by John Knarr


The  earliest drawing that we can find of the plat of Manchester is the one filed by Peter Ogan and surveyor J.J. Tomlinson on January 4, 1837, more than 180 years ago.  A portion of that plat is shown on the previous page and can be today found in the Wabash County Recorder’s Office. Interestingly, there are variations in the pictorial representations of the Original Plat in at least four different plat books at the county court house in Wabash.


In the Wabash County Plat Book 1, two mills are depicted. The mill race and mill dam are clearly shown, the dam being adjacent to Lot No. 181. The “State Road” between LaGro and Goshen crossed just below the dam. The Ogan mill dam was located just below where the covered bridge was built. The old mill race ran at an angle paralleling the angling Mill Street which connected to the covered bridge. Before any bridge was constructed over the river, the so-called “State Road” consisted of fording the river at the end of what was then called Short Street.  Since the mill race could not practically be forded, a bridge was constructed to span the rushing waters of the mill race. The very first drawing of Manchester’s Original Plat has a pictorial representation of that bridge. The bridge across the mill race at South Mill Street was the very first bridge constructed in our town. That bridge spanned the mill race; bridging the Eel River took place much later.  Southwest of Laketon, one can still view (from Celia Shankster’s property) another old mill race bridge where the old Laketon mill once stood. Joe Vogel recalls that his ancestors once forded the Eel River to get to the Laketon mill. But to cross over the deep mill race, a bridge must be used.  I also recall in years past crossing the mill race bridge at Liberty Mills. In two plat books at the Wabash County courthouse (Original Plat Book 2 & Plat Book No. 2), Manchester’s mill race bridge was not pictorially represented.  Also, in the Original Plat Book 2 the mill buildings were depicted, while in the Plat Book No. 2 there were no pictorial representations of Peter Ogan’s mills.  The Wabash County Deed Record Book A (p. 206) clearly showed the Mill Dam, State Road, Mill Race, Race Bridge and two Ogan mills on South Mill Street. The northernmost mill was a Grist Mill, and just to the south of the Ogan grist mill, there was depicted a Saw Mill. The mill race bridge fronted the saw mill.


It is apparent that some details and especially pictorial representations were lost in the process of redrawing the plats and transferring them to other books. Peter Ogan built his log house on Lot No. 1 on Main Street on the northern river bank. On the earliest plat map there were four springs represented by squiggly lines in the river. I have found in doing research that the locations of such springs either disappeared or inexplicably were relocated when the plat maps were later reproduced. Importantly, Peter Ogan had good reasons to locate his mills and his house where he did.


The following text accompanied the earliest drawing of Manchester’s Original Plat:

Manchester is Situate in Wabash County at the Great Bend of Eel River on the La Gro & Goshen State Road. Explanations – Lots are 4 ¾ perches wide by 9 ½ long except the fractional ones. The marks along the Bluffs of the river made thus (squiggle) indicate Springs Running into River. Lot No (1) begins at the end of a line drawn south twenty eight perches and 23 links, then East (20) perches from the quarter post on the North side of Sect 5 in Town No. 29 North of Range No (7) East of the principle meridian. The streets north of Mill Race Run North & South or East & West, those South of it form an angle of 46° with those north.


January 4th 1837
J.J. Tomlinson Surveyor of Fulton Co.


Editor’s Note:  Peter Ogan’s younger brother was also a miller. John Ogan’s mill was located south of town on the creek  flowing into the Eel River.  That creek was called “Swamp Creek” in the Surveyor’s Field Notes. John Hendricks, the deputized surveyor for the federal government, measured the mouth of “Swamp Creek” to be 35 links wide [April 27, 1834]. This stream became known as Ogan’s Creek, and more recently named Pony Creek.


Editor’s Note: Both Ogan brothers signed as witnesses to a deed transaction that took place on July 21, 1836 between Moses Summers and Solomon Charlesworth of Henry County IN. Summers paid $150.00 for 80 acres of land “west half of the north west quarter of Section No. eight, Township No. Twenty-nine North of Range No. Seven East.”  [Wabash County Deed Record A, pp. 70-71] Section Eight was adjacent and just south of Section Five. Ogan’s mills and Lot No. 1 were located in Section Five.


Editor’s Note: On December 22, 1843 Peter Ogan and his wife Nancy Ann (other deeds have Mary Ann as Peter’s wife) sold to John W. Townsend and Jane his wife Lots #1 and #2 for $100. On July 28, 1853, the Townsends sold the West half of Lot #1 to William & Elizabeth Thorn for $300.


1 Mile equals 5280 feet
1 Mile equals 80 chains
1 Chain equals 100 links
1 Link equals 7.92 inches
1 Rod, Pole or Perch equals 16.5 feet


Editor’s Note: UNITS OF AREA
1 Acre equals 10 sq. chains
1 Acre equals 43560 sq. feet
1 Sq. Mile equals 640 acres


A theoretical Township is six miles square, containing thirty-six sections, one mile square, of 640 acres each. Area of a theoretical township is 23040 acres.


Editor’s Note: On May 12, 1834, while surveying the line between Sections 19 and 31 in Township 30, Range 7E, John Hendricks, the land surveyor, came across early evidence outside of Manchester of a “state road” being marked: “A Trace running SE & NW which is perhaps the track of a State Road we understand to be laid out.” Remnants of this road can be tracked in the 1875 Wabash County Atlas.





During the recent excavations at the new canoe launch located at South Mill Street, numerous old glass bottles have been uncovered.  Some have expressed surprise over such a discovery; others have assumed that this site was formerly a town dump. Knowing our local history can help appreciate such findings.


The old mill race cut across the peninsula along South Mill Streets. Some of the ground excavated from the race was likely used in the original construction of the Ogan dam.  Laws at that time pertaining to roads stipulated that a bridge over the race had to be built before water was let into the channel. It was the duty of mill owners to build and maintain a bridge over a mill race that crossed a public roadway. This “common law duty” was affirmed by state statutes. [Chapter IV “County Road Law” in Laws Relating to Highways and Bridges, Fort Wayne Printing Co., 1920].


The net effect of building the mill race in this way created an “island” between the river and the race. This property was familiarly known as “The Island”.  When the milling activities at the Ogan mills waned  considerably as a result of stiff competition from the Harter flour mill down river and as a result of the eventual decline in the relative importance of waterpower, the mill race became a large wet channel in the ground impeding movement and land ownership in the immediate area.


In 1891 R.J. Parrett, property owner on the “island”, decided to fill in the race. [North Manchester Journal, May 21, 1891] At this time the Burdge building was being erected at the northwest corner of Main and Walnut Streets. The year “1891” can be seen impressed on this building (AT&T store). A large amount of dirt was excavated from this building site when a basement was created in 1891, and this dirt became fill for the mill race. Our early merchants had a habit of disposing of unwanted glass bottles and other debris with subterranean burials under buildings and sidewalks. So it is conceivable that the recently discovered glass bottles that have surfaced at the canoe launch site had formerly migrated from such downtown construction sites.


Editor’s Note: The site of the covered bridge built in 1872 was located just above or up river from the old dam and mill race so any impediment to travel created by the mill race was necessarily bypassed and there was consequently no legal obligation to maintain a mill race bridge.


Editor’s Note: Rev. R.J. Parrett held evangelistic tent meetings (U.B.) on the island. [NM Journal, April 1, 1886] Various secular activities also took place on the island such as horse races, circuses, and other events.


Editor’s Note: Harry L. Leffel in 1940 wrote that C.C. Winebrenner filled in the mill race during the year 1920 [see NMHS Newsletter, Nov 1998]. Leffel also claimed that there was no bridge across the mill race so that folks had to wade through the shallowest part to get to the island. Oddly, Leffel failed to explain why or how the community would make expensive investments in bridging the Eel River, but refuse to bridge the race. The original bridge over the channel apparently had fallen in some disrepair. Maps tend to show that the channel had been filled by 1900.





Mills played an important role in our country’s economic activities and growing independence. Philadelphia PA and Wilmington DE were early milling centers. Quaker millers were central to the milling successes.  In 1823 Wilmington became known as “the Manchester of America”. The reference here was to Manchester of England.  [United States Gazette, December 18, 1823] It should not stretch credulity to suggest that the naming of our town “Manchester” in 1836-1837 too was influenced by a miller’s mentality and his planned milling activities. [See also “Why Manchester,” in NMHS Newsletter, February 2013]


During the Revolutionary War, in 1777, General Washington had instructed his commanders to dismantle mills which were liable to fall into the British hands. The mills played such a strategic role in the economy that on October 31, 1777, Washington directed Gen. James Potter “to remove the running Stones from the Mills in … Chester and Wilmington.”  Potter responded five day later after receiving his orders to remove the millstones: “I’m a sorey to Inform your excelancey that the Officer I send to the Brandywine Mills [Ed: Wilmington DE] has not obay’d my orders. Instead of Taking the stone away he has taken the Spinnels, Rines and Ironnale heads….I am Informed that Taking these Artecals answers the same end as Removeing the stons….” Washington’s response was twofold: first, to court-martial the officer who failed to remove the millstones; and second, to remove the millstones immediately.  Only when the British evacuated Philadelphia in June 1778 were restrictions eased and the Wilmington mills allowed again to commence normal operations. [Source: “Brandywine: An Early Flour-Milling Center,” by Peter C. Welsh; pp. 677-686 in Annual Report of the Board of Regents of the Smithsonian Institution 1959.]





On January 31, 1842, the General Assembly of the State of Indiana approved the appointment of John Comstock of Liberty Mills as commissioner to locate a state road north of North Manchester [see pp. 164-165 in General Laws of the State of Indiana (1842)]:


SEC. 11. That John Comstock, of Wabash county, be, and he is hereby appointed to view, mark and locate a state road, commencing at the south end of lot number eighty-six, in the town of Manchester, Wabash County, Indiana, thence running a north east direction to the dividing sections, thirty-two and thirty-three, in township number thirty, range seven east, thence north on or near said line to the north end of John Ulery’s land, thence on a direction a little west of north, to the residence of M. Knoop, in Wabash county, thence in said direction to intersect the state road from Lagro to Warsaw at the nearest suitable point in Kosciusko county; and the said commissioners shall, on the sixth day of June next, or within sixty days thereafter, proceed and locate said state road, and make his report of the same according to law.




Source: Wabash County Miscellaneous Record R, p. 315-317.


Proceedings before the Board of Trustees of the incorporated town of North Manchester, Indiana, had before said Board at its regular meeting, at its office in said town, and on the eighth day of October A.D. 1900, present to Charles Kohser, William Wood and Hiram Whitlow, all the members of said Board of Trustees, when the following proceedings were had:


Petition of Aaron A. Ulery to vacate streets and alleys in the Original Plat of North Manchester.


Comes now said petitioner by his attorney, Isaac E. Gingerich, and presents his petition heretofore filed herein on the 16th day of August, 1900, praying said Board to vacate certain streets and alleys specifically described and set out in said petition, and also files herein the affidavit of said Gingerich and with notice attached that notice of this proceeding had been posted in three public places in said town and in the vicinity of the said streets and alleys on the 28th day of August, 1900; and also files the affidavit of B.L. Martin & W.E. Billings with copy of notice attached showing that such notice had been duly published in The Weekly Rays of Light, a newspaper of general circulation printed and published in said town on the 23rd & 30th days of August and the 6th, 13th, 20th & 27th days of September and the 4th day of October in the year 1900, and no one appearing to said petition and no opposition being made to the granting of such petition and the prayer thereof, said petition on such notices is now submitted to said Board of Trustees for hearing and trial, and said Board after hearing the evidence and the statement of parties and argument of counsel does now find for the petitioner that all matters and things alleged in his petition are true and that the public and no person but the petitioner will be affected by the vacation of the streets and alleys prayed for in such petition, and that the streets and alleys mentioned and described in the petition ought to be vacated, and the Board further finds that the public and all persons whomsoever have had due and sufficient notice of the pendency of these proceedings by publication of notice and posting notices as hereinbefore set out for a period of more than thirty days next before this date and the trial and hearing of these proceedings.


It is therefore considered, adjudged, decreed and ordained by the said Board of Trustees of the said town that the following streets and alleys in the Original Plat of the said town of North Manchester, State of Indiana, be and the same are hereby vacated, to wit: all of Cross Street; all of Short Street; all of Broadway; all of the south end of Mill Street lying and being south of the old Mill race; all of the alley running between lots 182 & 183, 191 & 192, 194 & 195, & 196; all of the alley running between lots 187 & 188 & 189, 197 & 198 & 199, and 202 & 203, 204 & 205 and any and all other streets and alleys or parts of streets and alleys lying and being within or partly within the real estate described in the said petition to wit: A part of the north east quarter of section five (5) in township twenty-nine (29) north, of range seven (7) east (known as the island or Mill lot) bounded as follows: Commencing at the north bank of Eel River at the north side of the Mill race and the south side of the public road leading to the bridge across said river, thence running in a northwesterly direction along the south side of said road and the north side of said millrace to the east line of Mill Street in the town of North Manchester thence west to a point on the west line of said Mill street and 4 and 69/100 chains south from the south east corner of lot No. 150 in said town, thence west to the bank of said river, thence up said river with its meanderings to the point of beginning, containing ten acres more or less and embracing lots 181 to 207 inclusive in the Original plat of the town of North Manchester; and the public and all persons whomsoever are hereby forever barred from the use of the easement heretofore existing in said streets and alleys, save only the petitioner his heirs and assigns. And the clerk of said town is hereby directed to make and deliver to the petitioner a certified copy of these proceedings under his hand and the seal of said town for record in the recorders office of said Wabash County, Indiana.


I, Joseph Cowgill, clerk of the incorporated town of North Manchester in Wabash County, State of Indiana, do hereby certify that the foregoing is a true full and complete copy of the records of the proceedings in the matter of the petition of Aaron A. Ulery to vacate streets and alleys in the said town as it appears from the records of the Board of Trustees of the town of North Manchester, in my hands as such clerk.

In witness whereof I have hereunto set my hand as such clerk and affixed the seal of said town, at said town, this 9th day of October A.D. 1900.

Joe Cowgill.
Clerk Town of North Manchesterr

Duly Recorded November 8th, A.D. 1900 at 8 o’clock A.M.
George A. Wellman
R.W.C. [Recorder of Wabash Co.]


Editor’s Note: Joe Cowgill served as Town Clerk of North Manchester. He lost both his hands in 1868 in a 4th of July celebration accident. He was nonetheless acclaimed for his penmanship despite his handicap. Joseph Cowgill (1849-1937) served as a Private in the Civil War, mustering in (when he was only 15 years of age) on November 1, 1864 and mustering out on August 22, 1865. On July 9, 1890 Joseph applied for a pension from Indiana for his military service.


Editor’s Note: Aaron Ulery was a lumberman and the Ulery sawmill and lumberyard were located near where the Ogan sawmill had stood on South Mill Street. The Ulrey Lumber Co. advertised in 1927 as “North Manchester’s largest lumber yard.” [1927 Aurora] A lumberyard continued to exist there decades later. Remember the Farm Bureau Lumber Co-op? The Harters had eventually acquired the property of the Ogan mills. Ulery and Harter were partners in the sawmilling business. Decades of lumbering activities at this site which was removed from any railroad tracks was a legacy of the very first Ogan mill. <>


2017 Board Members

Tom Brown
Mary Chrastil, President
Bernie Ferringer
Karen Hewitt, Secretary
John Knarr
Renee McFadden

Matt Mize, Treasurer

Jim Myer
Kathy Prater
Dave Randall
Tim Taylor
Joe Vogel, Vice President
David Waas
Ex Officio--Paula Dee, Joyce Joy




Steve Batzka, Mary Chrastil, Bernie and Vicki Ferringer,
First Brethren Church, Art and Ellen Gilbert,
David and Jane Grandstaff, Joyce Joy, Jeffrey Kumfer,
Steve Naragon, Roland Young and Mona Harley


(as of Apr 30, 2017)





Batteries Plus Bulbs

Bob Beachley

Michael and Angie Beauchamp
Donald and Sandra Billmaier

Tom and Eloise Brown

Dennis and Rosemary Butler

Brad and Terri Camp

Jim and Debbie Chinworth

Mary Chrastil

First Financial Bank

Art and Ellen Gilbert

David and Patty Grant

Steve and Lila Hammer

Bob and Stephanie Jones

Pete and Susan Jones

John and Bea Knarr

Carl and Lois Lemna

Lindy and Norma Lybarger

Manchester Family Dentistry

Manchester Veterinary Clinic

Moose Family Center

Jim Myer

Naragon and Purdy, Inc. CPAs

Becky Naragon


Roger and Kathy Presl

Gary and Karen Runkel

Viv Simmons

Dan and Barbara Speicher

Larry and Mary Ann Swihart

Tri-Oaks Realty

Connie Vinton

David and Becky Waas

Visit Wabash County!

Wetzel Insurance




Judy Boyer

David and Shirley Rogers




James Adams and Thelma Rohrer

Gladys Airgood

Jane Ann and Tom Airgood

Barbara Amiss

Ruthann Angle

David Bagwell

Steve Batzka

Angilee Beery

Jane Bellinger

Sandy Bendsen

Suzanne Benton

Charles and Dagny Boebel

Bob and Martha Bowman

Gregory Bowman and Joseph Hayes

Judi Brown

Mary Lou Brown

Darlene Bucher

Joann and Bob Burch

Kenneth Burch
Dave and Shirley Clapp

Daniel and Marsha Croner

Lois Davis

Arlene Deardorff

Paula Dee

Diane Dewey-Norvell

Lois Dickinson

Eloise Eberly

Pat Egolf

Richard Eisenstein

Vickki Epstein

Bernie and Vicki Ferringer

Michael and Marsha Flora

James and Eileen Flory

Cathy French

Patricia Gaddis

Anne Garber

Warren Garner
Judith Glasgow

Christine Good

Betty Hamlin

Ruth Hauser

Stewart and Ruth Hawley

Michael and Julia Hayes

Charles Heeter

Karen and Terry Hewitt

Bonnie Hileman

Linda Hyden

Diana and Darrin Iden

Carolyn Jones

Joyce Joy

Donn Kesler

Grace Kester

Alan and Marilyn Kieffaber

Avonne Lee Knecht

Karen Leckrone

Sam and Carol Leckrone

Elaine Leonard

Wilson and Mary Lutz

Earl and Janet McKinley

Evelyn Meinert

Bonnie Dee Merritt

Patricia Metzger

Carol Miller

Ed and Martha Miller

Larry and Norma Milligan

David and Joyce Mills

Jim and Shirley Mishler

Sandra Mitting

Donald Olinger

Phil Orpurt

Walter and Mary Jenet Penrod

Sheryl Poorman

Kathy Prater

Dave Randall

Russell Reahard

Nancy Reed

Jolene Reiff

Steve and Sharon Reiff
Todd and Linda Richards

James and Sharon Ross

Esther Rupel

JoAnn Schall

Rita Schroll

Jack and Nancy Schuler

Barbara Shoemaker

Ned and Judith Short

Ryan Sincroft

Valynnda Slack

Lois Snyder

William and Becky Steele

Barbara Stewart

Helen Taylor

Tim and Jenny Taylor

Nancy Tiger

Larry Tracy

Douglas and Joan Trusner

Mary Uhrig

Carolyn Underwood

Doretta Urschel

Joe and Mary Vogel

Grace Voorheis

Helga Walsh

Robert Weimer

Dorothy Weldy

Sally Welborn

Eddie and Janice Wood

Debbie Young

Roland Young and Mona Harley



First Financial Bank

Larry Freels

David and Jane Grandstaff

HF Group

Harold and Elizabeth Marks

Mike McKee

Kelly McKee
Evelyn Niswander

Roger and Marcie Parker

Shepherd Chevrolet

Paul Sites

Strauss, Inc.

Wabash Foundry

Allan White

Dannie and Nancy Wible





1. Which United States Senator once owned property on the banks of the Eel River in Chester Township in the vicinity of North Manchester?


2. A well-known, national sportscaster once owned several acres now incorporated in the Town of North Manchester. Can you name this person?





1. John Tipton (1786-1839) actually purchased his land in Section 5 before Peter Ogan acquired his. Tipton’s date of purchase was September 2, 1835. Tipton was the patentee (original land owner) for 40.75 acres. Legal description: “The Fractional North West Quarter of Section Five in Township Twenty Nine North, of Range Seven East in the District of Lans Subject to Sale at Fort Wayne Indiana.” Tipton served as U.S. Senator during 1831-1838. Tipton might have expended energy in developing his Manchester land had he not taken on the responsibilities of U.S. Senator. Jacob Neff, Jesse L. Williams, Tipton and Ogan all owned land in the northern part of Section 5. For more information on Tipton, see NMHS Newsletter, August 2016.


2. The editor of this newsletter was raised on a farm not too distant, just a few miles, from the Schenkel farm located north of Bippus. I often watched sports programming in the 1960s and 1970s because another “local kid” had risen to national prominence. During his career, Chris Schenkel, the ABC Sportscaster, covered professional bowling, auto racing, boxing, golf, tennis, NBA basketball, college football, and Major League Baseball. Manchesterites may not be aware of Schenkel’s local land investments. Schenkel and his partner, Dr. Tom Miller, a veterinarian in Milford, sold to Timbercrest land by the highway. In two separate transactions, 1979-1981, Schenkel and his partner conveyed to the Church of the Brethren Home 30.399 acres and 4.01 acres. [Wabash Co. Deed Record 256, p. 462]. The Timbercrest property is today part of the Town of North Manchester. This land corresponds to the land first acquired by Daniel Swank in 1835 and settled in 1836. See “Eyewitness to History: The Founding of North Manchester,” NMHS Newsletter, February 2017.