I believe this home was built during the 1820s and was existing when the National Road came through Wayne County in 1827. Samuel Charles was one of the first Wayne County property owners who lost land to the Cumberland Road project (National Rd., U.S. 40). These pioneers came to Richmond in 1812, and today, 199 years later, their home is one of the oldest homes still standing on National Road in Wayne County. The property is owned by the city of Richmond and managed by their Parks Department. (It can be rented for special occasions.) At this location, fronting U.S. 40, is one of the nation’s finest public rose gardens.
The property has a history associated with the Underground Railroad; Samuel Charles was an elder in the Friends church and was part of a very organized local effort in helping fugitive slaves gain their freedom. He died in 1849 and was buried at the old Friend’s Cemetery. (Click here for information regarding another historic “Charles” parcel.) Several of the Charles’ family remains were relocated to Earlham Cemetery when the old Quaker cemetery north of town, was closed.(That cemetery was converted to a city park in the late 1800s, and the remnants of the cemetery and park– now lie beneath the 9th Street overpass, across the street from Barker’s Fireplace Shop.
Starr Park (this park was created at the grounds of the former Friends cemetery) Photo; c: 1896
Current aerial overlay indicating the locations of the old Quaker cemetery and church property. the 9th Street bridge was built over the old cemetery/park. During the construction of this bridge in the 1950s, several interred bodies were unearthed.
A good flowing creek and a notable natural springs provided water for the Charles farm.
A SKETCH OF SAMUEL & DANIEL CHARLES
Samuel Charles; May 6, 1759 “ August 16, 1849 Daniel Charles; October 8, 1799 “ November 13, 1894
Daniel Charles was born Oct. 8, 1799, in Randolph County, N.C., the third son of Samuel and Gulielma (Saint) Charles, natives of North Carolina, born respectively June 5, 1759, and Oct. 11, 1761. Samuel Charles came to Wayne County, Ind., in the spring of 1812, when it was nothing but a wilderness, and settled on a tract of land one mile east of Richmond, which he cleared and cultivated. He followed farming through life, and died at the advanced age of ninety years. His wife died at the age of eighty-eight years. They and their ten children were members of the Society of Friends, Samuel Charles being an Elder.
Our subject, Daniel Charles, came with his parents to Wayne County at the age of twelve years, and remained at home till he grew to manhood. He was educated in log cabin school houses with greased paper for windows, where the whip was used as an educator to compel all to spell and read audibly while learning their lessons. He was married March 9, 1820, to Miriam, daughter of Thomas and Abigail (Abeson) Moore, natives of North Carolina. The former lived to the advanced age of ninety-three, and the latter to the age of sixty-five. (Image Source; 1865 Wayne County Soldier’s Register)
Daniel Charles and wife were the parents of ten children, only six now living. After his marriage Mr. Charles settled on a tract of uncultivated land where he made a farm and remained there till 1882, when he removed to Fountain. (Fountain City?) His wife died in 1866, and in 1867 he was married to Catharine Huff Shugart, who is still living, aged seventy-two. The first lots in Richmond were laid off in 1816, and settled mostly by Friends. The colored people erected little cottages in what is now the south part of Richmond, which at that time was called South Africa. The fugitive slaves found the settlement, but the slaveholders also found it out, and if they could not find their slaves they would knock down some free negroes and run them off toward Kentucky.
This caused the Friends so much trouble in running after them and bringing back those who were free that they formed the first antislavery society in this country, and persuaded the colored people to go to Canada. Some of them having married slaves, quite a number consented to go, and his brother, John Charles, and Frederick Hoover went with them through a wilderness country. This happened between 1820 and 1830. These two young men kept a record of the journey, but it is supposed to be lost. Some anti-slavery men belonging to other churches and some who did not belong to any church were actively engaged in rescuing free men when taken, and in this none were more active than Rev. David Pervines, of the Christian, or New Light, Church.
This 1874 Wayne County plat map indicates the various Charles’ parcels near Glen Miller Park.
From an 1872 book titled; The History of Wayne County, Indiana; by Andrew W. Young
THE SOCIETY OF FRIENDS
The Society of Friends is the oldest established Christian denomination in Richmond or Wayne County, being, in fact, co-equal with the settlement of the county. In February, 1806, David Hoover and three other young men, all members of the Society of Friends, reached the vicinity of Richmond and Mr. Hoover located, remaining on his farm until his death, only a few years since. In August of the year 1806 Jeremiah Cox and a few others of the denomination of Friends joined the first settlers, Mr. Cox locating on the land upon which the principal part of Richmond now stands, north of Main street, and which he laid out. In the fall of 1806, November, John Simpson, a member of the society, held a meeting at the cabin of Jeremiah Cox which was attended by about twenty persons.
This was the initial movement of the society to form a closer union, which continued at intervals until the following summer of 1807. Then a Friends meeting was commenced in a cabin upon Jeremiah Cox’s land, and was kept up until duly established by the church. In August, 1807, this meeting was “indulged” by the West Branch Monthly Meeting. There were then eighty-four members, old and young, thirty-five of whom attended the first “indulged” meeting. It continued to be held as such until 1809, when the Whitewater Monthly Meeting was established by the Miami Quarterly Meeting. In the fall of 1808 a meeting-house was erected, the first in the county, of logs, twenty-four feet square, near the southeast corner of the old burying-ground of the Friends.
Not long afterward an addition was built to this church, also of logs and of the same dimensions, and this place of worship was used until the erection of a new building in the year 1827. At the time of this enlargement, late in the year of 1808, there were 248 members belonging to the meeting, of all ages, and the society had a visit from the Rev. Stephen Grellet, who preached an interesting sermon from the text, “Children, have ye any meat?” On the 30th of September,1809, the Whitewater Monthly Meeting was opened, and was the first established meeting held in Indiana, and there were 265 Friends, old and young, then residing in Richmond and vicinity. In the year 1811 Thomas Roberts removed to “Whitewater and settled on the farm where his son Jonathan now lives, and upon which the new Yearly Meeting house stands. He died in 1840 aged eighty-two years. Sam’l Charles, another prominent Friend, settled on a farm now occupied by his grandsons in part, in 1812.
His death occurred in 1849, aged ninety-one years. Chas. Moffitt was another early pioneer of the church, a son-in-law of Jeremiah Cox. His home was the farm on which the old log church was built. He came in 1811, and died in 1845, in the seventy-third year of his age. In the month of June, 1812, the West Branch Quarterly Meeting was established by the Baltimore Yearly Meeting, and Whitewater Monthly Meeting was attached thereto, which caused the members of the latter to make a journey of forty miles, nearly due east, to attend the Quarterly Meeting. The Ohio Yearly Meeting was organized in 1817. In the year 1815, nine years after the first settlement of Friends, the Whitewater Monthly Meeting was composed of the following subordinate meetings, viz.: Whitewater, West Grove, Silver Creek, Middle Fork, Elkhorn and Chester, and numbered 165 families, 800 to 900 members, with four or five recorded ministers.
The first Constitution of Indiana, adopted at Corydon, the then capital, sat nineteen days, and Jeremiah Cox was one of the members of the convention. The same year Richmond was laid off by John Smith. On the 4th of January, 1817, the Whitewater Quarterly Meeting was held. Of this meeting William Williams, in his journal, said: “‘On the first day of the first month, 1817, there was a new Quarterly Meeting opened at Whitewater meetinghouse, which was a great satisfaction to many minds; yet we felt sorry to part with our dear Friends of West Branch, a number of whom were present. “On the 8th of October, 1821, the Indiana Yearly Meeting was established and held.
Benjamin Hopkins was Clerk, and George Carter, Assistant. It was composed of five Quarterly Meetings, viz.: Miami, West Branch, Fairfield, Whitewater and Blue River It was held in the old log meeting-house, and in the shed attached to it. The increase in members caused a desire to erect a new and more commodious place of worship, and it took shape in the appointment of a committee, or Board of Managers, viz.: Jeremiah Cox, Samuel Charles and Thomas Roberts, and a plan for a house was adopted. This plan was changed the following year, 1822, and John Charles added to the committee.
The latter and Jeremiah Cox resigned the following year, and Charles Moffitt was added, the board being then composed of the following named Friends: Samuel Charles, Thomas Roberts and Charles Moffitt, who continued to act until the building was completed in 1829. They kept a minute account of the expenditures, making their report in detail, and this account is in the possession of the grandchildren of Mr. Samuel Charles. The house was first occupied in an unfinished condition, in 1824. The board faithfully carried out their trust, and the cost was about $7,000 in round numbers. In 1826 the Yearly Meeting authorized the holding of Quarterly Meetings, held at Whitewater, at the Yearly Meetinghouse. From the meetings thus established there has since been three large Yearly Meetings set off: Western, Iowa and Kansas, having 25,000 to 30,000 members. Source; History of Wayne County, Richmond Indiana; Vol. 2; Inter-State Publishers; 1884.
Read about the notorius Sile Doty and his connection with Richmond/Wayne County’s Underground Railroad– and his possible interaction with the Charles family here.