Written by Nancy Lindley Oslund 1947 or before
All text kept in original spelling.
Transcribed by Lisa Lindley Ross Nov 2003
My email TerryLisaR@msn.
THE PAOLI PIONEER AS I LOOK through my numerous
faded diaries, scrapbooks and old letters, I wonder if there are other
people who would like to hear about the early settlers of Paoli,
Indiana. At one time most all the inhabitants of Orange County, Indiana
were descendants of Jonathan Lindley. To those that are interested, I
give the stories as they have been handed down to me.
It was april 1811, when the anti-slavery group of the Society of
friends, or Quakers, as they wee more commonly called, left Cane Creek,
North Carolina, bound for the North west Territory. Jonathan Lindley
directed the party.
These pioneers were lured to this new country by a prohibited slavery
clause in the Constitution. Here white labor was looked upon as
honourable, and their children would have opportunities for work.
At first hint of early southern spring, when the yellow jasmine
bloomed, the house-hold goods were packed in the large bedded wagons.
Two hundred people in the neighborhood with creaking oxcarts started on
the journey over rough and rugged mountains, through shaggy buffalo
trails to the unbroken wilderness. They traveled with a mighty desire
to migrate to new surroundings, as everyone was seized with the
restless tide of humanity that followed the Revolutionary War.
Security from the uprising Indians was promised by the treaty of 1795,
according to which the delawares, Ottawas, Shawnees, pottawatamies, and
Eel River Indians had ceded a large portion of the territory; to the
United states, with only hunting privileges and peaceful occupations
Safety and medical aid could be obtained for the settlements near
Military Posts. Fort Harrison on the prairie above where Terre Haute is
now located and the French Fort Vincennes, the capital of the
territory; these were already established in the southern part of the
North west Territory.
The country between these posts and the primitive forest known to us as
Cox’s woods had been visited in 1808 by Jonathan Lindley and Jesse
Towell. These men returned to North Carolina with glowing accounts of
the rich land and heavy forests.
The enthusiastic homesteaders with their liberated slaves, undertook the 800 mile journey with bright hopes for the future.
Among the group was a renegade “nigger” nicknamed Aleck Polecat, who
was red-headed, bow-legged and pigeon-toed. He was quite a character
with his nit-wit jokes. Another fellow in the party complained of his
money going like butter before the sun, and when asked how much he had,
he replied “thirty five cents”.
Some were anxious to reach their destination and would not stop with
those who rested and observed the Lord’s Day. Invariably at the end of
each week they were overtaken by the pious ones.
At the falls of the Ohio River, they camped three weeks, waiting for
the river to reach a low stage. Then they placed the covered wagons on
skids and the animals swam to the opposite shore with the heavy loads.
The company overpowered with the promise of freedom, were all of a
sudden, encountered with the troublesome Indians on the southern border
of North west Territory.
Jonathan’s son, Thomas, and his wife, Amy, decided to remain with their
party and not locate on the Wabash River. They traveled the vast
unbroken wilderness together to the blockhouse fort at Half Moon near
the Lick Creek stream.
The dense darkness of the deep woodland with oppressive loneliness on
the first night even affected jonathan Lindley’s yellow dog. After
howling all night, he was missing the next morning. Later the post
rider brought a letter, which told of the dog’s safe arrival at Cane
Creek, North Carolina.
The Indian affairs on the southern and north western frontiers had
assumed such alarming nature as to cause the new settlers much trouble.
Governor William henry Harrison called on Jonathan Lindley. They talked
over the situation all night. In the morning Jonathan took harrison’s
advice and decided to remain at Lick creek instead of going on to the
Legends have been handed down about the devotion and religious beliefs
of these early pioneers. It has been related that they erected the
meeting house before they built their permanent homes. They held
meetings in their schooners and crude shelters until 1813. jonathan
Lindley donated two acres of land for the meeting house of worship
which they built “according to the dictates of conscience”- a one story
building with a sliding partition in the middle of the room, to be
opened or closed as the meeting demanded. The business meetings were
held behind closed shutters. The men and women held separate business
affairs. On Sundays the shutters were opened and the men with large
brimmed hats sat on one side, while the women with black quilted satin
bonnets sat on the other side. The custom of never removing the hat to
anyone was instituted by John Perrot in 1663.
During the religious meeting they sat silently waiting for the spirit
to move them to speak. They arose and spoke in the quaint language of
Thee and thou, whatever was on their mind. Often the spirit did not
move anyone and they sat for hours quietly. The overseers, elders and
ministers on the elevated bench in front of the audience would shake
hands with each other, then the meeting was dismissed.
In 1815 Jonathan Lindley was an elder. William, Thomas, and Jonathan
Lindley, Evan Jones and Thomas Atkinson were appointed, as stated in
the records, “to attend the subject respecting an institution for
instruction of the youth.” The following taken from the friend’s minute
book casts a gleam of light on the Friend’s rigid rules and discipline.
“for aught appears the Friends endeavor by example and precept to
educate their children and those under their care, in plainness of
speech, deportment and apparel; they guard them against reading
pernicious books and from corrupt conversations of the world and
encourage them to read the Holy scripture.”
Amy Lindley and a number of the Friends were conscientious against
placing themselves in the blockhouse at half moon spring for their own
protection against the Indians. They experienced no harm, although a
man (not a friend) was killed by a gunshot while plowing in the field.
Another peculiarity was the marriage ceremony. The contract repeated by
both bride and groom was undoubtedly an adaption from the prevailing
contract in the seventeenth century of ther Church of England. The
simple agreement between the two interested parties, after having
secured the consent of the marriage from monthly meeting and without
the intervention of a minister or magistrate, took each other in
marriage. A copy of the marriage of William the son of Jonathan Lindley
Michel Hollowell is given.
Whereas William Lindley of Washington County Indiana Territory, son of
Jonathan Lindley of the county and Territory aforesaid and Deborah, his
wife, the female Deseased and Michel Hollowell, Daughter of Robert
Hollowell of the county and Territory aforesaid and Elizabeth, his wife
having declaird their intentions of Marriage with each other before a
monthly meeting held at Lick Creek according to the good order used
among them. Their Said proposels of marriage was allowed by said
meeting. Now these are to certify whom it may concern that for the full
accomplishment of their intentions this thirtieth day of the third
month, in the year of our Lord, one thousand eight hundred and fourteen
(1814) they the said William Lindley and Michel Hollowell appeared ina
public meeting of people held at
Lick Creek meeting house afforsaid in Washington County, and the said
William Lindley taking the said Michel by the hand and openly declair
that he took her to be his wife, promising with divine assistance to be
unto her a loving and faithful husband until Death should separate them
and then in same assembly the said Michel hollowell did in like manner
declare that she took him the William Lindley to be her husband
promising with divine assistance to ve unto him a loving and faithfall
wife untio Death should separate them and moreover the Said William
Lindley and Michel Hollowell-she according to the custom of Marriage
assuming the name of her husband did as a further confirmation of them
there to these presents set her hand.
And we whose names are hereunto subscribed being present at the
solemnization of the marriage and subscription have as witnesses
theirto set our hands the day and year above written.
Henry Towel Mary Lindley
Ann holaday Rachel Dicks
Jane Lindley Solomon Cox
Hannah Braxtan Jonathan Lindley
Jane Crow Martha Lindley
William Lindley Eleanor Chambers
Ester Cox Margaret Lindley
Sarah Bales Sarah Lindley
Abagail Crow Ruth Dicks
Catherine Hadley Queen Esther Lindley
Jane Maris Deborah Lindley
John Maris Catherine Lindley
William Holaday Margaret Dicks
At the marriage of each of Jonathan Lindley’s twelve children, he gave
them a grandfather clock and a Bible. He also donated land for their
homes. William built a new home for his bride, Michel on the land at
Cle River Falls, (Coon Creek) where Belle Scott lives, one mile east of
In the fall of the same year (1814), the abundant crop of Indian corn,
necessitated the building of a water powered grist mill. There was no
outlet in the great markets and corn sold at ten cents a bushel.
Jonathan Lindley erected the mill on his ground at the rise of
Stamperscreek. This underground stream flowed under the town of
Livonia, through the country toemerge at spring Mill and form the large
stream of Lick Creek. The farmers came on horseback, seated on the meal
sacks. They came over “tater road” from the south, down Grease Gravy
steep hill, near by Africa settlement and from Paddy’s Garden or Alec
Polecat’s Hole. While they sat and waited their turn of the grist, they
discussed the topics of the day. Many anecdotes and tales of shooting
bears, wolves, panthers and deer were told to the listening crowd by
hunters. Here, also, the pioneers bartered with the Indians, their farm
produce and ardent spirits being accepted for meat, maple sugar, skins,
furs or other articles manufactured by the Indians.
The meat packers, William Lindley and others discussed the prices on
hogs they shipped by flat boats to New Orleans markets. This type of
craft carried 300 barrels of pork a load and it took a month to pole
down the Mississippi. Many stories have been handed down of those who
lived in Paddy’s Garden. This was a parcel of ground given the
liberated slaves, which the settlers brought from North Carolina. They
were given an opportunity to toil and earn their own living. Alec
Polecat was not a farmer, so he earned his living by being a peddler.
He carried his wares in a wheelbarrow and entertained his customers at
noght with his fiddle and jokes about the Friends.
A story was told an illiterate storekeeper who drew pictures instead of
writing the accounts. A man was called in to pay for a cheese he had
bought. He denied having bought the cheese but after looking at the
drawn circle with a square hole in the center, he remembered he qwed
the storekeeper for a grindstone.
Ther must have been many whispering conversations in this group, for the underground railroad had been established. (1815)
This system by the aid of the Friends flourished for forty years. Many a slave was helped on his way to Canada and freedom.
The story telling group at he grist mill did noy realize what lay ahead
of them, by their removal of the forest and the breaking of the ground.
The numerous creeks with drift and fallen timbers caused the overflow
to stand stagnant in the lowlands. Whole neighborhoods were seized with
a fever, the ague of real shaking, quaking variety. The bold treatment
of large doses of Calomel were administered and the patients were bled
freely. The “puke and purge” method was used. Those patients who
survived, resumed the business of the new settlement in the spring.
A court of justice was held at the home of William lindley, February,
1816. He received nine dollars for holding the sessions of court until
Kune. His older brother Zachariah, the sheriff, supervised the
meetings. He was a large, strong, active man, utterly destitute of
fear, was a terror to evil doers. It is said, “that he took the law in
his own hands, and often did not return the horse thief to the courts.”
The report of the county commissioners, William Lindley one of the
commissioners, was read. The county agent, Jonathan Lindley, was
directed to lay out the new town lots. This tract of land had been
bought for $1.305. from Thomas Hopper and Thomas Lindley.
Later the sale of lots in the town sold as high as $300 and 223 lots
brought $6,423. a name for the town was discussed and the pioneers
thought it would be fitting to perpetuate the memory of the brilliant
son of the Governor Ashe of north Carolina, who had died shortly before
they left the Old North State. Pasquale Paoli ashe had been named for
the Corsican hero.
The second session of court was held in a log building in north west corner of the public Square.
Jonathan Lindley and others had to pay the court five dollar exemption
fee from military duty or service in times of peace. These were
conscientiously scrupulous against bearing arms.
A new court house was contracted for $4000 by Jonathan Lindley. This is
not the present building. Land speculation rose high and the court
records show the Lindleys to be the heaviest buyers.
Jonathan Lindley brought with him on his trip from north Carolina
$100,000 in gold. He invested heavily in land with these earnings from
his lumber and turpentine business he had disposed of, in the South.
His will was the largest estate administered in the county in the early
Other interest besides the erection of public buildings was the
friend’s education of women. They believed in womens rights and
permitted them to preach the word of god. In all affairs women had
January 20th 1820 an act was approved by the governor providing for the
organization of a State Seminary at Bloomington, Indiana. The act named
as trustees of the seminary, CharlesDewey, JonathanLindley, David H.
Maxwell, JohnM. Jenkins, Jonathan Nicholas and William Lowe. They were
to meet in Bloomington on the first Monday in June for the selection of
a site for the school. They were given authority to have the land in
the township laid off and bought. Banta’s “History of Indiana”, says,
Jonathan Lindley was a splendid selection for this purpose”. This
seminary later became known as the Indiana University. The History of
Orange county says, “Jonathan Lindley the most influential citizen of
Jonathan Lindle’s wife, Deborah Dix, died before the first year was spent in her new home.
In 1812 he married Martha Sanders Henley, a widow whom he had known in
Guilford, North Carolina. She had twelve children and Jonathan had
twelve. Guli Elma was born to this union. This made Jonathan the father
of twnty five children.
The Friends early discipline forbade marriage outside of the members of
the church, consequently cousins married cousins. Big families were
looked upon as a blessing and as aid for old age. The Lindleys were
numerous and it is a problem today to trace the Lindley relationship.
The following were the children of Jonathan Lindley and Deborah Dix:
Zacharias Born 7-26-1776 married Thursay Mosier
Hannah 10-22-1777 Thomas Braxtan
Ruth 4-25-1780 joseph Farlow
Thomas 4-26-1782 amy Thompson
Elinar 6-10-1784 samuel Chambers
William 1-19-1787 Michel Hollowell
Second marriage to anna Knight Fisher
Deborah 9-6-1789 James jones
Mary 1-23-1792 silas Dixon
Catherine 3-23-1794 ned McVey
Queen Esther 3-23-1794 alex Clark
Sarah 9-1-1796 Wm Hadley
Jonathan 9-8-1800 Mary Lindley
Jonathan and Martha Sanders Henley dau Guli Elma on
12-20-1813 married Levi Woody; second jesse Horney.
Jonathan Lindley died in 1828 at the age of seventy two and was buried
beside his first wife Deborah Dix in the Lick creek cemetery.
The quakers permeated every new land, with peaceful ways, honesty and
integrity. They were leaders in reforms and in the building up of a
peaceful civilization. To them we owe a debt of gratitude for what they
have done for us.
©2003 Sandra Newman Sanchez
All rights reserved