Posted in Coni Dubois

Recent Trip to Vevay, IN, and a Missing Key Named Ezra

I recently traveled to Switzerland County, Indiana, in hopes of finding some shred of evidence pointing me towards the origins of one Amos Gilbert, Sr., my 5th Great-Grandfather (seven generations ago), known to have arrived there around 1816.  A ‘slam-dunk’ would have been the discovery of a birthdate, from a tombstone or a public record, that would help pinpoint which Amos Gilbert this guy was back on the East Coast before arriving in Indiana.  (There were a surprising number of contemporaries sharing that name.)  No such luck, however.  After inspecting five likely cemeteries and a lot of potential family plot locations, the was no trace of Amos Gilbert Sr., or even Sally Magruder (a previous wife) and her father, Revolutionary War veteran Norman Bruce Magruder.  While contemporary Gilbert graves were found, many of the nearby stones were worn to nubs or otherwise unreadable.  Also, considering the seemingly wholesale disappearance of graves of Amos Sr. and those closest to him, and having learned from local historians that many family plots closer to town (as his would have been) were destroyed by development, it is possible that his resting place is gone forever.  Not all was lost, though.  There were some promising leads.

The original deed, granting lands of the United States to Amos Gilbert Sr. in 1816, (and corroborated by entries into Switzerland County deed records) describe its location as straddling current Highway 56 about 1 mile outside of Vevay’s city limits.  As it stands now, it is an unremarkable and modest housing development on a slight ridge with manicured-lawn homes, one or two 1800’s structures, and a small machine hauling business.  No extant burial plots were to be found there, having likely succumbed to the plow and the bulldozer long ago.  However, just ten miles up the same road is the small town of Allensville.  According to the “History of Switzerland County 1815” on hand at the local museum, “Among the earliest residents of Allensville were…Ezra Gilbert, a blacksmith, who, with Orin Richmond, also manufactured oil from the castor bean, which they grew in large quantities…”  This leads one to the question “Who the heck is Ezra Gilbert?”  While research needs to be done, according to Ezra Gilbert:

“…was born on 7 April 1791, in Strafford, Orange, Vermont, United States, his father, Ezra Gilbert, was 28 and his mother, Huldah Warner, was 23. He had at least 3 sons and 1 daughter with Sarah Kimberly Robins. He died after 1850, in Cotton Township, Switzerland, Indiana, United States, at the age of 60.”

According to this and other records that I am still mulling over, Ezra Gilbert was part of a long line of Ezras, Ebers, and other Gilberts who lived on the same road as Amos Gilbert Sr. at the same time!  I have even found a contemporary newspaper with both Ezra the blacksmith and Amos Sr. having advertisements on the same page (——-en-20–1–txt-txIN——-).  I would find it remarkable if these two Gilbert families were not somehow related!  With Ezra ostensibly being of a well-known family traceable to Vermont (providing the source documents check out), then the next task would be to discover how Amos Gilbert Sr. (  connects to him – other than by proximity. 

The approximate boundaries of Amos Gilbert Sr.’s original 1816 land grant, just north of Vevay, IN.

Excerpts from the November 24, 1832 paper in Vevay, showing Amos and Ezra were contemporaries.