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Ancestor Biographies

Samuel Holliday

The Biographical and Genealogical History of Cass, Miami, Howard and Tipton county, Indiana, Volume One, tells us that Samuel Holliday (b. 1779) was the son of William Holliday and Martha Patton and that he married Elizabeth Martin. Their son, William Adair Holliday, was born about 1806 in Harrison County, Kentucky, and married Lucia Shaw Cruft, who is the daughter of John and Lucia Crocker Shaw Cruft. By all accounts, Samuel Holliday is noted as well-educated and highly regarded by his peers. He became an associate judge so soon after moving to Madison County as a result of his rapport with those that knew him. In “The History of Madison County,” we can read a personal sketch about Samuel Holliday Mr. Holliday was born in 1780. He came to the county in 1822 and located on Fall Creek, 4 miles southwest of Pendleton. He was elected associate judge soon after his arrival in the county and was on the bench at the trial of Bridge, Sawyer, and Hudson. He was a citizen of the county for seven years when he bought a farm on the edge of Hamilton County, where he died and was buried in 1835. He was married to Miss Martin, in Kentucky, in 1802. Their union was blessed with 11 children, whose names are as follows; Catherine, William A., Sarah, Martin, John, Alexander, Martha, Adliza, Joseph, Caroline, and Elizabeth, all of whom lived to be men and women. Their mother died in the year 1846 and is also buried in Hamilton County. Mr. Samuel Holliday was of medium size with black hair, blue eyes, fair complexion, and high cheekbones. He was a member of the Presbyterian Church.

Roger Lee McKnight

Roger Lee McKnight was the third of George McKnight, Sr. of Rowan County, North Carolina. Roger farmed in North Carolina near his father and father-in-law until about 1813, when he and five of his sons moved to Indiana.

Before his move to Indiana, he married Lydia Elrod on August 26th, 1790 in Rowan County, North Carolina. Together they had eleven children: John, Thomas, George Washington, Christopher, William Asbury, Joseph, and James McNight.

We find Lydia deceased in 1844 and Roger remarries to a second wife, Sarah Haynes on January 15, 1846, in Orleans, Orange County, Indiana and they have one son, Jeremiah McKnight. Roger Lee McKnight passed away on September 26, 1851, in Orleans, Orange County, Indiana, and was buried in the Green Hill Cemetery.

Their original burial plot was an extinct cemetery on the land entered by Roger in 1813 in Sec. 7, T2N, R1E. Their stones were discovered by the Grant Carrolls, descendants of Roger, and were relocated to the Green Hill cemetery at Orleans in Orange County, Indiana.

In 1816, Roger was one of the “Judges of the election” in the county and also was appointed Inspector of the Lost River Township where at one point he served as a viewer of a road from Paoli.

Andrew Mitchem

According to an article written on “The Mitchems of Harrison County, Indiana: An Underground Railroad Saga” for the Ohio River National Freedom Corridor, Andrew Mitchem’s family is part of an extraordinary story.

There was a Corydon newspaper account published on January 31, 1918, that says that Paul and Susannah Mitchem freed 107 slaves in Indiana Territory. There are 68 documented emancipations which are all presumed to have occurred in Harrison County, IN.

Andrew Mitchem, who is listed as a twin of Lewis Mitchem, was born between 1808-1812 and was emancipated on May 9, 1815, at the age of seven. His mother was Milly Mitchem Finley who was a part of this migration of around 100 others that came to Harrison County, Indiana around 1814-15.

Andrew married Marion Mitchem on April 29, 1838, and died on April 12, 1859, at Corydon, Indiana at the age of 46 years and 8 months old. Andrew’s mother, Milly Mitchem Finley (wife of Col. James Finley), died in September 1854.

Elijah Roberts

Elijah Roberts sold his property in North Carolina and with his free paper, moved his family by ox-drawn two-wheeled carts and wagons westward. They arrived in Ohio by 1825 but later moved to Rush County, Indiana before eventually settling in Hamilton County.

Elijah Roberts’s land grant in Rush County was signed by President Martin Van Buren on March 20, 1837, for 80 acres. He was married to Kiziah Corbin in 1817, died in 1848, and is buried in the Roberts Cemetery in Atlanta, Hamilton County, Indiana.

James "Long Jim" Roberts

“Long Jim” Roberts and Willis Roberts traveled together to east-central Indiana during the late spring and early summer of 1829. Black pioneers began arriving in the area near Blue River in 1824 and a rural community of Blacks, known as Beech settlement, started to take shape in the late 1820s. Located in Ripley Township, the sparsely populated neighborhood included roughly ten families and 75 people in 1830.