Five years ago Pat and I begun a journey that we never knew would take as long as it has or be as demanding as it was. We never could have known the thousands of hours, hundreds of late nights and early Saturday mornings, or the physical demands that were coming. Thank goodness – or we probably never would have set out on such an adventure. But as we look back, we also could have never imagined the beauty and memories that we would create together with the help of family and friends. We call that journey, Peacefield….it is our home.
A bit of history on our house from a set of abstracts of the title of the house that was given to us by the previous owner:
80 acres of land was sold from the US government to William Sanders on July 23, 1821. Then, William Sanders sold it to William & Samuel McIlvain on May 15, 1824. The McIlvain brothers sold the 80 acre piece of land to Harrison Hardin on December 3, 1831 and construction on the house began in 1832. Harrison Hardin died in 1835 without a will and left behind his wife, Elizabeth and three daughters, Paulina, Charlotte and Melissa. In March 1837, Melissa Hardin’s guardian, William Hardin (presumably a brother of Harrison) sued Elizabeth Hardin (the widow who would later marry James Hensley in March 1838) and her two other daughters for a portion of the estate for reasons that I cannot determine….there’s always drama! At this point, much of the original land had been cleared and was “under cultivation”, though 8 acres was still wooded. There was also a “log tenement” on the grounds and our house, described in the abstract as a “mansion house”. A 14-acre portion of the estate with the house was given to Elizabeth Hardin as part of her “widow’s dower”. The land with the house was passed from Elizabeth to her two daughters, Paulina and Charlotte and their husbands in 1851. In 1856, Charlotte and her husband William Frazier sold or gave (this isn’t clear) their portion to Paulina and her husband, Samuel H. McIlvain (likely a son of the Samuel McIlvain who purchased the raw land from William Sanders in 1824). It eventually passed to Uriah Hildebrand & his wife, Delilah, and then was sold in two pieces to Jacob S. Mustard and William Mustard (Jacob Mustard retained the portion with the house). The Mustard brothers sold to Arthur V. Brown in 1904, contingent that no part of the real estate be “used for a saloon for the sale of intoxicating liquors” and that it should never be sold or rented to a black person. It’s hard to believe this was ever allowed. Later in 1904, Arthur V. Brown filed a plat. This subdivision consisted of 78 lots and Brown sold the lot with the house to India M. Griffin and her husband, Samuel Griffin. In July 1912 the Griffins sold it to Jacob S. Barth for $4500. After this I’m not sure.
Sadly, we don’t have any really old pictures of our house. We did find a picture of Jacob & Cassandra Mustard on a page about the history of the Broad Ripple Masonic Lodge (http://brlodge.org/wp/about-2/history/).
It’s crazy to think that so many people have lived in our house. People have likely been born here, died here, shared wonderful memories as well as heartbreaking moments. We still have yet to retrieve a bottle and set of newspapers that are stuck between different layers of floors, but can be seen from our basement. These are covered with coal soot, as it’s right above the portion of our basement that was used for storing coal that heated the house in at least two (if not more) coal-burning fireplaces – we only have one wood-burner.
We feel quite proud to be part of our home’s history. As the previous owner put it, “Just think about it…Napoleon meets his Waterloo, and just 17 years later someone on Central Pike finally finishes their main house. Just 20 years after the War of 1812. *****”. It is mind-blowing.
Here are some snapshots of the renovations we’ve done on our sweet home, our Peacefield.