Continued from 11/11/22
Craftsmen of Canton
By Grace Thompson
John S. Harned Sr. was born in Virginia in 1812, and began teaching school in Washington county at the age of 17 years. He surveyed the town of Canton, using a grapevine as a rule.
John S. Harned was a man of many talents and having the ability to make the most of these talents, was a valued citizen of the entire county. His records of the old post office, grist saw mill, and all his business dealings were accurately and beautifully kept. He was a man of great refinement and education, gifted in penmanship. One of his granddaughters says “I think the most remarkable thing my grandfather did was the making of family trees for the folks. Mother used to take us children up to Grandfathers on Sunday afternoons and we greatly admired the one he was making for William Lindley Sr. The work was perfect.” He also kept a diary that was unique. In it he would record the birth of all little animals, telling their mother’s names, as well as the name of the newcomer, and at the end of the paragraph would draw a likeness of the baby colt, calf, pig or lamb! He made his own quill pens and ink, probably using swamp maple or polk berries and copperas for the ink.
In 1820 a three-story grist saw mill was built in the filed now owned by Osborn Spurgeon with Nathan Trueblood, president, and John S. Harned, secretary-treasurer. To provide water with which to run this mill, an immense dam was built further up the creek to form a reservoir, eight acres being used to hold the water, which was carried in a mill race to propel the large overshot wheel. Through the efficient engineering in the construction of this mill pond, the mill was able to run nine months or even longer each year, through the driest seasons. In 1849 it was converted into a stream mill and remained in operation until 1870. Two burrs from this old mill may be seen now at the driveway entrance to Mr. Sprugeon’s farm on State Road 56.
It was in this old mill that John Harned Sr. lost his leg in 1849. In performing his duties of inspecting the machinery, he was adjusting a belt on a machine on the second floor and missed his footing, falling down on the flywheel, which so badly mangled the leg that immediate amputation was necessary. He was a man of great will power and refused an anesthetic, even a drink of whiskey, which he abhorred, being an ardent temperance supporter. My grandfather, James L. Thompson, was a man possessed of great strength and nerves of steel, and was pressed into service, being required to hold the leg firmly while Dr. Edmund Albertson operated. Only one time did Uncle Johnnie cry out and that was when the saw bit into the marrow, and Eli Overman, who was in the room, sobbed out loud, and Uncle Johnnie said, “Be a man, Eli, be a man!”, then begged their pardon for his own outcry. One of his granddaughters says, “I have heard my mother say after the leg was amputated grandfather was propped up so he would write a letter that night.” She further states in reading a part of one his diaries, perhaps the first one consistently kept, dated 1847–48, she finds “On the 12th day of 3rd month, 1848, planted eight pine trees for Dr. Edmund Albertson.” The property of Robert Green is now owned and occupied by Everett Morris and wife, who is a great-great-granddaughter of Robert Green; the Dr. Edmund Albertson property is owned and occupied by a Mr. Motsinger.
Among the descendants of this man are ministers, professional men, bankers, and farmers, all held in high esteem in their home communities. One grandson served as head of the Child Welfare department in Des Moines, Iowa, many years. Mrs. Mary Gilliland, living in Canton, now occupies a house part of which served as the first post office in years gone by. Sanford Harned, a highly respected farmer of Canton, is a grandson.
By Grace Thompson
From Dr. Lawrence Paynter’s “History of Washington County Physicians,” we find the following have practiced in Canton:
Dr. Benjamin Albertson was Canton’s first physician, beginning the practice in 1817. He was an excellent physician and fine psychologist, knowing just how to handle each individual case coming under his care. We have heard our grandmother, Mrs. Sallie Thompson, say that just his presence in her sickroom and hearing his words of cheer and encouragement, did her more good than all his medicine, for the privations and hardships endured by the pioneers were, indeed, depressing and enervating, and he realized that sympathetic, encouraging words were needed for the sick spirit, as well as drugs and herbs for the sick body. He was a versatile, highly educated, kindly man. He was a charter member of the Washington County Medical society, and served as its first secretary.
In January, 1818, there assembled a group of distinguished men in the new court house in Salem, to organize one of the very earliest peace movements in the country, perhaps the first one as far west as Indiana. Doubtless this Peace society organized in Washington county, has had its influence in establishing the Peace Tribunal in the Hague.
The object of this meeting was briefly outlined by Dr. Albertson, followed by the election of officers with Beebe Booth, great-uncle of Booth Tarkington, as president, Dr. Albertson, secretary, and Nathan Trueblood, treasurer.
Dr. Albertson was a man of deep religious convictions and was always a leading spirit in any civic project. Nobel C., Fred and Verle Trueblood are the only immediate descendants now living in this community, of this great and noble man. Dr. Albertson continued to practice until 1845.
Dr. Edmund Albertson, son of Dr. Benjamin Albertson, followed in his father’s footsteps, practicing medicine from 1840 until 1863. He was a skilled surgeon as well as a most successful physician and was recognized as such far and wide and often called into consultation with neighboring physicians.
Dr. Flack practiced here for some time, but the only data obtained was he was a great lover of flowers, and the little bell shaped white flower now blooming in many Canton yards was brought here by him and named “The Dr. Flack Flower,” by John S. Harned Sr., also a great flower lover.
Dr. Harvey is listed as practicing in Canton, no other data is given.
Dr. Crouts also is listed, no data.
Dr. James Cothran, a highly educated, refined man, practiced here for a time.
Dr. W. A. Huston, also is listed as practicing in Canton, no other data.
Dr. Sanford Herrod came here from Scott county, where he was born. He came in 1856. He graduated from the Ohio Medical college in 1857, and was considered a skilled surgeon, and possessed rare ability in diagnosing and treating various illnesses. He was highly intellectual and very artistic and had a great love for the beautiful, especially flowers and geology. His yard was a garden of rare and beautiful flowers, paints, shrubs and geological specimen. He owned one of the finest collections of rare geological specimen in Southern Indiana. At his death this valuable collection was given to the Borden museum, Prof. Borden having married his daughter, Edith Herrod. Dr. Herrod was a member of the Christian church, the Washington county and state medical societies. He was a man of fine personality, strong character, honorable in all dealings, loved and held in high esteem by his patients and the whole community. His great love for all nature was demonstrated by the selection of some of his pets. One was a black snake he kept around the yard and house and would wiggle down the front walk to meet him. However, not all of his visitors shared his love of nature, especially snakes—and many a caller took to his heels, when approaching the house a snake ran out to meet him! His house was located on the beautiful knoll, where Joe Schmitt’s house stands.
After Dr. Herrod’s passing, a Dr. Kirkpatrick practiced for a time, boarding in the home of John Dennany.
Dr. James J. Mitchell was born near Beck’s Mill in 1849, died 1918. He came to Canton in 1888. He was a graduate of the University of Louisville. He had an impulsive nature, a keen sense of humor; was ambitious, studious and greatly interested in all community affairs, constantly striving for the improvement of the community. He was a member of the Odd Fellow’s lodge and one of the pillars of the Christian church, donating the land for the Christian church site. He loved music and was an excellent tenor singer. He was a member of the Washington and Jackson counties and State Medical societies. He was a successful physician and held in high regard by the entire community and all his patients. He was the last resident physician in Canton.
Dr. Wilber Morris, reared in Canton, graduated from the Louisville Medical college, but never practiced here.
We gathered meager information of a Dr. Marshall Herod who practiced dentistry many years ago and lived in the cottage on the site now occupied by Ruth Winslow’s home.
Dr. George M. Morris, came to Canton in 1875 and practiced dentistry until his death in 1928. He began the practice in 1871, practicing 57 years. It is needless to say he was successful for the long time he practiced verifies that fact. Dr. Morris was a public spirited man, always ready and willing to give of his means, strength and ability for the betterment of the community. He held many township and county offices. He was a member of the Methodist church and the Masonic lodge. His funeral was an unusual one for Canton, due to the fact, the minister, the undertaker, all the pallbearers, flower carriers were dressed in full Masonic regalia, and the services throughout were conducted according to the Masonic ritual. Many Masons from all over the county attended, for he was held in high esteem by all who knew him. He had a wonderfully keen sense of humor and wit and always had a reply to every spare thrust.