I wanted to see if any other members of the McMurry family made the move from Kentucky to Indiana in 1830–1831, but what I discovered is that James Benton McMurry was quite the land baron. I’m still looking, but so far I’ve found 17 parcels of land that he purchased, for a total of 2,153.67 acres (3.4 square miles). That may not seem like a big number, but he owned more land than two countries (4.3 times as much as Monaco and 19.6 times as much as Vatican City)—crickey! And I don’t think I’ve found all of his land yet—watch out Nauru!
Here’s the list of his land purchases that I’ve found so far (note that I’ve only examined the records for the purchase of land from the federal government; there could be many, many more purchases to be found once I comb through the indexes to private sales):
The above parcels are just those that James purchased himself. His half-brother Hisner McMurry also purchased two parcels very close to James’ land:
|Hisner McMurry||3 Jan 1831||Montgomery||17-N||3-W||34||80||11,577|
|Hisner McMurry||3 Jan 1831||Montgomery||17-N||3-W||34||160||11,578|
Together, James and Hisner owned 2,313.67 acres of land in the area around where Montgomery, Putnam, and Hendricks counties abut.
When mapped, the distribution of McMurry land in central Indiana (well, at least the parcels I’ve found so far) looks like this:
- Red parcels: land that James McMurry bought in 1831
- Purple parcels: land that James McMurry bought in 1837
- Blue parcels: land that Hisner McMurry bought in 1831
I’m intending to examine the aerial photos of each of these properties at the maximum possible scale to see if I can find evidence of the mill and brick house that James McMurry built near Roachdale (and that was still standing as of 1935), as well as the McMurry family cemetery that was enclosed on their property.
Who else may have come with James and Hisner and their families from Kentucky to Indiana in the early 1830s? So far, I’ve found these promising leads:
- James’ sister Catherine and brother-in-law Severn Jones and their children also appear to have moved to Hendricks County, Indiana, around the same time (although I’ve found no record of federal land purchases by them).
- His wife’s brother, John Goodnight, and family appear to have also come to Indiana at that same time, settling perhaps near Bloomington for a while before moving on to Illinois.
- His wife’s second cousin, Catharine Goodnight, and her husband Jacob Dunham and family moved to Indiana, perhaps Tipton County, but at some point after 1836.
- His wife’s aunt, Rachel Goodnight, and her husband Jacob Young and perhaps some of their grown children came to Jackson County, Indiana, before 1836.
I expect there’s an interesting story to be discovered about the migration of this group of people to Indiana in the early 1830s, and I hope I’ll be able to find it and share it with you.