African American rural settlements documented: 0
In Highland Township, there is a possibility of a settlement, but more work needs to be done to identify it. According to county records a “colored” family was brought into the area by Epheran Corvan. In 1864, family members were freed and given land by Corvan. The family kept his surname. African American first names that were associated with the surname are Sarah Jane, Beckey, and Nelson.
After 1870, there was a black rural settlement in Washington Township. Using an 1879 plat map, one can find the Wiggentons, an African American family, with 50 acres of land. Next to them, the McDonald family also owned land. Viewing 1971 plat maps, it appears that the McDonald family owned several acres. Harold McDonald and his wife, Mary, did not have any children. The land is in section 10 and 15 below the city of Lyons. The Prairie Chapel Cemetery has both blacks and whites. Other names in the county records that could have been part of a settlement in Washington Township include Allen Granville and Chester Clasby.
According to county records, Charley McDonald came to the county in 1872 and bought 40 acres. The McDonald family story within the county was kept alive after Harold passed by his wife who would host annual barbecues.
Griffing, B. N. An Atlas of Greene County, Indiana. Philadelphia, Penn.: D.J. Lake & Co., 1879.
U.S. Bureau of the Census. Population of Civil Divisions Less Than Counties; Table III State of Indiana,” 1:124 Eighth Census of the United States, 1860 Washington D.C., 1862.
U.S. Bureau of the Census. Population of Civil Divisions Less Than Counties; Table III State of Indiana,” 1:124 Ninth Census of the United States, 1870 Washington D.C., 1872
U.S. Bureau of the Census. Population of Civil Divisions Less Than Counties; Table III State of Indiana,” 1:124 Seventh Census of the United States, 1850 Washington D.C., 1852
Werle, Audrey C. “Research Notes on Indiana African American History,” M 792, William Henry Smith Memorial Library, Indiana Historical Society, Indianapolis, Indiana.
Winkelmann, Joe. History of Greene County Indiana 1885-1989. Bloomfield, Ind.: Greene County Indiana Historical Society, 1990.
By Lishawna Taylor, July 24, 2014