New Jerusalem was located on the south side of what is presently the Old Linton (Sassafras) Cemetery on County Road 40 near the Indiana State Garage in Linton.
Many pioneers who originally wanted to be located near the waterways in Greene County started to move away from the river towns to secure property for farming purposes. For this reason John Wickcliff Wines moved to Western Greene County and built a crude log cabin. Wines was the founder of the village of New Jerusalem in 1828. Other settlers began to move to this location, drawn by its rich farm lands and plentiful forests.
Two conjectures of thought exist as to how the village derived its name. Some say that the new settlers thought the land was so beautiful and the promise of a great future was so strong that they named it New Jerusalem after Jerusalem mentioned in the Bible. However, the story of the wandering Jew is the most accepted theory.
According to the myth, a Jewish peddler came over a muddy and ill-defined path from Vincennes to Greene County. He was looking for new fields of commerce. The Jew could not continue his journey because of inclement weather. He sought shelter at the Wines' house, where no one was refused lodging. The weather was so bad that he had to stay for several days. The Jew soon became friends with the Wines and several other settlers.
The weather improved and the peddler was able to continue his trip to Point Commerce. He promised that he would be back to trade with the Wines. Later the Jew and Wines made an agreement that Wines would sell the merchandise while the Jew was away on trips. After the arrangement had been made, the people started referring the business as the "Jew Store". Shortly there after, the settlers named the village New Jerusalem.
The United States Government officially established a post office in New Jerusalem on January 2, 1833. However, the settlers were moving just east of the settlement, and this new village was starting to grow. Wines moved his store and the post office to what is now the intersection of First and West Vincennes Streets in Linton. This establishment was more than just a store. It had a horse mill to grind corn and vats to tan deer and other hides. Wines also purchased animal furs from others and then took the skins to Vincennes.
New Jerusalem lost its identity on November 19, 1835, when the Post Office Department in Washington, D.C. designated Linton as a new Post Office. Consequently, New Jerusalem disappeared into history but it will be remembered as the first settlement that was the forerunner of the present city known as Linton. The Wines family is buried at the Old Linton Cemetery, which is now used to identify the location of the former village of New Jerusalem.
Cox, Morris. "Mines Run," Linton Daily Citizen.
Goddard, Dale, "Linton Marks 148th Birthday," Daily Citizen, Friday, April 30, 1993.
"Linton," History of Greene County, Indiana: 1885-1989. Dallas: Taylor Publishing Company, 1990.
Personal interview with Madeline Bredeweg on Tuesday, September 23, 1997, in Linton, Indiana.
Turner, Joe E. "When Greene County Was Young, Even Before the Birth of New Jerusalem," Thursday, June 16, 1932.