I grew up in the small town of Centerville in East Central Indiana. It is a historic town in many ways with the old National Road coming through and several very old buildings still standing and in use. An interurban railway line once came through the heart of town as did the Pennsylvania Railroad. Shown in the photo is what likely used to be a horse/wagon barn. It is next to an alley behind a house in the 100 block of West Main Street. According to the Wayne County GIS, the barn and house were both built in 1898. The house was known as the Walter Commons house, according to the Indiana Landmarks inventory of historic structures in Wayne County. It is interesting to note there are at least two other fairly similar barns still standing and they are both next to an alley just a block away. I’m guessing these barns were built next to an alley due to wanting access to the property. It would have been easier to park the horse and wagon (or buggy) by coming around the alley. The barn would have also been spaced away from the house and could be easily seen from a window. There was probably also a hay loft or some area to store feed for the horse. Another barn was located next door to a house I once lived in, but it was torn down in the 1980s.
A couple of years ago I visited the Tippecanoe Battlefield Museum near Lafayette, Indiana. I wasn’t sure what to expect, but I was more than pleasantly surprised. There is much to see and do at the museum, including visiting the site of the 1811 Battle of Tippecanoe between U.S. military forces led by Gov. William Henry Harrison and Tecumseh of the Native American Confederacy. On the battlefield site is the marker shown in this week’s photo marking the spot where Major Joseph Daviess was killed during the battle. Apparently he was a brave man because he led a small detachment of soldiers against the heaviest fire of the enemy and was killed in the process. He was born in Virginia and later served as a lawyer in Kentucky. He volunteered for the militia in Indiana and found himself in the Battle of Tippecanoe. He was placed in command of two dragoons and all of the cavalry in the army. Daviess had served in a military campaign in 1793 against the Native Americans. The battlefield site is well marked and preserved and I would highly recommend visiting the museum. There is much to learn here about a slice of Indiana’s history.
This week’s post is about the Crow Cemetery, also known as Lake Bethel Cemetery, in Turkey Creek Township, Kosciusko County. It is at the intersection of county roads 1100 North and 950 East near Lake Wawasee. Nathaniel Crow and his wife, Eliza, donated the land for the cemetery in September 1860. They had purchased several acres of land from the Wabash & Erie Canal, which was never built in the area, and also from individuals. The cemetery is located next to what used to be the Lake Bethel Church of God. It has not been standing for many years and only field stone foundation remnants are left. There was also a school across the road from the cemetery and church. It also is no longer standing. Nathaniel and Eliza are buried in the cemetery. There are many old grave markers in this cemetery, some of which are barely legible due to the many years of varying weather conditions taking their toll. Many others in the Crow family are buried here and the family still has a presence in the Lake Wawasee area.
The decade of the 1920s saw many larger schools being built as the old one-room schools were closing down. Shown in this week’s post is the former Salamonie Township High School, also known as Warren High School, in Warren in Huntington County. I was told by the library in Huntington the school was built in 1925 originally. The architecture is striking and typical of that era. The building remained a high school until 1966 when consolidation took place and students were sent to what was then Huntington County Community High School, now known as Huntington North High School. The 1960s saw many school consolidations take place and several old high schools were closed. The building remained a school after 1966 and was known as Warren Elementary School. It later closed in the fall of 1982. A decision had to be made on what to do with the old school building and it was decided to use it as a community center, which it is still today. I believe there is also a small history museum located inside the building.
I realize some people are not particularly fond of cemeteries for obvious reasons, but they do have a lot of local history such as seeing the grave markers of early settlers in the area. Shown in this week’s photo is the Mock Cemetery in Tippecanoe Township near North Webster in Kosciusko County. As you can see in the photo there is one of the blue Department of Natural Resources historic burial site signs at the cemetery. It indicates the cemetery was established in 1832. But that could just mean when the land was deeded over or the year the cemetery was incorporated. I was told by the township trustee there is no documentation showing the cemetery was established in 1832 or apparently the documentation can’t be found. The earliest known burial is Dec. 1, 1840, with the name of Mock who died before their first birthday. There may be earlier burials but the markers may have been destroyed or fell apart. Or they could have been unmarked graves which was common in the early years when some families could not afford a grave marker. John Mock Sr. originally donated the land for the cemetery and the church next to it. The original portion of the cemetery is located along County Road 850 East where there is a retaining wall. There is a stipulation saying if the church ever ceases to be a church the land would revert back to the Mock family. The church there now is not the original church. That building collapsed in 1985 after a windstorm came through.
I was able to visit the Wilbur Wright birthplace museum in Henry County, Indiana, with a friend. Wilbur Wright, of course one of the famous Wright brothers who are etched in aviation history, was born on this site. His family purchased 5 acres and lived here for three years. As I noted in a post a while back, there is much to see at this museum. You can see a replica of one of the early planes the Wright brothers built and there is much information about this to be found. There are also some other interesting things to see, such as the house Wilbur was born in or I should say a replica of that house. The original house was demolished in 1954 and a new one built in the 1970s. What is shown in the photo is a small barn. Judging by the size of it, I would say it was used to store hay and grain. Possibly it was used as a stable too. The museum is actually located in rural Henry County, though it has a Hagerstown (Wayne County) address. It is literally out in the middle of farmland and off the beaten path. There is also a nice gift shop on the property with some interesting historical books that can be purchased. It’s worth stopping in to see this if you are in the area.
Most of the time when I take the photos I post here, I have planned and intended ahead of time to get that specific photo. Once in a while, though, I take random photos such as this week’s post. What is shown here is the former Warren Municipal Electric and Water plant in Huntington County. It is near the Salamonie River on Nancy Street. According to a newspaper clipping provided to me by the Huntington City-County Public Library, it was built in the late 1890s. Originally the power was provided by a steam engine to propel the generator which furnished electric power and the water supply for the town’s residents. Diesel engines replaced the steam engine in about 1916 and were in use until 1952. That same year the town of Warren became a wholesale customer of Indiana and Michigan Electric Company. The building was sold by the town to a private owner in 1978. I believe it is still privately owned, though I don’t know what it is used for presently. When I saw the building, I guessed it is of historical significance and apparently I was correct.
Some counties have what are known as “ghost” communities. These communities were typically small and unincorporated and memories of them are often fading. In Kosciusko County there was a small community known as Monoquet located near where State Road 15 now crosses the Tippecanoe River on the north side of Warsaw. It was named after a Native American chief and a village of Native Americans was located along the river. Monoquet had a few businesses, a post office for a few years and actually a newspaper too. It was a platted community of lots and a few streets. But today very little remains of the plat and most of it has been vacated through the years. There is still a Monoquet Road coming off State Road 15 and there is still a Monoquet Cemetery on the other side of the state road. My photo was taken from the cemetery facing to the south where the road intersects State Road 15. I posted something about the cemetery several weeks ago. I was also told there used to be a visible reminder of where the pioneer settlers forded the river. I’m not sure if this can still be seen to be honest. River banks erode and change with time. But for sure there was such a community as Monoquet in Kosciusko County as the history books show.
Admittedly this week’s photo is not of the best quality, but I took it when a passenger in my brother’s truck. This building is located on State Highway 224 between Huntington and Markle in Huntington County. It was originally a one-room schoolhouse known as Shaffer School in Union Township. The school operated from 1868 to 1923 but it was originally a wood structure. I’m not sure when the brick school was built but I would believe it is safe to say it was before 1900. Many brick schoolhouses were built beginning in the 1870s. Apparently there were 101 one-room schools in Huntington County at one time. A law was passed in Indiana saying a school had to close if it had fewer than 15 students. Then graded schools started to be created and centralized high schools and middle schools began to be built. By the 1930s, one-room schools were essentially gone. I’m not sure what this building is used for now. I’ve seen some former one-room schools converted into houses and others used as storage buildings. There is also some history with Highway 224 that I will eventually explore. Information for this week’s post was provided by the Huntington City-Township Public Library.
There is an interesting history associated with a house located on Emeline Street in Milford, just east of the railroad tracks. Neff Funeral Home was once operated in the house by John Russell Neff and his wife, Iva. I wasn’t able to find out the dates the funeral home operated but John Neff lived from 1904 to 1949, so that would narrow the time frame when the funeral home was in business. It also appears the house was originally built as a house and later converted to a funeral home. The 1893 Sanborn fire insurance map shows a house at this location. Also, the field stone foundation in the basement is also another indicator it was built before 1900. A four foot wide front door is also more evidence a funeral home existed here. The wide door would have been used to bring in caskets for viewing. One of the rooms on the first floor appears to have been the viewing room because it is near the main entrance and has a big bay window. I was able to take a tour of this property and it does have some interesting history, such as a carriage shed or stable once being located on the property with part of the foundation remaining. Eventually this house will be demolished if it hasn’t been already because it would cost too much to make the repairs necessary to make it worth living in again.