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George Pence collection

Identifier: L376

Scope and Contents

This collection includes George Pence's notebooks containing annotated records from all 92 Indiana counties. Created in 1921, his notebooks contain entries that relate information about the creation of the counties and townships, roads and bridges, railroads, courts, taxes, incorporations, county appointments and other county records ranging from 1790 to 1852.

The collection also includes annotated records of different research subjects. Ranging from 1788 to 1852, the subjects are included in the following 19 notebooks:

#1 - Acts of General Assembly, Adjutant General, administrator de bonis non, ad valorem tax, agent of state, agricultural societies, aliens, allowances, amalgamation, animals, annexation of town, annual reports, appeals to the Supreme Court, apprentices, arson, assessment of taxes, apportionments, appropriations, attorney general, authority to sue state, awards against the state, auditor's office abolished, bank debt, bank notes, bank tax fund, bastardy, Jesse and E.L. Beard, bridges, bridges - toll, Samuel Bigger, billiard tables, blind persons, Blind Institute, "Blue dog", boards doing county business, Board of Fund commissioners, boats and vessels, bonds - official, boundaries of counties, burial lots, Canada thistles, canal, Canal Fund commissioners, census, Central Canal, change in boundary, change of venue; date range 1800-1852.

#2 - Change of name, charter surrendered, church wardens, circuit prosecutor, civil townships, Clark's Grant, Clerk of Board of Commissioners, clerk of the Circuit Court, clocks, clock peddlers, collection of revenue, common schools, clover seed, and college fund; date range 1816-1852.

#3 - Congressional districts, congressional township fund, congressional townships, commissioners of Canal Fund, constables, Constitutional Convention, coroners, coroner's Jury, court houses, courts, courts - probate, counterfeit money, counties, County Assessor, county asylum, county auditor, county bonds, county business, county commissioners, county libraries, county lines, county recorder, county seminaries, county surveyors, county treasurers, cranberries, crimes and punishments, Cross-Cut canal, and Cumberland Road; date range 1788-1852.

#4 - Deaf Mutes, Deaf and Dumb Asylum, debt, debt - imprisonment for, debt to the United States, deficit in civil list, depositions, delinquent lands and lots, delinquent taxes, descents, distribution and dower, destruction of records, disqualifications removed, disputes between counties, divorces, distribution of school funds, domestic attachments, drainage, George H. Dunn, duplicate tax, distribution of school funds, dogs, and dog tax; date range 1795-1852.

#5 - Ear Marks, East Fork Canal, elections, election contest, enumeration of voters, English language, Erie and Michigan Canal, escheats, estates without known heirs, estrays, evidence, examiners of teachers, executions, exemptions, Farmers and Mechanics Bank, fees and salaries, feme sole, fence rails, fence viewers, fences, ferries, fines, fire companies, fire engines, firing of woods, fiscal year, fish, fish seines, Fishli claims, "floating reserves", foreign attachments, foreign insurance companies, forfeited lands, frauds, frauds and perjuries, free bridges, Free Masons, free schools, free turnpikes, freshet of January 1838, French Lick saline, fuel, fugitives from justice, and fund commissioners; 1791-1852.

#6 - Gambling, General Assembly, German school, German language, gas light companies, gates on highways, gate laws, geological survey, Georgia lands, governor, governor's private secretary, grace on bills of exchange, grave yards, grand and petit jurors, Grand Division Sons of Temperance, Grand Lodge of Free Masons, Great Miami Reserve, habeas corpus, Hagerstown Canal, Hanover Academy, Hanover College, hay, health laws, high school, high water, highways, history of State of Indiana, Historical Society, hogs at large, hog stealing, horses, horse racing, horse stealing, horse thieves, horse thief detective associations, Tilghman A. Howard, illegitimate children, State of Illinois, immoral practices, impeachments, impeachment trial, imprisonment for debt, and incompleted act; date range 1790-1852.

#7 - Incorporations - Northwest Territory numbers 216 to 640, date range 1805-1816; numbers 18 to 2882, date range 1817-1836.

#8 - Incorporations - record numbers 2883-4361, date range 1836-1840.

#9 - Incorporations - record numbers 4362-8088, date range 1840-1848.

#10 - Incorporations - record numbers 8090-9907, date range 1848-1851.

#10A - Incorporations - record numbers 50 -8505, date range 1816-1849.

#10B - Incorporations - record numbers 8508-9727, date range 1849-1851.

#11 - Independent Order Odd Fellows, general index, Indiana bond, Indiana College, insane hospital, Indiana University, Indianapolis Fund, Indianapolis newspapers, Indians, inspection, internal improvement, insane persons, interest, interpolations, invalids, investigating committee, and intoxicating liquors; date range 1790-1852.

#12 - Jeffersonville-Crawfordsville 'Pike, Jeffersonville-Ohio Canal Company, joint ballot, justices of the peace, judicial circuits, Kaskaskia, Kentucky incorporations, kidnapping, lakes - Inland, land office, land titles, larceny, laws, law of Congress, laws and journals, Lawrenceburg and Indianapolis Railroad, legalizing name of person, legal process, Liberia, libraries, library trustees, licenses, liens, life insurance, literary societies, loans of State, loan office, lost act of the General Assembly, lottery authorized, lunatics, lunatic asylum, Capt. Richard McCarty, Madison and Indianapolis Railroad, maiming, malicious trespass, manufacturing, Marion Circuit Court, marriages, marriages legalized, mechanic's lien, medical societies, Mexican War, Miami Reserve, State of Michigan, and Michigan Road; date range 1792-1852.

#13 - Mile stones, militia, mills and millers, mill dams, misprints, name adopted, National Road, naturalization fees, navigation appropriations, New Albany and Vincennes Pike, New Albany-Crawfordsville Pike, New York Historical Society, "Ninety-nine Year's Lease", navigable streams, negroes and mulattoes, ne exeat, "New Purchase", Northport Feeder Dam, Northwest Territory, notaries public; date range 1788-1852.

#14 - Offenses and penalties, Ohio Falls Canal, official bonds, Ohio River, old Indiana State Prison, overseers of poor, physic and surgery, physicians, pilots, plank roads, poor, practice - law, Preacher's Aid Society, Preacher's Relief Society, President and Vice President, printer's fees, printing of the laws, prisons, prison bounds, private acts, privileges, privileges extended, profane swearing, "Property of the State", prosecuting attorney, Protestant Episcopal Church, public debt, public libraries, public printer, public schools, public highways-streams, public works, public works by private companies; date range 1792-1852.

#15 - Quartermaster General, quorum, quo warranto, railroad crossings, "railway", rape, recorders, recorder's office, relinquishments, relinquishments of lands, removal of seat of justice, Representative in Congress, reserved township, resumption of specie payment, return districts, revenue, revision of laws, rights of citizenship, right of property, right of way, roads and highways, roads - width, road law, Rock Lick saline, Royse's Lick saline; date range 1795-1852.

#16 - St. Joseph River, salaries, saline reserves, salt, salt springs, saltpetre caves, schools and meeting houses, school commissioners, school fund, school house, school lands, school law-1849 and 1850, school money, school sections, school teachers, scrip, servants, Shakers, sheep-killing dogs, sheep - preservation, sheriffs, shinplasters, "sign-off" - in bankruptcy, silk, sinking fund, sinking fund commissioners, seals, Seal of Indiana, seat of justice, seat of government, secession of Charleston, secession of Greene County, Secretary of State, securities, seminaries - public, seminary fund, seminaries - county, seminary Lands; date range 1802-1851.

#17 - Senate, Senators of the United States, Speaker of the House, special election, specie payments, state agent, State Bank of Indiana, State Bank at Vincennes, state bonds, state debtors, State Board of Equalization, State Geologist, State House, state lands, State Library, State Librarian, state license, state printer, State Loan Agency, state prison, state roads, State Seminary, statutes, steam boats, street improvements, student to Indiana College, small bills and notes, subsidies, suits against the state, supervisor of highway, surplus revenue, surveys ordered, surveys, surveyors, suspended debt, swamp lands, swinging gates; date range 1807-1852.

#18 - Taxation, taxes, tax duplicate, tax levy, tax refunder, taverns, territorial treasurer, Three Percent Fund, Tippecanoe Battle Ground, Tippecanoe Monument, John Tipton, town plats, townships, township assessor, township business, township taxation, township trustees, treason and murder, Treasury Funds, Treasury Notes, Treasurer of State, "tribute to merit", "trip" defined, trust funds, United States lands, United States prisoners, university Lands, union school house, vacancies, vacation of towns, vagrants, vice and immorality, Vincennes Donation Tract, Vincennes University, viva voce vote; date range 1795-1852.

#19 - Wabash River, Wabash and Erie Canal, war, Washington Monument, water works, water power, weights and measures, White Water Canal, White River - east and west branches, White River Navigation Company, wild fruit, witnesses, witness fees, widows, wolves; date range 1799-1852.

There is also an oversize folder containing a Michigan Territory southern boundary hand drawing dated November 11, 1926 (OBC153).


  • 1921; 1926/11/29


Conditions Governing Access

This collection is open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

Legal title, copyright, and literary rights reside with Rare Books and Manuscripts, Indiana State Library, Indianapolis, IN. All requests to publish or quote from manuscripts must be submitted to Rare Books and Manuscripts.

Biographical Note

George Pence was born on March 15, 1852 at Columbus, Indiana to David and Nancy Pence, pioneer settlers of Bartholomew County. He was educated at Indiana University and Wabash College and he worked as a civil engineer for the Cincinnati and Terre Haute Railway, a county surveyor, an accountant, and as a field examiner following his appointment to the State Board of Accounts by Governor Thomas R. Marshall in 1910. He was an authority on Indiana history and for many years voluntarily worked on indexing and annotating Indiana laws. His specialty was school funding and Indiana lands.

He married Mary Ella Billings (1851-1894) on October 15, 1874 and they had 3 sons: George B., David and Pliny. After the death of his first wife, he married Rose Billings Orr on December 25, 1894. They had a daughter, Roseda. Pence died on September 13, 1929.

Sources: "George Pence." Indiana Marriage Index, 1800-1941. Accessed April 18, 2016.

"George Pence, 77, Historian, Accounts Examiner, is Dead." Indianapolis Star (IN), September 15, 1929.


3.06 Cubic Feet (9 manuscript boxes, 1 oversize folder)

Language of Materials



This collection is arranged in the following series:

Series 1: County records, 1921

Series 2: Research subject records, 1921

Custodial History

This collection was received by Rare Books and Manuscripts as a donation on 1923/10/15.


No further additions are expected.

Related Archival Material

Materials relating to this collection may be found in the following collections in Rare Books and Manuscripts, Indiana State Library, Indianapolis, IN:

S1051: George Pence, Plat Books of U.S. Land in Indiana papers

S3345: George Pence, "The Indiana Donation" manuscript

L305: George Pence papers

Processing Information

Collection processing completed 2016/06/28 by Laura Eliason. EAD finding aid created 2016/06/28 by Laura Eliason. EAD finding aid revised 2021/11/03 by Lauren Patton.
George Pence collection
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the Rare Books and Manuscripts Repository

140 North Senate Avenue
Indianapolis, Indiana 46204 U.S.A.