Local History and Genealogy

Thursday, September 15, 2011


    Another installment of the stories of early days in Angola is presented herewith.  The interest and response from readers has been large, and the events recorded are authentic.
    One of r the merchants in early days was Thomas Morse, who had a dry goods store in the Eureka building fronting on East Maumee street and he had a fine home further east on the same street, nearly opposite the Hendry home, which is now the Cameron Hospital.  There was also a man names John Knott, who had his store in the Carver building, and Robert Patterson, whose store was on the corner now the home of the Moose Lodge.  Dr. Morse also ran a store on the corner where the Hotel Hendry now stands.  There was a nice yard on the west side of this building which contained fruit trees and currant bushes, and a garden plot extending to the to the Killinger building on the west.  Mr Killinger had a wagon shop next to his house.  Dr Morse had living rooms back of and over his store.
    Over the Patterson store there were also living rooms. A Miss Hendry held select school in the store rooms of that building.  Soon after after this Dr. McConnell and Hon. A.W. Hendry, who were trustees of the school, made up their minds to have better privileges of education for the young people of the community, and sent out for teachers, and secured John W. Cowen of Waynesburg, Pennsylvania, and a Miss Mary Cooley, of Oberlin Ohio.  Mr. Cowen organized the first grade school the town of Angola ever had and the Dr. Morse building was prepared for the new school. There were two departments, one downstairs and the other upstairs, Miss Cooley having charge of the upstairs room, and Mr. Cowen had the lower rooms and larger scholars.  This was called the "Angola Academy" and the young people swarmed in from all the country round about. The town's young people had been sent to Hillsdale, where there was a college, and also to Orland, which had the most pretentious school in these parts called "The Northeastern Indiana Institute" which had teachers from Ann Arbor and other colleges in early days.
    The little church which stood back on the hill as it was then, was owned by both the Presbyterians and the Methodists, and was used alternately by them, and the same choir and organist sand and played fro both.  Dr. McConnell used to bring his family over in a double wagon, as many as ten coming in the load when the walking was bad.  Dr. McConnell lived on what he called "Prospect Hill," where the old home still stands, south of the public library.  Austin Fox was the chorister and led the choir and saw that everyone was in their places every Sunday.  There was a gallery built in the rear for the choir, and the congregation would rise and turn to face the choir when singing.  The Presbyterian minister was a Mr. Kelland.  One New Year's Eve they were going to hold a "watch meeting" and all went prepared with a little food to help stay awake.  Mrs Helen Linder took raisins and Anne Eldridge took some cookies.  The preachers were to speak and hold the people in until the magic hour of midnight.  The Methodist minister was to be first and hold the meeting until ten o'clock, when the Presbyterian minister would come and take charge for the rest of the time.  The Methodist preacher, by some misunderstanding, or thinking Mr Kelland might not be coming dismissed the meeting and the way they met Mr Kelland who said "Why did you not wait until I came?"  None knew so they went home, a disappointed people, but they laughed a good deal over it, and considered it quite a joke.
    Not to be forgotten is the "Mite Society," organized for the purchase of a piano for the school, for which they now had a brick building on South Wayne street, located where the present school building now stands.  Everyone young and old, was interested n the society, and jolly times were enjoyed at the meetings, acting "charades" taking words like "institution," "Cincinnati," and whatever words could be divided into syllables and represented by acting, and those not in the "charade" would have to guess the word.  Five cents was the "mite" charged for admission, and meetings were held at some one of the homes every week with about sixty in attendance.  So the piano was purchased for "many a mickle makes a muckle," and so it was with nickels.

Steuben Republican  August 21, 1946