Kosciusko, Pohsh hero of American Revolution
.Name of Lafayette's homo near Paris
Derived from Lake Michigan
French, meaning the "door" or "port"
Capt. James LaÂ«Tence
General Francis Marion
Chief JusUce John Marshall
Major ,7ohn P. Martin of Kentucky
.\Uami Indian Tribe
General Richard Montgomery
General Daniel Morgan
Sergeant John Newton
James Noble. First U. S. Senator from Indiana....
Orange County. North Carolina
Col. Abraham Owen, fell at Tippecanoe
Benjamin Parke, first territorial delegate to Congress
Commodore Oliver Hazard Perry
General Zebulon M. Pike
Commodore David Porter, War of 1812
General Thomas Posey
count Casimer Ptilaski of tlie American Revolution..
General Israel Putnam
Either Thomas Randolph or Randolph County, North
General E. W. Ripley, War of 1812
Dr. Benjamin Hush
General Charles Scott. Governor of Kentucky
Captain Spier Spencer
St, Joseph River
Baron Steuben of the Revolutionary War
General Daniel Sullivan
SÂ»-itzerland. native land of first settlers
Tippecanoe River and Battleground
General John Tipton
Symbolical of Union of interests
Henry Vanderburgli, a territorial judge
Colonel Francis Vigo
General Joseph Warren of Revolution
Captain Jacob Warrick
General Anthony Wayne
Captain Wm. A. Wells
Colonel Isaac White
Colonel William Wiitley
.\ct as date that
Official St.vte Flower and Flag
By legislative enactment, Indiana has both a State Flower and a
State Flag. In 1913 a measure was passed thi-ongh the General As-
HISTORY OF KOSCIUSKO COUNTY 79
sembly giving the floral honor to the carnation, brilliant and rich in
color and exhaling the spicy fragrance, yet charged with a certain
restfulness, suggestive of Riley, and Field, and others who have been
pronounced true sons of Indiana.
The Legislature of 1917 adopted a state flag, consisting of a blue
field 5 feet 6 inches long by 4 feet and 4 inches wide, on which is a
flaming torch in gold or buff with nineteen stars. Thirteen stars are
arranged in an outer circle representative of the original states, and
five stars in a half-circle below the torch and inside the outer circle
of stars represent the states admitted to the Union prior to Indiana.
The nineteenth star, appreciably larger than the others and placed
above the flame of the torch, is symbolic of the Hoosier state. The
word Indiana is placed in a half circle over and above the larger star
I'epresenting the state, and midway between it and the star directly in
the middle of the outer circle. Rajs are shown radiating from the
torch to the three stars on each side of the star in the upper center
of the circle.
Indiana State Song
"On the Banks of the Wabash, Far Away," is the Hoosier State
Song which, by general consent, has been adopted as expressive of the
homely homey sentiment which is typical of the people of Indiana.
Both the words and the music were written by Paul Dresser, and the
former are incomplete and somewhat colorless without the accompany-
ing melod}'. The words ran thus:
'Round my Indiana homestead wave the cornfields,
In the distance loom the woodlands clear and cool,
Oftentimes my tho'ts revert to scenes of childhootl.
Where I first received my lessons â nature's school.
But one thing there is missing in the picture.
Without her face it seems^so incomplete,
I long to see my mother in the dooi*way.
As she stood there years ago, her boy to greet.
Oh, the moonlight's fair tonight along the Wabash,
From the fields there comes the breath of new-mown hay,
Through the sycamores the candle lights are gleaming.
On the banks of the Wabasli, fai- away.
HISTORY OF KOSCIUSKO COUNTY
Many years have passed since I strolled by the river,
Arm in arm, with sweetheart Mary by my side,
It was there I tried to tell her that I loved her,
It was there I begged of her to be my bride.
Long years have passed since I strolled thro ' the churchyard.
She's sleeping there, my angel, Mary dear;
I loved her but she thought I didn't mean it,
Still I'd give my future were she only here.
SETTLEMENT BEFORE CIVIL ORGANIZATION
Elkhart County Organized â Kosciusko Attached to It â Divided
INTO Townships â Turkey Creek Township Set Off â Plain
Township Considered a Prize â Rosseau and Ossem â Other
Pioneers of the Prairies â Elijah Harlan â John B. Chapman
â The Pioneer Mills â Early Township Surveys and Sur-
veyors â Pioneers op Turkey Creek Township â John Powell,
First Prairie Township Settler â Other Settlers of 1833 â
Settlers of Van Buren Ante-Dating 1836 â Village of Milford
Platted â James Woodden, Pioneer of Harrison Township â
The Rise of Leesburg â As County's Seat of Justice â Prom-
inent Men of Plain Township â The Harl-\n Family â The
Erwins â John Thompson â Abraham Cunningham Locates on
Bone Prairie â Fifteen Days' Overland Trip in Indiana â The
Old-Time Neighborly Welcome â Union Labor Without Union
Hours â Henry Rippey- â The First Schoolhouse and Teacher
â William C. Graves â The Blaines of Leesburg â The Tippe-
canoe Lake Region â First Religious Services and Preachers
As noted, the treaty of 1833 confined the Miamis and Pottawato-
mies of Northern Indiana and Kosciusko County to specified areas, or
reservations, and thereby threw the country open to the secure settle-
ment of the whites. Flatbelly, Wawwaesse and Musquawbuck were
prominent figures in the general negotiations, on the part of the In-
dians, and Jonathan Jennings, president of the United States Com-
mission and ex-governor of Indiana, and Gen. John Tipton, Indian
agent, for the whites. The conclusion of the treaty made in the fall
of 1832 and ratified in January, 1833, made it feasible to define the
boundaries of the new county of Kosciusko, which was split off from
Elkhart, and soon afterward to give it a distinct political organization.
In the meantime, as a few people had located south of the defined
boundaries of Elkhart County, and more were waiting for the Indian
question to be settled before they ventured therein, it was necessary
to provide at least a thin civil and legal blanket to protect the resi-
dents of the unorganized country.
Pioneer Firej'lace and HoisEiioEn Articles
HISTORY OF KOSCIUSKO COUNTY 88
Elkhart County Organized
Under the act of the Legislature organizing the County of Elk-
hart, an election was held in the spring of 1830, at which was chosen
its first officers and Board of Justices. In June of that year the gov-
erning board of the county met in a cabin nearly opposite the mouth
of the Elkhart River, within the limits of the present city of that
name, that location having been designated as the seat of justice.
Divided into Townships
One of the first acts of the Board of Justice was the division of
the county into Concord and Elkhart townships. The former com-
prised six of the northernmost townships of today, with the exception
of York and Middlebury, which were included in Elkhart. So that
Elkhart Township, as organized in 1830, was much larger than Con-
cord; and it not only included the bulk of Elkhart County, as now
constituted, but for voting and other purposes were attached La-
Grange, Noble and Steuben counties on the east and Kosciusko County
on the south.
Turkey Creek Township Set Off '
In May, 1833, the commissioners made the following order: "That
all territoiy lying south of Elkhart County and attached thereto be
designated and set apart and known by the name of Turkey Creek
Township." Thus the old Elkhart Township was again limited, and
in 1835 Turkey Creek Township became Kosciusko County, the limits
of which were formally defined during that year.
"While the treaty of 1832-33 was pending," says James W. Arm-
strong in his history of Plain Township, many in Elkhai't and Wabash
counties, and other of the earlier settlements, were waiting anxiously
for the time to come when the newly acquired lands should be put on
the market. Some of them had been on prospecting tours through
Plain Township (Prairie Township at that time was a part of Plain),
and were anxious to take up claims, and the consecpience was a perfect
rush from these older settlements.
Plain Townsiiii- Considered a Prize
"The prairies of Plain Township were a prize in the eyes of the
first settlers, from the fact that they wei-e all ready for the l)reaking
84 HISTORY OF KOSCIUSKO COUxXTY
plow. The first crop of corn was planted by dropping the seed in
the furrow behind the plow, and this was covered by the upturned
sod of the next round of the plow. No further attention was given
it until fall, when a bountiful crop was gathered, so rich was the
virgin soil of the prairies.
"A gentleman who came to Plain Township from York state, in
writing to his friends at home about the productiveness of our prairies,
said the stalks from the first planting of corn grew to from eight to
ten feet high, bearing ears from twelve to fifteen inches long and pro-
portionally large in circumference, and if it were not for the clouds
of mosquitoes which came from the low grounds, filling the air at
night and making sleep almost impossible, it would be a veritable
paradise. These natural advantages made claims in Plain Township
a thing especially to be desired-"
ROSSEAU AND OSSEM
Kosciusko Country is no exception to the general rule that the set-
tlement of the dispute as to who was its first settler hinges on the
definition of the term. Rosseau, the old French trader, and Henry
Ossem were undoubtedly the first to locate within its present limits,
but they were considered more as mercantile adventurers, who had
no intention of becoming permanent citizens and giving their energies
to the upbuilding of any special community.
Rosseau was one of the most noted of the French traders in North-
ern Indiana, and was perhaps better known in Elkhart than in Kos-
ciusko County. Of him it has been written by an author of the
former: "The old French trader, Rosseau, was the connecting link
between the old and the new dispensations, appearing on Elkhart
Prairie to the southeast of what is now Goshen in 1815. The war with
England had been concluded, France was no longer a power in the
new world, and here was Rosseau, a friend to both whites and reds,
a master of the art of barter and trade, the first of his race to make a
home within the bounds of the county, and yet who lived therein long
enough to see the end of the Pottawatomies in that region, and its
permanent occupancy by the energetic and forehanded white pioneer
of the East."
It is said that Rosseau located in an Indian village situated in
Plain Township. He subsequently married Miss Aggie Erwin, daugh-
ter of Charles Erwin, and moved to Leesburg. Rosseau died in his
home situated on the lot now occupied by the Methodist church, De-
cember 5, 1845, at the age of forty-six.
HISTORY OP KOSCIUSKO COUNTY 85
Henry Ossein made his headquarters at the Indian village located
on the present site of Oswego and it is said accompanied the Indians
to the West.
As far as settlement south of the Elkhart River is concerned,
Thomas Hall has been awarded the prize of priority, but he first
located on Turkey Creek in Elkhart County and did not come within
the limits of Kosciusko until after a number of families had settled
Other Pioneers of the Prairies
W. B. and I. R. Bain are credited with being the pioneer mer-
chants in the northern part of Bone Prairie, which was in the fall
of 1834. They came from Greenfield, Ohio, and subsequently moved
from their first location to a lot leased of Levi Lee. This was the first
store established for the convenience of white settlers and was the
center of a settlement which developed into Leesburg. When the
village was laid out by Mr. Lee in August, 1835, Rosseau moved
thither the goods which he carried in his Indian, trading.
. It is evident that most of the real pioneers of the county first
settled in the Turkey Creek region of Plain Township. In Februarj',
1832, three years before the town was platted, Elijah Harlan and
John Rumley had built their two cabins on the creek prairie, and the
Moores, friends of theirs, occupied the Rumley house in the absence
of its owner. Harlan had remained as a neighbor. During 1833
they were joined by Samuel Stookey, William Shelly, Charles Erwin,
John B. Chapman, John Colyer, Jr., and Jacob and jgaac KirkendalL
Mr. Harlan was of Quaker stock, although his father was a soldier
m the War of 1812 and died in service, leaving a widow and nine small
children. Elijah, who was of Ohio birth, was then but six years of
age. When a youth he moved to Henry County, Indiana ; with his
mother and other members of the family, afterward settled near
Goshen, Elkhart County, and in the winter of 1832-33 was one of the
prospectors in the Turkey Creek country. He concluded to preempt
land on the Prairie, and accordingly built a squatter's cabin about a
mile north of the present site of Leesburg, and moved into it on
March 6, 1833. The hut is now owned bv his great-granddaughter
Mrs. Mabelle Fried. In 1834 Mr. Harlan built a small log cabin on
the farm owned, not many years ago, by his gi'andson, W. H. Stanley.
86 HISTORY OF KOSCIUSKO COl^XTY
He died at his home in Leesburg, in 1856, then an old and prosperous
citizen of the county.
John B. Chapman
Hon. John B. Chapman, who was one of the first to move upon his
claim on Little Turkey Creek Prairie, was, in many respects, the
most prominent of the pioneers. He was a Virginian and iu his youth
assisted his father in his milling operations. Afterwai'd he spent
some time in the river countiy of Texas and the Southwest, when that
country was virtually an unknown section of the United States. Re-
turning to Virginia iu 1817, he studied medicine and practiced in his
native state, as well as in Iowa. Mr. Chapman also studied law and
practiced that profession in Virginia, Kentucky and Indiana. He
moved to Crawfordsville iu 1827 and to Logansport, Indiana, in 1831,
and during the following year moved onto his claim just noi'th and
east of Leesburg. It is unnecessary to add for the benefit of those who
have followed this record that Mr. Chapman, when he became a resi-
dent of Kosciusko County, was a citizen of wide experience and an
able man. He successfully practiced both law and medicine and was
also a good farmer ; but, as he informed one of his friends, ' ' the only
difficulty he had in gettiiig along was his persistent meddling with
politics. ' '
In 1834 Mr. Chapman was appointed prosecuting attorney for the
northern circuit of Indiana, when it embraced all of the state north
of the Wabash, and during the same year was elected to the Legis-
lature as a representative for Elkhart and La Grange counties. "While
a member of that body he prepared the bill, and secured its passage,
which set the bounds of Kosciusko County, and gave names both to
the coimty and to Warsaw, the seat of justice. Before he commenced
his service in the Legislature, and thus became the father of both the
county and the county seat, he had been appointed by President Van
Buren local agent of Indian reservations. It was therefore evident
that at this period of his life he was a persistent meddler in demo-
cratic politics. He was of the uneasy, vital temperament, which is
uever satisfied except by continuous action and change, and was
naturally of a quick temper and an all-around eccentric character.
But withal, he was persistent, and usually accomplished his objects.
An illustration of these traits is afforded by his experience in
securing a substantial title to his land on Little Turkey Creek Prairie.
After he had preempted it, he so incensed the agent at La Porte by
his conduct and manner that the official named cancelled his claim and
HISTORY OF KOSCIUSKO COUNTY 87
transferred it to two other men. Nothing daunted, Mr. Chapman car-
ried his case to the higher powers at Washington, who confirmed him
in his title. He then coolly returned to his property and took posses-
sion not only of the original land, but of all the improvements which
had been made upon it in the sha])(' of plowing, sowing, fencing and
In the summer of 1835 Mr. Chapman bought two sections of land
at the mouth of Deep River, Porter County, and laid out the Town of
Liverpool on one of them. He procured the county seat for his new
town, but the subsequent setting oif of Lake County from Porter
killed its prospects, and its proprietor returned to Leesburg. ^Vhen
the aspirations of the latter, along similar lines, were crushed, Mr.
Chapman transferred his fealty to Warsaw, of which he was one of
the founders. In 1836 he sold his interest in that town site for $1,000.
Even these Indiana projects were not sufficient to absorb the time
and energies of Mr. Chapman, but he must make flying trips to Cali-
fornia, Washington, Oregon and Alaska, when to reach the Pacific
Slope meant many discomforts and not a few actual hardships. His
affairs or inclination also called him to the national capital not in-
frequently, where he is known to have had access to the inner cham-
bers of such as Presidents Jackson and Van Buren. In the early
development of Kansas he- was instrumental, and served as president
of the first railroad that ran from Leavenworth to Galveston, Texas.
During the later years of his active life he held a clerkship in the
Treasury Department. When his advanced age incapacitated him
for the labors of that office, he returned to Warsaw, where he died on
October 20, 1877, in his eightieth year.
Tin: Pioneer .Mills
As to the earliest mills l)uilt in the county, naturally they blos-
somed out along Turkey Creek in Turkey Creek Township. Mrs.
Wince has this to say: "Going back a little to 1832, I find two fear-
less men at work building a dam across Turkey Creek not far from
where it empties into Syracuse Lake. They mean to put up a mill
here, just as soon as these lovely lands come into the market. It is a
good place, they think, for in another year there will be settlers coming
in by the score, and they will want flour and meal, and will be looking
for a mill the first thing. Tlie men are Ephraim Davis and Samuel
"They were not lonely. They were too busy for that; nor did
they fear the Indians, who were camped not far away. After com-
Old Indiana Mill
I'luxEEU Watei; Wheel
HISTORY OF KOSCIUSKO COUNTY 89
pleting the dam, thej' go home, to return early in 1833 and erect the
"It was the first gi-ist mill erected in the count}'. A big freshet,
in 1837, washed out the dam of this mill and two pair of mill stones.
The stones sank to the bottom of the creek and were never recovered.
"Another verj^ early grist mill was built on Clear Creek, where
the Liberty Mills road crosses and just south of Eagle Lake. The
builder was Charles Sleeper ; the building a log one, with nigger-head
burrs made by John Inks of Milford.
"The first saw mill in the county was built by Peter Warner near
the west line of Section 36, on Tippecanoe River, in 1835. His com-
bination saw and grist mill, run by reaction wheel and buckets, was
put up two j'ears later, in 1837." Mr. Warner was the first white
settler in Kosciusko County on the south side of the Tippecanoe River,
and was the same who was outwitted by the old chief, Checase.
Early Township Surveys and Surveyors
The township surveys of Kosciusko County were made chiefly in
1834-35, with the lifting of the Indian titles (so called) and the fixing
of the county boundaries, but previous to its political organization. In
all American communities it is necessary that men should be assured
that their land holdings and their homesteads shall be secure before
they will consent, in any numbers, to plant themselves in a strange
country. Although the typical American pioneer is an adventurer,
in a certain sense of the word, he ventures only upon a partial assur-
ance of success ; and his best assurance is the security of his land title,
the prime requisite of which is an accurate survey.
The records show that in June, 1834, John Hendricks, R. Clarke
and S. Sibley surveyed Township 32 north, Range 7 east (Washington
Township), and that they found its area to be 22,454 acres.
In the preceding April, the same surveyors had laid out Monroe
Township, as 31 north. Range 7 east, and announced that it had an
area of 22,943 acres.
About two-thirds of Jackson Township, to the south (14,796 acres),
was surveyed by them at the same time, the tract of 7,164 acres
bounded on the west by Eel River, and comprising the remainder of
the township, having been laid out by Basil Bentley, the district sur-
veyor, as early as May, 1828.
Van Buren Township, in the northern tier, was surveyed by
Reuben J. Dawson, R. Clarke and S. Sibley, in June, 1834. It was
known, officially, as Township 34 north. Range 6 east, and embraced
90 HISTORY OK KOSCIUSKO COUNTY
22,678 acres. Turkey Creek meanders through its northern sections
and Turkey Prairie covers its southern.
In the same month and year that Van Bui'en Township was sur-
veyed, Thomas Brown, Messrs. R. Clarke, Jr., and S. Sibley, were also
running their chains over the irregular territory of what is now
Franklin Township, in the southwestern comer of the county. Their
records give its area as 22,506 acres.
R. T. Dawson, E. Clarke and S. Sibley surveyed 14,388 of Tippe-
canoe Township in June, 1834.
Plain Township was surveyed by R. Clarke, S. Sibley and Jeremiah
Smith in 1836-37, soon after the county was divided into townships.
In April, 1834, Harrison Township, as it is defined today, was
surveyed by R. T. Dawson, R. Clarke and S. Sibley, and its area was
given as 23,413 acres. Half of Mota's Reserve of four sections is in
the northeastern corner of this township.
.John Hendricks and ^Messi-s. Clarke and Sibley surveyed 21,054
acres of Wayne Township in June of that year, and the two last
named, with E. T. Dawson, had already laid out 20,458 acres. All of
Section 1 and portions of Sections 2, 6, 7, 11 and 12 had been taken
from what would have been the northwest corner of the township, had
its western and northern boundaries been extended. This territory,
with small tracts adjoining Plain and Prairie townships, to the north,
had been set aside as the Checase Indian reservation.
R. T. Dawson and Messrs. Clarke and Siblej'^ were the surveyors
of Etna, the narrow township in the western border of the county,