* * * * * * * 1850's * * * * * * *

HARTSELL - 1850's

See "The Life of David Hartzell 1805-1865" for the latest (and corrected) information on David.

By the summer of 1850, the pioneer era was over in Indiana. Improved land was selling for up to $25.00 an acre.

In 1850 David Hartzell was 45 years old and is listed in the census as living in Waterloo township, but was probably just across the border in Jennings township. Eldest son James was now 13 years old, and youngest child William was 2. The 1850 Census says David owned real estate valued at $500, but we have not found any record of this purchase (in 1853 he buys 20 acres for $500, and in 1860 he supposedly had real estate valued at $1250).

Here is the verbatim 1850 Fayette County Indiana Census report on David Hartzell:

        Waterloo Township, page 234, taken August 21, 1850
        Head of household: David Hartsell, occupation Shoe Maker.
        In household:
                David Hartsell      age 45  born in Virginia, $500 real estate
                Barbara Hartsell    age 33  born in Virginia
                James A. Hartsell   age 13  born in Indiana
                Margaret Hartsell   age 12  born in Indiana
                Rebecca Hartsell    age 10  born in Indiana
                Eliza J. Hartsell   age 9   born in Indiana
                Barbara Hartsell    age 7   born in Indiana
                William Hartsell    age 2   born in Indiana (gravestone b.1848)
        Eliza J., born around 1840, must have died in the 1850's.
        Celestia was to be born in 1852 (gravestone).
        Elizabeth was to be born in 1855.               

The census taker in 1850 traveled west on farm road 150N in Waterloo township. He turned south on the then dead-end farm road 325E, which ends at the border of Jennings township, then returned to 150N to continue west. Then he turned south on farm road 250E to the border of Jennings township, returned to 150N and continued the census.

David Hartzell apparently lived along the present-day farm road 325E in the southeast quarter of Section 16 of Waterloo township, or at the end of the road but inside Jennings township. In 1850 this road dead-ended at Jennings township and was 1/2 mile long. The Census shows Christian and Augustus Brown as living along this road, with David next (south of them). Augustus Brown was a shoemaker (like David), and this is very interesting. David may have been living on the land he was to buy in 1853, or near it. If the former, it is extremely possible the census taker would have mis-listed him as being in Waterloo township.

Daughter Celestia Hartsell was born in 1852. Her name is shown as Salesta in the 1870 Census. She was called "Aunt Let". Her gravestone says "Mary C.".

On August 27, 1853, David Hartzell bought 20 acres of land in Jennings Township from Mr. & Mrs. Jonas Scholl for $500 (Deed Record Book R, page 243). 8 acres were in the northeasternmost corner of Section 21, and the other 12 acres were adjacent and in the northwesternmost corner of Section 22. See Appendix for directions to this land and for the actual recorded deed with detailed dimensions. The drawing below is 1 square mile.

David Hartzell's 1853 Land Purchase (from 1856 map)

The location of the other presumed 20 acres is unknown.

The land David Hartzell bought in 1853 was visited in 1983 and 1997 by JDH. On the west end of the 20 acres there was a fenced-off square. In this square was the ruins of a house and an old well. The house fell many years ago and was almost completely decayed into the ground. Square nails were in the boards, thus dating it before 1880. In 1983 JDH retrieved a piece of a roof beam. In 1997 there was virturally nothing left. The well, about 25 feet deep but probably filled in some, is 3 feet in diameter and lined with flat rocks. It is around 30 feet east of the house, and in 1997 a fence surrounded it. The gully farther east was a possible trash dump used by the people living here. There is what appeared to be a gate and "driveway" on the northwest corner of this homesite. The fact that there is a well means that someone lived here. This site has probably survived all these years because it might have not been practical to tear down the fence and cut the trees to gain a little more ground.

JDH at David Hartzell's possible homesite in 1983
In SW corner of 20 acres, looking east.
Covered well (shown below) is in the background.

The well as seen in 1983

In 1983, a farmer by the name of Chester Phlug, living north of the land, said there used to be a log cabin back in that corner.

Check the ownership history of this land in the Appendix and judge for yourself whether this homesite was the home of David Hartzell and his family. The nearby creek was surely an important water supply. If you visit this site, go in late winter after the snow melts and before the weeds (and poison ivy) get too high. The name of the 1997 owner is in the directions to the land in the Appendix. You should get permission to walk across the field.

Let's try to picture the scene in 1850. Let's make it late autumn. Try to visualize pictures you've seen of frontier people and houses before the Civil War. David Hartzell and his family were very likely living on the land he was to buy soon in Jennings Township. He had 6 children and was now 44 years old. Barbara was 34. Eldest son James A. Hartsell was now 13 and not attending school (normal in those days), according to the Census. It is difficult in modern times to picture what life was like. Picture yourself being poor and living in a two or three-room primitive cabin in the damp, cold woods. There is no plumbing, no sinks, no bathroom. The "sink" is a bowl on a table. No TV, no radio, no telephone, no electricity. Furniture is very basic. Beds are wooden and possibly homemade. Several sleep in the same room. In the morning when you wake up it is very cold in the cabin. Someone lights a kerosene lantern. Someone starts a fire in the cookstove or pot-belly stove over in the corner. You can smell the smoke from the fire and the burning kerosene. You go outside to the outhouse to go to the bathroom. You wash your hands and face in a washbasin filled with water that was carried from the well. The dirty water is dumped outside. You take a bath once a week or so. The clothes you put on are ragged and probably still dirty from the last few days. If you're going to school you walk on dirt roads that are often very muddy. Travel is by walking, on horseback, or by horse and buggy. There are penned up horses, and probably cows, pigs and chickens.

By 1856 a railroad passed about a half mile of their house. They could hear the new sounds of a steam locomotive.

(Sarah) Elizabeth Hartzell was born Nov. 24, 1854 or 1855. She did not remember which year, and her mother had not written her birthdate in the Bible like for the other children. However, her gravestone says 1855. She is listed as Elizabeth in the 1850 Census, was known as "Aunt Sade", and her gravestone says "Sarah E.".

On May 6, 1858, at the age of 21, James Alexander Hartsell married (Mary) Elizabeth Palmer, age 21, in Connersville. The wedding ceremony took place in the same church and by the same minister as his father and mother 22 years before. The bride was born February 1, 1837 (derived from gravestone), and was to live only 8 more years to the age of 29. She is not our ancestor. At the time of his son's marriage, David Hartzell was 52 years old.

Rebecca Ann Hartzell married Timothy Small in August, 1858. She was 18 years old.

Barbara Hartzell, sister of James A., married Samuel Walker on Feb. 3, 1859. She was 16 years old. We think Samuel was Joseph's brother, and he was 36 years old at the time of the marriage, 20 years older than Barbara.

Samuel's father William Walker died 3 months later on May 17, 1859.

Eliza J. Hartzell, born 1841 ...
We thought we had thoroughly accounted for all of David Hartzell's children (spouse and where buried), but "forgot" the 9-year old girl named Eliza J. Hartsell in the 1850 census . She isn't in the 1860 census (at age 19), which means she died, or married, or moved away before 1860. TJP's grandfather's notes and my grandmother's notes don't mention her, which implies she died young or wasn't their daughter.
Of the children of David and Barbara Hartsell, Thelma's grandfather Harry Hartsell's 1925 notes do say "one died in infancy". This could be Eliza J., and "infancy" might have been what he thought.
It is also curious that David & Barbara named a later daughter born in 1855 "Elizabeth". She was listed as Elizabeth in the 1860 census, but later went by Sarah Elizabeth (Aunt Sade). Makes you wonder if they named her after deceased Eliza, and whether Eliza died between 1850 and 1855. We really don't think Eliza grew up and married.

Other Hartsells listed in the 1850 Indiana Census are:

        John Hartsell, Wabash County, Noble Twp., age 23, born Ohio
                  also Susan, age 42 in household, born Penn. - mother?
                  others age 5-18 - brothers and sisters?
        Willis Hartsell, Wabash County, Noble Twp., age 23, born Ohio, wife Lucinda
        Leonard Hartzell, Wabash County, Noble Twp. (see below)
        Samuel Hartsell, Wabash County, PleasantTwp., age 25, born Ohio, wife Sarah
        Frederick Hartsell, Marion County, Wayne Twp, age 65, born 1785 in PA.
        Margaret Hartsell, Marion County, Indianapolis Twp.
        Joseph Hartsell, LaPorte County
        Martha Hartsell, LaPorte County
        John Hartzell, Jay County, Noble Twp, age 29, born PA, wife Lucinda
        Jonas Hartzell, Jay County, Noble Twp, age 56, born PA, wife Mary
The 1850 Wabash County Indiana census has:

        Note that in 1840 there was an Adam Hartsell in the same township.

        Noble Township, page 424
        Head of Household: Leonard Hartzell
        In household:
                Leonard, age 51   born in Pennsylvania
                Lewis, age 21     born in Ohio
                Adam, age 20      born in Ohio
                Susanna, age 18   born in Ohio (Oct. 20, 1831)
                Nancy, age 17     born in Indiana
                Eliza, age 15     born in Indiana
                John, age 12      born in Indiana
                Edward, age 10    born in Indiana
                Philip, age 8     born in Indiana
                Mary, age 5       born in Indiana abt. 1845
                Aaron, age 2      born in Indiana abt. 1848
        Wife Delilah is not listed; died about 1848-49?
        Son Willis was married; separate household in same Township

NIPP - 1850's

In the 1850 Virginia census, we have Barbara’s father still living:

        Wythe County, page 303, 68th District, taken Aug. 30, 1850
        Head of Household: Phillip Nipp 
        In household:
                Phillip, age 75 born in Pennsylvania
                Nancy, age 71   born in N. Carolina
                Teany, age 33   nickname for Christena?
        Unlisted Milly may have married (was 25-29 years old).
        Handwriting for "Teany" also looked like "Frany" or "Trany" or "Tiany'.  

By 1850, "Uncle" George Nipp had moved to Decatur County, Indiana, just south of Rush County.

WALKER - 1850's

1850 Fayette County Indiana Census report on William Walker:

        Jennings Township, page 225
        Head of household: William Walker, occupation farmer.
        In household:
                William Walker     age 73  born in Virginia  $10,000 real estate,  can't read or write
                Jane Walker        age 69  born in Virginia, can't read or write
                Samuel Walker      age 25  born in Indiana, $1600 real estate
                John Walker        age 22  born in Indiana, $1000 real estate, $1400 poss.
                William Walker Jr. age 17  born in Indiana, $1200 real estate, in school 
Using the 1850 Census & 1856 Plat Map and following the census taker's route in 1850, William Walker (age 73) was not living on his land in Waterloo Twp section 18, but somewhere on the land he bought in 1821 and 1828 in Jennings Township . The SE 1/4 of Section 21 (1821 purchase) has a creek, so this would have been a good spot to build a house. The 1856 plat map shows this part belonging to son Samuel Walker, future husband of David Hartsell's daughter Barbara. Another possibility is the other adjoining part, the SW 1/4 of Section 22 (1828 purchase). The 1856 plat map shows this part belonging to son John Walker. The plat map doesn't show a road to this land. William was listed as head of household along with wife Jane and sons Samuel, John & William Jr., so there is a good chance this is where he lived the whole time.

1850 Fayette County Indiana Census report on Joseph Walker and brother James:

        Waterloo Township, page ___, taken Aug. 27, 1850
        Head of household: Joseph Walker, occupation farmer.
        In household:
                Joseph Walker   age 37  born in Ohio, $3000 real estate
                Sarah Walker    age 24  born in Maryland
                James Walker    age 26  born in Ohio, $3000 real estate
                Edward Walker   age   4  born in Indiana
                Sophronia Walker  age 10 mo., born in Indiana
                Joseph, born in 1814, should be 36.
                Sarah should be 26.
                Not known who is Edward or if he died young.
                Sophronia should be 14 mo.
                Amos was not yet born.
                Since Edward was born about a year before Joseph & Sarah were married,
                        James (perhaps recently widowed) could have been the father of Edward  

Using the 1850 Census & 1856 Plat Map and following the census taker's route in 1850, Joseph Walker (age 37) was living in Waterloo Twp section 15, probably on brother James' land in the NW 1/4. Since there was a road along the south edge of this land, he probably lived along this road. In 1856 he had land in Waterloo Twp section 11.

Joseph Walker's wife Sarah, mother of Sophronia, died June 11, 1851 after 3 years of marriage. She was 26 years old. Sophronia was 4 days short of being 2, and Amos under a year old.

William Walker's wife Jane died June 15, 1855 at the age of 72 years, 6 months. She is buried at Springersville Cemetery (4 miles east of Connersville), Fayette County, Indiana.

In 1856, Joseph Walker owned 30 acres in Section 11 of Waterloo Township. His brothers had land nearby. His father William Walker owned 160 acres in Section 12 of Harrison Township (all in Fayette County).

On May 17, 1859, Joseph's father William Walker died at the age of 82. He is buried at Springersville Cemetery. See extracts of his will in the Appendix. He may have been like a father to David Hartzell.

In 1859, probably after his father died, Joseph Walker settled permanently in Shelby County, Illinois (he had been there before in 1842, and bought land in 1849). His daughter Sophronia, future wife of 22 year old James Alexander Hartsell, was now 10 years old.

CORBET - 1850's

Nothing on Corbet for this time period...

DORSEY - 1850's

Here is the verbatim 1850 Fayette County Indiana Census report on the Dorsey household; possible brothers and sisters of Sarah (father Thomas Dorsey is believed to have died in 1849):

        Waterloo Township, page 235, 
        taken Aug. 21, 1850 (same day as David Hartzell)
                Eli Dorsey, age 23, born in Maryland
                Eliza Dorsey, age 22, born in Maryland
                Elizabeth Dorsey, age 18, born in Maryland
                George W. Dorsey, age 18, laborer, born in Ohio
                Thomas T. Dorsey, age 16, born in Indiana
                Margaret Dorsey, age 13, born in Indiana
                Mary E. Dorsey, age 11, born in Indiana
                This census was taken the same day as David Hartzell 
                and is on the next page.
                The parents must have died.
                This places the parents in Indiana in 1833, between the
                births of George and Thomas (if they were Thomas's children).
This one was difficult, but using the 1850 Census & 1856 Plat Map and following the census taker's route in 1850, the orphaned Dorsey children seem to have been in Waterloo Twp section 17, probably on Henry Walker's land in the NW 1/4, and along the south edge where there was a road. They also could have been on adjacent Wm. Walker's land in the NE 1/4 of Section 18. Remember Joseph Walker married Sarah Dorsey in 1847, and in 1840 Thomas Dorsey, the children's father, was listed 4 names before Henry Walker.

HISTORY - 1850's

By now, Illinois was quickly moving forward, but as late as 1855 the area around Mattoon (and Windsor) was virtually devoid of settlement due to lack of a railroad. Actually, we know there were a few hardy pioneers in Shelby County that came as early as 1825. The first locomotive arrived in Chicago in 1851, and in 1855, the railroad extended from Chicago to Urbana, thus finally opening this previously inaccessable area. Stations were put down with a water tank and windmill every 10 miles, and new towns were springing up around them. In 1855, traveling south from Chicago, Kankakee had 1500 people, Ashkum was a water tank, Onarga had 10 houses, Loda was one farmer living in a tent, Ludlow was just prairie, Rantoul was a patch of timber, and Urbana-Champaign had 2200 people. To the south, including Mattoon, there were only scattered settlers. Windsor was founded in 1856. In 1858 the railroad had pushed through to the Mattoon area. It was now that this area began to be settled heavily, and the town of Mattoon began to emerge. The year before, there wasn't much here.

The Osage Orange (Hedgeapple) tree was introduced about this time by a college professor named Turner as a means of fencing the prairies into school districts. The tree was popular among the farmers.

Some example of prices - chickens were still a dollar a dozen, eggs were 4 cents a dozen, beef was 7 cents a pound, a 19 pound turkey sold for 50 cents, and flour was $3.50 a barrel.

In 1858 novel agricultural implements were being exhibited at Springfield: plows mounted on an axle with a seat, a circular harrow, hand machines for washing clothes, and a chain-bucket pump.

The first care of a new settler was to provide for the first winter. He planted Indian corn in tough upturned sod in a slit made by an axe. Then he built a house. After that he could begin to break up the rest of the land. Hog and hominy was frequently the only food a settler had the first year.

1856 Connersville, shown below, is from the 1856 plat map in the Fayette County Courthouse. A railroad now follows the route of the old Whitewater Valley Canal. The West Fork of the Whitewater River is now some distance east, but at Water Street the land drops to where the riverbed once was. Today's courthouse is in the same location as the courthouse of 1856.

Town of Connersville, Indiana, 1856
The street at the top is Mill Street, now called 8th Street.
The street at the bottom is Short Street, now called 1st Street.
The street along the river on the right is Water Street.
3 blocks left is the canal, and the next street is Tanner, now Western St.

1856 Fayette County Indiana
Part of Harrison, Connersville, Waterloo, Jennings Townships

The town of Connersville is on the lower left, alongside the Whitewater River.
Many of these roads still exist today.
In 1840 David Hartzell lived along the road in north-central Sect. 28, on Alex Walker's land.
David Hartzell's 1853-63 land is in the top right corner of Sect. 21 and top left corner of Sect. 22.
The Junction Railroad passed about 1/2 mile south of David's land.
Springersville is at the NE corner of Section 23.
The Springersville Cemetery (many Walker burials) is just NW of Springersville.
There was a church near west-central edge of Sect. 15.
There is still a church on east-central edge of Sect. 22.
William Walker's 1821 land purchase is the SE 1/4 of Sect. 21 (Samuel Walker in 1856).
William Walker's 1828 land purchase is the SW 1/4 of Sect. 22 (John Walker in 1856).
in 1850 William Walker was living along the south edge of his 1821 land purchase.
In 1850, Joseph Walker was living in NW 1/4 Sect. 15, along road at south edge.
There is other Walker family land all over this map.
Thomas Dorsey's 1835-37 land was part of the NE 1/4 of Sect. 4 (north of Sect. 9).
In 1850, the orphaned Dorsey children were living at west-central Sect. 17, on Walker family land.
The town of Alquina is one mile south of SE corner Sect. 27.