The original Mile Square plat, overlaid with the extents of population in 1823, 1835, and 1850.

[The following are from the March 1906 issue of The Indiana Magazine of History.]

From paper read before the Indiana Centennial Association, July 4, 1900.

I came to Indianapolis with my father’s family on the 21st of June, 1821, being then a boy in my fifth year. The family had lived in Vincennes several years before that time. Our voyage here was in an Olean Point flatboat. We went down the Wabash to the mouth of White River and came up to Indianapolis, the boat being poled along up the stream the entire way. I think, from what I have heard, that as much as three weeks were occupied in the journey from Vincennes. My father and Mr. Burke pushed the boat up-stream.

There were eighteen houses here at that time, all cabins. They were built along the bank of White River, extending about from the place of our landing to a point near where the Vandalia railroad bridge is situated. Among these eighteen families I remember John and Michael and David Van Blaricum, Daniel Yandes, Dr. Isaac Coe, John McCormick, Isaac Wilson, a Mr. Concord, Bethuel Dunning, the ferryman, Obadiah Harris, a Mr. Frazier, Jeremiah Collins and a Mr. Keeler.

The White River bridge was built in 1832 and 1833. The fine poplar timbers of this bridge where whip-sawed on the bank where the bridge was to be, on a frame, reaching out from the bank there. The timber was got up the river eight miles and hewed about square, from a foot to three feet square, in the woods, and I rafted it down to the place where it was whipsawed into proper shapes.

I saw the Delaware and Miami tribes of Indians pass through, going West. They camped by the river, and in the morning all of them went in swimming. They said they never swam in the evening or at night. There was a large tribe of them, over a thousand, I think, all friendly.

Camp meetings were held by the Methodists every year. The first one was south of town, on the Three-notch Line (now South Meridian street). It was on Kelly’s farm, and a great crowd attended. The Methodist preachers were g-reat enthusiasts, men of power, eloquence and earnestness. They did important work in bringing the people to the support of good government, morality and religion. Among- the great men who preached there were John Strange, Edwin Ray, Jaraes Havens, Edwin Ames and James Armstrong. The next camp meetings were held for years on the Military Park ground, near the canal. Afterward the meeting was on the land occupied by the Deaf and Dumb Asylum, and next it was in the grove on the land at the then north end of Illinois street, at old First street.

The National road was graded through Indianapolis in the year 1832, I believe, and some years after the grading the road from East street to Big Eagle creek, west of town, was macadamized. The broken stone was put on in strata of three inches at a time, three times, nine inches in all. Each layer was settled by use for a time, and then the next was put on. After this little patch of macadam stone was put on, Jackson and Van Buren vetoed all the National road bills, so it was a very bad road till the State gave it to a plank-road company, and the people soon rode on a plank floor, which was good till it rotted or wore out.

The above map overlaid on a 2010 aerial view from IMAGIS.

Additional notes about Amos Hanway, Junior. In his younger years, he was an accomplished fisherman, able to sell his catch by the wagon load (or so it was said). As an adult, he was well-known throughout the state in the 19th century as a preacher and elder in the Methodist and then United Brethren churches. He began his church devotion after coming across a Methodist prayer-meeting in a wheelright shop that stood at the northeast corner of Pennsylvania and Market streets. His father, Amos, Senior, was of course one of the first pioneers of Indianapolis. His profession was cooper, making washtubs and buckets. He was also noted for bringing the first barrel of whisky to town and for having the first shingled roof on their cabin near Washington Street and the river.


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