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THE NEGRO IN GRANT COUNTY By Mrs. Asenath Peters Artis circa 1905

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THE NEGRO IN GRANT COUNTY By Mrs. Asenath Peters Artis circa 1905

Posted: 13 Sep 2009 7:39AM GMT
Classification: Biography

From: History of Grant County Indiana that was written around 1905 or therabouts . It provides some information about the early settlers of Grant County, Indiana.
Originally posted by Norma Johnson on the Grant County, Indiana Rootsweb site.
May contain innacuracies, errors or typos.

Posted for genealogical research.

THE NEGRO IN GRANT COUNTY

By Mrs. Asenath Peters Artis

It seemed providential that the secretary of the Historical Society should have urged Mrs. Asenath Peters Artis is, known in colored social circles as Mrs. S. Dillard Artis(?)to write of her people for the society.
September 25, 1909, she came into the library in apparent health, accompanied by members of the Eurydice Club, and other friends and read the following excellent history.
"Asenath Peters" was the first colored graduate from the Marion high school and she was a leader among the colored population of Grant county.
After completing her studies she was a teacher, and later she traveled all over Indiana as an organizer of lodges, and for several years she was colored society news writer for The Marion Leader, doing it as a missionary service in an effort to get matters pertaining to her race before the public in the best manner.
Asenath Peters was a protege and namesake of Mrs.Asenata Winslow-Whitson-Baldwin, step-mother of the writer of this prelude.
After the death of her benefactor, she often asked friendly advice from the "secretary." and for a year or two she was collecting data, finally reading her paper in September and going soon after to a hospital in Indianapolis, from which she did not return.
Now this bit of early negro history is a monument to her memory.
Mrs. Mary Peters Blakey sang for the society, and although Franklin township was being considered, all the colored visitors remained for the entire program.
The rural negro community of an early day was confined almost wholly to Liberty and Franklin townships and early residents of Liberty will remember the Reserve as described by Mrs. Artis whose death was a distinctive loss to the colored population of Grant county.

As proof of the fact that Mrs. Artis was a woman who had the courage of her conviction and always stood on the question of privilege when the matter concerned her own househould it is remembered that persons passing her house one time observed two beer bottles light in the street.
The story goes that she had opened her house to delegates who were in attendance at a state convention among colored people and while she entertained them they were paying guests. When they brought in beer she informed them that while her house was open to them, she had not relinquished the sovereignty of her own home and that she was a temperance woman. An argument ensued. and to emphasize her words, the beer was duly conficated and consigned to the brick pavement in front. And passerbys saw it oozing from the broken bottles.
No one will question the effectivness of her methods and that she was endowed with strong characteristics. When the social spirt spirit possessed her race, she was among the first wome to organize a club and at the time of her death she was still identified with the movement, her motto being anything to uplift her people.

Mrs. Artis :
At the organization of Grant county, in 1831 there was no account of any colored people being within its border. Early in the 40's , when the land of Indiana belonged to the government, it was sold to the pioneers settlers for $1.25 per acre. About this time a white man bv the name of Aaron Betts of Ohio, who was a great friend of the colored people came to Grant county with some colored families and interested himself in their behalf and assisted them in entering land in and around what is now known as Weaver. Several hundreds acres entered there from time to time bv emigrant families while others settled in a community then called "Telltale." near Jonesboro and in other Quaker settlements. Thev were composed of free born people, freed and escaped slaves originally from North and South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia and Kentucky, principally, and other slave states .Many having settled in Ohio and other counties in Indiana; they migrated to Grant county.

Among the early settlers were Billy Clark, Robert Smith, Robert Brazelton, Robert Brown and John Wright. All had been slaves but Clark and Wright. These people settled near Jonesboro in 1847. The Weavers and Pettiford were never slaves as far back any one can remember. They were North Carolinians and migrated in 1844 to Wayne county and settled about six miles from Richmond. They were John and Lucy Weaver. Isom and his wife Elizabeth Weaver. Burd and his wife Sallie Day Weaver, John and his wife Lucy Huddleston Weaver, James and his wife Mary Johnson (a white woman) Weaver; William and his wife Matilda Scott Weaver, John and his wife Lucy Weaver Pully, Beverley and his wife, Edith Weaver Pettiford, Pleasant and his wife Tempa Weaver, Duncan Weaver and Hardy Evans. They stopped at Chillicothe, Ohio. and later came to this state.

All of the above named families came from Wayne county to Grant and settled near Weaver in l847 but Pleasent Weaver, who lived on the Tom Harris place in Mill township and Duncan Weaver who lived on the John Shugart farm in Franklin township.
John Pully and family came in 1849. Beverley Pettiford and familv in 1853.
At that time Jonesboro was a small place and Marion, the county seat, was only a village of a few houses, the Strawtown pike not known and the roads marked by blazed trees.
Emigration continued rapidly, other families from various states came, and among them. in I849. were John Stokes. who owned the farm now owned by Lewis Reynolds, Anderson Hill, who owned the adjoining fortv acres, Celia Hill, Leanna Stoker, Nancy Green, Mary Emiline, Louisa Stokes and Eliza Ann Stokes Weaver, then a very small girl.
Leanna Stokes later married John P. Weaver. an escaped slave from Cleveland, whose name was Bolden, but finding so many Weavers in the settlement he adopted that name as a protection from slave hunters. He and family were known, having throrough industry and economy purchased a forty acres farm in Franklin township.
At the intersection of the Strawtown and Jonesboro pikes is where they lived and enjoyed a properous life. They are all deceased now. We love to speak of them as the reader made her home with them for more than two years and received advantages that were of value in many after years.

In 1850 William Guillford, the father of Green, Thomas and Jesse the former now an octogenarian at Weaver came to the county.
In l852 James Burden, Tommy Burden, Dangerfield White, Ben Skipworth and Cornelius Hill.
In 1854. came Simon, Meakin and John Ward, the latter entering 300 acres of land at Weaver, a littie north; Simon located on John Ratliff farm in Franklin township.
Also in 1854, Betsy McMath with five children, Owen, Abad, Elisha, and Sarah, settled on the farm later owned by the late Jerry Shoecraft.
Johnny Jones and family came from Starke county in 1862 and owned a farm part of which is now owned by John Prior. This remains in the possession of his son Silas Jones.
In 1862 Samuel Stewart and family and Constantine Stewart, Catherine Stewart Gulliford.
Parthenia Stewart Bray, their mother, Virginia Stewart, who died at the age of 105, May 4, 1902, came from Ohio. They were originally free born in Virginia.
Other families that lived in the settlement are too numerous to mention, but the following are familiar names: Sephas Gaskins and family(the former died last June at Kokomo at the age of 93), the Shoecraft, Hawkins, Hill, Wallace, Beck, Hornaday, Black, Green, Patterson Frazier, West, Chavis, Jackson, Casey and Smith families.

The predominate families were the Weavers, they being the greatest in number. Then the Pettiford, Burdens and Smith families. They lived principally in Liberty township, mostly west and south of Weaver. A few families lived in Franklin. Some in Mill and some in Fairmount township.
In the latter was William Fraizer, and his widow,Mary Burden Fraizer now lives in their old homestead on Main street in Fairmount. They raised a large family. The oldest son Annanias is well known for his fanatical religous beliefs and has traveled much with A. P. Norton during the past few years.
Robert Patterson, known by everyone as "Uncle Bob," a Virginia slave freed when but a lad, migrated to Carthage, Indiana, then with his family settled in Fairmount township in 1865. He was known all over the county, having peddled for many years. He died at his late home in Marion at the age of 92 in 1903 or 04.
Benjamin H. Peters, a slave in Tennessee, freed at the age of twenty four at the death of his master with his mother, brother, sisters migrated to Ohio, where he married Mary J. Stewart, and in November 1867, with their five children, they came to Grant county. They are the parents of the writer, who was born to them a few years later at their home on the Eli Hockett farm three miles west of Jonesboro. About 1872 they moved to Liberty township, west of Weaver. He was in advance of the average colored man of his day, comparatively well read and was known both in Ohio and Indiana as a vocal music teacher, having many classes that sang the old square notes. He also was agent for many book concerns and nurseries, and sold his goods all over the county.

In 1849 the A. M. E. church, known as Hills Chapel, was built a half mile east of Weaver, then called the "Crossroads," at the present site where Weaver now stands. The first pastor was Ben Hill, from Kentucky. Others were Davey Rush, from the Deer Creek church in the Bush settlement in Howard county, about eight miles, northwest of Kokomo, Rev Skipworth, Rev. Endicut, Davey Wilson and Daniel Burden. The church was under the episcopal district of Bishop Paul Quinn, the pioneer circuit rider that has done much for Methodism in the middle west and whose remnains lie in the cemetery, at Richmond, Indiana.
Elisha Weaver, when a boy was carted over the Ohio river under a load of goods by white friends to escape, came to Richmond grew to manhood and was a noted preacher and he often visited Hills Chapel and preached.
The Baptist church, a log cabin. was built in 1854 or '55 bv Tom Robinson, a Baptist preacher, and assisted by Billy Boswell a leading Baptist, on a plot of ground on the David Matthew farm where the old graveyard is now abandoned as a burying ground. Later on, Uncle Johnny Jones, as he was called, gave the church a plot of ground at the crossing of the Roseburg and Jonesboro pikes a mile north of Weaver, where a frame building was erected to be used for church purposes. When it ceased the ground should revert to the Jones farm, which it did.and is now owned bv his son, Silas Jones, who at a small cost purchased the church building from the four remaining members and converted it into a dwelling a few years ago.
Some time in the '70s the Wesleyan Methodist church was built a few rods west of the crossroads, the promoters
being Beverly Pettiford, Benjamin Peters, Thomas Wilson and George Peterson. It was pastored bv Isaac Meeks. Doctor Coats and Nathan Davis and others all white. Several colored men were licensed from that church that afterward came to prominence in, other denominations. They were Andrew Ferguson, Isom Hill and Charles Waliace.
In 1869 John Ratliff then a member of the legislature suceeded in getting a portion of the school funds for the colored people to have their own school. No. 2 school of Liberty township was built a few rods west of the crossroads on the southside of the road with two rooms and two teachers were employed, principal and assistant. The first were white and among the earlier teachers were John Q. Thomas and Albert Smith. The colored teachers were George Shaffer and wife, John Mason and wife and John Evans. A few years later, Mr. Ratliff suceeded in passing a bill to allow colored children to attend white school throughout the state, which was an advantage greatly appreciated.

The county was comparatively a wilderness, low, swampy, unhealthy, winters long and severe, wolves and other wild animals were common and there was plenty of wild game. Chill and fever was a malady, but by hard work and clearing and ditching, the settlers succeeded in getting their farms in condition to raise fair crops. Orchards were planted and in a few years fruit was abundant, The roads were made of puncheons or corduroy and for rods in the wet season were impassable. It would take four horses to pull an ordinary load.
The homes were simple log cabins, some few were hewn logs daubed with clay one room,with a loft which was reached by a ladder sometimes from the outside. Some had a ladder attached to the wall right straight up. A big fireplace that would burn almost a cord of wood at a fire was the means of heating. The chimneys were made of sticks and clay. It is said Osborn Nickle built the first brick chimney in the settlement and was first to own a sewing machine. The old fashioned cord bedsteads were used with a trundle bed for the children, a table and cupboard, a few chairs with bark seats and stove constituted the principal furniture of the ordinary home.
The stables were miserable log huts. There were few outhouses and the years provision was kept in the house, as well as all the tools. such as saws, augers, chisels, mauls, wedges, axes. etc.
The housewife was compelled to bring a brood of chickens in the house to protect them from rain; spread her beans out under the bed to dry; pumpkins and other vegetables were often placed under the bed out of the way. The bed were high and filled with straw or shucks and feather bed weighing many pounds. Beautiful quilts, the handwork of the housewife, were numerous. The whitewashed walls and well scrubbed floors showed an air of comfort.

Everybody worked, the women helping in the clearings and assisting in planting the corn, which was done by the hand and hoe. Wheat was hand sown and reaped by cradles. Some of the best timeber was cut down and made into rails to fence the farms. In the 70s the settlement was at its best, with a large population and prosperous. The second school was opened in an old log school previously used by the white people which had been moved on the Hackelman road a mile west, and a half mile south of the crossroads. The first teacher were Anna Harvey, white, and William Burden, colored. This building was abandoned a few vears later and a new frame building was erected about a quarter of a mile north of it.
Social life, with three churches and a Sunday, school, and two day, schools. Education mentally and morally-was eagerly sought. The churches'were seeking the salvation of souls and the ministers never failed to deliver hell-scaring sermons, especially during the revival meeting, which began on New Years night and held many weeks, sometimes late in the spring, until none desired prayer. Everybody went to church, men,women and children . They parted at the door, the men going on the mens side, the women on the women side and to do otherwise was an offense. The young man who desired to take a the lady of his choice home would station himself near the door and wait her coming. Sometimes he would get sacked from some other fellow. People would come for miles around , plodding through water, mud, snow and over the ice, walking foot logs, and crossing fences. In every direction one could see lanterns, .hickory bark lights and torches. They would worship until a late hour praying with the mourners seeking religion, who rolled, cried, and mourned for hours, which was necessary, for the sincerity of his profession or religion was judged by the time it took him to get it, and if one believed in a short time after seeking, or did not shout all over the church and run and hug his enemy, if he had one, it was not genuine; got it too quick to be sincere and would not last until baptism day, which was generally in May or June.

Not withstanding these peculiarities true religion was enjoyed by the forefathers, which was demonstrated on quarterly meeting occasions, at love feasts and holy communion services.
The annual camp meeting held in the Weaver woods a half mile north of Hills Chapel church, was a drawing card, the white people for miles would attend It was looked forward to with great anticipation. It was the financial agent of the church. Aside from the religious service, which consisted of good preaching and singing ,which was very pleasing to the vast crowds,there was every pleasure of a fair or carnival; ten cents was charged at the gate, guards were established to see that no one climbed over the fence and men with marshal powers patroled the grounds to keep order. Rights were sold for stands to sell goods, large cooking and eating tents were put up, and long tables were eagerly sought by hungry persons. The tables were laden with boiled ham, Beef, roast pig, chicken and dumplings, chicken pot pie, cabbage, sweet potatoes, etc., pies, cakes with red and blue sugar icing, and redhot candies on it. There was the confectionery man with his peanuts and candy ice cold lemonade stirred with a spade. It was here that many of the children got their first stick of warm candy or taffy.
The watermelon man was there. Everyone enjoyed the occasion but at its close returned to their daily, vocations.
Ohe Sunday school picnic was a great treat for the young people. Each Sunday school class had a banner bearing its name, with streamers held little girls dressed in white, with paper crown and glazed muslin sashes, others marching and presenting a pretty sight. Andrew Jackson, a fifer, and his son John, the drummer boy, and others formed a drum corps that usually furnished music on all such oaccasions. On reaching the picnic grounds after remarks by the Sunday school leaders and recitations and songs by the children, a bountiful, well prepared dinner was spread upon the ground for all present.
The church festival and Christmas trees were great social events.
The spelling match and the last days of school were great features,which were attended by the patrons who brought baskets laden with good things to eat and after it was devoured a program of recitations and dialogues that displayed the abilitv of the pupils and wisdom of their teachers was rendered, followed by remarks by the school director and influential patrons whom complimented or cirticised the years work. The teacher gave the scholars pretty picture cards as tokens of remembrance. The literary societies, with their debates, were attended with much interest. The wood choppings, when the best chopper got the cake, log rollings, quiltings, apple peelings, taffy pulling, the old play party, the square dance and sleigh riding furnished ample pleasure for the young people.

The Grangers and the Masons were the first secret beneficial societies the earlier settlers enjoyed.
Farming was the principal occupation many working as farm hands for the white people.
Johnny Jones was the blacksmith for the neighborhood, Beverley Pettiford was the shop cobbler. Jack White the community fiddler.
The earlier grocers were Wellington Barnett, Jesse Gulliford and Jack Venters the congenial county vender. He alone could read his figures,they were right without exception.Their places of business were at the crossroads. Barnett's was in his home a little west on the south side of the road, as was Gulliford, but Venters was located a few rods north on the east side of the road.
On rainy days the farmers would congregate in the groceries and argue scripture and discuss the topics of the day. Osborn Nickels, Franklin Weaver, and Meredith Patterson is a cripple, both feet being amputated, and Elisha Wallace were local preachers.
There were many soldiers who bad fought in the war of '61 for their country who lived in the community.
Several hundred acres were under cultivation, clearing, ditching and fencing were continued and the settlement was widely known, but sickness carried many to the silent grave yard, which is located few rods east of the cross roads, the north side of the road. The ground was often so wet that the grave diggers would have to dip gallons of water out before the body could be lowered, but the water quickly ran back in. Many heads of families were called to the Great Beyond which caused a division of their estates, the heirs not able to purchase the interests of the others, a sale was necessary of the lands and the buyers were often white people, until they were dotted here and there.

The easy manner of borrowing money, giving mortages in good faith, but by some misfortune such as failure of crops, sickness, sometime neglect, not understanding business has robbed many of them of their titles to their land.
With these conditions the exodus began in the 80s and continued with apparent notice in the 90s. The younger generation in marriage who started out in life, those who lost their possessions, many tiring of farm life, sought new locations and possessions in other parts.
The inducement of quick money, the pleasures and seemingly easy town life made many flock to Marion (Indiana) which already had a few colored families. Calvin Hood, Mr. Jennings, David Smith and Jefferson Sizemore, whose career is well known as a properous barbaer, a trade at that time wholly monopolized by the colored man. He purchased property in 1867 at the cost of $700.00, where the Colonial building now stands. He owns the lot on the north side of the square owned by the late Harve Marks, and a large brick residence on South Boots street.
Edmond White, the fifth family of Marion came in 1866, purchased the property on South Adams street where Squires livery barn stands. Eliza Stewart owned property on Gallatin street near the Pennysylvania railroad and a few others employed came later and constituted the colored population of Marion. A Sunday school was organized in the old Wesleyan tabernacle on South Washington street where the Episcopal church stands.
Rev.Daniel Burden organized a church later at the home of Calvin Hood. They held services in a log cabin called Possom Hollow. At one time they held meetings in the old courthouse. The church was a mission and a part of Hills chapel circuit. About 1881 they puchased the property on Fifith street, Bethel church, from the First Methodist Episcopal congregration. Rev Robert McDaniels was pastor of both it and Hills chapel.

The population continue to decrease at the settlement and increased in Marion, aided by foreign families moving here also. The post office department by petition established nd office at the cross roads and the name chosen was "Weaver," after the predominating family, by which name the place has ever since been known. Weaver was one of the star route place in the county to which mail was carried everday by contract. C. C. Stewart and S. T. Stewart carried the mail for the post office for several years. The post office was abandoned for the present system of rural free delivery. The exodus had a telling effect on the community and today only a remnant of the original people and possession remain.
The mud roads are pikes, the swamps ditch, producing fine crops, the rail fences has given place to the wire, and many of the log cabins have been replaced by frame dwellings. The bare floors carpeted, the reaper used instead of the cradle and the Wesleyan Methodist church is being used as a barn. The Baptist church does not exist. The Methodist church is Hills Chapel that was built first, still remains and is in the best repair of its history.

No. 2 schoolhouse has been replaced by a new modern brick building built by colored contractor S. M. Plato, of Marion, a product of the Booker T. Washington Institute. No. 3 school is abandoned and the few children that live in the district are transported to No. 2, which is now taught by J.W. Burden . The school has been taught for thirty five years with few exceptions by teachers born and raised in the settlement. They are William Burden , Silas Becks, Willis Hawkins, Catherine Jones, Beverley Pettiford, Jr., Asenath Peters Artis, William White, Lafayette Casey, Clark Smith, John C. Smith, sons of Noah Smith , J.W. Burden, Vasa Casey and Samuel Stewart.

The school that once required a principal and an assistant and the other school that employed one teacher are now combined and are taught by one teacher.
The groceries are all gone except one owned by John H Weaver. who started with $5, in partnership with Jesse Gulliford and bought a $300 or $400 stock and building of 10x14 feet from John Turner, a white man on the southwest corner of the crossroads, June 6, 1880. In about ten months they disolved the partnership. Henry Pettiford buying out Gulliford's share in 1881. In 1893 Mr. Weaver bought out Pettiford, and the building they occupied in the meantime had been moved across the road from the original stand and there he has since remained. He enlarged his building three times (it is now 46x5O feet) and carries a merchandise stock to accommodate the entire community. He now owns forty eight acres of well improved land and several residence properties in Marion and Fairmount. He is estimated to be worth about $10,000.00 Mr. Weaver married December 27, 1883, to Miss Rebecca Mitchell, of Richmond, a school teacher, who taught two terms as an assistant at No. 2 school. She died Februarv 9. 1888, and he married the second time, October 25. 1888, Miss Laura White daughter of Jack White, the celebrated fiddler. Mr. Weaver has been a successful businessman and has a nice home a few rods east of the store at Weaver.
Jesse Jones conducted a small grocery at his residence, one mile north of Weaver, for several years before his death. Now the building is used by Verlie Gulliford, who conducts a small store.
John Pettiford has a blacksmith shop at Weaver and commands the trade of the neighborshood.
George Peterson in his lifetime was the first colored justice of the peace.
Lafayette Casey who holds the office now, is known as 'Squire Casey.
Many of the men in time past have held the offices of school director, road supervisor and constable.
The preachers of the county that have gone to other parts for labor, and the local service of the Methodist are Rev. Daniel Burden and two sons Johnson and Jonathan; the third son Lewis was a local preacher: all are deceased;
Osborn Nickles a local preacher. two sons ,Solomon and Jeremiah, the latter the congenial barber of the city. Andrew Ferguerson, Isom Hill and Joseph Gaskins. The locals are Franklin Weaver, David Weaver, Henry Patterson, Samuel Stewart, Elisha Wallace, a Baptist, Jermiah Shoecraft and Nathan Jones.
The beautiful residience of the late Washington Casey, a mile west of Weaver, now occupied by his widow, is a monument to the race. He owned more than 100 acres of the best improved lands and some town property which is now in the possesion of his heirs.
Noah Smith , at his death last year, left one hundred acres of land and several pieces of town property to his widow and children.
The Robert Wallace heirs are still in possession of the sixtv acre farm bought more than sixty years ago.
The Jones, Becks,, Pettifords, Weavers, Wards, Evans, Stewarts. Burdens and many others are land owners and several hundred acres of good land are still in the hands of colored peoople.
Most all of the old original settlers have died. Green Gulliford, and Edith Pettiford, of Weaver, Jack White, who died September 24, his mother in law Matilda Weaver of near Michaelsville, Columbus Stewart and his sister Mary Jane Peters Shoecraft, of this city, all octogenarians are about all that are left. Many of the old residents went west, and located in Kansas Indian Territory and other states.

The people of Weaver now enjoy a good church society, many belong to the various secret organizations in the city.
The ladies are interested in the Womens Federated Clubs, having two clubs and the first club organization in the rural district in the state.
The colored population of Marion gradually increased until the gas and oil boom in Grant county, when the colored people flocked to Marion and Fairmount, finding plenty of employment in the factories. etc. The platting of new additions, the easy manner of securing homes by small payments, enabled many to purchase lots and contruct houses from one room to comfortable cottages, until more than half the residents owned or are paying for their homes. Some through economy own from one to six and seven pieces to rent. They are scattered all over the city in good locations on the principal streets to the by-way places in the suburbs. They are well kept comfortably furnished. and with few exception, they are not known the old-time mark of broken dirty yards, broken windows filled with rags, but compare favorably with the community in which they are found.
Bethel African Methodist Episcopal church on Fifth street was detached from the Hills Chapel mission about 1887 and has since been a station. It was rernodeled, changing it from a front entrance to side entrance and the addition of a tower and other changes in the auditorium by Rev. T. E. Wilson, pastor, in 1899. It was the first church and has ever since held its place, having for its membership the majority of the leading families of the city. It is now presided over by Dr. George Shaffer, pastor, one of the best ministers in the connection.
The Second Methodist church purchased the property, formerly, owned by the Protestant Methodist church at Washington and Thirtv-fifth streets in 1901, Rev. J.H. Fisher, pastor. It has been a burden to the few members to meet the obligation but by the assistance of the friendstthey have succeeded in paying more than half of the original debt besides making improvements and maintaining a preacher. They have also built a small parsonage on the lot. Rev. C. E. Moorman has been recently appointed pastor.

The Second Baptist church, a neat little edifice, built by S. M. Plato contractor about three years ago, is located on South Branson street, between Eighteenth and Nineteenth streets. Rev. Y. C. Terrell has been its pastor for the past eight years.
In Fairmount a little Methodist church was built about seven years ago. Rev. J.M. Nickles organized the church and was its pastor for five years.
Some are engaged in business enterprises and trades. Filmore Pettiford is engaged in the grocery business and enjoys a good trade on South Washington street. George S. Moss and Andrew J. Wallace have a blacksmith shop on West Second street. Edward Poindexter has a restaurant on South Adams street.
J.M. Nickles, John Robinson, Amos T. Nickle, Oliver Bass, Alfred Smith and W. H. Anderson are in the barber business. S. Plato is an architect and building contractor.
S. Dillard Artis is a street and cement contractor. Morrell and Bushon handle contractors' supplies and Julius Brothers do carpet cleaning. Spires &Mayes are painters and decorators: Henry Burden does painting and many are engaged in minor enterprises.
Aaron Burnett owns and successfully run a heading factory for years at Fairmount, and Augustus
Buck Weaver has a barber shop there. Professional men are J. W. Burden, teacher, who was a deputy in the county, treasurer's office for several years, and Dr. W. T. Thomas, who enjoys a large practice. Dr. George Shaffer, D. D., a recent addition to Marion society, is a renowned preacher and a good practicing physcian. Thaddeus Smith and Noah Burden are city mail carriers. Two colored men have been members of the metropolitan police force, William Pettiford and John Robinson. The custodians of the courthouse and the post office are colored men., Charles Winslow and Melvin Ervin, respectively.

The Union Stock Company, an incorporation of stockholders, owns a lot and building at Washington and Fifteenth streets. It is occupied by Dr. W. T. Thomas.
Mrs.Susie Morgan Burden is well known cateress serving all the first class functions, and she has the patronage of the best people. Mrs. David Morrell and Miss Floda Williams are accomplished musicians, Mrs Mary Lawrence Hill , a former resident of the city was genius at art and her beautiful pictures adorn the homes of many of friends. A
A large number of children attend the public schools and complete the eighth grade work.
Since 1888, when your humble servant was the first colored person in Grant county to graduate from the Marion High School, twelve girls and boys completed the course. At present eleven are in attendance and there are one hundred and fifty-two girls and seventy-eight boys in schools throughout the county.

In social life the secret societies are numerous. The Odd Fellows, Mississinewa lodge 2104 is the largest and strongest owning their hall, in which they meet and several peices of residence property and a good treasurers account. The Free and Accepted Masons, Knights of Pythias and Ancient York Mason are among the number; these with the ladies' auxiliaries, the Household of Ruth, the Eastern Star, two Courts of Calanthe, Ladies' Court, and Sisters of Charity, are doing much fraternally for the people.
Women's clubs are numerous and through these the home life is reached and its influence on the future posterity is receiving attention through the efforts of Asenath P. Artis, present state organizer.
There are about two thousand five hundred colored people in Grant county, five hundred voters, and they own property, the combined assessed value of which is $65,920, farm land $45.885, town property $20,035.
Being a Hoosier born in Grant countv and not having lived twelve months outside its borders in my entire life, I take great pleasure in searching for facts, although with the cares of a busy housewife I find it no easy task to secure data from an unwritten history of a people of wonderful achievements for more than sixty years.
This fact has taught the younger generation to make records of all deeds that the future generation may I know of our existence. However, we have presented as accurate an account as could be obtained from the memory, of the older people, both colored and white, and from the old records at the courthouse and the personal observation of about thrity-five years of the doings and simple life of a good and great people to which we are proud we belong, and still trust and believe the words of the Good Book that Ethiopia shall stretch forth her hands.




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Contribution 13 Sep 2009 1:39PM GMT 
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