and they finished their work in April, 1834. It had covered 23,262
Scott Township, to the nortli, in the northwestern corner of the
county, was surveyed by R. T. Dawson, in 1835 ; area, 23,626 acres.
In June, 1834, John Hendricks, R. Clarke and S. Sibley surveyed
Township 31 north. Range 6 east (Clay Township), and estimated
its area at 22,453 acres.
The same surveyors run the lines, in April, 1834, for 22.277 acres
in Township 30 north. Range 6 east (Lake Township).
In 1835 R. T. Dawson and Clarke & Sibley surveyed the 22,273
acres included in Seward Townsliip, east of Franklin in the south-
western part of the county.
These surveyors also laid out tlie Jeft'erson Township of the present,
during the same year; area, 23,358 acres.
R. T. Dawson and R. Clarke & S. Sibley, in April, 1834, surveyed
20,287 acres embraced in Prairie Township. The ]\lonoqnet Reserve
extends into some of its southeastern sections, as well as the Checase
HISTORY OF KOSCIUSKO COr'XTY 91
Reservation, while Mota's Reserve takes away two of the southern
sections. Turkej^ Prairie in the northeast is the marked physical fea-
ture of the township.
What was left of Turkey Creek Township (18,456 acres), after
the Flat Belly Reservation was taken out, was surveyed by R. T. Daw-
son, R. Clarke and S. Sibley, in August, 1834.
Pioneers of Turkey Creek Township
After the surveys were well under way those who had settled, or
decided to locate in Kosciusko County, made haste to preempt their
claims, and the year 1835 brought a "land-office" business to the
agent at La Porte. The actual residents comprising these real pioneers
already constituted a considerable colony.
The heavily timbered country, with Syracuse and Nine Mile lakes
and the good water powers of Turkey Creek, early attracted a good
class of emigrants from Elkhart County. In 1832, while the Indian
treaty was still in abeyance, Samuel Crawson and Henry Ward con-
structed a dam across the creek near its outlet, with the view of erect-
ing a grist mill at that point when the lands should come into the
market. In the following year Mr. Crawson built a small log house
near the site of the proposed mill ; and this was the first residence
in Turkey Creek Township, as organized in 1838. In 1836 he erected
a small frame building for a store, on the site of what afterward be-
came the Lake House, Syracuse. William Kirkpatriek placed a small
stock of goods therein, but subsequentlj' disposed of the business to
Messrs. Crawson and Ward. They were also the owners of the land
along the northwestern shores of Syracuse Lake, on which, in August.
1837, they platted the village by that name.
Samuel Crawson and Henry Ward were also the builders and pro-
prietors of the first grist mill erected on Turkey Creek and already
mentioned, as well as of the saw-mill on the creek completed in 1836.
So, from every existing evidence, they were not only the first perma-
nent settlers of Turkey Creek Township but its leading citizens during
the first years of its development.
Joii.v Powell. Fikst Praikie Towxshu' Settler
Prairie Township, as now organized, had quite a numlicr of settlers
who located two or three years before the county was set off from
Elkhart County as a separate civil body. John Powell, the first o1'
the colony to l)ecome a residiMit, came from Elkhart County in March.
92 HISTORY OF KOSCIUSKO COUNTY
1833, aud, with his family, located on Section 21, about two miles
north of Mota's Reserve and three miles west of the Monoquet Re-
serve. In March, 1832, he had started from his Ohio home with his
ox team to explore the wilds of Northern Indiana and had secured a
tract of land on Elkhart Prairie, near what is now the City of Goshen.
After making two or thi-ee exploring expeditions, however, he decided
in favor of Turkey Creek Prairie further south, and returned to Ohio
for his wife and family.
In September, 1832, Mr. Powell started for his Indiana destination
with his young wife and little ones, and when he had reached the
eastern part of Whitley County broke his wagon. There was no other
way but to start alone for Goshen, leaving his family in the wilderness
and trusting to Providence for their protection until he could secure
another vehicle and return to them. In March, 1833, he had the sat-
isfaction of safely installing his family in a cabin on his land, about
one mile north of Galveston (Clunette), where he afterward died. His
family was the first to move on to Big Turkey Creek Prairie. Mr.
Powell died in 1874. He had attended strictly to his estate and im-
provements, and left a fine property and a substantial character. His
wife survived him for a number of years.
Other Settlers op 1833
In the year of I\Ir. Powell's coming, three other settlers made their
appearance in Prairie Township, selecting claims northeast, east and
southeast of what was afterward the Village of Galveston. In April,
1833, James H. Bishop located with his family on Section 1, erecting
a small cabin and planting a field of corn. That tract remained the
Bishop homestead for many years.
During the same summer Jacob Smith built his family cabin on
Section 13 and subsequently entered 160 acres on Section 14, which
eventually became the homestead.
Later in 1833 came James Gavin and settled on Section 25, where
he long resided.
Settlers of Van Buren Ante-Dating 1836
The early settlement of Van Buren Township chiefly occurred in
its southern sections, 21, 28 and 32. In March, 1833, Oliver Wright
and his son, Moses, located on Section 28, and William Felkner on
Section 21. Eli.jah Miller and Richard Gawthrop, from Sanduskj-,
Ohio, settled on Section 32, as did Mrs. Sarah De Vault, with her five
HISTORY OP KOSCIUSKO COUNTY 93
children— all in 1833. ]\Irs. De Vault pre-empted 160 acres. Samuel
Street, in the same j-ear, located on Section 29, and early in the
spring of 1834 Judge Aaron M. Ferine settled on the present site of
Milford, which was not platted until two years afterward.
In the fall of 1835 the first schoolhouse in Van Buren Township
was erected on Section 29. John G. Woods was the first teacher.
But at least two important events had occurred previous to that
year — the birth of the first white child in the township — Rachel,
daughter of William and Mary Ann Pelkner, on May 15, 1833 ; and
the marriage of Fred Summy to Miss Adeline Trimble, in October,
Village op Milpord Platted
Judge Ferine platted the Village of Milford on Section 8, April
10, 1836. He opened the first hotel therein and was admirably adapted
to the project of fathering a young town.
James Woodden Fioneer of Harrison Township
Harrison Township, in the west of the county, was originally
settled by James Woodden and Andrew Sell in the spring of 1834.
They came from Freble County, Ohio, and, locating respectively on
Sections 18 and 19, entered at once upon the labor of clearing the
ground and erecting cabins for the shelter of their families. The first
postoifice was established at Mr. Woodden 's house and he was
appointed postmaster in 1836.
About this time, the Underbills, Isham Summy, William Blue and
others came into the township. Mr. Summy soon succeeded Mr.
Woodden as postmaster, and when he platted Falestine in 1837 the
office was moved thither. In the preceding year (1836) Daniel
Underbill had opened a general store in Section 33, on the future
site of the village with the great aspirations and the small perform-
The Rise op Leesburg
Leesl)urg had really more substantial grounds for expecting a
future growth. The land of Levi Lee, upon which it was platted in
the fall of 1835, was clothed with timber and lay, beautifully located,
between Big Turkey Creek and Little Turkey Creek prairies. Thus
situated, with building timber at hand and surrounded bv pro-
94 HISTORY OF KOSCIUSKO COUNTY
duetive prairies, the site seemed ideal to the early settlers of the
northern part of the county.
Mr. Lee's cabin was the first residence erected on the village
site. As laid out by him, the plat commenced in the west end of
town at Hickory Street, which runs north and southeast of the
Stanley residence; thence east to Pearl Street at Kohler's corner;
thence south to the north side of what is now Prairie Street, and
north to Plum Street. It comprised forty-eight lots. Subsequently
Messrs. Beck, Blaine, Comstock and Mason made additions.
The first sale of lots at the new village of Leesburg occurred
during the August that it was platted. Only one lot was sold; but
the purchaser, Dr. Sellick, of La Gro, Indiana, did not comply with
the conditions of the sale, so that even that solitary transaction
failed to stand. Metcalfe Beck subsequently took over the lot, erect-
ing upon it a store and residence, where he continued to live and
work for a number of years.
For a time, it looked as though these who had projected Lees-
burg would realize their ambitions. The local merchants prospered,
as the neighboring farmere looked to it for their supplies and fur-
nishings, and most of the travelers who passed through that part of
the county were attracted to it as a convenient and pleasant stop-
ping place. In fact, the eventual choice of the village as the county
seat was by no means the height of Leesburg 's ambition. A plank
road was projected, to pass through Oswego and Fort Wayne and
having as its termini, Leesburg and Cincinnati. Leesburg was the
nucleus from which sprung other settlements in the county and
many who afterward became prominent in the development of War-
saw had their initial experience at the older town which was founded
about the same time as Chicago.
As County's Seat op Justice
The first session of the Commissionei-s' Court of Kosciusko County
was opened in the forenoon of June 29, 1836, at Mr. Lee's cabin,
but no business was transacted until in the afternoon, at the meeting
adjourned to the log schoolhouse. The fii'st Circuit Court of the
county was also held at Mr. Lee's home. It assembled on the follow-
ing October 31st, and also adjourned to the schoolhouse for the
afternoon session. When the court finally adjourned it was to meet
in Warsaw during November, 1837; the coming event casting a
shadow upon the bright prospects of Leesburg.
HISTORY OF KOSCIUSKO COUNTY 95
Prominent ^Ien of Plain Township
During this period, which preceded the complete organizatiou ol'
Kosciusko Count.y as a civil and independent body, most of the
prominent men resided in the northern townships, Plain especially
having a monopoly in this regard ; and the sections around Leesburg
were particularly favored. To illustrate this statement, it is only
necessary to give the names of those who had entered claims during
1835, in sections 4, 5, 6, 8 and 9. The list includes John Rumley,
Isaac Moore and J. B. Chapman, in section 4; Elijah and Jacoli
Harlan, George Harlan and Josiah Shoemaker, in section 5 ; Aaron
Powell, Samuel Stickney, Samuel Stookey, John Adney, James Hill
and Elisha Carr, in section 6; John, Henry and Levi Lee, James
Mason and John Colyer, in section 8. and Thomas Harper, William
Shellj-, Thomas Harlan, Jr., Aaron Harlan, William N. Switzer and
Samuel Snodgi-ass, in section 9.
Joseph Rippey, Abraham Buckley, William Switzer, William B.
Wade and John Thompson pre-empted claims in section 10; Andrew
Garvin made a selection in section 18, and John Reese, in section 20 ;
John Ervin and Henry Lee pre-empted tracts in section 21 ; Benja-
min Bennett, William B. Chapman and William Ervin, in section
22; John Ervin, in section 25, and Hiram Elliott, in section 32.
The Harlan Family
Of those mentioned in the foregoing list, the Harlan, Ervin and
Rippey families became widely known in the northern districts ol'
the county. Five or six members of the Harlan family pre-empted
lands. They were Quakers and five of the brothers, who were to
be founders of the American stock, started from England with
William Penu to establish his colony. Three of them, however, died
at sea and a fourth passed away soon after his arrival in Pennsyl-
vania, leaving only one of the brothers to continue the family name
in America. The survivor, in turn, became the father of five sons,
and from them have been traced the descendants who have variously
spelled their names.
It is claimed for Elijah Harlan that he was the first white man
to build a cabin in Plain TownshijD witii a view of making it liis
permanent home, and the story of his coming, settlement and subse-
quent career has already been told.
96 HISTOBY OF KOSCITSKO COUNTY
The Ervins, Erwins, or Irvines, are of an ancient Scotch family,
and claim Washington Irving as a member of one of its clans. The
early emigrants settled both in the southern and old middle states,
and during the Civil war the allegiance of the families was naturally
The Kosciusko County Erwins were descended from Charles, who
emigrated from Dublin, Ireland, in 1814, and settled in Springfield,
Ohio. In 1825 he moved from the Buckeye state to Indiana, locat-
ing near Goshen. Elkhart County. In 1835 he became a resident of
Kosciusko County, entering the land known later as the Holderman
farm. Mr. Erwin spent the last years of his life at Leesburg. and left
a large family of sons and daughters, several of whom have become
John Thompson, who pre-empted land in section 10, was the son
of Abraham, who fotmded the family homestead, about a mile north-
east, in 1833. In December of that year the father pre-empted a
quarter section of heavily timbered land in that locality and built
a log cabin on the north side of the road. There, in section 2, he
cleared two acres and set out an orchard, and, as most of the trees
upon his land were sugar maples, his homestead was soon considered
as among the most desirable in the county, ilr. Thompson also
rented fifteen acres of prairie land from Levi Lee, on the east side
of the timber strip which afterward became the site of Leesburg,
planting it to com and preparing it for a crop, until such time as
he could clear a tract on hi? own land. In 1835, he bought his claim
of the Government, and. with his family, lived thereon until his
death in 1846. Two of the sons, James and John, left the family
homestead two years after their father s death and moved into Cham-
paign County, Illinois, Jesse and Charles remaining home. From
them have descended the Thompsons now residing in the county.
Abraham Cuxxisgham Locates ox Boxe Pr.ueie
Abraham Cunningham came from Ohio to Plain Town.ship in the
spring of 1S35 and entered a quarter section lying between Tippe-
canoe Lake and what is known as Stanton Lake. He then returned
to Ohio and in the following autumn brought his two single daugh-
HISTORY OF KOSCIUSKO COUNTY 97
ters, and his married son and son-in-law, with their wives and chil-
dren, to Bone Prairie; and there three cabins were built and the
farms selected cultivated.
At that time Oswego was an Indian village, and there were no
roads east of the place, with the exception of an Indian trail, or
bridle path. The savages were all around, and night after night the
Cunninghams were aroused by the howling of drunken Indians as
they passed through the woods.
Abraham Cunningham lived but a few years after he settled in
Plain Township, but his son, Thomas B., continued to reside upon
the old homestead and improve it for nearly half a eenturj-. The
latter died there in 1884.
One of the three log cabins built in the winter of 1835-36 is still
standing, and forms the kitchen to the Joseph Lippincott home,
located on the north side of Stanton Lake. The building is in good
repair and has been occupied all these years by the children and
the grandchildren of Abraham Cunningham.
The Rippey family owes its planting in the eoiuity to the fact
that Joseph displeased his Scotch father in selecting his own religion,
and left the old home in West Virginia, first for Ohio, and afterward
for Indiana. He was a blacksmith by trade, and accumulated both
money and property, but lost much of his means by being security
for those who abused his confidence in them.
David Rippey, the son of Joseph, was attracted to the prairies of
Northern Indiana, and in 1834 visited his brother, ilatthew, who had
pre-empted land on Elkhart Prairie. While there, he examined
Turkey Creek Prairie, and bought two quarter sections south of what
was soon to become Leesburg, fixing his homestead upon the land
which he had purchased of Henry Lee. His brother, Joseph, who
had come out with Matthew Rippey to Elkhart Prairie, took charge
of the land until David could return to Henry County. Indiana, and
make arrangements to move.
Fifteen" D.vys Overl.vxd Trip ix 1xdi.\xa
The journey of the David Rippey family from Henry County,
east of the central part of the state, to Northern Indiana, is so
typical of the migrations of the pioneer Hoosiers of the '30s that the
interesting account of it written by James M. Armstrong, the old
soldier and editor of Leesburg, is in point. It is as follows: "On
April 12, 1835. ilr. Rippey started for their new home in Northern
Indiana in a big covered wagon known in those pioneer days as
98 HISTORY OF KOSCIUSKO COUNTY
'prairie schooners,' drawn by four yoke of oxen. The family at that
time consisted of Mr. and Mrs. David Rippey, Henry C, May June
and William, the last named being a baby just beginning to walk.
His sister, Mary Rippey, Samuel Pennimore, William Catey and
Milton Jeffries accompanied them. Their stock consisted of two
horses, some sheep, two cows and calves. On account of the bad roads
they made slow progress. While passing through what was known as
Killbuck swamps, just north of iluncie, then but a small village,
they met what, under the circumstances, was quite a serious accident,
in the breaking of the hind axle of the wagon. This caused a delay
of one or two days.
The Pioneer Cabin Completed
"After passing through Muncie they found the country very
thinly settled. They passed through Marion and Lagro, then but
small villages. From Lagro to North Manchester, there were but
very few houses, and the roads only such in name. On account of
the wolves, the stock had to be corraled every night in a pen built
of poles and brush, and fires, fed with logs and brvish, as a protec-
tion. One night, notwithstanding this vigilance, the wolves caught
a calf, but the men, with the assistance of a dog, drove them away
before the calf was seriously hurt.
"They crossed Eel River at Manchester, which at that time con-
sisted of but two or three log cabins. They were among the first, if
not the first emigrants, to ford the river at tliat point. On the last
HISTORY OF KOSCIUSKO COUNTY 99
day of their journey, April 25th, they camped near the cabin of
Peter Warner on the Tippecanoe River. The next day, April 26,
1836, about noon, they arrived at their home in Plain Township,
just south of Leesburg.
"The home was a small hewed log cabin with but one room, cov-
ered with clapboards held to their places with poles. The floor was
made of puncheons, split from a big linn tree. The fireplace was
built of flat stone and the chimney of sticks and mud. A big fire
was soon burning in the fireplace, the goods unloaded and prepara-
tions made for dinner in the new home which they were glad to reach
after a tiresome journey of fifteen days; which today can be com-
fortably made in less than that many hours.
The Old-Time Neighborly Welcome
"The old-time neighborly interest in all new-comers was then in
vogue and the neighbors made haste as soon as thej' heard of the
arrival of the Rippeys to drop in and welcome them, and to offer any
assistance they might need ; which was a pleasure and an encourage-
ment to the new arrivals. It was early springtime, the trees and
shrubs had begun to array themselves in their beautiful foliage of
green, and the broad prairie spread out to the north and west of
the Rippey home like an emerald sea of waving grass. It was truly
an inspiring sight, one calculated to encourage and inspire them with
a love for their new home.
"At that time there were but few settlers in this part of the
county; among them were the Summys, the Plumraers, Guj-s and the
Bishops on the north side of the prairie. On the east was the cabin
of Thomas Harper, on the southwest the cabin of John Colyer (built
on the north side of the Clunette road just west of the gravel pit).
Here Mr. Colyer set out an orchard, some of which remained until
quite a recent date. On the northwest and just west of Leesburg
was the cabin of James Mason, and to the north on Little Turkey
Creek Prairie were the Chapmans, the Harlans and the Rumleys.
"Leesburg had just been laid out by Mr. Lee, and John R. and
William Blaine were erecting a store building on the comer now
occupied by the Kohler & Company store room.
Union Labor Without Union Hours
"Mr. Rippey was soon busy fixing up the place, breaking up
the virgin soil and planting corn. The breaking was done with four
HISTvKY ^:»F Kc«SCirSKO COrXTY
3i«fce «? «saK iBiteini «• a Imrv- fcte m^itiBg pkpv. Oae- mui diVK e iIk'
«Hn ami nmtihn- ImM 1^ pt»v. »d^at ereiy tMid rand lbs.
Bi«9Q^ »a ker sisSer irilM«l ad dnppei a iw «f e«L bi this
m;^!- a>ffr iilMiiiii figty aews •£ en. ^Aieh ggwr Mrety ■itliT a»r
'^b 1teer fianar ds^s. M was itrntrr iiiin>«,..iML «• ixxp Ikt
Ag iiiiiiii II mil iir ae Ac wd mau'
BeSmrm tai5a^ iexwc <g the Ltnfcgg i iQil Imil, it ««rid be
Es. "HkP mmi ««t a^ &«B Ifa-. Le«i Lee awl Ms
"t«" «w «• ke vsMBcd ftrtiiM pvpHC ^ Ae
Ae- ■«■ a^ ;««k af Ac ■ wUkw ^ iJiJAm-
ne 1 nllim^ ^^hee.~ Ae Fn^n^ ^ «i«^ vh Rs^bted 1?^ Ae
HISTORY OF KOSCIUSKO COUNTY 101
oxen. moTed slowly to lot 41 on Prairie Street. The ••comer" build-
ers were selected, skids were prepared, and all the other prepara-
tions made to erect the little 1(^ cabin, which was to serre the cause
of education. In log cabin times it was considered a neat job to
mn np a nice-looking comer, and almost every eommnnity had its
experts in that line. There was often qnite a rivalry as to who c-onM
ran up his comer the quickest and neatest. It is said the con-
test was remarkably brisk in the building of the first sehoolhoase
at Leesbui^. but nothing has come down to us to indicate who proved
to be the star performer. That cabin schoolhonse. with its big open
fireplace and its little windows, its puncheon floor and ron^ benches,
did servic-e for several years, when a small frame building at the east
end of town replaced it.
WnxiAM C. Gbaves
With a brand-new schoolhonse on their hands, the villagers looked
around for a teacher. Fortunately, they found a good «ie at hand —
Wflliam C. Graves, a youth of eighteen with a superior education for
those days, who had recently arrived from his West Virginia home.
He gladly accepted the situation offered him, and taught the school
for nine months. Mr. Graves then spent over a year in Elkhart and
St. Joseph counties, engaged in mercantile pursuits, as the county
clerk's deputy in Elkhart County and in the study of law at South
Bend. At the conclusion of this valuable experience, he returned
to Kosciusko County, and commenced practice at Leesburg as one of
its first lawyers.
For half a century ilr. Graves continued his activities in Kosciusko
County, and into every work which he underto<*, whether official,
legislative, business or financial, instilled a rare faithfulnes. integ-
rity and abilitj-. No citizen "•wore" so welL or earned a more
deserved popularity. From 1S40 to 1S48 he served as clerk of the
Cireuit Court. In the meantime he had engaged in business at War-
saw, which soon required all his attention, and in 1S6^-^1 was identi-
fied with the First National Bank and the State Bank of Warsaw.
He was prominent in the organization of both, was cashier of the
First National for about eighteen years, and president of the State
Bank during its first year. At the time of his death in December,
1884. he was engaged in the dry goods business.
The Blais-es of Leesbubg
The Blaines of Leesburg are qualified to enter the list of noted
families of Kosciusko County. Old Jimmy Blaine. •'King Jimmy."
102 HISTORY OF KOSCIUSKO COUNTY
the head of the family, is said to have been an uncle of the famous
James G. Blaine, the Maine statesman and ex-secretary of state. If
this is so, then John R. Blaine and William Blaine, who opened the
first dry goods store in the northern part of the county, on Bone