Friday, March 6, 2015

The Place That Brought Them Together

It is interesting to see a visualization of the time and place that brought four families from different parts of the country together in one corner of farmland in Indiana. The 1878 Atlas of Montgomery County has an image of Franklin Township. On the border of the township, along the county line with neighboring Boone County is a plot of 79.5 acres owned by James Vail. Next to that plot is 80 acres owned by "J. Booher heirs". I believe this is land inherited by Selina Hampton, my 4th-great-grandmother. Directly to the south was a 116 acre plot owned by John Armstrong, another 4th-great-grandfather.
1878 Montgomery County Atlas, Franklin Twp.
The Vail and Armstrong families were from separate parts of Ohio, while the Hampton and Booher families had journeyed together in 1833 from Sullivan County, Tennessee. In the 1850 US Census, the families of James and Selina Vail and John Armstrong were clearly neighbors. This proximity set up another union, when my 3rd-great-grandmother Easter Vail married her slightly older neighbor, David Armstrong, son of John, in 1860.
1850 US Census, Franklin Twp, Montgomery County, Indiana
A small stream, Hazel Creek, can be seen on the map winding through the property of John Armstrong, north separating the lands of James Vail and the Boohers, continuing north to the land of Samuel Hampton, Selina's brother and son of my 5th-great-grandfather Michael Hampton, before emptying into Sugar Creek.

"The land is here quite even and level, well adapted to agricultural purposes to which it has long been put, and by reason of which its residents have become independent and prosperous, as a general rule...There is a natural water shed running through the township, dividing the waters of the Walnut fork from those of the Sugar Creek streams and running parallel with the latter. This rises in the eastern portion of the township to the north and crosses south of the middle of the western border to the junction of these waters north of the city of Crawfordsville. On either side of this ridge springs abound, whose waters on the north flow to Sugar Creek and those on the south side to Walnut fork."

"The banks of both Sugar Creek and Walnut fork present irregularities, from rugged to steep cliffs to gentle slopes. Under the surface is a sub soil of sand, gravel, shale, and clays, intermixed with every variety of fertilizing material. This found, in places to extend down as deep as one hundred feet and in several cases as deep as two hundred feet. This makes an inexhaustible warehouse of the most reliable soil. The general surface soil in this township is rich and produces its annual crops of grains and grasses common to this latitude...Among the pretty tributaries of Sugar Creek are Honey Creek, Middle Fork, Big Run, Hazel Creek, etc." From History of Franklin Township, Montgomery County, Indiana (1913), viewed 6 Mar 2015 at http://history.rays-place.com/in/mont-franklin.htm.

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