Shelby  County  Indiana

William  Cotton

          A fitting representative of the pioneers of Shelby Co. is  William Cotton.  A man of  sterling qualities and highly respected; who did his duty unostentatiously in the condition of life in which it pleased God to place him; who brought up his family to do what was right in all cases, and who raised a family who are to-day among the foremost men of the places where they reside.  Coming to Shelby Co., as he did, at so early a day, he found a field for his energy and ability, and entered upon the work before him with the resolution of a strong mind.  That work he accomplished, and though he has passed away, his life and its lesson are still with us, and tell us in the strongest language how much the pioneers of Shelby Co. endured to lay the foundation of our present prosperity, and how much may be accomplished by good, honest labor.  William Cotton was a native of Kentucky, and was born on the 15th of January, 1793, the son of  William and  Elizabeth Cotton.  At the age of five years, he moved to Hamilton Co., Ohio, where his youth was spent, and where he stayed until the tide of emigration tempted him to turn his face westward. He arrived in Shelby Co. in 1822.  Previous to this, he had been married to Mary Anderson, also a native of Kentucky.  On his arrival in Shelby Co. he entered 80 acres of land, which took all the cash he had.  He soon, however, got together enough to enter 80 additional acres, and constantly added to his possessions until he owned some 720 acres altogether.  Mr. Cotton had eight children, as follows:  Melvin (deceased),  John A.,  Joseph,  Robert,  Elizabeth J.,  Lavina (deceased),  William  and  Thomas A.  Soon after their removal, on the 11th of March, 1830, Mrs. Cotton died.  In July, 1830, Mr. Cotton was married again, to Ann Burgess, of  Rushville, who lived with him until his death.  By this union they had no children.  With strict honor Mr. Cotton combined great shrewdness as a trader, and was very successful, leaving quite an estate to be divided among his children at the time of his death. Politically, he was a consistent member of the Baptist Church, making his business conform to his religion, and not his religion to his business, as is far too often the case.  His death took place Feb. 22, 1864, and he left a name and memory of which his children and the whole county are proud --- the memory of a well-spent life.  Mr. Cotton's second wife died April 1, 1875.
Atlas of Shelby Co., Indiana, Chicago: J. H. Beers & Co, 1880, p 71.
Contributed by Phyllis Miller Fleming

Biography Index         Main Page

For current email addresses of researchers listed above, use the Surname Index