DEKALB COUNTY, INDIANA


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1897
Jan 1
The De Kalb County Affair
    It is not so novel a happening in Indiana that the story of official corruption in De Kalb County should be given in yesterday’s issue under six headlines.  It is the old story of malfeasance and misfeasance, with few variations.
    The report says that “the county is all torn up over the defalcations and brazen thievery of the ex-officials.”  There is no real justification for such astonishment and indignation.  It might have been expected, since it has been repeated scores of times in Indiana. 
    It would have continued in DeKalb if, in 1894, the Democrats, who give the party a steady majority of four or five hundred, had not gone off with the Populists and let the Republicans into a few country offices for a brief period. 
    The county offices had been party prizes for several years.  A nomination was equivalent to an election.  County conventions, instead of selecting capable men, were controlled by men who had the most skill in carrying primaries.  Qualification is rarely a question, since there is a prevailing sentiment that any man who can get the nomination is entitled to the office.  Fair reputation in business affairs does not often influence the selection of candidates.  The nomination is often obtained by giving pledges which will involve the candidate when he becomes an official.  He may mean to do right when he takes up the duties of his office, but when he is in the finds that he has inherited irregularities which must be suppressed for the good of the party.  He commits more irregularities. 
  Into his hands come considerable sums of money belonging to the county.  He lends it to friends, who have helped him in his election or uses it in his own business, expecting to get it back.  In most cases he cannot.   He will be a defaulter if his wrong doing is not covered up.
   To cover it up, records are changed and forgeries are committed, not because the man is a rascal, but the victim of lack of qualification.  It must come to the knowledge of other officers.  He finds them in the same boat.  There after they adopt a policy of addition, division and silence.  New officers inherit the crimes of their predecessors.  The whole board of county officers becomes more or less involved, and eventually the contamination reaches the townships.  In time the whole official system of the county and township is honeycombed with wastefulness and fraud.
    Every year a case or two is developed in counties of Indiana of this character.  In some the evil is not so general, because it is not so old.  De Kalb is no worse than many others.  It has plenty of company both in Democratic and Republican counties, though it can be said that Republicans, where they suspect such evil doing in Republican counties, raise a protest and turn things upside down.  Doubtless the irregularities in De Kalb were known prior to the election of last November.   Nevertheless the knowledge did not deter the nine hundred Populists from going in a body to rescue the Democratic County ticket and to increase the Popocratic  majority.
    There should be some means provided to detect such frauds in counties, and the Legislature should consider the subject and seek to devise a remedy.  To fail to do so would be to confess that the evils like those of De Kalb have no remedy, and must be permitted to go on.
Indiana State Journal - January 1, 1897
Transcribed and contributed by:  Frances Cooley
1898
Feb 24
Auburn, IN
The citizens of Garrett were thrown into a state of excitement this evening when it became known that Frederick Simons had murdered 2 of his children and then shot himself.  His wife had gone to the home of Mrs. Harper, a neighbor, and Simons sent his son over there immediately after for some tobacco.
The father then locked the doors and shot his 2 little daughters, aged 3 and 4, and then he sent a bullet into his own head. The son, returning, could not gain admittance, and went back for Mr. Harper, who came and forced the door.
One child wad dead and the other dying, while Mr. Simons was struggling on the floor and beyond recovery. All 3 shots were in the right temple. Mr. Simons was formerly a clerk in the Baltimore & Ohio offices, but lost his position.
He had been drinking hard for several weeks, and becoming crazed from drink and discouraged from loss of work, committed the deed. He was a native of England and was 50 yrs old.
1898
Dec 2
Auburn, IN.
The safe in the private bank of Chadwick, Ransburg and Co. at Pleasant Lake was blown by robbers last night, and over $1,000 in money was taken. The robbery gave the town a sensation  it will never cease to talk about.
Five men drove into the town at 2 o’clock this morning, broke open the bank door, bound and gagged the night watchman and calmly proceeded to blow once the safe with dynamite.
At the second charge the safe flew into a hundred pieces, and the mammoth door hurled through the plate glass window and across the street. The bank is in the front of the company’s general store. While 3 of the robbers were bust at the safe the others looted the  store. Everything of value they could carry was loaded into the wagon.  One thousand dollars of the banker’s money and the postmaster’s money and stamps were taken from the safe. The robbers drove north before the town was aroused. An armed posse was formed early this morning and started in pursuit, with no news yet of the chase.
1898
Dec 14
The bondsmen of nap Coffinberry, of Garrett, who was short many thousand dollars in his accounts as auditor of DeKalb county, have filed suit to recover the amount they paid into the county treasury in settlement of the defalcation, Mrs. Coffinberry, whose is the daughter of the late William Ditton, of Wabash, and the administrator of Mr. Coffinberry’s estate, are made defendants.
1902 The City National Bank of Auburn was organized in 1902 with an authorized capital of $50,000, the principal promoters of the enterprise being W. H. McIntire (who became president), Dr. F. M. Hines, F. E. Davenport, cashier, and I. M. Zent, of Auburn, and Timothy J. Knisely and David Knisely, of Butler.
(submitted by Ida Maack Recu)
1904
Jan 13
Fort Wayne News     (Fort Wayne, Indiana)
Other Court Notes
The case of Isaac M. Zent  vs. Charles C. Sperry was dismissed.

(submitted by Ida Maack Recu)
1910
Feb 16
Fort Wayne News     (Fort Wayne, Indiana)
F. J. Bussard, for the past five years agent for the Vandalia railroad at Plymouth, has been named as agent for the company to succeed Isaac Zent, recently named postmaster there.
(submitted by Ida Maack Recu)
1913
Mar 1
Fort Wayne News     (Fort Wayne, Indiana)
Mrs. J. Zent and daughter Mae, who came here last fall to make an extended visit with Postmaster I. M. Zent, the former's son, will return to Vandalia, Ill., within a few days.
(submitted by Ida Maack Recu)
1916
Aug 16
Fort Wayne News     (Fort Wayne, Indiana)
Isaac Zent, of the City National Bank, entertained a company of Auburn people at Clear lake on Sunday last.
(submitted by Ida Maack Recu)
1918
Jan 25
The Fort Wayne News and Sentinel     (Fort Wayne, Indiana)
Auburn Club Opening Commercial Club's New Home
Auburn, DeKalb, Indiana
...The directors are I. M. Zent.
(submitted by Ida Maack Recu)
1918
Dec 2
Paper: Fort Wayne News Sentinel Not First Republican Auburn Ind
AUBURN Ind. Dec. 2—The announcement in the News and Sentinel a few days ago to the effect that Adams county had elected their first republican county official In the history of the county, at the last election, is being disputed by Mrs P D West of this city an interested reader. She claims that her father, the late Henry Clay Peterson, a member of Co I 89th Indiana, in the Civil War and for many years a prominent attorney of Albion was elected to the office of county surveyor in Adams county immediately following the war. Mrs. West was born while Mr. Peterson was away from home on a ten days  trip attending to his official duties.  He died at Albion in 1906. A brother R.S. Peterson, also resided at Decatur for many years, and he has often talked with the family concerning the official service of his brother Mr. R. S. Peterson also passed away several years ago.
1919
Jun 11
Newville, IN.
Minor Accidents in Northeastern Indiana
Mrs. Minnie Tarney stepped on a  nail a few days ago, the nail penetrating considerably into her foot.  Little was thought of the accident at the time, but since blood poisoning has developed and Mrs. Tarney is suffering intensely.




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