Wednesday, April 24, 2013

The Royse (Royce) Family of Fredericksburg; Part 2

Frederick Royse's names appears on the War Memorial at Washington County Courthouse in Salem, Indiana

Frederick Royce is my 5xgreat-grandfather.  He was probably born between 1750-1760 in Pennsylvania or Virginia.  He married Sarah Dewitt, and sometime after the Revolutionary War he moved with his young family to Bardstown in Nelson county Kentucky.  My recent blog posting, The Royse (Royce) Family of Fredericksburg; Part 1, details his move from Bardstown, to a salt lick along the Buffalo Trace in Indiana Territory.  From about 1806, this area began to be called Royse’s Lick.  By 1815, Frederick Royse sold his property around the Lick and, at the age of about sixty, he moved a little south and started a new venture – establishing the town of Fredericksburg, Indiana. 

 In 1814 Washington county Indiana was formed from Clark county, and two years later Indiana made the transition from Territory to State.  These changes peaked the enthusiasm of forward-looking men.    In 1815 Frederick Royse and his sons laid out the village of Fredericksburg, just north and across Blue River from the site of present day Fredericksburg, Indiana.  

According to Goodspeed’s 1884, “History of Washington County [Indiana]”, Frederick Royse, by the county surveyor William Lowe, surveyed and platted fifty-nine lots in the month of September 1815.  Goodspeed identifies some of the early town fathers as Theodore Catlin, James McClung, John T Ferguson, Jacob Harris and Dr William A Boyles. 

Frederick Royse and his wife Sarah Dewitt Royse lived out the remaining ten or twelve years of their life on their farm near Fredericksburg.  By the time the 1820 census was taken in Washington county Indiana, most of their ten children were married and raising their own families. Frederick Royse, and his sons John Royse, William Royse, Martin Royse, Gabriel Royse, and daughter Lydia VanLandingham, all appear within two pages of each other on the census.  The youngest son, Benjamin Royse is probably still in the household of his parents.  Four other daughters, Hannah Royse Campbell, Sarah Royse Nugent, Rebecca Royse McFall, and Elizabeth Royse Edmonston all appear in nearby counties.

Frederick Royse died in 1826, and his wife Sarah Dewitt Royse died the following year. It is believed that they were buried, along with other family members, in the now defunct Royse Farm Cemetery.  There is a Historical Marker, dedicated to Frederick Royse and family, at the nearby Horner’s Chapel Cemetery.

Several generations of Royse descendants remained in and near Fredericksburg.  They built mills and bridges, participated in the county militia, served in community offices and local churches.  They saw the town move across the Blue River to higher ground.  The names of Frederick Royse, several of his sons and sons-in-law are remembered by the county.  They appear on the Honor Rolls Memorial at the Washington County Courthouse in Salem, Indiana.  Further information can be found at the Historical Markers Database.

I located this photograph of Beck’s Mill in Washington county Indiana.  It has no direct relationship to our Royse family.  But, the Beck and Royse families had similar stories – immigrating from near Louisville Kentucky to Clark’s Grant in Indiana Territory about the same time, platting nearby communities and competing for county seat status (neither won), developing their farm land and establishing grist mills along the Blue River.   I feel sure the Beck and Royse families were acquainted.  The story of Beck’s Mill, beautifully restored in 2007, makes interesting reading.

For more details on Frederick Royse and his family, visit his page at Family Stories,

Photo: Washington County (Indiana) Honor Roll Memorial, photo by Marilyn S Wolf, 2011.

Moving back in time:  Albert Luther Clarkson 1901 > Samuel Edwin Clarkson 1875 > Elizabeth Jane Robinson 1848 > Sarah Nugent Edmonston 1821 >  Elizabeth Royse 1799 > Frederick Royse abt 1760    
Further Reading:
Frederick Royse, 1750 – 1825: Revolutionary War Militiaman: Chelsea Dinn, 1971. 


  1. I recently received an email from Al Wolf, identifying the above photo of the Washington County Honor Roll Memorial as the work of his wife, Marilyn Wolf. On 21 June 2013 I added proper identification for the photo. After hearing from Al, I took time to learn more about his work in cataloging historic markers and submitting information to the Historic Markers Database. You might enjoy reading "Historic task for retired Teacher", by Frank Gray, for the Journal Gazette (Fort Wayne Indiana), 29 May 2011. The Journal Gazette can be found at

  2. My name is Martin Royse. I grew up in Fredericksburg, Indiana. My mother still lives there on the north west corner of the Blue River bridge. I have in my possession a land grant made out to the original Martin Royse, signed by Andrew Jackson, for the land on which the town of Fredericksburg now resides. The town was originally built in the flood plain and was moved to its current location. My father was Jean Royse, son of Noble Royse. I have a genealogy of the Royse family going back to the 1600's that may interest you. If you would like more information you can reach me at

  3. My name is Martin Royse. I grew up in Fredericksburg, Indiana. My mother still lives on the northwest corner of the Blue River bridge. I have the actual land grant given to the original Martin Royse, signed by Andrew Jackson, for the land on which the town now stands. My nephew has the land grant given to Frederick Royse for the site of the original town. I also have a genealogy compiled by Chelsea Dinn in the early 70's that traces the family back to England in the 1600's. If you would like additional information, please contact me at


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