NMHS Newsletter, August 2018


by Mary Chrastil
President, North Manchester Historical Society


Center for History Offers Free Admission


In an effort to provide even better service to our community, the Board of Trustees of the North Manchester Historical Society voted last winter to provide free admission to the Center for History, the museum it operates. Although the admission charge was minimal, the board felt it might keep some of our friends from visiting us, especially those with large families.


To help offset the loss of admission income, business supporters of the Center have agreed to underwrite free admission for one month. The first corporate sponsor featured in June was Poet Biorefining, followed by Wabash Electric in July and Manchester University in August. Batteries + Bulbs, Visit Wabash County!, the Ford Meter Box Foundation and Midwest Poultry round out the list of sponsors. We are very grateful to these community-oriented organizations for making free admission workable. A special thank you to Manchester University, who designed and produced the attractive signs acknowledging this support, and to Jack Schuler who made the lovely custom-made frames for them.


The Center is grateful to its corporate supporters for helping the Center pay its bills, keep the doors open, offer educational programs and provide research assistance. Free admission also helps promote businesses and tourism in our town, something good for everyone.

Center for History staff have noticed that people are sometimes intrigued by the museum’s window displays and want to learn more, but don’t have the time for more than a quick visit and don’t want to pay for such a brief stay. Sometimes visitors want to pop in for a few minutes just to see a new exhibit or check us out, then realize there is much more they want to see. Then they plan return when they have more time.


The Center would also like to encourage school children who visit us with their classes each year to return with their siblings, parents and grandparents. Many already do! The kids love to show their families what they learned at the Center for History.


Admission has always been free for Historical Society members. It’s still free for them, but they now generously share the benefit with others. Members often bring out-of-town family and friends to see the Center. The members visited for free, but the visitors had to pay. Members have told the NMHS that they are pleased that their visitors can now visit for free, too.


The Center for History has become a trusted institution in North Manchester, one that loves telling the story of our town, why we are here, and how we got to be who we are. With free admission we can now tell our story even more effectively.

Center for History Repeats Grant Success


In 2017, the Center for History gratefully received a $50,000 Heritage Support Grant (HSG) from the Indiana Historical Society for new LED lights throughout the museum. The lights protect our artifacts from harmful UV rays, reduce our electric bills and transform us into a more professional-looking space. We also received $4,545 from HSG for a double-insulated replacement roof over our leaky barn room. This work will help protect our building and artifacts from water damage and also save on heating costs. Both were highly competitive grants.

We were lucky enough to repeat our success this year. The Center has just been notified that it has been awarded a $45,700 HSG to increase museum security and artifact safety by:

            · Providing security cameras that will help us deter theft and damage.

            · Installing a fire alarm system that will send alarms if smoke or fire occurs, especially helpful when the building is unoccupied.

            · Replacing defective fans to control heat and humidity. Our HVAC systems have been upgraded and we monitor heat and humidity levels frequently, but we still need to have proper air circulation to bring heat and humidity into acceptable ranges for artifact preservation.

            · Installing a new furnace and air conditioner in the Thomas Marshall House museum.


The Center for History also received a $5,000 mini-grant to repair a crumbling wall in our foundation. The deterioration was discovered when paneling in the oldest part of the building was removed for routine repairs.


We are very grateful for this support, especially because funding for infrastructure is rare. The Historical Society must raise a 15% match for the grants, but is happy to do so for such a generous gift. The work funded was not possible without support beyond our normal operating budget.

Ogan’s Landing


This year, the NM Historical Society campaigned to name North Manchester’s new kayak and canoe launch Ogan’s Landing. The Parks and Recreation Department asked residents to suggest a name for the site, and Historical Society members responded!


Brothers Peter and John Ogan bought land in Wabash County in 1835, and soon showed the ambition and entrepreneurial skills that have marked our town from the beginning. Peter is regarded as the founder of North Manchester. He is not the first non-Native American settler or the first to purchase land here. But he was the first to build a cabin and the first to hold church services here in his home.


Most importantly, Peter purchased land where North Manchester now stands. He platted the town, having it surveyed and laying out the grid of streets and building lots. The most remarkable thing he did was plat the major streets to be 100 feet wide. Very few towns have lovely avenues like our Main Street, Mill Street and Market Street, a lasting legacy from Peter Ogan.


Records show about half a dozen others helped build Peter’s cabin in spring, 1836, which was on the banks of the Eel river at 125 E. Main Street. Records show that at that time, the river was 130 feet wide. Other early families here were the Helveys, Harters (Harter’s Grove), Weybrights and Swanks.


Most early settlers built mills the first thing. Otherwise they had to travel for miles to get flour. Peter built a flour (grist) mill just north of today’s canoe launch.. Peter also built a saw mill nearby, another early priority. An 1837 map shows the location of the mills along a mill race that was dug to power the mills that were at the foot of the current Mill Street (hence the name Mill Street).


Early settlers often came to exploit the natural resources of an area, which meant lumber. They also purchased the land to speculate, selling it fairly soon and making a large profit. They often moved on fairly quickly. So did Peter, who moved on to White and then Tippecanoe Counties. His family never entered into marriages with other early settlers. But his legacy remains in the streets we still use today.


John Ogan did stay around. He, too, built a cabin and a mill, this one a “cracker” mill that ground corn into a coarse consistency. His mill was on the south side of the river where Pony Creek empties into the Eel. For many years, Pony Creek was known as Ogan’s Creek. John Ogan family members continue to live in North Manchester. Some of them are the Joe and Mary Vogel family, their son Jim, his wife Erica and grandson Jacob.

Traveling Exhibits


As it does every year, the Center for History has continued to take advantage of interesting and informative traveling exhibits offered by the Indiana Historical Society. The Center is recognized as the local site where these professionally-designed exhibits are available on a regular basis. You don’t have to go all the way to Indianapolis to see them!


We are currently exhibiting “Indiana through the Mapmaker’s Eye”, which will be here through September 14. The exhibit is drawn from IHS’s collection of about 1,700 maps and atlases of Indiana and the Midwest dating from the 16th century to the present. It examines ways people have used maps through the years: as documentation, as tools, as political images and as art.


From September 14 through October 16, the Center will host “Who Is a Hoosier?” The exhibit uses maps and informational graphics to highlight the statistical impact of changing ethnic groups over time. It shows how newcomers to the state, through immigration or migration, have created the Indiana we know today—and will continue to shape its future.



The NMHS arranges tours each year in conjunction with the NM Shepherd’s Center. Board Member Bernie Ferringer is in charge of the tours. In June, 2017, tour participants visited Stratford, Ontario to enjoy four plays presented by the Stratford Shakespeare Festival. In December, we traveled to the Purdue Christmas Show. In June, 2018, travelers enjoyed a trip to Milwaukee and Door County, Wisconsin.


Coming up in April, 2019 is a visit to Williamsburg, Virginia and Lancaster and Johnstown, Pennsylvania.

Contact Bernie Ferringer for information if you would like to join our next trip: Bernie Ferringer, Tour Coordinator, 314 Sunset Drive, North Manchester, In. 46962. Phone 260 982-8734.



Collections and Exhibits


Since moving into the Center for History in 2000, the museum’s collection of artifacts has grown from 2,200 items to almost 30,000. About 1/3 of the items are three dimensional, 1/3 are photographs, and 1/3 are other documents.


Some of the interesting items we have recently acquired from donors are:

            · Civil War Era clothing: dresses and three mourning hats

            · Photos from the Oppenheim hosiery sale, 1945

            · Bronze plaque commemorating the death of Old Order Elder James Quinter at the church’s annual conference in North Manchester in 1888

            · 1932 wooden Mickey Mouse doll

            · 26 Story Book Dolls with original polka dot boxes

            · Score board from North Manchester Central High School

            · Replica horse-head hitching post, originally located in front of Oppenheim Store

            · Lutheran pastor and author Hugh Wells scrapbook

            · Kroger “Top Value” stamp books with stamps

            · Chairs (4) from the Hamilton Opera House, c. 1880

            · Civil War sword and bayonet

            · Mounted head of white-tail deer, 11 points



Historical Society Honors Volunteers


Approximately seventy-five volunteers to the North Manchester Historical Society and North Manchester Center for History are honored in April every year to celebrate National Volunteer Month. The volunteers serve as docents, researchers, exhibit planners, exhibit fabricators, artists, Thomas Marshall House docents, board members, program planners, school day volunteers, administrators, and in many other capacities. NMHS is a virtually all-volunteer run organization, so it is deeply grateful for volunteer support.


Volunteers provide the equivalent service of 3 to 5 Full Time Employees each year. Total volunteer hours since the Center opened are 78,833. Using the guidelines provided by The Independent Sector volunteer website, the 78,833 hours translate into volunteer services valued at $1,857,305. In other words, Historical Society volunteers have donated 1.86 million dollars of service since the Society began keeping records in 2000.


Volunteers who have accumulated 100 hours of service received a polo shirt with the North Manchester Center for History logo. Those achieving this milestone in 2017 were Kay Barnett, Kathy Prater, Jack Schuler and David Waas. Joyce Mills and Mary Ann Swihart reached the milestone in 2018.


Volunteer of the Year awards are also given annually. The Volunteer of the Year awards were given to Nancy Schuler and Jack Schuler in 2017 for Nancy’s work as a docent, volunteer data base manager, and bookkeeper and Jack’s service on the Center’s Building and Maintenance Committee and his hands-on repair and carpentry projects. In 2018, Volunteer of the Year awards were given to Joe Vogel and Joan Fahs. Joe has been on the board of trustees of the Center for History since the group was organized. He is currently on the Center’s accessions, planning and job search committees and has helped with scores of projects through the years. Joan has been one of the Center’s most faithful volunteers. She is a docent, maintains our file on obituaries and “always says yes” when a volunteer is needed.


Travel Tales


Bernie Ferringer


The North Manchester Historical Society/Shepherd’s Center travel group recently traveled to Racine, Milwaukee and Door County Wisconsin.  We left N. Manchester Wednesday June 20th for five  days and four nights in Wisconsin.  First, we made a surprise stop at the Albanese Candy Factory near Merrillville IN.  We were not able to take a tour but everyone found their favorite candy to take on the trip or to share when they got home.  There were 52 travelers leaving only two empty seats, a really great mix of people that have traveled with us before and first-time travelers. 


I don’t think anyone went hungry during our trip, our evening meal on Wednesday was at the Hob Nob Supper Club.  One of the choices was a 14oz. pork chop that I don’t think anyone finished.  On Thursday our first stop was at Lehmann’s Bakery for a demonstration on making Kringles.  Very informative and we all enjoyed the samples and fresh baked cookies in our honor.  Many boxes of Kringles went home with us on the bus.  Latter that morning we had a step on guide for a tour of Racine.  After lunch on our own in downtown Racine we went to the S.C. Johnson complex for a tour of two buildings designed by Frank Lloyd Wright, very interesting.  That evening we traveled to Ft. Atkinson, WI for a great buffet at Fireside Dinner Theatre followed by a hilarious production of “A Second Helping”.


On Friday we traveled to Milwaukee to meet our step on guide who did a great job of showing and telling us about Milwaukee.  Following the tour, we went to the Harley Davidson Museum for a history lesson and tour about Harley motorcycles.  This was followed by lunch on our own at the Harley restaurant.


We then traveled to Ellison Bay in Door County for a two-night stay at Rowelys Bay Resort.  This is a very nice resort hotel on Lake Michigan.  Our first night we were treated to the traditional Fish Boil with the history of the area and what a fish boil is by the resort chef and a local historian.


On Saturday we had breakfast at Al Johnson’s Swedish Restaurant, known for the grass roof with live goats walking around and feeding on the roof.  Breakfast was Swedish Pancakes, sausage, juice and coffee, all very good and tasty.   We then boarded a ferry to Washington Island for a tour of the island on the Cherry Train, followed by a sit down lunch on the island.  After arriving back in Ellison Bay, we had free time to wander Main Street to check out the shops or sit on benches at the harbor and watch the boats coming and going. That evening we were back to the resort for a wonderful buffet meal.


Sunday morning we checked out of the resort and traveled to Fish Creek.  In Fish Creek harbor we boarded a boat for a tour of Fish Creek.  Our docent on board did a great job and told us a lot about the history of the area.  We then boarded our bus to start our return trip to N. Manchester. Another unplanned stop was at Renard’s Cheese shop.  We had a great time looking at all the different cheeses as well as tasting several.   Many shopping bags found their way onto the bus as we were leaving.


Thank you to everyone that joined us on this trip. It was great to see the veteran travelers make the first timers feel welcome and a part of the traveling family.  Everyone was on time and didn’t complain about our fast-paced schedule. 





From the Thirty-Fourth Annual Report of the Indiana State Board of Agriculture, Vol. XXVI, 1884, p. 303—


The Wabash County Agricultural Society held its annual fair on its grounds, in the city limits of the city of Wabash, from the 8th to the 11th of September.


Our show was good, especially in the Live Stock Department, the entries numbering 2,030. Our receipts were $5,068.05. After paying all expenses, including $300 for improvements, we had on hand $363.


The crops of our county were over the average. Corn was unusually good, especially on the black grounds, which predominate. Taking the entire crop and fruits, we have seldom realized a more generous yield.


Our road system is worthy of mention. Some half dozen gravel roads centering from all parts of our county in the city of Wabash afford good trading facilities to our citizens for transacting their business. Gravel in abundance and ease of access very much facilitates the construction of these roads.


Our county is blessed with inexhaustible quantities of stone suitable for building purposes.


As timber becomes scarce and increases in value, the attention of our farmers is directed to other methods of fencing than the original rail fence. Hedging as a fence is beginning to take the place of the old rails.


Public ditching has brought most of the level portions of our county into cultivation. Tiling has been successfully carried on in the greater portions of our county.


We have three railroads through our county, giving an outlet in almost any direction.


Agriculture is in a prosperous condition, the diversity of our soil affording opportunities for a diversity in cultivation. Our rolling lands produce wheat, and our low lands corn and grass.




From the Thirty-Sixth Annual Report of the Indiana State Board of Agriculture, Vol. XXVIII, 1886, pp. 299-300—




Our third annual fair was held on the association grounds at North Manchester, from October 5 to October 8, 1886. The attendance was good throughout and the fair a grand success, both as to exhibits and financially. After paying all the premiums in full, and expenses, the association had a net balance of $1,033.71.


The horse department entries exceeded those of 1885 by forty, and the stock generally of a better class, as were they also in the cattle, hog and sheep departments.


The cattle display was very good, being represented by herds of Shorthorns, Jerseys, Guernseys, Holsteins, Polled Angus, and Herefords.


The show of hogs, in numbers, was fully up to former fairs, while the quality was an improvement. The same may be said of sheep.


The poultry display was large, and of an excellent quality.


The agriculture display was very good, the cereals being well represented and very much above an average in quality, being indeed very fine, as was the display of fruits.


One of the special features of our fair was a display by the Patrons of Husbandry. The association offered a special premium of $75, divided in two premiums, $50 and $25, to granges making the best exhibit. There were four entries, and the show simply grand.


The exhibit in the mechanical department was more than twice what it has been in former years.


The speed department was fairly represented. The farmers in this district are very much interested in the improvement of all kinds of stock. In horses the Normans and Clydesdales have the preference, and stock generally shows a very great improvement in the past few years. In cattle, Shorthorns, Holsteins, Herefords and Polled Angus have their admirers about equally among the farmers. We have some enthusiastic Jersey men, but I am inclined to think they are losing ground in public estimation.


The crops throughout the district were above the average, and our farmers are prosperous.


The society has 24.60 acres of land, with an amphitheater 40x100 feet, and floral hall 30x80 feet, an agricultural hall 20x50 feet. This last building is too small and we rented a large tabernacle for use this year.


We also have a good track (one-half mile), sixty feet wide; also stalls, pens, poultry houses, etc.


The association owes about $1,500 on the grounds and improvements.


We allow no games of chance of any kind upon our grounds, and our attendance is from the best people in our district, which is composed of Wabash, Whitley and Kosciusko counties.


B.F. CLEMANS, Secretary


Editor’s Note: B.F. Clemans was a prominent citizen in the North Manchester community. His residence was at 407 Walnut Street, near the corner of Walnut and Fifth streets. Clemans served in both the American Civil War and Spanish American War. He was involved in various business interests, practiced law, and was elected to the state legislature and served as justice of peace and county auditor. Clemans also was a leading agriculturalist, owning a farm in Pleasant Township, and known to raise the best poultry stock. Clemans was killed in 1904 in a tragic farm accident involving a team of runaway horses. The Journal published several awful details of his death. If our readers would like to read the full story, Capt. Clemans’ obituary is posted at the NMHS website - www.nmanchesterhistory.org. The following excerpts are from the North Manchester Journal, April 28, 1904:



...This sad and untimely accident has caused a great shock to everybody in the community. Probably few men had as many personal friendships as Capt. Clemans and his death coming in this unexpected manner just at a time when he had settled down to quietly enjoy the fruits of a long life of hard work makes it all the more deplorable. He was a man of quiet, unassuming character, an earnest worker in all he undertook and a gentleman who always had the confidence of his friends and neighbors. During his life he had been entrusted with many responsible positions and in no case did he ever betray a trust or fail to fulfill his duties with honor and credit to himself and satisfaction to the public in general. Practically all his life Capt. Clemans has been a resident in this community and identified with its best interests and enterprises. He was so well known that to pronounce any lengthy eulogy at this time seems to be unnecessary and the best evidence of the esteem in which he was held by the people is shown in the manifest and universal expressions of sorrow upon his death.


Benjamin Franklin Clemans was the son of Cornelius and Salome (Wantz) Clemans and was born in Preble county, Ohio, December 19, 1843. With his parents he came to Wabash county in 1853 and his boyhood days were spent on farms in Pleasant and Chester townships. At the breaking out of the civil war he entered the service of the government , enlisting in company B, 47th regiment, Indiana volunteers. His record as a soldier was of the best and early in 1864 he became the regimental quartermaster and was mustered out with the regiment October 23, 1865. On April 11, 1870 he was married to Emma T. Bensan, who died July 3, 1874. To their union three children were born only one of whom, Louis L. Clemans, survives, the others having died in infancy. December 25, 1879, he married Miss Henrietta Travelbee, of this city, who he leaves with his son and other relatives to mourn the loss of an excellent husband, an indulgent father and a good man. During 1879 he was chosen a justice of the peace in this city which office he filled for twelve years. Soon after his election to that office he was admitted to the bar of Wabash county and continued in the practice of that profession with success until the breaking out of the Spanish-American war. Mr. Clemans was elected to the Indiana legislature in 1888 as joint senator for Wabash and Kosciusko counties and served with the distinction in the sessions of 1889 and 1891. In July 1897 a company of state militia was organized in this city and he was chosen its captain. This company afterward became company D of the 157th regiment in the Spanish-American war and was mustered into service at Camp Mount, Indianapolis in the spring of 1898. Capt. Clemans and his company served faithfully with that regiment until it was mustered out November 1, 1898. In the fall of that year and before his discharge Capt. Clemans received the republican nomination for auditor of Wabash county. He entered on the duties of that office in November 1899, his term of office expiring Jan. 1, 1904, after which he returned to this city to live a quiet retired life in the enjoyment of fruits of a well spent life. He was an honored member of the Grand Army of the Republic, the Knights of Honor and I.O.O.F. orders in all of which he took an active and prominent part.


The funeral was held at the Lutheran church Sunday at two o’clock and was one of the largest ever known here. All of the orders to which he belonged together with many members of company D were in attendance. A special train came over from Wabash bringing 140 people. The funeral sermon was preached by Rev. Lloyd C. Douglas and Rev. D. Charles Little, of Wabash, also paid a tribute to the memory of the deceased. Rev. Samuels and Rev. Rowand assisted in the services. Burial was had in Oaklawn cemetery with the ritualistic services of the G.A.R. and I.O.O.F. The pall bearers were Melvin Grossnickle, B.H. Shock, George Hidy, Tral Sexton, Fred Sandoz and John Dunbar, all members of his company in the 157th regiment. The floral tributes were numerous and beautiful. The Wabash bar association passed appropriate resolutions of respect and was represented at the funeral by many of its members.