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History Of Paris Crossing, Indiana (Paris #24)

New Paris, Indiana

May 22, 2022


Paris Crossing began on land purchased in 1819 by James & Sally Shilliday Graham. Several houses close together formed a village long before the railroad came through. The village sprang up a short distance from Paris along the line of the Ohio & Mississippi branch of the railroad from Jeffersonville to North Vernon. Warren Rector first brought mail from Lancaster to Paris Crossing. There was a sawmill and a few people had homesteaded the area but it had not been named. The stone industry played an important role in the development of this community. It was quarried on the McGannon & Wiggam farm south of Paris Crossing. Mr. Beenix was an early stone worker. Another was Casper Vorburger who worked for the Baltimore & Ohio Southwest Railway Co. in 1893. He was born in 1858 in Switzerland on the Rhine. He had studdied in Zurich to become a mortuary sculptor. After coming to Paris Crossing, he married in 1887 to Lottie Humphrey daughter of William Gaston Humphrey and Anna Buckman.

He later purchased the North Vernon Marble Works and made a name for himself as a designer and manfacturerof Monuments. The stone from the McGannon and Wiggam quarry was used to build bridges and bridge abutments on the branch railroad line from Louisville to North Vernon. (This RR line was removed in the 1980's). Stone quarried there was used for foundations of the large brick homes of Samuel and Charles Wright and churches in the area. The first station agent on the Railroad was James H. Wilson a position he held for 30 years. Other agents at Paris Crossing RR station were Fred Dixon, Ray Padget and Mr. Peck. Edgar Wilson followed his father James H. Wilson as agent. Edgar Wilson's hobby was teaching young men telegraphy and music. Under his direction the brass band became an orchestra. Some of his band boys had formal training from Elbert Hill and George Washington Dodd. One of the earliest stores was operated by William Gaston Humphrey Sr. who was born in Brighton, England, and came to the U.S. in 1853 to Cincinnati, Ohio where he worked as a machinist for four or five years, until he could bring his childhood sweetheart, (Anna Buckman) over from Sussex, England, they were married in Ohio in about 1857. During the Civil War, W.G. Humphrey Sr. came into Jefferson County, Indiana around Wirt, and had a small store there. He would go around the countryside selling from a pack on his back, later using a one horse wagon to carry what the customers had ordered out to them. About this time the railroad was being built thru what was to become Paris Crossing, because the RR crossed the Old Brownstown here. W.G. Humphrey brought his family to Jennings Co. where he built a small store on the East side of the tracks, at first, then later building a larger store on the West side of the RR. This store still remains today under a new family.

William G. Humphrey's son William G. Jr. and Alfred (Fred) Humphrey helped their father for years. William G. Humphrey Sr. and Anna Humphrey built a large frame home west of Paris Crossing on a hill overlooking the town. He also built a large barn for his peddling wagon and horses, and owned some other land. The store remained in the Humphrey family for 107 years, four generations of Humphrey's owned it. There were two peddling wagons that left Paris Crossing weekly. One wagon went to Marion Township and on to Crothersville, where it stayed over night on a regular stop. Some of the drivers were Frank Malcomb, Grandville Childs, Tom Buckles, Clint Childs, Noah Perkinson, Ira and sometimes Arnold Humphrey sons of William G. Jr., Weber Fitch. Herman Buckles, drove another wagon to Centerville and across to Graham and back to Hopewell and then home. Other drivers were Walter Reeves, Lawrence James, Bob Simmons and Charles A. Lowry. Grandfather Humphrey bought many or should I say traded for many eggs, rabbits, chickens, grain or anything a farmer could trade. When the Peddling wagon came in all the eggs had to be candled, so the youngest son Alfred Smith Humphrey helped in this way, being to young to clerk or drive a wagon. The eggs were shipped by refrigerated railroad cars to New York and other points east. This being the way that the merchant could redeem his money and purchase more merchandise. Another early merchant at Paris Crossing was James Lowry, Alexander and Robert Lowry came to Jennings County in 1836. Other stores in Paris Crossing were owned by Jack and Tom Kay, Albert and Dan Ray, Charles Finch, Harmon Dixon, Eldo Dodd, James Shaw, Herman Buckles, Harold Combs, General Lunsford, James Madison Lowry, Dale and Zonda (Ray) Hearns. The Kay family had a butcher shop. Walter and Fred Kay would peddle meat into adjoining communities. In those days you could buy a fine steak for 10 or 15 cents. Sylvanus M. Fish and John M. Tobias had their drug stores. Mr. Fish had the telegraphers office in his store for a time. Some of the drugs handled were; Reruna, Castor Oil, Epson Salts, Laudunam, Paragoric and Asafoetida. Mr. John Tobias operated a soda fountain in connection with his drug store. At one time there were 14 passenger trains on this branch line, seven of which stopped at Paris Crossing. Traveling salesmen or drummers as they were called, traveled by train. Paris also had boarding houses for those who had to wait over. Mrs. Westly Malcomb, Mrs. Amos Thompson, Mrs. Mary Dixon and Mrs. Josie Hudson were a few who had boarding houses. Also the livery stable played an important part in transporting these salesmen. Mort Malcomb and James Hopkins were operators of the livery stables. Thomas B. Jeffery company and (Moses) Spencer had the first Hardware store in the basement of the Old Barracks. This barracks was later a furniture store, run by James E. Hudson and Ham Morrison. The Barracks also in turn became a school building, a restaurant, run by Jerry Rodarmel and a skating rink and later a home. It was across from where Samuel Wright later built the large brick home, the brick house was on the site of a saw mill in earlier times. The Masonic Hall was moved from Old Paris, at the turn of the century. An Odd Fellows lodge was also established. Both buildings burned when we had the second disasterous fire in the 1950's. When the Masonic lodge burned all the beautiful hand made arrow back chairs were destroyed. There were about 100 chairs, made by Thomas Rowland and Joseph Ayers cabinetmakers from Old Paris. Mrs. Bell Sampson and Laura Jones and Julia Deputy Blake made the latest Paris styles in Millinery. On the first floor of the Odd Fellows building was S.M. Fish's drug store, and the Barber shop that belonged to Joe Dixon in the other building next door. The beautiful array of individual shaving mugs with the names of the owners and other decorations were a sight to behold. Many times Joe Dixon worked, to the harmony of the "Barbershop Quartet", composed of Earnest Hudson, Otto Malcomb, Jerome Heimbach and Raymond Kinder. A shave and a hair cut for 25 cents. Perry Slagle was another barber. Before the Brick school house was built in 1896 and the Samuel and Charles Wright houses in Paris Crossing, a brick kiln to make brick was established on the Alban Deputy farm, called Plesant Hill, Walter Kay hauled the wood used for fuel. Otto Harms was one of the workman, after the fire was built it was kept going night and day. This operation belonged to Sylvester and son Alban Deputy. Also brick for churchs was made here. Paris Crossing State Bank was organized at the beginning of the 1900 hundreds, by business men, Samuel and Charles Wright, William G. Humphrey Sr. and Jr., Lowrys, Hudson's, Pond's, Fish, Rays, George Washington Dodd, Tobias, Landons, Dixon's, Deputy's and McGannons. Grant Bovard was first cashier, after he moved to Kansas. Brannock Lowry was the Cashier, he held this position until the bank closed about depression years (1934-35). There were two attempted robberies but both times Mr. Lowry foiled the attempt. Samuel Wright was in the hardware business with James E. Hudson, their store was on the corner of Main and Mill Streets (across from the Baptist church). The hardware store later burned to the ground and today Webster's garage is in that location. Levi Hudson had a furniture store in this big hardware store. It also had a harness shop in which Hugh Hudson turned out beautiful hand made buggys and work harness, and he made shoes as well. James E. Hudson and his father Absolum V. Hudson and Morse Hudson a brother to James were in the Breeding stock farm business, raised Belgian horses, also buying and shipping of stock. Absolum Hudson and his wife Mary Fowler Hudson in later life built a large two story house and large barn across from Wrights Mill, where they could buy and ship stock from, the RR siding was just back of the Barn. James Hudson had a sawmill and shipped lumber and logs, he was trustee when the Brick school house was built in 1896 at Paris Crossing. Mort Leeds had a saw mill at Paris Crossing as well. The frame school building was then converted to use as an Opera house. The young people of the community had good times giving many home talent plays. Smith Jolly (a cousin of Agnes Jolly (Gaddy). She was the 2nd wife of Dr. Orville Gaddy, one of the Drs. of Paris. Dr. Orville Gaddy was born in Montgomery Township, 14 November 1847 to Benjamin and Sallie (Cobb) Gaddy. Benjamin Gaddy came to Montgomery Township in the 1830's from Kentucky. He was a farmer and raised sheep. Dr. Gaddy attended Franklin College, inIndiana and then read medicine with Dr. Nelson Gaddy of Weston, then a year later entered the Ohio Medical College at Cincinnati, Ohio. Dr. O. Gaddy's 1st wife was Emma Calhoun of Jefferson County, in 1873, she died in 1878, he then remarried. At one time we had a telephone exchange, run by Sam Dodd and his wife May (VanRiper) Dodd, was the exchange operator. Another small business was a canning factory, located on Mill Street south of town. Only lasted a couple of years. Another small business was a cheese factory and a shingle factory, operated by Alban Deputy and his father Sylvester Deputy at Pleasant Hill. All that remains of this operation was a deep dug well, on the Deputy farm. Paris Crossing has been served by two churches. The Baptist church was established in 1822 by Minister Thomas Hill Sr. He had served during the Revolutionary War, and is buried in the old Coffee Creek Baptist Church Cemetery. He gave the land for the cemetery and where the first church was built, a log church, made of hewn logs. In 1834 it was rebuilt and made of Brick. In 1886 it was moved into Paris Crossing and built larger, later adding Sunday School rooms. Some of the first people who helped found the Baptist church were Mary (Stone) Hill wife of Thomas Hill Sr., William Whitsitt and wife, James and Jane Fowler, William and Polly Blankenship, John and Zilpha Hopkins, Nathan and Ann Robertson, Patsey Peoples, Nancy Johnson, Betsey Bennet, Sally Scott, Ann McCory, Ann Pritchard, Ann Wilkerson, Polly Hudson, Polly Bridges, Abigail and Polly Roberts, Hannah Earl and Susan Hill wife of Thomas Hill Jr. The Christian Church was established on the opposite hill, north of the Baptist Church in 1834. John Bowman New, helped charter this church. Absalom Hudson gave to the trustees of the Coffee Creek Christian church an acre of land for a cemetery and place to build the church, August 10, 1844, it too was a Brick church, in the 1970's the members built on to this church. The Baptist Church has supplied 7 pastors, one Ulysess M. McGuire was also editor for a time of the Baptist Observer. Other ministers were Thomas Hill Jr., Zachariah Bush, J.W. Robinson, John Hill, William B. Lewis and Charles Snowden. We have had many ministers from the Southern Baptist Seminary since then. The Christian church has had four ministers and three ministers wives. Charles Hudson moved to California, Lawrence Layman has ministered to the Indians and others in the Osark Mts., Melvin Thomas and Gary Layman, son of Lawrence Layman ministered to the Christian church then moved on to Okalahoma. Joy (Arbuckle) McCoy was a teacher who married Rev. McCoy, Louise (Layman) Duncan went with her husband to Okla. then Washington state. Hope (Bonesteel) Layman was another ministers wife. Both churches have full time pastors and own their own parsonages. In 1988-89 there are two other churches in Paris. One minister is a home town boy Roger Hearne's. Another happening in the fall of the year was, "Old Settlers Meeting" at the grove north of Paris Crossing. The Corduroy Road (called plank) led over the hill northwest of the schoolhouse to this grove. This was the road that ran from Brownstown to Madison. William Deputy in his talk to the Old Settlers meetings told of his family's trials and dangers and hardships of the Indians, "White Eye and Kill Buck" were friendly. The pioneers kept them friendly by sharing their meager supplies. Paris always honored its dead on Decoration Day. There were speeches, songs, and poems. Old Paris sent 148 soldiers to the Civil War. Also many served in World War I and II. The men of the GAR would march behind the band and the children followed carrying flowers to decorate the graves. Some of the soldiers buried at Paris also served in the War of 1812. There is one Revolutionary War Soldier buried at the Old Paris Cemetery on the banks of Graham Creek, "Robert Watson". There were three boys who failed to come back from WW II, Junior or William Young, Dennis Wilkerson, Raymond Cart, and Marion Terrill was a prisoner of War, was released but didn't live long afterward (he was in what was called the Bataan Death March). Several garages in Paris Crossing have replaced the Blacksmith shop....Owners were: Ernest Granger, Clarence E. Webster, Cecil Shumate, Jesse Davis, Eddie Arnold, Fritz Humphrey and Francis Stout worked with him. Dr. William Leeds, was one of the three Dentists at Paris Crossing. Dr. McCall came once a month from Deputy. Carl Alexander and the Hutchinson Family were early Photographers. Carl McGannon became a Superintendant of schools and later an executive with the Heath Book Company.Foster Hudson was a prominent obstertrician in Indianapolis, Lester Dodd was president of the Michigan Bar Association. Stella Risser was a successful Dentist in Houston, Texas. Donald Johnson was dean of boys at Columbus High School. Walter Dodd was guidance director at Lawrence Central High School, Indianapolis, he later moved to Houston, Texas. Dr. Imogene McIntire was on the faculty at the University of Cincinnati, Ohio, later she is Professor in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada. Morton Dixon was Superintendant of schools for many years at Kendalville, IN. Ralph Humphrey taught at Boys School at Plainfield and Bernice (Dixon) Humphrey taught at Mooresville, IN. Grace Thompson Huffard, author of "When Rebels Rode" spent part of her school years here, often returned to visit old friends and Cora Deputy Dodd. Dr. Ernest Deputy was a General practictioner at Duggar, Indiana. Melvin Wells, was instructor at Institute of Tech. in Chicago, Ill. Lester Rogers, a professor at University of Calif. Mary Williamson who spent 3 of her high school years here is the author of a small History of the State of Washington, she has been connected with Washington State College. Roger Carlock spent 3 of his High School years here. He and his wife Julia Ray Carlock were photographers in Washington D.C. Maggie Wright Hudson, who died recently, (1979) was the daughter of Charles Wright of Paris Crossing. Her Grandparents, William and Jane (Lilly) Wright, came to Jennings county in 1838. Her Grandfather was a native of Lancaster, England born in 1818. Jane D. Lilly was born in New York State and of Holland Ancestry on one side of the family. Their two sons Charles and Samuel L. Wright were leading business men in Montgomery Township in the late 1890's. Maggie Wrights mother was Ida McClanahan. Their large brick home is out near the Christian church. Samuel L. Wright was a leading business man in Paris Crossing he built a large flouring mill and grain storage mill and was also a store keeper. Samuel married Ida B. Deputy and built the large brick house in Paris Crossing. Cora Dodd the wife of Eldo Dodd lives here in 1989. It was once used as a funeral Home, after Eldo boughtthe Brick home from Lottie Humphrey Kimberlin in 1940. Jane Lilly Wrights uncle died and left the Wrights aninterest in an Anthricite coal mine in Pennsylvania. (It is now called Jim Thorpe to honor the Indian Athlete.) One tenant house on the Wright's farm on Coffee Creek was the first split-level house in the township. The lower part was brick, and upper part frame and all the woodwork, doors, window frames were Cherry. It saddened me (Ethel Deputy) when it burned several years ago, because it had been the home of Joshua Deputy a Civil War Veteran and our Father's (Alban Deputy's) uncle. When Samuel Wright sold the mill and left Paris they later lived in Kansas and then moved to Mississippi. Theysold their home in Paris Crossing to Lottie Humphrey Kimberlin. In 1890 George Washington Dodd came from the Wakefield Community in Jefferson County, Indiana, he had lived in Ohio before living in Indiana. He and John M. Tobias were in the undertaking business together. Inearly days the embalming was done in the home by the light of a kerosene lamp. At first the deceased was taken to their final resting place in a wagon, later they were taken in a horse drawn hearse. Mr. John McCartney, Homer McGannon, George Williamson, and other helpers at different times. The last pointed coffin which George W. Dodd had in stock is in possession of his youngest Grandson Ralph Dodd. Dr. Hanna came from Tyrone, Ireland. He drove a fast stepping team of ponies hitched to a cart to make his house calls. His large frame home was across from the brick school house, it belonged later to his daughter Gertrude "Trude" Hanna Dixon, she married Joe Dixon who was the Paris Crossing barber in the early 1900's Dr. Revel Bannister doctored in the community for a few years, he married a Waggoner girl. He built the smaller house across from Dr. Hanna's home, the east part of which served as an office. It was later occupied by two Veterinarians at different times. The first was Willie Hopkins and later a Dr. Bowen. Paris Crossing was also served by two medical Doctors from neighboring towns. Dr. Wilber Robertson of Deputy and Dr. Dennis W. Matthews of Commiskey. Mail was first brought into the village by Warren Rector from Lancaster. Some of the Postmasters have been Buck Dixon, Eldo Dodd, Raymond Kinder, S.M. Fish, Lynn Hudson, Allen Fitch, Marie Peachock Bonesteel, and Elise Leuderman. Rural carriers were George Foster, Herman Buckles, Otto Malcomb, John Kysar, Loren Rogers, and Jack Simmons Forgot to mention some of the early teachers, Luella Spaulding, Ethel Zentmeyer, Chole Hulse, Gertrude Dodd, Pearl Wiggam Simons, Charles Silvers, John Graham, Tom Cain, Mr. Willis, Roy Seig, Emil Mills, Delbert Pheiffer, Max Plaskett, Wilbur Young, Zaring Hudson and Ward Smith. Joy Arbuckle McCoy, Jim Mayfield, Mary Mayfield, Nolan Reece, Arthur Buckles, Bob Weir, Leland Lurton, Marjorie McGannon LeGrand, Crystal McGannon Lurton, Miss Craigmyle, Hilda Kelso, Marie Johnson Bridges, Ethel Deputy, Cora Deputy Dodd and Ellena Clark to name a few. The Paris Crossing Silver Coronet Band 1896-1900's consisted of Edgar Wilson, Horace McGuire (Jennings County School Superintendant 1891-1897), Ellison Hudson, William McGuire (brother of Horace and a minister) Samuel Malcomb, Alban (Abby) Deputy (father of Cora Dodd, Ethel and Walter Deputy, Emerson Deputy. I received this history of Paris Crossing from Billie McGannon of Paris Indiana and have copied it as exactly as I could. There is no author listed but it is stated once by the writer her name is Ethel Deputy. (Stuart Bechman a Deputy researcher says he thinks the author is Ethel Sarah Deputy born August 24, 1897 to Alban S. and Lillie (Wilson) Deputy. I agree.)

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