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Sullivan County

African American rural settlements documented: 1

Sullivan County, established in 1816, enumerated over 100 blacks by the 1860 census.

An early black rural settlement was located around the present day Lewis Cemetery (also referred to as the Colored Cemetery) in Haddon Township. Many of the names from the cemetery can be found on an 1899 county atlas.  There is also a black school (that may have doubled as a church) on the atlas. Some of the surnames associated with the settlement are listed as landowners on the atlas. They include Calaway (or Calloway), Lewis and Wells.  These names are also found in Audrey Werle’s 1870 head of household list.

The Calaway family can be found in Sullivan County newspaper articles and death notices, and in the Greene and Sullivan Counties History. Violet’s family arrived in the county in 1806 with Joel Collins, a white minister from Kentucky.  She later married Jim Caloway, one of three Calaway brothers.  Jim fought in the Revolutionary War and supplied one of the Sullivan forts with meat.  There are death notices for John, Jack and James Calaway in Carlisle, Indiana newspapers.

The history of Crawford County, Illinois, records: “A colony of 100 plus Negroes near the Wabash River in the southwest corner of Sullivan County, Indiana.”  

Bibliography

History of Crawford County, Illinois, Volume 2. Robinson, Illinois: Crawford County Historical Society, 1980.

History of Greene and Sullivan Counties, Indiana. Chicago: Goodspeed Brothers & Co., 1884.

An Illustrated standard atlas of Sullivan County, Indiana.  [Evansville, Ind.]: Wilson, Fuller & Co., 1899 (?).

Sullivan County, Indiana Cemetery Records, Volume 5. (Prepared by the Sullivan County Historical Society; accessed at the Sullivan County Public Library, Sullivan, Indiana)

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 18, 2014