On a previous blog about Baldwinsburg and the Flanders family, researchers believed that the demise of Baldwinsburg was due to the railroad failing to lay track near it. Later research now indicates that Baldwinsburg was failing on its own because of the money troubles of its founder, William Baldwin.
An Illinois Supreme Court case dated November 1851 gives the following facts:
- William Baldwin borrowed $2500 February 1848 from the bank of Indiana payable in four months. Victor Buchanan and Mr. Vandermark co-signed and guaranteed payment.
- The note was renewed in June when it became due for another four months.
- In October Baldwin asked Buchanan to sign another renewal note stating that he intended to get Vandermark's signature also.
- In March of 1849 Baldwin committed suicide from supposed pecuniary embarrassments.
- Only then did Buchanan learn that Vandermark had not signed the note, despite the fact that the bank possessed a note with all three signatures.
- Upon examination for forgery it was learned that the signatures were original but that the bank cashier Mr. Ross and Baldwin had altered the date of the original note to appear to be the renewal note. This made the note then void.
This case gives several important facts for Lawrence county historians. The death of William Baldwin by suicide in March 1849 is now confirmed. The 'Victor Buchanan" referred to as a cosigner was probably Victor Buchanan Jr. since Victor Buchanan, Sr. had died in 1843. Mr. Vandermark and Mr. Ross have yet to be specifically identified. (Thanks to John K for this additional research)
Don't forget to purchase your tickets to the Black History Tour May 25 and to the Sumner Cemetery Tour May 19.