John Short

John Short
& Eve Monical

John Short, although born before the American Revolution, is the first of my direct Short line to have been born in America. He was born in the year 1770 in Frederick County, Virginia (now Berkeley County, West Virginia), the son of Jacob and Eve Short, both born in Germany.

Within the next four years the family moved to Botetourt County, Virginia, near Fincastle. The Revolutionary War began when John was about six. During these early years in Frederick and Botetourt County a deadly enemy roamed the colonies. It wasn't hostile Indians (although they were around), and it wasn't the old enemy, the French. It wasn't the British, for the Revolution hadn't yet begun. No, this deadly enemy was Smallpox. It was more deadly than Indians raiding along the frontier and more treacherous than the French. It was one of the many hazards our ancestors had to deal with in their struggle to survive on the edge of the American Wilderness.

Then, during the Revolution, it was Indians allied with the British that became the major danger along the frontier. This danger lasted through and continued after the war ended in 1783 with the Treaty of Paris. John was thirteen when the war ended, and was about twenty when George Washington became our first president.

Nighbors of the Shorts included the Carleton's, Scott's, Printz's, Monical's and Knott's, most of which are also tied into our family genealogy. It was from the Knott family that John found his first wife, Mary Ann. Little is known of this first marriage. Indeed the year of Mary's birth isn't known nor the year of their marriage. However, we do know that at least one child was born to this union, Elizabeth, born April 6, 1797. There may have been a son named John and other children, but this has not yet been proven. Mary died sometime between 1797 and early 1800.

John married his second wife Eve Monical on March 27, 1800 in Botetourt County. Eve was born about 1779 in Virginia, possibly Botetourt County. It is through Eve that my, and most of our ancestral line, continues. John and Eve lived on the family farm, and before the death of his parents in 1805, three children were born to John and Eve here: Moses in 1801, Mary in 1803, and Aaron in 1805.

Shortly after the death of his parents, John moved his family westward, through the Cumberland Gap and over the Wilderness Road, into Kentucky. Kentucky was more of a wilderness than Virginia had been to his parents. Originally part of Virginia, Kentucky had become a state only thirteen years before, in 1792.

John settled his family in Bourbon County, northeast of where Lexington is today. Land had to be cleared and a home built. It was here that Eve gave birth to my direct ancestor David Short in 1809. He was followed by his brothers Jacob Hamilton in 1812 and twins George Washington and William J. in March of 1815.

Again feeling the urge to move westward, John moved his family to Washington County, Indiana in June 1815. Indiana was a name created by the United States Congress in 1800, meaning "Land of the Indians. It was not yet a state when John moved there. That didn't take place until December 1816.

John established his farm about five miles east of Salem. The Carleton, Monical and Prince/Printz families moved into the area about the same time and it may have been that they traveled together from Kentucky.

The following is an account by Rachel Crocket, who moved into Washington County in 1817, of what the area was like in those early days:

"When I can first recollect, deer could be seen ranging in the bottoms in droves. Wolves were thick all through the knobs. We had to keep our cow and calf in the house to keep wolves from killing then till a log barn was built. Piegons came over like clouds in the fall of the year, and we killed all we wanted for meant with clubs. Squirrels traveled in droves and when they came the corn fields had to be guarded to keep them from being destroyed. Wild turkeys could be had most any day of the shooting. The earliest settlers found some buffalo here, and I have picked un the bones. Wild hogs were plentiful in the bottoms. No one could venture among them unless there were dogs along or were on horseback. Hogs were fatted on the mast, and when this failed many of them starved. The sheep were herded out in daytime and put in a high pen at night. The corn crop, excepting what was stored away for bread, was made into whiskey.

"The Ox Indians had a village over near the Muscatatuck, but left the country about the time we came. I was in Salem when there were but two stores in it. i spun flax to buy the first calico dress i ever had...Men had leather breeches for everyday wear, and linen or jeans for Sunday. They had coonskin caps for winter and home-made straw hats for summer, and all went barefoot except in freezing weather...I never saw a match until I was twelve years old. When we got our of fire we used the tinder. This consisted of a steel and flint to make sparks, which readily fired the punk, a sort of soft, spongy wood, found in hollow trees...I have killed many a rattlesnake. Two men were out hunting horses over in the hills near the mouth of Delany's creek when they came across a rattlesnake den, and after killing eighty large rattlers got so sick they had to quit. They got help and one hundred and eighty more were killed around near the den."

Indiana became a state in December 1816 and would popularly be known as the "Hoosier State," a nickname in which our Short family almost probably had a significant part. We have the account in Mr. Warder W. Stevens' book, "Centennial History of Washington County, Indiana," by an unknown author who says, "Count Lehemanoski, a Napoleon soldier and in his later days a resident of Corydon, used to visit General DePrauw in Salem frequently. He lectured extensively all over the country on Napoleon and his wars, always complementing highly upon the courage and prowess of the hussars with whom he had been enlisted. The lecturer could not give the word the English pronunciation, but called them "Hoosiers." One fo the old set of Shorts in the country, who had heard Leminoski speak was employed on the construction of the canal at louisville, when it was being built, and getting into a scrap with some fellow workmen, soundly flogged three of them who attacked him. Gloating over his victory, he cracked his fists and shouted, "Don't tackle me, I am a hoosier," doubtless thinking that that Colonel Leminoski had used the word in the sense of hero. They all knew Short was from Indiana, and after that all Indianians wer dubbed "Hoosiers." This undoubtedly is the correct version of the origin of the nickname "Hoosier," for it originated about the above date (1830) and here in southern Indiana."

According to Oscar D. Short (1871-1929), a great grandsson of John's, the Short in the story above was John's son, Aaron.

Eve gave birth to two more sons in Washington County. Zachariah was born in 1817 and
James Madison was born in 1820.

John and Eve lived out their remaining years in Washington County, Indiana. John died circa 1834/1835 and Eve died February 16, 1846.

Also see another story of how our Short family gave Indiana its nickname, "Hoosier".

John's Parents

Eve's Parents

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