Sheridan township was first settled in the year 1833, and the first settler was James McCreary, who drove his preemption stake in the southeast quarter of section thirteen. E. Mann was the next arrival and he came the same year, and soon after a few more whose names are forgotten. In 183’11 quite a number came in, among whom were Isaac Splawn, Benjamin Rowell, E. Kelso, Charles McGee, Nathan Marsh, Anthony Mullins, E. Hulett, and A. McMurtry. These old pioneers were the first that settled in the township, and they blazed the way for those who followed.
It was these pioneers and their families who had their full share of the suffering and privation incident to the settlement of a new country. They had neither mills to grind their corn or stores within a reasonable distance to do their trading. A burnt hole in a log with a deerskin stretched over it and a stick cut for a pestle comprised their milling facilities. One or two hand-mills were in the township. Richmond, in Ray county, and Liberty in Clay, were the principal trading points. The former for store goods, the latter for milling purposes. Game was plenty and that carried them through in many close places. Deerskin pants and moccasins and coonskin caps were the rule and not the exception. Mrs. Anthony McMullins, Mrs. Anna Kelso, and Mrs. Nancy McCreary were the first to weave and spin. They did the first work of this kind in the township in 1835, and the shirts for the men and dresses for themselves were all made out of the same line of goods. It was warm, comfortable, and durable and that was the great object in those days. The cabins were of the most primitive order, and the chinks were stopped up with mud, which was the principal ingredient that went into the chimneys, along with a few sticks. The women of those days had their full share of pioneer life, and to get at the truth of the matter, very many of the pioneer men of those days would have come up missing if their wives had not been along.
Settlers began to arrive and settle all over the township, not rapidly, but they kept dropping in, one or two families at a time. The principal settlement was the McCreary-Kelso, on the east side, and in the north was the Hulett-McMurtry. James B. McCreary came from North Carolina, and his was among the first deaths, if not the first, in the county, occurring in 1835.
The next death reported was that of Sarah E. Lisle, a child born in the township in January, 1841. Her parents came to the township in 1839. Her clothing accidentally caught fire and she was burned to death, in 1845, and was buried in what is known as Hopkin’s cemetery. Her father’s name was George Lisle, and her mother’s, Rebecca Lisle, nee Lenbart.
In 1840 came the McMurtrys (a brother having preceded them several years before). They were John, Joseph, George and Samuel, from Tennessee. Then came the Noah’s the same year, from Ohio; their names were George and Reuben. Richard Woodress came at the same time. They all settled in the central and north portions of the township. Thomas Keis and Dr. Samuel Venable also came in 1840. This last gentleman resided in Gallatin, practiced in the township, and was also the only physician in Gallatin for some time. He came from Virginia, and has since died, but after he had removed from Daviess county. The first physician to practice in the township was Dr. W. P. Thompson, who visited the houses of the first settlers in 1833, and Dr. Venable was the next.
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