LIBERTY'S FIRST YEARS
AFTER DUE NOTICE a meeting was held at the court house in Liberty on the first Monday of September 1836 "for the purpose of considering incorporation for the better regulation of the internal policies of the town".
On motion Doctor David A. COX was appointed President and John YARYAN secretary, after which the legal voters assembled proceeded to vote via voice for against incorporation.
Of the fifty-three (53) enumerated voters, forty three (43) appeared and voted. For incorporation forty (40); against incorporation three (3). Here are the names:
YES - BUNSIDE, Edghill; GOULD, B.V.; FLEMING, Jackson; CARR, Thomas; CARSON, William; HILL, Samuel W.; OSBURN, David; BRUNTON, James; WILLIAMS, George; LUDLOW, Jeremiah; JARRELL, Elias; BURGESS, John L; DUVALL, Lot; VANDERGRIFF, Isaac; WILSON, William; FLORER, Robert; BRUMAGE, Jacob; GILCRIST, James P.; PILES, George; BOWERS, Jacob; McKEE, David; MARDOCK, Thomas; ELWELL, Robert; HUNTER, Henry; BRAGG, Wilson; WINDLE, William; DORMIERE, Richard; STITT, John B.; TROTTER, Benjamin; YARYAN, John; COX, D.A.; MARSH, H.W.; COOMBS, Isaac; BLAND, Abraham; LITTLE, Perry; CROUCH, John C.; CONWILL, Isaac; BRYANT, George; STARBUCK, John M.; and PASKELL, John D.
NO - STOOPS, Thomas; ESTEP, Archibald; and ROSE, Erasmus.
There being fifty-three (53) voters, the population of the village must have been about 250, but in the rural parts of the county the population was greater in 1836 than in 1936.
On Monday, September 12, 1836 with D. A. COX and John YARYAN in charge, an election was held in the court house for members of the first Town Board. The following voters were enough interested to appear and vote via voice: BURNSIDE, E; YARYAN, John; MORROW, Thomas; HILL, Samuel W.; COX, David A. BRUMAGE, Jacob; PASKELL, J. D.; DORMIERE, Richard; LUDLOW, Jeremiah C.; WINDLE, William; BRYANT, George; OSBORN, David; WILLIAMS, George; BRAGG, Wilson; CARR, William; STITT, John B.; JERRELL, Elias; CARR, Thomas; ROSE, Erasmus; FLEMING, Jackson; FLORER, Robert; BOWERS, Deary; CARSON,
William; GOULD, B.V.; BURGESS, J. L; and BLAND, Abraham.
The wards as laid off by those in charge of the election were as follows:
WARD ONE - North of Union and East of Market
WARD TWO - North of Union and between Market and Main
WARD THREE - North of Union and West of Main
WARD FOUR - South of Union and West of Main.
WARD FIVE - South of Union and East of Main.
Those elected for the above wards of the "borough" and who those composed the first town board were as follows:
BRAGG, Wilson - Twenty Four (24) votes MORROW, Thomas - Twenty Five (25) votes COX, David A. - Twenty Five (25) votes ANDERSON, Joseph - Fifteen (15) votes CARR, Thomas - Twenty Three (23) votes
Certificates of election were given to these men by Doctor Cox and John Yaryan.
The first meeting of the board was held at the council chamber on Friday the Twenty Third (23) day of September A.D. 1836 when John ANDERSON was elected President and Doctor David COX, secretary after which adjournment was taken until October in order to think things over.
This first board proceeded to organize the town government by issuing orders formulating ordinances some of which were later repealed or changed and, in fact, one or two were not made enactments until later.
Until date of October 1 1836 these orders were placed on record:
1. All shows carnivals and circuses shall obtain licenses or pay a penalty of $3.00 for each illegal performances.
2. Boxes and barrels must not be placed on sidewalks under penalty of $1.00 for each violation.
3. No guns, pistols or fireworks shall be discharged in the town without the permission of two Trustees.
4. No Garbage shall be kept on the premises of residents.
5. All stove pipes must pass into brick or stone chimneys except by permission of any two Trustees
6. All liquor stores must be licensed or pay $3.00 for each offence
October 14, 1836 at Doctor Cox's house.
Ordered that the sum of $5.00 per year to be collected from each person selling ardent spirits. That Thomas Carr replace William Carson as Treasurer. That $25.00 be appropriated for graveling streets.
July 5, 1837:
All dogs in the corporation must be chained for thirty (30) days or slain on account of the prevalence of mad dogs in the community. Corporation tax levy for the year, 12 1/2 cents on each $100 and 25 cents on each poll. Also $1.00 for each dog.
September 3, 1838:
Came an election for the new board of trustees, the election committee being Thomas CARR, Thomas MARDOC, and George WILLIAMS. Clerk - E. Rose.
The members of this, the second town board were as follows: Wilson BRAGG; Elias JARRELL; Daniel STANTON; Thomas MARDOCK, and David WARD. The board met as the Mansion House October 2, 1838 and elected Wilson BRAGG, President and Thomas MARDOCK secretary. Appointments made were these: Jackson FLEMING, Assessor; Abraham BLAND, Collector; James BRUNTON, Marshall; Daniel STANTON, Treasurer.
October 10, 1838:
A tax of 30 cents on each $100 was agreed on. An order in regard to the Market House is recorded as follows:
"Be it ordained that the stalls of the Market House be sold to the highest bidder with ten (10) day publick(sic) notice and that any person shall sell any kind of fresh meet(sic) by the small within the bounds of the Corporation unless it be in said Market House, shall be fine of $3.00 for each and every such offence from and after publication." Also "Be it ordained that all hay offered for sail in the own must be weighed on the corporation scales. Fine $1.00 for each offence". Also "Be it ordained that any person who shall carelessly leave a horse or horses hitched to a wagon or carriage of any kind, said animals not being properly tyed(sic), shall for such offence be subject to a fine of $1.00"
October 22, 1838:
Stalls in the Market House were sold as follows:
Doctor 1. To Daniel STANTON for $2.25
2. To Benjamin MARTIN for $2.00
3. To Elias JARRELL for $2.00
Also on November 3, 1841 it was decreed that there should be a $3.00 fine assessed against those residents who allowed wood to lie on or under stoves while said parties were not at home, or who left hot ashes exposed in such a way as to start fires.
It seems that some of the projects of the town were advancing in a dilatory way for on February 18, 1842 it was ordered that Thomas CARR and E. JARRELL have the fire hooks ready in five (5) days and that E. JARRELL superintend the completion of the Market house immediately.
Also ordered that fines of from fifty (50) cents to $3.00 be assessed for hitching to the Market House or removing ladders from the same except in case of fire.
On May 2, 1842 a new board was sworn in by E. BURNSIDE, Clerk of the Court, the members being John M. ROSS, Samuel HILL, Deary BOWERS, Archibald ESTEP and Norman W. ROSS.
On account of a change in the statutes another group was elected May 1, 1843 consisting of Lot DUVALL, Daniel STANTON, Samuel HILL, Doctor Ziba CASTERLINE, and John YARYAN of which members Samuel HILL became President and John YARYAN Clerk.
This board proceeded with vigor in making rules and in enforcing them even against their own members. The records at this time carefully written and well kept.
May 15, 1843:
Resolved by YARYAN that Jefferson's Parliamentary Rules and those of the Legislature of Indiana be used. Adopted. Resolved that CASTERLINE that all streets as platted be opened. By STANTON, lid on the table.
May 19, 1843:
William JONES appointed Assessor. Resolved by CASTERLINE that a Tax Collector and Treasurer be appointed and that the tax for 1843 and also all delinquent tax be collected. After debate with CASTERLINE for and YARYAN against, the resolution was laid on the table by motion of STANTON.
May 23, 1P.M.:
The above resolution was reconsidered and passed with Daniel STANTON as collector and
May 30, 1P.M.:
John YARYAN offered resolution different in form from previous resolution that all streets as platted be opened and that those refusing to vacate be prosecuted for obstructing the streets. Passed. Doctor CASTERLINE moved that George WILLIAMS displaced William WINDLE as supervisor, which was carried. Also moved that the tax rate of fifty (50) cents per $100 and 37 1/2 cents on each dog. Carried.
June 13, 1843:
Resolution passed that the Market House must be protected and not used as a hitching place for horses and mules. Fine $1.00. The Supervisor shall open gutters so that water will run into the natural channels.
Those persons building brick or stone sidewalks 8 feet wide and at least 20 feel long shall have credit for the cost of same on their corporation taxes.
On June 19, 1841 in pursuance with the statutes of third board was elected being certified by John YARYAN, President of the election board and by E. BURNSIDE, Clerk as follows:
1. Lot DUVALL 2. James CULLY 3. Elias JARRELL 4. Ziba CASTERLINE
5. Robert COGLEY and on August 6, 1841 this board selected Elias JARRELL President and made other appointments as follows: William JONES, Marshall and Tax Collector; Lot DUVALL, Treasurer; John HUNT, Assessor. Taxes levied were 12 1/2 cents per $100, Twenty-four (24) cents poll and 37 1/2 cents on each dog.
On August 25 came the first traffic ordinance viz "for driving on sidewalks in the town of Liberty. Fine fifty (50) cents for each offence." Also on the same date in 1841 the following resolution in regard to the Market House was passed:
"Be it ordained by the President and Board of Trustees of the town of Liberty to repair the Market House in said town of Liberty that E. JARRELL be and is hereby appointed an agent for the corporation of Liberty to repair the Market House in said town of Liberty the following manner, to wit; Said house is to be enclosed with a plank fence six (6) feet high and (with planks) so closed together that no cracks are to be seen through the same. There is also to be a double door at the north end of the side house to open either way with a center post 18 inches high, the doors to be hung with iron hinges. The inside of the house is to be paved with smooth, flat stones and raised six (6) inches high in the center than at either edge so as to run the water off."
Orders were also reiterated about leaving horses unhitched. Show license were set at $1.00 to $5.00 and it was ordained that more expended on sidewalks might be deducted from corporation taxed if said walks were twenty (20) or more feet in length.
November 3, 1841:
Doctor Ziba CASTERLINE was appointed Clerk in place of Solomon MAKER. The first ordinance in regard to fire protection is a follows:
"Resolved by this Board that there be eight (8) ladders furnished at the expense of this corporation; three (3) twenty five (25) feel long, three (3) fifteen (15) feet long, and two (2) ten (10) feel long and four (4) hooks all of which ladders and hooks shall be make in manner to suit the exigencies(sic) of fire. And that Thomas CARR be appointed to superintend and making of said hooks and ladders. And that said hooks and ladders be kept in the Market House of the publick(sic) use."
July 25, 1843 1 o'clock P.M.:
Resolved that the following be allowed credit on Corporation taxes for constructing pavements:
$20.40 to Isaac CONWELL, Union Street business house.
$16.15 to John YARYAN, office on Union Street.
$13.62 1/2 to Edghill BURNSIDE, store on Union Street (Myers and Burnside).
$11.50 to DORMIRE and WARD shop on Union Street.
$16.00 to Samuel HILL, shop on Union Street.
$42.12 to Doctor Ziba CASTERLINE, pavement on Main Street.
Ordered the Doctor CASTERLINE be "returned" before Isaac COMBS, Esq., for carrying off one of the corporation ladders contrary to law (this means that he appeared before said J.P.). Also that John L. SMITH be "returned" for leading a horse on the sidewalk. Also that William CARR be allowed $3.00 for two (2) days labor with team. Basil ESTEP, $1.50 for one (1) day labor with team.
August 8, 1843:
Ordered that Doctor CASTERLINE be allowed credit for fifty (50) cents on his taxes on account of a fine of said amount inflicted on him by Isaac COMBS, Esq.. for using a town ladder. Ordered that Edghill BURNSIDE, Elias JARRELL and John YARYAN be "returned" before Isaac COMBS, Esq.. for using ladders. S.W. HILL President, John YARYAN Secretary.
Samuel HILL October 24, 1843:
Ordered that a special election be held November 4, 1843 one (1) to three (3) P.M. to fill the vacancy caused by the death of Lot DUVALL. $8.75 to Howland STARBUCK for making the corporation ladders. Ninety-three (93) cents to Daniel Stanton for discount on a $5.00 script bill. Ordered also that William BYRAM, John BROWN, and John L. BURGESS be "returned" for driving teams on the pavement in front of the court house and Clerk's office.
April 18. 1844 at the Post Office:
Ordered that nine (9) trustees be elected in place of five (5), one (1) from the first ward, and two (2) from each of the others. Also that James R. MENDENHALL be allowed $10.00 for pavement and Hiram BUSBY $2.00 for making fire hooks.
September 2, 1844:
William WILSON found to be elected to fill vacancy of Council. Tax rate set a twenty five (25) cents per $100. Poll tax fifty (50) cents, dogs 37 1/2 cents. Pavements were to be ten (10) feet wide on Public Square and 8 feet elsewhere in order to receive credit on taxes.
July 18, 1846:
A new town board was composed of Deary BOWERS, Abram BLAND, Joshua LEECH, John S. REED, and Thomas CARR. The latter being absent at the first meeting was elected President. J. S. REID clerk, Deary BOWERS collector and treasurer.
September 4, 1846:
Isaac VANDERGRIFF appointed supervisor to superintend the opening of streets that lot owners had fenced in. Daniel STANTON was appointed assessor. Allowance to James GRIST, inspector of election and to Joshua LEECH, clerk seventy five (75) cents each. Thomas CARR, president.
And so ends the chronicle of Liberty's first years 1822 - 1846.
The town site is such that the natural drainage is excellent but in the early days several "runs" or streams crossed the area, in places causing swamps. Rattle Run somewhat in line with Union Street and a "run" along Vine and Seminary Streets at one time carried considerable water and the latter caused the region of wet land about the present site of the Methodist Church and farther west.
Most of the houses were of frame or log construction, even those used for purpose of business
The brick Court House and Clerk's office stood at the north-west corner of the square, the log jail on the south side of the same block. Other brick houses were those of Samuel HILL, and Deary BOWERS on Union Street. The Market House stood on the street of this name just south of Union.
The Methodist had completed their church on Seminary street just across from the college and their first regular minister came in 1836, although they had a class several years before this date. There were no shade trees along the streets, but the forest came up to the town's borders, and in fact, most people thought of trees as detrimental to progress.
Kerosene was not yet in use, but some of the candles were be lighted by means of matches. There was no coal, but all used wood for fuel thus helping to clear the land.
The sewing machine had not arrived, but downtown Mrs. WINDLE was holding forth as a mantua maker, Mrs. STOGGEL was specializing in summer clothing while Mrs. V. MITCHEL, Miss Phoebe MORGAN and Mrs. E. D. HOPKINS were making ladies hats by molding felt and straw on plaster models.
The slave question was beginning to agitate the country, while with numerous taverns, the intemperance of the people was an acute issue. Dr. Ziba CASTERLINE, who later published the Herald, and his associates were speaking strongly against these evils. Several veterans of the two (2) wars with England were to be seen on Liberty's Streets.
The Mexican War was just getting under way and some of the boys of the town including Lt. BURNSIDE were traveling to the southern land.
Other towns were "getting out of the woods" by having canals but Liberty was too hight and dry, but then some people said that a railroad would be better because it "wouldn't freeze up in winter".
From old issues of the Liberty Port-Folio and the Star and Banner published sometime between 1822 and 1846 it is possible to identify some of the business and professional men of the early days of the town.
ARCHIBALD ESTEP, Tavern keeper at the site of the store of Bertch and Son.
SAMUEL McCULLOUGH, Blacksmith
SAMUEL HILL, hatter, brick house on Union Street.
ISAAC COMBS, cabinet maker and Justice of the Peace.
EDGHILL BURNSIDE merchant and later Associate Judge and County Clerk.
JOSEPH ANDERSON, merchant.
GEORGE FOSDICK, grocer.
JAMES WOOD, general merchant.
B.V. GOULD, tailor.
WILLIAM McKEE and ALLEN LLOYD, harness makers.
JAMES P. GILCREST, general store including hardware.
WATSON AND DORMIER, manufactures of boots and shoes.
THOMAS STROUPS, fashionable tailor.
J. R. MENDENHALL, lumber dealer.
WILLIAM CURTIS, weaver.
E. ROSE, DAVID COX, ZIBA CASTERLINE, physicians.
JOHN YARYAN, lawyer and member Indiana legislature.
J. B. SLEETH, SOLOMON MAKER, VINCET MITCHEL, lawyers.
JAMES PERRY, lawyer. Moved to Richmond.
J. L. BURGESS, teacher.
THOMAS MORROW, merchant and treasure of Methodist Church.
REV. GEORGE BESWICK, minister of Methodist Church 1836.
JOHN WALTON, manufacturing of shoes 1841.
SAMUEL BIGGER, teacher in county and law student with VINCENT MITCHEL in Liberty.
(Later Governor of Indiana) AMBROSE BURNSIDE, tailor. (Later Major General of the Union Forces in the civil war,
Governor of Rhode Island and United States Senator) REV. ULRIC MAYNOR, Presbyterian Minister.
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