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Scraps of Early History of Switzerland County – No. 1

The following article on Switzerland County, Indiana, history appeared in:
Vevay Reveille – 30 May 1867 – Page 2, Column 2

Scraps of Early History of Switzerland County.
No. 1.

What I may say about the first settlement of this part of Switzerland County, I have obtained from the “Old Folks,” who are mostly dead and gone from among us. About the years 1802-3-4-5 to 9, the Swiss families came to their wilderness home. Mr. Bettens, Jean D. Morerod, Siebenthal Golay and George D. Dufour, settled here between 1802 and 1805; J. F. Dufour in 1809. As early, however, as 1800 or 1801, Judge Wm. Cotton settled on Indian Creek, and a year or two afterward Griffith Dickason settled on Indian Creek also. About 1799 or beginning of 1800 Robert Gullion settled in the river bottom about the mouth of Log Lick creek. In 1803 and 4, J. D. Morerod having cleared off a small piece of land, raised a good crop of corn, and having some hogs was enabled to lay up a good provision of bacon, but was much annoyed by wild Turkeys destroying a great deal of his corn, and also in keeping them off from eating the corn he fed to his hogs. He had a great deal of trouble to raise his hogs, as the wolves were so bad that it was with great difficulty, that young pigs could be saved from them.

After having out generaled the wolves and Turkeys he succeeded in securing his bacon—but after all that was accomplished, the Indians, who were prowling about through the wilderness, were to be watched and kept off, or they would plunder the house, steal the bacon, and leave the family to want for food. As for mills to grind corn, there were none in the neighborhood, or for many miles through the surrounding settlement, therefore to get corn meal for bread, the corn was rolled up in buck skin and pounded, or a hand mill had to be used—perhaps only one or two in the whole settlement. Sometime in the year 1806 a horse mill was erected on the other side of the Ohio river, near where John Scott resided, and to that mill the settlement had to go for grinding, but here was the river to cross, and no boat to carry man and horse over. Two persons from the settlement would start in the morning, each with a horse and two or three bushels of corn each in a bag; these bags were laid in a canoe, the horses led into the water, one on each side of the canoe, and there held by one, while the other paddled the canoe across; then five or six miles through the woods without a road had to be travelled, to get to the mill—the grists ground, return to the river and recross in the same manner as in the morning. Often they could not return the same day, if some one was in with a grist before them, so it often required two days, with two men and two horses to have five or six bushels corn ground. Could our young farmers of to-day undergo such hardships, and never despair of seeing better times?

The first settlers saw before them an almost impenetrable wilderness, surrounded by bears, wolves, and last though not less to be feared, the savage Indians, and yet although many of them had been reared in a land where the Roman had built his castle, and where the mountain sides were clad with vineyards, and with orchards, they never one despaired of seeing the wilderness blossom as the rose.

VEVAY, May 21, 1867: