of the North
Manchester Historical Society, Inc.
VOLUME X, NUMBER 3 (AUG, 1993)
When I was in the first grade, my father took mother's pantry and started a small store. Then he built a small store on wheels that was drawn over the countryside by a team of horses and after a year of this, they purchased a store-the only one in the village-in Ijamsville, and once again my father built a larger bed on a half ton truck bed and went out into the country with groceries. My father would take the grocery on wheels out during early spring through late fall and my mother would manage the store and try and keep my brother and me busy.
by Ruth Anna Taylor
We lived in Ijamsville for four years and the folks purchased the Clark Grocery store in North Manchester which was located on the northwest corner of North Walnut and Seventh Streets. My father once again took his truck with the grocery store thereon to the country and mother took care of the store. Fortunately the store and house were connected together so the folks had buzzers put on the screen doors in the summer and then on the store doors in the winter so mother could get some things done in the house as she could hear the buzzer when anyone entered.
I personally never liked selling. My mother always admonished me that I was to go out when it was my turn to take care of the customers and treat them well for that was how we got our bread and butter. In time I got promoted and became part time cook and always the dish washing was my job. My father in the fall of the year would go out to his customers and buy up their flocks of chickens for the Thanksgiving market in Detroit and he would do this again before Christmas and then sell them to Ollie Burkhart in North Manchester. These were days that you sold bread that was not wrapped, and PW crackers came in a barrel and you would help mother lift the barrel and transfer over into a glass framed case and sell your customer any amount they wanted. Brown sugar and white sugar came in the bulk and usually the brown sugar came in a 20# wooden flat and in the winter it would get so hard that you wondered if you could loosen enough for folks. The white sugar came in 100# burlap with white cloth inside with the sugar. You had to learn how to start unraveling the stitching across the top of the sack, and if you accomplished the trick, then mother would wash the inside bag and we used them for store wipe clothes and also for wiping dishes. Since the sugar was in the bulk, we would sack sugar into 25¢ and 50¢ bags so they would be accessible when customers would order. Some folks in those days would buy a 100# bag and stash it away in a cool place so that with winter baking, etc., they would have plenty to do all their baking. I can remember when they first sacked flour in different sized paper bags. We dealt with a flour mill down in the Roann area and the miller was a very particular man. In those days the women made their own bread and pies and naturally were users of the flour.
We are so accustomed today to having everything in compact sizes and boxed well, but there are many fond memories on my part as I look back over those almost 20 years at this location. My husband and I were back in North Manchester in 1985 after several years of absence and we drove through Ijamsville on our way to see his family and discovered that the grocery store had been either torn down or burned. That was a jolt! Then we drove on to North Manchester and drove by the store on the corner of Seventh and Walnut and the four lots that the folks owned back in the 20's and 30's were bare ground. That was quite a shock and I can truthfully say it took time to get over that sight.
In the days that we have been speaking of it was not an eight to five job. We opened the store in North Manchester at six o'clock and the Manchester Bakery would come in with a tray of fresh doughnuts and rolls and folks would soon buy them while they were good and fresh. The folks usually kept the store open from six a.m. until 8 p.m. daily and from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. on Saturdays.
Ever so often after closing the store at ten, they would oil the floor in the store part and then you had to keep rag carpets at the kitchen and dining room doors and you were supposed to wipe your shoes well before tracking into the living quarters.
One task that often fell to me was on Saturday afternoons folks would call and order chickens to be cleaned and cut up so they would have chicken for their Sunday dinners. This usually fell to my responsibility. I never had the nerve to kill a chicken, but I have held many a chicken's beak so my mother could chop its head off. I think that I could still scald a chicken, feather it and then clean and cut it up but I am mighty thankful that today I can buy any part of a chicken that I want and it only needs scrutinizing to make sure all foreign substances are taken care of.
I thought that I had a hard life when I was growing up, but I have had a wonderful time since we have been married. The things I learned as I was growing up-although I thought I had it hard-have certainly stood by me in still being able to do my own thing. My generation certainly has seen a world of changes. My husband and I often say our mothers wouldn't believe all that we have seen and done.
A Sense of Place
Ladoska Z. Bunker, M. D. Ret. The first time I heard this expression was in one of the humanities programs several years ago. A young man from Logan, West Virginia, told of his inability to identify with his community and of his feeling that it was a dead end place and particularly that nothing had ever happened there. It was not until he had gradated from high school and gone to the State University at Morgantown that he had a feeling that he was in an area where something had occurred, even if some time ago, and that more things could happen and he could be a part of them. Later he returned to Logan and learned that it was the site of much West Virginia history and that his father had grown up with one of the actors in the local historical drama, The Feudist, Anse Hatfield.
We need to look at our backgrounds objectively to search in our recent and more remote past, to recall the tales of our grandfathers and old neighbors, and to secure for ourselves a sense of place. It used to be said, "scratch a Hoosier and you will find a Buckeye" on the basis that almost everyone's ancestors in the Northern half of Indiana had come, if not originally, at least later, from Ohio. As I searched for the background of my great-grandmother, Rosanna Groomes, I found her family in Tuscarawas County, Ohio, where she had come as a bride from Somerville, New York. Her mother, also as a young woman, had come to Somerville from maritime New England. Here there was continual movement, from England to New England, to western New York, to Ohio, and in the case of my grandmother to Indiana, all in 200 years.
These migrant people carried their remembrance of the homeland with them as they traveled; few material things survived the rugged moves, but old country speech and customs and place names survived and gave continuity and meaning to their lives.
Westward Migrations from New England
Migration from New England and Pennsylvania was foreordained from the country's beginning. The settlements of six New England colonies, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, New Hampshire, Connecticut, Vermont, and Maine, comprised 66,608 square miles, less than twice the size of the state of Indiana, 36,291 square miles. With the Atlantic Ocean to the east, the mountains and woods of Canada to the north, movement to the west-southwest was inevitable.
One hundred fifty years after Plymouth Rock, the seaboard cities were over-crowded, and much of the available farm land was being exhausted by the poor farm practices of the time. Ancient customs of land caused much confusion and hardships as heirs sought to continue agricultural operations. The law of primogeniture, which we associate with nobility, was actually not law but custom extending into all social classes. It gave all of the decedent's land to the oldest son. This was a prevailing practice among the colonists.
Borough English was another of these ancient ways in which all of the property was given to the youngest son.
The custom of gavel kind, dating back to the Normans (1066), divided all a deceased parent's land equally among all his sons. Since this custom continued as late as 1925 in Kent, England, one can see its effect in some colonial settlements. These divisions reduced farms and left some heirs landless. If a man died without sons, his daughters were superseded by his brothers or nephews, leaving generations of dependent widows or often, for lack of a dowry, old maid daughters.
Large holdings descended to one heir, or under gavel kind, were divided among many. Since families were large, there were numerous landless members. If they wished to continue as farmers or stockmen, they were forced to seek new land in new territory. As early as 1754 the government of Connecticut bought a large tract of land in Pennsylvania for persons wishing to expand their farming operations. Connecticut migrants in the Wyoming Valley of Pennsylvania were victims of the most savage Indian attack and massacres in American history. This area filled up rather rapidly and was ceded to the State of Pennsylvania in 1784.
After 1786 the Western Reserve was available in the next 40 years' migration and extended to western New York and the Ohio lakeshore. This later extended to the "Firelands," 500,000 acres granted to the New England "sufferers" of the British Navy's bombardment of the east coast during the Revolution. There was also some early migration to Vermont, but this was a land of rock mountains and rugged terrain, largely unsuitable for any farm operations except dairying.
As an evidence of the movement of the population, the Connecticut census of 1820 was 370,792 and in 1840 was 309,978. It is estimated that three million people migrated from east to midwest, most of this movement being first in the filling up of the middle states beyond New England, that is, western New York, western Pennsylvania, Ohio, Indiana, and lower Michigan. Then the great surge westward after gold was discovered in California in 1849. This was followed by the later migrations after the Civil War when the western lands were opened up. The railroad extended across the country, and the Indians were pacified.
Emigration to the westward part of Massachusetts began about the time of the Revolution and, contrary to the thrifty practices of the times, was promoted by bank loans, mortgages, leases, and other real estate maneuvers. By 1786 the exploited settlers, entangled in taxes, high interest, poor crops, and bank mortgages, staged Shay's Rebellion with 4,000 or more insurgents storming U. S. armories. This was put down by Federal troops and Shay, the leader, fled to Vermont. The protestors were granted amnesty for laying down their arms, but many were uneasy after their martial exploit and left the area for Vermont or neighboring New York State.
All migrants were not happy in their new locations. Migrants to Brattleboro, Vermont, who had settled there in 1724, were so displeased by the Revolutionary War that after its conclusion they petitioned to rejoin the British Crown. It was not until 1791 that this heresy was put aside and Vermont joined the United States.
Some migrants settled as squatters and had no claim to their land. Hence they were often dispossessed, sometimes after they had cleared the land and built a cabin. Others hung on for many years in the backward area, never having a real claim to their property until they received "squatter's rights," based on the assumption that possession is nine parts of the law.
Rhode Island, given to manufacturing of hardware, cutlery, and cloth, contributed little to the western migrations, her population in 1820 being 83,059 and 132,146 in 1840.
The state of Maine, with 3,200 square miles of lakes and 2,486 miles of waterline, was a land of rivers, marshes, and mountains. Piney growth covered most of the state, and the growing season was too short for peaches. There was some migration within New England to this northern wilderness as shown by the 1820 census, 298,269, and in 1840 there were 501,793. A good part of this population was concentrated along Maine's Atlantic Seaboard.
New Hampshire was settled early and its land was worn out by long use. It is an area of mountains and lakes, glacial drifts, and stone outcropping and boulders the size of houses. Great numbers of New Hampshire citizens sought new land in the movements after 1800. The 1820 population was 244,022. The 1840 census was 284,574.
Many thousands of acres of land were given to Revolutionary soldiers, militiamen, veterans of the War of 1812, and other public servants. Land could also be purchased from the government in newly opened areas, such as the Indian lands available after the Treaty of Greenville, 1795, and Paradise Springs, 1826, to name a couple. Much of this could be purchased for $1.00 or $1.25 per acre and had no restrictions as to use or occupancy as the later "homestead" lands did. The attraction of this low-priced land was tremendous, and younger sons, poor farmers, along with various enterprisers, hastened westward.
The distribution of the tribes from the Indian lands is interesting. After the Shawnees made peace after being defeated by General Wayne in 1795, they were removed from their home on the Scioto in Ohio and taken to the reservation in Missouri which was purchased from Spain, since this was before the Louisiana Purchase.
In 1829 the Hurons-Wyandots were so decimated by wars and disease that only 600 of this great tribe remained. They had settled in Oklahoma. The expansion of New England into mid-America was no wild west pageant but an orderly and controlled march of civilization. The newcomers brought with them a stable government with its town meeting, churches, schools, and colleges. Only the farthest outposts had forts, and these were abandoned as the Indians were removed and as the country built up.
The New Englanders were fine mechanics, millwrights, and builders, and soon neat white painted towns, often with the center green of New England, covered the land. The beautiful Greek Revival houses and public buildings, some of which still remain, show us their capabilities. Many towns carried the names of the settlers' early homes in New England. Amhurst, Andover, Bedford, Boston, Cambridge, Clinton, Groton, Goshen, Kingston, Medford, Manchester, Norwalk, Milford, Lisbon, Rockland, and Troy, among others in Massachusetts then appeared in Ohio and later in Iowa. The genealogists can often find a forebear's early home in a New England town of the same name as the home farther west.
In addition to our New England heritage there was a great infusion of Teutonic blood coming from the settlements and migration of Germans into Pennsylvania. This area was opened up by William Penn, an English Quaker, in 1682. He purchased the land from the Indians, although he had received an English grant for it from Charles II. Immediately he designated it for a religious refuge for the persecuted sects of all nations. As early as 1683 a large number of Germans of the Pentecostal faiths had arrived, along with Quakers, and by the early 18th century, many Scotch and Irish. Everyone was welcome.
During the Revolutionary War the British brought over 22,000 mercenary soldiers, mostly from Hesse-Cassel, Germany. The war was unpopular among many migrants. They fraternized with the military, and many Hessians deserted the British ranks and remained in Pennsylvania after the war, being assimilated into the German population. Since the soldiers were mercenaries and fighting for pay rather than their homeland, no special fault was attached to desertion. These names, Schamburg, Homburg, Keller, Reinhardt, Hanauer, Marburg(er), Shafer, Isenbarg(er), and Dietz, are those of some assimilated Hessians. A Hessian ancestor is not an uncommon find today.
Is there anyone here who doesn't have a Pennsylvania Dutch or German ancestor? This prolific race spread over mid-America and to this day our cooking and domestic practices bear the stamp of their customs. Think of all the things that you do like your ancestors. The ports of Philadelphia and Baltimore vied with New York as a gateway to America. The political upheavals in the German states contributed many capable citizens to our country. Some of these made their way to the western lands soon after their arrival. Also many Pennsylvanians joined the trek west. There is the story of the families from Lancaster, Pennsylvania, traveling down the National Road to Centerville, Indiana, and then through the forest to Wabash County. It took them as long to go from Centerville to Wabash County as it had to reach there from Pennsylvania via the National Road.
I well remember my grandmother, a young girl in the 1850's telling of the hordes of "movers" who arrived from the east every spring, traveling in covered wagons on their way west. Those going to western Ohio, Indiana, and eastern Illinois had herds of cattle, flocks of sheep and swine, all driven overland by the herdsmen. This ragtag army would descend on neat Ohio towns, tramping down the roadway, breaking down palings, and creating total confusion. Often they would camp in meadows outside the towns. If there were ill or injured among them, help would be asked of the townspeople, and this was often grudgingly given. No one recognized these dusty wanderers as the "heroic pioneers" of future novels, movies and television serials.
When we remember that Ohio had fewer than 4,000 inhabitants in 1790, and a population of 581,295 in the census of 1820, we can be aware of the tremendous effect of internal migration in the eastern part of our country. The Ohio census for 1840 was 1,519,467 and for 1860 was 2,339,511.
One of the considerable factors in interstate emigration was the series of canals built in the early part of the 19th century. The Erie Canal, the Ohio and Western Canals, and the Wabash and Erie Canal in our own area, greatly contributed to the expansion of this country and provided an outlet for agricultural products, the source of income for the early settler. The first canal boat reached Lagro, nine miles south of here, July 4, 1837. For 20 years the canal was a link to the outside world. It was then superseded by the railroad.
By the time of the Civil War (1861) the major migrations east of the Mississippi River had been completed, and home was where one lived and not someplace in Ohio, Pennsylvania, or New England. A new stability appeared, and a sense of place once more prevailed.
I hope with these remarks that I can interest you in some of the sense of the in-depth history and feelings of our country and to dig beneath the surface of legend, which someone has said is the "prettiest part of the truth."
Romeo and Juliet, 20th Century
By Elizabeth L. Hendrix "In the spring a young man's fancy"--- and a young woman's fancy, too! "Youngsters" at the nutrition center one day this week, started telling how they met their mates, and a real Romeo and Juliet story came to light. Only better, because this Romeo and Juliet weathered the ups and downs for some 69 years.
Juliet giggles like a teenager as she recalls the conditions that contributed to their elopement to Michigan in December of 1920. It seems that Romeo wasn't the young man her parents had picked out as a suitable husband for Juliet. Her family lived on a farm, and Romeo lived, and helped support his siblings, in town, and he had no car. When Juliet's work, helping take care of a small baby in town, ended, she returned to her parents home in the country; it was not possible to spend time together- so the only thing to do was get married!
How did girl meet boy in North Manchester in the 1920's? You strolled the streets of downtown; sometimes you pooled your money and went into the ice-cream store. Downtown was much different then. There were three or four groceries, two or three drug stores, a couple of dime stores, three or four department stores, a livery barn or two- almost no empty spaces. Homes had no refrigeration, so folks shopped more often, and going to town was a social event, as well as a necessity. Sidewalks were crowded with folks greeting one another and exchanging news and good wishes.
This is how our Juliet met her Romeo. A fortune teller at the fair that spring had told her she would meet her man and be married in five months. It was fate- why fight it?
Both sets of parents were sure it was not suitable, and tried to break up the romance. Juliet packed her suitcase and hid it under the front porch. It was a week before she could make her get-away. She packed a change of clothes, and lots of apples, so they'd have something to eat. Finally a girlfriend came out to get her. She left a note on her pillow for her sister and met Romeo at the train station.
The train only went to Elkhart, and they weren't sure how they'd get to St. Joe, Michigan! "We asked a policeman, and he looked at us kind of funny!" Juliet recalls. "I think we continued on an interurban." They did get to St. Joe, went to the courthouse, got their license, and were married by the judge before leaving the building.
Then to come back and face the families. They arrived at Elkhart prepared to board the train to North Manchester, but had money enough for only one ticket! Romeo urged Juliet to take the train, and he'd hitchhike, or get home the best way he could. That arrangement did not appeal to Juliet at all! So the station master held the train while he telephoned a business man in North Manchester. He assured the station master of the honesty of the couple, and said he personally would be good for the fare.
"Why did you run off?" Juliet's mother asked her, after recovering from the initial shock. "We would have given you a nice wedding!"
"But I know they wouldn't have," Juliet insists to this day.
And they lived happily ever after. Well, happily, but there were lots of ups and downs. They started housekeeping in one room for which they paid $2.50 a month. Juliet cooked on a kerosene two burner, washed on a washboard, and used a box in the window for a refrigerator.
Times were hard in the 20's and 30's but they struggled along, borrowed money to start a business, and paid off the debt in two years. There were health problems, serious ones, throughout the years, but with grit and determination and "helping each other" they weathered the storms. Juliet tells of giving a friend all the money they had ($1.75) and a spare tire to go to his father's funeral. "We knew we had food in the house, and Friday was payday, and we'd have money," she said.
Juliet laughed when I asked her secret for a long marriage. "We were too poor to separate," she said, with a giggle. On a more serious note she said it was truly a "marriage made in heaven" and they didn't worry about being poor, because they didn't know they were poor. "We appreciated what we got; we started out the hard way, and wanted to help others. The Lord was with us!" Juliet concluded.
North Manchester Nutrition Center is enriched by its Romeo and Juliet, who share their humor, their wisdom, their zest for life, and their concern for others. Romeo has succumbed to poor health and left a void which can't be filled. Juliet enters like a ray of sunshine. Sometimes she brings a box of cookies or a "little extra" to add to the menu. She always brings a quick wit, a joie de vivre, and an abiding faith. North Manchester's Romeo and Juliet have all the romance described by Shakespeare, and 69 years of demonstrating how it works! Their motto seems to be:
"Let me live in a house by the side of a road
And be a friend to man"
The American Hotel Fire
by Kelly Good, Angela Lucas, Andrea Shoemaker, Jessica Hicks,
Briana Thompson and Amanda Phillips
Manchester Elementary School
North Manchester, Indiana
The American Hotel fire was a major disappointment to Manchester. It was the first fire in the uptown part of North Manchester. A lot of hard work was involved. Women and men worked very hard to save the building.
The building was called the American Hotel. It was a ramshackle building, built in 1863, and no longer used for a hotel. One family continued to live in the building. During the 1800's wooden stoves were the only stoves they had. Well, the fire started because the chimney had all kinds of junk from the stove. It got the fire's attention and started the building on fire.
A salesman was walking down the road about 8:30 p.m. and saw the fire. He yelled, "Fire!" Everyone ran to the fire. That's when all the hard work took place. About 500 people gathered around the hotel. They were taking furniture out of the hotel. They threw dishes and pictures out of the window. In order to save other buildings, they threw water on top and around buildings. The water didn't help any. The fire dried all the water out of the wood and burned the building down to the ground.
The fire was very long. And only a few got hurt. One got hit on the head with a bucket, and some others got hurt because at one time they were on top of the roof to get the fire away. Well it was so poorly put together that as soon as they got on the roof it fell though. Only a couple men got hurt. One turned his ankle and another got his face burnt.
One of the townspeople telegraphed Wabash. They sent a trainload of 100 men and equipment. It took an hour and fifteen minutes to get there, but they got there with a lot of men to help, but it was too late. The American Hotel was gone.
There was a saloon in back full of wine and beer. In the early days after the fire, kids would skip school to see where the fire had been. A couple of boys found the beer. But before they got drunk, they got chased out.
The Matlock Plow
by Wesley Airgood, Robert Pittman, Robbie Bucher and Ben Barefoot
Manchester Elementary School
North Manchester, Indiana
Jefferson Matlock (known as Jeff) wanted to join the Union army.
"We need you on the farm," said his father. "Your sister can't plow," said his father. So Jeff didn't go.
He was plowing in a field on the Matlock farm when his friends came by. "We're going to Wabash to enlist for the army. They have a new regiment," they said. So Jeff unhitched the horse, hung the plow in a small sapling, and hit the horse which ran to the barn. He joined his friends to enlist and when he got there, because he had an education, they let him be Lt. Matlock of the 89th Regiment. In his first battle, he was taken prisoner at Murfordsville, Kentucky.
He was retained to Indianapolis and sent home on furlough where he married Marta Stone. He was taken to Memphis, Tennessee where he died of typhoid fever.
Sixty three years later a man named Verlie Arnette was squirrel hunting and found the plow stuck in an old tree. He asked the people who lived there. They'd never seen it.
He got two men who were making a museum and they found out how it happened.
The plow is now in the Wabash museum.