The Rise and Fall of River and Rail transportation in Madison, Indiana.

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Mattie Cook


from the Hartford Herald News in Grayson County, Kentucky…

When the vast cane-brakes covered nearly the entire section know as the bluegrass region of Kentucky, and when lurking Indians made every thicket an ambush from which to shoot down and scalp the earliest white settlers, there came from Pennsylvania a man of German decent and whose name was Liter.

Among the children left by him was Henry the father of the subject of this sketch. The family lived three years at Bryant’s Station, for protection against the savages. Henry was but a child and when he grew to manhood married Mary Ament, one of the earliest natives of the section.

This happened in Bourbon County, where July 14, 1822 in a family of seven children Adam Liter was the sixth born to them. The means of procuring an education were scant in those days and it was common among the best minds to procure their learning after maturity and by their own efforts. That Adam Liter is a well informed man is due to his own efforts As a youth he helped on the farm, but his ambition took him abroad in various vocations — a part of this time as confectioner in Madison, Ind. Failing health caused him to engage in running flat boats on the Ohio and Mississippi rivers and afterwards lead to a career of steam boating, in which he was successful and popular along the rivers on which he ventured.

For many years he owned boats with which he plied the Green and Barren rivers between Bowling Green and Evansville. Occasionally he also ventured on the Ohio, Mississippi and Wabash.

At the breaking out of the Civil War he owned two boats which were taken by the government. In 1863 he built two more and these were also pressed into government service, armed and added to what was called the “TIN-CLAD FLEET.” He built other boats and sold them. He also leased and operated a coal mine near Scottsville on Green River. It was while boating on the Green River that he bought several farms, aggregating 1,000 acres, on the great bend opposite South Carrollton on which he settled in 1871 and on which he has displayed the same good judgment as in other enterprises. He is known as a progressive farmer and no one is more posted in the practical lessons of agriculture and stock raising. He takes several agricultural papers and applies modern machinery to his farming operations.

Capt. Liter was married in 1846 to Sarah C. Foster of Cincinnati, Ohio and has two sons living. He has always voted Democratic ticket is a Baptist in religion and has been an Odd Fellow since he became of age. Though often pressed by political friends to stand for representative from his county, he has never offered for that or any other office. His aspiration now seems to be to close an active life amid his stacks of grain and lowing herds where the black smoke of the steamers, which daily pass nearly around his farm, will remind him of the times and the enterprises by which he gained his well earned title of Captain


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