of the North Manchester Historical Society, Inc.
VOLUME XV, NUMBER 4 (NOVEMBER , 1998)
Compiled by Harry L. Leffel
During the year, 1940, The News Journal ran a series of articles called PIONEER REMINISCENCES compiled by Harry L. Leffel. The following has been gleaned from those columns.
The first couple married in Chester township was George Hapner and Elizabeth Simonton. Their license was issued by Col. William Steele first county clerk at Wabash December 26, 1835, and they were married by William Caldwell, justice of the peace, Jamuary 2, 1836. Their marriage occurred only a few months after Miss Simenton's father, John Simonton, Sr, and a group of relatives had come to Chester township from Preble County, Ohio. It is not known definitely, but it is believed Hapner was a member of this party, and that he and Elizabeth knew each other in Ohio. The name of Hapner does not appear in the early records about Wabash and Lagro and there were only a few other settlers in Chester township
Richard Helvey and James Abbott, Sr., had settled in 1834 and it is probable Peter Ogan had built his cabin some time in 1834 on the banks of Eel River. Simonton and his party arrived here October l, 1835. They came overland, using wagons and bringing all their possessions with them. In this party were Jacob Simonton and his family, oldest son of John, Sr., David Simonton, also married and John, Jr., and his wife. Robert Johnson Calhoun, father of young John's wife, and his family were also in the party.
They spent the first night on the south side of Eel River, probably where Riverside is now located, and the next day started "up the river" to the 160 acre farm the elder John Ogan had entered at the Fort Wayne
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|land office two years earlier. The date of this entry was October l4, 1833, and the fifth entry of Chester township land. Whether Ogan saw this land before he entered it, or whether he actually went to Fort Wayne from Ohio to make the transaction is not known. This land is the southwest quarter of Section 26, Township 30, Range 7 East, and the Pleasant Grove church, or "Lower Union" as it was first known was located on it. Later owners were Frederick Naber and later a Peden family.|
(Ed note: Fred Nabor became one of the major land owners in the area north of 114 and east of North Manchester. The Union church was in the southwest corner of his l60 acre farm. Simonton Creek went through the farm and flowed west into the Eel midway between Manchester and Liberty Mills.)
The younger Simontons wre not long in acquiring land of their own. Jacob entered 120 acres of the quarter east of his father's October l0, 1835. That was only the beginning. March 8, 1836 he obtained about 84 acres in the extreme east part of the township south of road 14. Other brothers gained land in a number of areas, mostly in Chester township with a few spots in Lagro township. Three Simonton brothers were early merchants in Liberty Mills, but continued to live on their farms and were essentially farmers. John, Jr was probably the first to carry mail regularly between Lagro and Liberty Mills. He followed a trail out of Lagro past the Catholic cemetery, and straight north to the plank road that John Comstock built from Liberty Mills to Huntington. That road was called the Mail Trace Road.
The Mill that Joseph Harter,Sr., erected in 1839 was succeeded by a better mill in 1843, and he operated this mill until 1851 when he retired and turned it to his sons, Jacob and Joseph H. Harter....The Harters sold the mill in 1864 to Peter King. During the next few years it passed through successive ownership until it was purchased by Daniel Strauss and Henry Arnold in 1872.
J. K. Lautzenhiser, one of the older residents, remembers the remnants of the old Ogan dam. He says it was built of brush, piled with the but ends upstream. Interwoven with the brush were stones and dirt. The Harters had only torn out part of the dam, and a considerable
portion of the water flowed through the race. In fact had the race not been filled later on near the covered bridge, it is very likely the river would have cut a new channel directly across instead of the roundabout bend that is the present channel. Ogan had to build an earthen bank on the south side of the covered bridge to keep the water from flowing south to Pony Creek.
Mr. Lautzenhiser recalls that as a boy he swam in the river and race many times. He recalls a big thorn tree that stood near the river at the point where the mill race started and of how it probably saved the life of John Ballenger, father of William Ballenger.
Leonard Brothers operated a butcher shop, and had their slaughter house on the island, between the race and the river to the west. The slaughter house was on the highest ground and was built some distance above the ground. In time of high water hogs that were kept on the island were driven into the slaughter house. On this occasion had risen rapidly and John Ballenger started in a boat to rescue the hogs. His boat was caught in the current where it divided into the mill race and the main stream. Undoubtedly the boat would have capsized had not Ballenger grabbed the thorn tree.
As he clung to the branches the boat was swept away, and Ballenger was stranded. His cries for help were heard by Carter Wallace and William Ford, and they rescued him in another boat. According to Mr. Lautzenhiser the Ogan mill stood near the site of the gasoline station on South Mill street and he distinctively remembers the old building.
The island was also frequently used a a circus ground and since there was no bridge across the mill race, the circus equipment was taken across at the place it was the shallowest. Presumably the young gallants taking their best girls to the circus carried them across the mill race. The late C. C. Winebrenner when he obtained that land about 1920 allowed people to haul trash into the race and it became the town dump. When it was full Mr. Winebrenner hauled in dirt and made a level field out of the ground.
Mahlon Frame and William Thorn his partner in many enterprises were contemporary in North Manchester with the Ogans and Harters. While Mr. Thorn was not associated with Frame in the mill the two
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|had formed a partnership in 1839 and operated a dry goods and grocery store on the site later occupied by the Landis drug store at the northwest corner of Main and Walnut street. Michael Knoop later became a partner and after a period of time Mr. Frame and Mr. Knoop retired. Thorn purchased as much stock as he could carry in a two horse wagon and took it to Iowa. A year year later he returned to North Manchester and again entered the mercantile business.|
A History of the Herbert L. Taylor Audubon Preserve during the five generations of the Taylor Family
by Jay A. Taylor
The Herbert L. Taylor Audubon Preserve contains the remaining acreage of a woods that was enjoyed by five generations of the Taylor family.
When George W. and Elizabeth Taylor and their son, Robert F. Taylor with wife Molly and eight children sold their small farm and truck patch respectively in Arcadia, OH. they bought 156 acres of land east of Liberty Mills, IN in 1903. More land was needed for the younger family would soon have a ninth child. The older Taylors moved to a home in Liberty Mills, and the younger family moved into a 5 room, story and a half, bungalow style house which was enlarged that year with a two story addition providing four more rooms and a partial basement for root storage. That improved house still stands about midway along the south edge of the farm.
The 156 acres was located in two counties and 4 separate quarter sections bounded on two sides by roads. The Eel River was the north boundary. There was 25 acres of woods on the farm. It is the history of the woods about which I write.
In a sense the woods and river along it were always a community place. By crawling over two fences and walking 1/8 mile from the east
edge of Liberty Mills anyone was able to crawl through the fence and enter the woods. Thus in mushroom season most days would find several persons turning over leaves looking for morels or elephant ears. Others came to view wild flowers. This writer remembers meeting Rose Martin hunting mushrooms one spring day. She stopped to show him how to create whistles from the green limb of a pawpaw bush. She tapped the bark to loosen it; slipped off the bark and opened up a sound chamber. Then she slipped the bark back on and adjusted the length of the out end of the twig to change the pitch of the whistle.
Now and then a man or boy would trap fur bearing animals or fish along the banks of the river. Bert Cordier kept a row boat in the back water of the Liberty Mills Dam and frequently "pushed" his oars to tend traps or fish along the edge of the woods.
Many winters the Taylor families were kept in honey by watching "bee trees" that were cut on a morning when the temperature was 20 degrees or lower. The honey was taken to the house to be extracted. About 1950 Byron Taylor had spotted such a tree west of the drainage ditch near the river. I was home for the Thanksgiving break from college on a morning that was cold enough to stop normal activity in the hive. The family owned a two-man Mall chain saw like those developed by the Army Corp of Engineers for use during the Second World War. It had a 36 inch cut. I was operating the saw by holding handle bars projecting out from the engine like the handles of a wheel barrow. At the other end was a single handle held by brother Robert J. Taylor. We had started well below the opening used by the bees and were cutting off blocks of stove wood while watching for evidence of honey. Finally in the middle of a cut bees began to appear. They were sluggish enough to offer no trouble until my partner lifted up his end of the saw with a jerk. Several bees landed on my face which was warm enough to inspire them to go into the fight mode. After two days with swollen eyes I shared the joy of honey with the rest of the family.
The woods had about 500 sugar maple trees in 1904. There was an abundance of elm trees, and in 1924 hickory elm became one of the main timbers in the barn erected to replace one lost by fire that year. During the 1932 syrup season the fuel for syrup making came from the woods supplemented by discarded ties from the adjacent railroad. A
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wood lot was always important for fencing, gates, framing lumber and fuel.
When Byron Taylor moved to the farm in 1932 the woods took on added importance. As Robert F. Taylor grew older he had not actively pursued live stock husbandry. Soils were quite depleted and only a few acres could be pastured by live stock. White oaks were cut, taken to the mill, sawed and used for fence posts to carry lots of three-strand barb wire fences. White oak, although as dependable as any in the woods, still were bound to rot off at the ground level within approximately ten years. A variety of trees were also cut to create a crib approximately 16 x 20 by 7 foot high on which wheat and oats straw was blown at each threshing time to create a tramp shed and winter protection for cattle. The cattle tramped the straw during the winter and in the spring it was spread on the fields to provide fertilizer. Additional fences required gates, and these were created by taking logs to be sawed into rough lumber. The gates were heavy, but serviceable.
A gravel pit was dug along side the drainage ditch in the woods to provide gravel for improvement of the drives and lanes. A variety of Indian artifacts were uncovered as many loads of gravel were used.
The river was the summer bath tub for the males of the family. Until professional trash removal became a reality the river bank was the depository for broken dishes, tin cans, discarded fencing and Fords, as the relic on the west end of the woods still attests. Black raspberries and blackberries were plentiful enough along the east edge of the woods to provide for eating and canning. Walnuts and butternuts were available in the fall of most years.
The sugar camp was opened in 1905 by Robert Taylor. He borrowed $65.00 from his oldest son, Grover, and with other resources purchased an evaporator, pails, spiles and constructed a building in which to carry on the operation. From 1932 until 1939 during the author's contact with the sugar camp about 650 pails were hung. Syrup was made each year from the smallest quantity on a poor year of l50 gallons to the most prosperous year when 515 gallons of syrup were made.
Lack of fuel became an issue, since 40 gallons of maple sap had to be evaporated to create one 12-pound gallon of syrup. The adjacent railroad was so poorly maintained during the depression era that it provided few discarded railroad ties suitable for fueling the evaporator. The Erie Railroad had a very aggressive maintenance program each summer but ties were supposed to be stacked and burned. Section bosses, however, were quite cooperative. With the gift of a couple of gallons of syrup, they let the Taylor crew "steal" discarded ties left near the fence a day or so before burning. The family during the August lull in farming boarded a team adjacent to the track section being improved, acquired access and trucked the discarded ties back to the farm. Once the process was established the goal was to dry them for 18 months. By cutting a 16-inch block out of the center the two ends were the proper length for the fire box of the evaporator. In later years those two cuts on each tie were made with a special heavy duty saw blade. After 50 cuts the first blade was removed and a second one installed. While the crew ate lunch the sawyer, usually Roy Taylor, sharpened both saw blades for another 50 cuts each. The properly cut ties were split in about six to eight pieces during December and January and placed in the attached woodshed of the sugar house.
Making syrup was a very labor intensive procedure. The holding cistern, evaporator, pans, pails and all had to be scrubbed at the beginning of the season. Only hard maple trees were tapped. Trees were drilled for one to four spiles depending on the size of the tree.
The best sugaring weather happens when nights are significantly below freezing and days are warm enough to bring sap up the tree trunk. The north side of the tree was avoided because many days it would not be warm enough for sap to flow. A good tap during a good run would drip about three gallons of sap a day
Extensive rain or thaws required pails to be removed, and rehung if/or when proper sap-producing weather returned. In the author's memory there were times the evaporator ran 24 hours a day except on Sunday for two weeks at a time. In 24 hours approximately three batches of eight gallons each would be finished off, strained and sealed in gallon cans.
A kerosene lantern was the only illumination in the early years.
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With the cloud of steam always rising from the process this left much to be desired at night. During the last few years of operation lighting was much improved with a Maytag washing machine, two cycle engine belted to a six volt auto generator and storage battery to provide power for two bare bulbs. A lantern was still required as a back-up for the wood shed or in case the mechanical apparatus failed.
These descriptions may make the operation sound like a dreary time of drudgery. A great deal of socializing took place during the syrup season. Evenings and week ends saw a fairly constant flow of visitors to watch the evaporation process and visit. Sunday school classes came to watch. Friends would come by car and on foot to watch, chat and sample hot maple syrup. Since samples were free from a common dipper the unsuspecting person was usually warned that fresh, warm, maple syrup didn't always proceed through the digestive system in an orderly fashion.
In the strict religious home only "Old Maid" and "Flinch" were allowed as card games to be played in the farm house. At the sugar camp when the younger Taylors were giving their dad a break a wider variety of card games were only interrupted to stoke the fire and skim off the foam and pump up sap from the cistern. Inquisitive visitors even seemed to enjoy working the cistern pump to bring sap up to the tank from which it automatically flowed into the evaporator pans.
Much of the marketing was to local customers. Some kept a running order for the "first run," because they wanted light colored, mild flavored syrup. Others didn't mind later runs which were a darker color with more intense flavoring. Occasionally larger quantities of syrup were wholesaled or sold by family members in distant locations. This was an important cash crop during a period when cash was scarce. Rex Lukenbill, Elkhart, who often spent time helping his grandparents remembers hearing his grandma, Mrs. Robert R. Taylor tell that in 1918 the syrup run was so good, and so much syrup was sold at $1.50 per gallon that the farm was required to pay income tax for the first time.
Robert F. Taylor acquired the entire farm in 1923 at the death of his father. He experienced uninsured losses that left him with a large mortgage even after he retired. In 1939 he sold the 80 acres of land
with the woods to Minear Lumber Co., Warsaw who especially wanted the maple and other hardwoods. That sale cleared the rest of the farm indebtedness.
Byron Taylor, who rented the farm beginning in 1932 continued to farm. In addition he bought the hardwood tree tops for $200.00 and sold hundreds of cords of fine stove wood. In 1942 the Minear Co. wanted to get out of the farming business and sold the 80 acres to Byron Taylor. Two years later he bought the 76 acres from his father and once again the entire property was under the ownership and care of the Taylor family
The sugaring house was no longer needed and was razed. The south half of the woods was so decimated that it was returned to farm land.
When Byron and Hazel Taylor needed care the farm was exchanged for life care at The Peabody Home in 1971. The woods and certain areas in Kosciusko County were not needed by the new owner, Dean Buyers, who then offered two parcels for sale. He encouraged a member of the Taylor Family to buy the land. Herbert Taylor cherished the woods and purchased it and the easement to access it.
As Herbert became increasingly incapacitated he donated the woods to the Tippecanoe Audubon Society. Once again it is being increasingly used as a woods where young people learn about the environment and where people of every age can find inspiration and enjoyment.
Flats $6.00 per bushel at Bolinger Farm Equipment
Taken from the
BIOGRAPHICAL MEMOIRS OF
WABASH COUNTY, INDIANA
Published in Chicago l901
Philip Shaffer, M.D. an old and reliable physician and surgeon of North Manchester, practicing his profession continuously since 1862, was born in Stark County, Ohio, September 22,1834. He was reared to agricultural pursuits and remained on his father's farm in the above state until about nineteen years old, when he accompanied his parents to Whitley County, IND., where he continued to till the soil until the age of twenty-four. Meantime young Shaffer concluded to enter the medical profession and about 1859 began a course of preliminary reading in the office of Dr. F.S.C. Grayston, of Huntington, under whose instruction he continued until entering the Lynn University, now the Chicago Medical College, and, after taking one course, went to Bracken, Huntington County, where he began the practice of medicine, which he continued at that place until 1863, when he entered the Rush Medical College of Chicago from which he was graduated in 1864.(The length of this sentence is in contrast to the brevity of medical training. ed)
He then returned to Bracken, Ind., and resumed his practice for a short time, then moved to Liberty Mills, in the county of Wabash, which he made his location for several years, meeting with good success in the meantime. From the above town the Doctor went to Elkhart County and located at Wakarusa. Here he again resumed his practice and remained until 1873, then removed to Bracken, Huntington County, where he resided until 1881 , then moved to North Manchester, Wabash County.
On locating in this city, Dr. Shaffer at once forged to the front as a successful practitioner and has ever since sustained that reputation, as is attested by the extensive business he built up and the high esteem in which he is held by the people in a large area of territory.
The Doctor has had a long and eminently satisfactory career, during which he has ministered relief to thousands of suffering mortals, earning a reputation for skill and efficiency which has
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brought him to the favorable notice of the leading medical men throughout the northern part of the state. While a long time in the practice and remarkably busy in responding to the numerous calls upon him for professional service, the Doctor has never permitted himself to fall behind the onward march of professional thought, and he stands today among the progressive physicians in a county noted for the high order of its medical talent. He was long a member of the medical societies of Huntington, Elkhart and Wabash counties, not a nominal member merely, but an active participant in their deliberations.
Believing that a physician should not be too closely tied to his profession, that is, to the exclusion of other matters of importance, the Doctor has long been a man of public spirit, deeply interested in the progress of the country and a factor in promoting the prosperity of the city of his residence. In politics he long ago manifested more than passing interest and voted with the Republican party from its organization in 1894. Not agreeing with its attitude on certain great questions, he repudiated it in that year and has since affiliated with the party of the opposition, though by no means a partisan in the sense of aspiring to official honors at the hands of his fellow citizens.
In matters religious he entertains decided views with the courage to express them when he finds it necessary so to do. He believes in being Christian only, consequently rejects all man-made creeds and statements of faith and worships with the Christian church, with which he has long been identified.
Dr. Shaffer was joined in marriage the first time in Huntington county to Miss Mary Ann Smith, who died in North Manchester on the 24th day of April, 1896, at the age of sixty years. The children born to this union are as follows: Michael; Lydia E. wife of Martin V. Kesler; William H; and one that died in infancy. The Doctor's second marriage occurred on the lst of July, 1897, when Mrs. Elizabeth Abbott, widow of the late Rev. George Abbott, of North Manchester, became his wife.
As a citizen the Doctor is highly respected by all classes of people is held by the community is a compliment to his worth. He is a man of sound judgment and unswerving integrity, and as far as known no
breath of suspicion has ever attached to his character, nor has the rectitude of his intentions ever been called in question by captious critic or chronic fault-finder. His life has been read to his fellow men, and it is a more appropriate epitaph than cherished inscription on marble shaft or granite obelisk.
The Doctor has always been very kind to the poor in his profession doing much charity practice for the worthy poor, of which he never exacted a dollar, and also having been imposed on to a large sum by professional deadbeats. While he is not a wealthy man, the Doctor has accumulated a sufficient amount of this world's goods to place him in easy and comfortable circumstances the remainder of his life.
The following is a list of the business firms of the town whom we can recommend to you.
Lawrence National Bank, Capital and Surplus, $125,000.; Union Trust Company, Banking, Insurance, Notary Work.; Indiana State Bank General Banking.; Heeter's Store Staple and Fancy Groceries, Meats.; M.W. Clark, 702 Walnut Street - Pure Food Store.; Daniel Sheller Cash Grocery and Bakery.; C.O. Warner Meat Market.; J. M. Jennings and SonGroceries and Produce.; Wonderly and Reiff Groceries and Meats; Stands Brothers and LenwellThe White Grocery; J.K. Lautzenhiser Meat Market.; The Morris 5 and 10 cent StoreNotions, Aluminum and Granite Ware, Prices Right.; H. E. Lautzenhiser Good Eats.; Ebbinghaus Brothers Anything you want in Footwear.; A. C. Wolfe General Footwear.; Hiester's Dry Goods of Quality Main Street.; Chas. Garber--College Campus EDESCO Made-to-Measure Clothes.; B. Oppenheim & Co. Dry Goods, Clothing, Shoes.; Gresso's Complete Department Stores.; Manchester Bonnet Co. Full Line of Millinery Stock.; The Tog ShopTailoring, Cleaning and Pressing.; Urschel's Department
|Store.; Ademar Rufle Jeweler and Optometrist.; J. Lavey & Son Jewelers.; S. Burkett Real Estate and Farm Loans.; Clevinger & King All Kinds of Insurance.; L. D. WrightReal Estate and Insurance.; Isenberger & Fleming Law and Real Estate.; A.B. Thomas Real Estate and Insurance.; Gump Bros. & Paulus Furniture Funeral Directors.; Geo. N. Bender Funiture Dealer Funeral Director.; S.P. Swank Modern Shoe Repairing.; Your money brings the most in School Supplies, Drugs and Music at Burdge's(Okeh Records, Famous Sonora}.; A.F. Sala Drugs Rexall Store.; J.B. Williams Drugs, Toilet Articles.; Naftzger & Co. Hardware, Bicycles, Aluminum and Cutlery.; Frames' Quality Hardware.; O.H. Bollinger & Co. Implements, Hardware and Harness.; J.B. Lockwood Furnaces, Sheet Metal Work.; Dr. Pinney, Osteopath, Walnut Street, just off Main.; F. W. Walters, D.C., West Main; E. L. Lautzenhiser, Chiropractor, 610 Walnut.; Dr. G. E. Wright, Dentist; C. F. Kraning, Dentist Modern Methods, X-Ray Service.; Dr. Ralph E. Cottrell, Eye Specialist.; Dr. Emma Holloway, Office West Main.; C. H. Risser, Dentist and X-Ray Service, Office West Main.; G. D. Balsbaugh, M. D., West Main Street.; Earl J. Cripe. B. E., M.D., Physician and Surgeon.; The R. L. Dollings Co. Investment Bankers Represented by G. L. Allen,; Office Dr. Risser Building.; Hotel Young, West Main.; Hotel Sheller, Walnut Street.; Ohlinger & Warvel, FORD Cars, Fordson Tractors.; Nichols City Transfer Wabash Line 2 trips daily.; The Auto Tire Shop, Second Street.; O. G. Haupert Auto Livery, Accessories.; Conner & Fleck Garage, Walnut Street.; Eel River Valley Creamery Co. Buyers of Cream.; J. W. Strauss & Son Coal, Flour, Feed,; Farmer's Elevator Co.; Acme Grain Co. Flour, Feed, Coal.; Blick's Barber Shop.; V. S. Huffman Bank Barber Shop.; Ulery Tyler Lumber Co.; Frantz Lumber Co.; Manchester Lumber Co.; Peabody School Furniture Co.; The North Manchester Foundry.; S.S. Cox Showcase Co.; Baldwin Tool Works.; The North Manchester Concrete Co. Silos.; C.E. Ruppel Electrical Work.; "The Syracuse Line," Cedar Chests; Harry White Greenhouses Market Street.; Blickenstaff's Studio, 107 Main Street.; Rice's Studio, Walnut Street.|