William Conner – Land Patent

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 listing of 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. Here is an article, Conner’s Choice, (that is included within the Traders Point pdf of selected stories)  about William Conner and his Pike Township purchase of eighty acres.Conner’s Choice


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