Prairie, were first cousins to the more famous Yankee. When Lees-
burg was platted, in 1835, the business was moved to the new vil-
lage, and John R. Blaine opened the first store there.
John R. Blaine, the last of the family, came, like the other mem-
bers, from Highland County, Ohio, and continued in business at
Leesburg for twenty years. In 1861 President Lincoln appointed
him registrar of lands for the southern district of Missouri, and five
j'ears later he moved to Decatur, Illinois. In December, 1890, he
died while visiting a son at Ottawa, Kansas, and a few days after-
ward his remains were brought to Leesburg by one of his sous and
deposited in the family lot of his home town.
The Tippecanoe Lake Region
Tippecanoe Lake was always an attraction for those seeking loca-
tions in Northern Indiana. It was beautiful in itself, the surround-
ing lands were fertile, and it possessed an added interest in that it
was the source of the charming stream which also beai-s its name.
Along the northern shores of the lake lay the farms which were
claimed by the first settlers of what is now Tippecanoe Township,
originally a portion of Plain.
Shortly before the first settlers came to this section of the state
the pioneer road was surveyed through the township. It was a por-
tion of the highway projected from White Pigeon, Southern Mich-
igan, through Goshen, Elkhart County, and the eastern townships of
Kosciusko County to Huntington, in the southeast.
In the winter of 1834-35 Ephraim Muirheid built a log cabin near
the outlet of Tippecanoe Lake, in section 9. In the spring he went
to Virginia and when he returned soon afterward found that Ben-
jamin Johnson, a kinsman, had also erected a house in the neighbor-
hood. In the following fall, Mr. Johnson regularly entered the 160
acres, which he claimed through "squatter" rights and which
remained his homestead for many years.
Mr. Muirheid built both a saw mill and a grist mill near the
outlet of Boydston's Lake and they were long in successful opera-
tion. In the summer of 1835 William Divinney came from Ohio and
settled near Mr. Johnson's place.
In 1836, Henry Warner, from Hamilton County, Ohio, settled
HISTORY OF KOSCIUSKO COUNTY 103
on the southeast quarter of section 9, Tippecanoe Township, and in
the same year Thomas K. Warner, a former resident of Cincinnati,
located on the present site of North Webster, west of Webster Lake
in section 10. Andrew Woodruff, of Huron County, Ohio, settled on
section 6, in the extreme northwest corner during the same year.
First Religious Services and Preachers
The majority of the religious organizations of Kosciusko County
were founded after the county came into being as a civil and political
body. In fact, although there may have been services of a sacred
nature conducted previous to 1834, there is no record of them either
in print or in the traditions of those who have been in touch with
the pioneers of the period covered by this chapter. In the year named
Rev. R. R. Robinson, a local Methodist preacher, conducted a relig-
ious meeting in the log cabin of Charles Erwin, not far from Lees-
burg. Mr. Robinson was a resident of Goshen. Aaron Wood followed
him in 1835, when Leesburg was platted and the activities of the
society were transferred to the new town, although the First Meth-
odist Episcopal Church was not formally organized until two years
PHYSICAL FEATURES OF KOSCIUSKO COUNTY
John B. Chapman, Godfather op the County ā Patron Patriot
OF Kosciusko County ā Kosciuzko, the First Abolitionist ā
The County's Name Really Kosciuzko ā Area and Bounds ā
Tippecanoe River, Pride of Northern Indiana ā Other Lakes
OP THE County ā Topography of the County ā Surface Geology
ā Depth op Lakes ā Sunken Lakes ā Composition of the Drift.
The bulk of the territory included within the limits of Kosciusko,
County is embraced by the headwaters of the Tippecanoe River and
its valley, and, even more generally speaking, is a part of the great
system of the Wabash, the widely extended waterway which, after
favoring both Illinois and Indiana as a common boundary for about
half their southern stretches, veers to the east and northeast and
becomes the beautiful and much beloved stream of Northern Hoosier-
dom. The county has always taken a pride and a pleasure that
Nature deigned to fix the sources of the most charming child of the
Wabash within its bounds.
John B. Chapman, Godfather of the County
The people of Kosciusko County have also, more than once,
tendered John B. Chapman a vote of thanks that he was the means
of inducing the Indiana Legislature to stamp upon that territory
the name of one of the great patriots of the world, as well as the
memory of a city rich in history. At this particular crisis in the
world's history, when Poland seems about to realize some of her
ancient and modern aspirations, so brilliantly personated in Kosciusko,
and when even Warsaw is about to be redeemed to higher things
than perhaps she has ever known, the section of Indiana of which
we write stands forth somewhat by reflected prominence.
Patron Patriot of Kosciusko County
Thaddeus Kosciuzko, the rich young Polish nobleman, with a
French military education and polish, who, like Lafayette, threw his
all into the uncertainty and storm of the American Revolution, under
HISTORY OP KOSCIUSKO COUNTY 105
the wise, yet energetic direction of Washington, was naturally attract-
ive to the restless, ardent and independent temperament of Mr.
Chapman. The unfortunate love affair of the European emigrant,
the liberation of his ancestral serfs previous to his departure for
America ā in a word, his complete severance of all old-world ties for
those of the struggling American colonies, is an appeal to action
which cannot be lost to any pioneer or even a citizen of today. As
Washington's aid-de-camp, he fought and suffered with him and his
little army, and after the United States of America was an assur-
ance he returned to Poland, as head of its fiery troops, and, with
the defeat of his compatriots, was thrown into prison.
KOSCIUZKO THE FiRST ABOLITIONIST
Kosciusko was finally released from prison by Emperor Paul, of
Russia, probably upon pressure from America, and two years after-
ward visited this country to renew his associations with his friends
of revolutionary days. In 1798 he visited Thomas Jefferson, his old-
time friend, and made a will in which he disposed of the property
which he possessed in the United States and thereby subscribed him-
self and perhaps the first of the Abolitionists, by purchase. That
remarkable document, written in his clear and bold script, reads thus :
"I, Thaddeus Koseiuzko, being just in mj' departure from Amer-
ica, do hereby declare and direct that, should I make no other testa-
mentary disposition of my property in the United States, I hereby
authorize my friend, Thomas Jefferson, to employ the whole thereof
in purchasing negroes from among his own, or any others, and giving
them their liberty in my name ; in giving them an education in trades
or otherwise ; and in having them instructed for their new condition
in the duties of morality, which may make them good neighbors,
good fathers or mothers; and, in their duties as citizens, teaching
them to be defenders of their libertj^ and country, and of the good
order of society, and in whatsoever may make them happy and
useful. And I make the said Thomas Jefferson my executor of this.
"5th day of May, 1798. T. KoscirzKO."
Late in life, Koseiuzko retired to Switzerland, where he died
October 16, 1817, aged sixty-one years. The will disposing of his
American property for the emancipation and improvement of slaves
was not recorded by Jefferson until two years after the death of his
Polish friend, as the following inscription indicates:
At a Circuit Court held for Albemarle County, the 12th day of
May, 1819: ''This instrument, purporting to be the hist will and
106 HISTORY OF KOSCIUSKO COUNTY
testament of Thaddeus Kosciuzko, deceased, was produced in open
court, and satisfactory proof being produced of its being written in
the hand-writing of the said Kosciuzko, the same was ordered to be
recorded, and thereupon, Thomas Jefferson, the executor therein
named, refused to take upon himself the burden of the execution of
the said will.
"Teste: John Care, C. C."
There is probably a good explanation of this refusal of Jeffer-
son's to carry out the provisions of Kosciuzko 's will, the most reason-
able being that, at his advanced age (he was then seventy-six), he
did not care to "burden" himself with the labors, and probable
perplexities incident to the practical working out of the problem of
the education and development of the black slave. Possibly, also he
was not in entire sympathy with the experiment. It is evident that
Kosciuzko looked far ahead.
The County's Name Really Kosciuzko
The reader has undoubtedly noted the spelling of the family name
of the Polish patriot, and, historically, it should be attached to the
county in that form, the only excuse for adopting Kosciusko being
a slight advantage of euphony.
Area and Bounds
The county has an area of 558 square miles, included within the
following boundaries, defined by act of the Legislature passed at the
session of 1834-35 : Beginning at the northeast corner of section 3,
township 34 north, range 4 east, thence east with the line dividing
townships 34 and 35, distance twenty-one miles; theuce south eight-
een miles to the correcting parallel ; thence west with said parallel
one and three-fourths miles to the northeast corner of township 31,
range 7 east; thence south on the east line of townships 31 and 30,
range 7 east, nine miles to the southeast comer of section 13, town-
,ship 30, range 7 east; thence west through the center of range 30
eighteen miles ; thence north three miles ; thence west between town-
ships 30 and 31, three miles ; thence north six miles to the correcting
parallel at the northwest corner of section 3, township 31, range 4
east ; thence east, with said correcting parallel, one and one-fourth
miles, to the southwest corner of section 34, township 32, range 4
east; thence through the center of townships 32, 33 and 34, range 4
east, eighteen miles to the place of beginning. The bounds were
verified by Ellis Kiser, civil engineer for the surveying company.
HISTORY OF KOSCIUSKO COUNTY 107
Tippecanoe River, Pride op Northern Indiana
Most of the territory of Kosciusko County falls within the north-
ern watershed of the Wabash system, the valley of the Tippecanoe
representing its chief physical feature. The only exception is the
southeastern corner, which is drained by the Eel River, a virtual
continuation of the main course of the Wabash River; the Tippe-
canoe is its boldest northern offshoot.
The pride of Northern Indiana rises in Boyston Lake, Tippe-
canoe Township, and its headwaters also embrace Tippecanoe and
Tippecanoe River View
Webster lakes ā beautiful sheets of water, and the centers of a country
which offers every possible phase of out-of-doors sports and refresh-
Other Lakes of the County
Further north, in the northeastern corner of the county, Turkey
Creek rises in Wawasee Lake (old Nine Mile Lake), flowing west
through its extremity, or Syracuse Lake, and meandering through the
northern sections of Van Buren Township, cuts out a small corner
of Jefferson Township, and finally leaves the county at the north.
The Tippecanoe River continues its general southwesterly course,
throwing out creeks and expanding into little lakes, both north and
south. In the northern central sections of Wayne Townsliip, there
108 HISTORY OF KOSCIUSKO COUNTY
is an especially attractive group, wonderfully improved within the
last decade even beyond the beauties of Nature, and dedicated not
only to those seeking pleasure, recreation and rest, but the inspiration
of the higher life. Winona (formerly Eagle) Lake, the greater gem,
is connected with the smaller of the gi'oup. Center and Pike lakes,
by Walnut Creek and other tributaries of the Tippecanoe. Little
Eagle, or Chapman's Lake, in the southeastern part of Plain Town-
ship is connected with the group mentioned by what was formerly
Deed's Creek, transformed of late years into Heter Ditch.
Farther to the west and forming sections of the southern water-
shed of the Tippecanoe is the country watered by Trimble and Yel-
low creeks. A well known and attractive expansion of Trimble
Creek, on the borders of Harrison and Seward townships, is Pales-
tine Lake, while the headwaters of Yellow Creek are mei'ged into a
charming group of little lakes in the central sections of Seward
Township, the largest of which are Beaver Dam and Yellow. Still
farther south is Silver Lake, the bright little child of Silver Creek.
There are several other lakes in the county, serving to make this
section one of the noted lake regions of Northern Indiana and the old
Middle West (now the Eastern West, if the term may be allowed).
There are few districts -in the country which nature has better
adapted to the raising of live stock and the development of dairying
interests than those included in Kosciusko County.
Topography of the County
Originally a heavy growth of walnut, maple, hickory and oak
covered most of the southern portion of the county. In the northern
sections are the largest of the prairies, such as Big Turkey, Little
Turkey and Bone, and the surface of the land, if not level, is gently
rolling. These considerable tracts of level land aggregate some 10,000
acres. Both in the northern and other portions of the county were
numerous tracts of lowlands, which the early settlei's designated as
"wet prairies" and which, under modern methods of ditching and
drainage, have been reclaimed and made very productive. Such work
has been made possible and greatly facilitated, by the wonderful
system of drainage provided bj- Nature.
The Surp.\ce Geology
The surface geology of Koseiiisko County has been largely deter-
mined by borings and other explorations in the vicinity of the lakes.
HISTORY OF KOSCIUSKO COUNTY 109
It has been ascertained that there are abont forty depressions, which
form the beds of as many lakes, some of which cover but a few acres.
The county lies within the drift formation of the Bowlder Epoch,
in geological parlance. The transported material ranges in thick-
ness from about 150 feet on the southeast to 200 feet on the northwest.
A sample series of the strata usually encountered is afforded by a well
boring made near Silver Lake, in the southeastern part of the county,
the result being: Black loam, 4 feet; dark sand, 18 feet; hard-pan
clay, 15 feet; dark sand, 6 feet; blue and gray hard-pan, 30 feet;
light fine sand, 7 feet; gray hard-pan, 8 feet; white sand, SVo feet;
gray hard-pan, 6 feet ; tine white sand, 3 feet ; hard-pan, 6 feet ; hard-
pan and sand, 5 feet; fine white sand, 5 feet; small bowlders, 41/0
feet. Total, 121 feet.
At this point in the boring, the water rose seventy-eight feet in
the well, though bed-rock had not yet been reached. It is reasonable
to assume that it would have been encountered at least thirty feet
Other wells have been bored in Warsaw, Etna Green, Syracuse,
Webster and other places, and the general result is to substantially
determine the fact that about seventy feet of the drift overlying the
area of Kosciusko County is stiff, tenacious clay, with an occasional
parting of sand, pebbles and transient rock. Where the clay has been
unusually solidified, it is termed hard-pan. It is impervious to water,
and serves as the bed of many of the lakes in the county. It is also
of use as forming the walls of natural water resei-yoirs, the inter-
mediate layers of land completing Nature's filter and insuring purity
Depth op Lakes
Most of the lakes in Kosciusko County have been "officially"
sounded. It is believed that Winona (Eagle) is the deepest lake
in the state; certainly the deepest in the county. Its depth is sev-
entj'-eight feet. Center Lake was sounded by a geological paity some
forty years ago, and found to have a depth of forty-two feet; the
greatest depth of Pike Lake is thirty-six feet, and so on down to
A number of sunken lakes have been uncovered, or discovered in
Kosciusko County. One of the most notable instances was the sink-
ing from sight of a portion of the Pittsburgh, Fort Wayne & Chicago
110 HISTORY OF KOSCIUSKO COUNTY
Railroad where it crossed the tamarack marsh east of Warsaw. When
it disappeared, clear water alive with fish took its place. These
sunken lakes are generally surrounded by a heavy growth of marsh
grass, which is constantly' invading the water and adding its quota
to the peat formations found in various portions of the county.
Composition op the Drift
The drift which forms a thick blanket for Kosciusko County,
Northern Indiana, Southern Michigan and Northwestern Ohio, was a
glacial deposit. Granite, basalt, spar, iron and clay were all brought
down from the north in a vast moving field, and the water and the
air, laden with chemical agents of silent dissolution, pulverized and
disintegrated the mass, and deposited vast potential wealth in the
upper soils of Kosciusko Count3\
Various compounds of iron (mineral paint) have been found in
the central and southern townships ā especially in Seward, Clay and
Jackson. The colors include red, brown, yellow, buff and dark red.
The course of Tippecanoe is also marked with large deposits of
bog iron, particularly in the marshy places. About forty years ago
some of this iron was smelted in the furnaces located at Rochester,
Fulton County, Mishawaka, St. Joseph County, and Lima, LaGrange
County, but nothing commercially profitable came from the experi-
ments, as fuel was too expensive, and not long afterward the immense
deposits of iron ore in the Northwest were opened to the country and
Also in this connection, it was hoped that the extensive beds of
peat uncovered in the "boggy" country could be used both as fuel
for the smelting of iron and for illuminating purposes. But supplies
for both purposes wei-e destined to come from other sources.
The clays of Kosciusko County are well adapted to the manu-
facture of brick and tile, and they abound in every township. An
especially fine clay is found in some portions of the county, and may
be used in making superior grades of stoneware.
As the county progressed in material things, however, it was
found that the wealth of its soil was not to be garnered in direct
and immediate forms of manufacture, but through the intermediary
of Nature and her wonderful processes of transformation in the
animal and vegetable kingdoms. The how and wherefore of these
changes, stated most simplj- and practically in the story of agricul-
tural progress, are subjects for another chapter.
POLITICS, FINANCES AND STATISTICS
First County Officers ā Sheriff Isaac Kirkendall ā Judicial,
Financial and Legal ā A Very Temporary Courthouse ā The
Old Jail ā New County Buildings in 1848 ā ^Warsaw's Critical
Years ā Territory Proposed to Be Clipped for Leesburg ā Ups
AND Downs of Warsaw ā Oswego Pushed as County Seat Can-
didate ā National Politics Enters ā Warsaw the Final Victor
ā Peter L. Runyan, Sr. ā Lieut. John Runyan ā The Third
Courthouse ā The Courthouse of the Present ā The County
Infirmary ā Kosciusko by Civil Divisions, 1890-1910 ā Value of
Farms ā Value op Town and City Property ā Total Wealth op
Kosciusko County ā Finances of the County.
Under the provisions of the legislative act creating Kosciusko
County, an election for officers was held at Leesburg, the temporary
seat of justice, on the 4th of April, 1836. The judges of election
were Samuel Stooky, G. W. Royce and Elisha Boggs, and the clerks,
Benjamin Johnson and John G. Woods.
First County Officers
According to the poll books, there were then 219 votei-s in
Kosciusko County, and they elected the following as their first offi-
cers : Clerk and auditor, R. H. Lansdale ; recorder, Arnold L. Fair-
brother; treasurer, John Blaiu; sheriff, Isaac Kirkendall; surveyor,
C. D. Lightfoot ; coroner, T. W. Kirkpatrick ; county commissioners,
William Felkner, for the northern third of the county ; David Rippey,
for the middle, and William Kelley, for the southern.
Mr. Lansdale served as clerk and auditor until his resignation in
May, 1840. The county treasurer was originally appointed by the
county commissioners, at their March term. This was the custom
until 1841, when the office was made elective. Mahlon F. Davis was
the first county treasurer elected.
Sheriff Isaac Kirkendall
Of these pioneer county officials, perhaps none was better known
than the sheriff, and he, more because of his unique character than
Picturesque Kosciusko County
Wiuona Lake Old Channel, Winona Lake
Turkey Creek Bridge, ililford Along the Shore, Syracuse Lake
Wawasee Lake Tipper-anoe Lake
HISTORY OF KOSCIUSKO COUNTY 113
because of any marked ability which he displayed. Kirkendall made
a creditable sheriff; as a man he was unique.
Isaac Kirkendall, who is noted as having arrived the same year as
John B. Chapman (1835) was not noted for his abilities, but for his
absolute lack of imagination, and his bluntness of speech made him
a famous character in the annals of the pioneer period. As his con-
versational and oratorical talents were zero he must have been elected
and re-elected from sheer force of character. He served as sheriff
from 1836 to 1840, and at that time was nearing his fiftieth year.
The sheriff stood six feet high, had one crooked eye, and was bald,
with the exception of a thin fringe of gray hair which circled the
back and lower part of his head. When he was in earnest ā and he
generally was ā his voice was pitched in a high asthmatic treble, and
it had remarkable "earrj-ing" qualities, when he chose to speak at
all. Kirkendall's home was on the farm with his brother Jacob, on
the east side of Little Turkey Creek. When bound for Warsaw, or
otherwise traveling on official business, he rode a large dapple gray
horse. As stated, Isaac wasted no words, and was nothing if not
personal. The only speech he is ever known to have made was during
the campaign for the first election of county officers. It was delivered
at Leesburg to this effect: "Gentlemen: ā I am a candidate for
sheriff, and if you elect me, and any of you need hanging while I am
in office, I will hang you dead as h ā 1." He was elected, but no
candidate came forward to test the sincerity of his promise.
Sheriff Kirkendall was no more versatile at letter-writing than
at speech-making. Soon after his settlement in the county, he com-
menced to get letters from his folks in Ohio begging him to write
and tell them about the country and his personal affairs. He deferred
the disagreeable task until his conscience really pained him, and one
Sunday, when the children were away and his brother's house quiet
and favorable to composition, he drew up the kitchen table, collected
paper, ink and quill pen and sat himself down to his duty.
The sheriff correspondent progressed rapidly with the name
of the county and state, and the year, month and day, with which his
letter naurally commenced. "Dear Brother, I am well." That, too,
was easy. Then hard labors brought forth : "Jake's Folks are well."
Another much longer pause than the first, and painful facial and
bodily contortions in his efforts to create another idea, with appro-
priate dressings. Finality relief came with: "And if j'ou are well,
then, by G ā d, all's well.
"Yours truly, I. K."
In politics Sheriff' Kirkendall was a whig and afterward a repub-
lican. With all his eccentricities and brusque mannerisms he made
114 HISTORY OF KOSCIUSKO COUNTY
an efficient official, and was a congenial neighbor and a true friend.
He died of lung fever, on March 17, 1863, aged seventy years.
Judicial, Financial and Legal
Although the courts and their officers are treated in a separate
chapter, mention of those who headed the list is made at this point
which marks the civil creation of Kosciusko County. Samuel C.
Sample was president judge of the eighth circuit, and his citizen asso-
ciates were Joseph Comstock and Henry Ward, the former also serving
as probate judge. The prosecuting attorney for the Circuit Court
was Joseph L. Jernegan.
The records indicate that in 1836 there were 289 polls in the