Daniel Grass, a brief biography, from a document by Miss Laura Wright a great granddaughter, the 1820 Census, and the Internet.
Born: March 27, 1774 in Brownstown, Pennsylvania
Daniel and probably another younger brother were inside the fort where Bardstown, Kentucky is now located when Indians attacked his father, mother, and two sisters who were hoeing corn outside of the fort. The father was killed; the mother and two daughters were taken captive.
After five years of captivity, the daughter named Julia, having taken sick, was taken to the fort in Detroit and was exchanged for whiskey and blankets. A mother in that fort, who had also been a captive and had been exchanged for whiskey and blankets, was reunited with her long lost daughter. The other daughter's fate was unknown.
Daniel Grass was two and a half years old when his father was killed and the rest of his family taken captives. Dr. William R. Hynes, a wealthy man of Nelson County, Kentucky, who owned much land in Daviess and Henderson Counties, Kentucky, and in what is now Spencer County, Indiana, took the child and educated him as his own son.
Some descendents of Daniel Grass claim that the person who took in Daniel was Thomas Hynes, the father of William R. Hynes. William R. Hynes, being born in 1771, would not have been old enough to take in Daniel.
On February 1, 1800, Daniel married Jane Smeathers (Smithers, Smothers) of Yellow Banks, now Owensboro, Kentucky. Her father, William Smeathers, was the first settler of Yellow Banks.
Daniel came to Hanging Rock as the Indians called it, now Rockport, in probably 1803 to look after entering land for Dr. William R. Hynes.
On May 9, 1807, Daniel Grass entered land on Section 26, southwest of Rockport. He was the second man to take a land grant in Spencer County, but had the first land grant entered by an actual settler of what is now Rockport.
Daniel and his wife came to Hanging Rock in 1807 and built his home on the bluffs in south Rockport. He changed the name from Hanging Rock to Mt. Duval, in honor or Colonel William Duval, a Kentucky friend, but this name was put aside later by the commissioners who called the growing town, Rockport, and so it remains today.
After he built his home, he journeyed back to Bardstown, KY, and induced his friends with their families to follow him into the wilderness of what is now Spencer County. The Wrights, Morgans, Barnetts, and Greathouses, along with others whose descendants now live in Spencer County, came here through the influence of Daniel Grass in 1808.
In 1812, Daniel's political life began as Justice of the Peace. In 1813, he was an Associate Judge for Warrick County, more than half of what is now Spencer County was then in Warrick County.
On the 5th of January 1816, a bill was reported to the United States House of Representatives to enable the people of the Indiana Territory to form a constitution upon which they should be admitted to the Union on equal terms with the original states. The election was held on Monday, May 13, 1816. Daniel Grass was elected a delegate to this Constitutional Convention at Corydon, the capital, to represent Warrick County. He served on three of its most important committees. On the first Monday in August 1816, Daniel Grass was elected a Senator in the first Indiana State Legislature from Warrick, Perry, and Posey Counties.
Spencer County was organized by an act of the Legislature in session 1817-1818; through the influence of Daniel Grass, who was at that time Representative from Warrick County. After some time, Warrick County was divided. Through the influence of Judge Grass, Spencer County was organized by an act of the Legislature in 1817-1818. It was Grass who had the county named Spencer, in honor of Captain Spier Spencer, his very warm friend, who was killed at Tippecanoe on November 7, 1811. Judge Grass was also wounded at this time and walked on crutches the remainder of his days. He also caused the county seat to be at Rockport. In 1818, Judge Grass was elected representative from Spencer, Dubois, and Warrick Counties. In 1822, he was again elected to the State Senate from Spencer, Dubois, and part of Warrick, and he served until 1826.
Dr. William R. Hynes, the foster parent of Daniel Grass, along with Wright, Grass and Griffith were the owners of the land where the city now is located, and the surveys of the lots have taken their names from these men. Daniel Grass was appointed treasurer of Spencer County in 1818, but he never served. In the same year, he was appointed County Agent to take charge of these lots. All the early deeds show Grass agent of Spencer County as grantor. (Grass was one of only four men who held office, which was abolished in 1835.)
One deed record shows that W. R. Hynes released a mortgage on November 1, 1822 on the land on which Daniel Grass and John W. Ogden had erected a grist and saw mill. They were the first merchants in Rockport.
Grass was sheriff of Spencer County from 1833 to 1836. It was in this year he died from a stroke of apoplexy, being found dead in his chair by his wife. Judge Grass had been unable to lie down for some time. He had a chair made for him in which he rested at night.
His remains were laid to rest on the hillside of what is known as the Old Grave Yard (Old Rockport Cemetery), not far from the hill on which he first settled.
We blush to admit these heroes and pioneers--men of fortitude, of thought and action, and their wives of kindred spirit, who loved their families, have been forgotten by their children and grandchildren, till now, only the memory of what they have done lives. Thanks to the Historical Society. May it reach the present and future generations to revere the resting places of our heroic dead.
The records show that buried in the Old Rockport Cemetery behind the South Spencer Middle School (now the Lifetime Education Center) with Daniel Grass are his wife, Jane, and one son, Joseph.
According to the records from the 1820 Census, Daniel and his wife, Jane, had seven children.
He had five sons and two daughters. His eldest son, Alfred Hynes Grass, had a son who was given the name of his grandfather, Daniel Grass. This Daniel Grass was a Colonel in the 61st Regiment of Illinois Volunteers in the Civil War.