The oldest of our county’s records are not easy to miss when processing and cataloging. They are always fragile, sometimes have broken loose from their binding, and often contain untold tales of joy, tragedy, and hope. They serve as a record of the day to day events of a long forgotten past.
This Probate Court order book is dated from 1823. Within it are the names of our county’s earliest pioneers– a who’s who of society in a still tiny river town.
Shortly after Vanderburgh was established as the county seat, Elisha Harrison became secretary of the newly incorporated town’s board of trustees. He was responsible for listing the town’s taxable properties and his efforts to do so remain in this book and others like it. His claim to fame comes from his lineage as second cousin to President William Henry Harrison. He was the first state senator elected from Vanderburgh county, a brigadier general in the militia, operator of Evansville’s Weekly Gazette, maintained the ferry on the Ohio River, and built the county’s first courthouse.
By the account of John Iglehart, he was “an able man of many excellent traits, public spirited, well educated and until his death in 1825 or 1826, was in the front of every public movement, and freely invested his fortune in public enterprises, more perhaps than any man of his time.”
Corrigan, S. (2012, March 24). Evansville Bicentennial: A town rises from a river. Evansville Courier and Press.