The GILLIAMs of Indiana
Updated March 29, 2016
On July 4, 1800, the Indiana Territory was established out of Northwest Territory in preparation for Ohio's statehood. The Indiana Land Company, which still held claim to Indiana, had been dissolved by a United States Supreme Court decision in 1798. The name Indiana meant "Land of the Indians", and referred to the fact that most of the area north of the Ohio River was still inhabited by Native Americans. (Kentucky, South of the Ohio River, had been a traditional hunting ground for tribes that resided north of the river, and early American settlers in Kentucky referred to the North bank as the land of the Indians.) Although the company's claim was extinguished, Congress used their name for the new territory. The Indiana Territory contained present day Indiana,Illinois, Michigan, Wisconsin and part of Minnesota. Those areas were separated out in 1805 and 1809. The first Governor of the Territory was William Henry Harrison, who served from 1800 until 1813. Harrison County was named in honor of Harrison, who later become the ninth President of The United States. He was succeeded by Thomas Posey who served from 1813 until 1816.
The first capital was established in Vincennes where it remained for thirteen years. After the territory was reorganized in 1809, the legislature made plans to move the capital to Corydon to be more centralized with the population. Corydon was established in 1808 on land donated by William Henry Harrison. The new capitol building was finished in 1813 and the government quickly relocated following the outbreak of war on the frontier.
As the population of the territory grew, so did the people's exercising of their freedoms. In 1809, the territory was granted permission to fully elect its own legislature for the first time. Before that, Governor Harrison appointed the legislature. Although Article 6 of the Northwest Ordinance had prohibited slavery, it had existed since French rule and was then the major issue in the territory. The anti-slavery party won a strong majority in the first election. Governor Harrison found himself at odds with the new legislature which proceeded to overturn the indenturing and pro-slavery laws he had enacted
Some of the earliest Gilliams of Indiana are those of Orange County who had their roots in North Carolina.
For information on specific counties:
Orange County, Indiana
Various records relating to Gilliams that settled in Orange County, IN