Thursday, April 2, 2015


Robert's grave, Sims-Brier
Scrounging around through various books and histories, checking the index ... the usual ... the name of Templeton shows up frequently.

What comes with that has thus far been slightly disjointed, considering the Templeton family's importance to the origins of Fairfield and the East Fork valley.

What we do know is:

Robert Templeton's cabin was the first to be completed in the area just west of what would become Whitcomb. His brother, John, built his home quite a distance away ... where Quakertown eventually existed. At the time, all that land was part of Dearborn County.

August Reifel, in his 1915 history that provides good resource material, describes what was apparently known about Templeton and the others of the Carolina Settlement.

"Upon their arrival, all hands were busy at selecting good building sites and cutting down the trees from which to erect their humble cabins. The first of such cabins was created in 1804 in the valley of the East Fork."

Reifel says it was "about one hundred yards north of the present residence of Mrs. Keturah Templeton." (If I can pinpoint this on a map, I will include it.)


"Work went forward until nine cabins had been completed, sufficiently homelike to allow the families to enter for winter quarters."

Understandably, these people lived fairly far apart despite their kindred connection, and their sections were a mile square. That's a lot of lawn to mow and leaves to rake.

The Templetons were closely connected to the Hanna family. John Templeton was married to Mary Hanna, daughter of William Hanna. Robert was John Templeton's brother. He married Mary Hanna, daughter of Robert (Robin) Hanna.

Robert was born in 1762 and John in 1766 in County Antrim, Ireland. Their family immigrated to South Carolina and settled in Laurens District when they were young boys.

Union County Library sources explain:

"Much of this history has been handed down through the families involved since no journals or letters of this time exists. It is believed that Robert Hanna and Robert Templeton were the leaders of this Carolina Colony when they departed South Carolina in 1801."

John Templeton and his family moved into their home in early April 1805. John’s wife Mary gave birth to their seventh child, Catherine Hitch Templeton, on July 15, 1805, making her the first white child born in the valley.

William Logan’s son, Thomas, was the first male child.

I am looking for information about the lives of these settlers before they left for the Indiana territory. Most of that would probably be in archives in South Carolina.

Karen Barlow Coffey, historian at Union County Library, adds this:

"In the back country of South Carolina a group of men, women and children were considering moving to the North West Territory.  They lived in Laurens District. It was in the Highlands of South Carolina away from the populated cities of Charleston and Columbia. The red clay earth did not make good farmland for growing families and the issue of slavery was a volatile one. These families had much in common. They were Scots, Irish, and Presbyterian and had the courage it look toward the wilderness as their new home."

Coffey adds this about John Templeton:

"(He) was appointed in 1806 the first justice of the peace for the northern part of Dearborn County.  He was commissioned as judge of the Court of Common Pleas of Franklin County in December 1810. John was responsible for the naming of Franklin County. He represented Franklin County in the territorial legislature assembly in Vincennes in 1811."

According to Coffey's research, John Templeton helped "instigate a petition" asking that “The Gore” or Wayne’s Purchase be annexed to Ohio because of the pro-slavery sentiment he found in Indiana. (Wayne's Purchase inevitably was split in half to allow for the creation of Franklin County.)

No comments:

Post a Comment