Before the War of the Rebellion had begun to call for the manhood of the nation, James Courtney and his family, of Harrison county, Kentucky, started northward to found a new home. It was in 1855 that the family settled in section 9, Shelby township, Shelby county, Indiana, and became Hoosiers. One of the children was Sanders Courtney, who was born in old Kentucky, on his father's farm, and assisted his father in starting a home in Indiana. He was but a stripling, being born in 1842, and he knew what the privations and hardships were in starting a new home in a new and alien state. The elder Courtney was no pampered child of fortune, and what of the world's possessions in his hands came there by dint of hard work and savings. The land he took up in Shelby county was wild and rough. He obtained fifty-two acres and set about to make a home. There was an old log cabin on the place, and this he made comfortable, and set about making his farm tillable. He was nobly assisted by his wife, who was Elizabeth McKinney before her marriage, and, like her husband, a native of the Blue Grass state. The two worked hard and in after years saw the result of their labor. They both died on the old home place they had helped to make. To the union were born five children, as follows: Edward, deceased; Sanders, the subject of this review; Richard, single and retired as a farmer; Eliza Frances, dead; James, dead.
Sanders Courtney obtained a meager education in the common schools and when he was twenty-one years old started to do for himself. He was married on March 10, 1864, to Mary R. Parish. She was a native of Kentucky, having been born in Mercer county, and a daughter of Charles J. and Elizabeth Ann (Seth) Parish. The Parishes came to Johnson county, Indiana, in 1855, where Charles Parish obtained employment in a mill as a miller. Three years later they went to Shelby township, Shelby county, where he took up the work of farming, which he continued to his death. His wife died later in Shelby township. She was noted as a worker in the Christian church. To this union were born ten children, as follows: Lucinda, deceased; David W., deceased; Elizabeth lives in Washington township; Mary R., wife of Sanders Courtney; Polly lives in Kentucky; Erastus, of Shelbyville, Indiana; Sallie, deceased; Henry, deceased; George, deceased; Charles, deceased.
Sanders Courtney, after his marriage, started out to make a home for himself and wife. Neither were largely endowed with wordly property, and he was forced to go to work for twenty-eight dollars a month until they could get a foothold. Later he rented a farm and obtained a start, and continued leasing untio 1886, when he purchased twenty acres in section 20, Shelby township. Here the family lived in a log cabin until the home place was built in 1893. Sanders Courtney labored incessantly and improved his farm with modern buildings and other improvements, besides adding to his holdings until he has ninety-two acres of valuable land. Two children were reared and one boy, James, died in infancy. Thomas M. is now occupying a part of his father's farm; he married Amanda Young. Hugh died when he was nineteen years old. Mr. Courtney has been a farmer all his life and incidentally raises horses and cattle. he is a lover of fine horses and his farm is well stocked with them. He has been a life-long Democrat, but has never aspired to office. His life has been devoted to his family and his farm, and what success he has attained he declares is not only due to himself,but to his faithful, hard-working wife.
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 621-622.
Copied by Phyllis Miller Fleming, Jan 2001