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August 28, 1862 - Vernon Banner
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    Lives of good men all remind us we can make our lives sublime and departing leave behind us footprints in the sand of time. Longfellow     Died at Morgantown Ind. on Sunday the 17 Aug. 1862. Elder John Vawter in the 81st year of his age and the funeral sermon was preached to a large concourse of friends by his Christian brother Elder Ragsdell from the text which the deceased had previously selected for the occasion. Phillipians chapter 1, 21 verse. When the announcement of his death was received at Vernon his former and long abode a sensation of the deepest sorrow prevaded the town and vicinity. Altho having arrived at such an advanced age, increasing years brought with them increasing respect and veneration for his moral worth. It rarely happens that we are able to trace an individual, commencing early manhood without any other resources than his personal energies and by an active life of more than half a century, who has left behind him such enduring mark of energy, untiring industry and strict punctuality in the fulfilment of his official duties and social obligations as may be claimed for our departed friend, and which entitles him to a memory the grave cannot extinguish. The deceased was born in Culpeper County Virginia January 8, 1782 and was the eldest son of Elder Jesse Vawter of distinguished piety and devout in ways of his former household. His father and family in 1790 removed to Kentucky, where they remained until the year 1805, when the deceased accompanied by his father sought an abiding place in the territorial wilderness of Indiana, and settled a location in the forest where now is situated North Madison R.R. depot and there erected a cabin in 1807 which sheltered himself and family. During his residence in Jefferson County he was appointed Justice of the Peace and the first that ever exercised that office in the town of Madison. Subsequently he was appointed Sheriff of the Counties of Jefferson and Clark which then composed a Sheriffs bailwick. His faithfulness, promptness, and systematic business habits, brought him into the acquaintance and special favor of distinguished and influential citizens, who recommended him to President Madison, who in the year 1816 appointed him United States Marshall of his new adopted state, which office he continued to exercise to the satisfaction of the public until summer of 1829. In search for a permanent residence, he selected and purchased a tract of land from Government, situated in an unbroken wilderness upon which he settled himself and family by removal from Madison in November 1815. His prospective view forshadowed the selection he had made as an elegible location for the seat of Justice of a new County soon to be organized and now Jennings County, a situation genial to health convenient to access and deriving perpetual benefits which the power of the Muscatatuck river would afford to mills and machenery. The stupendous excavation through a limestone mountain to supply the water that propells the present Tunnel Mill was cocieved by him and accomplished by his perserverance. He had lived to see and enjoy the realization of his fond expectations. The location of the seat of Justice and the town to which he had given the name of Vernon, a thriving and prosperous villiage, the multiplication of churches, schools and public edifices, which were much of their early organization and erection o his labors and munificence. His conversion to the christian religion occurred in the year 1804 when he united with the Baptist Church in Scott County Ky. and in 1821 was ordained at Vernon to the ministry. While he steadfastly contended for his demoninational faith and doctrine he was uniformly tolerant and courteous to those of a different belief altho not educated in theological schools, his pulpit discourses were enforced upon his hearers with much earnestness and zeal, and many have received the sacred rights of baptism at his hand and who have enjoyed the hope of pardon of their sins from his instrumentality. In the year 1831 he was called upon and elected by the citizens of Jennings County as their representative in the State Legislature and by their sufferage was continued during the years 1832, 34 and 35. In 1836 he was elected Senator by the electors of Jennings, Bartholomew and Brown Counties, composing a Senatorial District. During the period of his service in the Council of our State, there occured subjects of legislation more important than ever before submitted to the desolations of our general assembly. He was prominently foremost in zealous efforts to effect the passage of the celebrated internal improvement bill then pending and his sagacious eye penetrated the future and forsaw the properity wealth and dignity which would accumulate to his state by its passage, and with his usual energy of purpose gsasped the measure in its vast magnitude and wrestled in "high debate" with its enemies, until opposition was overthown and his favorite bill became a law. In regard to his military life we can refer to the early period of 1811,12,13, when he volunteered as one of the Rangers in the defense of our frontier settlements from the incusions of a savage foe and suffered with his comrads the privations and hardships of those campaigns. Upon the organization of the militia of Jennings County in 1817 he was unammiously elected Colonel of the 21st Regiment, which learned his instructions in diciplin until 1821, when he yelded his sword and command to enter upon the soldiership of the cross of Christ in prefermance of his ordination vow Benevolence or "good will to man" was a distinguishing trait of his life and character, many of his acts verify that his own selfishness was whooly absorbed in his desire to benefit others. He embosmed a heart that swelled with the love of liberty of mankind and his sympathy for the enslaved race he never concealed, but for the emancipation of such, he united his efforts with many eminent philanthropists in promoting the success of the African colonization society. That same hear that had its throbs of pity for the poor and need and its strong pulsations opened wide his hand for charity and relief. His mansion was truly the abode of hospitality. Its doors were ever opened wide for the entrance and entertainment of friends and strangers.
    He removed from Vernon to Morgantown in Morgan County in the fall of the year 1848, and with renewed zeal entered upon the establishment of an other town, and in which he has left lasting monuments of his liberality and generous endowment, among the edifices of utility and beauty there erected is a Baptist Church built entirely at his expense and donated by him to his beloved church and dedicated to the Lyrd so long served. It would be a rare exception if a person of so long practical experience in official and positions escaped the censure and invidious enmity of some for as the poet truly says.
"With fame in just proportion envy grows"
"The man that makes a character makes foes

    But his good deeds which followed him to the grave must silence all his traducers if any he had, of reproach and his blameless life consecrates his final resting place, which deserves a statue commerative of his exalted worth.
Senex. B.

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