CHAPTER XI.
CARLISLE.

An advertisement in the Vincennes Western Sun, in the issue of June 10, 1815, makes it possible to assign a definite date for the founding of the town of Carlisle. This advertisement is a document of much historical value, and reads as follows:

Carlisle.

Lots in the town of Carlisle will be sold on Friday, the 23rd inst., sale to commence at 9 o'clock a. m. This town is situated in the nourishing settlement of Busseron-the public square is spacious, laid off at right angles, well accommodated with streets and alleys. The town is within one mile of Eaton's mill (formerly Ledgerwood's), twenty-five miles from Vincennes-the country, water, and the special command of situation as to centrality, has long been looked forward to as the most eligible site for a flourishing [town] in this section of country.-The crowded population of the neighborhood gives superior advantages, and as to land, water and navigation no situation in the territory will bear a comparison-the lengthy credit of two years, viz: one-half at the expiration of one year and one-half at the expiration of two years, will be given.-Due attention at the town of Carlisle will be given on the day of sale by the proprietors.-June 7, 1815.
JAMES SPROUL,
SAMUEL LEDGERWOOD,
WILLIAM MCFARLAND.

The site of Carlisle was originally owned by Samuel Ledgerwood, and was sold to the two other proprietors named for the purpose of founding a town. A survey and platting would naturally precede the sale of lots, and hence it is possible to fix the date of the founding of Carlisle as the early summer of 1815, only a few months after the close of the second war with Great Britain.

The original plat of the town covered twenty-five blocks, the streets being laid out at angles of 45 degrees. The public square in the center was dedicated for the use of the court house, but no such building was ever erected there, and after many years it is now occupied by the hand- home two-story school building, accommodating the school children of the town and the adjoining districts. Beginning on the northeast side of the plat, the street bounding the original townsite is Saline. Then came, parallel to it, Hackett, Lewis, Eaton, Harrison and Vincennes. From northwest to southeast the streets are-Turman, Gill, Ledgerwood, Alexander, Singer and West. The railroad station is at the east corner of the plat.

The first store was opened in this town in 1815, that being the traditional date. No exact record of institutions and affairs of that period is now obtainable, but its position as county seat and the presence of the milling industries nearby on Busseron were sufficient to cause a steady growth of village activities during the years following the founding of the town. The building of a frame Methodist church in 1818 was another milepost in the town's history. But the removal of the county seat to Merom about that time proved a serious obstacle to the increasing prosperity of Carlisle, and for over thirty years the annals of the town consist chiefly in the life and daily activities of that group of leading families who during the past century have been identified with this town.

The most important event in the history of Carlisle after its founding and its brief importance as county seat was the building of the Evansville & Crawfordsville Railroad in 1854. This brought to test the real public spirit and enterprise of the inhabitants. The railroad was built with the aid of large subscriptions from all the counties through which it passed, and after the people of Carlisle and vicinity bad already taxed themselves for the amount first demanded, the builders of the railroad announced their decision to run the railroad by a route whose nearest point was three miles from town. It was probably in the nature of a threat, made to secure more money. When protests proved unavailing, some of the wealthier citizens of Carlisle subscribed a fund of $30,000 as an additional subsidy. Their action secured the railroad. The names of the sixteen men who subscribed to this fund are a representative list of the business men and leading citizens of that time, and are as follows: Joshua Alsop, William D. Blackburn, James D. Riggs, James K. O'Haver, James H. Paxton, Garrett Bros., Smith Greenfield, Alonzo Cotton, Joseph W. Briggs, William Alsop, William Collings, William Price, Josiah Wolfe, Benson Riggs, Jacob Hoke, Murphy & Helms.

An era of progress following the advent of the railroad, which made the village a shipping point for the rich agricultural region lying about the town, and resulted in the establishment of new lines of business and the general improvement of town. The next step was the incorporation of the town. The petition which was presented to the board of commissioners in March, 1856, asking for incorporation, was signed by the following citizens: Henry Hill
Peter E. Warner
Samuel J. Ledgerwood
Benson Riggs, Sr. J. D. Whitaker
Franklin Deckerman
W. A. Watson
Mayo Jones
James S. Brengle
W. M. Akin
Chester O. Davis
H. N. Helms
William Alsop
J. S. McClennan
Peter Hawk
Smith Greenfield
John Buckley
Thomas E. Ashley
W. H. Mayfield
W. R. Hinkle
Benson Riggs, Jr. Josiah Wolfe
John M. Hinkle
A. W. Springer
F. M. Akin
Hugh S. Ross
J. A. Curtner
Isom Shannon
John F. Curry
Spencer C. Weller
W. D. Blackburn
John Ledgerwood
J. A. Beck
J. M. Parvin
Alexander Trigg
Lewis Gott
S. M. Curry
John Martin
John S. Davis
James D. Riggs
John Trigg
John D. Simerell
Joshua Davis
Joshua Alsop
Hosea Buckley

The vote of the citizens residing within the limits of the town on the question of incorporation, which was held March 25, showed an almost unanimous sentiment in favor of town government. Sixty votes in all were cast, 57 being affirmative, and only one in direct negative, the other two being somewhat non-committal. The first town officials, elected in the following April, were: Smith Greenfield, James M. Parvin, Aaron W. Springer, John S. Davis, and John F. Curry, trustees; John Martin, clerk; Smith W. Buckley, marshal.

The first important undertaking of the new town government was the building of a suitable schoolhouse. Up to that time the school children of Carlisle attended a district school, but henceforth the town school system was to prevail. The board of trustees accepted plans for the building of the town school in July, 1856, and the four-room brick school building which stood on the public square until supplanted by the present building was completed in 1857.

The money for constructing the schoolhouse of 1857 was raised partly by taxation and partly by private donations. A few years ago when the present building was in process of construction, the Sullivan Democrat published some historical reminiscences concerning the first schoolhouse, and also some documents in the possession of Mrs. James E. Speake, among which was the following receipt issued to John Martin: "$120. Town of Carlisle in Sullivan county, Ind. Received of John Martin one hundred and twenty dollars in John Davis receipts, it being the amount subscribed by him and wife as loan to build a schoolhouse in the town of Carlisle, which amount is to be refunded without interest, either in the way of paying special taxes assessed by the board of trustees of said town, or their successors in office, or a pro rata proportion of each year's special taxes collected. Done by order of the board of trustees of the town of Carlisle, Oct. 15, 1858. (Signed) James M. Parvin, Pres. Attest: John Martin, clerk."

The first school register, also in the possession of Mrs. Speake, showed that school was first held in the new building, December 14, 1857, and the enrollment of male scholars was of the following, some of whom are now dead and others well known citizens of this and other communities: William Lewis, Harvey Ford, Elliott Halstead, Aaron Holder, Richard Parvin, William Jenkins, Anthony Springer, John Warner, John Henderson, Charles Riggs, William Simpson, Lewis Benefield, Marcellus Benefield, Charles Mayfield, Richard Mayfield, Henry Ott, Elijah Ott, Oscar Hall, Emory Ashley, Ransom Akin, John Owen, Quincy Ashley, Jacob Hasselbach, John Rodenbeck, Richard Jones, William Riggs, David Jones, Fleming Jones. Henry Hill, Charles Hill, Charles Davis, William Parvin, Lucian Johnson, John R. Adams, Edward Adams, John Wolfe, Alonzo Penzen, Eldridge Ellis, John Timmerman, John Curtncr, Robert Ellis, Melvin Ellis, George Gannon.

The brick work on the old building was done by Jacob Starner, who was noted at that time for his skill as brick mason. The brick was made on the Starner farm, near Morris Chapel, and their excellent condition when the building was torn down to make room for the new one, nearly half a century later, showed how well brick could be made at that time. John Runkles and John Scanting did the carpenter work on the old building.

In May, 1903, the citizens of Carlisle voted to erect a new school building, of modern proportions and design, which might accommodate the school population of this vicinity for years to come. The building was planned with two stories and basement, pressed brick and stone trimmings, with an assembly hall 30 by 75 feet. The construction of the new building began with the close of the school year, and early in 1904 it was completed and ready for use.

Within the present century much prosperity has come to Carlisle as a result of the coal mining industry. In 1905 the Carlisle Clay and Coal Company was organized, largely of eastern capital, and with Solomon Dieble general manager. Its large purchases and leases of mining lands and the sinking of a coal shaft near the town caused the building of many new houses in the town, and a general revival and improvement in business affairs.




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