Sugar Creek township is six miles square and is located in the southwest corner of the county. It was laid out as one of the three original townships on April 7, 1828, and included the entire western portion of the county. Various changes have been made in its boundary lines, all of which may be followed by referring to the chapter on county government.

Twelve sections, or a strip two miles wide off of the western side of the civil township, lie in congressional township 15 north, range 5 east; the remaining portion of the civil township, consisting of twenty-four sections, lies in congressional township 15 north, range 6 east.

The township is drained principally by Sugar Creek, which enters the township just west of the northeast corner thereof, and flows in a southwesterly direction, crossing its southern boundary just below New Palestine. Little Sugar Creek crosses the extreme southeast corner and Buck Creek flows through the northwestern part of the township. Several large open drains have been constructed, all of which flow into one or other of the above mentioned creeks. With the exception of a narrow strip bordering Sugar Creek, the township is level or gently rolling. The soil is fertile and the township is admirably adapted to heavy farming.

The first land entry was made by George Worthington, who entered about two hundred and forty acres, including the present site of Philadelphia and the land lying to the north and west thereof. The first entry in the southern part of the township was made by Jacob Murnan, who located just below New Palestine in 1823. Among the family names that are still familiar in the county are the following, taken from the tract book showing who entered land in Sugar Creek township: Arthur Carr, John Eastes, William Sanders, August Langenberger, Thomas Schreiber, Anton Wishmeier, Reuben Barnard, Owen Griffith, Robert Carr, Henry Hawk, Christopher Black, Abraham Hudson, Ludwick Richmann, Michael Murnan, William McCance, Rachel Collyer, Gerret Snodgrass, Henry Wright, Quiller Shockley, Darius Cunningham, Jacob Murnan, Robert Snodgrass, Matthius Luse, Samuel P. Seward, Charles Fish, Albert Lange, Jacob Schramm, John C. W. Racener, Jacob Huff, George Worthington, William Pierson, Ovid Pierson, Morris Pierson, John Dance, Hervey Bates, Jonathan Dunbar, Amos Dickerson, Henry Racener, Jonathan Evans, James Hinchman, Joseph Conner, William Murnan, Samuel Cones, Geoege Leachman, John Powner, George Lipscomb, Jacob Jones, Micajah Martin, John Hager, Henry Steinmire, Henry Ruschaupt, Andrew Fink, Henry Fink, George Hickman, William Black, James Parker, David McNamee, James P. Wilson, John Delaney, Andrew McGahey, Peter Pellus, Wellington Collyer, John Ashcraft, John Snodgrass, Jr., Joseph Cones, Samuel Shockley, Benjamin Snodgrass, Henry Brandenburg.

The Brookville state road was constructed through what is now the southern part of the township before the county was organized. In 835 the National road was constructed across the northern part of it. These two roads caused the first people to locate in the northern and southern parts of the township, and, of course, the first business houses, including the groceries, taverns, etc., were located along them. James Parker and Peter N. Newland, and, later, J. Ross and Hugh Kelly, opened taverns along the National road. John Delaney operated a tavern along the Brookville state road many years before the Civil War, on the site of the William Nichols homestead, or where Henry Lantz now lives, about one mile west of New Palestine. It is said that Mrs. Delaney was known as a good cook for many miles along the old state road.

Amos Dickerson, John Delaney and Jonathan Evans opened small groceries along the Brookville road in 1831, 1833 and 1838, respectively. John Eastes opened a little grocery along the National road in the western part of the township in 1832, and in 1838 Atherton & Avery established the first grocery within the present site of Philadelphia. In 1838 the first towns were also platted-Philadelphia on April 8, 1838, by Charles Atherton, and New Palestine on October 1, 1838, by Jonathan Evans.

A number of mills were also established along the creeks and in other part of the township. Among them are:

Grist and saw-mill, erected on Sugar Creek by Stephen Bellus, about 1828, two miles north of New Palestine. This mill stood near the north end of what is known as the Pitcher farm. It was later owned by Amos Dickerson, Myron Brown, Uriah Emmons, George Kingery and Lewis Burk. It stood until about 1872. A saw-mill was erected by Black & Brother, on Sugar Creek, one mile south of Philadelphia. This mill was operated until about the close of the Civil War, or possibly a few years later. A saw-mill was established in 1850 by James Smith on Little Sugar Creek, about forty rods east of the west line of the west half of the southwest quarter of section 34, township 15, range 6, immediately east of the present residence of Ralph G. Logan. A saw-mill was erected on Sugar Creek by Lewis Burk, about 1850, or possibly a little later. It stood one-half mile north and one-half mile east of New Palestine. It was later owned by David Ulrey, John Kingery, Henry Ashcraft, James Boyce and James Murnan. The interest of all these persons in and to the mill and the mill race was purchased by John M. Pitcher during the latter eighties. The amount of water in the creek was becoming too small during the dry seasons to be relied upon for power and Mr. Pitcher placed his threshing engine in the mill and operated the mill with steam power until in the early nineties. He delighted in running the mill at evenings; lanterns were hung about the place and the saw could be heard until nine and ten o'clock at night. It became a very attractive place to the children of the neighborhood, who congregated there to play or watch the men at their work. Just a few rods northwest of the mill was a very fine spring. Mr. Pitcher excavated at this spring and put in a layer of cement. From the cement an iron pipe about two inches in diameter was brought up, and the water from the spring came up the pipe. The spring was visited by numbers of people who came into that community. It has been covered since the mill has been abandoned.

A saw-mill, erected in 1850 by Kelly & Brother, one mile west of Philadelphia, was operated fro a number of years, and one erected by James B. Conover, in 1856, a short distance west of Sugar Creek on the National road, was operated about three years. A saw-mill erected by Matthews & Reed about 1856, stood in the north central part of the township and was operated about five years. A grist-and saw-mill was erected by Thomas Tuttle in 1857, on his farm about two miles southwest of New Palestine in the vicinity of Swamp school house.

A saw-mill, erected by Gemmer & Vogel about 1850, stood about one-half mile northeast of New Palestine in what is now the barn yard on the Anton F. G. Richman farm. The Gemmer farm and mill were later taken over by Thomas D. Walpole. Other owners were Charles Wright and John M. Pitcher. William Gordon finally bought the mill and removed it. A grist-mill was erected at New Palestine in 1856 by Henry Gates and William Ball. Later owners of the mill were Scott & Davis, Joseph Conner, Charles F. Richman, Adam T. Hogle, Benjamin F. Wilson, Elbert Helms, Hayden Pierson, William T. Easton and Fralich & Waltz. The mill burned about 1886, while owned by B. F. Wilson, but was rebuilt. The present owner is John Waltz. A grist-mill, built about 1882 or 1883, at Philadelphia, by a man named Mints, was operated six or eight years, and a grain elevator, built at Philadelphia by Hudson Smith and others about 1883, was operated six or eight years.

A saw-mill, erected at Philadelphia during the seventies by Rufus Black, was operated for ten or fifteen yeas. A saw-mill, erected at Gem in 1871, by the Stutsmans, burned in 1879, but was rebuilt and operated until 1902. Chris Fink, the last owner of the mill, sold it to James Webb, who removed it to a point northeast of Maxwell. A saw-mill was erected at New Palestine in 1878, by Fred Gessler. The mill was operated a number of years by Mr. Gessler, when George Waters bought it and ran it until four or five years age. A grist-mill was erected at Philadelphia about 1882 by some Henry county parties, who operated it for several years.

A planning-mill and bent-wood factory was erected at New Palestine by Drake Brothers about 1889. It was purchased a few years later and very much enlarged by James Madison, who now owns and operates it.

At present there are two mills in the township-the planing-mill owned by James Madison and the grist-mill owned by John Waltz, both at New Palestine. About ten years ago a grain elevator was built at Gem, which has been operated for several yeas by Fred Thomas.


John E. Baity established a tan yard on the NcNamee farm just south of school No. 4, in 1845. In 1847 Alexander Ogle built a small tannery near Philadelphia. Early in the fifties Thomas Swift operated a small tannery at New Palestine.


The first tile factory in the township was built by Jacob Schramm, at the northwest corner of section 18, township 15, range 6, about 1863. It first manufactured what were known as horseshoe tile, which were open on one side. After four of five years Mr. Schramm began the manufacture of flat-bottomed tile. Work was suspended at the factory during the seventies.

William Roesner established a tile factory on the south side of the National road, just west of Gem, about 1865. It was bought by Fred Wicker in 1875, but resold to Roesner in 1882, whooperated it until seven or eight years ago. Shellhouse, Spurry & Armstrong built a factory on the south side of the Brookville road, one mile east of New Palestine, in 1869. Benjamin F. Freeman, Edward P. Scott, William Reasoner and others had an interest in this factory at different times. No tile has been manufactured there since about 1882-3.

Anton F. G. Richman established a brick yard in 1880 on the north side of the railroad and on the west side of the road just one-half mile east of the overhead bridge at New Palestine.


With the establishment of the towns of New Palestine and Philadelphia, blacksmith shops were located there. Reuben Barnard, father of Ex-County Treasurer William C. Barnard, however, built a shop in 1832 on his farm on the county line, about one mile east of the southwest corner of the county.


The first school houses in the township were pole cabins, covered with clapboards and supplied with "cat and clay" chimneys and puncheon floors. They were not public buildings, but were constructed by the citizens as they settled in different sections. One of these school houses was located on the north side of the National road just east of Philadelphia. Another was located in section 5 on the south side of the National road, where the National road crosses the east line of that section. It was known as the Brown school house. About 1890 this school was moved one-half mile west and located on the north side of the National road. In 1902 it was moved to Gem, where the building now stands, between the National road and the railroad, in section 6.

Another building was located in the east central part of section 8, possibly four rods west of the east line of section 8. It was known as the Mills school. The McNamee school was located in the southeast corner of section 7. The Morford school, which has since become known as the Caraway school, was located in the southeast corner of section 16. "Number 6," as the school has long been known, was located in the southeast corner of section 28. It has been known as the Brandenburg school and as the Gates school Near the center of section 26, township 15, range 5, was located the Hickman school, or, as it has since been known, the Tuttle school, and Swamp school house. The first school at New Palestine was located in the northeast part of town, in the back part of what is still known as the "old school yard," on which Huber's blacksmith shop is now located.

All of these houses were built on the same plan. Some of them had two, others had three windows. The lights were eight by eight. The door was so low that a large man had to stoop to enter.

Some of the first teachers in the township were George Robinson, Daniel Valentine, Richard Lindsey, Reuben Barnard and Eliza Barnard. The names of the later teachers will be found in the list of teachers given in another chapter.

About 1853-4 several families came from Cincinnati and settled in the neighborhood of the Hickman school. They seemed to be progressive and at once set about soliciting donations from the patrons of the school for a more modern school house. They succeeded in getting enough subscriptions to erect a frame building. This was the first frame school house in Sugar Creek township, and the first school was held therein in 1855. An interesting little incident occurred in this connection: Among the citizens of the neighborhood was a mulatto names Lafe Cambridge; he had subscribed and paid his money toward the construction of the building. When he sent his children, however, objections were raised because they were colored and the children were not permitted to attend.

About ten years after the building of this house the township paid each individual for his interest in the school and the house became the property of the township. For many years the Tuttle school bore the reputation of being one of the best and most advanced schools in the township. One Daniel Ransdall taught the school many years ago. He was afterward elected clerk of the city of Indianapolis and since that time has served as clerk of Marion county. From 1889 to 1893 he was the marshal of the district of Columbia, and since then has served as sergeant-at-arms of the United States Senate.

Not much progress was made under the system of township management in vogue prior to 1859. In that year Robert P. Brown was elected as first township trustee of Sugar Creek township and school affairs took a change for the better.

An agitation was started about that time for a new building at New Palestine. Different citizens advocated its location in sections 29, 30, 31 and 32. Some of these points were three-fourths of a mile from New Palestine. The new law, however, required that the school house should be built where it would accommodate the majority of the children of the school district. The new township trustee, with the advice and direction of the state superintendent, built the old frame house that is now known as the "old school house." For a number of years past it has been used by Mr. Huber for storing machinery. It was built in 1860. In the east end of the building was a township room, where the township trustee transacted his business and where elections were held. A number of citizens also made arrangements with the township trustee to build a second story, which was to be used for different purposes. Dances and exhibitions were held there, and during the Civil War it became known as "Union Hall." It was here that Thomas C. Tuttle's company of "Anderson Guards" was organized.

In 1866 the number of school children of the district became so large that more room was necessary and the township trustee bought the interest of each stockholder and converted the hall into two school rooms. The house was then used for school purposes until the spring of 1884, when the brick building, which is still in use, was constructed.

An agitation was begun for a new building, however, long before 1884. Some of the articles that appeared in the local papers are interesting for the spirit and the conditions they reflect. Among the local items sent by the New Palestine correspondent to the Hancock Democrat, appears the following, published February 12, 1874:

"Mr. E. P. Scott, our efficient and gentlemanly trustee, is discussing the propriety of building a new school house that will be an honor to this place. If the school funds for that purpose are not sufficient the citizens propose to donate liberally."

In this connection it is interesting to observe the peculiar twist that politics are able to give anything that may have been said. During the following summer Mr. Scott became a candidate for reelection. On August 13, he felt called upon to issue the following statement for publication in the Hancock Democrat to set himself right before the people of his township:

"Editor Democrat; - I wish to announce through you paper, to the Democracy of Sugar Creek township and citizens generally, that the person who gave notice through the Greenfield News of last week that I intended, if reelected township trustee, to build a ten thousand dollar school house for New Palestine corporation out of the township funds, did so falsely and without foundation; and I particularly request such person to represent the truth, if nothing more. This was done to belie me and, if possible, to insure my defeat. I sincerely ask a candid review of my past official conduct, then judge for the future.

I am, etc.
Edward P. Scott"

On January 6, 1876, someone interested in the school situation at New Palestine sent the following letter to the Hancock Democrat, for publication:

"Mr. Editor: - Having become tired of waiting for someone to agitate the question of erecting a new school house in our town, if you will be so kind as to allow me a small space in your very excellent paper, I propose to make a few remarks regarding it. In the first place, the present building does not afford sufficient room. It will accommodate but one hundred and twenty-five pupils comfortably. There are one hundred and ninety-seven enumerated in the district and one hundred and seventy-six enrolled in school. This leaves fifty-seven pupils to be crammed in after the manner of loading hogs in cars. Only one room is fit for school purposes.

In point of wealth the district is above the average, and the citizens ought to possess sufficient energy to aid the trustee to provide a respectable school house. Can they celebrate the centennial year in a better way? Citizens, are you ready? Are you educated up to the point that will enable you to appreciate the advantages a new school house will bring you? I have not room to enumerate them, but they are many. Trustee, are you ready for the crowning act of your administration? Perhaps you will be condemned, but certainly not by the intelligent class. Let us be up with the spirit of the times.


On February 28, 1878, the following paragraph again appeared among the items from the correspondent at New Palestine:

"There is much said (and more thought) of erecting a commodious school building. Look out McCordsvillle, Fortville and Charlottesville! When the time comes for our old shell to come down we'll have the best house in the county outside of the county seat. The house we have is considered dangerous and it is so crowded that many children are kept at home by sickness engendered in its badly ventilated chambers. Our citizens are able, and they are unanimously willing to build. If we had room and comfort we could enroll over two hundred scholars. In face, this is the place to establish a full-fledged high school."

On May 20, 1880, the New Palestine correspondent hopefully wrote, "A new school house is being wanted and will be built sometime in the future." That the agitation was not without results appears from the following paragraph taken from the Fortville items in the Hancock Democrat, on February 3, 1881;" Mr. Barnard, trustee of Sugar Creek township, inspected our school building today. He expects to erect one in New Palestine next summer."

Mr. Barnard did advertise for bids for the construction of a school house in August, 1881. A dispute, however, arose among the patrons as to its location. Some wanted it north of town, others west of town; others felt that it ought to be located within the town. Being unable to satisfy the patrons, Mr. Barnard dropped the matter. But this did not allay the agitation. Shortly thereafter the following appeared among the local items from New Palestine: "The citizens of New Palestine are somewhat exercised about the school house question, which we hope will finally be settled for the good of all. As it is necessary to have something done in this direction, we hope, for the good of the cause, that sober thought will prevail over those who wish to rule or ruin."

In 1884 the new building came. It was erected jointly by the town of New Palestine and Sugar Creek township. The school board of New Palestine was composed of Christian H. Kirkhoff, Ernst H. Faut and William A. Wood. Sylvester Wagoner was the township trustee. R. P. Daggett, of Indianapolis, was employed as architect and the contract was awarded to Levi Pearson for five thousand and seventy dollars. The school town of New Palestine issued bonds to the amount of two thousand and five hundred dollars, which were sold to raise funds for the construction of the building. These bonds were finally taken by Gustav and August Schramm. Because of current statement that they would never be paid and that the purchasers would be losers, the Schramm brothers at first refused to accept them. To satisfy the Schramms, the school board and others gave their personal promissory notes as collateral security for the bonds. They were paid before they became due.

Elaborate exercises were held, both at the laying of the cornerstone of the building and at its dedication. The history of the laying of the cornerstone is contained in a short poem, written by William Parish, which was published at the time in the Hancock Democrat. Mr. Parish was then a youth, probably in the advanced grades of the schools. Since that time he has been the editor of the local paper at New Palestine, and now resides at Louisville, Ky. Following is the poem:


The sun shone down with radiant heat,
As the people came to see the feat;
This feat of which I am going to speak
Took place in the town of Sugar Creek

Speeches and prayer were said, but was no dome,
‘Twas only the laying of the corner stone.
Some spoke of bygone days in tales,
How they used to roll logs and thresh with flails.

They spoke of children now and children then,
What is now and what might have been;
Of the old log house and puncheon seats,
And windows of greased paper sheets.

They laid down the stone with many a thought,
Yet not thinking just how they were brought.
In other generations, when razed to the ground,
How the people will wonder when the articles are handed around!

First in the box the history was laid down,
Then the cards of the business men in town;
And some coins of different worth
Were dropped in with little mirth.

Then came Mr. Pearson, a mason by trade,
And the box with brick was nicely overlaid.
In future years when we're under the grass
Other generation will know what came to pass.

What we do and what we are,
And back many generations just how far;
Also of our school systems old and new,
And they can tell their children how we used to do.

The Board came out in full array;
They thought ‘twould be a glorious day.
The speakers great and speakers small,
They each had a word for us all.
In thought I know I'm not alone
On the laying of the corner stone.

On the evening of November 22, 1884, the new house was dedicated. The building was lighted with Chinese lanterns from top to bottom. It was thrown open to visitors at 6:30 and was soon crowded to the utmost. There were speakers upstairs and downstairs. State Superintendent Holcombe was present, as were also County Superintendents Dobbins, of Shelby county, and Harlan, of Marion County. Superintendent R. A. Smith and Ex-Count Superintendent John H. Binford, of Hancock county, both made addresses. Ballard's orchestra furnished the music for the occasion. A feature of the exercises of the evening was the presentation to the school of a large blue silk banner, inscribed with the words, "Education is the Life of Liberty." This banner was presented by E. H. Faut and remained in the school for years afterward.

In 1895 some of the early dreams were realized when a systematic high school course was established. Frank Larrabee began the work and was followed by George J. Richman, 1900-1903; Elmer Andrews, 1903-12; Kirby Payne, 1912-13; W. W. Winn, 1913-16. A three-years course was maintained in the school until 1908, when a fourth year was added, and the school was certified under the new system adopted by the state. During the trusteeship of Van. B. Cones a heating plant was installed and an addition was built to the house to accommodate the growing number of pupils. The addition was constructed by Charles F. Richman. The taxation for the support of the joint school was becoming very burdensome to the town of New Palestine, and when the addition to the building had to be constructed, the school board was abolished and the township again took full charge of the school. The high school received its first commission at a meeting of the state board of education, in February, 1916.

Two men stand out prominently in the history of the New Palestine school During the seventies the school had a very bad reputation for discipline, etc. A number of teachers had been unsuccessful, when William A. Wood appeared upon the scene. He was a small man physically, yet he possessed the disciplinary ability necessary to "straighten out" the school. Mr. Wood remained in the school for twelve years or more, and during the latter seventies and eighties stood as one of the first teachers in the county. Elmer Andrews took charge of the high school in 1903, and remained principal of the school for a period of nine successive years. During his services the school was certified and was placed upon a firm foundation, for which, in all probability, it will never be shaken.

It is also worthy of record that Charles Ballard has been the janitor of this school for just about a quarter of a century.


Sugar Creek township has a population of 1,673, as shown by the United States census report of 1910. In the spring of 1915, 425 children between the ages of six and twenty-one years were enumerated in the township. Two hundred and ninety-three pupils were enrolled in the schools during the winter of 1914-15. Of these, 40 were in the high school and 253 in the elementary grades. The total cost of maintaining the elementary schools for the year 1914-15 was $6,940; the high school, $2,396. The teachers were paid for the years, $6,170. The estimated value of all school property is $25,000, as reported by the township trustee on August 1, 1915. The total assessment of taxables in the township, including New Palestine, as reported by the assessor in the spring of 1914 was $2,0ll,010. Sixty children were transported to school at a cost of $1,694 to the township.


Following are the names of the men who have served the township in the capacity of trustee since the office was created in 1859: Robert P. Brown, 1859; Ernst H. Faut, 1865; Edward P. Scott, 1872; David Ulrey, 1876; William C. Barnard, 1878-1880; Sylvester Wagner, 1882-1884; John E. Dye, 1886; Albert Helms, 1888; Ezra Eaton, 1890; John Manche, 1890; Henry Fralich, 1894; Van B. Cones, 1900; Velasco Snodgrass, 1904; John Burkhart, 1908 and Scott Brandenburg, 1914.


Following are the names of the men who have presided over the local courts of the township with the dates of their appointment or election: Charles Atherton; George Leachman, 1834-1870; G. W. Robinson, 1844; George O'Brien, 1846; Adam Hawk, 1851-1860; George Barnett, 1856; W. H. Dye, 1868; E. S. Bottsford, 1872; Henry A. Schreiber, 1874; George W. Kingery, 1878; John N. McKelvey, 1880-1888; Daniel W. Place, 1882; John G. Jacobi, 1884-1888; Andrew J. Downing, 1888; Adam P. Hogle, 1849-1914; George E. Lamb, 1898; Levi McCormick, 1900; Homer Leonard, 1906-1910.

Among the earlier justices of the peace the name of George Leachman appears more often probably than the name of any other justice in the county. From the date of the organization of the county until the early seventies his name appears upon practically all of the deeds and mortgages from the southern half of Sugar Creek township. Of late years the name of Adam P. Hogle has been prominent as a justice.

Jones township for a number of years included a part of Sugar Creek and also a part of Buck Creek township. During its existence the following men served as justice of the peace for that township: Charles Atherton, 1843; Daniel Skinner, 1840-45-50; Isaac Travis, 1846; Joseph Marshall, 1849; Abraham Stutsman, 1851; John H. Hazen, 1852; Allen Caylor, 1852.


A number of the humble servants of the people have been chosen from Sugar Creek township, among whom are Sanuel Shockley, commissioner and representative; William McCance, Enos O'Brien, John O'Brien, William H. Dye, John E. Dye, Edward P. Scott and John Manche, county commissioners; R. P. Brown, treasurer and sheriff; E. H. Faut and W. C. Barnard, treasurers; John V. Coyner, county surveyor; Charles J. Richman, auditor; George J. Richman, county superintendent of schools; Edward Eikman, joint senator; Mack Warrum, sheriff.


Sugar Creek township has tow railroads and two interurban lines, the history of which is given elsewhere.


The nucleus of what has since become generally known as the "German Settlement" was formed in 1828. In that year Carl Julius Leopold Albert von Bonge was banished from the Fatherland because of participating in a political revolution. Bonge was a nobleman and had received a classical education in Prussia, his native state. He came to Sugar Creek township and entered the southeast quarter of section 12, township 15, range 5. A companion, Albert Lange, who was also banished by Prussia came with Bonge and entered the northeast quarter of section 14, township 15, range 5, the land upon which school No. 3 is now located. Bonge's land was just north and west of this school. Bonge remained in Sugar Creek township until about 1840, when he removed to Marion county. Lange had moved to Terre Haute a few years before and had taken up the profession of law. He was later elected mayor of Terre Haute and served twice as auditor of Vigo county. During the Civil War he served two terms as auditor of the state of Indiana.

About 1833 Anton Wishmeier came from Minden-on-the-Weser, in East Prussia, and settled in the north central part of section 24, township 15, range 5. His buildings stood about eighty rods southwest of the present German Lutheran church. A tree or two of the old orchard may still be standing. When Wishmeier came he brought his wagon, harness and farming implements from Germany. He bought horses in Baltimore and drove from that city to the home just mentioned.

In 1824 Dr. Rosenberg, who had gone from Germany to the state of Illinois, wrote some articles for the Sunday school journals of East Prussia. He described the beauties of Illinois, dwelling especially upon its broad prairies, its beautiful flowers, etc. Through reading this literature a group of about sixteen young people at the town and in the vicinity of Minden-on-the-Weser were inspired to seek their fortunes in the state of Illinois. They left home on Easter Sunday, in 1835, and set sail from Bremen, reaching Baltimore after a stormy passage. Several of the group remained at Baltimore and at other points in the East; others came by wagon from Baltimore to Wheeling, West Va. Their goods were stored in large, heavy oak boxes, some of which may still be found among their descendants. One wagon was sufficient to carry their effects. A few of the company rode, while others walked. At nights sleeping apartments were made, both in the wagon and under the wagon. They were all in good health and, from their own reminiscences, it seems that they had quite a jolly trip crossing the mountains of Pennsylvania and western Virginia. From Wheeling they came by boat to Cincinnati, and there at the wharf stood Dr. Rosenberg. To their bitter disappointment, if not to their utter consternation, he told them that the state of Illinois was the unhealthiest spot on the face of the earth; that milk sickness was so prevalent that people were dying everywhere. Several of the company wept. Others, including Ludwig Richmann, were acquainted with Anton Wishmeier, who had settled in Sugar Creek township, and in their extremity they decided to find him.

A wagon was procured and the company started northwest from Cincinnati, reaching the National road probably at Cambridge City. They then came on to Greenfield, where it seems that the taverns were filled. The driver finally rented a blacksmith shop for the night. Here the company stayed, and the next morning went on west to the point now known as Brier's switch. Arthur Carr lived on the west half of the southeast quarter of section 1, township 15, range 5, and their first night in Sugar Creek township was spent at his residence. From this point they found Wishmeier, and the remaining members of the company made other homes in Sugar Creek township. Among them were Christian Spilker, William (Luke) Rosener, Christian Steinmeier, Sr., and his three children; Christian Stenimeier, Jr., and his two daughters, Louise and Sophia; Lewis Richmann and Louisa Bohne, and probably one or two others. Louise Bohne was married to Lewis Richmann soon after they reached their destination. She is familiarly remembered as "Grandma" Richmann throughout the western and southern part of Sugar Creek township. It was she who became the author's foster-mother in his infancy; who spoke the sweet gentle words and who gave him the kindly care that his own mother was not here to give.

Among other Germans who came and whose descendants, may still be found in the township, are Jacob Schramm, France Landwehr, Christian Schildmeier, Christina Miller, Anton Eickman, C. Henry Rosener, Fl. L. Christian Rosener, Anton Fink, Gottlieb Ostermeier, Christina F. Hoff, Anthony Kirkhoff, Charles Klopper, Wilhelm Langenberger, Christian Knoop, William Borman, Carl Oswald, Adam Merlau, Benjamin Rother, Carl Breuer, Wilhelm Rushchaupt, Anton Meier, John Greim, Conrad Gundrum,.George Lantz, Ernest H. and Ernst W. Faut.

Jacob Schramm sent an agent named Havenmeier from Germany to select some land for him. Havenmeier selected the southeast quarter of section 12, township 15, range 5, in Sugar Creek township. He also had a house built, part of the ground cleared, and in 1835 Mr. Schramm came. He soon became one of the most enterprising farmers and citizens of the county. He erected the first frame barn in Sugar Creek township, which is still standing. While the National road was being planked he also constructed a plank road from his home on the south side of section12 to the National road. He charged toll for the use of this road, and the people from that vicinity and those located south and east of his residence commonly took the plank road to Indianapolis to do their marketing. He also established the first tile factory in Sugar Creek township, making first the "horseshoe" tile, and later the flat-bottomed tile. This factory was established about 1863, soon after Isaac Beeson began manufacturing tile in Blue River township. During the fifties, and before the manufacture of tile in the county, he had a carload of stone shipped which he used to put in blind ditches. He accumulated a great deal of wealth during his lifetime and used portions of it in traveling. He made several trips to Germany, and at least one of Jerusalem and other points in the Holy Land. Before his death he was instrumental in having a free gravel road constructed in the German Settlement, and by virtue of a clause in his will he left two thousand dollars, the income of which was to be used for the maintenance of the road.

William Borman, though of very humble station, lived to be just about one hundred years of age. He died in the early eighties. As a young man he had been in the Napoleonic wars, and was one of Napoleon's soldiers taken from Prussia in his famous campaign against Moscow.

German kept coming into the neighborhood of the settlement until about twenty-five years ago, since which time there probably have been no accessions at all by immigration. Some of the older families have entirely disappeared, but the descendants of most of them may still be found in the community. They have been a frugal, industrious people, and have made their portion of Sugar Creek township a garden spot in the county. The land has been drained, roads have been constructed and the best of buildings may be seen upon their farms.

Ernst H. Faut located at New Palestine and took up the trade of a blacksmith. He was shrewd and intellectual, and soon came to be an influential man, not only among the Germans, but as a man of the county. He served both as assessor and township trustee of Sugar Creek township, and later as county treasurer of Hancock county. He used to say that he carried the vote of the old German Settlement in his vest pocket, and this came near being a literal truth. They laid before him all their troubles, foreign and domestic, and counseled with him upon all matters. He wrote the wills of the living and the obituaries of those who had passed through the veil of eternity.


The first German church is said to have been established in 1836 by a number of Germans who came from Hamburg, Germany. They built a little log house on the west line of section 24, township 15, range 45, just south of the railroad. The first minister was a man named Kiebler. He was followed by the Rev. Muth, a United Brethren minister, who is mentioned in connection with other churches in the county. It seems always to have been denominated as Evangelical Association.

The Germans who settled to the north and east of this locality came principally from East Prussia. They held tenaciously to their old from of worship and in 1841 called the Rev. J. G. Kunz, of Indianapolis, to preach for them. Rev. Kunz preached every fourth Sunday for several years and laid the foundation of the present


This congregation at first worshipped in the little log church located on the west half of the southwest quarter of section 24, township 15, range 5. It stood on the east side of the road, immediately south of the Cincinnati, Hamilton & Drayton railway and just across the highway from the present Schildmeier cemetery. The congregation worshipped in this little log church until 1851, when the present frame church was built. On March 28, 1845, Christian Schildmeier and Maria, his wife, sold and conveyed to the "Church of Zion," in consideration of two dollars and fifty cents, one-fourth acre upon the following express conditions; "That said land is to be used for no other purpose but for a burying ground and that there shall never be a dwelling house built on said land, and further, that the members of the Church of Zion shall fence said ground with a good fence and keep said fence in good repair, and should the meeting house that is adjoining the above described burying ground be discontinued at any time hereafter, the said Christian Schildmeier and his heirs or assigns are to have the burying ground back for the sum of two dollars and fifty cents." The burying ground above described is the ground now known as the Schildmeier cemetery.

The ten acres of ground now owned by the congregation, upon which the church, school, parsonage and teacher's residence are located, was first bought from Anton Frederich Wishmeier and Maria Wishmeier, his wife, on September 24, 1848, for one hundred and fifty dollars. It is located near the middle of the north line of section 24, township 15, range 5. The grantees named in the deed from the Wishmeiers are Anthony Reasoner, Charles Henry Reasoner, Christian Rethmeier, William Lewis Reasoner, Christina Spilker, Charles Rethmeier, William Brier, Anthony F. Wishmeier, Anthony F. Rabe, Charles Miller, Gottleib Ostermeier, Anthony Eikmann and Christian Schildmeier. The deed recited that the real estate is conveyed "as a site for a school house and parsonage, and it is stipulated between the parties respectively that if any other person of the neighborhood shall join in the association or company and pay their proportion for the land, and have their names recorded in a book to be kept for that purpose, then in that case those persons so joining shall be joint sharers in the real estate."

The first parsonage and a little log school were built on this real estate in 1848; the church, as state above, was not built until 1859. The Rev. A. Brandt was the first resident pastor, who came about 1848 or 1849. The relation between Brandt and the congregation seems to have been rather unpleasant; for some cause he brought suit against Christina Schildmeier, one of his members, and was twice defeated before George Leachman, a justice of the peace. The congregation did not support Brandt in his contentions, and a split occurred which came near causing the dissolution of the church. A number of members living to the north and west withdrew permanently and organized the German Evangelical church, which now stands just west of Cumberland. Others in the immediate neighborhood withdrew and never returned. Brand was followed by Revs. Hermann and Scheurmann. It developed that Hermann was a free thinker. His congregation came to feel that his sermons did not ring true, and finally one of the brethren asked him whether he believed that Jesus Christ was the Son of God.

Certainly." Replied Rev. Hermann, "we are all sons of God." This lacked a great deal of satisfying the orthodox German, and the congregation had another crisis to pass through. Rev. Kunz was then recalled and remained as pastor of the church from 1853 until 1882.

The land above referred to was held in the name of the entire membership of the congregation, as shown by the deed, until October 13, 1857, when it was deeded to Christian Frederich Reasoner. The following members are named as grantors in this deed: Charles Rethmeier, Elinore Rethmeier, William Brier, Christina Brier, Anthony Wishmeier, Elinore Wishmeier, Anton Rabe, Louise Rabe, Charles Miller, Christina Miller, Gottlieb Ostermeier, Sophia Ostermeier, Anton L. Reman, Sophia Reman, Christian Schildmeier, Maria Schildmeier, Anton Frederik Reasoner, Louisa Rosener, Charles Henry Rosener, Sophia Rosener, Christina Hoff, Christina Hoff, Ernest Creger, Sophia Creger, Christian Miller, Christina Miller, Henry Meier, Louise Meier, Christian Rethmeier, Elinore Rethmeier, William Rosener, Christian Spilker, and Sophia Spilker,

On November 10, 1857, Christian Frederich Reasoner and Elinore Reasoner, his wife, conveyed the church lands back to Henry Meier, Charles Meier, Anton Henry Reasoner and C. Henry Reasoner, trustess of the German Evangelical Zion's church of Doe creek. The deed recited that this conveyance is made "with the express condition that said land shall be used for religious and school purposes of said denomination, and further, should a split occur in the congregation, the right of the property in said land shall go exclusively to that portion which shall adhere, without reservation, to the full and true confession of the above named Evangelical Lutheran church, whether such portion shall be the majority of the entire congregation or not." The congregation still holds the land by virtue of this deed.

The original frame church was built by a man named Kaiser, in 1859, at a cost of eight hundred dollars, and was dedicated on September 26 of that year. It was remodeled in 1892 by Charles F. Richman. A pipe organ was installed and dedicated on June 18, 1899. The services in the church were conducted in German until 1902, when English services were held in the afternoon on one Sunday of each month. On October 13, 1903, a resolution was adopted to have English and German services every third Sunday. On January 2, 1905, a resolution was adopted to have English services only on the morning of every third Sunday; all other services were to be conducted in German. This resolution still stands.

A Ladies' Aid Society was organized in the church in 1903; it now contains thirty-two members and meets once each month at the home of one of the members. Its purpose is to help poor students who are preparing for the ministry, and to keep up the interior of the church. The Ladies' Society bought a new altar for the church in 1903. It has papered the church twice, and in 1914 paid for revarnishing the benches. During the pastorate of Rev. Henkel the society and the entire congregation contributed generously toward the education of his sons for the ministry.

The old log school house which stood between the present parsonage and the church was used until 1878. At that time the present school house was built. A new parsonage was built in 1885 by Charles F. Richman, and the parsonage was enlarged by the addition of several rooms in 1893. Following is the list of pastors who have served since the organization of the present congregation: J. G. Kunz, 1853-1882; Frederick Zagel, 1882-84; William K, Kaiser, 1884-92; H. Henkel, 1892-1903; F. Markworth, 1903 to the present time. G. Markworth, the father of the present pastor, has acted as assistant pastor of the church since 1905. For many years, in the absence of the pastor, Henry Meier, who name appears so prominently in the history of this church, read sermons from the books of Dr. Walter and Dr. Luther. Several of the above named pastors also taught in the church school. Rev. Kunz taught in the old log building and also in the present building for a period of almost thirty years. He had a large family of girls and at different time they assisted him, especially his daughter, Maria and Bertha.

During the sixties a teacher, named Lahusen, was employed by the congregation,. He was to receive a salary of possibly one hundred and eighty or two hundred dollars per year, and was to "board around" with the people, staying one week at each house. He stayed part of the year on this pan, but one night, while he was boarding at Noelting's, he disappeared and never returned, nor was anything ever heard of him afterward.

Following is also a list of teachers who afterward served the congregation: Schoenhart, 1879-81; Wagner, 1881-83; M. Kunzelman came about 1883 or 1884 and stayed until 1897; Oscar Gotch, 1897-1902, after which Mr. Kunzelman and the Rev. Markworth each taught a few months. William Binder was called in October, 1903, and remained until March, 1905; Theodore Markworth taught from September, 1907, to December, 1909; Carl Buuck, February 10, 1910 to October, 1912; Rev. Markworth then taught again for several months. The present teacher, Gustav Scheiderer, was called in September, 1913.

To the German Lutheran the house that has been dedicated to the worship of God is a sacred place. For this reason they will permit no meetings to be held within the church except regular services and business meetings for the administration of the affairs of the church. Nothing of a secular nature is permitted to come in. Even the Christmas entertainments for years and years have consisted of exercises by the children in telling the story of Christ's birth and reciting the prophecies, etc., pointing to Christ. The children are taught the Bible and Bible history in the parochial school, and they are able to recite verses of Scripture with ease. They have a beautiful custom of responding to the questions of the pastor on Christmas eve within the hallowed precincts of the church. The following little statement concerning these Christmas entertainments appeared in the Hancock Democrat on December 30, 1880: "At the German Lutheran church, under the superintendency of Rev. J. G. Kunz, the Christmas tree and the appropriate declamations and the Christmas songs, and the extra large amount of presents on the occasion, was surely the greatest affair ever exhibited in Hancock county. This congregation is the most numerous in membership and wealth, and the members are very liberal in their donations for church and school purposes and have celebrated Christmas in the greatest manner imaginable, which would have been a credit to a metropolitan city, as it is much credit to the church and its worthy minister and all bear imitation.,"

The writer of the above article, who listened to the "declamations" probably did not understand German, and did not know that these "declamations" consisted of portions of the Scripture. The Christmas tree, with the angel at its top and its burning candles, has always been a feature of the Christmas entertainment. Any departure from the simple Christ story that has always been so beautifully and joyfully told by the children must detract from the beauty of their Christmas celebration. The children are always young-the story never grows old and never becomes tiresome.


Rev. Henkel had some knowledge of brass instruments and band music, and organized a band among the boys of the congregation, when he came to the Settlement in 1892. Several soon dropped out, but the following members played for several yeas: Fred Wampner, Christian Hoff, Will Knoop, Henry Knoop, Fred Bruns, George Sander, Otto Schramm, George J. Richman, Fred Harmening, Lewis H. Merlau, Lewis Richman, Henry Brier and Ed Knoop.

They had no instructor except the pastor for a short time. They were all laborers on the farms and gave only their spare time to practice. The band never succeeded in playing a very high grade of music, yet during the summer of 1896 they played a number of the marches of John Philip Sousa, who was then the march king of the world. After that year the band declined and the boys finally quit entirely. Later a new band was organized which played for two or three years.


A new frame church was erected on the east side of the county line, just below Julietta, in 1866, and became known as the Albright German church.

Services were conducted in German until about 1890, after which they were conducted in the English language on certain Sundays of each month. The German membership began moving away, others died, and after about 1895 services ceased to be held. Since that time the church has been sold and moved away. Among those who were faithful from many years should be mentioned Elinore Custer, Fred Schmoe, Mrs. Weber, of Julietta, and the Fink family.


Philadelphia, the first town in Sugar Creek township, was platted on April 11, 1838, by Charles Atherton, the original plot consisting of eighteen lots. The record fails to show by whom the survey was made, but in all deeds of conveyance the plats are described as being in Charles Atherton's original survey.

Two additions have been made to the town since then. Pearson's addition, known as Second addition, was laid out on June 7, 1839, by Ovid Pearson, and contains forty-two lots and six outlots. A third addition, known as Clark's addition, was laid out on April 2, 1864, and consists of nineteen lots.

For many years after the town was laid out Charles Atherton was the general merchant and postmaster. During the latter fifties a man named Berry also operated a grocery, in which he sold liquor. The ladies of the town and vicinity took exception to this part of his business and conspired together to rid the town of the evil. Berry received an intimation of what was about to happen, locked up his store and left town. The ladies, however, made an entrance, some say through a window, and others say they battered the door down. However that may have been, the liquor was found and poured upon the floor. Soon thereafter the owner left for other parts.

Later merchants were Allen McCane, Joseph Marshall, G. W. Willett, Samuel McConnaha, J. B. String, J. B. Conover, Oscar Meek & Brother, John Garner and H. F. Wilson. The present merchants are Raymond Wilson and Mr. Swarms. Elzu Grigsby also sells groceries from a room in the rear of the barber shop.

The early physicians of the town have been mentioned elsewhere, but the list of later ones includes Drs. Eubank, King and Bell.

During the latter seventies and eighties a great deal of business was transacted at Philadelphia. It was an important little railroad town. There was a saw-mill, grist-mill and a grain elevator, and the Stutsmans and Benjamin Elliott had a blacksmith shop. The first brick school house in the township was also erected at Philadelphia in 1873.

Very few improvements have been made in the town during the past fifty years and the older citizens tell us that it remains very much as it was from their earliest recollection. The postoffice was removed when the Greenfield rural routes were started in 1902.


The first meetings of the people which resulted in the organization of this church were held about 1835. The people who attended at that time were Charles Atherton, Sr., and family, William Brown and family, Mrs. Willett, Jonathan Hornaday and family, Thomas J. Smith and family, Joseph Gray and family, and likely others.

In the very early history of the church meetings were held in an old log school house that stood on the north side of the National road, near the east end of town, and, later, in a frame school house built by James Boyce and Joseph Marshall, on the north side of the National road about the middle of town. Services were also held in the large reception room of Willett's tavern, on the south side of the National road, and at the old Pennsylvania station and freight depot, which burned down about 1878 or 1879.

Among the early ministers were Mr. Edmondson, J. B. Burch, Abraham Kuntz, Rev. Havens, William Anderson and Rev. Colclazier. The latter was the minister about the time the present church house was built. The Rev. Abraham Kuntz, and his wife, who was a sweet singer, held a very successful revival in the old school house in the winter of 1854-5. The present house was built in 1856 and was dedicated by Bishop Ames. At that time it stood about twenty rods south of where it now stands. Ten years ago the building was moved to its present site, and since that time has been remodeled. A Sunday school has been conducted in connection with the church ever since about 1850.

The church belonged to the Greenfield circuit until the Greenfield church was made a station, in 1879. At that time the Philadelphia circuit was formed, including Philadelphia, Eden, Curry's Chapel and Sugar Creek, under the pastorate of Harvey Sutherland. Among the ministers of the church, and the dates of their appointment, are Harvey Sutherland, 1878; William Anderson, 1879; Hosea Woolpert, 1881; A. C. Gruber, 1884; William Peck, 1885; D. H. Guild, 1888; E. W. Reinhart, 1890; John Heim, 1891; William Ramsey, 1893; Albert Luring, 1900; L. P. Pfeiffer, 1901; R. M. Waggoner, 1904; H. Hardingham, 1905; ---Barton, 1906; M. M. Reynolds, 1906; C. A. Hile, 12907; F. Greenstreet, 1909; Paul Truitt, 1909; E. H. Taylor, 1911; Leroy Huddleston, 1912; J. B. O'Connor, 1915.


This cemetery, long known as the Hawkins cemetery, was surveyed in May, 1871, and presented by Joseph Hawkings to the trustees of the Philadelphia Methodist Episcopal church. The price of the lots were fixed at six dollars, the proceeds to be used in caring for and ornamenting the ground. The trustees of the church were to fence the ground, keep it enclosed, and keep up the cemetery. The deed was delivered by Mr. Hawkins to the trustees of the church at a meeting attended by a number of the members. Several people present made short talks, and W. S. Fries, the surveyor, gave a discourse upon "The Sacredness of the Grave."

Additions have been made to the cemetery since that time. It was maintained by the church until 1908. In the fall of that year it was incorporated under the laws of the state of Indiana and has since been in the hands of the lot owners.


The Friends church at Philadelphia was organized as a result of a great camp meeting held at Dye's lake in the fall of 1886, by Eli Scott and a party from Indianapolis. The camp-meeting was held in the open air until the nights became too cool, when a large tent was erected. There was much enthusiasm and before the meeting closed the following families, with others, had banded themselves together for the purpose of organizing a church; Clarence L. Black and wife, Emma Jane Gilson, John Short and wife, Mrs. Jennie Colestock, several members of the Fields family, James Shelton and wife, Henry Hawk and wife, Armenus McKelvey and wife, John McKelvey and wife, Oliver Smith and wife. During the spring and summer of 1887 a church was constructed on the north side of the National road at the west end of Philadelphia. For several years Revs. Eli Scott, Hunt, Mrs. Carter, and others preached to the congregation. Some of the members moved away, others withdrew to other churches, and after a few years services ceased to he held in the church. The house stood vacant for a number of years and was sold a few years ago to Mrs. Flora Stant, of Philadelphia.

During the winter of 1897-8, Rev. Mower, a United Brethren pastor, conducted a revival for several months in this house in an effort to organized a United Brethren church in Philadelphia.. The effort, however, was not successful.


Spring Lake Park is located about one-half mile southwest of the town of Philadelphia. The gully now occupied by the lake originally contained a number of springs and in 1884-5 William Dye conceived the idea of putting a dam across the west end of it to make an artificial lake. It was surrounded by woods, and on the south lay eight or ten acres or more of timber, an excellent picnic ground. The dam was constructed and the place, then known as Dye's Grove, was opened to Sunday schools, lodges and other organizations for picnics. A passenger steamer, which was able to carry about thirty persons, was built on the lake in 1886. It was a small steamboat, but it attracted a great deal of attention in the vicinity for a summer or two. The employees of the "Pan-Handle" Railroad Company held their annual picnic there in 1886, the result of which was the organization of the congregation of Friends at Philadelphia. It has been used as a picnic ground more or less ever since that time. Boats, as well as facilities for bathing, have always been maintained.

During the latter eighties one of the great sham battles of the county was fought there. In the course of time the place became known as Spring Lake Park. In 1901, after the Indianapolis & Greenfield traction line had been built, a summer theater was opened and was maintained for two summers. Often, however, the singers and actors had the entire building to themselves and after the second season the theater was not reopened. A baseball park was maintained, which drew large crowds on Sundays during 1903. The park has changed hands several times; E. E. Matthews owned it for several years, when it was bought by a company of persons who platted the entire tract for residence purposes in the spring of 1912.


A brass band was organized at Philadelphia in 1874, and incorporated under the laws of the state. Its articles of incorporation may be found in the miscellaneous record in the county recorder's office in the court house at Greenfield. The names of the members of the band, as shown by these articles of incorporation, were Marion Philpott, William Dye, Jr., Sam Martin, William Eddins, Charles Gilson, Henry C. Stutsman, John Stutsman, J. A. Stutsman, J. M. Stutsman, Charles Stutsman and Armenus McKelvey.

This band, with a changing membership, continued to discourse strains of music to the little town until in the eighties. It has a very handsome, old-fashioned band wagon, high at each end and low in the middle.


New Palestine was laid out, October 1, 1838, by Jonathan Evans, six months after the town of Philadelphia had been laid out. It first consisted of fifteen blocks and thirty-six lots. Since that time a number of additions have been made to the town, as follows:

North West Addition, laid out by Conrad Gundrum on February 18, 1854, and consists of twenty-three lots.

Waltke's Additon, laid out August 7, 1867, and consists of twenty-five lots.

Kirkhoff's Addition, laid out by Anthony Kirkhoff, October 9, 1873, and consists of six lots.

Kirkhoff's West Addition, laid out by Anthony Kirkhoff on January 2, 1875, and consists of ten lots.

Anderson's Addition, laid out by H. P. Anderson, April 10, 1872, and consists of thirty-nine lots.

Hobbs' Sub-Division of parts of Anderson's and Kirkhoff's West Addition, made by Pliny F. Hobbs, May 25, 1865, and as subdivided consists of five lots.

Coyner's Survey, laid out by Susan M. Coyner, December 21, 1886; embraces a re-subdivision of lots 7, 8 and 9, of H. P. Anderson's Addition.

Correction of Kirkhoff & Anderson's Addition, by order of town trustees, May 2, 1873, because of imperfect description of said plat.s

Anderson's Second Addition, laid out by Hayden P. Anderson, March 13, 1895, consists of three lots.

Anderson's Third Addition, laid out by Hayden P. Anderson, November 9, 1903; consists of eleven lots.

Claffey's Addition, laid out by Amelia F. Claffey, June 13, 1905; consists of twelve lots.

Jonathan Evans was the first merchant and the postmaster at the town. Evan's place of business was located on the southeast corner of Main and Bitner streets, where the drug store and bank are now situated. Among the other very early merchants were Amos Dickerson, who lived on the north side of Main street, on the west side of the first alley west of Bitner street, Andrew Mc Gahey, Robert King, S. S. Johnson and Joseph Cones. These were followed in business by Shockley, Brown, Schildmeier, Shreiber, Rupkey and others.

About the time of the war, or a little earlier, a frame business room was erected at the northeast corner of Main and Bitner streets. This room was occupied at different times by Freeman & Westlake, Kassebaum, Freeman, Eaton & Gates; Eaton & Son, Waltz & Richman, Richman & Son, Richman and Kitley, Peffley & Kitley, Peffley, Geisel Brothers. Kassebaum is said to have made a fortune in this building about the time of the war and following. W. T. Eaton & Son were in business there for many years during the seventies and eighties and up into the nineties.

Another frame business room was erected about 1860 where the three-story brick building known as the Vansickle building now stands, on the north side of Main street about the middle of town. It was build by H. P. Anderson and later occupied by Vansickle & Helms, Vansickle & Westlake, Vansickle & Nichols, Nichols & Nichols, Waltz & Richman, Short & Ashcraft, Geisel & Kieley, and Albert Geisel.

During the nineties Henry Nichols erected a little room on the south side of Main street just a few lots west of the street leading to the school house. Later his present brick building was erected, which he occupied for a number of years and which has since been occupied by others.


The petition asking for the incorporation of the town of New Palestine was dated May 22, 1871, and was present to the board of county commissioners at their June session, in 1871. The petition was signed by the following named persons: E. J. Richardson, John Gundrum, Sanford Furry, H. A. Schreiber, Jesse Matlock, Jacob Buchel, M. M. Hook, Albert Freeman, John W. Kingery, Reason Hawkins, M. M. Alexander, Pliny Hobbs, Amos Eversson, Henry H. Eaton, John Mausner, John P. Armstrong, J. A. Schreiber, J. C. White, S. H. Bennett, Jefferson Ulrey, Eli Stout, Calvin Bennett, Robert D. Stirling, Samuel S. Davis, Thomas J. Beeler, Edward Hudson, G. Stineback, Samuel C. Willis, G. H. Robinson, D. J. Elliott, Benjamin H. Rice, James Larober, George Kingery, Wesley Eaton, Hiram Murnan, W. H. Foster and B. F. True. The petition also showed that the town had a population of two hundred and seventy-nine people, with seventy voters.

The board of commissioners fixed the fourth Saturday of June, 1871, and the depot at New Palestine as the time and place for the voters to meet to determine whether the town should be incorporated. The election was held as ordered. The report thereof made to the board of county commissioners showed that a majority of the votes had been cast in favor of the incorporation, whereupon the board ordered and declared the town incorporated under the name and style of New Palestine.

The first election of town officers was held on March 29, 1872, at which the following men were elected: Samuel Hook, clerk; Benjamin F. Rice, treasurer; Hiram Murnan, marshal; John S. Vansickle, assessor; trustees, Henry Gates, eastern district; Henry A. Schreiber, southern district; Mathias M. Hook, western district.

For many years the town had great difficulty with its name. The postoffice was known as Sugar Creek. The railroad and express stations as Palestine, and the name of the town itself was New Palestine. Because of a town named Palestine, in Kosciusko county, Indiana, people were often having their mail and other matters missent, that were directed to Palestine. A great deal of mail, of course, was addressed to Palestine instead of Sugar Creek, by people who simply knew the name of the town. Through the efforts of E. F. Faut and Congressman Bynum, the name of the postoffice was changed from Sugar Creek to New Palestine, on January 16, 1889. The name of the railroad station and express office was also changed to New Palestine.

The citizens of New Palestine have always taken an active interest in the administration of their local affairs. Tickets for town offices have usually been nominated along party lines, yet frequently citizens' tickets, etc., have been nominated. In 1874 two tickets were placed in the field, one, the "Law and Order" ticket, the other, the "Common Sense" ticket. As is usual in politics, the "Common Sense" people were defeated. Since that time "Citizens'" tickets have frequently been nominated, but the political ticket has usually been successful.


The names of E. H. Faut, Charles Faut, Conrad Geisel and Gus Smith are among the early blacksmiths of the town. The Faut shop was operated until the death of Charles Faut, about three years ago. Conrad Geisel's shop was closed about ten years ago. Gus Smith, whose shop stood on the west side of Bitner street, just across from the old school house, was bought out by John Huber and William Trentleman, in 1882. They were young men at the time and conducted the shop under the name of "Our Boys" until 1887. At that time Mr. Huber took over the shop and Mr. Trentleman began work for the Faut Brothers. In 1899 he again opened his own shop, which he has maintained to the present.

Charles F. Richman has been a carpenter and contractor at New Palestine for over a half century. Some of the best dwellings in the vicinity, including also churches and schools, stand as monuments to his workmanship. Perry & Pliney F. Hobbs also contracted fro a number of years durng the eighties and later. At present Chris Rosenbaumer is the principal contractor. Eli Stout has for many years been a house painter, while Charles Ballard has painted the buggies and carriages.


A gas well was drilled in the creek bottom just below the hill in 1901, or possibly a year earlier. It was a failure, but an artesian well remained. In March, 1902, Max Herrlich installed a "ram," by means of which the water has been forced into the tank elevated on a derrick about fifty feet high on the hill just northeast of town. He then piped the town, to all parts of which gravity forces the water. It is used for all purposes. The school has used this water since 1902.


On August 10, 1892, the first bank at New Palestine opened its doors for business in the rear of the brick building standing on the northeast corner of Main and Bitner streets. This bank was promoted by Luther Erganbright and James Pritchard, though Mr. Erganbright took charge. It opened on rather slender capital, but grew into a prosperous institution. In the spring of 1893 it was reorganized under the state law with a capital of twenty-five thousand dollars. It also moved from its old location to the Vansickle block on the north side of Main street, about the center of the town. This organization was composed of William T. Eaton, president; Luther Erganbright, cashier; Miss Cora Shaeffer, John Manche and Henry Fralich.

The bank continued to do business until July, 1895, when Mr. Erganbright withdrew. It shortly afterward surrendered its charter and quit the banking business.

Through the efforts of William T. Eaton, the present New Palestine private bank was organized and opened its doors for business on September 20, 1897. The bank at that time was owned by William T. Eaton, president; Henry Fralich, cashier; Edward Fink, John H. Binford and Anton F. G. Richman. After several years of successful management Mr. Eaton retired on account of ill health and disposed of his holdings to the remaining stockholders. After Mr. Eaton's retirement Edward Fink was elected president, Henry Fralich, cashier, and Miss Maggie Fralich was employed as assistant cashier and bookkeeper. After the death of Anton F. G. Richman, in 1908, his son, Charles, took his father's holdings and became a member of the firm. In the spring of 1911 Miss Maggie Fralich severed her connection with the bank. Before her retirement Edward Fink had familiarized himself with banking business and upon her resignation took an active part in the administration of the bank's affairs. In the spring of 1912 John H. Binford died and his son, Paul, was appointed administrator, represented his father in the bank. In August, 1912, Charles P. Weiser, of Indianapolis, was employed as bookkeeper and later was made assistant cashier. In September, 1912, Henry Fralich's retirement as officer and stockholder in the bank necessitated a complete reorganization thereof, which resulted in the selection of the following stockholders: Charles J. Richman, Benjamin G. Faut, Edward Fink and Paul F. Binford. The present officers were Charles J. Richman, president; Benjamin F. Faut, vice-president; Edward Fink, cashier, and Charles P. Weiser, assistant cashier.


For a number of years previous to the Civil War, New Palestine had only two mails per week-one from the west, on Tuesday, and one from the east, on Friday. The mail was carried on horseback. During the winter months there were sometime no deliveries for weeks because of bridges being out between Indianapolis and Rushville. "Bridges out" was a valid excuse for the star route carrier. He drew his salary whether the mail was delivered or not, if he had a legal excuse for not carrying it. Sometimes the patrons made up a donation and hired the postmaster at Philadelphia to go to Indianapolis and get the Sugar Creek postoffice mail. During the Civil War the people, of course, were anxious to get the news. Frequently a number of them clubbed together and had the Indianapolis Journal sent out on the "Pan-Handle" railroad and thrown of at Gem. (It will be remembered that the Cincinnati, Hamilton & Dayton railway was not completed until 1869.) All those in the club had to take turns to go after the morning paper. By this method the people of the vicinity were kept informed as to the events of the war. After the war and until 1869 a star route from Philadelphia to New Palestine was established and Thomas O'Riley had the contract for carrying the mail. He brought the mail three times per week. After the railroad was completed, of course, mails were delivered daily at New Palestine.

Two rural routes have been established from New Palestine, route 1, in July, 1902, and route 2, in September, 1905.


A fuller history of the temperance movements is given elsewhere. One of the exciting events in the life of New Palestine was the explosion that blew up the saloon, on October 16, 1881. Of a similar nature was the blowing up of the pool room on May 21, 1882. In 1899 a very bitter temperance campaign was led principally by Rev. John S. Ward, of the Methodist church, and Dr. O. C. Nier.


Two efforts were made at New Palestine to drill for gas, following its discovery in 1887, but the quantity produced by each well was so small that it proved unprofitable. Gas was piped from the vicinity of Fountaintown, however, and during the latter eighties the citizens of New Palestine used it for cooking and heating purposes and the streets of the town were lighted by gas flambeaux. The gas pressure became low in two or three years and was found insufficient for practical purposes at New Palestine. About 1900, or a year or two later, an acetylene light plant was installed in the town hall that stood on the northeast corner of the school ground. From this plant the streets were lighted until the explosion, which occurred in the fall of 1906. During the following year another plant was installed on the hill just south of the railroad and north of the extreme east end of town, and the town was again lighted until the summer of 1915, when the Indianapolis & Cincinnati Traction Company installed electric light. Since then the town has been lighted with electricity.


The New Palestine fire department was organized in April, 1893, with Max Herrlich as chief. The company consisted of twenty-four men. A hand engine was purchased, which was used until the burning of the town hall, in 1906. Large cisterns were constructed in the streets and distributed in various parts of town. After the burning of the town hall, in 1906, in which the equipment of the fire department was destroyed, a new gasoline engine was purchased, which is still in use.


One of the most serious accidents that ever occurred at New Palestine was the explosion of the acetylene light plant, on the evening of October 1, 1906. The streets of the entire town, as well as some of the residences, were lighted from the plant, which was located on the ground floor of the town hall, which stood at the northeast corner of the present school ground. A Republican caucus was being held on the second floor on that evening, at which W. H. H. Rock, chairman of the Republican county central committee; Elmer J. Binford, candidate for judge; William A. Hough and James F. Reed, all from Greenfield, were present. A number of local Republicans were also there, including William Toon, Perry Hobbs, John O. Branson, Frank Hanes, John Hittle and Warren Coffey. The mechanism in which the gas was produced was out of order, and the gas leaking from the tank filled the lower room of the building. A disturbance of the light upstairs was observed and the town marshal, John L. McCune, went below to investigate. He struck a match at the door, which caused the explosion, wrecking the entire building. William Toon was fastened under the debris of the building and was immediately burned to death in the flames caused by the escaping gas. Perry Hobbs and John A. Branson were also severely burned. All of the other members present were injured, some seriously and others slightly.


The New Palestine Methodist Episcopal church was organized in 1830, in a school house, near where the cement block factory now stands, at the rear of the old school ground. Among the prime movers and first members of this organization are found the names of David and Catherine McNamee, George H. and Mary Robinson, Thomas Swift and wife, Lewis and Phebe Burk, Joseph and Elizabeth Conner, John and Sophia Ashcraft, Joseph and Elizabeth Monjar, Adam Hawk and wife, Whitfield True and wife, Dr. B. F. True and wife, Henry and Nancy Gates, Benjamin Freeman and wife, Dr. J. M. and Mary Ely, Benjamin McNamee and wife, William Leachman and wife, Hiram Chambers and wife, John Johns and wife, H. Hough and wife, Jane McVey and Eliza Jones. The first trustees of this society were William Thomas McVey, Dr. J. M. Ely and David McNamee.

The first church building was erected in the summer of 1856 and was dedicated the following September by Thomas Eddy. There is now a membership of two hundred and fifty-one; average attendance, one hundred and twenty-five.

The ministers who have presided here from time to time are as follow: James Conner, J. L. Sneeth, J. W. McMullen, Andrew Kitchen, Ephraim Wright, Wray Rosencrans, Jenkins, Ransdall, Patrick Carlin, P. R. Roberts, Thomas Sharp Whitmore, Jesse Miller, F. M. Turk, White, Benjamin, Augustsu Teris, McCaw, B. F. Morgan, E. A. Danmont, George Winchester, W. B. Clancy, J. L. McClain, Albert Cain, L. D. Moore, T. B. McClain, John G. Ghaffer, J. N. Thompson, W. S. Troyer, E. D. Keys, H. O. Frazier, Merritt Machlan, J. S. Ward, William Zaring, John Machlan, J. P. Masson, W. D. Woods, Frank H. Collier and P. R. Cross. The circuit of many points was obliterated in 1884, and New Palestine became a station.

In 1901, under the pastorate of John S. Ward, the old frame structure gave way to one of brick and stone, modern in every particular, at a cost of eight thousand dollars. The building committee was composed of Dr. O. C. Neier, William Lantz, Moore Holden, Conrad Geisel and Benjamin Faut. This committee was organized by electing Dr. O. C. Neier, president, William Lantz, treasurer, and John S. Ward, secretary. Plans were submitted by Architect Allen, of Indianapolis, and the contract was awarded to Charles F. Richman. Work began on July 15 and the building was dedicated on December 15, 1901.

The present officiary of the church is as follows: Trustees, William G. Lantz, John M. Ashcraft, Benjamin Faut, John Manche, Roscoe Andrews, Edward Fink and A. P. Hogle; stewards, A. P. Hogle; president, Walter Faut; secretary, Roscoe Andrews; treasurer, Francis Leonard; Ella Hogle, Alice Schreiber, Laura Kincaid, W. H. Trentleman and Flora B. Lantz; Sunday school superintendent, Forbes Leonard; president of the Epworth League, Ralph Rushchaupt; president of the Ladies' Aid Society, Flora Lantz; chorister, Henry C. Nichols; organist, Myrtle Schreiber.

A new parsonage was erected by Charles F. Richman in 1910, at a cost of three thousand five hundred dollars.

The Sunday school established in connection with the church meets on Sunday morning and has an enrollment of two hundred twenty, with an average attendance of one hundred and fifty. Forbes Leonard, the present superintendent, has an able corps of teachers, as follow: Rev. R. R. Cross, men's Bible class; A. P. Hogle, ladies' Bible class; Mrs. A. H. Geisel, junior girls; Murray Addison, junior boys; Loraine Cross, intermediate; Lillian Ulery, intermediate; Mrs. Joseph Fritts, primary; Myrtle Schreiber, beginners.

Three adult classes comprise one-half the attendance and are mostly church members. The superintendents, as nearly as can be ascertained, have been as follow: Benjamin Freeman, Henry Merlau, Dr. Hook, Dr. Christian Kirkhoff, W. D. Place, A. P. Hogle, Ezra Eaton, David Ayres, L. L. Erganbright, C. M. Jackson, William Ashcraft, T. G. Short, Walter Faut, Elmer Andres, Raymond Lantz, Clara Arminger, James Hawk, Forbes Leonard.

An Epworth League was organized in 1892; the present membership is thirty-six. Devotional meetings are held each week and socials are given each month. Ralph Rushchaupt is the president.

A "Mite Society" was organized in 1886, consisting of the ladies, members or friends of the church. The officers are, Mrs. Stewart Nichols, president; Mrs. Alice Schreiber, vice-president. Then followed as president, Mrs. Mary Gundrum,. Mrs. Anna Neier, Mrs. Ella Machlan, Emma L. Jackson, Margaret Collier, Maud Lantz and Flora Lantz. Mrs. Kate Weber is the present vice-president; Mrs. Fink, treasurer; Gertrude Andrews, secretary. The total membership numbers sixty loyal, noble-minded women. There are various committees to look after the welfare of the church and parsonage, and visit the sick. Meetings devotional are held the first Thursday of each month.


The German Methodist Episcopal church was organized in the spring of 1851. Its charter members were John D. Faut, Christina Faut, Anthony Kirkhoff, Mary Kirkhoff, Conrad Gundrum and wife, John Lange and wife, Jacob Lange and wife, Henry Fink and Elizabeth Fink. The first trustees of the church were John D. Faut, John Manche, Anthony Kirkhoff, Henry Fink and Conrad Gundrum.

In 1852 the congregation erected a house of worship in the northeast part of New Palestine, adjoining the old school ground. Among the ministers of the church were the Revs. Philip Doer, Wilke, Heis, Ficken, Krill and others. Services were held by this congregation until within a decade of the close of the last century. At that time the greater number of Germans had departed this life and their children preferred to worship in English. They consequently united with the English Methodist Episcopal church at New Palestine. About the close of the century the congregation sold their property to Max Herrlich.


The first presentation of the Disciples' plea for an apostolic teaching of the Gospel at New Palestine was made by Elder New. He came in 1866, at the invitation of a few scattered brethren of that body living in the community. From this time the members of the church were visited at irregular intervals by a number of itinerant brethren. The early gatherings were held in groves along the banks of Little Sugar Creek in the summer, and in private homes in the winter. A number of services were also held in the German Methodist church. Later they were held in the school house at New Palestine, where an organization was perfected on September 4, 1870, under the leadership of W. R. Low, who became the first pastor. The following resolution was subscribed to on that day:

"We, the undersigned members of the Body of Christ, agree to congregate ourselves together for the worship of the true God and the edifying of each other in love; to be governed by the word of God exclusive of the dictations and commandments of man." Signed by Michael H. Hittle, Elizabeth R. Hittle, Sanford Furry, Henry Bussell, Albert Freeman, Harriet Freeman, Malinda Bussell, Margaret Kamerian, Rachel Kamerian, Ethelbert Richardson, Malinda Richardson, Minerva Wheeler, John P. Armstrong, Eliza J. Armstrong and Lavina Pitcher. The names of Hayden P. Anderson, J. M. Pitcher and Thomas Parish were soon added to the list of charter members.

Shortly after the organization was effected the congregation was denied the use of the school house and services were held in the railroad depot, which had been built and given to the town by Hayden P. Anderson, who was then freight agent. In 1871 Mr. Anderson also donated ground and a house of worship was erected thereon, at a cost of one thousand five hundred and fifty dollars. This building was dedicated on Thanksgiving day, November 25, 1871, by W. R. Jewel, of Danville, Ind. At this time George B. Richardson, M. H. Hittle, J. P. Armstrong, J. M. Pitcher and H. P. Anderson were chosen as deacons.

Some of the early ministers of the church were W. T. Hough, J. A. Lockhart, John A. Navitz, W. H. Boles, Rev. Roberts, Barzilla Blount and Dr. H. W. McCane. Among the later ministers have been some of the most prominent of the brotherhood: L. E. Sellers, national secretary of the Christian Temperance Board; H. A. Pritchard, president of Eureka College, Eureka, Ill.; E. E. Moorman, now pastor of Englewood church, Indianapolis, and A. L. Ward, past of First Church of Lebanon, Ind.

The house of worship was remodeled in 1906, and was dedicated in September of that year by L. L. Carpenter, of Wabash. In this building the following persons have served as pastor: Carl Barnett, under whose leadership the building was remodeled; Clarence Ridenbach, 1907-12; A. Burns, 1913, and Herbert J. Buchanan, the present pastor, who began his work in 1914.

A very successful evangelistic meeting was held in the church in March, 1914, at which thirty or more members were added to the church roll. It also made it possible to employ ministers who could give all their time to this church.

A Sunday school was organized at the time of the organization of the church. J. P. Armstrong was superintendent for a number of years. The school now has an enrollment of about ninety members and is well organized. The graded system of lessons is used, and the adult department is well attended by the church membership. The present superintendent is Everett Snodgrass. Mrs. W. H. Larrabee is superintendent of the elementary department.

The Helping Hand Society has been an effective auxiliary of the church for the past eighteen years. Its present officers are Mrs. E. C. Brandenburg, president; Mrs. William Gunn, secretary; Mrs. W. H. Larrabee, treasurer. A Christian Endeavor Society was organized in March, 1914, with a score or more of young people as charter members. Charles Leonard was the first president of the society. An auxiliary to the Christian Woman's Board of Missions was organized in October, 1914. It is in a prosperous condition. Mrs. William Gunn is the president. The church is now enjoying a period of its brightest history. Fifty members have been added to the church during the past two years. The resident membership is one hundred and seven.


The German Evangelical Zion's church was organized on October 22, 1887, through the efforts of Rev. P. G. H. E. Wittich. Rev. Wittich, also had come over from Germany several years before, had been educated in the German universities. He spoke a beautiful German, but a broken English. He had a clear voice and a magnetic personality. It was these qualities that enabled him to accomplish his work at New Palestine and vicinity so successfully.

The little congregation at first worshipped in the German Methodist church that stood in the northeast part of town, adjoining the old school g5round. Later it worshiped in the hall of what is now known as the Vansickle building. In this hall it celebrated its first Christmas festivities in 1887.

In the meantime steps were taken for the erection of a new building. A building committee was appointed, composed of John G. Jacobi, Peter Kissel, William Rushchaupt, George Hack and Anton F. Schildmeier. In the spring of 1888 work was begun and the building was completed and dedicated in the fall of 1888.

The charter members of the church were Frederick Gessler, Jacob Denkel, John G. Jacobi, Ernst H. Faut, Max Herrlich, Wilhelm Rushchaupt, Henry Clapper, George Hack, Charles Harking, Johann Gessler, George Gessler, Wilhelm Gessler, Jacob Stroh, Anton F. Danner, F. H. Waltke, Anton F. Schildmeier, George H. Waltke, Anton L. Jacobi, Henry Rushchaupt, George Freigel, Jr., Louis H. Jacobi, Anton Craft, Henry Weber, Peter Kissel, Henry Ruster, Wilhelm Hupe and Johann Kroening. Of the above, Henry Rushchaupt, George Hack and John G. Jacobi are still members of the church.

The congregation has a good frame parsonage on the church ground, erected in 1893. Following are the pastors who have served the church; Rev. Wittich, October, 1887; Fred Dreer, June, 1891; Theodore Kettlehut, July, 1892; C. G. Kettlehut, November, 1895; Daniel Bretz, May, 1898; John Haussman, January, 1900; Charles Meyer, June, 1901; William J. Crammer, October, 1902; H. C. Toelle, September, 1909; A. B. Meyer, January, 1913; Theodore Schory, April, 1915. The average attendance at the regular services of the church is probably sixty.

A Sunday school was also organized in October, 1887. There are now seven classes, with an average attendance of sixty-five. The adult members of the church also attend Sunday school. Among the superintendents are George Freigel, Max Herrlich, Herman Ehlert, Mrs. Louise Kissel, Rev. H. C. Toelle and Christina Rosenbaum.

The church has a Ladies' Aid Society and also a Young People's Society. Both are prosperous and doing a live and wide-awake work, spiritually and financially.

This church was made the beneficiary in the will of Anton F. Schildmeier, one of its members, who departed this life in the spring of 1915. In Article 8 of the codicil to his will, Mr. Schildmeier provided: "It is my desire that in the settling up of my estate the trustees of the German Evangelical church at New Palestine shall receive five hundred dollars to be applied to funds for the purchase of a pipe organ for the church." This amount was paid to the trustees of the church by the executor, Henry Schildmeier, on October 27, 1915.


This cemetery was first laid out by Elizabeth Cones, on December 20, 1870. At that time it contained forty-one lots. Other additions were made later, but the older portion of the burial ground gradually fell into decay and became overgrown with weeds and brush. Ten years ago there was a feeling among the lot owners that some steps should be taken for the better care of the cemetery. There seemed to be a division among the people, and, on the one hand Charles H. Faut, W. H. Garver, William S. Toon, N. P. Brandenburg and John L. Boring attempted to incorporate the cemetery under the Voluntary Association act. A number of other persons interested in the cemetery joined in a petition which was addressed to the board of county commissioners of Hancock county, asking for an incorporation of the cemetery under a special statute providing for the incorporation of cemeteries that had long been in use. Charles H. Faut and others at once placed their articles of incorporation on file with the secretary of state under the name of the Crown Point Cemetery Association. Those who proceeded before the board of county commissioners stopped at the close of the proceedings before the commissioners. A law had been passed, however, which stipulated that no incorporation should be held complete, and that no incorporation could exercise corporate powers until its articles of association had been placed on file with the secretary of state. This was not done for the cemetery until in the summer of 1909. When the articles were presented to the secretary of state it was found that there were already articles on file for an association known as the Crown Point Cemetery Association . Though the incorporation of the cemetery under the Voluntary Association act was invalid, it nevertheless placed the name on file in the office of the secretary of state, which prevented the other interested parties from incorporating under the same name. A further petition was then filed with the board of county commissioners asking that the name be changed from Crown Point Cemetery Association to the New Palestine Cemetery Association, and the incorporation has been know by that name to the present.

Since the incorporation of the cemetery many improvements have been made. All brush and weeds have been cut down from the old part. The cemetery has been leveled, and has now been sown to grass. Streets and alleys have been improved, a new entrance has been constructed from the west, and withal, the cemetery is now one of the most beautiful in the county.


New Palestine Lodge No. 404, Free and Accepted Masons, received its charter on May 25, 1869, with the following charter members: F. M. Hook, J. P. Armstrong, Conrad H. Shellhouse, Edward P. Scott, Burrough Westlake, B. F. Stutsman, Calvin Bennett and J. P. Vernon. The first steps toward the organization of the lodge were taken in January, 1869, when the grand master appointed the rest of the officers necessary to perfect the organization. The lodge has grown from eight charter members to a present membership of one hundred and three. When the Vansickle hall was built the lodge took an interest in the building and was given a ninety-nine-year lease on the hall on the third floor. The set of three gavels now used in the lodge were presented on the evening of October 21, 1899, by Conrad Shellhouse, a charter member, and the first junior warden. They were made of olive wood by an Arab, under the instruction of Brother Shellhouse, and were obtained within about two hundred feet of the site of King Solomon's temple.

New Palestine Chapter No. 213, Order of the Eastern Star. – On May 15, 1897, I. C. B. Steman, grand patron of the grand chapter Order of the Eastern Star, appointed Edward P. Scott as patron; Mary M. Nichols, worthy matron; Cassie M. Caraway, associate matron. At this meeting W. H. Glascock, associate grand patron, instituted the J. C. Vansickle Chapter, Order of the Eastern Star, at New Palestine. The officers of Miriam Chapter No. 64, from Greenfield, being present, took their respective stations, Iola Bragg, worthy matron, instituting Ella Hogle into the mysteries of the order. On April 2, 1898, Morgan Caraway presented an amendment to the constitution asking that the chapter be known as New Palestine Chapter No. 213, Order of the Eastern Star. There were thirty charter members, of which eight are still in the chapter. Five have died and the rest have either changed their membership or have withdrawn. At present there are thirty-five members. They have always met at the Masonic hall.

New Palestine Lodge No. 215, Knights of Pythias, was organized on April 9, 1889, with twenty-five charter members. It has at present eighty-two members. Since its organization it has paid in sick benefits approximately six thousand dollars; death benefits, nine hundred and thirty-seven dollars; for nurse hire, eight hundred and ninety-five dollars. Of the charter members, nine still retain their membership in the lodge. Six have gone out and ten have died.

Pythian Sisters No. 313, auxiliary to the Knights of Pythias, was organized April 29, 1905, in the old Vansickle building, with the following charter members: Marion Tucker and wife, Moore Holden and wife, Joseph Fritts and wife, John Burkhart and wife, Charles Ballard and wife, Pleasant Parish and wife, John Hittle and wife, William Tucker and wife, Robert Branson and wife, Harry Weber and wife, Margaret Sheafer, Flora Strong, Lizzie Andrews, Ellen Drake, Anna Geisel, Lizzie Means, Lula Nichols. Mary Peffly, Audry Rupkey (Larrabee), Mada Shilling (Scott), Leona Scott, Sadie Ulrey, Leota Wilkins and Clara Arminger. The first officers were Margaret Sheafer, most excellent chief; Nora Hittle, excellent senior; Martha Holden, excellent junior;' Clara Arminger, manager; Leota Wilkins, mistress of records and correspondence; Margaret Burkhart, mistress of finance; Elizabeth Ballard, protector; Belle Fouty, guard; Flora Strong, past chief. The present membership consists of twenty-one knights and thirty-nine ladies. The motto of the lodge is "Onward and Upward." In Memoriam: Max Herrlich, Pet Allen, Sadie Ulrey, Minnie Cox and Elizabeth Ballard.

Mohican Tribe No. 217, Improved Order of Red Men, was organized on February 19, 1896, with thirty charter members. At present there are one hundred and nine members. The tribe meets in the hall of the old school house, which during the Civil War times was known as "Union Hall."

Mohican Council No. 95, Degree of Pocahontas, a branch of the Red Men, was instituted June 9, 1897, with thirty-six charter members. The first officers were: Prophetess, Lura Eaton; Pocahontas, Alice Ayers; Wenonah, Ollie Westlake; Powhatan, Max Herrlich; keeper of records, Emma Herrlich; keeper of wampum,, Sarah Martindale; first scout, Lizzie James; second scout, Addie Harris; first runner, Minerva Sharp; second runner, Mary Kastor; first counselor, Lydia Leonard; second counselor, Mary Drake; first warrior, W. H. Harris; second Warrior, Robert Gould; third warrior, E. B. Martindale; fourth warrior, Albert Kastor; guard of forest, Fannie Leonard; guard of wigwam, Rosetta Payne. This council now has sixty-one members. In Memoriam: Wilhelmina Eaton, John Gundrum, Max Herrlich, Maggie Ashcraft, Susie Andrews, Mary Ulrey and Sadie Ulrey. Miss Emma Herrlich has been the keeper of records for the lodge ever since its institution with the exception of one year.

Mohican Hay Loft No. 217 _, was organized May 18, 1898, with eighteen charter members. It also meets at Huber's hall.

New Palestine Lodge No. 844, Independent Order of Odd Fellows, was organized on December 12, 1906, with thirty-four charter members. Present number of members, fifty-eight. The lodge meets in the second floor of the Geisel building or over the bank and drug store.

The Daughters of Rebekah also have a lodge in connection with the Independent Order of Odd Fellows.

New Palestine District Court of Honor No. 581 was organized December 30, 1897, with twenty-five charter members. Some of the members have died, others have moved away, so that at present there are only eight members left in the order.

New Palestine Camp. NO. 6922, Modern Woodmen of America, was instituted March 21, 1901, with twenty-four charter members. The camp now has a membership of ninety-five and meets in the Geisel hall over the bank and drug store.


Ever since the sixties the town of New Palestine has, from time to time, had its cornet bands. Among the older musicians should be mentioned Henry G. Mickle, Walter Watterson, Charles Hanes, J. M. Freeman, Thomas J. Elliott, James Arthur, Smith T. Nichols. John H. Garver, George W. Nichols, Milliard F. Anderson, Fred Friegel, Harry Garver, John Westlake, William Gundrum, John Carson, Marshall Watterson, James Everson, Amos Everson, John Merlau, John Rawlings, Edward Ayers, Lucian Watterson, John Hittle, Fred Claffey and Godlib Mickle. Isaac Davis, of Greenfield, taught the band for a while. During the early eighties a special teacher was employed, who made his home at New Palestine, to give all of his time to the band and to the individual members thereof. It likely reached its highest state of excellence from 1880 to 1884. In 1877 it played at the Shelbyville fair and later played at a number of the surrounding county fairs, as well as at the state fair. In 1880 a new wagon, also new instruments and new uniforms, were purchased, at a cost of over one thousand dollars. The people of the community contributed liberally to supply the band with this equipment. The boys themselves paid out a large amount for instruction, and for a time enjoyed the reputation of being one of the very best bands in the state. About 1900 another band was organized under the leadership of James Everson, which remained in existence for three or four years. Among the players of this band were: James H. Everson, Hiram K. Banks, Guy B. Westlake, John Monjar, Mat Kellum, Edward Eickman, Pearl Gilson, Otto Schramm, Gustav Letchle, George J. Richman, Roscoe Andrews, Charles Waggoner, C. E. Gundrum, Harry Short, Fred W. Claffey, Harry Garver, Ed Schreiber, I. C. Schlosser and Evert Short. Another band was organized a few years late, which played for a short time.

In addition to the brass bands, Charles Ballard has on several occasions organized orchestras, which have played a good grade of music. Ballard's orchestra appeared at various celebrations during the eighties, such as the opening of Vansickle's new hall on September 23, 1884, and the dedication of the school house at New Palestine in 1884.


One of the greatest social events in the life of New Palestine and its vicinity was a harvest picnic, on August 8, 1895, which had been promoted by the business men of New Palestine. It was held at Gundrum's grove, about three-quarters of a mile northeast of New Palestine. The Indianapolis Military Band was present during the day. The people were entertained and amused with mule races and contests in which the boys climbed greased poles, etc. There were baby shows and other features of the program in which people were interested. This picnic probably brought together the greatest number of people ever congregated at one time in that vicinity.


There is one literary club at New Palestine, the Progress Club. The organization of the club was suggested by Carrie D. Arnout. Its purpose is "intellectual improvement and social culture." The club was organized on September 13, 1910, with the following charter members: Julia Waters, Myrtle Elliott, Anna Geisel, Daisy Eikman, Carrie Arnout, Myrtle Schreiber, Hazel Mitchell, Levanche Conklin, Jessie Rogers, Anna Waltz.

The first officers elected were Mrs. Carrie Arnout, president; Mrs. Jessie Rogers, secretary; Mrs. Myrtle Elliott, treasurer; Mrs. Daisy Eikman, assistant secretary and treasurer. The first program committee was composed of Myrtle Schreiber, Levanche Conklin and Daisy Eikman. Meeting of the club are held fortnightly. A free lecture is given each year, to which the public is invited. Social evenings and a yearly picnic are the diversions. The club at present is composed of the following members: Clara Arminger, Eliza Ball, Indiana Ferris, Anna Geisel, Emma Herrlich, Mary Herrlich, Bessie Herrlich, Eva Hittle, Nancy Huber, Grace Mace, Lucile Madison, Mattie Merlau, Maud Parish, Blanche Schlosser and Margaret Williamson.


No survey was ever made of this town and consequently there is no plat. The postoffice was maintained until 1902, when the rural routes were started from Greenfield. Nicholas Stutsman established a store in 1871, and he and his successors have kept stores there from that time to the present. Among the people who have helped make Gem what it is are J. Townsend, Burk & Son, William Gladden & Son, Chris Fink and Snyder Brothers. Jesse Snyder is the present owner of the store.

The Stutsmans, and later, Chris Fink, operated a saw-mill and planing-mill at Gem from 1871 until 1902. Isaac Stutsman had a blacksmith shop for a number of years prior to the middle nineties. Joseph Coon also had a shoe shop for a number of years. At preset there is a store and a grain elevator at Gem. The elevator is operated by Fred Thomas.


The Gem Methodist Episcopal church was organized in the fall of 1904 during a revival conduced by the Rev. F. M. Waggoner, pastor on the Philadelphia circuit. The following were the charter members: Rosa Cly, Samuel Cly, Pearl Domanget, Maud Grigsby, Mabel Grigsby, William D. Gladden, Flora Gilson, Rosa Gladden, Elzy Grigsby, Emily Grigsby, Mary E. Hawk, Theresa Harbaugh, Martha Kuhn, Delores Kuhn, Vania Kuhn, Laura Millspaugh, Blanch Reasoner, William Riser, Nellis Rodewald, Della Reasoner, Florence Reasoner, George Rodewald, Margaret Spilker, William Spilker, Estella Spilker, Elizabeth Spilker, George Stutsman, Nancy Spilker.

The little frame church was built by Henry C. Spilker, and was dedicated February 26, 1905. A Sunday school has been conducted in connection with the church ever since its organization. Christian Fink, who has since joined the church, takes an active interest and is one of its financial pillars of support.


For a number of years during the latter part of the life of Dr. Paul Espey, at New Palestine, he was the heaviest taxpayer in the township, with Benjamin Freeman second. Since that time George Lantz, Ernst W. Faut, Anton Schildmeier, Sr., the Schramms, and probably others have paid larger installments than either Espey or Freeman. A number of men now living pay taxes in the county exceeding the sum of one hundred dollars. Among them are: Jasper Allen and wife, $100.94; William A. Brier, $119.86; William C. Black, $178.96; Amanda M. Barnard, $158.03; Heinrich Borgman, $116.86; James Brandenburg, $105.24; E. O. and Marcella Brandenburg, $101.92; Joseph Everson, $139.11; Emma L. Freeman, $144.25; Christian Fink, $280.64; H. G. and C. E. Gundrum, $119.85; Frederick Hack, $152.39; Edwin C. Huntington, $199.86; Worth B. and Viola Harvey, $135.46; Louis H. Jacobi, $331.94; Louise Knoop, $179.61; William G. Lantz and wife, $769.41; Henry M. Lantz and wife, $203.35; Fredrick C. Landworher, $132.48; Charles L. Manche, $202.86; John M. Ashcraft, $468.09; James Burns, $111.05; George Bottsford, $136.12; Emma E. Bardoner, $182.27; Robert A. Briles, $151.06; John W. Brun, $105.25; James E. Barnard (estate), $416.78; Van B. Cones, $193.22; Benjamin G. Faut and wife, $647.66; Edward Fink, $588.65; Walter Faut, $233.29; William J. Geisel, $261.13; John H. Hittle, $123.50; John M. Hall, $125.33; William Hutton, $112.81; C. M. and E. L. Jackson, $115.37; Louis Lantz, $153.55; Henry M. Lantz, $185.60; August Langenberger, $114.21; John Manche, $510.47; Henry Merlau, $197.04; Louis H. Merlau, $112.39; William A. F. Meier, $134.46; Henry C. Nichols, $166.33; Henry Ortell, $227.75; Pleasant F. Parish, $103.92; Anton F. Rabe (estate), $154.88; Frederick Rhodenbeck and wife, $165.81; Anton Schildmeier, Sr.., $1,648.38; Otto Schramm, $202.86; John Schlosser, $143.26; Frederick Sanders and wife, $105.08; Catherine Weber, $253.65; Ernest H. Faut, $115.44; Christian Geisel, $161.07; John Huber, $101.64; William H. Larrabee and wife, $180.37; William Merlau, $120.03; John Moore (estate), $144.92; Charles A. Ostermeier, $132.80; Henry Ostermeier, $288.51; Louis F. Richman, $142.59; Julia L. Ruschaupt, $173.47; William Rodenbeck and wife, $204.51; Anton F. Schildmeier, Jr. $251.16; Velasco Snodgrass, $163.68; Anton William Spilker, $214.31; Emilee Schramm, $154.88; William G. Schildmeier, $126.83; Fredrick Wampner, $115.88; Henry Fralich, $252.43; Geisel Brothers, $170.73; John F. Kirkhoff, $160.08; John W. Waltz, $207.90

Transcribed from History of Hancock County, Indiana, Its People, Industries and Institutions by George J. Richman, B. L., Federal Publishing Co., Indianapolis, Indiana, 1916. Pages 741-782.

Submitted by Sylvia (Rose) Duda, Laingsburg, MI January 23, 2002.

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Tom & Carolyn Ward / Columbus, Kansas /

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Tom & Carolyn Ward