Anyone who wishes to hear, at first hand, what the early pioneers went
through, may do so by talking to the venerable farmer above mentioned, who,
after a long and laborious life, is now enjoying the sweets of retirement. He
will tell you of the overland trip from North Carolina, made in 1830 by his
parents, William and Mornin (BELTON) MEANS. He will describe to you the
wild aspect of things in eastern and central Indiana, with the interminable
forests, the howling of wolves and its bands of prowling Indians. His father
first resided in Johnson county as a farmer, but in later years followed his
calling in Shelby and Marion. In addition to agriculture, which was crude and
unprofitable in those days, the old North Carolinian set up a distillery, for
the products of which there was much demand among the brawny settlers.
In the course of years this worthy couple were gathered to their fathers
and headlines on old tombs in the MEANS cemetery indicate that they found
a resting place there many years ago. They had a large family and their
descendants would puzzle the mathematician at “old settlers’ meetings,” if
not well versed in numbers. Elizabeth, the oldest, married Charles PERRY, a
native of Kentucky, who located in Marion county, Indiana, about 1836, and
died in 1872, leaving a son, Charles W., who was born January 3, 1848, and
who married Martha WILKINS, resides in Moral township and has four
children, Marshall, Clarence, Maude and Ezra. Mrs. PERRY is the daughter
of John W. WILKINS, now deceased, a native of North Carolina, who
married Caroline JOICE. Marshall PERRY, who married Sarah ARNOLD, has
five children, Cecil, Kenneth, Gilbert, Esther and Gladys. Clarence PERRY
married Lena STEWART and has three children, Roy, Emmerald and Ezra.
Maude PERRY married Vorce CARTRIGHT. Ezra PERRY married Gertrude
BARTLETT and has two children, Marie and Doris. The other children of
William MEANS were: James Roberts; Mary, wife of Linville JOICE, both
now dead; Nancy, wife of George WILKINS, of Hancock county; Thomas P.,
deceased; Martha, wife of William HICKMAN, deceased; John, deceased;
Sarah, wife of William GRAHAM; Ruth, wife of William MCCANSEY, and
James Robert MEANS, second in this list of children, was born in
Rockingham county, North Carolina, August 3, 1827. As a boy he was
right up against all the hardships of pioneer life, never saw the inside of a
school-house and never knew what it was to take a vacation. He has been a
farmer all his life, only stopping when the approach of old age suggested
retirement. He has lived for forty years on the farm which still constitutes
his home and is, perhaps, the oldest citizen in the township and one of the
oldest in the county. He was married in 1848 to Elizabeth J., daughter of A.
BAILES, one of the pioneers of Shelby county, of which she herself is a
native. Mr. and Mrs. MEANS have had five children, all of whom are living.
James is a resident of Sullivan county, Indiana. William is a farmer of Moral
township. Mary, wife of William SHEPPARD, resides at Geneva, Colorado.
Charles lives in Marshall county, Indiana, and Henry, in Texas.
Excerpt from: History of Shelby County Indiana by Edward H. Chadwick, B.A., Assisted by well known local talent. Illustrated.
Copied by: Cindy Jones