The Syracuse and Lake Wawasee Journal is a weekly, which was
established in 1908, and is now published and edited by Preston H.
Miles. During the season when the summer resortei-s are the life of
the region 'round-about, Syracuse takes a back seat and Wawasee
comes to the fore; then also the Journal is profusely illustrated with
the natural and artificial charms of the country.
The State Bank
The State Bank of Syracuse was organized in July, 1899, as a
private institution. It came under state control in Ma.y, 1908. Since
the latter organization it has had no change in management. S. L.
Ketring is president; J. P. Dolan, vice president, and W. M. Self,
cashier. Besides Messrs. Ketring and Dolan, A. A. Rasor, Andrew
Strieby and Lewis Baugher are directors. Its financial status in the
.spring of 1919 is illustrated by the following items : Total resources.
HISTORY OF KOSCIUSKO COUNTY 325
$349,000; capital stock paid in, $25,000; surplus, $9,000; deposits
and demand certificates, $311,000.
The LiBR.uiT and Chautauqua
Syracuse has had a growing library since October, 1908, which
was organized chiefly through the exertions and persistency of C. C.
Bachman, J. P. Nolan, Andrew Edmonds and Mrs. Fannie Hoy.
Mr. Bachman has been president of the Library Board since its
establishment. Mrs. Ida Knorr served as librarian for the first eight
years, or until September, 1916, and ^Miss Wilma Kitson held the
position from that date until his death in April, 1918. In the fol-
lowing May Mrs. Knorr resumed the work, in which she is still faith-
fully engaged. Wilma Hire is secretary of the board.
Syracuse has also become quite widely known as the center of a
Community Chautauqua, the grounds on which it is held being thickly
and beautifully wooded and yet located in the outskirts of the
Syracuse is not greatly addicted to lodge life, although it has
rather strong organizations of both Masons and Knights of Pythias.
It has a substantial array of business houses and several industries
which are creditable to a place of its size. Among the latter are:
The Syracuse Cement "Works, of which L. T. Heerman is superin-
tendent; Syracuse Flour Mills, A. J. Jenkins, proprietor; Syracuse
Boat Factory, Sam Searfoss, proprietor; Ryan Mineral and Soap
Works, Thomas J. Ryan, manager, and W. M. Wilt Box Concern, of
which Mr. Wilt is proprietor.
Nine Mile Changed to Wawasee Lake
Obviously, Wawasee has an Indian ring to it. How did it happen
to displace Nine Mile, so very prosaic? In this wise, as told by the
Journal : After the burning of the old Cedar Beach Club House, on
the northeastern shores of the lake, many years ago, it was deter-
mined to form a new club. A number of the members did not like
the name Cedar Beach, for it was often confused with Cedar Lake,
a resort which did not have the best of reputations at that time.
At one of the club meetings it was resolved that Colonel Eli Lilly
should rename both the club and the lake. He had learned of the
former existence of an old Flat Belly Indian chief named Wawas,
which meant "shape of the moon." Neither the colonel nor any red
skin had ever traced any resemblance to the moon in the shape of
326 HISTORY OP^ KOSCIUSKO COUNTY
Nine Mile Lake, but, as Wawas sounded smooth to the gentleman
charged with the double rechristening, he added "ee" to it; and there
you have the euphonious Wawasee. Laying the proposed name before
several of the members of the new club, they greeted it so enthusiasti-
cally that it was adopted then and there.
The next step was the baptism of the infant ; its formal christen-
ing. This was accomplished by painting two signs and nailing them
on the railway station over in the cornfield back of Riddles, which
was where the passengers on the Baltimore & Ohio landed in those
days. As it seemed a good enough name, the railroad company also
adopted it and worked it into its literature.
Daniel Ransdall, one of the members of the old Cedar Beach Club,
was then marshal of the District of Columbia, and in touch with the
Harrison administration, and through his good offices the PostofiBee
Department also changed the name of the postoffice to Wawasee.
Thus the name was fixed, the present Wawasee .station, on the Balti-
more & Ohio Line being about half a mile north of Cedar Beach.
Wawasee station is simply the center of the summer resorters,
who distribute themselves from that point around the shores of the
lake, making a more or less permanent stay at the different parks, or
beaches, or camps, .so channingly sprinkled throughout the region.
The great supply depot, or business town of the locality is Syracuse,
which, with the half a dozen sunuuer hotels, reaps the chief financial
harvest of the summer season.
George W. Miles, Summer Resort Pioneer
The Wawasee Inn, one of the largest and most elegant of these
hotels, was the direct outgrowth of the old Cedar Beach Club House,
and perhaps no one man was more instrumental in launching the im-
provements and arousing general enthusiasm in the possibilities of
this lake region as an unsurpassed country for summer visitors and
sportsmen than George W. ]\Iiles. The club had been founded ten
years when he resigned his position as telegraph agent at Alida,
Indiana, because of ill health and returned to Syracuse to study law
with George M. Ray, with whom he afterward formed a partnership.
He had been born in Syracuse, as a boy knew every foot of the lake
shore and had explored every creek and inlet and. as a sick, tired
HISTOKY OF KOSt'irSKO COUNTY :;27
man was renewing liis love for this particular piece of nature's
"With this renewed acquaintance on the part of Mr. Miles, between
1886 and 1890, Nine Mile or Turkey Lake, as it was still called, began
to broaden its acquaintance with sportsmen, who came in the spring
to hunt or spend a few weeks camping and tishing, and several of
them found their surroimdings so much to their liking that they
erected summer cottages and invited vai'ious members of their fami-
lies to share their healthful pleasures. It was during this period
that the membei-s of the Cedar Beach Club got together and fastened
the pretty name of Wawasee upon their organization and the lake
itself. They also erected the Inn, and, to assist in spreading the
new name, christened it Wawasee.
Site of Wawasee Inn
The Journal, from which most of the information here conveyed
is condensed, has this interesting bit regarding the site of Wawasee
Inn: "There were (in 1876) only a few farm houses on or near
the lake. The only boats were hewn out of logs. The land (for the
site of the club house), consisting of about seven acres, was purchased
for about $350. It was covered with a heavy growth of large oak
and walnut, with cedar trees along the bluff on the lake. The present
site of the Inn was undoubtedly the eastern terminus of the old In-
dian trail, which led from what is now called Greider's Landing
across the sandbar to Ogden Island and thence to this point on the
mainland. From this elevated point war-smokes and scouts undoubt-
edly made their observations and plans known to their tribe, the Pot-
tawatomies, on the surrounding shores and ad.iacent land.
The Old Fishing Dats
"Boats could go between Ogden Island and the main laud then
on their way from the main body of the lake to the kettle, or John-
son's Bay. Members of the Cedar Beach Club tell wonderful tales
of the fishing and hunting in those days. One of the members, Keubeu
Lutz, tells of seeing acres of blue gills on the top of the water on
sunny June days when the water was smooth. Some of the original
members were Reuben Lutz, Judge John W. Pettit, Hai-vey Iken-
berry, George King, Bill Ditton, Gary Cowgill and Fred Smallstreet.
Finally Indianapolis men joined the club, and for one reason or an-
other the members ceased to come, and the property was sold to Col-
328 HISTORY OF KOSCIUSKO COUNTY
onel Eli Lilly and others and the club house became a hotel. The
following year it burned."
A new hotel was built and the name of the lake having been
changed from Nine Mile to Wawasee Lake, the new hotel was also
christened accordingly. The Wawasee Inn has had a number of
changes in ownership and management, but has maintained the high
standard which it originally set.
First Improvements at Wawasee
With the increase of sportsmen and summer visitors to the lake
region, it became evident that, as had often happened in other similar
sections of the country, the fish supply was threatened with exhaus-
tion. Several of the most enthusiastic of the visiting and local sports-
men, among the foremost being Mr. Miles, formed various plans for
promoting Wawasee Lake as the chief attraction of a summer resort
region. Among other steps taken was the reorganization and incor-
poration of the club in the early '90s as the Wawasee Protective Asso-
ciation, with Mr. Miles as its pi-esident.
Through the efforts of that organization, the Baltimore & Ohio
Railroad Company improved its service and erected a more becoming
station, while the association itself built a pier at that point and a
concrete walk leading from the lake shore to the track.
Initial Work in Fish Propagation
The first work in the propagation of fish and the restocking of
the lakes was undertaken. A broodery was built in a small bay ad-
joining the canal at Pickwick Park, between Syracuse and Wawasee
lakes, and for two or three seasons schools of bass fry were gathered
from their beds in the lake and placed within the screened enclosure.
A deputy warden was commissioned and placed in charge of the
broodery and authorized to enforce the fish and game laws of the
state, half of his salary being paid by the Improvement Association
and half by the State Commission.
When Thomas R. Marshall was elected governor in 1908, Mr.
Miles sought the appointment of commissioner of fisheries and game,
and two years later was named for the office. One of the first
changes the new appointee asked of the Legislature was that he be
empowered to spend money for the propagation of fish, and through
his efforts the third of the department funds which had formerly
been applied to the questionable work of stocking game preserves
with Hungarian partridges were devoted to practical pisciculture.
HISTORY OF KOSCIUSKO COUNTY :529
"Before the state could undertake actively the propagation of
fish," says the Journal, "it was necessary to find suitable locations for
the hatcheries. The task of seeking out the most favorable locations
was not an easy one. The commissioner visited the hatcheries in Michi-
gan and Wisconsin to acquaint himself thoroughlj^ with the details
required to constitute a good location. The traveling deputies and
the commissioner himself made a thorough search over Indiana, and
at last found three places — at Brookville ; at Tri Lakes, near Columbia
City, and at the southeast end of Lake Wawasee.
Original Site of Wawasee State Hatchery
"By far the best location found was at Lake Wawasee. The
Northern Indiana Improvement Company had made a site possible — ■
had, in truth, unintentionally created an ideal location for a hatchery
— by erecting a few dams at the inlet to the lake, flooding more than
300 acres of land amongst the hills at the southeast end of the lake :
thus creating an enormous head-water that was eight feet above the
level of Lake Wawasee. This newly created and beautiful body of
water the Improvement Company christened Lake Papakeechie, after
the tribe of Indians of whose reservation the inundated land was
formerly a part.
"A low marshy tract of land with an area of between four and
five acres lay between Lake Papakeechie and Lake Wawasee; and
at each of the two remaining sides of this tract stood a large hill of
gravel, which offered the shortest possible hauling in the work of
constructing the necessary embankments for the ponds. When
Charles Sudlow, president of the Northern Indiana Improvement
Company, was approached by Commissioner Miles relative to pur-
chasing this tract of ground for a hatchery site, he met the proposi-
tion in a very public spirited manner. He gave the state a perpetual
lease on the ground, and all he asked in return was that a planting
of bass be each year put into Lake Papakeechie equal to that planted
annually in other Indiana lakes of its size.
"The work was begun by throwing up embankments and making
two ponds of the tract. In this way the hatchery was operated for
Extension of the State Hatchery
In 1914 another tract of about five acres was purchased by the
state as a site for ponds. It was also between Lakes Papakeechie
and Wawasee and lay a few hundred feet to the northeast of the old
;J30 HISTORY OF KOSC'll'SKO COUNTY
pouds, bauked by two conveuient gravel hills. Eight large ponds
were constructed of this tract, and the old ponds were divided into
seven more by the construction of embankments. In the fall of 1914,
a large and handsome building was erected on the summit of the hill
bordering the west side of tlie old group. It was designed as a res-
idence for the custodian of the tifteen ponds and the beautiful sur-
rounding grounds, as well as a temporary stopping place for any
deputy wardens who might be visiting that part of the state.
Death of George W. Miles
George W. Miles, the founder of this Wawasee State Hatchery,
did not live to see his plans bear full fiiiit, as his death occurred at
his old home in Syracuse, while still commissioner of fish and game,
in December, 1914.
None of the four hatcheries of Indiana are better adapted to the
purposes for which it was designed than the establishment between
Lakes "Wawasee and Papakeechie. From these hatcheries are shipped
various .species of fish best adapted to the different waters of the
state, and anyone desiring an allotment for any particular river,
stream, pond or lake, may procure the kind of fish desired by making
application to the Fish and Game Commission, of which E. C. Shire-
man is the present commissioner.
Especially bright and numerous are the attractions which center
in the parks above mentioned, which lie along the shores of Wawasee
Lake. More than sixty years ago, Uncle Davie Sharpe and his old
wife owned a tract of land and dreamed on the south shore of Wawasee
Lake, and in 1888 they sold a strip about 150 feet wide immediately
abutting its waters to Messrs. Wood & Draper. The gentlemen named
platted their purchase into lots and built a road along the rear of
the property, indicating that they had entered the lists of modern
promoters. Two years afterward Charles A. Sudlow and Major F.
E. Marsh, of Indianapolis, bought part of the strip, and in the spring
of 1890 Major Marsh and John Yorhees built cottages on their lots.
Other cottages followed and in 1902 Major Marsh bought the
remainder of the Sharpe farm from the heirs and put the road back
100 feet farther from the lake shore. He then commenced an ex-
tended and systematic improvement of his large property, planting
ornamental trees and shrubberv and fruit trees, laving out flower
HKSTOKY OF KOHCIUSKO COINTV
gardeus and cutting roads aud paths where most desirable. His
place, The Oaks, became a model for other resident lovers of the
beautiful out-of-doors to emulate, aud became the nucleus around
which South Park developed with all its beauties and modern con-
There is a point of laud on the south shore of Lake Wawasee with
a fine gravel beach, which extends well out into the sunnv waters and
which has become widely known by local pleasure seekers as Lake
View. It was originally called Black Stump Point, as its western
shore was punctuated by a collection of black stumps. Lake View
IS not far from South Park, the Point having been a portion of the
old Sharpe farm. The land has passed through the hands of such
men as Milton Wood, Joseph Moore and George L. Lamb The two
last named built the Lake View Hotel, which was at first largely pat-
ronized by Goshen people. Within the past few years a protecting
wall has been built around the Point and other improvements been
made which make Lake View a picturesque and refreshing resort.
Oakwood Park, on the west shore of Lake Wawasee, is owned and
controlled by the Lidiana Conference of the Evangelical Associa-
tion. It IS the annual camp gi-ound of the Young People's Alliance
and Woman's Missionary Society, where also are held the conferences
and conventions of these bodies. In 1914 the tabernacle erected, in
1898, by the conference branch of the Young People's Alliance was
destroyed by fire, but replaced within a few months bv a larger and
more beautiful structure. The grounds, in even- way, sustain the
word Park, the superintendent of which has a handsome home on a
hill overlooking its charms. The large Oakwood Hotel, the dormitory
and numerous cottages at the Park, afford ample and comfortable
accommodations for the large crowds which gather each year in •
Vawter Park also lies on the south shore of Lake Wawasee. and
in the early times was a dense beech forest, with small creeks fed by
living springs and running to the lake a few hundred feet
It IS west of an old Indian trail, which led across the lake b
332 HISTORY OF KOSCIUSKO COUNTY
of the sandbar extending from the south shore to Ogden Island. Elk
antlers and arrow heads are strewn along trail and sandbar, giving
the locality a distinctive Indian atmosphere.
The tract of land upon which Vawter Park was laid out was in-
cluded in the parcel purchased in 1846 by Balser Hess from the
State of Indiana. He built a log cabin upon it, as was necessary,
and that is all known either of him or his purchase for eleven years.
In May, 1857, he sold to Israel Hess, who, in 1864, transferred it to
George Markej'. Mr. Marker cleared more ground and placed it
under cultivation. In April, 1883, he sold the property to John T.
Vawter, the founder of the Park, who was then a resident of Frank-
Mr. Vawter soon platted the land into lots, with a roadway behind
them, and called it Vawter Park ; built a hotel which took the name
of the park, and some time later sold the old Markey farm house,.
at the south end of the grounds, to Charles A. Sudlow. Mr. Sudlow
added to it, remodeled the entire structure and transformed it into a
pleasant summer home. In November, 1887, Mr. Vawter sold the
hotel to the Crescent Club, largely composed of Indianapolis men,
and it was owned and operated by that organization until 1896. The
hotel then returned to Mr. Vawter, and since 1901 has been under
various ownerships and managements. From the park and the hotel
as a starting point, cottages of all sizes and descriptions have crept
along the south shore of the lake, along Ideal Beach to the northwest
and toward South Park, and in a southeasterly direction toward Cot-
Crow's Nest and Waveland Beach
The upper end of Lake Wawasee commemorates the name of a be-
loved pioneer family in the form of one of the most picturesque
lodges and private grounds in the region; Crow's Nest is known to
every frequenter of this lake country and all who have sampled its
simple beauties have come again. The original arrival of Nathaniel
Crow, the founder of the family in these parts and of the Nest, is
thus described by a local historian-. "In the early spring of 1848
a tall young man on horseback, with a change of clothing strapped on
behind — the horse, saddle, bridle and clothing comprising his whole
worldly possessions — came plodding his weary way through the dense
forest of walnut, oak and poplar of what is now Nattycrow Beach,
and halted at a tiny clearing on the present site of Crow's Nest,
where a man, IMr. John Chapman by name, was hoeing corn with a
HISTORY OF KOSCIUSKO COUNTY 333
grubbing hoe. Travelers along the narrow zigzag path were a rarity
in those days, so Mr. Chapman halted from his work and extended
to the young stranger a hearty handshake and a glad welcome.
"Such was the coming of the young pioneer, Nathaniel Crow,
and thus his first sight and acquaintance with the beauties of the spot
which for sixty-four long and useful years thereafter was the place
of all places most dear to him. With his share of his father's estate
($25) he had purchased the horse, saddle and bridle, and with youth's
spirit of adventure set bravely forth on his trip from Champaign
County, Ohio, to Indiana, which was then the Wild and Woolly West."
Nathaniel Crow was so pleased with the country and the few
people he found around the southeastern shores of the lake that he
stayed and soon had his young bride sharing his land, his cabin and
his fortunes. This ideal partnership and comradeship endured for
fifty-three years, and at his own death in November, 1912, he was
the owner of between 500 and 600 acres along the eastern shores of
the upper lake, including Waveland Beach and other familiar stretches
of shore. Being a home-loving man, Nathaniel Crow spent the later
years of his life in the pleasant work of establishing a comfortable
and pleasant abiding place — fii-st for his wife and children and then
for his daughter, who, after the death of the mother, co-operated
with him in the founding and beautifying of Crow's Nest. It is
now a modem retreat — a veritable lodge of rest.
PIERCETON AND WASHINGTON TOWNSHIP
Pioneer Settlers of Washington Township — ilAiN Events of the
Early Times — Uncle Johnny Makemson — Some Pioneer ^Iar-
RL\GES — The Summervilles and John Dunh.oi — The Ryerson
Cemetery — Pierceton Founded — The Town Incorporated —
Churches and Societies — The Pierceton of the Present —
Financlvl and Industrial.
Washiiigton is in the easteru tiei" of townships and includes some
of the earliest settled sections of Kosciusko County. It has always
been largely a community of rural peoples, Pierceton being the only
large center of population.
In area, it is one of the square townships of the county, six miles
each way, and its surface is not characterized by any marked features,
being generally undulating and, in places, flat and low. It is watered
bj' Deeds and Willow creeks, or ditches, and there is little land which
has not been brought under thorough and scientific cultivation.
Pioneer Settlers of Washington Township
In the fall of 1835 the first white settlers entered the township with
a view of making their homes therein. They were John and Vincent
Makemson, from Logan County, Ohio, who settled on section 3. For
an entire year they -were the only residents in Washington Township.
In the fall of 1836 they were joined by John McNeal, Henry
Hoover, George and Henry Sommerville, Samuel Firestone, William
Moore, Alexander Graham and William Beasley.
During 1837 came John Hoover, William Stephenson, Jehu Dun-
ham, Robert McNeal and John Doke, and in 1838 James Chaplin,
Charles Chapman. Jesse Little, Lewis Keith, James Stinson and
;\Iain E\'ents op the Early Times
By adding to this brief picture of some of the pioneers of Wash-
ington Township, a mention of the main happenings of the early
HISTORY OF KOSCIUSKO COUNTY 33.')
times a fairly complete idea of this formative period ma.y be obtained
by the outsider.
The first house in the township was erected by John Makemson iu
1835. He was assisted by his two brothers and a hired man, and
after its completion all joined forces to erect the cabin of Vincent
Makemson, the second home in the township.
The first road to be surveyed through the township was known
as the Fort Wayue and Chicago and was laid out in 1837. Over it
the mail of the first settlers was carried on horseback from the post-
office kept at the house of George W. Ryerson and his son, Ira J., in
whatever direction it was destined. In the following year (1838) the
second road was surveyed from Warsaw to Wolf Lake.
The first religious meeting was held at the house of John Bratt
in 1838 by William Divinney, a missionary of the Methodist Episcopal
Church. The occasion was the funeral of liis daughter.
The Baptists held the second meeting in the township at the cabin
of William Moore in 1839.
In the latter year John McXeal donated a lot to the Methodists,
who erected a frame cluirch buildiug upon it.
About the same time Lewis Keith opened the first blacksmith shop
on his farm, and Cr. W. Ryerson established the pioneer tavern at
his homestead near the Fort Wayue and Chicago road. The latter