Peabody Singing Tower

 NORTH MANCHESTER HISTORICAL SOCIETY
 North Manchester, Indiana

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NEWSLETTER

of the North Manchester Historical Society, Inc.
VOLUME XIX, NUMBER 1 (FEBRUARY, 2002)


Excerpt from

The Maple Leaves

a N.M.H.S publication dated June, 1903

Leaves from an Old Diary

Lulu L. Strickler - believed to be a member of this class)

(The following leaves are supposed to have been taken from the diary of an old man, one of the first settlers of Chester township, Wabash County, Indiana. Although the date of the months may be incorrect, the dates as to years are history.)

  • September 10, 1830

I just returned home from Shippensburg from muster-day. I heard them discussing this new country west of the Allegheny mountains, and I was so impressed by the talk that I intend to look into the matter. Brother John expects even to start soon.

  • September 24, 1830

I went as far as Carlisle with Brother John and his five companions who are on their way to Ohio. On account of father's health, I am forced to remain here.

  • August l, 1831

Just received a letter from Brother John. He says: "I am located in Richland county, Ohio, some few miles southeast from Mansfield. Here the land is very rich, though the country is broken; even the chestnut ridges produce great trees from three to five feet in diameter. The bottom lands are so fertile that the timothy grass grows about four feet tall, and the other products grow in the same proportion; the beets weigh about one hundred and fifty pounds and the potatoes are so large that a man may sit upon one end of it while the other is in the fire roasting." These few items together with our eagerness to investigate the territory for ourselves soon caused father to want to come out as far as Johns, if not farther.

 
 

  • August 28, 1831

We started early today on our journey. Father, Betsy and the little ones rode in the wagon, which carries our necessities; and the boys and myself armed with the rifle and some axes, walked along urging the team over the rough ground, and provided food both for them and for ourselves. We camped at night, hobbling the mules to keep them from straying.

  • Oct. 25, 1831

How relieved we feel! We have reached brother's in safety. Father, who has been rather downhearted, has cheered up upon finding John's all healthy and in good spirits. We leave the things in the wagon until we located for ourselves. Today father seems interested in everything; he admires the large chestnut trees, and when, after asking about the beets, John told him that they were dead-beats he couldnot conceal his surprise and distrust. Then he asked about the potatoes. John seems not to understand him, for he asked, "What potatoes?" "Oh, those like you wrote about that you can sit on one end of while the other's in the fire roasting." "Oh, that is nothin; just cut them in two."

  • March 14, 1835

I am tired of trying to farm this broken and hilly country and as there is an opening of lands in Indiana to be had at a dollar and a quarter an acre, I will sell out and investigate that.

  • Sept. 30, 1835

The day is favorable for the journey to Indiana. I have sold my land and with Mike Secrist and Mr. Clever start on foot to see the new country. We carry an ax and a rifle apiece but very little money and little more ammunition.

  • Oct. 4, 1835

We had traveled for three days and for about a hundred or a hundred and thirty miles we had to follow our way along a line made by the surveyor's blaze, until we came to a large river which we learned from an Indian was the Wabash. He showed us a trail which soon brought us to a village which boasted one store and a tavern and a few dwellings. The little postoffice is called the "Treaty Ground Postoffice". The settlers here are hospitable and prevailed upon us to

 
Page Two
 
   

 

stay and view the land in the neighborhood and north for about fifteen miles. We put up at David Cassett's Tavern, where we obtained a guide. He says the land south of the river is hilly, and rather rolling, but as he describes it, it does not form what I call good farm land, and so we will turn our attention to the north.

  • Oct. 10, 1835

We traveled about four days, examining the land, before we came to the water-way our guide called the River Eel; and we had gone about twenty miles, though the direct distance is said to be but twelve. After ascending the bluff at Wabash Town, we immediately entered level country, which continued up to within about a mile from the River Eel. All this land is well timbered and full of underbrush. Our guide says there is a clearing several miles up the river where a Mr. Helvie is wintering; and so we forded the river, ascended the bluff on the other side where we were surprised to find the barrens so much talked of in Ohio; and then followed the river until we found the opening. Mr. Helvie says the lands we passed through near the river are the best in the locality, for they are well drained. Our guide returned to Wabash Town, convinced that we would locate here, instead of near his town. We went with him until he struck our trail and then we followed the river up its east side. About two miles from Mr. Helvie's we found a good spring and a good place for a cabin. I, then and there, made up my mind that that land was to be mine. Mike will enter his land about a mile up from mine, but Mr. Clever don't like the place and is anxious to return to Ohio, and so we will start back in a few days.

  • Oct. 18, 1835

All three of us kept together until we reached the land office at Ft. Wayne, where Mike and I entered our lands. Clever got a horse and went on, but we followed on foot and beat him here by two days!

  • Feb. 26, 1836

We got to our lands early this morning and unloaded near the spring. I felled an oak about four feet in diameter, which had several large branches, one high enough for us to stand under. Then I placed elm bark from the ground to the top of the branches so that it makes a tent-shaped shelter, which will be our home until I can get a cabin.

 
[Continued on Page Four] Page Three
 

  • May 4, 1836

Yesterday the neighbors, with a man from LaGros, came in to help build my cabin, and tonight I have a double cabin, with two good fire-places. I put Pete Ogan, Jesse Moyer, Teal and Mr. Lukens in the fatigue party, and Jim Abbot and John Ogan hauled the logs to the site and assorted them. Mr. Harter, Simonton and Mr. Comstock hunted the roofing and fixed the puncheons for the floor. Sam Thurston, Cox, Gill and Anderson were the corner men, and everything was in readiness this morning for the lifting.

  • Nov. l. 1837

Our crop of corn has done well and will furnish meal for us throughout the winter, and the fodder will keep the oxen in good condition. I have just returned from registering the stock, so that I may let them run at large until cold weather, feeding on the nuts and acorns. My herds are marked by a hole in the left ear and a slit in the right one. Neighbor John just came from Richmond with his load of salt for the neighborhood. I got about two barrels of it, paying twenty-five dollars for it. I poured a small bucketful of it into a springy place down near the river to make a lick.

  • Dec. 5, 1937

Neighbor John came over this morning and said that this is the time for butchering and that the other neighbors, ready for work, would soon be down to the river. I made all haste to get there in time to help with the catching of the cattle and swine. They fenced in a large pen near where the animals spent the night and tolled them into it with grain. The hundred and seven head which entered made us a good day's work, John got fourteen but only twelve of mine entered, although I had wanted fifteen.

  • Oct. 14, 1838

We have just been to Neighbor John's to a husking bee, given for the new neighbors. Some of those there were James Abbot, Col. Helvie, Mr. Ogan and his brother John, Mr. Harter, Mr. Halderman and John Wesley Williams. John Ogan says his new corn-crcker is now almost ready to grind; and this means no more trips to Bristol for meal. The last part of the evening was spent in the telling of their various experiences, especially of those with the Indians. We had not

 
Page Four
 

all told our experiences when a big chief came to the door calling for the "jenup -man." He had a squaw and a papoose with him which he placed by my side. Then he would walk part way from us with little Conrad, our black-eyed and black-haired boy. He would bring him back and start away with his squaw; then he would repeat these actions. When I saw he wanted to trade his squaw for my boy, I shook my head and said, "no, no," and the Indian, understanding me better than I did him, walked away with his squaw, all the time saying, "You no jenup-man", evidently thinking that any gentleman would trade.

  • Sept. 29, 1850

Today I have worked as usual on the new Methodist church at North Manchester, and we now have it almost ready for dedication. It will be one of the best and most comfortable churches around, for it is large, roomy and well lighted, and the benches are well finished and comfortable.

(Note) Evidently each student was allocated a certain space and that allocation ran out here...I wished for more (ED).