There is no subject more intimately connected with the interest of man-kind than history. It is much more comprehensive, universal and vital than shallow thinkers are led to helieve from imperfect study. Perhaps its most important feature is its exposition of its relations of man to his fellows, to the laws under which he lives and enjoys, and to past events. Comparative history is extremely instructive, as the lights and shades of human character are thrown in spectral relief for man's inspection. His hopes and fears, his ambitions and aspirations, his desires and passions, his frailties and accomplishments, and his conduct under an in6nite variety of opposing influences are revealed and analysed. Knowing, as the race does, that the greatest study of mankind is man, it has become the universal judgment that he who discovers the means of doing the greatest good has crowned himself with the grandest distinction. Men in pursuit of fame and a name have ransacked the world for knowledge of the human race in a primitive state. Every subject has been scanned by Argus-eyed scholars, and a vast fund of perishing historic lore has been rescued from oblivion, and forced to serve the purposes of an advancing civilization. The secret chambers of nature have been unlocked by the skilled hands of genius and the invariable sequence of immutable law. and the plastic transformations of dumb matter have been held aloft for human inspection and guidance. No avenue, however solitary, if of value or interest to the race, has been left untraversed. The sciences have been the natural out-growth of the evolution of thought, and have multiplied the sources of happi-ness and the knowledge of human character.
Since the dawn of intelligence, no field of research has been more fruitful in affording bountiful evidences of the origin of animate and inanimate creation than the testimony of the rocky structure of the earth and a knowledge of the natural laws which control the movements of the universe. Written indelibly on the bright page of nature is the wonderful progress of evolution from the simplest combination of effects to the sublime mechanism that guides the circling spheres. The phenomena of nature are everywhere found to be under the control of unchangeable laws, many of which have been discovered and utilized by scientific men. The earth and its various surroundings are found to be a vast storehouse of knowledge. The theory is (and no intelligent man at present questions its correctness) that the surface of the earth through long and successive ages has been alternately above and below the waters of the sea, and that during the periods of submergence strata of earth have been deposited from the water. When the land was raised above the water, it became covered with various kinds of vegetation, and afterward again submerged, and the vegetable remains were transformed into coal. Many of the plants which grew on the earth ages ago, have been named and classified from the remains found in coal-beds. As the strata were formed under water, various marine animals, such as mollusks and fishes, were also thrown down, and casts of these are found at all depths where the spade has gone, to show the character of the animals that were living at different epochs or ages on the earth.
While the geological features of Noble County are not unusual or striding, yet, in some important particulars, they differ essentially from those in other neighboring counties of Indiana. The subject of geology is ordinarily considered of but little practical value or interest, though the reverse of this is the case when it gives rise to sanitary or economic questions, as it often does. No extended nor instructive examination has been made in the county, as, so far, excavations have not reached sufficient depth to pass through the heavy glacial and drift deposit which covers all Northern Indiana, sometimes to so great a depth that even wells bored several hundred feet have failed to pass through to the underlying rock. It must be understood that Indiana, in com-mon with all this part of the continent, was alternately above and below the sea during the geological ages prior to the glacial epoch, and that during these ages strata of sand, clay, slate and various varieties of rocks were superimposed upon other strata, until a thickness of thousands of feet had been reached. Through these ages, the lot of Indiana was almost identical with that of all the surrounding States, and, consequently, when the earth in this State is penetrated to the proper depth, the same, or nearly the same, strata are found as in neighboring localities. They are not precisely the same, because it is found that while the sea was depositing sand or clay at one place, perhaps but a comparatively few miles distant the conditions were such that limestone, sandstone or other stone could be formed. Yet even in a case of this character, the period was the same, as has been proved by fossiliferous evidences that are above rea-sonable doubt.
Before entering upon a more specific description of the glacial drift in the county, a few points will be considered concerning the underlying rock. Of course, it cannot be known with absolute certainty, without actual experiment, what strata would be met with in going downward in Noble County, after having passed through the drift. The only conclusion to be reached is an approximate one, from a knowledge of what rocks are found in neighboring localities. Geologists throughout the State agree in saying that the first rocks found in Northern Indiana, after passing through the drift, are, with few exceptions in localities, those of the Niagara group. The exceptions are perhaps some of the Hamilton or Corniferous limestones of the Devonian age. Excavations, such as wells, in various portions of Northern Indiana have established these facts beyond doubt. It will therefore be seen that all the formations above the Niagara group are lacking in this locality, with perhaps the exceptions above noted and probably all or a portion of the formations of the Quaternary period. Passing downward through the Niagara group, which is a member of the Upper Silurian era, the Hudson and Trenton limestones and the Potsdam sandstone, members of the Lower Silurian era, would probably be found. Next would appear metamorphic rock, which was formed by crystallization some time after its deposition from water, but usually from the cooling of the primitive surface of the earth or before the formation of strata was possible. To account for the absence of rocks above the Upper Silurian is not an easy task, if exact statements are required. All such rocks were formed from soil deposited while the surface wa3 under water. This view leads to the conclusion that Northern Indiana, at least, was above the sea after the Silurian age, but was again submerged, probably in fresh water, during the Cenozoic time. There was then a long interval of ages, during which Northern Indiana, with the Niagara group on the surface, was above the water. The strata below the Niagara group found in Indiana present no unusual features where excavations have penetrated them, and therefore that branch of the subject will be dropped to await future revelations.
We come now to a consideration of the Drift deposit. Geologists suppose that during a period called glacial, all the earth's surface, north of about 40° of north latitude, was covered sometimes to the tops of the highest mountains with a vast body of ice, that is thought to have been formed during a period of some 12,000 years, when the north pole was turned farthest from the sun, owing to a peculiar variation in the direction of the earth's axis, through a period of about 24,000 years. At least, all the evidences show that the earth's surface north of 40° of north latitude was once, and for a long period, covered with vast fields of ice, and at other periods with heavy vegetation, even as far north as the 82d degree of north latitude. The southern portions of the ice field melted away under the -heat of a tropical sun, and the result was that the ice farther north was forced gradually southward, pushing down the elevations of land, and slowly but surely grinding the rock into powder and gravel, and transporting them to latitudes further south. Glacial markings are found everywhere, and all indicate that the movements of the glaciers were southerly. In their movement south, the glaciers took or scooped up vast quantities of soil in northern localities, which became frozen in until the ice had reached the warmer sections and had thawed, when such soil was dropped upon the earth. This soil is now known as the " Drift" or " Bowlder deposit," and covers all Northern Indiana, including Noble County, to a depth of several hundred feet. Some entertain the idea that this soil in Northern Indiana was deposited directly upon the Niagara group, while others think that, inasmuch as just above the Niagara group are found several strata -of clay, shale and sand, the northern part of the State was under the surface either of salt or fresh water, at stages succeeding the formation of the Niagara rocks. Animal and vegetable casts, found in these strata, will prove the character of the water from which they were deposited. Some geologists maintain that the " Drift" was not deposited by glaciers but by icebergs, which floated south, carrying large quantities of northern soil, and grinding over the rocks at the bottom of the shallow seas, thus forming the stria or " glacial markings.*' All, however, agree that the " Drift" was brought from northern regions through the agency of ice. No doubt both glaciers and icebergs were the means of transporting the soil south. The lowest formation of the Drift deposit is the " Bowlder clay," which varies in thickness from ten to one hundred feet. It is usually yellow or brown above, and blue below, and is underlaid by a water-bearing sheet of gravel and sand, cemented into an almost impenetrable hardpan. The pebbles contained in the Bowlder clay are generally small, sub-angular, scratched and planed fragments, either of indigenous or of exotic rocks, the former largely preponderating. Prof. J. S. Newberry, of Ohio, thinks that the blue and the yellow Bowlder clays were originally the same color, and that the latter is the leached and oxidized portion of the former. He also says: "The bowlder clay of Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, etc., may be said to be the entire grist ground by the glacier, which, never having been screened or sorted, contains both the bran and the flour, the latter being the clay, and the former the sand, gravel and bowlders." After the deposition of the bowlder clay came a period when the surface was above the water, and when a forest of arborescent and herbaceous plants sprang into life. The piece of sound wood found a short time ago about three miles northeast of Albion, was found in drift soil, about ninety feet deep, which answers the description of the u inter-glacial forest-bed," and was no doubt brought there from some forest farther north. It is supposed that these plants grew during an inter-glacial mild period, and their remains are not usually found as far south, in any quantity, as Noble County. This inter-glacial forest period was the time when the mammoth, mastodon, giant beaver and doubtless many other animals, appeared upon the earth. Above these deposits, come various layers of sand, clay or gravel, intermingled with bowlders of various shapes, sizes and compositions. Geologists differ regarding the causes of the billowy appearance of the surface soil of Northern Indiana. Perhaps the most reasonable conclusion is, that such soil remains in much the same condition as when it was first deposited by the melting glaciers or icebergs. Such process would heap the soil in some places, while in others great cavities would be left unfilled, which afterward becoming filled with water would form the numerous lakes. The best authorities agree in saying that the great mass of the drift was deposited principally from indigenous rocks by means of glaciers; but that icebergs also, more especially at the close of the glacial period, transported from the Canadian highlands a considerable quantity of soil, and large numbers of bowlders, which lie above the laminated clays, deposited previously by glaciers.
This brings us to the more specific description of the physical features of the county. The number of depressed portions covered with water seems fabulous, and the quantity of swamp land is much greater than supposed, though both are being decreased rapidly by natural and artificial means. The effect of so much stagnant water and decaying vegetation is perceptible to those, more especially, who have not become acclimated to the influences of malaria and its kindred ailings, as engendered in the county and vicinity. Extra effort has been made from the earliest time to drain the water from the swamps, to fell the timber, and to let in the healthful and cheerful light and heat of the sun. The proceeding has been met with marked effect, as large numbers of the drier swamps have not only been thoroughly drained, but have been subjected to cultivation, and there is found no better farming land in the county.
From the following statement may be learned, by townships, the number of lakes and large permanent ponds in Noble County : Perry, 4; Elkhart, 6 ; Orange, 13 ; Wayne 21; Sparta, 15: York, 14; Jefferson, 7 ; Allen, 3; Albion, 1; Washington, 16; Noble, 22; Green, 20; Swan, 3; total, 145.
It is very difficult to correctly estimate the quantity of swamp land in the county. Some have placed it as high as 15 per cent of the county lands, but probably 10 per cent would come nearer the truth. Many of the smaller and shallower lakes are slowly filling by means of mosses, rushes, weeds, lily-stocks, etc., and undoubtedly some, which now are simply low lands, have been subjected to this fate. In several places in the county, some of which have been cultivated, there is found quite a dry soil for several feet on top, while underneath the earth is an impure vegetable mold, and, in some cases, farther down there is found water, often in a considerable quantity, proving that the spot was once a lake or pond, which had been overgrown with a heavy and springy vegetation, which had likewise become covered with the surface soil by washings through long periods of years. Every lake that has been examined in the county is underlaid with a more or less perfect stratum of bog iron ore, some being so rich in metal as to be of no trifling commercial value. None of these beds, with few exceptions, one being in York Township, has been worked. Iron can be obtained cheaper. Many curious natural formations are found, some of which have been incorrectly referred to the Mound-Builders. There are also many places in the county where beavers have thrown up embankments of surprising extent and appearance. Some lakes in the county are in the first stage after being filled with vegetation, one of these being beautifully situated near the residence of Michael Bouse, Washington Township. It is about six acres in extent, and has no known outlet, and over the surface the marsh moss, Spagnum, has become so heavily matted that persons find no
It seems proper in this connection to notice a few circumstances regarding the meteorological condition of this part of Indiana. The prevailing direction of the wind is from the southwest, and from that direction the greater number . of heavy stprms come. The annual mean barometer is close to 30 inches, and the annual mean temperature is not far from fifty-four degrees. The annual mean relative humidity is about sixty-seven degrees, and the total annual rainfall, including melted snow, will exceed forty inches. The quantity of rainfall depends upon the direction of the wind, and upon the relative humidity of the air. A heated atmosphere will contain more moisture than a cold one, and is therefore more likely to precipitate rain, owing to the probabilrty of meeting condensing currents; while a cold atmosphere is likely to be dry, from the fact that it has probably passed through the state requiring a discharge of rain or snow. As the atmosphere in any locality becomes warm, the probability of rainfall is increased, for the wind containing rain-clouds is likely to set in toward that quarter. If the atmosphere is cold and growing colder, the probability of rain is decreased, as clouds bearing rain must leave for warmer places. These facts are all relative, depending upon the season of the year. Of course in winter, the atmosphere being cold everywhere, will contain an amount of moisture which would be immediately precipitated in heavy rain in summer, trouble in walking over the marsh to gather the cranberries which usually grow there in profusion. There are many places in the county where these excellent berries are "found, but they seem to grow most abundantly in the southern part—in the Tippecanoe swamps. This berry is a member of the Heath Family, and is known to botanists as Oxycoccus macrocorpus. The plant is a creeper, or trailer, with slender, hardy, woody stems and small evergreen leaves, more or less white underneath, with single flowers borne on slender erect pedicles, and having a pale rose carolla. The berries, which get ripe in autumn, are red, with some yellow, and are very acid. The stems are from one to three feet long, and the flowers are lateral, rendering easy the gathering of the berries. The conditions for the possible life of the plant are being slowly destroyed, and the berries are becoming less numerous. The moss, the name of which is given above, has the property of slowly dying at the extremities of the roots, thus making it possible for deep lakes to become filled with it, and vice versa. Every farmer should have the means of telling the probable condition of future weather.
Before entering upon the description of the ancient earth and stone works in Noble County, it seems proper to take a general and summary view of the evidences of a pre-historic people, who undoubtedly inhabited all this country in times which antedate all known records. According to the prevailing opinion among archaeologists, the Mound-Builders were a race of people who occupied more or less of this continent prior to the advent of the Indian. The latter knew nothing of the Mound-Builder, save what few evidences were derived from his works, and, in consequence, his time is placed back, perhaps several thousand years, or contemporaneous with that of the ancient Assyrian and Egyptian nations. Several eminent writers maintain that the Mound-Builders were the descendants of Asiatics, who found their way to this country when civilization was yet in its infancy. This could easily have been done, either in boats or on the ice across Behring's Strait. Perhaps this view is as rational as any. The truth will probably never be known, as all we have from which to judge of their history, habits, modes of life, degree of civilization, knowledge of the arts of peace and war, mental and moral progress, etc., are the numerous earthworks and implements which have been found. The earthen structures or mounds have been divided and subdivided as follows:
Mounds Proper. EARTHWORKS. Effigies Inclostires. Sepulchral. Scrificial. Templar. Memorial. Monumental. Observatory. Animal, Emblematic. Symbolical. Military. Defensive. Covered. Sacred. Festival.
The greater number of these earthworks are found constructed of earth, a few of stone, and fewer still of earth and stone combined. Sepulchral mounds are usually conical, and some of them, notwithstanding the lapse of time, are seventy feet in height. The prevailing altitude is from three to eight feet This class is most numerous, and was undoubtedly erected in which to bury the dead. They always contain one or more skeletons, often with implements or ornaments, supposed to have been placed there when the individual was buried for use in the spirit land. It has been conjectured that the magnitude of these mounds bears some relation to the prominence of the persons, in whose honor they were erected. Ashes and charcoal are often found in proximity to the skeletons under conditions which render it probable that fires were used in the burial ceremony. With the skeletons are often found specimens of mica, pot-tery, bone and copper beads and animal bones. Ordinarily but one skeleton is found, though in one case in Hardin County, Ohio, three hundred crumbling skeletons were taken out, and the mound opened by the writer in Elkhart Township contained twenty-eight, and the one in Washington sixteen. Templar mounds are few in number, and are ordinarily circular. They are invariably truncated, and are often surrounded with embankments, inclined planes or spiral pathways or steps leading to the summit. They are found round, square, oblong, oval and octangular, and rest generally upon a large base, but have a limited altitude. It is supposed that these elevations were surmounted with wooden temples, all traces of which have been removed by the ravages of time. They are thought to have been erected for religious purposes. Sacrificial mounds are ordinarily stratified, with convex layers of clay and loam above a stratum of sand. They generally contain ashes, charcoal, igneous stones, calcined animal bones, beads, stone implements, pottery and specimens of rude sculpture. Altars of igneous clay or stone are often found. Evidences of fire upon the altars yet remain, showing that various animals and probably human beings were immolated to secure the favor of the Great Spirit. These mounds infrequently contain skeletons, together with implements of war; mica from the Alleghanies; shells from the Gulf of Mexico; differently colored varieties of obsidian; red, purple and green specimens of porphery, and silver, copper and other metallic ornaments and utensils. Memorial or monumental mounds are of that class of tumuli intended to commemorate some important event, or to perpetuate the memory of some distinguished character. Most of the stone mounds belong to this class, and usually contain no bones, for the supposed reason that they were not used for sepulchers. They were similar in design to the Bunker Hill Monument. Mounds of observation were apparently designed for alarm towers or signal stations. Some writers have fancied that they 4i occur in chains or regular systems, and that many of them still bear traces of the beacon fires that were once burning upon them." They are often found built like towers from the summits of embankments surrounding inclosures.
Effigies are elevations of earth in the form of men, beasts, birds, reptiles, and occasionally of inanimate objects, varying in height from one foot to six feet above the surrounding soil, and often covering many acres of land. Mr. Schoolcraft expresses the belief that this class of mounds was designed for "totems" or "tribukr symbols;" while Prof. Daniel Wilson and other writers of distinction hold that they were erected in accordance with the religious belief of the various tribes of Mound-Builders, who worshiped or in some way venerated the animals or objects represented by the elevations.
Military or defensive inclosures are irregular in form, and are always on high ground, in positions difficult of approach by a savage foe. " The walls," says the American Cyclopedia, " generally wind around the borders of the elevations they occupy, and when the nature of the ground renders some points more accessible than others, the height of the wall and the depth of the ditch at these weak points are proportionally increased. The gateways are narrow and few in number, and well guarded by embankments of earth placed a few yards inside the openings or gateways, but parallel with them and projecting some-what beyond them at each end, thus fully covering the entrances, which, in some cases, are still further protected by projecting walls on either side. These works are somewhat numerous, and indicate a clear appreciation of at least the elements of fortification, and unmistakably point out the purpose for which they were constructed. A large number of these defensive works consists of a line of ditches and embankments, or several lines carried across the neck of peninsulas or bluff headlands formed within the bends of streams—an easy and obvious mode of fortification to all rude peoples." Sometimes the embankments are miles in extent, reaching an altitude of more than twenty feet in some places. Covered ways or parallel walls are often found, either connecting different inclosures or portions of the same. They were undoubtedly designed to protect those passing back and forth within. There are large numbers of sacred inclosures in the form of circles, squares, hexagons, octogon9, ellipses, parallelograms and others, many of which were designed with surprising geometrical accuracy. They are sometimes found within military inclosures, and very likely were connected with the religious rites and ceremonies of the people, as small elevations are found within them, which were evidently used for altars upon which sacrifices of various kinds were offered. Some archaeologists maintain that many of the so-called sacred inclosures were intended and used for national games and celebrations, and it is probable that those without the altar were used as such.
The mounds and their contents afford abundant opportunity to speculate as to the character and customs of the ancient people, of whom nothing is left save their crumbling habitations. They were a numerous people, as is clearly proved by the magnitude and elaboration of their works. Their presence here, beyond question, antedates the coming of Columbus, and very probably extends back a thousand years or more. Many interesting and important considerations, too lengthy to be narrated here, have been discovered in comparing the customs of the Mound-Builders with those of ancient people in the East. The Mound-Builders were unquestionably subservient to rulers or superiors, who had power to enforce the erection of gigantic structures, which, considering the semi-barbarous condition of the people, their lack of suitable implements of labor and their imperfect and insufficient knowledge of mechanical principles, are surprisingly vast in extent and ingenious in design. Their works indicate that the people were warlike; that they were familiar with many mathematical and mechanical principles; that they were religious and probably idolatrous; that they were skilled in the manufacture of bone and metallic ornaments and pottery; that they had attained no little degree of perfection in the working of metals, and that they were essentially homogeneous in customs, pursuits, religion and government. They, of necessity, were an agricultural people, being too numerous to live by the chase alone. They offered burnt and other sacrifices and oblations to both good and bad spirits. Dr. Foster says they worshiped the elements, such as fire, air and water, also the sun, moon and stars, and offered human sacrifices to the gods they worshiped. Yet many of these considerations are speculative, and have but little substantial evidence upon which to rest, and authorities are widely at variance in their views. But little can ever be known of the history of these people; yet throughout all the future the civilized world will look with awe upon the decaying remnants of their works and weave the bright fabric of romance about their mysterious lives.
This much has been given on the authority of Schoolcraft, Wilson, Wid-geon, Smucker, Foster and the American Cyclopedia, to prepare the way for the classification and detailed description of the ancient earth and stone works in this county. No effort has been made in past years to gather together the pre-historic history of Noble County. No importance or value has been at-tached to disclosures of skeletons, the majority of citizens throughout the tounty regarding them as belonging to the Indians, and, consequently, the mounds which have been opened in years past in different parts of the county were not carefully examined, and no doubt much interesting, and, perhaps, valuable, information has been hopelessly lost. The works and their contents can-not be too closely scrutinized, as very often nothing short of careful inspection will avoid overlooking important facts. About twenty-five years ago, a large mound situated on the old Jones farm, in northeastern Elkhart Township, was leveled down, or nearly so, as it was in the way, and several bones were found, which the owner supposed to belong to animals. Nothing further was discovered. They were, beyond doubt, the bones of Mound-Builders. On Section 2, Elkhart Township, on what is called Sanford's Point, there are several mounds, one of which was opened some eight or ten years ago by the neighbors, who expected to unearth some valuable trinkets. Quite a number of bones were found, and these were scattered around'on the surface of the ground, where they were left. No trinkets were found. An inferior maxillary bone found is said to have been remarkably large and sound. The reader must remember that these are the bones of Mound-Builders, not Indians, and were certainly placed there at least five hundred years ago, and very likely longer.
On the farm of Jeremiah Noel, Section 1, Elkhart Township, three mounds were found situated so as to form the corners of a'triangle, whose sides were 55, 42 and 30 yards, respectively. They were on the summit near the center of a semi-circular elevation that bounded a low marshy tract of land situated some forty feet lower, the concave face of the elevation lying toward the north. Two of the mounds were apparently about the same size, while the third was noticeably larger, having a basial diameter of some sixty feet, and an altitude which, notwithstanding that the road had once passed within a few feet of it, and that it had also been cultivated over many years, was some three and a half feet above the general level of the elevation. As nearly as possible, the summit of this mound was found, and an excavation about a yard square was made, care being taken that all important disclosures should be noticed. The soil was a light, 'sandy loam with some gravel, and did not appear to be in layers. At the depth of about two feet, a small quantity of charcoal was found scattered through the soil, although no distinct layer of this material could be distinguished. Finally, at the depth of about three feet, unmistakable evidences of bone were disclosed. The shovel had struck through what afterward proved to be a human skull, and the thigh-bone—the femur—was broken, and a portion thrown up. The diam-eter of the excavation was considerably enlarged, and the work was continued with great care. The covering of earth was removed, and a number of the heavier bones of a human skeleton were taken out in a brittle and decomposed state. Not more than a third of the bones of this skeleton could be found, the others, no doubt, having long since returned to dust. In the meantime, portions of other skeletons had been thrown out, and, in order to get at the work better, the excavation was enlarged until it measured about seven feet in diameter. The work was continued, and, at the expiration of about ten hours, twenty-eight crumbling skeletons had been taken out. Some few of the skeletons were in a fair state of preservation, while the majority were ready to fall to pieces, and actually did. The skulls were usually found resting upon the vertebrae, ribs and pelvis, while the extremities were distinct from these. The evidences satisfied those present that the bodies had been buried in a sitting posture, and they must have been packed in like sardines, as they were all found within a circle whose diameter was about seven feet. No skeleton was found entire, or, at least, it could not be distinguished from other bones with which it was mingled. The skulls were the only means of ascertaining the number of individuals buried, and this in a few instances was not absolutely reliable, as some evidences of additional skulls were found. Eight or ten bodies, in addition to those counted, might have been buried in the mound, all traces of which had been removed by Time, the destroyer. Beyond question, the skeletons of three or four children were unearthed, as the small fragile skulls and diminutive bones clearly indicated. While many of the larger bones were almost wholly decayed, many of the smaller were in an excellent state of preservation. Many of the metatarsal and metacarpal bones were almost as sound as when first buried. The cuneiform, pisiform, trapezium, patella, scaphoid, os calcis, were found. The vertebrae, ribs and skulls of children were found. The skeletons of at least two women were among the number, one of the skulls being carried away by the writer. Not half the necessary number of bones could be found to complete the osseous structure of twenty-eight individuals. The teeth were generally sound, yet some of these were found badly decomposed. One bone—a femur—had undoubtedly been fractured or broken during the life of the individual, as around it about five inches above the knee joint was quite an enlargement. No trinkets nor implements of any kind were found. Growing upon this mound a few years ago was a yellow oak about fifteen inches in diameter, but this had been removed before the mound was opened. Those present at the opening were satisfied that the skeletons of men, women and children were taken out. One of the skulls and a few bones traced as belonging to it differed materially from all the others, both in point of preservation and development, it having but little of that dark intermarking that precedes decay. It was much higher than either of the others, having a splendid development at the organs of veneration and benevolence, and a noticeable lack of the animal developments at the base of the skull. All the bones of the skeleton were very thick and sound. This skeleton undoubtedly belonged to an importaut personage, and probably those buried with him were members of his own family, or his servants, or both. It was in truth a fine looking head for a savage—too fine a one to belong to a savage^ or phrenology is at fault. The frontal development was not large; it was rather small compared with the general formation of the cranium. He was probably the " Medicine Man " (if the Mound Builders had such a humbug). This skull may be seen among Mr. Watts P. Denny's collection at Albion.
Three mounds, situated about half a mile south of Rome City, on the farm of John W. Teal, were also opened. They were also arranged to form the corners of a triangle, the sides being seventy, forty-three and thirty-five yards respectively. The first and largest mound was found to contain no evidences whatever—not even charcoal. It was probably a memorial mound, having been constructed to commemorate some important tribal event. Each of the other mounds was found to contain at least one skeleton, and one of them probably contained two, as bones were found at such a distance apart as to lead to this conclusion. Perhaps nine-tenths of each skeleton had entirely disappeared, as but a few small fragments were found. A sufficient quantity was found, however, to prove its bony character, and to establish the fact beyond cavil that the bones were human. In each of the mounds containing skeletons was found charcoal, noticeably so in one of them, where a heavy stratum, including ashes and well preserved pieces of half-charred wood resembling ash, was found entirely covering the spot where the skeleton reposed. From this mound, in close proximity to the few crumbling bones, were found two small trinkets.
One of the other mounds was opened, and about a peck of charcoal was found, from which was taken a small piece of charred bone, possibly being a portion of the tibia, but more probably belonging to some animal. In this mound distinct layers of clay and loam, alternating with those of sand, were clearly distinguishable. The charcoal was in a stratum which extended over some two or three square yards of surface, and was resting upon a hardpan of half-burned clay, which seemed to have been built in the form of a small truncated mound, a foot and a half high and some four feet square. Resting upon this was the charcoal and a few charred stones and the piece of charred bone. This mound belonged to the sacrificial class. One was a piece of mica, about two inches square, and a third of an inch thick, which after a few hours split into thin transparent layers. The other was a slate ornament, nearly four inches long and about half an inch wide, the edges being straight and one side smooth, while the other was oval, thus varying the thickness from a quarter of an inch at the ends to a half at the middle. Quite a large bowlder was taken from one of these mounds, and around its lower edge a small quantity of decayed bone-dust was found.
A large mound in a cultivated field on Section 4, York Township, was opened, and portions of three skeletons were taken out. The skulls were well preserved, as were the ribs and some other parts. The customary charcoal was found, but no trinkets nor implements. The teeth were sound, and the bony base of the skull in two cases was taken out entire. Appearances seemed to indicate that the bodies had been buried either on the back or the side, as the vertebrse extended out in the sand some distance from the skull. The fragments of bone found in the mounds at Rome City were upright, and portions of the cranium found were some distance, perhaps a foot or more, above the bones of the lower extremities. The reverse was the case in northern Elkhart and York. No females1 nor children's heads were found at Rome City or in York. Two large mounds were opened in the woods on Section 1, Sparta Township, but no bones, charcoal, nor ashes were found. The soil here was not as dry and mellow as is usually found constituting the mounds. It was a heavy sand and clay, there being a sufficient quantity of the latter to retain considerable water. If skeletons had been buried in such a soil, they would have decayed in a comparatively short space of time. The soil at the Noel mound was quite dry and mellow, more like the dust of the road. The members of the Davenport Academy of Sciences, discussing this question, say that " bones are often thrown into conditions that remain constant, and so will last for ages." They cite several cases coming under their observation to prove this, and even go so far as to mention the case of a mound opened in Louisa County, Iowa, where the stench was almost unendurable, showing that the fleshy portions had but just decayed. The mound in this case was undoubtedly pre-historic.
On Section 1, Sparta Township, on a low piece of land which extended into a marsh which was still lower, evidences of what might be pottery were discovered. No pieces larger than some four inches square have been found. The land is in a cultivated field, and at every fresh plowing many small fragments are thrown out. The fragments are composed of a dark clay, and seem to have been pressed into the desired form and thickness of one-fourth of an inch, and then partially baked. Large quantities of small stones, discolored by fire and smoke, are found scattered over the ground. The writer at first thought that some old cabin had been built on the site, and that the stones and burnt clay might have composed the chimney ; but there are some strong objections to this view of the case. The oldest settlers who have lived in the vicinity since the county was first organized knew nothing of such a cabin, and state that the earth and stone at the point were in early years much as they are at present. One thing is certain : The earth comprising the so-called pottery is totally dissimilar to that composing the land where it is found, and must have been transported there, either from the adjacent marsh or from some distant lowland where such clay is found. These and other facts lead the writer to believe that the spot was used as a site for the manufacture of pottery, and the portions found are the cast-away fragments. This spot is situated about half a mile southeast of the mounds above referred to that were opened. Directly east from the spot, distant perhaps ten rods, and on the same knoll, was found an ancient mound which was opened, but nothing noteworthy was unearthed.
On the northwest corner on the farm of Jacob Weigel, Washington Township, and within twenty rods of the residence of Michael Bouse, a large mound in a corn-field was opened by the writer. This was opened in the usual way by making a perpendicular excavation at the summit. Great care was taken to notice everything. The soil and surroundings were very similar to those of the large Elkhart mound. A half dozen small pieces of charcoal were found about six inches above the skeletons, but no implements were found, save a fragment of pottery about three by four inches, one side evidently being the rim of an earthen vessel. This fragment did not seem to be among the bones, but was at least six inches above them. It is the opinion of the writer that it was a cast-away portion of some vessel, and got mingled with the earth when the mound was built. It resembles, in every respect, the fragments found in northeastern Sparta Township. Portions of sixteen skeletons were unearthed, as was proved by the skulls, though their preservation was less perfect than those of the Elkhart mound. In other respects they were very much the same. There was at least the skeleton of one child .present, as was proved by the vertebrae. If female skeletons were present, such fact was not disclosed. The bones of the extremities were best preserved. The teeth were also quite sound, some being found where the maxillary bones had entirely decayed, save a small quantity of powder. Standing upon this mound was the stump of an oak about fifteen inches in diameter; a small distance southeast of this a small sacrificial mound was opened, and as much as a bushel of charcoal was thrown out; nothing else of importance was seen. A member of the historical force opened a mound in the Salem Church Cemetery, Washington Township, but discovered nothing save a considerable quantity of charcoal. Mr. Denney opened two mounds on the farm of Samuel Myers, Orange Township, both containing nothing but charcoal; he also opened three more near there, on the farm of Otis Grannis, one of them being eight feet in height and about eighty feet in diameter at the base. Three quite well-preserved skeletons were taken from this mound, one of the skulls being almost entire, and having a much better frontal development than the average. On this mound was an oak tree four feet in diameter, and probably more than three hundred years old. This mound is probably the largest in the county. Two other mounds near it, of average size, contained a bed of charcoal each. Mr. Denny, assisted by his brother Orville, opened three more on the bank of Skinner's Lake, Jefferson Town-ship, and took from one a quantity of human bones; but this mound had been opened a number of years ago by novices in the neighborhood, who used no particular care either to observe or preserve, and the number of individuals buried there is unknown, though there were several. The other two mounds contained charcoal. The most important mound opened was one west of Indian Village, and as it is just across the line in Kosciusko County, but little will be said of it here ; it was undoubtedly a sacrificial mound, as, besides a bed of charcoal, there were found many fragments of charred human bones, as pieces of half-burned skulls and other prominent bones of human beings clearly proved. Turtle skulls and various other bones belonging to that animal and others were found among the remains, and perhaps half a peck of these half-burned fragments were unearthed. It has been told the writer, on very good authority, that a mound in Washington Township was opened a number of years ago, from which were taken, besides skeletons, a number of copper ornaments or trinkets. It is unfortunate that no careful and extended examination was made of this mound, if the above report is true. Too many mounds are opened by inexperienced persons, for often the structure of the mound itself shows to which class it belongs.
Noble County has an interesting Indian history, though unfortunately but little of it is known. The tribes living in the northern part of Indiana during the last half of the last century were more or less actively engaged in all the border wars with the pioneers in Eastern Ohio, Western Pennsylvania and Northern Kentucky. Beyond question, white prisoners who were captured were often brought, not only to Fort Wayne, but to the Indian village in Sparta Township. One of the settlers living in Sparta Township picked up, many years ago, a stone having the shape represented below, and the indicated insertion cut into the stone:
I WAS TAKEN PRISIONER BEY THE INDIANS IN 1776 ANDREW CLINTON
The stone is undoubtedly genuine, and, so far as known, Clinton was the first white man in the county. Some other evidences of the early presence of white men have been found, one being an inscription on a tree. There is no township in the county in which temporary Indian villages did not exist in early times, either before or after the appearance of the first white settlers. Every stream and lake has its legend of the red men of the woods, which will live in song and story as long as romance and mystery are admired. J. Fennimore Cooper has woven a crown of beauty about the dark brow of the Indian, that will be-come more heavily jeweled with gems of fancy as time passes. By his pure images of manly character, and his vast knowledge of the native American, he has blended every redeeming trait of the Indian race in a living type that will bear the criticism of ages.
The tribes with which Noble County has to deal in history are those of the Miamis and Pottawatomies. As far back as the records extend—to the time when the French missionaries and explorers were extending their chain of missions and settlements along the great lakes and downward toward the Mississippi—these tribes occupied much or all of Northern Indiana. Here they were found by the French, and here they were found by early traders and captive white men. While perhaps these tribes were not so actively engaged in the border wars in Eastern Ohio as those living in that vicinity, yet many warriors, thirsting for war and ambitious of distinction, made incursions toward the East, and joined the hostile bands that were laying waste the frontier settlements. This state of affairs continued until the war of 1812, at which time the Indians here were badly defeated, and at the point of the bayonet were compelled to lay down the weapons of war, and sue for peace in the most abject manner. Their lands were ceded to the victorious whites, and they were confined to their reservations and to peace. A trading station had been early established at Fort Wayne, and this became a central point, where the Indians obtained their supplies and disposed of their furs, etc. In 1810, Tecumseh, one of the bravest, ablest and craftiest savages that ever lived, whose tribe had been given a tract of land by the Indians living on the Wabash, began visiting all the Western tribes with the secret purpose of inciting them to a concerted attack on all the frontier settlements. At the same time, when approached on the subject, he repeatedly avowed his friendship for the whites, and professed his desire for peace. But Gen. Harrison, then Governor of Indiana Territory, had no faith in the wily chieftain's professions, and continued his careful policy of handling the Indian question. Meantime, Tecumseh traveled among the various tribes, and by his craft and eloquence kindled them to the heat of war. At last, unknown to Tecumseh, and in direct opposition to his intentions, his brother, the prophet, attacked Gen. Harrison on the 7th of November, 1810, and was badly defeated at the battle of Tippecanoe. This immature movement on the part of the Indians was bitterly lamented by Tecumseh, who became terribly exasperated at his brother for the rash act, and threatened to kill him for thus foiling his schemes. But the Indian power was hopelessly broken, and the Miamis and Pottawatomies, who had taken an active part at Tippecanoe, buried the hatchet, and immured themselves within their assigned reservations. The writer has been unable to ascertain when the old reservation, which included a portion of Sparta and Washington Township, was assigned the above tribes; but it was probably soon after the war of 1812, and prior to 1821. By the terms of agreement between the Indians and the Government, a large, square brick-house was erected at Indian Village on the reservation, to be used as the residence of the chief, Wawaassa, or " Flat Belly," as he was more generally known. This building, after being used several years as a combined council-house and residence, was blown down by a great wind, and was not afterward rebuilt. The early settlers utilized the brick in their chimneys, etc. The tribes mentioned occupied the reservation until the year 1839, when they were transferred to the Wabash, and afterward no Indians visited the county save occasional stragglers. The lands of the reservation were not thrown into market until the autumn of 1842, at which time many squatters were living thereon, some of them having made extensive improvements with the view of purchasing the land when it became marketable. Knowing that great hardships would be wrought the squatters unless something was done to protect them, the State Legislature made provision, that if their farms were entered by other parties, the improvements that had been made must be paid for by those who entered the land. This measure had in general the effect of deterring speculators and sharpers from their usual nefarious practices, though, in several instances where improvements made were insignificant, the squatter was obliged to leave his farm. The land of the reservation belonged to the State, and Logansport was the point where the entry had to be made.
In 1837, "Flat Belly" died, and was succeeded by Mushquaw, who, the following year, got very "squiby" on poor whisky, and, while in that condition, attempted to cross a small lake near the Indian village; but, as the effects of the alcohol rushed to his brain, he leaped up and began dancing in the canoe, but immediately upset it and was precipitated into the water, and being unable to help himself, was drowned. Matchagen was at this time Medicine Man at the reservation, and was called upon, after the manner of the whites, to pay a tribute to the memory of the deceased. He roughly pictured the condition of the drunken chief, and admonished his auditors to beware of the saddening effects of fire-water. He addressed the spirit of the dead Indian, and advised it not to get "squiby" while crossing the river of death to the spirit land, as it might fall into the water, where it would have to remain forever. Kymotee was elected chief after the death of Mushquaw, but he was killed soon afterward under the following circumstances: Ashcum, a powerful young Indian, the son of a sub-chief, became enraged at a squaw, who was a relative of Kymotee, and, in a paroxysm of anger, gave her a mortal wound with his knife. But her death was immediately avenged by Kymotee, who shot Ashcum, killing him instantly. Ashcum had a very large brother, named Nagget, who was roused to vengeance by the death of his relative, whereupon he slew the brave Kymotee, but was himself immediately shot by another, who caught Nagget off his guard, and, with cocked rifle, said fiercely, with wrathful eyes, " Meanet Nugget, kinapoo" (very bad Nagget, me kill). The doomed Indian raised both arms above his head, turned his left side to the front and quietly waited for the fatal bullet. It came, and the brave chief fell dead upon the sod. Thus ended the chain of tragedies.
There were about forty bark wigwams at Indian Village, Sparta Township, and just about the time the Pottawatomies left for the Wabash, and while they were temporarily absent from their town, a number of heartless settlers applied the torch and burned all their wigwams. These rude houses were standing where the cemetery now is. Prior to the time of their leaving the reservation, the Indians traveled on hunting excursions all over the county, mingling freely with the whites, and no trouble of note transpired. They would approach the settlers' cabins to beg, and in this important particular they rivaled the modern tramp in skill and expediency. They brought forward furs, game and trinkets to be traded for provisions, ammunition, etc. They established one or more temporary villages in almost every township in the county, and were thus brought in close proximity to the settlers. Many interesting anecdotes are narrated concerning them, which will be found in the chapters on the townships. The red man is gone, but he cannot be forgotten. His life will long be told as a bright romance of the past.
Early Organization' and Statistics—General Growth and Development-Drought of 1838—The Internal Improvement Bill and the State Canal—Creation of the First Court—Trial and Execution of John Lechner—The County Seat Question—Public Buildings and County Officials—The Bench and Bar—Anecdotes—The Medical Profession.
Fifty years ago almost the whole of Northern Indiana, of which Noble County forms a part, was an unbroken wilderness. Its wide and tangled forests and its blooming prairies were the haunts of wild beasts and the home of roving tribes of Indians. Only here and there were to be seen any traces of civilization. At Fort Wayne, there was a trading-post where a few whites were gathered, and at South Bend a similar station. Little was then known of the country, save that it was considered as one of the Far West front-iers, on the outer verge of civilization, with only here and there a '; cabin," whose inmates were destined to battle with the dangers and privations of front-ier life. The early French trader or the zealous missionary, as he urged his u pirogue" through the waters of the St. Joseph, the Wabash or Maumee, could sometimes see peering through the forest a few log cabins, and here and there a clearing, but these were mostly along the banks of the rivers, while back only a few miles was the vast wilderness interior, still occupied by its forest lords, whose hostile attacks were yet dreaded by the defenseless settlers. Bold and determined was the adventurer who at that early day made this Western wild his home. But those were found whose daring was equal to the emergency and who were well qualified for the task. Of such were the pioneers of Noble County. Kentucky and Ohio, which had recently been settled, amid all the hardships of border life and the alarms of savage warfare, were now prepared to furnish recruits for another crusade against barbarism, while from the sterile hills of New England the thrifty Yankee took his way westward, in the hope of finding a home where his honest toil should be repaid by better returns. But it was chiefly those who were inured to perils, and who had met the wily savage in his ambuscade, who first penetrated the wilds of Northern Indiana, and thus laid the foundation for the present happiness and prosperity of the citizens of Noble County.
When Indiana was admitted into the Union as a State in 1816, the whole o.f Northeastern Indiana was included in Knox County, with the county seat at Vincennes. In 1818, the county of Randolph was created, including the county of Noble, with the county seat at Winchester. In 1823 or 1824 (both dates being given), Allen County was organized, taking in Noble County, with the county seat at Fort Wayne, and this continued until 1832, when the county of La Grange was organized by act of the General Assembly, the present county of Noble being included in the new county, the seat of justice being at Lima. The county of Noble was organized in 1836, by act of the Legislature, and an election was ordered to take place on the first Monday of June of that year. In consequence of the destruction of the records in the Clerk's office in 1858, it is impossible to give the number of votes cast at the first election, but we feel sure that there were but few, for, in 1838, according to the returns on the duplicate for that year, there were only eighty-two polls in the county. At this-election the following officers were elected: Clerk and Recorder, Isaac Spencer; Sheriff, James Hostetter; Associate Judges, Elisha Blackman and James Latta ; Coroner, Henry Engle; County Commissioners—Joel Bristol, Henry Hostetter, Sr., and Abraham Pancake.
At this election two of the Commissioners elected lived in the same township, why, I do not know. It may have been that there was no one in the Middle District qualified to hold the office. However, Hostetter only held the office for a short time before he resigned, and Zenas Wright, of York Township, was elected. The county of Noble as organized was eighteen miles in extent from north to south, and twenty-four from east to west, containing 432 square miles. In 1860, upon petition of the citizens residing thereon, a strip two miles in width across the south side of Township 33, Range 8 (Washington Township), was attached to Whitley County, leaving in Noble 420 square miles. At the first session of the Board of Commissioners the county was divided into civil townships, corresponding to the Congressional townships, and were by the Commissioners named, which names they still retain. The record of this action by the Commissioners was destroyed at the burning of the court house at Augusta in 1843, but the fact remains. Commencing at the southwest corner of the county, they numbered and named the townships as follows: No. 1, Washington; No. 2, Sparta; No. 3, Perry; No. 4, Elkhart; No. 5. York ; No. 6, Noble; No. 7, Jefferson; No. 8, Orange; No. 10, Wayne; No. 11, Allen; No. 12, Swan. Each of these townships was six miles square, and all remain so at present, except that two sections (18 and 19) were taken from Jefferson, and two sections (13 and 24) were taken from York, and these four sections were made Albion Township, No. 13. Before the organization of Noble County, and while it was a part of La Grange, there was but one township organization, and this included a part of what is now La Grange. This township was called Perry, and, at an election held at the house of John Hostetter in April, 1833, Jacob Wolf was elected Justice of the Peace, he being the first officer elected within the limits of Noble County. Mr. Wolf is still living where he located fifty years ago, advanced in life, but still in the enjoyment of a reasonable degree of health, and a fine representative of that spirit of genuine hospitality so common at that early date.
The first settlement made in Noble County by white people was that made by Joel Bristol in April, 1827, in Noble Township. The family consisted of Mr. Bristol and his wife, and the orphan children of Mrs. Bristol's sister, six in number. The name of these children was Tibbott, and two of them, Isaac Tibbott, Esq., of Wawaka, and Mrs. A. G. Gibson, are still residents of Noble County, and are both in comfortable circumstances, and are respected by all good citizens. Bristol and his wife have long since passed away. For several years after the settlement of Bristol, but few settlers stopped in Noble County, as the beautiful prairies lying to the north and west presented greater attractions. John Knight settled in the county in 1829, and, in 1830, Isaiah Dungan, Levi Perry and Richard Stone came, and the next year the population was further increased by the arrival of Jacob Wolf, Henry Hostetter, Sr., and his family, Adam Engle and family, Jacob Shobe and family, and Henry Miller and wife, Joseph Smalley and family, Leonard Danner, and perhaps some few others whose names may have been forgotten. A few continued to come, and all were heartily welcomed by the settlers, and, at the time the county was organized, there were probably less than one hundred families in the county, more than half the number being within the present limits of Perry Township, where "Perry's Prairie" and the "Haw Patch" offered inducements not found in any other part of the county. The first land purchased of the Government in the county was in Perry, and was entered in 1831, and by an examination of the Tract Book it appears that the following lands were entered during that year:
Name of Purchaser, Date. Description. Isaiah Dungan...........June 11,1831..................Northeast quarter of Section 33. Levi Perry...............June 11,1831..................East half of southeast quarter of Section 34. Jacob Shobe..............July 29, 1831..................Northeast quarter of Section 31. Jacob Shobe..............July 29, 1831..................West half of northwest quarter of Section 82. Jacob Shobe..............July 29, 1831..................West half of northwest quarter of Section 33. Susanna Hagan.........August 2, 1831.................West half of northwest quarter of Section 34. Adam Engle..............August 12,1831...............Southeast quarter of Section 28. Adam Engle..............August 12, 1831...............East half of southwest quarter of Section 27. Henry Engle............August 20,1831...............West half of southwest quarter of Section 27. Jacob Wolf...............August 20,1831 ..............Northeast quarter of Section 28. John lies.................August 20,1831...............East half of northwest quarter of Section 28-William Engle...........August 20,1831...............East half of northwest quarter of Section 34. Daniel Harsh............August 22,1831...............West half of southeast quarter of Section 33. Joseph Smalley.........September 13,1831...........Southwest quarter of Section 28. Joseph Smalley.........September 14,1831...........Northeast quarter of Section 32. Joseph Smalley.........September 14,1831...........East half of southwest quarter of Section 33. Joseph Smalley.........September 14, 1831...........West half of southwest quarter of Section 34. H. Hostetter..............November 1, 1831............East half of northwest quarter of Section 34. L. Danner.................November 21, 1831...........Southeast quarter of Section 18. Henry Miller............November 25, 1831...........Eist half of southwest quarter of Section 34.
All of said land being in Township 35 north, Range 8 east, in Perry Township. The foregoing entries embrace all the land entered in Noble County in 1831, and amount to 2,120 acres. In 1832, the entries amounted to 3,320; in 1833, 2,820; in 1834, 5,860; in 1835,18,222; and in 1836, before the county was organized, which was in March, 1,006 acres, making in all. of land entered before the county was organized, 33,048 acres, or about one-ninth of all the land embraced within the limits of the county. There was, without doubt, more land entered in 1836 than in all the years that preceded it, for this was the time of the great rush to Northern Indiana. During all the season land buyers thronged the country, and all the talk was of section corners and quarter sections. Most of those who came were looking for future homes, and were cordially welcomed by those who were already here, and to them the ulatch-string" was always out and every assistance rendered to assist them in making good purchases. But there was another class of land buyers, who met with little encouragement from the settlers. I refer to those who came here for the purpose of buying large tracts of land, not for cultivation, but to hold for the purpose of speculation. Frequently large tracts were bought up by these men (land-sharks, the settlers called them), and held at prices that the poor man could not afford to pay, and hence the growth and development of the country was crippled. A system of swindling was also practiced extensively about the land office at Fort Wayne by a set of sharpers, which was at once dishonest and cruel. When some honest farmer, who had selected and would apply to purchase the land he wanted for a home, one of these thieves would look him up, and say that he wanted the same tract, and threaten to bid on the land unless a compromise was made. Frequently considerable sums were thus stolen from the settler, when the rascal who pocketed his ill-gotten gains had no intention of buying the land, and, in fact, had never seen it. But not withstanding all the difficulties and drawbacks that beset the early settlers, much land was entered by men who at once took possession of it, erected their cabins, and, with willing hearts and strong hands, leveled the forests, cleared the land, and, as soon as possible, started some crop to furnish the means of living for themselves and their families. In those early days, a large family of children was the rule, a small family the exception. The rule seems to be reversed in these later days, owing, probably, to the fact that the soil is not as productive now as it was at that early day. If a small patch could be pre-pared in season, it was planted in corn; if too late for corn, then some potatoes were put out; if too late for potatoes, the pioneer would try turnips; and if too late for turnips, some of the ground would be sown for wheat in the fall Most of the settlers of 1836 came too late in the season to raise anything for their support the first season, and had to depend upon buying from those who had been here long enough to raise a surplus. Their chief dependence was upon those who had settled on "Perry's Prairie," in this county, and upon the prairies of La Grange, Elkhart and Kosciusko Counties, where the settlers had; found the land already cleared and where many of the farmers had large and; productive farms under cultivation.
The lack of the settlers during this year to raise enough to supply their wants created an unusual demand for the necessaries of life, and prices rose in; proportion to the demand; and as most of the early settlers were men of limited means, and had invested all, or nearly all their means in the purchase of their land, it would not be strange if there.occurred some cases of actual suf-fering for the necessaries of life. Let us hope that if such cases did occur that they were few, for it is painful to contemplate the possibility of such a state of affairs. To make matters more trying on the new settlers, there was consider-able suffering from fever and ague during the later part of the summer and the fall, and medicine and physicians were not to be had, and the only resource was such domestic remedies as were within reach of the settlers. Winter checked the ravages or the disease, and there was no difficulty in keeping the cabin warm and comfortable, for wood was about the only commodity that was plenty, and the greatest difficulty was to get it out of the way. The winter months were devoted to chopping and preparing to clear more land in the spring. Let it not be supposed that the settler of that day was selfish or unsocial ; far from it. They had their social gatherings, their log-rollings, and their dances; and if the young people of that day did not "Trip the light fantastic toe," under the direction of the French dancing-master, and to the music of a full orchestra, yet they did trip the toe,, and that frequently a bare one, on the puncheon floor, as they danced the " Square French-four," shuffled through the "Virginia reel," or threaded the mazes of "Hunt the Squirrel/' to the inspiring strains of the " Devil's Dream," " Silver Creek" or " Sally Johnson/' ground out by the ancient fiddler on the fiddle which was his grandfather's delight in his young days. Then the people met upon a level; they felt that all were equal; they had no high, no low ; and to-day the old pioneers look back upon those days with feelings of regret and long for the days of "Lang Syne."
All through the summer of 1836 the white covers of the emigrants' wagons could be seen winding along the crooked paths that had been cut through the timber—for we had not then any laid-out roads ; the first teamster cut out a track, and the others followed until the mud became too deep for travel, when another road was cut out, so thdt there were roads everywhere. This applies to the heavy timbered lands. On the openings, where the soil was sandy, the roads were generally good, and when a new track became necessary, you could drive anywhere without hindrance, for at that day the country presented a very different appearance from what we see at the present day. It was the custom of the Indians to burn the woods, marshes and prairies, each spring, and this annual burning kept down the under growth, so that on the openings nothing was left to obstruct the view, except the large trees scattered here and there. In many places, where to-day a second growth of timber completely covers the ground, the openings then were like an open prairie, with here and there a giant oak.
No more enchanting scene was ever presented to the human eye than these openings in the spring. As far as the eye could reach was spread out a scene of surpassing loveliness. The tender grass just springing up and spreading a carpet of green over the whole landscape, which was further beautified by flowers of every hue, and as you survey the scene, a herd of deer appear in the distance, or the impudent prairie-wolf approaches just near enough to be out of range of the trusty rifle—our inseparable companion in these rambles. Nor should we forget to bring upon the stage as a part of the picture the native, who once held undisputed control over all this land, nor dreamed that the day would come when he would be driven from these scenes of his youth, and leave to desecration the graves of his fathers. Talk of your flower-gardens or your parks, or anything that man has made in his weak efforts to imitate nature ! To one who has seen the oak openings of Noble County, in all their pristine glory and loveliness, man's imitations are tame and insipid. The year of 1837 was not marked by anything peculiar, except that more settlers came than during any previous year. Many who entered land in 1836 returned to their former homes to settle their business, and in the spring of 1837 returned with their families to this county—their future home.
The year of 1838 will be remembered by the early settlers as long as one is left; many settled here in 1837, and others came in the early part of 1838. The spring opened wet, and the season continued so until about the middle of June, when the rain ceased and no more fell during the remainder of the summer and fall, and some wheat sown that fall did not germinate until after snow fell. The swamps and marshes were filled with water, and the heat of the summer was intense. As a consequence, the water in the swamps was rapidly evaporated, and the atmosphere became contaminated and poisoned by the ncxious exhalations, and the whole country was transformed into one vast hospital, filled with suffering patients, but destitute of physicians, medicines or nurses. Never before or since has such a time been experienced in Noble County. There was scarcely a house in the whole county where all were well, and in many all were prostrated by disease. Physicians were scarce and difficult to obtain; nor were they exempt from the ravages of disease. Medicines could not be obtained, and the sufferings then endured will never be known. Many of the early settlers died during this season, and it is sad to think that probablysome perished from lack of proper treatment. But let no one for a moment suppose that this lack arose from any willful neglect on the part of the settlers. A woman has been known to walk several miles along an Indian trail to wait upon a sick neighbor, and frequently she was compelled to carry a child in her arms. And this was no unusual occurrence. The people were kind and sympathetic, and warm and tender hearts throbbed beneath the buck-skin hunting shirt and the linsey dress. But there was a point they could not pass. Strong though they were, they must succumb to disease, and they could not attend to others when they needed the same attention themselves. In one house at Rochester, thirteen persons lay sick, and in the whole village only two people were able to go from house to house, and these two were busy day and night ministering to the necessities of the suffering with the most unselfish devotion. Their names deserve to be held in grateful remembrance as long as a pioneer or any of his descendants survive. They were Mr. Dorus Swift and Miss Achsah Kent. The frosts of autumn checked the ravages of disease, and health once more visited the settlers, although the effects of the season remained with some, and during the following fall and winter several old persons died. At the session of the General Assembly for 1836-37, a bill was passed called " The Internal Improvement Bill." By the provisions of this act, the State under-took a scheme of digging canals all over the land, and among the works contemplated was a canal from Fort Wayne to Michigan City. This was to enter Noble County in Swan Township, thence in a northwesterly direction through Swan, Green, York and Perry Townships, passing through Port Mitchell; and between Augusta and Albion, and into the Elkhart River west of the present residence of James J. Knox, in Elkhart Township. Here it was to enter the backwater of a seven-foot dam, to be built across the Elkhart River at Rochester. Thence it was to pass through Rochester and Ligoaier, and follow the river to the west line of the county. Near the place where the canal was to enter the river, it was to be intersected by a navigable feeder from Northport, where a dam was to be erected to form a reservoir. There was also a reservoir to be made in Green Township to feed the canal at the Summit, which is in this township. Work was commenced in Noble County in Green, and also at Northport, the work on the summit which divides the waters flowing north into the Elkhart River and the waters flowing south into the Tippecanoe. Here the greatest amount of work was done, but there was considerable done in the vicinity of Northport, where the feeder dam was erected, and some of the canal excavated, and now, in passing from Albion to Rome City, the traveler passes along the bed of what was intended to be the navigable feeder, had this grand scheme ever been completed. But the State soon found that she had undertaken too much, and, being unable to meet her obligations, the work was suspended, and the amount expended became a total loss. The dam at Northport was built, but was subsequently washed out, and three persons who were on the dam at the time were drowned. Subsequently one of the bodies was found floating in a small pond below, but the others were never found. The State afterward rebuilt the dam, and donated the water-power to Noble County for the benefit of common schools, making the Board of Commissioners the custodians of the property. The Commissioners leased the water-power for a term of ninety-nine years, at an annual rental of §30. A grist-mill, a saw-mill, and quite an extensive woolen factory were erected and propelled by the water-power created by the dam. The factory was destroyed by fire, since which only the mills before referred to are run by the water from the reservoir. The affairs of the canal were closed up in the spring of 1840, and all that is now left of this magnificent enterprise is the dam, and some excavations here and there to mar the face of the country. Probably nearly $200,000 was expended by the State.
From the first settlement of Northern Indiana the country was infested with a gang of desperadoes, and of these Noble County had her full share. These men were engaged in theft, robbery aud passing counterfeit money, and it was at times darkly hinted that even murder was committed by them. Among them there appeared to be a passion for horses, and so far did this prevail that it made little difference to whom the horse belonged, and the settler frequently found his log stable empty in the morning, when it had the evening before been occupied by his horse. Horses were at this time (1839) scarce, and the loss of one a great calamity, as on the team depended to a great extent the support of the family. Hence, it is not surprising that curses deep and sincere were breathed by the settlers against these rascals, and it is probable that, had anv of them been caught in the act, retribution swift and certain would have followed without waiting for due process of law. So many confederates were scattered through the county that pursuit was generally useless, for they had a regular organization, and stations where stolen property could be secreted in such a manner as to elude all search. Late in the fall of 1838, one of the gang, who had partaken too freely of "dead shot" or "tangle foot," became very communicative and confidential, and made propositions to one of the citizens who kept a small store to join them, urging, as an inducement, that he would have superior advantages for passing counterfeit money. The citizen, after consulting with neighbors, agreed to the proposition, intending to act the part of a spy, and when he had learned all he could to make it public, and try to break up the gang. To say the least, the undertaking was a hazardous one, and rendered doubly so by the desperate character of the men he sought to entrap, but before he had made any progress in the matter, two horse-thieves were arrested in the Haw Patch, and a stolen horse found in the neighborhood, where they had turned it loose, having stolen a blind horse by mistake. The news soon spread that horse-thieves had been captured, and were at Stone's, on the Fort Wayne & Goshen road. The whole country was aroused, and the men from far and near gathered at the place, and it required all the efforts of the officers, backed by the conservative element among the citizens, to save their lives. Nor is this to be thought strange. The settlers had suffered so much from their depredations, and had seen them escape so easily when arrested, that they determined to take the law into their own hands and mete out condign punishment upon the heads of the offenders. Being assured that the thieves should be dealt with according to law, they desisted from further hostile demonstrations, and assisted the officers in executing the process of the court. Warrants were issued for about twenty persons, many of whom were arrested, but some having had warning left the county and never returned. The trials were held at Stone's tavern, three miles south of Ligonier, before Nelson Prentiss, a Justice of the Peace of Sparta Township, and lasted ten days. There were present at these examinations all the settlers for a circuit of many miles, many of whom remained all night to prevent any attempt at a rescue of the prisoners. No such attempt was made, and the trials proceeded in an orderly manner. There were no attorneys in Noble County at that time; hence counsel had to be procured elsewhere. The prisoners were defended by Hon. Charles W. Ewing and Robert Breckenridge, Jr., of Fort Wayne; and an attorney from Piqua, Ohio, happening to be passing that way was employed by the peo-ple to prosecute. The cases were ably prosecuted, and the accused properly defended. Nine were held to appear at the next term of the Circuit Court, and all failing to find bail, seven of the number were sent to Fort Wayne and two to Goshen to be imprisoned, there being at the time no jail in Noble County. The two seat to Goshen were released upon a writ of habeas corpus for some pretended irregularity in the papers, while the seven sent to Fort Wayne released themselves by breaking out of the old jail at that place, and thus ended the first raid on the blacklegs of Noble County, but the people had rest for a season. But few settlers came to the county in 1839. The sad experiences of 1838 sent many back to their former homes, and the reports of the hardships that they had endured so alarmed others that few had the courage to risk the chances of a home in Indiana. There is little of general interest to write concerning 1839 more than what has already been said. During the year of 1840, more settlers came than in the previous year. It began to be ascertained that people could live in Noble County, and several who had remained began to gather about them not only the necessaries, but also some of the conveniences of life, and the settler who had battled manfully with adverse circumstances began to look forward to a time of greater enjoyment, when he could sit beneath "his own vine and fig-tree," and enjoy the fruit of his honest toil.
During this year there was perpetrated in the county a brutal murder. On the 16th day of May, 1840, at the village of Rochester, a number of persons were engaged in drinking poor whisky and shooting at a mark, a pastime quite common in those days. The natural consequences followed; some became drunk and quarrelsome, and fit for any act of violence. Among the number were John Lechner, a German, and John Farley, an Irishman. Both were under the influence of liquor, and Lechner, when drunk, was quarrelsome and abusive. A dispute arose, angry words passed and blows were exchanged; but Farley, who was a small man, was not able to cope with his burly antagonist. Farley escaped from Lechner and started to run, when Lechner seized his rifle and fired at' Farley, missing him; Farley ran a short distance when he climbed upon a fence, when a few words passed between them; Lechner then took a gun from the hands of his nephew, and taking deliberate aim shot Farley dead upon the spot. He then attempted to escape but was arrested and brought before Esquire Daniel Harsh, and was by him committed to jail in Goshen, there being no jail in Noble County. At that time there were but two terms of the Circuit Court in each year, in September and March. The cause came up for trial at the September term, before John W. Wright, President Judge, and Thomas H. Wilson and Jacob Stage, Associate Judges. The prosecution was conducted by Lucien P. Ferry, Prosecuting Attorney, of Fort Wayne; and the court assigned as counsel for the prisoner Hon. Charles W. Ewing and Robert Breckenridge, Jr. The records of the courts of that date having been destroyed by fire, some matters in connection with the trial can not be given, and the names of the jurors who tried the case have been forgotten. The evidence was clear; in fact, there was not one extenuating or palliating circumstance. The guilt of the accused was established beyond a doubt, and although both Breckenridge and Ewing put forth their best efforts, they were of no avail. The speech of Judge Ewing on that occasion was probably the strongest appeal ever made to a jury in the county. Lechner was found guilty by the jury and the punishment fixed was death. He was sentenced to be hanged November 3,1840. The sentence was executed on that day about half a mile west of Augusta, by Mason M. Meriam, Sheriff of the county. A large concourse of people were present, not only from Noble, but also from adjoining counties. This is the only judicial execution that has occurred in the county. After the sentence was executed, Lechner "s body was taken in a wagon and driven rapidly to the western part of the county and privately buried, and few are now living who know the place. Farley, the murdered man, was buried in the old cemetery at Ligonier. The parties in the tragedy were both drunk, and the crime can be charged to nothing but alcohol. Perhaps it may not be out of place to remark that, up to this time, political differences had not disturbed the settlements. At the first election, in 1836, men of both political parties were elected; Spencer, Bristol and Pancake were Democrats, while the two Hostetters and Engle were Whigs; and in 1838, when a convention was called to nominate officers, men of both participated in the same meeting, the chief object being to find good men willing to serve. But in 1840, things were changed, for the wave of " Tippecanoe and Tyler, too," struck Noble County. Political tricksters now make their appearance, and demagogues perambulate the county, anxious to sacrifice themselves for the good of the dear people, and communities which once moved and acted in concert are rent to fragments, and arrayed in hostility to each other. During all the preceding years, while the tide of emigration was pouring into the county, there existed among the people a strong sympathy with each other, and strife and contention were strangers. There was no dividing up into classes; all were friendly, for all were poor. And now the old pioneer of Noble looks back with regret to many things that were common at that early day, but have passed away never to return. The year 1841 was not marked by anything unusual in the development of the county, unless it be by increasing prosperity among the settlers. Emigrants con-tinued to come and the country was fast filling up, better dwellings were erected, more land was cultivated, and better implements of husbandry were used, and it may be said that the most sanguine hopes of the settlers were realized.
During this year, there occurred a sad circumstance, that should not be passed over without notice, as it may be that in the future some light may be thrown upon what is now, and the last forty years has been, dark and mysterious. On the 2d day of June, Mr. Aaron Noe, who resided on the farm now owned and occupied by Charles Weade, about two and a half miles southeast from Cromwell, started with his team to Elkhart County to mill. He left home early in the morning, and when near home, having just started, he observed his son, about three years old, following the wagon. He stopped and directed the child to go back to the house, and then proceeded on his journey. No further notice seems to have been taken of the child's absence for some time. There were several children belonging to the family, and the mother probably supposed that it was with them. The other children returning to the house without the boy, Mrs. Noe commenced to search for him, but was unable to find him. Becoming now alarmed, she and the older children continued the search. They found the little tracks in the road where it was last seen and for a short distance beyond, going from the house and in the direction taken by the father with his wagon, when the nature of the ground prevented any further traces of foot-prints. Having searched for several hours in vain, the now distracted mother sent word to her nearest neighbors, and they, in turn, to others, and before night seventy-five or one hundred of the settlers were gathered, ready to render any assistance in their power. The woods along Solomon's Creek, where the child was lost, were swampy and afforded a retreat for the large timber-wolf, and there were many at that time in the county. There were droves of half-wild hogs, scarcely less savage and dangerous than wolves. The child had on only one garment, a loose slip or gown, and thus unprotected, if it should escape from the animals, it was probable that the insects, with which the woods were swarming at that season of the year, would torment it to death before another morning. It should be observed, that during the day a small body of Indians had passed the place, traveling in an easterly direction. It was surmised that they might have kidnaped the child, and it was determined to send some persons after them to learn whether such was the fact. Accordingly, Mitchell McClintock, Oliver Wright and Harvey McKinney, all old frontiersmen, were selected for this service. They left Noe's a little before sunset, and, following the trail, found the Indians encamped on the bank of Bowen's Lake, in Green Township. On coming in sight of the encampment, they concluded to take the camp by surprise, lest they should escape with the child, if they had it. Mounting their horses, they dashed at full speed into the midst of the sleeping Indians. Amidst the confusion, some of the Indians escaped to the woods, but they returned in a short time, and all denied having had or even seen the child. In this, it is probable, they told the truth, for they had been seen by several persons during the day, after they passed Noe's place, and no white child was seen with them. The party sent out returned the same night and reported their failure, and it was then agreed to make thorough search and, if possible, find the little one alive, or if dead, to discover some traces that should disclose the fact of when, where and how it died. The next morning the search commenced- Lines were formed, the men walking within a few feet of each other, and traveling the country in every direction for several miles, and this was continued for eight or ten days. The search was made as thorough and complete as possible. Every swamp was explored, every pool of water was dragged, every hollow log found was torn to pieces. All business was suspended and the great heart of the community went out,as the heart of one man, in sympathy with the bereaved ones: but it was all in vain. No trace of the missing one was ever found. Whether, indeed, the little wanderer wa3 picked up by Indians and brought up among them as one of their tribe; whether it met its death from some savage beast, or died from the more lingering torments of hunger and fatigue, are subjects upon which we may speculate, but which we shall probably never know.
From this time forth, the growth of the county has continued until the present. The first census taken in Noble County was in 1840, when the population was 2,702. This census was taken by Isaac Spencer. In 1850, Hiram S. Tousley took the census, which was now 7,946. In 1860, John C. Richmond was Deputy Marshal, and found 14,915. In 1870, the population was 20,389, and in 1880 it was 22,804. When the first census was taken, in 1840. Noble County, in population, was the seventieth; in 1850, it was the fifty-ninth; in 1860, the forty-first, and in 1870, the twenty-eighth, a position that she still holds.
During the time that the steady stream of population was pouring into the county good prices were obtained for all agricultural products, but when the settlers had so improved their lands that a surplus began to accumulate, prices began to decline, and, for several years, all products raised by the farmer were very cheap. Wheat, after being hauled to Fort Wayne, was worth about 40 cents; corn, 12 1/2 ; pork from $1 to $1.25 per 100 pounds. Labor was correspondingly cheap, and day laborers' wages from 31 to 40 cents per day. This was in consequence of a lack of transportation to the sea-board. Railroads were then unknown, and, for a time, all produce had to reach the lakes, either at Toledo or Michigan City. In 1843, the Wabash & Erie Canal was opened from Fort Wayne to Toledo, and this had a tendency to give better prices, though wheat was then worth only about 60 cents at the most favorable times, but the construction of railroads has created a good markot, and now the farmers of Noble County are receiving good prices near home for all their surplus products.
The records of the Auditor's office having been destroyed in 1843, it is impossible to ascertain the valuation of property in the county prior to that time or the total amount of taxes paid each year; but from the Auditor of State the taxes paid to the State prior to that time have been ascertained, and by computation we may reach very nearly the number of polls in the county for each year. There appears to have been no taxes paid to the State until 1838, and that year Noble County paid $301.35. In 1839, $385.50 ; in 1840, 4381.72 ; in 1841, $870.59, and, in 1842, $1,515.44. This only includes the State taxes, and we can only approximate the total taxes for all purposes, but it is safe to say that three times the State tax would make the entire duplicate. Again the number of polls is not given prior to 1843, but we arrive at a result that is nearly correct by calculation, and find the following:
In 1838, we had eighty-one polls, and the duplicate was - $ 904 05
In 1839, we had ninety-nine polls, and the duplicate was - 1,150 50
In 1840, we had ninety-nine polls, and the duplicate was - 1,145 16
In 1841, we had two hundred and ninety-seven polls, and the duplicate was- 2,611 77
In 1842, we had five hundred and twenty-two polls, and the duplicate was - 4,546 32
The effects of the scourge of 1838 are plainly seen in the two years that follow it. The following table is from the records:
not comp'd 611
Thus, from the insignificant amount of about $1,000, the total amount ot taxes paid in 18:38, there is now collected over $100,000. And in consequence of the increased wealth, the taxes are now paid with less trouble than in early times. The railroad corporations in the county pay taxes on over §1,000,000 valuation, thus paying one-ninth of the entire taxes paid. The increase in the material wealth is amazing. In 1843, there was but one man in the whole county that was assessed with personal property to the amount of $500. In that year, Joseph Galloway, of Washington Township, returned that amount, and now a farmer who has not that amount, or more, is considered poor, while many of the tax-payers are assessed with over $100,000 of personal property, and this assessment as a general thing is not more than one-half the real value. In 1843, the entire school tax collected in the county was $8.50; in 1844,. $125.54 ; in 1845, $139.51; in 1846, $204.80. There is now expended annu-ally in the county over $50,000, a large part of which is raised by taxation, which the people pay willingly, being convinced that intelligence is essential to the best interests of the State.
In the matter of county seats, Noble has had her full share. At the ses-sion of the Legislature in March, 1836, George A. Fate, R. McDonald and Eli Penwell, were appointed Commissioners to permanently locate the seat of justice for Noble County, and on the 3d day of May, 1836, reported as follows: To the Honorable the Commissioners of NMe County, and State of Indiana: The undersigned Commissioners, appointed by the Legislature of this State to fix the per-manent seat of justice of the county of Noble aforesaid, have, after being duly sworn as the law directs, fixed the permanent seat of justice and drove the stake for the same on Section Twenty-four in Township numbered Thirty-four north, of Range numbered eight east, in said county, on the land of Isaac Spencer and Reuben Jackson Dawson. And beg leave to submit the fore-going report with the donation bond for $3,000, payable A. D. 1839. George A. Fate, R. McDonald, Eli Penwell. Noble, . May 3, 1836
The bonds of Spencer and Dawson, with Simpson Cummings as surety, was filed the same day, and was approved by the Locating Commissioners, the Commissioners of Noble County not having been elected, nor were there any until the June following. This location was in Sparta Township, on the old Fort Wayne and Goshen trail, and on the farm now owned by Nary Fry. Although this was near the western part of the county, yet at the time it was probably very nearly central as to the population. No public buildings were ever erected at Sparta, and the county seat remained there only a short time. Other parts of the county began to be settled and the people objected to the erection of buildings at a point so far from the center of the county; and which, although a very desirable location in some respects, yet had no water-power or other natural advantages. Hence, a petition wa3 presented to the Legislature asking for a re-location, and an act was passed and approved February 4,1837 appointing Oliver Crane, of Elkhart; Levi L. Todd, of Cass; John E. Hill, of Allen ; Samuel F. Clark, of Miami; William Allen, of La Porte, and Greene T. Simpson, of Henry, County Commissioners to re-locate the seat of justice. On the 3d of July, 1837, all the Commissioners, except Allen and Simpson, met at the house of Patrick C. Miller, at Wolf Lake, and proceeded to examine the different points offered. Several ambitious towns which had been laid out were anxious for the distinction. Sparta was, of course, in the market, also Van Buren, near the Blackman farm in York ; Wolf Lake, the first town laid out in Noble County; Augusta and Port Mitchell—all entered the race, and each made munificent offers to secure the coveted location. The Commissioners having looked over the ground and considered the offers of donations, agreed upon Augusta, a point two miles west of Albion. The people appeared to acquiesce in the location, and a court house and jail were built there, the county officers removed thither and the town gave considerable evidences of growth ; two hotels were built, several stores started and various mechanical interests were represented. There is but little doubt that the county seat of Noble County would have been at Augusta now, had not the court house been accidently destroyed by fire. This occurred early in the year of 1843, and by the burning of the building the books belonging to the offices of the Auditor and Treasurer were lost. This was a great calamity, and in endeavoring to prepare an authentic history of the county, we sadly miss those records. Port Mitchell had never been happy over the location at Augusta, and now made an effort for another permanent location. Another act of the Legislature was passed January 14, 1844, for a re-location, and Charles W. Heaton, of St. Joseph; Lot Day, also of the same county; Ephraim Seeley, of La Grange, and John Jackson and Allen Tibbitts, of Elkhart, were appointed Commissioners. They met at Augusta on the first Monday of March, 1844, and drove the stake and permanently located the seat of justice at Port Mitchell. Here brick offices were built and a temporary building was erected for a court house. The people of Port Mitchell were happy, and visions of the coming greatness of the town floated before them. But their triumph was of short duration. The seat of justice was a movable institution and neither a permanent location nor driving the stake could hold it.
Soon after, at the session of the Legislature for 1845-46, an act was passed providing for a re-location by a vote of the people. The act provided that an election should be held on the first Monday of April, 1846, at which the voters should write on their ballots the name of the place where they wished the county seat to be located. Another election was to be held the first Monday of June, at which time only three places should be voted for; that is, the three highest on the list voted for in April, and the final vote was to be taken between the two highest at the June election, on the first Monday of August in the same year. The contest was a spirited one, as there were several places in the county that were ambitious to be county seats. Speeches were made, and at least one campaign song was composed for the occasion, and a club of singers organized. At the election in April, votes were ca|t for Port Mitchell, Augusta, Rochester, Ligonier, Springfield, Lisbon, Northport, Wolf Lake, and the 11 Center," as Albion was then called. It may be that votes were cast for other places. At this election, the three highest on the list were Port Mitchell, Augusta and the Center. At the June election, Augusta fell two votes below Port Mitchell, and was left out. The contest was now between Port Mitchell and the Center. The friends of Augusta were indignant, and generally voted for the Center, and it received a majority and was declared the county seat. It has remained here since, although several efforts were made to remove it. The construction of the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad through Albion, in 1874, has settled the question, and Albion will, without doubt, remain the county seat.
The first buildings erected by the county were at Augusta, where a frame court house was built, which was done by the proprietors of the town as a part of the donation to the county, in consideration of the location of the county seat at that place. The building would be considered a cheap affair at this time, but when it was erected it was the pride of the people, as it was much better than any in the adjoining counties. This was completed in 1840, and the next year a wooden jail was built. There is still left a part of the cells of the old jail remaining, which is the only memento left to remind the traveler of the former greatness of Augusta. The temporary buildings erected at Port Mitchell have disappeared, and most of the town plat, as well as all of the town of Augusta, is now devoted to agricultural purposes. After the final vote on the location of the county seat, the Board of Commissioners, on the 14th day of October. 1846, made the following order: ;t Ordered, that James L. Worden, County Agent, proceed to advertise the letting of a court house at the new county seat of Noble County, and that he receive sealed proposals for the same until the second day of the next December term of the board, at 8 o'clock A. M." At the December term, James L. Worden reported that the lowest and best bid for the building was by Harrison Wood, William M. Clapp and David B. Herriman, and the job was accordingly let to them. They sublet to Samuel T. Clymer, of Goshen, who completed the building in 1847, and, on the 16th day of September of that year, the Commissioners ordered the removal of the offices and records to the new court house. A jail at Albion was built in 1849. The court house was built ot a cost of $4,045. The cost of the old jail at Albion was about $1,300. This court house was burned in January, 1859, and the cir-cumstances surrounding the catastrophe leave little room for doubt that it was the work of incendiaries. The present court house was built in 1861, at a cost of $11,000, and was built by George Harvey, who now resides in Albion. In 1875, the present jail was built at a cost of over $25,000, and is as safe as it could be made, and is doubtless the finest building in the county. It contains rooms for the jailer and his family; has twelve cells, the top, bottom and each side wall being composed of a single stone eight inches in thickness, all four securely fastened together. These cells are surrounded by a hall composed of stone similar to the cells, and it would seem to be a bootless undertaking to attempt to break out. The court house is a plain, substantial building, but large enough to accommodate our courts; but the day is not distant when better accommodations will be required for the county officers, and more room for the records.
For several years after the organization of the county, the poor were supported in the several townships, and those who were permanent paupers were sold out to the lowest bidder annually. This continued until finally the Commissioners purchased a farm one and a half miles east of Albion, upon which was a house which, with some additions, was used as an asylum for the poor, and here all the paupers of the county were collected, and a superintendent chosen by the Commissioners. This continued until at last the Commissioners exchanged this farm for 160 acres, to which they have since added ninety-eight acres. In 1871, a brick building was erected on the farm capable of accommodating one hundred paupers. The contract price for the building was $20,500, but a record of the allowances shows that the actual cost was several thousand in excess of the contract price. The Commissioners have been fortunate in the selection of superintendents, and at the present time the farm is self-sustaining. The building is over one hundred feet in length, and fifty-four feet wide, and is two stories above the basement, and has also considerable room above the second story under the mansard roof. The foregoing comprise all the public buildings belonging to the county. It has already been stated who were elected county officers at the first election. The following persons have held the office of Clerk of the Circuit Court by virtue of election: Isaac Spencer, Westley White, William F. Engle, Nelson Prentiss, Samuel E. Alvord, James Haxby, Hiram S. Tousley, Joseph S. Cox. And Horatio M. Slack, Fielding Prickett, Luther H. Green and George B. Teal have held the office by appointment. Of those who have held this office, Westley White, William F. Engle, James Haxby and Joseph S. Cox are dead. Mr. Alvord, who was first elected in 1865, has been re-elected twice since, and now holds the office.
The persons elected as Sheriff are: James Hostetter, John Humphreys, Mason M. Meriam, Harrison Wood, William E. Bowen, Isaac Swarthout, David S. Simons, Solomon Crossley, Robison Ramsby, Moses Kiser, David Hough, Nathaniel P. Eagles, Richard Williams and William W. Riddle, the present incumbent. Of these, Hostetter, Humphreys, Meriam, Simons and Bowen are dead; the rest, so far as is known, are living. Humphreys did not serve, but sold his claim on the office, after qualifying, to Mason M. Meriam for a shot-gun. Let it be remembered that in 1838, the date of Humphrey's election, that offices were not as valuable as at the present time. And it may be that the consideration for the transfer was adequate. At the organization of the county, the Clerk was Recorder and Auditor as well as Clerk, and no Recorder was chosen until 1842, when Peter Becher was elected, who died before the expiration of his term. Since that time, Henry H. Hitchcock, Henry Heltzel, John P. McWilliams, David S. Simons, James Greenman, John Baughman and James J. Lash have been elected. All the above except Becher, Heltzel and Simons are living; and all except Hitchcock live in Noble County. He resides in Goshen, in Elkhart County, and is cashier of the First National Bank at the latter place. The first person to collect the taxes was Henry Heltzel, who was elected in 1839, and was called tax collector. He had no office at the county seat, but went through the county and called on each tax-payer. John A. Colerick, was the first person who was elected Treasurer by that title. Since that time the following persons have been elected and served as County Treasurers: John McMeans, William E. Bowen, Daniel S. Love, James M. Denny, Lewis Iddings, Isaac Mendenhall, James J. Lash, John D. Black, Daniel Keehne and Julius Lang. All these except Heltzel, Colerick and Bowen, who are dead, reside in the county. The office of Auditor has been held by the following persons, to wit: Anson Greenman, William M. Clapp, William E. Love-ly, John Young, Horace W. Baldwin, Daniel S. Love, Eden H. Fisher. James C. Stewart and William S. Kiser. Of these, Greenman, Lovely, Bald-win and Clapp are dead, all having died in this county, and the rest are still living here.
The following is a list of Commissioners: Northern District—Abraham Pancake, Henry Hostetter, Sr., Jacob Wolf, John T. Brothwell, James Smalley, John Childs, J. W. Learned, Charles Law, Jacob Wolf (second election), William Imes, George W. Mummert. Southern District—Joel Bristol, Oliver L. Perry, John Fulk, Otis D. Allen, Rufus D. Keeney, H. C. Stanley, James W. Long, D. W. C. Denny (appointed), George Ott, James H. Gregory, J. C. Stewart, Samuel Broughton, John P. McWilliams. Middle District—Zenas Wright, Thomas H. Wilson, Vincent Lane, Elihu Wadsworth, Leonard Myers, F. A. Black, Samuel Ohlwine, Orlando Kimmell, F. A. Black (appointed), William Broughton, John A. Singrey — making in all thirty-three different persons who have held the office in the county. Of these, fourteen are dead, thirteen still reside in the county and three have left the county, to wit: Myers, Gregory and Long. Long is living in Whitley County. The residence of the others is unknown. The foregoing list contains the names of all the persons who have held the offices referred to. There were some other offices of minor importance that have not been referred to, such as Coroner, School Commissioner, etc., in which the public would feel little interest. There is, however, one other county office, which at an early date did not amount to much, but which has since become second in importance to none in the county, and that is what is now called " County Superintendent of Schools," but was formerly known as " School Examiner." The Examiner at the time the county was organized was appointed by the Circuit Judge, and this power remained with the Judge until the adoption of the present constitution in 1852. The first appointment was made in 1837, when Westley White, Justus C. Alvord and Nelson Prentiss were appointed School Examiners. The duties were not arduous and there was no compensation provided for. After that time, and up to 1852, various persons were appointed, but as the records of the court have been burned, it is not possible to get all the names, but the following other persons are remembered as having officiated in that office: Finley Stevens, G. W. Sheldon, Stephen Wildman, Samuel E. Alvord, T. P. Bicknell, D. W. C. Denny, Dr. 0. J. Vincent and probably others. One thing is certain, and that is, Mr. Prentiss remained one of the Examiners from 1837 until 1868 continuously, and after retiring from the position in 1868 was again elected in 1879 and in 1881, and now holds the office, having held it for thirty-three years, and, at the age of sixty-eight years, is discharging his duties in an acceptable manner. After the organization of the connty in 1836, and after the first election, Hon. Samuel C. Sample, of South Bend, was sent to organize the Circuit Court and start the machinery of justice. As all the records in the Clerk's office were destroyed by fire in January, 1859, it is impossible to gather any information from that source, and hence many things that would be interesting are necessarily omitted. Judge Sample informed the writer that this meeting was in September, 1836, and that a grand jury was impaneled, who met under a large oak tree and transacted some business. On the first grand jury ' were Seymour Moses, William Wilmeth, George Benner, George T. Ulmer, Isaac Tibbott, Abraham Pancake and William Caldwell, and on the petit jury were Asa Brown, Henry Hostetter, Andrew Humphreys, Richard Bray, John Knight and Gideon Schlotterback. There may be others known to the old settlers who were on one of these juries, but the fact has not been made known. The grand jury returned two bills of indictment, one against Hugh Allison for assault and battery and one against J-and Mc-for larceny. Allison being present, was placed on trial and a verdict of "not guilty" was returned, when Allison treated court, jury and attorneys. The other case was not tried at that term, nor was it tried until nearly a year after. David H. Colerick, of Fort Wayne, was employed by the defendants, and being gifted as an advocate and having the ability to shed the "briny tear" at the proper time, so wrought upon the feelings of the jury that a verdict of "not guilty" was returned. But let it be remembered that the charge was stealing hogs, and every one knew that a pioneer would not steal pork unless he was hungry. This was the onlv court presided over in this county by Judge Sample. He was flanked on the right hand and on the left by Hon. James Latta and Elisha Blackman, Associate Judges. Since that time the following persons have held the office of Circuit Judge: Charles W. Ewing, Judge Chase, John W. Wright, James W. Borden, E. A. McMahon, James L. Worden, E. R. Wilson, Robert Lowry, James I. Best and Hiram S. Tousley, and the Associate Judges have been Elisha Blackman, James Latta, Jacob Stage, Thomas H. Wilson, Edwin Randall and David S. Simons. The office of Associate Judge having been abolished, none have been elected for many years. The office of Probate Judge has been held by Henry R. Burnam. Horatio M. Slack and Harrison Wood, and our Judges of the Court of Common Pleas have been Stephen Wildman, James C. Bodley, Sanford J. Stoughton and William M. Clapp.
While upon the subject of the judiciary, it is proper to speak of the distinguished members of the bar who have been in former times, and are now, members of the bar in Noble County. Daniel E. Palmer, now residing in Angola, was the first practicing attorney who located in the county, and subsequently William M. Clapp, John W. Dawson, Horatio M. Slack and James L. Worden. Hon. Stephen Wildman located here soon after. Before any attorneys located in the county, the business was done by attorneys from La Grange, Allen and Elkhart Counties. John B. Howe, of La Grange, David H. Colerick, Henry Cooper, William H. Combs, Robert Breckenridge, L. P. Ferry and Hugh McCulloch, of Allen, and E. M. Chamberlain, Joseph L. Jernegan and Thomas G. Harris, of Elkhart, were the principal practitioners in the court of the county prior to the year 1842. Among the distinguished attorneys who have practiced in the courts since 1842 may be mentioned ex-Gov. Samuel Bigger, Judges John Morris and Robert Lowry, of Fort Wayne; Hon. W. A. Woods, of Goshen, now one of the Judges of the Supreme Court; Hon. James I. Best, of De Kalb County; Hon. John B. Niles, now deceased, formerly of La Porte; Hon. John H. Baker, Member of Congress for six years from this district, and his partner, Capt. J. A. S. Mitchell, and many others. The present bar of Noble County is composed of the following gentlemen: Fielding Prickett, Henry G. Zimmerman, Thomas M. Eells, James M. Denny, James S. Campbell, L. W. Welker, Thomas B. Felkner, Frank Prickett, John C. Swetc, Luke Wrigley and Nelson Prentiss, all of Albion; G. W. Best, D. C. Van Camp, Daniel W. Green, Frank P. Bothwell and Harry Reynolds, of Ligonier; and A. A. Chapin, Robert P. Ban;, Lucius E. Goodwin, Vincent C. Mains and Thomas L. Graves, of Kendallville. Among the early Judges who served in this county are to be found marked ability and the strictest integrity. Charles W. Ewing, the first Circuit Judge for this circuit, was a brilliant lawyer. He had much more than the usual mental endowments, and a thorough education, supplemented by extensive reading and study, had so developed his powers that he was a star of the first magnitude in his profession. He died comparatively young, and under circum-stances peculiarly painful, and by his own hands. What prompted the act is not known, but it is highly probable that under some severe mental strain his mind became alienated and he thus committed the act.
Judge Chase only served one or two terms, and was but little known in the county. John W. Wright, or, as he was familiarly called, "Jack," served several years, and was considered a good Judge. He was social and affable iu his intercourse with all, and yet when on the Bench he maintained the dignity of the place, and some of our courts of to-day would be improved by following his example. When among the boys, he was as much of a boy as any. At a session of the court, a blackleg bought a horse of " Charley Murray," and paid tor it in counterfeit coin. The word spread, and a squad was organized for pursuit. The Judge adjourned court, mounted his Indian pony, and joined in the chase, which lasted all night. The Elkhart River was crossed several times, but there were no bridges, and "Jack" was with the foremost. The counterfeiter was captured, his case given to the grand jury, and the Judge was ready to try the case. A man having imbibed too freely, and becoming boisterous, Jack ordered the Sheriff to stop the noise, but the offender would not desist "Take that man to jail," said the Judge. "There is no jail," replied the Sheriff. " Then," said the Judge, "take him away so fur that he will not disturb the court and tie him to a tree." The order was obeyed, and quiet was restored. Judge Wright, at the time he presided over our courts lived in Logansport, and at this time is engaged in some business connected with the Government at Washington. Judge Borden presided here for several years, and gave general satisfaction. He was a politician, and has written several articles, which evince a thorough study of the principles upon which our institutions are founded. He now resides in Fort Wayne, and, during most of the time he has been a resident of Northern Indiana, has held some official position. Judge McMahon, who succeeded Borden, was at the time a resident of Fort Wayne, and discharged his duties acceptably. He was the very soul of probity and honor, and the judicial ermine was not soiled in his hands. He was a good lawyer and an impartial Judge. If living, he is in Minnesota, whither he emigrated many years ago.
Of Judge James L. Worden little need be said. He was one of the early resident attorneys of Noble County, and is well-known to most of our citizens. From the time he first pitched his.tent here, until the present, his course has been steadily upward, and to-day he holds the position of the leader of the Supreme Court. His decisions are quoted wherever the principles of the common law prevail. He is quiet and unassuming in his manners, calm and deliberate in his judgment, and is generally correct in his conclusions.
E. R. Wilson, who succeeded Judge Worden, was a young man at the time of his election, residing at Bluffton. He was the reverse of Judge Worden in some respects; he was impulsive and quick to form his conclusions, and yet the fact that his decisions generally stood the test in the Supreme Court, is the best evidence that he was correct. He was a popular officer, and yet from his peculiar temperament, was liable to make warm friends or bitter enemies. He resides at present at Madison, in this State. Judge Lowry resides at Fort Wayne, and is at present Judge of the Superior Court. He commenced the practice of the law at Goshen at an early day, and has steadily progressed until he is now recognized as one of the best attorneys of the State. Judge Tousley is now, and has been since 1848, a resident of Albion, and is probably as well known as any one living here. He has been identified with the in-terests in the county. At the present time he is suffering from disease. James I. Best, of De Kalb County, was elected Judge of this circuit, and discharged the duties of the position in a manner at once creditable to himself and acceptable to the people. His business, however, required his attention at home, and he resigned the office. He was subsequently employed by the Lake Shore & Michigan Southern Railroad Company, as attorney for that road, but was selected as one of the Commissioners to assist the Judges of the Supreme Court, which position he now holds. All who have held the office of Associate Judges are dead, all having died in this county. They were all good men, and their lives and influence have had their effect upon the community. Harrison Wood is the last of the Probate Judges living. He resides at Ligonier, and is justly esteemed as a good citizen and an honest man. Judge Wildman is the last left in the county of the Judges of the Court of Common Pleas, Clapp and Bodley being dead, and Stoughton, if living, is probably in Kansas. It would be pleasing to take up and give a brief pen-portrait of each of the early attorneys who practiced here, but space forbids. For the present, a few reminiscenses of early days must suffice. We have before spoken of two indictments returned by the grand jury at the first court held in the county, one of which was disposed of; the other, for larceny, was continued, and a warrant issued for the defendants. The larceny charged was that of some hogs belonging to a Mr. Spangle. The defendants had been arrested before this time upon a warrant issued by Jacob Wolf, Esq., the first Justice of the Peace of the county, who discharged the prisoners, the evidence not being sufficient to sustain the charge, in the opinion of the Justice. Hence, the case was brought before the grand jury. At a subsequent term of the Noble Circuit Court, held at the house of Richard Stone, in Sparta Township, the case was tried before a jury, and David H. Colerick was employed by the defendants. Colerick, it is said, charged §25, which, in 1837, was considered a large fee. It is true that he had to travel forty miles on horseback to attend court, and the condition of the roads made it a two days' journey. It was said that Colerick gave some instructions to the one defendant, who was considered most guilty, as to his conduct pending the trial, which was about one year after the indictment was returned. During this time, no razor was permitted to be used on his face, and before the trial came on, J-had a most magnificent beard, giving him quite a patriarchal appearance. The case was called, the jury impaneled, and the evidence introduced, and the Prosecuting Attorney made his plea. Colerick made one of his best efforts; he was a good advocate, and if any man could enlist the sympathies of the jury, he could do it. Colerick presented the legal aspect of the case and claimed that, under the testimony, it was uncertain whether the offense, if any was committed, was in Noble or Kosciusko County, Having disposed of the legal question, "Uncle Dave" went in on sympathy. He drew a graphic picture of the anguish of the families of the prisoners, at the mere suspicion of the crime, and pointing to J-, who sat there the picture of injured innocence, he said: " Gentlemen of the jury, look at that hon-est old Dunker who sits before you—honesty written on every line of his face— and then say if you can that he is guilty of hog stealing." Tears flowed freely from Colerick's eves, the jury were affected, and even J____ himself gave evidence that he began to think that he was innocent, and wiped his weeping eyes on the skirt of his buck-skin hunting shirt. The jury returned a verdict of "not guilty" and the defendants were happy. It is said that the case stood as follows: Spangle lost his hogs, found where they had been killed and skinned, followed the track of a sled to the cabins of the defendants, and under the puncheon floor found skinned pork, and upon these slight circumstances accused the defendants of the larceny of his hogs. But those days are past, and we now require stronger proof before making such grave charges. Henry Cooper, also of Fort Wayne, was probably one of the best lawyers who came to this county. His books were his idols, and he came as near mastering the elementary works as any one could, and yet he never boasted of his knowledge. A young man, who had just commenced the study, once asked Mr. Cooper how long it would require for him to master the law. UI do not know," said Mr. Cooper; "I have been hard at work upon it for about fifty years, and just begin to see how little I know about it." A character in the early days of the county was George Powers, or, as he was generally called, " Old Powers." He was a pettifogger of the most offensive type, and knew little about law, but was quite a talker. Cooper thoroughly despised anything like quackery, and hence had no respect for Powers. Cooper was not a ready or fluent speaker, but was a strong logician. Meeting Powers in the hall of the court house at Augusta, he was addressed by Powers in this language: "Cooper, if I had your head, or you had my tongue, what a man would be the result." Cooper replied, " Powers, if you had my head you would know enough to keep your abusive tongue silent." Cooper was at one time a partner of the Hon. Reverdy Johnson, and might have stood at the head of the legal profession, but he yielded to the seduction of strong drink, and died a sad wreck of his former self. He was kind-hearted, and, in his last days, did not lack friends. Samuel Bigger, whose name has been heretofore mentioned, died in Fort Wayne in 1847. In 1840, he was the candidate on the Whig ticket for Governor, and his competitor was Gen. Tilghman A. Howard. Both were gentlemen, and together they canvassed the State, and each treated the other with the greatest courtesy. When they visited Noble County, they spoke at the house of Adam Engle, on Perry's Prairie, and stayed there overnight. In the evening, Bigger discovered a fiddle, and, taking hold of it, drew forth some fine music, which highly pleased Mr. Engle. Bigger was elected, and, after serving the State during his term, located at Fort Wayne and practiced in the courts of Noble County. At a term held at Port Mitchell, in 1845 or 1846, as the Gov-ernor was passing along, he met Engle, whom he recognized, and, ap-proaching him, extended his hand, saying, "How do you do, my old friend ?" Engle, who was quite old, did not recognize him, and replied, " who be you? I don't know you." "My name is Bigger," was the reply. "Bigger, Bigger ; I don't know you," continued Engle. Bigger replied, " I stayed at your house in 1840, when I was a candidate for Governor. Do you not remember me?" A sudden light seemed to break in, and, grasping the outstretched hand, Engle said, "Oh, yes ; I remember. You are that fiddler." The joke was too good for Bigger to keep, and so he told the story. One more particular mention must close these reminiscenses of the legal profession. E. M. Chamberlain, of Elkhart County, was a regular attendant at our courts at an early day. He was a man of strong intellectual powers, and as stern and inflexible in his devotion to the interests of his clients as it was possible for any-one to be. He respected true merit, but dishonest practices were his abhorrence, and woe to the man who should attempt, by bribes or threats, to lead him from the path of rectitude. In person, he was tall and commanding; his countenance was stern, and reminded one of that old hero, Andrew Jackson. In the management of his cases, his comprehensive mind at once grasped the strong points, and to these he clung, and cunning or sophistry could not drive him from his position. All who were present at the time will remember his last appearance here. It was after the burning of the court house at Albion, and the court was held in the Lutheran Church. An old man had fallen into the hands of a set of sharpers, who had succeeded in swindling him out of over $10,000. Chamberlain was employed to unearth the dark transaction. He spent much time in the preparation of the case, and had obtained a full history of the facts, which he had embodied in complaint. Two of the defendants were present when he commenced the presentation of the case to the court.
As he proceeded to expose the transaction, and as link after link of the chain was unfolded, and as Chamberlain, warming with his subject and aware of the righteousness of his cause, hurled against them his charges, couched in such words as only he could string together, though all felt that they deserved exposure and punishment, yet all felt pity for the trembling culprits who were his victims. As if aware of the fact that he had them securely in his grasp, like the cat who sports with her prey, he would for a time relax his coils, giving them a short respite, then again tightening his hold, until at last he broke forth in a torrent of invective, at once so withering and over-whelming, that one of the defendants, unable to endure the mental torture, left the church and did not return until Chamberlain had closed. He was at one time a member of Congress from this district, was for many years Judge of the Circuit in which he resided, and held many offices of trust, and no official corruption was ever laid to his charge. To his family he was kind and indulgent, and the tenderness and affection of woman were as much his characteristics at home as was sternness and inflexibility in the discharge of his public duties. He died at his home in Goshen in the spring of 1861.
It is not certain who was the first physician who settled in the county. This distinction lies between Dr. Victor M. Cole, who located at Wolf Lake, and Dr. Dudley C. Waller, who came to Rochester about the same time. Both came in 1837, but it is uncertain which was first in the county. They were both considered good doctors, were both men of good hearts, and when called to minister to the suffering never asked whether they were sure of their pay. In fact, much of the service rendered by them was never paid for, and both died poor many years ago. Waller left the county in 1839, and returned to his former hom3 in Vermont, where he died soon after. Cole is buried at Augusta, and it is uncertain whether the place can be identified. Dr. W. H. Nimmon was also one of the early physicians, having settled at Rochester in the latter part of 1839. He died in 1879, at Wawaka. Before any physicians settled here, Dr. Johnston Latta, of Goshen, practiced in the county, and Dr. S. B. Kyler, of Benton, and Dr. E. W. H. Ellis, of Goshen, were frequently called.
Dr. John H. G. Shoe lived at the Indian village, and though some said he was net much of a doctor, yet it must be admitted that he was a good singer, and that he was careful not to give medicines that would injure any one, as he never kept any on hand.
Jacob Wolf, Esq., of Perry Township, who settled here in 1831, says that the first sermon preached in the county was in the summer of 1832, and that it was preached on Perry's Prairie, by a Presbyterian minister from South Bend, but is unable to give his name. Rev. Robinson, of the M. E. Church, and Rev. Plumstead and Christopher Cory, Presbyterians, preached here at a very early day, and a Presbyterian Church was organized as early as 1836 on the Haw Patch, but whether it was in Noble or La Grange is not settled. Members of the church lived in both counties, and services were held at the house of William McConnell, in La Grange, and also at Isaac Cavin's and Seymour Moses', in Noble. In 1837, Mr. Cavin and Mr. Moses built a log cabin near the place where the Salem Chapel now stands, which served the double purpose of a church and schoolhouse. This was the first building in the county used for these purposes aside from private houses. In this house, humble though it was, the fathers and mothers met to worship God, and with sincere hearts gave devout thanks that they had even such a temple. Here Seymour Moses taught a school. From this small beginning, what results are seen! From the log cabin, erected at a cost of only the labor of a few pious settlers, we have now within the limits of the county fifty-four churches, erected at a cost of over $200,000. If genuine piety and religion have advanced in proportion, what a power for good would now go out from Noble County !
The first marriage in the county was that of Lewis Murphy to a sister of Isaac Tibbott. The bride was one of the children brought here by Joel Bristol in 1827, and at the time Noble County was attached to Allen, and the marriage license was procured at Fort Wayne- The next was that of Gideon Schlotterback to Miss Mary Engle, in 1833, when this county was called La Grange. After the organization of Noble County, the first marriage was that of Jacob Baker, who died last spring. Schlotterback is still living, and is hale and hearty. Murphy left the county a long time ago, and whether living or dead is not known to the writer.
There has been some conflict of opinion as to who was the first white child born within the limits of Noble County, but it seems to be settled now that it was a son of Henry Miller. Miller came to the county in November, 1831, and on the 31st of December of that year his wife gave birth to a son, who lived but a few days or weeks, this being, so far as is known, the first birth as well as the first death of a white person in the county. The father died three years ago; the mother is still living. On the 8th day of August, 1832, Simon Hostetter, son of John and Mahala Hostetter, was born on the Haw Patch, and he is still living, being the first white child born in the county that lived to maturity.
The first post office in the county was established in 1833, and, at the suggestion of Jacob Wolf, was named " Good Hope." Henry Miller was the first Postmaster. The mail was carried from Fort Wayne to Niles once in two weeks. John G. Hall carried the "bag " on a spotted ox or some other kind of masculine bovine. The receipts of the office were from $1.25 to $1.50 per quarter, hence there was not much strife for the place. Miller became tired of handling the mails and resigned, and Jacob Shobe became Postmaster, and the office was kept at the old Shobe farm in the southwest part of Perry Township. Subsequently the office was removed to Stone's Tavern, and thence to Ligonier, and the name changed from Good Hope to Ligonier.
The first house for a residence was built by Joel Bristol in Noble Township, but there was a brick house erected by the Government on Section 30 in Sparta, the exact date of which is not certain, but was some time between 1816 and 1821. A fuller account of this house will appear in the history of Sparta. The first hewed log house was built by Jacob Shobe in 1833, and the first brick residence was built by Jacob Wolf.
Source: Counties of Whitley and Noble, Indiana : historical and biographical. Chicago: F.A. Battey & Co., 1882.