Related pages:
Helton land deals
Helton photo album
Helton farm pictures
Heltonville scenes

Andrew and Hannah Helton

The photographs of my great-great-grandparents, Andrew and Hannah (Woolery) Helton and ten of their children which you see in our Bloomington Scrapbook belonged to my grandmother, Alice (Seward) Walker. These oval photos were glued to a crumbling piece of cardboard and are very discolored. They're the only evidence I have of how this family looked. Each picture had a number written below it which corresponded to a name written on the back of the cardboard sheet. The handwriting looks like that of a person who was schooled some time in the 19th century. If the pictures were all taken at about the same time, they would date to the late 1860s, since Hannah died 29 Apr 1870 and Andrew 5 Apr 1874. Their youngest child, Maggie, appears to be a teenager.

According to my grandmother, Andrew Helton was born 9 Sep 1806 in Sullivan county, Tennessee, and Hannah Woolery was born 10 Jul 1807 in Harrison county, Kentucky. At one time, the only information I had on Andrew and Hannah's children were these photographs and the birthdates and names which Alice Walker had jotted down, which I included in the picture captions, and which I'll tabulate here along with each child's date of death where known:

  1. Michael Woolery Helton, born 24 May 1829, died 18 Jan 1873.
  2. Sarah Jane Helton, born 23 Aug 1830.
  3. Mary "Polly" Helton, born 12 Aug 1832, died 1882.1
  4. The only child of whom I don't have a picture, Arnold Helton, born 30 Aug 1834, died 31 Mar 1851.1
  5. Absalom "Appie" Helton, born 20 Oct 1835.
  6. My great-great-grandmother, Elizabeth Irene Helton, born 7 Oct 1837, died 11 May 1915.
  7. Zepporah "Zep" Helton, born 11 Apr 1839, died 4 Mar 1914.1
  8. Katharine "Kitty" Helton, born 21 Sep 1840, died 2 Apr 1913.1
  9. Isaac Helton, born 17 Feb 1844.
  10. Flora Helton, born 14 Feb 1847, died 17 Jun 1927.
  11. Margaret "Maggie" Helton, born 9 Apr 1850, died 16 Apr 1918.1

Since connecting to the internet, I've found quite a lot of additional information on them and also on their ancestors. The Indiana Marriage Index lists Andrew Helton and Hannah Woolery as having been married in Lawrence county 13 Mar 1828. The Helton and Woolery families both came to Lawrence county around 1820. According to Alice Walker, her grandmother, Elizabeth (Helton) Seward, was born in Heltonville, which is in Lawrence county, and which was named for the Helton family. According to pages 59 and 76 of the History of Lawrence and Monroe Counties, Indiana, Indianapolis, Ind.: B.F. Bowen & Co., 1914:

The town of Heltonville, Pleasant Run township, was platted on September 8, 1845, by Andrew Helton, on the west half of the northeast quarter of section 26, township 6 north, range 1 east. The town originally comprised twenty-seven lots, but since that time several additions have been made, enlarging the town. Before 1839 Andrew Helton opened the first merchandise store, first being a partner of William Templeton...

In 1840 the rate of liquor license was placed as follows: ... Helton's store, $25 (this was in Pleasant Run township)...

Andrew and Hannah had already moved to Bloomington, in Monroe county, by 3 Sep 1850, when they were enumerated there in the U. S. census. Andrew was listed as a merchant with a net worth of $8,000, which was quite a lot at that time. All eleven children were listed with them. The census taker listed the kids in the same order as my grandmother did, but with ages that make me wonder who might have given him his information. There are also discrepancies in the children's names. Maggie is listed as Emily and the census taker confused baby Maggie with teenager Mary, or Polly, listing the latter as Margaret. It is likely that all of the children, except possibly Maggie, were born in Lawrence county before the move to Bloomington. The 1860 census taker did a better job; most of the children were still at home and their names and ages agreed with my grandmother's information.

At least three of Andrew and Hannah's children attended Indiana University's prep school. In the case of Arnold, he may well have died before he could graduate. The following list is taken from Indiana University, Its History, 1828-1890, Theophilus A. Wylie, 1890:

Indiana University has a collection of Helton Manuscripts which is described thus: "The Helton mss., 1850-1872, consist of account books of Andrew Helton, miller and merchant of Bloomington, Indiana, and his son Michael W. Helton, realtor of Bloomington, Indiana..." The 1914 history mentions on page 378:

The extensive mills of Mr. Helton carried this notice to the public:

"BLOOMINGTON MILLS.--We would announce to the citizens of the surrounding country that these mills are in complete running order, and would solicit their patronage. We shall endeavor to do our 'custom work' with the utmost dispatch. Having in our employ men of experience and skill and having most improved machinery, we flatter ourselves that we are able to give general satisfaction, both as to quality and quantity. We will grind, either for toll or exchange, flour for wheat. Terms: One-sixth toll. Exchange: Thirty-eight pounds of flour for white wheat, and thirty-six for red wheat, and a half bushel of bran for each merchantable bushel of wheat. Grists to be ground we would prefer to be eight or ten bushels, or more. 50,000 bushels of wheat wanted!!! The highest market price paid for wheat and corn. Flour, meal and feed always on hand, and for sale. Extra family flour from selected wheat, put up in half and quarter barrel bags, and ALWAYS WARRANTED.

"Bloomington, Ind., August 20, 1858.


There is additional information on Hannah, her ancestors, and her siblings, at the Moon Family Pages web site. Hannah's grandfather, Lawrence Woolery (1739-1839), was one of the earliest settlers in Kentucky. Her father, Michael Woolery (1781-1823), may have been born in Madison county, KY. Some of Hannah's family members moved north into Lawrence and Monroe counties, IN. Others, including her grandfather, moved west and settled in Cooper county, MO. Lawrence is buried in Old Mt. Nebo Cemetery there along with several other Woolerys.

I've been in touch with another cousin, Mac Elliott, who has done extensive research on the Heltons' Lawrence county roots and have been able to push my knowledge of this family back another generation to Andrew's father, Arnold Helton.

I found the following typewritten paper in my grandmother's scrapbook...

October 1931

For some time I have wanted to know more about the probable time that great-grandfather Andrew Helton came to Bloomington. I knew that he owned the large brick house on the N. W. corner of Rogers and Eight [sic] Streets, so asked the present owner-Homer Carpenter-if he would let me see the abstract to the property. He has just brought it to me and I find the following facts.

The earliest records show the site of Bloomington being sold by the U. S. Government to Robertson Graham in 1816, he sold the site to Benjamin Parks-agent of the town of Bloomington in November 1819. (Deed record A Page 29).

The first individuals listed as owners are Austin and Jane Seward. There is no record as to when they became owners. I have never heard any one mention that they were owners. This cut lot probably did not sell at the original sale of lots, and probably the buyer did not obtain a deed until all payments had been made.

Austin & Jane Seward deeded the lot (Cut lot #41-aprox 310 ft x 310 ft) to James Cochrane on May 1, 1939 [sic]. (Deed record G Page 370)

The heirs of Mr. Cochrane sold the south Half of the lot to Andrew Helton on August 17, 1852. (Deed record N Page 586). This is probably when he moved to Bloomington from Fairfax.

As the price paid was $2500.00, the house had probably already been built or at least partially built. (I was under the impression that Andrew Helton built the house, but several years ago Mr. Morton Whitaker told me that some of his forebears built it. Probably the above mentioned Mr. Cochrane.)

Andrew Helton sold the property to Paris Dunning on May 14, 1869 (Deed record Z Page 319) a few years before he died.

As grandmother, Elizabeth Helton Seward, was married to Williamson B. Seward in 1854, she was married in this house. I have heard her tell of living there and that they never knew how many they were going to have for the noon meal. It was the custom of the merchants of that time to invite their out of town customers home for the meal. No doubt many of them also stayed overnight. She said they sometimes had as many as twenty visitors. The house had a full basement (unusual in those days) with a brick floor and a large brick Dutch oven. Now (1931) you can still see the large upstairs porch and massive front steps. I am told that the large bedrooms were divided into four rooms each when the house was divided into apartments about 1917.

Fred A. Seward

Andrew Helton died 5 Apr 1874 in Bloomington. Hannah's death was noted in the 4 May 1870 issue of the Bloomington Progress in an article which may have been abbreviated in summarizing it for the Monroe County Historical Society's obituary card file:

HELTON, Hannah

Died on Friday, Apr. 29, 1870. Age 63. The wife of Andrew Helton. She had suffered from neuralgia for a number of years, but became ill just 1 week previous to her death.

1 Cousin Tony Jarvis supplied these dates of death.
This page was last updated 10 Jan 2010.