Local family lives in home that was originally a tavern

HANCOCK COUNTY — Barbara Johnson writes, “I am a Hancock County resident and a graduate student at Ball State. This semester, in a educational history doctoral seminar, we are investigating the education of African-American students in Indiana rural settlements in the last half of the 1800s. We’re focusing on East Central Indiana and have taken as a starting point the early rural black settlements documented by the Indiana Historical Society. There is one such small settlement mentioned located in Sugar Creek Township of Hancock County. Are you aware of any documents that concern this settlement and especially the education of any children there? Or do you know of anyone else to whom I could speak about this topic?”

Barbara, I don’t believe that there was a black school in Sugar Creek Township, but African-Americans did live in the township.

John Delaney operated a tavern along the Brookville State Road, U.S. 52, many years before the Civil War at the site of the William Nicholas homestead about one mile west of New Palestine.

This is the current home of Jim and Phyllis Arthur. Four rooms of the current house were the original tavern. John Delaney and family were African-Americans.

It is said that Mrs. Delaney was known as a good cook for many miles along the old state road. Also, Amos Dickerson, John Delaney and Jonathan Evans opened a small grocery along Brookville Road in 1831, 1833 and 1838, respectively. The Delaneys owned the property until 1860. The Delaney Cemetery is next door and can be seen from U.S. 52.

Mr. Delaney sold his goods in the store at a good profit. When asked what percentage he made, he replied that he was not a scholar and he knew nothing about percent; but when he bought goods for a dollar and sold them for two dollars, he didn’t think he lost anything.

Enough. I have told you everything that I know and some things I don’t. Talk to me.

You can write to Joe Skvarenina at jskvarenina@hotmail.com or in care of the Daily Reporter at 22 W. New Road, Greenfield, IN, 46140.