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The hiking schedule has been updated for the 2014 season. Click here for currently scheduled hikes.

To receive a 3 day forecast from the Cannelton Locks and Dam, call (812) 547-2491.

 
 
 

Scenic and Historic Tours

With its thousands of acres of Hoosier Forest and miles and miles of winding river front, Perry County Indiana offers some of the most scenic drives in the Unidted States. The following are just a few...

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Self-Guided Auto Tour - Black Route - (80 miles) 4 to 6 hours
Starting Point: Cannelton, IN [MAP]

Click on thumbnail below for large map. Right click map to save and print.

  • Blackroute
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The Cannelton Historic District includes a number of residential, commercial, public, and industrial buildings. It was listed in the National Register of Historic Places in 1986. Cannelton traces its roots to 1837 with the formation of the Cannel Coal Co. The town was surveyed in 1844 and the name "Cannelton" was formally adopted. The town's prominence is reflected in its public buildings including:

  • Canneltlon Cotton Mill
    Once the largest industrial building in Indiana, the Indiana Cotton Mill of Cannelton built in 1849-1851, is one of the most impressive manufacturing structures of the pre-Civil War period.

    The mill was built by a combination of local investors, New England financiers and southern landowners as a part of a plan to create great industrial development in the Midwest to rival the textile industry of New England.

    Although the overall plan was to prove unrealistic, the mill has had a colorful and varied history including the manufacture of Union Army uniforms in the Civil War Years. The Civil War, however, ended the unique bonds of financial cooperation between the Northern Industrialists and Southern Cotton Planters which had given birth to the idea of a cotton mill with a Midwest location.

    The building cost $80,000 when it was built and over $175,000 worth of machinery was installed as soon as the structure was completed. Employment in 1851 rose to 400 persons, including many young women and girls from New England. The mill's boilers and steam-driven machinery operated on what appeared to be an inexhaustible supply of $.75 per ton.

  • Cannelton Cotton Mill
    The Indiana Cotton Mill structure faces the Ohio River several hundred feet from the north bank. The building has 280 feet of frontage and is 60 feet deep.

    Most of the building is five stories tall, but is dwarfed by 100 foot high twin towers on either side of the entrance. One of these towers housed a fire escape stairwell and the other was a water storage tower for fire protection. The building wall are three foot wide blocks of native sandstone.

    The structure was built under the direction of New England architect Thomas Tefft. It has been described as "a relatively austere structure with its fine ashlar (hewn sandstone block) walls relieved only by window sills and their brackets, the cornice with it brackets and the oculi (eyelets) in the cables."

    The description continues, "the good proportions and the twin towers, a favorite Tefft motif taken from Lombard architecture, make the Cannelton mill one of the most impressive buildings of its date in the United States." The structure received the honor of being placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1976. It had previously been included in the registry of the Historic American Engineering Record which was established in 1969.

    The cotton mill operated continuously from 1851 through 1954, when it closed its doors as a cotton mill.

 

Cannelton Cotton Mill on Washington Street was once the largest building west of the Alleghenies. It is made of hewn sandstone blocks that are three ft. wide. The building cost $80,000 when it was built in 1849- 1851. The mill is five stories with twin towers 100 ft tall and has 280 ft. of frontage by 60 ft. deep. The mill was the city's main industry for nearly 100 years. The mill has a very unique place in history; as it made uniforms for the Civil War as well as materials for both World Wars.

 

  • Perry Cunty Old Courthouse Museum
 
Perry County Old Courthouse Museum on 7th Street( SR 66) was built in 1896- 1897. Jacob Bacon Hutchings was the architect. It is made of yellow brick with Bedford limestone trim. The county seat was moved to Cannelton in 1859 till 1994.

 

  • St. Michael's Church Cannelton
 
St. Michael's Church on 8th Street was built in 1859. It is one of the remaining structures built with sandstone quarried from the nearby hills. The spire was added in 1860, it rises 156 ft and contains four bells. One weighs 1, 060 lbs. and the others weigh 623 lbs, 336 lbs, and 119 lbs.

 

  • St. Luke's Episcopal Church Cannelton
 
St. Luke's Episcopal Church on 3rd Street was built by the American Canal Coal Co. in 1845. It is a wooden structure originally built as a meeting house for all the residents of Cannelton. Over the years it has served the Unitarians, Methodists, Roman Catholics as well as Episcopalians.

 

Take SR 66 (East) out of Cannelton to:
Cannelton Locks and Dams create a "lake" 114 miles long, stretching from Cannelton, IN to Louisville, KY. This uninterrupted stretch of water provides some of the most beautiful scenery for the boater. (For detailed infrmation n the Locks and Dam, visit the Cannelton section of our Attractions section.)

  • Lafayette Spring
    Lafayette Spring is the most historic spot in Perry County. No doubt it is the most historic in the state with reference to the great general whose name it bears. The shrine is owned and cared for by the Lafayette Spring Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution, who perpetuate the name of this great American benefactor.

    The spring is located several miles east of what is now Cannelton, then Virgin Forest, near the Ohio River. Here a spring now issues from a cliff in the steep rock cliffs facing the river. It was here that Lafayette held an informal reception with pioneers of the area following the shipwreck of his steamboat, the Mechanic, May 9, 1826.

    Lafayette was on a farewell visit to the United States as guest of this government. He was enroute to Louisville with a group of distinguished persons. He had been honored by every state in the Union by patriots who wished to show their love and esteem for the great Lafayette.

    During a heavy rainstorm about midnight, the boat struck a rock formation which juts out of the river from the Indiana side (now know as Rock Island) and sank in a short time. No lives were lost but Lafayette's carriage and his desk containing $8,000 and valuable papers were lost.

    The old general fell into the river as he was being assisted into a lifeboat and would have drowned except for the deck hands. Bonfires were built and some clothing and food were dried out.

    As Lafayette talked with friends, the steamer Paragon, moving downstream, was sighted. The captain was told of the incident and he agreed to return to Louisville with Lafayette and his party.

    There are cliffs around to the north where you may visit Devil's or Bear's Cave or edge through Fat Man's Misery.

  • A Narrative
    It was a pleasant enough voyage, and all had gone well for the honored passengers about the steamboat Mechanic . The honored Marquis de Lafayette of France, the Marquis' son, Georges Lafayette, a former governor of Louisiana name Thebeaudot, and a former governor of Kentucky Isaac Shelby were heading up the Ohio River toward Louisville after having spent some time with Andrew Jackson at his home, the Hermitage, near Nashville, Tennessee. Lafayette was to be honored at a huge reception upon reaching Louisville on this, his second and final visit to America in 1824.

    Shortly past midnight on that drizzly May night, the boat struck an underwater snag near or upon Rock Island and came to a halt with a violent shudder. The hold began to fill with water, and it was obvious that the vessel was sinking rapidly. The captain gave orders to abandon ship. A cry went up to save General Lafayette. Torches were lighted, and the deckhands hurried to launch the small skiffs and herd the passengers overboard into them.

    Presently, Lafayette, an elder statesman of 67 years, appeared, fully dressed, wigged and completely unperturbed. However, in mid-staircase, he stopped, suddenly remembering that he had left his snuff box in his stateroom. Quickly he sent his secretary, Levasseur, back up to fetch it. Some say the box was one of his prized possessions because it had a miniature portrait of George Washington painted on the lid. The two men had been great friends; in fact, Lafayette's own son had been named for the American patriot. Others who are more skeptical say that perhaps the General just didn't want to be without his snuff in a crisis. Anyway, the precious box was recovered, and the general and his secretary were hurried to the rail and put overboard.

    The boat waiting below was already crowded, and the river was rough. In the darkness Lafayette lost his footing and tumbled headlong, powdered wig and all, into the river. Had it not been for the quick action of two sailors, he might have drowned in the Ohio River. However, the great man was no worse off than wet, so when the small boat reached the Indiana shore, fires were built for a general drying out.

    According to records, no lives were lost in the disaster, but within 10 minutes the Mechanic had completely sunk, taking with it Lafayette's carriage, clothing, and about $8,000 of his money. Captain Wylys Hall lost not only his boat but also his desk and a sum of money which ranges from $1,300 to $13,000 depending upon which source is quoted.

    All the excitement, the shouting and the blazing bonfires on the river bank awakened the family of James Cavender, who lived in a log cabin nearby. When the Cavenders found out what had happened and who the distinguished personages were who had alighted so unexpectedly on their shore, they hastened to offer the Marquis de Lafayette hot broth in their cabin and a warm bed for the rest of the night.

    The next dawn ushered in a gray and rainy day. When area farmers learned through the grapevine that Lafayette was here, they came in wagons and on horseback to shake his hand. They were not unlike other people all over the United States who gave of their best in his honor. Children had been known to have scattered flowers in his path, men on horseback had ridden before his party to tell of his approach, and it is said that people kissed his hand and some wept on seeing him. Nonetheless, about 9 a.m. another steamboat, the Paragon , was sighted churning up the river. The party flagged her down, and she pulled to shore and took aboard the Mechanic's unfortunate passengers and carried them to Louisville.

    Whether or not Lafayette actually slept in the Indiana cabin is still debated today. In fact, there is even speculation that the Mechanic actually wrecked and sank on the Kentucky side of the river, whereupon the party spent the night on Kentucky shores. Nevertheless, the wreck of the Mechanic and all her cargo remains today at the bottom of the Ohio River, and Lafayette Springs claims to be the official sight of the event.

  • An Alternate View
    Before the dam was built there was a large round rock in the river just past the upper end of the present lock. It was called the Lady Washington Rock (a boat of that name was supposed to have wrecked there in 1852). It was also called Elephant Rock from its shape. It was used as a navigational mark by steamboats going upstream. Before reaching it boats moved to the Kentucky side where the current was easier on the inside of a curve.

    This was the situation when Lafayette was traveling upstream on the rainy night of May 9, 1825. The boat, the Mechanic , moved to the Kentucky side and soon hit a submerged tree, called a snag, and partially sank around 11 o'clock. The 65-year-old Lafayette spent the rest of the night on the Kentucky shore on a partially dry mattress under an umbrella with a fire burning. At daybreak a rowboat was found and he was brought to a cabin near Elephant Rock on the Indiana side. He stayed here out of the rain until around noon when a downstream boat turned around and took him to Louisville. Bert Fenn found three eye-witness accounts which agreed with one another. So Lafayette was not wrecked on Rock Island nor did he spend the night at Lafayette Spring around 3/4 mile upstream from Elephant Rock.

 

A Narrative

An Alternate View

Continue on SR 66 (East) to:
Lafayette Spring is the site of a ship wreck. The 67 year old Marquis de Lafayette of France, his son, and the former governor of Kentucky, Isaac Shelby were heading up river toward Louisville. Their vessel struck an underwater snag around midnight during a storm. The boat was sinking rapidly as the deckhands loaded the passengers into skiffs. They made it safely to the bank and spent the night at Lafayette Springs

 

  • Air Crash Site and Memorial
    This information is provided in memory of the Northwest Orient Electra Airlines crash victims, who died at Millstone, IN, 8 miles due east of Cannelton, IN, March 17, 1960.

    The Chicago, IL to Miami, FL Lockheed Electra carrying 57 passengers and a crew of six plunged into the earth killing all on board. The plane fell apart in mid-air as engine, wing, and plane parts were strewn over a two mile area in Perry County. The plane's cruising speed was 406 mph and it is estimated that the plane was traveling nearly 600 mph as it's fuselage plunged nose first into a bean field at Millstone, burying it 50 ft. into the earth.

    After extensive research at Lockheed, it was revealed that a weakness in the Electra's outer engine supports caused the crash. This weakness, when circumstances were right, started a series of vibrations, in effect the engine began bouncing and this vibration soon transferred its force to the wing itself, which hopelessly stressed it and broke it off. Clear air turbulence was reported over Perry County the day of the crash. After the crash, Lockheed acted forthrightly and recalled all Electras for modifications.

    A memorial is erected at the crash site by the Cannelton Kiwanis and public donations. It's for all practical purposes a memorial park. The cleared landscaped acre draws the eye gently left and right, then down to focus on a paved circle set precisely over the original crater where the plane was buried. The unpolished grey Vermont granite monument, on small steps, faces south. Four red cedar trees surround it. In shape, it's a 9 ft. high center tablet flanked by four lower tablets which list the names of the victims. Atop the center tablet is a torch of life. Set below it is engraved; "This memorial, dedicated to the memory of 63 persons who died in an airplane crash at this location, March 17, 1960, was erected by public subscription in the the hope that such tragedies will be eliminated." Those words were written by Bob Cummings, editor of the Cannelton News and Cannelton Kiwanis. The park is open to everyone and is a beautiful short drive 8 miles East of Cannelton.

  • Specifications of the Electra
    [The following information was related in February 1996 by Orville Newall, a 12-year veteran of the United States Air Force and Reserve. His assignment was in one of the first units of rescue teams at an air disaster. One of the training films included this description.]

    After no satisfactory explanation for the cause of the crashes Lockheed decided upon this test: An Electra was completely submerged in a large tank of water, the reason being that difference in air pressure between the cabin and exterior at 30,000 feet could better be controlled. Hundreds of small motors were connected by cables to different parts of the fuselage and wings so as to simulate the vibration stress of the plane in flight.

    Many hours of vibration finally led to metal fatigue between rivit holes of the mounting of a window in the cabin. When the window gave way and blew out like the tearing of a postage stamp, the plane began tearing apart.

  • A Narrative
    This is Roland Brewer, owner and operator of radio station WTCJ. We have just received word of an apparent plane crash near Millstone. Local farmer, George McIntrye, reported the wreckage in his field just moments ago. We are at that location now and can report that we have found a wing, part of what appears to be a fuselage undercarriage, and a large engine. It is difficult to determine exactly what has happened. But it is now quite evident that this is only part of the wreckage. Whatever has gone down is quite a sizable aircraft. Right now there is only myself and one state policeman who are trying to locate the rest of the wreckage. We are returning to our vehicles to begin what I fear is a most gruesome search.

    We are having some difficulty in navigating these county roads which have, in some cases, become nearly impassable with two-foot drifts of snow. This March snowfall has certainly added to the drama of this critical situation. The only thing in our favor is that fact that we still have several hours of daylight left. Even my DeSoto seems to be resisting our efforts. I have lost the power steering and am forced to maneuver the car over this treacherous terrain with sheer muscle and my force of will. We are determined to find the rest of this plane and to offer assistance to survivors.

    I see something ahead...the trees...what's that in the trees? Is it snow? Why, no--it's clothing! Every limb of every tree is strung with clothing...shirts...dresses...they look as though they've been hung out to dry. I can't...I can't believe what I'm seeing. I believe I see smoke up ahead. I'm afraid...there does appear to be...something. I'm pulling in behind the officer. We must proceed on foot.

    Oh, no! What I can see is worse that you could ever imagine. There is a crater--it appears to be quite deep...perhaps 35 feet deep. There is thick smoke. I can barely make out the twisted wreckage of a large aircraft. The plane appears to have slammed itself nose first into the ground. I don't see how anyone could possibly have survived this kind of impact. As I look around in the snow I see slivers of silver/green metal, spilled fuel, and debris. I see no bodies...only indistinguishable remnants of human remains. Here is the largest identifiable piece of humanity: a part of a backbone that is still connected to a kidney. These people...these poor people. What must have happened? How long must they have known their inescapable fate? The wing and engine we first found must have been 3 or 4 miles away. I've never seen anything like this before...

    ...For days the Graves and Registration Troops continued to sift through the 4 or 5 acres of the wreckage, often mistaking pieces of pink airplane insulation for frozen pieces of human flesh. The smell of charred bodies, once frozen--then thawed--remains with me today. I came home from the crash site that first night and threw away my clothes. We reported the story to ABC, CBS, NBC, Canada and Mexico. A Two-inch communication cable was laid by Bell Telephone all the way from Cannelton to the crash site. Ultimately 8 or 9 coffins were provided to hold the recovered human remains of the 63 passengers and 6 crew members. All were buried in Greenwood Cemetery, but, in truth, only 2 of them actually held any contents at all. The other 6 were empty--symbolic gestures of grief.

    The memorial stone you see here today does little to pass on to you the horrors that I saw that day. I beg of you to remember that the names--although unfamiliar to you--represent beloved family members--fathers and mothers, brothers and sisters, sons and daughters who never came home that snowy day in March of 1960.

 

The Plane Crash Memorial: A Narrative

Continue on SR 66 (East).
At Rocky Point turn right (South) onto SR 166. Turn Left (East) onto Millstone Rd.

Air Crash Memorial Site , March 17, 1960 . The Chicago, IL to Miami, FL Lockheed Electra carrying 57 passengers and a crew of 6 plunged into the earth killing all on board. The plane fell apart in - air as engine, wing, and plane parts were strewn over a two mile area in Perry County. The plane's cruising speed was 406 mph and it is estimated that the plane was traveling nearly 66 mph as it's fuselage plunged nose first into a bean field at Millstone, burying it 50 ft. into the earth.

 

  • Rome Trace Map
    Rome Trace "Road to Vincennes," "White River Trace,""Vincennes Trace," and "Trace from Sinking Creek to White River." Sinking Creek is across from Rome in Kentucky. Here at the German Ridge Road and Highway 66 is one definitely located part of that trace running with the highway.
 
Go back to SR 66 (East) through Tobinsport.
Turn left (North) on Highwater Road (CR 1) to SR 66. Turn right (East) on SR 66. Turn left (North) onto German Ridge Rd: The Rome to Vincennes Trace ran with highway 66 at German Ridge Rd. It was a foot trail used frequently since before 1805. German Ridge Recreational Area has swimming, picnicing and hiking.

 

  • The Rome Courthouse
    The Rome Courthouse, constructed in 1818, is located in the unincorporated community of Rome, Tobin Township, Perry County, Indiana. The Rome Courthouse was listed in the National Register of Historic Places in May, 1981. This structure served as the center of Perry County and can be found in a large lot in the center of the once busy community of Rome. In frontier times the town marked an Ohio River crossing point for pioneers using the Rome Trace, one of the earliest frontier trails leading to the Northwest Territory.

    The old courthouse was patterned after the first state capitol building at Corydon, built in 1816. It is a two story square structure constructed of brown, handmade bricks, standing on a high stone foundation with walls 20 inches thick. An octagonal cupola looks down on the standing seam roof. Originally the cupola had windows, although presently it has shutters.

    In December, 1858, after a three year battle, the legislature relocated the county seat to Cannelton, Indiana. $2,000 was subscribed from the residents of Rome for the upkeep of the building, and some remodeling was done. Then, in 1860, the former courthouse was opened as the Rome Academy. Enrollment for the first session was 40, which soon increased to 60. The first principal was N. V. Evans, who was succeeded by Wm. Daily, one of the foremost educators in the state, having been president of Indiana University at Bloomington.

    Over the years, the building has been used by several other groups. The Masonic Lodge used the building after their building burned in 1867. The Board of Trustees later leased the building to St. Luke's Episcopal Church of Cannelton. Their parish changed the name to St. Alban's Academy. Later it was used as a public school of the Perry County School System. The building was used in this way until 1966 when the new Perry Central School was built, and the Rome School was closed. At that time, it was privately leased to be preserved and restored.

    In 1973, the citizens of Rome formed the Rome Community Center, Inc., a not-for-profit corporation. In 1988, the corporation purchased the building from the Perry Central School System. The specific purpose of the corporation is the preservation and restoration of the building. To meet this responsibility, two fund raising projects are held each year, both part of the county-wide tourism activities. Each April the Dogwood Festival is held, and in October the county hosts the Hoosier Heritage Festival. The Dogwood Festival at Rome is held in conjunction with the Rome Methodist Church. In addition, the group searches for other ways to receive funds, such as grants.

    The old courthouse has great value as a historic site, as well as a community center.

  • First Courthouse
    The first court of Perry county met, or was called, at the house of James McDaniel, Jr., and adjourned to convene July 3, 1815. At this session Isaac Blackford was presiding judge. A small court house was erected in the summer of 1817 and the first court held there in July, 1817. The last court held was in October, 1818, with adjournment to meet in Washington. On January 10, 1818, an act providing for the removing of Perry County's seat of justice having been passed, in November of the same year the records were removed to the new county seat at Washington shortly thereafter named Rome. Several Trojans moved to Washington, yet the town prospered slowly, becoming the natural shipping and trading point for a large territory north and west of Perry county. The commissioners in their first session divided the county into Troy, Tobin, Oil, Anderson, Clark and Hurricane townships. Hurricane was what is now the present townships Hammond and Huff of Spencer county. Among the early residents of the town were James Taylor, Capt. Isaac Wright, Solomon Lamb, Levin Wright, Jacob Protsman, John Huffman, Reuben Bates, John McDaniel, James Bristow, James McDaniel, Francis Posey, Aquila Huff, Moses B. Niles, Williamson Fortune, Dr. Isaac N. Greathouse, Henry McGuffey and Thomas Polk, Jr.
 

Perry County's First Courthouse

Go back to SR 66 (East) to Rome :
Rome Courthouse was built in 1818-1819. The county seat was moved from Troy in 1818, Rome served as the county seat until 1859.

 

  • Hines Crossing
    On Highway 66, three miles north of Rome, is a sign marking the Hines Raid on June 17, 1863. Apparently Captain Hines was hoping to reach a Paoli meeting with Southern sympathizers on the way.

    In Perry County the 62 members of the raiding party "exchanged" their worn out horses for fresh horses with the farmers. They also appropriated cattle, hogs, and chickens for food. They camped overnight east of Dexter and left Perry County on the morning of June 18th.

    Captain Thomas Hines and members of the party barely escaped to Kentucky a few days later. He rejoined General John Hunt Morgan in his famous raid through Corydon on July 7th. After the war, Hines was a judge in Kentucky.

 
Continue on SR 66 (East) another 3 miles to:
Hines Crossing marker is the location Captain Thomas Hines and 62 members of a raiding party crossed into Indiana June 17, 1863. They were on their way to a meeting in Paoli with Southern sympathizers. In Perry County they exchanged their worn out horses for fresh horses with the farmers. They also appropriated cattle, hogs and chickens for food. They barely escaped to Kentucky a few days later, then rejoined Gen. John Hunt Morgan in his famous raid through Corydon on July 7.

 

  • Derby Indiana
    After early settlement by the Elder, Mattingly and Mitchell families in the 1820s, Derby was platted in 1835 and named after a village in Ireland. For the next 80 years it was a shipping port for farm produce and livestock, railroad ties, and hoop poles. In August 1893 much of the town burned but most of it was quickly rebuilt. The Mulzer limestone quarry closed just a few years ago. much crushed limestone was shipped on the river.
 
Continue on SR 66 (East) to:
Derby was settled in 1820 by 3 families, then platted in 1835 and named for a village in Ireland. For the next 80 years it was a shipping port for farm produce and livestock, railroad ties, and hoop poles. In August 1893 much of the town burned but most was quickly rebuilt.

 

Continue on SR 66 (East) for another half mile to:
The largest log house with two chimneys is made of two original log buildings: The Springer House from east of Dexter , and a building from near St. Mark. They were dismantled, moved and rebuilt on this site in 1991.

  • Dexter
    Dexter has always been a country store and post office, the latter from June 1870 to 1873, reinstated in 1876 until December 1948. Several well-regarded baseball teams played under the Dexter name in the 1920s and 1930s.

    All the land in Perry County was originally purchased at the Land Office at Vincennes except for around 2,000 acres east of Dexter. Since these acres are the only ones in Perry County east of the Second Prime Meridian they had to be purchased at Jeffersonville.

    About 2 miles from Dexter is the original site for the Springer House , from around 1813-15 to 1991.

 

Dexter Indiana

Continue on SR 66 (East) through Dexter. Turn Right (East) onto Dexter-Magnet Rd.(CR 27) all the way to Magnet .
SIDE TRIP :
Turn right on Unison Rd (CR 146) and around to the left to Parks Rd (CR 36) to:
Ten Civil War grave markers are located at this site. On August 14, 1865, four months after the close of the Civil War, Union soldiers from Ohio boarded the USS Argosy #3 and started home. On August 21 a storm drove the Argosy ashore at this point and the boilers exploded. Nine or ten men were killed. Bert Fenn a local historian found information which suggested that one of the ten said to have been buried here actually lived until reaching Louisville where he died.

 

  • Magnet
    Magnet has some of the most magestic views of the Ohio River in Perry County.
 
Continue on Parks Rd(CR 36) to:
Magnet was first called Dodson's Landing in 1820 after John Dodson who operated a woodyard for steamboats. In the 1830s Jess Martin tookover the woodyard and it then became Martin's Landing. He owned a widely regarded coon-dog named Rono. When the dog died it was buried near the center of the docking area. The Job Hatfield family arrived with a store boat around 1842. He became the post master when the post office opened on July 29, 1857, it was named Rono. On February 24, 1899 the name was changed to Magnet; the office was closed in early 1990s.

 

Continue through Magnet (North) on Dexter-Magnet Rd (CR 27), on the right is:
In 1857 the Hatfields built a stone building which was used as a smoke house in which they processed meat for sale on a commercial scale. This continued into the mid- 1870s. The foundation for this structure is the foundation for this house on the North end of Magnet.

  • Buzzard's Roost
    When Major Otis E. Saalman was in the Pacific during World War II, he often thought of his home in Indiana and the dream house he would build when he returned. it would be in the neighborhood of Buzzards' Roost, within two miles of where he was born. He knew the history and the beauty of the place.

    Sunday he was a speaker for the Perry County Historical Society at Buzzards' Roost in the U. S. National Forest. His talk was on the geography, the geology and topography of the region.

    Geography, the nature of the land, is what causes history to happen, he said. History is a record of life, he continued, and when we're young, we don't get interested but when we reach maturity we wonder about our country and what our ancestors were like. Sometimes we wait too long.

    When we listen to our grandparents they sow the seed but it might be too late. Each of us, he said, have four grandparents and all these generations before us had the same number and in 600 years we accumulate a sizable number of ancestors and he declared our forebearers are either something special or the greatest accident.

    The geology of the area was caused in part by the warm salt water which produced limestone 100 feet deep. Ice once covered the country, but missed these few counties, he said. The glacial period produced the rivers and lakes, hills, mountains and plains. The Ohio River is the great highway by which both famous and infamous came to Perry County from Kentucky and Virginia. Some of the first settlers in that part of Perry County were the Walkers, Ewings, Esareys and others.

    As the boats were loaded with produce, they took on wood for their steam boilers. Most of the river towns were important including Rono (now Magnet), Derby and father down the river, Rome.

    There was once a large vineyard on the present site of the picnic grounds. It was owned by a Kentucky man who brought his slaves across the river to work there. Major Saalman said this is probably the only place there were slaves in Indiana.

    Galey's Landing on the Ohio River near Buzzards' Roost was an important shipping port for many years. It is non-existent today. In the early 1800's farmers floated their produce down the river to New Orleans via raft or flatboat and walked back. Some bought horses and rode back.

    They were paid an average of $600 in gold coins for their produce. Highwaymen robbed and sometimes murdered them as they made their way north. Those who reached home with their gold buried it since there were no banks.

    Later at Galey's Landing, farmers shipped their goods to Louisville. They stayed overnight returning the next day. In 1858 there lived a man by the name of Prater who had for sons. They were horse thieves . The sons went out to nearby states and stole fine horses. They would bring the the animals to their crippled father, who sat in the breezeway of their home and judged the horses. Everybody said old man Prater was a good judge of horse flesh. They kept the animals at Penitentiary Rock until ready to sell them.

    Eventually, the law caught up with them. They were tried in the Perry Circuit Court, convicted and taken to the penitentiary at Jeffersonville. All died in prison except one son, who, when released, came back and dug up the gold and left it in a skiff at Galey's Landing.

    It is hard to visualize Indians and pioneers living together in that area 150 years ago. The Indians promised to tell some of their white friends the location of a lead mine, but they never got around to it.

    Major Saalman said he does not know how Buzzards' Roost received its name.

    A brief business session was conducted by president James J. Groves. One matter settled was that Major Saalman will deliver the society's Bicentennial address at the Sept. 14 meeting in the city park at Cannelton.

 

Continue up the hill on Dexter-Magnet Rd. (CR 27)
Slaughtering the animals for smoking left nearly half of the carcass as offal. When this thawed and ripened in the early spring a large colony of buzzards arrived for the feast. Thus the origin for the name, Buzzards' Roost , for the hill north of Magnet.

 

Continue down to the bottom of the hill:
A few hundred yards from here on the right was Galey's Landing . It was an important shipping port for many years. In 1858 there lived a man and his four sons named Prater a quarter mile from the river on the left. Today there is a pile of foundation stones with some of them laid in a straight line, and the Prather spring is still flowing. They were horse thieves. The sons went out to nearby states and stole fine horses, then brought them back to old man Prather. Everybody said old man Prather was a good judge of horse flesh. They kept the animals in a rocky canyon which came to be called Penitentiary Rock until ready to sell them. They were sold in distant states for gold only. Eventually, the law caught up with them. They were tried in the Perry County Circuit Court, convicted and taken to the penitentiary at Jeffersonville. All died in prison except one son, who when released, came back and dug up a chest full of the gold. He left in a skiff at Galey's Landing.

  • History of Leopld
    The history of Leopold begins with Catholic missionary activity. The river made the area accessible and early missions were established at Rome and Derby by Bishop Flaget of Bardstown, Kentucky. St. Mary Church, formerly called "St. Mary of the River", was founded at Derby in 1810, the first visiting missionary being the Rev. Stephen Theodore Badin, who served from 1810 to 1811. Following Father Badin, other visiting priest were: the Rev. Charles Nerinchx, 1811 - 1818; Robert Abel, 1818 - 1824; Elisha Durbin, 1824 - 1832. Priests from Indiana took charge on September 3, 1837 when Rt. Rev. Simon Brute, first Bishop of Vincennes, personally installed the Rev. Julian Benoit as resident pastor and the first diocesan priest in Perry County.

    Father Benoit established four missions: Troy, 15 miles west of Derby; Cassidy settlement, 8 1/2 miles west-northwest of Derby; Mt. Pleasant, 8 miles northeast of Derby; and the Chapel, 6 miles northwest of Derby. The first three were established in 1837, the fourth in 1838. In August 1838, Father Benoit, with funds advanced by Bishop Brute bought land at the Chapel and built on it the Chapel Church, a two-story frame building 20 x 30 feet, having two rooms below for residence and one above for the chapel, or church. So steep was the stairway leading up to the church that, it is said, one day a parishioner, only two or three steps from the top, stumbled and began to roll down, carrying with him all of those coming up the steps; all landed in a heap at the bottom.

    It was during these early years that Bishop Brute once paid a visit to the Chapel during a severe drought. The Bishop noticed a spot, near the Chapel Church building, which seemed more moist than the ground around it. It is said he stooped down and with his hands scooped out a place where water appeared. The people dug a well which, to their great joy, filled with water. This well was never know to go dry and was still in use in 1935, known as the Bishop's Well.

    Father Benoit had moved from Derby to Leopold where the Chapel Church became the main Catholic Church of Perry County. Father Benoit wrote letters to friends in seaports in France, Germany, and Belgium, asking them to tell emigrants about the Chapel settlement. In 1840, Father Benoit was transferred to Fort Wayne and replaced by Father August Bessonies, recently arrived from his native France and ordained by the New Bishop of Vincennes, Rt. Rev. Celetine Rene de la Hailandiere.

    He informed Father Bessonies that Father Benoit was "somewhere in the forest of Perry County, some 15 miles from Rome." He was to go in to Jasper where the Rev. Joseph Kundeck would give him further directions. In his memoirs, Father Bessonies recalled that the kind bishop gave him an Indian pony, a very devout one which fell frequently to his knees. Scarcely able to speak a word of English, he arrived at Jasper to learn that Father Benoit had left that morning for Vincennes and, using a map provided by Father Kundeck, he left Dubois County for the 35-mile ride to the Chapel settlement in Perry County. Realizing he had gone astray, Father Bessonies succeeded in finding Cassidy settlement. He recalled that the John Cassidy family received him kindly and promised to see him safely to the Chapel the next morning.

    He came upon the log cabin of Jack Alvey, where he was told he was only six miles from the Chapel. After riding for three hours, he arrived at the log cabin of Thomas Alvey, where he learned he was still six miles from the Chapel and only one-half mile from the cabin of Jack Alvey, where he had been earlier that morning. Thomas Alvey, a Catholic, gave him breakfast, fed his horse, and sent his boy to take him home.

    Among the earliest French-speaking settles in what was to be Leopold Township were Peter and Catherine Jubin in the 1820's; John Coucier, a veteran of the War of 1812, and his wife, Mary; Nicholas and Anne Claudel in 1837. The 1840s marked the arrival of French and Belgian immigrants in increasing numbers. Father Bessonies acquired forty acres for a town which he named Leopold for three reasons: 1. It was the name of the Belgian King; 2. It was the name of Father Bessonies' brother; 3. For the Leopldine Society. In November 1842, the town of Leopold was laid out by Father Bessonies and recorded in the county recorder's office. Deed Book C, p. 355 as follows: "I, the undersigned, in order to promote both the temporal and spiritual welfare of the French people coming from Europe, resolved to lay off a town of the name of Leopold, in which, with God's assistance, I intend to erect a temple to the glory of the Almighty for them to worship therein their Maker, according to the dictates of their conscience, the most glorious privilege a human being can enjoy, and of which we boast in this country of freedom, become for us an adopted Land of Promise. Leopold is situated in Perry County, State of Indiana, in Township Five South, Range Two West, Section One, and contains forty acres, more or less, towit: the East half of the Southwest quarter of the Southwest quarter of section, township and range as above stated, containing twenty acres, more or less; and the West half of the Southeast quarter of the Southwest quarter of section, township and range above mentioned, containing twenty acres, be the same more or less. There is in Leopold one hundred lots. The town is laid off with six North and South streets running the whole length of the town, every one of them numbering 60 feet in width; the first street commencing at the Northeast quarter is Belgium Street; the second, Celestine Street; the third, Lafayette Street; the fourth, Washington Street; the fifth, Caroline Street; the sixth, German Street.

    There are also six streets East and West, sixty feet in width. The first is named Rome Street; the second, Ohio Street; the third, Indiana Street; the fourth, St. Louis Street; the fifth, Troy Street; the sixth, St. Augustine Street.

    Each lot contains ninety-nine feet square, and every one of them is a corner lot. For lots in the center of Leopold will be kept for a public square, to-wit: the forty-fifth, forty-sixth, fifty-fifth and fifty-sixty; which lots I keep the right to dispose of and to donate to the county for any public advantage, with other property whenever Leopold will be a county seat. To the credit thereof, before any court of the United States, or any magistrate whosoever, I give my hand and usual seal. Given at Leopold, Perry County, Indiana, the eleventh day of November, eighteen hundred and forty-two.

    (signed) Augustus Bessonies, Cath. P."

  • Saint Augustine Church
    The Chapel was renamed St. Augustine, Father Bessonies' patron saint. Under Father Bessonies' direction, a new log church was built in 1842 - 1843. The abandoned Chapel building was rented out as a dwelling. It was twice struck by lightning and burned completely. Father Bessonies also set up a log school house in 1844. Private subscription schools were held there until 1851, when the Indiana Public Free School system began, with a public schoolteacher conducting classes.

    Father Bessonies remained at Leopold until 1857 when he was assigned to Fort Wayne to succeed, again, the Rev. Julian Benoit who had left for New Orleans. Father Bessonies later served at Jeffersonville, Floyds Knobs, and St. John's in Indianapolis. He celebrated his golden jubilee in 1890 and is entombed at Indianapolis where he died in 1901.

    During Father Bessonies' time in Leopold, almost unbroken forest still covered practically all of southern Indiana; clearing were few, established highways unknown, and the only travel possible was by means of blazed trees marking a course through the tall timber from one place to another. The climate and terrain were very much like those of the Province of Luxembourg in Belgium from where most of the settlers came. The first homes they built were probably one-room huts on unclaimed land, until they were able to buy land which at the time sold for $1.25 per acre.

    Most of the settlers were farmers who brought with them large families. Among them were Joseph James, a merchant; Andrew Peter, who felled the first tree in the heavily-wooded area where Leopold is today; Jacob (James) Tibessard, owner of a water mill on Snake Branch about four miles west of Leopold, commonly called "Tipsaw"; other families who were landowners in 1850 included John, Andrew and Victor Goffinet; John B. Belva; Francis Allard; John B. Clais; Joseph Holman (Houlmont); and Jacob Gelarden (Gillardin).

    In June 1847, Leopold Township was formed out of Union, Oil, Clark and Anderson Townships upon the petition of 60 citizens. The petition was presented by John Coucier in December 1846. Like the town, the township was named in honor of Leopold I, King of the Belgians. It was also in 1847 that the Leopold Post Office was established by President James K. Polk and Father Bessonies appointed the first postmaster.

    Immigration continued into the 1850s. Among the families were those of John J. Meunier, Victor Marchal, Gerard Joseph Collignon; Francis Devillez. Almost all were from villages in the Province of Luxembourg in Belgium. Names of those villages can still be found on a number of old tombstones in St. Augustine Cemetery: Hachy, Nobressart, Vance, Ste. Cecile, Rulles, Florenville, and Les Bulles. Although almost all families were of Belgian or French birth, some notable exceptions were Victor Yaggi, a native of Switzerland who arrived in 1853; John Cody and John Gleeson, natives of County Tipperary, Ireland; and Peter Kasper (Casper), a native of Wurttemberg, Germany.

    In 1864, Peter and Margaret (Devillez) Georges, natives of Hachy and Nobressart, Belgium, arrived with their family. Their youngest son, Frank J. Georges, later became Perry County Superintendent of Schools, then County Recorder. The account of his journey and adjustment to life in a new land was perhaps typical of many: "Born of poor parents at Hachy, Belgium, on the 28th of April 1852, his entire earthly belongings were packed into an old straw valise...and he boarded the good ship Lancaster at Antwerp on the 29th of October, 1863. A shipwreck was one of his experiences on the way to America...From a family of stonemasons, he quite naturally took up this trade as a boy and continued it as a young man in this country...He obtained work at the monastery in St. Meinrad and some of the kindly priests gave him an opportunity to study an hour or more each day...He obtained a license to teach and taught for some time in the district schools of Leopold Township. Then he went to normal school at Danville, after which he obtained a position in the schools of Tell City...in 1885. The once immigrant boy was elected county superintendent of schools, serving in this position twelve years..."

    The Georges were the stonemasons employed in the first phase of the building of the present St. Augustine Church. The present stone church was begun by Father Philip Ducron in 1866. Measuring 115 x 45 feet, the church was built of sandstone found in a quarry near Leopold. Stone was hauled up the hill by teams of oxen; those who moved the stone contracted to do it for the sum of $300.00. The walls were raised during the tenure of Father John L. Brassart from 1867 to 1869. Many delays were encountered before the roof was added and enclosed by Father Philip Doyle who served from 1869 to 1872. Discouraged and heavily in debt, the people were about to sell the church when Father John B. Unverzagt, a native of Baden, Germany, arrived in 1872. By 1873, order was restored, the altars and pews moved from the log church into the new stone church, which was at last ready for use. Thirty years later, under Father Joseph A. Thie, the tower, spire, chimes and bells were finished.

    The church was originally built with huge pillars supporting the roof. They were removed amid controversy that this would weaken the structure. The reason given for the removal was that some of the parishioners slept behind the pillars.

    One of the most-often-told stories of Leopold concerns the statue of Our Lady of Consolation which can be seen on the left side of the altar of St. Augustine Church. The statue is one of only three such statues in the world -- the original in a church in the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg, and the other one at Carey, Ohio; many miraculous cures have been attributed to the statue enshrined at Carey, which was brought to America in 1875 by the Rev. Joseph Gloden, also a native of Luxembourg. Devotion to Our Lady of Consolation dates back to the 16th century in Europe when the Black Death devastated the population.

    The statue in Leopold represented a sacred vow made by three young men from Leopold -- Henry J. Devillez, Lambert Rogier, and Isadore Naviaux -- who, serving in the Civil War, were captured at Gunstown, Mississippi in 1864 and imprisoned in the notorious Confederate prison at Andersonville, Georgia. There, over 14,000 Union prisoners died from starvation or disease. Henry Devillez, who had come to this county at the age of 14, remembered well the shrine of Our Lady of Consolation in his native Luxembourg. The three made a vow that, if delivered from the horror of Andersonville, they would return to their native land to have a replica of the statue of Our Lady of Consolation made and brought to Leopold.

    Eleven months later, they were freed and, with the help of John P. Georges, fulfilled their vow. The statue was brought back by Lambert Rogier, arriving in New York on July 4, 1867, transported to Leopold, where it remains to the present day. The statue was absent during one period in its history when Father Boland, not knowing the background of the statue, packed it away in the attic where it remained until 1927 when Father Pierce Dixon became pastor. Father Dixon was familiar with this particular statue and soon returned it to its rightful place at the side altar. Some years later an outdoor shrine, carved by a stone artist in Italy, was set up by Father Moll. For several years pilgrimages were held outside during the month of May at the shrine.  The statue is one of only two in the United States.  The other one is at Carey, Ohio.

    During the years 1877 -1880, when Father Hypolite Pierrard was at Leopold, King Leopold II of Belgium, pleased to know that a good Belgian family had a son as pastor of the church there, sent vestments, a monstrance, and a set of candleholders valued at about $1,500 as a donation to the church at Leopold. Father Pierrard is buried in St. Augustine Cemetery.

    Another unique feature of the church is the statue of St. Hubert and the deer. According to legend, he was a hunter and unbeliever. Once converted, he became an active missionary in the forest area of the Ardennes; He became known as the patron saint of hunters and trappers.

    Several tragedies have also marked Leopold's history. In 1859, the Know-Nothing Party had a following in Perry County. Disturbed by so much missionary activity and building of churches, they pillaged furnishings from the parsonage and set fire to them. They placed fire brands in the windows and doors of the church. The townspeople rushed to extinguish the fire. Father Dion, who had been absent on a mission to Harrison County, was so upset when he returned that he decided to live at Frenchtown from where he still cared for the Leopold parish. He returned several years later.

    The white frame parsonage burned in 1918 when Father Boland was pastor. He narrowly escaped and was unable to save very much except a few chalices which were stored in a steel safe. Some church records were lost. The priest's residence had been built by Father Brassart in 1893, to replace a log house built by Father Bessonies in 1840 and lasting until 1873. The present parish house was built by Father Boland in 1920-22.

    It was also in 1922 that a tornado struck Leopold early in the morning of April 21 and did extensive damage. The William Devillez residence was lifted from its foundation and moved several feet. James Ward's store and residence were completely demolished. The store belonging to the Henry Kanappel family, located in the former Cody property, was badly damaged when one wall was torn partly away from the main structure. St. Augustine's Church was heavily damaged when portions of the roof and a heavy beam were ripped away from the building.

    In 1900, Father Mattingly started a parochial school in Leopold. It was taught by the Sisters of Providence from St. Mary of the Woods in a rented house for seven or eight months. It was abandoned as impractical since the pupils were so widely scattered.

    When Highway 37 was completed it left Leopold a mile off the improved road. Father Omer Eiseman sponsored the building of a road which connects with Highway 37. Father Ed Eiseman was instrumental in getting telephone lines in condition for service. He helped do much of the work himself. Faithful operators of the old-time switchboard included Mrs. Peter Ward and Mrs. Rosa George Braunecker.

    When Father John Herold was pastor, he directed the construction of the parish hall. The lumber was donated by members of the parish. The building has been used for a number of activities, especially for basketball. The Leopold Grade School and Oil Township High School and Grade School played all of their home games in this gym. In recent years, it has been used by Perry Central School Corporation players for practice sessions.

    For many years, Leopold had a resident physician, Dr. John E. Taylor. Born in Perry County on October 10, 1869, the son of David and Sarah Roberts Taylor, he grew to manhood on a farm and had no opportunity for schooling until the age of 21 when he attended a one-room grade school near his home. By the age of 25, he was teaching and eager for more education. He went on to study medicine and returned to practice in Perry County, practicing in Leopold until his death in 1950.

    In 1992, 150 years after the founding of Leopold and construction of the first log church, parishioners continue to take great pride in St. Augustine Catholic Church. A four-year-long renovation of the church building was begun shortly after the arrival of Rev. Mark Gottemoeller in 1985. Many parishioners contributed their time and skills to the project. The ceiling was replastered; heating and electrical systems repaired and replaced; the roof replaced; the walls repainted; a glassed-in cry room constructed; carpeting and air conditioning installed; pews, altar, statues, and stations of the cross were refinished. Stained glass windows, donated near the turn of the century in memory of parishioners' families, were cleaned and new storm windows placed on the outside of the church. These windows and three bronze bells, cast in St. Louis and shipped to Leopold before the turn of the century, continue to be among the most valuable possessions of the parish. A vesting table, also dating to about 1900, was refinished and brought into the interior of the church. Renovation continues on the exterior as well, as planting and landscaping continues in the church cemetery.

    Father Bessonies' vision of Leopold as an urban center and county seat was never fulfilled. Nevertheless, it is "home" to countless descendants of Belgian immigrants. Many live in the surrounding area and gather regularly at St. Augustine parish. These, and many who live at a distance, still gather at the annual parish picnic in late July, a tradition dating from the early years.

    From "Leopold: A History", edited by Judy (Holman) Howe. Produced in cooperation with the Perry County Chamber of Commerce, Perry County Commissioners, and Perry County Council.

 

Continue North on Dexter Magnet Rd (CR 27), North on Onido Rd (CR 182)., turn left on SR 66 (West) to Mt Pleasant, turn right (West) onto Leopold Rd (CR 34)to:

Leopold had its beginning in 1838 with a 20x30 2-story log chapel, 2 residence rooms on the lower floor and a Catholic chapel on the second. On November 11, 1842 a 25-block plat of Leopold was recorded. A second log church was built in 1842-43. The post office was established in 1847. Most of the settlers were from Belgium, the town's name coming from King Leopold.

St. Augustine Church is dedicated to the patron saint of Father Augustus Bessonies, the founder of the church and town. The present stone church was built between 1866 and 1873.

 

Continue west on Leopold Rd (CR 34), turn left (South) onto Old Highway 37, turn left (East) on Hwy 70, turn right (South) immediately onto Tiger Rd (CR 21), turn left (South) onto Gerald Rd (CR 10), onto Deer Creek Rd (CR 5)., turn right (West) onto SR 66 at Rocky Point and back to Cannelton.

 

 

Show All

Self-Guided Auto Tour - Red Route - (80 Miles) 4 to 6 hours

  • Redroute
 
Starting Point: Tell City, IN [MAP] Click on thumbnail t the left for large map. Right click map to save and print.
  • FloodWallMem
  • FloodWall2
    Identification of Flood Wall Buildings

    Panel 1- 1. Sanitaree Washer Company then became Knott Manufacturing (Circa 1911)

    
2. Heubi Saloon (Right)(Circa 1880) Heubi Residence (Left)

    
3. Tell City Spoke Company (1890)

    
4. Zeigelgruber's Meat Cart (Circa 1890)

    Panel 2 - 
1. Tell City Planning Mill (Kreisle Building) (1865)

    
2. Hess Blacksmith Shop (1894)

    
3. The "Graco" Mulzer Tow Boat (Circa 1928)

    Panel 3 - 
1. Frank J. Ress Residence (Circa 1910)

    
2. Royal Theatre (Circa 1875)

    
3. Michael Bettinger Residence (1885)

    Panel 4 - 
1. Tell City Brewery (Circa 1889)

    
2. Tell City National Bank (1889)

    
3. Tell City Flour Mill (1859)

    
4. Zoercher Insurance Original Office

    
5. Tell City Fire Department (1928)

    Panel 5- 
1. Tell City City Hall (1896)

  • Sunsetpark

    Panel 6 
1. Opera House (1868)

    
2. Architectural Sample 
3. Schreiber Drug Store (1876)

    
4. Architectural Sample

    
5. the "Tell City" Steamboat (1889)

    Panel 7 
1. Meyerberg Chalet (Circa 1890)

    
2. Opera House Gazebo (1890)

    
3. Kessler Pretzel Bakery (1911)

    
4. Adolph Obrecht Residence (1906)

    
5. Mechanics Silver Band Wagon (1890)

    Panel 8 
1. Old South School (1863)

    
2. Filling Station 9th & Tell Streets (1930)

    
3. International Order of Odd Fellows Building (1898)

    
4. Zuelly Residence (Circa 1900)

    
5. Tell City/Cannelton Jitney Bus Line (Circa 1920)

    Panel 9 
1. Schaefer & Paulin Building (1875)

    
2. Tell City Chair (1865)

    
3. Tell City Wagon (1865)

    
4. "Old Rock House" (1854) (Oldest standing residence in town)

    
5. Round House (Circa 1900)

    
6. Edward's Hydroplane (Circa 1915)

    Panel 10 
1. Clay Switzer Residence (1885) (Carriage Inn Pizza)

    
2. Irish Mail (Circa 1885)

    
3. Train (1888)

    4. Train Depot (1898)

    
5. Wharf Boat (1888)

 
Sunset Park at Washington & 7th Street contains a painted mural on the flood wall. It was done in sections and took 3 years to paint ,1992-1994. The idea was conceived by Pat Jarboe the President of the Perry County Arts Council's during those years. It is a rendition of early days of Perry County, each building, boat and person has historical significance. Donations from private individuals, business, industry, and a grant from the Indiana Arts Commission made it possible. Artist Mona Sitzman and Lynn Dauby did the sketches on paper, Jeff Kast transfered the design on the wall, volunteers did the painting.


The Tell City Historical Society is located in the old Post Office Building at 516 Main Street. It is open by appointment only. The Post Office was constructed in 1937.

  • TC-pretzels
 
Tell City Pretzel Co. was originally called the Gloor pretzel, then later Kessler's Tell City Pretzels and now Tell City Pretzel. The Gloor Pretzel was actually a sideline with the Gloor Bakery. Alex Kessler was an apprentice baker at Gloor's. Kessler's Bakery specialized in baked breads and other sweets until it went into the baking of pretzels exclusively.

 

  • Tellcityhall
    Tell City's City Hall Building, Taken from a paper by Bert Fenn entitled "A. P. Fenn", presented to the Tell City Historical Society, April 1963.

    A. P. Fenn left two monuments in Tell City. One is the Tell City Chair Company; the other is our city hall. And, of course, there's a story behind the city hall.

    Grandfather served as mayor of Tell City from January 19, 1892 to May 10, 1898. It was during this time that the county felt a need for a new court house. Certainly the court house at Cannelton was old and inadequate. But there was a problem in that the majority of the people in the county objected to a tax raise to pay for a new building.

    In 1895, A. P. conceived a way to solve this problem. If Tell City were to build a court house and donate it to the county, Perry County would receive the necessary facilities without an addition to its tax levy, and Tell City would be compensated by becoming the county seat.

    So Tell City Mayor A.P. Fenn determined to build that court house, though, of course he called it a "city hall". Exactly how he built it is perhaps best explained in the city council minutes.

    The very first mention of a new city hall in the council minutes was on November 12, 1895 when councilman Kampshaefer, and I quote, "resolved that we build a foundation for a city hall on the block bounded by Mozart and Jefferson, and 8th and 9th Streets." This carried. Then by a strange coincidence, again quoting, "the city engineer was called upon and submitted a plan and the specifications for a foundation to be built out of stone." These were approved. Again quoting, "Mr. Kiefer now moved that the clerk be directed to advertise for sealed proposals," which carried. Finally, of course, the formality of appointing a committee to confer with city engineer George H. Freese regarding the cost of these plans and specifications was also taken care of.

    The contract for this foundation was let on December 10, 1895 for $3250.00 following which, and I quote, "the clerk was upon motion directed to file all papers pertaining to the building of the foundation for a city hall in the office of the city mayor," end quote.

    This was the first of 22 contracts that are mentioned in the council minutes which applied to the building of a new "City Hall."

    In April 1896 they awarded a contract for building "the super structure of the new city hall." In June they changed the chimneys. By August the council voted to put a subfloor in the attic and later that same month to add a tower to the city hall.

    In November 1896 they let a $37.80 contract "to build inlets to the cellar entrances" and another contract for "first and second story floors of first class yellow pine." Also in November they accepted bids "for finishing one room in the city hall."

    Other contracts were for "placing of stud partitions and grounds for plastering," for stone stairways on three sides of the building, and for plastering the city hall.

    On May 25, 1897 the council held its first meeting in the new city hall -- in the one room that was finished -- and while they were letting a $1680.00 contract for, quote, "the interior finish of the city hall," end quote, they were serenaded by both the Mechanic's Silver Band and the Star Silver Band.

    On June 10, 1897 the mayor and all councilmen signed a petition to the Perry County Board of Commissioners offering "a perfect, complete and valid deed...to (an) almost complete...large and suitable building...adapted to the purposes of a Court House...for a nominal consideration." The building was to be ready in sixty days.

    Fort it wasn't yet complete. At this point they had signed only sixteen contracts. In July they built two outhouses, in August contracted for, quote, "some additional improvements about the city hall," end quote, and in September had Jack Lowry digging a well on the premises.

    By October 26 it was getting cold, so they authorized $19.75 to buy a stove to heat the council chamber. The last two contracts were in February and March of 1898 for furnishing offices for the Mayor and City Treasurer. And when they reached this point, I'm sure that the good citizens of Tell City heaved a collective sigh of relief.

    As nearly as I can tell from the Treasurer's reports, the building cost roughly $24,000. When they started building, the cash on hand in the City Corporation Fund was $872.62. Eight months later the treasurer reported not one cent in the corporate Fund. Total income for the city at the time was running about eight to nine thousand dollars per year. The Clerk's Report and Treasurer's Report for the year ending May 10, 1897 showed an income of some $8,000 and an expenditure of some $8,000 -- but vouchers had been issued for some $23,000 leaving "protested and outstanding " $14,770.23. It was after this report, while they were having the first meeting in the city hall, that a Cincinnati firm finally sent word that everything was in order and they were prepared to accept delivery of Tell City's $12,000 5% bond issue.

    During this building period, several of the councilmen threatened to resign and two others finally did resign. One night, A. P. recessed the meeting, sending the marshall to bring in an absent councilman. He came in, voted his "nay", but it was on record.

    Also during this building period, the council continued a program of grading and graveling city streets, they lay sewers and culverts, bought a city scale and installed the first electric streets lights. And strangest of all, sparred for two years with the school board who seemed badly to need more school rooms.

    The school board finally did receive the use of six rooms in the city hall "for school purposes." For, of course, the county did not accept this new court house.

    As De La Hunt reports, as soon as Tell City started building a city hall, the citizens of Cannelton raised money in their community to build a court house. They started later than Tell City, but finished first. And since the county received a new court house without cost and without the legal process and fuss of voting to relocate it, the county seat remained in Cannelton. Tell City's so called "City Hall" remained a city hall.

    Some people say that A.P. was outmaneuvered in this court house race. I believe with many that he built the city hall solely to force Cannelton's hand. Tell City was growing up and needed a city hall. Built his way, half of it it was free, for Tell City would have contributed that much had the court house appeared on the county tax levy. He knew all along that one floor could be used for school rooms while the city was growing up to the building. And he was enough of a gambler to simply have to cover the long shot that if Cannelton did not come through when they chips were down, Tell City would be prepared to accept the county seat for a substantial civic gain.

    But the symbol of defeat or victory, our city hall is A.P. Fenn's building and one of the marks he left in Tell City. And I must add that it has served the city well these many years.

    From a letter from Charles Schreiber:

    Sept 12, 1989

    Cathy:

    After talking to Bert [Fenn] last night I realized his paper only had to do with the building of City Hall. Let me add this for you.

    For a long time the building was really a white elephant. Entirely too large for a city hall, but they used it right along for many purposes besides the City Government. At various times and for various reasons it was used for extra school rooms. I went to school there in my grade school days for 2 1/2 years while Newman was being built. The first library was in the city hall. The 3rd floor (which I'm sure will not be on the tour) was the gym. Here is where basketball started. This area was also used by various athletic groups. Various churches used part of it for a time, headquarters for the Red Cross and others during the 1937 flood. Little Theatre group used parts of the building. All sorts of committees used the building over the years. Many bands practiced there. I'm sure there were other uses that I do not recall. The jail was in the SW corner on the first or ground level floor.

    The block that the building sits on was also important and very interesting history. I have made a copy of some of my notes of the city square or Market Square as it was first called as the original Market house sat on this location, along with the first Main Street of Tell City. The plank road ran through where the driveways are now. Picnics, political rallys and band concerts were held in the park.

    I hope I haven't confused you with this but I think it important.

    Also the records were all in German up until 1883 or so.

    Chas. Schreiber

 
Tell City's City Hall was built in 1898. The building was to be used as the county's Court House originally, but never was. There was a race between Cannelton & Tell City in 1898, whoever finished building their court house first would become the county seat of Perry County. Tell City finished before Cannelton by a day or two, but Cannelton stole the records as they were being moved from Rome and became the county seat.

 

  • Statue of William Tell & Son
    Commissioned by Austin Corbin as a gift to the city. Tell City National Bank gave the fountain to the city in honor of the bank's 100 th birthday.
 
The William Tell Statue was commissioned by August Corbin in honor of Tell City's namesake as a gift to the city. Tell City National Bank gave the foundation to the city in honor of the bank's 100th birthday.

 

Take SR 66 (West) to Troy :

  • The Nester House
    Riverplace (The Old Nester House) is located on Water Street, the only street that fronts the Ohio River in Troy, IN. Completed by John G. Heinzle in 1863, the old native sandstone block building was first used as a grocery store with residence on the second floor. After Heinzle's death in 1871, his widow, Elizabeth, married Jacob Nester who expanded services at the hotel by adding length to the original 32' x 36' structure making it 32' x 68' on the ground floor and 32' x 58' on the second and third levels.

    The old section's first floor was then a hotel lobby, bar, merchant showroom and elegant dining room. The extension served as kitchen, storage and servants' area. The second floor had eight instead of five rooms, at least two of which the Nesters used as living quarters. The attic provided sleeping space for single men, mainly local miners.

    Three coal-burning fireplaces, one in the lobby and two on the second floor and a pot-bellied stove in the dining room provided heat for the entire hotel. Floor grates allowed heat to rise, hopefully to the third floor.

    A fire started from the overheated flu by the stove and the roof was destroyed in the 1880's. The double front porch was probably removed at that time also. When the roof was replaced, its facade was changed eliminating the dormered appearance of the upper story window.

    Riverplace has had several owners and several names. The owners were John G. Heinzle (1860), Elizabeth Heinzle (1871), Jacob Nester (1879), Issac Dunn (1895), Peter Backer (1900), Francis Dunn (1902), Joseph Schwartz (1911), Joseph and Margaret Leingang (1913), Francis Xavier Bumm (1920), John I. Bumm (1954), Joseph W. Leingang (1959) William Cole (1967), and now James and Joyce Efinger (September 1988).

    The hotel has been known as: The Heinzel Family Grocery, Heinzle Hotel, Bauer Hotel (when rented to John Bauer by his sister, Elizabeth Heinzle), Union Hotel, Old and New Union Hotel, Nester House, Riverfront Hotel, and now Riverplace. It is the intention of the Efingers to preserve both the building and its history.

    A roofed lattice pavilion on the east lawn provided a place for outdoor dancing during its grandest times. The existing brick wash house replaced the train platform at the northeast edge of the lot sometime during that period.

    It is said that the basement, long since filled in, was a link in the Underground Railroad System having a tunnel through which slaves could escape southern masters. A section of that tunnel was uncovered in 1991.

    The 21" thick walls and the mortise and tendon jointed poplar studs are as secure today as when Riverplace was completed in 1863.

 
The Nester House located on Water Street, was completed by John G Heinzle in 1853. The old native sandstone block building was first used as a grocery store with residence on the second floor, after Heinzle's death in 1871, his widow, Elizabeth, married Jacob Nester in 1874 They operated it as a hotel and residence from 1886 and sold it in 1896. This may be the oldest building left in Troy. The current owners are calling their home "Riverplace".


  • Christ of the Ohio, a Narrative
    I remember the many lonely nights I spent lying in a cold, damp cell where the stench of my own body odor mixed with urine was almost more that I could stand. The horrible coughing echoed through the halls serving as a dim reminder that tomorrow our lungs would again be filled with coal dust.

    I had been captured as a prisoner. The U.S. Army was most displeased that a German, like myself, was free and alone traveling through North America, especially when Americans were dying every day in a war with my country. Honestly, I meant no harm. I was an artist, a sculptor who longed to see the world, but war changes everything.

    I was sent to a camp and made to do hard labor in the underground coal mines somewhere in Kentucky. We were given little to eat and our clothes were always filthy. Believe it or not, that wasn't my biggest worry. The men that worked at the camp were as mean as the prisoners, so tempers flared and fights were constant.

    The bells on the horse drawn ambulance had the same ring as the ones on the hearse...the nighly fear was paralyzing. As my head rested on a damp rag against the cold concrete blocks of the cell, I prayed. Every night I prayed. I prayed "Please, God, if you'll let me out of this hell hole alive, I promise I'll do something for you someday."

    Night after night my lips muttered the same prayer. The priest on guard, Father Paul, would visit occasionally to ask how I was doing. My reply was always the same. "I'm still promising God I'll do something for him if I live long enough to get out of here." He would chuckle as he walked away.

    After the war ended, I was shipped to another prison in England. One day -- out of the blue -- I received a long distance call from Father Paul. He was at an Archabbey somewhere in the states called St. Meinrad. "Are you Herb Jogurst, the prisoner who is an artist?" Of course, I said yes.

    He told me of a wealthy doctor and his mother who lived in a place called Tell City, Indiana. The doctor lived on a high hill overlooking the Ohio River and wanted something sculpted that would give travelers inspiration on their journeys on the river. I saw this not only a challenge, but also a chance to keep my promise. "Yes! Yes!" I screamed into the receiver. I heard the words of my prayer crying out in my mind. "I will do something for you Lord." This statue IS my "something"

    I struggled for several years trying to find a material that would endure harsh weather. Finally, the combination of terrazzatine dust and concrete worked. I completed my project in 1956. May it long serve as a silent messenger for peace to all who share its beauty.

 
The Christ of the Ohio Statue was carved and erected in 1954 as a donation of Dr. N.A. James of Tell City. At the time he owned a house on the site.

  • Fulton Hill
    Robert Fulton, unquestionably the most famous of the family, was born in Pennsylvania on November 14, 1765. His brother, Abraham Smith Fulton, was born in 1772.

    While Abraham was teaching school in Louisville, KY, his brother went on to develop a steam-powered rivercraft that completely changed the face of America. Fulton's use of steam to propel the first steamboats on the inland waterways of the United States, touched our area in the early 1800's.

    Fulton's dream was to send his steamboat, "The New Orleans", down the Ohio River from Pittsburgh to the city of New Orleans, thereby opening a new waterway and eventually opening the development of the West.

    "The New Orleans" became a reality, and in 1811 piloted by his associate Nicholas Roosevelt, (great-uncle of Theodore Roosevelt) "puffed and chugged" its way past this area. After a grueling trip, which included the great earthquake of 1811, the steamboat arrived at its New Orleans destination some three months later.

    As the craft passed Troy, people were wide-eyed, awed and many hid in bushes along the way, fearful of the smoke-belching machine.

    "The New Orleans" apparently refueled coal at a site near Cannelton, IN. Mr. Roosevelt, piloting the boat, had purchased land there some time before the trip with the idea of stockpiling coal for future refueling in this area. It is also believed that the craft took on wood from the woodyards at Troy. This was proven in 1912 when a replica of the boat followed the exact route, celebrating the centennial of the success of the earlier voyage, stopped at Troy to take on wood as the earlier vessel had done. This was reported by a local citizen, who, as a child, boarded the "New Orleans II".

    With the success of the "New Orleans" and knowing the on-coming need for coal fuel, Robert Fulton bought 1000 acres of land from Mr. Roosevelt. The land located between Cannelton, IN and Tell City, IN became known as the Fulton Tract. Fulton believed it contained a deep coal vein, but he died before realizing there was very little obtainable coal in the area. This is believed to be the first coal mine in Indiana.

    Robert Fulton became ill in 1814 with a lung problem, probably tuberculosis, and in early 1815, contacted his brother, Abraham, to come to the area and look after his land interests. When Robert died in February of 1815, he left $3,000 in his will to him. This could have easily financed Abraham's relocating to this area.

    Abraham and his wife, Mary, made the trip down-river and settled in Troy, the only settlement along this stretch of the Ohio. This rough and crude style of living was a far cry from their Louisville, KY home.

    He bought three lots in Troy (in the vicinity of the present location of Fortwendel's General Store). He then proceeded to erect a log dwelling. Everything went well for a time, but on October, 20, 1815, disaster struck. While felling trees on what is now known as Fulton Hill, he was crushed to death by a huge log. The log was left where it fell and decayed some years later.

    His grieving widow buried him on a hill, just outside of town where he became, allegedly the first white person to be buried in the Troy City Cemetery, as it was said to be an old Indian Burial Ground.

    No references have been found relating to any children of Abraham. It is on record that Mary Fulton remarried soon after his death, to an acquaintance of his, Samuel LaForce, a carpenter by trade. Mr. LaForce completed the log cabin that was mentioned on the appraiser's list in 1816.

    Disaster struck again when LaForce died in late 1816, cause unknown.

    Mary Fulton remarried again in September 1817 and she and her new husband, Edward Bibb, apparently left the area soon thereafter. With her leaving, the last physical remains of the Fulton Family in Perry County was gone.

    Fulton Hill was acquired by the Town of Troy from the Indiana Easter Seal Society in 1993. For 40 years, it was used as Camp Koch Summer Retreat for handicapped children of the area and throughout the state.

    At the present time, Fulton Hill is a community Center run by the Town's Parks and Recreation Board. Also provided are various picnic areas, a shelter house, playgrounds, nature trails, a campground, and a swimming pool, all on the 39-acre park. The area is quickly becoming a showpiece for the town.

    The Troy Parks and Recreation Board 
Troy, IN 47588

    o
 
Fulton Hill has one of the best views in Perry County of the Ohio River. The new community center was recently completed.

 

St. Pius Church was built in 1881-1884. The work was supervised by Father Conrad Ackerman, O.S. B., who was assigned as pastor in May 1876. The steeple measures 142 ft tall, the walls are 18 inches thick, the tower walls are 38 inches thick on the first floor. The town clock in the tower is one of the few hand-wound clocks in the country.

Take SR 66 (West) past Troy to:

  • Lincoln Ferry Park
    My name is Green Taylor -- funny name for a fellow, I guess, but still that's the name my Pa wanted for me...Green. My Pa was James Taylor and we lived in the small village of Troy right over there, close to where we're standin' right now.

    Pa was a might important fellow in Troy in 1826. He had his hand in a bunch of business ventures. One of 'em he had was a ferry boat that he operated across the Anderson River...just where it empties into the Ohio right over there.

    Now, this time I'm talkin' about...I was a lad of 12. Along about then, Pa decided to hire himself a Captain for that ferry boat. After all, Pa was the boss and I guess he figured that he could find somebody else to do the work. Well, the fellow he hired to run that ferry boat was none other than Abe Lincoln. Abe was 17 then, a big, strong lanky guy who lived with his folks over on Pigeon Creek, about fifteen or so miles from Troy. He might have lived over there, but he was in Troy most days. After his chores at home, he'd walk into Troy, the closest town to his cabin and stay over at the Post Office 'til he got the newspaper read. Then he'd mosey around looking for little jobs to make some money. Well, he was around so much that my Pa asked him if he'd like the job of runnin' that ferry boat, and Abe said he would right fast. So Pa hired him. Offered him six dollars a month and a roof over his head. So Abe moved in with us. Him and me shared a room in our cabin. That's how I got to know him real good.
    Pa's ferry was big enough to hold a wagon and team of mules and it was a pretty good business. Sometime someone would come along who wanted to cross the Anderson on foot so Abe built him a little boat that he'd rowin 'em across on. He charged about six cents for that trip, and Pa let'em keep that money. He liked Abe...he sure was an enterprisin' fellow. Soon Abe was lookin' around for more ways to make money. Abe sure loved that river, so he noticed all the heavy traffic of steamboats goin' up and down on the Ohio and they all needed wood for fuel to keep their boilers fired up. Pretty soon he was choppin' wood on the riverbank and he sold wood to passing steamers for fifty cents a cord.

    Wasn't long before he come up with yet another idea for gettin' rich. He built himself a fair-sized rowboat and he began takin' passengers out into the Ohio so they could board a passing steamboat mid-stream. Why, the first two men he took out to the middle of the river, they each gave him a shiny, silver half-dollar. One dollar a trip...Abe was really on to something.

    But trouble for Abe was not far behind. Two brothers -- the Dill brothers -- over on the Kentucky side of the Ohio, had been given the exclusive rights to run a ferry across the Ohio to the mouth of the Anderson on the Indiana side. They claimed that Abe was breakin' the law by doing what he was doing. cause only they had that right. They got downright mad about it because they filed a charge against Abe and he had to appear before a Justice of the Peace over there in Lewisport, Kentucky. Anyhow, the law was looked up and it looked like Abe was in a peck of trouble. Now, Abe had no lawyer, but Abe could read and he read that law over and over. He pleaded his own case. He presented evidence that his business was limited to delivering passengers to boats in the middle of the river. He had never ferried anyone all the way across the river. Well, Abe had'em. He won that case. Yes, it was right here where we are today that old Abe first learned about the law. He started studying the law right then and look where he wound up...at the White House in Washington, D.C.

    There's something else I want to tell you about old Abe. This happened right here, too. My Pa had a corn crib, right over there about a hundred yards from where we are. One day when business on the river must have been slow, Pa told me and Abe to go in that crib and do some corn shucking. We got in there and pretty soon Abe got to teasin' me about some pretty little girl in Troy who let it be known that she liked me pretty good. Well, I didn't like her or any other girl, but Abe kept it up like he always did. Pretty soon, I got tired of it and I picked up one of them ears of corn. I hauled off and threw it at 'im. It struck 'im right above his right eye. The blow left a scar that old Abe Lincoln had with 'im till the day he died.

    Happened right here in Perry County, Indiana.

 
The Lincoln Ferry Park is the location of a ferry owned by James Taylor in 1826 which ran across the Anderson River. He hired none other than 17 yr. old Abe Lincoln to run the ferry. Abe lived fifteen or so miles from Troy. Abe built a rowboat to take passengers out into the Ohio so they could board passing steamboats. The Dill Brothers had been given exclusive rights to run a ferry across the Ohio. They claimed Abe was breaking a law and sued. Abe studied the law and pleaded his own first case He won since he had never ferried anyone all the way across the river.


Return to Troy on SR 66, turn left (North) on SR 545, travel about 1 mile past the Anderson River Bridge if desired, turn right onto CR 950N (Gravel Rd) for about a mile to: (no visible remenents remain)

John D. Williamson erected a water mill a short distance upstream from this little bridge in the early 1840s. Around 30-35 years later he sold it to Daniel B. Jones who operated it until shortly before his death in 1914. This was a popular picnic spot on Sunday for people from Tell City in the early years of this century. A 5 mile buggy ride, some fishing, some picnic lunch, some sparkling, and the 5 mile buggy ride home, probably the horse knowing part or all the way home.

Barger Bridge is named after Jacob Barger who owned land on both sides of the Anderson at this site. Some of his family are buried in the cemetery a half mile to the south in Spencer County.

Continue north on SR 545 for about 1 more mile if desired, turn right on CR 1075 for about 1 mile to: (no visible remenents remain)

  • Lincoln Genealogy
 
In 1821 Davis Lincoln purchased land on both sides of the Anderson River at this site and erected a water mill . He was a second half-cousin of Abraham Lincoln , they had the same great grandfather, John Lincoln, but different great grandmothers. Davis Lincoln probably died from cholera on the Mississippi around 1825. His widow and family (his oldest son was 15 years old at the time) continued operating the mill. On June 16, 1840 a younger son, Austin, was murdered at the mill. The murderer was not identified. A great great granddaughter of Davis Lincoln, Catherine Grigsby Wolf, died on November 13, 1995.

Continue north on SR 545 through New Boston, turn right (East) on Huffman Rd. (CR 30) to:

A water-powered mill was built just upstream from Huffman Covered Bridge on the Spencer County side. Another water mill was torn down around 1910. A steam-powered mill was erected and ran for 15 years. The present bridge was built in 1864 under the supervision of William Washer of Troy.

  • Troxel's Fort - Troxel's Horseshoe
    Near the center of the field near Huffman's Bridge is a 4 foot stone wall shaped like a horseshoe around 65 feet across. It was called Troxel's Fort or Troxel's Horseshoe. Some legends say that it was built by a pirate from Jean Lafitte's band around New Orleans around 1815, and had something to do with lead stolen from the mines at Galena, Ill. Other legends feature its importance to horse thieves in the early 1800's in moving horses from eastern Kentucky to west of the Mississippi...

    I became interested in researching Troxel's Fort in 1981 after attending the Scott/Huffman Reunion and hearing various people state that they knew nothing about it except the reference in Goodspeed's History of Warrick, Spencer and Perry Counties.

    As a child growing up in Oklahoma, I had heard the statement "strong as Troxel's Fort" many times. It was always said with laughter and made in reference to something being strong. I did remember my mother saying that Troxel built the fort in the shape of a horseshoe and was on a hill above a river and was used by "pirates' and was in the area where some of our relatives, the Wrights, lived!

    I met my husband, Ephedale McKim, in El Paso, Texas in 1941, while he was in the army during World War II. We came to live for a brief time in Bristow, Indiana. During that time I heard my mother-in-law say one day that something "was strong as Troxel's Fort" and I asked her why she said that, as my mother was always saying that. She explained about the fort being on the farm that had belonged to a McKim and they used to walk up there years ago.

    After talking with Riley and Millard Huffman, I thought that I could put the story together, at least good enough for them to know a bit more about the fort. On the way home to California in 1981 I stopped in Oklahoma to visit my relatives and asked about the Troxells. She said that they moved from around there and that one of my cousins had married Roy Troxell. She, too, remembered the old saying, "strong as Troxell's fort"!
    I contacted my cousin in Oklahoma City and found out that his cousin Richard Troxel had written a book on the Troxel family family and Richard Troxell sent me a copy.

    I talked to everyone that I could think of and find to try to put the story together. Some didn't remember anything except the saying. Others could refer me to someone who knew a little about the family and of course, Richard is regarded as the family historian.

    My father, Elihu M. Watkins, was born in Indian Territory in 1881. His father had come out during the Civil War aftermath from Georgia. My great grandfather Eli P. Watkins was an attorney in Atlanta, Georgia and died in England in 1889 while working in the Department of the Secretary of State. My grandmother was a Driskill and her father Alonzo was born in Indiana and she died when my father was born. He was taken by a Potawatomi Indian and raised (wet-nursed) until he was about four years old. His father married again to a Lee of the Virginia Lee family and came and got him. He always spent time with a Mr. Troxel who lived near us and had been born about the same time and place. My great grandfather's brother was J. R. Watkins, the Watkins Products inventor, who had come to East Texas in 1858 from Georgia. This was just across Red River from where I was born and grew up.

    After over a hundred and fifty years the story of Troxel's Fort isn't as detailed as I'd like, but maybe enough to add to the history.
    The Troxel family is of German origin and in German is spelled "Trachael". In German, the name means "singletree," the kind a horse is hitched to. Family tradition said that all Troxels in America are related. The name is spelled in several variant ways, having been "Americanized" by common usage to Troxel and Troxell.

    Between 1733 and 1764, 12 Trachel (Troxel) people emigrated to America. So the relationship of these from various parts of Western Europe would be rather remote in some cases.

    The story was that these Troxels in Oklahoma and Texas were descended from two brothers that came to America from Germany. Richard found sufficient documents to prove this true of his family.

    The Troxels originated in Asia Minor; that is Hebrew or Jewish. From Berne, Switzerland the Troxel family can be traced back to 1367...a small hamlet named for the family -- Trachel. The records in the Reformed Church in Lenk, Semental, Berne Canton, Switzerland (located on the Italian border) refers to the first founders as Drachsell, the bold, courageous, venturesome, truthful, honest officers holders of that day.
    Johannes Troxel came to Philadelphia, Penn. August 30, 1737. Peter Troxel came to Philadelphia on the ship Samuel out of London also bringing his family and promptly proceeded to Egypt, Penn. in Bucks County. From there various lines of the family spread out and pushed westward. The genealogies of these lines are fully documented in Richard's book: Troxel(L) Trails .

    Troxel's Fort according to Goodspeed states that John Troxel was a Spanish Pirate. With the various family stories and traditions, we find that John Troxel was with Jean Lafitte. Here we have to perhaps rethink a bit of history to get the story straight.

    According to the life of Lafitte printed in the Encyclopedia Americana, Jean Lafitte was pardoned for his support of Jackson in the Battle of New Orleans. The documentary source is given as a book: Jean Lafitte, Gentleman Rover by Stanley Clisby Arthur, Harmanson Publishers, c1952, New Orleans.

    This book documents that Jean Lafitte did not die in the Gulf of Mexico as was commonly told. He was pardoned by President Madison February 6, 1815 along with all of his Baratarians who swore loyalty, and he died in Alton, Illinois May 5, 1854. He was a gunpowder manufacturer and lived under the name of Lafflin. One line of Laffins were wealthy bankers from the coast of France. It is believed that these were his mother's people.

    His story was: He and his young bride set sail for France from Port-au-Prince, San Domingo. The Lafittes were also French bankers. Their ship was attacked by Spanish pirates and he and his young bride with their infant daughter were put on an island and left to die. He ever hated the Spanish after that. He was found by an American ship and taken to New Orleans where his wife soon died, leaving him with a young daughter and penniless. He was never loyal to the Americans after this.

    Because of the political climate of the times, England, France and Spain were always striving for this part of the United States. Piracy was encouraged in some government circles by all three governments. Jean and his brother had a blacksmith shop in New Orleans. They engaged in shipping and trade. Many stories and tales were spun about Jean Lafitte. Some were done deliberately to cover his activities. Well educated and wealthy, he was a spy or secret agent against Spain. He always give information against them because of his hatred for them. He had enough ammunition in his warehouse to enable Jackson and his Kentucky men, to win the Battle of New Orleans.

    After his pardon, he married again: Emma Hortense Mortimer of Charleston, South Carolina and settled in St. Louis. They became the parents of sons Jules and Glenn. Glenn died young at St. Louis, August 11, 1848. They moved across the river to Alton, Illinois. He died of pneumonia May 5, 1854.

    John Troxel was a member of Lafitte's men and we're told that he was a favorite of Lafitte. He was young. We don't know where he met Lafitte and became a member of his crew. But it is interesting to note that Lafitte also was of Hebrew/Jewish extraction.
    So much has been written about Lafitte that it is difficult to sort all of the information available into proper perspective. One book that gave resources and quoted from some journal and available records. Others will take another incident and dwell at length on that.
    There are several Perry County surnames quoted in these old records. John Brock, John Troxel, and John Sketo, beside the usual Brown, Jones and Roberts.

    Family tradition said that John Troxel was very intelligent and learned quickly. After the pardon, Lafitte dismantled his city and they were supposed to have gone back to various locales. Some of the crew (as usual) thought they had too much of a good thing and refused to leave that life. They frequently disobeyed Lafitte's orders when he was gone.

    One family tradition says the story was that on this particular day in Galveston, Jean Lafitte was out to sea in preparation to leaving Galveston. A small party of the men mutinied and tried to take over a small ship. John Troxel was in charge and when he refused to go along with them, they hung him. Lafitte came back and hung them. He was very much upset about young John Troxel's death, especially in this manner. He did not want to have to go back and tell his family what had happened. The family story says that John Troxel was hung by these pirates on his 21st birthday. That would make him born about 1797 when this happened in 1815.

    The family story says that Jean Lafitte caught pneumonia in Illinois when a long time friend became ill and he went and chopped wood in a snowstorm and took care of them. Some say that they thought it was an uncle and others thought it was a brother of John Troxel. They all agree it was a member of John Troxel's family.

    During the years when England was trying to get control of New Orleans and the river trade after the Revolutionary War, Lafitte and his men tried to prepare for attack. Part of this time he served as a double agent with the Spanish. They went as far as Illinois to get lead. These they secreted in various places so they could make bullets if necessary. One such place was Troxel's Fort in Perry County Indiana.
    As usual, many stories were told of buried treasure and piracy. But the Troxel tradition is that it was lead...supposedly in a limestone cave that you could get to from the river.

    As a child, I heard them tell how the fort set high on a hill with a command of the river. It was well built and they thought they could defend themselves from any ship that dared come up. The cave (or fort) was supposedly well equipped for a stand-off. As for treasure, most thought not. The treasure being lead and war equipment worth more than gold in these circumstances.

    After Jean Lafitte's death, his wife took her son back to the East coast. She sailed down the Mississippi river and up the Ohio. She vowed to never remarry and did not; she died in Philadelphia December 17, 1885 at 76 years old.

    Her son Jules cared for his mother until her death. He lived in East St. Louis and married Carmen Ernestina Andrechyne, a native of Carondelet, Missouri. They had one son who left descendants. Son Jules died in 1924 and told his grandson, John Andrechyne about the family and what his father told him. He also had the family Bible with all of the notations and the manuscript of Jean Lafitte. Jean Lafitte was buried in the cemetery about a mile north of Alton, Illinois in the northwest corner.

    The Troxels are numerous in Illinois. They were pioneers in that state as well as Kentucky, Indiana and Tennessee.

    One interesting Troxel history is that a Henry Troxel went from Ohio County, Kentucky to Illinois about the time that the Lincolns did. They settled DeWitte Co., Ill. Later these went to Oklahoma. They claimed to be part Cumberland Indian, with Thomas (born April, 1893, Whitley Co., KY) being Chief of the tribe. He was descended from "Big Jake" who was a trader with the Indians and married the Princess (daughter of the Chief) Cornblossom. Their son "Little Jake" was the Chief when his grandfather became too ill to administer the tribal affairs. Henry H. Troxel was one of the first Scott Countians to attend both American and foreign universities. His mother was the first woman to graduate from Cumberland College and married Burk Troxel, who became an optimist. These records at Pine Knot, KY.
    The legend of the lost silver mine is from these Troxels in Scott County.

    This story has been documented from numerous sources. The Lafitte pardon is in the National Archives and all other documents are in the places of locale.

    John Troxel that built Troxel's Fort is believed to be born November 22, 1794, son of Michael and Susanna of Easton, PA. He appears to have gone to live with his sister in Philadelphia Co. after the death of his father. His father's will names him in 1772. Michael died August 16, 1808 at Easton, PA. Michael was the son of Michael and Margaret Troxel who was the son of Johannes and Anna Maria Troxel. Johannes was born Lenk, Switzerland, 1689 and was the son of Jakob and Margaret Brengel Troxel. Jakob was the son of Hans and Elizabeth Gungael Troxel. Jakob was born in 1652

 

 

Near the center of a field nearby was a four foot tall stone structure shaped like a horseshoe around 65 feet across. It was called Troxel's Fort or Troxel's Horseshoe . Some legends say it was built by a pirate from Jean Lafitte's band around New Orleans around 1815, and had something to do with lead stolen from the mines at Galena, IL. Other legends feature its importance to horse thieves in the early 1880s in moving horses from Eastern Kentucky to west of the Mississippi.

Continue East on Huffman Rd. (CR 30) to :

Bristow: Alexander VanWinkle owned the site before 1850. Two early roads crossed here: The Rome-Jasper Road and the Boonville- Leavenworth Road. The VanWinkle family platted and sold lots to new residents in 1875. The new name comes from Thomas Newton Bristow. He came from Cannelton after 1870. A young daughter died there in 1872. By 1880 he was back in Cannelton.

The Bristow Milling Company flouring mill was built within a few years after 1875 and is still operating today.

Bristow had a high school from 1908. The basketball team always gave Cannelton and Tell City a fight in the county tourney in the 1920s and 1930s.

SIDE TRIP: Take St. Meinrad-Bristow Rd (CR 154 & CR 152) West out of Bristow to SR 545. Turn right (North) on 545 to:

St. Meinrad Archabbey in nearby Spencer County is one of only two archabbeys in the United States and one of seven in the world. It is the home of a Benedictine community of monks, who have committed their lives to prayer. Living by the instruction of communal life as set down by St. Benedict in the 6th century, contemporary monks have interpreted the wisdom of this Rule of St. Benedict to keep its value alive and applicable to a new generation of men.

Saint Meinrad was founded in 1854 by monks from the Swiss Abbey of Maria Einsiedeln. They came to Indiana at the request of a local priest, Fr. Joseph Kundek, who sought German-speaking monks to assist with ministry to the growing Roman Catholic population in the area. He also encouraged them to educate local men for the priesthood.

Nearly 145 years later, the Benedictine community of monks stands more than 135 men strong. In addition to their private prayer and spiritual reading, the monks gather four times a day in the majestic Archabbey Church to pray in community; guests are invited to join them. Their work includes the operation of a graduate-level School of Theology that continues to prepare men for the priesthood and, more recently, lay students for ministry to the Church or society.

The monks also operate Abbey Press, a wholesale manufacturing and marketing company of quality religious and inspirational products for Christian families nationwide. Additionally, the monks serve the Church by working in parishes in its home archdiocese, as well as other dioceses in the Midwest. And throughout the year, the monks offer a wide-ranging program of retreats, for groups and individuals, to help all experience a closer relationship with God.

Continue on SR 545 through St. Meinrad. Turn right (East) on SR 62 to Adyeville, turn right (South) to:

Troesch Steam Engine & Antique Museum featuring antique steam engines and antiques. Open most Sundays.

go back to SR 62, continue East to SR 145, turn right (South) back to Bristow.at Bristow stay on 145 South a short distance to St. Isidore Rd (CR 32). Turn left (East) to:

Friday, October 7, 1938
Perry County's Most Historic Spot To Be Marked

Lafayette Spring Chapter, Daughters of the American Revolution will place a monument in the form of a bronze plaque mounted on a huge block of sandstone, at Freeman's Corner, Perry County's most historic spot, in a ceremony tentatively set for the last Sunday in October.
Mrs. Louis Zoercher, regent of Tell City, with her committee members Mrs. John Gerber, Cannelton, chairman, Mrs. P.J. Coultas and Mrs. H. C. Powers of Tell City are planning to have some of the State's best historians and speakers for the program and they have invited the Perry County Historical Society for a joint meeting on that day.

George R. Wilson, historian-surveyor of Indianapolis and Prof. Ross Lockridge of Indiana University have been invited to speak in addition to Mrs. William H. Schlosser, state regent of the D.A.R. and other state officers.

Freeman's Corner in Perry County is the southeast corner of the Vincennes Tract deeded in 1803 to the United States of America by several nations of Indians in the Treaty of Ft. Wayne. The Chapter is eager to mark this historic spot, surveyed by Thomas Freeman by placing the monument on the St. John Road, a county road in Clark Township near Bristow, a quarter mile from the actual corner, which corner is almost inaccessible for the average traveler being n a deep woods not much different from the time of the original survey.

Mounted on a huge block of native sandstone the bronze plaque will be placed at an angle that the following inscription may be read by a passing motorist without alighting from his automobile: "This monument stands one fourth mile south of the southeast corner of the Historical Vincennes Tract as established by Surveyor Thomas Freeman in 1802-1803. Placed by Lafayette Spring Chapter, D.A.R. in 1938.
The sandstone block is a gift to the Society by H.C. Powers, Superintendent of the Ohio River Power Co. it was taken from the old waterworks plant at Cannelton.

George R. Wilson, surveyor and historian of Indianapolis, who is particularly interested in all old surveys has made a study of the Vincennes Tract of land. He came here in 1927 to locate the corner and all of the information contained in this article was obtained from him.

The story of how there came to be a tract of land know as the "Vincennes Tract" with its Indian, French and English Association, wars, treaties and settlements and their bearing on history and surveys in Indiana constitutes interesting reading dating back almost 200 years.

In 1742 the Indians gave to the French at Vincennes by means of a "gift deed" a tract of land lying at right angles to the general trend of the Wabash River at Vincennes. In 1763 the English conquered it from the French and in 1779 General George Rogers Clark captured it from the English in his conquest of the Northwest Territory.

In 1803 the United States of America, represented by William Henry Harrison, Superintendent of Indian Affairs, and Commissioner Plenipotentiary of the United States, cleared title to this land in a treaty with the Delawares, Shawnees, Potawatimies, Miamis, Eel River, Weeas, Kickapoos, Piankashaws and Kaskaskias nations of Indians made at Fort Wayne. In doing this the Government went back of all deed and former treaties and bought the land from the Indians, the remote owners.

One of the articles contained in the Treaty at Ft. Wayne, the United States agreed to furnish salt not to exceed 150 bushels, from the Salt Spring on the Saline Creek, to be divided among the Indians. Indians were allowed to fish in the rivers and cross streams on ferries free of toll during floods. At that time salt was a luxury and scarce. The Vincennes Tract includes 1,600,000 acres of land. It is 70 leagues long and 42 leagues wide

The General Land Office of the Department of the Interior at Washington, D.C. describes the land as follows:
"Beginning at Point Coupee on the Wabash, and running thence by a line north seventy-eight degrees, west twelve miles, thence by a line parallel to the general course of the Wabash, until it shall be intersected by a line at right angels to the same, passing through the mouth of White River, thence by the last mentioned line across the Wabash and toward the Ohio, seventy-two miles, thence by a line north twelve degrees west, until it shall be intersected by a line at right angles to the same, passing through Point Coupee, and by the last mentioned line to the place of beginning."
Most of this land lies in Indiana but a small part is in Illinois, the boundary lines of the Vincennes Tract are known as the "Old Indian Boundary." the southeast corner of said tract is located on the line between Sections 25 and 30 Ts 4s Rs 2 and 3W and 2nd P.M. Indiana, according to a description furnished by the Department of the Interior.

The exact corner is between the farms of Henry Delaisse and Perry Andrews, the latter an oil operator of Vincennes who has found gas in several holes on his land and a little oil.

In speaking of his trip here to locate Freeman's Corner, Mr. Wilson said "It was a thrill few surveyors are privileged to have. Having found the range line and armed with the Freeman's original field notes which gave the distance from line tree to line tree and from creek to creek (in this care Anderson river) the search for Freeman's corner began. In an hour's time the marks of the old surveys began to appear. They grew plainer and plainer as they neared the corner and finally upon three moss covered beech trees were the figures and letters wanted. They had broadened until the lines were two inches wide and eight inches long. The half mile corner and its official witness trees were found. Finally the stone was found and south on the line 300 links was the site of the southeast corner of the Vincennes Tract with the topography and forest descriptions given by Thomas Freeman in 1802-1803.

Led by Mr. and Mrs. Henry Delaisse, who own the farm on which the corner is located the local committee visited the place and also found the cornerstone on which were the letters T.T., 24, 4s and on top was a cross. The committee also found the witness trees with the lettering and marks. Mr. Delaisse said that he has sold considerable timer from his place but because the witness trees of beech are not suited for lumber they have been spared. They are very tall having been forced to grow tall in order to reach the sunlight. Shafts of the golden sunlight cut through the dense woods at the time of the visit of the committee but there was not enough light to get good Kodak pictures.

Mr. Wilson said that he could easily imagine Thomas Freeman at his work, with his Jacob staff in his right hand, his compass swinging on his left shoulder and on his right hip, his buckskin pouch swinging from a shoulder strap containing his instructions, papers, field notes and ink horn, opened at the smaller end containing homemade ink brewed from the forest bark; another horn opened at the larger end containing dry sand to be used as a blotter; a dozen or more wild goose feathers from which to make quill pens. With him were his axmen, blazers, chainmen and in the lead a flagman wearing a red flannel shirt that he might be more easily seen.

Freeman's cooks, tent men, hunters and camp followers were nearby and there may have been a few Indian chiefs provided for in the Treaty to help. It was not a large party for Freeman speaks of a "small party." Pack horses with provisions, medicines and the Kentucky cure for snake bite were in charge of farriers or teamsters, Mr. Wilson visualized.

The white men wore buckskin trousers, raccoon caps, moccasins and other pioneer clothing. The guards carried their trusty Kentucky or Tennessee rifles and they know how to hit "either eye" of a deer, buffalo or even a squirrel. Wild game furnished the fresh meat and the streams the fish. Flint steel and "punk" supplied fires and thus the party slowly but surely blazed their way over creeks, rivers, valleys, hills, through briars, thickets and woods, snow and rain to open the way for those who came after them.

Mr. Wilson said that the old musty field notes of Freeman as written on the ground or at camp of the pioneer surveyors are interesting documents, especially to one who has followed the lines called for in them and one who has placed his transit over the very "posts" called for in the fading notes, as he had.

Most of Freeman's note books are about three inches by six inches made by hand out of fools cap paper, sewed together with thread as awkwardly as a man could do it or tied together with strips of buckskin cut as thin as a pioneer could cut them. The notes show the result of perspiration, snow, rain, pocket wear and the cruel hand of time, yet they tell a story of pioneer life no court or jury ever set aside.

Occasionally along his lines, Freeman split a sapling and a limb was returned through the body of the tree, thus a line of "peace trees" was established. In time the sapling became a deformed forest tree and did its part to preserve the location of the line. A number of people living along the Freeman lines recall seeing the "peace trees."

Peace trees should not be confused with "witness trees" as they are quite different.

In October, 1804 Ebenezer Buckinham, Jr. established the second principal meridian which extends from Ohio to the State of Michigan. When Buckinham came north from Freeman's Corner in what is now Perry County he recorded two "Beech Trees as witness trees" and thus a system began and they are the first witness trees on record.

 

 

Freeman's Corner is a monument marking the southeast corner of the Vincennes Tract. On June 7, 1803 Indiana Governor Willliam Henry Harrison gained the Vincennes Tract (a sizable portion of northern Perry County) in a treaty with several tribes of Indians. Freeman's Corner was named after Thomas Freeman who was in charge of surveying the tract in 1804. In August 1804 Harrison treatied for the remainder of Indiana along the Ohio between the Wabash and Clarksville. The monument was erected by the Daughters of the American Revolution in 1938.

 

Continue through Apalona, Then East on Apalona Rd (CR 168) to Old Hwy. 37. Turn right (South), turn left (East) onto Branchville Rd (CR 40) to Branchville, turn right (South) onto Lancaster Rd. (CR 121), turn right (South onto Leopold-Oriole Rd. (CR 119) to:

Leopold had its beginning in 1838 with a 20x30 2-story log chapel, 2 residence rooms on the lower floor and a Catholic chapel on the second. On November 11, 1842 a 25-block plat of Leopold was recorded. A second log church was built in 1842-43. The post office was established in 1847. Most of the settlers were from Belgium, the town's name coming from King Leopold.

St. Augustine Church is dedicated to the patron saint of Father Augustus Bessonies, the founder of the church and town. The present stone church was built between 1866 and 1873.

continue south on Leopold Rd (CR 34), at Old Hwy. 37 turn left (South), Turn right (South) onto Locust Rd (CR 18) through Terry and past:

Saddle Lake is located in the Hoosier National Forest . It has a swimming beach, picnic sites, camping, and a boat ramp. The shore-line trail is a great place to see birds and other wildlife.

continue south on Azalea Rd (CR 16A) to SR 145, turn left (South) to :

St. Marks Catholic Church - Built from 1867-1869 under the direction of Father Morendt. They quarried the rock from a nearby quarry and moved it by oxen and sled. The Holy Mass of Christmas was the 1st mass said in the new church, April 25, 1869.

The Rome to Vincennes Trace ran along St. Marks Rd at St. Marks. It was a foot trail used frequently since before 1805

at St. Marks turn right (South) onto Acorn Rd (CR 12), turn right (South) onto Brushy Fork Rd (CR 11), continue back into Tell City at Hwy. 37.

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The Ohio River Scenic Route in Southern Indiana

  • Ohio River Scenic Route - Indiana Section
  • Scenic Route - Indiana Section
  • Route Overview Map
 

Graced with exceptional natural beauty, the 981-mile Ohio river winds its way through six states and has had an enormous impact on our nation's history.

Prehistoric peoples built towns along its shores and transported exotic materials and ceremonial items up and down the River. The Ohio was the primary way west for early settlers of the frontier. Later, with the coming of the steamboat, it became the center of the transportation and industrial revolution. Prior to the Civil War, the River had great significance as the boundary between slaves and free states, and a great deal of activity took place along the Ohio to help African-Americans find safe passage to the North. In this century, the Ohio River is used to transport the region's coal to a series of coal-fired generating plants located throughout the Ohio Valley, and is also widely used for outdoor recreational activities.

Became a National Scenic Byway in 1997... the Ohio River Scenic Route is the link that ties together this story in southern Indiana. At times hugging the river itself, the Route twists and turns its way past cypress swamps and scenic overlooks, archaeological sites and stately mansions, power plants and caves. You can visit a fascinating steamboat museum, then drive a few miles downriver to a buffalo farm, where the entire family will learn how the buffalo cut a path across southern Indiana which later served as a roadway for early settlers.

While enjoying a leisurely and scenic drive along the Route, you will discover how we, as Americans, have shaped our country. Natural sites such as state parks, caves and lakes provide outdoor recreation opportunities while telling the story of the challenges faced by early settlers as they tried to tame the land. Historic buildings and museums trace the settlement and development of the Ohio Valley from prehistoric times to the present. Experience the unique character of southern Indiana at special events and festivals such as Native American Days, the Swiss Wine Festival, Steamboat Days, and the Buffalo Festival.

The Ohio River Scenic Route reflects the attachment to traditional rural and small-town life that southern Indiana residents value. The landscape along the Route provides a pleasant escape from the sameness of today's suburban growth, while the historic architecture lends a charm and grace missing from modern strip development. As a traveler of the Route, you will enjoy agricultural countryside with well-kept barns, vineyards and orchards; vistas of rural villages dominated by church spires and historic courthouses; and thriving cities with imposing architecture.\

Tucked away in the very toe of southwestern Indiana is something you would expect to find only in our southern states: cypress swamps, complete with water lilies and rare birds. You can fish or just drift along lazily in a boat at Hovey Lake State Fish & Wildlife Area, a 4,300-acre wetland. Adjoining the lake is Twin Swamps Nature Preserve, the highest quality cypress swamp in Indiana.

Along the Ohio River Scenic Route, remnants from distinct periods of history and prehistory can often be found right next to each other. Located on a spot favored by prehistoric Indians as well as American settlers, Evansville contains Wesselman Woods Nature Preserve, a 200-acre stand of virgin timber right in the middle of a city; Angel Mounds State Historic Site, site of a prehistoric Indian town; the late 19th century Reitz Home mansion; the Evansville Museum of Arts & Science with its exhibits on River transportation; and the Evansville Brewing Company, founded in 1894 and still in operation. The largest city in southern Indiana, Evansville remains the cultural center of the area, offering outstanding theatrical and musical performances on a regular basis.

Just minutes from the city of Evansville is the quaint town of Newburgh. Once a large commercial port between Cincinnati and New Orleans, Newburgh now offers a variety of unique shopping and dining opportunities in its downtown historic district overlooking the Ohio River.

The case which best typifies the frontier experience in Indiana, and even in America, is that of Abraham Lincoln's family. Motivated to cross the Ohio from Kentucky by the absence of slavery and the system of orderly distribution of land in Indiana, the Lincoln family built a farmstead along Little Pigeon Creek, not far from the Ohio River. At Lincoln Boyhood National Memorial, you can see and even help with the daily chores that Abe and his family performed on the Indiana frontier. Log farm buildings are staffed during the summer months by costumed interpreters who will let you try your hand at breaking flax, splitting wood, or making butter. Across the road at Lincoln State Park, the musical drama "Young Abe Lincoln" recreates Lincoln's youth in a wooded natural setting much like what existed here in his day.

If you've always wanted to experience the dense forest that early settlers found here, spend some time in the Hoosier National Forest. The 80,000 acres of forest along the route featured four lakes, scenic drives, river overlooks, and Ohio River access sites. There are plenty of opportunities for camping, fishing, hiking, swimming, horseback riding, or just enjoying the shade and scenery.
The most ruggedly scenic part of the Ohio River Scenic Route features rock outcroppings, forested hills, caves and scenic waterways. Harrison-Crawford State Forest includes Wyandotte Woods, with its breathtaking natural escarpments overlooking the Ohio River, and Wyandotte Caves, where visitors can tour the caverns used by prehistoric people for chert mining. Passing through the Harrison-Crawford State Forest on its way to the Ohio, the Scenic Blue River is noted for its clear color, limestone bluffs dotted with cave entrances, and abundant wildlife.

One of the most progressive of its day, the Indiana State Constitution was drafted at Corydon in 1816. Corydon Capitol State Historic Site preserves the state's first capitol building, constructed of Indiana limestone, as well as other buildings associated with early government in the territory and state of Indiana.

The Falls of the Ohio, caused by the river flowing over an exposed fossil reef, was the only persistent impediment to travel and commerce along its entire length. Portaging around the Falls and the cutting of the Portland Canal in the 1830's, gave rise to the cities of New Albany, Clarksville and Jeffersonville in Indiana and Louisville in Kentucky. The Culbertson Mansion State Historic Site in New Albany preserves a 22 room French Second Empire home built in 1869 by one merchant whose wealth derived from the location. The Howard Steamboat Museum in Jeffersonville is housed in the mansion of the founder of the largest inland shipyard in the United States. It depicts the fascinating history of riverboats and their construction. The volume of boatbuilding and shipping here, led to the stabilization of the rest of the river by the locks and dams of this century.

The Falls of the Ohio State Park was recently created, though it was long recognized by scientists as a unique geological area -- a former obstacle to travel is now a place for educating the public about the natural and cultural history of the falls.

The town of Madison prospered in the early 19th century as the major riverport, railway center, and supply town outfitting pioneers moving into the old northwest. Today visitors can enjoy Madison's scenic riverfront, antiques shops and rich architectural heritage. Lanier Mansion State Historic Site is a Greek Revival home designed by architect Francis Costigan, who also designed other historic homes in Madison. At the Early American Trades Museum, visitors can view demonstrations of wheelwrighting, carpentry, blacksmithing and other trades common in a 19th century community. Just down the road, Clifty Falls State Park is known for its rugged gorges and rocky waterfalls.

Vevay (pronounced "Veevy") was settled in 1802 by French-speaking Swiss, who transformed Indiana Territory wilderness into the first commercial vineyards and winery in the United States. Swiss heritage is evident in local architecture -- from pioneer era to the modern Ogle Haus Inn.
A trolley tour of Rising Sun is the perfect way to discover history, shop for antiques and enjoy the scenery. Rising Sun's 1846 courthouse is the oldest in continuous operation in Indiana.

The most unusual of the area's river mansions is Hillforest Mansion in Aurora, built by industrialist and financier Thomas Gaff in the 1850's. Because shipping and riverboats were significant elements of the Gaff business they are reflected in the architecture of the house. Other attractions in the Lawrenceburg area include Chateau Pomije Winery, offering tours and fine dining; Perfect North Slopes with its 25 acres for ski fun during the winter; and Seagram Distillers, providing tours by appointment.

The Ohio River Scenic Route at Scenic Byways

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The Lincoln Heritage Trail

  • Lincoln HeritageTrail
 


It's been said that to truly understand someone, you must walk a mile in his shoes. The Lincoln Heritage Trail allows travelers to gain a greater understanding of one of the nation's most revered presidents by tracing his life from his modest birthplace in Kentucky, to his frontier youth in Indiana, to his early successes as a country lawyer in Illinois. The Lincoln heritage Trail takes you through the national park properties and state historic sites that mark the places where Lincoln lived, studied, played and worked. Travel the Lincoln Heritage Trail to follow the path of the great man.

"I was born Feb. 12, 1809, in Hardin County Kentucky. My parents were born in Virginia, of undistinguished families -- second families, perhaps I should say. My mother, who died in my tenth year, was of a family of the name Hanks..."

"My father...removed from Kentucky to what is now Spencer County, Indiana, in my eight year. We reached our new home about the time the State came into the Union. It was a wild region, with many bears and other wild animals still in the woods. There I grew up."

"At twenty one I came to Illinois, and passed the first year in Illinois -- Macon County. Then I got to New-Salem, (at that time in Sangamon, now in Menard County), where I remained a year as a sort of Clerk in a store. Then came the Black-Hawk War; and I was elected a Captain of Volunteers -- a success which gave me more pleasure than any I have had since."

Abraham Lincoln , "Not Much Of Me"

Hodgenville, Kentucky

Like many great men, Abraham Lincoln began life in a humble birthplace. But while each passing year gives us new perspective and new insight into America's 16th president, the tiny cabin where he was born remains virtually unchanged. Today, the place where Lincoln began life February 12, 1809 is enshrined in a granite temple at the Abraham Lincoln Birthplace National Historic Site. Fifty-six steps, one for each year of Lincoln's life, lead up to the entrance of the building. Before the cabin was placed in the temple, however, it was a traveling exhibit -- making appearances in such places as the Nashville Centennial in 1897 and the Pan-American Exposition in Buffalo in 1901.
Near the Memorial Building is a natural feature dating from the time of Lincoln's birth: the Sinking Spring. In addition, the nearby Visitors' Center depicts the early environment of Abraham Lincoln in pioneer America through exhibits and an audio-visual production.

Knob Creek, Kentucky

"My earliest recollection...is of the Knob Creek place," President Abraham Lincoln recalled in 1860. Today, you can visit the site where the Thomas Lincoln family, including young Abraham, resided from 1811 through 1816.

On the site where the Thomas Lincoln family lived is a replicated log cabin made of material from another cabin, this one erected in 1800 and moved from an adjacent farm in 1931. Highly typical of this era, the cabin consists of log construction with a prominent chimney of log and mud.

The 1800 cabin was once the home of the Gollaher family whose young son, Austin once saved the future president from drowning in the swollen Knob Creek.

In December of 1816, due to faulty land titles and ensuing disputes, the Lincolns left Kentucky for Indiana.

Lincoln City, Indiana

Abraham Lincoln grew from boy to man in the rugged wilderness of southern Indiana. In December of 1816, Thomas Lincoln brought his family, including seven-year-old Abe, to the nineteenth state.

Eventually, the family settled on the site that now serves as the Lincoln Boyhood National Memorial . Here, a working farm depicts a typical Indiana farm of the era. In addition, a trail of 12 stones leads visitors from the Cabin Site memorial to the burial site of Abe's mother, Nancy Hanks Lincoln. Each stone comes from a structure that was part of Lincoln's life, such as the store where he worked as a teenager and the cottage in Washington, D.C. where he wrote the Emancipation Proclamation.

Although educational opportunities were limited in Lincoln's frontier home, the industrious boy learned all the could. In his eleventh year, he attended his first Indiana school, where the teacher loaned him "Life in Washington," a book that had a profound effect on the future president. Lincoln also read, he later said, all the books he could lay his hands on within 30 miles of his Indiana home.

New Salem, Illinois

In 1831, Abraham Lincoln settled into the tiny log-cabin village of New Salem in the place that's now Lincoln's New Salem State Historic Site. He was 22 years old and had recently moved from his father's household. Lincoln lived at New Salem for six years, supporting himself by doing odd jobs, keeping store, serving as village postmaster and working as deputy county surveyor. He also continued his education here, studying grammar with the local schoolmaster and reading law books borrowed from a Springfield attorney.
While in New Salem, Lincoln began his political career, earning a spot in the state legislature. Today, Lincoln's New Salem is a state-owned historic site covering approximately 700 acres. Its centerpiece is a reconstruction of the log-cabin village that Lincoln knew. Reconstructed New Salem features 23 log buildings erected in the 1930's and 1940's by the State of Illinois, assisted by the Civilian Conservation Corps. There are homes, workshops, stores, a carding mill, and a combination saw and grist mill.

Springfield, Illinois

In Illinois' capital city, Lincoln lived, worked and continued to develop the ideals for which he's remembered. Today, the Lincoln Home National Historic Site preserves those memories on four city blocks. The site's centerpiece is the only home ever owned by Abraham Lincoln. Erected in 1839, the house was purchased by Lincoln in 1844 shortly after the birth of his first son, Robert. The Lincoln family lived there for 17 years, until their departure for Washington in 1861. A tour of the meticulously preserved home offers a glimpse into the way the great man lived. A short walk away are the Lincoln-Herndon Law Offices, where he practiced law until he left town as president-elect.

The four-block memorial also includes a stop at the Great Western Railroad Depot, the station from which Lincoln departed for Washington, and the Old State Capitol State Historic Site. Here, Lincoln gave the famous "House Divided" speech in 1858. In this same building, the president's body lay in state after his assassination. A Visitor Center with an orientation film, bookstore and information services is located at the entrance to the site.

Click for Tell City, Indiana Forecast

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Perry County Indiana Location

Perry County Briefs

Perry County is located in the southwestern part of the US in the state of Indiana. The county seat is Tell City. It is the hilliest county as well as one of the most forested counties in Indiana. As of the 2000 census, the population was approximately 18,900.

Rich in history, Perry County was formed on November 1, 1814 from Warrick County. It was named for Commodore Oliver Hazard Perry who defeated the British squadron in the decisive Battle of Lake Erie in 1813.

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