Monday, May 14, 2012

Putnam County IN Order Books and Abner Goodwin

A couple of years ago, I wrote a series of posts entitled "Finding the Heirs of Etheldred Godwin" in which I used land records to determine who were the children of Etheldred Godwin. Following the discovery of seven separate deeds each naming off their 1/7th share of Etheldred's land, I decided to see if there was any other mention of this division of land in the Putnam County, Indiana Circuit Court. I had already determined that there was no probate or estate record on file for Etheldred Godwin.

I ordered the "Complete Order books, circuit court, Putnam Co., IN, 1823-1915, vols. C-D, Apr 23, 1841 - Apr 12, 1862" family history film no. 2416111 from my local Family History Center. I was looking for court cases related to the probate of Etheldred Godwin's estate in 1852. I did not find any listings for Godwin or his descendants with the surnames of Thomas, Sabin, and McAlister in either of these two volumes C and D.

The only entry I found was for the estate of Abner GOODWIN:
On May 6, 1858 a case came before the court between Polly and James Goodwin, executors of the estate of Abner Goodwin, dec'd on the one part, and David, Elisha, and Greenberry Mullinex and Riley Bev's(sp?) on the other part. The Mullinexes had an attorney present who agreed to appear before the court for them and to waive the essence of a "scirifaces" and to confess a judgment of "revion" in favor of Polly and James Goodwin, executors of the last will and testament of Abner Goodwin, dec'd for the amount of a judgment rendered in favor of said Goodwin for $485 and with all interest and costs due thereon, rendered at the Nov term of said court 1848. 

(Source: Complete Order books, Putnam Co., IN, Family History Film no. 2416111, volume D, p. 238)

I have identified this Abner Goodwin as one Abner Connely Goodwin, son of John Goodwin(e) and Martha Heady. According to a user submitted IGI file on, Abner was born about 1791 in Wheeling, VA. He married Charollet Ginn 27 Aug 1812 in Bardstown, KY.

He died 12 Sept 1849 according to his headstone transcription in Bethel Baptist church, Vermillion Cemetery posted on the Putnam Co., IN USGenWeb site.

Abner "Godwin" was enumerated on the 1830 Putnam Co., IN census report.

In his household, he had:
1 male under the age of 5
2 males between 5 and 10
2 males between 10 and 15
1 male between 30 and 40
2 females under the age of 5
3 females between 5 and 10
1 female between 10 and 15
1 female between 15 and 20
1 female between 40 and 50
The male between the ages of 30 and 40 was probably Abner, which would put his date of birth at approximately between 1790 and 1800. His first wife, Charlotte, was probably the female who was between the age of 40 and 50, making her born approximate between 1780 and 1790.

Other than Abner and Charlotte, there were a total of 5 males and 7 female children living in the household at the time this census was taken. We cannot assume they were all necessarily children, though, as they could have been nieces or nephews, etc.

(Source: 1830 US Federal Census, Putman County, Indiana, population schedule, , Page 193, Abner Godwin; digital image, ( : downloaded 14 May 2012); NARA Film M19, Roll 30, FHL Film 0007719.)


Between 1822 and 1839, Abner Goodwin purchased a total of 9 tracts of land (almost 800 acres total) in Putnam, Owen, and Monroe counties, in Indiana. According to his first two patents for 72 and 80 acres in Putnam County, Indiana on November 13, 1822, Abner Goodwin was "of Nelson County, Kentucky." It is always a good idea to look at the patent image that is usually included on the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) site because it can give you clues like this that can help to tie your ancestor to another location. This "of Nelson County, Kentucky" helps to support the IGI file that mentions that Abner spent some time in Kentucky. By the time he filed for his 2nd set of patents in 1823, Abner Goodwin was "of Putnam County, Indiana."

Cropped patent image for Abner Goodwin "of Nelson County, Kentucky" for 80 acres in Putnam County, Indiana in 1822.

A list of all of Abner Goodwin's land patents filed in Indiana between 1822-1839.
1.  Abner Goodwin "of Nelson County, Kentucky," received 72 ac, Putnam Co, 13 Nov 1822 (Terra Haute Land Office)
2.  Abner Goodwin "of Nelson County, Kentucky," received 80 ac, Putnam Co, 13 Nov 1822 (Terra Haute Land Office)
3.  Abner Goodwin "of Putnam County, Indiana," received 80 ac, Putnam Co, 10 July 1823 (Terra Haute Land Office)
4.  Abner Goodwin "of Putnam County, Indiana ," received 160 ac, Putnam Co, 15 Apr 1824 (Crawfordsville Land Office)
5.  Abner Goodwin and Levi S. Stewart "of Putnam County, Indiana," received 80 ac, Putnam Co., 10 Nov 1824 (Crawfordsville Land Office)
6.  Abner Goodwin "of Putnam County, Indiana," received 72.6 ac, Putnam Co, 15 Dec 1826 (Crawfordsville Land Office)
In 1828, we see a change: Abner Goodwin purchases land in Owen County instead of Putnam County and he is listed as being of "Monroe County, Indiana." - check the Monroe Co deed indexes. There are deeds passed between Abner and Nancy Goodwin and Joshua, Josiah, and William Goodwin, none of which are named as children of this Abner Goodwin - were there two Abner Goodwins? - Yes, there was Abner Connolly Godwin, b. 1791 in VA who moved from KY to Putnam Co., IN and died in 1849 and there was Abner Goodwin who married Nancy Hogan who was born about 1804 in KY and moved to IN in the 1820s. The lives of these two men overlapped. 
7.  Abner Goodwin "of Monroe County, Indiana" received 80 ac, Owen Co, 5 May 1828 (Vincennes Land Office)
8.  Abner Goodwin "of Putnam County, Indiana" received 80 ac, Owen Co, 10 Sept 1838, (Crawfordsville Land Office)
9.  Abner Goodwin "of Greene County, Indiana" received 40 ac, Monroe Co, 1 Aug 1839, (Vincennes Land Office)
(Source: U. S. Department of the Interior, Bureau of Land Management, Website, Land Patent Search, Abner Goodwin (, accessed 29 Aug 2006).

In 1828 and 1829, Abner Goodwin was listed on the Clay County, Indiana tax lists. 

(Source: Charles M Franklin, Owen County, Indiana, Miscellaneous, Volume 1, Tax Lists, 1819-1829 (Indianapolis, Indiana: Ye Olde Genealogie Shoppe, 1982), page 13; North Carolina State Library, Raleigh, NC). 


On 11 Sept 1834, Abner Goodwin took out a marriage bond to marry Polly Gardner in Putnam Co., IN. His first wife, Charlotte, must have died between 1830, when Abner and a woman old enough to be his wife was enumerated, and 1834 when Abner was remarried.

(Source: Charles M Franklin, Putnam County, Indiana Early Marriage Records, 1822-1837 (Indianapolis, Indiana: Ye Olde Genealogie Shoppe, 1982), no page noted; North Carolina State Library, Raleigh, NC).


Either Abner and his family moved around a lot or the county boundary lines between Owen and Putnam changed a few times because Abner was next enumerated in Owen Co., IN in 1840. He had 14 children living at home with him and his wife. They lived in Montgomery township. In 1838 Abner, who was "of Putnam County, Indiana," purchased 80 acres in Owen County and a year later in 1839, Abner Goodwin "of Greene County, Indiana," purchased 40 acres in Monroe County.

Here are a list of all the counties that Abner was mentioned in:

Clay - formed 1825 from Brazil
Owen - formed 1819 from Spencer
Putnam - formed 1822 from Greencastle
Monroe - formed 1818 from Bloomington
Greene - formed 1821 from Bloomfield

All of these counties, with the exception of Clay, were formed before Abner arrived in Indiana so there is no possibility of boundary changes.


On 10 Sept 1849, Abner Goodwin wrote a will that was filed in the Owen County, Indiana Will Book 1, p. 130. It was recorded 22 Spt 1849. His wife was Polly Goodwin; It mentioned 18 children. The following were listed by name: Milton, Berton (deaf and dumb), Mary (deaf and dumb), Helen, James H, Christopher C, Cela, George, Malinda, Charlota, Rebecca, Newton Thomas; He named his wife Polly Goodwin and son James H. Goodwin as the executors of his estate. John W Gladson, Ervin P. Carmack, and James Carmack witnessed the writing of his will.

Abner Goodwin's headstone transcription is listed in the Putnam County, Indiana Cemetery Records on the Indiana USGenWeb site. He is buried in Bethel Baptist Church Cemetery, now known as Vermillion Cemetery in Putnam Co., IN. He died September 12th, 1849, and was 58 years of age (putting his date of birth about 1791). His 2nd wife Mary died April 11th, 1855. She was 56 years old (born about 1799). His 1st wife Charlotte was also buried beside him, however the dates listed on her headstone were unreadable. Another website, "Memorial Menders of Putnam County" (Indiana), added the note that Abner's will also stated that "I, Abner Goodwin of Owen County, State of Indiana ... direct that my body be decently buried by the side of my first wife ... There is one acre of land that I gave to the Baptist Church in Putnam County for a public burying ground to be used for that purpose by the people." So this is probably the main source of information that Abner's first wife Charlotte was also buried in this cemetery next to him.

I have not reviewed a copy of Abner Goodwin's will directly as I am not related to him. However if you have a copy of his will and would like to share with me I would be happy to post to the site. Also, if you or a descendant of either of these two Abners and would be interested in participating in the Goodwin DNA Surname project at ftDNA please let me know as there is significant interest in separating the various Godwin-Goodwin-Goodin/Gooden lines in Ohio and Indiana.

More information on the ancestry of Abner Goodwin can be found on the Goodwine Family Genforum message board here.


** Disclaimer: This post is in development mode, so if you find any discrepancies or errors, please let me know. Or if you have any comments or suggestions to add, please feel free to Email me. I have been updating this post gradually as I come across more information.

1 comment:

  1. Are you looking for ancestors? I am a descendant of Abner Goodwin.