News From Terre Haute, Indiana

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August 25, 2013

HIstorical Perspective: Snippets from the weekly Wabash Courier in 1850

TERRE HAUTE — Those who subscribed to the weekly Wabash Courier, published by Jesse Conard in 1850, received much of their news in snippets, to wit:

Jan. 12, 1850:

“We understand from reliable sources that the number of hogs packed in Vigo County this season may be put down in round numbers at 66,000. Hogs are still coming in, which may enlarge the number considerably. Last year the number packed was 54,750. Who will now say that our town and county are not going ahead?”

The Courier then listed the figures of hogs shipped from other leading Wabash River ports “obtained from authentic sources”:

Lafayette — 38,000; Knox County — 15,000; Clinton — 14,000; Attica — 8,000; Eugene — 8,000; Williamsport — 6,000; Perrysville — 5,000; Covington — 4,000; Armiesburg 3,800; Newport — 3,700; Darwin — 3,300; and Montezuma — 3,200.

“The opinion prevails in Indianapolis that Mr. Thomas Dowling, former editor of the Courier, will receive the appointment of [resident] Trustee of the Wabash & Erie Canal in the place made vacated by the death of Col. Thomas H. Blake.”

The grubbing, clearing and grading of 21 miles of the Terre Haute & Richmond Railroad west of Indianapolis was let to contractors on Dec. 20, 1849. Thirty-three miles of the remaining distance to Terre Haute are already very nearly completed, ready for the superstructure, leaving only 18 more miles to be contracted for in order to have the entire line from Terre Haute to Indianapolis ready for the track.

Jan. 19, 1850:

“We regret to learn that Mr. GEORGE C. DUY, a young gentleman of this place, was badly wounded Thursday morning last by the accidental discharge of a gun in the hands of his brother. The contents of the gun were lodged in the back part of the shoulder, causing a wound that is very painful but one that is not considered dangerous.”

“A bill that passed one House, and will certainly pass the other, introduced by Linus A. Burnett of Vigo, incorporates Otter Creek and Raccoon Plank Road Company.”

“By reference to the advertisement it will be seen that the Trustees of the Wabash & Erie Canal offer 170,000 acres of Canal lands, for sale, at Logansport on May 29 …”

Feb. 2, 1850:

“We understand that a Mr. Teague was drowned in Otter creek below the canal aqueduct last Wednesday. It appears the deceased approached the ford at the creek with his wife and child and another female in a two-horse wagon. Having some doubts of the depth of the water, which swelled up from the river below, Mr. Teague took one of his horses and rode in to ascertain whether it could be forded with his wagon. The water was deeper than expected, and man and horse were both drowned and sunk out of sight.”

Feb. 9, 1850:

“The first lecture before the Atalantian Society last Monday evening by JACOB H. HAGER, Esq., was a splendid effort. The subject of poetry was an appropriate and pleasant theme for the Lecturer.”

Dr. Azel Holmes and Joseph O. Jones will leave Terre Haute on Feb. 14 for San Francisco. Upon their arrival in New York, they will depart on the first steamer, direct, for San Francisco.

Feb. 16, 1850:

Samuel Merrill, former president of the State Bank of Indiana and the Madison & Indianapolis Railroad, has communicated some interesting statistics about the State of Indiana, in a letter to Hamilton Smith of Cannelton, to wit:

The population of the state, as of July 1, 1849, was 1,025,000. About 770 miles of waters were navigable by steamboat, including the Ohio, Wabash, St. Joseph and Lake Michigan. Flatboat navigation is availale for 1,580 miles. Indiana has 323 miles of railroads completed today and many more under contract. Of the 1,300,000 hogs fattened last year, about 650,000 were exported. Indiana farmers produced 45,000,000 bushels of corn, 8,000,000 bushels of wheat and 18,000,000 bushels of oats, rye and barley.

March 9, 1850:

“On Thursday, March 7, the steamer INDUSTRY turned from our wharf carrying a number of young men from Terre Haute on their start for California. The river bank was crowded with friends, relatives and acquaintances bidding farewell. Among the yhoung men were Walter Booth, James Hitchcock, Walter Warren, August Nippert, John Riley, Bartholomew Riley and perhaps, one or two others.”

“Ambrose W. Barnard, 18 or 19, formerly of Terre Haute, has been arrested for robbing the mail in Fon Du Lac, Wisconsin. He was a clerk at the post office there. After the robbery he came to Terre Haute the week before last. He was found in Cincinnati and taken to Indianapolis to be committed until a requisition is sent from Wisconsin.”

March 23, 1850:

“A shocking murder was committed on a valuable citizen of Riley township on Friday, March 15. Mr. ISAAC PIERCE, a very worthy man, was murdered in his bed in the dead of night. The act was perpetrated by someone unseen with the blow of a hatchet, or similar instrument. – Mrs. Pierce, the wife, was awakened by some unusual noise and reaching toward her husband, found him struggling in what she at first thought was a fit. … The door to the house was open but no clue to identify the perpetrator was found.”

A meeting of Terre Haute & Richmond Railroad shareholders was held at the Court House on Saturday, March 16. Mr. (Chauncey) Rose, President, and Mr. (William) Griswold and Mr. (James) Farrington addressed those attending. An additional subscription of $90,000 will be sufficient to provide all railing from Terre Haute to Indianapolis. Before adjournment, shares valued at $10,000 were taken by those present.

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