Spring Mill State Park
Chapter title – First White Settler
First White Settler in Spring Mill Pioneer Village
Samuel Jackson is the first recorded white settler in the area that would become Spring Mill State Park sometime around 1815.
Samuel Jackson (? – ?)
History has recorded little of Spring Mill’s first recorded White settler, Samuel Jackson. He first appears on the muster roll of the War Of 1812 Upper Canadian Volunteers when he enlisted as an ensign on July 12, 1812.
Upper Canadian Volunteers
This regiment included 44 soldiers and 9 officers, commanded by Colonel Joseph Willicocks. Many of the men that volunteered for service in the Upper Canadian Volunteers were Americans that had immigrated to Canada to take advantage of the cheap land available there, while others were native Canadians that disliked England. The unit mustered into service in July 1813. The unit fought in all of the major battles of the War of 1812. Since the British government considered them traitors, they faced hanging if captured. When the regiment mustered out on, or about, June 15, 1815 the United States Government issued them land grants in the United States as compensation for their services.
First Spring Mill State Park Grist Mill
Samuel Jackson migrated into the Indiana Territory, wandering about the dense, forested land of southern Indiana. He discovered the valley now occupied by Spring Mill State Park, and noted the generous, constant flow of water originating from a cave. This water source would provide the power needed for a successful gristmill. He also observed the dense forest land, knowing it to be an important resource for constructing buildings. Additionally, the existence of the immense limestone slabs would provide a valuable building material that could be easily quarried. He took a 480-acre tract of land in the southwest quarter of section 32 in Orange County, now Lawrence County. Jackson moved his family to a site near Hamer Cave, now in Spring Mill State Park. He built a cabin and a log gristmill powered by water flowing from the small pool formed from the dam he constructed across the creek. The water flowed to the mill through hollowed out poplar logs hewn out into troughs, providing power to the mill. He ground wheat and corn into flour for the nearby pioneers. During his occupancy of the site William Wright, of Orange County constructed a corn mill near the site of the current gristmill. Jackson apparently opened a small stone quarry, with plans to build a stone gristmill on the property. Jackson disappears from history when he sold his land to the Bullitt brothers in 1818.
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