Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Beeks line: Road trip! Wise, Aldridge, Folsom research

I had the most marvelous time last week!  Husband and I escaped for a short road trip. I spent my time in courthouses, libraries, and historical societies. Husband spend his in the car, reading woodworking magazines.  I had a lot of fun, but I'm not sure he did...

Our first stop was Hancock County, where I found microfilmed records relating to the arrest and trial of Jackson Wise, in 1847.  Briefly, an arrest warrant was issued on February 9, to the sheriff of Marion County, requiring that Jackson Wise and McLean Bodkin, who were in the common jail of Marion County, be returned to the Hancock County Sheriff on a charge of burglary.  The sheriff was prompt in making the return, and on February 11 there are records of the jury being chosen, with the trial being delayed until the next morning due to the time.  Jackson and McLean were found guilty and ordered to Jeffersonville State Prison, where they were promptly received.  There are no records of the actual trial.  McLean died in prison after about six months.  Jackson was pardoned in 1854, and I hope to write more about that later.

Next it was on to Rushville, in Rush County, to see what we could learn about the Aldridges. Due to time constraints and the fact that I have transcripts of the relevant wills, we didn't go to the courthouse there.  I found some wonderful things at the Rushville library, including a five page typed biography of John Simpson Aldridge Sr., one of the family's heroes. I'll post that at a later date.  We also were able to locate the cemetery and the graves of John S Aldridge Sr and Mary Lakin are buried, as well as John S Aldridge Jr and Lucinda Wheeler. We didn't locate the grave of Ella Folsom, John Jr's second wife, but it may have been there. A lot of the gravestones are deteriorated, but there were flags at the gravesites of three veterans in this small family cemetery. The cemetery was on the land that John Sr originally owned. It's hilly, but peaceful and I can see why someone would have settled there. 

We then went on to Greensburg, in Decatur County, which is where the guardianship papers for Jeremiah Folsom's children are located. I'd hoped to find a will for Jeremiah there, but the records for that time period are burned or otherwise destroyed.  I didn't learn a lot there, but it was fun anyway.

The next day, we drove to Lawrenceburg, in Dearborn County, which is the last place we know for certain that Jeremiah Folsom was.  I didn't find any trace of Jeremiah there, but I did get some land records for Richard, who is possibly a brother or uncle to Jeremiah.  The librarian and a wonderful gentleman in the recorder's office there were just extremely helpful, but I didn't get there names. They helped me understand where the properties of Jeremiah and Richard were located, and helped me focus in on McGuire's Station, which was a blockhouse or fort just a mile inside the 1794 Treaty of Greenville line.  The other side of the line was Indian territory, and until the war of 1812 was settled, the area around McGuire's Station was very much frontier territory, and under constant threat of attack.  There are several Folsom's who were from this area and fought in the war of 1812, including Richard and James.  I haven't found Jeremiah's name yet, but he was only about 15 when the war started so he may have been considered too young to enlist.

We also went to Ripley County, Indiana, where Richard Folsom and William Lock purchased land in 1816, but I didn't learn a lot there.  Again, some of the records for the time period were missing.

Friday we were in Switzerland County, where I went to the library and the courthouse.  The gentleman at the library, Barry Brown, was very helpful but we found little new information. Jeremiah Folsom and Sally Lock were married in Switzerland County in 1815. His father gave permission, but the recorder failed to note the father's name, and we didn't locate any likely suspects.

So, I have some deeds and court papers, some hints and other places to look, and that makes me happy. I feel like I understand these people a little better, having seen the land where they lived (Aldridge and Folsom), and it was a good trip. If I'd had more time, and more experience, I probably could have located  more information or at least eliminated some possibilities, but at least I found what I found.  Thank you, husband, for your patience and for driving to all these places.  Start saving those magazines because we may go somewhere else sometime!