Kosciusko County has a rich cultural history with interesting people who have passed through the county or lived here. For this reason, we would like to present a blog on a variety of topics, persons and historical events. These articles will start monthly and may become weekly as interest grows.
To kickstart the month of May we present “This Day in History” trivia and facts. These were gathered from the Northern Indianian and the Warsaw Daily Times newspapers. They were then printed in previous Thaddeus issues and noted again for this blog. They are organized by the month and day rather than by year.
May 1, 1862 – Fresh whitefish and trout are available in Warsaw at Stephen “Sinner” Philpot’s market. The fish are packed in ice and come directly from the fishermen.
May 2, 1928 – Temperatures in Kosciusko County hit 84, the warmest May 2 since 1913, when the thermometer reached 87. A day later, the afternoon high tops out at 92, a new record for May 3.
May 3, 1888 – The newspaper’s editor says that in the county’s early days, horse racing was “quite common.” He says there was a race track a few miles west of Warsaw, another on Warsaw’s east side and one at North Webster. He also says that the prairies near Leesburg were used as race tracks because they had few trees to interfere with the speeding horses.
May 4, 1944 – Over 600 people attend a fish fry at the armory in Warsaw sponsored by the Warsaw-Winona Conservation Club. The fish – perch from Lake Michigan – are prepared by the Jonah club of Akron. President of the conservation club is Robert Gast, secretary is Herb Dye, treasurer is G.R. “Sport” Essig.
May 5, 1870 – The potato bug has returned. It is eating up young potato plants in gardens all around the county. Also, Many bullhead catfish are being caught in local lakes. “They are ugly looking fish, but good eating,” the Indianian proclaims.
May 6, 1930 – Hundreds of Kosciusko County residents head for the lakes as the thermometer climbs to 83. But many of them are “inconvenienced” by a detour for Indiana 15 North of Warsaw. The detour takes motorists over McElroy Hill, a large hill northwest of the city.
May 7, 1904 – Grading is now going forward at Winona preparatory to the construction of the miniature steam railroad which will be used as a passenger and baggage line in the summer. The system will be about a mile and a quarter in length and will extend from the entrance building to Kosciusko Lodge. The line will follow the lake shore to a point south of the bathhouses and then follow the lagoon for a short time thence across the stream and Cherry creek.
May 8, 1889 – Warsaw is being overrun by tramps who ride in on railroad cars. They have tried to break into several homes and businesses, and recently some of them got into a fight with a group of railroad workers. “Let an ordinance be passed compelling [the tramps] to work on the streets, and if it is rigidly enforced, Warsaw will be skipped by them within a month,” the newspaper declares.
May 9, 1878 – We notice a number of sailboats on Center Lake last Sunday. This beautiful sheet of water looks most picturesque studded here and there with a sailboat gliding across its silvery, placid, crystal waters.
May 10, 1877 – The course of the Tippecanoe River will be changed by [digging] a cutoff near the outlet of Center Lake. It is thought that this will lower the water of the lake and reclaim a very large amount of land that is now subject to overflows. – land that has grown very valuable. (Note: this area of Warsaw is now occupied by Central Park and the Zimmer headquarters building.)
May 11, 1862 – Members of the Kosciusko Guards present their captain, Reuben Williams, with a sword and belt honoring him for leading them during their one-year enlistment in the Civil War. Williams says he will “prize it highly.” The Guards were part of the 12th Indiana regiment; many will re-enlist with the unit, and will serve with it for the rest of the war. Those who sign up receive $13 pay a month, a $42 clothing allowance and will be given 62 acres of land.
May 12, 1903 – Thirty-five men at the Sandusky Portland Cement factory in Syracuse go on strike for better pay. They now receive $1.25 a day; they want $1.50 per day. The company employs a total of 350 men.
May 13, 1930 – Warsaw attorney Morrison Rockhill is named chairman of the Republican Committee of Kosciusko County. Mary Bennett is vice chairman.
May 14, 1912 – Georgia Jay of Chicago, formerly of Sioux City, Iowa, sues Winona song leader Homer Rhodeheaver for breach of promise for failing to marry her. She seeks $50,000. Miss Jay contends that she and Rhodeheaver became engaged while he was involved in a 10-week revival at Sioux City in 1909, but he did not follow through on his proposal. She moved to Chicago to be closer to him and is currently working as a stenographer at a law office there.
May 15, 1888 – The Eagle Lake (Winona) Hotel opens for the season. There is a dinner followed by an all-night dance. The cost of the dinner is $1 per couple; music for the dance is provided by the South Bend Orchestra. There is dancing until 5 o’clock in the morning.
May 16, 1928 – Bandits blow up the safe at the North Webster post office and make off with $325 in stamps and post office receipts. The post office is located in the Garber and Phelps store; bandits also rob the store of $175 in merchandise.
May 17, 1940 – The Warsaw High School band, known as the “Marching 73” earns a second place ranking at a national band contest at Battle Creek, Michigan. Band member Margaret Bartol wins third place in the alto clarinet phase of the contest.
May 18, 1945 – The Chinworth furniture and home furnishings store on Buffalo Street in Warsaw is heavily damaged by fire. The flames break out in the middle of the afternoon; hundreds of people congregate on the sidewalk to watch firemen battle the blaze.
May 19, 1905 – The General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church opens at Winona Lake with 650 delegates. Among the speakers are William Jennings Bryan, a two-time candidate for president, and [John Marshall] Harlan, a member of the U.S. Supreme Court. The convention will run for eight days.
May 20, 1915 – Thirty-one seniors graduate from the Winona College of Agriculture at Winona Lake. The graduates are from 12 different states. Among the graduates are Ed Anderick, H. Hersel Leiter, George McClellan Jr. and Arden Rupe, all of Warsaw; John Hammond and Erwin Taylor of Winona Lake, and Thomas Parker of Leesburg.
May 21, 1939 – Former U.S. President Herbert Hoover is the featured speaker at a meeting at the Hotel Hays of Republican newspaper editors in Indiana. (Hotel Hays was a three-story brick hotel with a balcony on the second level. It stood on the southeast corner of East Center and South Indiana Streets in Warsaw.)
May 22, 1937 – Despite ordinances against it, several hogs are being raised in the towns of Syracuse, Leesburg, Milford, Mentone and Warsaw.
May 23, 1927 – A “miniature” tornado hits downtown Warsaw and causes damages of between $25,000 and $50,000. Businesses suffering damage include Smith’s Mill, Warsaw Grocery, the Ringle Furniture store and Warsaw Feed Store. The stands at Hillery Ball Park on South Buffalo Street were destroyed, as were numerous trees in the Hillery orchard. Many trees elsewhere in town were also uprooted.
May 24, 1938 – Merlin Funk, 94, dies at his home at Warsaw, which was the place he was born. For many years Funk operated a dry goods store in Warsaw with his father, Joseph, who was one of the county’s pioneers and the first teacher at Warsaw’s first school, which was located in a log cabin.
May 25, 1888 – There are several cigar makers in Warsaw. One of them makes a cigar known as “The Warsaw.” It costs 5 cents; an advertisement for the cigar says it “is equal to anything on the market.”
May 26, 1870 – Fire destroys the Willits sawmill in the Makemson Settlement near Pierceton.
May 27, 1886 – Large hail stones fall across the county during a thunderstorm, breaking windows in many farmhouses. Especially hit is Monroe Township south of Pierceton.
May 28, 1913 – The annual convention of the Church of the Brethren opens at Winona. Over 40,000 members of the church are expected to be in the town for the event, which will last several days. Many of the delegates come to Warsaw by automobile, which crowds the city with cars. Some of the church members stay as guest of residents in Warsaw.
May 29, 1902 – The largest class ever – 28 – has graduated from Warsaw High School. The class has 12 young women and 16 young men.
May 30, 1887 – Memorial Day is celebrated with parades and placing of flowers on graves of Civil War soldiers. In Warsaw, the parade to the cemetery features the Palestine Band; at Syracuse, Lemuel Royse, Warsaw’s newly elected mayor, is the featured speaker.
May 31, 1890 – A race track for horses is being built at the park at Winona Lake. One of the trotters that will race there is owned by C. W. Burket, a Warsaw physician. The horse is named “Kosciusko Chief.”