“Laketon Platted” and “Laketon and
Ijamsville Joined” in Weesner, History of Wabash County
On September 8, 1836, Laketon was
platted by Hugh Hanna, Isaac Thomas and J.D. Cassatt.
This was the first town laid out away from the Wabash
River, and it was the ambition of its proprietors to
make it a rival of North Manchester as a trading center
in the Eel River Valley. There were ninety lots lying
near the river on the north side, and the streets were
Pottawatomie, Spring, Main, Mill and Tamarack, north and
south, and Eel, Wabash, Lake and Wayne east and west.
Additions were afterward made by S.P. Petrie and I.R.
The site of the old Laketon is a
level and beautiful tract, with Round Lake at the west
and Long Lake at the northwest. A mile west, on Silver
Creek, James Cox established a grist mill, or corn
cracker, about the time the town was platted. William
Johnson and Ira Burr were the first merchants of the
place, and within a few years a blacksmith shop was
built and several dwellings appeared, while along in the
‘80s it had a number of stores, a schoolhouse (District
No. 12), and a newspaper. The last-named, the Laketon
Herald, was established in 1883 by Charles A. Richards,
then a veteran printer who had been “at the case” for
over sixty years.
Soon after the completion of the
Detroit, Eel River & Illinois Railroad, in 1873, Daniel
Van Buskirk laid out South Laketon, south of the river,
as an addition to the original town, a mile to the
north. In 1874 Mr. Van Buskirk established a large
general store, and in the same year Philip & Thomas Ijam
set a saw mill in operation. Not long afterward they
gave their family name to the postoffice established at
the new addition, which was long known as Ijamsville or
South Laketon and is now designated by the former name.
Mr. Van Buskirk, however, continued
to be perhaps the strongest moving force at South
Laketon, operating at times a sawmill, a blacksmith shop
and a tile factory. Among the other early industries was
the brickyard of F.H. Williamson, established in 1880,
and the shingle factory of George W. Harter, started in
1881. For many years the Ohmart family has been a strong
factor in the progress of Laketon—Abram, Jacob and J.E.
Ohmart, the last named being a present-day resident of
the pace. In 1883 the Chicago & Atlantic Railroad was
completed through Pleasant Township, running between
Ijamsville and Laketon.