Monday, October 1, 2012

Valentine and Maria. Indiana, The 1960s

New Albany, Floyd County, Indiana

Aside from the citizenship record in 1852, Valentine and Maria first appear in the 1870 U.S. census for Hamilton County, Cincinnati, but three of their children’s birthplaces are listed as Indiana, from 1862 to 1866.  Later records prove the location in Indiana as New Albany.

Neither the prior 1850 or 1860 census lists Valentine and Maria living either in Ohio or Indiana, though it's evident they were living in Ohio, up until the birth of Barbara in 1862 in Indiana.

It’s uncertain why Valentine and Maria moved to Indiana and remained there until sometime before 1870, when they returned to Cincinnati.  The Civil War began on April 12, 1861, and was declared finished on April 9, 1865, so basically Valentine and his family stayed in Indiana throughout the war.  If he fought in the war, I cannot find records of this.  In 1862, Abraham Lincoln established one of the first seven National Cemeteries in New Albany for burying the many slain bodies in the Civil War. 

New Albany was nicknamed “River Town,” for its location on the banks of the Ohio River, and “The Sunny Side of Louisville,” because it was across the river from Louisville. 

The steamboat industry in New Albany was thriving during this time, and possibly jobs were available.  Without a census to refer to, or a city directory, it’s impossible to know if Valentine got work there that caused him to relocate. 

Shipbuilding was accompanied by a wide range of ancillary business including machine shops, foundries, cabinet and furniture factories, and silversmith shops… By 1850, New Albany was the largest city in Indiana due to its river contacts with the South. New Albany's size and economic influence overshadowed all of its neighboring cities, including Louisville.~ (,_Indiana#Early_history

The most obvious reason for Valentine moving to Indiana during its “boom” period of extensive shipbuilding was the work it provided, and at the end of this boom business, in 1870, when the last ship was built, the work opportunities also ended.  

The Battle of Corydon

I’ve wondered about the Wehrles during the Civil War, what that must have been like.  

The Battle of Corydon was a minor engagement that took place July 9, 1863, just south of Corydon, which had been the original capital of Indiana until 1825, and was the county seat of Harrison County. The attack occurred during Morgan's Raid …as a force of 2,500 cavalry invaded the North in support of the Tullahoma Campaign. It was the only pitched battle of the Civil War that occurred in Indiana, and no battle has occurred within Indiana since. 
...News of an impending raid spread across the state, Governor Oliver P. Morton called out the state's militia force, the Indiana Legion, to defend against the threat. Unaware of the size of the invading army, four companies of the 6th and 8th Regiments of the Legion, totaling about one hundred men, attempted to prevent the Confederates from crossing the Ohio River into Indiana, but were overcome by superior artillery fire, killing two of the defenders. The units retreated northward where they met with the main body of the 6th Regiment under the command of Col. Lewis Jordan. Along with the townspeople, they constructed breastworks that formed a defensive line south of Corydon. Despite promises of reinforcements from regional Legion commanders in New Albany, only about 450 men (consisting almost entirely of locals) were defending the town.   
... A  large part of the Legion were captured as they attempted to escape from the town, while Col. Jordon and others regrouped downtown. Confederates then seized the Legion's commissary supplies on the edge of town, and fired two warning shots into the downtown from their artillery, convincing Jordan that continued resistance was futile and leading him to surrender his force and Corydon. ~  
In July 1863, Valentine and Maria’s youngest child, Barbara, was one year old.  The Battle of Corydon was being fought approximately 20 miles away from their home.

Indiana and Ohio’s Underground Railroad

File:Brooklyn Museum - A Ride for Liberty -- The Fugitive Slaves - Eastman Johnson ~Source:

Source:  http://www.undergroundrailroadi 

In spite of our country’s civil war, and the battle fought close to my ancestors’ home in Indiana, slavery had continued, and Ohio and Indiana being free states (and across the river in Kentucky it was not), what’s come to be known as the Underground Railroad was in operation. 

Thousands of brave people helped the slaves flee North, some to Canada, to freedom.  There was such precision and cooperative focus by these heroes that it was likened to a railroad, with “stations” along the way, hence Underground Railroad. 

While Valentine and Maria and their children were living in New Albany, their city was a stop on the Underground Railroad.  The “station” there was The New Albany Town Clock Church, now the Second Baptist Church.
Town Clock Church dates from 1849-1852. The street address is 300 East Main.. Stories of this church during the Civil War are legend; it was an open secret that this was a station in the Underground Railroad. The small openings and rooms in the dirt floor basement remain just as they were when fugitive slaves hid safely during their journey North.~ Source:
There were many places that runaway negroes crossed the Ohio river from Kentucky into Indiana, and the anti-slavery league put skiffs and boats along the river to aid the fugitives.  The most used routes were above the mouth of the Wabash River on the Ohio and on up to the neighborhood of Cincinnati.~

Politics and the Know Nothings

View of Cincinnati, published in the Illustrated London News in 1855

Another possible reason for the Wehrles moving from Ohio to Indiana could have been the Cincinnati 1855 Riot caused by the “Know Nothings” (established in 1854 as the Supreme Order of the Star-spangled Banner), a group of Cincinnati Nativists formed to oppose immigrants and Catholics. 

This group was also the opposing political party against Democrats (this was before the Republican party was formed), and in 1855 tried to fix an election by means of stealing ballot boxes in German voting wards and using physical violence to keep the Germans from voting.  

The riots went on three days and nights.  The Know-Nothing mobs attempted to invade the Over-the-Rhine neighborhood, but the Germans created a barricade across Vine Street and organized themselves into a fighting unit, successfully pushing the Know-Nothings back and causing them to lose the election in spite of their evil schemes to win.

Times were dangerous then for Germans and Catholics in Cincinnati, who were thought of as low-class threats to the city’s wholesome atmosphere. 

However, Valentine and Maria would return to Cincinnati, Hamilton County, before the 1870 Census, and the second generation Wehrles married and began families of their own close to their parents and grandparents: Somewhere Over-the-Rhine.

Next:  The Wehrles of Cincinnati.  

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