A factual well-researched webpage on African Americans
in Gibson County and the surrounding Counties, published
by the Indiana Historical Society
researched by Anna-Lisa Cox, Ph.D.
Anna-Lisa Cox is an active historian, writer, and lecturer on the history of race relations in the
nineteenth-century Midwest. She received her M.Phil. in social anthropology from the University of
Cambridge, and her Ph.D. in American history from the University of Illinois. She has been the recipient of
numerous awards for her research, including the National Endowment for the Humanities Younger Scholars
Award, the Gilder Lehrman Foundation Fellowship, the Pew Younger Scholars Fellowship and grants from
the Spencer Foundation.
|“The first step towards getting somewhere is to decide
that you are not going to stay where you are.”
|Other books available:
Princeton Tigers High School Boys Basketball
Mt. Olympus High School Boys Basketball
Hazleton High School Boys Basketball 1914-1963
Patoka High School Boys Basketball 1913-1963
Books are $25 each plus $3.50 shipping
Make checks payable to:
PO Box 1193
Princeton, IN 47670
|953 N. County Road, 500 W.
PO Box 1193
Princeton, IN 47670
Charles Grier (d. 1782-d. 1872) arrived in Gibson County
in 1813, 3 years before Indiana was a state, making him
the one of the earliest pioneer settlers in this area. In
1815 Grier traveled to Vincennes, Ind to the federal land
office to purchase forty acres in what became Montgomery
Township. He purchased an additional 80 acres in 1825.
Not only was Charles Grier a pioneer farmer, he was a
proven Underground Railroad agent in Gibson County.
You will find Charles Grier and his Underground Railroad
involvement in William Still's 1872 book, "The Underground
Railroad." - Page 28
It is in a letter written by Seth Concklin, a white
abolitionist, to William Still, one of the most famous and
influential African American abolitionists in America on
February 18, 1851.
Mr. Grier is also talked about in a book by Rev. Nathan
Johnston, Looking Back from the Sunset Land. Johnston,
refers to Charles Grier as "conducting" Peter Still's wife
and 3 children to David Stormont's home in eastern
Gibson county. The Rev. Nathan Johnston, saw them at
Stormont's house, and knew that Grier conducted them
there. Peter was the brother to William Still.
Shortly after, Peter Still's family were captured in
Vincennes, Ind. Seth Concklin tried to rescue them and
The Peter Still family was returned to slavery.
Very rarely is there so much eye-witness documented
evidence for an Underground Railroad Conductor as there
is for Charles Grier. He knew, and was known by, some
very famous abolitionists before the Civil War.
|Early settler Joshua Lyles, donated 6
acres of ground to the Old Airline
Railroad to establish a rail station. In
1886, the settlement was officially named
Lyles Station in honor of Joshua Lyles
and his contribution.
The town flourished during the late nineteenth and
early twentieth centuries, developing into a self-
sustaining community of approximately 800 residents.
At its peak (1880-1913), Lyles Station consisted of
fifty-five homes, a post office, a railroad station, an
elementary school, two churches, two general
stores, and a lumber mill. However, the 1913 flood
of the Patoka and Wabash Rivers left much of the
area under water, marking the start of the settlement’
s decline. Today, only a few homes remain in the
community of Lyles Station but nearly half of the
residents are descendants of the original black
settlers. Along with the scattered houses, the African
Methodist Episcopal Church, a grain elevator, and
the schoolhouse are all that stand as a physical
reminder of the once-thriving settlement of Lyles
However, the spirit of freedom and perseverance
which made the town prosper is still very much alive
in the hearts and minds of those individuals who
have worked to restore the Lyles Consolidated
School building. Ground breaking on the renovation
project was held in June of 2002 and in May of
2003, the dreams of preserving the Lyles Station
legacy were realized with the opening of the
restored Lyles Consolidated School.