Cannelton Street Names
By Michael Rutherford
There may be more named streets per square mile in Cannelton than in any platted community in the United States. Two circumstances support this probability. In addition to names and numbers for the streets which define blocks or squares, there are names for alleys. Many of these alleys which are more than a block long have a different name for each block.
Most of the street names are in the older section of Cannelton -- bounded roughly by the river, the upstream side of Herzeele Street, Richardson Street and Congress Street -- were first platted by James Boyd, Agent for The American Cannel Coal Company, on 8 March 1849. (Map A) A glance at a list of the people whose names are attached to the streets and alleys suggest that this plat originated in the office of Hamilton Smith at Louisville. His influence within the Coal Company had been steadily rising since he first purchased stock in 1841. He may well have been the only member of the company who had direct contact with the persons whose names are used, excepting, of course, Presidents Washington, Adams and probably, Madison.
Prior to 1849 a few streets had been named by only one name, Washington, survived to 1849. Two street names in little Coal Haven (1835-1840) are preserved in a deed description in 1839. Coal Haven extended only between later Herzeele and Madison streets with the inevitable Water Street designated along the river. Beyond two rows of 75 x 125-foot lots was Market Street. If there were other named streets, no record of them has been found; a plat of Coal Haven was not recorded in Perry County although one was made on 1 January 1839.
The ambitious plat of Cannelburg (Map B) recorded on 27 February 1841 contained 266 lots in 26 blocks and 2 less-than-half-size blocks. This plat extended between later Herzeele and Congress Streets on the river and between later Adams and Congress Streets on Seventh Street. However, only 2 streets were named: Water Street and Centre Street, the latter being what is now Adams Street.
The first plat of Cannelton made in March 1844 by Frederick Connor survived only partially in the revised form of Frederick Boyd recorded on 7 September 1846 (apparently without the aid of a straight-edge). The number of lots in 1844 was probably extended to 274. There may have been more streets named than the ubiquitous Water Street and Washington Street than were recorded in 1846 (Map C).
On the 1846 plat only 61 lots in 2 rows along the river and 5 lots --#s 265 to 269 -- on present Seventh Street between Washington and Taylor Streets are numbered. The remainder of the town is included in 8 outlots of assorted shapes and sizes. In addition to the aforementioned streets the following (with present names) are platted without names: Second Street between Congress and nearly to Herzeele; Fourth Street from Washington to just beyond Madison Street; Taylor Street from the river to Second Street; Adams Street from the river to Second Street; Madison Street from the river to near Fifth Street.
A list of street names in the 1849 plat reads as follows: Front, Second through Seventh, Richardson, Congress, Taylor, Washington, Adams and Madison. Alley names: Cavender, McLean, Perry, Mill, West, Lowell, Hay, Badger, Smith, Church, Story, James, Lawrence, Clay, Beckwith and Fuller. The 3 systems of lot numbering within the blocks defy concise description; only a study of the plat will provide understanding for the reader (Map D).
What was Water Street has been interchangeably Front and First Street since 1849. The irregular block formation bounded by Fourth, Adams, Seventh and Congress Streets caused Fifth Street to continue downstream from Adams with an offset to the northeast. The same thing happened later with Sixth Street, but it was reduced to the size of an alley below Adams, apparently still called Sixth Street as far as Herzeele Street. Whether Sixth Street continues between Herzeele and Hindostan Streets after a southwest offset is not certain.
Street names downstream from Madison, beyond Richardson, and upstream from Congress to beyond Long Avenue appeared between 1849 and 1894. Street names in Green Meadows and Pleasant Valley Additions on the upstream end of Cannelton are of the post-World War II vintage.
The sources for the street names of Washington , Adams, Madison and Congress Streets require no comment. In addition to being President of the United States in 1849 Zachary Taylor was also an incorporator of a newly chartered Taylor Cotton Mill in Cannelton. This was one of eleven such prospects which never developed; the death of Taylor in 9 July 1850 was said to have been a major reason for ending the project.
The next street beyond the seven numbered streets parallel with the river is Richardson Street. The 1849 plat stated that Richardson Street was 60 feet wide, the same as Congress, Taylor, Washington, Adams and Madison. All other streets (alleys) except the numbered ones were to be 20 feet wide. Richardson Street has never been 60 feet wide. During the last third of the last century it was nick-named "Irish Row," obviously because of the predominating nationality of the residents on the street. In recent times it is erroneously marked as Eighth Street.
William Richardson was one of the important absentee owners of both the Coal Company and of the Cotton Mill. He was a very successful businessman in Louisville, KY,. and, no doubt, was encouraged by Hamilton Smith to invest in both companies. He was a director of the Coal Company from 1848 and was the first president of the Cannelton Cotton Mill from 22 September 1848. Part of his contribution to the Coal Company was secured by mortgages on two outlots lying between Seventh and Richardson Streets; he transferred these to the Coal Company on 27 May 1851 for $8,977.44. They were: 1.) Block "L" -- from Congress Street northwest to include part of the present court house lot; 2.) Block "M" -- from 75 feet northwest of Washington Street to just beyond Adams Street.
He and his first wife, Sylvia, were parents of 8 surviving children. A daughter, Mary, married W. B. Belknap of the long operating Belknap Hardware Company of Louisville. After the death of his first wife, William Richardson married Mary Ann Lindsay of New Albany on 2 February 1857. He was deceased by early 1866.
Quarry Street is not to be found on any recorded plat of Cannelton but in 1871 the trustees of St. Michael's Church found it prudent to petition the County Commissioners to vacate it between Washington and Adams Streets in order to allow the construction of a rectory immediately to the northeast of the church. It is also mentioned as a boundary on the lot just across Washington Street from the church in 1871. That the so-called street was not precisely located is shown by the dimensions of this last-named lot -- 135 feet between Richardson and Quarry Streets -- and of the church lot -- 150 feet between Richardson and Quarry. Other lots to the northwest of the church vary between 125 and 140 feet from Richardson Street.
The source of the street name is obviously from the 15-year period after 1848 when stone was quarried from the cliff behind town for the Cotton Mill, St. Michael's Church and most of the stone structures in central Cannelton. (At least two structures, the pottery/brick plant below Herzeele Street on First [built 1909, razed 1948] and Wittmer's Store/Gardens at Long Avenue and St. Louis Avenues [built 1887, still standing], were built with stone from the quarries near Rock Island.)
St. Palais Street
Shortly after 1849 one more street beyond and perpendicular to Richardson Street was platted but never opened; St. Palais Street. It was to be located almost midway between Congress and later Hoskinson Streets. It was named after Maurice de St. Palais (1811-1877), Bishop of the Roman Catholic Church of Vincennes since 3 October 1848. He visited Cannelton several times in connection with the affairs of his office from the summer of 1849. Today a footpath on the approximate location of the street is generally visible. (Map D)
Hay Street was the alley between Front and Second Streets extending downstream from Madison to later Herzeele Street in 1848. It was almost certainly named for James Hay, superintendent of the Coal Company mines from 1836. He was given credit for the safe and efficient operation of the mines in Cannelton for a period of more than a dozen years. Both he and his brother, Thomas Hay, owned lots and buildings at First and Madison but the Hay Brothers Store was not to be of importance until after the 1860s. (Cf. Hay Family sketch)
The continuation of Hay Street between Madison and Adams was called Badger Street in 1849. (This alley between Washington and Taylor Streets had been closed from the mid-1840s when James Boyd purchased nearly half of the block. The continuation from Taylor to Congress was never opened and was permanently closed when the Cannelton Flour Mill was constructed along Taylor Street in 1904.)
Alpheus C. Badger and David P. Faulds of Louisville purchased the south corner of Sixth and Washington (site of The Pumper in 1989) on 9 July 1850 and the upstream corner of Front and Madison on 23 July 1850. The latter lot -- #10 -- extended between Front and Badger Streets. An iron foundry, the Aetna Works, was operated on or very near this lot under the ownership of Badger and (probably Thomas) Smith from September 1849. Alpheus C. and Alvira C. Badger sold all their Cannelton holdings by 1858; apparently they had never resided in Cannelton.
The alley between Second and Third extending downstream from Madison was labeled West Street. No one named West has been found to be of importance to Cannelton or the Coal Company around 1849. It will be here assumed that this name represents the western section of the nation of that period as opposed to the eastern section.
Lowell Street, the extension of West Street between Madison and Adams, paid tribute to the textile mills at Lowell, Massachusetts, then regarded as the best conducted mills in the country.
Smith Street extended for two blocks from Washington to Congress Street between Second and Third Streets. It has generally been assumed that it was named for Hamilton Smith. He resided in Louisville from 1833 until he relocated in Cannelton in December 1851, 2 1/2 years after the street was named. Another possible source for the name could be Edward Smith (born 1829, Massachusetts) who was building a tenement building on the northwest side of Taylor Street between Second and Smith Streets. It was locally called "Smith Row" until it was razed in 1873 to make way for William Henning's brick mansion. Also, Thomas Smith, mentioned in connection with A. C. Badger, could have been a source for the street name.
The alley downstream from Madison street between third and fourth streets was named after the same hero as had been the county: Oliver Hazard Perry. His victory over the British lake fleet at Put-In-Bay on Lake Erie on 10 September 1813 was the turning point in the War of 1812 in the Western Country.
The same alley as Perry Street from Madison to Adams Street recognized the gigantic stone structure which was about to rise in the adjoining block.
The continuation of the preceding alley between Washington and Congress Streets recognized the Unitarian Church on the lot on Washington Street between Third and Church Streets. It was referred to as "the church" from the time it was built in 1845 until other churches were built beginning in 1850 with St. Patrick's stone chapel on northwest Seventh Street. Since 1857 "the church" has been St. Luke's Episcopal Church.
The alley between Forth and Fifth Streets downstream from Madison is named Cavender Street. The Cavender family had settled on the upstream side of Cannelton from around 1824. By 1849 James and Robert Cavender were the bearers of that name in Cannelton; one brother had died and two had resettled in northern Dubois County. (Cf. Cavender Family sketch.) It is possible that a merchant, S. Cavender may have provided this street name. He was in Cannelton in the early 1850s.
The continuation of Cavender Street between Madison and Adams Streets was called McLean Street. Col. William McLean "of Bedford, Indiana," was a member of the Board of Directors of the 1849 Cannelton Cotton Mill. Whether or not he was the same William McLean who had opened the Cannelton mines for his father, Judge Alney McLean from Muhlenberg Co. Ky., in 1831-36 has not been determined. The apparently better assumption is that the street is named after McLean the stockholder rather than McLean the early miner. (Cf. McLean Family sketch.)
The area bounded by Fourth, Adams, Sixth and Congress Streets had its own system of block platting from 1849: Each block was divided into 3 sections by 2 alleys extending between Fourth and Sixth Streets. Within a few years the system was extended to Seventh Street in the block between Washington and Taylor Streets.
No one by the name of Story is know to have been associated with Cannelton, the Coal Company or the Mill to 1849. The person of that name most noted in the United States, Joseph Story, had died in 1845. However, it is probable that he served as the source for the name of the first street/alley upstream from Adams Street between Fourth and Sixth Streets.
Born in Massachusetts in 1779, he graduated from Harvard College in 1797 at the age of 18. He practiced before the U.S. Supreme Court and was appointed a justice of that court in 1811 by President Madison. His career extended to his death in 1845.
During the three years (1830-1833) when Hamilton Smith was in Washington, D. C., reading law with William Wirt, he almost certainly became personally acquainted with Justice Story. This probability increases when consideration is made of Story's active interest in the legal education of attorneys. He published several detailed commentaries on points of law which were cited by courts for many years in rendering decisions. On 1 January 1840 he published "A Familiar Exposition of the Constitution of the United States."
The next street-alley toward Washington Street was named after Gen. Charles T. James. He was from Providence, R.I. and was regarded at the time as an expert in the overall organization and design of textile mills. He had managed the erection of mills since the mid-1830s along the East Coast. The architect for our mill, Thomas Trefft in Providence, and the construction supervisor, Alexander McGregor in Cannelton, apparently worked under the management of Gen. James. James was listed as one of the incorporators of the Mill on 15 February 1848.
Gen. James soon entered the political arena and was elected to the United States Senate from Rhode Island for the 1852-58 term.
The next street-alley southeast of and parallel with Washington Street is Lawrence Street. There appears to be only one probability for the source of the name. From Louisville on 20 November 1847 a geologist, B. Lawrence, wrote a glowing report of his investigation of Cannelton with statistics on coal, clay, iron ore, limestone, mill-stone and sandstone. This report was included in the 110-page promotion booklet prepared by Hamilton Smith and distributed by the Coal Company in 1850.
The next street-alley southeast of Washington was named after the renowned Kentucky statesman, Henry Clay. He was nearing the end of his career and life and was widely admired in the Ohio Valley region. He was to pay a brief visit to Cannelton on 18 April 1851 when the boat on which he was traveling, Peyton, made a brief stop. Henry Clay died in 1852 at 75 years of age.
Both Lawrence and Clay streets were continued to Seventh Street by the time the school/court house was built in 1855 on the site of the present Community Building.
The first of the two streets from Fourth to Sixth southeast of Taylor is Beckwith Street. The only information know here on Jacob Beckwith is that during the 1840s he was a resident of Louisville. In 1841 he was the owner of nearly 2/3 of the stock in the Coal Company. He was an incorporator of the Cotton Mill in 1848. These two facts alone qualify him as a very important individual in Cannelton's beginnings.
The last of these 3 pairs of streets/alleys is also the southeastern end of Fifth Street; the terrain to the platted site of Congress Street does not allow any street. Charles A. Fuller, United States Civil Engineer residing in Louisville, made a detailed survey of Cannelton in 1848. The topographical map with the town plat and some property divisions superimposed which was printed in an Indiana Gazetteer in 1849 and in the Cannelton Economist and the Coal Company promotional booklet in 1850. He wrote a short testimonial for the conclusion of that booklet endorsing the conclusions arrived at by the contributors.
Eusebius Hutchings was a large stockholder in both the Coal Company and the Cotton Mill from 1848. He was one of the directors of the Coal Company through the early 1870s while retaining his residence in Louisville where he was also a successful businessman.
In October 1848 he purchased several hundred acres in northern Troy Township from the land office at Vincennes. On 15 January 1852 he purchased Square "D" in Cannelton which is bounded by Sixth, Adams, Seventh and Washington Streets. On 27 October 1852 Charles H. Mason, local agent for Hutchings, recorded a 22-lot plat of the block, identifying the street/alley parallel with Sixth and Seventh Streets as Hutchings Street. He immediately had 6 tenement houses of "Shotgun" architecture constructed; at least 3 are yet standing.
The present street sign erroneously reads Hutchinson Street, presumably after Dr. Rudolph Hutchinson (24 April 1850 - 12 July 1906) who practiced medicine in Cannelton from 1890 until his death at his Washington Street residence. His office was in the first block of Washington Street.
Another early stockholder of the Cotton Mill and Coal Company, Judge Henry Bry, a cotton grower of Monroe, Louisiana, on 7 May 1850 purchased Square "F," the block bounded by Sixth, Taylor, Seventh and Congress Streets. He constructed "shotgun" tenements for mine and mill workers, at least one of which is yet standing on the alley bearing his name: Bry Street; it runs parallel with Sixth and Seventh Streets.
On 28 March 1865, Mrs. Emile P. Pry, widow of Judge Bry then living in New York City, sold all of Square "F," and Outlot #335 on outer Long Avenue and 72 shares of Coal Company stock to Hamilton Smith for $1,275.00. Smith very shortly transferred the portion of Square "F" between Sixth and Bry Streets to Cannelton for the site of the "Free School" build in 1867-68 and in continuous use as a school since 18 January 1869.
The continuation of Bry Street beyond Congress Street to Hoskinson Street was called Murphy Street in a deed description as early as 8 August 1853; it has not been found on any plat thus far. Francis and Catherine Murphy were resident of Cannelton by 1850. He was a mason, probably coming to town to work on the construction of the Cotton Mill. He eventually owned 6 lots on Richardson and East Seventh Streets but none in the neighborhood of Murphy Street. Their son, James (b. 1847) was town marshal in 1882-84 before moving with his family to Evansville.
Although platted between Front and Richardson Streets, Congress Street for all practical purposes extended only between Sixth and Seventh Streets. The terrain between Front and Sixth, which includes Castlebury Creek for the first block and a branch between Second and Fifth Streets, has never permitted a street to be opened here. Hoskinson Street lies one block upstream from Congress Street and was opened between Richardson and Murphy Streets. It was mentioned in the same deed as was Murphy Street on 8 August 1853.
It was probably in use before 1849 since George Hoskinson and his son, James, had been residing at the southwest end of the street from the late 1820s, first as lessees, then owners of School Lot #7. This tract remained in the possession of the Hoskinson Family until 1896 when the heirs of James Hoskinson sold it to George Kendley (Cf. Hoskinson Family sketch.)
St. Louis Addition
Knight, Webb, Burkett and Hafele Streets
The part of Cannelton called St. Louis from around 1840 lived an almost separate existence in the 1840s. It was located in Deer Creek Township until June 1853 when that township was abolished. At the School Lot Sale of 16 February 1839 this part of School Section #16 above Castlebury Creek, the township line, was purchased by several individuals while the Coal Company purchased that part below the creek in Troy Township. During the 1840s the Coal Company purchase more than half of the the St. Louis Addition, mostly along the boundary between Sections #15 and 16. (Map D)
William and Lydia Web Knight were among the earliest permanent residents of the area from around 1842. The Knight family remained in this location -- now 425 Knight Street -- until past the mid-20th century. After Second Street crosses Castlebury Creek it becomes Knight Street. Since the construction of the Bob Cumming Bridge in the early 1960s, Knight Street has been extended and curved along the dirt levee to meet St. Louis Avenue. Lydia Webb Knight's brothers, Asa and Samuel E. Webb, also resided in the same neighborhood during the 1840s and 1850s. Webb Alley, a half-block from Knight Street away from the river, would be the continuation of Smith Street between Second and Third if such continuation existed. After a skip of a few blocks, Webb Street has one block parallel with St. Louis Avenue opposite Lincoln Avenue since the 1960s.
Francis Y. Carlile obtained ownership of around 7 acres between Front and Webb Alley in the 1840s and platted 21 building lots in 3 tiers of 7 lots. A street perpendicular to the river to Webb Alley was called Burkett Street after Capt. James Burkett who purchased lots on Webb Alley in the 1850s. (Cf. Webb-Knight, Vaughan-Burkett and Carlile Family sketches.)
Settlement along the upstream continuation of Fourth Street beyond Congress Street began in the 1840s; St. Louis Avenue continued from Congress Street upstream indefinitely until becoming a county road, then Highway #66. It is the permanent reminder of John Wentworth's aborted move to St. Louis, Mo., in late 1839. As recently as 1890 the first 2 blocks as far as Lincoln Avenue were called Mill Road.
On 2 January 1888 the Cannelton Planing Mill Corporation of Charles Hafele purchased around 3 acres behind the Clark Pottery on upper Front Streett and constructed a planing mill. Both Charles and Christina Rausch Hafele had emigrated from Germany in 1854. As their sons --Anton, Charles W., Paul H., Walter J., and Arthur Hafele -- become old enough they joined in the corporation. Son-in-law Henry Hodde, who married Caroline Hafele in 1890, also worked at the mill.
The planing mill provided finished lumber for home and business construction for around 35 years. Some important projects in 1909-1910 were the two local banks and the Corydon State Bank then under construction. In 1928-29 Anton Hafele was the contractor for the Sunlight hotel at First and Washington Streets.
When the Lehman Company expanded from Fourth Street between James and Adams Streets in 1925, it purchased the Hafele mill, constructed a large brick building and operated until destroyed by fire in the last week of November 1946. The acreage behind Lehman's was the site for many baseball games and circus set-ups until the early 1930s.
Anton Hafele, his son, Glenward, and Glenward's son, Charles Hargis Hafele, continued operating Hafele Construction Company with some milling operations from a site near St. Louis Avenue until the 1970's.
There was probably an irregular roadway joining Knight Street and St. Louis Avenue from the 1840s. According to an item in the Cannelton Telephone on 27 September 1906 an unrecorded agreement was made in 1887 or 1888 between the town and Clark's Pottery for a 30-foot Hafele Street between Knight and First Streets. In 1906 the town was seeking to arrive at a definite description and location of that street. Minto's 1894 map shows Hafele Street from First to Knight, then jogging 30 feet upstream and proceeding to St. Louis Avenue. In later years this jog became a gentle curve. Since the early 1960s the Bob Cummings Bridge has occupied Hafele Street, the section from First to Knight still being used under the bridge.
This little street represents the greatest incongruity between the renown of the source of the name and the dimensions of the street. Nearly all important streets had been named before Abraham Lincoln came to national recognition by 1860. Just when his name became attached to this street is not here determined.
Lincoln Avenue is the only true north-and-south street in Cannelton. It lies on the boundary between School Lots #s 1 and 2 as laid off before 16 February 1839 in Section 16, T7, R3, and was on the corporation boundary as first outlined in the spring of 1857. On the 1894 map the street is erroneously labeled "County Road" even though it lay within the newer corporation boundary.
Before Seventh Street as State Highway #66 was extended in 1949 to meet St. Louis Avenue beyond Long Avenue, the fork toward the east was Seventh Street extended and the fork to the south toward St. Louis Avenue was Lincoln Avenue. A small wooden bridge crossed Castlebury Creek. In August 1946 a small concrete bridge was built there to be replace by large culverts when the Bob Cummings Bridge caused both Castlebury Creek and Lincoln Avenue to be rerouted in the early 1960s. The remnant of the original street extends north from St. Louis Avenue until a curve to the northeast avoids intersecting the approach to the bridge.
Long Avenue (Map D)
Residences, small farms and coal mines had been located on the upstream end of Cannelton from around 1830 before there was Coal Haven. Roadways in the neighborhood probably had names for local reference but platted names did not come into use until 1850. Haphazard misnaming of some of these roadways in recent years raises doubts as to the location of some earlier real estate.
Long Avenue extends from St. Louis Avenue perpendicular to the river past the present athletic field. According to a plat made on 20 September 1850 by the Coal Company, Long Avenue extended to the fork beyond Sulphur Spring, then on the right branch of the fork to the dead end. (The left branch has been referred to as "Mule Hollow" for a century and a quarter; corrals for mules used in the Newcomb Mines from 1857 were located here.) In recent times the name, "Sulphur Springs Road" has erroneously appeared on signs commencing at East Seventh Street opposite the Bob Cummings Bridge, proceeding to the Gunwale, and then along original Long Avenue away from the river.
This same 1850 plat located Spring Avenue extending upstream at a right angle to Long Avenue from a few hundred feet before the above mentioned fork and just before reaching the Sulphur Spring, the obvious source for the name. This spring was a local recreation area from 1850 and a stone hotel was built there in 1851, much of it still in use today.
Around 890 feet from Long Avenue on Spring Avenue, Ridge Lane was platted toward the northeast running between Spring Avenue and the above mentioned right fork of Long Avenue. This seems to be the only mention of Ridge Lane.
Until the late 1930s Long Avenue was a one-lane road from St. Louis Avenue to the centerfield corner of the athletic field. Then wheeled vehicles proceeded in the bed of Castlebury Creek, water depth permitting, to the Gunwale at the end of East Seventh Street. A foot-path on the southeastern bank was in use in the neighborhood until it was widened into a one-lane road after the late 1930s. Long Avenue then continues on the northwest bank of Castlebury Creek, crossing again in the southeast bank around half-way to Spring Avenue. According to Minto's 1894 map Long Avenue continued in the bed of Castlebury Creek beyond the Gunwale to the crossing just mentioned before rising to the southeast bank of the creek.
This unprepossessing Long Avenue is the local monument to Stephen Harrison Long. He had begun a 4-year term as President of the Coal Company earlier in 1850. This 20 September 1850 plat was recorded at Rome on 1 October 1850 by attorney Charles H. Mason, agent for the Coal Company since August. Stephen H. Long ranks with Oliver H. Perry, Joseph Story and Henry Clay in national recognition, just below that of the presidents.
He was born at Hopkinton, NH, on 30 December 1784, son of Moses and Lucy Harrison Long. He graduated from Dartmouth College in 1809. On 3 March 1814 he married Martha Hodjkins; there were 5 children born to them.
After entering the Army Corps of Engineers as a Second Lieutenant in 1814 he was in charge of exploring and mapping the upper Mississippi, the Fox and Wisconsin Rivers until 1817. Between 1819 and 1823 he led a similar expedition in the central Rocky Mountains, naming Long's Peak in Colorado in July 1820. He attained the rank of Lt. Colonel.
In 1827 he selected the route for the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad from Baltimore to Indianapolis. In 1837-40 he was chief engineer in establishing the Atlantic and Great Western Railroad. During the years of his presidency of the Coal Company (1850-54) he resided in Louisville, KY. He was also a stockholder in the Cotton Mill in 1849. In 1861 he was appointed Chief of the Corps of Engineers, retiring in 1863 at the age of 79. He died at Alton, IL, on 4 September 1864.
The extension of East Seventh Street across the Gunwale became Mine Avenue, possibly before 1850. On the river side of the road in the outer portion may be seen part of the bank for the gravity/mule powered railroad which hauled coal to the river from the McLean Mine and the Cavender Mine on each side of the end of appropriately named Mine Avenue.
When black families began settling along the outer portion of Mine Avenue from the 1890s, the local ignoble name of "Nigger Hollow" was applied to that neighborhood. When a system (?) of numbers was assigned to Perry County Highways in the 1970s, the local nick-name was also listed in order that reference could be made without the necessity of consulting a map. Without thought or malice, the name of "Nigger Hollow" was attached to County Road #58, the part of Mine Avenue beyond the Cannelton City limits. On 7 August 1989 the county commissioners officially relabeled that portion of Mine Avenue, "Bell Hollow." The family of Roy Bell was the last black family to have lived in the neighborhood in the 1960s.
Whitaker Street extends around 800 feet southeast from Long Avenue along the right field fence of the present athletic field. Since both the street and the name are little know and recognized, this sketch will prove to be disproportionate in length. It appears on Minto's 1894 map and was used in deep descriptions of that period of time. There are 2 candidates as the source for this name: Joseph and Thomas Whitaker, father and son, respectively. (Map D)
Joseph Whitaker (13 December 1822, Lancaster, England - 12 September 1900, Cannelton) and his wife, Elizabeth (8 August 1824, Stockport, England), were in Providence, RI after 1842 where their eldest child Thomas T. Whitaker (30 December 1846 - 8 December 1905, Evansville, IN) was born. They were in Cannelton before 1850 listed as operators of a boarding house. Joseph Whitaker voted in the Incorporation Election of 18 September 1852 and was a member of Cliff Cemetery Association in January 1854. Since Goodspeed does not list him as a businessman in the 1850s, it is probable that he began his long association with the Cotton Mill from this period. Thomas Whitaker began working there in 1859 at the age of 12.
Their second child, Mary Hannah Witaker (1 January 1855 - 15 April 1859) was buried in Cliff Cemetery 4 months before the birth of their third child, John Whitaker, in August 1859.
In October and November 1861 Joseph Whitaker assisted John Sumner from Spencer County in organizing a company for the new 62nd Indiana Regiment. The company spent several weeks quartered in Ballard Smith's stone building on Front Street near the present Bob Cummings Bridge. When the regiment failed to organize, it became part of Company "G," 53rd Indiana Regiment on 24 February 1862. Joseph Whitaker entered as First Lieutenant and was later promoted to Captain.
Both he and his son, Thomas, were employed in supervisory positions in the Mill. Seven months after the death of his wife, Joseph Whitaker married Mary Fairhurst (September 1844, England - 1923), spinster daughter of Thomas and Sarah Barlow Fairhurst, recently removed from Cannelton to Evansville.
Thomas Whitaker on 4 October 1871 married Elizabeth McCutcheon (10 March 1849, Scotland - 13 December 1923, Cannelton), daughter of James M. and Ellen McCutcheon, immigrants in 1853 to New York, then to Kentucky before coming to Cannelton in 1870. They were parents of 2 children: 1. Eliza (January 1874 - 1959)on 9 January 1902 married Thomas Cullen (1874 - 1948); 2. Joseph W. (18 December 1876) married an unidentified wife in another county who died 9 February 1904. On 22 April 1907 he married Louise Ziervogel (8 July 1886, St. Louis, MO), daughter of Albert and Johanna Benecka Ziervogel. They were parents of 2 known daughters born in Cannelton: Martha B (27 January 1908) and Adrian J. (15 July 1910). Joseph succeeded his father as a mill foreman in November 1905.
The youngest son of Joseph and Elizabeth Whitaker, John (August 1859 - 1909), on 24 September 1886 married Flora M. Uehlein (December 1861 - 1934), daughter of John Killian and Mary Elizabeth Ackerman Uehlein. This Whitaker family operated a confectionery on the lower corner of Smith and Washington Streets; Flora continued for several years after the death of John.
When Whitaker Street was named is not here know. No Whitaker is on record as having owned property in the neighborhood. It if were before the 1880s, Joseph Whitaker is the likely source. Besides his Civil War service, his local public service included 9 years on the town board: 1873-74, 1876-78, 1880-81, 1883-84. If the street were named after the 1880s, then Thomas Whitaker is the likey source. (Cannelton Telephone, 14 December, 1905) -- he was "prominently connected with public office and was city councilman for two terms, one of which was served during a most turbulent period...he served as President of the Council."
The whirlwind visit of Baron Bernhard von Herzeele to Cannelton in late Summer 1850 eventually led to another Carlile Addition, this one on the downstream end of Cannelton (cf. Chapter IV). A plat recorded on 28 November 1850 added 45 acres of the 100 -acre Webb-Mason Homestead to the corporation. The Coal Company had already purchased 42 acres of the remainder of that homestead in 1842; John Mason still retained around 3 acres with his brick house and outbuildings between Front Street and the river. A small portion of the company's earlier purchase from West Street to Seventh Street was included in the 1849 plat of Cannelton; this accounts for the northward turn of the corporation line from West Street.
Herzeele Street from First to Seventh Street is the most important survivor of this 1850 plat of Carlile and Herzeele. Mason Street, after John Mason of the Homestead, ran from Fifth to Seventh until the portion of Fourth Street was opened in the 1970s. Before 1840 lots which would have been in line with Mason Street from First to Perry Street were left unnumbered; one lot -- #166 -- between Perry and Fourth was numbered. In 1849 the others were given letter names -- N, O, P Q, and R -- effectively closing any further street before it could be opened.
In this 1850 plat F.Y. Carlile, who had been Coal Company agent in 1840-43, sought to give recognition to Seth Hunt, the unfortunate and unrewarded pioneer of the Coal Company and Cannelton in 1836-40. Hunt Street extended (on paper) from the river to beyond Fourth Street a block downstream from Herzeele Street. Today it is covered by the dirt levee of the flood wall.
Carlile platted Carlile Street next downstream from Hunt Street extending one block from the river. Yet one more street, Boyd Street, extended a half-block from the river downstream from Carlile. Of course, that street recognizes James Boyd, the Coal Company agent between July 1843 and August 1850, and Coal Company lessee between July 1843 and October 1855. Neither street was ever put into practical use.
Hindostand and Dodge Streets
The names of these two streets on the northwest end of Cannelton are of 20th century origin. They are platted on Minto's 1894 map without names. The only other use of the name, Hindostan, known in this region was for a community on the White River where the Buffalo Trace crossed the river in the early decades of the 19th century. Disease wiped out the community by mid-century but as recently as the 1970s traces of some of the physical characteristics of the gypsy-like inhabitants of original Hindostan were to be noted in some persons living in that area of southern Indiana. If there be a connection with that community and our little street, such connection is not here known.
Dodge Street parallels Seventh Street northwestward from Herzeele. The only source suggested here is the Malone's Garage from 1946. This garage featured the Dodge automobile as its leading sales merchandise.
There is no street marker on the next street parallel with Seventh and Dodge. It lies in the logical position for the continuation of Sixth Street. A jog at Herzeele Street toward the river from the probable one-lane Sixth Street between Adams and Herzeele would compensate for the jog away from the river on Adams Street.
When the Green Meadows subdivision was platted on 16 February 1953 by James L. Polk and Otto Baertich, a single street parallel with St. Louis Avenue extended for more than 1,500 feet upstream from the route of the 19th century coal railroad. It was joined with St. Louis Avenue at each end by short block-long streets. This is Polk Street; however, many of the residents use Green Meadows in their addresses.
Although James Knox Polk was the 11th President of the United States (1845-49), this street does not belong in the list of 5 other Cannelton streets named after presidents. One of the platters of Green Meadows, James L. Polk, is the source for the name of this street. The two Polk brothers, Charles and Thomas, who settled later near Tobinsport in 1807 were distant relatives of James K. Polk: Second cousins once removed. James L. Polk was a decendant of Thomas Polk.
This subdivision on the upstream end of Cannelton in the southern half of Section 15, T7, R3, was platted by Conner Realty Corporation on 11 May 1963. It was annexed to Cannelton on 13 October 1969. The sources for the names of the two streets and the large center block are obvious: Valey Drive, Lafayette Lane and Hamilton Smith Square. Fuchs Lane, bordering the plat on the northwest, is named after Elmer Fuchs, the owner of the land adjacent to Pleasant Valley on the north at the time of the platting.
Footnote: "Sewer Pipe Bottoms"
Since 1909 when the Cannelton Sewer Pipe Company began operations, Badger and Lowell Streets have been vacated. In 1934 and 1935 Cotton Mill workers in their off-time cleared the unused bottom bounded by Madison, Second, Herzeele, and Perry Streets. A fence and small grandstand were erected and a few seasons of semi-pro baseball were played here. One rodeo troop set up here in the summer of 1935.
The Sewer Pipe Company began expanding across Madison Street after the 1937 flood until by the summer of 1964, Hay, Second, West, and Third Streets were vacated as well as Madison Street between First and Mill Streets. Perry Street has been vacated and tile products are stored between Madison and Herzeele Streets to Fourth Street.
It should be safe to wager that only one land site in the United States, perhaps in the world, is named, "The Gunwale" (pronounced "Gunnel"). The several variations in definition of gunwale are focused on the sides of ships and boats, the latter including river steamboats and small river craft. Cannelton's Gunwale has been several bridges across Castlebury Creek from the eastern end of Seventh Street to Mine Avenue. These bridges have been in use probably from the early 1830s when Alney McLean had a coal mine opened nearly a half-mile east of Castlebury Creek. Just when the name "Gunwale" was attached to these bridges has not been determined but is was generally acknowledged by the end of the century. The term has been used as a landmark name since the last century and is yet, at least by older citizens of the town.
The ravages of weathering and of occasional freshets made it necessary to replace the wooden bridges at intervals. Two were required by the heavy rains in August and October 1910 and another by the flood of 1913. After the 1937 flood a concrete bridge ended the succession of wooden bridges.
The last wood bridge, probably modeled after its predecessors, was built with one lane for wheeled vehicles and a raised walkway around 3 feet wide on the downstream side with a hand rail. The view of this model bridge from the downstream greatly resembled the view of the side of the top deck of a steam boat, particularly in the center. Mention has also been made that standing on this walkway and enjoying the breeze blowing up Castlebury Creek was like standing at the gunwale of a steam boat. The present concrete bridge bears no resemblance to a riverboat deck.
The locally renowned Gunwale Gang which met regularly for nearly a century after the Civil War obviously received its name from the bridge. During that war the Home Guard/Militia held many drill sessions on the field south of the bridge. That the commander, Col. Charles Fournier, resided just east of the bridge and owned the drill field should account for the drill site. Townspeople gathered to watch the drills. Afterward many of the men remained in the area for social visiting. When drills were discontinued, men from the neighborhood continued gathering each evening, with few exceptions, for nearly a hundred years.
In the years before automobile traffic became heavy enough to be a problem many of the sessions were conducted on the bridge. When rain threatened, an adjournment to beneath the bridge was in order, provision always being made for escape in the event of unexpected downpours. In later years the meeting site was on the northeast side of Mine Avenue at a wide place a few yards from the bridge. Three or four wooden benches around 8 feet long were arranged in a semi-circle around the open fire. Each participant brought a few sticks of wood; when possible in summer an old automobile tire was burned in order to drive away the "skeeters." On the few occasions when high water covered the usual meeting site the Gang convened in the shelter of a cave in the cliff immediately to the east (near the site of Col. Fourier's earlier residence). A few years before the Gang ceased meeting and the surviving members were getting along in years, Edward "Deacon" Schwartz built a rough shed at the beginning of his homestead a few hundred yards east on Mine Avenue where meetings were held during less than favorable weather.
The Gunwale Gang may deserve the distinction for being the earliest racially integrated social organization in this part of the country, possibly in a broader area. The black family named Bell resided near the outer end of Mine Avenue and members were in regular attendance from the 1920s. Not all racial barriers were absent but those existing were tacitly recognized by both races and were not allowed to intrude. The following anecdote illustrates several characteristics of the membership of the Gunwale Gang with regard to race and other social relations:
A member wished to sell a house he owned in the neighborhood of the Gunwale but was having no success. By agreement with Roy Bell, he circulated the rumor that Roy was thinking of buying it. The "Big Four" (neighborhood members with somewhat aristocratic notions) combined to buy the property in order to keep the Bell family living farther up the hollow.
A few simple rules of protocol were observed in the conduct of meetings. The most important was simplest of all, "No arguments." The subjects discussed ranged through a broad field of interests, current events, both local and national, nearly always being on the agenda. Some tall tales were often intermingled into the discussion of any topic. Often it required delicate judgement as whether or not to laugh.
Here are two ordinary samples of tall tales which were delivered and received with straight-faced gravity:
1. A Veteran of the Spanish-American War had served in Panama (before there was a canal). He stated that mosquitoes were often so thick that the light of the sun was blotted out.
2. A member recalled that some years earlier he had been harrowing a field in the fall of the year. Finishing rather late in the day, he flipped the harrow over and left it there to be returned to the barnyard later. During the rush of fall harvest he forgot about the harrow. When mowing hay in that field the following summer he clipped of all the harrow teeth before he realized it.
In addition to the regular August discussion of world affairs during the 1930s, the Gang engaged in a marble shooting contest for several evening in early spring. For this the site was adjourned a few hundred yards to the west of the Gunwale on East Seventh Street to the Clark Brothers Pottery. Here was an area flat and large enough to accommodate two or three "bull-rings" of shooters. As a boy of 10-12 years, I found it to be somewhat incongruous for men ranging to their 70s to be on their knees and haunches shooting marbles.
The Gunwale Gang achieved a measure of fame when feature articles on it were printed in the Evansville Courier in 1936 and in the Evansville Press in March 1950. Otherwise, even after nearly a century of existence, the Gunwale Gang seems not to have provided material leading to the drawing of deep philosophical conclusions.