George W. Hinds
A native of Shelby county, Indiana, and in point of continuous residence one of its oldest citizens, the subject of this sketch has passed the seventy-fifth milestone on life's journey and, although retired, is numbered today among the enterprising and eminently honorable men of the part of the state with which he has been so long actively identified. The Hinds family is of German origin, but has been represented in America since the Colonial period, the first of the name to emigrate to the country being the subject's grandfather, Alexander Hinds, with his wife and two children, who settled in Butler county, Pennsylvania, prior to the Revolutionary war. On the breaking out of that struggle Mr. Hinds espoused the cause of the colonists and entered the army, rendered valiant service until independence was achieved, after which he returned to his Butler county farm, where he spent the remainder of his days in the peaceful pursuits of agriculture, and died a number of years ago in Shelby county at an advanced age.
Michael Hinds, father of the subject, was born in Butler county, Pennsylvania, where he married, when still a young man, Mary Smith, whose antecedents were also among the early settlers of that part of the state. Disposing of their interests in Pennsylvania in 1818, Michael Hinds and wife migrated to Franklin county, Indiana, where they lived until 1825, when they moved to Shelby county and settled in what is now Addison township, where in due time Mr. Hinds cleared a good farm and became widely known as an enterprising man and praiseworthy citizen. He took an active and influential part in opening the country and developing its resources. He was a true type of the sturdy pioneer of the early day, and his death, which occurred in the year 1844, was greatly lamented by his friends and neighbors.
His wife survived him until 1868, when she, too, passed away, and the two now lie side by side in the quiet shades of the cemetery at Shelbyville. Michael and Mary Hinds were the parents of eight children, five of whom grew to maturity and became well settled in life, the subject of this review being the youngest of the number and the only surviving member of the family.
George W. Hinds was born February 25, 1834, on the family homestead in Addison township, spent his early life in close touch with nature, and while still a mere lad, became familiar with the rugged duties of the farm. His educational advantages were limited to a few months' attendance in winter seasons at a school in an old log building, but by diligently applying himself he made commendable progress in the common branches, so that when he started out to make his own way, at the age of fifteen, he had a fair knowledge of books with the ability to apply the same to practical affairs in life. On leaving the parental roof young Hinds hired to a farmer for fifty cents per day, which sum was subsequently increased to seventy-five cents, and in this way he labored and saved his earnings for three years, at the expiration of which time he and his brother, James O. Hinds, purchased a small farm in partnership, to which they moved their mother, who became their housekeeper. Later they sold their respective shares in the place, and investing the proceeds in other land each went to himself, and in due time became the possessor of valuable real estate and earned reputations as enterprising and successful agriculturists.
On April 25, 1861, Mr. Hinds was united in marriage with Eliza Bassett, who was born December 7, 1872, in Shelby county, the daughter of Sylvester Bassett, a well known resident of Marion township, and one of the leading farmers of the community in which he lived. Immediately after their marriage Mr. and Mrs. Hinds set up their domestic establishment on a farm and resolutely facing the future, addressed themselves to their respective labors, until in due time they reaped the reward of their industry, thrift and economy in a beautiful home and a comfortable competence. Mr. Hinds soon became one of the leading agriculturists of his township, which reputation he sustained as long as he continued active work on the farm, and some idea of his success may be obtained from the fact of his being at this time the owner of two hundred and five acres of as fine land as Shelby county can boast, the greater part under a high state of cultivation and conservatively valued at one hundred and twenty-five dollars per acre. On this beautiful rural homestead he lived and prospered until the year 1896, at which time he turned it over to other hands and moved to Morristown where he is now living a life of honorable retirement, being well situated to enjoy the fruits of his many years of successful toil.
In addition to his career as an enterprising and progressive farmer, Mr. Hinds also has a military record, of which he feels deservedly proud, having been among the patriotic men who responded to the country's call during the dark days of the rebellion and rendered valiant service to the Government in the time of need. Enlisting in Company D, Thirty-eighth Indiana Infantry, in 1864, he accompanied his command to the front and served with credit until the close of the war taking part in the battle of Nashville, besides experiencing other active duty, although suffering much from impaired health during the greater part of his army experience, on account of which he is now the recipient of a liberal pension.
Mr. Hinds is a Republican in politics and cast his first presidential ballot in 1856 for John C. Fremont, since which time he has been pronounced in his allegiance to his party, though by no means a partisan or seeker after the honors or emoluments of office. It will thus be seen that he is a charter member of the party in whose principles he believes and to whose support he has devoted so many years, being well posted on the leading questions and issues of the day and fully abreast of the times on all matters of public import. Religiously the Methodist Episcopal church holds his creed, and for a number of years he has been a sincere and devoted member of this body with his wife, belonging to the church at Morristown, and contributing liberally of his means to its support, besides donating freely to other charitable and humanitarian enterprises.
Mr. and Mrs. Hinds have a commodious and comfortable modern home on Washington street, Morristown. They are the parents of eight children, whose names and dates of birth are as follows: Melvin, April 20, 1862; Francis, September 15, 1864; Willie, November 30, 1866; Leonard, July 2, 1868; Jessie, December 25, 1870; Sylvester V., May 27, 1872; James, June 28, 1874, and Mary, who was born on the 14th day of March, 1880. Death has been a unwelcome intruder upon the home from time to time and caused several breaks in the family circle, Willie, Leonard and James being deceased. William W. Hinds, brother of our subject, who never married, lived with George W. Hinds for about thirty years.
Chadwick's History of Shelby County, Indiana, by Edward H. Chadwick, B.A., assisted by well known local talent, B. F. Bowen & Co, Publishers: Indianapolis, IN, 1909, pages 790-793
Contributed by Phyllis Miller Fleming