Site of Hindostan
Title of Marker:
Site of Hindostan (.6 mile south)
SE corner of SR 550 & CR 55, near Hindostan Falls, Loogootee. (Martin County, Indiana)
Erected by Indiana Sesquicentennial Commission, 1966
Marker ID #:
First settled in 1818, Hindostan became county seat of Martin County, boasting a population of approximately 1, 200. A “Great Sickness” struck in 1828 bringing death to the inhabitants. The town was never occupied again.
A report by the Indiana Historical Bureau corrects and updates the information on this marker, much of which is incorrect or unverified.
The date of settlement is apparently incorrect. A journal entry from a traveler in 1817 who says, “This beautiful country continues as far as Sholt’s Tavern on White River, thirty-six miles east of Vincennes.” The man that owned the tavern was also the principal founder of Hindostan, thus the area was settled before 1818.
Hindostan did become the county seat in 1820, upon the establishment of Martin County; however, the population of the town given as 1200 is suspect. Census data from the time indicate that 351 people lived there.
The third assertion of a “Great Sickness” in 1828 is also unsubstantiated. There are records that several times disease did strike the community, notably in 1819 or 1820. There is a record in a newspaper that mentions the request to the state legislature that the Martin County Seat be moved because of an epidemic that struck the town, leaving it depopulated. The Bureau could find no source document to verify the statement.
The last assertion that the town “was never occupied again” is also in error. From newspaper accounts over the years after the move of the county seat, the town was still occupied, thought the population declined. The town is now abandoned. For more information on the Bureau’s Report, see this link.
A promising town called Hindustan Falls once occupied the site now occupied by Hindustan Falls Public Fishing Area. In 1816, the same year Indiana became a State, Hindustan Falls became a town. It flourished since it was on the original stagecoach route between New Albany and Vincennes and on one of the only roads in the area. By 1820, the town’s population grew to 1200 at a time when the population of Louisville, KY was only 1300 people. Since most were, adventurers from New England and Kentucky and few were farmers many lived in flatboats on the river. Captain Caleb Fellows, a soldier who had served in the East India Company, named the town.
The town grew, its exports floated by keelboat as far as New Orleans. The people of the new town exported corn, bacon and “Hindustan oil stone,” which was a whetstone used for sharpening knives and gravestones mined in quarries nearby. Abundant meat in the form of bears, deer, and squirrels inhabited the forest lands around the settlement. There was a hotel, gristmill and sawmill in the growing town. There was a constant flow of people in and out of the town. In 1820, disaster struck the town in the form of either cholera or yellow fever, or possibly both. The disease, whatever it was, was particularly virulent, often killing whole families. Many dead families were burned in their cabins in an effort to contain the pestilence. A mass grave, whose location is unknown, held the remains of many of the deceased. By 1824, half the population had gone and by 1840, the once promising village was completely depopulated.
Hindustan Falls Public Fishing Area
Hindustan Falls Public Fishing Area is located on the East Fork of the White River southwest of Shoals and southeast of Loogootee on County Road 55, just of Indiana State Road 550. To get there drive southeast of Loogootee on Indiana State Road 550 to a right turn on County Road 55. Camping is available at nearby Martin State Forest and Glendale State Fish and Wildlife Area. The fishing is good at Hindustan Falls for freshwater drum and in the river for trotline fishing.
There are two canoe floats associated with Hindustan Falls Public Fishing Area. The first one begins north of Shoals, the put in point on private property from which permission must be gained from the owner of the land before proceeding. To get there from US Routes 50/150, go north on Main Street in Shoals to a right turn on East River Road. After about a mile and a half East River Road meets the river and follows its course for a while. This is the place to put in. There is limited parking on the road and this is private property. Please respect the owners and ask permission before trespassing. The canoe ride from that point to Hindustan Falls is about sixteen miles long. It will take approximately six hours. There is one riffle area that will probably require a portage.
The take out point is the public fishing area ramp. Cars will drive south on Indiana State Road 550 to Hindustan Road. If canoeing past this point portage around the falls as they can be dangerous.
Canoe Ride on the East Fork White River
The canoe ride from Hindustan Falls to Portersville is a pleasant twenty-mile float that will take about nine hours. The put in point is at the second ramp below the falls at Hindustan Falls and the take out point is at the Portersville State Launch Ramp northeast of Portersville. The car shuttle needs to return to Shoals on Indiana State Road 550 to US 231. Turn south on US Route 231 and drive to County Road 650 S. Turn west and drive to Alfordville. South of town stay on the blacktop jogging west on 700 S then south on 1125 E and proceed about four miles to the river near Portersville. The take-out site is on the northeast side of the bridge.
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