Hoosier Recalls Indian Grandmother
Gave Cookies to Tribe at Cabin Home
The barn and home on the Marvel farm near Traders Point.
BY AGNES McCULLOCH HANNA.
"Because they knew my grandmother—
then a young wife— was an
Indian girl and a member of their
own Pottawatomie tribe, the Indians
came to her log cabin and asked for
cake. She baked ginger cookies,
using sorghum molasses for sweetening.
Then they would dance round
and round in her dooryard. This
happened not once, but several
Everett E. Marvel, who told me
this story of his grandmother, lives
not far from this house which replaces
the grandparents' log cabin
about five miles northwest of
Traders' Point, just across the Hendricks
county line in Brown township. Mr.
Marvel is much interested in pioneer
times and likes to talk of them. His
great-grandfather was Robert Marvel, a
sailor, who came to the American
colonies from England and
settled in Delaware. He was a soldier
in the war of the revolution,
and early in the nineteenth century
he started for the West with his
Scouted for Home Site.
One of his sons married an Indian
girl, probably after the family had
moved to this locality. Passing to
the west of the new and sparsely
settled capital city, Indianapolis,
they camped from day to day and
scouted for a home site, for land to
"take up" from the government.
Finally two separate parcels, each
of forty acres of wild land, were
selected and entered during the
administrations of Andrew Jackson and
Martin VanBuren. This land was
attractive because of the ease with
which six fine flowing wells were
made ready for use.
The log cabin was built in the lea
or shelter of a hill and this old barn
was built on the top of an adjacent
one. The walnut and poplar timbers
from the old cabin were used in part
in this cabin which replaced the old
log structure before the civil war.
Resemblance to Kin Marked.
Mr. Marvel, whose resemblance to
his Indian grandparent is very
marked, told of clearing the fine land
of its immense timber stands, and of
the many relics of the early Indian
tribe which he had found as a boy
when working with his father. It is
said that no drop of blood was ever
shed in Hendricks county in warfare
between the whites and redskins, of
whom a thousand followed Col. Abel
C. Pepper and Gen. Tipton, leaving
the forests of their childhood for the
new lands west of the Mississippi.
Always interested in aboriginal and
pioneer days, Everett Marvel has
made a collection of early implements,
among them a round stone
ball, a most unusual weapon, which
was hurled from a net made of
thongs. Another rare piece is a
basalt hatchet, whose, shaft was
broken many years ago. Other things
are tools for skin dressing and corn
grinding, which he has refused to
sell to other collectors.
Trees Planted by Father.
"They talk about this being a mechanical
age," he said when we were
looking at his treasures. "There's
not a man alive who could shape
such tools for grinding corn and
dressing skins, nor put such an edge
on flint arrow heads; it took fine
work to chip flint into such shapes."
When I asked him about the Cottonwood
trees under which this little
house hides, he said they had been
planted as "whips" by his father,
Josiah Marvel, the grandson of the
English sailor who later became a
member of Congress from Delaware.
When the Marvels came to this
part of the country, there were bear
and deer in plenty, with more than
two hundred species of bird life. By
the time this second house was built,
the family was raising cattle and
hogs and horses and was selling butter
along Blake and Patterson streets
to city families who came to the
neighborhood when the Marvels did
and who had been early friends.
"Dad said he used to drive to
Madison for rock salt for the stock
Mr. Marvel said. "And he carried
corn to the Geisendorf mill to be
made into meal so it could be baked
before the fire on this johnny cake
board or cooked, in this deep pot
with the legs which raised it above
the coals on the hearth.
"When my father was just a
chunk of a boy,' he jumped into the
creek to rescue a little boy who was
drowning, and when people asked his
name he ran away all dripping, he
was so modest. He was always
interested in local history and was
sorry that all the family papers
from England and from Delaware
were lost. Neighbors in early days
were the Wilsons, my mother's family
the Burdens and Gladwills, and
friends were all who came to trade
at Traders' Point."
Mr. and Mrs. Ellis Hunter of Indianapolis
now own the Marvel land
with its hills and dales and flowing
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