Biography of Col. Richard Sarlls
Posey County, Indiana Biographies

Col. Richard Sarlls, one of the early pioneers of Posey county, Indiana, was born in Ghent, Carroll county, Kentucky, August 13, 1839, son of Richard and Julia (Evertson) Sarlls, the mother a native of New York, and the father of Indiana. They removed to Kentucky and died when Richard was but seven years of age. Richard Sarlis came to Posey county, Indiana, in 1846. At that time the place called McFadden's Bluff, now Mt. Vernon, did not number over 500 inhabitants, and the wharf was not yet built. The boy had already begun its schooling in Kentucky, and continued in the schools of Posey county, paying tuition of $r.oo per month, besides having to do the janitor's work. He attended school in Mt. Vernon. At that time the "Ricaune" mill stood where the wharf was built later. Our subject started in life by blacking shoes, and at the age of twelve was able to operate the steam wool carding miii owned by his uncle. About three years later he and his uncle began grinding wheat. He became an expert judge of grain, and during the Civil war worked for Lowry Weihorn & Sullivan, a big grain concern. Upon leaving the employ of this firm he engaged in the grain business with a nephew of Mr. Sullivan, under the name of Sullivan, Sarlls & Company. They did a general merchandise business, in addition to buying and selling grain. This company did a thriving business until the cholera epidemic in the '70s, when they failed and turned everything over to their creditors. He left the company in 1874, and two or three weeks later he bought a barge load of drowned corn and flour, the cargo of the old "Ironsides." Inside of two more weeks he sold the cargo at a profit of five cents per bushel, netting the sum of $2,500, with which he again embarked in the grain business. The next year Mr. Washington Boyce sent Mr. Sarlis and Mr. William Fuhrer to Wichita, Kan., to buy grain and they bought 30,000 bushels, which they sold in Kansas City and returned to Mt. Vernon. That fall they began buying hogs, as there was no corn on account of the floods. In 1876 they bought over 450,000 bushels of corn, which they sold at a profit of $50,000. Mr. Sarlis then began buying land and secured 1,100 acres in Illinois. He continued in the grain business alone and has prospered ever since. He has made his money by dealing in grain and land, and has handled more than 20,000 acres of land. He did not make money in hogs, having only about $ioo when he got through with his season, but the buying of grain in 1876 put him on his feet again. Mr. Sarlis is also a mechanic and understands machinery about mills. On one occasion he was paid $20.00 for four hours' work fixing a pump. This was before he worked for Welborn & Sullivan. Colonel Sarlls now owns about 2,800 acres of land in Illinois, Kentucky and Indiana. At the time of the Civil war Colonel Sarlis was lieutenant in Company A, National Home Guards, and made trips to Kentucky in charge of his company. On June 7, 1860, occurred the marriage of Richard Sarlls to Elizabeth Hinkle, daughter of Edward Hinkle, a merchant of Shawneetown, Ill., where Mrs. Sarlls was born, December 7, 1840, and where she was raised. They had seven children: Richard E., deceased; Edward, deceased; Jessie Walter, of Jackson, Miss.; Howard, of Mt. Vernon; LeRoy Anson, of Philadelphia, Pa., and Louis, of Evansville. Jessie married E. M. Brady. The first wife died February 7, 1879. Mr. Sarlis married again in June, 1883, Frances Hinch, daughter of John D. and Ellen Flinch, natives of Posey county, where she was born and raised. They have one child, Mary Emily, who married Dr. H. P. Carson, now a resident of Phoenix, Ariz. Our subject is one of the largest land owners of Posey county, and is offering some attractive farms to the people.

History of Posey County, Indiana
John C. Leffel, Editor
Standard Publishing Company
Chicago 1913.


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