’s house, and from there they proceeded to the
home of the bride. The party timed
itself to arrive at the scene of the wedding shortly before noon,
for the wedding was
allowed to interfere in no way with the customary infare following the
The wedding party constituted
in reality a frontier dress parade. Guests were clothed in garments
ranging from the typical deer skin and linsey Woolsey, worn by hunters as everyday
clothing, to that
of frayed and faded silks, of
another day and another land, worn by some of the ladies. Most of the
women, however, dressed in
homespuns, and, in some cases, coarse linsey Woolsey “Sunday” dresses,
trimmed with ruffles taken from former-day finery. A
miscellaneous collection of buttons and buckles
“from over the mountains” served as
After the wedding ceremony, the
bridal party went from the home of the bride to that of the groom,
where the infare was
served. A cavalcade set forth, the young males of which performed
antics to the amusement of their lady escorts. Often a young gallant would purposely frighten
horse of his partner to hear her
scream and to give him an opportunity to rush to her rescue. Occasionally,
the wedding party was the victim of practical jokers who
preceded it and threw obstacles in the way
by cutting down trees or tying
grapevines across the path. When the merrymakers neared their destination,
two of the more daring boys were singled out to “run for the bottle.” This feat (which
was really a horse
race in the woods) required expert
horsemanship, for the run was through the forest, over fallen trees
and under hanging branches.
At the bridegroom’s home, the
infare consisted of nearly every kind of food known on the frontier.
There were venison, beef, pork, and
fowl. Vegetables, such as cabbage and potatoes, were present in
abundance. There were biscuit and
hoecakes, treacle (molasses), honey, sweetened corn meal mush, and
milk. The “bottle” was passed freely, for the feast was a merry affair.
Individuals traded witticisms;
toasts were drunk to the newlyweds;
jokes were told at the expense of the bridegroom; and, inevitably,
prophecies of large families were
made—prophecies which were soon fulfilled.
When the wedding banqueters had
finished their revels at the festal board, the musicians, led always
by the fiddler, struck up a merry
tune for the dance, which lasted for hours. A unique dance was
developed for the frontier in
the well-known “square dance,” and the Virginia reel was a favorite in some
communities. Fiddlers confined their
selections to favorite frontier “breakdown” tunes such as Billy in the
Low Ground, Fisher’s Horn Pipe, and Barbara Allen, tunes which still enliven dance parties
Kentucky communities. In the midst of the
evening’s gaiety (about nine o’clock), a deputation of young
bride away and put her to bed in the bridal chamber. This room was
most often a loft, which was reached by climbing a peg ladder to the hatch in the ceiling of the “big” room. When the ladies had finished their task, a group of young men stole the bridegroom away and saw that he was placed snugly beside his bride. Then the party continued until
later in the evening, when the merrymakers returned to the kitchen for sustenance. In this lull the bride and groom were not forgotten.
A party climbed aloft with food and “Black Betty,” the bottle, to minister to the hunger and thirst of the newlyweds....14
The date of the wedding may have
been purposely planned to allow everyone to extend their stay in the Rineyville
area in order to celebrate Joseph’s birthday; he turned 29 on the following
Sunday, November 9. Eventually, the newly married couple, perhaps on horses
caparisoned for the occasion, returned to Daviess County, Indiana, escorted by the
Arvin contingent. They probably made their way back to Bardstown, then went north
on the Bardstown road to Louisville, across the mighty Ohio River by ferry, and
north again along the Indiana state road from Albany to their destination:
Joseph’s forty acres of “first rate” land. Rose Ann and Joseph then began their
new lives as husband and wife, together.
By 1845 just about everyone
intending to relocate to Daviess County, Indiana, had made their
move. The Arvin clan had many old friends and neighbors from Kentucky now close
to them in their new homeland. It seemed like everyone was “entering” land
there, land sold directly to the buyer by the United States government, which
was using the proceeds as a major source of its funding. The buyer got land
with a guaranteed title and boundaries that were clearly
established along grid lines running straight and true. The land was of excellent
quality, flat and well watered, ideal for farming. This was an exciting time.
They would be comfortably close to a prospering young town called Mount Pleasant,
which lay just across the Daviess County line in eastern Martin County. (Loogootee had not been established yet.) “The
site, down river from Shoals, at Mount Pleasant, was 130 feet above the river
and not only attractive, but healthy….Many of the settlers came from
“Mount Pleasant had grown steadily
since it was platted in 1817. A post office was established here in 1824….In
1833, it had a population of 150, thirty houses, a jail, a spacious brick
courthouse, four mercantile establishments, a tavern, a post office, two
ministers of the gospel, two physicians, a common school with a good teacher,
several craftsmen, and a mill operated by horse power. It should be borne in
mind that this is probably more impressive on paper than it actually was. It became the county seat in 1828, but by 1844 it was described as ‘too far
away from the center of population,’ that there was ‘agitation for relocation
of the public buildings’ by 1844, and it lost its status as county seat.”16 Mt.
Pleasant simply didn’t keep up with the explosive growth of the region.
Daviess County had 6700 residents in 1840; by 1850 there would be 10,300 and by
1860 over 13,000. Martin County was growing at the same fast pace. This was a good
time and a good place to make a new start, and it felt good to be able to
finally spread out and grow. And grow they did.
Catholics in The Area
“The history of the
Catholic Church in Martin County dates back to the year 1819 when the first
Catholics – the O’Briens and Raneys – settled near Mount Pleasant. It is
definitely known that in 1837 the visits of the priest were made monthly....In
1848, Father Patrick Murphy, residing at St. Mary’s Barr Township, Daviess
County, erected a church at Mount Pleasant. A ‘land craze’ had led to the
establishment of St. Rose. The people came from far and near to avail
themselves of farmlands that were being sold at unusually low prices.”17
Another little hamlet with a
Catholic population was Whitfield, Indiana, situated about two miles south of
Mt. Pleasant, also on the eastern side of the Martin County-Daviess County
line. “The first land entered near the site of Whitfield was 320 acres by John
Hosmet and Dr. Ezekial Porter on December 16, 1817. These were joined by
Whitfield Force in 1820, who started an early horse-powered carding [fiber aligning] machine.”18
Catholics in this area were cared
for in the manner of a “station,” that is, the pastor of the controlling parish
would celebrate the Mass in various homes of the faithful when he visited the
area. In this case, the controlling parish was St. Mary’s in Barr Township
(Daviess County), located about seven miles to the north. The need for a church
building would not be met until the year 1875.19 “St. Martin of Tours Catholic Church was founded
November 14, 1875, when the first mass was offered in the new church by Father
Guegen of Loogootee, who had drawn the plans and supervised construction. The
stone walls of the now defunct St. Rose Church at Mount Pleasant served as the
foundation and basement of this new church.”20 Today, only a few stones of Saint Rose still remain at Mount Pleasant.
There was much that had to be done to make the new homestead liveable. Of course, the newlyweds could count on considerable help from relatives and neighbors alike. Joseph put the finishing touches on their log house, and RoseAnn made the interior livable. That winter, all those prophecies of a large family started to come true, and she found herself with child!
We get some insight into many of the more practical aspects of a newly married couple’s life by looking back to Kentucky, with the help of Thomas Clark’s History of Kentucky. Life in the new
State of Indiana was very similar.
The young couple proceeded to the
business of making a home, if neither of the couple had been married
before. Land was
selected by the husband, often a part of his father’s estate, and a site
was cleared of trees
and underbrush for the house which
the neighbors assisted in building. Building a house of the ordinary log
or rude frame type was a matter of
only a few days’ work ; many times a log house was
built in two days.
When the house was finished the young bride moved in, bringing with her, if she
came from a thrifty family,
a hope chest, containing some
homespun clothing. She brought also a flax wheel, a cow and a calf, and
sometimes a brood mare. The young
man supplied the land, the house, horses, hogs, chickens, and cows.
Life was simple, expenses were few,
and the young couple could, and seldom failed to, rear a large family.
To the pioneer a large family was
the symbol of domestic virtue; also, a family of several members could
“roll logs,” grow large crops, and
better provide for themselves....
No historian can estimate the
amount of satisfaction and amusement afforded by the fiddle and the
dulcimer in the pioneer settlements.
Among Scotch, Irish, English, and, to some extent, German immigrants,
this form of entertainment was most
popular. These backwoodsmen amused themselves for long hours with
dances and music of their own
creation (based upon English and Scotch folk tunes). Lovers of folk music
are deeply indebted to the
frontiersmen of Kentucky for creating and preserving American folk tunes and
Not only did faithful Kentucky
women spin, weave, and manufacture the family’s clothing, but they also
provided numerous other household
necessities. Soap, candles, sugar, and beeswax were products of their
labors. Soap making was a major
household industry, for the family saved bacon and meat scraps until a
sufficient amount was
collected to thicken a quantity of lye made from hardwood ashes. This
activity has long since disappeared,
and the ash hopper is no longer a common structure on the farm
premises. The hopper was a triangular-shaped
box built of boards, the apex of which was stuck into a half
section of a hollow log
which served as a drain. Ashes were placed in this improvised container
bleached free of their acid properties by
water poured over them from the top. Lye and soap grease were
cooked together until thick, and, after
cooling, the mass was cut into handy bars, or with less cooking the
soap was used in the form of a jelly....
The principal means of
sweetening was sorghum, known to the pioneer as “long sweetening.” Honey or
treacle furnished much of the sweetening used
by early families, and beeswax, a by-product, was useful in a
dozen different ways, especially in waxing
threads to be used by the cobbler’s trade.21
Rev. John Guiguen began
his assignment as pastor of St. Mary’s, Barr Township (Daviess County, Indiana)
in 1844. His marriage register has survived, although any baptismal records he may
have kept are now gone. From this marriage register, we know that Joseph’s
younger brother, Joshua O. Arvin—following the lead of his older brother—married
Caroline (nee Williams) on 10 January
1845. The wedding took place back in Washington County, Kentucky, and was undoubtedly held at the original Saint Rose Church located
just outside Springfield. It is quite likely that a large Arvin entourage also escorted
this groom-to-be back to Washington County, returning to their old home territory
to visit with friends and celebrate the wedding.
The following year, three more Arvin
weddings took place; these were held in Indiana with Fr.
Guiguen officiating. Joseph’s older brother Thomas H. Arvin married Margaret (nee Patterson) on 15 April 1846. This
ceremony was recorded on the Saint Mary’s register,
but it could have actually taken place at the new Saint Rose in Mount Pleasant.
Margaret was born on 8 March 1830, making her seventeen years younger than Thomas. Later that same year, 19 August 1846, Joseph’s younger
sister Rosa L. Arvin and Martin Patterson married. And,
on 29 September 1846, younger brother Augustine Arvin and Rebecca (nee Summers) married.
Fr. Guiguen was
reassigned in 1848, and the Reverend Patrick Joseph R. Murphy came to
St. Mary’s Barr Township. Fr. Murphy was himself reassigned in 1858, but he
always had a special place in his heart for this parish. He was
buried in the Saint Mary’s cemetery in 1869. Fr. Murphy notes in his registry:
1848 In February I was moved from Indianapolis
where I had resided
nearly nine months and on the 30th
day of March the Right Rev.
Bazin, Bishop of Vincennes, Indiana, appointed me
pastor of the
united congregations of St. Mary’s and Mount
Pleasant and the stations attached
to these congregations. On
the 1st of April I arrived at St. Mary’s. Patrick Joseph R. Murphy
From this marriage registry,
we know that George Washington Arvin (“Long George,” son of Henry and Theresa) and
Miami Ann “Jemima” (nee Arvin)
began living together on 6 January 1848 in Hardin County, Kentucky. They are believed to be first cousins. We don’t know with certainty who Jemima’s parents are. However, she was most likely the daughter of Nancy and Edward Arvin Jr. They had two young girls who were about Jemima’s age (born between 1825 and 1830, as shown on the Charles County census of 1830.) They moved to Washington County, Kentucky, about 1836 and lived with the Arvin clan there. Nancy moved with her children to Elizabethtown, in Hardin County, Kentucky, about 1840, around the time her husband died. Two of her children, George H. and Mary Ellen, were mentally disabled and receiving state aid. (See the Henry Arvin - Part 2 sketch.) There is no trace of Miami prior to her mention in Fr. Murphy’s registry, but we know that she and George W. moved to Daviess County,
Indiana by 1850, because Fr. Murphy tells us that, on 27 October, 1850, “I married George W. Arvin et Miami Arvin after dispensing with the impedimenta of mixed marriage [one party baptized and the other not] and of the consanguinty in the second degree linea collaterali equali [blood relationship, first cousins, having equal and collateral lines, e.g. same grandparents. Those grandparents would be Sallie and Edward Arvin Sr.]; these parties lived in legal concubinage. Remarried at St. Mary’s Church. This couple is legally married.” Mental disability would carry down to some of their children, also.
Saint Rose at Mount Pleasant was the
likely venue for the marriage of Joseph’s twin sister, Mary Ellen Arvin and
George Washington Arvin (“Short George,” son of Elias and Catherine) on 19
February 1849. They also were first cousins.
James P. Arvin (his middle name,
“Polding,” was recorded by the meticulous Fr. Murphy) and
Mary (nee Miles) married on 3
February 1850 in Daviess County, Indiana.
Oldest brother William H. Arvin,
whose first wife, Theresa, had died, leaving him a widower with three children,
married Martha Ann (nee Ward); Fr.
Murphy made a record of the ceremony on 11 September 1853. It was held either
at Saint Rose in Mount Pleasant or Saint Mary’s Barr Township.
Thomas Elias Arvin, son of Catherine
and Elias, and Mary Elizabeth (nee
Arvin) married on 27 November 1855. They were second cousins.
Rose Ann and Joseph Arvin
were blessed with their first child, William Henry Arvin, on 17 September 1845. William was
probably baptized at Saint Rose Church in Mount Pleasant, but we have no
baptismal records from the years when Fr. Guiguen was pastor.
Fr. Murphy always had more than enough to keep
him busy at St. Mary’s Barr Township, beginning the very first month he was pastor.
On Palm Sunday, 16 April 1848, he performed no less than six baptisms. Three of them were children of the Arvin brothers who
had originally established their claims for land in Daviess County: Elizabeth
Ann (born 3 February 1848), daughter of Joseph E. and Rose Ann Arvin; Mary Elizabeth, daughter of Thomas H. and Margaret Arvin; and Thomas
Francis, son of Joshua O. and Rebecca Arvin.
Baptisms would continue
to provide plenty of job security for Fr. Murphy:
Thomas Henry, son of Augustine and
Rebecca (Somers) Arvin, baptized on Sunday, 9/24/48
James Edward, son of George W. and
Miami Arvin, baptized by Fr. Murphy on Sunday, 4/8/49
Robert, son of Augustine and Rebecca
Arvin baptized on 6/20/49 (Mary Arvin sponsor)
James, son of Joshua and Caroline Arvin,
baptized Wednesday 2/20/50 (Rosanna Arvin sponsor)
A One Room Log House
No doubt, Joseph and RoseAnn’s home was built in the typical fashion of the frontier at the time. It was laid out simply, eighteen feet square, made with hewn logs and chinked in with clay. A fireplace dominated one wall; doors and windows were few.23
This cabin would have been quite similar to this replica at the Lincoln
Boyhood Home National Park (http://www.nps.gov/libo/index.htm), located in
Being an enterprising person, Joseph may
have decided to begin operating a country store on his property at this time. (We
know he did later on.) Also among the Joseph Arvin papers, there is what might be a called a receipt, which dates to 1849. A certain W. Arvin, probably his older
brother William, “bought potatoes for 25c; 1 bu apples for [blank]; one axe and
helv for $1.60; 1 bu of razor straps for 50c; 1 comb for 5c; 1 set of knives
and forks for 1.00; 1 set of cups and saucers for 37½c; 1 qt of whiskey for
10c; and ½ bu turnips.”
Although no records of any payments he made to Daviess County survive, we know that a store was required to
obtain a license and pay fees to the county. For instance, in Martin County, “One
source of income was fees from store and liquor licenses. A store license was
sometimes issued for $5.00, but more often for $10.00 annually.”24
1850 – Seventh United States Census
We find the Arvins living in
close proximity to each other. Most are in Reeve Township of Daviess County.
[**] Age Sex Color Profession Occupation or Trade Value
of Place of Persons
of each Male Person over 15 Real
Estate Birth years of age
years of age owned
cannot read & write
1515 Thomas Arvin 37
Mary " 3
" [baptized 4/16/48 by Fr. Murphy] "
Theresa " 2
3/1/49 by Fr. Murphy] "
1516 Henry Arvin 63
Farmer 200 Md
William " 39
Laura " 15 F Ky
[baptized 4/16/48, Fr. Murphy
4/16/48, Fr. Murphy
[baptized 2/20/50, Fr. Murphy
4/8/49, Fr. Murphy
* “Families numbered in the order of
** “The Name of every Person whose usual
place of abode on the first day of June, 1850, was in this family.”
“Augustus” Arvin (Augustine, son
of Henry, nephew of Elias) and his family live nearby, in Rutherford Township
of Martin County.
8 8 Augustus Arvin 26
M Farmer 150 Ky 1
Rebecca " 22
Thomas H. " 2
M [baptized 7/18/51, Fr. Murphy] "
William R. " 1/12 M
1850: In June, the Trustees of the Wabash and
Erie Canal deed thirty-four year old Joseph E. Arvin a 40-acre tract (NE-SE 15-2-5). He filed the deed with the county in February 1852.27 He now owns a total of eighty acres.
1853: In March, Joseph’s youngest
brother, James P. Arvin, obtains a Warranty Deed from one John H. Kennedy for 40
acres (W½ of SWq 22-3-5) of land, for $200.00 in consideration.28 In June of
that year, he sells this land to their oldest brother, William H. Arvin, for
$1.00, and grants him a Warranty Deed to the land.29 This was perhaps an
early wedding present; William and his second wife, Martha Ann (nee Ward), married in September of 1853.
The property is located about six miles to the north, in Barr Township, about
1½ miles east of Clark’s Station (which is now called Cannelburg).
This was an ideal
location, great for farming, but more so for potential increase in property value. The up and coming town of
Loogootee was founded about the same time, just three
miles to the east. Loogootee began an era of rapid expansion when the Ohio and
Mississippi Railroad built a rail line through the area in 1857. Thomas Gootee, founder of the town, had wisely donated land for the rail line to run
through his property. This same rail line also bisected William’s
acreage. “Loogootee was platted by Thomas Gootee April 4, 1853. Its growth was
so rapid that a post office was established in July 1857….In 1866 a petition
was signed to incorporate the village as a town….in 1903 was incorporated as
the county’s first and only city.”30 (No
record of William’s sale of this land could be found.)
1854: In November, Elias Arvin and wife
sign a Warranty Deed, granting to their sons John Leonard Arvin and Thomas
Elias Arvin, two 40-acre tracts: NE-SE 26-2-5 and SW-SE 26-2-5. Consideration: “Support.”31 Apparently, Thomas later
deeded this land to his brother John, because the 1888 plat map shows John as sole
owner of both tracts.
1858: The Trustees of the Wabash and Erie
Canal issue Joshua O. Arvin and George W. Arvin two patents of 40 acres each.
Thus, they each receive 80 acres in Township 2, Range 5.32
1858: In November, Henry Arvin records his two patents, each for 40 acres, with the
county. This was his first and only Indiana land (SE-SW 23-2-5, dated 1 March 1852,
and SW-SE 23-2-5, dated 1 June 1849).
1860: In October, Joseph’s older brother, William H.
Arvin and his wife, for $425.00 in consideration, deed 40 acres (S½ of W½ of
SWq 26-2-5) to “Short” George W. Arvin and his wife Mary Ellen.33 Because of the loss of some deed records in Daviess County, it is not
known how or when William and Martha acquired this land. According to Lucile
Arvin,34 William also sold 40 acres of land in Daviess
County (SE-SE 23-2-5) at this time. This is the farm Lucile
and Rosemary Arvin later inherited from their father. William and Martha
Arvin then moved to Pike County, Indiana, where she had family.
1860: George W. Arvin, for $450.00
in consideration, deeds 40 acres (NW-SE 26-2-5) to John L. Arvin.35 John Leonard Arvin now owns a contiguous 120 acres of land.
Martin Edward, second son of Joseph
and Rose Ann, was born 1 July 1850. Baptized by Fr. Murphy 8/25/50.
of George Washington and Miami Arvin, baptized 10/27/50 by Fr. Murphy
Mary Ellen, daughter of Thomas and
Margaret Arvin, baptized 1/12/51 by Fr. Murphy
Teresa Elizabeth, daughter of James
(Polding) and Mary Arvin, baptized 1/26/51 by Fr. Murphy
James Augustine, son of Joshua O. and Rebecca
(Williams) Arvin on 3/28/52 (Mary Patterson sponsor)
Rose Jane, daughter of Thomas and
Margaret Arvin, baptized on 5/2/52 (Louisa Fields sponsor)
Pius Augustine, son of Augustine and
Rebecca (Somers) Arvin, born April 10, baptized on 5/23/52
Mary Jane, daughter of Joseph and
RoseAnn was born 25 March 1852, baptized by Fr. Murphy 5/2/52.
Pius Augustine, born April
10, son of Augustine Arvin, baptized 5/23/1852 by Fr. Murphy.
Thomas Henry, son of George W. and
Miami Arvin, baptized sine solumitate
(without ceremony) 7/18/52
Fr. Murphy’s baptismal records end in October 1852. The births, however, continued:
Rose Ann, daughter of
Joseph and Rose Ann Arvin, was born 13 July 1854.
Joseph’s younger sister, Rosa L. (Arvin) Patterson died on December
12, 1856. She was only 38 years old. She was survived by her
husband Martin Patterson and their three daughters. The children were remembered in the will of their grandfather, Henry Arvin.
Benjamin Francis, son of Joseph and Rose Ann, was born on 7 July 1857. According to this chart prepared by Lucile Arvin, his baptism, on 25 April 1858, must have been one of the earliest in the records of the new St. John’s Parish, in the newly organized town of Loogootee. The church’s website (http://www.rtccom.net/~stjlogot/StJohn/Index.htm) tells us “St. John’s, Loogootee, became the largest Parish in the county after a very humble beginning in a small room above the Campbell - Breen Store. Mass was offered there in 1857 by a visiting priest from St Mary’s, Barr Township, Daviess County, and later in a frame building belonging to a Mr. Gootee. In 1858, Father John Mougin who resided at St. Mary’s, undertook the building of a church in Loogootee. The work was completed in 1860 and Father Mougin took charge of St. Mary’s as a Mission.”
Joseph Thomas, son of Joseph Edward and Rose Ann Arvin, was born in June of 1860.
1860 – Eighth United States Census
Joseph E. “Harven” is shown living
in Reeve Township of Daviess County, Indiana. Post Office is Alfordsville. Even at this late date, the family surname is spelled with an initial letter “H” by the census taker.
Age Sex Color Profession Value
of Value of
Place of Attended Persons
Estate Personal Birth School w/i yrs of
the Year read and write
653 Joseph E Harven 46
2500 500 Maryland
Rosan " 36 F Keeping house Kentucky
William H "
15 M Farm laborer
12 F Ind 1
Edward M 10 M Ind 1
Mary Jane 8
Rosan 6 F Ind
Benjamin 3 M Ind
Joseph 1/12 M Ind
Elenor Summers 15 F Ind
10 M Ind
It is unclear why Eleanor and James
Summers are living with Joseph and Rose Ann. Rudolphus Summers, age 39, lived
nearby. He is the brother-in-law of Augustine Arvin. Also living in that
household is: Ann Summers, his wife, age 25, Mary E. Haulk, 20, and Robert
Summers, age 2.
Also in the Census of 1860, living in
Reeve Township of Daviess County, P.O. Alfordsville:
[*] Name Age Sex
Value Real Personal
Place of Attended
Persons over 20
Occupation Real Estate
Estate Birth School w/i yrs of age cannot
or Trade the
Year read and write
704 Joshua Arven 40
M farmer 2000 400
John " 13
Caroline " 10
Mary " 8
Susan " 5
819 John Arven 23
M farmer 800 150 Ky
Rachel " 25
F Ind 1
William " 2
Emily " 1
824 Thomas Arven 47 M farmer 1500
Margaret an "
Mary C "
12 F Ind 1
Trican " 11 F Ind
Mary Ellen "10
Rosey Jane " 8
Joseph P " 6 M
Henary " 4 M
John A "
2 M Ind
825 George, A, Arven 35 M [“Long”]
farmer 1500 300 Ky
" 37 F
James E "
12 M Ind 1
Nancy An "
8 M Ind 1
Mary Jane " 6 F Ind
2 F Ind
Henary " 1 M
826 James P Arven 31
M farmer 800 200 Ky
Mary " 28
H 8 M Ind
6 F Ind
827 George W Arven 42 M [“Short”] farmer Ky
Mary Ellen "
45 F Ky [Maryland]
Rosa Jane " 8 F Indiana
Theresa C "
6 F Indiana
Henary " 1 M Ind
828 828 Vacant House
829 Eliza Arven 71 M
400 200 Maryland
Catharan Arven 65 F W farming 800 400
830 Theresa Arvein
73 F W farming 400 200
Loryan " 26 F
18 M farmer
831 Hugh Parkes 50
M farmer 800 200 Ireland
Susan " 1 F Indiana
* House number in order of visitation.
Joseph’s father, Henry Arvin, the
great architect of the clan’s migration to Indiana, died on 18 June 1860. He is buried at the old Saint Rose Church cemetery at Mount
Pleasant, in a family plot. Joseph’s mother, Theresa, moved in with her
grandchildren, Loryan and Richard. Their father, William is
not listed in this census. He and his second wife, Martha, and their four year old son, also named William, were in the process
of moving to Pike County, Indiana, at this time. The elder William Arvin, born back on Arvin’s Enlargement
in Maryland in 1811, died in Petersburg (Pike County), Indiana, in 1883.
Augustine Arvin and his family are not listed in the census. The reason for this is not known; it is
quite likely that he and his family were still living in Rutherford Township of
Martin County at this time.
Historical Note: Abraham Lincoln is elected president on 6 November 1860. Hardly more than a month following Lincoln’s victory came declarations of secession by South Carolina and other states, which were rejected as illegal by the then-current President, James
Buchanan and President-elect Abraham Lincoln. In response to the Republican victory
in that election, seven states, led by South Carolina, declared
their secession from the Union before Lincoln took office on
March 4, 1861. Both the outgoing administration of President
James Buchanan and Lincoln’s incoming administration
rejected the legality of secession, considering it rebellion.
Several other slave states rejected calls for secession at this point.
Hostilities began on April 12,
1861, when Confederate
forces attacked a U.S. military installation at Fort Sumter in
South Carolina. Lincoln responded by calling for a volunteer
army from each state to recapture federal property.
Benjamin Francis Arvin, son of Joseph and Rose Ann, died on 1 August 1861. He was only 4 years and 13 days old. He is buried in the family plot at Mt. Pleasant.
A Painted House
1862: On December 5, forty-six year old Joseph Edward Arvin makes an aggressive land purchase, the biggest of his life. He buys three contiguous tracts, a total of 190 acres, situated in Section 16 of Reeve Township, along its northern border with Barr Township, in Daviess County. This land is designated as “School Land” on the 1888 plat. This was
evidently part of the endowment of School No. 9; that school was
centered on the approximately 640-acre site. The land was
meant to be sold as needed to support the operation of the school. The
legal descriptions of Joseph’s land: W½-NE 16-2-5 (80 acres), E½-NW 16-2-5 (80
acres), and NW-SE 16-2-5 (30 acres). The property is located south of the
present-day intersection of CR 300 S and CR 1025 E. The price he paid for the property is not listed
in the Index (left side) (right side), and page 236 of Volume F has not survived, but it might have been around $10.00 per acre. Joseph is thinking about the future. Much like his father Henry before him, he wants to expand his farming operation and also make a future for his growing family in its operation. Perhaps some day they would all have their own homesteads right here, together on this land.
He started by building Rose Ann a handsome two-story log home in the style of the
times. It was later planked, and it eventually became a painted house, the height of fashion. It faced
the north-south road running to the west of their land, from which it was set off by a picket fence. We get a hint of how the
interior was arranged from Thomas D. Clark’s A History of Kentucky. “The early log houses were of the ‘double,’
two-story type with two large front rooms, a broad hall, or ‘dog trot,’ a shed
room across the back which was divided to serve as kitchen, dining room, and
spare bedroom, and with a large porch across the front. The
second story, in the earliest houses, was reached by peg ladders concealed
behind hall doors, but later plank stairs were added. As lumber became
more plentiful and houses were being weather-boarded, owners of log houses
covered them with plank siding.”36 This description is
confirmed by Mary Ellen Wildman, the daughter of a later resident of the home:
The original house was a log structure
with a dogtrot between the rooms. I remember Dad saying they slept in the loft and snow would cover
their blankets when they woke on winter mornings....The original home faced west while the new home
faced the north. I can remember foundation rocks
in the side yard and part of the old picket fence. The cellar from the old house was under the new one.37
Even before this purchase, Joseph’s farming operation was prospering. We know that he already had employed at least one farm laborer. On 26 December 1860, he signed an agreement to pay John Bigles for his labor. The rate was set at $6.00 per month through the winter, up to the first of April, 1861, the start of the growing season. From then until the ‘corn was laid up,’ the rate was set at $9.00 per month.38
Now, Joseph leveraged the enterprise even more. He rented out some of his land (exact locations unknown, but probably his other two
40-acre properties, the original “Congress Land” and the later “Canal Land.”) Rental agreements were also found in the Joseph Arvin papers. “In one rental agreement, the renter agrees to make 500 rails at ½c each – to
be paid from the crops – and to put the rails on the farm fence where most needed. In another
rental agreement, the renter agrees to tend the farm reasonably well and to pay
the owner $5 per field foot for all land not tended.”39
that Joseph did indeed operate a store from his new home at this time. Stores like this were located on
the ground level, in one or both of the front rooms, and the family’s private living
quarters were maintained upstairs. The newspaper article written about the Joseph Arvin papers states that, “In slack moments, the store keeper
copied a poem or two; example (Perhaps some of the older people recall it)....‘God of my life and author of my days, permit my feeble voice to lisp thy praise, trembling take upon my mortal tongue that hollowed name to harps of seraphs sing....’”40
Another family tradition, from a
different source: “They lived in Section 16, Reeve
near Whitfield, Indiana. A grandson, Frank Arvin, remembered him as a
‘fun-loving man who chewed tobacco, played cards and croquet.’ According to another
grandson, Tim Arvin, he had once operated a still that supplied whiskey for his country store, and his brother Jim also operated a still about a mile to the east. Tim said he had seen the
old kettle ‘about five feet across and three feet deep,’ kept by his grandfather ‘until scrap copper was a good price.’ Tim had owned part of his granfather’s land, and during prohibition time in the 1920’s had operated a still himself a few rods from the site of Joseph’s original one.”
Still another family tradition: “He
also built and operated a still, which supplied the liquor for sale in the
store. His younger brother, James P. Arvin, also operated a still on his
property, which was the original tract that Henry Arvin owned when he first
migrated to Indiana in 1845.”
Indiana’s whiskey history is
directly descended from that of Kentucky. And in Kentucky, stills were quite common. “Many
frontier families owned and operated whiskey stills and regarded this business
in the same light as soap making, for it was a profitable method of converting
corn chips into a marketable product....In Kentucky the distilling industry
gained rapid growth, for the soils of the state were conducive to the
manufacture of fine liquors in two ways: first, the soil produced good yields
of high grade cereals; and, second, the water was used in distilling came from
a limestone source. Many early settlers who moved into the West were of Irish and Scotch origin and already knew the secret of
successful distilling. They had a taste for corn whiskey. Hence
it was only natural that when they moved westward they should turn to
distilling. Most families had their own stills, and when their fields yielded
more grain than could be disposed of profitably, they converted it into whiskey
which could be shipped from the state in jugs and barrels.”41
Or, sold in one’s
own home store.
The famous Jim Beam distillery is located at Clermont, Kentucky. Among its
many products, Jim Beam markets four “light-body” bourbons, one of which known
as “Basil Hayden’s.”
Wikipedia tells us that:
is named in honor of Basil Hayden, Sr. Hayden was a Maryland
Catholic who led a group of
twenty five Catholic families from
Maryland into what is now Nelson County, Kentucky (near Bardstown)
in 1785. This area is home to many of the
famous bourbon labels, including Jim Beam. There Hayden
donated the land for the first Catholic church
west of the Alleghenies and the first Catholic church in
is now the state of Kentucky.
Hayden was also an accomplished
distiller and used a larger amount of rye in his mash than in some other
Hayden’s grandson founded a distillery in Nelson County and named his label in
his pioneer grandfather. That label was “Old
Grand-Dad.” The picture on the bottle
is copied from a
rendering of Basil Sr.’s likeness. When Beam
Industries introduced their “small batch” collection, among the
four was “Basil Hayden’s,” which supposedly
uses a mash similar to that originally utilized by Hayden in
Hayden’s family can be traced
back to England (Norfolk) to the period
shortly after the Norman
Conquest. One ancestor,
Simon de Heydon, was knighted by Richard the Lionheart in the Holy Land during
the Third Crusade in the 1190s. His son, Thomas de Heydon, was made Justice Itinerant of Norfolk by
Henry III. Around 1400, another ancestor, John Heydon, appears
to have been associated with “The
Grove”—a large estate in Watford
(Hertfordshire), about twenty miles northwest of London. Some
researchers have speculated that
John Heydon was given the estate for his father Sir
Richard de Heydon’s
services in the French Wars, where Sir Richard
perished. Others are less sure. But Heydons definitely
in Watford from the fourteenth through
The Heydons emigrated
to the Virginia Colony in the 1660s, when much of Britain became inhospitable
to Catholics. Francis Hayden, Basil’s
great-grandfather and the first Heydon (then switching to Hayden)
moved from Virginia to Maryland in
1678, settling in St. Mary’s County on St. Clement’s Bay, where the
family remained until Basil led his band of
Catholic families into present-day Nelson County, Kentucky.
During the American Revolution,
Basil supplied provisions to the Colonial Army.
In Indiana, “The first distillery in Daviess county
was erected by ‘Obe’ Flint in 1810. Like most of the other early industries
hereabout, this institution was established in Veale township,
two miles south of Maysville. Prior to this there were various kinds of stills
brought into use. These were generally known as
‘teapot’ stills and were of simple construction and limited capacity. The
capacity, however, was sufficient to supply home consumption. Liquor in the
early days was a staple article, as much a family necessity as bread and meat.
It was a favorite remedy for the various ills that were prevalent, chief of
which were malaria and snake bite. For the latter the
whisky was taken straight; for the former it was
usually administered in the form of bitters.
“…The home consumption of the early
settlers kept pace with the increase of production. It was not before 1836 or 1838, that more whisky was made than the early settlers
needed for home consumption.”42
the Civil War and the pressing need of all wars for more revenue. In 1862,
the Act of July 1, the basis for our present
tax system, imposing taxes on all distilled spirits and fermented
beverages, and creating the office
of commissioner of internal revenue....
At first the new tax was 20¢
per gallon. Two years later it was raised to 60¢ per
gallon. By the summer
of 1864 it
was $1.50 per gallon, and by December of that year it had climbed to $2.00.
then discovered that as the excise
tax went up, the revenue fell off. The answer to this puzzle, or course, was
moonshine. Country distillers in
backwoods communities and mountain retreats were paying no taxes but
selling their own whiskey, as fast
as they could run it, to customers who bitterly resented the excise and who
could not or would not pay for it.
The revenue service was aware
of the situation but was too new, too small, and too poorly trained to do
much about it.43
With the War of the Rebellion raging, soldiers were being wounded and killed at a prodigious rate, and the Union war machine found it needed manpower as much as it needed revenue. President Lincoln called for additional troops on several different occasions, to replenish the ranks of his depleted armies. All tolled, he would ask for nearly a million men. Quotas were set across the country to supply the men for each call. In any given voting district, when the number of volunteers
did not satisfy the quota (or the district’s bounty offer was not pricey enough to induce the needed number of volunteers), the balance had to be made up by drafting recruits into the ranks. This was usually
accomplished by means of a lottery. A community could be traumatized by these drafts. Many families were forced to give up a son or a husband or a father to the army. In 1864, the Arvin clan was struck twice, and on the same day.
Daviess County failed to meet its quota for the huge (500,000-man) call made by the president in July of 1864. It was, therefore, included in the lottery conducted on 22 September 1864 in Evansville. Scores of men from the area were drafted that day. Will’s cousin, John Leonard Arvin (son of Elias and Catherine), was one of them. He was 31 years old, married and the father of two children. No matter, he was required to leave his farm and serve. If he was lucky, his neighbors would help manage it for him. If not, who knows? Even more drastic was the plight of Joseph’s younger brother, “Long George” Arvin. He was 38 years old, married, and had six children at home, two of whom were handicapped. And his wife, Jemima, was pregnant.
Neither man could afford to hire a substitute or pay the enormous commutation fee of $300.00.
They had no alternative. They were given five days to put their affairs in order, then report for muster into the Union Army. They would be separated from their families and friends and be sent off to a fate unknown. Both were to serve for one year as privates in Company A of the 44th Regiment of Indiana Volunteers (shown here at the Battle of Mission Ridge in 1863. See also: http://www.civilwarindex.com/armyin/44th_in_infantry.html) They probably left by train and went to Indianapolis for some initial training. Then they were sent to Chattanooga, Tennessee, where the 44th was doing provost (police) duty, preparing to go into winter camp.
Like everyone else in the community, Joseph and Rose Ann were in shock. Joseph, 49, was beyond being drafted. But they knew all too well that Will, their oldest son, would also be subject to future drafts—which were sure to come—when he turned 20 in November of 1865. They may have taken steps to keep him out of harm’s way before the next call went out. Will’s youngest child, Loretta (born in 1896), told me that “We bought our way out of the Civil War. Will’s father and his uncles all
Although there is no surviving documentation, it is quite possible that Joseph purchased “draft insurance” for Will. We
know that “...two companies, organized specifically for draft insurance,
appeared late in the war, one in Indiana and one in Illinois. The Indiana
Mutual Draft Insurance Company, located in Indianapolis, offered to insure
draftees from any area of the state. The membership fee is unknown, but the
money was deposited in the First National Bank of
Indianapolis and the
enrolled person was given a deposit receipt. If a man were drafted, he apparently got no money, but the funds in
the bank were used to procure a substitute for him. Only when all the drafted members were relieved was the company free to draw the remaining money out for
its own purposes.”46 Whether this insurance was purchased or not, we know that Will never entered the Union Army, and the war came to a halt, before he ever turned twenty, in April of 1865.
As for John L. and George W. Arvin, they saw no combat, but spent a miserable winter in Chattanooga. Both were mustered out of the Union Army on 13 June 1865. They returned home, also by rail, and tried to pick up where they left off the previous fall. John seems to have readapted quickly enough, but George never fully recovered the good health he lost in the army. He returned home to find that Jemima had delivered a beautiful baby girl, Anna, who was just two weeks old. But they soon came to realize that she, like her brother James and sister Teresa, was also mentally disabled.
Sidebar: The Pensions
The National Archives and Records Administration was not able to locate John Leonard Arvin’s pension application (No. 549,398) or the Certificate of Pension itself (No. 420,404). They may still be in the possession of the Department of Veterans’ Affairs. However, the National Archives was able to locate the application of John’s second wife, Julia, for a widow’s pension reverse based on his service.44
As for George Washington Arvin, in March of 1886, “Long George,” 6 foot 2 inches tall, 60 years old, made an Invalid Claim for a pension. It began with a Declaration (reverse). Affidavits were presented as additional evidence. Daniel Haggerty gave one, as did Martin Patterson and Benedict Queen (reverse). The Pension Office asked the Adjutant General of the U.S. Army for George’s medical records. The Surgeon General’s Office responded that there was no record of treatment other than in the Regimental hospital. The War Department relayed (reverse) this information to the Pension Office. A formal Surgeon’s Certificate (reverse) was prepared, and George’s claim was rejected.
He appealed for Reconsideration, (reverse), and he provided medical evidence by Dr. John C. L. Campbell (reverse) and Dr. J. Null Plummer (reverse) that he was, in fact, disabled. When the claim finally came before the Commissioner, he asked for more information from Mr. Queen (response) and Dr. Campbell (response). He also asked the Post Master of Loogootee about the reputation of Haggerty and Queen (response). The War Department verified Haggerty and Queen’s military service. A Special Examiner was asked to obtain more information from Mr. Haggerty. A Surgeon’s Certificate (reverse) was prepared. In April of 1887, John L. Arvin submitted an affidavit on George’s behalf. The claim was awarded in June of 1887. George was found to be suffering from Disease of Eyes and Rheumatism and was awarded a pension for one-half disability. His claim, No. 566,248, which had been filed in March of 1886, was finally approved in June of 1887. He received Pension Certificate No. 364,397, and it paid him $4 per month, retroactive to the filing date. The rate was so low, however, it was really just a token payment. And, his attorney, Cornelius Wood, received $25 of the retroactive payment.
Not one to give up easily, George made a claim for an increase the rate in July of 1887. It would be the beginning of a long struggle with the Pension Bureau.Declaration (reverse) Medical evidence Surgeon’s Certificate He was successful, and was awarded an increase to $8 per month, effective September, 1887.
His applications for increases were rejected in 1889 and 1890, but in 1891, he again won an increase, this time to $12 per month.
In 1892, he signed an agreement (reverse) with attorney Noah Moser in Loogootee and again sought an increase, signing a Declaration (reverse) and an Affidavit. Benedict J. Queen, John L. Arvin and Daniel Haggerty and Patrick Doyle all signed affadavits in his favor. Dr. Campbell did the same. But the claim was rejected in April, 1893. In May, 1893, he filed again (Declaration reverse), and the prior claim was reopened, but was again rejected.
In 1895, George made yet another claim for an increase, but the claim appears never to have been completed. The Pension Bureau again went to the War Department for military service records, and received a response. The Pension Bureau again prepared some letters for John L. Arvin, Benedict Queen, Daniel Haggerty and Dr. Campbell to complete. But only John Arvin’s response had been developed (response). The medical evidence (reverse) returned return also appears to be unfinished. The reason is that George had passed away.
George Washington Arvin died on 26 (or 27) December 1896 of bronchitis. His wife, Miami (“Jemima”) Arvin, died just six weeks before him, on 18 November 1896. They left three children, now middle-aged, who were nevertheless “helpless.” Their names: James Edward, born 9 December 1848, Teresa Ann, born 12 June 1850 and Anna, born 30 May 1865. Despite their ages, they each had a mental disability so severe that they needed full time care. (Theresa Ann, who went by Nancy Ann, is listed in the 1880 census as having the disease of “nervousness.” See below.) They lived with their sister, Mrs. Elizabeth Fields, on Loogootee RFD No. 1. Imagine Elizabeth’s plight. She was only 35 (born in 1861), but already she was a widow. Now she lost her mother, then her father. Still, she undertook the full-time care of her three helpless siblings. And she had no income.
In 1899, the Daviess County Circuit Court found the three children of unsound mind and appointed a committee to oversee their property. The three were over age 16, and thus ineligible for pensions as survivors of their father. The Bureau of Pensions, therefore, decided to make this a “Special Act” claim, meaning that it would need—quite literally—an
Act of Congress to place them on the pension roll.
And that is exactly what happened. The U. S. House voted on the report of its committee in May, 1900. The Senate voted on its committee report in January, 1901. The Act became law on 7 February 1901. Patrick Lundy, of Loogootee, was appointed as guardian. Now, he was required to make a claim. It began with a Declaration, (reverse). Application No. 734,819 was completed in June, 1901, and Certificate No. 516,696 was issued to him.
Teresa (“Nancy”) Ann Arvin died on 9 September 1906 at the age of 56. James E. and Anna continued to live with Elizabeth, and Patrick Lundy continued to serve as their guardian. Every two years, he was required to account for the money, subject to approval by the Daviess County Circuit Court. Here is what was submitted to the Pension Bureau in 1912. Mr. Lundy resigned as guardian in 1914, and Thomas W. Miles was appointed. Just as Mr. Lundy had, he filed a performance bond, certified by the Circuit Court. At the Pension Bureau, the Finance Division was notified.
James Edward Arvin, age 67, died on 24 April 1916. Anna Arvin, the sole survivor, was now entitled to the entire $12. But Elizabeth, now 55 herself, complained bitterly to the Pension Bureau, in December of 1916, that Mr. Miles was not giving Anna enough money for her support. page 1 page 2 Special Examiner letter letter to custodian As a result of the accusation, Miles resigned as guardian. His attorney wrote a letter to the Pension Bureau in his defense. The Commissioner wrote a letter to Elizabeth.
In January 1917, James L. McGovren (sic), an insurance salesman, accepted appointment as guardian for Anna. She was now 52 years old, still helpless and bedfast. But by 1919, he resigned. A cousin, George J. Arvin (born in 1859, son of Augustine Arvin) was then appointed. George filed the required biennial accounting reports in 1921, 1923, 1925 and 1927. But by 1929, he had moved to Chula Vista, California, and thought he had turned the reporting back over to Mr. McGovren, who was a cashier with the White River Bank in Loogootee. The accounting report eventually followed in June. No report was received for 1931, and the Pension Bureau suspended payment in 1933. George wrote a letter in 1934, inquiring about payment.
In 1936, we find that the Little Sisters of the Poor in Indianapolis now have Anna in their care and Mr. McGovren had again been selected as guardian. He requested that payment be resumed. The Pension Bureau complied, and Mr. McGovren received the money due Anna, retroactive from October 1933 to November 1936. It totaled $437.40. (Pension payments had apparently been reduced during the Great Depression.) Questions of Fact and Law
Payments continued until Anna Arvin died on 19 May 1941. She was almost 76 years old.
Final Memo for Examiner
Original Ledger from 1901
We return to Joseph Edward Arvin.
On October 14, Joseph and Rose Ann sell Rebecca Burch a 10 acre parcel of the
School Land (NE-SE 16-2-5), for $100.00.47 (This sale may never have been
completed, or was reversed for some reason, because Joseph’s estate at the time
of his death still showed his School Land holding as 190 acres.)
Three days later on October 17, Joseph
purchases a lot in Alfordsville from a Florian Bartel. He pays $100.00 for lot
12, a corner lot, as indicated here.48 Joseph may have bought this lot on speculation, hoping
to hold it for future increase in value. “Alfordsville, in Reeve township, is the principal village in the south-eastern
portion of the county. It was laid off, June 3, 1845....The
first settler in that vicinity was James Alford, after whom the town was
named.”49 Alfordsville was starting to develop as a town, and corner lots
were especially popular. “There was never a saloon in Alfordsville, not that
there was a crusade against it; because it took two weeks for the sheriff to
get there. One man would buy up all corner lots and before he would sell, they
had to promise that they would not have a saloon – it worked!”50
Historical Note: On April 14, 1865,
John Wilkes Booth, a famous actor and Confederate sympathizer, fatally
shoots President Abraham Lincoln at a play at Ford’s Theater in Washington, D.C., and flees south through the Maryland countryside, passing near the old Arvin’s Enlargement in Charles County. The assassination comes only five days after Confederate General Robert E. Lee surrendered his massive army at Appomattox Court House, Virginia, effectively ending the American Civil War.
James Paul Arvin, son of Joseph and
Rose Ann, was born on 6 December 1863 and baptized on 7 February 1864. James
died 2 August 1865. He
is buried at St. Rose, in the Arvin family plot.
Susan Ellen Arvin, daughter of
Joseph and Rose Ann, was born on 1 July 1868.
Rose Ann Arvin,
daughter of Joseph and Rose Ann, born 13 July 1854, died on 8 December 1868.
She was only 14 years of age. She is buried in the family plot at St. Rose. All the pain, sadness and sense of loss
which the family suffered upon her death are now represented only by a swatch of
lace, a snip of cloth and a single lock of her hair. They were preserved
in the family bible open, page left page right which Joseph purchased a few years later. (William H. Arvin, their oldest son, later inherited this bible. William’s oldest daughter, Mary Ann, inherited it from him in turn. Mary Ann made the notation.)
1869: On 5 January, Joseph and Rose Ann sign an indenture to sell their original 40 acre farm, their “Congress Land,” which
Joseph had entered in 1844 (SW-NE-22-2-5) and bought with $50.00 from his
father. They sold it to Andrew J. White for $600.00. The words, “the receipt
whereof is hereby acknowledged” are crossed out in the county recording, so
apparently Mr. White had not paid for the land at the time of the sale.
This Indenture Witnesseth,
that Joseph E. Arvin and Rose Ann
Arvin his wife of Daviess
County in the State of Indiana convey
and warrant to Andrew J.
White of Daviess County in the
State of Indiana for the sum
of Six Hundred Dollars,
whereof is hereby
acknowledged, the following real estate in
Daviess County, in the State
of Indiana towit:
South west quarter of
the north east quarter of section
No twenty two (22) in
township No two (2) north of range No
five (5) west, and
In Witness Whereof
the said Joseph E. Arvin and Rose
Ann his wife have hereunto
set their hands and seals this
5th day of
Joseph E Arvin (seal)
Rose Ann x Arvin(seal)
The State of Indiana Martin
Before me a Notary Public
in and for said County this
5th day of January 1869
personally came Joseph E Arvin
and Rose Ann his wife and
acknowledged the execution of
the annexed deed.
Witness my hand and Notorial seal
Alexander Chomel (seal)
Received for Record,
January 7th 1869 at 3 o’clock P.M.
I certify that the deed of
which the above foregoing is a true
copy, was duly stamped, as
provided by Act of Congress, and
recorded on the 11th
day of January 1869 at 11 o’clock A.M.
E T Barton, Recorder of
It is not clear whether this transaction was ever actually completed. The issue is clouded by the fact that 40 acres of land in the same section was transferred from L. W. McCormick to Joseph in 1877, as was published in The Washington Gazette on 19 May of that year. Did he repurchase the farm later? Clear the title by paying Mr. McCormick? Unknown. At any rate, the property would not be listed as part of Joseph’s estate.
Alexander Chomel, the Notary Public, is the same man who would later work as attorney-in-fact on the pension claims of Joseph’s mother Theresa and his uncle Elias in the early 1870’s. Charles Antoine Alexandre Chomel was born in Allier, France, in 1826. His parents, members of the provincial nobility, lost everything in the French Revolution. Alexandre emigrated to America in 1849, and married Sabrina Corrico of Kentucky on Christmas Eve, 1850, in New Albany, Indiana. Her family was believed to have originally emigrated to Maryland with Lord Baltimore. They later moved to Martin County, where her brother-in-law had founded the town of Loogootee. There, Alexandre published the Martin County Herald and the Enterprise. In 1884, they moved to the town of Washington, in Daviess County, where he published the Advertiser. At the request of the bishop of Indianapolis, he took over publication of the diocesan paper, the Catholic Record. They then relocated to Indianapolis, where they lived for the rest of their lives. They celebrated their fifty-fourth wedding anniversay at their home on Christmas Eve, 1904. Sabrina died in 1909; Alexandre Chomel died at age 85 in 1911.52
1870 – Ninth United States Census
Age Sex Color
of Place of
Cannot Male citz
Occupation Real Estate Personal
Arvin Joseph E.
54 M W Farmer
4,000 Maryland √
Rosan 45 F W Keeping house Kentucky
William H. 24 M W
Farm laborer 200
22 F W Indiana
Martin E. 19 M W
Moses I. 18
Indiana [This must be Mary Jane.]
Joseph P. 9 M W Indiana [Joseph T.]
Susan C. 3 F W Indiana
Ann, Joseph and Rose Ann’s oldest daughter, married Jeremiah Jerry Raney on 15 November
1870. His was an old-line Catholic family, one of the first to settle in the
area. “Jeremiah Raney was born in Perry Township of Daviess or Martin County [Perry Township is in Martin County],
Ind. Dec. 27, 1842. He married Elizabeth Ann Arvin on Nov. 15, 1870 probably in
Mt. Pleasant or St. Martins Catholic Church [Lucile Arvin indicates St. Martin, although the building was not erected until
1875]; she was born Feb. 3, 1847 
in Ireland [Indiana]. They lived in
Barr Twp. Daviess County, Ind. Farmed all their lives. He died Nov 9 , 1914. Elizabeth Ann Raney died April 26, 1931.”53
They were written up by Weston A. Goodspeed in his 1886 publication, History of Knox and Daviess Counties, Indiana. Jeremiah and Elizabeth are buried in the St. Martin Church cemetery.
Also living nearby in Daviess County in 1870:
Arvin Joshua 49 M  W Farmer     3000  400 Kentucky 1 1
Caroline 47 F W Keeping house Kentucky 1
Landon H 24 M W Farmer     800 200 Indiana 1
--- Rebecca 16 F W Indiana *
--- Treecy J 13 F W Indiana *
--- Joshua 11 F W Indiana *
--- Mary S 9 F W Indiana *
--- Charles 6 F W Indiana *
--- Ramon F 3 F W Indiana *
Peck John F 28   farm Laborer Kentucky
. . .
Arvin Thomas H. 57 M
W Farmer 2000
400 Kentucky 1 1 1
F W Keeping house
Indiana 1 1
--- Rosey J 17
--- Joseph 15
--- Henry 13 M
--- John A 11 M
--- Caroline 9
F W Indiana
--- Martha 7 F W Indiana
--- Elisabeth 5
--- Sarah A 3 F
Arvin, George W. 44 M W [“Long”] Farmer 2200
400 Kentucky 1
--- Jemima 45
F W Keeping house Maryland
--- James 21 M
--- Nancy 19 F W Indiana
--- Thomas 18
--- Jane 15 F W Indiana *
--- Rosa 13 F W Indiana *
--- Sylvester 10 M W Indiana *
--- Elizabeth 9 F W Indiana
--- Annie 4 F W Indiana
Arvin James P 42 M W Farmer 2200 600 Kentucky 1
---Mary 39 F W Keeping house Indiana 1 1
---Treecey E 17 F W Indiana
---Thomas H 17 M W Indiana
---Treecey 82 F W   Maryland   1 1
. . .
Arvin George W 51 M W [“Short”] Farmer 1000 500 Kentucky 1
---Mary E 54 F W Keeping house Maryland
---Rosey J 18 F W Indiana
---Treecey C 15 F W Indiana
---Henry E 11 M W Indiana
. . .
Arvin John L 31 M W Farmer 2200 Kentucky 1
---Julia A 35 F W Keeping house Indiana 1 1
---William E 12 M W Indiana
Arvin Ellis 80 M W Farmer   800 200 Maryland   1
---Catherine 73 F W Maryland 1 1
---Lavina A   35 F W   Maryland 1 1
Arvin Richard 26 M W Farmer 200 Kentucky 1
---Ann 33 F W Keeping house Maryland
---Treecey A 1 F W Indiana
---William H 8/12 M W Indiana Nov
. . .
* attended school within the year
And across the county line, in Rutherford Township,
Image Guss, with his oldest son, Thomas
Arvin, Guss 47
M W Farmer 2000 700 Kentucky 1 1
Rebecca 40 F W Keeping House
Indiana 1 1
M W Farm Laborer
William R 19
M W Farm Laborer Indiana *
Pius A 18 M
W Farm Laborer Indiana
13 F W
George J 11
Joseph P 7
Treecy E 3 F
* attended school within the year
Valerie (“Lelia”) Catherine, daughter of Joseph
and Rose Ann, was born 15 March 1871.
mother, Theresa Arvin, died in June of 1871. Attesting to her great matriarchal status within the Arvin clan, no less than six granddaughters, listed above, were named after her. (Nancy Ann, the daughter of George W. and Miami Arvin, was born Theresa Ann Arvin in October 1850.) On December 30 of 1871, Theresa’s heirs agreed to deed their shares of her land to a George W. Arvin Jr. and James P. Arvin. George (who may be the son of George W. Arvin Sr. (“Short George,” married to Theresa’s daughter, Mary Ellen Arvin) paid
$500.00 to the estate to obtain SE-SW 23-2-5,54 and
James paid $700.00 to obtain SW-SE 23-2-5.55 The tract James purchased probably
included the home, thus the higher price.
brother, Thomas H. Arvin, who was born in Maryland in 1813, died two days
before Christmas, on 23 December 1875. He was 62 years old. He had come to
Kentucky with Henry and Theresa as a child in 1816, and he was the oldest of the three
pioneering brothers, sent by their father to Indiana, who entered 40 acres of land in Daviess County in 1844. He left his
wife Margaret and a household of seven children, along with a grandchild. He is buried in the cemetery of St. John’s Church, Loogootee.
1876: Joseph and Rose Ann’s second son, Martin Edward Arvin,
now 26, and his wife Mary Ann, sell Lot 11 in Cannelburg to Margaret Kavanaugh
for $85.00. A record of their purchase of this lot could not
be found, although several of Martin’s land transactions in Daviess County do
survive. “Martin E. married Mary Ann Nolan on Aug. 26, 1873, and they lived on
a farm one half mile east of Cannelburg in Barr Township.”56 He died in May
of 1904 in the town of Montgomery, which is located just a few miles to the
west of Cannelburg. (The town of Cannelburg was named after type of
coal prevalent in area, cannel coal. “The principal industry of the community
is coal mining, which furnishes employment for a large number of men, and
furnishes support for most of the families in town. The cannel coal mined here
is regarded as being superior to any in the state, and immense quantities of it
are mined and shipped to various parts of the country....The Buckey Cannel-Coal
Company’s mine was opened in 1870.”)57
1880 – Tenth United States Census
Arvin, Joseph E. listed in Reeves Township, Daviess
County, Indiana. (Taken on 26th day of June)
Name Color Sex Age Relationship Profession Birthplace Father’s Mother’s
Arvin, Joseph E. W M 64
Rosana H. W F
55 wife Keeping House
Ky Ky Ky
William H. W M 34 Son Farmer Ind Md Ky
Margaret E. W
F 22 Daugh in Law House
Keeping Ind Ky Ind
Joseph T. W M 20 Son works on farm Ind Md Ky
Susan E. W
F 11 Daughter at Home Ind
Lelia C. W
F 9 Daughter Ind Md
Hayden, John O. W M 14 Nephew works on farm Illinois Ky Ky
A.M. W M 59 Bro in Law works on farm Kentucky Ky Ky
W M 35 Farmer Ind
Mary J W F 28 wife keeping house Ind Maryland Ky
Mary E W F 3 Daughter Ind Ind Ind
Annie W F 9/12 Spt Daughter Ind Ind Ind
Valerie Catherine now goes by “Lelia C.” Mary Jane, second oldest daughter of Joseph
and Rose Ann, married James Griffin on 23 September 1873. James’s family probably lived in the area; and we see his mother and father were born in Ireland. As the census taker made his run, he found the newlyweds living with their two young daughters in the next house up the road from Joseph and Rose Ann. Since we will learn that the Griffins inherited a portion of Joseph’s land on the northeast corner, it is likely that they have established a separate homestead there at this time. We also will learn that, “there was another log house located to the south east of the house of Joseph Arvin. It was on the same property and located just behind the orchard.” Oldest son, William Arvin, will inherit this land, and this is where he is about to establish his homestead. Everyone involved was quite content with these arrangements. Sons and daughters and lots of grandchildren living close by, and no shortage of work for everyone to share on their farms. Joseph and Rose Ann had planned it this way when they first bought the land.
Oldest son William Henry Arvin married Margaret
Ellen Yates on 27 January 1879. At the time of this census, they are actually living with Joseph and Rose Ann in their painted house. They have an infant daughter, Mary Ann, but she is not listed in this census.
Also living in Reeve Township of
Arvin, George W W M 60 [“Short”] Farmer Maryland Maryland Maryland
Mary E W F 64 wife Keeping house Md Md Md
[Joseph’s twin sister]
. . .
Arvin, Thomas H W M
Farmer Indiana Ky Md
Emily L W F 26 wife Keeping house Ind Ky
Mary E W F 3 Daughter
Ind Ind Ind
George W W
M 1 Son
Ind Ind Ind
Arvin, George W W M
54 [“Long”] Farming Ky Md Md
Jemima H W F 54 wife
Keeping house Md Md Md
James E W M 31 Son
works on farm
Kentucky Ky Md
Nancy A W F 29 Daughter at Home ***
Ind Ky Md
Mary J W F 24 Daughter at Home Ind Ky Md
Rose E W F 22 Daughter at Home Ind Ky Md
W M 20 Son
works on farm Ind Ky Md
E W F
16 Daughter at Home Ind Ky Md
F 14 Daughter at Home Ind Ky Md
. . .
Arvin, Margaret W F
House Ind Ky Ky
Joseph P W M 25 Son
works on farm
Ind Ind Md
John A W M 21 Son works on farm Ind Ind Md
Martha M W F 17 Daughter
at Home Ind Ind Md
Belle W F
15 Daughter at Home Ind Ind Md
--- Jeremiah W M 14 Gnd
son works on farm Ind Ind Ind
--- Allie W F
12 Daughter at Home Ind Ind Md
--- James L W M 10 Son Ind Ind Md
--- Ida M W
F 8 Daughter Ind Ind
Margaret is the widow of Joseph’s
older brother, Thomas H. Arvin, who died in 1875.
Living in Rutherford Township of
W M 56 Farmer Kentucky Ky Ky
--- Rebecka W
F 50 wife
Keeping house Indiana Ky Ky
--- William R W M
30 son Farm laborer Indiana Ky Ind
--- George P W
M 21 son
Indiana Ky Ind
--- Joseph P W
M 17 son
Indiana Ky Ind
--- Tresse E W
F 13 daughter
Indiana Ky Ind
Note, the state of birth for Augustine’s
father and mother—Henry and Theresa—are incorrect. They were both
born in Maryland.
More Land Transactions
1881: March 5,
Joseph E. Arvin and his younger brother James P. Arvin, both
“of Daviess County,” sell three 40-acre tracts located just across the
county line in Martin County, for $500.00. Fielder Gillock, who lived nearby in
Rutherford Township of Martin County, was the buyer. (See image of 1870 Martin County census, above.) The legal descriptions:
NW-NE-36-2-5, NE-NE 36-2-5 and SE-SE 25-2-5.58 The tracts are located in west
central Rutherford Township of Martin County, as shown here. No further information was found regarding this
transaction, including how they acquired joint ownership of the land, or why.
1886: On October 4, Abraham C. Perkins and his
wife purchase Lot 12 in Alfordsville from Joseph and Rose Ann. The price is only $25.00. Loogootee’s success had come at the expense of the small towns in the region, and Alfordsville never lived up to its great expectations. The Arvin’s apparently decided to simply liquidate their lot at a loss.
indenture Witnesseth that Joseph E Arvin and Rose A Arvin of Daviess
County in the State of Indiana
Convey and Warrant to Abraham Perkins
and wife of Daviess County in
the State of Indiana for the Sum of Twenty
five Dollars the following
Real Estate in Daviess County in the State of Indiana
to Wit: Lot No (12) Twelve in
the town of Alfordsville County and State aforesaid
To have and to hold the Same
unto the Said Abraham C. Perkins and his
heirs and Legal
representatives forever In Witness of the Said Joseph
E Arvin and Rose A Arvin his
wife have hereunto Set their hands and
Seals this fourth day of
Joseph E Arvin (Seal)
W.W. Kyle Rose
A x Arvin (Seal)
of Indiana Daviess County ss: Before me this William W Kyle a Justice of the
Peace in and
Said County this 4th day of October 1886 personally came the witness
named Joseph E
arvin and Rose A Arvin his
wife and acknowledged the execution of the annexed
Rose Ann and Joseph’s daughter, Susan Ellen Arvin, 19 years old, married John Lannan on 1 February 1887. The ceremony was held at St. Martin Church. John had 40 acres of land located in the area, and everything appeared to be set for them to live a happy married life. Then, on 13 September 1888, less than two years later, Susan died.
Mary Ellen’s husband, “Short” George
W. Arvin (son of Elias and Catherine), born in 1819, died on 24 April 1890. He was buried at St. Rose cemetery, long after the town of Mount Pleasant was gone. According to Lucile Arvin, Mary
Ellen had begun going by the name Polly Ann later in her life. Lucile tells
us, “After his death she sold the farm as Polly Ann in 1895. The Commissioner
learned her name was Mary Ellen and she was advised to
advertise for sale by posting up printed posters in 10 public places 10 days
prior to the sale. It wasn’t sold again until Aug. 4,
1898 and to a different person. Dad bought it in 1907.”60
1890 – Eleventh United States Census
This census was stored in the basement of the Department of
Commerce Building, in Washington D.C. In 1921, it was turned to a pulpy mess and almost completely destroyed by water flowing into the
basement as a fire was being fought on the upper floors. Almost no data from the census is usuable today.
Valerie Catherine (“Lelia”) and Joseph B.
Williams married on January 27, 1891. The ceremony was held at St. Martin Church.
Since Joseph and Rose Ann occasionally made visits to the town of Washington (here’s an article from the April 4th, 1894, edition of the Daviess County Democrat), they decided to have a photograph of themselves made. Perhaps this was done in connection with their 50th wedding anniversay,
which was in November of that year. Naturally, they went to the new Ground Floor Gallery, located right on Main Street. The proprietor was a young, energetic man named James Bourgholtzer.
James Bourgholtzer was quite active in the
commerce of Washington, Indiana, which had a population of about 10,000 at that
time. He was the “leader” of the town’s Opera House.61
And he was the
treasurer of the Indiana Association of Photographers.62
JAMES BOURGHOLTZER, the artistic photographer of Wash-
ington, Daviess county, Ind., ...is a son of John and Caroline (Dern)
Bourgholtzer, natives of Lorraine, France....In 1891 he built his
present magnificent photograph gallery on Main street. It is richly
furnished, and is as well equipped as any art gallery in the state.
Perfect in all its arrangements and decorations, and first class in all
that pertains to pictures, the very latest styles of photos are made
by him, and “you can almost hear the little things talk,” is often
said of Bourgholtzer’s baby pictures. His reputation as a pho-
tographer is established, and Mr. Bourgholtzer is not only a pho-
tographer but an artist, and that is the secret of successful photog-
raphy. His crayon work is greatly sought after by the people and
never fails to give satisfaction. He has recently put in a flash-
light machine, and is now prepared to make pictures of parlor
parties, interior of stores or dwellings and family circles in the
home. With this machine, pictures can be made anywhere, by
day or night.63
Joseph was intrigued with this new technology. He recognized its potential: recording the present as a keepsake for
future generations. He already had a photograph of his youngest surviving daughter, Valerie, with her husband, Joe B. Williams.
He also had one of his youngest surviving son, Joe Tom.
Now, on a sunny fall day in 1896 or 1897, he invited Mr. Bourgholtzer out to the farm to make another photograph.
The result is this amazing image of Rose Ann and Joseph in front of their painted house. We see them on the left, with Joe
Tom and his son John Arnold between them. Joe Tom was a widower at this time. He married Cordelia Nolen on 17 April
1887, but she died on 5 July 1887. He then married Emma Gardiner on 22 January 1890, and John Arnold was born on
29 July 1890. John died on 15 April 1914, at the age of 23. Joe Tom was married a third time, to Rosa A. Nolan, on 3 May
1899. They had a daughter, Rose Marie, born in 1900, who died in 1972. Joe Tom was also married a fourth time, to Lela
Hayden. Joseph Thomas Arvin died on 11 March 1918 at the age of 61.
On the right is Valerie Arvin Williams with her children, Anna C., born 1895, John Sheldon, born 1896, and Joseph Ivo,
born 1892. Annie married John Elmer Strange in 1917. (His brother, Frank Strange, married Annie’s younger sister,
Elizabeth.) Elmer died in 1944, and in 1945 Annie married Michael McDonald. Annie McDonald died 23 March 1970. John
Sheldon (“Shell”) owned a garage in Loogootee for years and was a city fireman. He died 1 December 1962.
John Ivo died about 1904, only twelve years old. Also on the right is Robert Hayden, Rose Ann’s older brother, who lived
with the Williams family.
A New Book Published
Joseph also saw to it that the Arvin family was immortalized in print. A new book, The History of the Catholic
Church in Indiana, was published in 1898 by Charles Blanchard. Mr. Bourgholtzer had the very favorable
article shown above placed in it. (Subjects of these articles probably helped subsidize its publication with monetary
contributions, an early form of “vanity publishing.”) In his book, Mr. Blanchard mentions the Arvin family,
and he must have obtained much of his information from Joseph, who, like Bourgholtzer, probably patronized
the publication with a cash contribution. Thanks to Joseph’s foresight, this article became an invaluable source
of information for future Arvin family genealogists.
THE ARVIN FAMILY, so well known in Indiana, was founded in this
state by Henry Arvin, a
native of Maryland, of Irish parentage, and
born November 7, 1787. He was married, January 1, 1810, to Theressa
Montgomery, also a native
of Maryland, born October 21, 1787, and in
1816 they removed to Kentucky,
where Mr. Arvin engaged in planting
until 1844, when they came to Indiana and
settled on a farm in Reeve
township, Daviess county,
but where Mr. Arvin engaged in coopering
and in other lines of
business, being too corpulent for farm work, and
in that county passed away June 18, 1860,
his widow surviving until
June 20, 1871, when she,
too, was called to rest. There was born to
them a large family, of
whom seven sons and two daughters arrived
at the years of maturity,
viz: William, who was born June 11, 1811, and
died in Petersburg, Ind., May 22, 1883;
Thomas, born May 21, 1813, lived
in Daviess county, and died December 23, 1875;
Joseph and Mary (twins)
born November 9, 1815, and supposed to be the
oldest twins in the state,
are both married – the former to Rosa Hayden,
and the father of six children;
the latter is the widow
of George W. Arvin, and resides in Loogootee with
a brother; Rosa, born
February 18, 1818, married Martin Patterson, and
died in Daviess county;
Joshua O., born August 12, 1821, died in the same
county January 11, 1889;
Augustine, born February 1, 1824, resides in Martin
county; George W., born January 26, 1826, died
in Daviess county in 1897,
and James and Kendrick, twins, were born
January 31, 1828, and of these
Kendrick died in infancy.64
Mary Ellen Arvin (“Polly Ann”) died on 27 July
1897—after the author interviewed Joseph for this book, but prior to its publication.
She was living with her younger brother, James, at the time of the interview.
James had moved to Loogootee, where, in 1888, he purchased Lots 75 and
76 in Keck’s Addition, located on the southwest corner of Sherman and 1st
Street. He paid $80.00 for the lots.65
James Polding Arvin, the youngest and last surviving child of Henry and
Theresa Arvin, died on 19 July 1905 in Martin County, Indiana, and is buried at St. Martin’s cemetery in Whitfield. His death marked
the end of an era. In June 1909, his widow, Mary, sold Lots 75 and 76 for an
Augustine Arvin died 16 July 1899, also in Martin County and also is buried at St. Martin’s cemetery. His son, Pius, lived in
Loogootee on Lot 74, directly south of James’s lots. Pius paid $175.00 for
Sale to Daughter and
In February, youngest daughter Valerie Catherine (now going by Catherine L.) and her husband Joseph B.
Williams purchase 10 acres of Joseph and Rose Ann’s land, a tract located directly north
of the home, bordering the road. The purchase price was $225.00.67 “Joe B.” and Catherine L. had already established their own homestead on this tract, complete with their own little house. Although there is no documentation, it is entirely possible that other sons and
daughters may have also established homesteads on other portions of this land. In fact, this
may have been Joseph’s intent all along, the very reason he purchased the land back
Deaths of Joseph and Rose Ann
Barely two months later, in April of the year 1900, both Joseph, age 84, and Rose Ann, age 75, contracted the flu. Rose Ann died of her illness
on Monday, April 10. Joseph died less than twenty-four hours later, on Tuesday April
11. Their funerals were held on that Thursday,
probably at St Martin of Tour’s Catholic Church in Whitfield. They were buried side by side in a double plot in the Saint
Martin cemetery. They rest a little over two miles east of the home where they lived for the last thirty-eight years of their lives. Today, the church and the cemetery are located just east of
U.S. Highway 231, and are visible from the road.
Joseph had been born back on Arvin’s Enlargement in Maryland, and was
the last remaining connection to that land. As an infant, he had made the daunting
trek to Kentucky with his parents, where he lived to his adulthood. Under the
direction of his father, Joseph and two of his brothers established themselves
as pioneers in Indiana, becoming the first individuals of European descent to
own their land. Joseph returned to Kentucky in 1844 and made Miss Rose Ann
Hayden—the young lady with the famous name—his wife. Altogether, they were blessed with at least ten children. And, although death stole four away, six grew to maturity, surviving them as the century turned. For more than fifty years, Mr. and Mrs. Arvin enjoyed married life, prospered and grew old together. Their names were Joseph Edward and Rose Ann.
Postscript: The Estate
Joseph had prepared a will (over) in 1893, leaving the 190-acre “School Land” tracts to Rose Ann. However, she
predeceased him by a day. Therefore, the six surviving children, who are also named in the will, inherited it. Since
the 10 acres previously deeded to Rebecca Burch in 1864 are included in the
estate, that sale was either never completed or reversed for some reason. The other
tract, the “Canal Land” containing 40 acres (NE-SE 15-2-5), is not mentioned. It
must have been sold at some point, although no record of its sale can be found
in the Index to Deeds for Daviess County. The plat map published in 1888 shows its ownership had changed by that time.
The six heirs and their
spouses were able to devise a workable plan to divide the land in an equitable way. Perhaps this was because some or all
of them had already established homesteads on different areas of the land, as
they grew up, got married and started families of their own. Just as Joseph and Rose Ann had planned.
Early in the year 1900, the land was divided up, and deeds for each beneficiary’s land were
recorded by the Daviess County Recorder of Deeds.The deeds were indexed as shown here:
17: James Griffin (husband of 47-year-old
Mary Jane) is deeded 27 acres. Consideration is $500.00.68
May 26: Joseph T. Arvin (“Joe Tom”),
age 43, is deeded 35 acres. Consideration: $500.0069
May 26: Martin E. Arvin,
age 49, is deeded 29 acres, $500.00.70
May 26: William H. Arvin, age 54, is deeded
38 acres for $500.0071
June 5: Jeremiah Raney
(husband of 51-year-old Elizabeth), deeded 33 acres for $500.0072
June 11: Joseph B.
Williams (husband of 29-year-old Catherine L.), 18 acres. Consideration
left blank, for some reason.73 Counting the 10 acres which Joseph and Rose Ann
deeded to them in March of 1899, this gave Joe B. and Catherine L. Williams a total
of 28 acres, and included Joseph and Rose Ann’s home. Thus, all 190 acres of
the School Land—no more, no less—was distributed.
The will of Joseph Edward
Arvin was admitted to probate, and its contents were reported in The Washington Gazette on August 10 and The Daviess County Democrat on August 11. Catherine and her husband, Joe B. Williams,
moved from their little house into her parents’ larger two-story home. It was the original home Joseph had built for Rose Ann
in Civil War times, a painted house, and it had been their home, a wonderful home, for thirty-eight
years. Now it would provide shelter for another generation.
1900 – Twelfth United States Census
Image side A Image side B
The census of 1900, taken on 13
June, shows Joseph B. and Catherine L. with four children under 10 years of age. John
M. Williams (Joseph B’s father), age 69, and Robert Hayden (Rose Ann’s older
brother), age 79, also lived with them. Notice they own the property, classified as a farm, and it is free of mortgage.
Relation Personal Description Nativity Occupation Ownership of Home
or Trade Owned or Free of Farm
* † ▫
Joseph B. Head W M Oct 1864
35 M 9 Indiana Kentucky Kentucky Farmer O F F
------- Catherine L Wife W F
Mar 1871 29 M 9 Indiana Maryland Kentucky
------- Joseph I Son W M
Jan 1892 8 Indiana
------- Anna C. Daughter W F
June 1894 5
Indiana Indiana Indiana
------- John S. Son
W M Dec
1896 4 Indiana Indiana Indiana
------- James A Son W M Dec 1898 2
Williams John M Father W M Dec 1830 69 Kentucky Kentucky Kentucky
Hayden Robert Uncle W M May 1821 79 Kentucky Kentucky Kentucky
*age †marital status ▫number of years married
the composition of the household had changed drastically. Joseph’s father, John
Williams, has died, Catherine’s uncle Robert Hayden has died (Lucile Arvin
tells us he was “mentally retarded and froze to death.”) Young Joseph Ivo has died. Most significantly,
Catherine herself died, at the age of thirty-three, in November of 1904, leaving Joseph a widower with five children. The youngest was Susan Ellen (“Ellie”), who was only two months old. Catherine’s older sister, Mary Jane Griffin, took Ellie into her care.
About 1911, a photograph was made at the Griffin homestead. (Did James Bourgholtzer bring his equipment out to the farm, by horse and buggy, for this photograph also?) On the left, we see Mary Ann Arvin, wife of John H. Arvin and daughter-in-law of the late Joshua O. Arvin, along with Mary Jane Griffin and her niece Ellie Williams. To the right are two unidentified Griffin women. And, in the center is Josephine Arvin McCann, daughter of John H. Arvin and Mary Ann Arvin, granddaughter of Joshua O. Arvin, with her two sons, Joseph Raymond (“Raymond”) McCann and Earl McCann. Josephine’s husband, William McCann, died in 1911. Josephine became a widow either shortly before, or shortly after, this photograph was made.
In 1916, Joe Bede Williams, a widower still
living in the old Joseph Arvin home, and Josephine Arvin McCann married. Each had overcome their own personal tragedy, and each had managed to carry on. Each brought their own children to the marriage. They formed one big happy family in the old house. In addition, this new union produced children of its own. Mary Louise Williams was born in the house in 1917, followed by her sister Margie. Here is how the household appeared in the 1920 census:
Joseph Edward Arvin’s original painted house, which had given its owners 60 years of shelter, at last became unserviceable and had to be torn down. During the Great Depression, a new home was constructed. It was built over the cellar of the original home, and it faced north. The old road had been rerouted to run east of the property; this orientation made more sense. During a visit in 1977, Lucile and Rosemary Arvin showed me the place, which at that time was owned by a retired dentist. He called it “Toothacres.” This home also lasted 60 years, but was destroyed by a tornado on 2 June 1990.
In 1980, Mary Ellen Wildman, the daughter of Raymond McCann, wrote me a letter explaining all this.
In 2011, Mary Louise (Williams) Lentz, first-born child of Joseph and Josephine Williams—still sharp at the age of 94—wrote me a letter. (It was she who commissioned the spectacular “Original home” painting shown above, instructing the painter to use Joseph’s 1897 photograph as a model.)
“... I was born in the house in 1917. There were 40 acres of land. The house was a large cabin with an addition on the side. That section was a kitchen with one window. You had to go outside to get into the kitchen. As you can see from the picture, there are two windows downstairs. This was the two bedrooms. The cabin in back had a large living room and upstairs there was one big bedroom that held four beds. In the back of the house there was one screen door. We had lots of flies in the summertime. When we had company, my sister Margie and I had to cut from the lilac bush and wave branches to keep flies off the kitchen table. Haha.
“In 1934 they built a new house. The house took one summer to build. While the house was being built, our family lived in the house north of us. My mother sold timber to pay for the new house. Then in 1942 my father Joseph passed away. My mother continued to live there until her son Earl McCann passed away in 1960. At that time she sold the house to Carl O'Connor, my first cousin (who was a dentist.) He turned it into a summer home, built a large lake in front of the home and called the property Tooth Acres.
“I have added a drawing of the property as I remember it.”
The Joseph Arvin Papers
Although Josephine Arvin McCann Williams was widowed for the second time in 1942, her son Earl, who never married, had continued to live with her. They became the custodians of many old documents—handwritten slips of
aging paper—which had belonged to Joseph and Rose Ann in a bygone era. In 1954, Earl,
realizing the historic significance of these documents, contacted a reporter
for the newspaper in Washington, Indiana, and invited him to come visit and inspect
them. The following summer, the reporter, Thomas E. Arvin, wrote an article for his paper, the Washington Daily Times, about the
documents. (Thomas E. Arvin was the son of Thomas Henry Arvin, himself the son of Augustine “Guss” Arvin of Martin County.) The article, now historic
in its own right, is the source of much invaluable information about the Arvin
clan and the times in which they lived.
FINDS DATA ON PIONEERS OF
EAST CENTRAL DAVIESS COUNTY
In 1954 Earl McCann, the son of Mrs. Josephine Williams, told me
that he and his mother possessed
some old records of the early settlers of this community. Last month I visited
Mrs. Williams at her
home, and she graciously gave me the records to inspect. After I read them
closely, I concluded that
they were INDIANA HISTORY, and especially that they
were sidelights to early DAVIESS COUNTY
HISTORY. I felt that the people of Daviess County should know that such
records exist. Mrs.
Williams gave me permission to write an article for THE WASHINGTON DAILY
The records consist of store
records, contracts, leases, poems, and other personal items. The
letter to relatives in Hardin County, Kentucky is one that should be included
in any HISTORY OF
DAVIESS COUNTY. Parts of a letter of proposal are also history.
Joseph E. Arvin was born in Hardin
County, Kentucky, [Charles
County, Maryland] in 1815. His wife
Roze Anne Hayden, was born in 1825. Also,
apparently she was from Hardin County. As a young man
Jos. Arvin, and,—as well as can be
determined by the papers, some nine or ten Hardin County young
men—possibly Thomas H. Arvin, Joshua O. Arvin, Richard Arvin, Sylvester Arvin,
Henry Arvin, Joseph
Padison, Thomas Summars and James Horn, came “to davis county, Indiana, and
each entered 40 acres
of land,” and wrote the said Joseph E. Arvin “plenty of good congress land laze
on all sides of the land
which they had entered.”
that no one draws adverse personal conclusions as to the sobriety of the men
mentioned as having bought whiskey from this store. I have associated with many
older residents of
the community, —residents who actually knew and had been at the store. They have stated many
times that it was the custom for a man’s neighbors to gather to help him with
his work such as,
shucking corn, harvesting wheat, roll logs, ‘raise’ a house, a barn, or a
granary, and, since the
neighbors on such occasions worked for nothing, it was customary for the owner
to ‘set out’ a jug
The said Joseph E. Arvin
entered 40 acres which lie almost at the midpoint of
the north Reeve
township boundary line. [Joseph
originally entered 40 acres of land in 1844, but it was a later property,
the 190 acres of “School Land” purchased
in 1862, which was located on the Reeve township boundary line.]
According to Arvin’s letter, he immediately began an
18-ft.-square house of hewed logs. Later
a rather pretentious house of two stories was built and in this latter house a store was conducted,
and nearby, there was a still. About the same time
there was another still some two miles from the
north Reeve township line and one-quarter mile in from the eastern boundary
line [originally owned
by Henry Arvin, later owned by his son George W. Arvin], there was a saloon
A partial list of the people who traded
at this store (Names are taken from the records)
many of the early families of east central Daviess County; namely [105 names listed]. It is
that at some time or another each of the above names had either a debit or
credit at the store.
The price of whiskey is interesting.
There is page after page of whiskey sales July 14th
E. Elliott bought a drink of whiskey for 6 ¼ c; July 5, 1839 a Wm. H. Arvin bought one quart for 18
and ¾ c; July, 1858, R. Nolin
bought ½ gallon for 25c; July 30, 1858 a J. Weden bought 9 pints
for 50c; July 6, 1858 an H. Fagen bought 1 gallon for 45c; September 5, 1853 a
G. Nolin bought
one quart for 15c; October 16, 1858 a J Grinel bought 9 pints for 55c; November
1, 1858 a C. Burts
bought 1 pt. for 5c; October 22, 1858 a C. Hunt bought 2 glasses and one pint
for 10, 10 and 20c;
one quart, strong, sold for 20c with no reduction by the gallon, for 1 gallon,
strong, sold for 80c, but
earlier in the life of the store it sold at 1 pt. for 5c; 1qt. for 10c; ½ gal.
for 20c, and 1 gal. for 35c.
Whiskey was used
profusely, for a certain J. Robbords bought on July 26, 1840, 3 pts. For
37 ½ c; July 30, 3 qts. 37 ½ c; July 30 3 qts. 37 ½ c; Aug. 1, 1840 2qts, 25c; Aug 17, 3 qts. For
37 1/2c; Aug 18, 3 qts. for 37 ½ ; Aug 20, 3
qts, 37 ½ c; Aug 23, 3 qts. 37 ½ c; and 1 qt for 18
and ¾ c; Aug 28, 3 qts at 37 ½ c; and Sept. 1, 1840, 3 qts. At 37 ½ c.
Other prominent men are down for ½
gallon and 1 gallon, but the purchases do not indicate a
drunkard….such purchases do not necessarily indicate personal use of liquor.
On each day of July 6, Sept. 19, and Oct. 22, 1843, Elis
Arvin bought 1 pound of tobacco at 14c.
Liquids sold by the jug and grain
sold by the bucket, but there is no indication as to the size of
either. This store also bought timber products; such as spokes, staves, and
August 5, 1848 a pair of shoes sold
for 1.75; a set of dinner plates for 50c; a set of knitting needles
for 6c; 6 yards of callicoe for 45c; and a pound of tobacco for 12c…..
In 1849 a certain W. Arvin
bought potatoes for 25c; 1 bu apples for [blank] one axe and helv for
$1.60; 1 bu of razor straps for 50c; 1 comb for 5c; 1 set of knives and forks
for 1.00; 1 set of cups and
saucers for 37½c; 1 qt of whiskey for 10c; and ½ bu turnips
April 30,1838 a certain M. Cabero bought 1 qt brandy for 43x; and I doz.
Candles for 18c.
1837 M Vessles 62 1/2c for shoeing a horse.
October 1856, Geo. Clements bought
18 lbs. flour for 18c and 2 lbs salt for 2c.
In 1839 Jas. Phillips bought 2 lbs.
17c; 1 bottle castor oil for 25c; 1 of coffee for 25c; 2 lbs sugar
& lb of nails for 10c; ½ pound of
powder for 20c; 1 ½ lbs. lead for 15c; 1 crock for 15c; 4 lbs.
domestic cotton for 50c; 2 doz spans of cotton for 25c.
Aug. 23, 1839 Geo. Clemons bought 6
lbs. of bacon for 60c; 2 ½ lbs. lard for 25c.
Bill to Wm. Gannaway in 1840 for
making coat $6.00; to cutting vest 33c; cutting pants 38c…..
Labor by the day—even for carpenter
work—was 50c per day, but on Dec. 26, 1860 J. E. Arvin
and John Bigles made an agreement whereby one was to work other until April 1,
1861 for $6.00 a
month; from April 1, until corn was ‘laid up’ the pay was $9.00 a month.
In slack moments, the store keeper copied a poem or two;
example (Perhaps some of the older
people recall it) “God of my life and author of my days, permit my feeble voice
to lisp thy praise,
and trembling take upon my mortal tongue that hollowed name to harps of seraphs
Here is a sample of a letter. There
is no heading; no signature: “Dear
Miss:-I take my pen in my hand
to wright you the fact so help me god to let you know where i is
in the state of Indiana and have bought
land and have pad for it…I am building a house 18 ft squar hew logs…I have better land than there is in
Hardin County…I am in hopes that we may maray with happiness…for I do depend on you.”
The above letter, complete, is
history, for it compares Indiana life with Kentucky life and the
following letter is history:-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.
In one rental agreement, the renter agrees to make 500 rails at 1/2c
each – to be paid from the
crops – and to put the rails on the farm fence where most needed. In another
the renter agrees to tend the farm reasonably and well to pay the owner $5 per
field foot for
all land not tended.
The property as it appears today. As James A. Michener proclaimed in his novel Centennial, “Only the land lives forever.”
Researched and written by Robert
Joseph Arvin, Jr.
Many thanks to my cousin Lavada Scott,
who provided much research assistance, images and many family records.
1. John Close Papers, Louisiana State University Baton Rouge,
Libraries Special Collections,
Manuscript 1646 (www.lib.lsu.edu/special/findaid/1646.pdf)
David Herbert Donald, Lincoln
(1995), p 24,
Thomas E. Arvin, “Finds Data
on Pioneers of East Central Daviess County,”
(Daviess County, Indiana), 17 August 1955 (Merged with the
Washington Herald in 1964 to
become the Washington Times-Herald)
Lucile Arvin, Our Arvin Heritage
(1987, an unpublished work)
Arvin, “Finds Data on Pioneers...”
Arvin, “Finds Data...”
Ninth United States Federal Census, taken in
Ben J. Webb, The Centenary of Catholicity in Kentucky
(1884), p 415
Rev. William Howlett, Historical tribute to St. Thomas Seminary of Poplar Neck: near
(1906), p 91
Ben. J. Webb, The Centenary of Catholicity in Kentucky
(1884), p 414
14. Thomas D. Clark, A History of Kentucky (1937), p 99-101,
15. Harry Q.
Holt, History of Martin County
(1953), Vol. 2, p 26
Holt, History of Martin County
, Vol. 1, p 53, 59
18. Holt, History of Martin County, Vol. 1, p 66
Charles Blanchard, History of the Catholic church
(1898), Vol. 1, p 382-383
20. St. Martin’s
Catholic Church website (www.dmrtc.net/~StMartin/Index.htm)
Thomas D. Clark, A History of Kentucky (1937), p 236-237
22. Fr. Patrick Joseph. R. Murphy, St. Mary’s Catholic Church, Davies County,
Barr Township, Ledger II (compiled by Mrs.
Thomas J. Nolan, Miss Pamela A. Nolan,
Mrs. Russell Baker and Mr. Herman
J. McAtee from the original records in 1975.)
Available on microfilm, number 1255704, from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints
23. Arvin, “Finds Data...”
24. Holt, History of Martin County, Vol. 1, p 43
25. National Archives and Records Administration, 1850 Census, Daviess county,Reeves Township, p 194
26. ibid, Martin County, Indiana, Rutherford Township
27. Daviess County, Indiana, Deed Book H, p 462
28. Daviess County Deed Book I, p 160
29. Deed Book I, p 244
30. Holt, Martin County, Vol. 1, p 65
31. Deed Book I, p 771
32. Deed Book K, P 390,488
33. Book L, p 422
34. Lucile Arvin, Heritage
35. Book M, p 120
36. Clark, History of Kentucky, p 367
37. Email from Mary Ellen Wildman, October 2010
38. Arvin, “Finds Data...”
39. Arvin, “Finds Data...”
40. Anna Laetitia Barbauld,“An Address to the Deity,” in Poems (1773), p 125-130, mentioned in “Finds Data...”
41. Clark, History of Kentucky, p 238
42. O. A. Fulkerson, History of Daviess County, Indiana, Its People, Industries and Institutions (1915), p 273
43. Ester Kellner, Moonshine, Its History and Folklore (1971), p 67-68
44. National Archives and Records Administration, Record Group 15, Publication T289: Pension applications
for service in the US Army between 1861 and 1917
45. Photocopies of the original file obtained by request to the Department of Veterans’ Affairs, Regional Office,
Federal Building, 31 Hopkins Plaza, Baltimore MD 21201, under the Freedom of Information Act,
upon referral from
National Archives and Records Administration.
46. Eugene C. Murdock, One Million Men, The Civil War draft in the North (1971), p 172
47. Book N, p 455
48. Book N, p452
49. Fulkerson, Daviess County, p 281
50. L. Rex Myers, Daviess County, Indiana, History (1988), Vol. 1, p 182
51. Book R, p 353
52. Washington County Democrat, 25 December 1885, Washington County Herald, 29 July 1911,
53. “Jeremiah Raney,” in L. Rex Myers, Daviess County, Vol 1, p 312
54. Book U, p 413
55. Book U, p 421
56. Myers, Daviess County, Vol. 2, p 380, submitted by his grandaughter Lucille Arvin Strange
57. Fulkerson, Daviess County, p 282
58. Book 28, p 587
59. Book 10, p 433
60. Lucile Arvin, Heritage
61. Julius Cahn, (1897), Vol. 2, p 328
62. Wilson’s Photograhic Magazine (1904), Vol 47, p 375
63. Charles Blanchard, History of the Catholic Church in Indiana (1898), Vol. 2 p 125
64. Blanchard, Catholic Church, Vol. 2, p 27
65. Martin County Deed Records, Book 35, p 212
66. Martin Deed Records, Book 35, p 208
67. Daviess County Deed Book New 13, p 21
68. Book New 13, p 172
69. Book New 13, p 190
70. Book New 13, p 190
71. Book New 13, p 192
72. Book New 13, p 214
73. Book New 13, p 231-232
74. Arvin, “Finds Data...”
Rev. Charles I. Coomes, from frontpiece of Rev. William Howlett’s Historical tribute to St. Thomas Seminary, (1906)
Many images of authentic frontier homes and interiors from Missouri Town 1855 in Lee’s Summit, Missouri
Map of Martin and Daviess Counties from Alfred T. Andreas, Illustrated historical atlas of the State of Indiana, (1876)
Bombardment of Fort Sumter (1861), by Currier and Ives, courtesy Wikipedia
The Assassination of President Abraham Lincoln, The Battle of Mission Ridge and Chattanooga From The North Bank of The Tennesseefrom Library of Congress, courtesy Wikipedia
Plat maps of Rutherford and Perry Townships, Martin County, courtesy of Martin County Recorder, Shoals, Indiana
1892 Map of Loogootee courtesy Lavada Scott
Photographer’s studio circa 1893, Wikipedia
Daviess County newspaper images from the digitized newspaper collection of the Washington Carnegie Public Library in Washington, Daviess County, Indiana (http://washingtonpubliclibrary.org/)
Photograph of Joseph and Rose Ann’s painted house, courtesy of Mary Louise Williams Lentz
Photograph of the oil painting, Original home of Joseph & Rose Ann, by Loogootee artist Pauline Hotz, courtesy of Mrs. Judy Walker, the sister of Mary Ellen Wildman
Photograph of Griffin barn and relatives of Mary Jane, also courtesy of Mrs. Judy Walker, from the collection of her grandmother, Josephine Arvin McCann Williams
Microfilm of Washington Daily Times newspaper article and 1888 Atlas of Daviess County, Indiana (including maps of Alfordsville and Cannelburg) courtesy of the Daviess County Historical Society in Washington, Indiana (http://www.daviesscountyhistory.net/)
Arvin Ancestry Biographical Sketches