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Posey County

African American rural settlements documented: 2

Posey County was established in 1814. The black population increased from the time of its first federal decennial census taken in 1820 through the turn of the century. 

U.S. Census Numbers for Posey County, 1820-1900

Census Year
1820 1830 1840 1850 1860 1870 1880 1890 1900
No. of African Americans
6 26 41 98 136 564 955 1193 1226

 

Like most of the Indiana counties bordered by the Ohio River, Posey County saw an influx of African Americans after the Civil War.  The two known black rural settlements in the county were located in Black and Point townships. 

The  settlement in Point Township was situated around Half Moon Pond.  The community had a school, church, and a cemetery.  The school was located on what is now public land.  Some of the family names associated with the settlement are Carter, Odem, and Spottsville.

The Brewery Hill settlement was located in the hills of Black Township. On a plat map, west of Grafton, one can find G.H Wilson owning 87 acres and Benjamin Wilson owning 85 acres. The county records state that it was started by Benjamin Wilson.  Benjamin is credited with providing the school house and building a grocery store.  Later, his granddaughter Augusta Toren taught at the school.  Other teachers included Lana Wilson, Prohene Harrison, May Napoleon and Mignon Waller.  In the 1870 census, many of the black heads of household in Black Township were farmers.  Several of them have their property valued at or above $1,000.  For example, farmers Davison Parter and Peter McCalister, have real estate worth $1600 and $4500, respectively.  An attempt to get to the location of the former settlement without a four-wheeler proved futile.  

Cemetery

Wilson Cemetery 

Bibliography

History of Posey County, Indiana : from the earliest time to the present, with biographical sketches, reminiscences, notes, etc. : together with an extended history of the Northwest, the Indiana territory, and the State of Indiana.  Chicago : Goodspeed Pub. Co., 1886.

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 25, 2014