CHAPTER XII.
SHELBURN, FARMERSBURG, HYMERA, PAXTON, NEW LEBANON, GRAYSVILLE, PLEASANTVILLE, CASS, DUGGER, FAIRBANKS.

The town of Shelburn was named for Paschal Shelburn, one of the early settlers of Curry township, who had purchased a large tract of land when he came here in 1818, and lived there until his death at the age of eighty. He was a bachelor. In 1855, about a year after the completion of the railroad, he platted a town on some of his land. There were 33 lots in the original plat. 24 being on the east side of the railroad and the remainder on the west side.

The coal mining industry has always been the main source of profit and support for the town, and the Shelburn Coal Company a quarter of a century ago was one of the large companies of the county. The town had been incorporated, a graded school had been organized, and there were a grist mill and the various stores and professional interests of a village of several hundred population. During the nineties the impression prevailed that the coal deposits of this vicinity were worked out. and the progress of the town was seriously checked until it was discovered that the better veins of coal lay deeper than those already worked. Since then a considerable part of the coal industry of the county has centered about Shelburn, and the population has grown rapidly during the present century. The Mammoth Coal Company was one of the large concerns that gave employment to many miners, for whose accommodation nearly a hundred houses were built south of the old town.

During 1904 and 1905 several notable developments occurred. An addition was built to the old school house, making the building nearly three times its original capacity. A chemical fire engine was bought for the protection of property. In the fall of 1905 the Presbyterian and Christian denominations effected church organization. The oldest churches are the Methodist and the Baptist, the latter having been organized about 1871. In February, 1906, the Baptist Sunday school celebrated its 36th anniversary, commemorating its organization in the old school- house with forty members, of whom the only survivor at this time was J. P. Siner, who was the first secretary. This was the first religious organization in the town, and was followed about a year later by the organization of the Baptist church.

Shelburn has been rather in advance of the towns of its size in municipal improvement. It has made the beginning of a sewer system, its streets are lighted, and with good schools and churches it affords many advantages to its residents. Shelburn has had several destructive fires that of July 7, 1885, when the Linn and Cuppy buildings were burned; on December 22, 1893, burning Siner's hardware store; and November 15, 1905, which caused a loss of about $5,000.

Farmersburg.

Farmersburg as a business and population center originated with the building of the Evansville and Terre Haute Railroad. James Cummins and George Hopewell laid out the village in 1853 on forty acres of land which lay west of the railroad. The founding of the Ascension Seminary here just before the war was the principal institution of the town, and the basis of its growth and prosperity. The word Ascension was used to designate the place quite as often as Farmersburg. Heap and Crawford laid out an addition to the village east of the railroad, and about that time the town was incorporated. When Captain Crawford moved the seminary in 1872, the departure almost caused the death of the town. One member of the Jennings family moved to the town about 1872, and a little later ran for the office of councilman. Only twenty- two citizens were entitled to vote, and he received 21 votes, the other suffragist remaining at home. There were about fifteen or sixteen families in town then. Some of the town lots which a few years before had brought a good price came near reverting to farm land. About 1903 Church Taylor laid off an addition of forty acres west of the original plat, and soon afterward Farmersburg began to grow, and has since been on a permanent basis of steady prosperity.

On the site of the old seminary stands the present Farmersburg public school building, constructed of brick and concrete, the cornerstone of which was laid September 1, 1905, and which was dedicated for use on Washington's birthday, 1906, the principal address being delivered bv Capt. W. T. Crawford. At the close of 1907 a comparative review of the public schools included the contrast between the old crowded four-room building and the new schoolhouse of ten rooms, the increase of enrollment from 275 to 385, from 35 high school pupils to 85, and a faculty of eight teachers.

In 1892 the Presbyterians of the village and vicinity erected a small church just east of the railroad, the dedication services being held about November 1st. In 1906 the church had increased so that a new building was needed, and with the expenditure of about four thousand dollars the church was remodeled into a pretty little edifice of Bedford stone with cathedral glass windows, and in May was dedicated by the Rev. George Knox.

On January 20. 1907, the new Central Christian church was dedicated. This is a stone church, of modern design and pleasing architectural lines.

In 1902 were organized the two banks of the town, the Citizens State Bank and the Farmersburg Bank, \Y. S. Baldridge being at the head of the former organization.

Hymera.

Hymera, the principal center of Jackson township, was platted as a townsite about 1870. The site had during the pioneer period of the county been selected by the Methodists for the Bethel church, and a log building once stood within the limits of the present town, where the early settlers assembled for religious worship. On Busseron creek, southeast of the town, was a grist mill, said to have been erected in 1829. The first school of the township was probably held in a building in the vicinity of the town. On the west was one of the first coal mines of the county, owner by H. K. and Harvey Wilson. The coal was used chiefly by blacksmiths, and was hauled in wagons to all parts of the county.

William Pitt was the owner of the land on which Hymera was founded, and when Nathan Hinkle platted the site the name Pittsburg was selected, in honor of the local resident and also perhaps suggested by the great coal center of Pennsylvania. Coal operations on a more extensive scale than in pioneer times had begun here when the town was laid off. Robert Linn had a general store, and for some years the store and postoffice, and two or three shops, comprised the business of the place. Linn's store was on the site now occupied by the Odd Fellows block. When the postoffice was established the name Pittsburg was not accepted by the department. The origin of the name Hymera is credited to John Badders, who was postmaster. He had an adopted daughter whose name was Mary and who was tall in figure, and the name he suggested for the postoffice was significant of these facts. The change of name for the village was accomplished in 1890. In April of that year a petition from nearly all the voters of Pittsburg was laid before the county commissioners asking that the name of the town as recorded on the plat be changed to Hymera. A short time previously, on the opening of the new mine at Alum Cave, the new town laid out there was called New Pittsburg, while the Hymera community in distinction was referred to as Old Pittsburg. The resulting confusion brought about the change in name. About this time a branch line of railroad reached up to the coal mines in this vicinity, and since that time the coal industry has been supreme here, and Hymera has grown rapidly.

With the consolidation of the coal mines and the heavy operations which began with the opening of the present decade, Hymera expanded into a town. In 1902 it was incorporated, and in July the first election for town officers was held.

One of the memorable days in the history of Hymera was the celebration in October, 1904, known as "Mitchell day," in honor of the president of the national mine workers. The crowd in town was estimated at over seven thousand. A delegation met Air. Mitchell at Terre Haute, and the local procession was made up of the K. of P. band, the labor organizations, the school children. The ceremonies of the day centered about the unveiling of a monument to Nathan Hinkle, the Revolutionary soldier (see sketch) who was buried in the Hymera cemetery. About a year before the movement had been started to raise funds for such a memorial, and the subscriptions had been gathered and the monument set in place for this occasion. Hon. James S. Barcus, a great-grandson of the patriot, delivered an address, and Miss Mamie Asbury, a great-granddaughter, assisted in the unveiling. The monument is fifteen feet high, representing a Revolutionary soldier at "parade rest." The inscription is "Nathan Hinkle, born June 7, 1749, died December 25, 1848." The other events of the day were held in the Zink grove, where speeches were made by Rev. A. P. Asbury and Robert W. Miers and John C. Chaney, and the principal address of the afternoon was delivered by John Mitchell.

In the fall of 1905 John Mitchell was reported to have said that Hymera was the neatest mining town in America, with more and better sidewalks according to its size than any town in the county, and many improvements indicating a progressive spirit among the citizens. There were five church organizations, the Methodist, Baptist, Presbyterian, United Brethren and Christian, the first two having good buildings, while the Presbyterians and U. B. were preparing to build. A five-room school building had proved inadequate, and a four-room addition was added in the summer of 1905. The Hymera State Bank, which had been organized in December, 1903, as the Bank of Hymera, by S. M. Patton and R. L Ladd, was reorganized as a state bank in January, 1906, with Mr. Ladd as president and Mr. Patton cashier.

Paxton.

The railroad station between Carlisle and Sullivan, established a few years after the building of the railroad, was given its name in honor of an early merchant and physician of Carlisle. The town was platted in 1868 by W. P. Walter. A newspaper item of July, 1870, stated that the village contained one store, one cooper shop, a blacksmith, wagon and shoe shop, and some eighteen or twenty dwellings. Also a graded school was to be opened in the fall. A mission branch of the Sullivan Baptist church was organized at Paxton, June 27, 1886, by Rev. D. B. Miller, with A. R. Angle moderator and W. S. Smith clerk. The Church of Christ was built at Paxton in 1896, this being a branch of the Providence church south of town. The brick schoolhouse, which is a central school accommodating several districts, was erected in 1906. In June of that year, just before the commencement exercises of the schools of the township were held in the Providence church, the former schoolhouse was burned. This building was in bad condition, and for some years had been a fruitful source of contention in the neighborhood.

New Lebanon.

The village of New Lebanon, though little more than a cross-roads hamlet and railroad station, with a few stores, churches and school, has had a noteworthy history and in other ways than commercially has influenced and wrought upon the social and moral welfare of the county. For many years its relations to the county at large comprehended a well defined and effective position as an educational center, and also a prominence derived from its acknowledged place as the center of Methodist activities and influence in the county. These relations have been elsewhere described, but aside from them New Lebanon's history may be briefly recalled.

The site of the town was originally owned by James Mason, Jesse Haddon, Robert Burnett and Thomas Springer, each one giving ten acres to make the plat. Thomas Springer kept the first store, and in 1836 was established the first postoffice. At one time a saloon existed in the town, but it was the only one and had a brief existence, being inconsistent with the moral attitude of the town.

After the academy ceased to exist many of its ideals were continued in the public schools. The building, itself in which the academy was taught was used by the township for the village schoolhouse, and is still standing back of the handsome brick schoolhouse that was erected a few years since. During the seventies the old academy building was considered one of the most commodious school buildings in the county.

Graysville.

About 1850 Lafayette Stewart established a store four miles from Merom 011 the State road. He also procured a postoffice for this vicinity, and he became postmaster and delivered the mail at his store. Joseph Gray, Sr., was the owner of the land in this vicinity and was probably owner of the store. lie was also proprietor of a woolen mill near by, and for these reasons the postoffice was named Graysville. The village has never been incorporated. During the seventies it had a population of about 100. Robert Carrithers was the merchant of that time. At an earlier date more than one store was kept at a time. The physicians of thirty years ago were A. N. and S. D. Weir and Arbaces Cushman.

Graysville has always been a religious center. The Methodists built a church there during the fifties, and the Presbyterians were established there over thirty years ago. The Presbyterian church was dedicated December 10, 1871, by Rev. J. P. Fox of Carlisle.

Pleasantville.

During the present decade the town of Pleasantville in Jefferson township has become an active center for the coal mining industry. Several companies secured acreage in this vicinity, and a considerable number of miners lived and worked in the shafts in and about Pleasantville. The working of the coal deposits in this locality is an old story, coal having been taken out by "slope" and "stripping" processes by some of the early residents, among them being the O'Havers and Timmermans, Jesse Beck, James Mayfield, James Harvey, Nathan Hinkle, Elias Newkirk were among the other first residents of this vicinity. Elias Newkirk built a blacksmith shop just south of the village site many years ago, and his son, F. M. Newkirk, was the village blacksmith until within recent years. A steam mill was constructed early in the sixties, and this was the real nucleus of the village of Pleasantville.

When the townsite was laid off a few years later it was named for Pleasant O'Haver, who was the first postmaster and who also at the time had become owner of the mill. Jackson Hinkle and W. P. O'Haver were also early postmasters and merchants. In 1871 a two-story brick school-house was built. The citizens took much pride in their school, and the record of the township in education stood high at a time when free school facilities were very imperfect in the county.

Cass Tillage.

The village of Cass, in the township of the same name, was laid out along the line of the narrow-gauge railroad in the summer of 1880. The postoffice from the first has been known as Cass, but the village for some years was called Buell, named in honor of a railroad man. The general store of Pope and Usrey was the principal business establishment for a number of years. Dr. N. H. Brown, as postmaster and physician, was a.so prominent in the early affairs of the village. It was four years after the founding of the village before a religious service was held there, Rev. J. H. Meteer preaching there in September, 1884.

Dugger.

Dugger, near the east line of Cass township, originated in the population and community growth that often center about coal mines. A coal operator named Dugger had a large mine on the "narrow gauge" railroad about twenty-five years ago, and his name was given to the little village that was formed at that point. Dugger has ever since been a coal town. The Vandalia Coal Company about the beginning of this century acquired control of most of the mines in this vicinity, and about 1903 the village entered upon a period of great progress. A movement was begun to incorporate the village, and the census, taken in August, 1903, preliminary to the election, showed the population to be 757, there being 172 heads of families. The townsite, to which some extensive additions had been recently made, covered about four hundred acres. When the matter of incorporation was submitted to the voters in October, it was defeated by a majority of sixteen, said to be the result of opposition on the part of the saloonkeepers.

Some of the important improvements in the village made about this time were the erection of the Odd Fellows' building, the founding of the Dugger Enterprise (October 2, 1903), and the dedication of the M. E. church (June 19, 1904). It was estimated in the summer of 1905 that the population of the village was 1,200, most of it the result of the growth of the previous four years. There were then about twenty stores and merchandise houses, and the Christians and Methodists both had churches. The State bank was established in July, 1904, by Joseph Moss.

The movement to incorporate the village has recently succeeded. At an election held January 2, 1909, 147 votes were cast for and 40 against incorporation, and Dugger has now a town government.

Fairbanks.

The village of Fairbanks originated during the lively days when the old state road from Vincennes to Terre Haute was the route for a considerable commerce and the daily passage of stage coach and road wagon. Benjamin Ernest, James Pogue and Samuel Myers were the men who, about 1840, set aside a tract of twenty acres which was surveyed and platted as a townsite. The town was given the name of the township, which was bestowed to honor a lieutenant who was massacred by the Indians while escorting a train of supplies toward Fort Harrison.

Fairbanks because of its inland situation has grown little since the railroad era. At the present time and for several years past the residents of this vicinity have indulged in the prospect of railroad or electric inter- urban facilities, which, when realized, will at once give a heavy impulse to business activity in this region. At the present time the village has its graded school, one or two churches, and the stores and professional activities of the small center.


[an error occurred while processing this directive]