Local History and Genealogy

Friday, December 17, 2010

Christmas in Angola 1909


Merry Christmas
and a 
Happy New Year


Ads and Article taken from the Steuben Republican December 1909

Saturday, December 11, 2010


   It was in the days when hitching rails encircled the well known square in Angola and horse and buggies transported many of Angola's some 2500 citizens to the popular Croxton Opera House, that the first telephone came to town.

   Although Mr A.G. Bell's "talking box" had been making its debut throughout the United States since 1876, it was in 1895 that the idea of taking two people, two telephones and one line to communicated between homes and towns really sparked the interest of persons living in the area.

   Edsen A. Wilder and Lorenzo Taylor were the first "Mr Telephones" of that era.  Their excitement must have been great that day in the mid 1890's  when a line was extended from Wilder's hardware store in Orland to Taylor's farm home one and one-half miles away so that the two men could talk to each other.

   Not long after the Wilder-Taylor line made its grand entrance into Steuben County, the two men formed a partnership and the Steuben County Electric Telephone Company came into being with Taylor as president and Wilder as secretary-treasurer.  Other persons making up the organization included Floyd Averill, Dr. J.E. Waugh,  Doan Somerlott, Sol A Wood and N.W. Gilbert.

   The telephone exchange office in Angola was located in the Gillis block in the same building where Bassett's Restaurant now operates (across the street west from the courthouse).  Their "night girl" and the "day girl" operators kept the flow of telephone talk running smoothly as possible from their second floor location above Thomas Gillis's grocery store.

   A 45 year telephone career for the late John Carson of Angola began in 1898 when he became the company's chief lineman. John Sutton and George Griffith who both had worked for telephone companies in the east, turned to their hometown of Angola and put their knowledge to work with the local company.  Telephone lines and poles were beginning to become familiar sights in the town and the surrounding area.

   Orville Stevens of the Gooddale Abstract Company reminisces on the two summers he spent, 1902 and 1903, working as a lineman in Angola.  "In those days everyone did everything," he laughed, meaning that the work connected with putting up the telephone lines and poles made a very good day's work with variety-plus for all telephone people. Wages for a "beginner" were about $25 a month or $1 a day.  But, Stevens recalled, it was possible to work up to a "top" wage of $40.00 a month!

   And this money came for the hours he, and undoubtedly others spent in swampy land cutting tamarack trees and preparing them for use as telephone poles - for digging the holes and setting sometimes 35 of them in the 10 to 20 hour working day - stretching the wire over many miles - and, of course, "the trouble-shooting" (trying to find telephone trouble on the lines) sometimes into the darkest hours of the night.

   Even though the "newfangled" type of vehicle four wheels instead of four legs began appearing in Angola in the early 1900, Stevens recalls that the telephone company still relied on its horse and wagon combinations to carry plant equipment from here to everywhere. in the area.

   In 1911, the company bought a two story house on the corner of North Wayne and Gilmore and although it didn't move to that location until several years later, the barn that accompanied the house was used immediately for housing horses, wagons, and equipment.

   Ten o'clock in the evening was "zero" for placing telephone calls, with the exception of emergencies, in teh early days of telephone service.  And the operators were on the job again bright and early when the farmers having telephones began their "wee 'o the mornin' calls!"

   Edson Wilder's son, Harry, became the company's secretary-treasurer in 1904 and later its general manager.  The firm had a healthy and hearty growth during 20 years under his leadership.

   Although the company grew, this does not mean its growth was unrivaled.  From 1906 until 1912, a firm organized and managed by farmers in the area competed with the Steuben county Electric Company for the telephone customers and this competitor. The Farmers' Telephone Company, was well-represented with lines in exchanges throughout the county.

   The two-company competition must have had it humorous episodes-and maybe some annoying ones, too, especially for persons in business who needed both telephones in order to get all the calls from residents.  One of these two-telephone owners, Clinton Ernsberger of Orland, can remember well some of the situations caused by the dual system.  "When both telephones rang at the same time, I'd answer one, tell them to wait just a moment, answer the other, tell them the same thing, and them take care of them both as fast as I could," he says with a laugh.  Apparently he acted as a "middle man." too, between residents who were on one line who wanted to contact undertakers whose telephones were on the "other" company's line. He recalls receiving many such calls and usually during the night.

   In 1912, though, the cost of maintenance and service became to much for the Farmers Company and the investment was turned over to the Steuben County Electric Telephone Company.  And in 1913, this company, with John Carson as its plant manager, changed its name to the Home telephone Company.

   Miss Anna Wert of Angola, began her telephone "tour of duty" as an operator in 1916 with the Home Telephone Company and can remember the days when operators pay averaged $3.20 each week.

   Angola's doctors, lawyers, merchants, and undertakers relied on the telephone operators in those days to keep their patients, clients and customers advised of their location whenever they were going to be "out."  Apparently doubling as secretaries as well as telephone operators was rewarding.  Miss Wert, recalls that when working on holidays the "hello girls" were served meals and other delicacies by various companies and professional people.  "There was no way to tell when people had finished talking," Miss Wert said, "so we would have to monitor the calls in those days."  She added, too, that the job of telephone operators, even though the hours were long, appealed mostly to young girls of high school age.  Women older that 45 were not hired.

   In 1920, the Home Telephone Company was reorganized and became the Steuben County Telephone Company.  Harry Wilder remained it's manager.  And in 1932, another change took place when the Steuben County Company was sold to the Indiana Associated Telephone Company, a part of what is now the General Telephone System.

   A new exchange office was built on the corner of North Wayne and Gilmore and the company moved from the Gillis Block to 201 North Wayne during the following year.  This move also "introduced" more modern telephone equipment to the Angola residents when the very latest common battery manual equipment was installed in the new building.

   One of the Steuben  first owners of the new telephones was Claude Morse, who became bookkeeper of the company in 1922 and in 1929 was names its manager.

   When Indiana Associated took over the company in 1932, the employee who had begun his Angola telephone days "way back in '98" -- John Carson -- was names district manager and held this position until his retirement in 1944.  This district included Fremont, Hamilton, Orland, and Pleasant Lake.
    In 1952, Indiana Associated was renamed General Telephone Company of  Indiana, Inc., and during that year the investment in local telephone plant and equipment was nearly tripled.  Where one "hello girl" operator back in the 1890s handled the telephone traffic, it now took 45 operators and work shifts that included every hour of the 24 - hour day.  And that $3.20-a-week pay for operators and $40-a-month for plant men had increased considerably, for the company's annual payroll amounted to $221,000.
    How times changed from the days when Orville Stevens remembers a solitary telephone line was extended from Angola to his home town of nearby Metz (if Metz could provide it's own telephone poles that is),and
the operators had about 20 or 25 lines to handle calls for!
    The 1960 days in Angola's telephone history are finding progress, as well as history, being made in the exchange,  Dial telephones, and the million and a quarter dollar investment in the Angola area, which makes their arrival possible, will soon enable Angola customers to dial their own calls.
   operators handling calls to locations not accessible as yet to direct distance dialing will "man their posts" at the company's new building on West Broad Street, after the conversion. a far, far, cry from the original "traffic room" on the second floor of the Gillis Building.  Customers are already able to order service and pay their bills at this location, and what a change from the early days when receipts were kept in a cigar box in the Gillis Building office!
   Telephone history is currently being mad every hour in Angola, but certainly a speical "portion of praise" should go to men such as Carson, the WIlders, Morse, and operators Mary Denny Boots and Cora Sickles, among others, who in their time helped build the "foundation" on which General Telephone is building today.

Steuben Republican March 7, 1962

Tuesday, November 23, 2010


Large Flock of Fowls of All Kinds Will Be Released from Tops of Business Houses on Saturday - Yours for the Taking 

     How about a nice turkey for the Christmas dinner table free?  Or how about a nice duck, or a chicken or some other kind of fowl?  All free!
      Sounds rather unusual, doesn't it, but nevertheless a large number of fowls of every kind will be thrown from the roofs of the business houses in Angola next Saturday afternoon, beginning at 1:00 o'clock, which will be free to anyone who can catch them.
     That's easy, isn't it?
     To find out how easy it is, just be on hand and enter the turkey and chicken catching contest when these birds are released.  You will have no warning, of course, just at what point the fowls will be thrown out, but they will be in the business section and mostly on the public square.
     There is no charge for entry.  The only thing you need to do is to catch them, tie them up, and put them over your arm and walk away with them.
     Why not try salt on their tails?  That used to be an old-fashioned recipe for catching birds.
     Some folks say a turkey will hop onto a hot pole.  Well, you may try any way you wish to catch them.
     One thing is certain - that if you are not in Angola next Saturday afternoon, you will miss oodles of fun and perhaps be short a fowl that might fly your way and right into your hands.
     In case blizzard weather prevails, the poultry throw will be held on Monday afternoon instead of Saturday.

Free Show for the Children

     The free matinees at the opera house for children of fourteen and under will be held on Saturday afternoon, December 21.  This feature has proven very popular in the previous Saturday afternoons,  the theater being full to capacity.  You are invited to leave your children here in safe surroundings while doing your Christmas shopping.  Adults will be admitted to the theater at the regular rates.

The Steuben Republican, December 18, 1929

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Fire Does Much Damage To Methodist Church

Pipe Organ, Furniture, Windows and Woodwork All Badly Damaged
Early Estimates Fix Loss Near $75,000
The Angola Fire Department was called again to the Methodist Church at 11:45 Thursday
because of fire breaking out in the high roof of the church,  The outcome of the third
outbreak cannot be determines at the hour of publishing this paper, but in all probability the latest
outbreak will cause almost complete loss of the inner structure and contents of the church.

Fire which apparently originated above the heating plant in the First Methodist church wrought heavy damage throughout the entire structure and contents at an early hour on Thursday morning.  Various early estimates of the probable damage range from $40,000 to as high as $100,000.

The fire was discovered at about 1;30 o'clock, although an electric wall clock stopped at 1:05, which would indicate the fire had made much progress inside the church before it was discovered.  Exact cause of the fire cannot yet be determined, and it may have originated in the coal stoked heating plant or in overloaded electric wiring.  The floor in the sanctuary of the church above the heating plant was completely burned and the interior of the church was charred by the intense heat although damage to the overhead structural construction
 is probably confined to the seared finish of the woodwork.  The large pipe organ in the church is probably a total loss, and replacement at present values will probably cost in excess of $10,000.  Some of the fine art glass windows, particularly the circular top windows were completely destroyed, and these are probably irreplaceable.  The entire woodwork and furniture, including the pews, within the church will require complete refinishing.  The fine carpeting was also badly damaged by smoke and water and actual burning in places.

The church had but recently put in many improvements, particularly in the basement rooms, with new tile floors and redecorating and the full extent of the damage in all of the departments of church cannot yet be fully determined.

The Angola fire department was again called to the church at 8:15 on Thursday because of fire having again broken out about the large chimney in the upper part of the church.  This damage however, was relatively insignificant.  The point of actual beginning of the fire cannot be determined.  No meeting had been held in the church during the evening, but slow fire had been  maintained in the heating plant as was the usual practice.  Rev. J.W. Borders, the minister of the church, states that he had been accustomed  to going into the church nightly to see that everything was in order, and that in his usual visit he detected nothing wrong about the church.

The loss and inconvenience to the congregation of Methodists is especially severe at this time, because of the extra heavy program of church activities.  The board of stewards of the church announced a meeting at 10:00 o'clock Thursday forenoon to plan action both as regards to the church meetings and reconstruction problems.  The First Christian Church and the First Congregational church through their ministers and the official boards promptly tendered use of their church properties to the Methodist congregation for their services.  The board tentatively arranged for regular sessions of the Sunday School and church service in the Angola High School building.  Sunday School classes will be held in the school class rooms and the church worship service will be held in the auditorium.

Herald Republican Friday February 13, 1948

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Fire at Scott Township School

On Tuesday Evening of last week while Sadie Showalter, teacher of school district No 1, Scott township, was sweeping the school room after the scholars had left for home, she heard a noise at the door and on opening it was met by a middle aged man whom she took for a tramp.  The man asked her if she was the teacher of the school and how long she intended to teach.  She told him that she was the teacher and that there were eight weeks more of the term. The man than said: "I will bet $50.00  that you will not teach the balance of the term," and then left the school house.  Miss Showalter was very much frightened, as there are no houses near the school grounds, and after securely locking the door went to her boarding place.  About seven o'clock of the same evening the school house was discovered to be on fire by two men who were passing, who giving the alarm succeeded in saving the building after but little damage had been done.  The tramp evidently got in through the window and started the fire in the wood box, and then made good his escape.  The school was dismissed for one week until the building could be repaired.

Herald Republican Wednesday May 7, 1890

Monday, October 25, 2010

Cyclone at Angola

Territory in Steuben County Swept By Destructive Storm
 Buildings Are Lifted From Foundations, Roofs Are Swept From their Holdings

ANGOLA,Ind. July 16 - At about 2 O'clock this afternoon a small sized cyclone struck Angola blowing down dozens of shade trees, wrecking buildings and doing considerable damage to property.  The course of the storm was from the southwest to northeast, but it was not to exceed a quarter to half a mile in width.  It had been threatening and rained once or twice during the afternoon.  About 1 0'clock the clouds began to thicken and a storm threatened.  Rain began to fall and there was a heavy downpour, when it grew still darker and the wind began to blow increasing until it became a veritable cyclone.  Persons in a position to observe the gathering tempest describe it as a black funnel shaped cloud which approached the city from the southwest.  There was a roaring sound and the air filled with leaves, twigs and small branches of trees.  The storm struck the city some distance south of the college, passing through Cambridge Addition and reaching the business portion in the vicinity of the courthouse park.  It went nearly north to Dolly Varden Street, thence east.
Before reaching the city a barn and a house on the Menges farm were blown down, also a barn belong to Dr. JE Waugh, of near Fox Lake, was blown from it's foundation and the bank barn of S.A. Mose, of near the Leavittsburg Ward School was totally demolished.  The residence of Vinde Ball near the college had a narrow escape, as a large oak tree fell near enough to break the cornice and crush the porch at the kitchen door and the top of another tree damaged the front porch.  Near here a number of       chimneys were blown from houses, two or three barns were wrecked, a porch from the Gilbert residence and out hothouses picked up and scattered about promiscuously.  Jacob Mountz's chicken house was carried across the road and against JG Chasey's residence breaking two windows. Many fruit and shade trees in the path of the storm were blown down and in a dozen or more places the street were blockaded with the fallen trees.  In Court House Park seven or eight of the huge maple trees were broken down.  The Hendry Hotel hack, which was going to the 2:04 pm train , was caught in the storm and turned over, the driver Ellis Obetholtzer escaping with some serious bruises.  Harry K Scott who was on the street was struck by a piece of board and slightly injured. Fortunately there were no fatalities so far as learned.

The residence of William Miller on Dolly Varden street was blown four feet from its foundation and badly wrecked.  A portion of the foundation was also broken. The barn of William Paske in Scott Township was uprooted by the wind.

Fort Wayne Journal Gazette July 16, 1907

Friday, October 22, 2010

Scenic Tower New Attraction


A new attraction for the visitors to Steuben County and one which promises  to afford great pleasure and draw people for many miles, will be the scenic observatory now in course of construction three and a half miles north of Angola on the state road at the point formerly known as Buck Mountain where the old house now stands visible for many miles.  
The promoters of the project are Dr S.C. Wolfe, Otis Gilmore and J Ed Wolfe.  Their plans call for a tower rising eighty-five feet from the ground and sloping from a 24 X 24 foundation to a 12 x 12 top at 72 feet, and a balcony at this point four feet wide around the tower. The top will rise 13 feet higher and will have a platform on top from which observations can be made, at least fifteen miles in every direction.  The tower will be sided, and there will be floors every 12 feet, accessible by an easy stairway.  At each floor will be windows from which a view may be had. The tower will be equipped with field glasses and telescopes to give aid to the vision.  At the base of the tower will be developed refreshment stands and other features attractive to visitors.

Towers if this type have proven very popular with tourist in the mountainous country and high points  on main roads, and there is every reason to believe that this will add much to the popularity of Steuben County.  In fact, it will do much to advertise the county, for there is no doubt of the beauty of the view that will be obtainable from such a height.

The location of this tower is at the highest point in this vicinity, and several higher than Hell's Point, according to measurements taken when the promoters were looking for a site.  The proximity of the tour to Federal Road 27 will also be attractive to the large numbers of people passing by.

It is also located at the corner where the road turns to the main entrance of the new Lake James Golf Course, and on the highway leading to the new state park.  The view from the tower will overlook the park.

"Hoosier Hills" is the name which this new attraction to Steuben County's features will bear.

Steuben Republican October 6, 1926
Pictures : Carnegie Public Library of Steuben County

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

The Grave of a Chief

     John Holton, of near Hamilton, was in Angola last Saturday.  His father, John Holton, was the first settler of DeKalb county, locating there as early as 1833.  There were 600 Pottawatomie Indians near his home, and Mr. and Mrs. Holton were present at the burial of their chief.  A section of a walnut log was split in two pieces and from one a trough was made into which was placed the body of the chief, together with his gun and many other trinkets of greater or less value.  A shallow grave was dug in the forest, the trough containing the body was placed in the grave, covered with the other half of the log, and then with dirt, apparently to rest there in peace until the resurrection.  But not so, for with the clearing away of the forest came the washing and changing of the surface of the ground, until one day when the young Mr. Holton was plowing in the field the sharp point of his plow caught the cover to the rude coffin and exposed to view all that remained of the brave chief.  The skeleton and the rusty gun and trinkets alone gave evidence of the years that had passed since the grave was first made, for the interior of the trough was apparently in as good state of preservation as when placed there many years before.
     Mr. Holton was a man who had respect for even a dead Indian, so he and his son dug a new grave and to this day have kept the secret of its location, although they have from time to time been offered money to reveal the secret and permit the grave to be opened.

The Steuben Republican, February 18, 1903.

Dr. H.D. Wood Closes Useful Life

Had Practiced Medicine in the County Nearly Sixty Years - Funeral Services Friday Morning

Dr. H. D. Wood, the dean of the medical fraternity of Steuben County, passed away at this home in Angola yesterday forenoon, December 17, after a long illness and decline due to the infirmities of advancing age.  The funeral services will be held at the late residence on East Gale street Friday morning at 10:00 A. M.  The burial will be in the Powers Cemetery, north of Metz.  The casket will be open for friends who wish to call Thursday afternoon and evening, at the home.

The removal of Dr. Wood from our midst is like the passing of an old land mark.  At the same time he continued his activities until recent weeks, and he had a wide acquaintance here covering a period of two full generations.  Probably no one has been more intimately known in the community in its entire history.  He practiced medicine for nearly sixty years, and enjoyed in a rare degree the utmost confidence of his patients throughout all this time.  Not only was he esteemed locally as a competent physician, but his fame extended throughout all this section of the country, and as a surgeon was counted the peer of any in several states.  He was a doctor of the old school but was peculiarly amenable to all the advancing changes in his profession and kept his knowledge thoroughly abreast of the times.  Despite his advancing years there were many who still held to him for counsel and assistance, and he was kept constantly busy until worn by his duties and the infirmities of his years he took to his bed a few weeks ago, and steadily declined until the end quietly came yesterday.  Thus he will be quietly missed in the community, and he will be genuinely mourned by a large number of people.
His Life                                         
 Hugh Dudgeon Wood was born in Bainbridge, Chenango County, New York, June 28, 1835, and died in Angola, Indiana, December 17, 1918, aged 83 years, 5 months and 19 days.  He was the son of Joseph Wheeler Wood, of English descent, a native of New York, and Sarah Farnham Wood, of Welsh ancestry and born in Connecticut.  There were eight children of Joseph and Sarah Wood, and another daughter by the father's former marriage.  Hugh S Wood was the sixth of 9 children of whom only Dr T.F. Wood of Angola and Mrs Melvina Ferrier of Parsons, Kansas survive.  About 1843 the family moved to Williams County, Ohio and a short time later to DeKalb County, Indiana where the father died in 1851 and the mother in 1859.
The subject of this sketch attended the district schools of Willams and DeKalb counties, paying for his expenses most of the time by doing chores. In 1856 he attended the Northeastern Institute at Orland, Indiana, one year, and subsequently was a student at Hillsdale College, where he completed his literary and scientific education in 1859.  During his college life he taught several terms and was thus enabled to work his way thru college, independent and unaided. His vacations and leisure hours were spent in reading medicine with his brother, Dr. W. A. Wood, at that time a resident of Metz, this county. 

In 1860-61 he attended a course of lectures at the medical department of the University of Buffalo in New York, and in February, 1961, began a practice in connection with his brother at Metz, and the following year began to practice alone.  In 1863 he attended lectures at the Bellevue Hospital Medical College in New York and in Philadelphia, and in 1867attended the Bellevue hospital College in New York where he graduated in 1867. In 1869 he  came to Angola to take up the practice left off by his brother W.A. Wood on his death.
By constant study and assiduous application to his practice, he became one of the most competent and successful practitioners in the state of Indiana; and he was called ofttimes long distances in these three adjourning states in consultation and practice.  As a surgeon he was especially skilled and his services were highly esteemed and in great demand.

H lived thoroughly in his profession and active in every work that would further it.  He was one of the organizers and for a considerable time was a member of the faculty of the Fort Wayne Medical College.  He was president several times and for a long term of years was secretary and a leading factor in the Northeastern Indiana  Medical Society.  He was a member of the Allen County Medical Society as well as our own local county Medical Society.

He touched the life of the community in many other activities, aside from professional.  He was always interested in and aided every public movement for the advancement of the community's interests.  He was one of the first workers in the movement to establish Tri-State College in Angola and was the first president of the Board of Trustees.  He assisted actively in the work of the funds for it.  He was a close student of current events, a staunch Republican in politics, and was often tendered political honors, which he refused because he would allow no other interests to interfere with his professional activities.  He was a member of the Masonic Fraternity, a Knight Templar and a member of the Fort Wayne consistory of Scottish Rite Masons.

Dr. Wood was married December 3, 1863, To Joanna Powers, daughter of Clark and Hannah Powers, natives of New York, and early settlers of Steuben county.  She died June 17, 1917.  Four children were born to them of whom two survive, Dr. Weir Wood of Wood County, Ohio and Mrs. Robert B Spilman of

Manhattan, Kansas.

Steuben Republican December 18, 1918

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Civil War Veterans From The County

This picture shows one of the reunions of Angola Grand Army of the Republic (GAR) and Women's Relief Corp (WRC).  In 1860, Steuben County kept close notice of the events in South Carolina, which seceded from the Union.  Steuben County soldiers served from the first to the last.  Dr George W. McConnell, one of the first county settlers, and a prominent man in the state, kept in touch with events in Indianapolis.  He promised the governor any aid he might ask from Steuben County.  After Fort Sumter was fired upon Dr. McConnell called the first meeting and A.W. Hendry presided.  All agreed, "The Union must and shall be preserved.  Party lines must be no more until the end of the struggle."  The result was the erection of two party poles on the public square.  These were then down and mingles as a union.  B.J. Crosswait, Dr W.C.Weicht, T.D. Jones and others acquainted with military tactics, drilled the local men.  Steuben county gave more soldiers per capita,  to the Civil War than any other county in the state - 1280 out of a population of 10,374 and 250 of these lost their lives.  The youngest volunteer in the army was from Steuben county - Silas L. Crandall, a lad 4'8" tall who was 13 years, four months, and 17 days old.  The county had eight men die in prisons during the war - including six at Andersonville - D.B. Allen, E.A.Parker, W. H. Woodard, and Valentine Somerlott all of Company A, 29th Infantry, Francis Boyer and J.S. Hendricks of Co. H, 129th Infantry.  William President of Co. A, 29th listed as dying in a "rebel prison and Moses Lower of Co. M., 5th Cavalry id listed as dying in a "rebel prison." After the war the soldiers decided they wanted to meet for friendship so the Grand Army of the Republic (GAR) was formed.  Eight posts were formed in the county and named for a soldier - H. Judson Kilpatrick at Fremont, S.C. Aldrich at Hudson, B.J. Crosswaite at Angola, Middleton Perfect at Pleasant Lake, Moletus McGown at Orland, McLain at Salem center, Leaman Griffith at Hamilton and Hiram L. Townsend at Metz.  The , daughters, and mothers formed the Women's Relief Corps (WRC). This picture shows one of their reunions, held about 1915.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Civil War in Steuben County

"At the start of the Civil War Steuben County had a population of only about 10,000, not a mile of railroad within its borders, and very few newspapers were available.  Under the call for the first 75,000 men, Indiana was assigned a quota of six regiments.  Within 5 days a full company had enlisted in Steuben County and was being trained by Captain Baldwin J. Crosswait, who had seen service in the war with Mexico five years before.  This company was at once dispatched to Governor Morton, at Indianapolis, but the means of transportation between Angola and the Capital was so slow that by the time the loyal Steuben County men arrives the quota had been filled.  In just eight days after that first shot was fired at Fort Sumter, Governor Morton had twelve regiments, and in less than thirty days 40,000 men had offered him their services.  Many of the men from Steuben County, still fired with true patriotism, came back and enlisted in other places, some in Ohio, some in Michigan, and others in Illinois.  On May 24, 1861, thirty men left in one group and enlisted in Adrian, Michigan, as members of the 4th Michigan infantry Regiment, and in August, over thirty more enlisted in Chicago in the 42nd Infantry Regiment.

Below are accounts of organizations in which men from Steuben County served during the Civil War.

Scott Township Guards

On August 16, 1861, Captain J. H. Judkins enrolled the first man for what was to become Company "A" 29th Infantry Regiment at a parade of the Scott Township Guards.  The uniforms of his company was made of blue denim, with red and white stripes and stars.  Lieutenant William E Sergeant and Second Lieutenant R. W. Melendy were its officers.  On August 27, 1861, the 29th Infantry Regiment was organized and mustered into service at LaPorte,  Indiana, with Colonel John F Miller as its Commanding Officer, Baldwin J Crosswait was made a Lieutenant Colonel and General W. McConnell became the Quartermaster.  Company A, and parts of Companies I and K of this regiment were composed of men from Steuben County.   This regiment participated in many of the famous battles of the was and many men from Steuben County did not return.

44th Infantry Regiment

The companies comprising the 44th Infantry Regiment were raised in the Tenth Congressional District.  Colonel Hugh B. Reed was its Commanding Officer.  Companies A and K and parts of Companies D, F and H were from Steuben County.  This regiment was sent to Green River County, Kentucky, in December 1861, and later to Fort Henry.  It also participated in the battle of Fort Donelson where it lost heavily, and in the battle of Shiloh where 33 of its men were killed and 177 wounded.  The 44th Infantry Regiment was discharged at Indianapolis where a reception was given it its honor with Governor Morton, General Grose, and General Washburn as the speakers.

48th Infantry Regiment

The 48th Infantry Regiment was organized at Goshen on December 6, 1861, with Company H being composed of men from Steuben County.  The regiment arrived at Fort Donelson the day of the surrender of that famous fort; it was at Iuka, Corinth (Second Battle),and Champion Hills,  and marched with Grant to Vicksburg.  During its service, this regiment lost 213 men, killed and wounded.

100th Infantry Regiment
The 100th Infantry Regiment fro m the Tenth Congressional District was organized in August 1864.  Steuben County gave to this regiment all of Company B, and parts of Company D and K.  The regiment joined General Grant at Vicksburg and took part in the battles there as well as at Mission Ridge where it lost over
130 men. On its return journey home this regiment received acclaim at Washington and Indianapolis.

The 12th Indiana Volunteer Cavalry Regiment
The 12 Indiana Volunteer Cavalry Regiment was organized at Kendallville, Indiana, on March 1, 1864.  parts of troops B, C, and I were from Steuben county.  The organization fought in almost every Southern State, under General Canby.  It was mustered out on November 10, 1865.

129th Infantry Regiment
The 12oth Infantry Regiment was recruited in the winter of 1863-64, and rendezvoused at Michigan City, where it was mustered into service on March 1, 1864.  It had an eventful service but lost heavily during the war.  Only 503 men and officers remained to be mustered out in August, 1865, at Charlotte, North Carolina.

42nd Infantry Regiment
The 142nd Infantry Regiment was recruited at points within the Tenth congressional District and was  mustered in at Indianapolis on March 16, 1865.  It left Harper's Ferry, Virginia, to join the army at Shenandoah, and remained there until mustered out August 30, 1865, reaching Indianapolis with only 770 men and officers.

Steuben County raised thousands of dollars during the Civil War for bounties and support of "war widows" and their families,  "Loyalty" is stamped on every page and every resolution of the county Commissioners proceedings for the years of this war."

Steuben County History 1955 Pages 221, 222, 223 Written by Col. Gaylord S. Gilbert

Note:  The Soldier's Monument in downtown Angola was built in 1917 to honor the men from Steuben County who fought in the Civil War. The monument lists the names of the 1,278 Steuben County men.  Per capita, more men from Steuben County enlisted for the war than any other county in Indiana.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010


"The Pioneer Colored Resident of Steuben County Crosses The River"

"Sketch of His Life - Born and Reared a Slave He Came North at the Close of the War, and Had Lived in Angola Nearly a Quarter of a Century".

"Daniel Webster, the well known colored man who had lived with Wm. G. Croxton, of Angola, for so many years, died suddenly last Friday night.  He had been in ill health for six months or more, but was able for the most of the time to be around and do light work, and his death was unexpected.  Only a few minutes before it, he assisted Mr.Croxton in unhitching and caring for the horse.  Mr. Croxton came home from the children's entertainment at the Opera House about 11:00 o'clock, and with his little granddaughter, had barely reached his house, having left Dan in the barn, when he heard calls for help.  Going at once to the barn, with other members of his household, he found his faithful old servant on the bed in his room, apparently in great pain.  He lost consciousness and died almost immediately, before medical aid could be secured.  Heart disease was the immediate cause of death.

For many years he was distinguished as the only colored resident of Steuben county, and it is safe to say that there is scarcely a man, woman, or child in all this region who didn't know "Dan", as he was familiarly called, by sight at least.  He was born of slave parents in Carroll county, Tennessee, about sixty years ago.   His real name was Bludsoe, that, as is generally understood, being the name of his master; but for some reason, probably an aversion for anything that could bring back recollections of slavery days, he assumed the name of Webster, by which he ad been known since the war.  He came north with Col. Carpenter, of Warsaw, at the close of the war, and lived in Warsaw with Ex-Congressman :Billy" Williams, and others for a few years; then he went to live with Capt. Jack Croxton, a brother of our fellow townsman, with whom he staid seven years.  Twenty-three years ago, he came to Angola to live with W. G. Croxton, and remained with him continuously until his death.

Born a slave, very little is known of his early life, or of his relatives.  He had a brother known as Kail Brown, who came north with Gen. Tom Brown at the close of the war and from him he got the name Brown.  Kail died in Winchester, this state, about two years ago.

  Those brought close to Dan in everyday life, would occasionally find him in a reminiscent mood.  At such times he would entertain them with stray bits of his early history and recollections of slave life, which he would relate with the vivid picturesqueness of style and quaintness of expression which are unmistakable characteristics of the Negro race and dialect, adding a peculiar charm to the narrative.  His earliest recollections were of his parents and their master, who it seems was a humane and kind-hearted man; of the time when the daughter of the master married an unworthy member of a proud and aristocratic family in Mississippi; of himseslf, then a sturdy lad, with two or three other slave boys, younger than himself, being given by his master to the daughter as a wedding present; of a long trip to their future home on a big Mississippi plantation; how his unfortunate mistress, like many another woman, soon discovered that she had been deceived and betrayed into an unhappy marriage; that her husband was a graceless profligate, heading an abandoned and dissolute life, which speedily terminated in the disappearance of the faithless husband and cruel desertion of the wife, who was left with her little colony of colored children, friendless, helpless, and destitute; of the appeal to her father for help and protection; of  the days of distress and privation which followed, until the slow methods of communication and travel of those days brought relief; how they all, heartsick and homesick as they were, shouted and cried for joy when they one day recognized the familiar form of the old master in the distance, coming on horseback for their deliverance; how the old master settled some necessary business matters, arranged to send his daughter home by a river boat, and then with Dan and the other little barefooted boys on either side of his horse, struck out over the mountains for their old home in Tennessee; how the old master would take first one and then another upon the horse with him, at at times would pile them all on while he would walk and rest them, during the long journey, until they finally reached their old home - a story so full of tender pathos and interest as to be well worthy of being woven into those delightful romances of southern life and customs which come from the graceful pens of Cable, Reed, and Harris.

Dan had a high and innate sense of honor which would be an ornament to many a man claiming a higher position in life than he.  Little children liked him; he was their champion and their comforter.  His inborn chivalry prompted him to resent a slighting remark made of any woman.  His courteous manners and uniform good nature made all who knew him his friends

For nearly a quarter of a century, he had lived in Angola with Mr. Croxton, and never was there more devoted, faithful and loyal attachment upon the part of any one than he had manifested in that long service.  He had become like a member of the family.  His death deeply moved Mr Croxton, who fittingly remembered his trusty servant with a funeral service and burial in every respect equal to that which would be given a near and dear relative.  Humble as was Dan's place in life, he met death while faithfully discharging his duty.  High or low, white or black, what higher eulogy can be paid to any man?

Funeral services, held at the Croxton residence Sunday forenoon, were attended by a vast concourse of people.  The floral tributes were profuse, the casket covered with beautiful flowers.  Rev. F. M. Kemper delivered a brief but most excellent address, and music was rendered by a quartet from the Methodist choir.  Mr Kemper's address was especially fitting and appropriate to the occasion, and many speak of it as the finest of its kind ever heard in Angola.  The pall bearers were Sam Shelton, Charles Vinson, B. Barber and B. Ensley - all colored - and they tenderly deposited the casket in the Croxton family vault in Circle Hill cemetery."

Angola Magnet June 17, 1898

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Harvey and George A. Brown - Underground Railroad Conductors

George A. Brown was born in Worchester County Massachusetts in 1828, son of Harvey and Sally Bolton Brown.  At the age of 15 he came,  with his parents and brother Lyman and sister Mary, to Steuben County.  They settle just southeast of Lake Gage.  

George married Ursula Stocker on November 12, 1850. Their family consisted of  four sons and three daughters: Frank, Irving Chester, Oscar Rolland, Estella, Addie and Elizabeth.  Ursala was the youngest child of John and Betty Stocker.  She was born at Jamica, Windham County, Vermont on March 28, 1834.  Her family moved to Steuben County when she was 6 months old.  She died January 19, 1909.  George died in 1915.  Both are buried at the Lake Gage Cemetery.

This was taken from an article appearing in the January 8, 1913 Steuben County Republican.
"  George A Brown, aged 85 years, who lives with his son on the north shore of Lake Gage, was in Angola last Saturday, and in the company of with T.L. Gillis called at the Republican office.  Mr Brown came with his parents from Worcester county, Massachusetts, when fifteen years of age.  They lived southeast of  Lake Gage and before the War of the Rebellion  his father's house was one of the stations on the Underground Railroad. The home of Daniel Butler, in Salem township, was another station, and the slaves were taken from Mr Butler's to the home of Mr Brown in wagons, the journey always being made in the night.  From Mr Brown's home they were taken on north to the residence of Mr Waterhouse in Kinderhook, and then on to Detroit and Canada.  the slaves traveled in groups of from tow to eight or nine, and always appeared to be greatly frightened, for every strange noise they would hear made them fear they were about to be captured and carried back to cruel masters.  At Mr Brown's home these unfortunate people were cared for in the best way possible, provided with meals, and conveyed to the next station, all free.During the day the slaves were hid about the house, barn or woods, and always someone had to keep watch, for neighbors were not always friendly to the plan and would report to Dr Marsh, the united States Marshal, who lived near Flint.

Mr Brown remembers a number of incidents of those dark and trying days, and related a few during his short stay in the office.  One day they had several slaves hid in the barn by the side of the road.  In the company was a boy who did not realize, as his parents did, how serious a matter it would be to be captured, so while a funeral possession was passing, he stuck his head out of the barn door, and some one reported the fact to Dr Marsh.  The next day Dr. Marsh was on hand and asked if there were any slaves on teh premises, but of course by that time they were hiding in michigan at another station.

One morning about 4:00 o'clock the family was awakened by a man who had brought from the Butler sation a man and wife, two children and a woman who was very sick.  Mrs. Brown ogt breakfast for them and they were hid away as securely as possible.  The woman was sick before they left the Ohio river, and was growing worse.  Beyond Hillsdale was a station kept by a man known to be a doctor, so as soon as it was dark the woman was placed in a wagon on some straw, and all were taken that night to the station beyond Hillsdale,  where medicine could be procured, for to call a doctor at any station would be  to give away all the secrets and cause the fugitives to be arrested; and not only so, but also those who were helping them, as was the case later when captain Barry of Orland, and Mr Waterhouse of Kinderhook, were taken by Dr Marsh to Indianapolis.  Mr Brown thinks as many as forty people stopped from time to time at his father's house during the summer and winter."

Underground Railroad: Steuben County Indiana by Peg Dilbone 

Steuben Republican  January 8 1913

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Orville Carver

A native of Hebron, Tolland County, Connecticut, Orville Carver was born on the 20th of August, 1843, being the son of Dr. Lewis E. and Frances A (Porter) Carver, who emigrated from the Nutmeg State to Indiana in the year 1845, and upon their arrival here located in Steuben County.

In 1849 Dr. Carver was elected County Treasurer, and three years later County Recorder, being the incumbent in both offices for some time. He was strong in his anti-slavery attitude and became one of the most pronounced of Abolitionists. His house was one of the stations on the famous 'underground railway', and through his intervention many a poor slave was aided on his way to freedom.

In 1866 Dr. Carver entered into partnership with his son, Orville, and engaged in the drug business at Angola, under the name of Lewis E. Carver & Son.

Orville entered the ranks of the brave boys in blue, by enlistment as a member of the Fourth Michigan Volunteer Infantry, with which he served until his term of enlistment expired in July, 1864, when he was honorably discharged. He had within this time seen active and arduous service, having participated in the first battle of Bull Run, and the Peninsular Campaign, then the second battle of Bull Run, and the  battles of Antietam, Shepherdsville, Gettysburg and Fredericksburg.

In April, 1865, he re-enlisted becoming a member of Hancock's Veteran Corps, with which he served until a year after the close of the war, retiring as an honored veteran and a valiant son of the Republic.

In 1866 Mr. Carver returned to his home in Angola and here entered into partnership with his father in the drug business.

In 1869 he received from President Grant the appointment as Postmaster of Angola, and served in this capacity for a period of fourteen years.

From 1875 until 1882 he was the incumbent as chairman of the Republican County Committee.

In  June, 1884, Mr. Carver was a delegate from Indiana to the national Republicn Convention, at Chicago, which nominated James G Blaine for the presidency, and in 1888 he was honored by the Republicans of the county with the nomination for the State Senate. He was one of the governor's staff with the rank of Lieutenant-Colonel, at the opening of the Columbian Exposition.

Mr. Carver is a trustee of the Tri-State Normal School at Angola and Vice-President of the Steuben County Bank.

In 1867 he was united to Miss Fronia Thayer, whose death occurred in October, 1892. His present companion is the daughter of Peter Bowman (Florence Bowman).

Memorial Record of Northeastern Indiana
Lewis Publishing Company 1896, pg 717

Thursday, August 19, 2010

"Spirits" in Flint

     The little town of Flint was all alive with excitement on Tuesday evening on account of the destruction of some of the "spirits" of the town by the fair hands of some of the ladies in the neighborhood.  About thirty of them assembled in front of Mr. Carpenter's grocery, and after some conversation, they entered the room, knocked in the heads of the whiskey barrels and other spirituous casks, and after the fluid had all run out they took the casks and built a bonfire in front of the building.  The proprietor would not be bought out or reasoned out of the injurious practice of selling whiskey to those who under the influence of it daily made it difficult for any lady to pass along the street without being insulted or abused by harsh and obscene language.
The men having the will, failed to have the courage to militate the existing state of things, so the ladies after visiting him time after time, imploring and pleading in tears with him that he would not ruin, disgrace and destroy their families, resolved that they would abate the nuisance themselves. The ladies first advanced a flag of truce, asking the cessation of the sale of the article, with the treaty ready to be signed.  This being refused, the action began.  Front and rear you could hear hatchets, axes, hammers, and various implements of warfare, sing their temperance songs.  As the commander of the fort could not be omnipresent, the works were entered.  Then came the tug of war.  The proprietor stood with raised club, ready to strike, but he was]
soon compelled to yield and listen to the notes of the sledge.  The scene closed by the ladies singing a temperance song, and the passing of the following resolution:  "Be it resolved that we will use all our efforts to prohibit the sale of intoxicating liquors in Flint henceforth and forever."
Steuben Republican.  September 4, 1895

Wednesday, August 18, 2010


The village of Eagleville was laid out in April 1853, by Simeon Gilbert and Joseph Hutchinson.  The village was later named Jamestown and the Post Office was called Crooked Creek. 

Alfred Fisher, now (1946)  eighty - nine years of age gives a little history of Jamestown village in the earlier days.  He was five years old when the family moved to Jamestown, and he grew to manhood there, and says that when he was a boy it was a busy little village. He saw a carding mill running and the grist mill running every day and night, packing flour in flour in barrels and hauling it to Coldwater, Michigan.  He also saw the cooper shop turning out barrels for the flour and a plaster mill in operation.  There were three blacksmith shops, one wagon shop, three stores, two doctors, a hotel, tin shop, shoe shop, paint shop, wagon jack factory, sawmill, cider mill and post office.  Now all is gone but one store and a garage.

The first school house in built  here was a very rude building, the steps were made of boxes. Another school house was built and then the final one in 1891.  The church was built in 1878.

The many lakes in this vicinity made it a happy hunting grounds for the Indians in the early days.  There was a tribe of Indians called the Pottawatomie that had their Indian camp east of the grist mill.  They had their burying ground over on Whig's landing.  Their Chief's name was Pokagon.  The Indian's name for Lake George was Lake Kapakunee.  John Nichols, who owned a large tract of land west of the village also had a stock of goods, which he traded to the Indians, whiskey being the staple.


Steuben Republican:  May 14, 1924, January 17, 1945, October 9, 1946

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Steuben County Business Directory 1897 - Partial Listing

M.M. Bowen - Physician
John Colbert - Shoemaker
Geo D. Cleveland - Blacksmith
J.H. Denmore - Barber
Frank Golden - Saw Mill
George Mallory - Painter, Paper Hanger
Wm N. Hopson - Flour Mill
Hinmon - Cabinet Maker
Wm J. Huffman - General Merchandise
J. Lonsberry - Saw Mill
Lou Mabie - Cider Maker
M. Mallory - Carpenter
H.A. Nichols - Physican
Ward Philo - Postmaster

Crooked Creek ( Jamestown)

E. Brown - Live Stock
Collins & Sons - General Merchandise
Harding - Flour and Saw Mill
John Phillips - Carpenter
Oscar Williams - Shoemaker
E. B. Clark - Meat Market
A. W. Gillott - Grocery
Abner Miller - Wagon Maker
Gabriel Rau - Miller
F. B. Williams - Cabinet Maker

Nevada Mills

Clark Butler & Co - Flour Mill
Ella Cleveland - Dress Making
T.E. Lucas - Distiller of Peppermint
Frederick Neutz - General Merchandise
F Sherman - Physician
Cleveland Brothers - Saw Mill
George Kemp - Well Driver
F.D. Munger - Blacksmith
A Spangle - Blacksmith
James E. Terry - General Merchandise


C. Castle - Veterinary Surgeon
A.W. & C. C. Beech - Threshers and Saw Mill
J.B. Knisely - Notary Public
B.J. Dunnavan - General Merchandise
Oliver Fink - Blacksmith
Lydia Fink - Dressmaker
George F. Osfell - General Merchandise


F. E. Abrams - Druggist
Chapin & Co. - Blacksmiths
J.R. Fulton - Lumber Yard
S. Handy - Carpenter
C. Lewis - Meat Market
D. McTaggart - Physician
H Spaulding - Hotel and Livery
M. Cooper - Blacksmith
S. W. Duguid - Dry Goods Etc
O Hall - Barber
Peter Gibson - Stock Buyer
T. McNaughton - Elevator
E. Osborn - Feed Mill
Lewis Young - Postmaster


Joe Dillman - Barber
H.S. Billman - Hardware
J. Bodley - Saw Mill
H. Baker - Carpenter
Homer Clausen - Painter
I. Hovarter - Groceries, Dry Good, Postmaster, etc.
Daniel Pray - Elevator
Pray & Son - General Merchandise
W. E. Sherrow - Druggist and Physician
H.E. Baker - Agent W&St L & P Railroad
William Reinhart - Mason
James Wagner - Mason
George Strawser - Blacksmith

Salem Center
W. G. Cary - Blacksmith
L.J. Clay - Druggist
M.B. Butler - Hardware
M B Butler & Co -  Manufacturer of Novelties
H. L. Cunningham - Physician
Kimsey & Marshall - General Merchandies
W. E. Kimsey - Breeder of Dorset Horned Sheep
Miss G. Ladaw - Dressmaker
S. Strawser - Blacksmith
A.D. Stevenson - Agent Agricultural Machinery and Carriages
Chas Brown - Cabinet Maker
J.A. Green - Blacksmith
G.M. Mills & Co - General Merchandise
L.D. Munger - Carpenter
Lewis Dole - Postmaster
J.E. Raub - Meat Market
W. H. Weaver - Barber and Shoe Maker
J.C. Woodford - Hotel
Newt Bodley - Carpenter
Daniel Sams - US Postal Carrier
M. Ransburg - Physician
E. B. Parsell - Book Agent
Cara Sisters - Dressmaker
Miss L. Shaffstall


James Kannel - General Merchandise and Postmaster
William Tingler - Saw Mill
William Gillmore - Cider Press
Leonard Alwood - US Mail Carrier
Albert Stieffel - Blacksmith
Frank Gilmore - Saw and Cane Mill
Williard Dewire - US Mail Carrier

H Austin - Blacksmith
M M Burch - Harness Shop
T Robinett - Grocery
J A Strong - Physician and Surgeon
Daniel Burkhart - Exchange Mill
James Kannel - General Merchandise
William Brothers - Blacksmith
A & J C Sickle - Carpenter
J Hand - Vet Surgeon
W J Healy - Barber
James Austin - Painter
C Rakestraw - Hotel
D B Gwift - Hardware and Tin Shop
B B Goodale - Druggist and PM
Ethel Warner - Millinery
John Trowbridge - Carpenter
William Reek - Sawmill
John B Goodale - Furniture and Undertaker
Frank Hoose - Mason
William Berry - Saloon

Gazetter and Complete Directory of Steuben County, Indiana 1897

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Lawrence Gates

Lawrence Gates was born in Nuremburg, Germany, April 25, 1839 and was the son of Christopher and Sibilla Gates, natives of Germany.  He received a good education, and in 1853, he came, withe his maternal grandfather, to the United States, and settled in Angola, arriving May 2, of that year.  Since his coming, he has been engaged in farming and merchandising until February 6, 1871, when he entered the banking institution of Kinney & Co., where he is at present engaged.  August 9, 1862, he left Angola with Company H, which he helped to organize, and of which he was elected First Lieutenant.  This company became a part of the Seventy-fourth Indiana Volunteer Infantry.  After the Battle of Chickamauga, he became Captain of the company, and his regiment being part of the Fourteenth Army Corps, he participated in all its engagements until September 15, 1964 when he lost his left leg in a railroad accident at Allatoona, Georgia, on account of which he resigned May 18, 1865.

He was married, June 4, 1865, to Martha E. Sowle, daughter of A.W.A. Sowle, of Angola.  Mrs Gates was born in New York, and had one child by her marriage - Roy Gates, who died in infancy.  Immediately after his marriage, he and his wife went on a visit to his native land, returning in two months.  Mrs Gates died in Angola March 14, 1868, and he was again married March 28, 1869,  to Tina M Elya, of Angola, to whom had been born three children - Milla A., Fred C., Harry L. and Louis A..  Mr Gates is a member of the I.O.O.F., of which he has held one of the Grand Offices, is also a member of the Knights of Honor, and has always been a staunch Republican in politics.  He was the first Clerk of Angola, and has been Town Trustee for five years.  He and his wife belong to the Disciples' Church, of which they are consistent members.  Mr Gates, although coming to this country a poor German boy, has by energy, honesty and a firm determination to succeed in life, won a leading position among the best business men of Angola.

Steuben County Atlas 1880  Page 13, 27

Surname Card File Carnegie Public Library of Steuben County

William Ferrier

William Ferrier was born in New Rumley, Harrison County, Ohio, May 24, 1823, and was the oldest child of David and Susan Ferrier.  When a boy, his parents moved to Beaver Creek, near Pulaski, Ohio, where his father operated a saw mill and grist mill by water power.  When fifteen years of age, he commenced work for his father in these mills, and while so working, in 1838, his father sent him to what was then known as Union Mills, in LaGrange County, Indiana, for provision.  He came by way of Metz and Angola and crossed what was known as Fish Creek, east of the village of Metz.  This country was then new, almost wilderness, but he was impressed with this country and saw the advantages that a mill would be if located on Fish Creek, that afterwords persuaded his father to locate near that stream.

William Ferrier

In 1841 his father moved to Williams County, Ohio, and to Steuben County in 1846.  His grandfather, Andrew Ferrier, had moved to Fish Creek, one mile east of Metz, in 1844, where he built a grist mill and purchased a farm of another pioneer, John Croy, where he built his home.  He ran his grist mill by water power, and it was the pioneer mill of the kind in this part of the state.  In 1849 William Ferrier purchased this mill  from his grandfather's heirs, and improved and operated it for many years.  He also purchased his grandfather's farm and home after his death, including his father's store building and mercantile business, therein, and in 1849 he began store keeping and continued in business for eighteen years, when in 1867 he moved his store to the village of Metz, and went into partnership with his brother, Jacob Ferrier, where they continues in business for five years.  In 1872 he gave up active business life and moved his family to Angola, in which place he reside until his death which occurred on Thanksgiving day, November 28, 1907, at ten minutes past five o'clock in the afternoon, at the advanced age of eighty-four years, six months and four days.

On March 14, 1850, he was married to Olive Thompson.
Olive Thompson Ferrier
Mrs. Ferrier was born in Warren, Trumbull County, Ohio, March 20, 1831.  In her girlhood a school teacher, she brought to this new home longings for educational advantaged that the time and place could not satisfy, and with the passing years came the firm resolve that those given unto her to love and cherish should have opportunities and privileges that early days could not furnish,  Three children were born to them - Amanda, the wife of Dr. W. H. Waller, of Angola, William W and Dora, the latter wife of Stephen A. Powers, of Angola. 

In 1864 he and his wife became identified with the United Brethren Church known as Mt Pleasant cChurch near Metz, and until his death he was an earnest worker and devoted believer nithe teachings of that church and the Christian religion.  He was a pioneer of the old class.

In his early days he was deprived of the advantages of an education, but he believed in educational affairs and gave largely of his means to that end.  One of his latest donations was to the Tri-State College, and institution in which he took pride.  He was public spirited and gave of his means for helpful enterprises, only recently assisting the promotion of the new railroad in Angola.  He was not only generous in the expenditure and donation of his means for the advancement of religious work, but also very materially aided in the building and prosperity of our city.

Early in the sixties, by his liberal donations, he made it possible to erect a United Brethren Church building near Metz.  In 1899 he purchased the church edifice in Angola, formerly occupied by the Congregational society, and lots for a parsonage, which he afterward gave to a large extent, to the United Brethren church of this place, which church he assisted in organizing, and by liberal gifts he made it possible for its continuance to this day.  He also gave substantial support to the Congregational society since his residence in Angola and made it possible for that church to erect its present beautiful edifice.  Thus two Angola church congregations will long remember his generosity.

Steuben County Indiana Atlas 1880 Page 27-27
Steuben Republican December 4, 1907

John Fee

John Fee, the first settler of Otsego Township, was born in Gallia County, Ohio, October 13, 1810.  His father William Fee, was a farmer, and to that avocation the son was reared and made it the successful pursuit of his life.  He was nineteen years of age when hi father with family settled in Williams County, Ohio.  He had a family of twelve children, of whom John was the second child.  William Fee, after making a little improvement and shelter for his family, went back for money to pay for his land and on his return was taken sick and died before reaching home, leaving the family in limited circumstances.
Fee Homestead

John Fee and Mary A. B. Houlton were married April 9, 1833.  She was born in Highland County, Ohio, April 9, 1811, a daughter of Samuel Houlton, one of the first settlers of Chillicothe, Ohio.  At the time of their marriage Mrs. Fee was residing with her brothers, Samuel and John Houlton, in Williams County, Ohio.  John Houlton settled in DeKalb County the same year, and was the first settler of that county.  Mr. and Mrs. Fee lived on Samuel Houlton's farm as renters until 1835, when they came to Otsego Township, being the first white family to make their home here, and located 120 acres on section 32.  Mr Fee was a man of great energy and force - the man for a new country.  It gave him room, and brought into action his inferent force of character.  He became one of the largest land owners in the county, at one time owned about 1500 acres, not all in this county.  His home farm on section 32 and 33 and adjoining land land over the line in DeKalb County, contained about 700 acres, now making several farms divided among his children.  Mrs Fee cooked and carried herself a dinner to the men employed in raising the first building ever erected in Hamilton.  Nine children were born to them.  Calvin; Clarind, wife of A. L. Nichols; Margaret R., wife of A. J. Carpenter; John; Ann, wife of L.T. Crain; William and Frank.  Mr Fee died April 2, 1873.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Princess Kil-so-quah

Daughter of Miami Chieftain Coming - To Attend the Old Settlers' Meeting in Angola August 14th.

Frank L Adams, president of the Old Settlers meeting, has closed a contract to have present at the coming meeting in August, the famous old Indian lady, Kil-so-quah, aged 103 years, daughter of Chief Little Turtle.  One of the greatest previous attractions for the Old Settlers was Chief Simon Pokagon, and now Kil-so-quah will be no less an attraction.,  Mr Adams is surely arranging a fine list of entertainments for the meeting August 14th.

Chief Little Turtle, who was the father of Princess Kil-so-quah, was a Miami chieftain, which tribe roamed through the Wabash valley prior to the coming of the white man.  He was quite well known to the early settlers and was a friend to them.  His grave is in Allen county.  The princess, and there is no question concerning her royal Indian ancestry, now lives in Huntington county, this state, and although she is more than a hundred years old, she retains a vivid recollection of those early days.  Because of her advanced age, it is not possible for to make many long journeys, and the people of Steuben county are fortunate that they are assured her presence on this occasion.  She will speak at the program for the old settlers exclusively in the Methodist church in the morning, and if possible will appear on the afternoon program in the courtyard.  She is probably the last full blooded Indian in Indiana.

Steuben Republican July 16, 1913

Old Settlers Day - August 14, 1913

Kil-so-quah, the Indian princess was here according to agreement, but was so feeble and sick that she could have but little part in the exercises.  Looked as if this would be the last old settlers meeting for her.  The truth is she ought not to have come, for to ask a woman 103 years old and sick to ride 130 miles in an automobile in one day is out and out cruelty.  When  the son was asked why he did so, he answered by saying, "We needed the money."

Steuben Republican August 20, 1913

Monday, August 2, 2010

Jesse H. Carpenter

Jesse H Carpenter was born in Erie County, Ohio, July 12, 1837, and was the son of Harlow J. and Fanny (Mery) Carpenter, he a native of Vermont and his wife of Connecticut, who settled in Otsego Township, of this county, in 1850.   Jesse did not come until the spring of 1851, having remained in school in Ohio.  He began teaching at Hamilton shortly after coming to this county.  At the age of 19 he was appointed station agent at Lawrence, Ohio which he held for three years.  He then went to Illinois, and engaged in farming for three years until the outbreak of the civil war.  He enlisted in the volunteer service in April 1861, but the quota of the first call was filled before his organization reached Springfield.  In July he again enlisted in Chicago and was taken to New York City where on September 8,1861 he was mustered into the U.S.Service as a private in Co. B 1st New York Marine Artillery. He was assigned to the gunboat Vidette and was with General Burnside's expedition to Hatterass Inlet, and the capture of Roanoke Island, and Newburne.  On March 16, 1863, he was mustered out of the navy and soon re-enlisted in the U.S. Engineering Corps. in which he served until September 1863

After the war he returned to Otsego township and engaged in farming with his father.  He served as trustee of Otsego township five years and in 1874 was elected auditor of Steuben county and moved to Angola, where he has since resided.  When a young man he became a member of Angola Lodge 236 F. & A.M., and subsequently of Angola Chapter, Angola Council, and Apollo Commandery Knights Templer of Kendallville.  Upon the organization of Angola Commandery he became a charter member.  He was a charter member and assisted in the organization of B.J. Crosswaite, Post G.A.R., April 29, 1883, after was a post commander in 1888, after which he was for 17 consecutive years post adjutant.  In May, 1898 he was elected Junior Vice Commander for the department of Indiana, and in 1902, was appointed inspector for that year, all of which offices he filled with credit.

He was married to Francis M. Brown September 29, 1870, she died May 31, 1893.  To them was born one son, Robert H.   On Jan 11, 1900 he was married to Mrs Susan Dutter Truesdal.

Jesse H Carpenter died at his home in Angola, February 22, 1905, aged 67 years, 7 months and 10 days.

Steuben Republican March 1, 1905
Atlas of Steuben County Indiana 1880

Friday, July 23, 2010

John K. Folck - Scott Township

John K Folck a native of Pennsylvania, born April 30, 1823 died in Steuben County Indiana March 20, 1907.  When he was four years of age his parents, Abram and Hannah Folck, moved to Knox County, Ohio, and thence to Morrow County, where he was reared.
In 1841 he came to Steuben County, with a view of making it his place of residence. He made the journey alone and on foot, but returned to Ohio and in 1845 came again to the county and selected a tract of land and girdled the trees for future clearing. In 1847 he moved to the county and settled on the land where he lived until he died, on section XI, Scott Township.  His farm contains 160 acres of valuable land.
The brick schoolhouse of District No. 1 was located on the southwest corner of his land.
Mr. Folck was married in 1843 in Morrow County, Ohio, to Margaret Valentine, who was born in Seneca County, Ohio. She died in 1859, aged thirty-six years, leaving five daughters, Mrs. Sarah L. Weiss, Mrs. Hattie E. Myers, Mrs. Ann E. Dygert, Mrs. Mary A. Henny, Mrs. Rosa T. Fulmer.
In 1860 Mr. Folck married Mrs. Martha Rathbun, daughter of Samuel Nichols.  One son was born to them—Fremont.  Mrs. Folck died in 1863, aged thirty-five years.  
In 1870 he was married to Mrs Louisa Headley, widow of Daniel Headley, an early settler of Steuben County.  
Mr. Folck was a prominent citizen of Scott Township, active in promoting its material interests. He served as Assessor twice and was an Appraiser under the old system.  He cleared the farm with his own hands, and made it one of the best farms in Scott Township. In politics he was an old Abolitionist and became a Republican.  In religion he was liberal,  believing in all good work, and never used either whiskey or tobacco. 

History of Steuben County 1885 pg 639 
Steuben Republican March 27, 1907

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Fremont Settler

Demary or Demery Tillotson, the oldest settler of Fremont Township, was born in Pittsford, Monroe Co., N.Y., April 26, 1810, a son of Nathan and Mary (Kellogg) Tillotson, early settlers of Monroe County.
In August, 1835, he came to Steuben County and settled on section 28, Fremont Township.
Mr. Tillotson was the second settler of the township; the first, John McMahon, preceded him about an hour, and was preparing to feed his team when Mr. Tillotson drove by.
During the first few weeks after Demary Tillotson settled in Fremont Township, his only shelter was a few boards set against a tree. His uncle, Jeremiah Tillotson, built the first log house and he built the second. Bears would come sniffing around the houses, being not in the least afraid. Wolves were prowling around nights and would frequently venture close to the cabins.
He opened up a farm where the Noyes place is now located, near the depot at Fremont, then known as Willow Prairie. He lived on this place four years and in 1839 settled where he now lives.
He was married April 12, 1835, to Harriet Shepard, a native of New York, and to them were born six children-Jerome, William, Truman T., Merritt, and two who died in infancy. Mrs. Tillotson died March 18, 1850.
In January, 1853, Mr. Tillotson married Mrs. Sarah (Thomas) Pheneice, a native of Franklin County, Pa., born Oct. 5, 1824, widow of James Phenecie. To them born two daughters-Sarah, wife of Homer Withtington, and Ida. Mrs. Tillotson died July 21, 1883.
History of Steuben County 1885
Demary Tillotson died in Fremont March 4, 1896.

Angola Grows With Coming Railroad

 Spurred by the enthusiasm growing out of an unusual building program the people of Angola had big dreams of a large growing city. But one thing was lacking -- there was no railroad.  For ten years they had relied solely on the Michigan Southern and Northern Indiana railroad with Waterloo the nearest point of contact.  This was 14 miles away over roads which were sometimes abominable.  The railroad made overtures for a road from Waterloo, but the cost was outrageous.  Frequent meetings were held with the view to getting Michigan lines interested in building a railroad from the central part of that state down through Angola to Fort Wayne.  A sample of the spirit and feeling is reflected in this item in the Republican on June 11, 1867.

Railroad Meeting

A meeting will be held in Angola at one o'clock p.m.on Saturday, 22nd last inst. for the purpose of considering what is necessary to secure Steuben county the blessings of a railroad.  Let no man or woman who is interested in promoting the best interests of the county fail to come.  Distinguished speakers from abroad will be present, and a Brass Band in attendance.

Come one.  Come all.  This is our last opportunity to secure the blessings of a Railroad and destroy outrageous monopoly which the Michigan Southern and Northern Indiana Railroad now exercises over us.  Again, let everyone be present.

Finally a railroad was projected as the Fort Wayne, Jackson &  Saginaw Railroad, with the expectation of commanding patronage from Bay City and Lake Michigan.  Subscription lists were circulated and thousands of dollars subscribed to finance the new enterprise, the subscribers to take stock certificates for the money invested.  Several of these stock certificates are still in existence in this area, and annual meetings of the stockholders are still held in Jackson, Michigan.  Railroad prospects were the topic of nearly every conversation and all sorts of matters came up for discussion.  Here is a sample taken from the Republican of December 17, 1868:  "It is not known on what side of town our railroad will be located - whether on the east or west.  The chief surveyor is now here and will run a survey on the west of town." But finally the railroad came into operation, the first train coming into Angola on January 3, 1870.  Said the Republican of that event:
"The first passenger train, with the officers of the road on board, arrived on the Ft.W.J.S. Railway  at noon today and notwithstanding the cold weather, nearly every man, woman and child in town and vicinity, have turned out to see it.  It is a welcome visitor, and never have our people felt a greater pride in any one thing than they do this opening up of railroad communication with the great Saginaw valley and the country at large.  We can only compare this event to the breaking of the clouds during a storm when the bright rays of the sun burst forth, sending a thrill of joy to every heart.  It is certainly an event which will be long remembered by our citizens and the people of Steuben County.  And now let the glad tidings go forth to all the world that Angola is now a railroad town!"

Locomotives on the new railroad were wood burners, and wood yards were established at intervals along the line, and the train crew had the job of filling the tender with firewood whenever the train stopped to "wood up".  The railroad never reached a high state of patronage throughout the line, and it was finally absorbed by the Lake Shore & Michigan Southern Railway, which had consolidated several lines of the Michigan Southern and Northern Indiana Railroad, eventually to become a cog in the wheel of the great New York Central system.  The railroad continues to operate in through Angola, formerly doing a big business before the day of the automobile, but now reduced to meager freight traffic.

With the coming of the railroad to Angola there was an immediate response in the development and growth of the town, particularly  in the western section.  On February 2, 1870, the Republican printed the following: "We learn that J.A. Woodhull Esq. had purchased the Bart Cary farm west of the depot grounds in this place, and that he contemplates laying off an addition to the town.  those desiring building lots will do well to call and see him before purchasing elsewhere.  The location is the most pleasant of any in or about town:.

Within two months the plat for the Woodhull addition west of the railroad was filled, according to the newspaper item of April 20, which reads:  "We noticed in the Recorder's office the other day a fine plat of Woodhull's addition to the village of Angola.  One of the leading features is the width of its streets and alleys; the former are 66 and the later 33 feet.  Add this to the warm, dry soil and the view of the town, railroad, and surrounding country, and we can understand why the lots in this addition are selling so fast."

Mr Woodhull for the most part named streets for in his addition for prominent men who bought lots in the area.  However three streets were named after the railroad -- Fort Wayne, Jackson, and Saginaw.  The name Fort Wayne was later changed to Moss, and these streets still bear these names.

Herald Republican October 23, 1957