Christian H. Bless
Mr. C. H. Bless, now in the ninety-first year of his age, made this office a pleasant call last Friday. Our reporter made a shorthand synopis of his conversation, which we are sure will be of great interest to our readers. He said: "When I first came to Shelbyville, there were only three houses in the place. I don't remember the names, except Dr. Smith. John Walker came the same year. I think this was about 1818. I lived here upwards of thirty-five years, then went to Illinois, where I have lived, on and off, ever since. I got back here last week. I remember old father
Thacher, was here when Mr. Hendricks was here; knew Seal Campbell, Martin M. Ray, Peter Gatewood, Joshua Cross, Jeremiah Bennett and Francis Coyle.
The Shelby Democrat
Thursday, March 27, 1879
Page 3, column 2
ECHOES OF THE PAST
Life Sketch Of Christian H. Bless
I was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, moved from there to Virginia, then went to Kentucky, and then came to Dearborn county, this State, where I remained about seven years before coming to Shelby county-then called the "New Purchase". Was in the war of 1812, six months, the last part of the war, went as a volunteer from Kentucky; was stationed at Norfolk under Gen. Scott. Have been married twice-first in Kentucky, then in Ohio. The Miami Indians were numerous when I first came here. I am an old line Whig, never changed, it is now fifteen or sixteen years since I have voted: Henry Clay was the last man I voted for, I think he was about as smart as any of 'em; I heard him in Maysville, Kentucky, when he was running against George Jackson. Jackson was a good man, too, if he was a Democrat. If he had been on hand at the time of the rebellion broke out-at the beginning-we would have had no war; he would have hung them up".
In reply to the question, "Did you know Thomas A. Hendricks when he was a boy?" he said, "I knew him when I was grinding bark for his father. Tom was a bad boy - I won't vote for him - he was in all kinds of mischief, but he was smart. Well, boys don't generally amount to much unless there is some kind of mischief in them." Returning to his own history, he said: "Thomas Howard's wife, of Noble township, is my niece. William Bless, who died in Shelbyville about three years ago, was my brother. I have a brother in Indianapolis; his name is Eleazer; he is a cabinet maker by trade, but has now retired from business and is wealthy. I have two other brothers, I am the oldest of the family. Never was sick but twice in my life. A year ago last July, I had a sick spell and got so low that the doctors pronounced me dead, but I am yet alive (smiling). They all tell me I will live to be a hundred years old,
but I don't believe it! That sickness settled into a lameness; if it wasn't for that I could step off as spry as any man. I feel just as well in my body as I ever did. Never wore specs in my life, but my hearing is a little dull." When questioned as to his personal habits, he replied, "I have been temperate. Haven't drank a pint of whiskey in forty years. I got drunk once on egg-nog, and have never drank anything since. It was at a log rolling at William Ormsby's, out on Conn's Creek. The nog was mischievously made too strong for me; I didn't drink but one glass of it, and had no idea of its strength. I got on my horse and started home all right, but was so drunk when I got there I didn't know my own house. I promised my wife that I would never touch anything again, and I haven't to this day. I have used tobacco right along." The old gentleman seemed to be in possession of all his mental faculties, and left the office with a brisk step, declining any assistance in getting down the long flight of stairs.
Submitted by Barb Huff