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 North Manchester, Indiana

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North Manchester

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Source: NMHS Newsletter Aug 2002

Straws in the Wind by Harry Leffel

Fifty Years Ago

(Date of column not available)

It might be said that the history of North Manchester started on Lot 2 of the original plat for it was there that Peter Ogan built his cabin even before he planned a town. His cabin stood on the site of what was known for many years as the Williams Drug Store lot which along with the building next east has been owned in more recent years by Clyde Eckhart The west or drug store room now is occupied by Dr. W. K. Damron and the room next east by Robert Gidley with his B & D. Shoe Store. (The West Room is now occupied by Dr. Hankee. If you look carefully at the outside west wall of the building you can see the old Williams Drug Store sign) There was a spring on the Williams lot, where Mr and Mrs Ogan resided, that probably being the reason for the location of their cabin in 1836. In a later day, in a transfer of title to the shoe store lot, the right was given to use the spring on Lot 2.

Peter Ogan and his brother John, had helped chop a trail from Anderson to Wabash so the U. S. Treaty commissioners could negotiate a treaty with the Indians. It was concluded October 23, 1826 at Paradise Springs in Wabash. The site was near the later New York Central station in Wabash and by its provisions the Eel River country was opened for settlement by whites.

Peter Ogan's first plat was small, from the alley east of Front Street to the alley east of Walnut Street and from the River north to Third Street. He sold part of a quarter section to the north to Allen Halderman, while Jacob Neff owned the land west of the alley between Front and Market. In later platting and now considered the original plat Neff and Halderman and Ogan, had lots surveyed from Front Street east to the River, and from Fourth Street south to the River this including all of the big bend in the river.

Ogan's tract included 59.75 acres. Originally he had two 80 acre tracts extending east of the alley east of Front Street and north from


the alley north of the Post Office, to Road 13. Halderman had entered the 80 acres east of Ogan's south 80 and a short time later purchased Ogan's south 80. On this tract is the Central Junior High School and the Old Cemetery along Market Street. In laying out what is now the original plat each owner, Ogan, Neff and Halderman retained ownership of their lands and the platted lots. Neff did not remain long in North Manchester but sold his holdings and returned to Preble County, Ohio, where he died. A death in the Halderman family caused him to set aside the Old Cemetery tract and in later years the Halderman heirs deeded the cemetery to the Town of North Manchester.

For many years nothing was known of the Ogan family. This writer (Harry Leffel) traced the family to Richmond, Indiana, and a photostatic copy of the will of Samuel Ogan recorded at Richmond is now in the files of the News Journal. The will, probated February 15, 1843 names the following children in bequests: Peter and John, who had located in the North Manchester vicinity, Elias, who lived at Somerset; Lewis, who later died at Richmond , and who owned a farm later owned by Dorsey Brandenburg east of North Manchester; Stephen, Jasper County, Esther, wife of James Hendrix, Richmond; and Phemy, wife of Martin Elliott, Jasper County. The family probably originated in Eastern Pennsylvania.

John Ogan operated a grist mill on Pony Creek, just south of the Road 113 bridge. He and his family were buried in the north part of the Old Cemetery. The Albert and James and Miss Sadie Rooney of Laketon were grandchildren of John Ogan.

Lots l and 2 of the original plat extend east from the Williams drug store building to the west edge of Walnut Street if extended to the River. Peter and Mary Ann Ogan, his wife, sold those lots, which included the Ogan cabin to John and Jane Townsend December 22, 1843 for $100. Early accounts say the Ogans operated a tavern in the early days of the town, but the exact location is not known. Peter was busy in other matters. He built a dam across Eel River just below the covered bridge, dug a mill race across the neck of land, joining the river again near the later Farm Bureau Lumber Yard on South Mill Street and proceeded to build a saw mill. Later a flume mill race to furnish water power for a foundry and machine shop owned by Samuel Leonard. After starting the saw mill, Ogan added a buhr mill to grind grain.

Page Thirteen

Ogan disposed of his lots and holdings rapidly and prior to 1875 had moved from North Manchester to a place south of town. A historian of 1875 stated Ogan was living in Indiana, but records in court houses to the southwest and west of Wabash County fail to reveal any trace of Peter Ogan and his wife, Mary Ann. Apparently they had no children.

Although for convenience, the name North Manchester is used, the town was platted as Manchester. It was not until the town was incorporated in 1875 that the North was added, principally because there was another town in Southern Indiana by the name of Manchester and the post office department required a change in name of this town, which was platted later.