Were any adult citizen of White County asked to give the names of the towns platted and located, within the boundaries of the county he would name over the towns with which he is familiar and say "that is all." His credulity would be overtaxed if told there was not a person living who could from memory give the names or location of all the towns that exist or have existed in this county. The modern "boomer" has his prototype in our first settler who laid out towns which he confidently expected to immortalize his name and enrich his purse.
As appropriate to this history we subjoin a list of a few of these town plats with a brief account of their histories.
New Hartford—The oldest of these towns is New Hartford, which was laid out in due form by Abel Line on January 20, 1837, about two and one-half miles east of Monon. This was quite a pretentious village, for in addition to its seventy lots it had a public square, which was forever dedicated to the public. This was doubtless intended to answer the purpose of the Roman Forum, but of this we have not so much as a tradition.
Wyoming is next in chronological order and was laid out on the west bank of the Tippecanoe River one-half mile south of the Pulaski County line, on February 24, 1837, by Crystal D. W. Scott, a New Light minister, many of whose descendants still reside in White County. It contained sixty-four lots and was described as "handsomely situated on the bank of the Tippecanoe river, where the Rochester and Monticello road crosses said river." It was further said to be surrounded by a rich agricultural country and was no doubt a good place in which to live. But one lot in this town was ever sold by Mr. Scott.
New Lancaster—On October 13, 1837, David Lambert laid out a town called New Lancaster, about a half mile south of Lowe's bridge, on the west bank of the Tippecanoe River. It is now and doubtless was at that time a beautiful location. The town consisted of eight blocks divided into sixty-two lots, but it was stillborn. Mr. Lambert's location availed him nothing, for not a single lot in New Lancaster was ever transferred by its founder.
Montgomery—Three days later, on October 16, 1837, the Town of Montgomery was laid out on the east bank of the Tippecanoe River (no more definite description is given) by Joseph Smith, Benjamin Grant and William G. Shelley. This was doubtless a rival of New Lancaster, which was born and died three days prior, but its sixty-four lots and a public square 276 feet on each side shared the fate of its older rival, and Montgomery does not live even in memory.
Castleton—On February 28, 1838, one Cyrus B. Garlinghouse became firmly convinced that a sand dune about a mile east of the present Town of Idaville would some day become a great city. Possessed with this idea he laid out a town of forty-eight lots and called it Castleton. This was twenty-two years before the railroad was built, and all of the above named towns were laid out before the Indians were taken to the far west.
Fayette—On March 18, 1856, Harris Shaw laid out a town about midway between Wolcott and Seafield and gave it the name of Fayette. Four years later the railroad passed through this embryo metropolis, and tradition has it that one day a flat car stopped, loaded the town and removed it to Wolcott, leaving its sixty-four lots without an inhabitant.
Clermont—Princeton Township was well represented in the "town boom" business, and on April 2, 1860, about four months after the opening of the railroad, Clermont was laid out by Christopher Hardy about one-half mile east of Wolcott and on the north side of the railroad. Mr. Hardy was quite modest and platted but twenty-four lots, but his little town of Clermont was swallowed up by the Town of Wolcott.
Kiousville—~On the 25th day of November, 1856, John Kious platted the town of Kiousville located about one mile north of Brookston. It included a part of four sections and comprised about 200 lots, being the largest number of lots contained in any town at its birth. But its size did not avail, and it went the way of all the earth. Hic jacet.
These are not deserted villages. They simply failed to materialize, and the hopes of their founders were blasted from causes over which they had no control. It is interesting to notice that the earliest of these towns were all laid out on a natural water course, for at that time it was not expected the railroads would so soon penetrate so far to the westward. Of the expectations of their founders we know nothing but can readily surmise that they had in view the development of the water power on the advent of the railroad but not one of these towns was benefited by either.
The above list includes only towns actually platted and appearing of record. Besides these were a number of postoffices, some of which were abandoned far back in the past and others only since the advent of free rural delivery. Among them were Flowerville, Badger, Dern, Forney, Rankin and others.Return To The Main Index Page