|3. ||Meedy White Shields (1.Penelope1) was born 8 Jul 1805, , Sevier County, Tennessee; died 6 Feb 1866, Seymour, Indiana. |
Meedy White Shields served in the Black Hawk War. He served in the Indiana
state legislature; house 1846-1847, Senate 1853, 1855, 1861 & 1863. He was the
founder of Seymour, Indiana.
SEYMOUR derived its name from the chief contractor andcivil engineer, Mr. Seymour, who had charge of and super-intended the construction of the Ohio & Mississippi Railway,from North Vernon, Ind., to St. Louis, Mo. The town was laidout April 27, 1852, by Meedy W. and Eliza P. Shields. The originalplat embraced that part of the present city lying north of ICincinnati Avenue, south of Fifth Street, east of Indianapolis Avenue and west of Broadway. Within the boundary lines it was traversed east and west by Second, Third and Fourth Streets,and north and south by Ewing and Mill Streets, the latter running south only to Fourth Street. The plat included ten blocks and100 lots, and was duly registered at Brownstown, the county seat.The ground on which Seymour now stands was pre-empted or purchased as follows: James Shields, father of M. W. Shields,founder of the town, was granted by the Government 1,200 acresof land at an early day, about 1812, and placed in charge of the"block-house," a rude fortress erected and maintained for several years, on the ground lying just north of the city and now occu-pied by the Catholic cemetery. This grant included all landlying north of Seventh Street, in the present city plat.The ground lying directly south, to what is now known asBruce Street, was pre-empted or purchased from the Governmentby Joshua Moore. Seeing the advantages that would accruefrom railroads, Mr. M. W. Shields purchased from Samuel Moore,his son, this tract of land, which was owned by the latter, aboutthe year 1850. Butler's addition, comprising the greater part ofthe Fifth Ward of the city of Seymour, was purchased direct fromthe Government at a merely nominal price by Charles Butler.The city of Seymour is located on a part of four separate sections,the corners of all meeting at the intersection of Brown and Wal-nut Streets. A parallel line, running south from the east side ofthe city cemetery on the north to Brown Street on the south,shows the northeastern part of the city located in the west half ofSection 17, Township 6, Range 6. All lots and lands west ofsaid parallel and north of Brown Street are located in Section 18,Township 6, Range 6. That part of the city lying south ofBrown Street and mainly west of Walnut and known as Butler'saddition, lies in Section 19, Township 6, Range 6. The fourthdivision is best known as Pfingst's addition, though much morethan this addition is included in or encompassed by Section 20.of Jackson Township.
The second storehouse in Seymour was built byMeedy W. Shields, and was located four or five doors south ofSecond Street, on the east side of Indianapolis Avenue.
The first public sale of lots in Seymour took place Novem-ber 11, 1852, and Mr. Shields, the founder of the town, who hadnothing to show as an inducement to investment but the projectof railroads (on paper) that were soon to come, was most hap-pily surprised at the eagerness of bidders. At that time theground where the Ohio & Mississippi and Jeffersonville,Madison & Indianapolis depots now stand, was a pondon which water stood nearly all the year, to a depth ofseveral feet. The now well-known Jonas House corner wasthen the corner of a field which yielded abundant crops of wheator corn each year. The greater part of what is now known asthe First Ward was a dense forest, which was used as a woodspasture by Mr. Shields, the western boundary of which was de-fined by a rail fence, running about on the present line of EwingStreet.
A saw-mill built by M. W. Shields in the year 1852, and su-perintended by Stephen Adams, furnished the lumber used in theerection of most of the new houses built in Seymour during theyears 1852 to 1855. This saw-mill stood just east ofthe Jeffersonville, Madison & Indianapolis Railway and halfway between Third and Fourth Streets, beside a ra-vine which is now covered by a culvert.
A rivalry had for some time existedbetween M. W. Shields, whose interests were in and near Seymour,and John J. Kester, who was a large property owner in and aboutRockford, a village of 500 inhabitants, two miles north, eachhaving contended for the coming of the then prospective Ohio &Mississippi Railroad through their respective towns. The sur-vey being completed and Mr. Shields being triumphant, it is notsurprising that the denizens of Rockford, taking their cue fromMr. Kester, had no kindly feeling for their new though promisingrival. Such influence as they could exert was brought to bear onthe officials of the road, and, as a consequence trains did notstop at Seymonr for nearly three years after the Jeffersonville &Indianapolis Railroad had been completed through the town."Mule Crossing," as Seymour was derisively called, was tabooedby her jealous rival, and many and bitter were the personal quar-rels that grew out of this jealousy.
The first addition to Seymour was recorded by Meedy W.Shields, August 29, 1854, and embraced that portion of the citylying between the Ohio & Mississippi Railway, and Tipton andits extension, High Street, east of Chestnut Street and west ofBroadway. Shields' addition, recorded February 13, 1856, em-bracing three or four blocks lying south of High Street, and eastof the Jeffersonville, Madison & Indianapolis Railway. Shields'addition, recorded September 23, 1858; twelve blocks west of theJeffersonville, Madison & Indianapolis Railway, and both northand south of the Ohio & Mississippi Railway. Shields' addition,May 15, 1863; six blocks east of the original town plat,and north of the Ohio & Mississippi Railway. Various otherminor additions were recorded by Mr. Shields, on the followingdates: June 13, 1863; June 17, 1863; June 19, 1863; March 7,1864; June 17, 1864; November 9, 1864. Butler's addition,September 24, 1863, blocks A, B, D, E, and F. Various otheradditions have been made to the city.
The first schoolhouse erected for the accommodation of the,children of Seymour, was built by Meedy W. Shields, at the cor-ner of Ewing and Fifth Streets, on the lot now owned by MathiasFreidman. This building was a frame, and contained threerooms, one above being used for church purposes, and two roomsbelow for schools. This town's progress being rapid, and its pop-ulation increasing apace, several other rooms were rented through-out the town for school purposes, between 1853, when this housewas built, and 1860, when the first national census of the townwas taken, which showed a population of 924. The old schoolbuilding was destroyed by fire June 9,1859, and a new, two-storybrick school building was at once erected on the lot now occupiedby John Sansterer's residence.
The Seymour Democrat was first established as the SeymourUnion by Henry M. Beedle. The paper was afterward given its present name, and previous to 1875 was owned in turn by J. H.McCormick, M. W. Shields, A. A. Davison, Shank & Stairs, andperhaps others.
In 1855, M. W. Shields, founder of the town, advertised inthe Cincinnati and Louisville papers that he would give suffi-cient grounds and $100 to any church organization that wouldlocate in Seymour. April 29, 1855, a Presbyterian society ofseven members was organized, with Rev. Charles White, pastor.In September of that year a frame church building was erectedon the corner of Second and Chestnut Streets.
But few if any counties in the State exceeded Jackson in itsfirst enthusiasm at the breaking out of the Rebellion. In oneweek more than a full company had been organized at Seymourand had left for Indianapolis. Before taking the train onMonday evening, April 22, the men were formed in line in thepresence of the immense multitude that had gathered to see themleave. Eloquent and patriotic addresses were made by Dr. Ford,M. W. Shields and S. W. Holmes, and so affecting was the scenethere was scarcely a dry eye to be seen in the vast assemblage ofmen, women and children.
In the early part of October, 1861, a meeting of all the homeguards of the county was held at Brownstown. It was a grandsuccess, and a large. crowd was present from all portions of thecounty. An address was delivered by the Hon. C. L. Dunham.This was perhaps the most successful drill ever held in the countyby the legion. Large numbers of its men had entered the activeservice, and its efficiency greatly impaired. It continued its or-ganization, however, during most of the war, and at the time ofMorgan's raid was called together under Meedy W. Shields, itscommander.
THE MORGAN RAID.
Perhaps nothing ever stirred the people of southern Indianaso deeply, or spread such universal alarm among the inhabitants,as the news that the rebel Gen. John H. Morgan had crossed thethe Ohio River with his regiment of cavalry on a raid throughIndiana. Every community in the southern portion of the Statedeemed itself the object of attack, and was excited to the highestpitch of active resistance. The farmer left the plow and the mer-chant his store, and all united, with whatever weapon could beprocured, to drive the invader back. Jackson County shared theexcitement in the fullest degree. When it became known withsome certainty of the whereabouts of Morgan, two companies ofthe legion were stationed on the road leading to Salem, under thecommand of Capt. M. W. Shields. At that time it was supposed thatthe object of the rebel commander's attack was Indianapolis, andthat his route would be by this road through Brownstown. Greatrelief was afforded when news came that from Salem the courseof the invaders was more to the east. It was later learned thatthe probable course would bring them to Vernon, in JenningsCounty. At that time a considerable force was at Seymour, un-der Gen. Love, and this was ordered to Vernon, where it at onceproceeded by the Ohio & Mississippi Railroad.
MEEDY WHITE SHIELDS, late of Seymour, was born inSevierville, Sevier Co., Tenn., July 8, 1805. He was the son ofJames and Penelope (White) Shields, and a grandson of Stock-ton Shields, of Virginia, a captain in the Revolutionary war.
The subject of this sketch attended school only three months inhis life, but by his own energy attained a thorough English edu-cation. He removed to Corydon, Harrison County, in 1811,using pack-horses in making the journey. In 1816 the familywent to Jackson County and settled on a farm that is now part ofthe city of Seymour. At this time there were only six whitefamilies in the county. From 1820 to 1832 Mr. Shields was en-gaged in running a flat-boat from the White River to NewOrleans, and in managing his farm. In the early part of 1832he enlisted in the army, was made first lieutenant, and in the fallof that year was promoted to a captaincy. At the close of theBlackhawk war, in 1833, he returned to Jackson County, wherehe married Eliza P. Ewing, the daughter of a wealthy farmer of Brownstown, of the same county. He then engaged in farmingon the old homestead. In the fall of 1846 he was elected a mem-ber of the Legislature, and was re-elected in 1848. In October,1852, he was elected State senator from the counties of Jacksonand Scott. In November of that year he laid out the town (nowthe city) of Seymour, and in 1853 opened a general store andalso constructed eleven miles of the Ohio & Mississippi Railroad.
He was a lover of fine stock, and manifested a great interest inthe improvement of the cattle of the county, making the firstimportation of fine stock in the neighborhood. It was mainlythrough his efforts that the Ohio & Mississippi Railroad passedthrough the town of Seymour, as the road had been located twomiles north, through the town of Rockford. In the fall of 1856he was again elected to the State senate from Jackson, and Jen-nings Counties, and there introduced the bill compelling railroadcompanies to bring all trains to a stop at crossings of other rail-roads.
In 1860 he was a delegate to the Democratic Conventionat Charlestown which nominated Douglas for President. He wasthe father of eight children, two of whom, Ewing and Tipton,are deceased; Bruce T. and William H. are now farming; SarahS. married John H. Blish in 1854, and Eliza S. married A. W.Dickinson in 1864. Mr. Shields was not a member of any relig-ious denomination, but gave liberally to several churches in theirinfancy, donating a lot to every church. His wife was a memberof the First Presbyterian Church, and not only was a liberal con-tributor to the church at Seymour, but gave largely of her meansto the support of Presbyterian Churches allover the State. Thecity of Seymour in its rapid growth, its numerous railroadshops, its extensive manufactories, and its high school, whichbears Mr. Shields' name, is greatly indebted to the energy, in-dustry, perseverance and influence of its founder. He died Feb-ruary 6, 1866, of inflammation of the stomach, and in his deaththe city suffered an irreparable loss. His wife departed this lifeNovember 14, of the same year. Mr. Shields left an estate worth$375,000, accumulated by his own energy, sagacity and industry.His brother, William Shields, in the year 1840 was a member ofthe Indiana Legislature, and died during his term of office. Hewas dearly beloved by the people and was followed to the graveby an immense concourse of citizens. Appropriate resolutionsin regard to his sterling worth were adopted by the house.
"Kin of my Grandchildren, Vol III", Judge Noble K. Littell, 1992, p 20, 28.
"Shields Family", Christine B. Brown, 6 February 1980, p 66.
"History of Jackson County, Indiana.", Brant and Fuller, 1886, p 459-460, 462, 463, 466, 469, 483, 537, 559-560, 716-718.
Meedy married Eliza P. Ewing 18 Aug 1833, Jackson County, Indiana. Eliza was born Abt 1809, New Jersey; died 14 Nov 1866. [Group Sheet]
- 10. Lycurgus L. Shields was born 19 May 1834, Indiana; died 3 Feb 1890.
- 11. Sarah Shields was born Abt 1836, Indiana.
- 12. Ewing Shields died Bef 1860.
- 13. Bruce T. Shields was born 1840, Jackson County, Indiana; died 13 Sep 1877.
- 14. Elizabeth Shields was born Abt 1842, Indiana.
- 15. William H. Shields was born Apr 1843, , Jackson, Indiana; died 5 Jun 1912, Seymour, Jackson, Indiana.
- 16. Meady Shields was born Jan 1846, Indiana; died 5 May 1912.
- 17. Tipton Shields was born Abt 1848, Indiana; died Aug 1861.