Shelby  County,  Indiana

History  of  Shelbyville

Addison Twp
Township 12 & 13 North,  Range 6 & 7 East

Some Shelbyville, Indiana, "Firsts"
by David Craig
24 Feb 2000
Coulston Elementary School (Just north of Forest Hill Cem.  I think the land was originally owned by the Nathan GOODRICH family.  It was eventually owned by the COULSTON family and the land donated for a school.  pmf)

David Craig introduced himself, said he was born in Shelbyville and was now a custodian at a sister school in Shelbyville, Pearson Elementary.  David talked to a group of 4th graders about some of the "firsts" in Shelbyville, IN.

First settlers:
James LEE
William LITTLE
Francis WALKER

First railroad west of the Allegheny's:
There is a marker on SR 44 across from the Wellington Shops, just east of Vine St.  William J Peaslee, a lawyer and judge in Shelby Co, was the driving force behind the experiment. He was born in VT in 1783.  He married in 1832 and then came to Shelbyville.  In conjunction with Mr. Hendricks and Mr. Walker, the idea was to provided railway transportation from Indpls-Cincinnati.  Stock was sold for $5.00 share.  Sales of stock were not bringing enough monies, so near the end of 1833, Judge Peaslee thought he should build a "demo" section.  He chose the east end of Michigan Road; the route cut through the hill [by the H&R Block location] and went east to Blue Ridge Rd.  The cost for materials and labor was $1500/mile; they needed $5000 just for the "demo" section.  The rails were made of oak.  There was no locomotive near here.  Tom Thumb, the closest locomotive available, was on the east coast.
          In 1834, the section was ready.  A horse was used to pull the cars. The cars were designed for 25 people, but usually held 40 (very popular!). In 1834, the courthouse was still on public square.  There was a large parade from the public square to Wellington Ave.  Jeremiah Bennett gave a speech before the parade.  The ride in the cars cost 25 cents, round trip.  The phenomenon was very popular, especially with young couples, looking for a romantic outing.
          Judge Peaslee still couldn't get enough interest in the railroad for construct from Indianapolis to Cincinnati, so the "demo" section was all that became of his efforts. The "real" railroad didn't come through Shelby County until 1850.

Shelby County/Shelbyville's namesake:
Isaac Shelby was born in 1750 in MD.  He was famous for being a good Indian fighter, a surveyor and the first governor of KY.  Isaac Shelby fought in the Rev War.  He was Gen Washington's Procuror (got the supplies of food, etc, that Gen Washington needed to maintian his soldiers) Nine states have counties names Shelby.  Five cities have been named after Shelby.

A scary point in Shelby Co history, at which can now all laugh:
 In July 1863, Morgan's Raiders crossed over from Kentucky (Confederate land) to Indiana (part of the Union).  As all of our able-bodied men were serving in the Union army and engaged elsewhere, Shelby Co was essentially defenseless.  The people felt very vulnerable and very scared.  It was rumored that Morgan and his raiders would come north to Indianapolis, passing through and pillaging Shelbyville on their way.  The public square was jambed with people wanting to know the news and trying decide on a plan of defence.  For lack of a plan and manpower to implement one, it seems that the men started drinking and the women started cooking.  Actually, some concrete steps were taken.  Trees were felled over all roads leading into Shelbyville in an attempt to block Morgan's perceived path.  The populace decided to take 1000 men & go south of town to hold off Morgan and his men.  Another group wanted to form a posse and go for him.  No one's horse was sacred -- any horse that could be found in the county was taken for the "cavalry".  It was a very rag tag group, including an old man sporting an old goose gun (he may have been drunk).  Some of the riders went as far south as Columbus (Bartholomew Co IN).  One rider came back into town at night looking for whiskey.  He saw a group of horses tied to a fence and immediately cried " M O R G A N ! ! ", causing a panic.  In reality, it was NOT Morgan or his men.  In a short time, the "real" cavalry came and told the make-shift group of Shelbers that they could handle Morgan, and that they should go home. An additional comic relief was the man carrying preserves on his back for his supper.  It was so hot, the preserves boiled over onto his back and then onto his poor horse.  As if that wasn't a sticky or hot enough situation, the man and his horse were then attacked by bees.  ROFLOL [free ice cream cone from Compton's to the Strive member that can come closest to decoding ROFLOL - no parental help].

Shelbyville timeline:
First building lighted by manufactured gas - 1869
First use of natural gas - 1881
First telephone - 1878
First water system - 1886
First illumination of streets by electricity - 1889
First sewer line - 1889

Famous Shelbyville residents:
* Victor Higgins - Eiteljorg Museum (Indpls) has some of his paintings.   He became a member of the artists in the Taos colony in NM
* Wilbur Shaw
won 500 three times
director of Speedway in the 50s
won his first race at our fairgrounds
* Tarzan & Jane radio show.  James "Babe" Pierce, an actor, was one of the earliest Tarzans.   He married the daughter of American writer Edgar Rice Burroughs
* Thomas A Hendricks, US vice president in 1885
* Charles Major: When Kinghthood Was in Flower 1898
          Bears of Blue River, 1901
          Dorothy Vernon of Haddon Hall, 1902
          Uncle Tom Andy Bill, 1908
* Mary Tomlinson:  Actress, raised and born in Fairland; best known as "Ma Kettle"

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

The  Shelbyville  News
Saturday March 20, 1948
Page 5
By Hortense Montgomery
          Following the settlement of numerous villages in many parts of our present county, the pioneers felt that it was necessary to organize them into a county in order that law could be administered and that they could have a feeling of unity. Corydon was then the capital of Indiana which had been admitted to the Union in 1816. During the session of the state legislature in Corydon in 1821 the people petitioned this body to organize them into a county; the petition was acted upon and granted, and approved by the Hon. Jonathan Jennings who was the first governor of Indiana.
          Nothing can be designated or spoken about until it has a name; business or law matters cannot be discussed until this important matter is settled, and so the county pioneers felt it their duty to find a name for their new county. It seemed there was no variance of opinion and so no difficulty in the selection of a name.  Our county has, throughout its history received many of its citizens from Kentucky and it was so at the very beginning of its settlement.  It seems that the then governor of Kentucky, General Isaac Shelby, was a man dear to all the hearts of all the folks from old Kaintuck’. He had made an enviable reputation in the Indian and Revolutionary Wars and as governor of his state.  It seemed a fitting tribute to him and one that would add luster to their new county to name it Shelby county and thus it came about.
          One step demands another step forward and with a county organization a county seat was the next thing in order; where should it be?  The story has been told so often that everyone knows how Marion was the first village in the county and hoped that it might be selected as the most important place in the county.  Being centrally located is one of the features which give priority to a place when a capital of any section of land-county, state or nation-is being considered, other features being equal.  But four sites had been offered for this important town; on December 31, 1821 the Indiana Legislature appointed  George Bentley,  Benjamin J. Blythe,  Amos Boardman,  Joshua Cobb  and  Ebenezer Ward  commissioners to settle the question of location.  Quoting Rev. Sluter,  "On the first day of July 1822, they met at the home of  David Fisher  near Marion and after being duly sworn, according to law they proceeded to examine the four sites that had been offered."  Marion was first, thinking they were near the center and the first village settled.  Mr. Isaac Lemasters  offered 40 acres several miles to the southwest. The Hon. John Walker  offered 40 acres one mile to the northeast of this.  And three gentlemen offered 70 acres where Shelbyville is now located.  The commissioners spent four days visiting these four locations and weighing the advantages of each.  The choice fell at last on the 70 acres which were offered by the three men together, the Hon. John Hendricks  who donated 40 acres, the Hon. John Walker who gave 10 acres and James Davison who gave 20 acres.  And this, fellow citizens, is why you are living in the county seat just at this place.
          A county seat can’t be a county seat by just being so designated.  There was no village to become the nucleus, just forest lands. Land had to be cleared, streets and alleys must be laid off, and a building for making the laws and administering the courts must be built.  On September 23, 1822, lots were sold and the proceeds from the various lots were to be used for the building of a courthouse.  Before this, on August 15, Abel Cole was authorized to survey for streets and alleys and town lots.  All of the west half of the land given by John Hendricks and John Walker "at and adjoining the seat of justice." Soon after the selling of the lots the public square was cleared of trees and improvements were made on several lots. Can you visualize our public square covered with trees rather than automobiles? Lots fronting on the public square brought $50 rather than $30 which was the average for most of the lots.
           Francis Walker,  Henry Gatewood  and  Ezra McCabe  made the first opening in the town.  Mr. Gatewood bought the lot on which the Ray House, now Shelby Hotel stands for $50.  Did you know this, Messrs. Good man and Jester?
          In November of 1823 the commissioners discussed the building of a court house; by the records it was to be "a good strong frame house, 35 feet long, 20 feet wide and two stories high."  It was to be completed by the middle of the next April.  But something went wrong; by the next day the contract was canceled.  What happened?  No one has any record of this   In 1825 a second contract was let for a brick building, plump in the middle of the square.  This contract was more successful than the first and the building served for 25 years.  The story is told of the squabble that come up over which side of the building the door should be made, the thought being that the entrance to the court house gave an advantage to these business firms fronting it.  Politics, business and even Masonry entered into the conflict and it ended with three fronts having a door on the west, north and south.  The court house cost $3,300, was completed in 1827 and the commissioners were  Richard Tyner  and  David Fisher . The dimensions were 60 feet by 50 feet.
          The first county jail was also built on the public square in 1823, it was built of logs at a cost of about $200.  The first guest at the jail was not mentioned and we’re suspect he was happy not to go down as a historical character.  With a jail there must be a sheriff and the first official of this office,  Sevier Lewis,  was elected in 1822 for four years; he died in office and his unexpired term was filled by  Isaac Templeton.
          The first home erected in Shelbyville was that of  Francis Walker, located on the southwest corner of Tompkins and Washington where the Inlow Clinic now is located.  The first election which took place in Shelbyville was in the forks of a tree on the public square for the purpose of electing a Major of the Militia and resulted in the choice of  Major Ashbel Stone.  Just how that was done or why in the forks of a tree we do not know and you will need to conjure your own picture.
          Rev. Sluter says the first school in Shelbyville was held in a log house built by  Frank Wallar  for a residence; this first school was taught by  William Hawkins.  It was on the northwest corner of Tompkins and Washington where Mrs. Sue Dixon lived for a number of years, then occupied by  Dr. Green’s family and now occupied by Mrs. Inlow.
Contributed by Barb Huff

The  Shelby  Democrat
December 31, 1903
         The Progress laundry, 12 west Broadway, is now running.  Old friends and patrons make new friends and patrons for the best laundry in Shelbyville.             133
Copied by Phyllis Miller Fleming

The  Shelbyville  Daily  Democrat
Friday, July 29, 1899, pg 4
         The When Band, of Indianapolis, and the Shelbyville band gave the Republican a most delightful selection Thursday afternoon in front of the office.  These bands have reached a high degree of excellency and now rank among the leading musicians of the State. --- Greenfield Republican.

         There are very high weeds and many stalks of corn growing in the south gutter of Mechanic-st., just east of the Big Four railroad, and the residents of that section are crying for the Street Commissioner.
Copied by Phyllis Miller Fleming, Jan 2001

The  Shelbyville  Republican
July 10, 1896
         Flowers are all very attractive, but Alvan Hauck says he likes the "Daisy" best.
         Mr. Alvan Hauck attended the K. of P. picnic at New Palestine on the Fourth.
         Warren Buck had all the idle hands of Hord engaged in hoeing weeds out of his corn last week.
         A. J. Huls and son are marketing their crop of blackberries which are finer than usual this year.
         Mrs. J. L. Rohm, who is attending the C. N. C. this summer, visited relatives and friends Saturday and Sunday.
         Several of the Fairview folds attended the funeral of Miss Allie Means at Sugar Creek Chapel Sunday morning.
         Mr. J. R. Bassett and son and the Rohm brothers celebrated the Fourth playing croquet with Mr. W. M. Huffman. How do you like to play croquet in the rain?
         Chas. Dewert was assisting in the blacksmith shop here last week on account of J. A. Kirwood being sick.
         Daul Stone and wife, Albert Amy and Mrs. Jose Mowly, of Columbus, spent several days here with relatives.
         Frank Bowman, the Orinoco groceryman, was up last week looking after the threshing of the wheat on his farm.
         Frank Lindsay spent Friday here with his sister, Mrs. O. S. Winterrowd. Frank is selling shoes for a Chicago firm.
         Mrs. Ira McCartney and children arrived from Edwardsport Friday and will spend some time here and at Norristown with relatives.
         Rev. Funkhouser, a former pastor of the M.E. church here, but now located at Charlestown, was calling on old friends here last week.
         Quite a little excitement was created Friday morning by the train causing Mrs. Wright's horse to run away. Very little damage was done, however.
Copied by Phyllis Miller Fleming

The  Shelby  Republican
Shelbyville, Ind., Thursday, January 5, 1888
Local Gossip and Pleasant Views From all Over "Old Shelby."
Result of One Week's Happenings Gathered for the Republican by Its Busy Correspondents.
Items of More or Less Interest From City and County.
         The department has issued a pension for Joseph Dunica, of St. Paul.
         Elmer Howe has entered suit on note against Edgar Money and Mary Cochran.
         William Garrison is very low with consumption and his friends do not expect him to live many hours.
         Mr. Joseph Green, brother of Elston Green, who resides at Mt. Moriah, Mo., is in the county on a short visit to his old friends.
         Mrs. Henry Higgins, who resides on East Washington street, is seriously ill and her friends have but little hope for her recovery.
         Miss May Wilson was in the city visiting friends Tuesday and has now gone down into "Sweet Sugar" to spend a few days with friends.
         Mrs. Mason Moncrief, of Franklin, fell last Saturday while attending a funeral and received injuries which caused her death.  She was a sister of  Dr. Scott[?] of Franklin College. [Could be Stott.]
         Col. Joseph McBride of the Democrat was last night unanimously elected grand marshal to conduct the Democratic hosts of old Shelby to Indianapolis on the 11th day of January, 1888.  See that the boys keep out of mischief, Joe.
         The funeral services of the late Mrs. Martha Ensminger took place at the residence in Brandywine township at 12:30 yesterday, Rev. Conner officiating.  The interment was at the Fairland graveyard.  D. B. Wilson, funeral director.
Submitted by Phyllis Miller Fleming, Jan 2001

         In and about Shelbyville the Hendrickses,  Goodriches,  Walkers,  Davissons,  Mayhews,  Wingates  and  Williams with many others whose names are mentioned in the history of the city, constitute the first settlers of that section.
History of Shelby County, Indiana, Chicago, Brant and Fuller, 1887, page 303.
Copied by Judith Lucero

    Incorporation. ----- For a long time the growth of Shelbyville was very slow.  Not until January 21, 1850, was the town incorporated by a special act of the Legislature.  George Caruthers, Sr., was elected Mayor, and  J. S. Campbell,  James M. Randall,  William H. Coats,  James H. Elliott, and  Eden H. Davis, Councilmen.  Only 156 votes were cast.  The second election under this charter was held April 3rd, 1852, and resulted in the choice of  John Morrison, Sr., for Mayor, and  Woodville Browning,  James M. Randall,  S. Midkiff,  Joseph Cummins and  J. T. Bullock, for Councilmen.  Two hundred and forty-one votes were cast. Population, white, 1,407;  colored, 17;  total, 1,424.  July 25, 1853, the office of Mayor was discontinued, and the present city organization dates from May 16, 1860.  The first settlers of Shelbyville, were:
Joseph Campbell,
James Davison,
Henry Gatewood,
William Goodrich,
Nathan Goodrich,
George Goodrich,
William Hawkins,
John Hendricks,
James Lee,
William Little,
Ezra McCabe,
Elisha Mayhew, Sr.,
Elisha Mayhew, Jr.,
Royal Mayhew,
Sylvan B. Morris,
John Walker,
Francis Walker,
Isaac H. Wilson,
Smith Wingate,
Benjamin Williams and
John M. Young.
History of Shelby County, Indiana, Chicago: Brant & Fuller, 1887, pg 407.
Copied by Phyllis Miller Fleming

The  Daily  Evening  Democrat
Wednesday, April 12, 1882
          Work will be commenced on a telephone line to Indianapolis on May 1.
          Rev. Grassow, of Indianapolis, is in the city, the guest of his son, A. C. Grassow.
          L. Johnson, of Vincennes, proprietor of the telephone exchange here, was in the city yesterday.
          The Ladies Benevolent Society will meet at Mrs. Lizzie Weist’s on Friday afternoon 2-1/2 o’clock.
          Mr. James F. Gregg, of Chicago, who represents the Woods Twine-Binder, is in the city today.
          Mr. Albert Griffey and  Miss Lizzie Little will be married at the home of the bride at 8:30 o’clock this evening by Rev. S. J. Tomlinson.
          Mrs. Z. G. Wallace  and  Mrs. Dr. Brown, of Indianapolis, and  Mrs. Dr. Ellis, of Lafayette, are in the city, and will take part in the W. C. T. U. convention.
          Miss Caddie Neighbors  will retain her position in the telephone exchange during the day and  Master Bert Wallar will act as night operator commencing tonight.
          Philip Shaw, one of our most popular young men, and a first-class salesman, has accepted a position with  Vance Hunter & Co., on the west side of the Square.
          W. C. Thomas, the manager of the telephone exchange here, will leave for Bloomfield tonight where he will put up an exchange. Ed. Luther, of Greensburg, will take his place here.
          Mr. Elijah Ballard, the well-known brickmason, of this city, has received the contract for the brick work of the large business house about to be erected by  Phil. Sindlinger. “Lige” is a first-class workman and a square man.
          The funeral of  Mrs. Fanny Yeiser  has been postponed until tomorrow afternoon, on account of her husband being unable to get here in time today.  Revs. W. T. Jolly and S. Tincher  will officiate at the obsequies at half past two o’clock p.m. tomorrow, at the Presbyterian church.
          The Council at their meeting last night, among other business, ordered the alley east of Pike street, between Locust and South streets, opened east to the J. M. and I. railroad. The City Marshal was also ordered to notify all parties who have erected sheds or swinging signs across the sidewalk to remove the same within three days.
          The Women’s Christian Temperance Union will hold a mass meeting at the Methodist church this evening. The meeting will be addressed by  Mrs. Z. G. Wallace,  of Indianapolis, and  Mrs. Dr. Ellis, of Lafayette. The latter will exhibit charts showing the effects of alcohol on the human stomach. Children’s meeting at 4 o’clock p.m.
Teachers Licensed From March Examination:

For 24 months – Thomas Finley,  J. J. Pettit  and  Mollie R. McNeily.
For 18 months – A. E. Lisher,  Moses Bennett,  W. E. Major,  Wm. T. Vories,  R. S. Campbell,  Dora McKay,  Ida A. Lewis,  R. W. Richards,  Annie Hackney,  J. N. McKay,  T. L. Major,  G. W. McCain,  Bertha Stone,  Flora Blair,  Hopkins E. Hoban,  W. E. Lisher and  D. F. Randolph.
For 12 months – Addie Campbell,  Maggie Little,  M. F. Dugan,  E. W. McDaniel,  J. T. Cuskaden,  Lee Fostner,  J. R. Messie, Jr., and  Melvin Hinda.
For 6 months – Sallie Bennett,  Irene Dearmin,  G. A. Russell,  Ernest Gauntt (?),  Carrie Walker,  H. Patten,  Eva Jones  and  Effie Wherret.
Nineteen applicants failed.
W. T. Jolly, Co. Supt.
Advertised Letter List

          The following is a list of letters remaining uncalled for at the post-office at Shelbyville, Shelby County, Indiana, April 12, 1882:
          Charles Class, Jr.
          Andrew Herr
          Alice M. Morris
          Alice McDaniel
          G. C. Norman
          Lizzie Patterson
          Ida Smith
          George E. Snapp

To obtain the above letters please say advertised, and give date of list.
F. BONE, P. M.    
FOR RENT House with four rooms, large lot and stable. Enquire of ED SMALL.
Contributed by Darlene Palmer

The  Daily  Evening  Democrat
Monday, April 10, 1882
          Rev. Chester, of Cincinnati, was in the city over Sunday.
          Rev. Rose preached at the Methodist Church last evening.
          Master Charley Small has taken the agency of the Evening News.
          Mr. and Mrs. Elbert Tyner, of Morristown, spent the Sabbath in this city.
          Miss Edith Garrard, of Lake City, Minnesota, is the guest of  Miss Norah Elliott.
          D. J. Shaw, though still unable to leave the house, is, we are glad to say, much better.
          Mr. Albert Griffey and Miss Lizzie Little will be married next Wednesday evening.
          Rev. Tincher administered the rite of baptism by immersion to nine converts, near the iron bridge at noon yesterday.
          Mrs. Minnie M. Dill and  Mr. Jacob Winters were married at the residence of the former, in the northeast part of the city, at 6-1/2 o’clock last evening, by Rev. W. T. Jolly.
          It is rumored that the handsome Miss Emma Blessing will be married on the 3rd of May, to Mr. Will Beeks, brother of Ed. Beeks, the popular proprietor of the Ray House.
          Professor J. S. Bergen received a telegram from Franklin, Ind., this morning notifying him of the death of his step-mother, which took place yesterday morning.
          Sarah, the fourteen-year-old daughter of Mr. and Mrs. James Shaughnessy, died at the residence of her parents, on East Jackson street, yesterday morning at ten o’clock of consumption. The funeral services will be held at the Catholic Church in this city by the Rev. Father Torbeck to-morrow morning at eight o’clock, after which the remains will be taken to St. Vincent, four miles east of this city, for burial.
          For Sale-a two-story house in good repair for sale. It is to be removed from the premises. The house is just west of my residence. – Fred Churden.
          For Sale-a good new rag carpet. Enquire of Mrs. M. R. Montgomery, at the residence of Mrs. Alonzo Blair, on South Harrison Street.
Contributed by Darlene Palmer

The  Shelby  Democrat
February 13, 1879
VOL. 1; No. 37
Progress and Prosperity of Her People.
Gradual Growth From a Desolate Wilderness to the Height of Affluence.
Brief Historical Sketch of the City, Showing the Date of Its Founding
and the Various Steps In Its Onward March to Wealth and Civilation.
Biographical Notices of the Live Men Who Have Made Shelbyville,
With Some Account of Their Business, Past and Present.
Bird's Eye View of the Improvements, Comforts and Advantages
of an Enterprising and Fourishing Community.
What Has Been Done and What is Contemplated
by the People Who Inhabit the Garden Spot of the Union.
Act, for in action are wisdom and glory;
         Fame, immortality -- these are its crown;
Would'st thou illumine the tablets of story? --
         Build on achievements thy doom of renown.
                                           --- From the German.
         The country in which Shelbyville is situated is one of the most favored regions on the American Continent.  The richness of the soil, the productiveness of its magnificient farms, its abundance of the fine water courses, and above all the enterprise, thrift and industry of its people, all conspire to make Shelby a county equaled by few and surpassed by none other in the world.  Paraphrasing old Isaac Walton's remark about the strawberry, we may truthfully say: "Doubtless God could have made a better country, but doubtless God never did."  Within the liftime of many still amongst us, it has risen from a wilderness to a smiling garden, from a desolate norass to a succession of highly cultivated fields, from most abject poverty to the amplest wealth and abundance. In fact, its history is remarkable and well worth study as showing what obstacles may be overcome; what wonderful results may be accomplished by a brave, hardy, and determined body of men such as composed the heroic band of early pioneers.
         The city of Shelbyville was founded on the fourth day of July, 1822, only fifty-seven years ago.  On that day five commissioners who had been appointed by the State Legislature to select a county seat for Shelby decided on the present location of this city.  The land originally included in the area for the proposed city was donated by three public spirited citizens, as follows:  Major John Hendricks gave 40 acres;  Hon. John Walker, 10 acres;  and the late James Davison, 20 acres.  The event was celebrated by a barbecue, and a large gathering of settlers at a point immediately northeast of our present Fair Grounds.  There was great rejoicing over the selection of a county capital.  On the next day, July 5th, 1822, the County Commissioners met the Legislative Commissioners and formally received their report fixing the county seat.  On the 15th of August following, Hon. Abel Cole was authorized to survey and lay off into streets, alleys and town lots all the west half of the donation made by John Hendricks and John Walker, at and adjoining the place established for the seat of Justice.  On the 23d of September, the first disposal of lots took place.  Soon after this, the Public Square was cleared of trees, and improvements were begun upon several lots.  The lots brought from $30 to $50 each, those fronting upon the Public Square selling for $50.  Messrs. Francis Walker,  Henry Gatewood and  Ezra McCabe made the first opening in the town.  Henry Gatewood bought the lot upon which the Jackson House now stands for $50.  Such was the inauspicious beginning of what has since grown into the beautiful and flourishing city of Shelbyville.
         The first house erected upon the size of Shelbyville, was the home of Mr. Francis Walker, and it stood on the north west corner of Washington and Tompkins streets.  The first Court-house was erected in 1825. It stood upon the center of the Public Square, and was a two story brick building, in size 50x60 feet, having one large room below and four above.  It cost $3,300, and the builder was Mr. William Bushfield.  The first Court convened in this city on the 10th of October, 1822, and the first Judges were John Sleeth and William Goodrich.  Hiram W. Curry was the first Prosecuting Attorney.  The first election ever held in the city took place in the forks of a tree on the Public Square for the purpose of choosing a Major of the Militia and resulted in the selection of Major Ashbel Stone.  The first flour and saw mill of the county was built by Mr. John Walker, in 1822, on the site now occupied by the Shelby Mills.  The first Post-master was William Little.
         It is interesting and instructive to cast a retrospective glance over the last fifty-seven years, and compare the Shelbyville of to-day with the Shelbyville of 1822.  From a population then of a few score settlers, the city has grown to over 4,000 inhabitants.  The property has increased from next to nothing to a value of $1,630,920. For a long time its growth was very slow.  Not until January 21, 1850, was the town incorporated by a special act of the Legislature.  George Caruthers, sr., was elected Mayor, and  J. S. Campbell,  James M. Randall,  Wm. H. Coats,  J. H. Elliott, and  E. H. Davis, were chosen Councilmen.  Only 156 votes were cast at this election.  The second election under this charter, April 3, 1852, resulted in the selection of  John Morrison, as Mayor, and Woodville Browning,  J. M. Randall,  S. Midkiff,  Joseph Cummins,  and  J. T. Bullock, as Councilmen.  Only 241 votes were cast, the white population being estimated at 1,407, and colored 17.  On July 25, 1858, the old charter was abrogated and the present city organization took its place, going into operation on May 16, 1860.
         Since the last date mentioned, Shelbyville has made rapid progress in wealth, population and importance. Excellent and commodious business houses have been erected.  Blessing's Opera Hall is one of the best buildings of its kin in the State.  In addition to this, special mention may be mae of the following buildings:  The National Bank, the Shelby Bank, Phoenix Block, Dr. Robin's corner, Odd Fellows' Hall, Fastlaben's Stone Front Building, the Jackson hotel, the new Exchange Block, and the Morris and  Hamilton Block, the three last having been built within the last eighteen months.  Among the more beautiful an costly residences may be enumerated those of  
Alonzo Blair
John Elliott
John Blessing
William E. Teal
Mrs. Loretta S. Corey
Samuel Hamilton
Mr. George Sluter
William S. Major
J. C. Wagner
Daniel Shaw
Geo. C. Thacher
Frank C. Sheldon
and  John Shelk
         The present Court-house of Shelby county was built in 1852, at a cost of $47,000.  It is located on grounds donated to the county by Messrs. Jeremiah Bennett  and  Edward Toner.  Recently this structure has been remodeled and refurnished from top to bottom, at a cost of $46,000.  It is now one of the handsomest and most commodious public builings in the State.  The jail builing now is use, was erecte in the years 1872-4, as a cost of $52,000.  Its size is 50x95, containing 18 cells an two hospital rooms in the prison department, and nine rooms in the Sheriff's resience.
          No place of its size has finer accomodations an improvements of all sorts than Shelbyville.  In this respect it equals the largest cities, and the results has been great convenience to its citizens an a large increase in the valuation of property here.  The pride and boast of the city is her extensive and admirably conducte gas works.  These were established in 1874, by Messrs. Luce & Bro., o Ashtabula, Ohio.  The city was first lighted on the evening of April 26, 1874.  The works passed into the hands of the present company, on July 1, 1874.  The business has been managed with such marked skill and energy, that the present capital stock of $20,000 is held at par.  Mr. John H. Leefers is President and Mr. G. W. F. Kirk, secretary.
         Shelbyville also possesses a handsome city Hall -- a brick edifice 30x60 in size.  It is surrounded by a cupola for the fire alarm bell.  The first floor contains the engine room an city prison; the second floor, the Mayor's office and Council Chamber, all of which are comfortably arranged. Its original cost was $2,800, and $300 have since been expended on it in improvements.  In 1874, a first-class steam fire-engine was purchased, together with reel an 1,000 of hose, at a cost of $6,000.  Mr. William Morgan is the present efficient engineer.
          The city has two banking institutions, both of which do an extensive and profitable business.  The First National Bank was started in 1865, and at present has the following officers: Mr. John Elliott, President; and Mr. John Young, Cashier.  The Shelby Bank was started in 1858 by Mr. Samuel Hamilton and still exists in a flourishing condition under the same head, with Mr. Thomas W. Fleming as cashier.
         In Shelbyville there are the following churches: The Methodist Episcopal, the Second M. E., the First Baptist, the Second Baptist, the Catholic Church of St. Joseph, the Christian, the First Presbyterian, and the Second Presbyterian (German).
         Lack of space prevents a fuller or more extened notice of our city, its improvements and advantages. Following this, we present sketches of a large number of the business firms and people at present operating in our city.  This list includes representatives of nearly every branch of business and makes a very creditable showing for the thrift and enterprise of the city and its people.
Copied by Phyllis Miller Fleming

James M. Randall
Dr. J. W. Parrish
J. W. Parrish & Son
Hon. George C. Thacher
S. B. Morris
Charles E. Karmire
E. Q. Darr
Wilbur F. Hazzard
Frank C. Sheldon
John Shelk
Geo. W. F. Kirk
Conrey, Wallar & Deprez
George M. Goulding
Henry Burkher, Sen.
Milton B. Robins
Prof. J. S. Bergen
Andrew Raymond
Jacob Weingarth
George Weingarth
William C. Jewett
John H. Leefers
John H. McGuire
C. P. Hale
Mrs. M. A. Robertson
Harry Whitcomb
Henry Burkher, Jr.
J. F. Maddox, M.D.
G. A. Grassow & Bro.
Silas Metzger
W. J. Ryse
Turman & Pierson
George W. Hilligoss
John A. Wright
Henry Friday
B. Kaufman
Charles F. Webster
H. L. Prewitt  (Rock Bottom Shoe Store)
Samuel O'Connor
J. C. Letsinger
Lawrence H. Hegner
Noah Milleson
Mrs. Mary Heugle
McCrea & Bishop
Michelsen & Maholm
Dr. Rice's Dental Office
S. B. Worland
Frederick Stephan
Andrew J. Higgins
C. M. Puntenney
Thomas H. Dawley
John T. Bruce
Mrs. Joseph Levinson
John Beggs  (The Shelbyville Distillery)
Julius Joseph
Henry H. Jackson

The  Shelbyville  Republican
November 30, 1870
Shelbyville, Shelby Co, IN.
          Shelbyville, from whence I date my present correspondence, is the capital of Shelby county, situated at the crossing of the Indianapolis Cincinnati & Lafayette and Columbus and Cambridge City branch of the Jeffersonville, Madison & Indianapolis Railroad, twenty-six miles southeast of Indianapolis, and eighty-nine miles west of Cincinnati. It might also be stated that the town is situated at the Junction of Big and Little Blue rivers, as they come together near the place.  It is an active business place of about three thousand inhabitants; is very pleasantly located and contains several substantial brick business blocks and quite a number of handsome private residences.  The streets are well imprved and the town presents a clean and tidy appearance.  It contains six church edifices, one Union School building, a handsome brick structure erected at a cost of $33,000, in which a graded school is in progress, Masonic and Odd Fellows' Lodges, Temperance organization and German Benevolent Society. Its manufacturing interest is represented by three flouring, one saw and one woolen mills, one extensive plaining mill and sash, blind and door manufactory, one carriage manufactory, two furniture manufactories, two stave factories, one foundry and machine shop, two tanneries, one distillery, two lumber yards, four grain houses, two banks, two newspapers, Volunteer and Republican, three livery stables and four hotels, besides a full complement of blacksmith, wagon and boot and shoe shops. The different lines of merchandise are represented by well filled stores.
          The county of Shelby embraces an area of four hundred and eight square miles, and contains a population of about twenty-three thousand.  The face of the county is generally level, very rich and fertile soil, and produces large yields of all kinds of agricultural produce.  The country is well improved and supplied with good roads and bridges.  It is also well watered and abounds in good timber, such as walnut, oak, poplar, ash, buckeye, etc.  It is said that the county has no less than three hundred miles of graveled roads, some thirty-four roads already graded and graveled in the county, eleven of which diverge from the town in different directions, penetrating every portion of the county which draws the trade from a large scope of country, making Shelbyville a good point for merchandising, and from observation I should think that the merchants have all grown wealthy, perfectly independent, yet devoid of energy and enterprise, and from indications care not for the general welfare and prosperity of the town and surrounding country.  The manufacturers on the contrary are all alive to the interests of the town, and liberally patronize any laudable enterprise that tends towards showing up the advantages and facilities of their city so as to attract enterprise and capital.
          Big and Little Blue rivers furnish ample water power to propel machinery, and are so situated that at a small cost the privilege could be so improved that a fall of over forty feet could be obtained in a distance of eight miles, with sufficient water to run any number of manufactories.  By this means the town could also be supplied with water, with a reservoir at the head of the falls.  The water would flow into the second tories of the houses in the city.  This, as well as many other advantages with which Shelbyville is surrounded offers great inducements to parties seeking locations for manufacturing purposes.
          The live business men of the place are its manufacturers among whom we can but briefly notice:
          J. R. Stewart & Co., general contractors and builders and proprietors of the Shelbyville Planning Mills.  They manufacture doors, sash, blinds and mouldings of all kins; also, general dealers in all kinds of dressed lumber, including pine lumber, shingles, lath and all kinds of building material.  They employ thirty men, and haveo ne of the most conplete establishments of the kind that I have seen in the State.  The entire building is stocked with the very best new and improved machinery, embracing everything in the line of wood working machinery.  The mills are kept perfectly clean and tidy, having the pot dusters attached throughout the establishment.
          A. Swain, proprietor of the Star Steam Flouring Mills.  These mills are of brick, three stories high, and are stocked with new and improved machinery, and have three run of stone.  It has a capacity of one hundred barrels of flour per day, and consumes fifty thousands bushels of wheat every season.  He is also general dealers in grain, and ships from forty thousand to fifty thousand bushels of wheat per annum.  He also manufactures meal for the trade.
          M. G. Murdoch, proprietor of steam flouring and saw mill, and general dealer in all kinds of grain, flour, lumber, lath, shingles and building material.  The flouring mill has two run of stone, with a capacity of fifty barrelsof flour per day.  He also manufactures kiln dried meal for the trade.  The capacity of the saw mill is four thousand feet per day.  He also manufactures his own staves and barrels, and is a live, wide-awake business man, and employs twenty men.
          J. H.  McGuire & Co., porprietors [sic] of the Shelbyville carriage works manufactory.  They manufacture all kinds of carriages, buggies and spring wagons.  They use first-class material, and employ the very best of workmen.  Having fifteen men, who turn out from thirty-five to forty complete jobs per season.  The work turned out by this establishment is equal to any I have examined.
          Elliott & Co., proprietors of the Shelby Flouring Mills.  These mills are situated on the Big Blue river, and are run by water.  They have five run of stone, with a capacity of two hundred barrels of flour per day.  They also manufacture meal and buckwheat flour for the trade, and consume one thousand bushels of grain every twenty-four hours.  They ship anuualy [sic] ten thousand barrels of flour, and from thirty to forty thousand bushels of wheat.  The mills are stocked with four double turbine water-wheels, and are among the most extensive flouring establishments in the country.  The flour is well known as being very fine.
          The only enterprising merchants we found in the place are Trees & Griffey, general dealers in hardware, iron, steel, nails, glass, stoves and house furnishing goods, andmanufacturers of tin, brass, sheet iron, and copper ware.  They occupy two rooms one-hundred by forty feet, and carry a full line of everything in each department.
          The Ray House is the popular hotel of the place, conveniently located, well furnished, and a very comfortable place to rest at.  The house is presided over by O. G. Keck, proprietor, a kind and courteous landlord.
G. W. R.
--------------- ~ ~ ---------------
Copied by Phyllis Miller Fleming

The  Shelby  Volunteer
Thursday, December 25, 1862
Page 4
          DISTRESS. --- We are creditiably[sic] informed that the amount of distress for the actual necessities and comforts of life already existing among the poor in this city and vicinity is quite alarming, and appearls to the liberality of the philanthropic.
Copied by Phyllis Miller Fleming

The  National  Volunteer
~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~
May 25, 1854
          The concert on Friday evening had been highly entertaining.  The article stated that many people thought that all good things had to come from the East but the big stars in the firmament were not all stowed away in one corner and Shelbyville, as small as it was could also send forth a first class light.
Abstracted by Maurice Holmes, in his book Shelbyville, Indiana, Newspaper Excerpts: 1853-1859.  Submitted by Sherry Badgley Ryan, with permission from the author.

The  National  Volunteer
~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~
May 4, 1854
          The Parisian Hippodrome would give a performance in Shelbyville next Friday and included twelve ladies from the best troupes of Europe among their two hundred performers.
Abstracted by Maurice Holmes, in his book Shelbyville, Indiana, Newspaper Excerpts: 1853-1859.  Submitted by Sherry Badgley Ryan, with permission from the author.

The  National  Volunteer
~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~
April 27, 1854
          The young ladies and gentlemen of Shelbyville would hold a May Festival in the grove near Shelbyville, Monday next.
Abstracted by Maurice Holmes, in his book Shelbyville, Indiana, Newspaper Excerpts: 1853-1859.  Submitted by Sherry Badgley Ryan, with permission from the author.
The  National  Volunteer
~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~
April 13, 1854
          Franconi's Colossal Hippodrome would be in Shelbyville Friday, May 5th, 1854.
Abstracted by Maurice Holmes, in his book Shelbyville, Indiana, Newspaper Excerpts: 1853-1859.  Submitted by Sherry Badgley Ryan, with permission from the author.

The  National  Volunteer
~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~
March 9, 1854
         Van Wartion's exhibition of Uncle Tom's Cabin or the Evils of Africian Slavery was to be performed at the Consert Hall on Wednesday evening.
~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~
March 2, 1854
         The old court house was being taken down and soon the public square would be free of all obstructions.
~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~
February 10, 1854
         No public improvement could be of more advantage at this season of the year than good plank roads leading into Shelbyville.
~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~
February 9, 1854
         Jim Barnes the great equestrian turned magician would perform at the Concert Hall on Friday and Saturday evenings the 10th and 11th.
Abstracted by Maurice Holmes, in his book Shelbyville, Indiana, Newspaper Excerpts: 1853-1859.  Submitted by Sherry Badgley Ryan, with permission from the author.

1822 and 1823 plat maps
1833 plat map
West of Harrison St
Montgomery's Second Addition
Jackson Street Addition
Colescott Addition
Van Ave Addition

1868 Shelbyville Directory, USGenWeb Archives
Shelbyville Business Directory, c 1880s

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