County Contes

Posted on March 7th, 2017

What is a conte?

Answer: a tale or short story, esp. of adventure.
The Northern Indianian, March 31, 1870

A Surprise
Our old friend Sam Blain, who resides in Pierceton, and who has been married about thirteen years, but never had any children, was greatly surprised the other morning on finding a basket at his door containing a little girl, which had been left from appearances but and hour or two before its discovery.
In the basket was the following note: “Mr. and Mrs. Blain, -Please take this child and raise it as your own, and you will never be troubled for it. Please don’t take it to the poor house. Born March the 18th, 1870. Call it what you please.”
Mr. Blain intends adopting the child as his own, and the parents, whoever they may be, can rest assured that it will be well taken care of. Some of Blain’s neighbors are disposed to joke him over the affair, but he takes that matter in good part, as he should.

The Northern Indianian, April 30, 1874
Reminiscences of the Early Settlement of Scott Township

By RedBeard
To begin with, I will inform your readers that Scott Township is in Kosciusko County, situated in the northwest corner of said county; and while the early settlers of other townships in the county have much to say about hard times, starvation, etc., they only relate the experience of all the early pioneers of this county. Scott Township, when first settled contained a large amount of that valuable timber, said to always fill the eye of a Dutchman, which tells the secret of the first settlers of this township being of that respectable persuasion of people. The strength of the soil has long since been tested, by the large amount of produce that is now annually taken to the surrounding markets.

The first settlements in the township were made in an early day in the history of the country. A portion of the range of land lying between the two branches forming the head waters of the Yellow River, was located and settled by Carper Hepler, David C. Hepler, and Big and Little Jake Hepler, (as they were called to designate them,) in the year 1838. When these men, with their families, settled on their lands, they knew of only one cabin house within fifteen or eighteen miles of them, and that was in the vicinity of where Bremen, in Marshall County, now stands. They knew of no mill nearer to them than South Bend, and it took them from three to four days with their ox teams, to go and return. At one time, after putting their women and children together in one house, and hitching their ox teams together, they were gone one week from home, having been compelled to go to Niles, Michigan, before they could get any grinding done.

After clearing a few acres, and putting out a crop of wheat, deer and other animals would commit such depredations on it, that they could not save enough of the crop to pay them for their labor. Raccoons and blackbirds would destroy one-half or more of their corn crop, and their labor would be almost entirely lost. Mr. David C. Hepler informed the writer that the blackbirds were so numerous that when they made their appearance, they would come in such dense clouds as to almost obscure the sun. After these iron-hearted pioneers had been here about two years, without knowing that there was any white families within fifty miles of them on the east, they went a mile or two east to gather cranberries. On arriving at the cranberry marsh, they found several persons there who had come for the same purpose. They soon formed their acquaintances, and to their great joy learned that they had some neighbors living only ten miles east of them, and that the village of Milford was only ten miles east, and that there were some Yankees living somewhere on the prairie not far from Milford. At the same time they learned that there was a family by the name of Mckibben, and another by Teeple, living somewhere between them and that village.

All the above families had come into the township about the same time. A man by the name of Parker located south of David Hepler’s place, and south of the south branch of Yellow River, about the same date or shortly after. In a few years more, Jas. Murray, George Mull, and others, settled in the township and neighbors became for plenty. Wild game was abundant, and Yellow river was full of the best of fish. Wolves were annoying and troublesome, too much so to admit the keeping of sheep. Quite a number of the Pottawatamies were yet prowling through the tick woods, and at times were somewhat insolent, and the white children did not venture far from home. When Sunday morning would come, the children would keep so near their mothers that she did not have to catch them with dogs to was and dress them.
An incident is related by some of the old settlers, which exhibits a degree of superstition among the Pottawatamies. An altercation took place between the Indians and white settlers, on an island in the Yellow river marsh, just north of what is now called Millwood. In order to intimidate the Indians, the whites cut the profile of an Indian on a tree in the island: then standing a few paces from the tree, took deliberate aim at the profile, and lodged a number of bullets in the head and heart. This so intimidated the Indians, that they left, and never after were troublesome to the early settlers. The township now began to fill up with an industrious people. Rich farms soon opened in all directions, and now we have peace and plenty.

The Northern Indianian, August 13, 1858

School Pic-Nic
The Free School Pic Nic, held at Thralls’s Grove near Warsaw on Tuesday last was a grand affair. Not less than four thousand people were in attendance. In fact our town was full from; “Early morn till dewy eve.”

Two trains from the East came in at about ten o’clock bringing about two thousand five hundred people from Fort Wayne and Columbia City. The procession marched to the Grove where they were entertained by speeches, songs and martial music, adjourning for a short time for dinner. Everything passed off and in the very best of order. The Fort Wayne people appeared well pleased with their visit. About four o’clock the immense crowd dispersed to their homes. Altogether it was a gala day, and will long be remembered by those in attendance.

The Northern Indianian, October 4, 1860

The Rally at Pierceton
On Saturday last, the Republicans of Washington Township had a Pole-raising, speeches , and a good time generally. The pole raised is a magnificent ash, erect as the leader of the party it represents, and standing 173 feet above ground. We have seen a large number of poles raised, but none erected with as much ease, and in so short a time as this one – it being precisely ten minuted from the time it was raised from the ground until the names of LINCOLN & HAMLIN, with which the steamer was inscribed, floated 173 feet in the air. Mr. Augustus Chapin superintended the raising of the pole, and the short time in which it was erected is evidence enough that he understands the business.

After the pole was raised, and a beautiful flag was run up, Dr. Edward, of Springfield, entertained the audience for about two hours in a masterly and convincing speech, producing he documents to prove every assertion he made. His speech was listened to with much attention, and frequently interrupted with bursts of applause.
After he was through, the audience called out Dr. Carpenter, who responded in a short, but neat speech, particularly applicable to the time and place.

We noticed among the crowd those two old wheel-horses of Republicanism, Abe K. Leedy, and Judge Humphries, whom we remember, in 1856, were the first to enter into and perfect an organization in that township of what is now the most powerful party in America.

Taken altogether, the meeting at Pierceton was a fine affair, and we believe that with a proper effort and a full vote the Republican State and County ticket in that township can be carried by 100 majority! It is important that every Republican vote in the county be cast for both the State and County ticket.

The Northern Indianian, January 3, 1861

A “Live” New Years Gift
On New Years’ Day, Mrs. Shannon, an Irish lady of Warsaw presented her husband with three children. At last account all are doing well. That is a New Year’s gift worth bragging about – and we don’t think there is anyone in this vicinity that can beat it. Extra help is on hand to care for the triplets.

The Northern Indianian, December 24, 1874

An Ice Affair
We are told that the lake was literally covered with skaters on the Sabbath last. While we do not feel that we are the proper person to read a lecture on such a violation of the Sabbath, we do feel that it is our province, as a journalist, and in the interest of good morals, to publicly condemn such a proceeding. We know that the argument is used that there is no more harm in enjoying one’s self in this way on the Sabbath, than there is in hitching up a team for the purpose of taking a pleasure ride on the same day, or in any other method to which people resort in order, as many of them claim, to kill time on the “day of rest.” Such an exhibition as last Sunday, cannot be condemned too severely, and we hope that we shall have no occasion again to refer to such a breach of good morals.

the Northern Indianian, October 25, 1877.

A Park – Let Us Have A Park
While talking of improvements to our city, may I suggest one which seems to me just the thing to improve it more than anything else? Besides the improvement to the area, it would be a source of enjoyment to all of our citizens, and this would be the creation of a park in that portion of marsh lying close to Center lake and between the Leesburg road on the east and Buffalo street on the west.

It seems unlikely that the land will ever be fit of building purposes, and it certainly is nothing but an unsightly, disease-breading place now, and ought to be abated in some way. What is needed is an outdoor resort, which can be reached by all; rich and poor, pedestrians as well as those who ride. It is something which every town of any pretensions should possess. The location, being so central, would not only adorn and increase the value of every home within the corporation, but it would be an attraction and a delight to every stranger. What more desirable or appropriate location can be found for a park than the banks of so beautiful a lake as ours? And what more desirable and appropriate addition can be made to the lake than adorning its banks with a well-arranged park?

Of course, this can not all be done in a year, or five years; but, with a little here and there added each year, much may be accomplished in those years, especially if the lake is lowered as is now contemplated. The park will be something which, not only the favored few can enjoy, but every citizen. So please let us have the park now and the boulevard by-and-by.