The Obituary of Adam and Mary (Eli) Pigman
Appeared in the Times 7 October 1876
Died—On Sunday, September 17, 1876 at his residence in Harmony Township, Union County, Indiana Adam Pigman in the 87 year of his age.
Also, on Saturday, September 23rd, 187, Mrs. Mary Pigman, wife of Adam Pigman, aged nearly 80 years.
Mary Eli was born May 21st, 1797 in Powel’s Valley, Lee county, Virginia and in 1805 her father, Adam Eli, came to the White Water Valley and entered the farm now owned by Boon Laud on Richland Creek, near Clifton. On the night of January 6, 1806, he camped with his family on their land in the midst of an unbroken forest stretching in the far, far distant everywhere, on every hand an almost impenetrable wilderness, with trees upturned or broken off and the ground covered with snow to a considerable depth. And here they lived, isolated and alone, until the next spring, their neighbors being few and far between. Their first acquaintance was James Levingston (Leviston) who had settled where John Osborn now lives above Dunlapsville. On his first visit to them learned that they had an aged lady—the Mother of Mr. Eli—living with them, he prevailed on her to accompany him to his cabin home and at the expiration of one week little Mary mounted a horse and started through the trackless forest to find the place and bring her grandmother home, which feat she accomplished with little or no difficulty. Early in the year 1807 they sold their possessions on Richland Creek and bought and settled on the lands now owned by Eli Pigman, building their cabin where the Squire’s residence now stands. Here also, they found but a sparse settlement, amongst who were the following persons: John Templeton on the farm now owned by John F. Templeton, John Manley at Quakertown, William Cunningham, on the Bennett Osborn farm, now owned by William Brown and William Aldridge, on the fractional section now occupied by the widow Thomas. In the summer of the same year he also erected and work in the first blacksmith show, built with the present boundaries of Union county, and here again little Mary takes a prominent part, this time as a blower and striker at the forge and anvil of her father, nor was she ashamed to be thus employed, for the arduous labor with the innumerable difficulties incident to the new settlement, of providing for the wants and comforts of a family so occupied the time of her father, that she cheerfully submitted to the force of circumstances, not only working in the house, in the field or shop, but willingly going long journeys through a tract of country with dense undergrowth, almost impassable, with northing to guide her but the rude Indian trails and section lines. Was grain to be ground to make bread for the family? Mary mounted on one horse and leading another, laden with commodity, was sent to Hamilton (Ohio) or Lawrenceburg (Indiana) for needed supply, and all the iron, steel and stock used in her father’s show was brought by her on a pack-horse from Hamilton, there being no houses or roads east of the farm now owned by L. P. Cully, until she reached the settlements on the Miami river. When the twelve mile purchase came into the market, and was thrown open for settlement, her father bought land just across the line, procuring the money for that purpose from the sale of stock bells of his own make, Mary being his only assistant.
And thus she worked ever in sympathy with others, whilst her young life was budding and ripening into womanhood, scattering daisies, violets and June weather wherever she went, scarcely heeding that the days were weaving themselves into months, and months were folding themselves into years, until the fourth of November 1815, when she was led to the hymeneal alter by the husband with whom she lived for more than three score years.
Adam Pigman was born August 18, 1780 in Green County, Pennsylvania. At the age of one year he was taken by his parents to Bracken County, Kentucky, living some time in Fort Augusta, Bracken County. At the age of four years his parents moved to Jessamine County, where he grew to manhood, spending most of his time working at the carpenter’s trade. When a boy he often saw those old pioneers of Kentucky, Boone and Kenton, and was a nephew to James Harrod, who built the first cabin on the historic dark and bloody grounds.
Twenty-three years of his life had come and gone, had flown on and out with the even current of events transpiring around him, when the troubled days of 1812 had settled like a dark pall upon our young nation. When the mother country had called to her assistance the wild and save hordes of the wilderness, when the first note of alarm was sounded, when the first call to arms was made, in the early dawn of that day whose history is written in fire and blood, we find him with love of country more than life, going forth in her defense.
He enlisted in the army under Captain Dowden, Colonel Pogue’s regiment, serving as fourth Sergeant of his company, and in August of the same year his regiment marched for the seat of war. He was in the relief sent to Fort Wayne, which place they entered without firing a gun. Then they marched to the support of General Winchester in Ohio, following the defeated British and Indians under Proctor down the Maumee River for several days and nights. He was then detailed to help Fort Amanda on the Auglaize river and then afterwards in the relief sent to General Winchester then at Frenchtown on the river Raisin, but was too late to participate in that bloody engagement that clothed Kentucky and Ohio in mourning.
His command then marched to, and helped build Fort Megs, when, after considerable scouting, skirmishing, and enduring many hardships known only to frontier life, in all of which he considered death preferable to dishonor. He was mustered out of the service and returned with a number of his comrades in arms to his boyhood home in old Kentucky, where he again entered the military service, this time as Lieutenant of his company.
He came to Indiana territory, December 1813, and entered a quarter section of land situated within the present boundaries of Fayette county, and in the summer of the next year in company with the Huff family, started again for the far west, traveling through the wilderness on foot, driving stock for his board, They arrived at the destination, now known as Riggor’s Mill, in September, 1814. His first work in the new country was to build a house with Huff hewing the timer, including the studding, braces and rafters. It was the first fame house built within the limits of Union County. After the completion of this job he went to Brookville, then composed of a few small cabins, and worked as journey carpenter with Thomas Coldscott, and through this means obtained the money to pay out for his land. From this time the lives of Adam Pigman and Mary (Eli) Pigman flow on in one continuous, ceaseless current to the day of his death.
In December, the same year of their marriage, they moved to their land in Fayette, and on the night of their arrival snow fell to the depth of two feet, and lay on the ground until the next spring, yet, notwithstanding this and many privation incident to new settlers, by the middle of May, they had cleared six acres of ground and had it planted and corn and by the next spring they had cleared in the same way twelve acres more, part of which they planted in fruit trees, being the first planted in the Village Creek Valley. For nine years they lived here and their dwelling though rude had an inviting and friendly look and often as the blaze from the ample fireplace filled the low room with a mellow light, could be heard the hum of the spinning wheel and the click of the loom. They didn’t that to begin their struggle in life together where their parents left off, but were content to begin at the beginning and work until they had earned luxury and ease before they enjoyed it. Sometimes they suffered for the comforts of life, yet they always cheerfully submitted to any privation or labor that feel to their lot.
On November 4, 1875 with a large assembly of their relatives and friends these old people celebrated the sixtieth anniversary of their wedding. It was a time of more than ordinary interest, rich with memories that came like golden echoes from the shore of the past. The biographer of that occasion speaking of the early life, trials and tribulations of these veteran pioneers writes as follows:
“They can remember the time when the picturesque hills and valleys of Eli’s creek now dotted with cultivated by husbandry, were covered with an unbroken forest, in which the Indian roamed at will, hunting and fishing. They could see across the boundary of the Indian Territory in the home in which they were married. They can remember the time when the pioneers first began to make an inroad into this wilderness, blazing the way by patient toll and persistent industry for the civilization of the present. They remember the time when men were baptized as it were with fire, and when mutual interest and a common danger led them to associate together as brother and sister tolling for the same end. They remember how step by step, they conquered the privations incident to the life of the early settler, until at last they secured a well-earned competence for their old age. The early settlers of this part of the county were men and women who had graduated in the school of patience, and were endured to privations, hardship and toil, such as has not been known by the thronging multitudes that followed them.”
Carding and spinning mills were unknown and the clothing for the family was manufactured at home. Carding, spinning, weaving and making the garments for the family were all done by hand, and the cooking at an open fireplace without the convenience of the present day. Fields were to be cleared in the green timber, roads to be cut through the trackless forest, schoolhouse and churches were to be built; a means of defense was to be kept organized in all of which they contributed their full share of means and time, he serving as captain of a company of territorial militia for several years.
But in the history of these old people., so briefly sketched, we have to pass, for the sake of brevity, a hundred incidents of the good old-fashioned times directly connected with the early settling of the White Water Valley, incidents that would be vastly suggestive to many of our citizens, recalling the stirring events of pioneer life and reviving the recollection of circumstances and facts more than a century ago.
How peculiarly fitting it was that hearts so long and intimately blended should almost simultaneously cease to throb and forever rest from their labors. Only six short days were they separated where together their youth was resumed in the land of the immortals. The funeral services observed the one on Tuesday the 19th and the other on Sunday, the 24th, were the spontaneous expressions of respect and admiration from a community with whom for over half a century their lives have been cast and by whom they were venerated as patriarchs. Rev. W. O. Brooks, of Zanesville, Ohio officiated as the former and Elder George Harlan, said to be the oldest ordained minister in the White Water Valley at the latter. Both services were conducted at the Mt. Garrison M. E. church and were perhaps the largest funeral ever witnessed in Union County. Over 800 vehicles were at the former and we were told nearly as many were at the latter. Side by side in the Mt. Garrison graveyard rest the remains of these venerable pioneers. May they rest in Peace J.A.M.