Newsletter of North Manchester Historical Society, Inc. 
Volume IX, Number 1 (February 1992)

Miss Dare Dared! By Orpha J. Weimer

If you were not around in 1949, you missed a big occasion in North Manchester.  Big it was, judged by the size of the Sadie Wampler auditorium whose 800-seat capacity was filled and overflowing.  The occasion was the staging of a magnificent bridal revue, chaired by Irma Dare, who dared!  She dared to plan the happy, first-time mingling of college and town women.

Miss Dare welcomed guests of the College Women’s Club, the Minerva Club and North Manchester Women’s Club, college girls and student wives, to see attractive young women and a few gracious doll-like elders model museum-quality bridal costumes in the first town-college sponsored social event any of us could recall.

The evening of November 9, 1949, was cool and beautiful.  The college maintenance department had constructed a long, elevated walkway the full length of the central aisle, and extra lights were installed so that everyone could see well.  The walkway was carpeted by the Urschel Department Store.  The local greenhouses with their compliments sent two huge baskets of lovely flowers.

Only one model had trouble “getting to the church on time.”  Everything clicked along very well for so big an amateur production.

The festivities opened with a collect by Mrs. V.F. Schwalm and five vocal numbers.  Mary Jo Turner, accompanied by Noreen Norman, sang “’Neath the Southern Moon,” from Victor Herbert’s “Naughty Marietta;” Kenneth Miller, accompanied by Mrs. Miller, sang “I’m Falling in Love with Someone;” Lois Bagwell, accompanied by Charlotte Schutz (Deavel), sang “Italian Street Song;” Professor Paul Halladay, accompanied by Charlotte Schutz, sang “Ah!  Sweet Mystery of Life.”  The four then joined in a quartet number.

Mrs. Maxine Domer talked about bridal traditions.  Mrs. Harry (Orpha J.) Weimer served as chairman and narrator of the event and Mrs. Paul (Genita) Speicher as its organist.  Jack Ruff and Stan Byerly accompanied the ladies in the revue as attendants.

Professor and Mrs. Arthur Hoffman, the programme tells us, sang “Indian Love Call and “L’Amour, Toujours L’Amour,” both by Friml.

It is interesting to note that the oldest dress, almost 100 years old then, dated from 1850 and was from the collection of Mrs. Homer Ebbinghouse.  There were 37 dresses from many women throughout our community, and the surprise ending was the 1949 dress modeled by its owner, Mrs. John Bechtelheimer, a bride of one day!

And so it was that the beautiful Bridal Parade of November 9, 1949, helped to dissolve the polite “town and gown” divisions.

Editor’s Note: Mrs. Weimer’s interesting manuscript further discusses the history of Manchester College, often in the context of the community’s involvement, and writes of several specific cases in which, she feels, the town and college were brought together.

She notes that new courses and new teachers were added.  They included Bob Stauffer (1922-1943) who made a great record with the high school basketball team, taking the winning team with him when he began to coach at Manchester College; and Carl Burt (1925-1944) who kept up enthusiasm in football.

George Beauchamp (1929-1943) spearheaded winning, four-day debate tourneys for a number of years, employing the help of local schools and local community residents.  The college has continued cultural cross-pollination to benefit the community at large and continues to be one of the most popular reasons people give for living in North Manchester.

The Harter Family in Wabash County, by Don H. Garber

It all began with Andreas Harter from Germany who signed an oath of allegiance in Philadelphia, colony of Pennsylvania, to the King of England on September 25, 1742.  Andreas was the father of eight children.

A son, Christian, and his wife, Elizabeth Eller, were the parents of Joseph Harter, Sr.  The early Harter families lived in Pennsylvania, Maryland, and Virginia.  By the nineteenth century many began moving into Ohio and farther west.

Joseph Harter, Sr., 1783-1861, was born in Pennsylvania and his wife, Elizabeth Brower, 1785-1856, was born in Virginia.  They moved their family, together with the family of their oldest son, Eli, to the North Manchester community from Montgomery County, Ohio, in 1836.  They came by way of Indianapolis and wagon train.  They settled on land just north of Eel River and east of the old Wabash Road, on land later used as a dam and mill site.  In 1835, 1836, and 1837 Joseph, Sr., and Eli filed on 1795 acres of land in Chester Township and 960 in Pleasant Township.  In 1839 Joseph and his sons built a saw mill and grist mill near the present dam.  They had interests in an early mill at the south end of Mill Street.  [This had been established by the founder of Manchester, Peter Ogan.  See Billings, Tales of the Old Days, page 18.]

Joseph Harter and his sons continued in early Manchester industry and real estate.  They built flour mills at Laketon and Collamer, and later Eli operated a mill on Treaty Creek at the south edge of Wabash.  In 1851 Joseph, Sr., turned most of his business interests to youngest sons, Jacob and Joseph, Jr.  One may consider the last of this real estate empire, if it was such, as that part of town known as Harter’s woods, finally platted as Oak Park Addition, now a part of Warvel Park and the residence of late Tom Peabody [300 West Seventh Street].

Joseph Harter, Sr., was the first resident preacher, elder, and moderator of the German Baptist Church (Dunkard) and preached in German.

The records of the Harters’ early residences are meager, but a cemetery was started east of the Controls Corporation plant, and early family burials were made there.  In 1878 Jacob and Joseph Harter, Jr., together with other citizens, organized the Oaklawn Cemetery, and all the Harter family remains were moved there.

The writer’s grandfather, Oliver Harter, was four years old in 1836.  I have heard him tell of remembering that his father and grandfather traded with the Indians on or near the college athletic field, a former Indian village site.  One would need to assume that this was a roving band of Indians, as the village itself would likely have been abandoned soon after the Treaty of 1835.

Joseph Harter, Sr., and his wife, Elizabeth, were the parents of 11 children, some of whom were life residents of the community.

Their oldest son, Eli, 1807-1890, and his wife, Julia Ann Young, 1812-? built the second house in North Manchester [which stood just west of the present town hall.  Billings, page 17].  They lived many years on a farm one-half mile south of State Road 114 on the Laketon Road at the creek.  The story is told that during the time which the Eli Harters lived there, the hired hand, Joe Crill, came in from the field one day and told Mr. Harter he was going to California and get enough gold to buy his farm,  He did just that and brought back $5,000 in gold and bought the farm.  The Harters moved to the Treaty Creek Mill south of Wabash, which they operated, built a substantial brick house, and possibly never prospered so well after that time.

Eli and Julia Ann were the parents of 12 children, six of whom I will mention.  Elizabeth, the eldest, married Joseph Lautzenhiser, and they lived in North Manchester.  A son, Amziah, was in the implement business.  Another son, Lincoln was a former postmaster in North Manchester.

Oliver married Melissa Blickenstaff, and they lived their married life on a farm five miles northwest of North Manchester.  Their six children were Elliot, John, Joseph, Julia (who married Sam Garber), Ovid, and Minerva.

Henry married Mary Dice.  They raised two sons and two daughters and lived in Missouri some years, a few on short rations.  Henry spent his last years two miles southeast of North Manchester.

Phoebe married David Butterbaugh.  She was the first Caucasian child born in North Manchester [Billings, page 17].  They were parents of Henry, Julia (who married John Shively), Esli, and Eli.

Joseph, a sergeant in the United States Army, 47th Infantry, was killed September 1862 in Kentucky. 

Doretta married John Domer.  Domer was president of the Lawrence Bank in North Manchester.  Their daughter, Emma, married Warren Dewey.  A son, Walter, was a medical doctor in Wabash.

Elizabeth, a daughter of Joseph Harter, Sr., married Abram Switzer, who had a harness shop in North Manchester.  They were the grandparents of Frank Switzer, a former judge of the Wabash County Circuit Court.

Susan, another daughter of Joseph, Sr., married Francis Eagle in Wabash.  Eagle was in various businesses there.

Jacob and Joseph Harter, Jr., the youngest sons of Joseph, Sr., married sisters.

Jacob married Catherine Cowgill.  They built the large brick house at 202 West Main Street, just east of the public library.  Their son, Dayton, was the father of three daughters, Mrs. Nita Martin, Mrs. Mary Hidy, and Mrs. Clarence (Kathy) Brady.

Joseph Harter, Jr., married Rowena Cowgill, and they build the brick house on Main Street directly across the street from brother Jacob.  They were the parents of two daughters, Emma, and Mrs. Art Grace) Smith.  Jacob and Joseph Harter, Jr., operated a drugstore (of sorts) at 116 East Main Street .

Israel Harter, 1806-1875, a nephew of Joseph, Sr., and his wife Charlotta Kitson, came to North Manchester from Ohio in 1837.  They first settled two miles west of North Manchester on Clear Creek.  Much of their later life they spent on a farm immediately east of the Main Street bridge.  Seven children were known and lived in this community.  Many descendants are living.  The children were Henrietta (married Peter Swank); Patterson; Stephan, a Civil War veteran, 1861-1865; Margaret (married David M. Shively); Martha (married Samuel Miller, a bee expert and nurseryman who build the house at 410 East Ninth); Tabitha (married Charles Smith).  Israel followed his uncle as preacher and second elder in the German Baptist Church.  Like many German immigrants the Harters were Lutherans, but many became German Baptists.

[Some of this material was obtained from the News-Journal and Lester Binnie’s Genealogy of the Early German Baptists. Don H. Garber.]

Roots in Education  By Ferne Storer 
Presented at the North Manchester Athenian Club, April 1, 1986

We are going on a journey…to learn more about the roots of education in North Manchester.  We will start at Manchester College, because that is where I started my formal education.  An elementary school had been established by the college in 1910 to serve as a laboratory school for the teacher training program.  This was called East Ward School.  To the music from a phonograph record of Sousa’s “Stars and Stripes Forever,” we marched up the wooden stairs of the old library to our classrooms.  This is now the Communications Building.  I don’t remember much about the college students’ being around, but we had lots of student teachers.

When I was ready for fourth grade in 1929, Thomas Marshall School was ready for occupancy.  This building was constructed while Charles E. Cook was superintendent and board president.  Members were A.L. Ulrey, Von Shupp, and W.H. Ballenger.  The building was beautiful, a dark red brick structure with white stone-like trimmings which depict athletic activities.  The elementary pupils attending Manchester schools at that time selected the name Thomas Marshall.  A picture of Marshall was hung in the main entrance of the school.  After remodeling the building in 1968, the portrait was hung in the school library.  It was an exciting time when the cornerstone was laid, and the dedication address was delivered by J. Raymond Schutz, father of Charlotte Deavel and Don Schutz.

There were eight classrooms in the building, three on first five on second.  A small library was on second floor across the hall from the office.  When the school was first opened only four rooms were occupied; the “extras” were used as activity rooms.  The teachers were: First-Second, Miss Edith Dresher; third, Miss Lucile  Wright;; Fourth, Miss Ruth Brane; and Fifth-Sixth, Mr. Kenneth Burr.  Miss Grace Seki [say-key], a Hawaiian elementary teacher exchanged positions with Miss Brane.

In 1939 Mrs. Freda Royer started the first private kindergarten in one of the unoccupied upstairs rooms.  In 1944 kindergarten became a part of the public school system with Mrs. Royer as teacher.  As the school population grew, all of the extra rooms were used as classrooms.  Kindergarten required two teachers, one for the morning session and one for the afternoon.

In 1968 the building was remodeled and enlarged.  V.A. Simmons was superintendent, and school board members were David Yeatter, Mary Coe, Wayne Deardorff, Max Dickerhoff, Duane and Thelma Jerew, Howard Terrill, and Arden Urschel.  The office was moved to the ground floor, and a multipurpose room and music room were added to the east side.  All halls, stairways, and classrooms were carpeted.  A completely new heating system was installed, and wiring was modernized.

The junior high in the Central High School.  The high school was first organized in 1841.  When it burned in 1873, some people thought it was past its usefulness.  The new school was finished in 1875.  Some thought it was so big that it would last 100 years.  The janitor, William Maurer, lived on the premises.  “It was a monument to ‘wild dreams.’”  The cost was between $15,000 and $20,000, $100 to the architect.  “Pretty high to draw a picture.”  The building lasted from 1875-1922.  The last class from the old building was Dorothy Delvin, Cecil Eiler, Tom Wetzel, and Ralph Walters.  The “new” Central High School cost $414,000.

Some innovations: no assembly room (considered essential for high school); rotation of classes to teacher; and study in the library, not in class.  Josh Billings writes. “And for the future, who knows?  Possibly the 40 years may see more changes than the past 40 --- possibly for the better, possibly for the worse.  But, here’s hoping!”

Having chosen Manchester College, when I was a senior, I did student teaching at Martha Winesburg School.  I enjoyed the first and second graders, but I wanted to know more about Martha Winesburg.  She had been a revered primary teacher.  For 43 years, she taught and had an outstanding career.  She fostered a disciplined yet cheerful environment, using new techniques but still tried and true methods.

Martha is remembered as a tall, erect person with blue eyes and white hair, always elegantly dressed and wearing hat and gloves.  She had a blooming complexion and was always spotless.  She was born on June 2, 1862, to James and Rachel (Heeter) Winesburg.  She had three brothers and one sister.  Their 180-acre farm is now (1986) owned by George Winebrenner.  As a child she attended Krisher School across from the Krisher Cemetery.

She taught at Servia and Liberty Mills.  Since Krisher School was near Servia, perhaps she taught where she had received her early education.  Miss Winesburg was a dedicated teacher and attended biennial teacher institutes during the school year.  She received a two-year normal certificate from Manchester College in 1908, acquired by summer short courses and perhaps night classes.

Teachers’ pay was extremely low by today’s standards.  There were no insurance plan, pension, or other benefits.  As late as 1918 teachers working in rural schools earned $50 a month, did their own janitorial work, and often boarding with school patrons.

Many summers when school was out, Martha packed a steamer trunk and went to Bay View, a rather swank summer resort on the east side of Lake Michigan.  You might think she went there to socialize, but instead she went there to work.  Miss Winesburg’s house, a one-story frame cottage with wood siding, stood on the bank which sloped to Eel River near where the newer house of Roger and Hulda Sawyer is now.  She heated the house with coal and cooked on a coal and wood stove.  Yes, there was an outdoor privy, and a washtub inside was used for baths.

I taught first and second grades at Thomas Marshall.  I now spend some time learning to know college students.  As you can see, I have spent much of my life in North Manchester schools.

President Sets Some Goals for 1992 by Ferne Baldwin

It is good to set goals, but, at the same  time, it is important to remember that we never achieve all the goals we have set.  That is as it should be in order that we are always challenged to move forward.  It is too easy, especially for those of us who are older to content ourselves with small goals.

May I suggest some goals for the North Manchester Historical Society:
1. Everyone making a contribution toward the work of the historical society.  I was pleased with the results of the recent meeting when many of you wrote down the area in which you wanted to help.  The payment of dues is important.  Some of you have stories you really should write down, perhaps for the publication in the newsletter.  The more people we have who are involved the more we can hope to accomplish.  There are many ways to help.

2.  Increasing the membership.  It is especially important to attract younger members who will become part of the long-time future of the society.  But, if each one of us sets a personal goal to find at least one person who is interested in the society and will become a member, we will increase the enthusiasm and interest in the museum and in other activities.

3.  More support for the museum.  One way is to contribute materials for the holdings of the museum.  If you are sorting through memorabilia or you know someone who is, watch for anything related to the history of North Manchester which you might be willing to give to the museum.  Pictures are especially interesting.  Help us by watching for “everything” boxes at auctions which may have things of interest for our collection.  Antique furniture can be appraised for tax purposes and is valuable to add to museum displays.  Consider such a gift.

4.  Interesting monthly programs.  There are so many fascinating stories related to North Manchester.  Each one is different.  I want to know more and I think you do, too.  So the programs this year will be about families and businesses and events which have made our town what it is today.  I hope you won’t want to miss even one!
So here’s to a bigger and better North Manchester Historical Society in 1992.  I will do my part! 

 Save the Wetlands!  By Ladoska Z. Bunker, M.D. Ret.
Editor’s Note: Dr. Bunker has provided the Newsletter with a number of articles, some of which have shown an abiding interest in the ecology of our area.  This is her most informative natural history to date and shows its impact on the economy and quality of life of Wabash County and northeastern Indiana.

The continued discussion of the need to “save the wetlands” brings many thoughts to mind: how they affected the environment; their gradual decline and its results: and lastly what can be done about this!

As the glaciers melted 10,000 years ago great areas of water, eventually forming rivers and creeks and small lakes were formed, and drainage patterns persisted until the present.  At the discovery of America the present area was warmer and wetter than it is today.  Great flocks of parrots ranged over the Midwest; effigies are often found in Indian relics, birdstone, pipes, etc.  There was a great profusion of birdlife, small animals, fish and aquatic life, insects, and snakes.  Some of the fauna and flora remained in the country until the past 50 years or so.

When the pioneers came to Wabash County in the late 1820’s and following, they found a great stand of timber.  Besides hardwoods, there were trees thriving on water: beech, sycamore, cottonwood, ash, willow.  There was also brush: hazel brush, witch hazel, blackberries, elderberries, and brambles.

When Peter Ogan came to the site of North Manchester in 1836 he found the Eel River to be 131 feet wide and ten to 15 feet deep but with some shallows.  He built a water-powered saw mill at the south end of what is now Mill Street, the site of the present North Central Coop.  A grist mill was built at the same time.  The latter was soon sold to Joseph Harter, Sr., pioneer, and moved to the area of the Wabash Road where a new mill was build, powered by a huge dam, originally built of felled trees and stones.  An earlier dam at the first installation was later washed away. 

The same raised the water level, and for many years almost everyone along the river had a boat.  A steamboat plied the river as an excursion boat for several years, and later several citizens had gasoline launches.  The creeks along the river were deeper then, and there were springs over much of the town, as well as numerous artesian wells.

As late as 1880 there was a large pond at the northwest corner of Mill and Fourth Streets and another in the west end of town.  All over the countryside there were small creeks and rivulets.  The Indians had lived near water, and one can find their stone artifacts in these washes.  Old maps of the county show small streams that have long since dried up.

Millions of board feet of lumber were cut in upper Indiana, some of it exported to Europe or absorbed in the nation’s building boom as it expanded West.  When the railroad was built in 1871 south from Warsaw to North Manchester, its route was through almost continuous timber.  Much of this was huge; four-and-a-half to five feet on the stump,  the last great stand before the beginning of the prairie on the west bank of the Tippecanoe River, about 25 miles west of here.  As late as 1915 or so, there were huge stumps in Heckathorne’s woods, the present Briarwood neighborhood, where great trees had been cut.  The area was still heavily timbered with lovely ponds and water trickling about.

A tile factory was operating on the river west of North Manchester in the 1870’s, and a great effort was made to drain the land with underground ditching.  Surface ditching, such as prevails in Benton County in western Indiana, was not used here, but there were occasional large ditches to receive the water from the smaller drains and where these crossed roads, culverts had to be built.  Land was continually being drained and new acres put into cultivation as the timber was cut and other changes occurred.

Many small fur-bearing animals survived the destruction of the forests, and the sale of animal pelts of mink, coon, muskrat, skunk, an occasional fox, and rarely a badger continued into the 1950’s with one or two fur buyers in each community.  A search in December 1991 for a fur buyer revealed one in Peru, Indiana.  Fur was caught by local trappers, dried and sold to be shipped to the American Raw Fur auction on the east side of New York City to be auctioned off to processors.  Mink raising and the opposition to the use of animal pelts has also helped to reduce this business.

A visual loss as the result of the country’s drying out is the dying out of many beautiful wildflowers and plants.  From the early spring when skunk cabbages’ green shoots appeared in icy ponds, followed the golden buttercups, then iris (flags), arrowhead, lythrum, cattails, and many thriving in damp areas, such as mints, horehound, etc.  Many trees flowered in the spring: redbud, locust, rarely a chestnut, and catalpas.  In the dampness wild strawberries, followed by blackberries and raspberries, elderberries, wild gooseberries, and in the swamps huckleberries grew profusely.

Many people drove buggies to the Disko area, 10 miles west to pick huckleberries, a small blue berry made into pies and jelly.  The huckleberry swamp was a great bog with deep sinks.  A man who drowned in the huckleberry marsh was said to have come up in Manitou Lake in Rochester.  This was the area of swamp rabbits, a cunning little bunny about half the size of a cottontail, and many aquatic birds.

Going back to the denizens of the wetlands, the river was full of fish; big bass, 10-15 pound catfish, both blue and yellow yard-long carp, and large and soft-shelled turtles, the last especially vicious.

There were many insects and occasionally a plague of waterbugs which came up from the river at night and were known to have covered North Manchester’s Main Street!  Toads and frogs were common, the latter often hunted for “frog legs.”  Moths and butterflies abounded along with beetles and wild bees.  Bee trees, full of honey could still be found in wooded areas.

As summer progressed more flowers appeared: whole fields of red clover grown for hay, wild roses, daisies, cardinal flowers, mustard, and later many varieties of asters, Queen Anne’s lace, and joe-pye weed.  The flowers and herbs of the pioneers were already disappearing by the early 1900’s: lady’s-slippers (American orchids), black cohosh, elecampane, trilliums, and shooting stars thrived in very wet soil and were less common.

Birds have been called the “litmus paper of ecology.”  Birds that thrived on the wetlands were reduced in numbers first: cranes, herons, ducks of many varieties, waterfowl, coots, migrant geese, and rarely a loon with its wild cry at night.  It has been 40 years or more since the author has seen indigo blue birds, buntings, a shrike, or a scarlet tanager.  Catbirds, thrushes, orioles are uncommon anymore.  When did I last hear a phoebe?  Purple martins are seen only at intervals and for game birds once common, there was no quail season for hunters in northern Indiana in 1991.  Bird-like, if not birds, the little flying red squirrel, once common, has just about disappeared.

One by one the sights and sounds and scents that were so pleasant are vanishing forever as the country dries out and their existence becomes impossible.

But there is a remedy.  In the wake of dambuilding in the years after the Depression, the Ten Killer Dams and a series of holding lakes were built in northeastern Oklahoma, a depressed area that was nearly semiarid.  The author was first in this area in 1952 when some fishing areas had been opened, and there were plans for the great Lake of the Cherokees, the Tulsa to Arkansas River Barge Canal and other projects.  I was again in the area in 1956 and 1960, and it was unbelievable in the change.  An area where earlier trees were about 25-30 feet high, the blackjack oak, now flowers and bushes were all about, and I saw Virginia box growing in Nottawa, Oklahoma, as handsome as any in the Old Dominion.  Retention of water and changes in evaporation had changed its water cycle, and there was now moisture and growth where there was once drought and dust.

We are fortunate that we can stop our changing water cycle before it is too late and without such heroic efforts, great areas flooded, etc. as was needed in Oklahoma.

We can restore unproductive areas to earlier wetness; stop farmers from taking water from rivers and creeks for their own irrigation (the water belongs to everyone); reduce the overuse of water; stop contamination of ground water from poisonous dumps; and build holding areas in old river beds and areas of little value.

There is no doubt that areas to be flooded should be carefully assessed, the owners compensated (but this is no problem), and an equable settlement should be arrived at.

Increased productivity, better growth, reduction of overall heat and dust can be expected.  Better economic situations have followed in areas of the south and southwest where water control has been carried out; fishing and resort areas, catfish and rice farming are a few examples.  Our way is clear: immediate study, earnest effort, and total cooperation should bring us worthwhile changes…before it is too late!