Local History and Genealogy

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Memorial Day 1954

Colorful Ceremony on Memorial Day Marked By Band and Parade

Calling for a renewal of the patriotic fervor of earlier days, in a spirited address here last Sunday, Judge Lowell Pefley of the Whitley county circuit court deplored the disinterest in public affairs on the part of the citizenry which fails often to avail itself of even the right to vote.

Judge Pefley spoke at the annual Memorial Day service in Monument Place in Angola Sunday noon. The service was attended by the usual large crowd of interested patriotic citizens.  Preceding the program a parade was  formed several blocks west of the public square and marched to the mound surrounding the imposing Steuben county memorial to the veterans of the war of 1861 to 1865.  Maurice Whitlock was the parade marshal.  Merritt D Boyer, past commander of Angola Post 31 American Legion served as general chairman, aided by members of the post headed by George C. Myers as commander. The parade including three bands from the Angola schools, patriotic organizations, Angola school children, Boy Scouts, American Legion members, and members of the Veterans of Foreign Wars.  Traffic on the two U.S. highways was detoured through Angola during the Memorial observance.

So far as can be ascertained, the custom of decorating symbolic graves on the mound began shortly after the organization for the Grand Army of the Republic Post in Angola, mustered March 29, 1883, and named for Lt, Col Baldwin H Crosswaite of the 44th Indiana Volunteers, who was killed Feb. 18, 1862, at the age of 40.

At first, wooden markers resembling shingles were placed about the mound for Memorial Day observances, these being kept for many years in the GAR headquarters on the public square overlooking the mound.  Following World War I, the American Legion replaced these crude markers with the present day white crosses which are placed in the four segments of the mound early each Memorial Day.  More than 1,200 volunteers went from Steuben county to serve in the Civil War, out of a total population of 10,000, and Steuben county's patriotic record has been sustained throughout the years since Dan Wisel, Steuben county's last surviving Civil War veteran, died at his home in Salem Township Jan 3. 1940 at the age of 102.

Citing the four freedoms of which all should be conscious, Judge Pelfrey said, "And I would, add a fifth freedom, which we also tend to forget and that is the freedom we have as citizens to help our neighbors in time of need, our freedom, as we wish, to help and old lady to cross the street, to help the orphans in Korea, and to help the hungry and the needy wherever we wish, a freedom denied those living under the shadow of Communism, and behind the Iron Curtain, where a man is forced to forget unselfishness and where the atmosphere denies him the right to be generous and to help his neighbors.

Following the posting of the colors, in which units form the Angola American Legion Post participated, the invocation was given by the Rev. Kenneth Hornbuckle, pastor of the Congregational Church.    Following music by the Angola High School Band, directed by Elwood Nichols, flowers were placed about the white crosses by the school children of Angola, Judge Pefley was introduced by Glen S, Beatty, Mayor of Angola, and following hi address a benediction was given by the Rev, Norman Kistler, pastor of the Fairview Missionary Church and the firing squad of the American Legion gave salute to the dead with "Taps" by Roy C, Bodie Jr.


Steuben Republican  June 2, 1954
Pictures property of Margaret Rothrock

Friday, May 28, 2010

Decoration Day 1901

Following is the list of soldiers and members of the W.R.C. (Women's Relief Corps) whose graves were remembered with the dear old flag and beautiful flowers, in the old (Old Angola)  and Circle Hill Cemeteries: 
Circle Hill
Capt. W. H. Cole, Co. A. 129th Ind.
J. H. Chapple, Co. A, 44th Ind.
Wm H. Merritt, Co. K. 111th Mich.
Wm. Hanselman, Co. A, 129th Ind.
John B. Moore, Co. F, 27th Iowa
Austin Pross, Co. E, 13th Mich
Henry Delaney, Co. F, 48th Ohio
Dr. Geo.W.McConnell, Q.M., 44th Ind
Andrew Jackson, Co. H. 74th Ind.
Samuel Clark, Co. H, 5th Mich
Wm. Shore, Co. E, 32nd Ohio
Henry Morrow, Co. D, 142nd Ind
Nathan D. Robinson, Co. K, 104th Ohio
Flem W. Bodley, Co. B, 88th Ohio
Capt. Alex W. Button, Co. H, 112th N.Y.
Andrew Restler, Co. D, 142nd Ohio
Capt. Sidney Lawrence, Co. A. 96th Ill.
Christopher Hart, Co. B, 78th Ohio
James Boline, Co. A, 180th Ohio
Lewis Jennings, Co.E, 151st Ohio
Augustus L. Hubbard, Co. A, 15th U.S. Reg.
Julius VanAuken, Co.A, 129th Ind
Capt. Chas F. Kinney, Co. A, 44th Ind
Samuel Truesdale, Co. E, 74th Ind
Germ Brown, Q. M. 100th Ind
Henry Twitchell, Co. A, 44th Ind
John H. Trainer, Co. H, 75th Ind
John S Tarr, Co.F, 21st Ohio
John C. Stealy, Co. A, 129th Ind


Veterans of 1812
Williard DeWitt
John L. Jackson


W.R.C. No. 37 ( Woman's Relief Corps)
Mrs. Ada Bowman
Mrs. Francis M. Carpenter
Mrs. Susan Russell
Mrs. Sarah E Humphreys
Miss Kate Wood
Dr. Anna H. Rakestraw

Old Cemetery (Old Angola)
Sergt. W.J. S. Bullard, Co.A, 129th Ind.
Samuel Tinsley, Co. C, 129th Ind.
Henry Nichols, Co B, 4th Mich.
John H. Nichols, Co. E, 9th Ind.
Thomas Milbourn, Co. H, 6th Mich., H. Art
Josiah Lonabaugh, Co.F, 82nd Ohio
Henry Haskins, Co. D, 12th Ind. Cav.
John H. Stealy, Co. A 44th Ind.
Samuel B. Mason Co. A, 72nd Ohio
Sergt. Thomas G. Moffett, Co. D, 44th Ind.
Emile Sholtz, Co. A, 88th Ind.
Sergt. Henry Merriman, Co. A, 44th Ind.
James Shay, N.Y. Regiment
Lieut. Geo. J. Tuttle, Co. C, 12th Ind. Cav.


Steuben Republican -  June 5, 1901

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Decoration Day in Angola - 1901

This National Holiday Most Fittingly Observed in Angola

Another Decoration Day, the most sacred of all civic holidays, has passed into the annals of history's pages.  This was the day when, in reverent homage, the mightiest of nations paid tribute to its brave and noble heroes, in a way becoming the living and an honor to the dead, all alleviating their sorrows for the silent patriots now sleeping in known and unknown graves, with a proud, glad realization of what the heroism, courage and devotion of the soldiers of the civil and Spanish American wars accomplished for the common country.

The day in this section of the country was ushered in with threatening weather, but as the time approached for the sacred exercises, the clouds scattered and the great illuminator of earth shown down on Angola, which gave cheer to all who were to participate in the day's doings.  Old glory proudly waved from domes, poles, houses and windows, and bunting and beautiful flowers in profusion, came in with their glad presence in honor of the dearest and bravest sons of the United States.

The decoration of the soldiers' graves in the two cemeteries took place in the forenoon, and in the afternoon, the program previously announced, was carried out in a manner worthy the highest commendation.

At 1:00 o'clock, about 500 school children, headed by the Angola Silver Cornet Band, martial band, G.A.R.  W.R.C., marched in an imposing line from the high school grounds to the mound in the public square where each of the children place a little bouquet of flowers at the foot of a marker representing on of the 265 Steuben county boys who "Went But Never Returned."  Then Frank M. Powers delivered and address to the little folks, explaining why they were out on this iccasion with flowers in memory of those who fought the great battles of the cruel war in years long ago.

After the exercises on the mound, the people repaired to the beautiful courthouse grove where the final exercises of the day were to occur.  Thousands of citizens gathered around the stand and listened to invocations, beautiful and patriotic words in song, and an address by County Superintendent Homer Dillsworth, who seemed to be all aflame with patriotic wisdom and endowed with oratory most gratifying to his auditors, who all join in proclaiming his address the richest of the kind ever delivered from a Steuben County platform.  The exercises closed with all feeling that they had once more paid tribute to the martyred soldiery.


Steuben Republican -  June 5, 1901

Thursday, May 20, 2010

L.C. Stiefel Gives Fountain

To the McConnell Park and Same is Accepted by the Council:

At the meeting of the city council Monday evening, R. E. Willis, in behalf of Mr L.C. Stiefel, tendered to the city a handsome ornamental fountain to be erected in McConnell Park in the space in front of the library.  Mr Stiefel's generous proposal included the cost of erecting the fountain which will be around $200.00, and all expense to the city will be supplying the water.  The council accepted the offer with an expression of thanks to the donor.  Mr Stiefel is now in New York, but he left arrangements to go ahead with the work, so that the fountain may be places in position by the time of the opening of the library.  He was notified at once of the act of the council, and will immediately place the order for the fountain.

The fountain chosen is of iron of handsome design.  It is about ten feet high, and has a series of three overflow bowls, which spread the water to the best advantage.

On the heels of this gift, the library board today received the tender of a pair of ornamental lamps on supporting posts, to be placed on either side of the approach to the library, from Mr and Mrs John A. Croxton and children. The offer will be accepted with thanks by the library board at its meeting this evening.

These generous acts by public spirited citizens will add much to the beauty of the park and library, and may perhaps lead to other gifts which altogether will make the grounds the most handsome in this part of the state.  The people of Angola appreciate the spirit in which the gifts were tendered and approve of the acts of the officers in accepting them without delay.

Steuben Republican August 11, 1915
-- The fountain was restored in 2004 and is now inside the library--

Monday, May 17, 2010

Old Settlers Day - August 15, 1901

Another Old Settler Day has come and gone, and as was anticipated an immense throng of humanity, old, middle aged and young, filled the streets and public places of Angola to overflowing.  The dawn of day, Thursday, August 15, 1901, denoted fair weather, and at an early hour the streets began to put on activity in the preparations for the coming multitude of visitors from near and far, all of which signified the birth of another red letter day for our town.  As early as eight o'clock the dust covered farmers and their wives and children, began to pour into town on the four leading thoroughfares, many of which repaired at once to the court yard park and lines their vehicles along the east and south sides for occupancy during the day.  Livery and feed barns were soon filled and also every nook and corner of the town from center to circumference were utilized for vehicles and horse storage.

About 9:30 o'clock the Angola City band and the Edon, Ohio Cornet band went to the depot to meet the excursion trains from north and south.  The south train with seven coaches filled with people along the road from Fort Wayne to Angola, pulled into the station first, and as excursionists were alighting, the train from the north came came in well loaded with people along the line from Hillsdale to Angola.  Here was a great mass of people, friends mingling with friends and strangers with strangers, but the amusing feature was to see strangers looking for friends in the big crowd.  When the multitude started up town the walks on both sides of Maumee street were literally jammed, while the street was filled with vehicles and bands. The ladies military band from Waterloo took the lead while the Angola City band was in the rear with the Edon cornet band sandwiched between.  The view of Maumee street as seen from the Hotel Hendry at this juncture will long be remembered by both young and old.

The crowd, estimated at from 10,000 to 12,000 people was pretty well scattered over town, and perhaps at no one time was there more than two-thirds of the crowd around the park and public square.  The center of attraction was the court yard where speeches were made, songs sung and invocations offered. The meeting was presided over by Cyrus Cline, Rev A.G. Neal opened by prayer, then James Catchpole sang a solo which was heartily received.  O. F. Rakestraw, secretary, then read the list of pioneers who had died during the past year - forty-two in all.   Solos were sung by Allie Truesdale, Pyrl Gates and Vieve Dutter, after which W. H. Keyes of Hamilton interested the audience with some of his early day reminiscences.  "Jake" Rivers, a well known colored gentleman of Reading, Michigan who was a Virginia slave, gave a short speech after which came adjournment for dinner.

During the noon hour, hotels, restaurants, private houses, streets and door yards were filled, and all sorts of tables were spread with up-to-date picnic dinners and all seemed to most heartily enjoy the festive occasion.
After dinner the crowd gathered in the park again to listen to speeches.  During the afternoon music was furnished by the bands, High School Mandolin Club, College Quartet, Salem Center Chorus Club and F.H. Alcott, making it a very enjoyable season for all present.

This gala day closed with a fine display of  fireworks in the evening from a stand on the public square, after which seven or eight hundred people repaired to the Croxton Opera House to witness the play, "Human Hearts" by the Angola Dramatic Company.


Meeting of the Old Settlers Association
Steuben Republican - August 21, 1901

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Clayton Mallory

Clayton Mallory was born in Rutland County Vermont, in 1816, a son of David and Cynthia (Collars) Mallory, of Irish descent.  When fourteen years of age he left home and lived with his grandparents four years, when he began working for farmers at $8 a month.  When twenty years of age, in 1836, he came to Indiana, his father having preceded him in the early part of the year.  As a result of the labors of the children they had $100, and with this the father bought forty acres of land a half mile south of where Mr. Mallory now lives.  In 1844 Clayton bought a tract of wild land, a portion of the school reserve.

Not a tree had been cut on the land, but with a zeal characteristic of the man he soon brought it under a state of cultivation, and reaped a bountiful harvest as a reward for his labor. He has improved his farm till it became on of the best in Jamestown Township. Clayton and Thirza had one son, Oscar F., who married Edna Brooks, they had two children at the time of this publication, Barton and Clayton. Clayton had two children with Jane Collins, Ella T., who died young and Carrie A., who married T.A. Caswell, and has two children, Ella J. and Ralph. After an illness of two years, Mrs. Jane Collins Mallory died August 30, 1883.

History of Steuben County 1885 pg: 536-537

Clayton Mallory - Obituary
Son of David and Cynthia (Collins) Mallory, was born in Castleton, Rutland county, Vermont, July 28, 1816, departed this life May 5, 1903, aged 86 years, 9 months and 9 days.
In 1836, when twenty years old, he came to Indiana. His father came in the spring, while Clayton, the eldest son, followed in the fall, bringing the rest of the family with him. In 1844, the deceased purchased the present homestead where he lived continuously until the time of his death. In 1844, he was married to Thirza Collins, of Jamestown, who departed this life in 1852. In 1853, he married a sister of his first wife, Jane Collins, who died in 1883. In 1886, he was married to Mrs. Lida Healy, who survives him. He always took the lead in advancing all enterprises that were for the public good, and had served in all the offices of the township. He was a county commissioner two terms and was at one time township trustee. All trusts imposed in him have been fulfilled with efficiency and fidelity. At an early age he professed faith in Christ and united with the Baptist church. He remained a member of this church until it was disbanded, after which he never united with any other.
On April 7, he suffered a slight attack of heart failure. These attacks continued, becoming more frequent and severe. He felt no pain, but the tired heart simply grew weary and at last ceased to beat, bringing to close a long and useful life. One child, Ella T., preceded him to the spirit world. He leaves a wife, two children, Oscar F., and Mrs. Carrie A. Caswell, four grandchildren, three sisters and one brother, besides a host of relatives and friends to mourn their loss. He was a true husband, and affectionate father, a kind neighbor, and a noble, upright citizen, whose power for good was always felt in the community. The funeral was at the family residence, Sunday, May 10, Rev. T. L. Dyer officiating. The burial was at the Jamestown cemetery.

Steuben Republican  May 1903

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Barton Collins

Barton Collins (deceased) was one of the first of the pioneers of Jamestown Township. His wife, who shared his lot and survived him a third of a century, was better known to the old settlers from her longer residence. She was married to Mr. Collins in 1820, and in 1835 they came to this State and county, being the first white settlers of Jamestown Township. They settled upon the farm where they both remained their natural lives, and which is now the property of George W. Collins. Mr. Collins died in January, 1849, after which Mrs. Collins lived on the homestead with her son until her death, July 16, 1882, at the age of eighty-five years, six months and fourteen days.

She was the mother of eleven children, and had the satisfaction of seeing them grow to be respectable and influential men and women. Five preceded her to rest, leaving six to mourn her loss, they being George W., Charles and Mrs C. Mallory, residing in Jamestown; Mrs. Hastings, of Fremont; Mrs. Saxton, of Coldwater, Mich.; and Mrs. Seeley, of Noble County. Mrs. Collins was a member of the Baptist church, in her native State, from which she brought a letter and afterward became identified with the society of that denomination organized at Jamestown, but which went down some years before her death. She retained her eyesight and faculties to a good old age, and was a great reader, taking much comfort in perusing the papers.

1885 History of Steuben County, Indiana
page 529

Barton Collins
One of the pioneers of Jamestown Township, Barton Collins was born on February 23, 1794, In Ira, Richland County, Vermont.  He was married in 1829.  Collins came west in 1834 but did not enter any land at that time.  In the spring of 1835, he sold his land in the East and started again with his family consisting of himself, wife and nine child, six daughters and three sons.  He sent his goods by water to Detroit and he came by land with his team.  They were three weeks on the road.  At Buffalo they took the boat to Detroit and came from from there to Coldwater.  At that time Coldwater had only one log house.  From there they went on to Bronson, which consisted of two log cabins joined together which served as a hotel.  After a few days in the Vermont Settlement (Orland) he settled in Jamestown Township on land he entered in Fort Wayne, paying $1.25 per acre.  The Collins family had 11 children; Julia (C.D. Salisbury); Viola (Moses Hastings); Thirza (Clayton Mallory); Sara (Aaron Collins); Jane (Clayton Mallory); George (Avis Walters); Harriette (E.B. Saxton); Benjamin; William W (Hattie Smith); Phidella (Louis Seeley); and Charles (Lucy Carroll).  Their first cabin was built near where the house of Mr. and Mrs. Ben Gleason now live on 120.  Charles Collins had six children: Lynn;; Florence; Alice (Harry Wilder); Fred; Walter; and Frank.  Many in this area can trace there family back to the Collins line.

Early Settlers

Jamestown Township

I came to this township in the spring of 1835.  On the night of Saturday June 20, 1835; corn, potatoes and wheat were frozen to the ground.  There were only eight acres of wheat in the county that year and that was in on Jackson Prairie.  On Monday following, the commissioners started to lay out what is now known as Vistula road.  The first night I spent in Jamestown was northeast of Dewey's corners.  It rained and we had no shelter save what we were able to make with strips of bark from elm trees.  Only four quarter sections of land had been entered from the government, and the rest was vacant between Fremont and Orland except two pieces, one 92 of acres entered May 10, 1835, by A. Ansley, and 12 acres by C. Elmore, May 19.  I entered 80 acres June 27 and Barton Collins 386 acres on July 3, and built the first house in the township.

Orrin Preston entered  120 acres in September, 1835.  He started to mill one morning with an ox team and went from one mill to another until he was seven miles from Constantine, Michigan, where he was told by the miller he could not grind for him.  Mr Preston however, prevailed on him to grind the grist during the night.  He had gone over 40 miles.  It took people a week to mill in those days.  Now people think it hard to spend one day in that way.

The Mallory family came from Vermont in 1836.  There were eight children, five girls and three boys, and all lived near together.    Their father died in 1864, and the children were all at the funeral but one.  In 1868 their mother died and they were all at her funeral.

In the fall of 1865 a large family by the name of Depue came and bought land in Jamestown and Millgrove.  The first two generations have all passed away, but I have lived to see the fifth generation of that family.

There are now only four families in the township living on the land they entered.  Daughters of C. McCuller and B. Collins, E Leland and Harding.

George Harding - Jamestown Township
Early Settlers Meeting

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Stiefel Department Store

The year 1919 rounded out a half century of growth and service for a mercantile establishment at Angola, known far and wide all over Steuben and adjoining counties.  Today it is a monumental department store, and the business as a whole exemplifies and represents the genius of the Stiefel family as merchants.  The present proprietor, Leopold C. Stiefel has been connected with the store since his twenty-first birthday and has had  as associates several of his brothers.  The business was founded by his father, the late Joseph Stiefel.

Joseph Stiefel was a native of Germany, as was his wife, Caroline Heilbronner.  Joseph came to America about 1845, reaching New York City with nothing to commend him to the favor of the new world except a willingness to work and learn.  After one year in New york he went to Fort Wayne, and a short time afterword to Auburn, Indiana.  There he began a small mercantile business in partnership with Aaron Wolf.  These two men were partners for a number of years, and after dissolving their relations Joseph Stiefel returned to New York after the Rebellion and engaged in the wholesale clothing business.  He had a partner named Strauss.  His own enterprise and experience might have insured success of business even in the keen competition of the metropolis, but through mismanagement on the part of his partner the firm became bankrupt, and Mr Stiefel was left to shoulder the heavy debts of the firm. HE sacrificed nearly everything he had to satisfy his creditors, the venture entailing him a loss of nearly $100,000. He only had $1000 left to start life again.

In the fall of 1869, with the moral and financial support and credit offered by eastern manufacturers and wholesalers who had a keen sense of gratitude toward the stalwart character of the man, Joseph Stiefel came to Angola and opened up a modest stock of clothing.  He had a small place, and the store at first was known simply as J. Stiefel.  After three years he took in as his partner his oldest son, Moses and the name was changed to J. Stiefel & Son, clothing and dry goods.  Fifteen years later another son Louis, came into the firm, entailing another change, as J. Stiefel & Sons.  It was about five years later that Leopold C. Stiefel acquired an interest in the partnership, and at that time the father retired.  The new title was J. Siefel's Sons.  After two years Moses Stiefel withdrew to go into business in New York City, and Louis and Leopold remained together about seven years.  Leopold then bought the interest of his brother Louis and continued the name as J. Stiefel's Son. (1)


In 1900 Leopold Stiefel took on larger proportions, and moved into ample quarters provided in the newly constructed  IOOF building. (2)

Many notable changed have occurred in half a century, and the most marked of them all is the sole ownership of Mr. Leopold Stiefel.  In the early years the firm did a business hardly exceeding $20.000.  In 1918 the aggregate of sales was $150,000, and from the showing months of 1919 the volume pf business will probably exceed $200,000 for that year.  Mr. Stiefel has inaugurated many modern methods, including one to include everything found in a modern department store.  The business employs from twenty-five to thirty-five people, and the stock is housed in a modern business blocked 66 by 170 feet, with steam plant and electricity for lighting generated in the building.  Mr Leopold Stiefel is vice president of the Indiana Retail Dry Goods Association. (1)


This store  continued under the firm name J. Stiefel's & Son until the stock was purchased by the J.C. Penney company in 1929. (2)


Leopold Stiefel was born at Auburn, Indiana March 24, 1863.  June 6, 1892 he married Edith Kahn, of Indianapolis, a daughter of of Samuel Kahn, of that city.  They have two daughters, Charlotte K. and Elsie R.  Mr. Stiefel is widely known as a merchant over the state of Indiana.  He is affliated with the Independent Order of Odd Fellows, the Knights of Pythias and the Masons at Angola. (1)

1. History of Northeast Indiana, page 277
2. 1955 Steuben County History page 241