The Prairie Lives by Dr. L. Z. Bunker

General Tipton, writing in this area in the 1830’s told us, “the Prairie begins on the west bank of the Tippecanoe River and extends uninterrupted to the Rocky Mountains.”  No more than 25 miles or so from the Tippecanoe ourselves, we can consider ourselves at the beginning of the prairie.

Many of the lovely prairie flowers still bloom in this area.  A little search on the back roads, near out-of-the-way ponds and meadows will show us these.  All of these, except the lady’s slipper, have been seen blooming near North Manchester in the past several years.

In the  spring we see pussy willows, buttercups, anemones, spring beauties, Dutchman’s breeches, violets, purple, blue, yellow and white, crow’s feet, dog tooth trillium, mayapple, hepaticus, and the illusive lady’s slipper, our true American orchid.

Come summer there are wild roses, butterfly weed, cardinal flowers, ironweed, many asters, daisies, water lilies, tiger lilies, turk’s cap lilies, jimson and occasionally the several-foot-high Kansas gay feather with its lovely lavender flowers.  All this on a background of innumerable grasses, sedges, and native hay.

In damp wooded areas one still finds pennyroyal, ginseng, and yellow root.  Several plants brought to this country by the Pilgrims, such as bouncing Bet, butter and eggs, and some wild roses, are not included in this list, for they have spread all over the country.

Do not damage the roots of these lovely native flowers in whom the prairie of our forefathers lived on.

The Buckeye Cookbook by Dr. L. Z. Bunker

Almost everyone in northern Indiana had come from Ohio or had relatives there, and there was continuous communication.  Hence, when the Buckeye Cookbook was published in 1876, it had a wide circulation in this area.

It was dedicated “To the plucky housewives of 1876 who mastered their work, instead of allowing it to master them.  “Four hundred sixty-four pages later there was hardly a household recipe or situation not included.  Here are several which are suitable to today’s living:

Cream Pie
Beat thoroughly together the white of one egg, half teacup of sugar, one tablespoon of flour.  Add a teacupful of half and half milk.  Bake with a bottom crust and grate nutmeg on top.

Iced Apples
Pare and core one dozen large apples.  Fill with sugar, butter and a little nutmeg.  Bake till nearly done.  Pour off juice.  Ice with cake icing and brown lightly.  Serve with cream.

Veal with Oysters
Two pounds of veal cut in thin bits, dredge with flour, fry in hot lard.  When nearly done, add 1-1/2 pints of oysters.  Thicken with a little flour and season with salt and pepper.  Cook till well done.  Serve very hot in a covered dish.

Mince Meat
Two bowls chopped apples.  One of chopped boiled beef.  Quarter pound of suet.  Grated rind and juice of one lemon.  Two teacups molasses, one large teaspoon each of cinnamon and cloves, one nutmeg, one pound raisins, half pound currants, quarter pound citron, one quart cider, sugar and salt to taste.

Roast Turkey
After picking and singeing the turkey, dip three times in hot water, then three times in cold water.  Wipe dry and stuff with bread crumbs (not using crusts) moistened with butter, two eggs, seasoned with salt, pepper, parsley, sage, thyme, or sweet majoram.  Sew up, skewer.  Place to roast on a rack over a dripping pan.  Baste frequently with butter, pepper, salt and water.  A few minutes before it is done, glaze with the white of an egg.

Make gravy of the giblets.  Serve in a gravy boat.  Garnish the turkey with fried oysters and serve it with delicious celery sauce and tangy steamed gooseberries.

Brown a large onion, sliced with a slice of bacon.  Cut up two quarts of tomatoes, slice thin one quart of okra.  Add some parsley.  Add three quarts of water and cook three hours, adding salt and pepper to taste.

Graduates Distinguish Old Bippus High School by Dell Ford

Bippus High School graduated its last class in 1958.  Because it served the tiny community of some 300 in the northwestern corner of Huntington County, the high school classes from the opening in 1898 to that final year just over three decades ago were small, maybe even infinitesimal by today’s big city standards.

In the 60 years that there was a Bippus High, 530 young men and women were awarded the diploma that characteristically concluded the carefree days of youth and heralded the era of adulthood.  That 530 averages to something more than eight per year, a figure which doesn’t begin to compare with the hundreds now being graduated from Fort Wayne high schools.

But big things do come in small packages, and Bippus can be proud of the education it made available to its sons and daughters.  The reason can be summed up in one word: success.

Although there is no longer a high school in Bippus (the building that served as its final home, Warren Township Grade School, built in 1916, was sold at auction in March 1969 for $3,050), the old grads still gather to reminisce as old grads will at an occasional reunion.

The medical doctor from Wabash who had started out in business education, turned to math and much later concluded his ultimate desire was the practice of medicine, accepted the Herculean task of tracking down the graduates who  had scattered over the years.  Illness interrupted but did not end his research.  What he finally came up with is a tribute to his dedication to thoroughness.  “In my profession,” he explained,” you have to be thorough, you have to be perfect.  And I did my darnedest to include everyone and everything.”

He didn’t miss a trick.  He wrote to many of the graduates, sent mimeographed forms to others, asking for information about members of their particular classes.  He produced one large, manila envelope stuffed with “personal responses” of those to whom he had written.  A line on one of these responses notes: “Sorry.  I’ve done nothing spectacular, although I understand our school does have a record to be proud of.”

Still another envelope, bearing the fruits of Dr. Steffen’s hours of labor of love was labeled “classmates.”

This envelope too held replies from Bippus graduates.  A woman, providing information on her class of 1936, wrote (with what must have been a great deal of pleasure and a feeling of good fun), “None are on relief, no one is considered a ‘hippie,’ and, of course, as was the usual case, we are all just a good bunch of kids!”

In the third envelope, labeled “statistics,” the Wabash physician had provided the number of bachelor degrees held by the 530 graduates, 55; master degrees, 25; doctoral degrees, 11.  He noted that five were registered nurses and that total number of years in college by those who took their secondary training in Bippus High was an astounding 472.  In addition, as of 1968, 811 years had been contributed to teaching professions.

Fifteen Recognized in Their Field

The most interesting file was one called “distinguished.”  It contained papers, numbered 1 through 15, background material on 15 men and women whom Dr. Steffen personally considered the most distinguished graduates from 1898 to 1958.

The person whom Dr. Steffen selected number one distinguished rating was Newell R. Ziegler who died in 1964.  It was Dr. Ziegler’s research as a staff member of the University of Minnesota that contributed invaluably to open heart surgery.  Steffen noted his good friend’s work with vitamin K to stop and start the blood clotting potential quickly and at will, “both required in open heart surgery and heart transplant, possibly advanced those procedures by years.”

Number two was Lloyd H. Ziegler, Newell’s brother, who died in 1954.  He was the medical director of the Milwaukee Sanitarium in Wauwatosa, Wisconsin, and founding member of the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology.

Television sports announcer, Chris Schenkel, was number three, and fourth was Paul E. Stanley, professor in the School of Aeronautics, Astronautics and Engineering Sciences at Purdue University.  Wilbur Brookover, professor of sociology and education at Michigan State University was five.

6---Dr. Arlo L. Schilling, president of North Central College, Napierville, Illinois.

7---Paul M. Birk, who designed the high explosive warhead for the Lacrosse guided missile, did the preliminary designs for the five patents in the field of aircraft armament.

8---Dr. John Young, associate superintendent, Fort Wayne Community Schools.

9---Paul Breitmeier, a Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Indiana University and retired employee of Union Carbide Corporation where he was involved with industrial engineering.

10---Col. Sherman L. Kiser, U.S.A. Ret., commander of American port activities in England during World War II and author of three books, including Americanism in Action.

11---Herbert G. Lahr, teacher for 42 years.

12---Hattie (Schilling) Bonham, teacher for 34 years.

13---Paul Lahr, teacher for 33 years.

14---Richard W. Shepherd, principal of South Whitley High School

15---George Bunce who in 1968 had given 23 years to the profession.

Steffen pointed with pride to non-college trained Bippus graduates and noted that the “array of distinguished bankers, business executives, merchants and farmers is endless.”  Those are the successes.  Some kind of record for a town and school the size of Bippus.  What is the key to this wonder?  Steffen considered carefully and arrived at a logical conclusion.

During the first half of the 20th century, he said, the Bippus community was relatively isolated due to several factors: communications were limited, large cities were located beyond reach and influence, and the inhabitants who were predominantly German, adhered closely to native characteristics.  One of the  predominant characteristics was a dedication to success “ by private initiative, hard work and frugality.  To them failure was a disgrace; success was mandatory.  They did very little wishful thinking, were ever ready to pay the price for success.  Education was held in high esteem.  Their emblem of success being possession, they labored diligently to secure real estate, personal property, bank accounts, education---anything of value, tangible or intangible.

Although he did not place himself on the list of distinguished graduates, Steffen truly belongs in their midst.  Any man who can quit work on a Ph.D. one year away from completion of that work and give up 12 years of seniority in teaching to begin anew on a M.D. degree at the age of 38 and wind up with 27 years in the medical profession---any man with that sort of perserverance and dedication is distinguished.

[This article, offered by Lola Sanger, as taken from the Fort Wayne Journal Gazette, Sunday, May 4, 1969.]

True Story by Dr. L.Z. Bunker, M.D. March 1931

The township trustee called me to go to the country to see a Mexican woman ill with blood poisoning.  The patient was Mrs. Eulalia Enriquez, a migrant worker who came from Yucatan.  I found her lying on a pallet in her boxcar home.  She was languid and feverish, with bilateral facial paralysis.  Blebs and swelling affected both arms.  Half of her fingers were missing at various joint levels, also some toes, all smoothly healed.  Her son told me that she had been ill a long time.  I had never seen a leper but felt that I was looking at one.  What to do?

I remembered the girl in the melodrama, “Bird of Paradise,” who, thinking she had leprosy, put her finger in a flame, was burned severely with no pain, and knew she had the disease.  Using kitchen matches, I burned a blister on Mrs. Enriquez’s finger.  She never felt it.  I dressed the wound, left directions for hot soaks and aspirin, and assured her I’d see her again.

I returned to town and called the local Health Officer and later the State Board of Health.  Officials arrived the next morning; a quarantine was instituted; and the son and two little sisters were taken out of school.  More physicians arrived, several who spoke Spanish and had lived where leprosy was endemic.  There was never any question about the diagnosis.

Captain O.E. Denney, USMC, Commandant of the United States Leprosarium at Carville, Louisiana, was in Washington, D.C., at the time and came out to see the family.  The children were not infected.  Only the mother needed to go to the leprosarium.  The son and two little girls were to go to St. Vincent’s Villa, an orphanage.  The patient accepted this with stoical calm.

She was able to travel by train, and I had the opportunity to be her escort.  The State Board of Health officials who were moving her and I were more shaken over the fate of this poor widow than she was.

We went by car to Cincinnati where she was locked in a train compartment to Baton Rouge.  Captain Denney and I had adjoining accommodations, and I supervised her strict quarantine.  She slept through most of the way and completed her journey to the leprosarium by U.S. Public Health Service ambulance.

The administration offices of the leprosarium were in a beautiful plantation house with views of the Mississippi River.  Live oaks with Spanish moss and beautiful magnolia trees shaded the grounds.  At that time there were 365 patients in the leprosarium, mostly Mexicans and Filipinos living in the continental United States.  Captain Denney who had worked at Molakai and other Pacific leprosariums, had done a great deal to improve the quality of the hospital.  There was a large medical and laboratory staff and a visiting staff from New Orleans.  The nursing services was provided by the Sisters of Saint Vincent de Paul.

A happy ending to a true story---Mrs. Enriquez adjusted well and improved over several years when she could be released as non-infective.  She and her family were reunited in Indiana and supported by her faithful son, Dimas.

I read much about the disease, but , for all my interest I never saw another leper.

Tidbits from The Journal, 1887-1889

Tuesday afternoon the fire department filled the new cistern at the corner of Mill and Sixth Streets.  The board has added at least three cisterns this summer.  These will add very much to the security from fire in the vicinity of them and will add to the value of property as well.

The case of Jerome Wilcox against the North Manchester Fair Association, claiming $2,000 damages for the killing of a valuable horse, has been transferred from Wabash County to the Circuit Court of another county, on a change of venue and will be tried this term of court.

The building committee of the Lutheran Church is now ready to receive bids for brick and stone work in the new church building.  Drawings and specifications can be seen at the office of Eicholtz, Petry and Valenaire.  All bids must be in by the 15th (July 1889) and on brick work by the 25th.  Also desire to correspond with slaters and galvanized cornice dealers.  By order of the committee, Lewis Petry, President.

Call Me Madame by Dr. L.Z. Bunker

Mary E. Travelbee was born in the North Manchester area in 1852, the daughter of John and Mary Travelbee.  We first hear of her when she ran off with a traveling circus at the age of 16.  Imagine this in 1868!

She married the owner of the circus, William Colgrove, and was a part of show business for half a century, becoming a prominent lady rider and giving equestrian exhibitions for which she received many awards.

Late in her career in the 1900’s she gave one or more performances at the North Manchester fair, appearing on a beautiful black horse and wearing a black broadcloth, side saddle, riding habit. 

Tales of her earlier days abounded.  She was a friend of Annie Oakley and invented the divided riding skirt for her.  The circus went to Europe, and she was decorated by the crowned  heads there.  She was presented at court to Queen Victoria, and she well might have been, for the queen had a fancy for show people.  Mr. Tom Thumb and his wife, the Great Boldini and Buffalo Bill were among those whom Madame Colgrove claimed as her friends.

The Colgrove Circus, with Madame as its equestrian star, traveled over the United States and Canada for many years.  But by 1910 or so the circus was gone, Mr. Colgrove was dead, and Madame was so reduced in circumstances that she took a hair dressing course in Chicago and came back to her hometown as hair dresser and wig maker, the first in this community.  She had a shop at 105 East Main Street which was furnished with faded grandeur of her earlier days---a colossal mirror, several Belter chairs and a beautiful Belter table---priceless antiques today!

She had somehow retained the old Travelbee homestead on South Sycamore Street in North Manchester, where she lived with numerous pets and James Wilson, an Oklahoma Indian who was a horse trainer at the stables at the North Manchester fairgrounds.  It is not known if she had any horses, but she apparently did not ride, having become somewhat afflicted with arthritis.

She continued her beauty shop a number of years and eventually sold out to Mrs. Myra Rick who came here from Chicago.

Madame was an ardent spiritualist.  Mediums would come to her house for séances, which were popular entertainment in town for several seasons.  She thought she was in daily communication with her deceased husband.

As time passed she became increasingly crippled and was helped by kindly neighbors.  One of these told of wondering about Madame’s tales about her life in Chicago high society, when Madame produced a number of gorgeous gowns, sewn up in muslin bags, that she had worn in happier days.

Eventually she went to live at the Wabash County Poor Farm, but this is really not as bad as it sounds as the Poor Farm served as a low cost nursing home at that time and was the only alternative to the hospital.  One can imagine her sitting on the broad veranda, regaling her fellow patients with tales of Annie Oakley and Buffalo Bill and the happy days of the circus. 

She died in 1923 and is buried beside her parents in the family plot in Oaklawn Cemetery, North Manchester.

From The Journal, 1887-1889

Oil in paying quantities has been struck in Grant County at a depth of 1,000 feet.  Out of about 20 wells bored in that county, this is the first that has given any indication of oil.  With both gas and oil, Marion may be expected to put on airs.

J.M. Jennings bought and sold in ten days 6,000 pounds of Lagro flour.  It is the boss and gives the best satisfaction.

A few days ago our reporters happened in the tin shop of Noftzger and Son and were shown partly finished galvanized iron cornice that John Lockwood is making for the new store room.  Mr. Noftzger will begin erecting next month.  The pattern is a very lusty one and will lay to hand any other cornice in town.