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Knox County

African American rural settlements documented: 1

Cherry Grove was a Knox County black settlement located in southern Busseron Township. The settlement was near the Maria Creek African American Methodist (AME) Church.  The church was listed in the minutes of the Indiana Conference of the AME Church during the 1840s. The cemetery was situated near present-day Highway 41 and seven miles north of Vincennes. Caesar Embree bought land in 1827.  An acre of this land, later under the ownership of Nathaniel Newton, was donated for the church in 1842.  There was a black school established around 1880.

Surnames connected to the settlement include Allen, Baird, Barber, Bates, Booker, Butler, Charter, Cox, Embree, Guy, Howard, Hughes, Jones, Knight, Lamount, Newton, Noland, Parker, Sims, Stewart, Taylor, White, Whitfield, and Woodley. 

U.S. Census Numbers for Knox County, 1820-1870

Census Year
1820 1830 1840 1850 1860 1870
No. of African Americans
166 447 561 530 449 380

 

There was a possible settlement in Harrison Township, Knox County, near Monroe City. Names to investigate include Aaron Ritchey and Silence. The Silence family may have had land before 1840, but it is believed that they were forced off the land. The children of later generations came back to try to reclaim the land.  An oral account of the family attempting to reclaim the land indicates that there was a gun battle that ensued when they attempted to recover the land. 

Bibliography

Day, Richard. "The Cherry Grove Settlement in Knox County, Indiana.” Traces of Indiana and Midwestern History.  Summer, 2011.

U.S. Bureau of the Census. “Aggregate Amount of Each Description of Persons within District of Indiana,” 1: 352. Sixth Census of the United States, 1840. Washington, D.C.: U.S. Census Office, 1841.

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.: U.S. Census Office, 1852

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.: U.S. Census Office, 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.: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1872.

Audrey C. Werle “Research Notes on Indiana African American History,” M 792, William Henry Smith Memorial Library, Indiana Historical Society, Indianapolis, Indiana.

By Lishawna Taylor, July 30, 2014