Source: NMHS Newsletters, Aug-Nov 1994.

North Manchester's Neighbors - towns of this area.

Packerton came into being as a railroad town in 1882. It was laid out by John C. Packer following the construction of the New York, Chicago and St.Louis Railroad. I.N. Lucas opened a hardware store and built the town's first brick home in 1883. Other early settlers were L.C. Wiltshire who was a druggist and William Walther who operated a hotel.


The town of LaGro was incorporated on June 25, 1859.


The village of LaFontaine in the southern part of Liberty Township is named for the Indian Chief of the Miamis, Francis LaFontaine. His Indian name was Topeah. His mother was Miami and his father was French. He was born near Ft. Wayne and spent his early life there. When he was twenty-one years old, he married one of the daughters of Chief Richardville. At the chief's death he was made head of the tribe and moved to the Forks of the Wabash, near Huntington. In the fall of 1846 he accompanied some members of his tribe to their western reservation and he died on the way back. From all accounts he was a man of striking appearance and in later years he weighed about three hundred pounds. He always dressed in Indian style.


The platting of Roann was laid out by Joseph Beckner in June of 1853. The surveying had been done by Elijah Hackelman. In that same year, Mr. Beckner who owned much of the land in the area sold out to Mr. Hackelman. He opened the first store and established a sawmill.

The postoffice was opened in 1860 with John F. Baker as Postmaster. Roann's existence did not seem certain, however, until the railroads reached town. By the early 1880's the town was a brisk little village with a population of 600 people. There were l00 dwellings, several churches and a schoolhouse. By 1910 the population was 447.

An elevator was erected in 1871 by David Smith. In 1900 the Lewis Bros became the proprietors. The Exchange Bank of Roann was established in 1882. The Methodist Church was formed sometime before 1873 and the United Brethren organized in 1859. The Universalists organized their progressive wing in1881. Early pastors of the Methodist church included Hosea Woolpert, J. J. Cooper, L.W. Munson, C. U. Wade, and David McElwee.

The school was established in 1900 and another wing was added in 1914. Superintendent of the Roann school in 1914 was J. Elmer Landis. The Principal was Laura E. Lynn and J.M. Wagoner was the trustee.


Pierceton was laid out in 1852 by Lewis Keith and John B. Chapman and named in honor of President Franklin Pierce. Chapman was a small businessman who operated a general merchandise store from his log house. The town grew and had three frame buildings by 1853.

A post office was established in 1854 with O. P. Smith as its first postmaster. The town's first doctor was William Hayes who arrived in 1855. Thirty years later Dr. Hayes purchased the Presbyterian Church and converted it into an opera house with a seating capacity of 400.

Pierceton went through an incorporating procedure in 1866.

The town's first brick school building was constructed in 1870 and the Alert Fire Company Number One was organized in 1876. The fire company was supported by over forty volunteer firefighters.


Laketon was platted by Hugh Hanna, Isaac Thomas and J.D. Cassett. This was the first town that was not laid out on a river and it was the ambition of the founders to make it a rival for North Manchester and a large trading center. James Cox had established a grist mill on Silver Creek, a mile west, but the first merchants were William Johnson and Ira Burr.

Within a few years there were a few stores and a blacksmith shop. In the1880's it had a school house and a newspaper, The Laketon Herald, established in 1883 by Charles A. Edwards, an experienced printer.

In 1873 the Detroit, Eel River and Detroit Railroad was completed. South Laketon, an addition, was then laid out by Mr. Van Buskirk. This was called Ijamsville or South Laketon. By 1914 Laketon was still a small town with a flour mill, a depot for the Standard Oil Works, a good union school and six teachers. A state bank was organized in 1912. In 1914 the officers were Jacob Miller, President, Quincy A. Earl, Vice-President and George F. Ogden, cashier.

North Manchester's Neighbors -- towns of this area
Continued from the August 1994 Newsletter

Silver Lake

Silver Lakeville was the original name given to North Manchester's northern neighbor when it was surveyed and platted by Jacob Paulus in 1859. Jacob and his brother, Daniel, were Silver Lake's first merchants. They sold general merchandise out of a log house and Daniel was the first postmaster with the store doubling as a post office.

The first drug store in town opened in 1868 under the ownership of Elisha Worley. Four years later Dr. Daniel E. Terry became the first physician to serve the community.


Claypool dates its origin to May l0, 1873 when the town was drawn out by John and Nelson Beigh. The name comes from a postoffice which had operated in the area on a farm owned by Joshua Caldwell since the 1840's.

The town enjoyed steady growth and had a brick school by 1878 and a United Brethren church in 1884. The Grangers, an agricultural reform group operated a store there in the 1880's.

South Whitley

South Whitley is the oldest town in Whitley County being platted by Joseph Parrett in 1838. The community was named Springfield and that remains its legal name even though it is never used.

The Parrett family dominated South Whitley's early history. John Parrett opened the first hotel in town in 1837 and David Parrett was named the first postmaster in 1837 also. David served as a school teacher during summer months.

South Whitley enjoyed the services of five physicians and one lawyer by 1875. Robert Emerson opened one of the first area newspapers in 1887 calling it the Whitley County News.


Servia was originally known as New Madison but had its name changed when the Erie Railroad arrived in 1883. The name was changed to Servia because Indiana had another Madison which caused great confusion to the railroads and postal clerks. At one time the Servia depot and railroad provided the main source of income for the community. The depot became an important shipping base for milk produced in the area.

For many years a school was operated for elementary students who later transferred to Chester for junior high and high school classes. The area is now part of the consolidated Manchester Community School system.

Servia once rested its fame on an annual liar's contest which doubled as an annual homecoming event for former residents. Contestants came from neighboring communities and states for the good company and humorous tales. At the same time the liar's contests were being held other events also took place to amuse the considerable crowds which visited the town.


The town of Urbana was laid out by James M. Wright, William Richards and Samuel Willman. It was surveyed by James L. Knight and recorded by William Steele, recorder of Wabash County. A sawmill and a shoe shop were the first businesses. Several years later a blacksmith shop, a wagon shop and a shoe shop appeared. The settlement was not very successful until the railroad touched it in 1874. This was the Cincinnati, Wabash and Michigan.

After the completion of the railroad, Charles Miller built a depot. Simultaneously he was a merchant, grain shipper and postmaster. In the early 1880's the town had saw and grist mills, two resident physicians, two meeting houses (the Evangelical and Brethren) and perhaps 30 dwellings and about 150 people.


The small community of Collamer, on Indiana 14 west of South Whitley, was surveyed by John Arnold and the plat filed by R. Miller in the summer of 1846. The name given was originally Millersburg. The site was selected because of convenient location to the Wabash and Erie Railroad and the Eel River.

By the 1880's it was a thriving town with a gristmill, a sawmill, two general stores, a drug store, a boot and shoe store, a grade school, a Christian Church, a physician and a post office.


Sidney was born in the fall of 1881 when the east and west branches of the Nickel Plate Railroad met a half mile west of town. In the first year, Gus Boltz built a sawmill -- the first business house in the area. Later that same year Dan Snell built a home and Radcliff, McNamara and Co. opened Sidney's first general store.

Things picked up for the town in 1882 with the arrival of Frank B. Moe and his hardware store along with William Klingel's harness shop. Medicine also came to Sidney that year, with Dr. T. A. Lancaster opening a general practice which lasted until 1886. Drs. S. C. Loring and G. B. Hoopengarner also setup shop in Sidney with the latter opening the town's first drugstore.

E.M. Radcliff was the first Sidney postmaster in 1882 when the federal mail system came to the then-booming Indiana town.

By the mid-l880's Sidney sported a pair of general stores, a post office, two sawmills, two doctors and a school with two teachers and l00 pupils.

As the railroad prospered in the last decade of the 19th century, so did Sidney. Two new doctors had arrived in town -- Dr. J. L. Warvel and Dr. T.
Dorsey. And William Fifer's bottling works was busily turning out soft drinks. By 1890 three churches and two saloons courted the populace of the town. And with a population of over 300, Sidney entertained itself with a town band and an amusement park.

In the midst of this sprawling community Harley Ulrey operated a private detective agency and Strauss Hardware opened its doors. At the turn of the century, the Sidney Courier struck up its weekly presses.

Sidney was incorporated in August of 1914 and the first town board members were Fred Grisso, William Mendel and E. P. Tridle. The first town clerk was Adam Grisso and Melvin Doub was the first marshal. The first new industry entering the newly incorporated town was Knox Pickles and Preserving Company which employed about 35 persons.

A. T. Ronk operated the first monopoly in Sidney with his power plant. Built in 1917, the plant sold power to the town. Sidney obtained its first motorized fire fighting vehicle in 1926 --a Model T. Ford driven by fire chief Fred Jellison. As the railroad diminished in importance through the 20th century, Sidney also lost its "boom air." It has become, over the years, a closely-knit family town with a single general store and without Knox Pickling and Preserving Company. In 1973 the old section of the school was razed leaving a newer rear section standing. The town's high school basketball team had been swallowed years before by consolidation.

And so, Sidney is left clean and quiet along State Road 13.

Source: News-Journal, August 16, 1973, Centennial Section

 Former towns - Rose Hill, Elko, Bolivar, Newton and Massilion.

While the population of Wabash county has increased considerably in the past 100 years, the number of towns in the county has actually decreased.

Towns such as Rose Hill, Elko, Bolivar, Newton and Massilion are now little more than a memory for the oldest citizens of the area.

These early towns once existed in the North Manchester area but died out because of improvements in transportation and communication. In some cases early towns were officially platted but never materialized as settled communities.

Elko once existed on the Lagro-Chester Township line about four miles east of Urbana on St. Rd. 16. The town was first called Pleasant View but the name changed with the establishment of a post office. The first business in Elko was a blacksmith shop which was established around 1869.

No signs of the community exist any longer as the last building burned to the ground in 1935 on the night before Thanksgiving.

Rose Hill was a railroad town located on the Wabash-Kosciusko county line in Pleasant Township. The town originated as a post office when the Cincinnati, Wabash and Michigan Railroad was built through Wabash County in 1872. At one time there were about ten houses, stores, a blacksmith shop, saw mill and grain storage area.

As many as six passenger trains a day used to go through the old community. Passengers wishing to board the trains at Rose Hill would flag down a passing train and get on board.

The village of Bolivar was located south of North Manchester east of the overhead bridge on Highway 13. Except for the railroad there wasn't much activity in Bolivar but at one time a post office, a store, a church and
several homes were located there.

Another railroad town called Newton was located in Pleasant Township at the junction of the Erie and the Penn Central Railroads. The town was established in 1883 and had a railroad round house, a tower, two hotels and a depot.

Not much is recorded about Massilion which was located in Pleasant Township on or near the Lukens Lake road west of Laketon. It was platted on Nov 21, 1839 by Michael Rugh and J. Shellenberger but it apparently never became settled.

Source: North Manchester Journal, September 23, 1909

No School at Disko. The flourishing little village of Disko, seven miles west of here, is without a school this season, and the pupils are being hauled to various country schools near there to get their education. The old building was condemned some time ago, and there was some talk of building a new one, but nothing has been done. Disko is divided by the county line, but the old school building stood on this side of the line. Now the pupils in Pleasant township are being hauled from town out to the country schools near there, while those on the west side of the line are taken into Fulton and Miami counties.