Indiana Social History – American Colonization Society – Utopian Communities – English Immigrants

The American Colonization Society, Prairie farmers, Pioneer life, English immigrants to America, underground railroad escape from slavery, utopian communities in the 1800s. The free online books to download below are about topics in Indiana social history.

“Indiana Emigrants to Liberia”

The Indiana Historian March 2000

Anthrop, Mary, ed.
Indiana Historical Bureau

16-page article by Indiana’s state historical bureau on Indiana’s efforts in the first half of the 19th century to remove black residents of the state by settling them in Africa, then termed “colonization”. Includes information on 19th century legal discrimination in Indiana and the American Colonization Society. Also a bibliography (including internet resources) and a list of known Indiana emigrants to Liberia.

“A Full Supply of the Necessaries and Comforts of Life”: The Owenite Community of Blue Spring, Indiana

Indiana Magazine of History Vol. 107, Issue 3. 2011, pp 235-249

Bakken, Dawn E.
Bloomington: Indiana University

This article is more valuable for its explanation of the American Owenite movement than for its sparse description of the short-lived experiment at Blue Spring, near Bloomington. The Constitution of the Blue Lick community is completely reproduced here.

See also: Podmore, Frank, Robert Owen in Century Past Biographies: M, N & O

Education and Reform at New Harmony: Correspondence of William Maclure and Marie Duclos Fretageot, 1820-1833

Bestor, Arthur E.
Indianapolis. Indiana Historical Society 1948

“[William] MacLure was the principal associate of Robert Owen in the social and educational experiment of the middle 1820’s [i.e. New Harmony], and was himself the prime mover in making the community by the Wabash the greatest center in its day of scientific research and publication in the West. The letters that passed between him and his trusted adviser and deputy, Madame Fretageot, or a period of nearly fifteen years constitute the only continuous contemporary record of the genesis, culmination, and dissolution of Owen’s social experiment and of the steadier advance of the scientific and educational programs connected with it.” – from the Editor’s Preface. Chapter headings are:

-William MacLure and the New Harmony Experiment -MacLure and Owen join forces. 1820-1825 -The New Harmony Kaleidoscope. January – September 1826 -Owen and MacLure reach an open break. October 1826 – May 1827 -Epilogue

The Development of Public Charities and Correction in Indiana

Board of State Charities
Jefferson, IN: Indiana Reformatory Printing Trade School 1910

Our Towns: Remembering Community in Indiana

Bodnar, John E.
Indiana Historical Society 2001

History of the Underground Railroad as it was Conducted by the Anti-slavery League

Including many thrilling encounters between those aiding the slaves to escape and those trying to recapture them

Cockrum, William M., Col.
Oakland City, IN: Cockrum 1915

This is a book of true stories from the 1850s that include some incidents in which the author personally participated as a young man. The book describes the work of people in the Anti-Slavery League who operated south of the Indiana border to contact slaves on plantations and effect their initial escapes, connecting them to other members of the organization who would pass them along the underground railroad to Canada. The book also describes the activities of slave hunters in Indiana who, greatly encouraged by the Fugitive Slave Law of 1850, hunted both escaped slaves and free African Americans, returning both to the slave south. The Anti-Slavery League operated against these gangs.

For links to books about the issue of slavery in Indiana and Illinois, see: Anti-Slavery before the Civil War

For biographies of people in the American abolition movement, see:
Swift, Lindsay, William Lloyd Garrison in Century Past Biographies: G & H
Stowe, Harriet Beecher, Life of Harriet Beecher Stowe in Biographies & Memoirs in Ohio History;
Coffin, Levi, Reminiscences of Levi Coffin, the Reputed President of the Underground Railroad in Biographies & Memoirs in Indiana History;
Washington, Booker Taliaferro, Frederick Douglass in Century Past Biographies: D, E & F; and
Haviland, Laura S. , A Woman’s Life-Work in Biographies & Memoirs in Michigan History

“The Harmonist Movement in Indiana”

Indiana Magazine of History Volume 19, Issue 2, 1923, pp 188-200

Denehie, Elizabeth Smith
Bloomington, IN: Indiana University

A useful reference work is: Bliss, D.P., The New Encyclopedia of Social Reform (1908) in Policy Issues

“Frances Wright’s Experiment with Negro Emancipation”

Indiana Magazine of History Vol. 35 no. 2 (June 1939): 141-157

Elliot, Helen
Bloomington: Indiana University

Frances Wright (1795-1852) first visited the U.S. from her home in England in 1818 and published in London a successful and admiring account in 1821 called Views on Society and Manners in America. After a close association in England with various reformers, she returned to the U.S. in 1824 and traveled for a time with the group accompanying the Marquis de Lafayette, who had participated in the American Revolution. On this visit she investigated slavery, meeting with both abolitionists and slave-owners, and also spent time at New Harmony, IN. In 1825 to 1826, with the assistance of George Flower from the English settlement at Albion, IL, Wright planned and implemented an experimental system for emancipating slaves at an estate she called Nashoba.

The Jewish Community of Indianapolis, 1849 to the Present

Endelman, Judith E.
Indiana University 1984

Slave Narratives: A Folk History of Slavery in the United States from Interviews with Former Slaves: Indiana Narratives

Federal Writers Project
Washington: Work Projects Administration 1941

This book contains accounts of interviews carried out from 1936 to 1938 with approximately 60 former slaves living in Indiana. Note that other volumes of oral interviews were also prepared in other states as part of this Federal Writers Project.

German Settlers and German Settlements in Indiana: A Memorial for the State Centennial, 1916

Fritsch, William A.
Evansville, IN: 1915

The author explained in the Preface of this small book that he was a German by birth and education, and had been a citizen of Indiana for over 50 years during which he had traveled widely around the state. He wrote that, “He believes that over half the population of the state are either German or of German descent and feels that they have not received due credit for their share in the development of the state. For many years he has devoted his leisure hours to the task of gathering facts and data regarding the Germans as a factor in the upbuilding of the state…” Chapter headings are:

-The Early Settlers of Indiana -New Harmony a German Settlement -Other Immigrants -Germans in the Civil War -After the Civil War -German Industry and Public Institutions -Pioneers in the Learned Profession -German-American Alliance of Indiana

Some suggested works for genealogy research in Indiana: Genealogy & Local History – Indiana

For works about immigration of various ethnic groups, see:
Ohio Social History
(Scotch-Irish and Welsh);
Illinois Ohio Social History (Norwegians);
Michigan Social History (Dutch, Jews and Armenians);
Wisconsin Social History (Czechs, Danish, Cornish, Germans, Norwegians, Dutch, Swiss, Belgians, Greeks and Icelanders)

“A Letter of 1832”

Indiana Magazine of History Volume 25, Issue 3, September 1929, pp 242-245

Fussell, Martha
Bloomington: Indiana University

Martha Fussell had recently arrived at Pendleton, on the Indiana frontier, when she wrote this letter home to her husband’s parents.

Prairie Farms and Prairie Folk

– Volume 2

Gillmore, Parker
London: Hurst and Blackett 1872

These two volumes appear to be reminiscences of the author – mainly of his youth in southern Indiana and Illinois. There are numerous anecdotes that portray life in pioneer days.

When the Truth is Told: A History of Black Women’s Culture and Community in Indiana, 1875-1950

Hine, Darlene Clark
National Council of Negro Women, Indianapolis Section 1981

“The Coming of the English to Indiana in 1817 and Their Hoosier Neighbors”

Indiana Magazine of History Volume 15, Issue 2, 1919, pp 89-178

Iglehart, John E.
Bloomington, IN: Indiana University

“A Forgotten Feminist: The Early Writings of Ida Husted Harper, 1878–1894”

Indiana Magazine of History Volume 73, Issue 2, June 1977, pp 79-101

Jones, Nancy Baker
Bloomington: Indiana University

“Ohioans in Northern Indiana before 1850”

Indiana Magazine of History Volume 49, Issue 4, December 1953, pp 391-404

Lang, Elfrieda
Bloomington: Indiana University

The New Harmony Movement

Lockwood, George B.
NY: Appleton 1905

A somewhat academic history of the movement. Chapter headings are:

-New Harmony’s Place in History -The Rise of the Rappites -The Rappites in Indiana -The Rappite Hegira -Robert Owen and the Industrial Revolution -Agitation in England -The New Moral World -The Founding of New Harmony -The Preliminary Society -“The Half-way House” -The “Permanent Community” -The Social System on Trial -The Duke of Saxe-Weimar at New Harmony -Two Views of New Harmony -Community Progress -Community Disintegration -Robert Owen’s Farewell Addresses -The Ten Lost Tribes of Communism -Woman at New Harmony -The Educational Experiment -Josiah Warren -Robert Owen’s Later Life -New Harmony’s Later History -The MacLure Library Movement -Robert Dale Owen -Appendix: Sources

See also: Podmore, Frank, Robert Owen in Century Past Biographies: M, N & O

“The Flow of Colonists To and From Indiana Before the Civil War”

Indiana Magazine of History Vol. 11, No. 1 (March 1915) pp 1-7.

Lynch, William O.
Bloomington: Indiana University

The author was a professor of American history at Indiana State Normal School. In this brief article Professor Lynch drew upon the censuses of 1850 and 1860 to describe the origins of Indiana residents before 1850, and show how migration patterns into Indiana were changing in the 1850s.

The Diaries of Donald Macdonald, 1824-1826

Macdonald, Donald
Indianapolis: Indiana Historical Society 1942

This book contains the journals of two visits by Captain Donald Macdonald to the U.S. from his home in Ireland, in 1824-25 and 1825-26. Both journals contain accounts of his visits to New Harmony, IN.

History of the Regulators of Northern Indiana

Mott, M.H.
Indianapolis: Indianapolis Journal 1859

Soon after the sale of public lands in northern Indiana began in 1835 and 1836, that country began to be particularly infested with horse thieves, blacklegs, etc. Their operations extended into southern Michigan because they, of course, knew no state bounds. The inhabitants suffered so much from their depredations that the State Legislature passed on March 9, 1852, an Act authorizing the formation of companies for the detection and apprehension of horse thieves andother felons, and defining their powers. These groups were known as regulators. The first group, known as the LaGrange County Rangers, was organized September 20, 1856. Other groups organized rapidly and effectively cleared the country of these ‘nefarious operators’.

“Pioneer Life” Paper 1

– Paper 2

– Paper 3

– Paper 4

Indiana Magazine of History Vol. 3, Issue 1 pp 1-11, Mar 1907; Volume 3, Issue 2 pp 51-57, June 1907; Vol 3, Issue 3, pp 125-131 Sep 1907; Vol 3, Issue 4, pp 182-188 Dec 1907

Parker, Benjamin S.
Bloomington: Indiana University

This article, issued in four installments, was written from manuscript material that the author was working into a book on the history of Henry County, IN. Topics covered include:

Paper No. 1: Early Manners and Customs: The Ruffian Element; Early Fighting and Rude Amusements – Cooperative Tasks and Social Accompaniments; House-raising, Logrolling, etc.; Pastimes; Pioneer Feasts; Dances and Play-Parties of the Young People.

Paper No. 2. The Old-Time Singing Schools; “Missouri Harmony” and other Singing Books, Debating Clubs, Literary Societies and other Amusements, Winter Sport, Religious Life and its social Side.

Paper No. 3. Early Credit System and Scarcity of Money, The Backwoods Cabin and its Construction, Improvement; the Hewed log house, Capacity of the “Hoosier’s Nest”, Household Equipment, Culinary Utensils, the Fireplace; “Reflector” and “Dutch Oven”, Home-made Woodenware, the Gourd, furniture, the Loom and the Spinning-Wheel.

-Paper No. 4, Clothing of the Pioneers; the Deerskin and Its Uses; Picturesque Costumes–Home-made Fabrics: Linsey and Jeans–Dye-stuffs Used: Butternut, Walnut and Indigo–The Styles of Garments–Pioneer Finery; Ladies and Gentlemen of the Old School–The Quaker Costumes–Footwear; the Introduction of the Boot–The Surtout, Cloak and Shawl–A Traveling Outfit–Superstitions.

Related books are at: Making Cloth and Clothing on the Frontier

The Underground Railroad in Floyd County, Indiana

Peters, Pamela R.
McFarland 2001

A Rural Survey in Indiana

Presbyterian Church in the USA
NY: Redfield 1911?

“Hoosier Origins: The Nativity of Indiana’s United States–Born Population in 1850”

Indiana Magazine of History Volume 81, Issue 3, September 1985, pp 201-232

Rose, Gregory S.
Bloomington: Indiana University

Some suggested books for genealogy research in Indiana: Genealogy & Local History – Indiana

“Indiana State Aid for Negro Deportation”

Proceedings of the Mississippi Valley Historical Association Vol IX, 1915-18, 414-21

Sherwood, Henry Noble
Cedar Rapids, Iowa: Mississippi Valley Historical Association

Beginning in 1831 no slave or freedman was allowed to settle in Indiana unless he gave a $500 bond, signed by a white man, for his good behavior. The state constitution of 1850 went further, prohibiting negroes and mulattos from settling in Indiana, and imposing fines up to $500 for anyone encouraging them to do so. After ratification of the Constitution there began a movement among the churches as well as the state government to deport to Africa any freedmen already in Indiana. This paper describes the history of that movement.

“The Bicycle Boom and the Bicycle Bloc: Cycling and Politics in the 1890s”

Indiana Magazine of History Vol 104, Issue 3, 2008, pp213-240

Taylor, Michael
Bloomington: Indiana University

“Eleutherian Institute: A Sketch of A Unique Step in the Educational History of Indiana”

Indiana Magazine of History Volume 19, Issue 2, 1923, pp 109-131

Thompson, William C.
Bloomington, IN: Indiana University

Women in Industry

Trent, Ray S.
Bloomington: Indiana University 1918

The author was a professor of Economics and Sociology in Indiana University. The study applies to working women nation-wide, but one of the author’s stated goals was to influence applicable laws in Indiana.

“Home Life in Early Indiana” Part 1

– Part 2

Indiana Magazine of History Volume 10, Issue 2, pp 133-161, 1914; Volume 10, Issue 3, pp 284-320, 1914

Vogel, William F.
Bloomington: Indiana University

Chapter and section titles for both parts of this article are:

Chapter 1. The Home
-Location of the House -The Half-Faced Camp -Cabin of the Earlier Period -House of the Later Period -Furniture and Fireplace Equipment -Method of Cooking -Articles of Food -Homemade Utensils -Lighting of the House -The Problem of Clothing

Chapter 2. Occupations
-Wild Game and Hunting -Bee Hunting -Clearing the Forest -Domestic Animals -Farm Implements -Crops -The Harvest Season -Hunting Ginseng -Sugar Making -Difficulty in Obtaining Salt -Flatboats -Stores and Trade -Pioneer Mills -Roads and Travel -Old Time Taverns

Chapter 3. Sickness and Physicians
-Prevalence of Sickness -Hard Lot of the Sick -Ague and Fever -Doctors and Methods of Treatment -Milk-Sickness and Cholera -Spells and Charms

Chapter 4. Churches and Preachers
-Early Catholic Missionaries -Early Protestant Preachers -Family Worship -Church Buildings -The Camp Meeting -Denominations

Chapter 5. Teachers and Schools
-Education under the French -Interest of Indiana in Education -Home Schools -A Pioneer Schoolhouse -Early Teachers -Books and Methods of Instruction -Loud Schools -Barring the Teacher Out -Hardships of Pioneer School Children -Real Education of the Early Hoosiers

Chapter 6. Social Life
-Log Rolling -Huskings -Quilting Bee -The Shooting Match -Goose Pulling -Dancing -Social Games -Sleigh Rides -The Spelling School -Singing Schools -Debating Societies -Weddings -The Infare -Training Day -Circus Day

Also see: Vintage Housekeeping Books

“A Station of the Underground Railroad”

Indiana Magazine of History Volume 7, Issue 2, June 1911, pp 64-76

Waldrip, W. D.
Bloomington: Indiana University

The story of the “Union Depot” of the Underground Railroad in Newport, IN, in Wayne county. The author claims this was the most famous depot on the railroad.

For links to books about the issue of slavery in Indiana and Illinois, see: Anti-Slavery before the Civil War

“Local Life and Color in The New Purchase”

Indiana Magazine of History Volume 9, Issue 4, pp 215-233, 1913

Woodburn, James Albert
Bloomington: Indiana University

This entertaining paper was an address by Professor Woodburn, from Indiana University, to the History Society of Wabash College. It describes life among settlers in the “New Purchase” region of Indiana in the 1820s, just after it was opened to settlement. He drew heavily upon stories and descriptions from the book, The New Purchase, or Seven and a Half Years in the Far West by Robert Carlton (real name Baynard Rush Hall), which can be found on the Indiana Biographies and Memoirs page of this website.

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