Thomas S. Hinde – Clergy


Hinde was an active businessman, pursuing real estate, construction, and publishing opportunities in Kentucky, Ohio and Illinois. In his early years, Hinde publicly opposed slavery, and played a role in Indian treaties, the conspiracy of Aaron Burr through his newspaper, The Fredonian, in Chillicothe, Ohio between 1806-1808, and fought in the War of 1812. In later years he was a pioneer in the settlement of Indiana and Illinois, and the expansion of the Methodist Church. He contributed to the Madoc Tradition and was a noted historian and biographer. Hinde cofounded the Wabash Navigation Company, which engaged in real estate speculation and dam construction. The company dammed the Wabash River next to Hinde’s property, creating the Grand Rapids Dam. The dam was abandoned by the Federal government in 1931.

Hinde was an ordained Methodist minister who traveled extensively during his life to advance the interests of the church. He was a pioneering circuit rider in the early 1800s in Kentucky, Indiana, Illinois, and Missouri. Hinde wrote and published religious articles throughout his life in many leading publications. Francis Asbury, one of the first two bishops of the Methodist Episcopal Church in the United States, considered Hinde important to the church. He frequently met with him and mentioned him in his journals. Lyman Draper spent more than twenty years collecting documents by and about the Hinde family. The Draper Manuscript Collection at the Wisconsin Historical Society holds 47 volumes of Hinde’s personal papers, donated by his family after his death.

==Early years==

Thomas S. Hinde was born April 19, 1785 in Hanover County, Virginia, to Dr. Thomas Hinde (1737–1828) and Mary Todd Hubbard (1734–1830), as the seventh of eight children. His father was an English doctor who served as a physician to Patrick Henry and General James Wolfe. Little is known about Hinde’s early years except that the family moved from Virginia to Newport, Kentucky, in 1797 when his father was awarded a land grant of {convert|10,000|acre|sqkm} for his services in the American Revolutionary War. In a letter to President James Madison many years later, Hinde related that while walking to school in the wilderness of Kentucky, he once successfully fought off a wolf and a panther . Daniel Boone and Simon Kenton were neighbors of the Hinde family while they lived in Kentucky, and the three men grew up as colleagues. One of Hinde’s sisters married Richard Southgate; his nephews William Wright Southgate and William Taylor became prominent lawyers and politicians.

After a conversion by his mother Mary and older sister Susannah in 1798, all of Hinde’s family, including his father, converted to the Methodist denomination, but he delayed a while. Shortly afterward the younger Hinde became close friends with Francis Asbury, who became a prominent bishop in the church. Hinde later described the conversion of his youngest sister, Martha Harrison Hinde, in an 1827 article published in the Methodist Review under his pen name, Theophilus Arminius. Hinde recounted Bishop Asbury visiting his father’s home in 1803 and telling Martha that she had better find God, because before he could meet her again she would be dead. The bishop’s prophecy came true when Martha died in 1811 without having seen Asbury again. Hinde said she had converted before her death and tried to convert the nonbelievers in the room while on her deathbed. He shared a letter in which his sister had tried to convert her close friends. Hinde named his first daughter after his late sister Martha. Hinde did not immediately convert but attended Methodist camp meetings of the period. During his life, he frequently wrote about the importance of the camp meeting in bringing Christianity and Democracy to the west.

In 1801, Hinde got a job as deputy clerk for the Kentucky Court of Appeals. William Kavanaugh, the husband of Hinde’s older sister Hannah, put him under the care of Achilles Sneed of Frankfort. He received a good legal education in the clerk’s office of the Court of Appeals. During this time, Hinde became acquainted with many of the state’s leading men, and acquired a knowledge of the law. He developed a reputation as one of Kentucky’s most efficient businessmen. Hinde wrote to Henry Clay that he was the first lawyer whom Hinde heard address a court. Hinde resided in a boarding house, shared with many of the leading judges and politicians of the day, where he strengthened his personal and political contacts.

==Newspaper publisher==

From an early age, Hinde opposed slavery. Although their household owned slaves, he and his siblings repudiated slavery on religious grounds. Hinde’s opposition increased and eventually he and other friends became outspoken critics of the practice in Kentucky, where slavery was commonplace. There Hinde joined other Methodist ministers in the abolitionist movement.

In a letter to President Madison, Hinde attributed his opposition to slavery to the influence of his mother. He wrote: In 1805, Messrs. Wood and Street, from Richmond, Va., found their way to Kentucky. Friendly considerations led me to patronize them. This was done through the solicitations of a young friend from Virginia. They commenced a paper, published in 1806, called the ‘Western World.’ Imbibing strong prejudices against slavery, perhaps from my mother’s repeating, in my infancy, the nurse’s songs composed by Cowper, designed to make such impressions. In June 1806, to the great astonishment of my friends, I left Kentucky, with all the flattering prospects a youth could have, and hastened to Ohio. Connecting circumstances, and from hints that fell from Wood and others, a deep impression had been made on my mind, that an eventful period was fast approaching.

Because of the slavery issue, in 1806 Hinde moved from Kentucky to Chillicothe in the free state of Ohio. In partnership with his brother-in-law R.D. Richardson, beginning in 1806, he edited and published a newspaper titled the Fredonian. Fredonian” was a sonorous name for ‘a citizen of the United States.’ In later years it was the name of a rebellion to separate Texas from Mexico.

From early in his career, Hinde fought the projects of Aaron Burr. He collected and published material in The Fredonian related to what he said was Burr’s conspiracy to overthrow the US government. Hinde sent the evidence to Henry Clay, a longtime friend of his family and later secretary of state, but the papers disappeared.

While working at the Kentucky Court of Appeals, Hinde had developed a close relationship with George Madison and his nephew John Madison. In 1829 Hinde wrote to their relation, President James Madison, to provide him with information about the Burr conspiracy for a political history the president was said to be writing. Madison denied the project, but asked Hinde to send copies of The Fredonian to include in his presidential papers. Hinde sent newspaper issues dealing with the Burr Conspiracy. The copies of the newspaper were filed with the President’s papers.

After moving to Ohio, Hinde was unanimously elected by the Ohio House of Representatives to the position of clerk protempore. He held the position for three years before shifting to focus on his successful speculation in military lands.

On October 19, 1809, with minister William Lynes officiating, Hinde married in Hamilton County, Ohio Belinda Bradford, the daughter of James Bradford. His late father-in-law was a descendant of William Bradford of Plymouth Colony. He had been killed in 1791 in St. Clair’s Defeat, and buried in Fort Recovery.

Hinde and Belinda had three children: James B., John Madison, and Martha. The second son was named after Hinde’s friend Dr. John Madison, a nephew of George Madison and a relative of James Madison. The daughter Martha married Charles H. Constable, who became a prominent Illinois politician; he is commonly remembered for his decision as judge to allow four Union deserters to go free during the Civil War. Belinda died in 1827.

In 1828, Hinde married Sarah Neal Daugherty Cavileer. They had three children: Edmund C., Charles T. and Belinda. Edmund was a pioneer who participated in the California Gold Rush; after his death, his journals were published. Charles was a business tycoon who played a pivotal role in the development of southern California through his shipping expertise. Belinda married Jacob Zimmerman, a successful newspaper editor and owner who in later years held a number of political offices in Illinois.

==Conversion to Methodism==

Hinde was involved with the newspaper for less than two years. He converted from Deism to Methodism and decided that operating a political journal conflicted with his new religious views. After retiring from the newspaper business, he engaged in locating military lands and in land speculation. For the rest of his life, Hinde published editorials in newspapers and religious publications. He organized several camp meetings with other preachers, saying that the camp meeting could unite the different Protestant denominations.

At times, Francis Asbury ventured into the wilderness to visit Hinde. An 1856 account states, In 1810 Bishop Asbury visited an obscure part of the western country (Kanawha) which was then a wilderness, and pleasantly told the Rev. Thomas S. Hinde that he had visited the region in order that the people might see and know their superintendant; remarking, “The shepherd ought to know the flock, and the flock the shepherd: they ought to know what man it is that governs them, and I have come nearly one hundred miles out of my way to see them.” No wonder the writer exclaims, “O Asbury, the inhabitants of these hills and mountains will long make mention of thee!”

Hinde is thought to have received his license to preach sometime around 1810. His first sermon was in Chillicothe in either 1807 or 1808, and people were so eager to hear him that they filled the church. The sermon was described as having “…no coherence in his discourse.” During the sermon, Hinde repeatedly stated, “My bowels, my bowels!”

As a preacher, he was rather eccentric. He was not very fluent and gifted as a speaker, but had the power of engaging the attention of his hearers, and was very successful and useful in a revival of religion. He entertained rather singular views on the subject of the orders in the ministry, objecting to the order of deacons, and holding that the eldership is the only true order. In consequence of these peculiar views, he would never consent to be ordained a deacon, and therefore never entered into orders at all.

Hinde became a circuit rider in the early 1800s. While his circuit varied over the years, he served large portions of Kentucky, Indiana, Illinois, and Missouri. Much of the territory he covered was generally lawless, violent and dangerous. Traveling by horseback, circuit riders served numerous churches and were supposed to plant new ones in new or underserved communities.

An avid writer, Hinde wrote mostly about Methodism and church songs. A popular hymnal was entitled The Pilgrams’ songster; or, A choice collection of spiritual songs, and was said to have sold more than 10,000 copies. Rev. Thomas S. Hinde was said to be, “…exceedingly earnest, and very zealous in promoting the interests of the Church and of religion and morality. His zeal, however, was rather of the ascetic kind; and he usually took prominent part in the arraignment and trial of brethren accused of offenses.” He was quoted as saying that he was,”…doing God service.”

==Indian affairs==

Growing up in Kentucky in the late 1790s, Hinde learned of the danger of Indian attacks. After moving to Chillicothe, he became interested in prehistoric Indians sites. In a letter to President James Madison, he claimed to have taken his “comrades” to Windship’s mound (now the Hopewell Culture National Historical Park) to call their attention to the surrounding scenery, my former pursuits, my friends, my country, my prospects–all these had been abandoned for the pride of opinion, against the entailment and perpetuation of slavery upon the rising generation! I remember their looks when I remarked, that after all, (pointing to the sun eclipsed,) I spoke of the gloom that overshadowed my future prospects!

Hinde purchased property from William Mc’Intosh near the Wabash River, an area that had been a Piankashaw Indian campground. It contained numerous earthwork mounds that predated the Piankashaw.

Hinde met the Shawnee chief Tecumseh in Chillicothe and in Vincennes, Indiana, during either the 1810 or the 1811 meeting between Tecumseh and William Henry Harrison at Grouseland. Hinde also met prominent Shawnee Blue Jacket and reported on him for the local newspapers. Although the sources do not comment on his role specifically, one source states that Hinde played a crucial role in negotiating early Indian treaties signed with the United States government.

==War of 1812==

Hinde served in the U.S. Army in the War of 1812 under William Henry Harrison, then governor of the Indiana Territory. Both from Virginia families, the two men were close in age. Hinde was made responsible for prisoners of war starting in 1813, when he was about 27 or 28 years old.

Hinde served under Captain Oliver Hazard Perry, who was the commander at the Battle of Lake Erie. Captain Perry’s decisive victory ensured American control of the lake, improved American morale after a series of defeats, and compelled the British to fall back from Detroit. In 1813, Hinde was placed in charge of prisoners captured at the Battle of Lake Erie.

==Founding Mount Carmel==

In the early 1800s, Hinde purchased large land holdings in what would become Wabash County, Illinois. In 1817, he, William McDowell and William Beauchamp collectively founded the city of Mount Carmel, Illinois. All three men were ministers, and they chose the Biblical name “Mount Carmel”, because it meant “the garden of the Lord” and was also a city in Israel. According to one source:

Hinde donated the majority of the land for the city. Shortly after it was incorporated, he gave permission for city residents to use part of his land near the Wabash River as a “commons” for livestock. Hinde, Beauchamp and McDowell were granted permission by the legislature to establish a ferry on Hinde’s land at the river. During this time Hinde did the primary survey work for the Grand Rapids Dam on the river. According to a local history published in 1883, he was believed to reside in a house located on the “bluff” in Mount Carmel. In letters to Congress written in the 1820s, Hinde stated that he resided near the Grand Rapids Dam. He wrote a poem about Mount Carmel and had it published in Ohio.

Originally, Mount Carmel was located in Edwards County. After a drought in 1820 killed a majority of the settlers, the county seat was moved from Palmyra, Illinois to Albion, Illinois. At that time Albion was primarily an English settlement. The Americans from Mount Carmel and surrounding settlements were resentful and attempted to return the county seat to Mount Carmel by force. During the bickering for the county seat location, Hinde ran for county commissioner in 1821 against John Buckles and received only two votes against Buckles’ 151. In 1822 Hinde ran for the office of Illinois House of Representatives and narrowly lost to Gilbert T. Pell. On December 24, 1824 the Illinois Legislature resolved the county seat issue by creating Wabash County from the eastern half of Edwards County.

Based on newspaper accounts, the lots did not sell quickly. More than 27 years after having developed the plans for the town, Hinde was still advertising Mount Carmel lots for sale in national newspapers. In one advertisement Hinde said, “The place I offer is midway between St. Louis and Louisville and the next improvement will be the completion of the railroad connecting the two places, and a dam across the Great Wabash, at the Grand Rapids, at the junction of the White, Patoka, and Wabash, giving the greatest water power in the great West.”

Another source states that, “…they may have been over zealous and puritanical in the construction of their laws… no theater or play-house shall ever be built within the boundary of the city; no person shall be guilty of drunkenness, profanity, sabbath-breaking, and many other offenses of greater magnitude, etc., he shall be subject to trial by the court of Mayor and on conviction, was disqualified from holding any office in the city, or the bank; was disqualified to vote; ostracism was to continue for three years after the commission of the so-called crimes.”

Around 1825, Hinde settled in Mount Carmel, leaving the circuit to focus on religious and historical writing, and business. He founded one of the first churches in the town and occasionally held Methodist gatherings at his home. On September 20, 1827 more than 27 Methodist ministers met in the upper room of his house. It was one of the largest gatherings of the time.

==Real estate disputes==

After his father died in 1828, Hinde inherited real estate in Kentucky. Shortly thereafter, he began investing in real estate in Ohio. Several of his Ohio property disputes reached the Supreme Court of the United States, including Hinde v. Vattier and Mallow v. Hinde.