of the North Manchester Historical Society, Inc.
VOLUME XIX, NUMBER 3 (AUGUST, 2002)
For many years W. O. Jefferson provided transportation to weddings and funerals with enclosed two horse cabs. He also had open rigs for salesmen and a vast "carry all" surrey complete with finge on the top. Mr. and Mrs. Jefferson lived at 215 E. Main Street, the building later occupied by the American Legion. The livery stable and hay storage was next door on the first level of the 1876 Hamilton Opera House. Ca.1910.
Heller's Corner was the scene of one of the defeats that Little Turtle inflicted upon the Americans. On October 19, 1790, Col. John Hardin, leading a part of Gen. Josiah Harmar's army from Kekionga, came along this trail west of Ft. Wayne looking for Indians (using the traditional term for Native Americans). After taking possession of Kekionga from which the Indians had fled upon the approach of Harmar's army, the Americans next gave attention to the Indian stronghold on Eel River. Col. Hardin led this expedition but showed almost no caution, believing that the savage Indians would not fight an armed force such as he had. But he did not know his enemy nor the great Indian chief. The Eel River Indians under Little Turtle were awaiting his coming. Here where the trail crossed Eel River the Turtle had set a trap for Hardin.
At that time there was a narrow prairie along the river flanked on both side by heavy time. On the far side of the small stream the Indiana had built a fire and around it had placed some trinkets. Believing that the Indians had fled, Hardin plunged ahead and soon most of his force was in the narrow defile. Then Little Turtle who was lying in ambush with his warriors, poured in upon this little army a deadly fire. Most of the men fled back on the trail, carrying Col. Hardin with them. A part of the army under Capt. John Armstrong stood their ground but were nearly all killed. Capt. Armstrong sank to his neck in the mud and mire and the Indians did not find him. During the night he witnessed the dance of victory over the dead and dying bodies of his comrades. When the Indiana left the next morning he escaped and later joined the army at Kekionga.
Little Turtle led this same band of Indians on to Kekionga where three days later they inflicted a disastrous defeat upon another part of Harmar's army.
Few people who speed along this modern road across Eel River, the Kenapocomoco, know or care that here occurred one of the bloody battle of Indian warfare. This battle occurred somewhere between the bridge over the Eel and the site of a Baptist church perhaps in the area later occupied by a cemetery and a marsh just south of it.
Many of the roads of that time followed closely the Indiana trails. If we take the road north of the river and go about three miles west we come to the old Concord cemetery; go a mile south and cross the river.. then about a mile further on we come to an important historical site. If it has not disappeared we should find on the north side of the road a large stone on which we can read these words."In memory of Col. Auguste d La Balme and his soldiers who were killed in battle with the Miami Indians under Little Turtle at this place, Nov. 5, 1780."
La Balme was a Frenchman who came over with Lafayette to assist the Americans in their war of independence. He was skilled in the art of horsemanship. He came west and was with George Rogers Clarke at Vincennes. The success of Clarke suggested and inspired La Balme to attempt a conquest of his own. So he collected a body of men from Kaskaskia and Vincennes and started north with them up the Wabash. He had little opposition until he reached Kekionga. Here he was successful for the time being but did some foolish things that proved his undoing. The Indians and the white traders fled at his approach and he took possession of their stores and used them as his own. He then heard of the trading post on Eel River and wanted to get possession of that also. So, leaving some twenty men to guard the captured stores at Kekionga, he started out over the Eel River trail, the same as Hardin did ten years later. He was even more unfortunate.
The Indians, stirred up by French traders, were up in arms about this intrusion. They destroyed the small group of men left at Kekionga. They attacked La Balme before he reached the Eel River Trading Post, but he was able to take possession of it. There he was hemmed in by a large body of Indians under Little Turtle. A few days later La Balme negotiated with the traders to leave the place and return all captured possessions and even to give his own goods to the traders and the Indians. But the Indians were bent on revenge. La Balme and his men had not left the post more than forty rods until the Indiana in superior number attacked them. They could neither go forward nor return to the post. So he and his men fortified themselves there on the banks of Eel River. They were besieged from November, 1780, until February, 1781, when they were massacred by an overwhelming
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The early white settlers of this region received these traditions directly from the Indians. The immense number of relics and human bones found at this place would be additional proof. The reports of the immense stores at the Eel River post would be sufficient to cause La Balme and his men to attempt to secure them.
A bit west of the La Balme memorial is one of the most interesting sites on Eel River.. It came to be owned by Alexander More, one of the first white settlers of the community. He received directly from the Indians and from his ancestor a great many stories of the early happenings in the area. His grandfather, John More was a soldier in Gen. Wayne's army. A great uncle, Samuel More, was a scout with George Rogers Clarke's army. Alexander More's nephews, Irvin and Charles, later owned farms in the community. They received this tradition from their father, William C. More and from their uncle describing the La Balme massacre and other events. Then Otho Winger tramped over the area with Charles More and received from Charles the account given by his father and uncle. So this is the oral tradition, written down.
Here at the More farm a bold headland jutting out towards Eel River on the north from a hill with steep banks on three side. On the north the Eel River flowed at its base and beyond the river was a great swamp. On the east and west sides swamps lay just beyond the steep banks. Only from the south was there a level approach to the hill. The location was one that could well be defended against an attacking force. For years the line of an old breast work protecting the southern approach could be seen. Here at an early date a trading post was established that had been so well fortified that it could well be called a fort..
Indians themselves seldom built forts. It's not clear whether the French or English traders helped the Indians establish this place. It was near the upper end of where the Kenapocomoco could be navigated by the small pirogues and canoes in low water. The Eel River country abounded in game and fur bearing animals. When
settlers came the old pathway down to the river where the boats landed was clearly visible. Kekionga could be reached by a portage of fourteen miles. By this portage and by the Kenapocomoco the French and British traders could reach the interior. Some say that the British general, Hamilton, helped the Indians establish this post on his way to Vincennes where he was captured by George Rogers Clarke. At any rate the Eel River Trading Post and Fort were known to all who ever came to Kekionga in those days.
For many years Little Turtle from his village farther down the river had much to do in directing events at this place. No doubt he spent a lot of time there mingling with the traders and with the Indians. His sister, Tacumwah, had an important trading post on the north side of the river some distance away. Here no doubt was the center of many war plans by the Indians, encouraged by the British from 1780 to 1795. After the treaty of Greenville in 1795 the United States government built Little Turtle a house at this Eel River post and here he spent most of his last years. The place where his large double log house stood and where he lived in comfort attended by black servants is still known by some. It is said that he had two houses perhaps one of them was for his servants. At this place he made many attempts to improve the conditions of his people and from here he went forth on extensive trips. And finally, from here he went to the home of his son in law, Capt. William Wells, in Fort Wayne, where he died in July, 1812. The Second War with England was then on. When Gen. Harrison defeated the Indians at Fort Wayne, he, like other commanders before him, had to give attention to the post on Eel River. So in September, 1812, he sent Col. Simrall with a body of troops to destroy the place, but with the instructions that his troops were to spare the home of Little Turtle. The general defeat of the Indians in the war that followed and the destruction of the Post by Col Simrall caused the Eel Post and Fort on the Kenapocomoco to pass into history. But we can remember that for decades, yes for generations, it was the center of events in which both Indians and settlers had a great interest.
Another place in this area to be mentioned is Seek's Village. One half mile south of the Eel River Post the road joined what was formerly known as the Yellow River Road. This, too, was an old Indian trail.
One mile west there was a road going north across Eel River about on the eastern boundary line of what was known as the Seek's Village Reservation. At the treat of Wabash, 1826, the Indians of Seek's Village were granted fourteen section of land. The reservation was about two miles wide extending from this road to a line running south from the site of Columbia City.
Driving north across Eel River you are soon at the old farm home of Silas Briggs on whose land the village was located. Old Settlers told that it was northwest of the barns on the Briggs farm. It lay on the south side of the Churubusco road, across from the country home of Dr. J. H. Briggs. It was scattered over about 100 acres and had the Indian name of Maconsaw. It had begun to be important in the time of Little Turtle and continued so long after the death of the great chief and the passing of his village. There were reported to be about eighty Indians there in 1834. They continued to possess the land until 1838, a number of years after most of the Indians lands had been given up
Seek, the chief after whom the village is generally named, was present at the treaty of Wabash in 1826 but seems to have disappeared before the treaty at the Forks of the Wabash in 1834. He is described as a gruff old Indian with a bull ring in his nose and was not very popular. John Owl, the first husband of Kilsoquah was raised at this village and here he was buried. From Kilsoquah many later settlers gained much information about this village and many events of importance.
About two miles south of Columbia City route 9 crosses Eel River. Just south of the river there is an elevated piece of ground known in an early day as "the island." Many farms in the area were originally part of the island. In Indian days it was about three hundred acres. It was bounded on the north by Eel River and on the west and south by swamp land. The whole made a real island where the Indians could retreat with safety and could defend themselves easily. Many traditions relate to this island. As early as 1771 the English commander at Fort Wayne told about a visit to the Indian village at this place there he witnessed a green corn dance and other interesting events. The Indians had a tradition that whenever they saw a white man riding a
white horse across the Island, some great disaster would follow. The Miami enemies at that point were not so much the white men as the Potawatomie. It is known that from the island west, the Kenapocomoco was the dividing line between the Miamis and the Potawatomies. The Potawatomies had made their inroads into the lands of the Miamis from the northwest. They had occupied the land as far south as Eel River and as far up the river as the Island, where Blue River enters from the north and Mud Creek from the south. Here the Miamis made a determined stand. There was a great battle in which the Potawatomies were at first victorious but were later defeated when Little Turtle came down the river with help from the upper Miami village. It is said that as long as Little Turtle was active chief he kept a garrison at the island to ward off attacks from the Potawatomies.
Below "The Island" the Eel River is larger due to the addition of Blue River and Mud Creek. But due largely to the conflict between the Miamis and the Potawatomies there were few important Indian settlements below. For more than sixty miles down the river there was no permanent, important Indian village. But the early description of Eel River indicates that the river and the land through which it flowed were very important to the Indians and the early white traders.
The river itself formed an important highway between the Eel River Post and the important Indian settlements near the mouth of the river and the Wabash settlements below. Along its banks were Indian trails and when war was not on between the opposing tribes and the Indians and the French traders used both the river and its trails to go from the Post to the Kenapocomoco Village, some 75 miles down river. The Indian canoe and the French pirogue used the river regularly. The river flowed through a lush land with forests of oak, walnut, sycamore, maple hickory, ash and others. There was an abundance of wild animals.
With the coming of early European settlers, they, too, focused first on the river. In 1834 Richard Helvey was the first to make permanent settlement near North Manchester. He made his home of the site of an old Indian village. Just a bit further north was the old home of Judge Comstock a pioneer of Liberty Mills. South became an early trading center. Its early name was Springfield and in 1867 Springfield
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Academy was founded and continued for a few year. Collamer was at first called Millersburg until it was discovered that a town in Elkhart County had the first right to that name. Covered bridges were built at Liberty Mills, North Manchester, Laketon and Roann. Mills were erected on the Eel at South Whitley, Collamer, Liberty Mills, North Manchester, Stockdale, Chili and Mexico.
Logansport is well known in Indiana as a railroad center in the era of that form of transportation. But in the time of Indian history there was little of importance there except the meeting of the two great travel highways the Wabash and the Eel. Among traders it was known as the Mouth of the Eel. When the place was settled in the 1830s the question at once came up as to what it should be called. It was finally left to a committee to decide. On this committee was Gen. John Tipton. He was one of the most important of early settlers in Indiana and later made Logansport his home. He had a fondness for classical names and wanted to call it by a Greek word meaning The Mouth of the Eel. Another on the committee wanted to name it after the old Indian town up the river, Kenapecomaqua. Hugh McKeen who had recently moved from Fort Wayne proposed the name Logan after the old Shawnee chief who was friendly to the whites and had given his life in their defense in an Indian squabble along the Maumee. Col. J. B. Duret told McKeen that he would accept the name Logan if he would add the word "port" since he expected the Wabash to be made navigable to that point and that the Mouth of the Eel would some day become a great trading center. When the four could not agree on any name they did agree to "shoot it out". So they put up a mark and each one took his shot. Col. Duret hit the bull's eye and won for the new town the name of Logan's Port.
July 26, 1883
We are happy to announce to the citizens of our town that the trustees have ordered a complete Hook and Ladder outfit for the benefit of the public at fires that may hereafter occur. All will concede that this is a step in the right direction. The determination and pluck displayed by our people assisted by an outfit of this nature will. we predict, successfully combat an ordinary fire. A large percent of the
many fires this town has had in the past two years would have been controlled with but slight damage to property if ladders had been in reach at, or near, the time the fires were discovered. A member of the board informs us that they contemplate supplementing this outfit with a hand engine and hose cart as soon as the necessary preparations can be made. Of course, but little use could be made of an engine until cisterms have been provided where needed throughout the town.
Now that a Hook and Ladder truck has been ordered, and only awaits the lettering before shipment, it is high time that our active energetic young men should organize a company to manage it. Our town has the material to fill a half dozen good companies, out of which one can be named that our citizens may be proud of. Let no time be lost, but fill up a company at once, elect officers, select your name, and North Manchester will have what "even the newspapers have been howling about."
August 9, 1883
In view of the fact that the town board has purchased a hook and ladder truck, a meeting was held last Tuesday evening in the office of I. E. Gingerick for the purpose of organizing a hook and ladder company. ... A constitution and by-laws was adopted and everything put in order. The following officers were elected: R. E. Quivey, foreman; Smith Horn, assistant foreman; Ora Gladden, secretary; George Enyeart, treasurer. The company organized with eleven members and received ten proposals for membership which will be voted on at the next meeting. They will meet again Tuesday evening, Aug. 21st. The outfit will not arrive for some time yet and the boys have plenty of time to get their company in good running order. The company will be composed of all 'solid' men who will take an active interest in its welfare and will do good service at a fire. The limit of membership has been placed at twenty-five....We are glad to see the boys take hold of the matter with such willing hands and hope that they will meet with all necessary encouragment from the citizens.
Dec. 6, 1883
The long wished for Hook and Ladder truck is here. It arrived Monday morning and the company and the town officials followed by
a large number of citizens went to the depot to receive it about 9 o'clock that morning. It was but the work of a few minutes to take it off the car, rig it up in shape when the company took hold of the ropes and took it through the town on the run. The truck is indeed a "dandy" as the company expresses it.
Monday was set for trying the newly purchased fire engine. Alec Apple, chief of the fire department and Dick Williams, water works engineer of Peru were on hand to help test the working qualities of the engine. It was first taken to the old race at the foot of Sycamore street where it did moderately good work after which it was moved to Gosshorn's well with about the same effect. Then it was taken to the Wabash elevator and to Strauss Mill where it did excellent work, throwing water over both structures which are as high as any building in town. They have but three sections or l50' of hose with the engine and one nozzle which throws an inch and a half stream of water. This clearly demonstrates the ability of the engine to perform its work. We are still firm in our opinion that the engine is a good one and that the town has secured a bargain in its purchase. Put in the hands of an accomplished and careful engineer and with a three-quarters inch nozzle there is no doubt that it will throw water as far and do as effective work as any engine that could be gotten. A nozzle of that size is amply large for all purposes and is as large as those mostly used on all engines. The general opinion of the people is that the engine is good and they seem glad the city has secured it.
As soon as the hose arrives it will be taken out and tried as often as practicable that the workings of it may become familiar to the company in case of fire. Smith Horn has been appointed engineer and Theron Clapp fireman, both good appointments and the boys feel quite proud of their positions. For the present the engine is kept in Johnsons barn, but as soon as possible an engine house and fire department headquarters will be erected on the ground by the calabose.
Down at Laketon one evening last week a number of women attacked the saloon building and caved in its plate glass front with a miscellaneous assortment of stones and brick bats. The beseiging party consisted of Mrs. Harvey Riner, Daisy Riner, Dona Riner, Mill
Bodkin and Nola Hall and it is stated that they made things pretty lively for a while. The building is the property of Jacob Strauss and that gentleman came up the other day and filed an affidavit against them for malicious trespass. The case has not yet been set for trial but will come up before Squire Sala.
At the meeting of the Town Board Monday night George Burdge presented a proposition for lighting the streets with electric lights. In brief he proposes to put in a minimum of thirty lamps in such a manner as the Board may direct at the following price per lamp: for a 20 candle power lamp $15 per year; for 25 candle power $17.50; for 32 candle power $21.50; for 45 candle power $25 and as many more lamps at the same figure as the town may need or wish. The Board postponed any action and took the proposition under advisement. Just what will be done cannot be said. There are many citizens in favor of lighting the town while others are opposed. The JOURNAL cannot devote any space in this issue to a discussion of the matter and will postpone all comment until it takes a more definite shape.
Mr Martin isan example of a pains-taking thorough artist and a visit to his parlors will amply repay the lover of the beautiful and artistic. Mr. Martin has been engaged in the photography business in our city for the past quarter of a century. His gallery is elegantly fitted up with all the most modern and improved appliances and the work turned out by him equals that of large cities. He makes all kinds of photographs, making a specialty of cabinets, palel, India ink. water colors and other large work. He carries a large line of picture frames. mouldings, albums, etc, and is making special inducements to the holiday trade. Do not forget the place, Martin's galley, south side Main Street.
In the list of advantages possessed by North Manchester, none is greater than that of her institutions of learning, her temples of instruction and her seat of general and popular education . The city has maintained her public schools with commendable generosity since a graded system was adopted. We have a very fine high school building erected at a cost of $15,000 and our school stands among the
best in the State.
The various religious denominations number six and are as follows: Methodist, Lutheran, United Brethren, Christian, Progressive Brethren and German Baptists. They are all provided with good buildings with a seating capacity far beyond their membership.
It might be said that the history of North Manchester started on Lot 2 of the original plat for it was there that Peter Ogan built his cabin even before he planned a town. His cabin stood on the site of what was known for many years as the Williams Drug Store lot which along with the building next east has been owned in more recent years by Clyde Eckhart The west or drug store room now is occupied by Dr. W. K. Damron and the room next east by Robert Gidley with his B & D. Shoe Store. (The West Room is now occupied by Dr. Hankee. If you look carefully at the outside west wall of the building you can see the old Williams Drug Store sign) There was a spring on the Williams lot, where Mr and Mrs Ogan resided, that probably being the reason for the location of their cabin in 1836. In a later day, in a transfer of title to the shoe store lot, the right was given to use the spring on Lot 2.
Peter Ogan and his brother John, had helped chop a trail from Anderson to Wabash so the U. S. Treaty commissioners could negotiate a treaty with the Indians. It was concluded October 23, 1826 at Paradise Springs in Wabash. The site was near the later New York Central station in Wabash and by its provisions the Eel River country was opened for settlement by whites.
Peter Ogan's first plat was small, from the alley east of Front Street to the alley east of Walnut Street and from the River north to Third Street. He sold part of a quarter section to the north to Allen Halderman, while Jacob Neff owned the land west of the alley between Front and Market. In later platting and now considered the original plat Neff and Halderman and Ogan, had lots surveyed from Front Street east to the River, and from Fourth Street south to the River this including all of the big bend in the river.
Ogan's tract included 59.75 acres. Originally he had two 80 acre tracts extending east of the alley east of Front Street and north from
the alley north of the Post Office, to Road 13. Halderman had entered the 80 acres east of Ogan's south 80 and a short time later purchased Ogan's south 80. On this tract is the Central Junior High School and the Old Cemetery along Market Street. In laying out what is now the original plat each owner, Ogan, Neff and Halderman retained ownership of their lands and the platted lots. Neff did not remain long in North Manchester but sold his holdings and returned to Preble County, Ohio, where he died. A death in the Halderman family caused him to set aside the Old Cemetery tract and in later years the Halderman heirs deeded the cemetery to the Town of North Manchester.
For many years nothing was known of the Ogan family. This writer (Harry Leffel) traced the family to Richmond, Indiana, and a photostatic copy of the will of Samuel Ogan recorded at Richmond is now in the files of the News Journal. The will, probated February 15, 1843 names the following children in bequests: Peter and John, who had located in the North Manchester vicinity, Elias, who lived at Somerset; Lewis, who later died at Richmond , and who owned a farm later owned by Dorsey Brandenburg east of North Manchester; Stephen, Jasper County, Esther, wife of James Hendrix, Richmond; and Phemy, wife of Martin Elliott, Jasper County. The family probably originated in Eastern Pennsylvania.
John Ogan operated a grist mill on Pony Creek, just south of the Road 113 bridge. He and his family were buried in the north part of the Old Cemetery. The Albert and James and Miss Sadie Rooney of Laketon were grandchildren of John Ogan.
Lots l and 2 of the original plat extend east from the Williams drug store building to the west edge of Walnut Street if extended to the River. Peter and Mary Ann Ogan, his wife, sold those lots, which included the Ogan cabin to John and Jane Townsend December 22, 1843 for $100. Early accounts say the Ogans operated a tavern in the early days of the town, but the exact location is not known. Peter was busy in other matters. He built a dam across Eel River just below the covered bridge, dug a mill race across the nack of land, joining the river again near the later Farm Bureau Lumber Yard on South Mill Street and proceeded to build a saw mill. Later a flume mill race to furnish water power for a foundry and machine shop owned by Samuel Leonard. After starting the saw mill, Ogan added a buhr mill to grind grain.
Ogan disposed of his lots and holdings rapidly and prior to 1875 had moved from North Manchester to a place south of town. A historian of 1875 stated Ogan was living in Indiana, but records in court houses to the southwest and west of Wabash County fail to reveal any trace of Peter Ogan and his wife, Mary Ann. Apparently they had no children.
Although for convenience, the name North Manchester is used, the town was platted as Manchester. It was not until the town was incorporated in 1875 that the North was added, principally because there was another town in Southern Indiana by the name of Manchester and the post office department required a change in name of this town, which was platted later.
At an early date the currency of the day or the circulating medium, particularly in the locality watered by the Wabash had only a local value, redeemable almost exclusively in consideration for land, etc. purchased of the State. The following were the chief issues and in their day were well known.
In 1840, the Legislature of Indiana authorized and directed the issue of scrip which in time came to be known as "old scrip" bearing interest at the rate of six per cent per annum, and was receivable to State and county taxes and for the payment of certain other specific obligations. Since it was not receivable at par for all purposes, for many years it was taken only at a discount sometimes at a very heavy rate. Yet, in the course of time, a large amount of interest having accumulated in these evidences of debt guaranteed by the State, it was worth more than the face, and was for that reason a source of speculation in the hands of persons who were able to purchase it at a large discount and by so doing were able to realize large sums from small investments.
Bank scrip was another issue by the State to pay off a debt due the State Bank of Indiana for money advanced to contractors for the construction of the canal (Wabash and Erie) to carry on the public works of the State forwarded under the act known as the "Internal Improvement" law. This was of less value than the "old scrip" but in the end became a subject of speculation by the same process.
During the year 1840 the work on the Wabash and Erie Canal
progressed very slowly since there was no money to pay contractors except such as arose from the sale of canal lands, an amount equaling about twenty-five per cent of the work done. On a settlement with the contractors, the Chief Engineer, Jesse L. Williams, issued the drafts to the holders of claims, one on red paper for twenty-five per cent, to be paid on presentation to the Fund Commissioner which was called "Red Dog," and another for the unpaid balance of seventy-five per cent on white paper, which was called "White Dog" to be paid by the Fund Commissioners as the land sold should furnish the money. Mr Williams wanted the State to provide for the payment at an earlier date than that agreed but the State failed to do anything so Mr. Williams engraved something appearing to be a bank bill of very low value.. This second "White Dog became subject of vast speculation in the hands of parties having an opportunity to get quantities of it. It bore interest however from the date of issue and was received in payment for canal lands.
Blue Dog was an issue authorized by the Legislaure of 1841-42 for the extension of the canal on the western division. Thus the State followed the example of Mr. Williams. This issue was on paper of a blue tinge; hence its name "Blue Dog." It was receivable also for canal lands and the subject of much speculation like other similar issues.
Blue Pup was another currency issued in small bills by contractors for work, material and necessities and payable in "Blue Dog" when presented at the proper office in sums of $5. This, giving character to issues of this class, originated from the "wild cat" money, which in the year 1836 was so plentiful in Michigan and proved so worthless. A dog, being considered a valueless thing, the word was applied to the canal land scrip and the "Red Dog" " Blue Dog" "Blue Pup" which went into use on the Maumee and in the Wabash valley at accommodating rates.
These issues of scrip with sometimes unpaid county orders or more valueless city orders and the issues of suspended banks constituted the circulating medium in the localities where they were recognized at all during the period from 1840 forward until that species of paper went into disuse from force of circumstances. The evil consequences resulting from the uncertain value of these various issues produced a financial revolution in the past that required long years to repair the wrong done to the credit and energy of the people.