Our subject this week rests with the best of C’ville

One of the most interesting families in the area was the Talbot family and much has been written about Capt. Henry Harp Talbot (son of Courtney and Elizabeth Harp) but I’d like to tell ya’ today about his first cousin, Jesse Nicholas Talbot, son of Coleman and Druscilla Bowles. Coleman and Courtney were sons of Nicholas Reagan (wife Ariabelle Kennedy) Talbot, thus Jesse’s middle name. Nicholas and Aria had two other sons, Charles who remained in Bourbon County, Kentucky and Rufus who also ended-up in Crawfordsville. Nicholas R. was born in 1776 in Fairfax County, Virginia, losing his father Samuel the next year. Nicholas was in the war of 1812 and both Jesse and Henry were in the Civil War, Henry for the duration (in a Ky. unit) and Jesse for a four-month service, (135th Indiana) mustering in on May 23 and out 29 Sept in 1864. All of the Talbot men were quite handsome but do believe Jesse was the best looking (CDPL photo)

Seems the most adventurous of the four sons of Nicholas and Aria was Coleman, he first moving Druscilla and the Kentucky born of their nine children to Illinois (by the way, Jesse was the middle child, born 15 August 1840 near Quincy, Adams County, Illinois. In the early 1850s, Coleman packed up his family with other friends and moved to the Sonoma, California area, beginning in early spring with all they owned packed in a couple of wagons drawn by oxen. The wagon train trip took from early spring to late fall. Jesse desired to return to the Midwest, all his brothers and sisters more than satisfied in sunny California, so when Jesse’s Uncle Courtney was visiting California and returning, Jesse hopped on with him in another wagon train, this time with different results. The train was attacked, with Jesse put under one of the wagons by his uncle for protection. An arrow (35” long with an ironhead at the end) came whizzing at him and luckily stuck in the wagon’s wheel. Uncle Courtney made it through okay and they headed on home, finally arriving in Crawfordsville in late 1863. Years later, Jesse gave that arrow to his cousin Henry likely as a thank you for Henry’s father’s safe keeping him.

The plan was for Jesse to attend Wabash College and he did some but then joined the service; however, when he returned he did indeed finish Wabash College then began studying medicine having seen the need for medical knowledge first-hand during the war. He graduated from the Miami Medical College in Cincinnati in 1870, then went to the little town of Wallace (Jackville at that time) to begin his practice. By the way, he was completely out of funds. He rented a little place on his word where he had his office, a bedroom and a bit of a kitchen. But, nothing happened until … a farmer popped up with small pox and none of the other doctors around wanted to take the chance of catching it. Jesse was in no position to say no thus he not only went to the farmer’s home to medicate him but he also cleaned him, cooked for him and accomplished whatever needed done. The farmer not only recovered but sang Jesse’s praise all over Fountain and western Montgomery. There were not many yet a few more cases of that dreaded disease but it was certainly enough to get the new doctor up and going on a great career.

I assume he met Lucretia Clore (Burlington County, Kentucky) from either his relatives in Kentucky or the Clores in Fountain County but meet her he did. Coming from a wealthy family, it was an extremely pleasant surprise that she willingly came to the little town of Jackville, and not only did her own sewing, housework, but aided him in any way possible. They were both quite happy and content. Three children blessed the home (Lucy married #1 Sam Cullom; #2 Henry Springer, they having one daughter, Jean), Jessie who married Clint Marshall (who died in 1919 – they had one son, Nicholas) then married Rolla Hubbard. If you have ever heard of Marshall Studios (made pottery, first in Indianapolis, later in Veedersburg), this was created by Jessie who started hand making and hand-painting lampshades in her home. Her son and his wife took over the business, then later his daughter. Jessie was absolutely beautiful and very talented – you can find her on findagrave. Dr. J.N.’s other daughter, Grace lived in Florida for several years but passed away in Indianapolis where she remained for a quarter of a century in 1946 at age 71, having never married. Nothing indicated she had an occupation and sources point to only a 6th grade education, but one census showed she had a boarding house.

I recently did an OTD (On This Day) on the good doc, and there was much interest so I wanted to give ya’ more of his life. Both he and Lucretia were amazing at handling money and began piling up a good fortune, he more than willing to loan to those down on their luck as he had once been. He owned a farm or two, and a very nice home (paid $4,000 in 1894 for it) on East Main in C’ville. An extremely hearty fella, he reveled in being called out in the night to go visit a patient, and more than not would stay all night talking, then ride back home to begin his day. An ardent Republican, the topic of a long discussion would be politics, but he could discuss religion or any topic with the best of ‘em, usually with a lot of laughs.

About ten years before his passing, he retired from doctoring and stepped back in his business affairs, as well. One day he decided he needed to get things in order so that his beloved would have nothing to worry about, thus he sent her to Florida and had plans to redo the whole house and update it to perfection so there would be nothing to keep her from being happy when he died as he had the inkling it was coming (heart troubles). Oddly, she had a bad attack of appendicitis there and passed suddenly. He was never the same thereafter, and a couple of years later he fell down the stairs at his home, never really recovering from that. Yet, even to the day of his death (5 Jan 1908), he had friends come to ask guidance in their finances. One intellectual, loving, fun-filled, hearty fellow gone to rest with his Lucretia in Oak Hill Cemetery, where many of the best of C’ville now reside!

Karen Zach is the editor of Montgomery Memories, our monthly magazine all about Montgomery County. Her column, Around the County, appears each Thursday in The Paper of Montgomery County. You can reach her at