My Very Good Coincidence (and William Conner)

In 1980 I graduated Earlham College in Richmond Indiana and was employed in the administrative offices of its museum, Conner Prairie, in Noblesville. Conner Prairie is a living-history museum and its crown jewel is William Conner’s brick house constructed in 1823, and over 640 acres of land he obtained from the Delaware Indians in the early 1800s. I left there, got a real estate license and years later my wife and I purchased a site 25 miles away in Indianapolis for the purpose of building a house. Curious about the history in my part of Pike Township , in 1998 or 1999 I discovered a website listing the earliest property owners in the area.
Next to each owner’s name was the legal description of their parcel. One day I traced the legal description for the earliest property owner, a “William Conner” who had purchased his site in 1822. I was surprised (and excited) to learn that his 80 acre parcel was within a few hundred feet of my property. So I contacted Conner Prairie and their historian was unaware of this parcel and assurred me it was a different William Conner. But it wasn’t.
The Pike Township William Conner never settled on his property and a few years after purchasing it by patent from the Federal Government, he sold it to the founders of Traders Point, Indiana, which was platted in the 1850s. But for years I was perplexed by Conner’s motivations and I decided to dig deeper.
This blog explores the facts surrounding the William Conner parcel in Traders Point, Indianapolis in Marion County, and produces considerable evidence that it is the same William Conner. I have also become fascinated by the process in which our country used men like Conner to negotiate with the Indians and obtain treaties for their land. Upon leaving Conner Prairie I began a career in commercial real estate, primarily in site selection. With my site finder’s perspective, and a cursory knowledge of the time, I believe I have discovered Conner’s motivations for acquiring an 80 acre site in Marion County in 1822; the same year he was building the first brick home in Hamilton County. My research (and musings) are scattered over time in my blog entries. Until I assemble this in a more coherent fashion, the blog serves multiple functions as identified in the masthead.

About Ross Reller

I am pleased you have expressed interest in learning more about the historic Traders Point area in Indianapolis, Indiana. From 1980 to 1982 I was employed in the PR department at Conner Prairie Museum in Hamilton County. There I learned about William Conner, an important figure in Indiana's pioneer days. A decade later I became interested in the history of the Traders Point area and was surprised to learn that William Conner had been the first land owner in the area. In 1823 he acquired, through the Federal land office in Brookville, a patent for an 80 acre tract carved by Eagle Creek and an Indian trail that was about to be named the first toll roadway through the township (Lafayette Road). Thirty years later a village took shape within this tract. A grain mill on the creek, houses, churches, stores, restaurants, and two gas stations would take shape here in the creek valley hamlet of Traders Point. By 1962 all improvements (except a farmer's co-op) had been removed by the Indianapolis Flood Control Board to make way for Interstate 65 and a new reservoir. This blog is dedicated to preserving evidence of this historic area but I will occasionally use it to discuss related topics. To activate this follow, simply click the confirm button below. If you don't want to follow, ignore this message and we'll never bother you again. I am also a member of the Old Pleasant Hill Cemetery, a non profit association still selling burial plots for those who would like to spend all eternity in Traders Point, and I am an officer in the Pike Township Historical Society and the Traders Point Association of Neighborhoods.
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1 Response to My Very Good Coincidence (and William Conner)

  1. Paul conner says:

    William Conner Who entered 80 acres in tipton county indiana in 1849 was my great grandfather

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