of the North Manchester Historical Society, Inc.

Volume XXV Number 4 Nov 2008




Reprinted with permission from News Journal, October 15, 2008

"Congratulations to the entire community of North Manchester on winning the 2008 America in Bloom contest in the 5,000 to 10,000 population category!" America in Bloom (AIB) national judge Evelyn Alemanni said. "Your diligence, hard work and talent are a credit to your beautiful town," she told the AIB committee.

AIB committee members Leesa Metzger, Christa Kolster-Frye and Mary Ann Swihart attended the annual AIB Symposium and Awards Gala in Columbus, OH, October 2-4, where the community of North Manchester was lauded and awarded an honorary plaque and the national competition's first place trophy.

"We are so proud of the acknowledgement received for the beautification efforts and strides taken to enhance the quality of living in North Manchester," AIB Vice-Chair Christa Kolster-Frye said. "We could never have brought this kind of national recognition for our beautiful town home to the community if it weren't for the efforts of many different individuals and groups...."AIB Chair Leesa Metzger said bringing the first-place trophy home to North Manchester was exhilarating, but the true winners are the people of North Manchester who have supported the AIB project's efforts....

The local AIB efforts have been funded and supported by the Community Foundation of Wabash County, the Town Council, Manchester Tourism, Main Street Inc., the NM Garden Club and fundraisers held by the AIB committee.

North Manchester also received a "Special Recognition" for its Historic Preservation, one of the contest's eight criteria segments. Out of a possible 125 point score, North Manchester's Historic Preservation received a score of 115. Judge Alemanni said that the heritage of North Manchester is one of its strongest areas. She applauded the hard work of the Historical Society in the creation of its museum. She commented on the well-maintained collection of historical archives and beautifully constructed displays in the museum. She also extolled the efforts of the ongoing Thomas Marshall Birthplace Home project, citing it as an "important piece of history worthy of its ongoing preservation efforts."

National AIB spokesperson Laura Kunkle explained further why Manchester was given special recognition for its Historical preservation: "Few towns of this size can boast a 29,000 sq. ft. museum with more than 16,000 artifacts. The Historical Society uses state-of-the-art techniques to document and preserve this town's rich heritage. Displays and vignettes have been created by volunteers and feature excellent interpretation. The Historical Society provides signs indicating the construction date of heritage homes, and a brochure is available describing a walking tour that takes visitors past many of them."

In the seven other AIB contest criteria categories the judge's evaluation scored as follows: Tidiness Effort, 108 pts.; Environmental Effort, 99pts.; Community Involvement 109 pts.; Urban Forestry 100 pts., Landscaped Areas, 94.5 pts.; Floral Display, 105 pts.; and Turf and Ground Cover Areas, 92.5 pts; with an overall score of 823 out of a possible 1000....

Alemanni also recognized the exemplary efforts of businesses within the town's commercial district….Alemani also admired the many beautiful private gardens and well-maintained residential neighborhoods, streets and tree lawns. Manchester's involvement in Tree City, USA was especially noted as Alemanni called Manchester a "beautiful town in a forest."

"North Manchester's most important asset is its hard energetic, lovely people who take such pride in their town. Many families have lived there for generations. They are the lights of their world, working together with talent, enthusiasm and joy in searching for projects and implementing them with excellence," Alemanni concluded.


A Beautiful Flower Display

Reprinted from the News-Journal, September 22, 1930

There was a beautiful flower display of home grown flowers in the Butterbaugh implement room. This display was sponsored by the Garden club as part of the exhibits for the day....The display filled one side of the room and was greatly admired by many. There were 1,765 registered as seeing the flower show and exhibits.


A Thriving Industry

Reprinted from the North Manchester Journal, June 17, 1886

John Martin and William Macy, of this city, are engaged in bee culture extensively. They have several acres of Alsike clover now in full bloom as pasturage for their bees. Alsike appears to be a cross between red and white clover; the stems are fine and the blossoms are but a trifle larger than white clover bloom. It grows from twelve to eighteen inches high, and we should think our farmers would find it profitable to grow for hay and seed. Mr. Martin tells us that as high as ten bushels per acre of seed has, in some instances, been claimed for it. But to the bees. They have about one hundred and twenty-five colonies mostly devoted to growing queens. For that purpose the colonies are not necessarily so strong as if for the purpose of storing honey. Their stock is pure Italian, and they receive orders for queens from all over the country. They sold four hundred queens last year, and they regard their business as in its infancy, this being its third year. They use the Langstroth hive and regard it as the best. In connection with this they have an acre or more devoted to poultry raising--of course none but the best breeds are kept. This is an industry that is of importance to every one, and these gentlemen deserve credit for so boldly engaging in the enterprise. Their grounds are adjoining Riverside just south of the suspension bridge, and are well worth a visit to see.


Brooks and Jefferson continued

Wayne Street Going North from Main Street

105 North Wayne St. _ Virginia Heeter operated a beauty shop at this address for a few years, starting in 1932. Susie and Ruth Renicker advertised a restaurant in this residential building on January 31, 1946.

305 North Wayne St. _ Charles D. Garber had a January 1, 1948 ad for Pure-O-Flame Gas at this address.

Southeast Corner of Wayne St. and Seventh St. _ Voyle Ramsey operated a neighborhood grocery, known as "The Ramsey Pantry," at 501 East 7th Street. He did a very brisk business well into the 50's. The store started out in a very small room in the east end of the house, entered from Seventh Street. In the early years, Mr. Ramsey drove a truck around the countryside selling groceries to farmers, while his wife, Ruth Ramsey, tended the small store. The store prospered so much that a large addition was put on the east end of the house in the mid 1940's. A grocery operated at this location after Mr. Ramsey's death and well beyond our time study.

703 North Wayne St. _ This private home was the location of Argie's Beauty Shop in the late 1940's and into the 1950's. Margaret Burkhart owned the shop. Yes, Argie must have been the nickname for Margaret back then because the author as well as his spouse remember she was called Argie.

713 North Wayne St. _ The Wampler Insurance Agency was at this address from 1929 to 1945.

721 North Wayne St. _ This residence is on the southeast corner of Wayne and Ninth Streets. The Cozy Corner Grocery, owned by Ward Zook and his son, advertised at this address in the 1928 high school annual.

An article many years later reported that Frank Bonewitz bought the grocery from Zook, after many years of experience in the grocery business having started out working for the J.M. Jennings Grocery as a teen

ager. Frank Bonewitz, operated the small neighborhood grocery in one room at the front of this residence. He started here in 1931 and remained here much of our study period. Mr. Bonewitz started in the grocery business at age 13 in 1884, working for J.M. Jennings grocery in their Main Street address, prior to a fire that year. This information was in a March 4, 1943 News Journal article, when Frank was 72 years of age. A later story August 14, 1950 confirmed this information when Mr. Bonewitz was age 80. The above was a memory of the person writing the articles, but we think it was accurate.

Bonewitz sold the grocery that then went by the name of Kreis Grocery in the late 1940's and Bonewitz reopened on West Main Street, as previously reported. Charles Conrad and Maurice Armey, according to an ad on December 12, 1949 bought the grocery from Kreis and renamed it College Market. The location has been a private residence now for many years.

Northwest Corner of Wayne St. and Ninth St. _ The large brick home at 410 East Ninth Street was the residence of Frank Cunningham and his wife, Emma who was mentioned earlier as the telegrapher on Main Street. Frank's house faced Ninth St., but a large barn-like building with a garage door behind the house faced Wayne St. Frank operated an automobile garage in this barn in the 1920's and 1930's. He also sold Conoco gasoline from a pump out front in 1930. Then he advertised Phillips 66 in April 1937.

Later, Frank ran a bicycle repair shop. He had lost one hand but could do his repair work as fast and efficiently as most people could with both their hands. All the kids in the area knew him. With respect, they all called him Mr. Cunningham.

902 North Wayne St. _ Just across the alley from the garage described at the last address was a very small residence, north of the last business, occupied by Al Crow's barbershop. Al also repaired radios at this location. We found a listing for Crow and Olinger in 1942, but we don't know if it was this location or, more likely, a Main Street address.

904 North Wayne St. _ Noah Baker advertised his shoe repair shop at this address in the 1925 high school annual. Then the Dreamland Restaurant appeared in ads as early as 1929. Wesley C. West and his son, Everett West, took over operation of the restaurant, as announced in an

ad on March 28, 1932. Mrs. West cooked, and the family was here for most of our time period. This was a popular spot for students, as it was just a few blocks away from the college. In 1941, the restaurant's name was changed to the College Cupboard. It may have changed hands at that point, but we don't know.

We are told that prior to Mr. West buying it, this was one of the many restaurants that Hazen Lautzenhiser had an interest in. An ad in the 1931 college annual shows William Burkett, Mgr.; this may be when Hazen owned it. The restaurant burned to the ground at some point in the 1940's.

1005 North Wayne St. _ Mrs. Florence Freed advertised in the 1936 Manchester College annual that she sold "student commencement announcements" from this address….

1007 North Wayne St. _ Jane Anne Beauty Shop was at this address in 1929 and 1930.

Editor's Note: A final installment of Brooks and Jefferson will be in the February 2009 Newsletter. Our thanks to Ned Brooks for his kind permission to reprint this research. Source: Remembering North Manchester, Indiana in the 1930's & 1940's by R. Ned Brooks and Donald L. Jefferson.


Proposal--Organization of a Historical Society

Reprinted from North Manchester Journal, May 5, 1887:

It has been suggested to us that the organization of a historical society for the preservation of relics, anecdotes and reminiscenses of early times would be a very popular scheme. There are many of the early settlers of the Eel river valley still alive who would take great interest in matters of this kind.

Please renew your NMHS membership now!

Railroads & German Baptists

Reprinted from North Manchester Journal, June 10, 1886:

The annual meetings of the German Baptists have become a matter of so much importance that a meeting of the passenger agents of most of the railroads of the north-west was held a month or six weeks ago to agree upon a schedule of rates to that meeting from all points on their respective lines. The places of holding the meetings varies to suit the convenience of members. It has been held at this point and we believe that there is an effort on the part of the brethren, to try for it the coming year. In that effort the town and the country, irrespective of churches, will do all in their power to entertain the next annual meeting. We mention as a few of the reasons why the meetings could be held here with benefit to all that this district of the church is a strong one in many ways. It is strong in number of members and the members, as a rule, are rich. They are liberal and enterprising, and we know that if the place of next year's meeting should be fixed at this point the members here will see that nothing would be lacking in preparations for its convenience. The railroad facilities can not be beaten and the location is itself, midway between the east and the west, and all seems to point to this as a very suitable place.

Sheller & Weber Bread Wagon

Reprinted from the North Manchester Journal, Sept. 2, 1886:

Sheller & Weber have put their new bread wagon on the street this week delivering goods at the doors of their many customers. In the language of the street gamine the wagon is a dandy, and it was all built at home too and is one of the most conveniently arranged wagons of the kind that we have ever seen. It bears the "imprint" of Smith Horn & Enyeart as the makers and does credit to these gentleman as workmen of the greatest skill. The wagon is certainly a fine appearing vehicle and will add considerable to the business of the firm for whom it was built.



Reported in the North Manchester Journal, March 18, 1886:

Mr. Baker, the patentee of a new wind engine, will at once begin putting up a fourteen foot wheel at some suitable place in town. He does this that he can get a practical test of its merits.

Reprinted from the North Manchester Journal, May 27, 1886:

Dice & Butterbaugh are the patentees of a land marker that is perhaps the best thing for that purpose now to be had. Several recommendations have been given by farmers who have tried one in their fields. Alvah Warner says that it is good and that he could mark from thirty to forty acres a day.

Reprinted from the North Manchester Journal, June 24, 1886:

Noah Dice is the inventor of a revolving provision safe that will keep eatables cold and free from flies and insects. He has applied for a patent on it and thinks he will get the necessary papers from the patent office in a short time. Mr. Dice has a very neat and useful contrivance and we would be glad to see him make a success of it.

Reported in the North Manchester Journal, June 10, 1886:

—The following list of patents was issued to Indianians during the past week:

Two-wheeled vehicle, Ira Barber and J.F. Craft, LaPorte

Rubber eraser and pencil holder, Jacob Cain, Fort Wayne

Hay knife, Wilber H. Gaines, Trenton

Core material, William N. Gartside, Richmond

Automatic railway signal, James J. Hamilton, New Castle

Whiffletree, Lycurgus L. James, Medora

Clod crusher & pulverizer, Charles F. Marchand, Larwill

Shoe, William F. Maurer, Harmony

Outside card receiver, Ambrose Moore, Attica

Coal breaker, George R. Root, Indianapolis

Perpetual dial calendar, Charles R. Talcott, Valparaiso



Frank M. Gift and Cigar Manufacturing in 1886

By John Knarr


Two years ago I visited the Mark Twain Museum in Hannibal, MO. Samuel "Mark Twain" Clemens frequently wrapped his humor around cigars and tobacco. Clemens once irreverently commented, "If smoking is not allowed in heaven, I shall not go." An inveterate smoker, he said,, "I smoke in moderation...Only one cigar at a time" and "To cease smoking is the easiest thing...I ought to know. I've done it a thousand times." On another occasion, he remarked that he paid $5 a barrel for his cigars because he was incurably extravagant. In a 1905 letter to a friend, Mark Twain wrote, "I know a good cigar better than you do, for I have had sixty years' experience. No, that is not what I mean; I mean I know a bad cigar better than anybody else. I judge by the price only; if it costs above 5 cents, I know it to be either foreign or half foreign and unsmokable."

In visiting Hannibal, I wanted to get a better feel for the environs of this American writer's early life and especially the social and economic context of this pervasive "tobacco culture." The exhibits on his family migration and steamboat experiences were fascinating. I had also read in Twain's autobiography that as a very young boy at age eight in Hannibal he had acquired a taste for cigars. At that time the streets and sidewalks in Hannibal were littered with cigar stubs.

When Clemens was growing up in Hannibal, cigar making was a profession. He found stubs on the ground and tried them out. The native cigar was then so cheap that a person who could afford anything could afford cigars. Tobacco was then widely grown in MO in the 1840s and 1850s. In an essay published in 1883, "Smoking as Inspiration", he wrote: "I began to smoke immoderately when I was eight years old. That is, I began with one hundred cigars a month, and by the time I was twenty I had increased my allowance to two hundred a month. Before I was thirty, I had increased it to three hundred a month." Clemens also wrote an essay published in the early 1890s, "Concerning Tobacco."

Clemens registered the name Mark Twain as a trademark, and to augment income he endorsed numerous products, including cigars. He also published the memoirs of Ulysses S. Grant, that iconic leading military, political and public figure who loved his cigars. Grant died of throat cancer and his tomb is located in New York City beside the Hudson River...but that is another story.

Up the river from Hannibal, at La Grange, MO, there lived Thomas Riley Marshall, a very young boy in 1860 who was destined to become the Vice President with Woodrow Wilson. Born in North Manchester, Indiana, Marshall later famously quipped, "What this country needs is a really good five-cent cigar." The Dr. Daniel Marshall family had moved to La Grange, MO, and the family appeared in the 1860 census for La Grange, MO. At six years of age, this was the first appearance of Tom Marshall in any Federal census.

This intriguing intersection of Thomas Riley Marshall with Mark Twain/Samuel Clemens on the Mississippi prompted me to find another document at the court house in Hannibal. There I found the marriage record for Frank M. Gift and Emma Ginter. They were married on November 18, 1885 in Hannibal [Marriage Record Book 7, Page 101, Marion County, MO]. Shortly after his marriage in November 1885, Frank and his wife moved to North Manchester, Indiana, to commence the manufacture of cigars. Why did Gift come to North Manchester? Where was he previously? What was his background? What were his family connections? What do we know about his cigar manufacturing activities? What ever happened to him? These were the initial questions that have spurred my continuing research into the origins and development of cigar manufacturing in North Manchester between 1886 and 1923.

The Gift family came from Preble County, OH. Many other families earlier had migrated from Preble County and surrounding Ohio counties to the North Manchester area. The first white child born in North Manchester was a daughter of Eli Harter from Preble County. Eli Harter had built the second house in North Manchester in September 1836. It was a log cabin on the banks of the Eel River on the south side of what today is Main Street. Here on October 27, 1836, Phoebe Ann Harter was born. (The News-Journal, January 18, 1923) Frank Gift's mother was Mary Ann Argerbright. Her brother Solomon had located in the North Manchester area. In the 1870 Federal Census for North Manchester, S. Arkerbright was listed as a Cabinet Maker; in the 1880 Census he was identified as an undertaker. In 1883-1884 Argerbright owned real estate where my bookstore (JBK Books) now stands at 206 East Main Street.

It should also be noted that the "tobacco culture" was at that time very influential in Preble County.

From R.E. Lowry, History of Preble County Ohio (1915): "Its culture had secured a good start when the Civil War came, and the demand for cigar tobacco increased largely by reason of the lack of southern tobacco that had been largely used for smoking. This demand made the tobacco crop a much more paying crop than any other. It spread rapidly and has become a permanent feature, until today it is perhaps true that Preble, Darke and Montgomery counties raise one-half of the tobacco raised in the state."

Frank Gift had three brothers and two sisters. One of the brothers, Charles Calvin (Cal) appeared in the Directory of Preble County, OH, 1875 as employed at Quinn & Klinger, Cigar Manufacturer in Eaton, Preble County. In the 1880 United States Federal Census, Frank age 21 and William age 17 were listed as living with their mother; their listed occupation was "Works in Cigar Shop." Brother Cal was listed as age 21, Cigar Maker, boarding in Cincinnati with other boarders who also were cigar makers. Frank's wife Emma Guenter (Ginter) came from Cincinnati, and both Frank and Emma were interred at a Cincinnati cemetery. Frank's youngest brother William Milton was shot to death by Jeff Treadway in September1883 in Hannibal, Missouri. When I attempted to read the local newspapers at the Marion County Historical Society to learn more of that circumstance, the newspapers were not available in the summer of 2007 to researchers because of storage and construction issues. According to an obituary, William's body was brought back to Eaton "escorted by Cigar Makers of Eaton." Gift's family and work connections were therefore numerous regarding Preble County, Cincinnati, Hannibal, and the tobacco/cigar industry.

North Manchester Journal, February 4, 1886: The new cigar firm of Argerbright & Gift have opened their shop in the second story of Hamilton's new room adjoining the opera house. Access is had to their place of business by means of the opera house stairs. Mr. Gift is an experienced cigar-maker and will superintend the manufacturing part of the business, while Mr. Argerbright will take the road and do the soliciting for the firm, a line of business in which he has had some experience. They should be accorded a generous patronage.

North Manchester Journal, March 4, 1886: The cigar factory of Argerbright & Gift is building up a splendid trade. After a canvass of the town last week they had orders for several thousand cigars from our home dealers; enough to keep the force they now have running for a long time. We are glad to know that they are receiving the patronage and support of our business men. They make a good quality of cigars and will evidently take the lead in the city.

North Manchester Journal, April 22, 1886: We are glad to learn of the prosperity of the cigar factory of Argerbright & Gift. They are way behind with their orders now and there is no let up.

Employment problems at the cigar factory? As reported in the North Manchester Journal, May 6, 1886: Two of the cigar makers employed in Argerbright & Gift's factory went on the road last week at the request of the firm. They will not be back.

Business competition from other cigar manufacturers, as reported in the North Manchester Journal, June 17, 1886: ...Charley Bentley, the popular cigar manufacturer, of Warsaw, who was in the city taking orders for his well known brands of cigars. Mr. Bentley makes a fine cigar and when smokers try them once they are always favorites. Besides the "C.B.B." and "Standard," on which he has had a big run, he has added the "Compromise" and "Royal Champion" which are equally good, if not better. Try these brands when you want a good smoke. Another competitor from Peru, as reported in the North Manchester Journal, September 16, 1886: G.M. Webb, the Peru cigar and tobacco man, was in town Monday. "Dode," as he is familiarly called always has some new trick to show the boys. Research Note: Besides Webb, there were three other cigar manufacturers in Peru listed in the 1886-1887 Peru City Directory.

Argerbright sells interest in the cigar factory, as reported in the North Manchester Journal, July 8, 1886: One day last week Sol Argerbright sold his interest in the cigar factory to Gift Bros., who now run the business by themselves. Although residents of the place but a short time they have made many friends and have showed themselves to be honorable, upright gentlemen, and the Journal trusts they may be successful beyond their highest expectations in their business.

Locally branded cigar advertising by the Gift Brothers in North Manchester Journal, October-November, 1886:

Try the "Camp Fire" cigars.

Smoke the celebrated "Camp Fire" cigar.

The "Camp Fire" cigars have no superior.

Call for the "Camp Fire" cigars when you go to buy.

We recommend the "Camp Fire" cigars to all smokers, Gift Bros.

We have smoked "Camp Fire" cigars & pronounce them the best.

Do not smoke cheap graded cigars when you can get a "Camp Fire" for five cents.

The choice of the "Camp Fire" brand name might have been influenced by activities of the local Grand Army Post No. 199 (first organized in June 28, 1883). In November 1886, the new G.A.R. building was dedicated and the ceremony included a Grand Camp-Fire. According to Thomas J. McCrory in Grand Army of the Republic (2005), the campfire reminded veterans of happier times, a relaxed camaraderie, and shared experiences. At G.A.R. reunions, campfires "quicken the blood" and were an important and enduring aspect of G.A.R. life.

Author's Note: Frank Gift was apparently active in the Knights of Pythias. In the History of Gift, Kern, Royer Families (1909), Gift is photographed wearing K of P attire. When his second wife died in Grant County in 1900, her funeral services were conducted by the Rathbone Sisters, a women's auxiliary of the K of P. The effort to organize a Knights of Pythias lodge in North Manchester was in the same year that Gift started his cigar enterprise. (See N.M. Journal, May 27, 1886.) The saga of cigar manufacturing in North Manchester continued until the early 1920s. I wish to thank Allan White for providing several leads for this research. Jane Lightner of the Preble Co. Historical Society, assisted with information on Preble County.


DID YOU KNOW? Stogie is short for Conestoga. The cigar was the smoke of choice for teamsters driving Conestoga wagons in the cigar-making Conestoga valley area around Lancaster, PA (Wikipedia).



Jan 12 State of the Historical Society, Bill Eberly

Feb 9 Middle Eel River Watershed, Jerry Sweeten

Mar 9 Our Sea Going Cowboys, Conrad Snavely

Apr 13 Remembrances of High School 1930s - 1970s

May 11 Impact of Liegh & Florence Freed, Bonnie Merritt

Jun 8 N.M. Fire Department, Nancy Reed

Jul 13 A Pioneer Woman in First Person, Margaret Fritzel

Aug 10 Trail of Tears, Shirley Willard

Sep 14 Folding Bath Tubs, Bill Eberly

Oct 12 History of the N.M. Greenhouse, Bernie Ferringer

Nov 9 America in Bloom & Flowers, Leesa Metzger

Dec 14 Christmas Program, The Peabody Entertainers

Our monthly meetings begin with an evening meal at 6 pm. If you want to make meal reservations, please contact Karl Merritt Cost of the meal is $7.00 per person. There is free admission for the program at 6:40 pm, held in the Timbercrest Assembly Room. The public is always invited.

Now is the time to renew your membership! If you are a current member, please forward a copy of the next page to interested friends!


Go to to access information about the non-profit organizations in North Manchester. A new website for the North Manchester Historical Society is currently under construction and can be accessed through the bridge website.

Editor's Note: Please send communications, content material and articles for publication to: John Knarr, Editor/NMHS Newsletter, Box 306, N. Manchester, IN 46962. Email: