|A Year of Indiana History - 2016|
Sarah Tittle Barrett Bolton (Dec. 18, 1814 - Aug. 4, 1893)
The daughter of Jonathan Belcher and Esther (Pendleton) Barrett, Sarah was a native of Newport, Kentucky. Jonathan Barrett staked out a farm in the unsettled area near Vernon Indiana when Sarah was young. The pioneer experience of clearing farms and the difficult life in a log cabin impressed itself on her young mind. The family moved to Madison, Indiana in 1823, where Sarah attended school. She published her first poem when she was fourteen years old in the Madison Banner. After this first poem, the Banner and newspapers in Cincinnati regularly published her poems. The Banner's editor, Nathaniel Bolton, noticed her work. The two married in 1831 and moved to Indianapolis. The couple would have two children. Sarah continued writing and publishing poetry, many of which saw publication across the United States.
Her husband died in 1858. She became involved with Robert Dale Owen, of New Harmony fame, and was active in the early women's rights movement. She and Owen fought for women's property rights during the 1850 constitutional convention. Most of her poems were published in 1880 with the title, The Life and Poems of Sarah T. Bolton. Another work, Songs of a Life Time, saw publication in 1892. Her most famous poem, “Paddle Your Own Canoe,” was translated into several languages. A bronze plaque, with the words, “in commemoration of her creative work,” is located in the Rotunda of the Indiana State Capitol. After her death, she was interred in Crown Hill Cemetery. A 32-acre park in Beech Grove occupies the property called "Beech Bank" where she lived during the last years of her life. The park is a Certified Wildlife Habitat by the National Wildlife Federation. Facilities include picnic areas, a creek, athletic fields and a Natural Area.
Sarah T. Bolton Park
1300 Churchman Avenue
Beech Grove, Indiana
A Year of Indiana History - 2016
© Paul Wonning