Local History and Genealogy

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Early Settlers of Angola Faced Wolves and Indians told by Louisa Gale Hendry

Mr. and Mrs. A.W. Hendry built one of the most pretentious homes in Angola, which was purchase by Dr. Don Cameron and remodeled to become the present Cameron Hospital.  Mrs. Hendry (Louisa Gale)  in her advanced years gave a fine account of early life in Angola.

"When we moved to Indiana, " said Mrs. Hendry, "I was ten years old.  We had a team of horses and moved in wagons.  We came through what is known as the Black Swamp and located where the town of Lima (now Howe) stands.  Father laid out the town".

"We came from Lima to Griswold's sawmill, now called Flint.  Mr Stealy lived here (Angola) before we came.  When we came to Angola no one but Cornelius Gilmore's family and ourselves lived here".

"Most of the public square was then timberland.  It was not heavy timber, but more of a thicket.  There was one large walnut tree tree standing just east of where Hotel Hendry (southwest corner of W. Maumee and Elizabeth St)  now stands.  It was sawed down and the stump was large enough for a table.  Walnut timber was very plentiful, and there was a number of trees in our field.  There was a large pond just northwest of the where the public square is now".

"We young people did not have any amusements then.  We had to work and assist our parents all we could in cleaning land and making a home.  We could sometimes wander in the woods, but it was not safe to go on account of snakes, wolves, Indians, etc. What amusements we had consisted of  of spelling and singing schools and amusements of a very mild type".

"What did we have to eat?  Well not very much.  Our principal eatables were bread, pork, and potatoes; we had plenty of this but could nor sell pork and potatoes, as there was no market for them.  We bought berries of the Indians when we could get them.  I was quite a girl before I ever saw a peach.  Sugar was very hard to get.  If our sugar or tea began to get low or run short we just had to make it last until we would be able to get more,  We would drive to Detroit and Monroe where we bought goods.  It was a better harbor than Toledo, which was a small place then.  We went to a little place called Union Mills (now Mongo) to get flour.  When we went to mill, two or three families would go and put two or three yoke of oxen to one wagon".

"James Gale and his mother came here from Crawford county, Ohio in 1837, and entered land south of town.  One night Jesse Gale's mother wanted to go to church, some of us went to stay with Jesse and the younger children, and we were all much frightened because of the barking of wolves.  We found the wolves more attracted by a pen of sheep.  The men were usually good marksmen and carried their guns with them for protection when they went to work.  As the county became more settled the wolves disappeared".

"The first school we had was taught right in our home, which stood where Hotel Hendry now stands.  Soon after this we rolled logs together and built a school house a short distance west of our house".

"When we moved here it was father's intention to start a county seat.  He had helped about locating the county seat in Lima (Howe), and several other county seats.  He was a great hand to get something started.  We had engineers come and lay out the town.  After Mr. Gilmore's and our house, Louisa Orten's was the next building built, and after that a house was built which is now Dr. T.F. Wood's office."  This house stood just west of Hotel Hendry".

"The first field that was plowed was a little north and east of what is now the public square.  The first death that I remember was a child of Mr Gilmore, he was a year or two old.  It was right in the middle of winter and the ground was covered with snow.  The best place we could find for a grave was what is now the old cemetery.  Two acres were donated for a graveyard, and this was our first burying ground".

"When we first moved here this was the Indians camping ground; but the Indians did not stay long after the country was settled.  The government soon sent them away"

"Frank Sowle had the first saloon here. He began by keeping a restaurant, selling pies and cakes, and later began selling liquor".