Pages 442-443, Biographical and Historical Record of Vermillion County, Indiana


442 - History of Vermillion County Biographical and Historical Record of
Vermillion County, Indiana

In 1825 he moved to Eugene. During the early years of his residence here he was active in political circles and public affairs. He began merchandising at Clinton, and later engaged in the same business at the Little vermillion Mills; was a useful citizen and a popular man. When Newport was founded he erected the building known as Place's Hotel, and was land agent for the sale of lots. He considered the bottom lands in and about Opedee to be the richest he had ever seen in his wide experience, and maintained a ferry known as Collett's Ferry, about a mile south of Opedee. As an example of pioneer custom, when one afternoon a train of moving wagons crossed at his ferry, bearing the household goods of the Worth family from North Carolina, he asked where they were going and what preparations they had on their land. They replied that they were going to section 9, township 17 north, 9 west, -- the present residence of Mrs. J. W. Porter, -- and that they would live in their wagons until they could get time to erect a cabin. His answer was, "Make ready to entertain your neighbors and friends to-morrow, and I will send word around that new-comers have arrived; to-morrow night your cabin will be built, roofed and ready for occupation." Within twenty-four hours their house was completed, and Mr. Worth ever afterward held this act as one of the kindest that had ever been done for him. Another anecdote we may relate in this connection. In those early times there were no prohibitionists. Coffee and tea were scarce and high. Whisky was a cheap necessity of life. It was taken for medicine, as a beverage, and used in the communion service. They all used it; and every merchant and shop-keeper was expected to have glasses and jugs of the liquor free to the public, on his counter or table. It appeared, however, that in a few families it was not viewed by the women as entirely commendable. In such cases, when the annual account current was rendered, the landlord's books would show that certain neighbors were charged every week or oftener with a quart to a half gallon of gunpowder! Although advanced in life when he came to this county, Mr. Collett was still a stalwart man and maintained a soldier's bearing; was nearly six feet high, with high, full face, slightly stooped, with thin grayish dark hair, hazel eyes, and elastic step even in old age. He was always kind and tender in his disposition, entertaining a horror for any of the improprieties or indecencies of life. In every essential he was a gentleman of the "old school," dressed somewhat old-fashioned, wore his hair in a queue, as is seen in portraits of Washington and the men of the Revolution. He was a man of excellent judgment, shrewd in the slelection of good land, and dignified in his conduct. One good characteristic he exhibited in the training of his children, was that he never allowed them to sleep in bed with their limbs "cuddled" up;" and the result was a peculiarly soldier-like erectness of stature enjoyed by his dscendants. He died in Eugene in 1834, aged seventy-two years, and was buried in the Collett family cemetery. His most intimate friends desired that the most appropriate sentiment should be engraved upon his tombstone, namely, "An honest man is the noblest work of God." His wife, Elizabeth, died at Columbus, Ohio. His two sons, Josephus and Stephen S., and daughters, Emily and Mary, came with him to Terre Haute. Emily died and was buried in the cemetery at Terre Haute; and in memory of her acts of kindness many children within the circle of her acquaintance were named Emily. Mary married Mr. Dillow in Columbus, and after residing for a time in

Biographical Sketches - 443

Terre Haute, came to Newport, where she died and was buried in the Collett cemetery. She had three sons and three daughters, all of whom are deceased. William, her oldest son, was a stout blacksmith, and a kind-hearted neighbor. Jack, the second son, kept tavern, and was probably the most "entertaining" host in all the country, full of anecdotes, good at imitation, and generous and liberal in all his ways.

WILLIAM B. WALTHALL, farmer and stock-raiser, resides on section 6, Vermillion Township, where he owns a good farm of ninety acres and in addition to this he owns a tract of 120 acres of land in llinois. He was born in Dinwiddie County, Virginia, January 25, 1818, a son of William B. and Martha (Bailey) Walthall, who were also natives of Virginia, and of English descent. They were birthright members of the Friends' church, and endeavored to instill into the minds of their children from an early age the principles of the Gospel of Christ. In the year 1830, the parents, thinking it better on account of their children to live in a free State, moved with their family to Ohio, the mother having near relatives in that State, being on the road one month and a day before reaching their destination, locating in Clinton County. In the father's family were seven children, three daughters and four sons, our subject being the eldest son and fourth child. The parents lived to a ripe old age, living to see the children of their youngest child. Their seven children reached an average of over sixty-nine years before death entered their home, and six are yet living. Being born and reared until twelve years of age in a slave-holding community William B. learned to hate slavery in all its forms, and early in life began to oppose the system by speaking of its evils among his schoolmates, and in trying to teach colored people to read and write, and with his advancing years his hatred of the institution increased. He stood with the Free-Soil party, and cast the first and only vote in the county for John P. Hale for President of the United States, and continued to fight slavery to its bitter end in 1863. He continued in the work of reform through life, and in early manhood gave up the use of tobacco, and joined the army of its opposers. Mr. Walthall grew to manhood in Clinton County, Ohio, remaining there until attaining the age of twenty-four years, and in the winter of 1842 he left the parental roof to find a home in the then far west. After traveling on horseback for eight days he reached Vermillion County, Indiana, and settled on the farm where he now lives. He was married in this county, March 9, 1842, before a monthly meeting of the religious Society of Friends, to Sarah Haworth, who was born in Ohio, in 1817, a daughter of Richard and Susanna (Henderson) Haworth. This union was dissolved by the death of Mrs. Walthall, April 28, 1854, after a happy married life of twelve years. She had a birthright membership in the Society of Friends, and was a worthy and consistent Christian. She left at her death four children -- Martha A., Thomas E., Francis and Levi. Martha married Steven Cross, and has one child -- Charlie. Thomas married Sarah J. Likens, and they are the parents of ten children. Francis married Roena Castle, and to them one child has been born who is now deceased. Levi married Elizabeth Cox, and to them have been born seven children. Mr. Walthall was a second time united in marriage, in the autumn of 1855, to Lydia J. Branson, a daughter of Aquilla and Lydia (Ellis) Bran-

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