Shelby County Indiana
Hiram A. Cotton
The subject of this sketch is another of those sturdy
pioneers to whom Shelby Co. owes so much. He was born in Hamilton Co., Ohio, Dec. 27, 1804, being the son
of William Cotton, and the youngest of the family. His educational advantages were slight, and what
education he has has been obtained chiefly from observation. At the age of eighteen, he came to Shelby Co.
with his parents, settling in Union Township in 1822. He remained with his father until 1826, hard at work
clearing land and doing whatever was a duty in those early days. Among other things, he helped build the
Michigan road, working on it for 33-1/2 cents per day. On the 6th of August, 1826, he was married to Jane
Gunning, daughter of David Gunning, in Union Township, and immediately after borrowed money enough to
enter 40 acres of land, on which he settled and built him a log cabin, where he and his wife spent many happy days.
Though the conveniences of those days were limited, and it was a work of unceasing labor to clear a farm
from the wilderness, yet their mutual love made the labor light, and their united efforts soon paid for their land,
and enabled them to add to their store until, as time rolled by, they were soon, so to speak, independent. They
remained at home almost entirely, and found together that contentment which a happy union always bring. In
his business relations, Mr. Cotton was always successful, and his property accumulated quite rapidly, until he
was classed among those who had sufficient for all this world's wants. His greatest loss in life he met with
when, after nearly fifty-two years of complete companionship, he lost his good wife, her death taking place on
the 10th day of April, 1878. She was an excellent woman, and during their unusually long married life, she
and her husband had never had a quarrel. Mr. Cotton has never had time among his home and farm cares to engage
in any political controversies, though he has always been a decided Democrat of the old school, and cast his first
vote for Jackson, which he has followed up by voting for every Democratic candidate for President since.
His character is irreproachable, and his property has been accumulated by the hardest kind of work. No man
can say he wronged them out of a penny. At present, Mr. Cotton is living on his home place, which consists
of over one hundred acres. His declining years are abundantly supplied for, and he is attentively cared for
by his nephew, Thos. A. Cotton, and "his" sons, who live near by.
Atlas of Shelby Co., Indiana, Chicago: J.H. Beers & Co., 1880, pg 71.
Contributed by Phyllis Miller Fleming
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