The Settlement of Calvin
About 1830, Thomas Wasdon “Walse” Driggers, son of the original township settlers, acquired and recorded quite a acreage of land in Phillips Township, which extended from the Big Wabash River to Bonpas Crossing. Mr. Driggers reared three daughters and ten orphan boys.
One of the boys, about 18 years old, by the name of Boultinghouse, had been sent to work in a clearing that later became a part of Calvin. While at work, young Boultinghouse was killed and scalped by Indians. It appears this was the last known white man killed by Indians in White County.
One of Walse Driggers girls, Nancy Jane, married Gillison Price Calvin. He at that time was said to own around1,400 acres of land. A settlement existed at Calvin in 1870 or 1871 when Mr. Calvin gave the ground for the railroad to cross and also provided the labor of his men to get the railroad though his place, hoping it would help the growth of the town. Mr. Calvin had the land for Calvin surveyed and platted February 3, 1896. At that time he sold some of the land but retained most of it.
Calvin was the first station stopover for the stage coach from Shawneetown to Vincennes. The stage coach was often held up and robbed by bandits about one and one half miles south of Calvin at the foot of what is now know as Shingle Hill. At one time, this town had three stores. Some of these stores had been owned by Price Calvin, Bill Britton, Summers, Lance, Bond, Gillison Calvin, Tommy Potter, and others. The early stores had hitching post in front for the customers horses. Inside were the kraut, sugar, pickle, and cracker barrels. The pot-bellied stove was close by for winter use. One blacksmith shop was first owned by Felix Hammel, then later his son Charlie. In addition to blacksmithing services, they sold harness, hardware, walking plows, and all farm implements used in that day. When cars became fashionable, Charlie Hammel added the Maxwell agency.
Mr. Calvin build a grain elevator. Two churches were build: The Methodist Episcopal and a Presbyterian. Later, the Methodist disbanded, and the primitive Baptist bough the church building. It was the last existing church in Calvin, but it has been gone for several decades. Mr. Charles donated the land for a school and cemetery. The official name for these are Charles School and Charles Cemetery, although some people refer to them as Calvin School and Calvin Cemetery.
When the railroad went though Calvin, the mail was sent by rail. Some of the depot agents were Sutton, Sullivan, and Grace Hammel. Oliver Coldman was the last to serve as agent. At one time Calvin was giving was given the nickname Dead Hog Run by the train men because so many hogs were running wild and being killed by trains.
When cholera hit the county in the years of 1832, 1858, 1866 and 1873, Calvin suffered. There are quite a few graves in Charles Cemetery from the 1873 epidemic. Many of them are those of children.
Over the years, the population of Calvin diminished, the railroad became vacant, the stores and post office closed when school consolation came about.
Now all that remains of Calvin is a settlement of homes.
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